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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fat Cat

I typically never post reviews months in advance before the book comes out but I'm doing this for Random Buzzer.
Fat Cat by Robin Brande (October 13th 2009—Knopf)

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “You are what you eat. . . .

Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.”

Review: It’s been quite some time since I’ve given a book anything higher than the 3 stars range so believe me when I say that I enjoyed Fat Car tremendously—that is to say that not everyone will love this book coughSharoncough.

It seems to me that I’m the hopeless romantic person, always thinking that the childhood friend should be the one with you forever. What I appreciated the most was the fact that there was path to figuring that Matt was the one. It wasn’t just shy glances between the two; there were sweat, tears, blood (not real blood just metaphorically), and an actual disconnection then reconnection before it all made sense. It only took one really odd diet, one disgusting boyfriend, one hormone-crazed/kind of hot yet completely geeked out boy, and a sweat drenching science project.

Cat goes through a metamorphosis through eating nutritiously. It might have came off as preaching as some would say, but to those who considered themselves meaterians it sheds some light. Also the fact that the book included fun vegetarian dishes was a plus in my book. I always thought I could never survive by salads alone but maybe it is possible—just not for me, I love meat too much. There are other ways.

Overall: Authors and readers you’ve found my weakest. I enjoy clichés with a twist.

Cover F+
Is an F+ possible? I hate, hate, hate, this cover. What is this cover anyway!? All I see is a giant slab of purple with and a measuring tape. I’m guessing it’s a book within a book. And on the book is a face, Cat perhaps? If I’m right then there’s so much they could’ve done! Blarg.

Break Out Those Toothbrushes

So I have gotten some request about what I did to celebrate my birthday. I'm not sure what you guys what from me. So I present to you a cake that some friends made me.

If anyone is having trouble, Lin is my last name. It was rather embarrassing when someone tried to open the aluminum top and I jumped onto of it screaming Noooooo! Anyway I do love my friends because they gave me something personal. The main one who designed the cake was Judy. She's on deviantART if anyone cares. Her partner in crime is Linda. Not the Linda that spams my chatbox at random times. Here's her PhotoBucket since she didn't share her deviantART URL.

Here's a cake that the two pairs + one other made last year when I was going through my crazed "I NEED STUFFED ANIMALS!" and "I <3 DOMO-KUN!" phase.

If anyone wants to know if I got any books the answer is no. I did however get this handbag that I desperately needed from chatbox Linda.

So birthday = 1 trip to watch UP then a brunch to iHop where we spent just 20 some dollars for 4 people by the ways of splitting things up. Breakfast combo and a ham and cheese melt with some OJ.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Unclaimed Hearts

Unclaimed Hearts by Kim Wilkins (July 6th 2009—Razorbill)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “An illicit love—an oppressive father––a quest for truth.

The rules for a young English woman in 1799 are simple: Do what you’re told; stay out of the way; and don’t, under any circumstances, ask questions.

But Constance Blackchurch is insatiable, headstrong, and complex; and the quest to find her missing mother is too much to resist…

…as is Alexandre Sans-Nom, the pearl diver who steals her heart, uproots all of her social expectations, and can either ruin or save the family she loves.”

Review: If you want to imagine what Unclaimed Hearts is all about think Titanic but with pearl divers and merchant ships—more 18th century. High class rich girl falls in love with lower/middle class working boy in a sizzling chemistry that leaves the reader biting their handkerchiefs for more, more, more! Okay so I went a little crazy with the last part.

One thing that I love the most about this book was the different points of views. While everything is the standard third person, each new chapter focuses on one particular person: Constance, Alex, or Henry (Constance’s father). You get a better feel for the character; their emotions, actions, reactions, thoughts, all laid out in front of you. Especially since they threw some humor in the mix, some snap, crackle, and pop romance we get a wonderful combination.

If Johnny Depp can make pirates look sexy than Alexandre can make pearl divers look hot. Seriously for a guy who’s live on a boat for his entire life he has a gentleman’s manners, an ability to speak 3 different languages fluently, and a knack to swoon a girl with ease. Together with Constance they create this cheese sensation where everything kind of smells funky, like it’s a bit too much. Lovely dovey sickeningly sweet but it has this amazing taste/texture—smooth, rich, can’t-quite-just-take-one-bite relationship. I think I lost you guys, haven’t I? Lets just say that it was cute but sometimes revolting because of how cute they were and yet you can’t help but stare. It’s make you go awh! There, that should make sense now.

They connection between “tyrant” dad and “dainty” daughter is one of pure delight. I found it enjoyable because everyone’s been there where you thought your dad hates you and being a pain in the ass ‘cause he can, but it turns out he’s just doing what he thinks is right. That’s what this was.

Overall: Unclaimed Hearts was a mixture of romance, history, action, and adventure. Overall, it did well in all 4 categories.

Cover B+
I actually like this cover a lot! Rustic hues, sharp colors for the ocean, nice choice of model. It’s purty.

Monday Mystery: Megan Frazer

Let's welcome Megan Frazer, author of Secrets of Truth and Beauty! you can find Megan here and purchase your own copy of her novel here where hopefully my review will convince you to do.
Way back when Yan started this, there was a reference to mystery meat and leftovers. Now I don't eat meat. Like Rachel in my book Secrets of Truth & Beauty, I am a pescatarian (and let me tell you we had a whole lot of fun with the spelling of that going through copyedits).

Anyway, as I said, I don't eat meat, but I am a huge proponent of leftovers, of making up my own recipes, and of easy summer dinners. So, without further ado, I present to you one of my all time favorite easy summer dinners. I call it Secrets of Cheese & Arugula.
  • Take a container of baby arugula (I recommend organic) and dump it into a large serving bowl.
  • Add oil and balsamic vinegar (I don't really measure, so I guess in the parlance, it would be “to taste”.)
  • Add one carton of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved.
  • Add 1-4 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed. (This will again depend on personal preference and the proximity you will be having to friends and family.)
  • Set aside.
  • Get a box of pasta like penne or ziti or farfalle and prepare according to package directions.
  • Drain pasta and add to bowl of arugula and tomatoes.
  • Now here is the special Secrets of Truth & Beauty ingredient: goat cheese. I of course recommend buying it from a local farm, but if that is not available, most grocery stores sell small tubs of crumbles, or small logs. Add to the pasta, arugula et. al., stir well, and serve.
  • You should have enough to serve four people . . . with leftovers!
(EDIT from Yan: Between that picture isn't real. I just stole it from google, not sure if that even goes with the recipe o.o)

Not easy enough for you? Here is another option: Reverse Dinner.
  • Go to an ice cream stand.
  • Order a cone of your favorite ice cream.
  • Eat.
  • No leftovers but equally delicious.
(I am totally doing that! :P)

So now I'm curious, what do you consider to be a great summer meal?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Traveling to Teens: Cyn Balog

Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She’s also the Race & Event Manager for several national fitness magazines. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and young daughter. Both are 100% human, or so she thinks. FAIRY TALE is her first novel.

You can find Cyn here
Why team Fairy? Why not team Zombie?
Well, personally, I am a HUGE fan of zombies. I have actually written a few zombie stories in my time, and LOVE zombie movies with a passion. Plus let's not forget the month I spent doing nothing but trying to beat Resident Evil 2 on Playstation. I am obsessed with them! But if I were alone in a dark alley I'd probably rather meet a fairy. Especially my kind of fairies. They're nice, for the most part, and don't seem interested in eating you.

Do you believe in fairies?
Not really, I am not a serious study into the fairy lore, as any reader of my book can tell you. There are writers out there who study fairy lore like it's this perfect science. They may read Fairy Tale and say, "How dare she! That's not true of fairies!" But I recognize that all fairy lore is fiction, and fiction can be massaged in whatever way to fit your story.

Why a fairy King?
Because the fairy princess thing is pretty overdone-- there are countless books out there about a girl who learns she is a fairy, and how dull is that? Of course she'd be the envy of all her friends. If a guy found out he was a fairy, especially if he was the macho, football-playing type, that's something he'd probably want to hide, especially since modern, popular Disney lore teaches us that fairies are dainty, cute characters, who paint rainbows and ladybugs to prepare for Spring.

Why use a fortune cookie and not a heart shaped pendant?
It kind of fit in there really well. The whole theme of Fairy Tale is about how our fortunes are never set, even when we're 100% sure how they will turn out. Morgan is a psychic and should be able to predict how her life will be, but she can't. That's the great thing about fortunes in fortune cookies; they reveal a slice of the future, what the future could be... but they don't lay everything out for you. I just got a fortune that said, "It's very possible you will achieve great success in your lifetime." And I love that because it says, "it is possible," not "it will happen." YOU make your own future. Nothing but the past is ever written in stone.

