Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's My Birthday and I Wish...



So it's my birthday today and I turned 19. So weird. I really don't think I look OR feel like I'm 19. Anyway, I'm always having people "wish on a real shooting star" in questions so I figured I'd do it this time....but I'll add a few more wishes. Just one is too hard!

1. I wish that everyone will go look in the left hand sidebar and click the Shooting Stars Mag compilation (it's blue) and think about ordering some of the songs or even the whole album. All money goes to the PKD foundation, a disease my mom has and is close to me. If you love finding new music, you really can't go wrong. The whole album is under 10 dollars and all these artists were super kind to donate a song. So will ya???

2. I wish that more non-lead book titles will get the recognition they deserve in the coming year. :-)

3. I wish that some people will leave a comment here: http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2009/05/review-part-one-starfinder-by-john.html

It's the first part only, yes, but nobody has left any thoughts and it just looks too lonely!
and leave your thoughts here:

http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2009/05/party-zombies-everywhere-authors-talk.html

A few people have, but come on, share in the zombie loveeee!!!!

4. And finally (at least the only other wish I can think of at the moment) I wish that everyone will comment here and wish Emili a Happy Birthday. Who is she, you may ask? Well, she's Chelsea's (The Page Flipper) best friend and along with my sister, she helped bring you the video interview Chelsea, Kristi, and me did with Lisa McMann and Cassandra Clare...so you know, along with that and her love of books, you know you love her and want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILI!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Justin Chon! (Links)

photo from official website

Happy Birthday Justin Chon!

If you're a Twilight fan, you should know Justin as Eric from the films. He also starred in the movie Crossing Over. Today, as you can see from above, is his birthday...which I will admit, I found out about through the Lexicon. He's a great actor and has been super kind to Shooting Stars with our interviews/contest, so I had to mention it. And my birthday is actually tomorrow so that's kind of cool, right? I also have a few links that deal with him, so today is a good day to post, right?! Spread the love and check them out. I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments...or simply say Happy Birthday.

its my birthday Pictures, Images and Photos

The first link I have is to a video clip on Radaronline.com which is pretty interesting and very short too in case you don't have much time. Definitely watch it and leave your thoughts: they talk diversity in the cast, romance (on and off sets), and his tattoo!

Asiance Magazine did an interview with Justin about his film Crossing Over...we talked about that on here a couple months back. Did anyone get a chance to check it out? I don't believe anyone around me was showing it...which I was sad about...but I do plan on seeing it however and whenever I can because it looks amazing. To learn more about it, go here:

Last, we have a short video (Justin is at the end) filmed at the Lupus Ball in L.A...some thoughts on the event and filming for New Moon.

B-DAY DOGGIE Pictures, Images and Photos
So, that's it! I hope you'll give them all a look. The videos are all short and the interview is a quick read as well, so if you have time, check it out! And again, I hope Justin has a great birthday! I can't wait for New Moon and to finally see Crossing Over.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Take Action Tour 09 Review of Bands + Contest


Take Action Tour-A Review of the Bands

The Take Action Tour has been over for a little while now and the only reason I'm not freaking out about being so late is because I was at the last show...so I can't promote this years' tour, only the bands and the idea of the tour so you can go next year or see the bands at some other point this coming summer and fall. Believe me, they are all worth it in some regard!

Anarbor: Gave a great performance, awesome band to kick start the show. Music was good. My new “I must have their album” band. Seriously, I really do need to look into buying their music. I would have that night if I had more money.
http://www.myspace.com/anarbor

Breathe Carolina: Their show gave off the vibe of a club with the lasers and lights. Exciting to watch, give a fun show. I wasn't a huge fan of them, but if you do like their music or are just looking to have a really good time...they are a good choice. I enjoyed their set a lot!
http://www.myspace.com/breathecarolina

Every Avenue: A bit more mellow than Breathe Carolina but they were a band that I'd enjoyed listening too online, so I'd say give them a listen. If you like pop/rock, you might enjoy them.

http://www.myspace.com/everyavenue

Meg & Dia: Meg&Dia: Amazing vocals. Stand out performance was for “Halloween” about a friend who passed away in a drunk driving accident. The song is available on the Take Action Tour compilation. Emotional, raw performance that really drew the crowd in.

Cute is What We Aim For: I'd seen CWWAF before, but I'd never seen their whole set. I must say, it was fun. I have to keep in mind that this was the last show of the tour (if you ever get to see one of those, go!) and all bets are pretty much off. The vocals and performance in genenral were still good but the band just had fun. I guess this is the group most of you might recognize so if you like them, seeing them live should be a good time. If you don't know them, definitely listen to the song "Fourth Drink Instinct" which is a favorite of mine and one they sang! I was super happy!

http://www.myspace.com/cuteiswhatweaimfor

Take Action Tour: Taken from their website, "The recently wrapped, eighth annual 2009 Take Action! Tour came to a culmination after two months and 40 shows, with one last hurrah in Cincinnati, OH on April 1, 2009. The nationwide charity tour raises funds and awareness for youth involvement in charitable action, and for the second straight year Take Action has chosen not-for-profit organization DoSomething.org to benefit from the funds raised and to help spread the message of action to young people across the US and Canada." http://media.hopelessrecords.com/wordpress/

http://www.dosomething.org/

If you find you like at least one of the bands on next year's tour (which I'll try and post about) then go and see a show if you can. Fun, live show, and you are helping really great causes by buying a ticket. I believe some of the money from their compilation album goes to Dosomething.org as well.

Contest for that at the bottom!



The following pictures are of Meg&Dia (a full band) and Cute is What We Aim For.

All belong too: Kari Becker





Meg&Dia











Cute is What We Aim For







Contest:

When I saw the Take Action tour I bought two copies of that year's compilation album which has songs from everyone on the tour as well as other bands and even a DVD with some videos. If you want to hear Meg&Dia's song "Halloween" which is a new favorite of mine after hearing them live, then you need this album. So go and buy it. For now, try and win it! :)


Enter: Comment on here about the tour, one of the bands, photos, etc.


Open to: U.S. only!


Ends: June 31st


Prize: One copy of the compilation album (tracklist below)




CD1


Cute Is What We Aim For PSA


2Cute Is What We Aim For - Doctor


3Motion City Soundtrack - Fell In Love Without You


4Emery - The Smile, The Face


5There For Tomorrow - Remember When (Used To Be Used To It


)6The Spill Canvas - All Over You (Live In Sioux Falls) *Unreleased


7Breathe Carolina - Diamonds


8Forever The Sickest Kids - The Party Song


9Versa Emerge - In Pursuing Design


10Meg & Dia - Halloween *Unreleased


11Ace Enders - Reaction


12Anarbor - The Brightest Green


13Every Avenue - Think Of You Later (Empty Room)


14You Me At Six - Jealous Minds Think Alike


15Bayside - You’ve Already Been


16Red Car Wire - Timing Just Isn’t Your Thing


17Sing It Loud - Come Around


18Cinematic Sunrise - Umbrellas and Elephants


19Four Year Strong - So Hot, And You Sweat On It *Unreleased


20All Time Low - Remembering Sunday


DVD


1Motion City Soundtrack - Fell In Love Without You


2Hit The Lights - Stay Out


3All Time Low - Poppin’ Champagne (Remix Video) *Unreleased


4There For Tomorrow - No More Room To Breathe


5Plain White T’s - Natural Disaster


6Hawthorne Heights - Somewhere In Between


7Portugal, The Man - Lay Me Back Down


8Rise Against - The Good Left Undone (Live at Hurricane Festival) *Unreleased


9Underoath - Desperate Times, Desperate Measures


11Maylene and the Sons of Disaster - The Day Hell Broke Loose At Sicard Hollow


12Foxy Shazam - A Dangerous Man


13Before Their Eyes - Life Was All A Dream


14Do Something - Overview Video

Review: Pilot Episode for New USA Show: Royal Pains

Royal Pains Review: Pilot Episode
By: Lauren


Premiere: Thursday, June 4 at 10/9c on USA


My Thoughts:
Royal Pains is the latest addition to USA's lineup (Psych, Monk, Burn Notice) and after viewing the pilot episode, I have to admit...I'm a fan. Honestly, the show really is that good with fun, multi-dimensional characters. When you first begin watching, you'll be reminded of a lot of medical dramas that are on television these days, especially House where it's a normal scene and then someone is down needing medical help. However, it soon switches into something like a romance film...everything is great and life is good...but we all know that can't last for long.

