Thursday, December 2, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

I'm sure you all have fallen prey to book hype. You know, where there is so much talk about how great a book is, but when you finally get around to reading it you feel let down because it was built up so much? I have had this happen to me numerous times over the past year, and it makes me sad. I really wanted to like Stephanie Perkins' debut novel Anna and the French Kiss. I will admit that I was a bit worried that the hype would get in the way of an otherwise awesome book. You guys, that was not the case.


I not only fell in love with this book, but I literally hugged it when I was finished reading it and went straight to my computer to pre-order it. I even made space for her on my bookshelf (her new neighbors are Evie and Sophie..I think they'll get along great). You want to know a little more about it, don't you? Well you're in luck...

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible.

The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Anna and the French Kiss is a great story full of fantastic and witty writing, well developed characters, romance, tension, and kissing. There was only one thing bad about this book and that was that it should have been longer because I wanted more. The fact that I wanted more has nothing to do with the story itself, it's just because I'm greedy and didn't want it to end. If that's not enough for you to want to read this book I'll give you the main reason.

Etienne St. Clair.

Etienne is beyond swoon-worthy and quickly became one of my book crushes. I totally got the book crush butterflies when reading and he was also the only one this year to do that. Oh, Etienne how I love thee. OH! Plus, he has an accent. If that doesn't do it for you, I don't know what will. 

To my other book crushes: Marcus Flutie, Jamie Fraser, and Ron Weasley you boys have SERIOUS competition. Also, did anyone else notice that those three are all gingers? I just realized that today.

This is my favorite book of the year, so far, and I can't wait til later this afternoon for my brand new, shiny copy to appear on my doorstep. I will definitely be reading it again before the year is up.  

Thank you Stephanie for writing such a wonderful book and thank you Jessica for sharing your ARC with me. 

If you want to experience the awesome for yourself, you can purchase Anna and the French Kiss here.

This was also book #11 in the 2010 Debut Author's Challenge

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Across the Universe - Beth Revis

One of the books that has gotten a LOT of buzz in the last few months is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. To be honest with you, I'm not much into sci-fi and wasn't sure whether or not I was going to dig it (even though I knew I'd read it eventually). Let this be a lesson to those who don't like to venture out of their comfort reading zone. I loved it.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. 

First off, let me start by saying that this book has one of the best opening chapters. Not only that but the first SENTENCE is a real grabber and so began my wanting to read more. The writing is fantastic and Beth did a great job of not making it to sci-fi to where it would turn people who don't like it, off.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was that just when I was starting to think one thing, something else was introduced that totally threw me. The characters were well done and I liked Amy. There were quite a few times where all I wanted to do was hug her because of everything that was going on.

I'm not really going to say anything more because the book doesn't come out til next month. I WILL tell you that I hope you read this book when you get the chance and come back and tell me what you thought of it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Leaving Gee's Bend - Irene Latham

First of all, I want to say that I have NO idea how I haven't put Leaving Gee's Bend on here yet! *scolds self*

Leaving Gee's Bend is a Middle Grade debut from the fabulous Irene Latham. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Irene at the Alabama Book Festival and to be honest, it was one of the most memorable events of 2010. I originally purchased the book in anticipation of the festival and getting it signed, but after hearing Irene speak about what inspired her to write this book, I knew it was going to be a gem in my collection.

Leaving Gee's Bend is a story about fear, heart, love, family, and courage. Ludelphia Bennett is a young girl who lives in the small Alabama town of Gee's Bend in the 1930s. Times are rough and when her mama falls ill, Ludelphia resolves to find the doctor in the neighboring town and bring her the medicine that will help her mom live. In order to do this, Ludelphia must find the strength to do things she's never done, including leaving her town for the first time. Through all this, Ludelphia collects pieces of fabric from her journey to create a quilt that will tell her story.

It's a relatively quiet book but it's powerful. The writing is beautiful and brilliant and it tells a beautiful story based on a real town and its quilters. When the time comes and I have children, this will be one of the books that I look forward to sharing with them. Irene is truly inspiring, not just through the pages of this book, but in real life.

Thank you Irene for such a beautiful book.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan

If you were with me on my blog earlier this year, you'll know that I spent some time reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and fell in love with it. I know Riordan came out with The Red Pyramid a few months ago but I just couldn't bring myself to read it because it was a new series and didn't take me back to Percy's world.

When I found out that he was starting a new series based around Camp Half-Blood and Percy, Annabeth, and company were going to make appearances, I think I literally squealed out loud.

So when the husband was ordering stuff off of Amazon, I asked him to add the book that was on my wishlist to the cart (it was scheduled to come out the next day). Two days later I had The Lost Hero in my hands and I probably just stared at the cover. Yeah, I know. It's a middle grade book and I'll be 26 in two weeks but WHO CARES? There's just something about this series and these characters that I absolutely adore.

I've now read the book and loved it just as much as I hoped I would. We're introduced to three new characters: Jason, Piper, and Leo. These three are now the main characters but the rest of the campers are still around and they're all faced with new problems.

