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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls—and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana's presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can't love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection."- summary from Amazon

I NEED BOOK 3 NOW!!! So much is revealed in this book and then the book ends on such a cliffhanger that it made me want to finish the trilogy right away, but I must wait!!

I feel like this installment was better than the first. While I enjoyed the first, I did feel like not a whole lot happened. Here there's more action, more information revealed, and it all happens at a nice pace. I always had a hard time putting the book down, especially during the second half of the novel. Meadows does a really wonderful job writing the myriad of interactions between the residents of Heart, and there are a LOT of them.

I also wanted to punch a few people throughout the course of the book, which just shows you how invested I am in Ana and Sam. Meadows really makes you feel for them as they continue to work on their relationship despite all the horrible things thrown their way.

Overall, a fantastic second book that doesn't fall victim to the sophomore slump and I cannot wait to see how Meadows wraps the series up in the final book.

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

Monday, December 17, 2012

Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber

Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber
"When Perry ends up in Venice on a European tour with his band Inchworm, he can’t resist a visit to Harry’s Bar, where Gobi told him she’d meet him someday. The last time he saw Gobi, five people were assassinated one crazy night in New York City. Well . . . Gobi shows up, and once again Perry is roped into a wild, nonstop thrill ride with a body count. Double crossings, kidnappings, CIA agents, arms dealers, boat chases in Venetian canals, and a shootout in the middle of a Santa Claus convention ensue."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and had absolutely no idea a sequel was coming out until an email from the publisher showed up in my inbox a few weeks before publication. I immediately downloaded the book from Netgalley.

I will admit that this book wasn't as good as the first. This one was more action-packed, which did make for a suspenseful, page-turning read, but it wasn't as funny as the first novel. It is humorous, but it didn't have the same level as the previous one, so I wasn't as invested.

But aside from that, this book is insane. Schreiber does a really good job writing all the action scenes and we do get to find out more about Gobi (a LOT more), which involved some emotional scenes. It showed some great character growth.

Overall, not as good as the first humor-wise, but still worth a check. I wonder if there'll be a third...

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time and Divide and Conquer by James Dashner and Carrie Ryan

A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner
"History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel -- a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring -- they're swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.

Now it's up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak's missing parents while they're at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!"- summary from Amazon

Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan
"Dak, Sera, and Riq might be in over their heads when they attempt to stop a Viking invasion!

Hundreds of ships carrying thousands of warriors are laying siege to medieval Paris. The Parisians are holding their own, but the stalemate can only last so long. And that's bad news -- especially since Dak has been captured, forced to work alongside the Vikings while Sera and Riq defend Paris from within. No matter which side wins, the kids lose!"- summary from Amazon

Oh my goodness, I LOVED reading these books! They really put a fun twist on history and make it a quick read while challenging readers. And while the two books are written by two very different authors, I didn't notice any real differences in the writing. The characters all felt the same; obviously, that's the point but sometimes it can be a bit tricky to write a series like this.

I really enjoyed the settings of these novels and am excited to see where the books go next! Both of these are out in stores now, with Book 3 coming out Feb 2013 and Books 4-6 following in 2013 and Book 7 out in 2014. There's also an online game component associated with these books, which I think is really cool. I haven't had a chance to partake in that aspect yet though.

FTC: Received ARC of Book 1 from publisher and e-galley of Book 2 from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins
"Meet Ashley, a graduate student at San Diego State University. She was raised in northern California reading poetry and singing backup in her best friend’s band. The last thing she ever expected was to end up a military wife. But one night, she meets a handsome Marine named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man she’d always presumed to be true; he’s passionate and romantic, and he even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a deeply felt, sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole desperately wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a college professor, with similar professional pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war."- summary from Amazon

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Ellen Hopkins. Her books are just absolutely amazing and touch on so many different subjects and struggles that people go through. Dealing with a significant other in the Marines (or in any branch of the Armed Forces) is something that so many people have gone or are going through.

It's heartbreaking reading Ashley's tale and everything she goes through. The book flips back and forth between the past (when she first meets Cole) and the present (after being with him for five years) with Cole's poems in between each section break. I liked the idea of Cole's poems being in there too to get a little perspective into him.

I do feel like the other man bit took way too long to get to and it felt a bit rushed when it did happen. Not to say that it didn't feel right when they started to see each other, but I would've liked a bit more lead-up to it. Either way, it led to a heart-wrenching climax and I didn't want to see the book end.

Overall, another wonderful read from Hopkins and I highly recommend it as I do all her other books.

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Anyway by Arthur Salm

Anyway by Arthur Salm
"Max is a good kid—but you wouldn’t know that if you met him at the boring family camp his parents dragged him to over the summer. There, for a few exciting weeks, Max reinvents himself as “Mad Max” and gains a bad-boy reputation for being daring, cool, and fearless.

But when Max returns home, he finds it’s easier to be fearless with strangers than it is among friends, and he is not particularly proud of the way his behavior over the summer hurt people. Can he find a way to merge his adventurous alter ego with his true identity as a good guy?"- summary from Amazon

This was a good, funny book but wasn't necessarily something that held my attention. I thought it would be a quick read since it's a middle-grade book with some illustrations and footnotes and also because it's 180 pages. I was wrong- it took me 2.5 months to read it. I just didn't feel compelled to read it. I liked it while I was reading it, but I was never DYING to open it back up again. I usually had it next to my bed and might read a few pages before heading to sleep, but it wasn't something where I needed to know what happened next.

Max is a wonderful character though and I enjoyed reading his adventures. I think middle-grade readers will definitely enjoy this book. Salm did a great job with Max's voice and it really rings true. Max is a boy just trying to find his way in this crazy world, just like everyone else.