Unlike Dr. House, Dr. Hank Lawson is fired for making a decision that caused a billionaire to die. His relationship is ending and the lack of career causes him to slowly spin into a month-long depression. That is until hilarious Evan Lawson shows up, accountant and brother extraordinaire. Hank had been refusing all month long to go on a trip to the Hamptons with his brother but finally relents and that's where the true story begins.

Hanks finds himself among the rich and famous, saving more than one life with his skills...causing word to spread about a new doctor. Divya shows up, ready and willing to be Hank's PA (physician's assistant) and Evan is more than happy to live the life of luxury, but what will really make Hank stay? It could just be love...

Quotes:

One of my favorite things about shows are the witty quotes that you find stuck in your head and repeat for days on end. Royal Pains definitely has its fair share of those, especially between Hank and Evan, the two brothers.

Scene- Evan shows up to get Hank to go on the trip with him.

“Are you texting while I’m talking to you?”-Hank
“I can do both.”-Evan

Scene- The brothers arrive at their hotel, aptly called Hampt Inn.

“Fit for a king, huh?”-Hank
“I didn’t say which country”-Evan

Finally, I always like when a show or movie will say something at the beginning and repeat it in some fashion at the end, or a later date, to truly make a point. I just think it's good writing honestly and I wanted to share with you how Royal Pains does this.

Scene 1: Nikki, Hank's fiance, is mad at him for not going out and finding a new job so she can worry more about their wedding than lawsuits.

“Since the day I met you, Hank, you’ve never been able to accept the things you can’t change”-Nikki

Scene 2: At the end of the episode, Hank is in the Hamptons and has met another lovely lady, Jill...a fellow doctor.

“We need to change the things we can’t accept”-Jill

Music:

In conclusion, I must mention the episodes' music choices. I honestly loved them: a mix of old and new. A couple artists you can hear are the Ting Tings and Rooney.

Preview for "Royal Pains"

Wish-List Wednesday: Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper

Sadly, I can't find a summary for this book but don't fret! It's the second in a series. The first is called Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs and it's absolutely amazing. If you love humor or vampires you have GOT to read this one. Not only that, but the main character is a librarian. Oh yeah, she's a book freak like the rest of us so now you know you're stoked about picking this one up.

And look, I'll make it easy. If you buy it on Amazon it's only $7.99! Not bad at all
http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Girls-Dont-Fangs-Jameson/dp/1416589422/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c


I hope that works. If not, just look it up. It's easy.

Anyway, Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men:

-Out on August 25, 2009
-Molly Harper is from KY and so am I. (Yay!)
-Again, it's the second in the series, so read the first if you haven't already!

What do you all think?!

Review Part ONE: Starfinder by John Marco


Starfinder by John Marco
Review by: Lauren
Summary: Steam trains and electricity are rapidly changing the world. Moth of Calio is obsessed with the airships developed by his friend Fiona’s grandfather Rendor, and dreams of taking to the air one day like his heroes, the Skyknights.But not everyone is happy to see humans reach the skies.

For thousands of years, the mysterious and powerful race known as the Skylords have jealously guarded their heavenly domain. But Moth and Fiona are about to breach the magical boundary between the world of humans and the world of the Skylords.

Review Part One: To be honest, I'm not so sure this summary does the book justice. As you can see, I am labeling this review Part One because I'm only halfway through the book. I was asked to review this book by the author awhile ago and then asked to be part of a book tour by Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? I agreed because I already had the book, but I'm afraid that time got away from me and I've been hurriedly trying to read the books I was meant to reaad this month (I think I'm doing okay though).

Anyway, back to the book...today is my "tour date" so here is the first half of my review and hopefully you'll get the next half in the next day or so. Starfinder is an adventure story, first and foremost, that drags you in and keeps you reading. It's full of mysteries and creative characters (some loveable, some not so much). The book is mainly told through the main character, Moth's eyes, but you do get to see parts of the story taking place in other areas which is nice because it adds to the intrigue of the book and makes you wonder what will happen.

If you are a fan of books like Harry Potter and The Hobbit that create a whole new world for you then you should definitely think about picking up Starfinder. Once again, this is another book for the boys, but it's good for any gender or even any age. Moth and Fiona might physically be 13 and 14 years old, but they have lived lives beyond their years and are willing to throw away all they know to make a dying man's last wishes come true. Moth has lost his family and Fiona believes that Moth is more important than blood: they are truly loyal and brave friends.


I, for one, am excited to see what happens throughout the second half. For now, I'd give it 4 stars though.

I'm sorry this is a bit late, I meant to post it last night so it was ready for today (and I'm sure Trish is freaking out!!) but my power went out and this was really the first time I could do it. It blacked out on me while writing the review.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dull Boy by Sarah Cross Review + Willow Winners

Dull Boy by Sarah Cross
Review by: Lauren

http://www.sarahcross.com/

Summary: Superpowers are awesome - unless you actually have them, like Avery does. There's only so much he can pass off as "adrenaline" before people start to get suspicious. Probably it's best to lie low, so guys in white lab coats don't come to carry him away, to find out what makes his freakish body tick. Who wants to be vivisected? But flying under the radar becomes a whole lot harder when you can actually fly. It's dangerous to be different, so for now he'll pretend to be normal, unremarkable Avery - a dull boy - anything to keep his secret safe.

What he doesn't expect is the horrifying truth about where his powers came from, who else might have them, and the madness of one villain's plan to turn this superpowered dull boy into something even more powerful and amazing.

Review: I finished this one a week or so back and I do apologize for the lateness...though it has nothing to do with the wonderfulness of this book. I absolutely loved Dull Boy. Every single character in this novel felt like a real person to me, with their own ideas and personalities as well as super powers if they happened to have them. Not everyone does of course and the reason for their super hero status was pretty cool, I must say.

super powers Pictures, Images and Photos

Dull Boy starts off hooking you: why is Avery the way he is? Who are all these random people popping up in his life? How will he ever survive the school for troubled kids, which his parents have made him go too?

Photobucket

The book might look a bit thick at first glance but it reads really fast and you'll find yourself trying to figure out one mystery after another. At the end of the book, I was happy to see some problems wrapped up and the backstory of these kid's lives brought to light, but it still leaves you happily waiting for more...Sarah, when can we expect that?!

