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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
Don't look up.

Lunch is the worst, but there's no safe place at school for Noelle. Keeping her mortifying home life a secret and trying to ignore the kids who make her life miserable are Noelle's survival strategies. Her emotionally distant boyfriend, Matt, isn't the one she really wants to be with. But there's no way she could ever be with Julian Porter.

When Julian starts talking to her, Noelle is terrified. It seems safer to stay with Matt than risk a broken heart. But when the bullying of a friend goes too far, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself - and for everything that makes her keep holding on."- summary from Amazon

I love Colasanti's books; she just has a way of writing that is so realistic and keeps me turning the pages. This book was no different. She did a really good job dealing with the whole bullying and home life aspects and showing Noelle's change throughout the book. The reader is definitely rooting for Noelle to reclaim her life, her voice and get the boy. It was shocking to read about what she went through and it's sad to know that this stuff does really happen.

I did feel like there wasn't enough there in the romance area to make it believable. It just felt very rushed and the short length of the book contributed to that, I think. For the first half, she's with the bad boy then on her own, and then starting to get with Julian. It's a lot to pack into 200 pages when you're also including Noelle's home life and school bullying. Julian and Noelle are very cute together, but I just wish there had been more between them.

I also really liked Noelle's friendship with Sherae. They're a good pair and I liked reading scenes between the two of them.

Overall, this is a book that really needs to be read by everyone. I really hope it brings some positive change to the world.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
"When his billionaire father marries French governess Nicola Vileroy, high society is all abuzz — but Thomas, the most popular student at Marlowe, is just plain high. Ever since his girlfriend Belle dumped him, he’s been spending less time with old friends and more time getting wasted at clubs. But after someone slips him a designer drug one night — and his stepmother seems to know way too much about his private life — things really start to get scary. As Thomas’s blackouts give way to a sinister voice inside his head, and as news of a vicious hate crime has students on edge, Thomas comes to the sickening realization that Madame Vileroy has involved him in a horrifying supernatural plan. How can he muster the strength and will to stop it? The pulse-quickening climax revisits Jekyll and Hyde as a current-day cautionary tale laced with a heady dose of paranormal intrigue."- summary from Amazon

First off, let me say that while this could be read on its own, it's probably best to have read the previous two books beforehand. I read this without having read the second book because I didn't realize there was a link between the books. I just thought they were retellings of different stories focusing on different characters. While this is true, I didn't think those characters would be ones we'd seen in previous books or that characters from previous books would be involved in the current book. So that kinda threw me a little bit when I started reading since there were some spoilers from the previous books.

OK, moving on, I did still like the book though it wasn't as good as the first. I didn't feel the same connection or suspense with these characters. It was creepy and thriller-ish, sure, but that didn't necessarily morph into "I must continue to read this book!". It took me a bit of time to get through it even though it's shorter than its predecessors.

I did enjoy seeing into the history of Vileroy throughout the years, both from her own perspective and from a third person perspective, now that this is the conclusion. The climax of the book was very interesting and the ending was handled well.

Overall, while I did enjoy the book, I think it's more of a library book than one to purchase, but it is an interesting series to check out. I'll be visiting Another Pan, the second book, soon!

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This is SO Not Happening by Kieran Scott

This is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott
"After their long summer apart, Ally and Jake were hoping for a drama-free senior year. Instead they are faced with a turn of events that threaten to tear them apart...for good.

It turns out that Chloe is pregnant and says that Jake is the father. Hammond is pissed at his best friend, and he cannot believe that Ally would stay with Jake. But Ally’s willingness to make it work is tested when Jake starts blowing her off to go to doctor’s appointments with Chloe, and Ally joins the school play—and meets a cute guy.

As graduation approaches, new secrets come out and Ally realizes maybe Jake isn’t the guy she thought he was. After everything they’ve been through, can Ally and Jake get out of Orchard Hill with their relationship intact?"- summary from Amazon

I absolutely LOVE this series and was sad to see it end!! It's just so soap-opera-y and juicy, but Scott does a great job of making the characters realistic as opposed to just cardboard cutouts, which could easily happen. I really enjoyed hanging out with this cast of characters and witnessing everything happening in their lives over the course of the trilogy.

