Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rock This! Thursday with Julie Halpern

Earlier this month I had the great pleasure of reading Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern. It was the first book of Julie's I have read, and you can read my review of this awesome amazing quirky fun novel HERE. I knew I had to have Julie here on the blog for Rock This! Thursday. Get prepared to laugh guys, because she is freaking hilarious!

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
The first thing that came to mind was “Saturday Night Fever,” which is way too obvious. And then I thought “Everybody’s Talkin’” from “Midnight Cowboy.” Both odd choices because they are dudes from the 70s. And I am not a male prostitute. Next came “Walk” by Pantera, but that’s only when I’m really mad. I may have to go with, “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies. Not that I’m a man (again, geez!), but it has a nice walking quality to it.

When did you first start writing stories?
In high school I wrote romantic stories for my friends involving either people we knew in school who didn’t actually know who we were or famous people who also didn’t know who we were. I don’t think. I used a typewriter, even though we had a computer. It seemed sexier that way.

Typewriters are quite sexy. Did you make a playlist for Don't Stop Now? If so, can you share a few tracks with us?
I made a playlist while I was writing it, just in case anyone ever asked for it. Here it is:

Beck – I Get Lonesome
Halo Benders – God Don’t Make No Junk
Tobin Sprout – Gas Daddy Gas
Hayden – Bad as They Seem
Guided by Voices – Don’t Stop Now
Modest Mouse – Baby Blue Sedan
Sonic Youth – Shoot
Cat Stevens – Wild World
The Smiths – Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Dar Williams – When I was a Boy
The Monkees – The Door Into Summer
Yo La Tengo – Big Day Coming

But don’t ask me why I chose any of these songs. I have a terrible memory.

I'm always curious of "the first idea" a writer gets. What was yours with Don't Stop Now?
The whole plotline about a sort-of friend who fakes her own kidnapping and then tells only one person actually happened to me (I was the friend she told). I lied to the police and FBI and everything. Nothing else in the book is true (except maybe some best boy friend crushing), but it always seemed so weird to me I had to put it in a book.

From reading your blog I know you love to travel. If you could go anywhere this very instant, where would it be?
Australia. It’s always Australia. Although financial, time and distance reasons mean I probably won’t go there again for a very, very long time. I lived there ten years ago and would love to go back now that I have a family to share it with.

I love that you included so many real road side attractions in the book (and that your site has actual pictures up.) Are there anymore places you wish you would have included?
I secretly have a dream to be a travel writer or travel TV show host. I hope it comes across in Don’t Stop Now that I plan a mean road trip. I never visit anywhere without finding somewhere funky to stop. I don’t feel bad that I had to leave anything out. I’ll just save those places for another book, another time.

You're given two golden concert tickets to see any band from any era. The only catch is that you have to take one of your characters with you. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?
The problem with that question (not that it is a bad question, but the problem I am having answering it) is that I would also have to be a different age than I am now to really appreciate it. I am too jaded to obsess over music nowadays. And I have pretty much seen all of my favorite bands live. So, if it were boring old me now, I think I would have to say the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special. I get to time travel, right? And I think I’d take Tracy. She’s the best friend in Get Well Soon and has a hugely hilarious part in the sequel. She’s quite possibly my favorite character I’ve ever written. Definitely the funniest.

What is genre you don't see yourself ever writing?
I think I’d suck at mystery, so Don’t Stop Now is the closest I’ll get to that. I’ll probably not get to historical fiction because I’m afraid of screwing up the facts and having some authority on the subject attack me, but I have always had an obsession with old circuses. So I won’t say never!

Can you tell us what other projects you're working on?
I’m revising the sequel to Get Well Soon right now. I hadn’t considered writing a sequel, but when it came time to write my fourth novel I thought of the idea, “How do you go back to normal when you just got out of a mental hospital?” It’s certainly something I’ve had to contend with. I’m looking forward to its release (fall 2012) to see what people think!

Since you've been published, have you experienced any 'rock star writing' moments?
Um, not really? Is that pathetic? I’ve had some amazing interactions with teens, especially about Get Well Soon and how it helped them think about things, change things. A few of them have even been life-saving situations, which blows my mind. But nothing too rock star. I wouldn’t mind having one, though, so if anyone wants to faint in my presence, go ahead.