Who do you prefer, Cam or Pip?
I love them both, but probably Pip, because he is the underdog. He had a difficult upbringing, he's selfless and humble, and so I think girls can't help but want to take care of him. Cam is the golden boy. He got to rule on Earth and he gets the chance to rule in Otherworld... he's adored by everyone in both worlds so I don't think he needs my adoration.
This has been a production of Traveling to Teens.

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog (June 23rd 2009—Delacorte Press)

Grade: 3 stars out 5

Summary: Morgan and Cameron have been together since birth. But a week before their joint birthdays, Cam’s “cousin” Pip appears out of nowhere. To add fuel to the fire, he’s here to take Cam’s place in the life. Why? Because for Cam’s 16th birthday his present is to take over the throne as Fairy King. Slowly Cam transforms into a winged fairy and Pip is turning, well hot. With the help of Dawn, Cam’s guide to the other world but also his betrothed, he learns to accept his destiny. But where does this leave Morgan? She’ll do anything to save Cam and keep him here in their world, even if it defies fate or what they truly desire…

Review: When I first heard about Fairy Tale, I knew right away I just had to get this book. Fairy Tale was a fun read from start to finish.

What I love about this book was how it was not too overly dramatic. The emotions there were real and understanding and never once over the top, like water works sprouting every half page.
Some of the highlight characters for me were definitely Pip and Dawn. Pip had this guy-next-book type of vibe, this adorable yet hot persona. I love his chivalrous attitude and devotion of love that he shows to Morgan. Dawn as well was a great character for me. Despite the fact that she’s the so-called villain in the novel, I just could not help but empathize with her.
The ending is also love for me. It was bittersweet but definitely well done. Again nicely executed and nothing too over the top. It fell right in with the overall storyline.

But I have some problems with this book. Some parts of Fairy Tale gave me a reminiscence of Wondrous Strange. A) Cam is the prince to the Otherworld—Kelly was the princess. B) They both involved something being stolen in their cribs and placed in the other world. Aside from this, I had a few questions regarding the novel. Say by day, Cam is slowly changing into a fairy, but no one notices, however Pip is changing as well. Do people notice his sudden growth/change? What about going back and forth from the fairy world? They mention it’s an invisible portal but that doesn’t really explain the details of it. And how did they, the fairies, know that Cam was still alive?

I am not entirely saying that Fairy Tale was completely the same as Wondrous Strange. That, my dear, is called plagiarizing. Fairy Tale still brings a new voice to the ever growing category.

Overall: These are all small little details that the reader will not really notice unless you want to nick and pick. And overall Fairy Tale was a fun read.

Cover A
I just adore the cover. Something just sparkles to me and scream "LOVE ME!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Second Skin

Second Skin by Jessica Wollman (July 14th 200—Delacorte)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Beauty is only skin deep. Popularity goes much deeper. . . .

Appearances can be deceiving. Sam Klein’s found that out firsthand. All she wanted was to be popular. But sometimes what we want is the absolute worst thing for us.

Sam discovers that Kylie, It-girl of Woodlawn High, owes her popular status not to her expensive clothes, highlighted hair, and spot on the cheerleading squad but to a magical second skin. Nobody can actually see it—but they can feel it. And if you’re wearing the skin, you feel incredible. Invincible. Popularity is yours.

So Sam stole the skin from Kylie. Now she’s the most popular girl at school, while Kylie’s social life takes a serious hit. Sam can barely recognize herself. Her old geek clique is history—but are her new friends really people she can count on? The skin is clinging tighter to her each day . . . can Sam get it off before it’s too late?”

Review: This book was weird. It was like an extraterrestrial life-form came to Earth and crawled onto unsuspecting teenage girls.

Second Skin told of a girl who wanted to be popular and she’s desperate. Desperate enough that she’s willing to steal a Skin. Not just any skin but the Skin. The one that transform you from nobody and somebody.

Sam grows through a journey where she questions if popularity is what she truly wants. I mean she practically destroyed her old friendship and instead made new ones that was every bit as cliché as a teenage reality TV series—bimbos. Sam develops and realizes what true friends are and is finally released from her imprisonment in the Second Skin. Because duh, that’s her heroines are supposed to do!

The book was a light and quick read from start to finish. Cute but nothing sickeningly sweet. I love the extra food fact, go green statements, and the choice to support independent businesses (because we’re all about the Indie Bookstores).

