Thursday, September 30, 2010

John Belushi is Dead

Holy catfish, there’s so much going on for the Bookanistas lately!

1. We have three new members I’d like to introduce you to. Welcome, Veronica Roth, Megan Miranda, and Jesse Kirby!

2. The cover of Elana Johnson’s POSSESSION has been revealed. I urge you to stop by Beth Revis’ and Jamie Harrington’s  blogs to check it out. It’s stunning and makes me want to cry a little for all the books that don’t have covers quite as gorgeous.

3. Lisa Roecker is about to have her baby and is going on maternity leave from blogging. So Laura will be hijacking going solo until Lisa’s return, much to Lisa’s dismay relief. Check out the hilarious announcement.

4. ARCS of Beth’s ACROSS THE UNIVERSE are now out!!! Yahoo!!!!! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book (Hint hint, Razorbill)

5. Christine Fonseca’s  book EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS is coming out on FRIDAY!!!!!! Yahoo!! So excited for her. Can’t wait to read her book.

6. I don’t really have a sixth. Just be sure to check out what some of the other Bookanistas are raving about today:

Bookanistas_logo

  • Beth Revis and Jamie Harrington are spreading some cover love for POSSESSION.
  • Veronica Roth is dying over some upcoming SCI-FI/Dsytopian book covers.
  • Christine Fonseca is raving over THE REPLACEMENT.
  • Elana Johnson has a special Friday edition, where she helps launch the book, EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS. 
  • Lisa and Laura Roecker are crazy over MATCHED.
  • Shelli Johannes-Wells is tempting us with a DESIRES sneak peek!
  • Shannon Messenger is showing some serious MG love with MG SPOTLIGHT.

     

    And now, for my Thursday Bookanistas review:

    JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD

    by Kathy Charles

    John_Belushi

    Goodreads description:

    IN THE END WE ALL FADE TO BLACK.

    Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.

    Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.

    MY REVIEW:

    The thing is, you can’t go into a book like this expecting rainbows, unicorns, and bubble gum language. The (amazing) cover tells us this, but so does the description of the premise, the central focus of which is death and Hollywood. And let me just say, Hollywood has to be the most perfect setting for teenagers obsessed with death. Yes, the story was a bit creepy at times—several scenes gave me the shivers, yet I couldn’t wait to turn to the next chapter.

    I’ll be straight up with you, though. This book is seriously edgy for the teen category. It will likely give you pause and should open the door to discussion between teens and the old farts in their lives. BUT. Given the subject matter, I think it almost had to be in order for it to feel authentic. You have two teenagers obsessed with celebrity deaths, both of them living in a jaded, LA environment. They ain’t listening to the Jonas Brothers, yo. But this book is so much more than death and Hollywood. JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD illustrates the very gray space that teenagers exist in, that period in time we question all we’ve ever believed, learning for the first time that not every question has an answer and not every answer is one we can stomach. Their regular visits to sites of grizzly celebrity murders are just a manifestation of their desire to understand death, the ultimate bane of our existence.

    For Hilda, this macabre obsession is especially poignant. Her pain isn’t obvious at first, though you know from the get-go that there is something really powerful lying beneath the surface. But we quickly learn that at a very young age, in the most horrifying of ways, Hilda has been forced to confront her own mortality, and we realize that beneath the pink hair and the goth appearance lies a little girl who can’t make sense of what has happened to her. So she delves into a world of darkness searching for answers, attaching herself to a creepy dude that seems to get where she’s coming from. It’s all a bit morose, but it’s also that morbid part of her nature that draws the reader in—it helps us understand the demons she’s harboring, even though Hilda herself doesn’t seem to understand why she is the way she is.

    But along the way, Hilda begins to comprehend the true nature of her demons—and that she’s not alone in having them. We see a romance blossom and a friendship form in the most unlikely of places. And in the process, she is forced to confront her fascination with death and the effect it has had on her ability to live.

    JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD is such an emotional book that pulls you in and makes you fall in love with Hilda—laugh with her and hurt for her. Every one of the characters was compelling and genuine, but Hilda is a true star, stealing the show. She is so authentic and her voice almost intoxicating. I was so drawn in by her. Like with a train wreck, I found myself morbidly interested in those grizzly deaths—I was creeped out, yes, but intrigued nonetheless because she was, and I felt invested in her. But there’s more to the story than its compelling characters. JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD  touched on the most basic human desire to live, while also forcing us to consider the nondiscriminatory nature of death:

    In the end, we all fade to black.