I think having teens tell you that your book helped them qualifies for a very big rock star moment! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Julie!

If you would like to learn more about Julie and her awesome books, check out the links below:

Website | Goodreads | Buy Don't Stop Now | Buy Get Well Soon

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

I haven't done a WOW post in forever, but holy schnikes, Batman when I saw this beauty of a cover, I knew I HAD to do one!

Tempest by Julie Cross
Release Date: January 2012

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him. Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world. 

How did I seriously not know about this book?! It sounds amazingly awesome! I've always loved anything to do with time travel (why hai there Back to the Future) so I'm definitely going to put this on my pre-order list. And that cover? BEAUTIFUL!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Want to go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman 

Released: August 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Contemporary - Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Teen Book Scene
Buy: Amazon 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Want to Go Private? is a smack in the face of exactly how scary the online world can be. Abby is just starting high school, and while her best friend, Faith, is excited about all the new possibilities, Abby isn't. She still wants things to be the same, and then she meets Luke online. Luke is older than her, but he makes her feel special. Tells her that she's right and everyone else in her life is wrong.

Starting in, I had a bit of trouble getting into the character of Abby due to her being a younger teen. She was also naive which made the book that more scary as you could see Luke taking advantage of her. She never questioned why he always had his face a bit shadowed in pictures he sent. As the pages turn you see him already trying to control her. A boy at school is interested in her, but she stops most contact with him because of Luke. She starts avoiding her best friend completely and all her grades start dropping because she is consumed by being online.

Sarah Darer Littman does not shy away or touch lightly when writing Luke. There were a few graphic things put into the novel that made my stomach flip, and I wanted to reach in and take Abby away from this man who kept telling her he loved her, but was convincing her to take pictures of her self and worse. The story is told in three parts, and when part one ended, after she meets up with Luke, I was anxious to see what was going to happen next.

From there the book shows what Abby's family and friends go through during the time of her disappearance as it unravels that she had became a victim of an online predator. Switching point of views like that really pulled you in, made you worry, made you angry, and added such emotions to this story. These people cared. While Abby thought they didn't, you can see they truly did, even her bratty younger sister, Lily. For part there, the aftermath of everything that happened, I think the author handed it all very well.

It's scary to know that while Abby is a fictional character, her story is not fiction. With so much of our lives being poured onto online, this novel made me stop and think about all the things I put out there. The people I've talked to, even back when I was a teenager, because the fact is: You never know who is behind the computer screen. Want to Go Private? is a powerful read, and I applaud Sara Darer Littman for bringing awareness on the subject.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rock This! Thursday with Kristen Tracy

As part of the Teen Book Scene tour, I have Kristen Tracy here with us today! Kristen has a handful of books already out. She writes for teens and tweens! Her teen novels include: Lost It, Crimes of Sarah, A Field of Guide for Heartbreakers, and her upcoming novel, which we're discussing today, Sharks and Boys! And of course, a few music questions thrown into the mix!

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

Sharks and Boys makes your sixth published book, does the writing process get any easier?
I wouldn’t say it gets easier. Yesterday, I took my mom to the California Academy of Sciences and there was a hole in the wall next to one of the aquariums and a sign near the hole said, “Reach inside and touch.” And so I flung my hand in this dark hole but I couldn’t feel anything. Then I got scared, because what if something with teeth was inside the hole? So I yanked my hand back out. That sort of reminds me of the writing process. Lots of risky stuff happens when you write a book. Anything could happen. Anything. Also, this stuff often involves your hands. Because you use those to type.

I love hearing about that first idea that sparked a story. What was yours?
I used to float down irrigation canals in a raft when I was a kid in Idaho. I think that’s where the story started for me. The water wasn’t that deep, but sometimes it was murky and you couldn’t see all the way to the bottom. My imagination ran wild! And I always enjoy listening to shark attack stories. Recently, I met a swimsuit model at a party that had been bitten by a shark on her foot. She was wearing a silver sequin dress underwater and she figured that the shark mistook her for a school of fish. I find those types of stories ferociously interesting.

Is there any genre you see yourself not writing?
I probably won’t ever write manuals for IKEA on how to assemble their furniture. Though they could really use my skills.

HA! Was it hard finding 'the voice' for Enid?
I like Enid. She’s fragile. I didn’t have a problem finding her voice. But I wanted to make sure that I created a girl who was still forming her belief system and yet knew enough about herself to persevere through such terrifying circumstances.

A lot of songs tell a story. Name a song that would make a good novel?
“River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner. Nothing screams narrative like a love song that appropriates a childhood rag doll, a mountain, a river, and the man of your dreams. Sort of. “And do I love you, my oh my. Yeh. River deep mountain high.”

I love making playlists for stories I write. Did you make one for Sharks and Boys? If so, could you share a few with us?
I did not have a play list for SHARKS and BOYS. I actually can’t listen to music when I write. I need silence. Tragically, this means that I can’t write in cafes either. I guess I could have lied about this answer and just created a really cool playlist. Maybe I’ll do that in the future.

How much of the novel changed from the first draft to what's about to be published?
It always ended the way it ended. At one point I was stuck and I called a friend for help and she said, “Add more sharks!” And I said, “I’m worried that I’ve got too many sharks already.” And she said, “When you’re writing a teen shark novel, there is no such thing as too many sharks.” I think that’s a great motto for writing. And life.

Do you have a song that can pick you up from any crappy day?
People pick me up more than songs. I call my friend Ulla. Or Cory. Or Benz.

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
It’s still weird when I’m out somewhere and people recognize me. Usually this happens at a literary event. Or at a bus stop near a literary event.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kristen! If you want to learn more about her and her books, check out the following sites:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Buy Sharks and Boys

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Author Interview: Suzanne Young

Guys I am so freaking excited to have Suzanne on the blog today! I adored her debut novel, The Naughty List and love how quirky she is just in general via her blog.

You're walking down the street - what song is playing?
Hm… probably something from The Black Keys (Sinister Kid), or maybe Radiohead’s Karma Police.

What was the first idea that sparked A Need So Beautiful?
A sick family member and a stranger who helped me through it with just a random conversation. It sparked the idea of the Forgotten.

Did you make a playlist for A Need So Beautiful? If so, could you share a few tracks with us?
I did have a playlist, but I wrote it so long ago, I’m not sure if the songs really work. But here’s what I’d have on a new playlist:

She Talks to Angels- The Black Crowes
The Scientist-Coldplay
Iris- The GooGoo Dolls
Just Breathe- Pearl Jam
Closer- Kings of Leon

I know in writing some days you just want to throw in the towel or choke a character or two. Who was the most difficult character to write?
Definitely Monroe Swift. His character was really complex because his motives were never clear, at least until the end. So sometimes I thought of just killing him off. haha

Many songs tell a story. What song do you think would make a good YA novel?
I love Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. The lyrics are so bittersweet and Tracy puts such heart and soul behind it. It’s amazing.

If Tessa from The Naughty List and Charlotte met up, do you think they would be friends?
I think Tessa could be friends with anyone. But I doubt their friendship would last long. Charlotte is trying to keep a secret, and Tessa thrives on DISCOVERING secrets. So I think Charlotte would stay clear of Tessa and the Smitten Kittens.

You've been given two golden concert tickets to see any band from any era. The only catch is that you have to take one of your characters from any story with you. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?
Well, I’m definitely bringing Harlin. I’m scared of motorcycles, but I think I’d be safe with him. Then we’d have donuts and go see The Beatles. And then take the long way home.

I know from your blog and via twitter you are an Eddie Vedder fan. What is your favorite song by him? Mine is Guaranteed :)
Oh, I love Guaranteed! I really love The End on the Backspacer album. I love Black and Corduroy, as well. Oh, heck, I love most anything that Eddie sings.

Tell us five random facts about yourself:

1. I name my dogs after 80’s TV show characters
2. I haven’t read any of my books in book form
3. My favorite food is candycorn
4. I have a superhuman sense of smell
5. My favorite vacation was to the Grand Canyon

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
Not many, to be honest. I remember early on meeting a girl who recognized me from my blog—and she was dying to read The Naughty List so I gave her an ARC. She was over the moon and I felt kinda cool for a second. Haha. I’m pretty accessible to bloggers and readers here in Portland so they’re used to seeing me by now. So I think my rockstar days are over.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Released: June 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 384
Source: Teen Book Scene
Buy: Amazon

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

When Jana Webster wakes up after her bowling accident, she finds herself in Dead School. (Ya, could you imagine having to go to more school AFTER you died?) The first thing on her mind isn't being freaked out or even pissed off that she's dead - she's more concerned that she can no longer be with her boyfriend, Michael, who is her soul-mate.

At least that's what she thinks.

Dead Rules is definitely a unique tale that deals with death in a whole other way. You always think when you die, you'll be judged for what you did when you were alive. But in this story, you're judged on how you die which makes you either a Slider or a Riser. (And you don't want to be a Slider...well, I wouldn't mind being one if it means I get to hang out with Mars.) While trying to figure out exactly why there is such a thing as Dead School, and why a very cute and brooding guy named Mars keeps coming into her life, Jana knows one thing for sure: She wants Michael back, and if she has to, she'll kill him to get him there with her.

There was a lot of questioning of what exactly happened to Jana the night she died. She starts getting creepy messages, but her head is more wrapped around the love of her life. Normally when a character is like this, I would get annoyed, but because the book is written in third person, Russell did a great job of mixing things up where you would get to see things from not only Jana's perspective, but also Mars's and even Michael's. About half-way through the book, I kind of predicted on how things were going to end, and even though I was right, it still didn't take the fun away for me.

The world and the story itself was really interesting, had some funny moments, and like I said very unique. Even the minor characters fitted in nicely with their own voice, and while there wasn't a whole lot of focus on them, they were still well rounded characters.

The ending didn't exactly tie up nicely, leaving it open for a second book - which please someone tell me there will be a second book! Still, if you've ever wanted to give the world of ghosts or paranormal a chance, this is your book! And if you already like this genre, don't miss out on Dead Rules!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

In My Mailbox

For Review:

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.


Fair Game by Elizabeth White

Jana Cutrere's homecoming to Vancleave, Mississippi, is anything but dull. Before she's even reached town, the beautiful young widow has a run-in with a stray cow, loses her son in the woods, rescues an injured fawn, and comes face-to-face with Grant Gonzales, her high school crush.

Grant recently returned to town himself amid hushed controversy. His only plan: leave the corporate world behind and open a hunting reserve. Seeing Jana again ignites old memories . . . and a painful past.Tensions boil over when he learns exactly why she returned. Jana plans to convince her grandfather to develop a wildlife rescue center-dead center on the prime hunting property he promised to sell to Grant!

Jana is determined to make a new start for herself and her two children-and willing to fight for it. With deadlines drawing near for the sale of the property and no decision from her grandfather, can Jana trust God with her and Grant's future, or will explosive emotions and diametrically opposing views tear them apart?

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


Friday, June 17, 2011

Bitter End Tour: Multi-Character Interview!

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
“Landslide,” by The Dixie Chicks
Cole: “If You Leave me Now,” by Chicago (cheesy and Eighties retro, but…yeah)
Bethany: Something…Woodstockish.
Zack: “I’m Too Sexy,” by Right Said Fred

Favorite person in the world?

Cole: Alex. My little Emily Dickinson. She’s pretty much all I’ve got. I wish I would stop screwing it up for us.
Bethany: You can’t make me pick just one. We’re the three-headed monster. Zack and Alex. They’re my faves.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A superhero, only I wouldn’t look wear those pervy molesto-tights. I’d have like, armor or something. And a helmet with spikes. Ka-pow!

Oh Zack, you are so adorkable *pinches cheeks*. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Bethany: As much as he wanted…and that’s why we simply must stop deforestation. So the woodchucks can chuck wood.

One ability you wish you had?
To change my relationship with Cole. I’d give anything for that.

Want to know my thoughts on Bitter End? Read my review here. Don't forget to swing by Lost For Words tomorrow for the next tour stop!


Win a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The story of a girl named Hannah Baker who takes her own life. But before she does, she records several cassette tapes explaining why and sends them to the people she feels pushed her toward that decision. The story is told from the point of view of Clay Jensen who spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah’s voice as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself—a truth he never wanted to face.


On May 12, 2011, Penguin launched the 13RW Project as a place for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why to record their thoughts, stories, videos and photos relating to the book, and to view what other readers from all across the country have shared.

To help celebrate the paperback release of this awesome book, Big Honcho Media is giving away 2 copies to my readers!

- Giveaway will run until July 1st at 11:59 p.m. central time.
- You must be 13 years or older to enter
- Only open those with a US mailing address
- While I do love reading comments, you can only enter the giveaway by clicking the link below :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rock This! Thursday with Sarah Littman

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Praise You by Fatboy Slim

I love the dance troupe in the official video. They dance either a) like I dance or b) the way my daughter sees me dance through her teenage eyes when I think I’m being really cool on the dance floor. Not sure which.

What was the first idea that sparked Want to Go Private?
Supervisory Special Agent Tom Lawler, from the New Haven Office of the FBI, came to my son’s school to give a presentation about Internet Safety. I was speaking to him after his talk, and he told me about a case in CT. I talk about it in this video:

I know some authors have playlists of their novels, did you make one for this one? If so, could you share a few tracks with us?
I really envy those authors with their interesting playlists, because can’t write to music with lyrics. The only time I write to music at all is if I’m in a public space and there are people talking annoyingly loud – then I tend to put on classical music because there are no lyrics to distract me from the words in my head.

What did you find most difficult writing Abby's story?
The most difficult scene to write in WTGP is one of which only small fragments appear in the book. When my editor sent back the first round of revisions, she told me it seemed like Abby and Luke “just went for a car ride.” I realized she was right and the problem was that I didn’t know what happened because I didn’t want to think about it. I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse myself and I have a daughter about Abby’s age, and I really just DIDN’T. WANT. TO. GO. THERE. But as a writer, “going there” is one of the most important parts of my job description.

I started to write the scene of “What Happened in the Motel Room” and immediately began having horrible nightmares. I was afraid I’d have to go back into therapy. So I stopped, and just kept revising the rest of the book. But then I got to the point where I couldn’t continue revising until I opened the door to that room and faced what happened to Abby there. So one day, after my kids left for school, I sat down and turned the handle.

Let’s just say that if I hadn’t had to drive a carpool that afternoon, I would have hit the scotch afterwards. And I don’t even like scotch!*

*And alcohol is not a substitute for dealing with problems. But I was shaking so much, I could have used a glass for “medicinal purposes”.

You're given two golden concert tickets to see any show from any era. The only catch is that you have to take a character from one of your books with you. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?
Callie from PURGE and I are going to see The Clash and you can find us in the mosh pit. We’re going to dance out some of our problems with suppressed anger.

Is there any genre you don't think you'll ever write?
One thing I’ve learned at my vast age (!) is to never say “never”. I’ve been told I’m difficult to “brand” because all of my books are so different. But writing for me is about learning and discovery, as well as love of words. I don’t want to write about the same type of thing all the time, because I’d get frustrated. While it might not be the best decision for my career, it’s the best thing for my intellectual development and sanity.

What's the one thing you want people to take with them when they read Want to Go Private?
That Internet predation doesn’t just happen to “bad kids” who have “bad parents.”

Tell us five random facts about you:

1) I’ve been told I drive like a man. I’m not sure if it was meant as a compliment.

2) I lived on a dairy farm in a small English village for 10 years. I am probably one of the few people in Greenwich, CT who can talk about the lactation yield curves of dairy cows. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often come up at cocktail parties.

3) I have a bad habit of leaving my iPhone on the kitchen counter and it doesn’t have a password. So if you read a Facebook status update that involves poop or my deep love for any right-wing political candidate, chances are my delightful progeny are messing with me.

4)Over a million people have seen my blue-haired cartoon alter ego in “Q and  A,” the animation based on the StoryCorps interview my son did of me when he was 12. I think I look almost as good as Marge Simpson. What do you think?