I was intrigued right from the get-go. Jason has no memory of anything and before he knows it, he and his friends are up against Venti while on their field trip at the Grand Canyon. Next thing we know Annabeth is whisking them away to Camp Half-Blood and they're finding out all these new, crazy things and are sent out on their first quest. I really enjoyed Jason, Piper, and Leo and it's hard who to pick as my favorite (good thing I don't have to).

I started reading The Lost Hero and Freefall at the same time but as usual, Rick Riordan sucked me in and I had to stop reading (and playing Angry Birds) until I finished his book.

I know this post is kind off all over the place but I'm just so dang excited about having read it! I'm so bummed that I have to wait a year for book two to come out so I guess I'll just have to practice patience.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

Last month I read Kiersten White's debut novel, Paranormalcy and I absolutely adored it!

I'm going to make this pretty short and I'm not going to give a summary of what it's about but I DO want to say that I cannot wait for the next book. Kiersten, you totally had a grand-slam with this one.

I wasn't sure how I was going to like it because of the fairies. Fairies are the single most annoying supernatural creature, in my opinion, but she made it work. It did help that they weren't the primary focus of the book.

This book reminded me a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv show) and I couldn't help but hope that someday Mr. Pointy would meet Tasey and they would go off on adventures of their own. How awesome would that be?!

For the record, I'm still not sure if I trust Lend. I got this feeling about him when he was introduced and although he hasn't really done anything shady, I'm really expecting him to do something nefarious.

Go pick it up if you haven't read it. It's totally worth it and if you don't like it? Well, you'll have a beautiful cover on your shelf. Seriously though, you'll like it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Book Week

Just an FYI, but I've been posting about Banned Book Week over on my new blog and I'd love to hear your thoughts on my most recent post where I ask for your opinions on banning. Click here to participate!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's official..

I'm having a blog affair and it's currently called Life, Love, and Literature.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this blog, I might link a few new posts over to that blog if they're relevant. I'm not deleting this one because I don't want to.

So if you feel the urge to follow me over there, I will be eternally grateful (I'm even hosting a giveaway of SPEAK for Banned Books Week) and love you forever.

Come check it out! Also? Yes, the layout is the exact same but only because I love it and didn't want to change the background. Don't judge :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Auburn Writers Conference

For those of you who know me whether it be online or in real life, you know that one thing I love is Auburn; not just because I lived there or went to school there for a few years. Why you ask? Not only do I love the town or when everything turns orange on gameday (Go Tigers!) but I love how Auburn is not just a community, it's a family.

I moved to Auburn in 2006 and lived there until this past February. Of all the places I've lived in my twenty-five years (16 places), Auburn is tied for the top spot and will always have a place in my heart for the things I learned (academically and about myself), things I did, and for being the place where my husband and I had our first home.

When I heard that Auburn University would be holding the first annual Auburn Writers Conference in October I was VERY excited. Earlier this year I started my foray into writing thanks to Rachel Hawkins and Irene Latham for daring me to suck and telling me that everyone has a story to tell (and BOTH of them will be teaching workshops at AWC!). Then I found out that two of my internet-turned-real-life besties (Anna and Heather) would be going I had even more of a reason to sign up, and sign up I did!

Now with the conference only mere weeks away, my excitement level has risen considerably because not only do I get to take a trip back to the Loveliest Village on the Plains, but I get to spend time with wonderful friends, learn how to better my writing, meet new people, and bring others together.

If you're able to, I really hope you consider going to AWC this year. I know it's going to be an amazing and unforgettable experience. If the conference isn't enough to sway you, let me tempt you with the famous Toomer's Lemonade and Momma G's. I'll be there, will you?

You can also check out Chantel Acevedo's blog and a podcast where she talks about AWC to Offbeat Auburn.

I leave you with a few of my favorite Auburn memories:

My first fall as an Auburn student with Aubie and my now husband

One of our engagement pictures on the steps of Samford Hall

I was a volunteer at the Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center

The graduate husband in front of the beautiful Samford Hall

Finally, many fall Saturday's were spent in Jordan-Hare (and yes, this was taken about 10 minutes AFTER the 2007 Iron Bowl ended :-))


Sunday, September 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and all you have to do is post about what books you received that week by mail, library, or store.

It has been about a month since I've done an IMM entry, so all I'm going to do is list the books. The majority of these I got in anticipation of the Decatur Book Festival which was last weekend and all books are now signed.

Diana Gabaldon:
Drums of Autumn
The Fiery Cross
A Breath of Snow and Ashes

David Levithan:
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - 1st Edition!
Wide Awake
Are We There Yet?
Boy Meets Boy
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List
The Realm of Possibility

 Love the One You're With - Emily Giffin
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June - Robin Benway
The Red Umbrella - Christina Diaz Gonzalez
The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan
The Hollow - Jessica Verday
The Haunted - Jessica Verday

Not for DBF:
Flipped - Wendelin Van Draanen
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Mockingbird - Kathryn Erskine
Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
Paranormalcy - Kiersten White (Thanks to Jessica for getting me a signed copy!)

