Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Does the setting of the novel have any effect on your opinion of book? The reason I ask is because, a couple of weeks ago, I started reading a book. However, within the first few pages, I learned the book took place in NYC, so I immediately decided that I didn't want to read it. I've read books in NYC, but the feel that NYC gives is not my favorite. I don't really know how to explain it.

On broader terms, you could compare a rural setting vs. an urban setting. Or if you want to go even broader, you could compare the feel various countries give a novel. Granted, some of that is contingent upon the author, who is likely to be writing the story in his or her home country.

So, how does setting affect your take on a novel?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In My Mailbox March 22-27

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren. :)

Hex Hall (ARC) - Rachel Hawkins
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Rule of Won (ARC) - Stefan Petrucha

The secret of The Rule of Won is simple, yet its power has been suppressed for generations. The universe is one of infinite abundance—ask, and you shall receive.

Umm, yeah right. Meet Caleb Dunne, slacker extraordinaire. Caleb prefers to glide through life with the minimal amount of effort, so he isn’t too jazzed when his overachieving girlfriend, Vicky, convinces him to join a new school club based on a controversial book, The Rule of Won. Slackers don’t join school clubs, do they? As The Rule gains popularity, though, the club members start to gain power within the school. From dark posts on the club’s online message board to all-out threats in the hallways, it becomes apparent that the group is getting out of control. For slacker Caleb, though, the only thing worse than doing something is not doing something.

Darkly funny and exceptionally thought-provoking, The Rule of Won, inspired by the ideas behind books like the runaway hit The Secret, shines a light on the dangers of group thinking and the inner desires that can sometimes get the best of us all.

Sea Change (ARC) - Aimee Friedman

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows (ARC) - Ann Brashares

summer is a time to grow

Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.

Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a busgirl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . .

The Rehearsal (ARC) - Eleanor Catton

A teacher's affair with his underage student jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own power. Their nascent desires surprise even themselves as they find the practice room where they rehearse with their saxophone teacher is the safe place where they can test out their abilities to attract and manipulate. It seems their every act is a performance, every platform a stage.

But when the local drama school turns the story into their year-end show, the real world and the world of the theater are forced to meet. With the dates of the performances--the musicians' and the acting students'--approaching, the dramas, real and staged, begin to resemble each other, until they merge in a climax worthy of both life and art.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How I Lost My Files of 5+ Years

Okay, lately, my computer has been acting really sluggish. Yesterday, I was tired of it, so I saved all of my files onto my sister's hard drive, so I could run a system restore. My computer came with a disk to do a restore, so I did that, but I made a fatal error. I left in external hard drive (H:) connected to my computer. I noticed this while I was running the restore, but it was still on (C:), so I didn't think it would effect the hard drive, but I looked today, and it did! Needless to say, I am VERY frustrated.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Alisa Libby Visits...

As a from of The King's Rose tour for Traveling to Teens, I have a guest blog from Alisa Libby.

Experiences from a Teen Writer

Some of my experiences as a teen writer – scary! I think I was considered the “weird poet girl” of my year in high school. It's a title I'm pretty proud of now, but it's not always an easy road. I was teased (and rightly so) for using the word “verisimilitude” in a rhyming poem about vampires for English class. I was also working on an epic vampire poem entitled “Requiem” that involved a castle and wolves.

In the midst of all of this gothic poetry writing (most of it quite horrible, I assure you) I read about Countess Bathory, this creepy 16th century Countess who believed that bathing in the blood of virgins would keep her beautiful for eternity. I was completely riveted by this story—and utterly horrified. I was a wimp at heart; by the time I finished reading I wanted to physically hide from that book, as if it may open it's covers and bite me in my sleep. 

The thought did not occur to me then: this will be my first novel, The Blood Confession, and I will write it in the point of view of the blood-bathing countess, and I will write it for teenagers. But I think that the things that frighten us leave their impression—especially if it's something we experience as a teenager. I remember feeling things very deeply at that time. This is probably why I find young adult characters so fascinating to write, and why it's such a wonderful, receptive audience.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Mailbox March 15-20

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren. This week I received the three books in Annick Press's Single Voice series.