5) I was a Deadhead hippie chick who ended up joining a sorority (KKG) my junior year at Duke. Like I said, “never say ‘never’” ;-)

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
At the New York Teen Author Festival this year I was part of the Five Borough Read at the Bronx Library Center. When we walked in, a group of girls asked who was Sarah. My first reaction (thinking as a political
columnist) was “Who wants to know?” But I ‘fessed up to being me, and it was awesome. They’d all read PURGE and were so excited to meet me! Fortunately I’d brought a bunch of bookmarks with me and was able to personalize and sign them. It was the first time I really felt like a “rock star”.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 
Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley 
Want To Go Private? by Sarah Littman 
Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs 
Dead Rules by Randy Russell
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Not Pictured:
Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern (Review Here LOVED LOVED this one!)

That's it for me, gals and guys! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. Mine is keeping busy with tons of non-blogging things, but I'm hoping to squeeze in as many books as possible. Remember June is Contemporary Month so make sure to read tons of them! And if you read one of The Contemps book, make sure to link up your reviews (click on the sidebar) and get the chance to win some fantastic prizes!!



A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Released: June 2011
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Genre: Contemporary/Paranormal
Pages: 272
Source: YA Bliss
Buy: Amazon

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.


One thing I love is when an author comes out with a book that is completely different from the style they had before. I really enjoyed Suzanne's debut The Naughty List and still need to read the second one. In that book, Suzanne's writing was fun and spunky. In this one, she took it to a whole other level with a beautiful and captivating tale.

The story itself does have paranormal elements to it, but yet, holds really well to a contemporary novel. Seeing as I love both of those genres, it was a nice balance to have. The voice of Charlotte was wonderful. I was drawn in, completely submerged in her life, and finding out what exactly this Need was. From the splashes of life she sees in other, the writing paints a vibrant picture of everything she's going through.

No review could ever be complete with me gushing about a new favorite character crush. Charlotte's boyfriend, Harlin, is yummy. Full-on-hot-dayum-eat-him-with-a-spoon type of yummy. I normally am drawn to the bad boys (in life and fiction), but Harlin isn't that. Sure he has a motorcycle and wears a leather jacket, but he's sincere, caring, and has a sensitive side. The relationship between Charlotte and him was a great love story. You knew that they truly loved one another and wanted to be together.

Harlin wasn't the only character that was great. All of the secondary characters were nicely fleshed out, even ones that were only there for a brief moment in the story. I love it when an author can really capture individual voices for all characters, making sure they don't just blend together.

And that ending! Oh Suzanne, you evil, evil woman you for making me do a slo-mo Noooooooo! This definitely is an all-time favorite for me. I think one main reason why because of how much heart was put into all of it. I cannot wait to see what's in store next for Charlotte and to learn more about the Forgotten. 


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rock This! Thursday Author Interview with Jennifer Rush

I'm pumped to have Jennifer Rush, a 2012 debut YA author on the blog today to discuss some music and her novel! Altered isn't coming out until next fall, and while I know that's a ways away, this book needs to be on your radar! But what is Altered about you ask? Well, I'll tell you:

Dollhouse meets Prison Break for teens, about a 17-year-old who finds herself on the run from her father's enigmatic Agency along with the four teen boys the Agency had been experimenting on, in a mystery of erased memories, secret identities, and genetic alteration.

Sounds good, right? Of course it does. So go add it to your Goodreads page :)

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Probably The Drumming Song by Florence and the Machine, simply because I’m usually wishing I was somewhere else, and that song always has the ability to transport me. It’s got such a cool, other-worldly sound to it.

What was the first story you've ever wrote?
I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It was a vampire book. I think the bad-boy vamp’s name was Thorne and of course he was dark, gorgeous and broody. I’m sure it was quite lame.

I know in writing there are moments where you just want to reach into the computer and choke the crap out of someone. That ever happen with one of your characters?
Yes! At one time or another, all of them make me feel that way. Sometimes I can’t get inside their head. Or they just aren’t coming alive on the page. Or they do stupid things that annoy me but that make total sense to the book forcing me to go with it.

What was the hardest thing about getting published for you?
Being patient and persevering. I wanted to quit a lot. I had the sickening feeling that I would never sign with an agent. And when you’re writing and revising year after year, you brainwash yourself into believing it will never happen. I often felt like I wasn’t good enough.

