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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman
"Charlie Healy just wants a drama-free year, but it doesn't seem like she's going to get it. After surviving a middle school packed with mean girls, Charlie is ready to leave all that behind in high school. But then, on her very first day, she runs into her former best friend, Will, who moved away years ago. Now he's back, he's HOT, and he's popular. And he takes Charlie back into the danger zone of the popular crowd. But when a hazing prank goes wrong, Charlie has to decide where her loyalties lie."- summary from Amazon

First off, the summary is a bit off. The hazing prank doesn't actually happen until like 3/4ths through the book, so it is really more about her freshman year than this prank.

Anyway, this is a pretty good book. It's not an amazing book by any means, but it's decent enough. However, it feels like a debut novel with some flat characters that are either good or evil and it's easily made clear right when they're introduced.

As for the positives, Wiseman does do a good job with the interactions in high school and the social hierarchy, and how adults can sometimes look the other way and the reasons behind it. The book is also pretty funny and a quick read. It's also a satisfying read in regards to the ending, which made me happy because of how powerless I feel sometimes so it's nice to see something work out for the better.

The romance is a bit non-existant, and so it doesn't make sense when it happens but at the same time, it does. It's weird.

Overall, a good paperback read, which will be released Jan. 6. The hardcover is available now.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday- A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

"Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

There have been others before who’ve felt the Need, but they’re gone—erased from the memories of everyone whose lives they had touched. It's as though they never existed. This is the fate that awaits Charlotte. But the last thing Charlotte wants to do is disappear, to be Forgotten. She wants to stay with her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. She wishes she could just ignore the Need, but she can’t. And as everyone important in her life begins to slowly forget her, she has to decide if she’ll fight the Need in order to remain herself—no matter how dark the consequences."
-summary from GoodReads

My Thoughts: I loved Suzanne's debut novel and have been a huge fan of hers since before her debut even came out when I got to read The Naughty List in May of 2009. I still have yet to read the two sequels (bad blogger!), though I've started on the second. Anyway, aside from being a huge Suzanne fan, I'm really excited for this because back in June 2009, I got to read the first three chapters of it and I've been wanting to know what happens next! The publication of this book too is just great on its own because I know how much Suzanne wanted this book (and Delinquents) out in the world. I'm very proud of her for querying them and so excited that the publishing houses took them on. Suzanne is such a wonderful person and she deserves all this great success!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spray by Harry Edge

Spray by Harry Edge
"A group of teens sign up for an assassination game on the streets of a big city. Their weapons: pressurized water guns. It’s meant to be a game, a sport. But for some, it’s more than harmless fun. To win, they’ll use any means necessary.

Two hundred players. Three weeks of tense cat-and-mouse action. Every stalker is being stalked and only one player will be left standing. No one will be the same."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a bit of time to get into the multiple perspectives because there's like 7 throughout the book and they change at a fast rate. You probably read about two pages before moving to the next character. But once I got used to it, it was easy for me to read and follow.

It's a fast-paced action book and I loved the premise behind it. A water wars game? It sounds awesome, even when placed in front of the extreme drought backdrop. It was fun to move along in the game and see the kinds of sneaky ways the players would "assassinate" their targets.

Because of the multiple perspectives and short character chapters, the characterization does lack and the characters feel flat. There is a bit of an attempt to make the characters more three-dimensional and it's probably more than what would usually happen in a book like this, so props for that, but it's not enough. But if you're more plot-oriented with your reading, this is a good book.

Overall, a fun, suspenseful read that's great for a break from all the darker YA novels. It's out in stores now as a paperback!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Meandering Monday (4)

OK so last week, there was a small controversy on Twitter about a review on GoodReads for the upcoming book Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey (Fall 2011). The ARC is not out yet and won't be for a while, so really, there shouldn't be any reviews for it yet. But what made this review bad was the fact that the girl said the summary sounded so amazing and she really wanted to read it, however because of the gay romance in the book, it really turned her off. She even asked why authors have to put gay people in books and ruin them.

You can imagine how angry these comments made people. The review has since been taken down because it was reported by a few people, but before that, there were like 10 pro-gay comments (none anti-gay). What sucked was that someone had actually "liked" the review. I checked out who liked it and the person had the Anna and the French Kiss cover as their icon! HOW CAN YOU LIKE ANNA AND BE ANTI-GAY?!!? There's a scene where anti-gay remarks toward someone perceived as gay weren't tolerated and an awesome thing happened. Also, the author Stephanie Perkins is pro-gay. So yeah, that bothered me too. If you like Anna, you must be pro-gay; otherwise, you cannot like the book. I revoke your privileges. And yes, I do have the power to do that.

Anyway, why do authors have to put gay people into books? Well, because we exist. We want characters to identify with too just as everyone else does. But even besides that, what does it matter? I still identify with straight male characters even if I don't find myself attracted to women like these characters do. Or even if I don't, a good story is still a good story! I'll read it if it's compelling enough. But I certainly don't let something as stupid as sexual orientation keep me from a book (especially since like almost all of literature would be off-limits to me).

Moving on to a different aspect, in this person's profile, she talks about books being "clean", i.e. no sex (apparently, two boys falling in love falls under this) and no cursing, and how she loves those books. Now, if those things make you uncomfortable, okay, I understand (sorta, though sometimes I think these people need to open their eyes and lighten up). But they shouldn't necessarily keep you from a book or if they do, DON'T RATE THE BOOK BECAUSE OF YOUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF IT. Or even just because you don't like the idea of two boys falling in love. For all you know, all they do is cuddle and kiss just like straight couples do in other YA books. So what difference does the gender make?

However, I do think that sex and cursing in YA books can be necessary. I mean, it happens; including these things makes the books realistic. By not including it, you run the risk of being deemed unrealistic and out of touch with today's society. That doesn't mean books have to include it and I've read quite a few that pull it off really well and it still sounds right. Sometimes it can be too much- I've heard that about Swoon by Nina Malkin and I think there could have been less of the F word in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, so you have to find the right balance for your story and the characters in it.

