Monday, February 20, 2017

Two amazing authors and one amazing bookstore...You could say it was a blast with Kristin Elizabeth Clark and Tim Floreen at Hicklebee's for the recent Hope not Hate panel! We captured some of it so you all could enjoy, too. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

#LastDescendants | October 18th, 2016

Matthew Kirby treated the Hicklebee's Teen Advisory Board to an evening of not one but two recent releases!

"I quit!" Matthew Kirby knew from age 12 that writing was the career for him. Of course, his dramatic exit from pianist to writer likely gave his parents a heart attack, coming to the conclusion mid-recital and walking off stage. 

Both A Taste for Monsters and Last Descendants share a common theme: history repeats itself and we should learn from our past. The idea for A Taste for Monsters came from watching a Jack the Ripper documentary whereas Last Descendants was an approach from game developer Ubisoft. Was Matt excited? Uh, yeah. He's a big (PC) gamer and it's a  dream come true to have created canonical material in the Assassin's Creed universe.

Matt is more of a panster versus a plotter and only creates outlines as part of the publishing process. His one piece of advice for up and coming writers?

The TAB recently reviewed Last Descendants, which you can find right over here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

See Jason Denzel & three more YA novelists at Hicklebee's! 
 Saturday, November 25 @ 7:00 pm
Full details at

A Review of Mystic 
by Emman J. - TAB Member

I love fantasy books; in them are these entirely new worlds with interesting new characters that always keep me guessing. Fantasy books are not held back by the same rules that exist in other genres, allowing the authors to create whatever they desire. Many authors have attempted to create their own worlds, making it difficult to find fantasy worlds that are so completely original.
 But Jason Denzel manages to do just that in Mystic, a book full of mystical creatures and intrigue. I was drawn in by the idea of the Myst, a form of energy that only a few chosen people could use, these people were known as Mystics.  I found this idea pretty intriguing; as it was different from all the other types of wizards I have come across in other books. I think that fantasy books have a way of making us see the world more simply as there is a clear distinction between evil and good. Sometimes it is nice to have that clarity when our own real world is so full of gray. But unlike other fantasy series I have read Mystic doesn’t just have a villain, instead we see a young girl face off against society. In Denzel’s novel he talks about more than just wizards; through fantasy he talks about divides that exist between people, both socio-economic and racial. He speaks of the intolerance of society and how the only way to change society is through breaking through barriers
The novel itself focuses on a young girl named Pomella AnDone. She is a commoner who has been chosen by the High Mystic as a candidate for being her apprentice. The commoners are not welcomed to join the Mystics and Pomella is the first to be given the opportunity to join in hundreds of years. She knows that it will not be easy to compete for the apprenticeship since the other nobles have certain advantages due to their wealth. We get to join Pomella as she faces three trials in the hopes of becoming an apprentice and learning the ways of the Myst, as she has always dreamed of. Her journey is not easy, and while we may not face the same problems she does, there are some similarities. As she tries to break the chain of only nobility being allowed to become Mystics she will discover just how difficult it may be to change how society views her.

Mystic is only the first novel in a series and I am very excited to follow this series and see how Pomella grows. This book is a welcome addition to my fantasy book collection and I would highly recommend it to any person looking for a new fantasy series.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Last Friday, TAB had the honor of hosting Sonia Patel, author of Rani Patel in Full Effect! Amidst the hundreds of confusions in her life–confusion about family, confusion about romance, confusion about culture, and confusion about normality–Rani Patel manages to find solace and self-reflection through hip-hop music. Insightful, heartfelt, and eye-opening, this young adult novel explores the consequences of trauma and abuse in teenagers, and demonstrates the reality of the long, arduous road to recovery. On Friday, Sonia explained to us in further depth what elements of her work in psychology and her own experiences influenced Rani’s development, and clarified why those factors were important for her to include. She also gave us a treat by recreating some of the raps in her book. (It’s little wonder Rani is so good at what she does–Sonia can drop beats like a pro!) To learn more about Rani, her struggles, and her journey towards recovery, drop by Hicklebee’s and pick up your copy of Rani Patel in Full Effect!

Thank you, Sonia, for giving Hicklebee’s your time, your invaluable insight, and your killer rhymes!

To me, The Diabolic is a modern-day twist on the timeless tale of The Beauty and the Beast. Nemesis, a diabolic, is a genetically modified creature: neither fully human nor fully machine. Tyrus, the prince, is fully human and full of emotion. While Nemesis was trained to be emotionless and fiercely loyal, Tyrus is brimming with life and feeling. They are complete opposites. Both, in their own ways, are beasts. Forced to become people they aren’t, they are fighting to find and embrace their true selves. 

The Diabolic is a love story, both romantic and self. In order to truly shed their “beast” personas and become beauties, they have to learn how to love. This message is relevant to today’s social media steeped world. Social media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat give us constant, minute-by-minute updates. While social media is a wonderful invention, like all good things, can be taken too far. By constantly viewing posts of other people, we start, whether consciously or subconsciously, to compare ourselves to others. This speaks directly to the message about the power of love in The Diabolic. Love is healing and restoring. Once they are confident in who they are, Nemesis and Tyrus become beautiful. They are free to love each other and the world. The Diabolic’s message, written in captivating and gripping language, is one appropriate and applicable for all ages. 

