Monday, November 30, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Lisa Mantchev

Today's muse: Lisa Mantchev
Author of: Eyes Like Stars (review here)
Bookworm: Welcome, Lisa! To start, will you tell us what your inspiration was for Eyes Like Stars?
Lisa: The name "Beatrice Shakespeare Smith" just popped into my head one day while I was working on another short story. And for some reason, I saw her surrounded by fairies, flying on wires the way actors do in plays, even though they had perfectly serviceable wings.

Bookworm: How long did it takes you to write Eyes Like Stars, start to finish?
Lisa: I started drafting in July 2006, and was done by the end of September, and had it revised by December. Then it sold in May of 2007 and went through the editorial and production process until it was published in July of 2009. (Almost three years from start to finish.)

Bookworm: Who was your favorite character to write in the book?
Lisa: The fairies were so much fun...and the scary part is that I have conversations like theirs all the time.

Bookworm: Did you act as a teenager, and if so, are you still involved in theater?
Lisa: I started in community theater when I was seven and acted in various plays all the way through college (where I majored in drama.) The most recent show I did was in 2003 when she moved up to Washington state; that was the year before my daughter was born. Then I started writing novels and all my free time evaporated!

Bookworm: What's your favorite play?
Lisa: I love so many of them, it makes it hard to pick just one, so I'll say that today my favorite is Peter Pan.

Bookworm: Cupcakes or cookies?
Lisa: CUPCAKES. [Bookworm: I am so with you there!!!]

Bookworm: In honor of the fairies, what's your favorite pastry? (:
Lisa: There's a store in Pike Place Market that makes pastry-wrapped marzipan rolls. *NOM*

Bookworm: Are you on Team Nate or Team Ariel?
Lisa: That's like asking a mom to pick her favorite kid. I love them both for very different reasons...Ariel because he's mercurial and tricky to nail down when I'm trying to work out a scene, and Nate because of his accent, his muscles, and his steadfast determination and loyalty.

Bookworm: Can you give us a sneak peek at what's going on in Book 2, Perchance to Dream? [Which I am sososososo excited for!]
Lisa: *shifty eyes* I could tell you, but then I'd have to KEEEEL you. *heh*

Bookworm: What YA book have you read recently and loved?
Lisa: So many...Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters, Terry Pratchett's Wintersmith, and Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book. Right now, I'm reading Cindy Pon's Silver Pheonix and loving it, although it gives me unholy cravings for dumplings and noodles.
Don't you just love her? Thanks so much, Lisa, for the awesome interview. I can't wait to see what's next for Bertie and the cast in Perchance to Dream, which is being released by Feiwel & Friends in May 2010.

Visit Lisa's awesome website here

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No IMM This Week...

Unfortunately, there's no In My Mailbox post this week (boo hoo!), but there's plenty to look forward to in the next week, including an interview with Lisa Mantchev and 3 reviews!! I hope you had a very happy holiday week--see you tomorrow!

-- Bookworm

Friday, November 27, 2009


Author: Stephenie Meyer
Pages: 498
Published: 2005, Megan Tingley Books
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Target Audience: Girls, 13 and older
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: B+
Source: Bookstore
Summary: When Bella moves to Forks, Washington, to live with her divorced dad, she's anything but happy about it, wishing to return home to warm, sunny Arizona. But then she meets Edward Cullen: mysterious, dark, gorgeous Edward Cullen, who possesses a dangerous secret that could tear them apart...
My thoughts: So obviously, I've heard a lot of hype around Twilight. I guess you could call it a pop culture phenomenon. I've seen both movies and liked them OK, so I decided to (finally) pick up the book and give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised: wow! The characters in the book actually had a sense of humor. They-gasp-weren't so depressed and sullen the whole time. The book was enjoyable and well-written, and I loved all of the characters. Bella, unlike her character in the movie, was enjoyable as a main character, honest and sarcastic at times. The Cullens were by far my favorites to read about, especially Edward and Alice. The way Ms. Meyer created their background story and all of their special quirks was really clever and creative.
However, this book just died a quarter of the way through. There was only so much I could take of Bella and Edward staring dreamily into each other's eyes. Nothing. Happened. I was bored out of my mind. The dialogue and actions were repetitive and dull, and this continued on until halfway through the book.
Nevertheless, I was glad when the action (cue James) picked up again towards the end. I was riveted to my chair, madly flipping the suspense-filled pages until the action-packed, satisfying end.
Overall: Slightly disappointed, but hand me the sequel, people! I need to see what happens next!
Must-Read Check it out! Don't Bother

