Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Author Interview - Dora Lee Thompson



Please welcome Dora Lee Thompson, the author of Pocket of Guilt. I'm was very excited to interview her, as her book is one that is unique to my reading tastes! I'll be reviewing it tomorrow, but today please enjoy reading her interview answers.


1. Jessica:
This book was a new experience for me, in that it discussed how LDS teens were affected by World War II. What inspired you to write about this rather unique subject matter?


Dora:
Some of the events in Pocket of Guilt were inspired by the true adventures of my friend, Ralph Hechtle, who lived in Mannheim, Germany before and after the war. My husband and Ralph worked the night shift at a utility company in Provo, Utah, in the sixties. To pass the boring night hours, Ralph kept my husband spellbound with his WWII stories about how he survived the bombs and the devastating food shortage following the war. The story makes the reader wonder what he would do under such trying circumstances.
We lost track of Ralph for several years and my husband and I decided to write the story and fictionize the parts we were unsure of. Later, we found Ralph still living in Utah, and he visited us and critiqued the story for two summers in a row. Ralph had some amazing stories to tell. He is probably one of the few persons still alive who actually saw Mannheim Jews being herded into boxcars like animals. We seldom hear stories about the war from the German teen viewpoint.

I knew I was at a disadvantage writing a story with an LDS theme, as far as reaching the mainstream reader was concerned, but I felt compelled to do it anyway with the hope of educating the non-member about our Church doctrine. There are so many misconceptions out there.

2. Jessica:
What kind of research went into developing your characters?


Dora:
As many authors do, I patterned my characters around persons that I know. My main character, Dieter Schulz, is a composite of Ralph and one of my sons. Ralph told me he was fearless in the wake of bombs and strafing attacks. That seemed unbelievable to me and I didn't portray the character, Dieter, in that light. There was one scene, though, where another character walked calmly while being strafed by an airplane. This was a scene that really happened to Ralph. I wanted to use that scene, so I made it more believable by having the character's mind snap from all the stress of war.
From age ten until the war ended, danger was Ralph's lot in life, so all through his formative years, that's all he knew. Maaybe that would toughen a kid and make him fearless. I don't know. I did give the character Dieter, a stubborn streak. I suspect that caught the essence of Ralph's true personality.

3. Jessica:
Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration while writing?

Dora:
My seven kids cheered me on, but I would have to say that my husband, Jack, was my biggest inspiration. In the beginning, he and I tried to be co-authors. It didn't work! We kept butting heads about how and what to write. Finally, Jack turned the writing over to me because he said I seemed to be the one most dedicated to it.
He encouraged me to spend as much time writing as possible. He even made doing the laundry his job (he was retired) to free more time for me to write.

4. Jessica:
Is there any advice that you can give to aspiring writers out there?

Dora:
Go to the library. Use the Internet. Find a good "How to Write" manual. Brush up on your grammar. Research the culture and history connected with your story. Be accurate. Follow a historical timeline, if necessary.
In most cases, it is important to be persistent. If you get a "writing block" set your work aside for a time and then come back to it. It is amazing how you can get new ideas a day or two later. Never give up. It is amazing I know, but it took me over forty years to write Pocket of Guilt. I raised seven kids and cared for a chronically-ill husband part of the time while writing.

5. Jessica:
What was the biggest hurdle you had to face while writing Pocket of Guilt?

Dora:
I think the biggest hurdle, at least for part of the time, was having to answer the telephone while writing. My son, who has schizophrenia, called me frequently while fighting his demons. Writing saved my sanity, but writing with so many distractions wasn't easy.

Christine Schulze x 2 giveaway!


As if it wasn't completely fabulous enough of Christine Schulze to stop by these past two days, she now has a giveaway for you my dear readers!

Up for grabs is a copy of each of the books I reviewed. That means two lucky winners! One winner will go home with Bloodmaiden and the other with Tears of a Vampire Prince.

Aren't you the lucky ones?

To enter:
* Be a follower of my humble little blog.
* Leave a comment for Christine below that includes your email address.
* Be a resident of the U.S.

Giveaway will end December 29th at 11:00 pm PST.

ENJOY!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Please pardon the dust.

If you'll notice, I currently have no navigation bar or header! I'm working on getting one up and running that is a little more edgy than the one I had before, sadly I'm dead tired and can't work anymore tonight. So enjoy the snow and the new background!

If you are an author or publisher you can always contact me at roses7184@gmail.com until I get everything back up and running.

Hugs all!

Book Review: Tears of a Vampire Prince




Cover Inspection:
I'm quite smitten with the man on the cover. Isn't he dreamy?

First Thoughts:
This is one sad vampire.

***

My Review:
Let me begin this review by explaining that I received this novella for review without reading the companion novel, Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress first. Therefore I had to keep an open mind while reading. The story skips around a lot between points of view, and I know that if I had read the first book it would have filled in the missing pieces nicely. 

Plenty of information about the origin of Aaryn and his lovely Krystine are presented for the reader in this novella. We see where their relationship sprang from, and how they came to be so in love. Also, we are shown how much it hurts Aaryn to be with Krystine because of his one fatal flaw; his need to feed. For the short amount of time that I was able to meet this characters, I did enjoy them! Aaryn is quite dreamy. Quite.  It actually peaked my interest to read the companion novel that goes along with it.

Long story short, it was a little difficult for me to fairly review this novella, simply because I was missing so much of the original information. I can promise that if you've read Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress you'll find a lot to love! Once again Schulze shows her ability to write amazing characters, as well as her vivid world building skills. I was drawn in despite my initial confusion.








Book Details
Title: Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine
Author: Christine Schulze
Publisher: Old Line Publishing
Pages: Manuscript copy; 49
Source: Received from author for review.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Author Interview - Christine Schulze

Good afternoon my dear readers!

Today I'm quite happy to give my blog over to the lovely, and very talented, Christine Schulze! 


She is the author of numerous books and novellas, including Bloodmaiden which I posted a review of yesterday. Later today I will also be sharing my review of one of her upcoming books, Tears of a Vampire Prince.

