Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

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Friday Midday Links: Crowdsourcing a Digital Bundle

DA Industry NewsI almost spelled Friday with two “ds”. It is just that kind of morning. I’m cleaning out my inbox and I see I have failed to post a number of relevant stories.

First we have an Australian article about the lack of digitized Australian books. (Thanks Sarah Mayberry). Australia lags behind the US by about 12 months in terms of ebook adoption. At the posting of the article (March 24, 2010), five of the big six refused to talk about their digital publishing plans for Australia. About two weeks later, Random House has announced:

Most of the titles Random House Australia distributes are already available as ePub ebooks via international ebook resellers such as Overdrive and Gardners. A wide range of specifically Australian titles will be available through these same channels within weeks. RHA is also working with a number of local retailers in Australia to provide them with titles as and when they are ready to start selling ebooks

Hopefully this will mean greater selection and lower price for Aussies.

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Samhain’s Giveaways for April are as follows, free to nook and Kindle owners.

4/1/2010 – 4/14/2010, One Night in Boston by Allie Boniface
4/15/2010 – 4/28/2010, Regina in the Sun: Children of the Goddess Book 1 by R. G. Alexander

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Sony eBookstore had a few Elizabeth Peters books for $1.99. I have no idea how long that sale will last. Sony sells epub version. You’ll need to strip the epub to get it on your iPhone or Kindle. I won’t link to it, but you can google for inept scripts. You’ll need python and pycrypto.

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You can listen to the entirety of RWA President Michelle Monkou’s Q&A on blogtalkradio here. I will provide summary notes on the interview this weekend for those hearing impaired or who don’t want to listen to the interview. Much time was devoted to talking up the RITA and GoldenHearts which gave the impression that was the raison d’être for the RWA. When asked what RWA was doing in regards to raising the profile of RITA books within the stores (i.e., sending out stickers to be placed on stock and the like), Monkou wasn’t sure what they did beyond sending out posters of the winners and press releases.

When asked about the Agency (aka Apple Model) and whether RWA would be providing guidance for royalty rates, Monkou replied that RWA would not be touching the issue of price, that they are not a union, and that they only provide information from which authors make their own decisions. Cathy Maxwell, who was the host of the show, told listeners to go read Stephanie Fry’s journal account of Digital Book World. Given that there was no talk about the Apple Model of pricing at DBW, I’m not certain how that is very helpful.

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Harlequin wants to do another set of blogger bundles for release in July and beyond. I asked, and Harlequin agreed, that it would be fun to crowdsource a bundle. This is how we will do it. I will have a space here on Dear Author for you to recommend and then rate a suggestion. Each recommendation will have to be accompanied by a brief reason why you recommend it and it must be from 1998 and later (first printing or reissue). We’ll have more details next week. I think this will be fun.

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The following is a sort of press release and I am just reposting it in its entirety because I am too lazy to retype it.

Authors Invite Readers to May 1 Women's Fiction Day Fun Fest

Have tea with your best friends, learn how to mix exotic cocktails, play Bingo Jane Austen style, meet 400 authors at a three-hour book fair and learn how to use the new e-readers. That's what's in store for those who sign up for Women's Fiction Day, May 1, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 350 H. High St., in Columbus, Ohio.

New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries and Sherryl Woods, new foodie fiction author Louisa Edwards and literary agent/author Deidre Knight are the celebrities who will entertain during the 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. event the first Saturday in May.

Women's Fiction Day is a new feature of the RT Book Reviews Booklovers Convention, which will bring more than 1,500 readers, authors, editors, agents, booksellers, librarians and romance cover models to Columbus for five days of book-related events. Those who wish to attend Women's Fiction Day only may register by calling Convention Coordinator Jo Carol Jones at (281) 471-1077. The fee is $95. There is no extra charge for those who register for the full convention for $485 on www.RTConvention.com.

For more information regarding Women's Fiction Day, go to www.rtconvention.com or contact Stephanie Bond, [email protected]

RITA Open Thread

RITA Open Thread

Rita NominationsThe Rita Finalists have been announced.   Congratulations to the finalists.   No matter what I have to say (or other readers) five of your peers judged your book to be the best in your category.   The Rita eligibility and judging requirements can be found here.    The RITAs are limited to the first 1200 books entered so if the book came in late, it would not be considered.

