Posts Tagged ‘YA Book’

Jul

23

2015

Disney Wonder and Alaska

Filed under: Check-it-out, Family, Fun and Games, In the Wild, Pondering, Running, Stuff I Love, Touching the Surface, Vacation Madness

GRATEFUL EXPANSION: Vancouver, Disney Wonder and Alaska

I’m home! And it’s been a fabulous vacation and I want to blog about it for a couple reasons. First of all, I know a ton of people that are going on an Alaskan cruise in the next few weeks and a few are even headed out on the Disney Wonder. Since it was my first cruise and trip to Alaska, I would have loved a heads up on packing and protocol. Now that I know “stuff”  I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with everyone else. My second reason for wanting to blog about the experience is what I call grateful expansion. Many of you know that when I was first married, my husband and I were stationed in Augsburg, Germany for four years.

IMG_8470

 

Those four years were expansive for me. I learned to see the world and the people in it through a completely different filter and I am so grateful for that experience. Since then, this trip was the closest I’ve come to replicating that feeling. I saw amazing things. I met incredible people. And I was immersed in the experience with people I loved. Now I’d like to share a bit of it with you…

Vancouver, British Columbia is awesome. I swear the nicest people in the world live there. From the moment we stepped off the plane, people were friendly, helpful and welcoming. In addition to that, there are a million fabulous things to do. My favorite was to bike around Stanley Park. Bikes are easily available for rent and it’s worth the cost. But check with your hotel first because ours had a limited amount of free bikes available to sign out.

IMG_6556

 

IMG_6576

IMG_6572 (1)

The trip around Stanley Park takes roughly an hour and a half if you rent from near the conference center. But, there is more to do in Stanley Park than ride bikes. 

IMG_2313 (1)

The aquarium. (Buy your tickets at the booth where you can purchase horse and buggy rides–then you don’t have to wait on line at the aquarium. Score!)

IMG_2201

IMG_2200

Check out the totem pole park. This was our favorite pole.

IMG_6697

And as I mentioned above, take the horse ride around the park. You learn so much interesting information.

IMG_6694 (3)

Just don’t expect it to be fast LOL! The walkers were passing us.

IMG_6702

But the horses were awesome of course.

IMG_6698

There’s also a gorgeous rose garden.

IMG_6700

And watch for the regrowth. The new trees spring forth from the old stumps.

IMG_2289

IMG_2285

IMG_2361

And don’t forget to walk through those majestic trees (off the exterior bike path, deeper into the park) to find Prospect Point. It’s an amazing view and there are refreshments up there too.

Stretching outside of the park into Coal Harbour there are lots more amazing sights…

IMG_2314

IMG_6720

The view is gorgeous day or night. Watch the sea planes take off and land. If you’re hungry, be sure to eat here…

IMG_2332

The Cactus Club has the best buffalo chicken wings and lettuce wraps!

IMG_2331 (1)

IMG_2330

And the view from inside is pretty amazing.

IMG_6696

IMG_2326

Here’s the view of the outside looking in. Just like the Vancouver Conference Center, the Cactus Club has a living roof and you can climb up top and check it out after you’re full of yummy stuff. Other to-die-for restaurants in Vancouver were the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel. They had an amazing breakfast. We also loved Gotham Steakhouse, Cin Cin and Black + Blue.

On the other side is the Olympic Cauldron and on your way to the Cactus Club Loo you can check out three Olympic Torches on display.

IMG_2276 (1)

IMG_2329

You also don’t want to miss some fabulous gelato…

IMG_2310

Bella Gelateria was the 2014 North American Gelato World Tour Champion! Expect to wait in a long line if you go in the evenings, especially if the weather is nice. As you might have guessed, it was worth the wait.

IMG_6675

And at the end of the day, don’t forget to put on your plush hotel robe and take it easy. Because before you know it, your ship will have come in…

IMG_2320

This is Canada Place and the spot where two cruise ships are parked every day. It’s right next to the conference center. Outside of Canada Place is the tourist center with lots of helpful people, internet access and free shuttles and transportation hubs to all kinds of fabulous local places. We took a shuttle to the  Capilano Suspension Bridge, Tree Top Adventure and Cliffwalk. We bought our tickets right in the visitor’s center before we got on the shuttle.

IMG_2211

IMG_6656

IMG_2250

IMG_2213

But now it’s time to get your head out of the trees and put your feet on the ship because you are going to ALASKA!!!!!!

IMG_2497

IMG_2339

IMG_2340

I was worried about checking in, but the Disney Wonder made it easy. Be sure to read the booklet you are sent by Disney ahead of time and fill out all your paperwork online and print it out in advance. Also don’t forget to sign up for your port excursions on line. Some of them will sell out before you get to the boat.

IMG_2726

IMG_2342

If you have the chance, get a room with a balcony, it was lovely. We spent lots of time on deck, but we also used the balcony on a daily basis.

IMG_2347 (1)

IMG_2348

The bathroom is small (and in our case happily divided into two separate areas) but things can roll. I recommend packing things in small Ziplock bags so you can group things together but are still  able to see what you have. A hair dryer was provided in the desk drawer. No need to bring one.

