Sunday, May 31, 2009

Win a Copy of Dreamland by Sarah Dessen!

Contest is closed! Thanks to all that entered!
Welcome to the first giveaway for Sarah Dessen Extravaganza! And whoot! only 15 more days until Along for the Ride comes out! I updated the post where I gave some info about what is going on this month and posted the rules. So check it out please!

Okay, now onto the giveaway!

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dream-land where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else - her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

This is one of my favorite Dessen novels. A lot of it has to do with when it first came out, there wasn't much choice in Young Adult. When I checked the book out from the library, I was not able to put it down. I was so happy (I know that sounds odd considering what the book tackles) to find a book that dealt with real issues and actually felt real. There was no fluff and the life Caitlin broken down into parts by her sister, Rogerson, and herself was written perfectly.

To enter you must leave your name and email address or your entry will not count.

If you don't want to leave your information here, drop me an email:

Extra entries:

+1 for becoming a follower

+2 for already being a follower

+1 for linking the contest to your blog, myspace, twitter, facebook, etc. Please make sure to leave the link with your entry for it to count. You will receive one entry per place you link it too.

In Dreamland, Caitlin takes up photography for a new hobby so to say. Tell me a hobby you enjoy and you will get an extra entry.

--Don't forget to check out this post to see how you can get some extra entries.

This contest is only open to those with a US or Canada mailing address. The deadline will be June 7th by midnight central time.


Sarah Dessen Extravaganza!

Every Monday for the month of June a Sarah Dessen novel will be given away. The giveaway will run until Sunday and the winner will be announced either that night or the following day. Since I ran into some very good deals there will also be random contests here because I was able to get all of her books!

Complete list:

  • That Summer
  • Someone Like You
  • Keeping the Moon
  • Dreamland - winner announced: PopinFresh
  • This Lullaby (Deadline June 14th)
  • The Truth About Forever
  • Just Listen
  • Lock and Key
  • Along for the Ride (Deadline June 15th)

Want an extra entry?

If you spread the word about Sarah Dessen Extravaganza on your blog, twitter, myspace, facebook - whatever, linking people back to this post, you will get an extra +5 entry on one giveaway of your choice! (That includes Along for the Ride if you have already entered.) To get the entry, leave a comment on this post showing me where and wa-lah! you'll get the extra entries.

Surprise entry! The following people get an extra +5 entry on one book of their choice (includes Along for the Ride) OR +1 entry on each giveaway of the week for being awesome and casting their votes in on what books should be given away.

  • prophecygirl
  • Summer
  • Polo.Pony
  • Katie
  • Jenna
  • MssJoss
  • Em
  • Iryna

If you are one of those eight people, just type in +surprise entry (tell me if it's 5 or 1) on your comment.

Now for the rules:

  • Giveaways are only open to those with a US or Canada mailing address. Sorry international readers!
  • You must leave your email address in your entry or your entry will not count. It's just makes it easier contacting wise.
  • Each winner will have 48 hours to respond with their address

All winners will receive some extra goodies that Jessica Verday, author of upcoming novel, The Hollow. Plus some bookmarks I'm attempting to make. (If they suck, I'm sorry.)

Any questions, feel free to drop me an email:


Saturday, May 30, 2009

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Check out her site to find out more!

For review this week, I received:

Darkwood by M.E. Breen

Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening. One minute the sky is light, the next minute it is black. But darkness comes in other forms, too, and for thirteen-year-old Annie, the misery she endures in her Uncle’s household makes the black of night seem almost soothing. When Annie escapes, her route takes her first to a dangerous mine where a precious stone is being stolen by an enemy of the king, and later to the king’s own halls, where a figure from Annie’s past makes a startling appearance. All the while, reported sightings of kinderstalk— mysterious, wolf-like creatures that prowl Howland’s dark forests—grow more frequent. Eloquent, suspenseful, and imbued with fairy-tale motifs found in The Brothers Grimm, this is a riveting coming-of-age story of a girl who must learn to trust her instincts if she’s to lead the people she is destined to rule. Rise of the Heroes by Andy Briggs

Toby, Pete, Lorna, and Emily are just average kids—until they stumble upon a Web site called and download powers that turn them into superheroes. At first, flying, teleporting, and shooting lasers from their eyes seems like nothing but fun. But when the supervillain Doc Tempest kidnaps Toby and Lorna’s mom, things take a darker turn. Now the heroes must band together and use their new skills—from super-strength to invisibility—to rescue their mom, fight evil, and try to save the world from destruction.

Of course, little do they know that is out there too, recruiting teens for the other side. . . . Council of Evil by Andy Briggs

A week ago, Jake Hunter was just an ordinary kid, leading his bully pack, picking on nerds at school for lunch money, and trying to avoid detention. Then he clicked on a mysterious Web site,, that let him download powers like radioactivity and laser vision. Now he’s a superpowered global fugitive wanted for theft, kidnapping, blackmail, and the pending destruction of the planet. Not bad for a fourteen-year-old. But, as Jake soon discovers, there’s no rest for the wicked—especially when your family’s in danger, your villainous mentor might be plotting against you, and most of the world’s good guys are hot on your trail.

