Saturday, February 28, 2009

Huge Giveaway: Buy a Book, Win Prizes!


Huge Giveaway for the Release of Willow by Julia Hoban


Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow’s parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy —one sensitive, soulful boy—discovers Willow’s secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the “safe” world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Willow-Julia-Hoban/dp/0803733569

Starts: March 1 (Pre-orders count of course!)
Ends: May 15 (The book is released April 2) NEW END DATE

To enter: One must buy the book (ARCs do not count of course) and send proof (receipt, picture of book, etc.) to me at: Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Who?: Everyone! This is an international contest.

Winner: There is one winner, and they will recieve the following if their name is drawn (Oh, and if you donated a prize...remember, you can enter. I'm the only one who won't!):

Party Pictures, Images and Photos

Khy is giving away Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?
http://www.freneticreader.blogspot.com/

Kelsey is giving away B&N ten dollar gift card in a cute felt penguin “bag” and some bookmarks.
http://justblindedbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Carrie will give Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
http://carriesyabookshelf.blogspot.com/

Kelsey is giving an ARC version of Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
http://www.readingkeepsyousane.blogspot.com/

Alea is giving away Sherlock Holmes Volume 1.
http://www.aleapopculture.blogspot.com/

Kristi is giving a 10 dollar Amazon gift card.
http://www.blogger.com/www.thestorysiren.com

Harmony is making a soundtrack with songs she feels fit the book.
http://www.harmonybookreviews.wordpress.com/

Lenore is giving 10 dollars to Amazon
http://www.presentinglenore.blogspot.com/

Gabbi is giving Chloe Doe by Suzanne Phillips
http://www.fivestarreading.blogspot.com/

I will give the winner a book of their choice (has to be paperback!)

Chelsea is giving a $10 card to Amazon
http://www.thepageflipper.blogspot.com/
My Favorite Author is giving Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson
http://www.myfavoriteauthor.blogspot.com/

Vanessa is giving Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
http://www.whatvanessreads.wordpress.com/

Shalonda is giving away Sherlock Holmes Volume 2.
http://www.shalondasblog.blogspot.com/
Carol is giving an ARC of Because I Am Furniture.
http://www.bookluver-carol.blogspot.com/

Tirzah is giving Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
http://www.thecompulsivereader.blogspot.com/

Lauren is giving a 15 dollar gift card to B&N
http://www.laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com/
Laura is giving a 10 dollar Borders gift card and the book Flygirls.
http://www.laurasreviewbookshelf.blogspot.com/

Sarah is giving The Adoration of Jenna Fox
http://www.sarahbear9789.blogspot.com/

Alyssa is giving Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston.
http://www.theshadyglade.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wish-List Wednesday: Twilight Edition


Twilight: Director's Notebook

By: Catherine Hardwicke

In this intimate book, readers will follow visionary director Catherine Hardwicke through the creative process that went into transforming Stephenie Meyer’s breathtaking novel into box office gold. Designed to replicate the director’s own personal notebook that she kept on set, readers will discover the inside secrets on wardrobe, storyboard sketches, behind-the- scenes photographs, personal notes about Catherine’s favorite scenes, and much more.

For one, I think Catherine is a really good director (Thirteen is a favorite of mine) and I'm quite excited for this book to be released on March 17th. I saw a few pages in last week's Entertainment Weekly, and it seems like a fun, informative read about the behind-the-scenes look of turning Twilight into a film. What about you all? Anyone else going to get this?



Also, I wanted to post a link for all you Twilight fans. Justin Chon (contest still going, by the way) was a guest backstage for America's Best Dance Crew. To see that, click the link and scroll down near the bottom. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

http://remotecontrol.mtv.com/category/shows/dance-crew/

Monday, February 23, 2009

Conversation With: Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower)

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Pictures, Images and Photos

A Conversation with Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By: Lauren

First off, I have to thank Stephen again for being so patient with me and willing to answer my questions, even though it took forever (honestly, this is over half a year in the making). For those of you who don't know The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen also wrote the screenplay for a little film called Rent. Before you read this interview, just know this: If you haven't read the book, read it. If you have, that's amazing and I hope you're excited about the future...

Now, here is a song for you to listen too and enjoy while reading the interview. It's called "Love Always Charlie" by the 7 Shot Screamers, based on the book Perks of Being a Wallflower.

http://www.myspace.com/7shotscreamers


Lauren: I tried to get questions from other fans and there’s a band called You, Me, and Everyone We Know and the singer’s names Ben and he had a couple questions.

“What inspired you to write a book in the format in which it was written and did you have any obstacles to overcome while doing so for Perks of Being a Wallflower?”

Stephen: I chose the format because I thought it was the most intimate way to talk directly to the reader. I didn’t want it to read like a book, so much as an honest one-on-one conversation between myself and the reader or in this case, Charlie.

There were no obstacles. Once I realized that was what I was trying to do, it all came pretty naturally after that.

Lauren: Okay, cool. His next one was “I've never felt connected as much with a fictional character as i did with Charlie, but more often than not when i talk to people who have read and loved Perks, they often feel the same way. Why do you think that is and what are your feelings about that conclusion?”

Stephen: I don’t know why that is, just maybe…that’s a difficult question to answer. It’s hard to be a judge of my own work. But if I were to venture a guess, I’d say that Charlie is…uh…he might be relatable because he’s talking directly to the reader. And the things that he experiences in the world of firsts so purely, his first kiss, or you know, all of his experiences most of us have had. And he experiences them so purely and I think there’s a part of us that it’ll resonate inside of us. You know what I’m saying?

Lauren: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense and I think he’s just kind of like multi-dimensional in a lot of him and his friends, and it’s kind of relatable to a lot of people in many ways. So that’s definitely kind of what I felt when reading it.

Stephen: Yeah, for example, Charlie’s love for Sam…we’ve all had that…you know, love to the point of worship. I guess you could call it a crush, but it’s way more then that. Especially at that age, love with such intensity, such abandon, and I think that Charlie tries to speak as honestly as possible about those things. I think that makes him quite relatable. That’s why I think it happens.

Lauren: I think that’s a very good reason why people like it. I’ve found that a lot of people like it for the same reasons and they really like the quotes and how it just resonates with a lot of people.

My next question is from another author. His name is Drew Ferguson and he wanted to know if “you regretted publishing PERKS with MTV based on the subsequent publicity and attention?” I think he means how it blew up and became this huge thing, if you regretted that or I guess if it was good for you or didn’t really matter either way.

Stephen: It didn’t matter either way because, first of all, back in 1999, it was ten years right now, and at the time Pocket was the only ones who wanted it. So it wasn’t like I had much of a choice. But even with that said, I knew that because of MTV, a lot more young people would hear about my book, which was very important to me, but I also knew that there were a lot more say established parts of the publishing business or the book world that would turn their noses down on it because it was MTV and in the end, the choice was “I’ll go with MTV and more people will read it” versus “I’ll go somewhere else and less people will read it, but some critics might think more of it." I’ll take people anytime over establishments.

Lauren: Yeah, I think MTV books now is a lot different. Some people still see it that way but if you’re really into books, you can kind of tell that they really publish some thought-provoking books, especially now, and I know there’s another author Stephanie Kuehnert who her first book I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone just came out through them and I was talking to her and she said that that one of the main reasons she was really excited about them picking up the book was because of Perks of Being a Wallflower came out through there, so I mean, I think it’s just a book, it doesn’t really matter where it came out from.

Stephen: And the number of people that have judged it and have thought it was just teen marketing fluff or whatever is a pretty small minority. I’m pleased its reached so many people.

Lauren: Cool. “In the novel, the group of friends put on performances of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So before you’d written this, I’m guessing you’d seen this and what were your experiences going to something like this?

Stephen: Yeah, I’ve been to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a floor show in now four different cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Pittsburgh, where I’m from. And I’ve never been part of a floor show but I had a mad crush on a girl who was, so I went to see her a lot. One in particular, there was a show in San Diego that I went too, and I remember seeing a girl…she ran the performers, she was the stage manager basically…and she was a punk, I think she was 17 years old, she was yelling at everybody.

I just remember thinking “You know, in like ten years, all the punk clothes are gone, and you’re gonna be a manager at a business somewhere and you’re gonna be yelling at your employees.” And I just so loved that and the entire character of Mary Elizabeth was based on this person. I never even met them, I just saw them. Like on the street. I thought “Ah, I wanna know who that person was.” I never forgot her. She was so great. And yeah, that was my Rocky Horror experience.