Ally and Jake are the best couple and Scott writes them so well that when a major road block comes up, I do worry that it may be the end for them, like it was in this book. Their relationship has really been put to the test and watching them have to grow up and try to work things out was great.

I still enjoy Annie, the snarky outsider who's friends with Ally, and even though Ally is back in with the Cresties, we still see a fair amount of Annie.

Overall, if you haven't read this series yet, now is the time to do so with all three books out so you can just zip on through them while relaxing at the pool or at home this summer. I can't wait to see what Scott does next!

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
"What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends…"- summary from Amazon

This retelling was really interesting and a quick read. I will say though that the summary made me expect things that never came to fruition. I was expecting much more craziness and insanity from Juliet's actions and it just didn't happen. She was unstable, manipulative and clingy, sure, but I felt like it was at a more manageable level, if that makes sense.

I liked Rose as a character and she was a good narrator. I loved reading her storyline and seeing her grow throughout the novel. I didn't like her relationship with Rob at times, though she did come to realize her reasoning behind why she wanted him which I liked. I enjoyed her evolving relationship with Len though and Serle did a wonderful job handling it.

Overall, it is still a really good debut, despite my problems with it. I can't wait to see what Serle does next!

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meandering Monday- BEA Excitement!

It is 14 days away from the start of BEA and I cannot be more excited. I am counting down the days to these wonderful things:

- Seeing awesome bloggers that I already know in person and meeting new ones for the first time. I can't wait to see my friends Kristi, Susan, Emily, Mitali, and many more, but I'm excited to meet some new people, like the bloggers I'm rooming with! Jess and Kat from Books and Sensibility and Miranda from Just Read! They seem like a great bunch.

- Same as above, but with publicists and authors! There's some great people I've already met and can't wait to see again, like Elyse M. (pub), Ellen Hopkins, Libba Bray, and Maggie Stiefvater, but there's some new authors I'm dying to meet, like Dan Krokos, Shannon Messenger, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Crissa-Jean Chappell. The list could go on and on, but you'll hear about everyone in my recaps!

- Celebrities!! I have a couple celebrities on my schedule to see and I hope I'm able to see them all- Tim Gunn, Chris Colfer, Bob Balaban, and Kirstie Alley! How great is that list? I can't wait, though they put Tim, Bob and Chris at the same time, so that should be fun for me, lol. What were they thinking? I hope it gets changed because that's just silly. Also, I just checked and none of them are ticketed. It will be a MADHOUSE. But fun!

- Getting some wonderful books. I am so excited for all the autograph sessions and opportunities to pick up some great ARCs and finished copies. I have a priority with three publishers Tuesday morning as soon as I get in and they're not necessarily who you'd think. I don't want to reveal it because then everyone else will do it. I can't have that.

- Making connections with anybody I come across. I love it when I find someone in line to converse with about something in common, or when I get to chatting with a publicist about a certain title (this happened with Wendy Mass' 13 Gifts last year). They're small moments, but they mean so much and reminds us that it's not all about who has what coveted ARC but rather that we're spreading the love of books by being here and reviewing the titles we get as bloggers.

- The parties! I actually have something to do each night in NYC and in fact, on Tuesday, I have TWO events! I have to leave the Teen Author Carnival a bit early to head to Little Brown's The Diviners (by Libba Bray) party. Busy night! Monday, I have a Scholastic party to go to and on Wednesday, there's a Blogger/Author Rooftop Party! I'm excited about all of these and will do my best to get lots of pictures. I'm not the best at picture taking- for some reason, I feel awkward doing it, but I am getting better each year.

- The whole experience and BEA IS an experience. It is crazy, rushed at times, a blur, very hard on your feet and back, but it is an absolute joy to be there, at least for me. It's the one big thing I look forward to every year and I can't imagine not doing it.

