What is Blue Gold And What Does It Cost?

BlueGold

Blue Gold by Elizabeth Stewart is the compelling story of three very different girls living in three vastly different areas of the world but more importantly how much alike they are.

A young girl living in North America takes a compromising picture of herself for her boyfriend and then they break up. She loses her phone and asks her Dad, who works for the company that makes the phones for a new one. He says he won’t just buy her one, she has to learn to be more responsible but maybe for her birthday.

A young girl living in Africa and working at a clinic in a refuge camp befriends one of the doctors there. This young lady is dealing with the horrors of being raped, her father’s death and being displaced from her home. On top of that the leader of the local gang has taken an interest in her putting her life and those she cares about at risk. All because of a mineral that is highly sought after for producing electronic gadgets like tablets and smart phones.

A young girl living in rural china moves to the city with her cousin to work at a factory that makes cell phones. She is lured there by the promise of money (she can send some home to help her parents) and her cousins description of the fun they can have. Unfortunately all is not what it seems. The workers are forced to work long hours and have little freedom.

Blue Gold brings to the light the true cost of the modern conveniences that many Westerners take for granted. This is the kind of story I can see teachers using, no make that the kind of story teachers SHOULD be using in their classrooms.

The story unfolds following each girl through the hardships they face, the roles they play within their family and community, and the changes they male in their lives because of those difficulties. It shows how one person can make a difference and how strong an individual can be.

I give this 4 out of 5 reads.

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For Love of Dystopian Fiction

I am a big fan of books like Knife of Never Letting Go, Divergent, Delirium, Unwind, Starters, and Skylark. These books are all ‘epic quest to fight the evil of the world in order for the good to survive’ type books and the fighters are all just average everyday people.
Not people trained to be fighters just everyday people.

Recently I have been reading a blog called A Love Song to the Apocoalypse on WordPress.
Find it here: A Love Song For The Apocalyps

In the interest of full disclosure the author of this blog is a former co-worker of mine and life long best friend which is why I took so long to devote an EnterTAYned page to it. I had to be sure that I could fully 100% stand behind all the good things I have to say about it. I had to be sure that what I was saying is the same kind of things I would say if I didn’t know the author. I believe I can.

AndreaHitsTheRoad is writing a story that I would choose for my Teen/Paranormal Book Club to read if there was an actual book for them to read. In my opinion it stands up to many of the above mentioned titles that we have read for book club. The one exception to those titles being that the heroine is nota teenager but a married woman.

The writing is forceful and compels you to keep reading. I missed two postings recently and couldn’t wait to devour them at the first opportunity. The writing is raw and honest. Yes there are typos and what not, a he that should have been a she or a moment when two words are in the incorrect order, but remember this is not a professional author. This is a story coming from a woman that just HAS to get it out at the insistence of the characters in her head and is trying to do so at 5:00am before heading to work.

A Love Song for the Apocalypse is the story of a young married couple trying to survive the start of the end of the world as they know it. For over a year they stay contained in their small house struggling to survive and maintain as the world around them goes crazy. The story really begins once the couple becomes separated which they vowed would never happen. This story is set in the Canadian West with ties to the East and the country it is set in is as much a character as any of the others.

Speaking of the characters…..there is a full and varied list of them to entertain everyone, a heady mixture of good and bad to root for or hiss at and a good mixture of ages, personalities and worldliness. People you will want to hang out with for an afternoon or smack or just walk away from. A more diverse cast list I have yet to see.

This story truly has something for everyone. There is mystery, romance, action, survival, deep family roots, death and despair and on and on and on. I can not begin to describe the complexities without giving away the story.

I challenge you to read it for yourself and not come away wanting more.

So far, I give this ongoing story 4 out of 5 Reads. Who knows maybe it will become a book club challenge, they all have computers and what not to read off.

They Came. We Saw. They Conquered!!!

Today was the BIG EVENT!!!

I’ve been waiting 9 months and it finally came, The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour rocked Chapters Dartmouth!

Though the turn out wasn’t quite the numbers I had hoped for the authors were incredible and enthusiastic. They had the crowd laughing, cheering and  quivering with anticipation. Participants came from near and far to see their favourite authors and ask the questions they were dying to have answered.

