Monthly Archives: February 2010

Giveaway of The Crazy School by Cornelia Read


Thank you to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway of Cornelia Read’s The Crazy School!

The Crazy School

About the Book:
Recently settled in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Madeline Dare now teaches at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. But behind its ornate gates, she discovers a disorienting world where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder’s bizarre therapeutic regimen. A chilling event confirms Maddie’s worst suspicions, leading her to an even darker secret that lies at the academy’s very heart. Now cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school’s most violently rebellious students – kids who, despite their troubled grip on reality, may well prove to be her only chance of survival.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Cornelia Read knows old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother’s family to live on Oyster Bay’s Centre Island. She was subsequently raised near Big Sur by divorced hippie-renegade parents. Her childhood mentors included Sufis, surfers, single moms, Black Panthers, Ansel Adams, draft dodgers, striking farmworkers, and Henry Miller’s toughest ping-pong rival.

At fifteen, Read returned east, attending boarding school and college on full scholarship. While in New York, she did time as a debutante at the Junior Assemblies, worming her way back into the Social Register following her expulsion when a regrettable tantrum on the part of her mother’s boyfriend’s wife landed them all on “Page Six” of the New York Post.

Today, her Bostonian Great-Grandmother Fabyan’s Society of Mayflower Descendants membership parchment is proudly displayed at the back of Read’s tiny linen closet in Berkeley, California. She continues to rebel against familial tradition by staying married to a lovely sane man who is gainfully employed. They have twin daughters, the younger of whom has severe autism. Learn more at Cornelia Read’s website at http://www.corneliaread.com/

Reading Group Guide:

1. Maddie is the only Santangelo Academy teacher who lives off campus. How does this affect her views of what is “normal”?

2. Wiesner tells Maddie she is “too whacked to maintain appropriate boundaries” and has issues with authority. Do you agree? Does anyone at Santangelo maintain “appropriate” boundaries?

3. Maddie claims she hates Mindy because she is so shallow. What does this assessment reveal about Maddie herself? How does the generally negative nature of Maddie’s worldview affect the outcome of this particular narrative?

4. Maddie wants to believe that Santangelo can “fix” her. What is broken in her life?

5. The school uses a lot of phrases such as “firing yourself ” and “doing a turn-in.” Many groups use language to create a shared sense of identity. When can this be beneficial, and when can this be dangerous?

6. What are the author’s views on therapy, as expressed by Maddie? Do you agree with her?

7. Why does Maddie stay on as a teacher at Santangelo? Is it only about the paycheck for her?

8. While he never appears in the novel, Maddie’s father is discussed twice during the course of the story. What impact do you think his mental illness has had on her development and on her issues with “authority”?

9. What might be different about this novel if Dean had a steady job? What do you think of his attitude about drug testing—is he standing up for individual rights, or should he put down the bong and get over himself already?

10. Could Maddie have been a more effective advocate for her students if she’d played by the Santangelo rules? What would this have meant for Fay and Mooney, specifically? Should she have “done a turn-in” with regard to their secret?

11. What impact has the advent of psychotherapeutic drugs such as Prozac had on the public perception of “talk therapy”?

12. Has the influence of such psychiatric authorities as Freud and Jung been diminished or enhanced by advances in our understanding of neurochemistry over the last two decades? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

13. How do you think Maddie will respond when she hears about the events of the final chapter? Did what happened change your perception of Wiesner and Sitzman?

14. Is the final word of the book, uttered by Sitzman, significant? Does its use here tie in with the discussion of campus prohibitions against it in chapter one? How would the novel be impacted if there were no profanity used by any of its characters?

CONTEST DETAILS:

To enter, please just share why you’d like a copy of this book.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on March 21, 2010.
Thank you to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Friday 56: Week 34






Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at http://storytimewithtonya.blogspot.com/
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Here’s mine:

He had the paper spread out against our little table and a tall milky glass of Cafe Bustelo waiting for me on the kitchen counter, sweetened to syrup just the way I like it.

– The Crazy School by Cornelia Read

Giveaway of The Crazy School by Cornelia Read


Thank you to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway of Cornelia Read’s The Crazy School!

