Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giveaway: The Fourth Stall Prize Pack

I'm excited to bring you this great prize pack of The Fourth Stall (paperback) and The Fourth Stall II (advance readers copy). I loved The Fourth Stall and Chris Rylander has a great writing style. This is a fun and witty middle grade series that anyone will love.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Events: ADR3NALIN3 Teen Book Tour

It's a new year with new events! I'm so excited to share pictures from the ADR3NALIN3 Teen Book Tour with authors Jordan Dane, CC Hunter, Ellie James, and Tracy Deebs at Murder by the Book. I, of course was running late because I-45 was shut down and no one told me, luckily when I arrived there was one parking spot left. The crowd was great and the authors were so fun. They talked about covers and upcoming books and why they love YA. If you couldn't make it and would like to buy a signed copy of any of these author's books contact Murder by the Book.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: Every Other Day

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

While Every Other Day started out a bit slow the story is so worth it. Jennifer Lynn Banes has a way of creating a world you can get lost in. Kali is a human girl who goes to school except that Every Other Day she is something more. Every Other Day she can fight supernatural beings that stalk the night. Also if she doesn’t hunt them then they will come after her, so what is a girl to do? Kali’s mom left her when she was young and she hides her extracurricular activities from her father. He is a scientist who is so caught up in his life that he doesn’t see that Kali just wants him to notice her and ask her what is going on in her life.

Even though Kali is a pretty girl, she keeps to herself in school and has never had a friend. She knows that the best thing for her is to keep a low profile, but with a dad who is non-existent it’s hard to not feel lonely. During a pep rally Kali accidentally says that she wishes she had a friend and Skylar, the school outcast, hears and offers to be her friend. Kali isn’t sure it’s a good idea but the two build a great friendship that helps Kali more than she could have thought.

Kali’s father would love it if she became friends with Bethany, the popular girl at school whose father could help his career. Kali’s only interaction with Bethany is to lure a creature out of Bethany in order to save her life. Once the creature is out of Bethany and inside Kali, her plan consists of surviving the night and hoping that her blood will kill the creature. Bethany is not one to to feel like she needs saving or have to be indebted to outcasts like Kali or Skylar, so she plans on helping Kali. The three form an unlikely trio who will need each other if Kali has any hope of surviving. To make matters even more interesting, it seems that the parasite inside of Kali is a link to a guy who is trapped and Kali can’t help but feel an intense connection with him and goes in search of him and although she wants to do this alone Skylar and Bethany decide to help her locate him, but there will be consequences they could never imagine with the path they've chosen to take.

There is so much mystery and suspense that Every Other Day will keep you captivated. I read Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and she is a master at creating strong female characters. I would not be surprised if Every Other Day ends up as a movie. Pick up a copy of Every Other Day today!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book News

I'm so excited for Geoff Herbach who just got his ARCS of NOTHING SPECIAL! Also how great is this picture of him? Run over to Geoff's blog and congratulate him and add NOTHING SPECIAL to your goodreads list!

Also Megan Bostic had her launch party for NEVER EIGHTEEN! The party was in Washington so I couldn't make it but I promise that I will make it there eventually. Megan worked so hard to promote her book that I'm great her event was a success. Again add NEVER EIGHTEEN to your goodreads list.

For those of you who are fans of Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler give Blue Willow a call and order a personalized copy of THE FUTURE OF US because they will be there Sunday Jan. 22. If you can't make it by Blue Willow to see them in person, they can ship both locally and internationally.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Blue Willow calendar because not only is the Dark Days Tour stopping in town but so is the Breathless Tour!

Last but not least if you are attending ALA Midwinter Jen Bigheart organized a blogger dinner for Friday Night! Details here: I Read Banned Books blog! I'll be there so if you see me please stop me and say hi!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Genre: Middle Grade

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Middle grade novels are not just for tweens! If you don't believe me then read or listen to Breadcrumbs! I adore Hazel! Hazel is a fifth grader whose parents recently split and has to deal with many changes including a new school. Hazel is unpopular and gets picked on, but what makes things easier is her best friend Jack. He has been there for the hardest points in her life.

Except one day everything changes and Jack decides not to be her friend anymore. He even becomes close with the kids who bully Hazel. Hazel is sure Jack would never just change for no apparent reason and something must be wrong. How could she possibly lose him. When Jack acts cold to her I thought about what Hazel must be going through and I was close to tears.

Shortly after Jack's strange behavior towards Hazel, he stops showing up to school and his parents say that he moved with a distant aunt. Hazel knows he would never just leave. One of the bullies tells Hazel that he saw Jack walking into the woods with a woman who was dressed completely in white and seemed cold. Hazel can't believe that Jack would leave with anyone into the woods much less someone who she believes is an Ice Queen. Hazel's journey to get her best friend back is going to be a dangerous and possibly deadly journey, but one she is willing to take to save her friend.

Breadcrumbs won my heart and I can see myself re-reading this book many times over. I'm also excited to share this with my nephew when he is older. I have read and listened to Breadcrumbs and both times I loved it. The narrator does a great job pulling you into the story. I hope you give this book a chance and to help I'm giving away a copy of the book.

