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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Seven Book Babes Video featuring the cat Samson!

If you love cats, watch this video because our cat Samson is in it and he is cute.

Hope you all enjoyed it! Look for a review of Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart this weekend!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
Austin music fest
Yay, summer in Austin!
Good food, good times. Fun for everyone!
Okay, living with my sorority-brainwashed cousin, who willingly goes by "Party Penny," is not exactly what I had in mind.
All your favorite bands
But the cute musicians I've met totally make up for it . . . like Sebastian. Swoon.
All ages welcome
So why can't I stop thinking about Penny's friend All-American Russ and his Texas twang??
Saturday & Sunday, from noon to midnight
Don't wait up!

I loved Melissa Walker's Violet series and was really excited to read a non-Violet book (though of course I'd love more Violet!) to see how she would do outside that world. Well, this book was as far as you could get from the Violet books. It still has Walker's style, but being in Austin, TX and interning at an indie music label is completely different from being in New York City doing runway work and living the high life. Priscilla (aka Quinn, which is her middle name, but the name she prefers to use) is a relatable heroine who is smart, funny, and flawed. I loved the idea of what you thought you wanted isn't always what you actually want or what is always right for you. The romance is predictable, but still such a joy to read; Walker's writing style is compelling and keeps you turning the pages for the next joke, the next swoon moment, the next relationship obstacle. The secondary characters are fairly three-dimensional and are just as fun to read about as Quinn is. A perfect summer read whether you're curled up on the couch or out by the pool; you can't go wrong with this book, especially not at that price.

Also, loved the small reference to Violet in this book. It made me smile.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review- Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them. As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe? Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth...

I absolutely love this series- it's so funny, original, suspenseful, and just all-around great. Carter's newest installment doesn't disappoint and, in fact, is probably the best of all 3 so far. The stakes are higher in this one and the overall tone is darker than the previous two. But it makes sense- a spy life isn't always going to be about taking tests; the real world has to come in sometime. I really enjoyed reading about Cammie's adventures and Carter does a great job with the spy lingo and descriptions as well as the classes and missions that Cammie and her friends do. A few questions are answered here, but way more get raised. There is a cliffhanger and I've heard from some people that it's a big one but for some reason, with me, I didn't think it was all that big. I'm still wanting to read the next book and want it now, but I'm not angry at Ally for the cliffhanger like I have been with some authors in the past, lol. This is a fantastic series and I really hope you all check it out!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of July 20

So I got a ton of books this week and surprisingly talked for under 10 minutes about all of them. I got no books today, so it worked out that I did it yesterday. But yeah, I'm extremely proud of myself for being well under 10 minutes despite having a ton of books to talk about, lol. :)

Here's the video:

And here's the picture of what I got with titles underneath:

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six Word Memoirs by Teens Famous and Obscure
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
Secret Society by Tom Dolby
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (IT'S SIGNED TOO!! I didn't know that until after recording the vlog)
Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman
Duplikate by Cherry Cheva
Lovesick by Jake Coburn
Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Navel of the World by PJ Hoover
The Lost Sister by Megan Kelley Hall
Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Picture Post- Elizabeth Scott + Claudia Gray signing

So almost a month later, I am finally posting about this event, lol. Alright, to start off, Tyson's Corner is a BIG area. Much bigger than I thought it was. I had planned on going to a Popeyes for lunch, but couldn't find it even though it was supposedly just down the road from the mall. So instead, I just went to McDonald's for lunch, which was fine as well. I quite enjoyed it; while at McDonald's, I read some of Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas.

