Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Waiting on" Wednesday (6) ~ Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting for . . .

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole (the sequel to Poison Princess)

Goodreads description (it may be a bit spoilery if you haven't read the first book):
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed.

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I recently read Poison Princess and I immediately wanted to get my hands on this book. The ending was so awesome (as you'll be able to see in my review of it coming soon), and I really want to see how this story continues. 

Well, that's what I'm waiting for. What about you?

Book Blast ~ A French Star in New York (The French Girl series #2) by Anna Adams


Title: A French Star in New York (The French Girl series #2)
Author: Anna Adams

Book Description:

Maude thinks her life can’t get any better: her first music album is a hit, she’s about to meet her extended family, and she’s looking forward to her first date with teen pop star, Matt.

But when scandal strikes, Maude must part ways with Matt and watch Soulville Records fall into the hands of an ambitious Alan Lewis, who will stop at nothing to turn Maude into an unparalleled star.

A French Star in New York (The French Girl series #2)Between glamorous parties, an unauthorized tell-all book, a web of lies, new revelations about her French past, and her rivalry with Lindsey Linton attaining a whole new level, Maude must fight for her voice to be heard and decide if being a star is more important than her love for music.

BOOK 1 IS FREE ON Smashwords

To Purchase A French Star in New York (The French Girl series #2):

Amazon.COM

Amazon UK

Smashwords
Read a Sneak Peek of the Book
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prologue