Each book is judged by five people.   The top 10% (capped by 8) books in the category with the highest score are finalists.

I’ve had some time to digest (and look up some of the books!) so here are my thoughts and I invite you to share yours in the comments.

2010 RITA for Best First Book Finalists

  • One Scream Awayby Kate Brady, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Celia Johnson (ISBN: 978-0-446-54152-7)
  • He Calls Her Doc by Mary Brady, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance, Editor: Kathryn Lye (ISBN: 978-0-373-71561-9)
  • The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw, Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Editor: Melissa Endlich, (ISBN: 978-0-373-82824-1)
  • Angel Vindicated by Viola Estrella, Ellora's Cave, Cerridwen Press, Editor: Helen Woodall, (ISBN: 978-1-419-92068-4) (NOTE: this book is cheaper if you buy direct from the Cerridwen site which is different than Jasmine Jade. It took me about 10 minutes last night to find the ebook to purchase).
  • The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Editor: Ed Schlesinger, (ISBN: 978-1-439-10965-6)
  • Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton, Dorchester Publishing, Love Spell, Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, (ISBN: 978-0-505-52793-6)
  • Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Editor: Anica Rissi, (ISBN: 978-1-416-98264-7)
  • The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh, Random House Group, Shaye Areheart Books, Editor: Sarah Knight, (ISBN: 978-0-230-746157-5)

I’ve read One Scream Away (review here). I liked it and thought it was a strong debut. I am surprised by the lack of Tessa Dare here. I thought Goddess of the Hunt was an incredibly strong debut.   Angel Vindicated (which I purchased last night) is the first digital first book to be nominated for a RITA.    Janine reviewed The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh and gave it high marks.

2010 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance Finalists

  • A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance, Editor: Victoria Curran, (ISBN: 978-0-373-71556-5)
  • From The Outside by Helen Brenna, Harlequin Enterprises, NASCAR, Editor: Tina James, (ISBN: 978-0-373-18522-1)
  • The Snow-Kissed Bride by Linda Goodnight, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Romance, Editor: Allison Lyons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-17561-1)
  • Single Mom Seeks…by Teresa Hill, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition, Editor: Melissa Jeglinski, (ISBN: 978-0373654314)
  • Revealed: A Prince and a Pregnancy by Kelly Hunter, Harlequin Enterprises, Mills and Boon Modern Heat, Editor: Joanne Grant, (ISBN: 978-0-263-87252-1)
  • The Christmas Love-Child by Jennie Lucas, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Presents, Editor: Kimberly Young, (ISBN: 978-0-373-52742-7)
  • One-Night Mistress…Convenient Wife by Anne McAllister, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Presents, Editor: Jenny Hutton, (ISBN: 978-0-373-12871-6)
  • Duty, Desire and the Desert King by Jane Porter, Harlequin Enterprises, Mills and Boon Modern, Editor: Kim Young, (ISBN: 978-0-263-87447-1)
  • I Still Do by Christie Ridgway, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition, Editor: Patience Smith, (ISBN: 978-0-373-65432-1)

Despite being a big category reader, I’ve only read Anne McAllister’s book which I haven’t reviewed but I did like.   We’ve reviewed other books by McAllister.   Jayne reviewed a book from Beth Andrews, Not Without Her Family.   I’ve been reading the Helen Brenna series “Island to Remember” with the first book reviewed here.   What does this all mean? I’ve got some books to add to my TBR pile.

2010 RITA for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure Finalists

  • Mountain Investigation by Jessica Andersen, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Intrigue, Editor: Allison Lyons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-69414-3)
  • The Christmas Stranger by Beth Cornelison, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Allison Lyons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27651-6)
  • The Soldier’s Secret Daughter by Cindy Dees, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Patience Smith, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27658-5)
  • In Care Of Sam Beaudry by Kathleen Eagle, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Edition, Editors: Leslie Wainger and Charles Griesman, (ISBN: 978-0-373-65451-2)
  • Silent Watch by Elle Kennedy, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Diana Ventimiglia, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27644-8)
  • Cold Case Affair by Loreth Anne White, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Editor: Susan Litman, (ISBN: 978-0-373-27652-3)
  • The Christmas Present“>The Christmas Present by Tracy Wolff, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance, Editor: Wanda Ottewell, (ISBN: 978-0-373-71607-4)

I’m not a huge fan of the short suspense so I haven’t read many of these. I thought I read The Christmas Present by Wolff and don’t recall it being very suspenseful.   Jayne is a fan of Kathleen Eagle so I wonder if she has read or will read In Care of Sam Beaudry.

