Monday, August 31, 2009

On The Outside: Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown is the debut author of the soon-to-be-released-tomorrow book, Hate List. You can find out more about Hate List here, and you can visit Jennifer here.

~~~

Thank you so much for inviting me to share my title/cover story with you, Kelsey!

I'll be the first to admit that I've always been epically horrible at writing titles. To make it worse, I've grown accustomed to writing for the newspaper, where my editor routinely changes my title for me anyway, which is another way of saying I'm now horrible and lazy with title-writing. I tend to just "stick on" a working title while I'm writing a project, and then by the end of the writing, I've gotten so used to the working title, I don't want to do anything to change it so I just go with it.

That said, my "working title" while I was writing "Hate List" was "To Kill a Year," which is so far off the Stink-o Title Scale, you really can't even see it from the ground. It sounds like some combination of a Harper Lee novel with a 007 movie, don't you think? So even I could see that, as soon as the book was finished, that title had to go. I decided to re-title it "Hero."

Now, in all honesty, I loved "Hero" and was really married to it. Thought it really nutshelled the book, and had this metaphorical quality to it. But my agent quite accurately pointed out that the title made sense if you'd already read the story, but didn't really do much to tell you what kind of book you were picking up off the shelf. Good point.

I brainstormed a little. But remember me? Rotten title-r? Yeah, I didn't get far. I came up with something totally different, and not at all inspired: "Wallpaper Horses." Nobody -- including me -- was in love with that one.

Fortunately, my editor at Little, Brown did some brainstorming as well and came up with a few much better titles. For a time, I considered sticking with a "Hero" twist -- maybe "Not a Hero" or "Nobody's Hero" -- but after chatting some, we decided that "Hate List" really fit the best. After all, it is a "Hate List" that is central to the story. So I wish I could take credit for the title of my book, but in reality... yeah, it was an editor saving my title-challenged butt once again.

While writing "Hate List," I definitely had a clear image of what I thought the cover art would look like. In my head, it was a spiral-bound notebook, filled with names, scratch-outs, doodles. Maybe tear-stained. Maybe covered with eraser-shavings, a pencil having erased some of the previously-written names.

But I wanted to be open to anything and everything Little, Brown had in mind, so I just waited to see what they came up with before I expressed any of my own ideas.

I was actually on vacation (Disney World) the day my cover art came through. I woke up to a text from my agent and spent half the morning scrambling to find Internet access so I could view the cover of my book. What I found was so different from what I'd been imagining... and so much better!... it just took my breath away.

Probably what works best for me about the cover is that it sets the tone so well for the story that's inside. As someone who writes in two genres, I was a little afraid that fans of my humor work would pick up "Hate List" expecting something funny. I think the cover art makes it clear that "Hate List" is a serious story.

I asked for no changes on the cover art. I love the design, I love the colors, I love how original and striking it is. I love everything about it.

Thanks again! This was fun!

~~~

Thanks Jennifer!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

In My Mailbox (19)

Inspired by Alea, memefied by Kristi.

This week I only got three books.

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
  • I got this one back from Ashley who borrowed it.
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
  • I got this one for review. It was my first David Levithan book. I've already read it, it was a bit disappointing from all the high praise it's been getting I think.
  • I got this one for review, it was a bit of surprise, actually because I didn't know if I was getting it for review or not. I'm going to read it tonight (I wrote this at 11:53 on Saturday) and am really excited for it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Create a Cover!

Found this from The Story Siren:

CREATE YOUR DEBUT YA COVER

1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” or clickhttp://www.fakenamegenerator.com/

The name that appears is your author name.

2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” or clickhttp://www.websitestyle.com/parser/randomword.shtml

The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.

3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or clickhttp://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/index.php

Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.

5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweepstakes

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (37)

Sleepless by Cyn Balog
July 13, 2010

Eron De Marchelle isn’t supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn’t encouraged to–after all, getting too involved in one human’s life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.


But he can’t deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can’t seem to reach her . . .


Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Title: The Everafter
Author: Amy Huntley
Publisher: Balzer&Bray
Reading Level: YA, 12+
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Pages: 256
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: C+
Book Rating: B+

Plot - 19/20
Characters - 15/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 89/100

Summary:
Madison Stanton doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this — she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience — and sometimes even change — moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister’s wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life — and death.
This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments — and the strength of true love even beyond death.