Lauren: That is great. Yeah, I actually just saw it this past October, it was like the day after Halloween I think, and it just kind of adds more. I’ve found that reading the book as I get older, there’s different things that I can actually relate too more, so that was kind of a funny experience, because I just kept thinking back too the book and I kind of knew what was gonna happen before I even went.

Stephen: That’s great. Oh, you’d never seen it before?

Lauren: No, I’d seen the movie but I’d never actually gone to see people perform it.

Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the best.

Lauren: It was definitely a really good time.

Stephen: There’s a new one out here called The Room, in Los Angeles. Tell your readers in Los Angeles to go see The Room once a month.

Lauren: Alright, I will definitely let them know that! Well, I’m a really big fan of the musical Rent, which you wrote the screenplay for the movie, but how did that even come about?

Stephen: I’d done a screenplay for Miramax, a little adaptation called “Audrey Hepburn’s Neck” and they really liked my work on that screenplay, I had a lot of ideas for how to do the movie, and at the time I was very very young, very very hungry, and very cheap. In terms of like studios, because studios for the most part, if they can get away with it, they don’t want to really pay that much money. So they got me for a song, and I loved it so much and I just wanted to do a great job, so that’s how it came along.

Lauren: That’s great! So what do you like, I mean for the play in general, what did you really like and what did you try to make sure the movie had based on the play?

Stephen: The thing I loved about the show itself, I just loved the central message. I thought the idea of living for today, no day but today, was beautiful and inspiring and something that really helped me in my own life. Similar to, let’s say, Dead Poets’ Society, “carpe diem.” So I love the message, I love the music, and I love the characters and the ideas of the characters were really beautiful. I was very inspired by the fact that Jonathon Larson, that world was so his own, he so inhabited that world, and you could tell he loved his characters and he loved their struggles, and their hopes, and their dreams and that was very infectious for me.

Lauren: Definitely, I thought it was great. I’d seen the play before and before I’d even seen the movie and I thought it did a really good job keeping it and it was really nice they had the majority of the originals just for the people that hadn’t seen it.

Stephen: And they’re all nice people too. I talked to them a little bit on set, and they’re really really nice.

Lauren: Really? That is great.

Stephen: Not a jerk in the bunch. They’re just really nice people.

Lauren: That is great. I know they are touring at the moment, I know Adam and Anthony are in it, and I just would have loved to have seen that, but they just didn’t come close to me. Well, my last question is actually “What are you currently working on? Do you have any plans to write any more books? What exactly are you doing at the moment?”

Stephen: I’ve been writing the screenplay adaptation of the Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Lauren: Really?

Stephen: Yeah, because I very much want to make the movie version of the book. And I’ll direct it, and yeah, I’m writing the screenplay now. I should be done very soon.

Lauren: That is great. So when exactly would you hope for it to come out? Next couple years or…?

Stephen: Next couple of years, yeah. My thing has been from day one, I’ve had, at this point, probably a hundred offers on people to buy the book and make it a movie or TV show and I’ve turned them all down because I really wanted to do it right. It was very important to me. The book is, you know, the book is my baby, and so I hope in the next couple of years, if I can get the screenplay to where I really love it and I find the right three kids to play Charlie, Sam, and Patrick, then you know…I think we’ll be able to raise the money without too much problem. So yeah, cross my fingers that all that happens.

Lauren: Definitely. I know a lot of people were really curious about that because there’s been a lot of talk of it becoming a movie, and I think with you actually taking control of it, it’ll work out better because you can get what you want and the fans, they can’t really complain about that it’s not true to the book because, I mean, you kinda just make it the way you wanna make it, and I think that’s great.

Stephen: Yeah, and how I feel about the movie is that I know that, because you know I’ve read books that I’ve loved and I saw the movie versions and it’s never…everyone has their own version of what the book is, their own version of what Charlie looks like, and Sam looks like, and Patrick, what he looks and sounds like, you know. That’s what I love about books so much. It involves the reader so deeply. So all the movie can ultimately be is my version of it, you know, and I hope that people who love the book can get a little bit more insight. Because it is the book, but there are certain little differences that I hope they find interesting.

Lauren: Definitely, I’m really excited, so I really hope it works out.

Stephen: And to answer your other question, I will write more books. Absolutely will.

Lauren: That would be great. I’ve definitely been wondering about that ever since I read the book and that’s awesome. But that’s actually all my questions so thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde Review


Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde
Review by: Lauren
In the sixteenth volume of Graphic Classics, we are given some famous works of Oscar Wilde in a comic format. Starting with The Picture of Dorian Gray, they take a classic novel and break it down to its basic parts. While some of it might be a bit confusing for those not familiar to the actual book, it was still done very well. The illustrations were amazing, especially the difference in Dorian the man and Dorian the portrait, as you can see on the book's cover.
Next up, we have the short story The Canterville Ghost, which was a personal favorite. The story was funny and nicely told in the format. It definitely made me wish to go and read the actual story as well, which I think is a plus if these Graphic Novels can do that for other readers.
The third story was Lord Arthur Saville's Crime, which again, was amusing in that classic Oscar Wilde way. The drawings for this story perfectly fit the narration, as it's a lot more dark.
Finally, this book ends with Salome, which was probably my least favorite out of the entire book. This is in no way because of the writing or art, but rather, the storyline in general didn't interest me as much as the rest. One of my favorite parts was the page where Salome dances. The artist took the various moves and poses and lumps them all together in a way that turned out amazing. I definitely think they were correct in using this for the end of the book, which made the set up of all the stories nicely done.
Overall, Graphic Classics: Oscar Wilde was an immense pleasure to read. The writers and artists took a hard task and did it well. I'm a fan of Oscar Wilde myself, though I haven't read much by him as of yet. I believe that this book will be welcome in the homes of new and old fans, as it gives you a first peak into some of Wilde's famous plays and stories, as well as showing them in a new, modern way.
By the time I was finished reading, I couldn't wait to read more by Wilde, as well as more Graphic Classics.

Across the Pond Review + Q&A



Across the Pond by Storyheart

Review by: Lauren

Across the Pond brings us the story of Englander Fred who goes on vacation to the United States, where he stays with a family friend. This family has a daugther, Brit, who becomes quite attached to Fred, and vice versa. However, when Fred learns something about Brit's past that she hasn't told anyone else, he decides that he has to do right by her and make sure the offender learns his lesson. While his stay in the U.S, Fred works on a project that focuses on the differences in the English language, which you find throughout the book.


Across the Pond is a short, fun read. I liked Fred's character for the most part and enjoyed the mishaps he found himself in due to the language "barriers." His project was fun and I really liked seeing the various words and their meanings between the U.S. and England. It was exciting to see that I knew most of them as well!!

However, I did have a slight problem with Brit. She's overly emotional and I felt that their relationship happened really fast. I like romance in books, and it worked okay for this story, but Fred's trip didn't seem long enough to fall that deeply "in love" with Brit. Again, I'm sure it's happened and I know teens often have quick, fast relationships so it's not a really big problem...just a thought I had at points in the story.


Now, here is a Q&A with the author, Storyheart:

1.Instead of using your actual name, you are called Storyheart instead. Why did you do this and how did you come up with the name?

It’s quite a long story. I have been chatting online for around 15 years, going back to the days of the old html chat rooms before you had pretty faces and everything was either in html code or abbreviated letter lol, rofl, *L* etc..

About ten years ago I met my now wife online, she was chatting under the name of “tenderheart” so as I wrote stories I changed my name to “storyheart” to fit with her… think Care Bears *grin*

From then on I used that name to write me romance stories, stories that came from the heart, the name of my first book was actually called “Stories from the heart” The book was actually terrible full of mistakes the company that was meant to do the editing actually used the wrong version of the final draft when they published it. Still it was a learning curve. I have basically re-written all those stories plus created plenty of knew ones since that time, so perhaps one day I’ll re-produce that book. One final snippet… When my wife and I first met we were both still technically married going through divorces, and of course we were also 3000 miles a part from each other. I wanted to purchase her something special for our first Christmas as “an item” so purchased our first domain where the stories and everything else first came into fruition. The domain I gave her for that first Christmas is still one we use. It is 4tenderheart.com purchased for Tenderheart my now wife.

2.As someone from England who moved to the U.S., you have a lot in common with the character of Fred, who visits the U.S. on a trip. Did you put any of yourself in his character?