Overall, Dull Boy was a really fun and interesting novel. It's fast-paced, filled with mystery and adventure, making it perfect for boys and girls, as well as readers who might be disinclined to pick up most books. Forget Kryptonite and radioactive spiders...Dull Boy is here to bring you a new brand of super hero, ready for the 21st century.

Shooting Star? Yes!
Movie-worthy? Yes, I'd see it for sure!

Don't forget to enter the contest Sarah Cross and I are hosting. Find the link by clicking the party banner in the right hand sidebar.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Contest: Zombie Love T-Shirts!



Contest Details: If you click the link above (the authors' website) and then click the photo in the middle of the page that says "Contest" and you can be entered to win some fabolous Zombie Love t-shirts. All you have to do is subscribe. Simple as that!

Contest Ends: May 31st and the winners will be announced June 1.

Zombies are the new IT things, so you know you want to be sporting the love through your own t-shirt. I signed up, so you should too. The book looks great and I can't wait to start reading it, so keep up to date on the latest!

Leave a comment here if you sign up so I know!!

(Party) C.K. Kelly Martin Guest Blog + Contest

Guest Blog: C.K. Kelly Martin, author of One Lonely Degree
http://www.ckkellymartin.com/

Some girls will tell almost anyone their problems, like the fact that they have some drama in their lives makes them important. I’m not like that. It takes me a long time to trust someone and mostly it just doesn’t happen at all. So anyway, I don’t want to get into the messy details of what happened between Audrey, Jersy and me and how back at the start of tenth grade Adam Porter did something that made me feel almost like I wasn’t myself anymore. What I really want to write about is something else entirely, but I guess it’s kind of related too because you can’t talk about music you like, music that really means something to you, without revealing something about yourself.

The thing is, I’m this huge Our Lady Peace fan and they haven’t had a new album in FOUR years. The entire time I’ve been a fan they haven’t had an album out and now there’s going to be a NEW one, which is already recorded but hasn’t been released yet. My anticipation level is beyond crazy and people like my friend Nishani and even my parents (and other people I can’t mention by name because that would be telling) have to listen to me talk about how fantastic Burn Burn is going to be and stuff like details about the interview I saw with the band during the video shoot for the first single, All You Did Was Save My Life, a few weeks ago.

Since I still have almost two months until the album is out I have to keep hitting YouTube to watch live clips of OLP playing All You Did Was Save My Life, Dreamland, White Flags and a bunch of other tracks from Burn Burn. There are times I watch them over and over, which makes the anticipation that much sharper so that sometimes when I’m just walking around the mall or eating dinner or whatever I’ll suddenly remember about the new CD coming out and get the same buzz that other people probably do when they’re drinking or doing drugs. Actually, I think a music buzz is exponentially better than a chemical one. I know lots of people would disagree with me but I don’t get the fascination with frying your brain. Personally, I’d like to hold on to mine for a few more years.

All You Did Was Save My Life. If it was a book, I’d devour it. If it was a movie I’d go to the theatre to watch it. What can be bigger than someone saving your life? And it’s really weird (but in a really good way) for me because that’s sort of how I feel about OLP. Not literally because it’s not like I ever wanted to stop being alive but there were times when it was so hard that I didn’t know what to do besides let my friend Audrey promise me I was going to be okay or listen to Our Lady Peace. Honestly, there were a lot of times like that and they went on for a long time. If I couldn’t sleep I would lie under the covers and listen to Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida sing into my ear and what he sang would help, I swear to God. And yeah, I do have a thing for Raine Maida (who is beautiful in a way that seems almost impossible) but it wasn’t just that. What he was singing would help at a time when I was too fucked up to have a thing for anybody.

He has a voice like burning gold but it wasn’t just that either, it was what he was saying, like he understood how tough things could be and it was personally important to him that you didn’t give up, like he says in A Story About A Girl:

“Baby girl, stand up and fight
This is not some paradise
Oh it's just where we live”

The song Life is inspiring in kind of the same way:

“Life is waiting for you
It’s all messed up,
but we'll survive”

And Raine Maida’s solo album from about a year and a half ago is amazing too. His song Earthless is so beautiful and delicate that there are moments while I’m listening to it that I forget to breathe. But I think my favourite song of all could be Innocent because I do believe (although I sometimes need reminding) that we can all be innocent, even when other people want to yank that away from us and make us feel shitty. If I could add up all the times I’ve listened to OLP tunes that one might win. But really, I love them all – Thief, Naveed (especially the part where Raine sings “I can’t live here anymore”), 4AM, Clumsy, Automatic Flowers, everything. They all rock and they’re real and intense and they mean something, not like so many of the chart topping songs, which, if you’re a girl are mostly about jiggling your body parts while singing about how hot you are or if you’re a guy are mainly about watching some girl jiggle while you talk about how hot she is. I can’t even believe how much of that stuff is out there. There’s, like, a pandemic of jiggling booty and boobs.


So when Burn Burn hits record stores on July 21st (which hopefully will get here fast so I don’t explode from waiting) I’m going straight to HMV to buy it so I can stack it up next to my copies of Gravity, Spiritual Machines, Healthy in Paranoid Times etc. And I’ll lie under the covers and listen to Raine sing, even though I feel pretty good these days and don’t need my life saved in the same way. The music still makes me happier, makes things easier, and it’s pretty amazing that people you don’t even know can do that for you with guitars, drums and the right words.

I’ll be on the lookout for Toronto tour dates too because you know when OLP hit town, I’m there. Nishani and her sister Aneeka have already sworn they’ll buy tickets with me and Nishani now knows all the lyrics to Innocent by heart, which is partly my influence and partly testament to what an incredible song it is.

I know I said at the beginning of this that I didn’t want to talk about Audrey or Jersy or give too much away – and that’s still true, but the one thing I want them both to know, if they don’t already and if they happen to be reading this, is that they are the best friends a person could have and, like the music, they helped me too.

– Finn Kavanagh, May 1st, 2009

"Innocent" by Our Lady Peace (Live)



* The first single from Burn Burn "All You Did Was Save My Life" hits radio today - Monday May 25th. One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin arrives in bookstores May 26th.


Contest:

Enter: Comment on this Guest Post!

Open To: U.S. and Canada!

Ends: June 15th

Prize: - a signed copy of One Lonely Degree

- Playlist: The Very Best of Our Lady Peace CD (which was just released in March)

- Burn Burn CD (which will be forwarded to winner upon its release, the other stuff C.K. Kelly Martin will send off right away)

Remember: One Lonely Degree is released tomorrow so definitely think about picking up your own copy. It looks amazing and I really want to read it!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

(Party) Interview with Faryl Smith-The Girl Behind the Voice

Photobucket

Interview with Faryl Smith

By: Lauren

Website: http://www.farylmusic.com/

So you've read my review of her album and even entered to win your very own copy, which if you didn't win you should think about picking up a copy for yourself or someone else, but now you get to hear straight from Faryl herself. I just have to say that I'm kind of excited she mentioned that she likes Hollyoaks...if you've been following my blog, you should know by now that I do too (even though it's a UK soap and it's hard for me to keep up).


1.You got your big break by participating in Britain's Got Talent. These days, that show is all over the place showing off new surprising singers such as Susan Boyle. What was your experience like when you were on the show? If you could talk to any of the other people getting attention from that show, what would you want them to know about life after?


