Mar 31, 2011

The End of the Line Winner

Congratulations goes to...

Meredith

You have won an ARC of The End of the Line by Angela Cerrito. An email has been sent to you each of you. You have 72 hours to contact me, or I will pick a new winner.

Mar 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday


Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
September  13th, 201 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.

I am a big fan of Levithan. He made his way to Austin for the Will Grayson, Will Grayson tour with John Green, and that was literally one of the best author events I have been to. They were both hilarious! Although this one doesn't sound very funny, I am up for anything by Levithan. I recently read and reviewed Nick & Norah and also Love Is the Higher Law. He will be at TLA in two weeks and I am hoping to gosh they have an ARC of this book. Stay tuned.....

Add to Goodreads

Mar 28, 2011

Quick Reviews - Red Glove, The Year We Were Famous, Nick & Norah, & Love Is the Higher Law


Red Glove by Holly Black
April 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry

I am a HUGE fan of the first book in this series, White Cat. I mean huge! I enjoyed this story a lot, but if I am totally and completely honest with myself....I was waiting for that big hook like book one had, and it just wasn't there. On the flip side, there were twists, turns, lies, and backstabbing (all great), and major character development for even some side characters. The end of White Cat was beyond awesome, and I was really hoping for another mind blowing twist at the end of Red Glove. Just a teensy bit short in that regards, but still a must read!

4.5 Stars



The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg
April 2011 by Clarion

Now this is a stinkin' cute YA historical fiction. I'll be honest, HF is not my strong suit and I have been trying to read more in this genre. I happened to win this copy from The Class of 2k11 last month, and the book has writing in the margins from Dagg filled with insider information. Notes about what made the cut from original drafts, and scenes based on photographs or other writings. These little tidbits were so enjoyable that I wish all of my books were like this.

4 Stars
 


Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
May 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

So happy to finally read this! Funny, quirky, and tender in all the right places. I felt like I was the only one in the universe to not read this book, and because David is coming next month for TLA, I knew I had to read it. I must say, props to the screen writers. I think they did a great job of staying true to the book and expanding the storyline. 

4 Stars



Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
August 2009 by Random House

Three teens try to understand the events of 911. I was really prepared to go through a box of tissues with this book, but it didn't happen. Although it is an important YA read for the time period with good GLBT characters, I was expecting more. 

3 Stars

Mar 27, 2011

(ARC) Tour - Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler


Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler
Published July 12th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

For Daphne, the glass is always half full, a situation is better managed with a dab of lip gloss, and the boy of her dreams—the one she's read about in all of her novels—is waiting for her just around the corner.
For Gabby, nothing ever works out positively; wearing any form of makeup is a waste of study time, and boys will only leave you heartbroken. Her best friend, Mule, is the only one who has been there for her every step of the way.
But when the richest boy in school befriends Gabby, and Daphne starts to hang out more and more with her best friend, Mule, Gabby is forced to confront the emotional barriers she has put up to stop the hurting. And for once, her sassiness may fall prey to her definition of stupidity.



Please be sure to start here if you want to participate.


Comment below with your name and state to be 
considered for this tour.

1. Stephanie (TX)
2. Colleen (OK)
3. Jayme (OK)
4. Sandra (CO)
5. Savannah (TX)
6. Elizabeth (FL)
7. Al (GA)
8. Jessi (Mo)
9. Chelsey (WA)
10. Kristen (MA)
11.

Mar 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

IMM is a meme brought to us from The Story Siren

For review:
Ada Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald
Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler (for book tours)
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter (for book tours)


(tour info)


Bought:
Rot & Ruin by Johnathan Maberry (for TLA signing)


Currently reading:
Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer


Reminders:
Interview  & giveaway of The End of the Line Ends March 28th
Looking for some reviewers
Short reviews: Red Glove & The Year We Were Famous (coming soon)


Mar 25, 2011

The Anti-Prom Winner

Congratulations goes to....