    That’s some heavy stuff, no? It’s eerie and a little sad, and yet…oddly comforting, sort of like JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD. Read it. Be moved by it. Talk about it.

    ****

    JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD is now available .

  • Monday, September 27, 2010

    Too Much Kewwwtness

    First of all, I want to commend all the bloggers, readers, and writers who stood up for banned books this past week! I am proud to be a part of this community.

    Second, I want to thank all of you that watched my deceptively useful vlog on How to Vlog these past few days. I very much appreciate all of your kind comments and support, especially considering how nervous I was to post it. I know it seems silly, crazy even, to be so nervous—most people probably wouldn’t get palpitations at the thought of posting a video of themselves flashdancing in knee socks. You’d probably even laugh at my night sweats and flash vomiting induced by the thought of recording myself eating Cheetos and getting orange gunk stuck in my teeth in a playhouse and then posting it online for all people to watch for the rest of eternity….

    Oh man.

    Finally, I want to just get on with it and announce the winners of my Banned Books Giveaway. Lots going on today, so I won’t waste your time with frivolous chatter.

    But OMG, tell me this isn’t just ridinculous.

     

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwww….

    Cute Kitty

     

    Shooooo Kewwwwwt…I could just eetchoo all up!!!

     

    more-cute-animals-18

     

     

    OMG, stop! Just stop already! Too frigging kewt, garsh durn it!

    Taco baby

     

    I know, right? I’m such an arse for dragging things out.

     

    But the Kewtness! It’s too rideeculous and shadorable! How can you hate me for that??

    And the winners are….

     
     
    2 copies of SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

    Speak
     
    ~JENA F.~
    ~A CANADIAN GIRL~


    Pre-order of THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney
    The Mockingbirds

    ~RHONDA COWSERT~

     

    Banned Book Bracelet
    Each charm is the cover of a YA banned book, except for one charm which reads: “I read banned books”

    DSC00626 DSC00627

    ~COURTNEY BARR~

     

    Congratulations, winners!! Please email me with an address to which I can ship your prize!

    Big thank you to all of you who entered! Once again, I’m left in the position of not having anywhere near enough prizes for all entrants. Which makes me feel kind of like this.

    screaming.baby

    But if you would like to get any of these books or the bracelet on your own, just click on their images, and it will direct you to websites where you can find them! The bracelet was made by Carolyn Forsman, a talented artist I met this summer at the ALA convention in DC where I purchased several pieces, including this bracelet.

     

    PRACTICAL NOTE: I’ve been trying to visit a lot of your blogs, but I’m discovering that many of you don’t have them linked in your profiles, like this:

    profile

    If you do have a blog, and you would like me to stop by and I haven’t yet, please connect your blogs to your profiles and/or shoot me an email and/or leave a comment on this post with a link (or after you’ve linked your blog to your profile).* Linking your blog will also help others find you after you’ve followed their blogs or left a comment on their posts. That said, thank you so much for becoming my bloggie friends and for stopping by just to see what this place is all about. I mega heart you.

    P.S. It’s also possible I have overlooked your blog because I’m a moron. If so, my most sincere apologies. All of you mean a great deal to me. One of the best/easiest ways for me to get to you is if you leave a comment.

    P.S. There were some other things I wanted to announce, but there was too much kewwwtness taking up space. So come back tomorrow, yo.

     

    ************************************

    *To link your blog to your Blogger profile, on your Blogger dashboard, go to settings—Basics—and next to “Add your blog to our listing,” click YES. You’re welcome.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Fifteen and Longing: A Look into DARK WATER

    See what books some of the other fab Bookanistas are highlighting today:

    Bookanistas_logo

  • Elana Johnson is loving LOSING FAITH.
  • Christine Fonseca - is showering praise for her BOOKANISTA buds and their covers.
  • Beth Revis recommends INCARCERON.
  • Lisa and Laura Roecker are gushing over some fab covers.
  • Kirsten Hubbard praises PARANORMALCY.

     

     

    ******************************************

    So, yeah, no matter how much you love a book, it’s not always easy to express why. And this one was a toughie. It was just a feeling, you know? When you just know something is for you. It felt familiar and sparked memories for me. Like when you catch a scent in the air that throws you back into your childhood, or maybe it’s a sound. Like when I hear a whirring fan, sometimes I smile and sigh because for a moment, I can remember lying in bed on summer nights, feeling sticky and freezing from the box fan in the window sucking in all the dewy late night moisture from outside. It’s in the enclosed sound of that fan that I did so much of my adolescent thinking and angsting. Reading DARK WATER was like listening to the soft sound of a fan on low.