Oh my goodness yes, Fred is basically me well a lot of me, many who have read the book and know me can see certain parts and incidents that Fred runs into that I have myself. When I write I also become the character, which I think makes the character more believable. Like Hitchcock I am in many of my stories. My favorite watering hole gets a mention, and what happens at the BBQ, with the X rated drink that looks and taste like a fruit juice, I experienced first hand seeing it effect people during a promotion night where I was hosting a karaoke night. So yes Fred and I are blood brothers lol.

3.Brit is a huge fan of baseball in the story, and as such introduces Fred to the sport. What are your thoughts on the sport? Are you a fan or did it simply fit the ideal of the U.S.?

I am a fan of sport, no matter what kind, all my family are, my sister was a national level swimmer as is my nephew. I have 3 members of my family who are or were physical education teachers. At school I represented the school in ever sport they took part in from chess to athletics. So yes I am a sport person, though these days mostly watching. I played rugby for 35 years and before moving to the US I was a county (state) level athlete. I ran four London marathons from 1197 to 200o all in fancy dress (http://4tenderheart.com/mara2k.html) Unlike American Football we do not get baseball on UK TV, so the knowledge I had was from films and going by Naked Gun baseball means a lot of spitting, hmm perhaps they are right…

4.I loved Fred's project to keep track of the differences in the English language between England and the United States (and it was cool to see I knew most of them as well!) What are some others that never made it into the book, but maybe could have?

I originally was going to add a final section just of the words, but when the book came back from the publishers they’d mixed many of these into the index, so it was missed from the book.

You can find hundreds and I mean hundreds that are different and don’t even start me on phrases and spellings.

Here are just a few more for you.

BABY ITEMS

nappy- diaper
dummy- binky/pacifier
powdered-milk- formula
push-chair- carriage

FOOD
corgette- zucchini
aubergine -eggplant
biscuits -cookies

CAR
windscreen- windshield
petrol- gas
van- truck
lorry- tractor trailer
spanner- wrentch

GENERAL
pavement- sidewalk
lift- elevator
braces- suspenders
suspenders- garter
holiday- vacation

And as for food, I mean… I’d like “toad in the whole with bubble and squeak followed by spotted dick…”.

5.What are your current writing plans?

I have started the next book, it is called “Across the Pond and Back Again” and carries on from where Across the Pond finishes. I have taken note of many comments and helpful advice that has been offered re ways I can improve and will try and add a new person or two who have a little more of a jagged edge to their character as well as bringing some of the old characters back into the new book. Some of the readers have also been generous enough to allow me to use them as a sounding board (and of course they will get credits) so I will not lose the rhytm and voice in this new book.

Thank you so much for allowing me this interview.

http://across-t-pond.com/
http://acrossthepond-storyheart.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 20, 2009

Review: Romantic Times (Mar. 09)

Romantic Times
March 2009 Issue
Out: Now
Review by: Lauren


First off, I should apologize for the lack of a picture, but I couldn't find a general one and all the photos I saw of the actual magazine were from past issues.

There was a basic interview with author Charles De Lint. I didn't know anything about the author, besides the titles of a couple of his novels, so this was definitely interesting to read. One of the books I really want to read by him is The Blue Girl. Anyone read it? What do you think?
Back to the interview...you learn about his hobbies, rockabilly music and his new novel, and his thoughts on urban fantasy.

In the Web Browser section, we learn about a site that shows characters in classic stories such as Pride and Prejudice and Hamlet using "facebook", though not really. Sounds hilarious!

One of my favorite things about this issue is the Re-Vamped article. Vampires have seemingly turned into their own genre with more and more books coming out about them. This article/interview shows a collection of some of the more known authors who write about the walking dead and how they are changing the myths.
There's even a mini-article at the end for those adults that are looking for new Vampire stories that are similar to the Twilight series.

The main items that make up Romantic Times are their book reviews, which is great! It's like reading a physical blog. For those of you that are all about the YA, don't think you aren't included in this magazine! They have their own mini section of the reviews titled Teen Scene. This issue has two articles/interviews with Laurie Halse Anderson on Wintergirls and Stacey Jay on You are so Undead to Me. Stacey Jay's was absolutely hilarious and I'm a big fan of the saying TSTL now (read the issue to find out what that means). You even get Megan's, the main character of Undead, top five fashion tips for chasing zombies.

Along with these articles, there are a small variety of YA book reviews (including the two I just mentioned above). I know that the review for Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee has me wanting to read the book NOW. Curious about what else is mentioned? Okay, I'll reveal one more title...Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott.



Books I NOW want to read (based on reviews in the magazine):

Feelers by Brian M. Wiprud
http://www.wiprud.com/

Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee
http://www.jeanninegarsee.com/

Books that I reviewed in this issue:

You're the One that I Haunt by Terri Garey
http://www.tgarey.com/

The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley
http://www.alisakwitney.com/

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Can't Wait for April!



Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic

By: Suzanne Weyn

Science, spiritualism, history, and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn's newest novel. Four sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla's inventions dooms them...and one could save them.

Doesn't it sound awesome? I just heard about this book and I love the idea behind it. I'm quite intrigued to see what the whole story is about. The cover is amazing as well.

Out: April 15

17 again zac efron Pictures, Images and Photos

17 Again

I can't really find a summary for the film, but I've included the trailer below. Basically, Mike is given a shot to be 17 again (played by Zac Efron) and with the help of his friend (from when he was 37), he goes back to school...the same one his two kids go too actually.

I think this sounds like a really fun film, and it looks hilarious as well!

Out: April 17

You can find the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW9TkWY6Cng

Sorry if the dates for either of these are off, but I'm pretty sure it's right!

The Read Carpet: My Segment!

http://thereadcarpet.blogspot.com/

By now, a lot of you might have already heard about The Read Carpet Podcast started by the lovely Adele from Persnickety Snark, but I have to spread the word...and not just because I'm a part of the second group of contributors. That's right, if you want to know what how I sound, you must listen to the newest episode!

My segment is called Rock Around the Book, and will be about the same thing every week...music and books. Author's playlists for their books, songs I or others feel fit a certain book, etc. Hopefully it'll be interesting. I talk about Catherine Ryan Hyde's "Chasing Windmills" in this episode, so check it out to see what song I picked.

Just click the link above and it'll bring you to the blog where you can leave a comment, find contact details, and listen to this episode! (Turns out, there is a bit of trouble with the playback at the moment...but I got this link from Adele and it worked for me, so let me know!)

http://www.mypodcast.com/fsaudio/thereadcarpet_20090217_1704-383507.mp3

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fade by Lisa McMann (FAN GUSHING!)


Fade by Lisa McMann
Review by Lauren

Janie, Cabel, and the Captain are back solving crimes in this sequel to the bestseller Wake. Cabel is used to going undercover to seek out the truth, but with Janie on board with her skill of jumping into people’s dreams, he’s not so sure how he feels about any of it anymore. Janie is his. Janie is safe. But what if she isn’t? What if the sexual predator they are trying to find among the teachers hurts Janie in their effort to save the school?

Though it is already being said all over the web, Fade is definitely a superb novel that outshines Wake. The first in any series is always the set-up of a story, and Wake was definitely a lot more then that, but Fade takes off from there and makes the reader beg for the third and final book to be in stores at the moment they turn the final page.

Fade is definitely creepier and more suspenseful, the romance has been taken up a notch as Janie and Cabel grow up and grow closer, and the writing is still just as fresh, realistic, and fast-paced as its predecessor. If you’ve yet to read Wake, all I can ask is “what are you waiting for?” and if you’ve gotten through that and don’t have Fade yet, “get to the store…pronto!”

This is definitely a great series that feels real and keeps you reading. I’m just sad that the next novel, Gone, will be the final journey in Janie’s story. After all, you learn so much about Janie and her abilities in Fade, it’s hard to imagine it all coming to an end in the next novel, but I’m definitely anticipating its release a year from now! Really, that’s my only complaint….why can’t I have it now?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Danielle Joseph WINNERS + Next Month?

congrats Pictures, Images and Photos
The winners of the Danielle Jospeh "small, purple items" prize packs are:

Word Freak
and
Steph Su

I emailed you both, so please get in touch ASAP.