Overall: Simple but cute.

Cover B
At first I couldn’t understand why the girl was so glittery! But of course you had to read the book to figure that out (psst it’s the Second Skin). Like the borders, the bright pink, not too much, just the right amount. The cheerleader theme because they represent popularity. Very clean.

Are U 4 Real

Are U 4 Real by Sara Kadefors (May 19th 2009—Dial)

Grade: 2 stars out of 5

Summary: “Kyla is exactly the kind of girl Alex could never talk to in real life. She’s a gorgeous, outspoken city girl who parties to forget about her absent father and depressed mother. He’s a shy ballet dancer from the suburbs who’s never been kissed. Luckily, when they meet for the first time it’s not in real life—it’s in a chat room, where they can share how alone and misunderstood they feel far from the conformity-obsessed scenes at their high schools. Alex and Kyla quickly forge a friendship that’s far from virtual…maybe they’re even falling in love.

But what happens when you come face-to-face with the soul mate you’ve never met? Will that person be the same? Will you?”

Review: Would you count this as pity love? Straight up I did not like the book. But if you think about it, most of the reasons why I did not like the book have a simple explanation.

My biggest issue is Kyla. I just *shudders* and then *vomits*. I just wanted her to shut up, suck it up, and stop blaming others. Seriously she is a slut (whether she denies or not), a bitch (excuse my French) and…just not nice. You can judge a person a lot by their friends and throughout ¾ of the book Kyla is a perfect example. They are manipulative, back-stabbing frenemies that I trust as much as how far I can throw them which I don’t know about you, isn't very far at all. All I know is that throughout the book she had copious sex, likes to drink, smoke (weed, cigarettes), and other variation of self-destructive hobbies. So please excuse me for not fawning over her and kissing her feet.

But you know what? There might be a reason for all of this that I have to point out. Kyla’s mother goes through a divorce that left her in depression. She was forced to grow up to take care of not only herself but her mother as well. She cracked under pressure—it was only understandable. So does she have a legit reason for everything? It’s hard to tell on my end. She wants to escape from reality by drinking which in turn affects everything else. It’s a cause and reaction scenario and it all falls into place whether I like or not.

Wait, I think I may be wrong. I also had this super huge issue with Kevin. He’s a jock, a soccer player to be exact, that has a lot of problems with someone being gay. He hounds on Alex because he takes ballet and potentially gay. So aggravating.

Good side to the book is definitely Alex. Alex was a tremendous character that grew throughout the book (Kyla did too but I favor Alex more) and too nice of a guy. He can dance, play soccer, has abs(!) with a good personality rolled into one.

The concept of the book gave me a hesitate feeling. I know parents are raving about pedophiles all over the chatrooms but how is blogging any different? It’s mostly based on trust. I’m more prone to accept blogging because let’s face it, only geeks blog *raises hand*. It’s not like we’re asking people how they look like, what their ages are, where they live…wait, we do. The actual online talk I skimmed through. It was just beyond cheesy. I appreciate how Alex wrote in complete sentences and words and capitalized the letter I, Kyla of course doesn’t.

The ending is more cheese. Meh. I lived through with it—it wasn’t horrendous where I needed a crap bucket to deal with all the shit.

Overall: Slightly disappointed.

Cover B
I think the cover is cute.

EDIT: Yes Alex was that good of a character. LOL. I was very hesitate about the 2.5 because the only flaw was Kyla and Kevin and they only appear about half of the book. The other half was not bad at all. I did like the Alex parts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursdays Hugs (-0.001)

So I have a quick survey update for you guys. I'm about to discontinue Thursday Hugs mostly because I suck. No really, I do. I thought by hosting the meme every other week I would have enough time to come up with new topics that I can babbler on about, but I was wrong. On so many levels! So instead of Thursday Hugs I'm going to do a new meme, one that would make my blog title proud! (Which by the way, I'm not changing 1) You guys seem to like it (who knows why ;P) and 2) I'm sure everyone is too lazy to change the URL for me, heck I'm probably too lazy to change the URL myself.)

So the new meme will be called: "Books by their Cover"!* HA! Funny isn't it?

Basically here's the set-up. Every Thursday I plan to post a short poem about a book. It describes the book cover and sometimes the plotline. It's up to you to uncover what the book is.