After lunch, I went and parked in basically the first parking spot I found because it was seriously crowded. It turned out I had parked on the complete other side of the mall from where the B&N was. So I had to walk a long way to get to the bookstore. Of course, I went straight for the YA section where I found Harmony from Harmony Book Reviews. We hadn't planned on any specific place to meet up at, but YA lovers always convene in the same place at a bookstore, lol. We chatted for a few minutes and showed off YA books to each other and talked about them. After a bit of that, we grabbed some seats in the front row for the signing. Here's a pic of the display they had behind all the chairs:

We chatted some more while we waited for Elizabeth and Claudia to show up. Elizabeth showed up first and she's more petite than I thought she would be, but I think it's just her wild hair that gave me that perception. Claudia showed up a little bit after that and they sat down. They read an excerpt from each of their books (Evernight and Love You Hate You Miss You), and were going to take questions from the audience but there weren't a whole lot of people there, so they just started signing after the reading. The event lasted about 15 minutes; it was way short, but still fun! Here's a picture of them signing with Harmony on the right and some girl I don't know on the left:

They signed for a bit. I went to Elizabeth first and when I explained who I was (well, really, it was just "Hi, I'm James aka Book Chic."), she was like "OMG! Come here!", stood up, and hugged me which I thought was just so sweet. She thanked me for my review of LYHYMY. I brought two copies of LYHYMY because HarperTeen had sent me an extra hardcover the day before. I was going to use the hardcover in a contest, but that ended up not happening. You'll find out why later. After Elizabeth, I got my copy of Stargazer signed by Claudia and she was so sweet too. She had on the most AMAZING black dress, which you can't really see in the photos I took but ah well. I had my picture taken with both of them, which Harmony's aunt (I think?) took for me, which I really appreciated since I had no one with me at this signing aside from them.

After that, I spotted Diana Peterfreund hunched over her cell phone twittering or texting away and I'm like "Diana?". She looks up and says "James?" and I confirmed that yes, I am James and we may have hugged but I don't remember. We chatted about Transformers, Hot Wheels, movies, and maybe a little on books, but not much. She went to get her stuff signed and chatted with Elizabeth and Claudia a bit while I wandered off to do some browsing and wait for my friend Liz. After a while, I went back up and listened in on the conversation that Diana and Claudia were having with two booksellers (one who worked the event and one who worked at another B&N in the area). It was really interesting. And I like to jokingly say that Diana hijacked the Claudia/Elizabeth signing because she signed copies of her Secret Society Girl series and was sitting at their signing table doing it. It made me giggle.

Anyway, while we were all chatting, Maggie Stiefvater showed up with her sister and children like an hour after the signing ended. So unfortunately, she didn't get to have her books signed but she bought a signed stock copy of Stealing Heaven. My friend Liz showed up and so I said bye to Diana and as we passed by the cash registers, Maggie had finished paying and everything and so we were able to chat a few minutes before she headed back out on the road. We made an impromptu book swap- she asked me if I had a copy of Shiver and if I didn't have one, if I wanted a copy, and I was like "Uh yeah, OF COURSE!!" and she opened up her messenger bag and took out an ARC of Shiver and gave it to me. How sweet is that? Seriously. And she was hoping that she would see me at the signing to give it to me. It was all planned! Maggie rocks. So, in return, I gave her my signed hardcover of Love You Hate You Miss You which she was extremely excited about. On her Twitter account later, she said that I had saved the day, which made me happy.

Phew, that's about it. Now to start work on RWA post(s) and Melissa/Kelley signing. Will try and get these up before a month has passed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of July 13 Part 2

Finally I found a place that will accept 10+ minute videos! Vimeo was recommended to me by J.A. Yang, author of Exclusively Chloe, on Twitter! Let me know how you guys like this. :)

Untitled from James Booth on Vimeo.

List of books I talk about (in order):

Diving In Deep by K.A. Mitchell
The Happy Onion by Ally Blue
Slightly Suburban by Wendy Markham
Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro
Born to Fly by some guy
Bite Me by Melissa Francis
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Also, just got back from a Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong signing and LOVED it! Gotta finish up Claudia Gray/Elizabeth Scott recap, then RWA recap, then this recap, lol. Too many recaps!!! But this'll be my last event for a while- I don't think I'll be going to Maggie Stiefvater's launch party for Shiver, but hopefully she'll do other VA signings that I can go to (come to my area, Maggie)!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Review- Bite Me by Melissa Francis

Bite Me by Melissa Francis
AJ Ashe isn't your typical seventeen-year-old vampire—as if there is such a thing! She's stuck in the middle of a huge fight between her two BFFs. Her ex-boyfriend—whom she's still totally in love with, by the way—is now her stepbrother. A former classmate—who, um, she may or may not have turned into a vampire—is stalking her. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. What ever happened to the good old days, when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her taste for blood?

