16 December 2008

Review-Lost It by Kristen Tracy *****

"What would you do...
....If your best friend was plotting the annihilation of a small, furry, neighborhood poodle? Or if you parents up and moved to an Outward Bound-type survival camp in the middle of the desert? How about if you grandmother bought you new bras and underware-and you actuallu though they were a teensy bit, umm, sexy?
Most people would not react well.
Tess Whistle's junioryear of high school is off to a fairly bizarre start. One might even say her life is spiraling out of control. But with her sense of humor and her first real boyfriend on her arm, Tess is dealing with the ridiculous twists quite well, thankyouverymuch.
Just wait until her shoes explode"

This book was unusal. I don't really know how to explain what was unusal about it. Maybe the wiritng style or what it was about. In any case, it was a very good read.
I have to admit sometimes Tess pissed me off. I wanted to jump in the book and smack her, but Zena (her best friend) beat me to it. Just her attitude about and outlook on somethings made me mad. Ignorance, naivety, or whatever you want to call it annyed me. Not her fault butI still wanted to smack some sense into her. I mean 16 years olds should know what a hymen is and that having sex would break it. Especially before they have sex. The thing is, I couldn't really be that annoyed at her because I can't tell you how many of my friends that wouldn't and didn't know about stuff like that if it weren't for me. That's when I realized, I didn't want to smack Tess, I wanted to smack her parents. They are what I like to call "freaky Christians". (I have absolutely nothing against Christians so don't take offense to what I'm about to say) Freaky Christians are, by my definition: The Christians who won't get their kids the medical help they need because they think praying will help them. The people who think "No I won't teach my kid about sex because then they'll know about it and then *GASP* have it"! I can't tell you how many pregnacy scares my friends have had and I was the one to go buy a pregnancy test and take them to the doctor for birth control and so forth because they couldn't talk to their parents, because their parents still thought their kids thought babies came from the stork!
With stuff like sex, drugs, and alcohol ignorance is NOT bliss. And the Freaky Christian parents in the world need to realize that. Anyways back to the book...
I enjoyed it, I really did. One of the more "real" books I've read in awhile. By "real" I mean at some point I thought, "Wow, it's like this could be (Enter someone's name I know)." Sometimes Ben annoyed me, sometimes Zena annoyed me, or when she blew up the poodle, made me downright mad. I mean there are far better uses of fireworks than that, but I think I loved that aspect of the book. Sometimes you get tired of the perfect guys who falls for the perfect girls, or the perfect guys who fall for the normal/average/imperfect girl and vice versa. Sometimes you want to read a book that, like I said, seems more "real". Lost it is definitely that book. I haven't doen this in awhile but I'm going to give it FIVE Stars! Congrats to Kristen Tracy, you're among many great authors.

15 December 2008

Review-Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

"Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend everyone lusts after. So why is she unhappy?
It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Luaren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyrfriend, Dave, is the "fight" thing to do. After al, who would give up the perfect guy?
But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in-and as Lauren's craving forEvan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more feirce-Lauren realizez she needs to makes a choice... beofre one is made for her. "

Lauren's mother left her and her dad when Lauren was six. When Lauren was eight, her dad started getting girlfriends. One after the other they moved in and moved out. He'd cheat on one and by the the time they found out and left he had another primed and ready to moved in. Four in all, the last one was Robin, when Lauren was thirteen, she moved in two days after T'eanna moved out. Lauren was eleven when T'eanna moved in, three days after Sally left. And before Sally was Mary, who her dad met when Lauren was eight. Mary had a son named Evan. It took awhile but Evan and Lauren did become friends. Unfortunately when Mary found out about Sally she took Evan and left, moved to Flordia. Lauren doesn't hear from them again until they move back and Evan is in her World History class. She starts falling for Evan and keeps falling and she has to choose betwen Evan and Dave. The guy who's perfect but you don't really love or the perfect guy for you you're head over heels in love with. Seems simple right, go with love. But she can't do that.
See the thing is, Lauren doesn't want to become her mother. Her mother didn't flal for her father until after she was pregnant but she did fall for him. Her mother was so in love with her father, but she still left. Lauren fears that whatever made her mother leave will make her leave Evan is she chooses him. Being with Dave is safe. They're perfect together, his family loves her and thinks they're perfect together. Dave's best friend, Marcus, is Lauren's best friend, Katie's, boyfriend. She woud be crazy to risk for a relationship that might not work out, right?

07 December 2008

Interview- Elizabeth Scott and an apology and short rant

Okay you guys I know I promised to update and I have some reviews to post but at the moment I'm unable to. See in case you didn't know this is how it works with my life. When one thing goes wrong everything goes wrong. After I had a fight with my best friend, I got sick, my internet doesn't work for about a week, I get sick again, I lose the book I'm supposed to reading so I can review it and I just pretty much got kicked out and many other wonderful things (Sarcasm). I don't know where I'll be so I don't know if I'll have internet access. But I just got this interview back today so I'm going to post it as an apology and I hope I'll be able to figure this out and at least post some reviews. Also, I've entered some contests so if you see my name Book Junkie or Amelia as a winner could you send me an email or comment here or something so I can at least try to claim the prize. Maybe I'll be lucky that day, not likely but you never know. Thanks in advance!

How long ago did you start writing your first novel?

I started writing Bloom in April 2004

What made you come to the decision to become an author?

I got an agent, and sold a book!

How did you get the ideas for your books?

I get ideas from all over the place--things I read, thing I see, things I hear. I've even gotten ideas from dreams!

Are there any characters or places in your novels that were inspired by real people or places?

Some of the places in my books--like Stealing Heaven--are inspired by real places, but most are made up.

I've never based a character on a real person.

Do think you’ll ever write a series?

I've learned to never say never...

Who was your favorite character to write?

I've loved--and hated--writing all my books, and have loved--and hated!--all the people in them.

When you write…
Are you inside or out?


Are you using pen and paper, typewriter, or computer?


Is it quiet or are you playing music?


What helps you get over writer’s block?

Going out and seeing the world, taking the time to look around and enjoy it. Or planting my butt in a chair and just getting through the hard part. Or parts.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

The J.C. Whitney auto parts catalog. For whatever reason, I was obsessed with it, and was so excited every time it came to the house.

Granted, I was three. But still. My parents tease me about it to this day!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks for wanting to interview me :-)

Once again sorry. Hope to to be back soon. Until then read and enjoy your life while you can.

Peace <3 and Books,

05 December 2008

In My Mailbox

Yes I decided to do this, too. The reason I'm doing it though is since you'll know what books I have you can let me know what reviews you'll want.
Every time I get new books I'll let you know and if there are any you want me to review comment and let me know.

Today I got these:
2 copies of Sleepless by Terri Clark (I won a copy in a contest the day after I ordered it lol)
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Undone by Brooke Taylor
Braless in Wonderland by Debbie Reed Fischer
Breaking is Hard to do by Niki Burnham, Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins and Lynda Sandoval
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

If you want me to review Love, Stargirl it might be awhile because I want to reread Stargirl before I read that. I haven't read Stargirl since middle school.

