Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last Chance to Enter and Updates!

Hi everyone. Sorry I've been MIA, but I promise I'm back now! (: I know I've been a negligent blogger, and this will probably be another slow week, but I'm planning on posting a two-week In My Mailbox on Sunday and I've currently just begun reading Michelle Rowen's Demon Princess (happy release day, Michelle! Congratulations!), so expect a review for that soon!

Anyway, don't forget that it's the LAST DAY to enter to win a copy of The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander! You definitely don't want to miss this one, so go check it out!

There are also only 11 entries in the Writing on the Wall contest. ): There have to be 20 for me to pull the 3 winners, so I've extended the ending date to October 5th. I'll have to extend it again if there aren't 20 entries by then, so go enter, guys, and spread the word!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Viola in Reel Life


Author: Adriana Trigiani
Pages: 288
Published: HarperTeen, September 1, 2009
Genre: Realistic fiction
Cover Score: A-
Overall Grade: B+

Viola Chesterton, proud New Yorker and future filmmaker, is living her worst nightmare. While her own film-making parents jet off to Afghanistan to work on a documentary, she is being forced to leave her best friend Andrew, her old school, Brooklyn, and city life in general to take up residence in a middle-of-nowhere boarding school amidst the corn fields of Indiana. Now Viola's living with three new roommates, making movies, meeting boys, missing home, and discovering parts of herself....But the real question is: will she be able to survive her first year of boarding school?
My thoughts: I was so, so excited to read this book, and luckily, it was worth it. To start off, the characters were awesome: Viola's three roommates, resident advisor, and her glamorous grandmother, Grand, were my favorites. All were well-developed and life-like with their own issues and quirks. But at first, I couldn't stand Viola. She came off to me as a whiny brat who took pride in being negative and blocking herself from trying new things. But she began to grow on me, and by the end, I was really enjoying her personality and voice. I loved how unique she was--a character who loves making movies! It was cool to see how passionate this character was.
The plot flowed very smoothly, and clearly chronicled one year through a skeptical fourteen year old's eyes. While, to me, there was no real climax, it seemed this didn't negatively affect the story, seeing as it was a "year in the life of" story. Plus there were changes in the end that told the reader that it was clearly a journey for the characters. There was always something new that Viola was experiencing, or some conflict that made it interesting.
I was really disappointed with the "ghost" aspect of the plot, though. I wished that it had been a bigger part of the story, maybe even a little mystery. I feel that that would've given the plot more depth, and the aspect of a ghost in the story just kind of died.
Overall, this was a quick, thoroughly enjoyable read that I'd recommend to readers 11 and older. Fun and a read that I couldn't put down, I'm hoping to see more of Adriana Trigiani in the YA genre, and perhaps maybe even a sequel!

Must-Read! Check it Out!!! Don't Bother
* Thank you so, so much to Sarah of GreenBeanTeenQueen for picking me up a copy of Viola at the ALA Conference!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Cover Love Time!

This week, I'm only choosing one cover for this week's meme (created by moi, feel free to join in on the fun but don't forget to link back to here!), but it is super-gorgeous so it should count as two. And it is...

Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler

And for those of you wondering, this is the UK cover. I love, love, love it. The flower is so pretty, and I love how the pink pops out against the black, like the white title font does as well. Plus, I love how there is a feather floating down amongst the petals.
If you want to know what the US cover looks like and why I didn't pick it, I've posted it below. To me, "kissed by an angel" sounds really sweet and romantic, and the flower below looks really creepy, like it was shot in X-ray vision. In my opinion, this seems like a good cover for a paranormal/dark fantasy cover:
What do you think? Which cover do YOU prefer?
See you back here next Tuesday for more Cover Lovin'! (:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In My Mailbox and Weekly Roundup!

Between the library and the mail, this was a good book week! (Thanks to Kristi of the Story Siren for starting this fun and now award-winning meme--congrats!)

From the library:

Gilda Joyce and the Dead Drop by Jennifer Allison
When Gilda lands a summer internship at Washington, D.C.'s International Spy Museum, she finds herself embroiled in both a museum haunting and a real case of espionage. While investigating a cemetery where Abraham Lincoln's son was once buried, Gilda stumbles upon a spy's "dead drop" of classified information. Gilda's efforts to decode the cryptic message lead to further intrigues: is she on the trail of a mole operating inside the US intelligence community? Aware that "nothing is what it seems" when it comes to spies in Washintong, D.C., Gilda faces t
he most serious challenge yet in her career as a psychic spy.
Here's all I have to say about how excited I am to pick up the fourth Gilda mystery: I love Gilda. And her awesome green glasses.