    But let me see if I can explain in slightly less abstract terms why I love this book .

    DARK WATER by Laura McNeal

    Dark Water

    Goodreads ddescription: Fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and her mother live in Fallbrook, California, where it’s sunny 340 days of the year, and where her uncle owns a grove of 900 avocado trees. Uncle Hoyt hires migrant workers regularly, but Pearl doesn’t pay much attention to them . . . until Amiel. From the moment she sees him, Pearl is drawn to this boy who keeps to himself, fears being caught by la migra, and is mysteriously unable to talk. And after coming across Amiel’s makeshift hut near Agua Prieta Creek, Pearl falls into a precarious friendship—and a forbidden romance.


    Then the wildfires strike. Fallbrook—the town of marigolds and palms, blood oranges and sweet limes—is threatened by the Agua Prieta fire, and a mandatory evacuation order is issued. But Pearl knows that Amiel is in the direct path of the fire, with no one to warn him, no way to get out. Slipping away from safety and her family, Pearl moves toward the dark creek, where the smoke has become air, the air smoke.

    MY REVIEW

     DARK WATER can probably be summed up in one word: LONGING.

    Now, have a look at that cover. The girl wades into the water, her eyes closed, her face tilted upward. You can practically hear in her mind: please. Brilliant, no?  So freaking moving just to look at it. And they used one of the focal points within the story, the dark water, to convey that sense of mystery which pervades the entire book.

    From the outset, we know that there is some great fire that breaks out (so no mystery there) and we know something life-changing will result from it; we just don’t know what or how it is she gets to that point. We know there’s love and that fifteen year old Pearl is connected to Amiel, but there’s such a strong sense of desperation throughout, a  sense of inevitability that nearly takes your breath away. It’s clear that Pearl is looking back from some point in the future; yet it never feels as if she’s withholding anything from you. It’s more like the story is simply unfolding organically, but with a glimpse of the end which only whets your appetite. You think you know how it will end, but every ounce of your readerly being hopes you’re wrong. The story itself is overlaid with want want want, but we all know that at fifteen, want always feels more like need need need, so it made sense that I felt that too. Indeed, DARK WATER captures the very essence of what it means to be fifteen.

    There’s not a whole lot of action in this, at least not until nearing the end—not in the same sense as HUNGER GAMES or the like—although it isn’t a static story either. It was moving and flowing the entire time. But certainly, DARK WATER is more character driven, and perhaps that’s why it felt, in part, like such an emotional book for me. And the voice was so unbelievably genuine, so…fifteen. I truly felt like I was experiencing the world through the eyes of a real girl, not just some blank canvas that will let a reader fill in the white space with her own personality. And yet, while her personality was very distinct, I felt like she experienced so many of the same sort of crushing emotions I felt at the same age. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t all angsty and OMGtheDRAMA! It was far more subtle than that, more real and intense, like a mature soul facing the realities of life for the first time.

    And the prose was simply astounding. I don’t know what more to say aside from…WOW. I felt my own writerly envy kicking in. Just an example:

    If he had run, I could have chased him and known what I was doing, because I know how to be eight, nine, ten, and eleven, but he stood up and looked as confused as I felt (ARC 180-1)

    Like I said, fifteen. At fifteen, we have no idea how to live inside of ourselves, and yet we long to be a part of the world, to not only know who we are, but to feel alive. Laura McNeal captured that feeling beautifully.

    So, I’ve never done this with a review before. But this book was so moving, so evocative, reminding me exactly how awful and hard and beautiful it is to grow up, that I couldn’t help but think of this song. Probably one of my favorite songs ever.

     

    Go pick up a copy of DARK WATER. Soak it in. It’s gorgeous.

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Speak Loudly and Enter a Sasquatch Giveaway…Sort of

    I’m pretty sick right now. This is sort of what I look like:

    uglymonkey (Found at DailyHaHa.com)
    And when you feel like this and start to wonder if perhaps you might be the mythical Sasquatch, blogging falls pretty low on the list of priorities.

    And yet

    I’ve been hearing all sorts of talk about censorship the last couple of day, thanks to a certain Mr. Scroggins who would like to see books like Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK banned from schools, and it’s bothered me enough that’s it’s pulling me out of my Sasquatch hibernation. Now, I respect Mr. Scroggins’ opinion, and I would never try to take away his right to express it.

    But I reserve the right to disagree.