I want to thank Walden Media for providing a review copy of Breadcrumbs!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview: Megan Bostic

Today I'm talking to Megan Bostic. Megan is not only the author of Never Eighteen, the first book that made me cry this year, but I have known Megan for over a year now so I have secret details!

Top Secret Megan Details:
Loves Sock Monkeys
Writes Poetry
Was supposed to debut in 2011
Is pals with Gae Polisner
Is a really sweet person

Please help me welcome Megan Bostic! [insert applause]

Never Eighteen/January 17, 2012

Megan: I feel like we have known you for a year now because you were originally Class of 2k11. You've also shared poetry here which I’m a huge fan of. Now the day is here and Never Eighteen is finally hitting shelves.

What is your reaction to that?
At this very moment, I’m freaking out. I’m actually relieved to have been bumped from 2011 to 2012 because it gave me more time to prepare. I don’t think anyone has a clue what it takes to market a book unless they’ve done it themselves.

Of course, along with the anxiety I also feel excitement. I’m looking forward to my release, to seeing my book on the YA shelves, and meeting readers at author events.

How did you feel when you got the call/email that Never Eighteen was going to be sold?
Every time my agent wrote and said someone was interested I was like, “Really? Weird.” I think I just didn’t believe it was happening. It was very surreal. Mostly I think because it had taken so long to get an agent, and then BAM, book sold crazy fast. Plus, I was in Disneyland. That place really is magical. :)

Never Eighteen is not a fun light book. What made you explore darker YA?
Life. Plain and simple. Life is not easy—especially in the teen years. The subject matter in that book, I’ve seen it all—death, addiction, abuse—and I witnessed it all in my teens as well as later in life. I think we sometimes need these hard stories to read because they are so real to us. We need characters we can relate to, but that also offer us hope in the end.

Which YA authors that write in a similar area of the genre do you read and look up to?
I am very bad. I mean, I love to read, but the last few years, with the writing, I’ve not read as much as I would have liked. However, two books came to mind instantly when I read this question. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher, I will sing its praises to the ends of the earth. I’m very close to becoming a Jay Asher stalker (don’t tell him I said that). This book really spoke to me; it’s tragic and beautiful at the same time. Jay’s writing is so good, I really felt like I was hearing Hannah’s voice on those tapes.

The other novel is Deadline, by Chris Crutcher. I sheepishly admit to this being the first book of his I’ve read and it was worth every second. Again, the voice was very well written, the story tragic, but hopeful.

Saying goodbye to people is never easy. How did you come up with the points in the story where Austin makes amends with people?
The points in the story are very real. They could happen to anyone’s friend, mother, sister or brother. I think if we take a step back and look at our own lives, we’ll find people we should have apologized to, helped, or treated better. If we could see through Austin’s eyes—dying eyes, maybe we would try to make amends ourselves.

Your story is told from a male’s point of view and YA is primarily female. Do you think girls will understand or relate to Austin?
I think Austin is a very real and relatable character. Teens connect their own stories and struggles, I don’t think it matters if they’re male or female.

I hear from Amy Dominy that your book should come with tissues. What can you tell fans to expect?
Ha! I’ve actually looked into buying tissue packets to give away with the book. Lol. I think I’m too close to the story to say, so I will go by what I’ve heard from my readers. Expect to fall in love with Kaylee and Austin. Expect that they will feel like friends to you. Expect moments of laughter and moments of reflection. And definitely have a box of tissues handy.

What do you hope readers learn from Austin, Never Eighteen and about you?
You know when you say, “I should have done this” or “should have said that”, those moments when you say to yourself, “I wish I would have done something”? Well, Austin is doing those things. He wants to leave life with no regrets or should-have-beens. He may not be able to save the world, or even the people he seeks out, but at least he knows he’s tried.

He’s also teaching us to live life like you mean it. Don’t just get by, don’t let it destroy you. You only have one shot at it, don’t take it for granted.

I suppose that I’m speaking through Austin as well, though I know it’s easier to sit back than to stand up and be heard. We all have a time limit on earth, some are just shorter than others. Like Austin, I don’t want to go out with regrets. I want to make my mark, no matter how small it might be and live life like there may not be a tomorrow.

You blog often about your work in progress what can people expect next?
Well, I’m hoping what I’m working on now will be my next book. It’s tentatively titled Sad. It’s another realistic contemporary YA about a girl struggling with depression that eventually leads to cutting. Then her journey to solving the question of why and becoming whole again.

Thank you Cari, I LOVE you!! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Video Reading: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

I'm very excited to welcome Caroline Starr Rose author of May B. Caroline is part of Class of 2k12 and May B. is her first YA verse novel. I love listening to verse novels being spoken so I was thrilled when Caroline agreed to do a reading of May B for us.

About the book:

I've known it since last night:
It's been too long to expect them to return.
Something's happened.