Though all of the authors were incredible I have to say that Sarah Rees Brennan stole the show. She made many new fans today. I’m told it was her first Canadian signing and I am glad I was there to see it. She was promoting her newest book, Unspoken, which is a favourite of mine but her wonderfully cheery disposition has enticed me to now read her Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy.

Here she is crawling across a table to play host:

 

She caught me off guard which is why it’s a little blurry.

 

The panel included Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, the incredible brains behind the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour! I am so grateful they put this together. I can’t wait to read their collaborative book called Loki’s Wolves:The Blackwell Pages Book 1. And I swear one of these days I WILL get to the RT Book Lovers Convention where they do an amazing job with the YA events. At least from what I’ve seen in the magazine.

 

 

I got to meet Jeri Smith-Ready who writes a fabulous YA trilogy about ghosts (and their rights) and her awesome series for adults the first of which is called Wicked Game and is centered around a radio station owned and operated by Vampires but run by their former con-artist turned marketing manager Ciara.  All of the authors are very interactive online with their fans but Jeri takes it a step further with her WVMP website and playlists or Twitter accounts for some of her characters

www.wvmpradio.com

I went into this event as a huge fan of Kelley and Jeri, a recent (yet passionate fan) of Melissa Marr and Sarah Rees Brennan. Both Carnival of Souls and Unspoken -respectively-  Enthralled me.

I just started reading Charles de Lint’s novel Under My Skin which I am really enjoying and will recommend to fans of Kelley’s YA Trilogies but I have to say honestly I have only read book one of Melissa De La Cruz’s teen series and have just purchased, like yesterday, her first adult novel Witches of East End. I love that events like this can lead people (myself included) to try new authors.

 

So now the event is over, facebook has exploded with posts and pictures, and we are home (or on our way home) happy with our autographed books.

I can not thank the authors enough for including us in this tour. I hope it will help us to entice more authors to the East Coast. A round of applause to all the fans who came out bringing a wealth of questions and enthsiasm but most importantly for making all the authors feel welcomed.

And the staff.  My wonderfully supportive co-workers and managers who support these crazy ideas of mine and work hard to make them so successful. Julianne and Nicole, part of the book club and a couple of fans who missed the event to run the best ever bake sell to raise money for The Love of Reading Fund! The managers and Mathieu for organizing everything. The on duty staff who help fans and customers alike. You are inspirational and make work fun! Thank you.

To the former staff members who came out to make the event a success especially Becky,  photographer extraordinaire and soon to be internet critic supreme.

Check her out at IronGrayPhotography or on YouTube at 

Last but not least to the members of book club and honorary member Samantha who came in early to set up, help with the bake sale, keep the lines moving and so on. We did it!!!!! Thank you all for your hard work. I say we aim for the RT Convention in 2014.

www.kelleyarmstrong.com

www.melissa-marr.com

sarahreesbrennan.com

www.jerismithready.com

charlesdelint

www.melissa-delacruz.com

 

 

Books For Boys

On Monday night I attended a Road Show put on by Random House to let us know about the books that will be hot for the fall season. Some are out now and some will be in demand items at Christmas. I am generally very genre specific in my reading so I find these types of events extremely useful during the crazy busy Christmas season when customers need book recommendations.

What excited me most last night was seeing two of my favourite reads for boys being promoted. I often hear that the choice for boy books is very limited. Stop for a minute the next time you are in the teen section and just look at the shelves. I guarantee you will see many facings of books from the teen paranormal genre looking appropriately dark and dramatic. This makes it seem as though the boys have been left out. Where are the books that will appeal to them?

I could tell you that publishers make (and that book stores buy) what sells and that what sells is primarily books for girls because you start to lose male readers around the age of 9 and all kids around the age of 12. To some degree there is a lot of truth in that but what I want to concentrate on is what is out there.  Believe me, it’s there, if you know where to look.

One of the things you hear as a book seller is that boys don’t want to read books where the lead character is a girl. This is especially true in middle school however a well written story is a well written story no matter the main characters gender.

