Sunday, July 31, 2011

Author Interview: Wanda Ernstberger

Introducing Wanda Ernstberger...


I'm a YA writer with a story "The Next Shakespeare" published by Etopia Press. I've also had short stories published by the Spilling Ink Review, Aphelion, and The Aroostook Review. I love to travel, cook, read, and watch anime. (I do, too--watch anime, I mean.)

1) What made you incorporate Shakespeare and World War Three into a short story?

Shakespeare often deals with blood, betrayal and death, much like World War Three. I used the two ideas to show how quickly tension can escalate even between good friends, when emotions like jealousy are involved.

2) What gave you the idea to write YA fiction?

I didn’t choose to write YA fiction, it chose me. I’ve been working on my YA fantasy Infinity Blue since I was thirteen. The story evolved throughout my high school years, and now, as a substitute teacher, I’m adding even more based on my students.

3) When you were in high school, did you take a special interest in Shakespeare or any other playwright or poets?

When I was in high school, I loved Shakespeare, especially Macbeth and King Lear. I would often sit at the back of math class and read for English. I almost failed math, but my appreciation for Shakespeare remains to this day.

4) What is your fantasy getaway that you would love to reside in for a couple weeks of vacation?

I’d love to go to Munich, Germany near the place where my father was born. The village hasn’t changed much over fifty years, with the church where he was confirmed, and the orchard where he stole apples after he was confirmed. Oma never found out, and that’s why he lived long enough to immigrate to Canada.

5) As a writer, what other ideas are you interested in writing about and possibly publishing?

I’m working on getting two manuscripts published. One is a fantasy called To Catch a Ripple about a woman who falls in love with a man bound to a family curse. The other is a YA fantasy series called Infinity Blue. Astra, the narrator in “Shakespeare” is the main character. After a tragic mistake and her father’s disappearance, Astra’s life has no direction until she meets Fate, the Goddess of Destiny in a world called Nemesis. Fate tells Astra she is the goddess Infinity Blue, and her mission is to find others in the Celestial Circle and rebalance the universe. But, after becoming entangled in a web of revenge and betrayal, will Astra lead the universe into salvation or damnation?

More about Wanda Ernstberger and “The Next Shakespeare”:

Check out Wanda's Facebook and Blog

Thank you for joining us, Wanda!

LiLi

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fragment Friday (1)

Where I read Chapter 1 of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer...enjoy!



LiLi

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Giveaway: Airhead + Being Nikki by Meg Cabot




To celebrate the event I went to recently, the This is Teen Live at my local indie bookstore, I got to meet some amazing authors. In particular, my favorite of them all was the infamous Meg Cabot! Therefore, I'm having a giveaway to celebrate her awesomeness... :D


The winner will win their own hardback copies of Airhead and Being Nikki.

To enter fill out this FORM, and I'll announce the winner on August 5th. It's only open to US residents because I'm cheap like that. Sorry!

LiLi

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville, Book 1)

Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (November 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0446616419
ISBN-13: 978-0446616416

Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station - and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it's Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?

Review:

The Midnight Hour was literally created overnight when Kitty was on the night shift at KNOB radio station and one straggler called with a question about the supernatural. Lo and behold, Kitty became the supernatural-advice guru and her "producer" asked her to continue with the episodes as "The Midnight Hour".

Characters: Since the book started off immediately with Kitty doing her thing at the radio station, I thought this added a quality to make her a lovable character. Her submissiveness was not overly exposed but just kind of put out there and accepted as a primal instinct would be. Normally, I like my heroines to be strong and superwoman-like but I reveled in how Vaugn painted Kitty because it suited her to be that type of person. Consequently, Kitty did also have the potential to move up in her pack.
As for the supporting characters, Carl and Meg stood out the most for me. Both made it their mission to protect their pack but as the climax crept closer, I got to see their flaws and true colors. Being the leaders of the local pack of werewolves, one would think it was practically mandatory to stick with the pack but that's the thing with people in power, they can do whatever the hell they want, and not give a flying hoot of what that would do to their underlings.
Another character that stood out for the opposite reasons entirely was Rick, because of his type of relationship with Kitty. He was sort of like a third party member but simultaneously was incorporated into Kitty's life through an off-hand friendship that I grew fond of. When was the last time there was just a companionable relationship between two characters in any genre these days? There always has to be some type of tension between all the characters that drives me nuts.
As for T.J. and Cormac, both were very nice figures in the book and rounded out Kitty's character well. They were polar opposites but both seemed to care about Kitty, though on different levels.

