Friday, July 30, 2010

Review: Split by Swati Avasthi

Split by Swati Avasthi

Released: March 2010
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary - Abuse
Pages: 282
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.
At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split — how do you begin to live again?


SSplit is one of those novels where I'm really not for sure what to say. I don't mean that like it was a bad read. It was a great read. One that punched me in the gut and made me teary eyed.

The subject of abusive is never a pleasant one nor is it one that is easy to read. It's horrible to know that this type of family, and the things that not only Jace, but his older brother, Christian, were put through happen in real life. That so many children, teens, and adults have suffered these things - it really breaks your heart.

Jace was very well developed and sometimes even scary character. He's so fueled with anger, yet is trying his hardest to get past it, I wasn't for sure how his future would be. The secret that he is carrying around completely took me by surprise. It honestly infuriated me, but at the same time I felt very sympathetic towards him. Throughout the book you see his journey to make amends with his brother, to try and save his mother, and most importantly save himself from turning out like his father.

My only complaint is that during the middle of the read things just seemed to slow down for me. The beginning had me hooked, but then things seemed to drag more, but the ending...the ending was so realistic and due to the subject matter completely perfect.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Released: August 2010
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteenth sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. And a boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride… but they MUST STOP. Because when she was 15? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her.

And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

I really enjoyed Mandy Hubbard's first novel and she did not disappoint me with You Wish.

The idea of this story was fantastic! Think back to every wish you've made at your birthday. Would you really want all of those to come true? Well for 16 year old Kayla, she doesn't really have a choice in the matter. From a life sized My Little Pony, a life supply of gum balls, a guy looking like Ken, and my most favorite wish ever - Raggedy Anne coming to life! Kayla's life is just getting more and more hectic by the minute, but what happens if the wish she made for her best friend's boyfriend to kiss her comes true?

Kayla is my type of character. A girl who is smart, screws up, and is full of witty sass. There were so many moments while reading I was cracking up and just loving every minute of it. Mandy Hubbard really knows how to write a fun novel that anyone of any age can read. While the idea of all your wishes coming true isn't very realistic, but the friendship and insecurities that Kayla has are. This book has a great mixture of a teen life plus a crazy situation.

After reading this, I can say for sure that Mandy has became one of my favorite authors and I think will keep coming up with some great novels for us to read.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rock This! Thursday: Empire Records Edition

Every once in a while I like to throw out something new - like say a friend's fanfic or a concert story. A while ago I thought when I didn't have anything to post, I'd fangirl out my love for the greatest movie ever made: Empire Records.

But I decided not to today. It's not because I don't adore the movie, the characters, can quote the sucker without even watching it, and once upon a time had a mad crush on Rory Cochrane aka Lucas, but because this morning I stumbled across one of the best posts ever. It's all about why Empire Records should be turned into a Young Adult novel. (I KNOW! Why the hell didn't I think of that? Are you reading this, Sab? Genius I tell you!) So click the link below and read Frankie's post of all the reasons why Empire Records should be a YA novel.

Damn the Man! Save the Empire! RaVe On! RaVe On!

But since I feel like I should leave something, I give you some of my favorite quotes. Don't hesitate to join in on the comment section and tell yours. If you haven't seen Empire Records, GO RENT IT NOW!

Lucas: Joe, is it okay if I leave the couch? Cause I'm gonna leave the couch now, okay? My ass is falling asleep, so I gotta go. I'm leaving.

Eddie: This music is the glue of the world, Mark. It's what holds it all together. Without this, life would be meaningless.

A.J.: I don't feel that I need to explain my art to you, Warren.

Lucas: Who knows where thoughts come from. They just appear. (Best writing quote right there!)

Gina: Well Sinead O'Rebellion. Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior!

Mark: We mustn't dwell... no, not today. We can't! Not on Rex Manning day.

Joe: How old are you?
Warren: Old enough to kick your butt through your skull and splatter your brains on the wall.
Joe: Yeah, he's a juvenile.

Warren: Stop calling me Warren! My name isn't f*cking Warren!
Eddie: His name isn't Warren.
Corey: His name isn't Warren.
Berko: His name isn't Warren.
Mark: I thought his name was Warren?


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vote for my story!