Maude Laurent had remained locked up in a basement in France for sixteen years and had been on lockdown in Manhattan for the last sixteen hours.
She pondered for some time on whether being locked up was all she was good for. Onthe fifteenth hour, she rested. And on the sixteenth hour she awoke, famished for edible forms of French sanity. French rolls, French somethings, French anythings.
Manhattan was madness, Maude was in Manhattan, Maude was in madness.
She threw an irate “humpf” at the celestial blue bar and at the crowd of paparazzi scrambling underneath. Teasing her misery by displaying a large, sunny grin, the sky refused to dissolve into misty tears to satisfy Maude’s stormy mood.
After having brushed her rebellious curls into a bun, the young girl let her reflection peer back at her through the oval mirror. Her chocolate brown skin glowed under the flirtatious ray of light dancing around the room, and her almond-shaped eyes glowered with defiance at her reflection.
“Today, I’m breaking free,” she stated, like many optimistic celebrities had done before her.
Easier said than done. But when she stared into the face of the gathered crowd, Maude had to drag her courage, tangled in seaweeds of cowardice, before she surfaced into light. Microphones. Cameras shoved in her face with unhinged eagerness. They’d waited hours on brownstone steps and now demanded answers to their questions.
Had Matt left Lindsey Linton for Maude?
Were Maude and Matt an item?
What was his relationship to Lindsey Linton?
Was Maude going out with Thomas Bradfield or Matt?
Was Matt coming on tour with her?
Teenage celebrities like Maude were supposed to revel in limelight anyway, even when that light glared down on splattered, juicy scandals.
Lips licking with anticipation. Fingers snapping. Cameras zooming. Beads of sweat falling off like shards of glass.
A rivalry between two top female singers over the same guy? Such a contention would get ugly soon, and they would be there to film it.
Zoom in on her distraught face!
If they pushed Maude far enough, they might even get an angry outburst from her on camera . . .
Maude Laurent pushed through the paparazzi as futilely as a flower trying to escape a swarm of bees and elbowed her way to the dark sedan waiting for her in front of her house.
She pushed back the sunglasses. They made her face small and vulnerable, and she wished they held an unknown propriety, a secret ability rendering her invisible from prying, journalistic eyes.
She shut the door firmly, leaned her head against the window, and rubbed her temples, wanting to ease her weariness with the simple gesture.
“Where to?” Rob, her driver asked.
Maude hesitated a second.
“Soulville Tower,” she answered.
French somethings would have to wait.
Two days ago, her life had been perfect. After the joy of discovering she would never have to live with her foster family again, she’d celebrated her cousin’s twelfth birthday. Two days ago, she’d been preparing to leave for her tour with Matt and James Baldwin, her uncle. Two days ago she’d had fun with her newfound family. Two days ago, Matt and her were planning their first official date. Two days ago, New York had been her home, her haven, her heaven.
Today, this French girl couldn’t wait to get out of New York.
Could she, Maude Laurent, be accused of cowardice? She often boasted she never ran away from a challenge. But then, that was before her life had been plastered all over Page Six. Of course she was ecstatic her debut album was a success, thrilled when someone recognized and stopped her in the street. Ever since the release of her first hit single, “Betrayed but Not Broken,” her rise to fame had been continuous, a fast, thrilling ride towards stardom. She’d been called “the voice of today’s generation” and “a teen phenomenon.” So many flattering associations, metaphors, and superlatives placed next to her name, she couldn’t remember them all.
Until scandal halted her stride.
Two days ago, she’d quite involuntarily stepped into a muddy puddle she hadn’t even known lay on her sunny path.
Upon reaching Soulville Tower, Maude thanked Rob and hurried inside the building.
She’d spent countless hours in Soulville, her second home, working on her self-titled album. She’d had legendary fights with Matt, storming out whenever she deemed necessary to mark a point. But she held no close resemblance to a diva, Maude thought ruefully. If she had, she’d be enjoying the unwanted attention.
She ran across the lobby, caressed the grand concert piano with distracted fondness, and stopped in front of Matt’s half-open door to his creation room. She pushed it mildly, enlarging the triangular scope through which she peered at him unseen.
He was strumming on his acoustic guitar with one hand while the other tousled his dark blonde hair with frustration. His guitar pick was stuck between his clenched teeth. She couldn’t see his eyes but knew how grey they shone when bent over his guitar, his mind roaming in search of musical creativity.
Maude’s resolve wavered. They had shared so much. She’d hated him, laughed with him, and derided his Parisian arrogance. She sighed. He had been there for her when she’d learned the truth about her parents’ deaths. He’d held her in his arms when she’d welcomed tears as a delivery from her blinding pain.
She gave herself a mental jolt and walked inside the room. He immediately put his guitar aside and rose.
She laid the fateful article on the coffee table without saying a word. Its title popped out of the page, “Can the Love Doctor Cure This Love Triangle?,” by Lexie Staz, accompanied by a picture of Matt and Lindsey locked in an embrace, their faces inches from one another, a prelude to a kiss.
Matt didn’t read the article again because he knew what it said.
A couple of weeks ago, Matt was spotted in a romantic embrace with Lindsey Linton when he went with her to her school’s Summer Dance (see picture on the right).
When I interviewed Maude Laurent for the release of her first single “Betrayed but Not Broken,” she assured me she and Matt were just friends. But their eyes blatantly said otherwise.
Now rumor has it that Matt is preparing to accompany Maude on her tour as the singer’s boyfriend.
What about Lindsey?
“Maude stole him from me,” Lindsey told me herself when I asked her. “Ever since she started working with him, she’s been after him.”
According to Lindsey, things went from bad to worse after the iconic pop star was asked to replace Maude in an opera performance of La Cenerentola.
“Maude choked,” a source confided. “They had to replace her.”
Lindsey fans are outraged, while Maude fans defended their star with gusto . . . and tacky “Lindsey sucks” T-shirts.
But Maude isn’t satisfied until she has them all. Not only has she gotten Matt to abandon Lindsey, she now has Thomas Bradfield wrapped around her little finger.
The young pop singer, made famous after his duet with Lindsey Linton, isn’t hiding his feelings for Maude whom he calls his “ideal girlfriend.”
Soulville tried to sell Maude Laurent as the ordinary French girl next door, but boy, were they wrong . . .
“And she goes on and on and on,” Maude finished, throwing the magazine aside.
“We were just dancing,” Matt explained calmly. “ At the Summer Dance, way before you and I shared a kiss.”
“I know,” Maude replied, her voice a distant echo. “I can see the disco ball in the background.”
“I was angry with you. You’d left with Jazmine, and I thought you were in love with Bradfield. I danced with Lindsey, but that’s it,” he reaffirmed.
“I believe you,” Maude repeated wanly.
“Don’t let this get to you,” he said. He took her hand and pressed it gently. “Lexie must have sensed there was something going on between us during the interview at the release party.” It would have been hard not to notice the long, lingering looks the two had shared as they spoke of their work.
“And Thomas isn’t helping by telling every reporter he encounters that I’m his ‘ideal girlfriend’ as he puts it,” Maude put in. She shook her head with exasperation. When would he get it in his head that she couldn’t give him what he wanted?
“Don’t worry, Maude. We can put our first date on hold. We’ll do that while we’re on tour together,” Matt added with enthusiasm. They’d been so busy they’d had to postpone their first date several times.
Letting go of his hand, Maude shook her head.
“You’re not coming with me on tour,” Maude declared with decided resolution. She’d thought about it long and hard. Being quarantined for hours like the carrier of a deadly infection had given her ample amount of time to think. She winced when Matt took a step back as if he’d received a blow.
“You can’t be serious,” he replied in disbelief.
“I’m portrayed as some sort of man-eater out to steal anyone’s boyfriend! I’ve given this a great deal of thought. If you come, this story will never die down! I know this took place way before anything happened between us, but nobody else does.”
“Who cares!” Matt exclaimed. “You can’t live your life for everybody else. If you let idle gossip dictate your life, you’ll never live it to its full extent.”
“Growing up, destitution clogged the pores of my skin. Dignity was the only garment I had left to clothe me. It hid my sores, covered the holes in my shoes. When I pinned it on, no dingy soap could scrape it off my straightened backbone. Mrs. Ruchet’s pudgy fingers couldn’t nip it, the twins couldn’t tear it to shreds, and Mr. Ruchet couldn’t ignore it like he ignored everything else involving me. Dignity is the only treasured possession I took from France to New York: I refuse to take it off to be photographed naked under the public eye.”
He couldn’t let her drift away from him. Yet she’d made her decision, and one thing Matt had learned about Maude after having worked with her for seven months, was that she rarely changed her mind once she’d firmly made it up.
“All I know is I can’t live my life this way. I can’t be on Page Six. You’re used to being the center of unwanted attention. The paparazzi, the flash, the gossip, you revel in those. I’m nothing like you in that respect. We can’t be seen together as a couple if everyone thinks I stole you from Lindsey!”
“I used to be faithful to that description. You know it’s no longer the case. I severed all ties with my wild past long before I met you.”
“But they haven’t severed ties with you, Matt,” Maude said with sadness. “I can’t be with you. Not now. Lindsey is telling everyone that I ‘stole her man.’ Me! Seven months ago, I’d never wandered outside of small, dreary Carvin. I’m an ordinary girl, Matt.”
“Not anymore, you aren’t. You’re a star now. How do you expect to avoid scandal forever, even when you’re not the one instigating it? Don’t throw us away because of this stupid article.”
“I want to be appreciated for my music, not for whom I may or may not be dating,” Maude explained. “I’m sorry, Matt. There will be no ‘us.’”
Maude turned around and left the room with a heavy heart. Left alone, Matt threw the magazine against the door she’d just closed and wished with all his heart he could live in a world where there were no Lexies or Lindseys.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Bio:
Anna Adams is a French author presently living in Paris after having spent her childhood in the United States. She enjoys writing and reading young adult novels. She loves music, art, shopping, hanging out with friends and roaming in the streets of Paris, or writing in small French cafés.

She is currently writing the second novel in the French Girl series. The third installment in the French Girl Series will be released in 2014.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guest Post ~ Kimberley Patterson (author of The Three Month Plan)

