Thursday, January 12, 2012

Follow Friday (4)

Q: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

I am completely in love with Parachute right now. They are an amazing band and seriously every song by them I love. I also really love Lifehouse and The Script. I love Taylor Swift and, of course, GLEE!! Or mostly Darren Criss. :) And a few others: Priscilla Ahn, Florence and The Machine, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Hot Chelle Rae, Maroon 5, Thompson Square. There are others of course! But that's basically it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

On The Outside: Beth Fantaskey

On The Outside is an exclusive feature where authors guest blog about how their novels got their cover and/or title.

Thank you very much to Beth Fantaskey for participating this week! (If I'm a little late...) Her new book, Jessica Rules The Dark Side, is released tomorrow!


It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?


The first thing that readers of my first book, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, immediately notice about the cover of the sequel is that Jessica is portrayed by a different girl.  I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that, while the story picks up only a few months after the first book ends, in real life, several years have passed.  Models move on – or perhaps mature too much to believably pass as teenagers. 

Regardless, I have to say that I love the new cover, which is again created by the very talented Cliff Nielsen. 
The color scheme is dark – and, while funny, this book is a little darker than the original. 

Lucius is clearly protective of Jessica, but Jess is powerful in her own right.  She could easily be guarding him – as she does in the novel. 

Finally, I like the fact that, if you look closely enough, you can see that Jess is holding a stake in her left hand.  My editor and I debated whether to include that detail and ultimately agreed, “Yeah, let’s leave it.”  It’s a small symbol, but important to Jessica’s acceptance of her new destiny. 

To me, the cover has a romantic, mysterious vibe... I hope it makes readers want to peek inside!


Thanks Beth!

If any author would like to participate in On The Outside, please feel free to email me and I can send you all the details.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Follow Friday (3)

As always, its time for another Follow Friday. This wonderful meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. Each friday two blogs are featured in an effort to expand one's blog. Go and check out both of these sites to learn more!

Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

I have to resort to what my goodreads says. There is NO way I am sifting through all of them tonight! My goodreads says I have 174...but I'm sure there is more.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Pages: 487
My Edition: Hardcover

Cover Rating: A-
Book Rating: A+

Plot - 20/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 19/20
Originality - 20/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 98/100


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. 

(Prepare for fangirling)
AMAZING! I read this book within 24 hours and it was so amazing, I read it every chance I could get between sleeping, school, and work. 489 pages down within 24 hours. I haven't done that in a really long time.

Honestly, I can't pinpoint anything I disliked about this debut novel. It was brilliant. Every page had utter brilliance on it. I couldn't wait to turn the page to see what was happening yet because I had no idea. 

The characters were fantastic. I loved the main character, Beatice or Tris. And, *swoon* Four was incredible. I'm so glad I found out Four was only a nickname, I like it better then his real name anyhow. The leaders, the initiates. Everybody was unique and different and just so incredibly well-done. 

Tris was such a great character to be in the mind of for the 489 pages of this novel. I loved Tris to pieces. She is everything I wish I could be. 

The writing was fantastic. Just flawless. Veronica Roth is a natural. She's just out of college, it's her debut novel. She has a real gift and I know we'll be seeing a lot from her soon, hopefully!

The whole idea of the novel is something I really wished I had come up with myself. It is so different and so well-done and fantastic. 

DIVERGENT has got to be one of the best dystopian novels out there these days.

On The Outside: Eileen Cook (It Returns!)

On The Outside is an exclusive feature where authors guest blog about how their novels got their cover and/or title.

I'm starting this up, every Monday from now on as long as I can get authors to participate! I love doing OTO and reading the stories and I hope everyone will be glad to see it back!

Thank you very very much to my first author to participate in the new year, Eileen Cook!

Eileen Cook's new novel, Unraveling Isobel, is released tomorrow, January 3rd.

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother. 
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. 
Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
 Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your blog! When I finished this book I was certain I knew what should be on the cover.  I pictured a creepy gothic house perched on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean.  I’d been imagining the house in the book for so long I could imagine it perfectly.  I’d even drawn floor plans when writing the book.  Of course the problem with having this type of clear vision, it’s really hard to find something in the real world that matches.

I’m incredibly lucky to work with the team at Simon Pulse. They always invite me to participate in the cover design process. They talk to me not only about what I imagine the cover looking at, but also the feeling I want the cover to impart. My cover designer, Cara Petrus, wanted to make sure that the cover had some of the creepy gothic feel, but also wasn’t too dark, as the book has humor too.  Cara picked up on Isobel’s interest in art and also her feeling of being trapped. The concept of her hands being held by her own artwork was perfect. Part of what Isobel struggles with in the book is that she isn’t sure if she is seeing ghosts, if she’s going crazy, or if someone is trying to get rid of her by having everyone believe she’s crazy. For me the cover hints at all of this.

I have to admit that I am vile at coming up with good titles.  I called this book “the gothic” the entire time I wrote it because I knew it would take me awhile to land on the right thing. I’ve worked as a counselor and am interested in mental health issues. I think one of the most difficult things about having mental illnesses is that you can’t trust your own perception of reality. How do you cope when you aren’t sure what you see and hear is real?  As things become more confusing for the main character Isobel, her world, and ability to be confident of what she sees unravels. While discussing this with my divine editor, Anica Rissi, we realized that was the title right there- Unraveling Isobel.

Thanks again for having me.  Happy Reading!
Thank you very much Eileen! I can't wait to read Unraveling Isobel! :)

If any author would like to participate in On The Outside, please feel free to email me and I can send you all the details.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (46)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth
Feb. 7th, 2012

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she’ll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. 
But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this—especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality. 
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam’s surprise, she and Coley become best friends—while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is. 
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.