My experience on Britain's Got Talent was fantastic. I have never done anything like it before and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life so far. If it wasn't for Britain's Got Talent I would not be where I am today, and I am extremely thankful. My life has changed so much since the show and I am doing things that I never would have imagined. I think that shows such as Britain's Got Talent can really change people’s lives and open many opportunities for their career.

2. Your debut album, Faryl, did absolutely amazing on the charts outselling a lot of big names such as U2. Can you describe your first reaction when you heard how successful it was doing?


I have never thought that a young girl from such a small town as Kettering would do so well, so I was so happy, but also very shocked. The whole experience was very exciting for all of my friends and family too.

3. Speaking of the album, I'd love to know your thoughts on recording one. You're only thirteen years old, but you've already been able to work with a lot of people and release your own music. Do you have any specific memories you'd like to share? What's your favorite song to sing off of the album?


I was quite nervous when it came to recording because recording and performing are completely different things and I was only ever used to the performing side. However all of the people that helped with my album was so friendly and made me feel really comfortable. The producer of my album, Jon Cohen, is one of the nicest people I have ever met and I was very privileged to have worked with him, as he is also an expert when it comes to music! My favourite song on the album would probably have to be "River Of Light" because the blue danube is such a well known track, but it has never had words written to it before, so to be the first person to sing it with words if great. Also I think that it is quite different, and I like to be different.

4. You might sing classical music, but no matter what genre, if you could sing or work with any artist nowadays who would you pick and why?


Without a doubt I would have to say Beyonce, because she can sing anything from ballads to chart music and also she is always herself and seems like a lovely person.

5. As we mentioned before, you are only 13 years old. How has your life changed day-to-day since getting your record deal? Do you still go to regular school?


Yes I definitely still go to my regular school, my mum and dad always try their hardest to keep me grounded and I think that still going to the same school with all of friends helps a lot. Like I said earlier my life has changed but for a lot of very good reasons.

6. On a more personal level, what are you interested in these days when it comes to music, television and movies? Give them a shout out!


Well when it comes to music I like whatever is in the charts really but probably things like Beyonce (again) Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Lily Allen, Flo Rida, Katy Perry etc...I love soaps like Hollyoaks, Eastenders and Corrie. I usually just watch MTV all the time as well. Movies I don't really have favourite films but I do love the film 'My Girl'.

7. And finally, because we must always ask: if you could wish on a real shooting star, what would you wish for and why (though I'm sure many of your wishes have already come true!)?


Well like many other children my dream was always to be famous and also when I was little I always dreamt of singing on big stages to large crowds.And these dreams are now becoming a reality.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Next Batch of Winners, Oh My!









Shrinking Violet winner: Anita Yancey (emailed you!)





Jody Gehrman winner: I Heart Monster (already contacted)





Thanks for entering. We still have quite a few contests going on, and I swear I WILL figure out the Willow and Romance/Paranormal contest winners this weekend as it ended about a week ago. :)



If you are waiting for something from me (a prize win, I mean) it should be going out soon. Feel free to remind me too if you wish.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

News & Things: American Idol + Miley Cyrus!

Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Montana-Movie-John-Debney/dp/B001PK479O

---Not just Hannah/Miley. You'll get some Taylor Swift and Rascall Flatts if you buy too!

Our next installment of News & Things involves Miley Cyrus and American Idol (Did you watch the finale? If not, don't ruin it by reading...unless you want too)


Here is the link to the Miley Cyrus – AOL Sessions : http://bit.ly/MileyAOLsessions

I still need to watch some of this, but I saw a bit of "Full Circle" and I like it. I really want to see her perform "The Climb" as a new favorite of mine. :) What do you think though?!

"Full Circle"- Miley Cyrus

kris allen Pictures, Images and Photos
Finally...American Idol. So who watched it the finale last night? I must say, I was quite surprised by the winner....Kris Allen! I love him to death and he was very modest about everything, which was adorable...but still surprising. I really thought Adam had it. Now, I'm not really disappointed. Kris is great, like I said, and I LOVED his version of "Heartless" by Kanye West. He's a good singer. As for Adam, he'll be JUST FINE, which is why I'm not worried... and sometimes it's best to not win. Think of Daughtry. I think Adam will be the same.

Adam Lambert Pictures, Images and Photos

What do you all think though? Who, no matter who won, is YOUR "American Idol"? I have to say, Adam is mine. He sings the type of music that I love and it would be amazing to see him live at some point. However, Kris is great and if I find I like his music when it's released...I'd be happy to support him too. I wish them both the best of luck of course. They had a long road on the show and it was great to see them both at the end.

Kris Allen-"Heartless"



This is just amazing. I didn't mind Kanye's version...it was catchy, but honestly, Kris made me LOVE this. He really did switch it up and make it great.

Adam Lambert-"Track of My Tears"

They say this is a studio version...I didn't know they recorded any songs? I don't know, but I guess this is right.

At any rate, Adam was pretty much always amazing and I loved his versions of this song and "Mad World" as well as so many others.

Events for: Covington, KY and Alexandria, Virginia!

There are a couple events coming up that you should definitely think about checking out if you are near the area. First up is a show with The Ataris and some other fun bands (I've seen Ubersku and A Decade to Die For before) in Covington, KY at The Madison Theater (a cool place, by the way!!)

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Next, I wanted to let you know about a couple author events taking place in Alexandria, Virginia:


The first is a Book Launch Party for Julie Kraut, author of "Slept Away," the story of a young city woman, mightily attached to both friends and technology, who is sent to a rustic sleepaway camp for the summer. Sunday, June 7, at 2 p.m. at Hooray For Books! 1555 King St., Alexandria, VA,703-548-4092; http://www.hooray4books.com/

The second is a chance to meet Jenny Han, author of "Shug," who is touring to promote her latest book, "The Summer I Turned Pretty." Sunday, June 14, at 2 p.m. at Hooray For Books! 1555 King St., Alexandria, VA, 703-548-4092;
http://www.hooray4books.com



So if you live in either of these places or can easily make it, please think about showing up and showing your suppport...and you know, having a great time. What could be better?!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Book Party: Are You In?!

book icon Pictures, Images and Photos

So, if you can't see the icon above it says "I'd rather read a book than go to a party" but what about a book party? I'd talked to another blogger about this in passing a few months ago and then promptly forgot about the idea...but I figure: Hey! It's summer! So why not really?

Do you all remember the book carnivals, I believe bookroomreviews always hosts every few months or so (I have no idea how long is actually between the two)? Anyway, they are a lot of fun and I love seeing new blogs and entering contests for books or book-related items.

However, I did notice that not a ton of YA blogs post their links during the carnival and you know we all love our contests, bloggers and authors alike. So I was thinking...how about having a Book Carnival for YA books and items only. You can have an adult blog, you can have a pop culture blog, it doesn't matter...but the contest has to be a YA-level book or something that anyone can enjoy like a bookstore gift card or something. Make sense?

I'll post a Mr. Linky and everyone can leave links to their contests during a one-week period and people can spend that time entering and finding new sites and authors can promote their friends and themselves by doing contests as well. I don't know, I think it would be fun, but it's up to everyone else. I can't do it on my own, so what do you think? And when do you think it should be?

Do people think we should do this in June or something or wait unti later in the summer? I don't know, but spread the word and let me know if you plan on doing something for the party. I'd love for more sites/authors to know about this so again...tell EVERYONE! And for now, leave your thoughts/questions/commments/suggestions/whatever!

Fox's New Show Glee: What Did I Think?!

