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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where She Went Teaser Tour + Contest!

Attention If I Stay fans: Adam was a pretty special guy, wasn’t he? The big emo-core heart in that cute rocker body. But, you know, no matter how good a person you are, it’s hard to escape tragedy unchanged. How have Adam and Mia changed? If you were wondering about that, the wait is almost over—New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman has written a sequel to If I Stay. It’s called Where She Went, and it comes out April 2011, but right now she’s doing a teaser tour to give If I Stay fans the scoop on what they can expect from Mia and Adam’s new chapter.

Teaser Number 9:
Remember what a nice guy Adam was in If I Stay?
In Where She Went, not so nice.

He’s been a bit, well, damaged by events.

Which isn’t to say you won’t still love him.

Watch the If I Stay paperback trailer!

Be sure to pre-order Where She Went, out in stores April 2011!

Not only that, but to prepare for Where She Went, I'm giving away a SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF IF I STAY! How awesome is that? All you have to do is just leave a comment talking about what you're looking forward to seeing in Where She Went or what you loved about If I Stay. Also, this contest is US ONLY! This contest will run until 11:59pm on September 7th!

To help you out with what to look forward to in Where She Went, be sure to check out the other tour stops:

August 19: Persnickity Snark- http://www.persnicketysnark.com/
August 20: Hope’s Bookshelf - http://princess2293.blogspot.com/
August 23: Bookworming in the 21st Century - http://www.bookworminginthe21stcentury.com/
August 24: The Story Siren - http://www.thestorysiren.com/
August 25: Sarah’s Random Musings - http://sarahbear9789.blogspot.com/
August 26: The Compulsive Reader - http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/
August 27: The Book Scout - http://thebookscout.blogspot.com/
August 30: Frenetic Reader - http://www.freneticreader.com/
August 31: Book Chic - http://bookchicclub.blogspot.com/
September 1: Presenting Lenore - http://presentinglenore.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 30, 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Radiance by Alyson Noel
"Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley . . ."- summary from Amazon

So I haven't read the Immortals series yet though I have the first two books in my TBR pile but just wanted to state that right off the bat. I had no trouble whatsoever understanding what was happening in this book. It really is just a separate adventure. Ever is mentioned and plays a bit in the character growth but there's nothing here that suggests you need to have read Ever's series first.

Anyway, I really loved this book. It was just really cute but had some wonderful depth to it. This is a pretty short book (but it's paperback as it should be) but it works well and there is still good character development and it just feels like the right length for the story.

Riley is a great character and I loved her sense of humor. The interactions between her and Bodhi were probably my favorite parts of the whole book. I really liked the world building too that Noel did for Here and how everything works there; it was just very cool. Riley's first assignment with the Radiant Boy was really interesting to read too, and I'm looking forward to reading about her future assignments.

There's also a tiny excerpt of the next book, out in January. I can't wait to read more in this series and I really need to get to reading the Immortals series too!

If you want a chance to read this book, go to A Bookworm's Haven (a friend of mine) to enter a contest to win a copy! It ends September 10!

FTC: Received signed ARC at BEA (yes, I got to meet Alyson!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How I Write Reviews

So in going around to my favorite blogs this morning, I stumbled across this post from John of Dreaming in Books. In that post, he linked back to the origin of all this- Adele of Persnickety Snark (I seriously wrote Snack instead of Snark originally. No, I'm not hungry. What makes you think that?). Adele is usually the cause of these sorts of things that make us think and share our processes because she likes to think and then torture us all by making us (or, at least me) think about what we do.

This makes me sound as if I hate Adele for making me do this thinking, but really, I'm trying to be sarcastic and probably failing at it. So let's just get started.

How do I write reviews? The simple answer is that I sit at my laptop (or work computer), open up a new post in Blogger, and just have at it until I finish.

But if we left it at that, that's just no fun. So here's a little breakdown of how I put a review together with some explanation of my thought process.

The essential things I need for a review are (in this order): The cover, the link to Amazon (with my Associate tag in it), the summary from Amazon or the author's website, my actual review, and then where I got the book from as part of FTC guidelines.

I'm not gonna go through each one as most are self-explanatory. I'll just focus on the summary and actual review. With the summary, I used to write my own back in the Myspace days if I could actually figure out how to summarize the book and get my readers interested. It took a lot of time to write these and I didn't do them for all of them, but I do think I did a good job with the ones I did them for. Nowadays, I am way too busy to summarize a book so I've just been using the ones given on Amazon or the author's websites. It's just easier for me and besides, everyone's here to read my review not what the book is about. Right?

On to the review, some reviews are easier than others. While I'm reading a book, sometimes thoughts formulate about what I'll include in my review. Most of the time though, I don't think about it until I finish the book. I try to write the review shortly after I finish, like within 24 hours. But now that I'm at least slightly ahead of my schedule, I can take a few days before sitting down to review a book.

I wanted to quickly touch on some reviews being easier than others. Some reviews I know EXACTLY what I want to say and they come out very quickly. Others not so much and they can take a day or so because I have to think about what I want to touch on in the review and what I thought about it and how to expand on it. It doesn't necessarily have to do with whether or not I liked a book but rather how much I have to say about it. I really loved You Wish by Mandy Hubbard but that's one of my shortest reviews because I didn't necessarily have a whole lot of specifics to expand on. With Paranormalcy by Kiersten White posted yesterday (btw, go comment! Only 1 comment is there!), I had a ton to say and it's probably one of my longest reviews. Both are books I loved but the length is vastly different.

I don't have any specific process to follow. Like, I don't always talk about characters, plot, setting, or whatever else. Each book is different and has it own pros and cons. So I may spend more time talking about the characters in one book, whereas another I may focus on how original the plot is. It really just depends on the book and how I feel about it. A lot of it is kinda stream-of-consciousness and I write down whatever pops into my head. Occasionally, I'll set up a post while I'm reading and make a note or two of something I want to mention in the review.

In recent months, I feel like I'm being at least a little bit more critical and I do end up finding things I don't like in the book and mention those in my reviews. I usually don't spend a whole lot of time on them (unless of course it's the ending of Will Grayson, Will Grayson in which case I will spend hours upon hours on how much I hate it).

I end the reviews now with an Overall sentence or two so people in a rush can see it and get my overall feeling of a book quickly.

I hope this is somewhat enlightening but it probably won't be. But hey, I have a post for Sunday! :) lol.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
"Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal."- summary from Amazon

This has become one of my most favorite books ever. It's funny, original, and has a sweet romance AND ends without a huge cliffhanger. Let's take this on step-by-step:

1) Funny- Kiersten White knows funny (I mean, really, just read her blog) and she incorporates it so well into the storyline. Evie is a wonderful, fairly sarcastic character and I laughed out loud several times at what she said or thought. Funny paranormal stories are sorely lacking- we need more!! I'm glad this is a trilogy so we can expect more funny paranormal from White.

2) Original- Now, maybe I haven't read enough paranormal books, but I thought this idea of a Paranormal Containment Agency was pretty original. Not only that, but I loved the inclusion of so many paranormals; those are my favorite kind of stories- ones that incorporate more than just one creature. It makes for a more interesting story. White did a great job with the Agency's backstory and everything; I really got a good sense of the place and how it all started and how it operates.

