Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picture Post- Sarah Dessen Signing in Durham, NC

So, after exactly two weeks, I am FINALLY doing a recap about the Sarah Dessen event I went to on June 16, the day Along for the Ride (Dessen's newest novel) was released.

So to start off, I got off work at 3:30, and went straight to my roommate's place of work and picked her up, then we went off on the road. On the way there, we listened to Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera. We stopped at McDonald's where I had dinner and got to Durham at around 6:30. We had to park a bit far away due to there being like no parking spots in the parking lot across from The Regulator Bookshop. But whatever, exercise is good. So we went in, went downstairs to where the signing was being held and got our seats in the back. While we waited for the event to start, I snapped a picture of the huge display they had in front of the podium Sarah was gonna be speaking from.

As you can see, lots of people were here- the place was PACKED! Some people even had to stand, as there weren't any empty chairs left. Sarah came up, talked a bit about the book and set up the excerpt she was going to read, read the excerpt, and then answered some questions and then went over to sign books. Here's a picture of her reading from the book.

Look at that awesome shiny hair on the person in front of me! :D I apologize for the dark lighting- I suck at taking good pictures during events. I feel wierd taking photos sometimes. Anyway, when she went to go sign books, there was a HUGE line and we ended up being toward the end, so it took a while until we got to the front. But we had a fun chat and then we were up talking to Sarah. I slid my copy of That Summer toward her and she actually remembered who I was! :) That made me happy. Sarah signed my copy of That Summer and also signed a discussion guide for my roomie that the bookstore were giving away for free. We are broke, so can't buy new books, lol. We chatted for a couple minutes and then her lovely assistant Parker took a picture of my roomie and I with Sarah. I cropped my roomie out of the photo for posting here since I don't think she would like me plastering my face all over the interwebz.

Doesn't Sarah look AMAZING?! And then there's me with my silly grin. But hey, I don't think my eyes are as squinty in this one AND I'm wearing a funny saying shirt. :) After that, we walked back to the car and drove over to the place where my roomie had her dinner.

Yes, Chipotle! She loves that place but unfortunately, they messed up her order. She asked for a LITTLE bit of hot sauce and the woman (who was white and English-speaking) put on a LOT of hot sauce. So my roomie had to ask for extra sour cream to combat the extreme hotness of the hot sauce. But she made it through and we drove back to our apt. It was an AWESOME evening.

Hopefully, later this week, I'll post about the Elizabeth Scott and Claudia Gray signing, which was even more AWESOME. Seriously, it was the best afternoon ever.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Review- Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Laurel has always been a bit different – she doesn’t like to eat much, she doesn’t need much sleep. Moving house and starting school after being homeschooled for years isn’t her idea of fun, but she goes along with it because her parents have started their dream business. David knows there’s something different about Laurel. He knows she’s special and he’s drawn to her. Now something is happening to Laurel, something impossible, something magical. And they have to find out what’s going on.

I really enjoyed Pike's debut. It's not a perfect book by any means, but it's got a compelling storyline which makes me want to read the second book as soon as possible. My problem with the book though came with some of the dialogue throughout the novel; it was cliche at times and didn't always feel real to me and I thought to myself that no one would say something in that way. Another issue was with characterization; some of the characters weren't developed as well as I would've liked, but maybe it gets better in future novels. But what I enjoyed was Pike's fresh take on faeries and what they're all about, so it was really interesting to learn all about them in this new way. The writing is very simplistic and understated, which I think really fits the story. I also liked the love triangle aspect of it- I'm all about love triangles. They are quite fun, though I'm not sure which one I'd choose; this is always my problem, so usually I end up just wanting both cuz I am greedy like that. I kinda feel like this is more of a paperback or library sort of book, but if you've got the extra money and you love faeries but want a new angle, go ahead and buy the hardcover.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of June 22

Hey, it is WAY late so I can't provide a list right now of what I talk about in the vlog. Perhaps later on Sunday, but I just wanna finish up checking GMail and then get to bed. Here's the vlog:

Hope you all enjoy! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Cyn Balog Guest Blog

Check out my reviews of Fairy Tale and Twenty Boy Summer here, and be sure to enter the contest for an ARC of Twenty Boy Summer here!

