Sunday, May 29, 2011

In My Mailbox

Hello lovelies! I hope you all are having a great Memorial Day Weekend, and remembering what the holiday is all about :)

Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern (Around the World Tours)
Insatiable by Meg Cabot (Publisher)
The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn Bache (Publisher)

Love Story by Jennifer Echols (Teen Book Scene)

The Season by Sarah MacLean (Book Fair - $3 y'all!)
The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turestsky (Contest Craze)

And then my lovely friend Sab sent me this beauty:

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

That's it for me! Leave me a comment below so I can go see what goodies you got in this week! By the way, remember that road trip I talked about last month? I'm doing recaps on my other blog if you want to swing by and see what's up so far :) 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rock This! Thursday: Author Interview with Lara Chapman

I'm very excited because today I have Lara Chapman, debut author of Flawless here to discuss her book and music!

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
BEST. QUESTION. EVER! Probably “Stronger” by Britney Spears.

How does it feel being a debut author?
Like an out of body experience. I can’t believe people (who aren’t related to me) are actually reading something I wrote… and liking it!

What made you want to write for the young adult genre?
I began submitting to contests and getting a lot of comments like “your heroine sounds like a teenager,” so I decided to try my hand at YA. It was a perfect fit for my voice – I can’t imagine writing anything else.

If Flawless had a soundtrack, what songs would we find on it?
I’ll Stand by You by The Pretenders
I’ll Be There for You by Bon Jovi
Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie
Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae
Happy by Leona Lewis
I’m the Only One by Melissa Etheridge
Beautiful by Christina Aguilera
Halo by Beyonce

How long did it take for you to write Flawless?
Not long! I spent about a week storyboarding and wrote the first draft in about six weeks. That’s just how I write… total focus until it’s done! Lots of all-nighters and emailing my awesome critique partners. I took about another month to revise before submitting.

I know when I'm writing there are days where I just want to choke my characters. Did you have any difficulties when writing Sarah?
All the time! I would get so frustrated with her. I just wanted to scream, “Tell Rock how you feel!” But that’s the beauty of writing fiction – your characters (when fully developed) create their own path. It’s like raising kids – you hope they’ll do the right thing and that they’ll be happy, but ultimately it’s all about being true to yourself.

Did you pull any real life moments into Flawless?
The things in FLAWLESS that are closest to my reality are Sarah’s journalism and English teachers and her relationship with Kristen.

The teachers are a combination of my favorite high school teachers and college professors. The greatest educators are the ones that show us how to live a life of meaning outside the classroom and that’s what these teachers represent to me.

Blessed with two remarkable best friends, I know how valuable those relationships are. We’ve been best friends for over thirty years and I couldn’t imagine a day in my life without them. The same is true for Sarah and Kristen – they rely on one another in ways they don’t even realize.

Who is your favorite band or singer and why are they your favorite?
I’m a total music junkie, so this is really hard! I love Eva Cassidy because her voice brings me to tears. Kelly Clarkson is my go-to for “chick” music and Jason Aldean makes me want to fall in love. When I’m in need of a pick-me-up, Bon Jovi does the trick every time!

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
Well, I live in a really small town and it doesn’t take much to get “famous” in that kind of setting. At open house this year, a student’s mom asked me for my autograph! I’ve also received some amazing comments from bloggers who’d read the ARC and loved it. I won’t lie… it’ll make a girl giddy!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Lara! If you want to know more about Lara and where to buy her book, check out the links below!

Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin Needs YOUR help!

I'm sure most of you heard the tragic news that happened to Joplin, Missouri yesterday. A deadly tornado came through demolishing 75% of the town. The last count I heard, they have found 116 bodies. I live about an hour and a half away from Joplin, and last night's storms were damn scary. There were trees in my neighborhood literally bending backwards because of how high the wind was. I've lived in Missouri my entire life, and I'll never get used to tornado season, but this....I've never seen anything like it. These people literally had 5 minutes to take shelter. 5 minutes. Could you even imagine? Watching the news coverage last night, hearing stories of finding people who didn't make it still has me in tears. This could easily have been my town yesterday, and judging by how Mother Nature has been acting lately, it could have even been yours.

My town along with several other cities and towns throughout Missouri are loading up trucks with anything and everything for donations. If you live in Missouri, make sure to call your Chamber of Commerace or City Hall to see what is going on and how you can help. If you are out of state, Heart of Missouri United Way (Columbia, MO) has stepped up and established the Joplin Tornado Relief Fund. 100% of donations will go directly to Joplin United Way, with ZERO overhead. Follow the link, call 573-443-4523 or text "Joplin" to 864833 to donate $10.

If you are on Facebook, make sure to check out The Joplin Tornado Recovery page here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In My Mailbox


My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Galley Grab
Wildefire by Karsten Knight

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnhodlt

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

I kept hearing all these things about Galley Grab, and even though I don't normally like reading from my computer, I decided to sign up and see if there was anything I liked. And holy motherload! I'm glad I did! Now if I can just get them read in time is the big question. (Remember how I said last semester was crazy? Yeah, it doesn't hold a candle to this semester. I've got medical classes until August - FUN!) Anyhoo, I hope you guys had an awesome book week. Leave a comment below so I can go see what you got!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Win a copy of OyMG!

OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy

Jewish girl. Christian camp. Holy moly.

Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?

Giveaway will run until June 2nd and is open to anyone with a US mailing address!
Must be 13 to enter
+3 extra entry points if you comment on my interview with Amy here
Comments on this post are always welcomed, but please click the link below to enter

Rock This! Thursday with Amy Fellner Dominy

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Firework, by Katy Perry. The song is reminding me not to hide in the crowd, but to let my colors show. “You're original, cannot be replaced” I feel good with that song following me.

How does it feel being a debut author?
The first word that pops into my head is SCARY. Because everything is new and unknown. It’s a two-sided coin and excitement is the other face of it. I know that part will take over once my book is launched, but right now I’m nervous because I want everything to go so well.

What drew you into the young adult genre?
If you want to write about conflict, drama and upheaval, is there any better time? J Those years were so important to me, figuring out who I was, who I wanted to be. Those are the issues that still interest me, so it just feels like teen fiction fits. Also, books have been a huge part of my life—at every age. But the books that have made the biggest impact on me are the ones I read when I was a teen. I’d be crazy not to want to write for that age!

I know some writers like to make music playlists for their books. Did you do this for OyMG? If so, could you share a few songs from it?
I’m one of those authors who writes in complete silence or with the background sounds of Muzak from the coffee shop. I talk to myself as I write and I think the sound of music would distract me. I’m kinda sad about it though. A playlist always sounds so cool.

Have you been to a summer camp like the one Ellie goes to?
I loved camp when I was a kid, but I never went to a speech camp like Ellie. My best camp memories are Girl Scout camps and s’mores. Lots of s’mores.

You're given two golden concert tickets to go see any band or singer from any decade. The only catch is that you have to take one of your characters with you. Who do you take and who are you two going to go see?
I’d go back to the 50s and see Buddy Holly. That guy could ROCK! And I’d tell him not to get on the plane (which eventually crashed), because it would have been incredible to hear the music he would have made over the years. I’d take Ellie with me, because I think Buddy’s piano playing would have left even her speechless.

OMG I LOVE BUDDY HOLLY!!! *clears throat* So did Ellie's voice come easily to you while writing OyMG?
If only! Ellie and I disagreed for a long time about who she really was. It’s ironic in a book about listening to your own voice, that I wouldn’t listen to the voice of my main character. I kept trying to make her insecure, like I might have been in her situation. But she resisted and the book ended up shoved into the bottom of a drawer for months. Finally, after time away, I was able to “hear” Ellie. The story came together quickly after that.

If OyMG became a movie, who do you think should be casted as some of your main characters?
Zeydeh, Ellie’s grandpa, would be played by Ian McKellan. Ian played Gandalf in LOTR and was so wise and powerful but also mushy-hearted for his hobbits. Need him, definitely. For Mrs. Yeats, scholarship benefactor and potential Evil Queen, I’d say Meryl Streep because she was so awful-good in The Devil Wears Prada. For Devon, resident hotty, I need someone dark and handsome. Smart. With a sharp sense of humor. And blue, blue eyes. Any names? And for Ellie…no one seems exactly like Ellie. The model on the cover of my book looks the way I imagine her. I wonder if she can act?

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
I went to visit a class of sixth graders a couple of weeks ago. I passed out bookmarks and ended up surrounded by a hoard of kids with pens all asking for autographs. For three minutes, until the bell rang, I felt like a rock star.

Thanks for stopping by, Amy! Wanna know more about Amy and her book? Then check out the links below:
Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Released: May 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Pages: 359
Source: Won
Buy: Amazon

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.


Jennifer Brown became one of my 'must' authors with her powerful and thought-provoking debut novel, Hate List. When I heard her sophomore novel was coming out and she was tackling another tough subject, I was estastic because for some reason the darker the subject, the more I'm drawn to it. I decided a long time ago to never question why I love tough issue books, but I do.

There's no doubt that Jennifer Brown is an awesome writer. She creates these well fleshed out characters and her writing puts you right there with them. Alex, our main girl, was easy to like. She was genuine and a pretty level-headed. Even though her home life wasn't the best - dead mom, dad there but not there, absent older sister, and an annoying younger sister who was severely pissed off at the world, she had two really awesome best friends, Zack and Bethany. The personalities of all three of them together was a perfect example of actual friendship. Sometimes I felt like I was right there with them, going over Vacay Day. And I have to say, Zack is way up there on some of my favorite characters. In such a serious book, you wouldn't expect comic relief, but Zack brings it to the table.

