Friday, April 30, 2010

I Was Interviewed!

Sparrow Review's does a bi-weekly meme called Under The Spotlight where she interviews bloggers! This week was me! Click here to read my interview :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rock This! Thursday: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!

At exactly 3:33 this morning I turned the big 25! I've always been a big birthday person and turning a quarter of a century old is a very big deal in my book. I mean c'mon now, it's a quarter of a century old. While some people might be like holy crap that's old! I on the other hand am embracing it and having Amberpolooza all week long! Plus I don't feel like I'm 25 at all.

Last night I went over to my grandpa's house and had a nice little family gathering where we at that cake you see pictured. (Yes, that's not some random photo I found on google. It was really my cake and it was made of awesomness.)

Today I'm heading out to go shopping and spend time with some friends I haven't seen for a while. I'm not really for sure what I'm doing Friday but on Saturday I'm heading to the bar with tons of friends and having a good ole' tipsy time. What? I'm legal!

So for this week's edition of Rock This! Thursday I decided to give you 25 songs (in no particular order) that rocked my teenage years. I listen to A LOT of different music and it was hard to pick (and remember) songs that I was either obsessed with, reminded me of a certain person/place/time/event, or just reminded me of me. But here's the list and right after I post this I know I'm going to think of 25 other songs I should have added.

1. Uncles John's Band by The Grateful Dead
2. Run Around by Blues Traveler
-There is a lyric here that is still a motto I use today: I still got this dream that you just can't shake
4. Hand In My Pocket by Alanis Morissette
- I ask a lot of people in Rock This! Thursday interviews what song is following them when they walk down the street. This is mine.
5. Festival Song by Good Charlotte
6. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind
7.Outside by Staind
-The Break The Cycle album reminds me of the summer before my junior year, and this was one of my favorite songs from it.
8. The Man Who Sold the World by Nirvana
9. When I Come Around by Green Day
- Every time I hear this song, I think of that 'one guy'.
10. Little Things by Bush
11. Caress Me Down by Sublime
-Total inside joke.
12. 99 Red Balloons by Goldfinger
-I first learned how to 'skank' to this song.
13. What I Got by Sublime
-Ahhh the summer before my senior year when I used to drive the Grandpamobile and my Sublime tape got stuck in the tape player so that's all we listened to.
14. My Bloody Valentine by Good Charlotte
15. New Age Girl by Dead Eye Dick
-Skating rink days.
16. Sugar High by Coyote Shivers
17. Tomorrow by Silverchair
-The whole Frogstump album was my 'listen to me while I'm down in the dumps'.
18. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
-My first short story was written while listening to the Ultimate Experience album I stole from my dad. This was my favorite song from it.
19. Breed by Nirvana
20. Just A Girl by No Doubt
21. Aerials by System of a Down
-So many road trips.
22. Driver Under by Seether
-To think about five years later this band would become one of my all time favorites, and I didn't even realize they sang this song until I became obsessed with them.
23. Imma Tell by Tech N9ne
-Completely takes me back to the house on East Harker Street.
24. 6'1 by Liz Phair
25. Casey Jones by The Grateful Dead


Saturday, April 24, 2010

In My Mailbox

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
(For Review from Around the World Tours)

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
(For Review from Around The World Tours)

Beth has always been “The Beast”—that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

When Beth’s choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek’s untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek’s eyes? She’s not The Beast, she’s The Beauty.

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek? The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek’s been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything.

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
(For Review from Egmont)

His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting 
(Early birthday present from my sister!)

"A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him."

The Iron King by Julie Kagaw

Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

That's it for me! What did you guys get this week?


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with Estevan Vega

This week JYTBB went on tour with author Esevan Vega. Just in his early twenties, Estevan has put out three books! His recent one, Arson, will be available May 4th. Today he's stopping by to discuss music and his new book with us.

Tell us a bit about your new book, Arson. Did you find it harder to write compared to your other two releases?

ARSON is awesome. I am so passionate about this story, far more than anything I've ever written. I won't tell you everything,'s about a teenager with the ability to "go nuclear" or create fire with his mind. He was born with it, and he views it as a curse, because during his birth his mother dies. Regret, both for his birth and for a past childhood accident, holds Arson back from becoming what he needs to be, until a second chance stumbles into his life in the form of Emery, a girl who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin.

Do you have a soundtrack to your novel? If so, care to share a few songs?

You know, it's very interesting you ask about that. I am a huge fan of music, and it is in part because of a cool rock song that I began forming the concept and character behind ARSON. I actually wanted to create a compilation album with all the songs I enjoyed having to do with fire or that could fit with the book, but I wasn't sure about copyrights and all that jazz, so it didn't happen. Maybe in the future. are some sample tracks that could've made it on a "what-if" disc.