2010 RITA for Contemporary Single Title Romance Finalists

  • Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl, Harlequin Enterprises, HQN, Editor: Tara Parsons, (ISBN: 978-0-373-77356-5)
  • True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Lucia Macro, (ISBN: 978-0-061-57906-6)
  • For the Love of Pete by Julia Harper, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Amy Pierpont, (ISBN: 978-0-446-61918-9)
  • Too Good To Be True Kristan Higgins, Harlequin Enterprises, HQN, Editors: Keyren Gerlach and Tracy Farrell, (ISBN: 978-0-373-77355-8)
  • A Little Light Magic by Joy Nash, Dorchester Publishing, Leisure Fiction, Editor: Alicia Condon, (ISBN: 978-0-505-52693-9)
  • Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway, Penguin Group USA, Berkley, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22829-6)
  • Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis, Kensington Publishing Corp., Brava, Editor: Kate Duffy, (ISBN: 978-0-758-23123-9)
  • Fireside“>Fireside by Susan Wiggs, Harlequin Enterprises, MIRA Books, Editor: Margaret O’Neill Marbury, (ISBN: 978-0-778-32910-7)

I’ve actually read 5 of the 8 nominations. Woo woo.    Our Haiku-ist wrote a review of Talk Me Down and True Love and Other Disasters. The most that I can recall about the Gibson book was how closely it paralleled Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ book, It Had to Be You, down to the heroine’s little white dog.   Too Good to Be True (review)  wasn’t my favorite Higgins but she is a good writer.   Higgins’ last RITA win is what got me started reading her books in the first place.   I didn’t enjoy For  The Love of Pete. Instant Attraction was one of our Save the Contemporary picks so I can hardly argue with Shalvis’ inclusion in this category.

2010 RITA for Historical Romance Finalists

  • Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books Romance, Editor: Lauren McKenna, (ISBN: 978-0-4165-9492-5)
  • With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Erika Tsang, (ISBN: 978-0-06-145683-1)
  • To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Amy Pierpont, (ISBN: 978-0-446-40693-2)
  • Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn, Harlequin Enterprises, Blaze, Editor: Brenda Chin, (ISBN: 978-0-373-79483-6)
  • Knight of Pleasure by Margaret Mallory, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Alex Logan, (ISBN: 978-0-446-55338-4)
  • The Lone Texan by Jodi Thomas, Penguin Group USA, Berkley, Editor: Wendy McCurdy, (ISBN: 978-0-425-23062-6)
  • Not Quite a Husbandby Sherry Thomas, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, Editor: Caitlin Alexander, (ISBN: 978-0-553-59243-6)
  • Taming Her Irish Warrior by Michelle Willingham, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Joanne Grant, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29566-1)

I loved Wicked All Day and enjoyed Not Quite a Husband (we did two reviews, here and here).    Make Me Yours (reviews here and here) is a great book particularly given the length (it’s a little over 200 pages as it is a Harlequin Blaze Historical).   I didn’t love To Beguile a Beast but Jayne did.   I liked Margaret Mallory’s voice and would definitely read her again, but Knight of Pleasure wasn’t one of my favorite historicals.   I haven’t been able to finish a Willingham book. I find her prose to be a bit dull.   It shocks me that one of Duran’s 2009 books didn’t make it or The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley.