IMG_2771 (1)

The space is tight without luggage, so be sure keep that in mind when you are packing.

IMG_2370

Disney gives you all the information you need to know what’s going on on the boat. It shows up on your bed every night along with an origami towel creature AND CHOCOLATE!!!!

There is also a Disney Cruise app that you NEED to download ahead of time. Once you hit the ocean, internet and wifi is sketchy at best and expensive on the boat. Download the app NOW (the 12yo didn’t do this and it took us forever and some extra cash to get him straightened out) and when you get on board just follow the directions to get hooked up on Disney’s Navigator system. This is also great because in addition to activities, weather, and dinning menus there is a CHAT component on the app. THIS IS HOW YOU STAY IN TOUCH ON THE BOAT! Someone can help you set it up if you need assistance. But it’s pretty easy and once you have someone’s ID number you can chat with them. The only negative was you couldn’t group chat, so I spent a lot of time repeating my messages to each child. But that’s what copy and paste is for. Also, my 10 yo doesn’t have a phone, but he was able to use an old phone of mine as a fancy iPod.

IMG_2369 (1)

Space is used very wisely on the boat, so come prepared to use it as smartly as you can. The trick I used to survive five people in a tiny area was to be organized. The boy’s suitcases were completely unpacked and each child had a shelf that fit all their stuff. Their suitcases were stored open (they didn’t quite fit closed) below the master bed. Their beds were convertible and were taken down every evening and put up every morning for space. The 0pen suitcases worked out really well because that’s where the boys then put their dirty laundry after I yelled at them. *shakes head* I do have a fabulous tip I’m going to pass on to you. Put an XXL Ziplock bag in everyone’s suitcase for dirty laundry (when you get home, just drop all the bags in the laundry room) and bring an extra for a laundry bag because there are laundry facilities on this boat! This will help you pack lighter which is important because there are so many weather possibilities.

IMG_2643

IMG_2641

IMG_2644

IMG_2642

Everything is done with a swipe of your card. Easy peasy, but I don’t recommend doing laundry ALL THE TIME. Don’t spend your fun time doing chores–trying to go home with a clean suitcase. It’s just nice to know your stinky workout clothes can be washed. It’s also great if you spill something on your only jacket or if you run out of a particular item.

Here are my best tips…

*Watch the times and the machines and be prompt or your laundry will get pulled out and dumped on the ironing boards, which I think is completely fair with so many people needing to use the machines.

*Use a bag for a laundry basket and check your machines twice for runaway socks.

*Detergent is available in the machines. Just swipe your card to purchase. But I guess you can bring your own, especially if you’re scent sensitive. I am, but did okay with the Tide.

*Try to use the laundry at unusual times for the best results. My kids were out late doing activities and it was a good time to get it done while I was trying not to fall asleep. That ship air knocks you out.

But let’s talk about what to pack. The weather is unpredictable and you’re told you need dinner clothing and excursion clothing and coats and swim suits etc… It was enough to make me want to pull my hair out. Grrrrr I talked to people who had been on an Alaskan Cruise the week before us and the weather was in the 80’s and they were in shorts. I’ve also heard about trips with lots of cold and rainy weather the whole time. Our cruise was somewhere in between but erring on the side of good weather. But since you’ve got washers and driers, in my humble opinion, this is what I would bring if I were doing it all over again…

*For outdoor gear–think layers. I brought a mid weight sweat shirt that I ended up using all the time. And then a heavier fleece that I also used a lot. Then over either of those, or both if needed, I had a thin, packable down jacket and a thin, water proof rain jacket. Along with a hat and gloves and fingerless gloves for extra photo mobility– I had endless combinations I could layer and peel off. I also recommend you bring a small waterproof backpack to carry those layers and other small items during excursions. I found a lot of success with these Geckobrand Waterproof bags I found at Dick’s Sporting goods.

IMG_7058

We all had one and the boys used them as carry on bags for the plane. They were inexpensive and every time we went out they packed up what they needed for the day and I ended up carrying less and everything stayed dry.

*I also had a lot of success with packing thin, versatile sports/hiking style pants. My personal faves are Athleta’s Shasta pants. I own them in every color. They can be full length or capri and they have multiple pockets with some that zip and are big enough to hold my iPhone 6. The pants are on the expensive side, but I asked for gift cards for Christmas and my birthday and they are worth every penny. You can also find other similar type pants at LL Bean, Lands End and Title Nine. But I think you can get them in lots of places if you look. Having said that, I did bring one pair of jeans and one pair of knee socks and I wore those on the days I had colder excursions. This was when the laundry came in hands.

*I didn’t wear any of my shorts, but I’d still throw a pair or two in knowing I had the washers if needed.

*Shirts–I wore a mix of short and long sleeves depending on the day and my layering.

*I went nuts, bringing the boys and myself enough dress casual dinner wear for the dinning rooms. In my opinion, a total waste of my time and packing space. We had one dress up night and then the rest of the time we all wore whatever we were wearing that day. BUT…having said that, there were some families that did dress up a little bit more because they wanted to but there were plenty of people in dress that was even move casual than mine. Whatever floats your boat is what you should do. My boat floats in comfy casual wear and sneakers.