02 December 2008

Review- Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

OK here is a brief intro that might help you understand my review a little bit better. Rosemarie "Rose" Hathaway is a Dhampir, half-human/half-vampire. Vasilisa "Lissa" Dragomir is a Moroi, which is a mortal vampire, and she's the Moroi Princess. Moroi must always be protected from the Strigio: the evil vampires, fast, strong, deadly, and immortal. Strigio are Moroi who drank Moroi blood, which turns them into Strigio. Sometimes Strigio will take Moroi and force them drink from other Moroi. Dhampirs train to be Guardians for the Moroi at St. Vladimir's, which is a school for the Moroi and Dhampirs. The school is hidden from humans deep in the woods of Montana and protected from Strigio by magical wards.

We don't know why, but Lissa and Rose ran away from the Academy. No easy feat. They managed to stay away and avoid threats for 2 years before a dozen Guardians find them and take them back to the school. With the help of one of the Guardians, Dimitri Belikov, Rose is able to stay at the school and resume her training. Before and after school, and every free moment she has to train with Belikov so she'll be ready for the senior field experience. How you do on that test decides who a Guardian will be assigned to. If Rose wants Lissa, a Morio Princess, she has to be on her best behavior and train as much as she can to be ready. The headmistress has made sure Rose and Lissa won't have a lot of time together so they won't leave again, which makes Rose's mission to protect Lissa that much harder. Not to mention they aren't sure who was behind the events that made them leave, but whoever it is has started again. And he/she's closer than they think.

I absolutely loved this book. I love vampires (as some of you have noticed by now). I love them even more when an author comes up with a new kind and Richelle has done it. I can't really explain them in detail without it being confusing so go read the book cause Richelle does better that I could. Makes sense, I mean she did create them.

29 October 2008

Interview- Shykia Bell, author of Camileon

Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what made you come to that decision and how long ago did you start to pursue it?
I’ve always had a love for writing, but I thought I would have a life-long career as a designer or artist. It wasn’t until I left my job as a graphics coordinator did I realize my hidden desire to become an author.

When did you first get the idea for Camileon and what was the inspiration behind it?
The idea for Camileon emerged two days after I submitted my two weeks notice from my job. I decided to write in order to soothe myself. Those writings quickly transformed into the tale of Camileon. It was a therapeutic form of escape and I was finally able to stretch my creativity without any restrictions. I was also inspired by the fact that every paranormal sci-fi film or book I’ve seen usually has a white main character—usually male. I wanted to create something different by presenting a biracial female character—without all the negative stereotypes. However, my biggest inspiration for Camileon is the message that will unfold throughout the series.

How long ago did you first start writing Camileon?
I began writing the story in March of 2007 and it was basically completed late that summer, so it took about five months before intensive editing. After months of rejected submissions to agents I decided to self-publish. Holding the first finished copy of Camileon in my hands was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. I still hope to get signed by a traditional publisher someday, but time will tell.

When can we expect the next book? What can you tell us about it?
Well, at the moment I’m nearing the halfway mark in the second installment of Camileon. I hope to complete it by March 2009. If I meet that deadline, I think there's a strong possibility the second book will be released in July 2009—exactly a year after the first one was published. The plot deepens and becomes even more intense as exciting new characters are brought into the mix. Questions left unanswered in the first novel will be explained, new mysteries will be presented and things will get extremely interesting! There wasn’t much room for romance in the first novel, but that may very well change in the second.

How many books are planned in all?
Camileon is the first novel in a planned trilogy.

Do you have anything in common with Camile?
I’d be lying if I said Camile and I share no common traits. She came into being during a very difficult time in my life. Like Camile, I’ve often felt a disconnection with the rest of the world as I contemplated my life’s purpose. However, I believe I’ve found that purpose through my writing. Based on what I’ve witnessed, I’ve been able to touch more people in the past year than I probably have in my entire lifetime. It’s truly a blessing—one that I don’t take for granted.

Have any authors inspired your writing style?
Though I admire many authors for the creativity they express through their work, I strive to discover my own voice. It might sound a bit unusual, but when I’m creating—whether it’s a novel, poem, painting or drawing—I’m most inspired by music.

What's the first book you remember reading?
Wow, that takes me way back. The Fun with Dick and Jane series comes to mind. I can still See Spot Run. Oh boy, I think I just dated myself. *laughs*

What were some of your favorite books and authors as a kid/teen?
As a teen I absolutely loved a variety of books by authors such as R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike and Stephen King. Other memorable books include Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Shakespeare’s Othello. It’s been years since I’ve read it, but I can still remember how much Iago infuriated me and how tragic the story was. Any work of literature that evokes such a lasting reaction must be something special.

What are some you'd like to recommend?
They’re all great books, but I’d definitely recommend The Giver. I’m planning to revisit that one myself in the near future.

26 October 2008

Review- Camileon by Shykia Bell

Camile Leon has always wanted to know more about her father, Zephyr. One day she's finally had enough of her mother's evasiveness and side-stepping every question Camile has about him and confronts her mother with the intent to learn everything. But when her mother ends up in the hospital, Camile once again loses to chance to learn about him. When Camile goes to her mother's apartment to get some clothes for her hospital stay, she finds a mysterious necklace. The same necklace she's wearing in the only photo she has of her father. At the hospital later that day she meets Akalina, a young woman Camile soon starts to realize she has more in common with than she can imagine. While dealing her mother's unexplainable coma and her newly discovered, mysterious powers, Camile has to learn to be strong and see through the deception that seems to have plagued her life.

This book is very unique. It's such an original idea and it's very well written. But I have to admit what I like most is the last part of the book, starting after chapter 17. It was very action packed with a little drama mixed in. And then after a while I was like "Whoa! This is like Raiders of the Lost Ark". You know the, let's-push-this-
it-with-all-the-buttons-still-pushed kind of thing. I mean it's Indiana Jones, if Shykia had just added a light saber or two, maybe even a sith, this would have easily been my favorite-est book ever! (Okay so I'm a geek, a pretty geek I might add but a geek nonetheless. haha)
It isn't a young adult book, but teens could read it. There's cussing and one sex scene, but it was more of a sex dream and it wasn't explicit.
Camileon is not a stand alone book its a series.
All in all an awesome debut novel by Shykia Bell. PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
Go read the first chapters on Shykia's MySpace and Camileon's website.

22 October 2008

Interview- Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of Amor and Summer Secrets

So how does it feel? One minute you're a regular person and then next your book is on Amazon.com, you have people telling you how much they loved it. You're getting interview requests. It must be pretty great.

It’s very surreal. I have my first signing coming up at the Barnes & Noble in Wilmington, DE and to promote it, the store actually has posters up with my picture. How strange is that? I walk by and can’t believe that’s me in the window, but at the same time it feels like so long ago that I started writing Amor and Summer Secrets. It’s all very exciting.

Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, how long ago did you decide to try it and what made you come to that decision?

No, I didn’t, which I think puts me in an unusual category. I feel a lot of authors say they wrote their first novels when they were four or five—I’m serious. I, however, took a longer road to find my passion.

While I always enjoyed writing, I initially channeled those skills into journalism. It wasn’t until after I got a degree, had six unpaid internships, and worked for several years as a reporter that I was able to admit that I didn’t enjoy working in journalism. Only I didn’t know what else I “should” be doing, until I had a dream. Literally.

I dreamt that I was a young adult author, and I dreamt the concept for an entire series of books. When I woke up and told my husband, he immediately said, “Don’t you remember that psychic?” I didn’t, until then.