Overall, this book is a good effort, but not necessarily a run-out-and-get-it kind of read.

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

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
"Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better."- summary from Amazon

Why have I waited so long to read another A.S. King book?! I haven't read one since her debut, though I own the two books in between that and this one. I will need to get on them as soon as I can. Also? You know my review from the other day, about where I said I rarely read gay books so when I do, I have high expectations? This is how you write a gay book. Not that this is necessarily JUST a gay book or anything, but King writes Astrid and her questioning so well, and of course there is a lesbian romance (actually, two and a gay male one, so maybe this is mainly a gay book after all, lol), it's just simply fantastic and deserves mention.

But it's really more about Astrid feeling out of place in many other ways than just her sexuality. King writes a compelling voice that kept me hooked and flipping the pages. Astrid is a wonderful, sarcastic character and her friends are all great. The small-town setting was really brought to life too and made for the perfect backdrop.

I don't even know what else to say, except that this book is amazing and you all should read it (and King's other books). She's a wonderful author who deserves more mention and acclaim. I can't wait to go back and read the other two books I missed.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie

Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie
"Seventeen-year-old twins, Andrew and Andrea Morris, have always been close. They share everything—from their friends to a room—and they both enjoy star positions on their high school’s soccer teams. All’s right with the twins...or is it?

When new student Ryder Coltrane moves from Texas to their small New York town, he spins Andrew’s world upside down. All of Andrew’s past relationship troubles begin to make sense and his true feelings start to click into place after Ryder comes out to him. His friendship with Ryder turns secretively romantic, but secrets, they soon find out, are hard to keep. Once rumors start to fly, so-called friends turn on them, and the boys’ relationship turns into a bomb about to explode. But Andrew never expected it would be his own twin, Andrea, holding a lighter to ignite it."- summary from Amazon

This was an overall okay book, but it had a cute romance in it, so that helped it a bit. I thought the characters weren't really that fleshed out, except for maybe Andrew and Ryder with everyone else kind of playing a specific role and not much else beyond that.

The dialogue at times felt stilted and a little heavy-handed. I also felt like some of the characters were pretty immature considering they're supposed to be 17 years old, especially Andrea. The book is pretty short, at less than 200 pages, and surprisingly, there were times I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading. It felt like nothing much was happening. I powered through just because of the length. But it's weird because while nothing much happened throughout most of the book, the climax and end went by way too fast. I felt that part could've been elaborated on more and given time to breathe. The conflict just seemed to abruptly end with no real consequence. It just didn't feel right; the pacing of the whole book just seemed off.

I wish this had been a better gay romance. I don't read many of them because there aren't that many out there, so when I do, I expect something really good. Unfortunately, this just wasn't it.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Foxfire by Karen Kincy

Foxfire by Karen Kincy
"Tavian Kimura has never forgotten his kitsune mother, a shape-shifting Japanese fox spirit who abandoned him as a baby. While visiting his adoptive grandparents in Japan, Tavian learns his mother is still alive and that a faceless ghost is haunting him at every turn. The ghost’s warning is clear: Leave now. It is almost too late.

After a pack of vicious dog spirits attacks him, Tavian discovers that his paranormal fox powers are failing, killing him at an accelerating pace. Desperate to find a cure, he must track down his kitsune mother in Tokyo’s dangerous underworld. She is Tavian’s last chance to survive not only the fatal illness, but also the dog spirits who hunt him relentlessly."- summary from Amazon

This is the first Other book I read. I know, how weird is that? I have a copy of the first book (signed by Karen too!) but never got around to reading it. I saw that Foxfire was up on Netgalley and thought about reading the first two books before this, but timing just didn't work out (plus, I had no access to the second book- tried to get it at BEA but they didn't have any copies there). So I gave the third book a shot anyway, and it turned out pretty great.

I think this was the case because it seems like the books are only loosely linked and each tells its own story. I was able to pretty much understand the world that Kincy had built as well as these characters that had been previously introduced. I loved the setting of Tokyo and Kincy did a good job setting the stage and exploring the area.

The emotional journey of Tavian was very interesting and Kincy really nailed it, investing me in this character and everything he's going through. His relationship with Gwen was very fun and I loved seeing the two of them match wits and barbs. There's also quite a bit of action in here, which was nice to see.

Overall, a great book with an intriguing world and even better characters. I'm really gonna have to break out my copy of the first book and somehow get my hands on the second!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In My Mailbox- Week of Nov 11 and Retrospective

So I have these vlogs in two parts because the batteries ran out in the first video and I was too far in to reshoot it. Hope you all enjoy them!!

Books Shown:

Part 1-
Asunder by Jodi Meadows (signed)
Dear Teen Me edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally
In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg (signed paperback, 2008)
Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg (ARC, May 2013)
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Sin with a Scoundrel by Sara Bennett (paperback, Oct 2012)
Insurgent: Collector's Edition by Veronica Roth (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Starstruck by Lauren Conrad (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Stranded by Jeff Probst (ARC, Feb 2013)
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff (ARC, Feb 2013)
Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson (ARC, March 2013)
The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock (ARC, Feb 2013)
The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway (ARC, Feb 2013)

Part 2-
The Vampire Diaries: Hunters Vol 1 by L.J. Smith (paperback)
The Vampire Diaries: Hunters Vol 3 by L.J. Smith (hardcover)
The Journey Back by Priscilla Cummings (ARC, Dec 2012)
The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist (ARC, Feb 2013)
Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs (ARC, March 2013)
Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz (ARC, March 2013)
Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph (ARC, March 2013)
Requiem by Lauren Oliver (ARC, March 2013)
Period.8 by Chris Crutcher (ARC, March 2013)
Spellcaster by Claudia Gray (ARC, March 2013)
Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley (ARC, March 2013)
Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan (ARC, March 2013)
Imposter by Jill Hathaway (ARC, March 2013)
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (ARC, March 2013)

and here's my retrospective-

Monday- I reviewed Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which is out in stores now!