    Rape is a dirty  four letter word. I can understand why someone wouldn't want to read about it. It’s ugly and life-shattering. But it’s real and it happens. And it happens to young girls. All. The. Time. And it’s books like SPEAK that might help a rape survivor find a way out of the silence that often results from her victimization. And her only access to such a book might be in school.

    I believe in a parent’s right to protect her child. I GET this. I carefully screen the movies my children watch, and I read the books they read. But I would never presume to know what is best for someone else’s child. I expect the same sort of respect from others. My children are mine. I determine what they’re exposed to. No one is allowed to speak for me.

    If Mr. Scroggins' intent was to shed some light on books like SPEAK, he has succeeded.

    I’ve been hanging on to this bracelet wondering when I might give it away. Now’s a good time, don’t you think?

    ***********************************

    In honor of Banned Books Week, I’m giving away:

    Banned Book Bracelet
    Each charm is the cover of a YA banned book, except for one charm which reads: “I read banned books”

    DSC00625 DSC00627


    2 copies of SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

    Speak


    And because I think it’s an important issue:

    Pre-order of THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney

    The Mockingbirds




    To enter my Banned Books Giveaway


    Just fill out this form. That’s it. Giveaway ends Sunday, September 26, so, you know, hurry….




    BANNED BOOKS GIVEAWAY FORM


    (Will ship internationally)


    **********************

    When you’re done entering my giveaway, go check out some of these other posts on this #SpeakLoudly issue.



    Laurie Halse Anderson: This guy thinks SPEAK is pornography

    Casey McCormick: Speak Loudly

    Myra McEntire: Speak Loudly in Defense of Laurie Halse Anderson

    Beth Revis: Speak loudly: The Rights of Americans

    Lisa and Laura Roecker: #Speakloudly, Your Comments=Donated Copies of SPEAK




    If you know of other great posts on the topic, feel free to leave a link in the comments!

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    The Unidentified

    There are certain books that you simply expect to love. They get so much buzz that it’s hard not to love them even before you read them. If you’re lucky, they actually are as good as everybody says. I call these books “Pre-love books”—books like MATCHED and PARANORMALCY. I mean, these books were amazing, and I LOVE it when a book meets such high expectations. But I think what tends to happen sometimes is that we’ll assume they are the only good books. Or perhaps we know better, but sometimes we’re afraid to risk our overblown book budgets on books we don’t recognize because they haven’t been heavily promoted.

    So, take a look at this book and remember it. Consider this book pimped:

     

    THE UNIDENTIFIED by Rae Mariz

    TheUnidentified

    Goodreads description: Kid knows her school’s corporate sponsors not-so-secretly monitor her friendships and activities for market research. It’s all a part of the Game; the alternative education system designed to use the addictive kick from video games to encourage academic learning. Everyday, a captive audience of students ages 13-17 enter the nationwide chain store-like Game locations to play.


    When a group calling themselves The Unidentified simulates a suicide to protest the power structure of their school, Kid’s investigation into their pranks attracts unwanted attention from the sponsors. As Kid finds out she doesn't have rights to her ideas, her privacy, or identity, she and her friends look for a way to revolt in a place where all acts of rebellion are just spun into the next new ad campaign.

    My Review

    I think it’s safe to say I have never read a book quite like this. It took me a couple of pages to get a feel for what it was about, and a little bit longer to get a solid grip on the world—which is the same world as ours, just in the future. But once I got it, I GOT it. And let me tell you, on the surface, this is a world I would have loved to live in as a kid. I mean, come on, a school where you don’t have to struggle through the normal classroom setting, but instead you get to play interactive video games all day? Where you get to watch robot wars? Where you get sponsors to buy your wardrobe? Crazy cool.

    But beneath the surface? Holy crap, it’s high school drama magnified times a bajillion, because there are corporations validating and encouraging the notion of cliques by sponsoring kids who have established a certain image; imagine goths, preps and jocks getting financial sponsorship and image guidance from Spencers, Eddie Bauer, and Nike. Any sense of individuality is muted because to stand out by being different is to create an image or a brand that will be marketed as an image to be replicated by classmates. It’s a total mind trip that will have you questioning the whole concept of conformity because even rebellion is, in a sense, a matter of conformity—that’s what the sponsors are looking for, as rebellion can be seen as a cool thing to be advertised and sold.

    It’s an intriguing foundation for a book, to be sure, but it’s not until The Unidentified prank that Kid starts to question her role and that of all the students within The Game (the school). THE UNIDENTIFIED highlights some of the greatest issues of adolescence: identity and privacy (and even first love), making this futuristic novel feel totally relevant to today and probably always.