Michelle @ The Book Heist

You have won an ARC of The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald. An email has been sent to you each of you. You have 72 hours to contact me, or I will pick a new winner.

Mar 24, 2011

The Book Blogger Hop (23)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday to Sunday. 

The Hop is a fantastic way to get your blog noticed, and visit some other blogs that you didn't know about before. Head over and sign up and see what you can find!

Each week a different question will be added to the hop in order for conversations to occur, and for your followers to get to know you better. Here we go!

"If you could physically put yourself into
a book or series, which one and why?

I would have to say something with fantasy elements, but not too death defying. Nothing like the Mortal Instruments series. (too scary!) At the moment I would have to say Harry Potter, but I would be one of those characters that wasn't too close to H, H, & Ron. I wouldn't want to be a target for Lord Voldemort, but would still like to have some magical powers. Okay...my answer is pretty lame. 




Follow Friday is hosted by the lovely Rachel at Parajunkee's View. Here is her question:

"Give us five book related silly facts about you."

1. People who dog-ear library books rank right up there with people who talk during movies. RUDE.
2. I own the original Kindle and it looks sad gathering dust. I prefer to hold a book. 
3. I take a book everywhere. I read in the car, at the movies (before the show), kids games (when they aren't playing and at halftime), and at restaurants. My husband loves it! #sarcasm
4. I have a really hard time with high fantasy. I'm out at dragons. (well, not Firelight)
5. My bookmarks are usually old DC receipts.

Reminders:
Interview  & giveaway of The End of the Line Ends March 28th
Looking for some reviewers
Short reviews: Red Glove & The Year We Were Famous (coming soon)

The End of the Line - Interview with Angela Cerrito (& Giveaway)

I am happy to have Angela Cerrito, author of The End of the Line, at the blog today. If you haven't already, please read my REVIEW


You are a part of The Elevensies and make your debut as a writer this year! Describe a little about your literary journey.
A huge part of my literary journey has been participating in critique groups -one for magazine writing, one for writing fantasy, a picture book critique group The Write Marbles and a group that shared full novels for critique. I learned so much from each group. It was so exciting as my critique partners landed their first book deals and sharing the good news about The End of the Line with them when it was accepted.

What are some writing must have's?
I've learned that quiet is NOT a must have -I can write in public or in a house full of kids slamming doors, jamming on instruments and chasing animals around the house. I prefer to write with candy (hot tamales are a favorite) but can manage without candy too.

What was your working title for THE END OF THE LINE?
It has been THE END OF THE LINE from day one.

Describe THE END OF THE LINE in three words.
longing for home

Ryan and Robbie are like oil and water at times, how would you describe their relationship?
One reader told me that it took him back to when he and his brother were younger; that was a nice description.

Robbie made a terrible mistake that lead to death of another. Was this accident always a part of the story?
Yes. But it was a difficult part to write. The first draft of the novel didn't even include the actual scene of the accident.

How do you think this book can be inspirational for troubled youth? OR What message do you want this story to carry?
I didn't set out to write a message, only to tell Robbie's story.

What song(s) would you choose to be paired with THE END OF THE LINE?
My favorite musical artist is Vinx. I listened to his music a lot while writing this novel, especially the CD Rooms in My Father's House -it has the perfect mix of love, longing and fun.

How will you celebrate your book birthday?
The book will be released on the 11th and on the 12th I'm speaking at an SCBWI in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In April there will be a launch party at Barnes and Noble in Livonia, MI near my hometown. I'm really looking forward to celebrating with family and friends.

Thank you, Angela! One lucky winner will win my review copy. Be sure to follow the simple rules below.