Guest Blog
As the author of the novel FAIRY TALE, I often get asked why I chose to go with the vanilla, boring, American spelling of “fairy”, instead of going with one of the other, increasingly popular variations, such as “faerie” or “fairie” or “faery”. It seems to me that we have a great degree of confusion among readers, simply stemming from the choice of spelling. Well, the answer, for me, is that I am a no-nonsense kind of gal. For many a time, these variations have confused the heck out of me, too, and so I decided not to cause my readers any agony and just give it to them straight. But then again, I also eat peanut butter directly from the jar and think “Lexus” is just the Japanese word for “Toyota for Suckers.”

However, I thought for sake of clarification, I would point out some reasons why authors may choose to use an alternate spelling:

1) The author is pretentious. This can also be discovered by listening to the author pronounce words like foyer and champagne. If they say “foyay” and “champaaaaahgne”, you’ve got one of those.

2) The author wants to create a distinction between their “badass” faeries and the sweet, nice, Disney fairies of the world, which are not worthy of serious literary exploration. In this case, the author’s “serious literary exploration” will contain a lot of four-letter words and sordid sex acts. Their fairies will hide in dark alleys and carry switchblades.

3) The author just wants to confuse you, which is why they also removed three chapters from the middle of the novel, and all the characters have unpronounceable or too-hilarious-to-say-with-a-straight-face names. (This also serves well when their book is chosen for book clubs, so they can hide in the stacks while you say “What I like is when Aaashitarghafan tells Doosegown that he will never be a part of the Seelie Court…” and laugh their ass off at you.)

4) The author believes that there really is an actual, physical difference between their “faeries” and the “fairy”. This is seen in an ancient construct known as the Fairy Importance-o-Meter.

FAIRY: Puhleeze.

FAIRIE: Slightly better, but still way lame.

FAERY: Good stuff, baby.

FAERIE: My faeries are too hot for you.

5) The author is afraid of the homosexual references associated with the word “fairy.” Their characters have not come out of the closet yet, so they do not feel comfortable with the association. But they would like you to know that some of their best characters are fairies.

6) The author has been studying Spenser or Irish/Scottish lore for most of their life, or else wants you to think they have been. They realize that using the word “fairy” makes readers scoff, and that the word “faerie” makes readers “ooh” and “aah” from the sophistication of it all. They think you are gullible and that all they need to do is to toy with the spelling to up their credibility. Which sure beats learning to dress like a normal person (these authors are notoriously fashion-clueless).

7) The author’s editor made the choice and the author is too chicken to stand up for themselves. If you go to a book signing with this author, he will probably be hiding behind a stack of his books, crying for his mommy.

Now that I read this, of course, it does make sense. I want to be taken seriously! But I want to be a trendsetter, too, and all of those alternate spellings are way overdone. Thus, I am announcing today that any future fae books written by Cyn Balog will use the spelling: phaerrriae. Or, better yet, “@*&”, which is pronounced as “the word formerly known as fairy.” And don’t anyone copy. I’ve already filed the paperwork for a trademark.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Sarah Ockler Interview

Enter to win a copy of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler here!

And be sure to enter my contest for a signed copy of Boy Toy by Barry Lyga here! Remember to get those extra entries in too! :)

1) How did you get the idea for Twenty Boy Summer?

I was inspired to write the story of Twenty Boy Summer by my previous work with the National Donor Family Council (http://donorfamily.org), an organization that supports families after a loved one dies and donates organs or tissues. Through the NDFC, I met many grieving teens who'd suffered the death of a sibling or friend, and when I set out to write my novel, I knew that I wanted to share a small part of the love, loss, and hope the donor family teens had experienced. With those intense emotions, I also wanted to explore some of the more typical things that challenge teens every day, like changing friendships, conflict, and tough personal choices.

2) You studied creative writing at Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop after graduating from the University at Buffalo. What was it like studying there, and do you have any funny or interesting anecdotes about being there?

Everyone at the Lighthouse (http://lighthousewriters.org) is the best kind of crazy, which is why I love them so much. If not for LWW, Twenty Boy Summer wouldn't exist. It all started when Lighthouse founder and talented poet Mike Henry approached me after memoir class one night and asked if I'd ever considered writing for young adults. I'd just turned in a funny-ish essay about some trouble my high school BFF and I got into back in the day, and Mike thought my voice had an authentic YA quality. So just for fun, and because I had no idea what kind of writer I could or would become, I signed up for the upcoming YA novel class, and that's when the lightbulb went on. I fell in love with young adult fiction! I adroed writing stories about teens and through the YA class, I truly found and honed my voice, completing all of Twenty Boy Summer from idea to final draft. I continued participating in Lighthouse workshops, events, and writing retreats because I'd never before found such comraderie, creative collective spirit, smart writers, unending encouragement, and free wine. :-) I wish I could move them to Buffalo because Lighthouse is one of the things I miss most about living in Denver. I mean, the Lighthouse writers and faculty, not the free wine. :-)

3) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?