Let's welcome the very first guest poster to this blog: Kimberley Patterson! She is the author of the young adult contemporary book called The Three Month Plan and she's here to talk about her writing.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During an interview, I was once asked if there are any similarities with characters or events in my books to my real life. In other words, do I come up with the inspiration for characters or stories from actual life experiences? And, do i have any common themes that run in my books?
The completely honest answer is - sometimes.
I think that any writer, whether they are a seasoned professional, or simply a writer who uses her journal to vent comes up with stories based on their life. The nice thing about fiction though, is that you can elaborate on these particular instances or individuals and have the outcome be however you want it to be. I often feel that writing is therapeutic, and I strongly believe that whether it is for fun, or for a career that its worth doing. Especially as a teenager. I still have all of my journals from when I was in middle school and high school. It's quite entertaining to break them out every now and then and read what I wrote. And even more entertaining to see how many different "signatures" I scribbled in the way back with different last names of whatever boy I was crushing on at that time.
In my first novel, Red Rock, I was seventeen when I started writing the book. At that time, I was heavily involved with horses, and found the inspiration very quickly for the story line. Several situations in the book were based on my actual life experiences. In looking back all of these years later, its funny to note that even the female leads physical description matched my own as a teenager.
In my second novel, The Three Month Plan, the story itself may have been based on actual experiences. There were definitely influences of real life inspiration for both male characters. And, I do really have an Uncle named Rick. I found it suiting that the one confidant the male lead, Brian, has in the book shares the same name as someone who is a personal inspiration to me. The main female lead, Kelly, has a beautiful dog named Shanti who is present throughout the entire book. She was modeled after my late wolf hybrid that I had for fourteen years.
As for common themes, both of my female leads struggle with their self image. They have never thought of themselves as beautiful, but once they transform through the story they become beautiful in their own right. I have a strong belief that we are all unique and beautiful , and sometimes we just have to experience certain trials to become stronger and realize this ourselves. There is nothing sexier than a strong, independent woman who stands up for herself. And once we ladies realize this, we can each have our own happy ending in real life.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from The Three Month Plan

"The only hands I wanted around her waist were mine. And tonight, when she came over to my place and we were finally alone, I would do just that. Turn her towards me, guide my hands gently to her waist, look her in the eyes and tell her the words I never thought I would ever say to anyone. That I love her.”

I can't tell you who says it though, because that would give too much away in the book. :)

To find out more information on Red Rock or The Three Month Plan, you can visit my blog at http://kimberleypatterson.wordpress.com or on Facebook.

Stay beautiful!
Kimberley

Review ~ The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

This review is of a book I read about a month ago. I just never put together the post until now.

Genre: YA paranormal/dystopia
Series and number: Blood of Eden #1
Number of pages: 486
Edition: Hardcover
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:


To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for…again.

Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

My review:

Rating: 4 stars
Date read: July 1 to 6, 2013
Source: Bought

This book was interesting. It was a dystopia, but it creatures zombies and vampires. They weren't even hidden; in fact, everybody knew of them. Vampires ruled the cities, the zombies (or "rabids") were a danger to civilization. I've never read a book quite like this one. It was different than the usual vampire book and I really liked reading it. 

One complaint that I've heard about the beginning is that it's very slow, and in a way, I do understand why someone would think so. The first hundred pages was reserved to world building and introductions and just plain getting the story started. However, I liked that. I didn't find it to be terribly slow. I appreciate details and the build up because it's important to have them when reading a book set in a whole new world or future. 

Speaking of the "future," the dystopia elements were well done. There was a ruling forcethe powerful vampiresthen the rebellionthe humans searching for Eden. There was even that danger elementthe danger of rabies attacking and vampire leaders upturning the humans' plans. The world and elements inside of it were nicely put together and I wasn't confused about what going on. 

The characters, too, were nicely set up. Allie, the main character, was very strongly the face of her new reality as a vampire. She didn't want to be a monster that everyone expected her to be. Instead of succumbing to the Hunger, she held out so she wouldn't hurt or take away from the innocent. Unfortunately, most of the other characters judged her immediately upon the discovery that she was a vampire and thought of her as a vicious creature that would kill them. That's understandable, though, because that's a natural response, but it's sad to see someone judged so harshly when I know she didn't deserve it. I was glad that some decided to trust her, though it appeared that she still didn't fit in with anyone at the end of the book. 

The other characters were pretty good, too. I didn't like them as much as Allie. Kanin didn't make many appearances, but I could tell that he'll play a much bigger role in the sequel. Ruth played the annoying, jealous girl . . . but let's face it, there almost always has ti be one annoying character. I liked Jeb less because he seemed way too obsessed. Jackal was a little scary, and I know he'll make a pretty important appearance in the next book. As for Zeke, he was kind, loyal, and determined, but had the flaws necessary for him to have. I'm not sure about his future in the series. I don't know if he and Allie will fight to be together or if she'll move on from any future with a human. I don't know, but I'm curious as to where Allie will be heading next. 

Overall, The Immortal Rules was a great read that not only focused on a group of humans seeking salvation in Eden, an almost mythical location during their journey, but also a heroine who struggled with her new identity as someone most saw as a monster.

Quote (original photo found on Readinista)



Review ~ The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Genre: YA dystopia
Series and number: The 5th Wave #1
Number of pages: 474
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My review:

Rating: 4 stars
Date read: July 21 to 24, 2013
Source: Bought

There wasn't much that I disliked about this book. Some parts were a bit slow, but they still interested because they built the new post 4th wave world. The other thingthe thing I had the biggest issue with was the point of view changes. The first time it switched, I barely registered that it was a completely different person for awhile. Then later, it switched to the "silencer," but in third person (the majority of the book was in first person). And later, again, it switched to Sammy in third person. I believe those two parts were the only ones that strayed outside the Ben or Cassie first person POV, and it felt a bit . . . uneven. Inconsistent too.

Despite that, I believe Rick Yancey is a good writer. He did a wonderful job setting up the series of waves that were decimating the human population. He didn't jump right in and explain "this was wave one, this was wave two, etc." but instead began with a creepy and chilling intro that gave hints to something revealed later on. Then it went straight to Cassie. Through a combination of her lonely survival and her memories leading up to that point, the world building and explanations were built into the story, making it more developed and less awkward.

The 5th wave itself was a well developed process. It was a scary idea the aliens had for it and I liked how it was built by a hint here, a hint there, and a lot of manipulation, brainwashing, and distrust everywhere.

It was interesting to watch the characters finally figure it all out because the Others did a fantastic job in disguising themselves as the guys on the good sidethe human side.Cassie, though, wasn't convinced. She learned a lesson, and she knew trust couldn't just be handed out freely. Appearances and statements could be lies. She had a bitter attitude that had developed when facing tragedy and dwindling hope. She pushed on, though, for her little brother.