*Speaking of footwear. This was my go to shoe…

IMG_2379

These are my running shoes and they were perfect for walking around on deck, running the track, going on excursions or even to dinner. I also brought a pair of flip flops for the pool and one pair of dressier shoes. I’d leave the other three pairs I packed home if I was doing it again. The boys had dress shoes, flip flops and sneakers with them.

*I never used my swim suit, but there were adults in the pools pretty regularly–especially on the warmer days. My kids went in often. I would still bring my suit on the off chance I decided to take a dunk, but I preferred running and reading on deck in my free time.

*Speaking of running, there is a gym and a running deck so feel free to bring a couple work out outfits. I brought two and had planned to rinse in the sink, but was happy for those washers again.

IMG_2373

Also, when you run on deck 4, in addition to the amazing sights of British Columbia and Alaska, you get to see all the incredible people who work to keep the ship clean and safe. These folks are amazing.

IMG_2383

Part of the run includes this room at the front of the boat which appears to function as a work room for repairs. It was always fascinating to watch and someone was always waving at me or smiling.

*Bring magnets! I should have taken a picture, but ALL of the doors in the endless hallways of rooms look almost identical. My kids tried to join other families on several occasions. The doors of the rooms are magnetic and lots of people decorate their doors with magnets or pictures hung with magnets so they could find their room. Brilliant!

*You also get a Key to the World card (kids too!) and that’s your room key, credit card and ID for entering and exiting the ship. Most kids wear lanyards with card holders around their necks. You can buy these at the gift shop (once you hit open water) but if you have a lanyard at home–bring that puppy and save yourself some bucks. You can see my 12 yo’s lanyard around his neck as he grabs a selfie with Mickey LOL!

 

 

IMG_2775

Now it’s time to go on some excursions!!!! First up was Tracy Arm Alaska and the South Sawyer Glacier. AMAZING!!!!

IMG_2499

We hit the opening of the Tracy Arm Fjord at lunch time, so we were on deck having a BBQ when I SAW TWO ORCA WHALES IN THE WILD!!!!

IMG_6736

I miraculously caught a picture (not as easy to see this small) but they are there. Start watching for those orcas as you enter and leave Tracy Arm. It’s my understanding that this is the best time to spot them.

Can’t you see how happy I was to have witnessed those beautiful creatures in the wild???? Bucket List–CHECK!

IMG_2501

Keep your eyes open all the time because everything is amazing.

IMG_6835

IMG_6802 (1)

The further in you get the more icebergs you’re going to see.

And then you’re going to see the South Sawyer Glacier…

IMG_2445

IMG_6832

IMG_6871

All I can tell you is that these little pictures do not do it justice. You will be in awe. Be sure to get to the front of the boat early so you have a prime spot for watching as you approach the glacier. And be sure to dress warmly because it was cold, especially with the wind. Bonus, the fabulous Disney staff came around with coffee, hot chocolate and soup in bread bowls to help keep you warm. I love them. <3

IMG_2411

Can you see all the layers I’ve added as we’ve moved closer to the glacier? We made it to .6 of a mile, the closest the Wonder has gotten so far this season.

IMG_6858

If you can’t take the wind, there is a break in the front, but I was outside in front of the glass. I was willing to be chilly to fully enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

And while my kids thought the whole thing was amazing, they were also entertained by being able to play on the sports deck with the glacier in the background. The 10 yo would score a goal and then take a selfie with the glacier in the background. *head thunk*

IMG_6891

Disney also grabs a 200 yo piece if iceberg that had calved off of the glacier. Then they brought it aboard for the kids and *clears throat* me to touch and explore.

IMG_2486

And lastly, after a perfect day, don’t forget to look for the iceberg at the end of the rainbow. It’s magical.

IMG_2496

Our next excursion was to Skagway, which was our first trip off the Disney Wonder.

IMG_2506

Skagway is a tiny little town that I loved.

IMG_6907
IMG_6912

Our first stop of the day was the White Pass & Yukon Route train ride. Learn all about the history of folks racing to Dawson City for the gold rush.

IMG_6932

IMG_2509

Our train car came with a stove, bathroom and complimentary water bottles. This was also the first time we had phone service since we departed Vancouver (unless you bought a plan on the boat.)

IMG_6937

Each car had a platform so you could get outside pictures. Some of the drop offs were very high and steep, making me really glad I didn’t have the job of building that rail line.

IMG_6942

Gahhh!!! We are headed to THAT bridge and tunnel way up there!!!!

IMG_6959

Here we are–ready to go in.

And don’t forget to look backwards from time to time. The view is incredible.

IMG_6968

The ship to the left is the Disney Wonder.

IMG_6967

IMG_6952

Near the summit, keep an eye out for the Trail of ’98. This was an original, primary route to the Dawson gold fields.

IMG_2545

IMG_6979

On the way back down from Fraser (the stopping place for the White Pass) you get to freeze your butt off in front of 1 of the 5 Welcome to Alaska signs in the state. *fist pump*

IMG_6999

And once you get back to Skagway, known as The Place Where the North Wind Blows, it is much warmer than at the higher elevations.