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to everyone! I hope you have a happy, fun, day!
I'm off to make mashed potatoes now--yum! :D

Best wishes,

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Winner Picked!

Unfortunately, our last contest winner was international, so I have to pick a new winner. (To international friends: have no fear, there WILL be some intl. contests in the future, sorry!)
The new winner of Demon Princess is...
Jessica Kennedy!

Congrats, Jessica! I am emailing you right now, please respond within 48 hours! (:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2 Weeks of In My Mailbox!

Today's a lazy Sunday, so I'm not in the posting-summaries mood. (: Meme created by the awesome Kristi, as always!
This week I received:
From Steph Su:
You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
(Really excited to check this one out, I've been wanting it for ages and it sounds awesome!)
Secret Society by Tom Dolby
(This sounds really cool, too. I love the spooky "secret society" idea. Thanks, Steph!)

From the bookstore:
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Super excited to read this. I'm trying to catch up with this trend and see what it's all about by picking up Twilight (about 100 pages in and liking it OK). I saw New Moon on Friday, and I gotta say, it totally blew the first movie out of water. Go Team Jedward (I'm neutral, what can I say?)!

Last week in the mail:

From Random House:
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
(Another bookish trend I've got to start. Beautiful cover art, BTW.)
Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia by Christopher Paolini
(I've already read this one, expect a review soon! Beautiful artwork and very fun to flip through.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I So Don't Do Spooky

Author: Barrie Summy
Pages: 256
Published: December 8 2009, Delacorte Press
Age Range: Girls 9-13
Cover Score: B
Overall Grade: A

Summary: Super sleuth Sherry Baldwin Holmes thought she was done with mysteries after she cracked a very important case over spring break in San Diego with her ghost mother and best friend, Junie. But the Academy of Spirits wants her back to help them solve another mystery: Sherry's stepmother is in danger, but who could it be who's trying to hurt her? An angry student? A stalker? A member of the rival robotics team? Whatever it is, Sherry's already got a lot on her plate. Her best friend is finally interested in clothes and makeup, and her mom is competing in the Ghostlympics, where the winner receives five minutes of Real Time. But first Sherry has to get involved in a creepy, freaky mystery. But...she SO doesn't do spooky.
My thoughts: Yay! I was so psyched to start this one. I LOVED the first book in the series, I SO Don't Do Mysteries (my review here), so my main concern going into the second book was if it could be as good as the previous. At first, I had my doubts. The book was a little slow at the beginning, but quickly picked up and breezed by.
Sherry, as always, was a perfect lead character: she had a great, spunky voice, which made the first-person narration super-fun to read, and a hilarious sense of humor. The creativity (ie ghost moms) put into this book just made it all the more enjoyable and funny, and the writing and fast-paced plot sucked me in and kept me there until the satisfying ending. I wish there had been more suspects along the way to add more suspense, but the twists and turns incorporated into the story still made it hard to put the book down! I also really liked how there was a bit of supernatural-fantasy combined with the mystery, it made the case so much more interesting!
Overall, I So Don't Do Spooky was a fun, light read that leaves me eagerly awaiting for the next book in the series, I So Don't Do Makeup. An impressive start to a fun new tween series!

