Thursday, April 30, 2009

(Review) Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie

Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee Mckenzie

Review by: Lauren

Summary: Something's wrong.
It’s not a heart-grabbing noise like when somebody jiggles the doorknob to see if it’s locked. It’s not a bitter smell like the electrical short we had last month, when all the breakers popped. No. It’s something in the air, something like a ghost making its way through the room. And it can’t be Monster, not after last night.

Shawna Stone is sixteen going on twenty-five. Already deeply scarred, she has learned to survive with a tough attitude and a thin blade. Her journey is destined to be short. Sliding on the Edge enters the world of a desperate teen and her disillusioned grandmother, each with secrets that stir mutual distrust. As these two unlikely companions struggle to co-exist we are reminded that the human spirit has the capacity to overcome even the deepest suffering.

Review: At first, I wasn't entirely sure what I thought about Sliding on the Edge. It was a slow read for me at times, but as it went on, I found that I liked it a lot more then the beginning. The book starts off a bit slow, perhaps, introducing Shawna and her grandmother, Kay, with each chapter seperating the two.

By the time Shawna had been living with her grandmother for awhile, the book picked up for me. There is a lot that the two of them go through and things are slowly being revealed throughout about their lives and the secrets they hold. The mystery aspect was great, because even if the book was a bit slow in parts I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen at the end, as well as what had happened in the past. What's the real truth? And who holds it? These are two questions you are sure to ask yourself.

Kay was a fierce, emotional character and though she was stuck in her ways in some regards, she learned to open up to life even more with her granddaughter around.

Shawna was a great character to read about. She's been scarred and hurt in her life, so she puts on a mask trying to act tough and push people away, when really she's begging for love just as much as anyone else.

Shooting Star? Yes No Maybe

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jody Gehrman Sponsored Contest!! (U.S./Canada)

starbucks  =D Pictures, Images and Photos
Jody Gehrman is helping us host a contest in honor of her books Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty and Triple Shot Bettys in Love

Contest: Post a haiku about your favorite caffeinated beverage.

Starts/Ends: April 29, 2009-May 8, 2009 (next Friday I believe!)

Open too: U.S. and Canada ONLY!
Prize: (Thanks to Jody) A copy of both books plus a handmade bookmark and a starbucks gift card for $10.

Winner Chosen: Be creative, because Jody is picking the winner herself!

Haiku: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and then 5 syllables

Example of mine:

Mountain Dew is cool
The thought makes my mouth water
I would like it now

That's it basically. I'm pretty sure the syllables are right. And yes, I know, mine is kind of bad. I did it in like five seconds. :)

Have Fun!

(News) Calling All Twilight Fans!


Just back from Vancouver where he was reprising his role as Eric Yorkie in “New Moon”, “Twilight’s” JUSTIN CHON invites you to join him and hundreds of “Twilight” fans as he appears LIVE on StarCam!

Join JUSTIN this Sunday Night, May 3rd at 6:00 pm PST, 8:00 pm CST and 9:00 pm EST. Watch Justin LIVE as he interacts with fans, answering the questions you want answered!

· click “sign up”

JUSTIN can’t wait for you to see him LIVE on Sunday and to answer your questions! SEE YOU ON STARCAM!

(A portion of the proceeds raised will benefit Step Off Ministry, Justin’s favorite charity)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You Gotta Fight For Your Right to PARTY: Read!


That's right! We are having a party through the whole month of May.

I know a lot of people have done these celebrations for their birthdays or blog anniversaries and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at this as well.

So what's May? Well, it's my birthday: May 30

Table of Contents:

Vampire Contest courtesy of Lucienne Diver, author of Vamped

Oh, Hush Contest for ONE copy of The Yellow Album

Faryl Smith Contest for a copy of her Debut Album
Violet Interviews her Creator Melissa Walker about Lovestruck Summer and more
Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph Review + Contest

Julie Kraut reviews Sleepaway Girls and interviews Jen Calonita
Jen Calonita reviews Slept Away and interviews Julie Kraut
Camp contest with Jen and Julie
Interview/Guest blog with Susane Colasanti and Contest for Waiting for You
Win Dull Boy by Sarah Cross and other Superhero items
Review of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle
Review for Punkzilla by Adam Rapp + 5 people get an ARC
Interview with SolarHalo Studios (jewelry, photos) + Contest
If you post the above graphic on your blog and link it to THIS post, so that people are directed here for everything, you will get ONE extra point in your choice of ONE May might be worth it, so please spread the word.

I think that's about it. I just want to say that author Sarah Cross (Dully Boy-out in May) was super awesome and made the graphic above for me, as well as another one that you will probably see later!

Monday, April 27, 2009

YA Connection is Gone for Now...But...

light bulb Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey Everyone. I know that Steph from Reviewer X and Kristi from The Story Siren used to have YA Connection. Life gets busy and they no longer have these posts. However, I"m sure I'm not the only one who loved seeing contests in one spot and learning about awesome reviews or interviews from authors and bloggers alike. I'm not trying to take their idea, by any means, and if they start doing the weekly thing again, I'll stop this, but I figured it would be fun for now. Let me know your thoughts though!

