Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Party by Tom Leveen

Party by Tom Leveen

Released: April 2010
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 240
Source: Around The World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥.5

It's saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.


Party is one of those type of books that reminds me of a 90's teen movie. You know the type of movie you watched before high school that was based on this one epic night that brought all these people from different sterotypes together and something crazy, fun, disastrous, and everything in between happened. And the entire time you're watching you think to yourself woah - I want a night like that!

I know this read isn't for everyone. It has a lot of language, and I know a lot of readers who just aren't into these types of stories. For those that love a handful of characters who intertwine each others lives and like a book that cuts the bull and gets to the point - this is your read. While I did really enjoy it, I didn't love-love it. My main problem was I didn't like a few characters, but their purpose seemed to be the fillers anyways. But there were a few characters such as Beckett, Morrigan (love to hate her), Tommy, Max, and Ashley that I could not get enough of. I was so glad a lot of the book was focused on them. All in all, this was an entertaining read that gave me some good laughs. I'll definitely look out to see what Tom Leveen puts out in the future.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

Release Date: May 11, 2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
Genre: Young Adult 
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Damien Locke knows his destiny--attending the university for supervillains and becoming Golden City's next professional evil genius. But when Damien discovers he's the product of his supervillain mother's one-night stand with--of all people--a superhero, his best-laid plans are ruined as he's forced to live with his superhero family.


Holy schnikes, Batman! You better watch yourself because there is a whole new superhero...or wait, should I say a whole new supervillian? Hhhm. Either way, The Rise of Renegade X is definitely going to be a favorite for readers!

Damien is probably one of my new favorite boys in Young Adult. He's very well developed, unbleivelbly sharp witted, sarcastic, obnixious at times, and could quite possibly charm the pants off of anyone. (Well, may not just anyone, just depends on who he’s laying the charm on to.) I loved seeing the character growth he had in him while this book went on.

I really enjoyed how this book covered a lot of things other than good guys vs. bad guys. Damien's family was definitely interesting to read. I loved how much he tried to rebel against his super hero family and what he learns from his mother's villain side. All the characters were great and never felt like background noise.

Between trying to save the world or not save the world - kind of up to Damien to decide - he also has a little love triangle going on. There is Kat, his ex girlfriend who he's still in love with. And then there is Sarah. The very weird and blunt girl at his new school. I did like Kat at the beginning of the story, but she soon faded out to me. Sorry Kat fans, but I am Team Sarah all the way!

Even if you're not big into the whole superheros type thing - I say still give this one a try! It'a s very enjoyable book.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

We have a winner!

The winner of the 4 ARCs plus swag for my half way hiatus giveaway is........



Thanks to everyone who entered! Didn't win? Well I'm going to have another contest coming up soon so be on the lookout for that! Until then happy reading!!

Rock This! Thursday: What's your favorite song(s)?

I'm the type of person who usually always has music playing. I blame this on my father. Growing up it was pretty normal for the record player/stereo to be playing while we were watching TV in the living room. Or when we were eating at the dinner table. Or when we were doing nothing at all, and watch out if my dad got a new Grateful Dead or Rolling Stones album because that sucker would be on repeat for hours even days. I got so use to having music being played non stop that silence kind of freaked me out.

Now I'm a bit different. I cannot have music playing when I watch TV, trying to fall asleep for the night, or reading. But there is one case where the silence still freaks me out, and that's when I'm writing. I HAVE to have music playing when I write. I'm not for sure why, but it's like my characters will not come to life unless my playlist is on.

Here in the past month I've been wanting some new music. I've been working on the same story off and on for almost two years now. It's time to spice things up a bit. So this leads me to ask: What are some of your favorite songs at this very moment?


Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview My Character!

One of the main reasons why I'm on this half way hiatus (which has been expanded until August) is so I can focus on my novel. I saw this character exercise on a forum I frequently visit, and thought it would be a fun idea.

Basically you can ask my character ANY question - no matter how random it is, and I'll answer them! Or well, my character will.  (And this may or may not count as extra entries on a future giveaway. Or depending on how many questions I get, this might turn into its own giveaway. *wink wink*)

So here is the skimmy:

My character is 24 years old, and is about to go back to her hometown for the first time in 7 years.

That's it! Ask anything you want though the answers might be a bit vague for obvious reasons. Thanks to all who take the time to help me out here :) I'll be answering questions in the comments so feel free to ask a question off of an answer I give.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review - Star Shack by Lila Castle

Star Shack by Lila Castle

Release Date: June 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 224
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥

Pete and Annabelle live for their summers together on Gingerbread Beach. They've always believed they were a perfect pair… until junior year, when Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other. Pete thinks that Annabelle (a Leo) has become a total flake; Annabelle thinks Pete (a Scorpio) has become an uptight jerk.

When Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the Boardwalk generating personalized horoscopes, their fast-paced, hilarious bickering soon rises to a fever pitch. The he-said/she-said advice of the Star Shack is wildly popular and seems able to fix any relationship problem… except their own.