The DUFF - Kody Keplinger
Salvaged - Stefne Miller

So what do you think? Have you read any of these? What should I start with? I'm thinking Love is the Higher Law or Sisters Red.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Decatur Book Festival - Part 2

One thing we weren't expecting was a meet and great with Diana Gabaldon. When Anna, Natalie, and I were on our way to Emily Giffin's panel, we stopped by the AJC tent to get our picture taken.

There happened to be a small table set up and hanging from the bottom it said, "Diana Gabaldon 1-2." Of course we asked the guy standing there what that was all about and when he said the words "meet" and "greet" we were so going to be there for that. The only downside? It was at the same time as Terra Elan McVoy and David Levithan's panel  so we missed out on hearing them speak. Thanks to Julie, Heather, and Leah who went and were able to get my books signed for me, including my first edition of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist!

Anyway, after we left Emily Giffin's signing tent, we headed back to the AJC tent. Anna got in line while Natalie and I went to her car to get my 23 lbs (yes, 23) of Diana Gabaldon books. On the way back, Natalie tried blocking for me because if I went down, I'd look like this:

Once we got back to the tent, the line hadn't grown too much so we got at the end and OMG you guys, cue the uber-excitedness. I was literally shaking!

When it was finally my turn, I started rambling and I don't remember much. Oh wait, Yes I do! I told her about owning every single form of the series I could, having to get rid of the MMP copies so I could order the hardbacks, that I majored in Zoology and lived in Arizona. Somewhere in there she started telling me about the Outlander Musical and seemed very excited about it. What made her even more awesome was that Natalie told her that I was gushing about the books and it made her want to read Outlander. Diana gave her a promotional copy and signed it for her! Isn't that sweet?!

Here's me with Diana.

Later on at 3:00 she had her All Things Outlander panel, so of course the three of us were in that audience.

The panel took place in the Decatur Presbyterian Church sanctuary and it was filled to capacity. She talked about future books (in no particular order: The Outlander Companion 2, book 8, Lord John, Jamie's Parents, and Master Raymond), the musical (Allan Scott is now her Jamie), The Exile (even had a copy to look at!), the film option, and kilts. You can't talk Jamie without mention of a kilt. There was also a guy in the audience wearing a kilt and not only did Diana appreciate it, but he got a roaring applause.

Meeting Diana Gabaldon was my reason for going to DBF (which I also told her) and meeting her was all I hoped it would be and momre. She's sweet, funny, generous, and I loved hearing her speak. If you get a chance to hear her, don't pass it up.

I also have some video I'm going to try and post of everyone, I just need to figure out how to cut it.

If you're interested in checking out Diana Gabaldon you can visit her website, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, and buy her books

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Decatur Book Festival - Part 1

I know you've all heard me mention the Decatur Book Festival (DBF from here on out) numerous times, whether it be tweets, here, or facebook and I thought I'd do a recap for you.

Each day I'm going to post about a different panel I attended and provide pictures, video, and links to their website. I can't tell you how much fun I had and how awesome everyone was, but I'm going to try.

I went with a bunch of my internet/blogger friends (Julie, Heather, Anna, Leah, and Natalie) whom I have gotten to know so well since the beginning of the year and I considered them some of the best friends I have EVER had.

To start things off, Natalie and I stayed the night at Anna's on Friday since we were going to be getting up insanely early to drive to Atlanta. We got to DBF a little later than planned so we met up with Julie and Leah at Emily Giffin's panel and it had already started.

Now I've never read any of her books but I had won a copy of Something Borrowed from Goodreads over a year ago and I had purchased a copy of Love The One You're With on the bargain shelf at Books-A-Million so I wanted to get these books signed. Her type of book is not something I usually read and I wasn't really sure what to expect from her panel. You guys, this woman blew me away! She was smart, insightful, and funny. Her advice on writing? Move to a place you have no friends and it rains all the time and treat it like your eight hour job. Ha!

I was very excited to meet her after hearing her speak and while we were waiting in the signing line, Natalie wondered how she felt about all these people waiting in line for her autograph, so when it was finally out turn, she asked Emily. Her response to that was also something not expected. Instead of saying that she couldn't believe it or that she was flattered she said that she doesn't look at it that way, that she sees it as a great way to meet new women and girls.

You could really tell that relationships drive everything she does. From what she writes to the way she answered Natalie's question, to how she wanted to make sure our picture was as perfect as could be (she kept moving us around so the background wouldn't be too bright or so that the garbage cans wouldn't show up) a connection with other people is very important to her. There could not have been a better person to hear and meet to kickoff our DBF experience.

Not only was she incredibly sweet and personable but she is gorgeous and has an adorable little girl.

Here's our picture with Emily. From left to right: Anna, Emily, Me, and Natalie.

You can visit Emily's website here, follow her on twitter, and purchase her books here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

 Released February 1, 2011

I loved Lauren Oliver's debut book Before I Fall and I'm excited to see another book from her hitting shelves in the near future. Could you imagine a life without love? I'm expecting great things from this book and if Oliver's debut is any indication, this one will not let me down.

From Goodreads:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

What do you think of the synopsis?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The DUFF - Kody Keplinger

One of the books I have most been anticipating this year was The DUFF by debut author Kody Keplinger. I never read any reviews of it and kept my knowledge of what it was about to what the synopsis on Goodreads said. I didn't want this to turn into another one of those books where the hype was so great that I felt let down when I read it. I'm so glad I went that route because I really liked this book and I can't wait to read more from Kody.