Several years earlier, when he and I had taken a vacation in New England, we stopped in Salem, MA to see the witches’ houses. While there I decided to visit a psychic (when in Rome, right?)

So I sat down and the psychic immediately said, “You’re a writer.” And I was; I was a reporter. I told her this, and she asked what I wrote about. Intentionally trying to be cryptic (I mean, she is a psychic, shouldn’t she already know?), I told her that I wrote about “business.” She swiftly rebuffed that and said, “No. I see you writing books, little books, like children’s books.”

I had never considered writing a book before. But after the dream, and my recollection of that encounter, I figured it was “a sign.” What can I say? I was raised Catholic. So I sat down and started writing my first novel.

Is there anything you have to do before you can write, like listen to music?

I’m not very ritualistic. Sometimes I listen to music while I write and other times I don’t. If anything, I think I concentrate better when it’s silent. So even when I have music on, it’s at a very low decibel. But I can’t have anyone in the house when I’m writing—the last thing I need is an easy excuse for a distraction. Most writers will tell you that when you’re writing, all of the sudden color-coding your underwear drawer seems like a good idea if it allows you to procrastinate.

How do you get over writer's block?

When I’m working on a first draft, I don’t allow myself to stop writing. I write 3,000 words per day regardless of how hard they are to slug out. So I guess I push through any blocks. The few times I really thought one of my stories was “missing something,” I read a few chapters of Stephen King’s On Writing and it helped tremendously. Even though he writes in a completely different genre, just reading about his process helped clarify things in my own mind.

What inspired Amor and Summer Secrets?

The idea behind it developed during a phone conversation with my agent, Jenoyne Adams. She had been working on different young adult projects I had written, and had mentioned seeing a recent increase in interest from editors seeking multi-cultural novels. Up to this point, my books had yet to feature a Latina protagonist. And of course Jenoyne asked the infamous question, “Got any ideas?” I didn’t. But by the end of our conversation, I had pitched the story for what became Amor and Summer Secrets.

My goal was to feature a character with a background similar to my own—a girl who was half Puerto Rican and half Polish, a girl who grew up not speaking Spanish, a girl who didn’t look like the Latina stereotype. Many of the feelings Mariana expresses about her cultural identity are similar to the questions I faced growing up. And though I’ve never spent the summer in Puerto Rico, I have visited a couple of times and those trips were the initial inspiration for the story.

When you first got the idea for the book did you plan for it to be a trilogy?

Actually, when I wrote Amor and Summer Secrets, I expected it to be a stand-alone book. And the novel has changed considerable since its first draft. Initially, Lilly was 17 and the events of her birthday party occurred at a nightclub. But during the submission process, my agent received a request from an editor at Kensington who was looking for a Latina book featuring a Quinceanera.

I looked at my novel and thought about whether it could possibly fit this objective. Ultimately it couldn’t hurt to try, so I spent two weeks revising the manuscript and was shocked when I loved the book so much more afterward. It added an element that I didn’t know was missing. We submitted the revised manuscript to Kate Duffy at Kensington and it sold within days. Then, to my great surprise, Kensington said that they loved it so much they wanted to publish a three-book series to expand on the character.

Whenever I write a book, I always think about would happen next to my characters—much the same way you wonder about old friends. So when the offer came in, I already had a mental outline of what the future held for Mariana and Lilly, and I was thrilled to get the opportunity to write it.

What can you tell us about Amigas and School Scandals?

Amigas and School Scandals picks up right where Amor and Summer Secrets leaves off. Mariana is heading back to Spring Mills and her cousin Lilly is coming with her. You can get a sense of where the story is headed by viewing my Book Trailer: Link

Aside from what’s on the book jacket and in the trailer, I can say that the novel features some fun frat party scenes at Cornell (there are some goldfish involved, that’s all I’ll say). And Mariana will be celebrating her Sweet 16, which brings about a lot of controversy.

According to the back of Amor and Summer Secrets, you have a Puerto Rican father and Polish mother like Mariana. Are there any of aspects in your life that are same/similar to hers?

While I am not Mariana, I did give her my ethnic background. Come on, how many Polish Puerto Ricans do you know?

But seriously, I wanted to write a multi-cultural novel from the perspective of a girl who didn’t quite identify with either of her parents’ cultures. I feel this is a very American story. It doesn’t matter whether you’re half Polish and half Puerto Rican, or half Thai and half Jamaican, I think a lot people (and a lot of teens) can relate being torn between two very different ethnic groups.

Aside from her ethnic make up, Mariana and I are both from the Philly suburbs (though Mariana’s family has a much nicer house). And both of our father’s were raised in Utuado, Puerto Rico (though my dad’s nothing like Lorenzo Ruiz). We also both have reddish hair and freckles. Again, how many Puerto Ricans do you know with red hair and freckles? We come in all shapes and sizes, folks.

Were any other characters inspired by people you know?

No one character is inspired by any real person in my life, but many of the character have traces of people I know. For example, many of Vince’s antics at Cornell—from Amigas and School Scandals—are based on my husband’s fraternity stories (he’s a Cornell alum). And some of the stories about Mariana’s family in Puerto Rico are based on stories that my dad told me growing up (he gets a kick out of that). But as a whole, all of the characters and all of the plots are fictional.

Who is your favorite character to write?

Vince, because he’s light and silly. It’s always fun to write the comic relief parts of any story, and Vince is perfect for that. Plus, he reminds me of my college days.

What's the first book you remember reading?

When I was in elementary school, I used to read the Berenstain Bears books. I loved them. There was one about strangers and another about the dark that I particularly remember. I used to make my parents buy them for me when the school had book fairs.

What was your favorite book as a teen and now? Favorite author?

My favorite YA author as a teen was Christopher Pike. I loved Remember Me? and Fall into Darkness, and his adult book Sati. I really connected with his work, and I think it’s one of the reasons I was attracted to writing in the genre. Christopher, if you’re reading this, I’d love to meet you sometime.

Currently, I think Stephenie Meyer is my favorite YA author. I’m a huge fan of the Twilight saga. Her character development is amazing and really draws you in.

What are some books you'd recommend to people who like your book(s)?

Well, if you’re asking for my personal taste, I jump around quite a bit. For instance, I just finished reading Ally Carter’s I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, and now I’m reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Seriously.

That said, I can tell you that my publisher says fans of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” might also like my books (very flattering). And other reviewers have suggested Amor and Summer Secrets in the same vein as Cruel Summer by Alyson Noël and Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs.

I want to thank Diana so much for this interview. You can ask my friends, I literally squealed when I saw this in my inbox. Then I got mad cause it didn't want to download but all is well, obviously.

20 October 2008

Interview- Lisa McMann, author of Wake

Lisa McMann's website. I'm going to reread Wake soon and review it. Until then...

1. Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, how long ago did you decide to pursue it and what made you come to that decision?

I first wanted to be a writer in about 4th grade. I tried to get some things published right out of college, but had to give that up to get a real job. I really started to pursue writing again in 2002 and now I write full time.

2. Anything specific you need to do before you can write? Like listen to music?

Nope. Some days it’s hard to click on that Word doc, and that usually means I have more thinking and processing to do before I can continue writing the story. But most days I just sit down and write. I am inspired by music, but I don’t listen to it when I write.