3) Romance- I don't know what Aprilynne Pike is talking about in her blurb on the book because there is only one romantic interest and that is Lend. Reth hardly counts and he is certainly not sexy. I didn't like him at all. Lend on the other hand was pure sexiness and I loved the scenes between him and Evie- they are so cute together!!! It's all awkwardness, blushing, and hand holding and it's just adorable. I loved it. I want a Lend of my own (Kiersten, get working on that!)!

4) Non-cliffhanger ending- This is a trilogy and I am eager to read the sequel, however White did something I wish more authors would do. At least with this one, there's a definite ending and I feel satisfied with what I read, but there's enough loose ends and overall arc to keep me reading. But the main adventure in this book was completed. It feels more episodic in a sense. Some series feel more like one huge book broken up into 3 or more books and so therefore just kinda end abruptly and with a huge cliffhanger. Not so with this one, at least for me. That is a HUGE plus.

So pretty much what I'm saying is GO BUY THIS BOOK ON AUGUST 31!! I promise you won't regret it. White is a fantastic new voice and I can't wait to read more from her, even past this trilogy.

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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Nevermore Excerpt Vlog

Here's my fragment of Nevermore by Kelly Creagh! Hope you all enjoy! :)

If you want to see more of me on video, head over to Brent's blog Naughty Book Kitties to see me involved in a book pr0n (I'd rather not put the actual word in the hopes I don't get even more spammers, lol) video where I talk about all the books I'm looking forward to reading and think you should know.

Also, if you want to see what bloggers are thinking, go over to Kristi's blog where she's featuring a bucket-load of bloggers (of which I am one, but my post isn't up yet) and get some insight into our world!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Kiersten White

1) How did you get the idea for Paranormalcy?

It all started when I received a mysterious package with a pink Taser inside. A pink Taser--with rhinestones. Who would carry such a thing? What purpose could it possibly serve? Then I was attacked by a vampire and discovered just what a Taser could do.

Wait, no.

It was a combination of elements that started with wondering what you'd do with a vampire if you didn't want to kill it, which got me thinking about a government organization created to do just that, which gave me Evie in all her pink Taser-toting glory. Three weeks later I had a finished draft!

2) What was The Call like? Tell us all about it.

My phone rang. I answered it. That's how most calls start, I've found. However, this one was a bit different because I was expecting it. I knew Michelle Wolfson, my agent, had been going back and forth with a publisher all day in anticipation of our auction that was scheduled for the next day. I didn't know that publisher was my dream one, HarperTeen. And when Michelle called to tell me their pre-empt offer, I sank to the floor laughing in giddy disbelief. I still can't quite believe that my dream came true in a way that so far exceeded my very realistic expectations.

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

I just finished up edits on the first sequel to Paranormalcy, Supernaturally. Now I'm working on an interview. After this interview, I'll probably work on another interview. After that interview, I'll probably work on another interview. After that interview, I'll probably cry.

Just kidding.

My next project I'm being very secretive about, because I like being mysterious. I'm going to go buy a trench coat, huge sunglasses, and a hat right now, in fact.

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


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

The Brixton Brothers: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity. Hilarious.

6) Have you always been a fan of YA, or are you still new to it all?

It didn't seem like there was much YA ten years ago when I was actually the target audience, but I've been a fan since Harry Potter, and really started reading a ton after I graduated from college six years ago. I've now converted my entire family, including my dad who has never cared for reading, to YA. I really think YA has some of the best, most engaging writing out there.

7) As a Mormon author, do you know Stephenie Meyer personally? What do you two do on weekends together?

Yes, the Mormon community is very well connected. Sure, there are thirteen million of us, which makes the weekend barbecues kind of difficult to organize, but it's worth it!

Or not so much. Shockingly enough we don't all know each other. But I do know someone who knows her, if that counts?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
"Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares."- summary from Amazon

This debut is simply amazing. I loved the way Creagh balanced the real life of Isobel with the haunting nature of the tale and how the novel progressively got creepier. The prose of the novel was very much like a great, well-crafted scary story. There's a lot of build-up and there isn't necessarily stuff that jumps out at you and scares you, but there's this underlying spook factor that gets underneath your skin and keeps you up at night.

The story is told in third person, and while you would think that would give a disconnect between the reader and the scariness of the situation, it really doesn't. In fact, I think it's probably creepier being told from this perspective. Isobel is a great main character though- yes, she's a cheerleader, but she's not like most cheerleaders we see in YA. She's got a good heart and is willing to take risks, despite what her so-called friends might say about what she does (like hanging out with goth boy Varen, though that got on my nerves- why torture a boy because he was paired randomly with a popular girl for a CLASS PROJECT?! I wanted to slap those stupid jocks and cheerleaders.).

The last 200 pages (yes, I know, it's a huge book- probably the longest I've ever read) of the book are pretty much almost non-stop action and suspense and horror. It's Poe for the modern day and is just deliciously spooky, especially with the way Creagh weaved in "The Masque of the Red Death" short story into her own novel.

The ending was something I was thinking about during the last 50 pages. I thought it would be kinda cool if it ended a certain way and I almost thought it would end that way, even though it would be unconventional. It still ended unconventionally but in a different way than I thought. There is a bit of a cliffhanger, but there's a sequel coming. I will be surprised if the sequel is just as long as this book because it seems to me there isn't 500 pages worth of material there, but hey, maybe I'm not thinking enough.

Overall, this is a great spooky, and well-written debut- get it now and start preparing for Halloween!

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Paranormalcy Excerpt Vlog

Here's my Paranormalcy excerpt vlog. Hope you all enjoy!!

Thanks for watching! Paranormalcy will be out in stores August 31!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Kelly Creagh

1) How did you get the idea for Nevermore?

When I began writing Nevermore, it was an untitled piece about a goth and a cheerleader being paired for an English project. My goth guy chose Poe as the focus for the assignment. Initially, I didn’t expect that Poe would take such a large role in the novel. As I continued to write and research, however, I began to find out more and more about Poe’s mysterious death. As I continued to write, Poe seeped into every page until his presence became the very backbone of my story. So this is one of those ideas that crept up on me slowly, waiting in the wings, ready to strike, take over and bend my mind in a very Poe-like way.

2) What was The Call like?

I got the call while I was at work so I couldn’t be too insane. My cell rang and I hurried out into the hallway and had a quick chat with my agent. So it was kind of subdued, actually. I was somewhat in disbelief and I think that part of me still didn’t understand. In my mind, I still had some more hoops to go through before everything was official. Needless to say, I spent the remainder of that day in a total daze.

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

I am currently working on the sequel to Nevermore. I can’t say much about it yet. I also have another project tucked away which I began working on about a year ago and which I hope to be able to return to sometime soon. The only thing I am willing to say about that one, is that it is the polar opposite of Nevermore.

4) Do you have any writing rituals, or are you pretty much just a sit-and-write anywhere type of person?