Seventeen year old Bianca is having a rough time at home so when hot man-whore Wesley tells her she's a DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), she throws her Cherry Coke on him. Later, when she can no longer handle everything, Bianca kisses Wesley and finds that it brings her a weird sense of relief. Then Bianca starts having sex with Wesley to feel free of her problems but then another one arises. She starts falling for him when she realizes that not only is he a good listener but he has his own issues that need to be worked out. Could she really love the one guy she hates the most?

Although I never really partook in the whole hooking up thing, I really related to Bianca. From bottling things up until you can't seem to take anymore to feeling like the duff, to a love of Cherry Coke, I've been there and felt that. I wish I would've had a book like this when I was seventeen.

I do feel like some of the other characters could have been a little more developed than they were, especially Bianca's best friends. I also felt like the whole Bianca/Wesley thing happened way too quickly. I saw Bianca as this strong, cynical girl with way too much dignity and then before you know it, she's jumping into bed with this guy she despises.

I did love how cynical and sarcastic Bianca was though. That was totally me in high school (ok, and still am) and I think that's part of what made this book so believable to me. Some people may think it was depressing or too overdone but not I. I think the reason Kody captured this so well was because she WAS that age when she wrote this book and according to her, she was feeling these things when writing it and that's part of why I loved it as much as I did.

Can we talk about the fact that she was in high school when she wrote this? She's only EIGHTEEN you guys! To be eighteen and have your first book published is a feat not many people are able to accomplish. I don't know about you, but this in itself makes me feel so unaccomplished and like that kid who sits in class eating paste and I'm only twenty-five!

I can't wait to read more from Kody and I know I will.

This was book #8 in the 2010 Debut Authors Challenge.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

 Released December 21, 2010

The cover for Courtney Summers' next book Fall for Anything was revealed earlier this week and I just LOVE it. What makes it even more appealing? Courtney tweeted that the pictures hanging in the background are actually in the book! I liked Cracked Up To Be and loved Some Girls Are so I'm really excited to read this book and see where she takes this. This is the second book where Summers tackles the issue of suicide and I'm very interested to compare and contrast the different scenarios.

From Goodreads:
When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? 

When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. He seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close.

Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on… but some questions should be left unanswered. 

Have you read Courtney Summers' books? What did you think of them? Will you read Fall for Anything?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Skip A Starbucks Day

I don't think I mentioned to all of you that I was going on vacation (most likely a post on that later), but I'm back and I have a cause for you all to help with.

I'm going to summarize as best I can, but for the full story please visit C.J's blog and start reading. If you don't feel any feelings after reading it, you should book a trip to Oz.

C.J was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and is now unable to have any more children of her own. So in 2005, she and her husband decided to adopt a little girl from China. Next month will be 5 years since they started the adoption process and Johanna Faith has yet to make it home. In the meantime, China raised all their fees and now C.J and her husband need to raise $8,000 in order to get their little girl and this is where skipping Starbucks comes in. Take the $5 you would normally spend at Starbucks and donate it to C.J and her family. They're not asking for much, just $5. If helping out a family in need is not enough motivation, your $5 donation will allow you to enter contests for some pretty awesome prizes.

Just head over to C.J's blog, fill out the form, donate, and enter. Super easy.

I'm not a super awesome author or blogger like most of the others, however, I DO have some small things to giveaway. If you donate and leave a comment telling me so, I'll pick a winner (that I will hopefully be able to confirm with C.J about) and send you a few bookmarks and Mockingbird swag I picked up at Kathryn Erskine's book signing. 

So what are you waiting for? I donated, will you?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

 Released August 31, 2010

There has been so much hype around this book and to be honest, when I first heard about it a few months ago I really didn't give it a second thought. However, the more time I spent on the internet and the more I kept reading about it, the more I wanted to read it. Since then I have tried getting on ARC tours for it (yeah, no luck there) so I am really anticipating the release at the end of the month. Plus, when it comes to cool looking covers, I totally judge and want it for my collection. Laugh if you will, but so far I have not been let down. I have also heard that Kiersten is as cute and as sweet as a candy button so that makes this even more excitement filled.

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. 
But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.
Normal is so overrated.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview with Emma Michaels

I want to give a warm welcome to blogger turned published author, Emma Michaels. Emma has kindly let me be a part of the release of her debut YA novel, The Thirteenth Chime, so without further ado I introduce you to Emma.

First off, Welcome to my blog! I know this has got to be a busy week for you with your release, so thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Why don't we begin with you telling us a bit about yourself.

Emma: Well, I am a blogger turned author. I grew up in California and after visiting my then-boyfriend now turned fiance in Washington State, I fell in love with the area and decided to move there. I have been interested in reading books for as long as I can remember. Shortly after I finished school, I began doing freelance and ghostwriting work. A few years ago, I began the research for my debut novel, The Thirteenth Chime and in Dec of '09 I began my real journey towards publication!

How did you come up with the idea for The Thirteenth Chime?