I feel like Sammy was the middle point of the storyone where everything else revolved around. He was young, innocent, and oh-so-malleablea perfect type for the 5th wave. Ben made a promise to him because he broke the one he gave to his sister. Cassie made a promise, and she carried his teddy bear the entire journey to him. Sammy was able to inspire hope inside them in a hopeless world. He was able to remind them that all humanity wasn't lost. That little kid, without even trying, pushed Ben and Cassie to fight and to stay determined in order to keep their promises. Because of Sammy, they never gave up. He was the best addition to the story.

Overall, this was a great book. It had a nice assortment of characters that all coped (or tried to) with certain death in their own way. It had a brilliant concept and development of it. It had great action and great connections between characters. This book isn't for everyone, but I do recommend it.

Quote:


Monday, July 29, 2013

Review ~ Barbie Girl by Heidi Acosta (part of #reviewparty #1)

This review was written during the #reviewparty, hosted by Amy Bookworm, Charli, and Day Dreamers World. I found it while looking through Twitter and decided it would be a fun thing to join. It's a brand new monthly meme where we bloggers get together and post a review on the day of the meme.   


Genre: YA contemporary romance
Series and number: Baby Doll #1
Number of pages: 189 pages
Edition: Kindle edition
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

The only thing that 17 year old Barbie Starr wants to do is graduate high school so she and her little brother, Everett, can get out of Alabama. She doesn’t care about the rumors that are spread around about her like wild fire. Rumors are nothing new to her. Sure, maybe she could change her reputation, but why bother. She is leaving Alabama as soon as she can. That is, if she can pass algebra and graduate.

The only thing Dylan Knight would like to do is go through high school unnoticed; he has had enough of the drama that is high school. He took the whole of last summer to bulk-up, finally he is not being called names or being shoved into lockers. He wants to remain on the outside of the circle of constant rumors that surround the so-called popular kids who get all the attention. He would not, however, mind if his long time crush Katie took notice of him.

But it is Barbie, who notices Dylan and she offers him a deal he can’t pass up, if he helps her pass algebra, she’ll help him get the girl of his dreams. Dylan agrees, but, as it turns out, nothing is simple when it comes to Barbie. Somehow, she can’t help but draw attention to herself — and to him. Soon Dylan finds himself tossed into the whirlwind of rumors that seem to follow Barbie everywhere. Can he save his reputation and still get the girl of his dreams? Or will Barbie be the one to break through his carefully-built facade?

My review:

Rating: 4 stars
Date read: July 25, 2013
Source: Free on Amazon

The title of this book is Barbie Girl. The cover has a bit of a light feel with the “OMG” and font style. Don’t let that fool you, though. The inside is much darker that you might expect—or at least more than I expected.

The title and name of the characters fit well with the themes of the book. It was about being placed into a certain “box.” Each character was a certain type, or stereotype, and therefore misunderstood because others failed to see past appearances and rumors.

This was especially true of Barbie. She was believed to be an easy girl who did drugs, but in reality, she was quite clean and innocent. She wore revealing clothes and a very colorful personality, and her classmates didn’t think to look past the surface to see the damaged girl in hiding. Barbie was a very fun heroine, but she was much more complex than her perfect plastic name let on. She was a strong girl that fell—now she needs to pick up the pieces and pull herself together in the next book.
Barbie Girl was also about gaining and losing trust, and believing differences to be too big of an obstacle. Barbie and Dylan settled for thinking they were too different—from two separate worlds—to be together. Therefore, they had a ton of trust issues that kept preventing them from truly sharing themselves with each other. That was a shame, too, because a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions just pushed their relationship to disaster.

Dylan too, was a big factor in the downturn of their relationships. He was a bit of a jerk that made too many assumptions about Barbie like everyone else did. I did like him—sort of—but sometimes his attitude and slight obsession with her irritated me. Hopefully, he will grow out of it in the next book (I really like Barbie and Dylan together, so I want him to be a good guy that deserves her).

Overall, I loved the characters (wait, I need to mention Third: he was the stable point, the rock, of the whole story; he was always more calm and understanding that the others), and the elements of this contemporary book. However, it was in need of a thorough round of editing—missing words and run-on sentences were quite common. With better editing, I would’ve been less distracted from what was going on in the book. Nevertheless, Barbie Girl was a good book, and I am looking forward to its sequel.

Quote:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Feature and Follow (5)

This is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read that is meant to be a way for bloggers to increase followers and make friends.

My preferred following method is Bloglovin'.

This week's question:
Q: What do you do with your books after you’re done reading them?

I keep almost all of my books, and as a result of that and the fact that I hardly ever borrow books, my bookshelf is just overflowing. I love to lend them to my friends, thoughin fact, I often remind them that they can borrow from me anytime. I'm always eager to share a great book with someone else, especially if they can't be found in the library. 

Well, that's what I do with my books. What about you?

Review ~ Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Genre: YA dystopia/romance
Series and number: Shatter Me #1.5
Number of pages: 111
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

My review:


Rating: 5 stars
Date read: July 18, 2013
Source: Bought

It wasn't a surprise: I loved this book. I've read both Shatter Me and Unravel Me, and this series is now becoming one of my favorites. I just love the writing, the characters, and all of the elements of it.

It was so nice to read from Warner's perspective. Destroy Me gave insight to who this guy really was, and what his fears, quirks, and thoughts were. He became much more understandable, yet even more complex, than before. I could see the change that he was going through because of Juliette and her notebook. When he read her thoughts, cracks started forming in his tough exterior, and he started showing a more human side.

This book also gave more insight to Juliette. It wasn't set inside her head this time, but inside the head of the guy that was a bit obsessed with her (but not in a creepy way; it was more in a way that he needed to understand her). I got to see Juliette through someone else's eyes, and it was interesting to hear what he thought of her.

I don't usually read novellas. I didn't regret reading this one bit, though. I was able to read more of the series that I love more with each book I read, and was able to learn more about both Warner and Juliette. It was a quick read that I enjoyed every minute of.

A few random thoughts:

-I found it amusing that Warner was so clean and organized. I wasn't expecting it. It helped develop Warner's character.

-Juliette and Warner really were similar. Both of them were born and raised with the expectation to be monsters. The difference is, Juliette resisted as much as she could and Warner accepted it as the only way.  In Unravel Me (minor spoiler alert), Juliette started to accept her abilities (but still not use them for evil), and Warner started to break away from his acceptance. 

