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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recently Read: Upcoming Titles to Add to Your TBR Pile (7)

Make sure these books are on your to-be-read pile. If they aren't, you're just going to be kicking yourself later.

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Available March 3, 2015 from Simon & Schuster

Johanna Von Arlo and her family are performers who have been banished from their troupe following the tragic death of her father. Struggling to make ends meet, Johanna agrees to work as a Storyspinner for the DeSilva family, despite her dislike for the handsome and spoiled scoundrel Lord Raphael. She has just settled into her new role when a number of girls who look strikingly similar to a long lost princess – and undeniably like Johanna – are violently murdered. Suddenly, Johanna’s past is thrown into question and her simple life as a performer is forever changed. Fans of Kristin Cashore and Marie Rutkoski will definitely find much to love in this fantasy debut from Becky Wallace.

The Imaginary by A.F Harrold, ill. by Emily Gravett

Available March 3, 2015 from Bloomsbury
Goodreads / Preorder
Amanda and Rudger are inseparable. Where Amanda goes, Rudger follows, until the day Rudger is ripped away from Amanda. Amanda and Rudger are best friends, but they are not ordinary friends: Rudger is imaginary and, if Amanda forgets him, he’ll disappear forever. With Mr. Bunting (a rumored devourer of imaginary friends) and his fabulously creepy imaginary friend lurking in the shadows and the seemingly impossible task of finding Amanda looming, Rudger must call upon all of his strength and love for his friend to guide him home. Emily Gravett’s phenomenal illustrations pair charmingly with the text and contribute to the magical and often sinister atmosphere of this novel. Highly recommended!

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Available March 3, 2015 from Penguin
Goodreads / Preorder

Mim Malone is not okay. Upon hearing that her mother is ill, Mim dodges her father and her stepmother and boards a Greyhound back to her real home in Ohio, leaving her disappointing existence in Mississippi behind. Her trip is filled with unexpected obstacles, unforgettable characters, and realizations that will leave Mim forever changed. Readers will undoubtedly fall for Mim’s sardonic voice and the quirky cast of characters that surround her. Mim Malone is going to be okay and you are going to love this book.

Are there any titles you're especially looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rewind Review: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Goodreads / Buy It
Title: Warped
Author: Maurissa Guibord
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 12+
Pages: 352
More by this author: RevelDescription:
Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.

It was the mention of a unicorn that attracted me to Warped, so I wasn't completely prepared for the epic storyline that greeted me within the pages of this book.

After reading just a few pages
I was completely hooked and committed to finding out what would happen next. The Fates, who read and manipulate the threads of life, play a large role in this novel, which I enjoyed, as I've always found the Fates fascinating. Guibord's unique treatment of mythology was exceedingly clever; the idea that someone might steal life threads from The Fates for their own nefarious use isn't something I've read before.

Adding to the havoc wrought by the missing threads, Tessa finds herself falling for William de Chaucy, a gentleman as alluring as he is maddening. I enjoyed the push and pull between these characters. They both have strong personalities that don't always mesh and I liked that neither overpowered the other. They were very much equals, choosing compromise over dominion.

Warped is one of the most creative YA fantasy novels with a contemporary setting that I've ever read. Guibord combines magic, time travel, and mythology to create a fantastic story with a convincing villain and a much deserved happily ever after.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Covered: Hardcover to Paperback Redesigns (2)

Check out these Hardcover to Paperback Redesigns. Which do you prefer?

 A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

I adored the hardcover version of A Mad, Wicked Folly, but I actually think the paperback cover is more fitting. Either way I love this book and urge you to read it if you missed it last year!

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

At first glace, I liked the paperback version better, but I think that was just my love of purple taking over. After more careful consideration, I think the original cover is more striking. I prefer the title treatment of the hardcover and I think the dancer is more prominent. On the paperback cover, the dancer isn't as vibrant for some reason...

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Sheesh... this is a hard one. You can't deny that the original cover of Grasshopper Jungle has star power. It's bright green yet super simple, plus the pages were highlighter yellow. It's impossible to ignore that cover. But I really dig this new version. I like both, but, in the end, I'm glad that the paperback is different. It mixes things up and makes my hardcover version feel special.