Chick Lit Stories is holding a 500 characters contest that I decided to participate in this morning. (Literally wrote it three minutes before I ran out the door for work. If I didn't, I would have forgotten to enter.) The winner gets a $25 giftcard to Amazon which means BOOKS or maybe MUSIC or hell I might even buy a CD. Oh who am I kidding it'll be books.
So if you all would be a doll and click this link and go to the 3RD entry where the screen name is AMBER and rate it for me (5 stars would be awesome, but you can rate it however you want.) I would REALLY appreciate it!

AND if you do vote for me I'll throw in 3 extra points for the Monthly Commenter Giveaway for July. Just leave a comment here saying you voted for my story. (Leaving a comment will add 1 more point so technically you'll be getting 4. See how I can bribe you?) How will I know you actually voted for me?  I won't, but I'm going by the honest system here. Cause honesty is the best policy!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Monthly Top Commenter Giveaway!

I've seen various blogs do different monthly giveaways and I decided to finally join in! Every month I'll be giving ONE of the following to the top commenter.
  • A swag pack
  • A book of their choice
  • A book from my bookshelf

Here are the rules:

  • The giveaway is open to EVERYONE! But please note that some prizes may vary depending on shipping cost and/or if Book Depository does not ship to your country. 
  • NEW RULE: This is a monthly contest which means only the comments in that month will be counted. (i.e.e If it's August all comments in August will count. Comments in past months do not count.)  I will be keeping track of this myself. 
  • If there is a tie between people, their names will be placed in a hat and there will be a winner picked that way.
  • I'll announce the winner on here at the beginning of each month. If your email address is posted on your profile/blog, I will send you an email. If it is not, it's your responsibility to contact me.
  • Winners will have 48 hours to get back to me with their information. If there no response after 48 hours I will go to the next commenter on the list. 
  • I choose which prize will be sent every month. It will always be 1 of the 3.
  • I have the right to change the rules at any time to this giveaway.

Any questions? Feel free to ask here in the comment box or shoot me an email: justyourtypicalbookblog(at)hotmail(dot)com


Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Released: 256
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary Fiction - Young Adult
Pages: 256
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥

Tell me a secret, and I'll tell you one…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.


I think the first sentence of the book: It's hard living in the shadow of a dead girl really says a lot about Miranda herself. A lot of people, especially teens, know what it's like to play second fiddle to someone. Being that Xanda was the rebel of the family, Miranda was always expected to be the good one. She keeps trying to please her mother, never speaking up for herself when she does in fact have a lot to say.

While I did enjoy this book, I was pretty iffy on Miranda. She was constantly thinking of what her sister would have done or what her best friend would do in a lot of the situations she's put it. It was hard to really get a hold on her, and sometimes she even came off as a big drab. But as the progression of the novel goes, Miranda is able to stand up on her own which was a very nice thing to see.

I really enjoyed the way Holly Cupala writes. Her style is very easy going and made the book flow nicely. It was hard to put it down because each page I wanted to know more about everyone. The way she weaved in Miranda's past and present never felt like a huge background drop nor did it get boring. Tell Me A Secret might not have been an instant favorite for me, but I still think it's one a lot of reads of contemporary fiction will enjoy and should definitely check out.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sometimes I like to pretend I can bake.

I made the mistake of watching Ace of Cakes for the first time the other night. Have you seen that show? It's awesome! (And oddly enough I find the main guy of that show kind of cute as long as he's wearing a baseball cap.)

Since I work in a bakery/deli (I bake breads - I don't do cakes) I decided to bust out some of our books and try to make something at home. I saw these tree stump cupcakes:

We didn't have any of the stuff like the little woodland critters or the flowers so I made my own little things like flowers and mushrooms out of fondant icing a couple days before.

Here are my results. It's kind of dark because the camera on my phone kind of sucks, but you get the idea.

I think they turned out half way decent for my first time trying.

Note to self: Almond Bark melts very fast even if it doesn't look like it's melted. So don't keep hitting the start button the microwave or you will burn the heck out of it, and it will stink. Then you have to throw it away and start all over.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with Simone Elkeles

You've been quite the busy lady this year with two different sequels - Rules of Attraction and Return to Paradise - coming out. Do you have a favorite between the two or is kind of like children, you just can't choose one?

There is no way, I could ever pick! I love the chemistry between Carlos and Kiara. Carlos lives his life on the edge and breaks rules whenever possible. When this bad boy is forced to live with good girl Kiara, he's met his match! It's just so unexpected for him to be challenged by shy Kiara, and I find it fascinating! (and hilarious) On the other hand, Caleb and Maggie have a truly deep love story. They are both fighting such strong demons, Caleb with a juvenile record and a dysfunctional family and Maggie with a new physical handicap and struggle to reinvent herself. I love seeing how they strengthen each other without necessarily meaning or wanting to help the other.

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

True Companion by Marc Cohen-- just because it's my favorite and why wouldn't I want to hear my favorite song while I'm walking down the street!?

When writing any of your novels, did you have a playlist? If so, could you share a few songs with us?

You can find playlists I created fom Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction at However, I have to say that I had to add the song Hot N Cold by Katy Perry to the Rules of Attraction playlist because Katy Perry’s groom in that video, Alexander F. Rodriguez, played Alex Fuentes (the hero from Perfect Chemistry) in the book trailer I did – which was shot just like a movie trailer!

I was so excited to hear you were making a trilogy out of the Fuentes brothers. Did you find it hard to slip into Carlos's character?

Not really. I had to think about Alex's family a lot while writing Perfect Chemistry, so I felt like I already "knew" Carlos before starting Rules of Attraction. While Alex was good boy deep in his heart, Carlos is truly a bad boy with a good heart. Carlos was a terrifically fun character to write, because he could be such a jerk and get away with it because that’s who he is (of course it takes good girl Kiara Westford to turn him around). I love writing bad boys and the girls who love them. I’m very excited to start the third book in the trilogy – the hero will be Luis, the youngest Fuentes brother. He’s such a good boy, but he’s also a Fuentes so he’s got that bad boy streak just itching to come out!

Any hints of what is going to happen in Return to Paradise between Caleb and Maggie? And is this where their story ends or is there going to be a third book?

Return to Paradise will be the conclusion of Maggie and Caleb's story. After having some much needed time apart to grow and "find themselves," Maggie and Caleb will cross paths again. I don't want to give away too much, but I will say that those fans who have been begging for a happy ending for these two will not be disappointed. . .

Your favorite band/artist? Why are they your favorite?

Pat McCurdy. . . he is a local musician/comedian in Chicago.

You're given one golden ticket to see ANY band from ANY decade. The only catch is that you have to take one of your characters with you. Who are taking and who are you two going to see?

I'm not sure who I would see, but I would have to break the rules and take two characters: Alex (as played by Alexander F. Rodriguez) and Carlos (as played by Giancarlo Vidrio)! I met Alexander and Giancarlo when they were filming my book trailer for Rules of Attraction, and let's just say I would go see any band just as long as they were with me! Check out my book trailer and I bet you will agree with me!

What song do you think would make a great novel?

I think it's too hard to narrow it down to just one song. I have sixteen songs posted on my playlist for Perfect Chemistry and you should have seen the list I started with! It took me forever to narrow it down! Although, I have to say I think "Here" by Enrique Iglesias is a great song for a love scene.

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?

Whenever I do a book signing, my fans make me feel like a rock star! Some are so excited to get my autograph and tell me their favorite scenes in my books. It's totally surreal and awesome! I love my fans. They are the reason I keep writing.

 If you are an author or blogger who would like to be interviewed or write up a guest post, just shoot us an email: justyourtypicalbookblog(at)hotmail(dot)com.

If you want to learn more about Simone's books check out her website. You can also see my reviews of Perfect Chemistryand Rules of Attraction.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Guest Blog: Sean McCartney discusses his new book!

First off I would like to thank Amber and Cheryl for allowing me to talk with all of you. This is my first blog so it is quite exciting for me.

My name is Sean McCartney and I’m currently on a blog tour to promote my new young adult action adventure novel entitled THE TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB: SECRETS OF THE MAGICAL MEDALLIONS. It’s being released on July 6th, 2010 from Mountainland Publishing.

The story is about Tommy Reed and his treasure hunting friends Shannon McDougal, Jackson Miller and Chris Henderson. One day Tommy receives a rather ordinary looking medallion from his very famous treasure-hunting uncle “Diamond” Jack Reed and finds himself the object of an evil treasure collector named Manuel de la Ernesto. Now Tommy and his friends must find the secret behind the medallion before Manuel can get to them and the medallion.

When I set out to write The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magical Medallions I wanted to pull together all the things from books and movies that I liked. The mystery of the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown, the adventure of Percy Jackson, a little magic from Harry Potter and the action and history of the movies Indiana Jones and national treasure.

Though this is the first book in the Treasure Hunters Club series, with your help to make it a success, the next books will follow. I have planned six treasure hunting books as they follow the club through the 8th grade and into high school. Of course, as they get older their treasure hunts get more dangerous and more exciting.

I have been asked why I created a series around treasure hunting. The truth is I believe treasure hunting is something everyone can do. You don’t need super powers just a desire to do research and find where to look. Also treasure hunting touches on the sidebars of history, the stuff not in the textbooks. That is usually the most interesting and provides a solid building block for the series.

My goal has always been to be published and have a series that kids can enjoy and have a lot of fun reading. I was lucky to find a publisher who believes in the series as much as I do. What I was surprised to find out was how much the publishing world has changed since I started this journey toward “being published.” The emergence of ebooks has shaken the publishing world like never before and I believe we have only scratched the surface of what this new technology can do to help promote reading.

In the meantime, I hope you take a moment to check out my website and learn more about the series and read some short stories about the characters.

Thank you again for this opportunity and allowing me to be here and I hope you enjoy the book and the series.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In My Mailbox

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

For Review:
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Traveling ARC Tours)
  • Stranded by J.T. Dutton (Publisher)
  • Forget You by Jennifer Echols (Traveling ARC Tours)
  • Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

  • Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
  • Waiting to Score by J.E. MacLeod
I joined Jeri Smith-Ready's Street Team and got some awesome book marks and swag. Mindi Scott also sent me a very sweet card and some bookmarks of her debut novel, Freefall.

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


Friday, July 2, 2010

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (Book One)

Released: June 2010
Publisher: HaperCollins
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal - Series
Pages: 304
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.


Growing up, I loved the Little Mermaid so when I heard about Forgive My Fins, I thought for the inner mermaid fan in me who can still bust out A Whole New World, would have to give it a try. And holy crab cakes was I glad I did! Forgive My Fins was such a cute, charming, and fun read!

Lilly is a bit bubbly, a bit stubborn, sometimes childish, but overall a great voice to slip into. I really like how she had her own insecurites when it came to her looks and how she dressed, but it wasn't the overly sappy and whiny voice that some ficitional characters have. Another thing that I have to point out is the uniqueness in words that Terri decided to use. There are many sea references in Lilly's vocabulary, like son of a swordfish, that really add to the mermaid tale, but not so much where you find yourself annoyed.

Then there was Quince. Oh Quincey boy how I adore you and the fact you used the word: darlin'. The banter between Lilly and Quince was amusing and cute all at the same time. Quince has the slightly bad boy vibe to him, but one I think even anti-bad boys can learn to love.

The plot itself is on the predictable side, but I think a lot of people will enjoy the freshness of Lilly's voice and the overall charm the mermaid world has. I really adored Terri Lynn Childs writing. She never gave too much of a character or history dump that sometimes happens when reading any paranormal read. You learn about Lilly's world as the story goes on.  The epilogue was a bit surprising, but left me curious enough to see what else is going to happen in the kingdom of Thalassinian in the second book.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rock This! Thursday: Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

Normally I feature a book or an author for Rock This! Thursday, but this week I've got something new for you guys. Now before you go running when you see the word fanfiction - hear me out here.

Some of you (okay, most of you) probably don't know this, but I used to write fanfiction. I loved it. It's a great way for writers to put their work out there, and hey most of the characters are already developed for you. The fanfiction I mainly wrote and read were based on Garrett Hedlund movies.  (Look this kid up. He's going to be HUGE!)

Because of this fangirl way of mine, I've had the pleasure of not only reading some great stories but making friends with these amazing talented writers. One of them is named Laura aka Maxiekat and I'm featuring her story today.

Summary: A chance meeting at a NYC coffee shop leads to old friends reconnecting. Jack hasn't seen Kathy in years. Back when they were teens, she had a huge crush on him, but he was a tough kid and she was nerdy and shy. Would things be different this time around?

You don't necessarily have to watch Four Brothers to read this. (Though you should watch it because it was a great movie. If you haven't seen it, there will be some spoilers, but this is not based on the movie at all.) Laura took the character of Jack *sighs*, threw in her own main character, Kathy, along with a few minor characters (*waves at Steve*) and created such a wonderful and fantastic story.

The setting is based on one night in New York with flashbacks that weave the two characters history together. I cannot praise Laura's writing enough. She is SO talented, and I will not be surprised when she one day gets published. Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk will make you laugh, make you get teary eyed, break your heart, and make you smile. Seriously guys, click the link under the banner and go check it out. You will not be disappointed!