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

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.