You also hear that the kids want to read about kids like them. Meaning that a lot of white parents think their kids don’t want to read books about kids who are Asian, Muslim, African or anything else. This is not completely true. We all want to read things we can identify with, sure, absolutely,  but we also learn many  life lessons through reading about different cultures, different places and people who live differently then we do, even if that means living in the country instead of the city or vice versa.

Ok I got off track there for a moment. What I was trying to say is that there are some really great reads for boys of all ages and in all genres out there if you know what to look for. A couple of authors want to help you in your search and have made websites specifically dedicated to helping find books that boys will WANT to read.

http://www.guysread.com/

Guys Read was started by author Jon Scieska to help make reluctant boys into lifelong readers. You can search book by group  or age. You can suggest books, check out different authors or download and print bookmarks and bookplates as well.

http://www.readkiddoread.com/home/

Read Kiddo Read came about because author James Patterson had a reluctant reader of his own at home. This is an extremely well laid out website with tips for parents as well as amazing suggestions for all ages and reading levels. If you are looking for books that will interest boys in your home, check out these two incredible websites for information. Or talk to your local librarian or bookseller, by asking the right questions we can often find a great match for any reader.

As to the books I was excited to hear about last night may I present:

Both of these books are for teens 13 and up. The Kill Order by James Dashner is the prequel to The Maze Runner Trilogy, a fantastic journey through a devastated world while Call The Shots is the third book by Don Calame which tell the tales of three teen boys dealing with their struggles and triumphs in everyday life. I often equate it to the life lessons girls learn in Judy Blume books.

Some other great boy reads  are:

All of these books I’ve listed are located in the teen section of our store but some of them would be appropriate for younger readers as well.

Do you have a favourite book to recommend to boys?

What enterTAYned me this week

I wish I could say that Big Brother entertained me this week or even this season but so far I’ve found it to be predictable and annoying. Does Brittany really think she is playing the game? Do any of the coaches really think they have control of their players? And if they do have control of those players, shame on the players.

Janelle did a fabulous job at the coaches competition, she’d give Gene Simmons a run for his money with the tongue control she has. On that note I have to say that there was a competition I could have lived happily not seeing.

This week I read a teen paranormal book that I LOVED I can’t wait for August when the next one comes out.

Storm: The Elemental series by Brigid Keemerer was a new take on people who can control the elements, usually a talent reserved for witches and sorcerers but in this case,  four boys in their teens and early twenties who have lost their parents because of the fear their powers evoke in people.

On her way out of a self-defense class Becca happens upon two guys beating the crap out of another one. Without known why she steps into the fray running off the guys with her car and the threat that she called the police. Thus life as she knew it will never be the same. All the elements you expect are here. She is unsure of her feelings for two different guys. Chris and Hunter are so very different how is a girl supposed to know who to trust? There are major disagreements with her best friend and bullies to contend with and yet it seemed like a whole new world to me. One I can not wait to explore further. I am very excited that the second one comes out in August and so I don’t have long to wait. I was also thrilled to be able to read Michael’s story in the novella called Elemental and to discover that another novella called Fearless will be available tomorrow (July 31) thereby making the wait seem shorter.

My one problem with the book is the cover. The boy on the cover of Storm does not look like the youngest of the brothers who is the hero of this story, he looks like one of the twins. Also the twins don’t look identical which according to story line is inaccurate. Gabriel pretends to be Nick so that he can play on more than one sports team at school. None of this is vastly important in the grand scheme of things nor is it enough to make me stop reading the series especially since they seem to have done a better job on book 2’s cover.

On Saturday I finally got around to watching 21 Jumpstreet starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Though I didn’t find it as funny as many had lead me to believe it was I did enjoy it. I am a Channing Tatum fan and greatly enjoy the moments in a movie when he is just silly like in the band room. I also immensely enjoyed the big reveal during the big take down. I have to say I probably should have seen it coming but I really didn’t.  I look forward to seeing it again.

