Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Asking for YOUR help!

In 2008 my friends took their then 6-year-old daughter, Macy, to the hospital because she had became very ill. Three days later, a parents' worse nightmare came to life: Macy had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL Leukemia).

Over the past two years, Macy has been in and out of hospitals, and doing many rounds of chemotherapy. Both her parents, Brad and Holly, work, but unfortunately their insurance cannot cover all costs of the medical bills. No parent should ever have to go through so much financial stress just to keep their child alive.

Earlier this month, Macy's aunt, Michelle, put together a donation site. Today is the day friends and family have come together to spread the word. We're asking anyone, even if it is just a few dollars, to please donate to help out with Macy's medical bills. (Link to site is that the bottom of the page.)

Macy is now 8-years-old and is in school. She is still undergoing rounds of chemotherapy. She loves to sing and dance! And is full of attitude and love. This girl has been put through the ringer, but she's such a fighter!

All donations will be to help pay for medical cost.

If you cannot donate any money, I ask you to post this message on your own blog, tweet about it, facebook - anything and everything you can do to get this message out there to help Holly and Brad out. And most of all, I hope you keep Macy and her family in your prayers.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Birthday Shout Out!

You may or may not have know this, but I have a book twin. Her name is Sab and she runs YA Bliss. She is freaking hilarious and a great friend. One day we are going to meet up, go to an author's event, drink White Russians, and watch Empire Records together. Of course not in that order...well, maybe. Either way, when it happens, it's going to be EPIC! 

So head on over to YA Bliss or throw Sab a tweet (@YABliss) and wish this chick a very awesome birthday!! *whispers* And whatever you do, do not call her a Texan or she will cyber punch your face! Trust me people, it hurts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rock This! Thursday - Country Strong Edition

Rock This! Thursday is a weekly feature where I discuss books that are about or centered around one thing we love the most: MUSIC! Once in a while I'll even throw in a concert story, a band/artist you should hear, or feature bloggers and authors in an interview.

If you are an author or blogger who would like to swing by and discuss books and music with us, shoot us an email: justyourtypicalbookblog(at)hotmail(dot)com

I. Can't. Stop. Watching.

Brace yourselves ladies and gents.

What was that you ask? That was Garrett Hedlund (!!) and Leighton Messer's duet in their upcoming film, Country Strong. (In theaters January 7th).

I won't go into my I'm a huge Garrett Hedlund fan spill. Most readers already know this, and if you didn't, you do now. When Garrett was put in the cast, the one thing I was looking forward to was hearing him sing. Between the soundtrack and promotions there has been two songs of his released:

Chances Are

Silver Wings

Me being a big fan, I knew I was going to be a bit biased when his tracks came out, but I was blown away by his voice the first time I heard it! I'm not even a big country fan, but I am liking these songs a lot!  Then that little number above came out, and I swooned. The chemistry between Beau and Chiles is fantastic! I didn't think it was possible for me to get more excited to see this, but I've been proven wrong.

Garrett Hedlund | Country Strong Website |  Buy The Soundtrack | Facebook


Sunday, November 21, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

I'm joining up again to participate in the Debut Author Challenge that is being hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren. I joined up this year and so far have read 15 of the 24 books I had listed. (But hey I still have over a month to cram in a few more!)

For 2011 here is my line up (so far):

1. Warped by Maurissa Buibord
2. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
3. The False Princess by Ellis O'Neal
4. Across the Universe by Beth Ravis
5. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
6. Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
7. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
8. Like Mandarin by Kristen Hubbard
9. Clarity by Kim Harrington
10. Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
11. What Can't Wait bu Ashley Hope Perez
12. The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
13. How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain
14. Saving June by Hannah Harrington
15. Hereafter by Tara Hudson
16. Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
17. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
18. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
19. Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasely
20. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
21. Haven by Kristi Cook
22. So Shelly by Ty Roth

Already Read in 2010:
1. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton 

Are you joining in the fun this year? Leave me a comment so I can go check out your list. If you want more details on how to join head on over to The Story Siren and check it out!


Blog Tour: Interview with Keary Taylor + GIVEAWAY!

As part of the Teen Book Scene, I have author Keary Taylor stopping by today to discuss her debut novel, Branded. The first book in her Fallen of Angels series. You can check out more of about Keary and read the first chapter of her book over at her website.

What was the first idea that sparked Branded?

I was watching “The Phantom of the Opera” with my husband one night and it kind of struck me when the Phantom was referred to as the “angel of music”. The phantom was this really scary man capable of terrible things, not what you would normally call an angel. And so the idea of terrifying and sometimes unjust angels kept turning in my mind till the whole concept of Branded came about!