Review:
The Everafter is a fascinating and mesmorizing novel from a welcome debut author. There are books on the afterlife, but none like this one. It is a one-of-a-kind novel that creates a whole new kind of afterlife like none you've ever seen before. I picked up this novel and I definitely wasn't expecting what I got. But I was certainly pleased by what it happened to be.

The plot is so imaginative and believable, I actually started thinking that maybe this is really what it's like after you die. Like maybe Huntley had a near death experience and put it to writing it was that believable. The writing was so desriptive and the details she brings to the table is wonderful. Her writing from different maturities and times was impressive. Very impressive to go from the age of seventeen to the age of eight or so and make it believable.

The only downfall of the novel were the characters. Though Maddy was a good enough character, I felt she wasn't fully developed, as were some of the characters. Maddy was a bit shallow in the beginning of the novel, but she did grow to be a much better character as the book went on, as did the other characters.

The Everafter is an impressive, imaginative, and unique take on the afterlife and extremely believable. With a fantastic ending, also.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On The Outside: Kate Alender

Katie Alender is the very sweet author of Bad Girls Don't Die. You can visit her at her website here.

~~~

This book has been through so many titles! Probably because I worked on it for such a long time before even thinking about publication. At that point, I just needed a word that I could use when talking about what I was writing. (Because of course I couldn't say "my book"--in my mind, that was only something that REAL writers could say. I was worried that people would think I was a big old poser if I referred to it that way.)  
So I called it "Lost", and I called it "Gone", for a while, and I called it "Preoccupied," which I knew immediately was wrong, so I just typed "PRE" when I saved the document.  Then, after a while, I settled on "The Homecoming," which fits the story in a number of ways.    When I contacted an old colleague in publishing to ask if he'd look at the book, his first bit of advice was to change the name, because Cynthia Voigt's "Homecoming" is a classic in the YA category.    
I had to think fast, and I settled on "The Girl Least Likely," which was actually from a line that was cut from the book. Alexis, standing in the bedroom of a girl she never thought she could relate to, reflects that in contrast to the girl MOST likely to succeed and win awards and be voted most popular and best dressed, etc., she, Alexis, is the girl LEAST likely.  
That title made it all the way through the sale of the book.  Even though I hadn't been wild about it when I first pulled it out of thin air, by the time we had to think of a new title, I found myself attached to the old one.  But the folks at Hyperion thought there might be something out there that not only gave the attitude (like TGLL did), but also hinted at the ghost story.  My agent, editor, and I made list after list after list. 
I sat around thinking of scary words and arranging and rearranging them to come up with phrases.  I can't even remember the early favorites, but nothing clicked.  Finally, on yet another list, I was weary enough to make a joke. I wrote "Bad Girls Don't Die (sung to the tune of...)"--referring to the oldies song "Big Girls Don't Cry." I sent off the list.  
Soon after, my editor called and said, "There's one title EVERYBODY loves!"   And she told me which one.  And I seriously almost fell out of my chair! I was like, "Um... okay... are you sure?"   But of course she was sure.  
So I hung up and called my agent and was like, "Holy cow, what did I do?" and he was like, "Well, hmm." But we decided that we'd all wear the decision around for a while and see if it grew on us.  It took a little time, but it did grow on us. And now I can't imagine a different title.   
Probably a big part of what made it easier to envision was my beautiful cover, designed by Beth Clark of Hyperion.  The morning my editor sent it over, I sat down and clicked the file, not sure what to expect.  But when I saw the file, I was just blown away. They had tapped into the gothic side of the story, the spookiness and menace and the sense that things aren't right in this old house.  And of course, the icily elegant typeface makes the title, which could have been played as "in your face" and punky, just a part of the mystery and menace.  So that's the story of Bad Girls Don't Die.  
And I guess what I'd like to leave you with is, if you're writing a book--devoting all of that time and energy--never be embarrassed to say that's what you're doing. I mean, you don't have to run through the streets yelling, "I'm writing a book! I'm a writer!" But don't be afraid to take credit for your effort and your work in progress.  You're a writer, and it's a book!  
Thanks for having me as your guest, Kelsey!
~~~
Thanks Katie!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In My Mailbox (18)

Created by Alea, memefied by Kristi.