Of course, little does he know that is out there too, recruiting teens for the other side. . . .

That's all! What did everyone else get this week?


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rock This! Thursday - Review of Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 272

This is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two.

Instead, she's stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name 'Party Penny.' Their personalities clash, big time. But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music.

So why can't Quinn keep her mind off Penny's friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang? One thing's certain: Quinn's in for a summer she'll never forget!

From reading Melissa Walker's blog, I had a feeling I was going to love her work. I had been on a reading stump for about a week or so, flipping through many books, waiting for something to grab me when I cracked this one open and read:

I live my life in headphones. That way, I can control what I let in. If kids at school are being idiotic and perky, I put on my mellow track and tune out their spirit rally. If my parents are nagging me, I play a fast song and rock out in my mind while smiling and nodding at them.

My reading stump was over because what my brain was telling me was that I was in the mood for a very fun light read and this one did the trick. Quinn's voice was so easily to slip into by her love of music and her semi fangirl ways. I loved all the people she meets while staying in Austin. Her bubbly cousin, Penny, and her cross dressing dog (yes, you read right - a cross dressing dog) along with her friends who I would normally find annoying, but they were too fun to not love. My favorite person Quinn meets (besides the boys of course) would have had to been Jade. She was very upfront about so many things, I loved her attitude.
The two love interests of her summer Sebastian (who I kept picturing the lead singer of Framing Hanley as) and Russ were also great characters. And I love love love Russ. He annoys the crap out of Quinn, but in a very cute way. I thought his little twang and sometimes corny jokes were flat out adorable. Plus I had to love his take on music, like this: (page 137)

"Music is music, Priscilla," says Russ. "If you love music, you give it all a listen. You see what there is to learn in every song you hear. You take chances on shows. That's part of it."

Though a little predictable, Melissa Walker knows how to write a very fun and upbeat novel with a few surprises that you will completely enjoy. If you are looking for a summer read then I highly suggest picking this one up! And hey - it's only 5.99 you cannot beat that!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass House by Rachel Caine (Book #1 in Morganville Vampire Series)

Released: October 2006
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Genre: YA
Pages: 247
Source: Bought

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

{Welcome to Morganville, Texas. Don't Stay Out After Dark.}

It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn't have the right connections - to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood...


When I first started the book, I wasn't for sure if I would enjoy it. Claire, being a sixteen year old genius was being picked on so to say by a group of psycho popular girls led by a psycho named Monica in the dorms at her college. When the second chapter hit, I was hooked, and wasn't able to put it down!

I absolutely love the way Rachel Caine writes her characters. It was so easy to see what was going on through Claire's eyes, and it felt like I was right there along with them. I did question why she wanted to stay with all the crap going on, but by mid book, I understood it. She was not a quitter. The roommates at the house were awesome. Each of them had their own voice, and you got a feel of them by their first introduction. Between Goth girl Eve who is the biggest sweetheart ever. To Michael who I was already drooling over with his guitar and very curious why he only slept days - I loved them!

Then there was Shane. Sweet bejeez, did I become a fangirl to Shane. I'm not for sure if it's his attitude, his trouble past, his willingness to help others out, or me completely loving whatever came out of his mouth. All of it was the perfect package for my character whore self.

Really the book is so easy going, and I loved the action/suspense that it held. Finding out who was good and who was bad with the mix of surprises - it's just WOW! I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the feel of vampires and a paranormal world. I will give you a warning though, if you start liking the first book, go pick up the second book immediately. Or you will be like me, with no second book, and dying to know what happens next!


Win a Copy of Not Like You by Deborah Davis

Contest is closed! Thanks to all who entered!

Deborah has offered to host a giveaway with her latest novel, Not Like You. Check out the summary, and if you like, just leave a comment on here to be entered. Deadline is June 10th by 9 pm (central time), and the contest will only be open to US Residents.

"Starting a new chapter."

That's how Kayla's mom refers to each of their moves - five in the past two years. Each time it's the same: Marilyn promises to stop drinking, breaks her promise, and then they're off again.

This time it's New Mexico. But something feels different. Kayla is putting down roots, starting her own dog-walking business, and spending time with Remy, a twenty-four year old musician. He's her refuge from Marilyn's daily struggle with sobriety. But Kayla is only fifteen. Does an older man really offer Kayla the refuge she needs? Or is the safety she craves actually with the person who scares her the most?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Interview with Deborah Davis

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?

I’m married, I’ve got a 16-year-old son, and we live in Berkeley, California with two cats. I’ve liked making up stories since I was a little girl growing up in New Jersey and Massachusetts. My first book, THE SECRET OF THE SEAL, which I wrote while I had a job on a computer magazine, is about an Inuit boy named Kyo who encounters a very unusual seal. It’s a really sweet story for elementary school kids. My second book, MY BROTHER HAS AIDS, is about a 13-year-old girl named Lacy who faces tragedy with a lot of courage. My third book, YOU LOOK TOO YOUNG TO BE A MOM: TEEN MOTHERS SPEAK OUT ABOUT LOVE, LEARNING, AND SUCCESS, grew out of my experiences being a doula for several teen moms. And my recent novel, NOT LIKE YOU, is about a 16-year-old girl named Kayla who’s trying to sort out her future: should she stay with her unreliable, alcoholic mom? Or pursue Remy, the 24-year-old musician she’s attracted to? You can read excerpts of my books at

What is your writing schedule like? Do you just go with the flow of things or do you set a certain time for it?