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis (September 1, 2009)
Moonlight can totally change your life.
And it all starts so simply.
You. Him. The moon.
You're toast.
Okay, so maybe Shelby has made a few mistakes with boys lately (how was she supposed to know Wes had "borrowed" that Porsche?). But her stepmother totally overreacts when she catches Shelby in a post-curfew kiss with a senior: Suddenly Shelby's summer plans are on the shelf, and she's being packed off to a brat camp. It's goodbye, prom dress; hello, hiking boots.
Things start looking up, though, when Shelby meets fellow camper (and son of a rock star) Austin Bridges III. But soon she realizes there's more to Austin than crush material--his family has a dark secret, and he wants Shelby's help guarding it. Shelby knows that she really shouldn't be getting tangled up with another bad boy...but who is she to turn on a guy in need?
Oooh, I've been waiting for this one to come out, and I was so excited when it came to the library! Werewolves, camp...sounds perfect. I can't wait to begin!

In the mail:

I SO Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy (December 8, 2009)
Did you know that the main campus of the Academy of Spirits is at a Dairy Queen in Pheonix? Me either. Until now. Some weird stuff has been happening to my stepmother, Paula. And the Academy has asked me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin, to get to the bottom of it. They think someone's trying to hurt her.
I really don't want to get involved--my life is way too busy. Josh and I are celebrating two blissful months of togetherness. And my best friend, Junie, is finally showing a teeny bit of interest in clothes and makeup after years of braniac behavior. But being that my mom is a ghost and all, me, my brother, and my dad rely on Paula a lot. So it's not like I can just ignore what's going on. Especially since my mom is competing in the Ghostlympics. If she comes in first place, she earns five minutes of Real Time.
And that means I've got to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery. But...I so don't do spooky.
Yay! I am SO excited to read this one. Thanks so, so much to Barrie Summy and Casey Lloyd of Random House for having an ARC sent my way!

...And then there was the big box from Random House...
Voices in the Dark by Catherine Banner (September 22, 2009)
Sixteen-year-old Anselm Andros's world is turned upside-down when he learns the identity of his birth father, and this personal upheaval mirrors that of his country, Malonia, which is on the brink of another war after fifteen years of relative peace.
This is the second book in a trilogy I have yet to read, so I guess I have to check it out!

The Long Wait for Tomorrow by Joaquin Dorfman (September 22, 2009)
North Carolina high school senior Patrick's life is a mess, but when his best friend, star quarterback Kelly McDermott, suddenly begins behaving very strangely, Patrick must do what he can to try to save everyone in the present and the future.
It's kind of boring, but I sort of really like this cover--the red on black is totally eye-catching!

The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinnem (September 22, 2009)
After finding a mysterious package in the spooky woods where they have grown up, fourteen-year-old Stucks Cumberland and his friends are forced to consider that their childhood bogeyman might be all too real.
This one looks pretty cool...that cover is seriously intriguing-slash-creepy!

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade (September 22, 2009)
In Victorian London, fourteen-year-old Modo, a shape-changing hunchback, becomes a secret agent for the Permanent Association, which strives to protect the world from the evil machinations of the Clockwork Guild.
Victorian London? Secret agents? I'm in!

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And here's what was going on around the blog this week:

Monday: I interviewed author Wendy Lichtman. We talked books, writing, and math!
Wednesday: I reviewed Enola Holmes and the Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer.
Thursday: It's contest time! Author Wendy Lichtman and I are giving away three copies of her latest novel, Do the Math: The Writing on the Wall. The contest ends on October 2nd but won't be closed until we have at least 25 entries. Go check it out!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"The Writing on the Wall" CONTEST!

It's coooooonnnnnnntest time!
Awesome author Wendy Lichtman and I are giving away three (3) copies of her latest book, Do the Math: The Writing on the Wall (it was awesome. I verified that here).
Want to enter? Here's how:
- Comment below with your email address
- Bonus entries can be attained the following ways:
+1 Post a link to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, whatever...just link to whatever page you've posted about the contest on!
+1 Follow Bookworm Readers!
+2 comment on the review here
+2 Comment on my interview with Wendy here

Edit: Sorry to international friends, but this contest is US/Canada only. Sorry!