What was your favorite part of writing Altered? Your least favorite?
Um, would it be lame to say I enjoyed all parts? (JYTBB: Not lame at all!) I liked just about any scene with Anna and Sam. Especially if Sam was shirtless. And I liked the parts with guns. There’s something undeniably sexy about a guy field-stripping a gun. See a theme here? :) Least favorite…I loathe rereading a manuscript for the eight gazillionth time looking for spelling and punctuation errors. And sometimes, the bigger revisions can seem daunting.

Umm...I haven't met Sam yet, but I think I want to meet him shirtless :) Tell us that one song that can pull you out of any funk.
The Drumming Song! And Danse Russe by Hurt. And Black Betty by Ram Jam.

You've been given two golden concert tickets to go see any band/singer from any era. The only catch is that you have to take a character from your book. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?
Oh, this is a hard one…any classic rock concert and I’d take Cas from Altered. He’s a party boy with a big heart and a great sense of humor. I think he’d be the most fun.

Tell us five random facts about you:
1. When I was eight, I got caught in the tire of a four-wheeler and it ran over my face. I milked that injury for days.
2. I hated the babysitters so much that at the age of six, I leapt from the backseat of a moving vehicle trying to escape.
3. I’ve never broken a bone.
4. I cannot stand the feeling of a wet popsicle stick.
5. I love cars, especially classic muscle cars.

Did you make a playlist for Altered? If so, can you share a few tracks with us?
I have a general writing playlist, but when I’m working on one particular project, I tend to reorganize so the songs that are relevant to the story play in order. So here are a few I listened to while writing ALTERED:

The Outsider by A Perfect Circle
Danse Russe, Wars, Losing and Rapture by Hurt
Bloodstream by Stateless
Drumming Song by Florence and the Machine
Looking Glass by Hypnogaja
Everyday is Exactly the Same by NIN
Last Resort by Papa Roach
New Moon (The Meadow) by Alexandre Desplat

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
Since Altered isn’t out yet, I really only have one tiny rock star moment. When the announcement for the book’s sale went out on the net, I got an email from one of the editors from asking for a short interview. That was huge for me.

Even though Altered doesn't hit shelves until the fall of 2012, are you working on any new projects you can share?
I’m working on a fantasy-ish YA I’m calling The Fog. It’s about a small village that, when the Fog rolls in, the people barricade themselves in safe rooms with no windows and wards written all over the walls. The narrator, Rissa, grows up following the rule without fail, despite not knowing the why behind it, until one day she breaks it. It’s SUPER fun, and it’s keeping me entertained! That’s all that matters, right?

Oooo sounds like my kind of read! If you'd like to know more about Jennifer make sure to check out the links below:



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern

Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern

Released: June 2011
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 224
Source: Around the World Tours
Buy: Amazon

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.

Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?


Words cannot describe how much I loved each and every page of this novel!  Julie's writing doesn't stop. The best way I can describe it is as if you were snapping your fingers fast. Everything moves on a beat! The book is based on two of my favorite subjects: ROAD TRIP and falling in love with your best friend. (And plus any author who talks about the movie Hiding Out is pretty much awesome.)

I ate up Lil and Josh's relationship with a spoon because once upon a time I was Lil. I got it. All those times Josh acted flirty without even realizing it. The way your heart starts to pound with every little graze.  Always knowing that they want to be with you even if it may come off as strictly platonic. It couldn't have been more perfect. And Josh's personality was so freaking adorkable! You could see why Lillian had a thing for him, but mainly, and what Julie did so well was you saw exactly why these two were best friends.

To add on the layers that are already in this story, you have Penny. She's the real reason why Lillian and Josh take off on this quest of finding her. You're given journal entries from Penny so I felt like I got to know her very well even when she was present for the novel. It does touch on some dark issues that Penny has been facing with her boyfriend (who is a straight-up douche). I think it was handled nicely and still kept the book flowing without making it seems like things had shifted so much when Penny was introduced.

Now for the road trip part: *sings* awesome! There is something so freeing and wonderful about driving for me so I loved all the interactions between them as they hit hte raod not to mention the crazy stops they made. I felt like I was in the car, windows rolled down, and listening to Elvis with them. Don't let this novel slip past you. Don't Stop Now has all the great elements any good story is supposed to have: fabulous characters, a wonderful plot line, hilarious offbeat and quirky moments, and an author's writing that makes you crave for more!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Questions for a reader....