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

This is an example of a paperback cover that seems like it would to a different demographic than the hardcover. The paperback cover has a contemporary YA romance vibe, in my opinion... and it feels younger for some reason. I think I prefer the hardcover version, though I appreciate that the paperback will likely broaden the appeal.

Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke

I'll be honest - I don't really love either of these. Granted, I haven't read the book yet, so maybe one of them is really fitting and I'm just out of the loop. If forced to choose, I'd go with the paperback.

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

No... just, no. I really, seriously, passionately dislike the new paperback cover. It just feels super cheesy. I don't necessarily love the hardcover version either, but it was much, much better than this new cover design.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

Awww, I loved this book and I love both of these covers too. I think the paperback version has one me over though... I'm love the typography choices. I think this new cover pops in a way the hardcover didn't

The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis

While I don't hate the paperback cover, I do prefer the hardcover. The hardcover is cute and it would (and has) prompted me to flip open the cover and read the description. With the paperback, I don't like that the title is so spread out. And I have to remind myself to include the "or" because it's easy to overlook on the ladder like that.

Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen

Another hard one... I love the concept of the hardcover, but I like the tagline on the paperback. In the end, the tagline wins me over, so I prefer the paperback of Popular.

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

This hardcover of Call Me By My Name is entirely too busy, in my opinion. I much prefer the paperback version, especially the color choices!

Chantress Trilogy by Amy Butler Greenfield

I really liked the hardcover version of Chantress, but disliked the Chantress Alchemy design, so I'm happy to see this trilogy get a makeover. I would prefer a design that didn't show a model's face, but these new paperback covers are quite pretty and whimsical. In the end, I'm happy for the redesign.

Tell me which covers you prefer in the comments!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Storytime: New and Notable Picture Books (11)

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
Emmanuel's Dream
Written by Laurie Ann Thompson; Illustrated by Sean Qualls

Add on Goodreads / Buy It
Emmanuel's Dream tells the story of a young boy born in Ghana who overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to prove that disabled does not mean unable. In Ghana, individuals who are differently abled are often seen as useless or cursed, but Emmanuel never let that stand in his way. Despite having only one leg, he attended school, hopping two miles each way, earned money to support his family, without having to beg, and bicycled 400 miles in just ten days in an attempt to change the conversation about disabilities in Ghana. Emmanuel's Dream is an inspirational story about a young man who recognized injustice and set out to fix it, refusing to take no for an answer.

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
Written by Emily Jenkins; Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Add on Goodreads / Buy It
In A Fine Dessert readers follow the evolution of blackberry fool through four centuries, from 1710 to 2010. In each century, readers explore how the dessert was prepared, by whom, and for who - three elements that chronicle vast changes in culture and society. This title will be best for slightly older readers, perhaps 6 through 10, and can easily be used as a starting point when discussing technological advancements (especially in relation to foodstuffs), changes in social and class structure, and more.

A Poem in Your Pocket
Written by Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Add on Goodreads / Buy It
Elinor can't wait to meet Emmy Crane, a visiting poet, but her excitement wanes when she has trouble writing the perfect poem. A Poem in Your Pocket is a wonderful story about poetry and creativity in which one student must learn to let go of perfection to find the poem in her heart. This read aloud will fit seamlessly into Poetry Month lesson plans and discussion, but its themes about creativity make it appropriate for any time of year!

Sick Simon
Written & Illustrated by Dan Krall

Add on Goodreads / Buy It
Blech, the pictures in this book just make me cringe - just like they're supposed to! Simon loves going to school, but he does not love covering his mouth when he coughs, washing his hands, or resting when he's ill. We all know what's bound to happen next. Germs loooove Simon; he's the perfect way for them to take over the world!

This funny and undeniably gross picture book is sure to be an effective way to talk about germs and preventing the spread of illness. I highly recommend this one for the classroom!

I Am Jackie Robinson
Written by Brad Meltzer; Illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos

Add on Goodreads / Buy It
These are all so well done. The big themes in this one? Acceptance and bravery. There were moments that I found myself getting a little teary when reading this one, but it could have been because I read it on the heels of a story about one of the first African American basketball players and his experiences. This one did have a bit more text than I remember the others in the series having, but I would need to go back and reread to be 100% sure. Regardless, Jackie Robinson is a fantastic addition to the series. Next up? Lucille Ball!

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