Anyway, what do you guys think about the controversy as well as sex and cursing in YA?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

In My Mailbox- Week of Dec. 20 + Retrospective

Yes, I did a vlog. Hope you enjoy and I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas!

By the way, I love the screencap this video has. It looks like I'm dancing or something.

Stuff Shown:

Family Guy: It's A Trap! DVD (shown because YA author Cherry Cheva co-wrote the special!)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (ATWT Book- March 2011)
Clarity by Kim Harrington (March 2011)
The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (Jan 2011)
Where She Went by Gayle Forman (April 2011) + Metro Map (story in video)
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe (in stores now!)

And here's my retrospective:

Monday- A Meandering Monday where I link to two guest posts I did and ask if I should continue Fresh New Voice of YA (I've concluded that I will continue it).

Tuesday- I reviewed Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers, which is out in stores now.

Wednesday- I posted an Ask Book Chic, in which I talk about who I really want to interview, what book I'd read on my last day on Earth and who I'd read with, and what time period I'd travel to.

Thursday- You can read Wish by Alexandra Bullen for free until January 3, 2011, just in time for the sequel's release! Check out the widget to find out how.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Read Wish by Alexandra Bullen for Free!

To coincide with Wish's sequel, Wishful Thinking, being released, there's this really cool Wish widget that I got in my inbox today. You can read the entirety of Wish for free up until January 3!

Wishful Thinking will be released January 1! The paperback of Wish is out now!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ask Book Chic (18)

Thanks everyone for their questions in the last Ask Book Chic! I'll hold another contest when I need more questions. I'll be posting a review tomorrow and then nothing until next week, so happy holidays everyone!! :)

Cindy asks "James, if you could interview one person on your blog (that you haven't already but want to really bad) who would it be ant why?"

In the beginning, it would've been Stephenie Meyer because I got several requests from readers being like "You should interview Stephenie Meyer!" when I asked for suggestions on what to post on my blog. But now, I don't know. I feel like I'm able to access authors so easily that if I do get an idea to interview someone, I'd be able to. But if I had to choose, I'd probably say David Levithan because I love his books so much and he's edited so many wonderful books and anthologies.

Lauren M asks "Okay, here's my question: If you had one day left on earth, what would you read, and who would you read with?"

I'd probably read with Meg Cabot or Michele Jaffe because they are awesome and hilarious. It'd be fun to read a book side by side and comment on it as we go through it. For giggles, I'd probably say Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. For serious reading, um, I don't know. I'd read anything with those two, but especially one of their upcoming novels. That'd be cool.

April X asks "If you could time travel, where or when would you go to?"

I'd probably like to go to ancient Egypt because it's fun and a period I really am interested in. Or maybe to the future to, you know, see what's going on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
"When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?"- summary from Amazon

I'm not sure what to say about this book. I did enjoy reading it, like I do all of Courtney's books, but at the same time, I felt like something was missing. I wasn't as into this book as her previous two. I mean, I put it down the whole weekend and maybe read 20 pages Saturday and Sunday. It was just weird. Normally, I'm turning the pages maniacally and can't put it down. But I was easily able to put this down; there was no sense of urgency in it for me.

I don't mean to come across as saying that Summers did a bad job or something because she didn't. Her prose is extremely exceptional and really taps into the feelings of a girl who's lost her father in a horrible way and is still dealing with the grief. How she might act out, be searching endlessly for answers, look up to any ray of light that might help her figure it out. It's emotional and heart-wrenching.

The relationships here are well-defined right away and grow throughout the book. I loved seeing Eddie and Milo together (oh, how I wish I was talking about a gay couple) and their friendship was wonderful to see. They really did get and understand each other really well.

Overall, I'd recommend her first two books over this personally, but this is still a pretty good book (a B compared to the A+'s of CUTB and SGA). Definitely check it out especially if you loved her previous two. I'm in the minority for not loving it unconditionally.

Also, there was a fun thing I did on Twitter over the weekend called the James Cry Watch 2010 where I read the book and updated with my thoughts on it because people were saying this book would make you cry. I'm not a crier, so I took on the challenge. See how it panned out by going here (hopefully the link works). Start from the bottom and go up.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meandering Monday (3)

Some things got posted last week from me! I did a guest post for Story Siren Appreciation Week which I absolutely loved. Kristi is a wonderful blogging inspiration to a lot of people and she's a great friend, so she totally deserves this appreciation.

Alexa from Not Enough Bookshelves asked me to write a small post for her Christmas Couple Countdown where she counts down her favorite couples of the year and also asks other bloggers and authors who their favorite couples were too. So I wrote about Alex and Nathen from What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson. Go check both out and comment! :)

So this week and next, I'm only doing posts Monday through Thursday due to the holidays, though I may post my list of books read during 2010 on January 1. Then 2011 will be starting- woo!!

I'm really excited for 2011 and I hope over the holidays, along with spending time with family and all that, I can also update the blog in some areas and work on some of the features I've been doing.

In fact, I have a question for you all- should I continue doing Fresh New Voice of YA? I kept it going because it was a staple of my blog on Myspace (and I also enjoyed doing it) but it seems like no one seems to come by as much during those weeks each month (well, depending on the book featured). It doesn't mean I'd stop interviewing debut authors or reading their books, but I'd be doing it in a more traditional way rather than featuring them 3 times in one week. Instead, I could just review their book as normal and if I feel like doing an interview with them, contact them for one at a later date. That way, the promotion is more spread out.

I don't know, I'm just typing and words are coming out. I don't know what I'm saying, lol. But do answer the question please. I needz feedback! Maybe I should do a form people could fill out or something. I like getting feedback, whether positive or negative, so it'd be nice to do. I'll work on it.

Happy holidays, everyone!! :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox- Week of Dec. 13 + Retrospective

Um, so I don't have anything to show you for In My Mailbox this week. I got nothing! Which is probably best, since I have more than enough to read.

Here's my retrospective:

Monday- I interviewed Melissa Jensen, author of Falling in Love with English Boys.

Tuesday- I read an excerpt from Anna and the French Kiss.

Wednesday- I reviewed Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen, which will be out in stores Dec. 23.

Thursday- I interviewed Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss.

Friday- I read an excerpt from Falling in Love with English Boys.