Anyway, what are those of you going to BEA excited for? What about those who can't go- anything you're excited to hear about from those who go? And if you're not going, definitely check out Armchair BEA. It's an awesome site!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass
"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."- summary from Amazon

I finished The Selection over a weekend and OMG it was so good!! I'm a huge fan of The Bachelor so something like this is right up my alley. Cass did a wonderful job setting up the world and the caste system, and dealing with a bunch of different characters which I'm sure was hard to do.

The romance aspect was divine too and I simply can't choose between Aspen and Maxon- they're both such awesome guys!! Plus, America was a great main character- loved her feistyness, sarcasm, and big heart; she's definitely a heroine readers will root for.

There's more to it though than just the Bachelor aspect; Cass included an outside war that was waging throughout the kingdom and at its borders. The war threatens everyone inside and becoming the next princess is more than some of the contestants bargained for. I'm looking forward to learning more about why the war is being waged and what the enemy is searching for. It sounds like a great twist to be explored.

Overall, I simply loved this debut and cannot wait for the next book (and also to see what the next cover will look like because this one was so gorgeous)!

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Commerical Breaks #1: Famous for Thirty Seconds by P.G. Kain

Famous for Thirty Seconds by P.G. Kain
"Brittany Rush is the face of Gotta Have It candy bars, the hands of Write On pencils, the hair of Knot Me Not detangle spray and the voice of Mom, It's Delicious! soups. Brittany has been appearing in commercials and print ads since her backside was the official derriere of Simply Dry Diapers. The queen of callbacks, she is distraught when her family moves to Hong Kong for a year, forcing her to be an anonymous kid in a foreign country. When she (finally!) returns stateside, she's eager to resume her steady diet of go-sees, auditions, callbacks, and bookings in NYC. But to her shock, Brittany realizes that in the year that she was gone, she lost her title as the unconquerable cute kid: Now she's just one of the many pretty girls waiting her turn. Will Brittany be able to steal back her spotlight? Or will she discover there's more to life than being a commercial success?"- summary from Amazon

It's been a long time since I've read a middle-grade book and I kinda missed them! So couple that with the fact that this involves a behind-the-scenes look at commercial auditions and how they get made? I'm in heaven. I absolutely loved this book and Brittany was a good, flawed character. I really enjoyed reading her story and her voice just kept me flipping pages.

There's a cute little romance going on too, which I loved. Plus, I liked the added aspect of Brittany's drawing and love of art. It showed the reader a different side of her than just her love of doing commercials and her intense focus on that part of her life. It was interesting too watching her realize that she's not what she thinks she is and trying to figure out her true self outside of acting. Kain did a wonderful job nailing Brittany's voice and making it ring true.

Overall, a fantastic start to a series and I cannot wait for the next books! Book 1 is out now, with Books 2 and 3 following in July and November, respectively.

FTC: Received finished paperback from author. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- Waking Storms by Sarah Porter

""We have lingered in the chambers of the sea, by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown, till human voices wake us, and we drown."

After parting ways with her troubled mermaid tribe, Luce just wants to live peacefully on her own. But her tranquility doesn't last long: she receives news that the tribe is on the verge of collapse and desperately needs her leadership. Anais, their cruel queen, wants Luce dead. Dorian, the boy Luce broke mermaid law to save, is determined to make her pay for her part in the murder of his family. And while the mermaids cling to the idea that humans never suspect their existence, there are suddenly ominous signs to the contrary.

But when Luce and Dorian meet, they start to wonder if love can overpower the hatred they know they should feel for each other. Luce's new friendship with an ancient renegade mermaid gives her hope that her kind might someday change their murderous ways. But how can Luce fulfill her rightful role as queen of the mermaids without sacrificing her forbidden romance with Dorian?

Full of miraculous reunions and heart-pounding rescues, this haunting second installment in the Lost Voices Trilogy finds Luce eager to attempt reconciliation with humans—as long as war doesn't break out first."- summary from author's website

My thoughts: I absolutely loved the first book Lost Voices. It was so atmospheric and such an interesting twist on mermaids and sirens. I've been looking forward to the sequel since finishing the previous book and you'd better believe I'll be hunting this book down at BEA. Watch out, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

What are you all waiting for this week?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Author Interview- Meg Cabot

This post is the kick-off post for the awesome two month long Meg-A-Readers event, run by The Romance Bookie and Little Miss Drama Queen, which also involves a big giveaway that can be found here (scroll down to the end of the post). I'll be doing two more posts as part of it- one in June and one in July. Anyway, here's my interview with Meg!:

1) Underworld is the second book in your Abandon trilogy, which is a retelling of the Persephone myth. While reading both books, but especially Underworld, I noticed that this is much darker than your previous YAs. Was it difficult to get into that mindset at all?

It was pretty easy, actually. Dark is my natural tendency, but I've learned over the years it's better only to let it out when appropriate, like in my therapist's office or around select friends. A good example of this is when we'd go on field trips as kids and the bus would pass an abandoned bag on the side of the road, the other kids would beg the driver to pull over because they were sure the bag was probably stuffed with money from a bank heist.

I, on the other hand, was always sure the bag had been left there by some psychopathic serial killer, and was filled with severed limbs.

Announcing things like that didn't make me particularly popular, which is why I learned to put my thoughts on paper instead of mentioning them out loud.

But you can see how easy it was for me to come up with the concept of an underworld existing beneath a cemetery, and a local girl disappearing and ending up getting taken there by a teen death lord!

2) There's finally a new Heather Wells book on the horizon! What can you tell us about Size 12 and Ready to Rock? And is there truth that a fifth book will be released too?

I can tell you plenty!

Just because the students at New York College have gone home for the summer doesn’t mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells gets to relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever “Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp,” hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather’s ex, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead… and it’s clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and highest earning performer) alive. So he hires his blacksheep other son, private investigator Cooper Cartwright— who just happens to be Heather’s new fiancĂ©. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm-full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can’t help but get involved, especially after Tania lets slip her shocking secret, and Heather realizes her reality is far more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

And yes, there IS a fifth book. It's called Size 12 is the New Black and will be out next summer.

3) So the Avalon High movie came out a bit ago (and I loved it!), and I've been hearing rumblings of other books of yours being optioned for the big and small screens. Can you reveal anything about any of your optioned books/series?

Yikes! I know other authors post frequent updates on their books' movie options, but given the amount of time I've spent in this business, how many of my books are under option, and how often I've seen these deals fall apart at the last minute, I no longer believe it's worth announcing them until the cameras are actually rolling!

All I'll say right now is that the level of interest in the Mediator as both a feature film and a television series is freaking me out, because I know how devoted the fans are, and if we don't get the casting right, there's going to be a huge backlash! (Just thinking about it is making feel a little bit like throwing up.)

But I know we've got a great script, and we'll get great actors ... and that goes for ALL my optioned books and series, including Underworld!

4) Kathy Griffin's new talk show debuted last month. What do you think about it? Is it appointment television for you?

I adore Kathy. I haven't seen the new show yet, but I have it on auto-record on my DVR, as well as all her latest stand up, and it freaks me out that she and I watch all the same shows. "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant"? I can't believe she watches it too! If she reveals she watches "My 600 Pound Life" and "Dr. G, Medical Examiner", I will know we're sisters-from-another-mother.

(I also love how Kathy worries that the average American watches 6 hours of TV a day but she watches something like 20. I am not unfamiliar with this concern.)

5) OK, so I've asked about your favorite Jelly Belly flavor and favorite snack while writing, so this time, the food question is: I know your husband is a fantastic cook (just from reading your blog; I have yet to actually sample anything), so what's your favorite dish that he makes?

Of course you're invited over any time you find yourself in Key West (and I'm not on a deadline). My favorite meal that my husband makes is: Grilled chicken with lemon and rosemary, a simple side salad (just Boston lettuce) with a homemade vinaigrette, and crisp salted roasted new potatoes on the side.