Wednesday- I reviewed League of Strays by L.B. Schulman, which is out in stores now!

Friday- I reviewed The City's Son by Tom Pollock, which is out in stores now!

Saturday- I helped reveal the cover for Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton, which will be out in stores summer 2013 from Flux! There's also a contest for a copy of Some Quiet Place!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cover Reveal- Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

Today The Mod Podge Bookshelf and Mod Podge Blog Tours are hosting Kelsey Sutton's Some Quiet Place cover reveal!


Elizabeth Caldwell has perfected the art of pretending to feel emotion, but it’s always a lie. After a near-fatal car accident when she was a small child, Elizabeth lost the ability to feel any emotion, but along with that loss she gained bizarre abilities: she can see the personified Emotions she cannot feel.  Fury, Resentment, Longing—they’ve all given up on her, because she doesn't succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one. Fear. He’s consumed by the mystery of Elizabeth’s past, consumed by her.

And then there are Elizabeth's cryptic, recurring dreams, in which there’s always love, and there’s always death. Haunted by these dreams, Elizabeth paints them, knowing that they somehow hold the key to the mystery of her past. 

But a shadowy menace is stalking Elizabeth.  Her survival depends on uncovering the truth about herself.  And when it matters most, she won’t be able to rely on Fear to save her.

Kelsey is very enthusiastic about her debut novel's cover; here is what she has to say about the design:

"It is gorgeous, eerie, and maybe a little strange. I love how much relevance it has to the story, as well. The farmland in the background, the town, the stormy sky, the leaves, the way the girl is vanishing. The point is, I am in love. Hope you adore it as much as I do."

 What relevance is she talking about? 

Enter to win a Pre-Order of Some Quiet Place below to find out!!!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The City's Son by Tom Pollock

The City's Son by Tom Pollock
"Running away from her traitorous best friend and her distant father, teenage graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius, the ragged crown prince of London’s underworld—a place where glassy spiders steal voices on telephone wires, railwraiths terrorize the train tubes, and deadly scaffwolves stalk the shadows.

Reach, the malign god of demolition, is on a rampage, destroying the creatures of hidden London to lay claim to the skyscraper throne. Caught up in helping Filius raise an alleyway army to battle Reach, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when the enemy claims her best friend, Beth must choose between the acceptance she finds in the streets and the life she left behind."- summary from Amazon

First off, let me just say that I did really enjoy this book and I can't wait to read more. However, I do think it was a bit too long; I felt that not everything needed to be included and parts of it really dragged for me, leading me to almost drop the book a few times.

But it is a wonderfully constructed book in terms of the world-building. There's this dark, seedy underbelly to London and Pollock really brings to life these creatures, while subtly raising important issues of environmental protection, greed, etc. It was a really interesting way of doing that.

The characters are all fully developed and I really enjoyed reading their story, but it did take some time to get that point. So don't give up on it if you're reading it! Unless you, like, really hate the book, in which case put it down and read something you like.

Overall, a good debut and Pollock seems promising. When's book 2 coming out?

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

League of Strays by L.B. Schulman

League of Strays by L.B. Schulman
"When a mysterious note appears in Charlotte’s mailbox inviting her to join the League of Strays, she’s hopeful it will lead to making friends. What she discovers is a motley crew of loners and an alluring, manipulative ringleader named Kade. Kade convinces the group that they need one another both for friendship and to get back at the classmates and teachers who have betrayed them. But Kade has a bigger agenda. In addition to vandalizing their school and causing fights between other students, Kade’s real intention is a dangerous plot that will threaten lives and force Charlotte to choose between her loyalty to the League and her own conscience."- summary from Amazon

This was a really interesting, page-turning book. I seriously had problems putting this book down; it was intriguing, mysterious, dangerous and just flat-out good. Schulman really creates this crazy, moody atmosphere that kept me plugged into the story, and the characters really have depth to them. These characters' world becomes turned upside-down because of Kade and it's interesting to see how they all handle it.

Overall, a wonderful, thrilling debut and I can't wait to read more from Schulman.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
"In the eye of a storm stands Bryn, the alpha of the Cedar Ridge werewolf pack. She is young. Female. Human. Physically weaker than any werewolf, she could never survive a battle with another alpha, the strongest, fiercest, and canniest of his pack.

Yet she cannot refuse a summons from the werewolf Senate. A rogue werewolf is attacking humans. The risk of exposure threatens to destroy pack life, and the center of the crisis is Cedar Ridge territory—her own lands.

Bryn has no choice but to attend the meeting, a gathering of the most powerful werewolves on the continent. The subject is the rogue wolf, but Bryn knows the other packs want what she has. Her territory. Her females. Her pack.

They want her death.

Werewolf law prevents the other alphas from making a direct attack. It also prevents her former alpha, the mysterious and powerful Callum, from coming to her aid. But it doesn’t prevent Bryn from knowing what she wants. To keep her lands. To protect her pack.

To survive."- summary from Amazon

God, I love this series so much and it's sad to see it end, but it went out with a bang. It ended perfectly and I just love how Barnes pieced everything together. It's a clever climax and ending.

I really enjoy reading about Bryn's pack and I like being with these characters. They were already fully formed in the first book and it's great to be back in their lives, seeing what they're up to and learning even more about them.

Barnes is a fantastic writer and I'm so excited to read a new book from her. If you haven't read this series, read it. You won't regret it. I can't wait to read Barnes' next novel, Nobody. She's got a fan for life.

FTC: Borrowed hardcover from local library. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Author Interview- Sarah Beth Durst

1) How did you get the idea for Vessel?

