Posts Tagged: little brown

Book Review- Where The Mountain Meets The Moon

02 Jun, 2011 by in YA book reviews Leave a comment

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Author: Grace Lin
Publisher: Little Brown
Published: June 1, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-03863-8
Paperback: 279 pages
5 stars

Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of happiness, family, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless adventure story in the classic tradition of The Wizard of Oz.

In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest

“Far away from here, following the Jade River, there was once a black mountain that cut into the sky like a jagged piece of rough metal. The villagers called it the Fruitless Mountain because nothing grew on it and birds and animals did not rest there.” page 1

Minli lives in this poor, broken down village with her Ma and Ba. Although, her mother is extremely negative about the life she’s been given, Minli tries to see the positive. Her favorite thing to do is to listen to Ba tells stories. For every question Minli has about a subject, there is a story. Every story has a lesson, and every lesson is learned by the character that needs to hear it, so stories are told throughout the book. The stories Minli enjoys the most are “The Story of the Fruitless Mountain”, and “The Story of the Old Man of the Moon”. (There is a lot more to explain about the stories told, but I don’t want to give everything away.)

Minli is a very sweet and curious girl. She was given two pieces of copper when she was a baby, they sit in a blue rice bowl, and they haven’t been spent. One day a goldfish peddler comes to the village, Minli has been trying to think of ways to change her families fortune. She runs in her hut, takes a copper coin and buys a goldfish with the intention of starting that change. Of course, her Ma is upset, there is barely enough rice to feed the three of them, much less a silly goldfish. Minli feels guilty, so she decides to let the fish go. Then suddenly the goldfish starts talking to her. And with that, her adventure begins.

I loved this book. The illustrations are beautiful. It was almost to pretty to open and enjoy. The story was so sweet. I loved Minli’s adventure and also was entertained by what happens to all the characters, even the ones that are subjects in stories. Most of all, I loved Ma’s change of heart.

5 stars out of 5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a Newbery Honor Book. Grace Lin has written many books, which I’m sure I will be enjoying too. Read more about the author here.

Thanks to Heather for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book. –Guest Review by Mindy Holt of LDSWBR.

Teaser Tuesday & ARC Giveaway

22 Mar, 2011 by in malinda lo 9 comments

by Malinda Lo
384 pages
Expected publication: April 5, 2011

by LittleBrown Books
ISBN 031604007X

Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo’s highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

“The fortress was on an island- or perhaps it was simply a particularly large ice floe- and Kaede was rowing toward it. Each stroke took her farther from the beach Taisin stood on, her feet growing colder by the second, and now she heard a sound for the first time: Con speaking in her ear, an urgent tone in his voice. Come back, he was saying to her. Come back.”- p. 59 Huntress

To enter to win a hardback copy or an ARC of Huntress courtesy of Little Brown and Fire and Ice simply fill out this form. Two winners. Giveaway ends on release day April 5, 2011.

Author Spotlight- Marie Letourneau

04 Mar, 2011 by in etsy, postcard giveaway 23 comments

With the release of the book Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, Catherine Hardwick and the movie debut just a week away I started searching the ETSY world for some great Red Riding Hood giveaways. I ran into author and illustrator Marie Letourneau who’s artwork is absolutely dreamy!

Fans of Little Red, like us, will adore her etsy shop Le French Circus “Bonjour Mon Ami! My name is Marie Letourneau, I live in New York and I am a children’s book author and illustrator. My book, “The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres” won Foreword Magazine’s Book of The Year Award in 2006 and was featured on an episode of ACE OF CAKES on Food Network. (Yes, Duff and the gang from Charm City Cakes made me a cake based on my book! Tre fun and delicious!) It’s for sale here in my shop (the book – not the cake. We already ate that)
I would like to introduce my two children, Hannah and Alexander. Both artists and musicians. From time to time they create pieces they would like to sell (I indicate this in the listing) Right now Hannah has listed the Paris Note Cards and Mannequin Print. Overall, I hope you find something exciting that suits your tastes! Enjoy and adieu! “

Marie has donated a pack of her postcards for our readers!