The poem may be easy or it may be hard. By the end of the month I'll pick a winner and he/she gets a prize. Granted I can't give out books on a monthly basis due to the expanses but I can do other things. I'll have a list on my sidebar (it's called "Oh Grab Me!") for the winner to pick from. When I do have a book up for grabs I'll announce it on the first poem for the month. Other than that it's typically what I can find around my room.

Short recap: Post poem. Email me what you think the title and author is. Then I pick a winner. Winner gets to choose a prize. Hazzuh!

Here's a sample poem that I've tested on someone else. They got it relatively fast so it's an easy one I'm guessing.

Breathe in the danger
Exhale the smoke
Below the nimble
Tree is a tale
Red lips lush
Of a man you desire
Let me be covered
In sin

Typically the longer the poem, the easier it is. On some occasions the poem is only 3 lines long. The book is usually something that I've read and reviewed. USUALLY. The meme will commence next month to give me time to write as many poems as possible.

So what do you think!? Love it? Hate it? Throw Yan in a mosh pit and burn her alive!? Can you guess the book!? Since this is a teaser you can just leave a comment~

*If any one has a recommendtion of what the title for the meme should be, let me know. I was half kidding and half serious about "Books by their Cover" (OR! maybe I should add the "s" in cover!!).

The Lost Summer

The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams (July 14th 2009—Hyperion)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “For the past nine years, Helena Waite has been returning to summer camp at Southpoint. Every year the camp and its familiar routines, landmarks, and people have welcomed her back like a long-lost family member. But this year she is returning not as a camper, but as a counselor, while her best friend, Katie Bell remains behind. All too quickly, Helena discovers that the innocent world of campfires, singalongs, and field days have been pushed aside for late night pranks on the boys' camp, skinny dipping in the lake, and stolen kisses in the hayloft. As she struggles to define herself in this new world, Helena begins to lose sight of what made camp special and the friendships that have sustained her for so many years. And when Ransome, her longtime crush, becomes a romantic reality, life gets even more confusing.”

Review: I think I need to stay away from the camp books. It seems that every one I read never really leaves a deep and enjoyable impact.

The Lost Summer was good. Just not something I ever plan to reread. It has your basic girl meets guy, girl and guy hooks up type of premise, and yet a bit more.

It dealt with the issue of growing up. Of course you lose and gain friends as time goes by and The Lost Summer tells of this. Helena makes a rash decision to ditch her long time friend Katie Bell for the new and exciting friendship with Winn, a fellow counselor. It teaches that two worlds can come together or make some form of attempt.

The camp pranks and activities were fun as they were described in some detail. I enjoyed how the author gave the spotlight on the secondary characters at points. Childhood innocence can best be portrayed in a child. Before the boys, before the petty arguments, we can read what it was like to just be friends who loved the others company—simple.

Helena is the typical teenage that tries to find her niche in life and camp. So when Ransome (I’m not sure how much I like that name…) finally notices her, after a secret crush that she’s had since she was just a camper, Helena is overjoyed. The relationship was much too fast. On some accounts it was unbelievable especially with the sex in the hay stack. It could have happened I guess but I never was fond of some things about Ransome. Chewing tobacco—it just looks disgusting, how some girls find it attractive beats me.

The ending was over too soon. I couldn’t picture the accident well enough in my head. Did she swerve right but still crashed into the other boat? Or did she swerve and hit something else? Wait, what!? Next thing you know Helena was in a coma for 5 weeks and camp is over. That and Katie Bell and Winn became almost friends (I could imagine them having a full-blown cat fight in the middle of the cafeteria) with Ransome visiting everyday until he had to go back to school. Would I have wanted any other way is what I’m trying to figure out. Do I like this happy ending? Was it too sweet for even me to endure? But what if something had happened, would I still find faults? I guess the ending for now I will come to accept.

Overall: Not what I expected but in some ways I did. I think I’m going to stay clear of any more camp based novels.

Cover N/A
The ARC cover is different from the final cover. I kind of like the ARC version better because it portrays more of the actual book than the final version.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (June 11th 2009—Viking)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.”

Review: Sarah Dessen has made a name for herself in this tough industry, so it was no wonder that Along for the Ride would be an enjoyable read. But to what extent can Ms. Dessen bring something new to the table?