*giveaway closed*

Review - The End of the Line by Angela Cerrito


The End of the Line by Angela Cerrito
April 14th, 2011 by Holiday House

From the Publisher:
Gripping and suspenseful, this powerful, no-holds-barred novel by an exciting new talent goes deep inside a young boy's mind. Thirteen-year-old Robbie is locked in a room with nothing but a desk, a chair, a piece of paper, and a pencil. He's starving, but all they'll give him is water. He is sure he's in a nuthouse or a prison. Actually, he's at Great Oaks School, aka the End of the Line. Kept in solitary confinement, Robbie must earn points for food, a bed, even bathroom privileges. He must learn to listen carefully, to follow the rules, and to accept and admit the truth: he is a murderer. Robbie's first-person account of his struggles at the school—at times horrifying, at times hilarious—alternates with flashbacks to the events that led to his incarceration. Ultimately he must confront the question: which is worse—that he wanted to kill his friend Ryan or that he killed him by accident?

Review:
The book opens with Robbie sitting in a detention center/school for bad kids holding cell trying to compose a list of of who he is. Although the list, comprised of variations of his name, didn't go over well with Mr. Lester the "teacher", Robbie got it right the second time when he included, "I am a killer murderer." We are then taken back to the previous year when Robbie was starting the first day of sixth grade. This is the day he meets Ryan, a boy with more issues than a kid can handle. Ryan gives a terrible first impression by hiding under his desk, getting reprimanded by the principal, and following Robbie home. Robbie's mother invites him in and eventually to dinner. This is the first dinner in a long line of hot meals for Ryan. Good thing because we soon learn that Ryan's home life is less than ideal. Living with his elderly grandparents, Ryan is poor. Actually, destitute and impoverished is more like it. Ryan doesn't speak of his parents, but we know his situation isn't fortunate in any way. To the dismay of Robbie, his parents take Ryan under their wing, feeding him most nights of the week and letting him sleep over often. Soon, the boys begin to develop a friendship although quite strained. Robbie, and maybe Ryan, would argue that they were not friends at all. Robbie thinks Ryan is weird and impulsive, and Ryan thinks Robbie is spoiled and ungrateful. In a way, they are both dead on. (pun intended) The truth of that fateful day slowly but surely comes out as we flip from the boys sixth grade year to Robbie's current residence in Great Oaks School Prison.

*spoilerish*
I really enjoyed Robbie's lists throughout the story. The lists he composed were a fast way to get to know Robbie and what he really thought of himself and his situation. Yes, he wrote about superficial items he wanted, shoes and music, but he also shared his road to redemption in a list. His time in Great Oaks is no picnic. He is isolated for much of his visit, and he reflects a lot about his fateful sixth grade year.

Although I enjoyed his 'list therapy', when Robbie has to write one of places he's been, he writes about other schools that he was kicked out of. I was confused when the story didn't address these events in detail, but it all finally clicked when Robbie had to go through an exercise involving him being teased and taunted about being a murderer, a freak, and a jail-psycho boy. It's obvious now that Robbie was kicked out of the previous schools because he simply couldn't deal with others confronting him about the accident. I needed a little clarification, but it finally sunk in. Also, I would have liked to see more of Ryan's unfortunate situation. We learn only a little of his family. There is a touching scene at the end between Robbie and Ryan's grandfather. I wish that scene was drawn out a little longer and we would have learned more about Ryan's turmoil. I think getting to know Ryan a little better would help us connect to Robbie's story even more. In fact, I think a compilation novel from Ryan's perspective would be something I would read.  

The mystery of the accident that led Robbie to the school for bad boys is what keeps the pages turning. The reader isn't even absolutely sure who the deceased is until the last 30 pages or so. Of course, we assumed all along who it would be considering the roller coaster friendship. Cerrito conveys a great moral lesson; life is full of choices. Young people need to understand that there are consequences to everything, even accidents. This story carries an important message and would be an excellent read for any young person.

3.5 Stars

Add to Goodreads
Visit Angela on her website HERE

Mar 23, 2011

The Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop Winners

Congratulations goes to....

