Event: Susan Adrian, Whitney Miller, & Stacey Lee moderated by S.J. Kincaid

Susan Adrian, Whitney Miller, and Stacey Lee will join S.J. Kincaid at Mrs. Dalloway’s for a reading and panel discussion on Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 pm!

tunnelvisionRomance and action come crashing together in Susan Adrian’s Tunnel Vision. When Jake Lukin, eighteen, reveals his psychic ability, he’s forced to become a government asset in order to keep his mother and sister safe, but Rachel, the girl he likes, tries to help him live his own life instead of tunneling through others. “Twists of plot, kids outsmarting the bad guys, and a relatively low-tech but fascinating superpower ratchet up the action to a bizarre conclusion that begs a sequel. With a grandfather that would make Richard Peck or Joan Bauer proud, and government goons, male and female, who morph between good and evil with a single look or comment, this is a must-read.” –Booklist

crimsongateIn Whitney Miller’s The Crimson Gate, sequel to The Violet Hour, Harlow Wintergreen has just been named the new Matriarch of VisionCrest, the powerful religious organization previously led by her father. But there’s one big problem. The real Harlow is trapped inside a Cambodian temple, and her double, the evil Isiris, has escaped confinement and is masquerading as her. Now initiated as their leader, Isiris intends to unleash a killer super virus aimed at cleansing the planet of VisionCrest. In order to stop her, Harlow must find a way out of the temple and locate the Resistance…or the world will be destroyed. “Extreme gore and exciting suspense in a highly strange package.” –Kirkus

paintedskyStacey Lee’s Under a Painted Sky begins in Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician–not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past. In a starred review, Kirkus says: “Emotionally resonant and not without humor, this impressive debut about survival and connection, resourcefulness and perseverance will keep readers on the very edges of their seats.”

Susan Adrian is a 4th-generation Californian who somehow stumbled into living in Montana. She holds a degree in English from UC Davis and a Master’s in Technical Communication. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and daughter, she keeps busy researching spy stuff, learning Russian, travelling, and writing more books. Tunnel Vision is her first novel.

Whitney Miller is the author of The Violet Hour and The Crimson Gate. She graduated from the University of Colorado and has an MBA from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. She works in Silicon Valley by day and on her laptop writing novels by night. Whitney loves to travel the world, and she incorporates those global settings into her novels.

Stacey Lee is a 4th-generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She graduated from UCLA, then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She serves as the Director of Legal Affairs for the WeNeedDiverseBooks organization.

S. J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire. She also interned for a politician in Washington, DC, and received degrees from universities in Illinois and Ohio, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Edinburgh, Scotland, that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Catalyst, the final book in her critically acclaimed Insignia trilogy, was published in October 2014.

insigniavortexcatalyst

The event is free and open to the public. Though no purchase is required for attendance, you can reserve a seat by buying a copy of one of the books ahead of time. Please feel free to let us know if you require disability accommodation; we want all attendees to be comfortable and enjoy the event!

Questions? Call 510-704-8222 or email info@mrsdalloways.com. See you there!

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Pick of the Week: The Montmaray Journals

Pick of the Week is a thing I did back in the early days of this blog, when I had more time and less frontlist ordering to do and was more inclined to celebrate older favorites. I’m bringing it back now because I have so many new ARCs that I just end up staring balefully at them and being grumpy that they’re not the new Raven Cycle IV. (I know, Stiefvater, you’ve got that whole Pip Bartlett thing this spring, that’s cool. I know, everyone else, I should give you a chance. And I will. Eventually.)

This particular Pick of the Week is dedicated to Marvel’s Agent Carter.

montmaray1A Brief History of Montmaray introduces sixteen-year-old Sophie FitzOsborne and her eccentric, impoverished royal family living on their crumbling island kingdom between England and France. There’s Veronica, Sophie’s cousin and best friend; Toby, Sophie’s brother and the heir to Montmaray; Henry, their tomboy little sister; Simon, the housekeeper’s son and their maybe-cousin; grimly tempestuous Rebecca the housekeeper; mad Uncle John, the King of Montmaray; and a tiny but loyal band of villagers (to say nothing of Carlos the Portuguese water dog).