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1) I always like to start my interviews with a challenge! If you had to describe yourself in a tweet, only 140 characters, what would you say?

C. E. Schulze is a master of creating unique worlds, deep, quirky characters, and intricate plots, likened to C.S. Lewis and Diana W. Jones.

(That WAS a challenge, but fun! ^_^)


2) From reading your bio I noticed that you are quite the busy writer! How many books have you written so far?

Well, I have been writing since I was four; however, as for the collection of books I’ve published and plan to, I’ve been writing those starting at around twelve. So, hopefully it’s not quite as big a shock to say I have written over thirty books to date (I did have an exact number but have since lost count).

I started out with an intention to have twenty-seven in my vast collection called The Amielian Legacy, which is comprised of series and stand-alone books, all of which can be read as individual works, yet all connect in some way or other (I truly love the challenge of finding a way to connect two works which seem to have nothing to do with one another!).

While some of the books are fantasy, some are Christian fantasy, and many contain Christian symbolism, most of them subtle and not preachy (which is what I aim for and which a couple of my reviewers have said, that I integrate the symbolism well without coming off preachy), though a one of my books, The Pirates of Meleeon, does directly address Christian topics. The number “twenty-seven” tied into that Christian symbolism, because twenty-seven is divisible only by itself, one, nine, and three. Nine can be divided into further “threes”, and three, or course, represents the Trinity.

Needless to say, God keeps inspiring me, and I just keep on writing! The Amielian Legacy is now to have thirty-three books, representing the years Christ lived on Earth. However, I may yet be able to reach forty, often considered a number of challenge in the Bible—which would certainly seem appropriate!


3) Out of those, do you happen to have a favorite?

That is indeed an awful question, a larger challenge than the first, I think!

I suppose I do have some favorites though, although I never write anything I’m not really into, so I am pleased with all my books.

Bloodmaiden, my first publication with Old Line Publishing, is definitely a favorite. Besides a unique plot combining magic and music, it was also the first time I really used dragons and also contains a lot of rich imagery and metaphor which could make for a great cinematic experience someday! Actually, while a lot of writers I know have trouble translating what they see on their heads to the page, this is something I’ve always been very gifted in. I see every scene and feel every emotion as though watching a movie in my head; the effect must work, because even those who don’t like Bloodmaiden as well as others agree the language and imagery is rich and beautiful and really puts them in the moment.

The Gailean Quartet is probably my favorite series, if I had to pick one. It also combines music and magic to create a unique lore. The series is named after the character of Gail, inspired by my choir teacher at Southwestern Illinois College. Attending her classes really brightened my day and kept me going when I was going through some hard times. They say, as a teacher, that you often touch lives without meaning to. This was true of Mrs. Fleming, a wise, loving woman with many wise things to touch the heart:

“You all have a gift. It’s free. It’s the gift of song.”

Ah, choir...

She retires next semester, but I shall be singing in her choir one, last time! Look for videos of the choir on Youtube; my username is LittleMissFlem, and I have loads!

Another series I would definitely recommend is The Hero Chronicles. This really turned out to be a very intricate series full of twists, turns, and emotional roller-coasters, not just because of plot depth, but even more so because of the depth of the characters and everything going on with them. As Eden, a girl on Goodreads who just reviewed the series, says, this is a series which really does get better with each book.

The first book is more light-hearted; you get to know the characters and world for about the first half, before the plot begins to come into play. By book two though, you’re already delving into a deep back-story of one of the characters, making everything so much more complex. There’s also a side-romance happening throughout between the mysterious Tiffany and Dristann. By book four, the characters are definitely well-known enough by the reader to just jump right into what turns out to be a crazy story; so much happens to the characters, leaving readers on edge through book four and five.

To sum it up in Eden’s words:

“This book, like the last, had a lot of emotion and I think one of the best words to explain it is intense. It was just intense, reading each page and finding out what happened next. I just kept reading until I finished because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I think the ending was wonderful and I was very happy with it.” Overall, The Hero Chronicles series was wonderful, each book seemed to get better and better and the characters were just great. I'm so happy to have read these books and these will be books I recommend to people.”

As each book is short, only about a hundred pages, I definitely recommend it to readers just looking for a great story to try me out for the first time.


4) If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would you choose?

Hmm...toughie. I think I would go with Diana Wynne Jones, as her worlds, plots, and characters are just so fresh, quirky, fanciful, and lovable; you never know what’s coming next and are so intrigued when whatever it is finally comes!

If it’s not too cliché, I would also wager on meeting J.K. Rowling, if possible. I truly do believe she did a great job creating her world; she seems to know it so intimately, considering how many details really comprise everything that happens. We could only ever guess what else happened inside her head that she never shared...

Also, if I may add, I’d like to meet Shigeru Miyamoto, who is not an author but rather the creator of great video games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which has inspired far too many books and ideas in books for me to remember the number off the top of my head!


5) What would you say is your main source of inspiration for your writing?

I can be inspired by pretty much anything—other books, artwork, anime, video games, ideas others give me, you name it. As a Christian, I believe my inspirations come from God, and one of the best inspirers He has given me is people.

So many of my books are created because of a friend or someone who has made some influence on me or perhaps just has a cool name. Sarah, a best friend of mine, has appeared in many of my books as multiple characters; she is, however, still a bit bitter at my having made her neither evil nor get killed in any books to date. The Gailean Quartet is a series combining music and magic and was spawned from the love of my choir teacher, Mrs. Gail Fleming, at Southwestern Illinois College. And of course, it would be unfair not to mention my boyfriend who “saves” me as Crispin in Elantra: Song of Tears, Lady of the Dawn (he does die a tragic death, but that’s fairly common for people I really like).


6) From your list of current works, it seems you dabble in different genres. Do you have one that you prefer over the others?

I saw this question and I told my boyfriend, “I’ve been called a dabbler.” Dabbler is now my new favorite word. ^_^

(Sorry, that’s my quirky side coming through).

In all honesty though, I have almost always written fantasy and Christian fantasy, both of which I love and will always write. I’ve tried realistic fiction, and while I can punch out a few short stories, they are not great, and a novel isn’t on the way anytime soon. I just feel so stifled, unable to craft my own world; historical fiction is certainly out of the question.

Lately though, I’ve been trying to add some more literary techniques to some of my books; Bloodmaiden, for example, is definitely a fantasy read with subtle Christian symbolism. However, beyond focusing just on a good story and characters, I also really chose to focus on the language of the book, creating loads of rich imagery, symbolism, and metaphor. It’s one thing readers love about the book, even those few who didn’t favor the book in other areas.

Also, I’ve taken up becoming a horror dabbler lately. Nothing too serious, just a short story here and there. It’s quite fun though, even if my horror stories tend to turn out more tragic than gruesome. Still, it’s a different challenge for me, and it’s always good to refresh the mind with something new.

In addition, I just wrote my first fan novel, Silent Hero, based on Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series, available as an ebook download—for free, of course, lest the beloved Miyamoto mentioned above send an army of Chu-chus after me...

Finally, I am co-authoring a different sort of book with a friend of mine, known as Salvain Cullen amongst the internet realm. It’s called You, Fairie, I and is definitely fantasy; however, it will contain multiple threads in which the choices readers make will lead to very different conclusions. Sort of like the old Dungeons and Dragons which-way books, only far deeper. It will read like a first person novel, but the reader will embody the main character and help her choose, which will not likely be simple...

So, to make what should have been a short answer actually short, yes, I have become a dabbler, as of late. However, even the subgenres I’ve been dabbling in often contain some form of fantasy or other, and fantasy—especially Christian fantasy—shall ever remain my genre of choice.


7) What advice would you give to those aspiring writers out there?

In the words of Mrs. Fleming:

“Concentrate: it’s a visual!” and “Keep focused!”

In short, be persistent and patient; do not give up! Also, always be learning about your craft; I find that just by writing, I improve with each new book, so practice truly does make perfect! Once you feel you have a really strong work, one of your best yet if not the best, then focus on trying to seriously publish. I know some look down on self-publishing and small press publishing, but it really gave me the chance to work with editors, polish those works, and be prepared to tackle searching for an agent with a lot more confidence now.

Also, ask friends to help you, whether by reading your manuscript, query letter, whatever, or just by offering any good advice they can. My boyfriend helped edit a query of mine so that it now looks phenomenal! I feel, again, much more confident for when I’m ready to send it out.

Patience is also key. I’ve found that, in the publishing realm, you do a lot of waiting. I can pump out a good story in nothing flat if inspired; the rest of my time is spent waiting on editors and such, so start a new project in the meanwhile and keep busy!

Finally, in the words of the Happy Mask Man from Majora’s Mask (by now I hope I’m not the only Zelda freak who will see this):

“Believe in your strengths...believe...”


8) What are you working on now?

Well, I suppose I already gave that away on question six; that’s what I get for not reading ahead.

Besides You, Fairie, I though, I have just finished re-editing The Last Star, a middle grade fantasy/adventure novel which I have chosen as “the book” to start submitting to agents, which I plan to do in a short while. Though I’ve loved self-publishing and working with smaller presses, it’s time to take the loads I’ve learned and bump things up a notch. Here’s a blurb of The Last Star, for all interested:

There were no Stars in Novalight that fateful night; they had all been extinguished save for one: and if Olette, The Last Star, were to lose her Starfire too, then all the land would be consumed by Shadow—and the very world would come to an uncertain end.

Thankfully, the work of the Shadows goes yet unfinished. Hope remains solely in Olette, the tiny winged fox who flies into ten-year-old Christya’s bedroom that dark night. As a Backwards Star, Olette’s life source—her Starfire—cannot easily be snuffed out like all the others in Novalight. Being the smallest and youngest of the Stars, can Olette take up the position of Blue Star and unravel the mysteries of Star Appointment? Can she help Christya and her other new friends discover the truth behind their parents’ disappearances? Together, can they overcome the Shadows with their newfound powers before every last Star vanishes from the sky? Combining the magnificence of the heavens with the allure of magic to create a charming adventure, The Last Star is more than an enchanting tale of light against darkness: it is a story of friendship and forgiveness, one that shows how even the smallest person can become a light of hope after all the others have gone out.


Well, that about wraps things up then. Thanks to Jessica so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure and great fun. I hope all you get the chance to experience the magic and adventure of my books someday, and thanks for reading.

God bless, happy reading, and have a great Christmas and New Year’s!

~Christine E. Schulze

P.S. You can find me, my books, reviews, and future give-aways at:

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Thank you so much Christine for stopping by! I look forward to reading more of your fantastic work!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Bloodmaiden



Zale. Gauthier. Varden. These three dynasties... They all sound like something out of an ancient, oriental myth or fairy tale. The concept of humans and dragons helping and living in harmony with one another, without fear. To me, that's exactly what they are. A distant dream only read of, whispered secretly, quietly yearned for. For, you see, I am the new Quelda of Tynan. These words echo the mystery, horror, and romance found within Schulze's fantasy novel. Along with her new husband, Chalom, Crislin must choose to embrace cruel tradition, run from it, or stand against it. The young couple's only hope is to rally the help of the three peaceful dragon dynasties of Sulaimon-but tradition is not on their side, even outside the realm of Tynan.

-- See more at Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
I believe that I am in love with the model's cloak! Love!

First Thoughts:
I haven't read a fantasy book like this in quite a while. Am I ready for it?

***

My Review:
Let me premise with the fact that I once was a hardcore fantasy book follower. My shelves were filled with Tor books and I had mastered the art of remembering the names, lineages and personalities of multiple characters. Yes my friends, reading a fantasy book is like stepping into a brand new world. You start by feeling your way around to see if you can get acclimated, but once you do you're hooked. I missed that. So I was excited to read Bloodmaiden as soon as I opened it!

The book opens with a suspenseful first chapter, drawing you in almost instantly. We are introduced to Crislin, the new Qelda of Tynan, and her new husband. What follows is a gorgeous romp through beautiful dynasties, roving countrysides and an all around vividly painted world. My absolute favorite part of stories like these is falling in love with the world that is created within. Christine Schulze does a fabulous job of providing enough description to paint a mental picture for the reader, while still allowing them to add in certain details on their own. It was fantastic!