Hero by Skillet
Fire it Up by Thousand Foot Krutch
Glass to the Arson by Anberlin
On Fire by Switchfoot
Monster by The Almost
Paralytic by Dead Poetic
Never Say Never by The Fray
What I've Done by Linkin Park
Treasure by Flyleaf
Look Away by Thousand Foot Krutch
About a Burning Fire by Blindside
Won't Back Down by Mat Kearney

I am loving that playlist! You're walking down the street - what song is following you?

Right now, probably the song "Scientification" by Norma Jean. It's really chaotic, loud, and in desperate need of rocking out to. I really enjoy this band's music, even though the album this track comes from (O God...) wasn't originally one I jammed to. The lyrics resonate, and the intensity of the music and vocals just flat out rock. It really captured the mood of the book I'm currently writing. I could definitely picture it stalking me...but in a cool, creepy way.

Let's say you scored a golden concert ticket. This ticket allows you to see any band (still around or not) but the catch is you have to take one of your characters with you. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?

There are a few shows I regret not going to in the past, and the reasons I didn't get to go was usually because of cash, primarily the lack of it. A few years back, Evanescence was touring with Chevelle. I wish I went to that show. I have a special place in my heart for Amy Lee and her angelic voice.

And I hadn't created her yet, but I'd probably take Mandy from ARSON. She's, ummm...really hot? OK, I'd probably end up taking Emery. We'd get a few stares, but it'd be a fun show most likely.

What song do you think would make for an interesting read?

There are a few songs in my current library that have a certain "epic" feel to them. Relient K released a song called "Deathbed" on their last album that is about 11 minutes long, I think. It tells the whole story of this guy's life as he's dying, but it's upbeat. (I wish it were darker, but it's still a really interesting story). Another track is "Fin" by Anberlin. It's about the loss of faith and the struggle with hope in a world that feels like lost causes. It still moves me, and it's phenomenal live.

How did the idea of Arson come about?

A few different ways, actually. I was trying to deal with the fact that my parents were officially over. That messed with my head. I wanted to write a story that captured the kinds of emotions I was dealing with...anger, regret, fear, isolation, lonely hope. I also love superheroes. They just rock! I used to sketch them, but anyway. I was visiting colleges as a senior in high school back in 2006, and I got this idea for a kid who starts fires with his mind and has these demons inside him--regret and fear and stuff--so he tries to drown them out in the lake behind his cabin. And I pictured him living with a psychotic grandmother. That was all I had. I was listening to Anberlin's song "Glass to the Arson", and being a huge fan of names not everybody uses, I said, "let's call him Arson." I was so engrossed that I started writing out a scene with a pen and paper. I hate doing it that way. But I had to. I couldn't let myself forget it.

If you could meet one musician - living or dead - who would it be or why?

Jon Foreman. I've already met him, but if I could just chill with him for a weekend I think I could die a happy man. No one has impacted my life lyrically the way he has. I love music and love words even more, so when you have awesome music and lyrics that really tug at your soul, there's a connection that happens. I'd love to hang with him sometime. That would be most dank.

We're always up for new music. Tell us five songs we should definitely check out.

"The Sound" by Switchfoot (Jon Foreman does this really cool "go" at the beginning of the track that I love, then there's the rockness. Oh, and you may have heard its awesomeness regrettably advertising the Blackberry Storm)

"Piggy Bank Lies" by Emery (They write great break-up songs with occasional delicious screams)

"The Permanent Rain" by The Dangerous Summer (Had this band on my Zune for months before I gave them a real listen. Their newest album is really good, and this song made me a fan)

"Ride to California" by Paper Tongues (I went from hating Aswan's voice to lovin it, partially because of this phenomenal track. I now love this band. They officially get approved...dank!)

"The End" by Blue October (This song and this band really captures the heart of my parents' situation. And Justin Furstenfeld sings the lyrics with such a lasting potency that explicitly captures the intensity and rage of a hurt lover. I can identify a lot with it.)

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?

Ummm...are we talking only about the times when I removed my T-shirt and began rocking out with no one present? Because yeah, that's totally happened. In a car, in the shower, in a dorm room, with a fox, in a box...)

Don't forget to check out Estevan's next stop over at Lost For Words on the 24th!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Publisher: MTV Books

An enchanting tale by Christoper Golden about a teenager who wakes from a coma and slowly comes to realize that she is Sleeping Beauty of fairy tales.

A bit more from the author's blog:

Present day New York, Rose wakes from a coma with no memory, and only her two aunts to care for her. But how long has she REALLY been asleep, and what secret past are her aunts hiding from her?


Between the two synopsis I found, it sounds like something I'd like. I always love a new spin on classic fairy tales. And I'm such a cover whore and this one is gorgeous!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

YA Community Thanksgiving - What I'm Thankful For

Being part of this awesome YA community has been a lot of fun. But at times, it can be tiring. With more and more blog drama that keeps popping up, it almost makes you just want to shut your computer off and not even bother for a while.

Adele from Persnickety Snark came up with a great idea. You can read all about it here. Basically it's a chance for us bloggers to say what we're thankful for and what we love in the YA community that we are all apart of.

Here's my list:

  • Authors - Since I was ten, I've always dreamed about being a published author. Like many other bloggers, authors are like rock stars to me. So when I started contacting some of them - feeling quite foolish mind you for my ramblings - I was blown away by the appreciation and thoughtful emails that they sent back. How many of them take the time to let little old me bug them with interview questions and even some that have helped promote my blog. And most importantly, thank you for your imagination. For giving me a world I can slip into and not have to worry about things that are going on around me.
  • Bloggers - Oh, you bloggers. I love how there are so many different blogs out there. I love how there are so many different voices out there! Each blog I stumble upon is unique in its own way, and sometimes I think people forget that. It doesn't matter how popular you are or how un-popular you are, your voice matters. And I want to say thank you for posting books that I might not have heard of or might not have given a chance. Before I joined the book blogging world, I probably would have never read so many of the books that I've read today. I also love the discussions and different views I see on books. Sometimes I over look a subject I shouldn't and I know I can always rely on someone pointing it out.
  • Commenters / Readers -  You guys are made of awesome and you have no idea how awesome you really are. There are tons and tons of blogs out there to read, and I know there are more 'lurkers' than there are commenters. I understand. I'm a lurker on many blogs, too. So it means the world to me when you guys take the time to leave comments, drop by to say hi, or even leave your feedback. You make blogging worth all the time. And special thanks for putting up with my rambling self because let's face it, I do that a lot. 
  • My fellow music lovers - When I put together Rock This! Thursday, I wasn't for sure how well it would go. In between discovering new books that focus on one of my favorite things in the world, I've  got a Music Player full of NEW music from bloggers and authors who swung by to Rock This! with me. 
  • Friends I have made along the way - Wow. I never thought I'd really grow friendships with people over books, but I have. Nor did I ever think I'd have open invitations from people if I ever wanted to attend book related events. It has been fantastic getting to know more and more of you all the time!
  • ARC Tour Sites- The reviewers who take the time from their own blogs to help create a place to spread the book love are simply amazing in my eyes. Your work is so much appreciated from me and I am so lucky to be apart of so many different tours that I normally wouldn't get the chance to be apart of. I love how more and more of these sites are being opened and ran. 

Also Adele pointed out that she hopes everyone goes to at least 5 blogs they've never been to and comment. This is something I plan to do, and I'm looking forward to stumbling upon them. If you decide to do the YA Thanksgiving, leave me a link in your comments so I can go check it out!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea from Pop Culture Junkie.

For Review from Around the World Tours:

Penitence by Jennifer Laurens
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard (So good!)

From Goodreads Swap:

Off the Record by Jennifer O'Connell

That's it for me! What did you guys get this week?


Friday, April 16, 2010

Review - In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

Released: February 2010
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 195
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart. 

When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different — dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy —her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life,meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.


I remember seeing a show years ago on people who receive organs and start having different habits. To me, that's pretty fasnicating. It made me wonder what life would be like having an organ inside of you that wasn't really yours. In A Heartbeat, while fiction, fed my curiosity about this subject. Between the two protangist, you get a glimpse of what life is for the donor and the receiver.

I never expected for this type of story to hit so close to home to me, but it did. It's probably why I ended up loving it so much and wasn't able to put it down. Loretta Ellsworth created such wonderful characters and told their story in a beautiful way. I found it so bizarre how much I related to both of Amelia and Eagan. Amelia took me a bit longer to warm up to, but I know what it's like having something wrong with your heart. I know how scary it can be when you know something is wrong with you. Something you cannot stop from happening. The fact that she's never really got to experience life to the fullest until the moment of her transplant kind of snapped me into how my health could have been if I hadn't been cleared of my own condition when I was a kid.

Eagan was more of my favorite between the two and each time her chapter came along, it was like I was experiencing all of her memories. It made me so sad knowing she'd never get to experience anything ever again. I absolutely adored the close relationship she had with her grandfather. Everything about the two of them reminded me so much of my grandfather and I. I was in tears many times because of it too.

This is such an emotional read that makes you realize how precious a life is. How many of us don't even think about how in one second it could be gone. I'm recommending everyone go grab this one.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with author Kieran Scott

Last month I reviewed an upcoming book called She's So Dead To Us. (Read my review here.) This was the first book I've read by Kieran Scott and let me tell you guys I am hooked! Today I'm really excited to have her swing by the blog to discuss her new book and music!

How did the idea of She's So Dead To Us come about?

It came about at a time when I realized we needed a change from all the rich-bitch books that had been flooding the shelves. The people in those books represent such a small percentage of society, and I thought readers might want to read about someone more like themselves. Not only are we not all psychotically rich, but right now a lot of people are losing their jobs, a lot of families are having to readjust their priorities, and I thought “Why not write about one of those families? About a girl who’s been on both sides of the wealth spectrum and what life is like for her?” That was when I came up with Ally Ryan, and I created Orchard Hill, a town that has a lot of different types of people from all incomes and all backgrounds. I think it’s interesting to see how all those different people they really interact. Then, of course, I needed to throw in a little romance, because who doesn’t love romance?

When did you realize you wanted to make it a series?

It was always a series idea, probably because that’s just what I’m used to writing. I’ve been told I’m pretty good with a cliffhanger, and I LOVE to write them, so that was how I always imagined this story would play out.

Yes, I will votch that you're good at cliffhangers. (But when I say good, I really mean you're flat out evil!) Next question, I really warmed up to the character Ally right off the bat. Do you and her share any similarities?

Ally and I are a lot alike. I grew up in a town with a lot of very wealthy people, but my family didn’t always have a lot. My dad was a freelance writer, so there would be years when he made a whole mess of money, and years when he made next to nothing. He wasn’t much of a save-it-for-a-rainy-day type, so when we had a lot of money we got to wear cool clothes and go on trips and all this stuff, but if the next year he made nothing, it was all about hand-me-downs and budget meals and stay-cations. Like Ally I also had a complicated relationship with my father, so I was able to draw from that and hopefully make her many different feelings toward her dad (anger, frustration, admiration, love, confusion, disappointment) come to life.

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Definitely WALKING ON SUNSHINE by Katrina and the Waves.

Some people might not know this (like me for instance) but you've also write under a different pen names - Kate Brian and Emma Harrison. Is it hard juggling three different pen names?

It’s actually a lot of fun. I get to write all different types of things thanks to my many personalities! The only time it gets tough is when people contact me and say they want an interview with “Kate Brian” and they don’t want to mention Kieran Scott or vice versa. I’m like, “What’s wrong with Kieran Scott? What about Emma? She’s written some cool books, too!” And then I remember we’re not actually three different people. That makes me sound a little insane, doesn’t it? A couple weeks ago I did a GEEK MAGNET signing and all these girls were running up to me with copies of PRIVATE and MEGAN MEADE’S GUIDE TO THE MCGOWAN BOYS and FAKE BOYFRIEND, too. That was really cool. It reminds me of how much work these different names have allowed me to do and how many different readers I’ve reached that way.

What were some of your favorite moments in She's So Dead To Us?

I’ll give you my top three: 1) When Ally and Jake first meet. I came up with that idea in the middle of the night and had to run to my office to write it down so I wouldn’t forget. I love, love, love the unexpectedness and the sizzle of their first meeting. 2) When Jake asks Ally to dance at the Harvest Ball and she tells him off. I loved that because Ally sticks up for herself, even though she has feelings for him. 3) I love Shannen’s birthday party. But I can’t say more than that without spoiling the whole thing.

I think that's one reason why I loved Ally so much. She really stood her ground! Who's your favorite band/artist? Why are they your favorite?

Right now I’m going through a serious GLEE phase. I put on the soundtrack whenever I’m in my car and sing along. It makes me so happy just to belt out songs like that. I love anything I can sing along to, so a lot of my favorite artists happen to be solo women like Fiona Apple, Taylor Swift, Liz Phair, Alanis Morrisette, KT Tunstall, Colbie Caillat, Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow. I also love The Veronicas and Rilo Kiley. I’m liking Jonas Brothers right now because my son loves to dance around to them. Believe me, watching a two-year-jump up and down and sing “You gotta B-B Good to Me!” will make you love WHOEVER is singing it!

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?

For me a rock star writing moment would be one of those moments when I come up with an idea I love so much I have to put on some Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus and dance around my office. (I like those two, too. They’re good for dancing!) I’ve had a few of those. I also had a moment recently at a signing when a girl came up to me hyperventilating about meeting me, which was DEFINITELY rock star. I was so baffled that anyone would be that excited to meet me. I’ll never forget it.

Out of all the books/series you've written, do you have a favorite?

I WAS A NON-BLONDE CHEERLEADER holds a special place in my heart because it was the first idea that was all mine. No brainstorming, no help from editors in the creating process. It was just me. I’ll always love those characters. But right now I’m all about SHE’S SO DEAD TO US. I worked harder on it than I ever have on anything else, so I love it for that reason.

Any hints to what might be going on in the second book? (I'm pretty much dying to know over here!)

Most of the characters are going to be “down the shore” as we say here in New Jersey, for the summer. Ally is going to do some serious rebelling for the first time in her life because she’s all conflicted about her parents and Jake and her friends. There may be some new romantic entanglements, but I can’t give away more than that!

Ally rebelling? I'm liking the sound of this!  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

The advice I always give aspiring writers is “never give up.” Everyone reaches a point where they think all their ideas are crap, or they are halfway through a story, novel or poem and they get stuck. In those situations, my best advice is to write something—anything—to get you going again. Even if it’s a horrible paragraph or a horrible poem, it’ll get you started. It’s like warm ups in gym class. You can’t just jump right into the game, you need to get your heart rate up first, get psyched up for the game, and then you play all the better. If you get your brain working, something good just might come out of it.

Thanks so much for hanging out with us, Kieran! If you'd like to know more about Kieran and her books, swing by her website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Release Date: September 7th, 2010

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies in a fall from a cliff, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood, Brie must also contend with increasingly distant parents, her boyfriend's betrayal, and her sudden outcast status at school. And once she's over the initial shock of Faith's death, Brie is encountering more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. She soon uncovers Faith's role in a dark and twisted religious cult...a cult that now wants Brie as a member.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shadow by Jenny Moss

Shadow by Jenny Moss

Released: April 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy
Pages: 377
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥

In a time of kings, queens, and conspiracy, it's impossible to know whom one can trust. . . .

In a kingdom far away and long ago, it was prophesied at her birth that the queen would die before her sixteenth birthday. So Shadow, an orphan girl the same age as the young queen, was given the duty to watch her every move. And as prophesies do tend to come true, the queen is poisoned days before her birthday. When the castle is thrown into chaos, Shadow escapes with a young knight, whom she believes was betrothed to the queen.

Unsure of why she is following Sir Kenway, but determined to escape as far as possible from the castle, her long-time prison, Shadow sets off on an adventure with the handsome knight who has been charged with protecting her. As mystery builds, and romantic tension does, too, Shadow begins to wonder what her role in the kingdom truly is. Soon, she learns, it is up to her to save her land.


I probably should start this out by saying I'm not a big fantasy person. I love watching movies that are set in any sort of fantasy realm or medieval times, but I never could get into reading about them. I blame it on the names and the butt load of history that comes with it. But I told myself that I was going to try out new genres so I gave Shadow a stab.

Jenny Moss's writing is very easy going. I never felt myself getting lost in the storyline. The plot was kind of mild. I enjoyed Shadow as a character, but I think the connections between her and other side characters could have been a bit more in depth. Kenway was a good 'love interest'. Their relationship was also a mild one, but it would be kind of odd if it was some passionate love story considering how the plot was.

My big complaint was the lack of action going on in the middle. I know secrets needed to build up and be revealed, but I expected crap to hit the fan seeing as Shadow and Kenway were doing this great escape across the land together. In all, it wasn't the greatest read, and I almost debated giving it a 2.5 rating, but it did hold my interest until the very end. It also made me kind of want to read some more medievall/fantasy type of books in the future. Anyone have some suggestions?


Monday, April 12, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Released: August 2009
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult - Series - Paranormal
Pages: 392
Source: My bookshelf

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

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

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


There had been so many fantastic reviews about Shiver, I thought it was going to be one of those books I wasn't able to put down. Everyone kept going on and on about it, but when I started it, I was a bit bored. I had no idea why everyone thought it was great. Grace wasn't anything special to me. She's normal and there's nothing wrong with being normal, but she just kind of bland.

The only part that really held my interest was Sam. I loved reading his point of view and what can I say, I'm a sucker for some 'damage goods'. I kept trucking through the book thinking something was bound to happen. Something that would hook me and not let me go. It was really starting to bum me out how not so interested I was in the book. Especially since Maggie's writing is very wonderful. I loved how she described things, but the plot just wasn't working for me.

Then it happened. I was finally hooked and I couldn't get enough of what I was reading. And Grace became more appealing to me around that time as well. And Sam, well Sam just kept on winning my heart throughout the whole thing.

I'm not for sure if this book is for everyone. It's more of an emotional read and you really need to be a fan of romance to enjoy it. Grace and Sam's relationship was very spot on. Anyone who loves a read like this cannot say these two weren't meant to be together. I was very nervous towards the end, and that ending was written so well!

In all, this read did turn around for me and I'm glad I stuck with is. I'm pretty anxious to see what's going to happen in Linger.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Review - Swoon At Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter

Swoon At Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter

Released: April 2010
Publisher: Graphia
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥

It’s the summer before senior year and Polly Martin has sworn off boys. Who needs the hurt and confusion? Five recent breakups have left her with an unnatural knowledge of NASCAR, the ultimate hiker’s outfit, a student council position, the sixth highest score on the Donkey Kong machine at the mall, and a summer job at Wild Waves with ex #2 Sawyer Holmes.

Success seems a sure thing when Polly’s grandmother, the syndicated advice columnist, Miss Swoon, moves in for the summer. Polly almost doesn’t mind sharing a room with her little sister, Grace. Think of all the great advice she’ll get!

Everything is going according to plan except... Miss Swoon turns out to be a man-crazy septuagenarian! And then there’s Xander Cooper. If only he wouldn’t keep showing up at Wild Waves with his adorable cousins every afternoon — and what is he writing in that little notebook?

No advice column in the world can prepare Polly for the lessons she learns when she goes on a group camping trip (with three too many ex-boyfriends). Polly is forced to see people for who they are — a blend of good and bad qualities that can’t be reduced to a list or a snappy answer in a Miss Swoon column.


I'm not even for sure how to start this review. I liked this book, but it had its flaws. I think it should have possibly went through another round of edits before being released. One minute I would find myself completely engrossed and the next minute, I'd be struggling to get to the next chapter.

While slightly annoying at times, Polly was overall a character I grew to love. Sometimes she would crack me up and other times I just shook my head. She's a girl who really doesn't have her own path. She only does things that all her current boyfriends like. I hate seeing girls that can't even tell you what they like to do when suddenly they don't have a boyfriend. But I was gung ho that the book was mainly focused on her trying to change over the course of the summer.

The book sometimes got confusing because Polly sure did like the boys and this ex and that ex seemed to run together a bit when discussing them. But the family dynamics in the book were pretty hilarious. I loved seeing her mom, sister, and grandmother all in a room together. They all bounced off each other nicely. Xander was a good mix of boys to throw into Polly's life. He was probably my favorite because he didn't try to push Polly in a direction she never wanted to go in the first place. I also really liked reading the advice from Miss Swoon, the blog posts, and the poetry so to say. I just wished all three weren't sometimes jammed in at the end of each chapter. It was kind of distracting, but overall it was a pretty good read. I'd recommend it to people who like a more up beat and chick lit type of read.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with author Rachel Caine

Yes, you read that right. The awesome Rachel Caine is hanging out with us today to discuss her series, Morganville Vampires, and music!

When writing Morganville Vampires series, did you know how many books were going to be in it? Or did the number grow after so many had already been released?

Truthfully, as a writer, you NEVER know what the life of a book or series is going to be like. I've had things that I really loved just have a heart attack and die on the shelves, never to be seen again ... ! I knew that Morganville was guaranteed originally for three books, and it was a bit of a tough start with GLASS HOUSES, because I was a new name in the field ... but by the time I was working on the third book, my publisher came back and asked for three more. And then three more on top of that. And now we're at twelve, so something must be going well. :)

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?

It's more like that Verizon commercial with the crowd of people following you ... not just one song! But hmmm, if I had an "essential song," I think it would probably be "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley.

Normally I ask for five music suggestions, but sometimes I like to switch it up by asking an author's characters. What five songs would Shane and Michael want us to listen to?

Oooooh, GREAT question! Michael's all about artistry and guitar, so I'd have to say he'd be all over "Woke Up Dreaming" by Joe Bonamassa" (or anything by Joe B., honestly), as well as the amazing work of the California Guitar Trio (trust, me, they do a crazy "Bohemian Rhapsody" and will even play "Freebird" on request. On acoustic. It's hilarious.). He'd probably also love Muse, particularly "Supermassive Black Hole." (He's taking up all the spots here, but Shane agrees with that last one anyway.) Shane loves "The House Rules" by Christian Kane, and "Suzie Silver Wings" by CAUTION CAT. Well, today he does.

Who is your favorite band/artist? Why are they your favorite?

I honestly have a lot of favorite bands, but my constant for at least 10 years now is Joe Bonamassa. In addition to being an amazingly nice person, Joe is one of the single most musically gifted people I've ever known. He's a genius, quite simply, and he can play absolutely anything he wants. Turns out he wants to play blues rock, which is just fine with me, but I've heard him do flamenco and hard rock and country and intricate, beautiful stuff ... I love someone with that kind of power and versatility to their art. Also, he puts on an incredible live show.

You've been given a golden ticket to go to ANY concert from any era. The only catch is you have to bring one of your characters with you. Who are you going to take and who are you two going to go see?

I am totally bringing Eve, and we are totally going to see The Who in the '70s, when Keith Moon was still alive. Because why not? Eve would be barrels of fun no matter where you took her.

I know it is probably hard to choose favorites out of your characters, but is there any one you like writing more?

Honestly, it's a dead heat between Shane and Myrnin, at this point. I love writing both of them way too much. :)

And I love reading about Shane *big grin*. Do you ever base characters off anyone you know?

I usually don't, but every once in a while, I will (with permission). I do sometimes auction off for charity the right to use someone in a book -- the last one chose to be a Djinn in one of my Weather Warden books, and it turned out great!

Do you ever make playlists to go along with your books? If so, could you share a few songs with us?

Oh dear, I'm ADDICTED to playlists. It's the first thing I do when I get ready to start a book -- I must have at least 10 songs in the playlist before I start writing.

Here's the playlist for GHOST TOWN, which is the book I just finished:

Bad Romance - Lady GaGa
Hero/Heroine - Boys Like Girls
Unbreakable - Fireflight
What's in the Middle - The Bird and the Bee
Oogie Boogie's Song - Rodrigo y Gabriella
Unconscious Thoughts - Absolution Project
Can't Treat Me That Way - Kate Earl
Blood On My Hands - The Used
The Big Sleep - Oliver Future
Lust for a Vampyr - I Monster
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Kill Your TV - Photoside Cafe
Blue and Evil - Joe Bonamassa
Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow - Wideawake
Late Nights and Street Fights - Steven Smith
Black Heart - Photoside Cafe
The House Rules - Christian Kane
Fire It Up - Thousand Foot Krutch
Death of Me - Red
When She's Gone - Slang
Suzie Silver Wings - CAUTION CAT
Out in the Real World - Stream of Passion

If Morganville was made into a movie or TV show who would you like to see cast as Claire, Eve, Shane, and Michael?

I'm terrible at this game, mainly because anybody I choose is probably going to be the wrong age by the time something happens ... but I keep hearing Alex Pettyfer as Michael, and I really like that idea. I also like the idea of Spencer Treat Clark for Shane, mainly because of this picture.

That picture does remind me of Shane, though I've always saw Garrett Hedlund as Shane when I was reading :) Next question, What song do you think would make a good book?

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" seems to me to be an incredibly good template for a book. But then again, it probably already IS!

Have you had any 'rock star' writing moments?

Just about every time I do a signing these days, I feel like a rock star. My readers are AMAZING. But I do have to say that having a PRIVATE CHAUFFEURED CAR in Los Angeles was pretty rock-star like. As was staying at the Beverly Hilton. :)

HUGE thanks to Rachel for taking the time to do this. If want to learn more about Rachel's series, don't forget to swing by her website.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan 

Release Date: June 2010

Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.

When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birhday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. Or so she thinks.

Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time.


First, the cover caught my eye. It makes me wonder what this book would even be about. Second, I love reading about older teens. Yes, I know it's young adult, but being 24 I need some older teen reads. Third, I love family books. But what I love more is a crazy family, and this one sounds like it could be packed full of nuttiness. .

On a side note, if anyone can recommend a darker read or a read that just really kind of punches you in the gut with life, I'd love you forever. I'm in the mood for something on those lines.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Release Date: July 13, 2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal
Pages: 400
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.


I knew there were a lot of good debuts coming out this year, but this is one you're not going to want to miss. Anastasia Hopcus really brought a refreshing and fantastic read for the paranormal genre.

Phe is the type of main character I like to read. While she does have her own mix of flaws, she's no one's doormat. The girl has a strong personality. She isn't afraid to break a few rules, and is very determined to find the answers to the mystery of her sister's death. Because she is such a strong character, the suspense that builds up in this story will keep you turning the pages right from the get go.

When Phe lands in Shadow Hills, you know something about the town isn't right. There are so many questions that play out nicely throughout the book. I never felt it got boring. Yes, sometimes a bit predictable, but for the most part, I was wowed! I cannot praise the idea of this town enough. I wanted to know more and more about it every time I turned a page. Coming from someone who can barely stand any sort of history, this is saying a lot.

What isn't a book without some romance? I, for one, love it. The character of Zach drew me in from the moment he was introduced. He was a well developed character who did have the mysterious side to him, but it wasn't an over-done sort of thing. All of the characters in this story, whether they're role is small or large, really stood out. What I liked it how easily I could see this group of teens together at the school living in this odd town packed full of secrets.

Basically if you are a lover of the paranormal then you'd be silly to even think about passing this book up in July! Go pre-order it now!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea from Pop Culture Junkie.

For Review:

Around the World Tours

Shadow by Jenny Moss
Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire
Winter Longing by Tricia Mills
In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

Traveling ARC Tours

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Yeah, this week was crazy for tour books! But that's kind of what happens if you're like me and sign up for a ton of them, lol

I also got a Sea postcard from Heidi Kling. When I was at Wal-Mart the other day, I stumbled across the 2 Disc edition of The Outsiders for 5 dollars!! I was all sorts of hell to the yeah about that. I've seen the movie tons of times but wanted to get this edition because of the different intro it has - which I like better, btw.

So yeah, that's it for me. What did you guys get this week?


Friday, April 2, 2010

The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage

The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage

Released: February 2010
Publisher: Climbing Rosebud
Genre: Young Adult - Romance
Pages: 202
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Sixteen year old, Carrie Paxton, isn't the most popular girl in her small town of Stillburrow. But that's never concerned her before. Her life revolves around her writing, and she loves her job as the student editor of the school paper.

But when she gets assigned to interview the football team's beloved quarterback, she takes one look into Luke Carter's blue eyes and is a goner. Suddenly, she doesn't like her lowly rank so much. Then her dreamy, popular crush surprises her when he starts to act as if he likes her in return. But there's no way Luke Carter could possibly ever like a nobody like Carrie Paxton. Is there?


I think The Stillburrow Crush will be one of those reads most people overlook. I know I did the first time I saw it on a tour site, but I decided to give it a try. I'm a sucker for a small town story. I can't help it. I'm from one. Some people might find things in books about small midwestern towns cliché, but all those clichés are pretty accurate. Stillburrow had the hometome vibe going on throughout the whole story, and I really enjoyed it.

Carrie has got to be the most strong willed, stubborn headed, sarcastic, foot in mouth character I have ever ran across. Linda Kage writes her with so much spunk though she never becomes annoying. She's brutally honest and doesn't care who you are, she'll tell you like it is.  Just about everything this girl said made me smirk. The relationship between her and hunky quarterback Luke (don't you dare call him Lucas) was cute and a sweet one. I liked how they were in a way common characters, but they had so much heart they developed very nicely throughout the story.

While pretty predictable, The Stillburrow Crush is actually had some surprises. At one point in the story, my jaw actually dropped. I love when an author can write a shocker, and make it not so out of place. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised how much I did enjoy this book. If you're not a romance fan, I don't recommend you picking this one up. But if you're like me who loves a good guilty romance pleasure read, give this one a shot.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rock This! Thursday with author Mandy Hubbard

This week I'm excited to have Mandy Hubbard hanging out with us to discuss books and music. Mandy was a 2009 debut author and has another book coming out this year. Did I mention she just became an agent as well? Yeah she's pretty awesome. You can also check out my review of Prada & Prejudice here.

I've been following your blog for a while now and you've become quite the busy lady! With being an author under two different pen names and now being an agent, is it hard juggling all of it?

It certainly can get hectic and crazy, but man, I can't complain! I feel like I'm living the dream. So if that means sometimes I dont get to bed before midnight or I have three weeks of my favorite shows sitting on the DVR, it's a small price to pay.

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?

This sounds lame, but I love La La Land by Demi Lovato. The opening, "I am confident, but I still have my moments..." I ♥ cheesey pop music.

You're definitely an author that really inspires other writers to never give up. With only one book officially out in book stores, you also have many others coming out in the next two years. Can you tell us about a couple of them?

I am SO excited about my August release, YOU WISH. It's about a cynical teen who gets every wish from past birthdays, one at a time, including a life-sized My Little Pony, A real-life Ken who thinks she's his barbie, and a year's supply of gumballs. She's desperate to stop the wishes before it gets to the last one-- a kiss from Ben Mackenzie. Becuase Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

Another I'm DYING to share with the world is SHATTERED (the title is up for change) which is a super dark book about a girl in an abusive relationship. It's so different from my other books, and I'm eager to see how people react to that. It's still a year away, though!

Do you ever make playlists for your novels? If so, care to share a few songs?

Shattered, the above book, is the only one I've done a playlist for. Included: HATE ME by Blue October, Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Aparatus, My Immortal By Evanescence, Angry all the time by Tim McGraw.....

Who is your favorite band/artist? Why are they your favorite?

Probably Taylor Swift. No matter what my book is about, there's always a Taylor Swift song that fits it. I'm also a pop music junkie, so Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys.... I could go on.

Do you ever base characters off anyone you know?

No. I do steal their names, though. The three main girls in YOU WISH are named after my cousins: Kayla, Nicole, Janae.

You've been given a golden concert ticket to see ANY band from any decade. The only catch is you have to take one of your characters with you. Who is it going to be and what concert are you attending?

Oh lord. Can I take Kayla from YOU WISH to see The Backstreet Boys? "Cus she'd think its torture. That might be fun.

Then again, I've always wanted to hang out with a Duke....

Out of all your novels, is there one that is a little more special to you then the others?

Prada and Prejudice will awlays be special. I dont think I'll ever go through 9 drafts of something again. I know that book like the back of my hand. Nowadays things are written, edited, and copyedited in under a year.

We're always up for new music. Tell us five of your all time favorite songs.

My "favorites" change constantly, though my all time will always be "The Change" by Garth Brooks.
But the next 5 songs on shuffle are:
Save Tonight ( Eagle Eye Cherry)
I'm not that girl (Wicked Soundtrack)
Take a bow (The Glee Cast version)
Bring on the rain (Jo Dee Messina)
Real World (Matchbox 20)

Save Tonight is one of my all time favorite songs :) Have you had any 'rock star' writing moments?

HA. Crazy, but someone just told me today I was a rockstar and they freaked out that I commented on their blog. An I was like, HUH? Really? Some people make me feel like I'm made of awesome and it is SO flattering and sweet!

Thanks so much for hanging out with us, Mandy! I don't know about you guys, but I'm very excited for all of her upcoming releases over the next two years :) Wanna know more about Mandy? Check out her website!