It was of no doubt that Along for the Ride was a wonderful story of love and triumph. Auden faces the pressure of her mother and the selfishness of her father forcing her to become a social failure. Trapped to the confines of the books and studies, Auden has never actually had a childhood, bowling, food fights, or even learning to ride a bike. That is where Eli comes in. Eli, with his troubled past and distant take on life, he might be the one to show what Auden has been missing all this time. Together they embark on a quest to what may be love?

There always seem to be family troubles in young adult books nowadays. Along for the Ride was no different.

Overall: Along for the Ride will be on my bookshelf because I greatly enjoy. New fans of Sarah Dessen will fall in love immediately but returning fans will be somewhat disappointed with the same ol’ same ol’ material. If this had been my first Sarah Dessen the grade would have been much, much, higher.

Cover A-
This is actually one of the more favorites of the Sarah Dessen books. Great summer colors, fresh and bright.

Waiting on Wednesday! (18)

Decided that today will be a blah day and picked someone that probably everyone has heard of, but I want it oh so badly.

Devoured by Amanda Marrone (September 8th 2009--Simon Pulse)
"Megan’s twin sister Remy died in an accident nine years ago, and she’s been haunting her ever since. Knowing how crazy that sounds, Megan keeps this secret to herself and tries to lead a normal life. But when she takes a summer job at Land of Enchantment to keep an eye on her new boyfriend and his lovesick best friend, Samantha, she meets fellow employee Luke who can see Remy, too. Things get even twistier because Megan’s new friend Ari is sporting a massive crush on Luke, who seems to be developing a massive crush on Megan…making for a love triangle that’s positively possessed.

Megan wants to keep her distance from Luke, but when Remy’s visions get crazy violent; she knows she needs his help. Because someone’s definitely in danger...the only question is who?"

It's the cover! I swear, it possesses me to drool. Does anyone else see an Anne Hathaway resemblance?

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tour Stop: Coffeehouse Angel

Everyone welcome Suzanne Selfors, author of upcoming book COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL. At Suzanne's blog they had a discussion on the mythology in my book.
In my novel, Coffeehouse Angel, a girl named Katrina meets a guy who claims to be an angel. At first she doesn't believe him. He looks like a vagrant in his tattered sweater, khaki Utilikilt and worn-out sandals. And he's sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother's coffeehouse. I'm not giving anything away here because it's all over the book's cover--he is, indeed, "not human." But what, exactly, is he?

Malcolm is a messenger. That's his job. Messengers appear in most religions, bringing messages from god(s) to individuals. These messengers are often called angels. In fact, the word angel is derived from the greek word "angellos" which means messenger.

Western readers will most likely interpret Malcolm in the Judeo/Christian/Islamic angellic tradition. I gave him a slight glow, a halo so to speak. Some readers will see him as a Guardian angel, for he does bring about changes in Katrina's life, but I envisioned him as simply a messenger.

I based a lot of Malcolm's character on one of the earliest messengers - Hermes, the Greek Messenger God. That is why Malcolm wears a kilt, and why he has winged sandals.

So in the end, he's a blend of many traditions.
I'm also giving away a signed copy of COFFEEHOUSE ANGEL!

Comment here with your favorite Greek/Roman god(dess) [REQUIRED]

Extra Entries:
+1 if you start following me
+2 if you were a follower
+1 if you referred anyone
+1 if you were referred--please name the person whom you were referred by

Leave a comment for every entry. I've decided to be extra lazy and just do a random generator with the number of comments. i.e. comment once with the required answer, if you were a follower comment twice, and so forth. If you made a mistake just delete your previous comment.

This is a WORLDWIDE contest! Will end on July 22nd!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Secrets of Truth and Beauty

Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer (July 7th 2009—Hyperion)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.

That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor's office--and her parents pull her out of school to save face--Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she's never met--a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.”

Review: Secrets of Truth and Beauty was an enjoyable read that strayed a bit from the norm. While the original topic was about her weight, the plot also divided to that and homosexuality.

Dara grew up not knowing anything about her sister so when she decided to make an abrupt visit, she is shocked to find that her sister is a lesbian. And the farm that she resides is the place where gays can find escape from the harsher reality.

My favorite parts are when Owen comes into the scene. Slightly flamboyant, he brings excitement and happiness to the book. He exudes comfort into an otherwise awkward situation. Milo, however, Owen’s younger brother, is an enigma when it comes to Dara and him. I guess I wanted to see something more happening between the two before any serious takes place. In the end we were left with a cliffhanger between the two.