The Crazy School

About the Book:
Recently settled in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Madeline Dare now teaches at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. But behind its ornate gates, she discovers a disorienting world where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder’s bizarre therapeutic regimen. A chilling event confirms Maddie’s worst suspicions, leading her to an even darker secret that lies at the academy’s very heart. Now cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school’s most violently rebellious students – kids who, despite their troubled grip on reality, may well prove to be her only chance of survival.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Cornelia Read knows old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother’s family to live on Oyster Bay’s Centre Island. She was subsequently raised near Big Sur by divorced hippie-renegade parents. Her childhood mentors included Sufis, surfers, single moms, Black Panthers, Ansel Adams, draft dodgers, striking farmworkers, and Henry Miller’s toughest ping-pong rival.

At fifteen, Read returned east, attending boarding school and college on full scholarship. While in New York, she did time as a debutante at the Junior Assemblies, worming her way back into the Social Register following her expulsion when a regrettable tantrum on the part of her mother’s boyfriend’s wife landed them all on “Page Six” of the New York Post.

Today, her Bostonian Great-Grandmother Fabyan’s Society of Mayflower Descendants membership parchment is proudly displayed at the back of Read’s tiny linen closet in Berkeley, California. She continues to rebel against familial tradition by staying married to a lovely sane man who is gainfully employed. They have twin daughters, the younger of whom has severe autism. Learn more at Cornelia Read’s website at http://www.corneliaread.com/

Reading Group Guide:

1. Maddie is the only Santangelo Academy teacher who lives off campus. How does this affect her views of what is “normal”?

2. Wiesner tells Maddie she is “too whacked to maintain appropriate boundaries” and has issues with authority. Do you agree? Does anyone at Santangelo maintain “appropriate” boundaries?

3. Maddie claims she hates Mindy because she is so shallow. What does this assessment reveal about Maddie herself? How does the generally negative nature of Maddie’s worldview affect the outcome of this particular narrative?

4. Maddie wants to believe that Santangelo can “fix” her. What is broken in her life?

5. The school uses a lot of phrases such as “firing yourself ” and “doing a turn-in.” Many groups use language to create a shared sense of identity. When can this be beneficial, and when can this be dangerous?

6. What are the author’s views on therapy, as expressed by Maddie? Do you agree with her?

7. Why does Maddie stay on as a teacher at Santangelo? Is it only about the paycheck for her?

8. While he never appears in the novel, Maddie’s father is discussed twice during the course of the story. What impact do you think his mental illness has had on her development and on her issues with “authority”?

9. What might be different about this novel if Dean had a steady job? What do you think of his attitude about drug testing—is he standing up for individual rights, or should he put down the bong and get over himself already?

10. Could Maddie have been a more effective advocate for her students if she’d played by the Santangelo rules? What would this have meant for Fay and Mooney, specifically? Should she have “done a turn-in” with regard to their secret?

11. What impact has the advent of psychotherapeutic drugs such as Prozac had on the public perception of “talk therapy”?

12. Has the influence of such psychiatric authorities as Freud and Jung been diminished or enhanced by advances in our understanding of neurochemistry over the last two decades? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

13. How do you think Maddie will respond when she hears about the events of the final chapter? Did what happened change your perception of Wiesner and Sitzman?

14. Is the final word of the book, uttered by Sitzman, significant? Does its use here tie in with the discussion of campus prohibitions against it in chapter one? How would the novel be impacted if there were no profanity used by any of its characters?

CONTEST DETAILS:

To enter, please just share why you’d like a copy of this book.

Rules:
1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on March 21, 2010.
Thank you to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!

Friday 56: Week 34






Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at http://storytimewithtonya.blogspot.com/
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Here’s mine:

He had the paper spread out against our little table and a tall milky glass of Cafe Bustelo waiting for me on the kitchen counter, sweetened to syrup just the way I like it.

– The Crazy School by Cornelia Read

Book Blog Tour of Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass


Shadow BladeThe blurb:
For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira’s day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.

Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner – a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever….