Glee-a new show on Fox coming this Fall

http://www.fox.com/glee/

If you've been paying attention to Fox lately, I'm sure you've seen at least ONE commercial for the new show, Glee, about a high school Spanish teacher who takes over the glee club to help kids do something great and relive the old days.

Tonight, after American Idol, we got to see the very first episode of the show and I must say it's amazing. I can't wait for more...it's a good show with fun characters (and nice actors who play them!) as well as humor and of course, music!

Sadly, the show doesn't actually start until this fall. What we saw tonight was just a sneak preview to get people excited and coming back when the season really does start. It's a cool idea and I know I'll be back to watch the rest, but it does make me a bit sad to know that I have to wait a few more months for the whole thing.

I do know that if you missed the first episode, you don't need to fret...you have all summer to watch and rewatch it online. I'm guessing that will availabe on the website, as well as some other fun stuff about the show...so check out the link above (under the photo!)

Now, here is one of the small promos they played leading up to tonight's episode if you want to watch it again or even for the first time.

What do you think though? Did you watch the show? Do you like it? If you didn't, will you? Discuss people! Discuss!!



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(Party) Jennifer E. Smith Talks: You Are Here!


Interview with Jennifer E. Smith, author of the new book You Are Here (and The Comeback Season)
by: Lauren
http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jennifer-E-Smith/42440288

You are Here’s Emma finds out she had a twin brother that died a couple days after being born. Did you ever wish you had a twin? Do you believe that twins are two halves of a whole?

I definitely wished for a twin when I was growing up – never mind the fact that I already had a younger sister! But I think there’s a certain allure to the idea of twins, and Emma certainly sees it that way in the book. She’s spent so long wishing for someone who understands her, that she immediately latches onto the idea of a missing half when she finds out about her brother. But it takes a whole road trip for her to realize that there are other people in the world who understand her too…
Road Trip Pictures, Images and Photos

Emma and her neighbor Peter go on a road trip during the book. What are some places they visit, and have you ever been to any of them?

The two of them start off in upstate New York (where I went to college), travel down through New York City (where I live now), to Washington, DC (where I’ve visited often), and end up in North Carolina (where my parents now live). So yes, I’ve been to most of the major stops along the way, but they also pass through a handful of places I haven’t been, like Gettysburg and Roanoke. Road trips were a big thing in my family growing up though, and I’ve actually been to 46 of the 50 states (most of them in the back of the Smith family minivan!)


Road trips are often used as a metaphor of the inner journey the characters go on. Is this a reason why you chose to use a trip in You are Here?

Emma’s entire personality has been shaped in reaction to the place where she’s grown up. Her parents are college professors, her siblings are brilliant, and she literally lives in the shadow of a university. In the end, of course, she’s not nearly as average as she thinks she is, but it takes leaving to figure that out. For Emma, getting away from home is what finally makes her learn to appreciate it.
you are here Pictures, Images and Photos

I love the title of the book, as it goes along with people writing “So and so was here” while on a trip. Have you ever done this? If so, where at? Did you have any other possible titles for the novel?

There were never really any other possible titles for the book – You Are Here just fit so perfectly, though it did come about in sort of an odd way. I’m awful with titles, and there are dozens of Word documents sitting on my computer desktop with names like “Chapter One” and “New Chapter” and “Possible Story Idea” – all very unspecific, and not particularly helpful when you’re searching for the right one. So one day, soon after I’d started this book, I was squinting at my screen and trying to remember what I’d called it, and I finally got fed up. I must have had maps on the brain, because I just titled it, in all caps, YOU ARE HERE – so that I could literally locate it on the screen. As I continued writing, I realized just how perfect that was, and from then on, I couldn’t think of it as anything else.
ordinary Pictures, Images and Photos

Emma is stated to be rather ordinary in an extraordinary family. How so exactly?

Well, Emma thinks she’s ordinary anyway. Her dad is a poet, her mother travels the world, her brothers and sisters are all incredibly smart and successful. And though she’s a perfectly normal 16-year-old, “normal” is not something that’s generally celebrated in the Healy family. In the end, it’s the most unlikely person – her oddball neighbor, Peter Finnegan – who helps her to realize she’s not nearly as average as she might think
mix tape Pictures, Images and Photos

Do you ever listen to music while writing? Whether you do or not, are there any songs that you feel fit the theme/storyline of You are Here?

I’m fairly easily distracted, so I don’t often listen to music when writing. Occasionally, I attempt to play something without words, like the instrumental score to a movie, but this inevitably leads to me daydreaming about whatever movie it’s from, and then I start thinking about THAT story instead than my own. But car trips are perfect for playing music; there’s nothing better than a good mix for the road!

Are you beginning work on any new projects? Anything you can let us know at the moment?

I have a few things in the works, but unfortunately, none of them are imminent – probably because I keep starting projects, but not necessarily finishing them. But I have a few ideas up my sleeve that will hopefully find their way to the page very soon!

News & Things: Speak Out and Share Thoughts!

News & Things
~~~~~~

A Reminder - You're Invited!
What: An International Online Teen Summer Reading Project:
Blogbook 2009 - "Loulane Lambert's Lists for Life"
Where: http://loulanelambertslistsforlife.blogspot.com
When: June 1, 2009
Who: Barbara Larmon Failing
www.barbaralarmonfailing.com
Hope to see you online on June 1!
PS - Watch the Blogbook 2009 video on YouTube -
PPS - Here's what a local librarian said about "Loulane Lambert's Lists for Life" - "I have read the entire book and highly recommend it. It is a charming story about a teenager who yearns to be a Caldecott winning illustrator while adjusting to a new school and community."
~~~~~~~~~
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Royal Pains
The new USA network (Psych, Monk) show is Royal Pains and it will debut on Thursday, June 4th at 10/9c. I'm definitely excited about this as it looks like a fun show. What about you all though? Will you watch it??
Official Summary: USA Network is proud to introduce the Hamptons' newest doctor-on-demand, Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein). After Hank, a young doctor on the fast track to success, falls from grace when he is blamed for the death of a hospital trustee, he inadvertently stumbles into the world of private medical service for the elite denizens of the Hamptons.

With the encouragement of his younger brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) and an ambitious young woman who volunteers to be his physician assistant, Hank reluctantly agrees to be a "Concierge Doctor" for the summer. But will he be able to treat his high-flying clients while still managing to keep his own feet on the ground? Co-starring Reshma Shetty and Jill Flint with Christine Ebersole and Campbell Scott.

Monday, May 18, 2009

(Party) "Zombies Everywhere"- Authors Talk!

... Pictures, Images and Photos

The band Karate High School is releasing their debut album Invaders tomorrow, May 19th, and one of their songs is titled "Zombies Everywhere." One of my first thoughts when I heard this song was: "Wow! I wonder what all those authors of zombie books would think of this one!" so I passed along the link and a few of them were kind enough to send me their thoughts.

http://www.myspace.com/karatehighschool

"Zombies Everywhere" by Karate High School is definitely a song that Phoebe would have on her iPod, most likely in the Top 25 Most Played playlist. I'll be adding it to my own iPod when the album comes out May 19th."


Daniel Waters is the author of Generation Dead, now in paperback. The sequel to Generation Dead, Kiss of Life, will be out on May 12.