The most entertaining thing I saw this weekend though was the Pub Crawl I attended. As previously mentioned I work in a book store. Every year we have a pub crawl and we try to make our shirts book related with no mention of the company we work for. One year our shirts said Accio Beer! for those who don’t know that’s a Harry Potter reference. This year we had to pay homage to the best selling book out there so our shirts were grey with a tie on them and the title was Fifty Shades of Drunk. You can imagine the amount of comments we received while walking around town. At one pub a group was sitting on the patio and the guy asked what our shirts said. When I told him he asked what it meant while his girlfriend/date started laughing so I just smiled and said, “She knows. Ask her.” Besides the fun of the t-shirts it was my second oldest nieces’s first pub crawl (she turned 19 in March) and I had so much fun sharing the evening with her. It was a great evening with amazing co-workers, friends and family.

If you had to make a book related t-shirt for a pub crawl what would yours say?

13….. The End Of an Era

Just about 11 years ago I went from being a Nanny to working at  a bookstore and the box office of  a 1,000 seat theatre.  I enjoyed both jobs and met many interesting people. One of the girls I worked with at the box office introduced me to a book called Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. While we all exchanged favourtie book or authors and I made many new favourites because of it, the Kelley Armstrong series was a game changer for me.

It became the book I recommended to ANYONE looking for a great paranormal read. If you were a fan of Laurell K Hamilton I was suggesting you read Kelley Armstrong.  All before Twilight hit the world. Then I found out she was doing a teen trilogy. Imagine my joy at being given the opportunity to read the manuscript! Did I mention that Kelley writes so well that the crawl space scene in The Summoning gave me goosebumps in broad daylight? I was thrilled when they released it before Breaking Dawn came out and it had the chance to snag some fans. Then Kelley came to our store to promote No Humans Involved. It was a great year!! Can you  see why I call it a game changer for me?

Bitten is the story of Elena Michaels, the world’s only knowing female werewolf. She has left the pack to make a life for herself and she’s tired of it. By returning to the pack she starts to find her place in the world, and what a world it is. Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series is an incredible journey of magic, mystery and romance. Her characters are such that you feel like you’ve made a new friend or friends.  You cheer for them, jeer at them and hope all goes well for them. Through the years  the series has brought me many new friends as we started discussing the Otherworld.

You might think that reading 13, the final book of the series would be a sad or bittersweet moment and it certainly could have been. I tell you in all honesty that when I received a copy of 13 a couple of weeks ago I was feeling very trepidatious  about reading it. These books had been part of my life for 10 years and though there were a couple that weren’t my favourite and a moment or two where I thought they might have jumped the shark, they never did. What if it happened here, now in the finale? What would I say to the Random House Rep when she came to the store? To my fellow fans and friends at the store? To the author when she came in September?

I started reading and set the book down. Started again and set it aside. Finally I picked it up and began reading, really reading. From that point on I had to make myself stop and savour the story so I wouldn’t just plow right through. And I kicked myself for ever having doubted.

I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet so I will just say that it picks up where Spellbound left off. Savannah and the gang are still looking for the missing kid and those who are behind the movement to expose Paranormal beings to the rest of the world. All your favourite characters are here to play the roles they were born to play.  It’s a great ride full of just the right amount of ups, downs, steep hills, dramatic curves and gut wrenching loop the loops before you arrive safely into the station.

As a long time reader of the series, as well as Kelley’s other works, I was very satisfied with 13. It wraps the  series up nicely with lots of leeway for the characters to pop up as needed in other stories or even down the road in another story line.

I am most excited to have others read it so I will finally have someone to share it with!

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour 2012

I am lucky enough to be working at a store that will be hosting The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in September. For many people it’s a thrill to meet a favourite author but if you live in a large metropolis it’s something you might take for granted.

For those of us here in Dartmouth/Halifax Novas Scotia, it doesn’t happen too often. While it’s getting somewhat better, those who promote big name authors (or even concerts) seem to forget that there are fans who live East of Montreal. I get it. Really I do. You go where you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck!

It means something special to have an event like this in Dartmouth because it is such a rarity.

In a little over 2 months we will be hosting these wonderful authors and it is incredible to see the complete awe on some of the teens faces when we tell them who is going to be here. And let’s not forget the adult fans of many of these authors, they are as excited as the teens.

So if you are in the Dartmouth area on September 16th, 2012 at 2pm come on over to Chapters Dartmouth at Mic Mac Mall and meet one of these fantastic authors. Enjoy a Q&A period with the authors and maybe win a fabulous prize!