This week, well last week too, I didn't post what I got last week, was not so much, but good books, nonetheless!

I got another package from Egmont containing:

Of All The Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
Candor by Pam Bachorz (Already read!)

Thanks Egmont!

I'm too lazy to put in the pictures and the summaries so I'll just link 'em instead.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: October 20, 2009
Pages: 304
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B-
Book Rating: B

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 18/20
Writing - 19/20
Originality - 15/20
Entertainment - 8/10
Recommendation - 9/10
Total: 86/100

Summary:
Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.

Review:
Hold Still is a powerful novel about loss and love and hope for a new start after a friends suicide. Hold Still was an incredible novel with intense writing and realistic characters the make that book come alive. This novel wasn't about the plot, it was about a girl, Caitlin, trying to regain herself after her best friend, the person who knew her the best, kills herself. It's a very character driven novel with a nice side plot to it where Caitlin befriends someone and has a first love.

This novel wasn't greatly original, we've seen numerous books about friends suicide, but this novel had the amazingly developed characters and the strong emotions and Caitlin was just an impeccable character dealing with her friends suicide.

One thing that is very original about this novel is that there is actually illustrations in it coming from Ingrid's journal. I know from the author that the illustration, and I think a bit of the cover too, were done by a friend of the author and it was a debut for each of them in their own fields.

This novel is a highly recommended novel if you want a character driven novel with strong, realistic emotions, but with also an uplifting message.

*I thought I'd do a little early buzz for this one.*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner Cover!

I really love it. The colors and everything. It's a really fun cover.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Title: Jumping Off Swings
Author: Jo Knowles
Publisher: Candlewick
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: August 11, 2009
Pages: 240
My Edition: ARC

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: B+
Book Rating: C

Plot - 15/20
Characters - 16/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 15/20
Entertainment - 5/10
Recommendation - 6/10
Total: 74/100


Summary:
One pregnancy. Four friends. It all adds up to a profound time of change in this poignant, sensitively written YA novel.

Ellie remembers how the boys kissed her. Touched her. How they
begged for more. And when she gave it to them, she felt loved. For a
while anyway. So when Josh, an eager virgin with a troubled home life, leads her from a party to the backseat of his van, Ellie follows. But their "one-time thing" is far from perfect: Ellie gets pregnant. Josh reacts with shame and heartbreak, while their confidantes, Caleb and Corinne, deal with their own complex swirl of emotions. No matter what Ellie chooses, all four teenagers will be forced to grow up a little faster as a result. Told alternately from each character’s point of view, this deeply insightful novel explores the aftershocks of the biggest decision of one fragile girl’s life — and the realities of leaving innocence behind.

Review:
I read Knowles' first novel, Lessons From a Dead Girl, over a year ago. I liked it, though it was pretty graphic for what it was. My first impression of Knowles' was good writer and a good story-teller who wasn't afraid to go after those disturbing topics. My second impression wasn't as good as the first. Jumping Off Swings was a disappointment compared to her debut, sadly. Not saying it wasn't good, because it was, it was just not as suspenseful, not as spooky as I thought it should have been for a novel on this subject.

The novel started in a good spot. It made we anxious for where the rest of the novel would take me. But as I kept on reading I became more and more disappointed. It was just . . . flat. There was no excitement. The characters were bland. There was no suspense. Knowles' barely highlighted the pregnancy. It was there, but . . . it wasn't there. I think the novel was too short to really do anything for it.

Knowles is a good writer, yes. But she's not a great writer. I was impressed with her debut, but her sophmore novel just fell flat for me. This novel could have definitely been better if it were longer. I felt as if Knowles wrote the wrong things in the novel and she missed critical points. It was very disappointing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Books of the Summer

Some people were asking, and I told you I'd give you a post. So here are the books I accumulated over the summer.

The books were put in more nicely, but I had taken them out to show a friend before the picture was taken.
I had lent out five books to a friend so I added them in. Also the book with the 'X' in it shouldn't be there. Anyway, the pile on the far right is all the ARC's I recieved. The next pile are most of the hardcovers, the pile after that, all of the paperbacks, then the pile on the far left is a pile of the bigger books, the series and the shorter hardcovers, along with the books I added.