3. Have any authors influenced your writing style?

That’s a really interesting question and I’d say yes, they have, but I write in a variety of styles – it’s just that the only style the public has really seen is the style in WAKE, which is a little different from most YA today. And actually, the style in WAKE was probably most influenced by Markus Zusak. The subject matter is completely different, but the structure of the sentences and paragraphs in The Book Thief really appealed to me, and I think you can see traces of that influence in WAKE – it fit the dream-like subject matter.

4. Do you have to outline or do you just write what comes to you as it comes?

Usually I just write what comes to me. For the first time, in writing book three (GONE) of the WAKE series, I have a one-page outline. So that’s different and a little strange, but luckily my editor rocks and was totally fine with me not giving her a huge, detailed outline – she understands the way I write, so that’s really cool.

5. Who is your favorite character from Wake to write?

Hmm. Well, I really enjoy writing Cabel, and Janie, too, though she’s the most difficult, but the character I have the most fun with is Captain. She’s so tough and quick-witted and stern but kind when she needs to be...I really love writing her.

6. What was the inspiration for Wake?

I had a dream that I was watching what my husband was dreaming about. I thought it was a cool idea so I wrote it down in the middle of the night. In the morning, it still sounded cool, so I started to develop a character in my mind that would have the ability to be in others dreams. And then I complicated it by making it an ability that Janie can’t control. It was a great month of brainstorming.

7. Were any of your characters inspired by real people?

No, they are all fictional, though some of the personalities or quirks about the characters come from people I know.

8. When you first got the idea for Wake did you plan for it to be a series?

Not at all. But when I wrote “The End,” I felt like Janie’s story wasn’t over. I wrote FADE immediately after finishing WAKE, even though I knew it wasn’t wise to write a sequel to a book I hadn’t sold yet.

9. How many books are planned in all?

Three. I think that GONE will be the last book. But in this business, you never know!

10. What’s the name of the series?

Ummm.... *sheepish grin* It doesn’t really have a name. Sometimes I call it the WAKE series but there’s nothing official. That’s probably because at the beginning, we only planned two books.

11. Anything you’d like to say about Fade?

Sure! It comes out Feb 10, 2009. It’s 40 pages longer than WAKE but the same reasonable price, woo hoo! And from early reports, the consensus is that it’s even better than WAKE – so I hope you and your readers check it out and decide for yourselves if that’s true.

There will be a short summary of FADE posted on my (about to be newly updated) website soon so you can see what it’s about – just go to lisamcmann.com and click on “The Books.”

12. What do you do to get rid of writer’s block?

It depends. Sometimes it’s just my procrastination kicking in, and I need to give myself a kick in the pants and get to work. Other times it’s caused by me just not having a clear picture of what I’m supposed to write next, so I spend some time just thinking, maybe sitting outside, taking a long walk by myself, and mulling over the problem. I remember watching a short video clip of an interview with the late author Meindert de Jong, who wrote The Wheel on the School and The House of Sixty Fathers. He was asked this question and he said that whenever he had writer’s block, he went fishing for the day to work out the problem in his head. I think he was wise.

13. What is the first book you remember reading?

Gosh...I remember being read to before I knew how to read. I Am A Bunny was a Little Golden Book that I totally loved. My dad read it to me all the time. But some of the early chapter books I read on my own were the Little House on the Prairie series, Black Beauty, Bambi (not the “made from the Disney movie” version, but the real original unabridged story, which is wonderful), and Little Women. There was a book that my 5th grade teacher read to us, called STAR EYE, which is now out of print, and we never made it to the ending because summer break started. It was a fantastic book and I loved it and have always wanted to read the end. Anybody happen to have a copy? ☺

14. What were you favorite books as teen and now? Favorite authors? Do you have any books you’d like to recommend?

My teens and twenties sort of run together when it comes to books because I started working at a children’s bookstore when I was 17, and I read everything in the YA section even after I had kidlets of my own – I still pretty much read only YA because it’s the best stuff out there, especially for someone with a short attention span like me. I would recommend any of the following.

Then: I loved Robert Cormier’s THE CHOCOLATE WAR and I AM THE CHEESE,
WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams, Cynthia Voigt’s HOMECOMING series, Jean
Craighead George, Katherine Patterson, Lois Lowry, Judy Blume, Madeleine
L’Engle, Chris Crutcher’s early stuff (and I love his recent stuff too!) and GOODNIGHT, MR. TOM by Michelle Magorian.

Recently: Sara Zarr’s STORY OF A GIRL and SWEETHEARTS, Chris Crutcher’s
DEADLINE, Melissa Walker’s VIOLET series, LITTLE BROTHER by Cory
Doctorow, TEACH ME and BREATHE MY NAME by R. A. Nelson, an upcoming book called THE DUST OF 100 DOGS by A.S. King (Feb 2009), and authors Markus
Zusak, Ellen Hopkins, Lisa Schroeder, Elizabeth Scott, Maureen Johnson...so many more.

15. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Yes! WAKE comes out in paperback December 23 and makes a GREAT gift, or a great book to buy with your holiday gift cards. Also, please do check out my website, http://lisamcmann.com, where you can find out about contests (I’ll be having two seriously cool contests in the upcoming months), news, and my touring schedule for FADE. Hope to see you!

Thanks so much for the interview. It was a blast!

14 October 2008

Interview with Megan Kelley Hall, author of Sisters of Misery

Haven't read Sisters of Misery? Well after you take your anti-crazy pills go read the prologue and first chapter on Megan's MySpace and you guys better appreciate this interview. It took forever to do because MySpace hates us. That's right. Worried about government conspiracies? Forget them, worry about the MySpace conspiracy, they want to drive us insane by saying they sent the message and then, guess what? (You're right again.) THEY DON'T! After sending the questions or answers 20 times each, that's when they'll actually send it. So I want everyone to delete Tom of your friends list right now. Megan and I already did, now it's your turn.

FYI, if after her answer there is something in parentheses, it's what I'm saying in response to her answers oh and the elevator pitch is her, not mine. I'm not that talented of a writer. On to the interview. Away!

Okay, so here’s my elevator pitch for SISTERS OF MISERY: A Modern Day Witch Hunt is Ignited When “Mean Girls” Meets “Practical Magic”. What happens when a hazing prank goes terribly wrong and a young teenage girl goes missing? The debut suspense novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, brings us inside a small, seaside town near Salem, where Maddie Crane, the teen protagonist investigating her eccentric cousin’s disappearance, ignites the wrath of the Sisters of Misery – a powerful high school clique, whose activities mirror the witch hunts of the seventeenth century. Hawthorne is a town filled with secrets and the supernatural. Stories hidden for decades come to light after Cordelia’s tragic disappearance. Cordelia’s mother, Rebecca, descends into madness while internal struggles amongst Maddie’s family members are all consequences of the supernatural “gifts” that they possess. Maddie Crane must choose between the allure and power of the Sisters of Misery and her loyalty to her beloved cousin and her own family. Fans of Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult and Stephenie Meyer will be haunted by this story of three generations of women and their struggles against each other and a town ruled by fear.

How long ago did you get the idea and start writing Sisters of Misery?

A few years. It was originally an adult novel called MISERY ISLAND. I got some interest from agents, but was never offered representation until I turned it to a YA novel. Then there was quite a bit of interest from agents and editors alike.