This is also the favorite meal of Jeffrey Weingarten, the husband of the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network (at least, she's said so on her show), so I think maybe BECAUSE it's so simple, it's difficult to make well. Every time I try to make it myself, I screw it up (chicken comes out dry, potatoes burn, etc).

6) Aside from the final Abandon book, Awaken, and the Heather Wells books, what else are you working on?

I do have other projects in the works, but none that I can discuss at this time. I can, however, mention that I'm working on a 7th Mediator book. It will include all the major characters from the series but will take place several years after the 6th book ended. I think it might be nice to get to the sex already, and we all know Jesse won't even consider that until he's married!

7) I know you keep us posted on your cats through your blog usually, but is there anything that's happened recently with them that's cute or crazy or whatever that you haven't shared?

Interesting that you would ask this TODAY of all days. I don't like to share the sad news but the truth is, Henrietta, our primary cat (who was found as a tiny stray kitten in Brooklyn), is getting on in years (she's 20!) and recently began showing signs of diabetes. The vet said she'd have to take some blood to be sure, but Henrietta projectile vomits (and worse) in the car, AND at the vet's office. I didn't want to make the cat more stressed than she was, so the vet said she'd be happy to make a housecall.

I was still worried...Henrietta hates EVERYONE, and always puts up an enormous fuss and tries to attack anyone who touches her. I didn't want her attacking the nice vet who was making a housecall.

So I got a brilliant idea. I'd make life easier for everyone and give H. half of one of the tranquilizers our old vet gave us for when we take the cats on airplanes. Then maybe Henrietta would act normal for the vet's visit, or possibly sleep through it and not even feel the pinch when her blood was taken.

A little while before the vet arrived, however, I noticed Henrietta wasn't sleeping. She was sitting very alertly by her water bowl, staring at the wall as if she'd found something crawling on it, but when I looked, there was nothing there. Not only that, but Henrietta was lifting her paw very slowly and waving it around over the water bowl like she was stirring soup--only she had no spoon--never actually letting her paw touch the water. When she saw me looking at her, she let out a highly self-satisfied "Meeeee-yow" of hello, that actually sounded like she was saying, "How YOU doing?" like Joey on "Friends." Then she turned back to staring with great fascination at the wall and stirring the water with her pretend spoon.

That's when I realized that instead of knocking her out, the tranquilizer had only made her very, very high. My cat was completely HIGH and loving every minute of it!

Of course I was too embarrassed to tell the vet what I'd done (what kind of cat owner gets her pet high? I don't know what I was thinking). But she noticed. When the vet got there, Henrietta looked up at her and went, "Meeee-yow," and waved her paw over the water and stared at the wall, and the vet remarked about what a sweet cat Henrietta was (she has never in her life received this compliment before) and how different she behaved at home than in the office.

Unfortunately the tranquilizer wore off shortly after this and then Henrietta hissed at all of us and retired to her cat bed. And the vet just called to say it wasn't diabetes at all, it was a side effect of some steroids she was taking after she had an allergic reaction to her dry food (honestly, what next?). So it looks like H. will be with us for quite some time to come.

I did save some of the tranquilizers to give her in the future, however, in case of emergencies.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meandering Monday- BEA QnA!

Here are the questions I've received so far. If there's any new ones (or if anything here is confusing), please leave them in the comments and I'll get to them next week!

Kimberly Sabatini asks "I'm going for the first time!!!! *squee* Hope to bump into you there BTW...but what I'm looking to find out is any tips that you wouldn't know from the web site--your personal go to guide. Anything would be helpful. :o)"

OK well I need specifics because otherwise this could be very long, but here's some tips:

1) Bring water or something non-carbonated to drink because you will need to stay hydrated. It can get VERY hot in the Javits and also outside walking around like to the subway, waiting for a cab, or going to the post office nearby that's cheaper than the Javits post office. :) I plan on bringing some Crystal Light that I bought to have at work but found out I could only drink clear water, so I have nowhere else to use it.