Giveaway #1
SIGNED book plate from Lauren Oliver
Julie V. @ La Bibliothèque de Lilie

Megan K. 

Khyla

Belle Découverte 


Giveaway #2
ARC of So Shelly by Ty Roth


Melissa @ Books & Things


You have 72 hours to contact me, or I will pick a new winner. 


Thank you for all of the entries, there were 168 participants with 289 entries! 15 Texans to boot! 

Mar 22, 2011

Reviews - The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan


The Dark and Hollow Place by Carrie Ryan
April 7th, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

From the Publisher:
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters. 

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again. 

Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah—can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?


Review:
Sometimes when a series comes to an end, I get weepy. This story was no exception. I am almost in denial that I won't be able to read another book in this series. Why must we stop at three? Why can't this series go on like a James Patterson one (forever)? Regardless, this book is a fantastic ending to what is one of my favorite trilogies. We finally meet Annah, Gabry's sister, who left Gabry in the Forest of Hands and Teeth when they were children. Today, Annah is anxiously waiting Elias' return to the Dark City. Elias left three years ago to join the Recruiters (and to find Gabry), and Annah has just about given up hope that he is going to return to her. Before all hope is lost, Annah and Elias are reunited in the Dark City, but that isn't the last reunion of the story. *insert tear* There is some smooching going on too...

There is a whole lot going on in this book, and it is not a dialogue driven read. There are many chapters with no communication, only inner dialogue. We are quickly wrapped up in Annah's thoughts about her sister, Elias, and all those zombies. Ryan takes her time describing in great detail the dire situation of the Dark City and its flesh eating inhabitants. Annah's struggle to stay alive in a place that is dying slowly every day is described with such veracity that I often wanted to reach out and save Annah myself. Ryan doesn't go lightly on her characters, she makes them suffer. True fans who have read the first two books, don't want to be spoiled....so I won't go any further into the plot.

The lasting impression besides "NOOOOOO, I want more," was that this book is dark. Creepy, slimy, gritty, 'never gonna get my nails clean again' type of dirty. This is not a bad thing. We met The Unconsecrated in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, we met the Mudo in The Dead Tossed Waves, and now...we meet the plague rats. In a nutshell folks, we are talking about zombies. Good ole fashion zombies that want to bite and turn you. They are around every corner, and at times I thought that the end of Annah and everyone else was near. There were a few squeamish scenes, but it is all part of the perfect package. Those of you that are looking for a real survival story have found the right book.

5 Stars!

Here are some thoughts from other readers on The Dark and Hollow Banned Book Tour. I encourage you to follow the links and read/comment on their thoughtful reviews.

"Even as the trilogy draws to a close, Carrie Ryan leaves us with no easy answers for the future of the world she created. The message seems to be that you just go on and do what you need to do to survive and at the end of the day, there is a glimmer of hope for brighter days ahead." ~Christnai @ Reading Extensively

"I, for one, am not a zombie girl, but her writing is just so beautiful and elegant that I don't feel like I am reading about a zombieocalypse." ~Jennifer D.

Thank you Random House for providing the tour book.

Mar 20, 2011

(ARC) Tour - Pearl by Jo Knowles


Pearl by Jo Knowles
July 19th, 2011 by Henry Holt

Bean (née Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry’s mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean’s mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean’s beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.

Gus’s death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything—including Bean’s relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.


Please be sure to start here if you want to participate.
Comment below with your name and state to be 
considered for this tour.

1. Jacinda (IN) 
2. Christi (NJ) 
3. Irish (MA) 
4. Heather (IL)
5. Heather (UT)
6. Kim (CA)
7. Jenna (CA)
8. Colleen (OK) 
9. Savannah (TX)
10. Lauren (KY)
10. Ashely (ID)

*tour closed 8/10*

(ARC) Tour - Paradise by Jill S. Alexander


Paradise by Jill. S. Alexander
July 5th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

We're in love.

