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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stork by Wendy Delsol

Stork by Wendy Delsol
"Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated."- summary from Amazon

I liked this book for the most part. I have a couple complaints (ok, just one really), but it's a very original story. Obviously, just from the title alone, you can tell what this book is about- Storks, in human form. It's really clever how Delsol deals with this as well as with Norse mythology among other things, tying it all together. It's unique to have this kind of creature (of sorts) alone, but compared with this rarely-used mythology, you have a wonderful new paranormal romance.

My complaint with this book also stems from the paranormal romance genre, and that's the idea that the boy and girl are brought together by destiny, that they're meant for each other, yada yada yada. I see it way too many times and while Delsol gives a really good reason for it, it's still a bit cliche and brings the book down a notch.

The characters are all great, though there's focus and time spent on just a few and the secondary characters aren't very fleshed out. Delsol does however weave a lot of plotlines together very well- Kat's parents' divorce and her mom's subsequent dating life, dealing with the move to this new(ish) place, her mysterious past, her mysterious present, romance and mysteriousness with Jack (though he reveals a secret in the end that I'd known about for like 200 pages), a multiple attempted murder and who's behind that, and so much more. The book doesn't feel overstuffed in any way and everything is given its time in the spotlight and I was left feeling very satisfied with all the explanations.

Overall, it's a wonderfully unique book and definitely one to check out if you're looking for a new angle to all the paranormal romances out there.

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meandering Monday (1)

OK, so over Thanksgiving, I decided that I simply could not do 5 reviews a week. At least, not right now when I'm finishing a book and then posting a review. Even with the job being gone, it's hard for me to read essentially 5 books a week because I have so many other important things to do, like sleep and watch TV. Oh, and finding another job.

So to kinda help me along in stocking up reviews so that I COULD potentially do 5 reviews a week in the future, I've come up with a new system to use each week that will be MUCH more beneficial to my sanity and will also provide a nice consistent schedule to the blog. Here it is:

Monday- I will be doing a feature called Meandering Monday, in which I will ramble on about things, present some links, and possibly also do a retrospective of the posts from the previous week if I did not do an In My Mailbox on Sunday.

Tuesday- Book review!

Wednesday- Alternating between Ask Book Chic (btw, this week I'm asking for new questions and of course holding a contest for a 2011 ARC!) and Author Interviews.

Thursday- Another book review!

Friday- Fragment Friday (come back for more info about this feature in this week's Ask Book Chic because someone asked about it; I have some SHOCKING news!)

Saturday- Yet another book review!

I really like this schedule and it'll be nice while I get back into the groove of reading books and getting ahead and all that. Fresh New Voice of YA will continue each month, so the schedule won't apply during that. I'm hoping to be ahead by the end of December so I can unveil a book-review-heavy schedule in January. Prepare your Goodreads and Amazon Wishlists so that they don't explode by the amount of books you'll be adding with all the reviews I'll be posting each week.

Anyway, that's enough about the schedule. Here's some links!

Little Willow and I FINALLY did another He Said, She Said for GuysLitWire. This time, we discuss Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

You can listen to my interview with Barry Eva aka Storyheart from A Book and A Chat here. It's just a half-hour long but it contains tons of awesome info about me!

Also, this post, as well as the site as a whole, has had me laughing hysterically since I first read that post a couple days ago. Thanks to Stacey Jay and Meg Cabot for pointing it out to me (via their blogs; they're way too important to send random links to me directly).

Finally, here's my retrospective for last week- I previewed the 2011 books Father of Lies by Ann Turner and My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison, posted an Ask Book Chic (where I talked about stereotypes, books-to-movies, and gaining a blog following), and also reviewed Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson, which is out in stores now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson
"Sixteen-year-old Sophie knows there is more to the story of her parents' death. And she's on a mission to find the truth. To aid her in solving the decades-old mystery, Sophie has enlisted her best friend, Mikael, whose friendship has turned into something more. It's soon clear that Sophie's future is very much wrapped up in the details of her family's past, and the key lies with information only one man can provide: her parents' former employer, the elusive billionaire Alfred Nobel.

As the threat of war looms in Europe, dangers to Sophie and her loved ones grow. While her determination to solve the mystery doesn't waver, forces beyond her control conspire to keep her from her purpose. Then, news of her great-aunt Tabitha's death sets off a chain of events that leaves Sophie questioning everything.

The more Sophie learns, the more she realizes that nothing—and no one—in her life is what it seems. And coming to terms with the dark secrets she uncovers means imagining a truth that she never dreamed possible."- summary from Amazon

I was really excited for this book because I loved The Explosionist so much. Unfortunately, this book let me down. I mean, it's a nice read, but there wasn't as much suspense or action as the first book. The Explosionist had me turning pages and not wanting to put it down. I was able to put this book down easily over the past few days. It just didn't capture me like the first book.