I really enjoyed this book and pretty much flew through it. Francis' debut is full of romance/forbidden love (but not the usual!), mystery, wrongful accusing, and a fresh take on vampires. I loved AJ's sarcasm and snarkiness and her personality and life was so interesting to read about. This book pulls you in and keeps you turning pages, wanting to know more and more of how she'll deal with everything that comes up. The cover makes it look like a fun, light vampire read, but don't be fooled- the book has mainly a darker tone to it, which I really enjoyed and was surprised to find. I think my one complaint would probably be that the plot is a bit unbalanced. The book starts off talking about and dealing with AJ and Ryan's transition from lovers to being step-siblings. But only a few chapters in and it's moved on to the dark aspects of the story and this transitioning sorta falls to the wayside, very rarely popping back up. I really wish there had been more about them, along with the dark aspect because I really enjoyed the mythology AJ researches about her family history and loved how Francis integrated that into the plot. It was done just really well, but I would've loved to see more of AJ and Ryan together. All in all though, a really superb book and you can't go wrong with it being a paperback. Oh, and there is gonna be a sequel, which I cannot wait to read!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of July 13 Part 1

Hey everyone! Here's this week's In My Mailbox vlog mainly featuring RWA books and small tales of my adventures, including two stories of how I was a certifiable loon in front of two authors. *sigh*

Books Mentioned in Vlog (in order):

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Prey by Rachel Vincent
Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills
Bite Me by Melissa Francis
The Season by Sarah MacLean
Crowned by Julie Linker
Vamped by Lucienne Diver

All books were signed.

Look for Part 2 early on Tuesday, and I'm working on both the Claudia Gray/Elizabeth Scott recap and the RWA recap (with pics!) so look for those also later this week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of July 6

YES! FINALLY, I have become motivated enough to upload and post this vlog. Just so you know, everything I talk about in this vlog (grandma's bday and RWA) has already happened. Here you go!

Two things-

1) Do you want me to upload the almost 12 minute video onto Blogger? I do think it's more fun cuz I got to ramble, lol. But it's up to you guys!

2) This week's IMM vlog will be in two parts, because of the RWA books I have to show off. I did Part 1 earlier today and it'll be up on Sunday (or maybe even late Saturday) and then Part 2 on Monday or Tuesday. RWA recap(s) will be up next week, although I do think I should post my Elizabeth Scott/Claudia Gray signing recap first though... still need to work on it though, lol. Also, expect a new review this coming week too!

Monday, July 13, 2009

*sigh* I've been dared...

So just when I thought I had escaped all this "I DARE YOUUUUUU!!!!" business, I am sucked in. Both Harmony and Chelsea have dared me to do the following 9 things (#10 is forthcoming- am scared as to what it will end up being). Also included is my fun commentary in bold!

James, Chelsea and I dare you to accept this challenge and complete ALL TEN of the items on this list.

1.) Read all of the Twilight series (Not so difficult. Was planning on doing this anyway. Will probably review them as I go as well.)

2.)Write a blog post confessing your love of Edward Cullen (MUST be at least 10 sentences!!) (I'm sure I could do this too. Hell, I might even ACTUALLY love Edward after reading the books. Especially since I will be imagining him as Robert Pattinson. Though I do think Taylor Lautner is a bit hotter- I like guys who are tan.)

3.)Make a vlog of yourself singing/dancing to Lady Gaga. (This will prove a bit more difficult, as this will be HIGHLY embarrassing. What's actually funny though is that I DID record a tiny video a while back where I sang along to Lady Gaga. I sounded HORRIBLE in it. Will have to pick a better song or something. Requests?)