And not just with the dreamy musician/cowboy nicknamed Paradise. We're in love with this story which even caused our copyeditor to "give up a few meals" so she could keep reading. It's deep and deeply romantic. Swoon.

Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town.

Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true
.


Please be sure to start here if you want to participate.

Comment below with your name and state to be 
considered for this tour.

*tour complete 7/2/2011

(ARC) Tour - Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly


Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
May 24th, 2011 by Candlewick

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

Please be sure to start here if you want to participate.
Comment below with your name and state to be 
considered for this tour.

*tour complete 5/20/2011*

Mar 19, 2011

In My Mailbox

IMM is a meme brought to us from The Story Siren

For Review:
Angel Burn by L.A Wearthly 
Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler (accepting readers HERE)





Won:
Come Si Scrive Ti Amo / How Do You Spell I Love You (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan) Thank you, Rachel Cohn!



Bought:
A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck
Bliss by Lauren Myracle 





Reminders:
Lucky Leprechaun Hop Ends 3/20
The Anti-Prom Giveaway Ends 3/23
Coming soon...The End of the Line ARC giveaway
Coming soon...The Dark & Hollow Places review

Wonderland ARC Winner

Congratulations goes to....


You have won a copy of Wonderland by Joanna Nadin. An email has been sent to you. You have 72 hours to contact me, or I will pick a new winner. 

Mar 18, 2011

The Book Blogger Hop (22)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books and runs from Friday to Sunday. 

The Hop is a fantastic way to get your blog noticed, and visit some other blogs that you didn't know about before. Head over and sign up and see what you can find!

Each week a different question will be added to the hop in order for conversations to occur, and for your followers to get to know you better. Here we go!

"Do you read only one book at a
time or do you have several going at once?"

I usually read one book and then listen to one in the car. I love audio books and it's a great way to cut down that TBR pile. On the other hand, my kids complain daily about my audio books. They usually don't get to hear the whole story and are totally confused when they jump back in the car. I listened to Numbers by Rachel Ward and I thought my 12yo was going to kill me...she hated it! She still uses a horrible British accent when she talks about that book. 



Follow Friday is hosted by the lovely Rachel at Parajunkee's View. Here is her question:

"How did you come up with your blog name?"

I have talked about this several times, but here is the short version. This blog was created for a class I had in library school. In fact, here is what I wrote that first day, June 11th, 2009 - "This blog was created to meet the requirements for course 5013 Information Storage and Retrieval at the Texas Woman's University." I had to think of a theme that I would write about for the semester. Intellectual freedom has always been an interest to me so the name came easy.

After that class, I took two courses that required I post book reviews. When I graduated, I kept the blog, the name, and the rest is history...

Leave your comments and I'll find you! 

Reminders:
Reviews & giveaway of The Anti-Prom Ends 3/23
Review & giveaway of The End of the Line (coming soon)
Interview with The End of the Line author, Angela Cerrito

Mar 16, 2011

The Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop



Thanks to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Books Complete Me, we have another hop! I'll make it short and sweet so you can get to hopping. A complete list of all those offering giveaways is found below. Thx for hopping by and I hope you stick around...

Giveaway #1
SIGNED book plate from Lauren Oliver


Giveaway #2
ARC of So Shelly by Ty Roth


*There will be a total of FIVE winners. Please select on the form what you are entering to win. You may enter to win both giveaways. Double entries will result in disqualification. The entire list of participants can be found below form. Get hopping!


Contest Rules
Must be a follower
Contest ends at midnight CST, Sunday March 20th
Winner will be chosen using Random.org
Must fill out the form below to be officially entered
Good luck!