This contest will end on October 2, 2009. Good luck! * This contest will not be closed until there are 20 entries, so spread the word! *

If you're in the contest-y mood, then go ahead and check out my Sweetheart of Prosper County giveaway, too!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Enola Holmes: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline


Author: Nancy Springer
Series: Book 5 of the Enola Holmes series
Pages: 160
Genre: Historical fiction/mystery
Recommended to: Middle-grade readers
Cover Score: B
Overall Grade: B

Enola Holmes is a very lonely girl indeed. With her mother's disappearance and her brothers (including famous detective Sherlock) hunting her down with plans of putting her into a girls' "finishing school", it's no wonder Enola's name spells "alone" backwards. So when Mrs. Tupper, Enola's mother-like landlady, goes missing, Enola takes the odd kidnapping personally. Why would anyone want to kidnap kind, sweet, and innocent old Mrs. Tupper? Does she have a dark past that Enola doesn't know of? And what do spies, Florence Nightingale, and an old dress have to do with it?
My thoughts: I have been extremely disappointed with the past few Enola Holmes mysteries, so I don't know why I bothered picking this one up. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it broke the not-so-great spell. Perhaps this is because it was significantly shorter than the other books, which made it easier to understand the content. Still, there were quite a few issues that didn't make the book A+-material.
The ongoing problem with these books is that they're set in 1889-London. I love this aspect, it gives the atmosphere of the books such a dark, spooky, and enthralling background that kind of sucks you in to the story. The bad part is that the words are sometimes hard to understand, and certain parts can be out of context. These books are written for 21st century American tweens and teens, how can we expect to know what a "crinoline" is or understand a Cockney accent? In certain parts of the book, I would have to read and reread what was going on, which could be not very fun and irritating.
However, I love how Ms. Springer makes the story more complex by adding codes and twists and turns. These books can be so hard to follow, though, I don't know what's going on, and, in this one as well as the others, there was no clear explanation on what was going on or what really happened in the cliff-hanger ending. Cliff-hangers can be effective sometimes, but for the whole length of the book I was trying to catch up and figure out what was going on! As well as this, there were so many characters to keep track of that kept on being introduced right until the end.
Overall, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline was a bit of an involved read, but the mystery was intriguing and the characters are fantastic, so I'll probably be picking up the next book in the series, The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye, coming out next year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Wendy Lichtman


Today's Muse: Wendy Lichtman
Author of: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (review here) and The Writing on the Wall (review here)
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Bookworm: Welcome Wendy! To start off, how about you tell us what the inspiration was behind the Do the Math books?
Wendy: At the heart of the first book, Secrets, Lies, and Algebra, is a murder mystery, based on an actual story from my childhood of an acquaintance of my mother's who appeared to have committed suicide. Mom, and many other adults in my community believed that the woman's husband may have been involved and in fact the apparent suicide was a murder. They didn't go to the police with their suspicions, though, and for me, THAT was the mystery: why didn't these grown-ups report their suspicions? I always wanted to write this story, but not until I listened to a lecture by Dr. Robert Moses, the director of the Algebra Project and author of Radical Equations, did I think of telling it though algebraic metaphors. When I got that idea, I called a friend who was the principal of a school in Oakland [California], and asked if I could observe an 8th grade math class for a while. I wanted to see both authentic algebra and authentic kids of that age, and my friend said yes, as long as I would stay at least 3 months. I stayed for two years and found it so satisfying to work with the kids that I continue to volunteer in the public schools in my area.
In the second book, The Writing on the Wall, I became fascinated by those moments when teenagers--and all of us--have to decide whether we want to do something wrong (perhaps illegal or dangerous), because there is a greater good. Tess has to think about that when she sees a mathematical code on the church wall, and must decide of she's going to break the rule and add to the vandalism by writing graffiti.

Bookworm: Has math always been your favorite subject?
Wendy: As a student, I loved it. For many years (decades, actually!) I did nothing with my math background. So returning to it for the writing of my Do the Math series was a pleasure.

Bookworm: How did the covers of the books come to be?
Wendy: That's entirely the publisher's decision.

Bookworm: Why math?
Wendy: I thought that algebra, with its "unknowns" and "variables" was the perfect metaphor for the stage of life when young people first realize that not all answers are permanent. Nor do all questions have answers. Also, it was important to me to help break stereotypes and show a girl who loves math--and also has a full, complicated social life.

Bookworm: Are you writing anymore books for teens in the future?
Wendy: I am. But right now I'm in the midst of figuring out which direction I'm going to take for the next book. Not algebra this time.
[Me: Aw!!! I'm still really hoping there's more Tess in the future!!]