Plot: As time went on and The Midnight Hour was popularized, Kitty was faced with varying levels of complications that helped develop her character. Nothing before had made her as proud as her new radio show, something that she did for herself and was important to her. Obstacles soon arise that want to take her down--the vampires, her pack, an assassin--but none of this really stops her from getting her way. I enjoyed learning how the vampires and werewolves interact in the book, and how the underlings tend to do their business behind the leaders' backs.One thing that sort of had me troubled was the mentioning of the other supernatural beings--besides werewolves and vampires--that don't really show up physically in the book. I believe the book could have revolved around just those two main species without having dealt into the others, at least not in the first book of the series. Finally, I have to talk about how the ending scene where all of the fighting and attempts to kill Kitty come down to a final battle between the alphas and the underlings. I can't stop myself from saying that this scene really killed some of the excitement I had to read the rest of this series. I knew that whatever outcome that scene had was going to set how the rest of the Kitty Norville series would take off. That's why I was so disappointed when it just fell flat and felt somehow restrained from the awesome ending it could have been. Honestly, I wanted to scream at Kitty for not taking her revenge--for the killing-attempts and something else that happened to "finish" the fight. I don't know if that's a spoiler and frankly don't care because seriously readers must be warned of it. It affected me and the way I perceived the book so much so that I drastically changed my opinion of some of the choices Kitty made, and reflected on how the author would continue the series considering she only cleared up one of the main conflicts.
I believe this book was too short to get a real feel of what's to come, and it didn't really set a basis as to where the plot's going to take place, so I feel like saying "it's been shot to hell" for some reason...

Grade: C-

Source: Bought

LiLi

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Audiobook Giveaway: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the summer: Second Grave On The Left.

Thanks to the lovelies over at Macmillan Audio, I am able to offer one lucky winner their own audiobook of Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones since the release is coming up. Check out my review* if you really want to see how awesome this series is. (However, I do recommend that you read--or hear--the first book, First Grave on the Right* first.)

*the links lead to my other blog specifically for UF/PR reads and reviews

Just fill out this FORM in order to enter. Giveaway is open until August 2nd and to US residents only.

LiLi

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Winners: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder


Factoids: 143 entries (thanks for spreading the word everyone!), 38 entrants.

Congrats to...

Chen C.

Staysi

Erin L.

Thanks to all who entered, you guys are amazing! And I'd like to thank Simon & Schuster as well, for making this giveaway possible, and of course, Lisa for cooperating with me to make this week possible!

LiLi

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1442417439
ISBN-13: 978-1442417434

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

Review:

They both have secrets/promises, one of them more publicized than the other, but both equally painful to keep. For this book, the title really says it all. The Day Before explores the moments in the day before their life changes irrevocably. She's called Jelly because of her Jelly Bean addiction, was it really a surprise that they met as she watched him stare at jellyfish?

Only two things kind of slowed me down while reading this book--and had me a little confused--and I don't think these are spoilers: her best friend, and her little stalking expedition. Those two could have been easily been taken out of the book and made no difference in the end. However, I would have to say it did add to their whole relationship-in-a-day scheme. And overall, it was sweet and made me cry--because I'm sappy like that. I do believe that The Day Before will touch its readers on a more personal level because right from the beginning, I felt like I was right beside Amber the whole way through. Plus, it did have a somewhat more hopeful type of ending, and that really tied into both "impossible" situations the main characters were going through.

I'd like to read The Day Before again on a rainy day or by the beach, when I know I'll be able to appreciate the scenery, metaphors, and depictions the author gives an endless supply of. I do recommend this book, because its quick but heartfelt.

Grade: B

Source: Publisher


LiLi

Teen Book Scene: Songbird-Dani's Book Picks

Since you guys know my opinion about Songbird, I think it's time we find out what books main character Dani Mays is interested in...

Dani's Book Picks
Dani is a romantic at heart and, despite everything she's been through, she holds onto the idea that love is worth any pain that can come of it. Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Linger, and Wake by Lisa McMann are some of Dani's favorite paranormal romances.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is also on her shelf after reading it in middle school. It has such an amazing message about accepting the differences in people. Stargirl is just one of those characters that Dani wishes she could be like, so carefree and open.