Now, I know I was supposed to say what was IN them already, but I wanted to add some more items....however, this is what they contain:

-Purple lip gloss
-Mascara in a purple container
-Little notebooks with the Shrinking Violet written on it in....guess what? Purple!
~All from Danielle

-Purple lotion
-Purple lip gloss in containers shaped like candy
-Purple magnets with fun sayings
~All from Me


I was ALSO supposed to announce that next month's (March) Danielle Joseph contest will involve an ARC of Shrinking Violet, so check back for more!! And don't forget...the book is out on May 5. Write it down!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read



Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read
By: William Rabkin
Review by: Lauren


A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read is a tie-in to the hit show. Starting out with the usual flashback to Shawn and Gus as children, it shows the message that will weave throughout the rest of the book. This time, it’s the fact that Shawn is always taking advantage of Gus.

Back in the present, the two friends have a very very short time to prove that their client Veronica Mason is in fact innocent of the murder she is being accused of. Their time fighting for her leads to Gus’ car being towed (which is all Shawn’s fault of course) and bringing them to the scene of their next case, which would be just fine if only people weren’t suspecting them of murder.

Not only that, but Shawn and Gus have a new “partner” who believes that Shawn is sending her orders through their psychic link, an old classmate has shown up and for some reason wants Shawn’s help with a hundred thousand dollars, and beyond all that, Shawn’s father Henry is scrapbooking!

Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read is a great addition to the series for those fans that want a longer mystery with just as much humor as the show provides! After all, Rabkin has written for the show himself and takes precaution to make sure the characters and tales stay true to their TV counterparts.

I found this to be a very intriguing story that had me guessing and laughing the entire time. I can’t wait to read more about Shawn and Gus!


“Are you expecting that she should somehow do something about the problem in the past? Because that would risk bringing up the whole time-travel paradox thing. We start out trying to change the pickle count on a cheeseburger, and before we know it, I’ve killed my own grandfather, the Nazis won World War II, and there’s a dinosaur in the White House.”
-Shawn

To understand the meaning behind this quote, read the book. :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro


The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
Review by: Lauren


Parker’s world is falling apart: she’s a Junior on JV soccer who was left behind by her friends for Varsity, said friends are refusing to speak too her and are resorting to public humiliation until Parker is no longer on JV, and to make it to varsity, she has come up with a plan that involves kissing lessons with the freshmen boy across the street whose father is in a feud with her dad.

The novel is a short, fun read about a girl who will go to desperate measures to get the life she loves back. I wasn’t a huge fan of Parker most of the time, as she was pretty selfish and only worried about achieving what she cared about. However, she did grow as a person throughout and began to make better decisions. Tristan, the freshmen, was very sweet and mature and along with Parker’s ex-BFF Becca, taught Parker a lot about life and love.

One of the exciting things about the book is that all the chapters begin with a letter of the alphabet and some type of tip on kissing. The last chapter’s title made me chuckle a bit and that could be because I’m easily amused, but still…it’s worth a look (and no, it’s not Z). My absolute favorite letter was G though, and instead of making you wonder, here you go:

Graduation: For many girls, great kissing is a diploma in itself; for many guys, it’s a prerequisite to a bigger course of study.

Links Links: Marvin Gaye Meet The Lonely Island

links Pictures, Images and Photos

It's the 50th Anniversary of Motown and Amazon is showing their appreciation by putting up Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" for free. However, it's only TODAY, so ACT FAST!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001NTNJD2/ref=dm_dp_trk1


The Lonely Island, by the way (in case you've missed me blathering about it in the past) is a comedy/music group of three people who work with SNL, including cast member Andy Samberg.

http://tinyurl.com/INCREDIBADiTunesBuyLink

Buy the album now so you have something new for your IPod! :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Interview: Neesha Meminger

Interview with: Neesha Meminger
By: Lauren

Neesha Meminger's YA novel Shine, Coconut Moon will be released in March.

1. How did you first come up with the idea for Shine, Coconut Moon? Did it come to you around 9/11 or awhile afterwards?
The original story for Shine had no references to 9/11, actually. The little "nugget" this story stemmed from was a love letter to my daughter and to my mother. My daughter is biracial and I wanted to see the world through her eyes. My mother is a very traditional Indian woman from
a village in rural Punjab where she grew up with no running water or electricity. It's a real trip to watch the the two of them interact; there are moments of misunderstanding where they both walk away thinking they understood the conversation completely--but when you ask them about it later, you get two completely different conversations. And there are moments of complete magic where they both understand the other absolutely with very little use of words.
Of course, things changed, and many revisions later, Sammy lost her biracial identity and the 9/11 thread was woven through. I maintained the heart of the story, which for me was about the rifts and connections between these three generations of Indian, Sikh women.

It was a very interesting process and I'm thrilled with the result.

2. Having the same type of background as your main character Sammy, did you experience any of the hardships she went through in any way? What would you say to others who might be looked down on for where they come from?

A year or two after we movied to Canada from India, the Sikh Temple next d oor to where we lived was set on fire. I was six or seven years old at the time and didn't understnad what was happening and why. But the words painted on the side of the flaming building immediately seared themselves into my memory. Other than that, my experiences and Sammy's are very different. Sammy is far more confident than I ever was. And I was far more rebellious than Sammy is ;).

I always felt more "unseen" than looked down upon. I thought that if people could look beyond the outer, they would find that there were more similiarties--that we were really more alike than different. But I cherished the differences, too, because those were what made me, and everyone I met, special and unique.

I think the world is rapidly changing. There is the simple truth that, really, we all are the same. We are little beings inhabiting this planet at the same time, relying on the climate and the physics of it all to stay in balance so that we can survie. And that fine universal balance pays no attention to how light or dark we are, who we choose to love, where we live, what kind of car we drive . . . I sort of see it like the Titanic (though I hope our beautiful little planet never meets the same fate!)--if this ship goes down, we all do, regardless of all the meaningless divisions we cling too.

3. Did you always want to write and publish a book? How has the experience been for you so far?

Hmm. I don't know if I always wanted to publish a book. I know I always loved books. Like most writers, I devoured books. And I wrote all the time without thinking about it. Language for me was like breathing. I had to learn a second language quickly, to survive. I watched my parents struggle with simply daily tasks because they didn't speak English. They were intelligent, articulate, strong people who were reduced to stuttering child-speak when using English words. It was a profound lesson about the power of language and words for me, at a very young age.

4. Are you currently working on anything else? Do you hope for it to be published as well?

My second novel, Jazz in Love, is currently under consideration, and I'm working on my third.

5. I have to say that I love the title of your novel. What specifically does it mean? How did you come up with the title (any stories)?
Thank you! I love it, too. And, actually, it almost didn't stay. Once it was acquired there was doubt about the title, but it slowly petered off. I'm happy they decided not to change it. There's a scene in the novel where Sammy's Uncle explains how the moon absorbs the sun's rays throughout the day so that it can shine at night. He goes on to say that children are like that, too: absorbing "rays"--views, beliefs, biases, etc.--from the adults around them and shining them back out into the world.

And since Sammy struggles with being called a Coconut (Brown on the outside, Bland and colorless--or white, depending on how you see a coconut--on the inside), I thought the analogoy was perfect as a title. I wanted her to shine, in response to the rays she was recieving from the world at large.

6. Thanks for answering our questions! Anything else you wish to add?

Thank you for the great questions :).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Entertainment Weekly: Loving Lost

Entertainment Weekly: Loving Lost
Review by: Lauren

This review is rather long, for Entertainment Weekly is filled with a variety of information. Feel free to skim if it’s too long for you! Please leave your thoughts in the comment box, and remember: pick up a copy!

This week’s issue has a main feature about the show Lost, with Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly. Now, I’ve never watched the show (yeah yeah I know) so I didn’t read this article. However, if you are a fan of the show, I’d give it a glance and see if you might be interested.

When I open a new issue of EW, the first thing I read a lot of the time is the First Look section, which shows off a few pictures with a quote from someone involved in that particular project. This time I got to hear a bit about I Love you, Man which comes out March 20. I can’t wait! I also found out for the first time that Degrassi is filming a TV movie that features some alums of the show such as Ellie and Craig. The coolest part, though, is that Fall Out Boy’s Pete and Hey Monday’s Cassadee guest star.

In the top 10 Must List, I realized that I need to check out This is For You by Rob Ryan. I’d never heard of it, but it has as sweet cover and it seems interesting.

While reading News&Notes, you get a rehash on the big stories this week, like Christian Bale’s rant (which I find funny) and Michael Phelps smoking pot. When I first heard about the pot thing, I was talking to my sister and went “Who the hell cares?” and she’s all “Well, it’s illegal…” prompting my response “Oh yeah….” I guess it’s just one of those things you hear about so much it doesn’t really phase me (though I never would).