A little of both. Every day is a writing day unless I have to do other things—present at a school or coach a writer who wants help with her own writing. I try to reserve 9-1 for writing and do the rest—manuscript consultations, school visits, walking with a friend—for the afternoon.

How did the idea of Not Like You come along?

I imagined a girl finding her mother passed out in their New Mexico trailer. This girl was furious but also worried about her mom. I wondered, how did they get to this point? How will the girl resolve her terribly conflicting feelings of love and anger? Those questions propelled me to write Kayla’s story.

What changes were made from the first draft to the finishing project?

It would take me weeks to write about all the changes! I did at least 6 different drafts of NOT LIKE YOU, and hundreds of smaller revisions. One big change was that originally Marilyn was both a drug addict and alcoholic, and in the final version she’s just alcoholic. Another is that their New Mexico landlord was initially a much meaner, creepier guy. And a third big change concerns Rebel, the dog Kayla adores...oh, I can’t tell you about that. It would give too much away!

Where there any parts of the story that seemed more hard to write?

The main relationships—Kayla’s to her mother, Kayla’s to Remy—were tough, but those intense relationships are at the heart of the story, so it was worth putting in the extra effort. Also, the ending was super challenging. I must have revised it at least a dozen times. But that’s what it often takes to come up with the right ending.

Who was your favorite character(s) in the book?

I’m really fond of Kayla, who in some ways reminds me of myself when I was younger and a lot more confused than I am now. Also, I adore Shirley and Sherrie, the hilarious thrift store owners who befriend Kayla.

Have you always wanted to write Young Adult books?

After writing THE SECRET OF THE SEAL, I thought I’d write more easy chapter books and picture books. But my protagonists keep getting older, and my stories more complex, so I’m not sure I’ll do any picture books after all. Maybe when I’m old and senile.

What books should we be reading?

Whatever interests you. Just—READ! The smartest, happiest people I know read books—all kinds of books. My only advice is that you ask people you trust and respect what they’re reading—and check out some of their suggestions so that you try out some books you might not think about on your own.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Read! And write. Buy a cheap notebook and write whatever you think about, without editing, to discover what you have to say. Join a writers’ group. Show your writing to people you trust and get feedback. Then write, and read, some more.

Can you tell us what you're working on next?

I’m working on a novel about an aspiring doctor named Lina who leaves her boyfriend and friends in the middle of her senior year of high school to travel to India. She plans to do service there, only nothing goes the way she expected: Her attempts to help others only make things worse, and she finds herself attracted to a guy whose goal is to photograph—not help—people who are suffering. If you sign up for my newsletter at I’ll send you updates about Lina and a notice when the book is published.

Thanks for letting me tell you about my work!


To read my review of Not Like You click here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Win a Copy of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen!

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (June 16, 2009)

- Contest is now closed! Thanks to all who entered! -

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

For your chance to win a copy please leave a comment with your name and email address. No email address, no entry!

For extra entries:

+1 for becoming a follower or already a follower

+1 for each place you link the contest to (blog, myspace, facebook, etc). That means you can have however many entries you want by spreading the word. Please leave the link(s) of each place that you posted.

+1 if you tell me your favorite Sarah Dessen character crush. Mine is Dexter.

The contest is only open to US & Canada Residents and will end June 15th at midnight (central time).

Don't forget to check back next month for Sarah Dessen Extravaganza!


In My Mailbox + A Spotting!

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

Hope everyone is having a fun memorial day weekend. I went to my little family reunion today. It's kind of funny how most of my family lives in the same 30 mile area, but the majority of us only see each other on Memorial Day and Christmas Eve. But today was a lot of fun, I got to visit with my great aunt and a bunch of my cousins who I haven't seen in a long time.

This week I didn't get anything in the mail, but I did go book shopping to add to the pile of books that ya know, I haven't read anyways.

On Thursday I went to this small bookstore a few towns over and traded in a bunch of books to get store credit. I mainly bought more adult books there, but I picked up a copy of:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I'm sure everyone probably already knows about this book. I remember reading it my freshman year of high school, about the time the book first came out. I loved it, and I think it's awesome it's still in the circuit of books people read, and was re-printed into a platinum edition which is what I bought. I had no clue there was a movie made too, so I'm going to have to get that soon.

Can't Hardly Wait by Ray Garton

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. When it came out, I had this huge crush on Seth Green aka the Special K. For guilty pleasure purposes, I had to pick it up! Plus I think it was only a dollar.

Yesterday I decided to do more book buying. Here is what I bought at Barnes & Noble:

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

This is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she's stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name 'Party Penny.' Their personalities clash, big time. But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can't Quinn keep her mind off Penny's friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang? One thing's certain: Quinn's in for a summer she'll never forget!