Why angels?

I’ve always had a fascination with supernatural beings. I love vampires, immortals, etc. but wanted to take on something that hadn’t been tapped into as much. I had been trying to come up with something when the idea for Branded sparked. And it was such an open subject, there weren’t the same rules as say, vampires had. I had a lot of freedom to have them do what I wanted.

Are you anything like your main character Jessica?

I always put a little bit of myself into every character I create. I’m the obsessive hopeless romantic like Jessica is. My drink of choice is Dr. Pepper, like Jessica. I also hate doing the dishes, like Jessica.

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

Oh man, that changes from day to day. Right now probably Soldier by the Goo Goo Dolls.

What's one genre you don't think you'll ever write?

I never thought I’d write a dystopian or a contemporary but now those are my upcoming projects… lol. Hum, I don’t think I’ll ever write an all-out mystery novel.

Name three parts of history you would have loved to have witnessed.

I’m not a big history buff so I really had to think about this one. 1- the first shuttle going into space. 2- I’d love to just visit ancient Egypt, I’ve had a long fascination with their mythology. 3- It would be amazing to go to a Shakespearian play in his day.

If Branded was to turn into a movie, who would you cast?

Well, Emmy Rossum is who Jessica is in my mind. I guess that’s because the character came from afore mentioned movie. Alex has been really hard. I haven’t found a perfect person yet but the closest would be Liam Hemsworth or Robert Hoffman. Orlando Bloom could be Cole if he was a little more built. I haven’t yet found a good Sal.

What is one thing you want your readers to walk away with after they've finished reading Branded?

Hum, that’s a hard one. I guess that my whole idea with Branded is just that not everything is as it seems.

Can you tell us what's next for you?
Well, I’m currently on the 4th draft of the next book in the Fall of Angels series, Forsaken. It’s releasing in January. I am also working on a dystopian YA called Eden. I’m about half done with the first draft. And I’m toying with the idea of attempting NaNoWriMo with an idea I have for a contemporary YA. I just wish I didn’t have to sleep so I could have more time to write!


Keary is offering up one copy of Branded. US ONLY! You have until December 5th at 11:59 pm central standard time to enter.

Click here to enter! And good luck :) 


Friday, November 19, 2010

Shadow Hills Paperback Puzzle

I completely loved Anastasia Hopcus's debut novel, Shadow Hills. You can read my review here. As part of the paperback release, I along with other bloggers have joined up for a little contest to reveal the cover puzzle style!

To win a signed poster of Shadow Hills (US ONLY!) you have to answer the following trivia question:

24. What color shoes does Phe wear to the school dance?

Please fill out THIS FORM to enter (ends 11/20 and post your answer to the question in the form. DO NOT put it in the comments.) If I have more than one person with the correct answer, I will use random.org to pick the winner.

My post is the last of the puzzle piece game so make sure to check out yesterday's pieces (and more chances to win) at YA Bliss and DJ's Life in Fiction. You can also swing by Book Nerds for her post and question today!

For more information on Anastasia Hopcus:

Shadow Hills Facebook

Buy Shadow Hills:
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Supernatural Sunday

The episode on Friday night was a good one. I like the boys back on the road again, fighting the monsters, even though in this case it was a monster who was doing good, but yet still killing people. Of course being a family's pet dog and watching mommy in the shower was a bit creepy. But the little mut had a heart. Hopefully he doesn't get hit by a car anytime soon.

Anyways, I really only have three more things to say:

Crowley's a dick.

Sammy needs his soul back.

Bring on the faeries!!


Crash Into Me by Albert Borris (Blog Tour)

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Released: June 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Pages: 272
Source: Bought

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives.

As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living--or if there's no turning back.


Crash Into Me was a book I had kept meaning to read, and I'm so glad I finally did. Ever read a book that you know is powerful yet you have no clue how to describe why? That's kind of how this review is going to be.

The book opens with Owen meeting up with Frank, Jin-Ae, and Audrey. Throughout their trip, old chats come up, telling more about each character before they all decided to make this pact together. Owen was a character who I could understand in some ways, and in others, I needed to know why he thought life wasn't worth living. The same went for Frank who thought he'd never be enough for his family. Then Jin-Ae, a lesbian who couldn't come out to her parents. Then there was Audrey. Oh Audrey. You would think a book that covers such a raw and emotional subject matter wouldn't have comic relief, but because of Audrey there was. And trust me, these kids needed some comic relief.