Going GaGa gets into the head of Lady GaGa and her catchy music. I found this interesting to read as I love her song “Just Dance.” I’m curious to see what I’ll think of the rest of her tracks.

Hitting the movie reviews, you get the low-down on what Lisa Schwarzbaum thought of Coraline as well as a short Q&A with director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas). The review was very nice and just proved to me that I really must see this film ASAP (though I still go by the rule that “the reviews are just our views” so I’d want to see it regardless). And can I just ask…was I the only one who didn’t realize Coraline was voiced by Dakota Fanning until really recently?

For TV, they spotlight the new show Dollhouse which will be on this Friday at 9 P.M. on Fox. I think it sounds like a really intriguing idea and would love to watch the show, but I’m afraid the 9 time means I’ll miss it every week as I go to an international film class with my sister every Friday evening. I’d say check it out though!!

When it comes to music, you get a rather long article on Lily Allen’s new album “It’s Not Me, It’s You.” I’ve heard some previous songs by Allen and I love her quirky nature and sweet voice while singing about all types of topics. I think this album sounds pretty good though and might have to look into picking it up at some point.

Entertainment Weekly also includes a look at The Lonely Island (starring Andy Samberg’s) debut album. The “article” of sorts lists five songs from the album with the guys’ notes on what you can expect. I’d love to have this!

For fans of Paul McCartney, there is also a short Q&A to read that I did find enjoyable and slightly humorous (on a different Paul note….did you see him on the Colbert Show? So hilarious! “Is there any chance I’m the fifth beatle?”).

Now, to end this review, I have to mention the Book section. Seriously, it would be a dream come true for me if I could ever write a review for EW. I just think it would amazing to see! The first and main review is by Tina Jordan for the nonfiction book The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood. The title sounds familiar, but I’m not sure from where….regardless, I want this book now! It sounds great and intriguing, giving a scientific look into why certain people survive certain accidents and more.

There is also a short feature on the life and works of John Updike, who passed away recently. I am now even more interested in reading the books Updike wrote about the character Rabbit Angstrom.

The book section finishes off with four more reviews and I found that Waiting for the Apocalypse by Veronice Chater sounds interesting and amusing and Dream House by Valerie Laken sounds creepy, but one that I would love to try out.

If any of this sounds good to you, please pick up a copy of this week’s EW to find out more about the articles and reviews I mentioned as well as more that I did not.


Win-It-Wednesday EDIT!

Carrie’s YA Bookshelf is having her first ever contest!

Cheryl’s Book Nook has a big Valentine’s giveaway.

Sigh. There were more, but it's being dumb and not working, so here are these!


Author Gena Showalter is asking people to spread the word about her new novel The Vampire’s Bride.

The Tiny Jewel Box is giving away an Amazon card.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: Bones of Faerie

Bones of Faerie Pictures, Images and Photos
Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
Review by: Lauren

Bones of Faerie starts out with Liza sneaking off to find the broken and bloodied bones of her baby sister where her father had left her for the faeries. After this amazing and shocking start to the story (and as Jane Yolen said “This book has one of the best first chapters I know”), you are thrown into a story about right and wrong, good and bad, all mixed in a highly intriguing story about faeries.

Though her father who beats her when she fails to be perfect and her mother has suddenly disappeared, Liza only takes off because she feels the magic that resulted in her sister’s death is taking root in her as well. She doesn’t get far, however, before Matthew shows up insisting that he won’t leave her alone in the forest.

Matthew and Liza’s journey picks up at this point as they begin the trek through the woods they’d always been told to stay away from after dark. They find their way to a town that instead of shunning magic is learning to control and embrace it. As Liza learns more about her missing mother, she begins a new trip in search of her with Matthew and a girl named Allie, who has the gift of a healer.

Bones of Faerie is, I believe, the first faerie story that I have read and it was definitely interesting. I love the messages behind the story and how all the characters grew in so many ways. I think the main thing I loved overall is the idea that you should learn to love yourself and all the parts that make you, you.

A fast read!

Interview with Justin Chon + Contest!


Interview with: Justin Chon
Questions by: Lauren
http://www.justinchon.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1kqcuDKqr8
(Here is the film's trailer)

You might recognize Justin Chon from the film version of Twilight, as he played human Eric Yorkie. However, on March 13, you can catch him in the movie Crossing Over. Justin was kind enough to fit our questions into his busy schedule so that you could learn more about this film, which looks incredible.

1. Crossing Over deals with the immigration into American society for those wishing to become legal citizens. What exactly can viewers expect to witness or come away with while watching this movie?



Audiences of "Crossing Over" can expect to be extremely surprised at how hard it is to immigrate to this country. They will be able to witness the many hardships one goes through when trying to become a citizen of the US and how fortunate we are to live here legally. The film follows a number of characters from different countries and tells each of their stories.





2. For a movie that seems to deal with a lot of different people, who exactly is your character? Will you be in the film throughout it or simply at a certain point?




My character is present throughout the film. My character's name is Yong Kim. He is a Korean immigrant who is trying to adjust to his new surroundings in Los Angeles. Yong ends up getting mixed up with the wrong crowd and comes to many life changing realizations in this film.

3. When you heard about this role, what were the main reasons you wished to be a part of this?




When I read the script, I really wanted to be a part of this story. Although I was born here, my parents were immigrants to this country. My closeness to them and to many of my family friends who are immigrants made me realize that I could offer a true and honest depiction of this experience. I knew I could do the role justice and contribute certain true qualities and acting abilities.

4. Have you been able to see the final version yet? If so, what did you think? If not, what are you most excited to see?




No, I have not been able to see the final version yet because I was in Korea while most of the industry screenings were taking place. My agent and publicist saw the film and they really liked it. I am so excited to see the film as a whole. I can't wait to see how the film impacts me as a viewer and not as an actor.

5. Finally, if you had to promote this movie in one sentence, giving everyone a good reason to see it, what would you say?
If I had to promote this film in one sentence it would be...This film is about tolerance, compassion and love.


Contest!


How to enter? Leave a comment about this interview and/or the movie. Do you want to see it? Had you heard about it before?




Prize (5 winners!): An Autographed Photo of Justin Chon, from him to you!




Deadline: Saturday, February 28 is the LAST day you can enter.




Open too: Everyone (pictures are easy for to send, so this will be an International Contest!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I NEED These In My Life!!!

Normally I post these kind of things on Wednesday, but I missed this past Wednesday and am too impatient to wait until this Wednesday. So there for, you are getting this now!

These are three books (one out and two coming soon) that I really really want, so basically "they must be in my life."

It's Complicated: The American Teenager
By: Robin Bowman

Photobucket

Robin Bowman’s five-year journey into the heart of teenage America created a series of 414 “collaborative portraits,” wherein she shares her discoveries of a generation now coming of age. In searing and intimate photographs, presented alongside the young people’s voices of passion, pride, embarrassment, lust, pain, bewilderment, anxiety, joy, uncertainty, and rage, the book charts the coming of age of the largest generation in America—77 million strong—in every region of the country and every socioeconomic group: from a Texas debutante to teenage gang members in New York City, from a drag queen in Georgia to a coal miner in West Virginia.

Bowman’s intimate photographs ask us to reconcile preconceived ideas and stereotypes of teenagers with the diversity of individuals in the portraits. This book and the traveling exhibition it accompanies are about the inside lives of these kids and how they see their reality in their own voices.

I think this book sounds amazing and I love the idea that it's trying to break down stereotypes and show that what you believe about a person isn't necessarily the truth. Looks can be decieving after all.

Photobucket
The Vast Fields of Ordinary
By: Nick Burd

It’s Dade’s last summer at home. He has a crappy job at Food World, a “boyfriend” who won’t publicly acknowledge his existence (maybe because Pablo also has a girlfriend), and parents on the verge of a divorce. College is Dade’s shining beacon of possibility, a horizon to keep him from floating away.

Then he meets the mysterious Alex Kincaid. Falling in real love finally lets Dade come out of the closet—and, ironically, ignites a ruthless passion in Pablo. But just when true happiness has set in, tragedy shatters the dreamy curtain of summer, and Dade will use every ounce of strength he’s gained to break from his past and start fresh with the future.

I first heard about this on The Story Siren's blog and I instantly fell in l0ve. I really like the premise and the cover is pretty cool as well. And guess what? It comes out in May! It would totally fit my Birthday celebration!!! :-)

Photobucket
The Reformed Vampire Support Group
By: Catherine Jinks

Think vampires are romantic, sexy, and powerful? Think again. Vampires are dead. And unless they want to end up staked, they have to give up fanging people, admit their addiction, join a support group, and reform themselves.Nina Harrison, fanged at fifteen and still living with her mother, hates the Reformed Vampire Support Group meetings every Tuesday night.