Emma: The inspiration for the book came from multiple sources. The main inspiration came from a storm I experienced here one night on the island. We had lost the power and we went next door to our neighbors to share a few candles. As lightning flashed outside and thunder shook the house, the antique grandfather clock in the hallway began to chime. I remember the sound echoing through the house and how it made my heart race. It was in that moment that "The Thirteenth Chime" was born.

What was the hardest part of the whole process for you?

Emma: Querying. I love writing and I found that writing the book was the easy part, but the querying process to agents was far more difficult. Eventually, I decided to begin querying publishers directly. There was quite a difference.

So you skipped the agent? It obviously worked for you but would you recommend doing that to others?

Emma: Yes, I tried for an agent but after over 100 rejections decided to leave it up to the publishers and try on my own. It ended up being great for me! It was an amazing difference, suddenly I was actually getting offers! Though, I will admit it is not for everyone. If you do not have an agent there is a LOT that you have to be able to do on your own. You will need to make sure that you novel is as polished as you can make it. Meaning basically NO mistakes! You have to be able to reach out to the publishers who are accepting unsolicited manuscripts and more than that, you basically become your own representative. That means you have to be able to understand their terminology, have a GREAT lawyer from the industry to go over contracts with you and so much more. It is an extremely complicated process and one where at times it can be hard to know what to do but the main thing you need is to be able to be as professional as possible. Out of such, if you are someone who thinks you could be up to it and are okay with using a publisher who accepts unsolicited manuscripts than yes, it could be right for you but I would definitely suggest that everyone at least try to get an agent first. While it is a hard thing to try for and you may hear a LOT of no thank yous if you can get one, it can really change the process for you and either way, the journey to getting one can help you learn a lot more about the industry and how to go about submitting to a publisher.

Do you think you'll get an agent for the future?

Emma: I might try to find an agent if I end up trying for another publisher but right now, I have a feeling I will be with Bokheim for a long while. They have been so amazingly helpful and supportive that it really makes the entire process much easier for me. They also stand behind me 100% when it comes to things that really matter to me like keeping up with blogging and getting to continue to have an open communication policy with all fans, bloggers and anyone who I might be able to help or who might have questions. I just appreciate it so much!

That's great that they support you so much! Did you have any say in the cover? I think it’s kind of great.

Emma: Thanks! Actually, my publisher not only considered my ideas on the cover, but they were excited about the concept and found a great artist to make it a reality. I am very grateful to them and I love the cover!

Are you currently working on anything?

Emma: I am currently working on the sequel to "The Thirteenth Chime" now that I have finished an additional series that I have been writing this year.

What is one thing you want your readers to know?

Emma: I wrote "The Thirteenth Chime" because I love writing and I really enjoy connecting with my readers. It is my hope that all of you will enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it. I will also promise each of you that for as long as you want me to keep writing I will keep sending my books out into the world.

Besides your own, what has been your favorite debut novel of 2010?

Emma: I have enjoyed both "Beautiful Creatures" and "Fallen" though there have been many really amazing new authors to the scene this year! I hope my list will grow by the time December rolls around. I could do a post at the end of the year showing them all!

I agree, this has really been a great year for YA in general. So, if you could meet any YA author, who would it be and why?

Emma: I would love to meet Tamora Pierce again. It was a true pleasure in getting to meet her and a wonderful experience. Though I am hoping that being a published author might mean I get to meet more authors in my genre! I just love meeting new people!

Do you have any book crushes? Who?

Emma: Nope. Just my real life one on my fiance :-)

How about any stupid human tricks?

Emma: I can do a backflip out of my desk chair and make it look like it was intentional! Sometimes...

WOW! I could not do anything like that without major injuries. Finally, the most important question, what would you want your Patronus to be? :-)

Emma: Hope! My little Chihuahua :-) No, just kidding. Probably an owl or maybe a fox. I don't know... now I almost wish I could do it just to find out! (Just imagine my little chihuahua going after dementors... priceless.)

I'm with you on the owl..I love them! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Emma: Yes, I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive throughout the process of getting published. I also want to thank everyone who has been buying the book and sending me messages! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and support! It means so much to me!!!!

Thank you again Emma for stopping by!

Also, if you purchase The Thirteenth Chime, you can send an e-mail to with a copy of your receipt and mailing address and she will send you some swag as a thank you!

For more information on Emma and The Thirteenth Chime you can visit her blog, website, or follow her on Twitter.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forget You - Jennifer Echols

I have been wanting to read Forget You by Jennifer Echols since I first found out about it, so when I saw an opening on an ARC tour, I added my name immediately.

Forget perfect, seventeen year old Zoey is just trying to keep things together. Her dad knocked up his 24 year-old employee/girlfriend and her mom tried to commit suicide. After being forced to stay with her dad, Zoey takes off to the end of the summer beach bash with her co-workers. While there, she decides to hook up with her friend, and playboy, Brandon.

A few days later Zoey is in an accident and only remembers being pulled out of the car by none-other than Doug, the boy who hates her. The next morning Doug shows up at her house and can't seem to keep his hands off her and leaves Zoey wondering what exactly happened the night of the accident.