Description: From an original painting by me (Marie) postcards of lovely Miss Riding Hood! Our dear Red makes her way (a little apprehensively) through the forest and over to grandmothers house. 8 glossy, professionally printed post cards with rounded corners. Back of post card has an aged-antique design by me too. Size: Standard 4.5 x 5.5 inches with envelopes

To Enter To Win: a set of Red Riding Hood postcards simply leave a comment below
additional optional entries
+1 for adding her etsy shop to your favorites

+1 for visiting her author site and commenting
+1 for liking her Facebook fan page

+1 for liking her author page on FB
+1 for our Facebook fans
+1 for our twitter followers @fireicephotos
+2 for Tumblr followers
+3 for each retweet of this giveaway @fireicephotos
+5 for posting it on your blog or FB profile

*Add up your entries and leave the total with the links in your comment*

Contest ends April 5, 2011 and is open internationally

Mom’s Monday

24 Jan, 2011 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Clara Lee and The Apple Pie Dream
by Jenny Han and Julia Kuo
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 4th 2011
by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0316070386
3.5 stars

Clara Lee likes her best friends, her grandpa, kimchi, candy necklaces (her signature look!), and the idea of winning the Little Miss Apple Pie contest.

Clara Lee doesn’t like her mom’s fish soup, bad dreams (but Grandpa says they mean good luck!), speaking in public, or when her little sister is being annoying.

One day, after a bad dream, Clara Lee is thrilled to have a whole day of luck (Like!). But then, bad luck starts to follow (Dislike!). When will Clara Lee’s luck change again? Will it change in time for the Little Miss Apple Pie contest?

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream is a cute, fun read for 2nd and 3rd graders with whimsical pencil sketches, a dazzling cover complete with glitter letters, and a story of self-confidence. Clara Lee is an every day girl who has bad dreams. Grandfather says her dreams will bring her good luck. And they do! A candy necklace, ginger snaps, plus her favorite seat on the bus. But when life takes a terrible turn including an unwanted Valentine and teasing from her friends she has to find the courage in her heart to follow her apple pie dream. The themesin Clara Lee and The Apple Pie Dream include what it means to be American, cultural diversity, and facing your fears. I would recommend it to elementary schoolers who like Ivy Bean or Judy Moody. A great pick for early readers!

Learn more about the book at

Interview With YA Author Sara Zarr

22 Jan, 2011 by in author interview, book giveaway, once was lost, sara zarr, utah authors 8 comments

Today Fire and Ice is pleased to introduce YA author Sara Zarr. I’ve met Sara at a couple of book related events and she is always very down to earth & friendly. She’s one very talented woman.

Author Bio: “Sara is the acclaimed author of three novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), and Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009, Utah Book Award winner, INSPY winner). Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain online, Response, and several anthologies. Sara’s fourth young adult novel will be published in early 2012. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at”

Here’s what Sara had to say in our exclusive interview about her latest book, “Once Was Lost…”

Once Was Lost was inspired by the story of Elizabeth Smart. Tell us a little bit of her background and what moved you about it.

Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night, back in 2002, here in Salt Lake. It was so incredibly sad, and I was certain that there was no hope. I’d see the blue ribbons people put up around the neighborhood and think, “When you take those down? How do you know when to give up hope?” I thought about that question as applied to life in general, and started asking the what-if questions that lead to a story–What if I were a teen in Elizabeth’s community? What if I sort of knew her? What would that feel like? Etc. And when she was found, alive, it forced me to re-think all my ideas about “too late.”

Samara is an unique name, any reason you picked it?

I can’t remember, except that in my mind her name was Sam, but it wasn’t short for Samantha. So I think I started looking for other names that could be shortened to Sam. The fact that she’s a pastor’s daughter and the name sounds biblical helped.

What is the overall message you hope readers glean from Once Was Lost?

I don’t hope for a message. I always hope readers connect with the story, that it feels real to them. First, I want them to enjoy reading. Second, it’s nice if the story compels them to think more deeply about some aspect of life…whatever aspect that the book brought up for them.

Samara’s parents are far from perfect. Is there anything you wish her father or mother would have done differently?

Ha! Yes, of course, a lot. Her father should have talked more openly about what was going on in the family. Her mother should have returned her calls. But, as readers can see in all my books, parents are flawed humans, like all of us. They, and we, don’t always have the courage or wisdom to do what’s best for everyone.

Tell us a little bit about your aversion to facebook and too much social media.

Well, I actually love social media. I’m a Twitter fiend. My issues with Facebook are: It is really difficult on Facebook to keep my private/family life separate from my public life as an author. FB does provide some tools to help you “manage your identity” to different groups of people, but the tools are complicated and, based on past “privacy oversights”, I don’t trust them. I don’t like the categorization of life it forces you into. It just makes me uneasy. Recently, there was a “glitch” by which everyone who listed Salt Lake as their hometown got a link put on their profile to the Salt Lake Visitor’s Bureau. That kind of stuff drives me nuts!