The basic idea is this: if you come across a contest or are holding one, put a link DIRECTLY to that post on Mr. Linky. You can also include interviews/reviews/guest blogs, but when it comes to reviews...try and focus on the ones you REALLY want people to see. If everyone posts every single review, that will clog up the Mr. Linky and it's harder to find things.

Who can use this? Anyone, whether it's YA, MG, or Adults. It doesn't matter. It doesn't even have to be ABOUT books...but obviously that will be the main things, I'm sure.

Could you please spread the word if you like the idea? I want people to be able to find these links and leave their own if they wish too. What do you all think though? Again, thoughts are welcome! And I know this is Monday, but do you want this on Monday, so you can post all week or should be it Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, or...? You get the idea!

In the comments, someone made a good point so I'm going to add it here. If you are leaving a link, PLEASE put the blog name and either "review," "contest," "interview," etc. Whatever it is! It'll help people navigate a lot easier. Thanks!

Wishing All Week or My Own "Pine For" Books

Wishing All Week

Instead of having a Wish-List Wednesday this week, I decided to post this today and it will probably remind you a lot of Kristi's ( "Books To Pine For" posts. I love hers and she does them all the time which is just mind-blowing. How does she find them all?! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has asked this before.

Anyway, today is my version of that, but it's Wishing All Week because there are 7 (seven days in a week, people!) books that I would love to have.

Before we get started, I just want to say now: Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma

Out from Aladdin on Sept. 22, 2009

Dani Noir, by Nova Ren Suma is a tween novel inspired by big lies, big secrets, and old Hollywood glamour!

This is all I know but doesn't it sound adorable? Such a pretty cover. It does make me think of old Hollywood.


Consequences...Don't call me baby by Laurie Depp

Out from Hodder & Stoughton on Sept 1 2009

17-year-old Katie is overwhelmed when she lands a job as a nanny for Premier League soccer player Brett Ballentine and his wife Kassie’s kids. Arriving at the Ballentine mansion in London, Katie feels as though she’s living in a magazine. She’s got a whole floor of the house to herself, her own car, and the inside scoop on Britain’s most notorious celebrity couple.

But there is a downside. Katie has to learn to keep her mouth shut when it comes to some of Kassie’s strange and desperate behavior. And Brett is like the ice man—he barely acknowledges her. As time goes on the "happy couple" reveal their true colors, and the true state of their volatile marriage. Kassie has a twisted secret, and Brett’s getting too fond of "playing away." Katie feels like she and the kids are caught in the middle of a war zone, culminating in a shocking revelation about Brett. But while Katie struggles with her predicament, a budding young photographer snaps the picture the tabloids have been waiting for and catapults herself into the limelight.

I love this cover and it sounds like a fun read. I'm excited it's set in London!

The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall

Out from Bloomsbury USA children's books on Oct 27, 2009

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep—until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .

Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened.

Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

This first book in a frightening new trilogy will have teens glued the page and scared to go to sleep.

This sounds amazing. It reminds me of author Laurie Faria Stolarz' books. Anyone else think so? And the cover is amazing. The girl looks really old-fashioned in a way.


Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

Out from David Fickling books on October 13 2009

Holly’s story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her.

Memories of mum are the only thing that make Holly Hogan happy. She hates her foster family with their too-nice ways and their false sympathy. And she hates her life, her stupid school, and the way everyone is always on at her. Then she finds the wig, and everything changes. Wearing the long, flowing blond locks she feels transformed.

She’s not Holly anymore, she’s Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the supersharp talk. She’s older, more confident—the kind of girl who can walk right out of her humdrum life, hitch to Ireland, and find her mum. The kind of girl who can face theworld head-on. So begins a bittersweet and sometimes hilarious journey as Solace swaggers and Holly tiptoes across England and through memory, discovering her true self and unlocking the secrets of her past.

There have been a lot of journey books, but I'm really excited to read this one. I think it's a fun idea and makes some coming-of-age stories unique. And it's set in England, I love "foreign" novels.


Go Ahead, Ask Me by Nico Medina and Billy Merrell

Out from Simon Pulse on October 6 2009

Go Ahead, Ask Me. is full of 500 questions that are sure to spark convos, truths, laughs, and buried secrets.

I don't know the exact set up of this book, and it's not an actual fiction book, but I think it sounds like a lot of fun. I'm always a fan of those "Would You Rather...?" questions, so it kind of reminds me of that but on a larger scale.


Rock and Roll Soldier: A Memoir by Dean Ellis Kohler with Susan Vanhecke

Out from HarperCollins in September 2009

In 1966, teen guitar prodigy Dean Kohler landed a record deal and his draft notice the same week. Rather than give up his rock star dreams, Dean improvised some instruments and equipment, taught a few fellow soldiers to play, and formed his own touring rock band right there in the combat zone – all without missing a single patrol. What started as a lark ultimately became a lifeline for Dean and the band, as well as the hundreds of combat-weary troops they played for.

Rock 'N' Roll Soldier (former working title Flak Jacket Rock) is the true story of Dean Kohler's wartime experience. One moment Dean and the band are patrolling and going toe to toe with the VC. The next they're commandeering a Jeep to drive to Pleiku, traversing the deadly An Khe Pass, to play "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" for a throng of cheering GIs. Unbelievably, Dean and his group even cut a record there in the jungle, crafting a makeshift sound studio on a war-zone mountainside. Dean and the other members of the Electrical Banana (a name inspired by a Donovan song) create their own bit of order out of chaos, bringing a sense of normalcy to the surreal hell of jungle war. Co-written with Dean Kohler.