2010 RITA for Inspirational Romance Finalists

  • The Inheritance (Women of Faith Fiction) by Tamera Alexander, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Women of Faith Fiction, Editors: Ami McConnell and Natalie Hanemann, (ISBN: 978-1-59554-632-6)
  • A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Editor: Natalie Hanemann, (ISBN: 978-0-59554-809-2)
  • The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw, Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Editor: Melissa Endlich, (ISBN: 978-0-373-82824-1)
  • Entertaining Angels by Judy Duarte, Kensington Publishing Corp., Editor: John Scognamiglio, (ISBN: 978-0-7582-2016-5)
  • An Eye for an Eye by Irene Hannon, Baker Publishing Group, Revell Books, Editor: Jennifer Leep, (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3311-7)
  • The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen, Bethany House Publishers, Editor: Karen Schurrer, (ISBN: 978-0-7642-0707-5)
  • Breach of Trust by Diann Mills, Tyndale House Publishers, Editor: Stephanie Boerne, (ISBN: 978-1-414-32047-2)
  • The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y’Barbo, Random House Publishing, WaterBrook Multnomah, Editor: Jessica Barnes, (ISBN: 978-0-307-44474-5)

I don’t read inspirationals so I haven’t a clue here although I believe that Tamera Alexander has won before.   Jayne did read and review the Capshaw book here.

2010 RITA for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Finalists

Jayne reviewed Silent on the Moor.   Otherwise, I’ve got nothing.

2010 RITA for Paranormal Romance Finalists

  • What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown, Sourcebooks, Inc., Casablanca, Editor: Deb Werksman, (ISBN: 978-1-4022-1831-6)
  • Untouchable in Deep Kiss of Winterby Kresley Cole, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Editor: Lauren McKenna, (ISBN: 978-1-439-15966-8)
  • Kiss Of A Demon King by Kresley Cole, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Editor: Lauren McKenna, (ISBN: 978-1-416-58094-2)
  • My Forbidden Desire by Carolyn Jewel, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Michele Bidelspach, (ISBN: 978-0-446-17824-2)
  • The Fire King by Marjorie M. Liu, Dorchester Publishing, Leisure Books, Editor: Chris Keeslar, (ISBN: 978-0-843-95940-6)
  • For the Earl’s Pleasure by Anne Mallory, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: May Chen, (ISBN: 978-0-061-57914-1)
  • Darkness Unknown by Alexis Morgan, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Pocket Star, Editor: Micki Nuding, (ISBN: 978-1-4165-634-3)
  • Covet by J.R. Ward, Penguin Group USA, Signet, Editor: Kara Cesare, (ISBN: 978-0-451-22821-5)
  • Mortal Sins by Eileen Wilks, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22552-3,

I’ve got a lot to say about this category. First, what is up with the RITA judges fetish for Jane Austen remakes. Last year, Gwen Cready’s Jane Austen ghost/time travel debacle won this category.    Nothing against Ms. Cready but what the ever loving hell?   Deep Kiss of Winter (which is included here because anything over 40,000 words is eligible) is probably one of the weakest Cole efforts and I am a big Cole fan.   I did review Kiss of a Demon King and appreciate seeing it in the amongst the finalists because it features a fairly aggressive heroine.   Cole has a strong feminist voice in the genre and I am always glad to see that honored.

I loved Carolyn Jewel’s historicals (Scandal is reviewed here and here) and I think her paranormals have a certain cracktastic element, but the worldbuilding is often far too confusing for me to follow.   I looked up For the Earl’s Pleasure by Anne Mallory on Amazon and apparently the heroine can see ghosts and the hero who everyone presumes is dead but is, in fact, captured and hidden somewhere.   Only the heroine can see him but HE IS NOT DEAD.   Yeah.   I just don’t even know.

Mortal Sins has about two specks of romance in it and Covet was a huge f-ing mess.   I never agree with the PNR finalists and this year is no exception.

2010 RITA for Regency Historical Romance Finalists

  • Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare, Ballantine/Bantam Dell, Editor: Kate Collins, (ISBN: 978-0-345-50687-0)
  • Scandal (Berkley Sensation) by Carolyn Jewel, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Kate Seaver, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22551-6)
  • Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson, Dorchester Publishing, Leisure Books, Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, (ISBN: 978-0-843-96156-0)
  • A View to a Kiss by Caroline Linden, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Lyssa Keusch, (ISBN: 978-0-061-70635-6)
  • Revealed by Kate Noble, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-22174-7)
  • What Happens in London by Julia Quinn, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Lyssa Keusch, (ISBN: 978-0-061-49188-7)
  • Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride by Elizabeth Rolls, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Linda Fildew, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29548-7)

After ranting about the PNRs above, I’ve really got nothing to say here.   Scandal was great. Tessa Dare is a very good author and even if Surrender isn’t my favorite in her trilogy, she is a writer of high caliber.   I just finished The Summer of You by Kate Noble, her April release, and it was good so I think I’ll try Revealed.