Bookworm: Next question is...What do you like to do when not writing?
Wendy: I swim, bike, teach writing, and love hanging out with my adult children and friends. Lately I'm a bit of a Scrabble addict.

Bookworm: Do you have a special talent?
Wendy: I like to think I must have a few, but nothing comes to mind at this moment.

Bookworm: What is something unique about you?
Wendy: Writing mathematical fiction seems pretty unique, don't you think?
[Me: I'd say so! Keep up the great work!]
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Thanks so much, Wendy!
Visit Wendy's awesome website here

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In My Mailbox and Week in Review

This week was a certainly busy, but I got a lot done!

Here's what the mail brought (meme courtesy of the Story Siren):

Going Bovine by Libba Bray (September 22, 2009)
All 16 year old Cameron wants is to get through high school--and life in general--with a minimum of effort. It's not a lot to ask. But that's before he's given some bad news: he's sick and he's going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure--if he's willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.
I shamefully admit I haven't read any Libba Bray, but this one looks hilarious! I already have a copy, so keep your eyes open for a contest!

Rage by Julie Anne Peters

Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can't give Johanna everything she needs--it can't give her Reeve Hartt.
Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna's fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn't always reasonable, right?
Wow, that cover is so eyecatching--I absolutely love it! I'm not a big fan of abusive-relationship-type books, but this sounds very unique and interesting. Expect to see it in my coming-soon "Awesome September Releases" contest!

Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway
Morgan Abbot has no social life and no privacy, and her one major talent is screwing things up. Unfortunately for Morgan, every mistake makes front page headlines--because her mom is the president of the United States. To top it all off, she's been assigned a braniac secret service agent who's barely older than she is and won't let her out of his sight (never mind that he's kind of cute). Torture!
But when her mom has to slip away on secret business and needs a decoy to cover for her, Morgan is the only one who can help. With a bit of makeup, a little ingenuity, and a lot of family resemblance, Morgan soon has everyone calling her "Madam President". Can she pull it off? Or will she mess everything up...again?
Yay! I finally bought myself a copy at Borders, and I'm so excited to begin. This one looks so cute and funny, plus I love this sort of "first daughter" stories!

Muchacho by LouAnne Johnson
Eddie Corazon is angry. He's also very smart. But he's working pretty hard at being a juvenile delinquent. He blows off school, even though he's a secret reader. He hands with his cousins, who will always back him up--when they aren't in jail.
Then along comes Lupe, who makes his blood race. She sees something in Eddie he doesn't even see in himself. A heart, a mind, and something more: a poet. But in Eddie's world, it's a thin line between tragedy and glory. And what goes down is entirely in Eddie's hands.
This book looks really interesting and thought-provoking, I'm eager to see what happens. Many thanks to Random House.
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Here's what went on around the blog this week:

Monday: I interviewed Jill Alexander, author of The Sweetheart of Prosper County. We're giving away a copy of her newly-released book, so go check it out!

Tuesday: I posted 5 newly-released covers of upcoming YA books that I absolutely love!

Wednesday: The Bedeviled Traveling to Teens tour swung by my blog, and I reviewed the book and interviewed author Shani Petroff here.

Thursday: This um...Thursday, I am waiting on I So Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy, coming out December 8th!

Saturday: I posted the book trailer I made for I So Don't Do Spooky. Check it out here and tell me what you think!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Made A Book Trailer!

...And here it is. It's for the upcoming I SO Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy, which was also my pick for my Waiting on Wednesday post this week. Perhaps I've found a new, book-related thing to do? (:
video

It's also on YouTube, where I've started an account! Hey, authors, if you need a book trailer for your YA book, you know where to find me! (:
My YouTube channel is here
So, tell me what you think!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: I So Don't Do Spooky


This week I'm waiting on...

