Monday, November 12, 2012

Giveaway Winners & Other Stuff

Thanks to everyone who entered the Dear Teen Me and Diviners giveaways on my blog over the past couple of weeks! The winners have been contacted. Congrats, Ashley R. and Tina Crossgrove!

I was also the lucky winner of a blog giveaway recently, and just wanted to publicly thank Rori of Rori Roars for the Ballet Beautiful Blast Series DVD! I like doing the Ballet Beautiful exercises to build up strength between actual ballet classes, so I'm really grateful to have won this prize. If any readers of my blog are also into ballet, you should check out Rori's awesome blog. (By the way: I am happily back to my ballet classes after injuring my toe a couple months ago, for anyone following along. Whew!)

What else? Obviously, I've slowed down in my blogging lately. I've been busy! Still reviewing books and apps for School Library Journal and blogging for The Hub. And in September, I was one of 32 California librarians to participate in the Eureka! Leadership Institute. After an intense week of learning, discovering, and making connections with amazing people in the library field, I am now embarking on the implementation of a year-long, grant-funded project that will benefit my library's community. I am so honored to be a part of the Eureka! Leadership Program and I know I'm going to learn so much through the experience.

In other news, I just went to an awesome author event at the beautiful Encinitas Library in San Diego county: YA in the Sun.

Twenty amazing authors were there to mingle with readers and sign books, and everyone had such a great time. We'll have coverage of this event up soon at Authors are ROCKSTARS!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Bray, Libba. The Diviners. 592 p. 2012. Little, Brown. Hardcover $19.99. ISBN 9780316126113.

What can I say about The Diviners? It's like Libba Bray sat down and said, "Now, Allison, I know you're a big fan of my work. What would YOU like me to put in my next book?" Because I swear this book was practically tailor-made for me! Let's take a little inventory of the things I loved about this book:

  • Extensively researched 1920s setting. 
  • Plucky heroine with snappy dialogue. 
  • Diverse cast of characters. 
  • Fascinating Victorian/early 20th century spiritualism.

Yep, it's awesome! And creepy. Awesomely creepy! Creepily awesome? It may seem a little daunting at nearly 600 pages, but the intricate plot and strong pacing kept me riveted. Bray introduces a large cast of characters, and juggles their intertwining storylines with grace. This is the first volume in a four-book series, and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.  

I was thrilled to get a chance to meet Libba earlier this year at the ALA Annual Conference and chat with her about The Diviners. She is just as awesome as you would expect!

While I was reading The Diviners, I kept thinking about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, a small retailer that creates all-natural, hand-blended perfume oils with a "dark, romantic Gothic tone." I could see the Lab having a field day crafting the most incredibly evocative scents to compliment the eerie imagery from this book. In fact, there are already several scents in the Black Phoenix catalog that remind me of The Diviners. For example...

Lush parlor rooms draped in thick velvets and gilded in gold, unearthly whispering in the distance, fleeting flashes of wraithlike figures rushing just outside your vision, the chill of a phantom presence brushing by your cheek, the inscrutable knowledge that disembodied eyes are peering at you from darkened corners-- this is the essence of Victorian-era spiritualism: rosewood, oak and teak notes with wispy blue lilac, tea rose, dried white rose and ethereal osmanthus.

Deep, mysterious, and full of dark portents: oakmoss, juniper berry, myrrh and patchouli.

Sleek, dark, and ominous. Violet and neroli mingled with iris, white sandalwood and dark musk.

A sultry, exotic scent that inspires devious plotting and clandestine affairs. It is a scent painted in artifice, veiled in deceit, and slithering with whispered secrets. Black palm, with cocoa, fig and shadowy wooded notes.

A quiet scent, soft, calm and enigmatic. A perfume of mystery, of whispers, and of secrets behind secrets. White sandalwood, lilac, gardenia, violet, orris, lavender and ylang ylang.

Are you convinced that Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab goes perfectly with The Diviners? Then I have a giveaway for you!

This giveaway includes the following:
  • Diviners pendant on a black cord, in a small burlap bag.
  • Sample vials of Ouija, Veil, and a few other Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes that remind me of The Diviners. (To be honest, I have quite a collection of sample vials, so I'll throw in some random ones just for fun!) 

To enter, just comment on this post and tell me:
1. Your favorite thing about The Diviners (or what you're most looking forward to about this book, if you haven't read it yet).
2. The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scent that tempts you the most. (Take some time, browse their catalog! They offer hundreds of scents and the descriptions are alluring. And no, I am not affiliated with this company in any way- just a big fan.)

Be sure to leave your email address with your comment so I can contact the winner. Contest is open to US residents only. Enter by November 8th for your chance to win.

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