I love memoirs and with the war going on now, I think this one is very appropriate. It's nice, also, that it focuses on a lighter topic as well-music-which I love reading about in books. Win-win for me!


So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow and David Ostow

Out from Flux in July 2009

Despite his dreams of hipster rock glory, Ari Abramson's first-ever band, the Tribe, is more white bread than indie-cred. Comprised of four suburban teens from a wealthy Jewish day school, their Mötley Crüe is about as hardcore as SAT prep and scripture studies.
But after a one-song gig at a friend's Bar Mitzvah -- a ska cover of Hava Nagila -- the Tribe's popularity erupts overnight. Now, Ari is forced to navigate a minefield of inflated egos, overbearing parents, misplaced romance, and the shallowness of indie-rock elitism. It's a hard lesson in the complex art of playing it cool.

Loaded with sarcasm and delicious pop culture condescension (not to mention David Ostow's too-cool-for-school cartooning work), So Punk Rock is the E! Behind the Music story of an epic Jewish band that never was. If it got any more kosher, it'd be totally traif.

Doesn't it sound amazing? Not only does the story look good, I'm extra stoked to see David's pictures inside. The cover, by the way, is just another one that I love. :)

Well, that's my list. Seven books I'd LOVE to read. So authors out there, if you see this: I'd be happy to help promote somehow if you think we could.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Idea: A Place to Write Me


This page is just a random idea that I had and I wanted to see if it would help people trying to get in touch.
Yes, we have an email (two of them) in the header, but this is mainly for other bloggers to get in touch about a few things.
1. Did I write you a comment on your blog or ask a question? If I did, write me back here and I'll see it. I might not remember to re-check your blog's post later on.
2. Do you have a random question or comment? Leave it here and I'll write you back if need be.
3. Awards (if you know, I got one. LOL) and other notifications. Just leave it here instead of on another post. This gives you a spot where it won't be random or out-of-place.
Anything else, feel free to comment here too. It doesn't matter. If it's something serious or private, just email.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

IMM: Books I Bought!

Lenore from had a post last week similar to the In My Mailbox ones...except this was all about the books she'd bought herself and not recieved through the library, ARCS, or contest wins.

I really liked the idea and figured it might be nice to try and post these as well whenever I buy something (or almost every time, just depends). Recently, I picked up two books that were just released and sounded amazing. I was so excited and I can't wait to read them...though it might be a little while, as books I buy are put at the bottom of my TBR pile. Review books are always first.

As you can see from the photo above, the first book was Gentleman by Michael Northrop:

Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones aren't just from the wrong side of the tracks--they're from the wrong side of everything. Except for Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher, no one at their high school takes them seriously. Haberman calls them "gentlemen," but everyone else ignores them--or, in Bones's case, is dead afraid of them. When one of their close-knit group goes missing, the clues all seem to point in one direction: to Mr. Haberman.

Gritty, fast-paced, and brutally real, this debut takes an unflinching look at what binds friends together--and what can tear them apart.


The other book that I bought was 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.

So what do you think of my purchases? Do they look appealing to you at all? Do you own these books? I'd love to know the books you've bought on your own recently, so leave a link in the comments for your own post or simply let me know!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

YKT: Ellen Page

YKT (You Know Them): Ellen Page with Hard Candy

hard candy =] Pictures, Images and Photos

All Information (that's not my opinion) is from:
Out: Now on DVD
Rated: R
Starring: Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page
Directed by: David Slade (Twilight fans: He's doing Eclipse!)
Hard Candy Pictures, Images and Photos
Summary: A mature 14-year old girl meets a charming 32-year old photographer on the Internet. Suspecting that he is a pedophile, she goes to his home in an attempt to expose him.

My Thoughts: The only other movie that I've seen Ellen Page in, thus far, is Juno. I'm sure this is not shocking to most people and a lot of you have probably seen the film yourself. However, I should just tell you now...Hardy Candy is nothing like Juno. It's not a coming-of-age, dorky comedy that practically everyone could enjoy.
Hard Candy Pictures, Images and Photos
Hard Candy, like the summary says above, is about the character of Hayley (Page) who starts getting to know a guy over the internet named Jeff (Wilson). The two eventually meet up at a cafe and Jeff takes Hayley back to his place. Once she's there, Hayley admires Jeff's work (he's a photographer and has photos of models on the wall) and they even begin to drink with Hayley getting her own, saying basically that "You should never let someone else pour your drink for you."
Hard Candy Pictures, Images and Photos
Think you know where this is going? I didn't know anything about the film before watching it in one of my classes, so it shocked me...but basically, instead of Jeff attacking Hayley, it's the opposite. She ties him up, tortures him in unique methods, and more to show that she won't just let him get away for hurting all those girls...touching them, killing even...
This small cast does an amazing job. I honestly got completely wrapped up in this film and thought that Ellen Page was tremendous. She really shows her talent in this film when you compare it to how she is in the role of Juno. I can't wait to see more by her, and I can't forget Patrick Wilson. He did just as brilliant of a job.

Once I finished watching Hard Candy, I wanted to start it over and watch it again. Too bad it was for class...but I'm definitely planning on renting or buying it as soon as I can.