I knew I wanted to write about a desert -- I'd written about the Arctic in my novel ICE, and this time, I wanted the sun and the sand. So I researched real deserts (the Gobi, the Sahara, etc.) and then I set about filling my desert with magic: sky serpents made of unbreakable glass, wolves made of sand, monstrous worms, gods and goddesses who inhabit human bodies... During this, I had a dream about a girl who was dancing barefoot on the desert sand. She knew at the end of the dance, she'd die. And that's the moment VESSEL was born: when that girl danced onto my magic desert.

2) You've gotten blurbs from the amazing Tamora Pierce for Vessel and other novels of yours. What was your reaction upon hearing about these blurbs?


Seriously, I was that articulate. When I was ten years old, I read ALANNA by Tamora Pierce, and I remember very clearly thinking, "I want to do this. I want to write books like this." So knowing that she has read and enjoyed my books is both an honor and a thrill.

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

I am working on two new projects:

SWEET NOTHINGS (coming fall 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker) is about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by dreams of carnival tents and tarot cards, must remember her past and why she has strange abilities before a magic-wielding serial killer hunts her down.

THE LOST (coming fall 2013 from Harlequin/Luna) is the first in a trilogy about a woman running from her bleak life who finds herself trapped in a small town where all things lost -- luggage, keys, people -- are mysteriously deposited.

4) You own an "ill-mannered cat", according to your bio. That sounds like there might be some funny anecdotes. Any you can share?

Just the usual hiss-at-strangers and plot-to-kill-everyone feline behavior. Once, she attacked a child who was pretending to be a tiger, but I prefer to think she believed she was defending me against a fierce predator.

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

My to-read pile is a massive tower, but one book that I've been eyeing is THE SWEETEST SPELL by Suzanne Selfors. It involves chocolate magic, and it looks deliciously delightful.

6) Did you always want to be a writer? What made you decide to start looking into publication?

I have always wanted to be a writer (except for when I was five, I wanted to be Wonder Woman). I think books are magic -- they're these little rectangles that have the power to transport you into other worlds and other lives, to touch your heart, to make you laugh and cry, to make you feel not alone -- and I've always wanted to be part of that magic.

7) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor (or flavors, if you're so inclined)? Or if you don't like those, what's your favorite snack?

Cherry. Also watermelon. And I loathe buttered popcorn flavored jelly beans.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen
"No matter how many times female comedians buck the conventional wisdom, people continue to ask: “Are women funny?” The question has been nagging at women off and on (mostly on) for the past sixty years. It’s incendiary, much discussed, and, as proven in Yael Kohen’s fascinating oral history, totally wrongheaded.

In We Killed, Kohen pieces together the revolution that happened to (and by) women in American comedy, gathering the country’s most prominent comediennes and the writers, producers, nightclub owners, and colleagues who revolved around them. She starts in the 1950s, when comic success meant ridiculing and desexualizing yourself; when Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller emerged as America’s favorite frustrated ladies; when the joke was always on them. Kohen brings us into the sixties and seventies, when the appearance of smart, edgy comedians (Elaine May, Lily Tomlin) and the women’s movement brought a new wave of radicals: the women of SNL, tough-ass stand-ups, and a more independent breed on TV (Mary Tyler Moore and her sisters). There were battles to fight and preconceptions to shake before we could arrive in a world in which women like Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, and Tina Fey can be smart, attractive, sexually confident—and, most of all, flat-out funny.

As the more than 150 people interviewed for this riveting oral history make clear, women have always been funny. It’s just that every success has been called an exception and every failure an example of the rule. And as each generation of women has developed its own style of comedy, the coups of the previous era are washed away and a new set of challenges arises. But the result is the same: They kill. A chorus of creative voices and hilarious storytelling, We Killed is essential cultural and social history, and—as it should be!—great entertainment."- summary from Amazon

You would not believe how excited I was for this book when I first saw the cover for it at BEA. I was waiting in line for the Katherine Applegate/Michael Grant signing and spent about 20 minutes before it started standing in the same place. That place gave me the view of one of the Macmillan pillars, which was covered in book covers of all kinds. We Killed drew my attention because, first off, it's hot pink (the book itself under the dust jacket is black and Very Serious) and then I noticed all my favorite comedians (seriously, about 95% of my favorites are women) and I was like "WHAT IS THIS BOOK?" I also happened to be right in front of the podium where publicists were sitting at. I asked about the book and was told there were no ARCs (and now I know why- in the introduction, Kohen mentions still interviewing people in mid-2012). But I kept the book title tucked away in my brain for later use.

Fast forward to September when I start thinking about the book again. I realized that with the mid-October release date looming, I needed to act fast. I emailed FSG's publicity department and made my case. I basically said that I've been lusting after this book since June, have reviewed non-fiction before (Kathy Griffin's memoir), and would promote the hell out of this book. No reply, but a book showed up in the mail about a week later. I did squeal and jump around, and tweeted about it immediately. I was in the middle of like 4 other books at the time, so I made an attempt at holding off on it. I couldn't help myself though and brought it with me to work that night, but then I was responsible and finished the other books before really diving into We Killed.

This is such a fascinating book. I know a lot of the female comedians featured, including ones from long ago, like Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, the vast majority of the SNL women, Lily Tomlin, etc. so it was interesting to read about their experiences starting out in comedy. Kohen creates the backdrop with the occasional set-up and aside, but the bulk of the book is dedicated to hearing from these women as well as behind-the-scenes people, both men and women. It's a perfect balance that Kohen gives her readers, letting the interviewees tell their story rather than writing it herself.

I will admit that while the first chapters were interesting and contained many stories and comedians I'd never known of, I did get more and more excited as the book went on, giving me more of the women I knew more about. By the time I got to the first SNL chapter, I was in my zone.

