Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rock This Thursday with Alyxandra Harvey

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
“Trouble is a friend”, Lenka ;)

What was the inspiration behind Haunting Violet?
The idea for Haunting Violet popped into my head when I was reading about fake séances in the 1870’s. I could picture Violet reluctantly working for her mother and how confused she would be if she ever found out ghosts were actually real. Once I had that question in my mind, I just felt compelled to answer it!

Did you make a playlist for Haunting Violet? If so, can you share a few tracks with us?
I do usually make playlists for my books. I wasn’t in the habit of it back when I wrote Haunting Violet, but I did listen to a lot of Classical music, especially Baroque.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
So many! So, so many! A smattering includes Jane Austen, Mary Oliver, Holly Black, Terri Windling, Charles de Lint, Patricia McKillip...

What is a genre you don't ever see yourself writing?
Gory horror. Heavily Science-based Science fiction. Crime novels.

Was the switch between vampires and ghost easy for you?
I actually wrote and sold Haunting Violet to Bloomsbury before I’d even written the first Drake Chronicles, before I even knew there would be such a thing as the Drake Chronicles series.
I really love the paranormal genre and all of the great mythic creatures we can play with. I’m grateful to be able to explore it more fully!

What was the first story you ever wrote about?
I can’t really remember since I was about 9 years old. But by thirteen I was writing these long fantasy quest books and “myths” explaining why leaves turn red in autumn and stuff like that. Also, very bad rhyming poetry. Just saying.

Tell us five random facts about yourself:
1- I don’t like using exclamation points. But for some reason on blogs and interviews I! Keep! Using! Them!

2-I helped a big weird looking turtle cross the road today

3-I hate coriander. With a deep and abiding passion. Hate.

4-I am a vegetarian

5-Best dessert: my mom’s apple pie

A lot of songs tell a story of some sort. What's one song you think would make a good YA novel?
A fab question! I used “Killing Moon” by Echo and the Bunnymen for “Hearts at Stake”/ ‘My Love lies Bleeding” but I tend to choose songs like that midway through a book. Maybe a Morrissey song. I know people say he’s depressing but he makes me laugh.

Have you experienced any 'rock star writing' moments since you've been published?
I think my rock star moments would include seeing reader-made videos for the books, a song someone wrote for The Drake Chronicles and signing someone’s arm. Very cool! Also, once, on book tour, I actually had no idea what city I was in.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Alyxandra! If you would like to know more about her and her books, please check out the following links:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Released: July 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 300
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. 

But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?


I really enjoyed Mandy Hubbard's first two books. They were cute and perfect for those days that you'd like something fun and light to read. Ripple has definitely topped both of these books. Somehow she managed to make a book that seems like it would fall under the paranormal genre into a contemporary one. I love that because contemporary is my all-time favorite.

I just want to gush about how much I loved this book. I read it when I was in a reading slump and it yanked me right out of it. The beginning had such a somber tone, you could really feel what Lexi was going through. She used to be popular. Used to have a slew of friends to hang out with every weekend. Then she fell in love with Stephen and killed him. Because of the guilt, she let everyone blame her. She pushed them away, and instead of having those friends in her corner, they're against her, taunt her sometimes. All except for Cole.

Cole is straight up smexy. Sure he could make a lot of people walk into the room and swoon, but he cares for people. He's not afraid of pushing Lexi either. He knows there is something going on, and he wants that wall that she has built up to be brought down. Obviously, I just loved seeing these two characters together. I loved the resistance that Lexi had and how badly she wanted to tell her secret and all the reasons why she couldn't.

Then came Erik There are so many things I would like to say about him, but I can't due to giving one of the biggest parts of the book away. Let's just say I could feel the connection and almost spell he seemed to put on Lexi. What makes his character so great is what he brought to the plot. Mandy really surprised the heck out of me in the last few chapters! At one point I actually yelled: WHAT?! 

This book had such great elements to it. Great characters, easy visuals, and a plot that keeps moving with great twist. And Mandy has said that she would like to expand on it and turn it into a series which I think would be awesome! These characters and her own spin on Sirens was fantastic, and I'd love for there to be more about them. So go buy this book so it can happen!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox

Since I haven't been posting that regualary, I didn't want to fill the blog full of just IMM posts. So here is the past couple weeks:

For Review

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (TBS Tour)
Overbite by Meg Cabot (Publisher)
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe (Tour)
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala (TBS Tour)

(Does anyone else get weird random adult titles sent to them? I have a stack going on. I never post them here because I'm not interested in reading them so I doubt y'all are.)


Swapping Lives by Jane Green
Bookends by Jane Green
Second Chance by Jane Green
Straight Talking by Jane Green
Bare Necessity by Carole Mathews
Earth to Betsy by Beth Pattillo
Shout Down the Moon by Lisa Tucker

More Bought/Swapped

Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (review here)
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Gifts From the Lovely YA Bliss

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

You might be thinking...wait a minute, Amber. Isn't This Lullaby your favorite book of all time? How could you NOT have your own copy already? Oh, but I do. This is actually my second copy that I sent to Sab because.....


Well that's it for me. What did you guys get this week?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott
(He's So/She's So Trilogy - Book #2)

Released: June 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Pages: 360
Source: Bought
Buy: Amazon

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

In He's So Not Worth It, Kieran Scott manages to umph up the drama, develop the characters, deliver a kick-butt plot, and makes this sequel even BETTER than She's So Dead To Us.

Oh yes, I just said that.

Usually I find sequels a bit so-so in a triology. They are necessary to transition the plot and the characters to lead you up to the final book - the big sha-bang. But He's So Not Worth It was just fan-freaking-tasticaly amazing! No doubt this is one of the best contemporary series I've ever laid my eyes on.

When we left our lovely Ally, Jake, and the Cresites crap had hit the fan and spun around all over the place. And it doesn't look like it's going to stop. The book opens right where the first one left off - Ally's dear old dad who had been MIA for two years without even a phone call just chilling out on her and her mother's doorstep like they were supposed to welcome him back with open arms. Ally's dad infuriated me with his way of thinking things were going to be the same in this family. My heart broke for Ally because as much as she was ticked to see her dad, she was also excited too. You can't blame her for it.

Ticked that Jake's grades were slipping, his mom grounds him for the summer. No shore vacation for him. Instead he's stuck having to get a job, not being able to see Ally and trying to get through the summer. I am so glad that this series is told from both Jake and Ally's point of view. If it wasn't told  by Jake's point of view, I think I would have fallen completely out of love with him. Jake is the type of guy that has sincere thoughts and you know he's a good guy, but when he opens his mouth, he doesn't quite know how to express what he wants to say. It's been a while since I read the first book, but he is so hilarious in this one. Especially when it comes to his job, like this passage:

"I'd been working at Jump, Java, and Wail! for exactly fifty-seven minutes. There was already a patch of sweat on my neckline, I'd cut my finger closing the pastry case on it, and gotten screamed at for trying to serve a doughnut I'd dropped on the floor. Apparently no one around here has heard of the five second rule." (page 94)

While Jake is getting chummy with another Crestie, Ally is trying to get used to what may be her new life. Staying with her mother at her boyfriend's shore house is definitely taking a toll on her. We see Ally rebelling like no other! She meets some locals, one in particular named Cooper. I loved Cooper and his gang of beach bums. Things don't stay all fun in the sun for long though. Ally's got a lot of choices to make and just not with who she wants to be her boyfriend. There's big-time family decisions, and as the summer stretches on, she has to figure out what kind of person she wants to be.

From reading both Jake and Ally's point of view, and spending a good part of the summer away from one another, I was getting scared. I LOVE LOVE these two together. One of my favorite YA couples, but it was nice to see them apart because I felt like I got to know them more as the book transitioned. These two have a lot of hot and cold feelings towards one another, and normally in books that kind of thing drives me nuts. BUT Kieran Scott somehow masters this story where not only did it never once get on my nerves, it felt completely real. All characters, even the side ones make such an impact to the story and are all so well-rounded. And believe me guys there is so much more to this story than what I've briefly went over. The touches of Ally's friend Annie's journal entries as she scopes out the Crestie life were a perfect fix. There is never a dull moment in those entries. You get the delicious gossip plus some straight out hilarious moments.

AND THAT ENDING!!! Oh Kieran Scott, you are the Devil, I swear! If you thought the cliffhanger was massive in She's So Dead to Us, you ain't seen nothing yet! Like I stated on Twitter, if the world ends in 2012 before the third book comes out, I'm gonna be on pissed off chick. If you're a fan of contemporary, or heck if you just want to read something awesome, then you'd be stupid to pass this series up! Go out and read it now!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Post Your July Contemps Reviews!

Eeek I kind of slacked off this month. The winner for June was.........

Sabrina from YA Bliss - HOLLA!!!