What was the inspiration behind the story?

I live right next to Salem, Massachusetts and I’ve always wanted to write something that captured the essence of the gothic undertones of growing up in a place that had such a dark history. Plus, I wanted to show how people really haven’t changed all that much—that persecution and ostracism are still alive and well in today’s society.
The book actually grew out of a recent local legend. There’s a stone wall in a neighboring town that supposedly was the site of a car crash not too long ago. Three kids were killed in the car crash and some say that if you shine your headlights on the wall at a certain time of night, you can see their faces in the wall. I’ve never actually seen it, but I decided to build my book around that haunting image.

Do you believe in the paranormal?

I kind of believe in ghosts and aliens. And I do believe that certain people have extrasensory perception. But that's the extent of my supernatural beliefs. And, no matter how many times my husband tries to convince me, I DO NOT believe in Bigfoot.

Are you or anyone you know interested in New Age?

Growing up next to Salem, MA, it's hard not to be interested in New Age things. I've used tarot cards and crystals and herbs for healing properties. But I've never been involved in witchcraft or "wicca". I have had my tarot cards and palm read by a witch, but that's about it.

Is Misery Island based on a real place?

Misery Island is a actually a real island. Actually there are a group of islands off the coast of Salem that are called the Misery Islands. The main one that I used in the story is called Great Misery. The smaller islands are called Cat, Tinker, Bakers and Eagle--to name a few. Hawthorne is a fictional town I created by mixing together a bunch of towns located on Boston's North Shore near Salem.

(I am so going there on my road trip!)

How long did it take for you to get Sisters of Misery published?

It definitely wasn't an overnight success story. My personal path to publication is unique. I started out writing for magazines like Glamour, Elle, American Baby, Boston Magazine, MetroSports and Working Mother (to name a few), but never had a published novel or an agent. At 32, I had a series of strokes that eventually lead to open heart surgery. During that nine hour procedure I “technically” died for 96 minutes-as in, my heart was stopped and all brain activity quieted while they performed the surgery. Even after the surgery (which was only second in severity to a heart transplant) was successful, the doctors couldn’t guarantee what, when or how my brain would recover. I could have easily slipped into a coma, become paralyzed, suffered amnesia-the horrific scenarios were endless. Thankfully, I came back in the same mental state I was in prior to surgery. In my recovery stages, I was extremely limited in what I could and couldn’t do. Since I had a full sternotomy and needed to heal, I wasn’t allowed to lift anything over 5 pounds and my mobility was restricted because of the intense pain. And yet, I remained determined to fulfill my dream of becoming a published author. I used my four month recovery period to work on the manuscript I’d been fiddling around with for years. Within a year, I had an agent at a top NY literary agency and a two-book deal with Kensington Books. My book, SISTERS OF MISERY, is the cornerstone of Kensington’s new YA division.

What can you tell me about The Lost Sister?

There is definitely going to be some payback for some of the terrible things done by the Sisters of Misery. Tarot cards are going to play a role in the same way that rune stones started did in SISTERS. Kate is definitely going to get some of what she deserves!

(Whoo hoo, Death to Kate! Uhh... I mean severe bodily harm to Kate!)

How many books are planned for the series?

Right now, The Lost Sister is the last book in the series. It's really up to my editor, agent, publisher and film agent. I'll let you know as soon as I hear.

(It better not be the last book. Let's all write in begging for more.)

Were any of your characters inspired by people you know?

Everyone wants to know who Kate is! The truth is that there wasn't one Kate. There were many "Kates." I took the meanest parts of the most obnoxious girls I knew growing up and put them together to make one really horrible girl. Even though I never witnessed all of the things that happened in the book, I've either seen or heard about watered down versions of all the bullying that I wrote about. I needed to make it really over the top for the suspense factor.

Do you have a favorite character to write?

My favorite character is, of course, Cordelia. She is caring, brilliant, loyal, outspoken, eccentric, free-spirited, beautiful, independent and mysterious. She's just the coolest. I also can relate to Maddie, because at that age, I found myself trying to go with the flow as opposed to standing up for myself and going against my friends. I tried to avoid controversy as much as possible. But, like many readers, I am frustrated with Maddie's actions and her lack of courage to stand up to Kate and the rest of the Sisters. Yet, she grew up in a world where "fitting in" was expected and encouraged--even by her own mother!! I think that growing up, I fell somewhere in between Cordelia and Maddie. I aspired to be Cordelia, but I think my personality was a little closer to Maddie. Kind of low-key and not very confrontational. Despite the fact that Cordelia was a bit "wild," she's a great example for girls in that she stands up for what she believes in and she refuses to be bullied. There are so many cruel things that girls do to each other. It's important to know that you don't have to go along with peer pressure or bullying and that you will be happier with yourself in the long run (and respected by others) if you stand up for what you believe in.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What was the first thing you wrote?

Yes, I've always dreamed of being a writer. I think the first thing I ever wrote was a really long poem called The Rainbow Colored Shell. I wrote it in the third or fourth grade and it was about a princess that fell into a crystal lake while she was trying to grab this amazingly beautiful rainbow colored shell. She drowned and was discovered by her true love only after she was transformed into a mermaid and had this beautiful rainbow-colored shell in her hair. I guess I had a tendency to write kind of dark and gothic things even at a young age.

Are there any things you need to do before you can write, like listen to music?

Throughout the whole process of writing SISTERS OF MISERY, I listened to Dido, Sarah McLachlan and Natalie Merchant. Their songs really influenced the tone of the book. Before I sit down to write, I like to escape down to the beach at the bottom of my hill and look for sea glass. It's a great way to clear my mind and I often get some of my best ideas during those walks.

What do you do to get through writer’s block?

I’m not one of those people that can fight through writer’s block and just write to get something onto the page. I let thing percolate in my mind until things come out in an explosion. The only problem is that it could be in the middle of the night when all of the words are trying to get out and I need to let them. I just channel my days of all-nighters that I spent in college finishing term papers the day before they were due. Some things never change.

Do have to make an outline or does it all just come to you as you go?

Sometimes I can outline, but mostly I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" writer. I figure that if I can surprise myself with the ending, then the reader will definitely be surprised.

(I think her way works. I definitely didn't guess anything right)

What’s the first book you remember reading?

I Packed My Trunk To Go To Squantum. I could recite it verbatim when I was four or five. I don't even think it's in print now.
It went something like:
I packed my trunk to go to Squantum
and in it I packed:
An apple big and red,
A book to take to bed,
A car that goes beep beep
A doll that will sleep...."

I don't remember the rest :)

(I think the only thing I could quote verbatim when I was five was... well dang. Now I can't remember it. Hold on I got it, "Listen to them. The children of the night. What music they make.)

What were your favorite books as a teen and now? Favorite authors?

I’ve always loved suspense novels, especially as a teen. So many YA suspense novelists like Lois Duncan, Christopher Pike and Stephen King inspired my writing. In college, I devoured any short stories with a gothic element. Stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, William Faulkner. Today I love Jodi Picoult, Alice Hoffman and Thomas H. Cook, to name just a few.

What are you some books you’d recommend?

The Secret History is my all-time favorite book. If I could only go back and read it again for the first time!!

