Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Crayons, BBAW Registration & Blogoversary Prep

New Crayons is a meme created and hosted by Color Online
In New Crayons I share what new books I got this week, crayons being a good metaphor for multicultural literature.

Quick Blogoversary Update: I want to have one guest post a week, but this could change depending on how many I get. Let me know if you're interested and try and submit before July ends. Thank you :) Also my actual blogoversary is July 4th and I want to have a giveaway a week so if anyone wants to donate prizes, leave a comment or help me. Thanks!

This week I got....

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When (The Snipesville Chronicles, Book 1) by Annette Laing

What a nightmare.
Hannah Dias, California Girl with attitude, and Alex, her laid-back brother, have moved from exciting San Francisco to boring Snipesville, Georgia. Life doesn't improve when they meet Brandon, a dorky kid who is plotting his escape from the Deep South, and the weird Professor, who has a strange secret.
Suddenly, the kids are catapulted thousands of miles and almost seventy years to England during World War Two.
They fall into a world of stinging nettles, dragon ladies, bomb blasts, ugly underwear, stinky sandwiches, painful punishments, and non-absorbing toilet paper. They learn so much more than they could ever learn in a history class. Not that they want to learn it. But they can't go home unless they find George Braithwaite, whoever he is, and whatever it is that he has to do with Snipesville.

-From the author, thank you Annette! Charlotte from Charlotte's Library really liked this book and that helped me decide to give it a try. Based on her review and a few others, it sounds like this book talks about being Black during WWII and being Portuguese (a bit random but who cares!). Plus time travel is always cool :)

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong

When you're so skinny people call you Skeleton Boy, how do you find strength for the fight of your life?

Twelve-year-old Vonlai knows that soldiers who guard the Mekong River shoot at anything that moves, but in oppressive Communist Laos, there's nothing left for him, his spirited sister, Dalah, and his desperate parents. Their only hope is a refugee camp in Thailand—on the other side of the river.

When they reach the camp, their struggles are far from over. Na Pho is a forgotten place where life consists of squalid huts, stifling heat, and rationed food. Still, Vonlai tries to carry on as if everything is normal. He pays attention in school, a dusty barrack overcrowded with kids too hungry to learn. And, to forget his empty stomach, he plays soccer in a field full of rocks. But when someone inside the camp threatens his family, Vonlai calls on a forbidden skill to protect their future—a future he's sure is full of promise, if only they can make it out of Na Pho alive.

In her compelling debut, Laura Manivong has written an evocative story that is vividly real, strongly affecting, and, at its heart, about hope that resonates in even the darkest moments.

-My review. Thank you so much Laura!

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson

Imagining vampires at the heart of the social struggles of 1920s, Moonshine blends a tempestuous romance with dramatic historical fiction, populated by a lively mythology inhabiting the gritty New York City streets

Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request—not to mention attempting to resist his dark, inhuman charm.

-This will be my first reviewed vampire book. It might quite possibly have the coolest setting every: NYC in the 1920s (if the Harlem Renaissance is mentioned I may pass out, haha). So 1920s, New York City, social activism and vampires. For the win! I won a copy =) Thank you so much Terri from Brown Girl Book Speak and Ms. Johnson for hosting this giveaway!

The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

Mary Quinn is back, now a trusted member of the Agency, the all female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. Her new assignment sends her into the grimy underbelly of Victorian London dressed as a poor boy, evoking her own childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want. As she insinuates herself into the confidence of several persons of interest, she encounters others in desperate situations and struggles to make a difference without exposing —or losing —her identity. Mary’s adventure, which takes place on the building site of the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, offers a fictional window into a fascinating historical time and place.

-I love this series. I love the blog tour. I love the author. 'Nuff said. I can't wait to start reading this book! Received for the blog tour. Thank you Candlewick!

Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15, 000 Books Beat Hip-hop Culture
by Thomas Chatteron Williams

Into Williams's childhood home-a one-story ranch house-his father crammed more books than the local library could hold. "Pappy" used some of these volumes to run an academic prep service; the rest he used in his unending pursuit of wisdom. His son's pursuits were quite different-"money, hoes, and clothes." The teenage Williams wore Medusa- faced Versace sunglasses and a hefty gold medallion, dumbed down and thugged up his speech, and did whatever else he could to fit into the intoxicating hip-hop culture that surrounded him. Like all his friends, he knew exactly where he was the day Biggie Smalls died, he could recite the lyrics to any Nas or Tupac song, and he kept his woman in line, with force if necessary.