Besides wondering what was going to happen at the end, I really wanted to know more about Owen. What all he went through, why he was like this kept me very glued to the story. The friendships that build because of this amazed me. Here were four teens thinking no one cared about them when the whole time they had formed this incredible friendship and bond they were too blind to see.

Suicide was the only thing the characters knew, but yet them discussing it, brining things up, making list of ways to kill yourself - it never got repetitive like you may think. Let's face it. A lot of teens go through these feelings. I know I did, and I would have loved to have read a book like this back then.

Overall, Albert Borris did a wonderful job of capturing a very raw and real subject. This is the type of book I think should be read and passed around to anyone who has ever felt this way. And even if you've never found yourself in a dark place, you can still take something from it.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with Girls In The Stacks!

Girls In The Stacks is ran by three ladies named Stacy, Shannan, and Nancy. I love their blog! They give out great reviews, have some very interesting (and funny!) podcasts where they discuss the books they've all read, and do some kick butt interviews with authors! AND they have snazzy shirts too! If you haven't seen this site, you must click here and check it out!

Today for Rock This! Thursday the lovely Stacy has joined me in a discussion of books and music.

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Viva La Vida by Coldplay. I love this song, and if my theories on the song are right then it pretty much sums up how I feel about said theory. Or Get the Party Started by Pink

You've scored a golden ticket that will take you to any concert from any era. The only catch is that you have to take an author with you. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?
This is a hands down no-brainer for me, Lollapalooza ‘92 and I would take Jane Austen. Now, she would probably freak out a bit and be out of sorts for the entire concert, but she is my fav and I have to take my fav.

What was the last book you read that made you fall head over heels in love with it?
The Shapeshifers: The Kiesha’ra of the Den of Shadows by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. This is a compilation of the complete series, so while I didn’t care for one of the books I did immensely enjoy the series as a whole.

Do you have a favorite book that is centered around music?
I actually have two, Ballad by Maggie Steifvater and Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill.

I've been wanting to read Black Hole Sun! (And now I have the song stuck in my head, thanks!) What's one thing you'd like to see more of in YA?
As a 30-ish reader of YA I would like to see older main characters, more parental involvement and less unnecessary cussing. I loathe unnecessary cussing.

I feel ya on the unnecessary cussing! It used to not bother me because sometimes a character just has to get their point across, but lately I've noticed it seems to be more of a shock value than really being about the story. A lot of songs play out like a fantastic story. Is there a song out there you'd like to see made into a book? 
I would like to see someone tackle “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels. I think it would make an excellent springboard for a creepy book.

Who is your favorite band/singer and why? 
Third Day. I like their sound, lyrics and listening to them always brings me peace.

What made you want to start blogging? 
I love to read and really just needed a creative, somehwere to share my obsession. Of course I would have never started on my own, Shannan and Nancy are excellent partners. We complete each other. Cheesy I know, but it’s true.

Have you experienced any 'rock star' moments?
We have been very fortunate and have had a few ‘rock star’ moments with authors but my all time favorite moment happened at Target. On August 24th after dropping off my son at school I rushed to Target in my pajamas and walked as fast as I could to the book section to buy Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The lady in front of me, who was buying the book as well, turned around and said, “Aren’t you Stacy from Girls in the Stacks?” I had no idea who she was. I was shocked, flattered and embarrassed (pajamas remember) all at the same time. True story. (Okay, so it turns out she was a friend of a friend. Does that still count?)

Ha! Yes, it still counts! Thanks for stopping by, Stacy. If you're a blogger who would like to do an interview or guest post for Rock This! Thursday please contact me at: justyourtypicalbookblog(at)hotmail.com. Don't be shy - you know you wanna!!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Blog Tour: Branded by Keary Talyor

Branded by Keary Taylor

Released: February 2010
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Sent by author via blog tour

Rating: ♥♥♥

Night after night, Jessica stands trial before a council of vindictive angels for deeds she didn’t commit. Condemnation brings a branding as they dementedly laugh and point but exaltation starts a war over her soul.These are Jessica’s nightmares.

Alex is everything Jessica could ever want and she’ll do anything to be with him. Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck.This is what she will fight for.But the nightmares rule Jessica’s life and she must find a way to stop the events that are pulling her toward her own judgment or become the object of her greatest fear. And lose Alex forever.


Keary Taylor brings something new to the popular angel trend with her novel, Branded. The idea of a girl standing trial, night after night for things she never commited is definitely a unique and very appealing idea. I liked Jessica. She was easy to slip into yet I felt horrible for her. She lived a very hard life, never being able to sleep, never really being able to connect with anyone because of this burden that had been placed upon her as a young child.