May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family, especially by fifteen, long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

To learn more about Caroline visit: http://www.carolinestarrrose.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Never Eighteen

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Ratings: 4 of 5 Stars

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic is the first debut novel from the Class of 2K12. I highly recommend you pick up this novel when it comes out on the 17th of this month. While it's only 200 pages long it's filled with lots of emotional scenes. Never Eighteen is narrated by Austin a guy who is dying from cancer before his eighteenth birthday. There are some dark moments that made me emotional wishing I could reach out and hug the characters. Scenes from Never Eighteen reminded me a tiny bit of Ellen Hopkins, the author of Crank. I will say that I wish the book had been a bit longer because then I think we would have gotten additional details and maybe known a little more about what Austin was feeling. The ending was very touching and I can see teens and adults equally enjoying Never Eighteen.

Never Eighteen is Megan's first novel which will be released January 17th 2012. Megan is currently working on her second contemporary novel. I hope you come back January 13th when Megan will be discussing Never Eighteen.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Exclusive: Miranda Kenneally's Cover and Title for Book 2

I'm thrilled to share the cover and title for for Miranda Kenneally's newest book. CATCHING JORDAN was my favorite book of 2011 and I'm sure Miranda's newest book will be no exception, I'm sure it will steal that spot for 2012. The covers for Miranda's upcoming book and CATCHING JORDAN both have a similar feel, but the great thing about a companion novel is you don't necessarily have to read the first book in order to understand what's going on in the second one. If you follow this blog then you know I highly recommend reading CATCHING JORDAN, like right now. Miranda's second book will be out in October which can't come fast enough for me!

Miranda is currently working on a third companion novel and an anthology titled Dear Teen Me after the very popular blog she and E. Kristin Anderson created.

Without further ado, I give you STEALING PARKER by Miranda Kenneally...

Stealing Parker previously titled The Girl I Use To Be is a companion to Catching Jordan. This book is about a girl named Parker, who has a crush on the 23-year-old coach of the school baseball team. Parker goes to the same school as Jordan Woods and Sam Henry, so you *might* see some familiar faces. -from mirandakenneally.com

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest post with Robin Bridges

Happy New Year Everyone!  

With a new year comes a new group of debut authors.  I always like to find out how authors come up with ideas and how they find a balance between the parts of their story based on actual events and the parts that began in the authors mind.  Robin Bridges is the author of The Gathering Storm which will be released January 10, 2012.  I wanted to know how Robin balances historical fiction and the paranormal.  Thank you Robin for taking the time to share with us!

By Robin Bridges:
I’m not sure I would have had the guts to start writing the Katerina books if I’d known how much research would be involved.  It’s not that I hate research- in fact I love it a little too much.  I can spend hours online reading obscure old books on Google, or just looking at old photographs on the website for the Encyclopaedia of Saint Petersburg.  I fell in love with the Russian Silver Age after reading a book about the history of the actor Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theater.  And of course, there’s the research for all the fun things I needed to know for this book, like practical necromancy or ancient Egyptian magic.

Author Gail Carriger has helpful advice for researching on her blog: one of her hints is to focus on primary sources.  Since I can’t read Russian very well, I’ve had to scour the internet for good translations. The forums at the Alexander Palace Time Machine provided a wealth of information, including some of the electronic versions of the earliest books written about the Romanovs.  And oh, the photographs! 

I’ve used Librarything as an online bibliography of sorts to keep up with all my Katerina sources.  Every book I buy or check out of the library that has anything to do with Imperial Russian history has been added to my list.  The jewel of my collection is a 1968 copy of Mara Kay’s children’s book, MASHA, about a young Russian girl during the reign of Alexander I.  I’m still looking for an affordable copy of the sequel, THE YOUNGEST LADY-IN-WAITING. Alas, the least expensive copy on Amazon at the moment is $895!

Russian culture is teeming with superstition.  It wasn’t hard for me to imagine a Saint Petersburg filled with vampires and other monsters.  When I reread my favorite Russian fairy tales about Koschei the Deathless and Baba Yaga, I also read about firebirds and bogatyrs.  Digging into other Eastern European mythology, I discovered veshtizas and strigas.  Want a hint about what’s next for Katerina?  For Book 2, I’ve been reading a lot about ceremonial magic and the secret magical orders of the late 19th century.  (Think Aleister Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn.)

So my research has been a blend of history and folklore.  A little occult history. And watching lots of YouTube videos. I haven’t been able to go and see the grand palaces of the Romanovs, so I do the next best thing and watch them here:

Love to read historical paranormals?  Here are some of my favorites!
Saundra Mitchell’s The Vespertine
Sonia Gensler’s The Revenant
Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy
Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles
Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series
Marissa Doyle’s Leland Sisters books

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January Reading List

So here is my schedule of what I plan to read this month. Feel free to join me and then we can discuss. Also I am always up for taking recommendations. If you check my blog often you will find I add and remove books just depending on my moods. What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

Currently Reading:

Currently Listening To:

Reading Soon:

Listening To Soon:

Finished Reading:

Did not finish: