May 31, 2012

Quick Reviews - Love & Leftovers by Sara Tregay and Once Was Lost by Sarah Zarr

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay
December 27th, 2011 from Katherine Tegen Books

Love, gush, pleads; you need to read this now. That is my review. I was worried about the pretty dramatic opening of the story (Marcie's parents are in the midst of a divorce because daddy dropped the giant G-card and mommy is drowning in pills) and was thinking this might be one huge downer, but no...I was wrong. It isn't all cotton candy and rainbows, but this novel in verse is downright awesome and one scene easily leads to another, and before you know it, you're suddenly on the last page. After the big split, Marcie moves to New Hampshire with her mother and tries her best not to miss her boyfriend every two seconds. She doesn't exactly fit in at her new school so there is nothing left to do but miss the boyfriend. A boy. A cute boy who pays a little too close attention. Marcie walks that fine line between friend and maybe more than friends with the new boy. Love, betrayal, forgiveness; this book pretty much covers it all. And I'm not just talking about boys.  

Add to Goodreads
You can find Tregay at her website

May 30, 2012

Review - Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö
July 10th, 2012 from Candlewick

Writing in free verse honed to a wicked edge, the incomparable Ron Koertge brings dark and contemporary humor to twenty iconic fairy tales.

I picked up this little book, less than 100 pages, at Midwinter and read it on the bus ride back to the hotel. Okay, more than one trip. I wasn't sure what to expect, my copy had no cover art and I don't read the back of books. Turns out, this book contains 23 classic fairy tales we all know and love. This time, they are written in free verse and often paired with paper cut silhouettes that will blow you away. Look at the cover above, you get what I'm saying. My favorite story was the very first one, The Stepsisters. It is a dark, violent, and fractured version of Cinderella through the eyes of one of the stepsisters. She describes 'You-Know-Who' coming out of the kitchen and the Prince falling on his knees practically sucking on her perfect toes at the site of her. Like the original tale, the ball doesn't go well for the sisters, but in this version they go blind due to some rogue birds.

May 29, 2012

Review - Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
May 22nd, 2012 from Bloomsbury

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Summer is here, well in Texas anyway, and beach reads are high on my priority list! If the adorable cover didn't clue in that this is the perfect vacation story, then the synopsis will reel you in. Clem and her family set sail for the summer and she isn't thrilled to be away from her friends. Then again, her friends aren't exactly begging her to stay. Clem made a big mistake and broke the girlfriend code, and now she is in hot water with her BFF. Maybe a 'Summer of Sad Sailing' is what she needs after all.

May 28, 2012

Excerpt & Book Trailer - Arise by Tara Hudson (+Giveaway)

Arise (Hereafter #2) by Tara Hudson
June 5th, 2012 from HarperTeen

Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

May 22, 2012

Cover Reveal - Audition & Subtraction by Amy Feller Dominy (+Giveaway)

Audition & Subtraction by Amy Feller Dominy
September 18th, 2012 by Walker & Company

For as long as Tatum can remember it’s been: 

Tatum + Lori = Best friends

They do everything together, including a yearly clarinet/flute duet for District Honor Band auditions. But when a new boy transfers to their middle school and their band, the equation suddenly changes to:

Lori + Michael – Tatum = One happy couple

With her best friend slipping away and her parents recently separated, Tatum’s life has turned upside down. Plus her good friend Aaron thinks that they are secretly boyfriend and girlfriend, all because of one little lie Tatum told. Accepting change isn’t easy for Tatum, but just how much is she willing to give up to hold on to her friendship with Lori and life as she knows it? For Tatum, the best way to move forward may require a whole new formula . . .

Giveaway - The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes To Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon

The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes To Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon
May 21st, 2012 from Arthur A. Levine Books

In this anthology, sixty-four award-winning authors and illustrators such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline, Woodson, Terrence McNally, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin, make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love, messages of understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead. They will tell you things about your favorite authors that you never knew before. And they will tell you about yourself.

May 17, 2012

Love In Bloom Hop - Win Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

It's been a while since I've participated in a Hop so I thought this one would be a fun way to enter to win one of my favorite contemporary YA romances of the year - and its not even published yet. Entries are easy and NO need to be a follower, although you do get an extra for doing so. Thank you to fellow Texan, Portrait Of A Book for co-hosting with I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Here is what I have for one lucky winner:

Guest Post - Boys and Books, and Books for Boys With Geoff Herbach

I am thrilled to have my homeboy, Geoff Herbach, on the blog today. If you didn't already know, he is seriously one of the most chill and hilarious people. I highly recommend you get to know him. Today, he is talking about boys and books, and books for boys.
Stupid Fast has been out for almost a year. It’s been really great. I've traveled a bit, met lots of writers and librarians and bloggers. Best of all, though, I've met “elusive” teen boy readers – both through my blog, email and in person. Good stuff. 

I do have some concerns, though.

A really smart 16-year-old from Brooklyn wrote to tell me how much he loved Stupid Fast. He also said, “I hate books, always have.” What? A freshman at a high school I visited the other day told me: “I only like two books. Stupid Fast and this other one I can’t remember.” Okay… I have had similar exchanges again and again in the last year. It reinforces the reason I wanted to write Stupid Fast in the first place: there is a good-sized subset of kids who don’t have enough books to read. I was that kind of kid.

May 16, 2012

World Book Night 2012 - Wrapup

World Book Night 2012 was a success! Literary Lonestars was honored to be asked by BookPeople to organize a group to handout books all over Austin this year. Stephanie and I gathered our local literary buddies and set out for the afternoon. Thank you to Megan, Magan, and Jen for helping out. That's right, two Jen's and two Me(a)gan's and one Steph make for a fun evening. Here is a look into what we did:
Our first stop was to LifeWorks to surprise a GED class with books! The teens were excited about their books and they were so funny! Most everyone picked Sherman Alexie's, Part-time Indian, one of my favorite books. Even the teachers dog loved his new book.

May 15, 2012

Review - In Honor by Jessi Kirby

In Honor by Jessi Kirby
May 8th, 2012 from Simon & Schuster

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences? 

This book is everything you think it will be and more. Honor has suffered loss after loss. Her brother, only recently, and both of her parents when she was very young. The girl has seen her share of heartbreak. I sympathized with Honor in those first opening pages as she walks us through her brothers military funeral and as she reflects back to her parents tragic accident. She is a high school graduate and supposed to head off to he dream college and start her own life in just a matter of days. How can she do that when the people she loved the most aren't there?

May 14, 2012

Blog Tour & Interview With HarlequinTeen Editor of Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter (+Giveaway)

Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter
March 27th, 2012 from HarlequinTeen

I am happy to have the Editor of the Goddess Test series, Mary-Theresa Hussey, on the blog today!

Name: Mary-Theresa Hussey 
Position: Executive Editor for Harlequin 
You might have seen her: as Matrice on Twitter 

I’m so pleased to be able to share my excitement about Aimée and the Goddess Test series with you! Thank you for inviting me to give the editor’s perspective on a fantastic series and a wonderful author.

When I read the first version of THE GODDESS TEST in 2009, I immediately wanted more. Aimée’s writing just kept drawing me into this world and these people (more than just characters) and I wanted to know everything right away! There was such a quiet intensity and naturalness to this very magical story. I immediately rooted for Henry and mourned with Kate and cheered her courage—both in facing the tests and doing anything she could to fight for her mother—and wondered at the imagination that brought all this together.

May 11, 2012

Cover Reveal - The Mephisto Kiss (The Mephiso Covenant #2) by Trinity Faegen

The Mephisto Kiss (The Mephiso Covenant #2) by Trinity Faegen
September 5th, 2012 from Egmont

The eyes never lie. No one’s eyes are darker than Eryx's. Not even the Devil’s.

When Jax and Sasha first see Jordan Ellis, they know she is no ordinary teenager. She’s the daughter of the President after all, but she’s also Anabo – a descendant of Eve.

What they don’t know is that Eryx plans to kidnap Jordan and force President Ellis to pledge his soul. If Eryx’s plot succeeds, the consequences would be catastrophic.

But the Mephisto brothers do know about Jordan’s secret identity. And for one of them, she could be the match that leads to their soul’s salvation.

Now it’s a desperate race against time to save Jordan and prevent Eryx’s haunting eyes from discovering her true identity.

May 8, 2012

Review - Surrender (Possession #2) by Elana Johnson (+Giveaway)

Surrender (Possession #2) by Elana Johnson
June 5th, 2012 from Simon Pulse

Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque....

Move over Vi and Jag, here comes Raine and Gunner. Same world, same problems, and the Resistance is staying strong. Raine's father is the head honcho of Freedom and Raine and Gunner are oh so valuable to him. Both kids juggle their abilities, their secret role in the Resistance, and their controlled role in a not-so-perfect society. Johnson is a pro at character building and you will fall in love with Raine and Gunner in the same way you love Vi and Jag. Raine is such a strong and resilient girl. She defies her father at every turn and believes that she can have a life outside of the suffocating walls of Freedom. Gunner isn't so sure about...well anything, but he knows he doesn't want to be under the control of anyone. His special abilities, yes that is with an "s", are highly valuable, and Raine, and others, are happy he is part of the Resistance. It only took him a year to be talked into it. The two begin to have googlie eyes for each other and that doesn't sit well with anyone - Raine's father and the both of their matches.

May 7, 2012

Review - One For the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

One For the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
May 10th, 2012 from (Nancy Paulsen Books) Penguin Young Readers Group

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future. 

We meet Carley as she is released from the hospital and making her way to a foster home - the Murphy's. Carley and her stepmonster Dennis had an argument that went too far a few nights prior, and Carly's mother is still in the hospital and lucky to be alive. When details are slowly unveiled, we learn they are both lucky to be alive. Carley's recollection of that horrible night is devastating to read. The details slowly come out, and my heart broke for her several times over. How can a grown man treat a child with such cruelty? And according to Carley, her mother isn't exactly off the hook. I was torn between feeling sorry for Carley's mother and wanting to take her out back and teach her a lesson myself.

May 4, 2012

Review - Chained by Lynne Kelly (+Giveaway)

Chained by Lynne Kelly
May 8th, 2012 from Farrar Straus Giroux

After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern India to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape.

Chained is a story about the human spirit and a beautiful relationship between a boy and an elephant, Nandita, who are more alike than different. They are both homeless, alone, lonely, and longing to be with family. Both are in a situation they cannot see themselves out of, and when things take a turn for the worse, they both realize that they are all that they have. Their relationship is the cornerstone to this book. It goes beyond sweet and touching. Their friendship is pure, moving, and undeniable.

May 2, 2012

Review - The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland (+Giveaway)

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
May 10th, 2012 from Speak

This is a perfect beach read book for teens! Em jumps at the chance to spend a month with her estranged Aunt Tilly right after her high school graduation. Her parents are less than pleased with her choice to ditch her prestigious internship at her father's law firm. Em throws caution to the wind and opens herself up for new things and new everything else.