IMG_2558

We decided this is about as far as we’d happily travel the Yukon Trail LOL! And just so you know the folks who made the trip were carrying enough food and supplies with them to last a year. (Canadian entrance requirements) Which meant that each person was toting 2,000 lbs of supplies.

Even though Skagway is small, it’s BIG in history and you’ll learn all about it.

IMG_2554

And if you get hungry from all that history and shopping, stop by the Red Onion Saloon for some awesome nachos. I’ve never seen food disappear as fast as those did LOL!

IMG_7034

And last but not least…

IMG_7040

Don’t forget to get back to your ship for all aboard–THEY WILL LEAVE YOU IN SKAGWAY WITHOUT 2,000LBS OF SUPPLIES AND YOU’LL HAVE TO FIND YOUR WAY TO JUNEAU ON YOUR OWN.

Next up on our trip was Juneau. Juneau is super cool because the only way you can get there is by boat or plane. You can not drive a car to Juneau. In fact they have one 60mile road in town that dead ends. It’s called *drum roll* The Road. They also have The Bridge and The Channel. Juneau is also in the rainforest, so they get approximately 42 non-precipitation days a year. Unfortunately for us,  I was told that they’d already used them all up for the year LOL!

Make sure you get out early in Juneau because the all aboard time is very early due to the distance the ship has to cover that night. To compensate for the early departure, we went into town for two hours before our 10:30 excursion meet up. My only frustration with this plan was that we still didn’t have enough time to explore the town the way I wanted to.

IMG_7049

IMG_7051

But I did find a book store!!!! And of course I stopped in to say hello to the wonderful folks at Hearthside Books. Make sure you support Indie Bookstores and stop by when you visit. I’m sure they would love to see you.

IMG_7048

Next up was our excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier in Tongass National Park.

IMG_2579

IMG_7060

We only had an hour here, so we didn’t have time to go to the museum and see the movie. Bummer. But we did hike out to Nugget Falls for an up close look.

IMG_7060

IMG_2569

IMG_7071 (1)

I also want to give a shout out to the best bus driver ever–Whitney Houston!!!! It was totally NOT your fault that those 10 people didn’t make it back to the bus on time. ((((hugs)))) She also taught us the five finger method for remembering Alaska’s salmon. You can quiz me later. And so many hysterical stories I may never love another bus driver more. Forever.

Next up was whale watching and lots of singing of the Gilligan’s Island theme song…a three hour tour. LOL!

IMG_2585

IMG_2587

I may have been so hungry I ate a reindeer dog on the boat. So, an FYI, limited snacks are available on board. I suggest you grab them right when you get on the boat if you’re starving because the line can get long and then the whales start showing up and you keep jumping out of line…

IMG_2593

IMG_2594

Even with the rainy weather we saw a ton of whales, including two mom’s with their calves. <3

And then there’s me with some of mine.

IMG_2611

Of course there’s the argument…seen one whale, seen them all.

Teenagers.

IMG_2620

As a reward for surviving our wet and hectic day, we set the kids free on the boat. (Okay–we did that every day and they loved it.) But this time, while they were ignoring us for more fun things to do, we headed out for an adults only dinner at Palo. YUM, YUM, YUMMITY, YUM. Do not miss this dinning experience.  All the food and service is top notch. Ask for Leo to be your server, he was amazing and tell him Kim Sabatini sent you. <3 All the food was incredible, but the gnocchi was heavenly and the white bean soup was delicious. I may have tasted the tomato caprese and fallen in love, too.

IMG_2645

IMG_2648

IMG_2761

But the star of the Palo show was the chocolate souffle. It’s to die for and let’s face it–I know my chocolate. Luckily calories don’t count on cruises, right? If they did, I’m sure I could have gained weight just sniffing this treat.

IMG_2646

IMG_2647

Our last excursion was to Ketchikan. Rain was predicted but we ended up with gorgeous, perfect weather. So first on the agenda was zip lining in the rainforest of Tongass National Forrest.

IMG_2671

IMG_2722

Safety before beauty :o) I’ve also got my Shasta pants on again.

IMG_2711

IMG_2697

IMG_7134

We had an amazing time and the staff of Alaska Canopy Zip Lining were wonderful and fun. It was the boy’s favorite excursion of the trip. Then it was into Ketchikan to hang out for the rest of the day. The weather was so gorgeous it was impossible to stop taking pictures.

IMG_2746

IMG_2747

IMG_2753

IMG_7149

IMG_7148

IMG_7152

We even headed down to historic Creek Street.

IMG_7151

And of course I found another independent bookstore. <3 Parnassus Books, run by the sweetest former children’s librarian. I wish I had hours to roam the store.

IMG_2738

I found this book on their shelves and I can’t wait to begin reading it with the boys. A Tale of Gold by Thelma Hatch Wyss.

IMG_2804

After finding out the Fish House was closed, on recommendation we heard the Burger Queen was king. Unfortunately we were there on a Sunday and the food barge doesn’t come in until Tuesday and this burger joint was out of burgers. Boo! If you end up going and getting a burger I want a full report. We did make it to Annabelle’s for some clam chowder. Yum!

IMG_2742

But sadly, all good things must come to an end and packing and laundry must begin. *sob*

IMG_2756

With our nose pointed home, we headed back to Vancouver, but not without our last day at sea being extraordinary.