The descriptions in the story were very well written. I could see the council, feel as if I were there knowing all the terror she was put through.  This led to a nice mystery of why this was always happening to her. And while I liked the suspense, sometimes I felt like the fillers of daily life seemed to drag the book down some. It was easy for me to skim over some parts because I didn't really feel them relevant to the story.

Alex and Jessica's relationship was a bit rushed, but played a very important role to the story and Jessica's need to survive all the things that were happening to her. Hints are dropped here and there of why Jessica was standing in for others, and why her nightmares were suddenly beginning to change. When handsome yet very suspicious Cole came around the story, the plot picked up, and kept me more in glued than the beginning did.

While I guessed a good part of Branded, the ending completely took me by surprise! It was well played, and I'm really curious of where the author will take Jessica's life in the second book, Forsaken.

Forsaken will be available in January 2011. To find out more about Keary Taylor and her books check out her website.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November's Top Commenter Giveaway and NaNoWriMo!

If you were around here last year (bless you) you might remember how I participated in NaNoWriMo. Of course I'm doing it again this year! This time around, I'm writing....wait for it....A YOUNG ADULT CONTEMPORARY  NOVEL!!

Now you might be thinking, okay what's the big deal, Amber? After all you DO run a young adult book blog!  But you see it is a big deal because I haven't written a young adult story in over five years. It kind of scares me honestly, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. I would love to give you some short synopsis, but the last person I tried to explain it to turned into about three paragraphs. Just know that my plan is to mix a bit of friendship, love, drama, tears, laughs, and darker parts all into one story. But I can show you this awesome banner that Kim from And Anything Bookish made for me:

So since I'm tackling this crazy idea of writing a novel in a month, my blog is probably going to suffer. I still wanted to have a giveaway in November for the posts that do come up so this is what you can win:

1 Winner will get 2 Contemporary Young Adult Books of THEIR CHOICE!

- Anyone can enter as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. Don't yell at me if they don't. Go yell at them.
- You have to be over 13 years of age.
- All rules of how the monthly commenter giveaway runs can be found here. (Please read them!)

Extra entries:

I decided that I probably won't be spamming JYTBB with NaNo updates because I'll be doing that on my other blog. So I thought why not add that in for some extra points?

+5 points if you go follow my other blog
+7 points if you were already a follower of it before this post
- Leave a comment on this post and tell me which one you are so I can count it!

AND if you leave a comment on any posts I do in November on that blog you get 1 point for each one just like on here! So yeah, tons of ways to rack up commenter entries. 

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, feel free to hit me up on twitter @JYTBB for any rants, word count races, etc!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

Released: November 2010
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopia
Pages: 384
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.


I'm new to the Dystopia genre. After discussing it on twitter with Sab, I came to realize I have read it before, but what can I say I have a bad habit of sticking in my comfort zone of reading. Since Matched was one of the most anticipated books this year, I decided to pop my head out and see what the fuss was about.

Ally Condie's style of writing is very poetic. The words slip in nicely and flow so easily it amazed me how far into the story I was without even realizing it. The only downside I think some readers will find in the beginning of Matched is a bit slow. Normally I can't do a slow book, but the whole world that Cassia is placed in had me so intrigued. The thought of living in a world, one that was controlled from what you ate, to what you wear, to who (if anyone) you will spend the rest of your life - that's just crazy!

For someone who doesn't think of a futuristic world, it was a bit weird at first trying to view a main character who had never really had her own thoughts. Cassia has never went against what she has told, but soon her mind begins to wonder. One thing I loved was seeing a lot of the 'past' which some of it was only fifty or sixy years ago being intertwined in the stories. (Double bonus for using some of Dylan Thomas's work). When Ky's face appears on the screen, it's like the first time Cassia's life actually turns into a life. She suddenly so confused when she shouldn't be, and her feelings are sprinkled throughout the pages and the character growth was paced out so wonderfully - it just made this read so fantastic.

What really makes Matched stand out to me is how beautiful the relationship between Ky and Cassia is. I am a sucker for a good romance, and each chapter my stomach become fluttery wondering what was going to happen to these two. If anything did, I was on pins and needles wondering what the outcome would be.

I will give out a semi spoiler, but it's one I think everyone should know so they don't have the same reaction I did. There is a sequel (and thank you Jenny for reassuring me of it!) so when you get to the last page don't chuck the book on the table shouting out a WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! Because Cassia's story is far from done, and I am so, so very glad of that.