I'm currently revising my second book, Fixing Delilah Hannaford (Little, Brown - Spring 2010), about a teen girl's struggle to uncover the history and hreatbreaking consequences of three generations of family secrets. Everything unfolds during an eventful summer in Vermont, and there's a super cute boy in the middle of things, too. :-) There's an excert posted on Starry Night (http://trublu93.blogspot.com/2009/06/sarah-ocklers-sneak-peak.html) if you'd like to take a peek.

4) What brought you to the YA genre? Have you always been a fan, or are you still fairly new to it all?

I owe it all to Mike Henry at Lighthouse Writers, who gave me an encouraging shove toward the YA genre way back in 2003. :-) Once I enrolled in Lighthouse's young adult novel class, I discovered Sarah Dessen, who unknowingly inspired me the rest of the way, helping me realize through her eloquent prose and storytelling that I was born to write for and about teens. Before that, I was completely unfamiliar with contemporary young adult literature, spending most of my own teen years reading V.C. Andrews, Stephen King, and medical thrillers by Robin Cook. Now, 99% of my reading list is YA. I'm a fan for life!

5) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Cotton Candy or Buttered Popcorn. Depends on whether I'm in the mood for sweet or salty!

6) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?

I'm currently reading Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley (Aug 2009) and The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Jan 2010).

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The best advice I can offer is to never give up, constantly practice writing, and right when you think you've finally written your masterpiece, get a good critique partner to totally trash it for you. :-) Then, lather, rinse, repeat. You'll get there! :-)

Thanks so much for the interview, Book Chic!

And thanks for answering my questions, Sarah! It was great having you here! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Giveaway- Boy Toy by Barry Lyga + swag!

So I am running a contest here. Barry Lyga is running this fabulous program for bloggers and I decided to participate. I received my signed copy of Boy Toy last week along with plenty of awesome swag.

First though, let me just mention Barry's contest for the Goth Girl Rising Trailer, which looks really fun and interesting!

Now, back to this contest. It won't be your usual "Just leave a comment to be entered!" but it's not going to be anything that can't easily be done. What I want you to do is go check out some other things, comment on those, and then come back here telling me which ones you left a comment on. For every one that you comment on, you get an extra entry.

This will be a bit selfish but also not at the same time (well, for most of them, but for one, it will be selfish). I haven't gotten many comments on some of my 2 year blogiversary posts this month over on Myspace, which yes, is sad for me, but I also feel bad for the authors and bloggers who took the time to answer questions or write a guest blog for me. They aren't getting the comments they deserve. For the last one, I also haven't gotten many comments on my Flip It Friday interview on Sarah Ockler's blog, which makes me sad. So here's a list of links that you can go comment on to receive an extra entry in this contest:

Interviews with Bloggers Khy (Frenetic Reader) and Erika Lynn (Kiss My Book)
Interviews with Authors Robin Palmer and Susane Colasanti
Interview with Blogger Lauren (Shooting Stars Magazine) and Guest Blog from Blogger Harmony (Harmony's Book Reviews)
Interview with Author Julie Linker and Guest Blog from Author Alexa Young (in this case, there's also a contest you can enter!)
Interview with Moi at Sarah Ockler's Flip It Friday (be sure to check the other bloggers on Flip It Friday!)

So just to clarify, you can get:

+1 Comment on this entry
+1 for every link above that you comment at (5 maximum)

for a total of 6 entries in this contest!

So once you comment on any of the above, leave a comment here telling me which ones you left a comment on. Also, this should go without saying, but please leave a substantial comment at the blog entries I link to- something more than just "Great interview/guest blog!" Read the interview or guest blog and focus on a part of it to comment on. Otherwise, your comment won't count toward your total number of entries.

This contest will go until Tuesday, June 30 at 8pm EST. The winner will be announced here on July 1. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave them in the comments. Hopefully, I covered everything necessary and all that I wrote makes sense, lol.