Would you like it if Sisters of Misery became a movie or would you rather it always be just a book?

I'd love to see Sisters of Misery as a television series or movie. It would work well as a series as a sort of cross between Twin Peaks and Gossip Girls. And it would be great in Hollywood because there are tons of wonderful parts for actresses (couldn't you see Julianne Moore as an amazing Rebecca?). Plus, I'd have to insist that Johnny Depp produce, direct or at least have a special appearance in the production. :)

(Johnny Depp... He could be an extra. Oooh he could play a teacher, Jack Sparrow style. Oh I'm sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow)

Check out Megan's site by clicking this, the "Interview with..." at the top, or go to www.megankelleyhall.com

10 October 2008

Review-In the Forests of Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Rachel was a girl who lived in Concord, Massachusetts. She was born in 1684 and died in 1701... and she woke up days later. Rachel is dead, gone forever, she is now Risika. She's a vampire.
Risika lives in modern day Concord. Sleeps by day, hunts at night. After she strays into another's territory, she comes home to find a black rose. The same kind of rose she got days before her fate was sealed 3 centuries ago. Risika also soon realizes she's being followed and word gets to her that someone is asking for "Rachel" and Risika has to deal with her past coming back to haunt her.

I love this book. It's the first book in the Den of Shadows series. You can follow any of these book without reading them in order, well I could. I read Demon In My View first, but you'll probably get the whole back story and little references if you read them in order. The story is amazing. Even more so since the author wrote it when she was 13. About 150 pages long, I finished it in an hour, which is awesome. It means you can read more books in one day!

Here's another cover version.

Review- Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn

So I'm not going to review this book because I couldn't finish it. I'm just going to explain why I didn't finish it. It was written so.. I don't know. Confusing. I mean there weren't any punctuation marks so it took me forever to figure who was saying what. Here's an excerpt:

"Toad, watch my food, man. Keep your mouth shut when you chew.
Oh, Mr. Clean. Excuse me. I didn't think you cared what you ate.
That's right, he eats whatever he can. He's a donkey boy.
You too, Crater.
Get that the f#%@ off my plate.
Now you're making me laugh, man.
Toad, you eat it. You like to eat.
No, he has to save his appetite for the real thing.
Tobey throws a fry from the floor onto the guy's plate.
I'm just speaking the truth.
You're my Zen Master.
Really, what's it like getting so much?
Shut the f#%@ up.
Cut it out with the dirty fries, man. That's been on the floor.
Down, Slave! Lick it up off the floor."

Seriously that's the excerpt. I mean what the hell is that supposed to mean. There's no way to know who's speaking. Is this like Shakespeare? Only some people can easily understand what it means and what's going on without looking at the little decoder.
And then there was one part that mentioned this doctor someone, just out of no where. The doctor had never been mentioned before so I didn't know who it was or what they were talking about. It seems like an interesting story but since I was so confused and I didn't understand it, I wasn't going to put the time in to finish. If you can understand it please explain it to me. This book so many great review I can't help but wonder am I the only one who doesn't get it?

Review-Out of the Dust by Karen Hessee

I honestly don't know how to review this book. If I try I think I'll be able capture the essence of the book, but I'll try my best anyway.

This is a free verse novel set in Oklahoma, set a little after the Great Depression. It starts in the winter of 1934 and ends December 1935. It's told form the point of view of 14-year-old Billie Jo Kelby. We learn about her mother, who dies in a tragic accident. Her father, who becomes a shell of a man after his wife's death, but mostly we learn Billie Jo and how hard it was to live during this time. Billie Jo nothing more than to get out of Oklahoma, to have another life, a better life.

Karen Hesse is incredibly talented. I give it PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

I read this book in 5th grade and loved it. I always remembered this book, and not to long ago I decided to re-read it. But then I realized I forgot who wrote it and the title! I was kind of mad cause it was always on the tip of my tongue and I remembered so much about it and could have drawn the cover, but as luck would have it I saw it on my recommendations from Borders and got it that day. I would recommend this book to anyone. Especially if you like books that give you a glimpse of what life was like in another time. I asked my father how close it was to what it was like back then and he said it seemed right. (My dad wasn't alive during this time but born about 5 years after. He only based that on what his parents told him and what he learned in school)

04 October 2008

Review-Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead (first 3 books)

Okay I'm going to try not to spoil anything oh and you should know this series is NOT a young adult series.

Georgina Kincaid is a succubus, and a good one at that. You'd think being able to shape shift your clothes, hairstyle, make-up, and shoes into whatever whenever you want, having guys faint if you look at them, and having a job that requires you to have sex on a regular basis wouldn't be so bad, right? Well, for Georgina it isn’t that simple. She likes to do things to regular way, the human way, and only sleeps with “bad” guys, when she can. The guys that have low morals and scruples, the ones who are already corrupted and are going to hell. She works in a bookstore, which is awesome. Free books and coffee, I’d be in heaven. Her social circle includes an imp named Hugh, vampires, Peter and Cody, an angel named Carter and her demon boss, Jerome, who looks like John Cusack.

What I liked about these books...
The world Richelle Mead has created is so original. It's a new way to look at the good vs. evil game. I loved the characters, the evil ones who aren't completely evil and the good who are completely good... and annoying in my opinion. I love how "evil" is like a corporation in this series. I finished these three books in three days so I obviously would recommend them to anyone who likes paranormal romance books.

Since all the book have the same rating I'll do it here PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

In Succubus Blues, Georgina is accused of killing an immortal everyone knew Georgina wasn't very fond of. When Georgina starts getting weird notes from the real killer she takes it upon herself to find who is responsible.

This book is a wonderful series beginner. Its very well written and gives you just enough information to understand the "rules" of the series. (like what the supernaturals powers are, what supernaturals exist, etc etc) I'd recommend already having the sequel near you if you like the book by the second half, because you'll been craving more.

In Succubus On Top, her friend and co-worker Doug starts acting weird Georgina has to find out what's causing it and to top it off she has to help her best friend, an incubus named Bastien, seduce a woman known for her incredibly conservative views before Bastien is fired. (Emphasis on fire) But proves to harder than either of the anticipated. Will Georgina figure out what's up with Doug and help Bastien before it's too late?

Bastien was a great add for this book. And I loved the ironic reason for why is wasn't so easy for Bastien to seduce Ms. Conservative.

Succubus Dreams: Georgina starts having weird dreams that leave her waking up with no energy. She has to contact Dante, a dream interpreter with very little soul, to help her figure out what her dreams mean and why they are taking away her energy. Will she find out what or who is responsible before its too late?

I wish I had waited awhile before reading this book. I wanted to read Succubus Heat so bad I went outside and screamed for a whole minute. Yeah I want it that bad. Oh how I wish I could get my hands on an ARC...

Succubus Heat June 2009

28 September 2008

Review-Amor and Summer Secrets by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Mariana is a 15-year-old girl in Philadelphia. Her father is Puerto Rican and her mother Polish. Mariana's world comes crashing down when she receives the worst news: her parents are sending her to spend the summer in Puerto Rico. Doesn't sound too bad but for Mariana it's the end of th world. She's going to miss her best friend's Sweet Sixteen party to spend the summer with only her brother and some distant relatives she didn't even know she had. To makes matters worse she soon finds out that only one of them speaks English and the only Spanish she knows is from school. But after awhile Mariana soon realizes it's not as bad as she thought it would be when she learns more about her culture and family.

