Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spring Giveaway Winners + Last-Chance Giveaway

And the winners are... *Drumroll, please*

  Peggy H.-  Empire of Night, The Madman of Piney Woods, Diamond Boy

  Kim- A Memory of Violets, Dead Wake

  Sarah J.- The Book of Strange New Things, Dream Lover, What Alice Forgot

  Tiffany B.- The Mauraders, Irritable Hearts, Alive in Necropolis, Widow Basqiat, Blowing on Dandelions, Soul Healing Miracles, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Advent

  Bethany- The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Love by the Morning Star, The Aviator's Wife, Both of Me, The Mapmaker's Children

....But wait! We still have several unclaimed books! Maybe you missed out on the giveaway the first time around or simply didn't list it as one of your selections in the last round, but now's your second chance to win!  Here are the titles up for grabs:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
"Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health."  –NoveList

NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER & one of BCPL's Best Books of 2014

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly
Conrad Wesselhoeft
"Seventeen year-old dirt-bike-riding daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family."  –Publisher's Description

 Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell
(2nd copy) "Widow and single mother Katherine struggles to run her Oregon boarding house by herself, but she learns to find the faith, wisdom, and courage to transform her life and relationships when she meets widower Micah Jacobs." –NoveList

The Love Playbook by La La Anthony
Subtitled Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness. The author is a television personality, actress, and wife of  New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

Soul Healing Miracles by Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha
(2nd copy) Subtitled Ancient and New Sacred Wisdom, Knowledge, and Practical Techniques for Healing the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Bodies.

Each book goes to the first person to claim it with a comment below (be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can arrange pickup!). Please only choose one book per day, but if a title remains unclaimed the following day, you may choose another title. Ready... Set...Go! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spring 2015 Giveaway

Hello, strangers! Since posting our Best of 2014 lists in January, I've been on a bit of a reading hiatus due to the demands of work and school. Thus, with no time to read and even less time (or remaining brain power) to write a considered review, I've been lax about keeping up this blog. But that's all changing now! I finish my degree this month, and I can't wait to catch up on all the new books I've been eying enviously while I've been buried in text books.

In preparation for my reading binge, I've also been cleaning out the book shelves in my office and at home. I have finished copies and ARCs that I'm ready to part with. A few are remainders from our last giveaway that were never claimed, and others are highly anticipated new or forthcoming releases. So you know what that means: it's Spring Giveaway time!

As always, the rules of entry are at the end of the post. Please note that all prizes must be picked up at a BCPL location within two months of notification or they will be returned to the stockpile for the next giveaway. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, May 26th.

So without further ado, here are our giveaways for Spring 2015:

Final Copies/Finished Publications:

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1

* Hardcover *

Moving from Texas to Washington, Sunshine, an adopted sixteen-year-old, discovers that her new home is haunted and that the ghosts may have revelations about her past.. –NoveList

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
* Trade Paperback *

Soon after taking a job at a home for orphaned flower girls, Tilly Harper finds a notebook that tells the tale of two flower girl sisters, Flora and Rosie, who were heartbreakingly separated forty years before.. –NoveList

Advent  by James Treadwell
Advent Trilogy #1

* Hardcover *
Five centuries after a magician flees with a small ring that contains all of the world's magic, fifteen-year-old Gavin is dispatched to the home of his aunt because of his ability to see things that others do not believe exist, a power he must use to stop evil from escaping into the world. –NoveList

Soul Healing Miracles by Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha
* Hardcover *

Subtitled Ancient and New Sacred Wisdom, Knowledge, and Practical Techniques for Healing the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Bodies.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
* Hardcover *

Suffering an accident that causes her to forget the last ten years of her life, Alice is astonished to discover that she is thirty-nine years old, a mother of three children, and in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from a man she dearly loves. –NoveList

The Love Playbook by La La Anthony
* Hardcover *

Subtitled Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness. The author is a television personality, actress, and wife of   New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
* Trade Paperback *

A story inspired by the marriage between Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh traces the romance between a handsome young aviator and a shy ambassador's daughter whose relationship is marked by wild international acclaim. –NoveList

Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell
Love Blossoms in Oregon #2

* Trade Paperback (2 copies available) *
Widow and single mother Katherine struggles to run her Oregon boarding house by herself, but she learns to find the faith, wisdom, and courage to transform her life and relationships when she meets widower Micah Jacobs. –NoveList

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Cormoran Strike #1

* Trade Paperback*

Private investigator Cormoran Strike has a day he'll not soon forget. The 35-year-old, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, spends the night in his bare-bones London office after a relationship-ending fight with his girlfriend. That morning, he sports a cut on his face (she threw an ashtray) as he rushes out the door, barreling into a new temp secretary he can't afford, almost sending her down a staircase. The forgiving temp, Robin, quickly proves useful when they get a case: a famous young model supposedly jumped from the top of her penthouse apartment, but her brother believes she was murdered. Entering the realm of the mega-rich, Strike and Robin question celebrities and fashionistas, trying to uncover the truth in a beautifully written book that was pseudonymously written by none other than J.K. Rowling.  –NoveList

Advance Reading Copies (ARCs), in order of publication:

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: May 2015 *
When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad's leading mapmakers, taking her cues from the slave code quilts and hiding her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can't bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril. Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar--the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance. Ingeniously plotted to a riveting end, Sarah and Eden's woven lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way. –NoveList

Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
 Age of Legends #2
*ARC -
Book Release Date: April 2015 *
Separated while trying to save the children of their village, twin sisters Ashyn and Moria must draw on all their power and influence to defeat enemies of legend and avert war in the empire.  –NoveList

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: April 2015 *
George Sand leaves her estranged husband and children to embark on a life of art in bohemian Paris. A talented writer who finds monetary and critical success, Sand adopts a man's name, often dresses as a gentleman and smokes cigars. Through her writing, politics, sexual complexities and views on feminism, Sand is always seeking love. This novel has spurred me to learn more about George Sand, a woman truly ahead of her time.  –NoveList

Dead Wake by Erik Larson
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: March 2015 *
In cinematic terms, this dramatic page-turner is Das Boot meets Titanic. Larson has a wonderful way of creating a very readable, accessible story of a time, place, and event. We get three sides of the global story--the U-boat commander, British Admiralty and President Wilson--but what really elevates this book are the affecting stories of individual crew and passengers. -- Robert Schnell for LibraryReads.  –via NoveList

The Marauders by Tom Cooper
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: February 2015 *
After the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf Coast, the oddballs and lowlifes who live in the sleepy, working-class bayou town of Jeannette will do anything to reverse their fortunes, including Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one-armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte.  –NoveList

Irritable Hearts by Mac McClelland
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: February 2015 *
In 2010, human rights reporter Mac McClelland left Haiti after covering the devastation of the earthquake. Back home, she finds herself imagining vivid scenes of violence and can't sleep or stop crying. It becomes clear that she is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, triggered by her trip and seemingly exacerbated by her experiences in the other charged places she'd reported from. The bewilderment about this sudden loss of self-control is magnified by her feelings for Nico, a French soldier she met in Haiti who despite their brief connection seems to have found a place in her confused heart. While we most often connect it to veterans, PTSD is more often caused by other manner of trauma, and can even be contagious--close proximity to those afflicted can trigger it in those around them.  –NoveList

Diamond Boy by Michael Williams
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: November 2014 *
When Patson's family moves to Marange region of Zimbabwe, he begins working in the mines, searching for blood diamonds, until government soldiers arrive and Patson is forced to journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister and a better life.  –From the Publisher, via NoveList

Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: December 2014 *
When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias's identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two.  –From the Publisher, via NoveList

Basquiat by Jennifer Clement
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: November 2014 *
An exploration of the achievements and tragic early death of New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is presented through the story of his relationship with his lover and muse, Suzanne Mallouk. –NoveList

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
 *ARC -
Book Release Date: October 2014 *
Called to perform missionary work on a world light years away where the natives are fascinated by the concepts he introduces, man of faith Peter Leigh finds his beliefs tested when he learns of natural disasters that are tearing Earth apart.  –NoveList

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis
Companion to Elijah of Buxton

* ARC -
Book Release Date: September 2014 *
Even though it is now 1901, the people of Buxton, Canada (originally a settlement of runaway slaves) and Chatham, Canada are still haunted by two events of half a century before--the American Civil War, and the Irish potato famine, and the lasting damage those events caused to the survivors. 

The Beekeeper's Ball by Susan Wiggs
Bella Vista #2

* ARC -
Book Release Date: June 2014 *
While transforming Bella Vista, her childhood home, into a destination cooking school, chef Isabel Johansen finds her plans interrupted by war-torn journalist Cormac O'Neill who has arrived to dig up old history.  –NoveList

Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan
* ARC -
Book Release Date: June 2014 *
Mistaken for one another when they are sent to the grand English country estate of Starkers on the brink of World War II, Hannah, a distant relative hoping to be welcomed by the family, and Anna, sent to spy for the Nazis, both unexpectedly fall in love.  –NoveList

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft
* ARC - Book Release Date: April 2014 *
Seventeen year-old dirt-bike-riding daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family.  –Publisher's Description

Crossover by Kwame Alexander
* ARC - Book Release Date: March 2014 *
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.  –NoveList
NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER & one of BCPL's Best Books of 2014

Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst
* ARC - Book Release Date: July 2008 *
Navigating adult responsibilities in a California city where the dead outnumber the living, rookie cop Michael Mercer becomes increasingly obsessed with the mysterious fate of his predecessor, an officer who believed he policed the dead.  –NoveList

Rules of Entry

1. To enter the drawing, you must complete two tasks
First, you must leave a comment at the bottom of this post stating which titles you would like to receive. If you do not leave a comment at the bottom of the post, I will not know which prize(s) to give you if you win the drawing. You may choose as many titles as you like; you are not guaranteed to win your top choices, but I do my best. Second, you must log in to the Rafflecopter Widget with your e-mail address or Facebook account and Click "+1" and "Enter" on the widget only after you have posted your comment below. After completing the first task, you can also earn bonus entries by following the directions in the widget.

2.  All ARCs must be picked up at a Bullitt County Public Library location. Contest ends at 12:00 AM on Tuesday, May 26th. Winners will be notified via e-mail and will be posted on this blog. Winners will have up to two months from the time of notification to collect their prizes.

Rafflecopter Widget: Enter the Giveaway Drawing Here

(Don't forget to click "Post a Comment" to leave your comment in the Comments section below!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 19, 2015

BEST OF 2014: Adult Fiction & Nonfiction

Once again, the entire BCPL staff was asked to submit their picks for the best books of the year for adults. From ambitious literary triumphs to crowd-pleasing bestsellers, here are our collective picks for 2014's best:

Adult Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This beautiful, sprawling story told from multiple viewpoints centers mostly on Mare-Laure, a 16-year-old blind girl, and Warner, a young German soldier, whose paths are destined to cross.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Mystery, humor, and family drama collide in this brilliantly paced page-turner involving a suspicious death during a parent-night fundraiser at a small-town public school and the months leading up to the tragedy. Readers are left guessing until the very end who was was killed and why, but the authentic personalities and situations are what truly make this book shine.

Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
In this final installment of the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Roberts delivers another supernatural-spiced romance with a vivid Irish setting and likable characters.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
As a fifteen-year-old runaway, Holly Sykes has no idea of the integral role she will play in a secret war between two groups of near-immortals. Spanning decades and continents, this novel tells the intricate story of that war, weaving in and out of Holly's life even as she remains mostly oblivious—until the day that the pieces finally come together in time for a final epic battle.

Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett
The epic multigenerational saga of five families whose live intersect through the 20th century comes to a head in this final episode full of family drama, political intrigue, and societal upheaval.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
A multi-layered story told through many voices, Leaving Time is at its heart a story about motherhood. The novel centers on a precocious 13-year-old girl determined to unravel the mystery of her mother's disappearance ten years ago, with the help of a disgraced former police detective and an infamous psychic.

The Martian by Any Weir
Originally an underground self-published hit and now destined for the big screen, this novel is a quiet but captivating thriller about an astronaut stranded on Mars with limited supplies and no rescue on the horizon.

Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
Full of Irish lore and compelling characters, this second installment of the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy features an impending battle against a magical sorcerer and a romance between childhood friends enmeshed in the struggle,

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
On the eve of a pandemic that will wipe out 99% of the global population, a celebrated actor dies on stage during a performance of King Lear. Twenty years later, a group of traveling musicians and actors and a few others struggle to keep art, culture, and history relevant in a world where the struggle for survival has wiped out hope for many. An elegiac and thought-provoking dystopian novel with substance.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A cantankerous young widower finds new purpose when he finds an abandoned two-year-old in his bookstore.

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott
When a young teen lays hands on her injured friend, it is discovered that she has the power of healing. Unfortunately, with each attempt to heal someone else, Ava finds she herself grows weaker.

Adult Nonfiction
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
In this witty graphic memoir about the last years of her elderly parents' lives, Chast honestly and often humorously depicts the mental and physical struggles of both the dying and their caregivers. 

Deep Down Dark by Héctor Tobar
Through an empathetic and vivid account, an award-winning journalist brings to life the unfathomable experience of the 33 men who were trapped 2,000 feet underground at a Chilean mine for 10 weeks in 2010. A riveting account of disaster, survival, and coming to terms with the experience in the midst of a media frenzy.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
This funny, whimsical guide to like is sure to appeal to nostalgic bibliophiles.
The Mockingbird Next Door by Harper Lee
In this intimate biography of Harper Lee, a journalist offers insights into the reclusive author's life and thoughts based on their conversations in the latter part of Lee's life.

UnPHILtered by Phil Robertson
The Duck Dynasty star offers his opinions on life and faith as well as other controversial topics.

Monday, January 12, 2015

BEST OF 2014: Favorite Teen/YA Books

From dark, twisty fairy tales to stunning realistic fiction with an otherwordly quality, 2014 was a great year for YA literature. Andrew Smith had not one but two top-notch books (although I must admit that I've only read one so far) and Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series came to a worthy end (though the final book hints at further Shadowhunter adventures to come). There were excellent titles that just missed making this year's list including the Smith book I have read (100 Sideways Miles), the latest installment of Maggie Stiefvater's mind-blowing Raven Cycle (Blue Lily, Lily Blue), and the 2015 Morris Award finalist The Story of Owen. And then there are the promising titles I haven't read just yet such as Timothée de Fombelle's Vango, Meg Wolitzer's Belzhar, and that other Andrew Smith book (Grasshopper Jungle).

My absolute favorite so far? It's a really, really tough contest between I'll Give You the Sun and We Were Liars. The writing in each simply stunned me. I also found the artwork and text combination of Through the Woods to be both magically creepy and breathtaking. Anyway, of those titles I have read, these are my picks for the best YA books of 2014:
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
This final installment of the Mortal Instruments series includes plenty of twists and turns and doesn't overdo the happy ending. When a group of rebellious teens take on evil, consequences are to be expected. Here, though, Clare manages an excellent compromise: a fantastic journey with plenty of action and romance, heartbreaking moments of despair, a satisfactory wrap up for favorite characters, and hints of what is to come in her upcoming series, The Last Hours and The Dark Artifices.

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King 
So Glory and her sort-of best friend got drunk and ingested the remains of a petrified bat. As weird as that sounds, things get even more bizarre when they begin to see glimpses of the pasts and futures of strangers, family members, and acquaintances. While Glory has lived in a sort of limbo ever since her mother's suicide, now she is forced to face both the past and the idea of a future, even if the apocalypse may be coming. Trippy, powerful, and full of insights into society and coping with grief, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is yet another gloriously unique novel from the fantabulous A.S. King.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Stunning and full of passages readers will want to revisit again and again, I'll Give You the Sun is the story of fraternal twins Noah and Jude. Three years ago, Noah and Jude were so connected that they communicated without words. Now sixteen, they are practically strangers—to each other and even to themselves. Their closeness has been shattered by secrets and lies and tragedy, but perhaps there is a chance to regain what was lost if first each can face what went wrong before. The novel is narrated jointly between the two siblings, weaving in an out of time seamlessly, Noah in the past and Jude in the present. This is an unforgettable novel, kooky and heartbreaking, full of art and love and even a ghost or two. 

Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Sixteen-year-old Travis Coates was dying of cancer when he did something drastic. Although his entire body was riddled with cancer cells and beyond saving, a doctor suggested an experimental procedure. So his (cancer-free) head was cryogenically frozen until the day medical science would be able to bring him back. Travis didn't think it would work, but suddenly he finds himself awakening—no longer sick—to discover that it is five years later and the world has moved on without him. For Travis, it has only been moments, but his friends are college-aged now, and his girlfriend has moved on. Wryly honest, pitch-perfect narration, likable characters, and a surprisingly realistic oddball plot make this a surefire winner.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
Bittersweet and brilliantly paced, this coming-of-age graphic novel centers on a young teen's summer vacation, during which she finds herself drawn to an older boy and depressed by the strain in her parents'marriage. Mariko Tamaki's illustrations wonderfully convey Rose's frustrations, anxiety, and heartbreaks, and the images are full of life and movement.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Vivid, glossy illustrations and text along with creepily evocative prose tell psychological horror stories with a decided fairy-tale inspiration. This is a uniquely beautiful and terrifying graphic novel, where the text and images truly become inseparable.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A story of love, lies, secrets, and deep family dysfunction, We Were Liars is a gorgeously written psychological thriller full of drama and mystery. The tale centers on Cady, a young woman with no memory of the summer that changed her life forever but determined to uncover the secrets her wealthy, Kennedy-like family try to keep hidden. 

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Rich yet seemingly effortless world-building and compelling characters make for a dynamic introduction to a promising new trilogy. Kestrel is the daughter of a celebrated, powerful general in a society based on slavery. Soon, according to custom and the expectation of her father, she will have to choose between joining the army and marrying. Although she is an expert strategist, Kestral has no desire to do either. Arin is a slave, far brighter and more cunning and that he appears. Despite their many differences, Kestrel and Arin form a tenuous friendship that promises to become more, but betrayal, conflicting loyalties, and potential war may make peace between them impossible.

Nonfiction & Poetry

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Through candid interviews and before, during, and after photos, Kuklin presents the stories of six very different young adults who are transgender, intersex, or gender neutral. The stories are eye-opening and honest, portraying each teen as a complex, real person rather than an idealized "example." Extensive back matter provide further information,

Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman
Sidebars, graphs, images, and lively prose combine perfectly to provide teens a comprehensive yet appealing overview of modern environmental issues. Best of all, the text does not tell readers what to think or believe; instead, Fleischman focus on the underlying principles and provides the tools teens need to evaluate information and come to their own conclusions. For example, although Fleischman's views on certain topics are pretty clear, he provides references for locating divergent opinions.

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
This accessible, well-researched history explores the lives, personalities, and relationships of the family Romanov in contrast with the lives of the ordinary workers and peasants of early 20th century Imperial Russia. Fleming does a fantastic job of putting the Romanov story in global context in a way that will not overwhelm teen readers. Glossy photo interests of the family and other personalities enhance the text.

The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell
History readers and true crime aficionados will both find much to appreciate in this extensively researched yet accessible work about the murders of three men in 1964 Mississippi. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner—two of them white, the other black—were civil rights workers encouraging African Americans to vote before they mysteriously disappeared and later found murdered. In his depiction of the events during "Freedom Summer" and the lengthy search for justice for the murdered workers, Mitchell provides a clear-eyed, thought-provoking look at social justice, then and now,  It will also make an excellent pairing for the older fans of Deborah Wiles's Revolution.

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson
Through short, free-verse sonnets, the author paints a portrait of coming of age in the Civil Rights era, from the age of five until about 14. The poems reflect the Speaker's increasing understanding and awareness of the world around her. Though Nelson is reluctant to claim the work as autobiographical, she also describes the work as "personal memoir, a 'portrait of the artist as a young American Negro Girl'". Regardless, it is an intimate, nuanced portrait or growing up in 1950s America.

Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann 
Beautiful, haunting poems turn fairy tale tropes inside out to explore the expectation of society and self-doubts of young women.

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