2) Utilize the checked bags area. I usually don't because I don't feel like paying $3/day, don't get THAT many books, and also have a backpack that keeps all my books balanced in terms of carrying. Plus, it's just pretty awesome to be carrying around a ton of books. Until the end of the day when you're very sore (though that will happen anyway, just maybe to a lesser extent). But if you plan on getting LOTS of books, you can bring in a rolling suitcase and check it down in the bag area. They'll give you a ticket so you can get in when you need to and also to pick it up at the end of the day.

3) I mention this below, but I have to mention it more than once. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. You will be walking around and standing in lines all day so you should be comfortable. Closed-toed shoes are best because it can get very crowded in the various aisles.

4) Food. You need to have lunch at some point and there are options. You can bring prepared stuff in if you have the capabilities to do so (to my knowledge, there's no microwaves on site or anything). There's also the food courts, but those are usually pretty expensive ($7 for cheese pizza slice and drink; $12 for chicken tenders, fries, and drink- though it's definitely plenty of food), so it may not be the best for those with an eye on their budget. There's also a McDonald's up the road (though it has jacked up prices) and a hot dog vendor that comes by right out front of the Javits and they're the usual NYC hot dog vendors- cheap and delicious!

5) SCHEDULE. Go into BEA with a concrete plan. I do a schedule for each day of the signings I want to go to. There will be some last minute additions with publishers and the BEA Daily Planner (a glossy newsletter) handing out flyers/printing info of book drop times and places. A book drop is when a publisher puts out all their copies of a specific book (usually a lead title) at a certain time and once they're gone, they're gone (though that's not always the case- Bloodlines last year still had PLENTY of ARCs left over). But keep your schedule with you and a pen at hand to make changes, and keep a list of where all your favorite publishers are so you can easily find them for an in-booth signing, a book drop, or just to hang out (if you have time for that).

Anonymous asks "What should business cards contain? Is it too much to have an address on them?"

Business cards should contain your real name (first name and last initial should suffice if you don't want to give your full name on something so public) blog name, URL, what kind of blogger you are, and email address. Optional items include address, Twitter handle, and Facebook page. I have my street address on mine so if a book isn't available at a conference (or they ran out), I can hand the publicist at the booth my card and they can write the book(s) I want on it to send once they're available or back in the office. I also have my Twitter handle on there too. You can see my cards here; I went with fancy because I have an awesome header but your card can be as bare bones or as fancy as you want it. I used Vistaprint.com and spent about $23 total for 500 cards (plus a silver card holder), so it wasn't bad. But I do know that various bloggers do business cards and bookmarks and other fun design-y things, so you can look around for that as well. But you'd better get on it soon for BEA if you want to have them in time!! I did free shipping and it took about 11 days total (2 after actually being shipped), but you can pay for faster shipping if need be.

Brent asks "I have a question: what is proper BEA attire?"

I usually just wear business casual (but on the lighter side of it)- nice dark jeans or khakis, a nice t-shirt (you will get HOT wearing anything else), and some comfortable shoes (very important). But honestly, you could wear anything and it'd be fine, but if you want to be taken seriously, just wear some nice but comfortable clothes that you don't mind being in all day while surrounded by millions of people, lol.

Kat asks "Do people bring their own books to Teen Author Carnival? I saw the author list was released today and I own books by a lot of the authors I would like to have signed. I mean, are there books available at the event?"

There's a bookstore that brings books for purchase and there's usually also ARCs donated by the publishers for some of the authors too though there's a limited supply so make priorities. I usually bring my own books, at least a few I REALLY want to get signed. You'll be bringing home plenty of books from BEA itself, so you don't want to bog yourself down too much right away. Some of the authors are also signing at BEA, so keep an eye out for that too. Here's the current list of amazing authors that will be at TAC!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
"Willa's secret plan seems all too simple.

Take from the rich kids at valley prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa's turn as Robin Hood at her new high school is anything but. Bilking her "friends"—known to everyone as the Glitterati—without them suspecting a thing is far from easy. Learning how to break into lockers and Beemers is as hard as she'd thought it would be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are bullied just for being different, is more fun than she'd expected.