Characters. Characters are an extremely important part of any fantasy story. I think that is why I ended up with such an affinity for strong characters at all. It fuels my reading. I can happily say that the characters in Bloodmaiden, all the way down to the smallest supporting one, were excellently written and completely intriguing. I was hooked into the story with the setting, and brought further into it by the character development. My one qualm with the characters, however, was the lack of conversation between Crislin and her husband. Although I feel like it may have taken away from the story somehow, I would have liked to see them interact more. I felt their love, but part of me wanted to see it as well.

As for the story itself, my one difficulty while reading was the quick pace at which the story moves. It isn't that the story isn't engrossing. It is in fact so engrossing that I was a little thrown off by how quickly things were happening. By the time I would figure out exactly what the important events in the chapter were and how they tied into what I had previously read, a new plot twist was thrown at me. I'll admit that it definitely kept the story fresh! It kept me at the edge of my seat for sure. However I would have liked a little more time to slowly revel in the beauty of the world and the words on the page.

Overall Bloodmaiden is a very solid and well-written story! I haven't even begun to delve into the delicious dragon-fueled dynasties, or any of the other epic parts of the storyline. I'll leave that up to you to discover as you dive into this beautifully written book. I happily recommend this book to all fantasy lovers out there! Enjoy!







Book Details
Title: Bloodmaiden
Author: Christine Schulze
Publisher: Old Line Publishing, LLC
Pages: Paperback; 208
Source: Received from author for review.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Movie Review: Tangled


Every once in a while I find a movie that I want to chat about with others, but unfortunately there's no one around. SO you, my dear reader friends, get to hear my commentary? Aren't you the lucky ones?

***


Absolutely adorable.

If I had to describe Tangled in one word, it would be: delightful! This movie was sweet, it was funny, it was just an all around good time. Even my boyfriend, who I have to drag to animated movies most times, was sitting next to me laughing hysterically at the screen. Disney hit it out of the park with this one!

Based on the fairy tale of Rapunzel, this movie takes its cues straight from the original story. Of course Disney takes a few liberties (as they are often apt to do). However those of you out there who are sticklers for the original fairy tales like I am, will be pleasantly surprised at how intact your beloved story is! The little additions only made for a much more enjoyable experience and of course that extra added "giggle factor". This is a movie that adults and kids will both enjoy.

Colorful, quick moving, and hilarious, this movie is just a treat. Put it this way. I sat in the movie theater surrounded by tons of children. We just so happened to go early enough that our theater was still filled with the "mommy and me" crowd. My boyfriend was terrified that the kids would be loud and talk, essentially ruining his movie. NOPE. They were all so enamored. The only time I heard them was when we were all giggling, my boyfriend's laugh high above all the rest. Cute right?

As a parting note, I saw this in 3D and it was amazing! I'd definitely say that it is worth shelling out the few extra dollars. Disney's animated movies are made for 3D and they just shine off the screen. If you want a good laugh and are a kid at heart like me, this is a movie you'll want to see!

***

That's it for now! Shout out your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blog Tour - Book Review: I Know It's Over


PURE. UNPLANNED. PERFECT.

Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then, weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant. Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over.

--From Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
What caught my eye was the girl walking away from the bed. Hmmm....

First Thoughts:
Oh my gosh. Nick is in deep!

***

My Review:
This is the type of book that I wish was around when I was a teen. Perhaps there was one out there, but I wasn't lucky enough to find it. It is the type of story that draws you in, even though it deals with some tough issues. Pregnancy, divorce, abortion, it all makes for a gritty and realistic read. Martin writing is deep, and its brutal honesty shines from the page. I would compare this to Sarah Dessen, but more real and less sugar coated.

The story is told in first person, from Nick's point of view. It is hard for me to explain just how refreshing it was to see a topic like teen pregnancy looked at from a male point of view. Generally books that deal with these types of subjects are from the female point of view, and we see how a teenage girl deals with this life changing turn of events. To see this from Nick's side was so different. I was really surprised at the range of emotions that he felt throughout the book. I suppose what I'm saying is that C.K. Kelly Martin shows us that not all boys in his position are "unfeeling bastards" as the norm would tell us. Nope, Nick is quite an enigma.

From Sasha's side, we see the way that an issue like this affects a family. Sasha is the type of girl who strives to live up to a certain expectation. Her family wants her to do well and so she does her best to make them happy. That being said, when the pregnancy comes to light Sasha is torn. The story shows the reader how a family like Sasha's will take control as well. I won't spoil this book for anyone who is interested, but Sasha doesn't have much of a say in what happens to her and the life living inside her. This too, is so true to life.

As an older reader, this book was really impressive to me mostly because of how true to life the characters and their emotions were. The sheer weight of what was happening weighed down on both of them, but they chose to handle it differently. C.K. Kelly Martin doesn't berate her characters for choosing their path, but she does show the true consequences that come along with it. She subtly conveys the simple message that we are ultimately responsible for the consequences of our actions. Unfortunately, sometimes this means being responsible for someone else as well.

Overall I really enjoyed this read. There were times when I was so drawn in that I literally wanted to jump into the book to hug, or possibly punch, a character. The honesty that I Know It's Over is written with is refreshing! I would recommend this book to any teen that is able to deal with sexual encounters. This might be one that a parent reads first, or even with their teen.







Book Details
Title: I Know It's Over
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 244
Source: Library

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blog Tour - Author Interview: Sarah Ockler


Today I'm happy to welcome the very talented Sarah Ockler to my blog!


Sarah is the author of Twenty Boy Summer and the upcoming, sure to be a smash, Fixing Delilah! I had the opportunity to interview her, but I'll stop rambling and let her take it away.

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1. If you had to come up with a slogan for Fixing Delilah, what would it be?

I think the tagline on the book cover encapsulates the story really well: "Family. It's not always a perfect fit." That's something Delilah has to accept as she uncovers some of the long-buried secrets about the women in her family -- particularly about her mom.