But when one of Annabelle's star charts helps catch a thief, Pete might have to admit that the stars could really hold the key to the future…and to his own heart.


Star Shack is a book you can sit outside enjoying the sun and plunge right through it. It is a very cute story about a girl who is overly obsessed with astrology and the guy she's been in love with who really isn't too keen on the idea. Their relationship was cute, but at times I really wanted to strangle Pete. He could be such a douche towards Annabelle and I just wanted to tell her that she could do so much better. But his personality grew on me and the book all together was just fun.

One thing I really enjoyed was reading all the little horoscopes before each chapter. It gave you a glimpse of the people that were about to be introduced and how well or not well their personalities went with it.  This is definitely a read I would recommend if you're looking for something light and something that will put a smile on your face.


Rock This! Thursday Interview with Jennifer Brown

I am so excited to have Jennifer Brown hanging out with us today to discuss books and music. Jennifer is one of my top authors after her debut novel, Hate List, came out last year. (My review here.) And bonus she lives in the same state as me! Which I thought was neat because Missouri doesn't have many authors that I'm aware of.

Your debut novel, Hate List, was a very thought provoking and powerful read. I saw on your site you actually do a lot of humor type writing as well. Do you plan on having a light novel out someday?

I would love to have a lighter novel published! I've written a few of them, but with not a lot of luck. That doesn't keep me from continuing to try, though. Failure is just another learning opportunity! If I get inspired with another lighter novel idea and I fall in love with it, I'll write it!

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

Probably something completely goofy like "Mr. Blue Sky" by E.L.O., or "One Short Day" from Wicked. Unless I'm feeling particularly emo. In that case, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" or "Jesus of Suburbia" (Green Day), of course!

I noticed some of the lyrics to Nickelback's 'If Everyone Cared' in Hate List. Were there any other songs that you listened to that fit the theme of the novel?

Oh, man, so many songs! I have my "unofficial play list" that I created for my Virtual Launch Party back in September. I swear, it's like the lyrics of "Haunted" (Kelly Clarkson) could have actually been written by Valerie! (You can view the playlist here.) But it's only a partial list. A couple of songs that aren't on the list that come to mind are "Bastards on Parade" by Dropkick Murphys, which played on a loop in my head while I was writing the novel, and "Broken" by Lifehouse.

Woah. After listening to "Haunted", I can completely see the Valerie connection! Who is your favorite band or artist?

Tough question. I have my "regulars" -- you know, the music I constantly listen to. Green Day, Pink, Daughtry. But I would have to say my all-time favorite band ever is The Beatles.

Do you have to have any 'essentials' so to say (music, snacks, etc) when you write?

I wouldn't call them "essentials," so much as "habits." You could take them away and I'd do just fine without them. Mostly I need something to drink (caffeine-free, as caffeine scatters my thoughts), and some sort of music. I fairly frequently raid the 99-cent bin at Vintage Stock, because it's full of awesome foreign music. I prefer to listen to music that I can't sing along to while I'm writing, and I love hearing music from other cultures. I also listen to Mozart while writing pretty often. And Enya, but I have to be careful not to sing along.

You're given one golden ticket to see any band/artist from any decade. Who are you going to go see?

John Lennon

Have you had any 'rock star' writing moments?

I visited with a local book group not too long ago. It was a bunch of ladies, many of whom I recognized as moms of my kids' friends. All of a sudden, in walked two young teens, and they started freaking out when they saw me -- shaking and squealing and holding their hands over their mouths and going, "That's HEEER!" It made me laugh and totally surprised me. I kept saying, "Guys, I'm just a mom. No big deal." They stayed through the whole group and asked the best questions ever and were just so... starstruck. It still makes me laugh when I think about it, because they've probably walked past me at a billion school or city events over the years and haven't thought twice about it.

Can we ask what you're working on next?

I'm currently in revisions on my next YA novel, which I hope will be out sometime in spring 2011. It's a story about a girl who falls in love with the new boy at school... only to find out he has a very dangerous side...

Big thanks to Jennifer for taking the time to answer our questions and I'm really looking forward to reading her next book. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, swing by her website.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with Lauren Oliver

Today's guest is debut author, Lauren Oliver, is here to discuss her debut novel and music with us! Before I Fall instantly became one of my all time favorite reads. If you haven't checked out my review, you can read it here.

Your debut novel, Before I Fall, has already hit the New York Times list. How did you feel the moment you heard the news?

Oh, man. I was overjoyed—and immensely, immensely relieved, because I knew my editor and agent had been staring at their inboxes all day, waiting for the list to appear. I was actually in Petaluma, CA on tour, standing outside of this funky little inn I was staying in for the night, and I started prancing up and down and dancing in a little square of sunlight.

 Did you have a playlist you listened to while writing? If so, could you share a few of them with us?

I don’t, actually, because I find that music is so emotive—and moves me so greatly—that it really influences the way I write. If I’m listening to a sad song, for example, my writing just becomes melodramatic and saccharine. So I usually avoid listening to music when I work.

I was amazed how you made each repeating day for Samantha seem like a complete new day. Everything flowed so nicely. How difficult was it to do this?

Thanks! That’s very nice of you to say. :) I spent a long time outlining the whole book—and the major events that would occur on each day—before I began writing, and this helped me greatly. I knew the book would depend on tight plotting and small changes in characterizations and details, so I really took the time to plan before I dove in, and I think this saved me.

You're walking the street. What song is following you?

Oh, man. Depends on the day and my mood! Some days “Defying Gravity,” from the Wicked soundtrack, and the “Halo”/”Walking on Sunshine” mash-up from Glee. Other days, unfortunately, probably more like “I’m Only Happy When It Rains, by Garbage.

Let's say a week before Samantha's accident, her and her friends scored tickets to a concert. What band/artist are they seeing?

Probably Dujeous, a cool hip-hop group from NYC who generously let me use their lyrics in the book. Or Lady Gaga.

Tell us a song you've listened to that you think would make an interesting book.

Whoa—that’s a really cool (but hard) question! Well, I always like country songs because they really are these tremendously great narratives; they tell stories. They are stories. How about The Devil Went Down to Georgia, by Charlie Daniels? I love that song, and I like the idea of a book about a boy outsmarting the devil. Very mythological.

Awesome choice! I would LOVE to read a book based on that song. If you could meet one musician - living or dead - who would it be and why?

John Lennon, probably. I had the most wicked crush on him when I was growing up (even though he died before I was born) and I kind of still have a crush on him.

Samantha talks about her 'greatest hits' - moments in life she would always remember. I really liked the idea of that and was wondering if you could share one of your own 'greatest hits'.

Sure. I’m really blessed to say that I think my life has been really rich with moments that could constitute a greatest hit. But here’s one: a few summers ago, my boyfriend was home after a long absence. We walked across the street to the park, right at the edge of Lake Michigan, to have a picnic lunch, even though it was May and the air was just a little chilly and it was probably slightly too cold to be outside for hours. We ate delicious sandwiches and chocolate pudding. Then we wrapped ourselves up in the blanket, in the sunshine, and he fell asleep, and I lay there and thought about how much I loved him. It was wonderful.

We're always up for new music. Tell us five songs we should definitely be listening to.

You Are the One by Shiny Toy Guns
C’est Beau La Bourgeoisie by Discobitch
Lose Control by Timbaland (feat. Jojo)
Break Bread by Dujeous
Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments yet?

Hmmm. Moments when I felt like a rock star, you mean? Harper (my publisher) arranged for a car to take me to the airport when I started my tour, and for whatever reason the car company sent an enormous Escalade to collect me. I must say I did feel kind of like a rock star then. Or a pimp. One of the two.

Thanks so much for hanging out with us today, Lauren! If you'd like to check out more, swing by Lauren's website


Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Half Way Hiatus + Giveaway!! - CLOSED


For all of May and quite possibly June, I will be on a half way hiatus. The reason why it's half way is because there will still be posts going on here due to ARC tours and some Rock This! Thursday interviews I've set up with authors. I'm doing this for two reasons:

1. I want to focus on my novel. My characters are going to show up on my front door with pitch forks if I don't finish telling their story. 

2. For the past couple of weeks every time I look at my bookcase or review pile, I groan. Books should never make me do that.

So there will still be posts up, but I won't really be around to comment on other blogs, doing any memes, and will be MIA from twitter - at least I hope. That place can be the black hole sometimes. 

In my leave, I'm giving away some books! Please read the directions carefully. Entries that do follow the directions will be deleted from the giveaway.

What can you win?

1 winner will get 4 ARCs from Egmont + Swag!
  • Dark Divine by Bree Despain
  • Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
  • The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
  • Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
  • Assortment of bookmarks
Details on entering:
  • Anyone over the age of 13
  • Anyone who lives in the US or has a US mailing address. I would love to send out of the country but I'm poor. Sorry. 
  • The giveaway will be ending sometime in May! I really haven't decided when yet.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email me: justyourtypicalbookblog(at)
Extra entries?
This is my way of saying thank you to commenters! Please read carefully.
  • +20 for a review you've commented on before this post. This entry can only be used ONCE. It can be from any review that has been posted on the blog. You can click here and check out reviews if you're not for sure which one you commented on. YOU MUST LEAVE THE TITLE OF THE BOOK YOU COMMENTED ON FOR THIS TO COUNT. 
  • +15 for a Rock This! Thursday Interview you've commented on before this post. This entry can only be used ONCE. It can be from any interviews from authors or bloggers that have been posted on the blog. You can click here and check to double check. YOU MUST LEAVE THE PERSON OF THE INTERVIEW YOU COMMENTED ON FOR THIS TO COUNT.
  • There will be a spot for you to put the name that appears when you leave comments on blogs on the entry form. (Example: My name appears as: Just Your Typical Book Blog when I leave comments.) Be sure to put the name or the extra entries above will not be counted. 

Ready to enter?

Fill out the entry form here!  

Note: For those who filled out the form yesterday and before this new post - you're still entered. You don't have to re-fill this out.