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Monday, December 31, 2012

Message To All, Happy New Year :)

I hope you all have had wonderful holidays and I wish every one a safe and happy new year! And keep checking back tomorrow because there will be a review posted ;)

It's time to get back into the swing of things again. Love your faces <3

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Diary of a College Student: 12/16/12

December 16, 2012,

It's been a while since I posted on this blog, so it's time to bring some life back to my baby. And let me start by saying a few things about a magical place called college. Note, I wanted to put some pretty gifs in this, but I seemed to have misplaced by folder :P 

So it is coming to the close of my first semester here and I can honestly say that I am loving my college experience. Here are some reasons why:
  1. The Freedom: being away from home, doing my own thing. It's a major change and I can say that my adjustment to sharing a room with, shitty dining hall food, and life choices are pretty positive. Just being in a new place and finally model myself as who I want to me. Just being alive in a cloistered world on the last stepping stone before the real world can suck me away is what it's cracked up to be--joyous.
  2. New Experiences and Meeting new People. Social Butterfly who can never remember anyone's name on the first try. Give me like by the third or fourth try before I get it down pat.
  3. Being in a Place I Enjoy. Studying What I Love. English with a concentration in Creative Writing :) Couldn't get any better than that. (and a possible minor in Asian Studies c;)
  4. Not Having a long 9 Period School Day and the Ability to Pick the Classes I Want that Interest Me. Even Having Only Two-Three Classes a day. It's a Beautiful Thing.
Now the not-so joyous portions of my college experience:
  1. Small Shower and Small (bunk) Bed [twin extra long...]
  2. Did I Mention the Shit Food? with laxatives as a preservative product that kills my stomach 24-7?
  3. Being Poor.  Like every other college student
  4. No Time to Leisurely Read or Write. It's like loosing a piece of me. Trying to get back into the swing of things Winter Break.
  5. Freshman 15? I just eat bread and pasta all the time. So I'm obviously gaining weight. But I'm also working out! Something I never did in high school.
Though I am enjoying my days with my face in the books and running around campus, not waking up at 6AM to catch a big, yellow school bus, I miss maintaining my blog and reading all these books that I have lined up and just writing creatively rather than analytically for a grade. Hopefully I can work on getting back into the swing of things.

Have questions? Want to talk? Leave comments below and I'm happy to read and return them :) Love your faces!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (27): Fox Forever



Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson
Jenna Fox Chronicles #3
Publication Date: March 19, 2013
Goodreads | Pre-Order
Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network.

Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance—and into Raine’s life.

Mary E. Pearson brings the story she began in The Adoration of Jenna Fox and continued in The Fox Inheritance to a breathtaking conclusion as Locke discovers that being truly human requires much more than flesh and blood.
  
So excited for this one. I loved Adoration and Fox Inheritance, I can't wait to see what Mary Pearson had installed in the final book of the Jenna Fox Chronicles! Leave me a comment and tell me what you're waiting on this Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 316
Genre: Contemporary
A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? 
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

When I first heard about Butter on Goodreads I knew that I was going to like this book, a lot. Contemporary never was my forte or really a genre that could captivate me, not like paranromal or sci-fi, and the works, but Butter really changed the tides. The ostracized, obese kid that is going to eat himself to death on a live video stream. Okay, I might get looks for reading something like this, something so far-fetched and down right disgusting and morally unacceptable in the standards of society, but really Butter took modern contemporary to a whole new level, something that I've never seen nor heard about before. Butter is one unique, satisfying read.

From page one Butter gives the reader his sassy attitude. He's large (figuratively and literally) and in charge, saxophone inclined with the practice to prove himself so, and in love with Anna, cheerleader and the girl who sits in front of him in class. They talk and she has him head over heels for him, but it's not what you think. Anna doesn't know who Butter is besides the fat kid to needs two desks in class and a whole entire bench to sit on during lunch--they talk online through IM chats where he goes by the alias of JP. But Butter is dying for her to notice him, and his internet craze, ButtersLastMeal.com, is sweeping the school and the popular boys are taking a notice and Butter finds that it's a one way ticket to Anna but also a one way ticket to his death. Because peer pressure is a bitch.

It's a really sad novel, the bullying and Butter's fight to get the girl. The connection to Butter really is a strong one, because as the reader you want him to win, you want him to lose the wait and for Anna to fall for him. But that's hard for a 400+lbs teenager to do. Especially when his parents have almost given up on controlling the weight, the dad fails to even acknowledge Butter because of how out of control his size is. The humanity in the reader goes a long way through the novel as Butter's character develops in more ways than one.