There are three individual spotlights scattered throughout the book (separate from the chapters), focusing on women who were really influential and ground-breaking- Carol Burnett, Merrill Markoe, and Ellen Degeneres. I'd never heard of Merrill before, though she was a writer on Late Night with David Letterman from the beginning and came up with a lot of the recurring segments. But a lot of comedians have their own spotlight in the various chapters, with Kohen patching together interview pieces about a particular comic over the course of a few pages.

Reading the backstories of these comedians and the trials they faced really puts a lot of things in perspective of how far we've come since the 1950's (where the book starts its history). It's also just interesting hearing about how these women were marginalized- there's a story in there about the Friends pilot, how difficult it was to sell Ellen's talk show, etc. It's absolutely crazy.

Honestly, I think I could go on and on about this book and how great it is. But if you're looking for an amazing look into the world of female comedy or want to learn more about your favorite female comedians, this is the book to get. I don't care if you buy it or if you get it from the library, just read this book. It's simply fascinating.

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blink Once by Cylin Busby

Blink Once by Cylin Busby
"West is a high school senior who has everything going for him until an accident leaves him paralyzed. Strapped down in his hospital bed, slipping in and out of consciousness, West is terrified and alone. Until he meets Olivia. She's the girl next door-sort of. A patient in the room next to his, only Olivia can tell what West is thinking, and only Olivia seems to know that the terrible dreams he's been having are not just a result of his medication. Yet as West comes to rely on Olivia-to love her, even-certain questions pull at him: Why has Olivia been in the hospital for so long? And what does it mean that she is at the center of his nightmares? But the biggest question of all comes when West begins to recover and learns that the mysterious girl he's fallen in love with has a secret he could never have seen coming."- summary from Amazon

This was a really good book, though I did kind of guess the twist before it came up, but there was an aspect to it I didn't guess. It was really interesting reading about West's time in the hospital. Busby does a great job of getting into West's mind and showing the reader his change throughout the book. I also felt it was realistic once West recovers and goes back to his old life, seeing how awkward it was.

Overall, an interesting, suspenseful, page-turning new book from Busby. Definitely one to check out.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley and publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have a Nice Day by Julie Halpern

Have a Nice Day by Julie Halpern
"Anna Bloom has just come home from a three-week stay in a mental hospital. She feels...okay. It's time to get back to some sort of normal life, whatever that means. She has to go back to school, where teachers and friends are dying to know what happened to her, but are too afraid to ask. And Anna is dying to know what's going on back at the hospital with her crush, Justin, but is too afraid to ask. Meanwhile, Anna's parents aren't getting along, and she wonders if she's the cause of her family's troubles."- summary from Amazon

I have been so excited for this book since I found out about it a couple years ago. It was well worth the wait. It's almost double in size compared to the first book, but it does encompass more plot, time, and settings. But I still devoured it just like the first one.

I missed Anna's sense of humor so much; I laughed out loud multiple times. It was also nice seeing her interacting with new, yet familiar characters- her friends, who we mainly just hear about in the first book, and her family, who we don't see too much of in the first book.

I also liked how Halpern showed various reactions to Anna's stay in the hospital. Obviously, it's at the forefront of Anna's mind and infects most of her thoughts and actions. But there are people who know, people who don't, and people who do know but don't care. Everyone has a different reaction and way of dealing with it. It's interesting.

Halpern also really did a great job with the relationship aspect of Anna's life. Her romance with Justin back at the mental hospital was a big thing for her, but how is it going to fit in when she's back in the real world? And now that she's got her stuff (kinda together), she's noticing other guys too and they're noticing her. How is she going to intersperse the two? It's an interesting plot and I liked reading about this predicament.

Overall, read Get Well Soon (the first book) if you haven't already and then this. And then get Julie's other two YA books. Julie became one of my favorites after I read Get Well Soon and her books since then have gotten better and better. They're a pure treat for me to read. I cannot wait to see what she writes next!

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog Tour- Dear Teen Me Edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

Dear Teen Me edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally
"Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me."- summary from Amazon

I loved reading this book! It absolutely flew by and I pretty much read it in a day. Each author, both ones I adore and some new ones I hadn't heard of, wrote to their teen selves with humor, wisdom, and depth. It was interesting, and occasionally heartbreaking, to read about the authors' pasts and what they had been through.

All the stories are so different that it makes the book hard to put down. I wasn't bogged down by an author's voice; each story rejuvenated me. I would think that I would stop after an essay, but then turn the page and just keep going. I particularly enjoyed the ones that were comics as opposed to essays. It was a nice switch.

It also took me forever (like until the last few authors) to realize that the book is alphabetized by author. I know, I'm observant like that.

Anyway, this is definitely a book for pretty much anyone. I think teens will get some great advice out of it as well as insight into their favorite authors. As an adult, it took me back to my teens and got me thinking about how I felt and acted back then. Essays involving being a gay boy (about 3 or 4 of them) and dealing with that were of particular note to me.

Overall, go get this book! It's simply amazing.

Zest Books website: http://zestbooks.net/dear-teen-me-blog-tour/
Dear Teen Me website: http://dearteenme.com/?page_id=4031
Dear Teen Me events page: http://zestbooks.net/events/
Zest Books Dear Teen Me book page: http://zestbooks.net/dear-teen-me/

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Penguin Kids' Middle Grade Halloween Costume Tour + Giveaway!

Step into some creepy stories this Halloween and become your favorite middle grade character…from the ghoulish undead to mischievous pirates, the costumes are endless.