Quote:

Review ~ Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Genre: YA contemporary romance (mature)
Series and number: Breathing #1
Number of pages: 466
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

USA Today Bestselling Novel
"No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?"

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection—pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises, not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth―at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

One girl’s story of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and her precarious grasp of hope: Reason to Breathe is the first installment of the acclaimed Breathing Series.

My review:

Rating: 4.5 stars
Date read: July 16, 2013
Source: Bought

Now . . . that is how you end a book. It was shocking. It was emotional. It was a pretty good cliffhanger. Immediately upon finishing it, I jumped onto my phone to read the description for sequel to see if my worst fears would be confirmed. Thankfully, I was relieved and able to start drying. This book evoked an immediate emotional reaction and any book that can do that and tear my heart to little pieces in the process deserves high praise. That ending left me reeling—I can’t even remember having such a strong response to the conclusion to any other book.

I loved everything that was going on in this book—well, I loved the positive areas: the friendship, the romance, Sara’s concern, Evan’s patience (most of the time), Emma’s compassion. The romance was built up for the bulk of the book, and I loved the chemistry between Emma and Evan. I loved how well-rounded the characters seemed, and how each one was far from perfect. I also loved how Emma’s extracurricular activities were incorporated into the story.

As for the ugly elements—such as the abuse—I hated it. It wasn’t in a way that made me think the book was bad, but in a way that made the book better due to the strong feelings I got from reading it. These elements added to the harshness and powerful emotion that the book was meant to have. I was angry a little upset with a few of the characters’ reactions to Emma’s home life. Her stepfather made me angry because he refused to see the ugly truth right in his own home. I was a little disappointed with Evan when he went back to San Francisco around the time he found out how much danger Emma was in. I was even a tiny bit disappointed in Sara because she knew Emma was being abused, but never told anyone. The thing is, though, I understand why: Sara was still trying to do her best to protect her Emma and respect her choices at the same time. I also understand that Evan wasn’t intending to leave Emma in danger or hurt her when he left.

This book didn’t disappoint. I had wanted to read it for a long time, and it did what I expected it to: it made me cry. Overall, Reason to Breathe was a fantastic book that made me want to immediately continue the series on with the next book. Now I just hope the sequel will be amazing too.

Quote:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review ~ Kindred by Erica Stevens

Genre: YA paranormal romance
Series and number: The Kindred #1
Number of pages: 260
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

What do you do when the one you love is also you worst enemy? Trapped in a destiny she does not want, Cassie finds herself lost and adrift, until he walks into her life, turning it upside down and awakening her in ways that she never dreamed possible.

Cassie is stunned and devastated to learn that she belongs to a long line of vampire slayers known as The Hunters. A murderous rampage by a group of elder vampires has left the Hunter line decimated and the remaining Hunters scattered around the world. With her friends Chris and Melissa’s aid, Cassie struggles to rid the world of the monsters that murdered her parents. Though Cassie knows it is her fate, she chafes against her heritage, and is resentful of the shortened lifespan that has been placed upon her by the circumstances of birth. Struggling to get through every day, Cassie finds herself simply going through the motions of living. That is, until Devon arrives. Tall, dark, and mysterious his arrival turns the school, and Cassie’s life, upside down. Fighting against her fierce attraction to him, and the chaos he represents in her carefully ordered days, she is irresistibly drawn to him. Though worried that what she truly is will place Devon in danger, she is unable to fight her feelings for him. He is the one light, and the only source of hope she has in a world that revolves around death and fear. What she does not know is that Devon has some dark secrets of his own, secrets even more frightening and dangerous than hers. Secrets that threaten to tear them apart forever.

My review:

Rating: 3 stars
Date read: July 19 to 20, 2013
Source: Free on Amazon

This book began in an intriguing way, and I immediately started asking questions. What was going to happen? Why was Cassie’s life going to change forever? I was then introduced to the group of vampire Hunter’s and the “strange man” that Cassie felt an immediate and irresistible bong with. Kindred became a book that I enjoyed reading.

Unfortunately, the more I look back into what occurred in the story, I am realizing not much actually did. Sure, there was the opening and concluding events that are always supposed to be eventful, with a few smaller ones sprinkled in the middle, but there didn’t seem to be much of any significance in the bulk of what occurred. Even in Cassie and Devon’s relationship, not much happened. There was a lot of gaze-locking and descriptions of their feelings around each other, but I could probably count how many times they had an actual conversation that was longer than a few sentences on one hand. It made their whole relationship less convincing for me.

I usually notice problems like these while reading shorter books. There’s almost always something that leaves me feeling unfulfilled.

Overall, I did enjoy this book enough to give it three stars. It just lacked substance.

One last thought:

I didn't learn much about the Hunters and about their lives and history. I would've liked to see more depth and detail in that area. 


Monday, July 22, 2013

First Impressions are Everything (Cover Only Edition) ~ The Other Life, Notes from Ghost Town, and BZRK

Here's what First Impressions ~ Covers Only Editions is:

It's similar to the regular edition where I base my impressions off of the first sentences or paragraphs from three different books. However, with this, I'm featuring three covers of books I don't know much about. The covers themselves may be familiar to me, but I'm not very familiar with the genres or descriptions of any of the three books.

Here are the the covers I'm talking about this week:

#1

First impressions and predictions?

-It looks like there is some sort of prison or fence to keep people in/out
-The hands on the butterfly combined with the blood makes it look like a zombie book. Maybe that's what the fence is there for.
-The setting is either urban or near to an urban area (from the city in the background)
-"Danger isn't the only thing that makes your heart beat faster." Is that referring to a romance or something else? If there is romance, the couple probably knew eachother when they were kids (from the two small people in the butterfly wing).
-I wonder if the butterfly is a symbol for something.


First impressions and predictions?

-Whenever I see this cover, I get the impression that the heroine is slightly crazy. There's something about the position of the hands and the tilt of her head that makes gather that impression.
-It looks like a ghost story.
-I wonder if she's the ghost or whether she's being haunted by her first love.
-This book probably has some some sort of creepy factor involved.
-I wonder what the "notes" are, and whether or not if it means that actual notes will be involved. 



First impressions and predictions?