    But one of the coolest aspects of this book is the voice, which felt so genuine, so sharp, I could hear it in my head as if it were being spoken aloud. But there isn’t a single WTF or OMG—instead Mariz has created her own slang or teen-speak, the meaning of which is completely identifiable through context, so that the voice can feel legitimate without dating the book. The prose won’t escape your notice either. I can’t tell you how many lines stopped me in my tracks because they were so thought-provoking and gorgeous, like written works of art, and yet accessible, like not the abstract kind of art that gives me a headache trying to figure it out. More like Renoir, but, you know, less old and way more hip. Like, okay, here:

    Mike spent all his time working on the most pathetic little spidery-legged robot. It was raw clumsy and adorable. (81)

    It’s simple, but so vividly constructed and filled with voice. What more can I say? For writers, this books kicks some serious ass. Read it once for pleasure and a second time to learn how to write YA—or how to write period. For readers? Read it twice just for the hell of it. It’s awesome.

    THE UNIDENTIFIED is now available for preorder and will be released October 5, 2010.

    *******************

    Be sure to go check out what books some of the other Bookanistas reviewers are celebrating today.

    Bookanistas_logo

  • Christine Fonseca is celebrating THE DUFF
  • Elana Johnson is raving about FIRELIGHT
  • Shelli Johannes Wells is giving us a preview of DESIRES
  • Shannon Messenger is loving THE MOCKINGBIRDS
  • Lisa and Laura Roecker are praising NIGHTSHADE CITY
  • Scott Tracey is ravenous about HUNGER

     

    emotionalintensity While you’re at Christine’s blog, you might want to read the first chapter of her new nonfiction book,  EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS, to be released October 1, 2010.

     

     

     

     

    And finally, Happy Birthday, Sara McClung! Be sure to stop by and wish her a happy day :D

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Updates and Two Freakishly Awesome Videos

    I just got back from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference in Denver (which was amazing, but I’ll post on that later—tomorrow maybe), and while it was a fabulous time for me, it did prevent me from doing any blogging. But I know that some of you have been anxiously waiting to learn the results of my ARCs Galore Giveaway (I got all your emails, and will try to get to them all), so I’m rushing to get all the entries organized so that I can do the drawing. It’s really important to me that everyone get all the entries they’ve earned, but it’s taking me some time to count them all up and validate, organize, and randomize, etc. However, I’m making every effort to get the results announced by the end of the day, so that I can get prizes posted ASAP. Especially because I know what it’s like to cross my fingers hoping to win something.

    And recently, I have!

     

    duff-225 The Red Umbrella

    Earlier this year, I won a signed copy of THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger from Shelli Johannes-Wells as well as a signed copy of THE RED UMBRELLA by Christina Diaz Gonzalez from Medeia Sharif. I was so glad to win these! Super wins, indeed. I was able to score a second unsigned copy of THE DUFF, but I didn’t need two copies, so I passed on the other in my last giveaway. I also got a chance to meet Christina this summer. And not only did she give me some really valuable advice about my own manuscript, she also signed a book for me to give away, which I’ll be doing soon!

     

    The Mockingbirds Return to Paradise

    And more recently, I won a couple of bookmarks, featuring Daisy Whitney’s book THE MOCKINGBIRDS, from Kimberly Franklin and a signed RETURN TO PARADISE by Simone Elkeles from Valerie Kemp.

    So, yeah, how lucky am I???? A HUGE thank you to Shelli, Medeia, Kim, and Valerie!!

    And guess what? It’s totally my birthday today. I was going to keep it quiet, but, eh, whatever. It’s not like getting old is a secret. So, I’ll be celebrating this evening (not getting old, but the fact that I was born). And as a testament to how much I love everyone who entered my contest, barring any unforeseeable craziness, I will also get another blog post out announcing the winners of my own giveaway before I go to sleep tonight, despite the fact that it’s my birthday and I should be spending it eating Twizzlers and peanut butter (not together, you weirdo), having a Harry Potter-Lord of the Rings movie marathon, and getting my head rubbed.

    Or maybe I should be doing this. This guy seems to be enjoying it.

     

    Anyway,  just know that it’s killing me to wrap up the contest, people. Because for every person that wins, there are a lot that don’t. There isn’t really anything I can do about it, but it bothers me nonetheless. As much as I love love love to make winners happy, I don’t like to make anyone feel disappointed. So, I’ll have another contest soon. I’ve got some really cool prizes to give away yet. Think: Fined Looks and Parks. Or something like that.