Sophie’s voice is so much fun that you won’t notice how little actually happens–until Nazis arrive and overturn their lives in extremely dramatic fashion.

fitzosbornesexileIn Book 2, The FitzOsbornes in Exile, Sophie and her family flee from invading Nazis into the welcoming arms of Aunt Charlotte in England. Aunt Charlotte is determined that Sophie and Veronica be Introduced into Society, while Toby must continue his education as the King of Montmaray and Simon must not get Above His Station. Sophie, keen observer that she is, is more interested in the signs of a coming war than in parties (and the inevitable social awkwardness). With the help of new friends and old, the FitzOsbornes must navigate a strange new world and hold true to each other.

fitzosborneswarThe FitzOsbornes at War is, if possible, even better. The FitzOsbornes are determined to do their part for the nation that has given them refuge. Veronica is doing something mysterious for the War Office–as a “secretary,” of course–and Toby and Simon join the Royal Air Force. Meanwhile, Sophie… is given the task of writing pamphlets on nutrition. Cooper manages to balance seriousness with humor, to be sober without being grim, even in the midst of war. Fans of Agent Carter will love this one, from the period details about silk stocking scarcity to the nuanced portrayal of how women’s roles shifted in a turbulent time.

I actually think the second book is a great place to start with this series. While the first one is charming–I adore Sophie’s voice–it takes a very long time for the plot to show up. In Book 2, there’s enough of a previously-on to fill you in, so you won’t be too lost. Plus, all the intrigues at country houses make it great for Downton Abbey fans! Or if you love Code Name Verity and The Book Thief and want something in that era but slightly less tear-jerking, this is certainly for you. As a side note, I cannot say enough about how refreshingly amazing the female friendships are. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

Now that I’ve made myself cry with how much I love Sophie and Veronica and Rupert (oh you’ll meet Rupert, don’t worry), it’s time to get back to work and actually sell books. Any books.

But especially these.
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Support literacy in Berkeley!

Happy New Year! We have more news, events, and reviews coming up. Today’s post is about Experience Corps Bay Area, a local volunteer organization dedicated to improving literacy among children in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.

Are you 50+ and wanting to help the next generation of readers in Berkeley?

Experience Corps Bay Area (ECBA) uses the wisdom of our volunteer members to improve the literacy and reading skills of the children we serve in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Our mission is to recruit and train older adults (50+) to become literacy tutors and mentors for public school students in grades K-3.

Research shows that children who read at grade level by the end of third grade are 60% more likely to graduate high school, and 75% less likely to become a part of the juvenile justice system. ECBA is looking for volunteers who enjoy working with children and who are willing to serve at least 4 hours per week tutoring students who are struggling to read.

We’re looking for people who: Are at least 50+ years of age; can volunteer time to tutor and mentor children who need basic literacy skills and guidance; possess a high school diploma or GED; will agree to and pass a criminal background check; can serve 4 or more hours/week for the entire school year.

Additional information: 10 or more hours/week may be eligible for a paid stipend; full training provided.

For more information, visit www.experiencecorpsbayarea.org.

Contact Alexis Hawkins at (415) 759-4223, or email ecba.today@gmail.com.

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Holiday Recommendations 2014

Here are our featured holiday recommendations for teens for 2014! If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll notice that the list is quite a bit longer than last year’s. This is because a) I have no self-control when it comes to awesome books, b) Colleague A was vociferous in support of her favorites, c) Other Colleague A was also vociferous in support of her favorites, and d) Other Other Colleague A supported Other Colleague A and e) I have no resistance in the face of All Colleagues A telling me to recommend awesome books (see a)).

Without further ado or alphabet soup, I give you: The Recs!

100sideways100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith (Simon & Schuster, $17.99). After the first girl he’s ever loved moves away, a heartbroken Finn Easton embarks on a road trip with his best friend Cade Hernandez to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour and learn how to write their own destiny. Everyday human behaviors and growing pains meet the improbable-but-true; the most memorable beats of the story occur at the intersection of the tragic, even the grotesque, with the absurd. Smith’s writing is funny and sad and emotionally true at all once. Five starred reviews! Ages 14+.

bluelilyBlue Lily, Lily Blue (Book 3 of The Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, $18.99). Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost. The third installment of the projected Raven Cycle quartet proves that Maggie Stiefvater just keeps getting better and better. Start with The Raven Boys, follow that up with The Dream Thieves, and then dive into Blue Lily, Lily Blue! Though we’re waiting impatiently for the final book, each of the three so far is a breathless, intensely satisfying reading experience. “One unexpected and wonderful surprise after another . . . a marvel of imagination.” –Booklist, starred review. Five starred reviews total! Ages 14+. Click for our review of The Dream Thieves!