I was a bit confused about some things because it had been a while since I had read The Explosionist, but Davidson does a fairly good job of getting you up to speed. The problem I had was that the novel would build up to something and then it was over and done with in a paragraph, if that, and in the most boring way possible. It just wasn't as action-y as the back of the book promised (nor was there much romance). There are gorgeous settings, so the summary got that right.

I did enjoy the character interactions, especially between Sophie and her cat Trismegistus which was fun for me to read while I was out of town because it reminded me of my own cat Hershey, who is exactly like Trismegistus- on the bigger side, loves to cuddle up with me in bed at night, and is quite dignified (more so than the usual cat). So that was nice to read about, and Tris is around for pretty much the whole story, which was great.

Overall, this is a good book, though slow-paced and a bit of a let-down from the first book. If I were grading it, it'd probably be a C+ book. I highly recommend buying The Explosionist if you really like historical fiction, but this sequel is definitely more of a library book.

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ask Book Chic (16)

Kailia Sage asks "There are many stereotypes out there. What is one stereotype you wish could be taken out of books, YA and more? Why?"

I don't know. I'm one of those people that isn't really bothered by stereotypes, and most of the time, I don't even notice them. I just don't spend much time thinking about them. Stereotypes are rooted in truth, so if a novel has them, it doesn't automatically make it bad or somehow lazy on the author's part. That could be how the character came to them and it is a realistic portrayal because I imagine there are people out in the world who act exactly like that character.

Not that I think all authors should use stereotypes. What I like about YA is that there is enough variety that any stereotypes used are balanced out by original, complex characters.

Tara asks "What's your stance on books being adapted into films and what's your favourite adaptation?"

Readers should know by now that I'm an easygoing kind of person, and this translates into my views on books-to-films. I think it's AWESOME when a book I love gets made into a movie, even if there are changes, because it draws in a new audience and usually gets more people reading. This is great when the film in question is adapted from a YA novel.

Now, the whole changes thing. I spend time on the Meg Cabot boards and her adaptations thus far (Princess Diaries, 1-800-Where R You, and Avalon High) have changed a lot of things from the books (esp. 1-800, from what I heard). This angers a LOT of her fans, so I see a lot of "WHY DID THEY CHANGE THIS/LEAVE THIS OUT/DYE HER HAIR?!?!!? I'M GONNA KILL SOMEONE!!"

OK, so that's a bit exaggerated, but it's close to that. I'm not sure if it actually happened or not, but some users were going to scream at their TV while watching Avalon High for every change they made. I think that's a bit much.

Changes are inevitable. You can't translate a 300-page novel into a 90/120 minute film. If you followed everything down to the letter, you'd have a 10 hour movie and no one wants to see that. And even if you did follow things down to the letter and had that long movie, it would feel weird because stuff that works in a book doesn't always work in a movie and there would be some awkward places in the movie.

So I accept the changes, and actually welcome them. I don't want to see the same thing I read. If I did, I'd just keep my $10 and re-read the book and use my imagination. I'm here to see my favorite characters in real life, be surprised (hence changes), see a different interpretation of my favorite book, and have a good time.

My advice is to NEVER expect everything to be perfect and accept that changes will have to be made. View the movie as something that has some similarities to your favorite book. Everyone has different interpretations so the movie can't please everybody.

Anyway, my favorite adaptation would probably have to be the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies. I own both on DVD and just love them. The PD movies come in at a close second (those movies got me into Meg Cabot and YA!).

Liz asks "When you first started your blog, what was the most challenging aspect of getting established and gaining a consistent following?"

I'd say providing good, interesting content that would keep readers coming back for more. That's the main thing in getting established (along with just plugging away day after day) and gaining a following. But it's hard to do that. You have to mix things up so it isn't just all reviews and interviews (not that doing just those is boring, but you really have to make them interesting enough so that people don't mind just seeing those). You have to come up with unique ideas to set your blog apart from others.

But do things that intrigue you and that you can be excited about. Alea of Pop Culture Junkie loves graphic design (and may have a degree in it?) so her weekly features include Lookalikes and Hardcover vs. Paperback, both of which I love. They focus on book covers and the artistry that goes into them. So those features directly correlate with her interests. Do the same with your own blog. I love answering questions, so I do Ask Book Chic (it's kinda unhealthy, I'm sure, how much I love answering questions) every other week. You tap into your interests and try to find a way to include them in your blog. Once that happens, the followers will come and stick around. Good luck!

Also, Happy Thanksgiving all! I'm taking tomorrow off and there's no Fragment Friday this week (instead, I will hopefully have a review), so enjoy the time with your families. If you're an international person who doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, well, have a wonderful Thursday then!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2011 Preview- My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

"Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn' texactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control."- summary from Amazon

I reviewed the previous book My Fair Godmother a few weeks ago. This book follows the same formula- Chrissy, the Fair Godmother, gets assigned a teen charge and messes things up and the teen has to figure things out and make it out of the fairy tale alive. But stakes are raised and there's enough twists and turns to make the story really interesting; plus, new fairy tales are utilized. It's a fun book, though the whole moral thing is a bit heavy-handed.

This book will be released April 12, 2011 as a hardcover.

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Preview- Father of Lies by Ann Turner

"Fourteen year old Lidda has always known she was different. She longs to escape Salem Village and its stifling rules- to be free to live as she chooses. And when witch fever erupts, Lidda realizes that she feels and sees things that others can't, or won't. But how will she expose the truth without being hung as a witch herself?"- summary from ARC

I really enjoyed this book. The Salem Witch trials have always fascinated me and I love reading about them. It was an interesting take on the trials and one of the best narratives I've seen in a while.

If you're a fan of historical fiction or specifically the Salem Witch trials, this book is for you. It will be released February 8, 2011 as a hardcover. A full review will be posted in February.

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
"Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers."- summary from Amazon

I loved this book and it just really spoke to me because lately, with all the suicides caused by bullying as well as some other things I've heard about, I feel so powerless when it comes to righting wrongs. I feel like people are getting away with doing bad things because of authority figures looking the other way. Reading this story (and the author's note at the end) made me feel reinvigorated about justice and bad people getting what's coming to them. It was exactly the kind of story I needed at this moment in time.

The story ends how you expect it will, but the story is more about speaking up and being heard as well as the journey to getting validation that what was done to you wasn't your fault and was wrong. Alex is a wonderful protagonist and Whitney writes her in such a way that it's so easy to get lost in the story and be placed in Alex's shoes.

The other characters are handled really well and there's a lot of depth given to them. I also really enjoyed the romance in the book too; it was really sweet. The ties to To Kill A Mockingbird were really cool as well, and I liked seeing how The Mockingbirds worked.

Overall, this is a really powerful book and one everyone should read, much like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. Go out and read this book now!

FTC: Received/borrowed book from Meaghan- thanks! Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Freefall by Mindi Scott

Fragment Friday is a weekly meme hosted here on this blog where you read an excerpt from either your current read or one of your favorite books and post it on your blog to share with others! It's a fun way to learn about new books or to hear a sample from a book you're dying to read.


Anyway, today I'm reading from Freefall by Mindi Scott, which is out in stores now. Hope you all enjoy!

Put your link down in the Mr. Linky below!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Daisy Whitney

News: I was on A Book and A Chat last night and NO ONE STOPPED BY! Not that it matters really because we only had half an hour and so, for me, I felt rushed so I can't even imagine if we had to include reader questions too. Hopefully he'll invite me back sometime for a full hour. But anyway, I had a wonderful time and if you missed it, it's up here for listening at your own leisure. Please ignore any background noise- there was the occasional animal doing a bad thing and my friend Liz would take care of it. Anyway, I talk about my blog, interactions with authors, BEA vs. ALA, my writings and more, so hope you all enjoy!

1) How did you get the idea for The Mockingbirds?

I was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird and wanted to write about students who try to uphold justice and what is right.

2) Could you tell us the story of "The Call" or "The Email" when you found out that your book had sold? How did you react? How did you celebrate?

I had just picked my daughter up from pre school when the call came so I pulled over onto the side of the road to talk to my agent. I was thrilled!

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

I turned in a sequel to THE MOCKINGBIRDS and now I am working on an edgy, sexy mystery novel.

4) Your day job is that of a New Media producer and reporter and you run your own show called "The New Media Minute". What brought you to that profession, and what exactly does it entail?

I've been a reporter for 15 years and technology has always been my beat!

5) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Wild cherry

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

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales, and Hate List by Jennifer Brown

7) Your book was just released earlier this month. How does it feel to have the book out in the world, and being able to see it on store shelves and in peoples' (and your own) hands?

Surreal and incredible!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Freefall by Mindi Scott

BIG NEWS: Today, Nov. 17, I'm taking part in A Book and A Chat because this month is Male YA Author Month and I'm one of two male bloggers being featured! It's a call-in radio show, so I think he'll have some questions for me, but we'll also take calls from people. It's for a half-hour starting at 6:30 PM EST so if you wanna chat with me, call in! Or for those who don't want to call in, I think there's also like a live chat you can use to ask questions or chat. It should be a fun time!

Freefall by Mindi Scott
"Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend, Isaac, alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time when Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn't wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend's death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth soon realizes he isn't the only one who needs saving . . ."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed this book. It was just executed so well and had so many different layers to it and it was just awesome. Seth did get on my nerves sometimes for being mopey, but for the most part, it all made sense. His best friend Isaac had died fairly recently, just like two months before the book started, so he does have a reason. I do also get his anger at others. He's a good protagonist with some glaring flaws but you can't help but feel for him.

I want to go on the record and say that I hate Carr and wanted a bunch of people to just beat him up. I knew he was trouble from the beginning. It was funny though because just the other day, I was complaining about how I feel so powerless when it comes to evil people winning and not being reprimanded. Then I read this book and everything turns out awesome; that's why I love books, they're so much better than real life.

The romance in the book is handled really well. Seth and Rosetta's interactions are realistic and so is their journey toward being together. Also, when they first realize that the other does like them in that way, it's the cutest scene ever. Those two are adorable. Also, funny. I loved them joking around. Kendall was a wonderful character too and I really enjoyed her when she was in the book.

Overall, a really wonderful, well-written debut and is definitely a book to check out.

Random complaint- The main character complains about being in school for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I was in school for 7.5 hours every day with a full 7 periods on a rotating schedule (we had 8 classes, though one year, I had nine for a semester (ok, one was study hall but still)- long story). And this school has an optional zero period and seventh period- how long are their school days? All I'm saying is that 8 hours is nothing.

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- The Mockingbirds Excerpt Vlog

Here's my excerpt vlog for The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, which is out in stores now!

Hope you all enjoyed it! Go get The Mockingbirds!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Mindi Scott

1) How did you get the idea for Freefall?

The initial idea was that I wanted to write a story about a kind of messed up girl who falls in love with a social reject sort of guy who wants to "save" her. I found my way to the real story--and decided to write the boy's point of view instead of the girl's--while I was developing these two characters. It was important to me that they each have something to overcome that paralleled that of the other, and it all eventually came together from there.

2) What book(s) are you working on now, or are about to start?

I'm working on a few, but I'm putting most of my emphasis on one in particular. I'm not giving many details because I don't know for sure if it will be my next published novel. But I will say that it's told from a girl's point of view. It includes a sweet love story amidst some really dark content, and it's the book that I needed to read when I was fifteen.

3) Tell us all about The Call/The Email! Where were you when you got it? How did you celebrate?

The Call for representation from my agent was the most exciting of my Calls (even more than the book deal) because it was completely unexpected. I was at my desk at home wearing my Hello Kitty pajamas, working on a revision, when my phone rang. Briefly, the idea flashed in my mind that it could be an agent, but that was the thought that had occurred to me every time I received a call from an unknown number, so it seemed pretty unlikely. I don't remember much about our call, except that he did offer representation and used words like "marketable" and "love" when discussing my book. Afterward, I celebrated by making many phone calls, which was cool, but not much of a celebration at all thinking back on it.

4) You mention loving many TV shows on your website. What are some of your favorite shows this season?

The only shows I've been watching this season are CASTLE, THE CLONE WARS, and GLEE. Of those, I think THE CLONE WARS has been my favorite. I'm really looking forward to FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS when it comes to NBC next spring/summer.

5) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

This is too hard, so I'm going to cheat and tell you a few. I love buttered popcorn. I love chocolate covered cherry (two cherry eaten with one chocolate pudding). I love, love, love the entire soda flavor collection.

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

I have a huge pile of books that I'm excited to read! TAKE ME THERE by Carolee Dean is next up. After that, THE RISE OF RENEGADE X by Chelsea Campbell, I think.

7) You've held several jobs over the years. What was your favorite and your least favorite?

My Least Favorite: Eleven years ago, I was a receptionist for a law firm in downtown Seattle. The legal assistants in that place were horrible people. Just awful. I would page them with phone calls and they would yell at me to shut up. After having been brought to tears twice in three days, I ended up quitting. The office manager told me he was disappointed that I was "giving up," but I never once regretted walking away from all-day-long verbal abuse.

My Favorite: Despite having to work evenings and weekends for terrible pay, the bookstore was pretty cool, I have to say. At the time that I was first hired (age 18 going on 19), our crew of booksellers was mostly between the ages of 16 and 26. We had a very EMPIRE RECORDS vibe going on and it was a fun atmosphere. It's also where I met my husband!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox- Week of November 8 + Retrospective

I finally did a new IMM vlog! YAY! Hope you all enjoy! Unfortunately, my wifi is crapping out on me CONSTANTLY (and has been since yesterday morning and I DON'T KNOW WHY!) so here's the link to the video (I'm pretty sure):


Books Shown:

Father of Lies by Ann Turner
My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of my Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me by Condoleezza Rice
First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber
Violet in Bloom by Lauren Myracle

and here's my retrospective:

Monday- I posted a preview of Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer, which will be out in April 2011.

Tuesday- It's my 500th post and I have a contest for a signed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and a signed As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. Contest ends Nov. 19, so enter soon!

Wednesday- I posted the latest edition of Ask Book Chic, where I talk about difficult scenes to write, whether I prefer stand-alone or series, and 2011 debuts.

Thursday- I reviewed My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison.

Friday- As part of Fragment Friday, I read an excerpt from Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King.

Saturday- I reviewed Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Also, this coming Wednesday, Nov. 17, I'm taking part in A Book and A Chat because this month is Male YA Author Month and I'm one of two bloggers being featured! It's a call-in radio show, so I think he'll have some questions for me, but we'll also take calls from people. It's for a full hour at 6:30 PM EST so if you wanna chat with me, call in! I'll remind everyone again in Wednesday's post.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
"Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?"- summary from Amazon

OMG this book is full of twists and turns and is way compelling. I was really excited about reading this sequel. Of course, I was a bit confused while reading this about certain things because it had been so long since I'd read Hush Hush. Fitzpatrick does a little bit to refresh the reader's memory but I was still a little bit lost (mainly with the whole Nephilim thing). This only hindered bits and pieces of the book for me, but it wasn't anything that dampened the whole book for me.

As far as characters, I really felt for Nora, and thought that Patch and Marcie were being completely out of line through most of the book. We do find out why they're acting like they are, but it's like, don't take it out on Nora, especially in Marcie's case.

Also, I have something to say regarding secrets and rules and all that crap. DON'T DO IT. Don't keep the main character in the dark because you know what? That thing you're protecting her from isn't going to help since she'll just try and find out in her own way which is not good because she'll get killed. So just TELL HER and then she'll get scared and stay where she's supposed to be and not go snooping around for information that puts her in danger. And just let two people love each other- I don't care if it goes against the rules, you're just messing things up even more by being all watchful and wanting to keep things professional. Just let them be. It's so simple. So, in other words, a lot of characters' actions pissed me off while reading this book.

Overall though, it's a really good sequel and it upholds the awesomeness that Hush Hush started. I can't wait for the conclusion, especially since it ends on such a cliffhanger.

FTC: Borrowed book from library (how often does that happen?!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fragment Friday- Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Fragment Friday is a weekly meme hosted here on this blog where you read an excerpt from either your current read or one of your favorite books and post it on your blog to share with others! It's a fun way to learn about new books or to hear a sample from a book you're dying to read.

Today, I'm reading from Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. Please ignore the odd ending to the excerpt reading- I had to deal with something going down with a temporary dog we have that I hadn't expected her to do. Then I didn't have time to re-do the video. So there you go, lol. But hey, it's a short one at only 4 minutes!

Put your link down in the Mr. Linky below!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
"After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight."- summary from Amazon

This was a really cute, original book. I loved the idea behind it and it was a fun adventure/romantic comedy. I was chuckling almost every page, as well as occasionally swooning (romantic bits) and on the edge of my seat (action bits). It's a clever take on the Fairy Godmother tales and it was interesting to see Rallison weave together the three different tales (though they are all handled one at a time) and how they all came together in the end.

Savannah was a great character and one I think a lot of people can relate to. Maybe not necessarily with the shopping and airheadedness, but the way she's constantly underestimated by her family and friends and essentially seen as stupid. She means well though, and I think she represents a more realistic portrayal of a regular person going through these adventures.

I really enjoyed this book, as I've enjoyed some of Rallison's previous works, and she did a great job with this new genre for her. I'm excited to read the sequel/companion book My Unfair Godmother, which will be out in April.

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ask Book Chic (15)

Lisa Gibson asks "What scenes do you find the most difficult to write? And why?"

I haven't written much in a while, though I plan to start up again when I lose my job at the end of next week and continue to do it while I search for a new job. But I don't think I have any problem with a specific kind of scene. Instead, I mainly have problems with dialogue. I'm just not good at it; I always wonder if it's realistic enough or appropriate (in terms of context, not like swearing or something), and I agonize for a while before having to write some. I'm very good at the non-dialogue parts though.

I would've thought it would be more serious matter, but in my current WIP, there's some bullying that goes on and while it doesn't last long, I kept thinking it was overwrought or melodramatic or just plain horrible. I sent a few pages to some online friends of mine (a couple bloggers and a published author) and everyone loved that scene and thought it was so heart-wrenching and emotional and done just right. I was dumbfounded. I kept asking "Are you sure?". So yeah, I guess I have some untapped talent.



Probably not.

Sarah asks "Do you prefer reading series or stand-alone novels? (It seems like so many new YA books are part of a promised series)."

That is true that series books are taking over, especially trilogies or quartets! I don't think I could ever write a series. OK, I do have an idea for one, but it could just end up being one long fantasy novel. And OK, maybe I do have another idea for a trilogy of contemporary books. But series are hard work, so that's the main reason behind my not wanting to do them.

Anyway, you didn't ask about that, so here's my real answer: There are still plenty of stand-alone novels being released, so don't fret! Honestly, I don't think I could pick one or the other. I love them all! It's so nice to revisit the same characters you know and love in a series, but it's also nice to have an actual ending once the book is finished. No real preference here.

Bailey asks "On average, how many books would you say you read and review a week?

What is your favorite author interview you have conducted?

Are there any upcoming 2011 debut novels that you are excited about or have already read?"

I try to read at least 3 per week now. It's hard, but I manage it. I'm basically always reading a book and moving on to the next one once I'm finished.

Oh god, I've loved them all! I will say I've really enjoyed interviewing Meg Cabot (so much so that I've done it three times!), as well as other authors I've been able to go more in-depth with since I've read a lot of (or all of) their work, like Brent Hartinger, Justina Chen, Ally Carter, and Courtney Sheinmel. But I just love being able to interview any and all authors- they're all fascinating and interesting!

I haven't yet read any, but I'm really excited for Across the Universe by Beth Revis, I Am J by Cris Beam, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton, A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey, The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney, Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer, The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge, Haven by Kristi Cook, Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, and tons more. I used Kristi's New Reads page to look them all up, lol. I can't keep track of them all!

Oh and I completely forgot that I did read a YA debut- Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer. I posted a preview post for it the other day. It'll be out in April 2011!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

500th Post + Contest!

OK, so it's just only my 500th post here on Blogspot. I'm sure if I included all my Myspace posts, I'd be much higher, but that's too hard to count because I don't think Myspace tells you how many blog posts you've done.

I'm so happy I made it to 500 posts!! It's been a fun journey since moving completely to Blogspot back in July 2009. I started my Myspace blog back in late June 2007 and stayed there until November 2008 when I split my blog up. Myspace was not helpful when it came to posting pictures in blogs so I used this Blogspot as a way to do my In My Mailboxes, vlogs, and various signing recaps and pictures of books out in the wild. So, when I started this blog, I titled it Book Chic- In My Mailbox and More! because it was mainly for memes and the like. Well, after I moved completely over, the name bothered me a bit but I just kept it until a few days ago when I decided to update it. Now, it's just Book Chic and I love it.

You know what else I love? My header! It was an accident too. I was at one of Maggie Stiefvater's events and had gotten there just as the signing started, so the event was kinda over when I got there, but she still had time to fill so she just sat there and signed the occasional book but mainly chatted with my roomie, her bf and myself. I got up the nerve to ask her to sign my copy of Shiver and she said she wanted to doodle in my book, so I let her have free reign. She also drew my sneakers, which I had to hold up since she couldn't see them over the table.

Anyway, the doodle was so good and I just loved it so much that I wanted to make it my new header. I mean, it's totally awesome, isn't it? It took me a few months though to scan it in and then the lovely Susan of Wastepaper Prose produced the awesome header it is today.

Also, over the course of these three and a half years, I've had the opportunity to:

- go to two awesome conferences (BEA and ALA) and am now prepping for my second BEA (reserved hotel room today!)!
- meet over 50 authors (I'm sure the number is larger, but this seems like a safe bet), a couple of them several times (like Melissa Marr, Maggie Stiefvater (who I met at her first launch party!), and Sarah Dessen)
- meet TONS of bloggers that I then get to hang out with at events. Frequent partners-in-crime include: Susan of Wastepaper Prose, Monica of Bibliophilic Book Blog, Meaghan of A Bookworm's Haven, Andrea of Aine's Realm, and Skyanne of Harmony's Book Reviews.
- meet several awesome publicists, like Elyse Marshall, Melissa Bruno, Ksenia Winnicki, Marissa DeCuir, and Laura Lutz as well as an editor or two and the actual publisher of an imprint.
- get to know some really great friends that I love to talk to about anything, not just books and blogging.
- have my blurbs appear in/on two final books (Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra and Going Bovine by Libba Bray (paperback)), an ARC (Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan) and a couple press releases.

and countless other things. It's been such an awesome ride and I never want to stop!! Aside from all those things, I'm also grateful for all the readers and followers I have (I'm up to 436!) and for all the wonderful comments you all leave on my blog. I love getting each one and it always brightens my day.

OK, I'll stop gushing about all this and just get to the contest. I'll be giving away a signed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (with a doodle!) and a signed As You Wish by Jackson Pearce, both paperbacks, and of course will throw in some swag too. This contest will be open to North American residents only and will end on Friday, November 19 at 11:59 PM EST. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post; if you want, you can say what you like about my blog and why you keep coming back because that would make me happy. It's not a necessity though, so don't feel obligated. Good luck to all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Preview Post- Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
"The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But its the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar--a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal--that have the most chilling impact on her.

Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality-- before she loses touch with her own life forever"- summary from Amazon

This is just a short review since this book won't be out until next April. In fact, I'm already planning on using this book for my Fresh New Voice of YA series, if Jennifer agrees, of course. So you'll all get to hear much more about this book in April when a full review will go up. It's just a wonderful debut YA novel. This is a spooky book and gets very creepy as the story goes on.

Characters are fully fleshed out and have their own secrets and motives for how they act, which get revealed as the book goes on. The setting is also completely realized and is almost its own character, and also really adds another layer to the townsfolk that Tansy meets and interacts with throughout the book.

This is definitely a book to keep an eye out for. It will be out on April 5, 2011.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Signing Recap- Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce, Richmond, VA

Let me just begin with this: I had pretty much the best Halloween ever. Who wouldn't when you're getting to see both Maggie Stiefvater (Lament, Ballad, Shiver, Linger) and Jackson Pearce (As You Wish, Sisters Red) plus a bunch of blogger friends?

I drove to Richmond in the morning with my friend Elizabeth who wanted to join me on this trip and we had a fun time listening to Shakira and Madonna and of course joking around and laughing. We arrived with no trouble (which is quite the feat for me, especially when it comes to going to Maggie Stiefvater events) and parked in the lot near the bookstore. In fact, a GOOD thing happened! I didn't have to pay for parking! There was no attendant there at all, and I checked back a few times during the day in case they were there because I did fully intend on paying. I also arrived early for once- WAY early! Because I was having lunch with my blogger friends.

However, my good fortune may have cursed some others, but we'll get to that soon. We were having lunch at City Dogs, which mainly serves hot dogs but they have other items there too. Liz and I waited outside and soon enough, Andrea and Melissa showed up, then Susan and Meaghan (and Meaghan's husband, who IS real and not someone she made up in desperation) shortly after. We all went in and had to split up because the place was small and couldn't accomadate a 7 person party at one table, so Meaghan, her husband, Liz, and myself sat at the bar while Susan, Andrea and Melissa sat at a table nearby.

I split my attention during lunch between Liz and Meaghan and it was a fun meal, though Susan made fun of how I eat and I pouted. I'm sure Meaghan's husband was out of his element with all the bookish nerds around him (Liz isn't as bookish as us, but she is still bookish), but luckily there were football games playing on the TV screens so he watched those.

After lunch, we made a small pitstop at Fountain Bookstore and gained an angel to guide us to the event space. Obviously not a real angel, but rather Tess, a bookstore employee dressed up as an angel (the owner Kelly was dressed as a devil). She was bringing over books to be sold at the event and we caught her as she was making her final trip over. Meaghan pushed me in front because she didn't want to be the leader, even though the angel was our leader. We went into Sam Miller's, a restaurant that's a block away from the bookstore where the event was being held, and paid for our tickets and bought the books we wanted. I bought an As You Wish and Shiver to be given away at a later date.

We sat down and waited for the event to start. Here's where the curse part comes in. A few minutes after sitting down, we hear that Maggie's awesome car Loki died 3 miles from the signing and so she and Jackson were stranded with no way to get to the event. Susan was sent on a mission- to get the awesome authors to the event as quickly as possible. While we waited, Meaghan read off REALLY BAD werewolf jokes that she found on the internet using her phone. Yes, we were that desperate. Meaghan and Susan also had a fun text exchange-

Meaghan- Where are you? The people are starting to revolt!
Susan- We're thinking about driving by and throwing the door prizes out the window to appease them.

This was paraphrased from my horrible memory. Maybe Meaghan or Susan can provide the correct exchange? Anyway, they finally arrived at about 2:20 and the event started with Maggie joking that the keys to her dead car would be the first door prize to be given away.

The bookstore presented a wine bottle to the authors and Jackson immediately snatched it up for herself. Jackson and Maggie quickly introduced themselves, talked about why they wrote about werewolves as well as why they wrote their werewolves a particular way. Lots of teasing and joking ensued. Jackson and I also share an aversion to horror movies, though for different reasons- Jackson thinks about what happens after the kill and how someone will have to tell that person's family about the death, whereas my imagination just gets away from me and makes the scary stuff even worse and I also jump at every little thing that happens in my house.

They also talked about author anxieties, Maggie told her UK tour story about how English schoolchildren love her accent and want to know how her flight went, and Jackson almost danced atop a table. After that, they read a bit from their books and did a short QnA and also gave away a ton of prizes (I didn't win anything, but Liz won a copy of Blood and Chocolate, which she is so far enjoying), then it was time for the signing.

I stayed seated for a while and decided to wait until the line had died down a bit before going up. I wasn't in a huge hurry to get home, so I figured I could wait. Eventually I got up and into the line with Liz in tow to take my picture with Jackson and Maggie. I got my ARCs of As You Wish and Sisters Red signed to myself, and got As You Wish and Shiver paperbacks for a giveaway.

I also became a mute loon at this time! YAY! I had hoped I was getting over my shyness a bit with authors now that I've been to BEA and ALA and many author events but no, I'm not, at least not when it comes to beyond awesome and hilarious authors like Jackson Pearce. Jackson and I exchanged enthusiastic Hi's and I told her how I wanted the books signed and then I promptly went quiet (but most likely grinning like a crazy person) the whole time she signed my books. Le sigh- why can I never think of anything to say once I'm in front of an author?! Jackson probably thought I was weird. I handed off the Shiver to Maggie once the person in front of me left and Maggie signed and doodled in it. Once Jackson was done, I asked if I could get a picture with the two of them and my friend Liz took it. I really like it. Don't you?

I thanked them and wandered off to get my stuff ready but then hung around for a few minutes until Susan and Meaghan were ready to leave. The four of us walked down to Fountain where Jackson and Maggie signed stock, and I looked for Going Bovine (no luck) and chatted with Meaghan while Liz wandered off and amused herself. Around 4pm, I decided it was time to go and I finally departed after a long hug from Susan (who I'm sure was contemplating just stealing me and taking me with her to the Kelly Creagh signing in Baltimore that night but since I had a friend, this would not work). Then we walked with Meaghan to the parking lot where our cars were and went our separate ways.

And that was my Halloween! YAY!

All pictures except the last one were provided by S.F. Robertson, who is much better at taking photos and documenting events than I am.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fragment Friday- Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Fragment Friday is a weekly meme hosted here on this blog where you read an excerpt from either your current read or one of your favorite books and post it on your blog to share with others! It's a fun way to learn about new books or to hear a sample from a book you're dying to read.

Today, I'm reading from Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, which will be out on November 11! Hope you all enjoy!

Put your link down in the Mr. Linky below!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
"Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears."- summary from Amazon

Schindler's debut is a sight to behold- the subject matter of schizophrenia is handled realistically and with care, working well with the poetic nature of the prose. It's a book that's so easy to get lost in and, for me at least, I really lost myself in Aura's life, as if I were going through those things instead of her. I've never gone through anything like what Aura has, but the way Schindler weaves her tale, it's hard to not get so emotionally invested in Aura's life.

I loved all the character relationships and interactions, and it was clear who all these characters were just from that. Aura's voice was incredible too- as the novel progresses, her thoughts and words just become more frantic and untangled because of the way she has to deal with her mom's deteriorating state of mind and how she's alone in all this. It was such a good way to show that slow change over the course of the book.

It's not all emotion though; there is a sprinkling of humor throughout the book, both in the actual story but also in the little chapter openers about schizophrenia, mainly in the beginning part of the book.

Overall, an amazing debut novel and one I think everyone should check out. I'm excited to read Schindler's next book, Playing Hurt, which is out next year.

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

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Ramblings + Links!

So let me tell you, it's HARD to have a post every single day (except Sundays since I haven't done IMM in a few weeks). It's funny because Meaghan was telling me the other day that she doesn't know how I do it. Well, I mainly plan ahead but unfortunately things don't always work out the way you'd like them to. I'm almost done with a book, which will be reviewed tomorrow (it was originally supposed to go up today), then Thursday, I'll be recapping the Maggie Stiefvater/Jackson Pearce signing I went to (waiting on photos though since I took none). So this is what I mean by BE FLEXIBLE with your schedule. If you don't have something, make something up.

What also threw me off this week was having an ARC tour book show up that I didn't even know was coming. I'd checked all the tours I'm on and I wasn't due up for a while, but I guess I got moved around so now I have a 400 page (ok, it's more like 380, but whatever) book to read in a week that pushes all my other review books back. And I can't even do a full review of it now! It's not due out until April 2011, so this is WAY early. I guess I'll do a preview post. By the way, I'm not meaning anything bad about the tours- I love them, but it can be a bit of a win-lose situation. Win in that I don't have to find shelf space for it, but lose in that I can't read it in my own time, you know?

I'm also trying to find a November debut author. None of the books I have for this month are debuts, except for The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (which I think is out today). Daisy's already agreed to it (thank you, Daisy!!!) but I need a second author. I was going to do Ally Condie, author of Matched, but she's technically not a debut author. I keep thinking she is, but she published like 5 or 6 teen books before Matched on smaller presses. So does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Edited to add: I asked Mindi Scott, author of Freefall, and she agreed! So I don't need any more suggestions.

Alrighty, on to a couple links!

Last week, Maureen Johnson revealed the cover for her next book, The Last Little Blue Envelope, and the title of the first book of her new series, which comes out next fall!

So you know that signing I went to? Jackson Pearce did a little video about it! It's very funny. And yes, she and Maggie together are just as hilarious as you'd think they would be.

Maggie gave away paper dolls at the event. Here's what they looked like. My favorite is Cole. ;)

Finally, Meg Cabot's next book is Abandon, a retelling of the tale of Persephone. You can see the cover and read a bit about it here on her website. Isn't the cover so cool?!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
"Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?"- summary from Amazon

Cremer has created an amazing, original world that is compelling and hard to put down. I loved what she did with her werewolves, creating a whole new mythology and atmosphere. There's still the pack environment, and she writes about that very well, but there's also some new added layers that add some new questions and suspense.

This book is the real deal- it's got a fierce, spunky heroine, a sexy love triangle, tons of mystery, and also has some great friendships and family relationships here. It's not all about the romance and while a good part of the book is set on that, everyone else doesn't fade into the background. I enjoyed reading about all the other pack members, especially two gay wolves who are in a relationship with each other. They were so cute! I loved them.

For me at least, there are levels of cliffhangers and this one was similar to Paranormalcy's. The story isn't over yet but the first part is over. There's enough questions still left to leave you wanting more, but not enough that you're throwing the book across the room because you have to wait 8 months for the next book (Book 2 will be out in Summer 2011!) and you're going to die waiting that long for the answers.

Overall, this is a really good book and such a fresh, fun perspective on werewolves. I highly recommend it. Also, obviously, I'm Team Shay. :) Who wouldn't be?

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