Sunday, January 29, 2012

Don't Just Do it for Me...and Win Books

do not own above photo

Over at my blog, Bridge the Gap, I'm still hosting some various auctions to raise money for the LGBT/Ally "scholarship" that I created. You have until March 1, 2012 to apply...and please do! That is the main thing I'd really love people to help me pass along. But if you want to just help me raise money for the ultimate scholarship winner, then bid on the auctions or send others in the right  direction. All the remaining auctions end sometime this week, so here they aree:

Ends This Wednesday, February 1

Brent Hartinger Prize Pack

Two LGBT Books from Rachel Cohn and Brian Sloan

The Rest End Sunday, February 5

Abby Denson Prize Pack (these are all graphic novels)

A Better Place by Mark A. Roeder

Mark A. Roeder Prize Pack (Includes A Better Place + 4 more)

The Dark Wife and Cage the Darlings by Sarah Diemer

A Dangerous Man by Anne Brooke (Only Auction Open to U.K. AND U.S.)

Film Festival in a Box - Love Theme (Only non-book auction item)

Julie Anne Peters Prize Pack (6 books in all - ALL signed)

The End: Five Queer Kids Save the World by Nora Olsen

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review: The Postmortal by Drew Magary

The Postmortal by Drew Magary

Review by: Lauren

Review Copy, but All Opinions are My Own

Official Summary:

John Farrell is about to get "The Cure."
Old age can never kill him now.
The only problem is, everything else still can . . .

Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and-after much political and moral debate-made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems-including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors.

Review: This book is unlike anything I've ever really read. It starts in June 2019 and then ends in June 2079. Now, the book doesn't deal with every moment of all those years, of course. There are a few sections and each time a new one starts, it has jumped to another ten years in the future. However, the entire book does focus on one man named John Farrell. He has the cure for aging so he won't just suddently die from being too old. However, he can still die from other things. He can get in an accident, get cancer, commit suicide, and anything you can imagine. As such, it's kind of amazing how long John does live.

This book gives you all sorts of things to think about. It's very interesting in terms of science, psychology, philosophy, and will definitely keep you thinking. It's not a heavy book though. It's easy to read and I flipped through the book as fast as I could, equally fascinated and horrified by this future world. Because even though the cure for old age has been found, that doesn't mean that everyone agrees. There are people that actively fight against this new life. They refuse to get the cure, but more than that, they assassinate doctors that give it...and even go after your regular men and women that got it.

One of the things that really worked in the book's favor is how it's set up. It's a collection of, what's essentially, blog entries by John as he goes through life. He also includes newspaper articles that dictate events happening, interviews that were published online, and other bits of information that continuously place you in the world that John lives in. You feel a part of it. You question whether you would get the cure or not. You wonder how certain people can do these atrocious things, and not just those that oppose the cure. It's a very fascinating book and one of the most original stories I've read in awhile. It would make a great film, though I think it might be hard to pull it off in the same way the book does.

Finally, I must mention the chapter titles. I've actually thought about doing this for my own writing (and maybe I still will) but now I know it's in at least in one book already published. Some of the titles are actually a quote that will appear somewhere in that particular chapter.  Here are a few for example:

"You said you'd love me forever", "A little bit of bloodshed now or a lot later on", and "You look just like me."

Don't these all make you want to read further? I love it! Again, not all the chapters have a title like this, but I would say most of them do...or at the least, half of them do.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My New Favorite Book - Don't Let Me Go

I just reviewed one of my top 2011 picks over at Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. It's also one of my new all-time favorite books. Woah, I know. I bet you're curious to read about it, aren't you? I posted it over there because it's LGBT themed but I know that sometimes people don't notice those reviews, so I'm telling you here. Go, read, leave your thoughts. I'd love you like woah.

But anyway, it's obviously Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble, as you can tell from the cover up above. It's getting some great reviews, so I'm not the only one that's loving this book. It's very, very well-written. It is classified as Adult, but don't let deter you if you don't normally read Adult...the narrator, Nate, is a senior in High School.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Huge Writing Critiques Giveaway!

Author Lee Bantle is hosting a huge writing critique giveaway. I know a lot of fellow bloggers are also writers, and getting a chance to have an author look at your work is wonderful. Here is a fun way to do that.