Must read! Check it out Don't Bother

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Michelle Rowen

Today's Muse: Michelle Rowen
Author of: Demon Princess (review here)
Interested in winning a copy of Demon Princess? Enter my birthday contest here!
Bookworm: Welcome, Michelle! To start, will you please tell us how the idea for Demon Princess came to you?
Michelle: It was a number of things that sparked the idea for Demon Princess. Originally, Nikki wasn't even a princess, she was just the daughter of a demon, but I though making her a princess and heir to a demonic throne helped to mess up her life just that much more. ;) I was partially inspired by the Disney Princess fad that seemed (and still seems) to be everywhere and I thought a demon princess would be the exact opposite of all that cutesiness. I was also inspired by Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries, but I thought--what if you found out that not only were you a princess, but a DEMON princess? The story possibilities this opens up are really endless.

Bookworm: What was your inspiration for the characters?
Michelle: The characters for this book just sort of evolved. I knew Nikki would be the kind of heroine I typically like to write--the "everygal" thrust into a crazy, fantastical situation. I knew Michael, her guide and bodyguard would be the weird (but hot) guy who takes her attention away from the guy she thinks she wants to date. From there, they just became very real in my mind as I began writing them.

Bookworm: Who was your favorite character to write in the book?
Michelle: My favorite character and the one I know the best is the lead, Nikki, since I'm in in her head the whole time. She's fun and brave and has a good outlook and is able to see the humor in life. Secondly I love writing Michael because he was just so mysterious and secretive. I liked peeling back his layers and seeing what was underneath. That didn't sound right, but you know what I mean! ;)

Bookworm: Demons or vampires?
Michelle: I can't pick! I've always loved the vamps (well, the nice ones, anyway), but lately my books have become more focused on the demonic. Can't I have both?? [Bookworm: Agreed. Sorry Edward, but vampires are waaaay overrated!] (:

Bookworm: How long did it take you to write the book, start to finish?
Michelle: I wrote the first draft of Demon Princess for Nanowrimo 2006, but it wasn't quite ready when I was done. I considered abandoning it entirely but there was something about the book that I really liked and my gut told me to do the work and make it better. I had to completely rework the second half in my rewrite--originally I had this whole Lord of the Rings feel and there were wars and things that took away from it being specifically about Nikki. Once I rewrote it, my pacing was off and I had to go back in again. By the time my agent submitted it to publishers I probably poked at it for about six drafts, which is about four more than I usually do! It sold in the summer of 2008, so that means I worked on it for nearly two years and I'm very glad I never gave up on it!

Bookworm: What was your soundtrack while you were writing the book?
Michelle: My soundtracks for my books tend to rely very heavily on a lot of Pink (specifically her song "Trouble" and "Get the Party Started"), and Avril Lavigne ("Keep Holding On"). Some vintage Gwen Stefani, too (like "Spiderweb"). My computer crashed last year so I lost the specific track list I listened to for Reign or Shine, but those artist definitely help to sum it up. The second book, Reign Check, has a disconcertingly high amount of Miley Cyrus on it.

Bookworm: Speaking of which, can you give us a hint at what's next for Nikki in Reign or Shine, the sequel to Demon Princess?
Michelle: Oh, I have a lot of plans for my little demon princess. In book 2 she's really hoping to be able to balance her royally demon side with her normal teen side, but she finds out rather quickly that's going to be harder than she thinks, especially when dangerous parts of her "other" life visit her at her high school. Also, the news that she's half demon has reached the demon council in the Underworld and they very much want to meet her--whether she wants to or not. Nikki also comes to realize that having a boyfriend whom you're basically forbidden to openly date is not an easy task. ;)

Bookworm: What YA book have you recently read and loved?
Michelle: I devoured Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins a little while ago. The Hunger Games trilogy is absolutely brilliant. I'm currently reading Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and am finding it brilliantly written.
Thanks so much, Michelle! You can visit Michelle's website and check out a 2-chapter excerpt of Demon Princess, which was released in October, here
Reign Check will be out in June 2010--I can't wait! (:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Clique Prequel: Charmed and Dangerous

Author: Lisi Harrison
Pages: 175
Published: October 27 2009, Poppy
Cover Rating: A
Overall Grade: A-