The Book:

Wereworld by Curtis Jobling

Imagine a world ruled by Werelords--men and women who can shift at will into bears, lions, and serpents. When Drew suddenly discovers he's not only a werewolf but the long-lost heir to the murdered Wolf King's throne, he must use his wits and newfound powers to survive in a land suddenly full of enemies. Drew's the only one who can unite the kingdom in a massive uprising against its tyrant ruler, Leopold the Lion. But the king is hot on Drew's tail and won't rest until he's got the rebel wolf's head.

For today, October 29th only, you can buy the e-book of Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf for only $2.99 wherever e-books are sold!

The Costume:

Be a Werewolf like Drew for Halloween with these three easy tips:

1.Grab an old t-shirt and pants and use a pair of scissors to create tears and frayed edges.

2.At a craft store get some fur-like fabric – you won’t need a lot – and glue them to the inside of the pants and shirt so that the fur sticks out of the holes you made.

3.Finally use some black eyeliner to draw a snout on your nose and make your hair nice and messy. Werewolves don’t groom.

You can find Wereworld online here: http://www.wereworldbooks.com

Purchase Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and IndieBound

Blog Tour Schedule

Mon 10.22 MundieKids IN A GLASS GRIMMLY
Tues 10.23 Green Bean Teen Queen GUSTAV GLOOM
Wed 10.24 Charlotte’s Library UNDEAD ED
Thurs 10.25 Shelf Elf CHRONICLES OF EGG
Fri 10.26 Bookalicious CREATURE FROM THE 7TH GRADE
Mon 10.29 Book Chic WEREWORLD
Tues 10.30 Books Together BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE


I have a full finished copy set of the Halloween Middle Grade Halloween tour books to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment by 9pm EST on Friday, Nov 2 and you're entered! US/Canada residents only! Here’s the list of books and you can click on the title for more info:

Wereworld, In a Glass Grimmly, The Creature from the 7th Grade, Books of Elsewhere, Gustav Gloom and the People Takers, Undead Ed, and Deadweather and Sunrise: Chronicles of Egg.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Origin by Jessica Khoury
"Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever."- summary from Amazon

Khoury's debut is fascinating. I loved reading about Pia and following along on her journey toward uncovering her past. There's a ton of twists and turns throughout the book and I definitely flew through the book.

I liked the relationship between Eio and Pia, though it did feel a bit insta-love to me at times and I never really bought into it too much.

I liked Khoury's mythology, how she built the world of the rainforest and Little Cam- it felt very real to me and it felt like I was there. The backstory of Little Cam was very interesting too. There's definitely a dark nature to this book as well in regards to scientific research and how far some people willing to go in pursuit of that. It's an interesting topic. Of course, I was not a fan of the scientists who were very cold-blooded. I did however really like the new scientist that comes in a little ways into the book- I cannot remember her name and am too lazy to look it up. But I really enjoyed her.

Overall, an amazing debut (and possibly standalone- I can't find info on Khoury's second book- which is always good). I cannot wait to see what Khoury writes next!

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours by Kristina Springer

My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours by Kristina Springer
"Seventh grade was supposed to be fun, but Tori is having major drama with her BFF, Sienna. Sienna changed a lot over the summer—on the first day of school she’s tan, confident, and full of stories about her new dreamy boyfriend. Tori knows that she’s totally making this guy up. So Tori invents her own fake boyfriend, who is better than Sienna’s in every way. Things are going great—unless you count the whole lying-to-your-best-friend thing—until everyone insists Tori and Sienna bring their boyfriends to the back-to-school dance."- summary from Amazon

This was such a cute little story! Springer's novels are always so much fun to read and I laugh out loud quite a bit. I loved the fake boyfriend concept and the one-upping between the two girls. The stories just kept getting crazier and crazier until the climax and there's a little shocker at that point. I loved the ending when the two friends made up.

Overall, just an adorable book. Great for middle-schoolers and just for whenever you need a fun, light read!

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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In My Mailbox- Week of Oct 15 + Retrospective

I did another vlog this week with some more fantastic books! Enjoy!

Books Shown:

Furious by Jill Wolfson (ARC, April 2013)
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (ARC, Jan 2013)
Big Nate: In A Class by Himself Special Edition by Lincoln Pierce (hardcover, Oct 2012)
The Turning by Francine Prose (hardcover, Sept 2012)
Christmas in Sugarcreek by Shelley Shephard Gray (paperback, Oct 2012)
Slated by Teri Terry (ARC, Jan 2013)
Rise by Andrea Cremer (ARC, Jan 2013)
Wildwood and Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Kurtis Ellis (paperback and hardcover, Oct 2012)
Charlotte's Web (60th Anniversary Edition) by E.B. White (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Warriors 3-pack by Erin Hunter (paperback, Oct 2012)
100% Official Justin Bieber: Just Get Started (hardcover, Oct 2012)
One Direction Behind the Scenes (paperback, Oct 2012)

and here's a retrospective:

Monday- I reviewed Between You and Me by Marisa Calin, which is in stores now!

Wednesday- I reviewed Secret Letters by Leah Scheier, which is in stores now!

Friday- I reviewed Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead, which is in stores now!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
"When seventh grader Georges (the s is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy.

Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?"- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed Stead's previous book and was really excited to read this one. It sounded really interesting- I love spy activity. It didn't disappoint. I loved all the characters; they were all very unique and captivating. Stead wrote a fascinating book about friendship and, to a smaller extent, family. It's a short book so most of the focus is on Georges and Safer's spy activities, but Georges' relationship with his parents is included a bit and there's a whopper of a reveal toward the end of the book, which I didn't see coming.