What about you? Does it sound like something you'd like? Seen these actors in anything else? Have you already seen it, and if so, what did you think?


Leave a Mark Total + News for the Fall!

thanks Pictures, Images and Photos

Guess what everyone? The final amount that we raised for First Book is in and we wanted to pass along this article that they wrote up about it, with some comments from Chelsea and me.

Want to know how the idea first came to me?

Why did we name it Leave a Mark?

Why did Chelsea pick First Book as a charity?

And finally, how much did we all raise?

Read to find out:

Also, we have some other AWESOME news...Leave a Mark is not going anywhere. We are having more auctions this Fall and all the money will once again go to First Book. We'd love to have authors and other notable people volunteer to mark up a book, so if you want to help, we'll see if we have room. Get in touch!

Finally, thanks to Katie at First Book for being amazing and helping us every step of the way, to every author/person who marked up a book, to every person that bought a book, to every person that merely bidded, and last but not least...thanks Chelsea! :)


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wish-List-Wednesday: I Just Made the Cut!

Amy by Any Other Name
By: Maureen Garvie
Out Now, as far as I can tell

Summary: It’s not like being a teenager is all that easy to begin with. But when 15-year-old Amy wakes up in a hospital bed, terribly injured from a dive onto hidden rocks in a quarry, she must contend with something unbelievable. True, her body has been shattered, but that’s not the worst of her troubles — the body she’s in is not her own! An athletic and academic overachiever from a wealthy Toronto family, Amy has somehow ended up in the body of Krystal, a troubled girl from North-End Kingston.

Of course, no one believes what Amy says. Her mother in Toronto rejects her calls and threatens action, while whoever is now in Amy’s body remains silent and unreachable. Amy’s drive and determination help her build a new life, but all she really wants is to find her way back to the one she once had. Or does she? Amy by Any Other Name is an unusual and compelling novel about adolescence and identity — and about the human capacity to grow and change.

When I first saw this, I wanted to use it thinking it was out this summer, but then I saw that it was actually I suppose it's out, but since my post is always "wish-list" and is just things I simply want, I'm still going to post about it. I think it sounds like a really good book with a great coming-of-age theme that has a different type of premise: switching bodies to truly find yourself. Very cool!

And can I say? I LOVE the cover. It's not amazing or anything, but I just really like it and think it stands out in its own way. I think I'd stop and pay attention if I saw it in stores.

I just made this for Wednesday...right now, it is 11:39 P.M. :-)
P.S. New interview below, with a video of the singer attached. Please read and comment? Nobody has yet, and I think it's worth a read if you like pop music or know someone who does!

(Interview) Young&Talented: Justin Stein

Interview with Justin Stein
Questions by: Lauren
Photo by Christopher Greenwood
"Sweetest Girl" video

1. Your influences range from Ne-Yo to Rascall Flatts to Michael Jackson. What about their music or careers do you personally identify or connect with?

Well, Neyo is an amazing writer and I really hope to write songs as awesome as his. Michael Jackson is the king and probably the most amazing entertainer that has ever lived. If I could have half of his stage presence, I’m doing something right. Plus, he has sold 750+ million records... thats pretty incredible!

2. You've acted, sung, danced, and wrote songs, and you're still only eighteen years old. How did you become involved in the various creative aspects? What would you like to see happen in the next eighteen years?

Well, I guess I sort of just fell into them. I started out as a singer. As a singer, one avenue to pursue is musical theatre. Since you have to act in musicals, so I took up acting. I did my first musical when I was five. When I was about 11 years old, I was in this traveling troupe in Chicago and I had to learn how to dance and sing. That’s when I started dancing. When I was about 14, I needed a way to express myself so I started writing songs. Hopefully a lot of things will happen in the next 18 years! Career wise, I hope I am a successful solo artist as well as a successful actor. Basically, I just hope I’m still working and doing what I love to do!

3. In the last year, you went on tour opening up for Corbin Bleu. The two of you seem to have a lot in common artistically. What was your impression of the tour? Did you learn anything specific from it or Corbin?

I did. Corbin is really awesome and has a fantastic stage presence. Not to mention he is an incredible dancer. I loved being on tour and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

4. Your debut album is out and it's self-titled. Most artists do this for either their first album or the one they feel really shows who they are. What about you? Why did you decide on the self-titled route? Were there any other album title options?

[laughs] Yeah. At first I was going to call it Give Me A Chance after my song Gimme A Chance. But my mom didn’t like it because it sounded too much like I was pleading with people to like me. None of the other song titles really fit for me because none of the others summed up how I felt about this CD. So I just self titled it because I was definitely involved in creating the cd!

5. As someone who has performed on stage in the past, what are your thoughts about doing more acting, whether tv/film or plays? If you could play any part, what would it be and why?

Probably Ren McCormack in the movie version of Footlose (which will probably go to Zac Efron...). {Editor's note: He turned it down, so maybe Justin!} I played that role in middle school and it was so much fun! I love acting as much as I love singing, so I am up for anything. I just really love performing.

6. Fans are a huge part of an artist's career and they can often be great, but sometimes you get the ones that are tad bit too crazy. What have your experiences been so far with both?