Review:
Seressia Glass’s Shadow Blade is a mix of fantasy and an urban action adventure. Kira Solomon is a mysterious heroine: supernaturally strong and psychically gifted with a strong sense of justice. Kira spends her days fighting the darkness in the world; each evening, she offers up the violence and trials of the day to Ma’at, the Goddess of Truth. Kira’s biggest fear is that the light that she works for will be overpowered by the darkness of her actions. As Kira struggles through each day, she relies on her personal code of honor, the guidance of Ma’at, and the training from her mentor Balm of Gilead.

In Kira we have a strong action heroine, her physical and spiritual battles draw you in. When Kira and Khefar finally connect, we find that they both share a sense of isolation, a commitment to justice, and a superhuman strength. As Kira and Khefar face a deadly evil and risk the loss of everything that they value, Shadow Blade combines fast-paced action with fantasy to give us a fun, satisfying read.

ISBN-10: 1439156794 – Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Pocket; Original edition (January 26, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:

Seressia has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on comics, cereal boxes–anything at hand. So it came as no surprise to family and teachers when she began creating stories featuring some of her favorite characters. One of her earlier works included the autobiography of a piece of bubble gum, and a short Halloween story was turned into a PTA play in elementary school.

Her proudest writing moment remains winning the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday “Living the Dream” essay contest as a high school senior and getting to meet Coretta Scott King. Since then, she’s channeled her belief in the power of the written word by creating rich, emotional stories of diverse people coming together to achieve the universal goals of love and acceptance.

When not working on her next story, Seressia is an instructional designer for an international home improvement company. She spends her free time people-watching, belly dancing, and watching way too much anime. Learn more at Seressia Glass’s website at http://www.seressia.com/

Participating Sites:

Pam’s Private Reflections: http://hip2bhomeschooling.blogspot.com/
The Cajun Book Lady: http://thecajunbooklady.blogspot.com/
Book, Books Everywhere: http://bookbookseverywhere.blogspot.com/
Book Junkie: http://myfoolishwisdom.blogspot.com/
I Heart Monster: http://www.iheartmonster.com/
Carol’s Notebook: http://carolsnotebook.wordpress.com/
My Guilty Pleasures: http://www.mgpblog.com/
The Neverending Shelf: http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/
The Bibliophilic Book Blog: http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/
Chaotic Book Obsession: http://chaoticbookobbsession.blogspot.com/
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm: http://fayeflamereviews.blogspot.com/
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
Jeanne’s Ramblings: http://www.jeannesramblings.com
Books Gardens & Dogs: http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/
See Michelle Read: http://seemichelleread.blogspot.com/
The Wayfaring Writer: http://moonsanity.blogspot.com/
Jen’s Book Talk: http://jensbooktalk.blogspot.com/
Pick of the Literate: http://bookrevues.blogspot.com
Starting Fresh: http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/
Booksie’s Blog: http://booksiesblog.blogspot.com/
Temple Library Reviews: http://templelibraryreviews.blogspot.com/
The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object: http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/
Dan’s Journal: http://grumpydan.blogspot.com/
Cheryl’s Book Nook: http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/
I Heart Book Gossip: http://juniperrbreeeze.blogspot.com/
Geek Girl Reviews: http://www.geekgirlreviews.com/
All Things Urban Fantasy: http://allthingsurbanfantasy.blogspot.com/
Vision Quest Fail: http://visionquestfail.blogspot.com/
Wendy’s Minding Spot: http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
Eclectic Book Lover: http://www.eclecticbooklover.com/
Parajunkee’s View: http://parajunkee.blogspot.com/
You Wanna Know What I Think?: http://www.kballard87.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much to Sarah and PocketBooks for this review opportunity!

Book Blog Tour of Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass


Shadow BladeThe blurb:
For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira’s day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside down in search of a millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.

Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner – a near-immortal 4,000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow forces, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever….