But Pappy, who grew up in the segregated South and hid in closets so he could read Aesop and Plato, had a different destiny in mind for his son. For years, Williams managed to juggle two disparate lifestyles- "keeping it real" in his friends' eyes and studying for the SATs under his father's strict tutelage. As college approached and the stakes of the thug lifestyle escalated, the revolving door between Williams's street life and home life threatened to spin out of control. Ultimately, Williams would have to decide between hip-hop and his future. Would he choose "street dreams" or a radically different dream- the one Martin Luther King spoke of or the one Pappy held out to him now?

-Kathy from the Brain Lair sent this book to me when we were talking about my Apples, Bananas, Coconuts and Oreos post (aka The Food Post, lol) because it addresses similar topics that I was talking about. However I do want to make something clear: I love hip hop. I know some of the lyrics can be misogynistic, but I love the beats and the clever wordplay. Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, Eminem, T.I., B.o.B, Nas, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Travie McCoy. These are some of my favorite artists, and while they curse and aren't always positive, for the most part they aren't too misogynistic. So honestly, I'm not too sure if I'll ever stop listening to hip hop but I don't think that's what this book is calling for anyway. I do abhor the saggin' pants, dealing drugs, smoking, etc. lifestyle that some artists celebrate with their songs. All that being said, I'm really eager to read this book and it will get a full review since it's a memoir. Thank you Kathy!

What books did you get this week? Any POC ones?

Reading in Color News
Book Blogger Appreciation Week is September 13-17. I didn't get to participate as much last year but I did a meme, wrote a guest post (this was two months after I started my blog so the post may sound a little rough. I'm too scared to read it again. lol) and was nominated for a few things so I had a lot of fun :D There are guest posts, memes, giveaways and much more. I highly encourage everyone to register to participate in all the activities! Also if you register you can nominate a book for best General Fiction, Best Kids Book, Best YA Book, Best Cultural Book, etc. You don't want to miss out on making your voice heard (psst if we get some POC nominations in there that would be super awesome too. But nominate the best books you've read, don't just nominate them because they are POC). Register ends July 7th.
I finally registered although I wish that you didn't have to nominate yourself for categories, it makes me silly for even entertaining the notion. Oh well. Also, if you have to nominate yourself I wish that you could nominate yourself for multiple categories, I couldn't decide if my blog was cultural or eclectic. I ended up going with cultural.Link

So here are my 5 posts for Best Cultural Blog (It was quite difficult to narrow it down, it too me FOREVER to pick one review!)

Then for the fun of it, I decided to go for Best Author Interviews. I had to include 4 interviews and one other post of my choice.
I appreciate feedback on my posts that I selected, but keep in mind that it's too late for me to change it.


  1. I just got Lee's first book as I have heard so many good things about it. Good Luck with the BBAW and congrats on your Blogoversary.

  2. Honestly, I think these are wonderful choices. I'm familiar with almost all of them - totally sound. :)

    Good luck!!


  3. Ari, these choices are excellent. I so want you to have an award this year. Your blog deserves an award for so many reasons. Sincerely.

    If I may, I might borrow the part where you talk about feeling to silly about nominating yourself. It might end up in one of my posts, since I feel the same about registering (still haven't done so but I so want to vote for other blogs!).

  4. @Jan-Yay! If you like historical fiction, you will really like The Agency series. Thank you :)

    @Kaz-Thanks! It was easy to pick my discussion posts, not so easy to pick a review.

    @Nathalie-Oh thank you, but I have no expectations. Go for it, I think we all feel a bit silly for nominating ourselves. Don't forget to register :)

  5. Good luck with your BBAW nomination. Hope you win!

  6. Yay for you entering BBAW, not sure if it's going to be voted but you know I' vote for you! And I want to donate a copy of Chameleon to your blogiversary do, cannot get enough epople reading that in my opinion.


I love to hear from you!! Thank you for sharing :) And don't be Anon, I try to always reply back and I like to know who I'm replying to ;)