Reminders:
Wonderland ARC giveaway ends TONIGHT 
The Anti-Prom ARC giveaway ends 3/23
Looking for readers and reviewers for Banned Book Tours
Coming soon...The End of the Line ARC giveaway

 *Giveaway closed*

Waiting on Wednesday


Eve by Anna Carey
October 4th, 2011 by HarperCollins

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. Wildlife has grown over once recognizable landmarks, and the New America is ruled by a controlling King who will stop at nothing to rebuild the nation—including enslaving its boys and turning its girls into broodmares.

The Eve Trilogy is a breathlessly told story with an unforgettable heroine. Anna Carey has imagined a remarkable and unique world, and brings a compelling new voice to the dystopian genre. Eve offers a haunting glimpse of the global pandemic some scientists say is inevitable, and a world forever altered by its aftermath. 


Anna is no stranger to the literary scene. She is the author of the very popular MG series, The Sloane Sisters. This is her first book geared for older young readers. I'm all for a new dystopian read and the cover is beautiful. Reminds me of Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell. 

Add to Goodreads

Mar 15, 2011

The Anti-Prom - Interview with Abby McDonald (& Giveaway)



You were a music and entertainment journalist, what band would you have loved to play at your prom?
I grew up in England, where sadly, proms had yet to catch on by the time I reached the end of high-school. But in the dream prom in my mind, I think Jimmy Eat World would have been a great pick: they were my favorite band when I was 17, and I've seen them live, and they always put on a great show.


You write both YA and adult fiction, have any trouble keeping some of the "adult" out of the YA?
Not so much - I have more problems putting the 'adult' into the adult books! (Seriously, try writing racy material when you know your aunts will read every word...).


I write in first person, so the tone is easy to keep pretty breezy and clean. I know some YAs deal with more sexual issues (and do it really well), but personally, I was only interested in hot make-out action when I was 16, 17, so my lead characters tend to reflect that. That's not to say that stuff doesn't happen in the book worlds - I always try to make my books realistic, and sex is a realistic part of some teen's lives - but it tends to be with a supporting character, say, or subplot, rather than the focus of my character's journey.

Bliss, Jolene, and Meg are all very different characters. Who do you identify with most?
I love all three characters, because I've taken a part of myself to make each one real. Emotional authenticity is really important to me, I think it's the only way to truly connect with the reader, so I never write a character than isn't at least partially based on things I've felt, or experienced in my own life.

With the girls in The Anti-Prom, I identify with Bliss's sense of social insecurity - always painfully aware of the hierarchies and machinations that go into any teen clique; Jolene is the character I love most, for her unapologetic anger and determination; and then there's Meg, and her crushing loneliness... To be honest, Meg was the hardest to write because of that; I had a rough time in high school, feeling pretty isolated and alone, so going through that again with Meg was a challenge. But the wonderful thing about writing, is that I got to give her a way out, and see her character embrace new friendships and experiences.

Jolene's true self is hidden behind her tough attitude. Where did you find inspiration for her character?
I knew from the moment I picked her name who Jolene would be - the girl from the wrong side of the tracks; the bad-ass everyone wishes they could be at some point: a real take-no-prisoners kind of girl. And a big country music fan! But buried behind that toughness is such heartbreaking vulnerability. She's still carrying the weight of her father's abandonment, and has to make some tough choices about whether she's going to let her past define her, or take on the world on her own terms. Jolene has good reasons for acting the way she does, but at some point, she has to stop letting those reasons determine her future, and this one prom night is her last chance to make the call - before it's too late.

If you had to pick one of three prom dresses on the cover to wear to an author signing, which would you pick?
Oh wow, that's a fun question! Meg's black gown is classy, sure, and Bliss's white thing is cute, but I'd have to say Jolene's pink ruffled monstrosity, just for the fun of it! 


Thank you, Abby! 

To learn about Abby's PROMyourway, go HERE
To learn more about Abby and her writing, visit her HERE

One lucky winner will win my review copy! Thank you Candlewick!

Contest rules:

US only
Must be 13+
Must be a follower
Contest ends at midnight CST, Wednesday, March 23rd
Winner will be chosen using Random.org
Must fill out the form below to be officially entered
Good luck!

