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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kids' Indie Next List Summer Reading Challenge & Giveaway

For those of you who don't know, each season (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) the American Booksellers Association and IndieBound releases a list of the top independent bookseller picks for kids, which includes picture books through YA. The top picks are then put on a flyer available at independent bookstores and online.The list generally includes something for everyone and highlights both debut and established authors. In sum, it's a pretty well rounded list. Of course, there are great titles that get left out - only 50 titles make the list each season - but it's still a great list.

Each season I try to read as many titles on the list as possible. Of the Summer 2014 list, which has been out for a month or so now, I've read 27 titles, which means I have 23 more to go before the Fall list is released. Now, whether you know it or not, you may have read some of the books on this list, which, for the purposes of this challenge, will put you slightly ahead.

Here's what I propose: 

Read and review at least one book from the Summer Kids' Indie Next List and win a book of your choice from the list. 

It can be any book from any age level represented on the list, so a picture book, middle grade novel, or young adult novel. The more titles you read and review, the more entries you'll earn and, therefore, the better your odds of winning a free book of your choice!

Don't have a blog? No worries! You can post your review on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Facebook, Tumblr, anywhere as long as you can provide me with a link. Of course, I'll visit each review, comment, and spread the love!

Ready to take the challenge?! Start by browsing the Kids' Summer Next List here, which includes bookseller blurbs about each title and buying information, or read through the list of included titles below - the highlighted titles are ones I've read so far (and can wholeheartedly vouch for)!

Picture Books:

I Am Otter by Sam Garton
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg
Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin; Daniel Salmieri
Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt
Deer Dancer by Mary Lyn Ray; Lauren Stringer
Froodle by Antoinette Portis
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison; Frank Morrison
It's An Orange Aardvark by Michael Hall
Lindbergh by Torben Khulmann; Suzanne Levesque
My Pet Book by Bob Staake
My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown
Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz; Dan Santat
The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis
Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris; Tom Lichtenheld

Middle Grade:

The Thickety by J.A. White
The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove
The Night Gardener by Johnathan Auxier
Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli; Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
The Castle Behind the Thorns by Merrie Haskell
The Greatest Star on Earth by Kate Klise; M. Sarah Klise
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The Qwikpick Papers by Tom Angleberger
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Saving Lucas Biggs by Maris de los Santos; David Teague
The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer
Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen
Still Life by Jacqueline West

Young Adult:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Conversion by Katherine Howe
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Like No Other by Una LaMarche
The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang; Sonny Liew
She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Young World by Chris Weitz
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; Jillian Tamaki

Ready to take the challenge?

Read one of the 50 eligible titles, post your review, then stop back and add your review link to the Mr. Linky below before September 1st, 2014! One lucky reader will win their choice of a finished Indie Next List title! This challenge is open internationally because the enjoyment of a great book shouldn't be limited by pesky things like borders and oceans.

You can also earn an extra entry by tweeting about this challenge - something like this will do:

Join the  Summer Reading Challenge at @thehidingspot and win a book of your choice! http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com/2014/07/kids-indie-next-list-summer-reading.html

Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments or send me a tweet!

Waiting on Wednesday: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: March 10, 2015
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Add on Goodreads / Preorder

Reasons I'm anxiously awaiting this one:

1. Seraphina was amazingly epic YA fantasy - and that's saying a lot because I'm rather picky about YA fantasy. Great world building and characters. (Definitely read this immediately if you haven't already!)

2. That cover. Gorgeous!

3. DRAGONS! Who doesn't love dragons? If you don't love dragons, we can't be friends.

What are you waiting on this week?! Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve; illustrated by Sarah McIntyre

Title: Oliver and the Seawigs
Author: Philip Reeve; Sarah McIntyre
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: July 22, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Rec. Age Level: 4-8
Pages: 208
More by this author: Fever Crumb, Larklight, Cakes in Space (forthcoming)

Goodreads / Buy It

When your parents are explorers, you never stay in one place for long. Oliver dreams of a place to call home - a normal bedroom, school, and friends. Finally, after there is nothing new to discover or explore, Oliver's parents decide to return home. While his parents explore the curious islands near their home, Oliver settles in, but it doesn't take long to realize that something has gone awry. The islands are suddenly gone, taking his parents with them! Oliver sets out on one last adventure to find his parents and uncover the mystery of the missing islands. Along the way he'll team up with a near-sighted mermaid, help style a sea wig, and take on some meddlesome sea monkeys. Oliver and the Seawigs is full of cleverly imagined characters and humorous illustrations.

