Friday, May 30, 2014

BEA 2014 - NYC! Come to Book Con tomorrow!

BEA 2014 is winding down.  It's the end of the second day and tomorrow will be a combination of BEA with many activities and events centered on non-industry book lovers.  The BookCon, formerly "Power Reader Day" has been well publicized through BEA.

I know that many of my reader friends were quick to sign up. 

But before BookCon begins, I"d like to talk about BEA 2014.  For those of us in the NYC area who have been fortunate enough to attend BEA for the last few years, we wonder what sort of changes may occur when BEA moves to Chicago in 2016.

Certainly, the camaraderie will be a little different.  I have made some good friends at BEA these last few years.  I very much look forward to seeing and catching up with Angela of Dark Faerie Tales, Tonia of Literary Cravings and Pam of Midnyt Reader.  We don't usually see each other during the year, so when we run into each other at BEA, we talk about our favorite books and catch up on our lives.   These friendships remind me of the warmth of the book blogger community and I'm again so happy to be part of this tribe. 

As BEA is a celebration of books, authors, and their publishers, so much of the days leading up to BEA and of BEA is focused on the buzz books, debut authors and new reads by old favorites.  I've come to associate BEA with authors and characters that I discovered through PW's write ups, through meeting with publishers and publicists, through conversations while waiting in line for book signings.  My first BEA, the senior bloggers advised me to line up for the ticketed book signing of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. This was way back when Suzanne Collins actually signed the books!  At some point, she stopped signing the books and relied on a stamp of her signature.  Can you imagine signing hundreds of thousands or millions of copies of books?   I also picked up my first Louise Penny detective novel and discovered one of my all time favorite detectives, Inspector Armand Gamache and Three Pines, the remote town that isn't covered by maps but is so close to Quebec.  I also received this wonderful mystery by debut author Alan Bradley and met Flavia de Luce, the eleven-year old British aristocrat, chemistry genius and amateur sleuth.  I'm afraid I can go and on about the authors and books that enriched my life thanks in large part to the buzz and opportunity to bring them home from BEA!

Let me tell you about this year's BEA before it's all over.  We still have one more day, so if you're in NYC or if you can get yourself to NYC tomorrow, please do come!! It'll be the best $35 you'll spend.

I'd found some beautiful cookbooks:

On the first day of BEA, we lined up for finished copies of Diana Yen's debut book: A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories and Recipes to Savor and Share by Diana Yen and The Jewels of New York.    Jewels of New York is a creative studio led by Diana Yen that "combines a love of cooking with the beauty of everyday things." The studio uncovers hidden treasures of New York and shares them through seasonally based cooking.  Yum!

Today, there was a lot of interest in Amy Chaplin's At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well.  Amy Chaplin is the former executive chef of Angelica Kitchen had worked as a personal chef and counts Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler as clients.

There is so much to say about the books and authors that I'd seen and found at BEA 2014, that I'm afraid that I'll have to write several posts.  If you'll forgive me, let me just give you some information about tomorrow's BEA, the BookCon.  I'll write more about the first 2 days of BEA 2014 in the next few days!

Want to learn more?  Head to to find out more and TO REGISTER!  Hope to see you there!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab by "Science Bob" Pfugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab is another Middle School read, but very different from Manolito Four-Eyes.  Though Nick and Tesla are just a year older than Manolito, they're much advanced in schooling, intelligence and temperament.   These Nick and Tesla books are the sort that parents (and doting relatives) will likely want to buy - child inventors with amazing skills in science, engineering, and math whose exploits get us to perform scientific experiments and develop an appreciation for science, math and engineering.  Fortunately, Nick and Tesla are kids books with personality, humor and an adventure.

  • Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab 
  • by Science Bob Pfugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: Nick and Tesla (Book 1)
  • ISBN-10: 1594746486 - Hardcover $12.95
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (November 5, 2013), 240 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of Quirk Books.

Eleven-year old twins Nick and Tesla were looking forward to a trip to Disneyland with their parents but a work emergency (soybean irrigation issues in Uzbekistan in the far reaches of the former Soviet Union) forces them to stay with their scientist and absentminded uncle Newt.   They arrive at Half Moon Bay, California to find a suburban house with a self mowing lawn.  The inside of the house is just as strange: full of inventions in different stages of development, various lab equipment, a Christmas tree, a polar bear, and strange food combinations. Their Uncle Newt is sprawled on the floor, made immobile by strange orange foam.  The judicious use of a specific purple spray destroys the sticky bond of the orange substance - and the twins are welcomed.

Nicke and Telsa find unprecedented personal freedom which they exploit fully.  It starts innocently enough - with the low-tech bottle launcher that they make one afternoon.  Science Bob includes instructions on how to make the bottle launcher, so it's possible for readers to try the experiment on their own - with adult supervision.  

The rocket launcher leads Nick and Tesla to the abandoned large estate at the end of their block where they find a mysterious young girl in an upstairs window, protected by a pack of frighteningly angry dogs and suspicious characters.

Nick, Tesla and their young neighbors decide to investigate further but they don't do it like regular kids.  Their special interests and skills lead them to make and to teach us how to make a mints-and-soda robocat dog distractor.  Remember the YouTube videos of menthos and coke explosions? Nick and Tesla take the idea behind those explosions and put it to good use. Science Bob, Nick and Tesla incorporate science and engineering in coming up with solutions and they do so in ways that make science fun.  Think of Invisible ink trackers and electromagnetic answers to locked doors and home alarm systems.

The science and experiments are tools to help Nick and Tesla solve problems, save a young girl and make sense of the strange goings on in their new neighborhood.  Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab is an unusual adventure story that introduces us to fun new detective heroes.  

About the Authors:
"Science Bob" Pfugfelder teaches elementary school in Newton, Massachusetts.  Steve Hockensmith writes mysteries in Alameda, California.