2. If the reader were to see Delilah's story through Patrick's eyes, do you think there would be anything changed or different they would know about her?

Patrick is the first person in a long time to see the real Delilah -- the one behind all the masks and walls. He knows that she's stubborn and self-destructive, but he can also see the intense vulnerability and hurt there, and he understands how desperate she is to find out the truth (and why it matters). If he were telling the story, I think we'd see a lot more of Delilah's strength, determination, and willingness to love and be loved -- all of the great things about her that she doesn't fully realize when we first meet her, when she's still so angry and unsure.


3. Is there a scene that is your favorite overall?

I *love* the scene in the coffee shop when Patrick and Delilah are alone after hours, and he's playing music for her and talking about true friends and... well, I don't want to say too much. Just that it's one of my favorite parts of the story, and despite the ups and downs and crazy loops of their relationship, that moment really captures what it's all about. ;-)


4. Where is your favorite place to go for inspiration?

Walking in the woods is my favorite place to recharge. Something about the quiet and the timelessness always grounds and inspires me, and whenever I get back from a hike, I'm ready to write! 


5. Any favorite authors you can't live without?

You know, this is an interesting question. I was about to start listing some of my favorites, but when I really think about it, I don't know that there are any I can't live without, only because there are so many awesome authors out there, especially in YA. My TBR list keeps growing, so I know that even if some of my faves stopped writing, they'd be leaving me in good book company. That said, some of my favorite YA authors are Sarah Dessen, Melina Marchetta, Cassie Clare, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, JK Rowling, Laura Resau, Deb Caletti, Laurie Halse Anderson, and about eight billion more. :-) It's a great time to be writing and reading for teens!  


Thanks for hosting me today, Jessica, and thanks to readers for checking out Fixing Delilah!

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Thank you Sarah for stopping by! For those of you who still haven't added Fixing Delilah to your reading lists, well first off where have you been? Second, her are some links for you!

Add it to:
Goodreads /Librarything /Shelfari

Purchase the book at:
Indiebound /Barnes & Noble /Amazon

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A filler (and slight harassment) post.

Yes, this is a filler post!

As you read this, I'm probably somewhere on the 5 Freeway. I'm most likely reading a book while trying not to get motion sickness. Chances are that I'm sick of fast food at this point. Also, I'm probably really looking forward to getting home so that I can get out of the car and stretch. Does anyone actually like really long car trips?

Anyhow, since I'm not home yet, this is a post to remind you that you should check out the posts before this!

By now I've posted:

A GIVEAWAY and a trailer for Tyger, Tyger

A review of Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi

and

An interview with the amazing Brenda Pandos, author of The Sapphire Talisman

*cue applause*

Lucky for you awesome people right over there, on the right hand side of my blog, you can quickly access all these posts and more!

Yes, yes I found a way to bug you into reading my posts if you missed them. Even without being in the same city as my laptop. BOOYAH. Don't act like you aren't impressed ;).

Much love friends! See you (for real) tomorrow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog Tour - Author Interview: Brenda Pandos




Continuing on with the epic Sapphire Talisman tour, today I have Brenda Pandos stopping by my blog for an interview! If you haven't read my review of The Sapphire Talisman, I can assure you it's great! In fact, you should totally go and pre-order a copy here. Signed copy. Ooooh. Shiny!

Without further ado, I give my blog over to the very lovely and talented Brenda Pandos!

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1) Welcome Brenda! I always like to start out my interviews with a challenge. If you had to create a catch phrase for one of your characters, what would it be and who would it be for? 

This is hard. I don’t know if it’s good, but here’s one:

You can't hide nothing from me. –Julia
Or
Being a Vampire sucks. –Phil
Or
Vampires suck, then they die.—Nicholas

I don’t know. They are all cheesy.


2) Do you have a favorite character in your series? 

I really adore Phil. He’s that guy you like but know you shouldn’t because he’ll break your heart. His dialog and character development came so easily. He often surprised me when I ran dialog in my head. And he’s so adorable. What’s not to like? 


3) I noticed in your bio that you have an affinity for vampires! Who is your favorite vampire in a book or movie? 

I used to think it was Louis from Interview with a Vampire, but I watched the movie again recently and have since changed my mind. Angel, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is *fans self* hot and Spike *fans self again*. I need to get into Vampire Diaries ‘cause I see people rave over it all the time on twitter (and the actor for Damon is cute), but I haven’t much time to watch TV.


4) If you had the choice to become a vampire, do you think you might say yes?

In my fake life in my head, yes. In real life, no (because I wouldn’t want to leave my family). Only if I could have a talisman and didn’t have to drink blood, and could fly… I’d be seriously tempted.


5) Where do you go when you need inspiration?

I know this sounds weird, but I get great ideas in the shower. Maybe because I’m away from my noisy kids and can think. I guess the shush of the water helps my brain run dialog and be creative.


6) Is there a snack that you can't live without while writing? 

Not totally, but I do enjoy diet rite and chocolate. I actually asked my husband to take the Halloween candy out of the house until Halloween so I wouldn’t eat it. I can’t help myself. It calls to me. It calls to me worse than my characters do. Chocolate isn’t really a writing need, but a general stress relief need.


7) The Emerald Talisman was your first novel correct? What advice would you like to share with aspiring writers? 

Yes, The Emerald Talisman was my first novel and first writing project, actually. I had no idea I’d enjoy writing until I started doing it. If you feel the need inside to write, then do it. The internet is a vast world of information, and a link to encouraging people with similar talents looking for friends. Start with fanfiction if you can’t think of anything on your own. Learn about writing, plotting and characterization from blogs and writers websites. Get feedback on your work in crit groups. Join the Nanowrimo community. Just get your feet wet and put some words on paper. You never know until you try.


8) What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Good things I hope. I do have another book planned for this series and then I may write about something serious, like Autism since it’s really affected my life. But I love fantasy and will be writing a mermaid story/series soon thereafter.