I'm almost already done with this book and I am loving it! It is such a nice fun flowly short read, and well I'll tell you the rest when I post my review. Really, you should go buy it!

Then I spotted Elizabeth Scott's new novel, Love You Hate You Miss You that isn't supposed to be in stores yet, but it was! (Sorry for the yellow tint, the camera on my phone sucks.)

Also my sister picked up the first two volumes in the Vampire Diaries. I haven't read the whole series, I'm pretty sure I read the first book a long, long time ago. I did catch a sneak peek for the TV series that is coming to the CW. I think I'm going to like it. Although I am already getting annoyed by the "OMG they just copied Twilight" posts I've seen. I love Twilight, I do, but the whole comparison for anything dealing with vampires is getting really old.

Now I'm going to quit rambling and go finish reading Lovestruck Summer!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer Contests!

I have been wanting to read Twenty Boy Summer, and what do I stumble on today?

Two, yes that's right, TWO contests going on in the blogesphere!

The Beautiful Creatures Book Club is giving away an ARC plus some awesome goodies to go along with it.


The Story Siren is also giving away 5 copies of the book!

So go enter and good luck!!!


Read My Lips by Teri Brown

Read My Lips by Teri Brown

Released: June 2008
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Pages: 256
Source: Bought


Popularity is as easy as a good secret.

Serena just wants to fly under the radar at her new school. But Serena is deaf, and she can read lips really well-even across the busy cafeteria. So when the popular girls discover her talent, there's no turning back.

From skater chick to cookie-cutter prep, Serena's identity has done a 180...almost. She still wants to date Miller, the school rebel, and she's not ready to trade her hoodies for pink tees just yet. But she is rising through the ranks in the school's most exclusive clique. With each new secret she uncovers, Serena feels pressure to find out more. Reading lips has always been her greatest talent, but now Serena just feels like a gigantic snoop...


What peeked my interest in this book was the idea of having a main character that was deaf. I know Serena was supposed to come off as insecure, and that's why she went along with what the popular girls wanted her to do, but I didn't really buy it. Maybe because she had such a great sense of humor and came back with snappy saying. She knew since she was deaf she did stand out in the crowd, but I really was surprised she went along with everything. At the beginning of story she seemed more solid than that.

The relationship part of the story between her and Miller were my favorite. And kudos for the author not making Miller have some disability of his own. Sure he had the anger problem, but hey, I'm one of those girls that love a bad boy. He expected Serenea for how she was and who she was. I also liked how for the most part the popular clique with their secret sorority weren't all a bunch of snatches. Overall, the story wasn't bad. I really loved the characters, but the plot just wasn't for me.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rock This! Thursday: Interview With Roger L. Trott

Rock This! Thursday features books that are about or centered around one our favorite obsessions: Music!

This week, I got a chance to interview Roger L. Trott author of Getting In Tune. I reviewed the book a couple weeks ago here, and if you haven't picked up a copy yet you should!

1. How did the idea for Getting In Tune and the main character Daniel come about?

Getting in Tune is loosely based on a road trip I took with a band to the Seattle area when I was 20 years old. We played a club that was very much like the one described in my novel, full of crazy, wild, and wonderfully weird people. Our week playing at this club eventually spun out of control on about every level imaginable, but the coming-of-age experience of navigating through this chaos with my four best friends stuck with me, so I finally decided to write about it. The story started out as a kind of memoir but quickly transitioned to fiction so that I could better explore the transcendent power of music and friendship, which is what the novel’s really about. The character of Daniel, I will admit, shares some of my traits—both Daniel and I are big fans of the Who and of first-wave punk bands, and we’re both somewhat neurotic—but I believe Daniel really represents who many of us are at that moment in life when you’re forced to shed childhood and start grappling with the realities of being an adult—that moment when you’re forced to figure out who you are, who and what’s important to you, and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve your dreams.

2. Was this the first novel you have written?

Yes, Getting in Tune, published by New York’s Coral Press, is my first novel, but while Getting in Tune was going through the marketing and publishing process, I wrote a second novel, a mystery called A Hymn to Murder. This novel is very different in subject, tone, and style from Getting in Tune, but I enjoyed writing it and hope to find a publisher for it soon. I should mention that I have a lengthy background in writing, majoring in journalism at one point, and writing music reviews and features for a newspaper for several years.

3. How much of the novel was based off your own experiences as a musician?

Almost everything in the novel—the sex, the drugs, the fights, the cookie attack—is based on my personal experiences playing with rock bands over the years. (And, I should add, that I’m still playing music. You can go to my website at to hear a song I recorded with one of my bands.) The characters in the novel are composites of musicians I’ve known, and there’s an element of truth in virtually everything that happens in the story. But as I like to say, quoting Ken Kesey, “It’s the truth, even if it didn’t happen.”

4.Were there any parts that you found more difficult to write?