The only stipulation is that you buy a copy of Lee's novel, David Inside Out. Don't despair...full details are below. Hopefully you'll want to try your hand at this contest and/or let others know about it as well.

I made a couple buttons for this giveaway. I'll have one posted on my blog, linked to this post. If you wish to spread the word, please link the post up with the button on your own blog so people can see it while browsing your site. I would really appreciate it!!

Full Rules -

To Enter: Buy a copy of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle. It's about $12 on Amazon, but feel free to get it wherever you like.

Giveaway Run: January 18 to March 31

Every Single Person that Buys a Book: Just email me (lauren51990 AT aol DOT com) with a copy of your receipt/picture of the book/or some other proof that you bought the book. Include your address info as well. Once you do, I will send that information on to Lee who will send a personal thank you for buying the book and supporting him.

More on the Letters: Inside some of these letters (you won't know until you get your own) will be a note tht you have won a personal critique from Lee. The type of critique will also be noted so you're aware. All letters should be mailed out by the end of April, a month after the contest ends.

If You Win a Critique: You must send an email to Lee stating what type of critique you won and include what you wish him to look over. This must be done by June 15, 2012. Lee will do his best to look over it and send his thoughts as soon as possible, but the actual end date for his critique isn't known. Life sometimes gets in the way so we can't say for sure. However, the goal is to hopefully have your critique to you in the next couple months after June 15. You will get something back if you win a critique though.

Types of Work Lee Will Look At: Please only enter if you have a YA or MG work you wish for him to look at. It doesn't have to be a specific theme, though if you write Contemporary or books with LGBT themes...Lee would be an even better bet!

Possible Critiques: I'm sure you'd like to know what you're trying to win, so here are the specific critiques that people could possibly win if they enter the giveaway.

One 20 page critique

Three 10 page critiques

Four 5 page critiques

One Query Critique

That is around 75 pages of critiques broken up into 9 winners. Now, if only nine people enter, you might not all win something. We'll try and space out the winners in terms of how many people enter, so you want lots of people to put their name in the hat in order to get a good shot of winning a critique.

Personally, if I could enter, I would. I'm trying to get a literary agent this year (it's one of my 2012 goals) and this would be a wonderful help. It's always nice to get a different perspective on your work.

*Lee is a client of mine. I'm stating this to let any authors out there know that I will be taking on new clients soon, so if you're interested in working with me, or just have questions, please get in touch*

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review/Giveaway: The Western Lit Survival Kit by Sandra Newman

The Western Lit Survival Kit: An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner by Sandra Newman

Review by: Lauren

Copy from: TLC Book Tours

Official Summary:

To many, the Great Books evoke angst: the complicated Renaissance dramas we bluffed our way through in college, the dusty Everyman's Library editions that look classy on the shelf but make us feel guilty because they've never been opened. On a mission to restore the West's great works to their rightful place (they were intended to be entertaining!), Sandra Newman has produced a reading guide like no other. Beginning with Greek and Roman literature, she takes readers through hilarious detours and captivating historical tidbits on the road to Modernism. Along the way, we find parallels between Rabelais and South Park, Jane Austen and Sex and the City, Jonathan Swift and Jon Stewart, uncovering the original humor and riskiness that propelled great authors to celebrity.

Packed with pop culture gems, stories of literary hoaxes, ironic day jobs for authors, bad reviews of books that would later become classics, and more.

Review: I will start this review off in all honesty. I did not read the entire book. Now, that's not because it wasn't interesting or even entertaining. It's just no the type of book you really sit down and read all the way through. I like that you can go to various sections and find the authors you're curious to know more about.

As a current English Literature college student, this is definitely the perfect book for me. I got to read up on some of the authors I already love (Oscar Wilde) as well as the ones I've taken classes on (Edgar Allen Poe). I've also taken a British Literature class in the past and found it fun to read about the authors and stories I had to trek my way through in that class.

I may be an English major who loves to read, but that doesn't mean I'm a huge fan of all the classics. Sandra Newman really does make it interesting though!! I wouldn't say I completely agree with her level of fun for all books...but I did like getting her humorous take on the lives and works of various authors. And boy, is this book humorous! It really would be the perfect guide for English majors, as well as readers interested in the classic works --- and I don't just mean the ones who have read a ton of it! This book might just give you an idea of what is actually worth it.