Saturday- I reviewed Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, which is out in stores now.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
"Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this book. When I finished it, I actually turned my computer back on to tweet about how much I loved the ending. That's how much I loved this book.

Anyway, I was really excited for this book because I love romantic comedies and the cover was really cute, but this book is not fluffy or anything. What I love about it is that I feel like it breathes new life into this genre- the story is compelling, deals with some real issues, the characters are well written and have flaws and everything is just realistic. It's just an amazing book; Perkins has a fantastic debut on her hands.

The romance is handled so well and is in a similar vein to Sarah Dessen. St. Clair is completely swoon-worthy, though he's not perfect. Neither is Anna, and that makes it a great story to read. Plus, St. Clair has a girlfriend so there's that added on. What I liked with this is that St. Clair and Anna started out as friends and are friends for a lot of the book. It's not a simple, clear cut romance, which can be usually seen in other YA titles; there are obstacles, arguments, and the whole "can we be more than friends?" thing.

The relationships between all the characters in this book are so well-defined and the interactions all make sense and are natural. I love Anna and her friends at SOAP. They're so funny, loyal, and are so realistic.

I also want to point out how much I wanted to punch St. Clair's dad, but that's probably not news to anyone who's read the book because that's my usual solution for a character that angers me. I'm like "Why don't you all just go take a plane and take him out?! Strength in numbers!" Sometimes I do think violence is the answer, but Perkins finds a less-violent way to deal with it. Good for her.

Overall, this is definitely a good book for the winter time (or, really, any time) because you can make some hot cocoa and curl up with this great book. You won't want to put it down. Perkins has gained a fan for life.

FTC: Received ARC at ALA (and it's now signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Falling in Love with English Boys Excerpt Vlog

Fragment Friday is a weekly meme hosted here on this blog where you read an excerpt from either your current read or one of your favorite books and post it on your blog to share with others! It's a fun way to learn about new books or to hear a sample from a book you're dying to read.

NOTE: This is the last Fragment Friday of 2010 and it'll be remade into a monthly meme rather than weekly. More details to come in 2011- see you then!

Today, I'm reading from Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen, which will be out in stores Dec. 23!

Put your link down in the Mr. Linky below!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Stephanie Perkins

1) How did you get the idea for Anna and the French Kiss? What book(s) are you working on now?

The idea came to me in a dream — a beautiful boy with a French name and an English accent sitting on the steps of the Panthéon in Paris — and it was impossible to resist. Or, more accurately, the boy was impossible to resist!

I'm currently working on two companion novels, which means they have ties to Anna, but they are NOT direct sequels. Each book could be read as a stand-alone. The first is Lola and the Boy Next Door, and it will be released in the fall of 2011. The second is Isla and the Happily Ever After, and it will be released in the fall of 2012.

2) Tell us all about The Call/The Email when you sold your book. What were you doing when it happened? Did you celebrate in any way?

You know, it was actually a slow process. Two editors were interested, and they bid back and forth for a while, and then my agent and I picked. It was thrilling, of course, but most of the details are lost since it took place over an extended period of time. I think I was in Arizona visiting my parents during the beginning, and then it concluded a week or so later when I was at home. Something like that. My husband and I DID celebrate big, though, at our favorite restaurant — Bouchon in Asheville. French comfort food!

3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor (or flavors, if you prefer)?

Pear! Second place is a tie between sizzling cinnamon and lemon lime.

4) According to your bio, you've lived in some wonderful places over the years, including having been raised in Arizona and now living in North Carolina. What's been your favorite place? What did you like about it? Or if it's too difficult to pinpoint one, tell us a bit about each.

My favorite place is my current hometown Asheville, which is artsy and organic and gay-friendly. It reminds me of my second favorite place I've lived, San Francisco. It's like an affordable, miniature, in-the-mountains version!

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

Here's the current pile on my nightstand: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo by J.H. Patterson, Germinal by Émile Zola, The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson, The New Kings of Nonfiction edited by Ira Glass, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer, A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson, The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, and Locke and Key by Joe Hill.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen

Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen
"Sixteen-year-old Catherine Vernon has been stranded in London for the summer- no friends, no ex-boyfriend Adam the Scum (good riddance!), and absolutely nothing to do but blog about her misery to her friends back home. Desperate for something-anything- to do in London while her (s)mother's off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close. But where Katherine has the whirls of the society, the parties and the gossip over who is engaged to who, Cat's only got some really excellent English chocolate. Then she meets William Percival- the uber-hot descendant of Katherine- and things start looking up . . ."- summary from Amazon

This was a surprise book. I didn't know about it until it came in a package with other books I'd requested (it was about 50/50), but it sounded like a really cute read. After reading it though, I don't think "cute" is the right word for it. It's definitely a good book, but it feels so much more than just a cute romance.

I really liked the dual narrative, going back and forth between the two. I was a bit hesitant regarding the historical section because I'm not big on historical stuff. Or, well, I'm very particular, I guess. But as I got more into the story, I wanted more of it just as much as I wanted more about Cat's life.

I also really like the setting of London and, in both narratives, it becomes its own character. I am a bit biased though since I love London so much already so it's nice to see a book set there in contemporary times. However, a problem that arises with the narratives (Cat in her blog, Katherine in her diary) is that it's hard to really flesh out the secondary characters. Jensen does her best but I felt that the only people I really knew were Cat and Katherine. But they're compelling voices, so I didn't notice it until really reflecting on the book afterward.

I had two other minor problems. Since Cat is on a blog, she frequently includes pictures of her travels and saying "(See pix.)" and it just bothered me whenever she did it because pictures aren't included and I wanted to see them! The other thing is a problem that may be fixed in the final version but Cat frequently mentions wanting to meet the single Prince William, however recently he became engaged, so it seems a bit odd to see her hoping that she'll meet him and become his girlfriend.

Overall though, the book has way more positives than negatives and it is a fun story. I definitely recommend it and it's a paperback original! It'll be in stores Dec. 23.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Anna and the French Kiss Excerpt Vlog

Today, I'm reading from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Hope you all enjoy!

Anna and the French Kiss is out in stores now!