Suddenly Doug is showing up everywhere and is actually being friendly towards her. Not wanting to admit she can't remember anything about the night of the accident, Zoey starts fishing for information from friends that could help her piece the night together but isn't having much luck. For a girl who likes to maintain a well organized exterior, she's certainly losing control of the things around her.

Wow, was this book good and if you like your books with steamy scenes, I think this one's for you. The sexual tension in this book just kind of leapt off the page.

The chemistry between Zoey and Doug was very palpable and it was nice reading about a love interest who came from a different heritage than just being all-American. I really liked Zoey and Doug together, part of the reason being that they seemed to understand each other so well.

I really enjoyed reading this book but there were some parts that made me want to knock Zoey upside the head. Which is what I'd do to my best friend if she acted that way. I mean, you think you and a boy are together after you park with him and you know he's a playboy? Without even asking him? Come on. I do see what might make her keep saying "I'm with Brandon," though. Zoey's mother brought her up thinking that you shouldn't let people see you fall apart and what's more put together than being smart, captain of the swim team, and dating a hot football player?

The one thing I absolutely hated about this book was the dad. I thought the dad in Hate List was bad but he seemed like a saint compared to Zoey's dad. Who in the world tells their daughter that if she can't remember he'll lock her up in the looney bin? Echols did a fantastic job at making him a jerk because I read this book almost two weeks ago and I STILL hate him. 

I couldn't put this book down and after reading it, I really want my own copy. Bonus? Jennifer Echols lives in Birmingham so I'll be supporting a local author! I love doing that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.
 Released December 28, 2010

For some reason I kept putting off reading The Dark Divine and I wish I hadn't. I loved the story and the characters and I'm really looking forward to seeing where the story goes. I was one of those people who was anxiously awaiting the cover reveal for book two, The Lost Saint, and I absolutely love it. I love the emphasis of a specific color because to me it just makes it stand out so much more. I'm also still on the hunt for a purple nail polish that resembles TDD.

From Goodreads:

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven. 

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one. 

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.
Also, check out the official book trailer for The Dark Divine.

Have you read The Dark Divine? What do you think is going to happen in The Lost Saint?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.
 Released October 12, 2010
You guys! When I found out about this a week or two ago I literally made an "eeeeee!!" sound. How could I not have known about this before? I'm so excited for this next Camp Half-Blood installment. I was so bummed when I finished reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series because I loved it so much. I can't wait to see what's going on with Percy, Annabeth, and Grover (even if they only end up being secondary characters).

Also, check out (password newhero) for an excerpt of the new book. What do you think?

From Goodreads:
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and all you have to do is post about what books you received that week by mail, library, or store.

The Decatur Book Festival is just over a month away and I'm slowly making progress on the books I'm getting to prepare for signings. I'm trying to be good when it comes to buying non-festival related books and it's working so far. It's very hard but I AM

For the festival, I got

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

For review from We Love YA Tours, I got

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

From my online writer's group (Shana was kind enough to send her ARC on tour), I got
Matched by Ally Condie

From the library, I got

Insatiable by Meg Cabot. I was unable to finish reading the ARC I received before having to send it out. Luckily it's out and I was able to get a copy so I could finish reading it.

So now that I've shared what I got, I have a question for you.

One of the books I want to get for the festival is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Now, I've found it online for a good price but I have a dilemma. Do I get the paperback copy with the cover I love (the purple one with the earbuds in the shape of a heart) or do I get a first edition hardback? Help!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

 Released August 13, 2010

I actually didn't know about this book until recently when the author found my blog and told me about it. I kind of love the cover (if you know me, you know I have this thing with eyes and covers like this are hit or miss), and I think the premise sounds pretty good. Even if I wasn't intrigued, I think I'd still want to read it because Emma is blogger getting her first book published and I want to support her. She was kind enough to offer to do an interview for my blog, so look for that coming soon. I also like that how the number thirteen is in the title of her book and also her release day.

From Goodreads:
No one knew of its existence until it was removed from the attic upstairs.

In a beautiful house that overlooks the sea, an antique clock has the power to change the course of their lives.

The power the clock resonates will not only force Destiny and ex-boyfriend David on a journey into the depths of one man's mind long dead, but into the mind of a man filled with hatred and bent on revenge.

With the only clues to the nature of the clock having disappeared into the sea, Destiny and David must retrace the steps the man had taken into the darkness, before they fall prey to the trap he had set in motion over half a century ago.

Hatred never dies.

What do you think about this book?

Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm wanting to do another giveaway soon and since I'm going to Kathryn Erskine's signing and the Decatur Book Festival, I have a chance to get a lot of fabulous books signed.

The only issue I have is since I'm having to buy quite a few books for myself, my husband won't be too thrilled if I buy a lot of multiples to giveaway. So here's what I'm going to do.

I'm going to let you vote on an author who'd you most like to win a signed book from. I will then pick a book to have signed by the winning author to giveaway. If I'm able, I may try to make it the top two authors.

Voting will start today and end on Thursday. The contest will end at least five days prior to the festival so I can get the signed copy personalized. However, if Kathryn Erskine is the winning author, the contest will be much shorter as her event is in two weeks.