There was only one small problem that I really had in the novel, and it had to do with the naming of two characters. You have Tucker, Butter's best friend from fat camp, the name of the actual camp is escaping my mind at the moment, and Parker one of the popular guys that Butter starts to hang out with. During some portions of the book I started to get jumbled and confused by how similar the names happened to be, and I know it's silly but I started to confuse Parker with Tucker and vice versa. So parts of the story didn't make sense until I went back and double checked who was who. That really was the only problem I had to remark about in this novel.

The one thing that I really liked was the father and Butter's relationship by the end of the novel. They struggled, the wall between them was so dense and so thick, and by the time all the events that happen happen, I respected both Butter and his father so much more. Here are two of my favorite quotes that his father has to say:
"You could coach me in algebra," I suggested.
Dad shook his head and smiled. "No, I missed my chance to be your coach. But if it's not too late, I'd like to be a fan."
"Why are we so--Well, how come we're not more alike, you and me?" 
First Line: You think I eat a lot now? That's nothing.
Story: S
Cover: C

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Defiance #1
Young Adult
Pages: 403
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.
*Digital copy provided by publisher for an honest review*

Anticipation and hype brought me to picking up Defiance. The synopsis sounded interesting to say the least, so why the heck wouldn't I pick it up and try to see what all the talk was about. Noticing how many people have read this so far and also noticing that C.J. Redwine is a debut author, I felt that I should see what this author has to show, what kind of a story she is telling.


Almost 30% in on my kindle, I grew bored of Defiance. I found myself lazily skimming through the chapters, not fully reading all paragraphs, trying to find dialogue to keep some sort of interest. It was a story that didn't do it for me.



Character wise, it was a let down. Rachel fell flat, like cardboard in the wind. Her views on Logan confused me, going from hate tolerance in just a few short chapters, she is reckless and really has not voice but that of a whiny character over the disappearance/death of her father. I understand that she is in the right to be this way, but how she handles the overwhelming information, how the whole thing is executed just turned my attention away. I just found myself not wanting to read about her. Logan, Rachel's overseer after her father's death, I did not like. Arrogant and absolutely mean, not to mention violent, in thought and action towards Rachel aggravated me and had me putting the book down. All in all, the characters were one of two reasons for my choice of not finishing.



The other reason is world-building. I found it insufficient. Baalboden, the city that is surrounded by walls, a ruthless leader, and laws if broken are punishable by death, is very cliched in my opinion of most dystopian-esque YA novels. I could never figure out what sort of time period C.J. Redwine's world was meant to be set in. The technology gave it a sci-fi tone but the actions and dialogue sounded very formal and such, and I was just confused in this aspect. I was hoping for a more concrete and innovative world, but sadly I was let down in this novel.



Final Summation: Defiance fell flat with character development and world-building. Though most people enjoyed this novel, I could not find anything really enjoyable about it. I was bored while reading and couldn't find the energy in me to keep reading.


First Line: The weight of their pity is like a stone tied about my neck.
Story: DNF
Cover: S

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blog Tour Stop (Review + Giveaway) Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Publication Date: September 13, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin)
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 304
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?
*Digital copy provided by blog tour for an honest review*

Thrills, chills, and anticipation hooked me.  the excitement rallied in Jeanne Ryan's world of Nerve just kept the pages turning, and the author really knew where to get you wanting more, wanting to know what next was at stake and how far Vee would be willing to go. 

The pressure that surrounds the contestants in Nerve is engrossing, like something you would watch on television or online, because that is what Nerve is all about. Hooking you in. Vee and Ian were a great team, two that I enjoyed reading about. But, and yes there is a but to factor in, the sparks of insta-love had me frowning because it was unneeded in this story, in their character development. I'm not going to dwell on the topic anymore than it needs to be because I don't want to burden you with my over-expressed opinions on the matters of my biggest pet peeve in writing.

But all in all the anticipation of the novel throughout is one that just doesn't let you go. The events and pacing of the novel was moderate, and though sometimes there is more of a sense of telling over showing, but I didn't mind it for the most part because I was overwhelmed by wanting to know what was going to happen next in the story and to the characters. But the ending blew me out of the water.