IMG_7173

IMG_7180

Over the course of the trip I saw two orca whales, numerous bald eagles, humpback whales and sea lions. And then of course there were glaciers, mountains, sunsets, the ocean, captivating history, new friends and so much more. It is beyond words or pictures.

IMG_2768

This was my favorite lounge chair on deck and I spent hours reading and watching an endless amount of beauty go by. I shall miss that chair.

It was also time to say goodbye to…

IMG_2773

Giant Jenga

IMG_2763

The 24 hour coffee and hot chocolate machine. And the soft serve ice cream machine. *moans in despair*

IMG_2791

It was also goodbye to first run Disney movies (Ant Man and Inside Out) and movies outdoors on deck. So much fun.

The hardest goodbye was to Quinten and Oscar, our servers for the whole entire trip. Table #70 RULES!!!!

IMG_2785

They were the BEST and we miss them already.

If you are going on the Disney Wonder, you MUST request to be at the table of Quinten (India) and Oscar (Columbia). Call ahead if you must. Or as you board the ship, go immediately to Triton restaurant and ask to speak to someone who can make that happen. Then be sure to hug them both for me. Twice if you can manage it. I consider them friends now.

IMG_2788

Phew I think it’s time to put a fork in it–this trip is done.

I’m going to be honest–this post has taken me two days to write and my brain is fried. I covered as much helpful information as I could think of, but I’d be happy to answer any additional questions that show up in the comments. Feel free to ask away.

I’d also like to take a moment to let you know about my YA novel TOUCHING THE SURFACE since people likely to be researching a cruise on the Disney Wonder have kids who are YA readers.

Touching-the-Surface-cover-blurb-200x302

Touching the Surface
October 30, 2012
Simon Pulse – Simon and Schuster
Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

“Sabatini creates an exquisitely tangible alternate reality, ordering the cosmos with impressive authorial derring-do, crafting answers to ontological questions with grace, disarming simplicity, and nary a trace of dogma. All while believable teens–teen souls, that is–tangle with affection, selfishness, and doubt. Thought-provoking and romantic, Touching the Surface takes risks with narrative and form, and succeeds on multiple levels.” –RBW (Chronogram)

“Soulful and inventive. A thoroughly original vision for what happens next.” –Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds

“This gorgeous, lyrical read will sweep you away.” –Jessica Verday, bestselling author of The Hollow trilogy

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is available here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Book Depository

If you would like a free signed book plate and a bookmark for your copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE please drop me a line HERE and I’ll get one out to you asap.

If you would like a signed hardcover or paper back edition of TOUCHING THE SURFACE you can request one at my local independent bookstore Oblong Books and Music. If they do not have any signed copies in stock, I’ll be sure to make a special trip to the bookstore just for you.

And on a side note, I’ll also be sending out signed copies of TTS to the public schools in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. This way, at least a little bit of me will get to stay in Alaska. <3

I hope this blog post helps you have your very own grateful expansion. If you get the chance, let me know how it went.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dec

9

2014

Book Auntie Braggery: Happy Book Birthday to Amy Nichols and NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE

Filed under: Book Auntie Braggery, Check-it-out, In the Wild, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

It’s time for some Book Auntie Braggery because my amazing, fantastic, wonderful writer friend, Amy Nichols has a book birthday today!!!!!

18309634

 

In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.

One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body – his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee – a girl who’d rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom–may be his only hope of getting home.

Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension… a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.

7215193

Amy K. Nichols has been crafting stories for as long as she can remember. She is the author of YA science fiction novel Now That You’re Here, to be published by Knopf December 9, 2014. The follow-up, While You Were Gone, will be published in 2015. She is mentored by award-winning crime novelist James Sallis and lives on the edge of the Sonoran desert with her husband and children. Amy is a member of SCBWI and SFWA, as well as the Class of 2K14 debut authors. Visit her online at http://www.amyknichols.com.

I can’t wait for my copy to get here!!! If you’re just as excited as I am and want to read NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE, you can find it here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

In celebration of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE it’s time to discuss some important stuff. Do you believe in a parallel universe? What other books do you love that deal with the mysteries of parallel universes?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep

23

2014

Book Auntie Braggery–WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy L. Rodriguez

Filed under: Book Auntie Braggery, Check-it-out, Community, Publishing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

There are lots of things I’m super excited about–fall foliage, apple cider donuts, Thanksgiving stuffing and mashed potatoes, my first Christmas in my new home and of course–book babies. In 2015 I’m going to be a Book Auntie for a few of my very special writer friends and you’re going to hear me squeezing about all the book baby stuff. That’s what Book Aunties do–so be prepared.

Today’s act of Book Auntie Braggery is the very intriguing book trailer for WHEN REASON BREAKS by my good friend Cindy L Rodriguez. But before we get to it, here’s a little bit about the book…

 

whenreasonbreaks_comp

WHEN REASON BREAKS
13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

Age Range: 12 – 17 years
Grade Level: 7 – 12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619634120
ISBN-13: 978-1619634121

And here is some early praise for WHEN REASON BREAKS…

“When Reason Breaks is infused with a rare blend of suspense and sensitivity, despair and hope. The poetic spirit of Emily Dickinson shines through the gloom of daily struggles faced by modern teens, as they discover the possibilities where they dwell.” –Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree

 

WHEN REASON BREAKS is available for pre-order. I’ve already got my copy saved, but you can reserve yours here…
Indiebound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Powell’s | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

You can also add WHEN REASON BREAKS to GOODREADS!!!