I SO Don't Do Spooky by Barrie Summy (December 8th, 2009)

Did you know that the main campus of the Academy of Spirits is at a Dairy Queen in Pheonix? Me either. Until now. Some weird stuff has been happening to my stepmother, Paula, and the Academy has asked me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin, to get to the bottom of it. They think someone's trying to hurt her.
I really don't want to get involved--my life is way too busy. Josh and I are celebrating two blissful months of togetherness. And my best friend, Junie, is finally showing a teeny bit of interest in clothes and makeup after years of braniac behavior. But being that my mom is a ghost and all, my brother, me, my brother, and my dad rely on Paula a lot. So it's not like I can just ignore what's going on. Especially since my mom is competing at the Ghostlympics. If she comes in first place, she earns five minutes of Real Time.
And that means I've got to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery.
But...I SO don't do spooky.
Ever since I read the first book in this series, I SO Don't Do Mysteries (my review here), and loved it, I have been eagerly looking forward to the second book. These books are honest, clever, crazy, and utterly hilarious, and the covers have a great new look! In fact, Barrie just posted the newest cover on her blog here. (If you're too lazy to go check it out, it's going to be in Part 3 of my Cover Love "New Covers" post this upcoming Tuesday)! Anyway, can't wait to find out what crazy situations Sherry gets herself into next!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bedeviled Blog Tour: Review and Interview with Shani Petroff!

Thanks to Traveling to Teens for letting me take part in hosting this tour!
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Title: Bedeviled: Daddy's Little Angel
Author: Shani Petroff
Pages: 240
Published: Grosset & Dunlap, August 25, 2009
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-

Angel Garrett's eighth-grade year is not going too well. Shunned by the popular crowd and banned from going to the hottest concert of the year by her aura-reading mother, Angel might as well be the class's biggest social reject. But it's about to get worse, especially when she discovers that her dad isn't dead on her thirteenth birthday. Not only that, he's the devil-- literally. As in, horns, pitchfork, evil. All he wants is to be part of her life, and in exchange he can give Angel anything: instant popularity, a date with her longtime crush, Cole Daniels, the cutest new clothes. But Angel refuses to accept him until he stops being, well, so evil. And if her dad's the devil, then does that mean that Angel is evil, too?
My thoughts: Wow! This book was an impressive, funny, and quick debut. From page one, I was hooked. I loved how creative the author was in creating the plot. I mean, a devil dad? It was so much fun to read.
The characters were awesome, especially Lou Cipher (get it?), Angel's dad/devil. He was so well developed, and I couldn't help but sympathize for him. Courtney, the resident mean girl, was just so awful and therefore so much fun to hate. Of course, Angel herself was an awesome character, even though she could be a bit whiny sometimes. I loved the first-person narration, it gave me a great idea of Angel's voice and I felt like she was a real person. So good job there, Shani!
The plot was simple and easy to follow, and smoothly constructed so that it was a quick, light read. I loved all of the twists and turns in the storyline, and it felt like Ms. Petroff really new what she was talking about, like she was writing about her own eighth-grade experience!
It was hard to tell where the climax was, and it felt like, to me, that there was a lot of leadup but not a lot of explanation in the end, which I wish there had been more of. It almost felt a bit abrupt at the very end.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this to middle-grade girls. A clever, fun, and enthralling read, Bedeviled was a great start to a very cool series, plus it had a very cute, appealing cover! I can't wait to read the second book!

Must-Read! Check it Out! Don't Bother
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Interview with Shani Petroff

Bookworm: Welcome, Shani! To start off, could you tell us how you got the inspiration for Bedeviled?
Shani: When I was younger I read a lot of Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan. They made me fall in love with supernatural books, and it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to write in that genre. Before I started working on Bedeviled, I was writing something else (that wasn’t paranormal). But the idea for Bedeviled kept creeping into my thoughts. I mentioned it to a friend. And she was like—that’s the book. You have to write it. The rest is history.

Bookworm: How did the cover of Bedeviled come to be?
Shani: Penguin hired a fabulous illustrator, J. David McKenney, to work on it. I love it. I think he’s spot on with Angel. And you’ll see, on this book cover, Angel is covering her ears. The next one she covers her eyes. See no evil, hear no evil….
(Me: That is so, so clever! I never really noticed that...LOL)

Bookworm: Are you planning to write more books about Angel and her devilish adventures?
Shani: There will be at least four books in the Bedeviled series. Book 2: Bedeviled: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Dress is due out in January. And I’m working on Book 3 right now!
(Me: Yay!)

Bookworm: If you were the devil's daughter, what would you demand of your dad?
Shani: First I’d try for the big stuff—world peace and all that—but seeing as it’s the devil, I don’t think I’d get very far. So, I’d probably have to stick with the more selfish things: awesome apartments in a bunch of different cities, gobs of money, my very own TV show, book deals galore, and fun things like that!

Bookworm: What book have you recently read and loved?
Shani: I thought Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne was a great read. The voice was fresh, funny and the book made you think about how we view ourselves and how to be comfortable in our own skin. (And there were moments where I actually found myself laughing out loud.)
(Me: I loved that one, too!)