4.)Drink 5 cups of coffee in one morning. (I'm hoping for a reprieve or change on this one, as I don't drink coffee. And neither does my roommate so it's not like I could bum off her or anything. I don't want to buy 5 cups of coffee either.)

5.)Make a vlog about how awesome we (Chelsea and I) are. (This will be easy enough. Will probably make it as soon as I get home. I wish I had my cable with me or else I'd just do it in my car and post it as my SevenBookBabes post for this week. Unfortunately, I don't have the cable, so that also means no SBB post whatsoever. Sorry everyone. :( But more vlogs are coming!!)

6.)Dress up as Harry Potter (as in put a lightning bolt on your forehead), take a picture of yourself, then say hello to 5 random people on the street and blog about their reactions. (This is probably going to be the HARDEST one because I am extremely shy in public and therefore will probably die of nervousness and embarrassment from doing this. Maybe half points if I dress up and take picture? Although I could just wait for Halloween and then it won't be so bad. Yeah. I think I'll do that. AND YOU CAN'T CHANGE THE DARE NOW JUST BECAUSE I FOUND A LOOPHOLE! MWAHAHAHA!)

7.)Watch an episode of Supernatural and draw a picture of Sam and Dean. (This will also be easy, esp. since my roomie and I are getting cable soon. Is the show still on? Are there reruns on sometime? I'd rather start with the first season. Does someone have the DVD of it that they'd let me borrow? As for the picture, it will turn out suckily. I am no artist.)

8.)Write an essay using only Linkin Park lyrics. (How long does this essay have to be? I'll have to read their lyrics at some point... I only remember like one song from them and I'm not even entirely sure it was them. That song "In the End"? Is that even the title? I don't know. Linkin Park is not a band I listen to, as you know if you've seen my CD collection.)

9.) Read the whole Harry Potter series. We *will* be quizzing you on these so cheating will not be accepted. (Not liking the quizzing thing. But I was also planning on reading this at some point anyway. Guess it'll just be sooner rather than later.)

10.) We are still debating on this one and shall let you know when we come up with it. Be prepared to do something BA. (What does BA mean? Bear Attack? Bean Angel? BARN ANIMALS?? Please tell me I don't have to do anything with barn animals...)

This challenge must be completed by BEA 2010.

If you fail this challenge, you must do something embarrassing AND carry all of our books for us.

If you complete this challenge, we will carry all of your books at BEA.

To join the fun, visit the I Dare You Blog.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of July 6

Um... so no vlog this week. I mean, there IS one and it's on my camera but I forgot to upload it to my computer before leaving for the weekend and I don't have the cable to hook the camera up to my computer. Luckily, I didn't really get much this week:

The Second Circle of Heck: Rapacia by Dale E. Basye (hardcover)
Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen (hardcover)
Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande (audio)
AWESOME swag package from Harmony's Book Reviews

The vlog will be posted later this week. Probably not until Thursday sometime.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Mandy Hubbard Guest Blog

So, I was told that I could blog about what I found in my couch cushions, and I have my itemized list ready and everything, but then Lisa swooped in and totally took that topic. *Shakes a stick at Lisa*.

So alas, I had to come up with my own topic. Since I had something really, completely exciting happen this week, I hope it will suffice.

Monday morning, I had the day off from work, and forced my husband to pretend I didn’t exist so that I could get some writing done. (He went clothes shopping and grocery shopping, like a good wife. But don’t tell him I said that.) Anyway, so I’m sitting at home, writing (aka, checking my amazon ranking) when I got a facebook message from a teen in Pennsylvania.

She says, “That’s so cool that this actress is talking about your book in TIME!”

Me says, “WTF?” That made no sense. If that actually happened, there’s no way some average teen facebooker would be the first to see it.My editor would know about it, right? I replied and asked her what she was talking about. She didn’t reply for several hours. I convinced myself that after I replied, she went and re-read the blurb and realized an actress was discussing the original Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen, and that’s why she is ignoring me. I went back to Amazon stalking.