For ARCs & publicity, contact Lizzy Mason at Elizabeth.Mason@Bloomsbury.com or (212) 419-5340.

Now I need to know–what was your favorite part of the trailer???

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

May

22

2014

Bookanistas Review: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West

Filed under: Book Reviews, Bookanistas, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I get so excited when things I love collide. Today, for my Bookanistas review, I have a mash-up of awesomeness that I can’t wait to share with you.

Bookanistas Header FINAL

It’s a contemporary novel that hits my sweet spot–not so serious it’s dark, but deep enough to make me fall in love with the characters. Just an all around awesome read.

AND it was written by my fabulous Wolf Pack Sistah Kasie West!!!

15283043

 

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Kimberly’s Review of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US:

Some times you read a book that’s dark, heavy and serious and it feel like a punch in the gut in a weird, but wonderful way. Other times you might read a book that’s so light and fluffy, it floats in one ear and out the other after you’ve breezed through it’s pages. It’s delightful cotton candy, so perfect in the moment, but doesn’t have a lot of sticking power. Fun but frivolous.

Then there’s a book like THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US. It’s the perfect pairing. It’s peanut butter and chocolate. It’s mozzarella and tomato. It’s warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. (I’m noticing I have a lot of chocolate and_________ comparisons I could use but I’m trying not to go there LOL!) One more…It’s chocolate and caramel. Yum!

Anyway, back to the real sweet stuff. West has a talent for finding the balance between light and dark, funny and serious, familiar and unique. If you like really great contemporary–particularly the awesome reads of Sarah Dessen, you’re going to want to pick up THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West. You don’t want there to be any distance between you and this book. <3

Bookanistas Button FINAL

You can find THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

 

5027236

 

I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels, published through Harper Teen are: PIVOT POINT, its sequel SPLIT SECOND (Feb 2014), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (a contemporary novel). I also have two more contemporaries, ON THE FENCE coming out July 1, 2014, and THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND coming out the summer of 2015. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

You can find out more about Kasie West, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN us and her other totally awesome books here:

*Blog/Website

*twitter

*Facebook

Bookanistas Badge FINAL

And you can find more perfect reads by the Bookanistas here…

Jessica Love adores WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae

Katy Upperman raves about PUSH GIRL by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill

 

 

What other books do you recommend that have the perfect balance? And what else should I pair with my chocolate? LOL!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr

10

2014

Bookanistas Review: BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore

Filed under: Book Reviews, Bookanistas, Check-it-out, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Bookanistas Header FINAL

 

Katherine Longshore keeps getting better and better. In my opinion, BRAZEN (The Royal Circle, Book 3) is her best book yet!

18668016

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

Kimberly’s Review of BRAZEN:

I’ve never been one to lean in the direction of historical fiction until I started reading Katherine Longshore’s books and BRAZEN is my favorite to date. Her writing just keeps getting better and better. It’s so rare to find a book that is historically educational while also as tantalizing and swoon worthy as a very popular romance. An amazing read.

Mary Howard and Henry FitzRoy are chess pieces in the very real and dangerous games being played in King Henry VIII’s court. But love has a power all it’s own and Longshore gives us front row seats to the danger and intrigue. You do not want to miss your chance to be a part of this. Read BRAZEN–better yet–read GILT, TARNISH and then BRAZEN asap!

 

Bookanistas Button FINAL

You can pre-order BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

4575368

Having spent time as a freelance travel writer, travel agent, coffee shop barista, bookseller, ship’s steward, construction company contracts manager and Montessori preschool teacher, I have finally found my calling. I write historical fiction for young adults. I am represented by Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.

You can find out more about Katherine Longshore and BRAZEN here…

 

*Website

*Twitter

*Facebook

*Goodreads

*YA Muses

Bookanistas Badge FINAL

Want to know what other must-reads the Bookanistas have been consuming? You’re in for a treat…

Lenore Appelhans is nuts for NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley

Tracy Banghart swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

Rebecca Behrens raves about PUSH GIRL by Bookanista Jessica Love

Christine Fonseca is riveted by SEKRET by Lindsay Smith

Jessica Love sings the praises of OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord

Katy Upperman is crazy for THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf

 

If you could read a historical fiction about any time period in history, what time frame would you like to see between the pages of a good book? I want to hear more about the Berlin Wall and what that felt like for families separated and trying to get home to each other. Okay historical fiction writers–get on that for me.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr

3

2014

Win One of SIX Signed Copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for Your Favorite Library!!!!

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

It’s been a long time since I’ve run a contest for signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE.

Touching-the-Surface-cover-blurb-200x302

Last weekend one of my dear friends and a fabulous children’s librarian, Cathy Nuding, volunteered her time to come speak to my local SCBWI Shop Talk. It was two hours of amazing. I’d like to recognize Cathy’s awesomeness and help out even more hard working librarians. I’ll be giving Cathy another signed copy of TTS for her library (along with some other goodies) but I’ll also be giving away SIX more signed copies. You don’t have to be a librarian to enter. Just tell me about the library you believe should have a copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. If Rafflecopter pulls your name–I’ll send a signed copy right to their front door.

 “Soulful and inventive. A thoroughly original vision for what happens next.” –Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds

“This gorgeous, lyrical read will sweep you away.” –Jessica Verday, bestselling author of The Hollow trilogy

“Sabatini creates an exquisitely tangible alternate reality, ordering the cosmos with impressive authorial derring-do, crafting answers to ontological questions with grace, disarming simplicity, and nary a trace of dogma. All while believable teens–teen souls, that is–tangle with affection, selfishness, and doubt. Thought-provoking and romantic, Touching the Surface takes risks with narrative and form, and succeeds on multiple levels.” —RBW (Chronogram)

banner ad v2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mar

27

2014

Bookanistas Review: LADY THIEF by A. C. Gaughen

Filed under: Book Reviews, Bookanistas, Check-it-out, Reading, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Bookanistas Header FINAL

 Squee!!!!! It’s SCARLET #2 aka LADY THIEF by A. C. Gaughen. I’ve been waiting forever to sneak back into Scarlet’s world and hang out with my boyfriend Robin. <3

16181630

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

Kimberly’s Review of LADY THIEF:

Dear A. C. Gaughen,

The sheer awesomeness of this book is driving me crazy. Scarlet is a serious badass, but sweeter than ever at the exact same time. How did you manage to pull that off? And that thing you did with Gisbourne–too many feels for a character I dislike as much as him. He’s such the perfect creeper. And about my favorite band of merry men. I still love them all *crushing hard* but how could you??? It was amazing it was awful. It was shocking–yes that’s what it was–it was shocking!!!! So this leaves me with one BIG question–WHEN DO I GET TO READ SCARLET #3??????

Love,
Me

 

Bookanistas Button FINAL

You can order LADY THIEF by A. C. Gaughen here…

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

 

 

 

 

4573275

ok, no, AC does not stand for ACCUWEATHER.  but last time i tried googling myself, the first thing that comes up when i type “ac” is “accuweather.”  go figure. 

i’ve been madly in love with writing since I was in kindergarten.  not kidding–some of my earliest memories revolve around books and writing, like reading in front of the class, reading with my mother, and writing a story in first grade that was so funny (it dealt with a gorilla finding someone naked in the shower, and was, sadly, the culmination of my humor writing skills) it got me kicked out of class.  which was also the first and last time for that.

no that’s a lie. in third grade i got detention for ripping bark off a tree.

i know, i’m a rebel.

from there, it was a long road.  i wrote all through middle school and starting submitting novels (I hope I still have those very kind, gentle rejection letters somewhere) when I was thirteen.  ACK you have no idea how bad those novels looked.  All through high school I was writing in a notebook instead of taking class notes (explaining the less than perfect GPA).  It was always novels for me–the first time I seriously wrote short stories was at the end of my college career, to get into my graduate program, and it felt awkward and weird.

but i got in to grad school, wrote like a fiend, and when i graduated i spent three miserable years as a freelance writer while working on several different novels.  I wrote them, prepped them, submitted them, and kept on working, because as far as I can tell, the actual writing is the only thing that i can control, and it’s the part that really makes me happy. oh, and i have two dogs.  because every writer should have dogs. 

 

 

You can find out more about A. C. Gaughen and LADY THIEF here…

*Website

*Blog

*Tumblr

*Twitter

*Facebook

*Goodreads

Bookanistas Badge FINAL

 

 

Want to know what other badass books the Bookanistas are reading? Here’s a list…

Jessica Love is captivated by LIV, FOREVER by Amy Talkington

Katy Upperman praises PANIC by Lauren Oliver

Christine Fonseca applauds DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale

Lenore Appelhans is riveted by THE GLASS CASKET by McCormick Templeman

 

 

Scarlet is a wiz at getting in and out of tight places undetected. If you could be really good at one Navy Seal style skill (no super powers please) what would you choose? I think I’d have to go with absolutely NO fear of heights with some really good balance for extra measure. LOL!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

May

25

2012

Win an ARC of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Contests, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Thanks to the lovely and generous Daisy Whitney, author of THE MOCKING BIRDS and THE RIVALS, I was able to read an ARC of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by my fellow Apocalypsie–Trish Dollar. And because I *love* you, I’m going to have a contest and give someone else a chance to read it too. Before I explain how you can win this amazing book, let me tell you a little bit about the SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, Trish and my response to her debut YA novel.

SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

You can Pre-order SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL here…

*Barnes & Noble

*Amazon

*IndieBound

Kimberly’s Review of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL…

It seems like every writer’s conference I attend, someone is always trying to pin down what is meant by that wonderful, but hard to define thing called VOICE. In my opinion, the best way to explain the magic of voice is to have a list of books that contain a distinct and powerful one. Trish Doller’s SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL would absolutely go on my “voice list.” I’m in awe of what she did here.