Hicklebees is thrilled to be hosting the author of The Diabolic, S. K. Kincaid, on November 1 at 7 pm. Come for a chance to talk and discuss the book!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Kate O’Brien’s dark past has molded her into a cunning liar determined to move up the social ladder at the A-list Waverly School in New York City. Olivia Sumner is Waverly’s uber wealthy it-girl who has been damaged by psychological issues. Kate, a new scholarship student at Waverly, sets her sights on befriending Olivia in order to escape poverty as well as her past.
In comes Mark Redkin, a handsome and charismatic new administrator at Waverly School who’s charm has the entire faculty and student body under his spell. As Olivia grows especially close to Mark, it becomes clear that he threatens Kate and Olivia in ways that could force them to expose their mutually troubled pasts.
From the first few pages, this book immediately made me think of Gossip Girl due to its similar setting in a elite New York City private school with its fair share of drama. However even as a fan of Gossip Girl, this book wasn’t really my cup of tea.
Despite the book’s label as a “psychological thriller”, it didn’t really have as much mystery and unpredictability as I expected, which made the story fall flat. At the end of the novel, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, which left me feeling a little confused. I also couldn’t relate or sympathize with the main characters, Kate and Olivia, because they each seemed to lack a distinct personality.
However, I really enjoyed the minor characters like Mrs. Chen and Anka, Olivia’s housemaid, who brought a lot of humor into this somewhat dark story. I also thought Teresa Toten did a great job gradually giving out information about Kate and Olivia’s pasts over the course of the book, so that the reader can try to piece it all together and figure the characters out. Also, this book had two unreliable narrators, so anything mentioned by the narrators could be false, which kept me on my toes as I read.
While not my favorite book, “Beware That Girl” by Teresa Toten was a super quick read perfect for the weekend that I would encourage Gossip Girl fans and drama lovers to give a try.

by Meredith B. - TAB Member

Friday, October 21, 2016

Join us at Hicklebee's as the Teen Advisory Board hosts Jennifer Niven,
 Kathleen Glasgow, Teresa Toten, Brenna Yavanoff
Saturday, October 21 @ 7:00 pm 

Summary: Jack Masselin, a popular boy who is keeping a secret from everyone he knows. His secret: he has prosopagnosia, which means he cannot recognize faces, even the faces of his own family. His disorder, along with other things, makes him long for someone who understands. When he meets Libby Strout, a new girl in school, he finds the kind of understanding he’s been looking for. Libby Strout, formerly known as “America’s Fattest Teen,” returns to the public school system after being severely bullied and the loss of her mother. After years of therapy and losing some weight, she builds up the confidence to go back to normal schooling and finds it’s much harder than she thought. After an incident lands both Jack and Libby in the principal’s office and they are forced to spend time together, they find solace in each other’s company and learn, through each other, to see others in their true light and the power of friendship.

Rating: 4⁄5 Stars

Review: Bestselling author of All TheBright Places, Jennifer Niven, comes back again with another entertaining, inspiring book that will not let down devoted readers - Holding Up the Universe. Although this book had a completely different tone and message than All The Bright Places, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I really liked Jack’s thought process throughout the novel, especially when he was around people because of his prosopagnosia. It was interesting to watch him struggle with something I’ve never even had to think about before. I also really appreciated Jack and Libby’s friendship and liked how it developed throughout the novel. Their dialogue stayed true to the teenager voice and it kept me engaged with the plot and the character’s lives.

While I enjoyed almost all of the aspects of this book, there were a few things that I felt could have been better. I felt this story was trying to send a message encouraging readers to accept their insecurities and be themselves, but it never quite grasped that theme. I think Libby’s point-of-view had many opportunities to really drive in this message, but those chances were not taken and this energy was more focused on Libby’s relationship with Jack. I also felt that the ending rushed to tie loose ends together such as Jack telling his family about his disorder and Jack and Libby “getting back together.”

If there had been less time spent on how Jack and Libby felt while they were becoming friends and their friendship in general throughout the novel, there would have been more space left to develop Jack and his dad’s relationship, the conversation circle at their school, Libby’s journey of self-acceptance,and others aspects of the plot which would have further diversified the overall theme of the novel.

When thinking about this book as a whole, I would have to say that I really enjoyed it and it has made my love for Jennifer Niven and her books grow even more. This is a novel that I believe readers should definitely look out for and possibly buy at bookstores. I cannot wait to see what else Jennifer Niven has in store for her future books! 

by Tatum J., TAB Member

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

S.J. Kincaid’s books hold a special place in my heart. Her debut novel, Insignia, hooked me on young adult novels at a time when my bookshelf was crammed with R.J Palacio’s Wonder and Grace Lin’s The Year of The Rat. Medusa, a character in Insignia, was my role model for the longest time, and “Die slowly, Tom,” is immortalized as one of my often-used figures of speech.