That’s a good question. Ironically, given my background in music, what I found most difficult was describing what it actually feels like to play music on stage. The experience of playing live music is unique, part physical, part emotional, part magical. As you know, having read the book, much of the story takes place with the band on stage, and it was critical to nail that feeling of being up there, the lights on you, adrenalin pumping, sweat running down your neck, shoulder aching from the weight of the guitar. But more important was figuring out how to describe what Daniel feels in his head when he locks in with the other musicians, connects with the audience, finds that magical space where he becomes the music, and momentarily transcends everything that’s messing up his life. Every musician knows that moment, but it’s hard to describe in words. I had to really let it bleed to find the right rhythms and emotions to describe those scenes. And I used Daniel’s search for the Universal Chord—the mythical perfect set of notes that will restore harmony to his life—as a metaphor for that transcendent moment that’s only found on stage in front of an audience.

5. Out of the band mates, Yogi was one of my favorites to read about. Which character(s) did you enjoy writing the most?

Yogi was fun, but other than Daniel, Mick, the lead singer with the fake British accent, was my favorite character. Every time Mick entered a scene, something seemed to happen. With his ego and unpredictability, he created problems for everyone around him, but he also brought a weird sense of joy and humor to scenes that were otherwise dark. No matter what happened, Mick was going to have fun!

6. Why did you choose the 70’s to base the book in?

The mid-70s were a very strange time in music. Rock music had become bloated with mega-million-selling supergroups and disco was taking over. I was playing music with my first band at that time, and the music business was a tough place for any band that wanted to make a living without completely selling out. As the writer Hunter S. Thompson described it, “The music business is a cruel and shallow trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” And then, in 1976, punk came along, stripped away the bloat, and changed everything, at least for a few years. Anyhow, setting Getting in Tune in 1976, when the music was about to change, seemed like the perfect conflicted year for a novel about finding salvation through music.

7. Five songs that we should be listening to right now:

Wow, that’s a tough one. I can give you a list of my all-time favorites—songs by R.E.M., Aimee Mann, the Who, and Steve Earle quickly come to mind—or a list of songs by artists who changed the music world—the Beatles, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Nirvana—but your use of the word “should” ups the ante. There’s so much great music out there right now, but how about five songs from artists who challenge our notion of what popular music sounds like?

1. “Reckoner” by Radiohead: Every time I listen to this band I get chills. At times I believe the music world is divided between those who get Radiohead and those who don’t.

2. “The River” by P J Harvey: Polly Jean Harvey is amazing, creating music that is personal, frightening and beautiful. This song is all that and more.

3. “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” by Wilco: I don’t like everything Wilco does, but when they hit it right, they feel like the only American band that really matters.

4. “My Rights Versus Yours” by the New Pornographers: I’m a fool for a great pop song, and A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers is currently writing the catchiest, smartest songs out there. And you also get Neko Case in the deal!

5. “Chemtrails” by Beck: Talk about an artist who never rests on his laurels. This is your man.

8. What is one thing you love most about music?

Probably like everyone else, I can be immediately transported by a piece of music to a different time, a different place, a different world. I can be in a terrible mood, but then I’ll hear a song that will virtually change my body chemistry, helping me to transcend my own baggage and everything else that life is throwing at me at that moment. What else can do that? Looking at it selfishly, I love the way music makes me feel about myself.

9. If you could hang out with one musician – living or dead – who would it be and why?

I’d love to meet Pete Townshend of the Who. Not only did his thoughts and music greatly influence my novel, which is named after one of his songs, but his music kept me alive during the darkest days of my youth. He has amazing insight into the confused psyche of teenage boys. I’d like to thank him for that.

10. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I’m currently working on a story about a punk band that’s trying to navigate the challenges of the emerging punk rock scene in Berkeley in 1977. The 1977-78 period was an interesting time in punk, an era when the do-it-yourself ethic was really in play before the rigid rules of punk music took some of the joy and creativity out of it. I’m still working out several of the story details, but the Sex Pistols’ last show at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in 1978 will play a major role. It should be fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Win ALL of Elizabeth Scott Novels!

Reviewer X (Steph) has Pub Stories every Tuesday, a fun feature I love to read. This week Elizabeth Scott is giving away one copy of each of her novels to ONE lucky winner! Click here and good luck!

Contest is only open to US Residents.

PS-Will be posting reviews soon, I promise.

PSS-Will be posting some contests soon too, so make sure to keep any eye out!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Now This Is A Contest

I'm sure most of you know by now that Yan at Books By Their Cover is having a flippin' HUGE contest where you can enter to win - well whatever books you like from the list she has up. If you haven't heard about this, then click here and enter! Good luck!

Review: Postards From Across The Pond by Michael Harling

Postcards From Across the Pond: Dispatches From an Accidental Expat by Michael Harling

This book began as a means of keeping in touch with the folks back one in the USA, but it soon expanded into a humorous commentary on British life by an accidental expat.

Each story - only about two or three pages long - is like reading your favorite weekly article in the paper. Or even maybe a weekly post by a blogger. It is filled with humorous and interesting stories of all the differences and ways of adjusting to life in another country. From buying shoe laces, to getting a new Social Security number, or even trying to get a simple haircut - everyone of them is a fun adventure to be taken on. Although this book might not peek interest for everyone - I think if you have ever wanted to travel to the UK, you should give it a try. You are guaranteed to at least crack a smile.

One thing I want to share with you is a simple sentence that was written, but I think are words to live by:

I tell you, being amazed by your own life is a great way to live.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren as a neat way to see what everyone received for review or bought within the week.

For review, I received a copy of:

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest--to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

-I'm really looking forward to reading this one. The Salem Witch Trials is one of the few bits of history that can keep my interest.

Annnd...that's all! Besides a book or two I picked up for next month's Sarah Dessen contests. Don't forget to click here and tell me which of her books you would like to see given away!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Released: March 2009
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal - Zombie
Pages: 310
Source: Library

Rating: ♥♥♥.5

Mary lives in a world unlike ours. She knows the rules - that the Sisterhood knows best, the Guardians will always protect and serve, and that the Unconsecrated will never relent. Still she can't stop herself from believing that that beyond the fence that separates her village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth, the stories her mother has told her about the ocean and what life was like before the Return are true.

Mary's life would be much more simpler if she didn't believe those stories. Or if she would follow the rules and not question everything she has been told. Things would also be easier if she wasn't put between two boys - one she loves and one she doesn't.

You know that saying, be careful what you wish for? Mary curiosity soon becomes a reality when the fences are breached and the Unconsecrated take over. Now Mary and the other must face what is beyond their village. Is there life? Or is there only death?

Carrie Ryan delivered an excellent thriller. I have never read a zombie book before and by the middle of the story I was completely hooked. There were a few things I questioned in the beginning. What was the appeal to Mary? At first I didn't really get what Travis and Harry saw in her because I found some of her actions selfish. By the end I became protective over her in a way. I think what draws you to her is that in the world that she lives in, she still has hope. She still has faith, and if I was living in what remained of a Zombie Apocalypse, I think I would want to have the same dream she did. This book did not turn out how I thought it would be, but that's not a bad thing either. I like being surprised. There were parts where I was holding my breath, looking a little bug eyed, and not being able to read fast enough to find out what happened next.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions that I am very much looking forward to being answered (or hopefully answered) in the next book, The Dead-Tossed Waves. Unfortunately it doesn't come out until the spring of next year. Basically you need to read this book. Even if you're not into zombie stories or thrillers (because I've never have been), you should still pick it up and indulge yourself in the wonderful writing that Carrie Ryan delivers.


Rock This! Thursday

Rock This! Thursday features books that are about or mainly centered around one of our favorite obsessions: music!

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
(Released May 5th)

High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....

I've seen a few reviews on this one, and it's now going in my TBR pile. I absolutely love that cover, and being someone who use to be pretty shy in high school, and in some ways still am - I'm looking forward to reading it!

Danielle Joseph was also featured on Stephenie Kuehnert's Women Who Rock Wednesday. Go check out the post and enter for your chance to win a copy!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Cheryl!!

Today is my awesome friend/muse/writing buddy/fellow co-blogger, Cheryl's birthday!! To celebrate I decided to throw her a kick butt party here at the blog!

Let's see who's all stopping by, shall we?

M. Shawdows aka Matt aka Kevin (hehe!)

M. Shadows has to rock out for the party, so he brought the rest of the boys from Avenged Sevenfold along.

Well lookie here, even Seether decided to join in on the festivities. (By the way, I will be kidnapping Shaun after they get done with their set.)

And of course adorable Tennessee Boy and his accent jumped at the chance to come party!

Garrett and his butt pose will also be hanging out - frozen just like that for eye candy purposes.

Just in case if some some scary supernatural stuff goes down, I invited Sam (who will not be sucking on any demon blood) and Dean.

*cough Derk & Dean cough*

And for uh....Sick && Twisted reasons....Billy Darley stopped by.

No party would be complete without a third class rockstar! Hellooooo Jackie!

Well it looks like all the guests have arrived to rock out for Cheryl's birthday! So everyone don't forget to leave a comment....wait a minute....*counts heads*....I'm forgetting someone here....*taps chins*....Ohhhh yess..

Edward Cullen!!!!!!

*looks over and Sam & Dean* Simma down boys, he's one of those good vamps that sparkle!

(I don't think they even noticed.)

Hope you have an awesome birthday Cheryl!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

*Grab your current read

*Let the book fall open to a random page

*Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

From page 207 from Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan:

Who are we if not the stories we pass down? What happens when there's no one left to tell those stories? To hear them? Who will ever know I existed?


Monday, May 11, 2009

Win A Copy of The Chosen One!

Reviewer X is having an EPIC contest on her blog where she has 50 copies of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams to give away! Click here to enter and good luck!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In My Mailbox

As always, In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

This week I received two packages, but I'm in a hurry so no pics, sorry!

On Monday I got:

Postcards from across The Pond by Michael Harling and Debbie Jenkins for review. It looks like a short read, but seems to be pretty interesting from what I glanced through.

Then on Tuesday, a nice little box came from author Jennifer Banash from a contest I had won on her blog.
In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash

Hottie by Jonathan Bernstein

I actually already have a copy of Hottie so when I do get around to reading it, I'll probably put a contest with my review. There was also a bottle of perfume...and I forget the name of it, but it smells WONDERFUL! Plus some samples of other perfumes too. Don't forget to head over to Jennifer's blog for her contest she's having for Simply Irresistible!