Zombies Everywhere is a fun, up-tempo song with rockin' guitars and the catchy refrain, "they're coming for your brains and it's too late to change." With zombiemania replacing the current vampire craze, this is a song kids can rock-out to all summer long.
-E. Van Lowe, author of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie out on September 1, 2009
http://vanlowe.blogspot.com/


“Zombies Everywhere” by Karate High School makes the zombie apocalypse sound like an amusement park thrill ride. The song is a roller coaster of tempo changes accompanied by dark, playful lyrics that hint at an underlying social commentary about conformity:


They’re coming for your brains
And it’s too late to change


Or maybe it’s just a fun, upbeat song about zombies. Either way it’s a good time. The groans at the end add a nice touch. Definitely belongs in your zombie music collection.

- S.G. Browne (author of Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament)
www.undeadanonymous.com Debut novel, Breathers, is a dark comedy about undeath through the eyes of an ordinary zombie. Like Fight Club meets Shaun of the Dead, only with the zombies as the good guys.


Okay, so in case you are thinking that authors spend their whole day writing, I feel it’s my civic duty to set this illusion straight. You see, as a rule authors are not just excellent at writing, but at also avoiding writing and one of our favourite distractions is making playlists.

Oh yes, the minute we get a good idea, before the research even starts, it is essential to spend hours on the Internet trying to discover the perfect songs to help lure the muse out of its lazy summer vacation in Hawaii (what? You didn’t know that muses went to Hawaii on vacation? Well, there you go – that’s two author secrets I’ve told you!).

So naturally, before I started writing Zombie Queen of Newbury High, I went searching for all the good zombie songs I could find. And there are actually quite a few. Obviously Thriller by Michael Jackson made the cut, as did Zombie by The Cranberries, She’s Not There by The Zombies and also How to be Dead by Snow Patrol (just because). There were more as well but I’m not going to list them here.

However, when Lauren sent me the link to Karate High School’s Zombies Everywhere I was immediately annoyed that I had already written my book because this song so would’ve been at the top of my playlist.

It’s cool, it’s catchy and the band has the best name ever. And of course, like the living dead, it has a bad habit of coming back at you when you least expect it!!!!

Zombie Queen of Newbury High (March 2009) 5 stars teensreadtooYou Had Me at Halo (out now) 4 1/2 star Romantic Times TOP PICK http://www.amandaashby.com

Now, it's time for you to hear the song for yourself! I love it and hope to get the album sometime really soon because it's so amazing, as well as the other music I've heard from them. I'd think about picking up the c.d. as well if you can! It's not that expensive, and they're a ton of fun (especially for your zombie-filled summer).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

(Party) SolarHalo Interview + Contest...Oh Pretty!

Photo from Etsy shop: Season's Change necklace

Interview with Sueanne from SolarHalo Studios
By: Lauren

Contest Attached
http://solarhalo.etsy.com/
http://solarhalo.com/

1. Your actual job is working with photography and graphic design. Is your professional work similar to the stuff in your shop? How did you first get started with photography, design, and jewelry work?

Yes, I'm a wedding and event photographer. I also do portrait photography, landscape and travel photography. I think that my professional work is similar in the sense that color and aesthetics are so important to me when I create things, whether it be a print piece, a photograph or jewelry.

I've been a photographer since I was about 10 years old. I've been drawing and painting since I was 6. I've always loved the arts and it is my greatest passion.

I started jewelry making a couple of years ago and would just give the pieces away to friends and family. Then, not long ago, a friend of mine said that I should try to sell what I was creating. I had a friend who had an Etsy page and I liked how it all worked so I decided to start there. I look at the world around me and try to make pieces that are different or that just provide that great compliment that someone needs to go around with them for the day.



2. One of the things that I love in your shop are the memory mosaic photos. What goes into making these and for those of us who don't do photography, can you break down the process at all?


Ah, the memory mosaics, well, those are one of my biggest sellers in my wedding photography business. People always comment on them. They can also be done for graduations, baby's first year, honeymoons, anniversaries and so many other occasions.


If you have enough photos, the mosaic can be made. It takes about 1000 photos to make a good mosaic with little image repeats. I can't give too much away about the mosaic and the process but I can say that it takes a bit of time and some is helped by a program but the rest is all work through me. There are a few tricks that I do to get it just right every time.

3. In the Stationary section of your site, you have some bookmarks available. My favorite is the Pure Triangles Bookmarks/Paperclips. How do you come up with your ideas for the "extra" type pieces? Are you personally a fan of reading?


I love books! I love libraries and bookstores. One of my favorite smells in this world is the smell of an old bookstore. It's just a wonderful smell. I feel it's as if you can almost breath in all the knowledge, instead, you're probably breathing in a lot of dust mites but hey, I think the knowledge part is more what I'd like to think of. Because of my love for books, I have a huge collection of unique bookmarks.


I often keep an eye out for pieces that I see just about anywhere and I remember that I saw something similar to these in a store. It wasn't bookmarks and it was several times the size. I think it was even in a hardware store, but it clicked in my mind, "What if these were much smaller? They'd be great bookmarks". So I set out to create them. I love them too. I plan to make more with different pieces at the top and maybe even different colored wire.

4. Where does your inspiration for your jewelry come from? Does it take awhile to come up with some of the names? (One of my favorites is the Season's Change necklace, the actual jewelry and the name!)


It's funny. I wanted to come up with something creative and different for my shop. I always listen to music when I work, no matter what I'm working on. I am passionate about all of the arts, cooking, drawing, writing, reading, singing, crafting, etc... If it's creative, I love doing it. I think much of my inspiration is from the outdoors but also from music, culture, and random things I come across daily. I love the Season's Change necklace too and I think the song suits this necklace too. The song is such a sweet melody and it fits the soft elegant design of the necklace. Sometimes it takes a little time to think of just the right name for the necklace but many times the name is already in my head as I'm making it.

5. Your photos are absolutely beautiful. How do you decide to take a picture of something? Does it take awhile to get the "perfect" shot every time, or are some easier then others?


I will admit, I do the jewelry as a hobby. I love doing it and I am passionate about it. My photographs though, especially the more fine art ones or the landscape and nature ones, I am beyond passionate about them. It feels great to be able to capture the beauty that nature offers us every day. So many people forget to take a moment to look at these things. Even if it's just a child playing or a single tree with a bench next to it at a park with the sun setting in the background creating a soft glow, they all create some sort of feeling.


I guess I not only want to give people a moment captured in time to look at, but I want to evoke emotion and feeling with my photographs. I hope that people will want to see a certain place after seeing a photograph of mine or even just get a smile because it reminds them of a favorite place or memory of their own. Sometimes I know just what I need to do to get the shot. Sometimes I'm lucky and sometimes I have to keep trying to get the image just as I see it. I've gotten up at 4 am just to get to a specific place to get the perfect shot. Weather always plays a huge role in some of the images so paying attention to the forecast is important too.

6. If you could go anywhere in the world to take photos, where would you go and why?


Oh this is a hard question because there are so many places that I'd like to go. I still would love to go to India to photograph. The colors there are so vibrant and absolutely beautiful as is the culture. I would also like to go to Ireland and photograph the coastal areas and the moors. A lot of my ancestry is in Ireland as well so it would be even more meaningful to me. Some of my favorite places I'd like to return to and photograph more is Venice and Amsterdam. These cities are so beautiful and the people are so kind and welcoming.


I want to also be able to capture as much of the beauty of Venice as I can because someday it may no longer be there. It's sad too because I believe that there are just some places that end up looking like heaven on earth and this is one of them. The sunsets there are so amazing and set apart from all the others.


Lastly, a couple of places that are definitely heaven on earth in my eyes, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park. I was there for 9 days and was up every morning before dawn to photograph and didn't get back in until after the sun set. I still want to see a few other national parks like Glacier, Acadia, Big Sur and quite a few others. I love to be out in nature.

7. Let's say I wanted a necklace of a shooting star to wear. Do you make custom jewelry based on people's ideas or do you only sell the things you've already made? If you don't know, would you ever in the future?


I can do custom jewelry. I would need to know what someone is looking for exactly or what idea they had and then I can go from there. I can not guarantee that I can always make exactly what someone is looking for but I can always try. I hope to have more opportunity in the future to get more equipment to help me easily make more custom items.

8. What are you currently working on at the moment? Any future projects in the work?


I'm always working on new pieces daily. I don't always have time to get them online right away due to running a photography business, but It never stops me from creating new pieces. I will be putting up new pieces soon. I have some hand-painted pieces that I think will surely be a big hit as well as some very fun rings. I can't wait to post them!

Contest

Enter: Comment on this Interview with the name of one item in the shop you liked!

Ends: June 15th

Open to: U.S. and Canada!

Prize and Details:

$25 Gift Certificate
Free Shipping on one item (excluding Large Photograph Prints)
Gift Certificate expires in 90 days after contest winner is notified

If You Win: I'll give your email to Sueanne and she can tell you how to go about ordering!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

First Party Winners!

Party Hat Kids Pictures, Images and Photos Two of the "May Party" contests have ended and I'm trying to keep on track, so here are the winners for the Faryl Album and Initiation book if you entered! You might be the winner...keep reading. ALSO: if you are the winner, please email me with your address info and I will pass that along to whoever needs it so you can recieve your prize. If you didn't win, go out and buy the book and/or album if you really want a copy. It's worth it!

Initiation by Susan Fine: Briana from WhatBriReads

Faryl Smith's Debut Album: Llehn

Friday, May 15, 2009

Musical Charity Project: Shooting Stars Comp!


Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0029LRMYK/ref=sr_f2_album_1?ie=UTF8&child=B0029LOAFO&qid=1242413110&sr=102-1

Itunes has it too: Just search: shine bright shooting star

Cost: $8.91 for whole album, each song is 99 Cents

ALL Money Goes To: http://www.pkdcure.org/ (details on why and more below!)

If you know me at all, you should realize by now that I love charities and helping other people. I need to do it more, but I'm trying...especially with the blog and everything (think: Leave a Mark) and now I'm doing it again, but with MUSIC this time...after all, this is a zine not just a book blog. :-)

The above photo is the title of this "album" and yes, it's various artists...they were willing to donate one of their songs for this or they covered a song (and got permission) to include that.

The link above should bring you directly to the album. It'll be up on Itunes as well soon, so I'll let you know that link soon. As for now, feel free to buy the whole album for $8.91 or a single song for 99 cents.

All of the money that is recieved through this effort will go towards the PKD foundation. A bit about what PKD is, found on their website:

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) affects 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million children and adults, worldwide. There is no treatment or cure, but there is hope.

Why did I pick this charity? Simple, my mom has PKD. It runs through your family too so my sister and I could get it as well (though if you don't have it by a certain age, then you won't, I believe). Chances look good that we won't have it though.

First Check: Ge is helping me with this, as I couldn't have gotten all the artists or done any of this without him. He'll send the money raised in the first 45 days to me and I'll mail it off to the foundation. I'll try and post a picture with it though and announce how much we made before I do. If things go well, we should have it up for a little longer this summer to send another check so please spread the word and save your money. Good music, good cause.

A shoutout to any and all artists (a note from Ge):

If you need to get on Itunes, or need Mixing and Mastering, you can go to my website:

theskratchpadd.tumblr.com (in case the link below doesn't work...)

http://theskratchpadd.tumblr.com/

Finally: Thank you SO much to anyone who promotes this anywhere, tells someone about it, buys a song or songs, buys the album.

Thank you more than anything to Ge and all the bands/artists that helped out!

Link: I'll get the rest from Ge, as most songs were donated directly to him, but here are the three I know for now...in case you want to hear more by these bands/artists. Go and support them!

Reality Addiction

http://www.myspace.com/realityaddiction

Zomo

http://www.myspace.com/zomo

Danny Smith (formerly of The City Drive)

http://www.myspace.com/danielsmithx

Kaino Sharmon

http://www.myspace.com/kainosharmon

Makeshift Romantic

http://www.myspace.com/makeshiftromantic

Amber in Her Eyes

http://www.myspace.com/amberinhereyes

For a Disco

http://www.myspace.com/thesceneeffect

Hey!Hi!Hello!

http://www.myspace.com/heyhihello

(Party) Punkzilla Review + Contest (5 Win!)



Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
Review by: Lauren
Out: Candlewick Press, May 12 '09
Pages: 256
Level: YA

Summary: For a runaway boy who goes by the name "Punkzilla," kicking a meth habit and a life of petty crime in Portland, Oregon, is a prelude to a mission: reconnecting with his older brother, a gay man dying of cancer in Memphis. Against a backdrop of seedy motels, dicey bus stations, and hitched rides, the desperate fourteen-year-old meets a colorful, sometimes dangerous cast of characters.

And in letters to his sibling, he catalogs them all — from an abusive stranger and a ghostly girl to a kind transsexual and an old woman with an oozing eye. The language is raw and revealing, crackling with visceral details and dark humor, yet with each interstate exit Punkzilla’s journey grows more urgent: will he make it to Tennessee in time? This daring novel offers a narrative worthy of Kerouac and a keen insight into the power of chance encounters.

Review: One of my all-time favorite books is The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Punkzilla has a lot of similarities: the book is written through letters, Jamie is the same age as Perk's Charlie, they deal with big life lessons, and more.

I mention this because if you liked Perks, you might like this book. I wouldn't say it's completely at the same level, as I love Perks far more, but it's still a good novel that reads fast.

The overall "mission" of this book is to lead you to Jamie's brother Peter-or P-before he passes away from cancer. He's a teen boy, out on his own, who ran away from military school. Jamie finds people that are open and honest, and who he learns from...while others show him the darker sides of life. I would definitely call this a coming-of-age novel because as Jamie goes in search of his brother, he does learn more about himself and the way of the world.

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I think the letter format does allow you a more intimate, personal look into the character's life, the same as a book told through a diary. By the end of the novel, you really do know this kid and the many parts of him. He's not just some screw-up that deserves to be straigthened out. He's intelligent and curious and interesting and funny.

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Jamie felt real to me. I liked all of his stories and looks into his life before hitting the road. On a small random note, one of the funniest parts for me were the moments in the novel when various people would think Jamie was a girl. It upsets him a lot, as he's keen to grow up and be a man, so as a reader, it's nice to see through his eyes on the subject.



About the Author: Adam Rapp is the acclaimed author of UNDER THE WOLF, UNDER THE DOG, a LOS ANGELES TIMES Book Prize Finalist and winner of the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, and 33 SNOWFISH, an American Library Association Best Book for Young adults. He is also an accomplished playwright and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007. He lives in New York City.

Contest Courtesy of Candlewick

Enter: Comment here!