I figure I might as well do my recap here of the Stephanie Perkins event I went to in Salisbury, NC this past weekend. I woke up early, drove down, had Wendy's for lunch, then went to the bookstore. For parking, I found a spot right around the corner, but I had to parallel park, which is hard for me to do. It took me like 10 back-and-forths, but I got in without hitting either car and being close to the curb. I totally pwned that parallel parking spot.

Anyway, I got out and walked to the store. I had no idea where the event was going to be held. I didn't think it'd be a problem, but it turned out this indie store had several floors. So I wandered on the main floor since I arrived early, looking around for where Stephanie would be. I came to the end of the aisle and, lo and behold, there was a cat.

Sorry for the bad picture, but I snapped it quickly cuz I felt weird taking a picture of a cat. Anyway, obviously I pet it for a while and talked to it. It reminded me so much of my cat Hershey at home, which made me miss him even though I'd just seen him that morning.

After that, I wandered off, went downstairs, and there was the children's section where the signing would be held. I browsed around and enjoyed looking at all the books. Once I'd finished though, I had nothing to do, so I started reading Anna while I waited for Stephanie to show up.

Stephanie was a tad late because she'd missed her exit by 15 miles due to getting distracted by the audio book she was listening to. Her cute husband was also accompanying her (also, I found out Carrie Ryan wanted to come but for some reason, she couldn't; I would have died if she came- I've been wanting to meet her for so long!). Stephanie said hi to everyone, chatted a bit about the book, did a QnA (more on that later), read the first chapter, then signed books.

I got in line and there was this girl behind me who looked familiar who had been snapping pictures with a big camera throughout the signing. But I wasn't entirely sure who she was, so I didn't want to introduce myself and find out that it's not actually the person I thought it was. Too embarrassing. I got up to Stephanie and introduced myself and as soon as I did, she got up and hugged me which I thought was so sweet. She sat back down and started to sign my book and I mentioned how I felt bad not buying a copy especially after hearing the woman in front of me go "I read this for free, but I'm buying three copies to give to my daughters/nieces/gay nephews and/or sons/friends of my children/grandchildren (I wasn't paying enough attention to see who she'd gotten them for)." Stephanie said it was okay and that she understood. We also talked about when I got the book and tweeted about it and all that.

Then, of course, we got the picture. I asked the girl behind me if she'd mind taking a picture (she had ended up taking the picture for the woman in front of me) since she was what I called "the Camera Lady of the day". She took two pictures in case one was bad or didn't take or whatever. Here's the fruits of her labor:

I thanked Stephanie and the Camera Lady, grabbed my book, said goodbye, and headed out, though I did stop to pet the cat some more. I did want to take a better picture but the bookstore employees were looking at me with suspicious eyes, so I just left. Which reminds me- there was actually another cat! Downstairs while Stephanie was talking, an all-black cat came out and wandered around the space. After a few minutes, it started meowing in a lonely/scared way, but kinda low, though we all heard it. No one seemed to point it out though. I thought it'd be funny if the cat hopped up on the table in front of Steph and just meowed at her since it was QnA time.

Oh and by the way, when I posted my IMM the other day, that girl at the signing left a comment! She had recognized me too, kinda, and wrote about the signing on her blog. This is where the QnA section comes up- she kept notes on what Steph said, so there's some fun tidbits there (and much better photos). Check it out!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Melissa Jensen

1) How did you get the idea for Falling in Love with English Boys?

It started with London, probably my fave place in the world. I wanted to write a book about a teenage girl in London. But I couldn't decide whether to write about a modern character, or one from the Regency (1811-1820, think Jane Austen and Lord Byron). I love love love stories that connect contemporary and historical settings, so I started working on that connection and FiL was born.

2) You've written several other books, but this is your first Young Adult novel. What brought you to the YA genre? Have you always been a fan of YA?

For me, it's more about the audience than the genre itself. The Teens are the years in our lives when everything is most amplified. Everything affects us more dramatically. We have intense loves and friendships. Parents often become the Enemy; we have Frenemies. We might have sex. Music and movies and books take on an importance in our lives that they will never have again. That's the time I wanted to write about, and the people I wanted to write for.

3) Tell us all about The Call/The Email for publication! Where did it happen? Did you do anything to celebrate the sale?

I was making dinner. I can't remember what. Probably something involving greens and sriracha sauce. Whatever it was, we abandoned it and went out for sushi. Any excuse (book sale, birthday, nothing in the fridge...), we go out for sushi.

4) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor (or flavors, if you're so inclined)?

I'm not a huge candy person, but I nab all the Toasted Marshmallows from the bean pile. And I was actually able to answer that without thinking, because my husband's mother mailed us a big box of candy for Halloween. She does it every year, sending all the stuff they have in Ireland that we can't get here: Maltesers, real Cadbury, Jelly Babies, Winegums... And this year she sent us a huge bag o' Jelly Bellies. Which come from California. This bag had gone from CA to Dublin to PA. We had the best-traveled Jelly Bellies in the Western Hemisphere.

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

Next out is Truth or Dare, which is about love and social divisions and a hundred-year-old art mystery. At the moment I'm working on a teen love story/ghost story and a middle-reader book about missing children. Both are more cheerful than they sound. I'm really a Happily Ever After, Hearts & Flowers kinda girl.

6) As a writing professor and published author, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Absolutely. So much that I'm putting a Weekly Writing Tip on my website (melissajensen.com). The big one, the one thing I believe keeps more people from getting published than chronic run-ons is not finishing. It seems like common sense: Finish a book. But it's amazing how many people have pieces (usually the first three chapters) of multiple books, and not a single complete one. You have to get to "The End" at least once before you should even *think* about agents, editors, and who will play your heroine in the movie.

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

Right now I'm rereading "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead for my class. It's one of my favorite YA books from the last several years and I'm teaching it for the first time. After that, I'll probably read Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's new book, and then either Armistead Maupin's most recent or Alain de Botton's.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox- Week of December 6 + Retrospective

I did a LONG video for just a couple books and some swag. I ramble too much; I also adopt a Southern Belle accent and wave a fan. That probably got your attention. It's almost 11 minutes long. Enjoy!

