Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: Publisher

amazon associate: buy book, we get small percentage

Official Summary: High school sophomore Adam Zeigler thought the best way to live life was behind the spotlight. When his father died two years ago, Adam retreated into the world of the theater, ultimately winning a coveted place on the theater crew and finding (what he thought) was his place in the world, high above the theater floor in the lighting grid.

But then a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he’ll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don’t mix.

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the book is a theater story, a love story, and a bromance in one. The complexities of life, death, and high school are revealed as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

Review: I love the theater. I'm not an actor, nor a techie. I don't understand the ins and outs of that type of relationship. The last thing I've been in a play was a Munchkin in the 8th grade. However, I'm a huge fan of reading plays, watching them...and now, reading books that deal with the subject of theater like this one.

I could really understand Adam. After his father died, he was afraid of the dark. Now, he works on school plays with his best friend...he does the light, of course. He doesn't see the play in terms of the people on stage. He just sees the light, and how various types and different colors can change and affect your perception of the story. It's quite beautiful when he really gets into it. But more than that, Adam just seemed real. He knows the rule that techies and actors don't mix...but when he falls for an actress, he doesn't care. No, he's not going to stand on the stage and profess his love (and yes, he does try and hide it) but he isn't scared away from the idea.

While I enjoyed Adam, I wasn't a huge fan of Summer. This has much to do with a decision she makes in the book. I'm just not sure I can get over it. That's all I can say on that one.

Zadoff is a humourous writer though and you're sure to find plenty of funny moments. Oh, and I just realized...Allen Zadoff is the author and Adam Ziegler is the main character. Coincidence?!

--as Mr. Apple (the play instructor) is a gay man, you can buy this book to be entered in the huge LGBT giveaway.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

(Win) Trip to Cancun, Mexico, Books, Scholarship...

Happy Saturday everyone! I have some fun news I wanted to share with everyone.

*First up, is a chance to win a vacation to Cancun, Mexico. There are some stipulations...but if you qualify, this would be one wonderful vacation. Plus, the money you donate to get said vacation goes to help two different people (both dealing with tough medical and family obligations). I love everyone that has already bidded, but I think we can do better. Let us try and break at least the $100 mark. After all, this is worth $800 and something! You'll most likely pay way less, but we still want to raise a lot, so please help out. Spread the word via your blog, twitter, facebook. Tell friends and family. If you have a family with younger children...this would be great, as you can bring them along. Check out the post for all the deets. But hurry! It ends Thursday, June 30 at 8 p.m. EST!

*Catherine Ryan Hyde is a favorite author of mine. She writes incrediblely beautiful and time-worthy novels. And now...you can get her book Second Hand Heart in the U.S. (it was previously only in the U.K.) However, it's just as an e-book. This means, all you out there with an e-reader...get to ordering!! If you're like me, e-reader-less, then we shall wait togethr for the paperback release...coming soon apparently as well! We shouldn't have to wait long.

*Same-sex marriage is now legal in New York. Finally! Let's hope other states follow suit.

And finally...my next news is another big one. You have one more month (and maybe longer, if I decide to extend it) to enter the big LGBT summer giveaway. All you do is buy an LGBT-themed book and send me a photo or reciept via my email: Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com. Doing so enters you to win an LGBT themed book basket. You can find more details and the prize contents (lots more to be added) here!!

I could really use help with spreading the word on this one as well. I love books with lgbt themes or characters, and the authors deserve more love. So please show it's there!

On that post, you'll see something about a scholarship. I designed this myself. It is for LGBT teens and Allies who are working to make a difference...show that everyone is accepted, and not just tolerated. It's called the "Living Beyond Tolerance Scholarship." More details here. I'm happy to be interviewed about this or write a guest post. I already did so on Gay YA. If you have general questions, please get in touch. I want this to go to someone wonderful...but we need them to know it's there.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Supernatural and Road Trips

Fueled by the desire to explain their mother's death, the Winchester brothers set out on a cross-country mission investigating supernatural activity and fighting the demons that get in their way. Have you ever taken a trip of epic proportions? If so, where did you go? Did you have to fight any metaphorical demons to get there?