Finally, she says, “No, really. Abigail Breslin says she’s reading it in TIME.”

Me says, “OMFG that cannot be right.” I still did not, in a thousand years, think it could happen and not a person at my publisher would know about it in advance. Also, that the paparazzi would be banging on my door by now if it were true.

I figured out which issue it was and promptly called the grocery store, who tells me they only have a Michael Jackson tribute issue of TIME. I call B&N, the nearest of which is 40 minutes away, and they say they have it. I contemplate forcing the B&N employee to stand there and read the whole magazine to me just to see if it’s in there. Instead, I race out the door, jump in the truck, and drive to B&N.

When I get there the employee is in the magazine section, putting stacks of magazines away. I ask him for the TIME, and he digs one out. I move approximately 3 ½ inches away from him so that he can continue working while I shakily open the magazine and look for the blurb.

When I find it, I say brilliant phrases like ,”Ohmigod its real.” I re-read it a half dozen times to see if its made of disappearing ink or if maybe I’m just really really blind and I have super-imposed my name and book title.

The guy asks me why I am freaking out and I tell him, and he very kindly asks me how many more copies I would like to buy. I say five.

Then I rush out of the store and call everyone I know.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Eyes Like Stars and Prada & Prejudice reviews

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

That is, until now.

Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Mantchev has an extremely wonderful, imaginative, and fun debut here. Her writing is so compelling and just pulls you along through the book so well, even though not a whole lot happens in the beginning. Enough is given so that you're interested and want to continue, but the plot really seems to start going about halfway through. The idea behind this series is so clever and creative and Mantchev does a great job executing it. There's tons of humor in it, but also some real depth to the characters and the situations they're found in. I think my favorite characters are the four fairies that follow Bertie around, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this. I also really love Nate, who sounds way hot, and I liked the love triangle aspect going on throughout the book between him, Bertie, and Ariel. It was really fun being introduced to this new world and I can't wait to keep reading this amazing new trilogy.

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips…conks her head…and wakes up in the year 1815! There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant. But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?

This book was so cute, funny, and romantic! I absolutely adored it. Hubbard's debut is impressive. I really enjoyed the combination of contemporary and historical, though I do think that there should have been more time spent in the beginning setting up Callie's contemporary persona. But I think the contemporary aspect at the end was a good amount. I loved seeing how Callie changed throughout the book and how she dealt with being stuck in 1815. The romance was done really well, and I gotta say that Alex is one of my new fave YA hotties. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what Mandy has stored for us next, which is unfortunately still a secret and that makes me sad.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Lisa Mantchev Interview

1) How did you get the idea for Eyes Like Stars and the series as a whole?

ELS started as a short story entitled "All Her World's A Stage," and that began with the name "Beatrice Shakespeare Smith." I was working on a different short story at the time, but I'm pretty sure I shoved it aside to draft five thousand words. Those five thousand words then ended up as bits of chapter one, the chapter about how Bertie came to the theater, the important bits concerning The Complete Works of the Stage, and the ending. It was like when Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride) said, "No, there is too much. Let me sum up," only in reverse.

2) You spent a lot of your years as a child and teen doing theatre. What was your favorite and least favorite part about performing? What show production has been the most fun to do?

I love just about everything, from the auditions to Hell Week to the performances; the only part that I grew to dread was memorizing my lines. When I started (age seven) I would have the entire show in my head in three days. Now, it takes a lot of repetition and head-smacking to get the lines in there. And I _hate_ feeling unprepared.

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

I'm in the middle of revisions on the second Théâtre Illuminata book, Perchance To Dream. Then I have revisions on an unrelated series (Retrofuturistic NeoVictorian silliness) before it can go out on submission. After that, I'll be drafting the third theater book.

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

I was writing short speculative fiction before I began the novel, and there's not much delineation in that field by age group. I happened to have a teenaged protagonist, and the book sold to a YA imprint. Only then did I realize my very favorite books come from the YA section of the bookstore.