As for the family aspect I thought it was good, a bit too clean for me at the end—much too perfect in a sense, complete resignation from the parents that had originally been so against Dara. Her sister, Rachel, proved to be quite an interesting character to read. Her development through the years from hard-core troubled teen to cool, calm, collected was intriguing as the reader goes through the diaries that were provided. I loved how the road to acceptance was bumpy.

Overall: A nice spin on weight issues along with the surprise twist of including gays.

Cover B-
It’s a nice cover and all but I saw no relevance to the actual book. No where in the book does it include a boat scene that had any substantial reason.

Based on the ARC I have I had originally given the cover a C+. The colors were so sad and dull.

Monday Mystery: Danielle Joseph

This time we have an actual author! I might go back to the mangas if I ever run out of authors (which I'm guessing next Monday...). So enjoy this while you can!
I was recently interviewed by the awesome author Jeri Smith-Ready (Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone) and she asked me what one of my fears was. I told her rats (not the semi-cute ones from the pet store but the big ugly city dwellers). My fear started when I found one living under my bed at college. I stored my hot chocolate packets under there and one day went to reach for one and found them all torn to bits. I immediately called my mom and told her I wanted to come home. In the end, I stayed and so did the rat (luckily we tried to stay out of each other's way:)) Of course, I've had other fears over the years, like lightning, public speaking and parallel parking but there's nothing like having a rat living under your bed!
So what's your biggest fear?

Visit Danielle's website to find more things out her! You can find my review of Shrinking Violet here.
Giveaway time! I have a spare ARC of Shrinking Violet that you can have a chance to win.

All you have to do is answer Danielle's question: what's your biggest fear?

US only. I'll be announcing the winner on July 20th!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hide Me!

Hide me before someone decides to give me happy blankblank punches!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Traveling to Teens: Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

Kerry Cohen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and an MA in counseling psychology from Pacific University. A practicing psychotherapist and the author of the young adult novel Easy, she lives with her husband and two sons in Portland, Oregon.

You can find Kerry at www.kerry-cohen.com and www.kerrycohenhoffmann.com
1. One of Zoe’s attempts to win back Henry involves climbing trees. Have you ever tried climbing trees? Do you have any advice on how to do so?
I used to climb our Japanese maple when I was a kid. Once I became an adolescent, though, I don't think I ever climbed one again. I should have! Climbing trees is fun! My only advice would be not to climb any trees with the same intentions Zoe had.

2. In the very beginning Zoe makes a collage of her and Henry. Are you into crafts? What types of collages do you like to make?
I'm sooo not into crafts. I don't think I've made a collage since Kindergarten. Sorry. Wish I had a better answer for that one.

3. It’s Not You, It’s Me takes place in high school. Do you think high school crushes will lead anywhere?
You have to have a high school crush. What is high school without one...or ten? However, I'm not a big fan of kids getting married to their "high school sweethearts." Better to experience life a little before you decide the person you love when you're 15 is the one for life.

4. Have you had a high school crush?
Um, yes. When you finish It's Not You, It's Me, read my memoir Loose Girl for much more information.

5. Henry is in a band called Spaghetti Carbonara. What was your inspiration to that name? Do you have a favorite artist or song?
Ha! I was just trying to think of the most ridiculous name possible. I thought of how many musician boys I've known (and, okay, dated) who thought their band was on the path to stardom, and they all had ludicrous names. At the time, of course, I thought they were the coolest. I'm hoping my readers will know better.

My favorite artist right now is Cat Power. Chan Marshall's voice is so beautiful and soulful, and her music hits just right. I love too that she doesn't seem to be caught up in all that fluff that comes along with fame, meaning she doesn't concern herself with her appearance (although, she's naturally gorgeous) or an image. She relies on her talent and her unique sound, which is how it should be.
This has been a production of Traveling to Teens.

Everything is uber late because somehow my scheduled post never actually posted...