Even if she does appreciate Dave, who was in a punk band when he was alive, nothing exciting ever happens. That is, until one of group members is mysteriously destroyed by a silver bullet. With Nina (determined to prove that vamps aren't useless or weak) and Dave (secretly in love with Nina) at the helm, the misfit vampires soon band together to track down the hunter, save a werewolf, and keep the world safe from the likes of themselves.The perfect anecdote to slick vampire novels, this murder-mystery comedy of errors will thrill fans of Evil Genius.

I love vampire novels, so that's a plus towards this already, but I also really love that Jinks has taken an insanely growing genre and made her own, unique story. I love it and it sounds hilarious, which is awesome!! I've never read anything by Catherine Jinks (so far) but I definitely think I'll start with this one. It comes out in April 09.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli


Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
Review by: Lauren
http://www.harryahistory.com/

Harry, a History is Melissa's, the webmistress of The Leaky Caudron, story. It's not just hers however. It's ours: the ones who read the books, see the movies, make bands based on the world of Harry Potter, and more. Throughout this book, you learn more about Melissa and how she became a part of the The Leaky Cauldron, which led her to meeting Jamie Waylett (Crabbe), Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and even J.K. Rowling herself, just to name a few. This regular girl from New York began like most of us did: she read a book and fell in love. With that love, she began to research and write about Harry Potter, eventually becoming a central figure in the world of all things HP.

As a fan of Harry Potter, from the age of 8 to 18, I was very excited to read this novel that gave words to the life that many of us have been living. I never formed my own band nor did I start a Harry Potter website, but I could relate to a lot of the pheneomenon from the books to the movies (and I love both!), to reading and even writing fan fiction, to listening and rocking out to Wizard Rock, and above all, being a part of this huge fandom. My sister and I always say how it's great to have lived through the "Harry Potter years". As we get older, those that read the books for the first time will have them all laid out on a shelf. They won't know the thrill of waiting and guessing! And yes, it was a thrill. It was fun and exciting, and Melissa does a great job writing this all out for those of us that get it and for those that have yet have too understand.

Harry, a History is a must-read for any Harry Potter fan, of course, but it's also a great look into a world that maybe you weren't taking part in. Though all seven books are now out, Harry Potter hasn't died out and everyone is welcome to join in the celebration with others of different ages, races, and languages. It's a world-wide event, so have fun!

Recommended? HELL YES!

And guess what? J.K. Rowling likes the book as well! In fact, as the book cover above states, she wrote the foreword. I don't know anyone better to put their stamp of approval on this novel. :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

May: What's Coming Out? Do You Have a Release?

may Pictures, Images and Photos

Well, my Birthday is in May and it seems to be a blogger tradition to do SOMETHING different to celebrate. My plan is to promote new releases. I already have a lot of authors on board with some really awesome ideas in the works! However, I'd love to include more authors if they wish to be a part of this and their book comes out in May (of course!), and I'd also like to do some stuff on music, movies, etc. since Shooting Stars is all about EVERYTHING entertainment so if you know of anything that comes out in the month of May please let me know in the comments...and if it's something of YOURS that comes out in May, you can comment and/or email me: Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Thank you very much and please leave your ideas!
~Lauren

Guest Blog: Jessica Burkhart

Take the Reins Pictures, Images and Photos

Jessica's Blog

The oh-so-awesome Lauren has generously opened her blog to me! Yay! *guest blog dance* So, I thought I’d offer up five tips to young writers. They’re tips I could have used when I was a teen. Hopefully, they’ll be somewhat helpful! :)

5 Tips for Teen Writers

1.You are never too young to get published.

It’s true! There’s actually a Website dedicated to published authors who are all under 25. Check it out here: http://www.geocities.com/youngadultwriters/. Visit the individual author Websites to learn how they got started.

Age doesn’t matter in this business. It’s up to you whether or not your age is revealed in your query letter. Keep it to yourself if you worry no one will take you seriously. Or, use it and prove to editors and agents that yes, you’re young, but you’re also serious and dedicated to your craft.

2. Take writing classes.

You mean…classes outside of school? Yes. :) But fun ones! Sign up for a fiction technique class at your local community college. Or, look for courses taught online. You’ll find a writing class on almost any topic—romance, fantasy, screenwriting, magazine writing. Try one and learn from it. You’ll grow as a writer and it will help build your portfolio.

3. Learn to take criticism.

That part isn’t much fun, but it’s true. If you get a rejection letter from an editor who took his/her time to give you feedback on your work, then apply it. Don’t tear up the letter, stomp on it and scream, “Why are you trying to destroy me, editor?!” (Not that *I* ever did that. ;) Okay, okay. There was there ONE time…)

Editors are busy people and they know what they’re talking about. They don’t make suggestions to hurt people’s feelings and it’s not personal. Take the direction and rework your manuscript. Save your old draft and compare it to your new one. Now what do you think about the changes?

4. Study the market.

If you want to write for magazines—read a TON of current issues. Then read the old ones. Know what’s been covered and understand what the magazine publishes. Editors know when you’ve read back issues. They just do—it’s a super power.

If you’re writing a book, read current novels in your genre. Then expand into another area. Read as much as you can to familiarize yourself with what’s being published. But never feel as if you have to follow trends. In fact, DON’T. Write what you want!