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

Tangerine. My mom used to mix tangerine, lemon, and lemon-lime together to put in the plastic eggs at Easter. I always ate the tangerine ones first.

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

I have a stack of awesome on my nightstand: Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, Flora's Dare by Ysabeau Wilce, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, plus two research books on Victorian/Edwardian clothing.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

If you want to get published, you have to treat the writing like a job: put in the hours, behave professionally (at conventions, on the internet) and NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER SURRENDER.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Mandy Hubbard Interview

1) How did you get the idea for Prada and Prejudice?

I had been reading regency romances for awhile (the first one I ever read was what made me want to be published!) but I kept going back and forth between contemporary romances and regency. I wanted the voice and style of a contemporary, the setting of the historical. So I simply wrote the book I wanted by combining them both!

2) What sort of research did you do in writing Prada and Prejudice? Was it difficult to do?

I definitely had to do a lot. I watched movies, read some non-fiction books on the period, and spent a lot of time on google.

It was easy to find small, fascinating tidbits to sprinkle around, but when I was looking for an answer to a specific question, it got tricky. For instance, there is a scene with Callie and Emily getting ready for a dance, and they are hanging out together in Emily's room. Would girls in that era do that? I wasn't totlaly certain and I had to ask around a lot, and the answers were fuzzy. Since it was important to the book, it stayed that way, but I am nervous that someone will tell me I'm wrong! It is still scary to realize that I could inadvertantly commit a total historical faux-pas, and it will be related to something so simple that it didn't even occur to me to research it. It's easy to know that you should research the food instead of having them eating spagetti and meatballs, but what if you totally overlook something?

Welcome to the world of writing historicals. :-)

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

I'm working on my Summer 2010 YA, but it's super-duper top secret. I am hoping I'll be allowed to share more later this summer! I also have a June 2010 novella coming out from Harlequin that focuses on the NASCAR world they've created.

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

I feel pretty new to it, to be honest. I read a lot of RL STINE in high school, and then skipped into Adult suspense books-- mostly the ones by Mary Higgins Clark. It wasn't until I wrote a book and my agent asked me to make the main characters 5 years younger that I tuned into the current YA market, and I love it SO much. I must have spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on YA book since I realized how amazing the 'genre' is!

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

I love them all! Except the buttered popcorn and the coffee or chocolate type flavors. Yuck. Bring on the fruity ones!

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

I just read STUPID CUPID by Rhonda Stapleton (out in December)...totally cute and funny. I am on a semi-hiatus from reading while I work on my 2010 YA, as the deadlinse are going to be TIGHT.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Never let a bad rejection (or a bad day!) be enough to make you quit. This industry simply takes a lot of time and effort to break in, and it may be months or years before you see it pay off-- the question is, will quit before it happens?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Excerpt Vlogs

So I did these late last night so not sure how well they turned out. I do know that my camera cut me off (or was it the fairies...?) on the Eyes Like Stars excerpt when I had like a page left, so below that vlog, I've posted the rest of the chapter so you can keep reading it.

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Rest of excerpt (from ARC, so may not be exactly the same as final version):

"The damages were considerable," the Stage Manager continued, "and this is only the most recent in a series of destructive and negligent acts committed by a single person."

"Bertie," the Players said with one voice.

Nate shivered. Bertie had never seen a pirate covered in gooseflesh and didn't take it as a good omen. Someone must have cued the orchestra; violins began to play with dark harmonics from the brass. The melody tickled at the back of Bertie's throat, and she shuddered as the music added layer upon layer of tension to the room. The surrounding lights dimmed until the only thing that existed in their universe was the Stage Manager.

"We have done all we could to raise her since she arrived here, a foundling child with neither family nor friends." The Stage Manager put a hand to his heart, as though it pained him to say this, though his mouth quirked with ill-concealed glee. "But the time has come for a change."

The air crackled with electricity. Overhead, in the flies, someone shook the thunder sheet.