When I sit down to write, I like to have coffee nearby and something chocolate. I have to compose on my laptop. I find writing long-hand frustrating because my hand can’t seem to keep up with my thoughts. I also like the option of editing as I go. As a result, one of my writerly superpowers is the ability to type super fast. The other thing that I must have is music. If it’s a good day and things are flowing, mood music helps a lot and I almost always use my big over-the-ear block-out-the-world headphones (or as I like to call them, my robot ears!)

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

Right now I’m really enjoying the Kiss Me Deadly anthology. Also, I’ve started Torment by Lauren Kate. Books that I have and desperately want to read are Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa and The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

6) You're also a librarian specializing in teen services. What made you choose that career path? Also, I'm sure you've done plenty of wonderful things for your library and its patrons. Is there any that you're particularly proud of, more so than the others, or meant the most to you?

I love working with teenagers. So many of the teens who I work with are so spry and quick-witted and just plain hilarious. Interacting with my teen patrons is the best part of my day-job. I love recommending titles and having dish-out sessions about which YA boy is the cutest and what might happen in the next book in a series. As far as my greatest achievement in working for the library, I think it has been the relationships I have formed with my teen regulars. I think that a big part of getting teens to let you into their world a little is to know their name, ask them how their day was and provide them with special individualized service and programs.
That’s what I love about my role. After all, teens are future voters, parents and professionals.

7) Nevermore is very haunting and focuses a lot on one of the most scary writers Edgar Allan Poe. Are you really into things like haunted houses and ghost stories, or are you more of a scaredy-cat?

I actually am into the paranormal. I’m a big fan of paranormal TV shows like The Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. I would love to get into ghost hunting. Though I have never seen a ghost, I sometimes think that I would really like to. At least…that’s what I tell myself. And I have been a scary-story junkie for as long as I can remember.

8) Concluding on a very serious note, what is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Toasted Marshmallow

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug."- summary from Amazon

OK, so I love Jennifer Echols. I have read all her books and have loved them all. I've met her in person too and she jumped up and down, yelling my name, trying to get my attention, as if I wasn't there to come see her! Anyway, what I'm trying to say here is that I love this book too. There's just no getting around it.

However, I didn't love this book as much as Going Too Far. While I did enjoy the characters, I just didn't feel as connected to the characters and was occasionally a bit annoyed with Zoey. Maybe that's supposed to be the point, but I don't know. I thought the plot was interesting with her trying to figure out what happened that night but at the same time, I was like "OMG WHY DON'T YOU JUST ASK SOMEONE?!?!" Of course, we'd have a much shorter book (if one at all) and there was a reason as to why she didn't outright ask, which I kind of understood but kind of didn't.

Let me say here and now that I did not like the dads in this book. Not one bit. I wanted to punch both of them, which is my natural response to when someone is doing something evil/mean to the main character. I don't think I'd ever do it in real life, but I just wish once it would happen in a book (and I'm sure it has- maybe I'm just not reading the right ones?) rather than the characters talking things out or whatever. That's no fun!

One thing Echols knows how to do REALLY well is the steamy, romantic parts, and there are some swoon-worthy scenes in here between Doug and Zoey. I. LOVED. IT. Also, Echols does something I don't think I've seen much of, if at all, in a YA book- masturbation. It's only implied twice (and maybe one other time if you count that- won't go into details) but even the implication of it is something that's hardly seen. Very ballsy of you, Echols, and that's why I love you (well, among other reasons too).

The book is also filled with sarcastic humor which I loved because that is my main form of communication. Overall, it's a good book that I did enjoy but wasn't as impressed with as her previous MTV novel.

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

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fragment Friday- The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway

Hey everyone! Back for another installment of Fragment Friday, woo!!! This week, I came prepared yet again and am reading an excerpt from The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway, which is out in stores now. Enjoy!

For those participating in Fragment Friday, please put your link in the Mr. Linky below. For those wondering just what the heck Fragment Friday is, it's where you read and record a small fragment (aka excerpt) of a book you're currently reading or it could just be a favorite book of yours that you'd like to share a bit of with all of us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Real Live Boyfriends ARC Tour Schedule

So, it appears that only a few people were interested in this. HOW COME?!?! The Ruby Oliver series is AWESOME!! Here's the order the ARC will go in, and let me know if anyone else wants to be added on to the tour:

DC #- 0310 1230 0001 8257 1435

1) Khy Rec'd 9/2 Sent 9/7 DC #0310 1230 0001 1115 6412
2) Elika Rec'd 9/14 Sent 9/21- DC# 0308 3390 0001 9674 3934
3) Breanna Rec'd 9/25 DC# 0310 0480 0001 0294 0569
4) Christina Rec'd 10/13 Sent 10/ DC#
5) Irene Rec'd 10/31 Sent 11/16 DC #1Z3E681R0312396391
6) Anne Rec'd 11/20 Sent 11/24 DC #0310 2010 0001 8000 6637
7) Christy Lou Who
8) Kate
9) Alexa

This will be the official post so check back often to see where the book is. I'll also be posting the Delivery Confirmation #s here too so it can be tracked.

I only have Khy, Breanna, Kate, and Alexa's email addresses, so Anne, Irene and Christy Lou Who, and Elika, please email me at bookchicclub-at-gmail-dot-com (with the at and dot replaced with the appropriate symbols) so I can get your mailing addresses and all that.

Thanks all for participating!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ask Book Chic (9)

Thank you all so much for the wonderful questions you've given me! I've emailed the winner of the prize pack, so if you haven't heard from me, unfortunately you didn't win. But once I need more questions, expect another contest! Anyway, let's get started:

Kit asked "Who started the "in my mailbox" segment on blogs? I want to know the first person to do this and its driving me nuts because I can't find any links."

I don't know about the ORIGINAL person because the blogosphere is such a HUGE place that it's hard to find the original source for anything. What we have is Kristi of The Story Siren who has really cultivated it and turned it into a meme, but she also credits Alea of Pop Culture Junkie with the idea.

Just_Me37 asked "Your house is on fire and you can only save three novels you own, which ones are they?"

Oh god! Hmmm. I'd probably grab a Meg Cabot book because I just love them and since my house will be burned down, I'll need a laugh. I'd probably also grab Rosebush by Michele Jaffe because I can't wait to read it and love Michele so much. The final book I'd take with me would be Straight Road to Kylie by Nico Medina because I love that book so much. I wish I had a better answer with more sentimental books or something, but alas, I do not, lol.

Breanna asks "What did you do to get people to actually read your blog? I feel like no one even reads mine. Like I'm doing these reviews for no one sometimes. It's frustrating!"

I totally get where you're coming from. You probably do have readers, but they're more of the lurking variety than commenting variety. But I'm not sure what to tell you because I originally started on Myspace so I was just friending anyone and everyone and sending out bulletins like mad, lol. So with that, it's easier to get people to look at your blog, then when I moved here, I already had a built-in audience. So I have no personal story of how to necessarily build followers starting on this format. I do have some ideas though (mostly yoinked from other people far smarter than I).