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Thank you so much Brenda for stopping by! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Book Review: Boys That Bite


Technically Sunshine can't get killed-because she's immortal. Well, not quite yet. Due to the worst case of mistaken identity with her dark-side-loving twin sister at a Goth club called Club Fang, Magnus, a vampire hottie, went for Sunshine's innocent neck. Now if she doesn't reverse it in time, Magnus will be her blood mate forever and she's doomed to be a blood-gulping, pasty, daylight-hating vampire. That would seriously bite.

And now, after the unfortunate slaying of the vampire leader, Sunshine, her sister Rayne, and Magnus must find the one thing that can solve her problem: the Holy Grail. They wish it were a joke but it's not. It's absolutely necessary that Sunshine gets out of this in time, because somehow she scored the hottest prom date in her school, the mouth-watering Jake Wilder. So she just can't be a vampire for the prom-let alone the rest of eternity.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
This is the new cover and I love it! I think the models on the front of the new covers are really gorgeous. Very vampire-esque.

First Thoughts:
Her name is Sunny, and her sister's name is Rayne. *cue giggles*

***

My Review:

From the very first page, this book is pure enjoyment in the form of words! This is the type of book that doesn't try to take itself too seriously, and no I don't mean that it isn't written well. What I mean is that the blindingly obvious pun will jump off the page at you and all you can do is crack up laughing. Any book that makes references to Buffy, Angel and the whole Whedon crew automatically wins points with me! I don't want to ruin it by referencing it exactly, but let's just say that there is a Buffy reference in here that had me rolling with laughter! The jokes, the acerbic wit, all of it just made me fall completely in love with this book.

Now on to the characters. Those of you who read my reviews often know that I have to love my characters. If I'm to enjoy a book, they need to be interesting and fun! Enter Sunny and Rayne, the identical twins. They may be identical in appearance, but in personality they are total opposites. Sunny is the sporty, school-driven twin who is trying to get on the radar of the resident "Sex God". Rayne, on the other hand, is a goth at heart who has an affinity for the vampire kind. It was this yin and yang between them that allowed me to connect with both of them equally. They completed one another in the best way possible. There was such fantastic chemistry between them, and the witty banter was amazing!

Remember how I said that this book doesn't take itself too seriously? Well that means that you, my dear readers, shouldn't go into it without the proper mindset. Let me explain. Sunny is a teenager. Sunny does not want to be a vampire, especially not right before prom. Sunny deals with this issue like any typical teen would, with massive amounts of snide remarks and observations. So yes, it's true, sometimes Sunny can be a little obnoxious in the way she speaks and acts. However, keep in mind my friends, this is a satirical type of book. Think Buffy! It's meant to be taken with a grain of salt and big heaping helping of humor!

Can I be honest? I loved this book. Every single minute of it. Sure, there were times when I thought the "teen speak" might have seemed a little heavy, but I've read books (that I won't mention the name of) where this issue completely turned me off of reading the book and the rest of the series. Sunny's way of thinking and talking didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story at all. This is coming from vampire novel skeptic of the highest caliber. Trust me, it means a lot. Don't go into Boys That Bite expecting anything less than a fun and light read! If you're not smiling at least a little at the end of this book, you're either a robot or an alien. Both of which, I might add, are not nearly as cool as a vampire.

Book two here I come!







Book Details
Title: Boys That Bite
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: Paperback; 272
Source: Library


Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

[+/-] show/hide this post

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tyger, Tyger Trailer and GIVEAWAY!



For those of you who may not know, I'm a HUGE Tyger, Tyger and all around Kersten Hamilton fangirl.

It is my aim to spread the love of this book and, well, of course bribe you with a giveaway. Let it be known that I am definitely not against bribery. *insert maniacal laugh here*

I'm quite happy to be able to share the new book trailer with you. It's amazing! I've seen many a book trailer, but this one seriously blew my mind. It might be because I'm in love with this book. If you haven't read my review you can take a look. Really though I just think it is because it is an epic trailer though. You be the judge.



Now on to some Tyger Treasure shall we?

Kersten Hamilton had 20 necklaces made to celebrate her book's release, and is giving them away throughout November and December! The pendants were created by book blogger Melissa at Books and Things and the chains by someone else. Each necklace is beautiful and unique. 

Enter here to win this necklace, and have fun hunting for the rest!


The rules:
* Be a resident of the U.S. (Sorry my International friends, but I promise I'll include you in later giveaways!)
* Follow my blog through GFC, Networked Blogs or RSS feed.
* Provide a valid email address for me to contact you for your address if you win. Kersten will be mailing out these prizes herself.
* All entries must be received through the form below. Comments are appreciated, but will not be counted as entries!
* Giveaway will end November 30, 2010 at 11pm PST.
* For extra entries you can spread the trailer love around! Embed the trailer on a post and link to it in the space provided on the form. The more places you spread the trailer, the more entries you get!


Thanks a ton everyone for stopping by! I wish you luck!




Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday time!





Before I begin this post, a quick announcement. I'll be out of town for the next four days!

Does that mean I won't be posting? Of course not! I wouldn't leave you all hanging :). For the next four days I have posts scheduled to go up on their own, to amuse you all. Hopefully.

Now let's get down to business!

***



Today's question is:
How long have you been blogging?

A little over 7 months as of this month! My little blog is growing up so fast, but I'm so proud of how much it has become. It is my aim to continue to post every day, but provide you with quality content to read as well!

***

Book Blogger Hop

This week we are discussing what we are thankful for.

Let me tell you. I am thankful for so much! I could go on and on, but I'll stick to a few of the simpler things.

First off, I'm so thankful for my family. They are my rock, and even when I feel like I'm floundering they are there to give me words of encouragement and a hug. I'm thankful for my job. No matter how much I might complain sometimes I'm glad I have one. I'm also glad that it is a job I actually enjoy most of the time. Finally, I'm thankful for all of YOU my dear readers! You are what fuel my blog. You are my inspiration. Your comments keep me going. Thanks a ton. You're the best!

***

If you stop by please leave a link to your blog so I can go visit you in turn!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: Scones and Sensibility


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Scones and Sensibility
Author: Lindsay Eland
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: Hardcover; 256
Release Date: December 22, 2009
Source: Library
---------------------------------------
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade
Content Screening: Too much cuteness perhaps?
----------------------------------------
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Young readers who love a great protagonist and a bit of old world romance in their reading!