Books Shown:

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux (Nov. 2010)
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr (Feb. 2011)
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer (Feb. 2011)
Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Jan. 2011)
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (Mar. 2011) plus some awesome swag
Bookmarks for The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Also, it's too late (it's past midnight and I've been up since 7:30am!) for me to write about the Stephanie Perkins event, but it should be up next Sunday. It's a pretty short recap, but it still involves energy and the like to write it.

Here's what I did this past week:

Monday- I did a list of 5 things that happened to cross my mind 10 minutes before this entry was scheduled to post.

Tuesday- I reviewed Violet in Bloom by Lauren Myracle, which is out in stores now.

Wednesday- I interviewed Michele Jaffe, author of Bad Kitty and Rosebush.

Thursday- I reviewed Rosebush by Michele Jaffe, which is out in stores now!

Friday- As part of Fragment Friday, I read a section from Spray by Harry Edge, out in stores now.

Saturday- I reviewed Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell, which will be out in stores Dec. 28.

Please comment on some of these because no one's commented on them yet and they're all wonderful posts, esp. the interview!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell
"Ellie was never particularly good at talking to boys—or anyone other than her best friend and fellow outcast, Ruth. Then she met Michael.

Michael is handsome, charming, sweet. And totally into Ellie. It’s no wonder she is instantly drawn to him. But Michael has a secret. And he knows Ellie is hiding something, too. They’ve both discovered they have powers beyond their imagining. Powers that are otherworldly.

Ellie and Michael are determined to uncover what they are, and how they got this way . . . together. But the truth has repercussions neither could have imagined. Soon they find themselves center stage in an ancient conflict that threatens to destroy everything they love. And it is no longer clear whether Ellie and Michael will choose the same side."- summary from Amazon

I was a bit wary about this book because I've gotten a bit tired of the "love at first sight" plotline and so in the beginning, I wasn't too into the book. I even considered just putting it down and reading something else.

But then a little over a hundred pages in (it was still a fairly quick 100 pages), something clicked. I think it was the fact that Ellie and Michael had had a fight and she was running away so there wasn't any more of that lovey-dovey stuff. Which is alright because I do enjoy romance, but only when it's done right. This just moved way too quick for me. This book is part of a trilogy and so it made me think that the author was moving the Book 2 romance plotline into Book 1 (click link to find out more about the Book 2 syndrome). It was a nice change of pace.

Along with that came information about the mythology behind it all and some action scenes and it was pretty much awesome the rest of the way. The mythology is what really cinched it for me. There's a lot going on here, but it's so unique to me (I haven't read too many fallen angel books) that I was really interested in hearing more. I'm excited for the sequels.

I think another thing in the beginning that bugged me a bit is that once Michael and Ellie find out about each other and all that, they spend a lot of time convinced that they're vampires. The title kinda ruins things. I think it would have been nice to be misled a bit since they don't know much, but when you already know they're fallen angels because of the title, it gets a bit frustrating for the reader when the characters spend a lot of time convinced they're something else.

Overall, the book has some flaws, but for a paperback book, it's decent and the good does outweigh the bad by a lot. Definitely worth a shot while you wait for the final book in the Hush Hush trilogy. Plus, Book 2 will be out early next summer, I think.

FTC: Received ARC via Around the World Tours. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fragment Friday- Spray by Harry Edge

Fragment Friday is a weekly meme hosted here on this blog where you read an excerpt from either your current read or one of your favorite books and post it on your blog to share with others! It's a fun way to learn about new books or to hear a sample from a book you're dying to read.

Today, I'm reading from Spray by Harry Edge, which is already out in stores now! Hope you all enjoy!

I also love how I say it's the shortest video and then I continue talking for a while. I can never just stop talking.

Put your link down in the Mr. Linky below!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
"Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run.

Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface- not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she's forced to examine the consequences of her life choices."- summary from Amazon

I must start off this review by saying how much I've been waiting for a new Michele Jaffe book, so I may be a bit biased when it comes to how much I loved it. Like, I may have been starving so much for Jaffe's awesome writing that I loved it more than I should. I highly doubt that though.

Anyway, this book sucked me in from the beginning. There's a prologue that sets the stage and takes place right before the climax, with Chapter 1 going back in time several days earlier. I really enjoyed Jane's character and she had a lot of depth to her, a lot of secrets, a lot of angst, as well as very loyal to her friends. The other characters are just as fleshed out and it's interesting seeing all their interactions especially as the reader is trying to figure out who could have tried to kill Jane. I had two suspects, but ended up being way off. The killer though does make sense and it's not so out of the blue that you're left scratching your head.

I was actually really surprised at how well Jaffe was able to go so in depth with her characters, be serious (though there are some funny conversations sprinkled throughout), emotional, keep the suspense going, among many other things. This book is a complete departure from her previous books, but it's a direction I wouldn't mind seeing her continue in for the future (though I do still want funny books from her; maybe alternate?).

The writing is so beautiful as well and Jaffe does a wonderful job with setting the atmosphere no matter what setting it is. I really liked how the flashbacks of The Night and Jane's past flowed in and out through the storyline. It was handled really well.

Overall, this is a wonderful thriller with a small side of romance. I highly recommend this book, as well as Jaffe's previous YAs- Bad Kitty and the sequel Kitty Kitty (most hilarious mysteries you'll ever read).

FTC: Received ARC from publisher (thanks Jocelyn!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Author Interview- Michele Jaffe

1) Rosebush is a complete departure from your fun YA mysteries, and adult contemporary and historical romance novels. How did you get the idea for it? Did you set out to write a darker YA novel, or was it a complete surprise to you seeing how it turned out?

I totally did not want to write a book like this. I am The Worst Person to write this book.

You know that old toothpaste slogan "Put your money where your mouth is" (it was a toothpaste slogan, right? If it wasn't, it totally should be. Because hello, that is a very good slogan. Why am I talking about toothcare? It's super important. Your number one accessory is your mischievous smil--what? Oh yes, that's right, Rosebush)? So anyway, there are a lot of darker YAs out there now, and I found myself admiring some and becoming, er, impatient with others (if that means "hurling them across the room and making a face and going eeeeeeeew now I have to wash my brain!"), but I felt I had no right to Talk if I couldn't do the Walk which translated means I didn't think I should criticize the books unless I'd tried writing one. So I did.