    And I’ve recently come across another freaking awesome book—I can’t wait to share it with you guys. It’s a bit of a sleeper, which makes it that much more exciting, but I’ll wait to tell you about it until I get my review written up.

    Annnnnnd that’s it as far as updates, I think. Now I should probably get around and prepare for my birthday. I’ve spent the entire day trying to catch up on everything I had to neglect for the conference, and I still haven’t gotten close to the bottom of the list. If you’re waiting on an email, a phone call, or a pigeon from me, I will get to it ASAP.

    P.S. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of my family and friends who have reached out to me with fabulous birthday wishes and cards and shoutouts and super gifts. I feel really, really loved, and I love you all with more feeling than is probably kosher to express on a blog.

    But, what the hell….

     

     

     

    P.S. I haven’t been able to do any blog hopping since last week, but I’ll be sure to respond to blog comments from my last post and do some blog reading later this PM. I always try to reply to comments or at least check out your blogs, but I’ve fallen behind because I’m either really busy or really slow.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    OMG Yes!

    Today, I’m going here:

     

     

    USA_smalldenver

    to attend this:

    RockyMountainWritersCon

    And as excited as I am to meet some really great people, I’m also feeling like this:

    Nervous Wreck

    And like this:

    empty-head

     

    So reading? Reviewing? Not working out so well.

    Instead, I decided that I will show you what I can do that doesn’t take a whole lot of brain function to do it. It looks something like this

     

    cat_on_drugs0

    (except with a little less hair)

     

    But why am I OMGOMGOMGyessing?

    Well. See for yourself.

     

    (Click on the book covers to see their Goodreads descriptions)

     

    Empty EMPTY

    by Suzanne Weyn

     

    ETA: October 1, 2010

     

     

     

     

    westerfield

    BEHEMOTH

    by Scott Westerfield

     

    ETA: October 5, 2010

     

     

     

     

    Freefall FREEFALL

    by Mindi Scott

    ETA: October 5, 2010

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Jane

    JANE

    by April Lindner

     

    ETA: October 11, 2010

     

     My review of JANE

     

     

    Beautiful Darkness

    BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS

    by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 

     

    ETA: October 12, 2010

     

     

     

     

    scorch trials THE SCORCH TRIALS

    by James Dashner

     

    ETA: October 12, 2010

     

     

     

     

    cresecendo

      CRESCENDO

    by Becca Fitzpatrick

       ETA: October 19, 2010

     

     

     

     

     

    Nightshade

    NIGHTSHADE

    by Andrea Cremer

    ETA: OCTOBER 19, 2010

     

     

    My Review of NIGHTSHADE 

     

    OMG yes!!!!

    And I’m particularly excited about this nonfiction book, because the author is awesome and because I know a lot of parents of gifted children

    emotionalintensity

    EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS

    by Christine Fonseca

    ETA: October 1, 2010

     

     

     

     

     

    OMG, yes!!!!

     

    Bookanistas Love

    Please be sure to go see what some of the other Bookanistas have to say about books they’ve read and loved:

    Bookanistas_logo

    Christine Fonseca: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

    Jamie Harrington: THE DUFF

    Shelli Johannes-Wells: HEX HALL and DEMON GLASS

    Elana Johnson: PERSONAL DEMONS (Wednesday Edition)

    Shannon Messenger: PARANORMALCY and a GIVEAWAY

    Beth Revis: EAT, PRAY, LOVE

    Lisa and Laura Roecker: CLEO THE CAT WHO MENDED A FAMILY

    Scott Tracey: MATCHED

     

    P.S.   Winners of the ARCs Galore Giveaway will be announced shortly. Thanks for entering!

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    In Gratitude

    I’ve decided that I am very grateful.

    For everything.

    I’ve been very blessed in my life.

    Rejected, crushed, betrayed, injured, lied to, stolen from, and hurt hurt hurt—I’ve been all of these things, too.

    And still, I feel really blessed. The funny thing is one good thing can always outweigh one bad thing, if you let it.

    So, yeah. I’ve been thinking about the happies in my life, and it sort of crowds out and silences the saddies. Thank God.

    And feeling grateful makes me want to pass that happy feeling on. So, I would like to pass on one final opportunity to earn entries in my ARCs Galore Giveaway, which ends tonight.