She also really enjoyed The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Normally she's not interested in fantasy, but after watching the movies she couldn't not read them.
One book that holds a special place in Dani's heart is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. And no it's not because Reece is always throwing the line at her. It's the one book Dani can remember her mom and Jace reading her when she was little.
About the author: Angela Fristoe is a debut novelist with Little Prince Publishing and is gearing up for the release of her first YA Romance, Songbird. She was the winner, and double finalist, in the Romance category of The Strongest Start Contest 2010 hosted by The Next Big Writer. When not writing, she teaches and spends time with her family.

Seeing as how my post is the last in the tour, I'd like to say thank you to Angela and The {Teen} Book Scene!

LiLi

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Winners: Love Story and Minder + Adversary

First Minder + Adversary winner

Factoids: 27 entries, 14 entrants!

Congrats to...

Sarah L.


Now onto the Love Story winners

Factoids: 29 entrants/entries!

Congrats to...

CrystalGB 

and

Jess (Jcross719@...)

I have already contacted all three winners and am awaiting their replies, so I'd like to thank everybody for entering both giveaways and not to forget that I do have another up right now for 3 signed copies of The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

LiLi

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Hardcover: 412 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1416991689
ISBN-13: 978-1416991687

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.


Review:

Chasing Brooklyn takes place about a year and six months after Jackson's death in I Heart You, You Haunt Me. Surprisingly enough, I did not figure this out until the very end of Chasing Brooklyn, when Ava makes a personal appearance, which I very much appreciated because I love knowing how characters are doing after the fact.

Originally, I rated Chasing Brooklyn a grade lower than I Heart You, You Haunt Me the first time I read it. I don't think I'm changing that this second time around because it still feels like the story dragged on more than it should; and its similarity to Schroeder's first novel does not go unnoticed. However, there so many more elements in this story to enjoy and experience than in her first novel. Also, the two deaths that are the center of this book, give it more sustenance than you would expect. What I noticed about the two main characters--Brooklyn and Nico--from the very beginning was their individual voices when it came to grieving family/friend/boyfriend. Something I thought would have been a difficult feat to pull off--and in verse, no less--was the constant alternative perspective when switching view-points from Brooklyn to Nico and vice versa. The smoothness with which Schroeder had the ability to write was incredible, and I'd like to commend her easy way of making the reader understand all of the character's emotions. The absolute vividness of every frustrating nightmare and ghostly appearance was in itself spooky but it definitely added something to the book that made it all the more intriguing.

I can only hope that The Day Before brings some light into these otherwise dark and rejuvenating tales, and I will be reading more of Schroeder's future works as well.

Grade: C

Source: Publisher


LiLi

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post: Lisa Schroeder on Best Part of Being an Author!

The best part of being an author
by Lisa Schroeder

When I first started writing for kids and teens years ago, it was all a dream, what it would be like.
I imagined what it would be like to walk into a book store and see a book I'd written with my name on it, sitting on the shelves. What a feeling, I thought.

I imagined book signings where I'd sign books for people who happened to wander by, not realizing that it doesn't really work that way. Ha! How incredible to have people wanting my autograph, I thought.

Yeah, there were lots of things I imagined. What I didn't imagine were the e-mails and letters from fans.

Over the years, I have received many, many notes from readers. Some make me cry, when they share the loss of someone they loved, like the 12 year old girl who lost her dad in Iraq when he stepped on a bomb. My earlier books about love and loss, healing and hope, seem to help some teens. And for that I'm thankful.

Some notes make me smile, like the one I got from a 13 year old girl who said she hated to read, but they had to do this "stupid thing" in school where they had to read 4 books every semester, and her teacher handed her I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and said, "Read it." And then she went on to tell me how she got in trouble in math class because she was reading the book instead of listening to the math teacher.

And some notes, well, they make me do both - cry and smile. Like this one:

Today my daughter Stephanie, who is 14 years old, read your entire novel from cover to cover.
She could not put it down and even read it through dinner. While this may not seem like a big deal, this was in fact somewhat of a miracle to me. You see, Stephanie does not enjoy reading. She has been dealing with dyslexia from 2nd grade on. She is a studious student and has developed many workarounds to deal with school, including being impeccably organized and has become the hardest worker I have ever known.
Reading comes with difficulty and takes up a tremendous amount of energy for her. We've tried books on tape and several styles, different genre, but nothing really "lit her fire."

Today was the very first time she actually told me she was really enjoying reading and she was giving me a play by play of what was happening in the novel. She even asked for me to look you up and see what other books you had written - so we have purchased some more. She really enjoys your style of writing and for our small family all the way on the east coast - I wanted you to know of the miracle that occurred in my living room today.