Final Summation: Nerve's quirk to capture you and fail to let you go definitely did me in, it was a book that made getting away from college textbooks and studying for a little while worth it. Anticipation driven and engrossing, especially towards the very end, Nerve is a book to take you away from whatever your doing, and it does exactly that.

First Line: It took three days of waiting, but at four a.m on a Sunday, the street in front of her home finally emptied of all Watchers.
Story: S
Cover: S

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blog Tour Stop (Excerpt + Giveaway): Dancing with Death by Andrea Heltsley

Publication Date: August 10, 2012
Publisher: Createspace
Young Adult
Pages: 410
Genre: Paranormal
Murders have plagued the woods in the past, making them a place of fear. Eighteen year old Wendy and her friends become worried when a new string of murders come to their high school. After a horrible car accident, Wendy returns to school, going from wallflower to popular overnight. As the murderer edges closer to Wendy she realizes things are changing. She is afflicted with nightmares that are all too real and she herself is undergoing unnatural changes. Learning the truth about her past, could be the key to saving her future.
 *Excerpt provided for blog tour*

“This is going to be hard.  All I want to do is kiss you.  However, I am going to try to restrain myself,” he said, a twinkle in his eyes.
The truth was that all I wanted to do was kiss him too.  Before he had a chance to say anything else, I rolled him over on his back.  Then I slid on top of him and pressed my lips to his.
All of my thoughts swirled away and I lost myself in that kiss.  His hands came up to sit on my hips, and he ran his fingers along the edge of my shirt as we kissed. 
In life, I was all about control.  I had never lost control of my composure until this week.  Now, I felt as if I was slipping.

*US Only Giveaway*
*INT Giveaway*

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Small Hiatus

Since I've started college I've been trying to manage and schedule my time with work and studying and book blogging/writing has been at the very back of my mind. I'll be taking a small leave of absence, I'll have my blog tour posts scheduled and such, but as for blogging, I think that September will be my little break month and by October everything will be fully functional :)

Also, towards giveaways, rafflecopter and I haven't been very "simpatico" at the moment so thank you for being patient and once I get it to work I will send out emails to the winners of the giveaways. Thank you!

Love all your faces <3 xoxo

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blog Tour Stop (Promotion + Giveaway): Dreamwalker by Andrea Heltsley

Publication Date: May 23, 2012
Series: Persephone's League of Immortals #1
Young Adult
Pages: 434
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Goodreads | Amazon
Noel Kennedy lost her boyfriend, her job and her dignity all in one week. Then something happened and she began to dream of this stranger she had never met. She couldn’t resist the man of her dreams named Jared especially when she met him in real life. Entranced, she slowly unraveled a world she was meant to stay out of. Her life was not what she thought it was once a sexy Boone stepped into the mix and shook things up. Can she escape a life of servitude or immortality for a chance at love?

US Only
INT Giveaway 
+ + +

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman

Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 336
Genre: Mystery

Are the woods behind St. Bede's Academy really haunted, or does bad stuff just happen there? When Calista Wood, a new student, arrives midway through her junior year, St. Bede's feels like a normal school . . . until she discovers that a girl had disappeared a couple of months earlier. Some kids think she ran away, others think she was murdered, but it's only when Cally starts digging around that she finds the startling truth.
Watch as Cally enters a world of privilege, weekend-long parties, high school romances, and . . . well-kept secrets. This page-turner will appeal to teens looking for a fast-paced thriller. Written in a voice at once gripping and crystal clear, debut novelist, McCormick Templeman, will take readers on a twisting and turning journey as only a "new girl" can experience.
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Mystery and thrillers are tough books for me to get into, not because I don't like the genre, I enjoy a good thriller or mystery for that matter, it's just that The Little Woods failed to really get me into the story and what really failed to do so was the characters.

Good character development is a major factor that drives a book home. Cally, our main character, was one that I couldn't find myself connecting with, couldn't find myself wanting to know about her story. Getting a feel of who she is was difficult with her personality. A barrier between me, the reader, and her was set through the entirety of the novel and I just couldn't enjoy the book while knowing that I didn't know anything about the main character. Twists and turns aside. The lack of connection just didn't make this book anything for me to like or remember, and I wish that there was something or someone that I could have enjoyed reading about but there wasn't. It was a plot oriented book with paper cutouts of characters.