When I heard that S.J. Kincaid is releasing a new book on November 1, I wasn’t sure how to feel. While some writers never fail to produce a book worthy of endless five star reviews, the writing equivalent of one-hit wonders are common enough in the publishing industry to have instilled me with a deep-seated suspicion of books that, well, fit the description of S.J. Kincaid’s newest book. And I’ll admit that when I started The Diabolic, I did so with a large dose of wariness.

But when I finished The Diabolic, I found that all of my worries about being disappointed were for naught. Featuring a plot as intricate as the butterfly on the cover, The Diabolic is an exhilarating read. The setting of The Diabolic is absolutely breathtaking, and I felt like I was witnessing the deepening political schemes and unfolding intrigue by Nemesis’s side. S.J. Kincaid writes such powerful female characters (see above: Medusa), and Nemesis is nothing short of extraordinary. I loved everything about this book, and my only complaint is that this novel is a standalone.

If you haven’t read S.J. Kincaid’s work, I can’t recommend it enough. The Diabolic is the perfect book for fans of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising and Amy Tintera’s Reboot, and video game fans will fall in love with the Insignia trilogy’s fast-paced action and hilarious wit.

Hicklebee’s is honored to host S.J. Kincaid on November 1st at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when the galaxy’s most deadly weapon masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court.

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I have no shame in admitting that I have an unhealthy obsession with high school romance books. We all love the story of the bad boy falling in love with the popular girl. When I first heard of Brenna Yovanoff’s book, Places No One Knows, I expected it to be the same way. But as I read Places No One Knows I was so happy to be proven wrong as this book is so completely different from every other teen novel I have read but in the BEST way possible.

In the book we are introduced to a perfect young girl named Waverly Camdenmar who seems to have it all together (as a senior in high school I am extremely jealous of this). She has the perfect grades, a position on student council, and climbs through her high school social ladder. On the other hand, we have Marshall Holt who is struggling and hangs out with the wrong crowd, spending his nights drinking and smoking. But they both have their secrets. Waverly struggles with insomnia while Marshall is a freakishly intelligent guy who is wasting his intelligence. Yovanoff makes this book even more unique by adding the paranormal idea of a girl having the ability to dream her into different rooms. The main theme of this book is about two kids trying to discover who they are while getting through high school.

Yovanoff also managed to create one of the best unlikable heroines. Waverly has a very hard to understand personality, for large parts of the novel she acts distant and robotic but as the novel progresses we get to understand her a bit better. Waverly has spent so long shutting out her emotions but Marshall makes her take down her walls. I must admit to having a connection to unlikable heroines who go against our idea of a “normal girl. “ One of my favorite books is Gone With The Wind and one of my favorite characters is Scarlett O’Hara. I couldn’t help but draw some similarities between the two of them; they are both incredibly strong females that close themselves off from the rest of the world in an effort to protect their own hearts.

It was a welcome change to read about such a amazingly complicated character. Plus,we get Brenna Yovanoff’s storytelling that draws her audience in. I always think that you can tell a good book from a great book by how a character progresses through a novel and I don’t think many books can compete with Brenna Yovanoff’s Places No One Knows.

by Emaan Jafar, TAB Member

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Matthew Kirby @ Hicklebee's
Tuesday, September 18 @ 7 pm

Join TAB & Matthew Kirby for Last Descendants and A Taste for Monsters

Matthew Kirby will be joining TAB to share the excitement of his newly released Assassin's Creed novel, Last Descendants, for YA readers everywhere. After years of writing for younger, middle grade readers, Kirby finally decided to write a novel (which will be part of a series) for YA readers, so, first of all, thank you, Matthew Kirby for the inclusion.

Last Descendants is based on, wait for it, Assassin's Creed, a video game franchise that led to a part historical fiction and part science fiction story. The novel, which was released in August 2016, centers around a boy named Owen. Owen is forced to go through the exasperating situation of having his father go to prison for a crime Owen is positive he did not commit. Owen's dad eventually dies in prison seemingly ending the chance to reverse the accusation. And the story gets even more enticing as readers learn that Monroe, a technology expert at school, may be able to aid Owen in creating a different legacy for his father and clear his name from a horrific crime. By using a device that would allow Owen to explore genetic memories buried deep in their own DNA, Owen may just find a different ending for his father's tale. Seems perfect, right?

No, I did not just spoil the book. This is a novel; these things are never that simple. Owen ultimately must deal with the price of clearing his father's name: the discovery of the existence of an ancient and powerful relic many dismiss as a myth. Did I mention that two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take hold of that relic? Now Owen must find the relic first in order to save himself along with his father's name.

Clearly Matthew Kirby should have been writing for YA readers all this time because this series sounds absolutely page-turning. He even got into the opportunity to write this book because he seems to be "incredibly lucky" as he wrote on his website. Lucky for us readers he wrote the book and soon follow-up books for the Last Descendants series. Matthew Kirby truly shows that a love of gaming can lead to many things, maybe even a novel series.

by Rachael M, TAB Member