2010 RITA for Romance Novella Finalists

  • “A Little Night Magic” by Allyson James in  Hot for the Holidays, Penguin Group USA, Berkley, Jove, Editor: Kate Seaver, (ISBN: 978-0515-14700-1)
  • "The Robber Bride" by Marjorie M. Liu in  Huntress, St. Martin's Press, Editor:, (ISBN: 978-0-312-94382-0)
  • "Annalise and the Scandalous Rake" by Deb Marlowe in  The Diamonds Of Welbourne Manor, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Linda Fildew, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29543-2)
  • “Charlotte and the Wicked Lord” by Amanda McCabe in  The Diamonds Of Welbourne Manor, Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Historical, Editor: Joanne Grant, (ISBN: 978-0-373-29543-2)
  • "This Wicked Gift" by Courtney Milan in  The Heart of Christmas, Harlequin Enterprises, HQN, Editor: Ann Leslie Tuttle, (ISBN: 978-0-373-77427-2)
  • "On a Snowy Christmas" by Brenda Novak in  The Night Before Christmas, Harlequin Enterprises, Editor: Paula Eykelhof, (ISBN: 978-0-373-83736-6)
  • "The Christmas Eve Promise" by Molly O’Keefe in  The Night Before Christmas, Harlequin Enterprises, Silhouette Special Releases, Editor: Stacy Boyd, (ISBN: 978-0-373-83736-6)

It pays to be in a Christmas Anthology is all I’ve got here.   I’ve only read Courtney Milan’s novella which I enjoyed tremendously.

2010 RITA for Romantic Suspense Finalists

  • One Scream Away by Kate Brady, Grand Central Publishing, Forever, Editor: Celia Johnson, (ISBN: 978-0-446-54152-7)
  • Waking the Dead (Mindhunters) by Kylie Brant, Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation, Editor: Cindy Hwang, (ISBN: 978-0-425-23114-2)
  • A Dark Love by Margaret Carroll, HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books, Editor: Carrie Feron, (ISBN: 978-0-06-165278-3)
  • Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Pocket Star, Editor: Abby Zidle, (ISBN: 978-1-416-57064-6)
  • Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton, Dorchester Publishing, Love Spell, Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, (ISBN: 978-0-505-52793-6)
  • Dark Country by Bronwyn Parry, Hachette Livre, Hachette Australia, Editor: Bernadette Foley, (ISBN: 978-0-733-62323-3)
  • Promises in Death (In Death, No. 28) by J.D. Robb, Penguin Group USA, Putnam, Editor: Leslie Gelbman, (ISBN: 978-0-399-15548-2)
  • Kill for Me by Karen Rose, Grand Central Publishing, Vision, Editor: Karen Kosztolnyik, (ISBN: 978-0-446-51030-1)

While I enjoyed Margaret Carroll’s book, to call it a romance is a real stretch.    Jayne really enjoys Laura Griffin and has a review of Whisper of Warning.   Robin/Janet F gave a thumbs up to Promises in Death. Bronwyn Parry sent us her Australian suspense novels and I brought one of them to work with me to read at lunchtime.

2010 RITA for Young Adult Romance

  • Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog, Random House Group, Delacorte Press, Editor:, (ISBN: 978-0-385-738494)
  • Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter, Hyperion Books for Children, Editor: Jennifer Besser, (ISBN: 978-1-423-11638-7)
  • Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Walker Books for Young Readers, Editor: Emily Easton, (ISBN: 978-0-8027-9823-7)
  • Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, MTV Books, Editor: Jennifer Heddle, (ISBN: 978-1-416-57173-5)
  • The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro, Random House Group, Delacorte Press, Editor: Krista Marino, (ISBN: 978-0-385-73582-7)
  • Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Editor: Anica Rissi, (ISBN: 978-1-416-98264-7)

A couple of these are on my list to buy and read and maybe now I’ll get a kick in the pants to follow through.   Then again, maybe not.

What are your thoughts? Agree with the nominations? Disagree?