This first 'Not-So-Impossible Tale' from Reeve and McIntyre is so much fun! Oliver and the Seawigs combines a laugh-out-loud funny story with illustrations that perfectly complement the text, a format that is both engaging and non-threatening to beginning readers. The recommended age range for this title is 4 to 8, but I think it's best suited for strong beginning readers (1st/2nd grade) and slightly older, reluctant and struggling readers... though I imagine a 4 year old with a taste for adventure and a healthy attention span would enjoy this one as a read-aloud. That said, some of the humor might be a bit over their heads; for example, the Sargasso Sea becomes the Sarcastic Sea, full of droll, sarcastic seaweed that constantly pokes fun at Oliver and his new found friends - potentially still funny for a young listener, but more so for the adult reader!

Not only is this story full of adventure and humor, it has strong themes of loneliness and friendship. For various reasons, any of the characters in Oliver and the Seawigs have never had proper friends. Throughout the story, the characters deal with their loneliness and desire for friends in different ways, sometimes in positive ways, sometimes not. For example, the young sea captain who takes Oliver's parents captive does so as part of a grand scheme to gain power and attention, a desire directly influenced by his loneliness and lack of friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first 'Not-So-Impossible Tales' book and very much look forward to the next, Cakes in Space!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recently Read: Upcoming Titles to Add to Your TBR Pile (3)

If you follow me on Goodreads and Twitter, you might have noticed that I'm one of those lucky readers who sometimes receives review copies of upcoming novels early. I won't lie, there are many really great things about advanced reader copies, but there are also negatives... namely being unable to finish a book and go out and encourage others to read it immediately. So I've decided that the next best thing is to feature these titles here at The Hiding Spot, no matter how early I've read them. Then you can add these books to your ever expanding to-be-read pile. Of course, nearer to the novel's release, I'll post my full review!

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Available September 2, 2014 from Amulet

In El Deafo, Cece Bell recounts her experience as the girl with the sonic ear, a hearing device that sets her apart, for better and worse. At first, Cece resents the hearing aide, which is bulky and awkward. It helps her hear, but it definitely doesn't allow her to blend in. All Cece truly wants is a true friend, someone who likes what she likes and, most of all, likes Cece for exactly who she is. A memorable story about friendship, standing up for oneself, and the joy of being a true individual. This fantastic graphic novel will pair well with novels like Wonder, as it has similar themes, but offers a very different storytelling format. Definitely a must-have for the classroom this fall.

The Troubles of Johnny Cannon by Isaiah Campbell

Available October 14, 2014 from Simon & Schuster
Goodreads / Preorder
It's 1961 in Cullman, Alabama and racial and political tensions are running high. Johnny's older brother, a pilot, is away on military assignment and Johnny is now the man of the house, left to look after his difficult, disabled father. While his father spends his days secreted away in a shed out back, unwilling to discuss the radio equipment he's suddenly so preoccupied with, Johnny struggles to find his place and point-of-view. Isaiah Campbell's debut offers a compelling look at 1960s espionage, Cold War paranoia, and Southern racial tensions, narrated by the singular Johnny Cannon, a voice readers won't soon forget.

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Available September 23, 2014 from Egmont
Goodreads / Preorder

In a hospital where teens undergo a procedure in which their memories are wiped, one patient must fight for her life and the truth about her past. Sarah’s final surgery is cut short when the hospital is invaded by unknown forces. Confused and afraid, she teams up with a hacker who covertly breached the hospital prior to the attack. As she navigates her way through the danger at hand, she must also wade through an onslaught of returning memories. Who is she? Is the tabula rasa surgery truly meant to protect her? Or is something far more sinister taking places in the secluded hospital? A non-stop thrill ride, Tabula Rasa is an explosive debut.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ARC Giveaway: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy Amy Ewing's upcoming debut, The Jewel. Before reading, I knew very little about the book other than the fact that it is set in a world where lowborn girls are auctioned off as surrogates for the powerful, but infertile royalty. While that is, in a nutshell, the premise of The Jewel, it is also so much more. 