***

When I get notes like that one, I feel so honored to be able to call myself an author. This business can be crazy sometimes. We worry about reviews, about sales numbers, about being skipped by the chains and on and on.

In the end, I have to remember these readers, whose lives were changed for the better because of something I've written.

I never imagined letters from readers when I dreamed of being an author years ago. But they are the very best part of this job.

Thank you Lisa for sharing that with us!

LiLi

Waiting On Wednesday (9)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on...


Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.



When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

Destined is a fresh and heartachingly romantic retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth from debut novelist, Jessie Harrell.

Two amazing debuts that will both release in November 2011 and enrapture their readers.

LiLi

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse; Original edition (January 8, 2008)
ISBN-10: 9781416955207
ISBN-13: 978-1416955207

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...

...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

Review:

What's special about Ava Bender? She's hopeful.

Isn't it everyone's grieving wish to be in some sort of contact with the one they've lost? To live on with them hanging around, always there for you, letting you remember the happy memories? What happens when the bond that connect the two doesn't break when it was supposed to? Wouldn't that be a dream come true?
Ava understands the literal meaning of death, however, she's tested on what the words "moving on" mean. To have your boyfriend waiting for you would be your dream, never having to let him go. But when you come to the conclusion that he's holding himself back because he is an incorporeal being, how much are you willing to let him hold you back? For how long?

With such a brief book and so few words, the emotions that placated me throughout the grievance and self-discovery were amazing to feel. I believe that if it were done in any other way not in verse, the same amount and variety of emotions would not have portrayed themselves to the reader as well. I also believe that at times, reading in verse is more like an experience of another person's emotions if nothing else. One thing I liked the most was the pace, because it brought about all the stages that Ava essentially needed to go through for herself and also complemented the assurance of having the people around her trying to bring her back to the world of the living.

Schroeder wrote such an approachable book that would make lost readers find a light. Lyrical yet relatable, I Heart You, You Haunt Me created a visual visage of what Ava went through and all the steps she took to make it there.

Grade: B

Source: Publisher


LiLi

Monday, July 18, 2011

Author Interview: Lisa Schroeder

First a little background on Lisa Schroeder as an author...

Lisa Schroeder is a native Oregonian which means her childhood summers were spent camping, fishing, reading books (of course!) and playing in the sun, when it finally came out. These days, Lisa spends her summers, and every other part of the year, sharing all of the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two sons. She is the author of numerous books for kids and teens, including CHASING BROOKLYN (Simon Pulse, 2010) and IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES (Aladdin, 2010).

And now on to the interview...

How does writing in verse help your stories?

I think the verse creates an atmosphere I couldn't create with regular prose. It also allows me to get to the emotional core of the story. I work really hard to make the verse accessible, and to not take away from the story. Story is always my number one priority - writing a book that will keep the reader turning the pages. The verse is just a way to tell the story in a way that will make the story more lyrical, perhaps, and more emotional.

If you could put a label on all your published novels, what would it be and why?

For my YA novels, it would be:

Try it, you might like it!

Some people open the cover and are turned off by the verse. So many people were reluctant to try it and then write to me or tweet about it and say how it was not what they expected it all, and that they really enjoyed the book a lot more than they thought they would. I don't want people to have preconceived notions about the book. It's still a story with a plot and compelling characters and I *promise* it's not hard to read at all. In fact, I have a good following with reluctant readers.

Is it conscious on your part to have a theme of loss in most of your books?

No, it just sort of worked out that way for the first three books. THE DAY BEFORE has a much different theme, I think, so hopefully readers will enjoy seeing a new area explored. In this one, I tackle fear - and that sometimes, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway, and trust that everything will work out as it should.

Would you ever consider writing a book not in verse? If so, what would it be about? If not, why not?

I've actually published a middle grade novel not in verse (IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES) and have another one coming out in September called SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. And I recently sold a YA to Simon Pulse that is in regular prose as well. It doesn't have a title yet, and publication is a long way off, so I'm not saying much about it yet, but yes - I do like to write in regular prose too! Verse isn't going to work with every story. In fact, I'd probably argue, it's not going to work with most stories. But when it does work, it helps make a story extra special.

Who is an author in the YA genre you admire and why?