Overall, I'll be keeping an eye on Stead from now on. Her books are just wonderful to read. I also loved that this one had a bit more humor in it than When You Reach Me.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier
"Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits—and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective—to save her cousin’s reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way."- summary from Amazon

I will say I was a bit apprehensive when starting this book because I'm not much of a fan of historical fiction. Then when I started reading, I wasn't totally into the story and considered putting it down. But I kept on plugging and REALLY got into it, having trouble putting it down.

I really enjoyed reading Dora's journey as an amateur detective and seeing her relationship develop with Peter. I LOVED Peter as a romantic interest and Scheier did a great job providing depth to the characters and their backstories that caused obstacles on their path to each other. This was not a insta-love, they're together right away type of situation.

The mysteries were fantastic and the twists and turns were great and paced well. Dora is a well-rounded character too- she is both sassy and reserved and it made her so realistic. She's not afraid to break expectations and rules, but she does keep them in mind at times.

Overall, a really great book and I'd love to see more of these characters or, if not, just another novel from Scheier. She's a writer to keep your eye on!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Between You and Me by Marisa Calin

Between You and Me by Marisa Calin
"Phyre knows there is something life-changing about her new drama teacher, Mia, from the moment they meet. As Phyre rehearses for the school play, she comes to realize that the unrequited feelings she has for Mia go deeper than she's ever experienced. Especially with a teacher. Or a woman. All the while, Phyre's best friend-addressed throughout the story in the second person, as "you"-stands by, ready to help Phyre make sense of her feelings. But just as Mia doesn't understand what Phyre feels, Phyre can't fathom the depth of her best friend's feelings...until it's almost too late for a happy ending."- summary from Amazon

It took me a little bit of time to get into the book, which I was a bit surprised about because I thought the play format was so cool. I thought this would be a book I'd be flipping the pages of, but not so much right away. This may have been one of the e-galleys that I started, then put it down and read another e-galley before going back to it.

I don't know exactly what it was that kept me from really enjoying the novel. I liked it well enough and there was a lot of interesting stuff here (the format, theatre, best friend only referred to as "you", the sexual orientation confusion), but it wasn't an amazing book. I did really enjoy the theatre aspect because I love when theatre is involved in a plotline.

I also thought I had figured out the gender of the best friend, but then I wasn't so sure. There was an instance when I thought of a boy when Phyre answers the door in just an oversized t-shirt and nothing underneath and she was embarrassed. I feel like if the best friend was a girl, it wouldn't matter. You have the same parts. But then there was another time when Phyre was undressing in front of her best friend (or something like that) that made think the best friend was a girl. So I don't know. If you've read the book, what do you think?

Overall, an okay book, but probably just a library read.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In My Mailbox- Week of Oct 8 + Retrospective

I did another vlog this week, and it's still kinda long. I just ramble way too much about awesome books (and long ones), and also spend like 30 seconds in silence reading the back of a book to myself. Enjoy!

Books Shown:

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (ARC, Feb 2013)
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (ARC, Feb 2013)
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan (ARC, Feb 2013)
Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong (ARC, Feb 2013)
The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LeZebnik (ARC, Feb 2013)
Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer (ARC, Feb 2013)
Mind Games by Kiersten White (ARC, Feb 2013)
Pivot Point by Kasie West (ARC, Feb 2013)
A Cowboy for Christmas by Lori Wilde (paperback, Oct 2012)
Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace (paperback, Oct 2012)
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie (paperback, Nov 2012)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (ARC, Feb 2013)
Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Dark Eden 1 + 2 by Patrick Carman (paperback and hardcover)
Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon (hardcover)
Feedback by Robison Wells (hardcover)
Fang Girl by Helen Keeble (paperback)
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (hardcover)
Ten by Gretchen McNeil (hardcover)
The Turning by Francine Prose (hardcover)

and here's my retrospective, which again has some lonely posts. Have you all abandoned me?!-

Monday- I posted my In My Mailbox on this day because of two blog tour posts happening on Sunday.

Wednesday- I reviewed Every Day by David Levithan, which is out in stores now!

Friday- I interviewed Tiffany Schmidt, author of Send Me A Sign, as part of a blog tour.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blog Tour- Interview with Tiffany Schmidt

1) How did you get the idea for Send Me A Sign?

Like most of my book ideas, Send Me A Sign began because I was in A Mood. I don't remember why I was in A Mood, just that I was in one. Despite this, St. Matt (my husband) insisted that we go out for a date night and I Did. Not. Want. To. In the car, I was grumbling and said something along the lines of "the next song on the radio will determine how our night will go" -- only then I became instantly fascinated with the idea of someone that superstitious.

I never even turned the radio on. Instead I dug a notebook out of my purse and began to scribble notes about the character who would become Mia. I continued to scribble through the movie we'd gone to see. When we got home, I put iTunes on shuffle-- the song that played first is the same song Mia listens to in chapter two.

Come to think of it, this probably wasn't all that great of a date night for St. Matt... I should offer him a notebook-free do-over.

2) What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?

I'm working on edits for my second book, BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE. It comes out winter 2014 and is told from dual perspectives -- Brighton, a 17-year-old, people-pleaser, who needs to be liked... and Jonah, the new guy who's moved to her town and has decided he hates her. The whole novel takes place in one night, during which Jonah and Brighton really challenge each other's perceptions -- of themselves, of each other, of the world in which they live.

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if those aren't your thing, favorite snack?

This is easy! It's Juicy Pear. And also Peach. And Red Apple. Oh, and Root Beer. And definitely NOT Buttered Popcorn. *gags*

And while I love Jelly Belly beans, my true sugar addiction is Crazy Core Skittles (aka Revision Skittles). I only allow myself to eat them while working on hardcore edits, and even then there's THE RULE: One Skittle per every page revised. Obviously I need to have a bag (and a back-up bag) in the house at all times, but I can't know where they are or I'll be too tempted, so St.Matt has to hide them until I'm about to revise.

Is it any wonder that revision is my favorite step in the writing process?

4) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start?

I read a lot-- two to three books on a slow week, sometimes more than seven. Usually more than one at a time (one on my phone, one by the bed, one downstairs, one on the elliptical). Currently I'm working on David Levithan's Every Day, Libba Bray's The Diviners, Holly Black's Black Heart, and Jordan Sonnenblick's Curveball, The Year I Lost My Grip. They are all brilliant and make me insanely jealous of their talent!

5) Can you tell me a bit about Team Morgan, and how that's going?

Morgan was a former student of mine who was diagnosed with cancer the year she was in my class. It was also the year I was writing SEND ME A SIGN and the book is dedicated to her. Tragically, Morgan passed away last January. Team Morgan is a Facebook community that was initially created to keep people informed about how Morgan was feeling and the different events and fundraisers in the area for her benefit.

Since Morgan has passed, the group has continued in her honor. They are still very active and do different activities and fundraisers in her memory -- for example, making fleece blankets to give to cancer patients at the local children's hospital or organizing a large group to walk in the Philadelphia Race For Hope. I feel honored to be a member of a group that's become such a positive legacy for a remarkable young lady.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day by David Levithan
"Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day."- summary from Amazon

Okay, can someone please explain to me how David Levithan can come up with such unique premises and then deliver so well on them, while also being in charge at Scholastic? It's crazy how talented this man is, but it just reaffirms why he's one of my very favorite authors. It has been a while since I've read a book by just him, which was Wide Awake in 2006 (I've read Dash & Lily and WGx2) so it was nice to read his writing again.

Anyway, I absolutely adored this book. Hearing the premise made me a bit wary about the execution, but I shouldn't have worried. Levithan handled this book so well and wrote it in such a compelling way. I really enjoyed getting to know A throughout the book.

There were a few points where I wanted to know more about the characters that A was inhabiting, particularly the Asian girl in the beginning, and that kinda made me sad about how the story had to be told. Also while the ending made sense, I was really hoping for something different.

Overall, another great book from Levithan and I can't wait to see what he's got up his sleeve next!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 8, 2012

In My Mailbox- Week of Oct 1 + Retrospective

I've got a vlog this week- a LOOOONG one! I hope you guys like it. There's a lot of great books here!

Books Shown:

The Carol Burnett Show (DVD)
The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth (hardcover, Oct 2012)
We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen (hardcover, Oct 2012)
Unremembered by Jessica Brody (ARC, March 2013)
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis (ARC, Jan 2013)
Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder (ARC, Jan 2013)
Just One Day by Gayle Forman (ARC, Jan 2013)
Where You Are by J.H. Trumble (ARC, Jan 2013)
The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan (ARC, Dec 2012)

and here's my retrospective for this week. Please go comment- it's been very lonely this week!

Monday- I reviewed Wishful Thinking by Amanda Ashby, which is out in stores now (as well as Book 2, with Book 3 coming out Oct 11!)!

Wednesday- I reviewed Transcendence by C.J. Omololu, which is out in stores now!

Friday- I interviewed C.J. Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets and Transcendence.

Sunday- I participated in two blog tours- The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini and Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt, both of which are in stores now!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blog Tour- The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
"Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn't happening—not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls—rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he's in for the worst summer of his life.

Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he's ever met. Perry's new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well."- summary from Amazon

Wow, this was one really cool book. Perry's voice pulled me in and kept me turning the pages. I loved reading his journey and seeing his character develop over the course of the novel.

Vizzini did a great job creating the world of the other normals. I really liked being in that world and meeting those new creatures. I also loved the combination of action and humor. There's plenty of action-packed scenes in this book, which made for a compelling read.

Overall, a great read and it really makes me want to read more from Vizzini.

and here's an interview with Ned Vizzini:

1) How did you get the idea for The Other Normals?

After It's Kind of a Funny Story, I was trying to write an adult novel, but that didn't work out. So I decided to try YA again. This was in 2009. I started with a simple idea about a romance at summer camp. A guy and girl were going to fall in love and the girl would be named Summer so the book could be called “Camp Summer.”

I got about a quarter of the way through that book before I got this vision in my head: a man with red skin and a tail smoking pebbles in the woods. I wondered, What would this book be like if THAT guy were at camp? And the book turned from “Camp Summer” into The Other Normals.

2) I saw in your bio that you've written for TV shows like Teen Wolf and Last Resort. How did you get into screenwriting and is it vastly different from how you write novels?

I got into writing for TV by finding a writing partner. His name is Nick Antosca and he writes literary horror novels – very different from what I do. But we were friends for years and we loved some of the same things in TV, like The Shield and the pilot script for Lost. So we decided to write a TV pilot. That got us some attention and we came out to Hollywood and worked on Teen Wolf and now, Last Resort.

It is vastly different from writing novels. It's collaborative, first of all – not just with Nick, with everyone who makes a TV show come together. And the part of writing a novel where you are in a room drafting by yourself is accomplished in TV by “breaking story,” when you sit around a table in an office trying to talk out an episode. So you need to be able to have a four-hour conversation to write for TV.

3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't eat those, favorite snack that you have while writing or as a reward for getting writing done?

I have never understood why people like jelly beans. My favorite snack for getting good writing done is peanuts and beef jerky.

4) What are you currently working on, and what book(s) are you reading or are about to start?

I'm currently working on Last Resort on ABC! I am typing this in Hawaii, where I am with Nick, on set for the episode that we wrote: episode 7, “Nuke It Out.” It will air on 11/15/12. You can see pictures from the set on @LastResortRoom.

As to what I'm reading: Year Zero by Rob Reid. Very Hitchhiker's, very absurd, very fun.

Thank you for having me, James, and for everything you do for YA!

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