I want to thank the author and TLC Book Tours for letting me check out this book! It was a lot of fun to go through, and it really does include some amusing highlights you'll want to read aloud (sorry to my sister for having to listen to the ones I found! I'm sure she didn't really mind though).

Now, here's your shot to win a copy!!

To Enter: What is your favorite "classic" book or who is your favorite "classic" author?

Open To: U.S. and Canada only (No. P.O. boxes)

Ends: January 31, 2012 (that's a Tuesday!!)


+1 (leave a new comment) if you either bid on an item for the Let's Get Beyond Tolerance auctions OR spread the word somehow.

--leave a new comment each time you bid. leave a new comment each time you spread the word

(please, tweeting only counts once. feel free to blog about it more than once though)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: Daniel Radcliffe on Saturday Night Live!

Yep, that would be Daniel Radcliffe playing Casey Anthony's Dog. This was seriously one of the funniest SNL sketches I've seen in awhile, and Dan did an amazing job.

To be honest...Dan was great hosting SNL. Not all of the sketches were amazing, but he took what he was given and hopefully did himself proud! I do think they could have utilized him more, but that's not really his fault. Oh well...maybe he'll be back hosting again in the future.

I was also sad to see a mostly missing Andy Samberg. I think he could have really done something great with Dan.

Now, besides Dan's stint as a dog...he was a great as, you guessed it, Harry Potter. This HP is not quite the same guy we used to know and love...

Sadly, it seems like everyone else is doing much better than The Boy Who Lived, but don't tell him that. He doesn't seem to realize! And Bill Hader as Snape was hilarious!!

Harry Potter - Hogwarts Castle 2020. The videos aren't working, so  try here.

And now, Daniel Radcliffe as Casey Anthony's dog - Video  Here

-Dan doesn't come in until around 6 minutes. This is the entire Weekend Update.


IMM 11

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Haven't done one of these in a looong time, so I thought I'd do one this week.

For Review:

The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation #1) by Avery Williams
Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Forbidden by Syrie James, Ryan M. James
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

(I went a liiiittle crazy over the b&n sale. most are finished copies I wanted.)

Surrender (Haunting Emma, #3) by Lee Nichols
Dreaming Awake (Falling Under, #2) by Gwen Hayes
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2) by Ally Carter
Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough
Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1) by Rae Carson
Die For Me (Revenants, #1) by Amy Plum
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful, #1) by Suzanne Young
Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1) by Josephine Angelini
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer
Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand
Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare
Delirium Special Edition by Lauren Oliver
Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3) by Andrea Cremer

From the Not Your Mother’s Book Club event:
(my mom went for me, best mom ever! got my arcs and finished copies signed.)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) by Tahereh Mafi
Eve (Eve, #1) by Anna Carey
Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) by Veronica Rossi
Revived by Cat Patrick (won)

And that's what I got this week. What did you get?


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases people are excited for.

Title: Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Publisher: Simon Pule
Release Date: March 6, 2012


A teen’s world comes crashing down in this compulsively readable YA debut that’s as literary as it is commercial.

Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving—and without a single memory of the accident that landed her there. But what she can recall, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the crash.

As Gabby describes her transformation from Invisible Girl to Trendy Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why has Gabby been left to take the fall?

As she peels back the layers of her life, Gabby begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex...and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.

Why I want it:

First, I have to mention that Where It Began has a gorgeous cover. Second, it just sounds awesome. I love reading books about people who can't remember what happened to them because I love discovering the truth right along with them. I am also curious as to how she went from being invisible to being popular in a year.

What are you waiting on?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pick Your Brain - New Year's Resolutions

do not own

I like discussions on blogs, and I figured why not give it a try here? Again, if you leave a comment here (I might comment back here too) I will leave you a comment on one of your blog posts...feel free to link to a certain post if you want, and I'll check that out. But don't just say "hey"and leave a link. Please, actually comment on the post. I would appreciate it! P.S. Auctions will start going up faster, so please keep an eye out, spread the word, bid on things, and just apply to the scholarship!!

New Year's Resolutions-

Do you have them? Do you keep them?