Oh, that is so hard - I admire many, many authors. I especially admire the many mid-list authors who don't get a lot of recognition but write wonderful books and they keep writing and try to maintain a positive attitude in the face of it all. Authors like Saundra Mitchell (THE VESPERTINE), Sonia Gensler (THE REVENANT), and Cheryl Renee Herbsman (BREATHING). I'm starting to think writing the book is the easy part, it's surviving and keeping your sanity in this really tough business that is the hard part.

What are some of your favorite pass-times?

I love reading, of course, watching movies, walking my dog, baking yummy treats, and just hanging with the family.

Thank you for sharing, Lisa!

LiLi

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giveaway: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder


Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1442417439
ISBN-13: 978-1442417434

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

3 winners will receive their own SIGNED hardcover copy of The Day Before!
All you have to do to enter is fill out this FORM
Open to US residents only and will close on July 22th at midnight EST. Thank you to my lovely contact at Simon & Schusters!

LiLi

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kick-off of Lisa Schroeder Week!

Hey guys, you may have heard me mention this on the Read-a-thon post but to announce it formally, tomorrow will be the first day of Lisa Schroeder Week on my blog! I decided to do this "Author Week" very spontaneously but I'm glad I did because I love to dedicate anything I can to the lovely authors that make up the YA genre. The outline for the week goes as follows (July 17th-July 23rd):

Day 1: Giveaway of signed copies of The Day Before
Day 2: Author Interview
Day 3: I Heart You, You Haunt Me Review
Day 4: The Best Part of Being an Author Guest Post
Day 5: Chasing Brooklyn Review
Day 6: The Day Before Review
Day 7: Winner Announcement!

I don't know if this will become a meme on my blog or not but I do hope to do this again with other YA authors as well. I will leave the decision to you guys since I will be putting a poll on the right sidebar asking for your choice.

LiLi

Friday, July 15, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Crush Crontrol (This or That List)

Introducing the author of Lipstick Apology and her latest release, Crush Control, Jennifer Jabaley....


Born in New York and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Jennifer Jabaley is a graduate of James Madison University and Southern College of Optometry. She began writing in 2006 and tries to manage optometry, writing and motherhood. She lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia with her husband and two children.





Cookies or Brownies?
I like both, but eat way more cookies than brownies :)

Small-town or Big-city?
I live in a small town but love to visit the big city.

Heels or Flats?
Heels. High when I'm going out, medium variety when I'm just toting the kids around. I'm five three - I need some vertical help :)

Fiction or Reality?
Fiction for books/TV/movies. Reality when it's hearing stories from my friends.

Library or Book Store?
Both. I could spend hours in either :)

T-shirts or Tanks?
T-shirts

Beach or Mountains?
I live in the mountains but I really really love the beach! I would eventually love to have a second home at the beach.

Laptop or PC?
Laptop

Twitter or Facebook?
I'm very very new to Twitter. I love Facebook because it has connected me to so many old high school and college friends. But I see the value of Twitter - especially for connecting to other authors and bloggers and people in the publishing industry.

Better experience: High school or College?
Hmmmmmm. I had really fantastic friends in high school but I think I preferred college because of all the freedom. I loved living on my own, really feeling like a grown up and making all my own choices.

Thank you Jennifer for telling us your preferences! And to Teen Book Scene for establishing this blog tour. :)

LiLi

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once upon a Read-a-thon Update (1)


So far I've read and reviewed two books, and have only posted a review for the first because the second will be scheduled for next week's Lisa Schroeder Week. The two books are...


I'll check back later, guys!

LiLi

Giveaway: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

She's writing about him. He's writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines..

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

Two winners will receive a copy of Love Story by Jennifer Echols.
All you have to do to enter is comment below with your email address! Giveaway ends the 20th of July, midnight EST. Open to US residents only.

LiLi

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2) by Darynda Jones

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (August 16, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0312360819
ISBN-13: 978-0312360818

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans.

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do? Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the summer: Second Grave On The Left.

Review:

Only a week after the exciting and hilarious happenings in First Grave on the Right, Jones throws Charley Davidson into another tantalizing case with an aspiring U.S Senate candidate, a dated missing-persons file, and each person who could have known what happened dropping dead like flies. Knowing that she has to find Reyes soon before he decides it's too dangerous to keep his corporeal body alive, Charley takes on both cases and does everything in her Private-Investigator-and-Grim-Reaper-Power to solve both before it's too late to help either.