Bookworm: What is currently playing on your iPod right now?
Shani: I have a wide variety of things on my iPod—but a few songs playing in the background during this interview: Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me, Pink’s Stupid Girls, and Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling.

Bookworm: What else do you want your readers to know about you?
Shani: Well, that my dad wasn’t the devil! I know it seems like a strange thing to point out, but you’d be surprised how many people ask if this was based on reality or if I had issues with my father. I didn’t. My father was an amazing man (the book is dedicated to him.) He passed away nine years ago, but I feel very lucky to have had him in my life. And I think he would have found if very amusing that people are actually asking me if he was the devil. I can totally picture him showing up at my signings wearing devil horns and having fun with the part.
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Thank you so much, Shani, for the great interview and congratulations on the release of your book!
Shani also has an awesomely amazing interactive website. Sorry for my extreme gushing, but it is the coolest. thing. ever! Check it out here

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cover Love: Awesome New Covers Part 2!

This is a continuation of last week's post, where I showed off three awesome new covers. I guess you could say that this post also counts as my "Waiting on Wednesday" because these covers are to books I'm pretty excited about!

Secrets of my Hollywood Life: Broadway Lights by Jen Calonita (March 1, 2010)
Her star power in demand on a hit Broadway play, Hollywood teen starlet Kaitlin Burke packs up her entourage (OK, her showbiz family, friends, assistant, and publicist, but not the dreamy boyfriend) and moves to the Big Apple for the summer. Kaitlin is he toast of the town and she hit the most exclusive New York nightspots, enjoys the best food (Hello, Magnolia Bakery), and even guests as a celebrity host on Saturday Night Live! But New York isn't all cupcakes and virgin daiquiris. Long distance and a handsome new costar put a huge strain on her relationship with Austin, and it turns out Broadway divas are a whole different breed of neuroses and competition from Hollywood starlets.
OK, saying that I'm "excited" to read this one is an understatement. More like THRILLED. I love, love, love these books: they're light, fun, and sweet treats that I can happily sit and read for hours at a time. Plus aren't their covers just always so adorable?

The Clique: Charmed and Dangerous by Lisi Harrison (October 27, 2009)
Happy New Clique! Once upon a time, in Westchester and Orlando, there were four betas just waiting for their alpha. It took a miracle to bring the Pretty Committee together--or, rather, a New Year's Yves party. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it just cliques.
Massie Block: Is destined to lead, but trapped as a beta in the Ahnabees, the top clique at PMS (Presbyterian Middle School). She has ah-mazing ideas: Friday night sleepovers, Gossip Points, and matching charm bracelets. When will it be her time to rule?
Alicia Rivera: Is dying to lead the Body Alive Dance Studio Squad. With the captain on vacation, BADSS's live performance on Merri Lee Marvil's New Year's Yves show is her chance to shine. Will she prove herself alpha-worthy--or will she need to find a whole new clique?
Dylan Marvil: Is done, done, and done with people kissing her teeny-tiny butt just because her mom is famous. But who would be brave enough to stand up to someone so Marvilous?
Kristen Gregory: Has made a New Year's resolution to make friends and get a life. Escape from Planet Loser starts...now!
Claire Lyons: Is psyched times ten to win a last-minute invitation to the New Year's Yves satellite party in Orlando. But first she needs to sneak out of the house. And the countdown to midnight begins in ten...nine...eight...
Wow, I cannot WAIT to read the Clique prequel!
a) These books are totally my luv-em-to-pieces guilty pleasures, and
b) this cover is absolutely gorgeous! The covers and little squiggles just give it elegance!

Burning Ambition by Jonathan Bernstein (April 6, 2010)
Alison Cole and the Department of Hotness are back and ready for action in the sizzling sequel to Hottie--all about a Beverly Hills princess who can shoot fire from her fingertips!
Ever since defeating her evil stepmother, Carmen, Alison's life has veen totally fla-mazing. Bu when she wins a coveted internship at Jen Magazine, she'll have to take on fifteen-year-old Editor-in-Chief Pixie Furmanovsky--the biggest Superbrat the world has ever seen! Pixie always gets what she wants, and now she's after Alison's boyfriend, T!
Can Hottie give little miss BratGirl a Super Sweet Sixteen that she'll never forget? Or it this Superteen about to get superfired?
I have yet to read the first book in this series, Hottie, but I just love the whole idea--a teenage superhero? Cool! The plot seems a little far-out, but still fun. And what a flamingly awesome cover! (:

The A-List Hollywood Royalty #3: City of Angels by Zoey Dean (March 8, 2010)

I'm not really "waiting on" this book, seeing as I have never read The A-List OR Hollywood Royalty. They're just not my thing, plus I've read totally mixed reviews. I just love these covers, they're so pop-art cool! A summary can be found here on Amazon

Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad (February 2, 2010)
Once again, I'm not planning on reading this one (I still have yet to read LA Candy, anyway), but here's another cover that I just love! It's cute and makes me seriously crave little heart-shaped candies!
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Out of all of the cover above, which one is your favorite?
That should be a good dose of upcoming light, fun books for a while! (:
See you back here next Tuesday for more Cover Lovin'!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Jill S. Alexander and Contest!


Today's Muse: Jill S. Alexander
Author of: The Sweetheart of Prosper County (my review here)
Want to win a copy of the book? Keep on reading! ~Contest closed! Thanks for entering!~
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Bookworm: Welcome, Jill, and congrats on the release! So, tell us...what was the inspiration for The Sweetheart of Prosper County?
Jill: I journal quite a bit. The starting point is always an image--something real or imagined that I just can't let go of. In The Sweetheart of Prosper County, I really just began journaling about a small town parade with a band and sweethearts. I knew when I wrote the line, "Being a sweetheart must give a girl that kind of confidence," that I not only had a story, I had a feisty narrator who was done with being stuck on the curb.

Bookworm: Have you ever raised a farm animal like Austin did in the book?
Jill: I never had a rooster of my very own, but I did have a registered Hereford bull named Buster. I grew up in a rural area with lots of farmers in the family. My grandfather raised calves, but my great uncle raised fighting roosters. I was always fascinated by the Bantam rooster stories.

Bookworm: What parts of the book were based off of real situations/people you knew or know?
Jill: Although my characters are all composites, Lafitte Boudreaux is based on my grandfather. Also, in high school, I worked for Mason's True Value Hardware store on the downtown square in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Gray's True Value is my recollection of the interior of that store.
To me, the setting in Sweetheart functions like a character, too. Prosper County is a fictional place made up of real images from small towns all across Texas, but it is an environment with which the characters interact. I love what Eudora Welty said about setting, "Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else." Setting for me is more than just background.


Bookworm: What is your "cover story", or how did your book end up with the cover that it did?
Jill: The art department at Feiwel & Friends rocks. Just sayin'. I don't have one of those cover "drama" stories. Rich Deas and his team designed the cover, sent me the image, and I thought it was amazing. They did a wonderful job of capturing the whimsy surrounding Austin's journey. Charles Dickens looks like a little Napoleon sitting for his formal portrait.
Bookworm: I totally agree--the cover is one of my favorites, it's just so cute!

Bookworm: If you could meet any character from the book, who would you choose?
Jill: That's a tuffy. I feel like I know all of them, but if I had to choose one to come to life and sit down for a chat--I'd probably pick Lewis. I want to ride on the purple chopper.

Bookworm: What's next, writing-wise?
Jill: Feiwel & Friends has acquired my second novel Paradise and His Smokin' Squeezebox. And let me tell you, it's going to be HOT. I'm working to finish it in time for the Fall 2010 list.

Bookworm: What are your favorite things to do when you're not writing?
Jill: Goodness! I love to travel when I have the time. I also enjoy watching my son play sports.

Random Bonus Question: How hot is it in Texas right now? J
Jill: I can't believe I'm writing this, but we are having a cool snap. The temp is in the 80's which is very unusual. It's football season in the land of Friday Night Lights. This is the perfect kickoff weather! Tailgate time! J
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Thanks so much, Jill! The Sweetheart of Prosper County was released on September 1st, so congrats on the release!
Check out Jill's super-cool website here
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Interested in winning a copy of Jill's book The Sweetheart of Prosper County? I have one signed copy to give away, courtesy of Jill (thanks, Jill!). To enter, here's all you need to do:

a) comment below with your name and email address (no email address, no entry)
b) bonus point for following my blog!

No international entries, please: US and Canada only! This contest will end on October 1st, 2009, so enter, enter, enter!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We've Got Winners!

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been so totally MIA lately. School is back, and I have tons of work to do. Sigh. Anyhoo, I just drew the winners of some recent contests and the results are in...