This year, I have two different type of goals. One is fairly typical. I would love to get more in shape and generally be a more healthy person. And of course, in that regard, I'd like to lose some more weight and all that fun stuff. However, I need to find ways to really stay active since my schedule is crazy being a student, working, volunteering, etc. Tough work for us all, I know. So I'd like to know: what do you do for exercise? Also, what types of foods do you recommend that are good but healthy too?

My other goal is to get a literary agent. I'm going to try (along with everything else in my life) to keep up with my personal writing. I started getting more into it over winter break, getting over 10 thousand words. That's awesome, but I have awhile to I really need to keep the momentum going! A huge life-goal of mine is to be a published author, but for this year, I want to do the first big step: get a literary agent, like I said. Anyone else have writing goals?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Let's Get Beyond Tolerance Auctions Start NOW!

The very first auction for my Let's Get Beyond Tolerance scholarship has now gone live. Please spread the word about the auctions to raise money...but more than that, about the scholarships, so we can get some amazing people applying. Info on the scholarship is at the same as the auctions so check it all out at once.

We already have $250 to give the winner, thanks to the amazing author, Jessica Verday and her belief that Being Gay is Okay. I couldn't agree more.

If you do spread the word, leave me a link here and I'll comment if I can or perhaps re-tweet, etc. It's the least I can do to say thanks.

If you want to make a donation to the auctions, email me: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Come on everybody, lets make a difference!!

- above photo is not mine

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Awake by Robin Reardon, Etc.

As the Living Beyond Tolerance Scholarship auctions are just about to start (only a few days late, go me!), I figured it was about time I started utilizing that blog more. However, like I say on this blog...I want to post more if I feel like people are reading and that only really happens when people comment. So I have a comment policy for that blog too. Comment over there and I'll comment on your blog.

I actually have a new blog post up right now and it's a review of the anthology Awake. I recommend!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review: The Blood Lie by Shirley Vernick

The Blood Lie by Shirley Vernick

Review by Lauren

Copy from Author, All Opinions are Our Own

Official Summary:
September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can shake a stick at. If it wasn't Rosh Hashanah, then it was Yom Kippur, and if it wasn't Yom Kippur, it was the Sabbath. But temple's good for some things. It gives him lots of time to daydream about a beautiful but inaccessible Gentile girl named Emaline.

 And if she isn't on his mind, then he's thinking about his music and imagining himself playing the cello with the New York Philharmonic. Yup, music is definitely his ticket out of this remote whistle-stop town—he doesn't want to be stuck here one more minute. But he doesn't realize exactly how stuck he is until Emaline's little sister Daisy goes missing and he and his family are accused of killing her for a blood sacrifice.

Blood Lie was inspired by a real blood libel that took place when a small girl disappeared from Massena, New York, in 1928, and an innocent Jewish boy was called a murderer.

Review: It's hard to imagine that something like this could happen, especially here in the so-called land of the free. The real story and this fictional take might have occured in 1928...but you have to remember that people still do keep these types of stereotypes in their heart.

As for The Blood Lie, it's a pretty short novel that takes place over an even smaller amount of time, but that doesn't mean it's not powerful. Jack is like most kids, with a pretty normal family and friends. He has religion in his life but he isn't the type to shove it in someone's face, especially not being Jewish, where he's the minority. He loves music and hopes that will be his ticket out of his small town and into a bigger, and maybe better, world. And he also has a crush on Emaline, who may like him too, but they can't do anything about it without causing a lot of controversy.

It's hardly fair, the type of town that Jack lives in. And when Daisy goes missing and people point their fingers at Jack and his family, he is - for the first time- truly terrified of what could happen. He knows he's innocent, but these people might not ask questions first, then attack. They might just use crazy rumors and stories about Jewish people as their guide.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Rabbi Abrams talks to his congregation and tells them a story of hurt, but one also of forgiveness. Jack, understandably, isn't sure if he agrees with this idea...but it's a short story that makes an impact (much like The Blood Lie itself) and readers are sure to get a lot of out of it in terms of Jack's situation and their own lives.

I really liked the ending. Not everything is shiny and happy and new, but it has a silver lining, and you know that maybe things aren't perfect...but they could get better.