-It's definitely science fiction.
-What are those things? Aliens? It looks like an army.
-There will probably be a lot of violence in the book.
-It looks like they're in space.
-The protagonist is probably male because the cover has a very masculine feel. 
-What in the world is "BZRK?" What does it mean?






Which one am I most interested in? 

I'm the most curious about Notes From Ghost Town. I don't know if I want to read it as much as figure out if my first impression is correct.

That's it for this week's First Impressions! What do you think of these covers?

Review ~ You Are Mine by Janeal Falor

Genre: YA Fantasy
Series and number: Mine #1
Number of pages: 335
Edition: Kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

Serena knows a few simple things. She will always be owned by a warlock. She will never have freedom. She will always do what her warlock wishes, regardless of how inane, frivolous, or cruel it is. And if she doesn't follow the rules, she will be tarnished. Spelled to be bald, inked, and barren for the rest of her life—worth less than the shadow she casts.

Then her ownership is won by a barbarian from another country. With the uncertainty that comes from belonging to a new warlock, Serena questions if being tarnished is really worse than being owned by a barbarian, and tempts fate by breaking the rules. When he looks the other way instead of punishing her, she discovers a new world. The more she ventures into the forbidden, the more she learns of love and a freedom just out of reach. Serena longs for both. But in a society where women are only ever property, hoping for more could be deadly.

My review:

Rating: 4 stars
Date read: July 21 to 22, 2013
Source: Bought

This book reminded me of . . . a fairy tale. It began by painting a harsh and horrible landscape of a society where women were treated as possessions—good only for producing warlock son. It was set up in a way to invoke sympathy for Serena, the poor girl who was sold to a proud and domineering man and had grown up being punished by her father for every wrong move she made. The only life she had known was one where women were "owned," but she didn't want to just accept that future.

Then there was Zade, a barbarous Envadi that turned out to be the exact opposite. The country he came from just did things differently and the warlocks were very large, so his kind was judged for it. It took Serena awhile before she realized he wasn't going to hurt her, but the process was really nice. There were plenty of moments that built him up to be a kind and gentle man, and it made the book more interesting than if she simply trusted him from the very beginning.

It also added to the little bit of sweet fairy tale like romance that took place in the book. There was no instant attraction, but instead, affection between Serena and Zade built up throughout the entire book. I was on my toes hoping nothing would get in their way and waiting for them to realize how well they fit together. It didn't happen in the way I expected (actually, I don't know what I was expecting), but when it did, it felt like a fairy tale ending. I loved how it happened and I loved how Serena's life was when it did.

Serena was a girl who started out in a low place, living in fear of what the next punishment would be. With the help of Zade, her sisters, and her friends, she defied everyone's rules and expectations. She was able to build a better life for herself and those she cared about. Again, it all had a bit of a fairy tale feeling to it, and I loved it.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. I'm hoping to see more of Zade and Serena, even if it's in a different perspective like I feel it will be, as well as the other characters. I'm also hoping to learn more about the interesting and horrible world they live in (the world-building may have been the weakest area in this book; there wasn't much history or background to the world they lived in). I'm especially looking forward to how much further the strict rules of the society of Chardonia are going to be challenged and questions.

Overall, You Are Mine was a well written tale about pushing beyond boundaries to live a life you want to live, without being restricted or "owned" by anyone but yourself. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend reading it!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review ~ Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern

Genre: YA dystopia
Series and number: Sunset Rising #1
Number of pages: 300
Edition: ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

February 2024: World War III has begun. Military vehicles are seen disappearing into a mountainside. Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discovers a secret government Bio-Dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are eventually permitted entry. But the price of admission is high…

283 years later… Born a slave in the Pit, seventeen-year-old Sunny O’Donnell has reached a breaking point in her life. If trying to keep her father alive while still pleasing her demanding fiancé isn't stressful enough, now food and water rations are being reduced and workplace beatings are occurring more frequently. Although life in the Pit had never been easy, lately it was getting intolerable.

Then a chance meeting with Leisel Holt, daughter of the Dome’s insane President, gives Sunny a spark of hope for the future of the Pit. In an effort to fan that spark into a flame, she agrees to pose as the bride at Leisel’s wedding to Jack Kenner in order to save the bride from an assassination plot. But instead of saving Leisel, Sunny unknowingly plays into her political game and ends up marrying Jack Kenner herself. Now on the run as a traitor, Sunny escapes to the Pit with her new husband in tow only to find that her marriage has ignited a rebellion.

“Sunset Rising” is the first book of a series. It is the tale of how a love story can revive the human spirit to rise up and fight the bonds of oppression.

My review:

Rating: 4 stars
Date read: July 10 to 12, 2013
Source: received a copy from the author in return for an honest review

In the beginning of Sunset Rising, there was a mention from another reader that brought The Hunger Games in relation to the book. Because of that, I started noticing similarities between Katniss and Sunny. Both became the symbol of rebellion in the poor areas that served the rich’s needs (the Districts and the Pit). Both were part of an iconic couple that started out as just an image everyone believed and rooted for. Both were loyal to their families and did everything within their power to protect them. They were tough and accustomed to harsh living. They even had meaningful names given to them. Katniss and Sunny were both strong heroines, and despite their similarities, each was her own person (er, character).

That said, it wasn't surprising that I really liked the heroine. She started out in humble beginnings, grieving over her mother being Culled (killed at age 35 for population control) and worried about her sick father. Then she just became more and more determined to change the horribly submissive live forced on the people of the Pit. Even when she didn't think of herself as a leader, mostly everyone else viewed her as an inspiration. Sunny was even able to get more people to trust Jack a bit, which was tough because it meant crossing the wide gap between classes.

Speaking of . . . I loved how the Dome was set up. There were the rich and powerful lording over the working people. The Pit was an ugly place full of death and hunger. People had to work long, laborious hours with rationed food and water while those higher up got luxurious baths and plates full of food that they would decide not to eat if it was cold. People were killed if they were out after curfew, workers were beaten if they worked too slow, and young ladies were sent upstairs as prostitutes (with no other choice) if they were a little late for work. The world Sunny had to live in was brutal and it all added to how well the rebellion was formed and developed. It wasn’t a spontaneous one, but rather one that built up as people became more fed up with what they got and more confident that they could make a change.

It was the rebellion, the set up of the society, and the heroine that made this novel great. I recommend any dystopia fan to check this book out.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Review ~ Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Genre: YA dystopia/romance
Series and number: Shatter Me #2
Number of pages: 480
Edition: kindle ebook
Link to Goodreads page

Goodreads description:

tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

My review:

Rating: 5 stars
Date read: July 2 to 4, 2013
Source: Bought

The most common thought that most likely accompanies this book: Juliette was annoying. She moped; she whined; she flipped between guys. A lot of readers probably found it all a bit infuriating.

The truth is, though, Juliette’s attitude was a very important component of her growth. She was meant to be weak. How else would she become a much better person? The fact that she was constantly told to pull herself together showed how she was supposed to have her flaws. If the rest of the characters were blind to all her annoyances that were demonstrated, my thoughts would have been different. That would just detract from the story. With how Juliette was portrayed and how others reacted to her, it actually made the book even better.

As for the rest of Unravel Me, I loved its originality. The writing was beautiful, like it was in Shatter Me. Juliette’s abilities were different than others in different books. Even the love triangle—though still a love triangle—carried its own little unique piece. Usually by now, I would have a real good idea of which guy the heroine would end up with, but with this, I’m . . . not sure. It could go either way, and I love how it isn’t glaringly obvious who she’ll choose in the end.

I felt like this was Warner’s book. The focus on Adam drew back a little to explore Juliette and Warner’s attraction. I was glad for that, as well as for the new character building of him. A whole new side of him was exposed (I read this book before Destroy Me), and I could really tell he was a nice guy on the inside. He had his own struggles with the expectations to do evil, and he started to show some resistance to that. Warner was definitely an interesting character, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.

Overall, Unravel Me sucked me in. I didn’t want it to end, and now the wait for the next installment is going to feel like torture. Something about the whole series—the writing, the characters, the romance, the suspense—just appeals to me. I believe . . . I’ve found a new addition to my favorites list.

Quote:





Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cover Reveal + Giveaway ~ Creatura by Nely Cab


Creatura has a new cover! Check it out below. 

BLURB:

Isis can control her dreams. Or she could—until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream.

A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are.

Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?



Title and author: Creatura by Nely Cab
Paperback: 346 pages
Publisher: Nely Cab
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1489589554
ISBN-13: 978-1489589552
This Title is Available for Pre-order on Amazon.

The Author

Author Bio:
Nely Cab was born on December 9, 1974, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She has lived and resided in South Texas most of her life. In 2001, the author relocated to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where she dedicated time to the study of culinary arts and the art of oil painting.

After her return to the U.S., she resumed her employment in banking and in the following year transitioned to the field of Social Work. Later, Nely took up writing as a hobby and produced her first novel entitled "Creatura".

Last year, the rights to "Creatura" were sold to a leading Young Adult publisher in a foreign country, where it has just recently been released.

Today, Nely Cab writes from the comfort of her home in South Texas, where she lives with her husband and son. Currently, Nely is working on the second installment in her debut series "Creatura".

Find her online: Website / FB Book Page / FB Author Page / Twitter / Goodreads / Blog / Google+ / Amazon Page

Enter to win Creatura prizes in the rafflecopter below!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Waiting on" Wednesday (5) ~ Panic by Lauren Oliver

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

All the way on March 14, 2014, there's a book coming out . . .

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Goodreads description:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.


Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.


For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A new dystopia book by Lauren Oliver about a "game." I'm really intrigued by what will happen in Panic (both the game and the book). Also, do you see that cover? It's so cool looking, and it just revealed today.

What do you think? Are you going to join me on this long wait for the book to read this book?

Interview ~ Mandana Towhidy (author of Arcadia)

I conducted an interview with author Mandana Towhidy through the YA Bookaholics group on Goodreads. You can also find this interview on there. 




MANDANA TOWHIDY is a writer, editor, and art director whose work has been featured in pop culture magazines Dazed&Confused, Tokion, Oyster, and numerous other print and online publications. She writes daily with her little Chihuahua, Lotte, sleeping by her side.\m/

Check out the author's Tumblr page.
About her book:
Arcadia
Goodreads description:
Populated by rockers, Deadheads, misfits, skinheads, Goths, surfers, preppies, cheerleaders, and jocks, ARCADIA by Mandana Towhidy is a Fast Times at Ridgemont High for the Metal years. It's an honest story of Ronnie and her friends (Ezze, Tess, Ash, and Syd), teen girls in the heart of the Hollywood Metal scene during the late 80s/early 90s, ruling it in their own way, with or without the boys, and having the time of their lives: scrounging dimes for burritos, ducking the hallway narcs, getting stoned in the parking lot, and hitching rides to the next party to get wasted, all before noon on a school day. And in the world of Hollywood where more is all you need, Ronnie discovers happiness in Metal and friends and learning to see through the games and the "perfect-ness" of it all. Long Hair Rocks...Again!

Add Arcadia to Goodreads

Now that you know about Mandana and her book, lets move on to the best part . . .


The Q's and A's
Q: What inspired you to write Arcadia?

HEAVY METAL! Well, Heavy Metal (which I love, even though I do listen to a lot of other genres...) because I really wanted to write something that wasn't just about a bunch of guys trying to get laid and go to a concert or find their guitar heroes. I wanted to give readers an insight into what it was like to BE THERE, especially now with the 20-somethings who weren't even around and still love the music. I was also inspired by some of my favorite high school stories and films...16 Candles, Rock and Roll High School, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I just love all those high school stories and I wanted to be part of that club because I had a different story to tell.
It was an obvious book to write for me...there are a lot of ideas for books, especially in my head. But this was definitely a must-do. And I'm happy I did it.

Q: What are the characters in Arcadia, Ronnie and her friends, like?

Well, Ronnie is a junior in high school...I think she's got a couple of sides to her personality...one side is always trying to make the right choices/decisions, trying to figure out the game of life, and the other side of her just let's go any rules and guidelines. She's very loyal to her friends (Ash, Sydney, Ezze, and Tess). Ash is probably the hardest to read because she's really concerned about how she portrays herself, even though she really doesn't need to or shouldn't need to. Sydney is that girl you *think* you know (like the cheerleaders), but you really don't. Ezze is the girl everyone wants to be near, but she doesn't really get it, maybe...or maybe she takes it for granted. She's also kind of like a mom figure in the group, but she can also be the one who likes to do bad things. Tess is probably one of the most judged by her peers in general, even though they have no real reason to do so other than she looks perfect at all times in all ways. There are a lot of characters from "Office Hags" to "Twinkie Twins". There's also an older boy love interest everyone calls THE FANG. He’s a roadie for a Metal band.