This book was very well written and another new favorite of mine. I'm guessing a lot of teenagers will be able to find themselves identifying with Mariana.
One of the best Debut Novels I've read. I definitely recommend this book. Sometimes Mariana seems a little whiny and well, yeah a tiny bit of a push over, but you see her learn through the book (and I assume in the sequels as well) so its bearable. I'm not a fan of her friends either, but I'm still waiting for her to tell them to shove it and grow up :) Okay a little bit hostile but I used to know people like that and I got tired of it. Her parents mad me mad too. And her brother, he's too much like my brother (and I hate him. Seriously.) Huh, I guess the only characters I liked in this book were Mariana and her Puerto Rican family and friends. Thank god they're in the majority of the book. Anyways I do recommend this book and I give itPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket of my little heart and crossbones thingy.

Interview with Ellen Schreiber

Ellen Schreiber is the author of Teenage Mermaid and the Vampire Kisses series. Click on the title of this blog to see her site.

1. What's the inspiration behind Teenage Mermaid?

I was sitting with my mom and we were discussing the fact that I loved mermaids when I was growing up. Then I said, “I was a teenage mermaid.” And we both thought it was a fun title. So I began it from that conversation.

2. What made you want to write a series about vampires?

I wanted to write about the idea of the romantic vampire--one who needs another for eternity, without the gore.

3. How long ago did you get the idea and start writing Vampire Kisses?

Around 1999 and I finished it over the summer of that year.

4. Is there anything you can tell me about Royal Blood and Love Bites?

Royal Blood is about Alexander’s parents arriving in Dullsville. I’m still working on Love Bites. :)

5. What can you tell me about the other vampire series you're planning?

It’s about a girl who is a vampire.

6. Where any of your characters based on people you know?

Aunt Libby is a combination of my Aunt Esther and my friend Andrea who is an actress.

7. Are there any rituals you need to do before you can write? Like listen to a certain type of music, be in complete silence, sit outside, etc.

I don’t have any rituals per se. But sometimes I put my laptop on a spider web tablecloth or placemat. It helps get me in the mood.

8. What do you do to get over writer's block?

I don’t usually get it, but if I need some inspiration, I go for a walk, drive, or watch a movie.

9. Do you just start writing when you have an idea or do you make an outline then work around that?

I only use an outline when I have to show one to the publishers. Otherwise, I just sit down and write. But when I do the outline, I write it the same way as my novels--organically.

10. What was your favorite book as a teen and now? Favorite author?

I hate to admit but I rarely read when I was a teen. I always felt forced to read in high school and it turned me off to reading. I did like a Wrinkle in Time, which I read on my own. Of course, my favorite author now is my brother, Mark.

11. Other than your great books, do you have any recommendations?

Sure. Starcrossed by Mark Schreiber. It’s very hip and edgy. :)

26 September 2008

Review-Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall

There are some girls who have everything...

She has the right clothes, the right friends, and the right last name, but fifteen-year-old Maddie Crane sometimes feels like an outsider in her clique in the wealthy, seaside town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. And when her gorgeous, eccentric cousin Cordelia LeClaire moves to town, Maddie is drawn toward her ethereal, magical spirit and teeters even more toward the edge of her friends' tightly-knit circle...

Then there are the jealous ones...

Kate Endicott and the Sisters of Misery--a secret clique of the most popular, powerful girls in school--are less than thrilled by Cordelia's arrival. When Kate's on-again, off-again boyfriend Trevor takes an interest in Cordelia, the Sisters of Misery become determined to make her pay...

Now Maddie must choose between the allure and power of the Sisters of Misery and her loyalty to her beloved cousin. But she'll have to give up on ever fitting in and accept the disturbing truth about the town, her friends, her mysterious cousin, and even herself as she faces the terrifying wrath of the Sisters of Misery...

I started this book around 11 PM and finished around 1 AM. One of the few books I make a priority over sleep.
What can I say about this book other than I loved it? I could repeat the summary you'll find anywhere, in my own words, but that's not really reviewing. I could talk about the book in detail but I'd give every good thing away. I could say that without a doubt you'll love it, but how am I supposed to know that? I don't know who is reading this, for all I know no one reads this. So can I say you'll absolutely love this book and will impatiently wait for the sequel? No, I can't but I can say that's what happened to me. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do in a review. Say why I like or disliked it, would I recommend it to someone else etc. etc. So I guess I'll do that now...
Yes I loved it and yes I would recommend it.
Sisters of Misery is a wonderful book that I've been waiting for since July and it definitely didn't disappoint. I couldn't put it down. I was talking to my friend the entire I was reading it and she decided she was going to read it just from the reactions I had when I read some shocking, unexpected twist. (there were a lot of those) I mean one minute I though somebody was guilty then I was feeling sorry for them and couldn’t believe I thought that had done it. Then I thought for sure without a doubt this person did it and once again I was wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be wrong. This book is awesome at keeping you guessing.
One thing I absolutely loved about this book, is even though it’s Young Adult it isn’t a kid book. What I mean is, that it doesn’t just ignore drugs and sex. It doesn’t going to into explicit detail or anything but it doesn’t sugar coat it either. Like I said, I love that. I’m tired of Young Adult books that are advertised as being great for teens and they completely ignore most problems teens go through. I hope you’ll check this book out, you may not like it but it’s definitely worth reading either way.

My interview with the author, Megan Kelley Hall, should be up soon. But there was some mess up and my question never got sent and now I can’t find them anywhere. (You wouldn’t have happened to see a purple notebook lying around anywhere would you? No? Dang… When I find the questions, or come up with more, I’ll post them.)


10 September 2008

Review-The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

15 year old Chloe Saunders was a normal teenager. She went to an art school, made up a crush for her friend's benefit, has designer clothes, was raised by nannies, can see ghosts. Okay maybe not so normal. After an incident at school she is sent to a group home for "troubled teens". She starts to figure out that there is a lot more to Lyle House then she was led to believe. With the help of two other house mates she starts to figure out some of the mystery behind the house. And her gift.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH OMG OMG OMG OMG OH MY GOOOD! What kind of ending..... grrrr. That's all I got to say "AHHHH" oh and Kelley is evil... Ending a book like that what was she thinking?! Maybe she was thinking it was a way to get people craving The Awakening, in which case she's right. Okay I'll admit it was a damn good ending. I just hate cliffhangers. (Just so you know when I say an author is evil for the way they ending a book I mean "the author is smart to end it that way but I want to know what happens! *whines*" or that I hate cliffhangers what I really mean is "OMG I can't wait for more" or something along those lines.... weird I know)
This book was awesome. I couldn't stand it when I had to stop reading to do my school work. The Greeks just weren't holding my attention today.

We meet Chloe, a teenage necromancer, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia and sent to Lyle House. There she meets Liz, Tori, Simon, Derek, and Rae. Like her, they are "troubled teens" with secrets and powers they don't understand. While trying to find out what's really going on at Lyle House and who she can trust, Chloe learns more than she could imagine, and maybe more than she wants to. She finds out ignorance really is bliss but has to ask herself if it's worth it. I wish I could say more but I don't want to spoil it so go pick up a copy!