Side note: I do realize this may be a bit unfair for people who don't have myspace accounts, but this is probably the only time I'll run a contest like this, so for those without myspace accounts, you'll get your chance!

NEW UPDATE: Unforunately, due to my low funds, I cannot send this to people overseas. This contest is open to US residents only. I'm really sorry to all you overseas people!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Excerpt Vlogs

Go see Cyn Balog's interview here and also be sure to check out my review of Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott in the post below this one! Leave a comment on both!

Also, today is the official two-year blogiversary date of Book Chic! :) Go over to my facebook or myspace (links in sidebar under "Important Links") if you want to leave me well wishes. Or you can do so here. Whichever.

Hope you guys enjoy these! I haven't yet had the chance to watch them so if you do get a chance to do so before this evening, let me know how I did!

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog


Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review- Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
"Get this, I'm supposed to be starting a journal about "my journey." Please. I can see it now: Dear Diary, As I'm set adrift on this crazy sea called "life" . . . I don't think so. It's been seventy-five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her. And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone now, and she doesn't want to talk about it. They wouldn't get it, anyway. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to know it's your fault. Amy's shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was—and the present deserves a chance too." (Summary from Amazon)

Elizabeth Scott does it again with this book- it's a masterpiece. What I really enjoy about her novels is how she's able to go back and forth between serious and light and do both so very well. This was a quick read- pretty much read it over one weekend, which is a feat for me now that I have a job. The emotions in the book just leap off the page; I found myself really involved in Amy's story and life and how she dealt with her best friend's death as well as her own problems. Like other reviewers, I liked how Scott changed the reason for the parents' neglect of Amy. Usually, we see the parents who neglect their child as working too hard at their job, or maybe from going out on dates/hookups way too often, but in this, Amy was neglected because her parents were so wrapped up in their love for each other that there was barely any left for her. It was also interesting seeing how the romance angle played into this- it's a minor aspect of the story but still present and it helped Amy be able to see what she'd be denying to herself all this time. A powerful and evocative read, this is one novel you should not skip over.

Bloggiesta Update!

Here's my final update:

1) Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
2) Wings by Aprilynne Pike (Have set up post, just need to write out thoughts)

1) Write up and send out interview questions for July's Fresh New Voice of YA to Lisa Mantchev and Mandy Hubbard
2) Write up questions for Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri T2T tour
3) Answer the last question for Kay Cassidy's You 2.0 blogger interview and send off to Kay.
(Done with all of these, except for sending out of #1. I have sent off #s 2 and 3 though!)

Random Things
3) Put up background Kelsey sent me and add links and lists for easy access to reviews and interviews and guest posts and maybe one or two other things I deem necessary. (Look at the lovely new background! And check sidebar for links! Though am still fleshing out the About Me.)
5) Add links to important things, like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, whatever else. (Check sidebar for links!)
6) Start future review posts by putting in image, Amazon link, and summary, so I can just write review and post quickly when the time comes. (Have done a bit of this, but didn't do as much as I wanted)
8) Added on Saturday Do Excerpt Vlogs for Fresh New Voice of YA coming up- did the one for Cyn Balog, but not Sarah Ockler (only because I don't know what to read for it yet)

No idea how many hours I spent on this... but I'll give a guesstimate at about 7 hours? Most everything happened Saturday evening when my roomie wasn't around, lol. Anyway, finished up Love You Hate You Miss You so look for a review of that later today! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of June 15

Hey everyone! Here's my vlog for this week (I think it's hilarious that I'm at 10 minutes even, or at least, I was on my camera; Youtube added an extra second):

Books and People Mentioned in Vlog:

Hate List by Jennifer Brown (ARC)
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr (ARC)
Simply Irresistible by Jennifer Banash (paperback)
The Story Siren
The Compulsive Reader
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard (ARC)
Days of Little Texas by R.A. Nelson (hardcover- repeat)
Blue Moon by Alyson Noel (paperback)
Frenetic Reader
Reading Keeps You Sane
Dead is so Last Year by Marlene Perez (repeat paperback- donated to library)
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga (paperback; from Barry for contest!) + swag (accidentally left out- oops!!!)
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (audiobook) + my books back from Tirzah!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Book Review- Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Check out this awesome interview that Chelsea from The Page Flipper did with me yesterday afternoon for Blog Radio!

Not only that, but I have another interview that was posted today! Over at Sarah Ockler's blog, she's been featuring bloggers on her Flip It Fridays feature, and today's my day! Go here for the interview!

Also, be sure to check out these awesome interviews and guest blogs for my blogiversary: bloggers Shooting Stars Mag/Harmony Book Reviews, Frenetic Reader/Kiss My Book, and authors Susane Colasanti/Robin Palmer!


Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters. But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined. Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help. It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.

Pon's debut is really good. I loved reading about Ai Ling's adventures and it was fun seeing a fantasy set in historical China (right? or am I way off? lol). She did a great job of setting the scene and really mentioning all the little details, but not so much that it was wordy or became boring. Pon has a wonderful way with words and the prose flowed so well that the book was hard to put down at times. The descriptions are fantastic and paint such a vivid picture of the surroundings and settings in each scene. I loved Ai Ling's determination and feistiness, but she also had a soft side- perfectly balanced. The romance was also really fun to read and made me a happy person. This is a great adventure that no one should miss out on- check this one out!

Bloggiesta To-Do List!

I’ve decided to join Natasha at Maw Books Blog for her Bloggiesta! (I've also decided to steal Kristi's description of the event from her blog!) You can find all the official information at Maw Book Blog on the Bloggiesta post.

Bloggiesta will run from June 19-21. The Bloggiesta is not a reading challenge, but a blog improvement challenge! I'm not sure how much of this I'll actually get done. I mean, it's not much, but I'm very lazy when it comes to things like this and not at all disciplined.

1) Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon (hopefully up tonight as that's when it's scheduled, lol)
2) Wings by Aprilynne Pike (will prolly finish book today)
3) Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott (haven't started yet, but hey, I don't know how long it'll take me to read it, so might as well put it up here)
4) Go through my reviews and post them on Amazon and B&N.com.

Guest Blogs/My Own Posts
1) Guest Blog for Lee Verday (husband of Jessica Verday, author of The Hollow) about my blog and reading habits
2) Recap of Sarah Dessen signing I went to on Tuesday
3) Kitteh Pics post (LONG overdue)

1) Write up and send out interview questions for July's Fresh New Voice of YA to Lisa Mantchev and Mandy Hubbard
2) Write up questions for Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri T2T tour
3) Answer the last question for Kay Cassidy's You 2.0 blogger interview and send off to Kay.

Random Things
1) Go through email inbox and reply to people who have been waiting for responses (or those who haven't been waiting, but who I still haven't responded to anyway).
2) Send out a couple packages that contest winners and others have been waiting for.
3) Put up background Kelsey sent me and add links and lists for easy access to reviews and interviews and guest posts and maybe one or two other things I deem necessary.
4) Add people to blog roll.
5) Add links to important things, like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, whatever else.
6) Start future review posts by putting in image, Amazon link, and summary, so I can just write review and post quickly when the time comes.
7) Perhaps continue making lists of all books I own?

Anything else I missed? Does anyone have any suggestions on anything else I can work on in regards to this blog?

Also, I will post an update every night before going to bed of what I accomplished that day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seven Book Babes video, in which I talk about Dessen signing

Here's my Seven Book Babes video in which I talk about what I'm reading and also the Sarah Dessen signing I went to last night:

More recap and pics to come later about the signing, perhaps tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Review- Science Fair by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Science Fair by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Grdankl the Strong, president of Kprshtskan, is plotting to take over the American government. His plan is to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School, located in a Maryland suburb just outside Washington. The rich kids at Hubble cheat by buying their projects every year, and Grdankl's cronies should have no problem selling them his government-corrupting software. But this year, Toby Harbinger, a regular kid with Discount Warehouse shoes, is determined to win the $5,000 prize-even if he has to go up against terrorists to do it. With the help of his best friends, Tamara and Micah, Toby takes on Assistant Principal Paul Parmit, aka "The Armpit", a laser-eyed stuffed owl, and two eBay buyers named Darth and the Wookie who seem to think that the Harrison-Ford-signed BlasTech DL-44 blaster Toby sold them is a counterfeit. What transpires is a hilarious adventure filled with mystery, suspense, and levitating frogs.

I gotta say that I'm really glad I got this as an audio book first because as you can tell from the summary, there's a couple names here that are not exactly the kind that roll off your tongue with ease. Now, I say "first" because the last disc wouldn't play on my portable CD player and I don't know why, so I ended up having to put the book itself on hold and finish it up that way. But at least by that point, I knew how to pronounce everything, having heard the actor pronouncing them the right way on the audio book. Anyway, as for the story itself, it's Dave Barry, so you know it'll be hilarious, which it was! Just from the summary alone, you know that this is not going to be an ordinary read and it's one that should prove to be interesting. Now, it's not much of a mystery as the reader knows who's behind it all from fairly early on in the book but that doesn't really matter because the book is so funny and suspenseful in many other ways. It's a compelling read that's guaranteed not to be found anywhere else. Definitely a must-read!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Book Review- Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

If you're interested in reviewer interviews, check out my interviews with fellow reviewers Khy from Frenetic Reader and Erika Lynn from Kiss My Book here on the myspace blog!

Also, please check out Melissa Walker's vlog all about me and also interviews with Justina Chen Headley and Jennifer Echols!


Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

Dessen doesn't disappoint with her newest novel Along for the Ride, released tomorrow. I loved reading this book and it was just so compelling. Auden is a wonderful character full of depth and it was interesting reading about her relationships with everyone around her and how they changed from beginning to end, especially the one with her stepmother Heidi. I liked seeing Auden and Eli connect during their many nights out together and it was great to see the variety of things they got up to during their time together. It made for a fun little adventure. What also made this fun was sharing the book with my roommate, who read this at the same time as me (we switched off every couple days), and how much she enjoyed it. I think I've created another Dessen fan, hehe. Anyway, Dessen's prose is just so understated and simple and flows so well- it really fits the kinds of stories she wants to tell. Definitely a must-read.

Tomorrow, I'm going to see Sarah Dessen at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC with my roommate and I'm so excited! It's gonna be such a fun evening taking a road trip with my roomie and also seeing Sarah again. :) Will have a recap with a video and pics hopefully on Wednesday!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of June 8

Hey everyone!! Here's my IMM vlog for this week! Hope you enjoy.

Books and stuff Mentioned:

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman- audio books being played in background
Cindy Pon
Stephanie Kuehnert
Totally Fabulous by Michelle Radford
Jennifer's Body by Audrey Nixon
Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan
Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block
The Waters and the Wild by Francesca Lia Block
Touch by Francine Prose
Days of Little Texas by R.A. Nelson
Dead is So Last Year by Marlene Perez
The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams

This week should have some reviews, a recap of my Sarah Dessen signing, and maybe some baby kitteh pics!! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Seven Book Babes Video- A Cat, ARCs, VCA and B*Witched

Hey all!

Here's my video for SevenBookBabes this week. In it, I show off our cat Samson, my ARC and VC Andrews shelves, and play B*Witched while I talk. :) Hope you enjoy it!

Will try and post a review tomorrow to break up this vlog and the IMM vlog so there's not too many videos close to each other.

Oh and also, go see this wonderful vlog Melissa Walker did for my blogiversary here!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Traveling to Teens Book Tour- The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sarah Rees Brennan was born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it's not called Gaelic) but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. The books most often found under her desk were Jane Austen, Margaret Mahy, Anthony Trollope, Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones, and she still loves them all today.

After college she lived briefly in New York and somehow survived in spite of her habit of hitching lifts in fire engines. She began working on The Demon’s Lexicon while doing a Creative Writing MA and library work in Surrey, England. Since then she has returned to Ireland to write and use as a home base for future adventures. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it.

The Demon’s Lexicon is her first novel.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again. Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long. Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all. This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

It took me a while to get into this book; it was like 3 weeks with me trying to read this book. Now, that doesn't mean this was a bad book. It's just not the most enthralling in the beginning, but it gets better toward the end. In fact, the ending (and, in particular, two OMGOMGOMG moments) makes the whole book worthwhile and I'm really excited for the sequel. I really enjoyed the characters in the book and all of them have such amazing depth to them, my favorite being Jamie. I loved his humor throughout the book and probably also because he reminds me of myself a bit. That brings me to another point that I loved in this book- while the book is pretty dark, Brennan injects humor throughout it and in all the right places. It made for an interesting read- not many people can pull off both a dark fantasy and comedy at the same time and have it work. I can't wait for the sequel to come out.

This has been a production of Traveling to Teens.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of June 1

Before I show the video, I just want to link to a few things over on Myspace for my two-year blogiversary: Amanda Ashby's guest blog (contest closed), Lisa McMann's interview and contest (ends Monday night), and Kelly Parra's guest blog, interview, and contest (ends Wednesday night)! Be sure to check all of them out and enter the contests!

In My Mailbox Vlog

Books and People Mentioned:
Melanie C
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
Alexa Young (Worst Review Ever)
(Re)Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
Gray Baby by Scott Loring Sanders
Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
(forgot to mention that I love how they did their acknowledgements- very funny :) hehe)

Decided to just take a photo of a certain section of my CDs to make seeing them easier, lol. So here's the CD photo:

Go ahead, pick a few and I'll decide which one gets played in my next vlog! :)

Review- The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

I was so excited to get this book, as I absolutely loved the first, though was very angry when I saw how big of a cliffhanger there was. This one had a cliffhanger too, but not as big as the one in the first book. I always fly through these books so quickly, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because I have so many other books to read, but bad because I may not necessarily get to enjoy the story as much. I loved reading about Chloe and her friends' adventures as they escaped from the Edison Group. What I also liked was how Chloe thought about everything in movie style, like "If this were a movie, this would happen now.". It was a really interesting way of conveying her love for film and directing. There were also tons of twists and turns, just like the first book. It's just one big adventure from beginning to end. I can't wait for the final book!

The Awakening is available in stores now, or you can click on the title above to order from Amazon!

Side note: I can't wait to meet Kelley next month when she signs in Richmond, VA with Melissa Marr! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Little Rant

(This is an expansion to the rants/conversations I had with a couple people on Twitter earlier today.)

So I was on Twitter earlier today and saw a link to something about why boys don't read. I expected a thoughtful article about the reasons why boys aren't reading- it's always a fascinating topic to me. Instead I got this- a whine about the book cover for The Forest of Hands and Teeth and how it doesn't appeal to both genders.

I don't understand this. Just because there's a girl on the cover means that it's not going to appeal to both genders? I can understand if the book is maybe something like 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, which has a girly, pastel-y cover. But this is The Forest of Hands and Teeth:

To me, this cover is perfect for the book. Yes, it features a girl on the cover (since the book is from a girl's POV), but the tone of the cover is what makes this different from something like 13 Little Blue Envelopes. The tone is darker and more serious, and is fairly neutral color-wise, thus not favoring either gender. It embodies the post-apocolyptic world that Mary lives in. Even the title treatment is neutral- simple red and white as well as a straight-forward font. No curlicues or fancy treatment.

If the author of this blog entry is so secure in his masculinity, then why didn't he buy the book? I would think that a guy who's secure in his masculinity wouldn't care what other people thought about him for buying this sort of book. Especially one that's hardly all that girly.

Another problem I have is his proposition that the paperback cover have a shambling zombie on it. Um, how about no? I've read the book and it's about much more than zombies. Yes, zombies figure heavily into the storyline, but it's really more about Mary's search for answers and uncovering all these secrets and truths hidden from her all her life, as well as dealing with first love and, as cliche as it sounds, finding herself in the process. Compared to all that, the zombies are pretty much a minor plotline. And, in a way, they are, in the sense that they're already present when the book starts so no idea how they first appeared, and at the end of the novel, they're not "cured" or anything. They're still around. Yes, Mary and her friends have to escape from them, but a lot of the plot doesn't revolve around the zombies.

I feel that if the paperback featured a shambling zombie, it would debase and cheapen what the book is really about and make it into some sort of cliche zombie book (at least percieved by potential buyers). For me, I feel like it would put the wrong emphasis on the book- making it about zombies and not Mary.

Alright, I think I've rambled enough. I think I covered everything I wanted to. Any thoughts?

In better news, I finished The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong today! Expect a review to pop up this weekend here! :) Also, I now have 100 followers! Thanks so much to Eleni the Bookaholic for being the 100th! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In My Mailbox Part 2 + Ramblings + 20 Boy Summer Video

Hey everyone!

Here's the second part to my In My Mailbox post, but most of it is me talking about an anti-BEA chat I was in on Saturday night.

And I was part of a fun Twenty Boy Summer collaboration video with some other bloggers. Hope put it all together and she did a great job with it!

I hope you all enjoyed both videos!! :) Also, I started my two-year blogiversary celebration with a guest blog and contest from Amanda Ashby. Go here to read what she has to say and what she's giving away!