[laughs] Yes I definitely have...One girl wrote a song for me. A lot of people just try and give you things. One girl gave me her stuffed animal; another gave me a golf ball just because it was the only thing she had in her pocket. My favorite experiences are when you know that you have really touched someone. When people tell me my music helped me through something, thats when I get really excited. After all, thats what the music is supposed to do. Touching and helping people is always the goal. I had one girl in particular whos mother had recently left their family. After she came to four performances of mine in different states, her father informed me that my concerts and my music had been keeping their family going through their difficult time. Without that something to look forward to, it would have been an extremely painful summer for both of them. Music is really powerful and I’m glad mine helped someone.

7. What are you currently working on? Any more tours coming up?

At the moment, I’m doing spot dates. Check my myspace for info! I’m always writing music and auditioning for things!

8. And finally, because we have to ask, if you could wish on a shooting star what would you wish for and why?

To be in the position to make a difference and give back in a major way.

Now, for the video: "Sweetest Girl"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ten Years Ago: Columbine High School

Always Remember Pictures, Images and Photos
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Columbine shootings. I definitely believe that it is a day to remember, not only for the lives that were lost but because of what happened to lead up to this day.

I wanted to mention one of my favorite books in hopes that more people might check it out.

It's called No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine by Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt

Does anyone remember the story about one of the shooters, Eric Harris, telling a student before the shooting began to "get out of here"? Well, whether you do or not, that student was Brooks Brown (yep, one of the authors) and Brooks grew up with Dylan Klebold, the other shooter. Once they made it to high school, Dylan became close to Eric and Brooks' relationship was never really the same with either of the boys: Dylan was closer to Eric and Eric never really liked Brooks.

I think this book is a great read for anyone interested in the Columbine shootings as I was when I first read it (and I still am) because it's from the point of view of not only someone who was there, but someone who can tell you a little more about Eric and Dylan then anyone else might be able too. He doesn't know all the answers of course, hence the title, but it's a thought-provoking read and shines a light on some of things you might not have known about before.

As for books on Columbine, I'm actually hoping to be able to read the latest book out called simply Columbine by Dave Cullen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maybe It's Your Lucky Day!

I know I haven't posted any contest links in awhile, so I figured I should probably try and do it a little more often these days. I mean, really, I used to post them every week practically! LOL Ah well, I'll try. Don't forget to enter the contests I have going on now as well.

monkey Pictures, Images and Photos

Win The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers

Steph Su Reads is having a Teen Literature giveaway.

Temppatt Too has an In Plain Sight giveaway.

Insert Book Title Here is giving away 2 ARCS:

Juiciliciousssreviews has a 100 follower giveaway

Bookluver-Carol has a Generation Dead contest!

Brooke Taylor is giving away Geektastic:

Addicted to Books: Sweet 16 Contest!

Paradoxical is giving away Hottie

And Another Book Read has Airhead/Being Nikki up for grabs!

Bookluver-Carol is giving away I Know It's Over

Fantastic Book Review is giving away three "first in the series" books

She is also giving away four other "five star review" books

Interview: A Truck Fell On Him (True Story)

Interview: Charlie Renne
by: Lauren

1. Your book is called A Truck Fell On Me, and is horrifyingly a true story. What made you wish to write about this experience?

Believe it or not, I wanted my friends and family to know what I went through as a dead man. You see for the first eighteen months after the accident, I had to battle thoughts of having actually died in the crash. Those thoughts were reinforced in part due to a terrible bout with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that included graphic flashbacks of seeing the truck fall on me. Sometimes those visions seemed like they were bombarding me a thousand times a second. On top of that, I had an out of body experience during the rescue. At one point my inner self left my physical body and watched the rescue from the curb. I even watch the ambulance helicopter lift off and take me toward what I figured was Heaven.

2. Do you think you'll ever try your hand at writing fiction or about another part of your life?

I have written two more books. One is a romance/comedy about a successful business woman whose search for love takes her to Ireland. Along the way she encounters a bungling conman, his one-eyed side kick, a strip club bouncer that doubles as a preacher, a bounty hunter and even a professional pall bearer. She also meets a three year old dynamo of a girl bent on conquring the world. My other finished work is entitled, MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY: Do Not Attempt This At Home'. This book is about my life living with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, one of the forty-three different kinds of Muscualr Dystrophy. Despite serious matters such as debilitating pain, mental anguish and even nearly dying on more than one occassion, the book is filled with humor. I'm currently testing the waters of finding a literary agent to represent my work.

3. How long ago did the incident in the book occur? How is life different for you today?

The accident happend over ten years ago. It took me seven years before I was able to take my notes and to make them into something that could be published. I had tried several times before but each time I did, I was once again beseiged by nightmares. But on the seven year anniversary, my best friend, Larry, passed away due to cancer. I took that as a sign that I had to get busy. Life is short and can end without notice. Larry's death reminded me of that fact. Today my life is wonderful. The accident actually saved my life. Before the wreck, I was miserable. I was trapped in a job that was full of stress. My marriage was in bad shape. The accident allowed me to find the courage to not accept unhappiness. I eventually divorced my wife of that time and then found someone with whom I could be happy. We were married on my 50th birthday. Larry was my best man, but sadly, just 8 days later he was gone.