Then there was Cole. Knowing that this book is about an abusive relationship, it's hard to like the abuser even when his true colors haven't shown yet. I did understand the first initial attraction that Alex had towards Cole, and how he drew her in. Tackling a subject like this is difficult one, and Brown handled it well showing you how someone who is a victim sometimes can't find a way out. But sometimes during the book, it seemed things were a bit unbalanced. The only way I can figure out how to explain it is that when it came to relationship with Alex and Cole, there was a lot of telling instead of showing. Feelings and things were kind of summed up instead of allowing me to really see why Alex felt the need to stay with Cole. That is probably the only thing that struck me a bit odd because when it came to Alex's life with her friends and family, I got them completely.

I'm glad there are authors out there like Jennifer Brown who will take on these topics and show you how easily you can slip into someone else. Reading some of the scenes that Alex went through were hard. Knowing what Cole was, you just want to jump into the book, shake Alex, and take her away from the situation. I definitely would recommend this one to anyone especially those that might find themselves in a situation just like Alex did.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

In My Mailbox


Graveminder by Melissa Marr 
Sounds creeptastic!

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
I love the idea of a teen who is getting older with every day.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
I cannot wait to read this one! I've heard excellent things :)

Won / Gifts

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
I pretty much squealed when Jennifer emailed me saying I had won her giveaway. I just finished this Friday night. It's good! My review will be up later this week.

Won from Princess Bookie's Contest Craze. I haven't read this author yet, but it sounds like it'll be really good!

Stay by Deb Caletti

Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Sab from YA Bliss is the bomb dot com and sent me both Stay and Miles From Ordinary for my birthday! She also sent me a funny card (just don't tell her she's funny, it'll go to her pretty little head), and some swag. Seriously kids, she's awesome!!

Not pictured: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
I already let a friend borrow this book (had to share!) I won it from Erica over at The Book Cellar. She also sent me the swag you see at the top :) Thanks, Erica!!

Oh, and did I mention that Stay and Bitter End are both signed? Because they are!! That's it for me this week. Did you get anything super freaking amazing in your mailbox? Let me know in the comments!

PS - As just about everyone knows, Blogger was having its panties in a wad the other day and a lot of comments got deleted. If you entered to win a copy of The Tempest or What Happened to Goodbye and left a comment for the extra entries on either my review or author interview and no longer see it, don't sweat it. I know what ones were deleted and there is no need to re-enter :) 


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Win a copy of Tempest Rising!

Wanna read about mermaids? Wanna read about a surfer named Tempest? Then you clicked on the right link! I have one copy of Tempest Rising to giveaway!

Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother.

The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.


-Only open to those with a US mailing address
-You must be 13 or have your parents' permission to enter
-Giveaway will end  May 26th at 11:59 pm central time
-Winner will be e-mailed
- +3 extra entry points if you comment on my interview with Tracy here
- Comments are always welcomed on this post, but to enter you will have to fill out the form. Just click out that pretty little link below!

Rock This! Thursday with Tracy Deebs

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Ugh. Questions like these make me totally freeze up. Seriously. I’ve had about sixty songs run through my head since I read this questions and I just don’t know what to choose. So, umm, how about Dream On by Aerosmith? I seriously love that song and would be thrilled if it would follow me around …

How does it feel being a debut author?
It feels fantastic! This isn’t my first book, just my first YA (I also write romances under two different names) but it almost feels like it is. I’m as nervous and excited about Tempest Rising as I was about my very first novel, lol. On the plus side, the YA reading community is absolutely amazing and I’m feeling really welcome. Thanks for that!

I love the idea that Tempest is a surfer. Have you done any surfing?
I have, actually. Not like Tempest, obviously, but I managed to stay on my surfboard more often than not (which if you know me, is quite a feat). But I grew up in San Diego, hanging out and surfing on the same beaches that Tempest does. They’re beautiful and I couldn’t resist putting them in the book.

What made you want to write a siren type book?
I love mermaids. Love, love, love mermaids. When I was very young (about three or so) my father brought home a VHS tape of Hans Christian Andersen’s version of The Little Mermaid (long before Disney made a version). Though it was really dark and ended with the little mermaid becoming sea foam instead of living HEA with her prince, I fell in love with the story the first time I saw it. From then on, I was all about mermaids. I watched the movie every day (and I mean every day) for three years. My mom swears to this day that she can recite the dialogue word for word. While I eventually outgrew my obsession with mermaids, when I sat down to write my first YA and was still undecided about what paranormal creature I wanted to tackle, my agent asked, “How do you feel about mermaids?” Instantly, I was right back where I started all those years ago and knew I wasn’t going to be happy writing about anything else.