    To start with, I would like to introduce you to some of my friends. Now, I know a lot of really, really great people with super blogs. But I’ve been working more closely with these particular friends recently whether it’s through our Bookanistas group or in a CP or betas capacity or in some other way. So, anyway, I’d love it if you could click on their names, go to their blogs and check them out. While you’re at it, leave a comment and let them know you stopped by. And if you like them, which I think you will, I hope you’ll  follow their blogs or RSS feeds (etc.). In fact, many of you probably already do.


    In exchange for following the blog of each of the people I’ve listed below, I’ll give you an additional entry in my contest for each blog (that means you can earn up to 24 additional entries).

    Just be sure to fill out the form after the list and check the box of each person you’re following. And that’s it.

    Katie Anderson and Sarah Frances Hardy

    Jonathon Arntson

    Andrea Cremer

    Lisa and Laura Roecker

    Christine Fonseca

    Jamie Harrington

    Michelle Hodkin

    Karen Hooper

    Kirsten Hubbard

    Shelli Johannes-Wells

    Elana Johnson

    Simon Larter

    Sara Mcclung

    Casey McCormick

    Myra McEntire

    Shannon Messenger

    Megan Rebekah

    Beth Revis

    Robin Reul

    Lola Sharp

    Alexandra Shostak

    Scott Tracey

    Daisy Whitney

    Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton


    Please fill out this form for extra entries to the ARCs Galore Giveaway.

    ARCs Galore Giveaway: Blog Following Extra Entries Form





    If you have not yet entered the contest, please enter by filling out this form first:

    OFFICIAL ENTRY FORM: ARCS GALORE INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY



    Thanks so much, everyone! I think you will enjoy visiting all of these blogs, just as I do. And I think you’ll find that you keep returning.


    You have until midnight tonight to get in all of your entries for the ARCs Galore Giveaway.  You will find some of these blogs have contests going on as well (like Sara, who’s giving away a bushel of ARCs too). If you want more opportunities for extra entries, please be sure to GO HERE.

    Above all, I hope that you find your happy place today, and that you’re able to count some of the blessings in your life as well.

    Me? I’m grateful for my oldest daughter's music—every note she plays is the sound of peace to me. I’m grateful that my four year old loves going to school, and is working hard to learn how to read. I’m grateful that my husband makes dinner almost every night without complaining so that I can write. I’m grateful that he doesn’t tell me I told you so. Ever.

    And I’m grateful for peanut butter. Because it’s delicious.

    What are you grateful for today?



    Please note: Daisy Whitney doesn’t have any following options on her blog. To earn an entry for “following” her, please stop by her blog and leave a comment after reading one of her posts. Thanks!!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Are We Marginalizing Teenagers?

    Hannah Moskowitz, author of BREAK (2009), recently posted about the effects of the YA Internet universe on the actual writing of YA. In this blog post, she asks, “Has the internet community changed YA?” and goes on to raise some really good questions about who we, as authors of YA, are writing for. Please take a moment to read her blog post titled, “What Are We Doing to YA?” It’s gutsy and majorly intriguing—and definitely something I’ve been thinking about.

    To summarize, Hannah asks if we writers of YA are not really writing for teenagers, but rather writing for the Internet community. In other words, are we writing what real life teen readers (not blogging teens) actually want to read? Or are we writing to the tastes and tunes of our fellow writers, bloggers and librarians?
     
    To take this thought a step further, are we marginalizing the teens we’re actually supposed to be writing for by not giving them what they want, regardless of what we want and what we believe to be trends (and promote as trends by collectively promoting the same type of books, themes, and even the type of guys that we find  attractive).
     
    Valid questions, no? But it also makes me wonder…can we even call ourselves YA authors if we’re writing for adults who read YA? Indeed, are we trying to write crossovers by actually writing books for adults that might be enjoyable by teens, rather than writing for teens, hoping adults might like it as well?

    The thing is, the Internet community is often an important consideration in the promotion of books (especially with YA). So, surely, we should keep the Internet community in mind when writing our books, right?

    Alright, maybe it’s a moot point; it’s quite possible that the tastes of the Internet community—our own tastes—could actually be the same as the teenagers we write for. But what are the odds?  Hannah said it best: “Are the boys we swoon over the ones THEY find hot?”

    I know I’ve definitely wondered about this issue myself. But it was particularly interesting to me that Hannah was the one that posed these questions, especially considering that she is a teenager herself—albeit a gifted, well respected author (and an amazing writer), so hardly an average teenager. But if she (being perhaps closer to the target audience than a good many of us) is not always sure of what teenagers want, how could those of us long since removed from adolescence possibly know? And is this why we might delude ourselves into thinking that what we want is what they want?