*Giveaway closed*

Review - The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald


The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald
April 12th, 2011 by Candlewick Press

From the Publisher:
Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald. 

They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy - some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, über-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night.

Review:
Bliss, Jolene, and Meg aren't exactly BFFs. In fact, they don't know anything about each other at all. Well, maybe a few things, but those are mostly rumors. It's prom night and for Bliss, the social event of the year! Everything is going according to plan until Bliss stumbles upon her boyfriend making out with her so-called best friend Kaitlin in the back of a limo. Making out is putting it mildly. The two are going at it like it's the end of the world! Bliss is devasted, but quickly seeks revenge. Insert Jolene the rebel, the bad girl, the...outcast. Jolene is only at the prom in order to make fun of the spectacle, but deep down, she is disappointed her "date" didn't show. As Jolene is sulking in the storage closet, Bliss stumbles in with sly smile and even more sly plan. Because Jolene doesn't have any others plans and is always up for an adventure, she agrees to help Bliss get her revenge on her boyfriend and Kaitlin. Insert Meg. Well, more like insert Meg's car. As Bliss and Jolene race to the parking lot and head to Kaitlin's house to steal her journal, they almost get run over by Meg. Meg has had a disappointing night as well. Her date canceled at the last second and she is humiliated. It doesn't take long for Jolene and Bliss to coax Meg into joining their mission of revenge. Meg is the wallflower of school. Very forgettable, if you remembered her at all. Meg is looking to finish school and move on with her life - if she can find it. Things are going according to Bliss's plan - they have Kaitlin's journal with her darkest secrets; secrets that would destroy her socially. As they make their way all over town trying to bring down Bliss's boyfriend and friend with the help of the journal, Jolene opens up about her non existent relationship with her disappearing father, and Meg realizes that being the quiet one was her choice. Bliss? Bliss thinks maybe revenge wasn't what she needed after all. Maybe Bliss needs a new set of friends.

Anti-Prom is a fun and fast read. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. The characters are developed and vary widely. I was looking for the cliche popular girl junk, but there was something more waiting. Bliss has a giving heart, she just hasn't an opportunity to be...nice. Jolene is rough and crass. I really enjoyed her story and the way she blossomed through out the story. Meg was a little quiet for me. I think of the Family Guy character when I say her name. Meg is the forgettable one in the story and for me. I would have liked to see a tad more from her and her story. I think Jolene's willingness to help Bliss was a little rushed. Bliss and Jolene are on polar opposite sides of the social spectrum. It seemed a little too easy when Jolene agreed to Bliss's plan. Things get wrapped up in a neat and tidy bow at the end, but not without a lot of self discovery!

3.75 Stars

Here are some quick thoughts from other readers on The Anti-Prom  Banned Book Tour. I encourage you to follow the links and read/comment on their thoughtful reviews. 


"Throughout the little adventure she [Bliss] goes on with the other two girls, she learns something…learns something good." ~Ivy Reads

"Lasting impressions: Like The Breakfast Club and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had a baby. So much fun!" ~Logan E. Turner

Thank you Candlewick Press for providing the tour book.

Mar 12, 2011

In My Mailbox

IMM is a meme brought to us from The Story Siren


For Review:
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Possession by Elana Johnson



Won:
The Contemps February Pack via Just Your Typical Book Blog
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (signed)
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
Tons of The Contemps signed swag!


Trapped by Michael Northrop (signed, thank you The Fiction Enthusiast)
In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith (thank you, Lady Reader's Bookstuff)



Bought:
ALL for TLA in April!
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson





Reminders:
Winners of Memento Nora
Reviews & giveaway of Wonderland
Reviews & giveaway of The Anti-Prom (this week)
Review & giveaway of The End of the Line (coming soon)
Interview with The End of the Line author, Angela Cerrito