Q: Where do you draw the most support in you writing career?

From life experience. That's the most. From whatever I'm going through at the moment I'm writing it. I know some people read a book and think that one character might be directly linked to one real-life person. But the fact is that these characters are usually a hybrid of someone old and someone new and maybe someone I haven't even met yet. I do love to travel and I do love to explore new places and see and smell and taste new things. I've been to a lot of places in my life, and a few places on my own, which really makes you grow and learn because you're forced to befriend strangers unless you really want to end up solo the entire trip, which I do not really prefer. I think, and this is just my opinion, that conflicting or harder experiences in our past really ripen our words and make our stories that much better. I don't know how amazing a story can be if you've had a totally perfect life. And I do notice EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Oh wait...where do I draw the most support...SUPPORT. OOPS. Why did I read that differently?

I draw the most support from my friends, from some of my long-time readers/writing fans (from when I was a magazine writer/editor), and from my agent (he is the most amazing person ever and anyone who says bad things about agents had a bad experience or else they've never had a good agent). My agent (PJ MARK) has probably been the best support I've ever had when it comes to my books. He just understands me and my writing and my writing style (because it's a little different). He also gets my mood swings and my stubborn tantrums when he wants me to change things. He's part of the reason I keep writing, too. That's the truth. Writing books takes time and it can be terribly challenging, obviously. And finding a good agent can also be a challenge. I don't take him for granted. As long as he's in my life, I'm going to keep sending him books. Plus, he's just an awesome person all around.

Q: Are you currently working on any other books?

Yes...I'm currently working on a new novel about the advertising industry, sort of. It's about love, or sacrificing or selling out (depending on how you see it) the love of your life for a big buck. There's a lot more about that, but that's all I can say right now. I've just started to actually write it. I have been piecing it together for a while. I also have a novella I will be writing right after and a book of short stories and a couple of other things. I have a bunch of things I want to write. There is also a book I wrote a while ago that I need to edit. It might be a good book to have as my third published novel.

Q: What is your favorite film adaptation of a book (or at least, one of them)?

I've said this before, but one of my most favorite film adaptations is Morvern Callar. The book is by Alan Warner. Lynne Ramsay directed the film. I just LOVE what she did with that book. It had that same vibe as when you actually read the book; you still have voices or thoughts in your head. It's not all spelled out for you, which sometimes destroys the book experience (I've heard this has happened a bit with The Great Gatsby...which I have not seen yet and might not ever see because I love the book so much). Am I making sense? If my book ended up turning into a film (which I get asked about A LOT), I'd probably want Lynne Ramsay to do the film. Maybe. I don't know if she can do humor. But I love her vision. And I’d want Samantha Morton to be in the film because I love her, too.

I also liked The Virgin Suicides (book by Jeffrey Eugenides and film by Sofia Coppola). I think Sofia really respected and got the kids to a tee. (I actually think she’s the perfect choice to do a film version of The Bell Jar, another one of my all-time favorite books…I know Julia Stiles is obsessed with that book. But she should leave it for Sofia.) Obviously Fear and Loathing was genius. I remember sitting in the theater with another diehard HST fan...we felt such relief when the film started.

Q: Your profile says you're also an editor and art director. Can you tell me more about what you do in those positions?

I was a magazine editor and writer for over 10 years. I started young. I hadn’t graduated journalism school yet when I started writing for Dazed and Confused and Tokion. I was a magazine editor for a few publications, the last being Oyster magazine, which was a sexy, edgy fashion rag. I really loved it and I loved a lot of my editors. Most of them liked my style of writing and many of them allowed me to deviate from structured/standard journalism style. The art direction happened organically (which I prefer…I don’t like things that are forced), because, as a magazine editor, you end up creative directing and consulting a lot. You’re quite often in charge of a story, the shoot, the team, the execution, the production of the photos and the final product that ends up in the magazine. Plus I’ve always been obsessed with pop culture and sub cultures and all of that falls into the same pool. I’ve worked with a lot of cool brands and agencies and I’m looking forward to doing more. It’s another hat I wear. But at the end of the day, or the end of my life, I’d like to be firstly known as a writer. Or, a writer/creative.

Q: Lastly, since you used to live in Portland, Oregon, what was your favorite thing about living there? (I'm an Oregonian, you see. I can't help but ask.)

Oh I miss New Seasons (market) with all of my heart! ☺ I miss their vegan oatmeal cake and the cheese mongers there. I miss the good food. I miss the daily use of a bicycle and all the flirting that goes on in a town filled with cyclists. I miss riding my favorite bike in my favorite dresses in the perfect summers across those pretty bridges. ☹ You don’t get that here in Los Angeles, which is why I’m considering moving back to the North West. I also miss my friends there. And Cathedral Park…Bridge? You can correct me on that…that place is so gorgeous. And all those Gus Van Sant clouds that move so quickly over the city. I have always been a huge fan of his and I was super stoked to see those clouds there. It made sense why he uses them in almost all of his films. And, yeah, the weather sometimes sucked. But it’s reallllly easy to sit inside and write when it’s pouring rain outside. ☺

Thank you for answering my questions!

I have a few responses:
  • Arcadia seems like its a unique story in the midst of music based books (at least, the ones I know of).
  • I love it when a big group of friends are featured in a book. They all usually turn out to play their own roles in the story and there's usually special characteristics to go with each one.
  • I guess it's easy to read the "support" question differently. I like how she gave me two different answers. I asked because I often check out books' acknowledgement pages. It's really interesting to see where authors find their most support.
  • That may be one of the reasons why I often don't like a movie better than the book. The vibe is often different. 
  • I've actually only been to Portland a few times for school related trips (so sad), but my brother cooks in a restaurant up there (I believe he's a sous chef). My mom and I might go up there to visit soon. Maybe I'll see the cyclists and the bridge. :)
That's it for the interview! Keep an eye out for more interviews later.