The complication Willa didn't expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, VP's most notorious ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her—evening the social playing field between the haves and have-nots. There's no time for flirting, especially with conceited trust-funders like Aidan. But when the cops start investigating the string of thefts at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could Aidan wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?"- summary from Amazon

This debut was really interesting and there were LOTS of secrets revealed throughout the course of the book. The concept was a great spin on the Robin Hood tale; watching Willa go through great lengths to help the less-fortunate at her school was fun and a bit scary though as things got more and more out of control.

I really got into the story and flew through it fairly quickly. It was interesting to see how Ludwig got Willa into and out of so many different situations, especially when they escalated to the point of not being able to get out of it. The ciimax was very realistic and Ludwig really made it hit home by showing that actions, even noble ones, have consequences.

Overall, an intriguing, original debut. I cannot wait to see what Ludwig does next, which I hear is a sequel to this so I'm excited to see where she'll take Willa from here.

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blog Tour- Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
"Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?"- summary from Amazon

Oh how I've missed Walker's writing!! I absolutely adored this story. Walker does a great job switching between the past and present so that we find out a little bit of each at a time. The whole being-on-a-boat aspect was really interesting too and I liked seeing into that world.

Clem is a fantastic narrator and I really understood her pain and her story. What I also liked was that it wasn't a simple hooked-up-with-BFF's-boyfriend, but rather something a little more innocent but much more real than lust. It was nice too as the book went on, being able to watch her come out of her shell and begin to enjoy life again. Of course, it does help that there is a cute uninvolved guy taking the same boat trail as her and her family. I really enjoyed reading their interactions and seeing them get to know each other better.

Overall, a perfect summer read and another hit for Walker! Definitely check this one out when it's released May 22!

and here's an interview with Melissa Walker:

1) How did you get the idea for Unbreak My Heart? Also, were you listening to a lot of that same name song by Toni Braxton when you wrote it?

I lost a best friend once (SO PAINFUL), and I always wanted to tackle that topic in some way. I also have spent a lot of time with my parents on a sailboat, so that was a fun setting to work with. And, ha!, no we didn't decide on the title until way after the manuscript was done.

2) Was it difficult to write in the dual narrative, going back and forth between past and present? Or did you just write each story separately and then split it up accordingly?

I wrote back and forth, and it was definitely a challenge. Actually, in the revision process, my editor Caroline Abbey and I worked together to rearrange some scenes like a puzzle (we printed out a summary of each scene and then rearranged squares of paper till we had an order that we thought worked best).

3) What are you currently working on, and can you tell us anything about it? I love hearing about new Melissa Walker books!!

Aw, thanks. I'm in the middle of a project that is kind of kicking my butt, so I'm keeping mum about it for now. But rest assured there are more books coming!

4) You co-founded I Heart Daily with fellow ex-ELLEgirl Anne Ichikawa in 2009. How did that idea spring up, and is it crazy that it's still happening three years later?

Anne and I both missed writing for ELLEgirl and we had "stuff we heart" that we wanted to share. We still do! It's a total labor of love.

5) I feel like I probably already asked you about your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor, so do you have a favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

Chips. Tons and tons of chips. Doritos, Cheetos, Salt & Vinegar... with Coke. This is my snack vice.

6) What are you currently reading, or about to start? Also, what 2012 books are you most looking forward to?

I'm about to start Robin Wasserman's THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW, which I'm so excited about. I'm really looking forward to Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian's co-authored book, BURN FOR BURN, in the fall!

Thanks for having me!

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

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meandering Monday- Gathering BEA Questions!

Are you going to BEA for the first time and not quite sure what to expect? Have you been already but there's still something you don't understand? Is there some other scenario I'm not thinking of? Please go ahead and leave your questions and concerns in the comments below by next Sunday to be answered in next Monday's post (and I'll probably open up questions again then).

Qualifications: I've attended BEA for the past three years and have been through quite a few different situations involving transportation, shelter, etc. I am by no means an expert though and am just talking from my own experiences.