The Grand Prize winner of the BFFs Mega-Contest is..
Pam!!!!
You've won a signed hardcover copy of Julie Bowe's My New Best Friend, a hardcover copy of Jet Set by Jill Kargman and Carrie Karasyov, and a copy of Clea Hantman's 30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs. Perhaps you can share your loot with a friend? (:

The first prize winner of the BFFs contest, scoring themselves a signed hardcover copy of Julie Bowe's My New Best Friend and some assorted bookmarks is...
Wanda!!!

And the lucky winner of the signed hardcover giveaway of Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley is....
Lindsay's Photographys!!
I will be emailing all of you shortly. Congratulations! And don't forget to check back for more contests coming up...I should have one posted tomorrow, so good luck!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Sweetheart of Prosper County


Author: Jill S. Alexander
Pages: 224
Published: September 1, 2009
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover Score: A+ (worthy of a Cover Love post)
Overall Grade: A-

Fifteen year old Austin Gray is tired of being invisible. She's sick of being bullied by Dean Ottmer, sick of her grieving mother overprotecting her every move, and sick of standing at the curb and watching the parade go by--literally. That's when Austin decides that this year, she's going to be in the parade. She decides that this year, she'll be crowned Sweetheart of Prosper County, and she'll ride on the hood of a shiny truck, waving at the crowd. But first, she'll have to take part in the Future Farmers of America club, which means raising a chicken to show in the county fair. Add onto that a temperamental rooster named Charles Dickens, a cute cowboy, a "mysterious Cajun outcast", new friends, old friends, and bullies....Austin's got one heck of a year in front of her.
My thoughts: If I could use three adjectives to describe this new release, they would be sweet, warm-hearted, and genuine, because this book was exactly that. Overflowing with Southern charm, this story is honest, funny, and bittersweet all at the same time.
The characters were what made it so special to me. They were all different, quirky, and just so much fun to read about. Austin herself was a fantastically-created character, who seemed realistic and brave. I loved the narration, you could really "hear" her voice.
I also enjoyed how well-crafted the plot was. Carefully woven with lots of different plot threads, the story was so much more interesting than just a one-dimensional story. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the story was not just about raising a chicken. It had many layers, and dealt with bullying, grief, friendship, family, and much more.
I was a bit disappointed by the ending, though. It seemed a bit abrupt and awkward, really. If the last chapter of the book could just be a bit shorter, then I think I would've been more satisfied instead of being a bit irked.
Overall, The Sweetheart of Prosper County was a great, charming read that I would recommend to readers, ages 12 and older, who want a smooth, entertaining, and well-written read.

Must-Read! Check it Out!! Don't Bother

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday/Cover Love: Or, Great New Covers Part 1!!

Since I forgot to post my weekly Cover Love yesterday, I thought I'd just combine it with this week's "Waiting on Wednesday" post. This week, I'm featuring three new coming-soon covers and books that I can't wait to read!

Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (May 2010)
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.
When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.
I am so, so, so excited for this one!
a) I LOVED Tera's other book, Oh.My.Gods
b) Mermaids? How cool is that?
I'm not a big fan of the cover, because I think that it could be a whole lot cuter, but still: excitedness!

Bedeviled: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Dress by Shani Petroff
(January 7, 2010)
Angel Garrett knows two things for sure. The first is that she inherited her devil-dad’s powers. The second is that she wreaks havoc whenever she tries to use them. Especially when she’s trying to impress her crush, Cole. Angel’s only solution is to stay as far away as possible from him until she learns how to harness this new gift. But how do you avoid someone and get him to ask you to the school dance at the same time?
This looks so fun! I am just about to start the first book, Bedeviled, and am so excited. Keep your eyes peeled--I'm having the Bedeviled Traveling To Teens tour stopping by my blog on September 9th!

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey (Spring 2010)
Jill Jekel and Tristen Hyde are two high school students who gradually discover that they share a mysterious, and possibly dangerous, connection to the old novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As they race against the clock to figure out the puzzle, they start to fall for each other--which is probably the worst thing that could happen to them...
A modern-day retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde--cool! Beth also wrote Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, which I have yet to read, but I love this cover. It's kind of dark, but it tells a story all by itself. I'll definitely be checking this one out!

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Next week, I'll be posting some more awesome new covers and summaries, so make sure to come back and check it out! Meanwhile, I'll be adding this gush-worthy upcoming new books to my growing wishlist...

Last Chance to Enter!

Want last-minute entries to some cool contests?
All entries close tonight at midnight PST, so hurry and enter while you can in my


and

the Lipstick Apology giveaway I'm hosting!

Good luck!