4. Have you heard from anyone that has read the book yet? What have their thoughts been?

Several people have contacted me after they have read my book. I was really surprised to hear how inspired they all were. They told me that through my book, they realized that their lives weren't as bad as they had thought. After all, if I could find humor while 10,000 pounds of cast iron was laying across my lap, then things like financial worries, employment difficulties and such could also be dealt with in a similar fashion.

5. Where can people buy your book?

The best way to obtain a copy of, 'A TRUCK FELL ON ME', is through dot com outlets like, and B& Though if anyone does want a signed copy, they can send $20.00 to me at, Charlie Renne, 3330 S.E. 30th, El Dorado, KS 67042. I'll even take care of the shipping costs.

6. Anything else you want to add?

I just want to encourage everyone to find what makes them happy. I nearly lost my life at a time I was miserable. Being unhappy is easy. Finding true happiness is very difficult...but it's worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

(Review + Song) Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns

Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns

Review by: Lauren
Learn more and Buy:

Amazon Summary: Purge is a beautifully crafted memoir that has a Girl, Interrupted feel. In this raw and engaging account of her months in rehab, Nicole Johns documents her stay in a residential treatment facility for eating disorders. Her prose is lucid and vivid, as she seamlessly switches verb tenses and moves through time. She unearths several important themes: body image and sexuality, sexual assault and relationships, and the struggle to piece together one's path in life.

While other books about eating disorders and treatment may sugarcoat the harsh realities of living with and recovering from an eating disorder, Purge does not hold back. The author presents an honest, detailed account of her experience with treatment, avoiding the clichéd happily-ever-after ending while still offering hope to those who struggle with eating disorders, as well as anyone who has watched a loved one fight to recover from an eating disorder. Purge sends a message: though the road may be rough, ultimately there is hope.

My Review: Johns writes clearly about her stay in an eating disorder treatment center. She's diagnosed with EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) which, for her, means she has symptoms for anorexia and bulimia (purging, fasting, drinking caffeine to stem hunger). The book reads exactly like a diary would, which is something that Johns did keep during her stay. She talks about various moments that meant something to her and showed the journey she was going on during that summer. Included with her entries were documents that detail her health and even the food plan she was on at the center.


Purge is the perfect title for this novel, as Nicole Johns is clearly "purging" or relieving herself of the pain, the joy, the memories, everything she experienced. I believe this is a great look into the mind of someone with a eating disorder and it clearly shows that not everything will be okay after you get treatment. Johns lets the reader know that people do relapse and they must keep an open communication with the people around them and realize that relapsing doesn't have to be the can still get help and recover once again.


I loved reading the author's bio in the novel because it showed me, as the reader, what she is doing now and that things have changed. That's the most important message of this book: there can be change.

Author's Bio for you to see:

Nicole Johns received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and a BA in English from Penn State University-Erie. Her eating disorder developed in high school and worsened in college. The summer after starting the MFA program, Nicole spent three months in treatment for her eating disorder. Nicole currently lives in Minneapolis with her fiancé, Brady Johnson. She has been in recovery from her eating disorder since 2005.

My song for this book. Dedicated to anyone who is dealing with something difficult, specifically an eating disorder:

"Dear Friend"-Staci Orrico

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wish-List Wednesday: Alyzon Whitestarr

Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody
Out: June 23, 2009

Amazon Summary: Are Alyzon’s new abilities a blessing . . . or a curse?

Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she’s the most normal member of a very eccentric family . . . until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed. Suddenly colors are more vibrant to Alyzon; her memory is flawless; but strangest of all is Alyzon’s sense of smell. Her best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father’s contentment as the sweet scent of caramelized sugar. But why does the cutest guy in school smell so rancid?

With Alyzon’s extrasensory perception comes intrigue and danger, as she becomes aware of the dark secrets and hidden ambitions that threaten her family. In the end, being different might be less of a blessing than a curse. . . .

And is it just me or does the girl on this cover (which I love, by the way) look like Alexz Johnson to anyone else?

p.s. want to help out with the next huge giveaway? Look about two posts down and get in touch!

(Review + Song) Because I am Furniture

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Review by: Lauren
Out: April 16 (tomorrow)

Amazon Summary: Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.

My Review: As the first full book I've read in verse, I was quite excited to check out Thalia's debut. I was definitely not disappointed. Because I am Furniture is a very emotional read, but the use of poetry gives it a much more personal, loving touch. It allowed me, as the reader, to get inside Anke's head and see the her whole world. Everything felt as if it went together, in a way that regular narration might have ruined.

There were moments that confused me a bit, and that's because verse doesn't stop and explain everything out, but overall, it's pretty understandable and I think a lot of people would like this novel. If you're looking for a fast, thoughtful read, then this would be my recommendation. I can't wait to see what Thalia Chaltas writes next.

My Song for this Book
"Justified Black Eye" by Joey Cape and Tony Sly

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Next Huge Giveaway: Looking for Help!

If you want a summary of the book, go here:

Now, many of you should know about the huge giveaways by now. Bloggers donate a book, a gift card, or some other prize to be given away to ONE winner if they buy a certain book in a certain time period and send in proof. Right now, there is one going on for Willow by Julia Hoban.

My next idea was to do this for Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde. She's not a debut author, but she'd still love and deserves a lot of promotion for her YA novels and this would be the next one.