Descent into Paradise/A Place to Live - Vincent Karle & Jean-Philippe Blondel
The tightly paced, free-flowing stories in SINGLE VOICE deliver blow after powerful blow with unflinching honesty, original plots, and startling twists. Presented in flip-book format, each book contains two stories told by teenagers at crucial moments. The stories explode with the urgency, drama, and confusion of adolescence.

Friendship confronts the force of authority in these raw, powerful stories.

When the new kid from Afghanistan is put in Martin’s class, Martin ridicules his clothes and nicknames him “Taliban.” But the two realize they have more in common than they thought, and unexpectedly become friends—until a brutal drug bust at school tears them apart ... maybe forever. DESCENT INTO PARADISE confronts the hypocrisies of Western society, and questions whether we aren’t all just strangers in a foreign land.

Some people might think it’s odd when a teenage boy starts making movies of his classmates kissing. But in A PLACE TO LIVE, the aspiring filmmaker’s project turns into a compelling protest against authoritarianism that could get him kicked out of school, and expose his surprising feelings for his best friend.

Two provocative tales that reveal the consequences of standing up for yourself—and for your friends.

Nothing but Your Skin/The Pool was Empty - Cathy Ytak & Gilles Abier
The tightly paced, free-flowing stories in SINGLE VOICE deliver blow after powerful blow with unflinching honesty, original plots, and startling twists. Presented in flip-book format, each book contains two stories told by teenagers at crucial moments. The stories explode with the urgency, drama, and confusion of adolescence.

Two fearless explorations of the depths of teenage passion.

Louella hates her name. She’s obsessed with colors and when she gets upset, she yells herself hoarse. People call her “slow,” but Lou knows one thing for sure: she wants to be with her boyfriend—no matter what her parents or doctors think. Poignantly and sensitively told, NOTHING BUT YOUR SKIN chronicles the aftermath of a mentally challenged girl’s decision to have sex.

In THE POOL WAS EMPTY, 16-year-old Celia’s boyfriend, Alex, is dead after falling into an empty swimming pool—and his mother has accused Celia of his murder. As Celia tries to clear her name and move on from her devastating loss, she reveals that the shocking events of that fateful day may not be what they seem.

The intensity of first love is laid bare in these strikingly emotional stories.

Just Julie/I am not Emmanuelle - Nadia Xerri-L. & Carine Tardieu
The tightly paced, free-flowing stories in SINGLE VOICE deliver blow after powerful blow with unflinching honesty, original plots, and startling twists. Presented in flip-book format, each book contains two stories told by teenagers at crucial moments. The stories explode with the urgency, drama, and confusion of adolescence.

Two heart-wrenching tales of sibling secrets, loyalty and loss.

In JUST JULIE, Julie’s idolized older brother is accused of murder. When she refuses to attend his trial, her shattered family is bewildered. But Julie knows more about her brother than she wants to admit, and a fateful decision is in her hands: should she speak the truth, or protect her family?

In I AM NOT EMMANUELLE, thirteen-year-old Adele impulsively steals a pack of gum, launching her into a rambling monologue about her inability to live up to the “perfect” sister who died. Convinced that her parents would have preferred her to die instead, Adele can’t help acting out. A powerful pair of stories exploring the teen psyche with unflinching honesty.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

Ever since a parents' divorce, eighteen-year-old Auden has been unable to get a good night's rest. Instead, she visits the local 24-hour diner where she catches up on her studies, or rather, gets ahead. Now that her senior year is over, Auden decides to stay with a her dad, his wife, Heidi, and their newborn, Thisbe, over the summer vacation. In the quaint seaside town of Colby, Auden, discovers a world that, in the past, she was deprived of, thanks partly to her mother. Now, Auden is ready to have everything she lacked in the past, and maybe, she will finally be able to fall asleep at night again...

Along for the Ride is my first Sarah Dessen book. Truthfully, I have no idea why I waited so long to read her novels. I think, somewhere in my brain, I just grouped her with Lurlene McDaniel. After hearing great reviews of her novels, I knew I needed to finally read one of her novels. I wanted to get of my reading comfort zone. In the past, I mostly read YA novels with male protagonists, while shying away from female ones. I realize, that's incredibly strange, but that's just me. :P

Anyway, Along for the Ride did not leave me disappointed. Dessen did an amazing job depicting Colby. While I was reading this book, I had a clear picture of what the town was like. It reminded me of someplace I would love to visit. I also thought Dessen's characters were spot-on, major and minor. The characters felt like they could pop out of the book at any moment. Another thing I enjoyed was the bicycle part. I thought it was really unique and relatable situation. There's always that one thing a person has never done. I, for one, never learned how to swim. Never too late though. ;)

I only had one minor problem with the book. I just could not understand how Auden learned to drive a car. Personally, I think driving is a much scarier task than riding a bike. I guess the whole "getting up after you fall" thing does not work with driving though.

So, after reading Along for the Ride, I am a Sarah Dessen fan. Once my unread pile gets a little smaller, I plan on reading more of her novels! Any suggestions on which one I should pick up?

Related Links
Sarah Dessen's Site

I won this book in a giveaway.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just Kids - Patti Smith

In the 1960s, Patti Smith was a young woman trying to find herself in the vast New York City. Before long, Patti met Robert Mapplethorpe, a young man also trying to find himself. Together, they work to let their artistry thrive, Patti through her poetry and Robert through his drawings and photography. Their journey takes them across various 60s-70s New York City landmarks including Coney Island and the Chelsea Hotel. This is the story before the fame, when two people believed their dreams could come true...

Memoirs written by famous authors can be pretty tricky. On one hand, if you like the author, it's pretty hard not to be biased. If you have no idea who the author is, feeling an attachment to the author has to be built. This brings up the question: who is the author writing the memoir for (besides themselves)? Fans or complete strangers? If the author is writing for fans, he or she assumes the attachment is already there, so the need to write is somewhat pointless. BUT what if the memoir is written for fans, but is read by a stranger? The stranger would have a hard time liking it. This is exactly what happened to me when I was reading Just Kids.

Before reading Just Kids, I had never heard of Patti Smith or any of her songs, but I like reading about the 60s and 70s, so I thought I could end up really enjoying it. Unfortunately, Just Kids fell flat. I never built an emotional attachment to Smith, which is so important in memoirs. As a result, most of the book bored me.

There were a few good things though. Smith did an excellent job getting her love and relationship with Robert across to readers. This was pretty much Smith's purpose for writing the memoir, so kudos for that. Smith also did a wonderful job of illustrating New York City. One of my favorite locations was Max's Kansas City. I am a huge fan of the movie Almost Famous, and the restaurant is also featured in that movie, so I went giddy on the inside. Still, these good parts cannot outweigh the lack of emotional connection I felt.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about Patti Smith.

Related Links
Patti Smith's Site
The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

I received this book through a Good Reads giveaway.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In My Mailbox March 8-13

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Forget Me Not - Vicki Hinze

Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He’d failed to protect his family.

Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.

The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Upcoming Releases - March Part 1

This is a list of upcoming releases I am looking forward to in the month of March. Thanks to my bad planning, most of these books have already been released. I also split up the list because there are so many seemingly interesting books! Oh, and I will post up a review soon! It's almost been an entire month. :X As always, each book cover is linked to the book's amazon page. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Back when I was really into message boards, I got into the craze of making 100x100 icons. Recently, I've missed making them. Below, I have some examples of some of my old and new work. New work, as in the last hour or so!



Now here's the fun part: I am taking requests! Just fill out the form here! You can send in multiple requests too. Just make sure you give me credit. ;)

Youtube Connection 7

Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature where I will post a video (or more) that is somehow related to a book I've read.

This week's book is Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde. In the novel, Chloe sings "A Whiter Shade of Pale." This week's video is a cover of the song. I tried to find someone who reminds me of Chloe. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Contest Entry

Princess Bookie
is hosting a contest where you recreate a 2010 cover. I chose to redo Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols, which will be released in May. The stock photo is from sxc.hu. I hope you like it, and if you do, be sure to vote for it. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In My Mailbox March 1-6

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren. :)

The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo - Darrin Doyle
In this charming novel, Darrin Doyle paints a captivating portrait of the all-American family—if the all-American family’s youngest child ate an entire city in Michigan with a smile, that is. Doyle has a flare for writing about family dysfunction with a twist. With a unique blend of realism and fantasy, The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is the moving story of the hauntingly beautiful Audrey Mapes, who began her illustrious “career” by downing crayons by the carton only to graduate to eating an entire city one bite at a time. With vivid, acerbic wit, Doyle details the life of the world’s most gifted “eatist” through the eyes of Audrey’s sister, McKenna. Through her eyes, we see the real tragedy of the Mapes story is not the destruction of a city, but rather, the quiet disintegration of a family who just didn't quite know how to love.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Youtube Connection 6

Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature where I will post a video (or more) that is somehow related to a book I've read

This week's book is Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids. The video I chose is a video of her covering Nirvana's classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bliss Award

I received the Bliss (Happy 101) award from Josette of Books Love Me! Thank you.

The rules are that I list 10 things that make me happy and in turn, give the award to 10 bloggers.

1. Going to college in Atlanta in the fall.
2. Receiving mail, e-mail or snail.
3. Receiving comments on my blog.
4. Buying books.
5. Watching the Olympics.
6. Eating tasty food.
7. Spending time with friends.
8. Having friendly conversations with strangers.
9. Hearing a song I know in a commercial, tv show, movie, public place, etc.
10. The weekend.

1. T.V. and Book Addict
2. Just Blinded Book Reviews
3. Shooting Stars Mag
4. Presenting Lenore
5. The Electric Book Cafe
6. Katie's Book Blog
7. Just Your Typical Book Blog
8. Mixtures: Books...+
9. Tempting Persephone
10. Bites

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wishlust 4

Wishlust is where I will post a few books that are on my infinitely long wishlist. By infinitely long, I mean almost 600 books! Hopefully, you will find a book or two that seem interesting to you. =)

Girl Overboard - Justina Chen Headley
Everybody thinks Syrah is the golden girl. After all, her father is Ethan Cheng, billionaire, and she has everything any kid could possibly desire, right down to a waterfront mansion, jet plane, and custom-designed snowboards. But most of what glitters in her life is fool's gold. Her half-siblings hate her, her best friend Adrian's girlfriend is ruining their friendship, and her own so-called boyfriend is after her for her father's name. When her broken heart results in a snowboarding accident that exiles her from the mountains—the one place where she feels free and accepted for who she is, not what she has—Syrah must rehab both her busted-up knee, and her broken heart, and learn that she's worth her weight in real gold.

Spanking Shakespeare - Jake Wizner
SHAKESPEARE SHAPIRO HAS ALWAYS hated his name. His parents bestowed it on him as some kind of sick joke when he was born, and his life has gone downhill from there, one embarrassing incident after another. Entering his senior year of high school, Shakespeare has never had a girlfriend, his younger brother is cooler than he is, and his best friend's favorite topic of conversation is his bowel movements.

But Shakespeare will have the last laugh. He is chronicling every mortifying detail in his memoir, the writing project each senior at Shakespeare's high school must complete. And he is doing it brilliantly. And, just maybe, a prize-winning memoir will bring him respect, admiration, and a girlfriend . . . or at least a prom date.

All We Know of Heaven - Jacquelyn Mitchard
Bridget Flannery and Maureen O'Malley have been BFFs since forever. Then a brief moment of inattention on an icy road leaves one girl dead and the other in a coma, battered beyond recognition. Family and friends mourn one friend's loss and pray for the other's recovery. Then the doctors discover they have made a terrible mistake. The girl who lived is the one who everyone thought had died.

Based on a true case of mistaken identity, All We Know of Heaven is a universal story that no one can read unmoved: a drama of ordinary people caught up in an unimaginable tragedy and of the healing power of hope and love.