Mundie Moms

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

By: A.C. Gaughen
Published by: Bloomsbury Teens
To Be Released on: February 14th, 2012, TOMORROW
Source: book from publisher to review
5 stars: I LOVED it!
Purchase from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for -quoted from Goodreads

I didn't think I could love Robin Hood or the legend of Robin Hood any more than I already have, but I'm totally in love with A.C. Gaughen's verion of this historical hero. Her writing is flawless! She not vividly describes what it was like to live during this time period, she also captures the feelings of the people, and the hope Robin Hood and his band of thieves brought to them. I felt like she perfectly crafted together a story of how I envision a younger version of Robin Hood. I absolutely love what she's done with the lore of Robin Hood, Marian and Will Scarlet, not to mention John and the rest of the lively characters present in this story.

I was blown away at the character of Will Scarlet. I loved the notion that Will could have very easily been a girl in disguise and A.C. did an amazing job at making Scarlet, known as Scar believable. The story follows Scar and getting this inside glance of being apart of her life and apart of Robin's band was fascinating. I loved the danger, romance, and action that made up this story. Scar is truly become one of my all time favorite heroines. Her bravery, fearlessness, loyalty and all around butt kicking attitude made her admirable in my eyes while reading her story. She's a character who's flawed, broken, carries around a horrible grief she hides from those around her and she truly wants to save those in Nottingham who are suffering. Scar's a bit rough around the edges, but the more I got to know and understand her the more her behavior and the way she acted made sense.

The tensions and chemistry Scar and Robin, as well as John and the rest of the characters is extremely well written. It's developed in such a real way and I loved the notion that a girl could be just as tough as the guys were during this time period. The bond, the loyalty, trust, and friendship this group has was well defined and portrayed in Scarlet. A.C. also does a great job at touching on the subjects of how girls/women were treated during this time through Scar. I truly felt like this version of Robin Hood is by far the best I've read, but maybe that's because it falls in line with how I like to picture some of the characters. Aside from Scar/Will, I loved what she did with Marian! I like to think she would have had a lot of those same characteristics. Robin Hood and John... *sigh* These two characters couldn't have been written any better in my eyes. They are flawed, they're fearless, courageous, and do what they feel is right for the people they serve. They also have some fabulous scenes together where their jealous gets the best of them over Scar. John definitely provides some of the laugh out moments.

I am totally in LOVE with this book! I feel like I should crave a big heart into a tree with the initials MM's + S = Love in the middle of it. I felt like A.C. did an amazing job at not only telling the story, but making sure this story stayed true to the lore of Robin Hood, as well as making it credible with her own vision of it. She did a brilliant job with capturing the essence of Robin Hood, and creating an incredibly strong heroine in Scarlet. Scarlet's story is absolutely amazing! If you're a fan of Robin Hood, I highly recommend picking this book up! Along with my love of the story, I love this cover! It fits the character of Scar perfectly.

Interview w/ The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight author Jennifer E Smith

I'm delighted to have The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight author, Jennifer E Smith on Mundie Moms today! This is one of my favorite debuts from this year and if you're looking for that perfect romantic book to read on Valentine's Day, I highly recommend picking it up. It also makes the perfect Valentine's gift *hint, hint* to anyone looking for a book to get their favorite person.

Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for joining us today! For our followers who haven't yet picked up your book, how would you describe it in 5 words or less?

Girls meets boy on plane. (That’s three fewer words than the title!)

What inspired you to write Hadley's story? I'm sure there's a few of us Mundie Moms who have fantasized about meeting our true love in an airport.

I wanted to play around with the idea of fate and explore the way even the smallest things can change everything. For some reason, this is always especially on my mind at airports. Whether you miss your flight, or you switch to an earlier one, or your plane is simply be delayed, there are so many different ways the equation of your day can be altered. And since so many love stories already depend on timing and chance, it seemed like a great way to illustrate this.

What's something that surprised you about both Hadley and Oliver's characters? Didthey turn out the way you envisioned them when you first started drafting them?

I think the biggest surprise was how naturally their relationship developed. Originally, I had envisioned the book as taking place over a long weekend. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tell a love story realistically in just twenty-four hours. But as soon as they were on the plane, everything between them began to unfold in a very organic way, and everything sort of took on a new momentum from there.

We adore YA books with romance, snark and of course a London setting, which your book has. What inspired you to set part of your story in London?

When I started writing this novel, I’d just recently returned from a year abroad in Scotland. I had two friends who were living in London at the time, and I used to go down and visit them fairly often. I love the city, and I was so enamored with the UK – I still am! – and since I knew the flight would be overnight, it seemed natural that they’d be headed in that direction.

What's the best advice you've received from a fellow author?