Joking. I am not much of a smack talker anymore.

I realized that what I had a problem with in some books was the way they fetishize the dark parts of growing up, the pain. Those things are true and real but what is so much more interesting is what we learn from them. Bad Things happen to everyone; they totally happened to me. So do we let them define us (for example, I was date raped by two guys when I was 16) or do we grow from them (and it was awful but through it, I learned to value and prize myself and never let anyone else define me). Realistically we do both, but hopefully, we can find ways to let the growth predominate.

Which makes me a lousy person to write a dark YA. Because I'm never going to write a book where someone kills themselves because they were date raped or molested; I believe in and relish the capacity in people to digest and get stronger through those things far too much. So as much as I want to be dark, it's always going to be in a "light at the end of the tunnel" way. I JUST CANT STOP MYSELF.

Its like a curse.

To me, Jane Freeman's situation in Rosebush (in a hospital bed paralyzed as a killer circles ever closer) is almost a metaphor for the process we all go through in trying to figure out who we are. It's scary and vulnerable and we're always appraising other people's reactions to us. But if we do it right--like Jane does--pay close attention, listen well, and ultimately work to be honest with ourselves, we'll make it through and be in a better place than where we started. SEE? THERE IS NO END TO MY OPTIMISM! MAKE IT STOPPPPPPPP--(mouth plugged with taco).

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

I'm working on another darker YA and a thriller that's somewhere between YA and adult (kind of like the Power Rangers meets Da Vinci Code) (Ish) (which is totally a thing) and a middle school historical mystery. I think. If you ask me tomorrow, I might tell you three different books though. I have the attention span of a gna--what were we talking about?

3) I absolutely love your Bad Kitty series and they're part of my short re-readable book list. The last book was published in Summer 2008 and the manga trilogy around the same time. Are there plans for a third book in the future? (PLEASE SAY YES!)

Yes totally! But for now, unfortunately, only in my head.

As Virginia Woolf said, to be an independent person you need


(actually she just specified "a room of your own" but didn't mention the corpse)

--and she was right. I love writing the Bad Kitty books more than I love

but not enough people wanted to buy them so no one will pay me to make more right now.(ALSO TRUE). Either we need to convince more people to buy them using some kind of hypnosis ray (@@@@BUY BAD KITTY@@@@) or I need to become Mayor of Funkytown and then I can issue them as official documents (according to a fortune teller, this should be happening very shortly).

4) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor (or flavors, if you're so inclined)?

Watermelon because it is two colors! Red inside, green outside--how do they DO it?!?

5) You're best friends with Meg Cabot, and frequently did advice columns and videos with her a few years back. How did you two first meet?


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

When I am writing, I mostly only read books that are by dead people because reading people who are alive makes me feel super insecure, but sometimes, like now, I can read living people if they write non-fiction. So right now, I'm reading Fatal System Error by Joseph Menn (alive) which is a nonfiction book about cyber crime, "Sex in and out of Intimacy" by Laura Rosenbury and Jennifer Rothman (both alive) in the Emory Law Journal which is a feminist legal theory piece, and The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (dead).

7) Having met you at BEA and seen your advice vlogs with Meg as well as a bit of a focus on fashion in your books, I can tell that you are quite the fashion lover and have some amazing clothes that you put to good use (your BEA outfit was fabulous!). Where does this love of fashion come from, and can you give out some fashion tips to my readers that have worked for you?

BLUSHING. Oh how I *wish* that were true! Mostly the way I get dressed is to look at things and say "Does this make me feel like I am going to have a fun day?" and if the answer is "yes!" I'm in. Last night I wore a sequin mini dress and a t-shirt that says "I AM NOT WITH STUPID ANYMORE" (current most prized possession) and thigh high fur boots. I was cozy and warm and chic all the way both to and from the supermarket. Kidding. I also went to the bike store.

It helps to have very understanding friends.

Seriously though (everyone put on fake mustache and serious expression please), the best way to get dressed is to have fun with it. Why look like someone else, or wear what someone else says to wear when you can put the ME in Fresh-n-Awesome? It is also a good way to make friends because people will stop you on the street to tell you that you look nice (or sometimes to growl at you, but I choose to assume that is some kind of compliment on their home planet). That is my #1 clothing tip. My #2 clothing tip is to try on everything inside out or backward. I am totally not kidding. Not everything works with this but more stuff than you'd think and you'd be surprised how rad things can look when flipped around. It is like getting a whole new wardrobe...for free. Which means: more money for tacos!

XOXOXO+airkisses by the dozen,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Violet in Bloom by Lauren Myracle

Violet in Bloom by Lauren Myracle
"Katie-Rose, Violet, Milla, and Yasaman—four girls with seemingly little in common but their flower names—are nurturing their new friendship and are busy building luvyabunches.com, their very own social-networking site. Their first flower-power task? A doomed campaign to get their school to serve healthier snacks. The Jelly-Yums they champion—soon dubbed “beans of grossness”—taste like candied beets. And that’s just the start of their troubles. A scheming classmate tries to drive a wedge between Katie-Rose and Yasaman, Violet may have been slammed in a secret journal, and poor Milla unintentionally commits hamstercide. It will take all the strength and genuine affection of these pals to weather a particularly stormy week of fifth grade."- summary from Amazon

Let me start off by telling you that I love Lauren Myracle. She is funny and I've yet to come across a book of hers I haven't loved. This was no different. I absolutely love this series and can't wait to read more from these girls.

It was a bit hard for me to get into the middle-grade mindset and the 3rd person POV, but once I did, it was just so fluid and fun for me. The book though is not just all fun and games. What I love about this series is that Myracle throws in real-life issues that kids have to deal with, like the death of a pet, friendship troubles and many other things, though one thing that isn't made an issue is the fact that Milla has two moms. That is awesome; no one freaks out about it or thinks it's unnatural. It just is.