5. Enjoy it!
Sure, every time you write isn’t going to be fun. But don’t torture yourself while trying to write the Great American Novel. Write where you’re happy—on the porch, with your cat on your lap or on the couch with the TV on. Reward yourself for finishing the latest draft. Enjoy your characters and embrace your story. If YOU don’t enjoy your own book, will anyone else?



~~~~~~
Thank you so much for doing a guest blog at Shooting Stars, Jessica! I think these are amazing tips and I'll try and follow the ones that I can. :-) Jessica's first book in the Canterwood Crest series, Take the Reins, is out now so go and pick up a copy!
-Lauren

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Zomo Review: Second Part of Contest!



Zomo Album Reviews: For the Muses and Triangle of Drunk
By: Lauren


For those that entered the contest to win these albums by commenting on the interview, don't forget to also comment on this review for another shot at winning. The contest ends this Saturday! Thanks!

A lot of the songs on For the Muses are longer, around six minutes for the most part. The songs go back and forth between soft and relaxing to more up-tempo and emotional.
I do like the lyrics, which is good because that’s a huge part of music for me at times.
The vocals aren’t that bad. Sometimes it’s a bit rough, but gets better in other songs such as “Harvey Wallbanger” which is actually one of my favorites on the album. It starts off slow, but begins to pick up speed a little way in. I especially love the chorus. Another song on the album is “All My Love” which I enjoyed more as it went on. The drums are a bit different, but cool for the song. Finally, I’ll leave off with the first song of the album, “I Am a Rock” which has good music and is very catchy.

Their next album is Triangle of Drunk which I did enjoy for the most part, though I wasn’t a complete fan of a few songs near the beginning such as “Never Trust A Car Salesman with a Cowboy Hat.” However, “This is My Life in an A-Frame House” had a very unique sound making me think of older 80’s type music, though of course, that’s just my interpretation and thoughts while listening. In the middle of the album, you come to a song titled “Black Little Face” which has a calm and slow feel. I liked it a lot!

Overall, I think Zomo is a different and interesting sound. I love the variety of music and lyrics, showcasing their various interests and talent. I’m sure that most people will find something to enjoy on either of these albums.

Interview: Danielle Joseph + Contest!!


Interview with Danielle Joseph
Questions by: Lauren

If you click the picture, it should take you to Danielle's website!

Shrinking Violet is the story of a high school girl who is very shy. However, she soons finds herself working at a radio station and must overcome this. As a pretty shy person, as well as a huge lover of music, this book definitely jumped out to me and I really wanted to help Danielle spread the word. Here is the following interview, as well as a fun little contest. Shrinking Violet is due out on May 5, exactly 3 months from now.

1. I'm always curious about the story behind books' titles. Is there a particular story behind the decision to use Shrinking Violet?

The original title for the book was Dead Air, which comes from the radio term meaning unintended complete silence during a broadcast. My editor asked me to change the title because it sounded too much like a murder mystery and I agreed. We went through a bunch of titles and she eventually came up with Shrinking Violet. I immediately fell in love with the title because Tere is a shy, modest person--a shrinking violet.

2. Since the book is about a shy girl getting a job at a radio station,
what is some of your favorite music?


I love a wide range of music, everything from alternative rock, hip hop, reggae, jazz, world music to pop. One of my all time favorite artists is Bob Marley. And of course if you check out the playlist on my web site, you can hear some of the songs I listened to while writing Shrinking Violet.

3. Were you as shy as your character in High School?

I was shy growing up but not as shy as Tere. I had a great bunch of friends that I could really be myself around. But it wasn't until I went to college that I was more comfortable speaking in big groups.

4. I love the cover of your book. Did you have any input on this? What are
your final thoughts about it?


Thanks! I was really happy when I saw the cover, but I did not have any input in the process. Luckily MTV has a great group of people that chose to use the girl on the cover and the fact that she is peeking out from her sweater is perfect representation of Tere.

5. Personally, how will you celebrate the release of your book on May
5?


I will probably celebrate with chocolate because there is always an occasion for chocolate:)! Then I am having a big book signing party at Books & Books in Miami, FL on May 9 and another book signing party at the Wellesley Booksmith in Wellesley, MA on May 14. Those are two of my favorite independent bookstores. For those in the area of Miami or Boston, I will post the information on my web site so you can come and join me.


Contest:

Details: To enter this contest, you must comment on this interview. If you would like another entry, please post about the contest/Danielle/the book/etc somewhere on your blog or myspace and leave a link in ANOTHER comment!

Eligibile: Everyone. I want to promote this book as much as I can, so I'm going to open it up to International readers as well.

Winners: There will be two winners!!

Prize: Two small prize packs that suit the books' title, Shrinking Violet. Each pack will have small (shrinking) purple (violet) items. Each bag might not exactly match, but that's okay. I'll try and post the full list of prizes once I completely collect Danielle's and my contributions. Keep a look out!

Deadline: Saturday, February 14 (Valentine's Day!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February Blogger Picks!

Alright...for the February Bloggers of the Month (as I'm calling it) we have Kristi, or The Story Siren, as you all know. I sent off an email to see if she wants certain people to send stuff to her or if she doesn't mind anyone having her address. So for now, if you have her address, I'm sure you can go ahead and send something...but if you don't, get in touch with me and I'll let you know how are going about this with her. If you want to email her a letter this month, that works too!

Now, for the other blogger it was a tie between Carol and Chelsea. I finally decided that we should go with Chelsea, because people mentioned that Carol had a birthday in March and we'll just make her the automatic first choice for next month so it's a mix of a birthday gift as well. I hope nobody is upset by this.

So, there you are: The Story Siren (Kristi) and The Page Flipper (Chelsea). Same rules apply to Chelsea...I'll go and write her now, but if you want to send something, get in touch with me first. ANYONE can do this. Authors, bloggers, etc. It doesn't matter. If you wouldn't mind, post about the picks so that others can see and be involved if they wish!

Thanks for all the enthusiasm!

Teen Vogue Review: March 09 (Taylor Swift)

Taylor Swift Pictures, Images and Photos
Teen Vogue: March 2009
Review by: Lauren

Website

I apologize for not doing a review of Entertainment Weekly last week, but I did get my new issue of Teen Vogue in the mail and decided to post that this week. The issue is for March, but of course, should be on stands now as it is February!

Teen Vogue: March 2009

The March issue of Teen Vogue features singer/songwriter Taylor Swift as its cover girl. Her article Swift Ascent is a two-page spread that digs into Taylor’s love of country, what it feels like to see the girls who were mean to you in the past, and even if acting could be a part of Taylor’s future. Overall, the story is short and simple, but still fun and interesting to anyone who is a fan of Taylor.

Also included is a short interview/article with the up-and-coming teen sensation Demi Lovato. If you’re a fan of Demi’s it might be good to check this out because you’ll learn a bit about her new movie due out this summer as well as learning the name of her co-star. The main thing that I enjoyed learning about Demi is how her and fellow Disney star met, Selena Gomez, met and became best friends. I won’t tell though!

In the Music section, you can find a review of The Fray’s new album. I’m not sure if this is one that I’ll pick up at all or not, since I have their first one but don’t really listen too it. I do, however, love the new single “You Found Me.” Very catchy!

As for Movies, Teen Vogue focuses on three upcoming films such as Push. Again, I don’t know if this will be a film I see or not. I think I might get dragged along by my sister however, although I am a fan of Dakota Fanning’s so that should be cool to see her all grown up.

The main part of this magazine features an A-Z guide on all the fashion tips you should know about for Spring. Personally, I was interested in all things Japan and the Liberty belle dress (So cute!) To find out more, you’ll have to pick up a copy and check it out yourself!

I also highly enjoyed the article by author Sloane Crosley, Under the Influence, which was all about friends and parents that clash. I personally believe that you are not your friends. I can understand that parents will be worried if you start acting differently, and not in a good way, but a lot of times your friends don’t change you. I know I have many people in my life who do things that I don’t agree with, but that doesn’t mean I start doing them too or love them any less. Everyone is different, and as long as you are friends with a person for the right reason, I feel that’s all that matters.

I think I should probably mention the article and very cute photo of Gossip Girl’s own Chuck, Ed Westwick. Now, I’ve never watched the show, but I must admit that Ed is definitely as cute as everyone is saying. It was a short, nice article about love and his new film S. Darko.

Now, one of my favorite parts of this whole issue was Key Players. As a blogger myself, it was great to see a magazine talking to others who blog themselves. These, however, are not about reading, music, or even movies but rather the love of fashion. I’m not the biggest fashionista around, but I still think that these bloggers are great and it was a lot of fun to get inside their heads for a bit. After all, it doesn’t matter what you are talking about, I still believe all bloggers are the same.

Finally, I’ll give a nod to the last page of the issue which features Greta Bellamacina. Not only do I think her style is fun and quirky, I was also pleased to find out that she will be in the next Harry Potter film. As who, you ask? Again, I can’t say….pick up a copy!

Overall, this was a pretty good issue. I knew who a lot of the articles were about, therefore it was much more interesting then if not. I only wish that Teen Vogue focused more on books!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Harry Potter Week: Wizard Rockumentary Interview

wizard rockumentary :} Pictures, Images and Photos

Interview with the girls behind Wizard Rockumentary, Megan and Mallory.
Questions by: Lauren
The Website


The girls were kind enough to answer some questions about themselves and the project that ultimately became the Wizard Rockumentary DVD for our Harry Potter week. To find out about the contest, read to the bottom of this interview and the details will be there! Thanks so much to everyone that is bidding on the book marked up by Paul (mostly) of Harry and the Potters and for Melissa at The Leaky Cauldron for being kind enough to make a post about it! Now, without further ado, I present to you Megan and Mallory!

1. How did you first become a fan of Wizard Rock?

We actually became fans of Harry Potter pretty late in the game. I think we were about 16 when we first picked up the books (Goblet of Fire was already out), but we quickly became hooked. I would go as far as to say that Mallory became obsessed.