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I thought what perfect place to do mine than here! Plus I kind of wanted to blow some of the dust off my blog since I've been too wrapped up in school and other things to really get to read a lot besides tour books and those are scheduled posts.

Feel free to do the survey on your blog or even in the comments below!

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
Since all of my books are currently in storage besides one box, the first oldest book that pops into mind is my Little House on the Prairie boxset my dad bought me in the 3rd grade.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you'll read next?
Currently reading Love Story by Jennifer Echols.  Last read was Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern (AWESOME! Review will be up soon on this one). And I'll be reading A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young next.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?
Ummmmm....I'll go with the people who for some reason seem to think Breaking Dawn was actually good. Some of you might say the entire series itself, but I actually enjoyed the series. It was just the hype that I found annoying. But Breaking Dawn. Seriously. WTF what that?!

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?
Probably Harry Potter. That's right. I've never read it, and even though I've enjoyed the movies, I just doubt I'll ever get around to them.

5. Which book are you saving for "retirement?"
IT by Stephen King. I'm not really that huge of a Stephen King fan, but I told myself my freshman year of high school that I would one day finish that thing.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?
I used to read it first, but a few years ago I somehow broke that habit and now I don't even bother peaking through a book besides reading the first few pages to know if it'll grab me or not.

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
Acknowledgments are the first thing I read when I get a book! Maybe it's the writer in me? I'm always curious who helped the author get to the point that they're at.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Remy in This Lullaby or maybe Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. For the obvious reasons.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
Any R.L. Stine books takes me back to 4th grade when some friends and I had our own Goosebumps club and would have parties at one another's house, eat pizza, watch a movie, (*whispers* sneak outside to play spin the bottle), but never once actually discussed a book. It was still a lot of fun though.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
I got a book once called Whores of the Lost Atlantis from a friend. I won't explain her randomness of why, but it was pretty funny.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
Sure have!

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
Queen of Babble went to a New Kids on the Block concert with me.

13. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad ten years later?
Sure haven't because there was only one book I hated and that was The Great Gastby. No one will change my mind that this book in fact sucked greatly.

14. What is the strangest item you've ever found in a book?
A feather.

15. Used or brand new?
Both! Usually whatever saves me money is what I'm game on.

16. Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?
I'm really not and never have been a huge Stephen King fan. I mean sure there is the quest of finishing IT one day, but he's just not my cup of tea. I always find it so hard to get into his stories because they drag for me, but the dude has one creative mind.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
Yeah there was some made for TV movie that was based off a....well crap, I don't even remember. Had a girl in it named Sarah who was a witch. The book was pretty lame. The movie was kind of lame too, but it was way better than the book.

18. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?
I'm just going to be honest here. I have no idea what the world celluloid means, and I just looked it which made this question not make any sense to me so I'm just going to leave my answer like this: I have no idea.

19. Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?
None that come to mind.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?
These lovelies: Cheryl from a mother; a dreamer; a writer (aka the chick who used to run JYTBB with me), Sab from Ya Bliss, Erica from The Book Cellar, Jenny from Wondorous Reads, and a handful of friends who don't blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Contemps Challenge: Post Your JUNE Reviews!

I hope everyone is having one awesome summer! If you didn't know, our lovely YA Contemps have claimed June Contemporary Reading Month! Since this is my all-time favorite genre, I plan on reading as many contemp books as I can, and I encourage you do to the same! Make sure to swing by the Contemps blog to check out all the great posts they'll have this month!

May's winner was......


Erica from The Book Cellar!!! Congratulations chick!

What is the Contemps Challenge? Click here to find out more details!

Remember: This challenge is ONLY for the 20 books released by The Contemps. Click here for a full list of all 20 books. You can also post ANY reviews you made in 2010 AND you can post ANY reviews you made on another site such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc - just one review per month of the same one :)

Prize: 3 surprise books and/or ARCs and swag!

Open to US addresses only! There is no official sign up so no need to worry about that - just link those reviews up!

Note: If the linky box below doesn't show up for you, please post your link review in the comment section. Thanks!