Myracle also doesn't talk down to her readers (well, except for me, but only because I'm WAY out of the demographic, lol) and isn't condescending in any way. The kids know what is going on around them, they're smart, rebellious, and usually it's the adults who are out of the loop (which is usually true, hence why I'm a kid at heart. I never want to be a grown-up). The girls kickstart a whole campaign to get the school to eat healthier in regards to the snacks they pass out. They do a ton of research, present the case to their teachers and it all gets rolling. These girls are wonderful role models and this is a great series to give to your young ones. It's almost like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but younger and without magical pants.

Overall, this is another winner for Myracle and I'm excited to see where the girls are taken next.

FTC: Borrowed book from library (yes, this does happen on occasion!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meandering Monday (2)

OK so I have a very little amount of time to write this in because I waited too long. So here's a few quick things:

1) I am going to Stephanie Perkins' event for Anna and the French Kiss this coming weekend in Salisbury, NC and I'm so excited! Is anyone else going? Let me know or say hi when we're there. I can't wait to read Anna, which I will be doing next week for Fresh New Voice of YA along with another overseas romance book- Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen.

2) Parks and Recreation is an awesome show. I'm watching an episode now as I write this. I'm so glad I bought the second season DVD and I can't wait for the third season to start. If you haven't seen this show already, watch it when it comes back in January.

3) Chinese food is awesome.

4) Cats are cute. I love them.

5) Michele Jaffe is finally watching the TV show Sex and the City and tweeting all about it. Read her tweets here; they're pretty funny.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In My Mailbox- Weeks of Nov. 22 and 29 + Retrospective

I did a vlog this week because I got a ton of amazing books! Here it is:

Books Shown:

Parks and Recreation Season 2 DVD (not a book obvs.)
The Tapestry Book 3: The Fiend and the Forge by Henry H. Neff
Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman and Lisa Pazer
The Flappers Book 1: Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Sequins, Secrets and Silver Linings by Sophia Bennett
The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant
Wish by Joseph Monninger
Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez

And here's my retrospective:

Monday- I premiered my Meandering Monday feature where I ramble about random things, though this week I was a bit focused so as to unveil my new schedule for the next couple weeks.

Tuesday- I reviewed Stork by Wendy Delsol, which is out in stores now.

Wednesday- I unveiled the cover for Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers and also answered questions in Ask Book Chic and put out the call for new questions. This of course means a contest- you can win an advance copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. The contest ends Dec. 10, so get your questions in soon!

Thursday- I reviewed Matched by Ally Condie, which is out in stores now.

Friday- I read from Rosebush by Michele Jaffe as part of Fragment Friday. Rosebush's official release date is Dec. 9, but some stores may already have it out!

Saturday- I reviewed Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph, which is out in stores now.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph

Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph

I never asked to be famous—or infamous. Such is my fate for briefly dating (and dumping) Adam Spade. Yes, the Adam from the indie rock band Blank Stare who wrote "Indigo Blues"—the song that gave the band overnight success, propelled them to New York City, and stole my precious anonymity. Now I'm pawed by fans, stalked by reporters, and pegged as a vicious heartbreaker. And Adam is still calling me. Doesn't he have better things to do?


With a hit single and a promising career, I should be on top of the world. People on the street are beginning to recognize me, which is cool. And scary. The band is counting on me to write another hit, but I can't stop thinking about Indigo. Why won't she answer the phone?"- summary from Amazon

I was really excited to read this book because I absolutely loved Joseph's debut Shrinking Violet but, while this is a very good effort, it just didn't amaze me like her debut did.

First, the good. Joseph really knows how to write characters. I loved reading about Adam, Indigo and the people in their lives. She really fleshed them out and made them unique. This is even better since the story is told from two different perspectives. Sometimes multiple perspectives can seem very repetitive and use the same voice. These are two separate, distinct voices and it's such a great idea to take this storyline and see how it's affecting both involved. In Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, there's the same storyline but we only see Audrey's side. I really liked seeing how each reacted to what's going on regarding the song's popularity and the storyline behind it.

This is also a pretty quick read. It was really easy for me to get lost in the story and I was just turning pages until I stop and realize I'm already halfway through. There were, however, times where a sentence or a paragraph just kinda felt awkward and jarred me out of the story, like it just didn't feel right in the story or for that character to think or say. This happened a few times in the opening pages and so it took me a while to get into the story, but after like 20 pages, I was in and hooked.

Now, what I didn't like as much. I felt like there wasn't enough backstory regarding Indigo and Adam's relationship. I got a little bit of it, but I felt there wasn't enough explanation of it to make me completely care about the characters. The ending was a bit abrupt; I found myself at page 200 wondering how the last 30 pages would play out because it seemed like there was so much that needed to be done before the ending. Also, a bit unrealistic. It felt like the characters did a bit of a 180 in those last 30 pages and I'm left wondering what the heck happened.

Overall, the bad stuff didn't weigh me down too much. It is a very good story, and I'm excited for whatever Joseph puts out next, but it's definitely not perfect.

FTC: Received final paperback at ALA (signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fragment Friday- Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Fragment Friday is a weekly meme hosted here on this blog where you read an excerpt from either your current read or one of your favorite books and post it on your blog to share with others! It's a fun way to learn about new books or to hear a sample from a book you're dying to read.

Today, I'm reading from Rosebush by Michele Jaffe, which will be out on Dec. 9, 2010! Hope you all enjoy!

Also, a quick note- at the end, I mention Fresh New Voice of YA being next week. That is a lie. It is the week after next.

Put your link down in the Mr. Linky below!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie
"Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow."- summary from Amazon

OK, so I've read mixed reviews on this one and I'm in the middle-ish. The book wasn't a total disappointment, but it also wasn't an amazing home run or anything. I think Condie did a wonderful job setting up the world and really building it up with little things and big things. I really enjoyed the characters too and I do also get why the story is written the way it is- Cassia knows very little and is taught not to show much emotion and all that. It really makes those scenes where she does show it all that more powerful.

