The New England Mobile Book Fair

The New England Mobile Book Fair
On Labor Day I happened upon a curious tweet from Marie of Boston Bibliophile pertaining to her excitement over the fact that the New England Mobile Book Fair would be open normal hours. Any time I see the word “book” a little happy leap happens in my heart, but I honestly had no idea what she was referring to. Was this some sort of gigantic version of a roving Scholastic-style tent sale? A quick google search later and I discovered that the New England Mobile Book Fair was not in fact a band of gypsies selling best sellers, but actually a bricks and mortar store in Newton Highlands that sold cheap books.

The New England Mobile Book Fair
I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to paw through a huge warehouse of novels so I sent a text to my friend Anna, rounded up CK and off we went on a little literary adventure.

The New England Mobile Book Fair

Now the New England Mobile Book Fair does sell new titles of books but what truly excited me was their overwhelming selection of extremely low priced remainder copies. I spent almost the entire time in the Young Adult section and came away with several books that I have always meant to buy or pick up at the library but never quite managed to. The best part though was that the books ranged in price from only $1.98 for paperbacks to $4.99 for hardcover titles. It may be a bit dusty and the aisles are close together but I can’t imagine any of these thing will deter you once you begin filling your shopping bag.

The New England Mobile Book Fair

Here’s the list of treasures that I picked up:
Sorceress by Celia Rees
From the Publisher:
A Native American teen experiences a life-altering encounter after reading about Mary Newbury the 17th-century protagonist of Witch Child who may be connected with one of her own relatives.
Finishing Becca by Ann Rinaldi
From the Publisher:
Becca Syng, 14, becomes Peggy Shippen’s maid and enters another world. For over a year, she assists Peggy in her revelry, culminating in her mistress’s marriage to General Benedict Arnold. Like the Arnolds, Becca is faced with decisions about loyalty: to her country, to her family and, above all, to herself.
A Break With Charity by Ann Rinaldi
From the Publisher:
Boredom and frustration in a small Puritan town provide fertile ground for a band of teenage girls to incite and nurture deadly mischief. Susannah English, caught between the desire to be a part of the group and her revulsion toward their wickedness, finds herself an unwilling party to what would become the Salem witch trials.
The House on Hound Hill by Maggie Prince
From the Publisher:
After her parents’ divorce, Emily, her brother and mother move to a ramshackle but historic row house on Hound Hill. Emily’s peculiar visions begin when an oddly dressed, strangely formal boy named Seth comes to Emily’s door, searching for his cat, and gives his address as her own. As Emily hears clanging bells at night, smells bitter tallow candles, meets crowds of beggars and confronts a supposedly extinct black rat in her chimney, she finally realizes that she can perceive the events of another time and even visit 1665.
The River Between Us by Richard Peck
From the Publisher:
The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt’s brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small river town has even seen. Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take Delphine and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one in town knows what to make of the two strangers, and so the rumors fly. Is Delphine’s companion a slave? Could they be spies for the South? Are the Pruitts traitors? A masterful tale of mystery and war, and a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact one person can have on another.

The New England Mobile Book Fair

My Life in Books

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Using only books you have read this year (2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

part1

Describe Yourself: Confessions of a Shopaholic
How do you feel: Fatally Flaky
Describe where you currently live: Behind the Attic Wall
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: One Fifth Avenue

part2

Your favorite form of transport: The Rapture
Your best friend is: Catherine, Called Birdy
You and your friends are: The Book Thief
What’s the weather like: Wintergirls

part3

Favorite time of day: That Old Cape Magic
If your life was a: Shelf Discovery
What is life to you: Tender Morsels
Your fear: The Hunger Games

part4

What is the best advice you have to give: Lock and Key
Thought for the Day: Too Many Cooks
How I would like to die: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
My soul’s present condition: Before Green Gables

(Meme via Boston Bibliophile).

Top 5 YA Titles I Just Can’t Wait To Read

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splendorSplendor: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen
From the publisher: It’s a new year, and Manhattan’s favorite socialites are stirring up brand-new drama: Elizabeth uncovers a dangerous secret from her past; Diana has an opportunity to follow her heart—and claim her future, Lina discovers money can buy happiness…for a time, and Penelope finds that life without Henry brings unexpected pleasures. In this dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, old ties are broken, fresh bonds are formed, and every decision comes at a cost.
My thoughts: I may seriously cry. I can’t believe this is the final book in the series. Why can’t it go on forever? Who could seriously get sick of catty girls clad in silk and taffeta ball gowns having battles of whit while wielding calling cards?

viola_in_reelViola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
From the publisher: Shipped off to boarding school in South Bend, Indiana, city girl and aspiring filmmaker Viola Chesterton feels out of place with her three new roommates. Missing her life back home, Viola is tempted to hide behind her video camera all year. But first impressions are often wrong, and soon Viola realizes she’s in for the most incredible year of her life—if only she can put the camera down and let the world in.
My thoughts: I always wished I could have gone to boarding school. Now I like to read about it vicariously. I also wish I could be creative enough to edit videos in lovely and unique ways but so far I just stumble around in iMovie adding titles and silly captions to the shaky iPhone shot adventures of my kittens.