The book doesn't come out until August though, so should this contest but JUST July and August, or should it start in June? I know another blogger (won't say who) is working on a secret idea for another author, and I don't want to cut into their stuff or please leave your thoughts.

Also, get in touch if you want to donate something for the prize. I know a couple people said they would, so get in touch if you still want too, and if you gave me your prize "idea" already, get in touch if anything changes! I'm hoping to have a full list of people helping/prizes by May or June if we don't start it in that month. Sound good? Let me know if you have any questions!

FYI: Authors can donate prizes if they want too!!

Faryl Smith: Amazing Young Musician from the UK!


New Artist: Faryl Smith

Can you believe it? This classical artist from the UK is only 13-years old and one of her fans is the very own Simon Cowel. She was a contestant on the show Britain's Got Talent, and eventually signed a record deal for 2.3 million pounds.

Her debut album, Faryl, has been released to much success in the UK and will be available in the U.S. on May 5th!

If you want to get to know a little more about Faryl, as well as hear her sing, please watch this clip by clicking here:
I recommend watching it. She's absolutely amazing, and the video is only a little over 3 minutes long so you have time!

Now, I'm not one to listen to this type of music, but I have to say that she has one phenomenal voice, especially for being so young. I heard her single "River of Light" and it's great. Now, you might laugh, but it really did make me think of the classic disney films...the music and the way her voice sounds, she could easily be Belle from Beauty and the Beast (so yes, laugh all you want, but you know you're curious now, right?)

Watch the video and leave your thoughts in the comments. Is this your kind of music? Do you know someone who might love it? Spread the word!

Full Tracklisting:

1) Amazing Grace
2) The River of Light (Blue Danube)
3) Ave Maria
4) Annie’s Song
5) A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
6) Mother of God, Here I Stand
7) Shenandoah
8) Brahm’s Lullaby
9) Calon Lan
10) How Can I Keep From Singing
11) Somewhere
12) The Way Old Friends Do

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just So You Know: Music Related

I just wanted to leave a quick post here in case some of you don't see it. I just updated the Bridge the Gap blog (all things non-american for those that don't know) There is a link on the right hand side, but here is a direct link:

It has to do with the UK soap Hollyoaks, for those that know of the show, but I think anyone could enjoy it since it's about music and includes a lot of videos. They are mostly cover songs as well, so that should be fun for those of you who don't know the actors/actresses. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you could check it out! :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dreaming of Being an Author

Yes, you get three posts in one day from me. Either see it as me being very bored or a my Easter gift to you! LOL

Anyway, I wanted to talk about writing and publishing books. I love to write, though recently I've been able to get more into it and not stop in the middle of something. That's really exciting for me, since I've always wanted to publish a book and being able to call myself an author.

Seriously, I went to Barnes and Noble the other day and found exactly where my book would go on the shelves in the YA section if I had written one. Yeah, yeah, I'm a bit dorky. I never denied it. :)

Right now I'm working on a new story that I'm really excited about. I find myself thinking about the story and what is going to come next while I'm out with my family or at night trying to go to sleep (which doesn't really help with the sleeping bit). At the moment, I have written 11,118 words in a Word Document. I'm not sure what the basic average is for a YA book, but right now I'd love to get it at 30,00o words, maybe a little big longer if needed. So authors out there: how long are your books? What's the average?

For everyone else, do you dream of becoming an author or simply publishing any of your writing whether fiction or non-fiction? As I said, I definitely do, and it would be amazing if it happened sooner rather than later, but I suppose good things are worth waiting for, regardless, huh?

(Review) Christian the Lion + Youtube Video

Christian the Lion by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall
Review by: Lauren
Christian the Lion became a hit on Youtube recently, but he was really owned by the authors in the late 60's, early 70's. They found the small cub at Harrod's in England and took him home with them, but as Christian began to grow, they realized he couldn't continue to live with him. With a newfound friend named George, the two friends made plans for Christian to be brought to Kenya and eventually let out in the wild. Once he did, he was gone for a year before Anthony "Ace" and John ever saw him again. George warned that he might not recognize them anymore, but surprisingly, he did! He even introduced them to his wife, as if they were old friends.
This book is perfect for young children, as it allows them to learn about lions in a fun and unique way, with pictures to make it even more exciting! At the back of the novel, they have facts about lions, as well as other African animals. It's very much a small educational novel.
However, Christian the Lion is simply a fun book about a very well-known lion that defied odds when it came to his relationship with these two human men. It's a short book that people of all ages can enjoy if they want to learn more about Christian, Ace, and John. It's a very easy read, with all of the basic information you need to know. If you want to learn more, the men have an adult book on the subject as well.
The Now Famous Youtube Video:

Easter/Passover, Shipping, + Question for You!

1. Shipping

First off, I want to say that if you are waiting on something from me (marked up books, contest wins) then they ARE coming. I've been a bit behind on mailing some things out. I have the autographed pictures of Justin Chon, so send your address if I don't have it...otherwise, I'll write soon. I need to find suitable packaging for these so they aren't ruined in the mail. So yes, sorry for the wait, but I will try and mail them soon as I'll have more to mail at the end of this month.