I had rearranged the bookshelf last week so the books weren't really arranged like that, but I knew I was getting a lot of books and there wouldn't be enough room, so I put them on their side instead.
This is my bookshelf after I added all my new books in. I'm missing a few books, I lent out Twilight and New Moon to someone, and then my friend is borrowing The Snowball Effect, The Everafter, Shiver, Going Too Far, The Host, and Hate List. My other friend is borrowing Bass Ackwards and Belly Up (I think.) and my mom is reading Beautiful Creatures.

Anyway I have it all organized. The books on the white shelf are all my paperbacks. Then on the bookshelf before that the first shelf is all my hardcovers, then my ARC's, then my series and books by authors who I have a lot of their books (Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot) are the last two shelves.
The first shelf are all my review books (I've been reading a lot of them lately.) The middle shelf are all my paperback books in my personal TBR pile. The bottom shelf are my hardcover books in my personal TBR pile (With a few of the paperbacks I couldn't fit on the middle shelf.)
I have a lot more to read now after this summer. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy Cover!

I know most of you have probably all seen it before, but it has just become final, the cover for The Cinderella Society! Congrats Kay! It's gorgeous.

Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu Cover!

I finally have another cover to share with you all! It's Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu! What do you think? I think it's very mysterious and definitely something I would pick up at a bookstore if I saw it!
Check back soon, we should be having another cover up. I'm just waiting to see if I could get a higher resolution jpeg of it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Memoirs

So, I've read a few memoirs, some being, Marley and Me and Three Little Words and I really liked them, actually if you remember back to about Christmas last year when I review Marley and Me I gave it an A+, my only A+ that I have every given on this blog if I remember correctly.

Anyhow, I've been thinking that I would love to read some more memoirs. Not like a celebrity memoir or anything. But something with strong emotions and deals with some issues. I think because reading about some stuff as a memoir it just changes the level of realness for me. That sounded kind of silly. What I mean is that, their are fiction books out there that deal with the same issues in memoirs. But I think because we know they are fiction, that they aren't as bad, but when you read a memoir, it just changes what you think of the subject because we know it is real.

So, anyways, do any of you read memoirs? Can any of you recommend some really good memoirs. I've been interested in reading Columbine by Dave Cullen but I don't know where to get it since I'm saving for something. I can't very well buy it. But I read about it in a magazine and it looks very good. But has anyone read it? Can you recommend that as well as some others?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (36)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
April 6, 2010

Two superstar authors join forces on a collaborative novel of awesome proportions.

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens-both named Will Grayson-are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan's collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

Monday, August 10, 2009

San Francisco Pictures (1)

Here's a few pictures from my trip to San Francisco.

This first bunch of pictures are for Sarah Oc
kler. When I read Twenty Boy Summer at the beginning of the summer and realized that the bookstore mentioned in the book, City Lights Books, was real. I had to go see it. Sarah had said she hadn't been in there for a long time so I took some pictures (very stealthily, I might add.):


It was a pretty neat store. Though it didn't have a very big YA section, and, sadly, they didn't stalk Twenty Boy Summer there. What a shame. (Sorry some of the pictures were blurry.)

Stephanie Kuehnert Guest Blog

What is your inspiration for your characters?
I write the kind of characters I wanted to read about as a teen. Emily from I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone was the kind of girl I always wished I could be... tough, musically talented. I adored female punk musicians when I was a teenager, but there weren't any fictional stories about them. So I wrote this one. Emily deals with some really tough situations and difficult emotions but she also gets to live out the rock n roll fantasy. She's the kind of character I wanted to escape into as a teen and even now. So her inspiration came from that fantasy, but also my love for musicians like Courtney Love, Brody Dalle, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, and the ladies in Civet and Sleater-Kinney.

As for Ballads of Suburbia, I guess my inspiration was reality. It's not autobiographical, it's not my life, but Kara and I are very similar emotionally. As a teenager, I escaped my pain with self-injury and substances like she does. I knew a lot of girls like Kara, Cass, and Maya. And I knew a lot of boys like Adrian. I'm sure there are still a lot of girls and boys out there who feel like they do, so I wrote this book for them. My inspiration was to break the silence. I wanted Ballads of Suburbia to be like an unforgettable song. I wanted to create characters that you would feel like you knew and have to talk to your friends about.