Once upon a time a few years back, there were five girls: Massie Block, Dylan Marvil, Kristen Gregory, Alicia Rivera, and Claire Lyons, who were all waiting to become fabulous. Massie was born to lead, Dylan needed some new friends who didn't just like her because her mom was famous, Kristen vowed that she would stop being a loser, Alicia was ready to prove herself as something other than a beta, and Claire was ready for fabulousness. They will all come together on midnight at Merri-Lee Marvil's fabulous New Year's Yves party...because sometimes when you meet someone, it just cliques.
My thoughts: This book was light and fun, and it was definitely cool to see how the Clique all began! Short and sweet, the writing was just as entertaining and enjoyable (as well as LOL-funny in places) as it is in the rest of the series. I loved how Ms. Harrison foreshadowed and hinted to the rest of the books in the series, even though those take place later in the future.
Taking place over one night, the book switched back and forth from one girl to the next, until they eventually all met up. It was interesting to see each Clique member's side of the story, and what they were like before the Pretty Committee. I also loved the way their group was formed, it was very clever (ahem, the charms).
My only problems were that a), the book was only 175 pages long and only took me about a day and a half to finish. Therefore, I found it ridiculous that it was bound as a hardcover, and $16.99, and b), it was a little weird to have a book that is targeted towards tween and teen readers revolve around a group of fourth graders (even though it was a prequel). It just wasn't realistic. I mean, fourth graders in Prada? Didn't work for me.
However, if you're looking for a quick, easy, and fun read, I'd recommend giving Charmed & Dangerous a try. I can't wait to see what's next for the Clique!

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eyes Like Stars

Author: Lisa Mantchev
Pages: 368
Published: July 7 2009, Feiwel & Friends
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-

Summary: Beatrice Shakespeare Smith's life is different from that of your average 17 year old girl. Orphaned at a young age, she was deposited upon the steps of the Théatre Illuminata as a baby, and has lived in the theater ever since. Within it, you can find every character from every play in the wings--they are bound to the theater by a magical, ancient Book, which contains every script, every line. The Players are her friends, her family, and the Theatre is her home. But Bertie is about to lose all of that, and she (and the Players) are about to be plunged into unknown dangers...
My thoughts: At first, I wasn't too fond of this story, to tell the truth. I found it a little slow, and some of the fantasy elements were a bit abstract and confusing to me (like Bertie's relationship with both Nate and Ariel). But boy, this book grew on me. A lot.
Once the plot hit a quarter-way through, I started really liking all of the characters. My favorites? The fairies, of course! They added a lively, humorous touch to the story. Bertie was an awesome, strong, sassy main character, and I loved Nate as a secondary!
The creativity and originality of this story also blew me away--I could picture the theater and all of its colorful characters perfectly in my head. The Theater was an enchanting, engrossing backdrop where all sorts of riveting, magical shenanigans occured--perfect entertainment for the reader. I also liked the way that Ms. Mantchev carefully wove three different angles of the story together (The Book, Bertie's direction of her new play, and Bertie's seeking of her parents).
The ending perfectly set up a sequel, which I will definitely be checking out and eagerly awaiting. To say it simply, Eyes Like Stars was an enchanting, whimsical, and fast-paced fantasy that sets the stage for many "bravos!" and encores.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Awesome New Covers...On Wednesday

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone! **awesome new cover warning!!** This week, I found not two, but four awesome covers to feature on this week's Cover Love:

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard (August 5, 2010)
Mandy just posted this over at her awesome blog, and when I saw it, I nearly screamed. Out of joy. Best. Cover. Ever. I mean, purple ponies? Cupcakes? I LOVE. Congrats, Mandy! (Oh, yeah--and your book is now at the very tippy top of my 2010 in I NEED to read this book rightnow)!

How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy

I love this simple, cute cover! It gives off a girlie, fun vibe, and the colors are perfect! I really like how the black and white pops against the turquoise background, and the black dress shows off the white font. The cover alone would make me want to read this one for sure!