2. Happy Easter/Passover/Sunday, if you don't celebrate anything!

I hope you all have an amazing day. I know I ate some good food. Chocolate covered strawberries...mmmm!! :)


I have a question about comments. I know some things people don't find interesting and decide not to read...or maybe they do and have nothing to say...while others simply read and never comment. All of these things are just fine, but comments are the easiest way to see who is reading and what they think.

My question is, who all normally reads the blog (that doesn't have to mean every single post)? For those that may or may not comment, what makes you want to leave your thoughts or do you just hate writing in general?

I try and write everyone back if they comment me and I feel I can say something back...the only time I might not is if you are commenting for a contest as that often gets hectic, so if you do write back, you should eventually find my thoughts later as well. I love to talk to everyone, so hopefully more people will comment. If not, it's all good. I'd love your thoughts though. Do you want more of something? Less of something? I'll try and work things out a bit more if you give me ideas! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guest Blog: Gayle Forman Wishes on a Star

Wish Upon a Shooting Star
by: Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay

In honor of Adam’s band’s name, Shooting Star, and Lauren’s blog Shooting Stars, Lauren asked me to wish on a shooting star with five wishes for the five points of a star. The thing is, I’m Jewish, and my people do the six-pointed star, so I’m going to take an extra wish and go for six.

Here they are.

Wish #1: The health of my family. Writing a book like IF I STAY made me confront some of the worst things imaginable that could happen to a family, both as a mother, a wife and a daughter. Not to start my wishes with such a morbid one, but may nothing like that ever happen to me, my kids, husband, parents, siblings, extended clan, or indeed to any of you reading this. May none of us ever have to make the kind of choice Mia makes.

Wish #2: Some good will come out of this crap economy. Every day it’s more bad news and more layoffs and I know that readers’ families are being affected, whether their parents are getting laid off or they’re having to rethink college choices. It sucks. But part of me hopes that when we come out of this—because we will—that some of the screwed up values in which materialism and consumption became a wee bit too important will be re-aligned. I actually think that’s already happening. And I think that teenagers, for all the crap they get, were on the right track where this was concerned way before the adults started to see the light.

Wish #3: The Friday Night Lights will never jump the shark. That Project Runway will un-jump it. I just heard that FNL got renewed for two more seasons, which makes me so happy. And that PR is out of its legal limbo and will now air. But Project Runway has lost something lately, and I hope it can get it back. I miss those early days of Santino and Jay and Laura. I’m so thankful for good TV. I don’t have the attention span for whole movies these days, so 45 minutes at night is a perfect way to de-clutter my brain.

Wish #4: I have this whole scenario worked out. Malia Obama reads If I Stay. Passes it off to Michelle. They both become fans. Michelle decides to host some sort of YA author/working parent/whathaveyou at the White House, but in the informal family quarters, and the President will be there so I’ll get to hang out with the whole family. Like how the Obamas hosted a Superbowl party. Only this time it’d be a YA author party. And I’d get to bring my family, too. And after, we’d all stay in touch. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who nurses such a fantasy/wish.

Wish #5: Composite wish in which we find a cure for cancer and AIDS and all other deadly diseases and catch Bin Laden and eliminate global poverty and extremism and terrorism by raising up the standard of living all over the world so people are too well off to be pissed off at one another and gay marriage is legalized and other forms of institutionalized discrimination go away (I won’t wish away prejudice because as long as there is fear, people will have prejudice) and also in this wish, people stop constantly texting and emailing on their iPhones all the time because they’re, like, missing out actual stuff happening here and now, and the gigantically tall people don’t always sit right in front of me at the movies.

Wish #6: I get to keep writing YA for the rest of my life. I love what I do. Every day that I get lost in a story is a gift to me and I’m always a little bit scared that someone will take it away. This wish, however, is entirely up to you guys—readers—to grant.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

(Review) If I Stay by Gayle Forman + My Song Pick!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Review by: Lauren
Check out the site for an amazing If I Stay trailer!

Amazon Summary: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

My Review: If I Stay is a phenomenal story about choices. One of the things that I loved about this novel was how music held everyone together. Mia had her cello, her boyfriend Adam had his guitar, and her parents had the music they grew up on and loved so much.

The book goes back and forth from the present to the past, giving you a look at what Mia sees and hears as she wanders around the hospital after the accident, having to make the biggest choice she'll ever make, as well as a glimpse into the past at all the characters that surround Mia.

Part of the novel that really touched me is when Kim, Mia's best friend, counts off the number of people who had visited her and were even still in the hospital waiting for her to come back to them. She finishes by saying that even though she's lost so much, she still has a family. She's not alone. This moment was absolutely heart wrenching, as well as other moments that you'll have to read for yourself.

If I Stay is a powerful novel that will have you thinking about your own mortality and the many decisions you have to make in life. I'm so excited that this novel is already optioned by Summit to be made into a film by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen).

Even though this novel deals with hard topics, it is sure to resonate with many. After all, we all have to make choices every day, we all have family we love whether blood or not, and we all face the decision every day to live or not.

Second icon lyrics from The Clash

My song for this novel is "I Don't Know if I Should Stay" by Alexz Johnson

So what do you think about this book? Have you read it, or are you planning too? Please listen to the song and let me know if you think it fits or believe it could fit (based on what you've heard of the novel) And more importantly, buy the book!

Look out for a Guest Blog from Gayle up tomorrow! It's a different one. :)