In a nutshell, punk rock inspired my first book and speaking out inspired my second. Speaking out is something I learned to do from punk, so it all kinda comes back to that.

There aren't particular people who inspire my characters, I draw more on emotion. Emily from IWBYJR is the emotion I feel when listening to a really good song. Kara from Ballads was synthesized from emotions I felt in high school. The friendships between Emily and Regan, Louisa and Molly, and Kara, Maya, and Cass draw on my relationship with my best friend, again emotionally, not actual situations.

Ballads of Suburbia

Title: Ballads of Suburbia
Author: Stephanie Kuehnert
Publisher: MTV Books
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Pages: 368
My Edition: Paperback

Amazon Page

Cover Rating: A-
Book Rating: A

Plot - 17/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 17/10
Entertainment - 9/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 92/100

Summary:
Ballads are the kind of songs that Kara McNaughton likes best. Not the cliched ones where a diva hits her highest note or a rock band tones it down a couple of notches for the ladies, but the true ballads: the punk rocker or the country crooner telling the story of their life in three minutes, the chorus reminding their listeners of the numerous ways to screw things up. In high school, Kara helped maintain the "Stories of Suburbia" notebook, which contained newspaper articles about bizarre and often tragic events from suburbs all over and personal vignettes that Kara dubbed "ballads" written by her friends in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. Those "ballads" were heartbreakingly honest tales of the moments when life changes and a kid is forced to grow up too soon. But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she was leaving town after a series of disastrous events at the end of her junior year. Four years later, Kara returns to face the music, and tells the tale of her first three years of high school with her friends' "ballads" interspersed throughout.

Review:
Ballads of Suburbia is an engaging book that you want to put down a few times while reading it, but can't. At least, that's what happened to me. I read Ballads in one sitting. And it was hard. I tried to put it down for a second, but I couldn't! It was begging for me to pick it up again. I had to know what would happen. I had to know, I just had to.

I cried. I laughed. Kara was such a believable character. All of the characters were so amazingly believable. The struggle they all went through was terribly realistic. I think it made it even more hard to read seeing Kara first when she was so young and then seeing her go through her life like that. It was devastating seeing Kara like that, and Liam too.

I don't think I need to say this, but, of course, Stephanie Kuehnert's writing was impeccable. Just brilliant. So realistic, so engaging. I just have to give her kudos for writing such a mortifying novel so excellent. She's really just a exceptional writer.

*Sorry for being so late Yan! Forgive me?*

Sunday, August 9, 2009

IT'S FINALLY HERE!

The Lovely Bones Trailer!!!!! I've been waiting ever since I read the book for this over a year ago!




I CANNOT wait!!!! I loved this book so much when I first read it. It was actually the 10th or so book I reviewed on my blog. You can see the review here (But don't because it's so horrible!). It was written March of last year. Long ago. But still, if you have not read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I definitely consider doing so now! And if you're still unsure (and haven't seen the second video yet) the director is Peter Jackson, who did the Lord of the Rings, hello?

Okay.... enough rambling. Someone sharing my excitement?!?!

Question About My Reviews

I'm curious. I've been thinking about my reviews and how I format them. Do you like them?

I realized that I usually dread doing everything like I had been doing them instead of getting the review down and that being it.

So doing you like where I list the specifics of the book? Do you like my rating? I was thinking of adding a cover rating to it because I like a lot of covers and I want to share my opinion on them.

Should I redo me review format? My rating format? Both? Neither? Changing one or both of them a little?

Also, while we're talking about it, do you even like how I do my reviews? I try to use my rating system and go step by step (Not always in order) but talk about what I like and don't like to give you an idea of why I got it whatever I gave each specific. Meaning why I gave the rating for plot, characters, originality, writing, etc.

What do you think?

In My Mailbox (17)

Created by Alea, memefied by Kristi.

I could show you all the books I've gotten this summer since I haven't done IMM since June I think. But I can't yet. I have a huge box of books being shipped to me and they will arrive, not tomorrow, but the Monday after. So, instead, I'll just wait for the box to come and then do a photoshoot of my books.

But I did get a few books this week.

Dancing With Ana by Nicole Barker
I was contacted to review this one and it looks pretty good. It's a short one so hopefully I can get to it soon.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
My lovely (MOST AWESOME) blogger friend, Sarah, sent this one to me and she got it signed by Kimberly! For me! Kimberly probably wrote the coolest autograph in the book when she signed it. Thanks Sarah and Kimberly!

Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel
I was asked to review this one too and I couldn't say no! I loved Deborah's first book, Mackenzie, Lost and Found so I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It is also a pretty short book so I'm hoping to get to it soon.

Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
I was suprised and so happy when I recieved this one because I had no idea when it was coming! I can't wait to read it! I love the cover on this one.

That's all I got this week. Some pretty great books! I know I'll probably be getting some other books next week and then maybe you can expect two IMM's next week when my package comes. It's going to be hard putting in a picture all the books I got this summer. You'll see....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Tricks
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
Pages: 627
My Edition:
ARC
Amazon Page

Rating: A-
Plot - 18/20
Characters - 20/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Total: 90/100

Summary:
Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two boys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is that they can have all of these things when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons. Five moving stories remain seperate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up.

Review:
Before I start, I just want to say that, in the ratings, I'm not sure if the Entertainment and Recommendation should apply. Tricks was a story of prostitution. (Something I didn't really realize until I started it.) It was entertaining, the novel. But it was not a happy entertainment. These stories are so hard to read and so hard to really enjoy. You can't enjoy it. But you can't stop reading either. The recommendation is hard too. How can I recommend something that is so terrible, so horrible (In the sense of the of the story.) but how can I not recommend something that is so amazingly crafted and incredibly written? How can I? Either way, I'm not going to fuss about the rating. This book was so horribly amazing and that is all you need to know for a rating.

Ellen Hopkins has such an amazing talent for writing verse novels and I can't ignore the fact that all of her novels tackle the most roughest, most terrible teen difficulties out there? The writing was incredibly done. The story was terrible to read, but it was also fantastic. What I'm trying to say is, the story, the lives of the five people in this novel and what happen to them is the most terrifying thing I have ever read. But Ellen Hopkins, she wrote it so well that it is just an amazing novel.

How Hopkins combines all of these stories together in the tiniest of ways. How these characters can do these things. How they each of the characters were so different and how each of their lives were so far from each other, but yet, they ended out the same way. How someone can do that just blows my mind. But she did it. And how she can write about these issues without having a mental breakdown herself, well, give her a million cookies.

I'm on the fence. As much she's a great writer, I don't know if I can handle reading another one of her stories, but I know, if I pick one of them up, I definitely won't be able to put it done.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (35)

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Summer/Fall 2010

(no cover yet)

When Brie’s sister Faith falls tragically from a cliff, sixteen-year-old Brie is left devastated and convinced it isn’t an accident. In her grief, she becomes friends with another girl at her school, Tessa, whose sister has also passed away. Tessa and Brie join forces to seek out the truth of what happened the night of Faith’s death and discover, among other things, a religious cult in which Faith was a rebellious member. Brie falls out of the popular crowd into a band of misfit teens who help her learn the truth about Faith, the sister she hated and loved.

LOSING FAITH won RWA’S 2008 Launching A Star Contest for the YA category and will be released Summer/Fall 2010 from Simon Pulse.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Thought I'd Share This:

Someone pointed this article out to me and I'd like to know your opinions on it. Read the article here.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Reading Level: YA, 13+
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Pages: 400
My Edition:
ARC
Amazon Page

Rating: A
Plot - 17/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 19/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Total: 94/100

Summary:
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Review:
From the first words in this novel, I was hooked. I instantly new that this would be my kind of book. And it was. To put it in a few short words: It blew me away. It was just brilliant.

I loved Grace. She just seemed like such a dynamic character. She seemed like someone anyone could be friends with. She had two sides to her. The side when she was with her friends, the simple, calm, nice, and smart girl. Then there was this other side to her, that came out when she was with Sam. She was michievious. She made me laugh. But, Sam was definitely a character I loved. There was just something about him. Whatever it was, Maggie made some fantastic characters that I can't wait to visit again in LINGER.