In general, I think we all live too much through screens. I try to set limits for myself and notice when I’ve gone over that tipping point between fun and connection, and mindless clicking.

Do you have any new books in the works?

I do! My fourth book, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE, will be out in about a year. I’m very excited about it. It’s about two girls, Mandy and Jill, whose worlds collide when Jill’s mom decides to adopt Mandy’s baby.

Ten books that have influenced your life.

In no particular order…

THE CHOCOLATE WAR by Robert Cormier
HO– USEKEEPING by Marilyn Robinson
THE WAR OF ART by Stephen Pressfield
STORY OF A GIRL (By me…cheating? It was my debut novel, and it changed my life.)
SECRETS IN THE DARK by Frederick Beuchner
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
THE HOLY WAY by Paula Huston

Do you believe in miracles? Why or why not.

Oh boy. I am a practicing Christian, and therefore the answer must be yes, as the whole point of the faith is based on a miracle – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But when it comes to the present day, or the possibility of miracles in my own life, I’m a skeptic. This is why Elizabeth Smart being found alive was so powerful to me. Though it didn’t involve the laws of physics being broken, she might as well have been Lazarus, that’s the extent to which I’d written her off for dead.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a YA author?

The most rewarding moments always have to do with interactions with people–with readers who have connected with my work, or with other writers who are struggling with the same hopes and fears as me.

Any upcoming events?

I’m giving a keynote address at the SCBWI New York conference next weekend. And this summer, I’m teaching a week long workshop in YA (and middle-grade) fiction. Info here for anyone interested!

Thanks so much to Sara Zarr for taking time out to be with us! Visit Sara at her website

Little Brown has generously donated a paperback copy of Once Was Lost for our blog readers. To enter to win simply fill out this form.

Book Review – Fang

15 Jan, 2011 by in Maximum ride series 3 comments

By James Patterson
Paperback, 309 pages
Published March 15th 2010
by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 0316036196
series Maximum Ride #6
3.5 stars

Being a kid with wings–constantly on the run–has never been easy, and Max and her flock are getting tenser than ever. First, on a trip to Africa, they meet a mysterious billionaire whose intense scrutiny of the Flock makes her fear the worst. And as if an impending apocalypse weren’t bad enough, canny birdkid Angel makes a dire prophecy about Max’s soul mate: Fang will be the first to die. Max’s desperate desire to protect Fang brings the two closer than ever. But can the team weather the storm, or will the turmoil rip them apart for the last time?

This is my very first book by James Patterson in his Maximum Ride series. Little Brown was kind enough to send me a copy for review and I just jumped right in. No expectations, and no emotional investment in the characters from five previous books.

Book six starts out with a flock of genetically altered bird children on their way to Africa for a CSM humanitarian mission. They run into evil scientists Dr. G-H and Dr. Chu. who are busy brewing up experiements advanced DNA mutation and want Max to offer the flock as subjects. Max the main character, MC and flock leader is sarcastic and hot tempered, with a chip on her shoulder. She tends to run away when things get tough. So as Dr. G-H introduces Dylan, another birdboy created expressly to be her perfect other half, she is out of there! She has just recently gone public in her relationship with Fang, her lifetime friend and second in command and the flock is not pleased.

There are two main male protagonists that are both vying for Max’s attention. Fang is closed secretive and strong while Dylan with his Caribbean eyes is open and wanting to learn. The ultimate question of the book is will Max be forced to choose between the one she’s always known and a new addition to her flock?

Fang is action packed as the flock faces wolf-like Erasers, mad scientists and a threat form within. One of the flock has double crossed the rest and Fang may pay the ultimate price with his life.

James Patterson has quite the happening series going on with a TON of online fans. I can see the appeal in his story and the fantasy. If I had read the entire series I think my rating would be higher. I would have liked to see more world building in their Colorado home where they retreat to for homeschooling and to hide out. Also, as Max and Fang head out on their own to Las Vegas there was a window of opportunity for fun, creative scenes which I felt wasn’t taken. As a reader I would hope down the line Patterson will expose us to more of what is going on inside Dylan and Fang’s mind. Fang fans will be happy to see the epilogue contains some of his secret memoirs that Max finds on their laptop. You’ll see a whole new side to the main man.

My favorite part is the letter Fang leaves for Max in the final chapter, and his promise for twenty years from now. I loved the additional materials in the back of the book which include a Chapter 35 1/2 written by a reader, a sneak preview to ANGEL due to be released February 14th and part of a new Manga adaptation of the book. I will pick up book 7 now that I’ve jumped in and need to know what happens! I found Fang entertaining and well suited for both boys and young women. There is minor violence, mention of underage tattoos and gambling but all around it’s a clean read. I’m looking now to try more titles by James Patterson. Visit the official site for James Patterson’s Maximum Ride at

Fire and Ice giving away a paperback copy of Fang, a Maximum Ride Book #6 to our readers, donated by Little Brown. To enter to win fill out this form.

Book Review- Beautiful Darkness

21 Oct, 2010 by in margaret stohl 2 comments

Hardcover, 512 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Little Brown ISBN0316077054
series Caster Chronicles #2
4 stars

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems

First of all a special thanks to fellow Twilight MOM Laura for letting me borrow her advanced reading copy of Beautiful Darkness before its release. She’s the best! I enjoyed this installment even more that I did Beautiful Creatures, finished it almost two weeks ago and the story has really stuck with me.

Beautiful Darkness picks up with Lena in a tough place after the events that unfolded on the night of her 16th birthday. She’s grieving and trying to figure out where she stands…torn between the world of a light and dark caster. Book #2 of the Caster Chronicles has a much more angst feel as she explores her dark side.

Here’s what I loved about the book

-New boy character John Breed. I wish we could have learned more about him but I have a hunch he will be back in a big way in book #3.

-The rich world building that combines every day southern culture and caster underground. In this book you are introduced to tunnels laying under Gatlin and secret passageways into a whole other world. Picture The Wizard of Oz’ ish alternate reality.

-The background history behind who Ethan’s mother Lila was and how intertwined his family is with Lena’s. She is a strong female adult character who influences past and future.

-We see more of Ethan’s housekeeper Amma. She keeps popping up in random places during the story to save the day. She’s got some sass and know how to whip up a mean pie for the county faire.

-The detail in Kami and Margie’s writing. They pack so much information in there its hard to process it all. But wow, they’ve upped the anty in this book. Intelligent, beautiful rich passages make the story immersive.

On the flipside, it took me a while to get back into the groove after a year has lapsed since the first book Beautiful Creatures. I would recommend reading that one again before picking up #2. There are a lot of repeat characters and back history that would be difficult to understand without the prequel. The series definitely builds on itself.

My favorite scene: when Ethan finds Lena on her ceiling surrounded in her thoughts. For some reason is an image that stuck with me after I finished. She is dealing with so many complex emotions and her writing, doodling and dress portray outwardly what she is feeling on the inside.

My favorite thing overall about the series: all of the symbolism and objects they tie into the story. It makes the book more tangible and real.

I’ll be at the Beautiful Darkness signing tonight at Kings English Bookshop -7 PM. Stay tuned for photos and news. And if you are in Utah… stop by! Margie and Kami are so fun to meet in person. If you are some where else, catch live coverage via blog TV. See their website for details

Review-Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

28 Jan, 2010 by in etsy, sisters red 1 comment

Published by Little Brown
Release date June 7, 2010
336 pages
4 stars

Some of the other handmade Little Red items currently on Etsy

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for- Goodreads

I received this book while it was on an ARC tour from KatieB of Mundie Moms. From the first scene Silas is introduced, I knew he was a keeper…the woodsy scent, hard work ethic, kindness and life long friendship that he encompassed is a sure draw. Who wouldn’t want to fall in love with a woodsman who comes to your rescue and encourages you to take community ed origami?

Rosie and Scarlett are tough axe swinging women of the modern day twist to an old fashioned fairy tale. Standing up to the Fenris and defending other girls from the attacks they suffered as children, they are two hearts that act as one. I truly enjoyed this book, but must way it was a little violent for me…should have watched Jackson Pearce’s video description to prepare me for the dismembered arm 🙂 It is an amazing read which explores sisterhood, family, independence and love.

SISTERS RED currently has at two companion books, SWEETLY(#2) and FATHOMLESS (#3)

Check out Jackson Pearce’s website at

Check out our wolf book hook and other sisters red items in the Etsy shop.

Here Jackson Pearce tells about Sisters Red in a video filmed by Castergirls

Waiting On Wednesday "Sisters Red"

20 Jan, 2010 by in sister red Leave a comment

Checking my mailbox every day for this one which is on ARC tour…
Summary From Goodreads:
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

Coming June 7th 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers