Wednesday, 30 June 2010
I could go on and on about the awesomeness of YA bloggers, and book bloggers in general. But recently, I read a post at Reading Tequila about the awesome of YA authors. And then I read Anastasia Hopcus'(a YA author) reply blog, about why bloggers are awesome. So I guess, in a way, this is my response to these posts about why YA authors are magical.
I put out on twitter that I was working on this post and any contributions were welcome. Nicole at Word for Teens replied saying "Because they write YA and interact best with their audience. DUH." So, how exactly do they interact with us?
Anastasia Hopcus(so excited to read her book!), Heidi Kling(Do I need to say anything?), and Karsten Knight(his book comes out in 2011 and I want it!) follow this blog. I'm fairly sure at least one more author does. And these are just authors that I can name off the top of my head.
In my review of Dreaming Anastasia, I mentioned how much I wanted a sequel. Joy Preble, the author, left a comment with a STRONG hint there would be one months before she announced it publicly.
I can think of 3 different authors who have replied to our posts, in one case it's not even a review of their book.
Now to twitter, where it gets even better.
Approximately 80 authors follow us on twitter. I probably missed like 5 too. On the first page of direct messages(about 20 messages), I have messages from 4 different authors. On the first page of replies, I have replies from 5 different authors.
And the actual blog content? We have 4 author interviews coming up. Plus the 4 we've already done. I can tell you right now that I have never asked an author directly for an interview. I mention on twitter than I'd love to do some interviews and then the authors reply saying they'd love to.
For more personal stuff:
Authors have sent me more swag than I'll even try to count, from bookmarks to post cards to chapstick. Sometimes they even include little cards and those little cards written to me send me over the moon. Stefne Miller actually sent me her book to review for you guys and not only was it signed, but she also threw in an extra note to thank me.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to take a decent picture of myself because the only one I have is two years old and I think my facebook friends want something kind of new. I then complained on twitter about my inability to take a good picture. Michelle Zink replied to tell me I'm perfect how I am and we then chatted a bit about someone she knows who's also no good at pictures.
Very often when I say good night on twitter, Heidi Kling will say night back.
Meg Cabot, yes THE Meg Cabot, mentioned my author appreciation post (which included her) on her blog (and she did link back to the post. Oh yes she did). Oh there was squealing and flailing and freaking out all over our twitter (which she also follows). (FYI, after remembering this, I had to then find this blog post which can be done by searching 'meg cabot bloggers[heart]books' and the flailing began again)
I won't even go into when I email authors and fangirl them. Because if you think my reviews are gushy, you should see some of the things I send to these authors! And then they're always so gracious and kind about it.
Are you tired of examples yet? Because I think I'm out of them.
But then there's just in general. Authors give so much for us. Not only do they give us the story, but then they do giveaways, send out bookmarks, sign books, do interviews, and talk to their readers. And have you ever seen YA authors interact? They are so kind and supportive to each other.
And you know why they write YA? The genre that so many adults look down on? The genre most people wouldn't even call a genre? They write it for us. For the young adults and the young at heart. And they're never ashamed of it. They're all damn proud to write for us. To give us something we can laugh with or cry over. They love seeing as be honest with our feelings and gush over their book, in a way most adults don't.
I can keep going. I know I can. But if I do, then I might as well turn this into a novel myself.
I tip my non-existent hat to you, YA authors. Keep on being magical.
JulNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Yikes! My day is going to have a lot of last minute planning and writing involved! Why am I doing this again?
Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest—and their most unusual story—lead?
In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance. This wholly original story is spun from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and includes both folly and suspense that would make the Bard proud.
I wasn't the biggest fan of Sovay and Lanna gave this a meh rating, but I wanna give Celia another try. (Though, I prefer the UK cover!)
Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking. But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.
I liked Elizabeth's last book and this one is very intriguing, despite the less than awesome cover.
And that's it for me. Back to busily making playlists and writing!
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
This O.S.F. post is going to be about Point Horror books, of which there are many and I'll recommend a few favourites.
I absolutely adored Point Horror books when I was younger and back before Mount TBR was so massive, I would reread some of my favourites every once in a while because even though I'm older now, I still have a soft spot for them.
Now, there are some that aren't very good, but there's some real gems amongst them and I still recommend those ones now even if you're older than the target age group; they're just the right amount of creepy and are like the literary equivelant of one of those 80's-90's teen horror movies, which is just plain awesome.
Some of my all time favourite Point Horror books:
Summary: Kelsey's summer should have been a paradise - a holiday on Beverly Island, complete with sun-drenched beaches and gorgeous lifeguards. But Kelsey's dream holiday quickly turns into a nightmare. It starts with the note from a girl who's missing. Then there's the crazy man in the lighthouse with his mysterious warnings. And there have been a number of suspicious drownings . . . At least she has the lifeguards around to protect her . . . Poor Kelsey. Someone forgot to tell her that lifeguards don't always like to save lives.This one was out the year I was born, 1988, very old skool. This was actually the very first PH book I read and it was a book my sister had bought but never read and somehow I ended up with it... and so began my PH addiction. I've reread this one a whole bunch of times and I love how I forget most of the details in between each read, so I'm still surprised by aspects of it each time.
Summary: Jenny is understandably confused and scared when she simultaneously receives anonymous love letters and is the object of some very cruel pranks, and she is determined to find the culprits.
Summary: From the minute that Jenny accepts the Hagen baby-sitting job, she knows she has made a terrible mistake. First there is the dark and gloomy Hagen house, filling her with dread and horror. Then the crank phone calls start. When she finds a threatening note in her bag, she realizes that this isn't a harmless game.This one... it's just awesomely creepy. Being alone in a strange house at night with only a little kid for company is really quite freaky, it makes you jumpy and has scary urban legends running through your mind - this book totally fuels that fear and it's awesome (and if you are one of those people who could babysit in a strange house at night and not be creeped out, well, then I hate 'choo! - kidding, but really?). There's a few sequels to this one, some good, some not so good from what I remember but worth the read all the same.
Summary: When Robin Bailey takes a job as a tutor for Mr. Swanson's shy daughter, the unreasonable demands soon begin to outweigh the compensation. Eventually Robin's job becomes her worst nightmare.
Summary: Jess can't wait to start college, but when she sees her dorm, she realizes why they call it Nightmare Hall. Especially when she learns the dark secret hidden within it's walls. A girl called Giselle hanged herself there, in Jess's room. - Silent ScreamThere is actually a few different Nightmare Hall books, it was a series and I've read some but not them all - at least, I don't think I've read them all. The Silent Scream and Last Date are two that I remember, they were good. In these ones it was actually set in college instead of high school.
Summary: As a dare, Demi puts an advert in the dating column of the Salem Chronicle. She has a great response but one by one, Demi's dates start having nasty little accidents. Some disappear, some even die. - Last Date
Summary: Jessie never met the daring beauty, who surfed the stormy seas and disappeared beneath a wave. So who's the new girl in town, who casts a spell over everyone she meets? She can't remember her name or where she comes from. Is she the surfer back from the dead, or is it something much worse?I don't remember too much about this one, but I remember liking it and it's one of the ones I reread - it's just been such a long time since I've reread it that I've forgotten what happens.
With PH books, they all had small doses of teen romance thrown into the mix too which definitely added to their appeal, these were probably the books that started my love of books with romance actually.
If you're a little older now but love YA books, then you should give some PH books a try, just to see if you like them. Maybe my lingering love of them is mostly down to a sense of nostalgia and if I was reading them for the first time now then I wouldn't like them, but I don't know.
A whole bunch of the books are available in bind ups too, so you could buy one book but get about three in it. :]
What are some of your old skool favourites, answer in the comments or post on your own blog and link it? (and is it only me, or does writing "skool"? make you want to whack yourself upside the head with a dictionary? Writing "school" in that context seems more wrong though... sorry, I'm rambling). Did you like Point Horror books?
Monday, 28 June 2010
I spent a few days emailing back and forth with a new blogger, Rita from Not Another Romance Blog, and while emailing she told me:
I'd love to add to it even if I am just starting out myself.
Something I figure many bloggers don't consider when first starting out is how to really establish their blog on the internet and track traffic. The information you get from the first day you start posting, to the day when you reach 100 followers is very important, so having a way to track that is also important. There is a whole mess of statistic tracking websites (some good, some you should watch out for) and these programs track unique clicks, pages views, can tell you which posts generated the most traffic,ect. A really helpful tool is google analytics: it's free, easy to use, and very safe (powered by well-known site google, so that's a plus). I love seeing how my viewership has changed from the first month of publishing, to where it is today, and also seeing what content readers find most interesting. Finding other bloggers with similar blog themes and then supporting one another (whether in a blog roll or suggesting readers visit their site) helps network and reach more readers. Also, it would be a good idea to submit your url to google and yahoo and other search engines so that when people search for blogs or certain content you write about, it shows up in their results. If your using Blogger.com, it has a webmaster tool you should also sign up for.
Another blogger, April at Good Books & Good Wine, also emailed to say:
I put out the alert on twitter again that I needed more thoughts and the first response was from the Mundie Moms who said "To never pick a black back ground, because when you want to change it, you have to fix all your posts :)" (Which I agreed with. Our first layout was black too).When I Started Blogging I Wish I Knew:1. That my URL and my blog name should be the same. I know it sounds obvious, but back then it was not.2. To just say no to self-published. I was so excited about getting a book for review, that I accepted it despite my disdain for the cover. Now, I know better.3. To make a twitter specifically for my blog. People tend to associate your twitter handle with your blog, so when I used my twitter, it was my aim screen name and not my blog name. I now have a twitter that I mainly use which is my blog name.4. How complicated contests with a million extra entries are. KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.5. That in time, my reviews will improve, don't go expecting them to be perfect right from the get-go.
Then Sara from The Hiding Spot said "I wish I had a better understanding of formatting and layouts. But I'm still pretty lost on that front! :/"
Marlene at Book Lover and Procrastinator agreed, saying "I'm still a beginner and I wish I knew more about formatting and how to make buttons and such."
Daimy at Book Tweaker, also agreed. "Just started. Literally like two weeks ago. How difficult it is to be pleased withmy layout. Visually I mean."
Katie at Sophistikatied Reviews wishes she knew "How incredibly difficult writing negative reviews are. [...]I wish I had known how suckish it feels."
Tabitha at Some Screaming Fangirl said:
And as of now, that's just about it! I hope you guys find these useful (and maybe find some new blogs)!Well, since you asked, I guess I can share my three/four weeks worth of experience...1. Don't go to sites that offer templates. Just stick to Blogger or whatever site you're on, because if you use templates from outside websites, it's hard to change them or customize them. You're stuck as a clone. :(2. Be sure to follow blogs and make connections outside of your chosen blog website. It'll probably help.3. Write the blog post as much as you can beforehand (as in, don't try to wing it on the blog post...*cough*)4. PROOFREAD! Once you've done that, PROOFREAD ONCE MORE God, I've lost count of how many times I've had to go back and quick-edit something right after posting it. :/5. Put your voice into the posts. Sounding like your favorite blogger will get you nowhere...maybe. Hmm... I wonder if I would have more than three followers if I sounded more like Diablo Cody...? Sorry, thinking too much again.
(Miss the first two posts? Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here!)
Sunday, 27 June 2010
There will also be a contest that will close at the end of the tour. Winners get a bunch of stuff.
Summary: When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.
Anytime I read a book with awesome characters, I always wonder if the author based them on real people. Are any of the characters in your book inspired by anyone in your life and which of your characters, if any, is most like you?
Legally I should probably say no, my characters are all fully fictitious. But people who know me (or have been on the other side of some of my more interesting phone conversations) know that I’m a people watcher and notorious eavesdropper. All of my characters have grown out of bits and pieces of real people I’ve known. I just sort of Frankenstein the pieces together. Most like me? In many ways—Jess. Poor kid.
From your experience so far, what has been your favourite part of being an author?
Being able to talk (well, communicate) with authors I respect, learn from their experiences and pass along what I learn to fellow aspiring authors. Meeting members of the Class of 2k10 at BEA was a big highlight for me.
What made you to want to write and are there any other authors that have inspired you?
I always needed a way to express myself clearly (especially since I had a speech impediment in elementary school). And although (on a philosophical level) I believe language is inadequate for true expression, I’ve always had a fascination with language and probably that was part of what drove me to write (beyond any circumstance and boredom).
Authors who inspired me: Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game still rocks!), Robin McKinley (The Blue Sword was something I reread as a teen), Anne McCaffrey (The Ship Who Sang—awesome!) and Mercedes Lackey (Arrows of the Queen—hers was the only fanclub/author’s list I have ever joined. Misty was everything I aspired to be as a teen writing.) I got to meet Mr. Card. He was amazing. Humble and frank.
Are there any books that you would recommend to the readers of my blog whether it be personal all time favourites or upcoming releases you think we should look out for?
The ones I just mentioned are great reads. Also—David Wisniewski’s GOLEM (a picture book that will blow your mind!) Robert Sabuda’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland and Art Spiegelman’s MAUS. Looking forward to? Ann Aguirre has her debut YA coming out that’s tentatively titled RAZORLAND. I got to read it as a beta and can’t wait to get it in my hands for real! Also Jackie Kessler's debut novel HUNGER sounds intriguing! For other great books, check out the Class of 2k10 (http://www.Classof2k10.com). That’s essentially my reading list for the year.
What is your favourite movie(s) and how would you feel about your book joining one of the many book-turned-movies that are being made recently?
Favorite movies? The Princess Bride, The Last Unicorn, Dangerous Liasons... I’d love to see my series turned into movies. We started hearing interest from movie producers as soon as my win at Textnovel.com was announced, but really—who knows? That’s all out of my hands. But if I landed a movie deal—well, I’d have to host a big party somewhere to celebrate!
I know some writers love to write to music and make playlists to go with their stories, are you one of them and if so, what do you listen to?
I don’t often listen to music as I actively write (fingers on keyboard), but I do have playlists. Each of my characters have their own playlists and different action sequences get a list, but generally I listen to a playlist before I write for the day.
I listen to everything! Cleaning out my Jeep the other day I had to laugh—my Garth Brooks CD was in the Linkin Park case and Cold Play had gotten into Wicked. So, country, rock, alternative, musicals—whatever mood strikes, there’s great music for it out there. I have the same attitude about music as reading: broaden your horizons by sampling it all. I encourage aspiring authors to read broadly and listen broadly to music, too. There will be playlists up at my sight, I hope readers and writers check them out and buy some new stuff for their MP3 players.
How did you come up with the idea for 13 to Life?
The idea sort of emerged organically during the contest—I seriously had no idea what was going to happen at the end of the original, serialized version of 13 to Life. I barely knew what was going to happen from one section to the next (especially when I was waiting for readers to vote on an event!). It was exciting (and nerve-wracking).
If you could be a character in any book, which would you choose and why?
I honestly don’t know. The books I love are filled with high drama, action, danger and adventure and I’ve recently come to understand that although I love drama in books and in my writing, I’m not a fan of it in my life. I guess I’m happy enough being me not to be interested in jumping into a book at the moment.
Which three places in the world would you most like to visit?
I’ve been very lucky and have gotten to visit a bunch of places from the UK, France, Spain, Canada and Germany... I’d love to return to most of the places I’ve already been (and I love leading tours!) but I’d especially like to return to the UK, Spain and Germany. Three new places I’d love to explore? Must it only be three? The old Eastern Bloc countries, Russia and the Caribbean. I have stories started in all those places.
What is your definition of love?
Ugh. That’s a great question! There are so many types of love I can’t give a blanket definition. For romantic love I define it by the spark and chemistry two people feel for each other. But romantic love changes over time—it mellows and sweetens as a relationship builds and surpasses that fire you first feel for someone. And filial love’s different still... I guess my definition of any type of love would have to be: an emotion that grows out of one of us but is far too big for only one alone to handle. Yeah. Cheesy.
Excerpt (used with the author’s permission):
13 to Life: Chapter 4, part G:
Mr. Miles turned to the board and scrawled Porrajmos. “This is the word that equates with the genocide of gypsies during World War II. It translates to “the Devouring.” We’ve spent quite a bit of time on the war, the Holocaust and its victims, but today I think we should deal with one of the oddities…”
Shannon's hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
This week has been another epic delivery week and I'm kind of glad I get to share it early (we have a bit of a busy weekend planned).
I went to the mall to see Toy Story 3 with my brother and mom last Sunday and the Barnes and Noble happens to be right across from the theater. So I asked my mom if I could run in to look for three books. The only one there was Sisters Red. Disappointed my B&N didn't have the others, but ah well! I'm probably going back next week too. ;) But seriously, this book is so pretty in person.
On Wednesday I'm just sitting at home when the UPS truck pulls up and the package is given to me. And what's inside this curious envelope? A copy of Firelight! I didn't think I was going to get one, I'd only emailed on a chance and here it was just a few days later. *pets pretty book* This will probably be my next read.
Thursday I woke up and within five minutes, I managed to bang my head into the ceiling while going up and down stairs to give my cats water. Before going to shower, I let myself check the mail and what do I find? My long awaited copy of Sea has arrived, the very first day of expected delivery. I sat down and read it all and just...ksgnvkjndfjkbncv. You all need to read it. Read and read and read. And make others read it. Because, you couldn't have gotten that from my review yesterday.
This week...so much awesome. And if anything else comes/I get back to the store, you'll have to wait until next weekend to see it. Unless you follow us on twitter. ;)
What did you guys get in your mailbox?
Friday, 25 June 2010
Heidi R. Kling
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.
She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.
And Sea’s real adventure begins.
You guys know I've been waiting for this for months. My excitement and dedication to promoting knew no bounds. And I loved every minute of this book.
Yanking on sweatpants, I twisted my blond hair into a ponytail. Under my tank top I pulled on a bra that was dangling over my chair and made my way down the stairs.
--Sea page 2
Page 2 and already I understand Sienna. This is something that I do and already I'm relating to her as a person, not just a character in a book. And things only improve from here.
Sienna is such this strong, independent character throughout the book. She was intelligent and resourceful. I didn't always agree with her decisions, but they worked for her.
And Deni, oh Deni. I have so much love for Deni. He wasn't really a bad boy and he can't fly or cast spells of sparkle. He was a genuinely good guy and I loved that. It's such a rare thing to find in a lot of YA books.
Then there was the actual plot. A lot of the time you can see things coming but with this book? I was so totally enthralled I couldn't even think about what would be coming around the corner or how it would end and even if I did, I would've been horribly wrong.
I cried at the end, yeah I did. Sea didn't have the ending I would've wanted most, but it was the right one. Part of me still screamed that it couldn't be the end that there had to be an epilogue, but there wasn't. (You hear me, Putnam? You need to ask Heidi to write Sea 2 NOW. kthx)
I really just wish we had more of Spider. I understood his character and everything, but I liked him and his awkwardness. I would've loved to see more, if it had been a possibility.
The writing is stunning and sweeps you away. For the first 50 pages I was kind of antsy, but then it started raining and I moved to the living room to watch it while I read and then I kind of lost track of the world around me. I cursed anything that interrupted me. I hadn't eaten all morning to get to reading it and the only reason I ate at all before finishing was because I had to get up to take care of the dogs anyway.
A] Sea is awesome
B] I need another book from Heidi
C] Sea is amazing
D] Putnam needs to ask for Sea 2
E] Sea is love
Go. Buy. NAO.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Summary (from Amazon): Not everyone believes in the existence of 'the one', the love of our life that we are destined to find, but Daniel knows it’s real. How could he not? He has spent centuries meeting and falling in love with the same girl over and over and over again.
Life after reincarnated life, generation after generation, spanning continents and dynasties, he and Lucy have been drawn together – and though he can never tell her, he remembers it all. He has the gift, or the curse, of 'the memory', the ability to recall past lives and recognize the reincarnated souls he has known. The problem is, the force that draws Lucy and Daniel together also always tears them painfully, fatally apart, to the point that he has started trying to protect her from falling in love with him and the heartbreak he knows it will bring.
This book was fantastic, I felt like my heart shattered a little bit more with every page I turned -- the story was so heartbreaking and the romance is pretty epic; a love that spans centuries, surviving death over and over again, how could it not be?
This is the kind of book you fall in love with; it'll make your heart ache, you'll keep thinking about it even when you've finished reading. It managed to make me cry and smile at the same time and it really made me think about life and death and what really matters. (And, also, it made me want to read some of the books I have on reincarnation and past life regression, it's fascinating and the way Ann wrote the story, it felt true, it wasn't like reading a made up story.)
I really loved the characters, Daniel was lovely and his devotion to Sophia was amazing but he had such a sense of loneliness about him, which was understandable, considering what he goes through but it was really sad reading about it... he was actually the reason I was rooting for him and Lucy/Sophia - I wanted him to be happy so badly, it's like Sophia has become his reason for living.
Lucy/Sophia/Constance (and whatever other names she's had) was interesting - because she doesn't remember her past lives the way Daniel does, each of her lives is like the same at the core but there are differences in her personality - Constance was my favourite of her lives and Lucy often frustrated me because she would take so long to follow her heart and let fear get in the way.
And then there is Ben. Although his character wasn't in the story much, he was awesome - he was like the Yoda of reincarnation, all mysterious and wise, I adored him and found myself wishing he was more present - but I think his absence added to his appeal, small doses of him was just enough.
There isn't much else I can say about the book without spoiling it, but it was really fantastic, I loved it and I can't wait to read the sequel whenever it is out, I desperately need to know how their story ends.
On another note, I *think* the book has been optioned to become a movie, which is awesome and I so hope it gets made.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Tomorrow is the day. Boy's surgery is at 10 on the other side of the Hudson River and I'll be here, waiting(or probably sleeping). I think I'm probably more anxious about this than he is. So, on with the books!
How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for? In the aftermath of what happened at Sword & Cross, Luce has been hidden away by her cursed angelic boyfriend, Daniel, in a new school filled with Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. Daniel promises she will be safe here, protected from those who would kill her. At the school Luce discovers what the Shadows that have followed her all her life mean - and how to manipulate them to see into her other lives. Yet the more Luce learns about herself, the more she realizes that the past is her only key to unlocking her future...and that Daniel hasn't told her everything. What if his version of the past isn't actually the way things happened...what if Luce was really meant to be with someone else?
I really enjoyed Fallen, so of course I'm excited for this book!
[October 1, 2010]
In this historical romance loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, a woodcutter's daughter becomes the town's healer's apprentice. Rose's job is to care for the sick and injured in Hagenheim Castle. But she gets sick at the sight of blood and is more suited to making up stories than sewing up wounds. She is determined to overcome her weakness and prove herself a competent healer, or she faces marrying a disgusting old merchant her mother has picked out for her.
Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of the region, is injured and Rose must overcome her squeamishness to save him. He is everything that is noble and good, but loving him is forbidden. He is already betrothed to a mysterious woman in hiding.
With two noble-born brothers vying for her affections, Rose learns that the people of Hagenheim are not always who they seem.
More Sleeping Beauty retellings! *omnomnom*
I'm going to leave it at that for now. What are you waiting on this week?
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Melissa de la Cruz
Lavish parties. Passionate meetings in the night. Bone-chilling murders. Midterms. The day-to-day life of Schuyler Van Alen and her Blue Bloods friends (and enemies) is never boring. But there's oh-so-much more to know about these beautiful and powerful teens. Below the streets of Manhattan, within the walls of the Repository, exists a wealth of revealing information about the vampire elite that dates back before the Mayflower. In a series of short stories, journal entries, and never-before-seen letters, New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz gives her hungry fans the keys to the Repository and an even more in-depth look into the secret world of the Blue Bloods. Won't you come inside?
I started the Blue Bloods series when only the first two books were out and I've been following it ever since. It's always been full of action and adventure. But since the books come out a year a part and I quite clearly read a LOT of books in a year, I tend to forget things. So this book was a perfect tool.
Originally, I didn't plan to get this, at least not until it was in paperback. Hardcover's are expensive and I didn't think it would be necessary. But Melissa held a contest for it and I decided to enter. I'm so glad I did! This book is gorgeous and helpful!
It opens with a letter from Melissa, which made me smile. Then Melissa tells the story of how the Blue Bloods became what they are. Then we get biographies, categorized by family. There are also two short stories about Jack and Schuyler, one about Dylan, and one about Kingsley. On top of that, there's a list of terms, secondary characters, and human familiars, there's explanations about different parts of the Blue Blood world, the first two chapters of Misguided Angel, AND a sneak peak at a spin off series.
The short stories were so helpful to understanding the characters more, as well as refreshing my memories of things that happened in the books. And the sneak peeks were amazing, though I recommend not reading the first two chapters of Misguided Angel. The cliffhanger, oh the cliffhanger! (This is why I never read sneak peeks. Dang curiosity)
And I LOVED the biographies and lists. There's so many characters and terms, I can't always keep them straight! I might not have time to reread Van Alen Legacy before reading Misguided Angel, so I'll definitely be referencing this book!
For all fans of the Blue Bloods series, this book is a MUST HAVE. And if my review didn't convince you, the cover is more gorgeous in person! That should be reason enough.
Monday, 21 June 2010
For those who don't know, this is all about things bloggers, new and old, wish they knew when they began blogging.
My friend Harmony, who I've boasted about and helped and promoted like crazy, at Harmony's Radiant Reads, had a list of things she wished she knew:
(I love my Harmony)I know I've only been blogging for 3 months (and I love it!) but I wish I had known these three things my first few weeks:1) Don't freak out if you people have more followers, or more comments, than you do. You review because you like it, you read for yourself. Having people who like what you say and decide to say their opnion as well is just an awesome bonus.2) You don't have to update everyday to have a good blog. Sometimes you can post a lot, sometimes you can't. Work at a schedule that YOU can do, don't try to conform yourself to another blog!3) One of the best things about blogging is meeting people! Don't be afraid to tweet other bloggers and comment on their blogs. I've met a lot of super nice bloggers (including the two that run this blog!) just because I twittered them and checked out their blog! Get out there and interact in the blog-o-sphere!
Alison from Alison's Book Marks, has a lot of advice for you guys:
If I knew then what I know now about blogging:1. I would have put more thought into the name of my blog. It's lame, but when I started, I truly didn't think I would have thousands of people reading it each month.2. I would have done a better job at marketing from the get-go. Build a website, and they will come, right? Um, no. There's contests, Twitter, Facebook, Book Blogs, e-mails, linkys, challenges,and SO much more.3. I wouldn't have been so afraid to reach out. Sitting by myself at my computer blogging was a lonely thing for me. I didn't really reach out, unaware of the strong community of book bloggers. Once I opened up and asked for help from other bloggers, I was blown away by how supportive they all were!4. I would have backed up my blog earlier. Computers crash, sites go down. Don't be a victim of data loss.5. Plagiarism exists and there's not much we can do about it. It sucks, but it's digital age.6. Blogging books is time consuming! 'I'm not even talking about the time it takes to read all the books we bloggers write about, I'm talking about writing content, replying to comments, keeping up with social networking sites, reading and commenting on OTHER book blogs, keeping up relationships with publishers, publicists, authors, libraries and book stores. Responding to e-mails regarding pitches, contests, guest blogs, and interviews. There's the traveling to Book Expo and the BBC (and Comic Con for those bloggers heading out to Cali in a few months). And we all do this and manage to balance work, family, children, and our own writing goals outside of the blogging.7. I would have spent the money upfront to have a custom designed blog. I still don't like what I have, but I'm used to it, and I don't know how to change it. I tried working with "a friend" on changing the logo and layout...we've been working on it for 6 months now...I'll let you know when we've decided on anything. I have a feeling I will change it this winter...and paying someone to do so.8. I would have kept better records. Just when I think I'm organized, something goes wrong. I should have a binder in which to keep hard copies of my contacts, spreadsheets for review copies, etc. Instead I had everything on my computer...which I didn't back up...have I mentioned backing up your blog yet? Yeah, I should have gotten an external hard drive to back up all my blog stuff. There's a lot to keep track of (in my opinion).
Another friend of mine, Nicole from Word for Teens, also had a list of things:
1) That it's a hell of a lot of hard work. Maintaining WORD takes a good chunk of time, and with me headed off to college, most of my summer is spent setting up as much as I can in advance.
2) That you're not alone, and that you're going to have people who are willing to help you and talk to you. The first two years, I didn't talk to any other bloggers. The third year, I made a whole bunch of friends, and my blog improved greatly.
3) That it's ADDICTING. You're going to WANT to spend time working on it once you get into it, so make yourself aware of that now.
They summarized everything well, didn't they? So I'll just leave it at that. As I'm typing this, there's no more parts, but we'll see. ;)
Thursday: Anastasia Hopcus, Shadow Hills
Then Friday is a COMPLETE SURPRISE (except to Harmony...and me). So, you should all go follow her so you can be involved in all the interviews and see who the mystery guest is on Friday.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
So this week was kind of sort of epic in many ways. One of my 'maybes' from last week arrived in the mail Monday(my first ARC for review!!!), I won a book that's part of a popular series and not out yet, and I got a book plate!
Plain Kate was my maybe. It's coming out in September and I used it for a WoW one week and I began reading and OMG LOVE! But look! It has the paper from the publisher in it! It's so official!
Two weeks ago, Melissa said she had a box full of finished copies of Keys to the Repository and she was giving 10 away. On Monday I got the email that I won one of them and my copy arrived on Friday. It SO gorgeous in person and very short height wise, which shocked me. And Melissa signed it! MELISSA DE LA CRUZ. *insert fangirl squee*
Jackson Pearce did some twitter give aways to celebrate the release of Sisters Red and I won a Sisters Red bookplate and adorable little cards for Jackson and her two books. And isn't that envelope amazing? Now I just need the book!
Yesterday I went to Kmart and their book selection was horribly lacking, but I did grab the Glee Finale CD and some nail polish. :)
So, I had an awesome week. And I'm STILL expecting more next week! How about you guys?
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Then I began thinking about other things I wish I knew before I began blogging and wondered what others thought. Because I always want to understand how others think and feel and their general thought pattern.
I put out the alert on twitter and asked people to email me, tweet me, just tell me their thoughts.
Originally, I just planned to make this one post. But then I began getting a LOT of responses, so I'm breaking this up into a series of posts. If I continue getting so many answers, it'll become a weekly thing.
One of the first responses I got was from my friend Bianca at Nyxen's Productions. I did what I could to help Bianca when she began, which wasn't much. She's only been blogging for a couple of months. Her thoughts? "Oh, it's takes a lot of time and dedication to run a blog."
Bianca's not the only one. One of the girls at YA Reads tweeted to me and said she wish she knew "how addictive and ultimately all consuming it is. I have no life now cuz of it."
Others agree with the post at Chick Lit Teens. Jem at The O.W.L. also says she wishes she knew "How to say no to review copies!!!!! That has been my biggest eye opener and I've decided not to take them."
Chioma at Black and Blue Ink said "To answer your question, the #1 thing that I thought I knew and wish I had figured out before I began blogging was that memes DO NOT make the blogger. I thought that people would like my blog if I began doing every single meme out there. But it all ended up being clutter and I realized within a month my archives were filled with 20 memes and like 3 reviews. So I changed it, and telling people about books I know I like than telling them about books I think or hope I will like!!!"
Kim of And Anything Bookish told me "I wish I knew that having a review archive is very important when starting a blog. I made that mistake, and had to waste a lot of time writing one up. Not only does it help you in finding a specific review very quickly, but it also lets you see how many review you've written so far. Sure, you have the "search" bar, but that's even messier. So my advice is to create a review archive right from the start or you'll be digging through your posts."
So, as bloggers old and new, this is the wisdom we impart to you (Um, channeling Dr. Seuss much, self?). Now all of you potenial-bloggers, bloggers to be, or newborn bloggers have some helpful guidance. Know that it's okay to say no to ARCs, know that it takes time and dedication, only have a few memes you use but focus on reviews, and get a review archive (hey look! I just found a project for this summer!).
Friday, 18 June 2010
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.
When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.
I was expecting a very typical, blah kind of chick lit with this. Pretty girl, who happens to be a princess, wins the love of the guys she wants although he's not sure of everything because she claims to be a mermaid. But it wasn't just that.
I'll admit, Lily did annoy me at times. She was so deeply in denial that I wanted to slap her, but it worked for the novel. The point of it was all about how we can't just judge people on how they seem and how we can't let fantasies change how we view people.
Quince was so ridiculously adorkable and wonderful and I wanted to hug him. He kind of reminded me of a more attractive, more likable Helga from Hey Arnold in the beginning.
Brody bugged me a lot, which I guess is the point. He was just so...ARGH. Such a predictable guy.
This book was fairly predictable (until that epilogue! sbfjdjhdnkg that epilogue!) but in a good way. I didn't sit there going "Now this is gonna happen...can it just happen already? *headwall*". I enjoyed every minute of it and loved reading it while I could. I curse finals for taking my reading time away!
Forgive My Fins is the perfect summer read and I can tell you the sequel is going to be made of awesome. ;)
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Since Lanna and I have agreed on several basic questions for us to use that aren't the average questions, I had to pick one. It was really hard. But finally, I decided to ask Lauren:
How would you define love?
I define love as wanting what's best for the other person, not what's best for the other person in relation to you. This, to me, is the ideal in all relationships involving love, be it romantic or parent/child or close friends. It means wanting the other person to feel fulfilled in their life even if it sometimes means that the things that fulfill them result in them having less time for us. It means allowing my daughter to grow into her own life at the rate that's comfortable for her. But none of this is meant to imply that you should become some sort of eternally self-sacrificing human being, like the interpersonal-relationship version of Mother Teresa or something. It's important to love yourself and pursue the things in life that fulfill you too because the old truism is actually true: you can't properly love someone else unless you love yourself too.
And there you have it folks!
Lauren stopped yesterday at Shalonda's blog, where she told Shalonda what she would do if she could go back to the Victorian era. To find her answer click here!
Tomorrow, Lauren will be visiting Kelsey's blog and talk about promoting female education. So, look for that tomorrow here.
For a little more about The Education of Bet (which I really want to read):
Bet is sixteen, very intelligent, but only knows as much as her limited education will allow. In Victorian England, girls aren't allowed to go to school.
Will is also 16, and though not related by blood, he and Bet act like brother and sister. In fact, they even look like brother and sister. And though they're both raised under the same roof, by the same kind uncle, Will has one big advantage over Bet: He's a boy, and being a boy means he isn't stuck in the grand house they call home. He gets to go out into the world--to school.
But that's not what Will wishes. He wants to join the military and learn about real life, not what's written in books.
So one night, Bet comes up with a plan. She'll go to school as Will. Will can join the military. And though it seems impossible, they actually manage to pull it off.
But once Bet gets to the school, she begins to realize the education she's going to get isn't exactly the one she was expecting.
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Summary: The second adventure in the Drake Chronicles(Please note, the US covers are different from the UK covers)
Teen vampire action and heart-pounding romance continue as the Drake family faces a new vampire with a 200-year-old grudge.
It has been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who turned her into a vampire and left her buried for two hundred years. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks . . .
I absolutely loved the first book in the series, My Love Lies Bleeding (read: Hearts at Stake, if you’re in the US), but this book wasn’t really in the same league as the first one… don’t get me wrong, I still really liked it (and loved aspects of it) and I still recommend it, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had for it.
I blame a lot of that on Isabeau; I didn’t really get attached to her character and the flashbacks from her past often bored me, I’d find myself putting down the book and avoiding reading it for hours or even days just to put off reading the flashbacks. Although they were maybe necessary, they were still a bit of a drag and really slowed down the pace of the book for me.
I did like her character, she was admirably tough but at the same time she was adorably vulnerable and she had quite a few unintentional funny moments. Her interactions with Logan were awesome and her thoughts when she was around him were always interesting - it was like seeing her go from bad ass to a typical girl like the flip of a switch, it was really sweet. I loved her dog too and the way she had a connection to dogs, it was an interesting little personality trait that showed her softer side.
Logan was really great, he was sweet and made me laugh and I adored the fact we still got to see interactions with his family because that was one of the things I loved about the first book; the Drake family as a whole. It was really interesting seeing Lucy through the eyes of a Drake brother who sees her as a sibling (Lucy was also just as awesome in this book as she was in the first, she made me laugh and her and Nicholas were cute. I loved that we got to see them as a couple in this book, even if it was through someone else’s eyes).
The romance in the book was good. It felt a little predictable though, not just because I knew what characters would end up together from the summary but because there’s something mentioned in the early chapters of the book by Isabeau that just made it painfully obvious and it was almost irritating that she mentioned that and yet seemed almost oblivious to something that was pretty much staring her in the face, something she should’ve expected. Because of that predictability, I didn’t really find myself desperately turning the pages to see if they’d end up together because I never doubted that they would.
Sorry, this review probably seems mostly negative but I honestly did really like the book, it’s just harder to pinpoint and talk about the things that made me like it than it is to figure out what I didn’t like about it. It still had all the charm the first book had--the romance, the likeable characters, the interesting plot and mythology--it was just to a lesser extent than in the first.
For me, the book got better and better the further into it I got. It wasn’t one of those books that had me hooked from the start, it was one of the ones where I had to push through the start with mild interest to get to the bits that really drew me into the story.
I think perhaps the biggest problem with the book is that I read this book before the first one. I know, we’re supposed to read them in that order… but while writing this review and while I was reading the book, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing the two. It’s like; Logan is a great character but not as great as Nicholas was in the first book and Isabeau was a good female protagonist but I prefer Solange and Lucy to her, the romance was good but not as good as the first and because of that, I’d find myself craving more of the characters from the first book instead of wanting to see more of Logan and Isabeau’s story.
If I could separate the stories in my mind and judge them completely separately then I actually think I would’ve liked Blood Feud more, it’s just the fact the first book set expectations that the second couldn’t live up to (but, please note, that’s just my opinion - my personal preference could be different from yours).
I really recommend the series and I can’t wait for the third book - the first and second have such different styles (from the characters to the plot to how the romance was set up), it’ll be really interesting to see what Alyxandra Harvey does next.
Just to give you an indicator of how much I liked the book:
My Love Lies Bleeding: 5 stars
Blood Feud: 3.5 or 4 stars (leaning more towards 4, because a lot of the negatives are honestly just due to comparisons with the first book)
Monday, 14 June 2010
A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.
I've seen this in the bookstore a thousand times. I didn't think it'd be my kind of thing. Last weekend, I needed some chick lit and impulsively grabbed this and the spin off.
WHY DID I NOT PICK THIS UP EARLIER?
It was so beyond amazing and good and I put this right up there with Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darkside and Shade and Hex Hall and Beautiful Creatures and every other book I've raved about on here. Just...GAH.
Alex, oh poor Alex. I wanted to cry for him and hug him all at once. And Brittany's sister made me smile. Then there was Paco and Isa and Sierra and just...GAH.
I am, quite honestly beyond words here. I can't say anything else without spoiling things or trying to reread it as soon as I finish Rules of Attraction.
You honestly need to read this book. I cannot wait to get my hands on the third book!
Sunday, 13 June 2010
I didn't do IMM last week because I only got a damaged book (that I still have to return) and a sticker. Seemed like a silly thing to do.
My finals start on TUESDAY guys. And I'm all caught up on reviewing books and only have one more drafted to post. And the book I'm reading doesn't even have a definite release date anymore, so I can't put the review up for that. And since Lanna's busy scrapping her novels to start a new one and making me playlists and banners, I don't think she's reading much either.
Math and Chemistry are my two BIG concerning finals, and those are Tuesday and Wednesday. After Wednesday, I'll have time to read more and then write more reviews for you guys. Since I don't want this blog to be entirely quiet besides tomorrow and Wednesday, I want to put up a discussion post. Do you guys have any ideas in mind that I can do really quickly? Anything you REALLY want to see on here? Please give suggestions because I'm blanking. Unless you want me to do another post dedicated to Sea where I show off my blue toes.
ON TO THE BOOKS. (Cause, that's why you're here. Der)
I was gonna skip IMM again this week, but this morning I woke up and one of the first things my mom said to me was "There's stuff for you in there you might want to open." WIN.
Jennifer Laurens does random, surprise contests on twitter where you have 5 minutes to email her your addy and she sends you some swag related to her books. Last time she did that, I decided to email her. So she sent me the card with a little flip-flop paper pad and A Season of Eden bookmark. I don't know what the flip flop would be for, but I really liked A Season of Eden, so Yay!
Tera Lynn Childs was doing a bunch of contests to celebrate the release of Forgive My Fins and I commented on one of the posts where she was giving away books and I won a signed copy. This is my first ever personalized ARC. So it has MY name on it. And now I can be a more productive Splash Team member because I'll actually have read what I'm promoting. She threw in the bookmarks and a Forgive My Fins tattoos as well. Wee!
Monday was this amazingly epic day. I came home from school thankful I didn't punch anyone. In my inbox, was an email from Tera about winning. Then I got an email telling me I won a book from Random Buzzers. Then a blogger on twitter wanted to get rid of an extra, highly-anticipated ARC she accidentally grabbed 2 of at BEA and I jokingly said I'd take it and she's actually going to send it to me. THEN I won a Sisters Red bookplate. I also talked to two authors of books I'm craving and they both took my info to send to their publishers to see if I could get an ARC. HOW MUCH AWESOME IS THAT FOR A MONDAY? So, I'm expecting stuff in the mailbox this week and I'm crossing my fingers for those "maybe" items. And nope, I'm not saying what any of the ARCs are because I wanna see you guys guess. (Yes, I am mean) I also don't want to get any hopes up if those maybes don't happen.
Basically, next week will be another awesome mailbox week.
It's Saturday night right now, but I'm HOPING to talk my parents into taking me to a bookstore so I can look for a bunch of recent releases and get a gift card if they aren't there. Errands like this can keep us out for HOURS, plus studying. So, I'm getting it done now. If I do get to the store, I may edit those in or I may just wait until next week. We'll see.
And I'll stop rambling now. If you have any ideas for a discussion post, or just something you want to see from me/Lanna, let us know!
P.S. SEA TOES!
(Yes I AM freakishly pale and I DO have a giant freckle on my right foot. But I have a cute Panda guarding my pile of books, so it's all cool.)