Thursday, February 26, 2015

Maybe In Another Life Cover Reveal

Maybe In Another Life will not be for sale until July 7, 2015 (which is way too long!), but you can get a sneak peek of the gorgeous cover for her novel, as well as pre-order your copy! While all of us impatiently wait for the release of Taylor Jenkins Reid's newest novel, let us relish in this synopsis:

"At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating from college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar-where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It's just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she's ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.

Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parrallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she's found him."

Maybe In Another Life   by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.
Maybe In Another Life
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00
eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99

Friday, February 13, 2015

Audio Mania!

It is no lie when I tell you that for most of my life I was unable to focus on listening to an audio book for longer than a minute. The energy it required to have me complete two tasks at once (driving and listening) was too much for me. I love reading so much, and once I started driving, I thought it would be a fantastic way to continue "reading" when I couldn't physically hold the book. I tried and tried. Book after book was rented from the public library, only to be returned a week later. I would hand over my failure while the media clerk sifted through to make sure I didn't hold on to one of the CD's. She didn't need to do that. They were all there. I never made it past CD #1. I was pretty frustrated with myself that I couldn't remember what I had just read, and drifted off into Never, Never Land every time a narrator's voice would blare out over the speakers. I gave up trying after a while and thought it best to listen to music in the car. Short attention span was how I justified it.

Years passed by with maybe a check out or two a year. I never truly gave up. I always thought the next year would change my brain. Make me somehow competent enough to listen and remember. Every year I repeated the same sequence of events. Check out audio book. Return a week later. Wait for clerk to count CD's. Wash, rinse, repeat. Again, I cursed the short attention span.

On a spree of reading a series of self-help books, I read in one of them that you could make anything happen that you truly set your mind to. Your determination and fortitude could generate the results you desired. With that in mind, I purchased an audio book payment plan, and loaded my phone up with a few titles. I also checked out an audio book from the library. I trained myself to listen every single day, and to repeat the events as they happened, as an exercise in active listening. 1 hour turned into two, into three, and soon all I was doing was listening to audio books. In lines, in the car, during my lunch break, walking through the store. I bought an auxiliary cable for my car, so I could listen non-stop whenever I wanted.  Pretty soon, I was adding a book a week. I did it! I accomplished the very goal I thought to be impossible. I used to think that self-help stuff was a bunch of horse shit, but it worked!

So here I am, preaching to all my fellow book readers who have short attention spans. It can be done. You say audio books aren't for you? Well, I will give you a list of some of the best ones to add right now. This, from the biggest critic. If it is even slightly boring-it's out! Now I don't loathe my commute far to work, or driving everywhere taking my kids to their practices, and myself to teach Spinning and Pilates classes. Happy Valentine's Day!

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

Accidents of Marriage | Randy Susan Meyers

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian | Andy Weir

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings: A Novel | Sue Monk Kidd

Any you could add to the list?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Here's Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards

Here's Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards
by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Synopsis: From the authors of the bestselling Hank Zipzer series comes a new book for younger readers, featuring a our beloved Hank, only years younger. This fourth book in the Here's Hank series delights readers with a sibling tale that many of the young readers of this series can relate to. In this book,  Hank, in an effort to please his younger sister Emily, is attempting to put on a Reptile Show for her birthday party. In order to surprise Emily and her friends, Hank cooks up a scheme to dress up as a wizard. Hank will dress up as "The Westside Wizard" and delight his audience by pulling a snake out of thin air! What could go wrong? If Hank's true identity is revealed during his performance, his good deed will turn into a gigantic disaster.Hank has struggled to learn new things, and he wonders, as does the reader, if he will be successful in pulling off his magic. Can Hank make Emily's 7th birthday her best birthday ever?

Building Background: You may best know author Henry Winkler from his work acting and producing in Hollywood. I know him best from his work on a show called "Happy Days" I used to watch during my childhood. The Hank Zipzer series was inspired by Mr. Winkler's own challenges with a learning disability. His diagnosis of Dyslexia did not come until Henry was 30 years old. That is a long time to endure having a learning disability without assistance or recognition of what challenges you. Now Mr. Winkler and Lin Oliver travel all over talking to kids about their challenges, and giving the advice "No matter how you learn, it has nothing to do with your brilliance. You have greatness inside of you." This book was printed in an easy-to-read font, so that readers with Dyslexia could easily navigate and read the text.

I am a huge proponent of reading with your children, and having them understand what they are reading on a deeper, more personal level. The love of literature for information or entertainment begins in the lap of a parent. For students, being in school can be a continuation of that love of reading. Having the right books makes all the difference! Students in school are being asked to examine literature closely, and delve deeper into the author's purpose. While Here's Hank is intended to entertain the reader, there are avenues you can explore that would engage a young reader, and help them step into Hank's world. 

Extending the Book: If your children, like mine, were not sure what Dyslexia exactly is, and needed to understand this learning disability, this website explains it well. It is far more common than we think.

What could be more fun than becoming a wizard just like Hank? This link provides instructions, and a video clip on a hat trick using milk. So much fun!

Finding the right book for your young reader can be a challenge. With the right book, your child can learn to love reading, even if reading is difficult for them. This is a great series for young readers, especially struggling readers. The vocabulary is easy to understand, and the text laid out in a way that is approachable. If your child continues to struggle with print versions, you may want to try adding an audio companion to the books your child reads, which I offered as an option to parents while I was working as a Reading Specialist. I highly recommend this series for children ages 6 and up.

Follow me on Twitter @lilmommareader

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts are mine, and mine alone. I did not receive any compensation for this review.