complicitsmallComplicit by Stephanie Kuehn (Macmillan, $19.99). Jamie Henry lives with his wealthy adoptive parents in affluent Danville. He’s a talented pianist and honors student, with a bright future and even romance on the horizon. He sees a therapist regularly to deal with lingering amnesia and trauma surrounding his birth mother’s violent, tragic death. But Jamie’s sister, Cate, didn’t cope so well: she’s just been released from juvenile detention. Now that Cate is free again, Jamie fears that she’ll return and destroy his peaceful life. Something in their shared buried past still festers beneath the surface: something that drives the story through to an unputdownable conclusion. A masterful suspense novel by Morris Award-winning local author Stephanie Kuehn! Three starred reviews. Ages 14+. Click for our full review!

CruelbeautyCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (HarperCollins, $17.99). Betrothed to the Gentle Lord, the demon who rules her country, seventeen-year-old Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny and move to the castle to be his wife–and to kill him. Nothing goes according to plan: Nyx is not the good, dutiful youngest daughter we know from fairy tales, and the Gentle Lord actually has a sense of humor about being a hated demon tyrant. Working together, they might actually be able to save the realm from the sinister forces that hold it isolated from the rest of the world. This is an unusual take on “Beauty and the Beast,” with creative mythology, a shivery romance, and luscious prose.  Ages 14+. Click for our full review!

familyromanovThe Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (Random House, $18.99). *Nonfiction Pick!* From the acclaimed author of Amelia Lost comes the riveting story of the Russian Revolution as it unfolded. Figures familiar to the historical imagination come to life: Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas; his beautiful, reclusive wife Alexandria; the compelling Rasputin; the hemophiliac Romanov heir, Alexei; and the elusive Anastasia. Deftly maneuvering between the lives of the Romanovs and the plight of Russia’s peasants–and their eventual uprising–Fleming presents a fascinating portrait, complete with inserts of period photographs and primary-source material. “A heartbreaking page-turner for YAs who prefer their nonfiction to read like a novel.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review. Six starred reviews total! Nonfiction. Ages 12+.

nelsonsunI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Penguin, $17.99). A gorgeously written story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell. Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick. But three years later, something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways. Only by finding their way back to each other can they begin to heal. “Noah’s narration is dizzyingly visual, conjuring the surreal images that make up his ‘invisible museum’; Jude’s is visceral, conveying her emotions with startling physicality… Here’s a narrative experience readers won’t soon forget.” –Kirkus. Three starred reviews. Ages 14+.

in_real_lifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang (First Second, $17.99). *Graphic Novel Pick!* From acclaimed teen author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, In Real Life is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash. Anda loves playing Coarsegold Online, but her perfect fantasy world gets complicated when she befriends a “gold farmer”–a poor kid whose avatar illegally collects and sells objects within the game. Anda is forced to examine the real-world cost of a virtual reality. Though gamers will love the world of Coarsegold, you don’t have to be a gamer to love In Real Life, which combines Doctorow’s signature technological activism with Wang’s beautiful, impeccably paced art. A starred review from Booklist! Ages 12+. Click for our full review!

princeofshadowsPrince of Shadows by Rachel Caine (Penguin, $17.99). This book is exquisitely crafted, a balancing act between swashbuckling romp and nuanced, moving take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet starring Benvolio Montague and Rosaline Capulet. “Beginning with the premise that friend Mercutio is gay and in love with Tomasso, a shy scholar, the book sets up a series of events that will result in Mercutio’s famous dying words, ‘a plague on both your houses.’ Benvolio…has a new talent: He’s a cat burglar known as ‘The Prince of Shadows,’ using his skills to exact revenge on those who have done him wrong… Simply superb.” –Kirkus, starred review. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a high-quality romantic adventure–or to anyone who knows that Romeo & Juliet is full of dirty jokes. Pair with Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty for a double dose of gorgeous historical-fantasy romantic adventure! Ages 14+.

shadowheroThe Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew (First Second, $17.99). *Graphic Novel Pick!* Hank Chu’s dream is to be a grocer, like his father. Alas, his mother–a “tiger mom” if ever there was one–has other ideas. She’s determined that he become a superhero. And thus is the legendary Green Turtle born. Yang puts his own spin on the 1940s comic book hero in this fresh, incisively smart origin story. Sonny Liew’s lively illustrations complement the story’s humor and bring the characters vividly to life. Three starred reviews! Ages 12+.