Brilliant by Rachel Vail (May 25, 2010)

I have the second book in this trilogy, Gorgeous, on my shelf, and it sounds really cool! My favorite part of this cover is the lighting on the (very cute) shoes and the reflection, it gives the image some depth! I'll definitely be checking this one out.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway (Aug 3, 2010)
OK, so this cover is very cool. The title alone makes me want to check it out, but the tri-colored cover is intriguing and eye-catching, giving it a nice visual touch! This book sounds awesome, too, so hopefully I'll be checking it out when it's released!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Harry Potter Book vs. Movie review

So, I recently finished the 2nd Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and decided it would be fun to do a joint book-and-movie review!

I've always heard how fabulousamazing the Harry Potter books were, but I haven't decided to actually pick them up until recently, although I've been a huge fan of the movies (I've seen each one like, 10 times, and eagerly await the next). I liked the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a lot, but the second one simply blew me away. The creativity of these books is brilliant! The story was riveting, filled with twists and turns, suspense and humor, and ending perfectly with all the loose ends tied up neatly, greatly satisfying the reader. I could picture every corridor of Hogwarts clearly and all of the zany, unique characters added depth to the story, portrayed with colorful descriptions. My favorite character? Ron, the perfect best friend-sidekick. Now craving the next book in the series (which is waiting on my shelf for me), I can finally say that I'm officially addicted to the Harry Potter series. If you haven't picked them up yet, don't miss out!

Seeing the movies sparked my desire to read the books, and after doing so, I can happily say that these movies could not be better adaptations of the beloved Harry Potter stories. First of all, the actors are very talented and are cast perfectly for their parts: I'm glad that the movie-makers got unknowns (at the time) to play the leads. The setting was amazing as well, exactly how I had pictured Hogwarts in my mind. It was so cool to see all of the action come alive on screen! While not as detailed as the actual book itself, the movie still stayed true to the novel.
From reviews that I've read, many well-known and well-loved books (like Eragon and The Golden Compass) that have been turned into movies greatly disappoint fans, but those who adore Harry Potter will be greatly satisfied with the big screen adaptation and will want to watch it over and over again (I think I've seen it 9 times). (:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

DEMON PRINCESS contest extended!

Hey everyone! My birthday contest, where I'm giving away a copy of Michelle Rowen's Demon Princess, has been extended until November 20, so go check it out and enter! Good luck! :D

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cover Love!

This week I am majorly loving the covers of....

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw (May 1, 2010)

Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.
This cover is just so beautiful. I love the golden lighting, the font, and the colors. I'll be checking this one out for sure when it's released!

The Debs: Gloves Off by Susan McBride (March 2010)

I couldn't find a synopsis of the book, but I really like the simplicity and bright colors of this cover, especially how the white pops against the pink!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In My Mailbox/Week in Review!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Speaking of which, I got some nice treats in the mail this week (meme created by Kristi of The Story Siren):

Charmed and Dangerous: The Clique Prequel by Lisi Harrison (Oct 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!
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...
I love the Clique, so I can't wait to see how it all started! My one complaint: what's up with an 175-page hardcover? Ergh.....

We Were Here by Matt de la Peña
When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home--said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can't even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.
But Miguel didn't bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.
Life usually doesn't work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you're running from.
This book sounds very intriguing and interesting. Plus I love the cover. Many thanks to Random House!!
Here's what went on around Bookworm Readers this week:

Tuesday- I posted my weekly Cover Love (yay-it's back!). This week's featured cover was Finally by Wendy Mass. Even more perfect, the cover ties in with Bookworm Reader's second birthday! (:
Wednesday- In honor of Bookworm Readers' birthday, I'm giving away a copy of Demon Princess by Michelle Rowen! Click here to find out how to enter!
Friday- I reviewed Hex Education by Zareen Jaffrey and Emily Gould. It was a cute read perfect for Halloween!!!

Have a great rest of the weekend!