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!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer Echols

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Next Year by Foo Fighters

Was it weird writing about a writer?
No, it was easy, because I knew how that character felt.

Many songs tells a story. What song do you think would make a good novel?
So many country songs! That’s why I like to listen to the country station sometimes.

Out of all the books you have out now, is there one that's a bit more special to you then the rest?
My favorite is always the one I’m writing at the moment.

Did you make a playlist while writing Love Story? If so, could you share a few songs from it?
Yes, and it is awesome.
Sunday Best by Augustana
Lonely Day by Phantom Planet
Conspiracy by Paramore
There for You by Flyleaf
The Royal We by Silversun Pickups
7/4 (Shoreline) by Broken Social Scene
Little Secrets by Passion Pit
California by Phantom Planet
The Only Exception by Paramore

What's one thing you hope readers will take with them after their finished reading Love Story?
Sometimes we are the least respectful and communicate the worst with the people we love the most.

You're given two golden concert tickets that will take you to any show from any decade. The only catch is that you have to take one of your characters from one of your novels. Who are you taking and who are you two going to go see?
I would take Summer from Love Story, because she is so much fun, and we are going to see my favorite band here in Birmingham, TOTAL A$$ET$, a funk band made up of middle-aged bankers.

What was the first idea that sparked Love Story?
A long time ago I was in a creative writing class with an adorable boy who wrote a very sexy story and made all the girls in the class fall in love with him.

Were there any troubles you had with writing Erin and Hunter's characters?
Not really. Once I planned this story, I could see them very clearly.

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
Any time I finally figure something out after agonizing over it for a long time!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Something Borrowed: Why it was awesome.

First, lemme just say that I'm probably going to be very MIA this month due to too much going on in life.

A few years back I picked up a copy of Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin at the library. The thing I didn't expect going into the story is actually rooting for Rachel and the fact she was having an affair with her best friend's fiance. That just goes to show you how talented Giffin is an author to be able to make me do that. In real life, I'd be kicking some butt and taking some names. Never rooting ANYONE that what happened between Rachel and Dex was okay, but somehow in this story, I found it okay.

When I heard there was going to be a movie, I was so excited. Even though it's been out in theaters for a while now, I hadn't been able to get to the theater in time. Thankfully there's a "last chance" theater where tickets are dirt cheap ($3 - holla!), and it was still playing there.


I had been meaning to re-read Something Borrowed before I saw the movie. I wanted to know what was changed, be able to point it out. Honestly, I don't remember what all changed in the movie. I'm okay with that. For once, the movie was just as good as the book. It made me fall in love with these characters all over again. You wanna know why it was great? Not because a friend was cheating. Not because hearts were broken. Because it's truly a great story about love, friendship, and how if you want to be happy with your life, you've just gotta take the plunge. Now I'm not saying jump into bed with your best friend's fiance. I'm saying with just life in general.

I thought the casting of the movie was perfect. I was a bit weary of Kate Hudson playing Darcy. Not because I didn't think she couldn't pull it off, but just surprised she was in another "bride" type of story. Ginner Goodwin was PERFECT for Rachel! She's adorable like how I pictured Rachel being. Always out of the spotlight but you love her anyways. When her and Kate busted out their "Push It" dance it just had me cracking up because when it comes down to it, in a warped way, this is one of the best stories of friendship I've read/watched.

Colin Egglesfield had the charm that Dex had. I just kept grinning like a monkey during his scenes. The only thing I object to is that hideous sweater he wore the first week at the beach. No man. At any time. Should EVER wear that. So wrong. So, so very, very wrong.

And dude, Steve Howey chalked up the douchyness of Marcus like crazy! All the little actions he had and that stupid story about the chipmunk. Was that in the book? It seems like it was, but it was killing me!
While I loved each and every character, you know who my favorite was? Ethan. John Krasinski stole the freaking show. I don't remember Ethan being as witty, and even if he wasn't, he'll always be as witty as he was in the movie for me.

So yeah, basically this is my half-attempt at some sort of post to discuss an awesome book/movie. I plan on re-reading Something Borrowed before I watch the movie when it comes out on DVD. (Sometime in August, I do believe.) So if you haven't seen the movie yet, read the book. Even if you have seen the movie, go read the book. Then go grab Something Blue because in Something Borrowed, I didn't care for Darcy. Sure I thought her and Rachel's friendship was very real, she still ticked me off. But in Something Borrowed, Giffin made me love and accept Darcy. I'm tellin' ya people, this author is a straight up genius.