storyofowenThe Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston (Carolrhoda, $17.95). A Morris Award Finalist! In an alternate world where industrialization has caused many species of carbon-eating dragons to thrive, sixteen-year-old Owen Thorskard is all that stands between small-town Canada and a deadly dragon infestation. Owen and his faithful bard-slash-friend Siobhan McQuaid, that is. Can Owen become the hero the world expects him to be? Can Siobhan’s songs detailing Owen’s deeds get any airtime on national radio? With training taking over their lives, can either of them survive high school? The cleverly developed world with its carbon-hungry dragons and celebrity slayer culture provides the backdrop for a quirky, refreshingly original tale of great friendship, heroism, and algebra tutoring. “Humor, pathos and wry social commentary unite in a cleverly drawn, marvelously diverse world.” –Kirkus, starred review. Three starred reviews total! Ages 12+.

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Mrs. Dalloway’s Annual School Benefit Fundraiser Nov. 14-16

Mrs. Dalloway’s is pleased to announce that this year’s School Benefit Fundraiser will take place next weekend, November 14-16!

We will make a donation to any of our partner schools for 20% of the total purchases made by the school community November 14-16. This is a great opportunity to stock up on holiday gift items such as children’s books, cook books, adult fiction and nonfiction, gardening books, merchandise, art, and gift certificates for teachers, family, and friends.

Additionally, we have collected “wish lists” from local teachers and school librarians. Purchase a book to give to a classroom or library!

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Review: In Real Life

in_real_lifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Anda is thrilled when she’s invited to join Clan Fahrenheit, a guild of girl gamers in Coarsegold, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. One of the other guild members offers her a lucrative proposition: real money in exchange for eliminating “gold farmers”–players whose avatars illegally collect objects within the game and sell them to wealthy players. Sounds great: get paid to kill rule-breakers and keep the world of Coarsegold a fair playing field. But when Anda befriends one of the gold farmers she’s supposed to eliminate (by killing his avatar), she realizes the situation is a lot more complicated. The gold farmer, Raymond, is a poor Chinese teen gamer who works twelve hours a day collecting objects in the game for his heartless boss to sell. His alternative: life in a zipper factory. As they get to know each other better, Anda encourages Raymond to stand up to his boss and organize his fellow workers for health care and better working conditions.

Okay, I confess: everything I know about gaming I learned from watching The Guild and Video Game High School. (And that one time I played Skylanders, but we don’t talk about that.)

Luckily, you don’t have to be a gamer to love In Real Life, which combines Cory Doctorow’s signature interest in technological economics and activism with Jen Wang’s beautiful, impeccably paced art. I love how Kirkus Reviews says it: In Real Life “uses the fictional frame to drive home a hard truth: that many of the games we play or items we buy have unseen people tied to them, people who have their own struggles.”

Jen Wang’s art carries both the action and the emotional beats of the story, moving between Anda’s real life and the world of Coarsegold. The art is so, so beautiful: the in-game scenes are luminous with gorgeous pastel backdrops; the action and emotional sequences move fluidly from panel to panel or slip the boundaries of the lines altogether. The figures are incredibly expressive, from the tiny, helpless-looking pixie avatars of the gold farmers to Anda’s chubby, often glum real-world self to her flowing-haired warrior avatar.

In Real Life is a triumph of form meeting function: the immediacy and emotional resonance of the online world demand visual representation, while the art in turn buoys the central theme: that the ability of the rich and powerful to exploit the poor and less powerful can be defeated by ordinary people’s ability to unite and connect over something they love.

Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang will be at Mrs. Dalloway’s tonight at 7:30! See you there!

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Event: Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang IN REAL LIFE

It’s true!  Writer Cory Doctorow and artist Jen Wang will be at Mrs. Dalloway’s on Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 pm! Their new graphic novel, In Real Life, is a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash with starred reviews from Booklist and Quill & Quire. Stay tuned for our review!

Doctorow_WangEvent Details
The event will start promptly at 7:30pm and will run for about an hour, including a Q&A session and signing. It is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, but you can reserve a seat by purchasing a copy of the book (recommended). Reservations can be made:

– In person! We are located at 2904 College Avenue in Berkeley (between Ashby and Russell Streets in the beautiful Elmwood district). Our opening hours are Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm and Sunday 11am-6pm.
– By calling 510-704-8222 during our regular business hours (see above) with a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express card.

We are happy to accommodate wheelchair and other disability seating needs (advance notice is much appreciated).

Questions? Leave a comment here, call the store at 510-704-8222, or drop us an email at info@mrsdalloways.com!

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