Add it on : Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful land, a time where a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.

But alas, she was not.

This, however, does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with a summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together…whether they want to be or not.

In honor of Polly's antiquated way of speaking, I hereby declare her the most winsome character I have ever met. Her obsession with the novels of Jane Austen and Lucy Maud Montgomery falls in step perfectly with my own youth. Reading and re-reading these classic tales, she allows them to inspire the way that she dresses, her mannerisms, and even the way that she talks to others. I was smitten instantly with Polly's personality! She is much different than most of the younger protagonists I have read before. I giggled out loud when she would accidentally switch from her proper English speech to teenage slang in a fit of excitement. Polly is a sweetheart, plain and simple.

As a twelve year old girl, of course, Polly has yet to experience love. Instead, all of her notions about the subject come from the books that she so adores. Which would be fine normally. I mean what girl wouldn't want to be caught up in an age of chivalry and romance? However Polly decides that it is her duty to take up matchmaking, allowing those around her to experience the undying love of Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy. What ensues is so comedic and so sweet, that I literally burst out laughing more than once! Polly's matches end up a little differently than she expects. It falls to our brave, young heroine to put things right.

What I really loved about the whole story was the underlying current of friendship. Underneath all the Austen, all the silliness, was a moral about being a good friend. Polly may not end up with the summer of romance that she was anticipating, but she does learn a lot about real love and what it means. It was refreshing to see such a charming young girl grow up so much in such a short number of pages. I dare you to find a more refined and adorable young girl in any other book.

Long story short, I adored this book with all my heart. I will, however, admit that it is probably not for everyone. I've seen others peg Polly as annoying, and I can see where that might stem from. You really need to have a love for MG characters and watching them grow up. You also need to be able to take everything she says and does with a smile and a grain of salt. She's young, people. We were all young once. I for one am proud that Polly has her head in the clouds, and hope she continues it as long as she can! We all know that fades when you get older.

As I skip off into the distance, my embroidered handkerchief pressed against my bosom, I leave you with one thought. Isn't it time you gave yourself a break from teenage angst and love triangles? If you answered yes, this book is your answer. Sweet, a little bit silly, and very charming, this book is sure to sweep you off your feet! Scones not included.



Blog Tour: Book Review - Everything I Never Wanted to Be



Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina's grandfather and father were alcoholics. Her grandmother was a pill addict. Dina is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug addiction including her youngest daughter, who started using heroin at age fourteen.

--More at Goodreads

Why I chose this:
I didn't choose this book, so much as it chose me. It showed up at my door one day and I read the back of the book, completely blown away. I knew I was destined to read this story.

My Review:
To say that this book was a difficult read would be a complete lie. Although the content of Dina Kucera's book can sometimes be a bit rough, it is written so perfectly that I honestly couldn't put it down. She has found the perfect recipe for this memoir. A healthy dose of hope, a pinch of religion, and a heaping helping of humor. Combined, these create an unforgettable journey for the reader.

What struck me most about Everything I Never Wanted to Be was the brutal honesty that is within these pages. Kucera pours her memories onto the page, bearing her soul for the reader. I'll admit that at times it was a bit overwhelming and I was in tears. I kept wondering how one person could go through so much pain and anger in their lifetime. However the one message that kept shining through was hope. No matter what else happens, you have to have that hope or you'll drown under the sadness. I think even those of us who aren't going through supporting an ailing loved one can appreciate this message.

It was the humor in this book that really helped me make it through though. Despite everything that she had been through, Kucera always seemed to find some sort of humor in the smaller things to help her get by. My favorite part was at the very beginning, when she describes a normal day out with her three daughters. As they each bicker and moan in their own illness motivated ways, I had to laugh. It wasn't that it was funny that they were arguing, but more that we all know that happens in life. You just have to appreciate the time together and move on. It was a wake up call to me, reminding me that you can choose to take the good or the bad away with you from any situation. Dina Kucera asks us, why not make an effort to choose the good?

This story is about the wisdom that comes through hardship, about beating the odds when it seems impossible. It is the type of story that has the opportunity to change lives. I can't even put into words what reading this book meant to me. I only hope more people out there, parents especially, take the time to read it.







Book Details
Title: Everything I Never Wanted to Be
Author: Dina Kucera
Publisher: Dream of Things
Pages: Paperback; 216
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating:5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares



“I’ve left some clues for you.

If you want them, turn the page.

If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

--From Goodreads


Cover Inspection:
Sweet sweet and more sweet! I love it!

First Thoughts:
I am officially in love with Dash's wit. In love I tell you!

***

My Review:
I cannot think of a better way to describe this book than to use the word "magic". Seriously, it is pure magic. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is guaranteed to have you grinning from the first page and wondering why real life keeps getting in the way of allowing you to read straight through. Are you one of those people who gets hooked on a book and can't put it down? Don't start this book when you have other prior commitments. Trust me.

My favorite part of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's books have always been their characters. They have the ability to write such sweetly and perfectly flawed characters that I fall in love instantly. It's one of the reasons that each time I see their names on a book, I dance with happiness. I have yet to be let down! Dash is the definition of my perfect man. He dresses well, oozes snarky humor, and charisma does not even begin to describe his witty banter with people. From the the very first page he was introduced, I was smitten! Then I met Lily, who I wish I knew in real life to be honest. She's funny, slightly awkward and has the best taste in clothing I think I've ever seen. Majorette boots? Kudos Lily! Needless to say, these characters had my heart in their hands.

Then, oh then, the adventures began. I found myself giggling in delight as they went to great lengths to one-up the other person. There are seriously parts of this book that made me laugh so hard that I cried. Watching these two characters communicate via the written word was (and yes I realize I already said this) pure and utter magic! I was so absorbed in learning their inner thoughts through their letters. The differences between Dash and Lily's personalities were apparent, but the way they meshed together was beautiful. This book stole my heart. Plain and simple. Seeing these two bond over their mutual love of books and adventure just fed my romantic side. Magic I tell you, magic!