My pal Justin Cronin (author of The Passage) once told me, “You have to write the book you want to write.” It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s great advice. You should always tell the story you’re passionate about, not the one that you think might appeal to a bigger audience or a wider market. There’s an authenticity to books that come from the heart, and I think you can tell the difference when that passion isn’t there, and the story feels a bit more manufactured. Always write the book you want to write – not the one you think you should.

Do you believe in love at first sight or have you ever experienced it?

I’ve never experienced it myself, and to be honest, I never even thought about it muchbefore I wrote this book. But I do believe it can happen. (Though I haven’t figured out the exact statistical probability yet!)

Which fictional character would you like to sit next to on a trans-atlantic flight?

Can I pick Oliver?

Thank you Jennifer for joining us today!
Please be sure to follow Jennifer on her Website | GoodReads | Twitter

Published by: Poppy
Released on: January 2nd, 2012

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it -quoted from Goodreads

You can order it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can read my 5 star review here and my character interview with Hadley here.

Must Have Middle Grade Reads

Welcome to this week's edition of Must Have Middle Grade Reads, a weekly feature here on Mundie Moms where I spotlight last week's middle grade books I reviewed on Mundie Kids. This week's Must Have Middle Grade reads are:

Published by: Scholastic Inc.
Released on: February 1st, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
Age: 10 & up
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A story about a wounded girl and the boy who won't give up on her.7th grader Louise should be the captain of her school's gymnastics team - but she isn't. She's fun and cute and should have lots of friends - but she doesn't. And there's a dreamy boy who has a crush on her - but somehow they never connect. Louise has everything going for her - so what is it that's holding her back?Phoebe Stone tells the winning story of the spring when 7th grader Louise Terrace wakes up, finds the courage to confront the painful family secret she's hiding from - and finally get the boy.- quoted from Goodreads

This is the story about a girl who used to be someone different. Who used to feel alive, loved gymnastics, being with her friends and writing poetry. It's a story about a girl who dealt with something so traumatic it changed her completely. This is the story about a boy who loves this broken girl and will do anything to make her feel whole again. This is a poignant story about love, forgiveness and finding the strength to move on.

You can read the rest of my review here.

By: Barry Denenberg
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: April 1st, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 8+
5 stars: I Loved It!
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Series: Dear America Series

The peaceful, traditional Southern life that Emma Simpson and her family know is shattered when the Civil War reaches their soil. Soon, Emma's father and brother are called to battle, but her family is confident the South will quickly win the War between the States.As the months drag on, though, the harsh realities of war set in.

Death and hardship are all around Emma, and food, medicine, firewood, and ink for her to write in her diary become increasingly scarce as troops from the North march deeper into the South. Finally, even her home is commandeered by the Yankees. Still, with a brave spirit and the knowledge of what is most important, Emma never loses hope that the war will end.

Acclaimed author Barry Denenberg's WHEN WILL THIS CRUEL WAR BE OVER? is now back in print with a gorgeous new package! -quoted from Goodreads

I absolutely love this series, as each book featured in it takes the reader back into a different time in our country's history. It's both an exciting and educational read. Though I'm out of the targeted age range for these books, I find them to be just as engaging as I would if I was reading these as a young reader. Barry Denenberg does a brilliant job at giving the reader an inside view of the life of a young girl living through the Civil War.

You can read the rest of my review here.

You can also find some fabulous Valentine books for kids on Mundie Kids. This past week I've featured a variety of recent releases from Harper Collins Children's books via A Celebration of Love series here on Mundie Kids.

Middle Grade Monday:
Don't miss my Marvelous Middle Grade Monday meme on Mundie Kids, a weekly meme hosted by author Shannon Messenger's. You can check out this week's Mundie Kids feature here

Mundane Monday #123

Happy Monday! Hopefully this Jace & Simon banter will get your mornings off to a good start....

In some distant corners of his mind he was aware that his lips were drawn back, the tips of his fangs grazing his lower lip. "I'm glad you think all this funny."

"You're not happy to see me, then?" Jace said. "I have to say, I'm surprised. I've always been told my presence brightened up any room. One might think that went doubly for dank underground cells."

"You knew what would happen, didn't you?" 'They'll send you right back to New York,' you said. No problem. But they never had any intention of doing that."

"I didn't know." Jace met his eyes through the bars, and his gaze was clear and steady. "I know you won't believe me, but I thought I was telling you the truth."

"You're either lying or stupid-"

"Then I'm stupid."

"-- or both," Simon finished. "I'm inclined to think both."

"I don't have a reason to lie to you. Not now." Jace's gaze remained steady. "And quit barring your fangs at me. It's making me nervous."

- City of Glass, page 150

- Jace's image was found here and Simon's found here

This doesn't have anything to do with the quote above, but being a huge fan of Kara's TMI/ID work I had to share her newest work with Jace, Izzy and Alec. I love this! What do you guys think of it? You can view a bigger version of it here.