Open to: U.S. only

Prize: Five Winners, each get a copy of the novel (ARC)

Ends: June 15 (we'll give you awhile!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

(Party) David Inside Out by Lee Bantle


David Inside Out by Lee Bantle
Review by: Lauren
For Fans Of: Rainbow Boys series by Alex Sanchez, someone looking for coming-out and/or coming-of-age stories

Summary: David Dahlgren, a high-school senior, finds solace in running with the track team; he’s a fast runner, and he enjoys the camaraderie. But team events become a source of tension when he develops a crush on one of his teammates, Sean. Scared to admit his feelings, David does everything he can to suppress them: he dates a girl, keeps his distance from his best friend who has become openly gay, and snaps a rubber band on his wrist every time he has “inappropriate” urges. Before long, Sean expresses the thoughts David has been trying to hide, and everything changes for the better. Or so it seems.

My Review: David Inside Out was a book that I'd been looking forward to reading for awhile and I'm grateful I was given the chance to review it. It's a very fast read: I got so caught up in the story, I was able to finish it in only one day.

David's best friend Eddie comes out as gay and shows that he doesn't care, it's just the way he is. David, on the other hand, pushes him away so people won't call him "gay by association" if you will and pretends that he doesn't have the same feelings. He even acts as if he likes his other best friend, Kick, who has a crush on him...but eventually the truth will need to come out and he's simply prolonging the inevitable.
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No matter what though, I was happy to see that Kick and Eddie's reactions to David were realistic and genuine. That's how I would describe the whole book actually. Sean and David's "relationship" seemed real, as Sean refused to admit his sexuality, while David begins to see that it might be the right thing to do.

I loved these characters and I honestly felt for all of them, no matter how they were managing their lives. Whether you are gay or not, it's hard to "come out" and be true to yourself. Life tries to tell you how to be and this book definitely focuses on how these lives are changed while they come to terms with who they are and who they love.

Recommended? Yes, definitely! I have a feeling this will be one of those underdog books, so I really hope people will pick up a copy and spread the word.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

(Party) Superhero Contest with Sarah Cross!

Click the photo to make it larger

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Sarah Cross. She celebrated yesterday, which is when this was meant to be posted...so I'm very sorry that I didn't get it up in time. There will be a review for Dull Boy coming as well!

Contest: You see that comic above? Well, Sarah wants to know what you think the argument is about. That's right! Fill it in. Sarah wants to know:

"What did Wolverine say to infuriate Cyclops?". Silly answers are encouraged, naturally. ;) Personally, I imagine they were having a Team Edward/Team Jacob disagreement. Those can get pretty heated.

Open to: U.S. and Canada!

Ends: May 31

Prize: A signed hardcover copy of Dull Boy by Sarah Cross and a copy of The Last Days of Krypton (a superhero prize pack if you will...more might be added, some little items)

So remember, to be entered, you HAVE to fill in the empty speech bubble!

Monday, May 11, 2009

(Party) Myth # 7 with Susane Colasanti

Today is the next stop in the "Three Truths and a Lie" tour for Susane Colasanti's new novel, Waiting for You.

You get a guest blog about a High Schoo Myth-#7 in fact-as well as three Q&A's with the author!

Myth #7. Karma exists here.

What goes around doesn’t really come around in high school. It’s like this alternate dimension where the rules of the natural world get all warped and twisted. Even in the real world, it’s true that bad things happen to good people. Life is unfair. That is a harsh reality. But for the most part, karma applies out here in Reality Land.

Mean people suck. From my experiences, I have come to the conclusion that people are their meanest in high school (middle school is also horrendous, but everyone knows this). We hope these mean people grow out of their evil ways, like tormenting anyone who’s even the slightest bit different because they think it’s fun or something. Mean people tend to be golden kids (the ones who are beautiful and rich and know how to either throw or kick a ball around) who feel entitled to treat everyone else like crap.* They’re getting away with a lot of evil stuff now, which totally sucks. All of it will have consequences at some point.

*Note that while mean people are usually golden kids, not all golden kids are mean people. If you are golden with an actual heart of gold, thank you.


1. I'm a huge music fan and I love finding songs that remind me of books. As such, I really enjoy checking out playlists that authors make themselves for their own novels. For Waiting for You, did you come up with the songs after writing the book or are these ones that you listened too while writing? How do they relate to the story (same themes, character's favorite songs, songs that fit scenes, etc.)?

Creating playlists for each of my books is super fun! I compile the playlists as I’m writing each book, including songs I’m listening to on heavy rotation during the writing process or ones with lyrics that directly apply to the story. All of the songs on each playlist are related to the book in some way.

Here’s the Waiting for You playlist:
1. “Clarity” – John Mayer
2. “Nothing Left to Lose” – Mat Kearney
3. “These Are Days” – 10,000 Maniacs
4. “Treasure” – The Cure
5. “Wave of Mutilation” – Pixies
6. “Shiver” – Coldplay
7. “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” – Colin Hay
8. “Orange Sky” – Alexi Murdoch
9. “Passenger Seat” – Death Cab for Cutie
10. “Magic’s in the Makeup” – No Doubt
11. “Sad Eyes” – Bruce Springsteen
12. “When I’m With You” – Sheriff
13. “Wheel” – John Mayer

The main character in Waiting for You, Marisa, believes that the answers to all of life’s problems can be found in a John Mayer song. That’s why I wanted to start and end with John Mayer songs. I am pretty much obsessed with his music and am always listening to John Mayer during the writing process of every book. His lyrics apply to my stories in so many ways.

A few songs on the playlist were inspired by specific scenes. “Orange Sky” was selected to enhance the last scene, in which Marisa and Nash are sitting on their dock, watching the sunset. I included “These Are Days” because Marisa is trying to live in the Now. Living in the moment is a huge challenge for her. This song is all about absorbing the overwhelming quality of this time in your life, the way it never will be again.

Several of the other songs on this playlist, like “Treasure” and “Sad Eyes,” speak to Marisa’s struggle with depression, which she wants desperately to overcome. It’s actually a very melancholy, bittersweet, reflective playlist. Definitely good to hear when you want to mellow out.
2. All three of your book covers include a boy and a girl's back or side (hiding behind books, behind a tree, facing out at a lake). Do the covers truly relate to the story inside? What are your thoughts about the similar photos?

I love how all of my covers share this motif of a girl and a boy without revealing their faces. It’s cool when readers get to create their own images of how they envision the characters to look. Melissa Walker just did a Cover Story comparing my covers, saying that the signature look of my covers is a light, airy feel, with a blue sky or natural light. I love that! The big window on the cover of Take Me There with all of that gorgeous natural light is breathtaking.

The covers totally tell the story of each book. I have an excellent cover designer who is able to reflect the tone of my books with amazing accuracy. The cover of Waiting for You is my favorite. I was so excited when I first saw it. I’m able to provide feedback for each of my covers, but the Waiting for You cover is so perfect that I didn’t suggest any changes. I love the characters, the water, the fonts, and the colors. The hues are so peaceful, which is the sort of feeling I was trying to capture in the book.

3. Finally, I have to ask: If you could wish on a real shooting star, what would you wish for and why?

Actually, I’ve seen several meteors. Usually their flash of light comes and goes too quickly for me to make a wish and I’m always like, “Dude, come back!” If I could make a wish, it would be for everyone to respect the Earth and its living things. If we continue to treat this planet like a giant garbage dump slash war zone, humans will not be here for much longer.


Contest
Enter: Comment here!
Ends: May 31
You Can Enter: U.S. and Canada ONLY!
Prize: One finished copy of Waiting for You, signed!