I can't wait for all your questions!! Have at it! :D

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Giveaway- Wrecked by Anna Davies

"In the wake of a tragic boating accident that killed her friends, 16-year-old Miranda is consumed by guilt. She has no memory of how she managed to survive the crash, only the murky dreams of a strange boy in the dark water. Her only refuge is in the late-night swims she takes alone— until one night on the beach when she meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but keeps many secrets.

The more she fights it the faster love pulls her under. Soon she finds herself in over her head when the dangerous true nature of Christian’s secrets rise to the surface.

Wrecked is a seductive contemporary reimagination of The Little Mermaid, with a paranormal twist, from debut author Anna Davies."- summary from Big Honcho Media

I'm in the middle of reading this book right now so I can't give a full review at the moment, but I'm really enjoying it! I tried to finish it by today (even pushed this post back as far as it could go), but unfortunately life's gotten in the way as it does sometimes. I do however have an excerpt to link to that you all can read here to help you decide if you want to enter for the book!

But anyway, if the book sounds good to you, Simon & Schuster (by way of Big Honcho Media) and I are giving away two copies of Wrecked on my blog! The giveaway is open to US residents only. If you want to enter, just leave a comment on this post by Saturday, May 12 at 9pm EST. The winners will be selected shortly after and notified, so if your email is not easily accessible (like by Blogger profile or blog site), please leave it with your comment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Underworld by Meg Cabot

Underworld by Meg Cabot
"Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn't dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it's for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they've come back as Furies, intent on vengeance . . . on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there . . . and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there'll be no escape."- summary from Amazon

I was so happy to get an advance copy of this and I devoured it right away. Cabot's retelling of the Persephone myth just keeps getting better and better. There were some interesting twists and turns here, and a killer ending that made me crave the third book, Awaken, so much! Cabot also does a wonderful job making this story really dark. It's quite a change even from her other paranormals. The way she writes the prose always makes me envision dark places, dark skies, no matter what's going on in the novel.

I loved seeing Pierce and John's romance deepen and they have to deal with quite a few obstacles along the way, most of them not of the supernatural variety. Pierce is still as fierce (rhymes, yay!) as ever, and John is still pretty darn hot. I loved all the periphery characters, especially Mr. Smith's partner who shows up for a scene. He was so funny. Meeting John's helpers too was interesting as well and I really enjoyed seeing them in scenes.

Overall, a fantastic second book and I am so eager for the final book! But, alas, I (and you too) must wait a year. :(

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday- Elementals by Antony John

"A mysterious and powerful fantasy adventure from a Schneider Award winner

In the near future, most of the population of the United States has been destroyed by the plague. The few remaining survivors live in colonies on the barrier islands off the East Coast. In one colony near Cape Hatteras, almost all the members have elemental powers and can control wind, water, earth, and fire. All but sixteen-year-old Thomas. When the Guardians, the powerful adult leaders, are kidnapped by pirates seeking to take over their colony, it is up to Thomas and a small group of teens to save them and preserve the mysteries of the island.

Fast action, strategy, and mystery churn together into a bold and fresh fantasy from an award-winning author."- summary from GoodReads

Why I Want to Read This: I have yet to read Antony John's books though I have ARCs of his first two books but all of them, including this upcoming one, sounds absolutely amazing. It's a departure from his first two, which were contemporary stories, so I'm interested to see how he handles this. Between now and November though, when the book releases, I'm gonna have to get around to his first two books.

Is anyone else looking forward to this? If not, what are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
"When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel."- summary from Amazon

I read A Temptation of Angels over a weekend and absolutely loved it. The beginning just sucked me in and I had trouble putting it down; Zink just had a really compelling way of writing and the pacing was handled really well. The mythology was really interesting too and explained effortlessly without it always feeling like an infodump. This is also a historical novel that I actually liked, perhaps because not much focus is put on the time period.

Helen was a wonderful character and I really enjoyed reading her story. The romance and love triangle was a bit too played up though and I wasn't terribly impressed by her choice. It just didn't feel right to me. I did like Helen's interactions with other characters, especially Anna.

Overall, I loved this book and its atmospheric feel and hope she writes more! Though to my knowledge, there's no word on a sequel.

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