At the same time, I was a bit bored in the middle of the story and it seemed like maybe something exciting happened every 50 pages, but it wasn't much fun having to plough through those 50 pages to get to it. The beginning hooked me because of the novelty of it all and I wanted to know more about the Society and its rules (which, by the way, PO'd me a lot of the time, as I'm sure it's supposed to). The ending (like the last 50 pages) were very climactic and sets up an interesting situation for the next book. It's just that darn middle that's the bulk of the book. I liked some things about it, like learning more about Ky's past, but there seemed to be a lot of extraneous scenes there.

Overall, the book does have a pretty cover (though the hardcover is not sparkly like the ARC, it seems, which is a shame) and has a decent plot that could've been executed a bit better. The characters were very cool to read about, but I think for the most part, it's a library book. And if you want the pretty cover, wait for the paperback.

FTC: Received ARC at BEA (signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ask Book Chic (17) + Contest!

Before I start today, in honor of World AIDS Day, I wanted to link back to an interview I did last year on Dec. 1 with Courtney Sheinmel, author of Positively which is about a young girl who is HIV positive. It's a wonderful interview and one of my all-time favorite ones. Check it out and also check out Courtney's book which is out in paperback!

I've run out of questions again, and you guys know what that means- CONTEST TIME! I have an extra ARC of Delirium by Lauren Oliver! All you have to do to enter is leave a question in the comments below. You can ask more than one question, but it won't count as extra entries or anything like that. This contest will end Friday, December 10 at 11:59PM EST. So go on and ask some questions; they can be about anything, whether it be personal, blog-related, writing-related, completely out there, whatever! Also, try to skim through the previous Ask Book Chics (each post has an Ask Book Chic label, so just click on that to get all of them) to avoid asking a same or similar question.

Cass asks "If you were to talk to Meg Cabot (again) what would you say?

What inspired "Fragment Friday"? (I WILL start doing them...one day) Why do you believe others will be interested in FF?

How many review requests do you get a week, on average? How about, what's the weirdest review request you've gotten? (Mine is this self-help book, but about money and business)"

1) It's funny that I'm answering this now because just today I had a small email exchange with Meg Cabot. I chat with her that way since I can't see her in person, though she says she'll be at RWA next July in NYC and I am going to do my best to be there so she and I (and maybe some others) can hang out.

But anyway, I was telling her that she should another Boy book (Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, Every Boy's Got One) because those are my favorites. The reason this came up was because someone asked about a 4th Queen of Babble book and Meg was like "Well, I have this idea for something but I'm not sure if it should be for Lizzie (from QOB) or a character from Boy Meets Girl." I think Lizzie was left in a good place and doesn't need to be tampered with, so I demanded another Boy book be written. She said that she was leaning more toward that than a 4th QOB book. So if you're a fan of the Boy series like me and wanted another book, feel free to thank me when a new one comes out a few years from now. Because I made it happen. :)

As for face-to-face, I'm sure we'd chat about tons of things- we have a mutual love for Kathy Griffin, cats, awful reality shows (and good ones, like Kathy's D-List), and much more. I think she and I would have a grand time together.

2) Fragment Friday was inspired from my Fresh New Voice of YA posts where I'd record a vlog and read an excerpt from the two featured books, so it was originally just twice a month in the same week. My blogger friends Susan and Pam really liked that idea and wanted to do it themselves, so they came to me for approval since I was the one who had first started doing them. I agreed and we started Fragment Friday in July of this year.

I think others would want to join in because they can read a favorite section from one of their favorite books or a book they're currently reading and share that with their blog readers, thus hopefully sending them to that book.

It actually started out kinda strong and stayed consistent for a few months but recently, participation has fallen off (one week, no one else did one). This has led me to (HERE'S THE SHOCKING NEWS!) think about cancelling it or just making it once a month and let people know ahead of time the date it will be held. It's a hard thing to do every single week, not like In My Mailbox or Waiting on Wednesday. I'll continue doing it to the end of the year and then in January will either do the monthly thing or not do it at all. I'd still do it for Fresh New Voice, but there would be no Mr. Linky. What do you all think?

3) I don't get as many as you think, probably just a couple. I usually delete them if they don't interest me, which is almost 95% of the time. The reason for this is because of the fact that a lot of them have NOTHING to do with my blog. They're not YA reads, or even MG or adult chicklit. I get self-help, non-fiction, self-published stuff. It's not what I read!

Tara asks "Which do you think takes more time: reading the actual books or blogging about them?

Do you think you would read as much if you did not blog about the books?

Favorite ice cream flavor? (I just gave up sweets. Preoccupied. hehe.)"

1) Definitely reading them. Blogging about them takes maybe half an hour, at least for me. I don't spend days thinking about a book or anything. I just sit down and write out the whole review and set up the post in one sitting. Reading usually does take several days for me, unless it's a really quick read.

2) Yes. I read a lot for several years before starting the book blog, so having the book blog doesn't change too much. I'd probably continue buying the occasional book and borrowing tons from the library. I will say though that having the book blog causes a bit more pressure and I have to schedule books and I do think I read more because of how many books I get every month, therefore meaning I have to post several reviews every week. So maybe not as much because there'd be no rush for me to finish a book, but I do think I'd still have reading time every day.

3) I like the vanilla/chocolate combo, as well as mint chocolate chip. Also, why did you give up sweets? That doesn't seem right to me. I could never do it. I love them WAY too much.

Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers Cover Reveal!

The cover for Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers, the sequel to Personal Demons, is out now!!

Isn't that cover gorgeous?! I love the blue and that we get to see a close-up of the sexy Gabe (he's totally mine!) and I can't wait to read it- the book will be out July 5, 2011! You can go to Lisa's blog and enter the Cover Reveal Contest. All you have to do is fill out the form with the Original Sin tagline ("Is Anyone Above Temptation?") and the blog you found it at (Book Chic!). Once you do that, you'll be entered to win an ARC of Original Sin as soon as she gets copies in, which should be within the next two months! Also, by commenting here on this post (just once), you get an extra entry! I moderate all comments and usually get to them quickly so just check back in a few hours to make sure your comment got through! Good luck to all!

To find out more about Lisa and her debut Personal Demons, go to these links:

My interview with Lisa
My review of Personal Demons
An excerpt vlog for Personal Demons