I’m not sure where to start, because this book has endless depth and layers, but what I do know is that it’s going to be one successful debut. Doller’s knowledge of the military, the amazing nuanced relationships between all the characters, the internal and external struggles, the friendships and the love–It’s all here and I adored every minute of it. There are certain books that I read, where I connect very deeply to the story and the characters because the author has stripped down to his or her vulnerable parts and risked a lot to put a kind of truth down on the page. This is one of those books and Trish Dollar is one of those authors. I am officially a fan-girl for life.

 

About Trish Doller…

I’ve been a writer as long as I’ve been able to write, but I didn’t make a conscious decision to “be” a writer until fairly recently. For that you should probably be thankful.

I was born in Germany, grew up in Ohio, went to college at Ohio State University, got married to someone really great, bounced from Maine to Michigan and back to Ohio for awhile. Now I live in Florida with my two mostly grown kids, two dogs, and a pirate. For real.

I’ve worked as a morning radio personality, a newspaper reporter, and spent all my summers in college working at an amusement park. There I gained valuable life skills, including counting money really fast, directing traffic, jumping off a moving train, and making cheese-on-a-stick. Also, I can still welcome you to Frontier Town. Ask me sometime.

These days I work as a bookseller at a Very Big Bookstore. And I write.

You can find out more about Trish Doller and SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL here…

*Website

*The Apocalypsies

*Blog

*Facebook

*Twitter

*Goodreads

 

Now that I’ve got your interest, I bet you’re wondering how to win this ARC. Easy-peasy! In the comments section, please tell me something about yourself that makes you feel less than normal. Don’t be shy, I’ve got a list of things as long as my right arm. Feel free to share them all or just tell me one. And remember… “like normal” is the new normal–so you’re in good company. Don’t forget to leave your contact information in your comment. You can’t win this amazing book if you I can’t reach you. And trust me, you want to win this book. Yup.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Apr

11

2012

Celebrating with a Contest–Win a Pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE

Filed under: Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Contests, Touching the Surface, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I just found out yesterday that TOUCHING THE SURFACE is now available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble and I’m crazy excited!!!! I thought that I’d celebrate by giving one lucky winner a pre-order of the book. I know–you won’t get your prize until October 30th, but I will send ahead some SURFACE swag along with your preorder confirmation.

What do you have to do to win?

1. Please check out my the book on Barnes & Nobel and click on the section that says… Nook Books: Want to read this on your NOOK? Request as NOOK Book from the publisher. And while you’re there feel free to hit any LIKE buttons that you come across.

2. Second, leave a comment telling me what has captured your attention about TOUCHING THE SURFACE. Is it the cover? Synopsis? Is it because we know each other? There’s no wrong answer–I’m just curious to know what has drawn you to the book.

*Please make sure that you leave a contact email address in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you are a winner.

And how about a bonus? Stop by my Amazon page and hit the LIKE button and I’ll throw in a couple extra swag bag winners too!!!! Or if you have a Kindle and would like an ebook you can exercise your finger here.

Want to find out what people are saying about TOUCHING THE SURFACE? I have one of my very first early reviews…Check it out!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Apr

4

2012

Titles

Filed under: Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Titles of books change all the time. It’s a fact. Period.

As an writer, I’m well aware that when a story is “adopted” by a publisher, they might want to change the name of their new child. Of course, their intent is to give each book the best life it can have. I was very lucky with TOUCHING THE SURFACE–Simon Pulse kept my original vision. This was a huge relief because I loved it–I was attached. But also because my titles play a very large role in the story I am trying to tell, in fact I can’t even begin to write a new book if I don’t have that key piece of information. I need a title to anchor my thoughts. Then it must grow and twist through the story like a vine, with the weaving of the theme being strong enough to support just about anything else I throw into the story…

 

 

Now that’s good weaving LOL!

But wait! I must have a reason for all this title talk, right? Of course I do. I’m approaching the end of my first draft to THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY which means 90% of my brain is in complete obsession mode. All I can think about is THAT STORY!!! But…the final 10% is thinking ahead, starting to mull over the next book. Getting to know new characters. Thinking about new questions that I need answers for. So, since book three is starting to tickle my brain, I thought I would share my title with you. Who knows if I’ll get to keep it, but for now…Book Three is called CHASING ADAPTATION. It just feels right.

How do you pick your titles? What are some of your favorites? What do you think makes a good title?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  1. Now Available

    Touching the Surface
  1. Follow Kimberly


    Subscribe



  1. Archives




    Categories




    Tags

    agent Anica Rissi Apocalypsies blogging Bookanistas Book Launch Book Review Class of 2k12 Conferences Contest Dad drafting Ellen Hopkins giveaway Jodi Moore John Green Kimberly Sabatini Kimmiepoppins Kim Sabatini LA11SCBWI Lin Oliver Michelle Wolfson NaNoWriMo Oblong Books reading revision running SCBWI Simon and Schuster Simon Pulse SYTYCD The Class of 2k12 The Opposite of Gravity Touching the Surface WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN by Jodi Moore Wolf Pack Wolfson Literary writing writing style YA Author YA Book YA Books YA Novel YA Outside the Lines YA Writer
  1. Links

  1. The Apocalypsies
    The Class of 2K12