As you can probably tell from this jumbled review, I am utterly in love with this book. Sadly the copy I read was not my own. I need to remedy that as soon as possible, so I can get to rereading this and dog-earing the pages. This is bound to become one of those books that I will need to buy in hardcover format, because otherwise it will fall into pieces from my taking it along with me everywhere. Guess what my bookish friends will be receiving for Christmas?

If you enjoy snarky wit and humor, if you simply love characters that will touch your heart, give this book a read. I hereby stamp it "100% recommended by Jessica".


Book Details
Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 260
Source: Around the World Tours
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating:5 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (9)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:


"Outside the salty breeze tousled my hair, and I listened with rapture to the music of the birds crooning from the treetops. Once by the shore, I stooped upon the sand and plucked a smooth seashell from the shallow waves."

~pg. 190 - Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland





Please keep in mind that this book is Middle Grade fiction AND the narrator is a twelve year old girl. Now does this teaser impress you? It impressed me! When this title made a reference to my favorite classic author, Jane Austen, I knew for a fact I'd have to read it. As soon as I dove in and found out what a delight it is to read, I was smitten! This book is fabulous. I hereby declare it one of my new favorite books and vow to buy my own copy that I shall dog ear incessantly.






Monday, November 15, 2010

WINNERS!

I am SO sorry my friends! I completely forgot about the giveaways I had on my vlog last month! Without further ado, let's get to some winners!


Winners of Firelight Swag!
Yllektra 

Winners of She Smells the Dead Prize Packs!
Stephanie Saunders
Jeremy West at Novel Thoughts


Congratulations you four!!! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your information!

Random Books: The Waiting Edition


Welcome to another edition of Random Books! This is a feature where I type a chosen word into the Goodreads search bar, and choose three books that catch my eye. You then get the random thoughts that go through my head as I learn about the book.

It's a fun way to discover new books!

***
This week my theme is "waiting". I'm currently waiting for a lot of things. Winter break. A better job. Thanksgiving turkey! NOM NOM NOM.

So away we go!
***

Twelve-year-old Addie tries to cope with her mother's erratic behavior and being separated from her beloved stepfather and half-sisters when she and her mother go to live in a small trailer by the railroad tracks on the outskirts of Schenectady, New York.

Goodreads Link
My Thoughts:
In the event I had to move into a trailer, it would definitely be a bright green.

Aren't we all just waiting for normal? 

This cover is increasingly making me want to go out and watch the clouds....

***

On the Vermont farm where young Berty lives, the year turns like a slow wheel, and new discoveries and old traditions grace each season. There is always time to explore, to watch the men cut ice on the pond, to savor Mama's hot cider, and to watch the stars come out. Rosemary Wells and Susan Jeffers vividly evoke a time gone by in this celebration of the American family.

Goodreads Link

My Thoughts:
I LOVE Rosemary Wells! How did I not know this book existed?

The cover is absolutely adorable.

I kind of wish I could go stay with this family for a while. It would be a nice change from waking up to car alarms.

***

Zack Chase, new in town, gets a crash course in the dangerous, fast-paced lives of local teen athletes. A good-looking, book-loving hockey star, Zack’s also expected to be a womanizing, alcohol-abusing party animal, but it’s not who he is. As jealous, obnoxious team captain Mac hounds him, Zack falls for Goth-girl Jane and befriends her teammate brother, both with their own secrets. Tragedy strikes and affects them all in this true-to-life debut novel, giving readers an insight into the lives of high school students and athletes.

Goodreads Link
My Thoughts:
Ooooh...a title with a double meaning.

Zack sounds kind of awesome! Good-looking and book-loving? What more is there to ask for?

This book needs a cover makeover, only because the face on there is starting to scare me a little bit.

***

Thanks for sharing in the randomness! Have you read any of these books? Thoughts! Share them out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book Review: Wildthorn


Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key...

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection: Absolutely gorgeous! The corset fits the mood of the book perfectly.

First Thoughts:
Louisa seems so bored with her life. I forgot how strict the rules for women were.

***

My Review:
Louisa has always dreamed of being a doctor like her father. Unfortunately for her, she lives in a time when women are expected to be nothing more than well-dressed and well-mannered hostesses. Her pursuit of a higher education is deemed unfitting, and Louisa's outbursts cause those around her to bristle. Why won't she just conform? Obviously she must be mad.

Wildthorn brings to light the reality of this Victorian time period that is so often romanticized. Eagland's research and attention to details really shine through. She is not afraid to address the heinous conditions that mental patients were put through during this time, or the hardships that women were put through in the name of being "respectable". No schooling for women, whalebone corset, marriages of convenience; it's all addressed in this historically based novel. It was this setting that really brought this story to life.

The story is mainly told in present tense, with flashbacks to the past interspersed through the scenes where Louisa is committed. As our narrator, she walks us through her rebellious past with fervor. What I loved about the change in tenses was that it allowed me, the reader, to slowly unravel Louisa's mysterious life. Little clues are given about what caused her to end up in the asylum. Watching young Louisa with her father made me love her as a character. It was clear why she grew up to be the amazing person she was.

On the downside, I did have a difficult time getting into this story at first. It wasn't a lack of interest in the storyline or the characters, but more that there was a lot of talking going on that wasn't progressing the plot. Also, I was a bit disappointed with the romance that was presented in this story. I am not against Louisa's choice at all. However I felt like if the synopsis insisted on focusing on the romance in the book, it should have been better developed. At the end I felt a little like Louisa wasn't being completely true to herself. Granted she has the stipulations of the time to deal with, but still. I felt like if she was so rebellious she could have found a way to be truly happy.

Overall I enjoyed Wildthorn! It was a pleasant surprise for me since I haven't read a historical fiction novel in quite some time. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, as well as anyone who has an interest in finding out about the reality of Victorian England. Rebellion and intrigue. What more do you need?







Book Details
Title: Wildthorn
Author: Jane Eagland
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: Paperback; 359
Source: Received through NetGalley
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Final Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
[+/-] Click to see rating.

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