dream_girlDream Life by Lauren Mechling
From the publisher: Claire Voyante’s first semester at Henry Hudson High School was eventful, to say the least. As she heads into her second semester, things are calming down a bit. But Claire has a few secrets that are getting harder to keep. Her biggest secret of all? The onyx and ivory cameo necklace her grandmother gave her for her 15th birthday. Ever since she started wearing it, her dreams have been coming to her in black and white and turning out to be oddly prophetic. Becca’s been hanging out with her old prep school friends and never seems to have time for Claire anymore. And soon, Claire discovers why—there’s a secret group of society girls with a mysterious identity. And, turns out, a mysterious enemy who’s out to get them. The second she sniffs out trouble, Claire jumps on the case. But is it someone close to Claire who’s in danger again—or could it be Claire herself whose life is at stake?
My thoughts: The first book in this series was one of my favorite finds last year. It’s just exquisite and I simply adore the heroine. If I could go back and relive my teen years I think I would want to do so as this percocious young sleuth.

derby_girlWhip It aka Derby Girl by Shauna Cross
From the publisher: Meet Bliss Cavendar, a blue haired, indie-rock loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas. Her pageant-addicted mother expects her to compete for the coveted Miss Blue Bonnet crown, but Bliss would rather feast on roaches than be subjected to such rhinestone tyranny. Bliss’ escape? Take up Roller Derby. When she discovers a league in nearby Austin, Bliss embarks on an epic journey full of hilarious tattooed girls, delicious boys in bands, and a few not-so-awesome realities even the most bad-assed derby chick has to learn.
My thoughts: All I have to say is Roller Derby: Yes, Please! Plus, everyone knows you should read the book before seeing the movie.

ex-masEx-Mas by Kate Brian
From the publisher: Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith has just about everything you can wish for, except her annoying younger brother Cooper. When Lila’s parents announce they’ll be going out of town, Cooper snitches about her plan to throw a party. In retaliation, Lila hands Cooper the newspaper declaring that global warming is melting the North Pole. Cooper firmly believes in Santa Claus, and this is a crushing blow. After her parents leave, putting the neighbors on high watch, Lila goes to pick up Cooper at his best friend Becky’s house. Becky’s brother happens to be Beau, Lila’s ex-boyfriend. When Lila arrives she and Beau discover Becky and Cooper are missing; they find Google maps, the article, and other clues. Their siblings are on an adventure to save Santa. Even though they can’t stand the sight of each other, Lila and Beau know what they have to do: work together to get Becky and Cooper home safely, by Christmas.
My thoughts: I have a soft spot for anything having to do with Christmas since I am the self-appointed “Christmas Queen.” This book sounds like it would make a lovely ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas holiday movie adaptation, don’t you think?

Erin’s YA Addiction – The April Edition

I have a not-so-secret addiction to YA Novels. I used to be embarrassed to purchase books from the Young Adult section of bookstores, but not anymore. Over the last few years I’ve come to terms with my love of all things not rooted in the “grown-up” world. Besides, I live that reality every day of my life and I’d much rather escape with a narrator that houses a completely different set of issues and tribulations. A common misconception held by many readers is that YA novels are somehow lowbrow knockoffs of adult titles. This is so absolutely not the case. I can honestly say that many of the YA novels I’ve read over the years have been head and shoulders above some of the popular adult fiction that so often finds its way onto various bestseller lists and then become critical darlings. Just because 14 people in your subway car are reading the same book doesn’t mean that you have to. Below are some of the excellent YA titles I’ve read recently that I think will also serve to convince you that there’s nothing wrong with loving YA.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games is a brilliant character driven tale by Suzanne Collins that takes place in a distopian version of America called Panem in the not-so-distant future where a rather Shirley Jackson type lottery is held each year that forces two adolescents from each of the country’s twelve districts to compete on a vicious reality television program where only one survivor can win. And by survivor they mean you have to be alive at the end, none of this “silly” you’re voted off the island and go back to civilization and a segment on the Today Show business. These young men and women are expected to fight to their deaths under harsh conditions and artificially manufactured scenarios. In the story we follow, Katniss, a young woman from one of the poorest districts in Panem, who volunteers for the games after her younger sister’s name is drawn to be a participant. Katniss takes her sisters place and is then forced to participate in some of the most horrific mentally and physically challenging tasks one can imagine. The horrible irony of the novel is that there are several secondary characters that Katniss meets and interacts with that you will inevitably grow to love, including the endearing young baker’s son whom she grew up with, Peeta, and an intriguing young girl named Rue who will steal your heart, but The Hunger Games insist that there can be only one winner so please prepare yourself for a bit of heart wrenching grief. I found this novel to be incredibly addictive. I couldn’t put it down and honestly I’m beside myself with the thought that I have to wait until September to read the next title in the series.