    Perhaps all we can really do is give it our best shot, like really dig deep and listen to that seventeen year old voice inside our heads—and hope our future sales will show us we were on the right track.

    Then again, does it matter? If you can sell “YA” books and be successful no matter who you’re targeting as the main audience, does it make a difference who you are writing for?

    Actually, that thought kind of scares me. But what do you think?

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Jane Eyre Gets a Makeover

    When I was thirteen years old, I was certain that if you wanted to be taken seriously in this life, you should probably wear little wire-rimmed glasses, carry a book in your hand at all times, and know how to speak authoritatively about the classics—that you must be able to quote lines of poetry and reference scenes from Shakespeare in any given situation.

    Now, the first two were easy for me. After nearly squinting myself to death, my seventh grade pre-algebra teacher finally suggested that perhaps I was due for some glasses. And as it happens, I’d been carrying a book at all times since Amelia Bedelia. But the third task was a bit more daunting. I mean, classics? Seriously? As far as I knew, the only people who actually read that stuff were old people and…older old people (and Mom—but at the time, I thought she was old, too). So, being the ambitious type that I was, I picked up GONE WITH THE WIND. And read it in a week. And then I read it again. But not long after that, I discovered romance novels, and as far as classics went, that was pretty much THE END.

    Until JANE EYRE.

    (And Wuthering Heights, but mentioning two books diminishes the impact of the sentence, no?)

    Over the course of the next year, I probably read JANE EYRE, oh…10 times? 2o times? I’m not sure exactly. I totally lost track. For some reason, I felt connected to Jane. I don’t know why. And Mr. Rochester? Swoonalicious. I loved the romance, the mystery, the phases of Jane’s life, the romance, the romance, the romance. My word, I love that book. So you can imagine how I must have felt when I discovered that a modern retelling of JANE EYRE was going to be released. I’m telling you, I could hardly breathe. When the ARC of JANE arrived at my house, I danced around my kitchen in a very ugly, embarrassing way.

    So yeah, I had some majorly high expectations for this book. Especially when I discovered that Mr. Rochester had been transformed into a rock star. Holy crap, that’s awesome.

     

    JANE by April Lindner

    Jane Goodreads description: Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.

    Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.

    MY REVIEW

    The thing about knowing JANE EYRE as well as I do is that I didn’t really expect a lot of surprises in reading JANE. A part of me was also very, very worried I’d end up having to burn the book in a tragic bonfire if it screwed with the integrity of the original (Think: “We Are The World”—not everything should be remade, people.). But as it turns out, I was being a moron.

    While JANE followed the basic premise of JANE EYRE with characters comparable to their original counterparts, the new story had such a modern, original feel to it with a wholly revamped plot. I mean, how could it not when Mr. Rochester is actually Nico Rathburn, a sexpot rock star? The setting is no longer Victorian England, but the American East Coast (and partly set in a rock and roll world). Jane is no longer a governess, but a bright 19-year-old college drop-out nanny with a penchant for sticking her foot in it. And let me just say, without the restrictions of a delicately sensible Victorian society, the same romance transforms into something way hotter. But the essence of that romance? The passion? The love? Still the same. And that’s why I adored JANE.

    Now, do you have to read JANE EYRE to enjoy JANE? Nope. Ultimately, the characters felt really fresh and original, especially compared to what’s out there in young adult fiction today. For one thing, the main character is nineteen—at the upper range of YA, but how refreshing. I think it’s about time we begin to see more YA books with college-aged protags and more mature voices (this is not to say the characters in JANE always made mature choices). I loved that Jane and Nico weren’t these angelic, gorgeous beings with nonstop confidence and over the top snark (love that, too, but variety is spicy—or something like that). But, do I think my love of JANE EYRE influenced my newfound affection for JANE? Possibly. I’ll never know for sure. But I know this much: JANE would hold its own as a contemporary YA romance even if JANE EYRE had never been written. JANE is a well-written, romantic breath of fresh YA air.

    JANE will be released October 2010.

    *******************************

    Be sure to stop by and check out what some of the other Bookanistas are reviewing today:

    Bookanistas_logo Lisa and Laura Roecker are giving us the scoop on THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL

    Myra McEntire is dishing on PARANORMALCY

    Elana Johnson is raving about THE REPLACEMENT

    Shannon Messenger is praising  THE BRIMSTONE KEY

    Christine Fonseca is celebrating AMAZING AUGUST RELEASES

    Shelli Johannes-Wells is recommending PARANORMALCY