Well, no demons...metaphorical or otherwise. But in the past few years, the biggest trip I went on was one to New Jersey/New York City. We drove there, so it took quiteeeee awhile. Let me tell you. Going back was definitely worse though. First, we had barely taken off when we accidently locked our keys in the car. We had to wait awhile for someone to come and get the door open. Then, my face was awful! I'd gotten sun burnt AND wind burnt and it began to puff up and it was just a bit ridiculous. Definitely some interesting memories.

Order your copy of Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray here today: http://bit.ly/k3Lbpz

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray

Time for Kids: Big Book of How

Time for Kids: Big Book of How

Review by: Lauren

Copy from: http://www.goodmanmedia.com/

amazon associate: buy book, we get small percentage

Review: I hate spiders. I can't even look at pictures of them. If you're like me, you will want to avoid a couple pages near the front of the book. Oh, and the back cover. That is the main issue that I have...I wish there wasn't a picture of a spider on the back cover. Yes, you can pretty much avoid it, but it just gives me the heebie jeebies, if you will.

As for the rest of the book, it's very interesting. It's full of questions starting with "how" that many kids (and even adults) might be curious about. Included with the answer, there are illustrations/pictures and even little "factoids" that relate to the question. One interesting question I found was "How does an arena change an ice rink into an basketball court?" They give you step by step guide, with photos, showing how it's done!

Some of these questions go back to the past and would give a fun little history lesson (great for homeschool kids!). One question I enjoyed was "How was mount rushmore built?" I had no idea!

One of my favorite parts of this book (and the main reason I find it worthwhile for many) is that there are "how" questions about crafts...and they give you steps of course!! For example, you learn "how to make your own camera", "how to make pizza", and even "how to make recycled paper."

I loved making crafts as a kids, and I think I would have gotten a kick out of these.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Supernatural and the Definition of Family

Order your copy of Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray here today: http://bit.ly/k3Lbpz !!

In the series pilot, Dean and Sam Winchester lose their mother to a demon. At the beginning of Season 2, the brothers face an equally tragic loss when their father, John, sacrifices himself to save his children. Throughout the season both brothers deal with this loss while coming to terms with what it means to be a family through humor. What does family mean to you? Feel free to share a funny story about something that brought your family closer together.

I don't really have a funny story of something that brought our family together. I know that I have a pretty great family though, and I'm super  close to some of them. What does family mean to me though? More than anything, it means people that are there for you no matter what and with who you  can be your complete self. My mom always says your home is meant to be your sancturary, and a big part of that is the people that inhabit it.

We might not have amusing stories of togetherness, but we do like to have fun and be together. I suppose one slightly funny story would be the time we woke up in the middle of the night...say around 3 or so...and we all went to Perkins. We ate a complete mail, hung out, and just talked. It was fun and goofy. We went home, watched a bit of TV, and went back to bed. The place is open 24 hours...why not have fun with that sometime? I recommend it!

What are your thoughts on the family and/or good memories?

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: http://www.teensreadtoo.com

Summary: Jake is a teen trying to live his life, but his OCD makes it difficult to appear normal. His only real friend is Luc, and he even knows that Jake has something going on with him. But Jake keeps it hidden. He tries to be the soccer champ everyone wants him to be and his sister helps him appear put together in front of his father...whose broken down by his wife, who deals with her own OCD.

Review: Jake has an obsession with numbers. This is something that starts almost every new section and chapter throughout the book. It definitely starts to grate on you as you read, but I think that's part of the point. You get a small peak into the madness of Jake's mind and what he must deal with. I'm pretty sure I have some form of OCD, so I could definitely relate to the repetition of things in your head and how you just want to MAKE.IT.STOP.

The overall story is how Jake is desperate to win his upcoming soccer championship. The numbers stop when he plays, and if he can win...he might be able to make the "magic" last and be "normal" for once. Everyone thinks that Jake is some sort of star, but he's just trying to hold on. It was interesting to see inside his family life and how his little sister has to protect him, and how he wishes desperately to help her, and how their father tries to block out the bad, and how their mother is dealing with her own mental issues and how it all affects the way they live. Wow. Long sentence. But that's just it. It's kind of a circle of life they live in, without fully opening up and showing they need help.