Final Summation: For a mystery novel The Little Woods does entertain in some aspects but the fact that I couldn't connect with any of the characters, especially the main character, everything else in the book fell flat for me.

First Line: The last time I saw my sister we played hide-and-seek.
Story: B
Cover: A

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (26): The Nightmare Affair



The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Goodreads | Pre-Order
16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn't get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell.

And then it comes true.

Now the Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target. 
 
Leave me a comment below with what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway): Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen

Publication Date: May 23, 2012
Publisher: Createspace
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 331
Genre: Mythology, Retelling
Seventeen years old and agoraphobic, Psyche Middleton vows her dad will never see the risqué photos she took during a summer modeling stint abroad, but one of them ends up on a billboard in her Montana hometown. Now everyone—especially her dad—can see it. And yet, somehow, those are the mundane things in her life because she is about to fall unexpectedly, head-over-heels in love with Erik, a mysterious young man who rescues her from a crowd of admirers, and who she’s never actually seen because…he can make himself invisible.

As strange as this may seem, it’s about to get even stranger. Erik takes her to his palace in an idyllic kingdom, and she is swept into the beauty and culture of his world, but his affection has one condition: she may not see him. Overtaken, intrigued, and still not wholeheartedly believing he’s real, Psyche is going to have to decide if she can love him blindly; because if she can’t, she may lose him forever.
*Reader's Copy provided by Michelle A. Hansen for the blog tour and an honest review*

Retellings are a huge favorite of mine, especially those rounding mythology. Now when it comes to Greek myths I tend to cross the cracking, icy lake with trepidation. Greek mythology is very commonplace in YA, but (yes there is a but) Michelle Hansen did a wonderful job with this rendition of Psyche and Eros. It strays away from the typical main stories in Greek myth and gives a breath of fresh air in characters, world-building, and the writing is fantastic. I was left wanting to know more about each character, how to find my way around the twists and turns that were thrown at me, and what was going to happen  in the end. Trust me, this author knows how to keep you hanging and never leaving you with a dull moment.

Psyche definitely strayed away from the norm of the YA world. She was built fluently as a strong main protagonist. She was flawed, she struggled, and I was rooting for her to keep fighting. Psyche is a character that you want to see reach her destination with a happy ending, especially when it is Erik, our invisible love interest. With Psyche, I started to really like Erik even without knowing what he looked like. The whole love with your heart not with your eyes is a huge deal in this book and I really find that to be a wonderful focus in this novel. It's different because most YA love interests are hot beyond comparison. They are just irresistible. But because Erik is unknown in that spectrum I found him so much more attractive. Because I was seeing him for his personality and not for his looks. Psyche, on the other hand, becomes tempted to see what Erik actually looks like. And a bond becomes broken.

Trust. Trust is huge when it comes to Erik. Trust is what Psyche struggles to re-obtain after her blunder and her cursorily killed the cat (of trust). Both characters have made their fair share of mistakes. But mistakes are what make things realistic, even in this retelling. And I'm glad to see flaws that are being fought to override and grow into a much stronger, enjoyable character. Not that Psyche and Erik weren't both strong and enjoyable, character development is just a wonderful trait where you can see the path one started from and watch how they grow along the way. This has a wonderful example of character growth.

Final Summation: Just a fantastic retelling of the Psyche and Eros tale that has more twists and turns making it a unique tale. With strong characters with flaws and growth along the way Painted Blind is a novel worth reading, especially for the Greek mythology fans who want to stray from the overabundant Olympian myths.



a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Waiting on Wednesday (25): Iron Hearted Violet



Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Goodreads | Pre-Order
The end of their world begins with a story.
This one.

In most fairy tales, princesses are beautiful, dragons are terrifying, and stories are harmless. This isn't most fairy tales.
Princess Violet is plain, reckless, and quite possibly too clever for her own good. Particularly when it comes to telling stories. One day she and her best friend, Demetrius, stumble upon a hidden room and find a peculiar book. A forbidden book. It tells a story of an evil being -- called the Nybbas -- imprisoned in their world. The story cannot be true -- not really. But then the whispers start. Violet and Demetrius, along with an ancient, scarred dragon, may hold the key to the Nybbas's triumph . . . or its demise. It all depends on how they tell the story. After all, stories make their own rules.
Iron Hearted Violet is a story of a princess unlike any other. It is a story of the last dragon in existence, deathly afraid of its own reflection. Above all, it is a story about the power of stories, our belief in them, and how one enchanted tale changed the course of an entire kingdom.

Leave me a comment below with what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blog Tour (Interview + Giveaway): My Super Sweet Sixteen Century by Rachel Harris


Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Series: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1
Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
*Interview with author*

"Loving the Cover of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, what was your reaction after seeing it for the first time?"

RH: This is actually the second cover for the book. We had the first reveal and it was fun, the girl had huge sunglasses on and her nails were painted along with her 16th century attire, kinda smirking at the camera so-to-speak. I was happy with it and there’s still a lot of people out there who tell me they really like the current cover but loved that one….but I have to say, when they surprised me with this brand new cover out of the blue, my jaw dropped and I squealed like a crazy person. Like, for real. My husband came running in wondering if I was okay, and I pulled it up on our huge monitor so I can just gawk at it, and he was like, “Oh.” LOL But he really got excited about it, too, and so did my girls…they think it looks like a Disney princess castle in the background =) And I’ll admit that still, months later, I’ll take to just staring at my cover for several minutes with a goofy, cheesy grin. 


"What contributed as inspiration, what got the ball rolling for this idea of a novel?"

RH: My first ever novel was in the query stages, and I knew that the best thing to do was dive into another project. I’d just finished reading two straight-up historicals, one YA (The Season by Sarah MacLean) and the other an adult romance by my girl Vicky Dreiling. Well, when I read historicals (which I love to do), I always picture myself in the story, but it’s always me, like I am today, knowing what I know and with the viewpoint of a twenty-first century girl. I had read Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard in the past, too, and knew I wanted to take the time travel idea, so then I was left picking the era. I read so many Regency books that I wanted to challenge myself (I’m a dork in that I adore research), and while I’ve always been fascinated with the Renaissance, I didn’t know all the ins and outs. I mentioned to my husband the Renaissance—he said the 1600s, which led to him saying “My Super Sweet 1600s” because we had just seen a commercial for the MTV show. I played with it for a minute and changed it to My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, and the story kinda wrote itself from there!
"Do you listen to music while you write? If you do, what songs helped inspire what you write and contribute to MSSSC? If not, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?"
RH: YES! Well, actually, not when I physically write. I kinda need quiet or just the right amount of background noise that is a low hum lol. But before I write, whenever I take a break, when I drive anywhere, when I’m exercising or taking a shower before drafting, I play my story soundtrack. This is filled with songs that speak to the character arc of the book, highlighting where they are emotionally and growth wise throughout the story, and I use certain words or the images from the songs for inspiration while drafting the scenes of the book they fit. A few of the songs for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century are Poker Face (Gaga), Because of You (Clarkson), Today was a Fairytale (Swift), Love Story (Swift again—she makes her way on most of my soundtracks a few times lol), and Who Says You Can’t Go Home (Bon Jovi/Sugarland).

"While writing, what happened to be your toughest experience so far?"
RH: Honestly, this book was so easy to write… the words just came and I had fun the entire time. I finished it, written and edited (well edits from me and my critique partners, not the official ones from Entangled *grin*) in two months. But during the final revisions, it was hard to get the ending just right. We played with a few different versions before landing on the current version….and yes, it does lead to the companion novel, A Tale of Two Centuries!

"Favorite quote in general?"
RH: I have so many quotes that speak to me, but I’m partial to the one my main character lives by: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” which is commonly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. 

"What was your favorite scene to write?"
EH: There is a scene about halfway through the book after Cat, her cousins, and Lorenzo go out to the Tuscan countryside. They get trapped outside the city gates and are forced to stay at an inn. Cat’s cousins go downstairs for dinner, and although Cat and Lorenzo have a chaperone the entire time they are upstairs and then later that night when the cousins return, and there is zero kissing in this scene, for some reason it is the most romantic in the entire novel to me. That was a lot of fun to write, and I was grinning the whole time.

"Advice for aspiring authors out there?"
RH: Read, read, read. Read the genre you want to write in and then branch out. Look for books the opposite of what you want to write in and books that are close in genre but just a touch different. Read them all, and dog-ear, bookmark, or jot down notes of passages, words, physical descriptions, or phrases that speak to you. Think about WHY they speak to you, and how you can create something similar in your own writing. After that, the biggest thing I did for myself when I was just starting out was take my favorite novels and the ones closest to the kind of book I wanted to write, and I broke it down. It’s best to do this after you’ve already read it once so you can just enjoy it the first time, but after that, pay attention to everything. I made a spreadsheet and wrote down how many chapters there were, how many pages there were in each, the ratio of narration to dialogue, if they had dual character POV how often they switched, what was the central point or goal of each chapter and why it was needed. By looking at that last column, you can track how they built their story arc and learn a lot about plotting. This was better than any book on writing I’ve read, and I’ve read (and loved!) a ton =)

"What is a bad habit you've tried to break?"
RH: Are we talking writing, because I have a ton of bad habits in general LOL. Writing wise though, the biggest is trying to break away from boring, overused, or clutch-for-me phrases or physical descriptions. You know, the nodding, snorting, eye rolling business. The Emotion Thesaurus is one of my favorite resources to help with this!!

"If you had the chance to travel back in time, what era would you like to wind up in and where, and who'd you like to stumble upon?"
RH: Definitely either Renaissance Florence or Regency London. I love these periods!! If it were Renaissance Florence, I’d love to meet up with the famous artists of the time like Michelangelo, and if it were Regency London, I’d love to stumble upon a handsome duke LOL. 

"How did you feel at the conclusion of this novel? When the very last punctuation was put in it's place?"
RH: So excited! This book felt different for me. And the day I typed the end, my husband took me to lunch at PF Changs and I’ll never forget, I opened my fortune cookie and the word to learn in Chinese on the back was “Pear.” 
Now, if you haven’t read the book, that might not make sense. My main character, Cat Crawford, has a pear tattoo on her hip that has a lot of personal significance to her (and it’s explained in the story), and it was that pear tattoo that the gypsy saw in the tent and ultimately gave her the sign to send Cat to the past. In fact, if you know to look for it, pears pop up a few times in the novel, so to see that on my fortune cookie was like a TOTAL FREAK OUT TIME for me. I literally screamed—thank goodness we were eating outside (it was a rare nice, non-hot day in Houston lol)—and that fortune is still taped to my computer monitor =)


As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel.  She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: Confessions #1
Young Adult
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has someconfessions to make.
…1. I'm 
livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate,don't you?
2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is nowenraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)
*Digital galley provided by publisher for an honest review*

Adding this one to my favorites list. Confessions of an Angry Girl really does justice as a contemporary novel. The realistic characters, the constant motion of the story, the tension buildup between relationships, the list is endless. I just really liked reading this book! It was like a nice hard pretzel dipped in smooth, creamy nutella. Delicious.

The synopsis really triggered my want of this novel. It's quirky, it's funny, and it has voice. Rosie's voice. She does not disappoint while reading. Mad at the world and with a reason that I couldn't complain about, Rosie is an easy character to relate to even if you haven't been in the same position as her. We all get angry, all of us. She does have the freshmen tendencies like swooning over Jamie Forta, but I guess I would, too. Only while he's with Rose, though. When he's with Regina, his cheerleader girlfriend (a little cliched in my mind), my thoughts on him are another story.

The writing was paced just right. Rosie's voice was captivating and hilariously witty. I understood her anger towards the word and towards the people at her school. Especially Regina. But some of the realistic aspects of the novel made me cock my head to the side, confused. There's one part of the book where Rosie goes with her wanting-to-have-sex-with-her-boyfriend obsessed best friend Tracy to planned parenthood in order for her to go on the pill. But while she's there Rose made an appointment to see a gynecologist. Red Flag! In my mind I was saying: "What is a fourteen/fifteen-year-old girl doing making an appointment at the OB/GYN without an adult, not even eighteen, and never had sex? Does not compute." Usually the age to see your GYN is eighteen or when you first start having sex. Usually minors are accompanied with an adult because they're, you know, minors. That was the only part that really had me making a face because I didn't find it very realistic. Because Rosie was none of the above.

Final Summation: Confessions of an Angry Girl really is something. My hype for this book was not put down (except that one little part mentioned above) and I loved Rosie's flawed persona. Cannot wait to pick up my own copy and shove on my shelf. And I am dying to read the second book, Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend, after the end that Ms. Rozett left! 

First Lines: This, dear reader, is a tale of the hell of high school.
Story: S
Cover: S

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (10)


Good morning everyone. I hope you all had wonderful weeks and are enjoying yourselves and the bookish thing that you received.
Love your faces <3

Reviews and Updates from this (and the past) week, Check out anything you missed!


Book Haul:
  
*Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's Books, Tor/Forge, Flux Books for everything this week*


Thursday, August 23, 2012

College: Move-in Day

So, after numerous nights of sifting through my closet, weeding through my drawers and under my bed, I have finally finished packing. Today I officially move in. I start classes on Monday. The feelings I have are overjoyed and excited and nervous all at once. This is a new time in my life, as everyone who has went or is in college knows, and I hear from my friends how amazing college is and I have finally hit that point in time. I am a college student. I am closer to getting out there in the world. I am at one of the most amazing points in life. I am scared. I am nervous. I am happy.


So, to make this short post short. I will be absent from my computer for most of the day. I hope every has a wonderful Thursday as I will be trying to fit the contents of my entire room into the small dorm room. Most of you know what I'm talking about, and some of you are anticipating this day whenever it may be. Wish me luck. Love your faces. <3



-Courtney Ann (Shortskie)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Query Letter Critique: Please and Thank you, Love your faces!

QUERY LETTER FOR CRITIQUE. PLEASE, ALL FEEDBACK IS USEFUL! PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR STEAL. THANK YOU. LOVE YOUR FACES :)

I would appreciate any comments towards this query. I am trying to tighten it up as best as I can. I will be going through the comments and if you'd like me to comment on any reviews in exchange, I'd be happy to leave meaningful comments on any post that you'd like. Just leave links in the comments below right after critiques. If you'd like to email me about anything regarding this post you can find me at Shortskiee @ aol [dot] com

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Updated Version:

Dear [Insert Agent Name Here],

Most people would kill for an extra hour in their day, but for seventeen-year-old Aria Detore, one more becomes a fight for her life. She's new to the Midnight Hour—the nightly time halt when undead creatures plague the lands, hungry and armed with a killer bite. And to survive, Aria needs to learn how to become a zombie-slayer. Fast.

Stumbling upon a group of refugees that have been fighting during the Hour for years, Aria adamantly joins. They help Aria understand the chaotic world she's been thrown into, whether she likes it or not. They explain that she is branded with Potential, an untapped power of mysterious origin and the reason she can enter the Hour. In a world that was made of death and carnage, there is always a catch. Potential is killing her. It's killing them all.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Potential wielders have to worry about the Hour’s boundaries becoming substantially weaker as time passes and undead hordes will eventually break into reality. The end of the world is beginning. And Aria is faced with a choice: stand and fight or watch the world be devoured.

Told through a series of journal entries, REPAIRERS OF THE DECEPTIVE WORLD is a YA paranormal thriller novel with series potential complete at 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Courtney Ann

Waiting on Wednesday (24): Going Vintage




Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Goodreads | Pre-Order
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn't cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma's list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy's cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she'll get it done. Somehow. 
Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.
This sounds absolutely cute and witty. The cover is adorable. Though contemporary is not really my thing, I would definitely love giving this book a try :)

Leave me a comment below with what you're waiting on this Wednesday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Publication Date: January 2, 2012
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 236
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
*Purchased*

Definitely a cute and quirky novel. I read it a little while ago, back when it came out actually, but never gotten the time to sit down and just review this novel. So now, after running it over in my head for months, I will finally get this review started.

Hadley is off to go to her dad's second wedding in London, and missed her flight. There she meets Oliver, cute and British to boot, and with luck they're on the same flight. I enjoyed reading this story. Upon losing track on the Airport, Hadley is downcast on not getting to say good-bye to this amazing boy who she really connected to, and he connected with. I also really enjoyed the duration of this novel, a whole twenty-four hours. It was different from what I usually read in contemporary novels.

Now the relationship in this book was sweet, like something a Disney Pixar movie would have. It's not insta-love in the way that the characters are going "you're my soul mate," or "there's nobody but you," and the works. I'm not even going to rate this novel as isnta-love because it really isn't in my eyes. I've met people before and really made a connection with, someone that I wanted to know better. I've lost track with them before and I found them by putting pieces together, just like Hadley. I didn't go the extremes like she did, but I was still like Hadley all the same.

Final Summation: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I love that title, is definitely a cute romance. Leaving the reader with twists and turns, fighting for the two to meet again, you just can't not want Hadley and Oliver to meet again. A sweet, satisfying love story, though only takes a day, makes you feel like the characters have known each other for years.

First Line: There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.
Story: S
Cover: S