What are some of your writing necessities?
I’m actually a pretty low-maintenance writer (though I can hear my husband laughing at the idea of me being low-maintenance anything). If possible, I prefer a bottle of Perrier and my iPod, but that’s about it. I can write anywhere, including through WWIII, which is a good thing as I have three boys who hang out in a game room that borders my office.

How long did it take you to write Tempest Rising?
From the second the idea for Tempest Rising came to me, things just kind of slid into place. That doesn’t happen very often with a book, so it’s really thrilling when it does.

In October of 2009, I decided I wanted to write a YA. My friend had done my tarot cards and had basically told me that I wasn’t fulfilled writing the books I was contracted for at the time, and she was right. So I spent a little bit of time thinking about what it was I did want to write (YA and Romance paranormals) and then called my agent and told her what I wanted to do. She was incredibly supportive, and though I hadn’t decided on a YA angle yet (I went dragons with my romance paranormals) she was totally behind me writing one. A few days later, she called me and asked what I thought of mermaids and from the second she said that, everything clicked.

As I mentioned above, I love mermaids, so the idea of writing a dark mermaid paranormal appealed to me immediately. By mid-November I’d put together a proposal (synopsis and first eight chapters) for a book that I was calling Rip Tide and by Christmas my agent had sold the book. I spent January and February finishing the book, which had been renamed Tempest Rising, and turned it in March 1, 2010.

What was the first idea that sparked the character of Tempest?
I’m not sure. Different pieces kind of came together for me. I knew right away that I didn’t want to write your typical mermaid story and that I wanted it to be dark as I don’t think I can write another way, lol. Tempest’s name came to me pretty early in the game and her powers stemmed directly from that. Tempest as a surfer came to me as I was driving one day, listening to some songs from my old surfing days. After that, things just kind of came together.

A lot of songs tell a story. Tell us one song you think would make a good novel.
Wow, there are so many. Hmmmmm…. I’ve been listening to Secrets from One Republic a lot. I think it would make a really good novel.

That's one of my favorites on my current novel playlist! I agree, it could make a really good novel. Tell us six random things about you:

1. I love lipstick, books and fancy earrings (though not necessarily in that order).

2. I love thunderstorms, unexpected downpours, and walking in the rain, but hate the feel of wet clothes against my skin when the storm is over.

3. One summer, I went to every major amusement park in America. Another summer, I ran away with a band.

4. I’ve climbed the Pyramids in Egypt, walked on the banks of the Red Sea, kissed a boy in front of the Eiffel Tower, gotten soaked at Cleopatra’s favorite bathing spot and surfed Diamondhead Bay in Hawaii. I’ve also skydived over New Mexico and stood at the Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls.

5. To this day, my favorite thing to do is to curl up with a cup of tea and a book as I listen to the rain hit against the window.

6. And last but not least, I’m part of the Chills and Thrills Teen Book Tour, which will be visiting all the major cities in Texas in the next month. Check out our website to see the other authors on the tour.

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
A few, where fans have squealed and jumped up and down when we’re introduced, but nothing too outrageous—which I’m very glad about. Not sure what I’d say or do in a real rock star moment, LOL.

Thanks so much for having me—I really appreciate the chance to talk about Tempest Rising (and myself).

And THANK YOU for stopping by! If you want to learn more about Tracy and Tempest Rising then check out the links below!

Tracy Deebs Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Tracy Wolff Website

Waiting on Wednesday

Between by Jessica Warman
Release Date: September 2011

Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and rich --- wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday on the yacht where she’d been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead. She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.

She’s also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.

In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn’t abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she’d been running much more than normal, and that she’d all but stopped eating. Liz’s mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried that Liz was following in her mother’s footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out..

My Thoughts: How creeptastic and beautiful is that cover? I am always down for a dead main character who's trying to figure out what happened. This one seems like it will touch on some serious issues too.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Win a copy of What Happened to Goodbye!

Some of you might have remembered that when Along for the Ride was released, I had this big Sarah Dessen Extravaganza. I had hoped to do the same thing this year when What Happened to Goodbye came out, but then I moved then moved again, went on a trip, and well, I'm broke.


I do have a pretty little ARC that needs to find a home since I just bought my copy today. One lucky gal or guy will be winning it.


- Giveaway is only open to US and Canada. Sorry International readers!
- Giveaway will run until May 24th at 11:59 PM central time
- Comments on this post are always welcomed, but to officially enter, you will need to fill out the form that I will link up below all of this

Extra Entries:
+3 extra entries if you comment on my review here. If you make it creative (other than saying: Great review!) I'll give you an extra point :)
+1 if you tweet about it (leave link in entry form)