Kelley Armstrong has done it again with the promising new series. If you have read The Summoning and would like to read the first chapter of The Awakening (book 2) then go here. Click on "My Locker", if you can't figure out the password contact me. Click on the page on the right that says "Darkest Powers book 2 uncorrected proofs" then you'll need another password, to prove you've read the first one, then you can read the first chapter of The Awakening.

Interview with Kelley Armstrong

I had the pleasure to interview Kelley Armstrong author of the Women of the Otherworld series, Nadia Stattford series, and The Summoning, book 1 of the Darkest Powers trilogy. If you haven't read her book, I'm sorry. If you have and you don't like them then I would suggest medication for insanity. Anyways....

How did you get the ideas for Women of the Otherworld, Nadia Stattford, and Darkest Powers?

For the Otherworld and Darkest Powers, I've been fascinated by the paranormal since I was a child. By now, I have no idea why I'm so attracted to it--I just know that I am, and that I love writing in this genre. What I often read, though, is crime thrillers. So when I thought of starting a different series, that's the direction I went with the Nadia Stafford one.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

That's like asking me to pick my favourite child! I love them all for different reasons, and maybe some a little more than others, but there's no clear fave. The one I find easiest to write is Elena because I've spent so much time "in her head."

Were any of your characters based on or inspired by someone you know?

Not really. All my characters include traits from people I know, but they each include traits from many people, so none are based on anyone. And I'm sure my friends and family appreciate that! The closest I have a "character inspired by a real person" is Jaime Vegas. Her personality isn't based on anyone in particular, but I got the idea for her character (particularly her career) from reading an article on a TV spiritualist.

How many books are planned for Women of the Otherworld?

I just signed a contract extension to go to #13 (#9 comes out this fall) I'm at the stage of taking it a few books at a time. When I get close to #13, I'll decide whether I'm still having fun, and if not, that would be the end.

I noticed that the preview for Broken at the end of Haunted is different than the first chapter in the book and was wondering what made you change your mind about the sequence of events in Broken?

Typical "early chapter" edits. The first quarter of my books always undergo the most edits, because they start too slowly, as I work my way into the characters. With that one, as with most of them, the publisher need the first chapter months before Haunted even came out...meaning I'd barely begun Broken. When I edited it, I realized that the book started too slowly, so I had to condense the time-lines. Since then I've insisted on not releasing the first chapters until the book is done!

Is the end to Made to be Broken written as a conclusion in case it is the last?

No. I know that might not be wise. I've got so much on the go right now that I'm pretty sure a third book won't follow right away. But I had an arc for the overall storyline that I couldn't wrap up in two books. So the case she's investigating ends, as it did in Exit Strategy, but Nadia's overall story doesn't.

Would you like it if one or all of your book series were going to be made into movies?

It'd be great publicity. I've learned that, whatever my own feelings on movie/TV versions, I can't underestimate the power of that publicity. The more readers a series gets, the more happy publishers are to let it continue, which is very important!

Did you always want to be an author? If not, did anything specific cause your decision?

I've always written, but I didn't expect to ever become a full-time writer, or even write books that were published. In my very non-artsy family, fiction writing was considered a hobby, not something you did for a living. I knew it wasn't a career I could count on, so I just kept at it in my spare time and after a lot of rejection, finally got published.

What helps you get over writer's block?

For me, "writer's block" is one of two things. First, lack of confidence. If I'm feeling discouraged, it's hard to sit and write because I'm second-guessing everything from the plot to my word choices. Second, lack of direction--not knowing what comes next in the story.
Getting published has definitely helped with the first! When my confidence wanes, I can remind myself that there are people waiting to read the next book. A better way for me to fight that, though, is good old determination--taking whatever made my confidence falter and using it to bolster my determination to make the current book as good as it can be.
For the second problem, outlines are a godsend. So long as I have a basic outline, I always know "what happens next," so I never sit down at the computer and draw a blank.

How many times did it take for you get published?

I can't say, really. You'll find with most authors that they did more than one book and sent out many queries. What I can say is that it took about 6 years of intermittently sending stuff out.

Any advice to aspiring authors?

Practice, practice, practice. Sounds simple, but I know too many new writers who have written very little considering how long they've wanted to write. They're busy learning--not wanting to write too much until they know more about the craft. You need to write, and write a lot. Learning is great--taking courses, reading books--but you'll learn more from them if you do it as you go.

Who was your favorite author as a teen and now? Favorite book?

As a teen it was Stephen King. As an adult, I don't have a favourite, just a wide range of authors that I'll grab if I'm browsing the bookstore for something to read. Favourite book? Watership Down.

Other than your amazing books, what are some you'd recommend?

Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs. They also happen to be among the bestselling authors in this genre, but they got there for a reason. They're good.

And my friend Abby had some questions of her own:

Do you make an outline for you books and write them beginning to end or do the ideas just come to you as you go?

I outline. I didn't used to, but once I got on a publication schedule with deadlines, I couldn't just meander through and back up when I went in the wrong direction. I don't do a detailed outline (it's far more detailed for the first part than the rest) and I don't necessarily stick to my outline, but I always have one.

Did you read up on the paranormal for your Women of the Otherworld series?

I didn't need to. I've been fascinated by the paranormal and reading about it since childhood. I still read new sources I find (well, they're actually old sources, but new to me!) I'm always expanding my knowledge of the lore and finding new and interesting angles.

And lastly she wants to know, and I'm sure many others do as well, where can I find a Clay?

The question is: would you really want to? While he certainly has his appealing points, I know that if I had to live with him, he'd drive me nuts...as he often does to Elena. He works better as a fictional guy than a real one, I'm sure!

03 September 2008

Review-The Elite by Jennifer Banash

It’s the most exclusive luxury apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side. If you don’t live there—you don’t know how to live…

When Casey McCloy steps into The Bramford, she’s overwhelmed by the sophistication and elegance of it all. Fresh from the Midwest, she’s moved to NYC to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here all that matters is who you know. The designer to know is Zac Posen. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty, platinum-blond. She’s not just Casey’s new classmate and neighbor; she’s an icon. So Casey aims to get in with Madison and her gorgeous gal-pals from the start. As the reigning queen of coolness, Madison is capable of destroying reputations with one well-timed whisper. Better to be on her good side.

But after a city-haute makeover from her new frenemy Madison, Casey is wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people—including Drew, the boy-about-town who Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone…

It's been said this book is a lot like Gossip Girl, and it is. Except, you know, better. (No offense to the GG fans) This book may be set in New York and about some rich girls but it is different. I loved this book. It switches points of view in different chapters so that every character has their chance to shine, and no character seems more important than the others. Drew might seem like a run-of-the-mill player and Madison may seem like a bitch until you read their points of view.

You may think the first part of the book may be a little slow, but it definitely picks up in the later half. I love how this book makes you realize that even though people may be rich and have the perfect hair and perfect nails and the perfect outfits and seem to have perfect lives, they don't. They have to deal with peer pressure and family problems and boy troubles and secrets they're afraid of people knowing just like everybody else. Having money might make their lives easier and a little more fun but it definitely makes it harder, too.


Check this book out and it's sequel, In Too Deep, coming out in January 2009 and the final installment (unless you guys keep reading, hint hint) Simply Irresistible coming out June of 09. Also check out my interview with the author.