Review:
Seressia Glass’s Shadow Blade is a mix of fantasy and an urban action adventure. Kira Solomon is a mysterious heroine: supernaturally strong and psychically gifted with a strong sense of justice. Kira spends her days fighting the darkness in the world; each evening, she offers up the violence and trials of the day to Ma’at, the Goddess of Truth. Kira’s biggest fear is that the light that she works for will be overpowered by the darkness of her actions. As Kira struggles through each day, she relies on her personal code of honor, the guidance of Ma’at, and the training from her mentor Balm of Gilead.

In Kira we have a strong action heroine, her physical and spiritual battles draw you in. When Kira and Khefar finally connect, we find that they both share a sense of isolation, a commitment to justice, and a superhuman strength. As Kira and Khefar face a deadly evil and risk the loss of everything that they value, Shadow Blade combines fast-paced action with fantasy to give us a fun, satisfying read.

ISBN-10: 1439156794 – Mass Market Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Pocket; Original edition (January 26, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:

Seressia has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on comics, cereal boxes–anything at hand. So it came as no surprise to family and teachers when she began creating stories featuring some of her favorite characters. One of her earlier works included the autobiography of a piece of bubble gum, and a short Halloween story was turned into a PTA play in elementary school.

Her proudest writing moment remains winning the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday “Living the Dream” essay contest as a high school senior and getting to meet Coretta Scott King. Since then, she’s channeled her belief in the power of the written word by creating rich, emotional stories of diverse people coming together to achieve the universal goals of love and acceptance.

When not working on her next story, Seressia is an instructional designer for an international home improvement company. She spends her free time people-watching, belly dancing, and watching way too much anime. Learn more at Seressia Glass’s website at http://www.seressia.com/

Participating Sites:

Pam’s Private Reflections: http://hip2bhomeschooling.blogspot.com/
The Cajun Book Lady: http://thecajunbooklady.blogspot.com/
Book, Books Everywhere: http://bookbookseverywhere.blogspot.com/
Book Junkie: http://myfoolishwisdom.blogspot.com/
I Heart Monster: http://www.iheartmonster.com/
Carol’s Notebook: http://carolsnotebook.wordpress.com/
My Guilty Pleasures: http://www.mgpblog.com/
The Neverending Shelf: http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/
The Bibliophilic Book Blog: http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/
Chaotic Book Obsession: http://chaoticbookobbsession.blogspot.com/
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm: http://fayeflamereviews.blogspot.com/
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
Jeanne’s Ramblings: http://www.jeannesramblings.com
Books Gardens & Dogs: http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/
See Michelle Read: http://seemichelleread.blogspot.com/
The Wayfaring Writer: http://moonsanity.blogspot.com/
Jen’s Book Talk: http://jensbooktalk.blogspot.com/
Pick of the Literate: http://bookrevues.blogspot.com
Starting Fresh: http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/
Booksie’s Blog: http://booksiesblog.blogspot.com/
Temple Library Reviews: http://templelibraryreviews.blogspot.com/
The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object: http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/
Dan’s Journal: http://grumpydan.blogspot.com/
Cheryl’s Book Nook: http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/
I Heart Book Gossip: http://juniperrbreeeze.blogspot.com/
Geek Girl Reviews: http://www.geekgirlreviews.com/
All Things Urban Fantasy: http://allthingsurbanfantasy.blogspot.com/
Vision Quest Fail: http://visionquestfail.blogspot.com/
Wendy’s Minding Spot: http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
Eclectic Book Lover: http://www.eclecticbooklover.com/
Parajunkee’s View: http://parajunkee.blogspot.com/
You Wanna Know What I Think?: http://www.kballard87.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much to Sarah and PocketBooks for this review opportunity!

Winners of February Book Contests: A Good Talk and Prime-Time Health


Winners of Prime-Time Health by William Sears, M.D.

  1. delilah0180
  2. wandanamgreb
  3. retsbar2go
  4. mistyfuji
  5. womackcm
Winners of A Good Talk by Daniel Menaker
shopgurl101
rhoneygtn
r_lapus
wakeupangel
nfmgirl

Congratulations! I’ve contacted the winners and they have until Friday evening to send me their mailing addresses. Thank you for participating and thank you to Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring these giveaways!