The writing was brilliant. It flowed so smoothly together, the alternating chapters. Sometimes when reading books with alternating chapters I sometimes wish to read one more then the other, but not here. There was just this gorgeousness to her writing that just hooks you in.

And that doesn't include the originality of the story. Or how much it entertains me. Or how much I would recommend it. I can't say how much I loved this story.

In the end, Maggie Stiefvater wrote a enganging and true to life love story that, with every little kiss Sam gave Grace, you wanted more. You needed it. It was just to gorgeous of a book not to.

And I must add this in here. It is not too often when a book is located in Minnesota. And this book was, and nonetheless, two and a half hours from where I live. I could totally relate to this novel, and I liked that.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm Home.

Yep I'm here. The morning after I arrived. It turns out that the hotel didn't have free internet so I couldn't get online. I had the most amazing time in San Francisco. I wish I could live there. The trip was good but they someone sat in my window seat and someone who couldn't move was in her seat, so I had to sit on the aisle for my first flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis but it went by very fast because I was reading Going To Far and listening to my music. Then I had a 2.5 hour layover. I had to stay in the Unaccompanied Minor's room which took like 15 minutes to get to and to go to my other flight. Kids were coming and going and I just sat there had a few glasses of apple juice and finished Going To Far by Jennifer Echols (which I bought at a FOUR STORY Borders across from Union Square!) and I LOVED it. Then I started Tricks by Ellen Hopkins, called my parents and grandparents and went to my other flight where I got to sit in the front seat next to nobody.

But anyhow, let's talk about San Francisco! What I did:

Day One:
  • Went to the German Embassy because my grandma wanted to get her German Passport. She didn't make an appointment so they didn't allow her in.
  • Went to the Books, Inc. on Van Ness and bought Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart.
  • Went to Chevy's for lunch on Van Ness and had really good fajita nachos.
  • Rode around town until we found Columbus Ave which is right next to Chinatown, so we parked up a few blocks and walked down to Columbus to go to the City Lights Bookstore, which is that might seem familiar it is. It was the bookstore mentioned in Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Sarah: I have pictures! Sadly they had a very poor YA section there. But I did buy The Other Side of The Island by Allegra Goodman, which I heard about once and it is a dystopian novel so it looked pretty good.
  • Then my grandma and I walked around Chinatown for a bit. We walked in stores and looked at stuff and we did buy a little bamboo plant which I will mention later.
  • Then we got the car, and to get on the freeway we went through the financial district! I just loved being by all those skyscrapers! I took pictures!
  • We went to the hotel in South San Francisco and checked in and we called my BFF who lives in the San Francico Bay Area and we went down to her house for dinner which we gave her family the little bamboo plant and had a great dinner.
Day Two:
  • I got up earlier then my grandma (unheard of!) and we got ready and went down for the complimentary breakfast, which was very good.
  • We were out of the hotel by around eight. We planned to go to the SFMOMA (Museum of Modern Art a.k.a. the MoMA.) But when we got there it wasn't open until 11 am and it was only nine so we decided to walk around for a bit.
  • The MoMA was right near the heart of San Francisco, meaning the area where all the skyscrapers are. So we walked down there on Polk, Market, New Montgomery, etc. It was so amazing. You could definitely tell the locals from the tourists. There were so many designer stores which weren't even opened yet.
  • We decided to walk down to Union Square. They were having like a gallery thing going on there. But we looked around and we saw a BORDERS! We went in and asked where the YA section was and he said the third floor! I just can't get over how big it was. I ended up getting Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog ang Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.
  • When we went by Union Square again we saw the (what we learned later) second largest Macy's. They even had a Cheesecake Factory on the top. We went up the 7 (or 8?) floors to the top of Macy's and I took a lot of pictures of Union Square.
  • We saw a lot of people wearing scarfs. We weren't sure why but my grandma thought we should know. Most of the scarves we saw were like 50-100 bucks. But my grandma found one that was 10 bucks so she got one and realized why everyone wore then. They kept you much warmer in the wind there. :)
  • Then we went to the MoMA and spent a few hours there. They had two special exhibits, Georgia O'Keeffe and Richard Avedon. I really liked the Richard Avedon one. That was neat.
  • We then had lunch and walked around a bit more. We found a bookstore called Alexander's Book Co. It was a three story bookstore and on the top floor they had the YA section. There was a lady there, I think it might've been the owner, and we got talking and I told her about my blog and showed her my blurb in Blue Moon and she went to get something and when she came back she had three ARC's with her and said I could have them! I couldn't believe it! I think that was one of the most awesome moments. I got The Well by someone. I can't remember the author. But I also got Tangled by Carolyn Mackler which I already read and it was really good. I also got Tricks by Ellen Hopkins which I am in the middle of right now. But I also bought Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I think I'm getting a ARC of Fire so I thought I might get this one, plus I've heard fantastic things of it.
  • Then we went back to the hotel and I started Tangled and we had dinner and went to sleep.
Day Three:
  • We got out about an hour later then the day before and we planned to head to the Golden Gate Park for a museum they had there and then go to Fishermen's Wharf.
  • We went to the Golden Gate Bridge and even though I've done it before, we crossed it and took pictures. It was a very foggy day though.
  • Well, it took us a while, but we got to the museum and we remembered that the De Young building was there and they had the King Tut exhibit. So we did that, which was very interesting.
  • Then we saw the galleries they had there, which was a lot. Gorgeous art though.
  • Before we left we went on the elevator to go to the top of the building and OMG it was just a panoramic view. I could see everywhere! I took lots of pictures.
  • We then left and traveled through the Golden Gate Park. It was amazing! There were ponds and a waterfall and just everything. I couldn't believe it.
  • We traveled through the Golden Gate Recreation Area and the Presidio. It was gorgeous. We found lots of areas to take pictures.
  • We were riding around and we found another Books, Inc on California Ave. So we went in there, and guess what I found? A autographed copy of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. So I had to get it. :)
  • Grandma and I decided to go to the Coit Tower then. So we went on Lombard street but then we realized that on Lombard street was the "Crookedest Street in the World" but they had a huge line so we ended up going around it to get to the Coit Tower.
  • When we got to the Coit Tower I took some incredible pictures! And when I went up to the top I took even more incredible pictures, even though it was very windy and foggy, the pictures turned out pretty well I think.
  • After the Coit Tower it was around six at night I think and we didn't feel like going to the hotel just yet. So we ended up going to Ghiradelli Square, which was pretty disappointing. Though we had dinner at a dinner all the made it Ghiradelli Square was the two Ghiradelli shops. My grandma and I had a really yummy Ghiradelli hot chocolate though.
  • Then we went back to the hotel and went to bed.
Day Four:
  • We planned to hit the Ferry Building and Pier 39/Fishermen's Wharf today. When we got out of the highway we had a little trouble finding parking but we found some and we got to the Ferry Building. It was totally different then what I thought it would be. But they had a bookstore there that we looked at but I did NOT BUY ANYTHING. I was afraid I wouldn't have room in my suitcases. Haha.
  • They had a Farmers Market that day. And Across the street at the Embarcadero Center they had a little crafts things. So we looked at that for awhile and then walked all the way from the Ferry Building to pier 39/Fishermen's Wharf. It was a long walk.
  • When we got to Pier 39 we came across the Garyline Tour station and my grandma and I ended up do the 2.5 hour Trolley tour. It was fantastic! I had a terrific time and saw some great places that my grandma and I didn't go to in the other three days. I took TONS of pictures on the tour.
  • After the tour was over we walked over to Fishermen's Wharf and went to have an early dinner at the best seafood place on the Wharf: Scoma's. It was yummy! Go there!
  • Then, instead walking all the way back to the car, we took the bus, or in San Francisco, The Muni. Believe it or not, it was my first time in public transportation. At least of what I can remember. There was an accident or something because we sat in front of Pier 39 for like 20 minutes. And as much as it was strange and the smell of body odor, it was pretty convenient. Better then walking in the cold.
  • Then we went to the hotel and I packed and read Going Too Far until 11 pm and woke up at 3 am to go to the airport.
So that was my time in San Francisco. I just absolutely fell in love with the city. I could so live there if it weren't so expensive! Maybe when I become a best selling author . . . Hey! I can dream! Haha.

Anyways, I'm home and when I get all of my books here (I had to ship most of them in a big box that weighed 30 pounds!) I'll take a pictures for you all. It's a LOT of books. Plus all the books I have for review. I don't know what to read first!