I also picked up a bunch of books from the library sale. They were mostly really cheesy teen romance novels that were written in the 60-80's because I have this very strange guilty pleasure with those type of books. So there might be some odd reviews in the future!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Rock This! Thursday: Review of Getting In Tune by Roger L. Trott

Getting In Tune by Roger L. Trott

Released: June 2008
Publisher: Coral Press
Genre: Adult - Contemporary - Music
Pages: 300
Source: Library

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Punk Is Coming...But It's Not Here Yet....

Set in the mid-1970s, this musical odyssey and coming-of-age story follows the adventures of a struggling rock band as they try to make it big. Band leader Daniel Travers' life is a mess and he can't find a way out. His band, the Killjoys, is going nowhere and the amphetamines he's popping are making him crazy. Then out of nowhere, an agent calls with a week-long gig at a hot club in Washington where he was told Jimi Hendrix and Heart got their starts. With an imagined Pete Townshend whispering encouragment, Daniel and the Killjoys are off to a tumultuous week filled with inner-band turmoil, a cheating club owner, bar-brawling bikers, and lots of women.


When I was ten years old I told my parents I wanted to be a rock star. Then I started signing U.S. Blues by The Grateful Dead while playing the 'guitar' on a mop duster. (It was video taped too, and it's rather embarrassing to watch.) Then the next week I decided to be Harriet the Spy. Although my rock star detective dream never panned out, this book gave me a taste of what that life would be like. (Minus the detective work.)

Twenty year old Daniel Travers's life hasn't been the same since the day his brother was killed in Vietnam. His father has left, and the relationship with his mother has gone downhill ever since. With Pete Townshed's voice in his head as he searches for the Universal Chord, he deals with it all with two things: music and pills.

When the opportunity knocks for his band the Killjoys to get a week long gig at the Mai Tai Hotel, Daniel knows this could be the chance he has been so desperately waiting for. From that point on you are thrown into the lives of not only Daniel, but the whole band. With lead singer Mick and his fake British accent who thinks he's God's gift to women. To more level headed bassist Rob who can't figure out if he really wants in or out of the rock n' roll dream Drummer Yogi who is just plain adorable with his random outburst singing. (We would make a great duet on a random musical). Then there is Sam who played more of the middle guy, the one every group needs to keep everyone from killing each other.

Each day there is something new whether it's Mick trying to score with the girls, an animal cracker attack, a bunch of drunken cowboys trying to kill them, or finding out that the Mai Tai Hotel is a place the Hell's Angels like to hang out at. It doesn't help matters that while Daniel is trying to keep the band together, and his head straight, he meets up with Kitten, a woman who promises them big time gigs, but for a price that might not be worth it.

The book is set in the fall of 1976, and written so well you will feel like you were right there with the Killjoys. I absolutely loved every bit of this book, and will probably read it again. And maybe by the end, you might even find the Universal Chord for yourself.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Check Out This Sarah Dessen Celebration!

I was reading Elizabeth Scott's blog and saw that The Sarah Dessen Diarist is having a celebration from May 6th to June 6th for her birthday and her books! Each day there will be a a different post from some authors and even bloggers, so everyone go check out the site!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Upcoming Sarah Dessen Contests: We Need Your Input!

Sarah Dessen is hands down my favorite author, and I am beyond excited that Along for the Ride is coming out next month. I've known for a while now that I wanted to feature Sarah as the Author of the Month for June, but I kept thinking what could we do a little different? Then a crazy idea came to me that I've been sloshing around in my head for a couple weeks now. And I'm calling it:

Sarah Dessen Extravaganza!

I wish I could say we'll be giving away all of her books because that would be huge-huge, but for now I'm going with 5. Plus I thought the title was kind of catchy. Two of the books in the giveaway are going to be This Lullaby (my favorite) and of course Along for the Ride. For the other three, that's where I need your input!

Which of these books do you want to see in the giveaway?
  • That Summer
  • Someone Like You
  • Keeping the Moon
  • Dreamland
  • The Truth About Forever
  • Just Listen
  • Lock and Key

I'm still going with some ideas for other things next month. That's kind of why I'm posting this now so I can be all prepared, (I kind of suck at organizing things). If any other bloggers or authors want to do a guest post about why you love her books, your favorite characters(s), or just whatever comes to mind, feel free to drop us an email!

    More details will be posted soon!



    Teaser Tuesday

    * Grab your current read.

    * Let the book fall to a random page.

    * Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

    * Share the title of the book that you're getting your teaser from... That way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!

    * No spoilers please!

    This week I'm still trying reading Breaking Dawn aka will this story ever friggin' end?

    From page 667:

    I stood by the fire to wait, holding my fingers close to the flame to warm them a little before the inevitable handshake. Not that J wasn't obviously aware that there was something up with the Cullens, but it was still a good habit to practice.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Amber's Book List for 2009 - Remix!