Not everything changes in the end. I suppose it can't. But it gets better in ways. It gets closer to a happy ending.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: War and Watermelon by Rich Wallace

War and Watermelon by Rich Wallace

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: Publisher for the TLC Book Tours

Amazon Associate: Buy through link, we get small percentage

Official Summary: It's the summer of 1969. We've just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he'll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves.

Review: While reading this book, it didn't always feel like an MG novel as it dealt with some big issues...mainly whether Brody's older brother (who he adores) will sign up for college in time to NOT be drafted and risk his luck in the Vietnam War. As Brody is only twelve, his point of view on the topic is limited to what he knows (not a ton) and what he hears (random information mainly from his dad's anger at his brother). In all though, this is a book for people much older than 12 as well.

I really enjoyed the time period. I wasn't alive then, and I'm sure a lot of people that read this weren't either...but that's what makes it interesting. Wallace did a great job making you feel like it really was 1969. He made you fear the war, love the music and experiences that go with it...the world definitely came alive in an unobtrusive way.

War and Watermelon has some deeper issues, but it's also just fun. You get inside the head of a 12 year old boy and it can't always be angst. It was a fairly short read, but not as a detriment to the story. It's definitely a perfect book to read this summer as it deals heavily with the lazy, crazy days of carefree-no-school fun.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Supernatural wants to know...

In Season 2 of Supernatural, the Winchester brothers face a wide assortment of otherworldly creatures including werewolves, shape shifters, ghosts, zombies, vampires and a clown demon. What is your favorite monster that the Winchester brothers have battled and why? If you were to come face to face with that monster, what would you do?

I would probably have to go with clown demon. Putting those two things together just make them extra creepy, right? And if I were ever unlucky enough to come across such a thing...I would probably run away crying. Yeah, I'm a wimp. I know. Good thing the Winchester brothers aren't or people may not love this show as much as they do! Plus...for all you pararnormal book lovers out there, how  can you pass up a show all about it...with cute boys?!

Order your copy of Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray here today: http://bit.ly/k3Lbpz !!

Note: I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Supernatural: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray. All thoughts and opinions are my own though.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Computer Trouble

Hey everyone-
sorry for the lack of posts lately. and now my computer has decided to go crazy and i won't get it back until later this week. i'm using my sister's right now, but because I don't have my own...that means there probably won't be that many posts this week. On the bright side, I'm doing a lot of reading and I hope to have lots of book reviews going up next week.

plus, i've decided to try and bring back music more to this blog. we started out as a music blog and i'm sure most of you didn't even know that...but then grew into an overall entertainment site with a lot of focus on books. but i love music, and i really want to get more into what's coming out these days so i hope you'll welcome the addition and comment. it's the best way to show interest.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Age Group: YA
Formant: Paperback, 293 pgs.
Release Date: April 26, 2011-- Out Now
Source: Bought
Review by: Alicia


Every girl who has taken the test has failed.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...


Hades and Persephone is my all time favorite Greek myth, so I was ecstatic to learn about The Goddess Test. Though I wouldn’t necessarily call it a retelling, but more of a sequel.

The way that the mythology was worked was fantastic and learning about the tests was interesting. There was also the mystery of who was responsible for all of the other girl’s death. I will say that I didn’t figure out who the person was until a few pages before it was revealed. And there are plenty of twists to keep you reading.

I enjoyed Kate as a narrator. Her voice was easy to get into and reading about her life was fascinating. She handled all of her tests with her smarts, which made me like her even more. I also enjoyed many of the side characters. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Ava, who at first glance seemed like the typical mean girl, but turned out to be a great friend. As for Henry, I liked him, but he annoyed me a bit with how mopey he could be. I did enjoy learning about him, and watching him slowly open up to Kate.

And Kate and Henry’s romance? I found it a bit lacking. There was something missing there that didn’t make it totally believable to me.

The ending left me with a lot of questions. I will definitely be counting down the days until I can get the sequel!

The sequel, Goddess Interrupted, will be released in January 2012.

Cover comments: So, so, soooo pretty! And I’m loving the picture of the girl that’s on the spine and back.

Overall: 4.5/5