Graceling by Kristin CashoreGraceling is hands down the best book I’ve read in the last 6 months. I’m not generally into fantasy novels. I’ve never really cared about magical worlds with mythical creatures and dastardly bad guys riding horses to storm cold stone castles but since reading Kristin Cashore’s amazingly plotted first novel I have to say my mind has been thoroughly changed. Graceling is the story of Lady Katsa who lives under the command of her not-so-nice uncle King Randa in the kingdom of the Middluns. In the world of this novel certain individuals are born with special abilities called graces. These “gifts” range from the mundane, such as being an amazing cook, to the extreme such as being able to read minds or, as in Katsa’s case, the ability to kill. Men and women who are graced are marked by having two color eyes. Suffice to say, her henchman-like reputation precedes her and Katsa, with her stunning green and blue eyes, is both revered and feared by the people she encounters. When Katsa meets Po, a fellow graceling with whom combat skills have been bestowed upon, things start to get very interesting. It appears that not everything is as it seems in the kingdom and Po and Katsa set out on an eventful journey to uncover the truth. Long days on horses and even longer nights by the fire allow for a burgeoning romance between the two which plays off nicely with the continuous swashbuckling adventure that ensues. You will not be disappointed with this story. The prequel to Graceling, Fire, is set to be published this fall. I suggest that you get it on your pre-order list immediately. In the meantime, you can keep up with all of the author’s going ons at her blog: This is My Secret.

The Luxe by Anna GodbersenFor all of my fellow Gossip Girl addicts I implore you to check out the Luxe novels by Anna Godbersen. The first novel opens with a quote from The Age of Innocence so I’ve always thought of these novels as Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton, which is even more funny as Gossip Girl just recently aired an episode where our favorite Upper East Siders put on a play of The Age of Innocence. Truly escapist in nature and dripping in romance and intrigue these novels trace the daily activities of the beautiful Holland sisters, Elizabeth and Diana, and their eccentric circle of equally rich and troubled friends. Instead of chauffeured cars, Manolo Blahniks, and iPhones we have horse and buggies, Parisian seamstresses, and calling cards but the effect is still quote similar. The third title in the series, Envy, was just released in January and I’m impatiently waiting for my friend Anna to finish reading it so I can curl up in my favorite chair and devour it.

Some additional upcoming and currently available novels on my “to read” list include:
Jumping Off Swing by Jo Knowles (scheduled to be released on August 11, 2009) 

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Along for the Ride by Sarah Desen (scheduled to be released on June 16, 2009)

The Kings Rose by Alisa Libby

Before Green Gables

Before Green GablesWhen I first heard that a prequel to Anne of Green Gables was being published I was absolutely disgusted. It seemed that nothing was sacred anymore. Big business appeared primed to dictate the ruin of one of my most cherished childhood literary memories. I couldn’t comprehend how anyone would possibly think that they should infringe upon such a perfectly crafted story. Not to mention, did I really want to know in-depth details about the downtrodden and tragic days of Anne’s life before she came to Green Gables?

But believe it or not I was wrong and I’m terribly shocked about the whole thing. Before Green Gables is simply excellent. The writing is phenomenal. The story timeline has been meticulously researched, and the characters are well rounded. Each and every new person that comes across Anne’s path fits seamlessly into the tale just as though Lucy Maud Montgomery might have imagined it herself.

I loved learning how Anne developed her quirky vocabulary, including the inception of the phrase “depths of despair” and how she determined that it was her most ardent desire in life to have a “bosom friend.” The portrait of Anne’s kind parents at the beginning of the book is simply heartbreaking, but is balanced well by the few well-meaning souls who recognize in Anne a “kindred spirit” and thankfully take an interest in her education and upbringing.

Anne’s life prior to moving to Prince Edward Island does unfortunately resemble a 10 year indentured servitude to the Gosselin family. She’s constantly cutting vegetables, carrying dozens of buckets of water, and looking after an unbelievable number of very young children, but somehow she continuously maintains a bright and cheerful attitude.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the story is Budge Wilson’s ability to humanize both the Thomas family as well as the Hammond’s. Most of my poor opinion of the Hammond’s is drawn from the 90 seconds that we view their out of control household in the film version, but just like in real life there are always extenuating circumstances that make people behave the way they do. Wilson explores the nuances of each of these struggling families and makes it impossible to simply brand them as villains. Because of this even drunken and abusive Mr. Thomas comes off as being a redeemable character.

Anne Shirley is a charming child who has bewitched readers for years, and this well grounded tale of her past truly only serves to enhance the Green Gables experience. I encourage you to pick it up and reminisce. Personally, I hope to revisit the entire Anne series this year.