    After going through the old list (and not remembering some of the books), staring at my bookshelf, and the ever-growing TBR pile - I decided to do remix this list up a bit. My goal is to read 100 books this year, and it's slowly but surely moving that way. (I emphasise on the slow part.) So five months into the year this is what I want to read:

    Bold means I've read it, whoot!

    * means they belong to a series that I may have already started, own, or just giving it a try to see if I like!

    1. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
    2. Born Blue by Han Nolan
    3. Freaked by J.T. Dutton
    4. Willow by Julia Hoban
    5. Read My Lips by Teri Brown
    Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
    7. This Is What I Want To Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone
    8. Guitar Girl by Sara Manning
    *9. The Elite by Jennifer Banash
    *10. In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash
    *11. Simply Irresistible by Jennifer Banash
    12. Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
    13. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
    14. The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
    15. Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
    *16. Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    17. Hottie by Jonathon Bernstein
    18. If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Then Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kartor
    *19. Dead Is the New Black by Miarlene Petez
    20. Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
    *21. Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
    *22. Ghostgirl Homecoming by Tonya Hurley
    *23. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
    *24. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
    *25. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
    *26. Night World Vol. 1 by L.J. Smith
    *27. Night World Vol. 2 by L.J. Smith
    *28. Night World Vol. 3 by L.J. Smith
    *30. Kissed By An Angel by Elizabeth Chandler
    *31. Evernight by Claudia Gray
    *32. You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay
    *33. Evermore by Alyson Noel
    *34. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
    35. Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
    *36. Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
    37. The Season by Sarah McLean
    38. Getting In Tune by Roger Trott
    Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
    40. Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
    41. Swoon by Nina Malkin
    *42. Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    *43. Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore
    44. Vamped by Lucienne Diver
    45. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
    46. Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills
    47. Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
    48. Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
    49. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
    50. Look Both Ways by Jacquelyn Mitchard
    *51. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
    52. You Had Me At Halo by Amanda Ashby
    53. Good Enough by Paula Yoo
    54. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
    55. Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
    56. Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald
    57. Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison
    58. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
    59. Slept Away by Julie Krant
    60. How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
    61. Fairy Tale by Cyn Blog
    62. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
    63. What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook
    64. Miss Match by Wendy Toliver
    65. Not Like You by Deborah Davis

    66. Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
    67. Rock My World by Liza Conrad
    68. Oh.My.Gods by Tera Lynn Childs
    *69. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
    70. Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
    *71. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
    72. Need by Carrie Jones
    73. The Day I Killed James by Catherine Ryan Hyde
    74. Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
    75. Revealers by Amanda Marrone
    76. Devoured by Amanda Marrone
    77. Uninvited by Amanda Marrone
    . Undead and Uninvited by MaryJanice Davidson
    79. Blue Moon by Alyson Noel
    80. The Hollow by Jessica Verday
    81. Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
    82. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
    83. Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens
    *84. Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast
    85. I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin
    86. One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
    87. Purge by Sarah Darer Littman
    88. September Sisters by Jillian Cantor
    89. Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
    90. Paper Towns by John Green
    91. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
    92. Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
    93. Crash Into Me by Albert Borris
    94. Prophecy of Sisters by Michelle Zink
    95. Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonha
    96. Torched by April Henry
    97. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
    98. Persistence of Memory by Ameila Atwater-Rhodes
    99. Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
    *100. Sloppy Firsts by Megan Mccafferty


    Review: Not Like You by Deborah Davis

    Not Like You by Deborah Davis

    Released: February 2009
    Publisher: Graphia
    Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
    Pages: 268
    Source: Bought

    Rating: ♥♥♥

    Fifteen year old Kayla doesn't know what it means to have a home. Her whole life revolves around packing boxes that take her to whatever place her mother, Marilyn, decides to go when she decides to get sober.

    This move Marilyn tells her that things are going to be different. That in New Mexico things will change. Kayla doesn't think much of the mustard colored trailer or the new landlord, Redbone. When her mother swears off drinking again, she can't help but roll her eyes. From the history that is told, you'll also be rolling your eyes in to this scenario. The relationship between the two is sad. Kayla being more of the parent than her mother is. Starting her own dog-walking business just to help pay the bills. Sometimes it's more like all the bills depending on how Marilyn is doing with her sobriety bit.

    My thoughts towards her mother are like a teeter-totter. I felt sorry for her because who would possibly want a life like that. You can tell that Marilyn does love her daughter, and she's just has one really crappy way of showing it. But most of the time I wanted to shake her and scream, "Wake up lady!" Or even pack Kayla's bags and help her get the hell out of dodge.

    Then Kayla meets twenty-four year old musician Remy. A guy who lives life on a whim, and is someone Kayla finds she can talk too. At first, I was completely all for Remy (hello musician!), but after a few chapters - gah! I understand the older guy appeal, and that Kayla's home life was bad, and that she needed an escape. For someone who has been through a bundle of lies from her mother, I was surprised how naive she was when it came to him. He also creeped me out somewhat.

    Maybe that was the point because of the lesson Kayla learns from it all. The story of a child having to raise their parent is told well in this one. Besides the somewhat predictable relationship of Remy and Kayla - it was a pretty good read.