Hate List - Jennifer Brown

As I mentioned in a previous post, I won Jennifer Brown's Hate List from Jessica's blog and I'm glad I did.

Not many books have rendered me speechless when I've finished reading them, but this one did. I feel weird saying this was a good book, but it was in that it made you think and feel. Reading this made me think of past school shootings; especially Columbine and Virginia Tech and it gave you a peek into what the people in these, and other, communities must have felt when this happened to them.

Valerie and Nick are considered losers in school and when Valerie shares her Hate List with Nick, they bond and start dating. The Hate List is comprised of people (family, teachers, classmates, celebrities, etc) and things they hate. One day towards the end of their Junior year, everything changes. Nick comes to school and starts shooting those people on the Hate List. When Valerie tries to stop Nick, she's shot right before he turns the gun on himself.

Valerie then must deal with the aftermath and come to terms about her role in the shooting. Valerie must also deal with all the ripple effects the shooting caused. Her parents are arguing more, her dad seems to hate her, her mom is constantly worried about the possibility of her committing suicide, she's been suspected as Nick's accomplice, she's about to return to a school where most everyone hates her (including her friends), and she must face the everyday reminder of what happened.

Everything in Valerie's world has turned upside down and the only people who seem to be on her side are her psychologist and Jessica, a girl who was listed on the Hate List.

If she had seen that Nick was serious instead of joking about killing, would she have been able to stop it? Is she strong enough to get through her Senior year when everyone blames her for what happened? Have the students at Garvin High really changed?

I cried towards the end of this book. Not just because of the subject matter and all the bad that had happened, but because when Valerie and Jessica are talking to all the victims and/or their families, there was a sense of relief and hope for Valerie. After everything that had happened, she was able to see who she really was. I think part of the reason she had so much guilt was because before the shooting, she defined herself by needing and loving Nick. Afterwards, she was able to see that it wasn't her and that she played up the hate because of who Nick was.

If you get a chance to read this book, do so. It's a serious subject matter but it does make you think about what could happen if you treat the wrong person the wrong way and how when you're close to someone, you may not see what's really there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and all you have to do is post about what books you received that week by mail, library, or store.

I absolutely LOVE the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and I'm over the moon about meeting her in September and getting all my books by her signed. In anticipation of the Decatur Book Festival, I'm trying to get all the books in hardback. It took a little bit of planning to get the husband to agree to this (as I already had the MMP's and TPB's versions) but once I told him I would put my MMP's on PaperbackSwap, he agreed to let me get the hardbacks.

Look for a poll tomorrow regarding my next giveaway. Since I have a lot of books to buy that I'm wanting signed for the festival, I'm only going to be able to afford one, maybe two books for a giveaway so I'm going to let you guys vote on which books you'd most like to win.

Have you read Outlander yet?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and all you have to do is post about what books you received that week by mail, library, or store.

I think this is the first week since I've been doing IMM that I haven't actually purchased a book.

I received an ARC of Meg Cabot's Insatiable courtesy of Around the World Tours. I completely forgot I had signed up for this tour so it was a nice surprise to see it appear in my mailbox.

My participation in Jessica's discussion of The Tension of Opposites helped me to win a copy of Hate List by Jennifer Brown. This book will be July's discussion on her blog and I can't wait to start reading it.

Lastly, I checked out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on audiobook from my library. With our upcoming trip to Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the movie coming out in a few months, I really wanted my husband to experience the final book. I love reliving it and getting to hear what he thinks (so far, so good).

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Dark Divine Book Trailer

I loved Bree Despain's The Dark Divine and now you can watch the trailer for it. If you haven't read it yet, will watching this make you more likely to? What do you think about book trailers?

Also, watching this video will help someone win more books in Bree's blog contest. Interested in entering? Head to her blog by clicking here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and all you have to do is post about what books you received that week by mail, library, or store.

This week I decided to do a vlog for IMM. You'll have to excuse me though, I had a terrible headache and wasn't feeling well when I made this. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friendm - Emily Horner

Thanks to Around the World Tours, I was able to get on an ARC tour for Emily Horner's A Love Story: Starring my Dead Best Friend.

Cass's best friend Julia was killed in a car accident. In her honor, Cass and some of Julia's drama friends are putting on the musical she had been working on for months titled Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad. However, Cass feels that since the only link to the drama kids, Julia, is gone, that she no longer fits in with them. When Cass finds out that Heather, the girl who picked on Cass throughout middle school, has been cast as the Ninja Princess, she can't take it anymore and embarks on the trip from Illinois to California she and Julia had planned.

Cass takes off on her bicycle and with Julia's ashes, she starts her journey. Along the way she encounters new friends and tough situations. In a last ditch attempt, she calls Julia's boyfriend, Ollie, to come pick her up. When Ollie arrives, she finds a few other friends came along and Cass later realizes that they are still heading towards California. Once the mission to take Julia to California is complete, they all return home and continue with making Julia's musical a reality.

This book was told in alternating parts, Then and Now. Sometimes this format is hit or miss with me and this was one of those instances where I wish it had just started with the Then's and continued into the Now's. I liked this book well enough and I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into when I signed up for the tour, but I'm glad I read it.