I love novels that feature strong female characters and this novel is absolutely packed with powerful girls and women. As you'll discover, not all of them use this power for good... there is an darkness festering under the beautiful surface of this world and it's rising to the surface.

I obviously have a lot to say about The Jewel, but I'll save it for closer to the official release in September. In the meantime, I'm giving away my arc to share the love! 

To enter, fulfill the two entry requirements on the Rafflecopter below. Once the two mandatory entries are completed, extra entry options will show up. Two entries mention my bookstore, Brilliant Books, as they (well, we) are providing this arc for giveaway. We're well worth following on Twitter and Facebook, as we often give away exclusive signed books and swag, plus we offer free shipping anywhere in the US - score!

Win It!
One winner. Open internationally. Ends July 26, 2014

Storytime: New and Notable Picture Books (4)

Storytime is a new(ish) feature at The Hiding Spot in which I share some of my favorite new, old, & overlooked picture books.
Not a parent, teacher, or librarian? Picture books make fantastic gifts, from baby showers to birthdays and holidays. As bookworms, we all know how important books are – be the one who hands that special kid in your life the book that will make them fall in love with the magic of reading!

New & Notable

My Pet Book
Written & Illustrated by Bob Staake

Bob Staake once again delights readers with his newest read aloud, My Pet Book. What kind of pet do you get when you don't care for puppy dogs and kittens make you sneezy? Why, a pet book of course! After all, pet books don't run away, they have no fleas, and they don't have to be fed. Inside, there are all sorts of tales sure to keep every owner occupied for hours. And, as our young book owner quickly learns, no matter how big or small, new or old, every book is a friend.  Add on Goodreads / Buy It
Doug Unplugs on the Farm
Written & Illustrated by Dan Yaccharino

Doug is a city-bot, but he's excited for his trip to the countryside to visit his grand-bots. Determined to learn everything his can about life on a farm, Doug plugs in during the drive, learning all sorts of farm and animal facts. When a flock of sheep runs onto the road and the car ends up in the ditch near a real-life farm, Doug gets to experience all the things he's read about and more! In the end, its Doug's research paired with his real-world experiences that allows him to think outside the box and save the day! A great story about the importance of all types of learning and taking a break from technology, Doug Unplugs on the Farm imparts a worthwhile message for all young reader-bots. Add on Goodreads / Buy It

Ninja Boy Goes to School
Written by N.D. Wilson, Illustrated by J.J. Harrison

It isn't easy being a ninja... and school isn't all that easy either. Ninjas are many things - nimble, strong, patient, and fast - and Ninja Boy will need all of his extensive ninja skills to survive a day at school. Vibrant, laugh-out-loud funny illustrations accompany this fantastic read aloud! This is a great pick for back-to-school and the classroom.  Add on Goodreads / Buy It

This Is A Moose
Written by Richard T. Morris, Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

In This is a Moose, readers are introduced to a moose who wants nothing more than to be an astronaut, despite the fact that that is not what a moose is supposed to do. Multiple attempts to make moose act like a 'normal' moose fail and, in the end, readers realize that 'normal' isn't as easily defined as they might think. This book is laugh out loud funny and perfect for storytime!  Add on Goodreads / Buy It

Ninja Red Riding Hood
Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz; Illustrated by Dan Santat

For those of you who regularly read my blog, it will likely come as no surprise that Ninja Red Riding Hood made this list... after all, Dan Santat is one of my all-time favorite illustrators and I firmly believe there can never be too many ninja books. In this second fractured fairy tale from Schwartz and Santat, the Big Bad Wolf decides to step up his game, taking karate lessons to combat the animals that elude him. Of course, he's still no match for Ninja Red Riding Hood and her granny, who see right through his disguise and strongly discourage him from continuing his bullying ways. As always, Santat's illustrations are strong and Schwartz's story is tons of fun, full of rhyme and excitement. Add on Goodreads / Buy It

Love any of the books featured this week? Want to see a certain theme explore, author, or illustrator explored in an upcoming Story Time post? Let me know in the comments!