1) Be consistent. Set up a schedule for yourself on when to post something and stick to it. Your readers will fall into a rhythm and know when to expect a post from you and will come back looking for one on those days.

2) Follow other blogs. I know I usually check out who's been following me and then I follow them back. This isn't always the case (otherwise, my Google Reader would be even more full than it already is), but that's how it usually happens.

3) Make insightful, funny, or interesting comments on other blogs. As I'm sure you know, we bloggers appreciate a really good comment. If you post comments like that, other bloggers will take notice and check you out and comment on your blog.

4) Link exchanges. Maybe you're running a really cool event on your blog and you'd like to spread the word- ask some of your blogger friends if they wouldn't mind putting a quick link in one of their posts promoting the event. You'd do the same for them, right? It's a great way of driving traffic and introducing readers to new blogs. So everyone go check out Breanna's blog!!

5) Be Yourself. It sounds silly and cliche, but it's true. Blog the way you want to blog and try not to worry about readers and all that. If your personality shines through, the people will come, stay and comment. It'll happen naturally.

Good luck! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Love Sucks by Melissa Francis

Love Sucks by Melissa Francis
"AJ Ashe may have gotten rid of her vampire stalker and her evil ex-teacher, but things are hardly back to normal. For one thing, she still has to maintain a strict look-but-don't-touch policy with Ryan, her hot ex-boyfriend-turned-stepbrother. For another, she has to learn to control her vampire superpowers—which means more than a few dates with Lex, mind-reading professional vampire trainer and too-sexy-for-his-own-good bad boy. And as if that's not enough, she happens to be the key to her father's plans to take over the world . . . and he'll stop at nothing to get what he wants.

All this and she's still got to plan the prom. Being a teenager is tough, but being a teenage vampire just flat out sucks!"- summary from Amazon

I was so excited to get this book in the mail because I absolutely loved Melissa's first book Bite Me, which is the prequel to this. I just love the mythology she uses and also how she makes a paranormal book filled with witches and vampires and other creatures absolutely hilarious. AJ is a wonderful character and I love being inside her head.

Another character who loves being inside her head too is the sexy British vampire Lex who comes along to help her learn more about her powers and how to control them. I loved his character and fell for him myself. But of course sexy Ryan is still around too and I loved him as well, at least in the latter half of the book when he stopped being all moody and stuff.

The search for the runes was a fun plot and all the other factors that came into play were so interesting. Francis really has a fantastic world here; I really hope we'll be able to step into it again sometime. The twist at the end was something I wasn't expecting and I'm wondering how Francis would continue the series if there is to be more or if this is it. I really hope there's more!!

Overall, a fun, humorous paranormal read with its share of dark, suspenseful moments. It does a great job of balancing the two. However, one flaw I noticed is that some of the dialogue seemed a bit stilted and unrealistic at times and that really took me out of the book.

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Grace by Elizabeth Scott
"Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate."- summary from Amazon

I was really excited to read this book because a) It's Elizabeth Scott and she's awesome and b) because it sounded like a really powerful read and very different from what she's done before. The writing style is similar in vein to Living Dead Girl- very sparse and tight prose as well as very depressing and hard to read.

It's a short book and I'm glad for that. Like Living Dead Girl (sorry that I keep drawing comparisons but the reactions for me with both are too similar), it's a tough read to swallow and, for once, I was grateful to only be reading it during breaks at work. Reading it for 15 or 30 minutes at a time was enough for me.

Grace's journey is one wrought with fear, which brings a huge amount of suspense for the reader. It's a book that's hard to write a review for because of how it affects you as a reader. It's not a story that you can squee over (and if you did, I would be very worried), but rather just a story that needs to be told and read. It's the kind of story that I would like to think would inspire change for the better.

My review sucks, so here's a link to a better review- Not Enough Bookshelves (from back in June)

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

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ALA Day 3

The final day was pretty short and fairly event-free. I only had a few signings to go to and they were all pretty well spaced out. The first event of the day was Heidi Kling's signing and we all got to the Penguin booth fairly early. Heidi was there already and just hanging out, so we were able to chat, hug and get some pictures before the signing took place. It was awesome.

After that, we wandered around to other booths to see what was out on the tables. Then we got in line for Heidi's signing. She had a pretty big crowd and I was so happy for her. Not only that, but guess who was in line? JOHN GREEN!!! He wanted a signed copy of Sea too! How awesome is that?

When we finished up at Heidi's signing, we went over to Egmont where they were having a signing later, but it had been pushed up because the time got printed wrong in the ALA program so it was a desperate rush to get the three authors all there since they still thought it was the later time.

Each of them trickled in eventually and so people in line got books signed individually as they waited for each author to come. I went and said hi to Tricia since I was featuring her in a couple weeks as a Fresh New Voice of YA and figured she'd like to put a face to the name. We chatted for a few then we were off.

We all didn't really have much to do. Meaghan and I stuck together since we were going to the same place at 1, so we grabbed lunch together again. It was pretty good today as well, though it ended up not agreeing with me later which sucked (and was also weird since I'd had the same thing the day before and felt fine). Anyway, around 1, we went over to Disney's booth where Lindsey Leavitt was signing copies of her debut Princess for Hire.

Being one of the few people with an ARC helps, because she recognized me right away. She was so sweet and fun, and I was so happy to meet her. I cannot wait for the sequel!

After that, Meaghan and I just wandered around until it was time to get in line for the Ally Carter signing. Meaghan wasn't participating so she just kinda hung around for a few, then wandered off because she had had enough of me (not really). I was able to hang out in line with Linda and Tiffany and also this really adorable young teenager with Jennifer Lynn Barnes hair whose name I don't recall. The line was long but it went by pretty fast, especially with the company I had. I was just gonna buy GG4 for myself and 1 and 2 for PAYA, but Linda gave me $5 to buy GG3 and complete the collection. Ally remembered me from RWA the previous year and from my emails where I was like "I'M GONNA SEE YOU AT ALA!! DON'T GIVE ME A RESTRAINING ORDER! I SWEAR I'M NOT STALKING YOU. KTHXBAI!" and she signed my book and I even got a picture with her, which was featured on the Readergirlz blog in July when Ally was the guest of honor!

Once we were done at the signing, I went and found Meaghan and we wandered around to all the booths to see what we could grab as they were giving away display copies. I stopped by Random House to get the display copy of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares but it was already gone.

We just stopped by the smaller pubs, like St Martins, Macmillan, and Flux. We spent a lot of time at Flux and I was able to get four books from them!! It was tres awesome, including Tips for Having a Gay Ex-Boyfriend by Carrie Jones which I have been wanting since its release way back when. I was a happy boy then.

We also stopped by the S&S booth as Harmony was going through the line multiple times to get books for PAYA and a couple for herself. Meaghan was right at the front of the line (I just now remembered that this is where she went while I was in line for Ally's signing) because she wanted the display copy of Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst which she is letting me borrow because she's AWESOME! Not only that, but since you could get two books while you went through, she grabbed me a copy of Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams- yay! Meaghan and I chatted with a publicist whose name I don't remember for a few while we waited on Harmony to finish up her S&S raiding. It was interesting seeing all the publishers closing up shop and taking everything down.

Also, I can't remember when this happened, but you know how I went to Ellen Hopkins' signing on Saturday? I had to buy a copy of one of her books to get an ARC of Fallout. Well, on Monday (or maybe it was Sunday), she was signing copies of Fallout at the booth and you didn't have to purchase anything to get one! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!?!? It really bugged me, especially since I had to borrow that money from Harmony, which I felt bad about. Now, it's not the purchasing I have a problem with (well, ok, kinda) because I love to support authors and indie bookstores when I can but now I have an extra signed book that I don't have the room for. This was the reason why I brought all my ARCs because I didn't want signed hardcovers because then I'd have to spend money on buying the hardcovers and then shipping out the ARCs to contest winners because I'm not gonna have two copies of the same book in my room. So ALA, while you were fun, I did not like this aspect of you.

And before I go, I want to thank Laura Lutz and Ksenia Winnicki for being awesome publicists. Laura was sweet enough to send me an ARC of I Shall Wear Midnight, the upcoming Terry Pratchett YA novel, and Ksenia because she introduced herself to me as we had been corresponding a bit via email not too long before then and she had sent me some review copies. Also, Flux publicists whose names I cannot remember (well, I remember one, thanks to Karen Kincy, and that's Steven Romije), you are awesome because you loved chatting with us book bloggers and were so accomodating.

OK, that is all. Whew! I am now caught up on all recaps!! YAY!! Next weekend is PAYA which I'm way excited about, so expect a recap two weeks from now. Hopefully.

Picture 1- View of ALA Exhibit Hall from above
Picture 2- Harmony with Egmont Authors (left to right) Bree Despain, Jennifer Lynn Barnes and Tricia Rayburn
Picture 3- Susan, Meaghan, Heidi Kling, me, Harmony before Heidi's signing
Picture 4- Action shot of Lindsey Leavitt
Picture 5- Ally Carter and moi!
Picture 6- In a June Fresh New Voice of YA sandwich with Holly Cupala and Heidi Kling

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fragment Friday- Radiance by Alyson Noel

Finally I am actually participating in Fragment Friday!! This time, it's Radiance by Alyson Noel, out in September! Enjoy!

Put your link in the Mr. Linky below!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Real Live Boyfriends ARC Tour

Before I start, go check out my guest blog on The Story Siren as part of Kristi's GLBT Lit Days!!

So having finally gotten my Gone ARC back at ALA, I realized that maybe I should've done a better job with that ARC tour. So, now that I've had that experience, this one will hopefully be much smoother and more organized.

I'm offering up an ARC of the fourth Ruby Oliver book, Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart, which will be out on December 28, 2010.

The deadline for commenting will be next Wednesday, August 18. As for how I will pick people, it will be done randomly. Anyone can comment- bloggers must include their web URL in their comment and non-bloggers must say in their comment that they're not bloggers. The reason for this is because I will probably only pick one or two non-bloggers for the book to go to so I need to know who is one and who isn't. The main purpose of this is so bloggers can have a chance to read the ARC since so few were sent out and be able to review it on their site.

When I pick the list, I'll announce the names here on the 19th. I want those people to email me so I have their email addresses which I can put together in a Word document and send out to the whole list so people know the order and can get the mailing address from the next person on the list. Also, I'm sorry to international readers, but this tour is only open to US residents.

Also, two big new changes: I WILL BE REQUIRING DELIVERY CONFIRMATION AS PART OF THIS TOUR. So you'll need to agree to that upfront. Delivery confirmation costs a bit extra but it's nothing too bad, especially with this ARC since it's fairly small and lightweight. The second big change is YOU ONLY GET THE BOOK FOR 7 OR 10 DAYS. With Gone, I just assumed people would read it quickly and get it off to the next person. Unfortunately, this wasn't so and, as a result, several people dropped out because the book had already been released before it got to them. So now I'm requiring it. It's a very fast read, like Gone, so it shouldn't be a problem getting it read in that amount of time (whichever it is- I haven't decided yet if it'll be 7 or 10 days).

Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments and I'll answer them either in the comments or add the answers to this post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ask Book Chic (8) + Contest

So I have no more questions after this edition so I need more questions and therefore I'm running a contest since that seems to work the best in generating responses. I will be giving away a prize pack containing these books to one lucky winner: White Cat by Holly Black, Forget You by Jennifer Echols, and Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan and maybe also a shot at something else on my shelves! The contest will be open until Monday, August 16 at 11:59pm EST. The questions can be about anything- I'm a total open book and also, I've been blogging for over three years, so I can impart some wisdom about blogging too. So please ask me anything!

Shalena asks "What book(s) started you liking YA?"

It would have to be Meg Cabot's books. Here's how the story goes: I saw the Princess Diaries movie and loved it, saw it was based on a book, and started reading that series, then moved on to other Meg books. I did skip the first PD book because I thought it was exactly like the movie so I didn't need to read it. Also, for some reason, I thought it was mostly prose and not diary entries, so I avoided it for a while. From there, the summer before my first year of college (2004), I joined Meg's forums/book club and started branching out and reading more YA based on her suggestions. Then eventually, I started picking YA books on my own. So I have Meg to thank for opening up the world of YA to me; otherwise, I'd probably still be reading only Terry Pratchett and VC Andrews, lol.

Just_Me37 asks "When you like a certain book from an author do you read all of their novels regardless of their plots? Or do you have to like the plot of a novel to read it, even it's from a favorite author?"

YES. Before I started reading more YA in 2004 (see story above), I seriously only read certain authors. If I read one book by one and loved it, I'd check out all the others. Luckily, all the ones I fell in love had TONS of books- Terry Pratchett, VC Andrews, and Meg Cabot. Both Terry and VC had been writing since the 80s, and Meg is very prolific.

I still do the same thing now; if I love your book, I'll keep reading you as new books come out. I just have tons of variety in between now that I've got the blog.

But the reason I keep reading these certain authors no matter what is because of their style, which usually is the same from book to book. If I like an author's style or way of writing, it shouldn't matter what the plot is. Because even if it's something I may not read much of, I'll still want to read it because I want to see how that author will handle that type of story with their style. Does that make sense?

Alexa asks "Why don't you have a rating system?"

The simple answer is that I'm too lazy to try and decide how to rate a book when reviewing it. Very rarely will I give a book a grade, though it has happened, mainly to kinda show how I felt about it if the review (to me, at least) seems confusing. But I got into this to tell people my thoughts about books. I feel like a rating system just doesn't get the full point across, at least if you just do a simple star or grade rating. I do really like how The Story Siren does hers as well as other blogs who divide up a book's parts and rate each aspect (plot, characters, writing style, etc.). But that's just too much work for me on top of actually writing a full review.

What I've been trying to do more of is, at the end of each review, I say "Overall..." and write my overall thoughts on the book so that if someone were in a rush they get the gist of my review in that sentence or two. But I hope that people are out there reading my full reviews and getting my opinion that way. A star rating can kind of take away from the written review.

Does that make sense? Anyone for star ratings on blogs? I think this could be a nice little discussion topic.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
"'Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you...no one.'

Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face. It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust. I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode. But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream. I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me..."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely loved this book and thought it was so original. Maizel storms onto the YA scene with a fang-tastically (I couldn't resist) written debut. This book really took me off-guard and I found it hard to put the book down. Lenah is such an interesting character and I loved the back and forth of her in present day and her when she was a vampire in past times. I really enjoyed seeing those looks into her old life.

The boys in this book are all amazing- I pretty much loved them all. Rhode, Tony, and Justin are all fine male specimens. I think out of all of them, I loved Tony the most because he's so funny and carefree, and I love that in a guy. But I did also enjoy Lenah's attraction to Justin. He proved to be more than just a jock, and I really liked his deeper nature when it came to Lenah. Maizel did a great job fleshing these characters out.

The ending was very cinematic and I absolutely loved it, but having the teaser of the second book at the end kinda softened the blow a bit, so I didn't really like that. But if you ignore that, the book ends on a very big cliffhanger.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it's an impressive debut. Definitely check it out if you're looking for a new kind of vampire read.

FTC: Received ARC through Book It Forward tours. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Also, not that she needs help with her 2000+ followers, but Kristi of The Story Siren is hosting an event called GLBT Lit Days featuring guest blogs from GLBT and GLBT-friendly authors and bloggers (like moi!) as well as reviews of GLBT YA Literature. Please go check it out and leave comments; it's going to be a wonderful event! It's running from August 9-August 20.

Monday, August 9, 2010

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
"Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend."- summary from Amazon

Hubbard's sophomore effort is full of humor, heart, and a bit of magic, just like her first novel. I feel like I laughed out loud more than I did during her debut, so the comedy in the story is definitely a high point. I really liked the idea of all of Kayla's wishes coming true and how that would affect her daily life. It was interesting to see what sorts of wishes Kayla had wished for over the course of her life and the results do end up being pretty funny. The growth in the main character comes from having to deal with all of this chaos going on and Hubbard handles it really well. The romance of course is very hot and incredibly swoon-worthy; the leading man Ben is just so sexy and sweet.

Overall, Hubbard has proven herself as a great new voice in the YA world and I'm so excited to read more from her.

FTC: Received book via Around the World tours. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit received goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

ALA Day 2

On Sunday, I decided to sleep in a bit since the first event I wanted to go to wasn't until 11 and that was John Green and David Levithan signing Will Grayson, Will Grayson. However, I probably should have gotten there earlier because the line for it was HUGE!

But before I get into that, I met up with Meaghan for a few minutes before I headed over to the JG/DL signing. I had heard that they would be giving away ARCs of Zombies vs. Unicorns at Holly Black's signing if you bought one of her books. Well, I didn't really have the money to buy one of her books so I wanted to stop by beforehand and see if I could snag a copy. I asked one of the publicists about it and she pointed me over to this other S&S rep Justin, who I had seen the previous day at Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins' signings.

I went up and asked him about it and he said "I don't think so. We have all these people waiting in line and we want to make sure they all get one." Obviously, I completely understood and told him so; I'm not some heartless blogger who will beat someone up for an ARC. Blackmail, yes, but not beat up. So I thanked him and then chatted with Meaghan for a few minutes before heading back through the S&S booth to get to the Penguin booth and in line for JG/DL. On my way through, they were breaking out the ZvU boxes and I passed Justin as he was opening his box up. He said "Hey, wait!" and I stopped, turned around, and he handed me an ARC of ZvU!!! I pretty much gushed and was like "OMG YOU ARE THE BEST! I WANNA HAVE YOUR BABIES!!" OK, I didn't really say that, but I did tell him he was very sweet and I remembered his name for later. I emailed my S&S contact when I got home and asked if she had his email address so I could send him a Thank You email and she said "Oh, Justin? He's the publisher. I'll send along your thanks."



Anyway, no more caps (For now). I went over to Penguin and got in the LOOOONG line. John Green actually came around before the signing and shot a video of the line and talked with a few fans. While I waited in line, Alexa popped in to say hi and hang out with me for a few minutes. I showed off my books and let her borrow The Mockingbirds (which Meaghan let me borrow from her, lol) and I also told her where everything she wanted was. We parted ways (unfortunately not taking a picture together, which we have vowed to do next time we meet) and she went off in search of an ARC of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

After about 40 minutes, I got up to David and John (and also met a Penguin contact of mine, Tim Travaglini, who I didn't introduce myself to because I am shy and also hadn't talked with him in a LONG time) and they signed my book quickly. Due to the long line, they did "the conveyer belt" way of signing, but I was able to get an action shot of them AND John even complimented my shirt! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

While in line for JG/DL, I noticed that Ally Condie and Andrea Cremer were signing, but were finishing up while I was still in line. I didn't need any signed copies (they were out anyway) but I wanted a picture with Ally. I took this action shot of Ally and Andrea hanging out and having a good time. After I got my signed WGWG, I wandered off to the outskirts of the Penguin booth and spent 5 minutes debating with myself about going to get a picture with Ally. I meant to get one at BEA but forgot so this was my chance. I finally got the courage and went over and Ally actually remembered me! We chatted for a few minutes and then I asked for a picture, which her editor (I think) was so kind to take for me. Ally told me no one's tried to track her down just to get a picture yet, which in hindsight, seems like a gentle way of saying "Why are you stalking me, weirdo?". I thanked them both and wandered off to go find Meaghan.

Here's where it all gets fuzzy. I honestly cannot remember in what order these events happened, so I'm just gonna run down these events in the order I think of them:

1) Meaghan and I went to her car so she could drop off her books. On the way there, I grabbed some free ice cream they were handing out across the street and we also ran into this dude who worked at university library or something. I can't remember.

2) Meaghan and I had lunch together and it was SO GOOD. I absolutely loved it. We went there for lunch on Monday too.

3) We hung out with Maggie Stiefvater for a bit! She was wandering around as a spectator and was given free books because she's a NYT Bestselling author. They were throwing them at her! It was nice to see Maggie again because she's just so hilarious. We also had a fun time reenacting the Halo by Alexandra Adornetto cover and how one should ask for a copy of the book. Maggie also put pressure on me in regards to my Linger blog tour questions; I hope she liked mine, lol.

4) Meaghan and I (we hung out a lot, ok? lol) went to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt booth cuz she wanted to get something and they were handing out these baseball caps to promote some book. Anyway, the guy that was there looked really familiar but I didn't say anything cuz I wasn't sure if it was him. As we walked away, I whispered to Meaghan "I think that guy back there at the booth was Daniel Nayeri, co-author of Another Pan." Yes, I actually said it like that; I know I'm a nerd. She was like "No way!" and we went back to investigate and he chatted with us for like half an hour and took pictures with us. He's such an awesome, funny guy and totally invited us over to his place for dinner, if I recall correctly.

After all that, we went to Danielle Joseph's signing at Flux for her new book, Indigo Blues, which I'm so excited to have a copy of and need to read soon. I got a picture with Danielle and it was just so awesome meeting her. Once I got my book signed, my friends and I all just kinda hung around the Flux booth until it was time to go to Holly Cupala's signing.

Holly signed my 4 two-chapter samplers that she had given me at BEA and which I gave away during her feature week in June. After that, we all just kinda hung around her signing at the Harper booth. It was a lot of fun. Pictures were taken and it was awesome.

Our last signing of the day was at S&S with Jeri Smith-Ready. I was not there for her signing though. After my disastrous attempt to find Politics and Prose the day before, I had sent Stacey Kade an email that night to see if she'd be around at ALA the other days cuz I really wanted her to sign my copy of Ghost and the Goth. She said that she'd be around but she was definitely going to be at Jeri's signing because the two of them were friends. So we agreed to meet there. As we got into line, I saw two authors up a little further at the signing table. One was Bonnie Doerr, and the other I thought was Stacey Kade, but I wasn't sure. I could barely remember what her author photo looked like and so for a few minutes, I was debating if I should go up and ask. I figured if they were at the front of the line, it must have been Stacey since she and Jeri were friends.

Well, I went up and I said "Hi, excuse me, I was wondering, are you Stacey Kade?" And the woman looked at me blankly and went "No, I'm not. Do I look like her?" Thoroughly embarassed, I stuttered and was like "Oh, well I thought so, but I only saw an internet photo on her author site, so I wasn't entirely sure." I apologized profusely and went back to my spot in the line and recounted the story to Meaghan and Harmony. Not two minutes later do Stacey, Jeri, and Stephanie Kuehnert come strolling in and as soon as I see Stacey, I immediately know it's her. Also, it seemed she recognized me too because she came over right away and said "You're James, right?" We chatted for a few minutes and I told my embarassing story to her too.

So she signed my book, then someone else in line had a copy of her book and asked if she would mind signing hers and so she did. Then somebody else said "That book looks really cute. I wanna read it." and Stacey ran off to Disney further down the aisle and grabbed a few books to hand out and sign. It was also funny because one of the girls in line went to Disney to go ask for a copy and came back saying the publicist had given her a blank look and said she didn't know what she was talking about. That's why Stacey had to go and ask. It's a funny story and I'm sure Stacey wasn't expecting a little impromptu signing, but I'm sure she enjoyed it.

That was it for that day. Tune in next week for the final day!

Picture 1- Action shot of John Green and David Levithan
Picture 2- Action shot of Andrea Cremer and Ally Condie
Picture 3- Me with Ally Condie (!!!!!)
Picture 4- Me with Daniel Nayeri (!!!!!)
Picture 5- Me with Danielle Joseph (!!!!)
Picture 6- Harmony with Holly Cupala
Picture 7- Harmony with Jaclyn Dolamore

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fragment Friday + PAYA Festival

Hey all, I have failed yet again but it's been a busy week, so no time to record a vlog. I also have a new romantic prospect. :)

Anyway, please leave your Fragment Friday links in the Mr. Linky below. I will do my best to do one next week. I really appreciate everyone taking part in this meme!!

Before I do the Mr Linky though, here's information on an awesome festival that's happening this month that I'm so excited to be attending!

PAYA: Bringing YA to PA is an organization started by blogger Harmony of Harmony Book Reviews. It's dedicated to raising money and collecting books for libraries across the state of Pennsylvania. Since its beginning in October of 2009, PAYA has raised over $1,000 and collected hundreds of books for libraries across the state of Pennsylvania.

PAYA's main fundraiser is an annual one-day festival. This year it will be held in West Chester, Pennsylvania on August 21st. It will feature over 15 authors, including Amy Brecount White, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jeri Smith-Ready, Josh Berk, Jon Skovron, Jennifer Hubbard, Shannon Delany, and more. The signing will run from 1pm-3pm. Books will be sold by Children's Book World from Haverford, PA. The festival will also feature two writing workshops, one aimed directly at teens and another at any aspiring writer. Fundraisers such as a basket raffle and used book sale will be held during the signing as well. More information about the festival can be found here (http://www.bringya2pa.com/2010/07/paya-2010-festival-all-details.html).

PAYA is currently accepting monetary and book donations, both of which will be used to support Pennsylvania libraries. Librarians interested in receiving funds or books from PAYA and authors interested in attending the festival should email bringya2pa[at]yahoo[dot]com.

PAYA website
PAYA fanpage
PAYA Facebook Group
PAYA Event Page

Listen & Critique Workshop - Authors Josh Berk, Amy Brecount White, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jeri Smith-Ready, Jon Skovron, Meg Medina, and Shannon Delany will each be speaking on an aspect of writing they feel is most important. Attendees will then be split into groups of 3-5, each with an author, based on genre of writing. Each members of the group will read the first three pages of a WIP from another members and critique it as a group. The author will lead the discussion and answer any specific questions about writing by the members of the group.

This workshop will run from 10am-noon and will cost $40 for those signing up before August 7th and $45 after August 7th.

Teens on Writing Workshop - Published teens Chelsea Swiggett and Kieryn Nicolas will speak for one hour on writing as a teenager. They will cover a variety of topics. This workshop is aimed at teens 13-18 and will be from 1pm-2pm. It will cost $10 before August 7th and $15 after August 7th.

If you're interested in either workshop, please send an email to bringya2pa[at]yahoo[dot]com to receive sign up info.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's Your Status? by Katie Finn

What's Your Status? by Katie Finn
"Madison MacDonald thinks things are finally working out!

Followers: 300
Status Updates:

mad_mac Nate and I have been together for two months, and it’s wonderful! Life is good!
mad_mac Well, except for the fact that I still might be failing history.
mad_mac And I no longer have a BFF.
mad_mac But aside from those things!
mad_mac Okay. So, um, apparently I’ve just been put in charge of the school’s priceless heirloom.
mad_mac And the assistant headmaster has a vendetta against me.
mad_mac And it seems I’m being blackmailed.
mad_mac Gathering together a crew. I’m going to try and pull off a heist. Without getting caught. Or expelled. Or arrested.
mad_mac Also, I think I may have just accidentally wrecked my relationship. . . .

Madison MacDonald is trying not to panic."- summary from back of book

OK, so before I start on What's Your Status, I completely forgot to mention something awesome that happened in Top 8. Most likely only Gail and I noticed this (as we are huge nerds), but there were a couple references to the totally awesome, everybody-should-watch-this movie Clue! Seeing that made me so happy. You know why? Because I'm a huge nerd.

Anyway, on to What's Your Status! Madison and her friends are back with new problems, a new mystery adventure, and a new social networking site. Status Q is essentially like Twitter and I loved its inclusion in this novel. The way it was used to pull off the heist mentioned in the summary was fantastic. There were also even some twists and turns toward the end of the book that surprised me.

Once again though, one of the great parts was Madison's conversations with her friends. They just flow so naturally and are laugh-out-loud funny. Those were some of my favorite sections. We also get to see more of her friends too as they get their own subplots and get fleshed out some more.

One thing I forgot to mention in the review for Top 8 was the romance. OMG I love this romance and the male lead Nate (even more so as he's the one who made the Clue references); he is so swoon-worthy and he's just so hot. The two of them run into some relationship and communication issues like any couple, but they work through them.

The heist part was just perfection and Finn really knows how to create some good suspension and write some great climactic action scenes.

Overall, I just really loved this book and I hope there's more to come!

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ask Book Chic (7)

So this one question (which by the way, thank you BookMac for the first blogging/reviewing question!) has a LOOONG answer, and figured it deserved its own post. Usually, I like to do three questions for each edition but this one would have eclipsed all others, so they'll be in next week's edition. By the way, I'm running out of questions (only one edition left and then I'm out!), so please leave a comment with your questions or email me (bookchicclub-at-gmail-dot-com)!

Bookmac asks "How did you build strong contacts with the publicicts and authors that send you review copies?"

The short answer is just by asking them and being reliable, honest and consistent with reviews as well as being professional when contacting them.

For those wanting a long answer for how it worked for me, read on.

I started off on Myspace and had no idea about advance copies or even that bloggers could get free books. Book blogging was in its infancy (and it still sort of is), so there wasn't a whole lot to go on when I started. And I started with a bang, lol. One of the first authors I contacted was the Queen of YA Meg Cabot for an interview; like seriously, I had only been blogging for a few days when I asked. She offered up a copy of her then-upcoming book Jinx for review, and she's been very helpful with ARCs of her books. Since then, I've done three additional interviews with her, quite a few reviews of her books (pretty much everything from Jinx to present, aside from the Allie Finkle series, though I do read those), gotten lots of swag and other things for giveaway purposes, and essentially had a wonderful relationship with her. Meg is a very sweet person who loves bloggers and supports them. It's so great that, as someone who reads all her books and generally looks up to her as an inspiration, I am able to chat with her every so often online through emails.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm bragging because I'm not. What I want to get across with that story is to not be afraid to send out that email to your favorite author, no matter how big or small they are. Most of the time, you'll be pleasantly surprised and will find an email back from them within a few days (sometimes even within hours!). Keeping in touch with that author is helpful too, and not just when a book of theirs is coming out. But don't force anything; if the connection is there, it'll flourish naturally.

But almost all authors have EXTREMELY limited ARCs (and sometimes even final copies) of their books. So you gotta move on to the publishers. There are two ways for this to come about. The first is when emailing an author, ask for their publicist's email address or for the general review copy email address. Some publishers have a contact page but it can be hard to find sometimes, if it even exists. When you do email a publicist requesting a book, be sure to include your mailing address. That way, they know where to send a copy right away rather than having to wait for your response. I know it sounds rude to include it, but it's actually good. They'll need your address anyway at some point, so just give it to them in your initial request.

The second is the one that's out of your control, at least in a way, and that is for the publisher to come to you. That is pretty much how I got almost all of my contacts. Usually they will email you about a certain book they would like you to review and it all just goes from there.

Once they have your mailing address, you're in their system and will therefore be included in future book mailings of ARCs and final copies. When I went on the Penguin offices tour two months ago, each reviewer in their system usually has what sorts of things they like to review and so the books that are sent cater to your interests. Now, it doesn't ALWAYS work this way (I have gotten children's books quite a few times), but that's how it usually goes.

But obviously, just getting the books isn't enough. You're receiving them so that they can be reviewed on your blog, which is why you started a book blog in the first place (I hope): to share your thoughts on books. So, you read the book, and you write the review, and it goes up on your blog. Send the link to the publicist who sent the book to you, or to the general email address if no one actually responded to you (which can happen, believe me).

If the review though is extremely negative and you hated it, I would not send it. But if your review goes through the pros and cons of the book and is generally favorable, send it. If there's some redeeming quality in the book that you mention, send it, even if it's a 2 star review. Thank the publicist for sending a copy your way even though you may have ended up not loving it. Above all, be professional; I would imagine that a publicist would be happy to be getting an honest review, even if it's not completely positive. You still took the time to read the book and post your thoughts, which is what they sent it to you for.

From there, you'll just keep reviewing books and sending links to various publicists. As that goes on, strong connections will establish through your consistency, reliability, and professionalism and soon enough, you'll have bajillions of books to review. Yay!

I really hope that all made sense. It's a long, rambly post to sift through but I do hope I got my point across. This is JUST my opinion though. I am not the be-all-end-all of blogging (even though I sometimes wish I were) so do whatever feels comfortable for you and your blog. There are of course some universal points in what I wrote (like, be professional) but the nitty-gritty varies person to person. If other bloggers want to chime in, please do so. I love hearing these sorts of stories and behind-the-scenes stuff.

If anything was confusing, please leave a question in the comments and I'll either answer it in the comments or put it in an upcoming Ask Book Chic.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top 8 by Katie Finn

Top 8 by Katie Finn
"Madison MacDonald is seriously freaking out

Madison MacDonald
Putnam, CT

Status: Single?

About Me:
Everything in my life was working out. I had my three best friends, a brand-new boyfriend, and the lead in the school play. Aside from that history paper I hadn't started, things felt perfect.

Then I returned from spring break to find my Friendverse profile hacked. Someone clearly out to ruin me had spilled the most damaging secrets - AND posted the worst photos of me ever taken - online.

Now my boyfriend and I are broken up, half the school hates me, and I'm in deep trouble.


Get my boyfriend back, figure out who could have done this, and clear my name!

Also, pass history."- summary from back of book

I had seen this book around in bookstores way back in late 2008 when it came out and thought it sounded interesting. I love books that play with format and utilize social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter as well as texts. Reasons for this are a)because it's just plain fun and b)because it really rings true to teens these days who spend their time on Facebook and Twitter (and, ok, the adults who use them a lot too, lol).

Finn's style is very breezy and easy to read, and Madison is a wonderfully flawed character. You can see her character changing throughout the book and since the book is in first person (for the most part; there's also the Myspace/Facebook profiles and wall comments from other characters), we see Madison's inner conflicts about telling secrets in the past she was supposed to be keeping when they're posted all over the world to see on her profile when it's hacked. At the end of the story, Madison has learned her lesson and changed her ways.

What I loved most about the story was Madison's interactions with her friends. Finn has a way with teen dialogue that just flowed and made sense and didn't seem forced at all. It felt, to me at least, like you were right there with them and included in their social circle.

The main plot point though is the mystery surrounding Madison's hacking and it had me guessing throughout the whole novel, though (and I was proud of myself for this because it never happens) I figured out who was part of it before Madison did. It wasn't too far ahead of the reveal because I'm not that good and because Finn did a great job of pointing the finger at many different characters.

Overall, a very fun read and one that can be enjoyed anywhere, but it's definitely a beach read, so take it with you in these last few weeks of summer!

On Thursday, I'll be posting my review of the sequel What's Your Status? so be sure to check that out. And if you entered the contest (linked below) for the Top 8 prize pack, you can get an extra entry for commenting here on this review!

FTC: Received from Chelsy at Big Honcho Media in correlation with the contest I'm running for a Top 8 prize pack!

Also, this has nothing to do with this book, but if you're interested in GLBT fiction, go here to the fabulous blog Naughty Book Kitties to win some signed GLBT books! Go now and enter!