Famous for her one-liners, funny in an catch-you-off-guard kind of way, Second Grave on the Left left me laughing with a splash of tears that made the renown Charley Davidson more of an endearing and confident character all-around. More of an insight was shown of Charley's character, demonstrating how she's not really human just by her reactions whenever she's in danger or feels threatened. A calmness sort of takes over her that she subconsciously realizes has to do with the fact that, though she may currently be in a dangerous situation, the best thing to do is think analytically of what she should do to avoid the worst possible outcome--or her death, whichever.

The re-introduction to all of the old characters was something I enjoyed reading immensely. If there were ever a cast of characters I enjoyed reading more about, they're definitely the ones. Cookie was as auspicious and helpful as ever, Garret flirting and determined, Reyes the hottest of all man- and hell-kind, and as for Charley's family....I could never get enough of her Uncle Bob--Ubie to Charley--and her father made a rather significant appearance that, in the end, was quite tearful.

While the writing style was absolutely engaging and characters a thrill to read, the first look we have into the more sinister world that Reyes promised would soon come in the last book was a bit of an understatement but it was also the first development of Charley's true powers. Darynda Jones nailed it again with this audacious sequel that promises more development of the main character and more action in general. I am thoroughly ecstatic for the third book in the series to release and more PI-and-Grim-Reaper-Power.

Grade: B+/A-

Source: Publisher

LiLi

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Songbird by Angela Fristoe

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Little Prince Publishing (June 25, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0615470491
ISBN-13: 978-0615470498

There are defining moments in life when everything changes. For Dani Mays, it was the day she witnessed her father kill her brother. Now seventeen years-old, she still hasn't put it behind her.

After Jace's death, she bounced between her alcoholic mother and foster homes, until she found a permanent place. And a reason to stay: Reece Tyler. He's her best friend, yet Dani wants more from Reece.

Faced with possibly losing Reece, Dani struggles to define his place in her life and escape the memories of her brother's death and the influence it has over her choices. Even as she weaves the pieces of her heart back together, the past becomes more than a memory when a former foster brother reappears and Dani begins receiving threatening phone calls.

Review:

Dani has always had to deal with the death of her older brother, including the memory of her abusive father shooting him right in front of her. Jumping through foster homes was no picnic for her, and when she finally settled down in one that was perfect enough to be called home, she still had to deal with the constant reminders of the past haunting her. Being putting through hell at such a young age steeled Dani and prepared her in a sense not known to most children her age for harsh reality. Having the innocence of childhood robbed from her, she took solace in her best friend and the love she found in his protectiveness of her. Reece Tyler became Dani's rock in fifth grade and has been nothing more for the following seven years. When all their history finally intensifies their friendship and Dani can't hold back anymore, it's Reece who's put in the hot seat.
Soon after he makes his decision the unexpected reappearance of a forgotten foster brother stirs up what was left of Dani's inner peace. An ensuing love triangle begins to form, one of the most endearing you'll ever read.

At first, as I was reading through Dani's history I thought she was a bit naive when it came to making relationships and processing their progress. However, it became obvious that her tendency to categorize the people in her life into particular roles is her rational thinking trying to make sense of what state her life is in and dealing with it. Everything truly came down to how the connections and emotions built up when she was little and with her fractured family affected her future daily life. Both of her relationships with Reece and Colin really made Songbird an engaging book to read because through Dani's eyes it was like a chain reaction. The author made it seem like all the people Dani loved were connected in a way. That in turn made the book more approachable because of the reader's ability to relate with the main character.

Songbird was easily was one of those touching tearjerkers that has a strong main character to root for till the very end. Fristoe's writing style was uncomplicated and easy to follow along as the flashbacks were multiple and interspersed throughout the book. The plot itself made you predict numerous outcomes for the ending but  it was what caught me most off guard and was most satisfying of all.

Grade: B

Source: Teen Book Scene

LiLi

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Get Rid of Books Summer Challenge (1)

For this challenge, there's not much to it except just to get rid of books that are just essentially cluttering your house. To follow the guidelines, I wanted to keep track of all the books I giveaway. Mind you, Sarah is definitely going to be beat me because she has more books to giveaway but I'm not going to give up so easily. :P

Books I've given away so far:
  • 2 Copies of Stork by Wendy Delsol
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Forever by Judy Blume
  • Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
  • Tan Lines by K. Applegate
  • The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti
  • Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti
  • Almost Final Curtain by Tate Hathaway
  •  Dark Descendant by Jenna Black
  • Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I will be updating this list as time goes on, it might even be the same post. Stay tuned!

LiLi