I liked being able to figure out with Cass that she was a lesbian. It was something she struggled with without even knowing it herself. I hate that she was made fun of for it but Heather's picking on her made so much sense later because she acted just like a little kid would in elementary school. I also liked how the relationship between Cass and Heather blossomed. It wasn't easy for Cass to forgive and forget about the past but she made an honest attempt and in the end it all worked out.

I did have a problem with Cass's parents though. What parents don't let their teenager drive or wear makeup but they'll let them ride a bicycle from Illinois to California by themselves? This was just a part I couldn't get over.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

This was book #7 in the 2010 Debut Authors Challenge

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

 Released July 20, 2010

I'm really looking forward to this book. I'm on an ARC tour for it and I cannot wait until it's my turn because before I even finished reading the description, I knew it was something that could be really good.

From Goodreads:
There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Virgin Territory - James Lecesne

Dylan is living in his own personal hell. His mom died when he was little, his dad moved him from Manhattan to Jupiter, Florida, his grandmother has Alzheimer's and is constantly leaving the Assisted Living Facility she lives in, and to top it all off his dad has taken away his internet access and forces him to get a job.

Dylan finds work at a local golf course and when a woman claims to see the Virgin Mary's image in the bark of a tree on the course, people start coming out hoping for miracles. Soon Dylan befriends Angela, Des, and Crispy, all members of the Virgin Club (dubbed that because they travel around with their mom's to see the Blessed Virgin Mary) and eventually the course closes down due to the sheer number of people flocking to the tree. Dylan falls for Angela despite Crispy's warning and he thinks things are going well with her, but soon finds out he's just her flavor of the week.

I didn't really care for this book. It was a little slow and I didn't really connect with any of the characters and I didn't really care what happened to Dylan. I liked Des and Dylan's grandmother enough but that was about it. I did feel bad for Dylan when he found out that his dad lied to him about what happened to all their pictures of his mother, but that was it.

I really did not like Angela at all and I hated that she took advantage of Dylan's grandmother. The writing itself wasn't bad but I just don't think the content was for me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

If I Stay - Gayle Forman

 Mia has a good life. Cool and caring parents, a little brother she loves, a sweet boyfriend who shares her love of music, the best friend a girl could ask for, and a promising future at Julliard. Mia's only problem is she always feels on the outside of everything. Her parents, little brother, and her boyfriend, Adam, are all rock musicians while she is an amazing cellist. Not only does her choice in music seem to separate her from her family, but she's also the dark haired one in a sea of blonde.

Then one day a surprise day off from work and school leads Mia and her family to spend the day together, but one moment changes it all when there is a terrible accident. Mia is soon on the outside of things once again when she finds herself in a type of limbo while staring down at her seriously injured body.

With her parents dead and her little brother unaccounted for, Mia stays with her body and ends up in the Intensive Care Unit and is eventually surrounded by family and friends. After hearing a nurse's comment to her grandparents, Mia realizes she must make the ultimate decision; to let death win or fight to stay alive. Should she stop fighting for her life and just give in so she can be with her parents and now her brother again, or is there still a life worth living with Adam and the rest of her family?

I'm really glad I didn't know too much about If I Stay before I started reading it. Why? I'm known to want to read sad books but put them off because I know they'll make me cry. Good thing I didn't do that with this book because there were three specific parts that had the tears flowing.

This was a fantastic book and beautifully written. The subject matter is pretty depressing, as death usually is, but beyond that there's Mia reminiscence of her parents and brother. You get to see how happy they were as a family and how involved they were with each others lives. I also couldn't help but wonder how many people who are broken, just like Mia, are waiting for that one person to tell them that it's okay for them to let go. Sometimes people can be so selfish when it comes to their loved ones that, unlike her gramps, just refuse to give the person the option of letting go. I don't know what it's like to be in a coma or at death's door, but I would imagine that just knowing that it's okay to stop fighting is a relief to the person, like it was for Mia.

I will definitely be recommending this book to others. I just hope that they will appreciate it as much as I did. I also hope that when the movie for If I Stay is made, that the book is done justice. I want to see how it's translated to film because it could be a beautiful, heart-wrenching, movie but I know no matter what, the movie will never compare to the original work.

Thank you Robin for getting this book for me!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren and all you have to do is post about what books you received that week by mail, library, or store.

I was feeling kind of crappy earlier this week so for a little pick me up, I took a trip to the bookstore. I ended up buying three books that were part of the buy two, get one free deal and I'm kind of excited about them. I might go back tomorrow when their big sale is to get another three books that I have since decided I need in my life. Look for those next week.

When I saw 13 Little Blue Envelopes on that shelf, I knew it was fate that I had to buy it. Why you ask? On the way to the store I told myself that the first book I saw that I have been wanting to get for a while was going to be the book I bought. I have been wanting to read this book from Maureen Johnson for some time and the world told me it was time.

Next up was Wake by Lisa McMann. I saw this on someone's blog and it sounded like something I might like, plus this is another one where I like the cover.

I also got Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott. I was contemplating getting The Unwritten Rule but when I picked this one instead since it went along with the deal.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What did you get this past week?

Happy Reading!


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