The Stage Manager's voice crawled out of the storm, like a god's pronouncement from the heavens. "It is with deepest regret that I convey this news to you all. The Theatre Manager is in his Office at this very moment, telling Beatrice Shakespeare Smith she must leave the theater."

That's all! :) Hope you guys enjoyed these and come back every day for the rest of the week for more posts featuring Mandy Hubbard and Lisa Mantchev!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Lisa Mantchev Guest Blog

Oh, The Glamour

James asked me to speak about what I found in the cushions of my sofa, so I went to investigate. One half of my couch at the moment is actually occupied by my four-year-old daughter. She is asleep. Given that it is 6:45 p.m. on a Friday evening, this would be highly unusual, except she had an emotional meltdown because we were supposed to go see Pixar's Up and then couldn't because one of the four dogs we have peed a lake in the master bedroom, across two fuzzy dog beds and then down the stairs.

Did I mention it's my tenth wedding anniversary today? Totally is!

So, yes. Pee. While I was trying to revise the second book in the Théâtre Illuminata (Perchance To Dream.) It's reached the stage of the project when, if it was a painting or a model airplane, I would jump up and down on it until it was broken in pieces, then I would light the pieces on fire. And let whichever dog peed all over the upstairs carpet come over and pee on the ashes.

Hm. I might have worded that a big strongly, but you get the gist.

Wait, back to the couch. Um. Crumbs of snacks gone by. PlayDoh crumbs. *shudder* I actually detest the smell of PlayDoh. Dog hair. A couple pieces of loose change. Fairy glitter. YEW. Those things over there... well, lets just say they aren't chocolate buttons.


And... near the couch are approximately ten million dollars of toys. My Little Ponies, baby dolls that also pee (why can I never escape the pee?!?!) and plastic dinosaurs and more bits of PlayDoh. None of these toys has ever or will ever match the awesomeness of the big cardboard box the stove came in, by the way. Then there's the Wii, which I don't actually play, but I hear the Lego games are fun. Other people in the house play the Wii while I write. They should invent a Wii game that would simulate me jumping up and down on my work-in-progress and then setting the bits on fire, except the dang thing doesn't like when you jump on the balance board. More dog hair, around the Wii controllers, of course.

I don't think these descriptions are going to make any of you want to come visit, but I guarantee you that some days, in JK Rowling's enormous Scottish castle, you hear a very lovely and refined British woman shriek "WHO PEED ON THIS RUG?!"

Except she can then go swim in her pool of gold money to relax, just like Scrooge McDuck in the opening sequence of Duck Tales. So there you have it... what's in my sofa cushions, plus the six degrees of separation between me and the author of Harry Potter!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of June 29

Here's my vlog for this week, followed by what books I got:

List of books talked about:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs
Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart (ARC+hardcover)
Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo and Lin Wang

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Review- Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.

This is such an emotional and powerful book. Chaltas has an extremely gripping, raw and realistic debut here; what makes it even more chilling is reading the acknowledgements where she writes "I write now what I could not say then." and the wry witticism of "Only truth and fiction were used in writing this." (Both of these are paraphrased as my copy is unreachable at the moment.) As this is a verse novel, the reading goes by quickly, but I was propelled even more so with the wondering of how this would all end. I gotta say that the ending surprised me; I knew part of it would happen, but wasn't sure how and where that part would continue to. The way in which Chaltas writes flows so well and is so vivid, it's a real treat to read this book, even with the heavy subject matter. What I really like about verse novels is how intimate and raw the emotions and characterization is, and that really lends itself well in writing about a heavy subject such as this- child abuse. I really liked Anke's character and reading about where she fit in with her family and her thoughts regarding the abuse happening were really interesting for me. Fans of Ellen Hopkins' work would definitely enjoy this. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Seven Book Babes vlog, in which I talk about a book signing

Watch this video for a little bit about how the signing this past Saturday went. A full recap with pictures will be going later this week.

Be sure to look at the recap of the Sarah Dessen signing that I posted yesterday!