So three years later, in July 2004, when we were home from college on break, we couldn't resist attending a concert heralded in our local paper. It was Harry and the Potters, coming through Olympia as part of their first national tour. They played in what was essentially a garage in the middle of downtown, crammed to the gills with enthusiastic Harry Potter fans such as ourselves! It was incredible, and we were hooked! We bought t-shirts, and both of their CDs at the time, brought them back to college with us, and began spreading the word. It wasn't until we got suckered into joined MySpace over a year later, that Mallory discovered there were other wizard rock bands out there. The crazy scheme for the
documentary grew rather quickly and recklessly from there.

2. What made you decide to chronicle the fandom of Wizard Rock?

We saw it as a unique, fun, and inspiring phenomenon, that at the time wasn't very well known. We knew other Harry Potter fans would enjoy it as much as we had, but aside from that, we felt it was a story that should be shared with a larger audience: the positivity and friendship of the community, the Do-It-Yourself attitudes of the bands, the love and exploration of the books, and also the social consciousness of so many involved, who worked to raise money for literacy organizations and other causes. The more we immersed ourselves in the community, the more adamantly we knew that this story needed to be shared with a larger audience and at a greater depth. We are so grateful that we made that initial leap in deciding to make this film, because it has been life-changing.

3. When people watch the DVD, what are some things they can expect to see?

Viewers can expect to see the dynamic story of a quirky yet inspiring movement called "Wizard Rock." The film begins in early 2006, when only about 30 bands existed, living primarily through MySpace. From there, we follow the progression of the movement from obscurity through international media coverage, rejected record deals, and through the end of the beloved Harry Potter series to answer the question: Where does the fandom go from here? After the release of Deathly Hallows, the movement had grown to over 450 bands, and it hasn't stopped since.

In the film, we touch upon about two dozen bands of varying ages and backgrounds, and from all over the country, though our "main characters" if you can call them that were Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, the Remus Lupins, and Switchblade Kittens. Other favorites are the Whomping Willows, the Moaning Myrtles, the Hermione Crookshanks Experience, the Parselmouths, Snidget, Ron and Weasleys, and many others. There are many wonderful moments, some at shows with a thousand screaming fans, some casually recorded in a band's living room. It was important to us to also bring viewers into the Harry Potter fandom at large, so we shot at two Harry Potter symposiums. You'll get to meet webmasters and podcasters, fan fiction writers and fan artists, academics and authors, readers and role players. It's a blast!

4. I really love the cover of the DVD. Who designed it?

Everything you see about the documentary has been made by Mallory and/or me, as we are literally a team of two. Producing, shooting, interviewing, editing, everything! Mallory designed the DVD packaging, as well as our t-shirts, and most of the website. The collage on the front was made from photos she took while we were in production. She also coined the phrase "Rocking and Rowling," which I think is brilliant!

5.What has been the feedback thus far about the DVD? Have any of the Wizard Rock bands seen it yet?

We've had the great pleasure of sharing the film over the past year at symposiums, conventions, theaters and libraries scattered around in over a dozen states. Our favorite opportunity, I think, was the symposiums: Portus, in Dallas, and Terminus, in Chicago. Being able to share the film with the Harry Potter fans that lived through the movement with us during the two years of production was so rewarding! To hear them laugh at the right parts, sing along during their favorite wizard rock songs, and towards the end, to have so many of them turn to tears was an incredible experience! Not that I'd ever want to make anyone cry, but it was from strong memories and emotions, and the fact that the film captured that for so many people has been our greatest thrill.

As for the bands, one of the moments that had the greatest impact on me was at Terminus, following the main screening. Paul from Harry and the Potters and Brian from Draco and the Malfoys both had just seen it for the first time, and they came up to Mallory and me with tears in their eyes, and gave us great big hugs, some of the warmest hugs in my life! The reactions all the way around have been wonderfully positive. We've had more than a few playful nudges for a sequel, since the community has changed so much this past year. The fact that people are connecting with it, and that the fans involved feel that it represents their experiences and memories, to me that is a successful movie.

6. What is your personal favorite Wizard Rock band?

We can never answer this question, because we have no answer! There are too many great bands that we love, and we admire all of the bands for having the gumption to become involved. We didn't just make this movie because it is a great story (which it is), but because we love the music and what it represents. And it will always be extremely important to us.

7. Any plans for future projects?

Absolutely! This was our first feature-length documentary, but it won't be my last. For now, I am focusing on some shorter works, including some new wizard rock music videos in development, as well as trying to keep up with the work of distributing The Wizard Rockumentary. Mallory and I both have full-time jobs, and it was a blessing and a ton of hard work to be able to complete this project in the limited time left over after the 8 to 5. But there will be another feature in my future, though it will have its work cut out for it to live up to the amazing experience of this one!


CONTEST:

The girls have kindly donated 10 "Rockumentary Admit 1" buttons to give away. How do you win one however?

You must answer the following question (EMAIL ME IT WITH THE SUBJECT "Wizard"):

Q: What was the first Wizard Rock song ever recorded?

Contest Ends:
Tuesday February 10 (a week from now!)

Open too: Everyone!

Remember, please email me your answers so that it isn't ruined in the comment section(Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com). As for the comments, definitely leave your thoughts on the interview, the DVD, Wizard Wrock, the auctions, and anything else you want to say about Harry and the crazy, but amazing fanbase!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Emma Winner + Vote for February Bloggers!

First off, the winner of What Would Emma Do? is Genevieve! Get in touch with your info and I can send that off to Eileen for you! Thanks to everyone who entered. One last New Year interview below (Janni Lee Simner), so comment away! And don't forget to pick up a copy of all the new books you are DYING to read! :-)

Now...I figured out how many nominations each person got for the Celebrate a Blogger. Kristi or The Story Siren had the most with 7 so she is automatically the first pick for February. Now, the second winner has 6...but there are three of them, so you need to vote and whoever gets the most wins! You can always email me your picks as well if you like!

Book_Luver Carol
Reviewer X (Steph)
The Page Flipper (Chelsea)


I want to figure out the next pick soon so we can see if they wish to participate and then we'll get their address and everything to see who all can send directly to them. Make sense?

Anyway, all votes are due by TOMORROW (Tuesday) at Midnight, though really it's whoever has voted by the time I check on Wednesday. :0)

Vote away!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Have a Happy New Year, Janni Lee Simner!

Bones of Faerie Pictures, Images and Photos

Interview with: Jannie Lee Simner who wrote Bones of Faerie
Questions by: Lauren


I apologize for this being posted today. It was meant to go up yesterday (since this was part of the January celebration). I also wanted to say sorry to Jannie and Tina Ferraro as well for not getting their books read/reviewed this past month, but I have them and will get to them ASAP. Life just got really busy all of a sudden. Thanks for the book and Q&A though, and I hope everyone enjoys the interview!

1. Bones of Faerie is your first novel for teens. Did you always want to write for this age group or was it simply that the book fit?

It was sort of a combination of both. I've been wanting to tell this story for more than a decade and a half now, ever since I wrote the opening chapter. Back then, I wasn't thinking much about genres and age levels yet--it was just the story I wanted to tell. Only I wasn't ready to tell it--maybe I wasn't good enough a writer yet--so I went off and wrote other things first, most of them (as it turned out) for either younger or older readers. That opening haunted me, though--I could never quite forget it.

By the time I finally returned to the story a few years ago, I'd sold a few young adult short stories and was an avid YA reader (really, I never stopped reading YA)--so I was thrilled to know I was writing a book for teens! YA is a fabulous genre to read in, and I'm honored to be part of it.

2. Faeries are the new "it" group for the supernatural stories, after vampires and werewolves. What made you want to write about them?

It's funny--when I first started writing Bones of Faerie, fantasy wasn't (though this is hard to believe now!) a popular a genre at all, and I remember wondering whether anyone would even really want to read about faeries--let alone the end of the world (Bones of Faerie is set in the aftermath of a catastrophic war between the human and Faerie realms). But I went ahead and told the story I wanted to tell--and now, suddenly, YA shelves are filled with faerie books and post-apocalyptic books both. Maybe it was something in the water? :-) It's fascinating--and fun--to me that so many writers, working separately, can wind up telling stories about similar creatures and with similar themes.

As for why I wanted to write about Faerie--I think Bones of Faerie, and that opening written long ago, began with a fascination with the whole business of changelings and of faeries stealing children. Bones of Faerie ultimately didn't wind up being a changeling story, but it does still begin with a child being set out on a hillside for the faeries to find.

3. Will Bones of Faerie be a stand-alone novel or do you have a sequel or series in mind?

Right now it's a standalone, but I'm definitely open to writing more books set in the same world one day! (I actually do have a short story set in the same world--in a different place with different characters--online now in the magazine Coyote Wild: http://coyotewildmag.com/2008/august/simner_invasive_species.html)

4. The cover is very simple but conveys a lot of meaning at the same time. Did you have any input into what it would look like? What's your opinion?

I had no input whatsoever into the cover, and I absolutely love it. The designer, Michelle Gengaro-Kokmen, did an amazing job. I smile every time I look at the cover, which I think is more powerful and more beautiful than anything I 'd been imagining.

5. Finally, I'm always curious how authors come up with their characters' names. Do you have any specific stories?

In the very first, very rough draft of Bones of Faerie, the three main characters were named Steele, Marcus, and Lissa. By the time I finished that draft, though, none of those names really felt right. So I sat down and thought about the world of the story--which is based on our world--and thought about what sorts of names characters named by parents who lived in our world would really have. Marcus was the only name that seemed even close to likely, but even that wasn't likely enough--while the name Lissa makes me wince when I look at her character now, and the name Steele intrigues me, but feels like it belongs in some other story. So after thinking a while, though three characters became Liza, Matthew, and Allie, names that did--and do-- feel right.

So I guess I go with a mix of instinct and looking at the background of the world to name my characters!