Review Archive

A&L Do Summer by Jan Blazanin 
Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Adoration of Jenna Fox, The (Jenna Fox Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
After by Amy Ewaf
After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr
Airhead by Meg Cabot
Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden by J.Torres and Jason Bone
Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures by J.Torres and Jason Bone
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee
And One Last Thing... by Molly Harper
And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman
And Then I Found Out the Truth by Jennifer Sturman
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Another Faust by Dina and Daniel Nayeri
Amaranth Enchantment, The by by Julie Berry
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Are U 4 Real? by Sara Kadefors
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Ash by Malinda Lo

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss
Band Geeked Out by Josie Bloss
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Beautiful World by Anastasia Hollings
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Being Nikki (Airhead #2) by Meg Cabot
Between by Jessica Warman
Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott
Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Bite Me! by Melissa Francis
Black Wings (Madeline Black #1) by Christina Henry
Black Night (Madeline Black #2) by Christina Henry
Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney
Body Finder, The by Kimberly Derting
Bones of Faerie by by Janni Lee Simmer
Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, The by William Kakwamba
Boyfriend Game, The by Stephie Davis
Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Brutal by Michael Harmon
By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Candidates, The by Inara Scott
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Captivate (Need #2) by Carrie Jones
Cashing In by Susan Colebank
Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
Catastrophic History of You and Me, The by Jess Rothenberg
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Cathy's Book by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg
Cathy's Key by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg
Cathy's Ring by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg
Cinderella Society, The by Kay Cassidy
Chasing Boys by Karen Tayleur
Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson
Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway
Comeback, The by Marlene Perez
Chosen One, The by Carol Lynch Williams
Crash Test Love by Ted Michaels
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Damaged by Pamela Callow
Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Dark Song by Gail Giles

Darklight (Wondrous Strange #2) by Lesley Livingston
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Defining Twilight by Brian Leaf
Demon King, The (A Seven Realms Novel #1) by Cinda Williams Chima
Demon's Lexicon The by Sarah Rees Brennan
Demon Trapper's Daughter, The by Jana Oliver
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Dertin
Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson
Dead Girl Walking by Linda Joy Singleton
Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Deadly Sister, The by Eliot Schrefer
Deception by Lee Nichols
Devoured by Amanda Marrone
Diamonds, The by Ted Michael
Donut Days by Lara Zielin
Dragonfly by Julia Golding
Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling
DUFF, The by Kody Keplinger

Education of Bet, The by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Entice (Need #3) by Carrie Jones
Espressologist, The by Kristina Springer
Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Eternal Ones, The by Kirsten Miller
Everafter, The by Amy Huntley
Evermore by Alyson Noël
Everything Is Fine. by Ann Dee Ellis
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Faery Rebel by R.J. Anderson
Fade (Wake #2) by Lisa McMann
Faithful by Janet Fox
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Fallen Angels by Heather Terrell
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
False Princess, The by Eilis O'Neal
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Feels Like Home by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Fire (Graceling #2) by Kristin Cashore
Fire Opal, The by Regina McBride
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Five Minutes More by Darlene Ryan
Fixer Upper, The by Mary Kay Andrews
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke
Food, Girls, & Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Forest of Hands and Teeth, The by Carrie Ryan
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Fortune of Carmen Navarro, The by Jen Byrant
Fox Inheritance, The (Jenna Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon
Freaks and Revelations by David Wills Hurwin
Frenzy, The by Francesca Lia Block
From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die #2) by Katie Alender
Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead
Fury (Fury #1) by Elizabeth Miles
Future Imperfect by K. Ryer Breese

Gardener, The by S.A. Bodeen
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Girl v. Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout
Girlfriend Material by Melissa Kantor
Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Gone (Wake #3) by Lisa McMann
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Guardian, The by Joyce Sweeney

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
Heartsinger by Karlijn Stoffels
Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Hollow, The by Jessica Verday
Hot Mess by Julie Kraut, Shallon Lester
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
How to Grow Up and Rule by World by Vordak the Incomprehensible
How To Hook A Hottie by Tina Ferraro
How To Take The Ex Out Of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Iron King, The by Julia Kagawa
Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff
It's Not You, It's Me Kerry Cohen Hoffmann
Ivy, The by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles
Jump by Elisa Carbone
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Karma For Beginners by Jessica Blank
Kin by Holly Black
Kissing Booth by Lexie Hill
Kith by Holly Black

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Legend by Marie Lu
Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley
Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
Little Wanting Song, A by Cath Crowley
Lonely Hearts Club, The by Elizabeth Eulberg
Looking Glass Wars, The by Frank Beddor
Lost Summer, The by Kathryn Williams
Love Goddess' Cooking School, The by Melissa Senate
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Gracia Marquez
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Love Sucks! by Melissa Francis
Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews
Maid of Murder by Amanda Flower
Major Crush by Jennifer Echols
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Map of the Known World, A by Lisa Ann Sandell
Mark, The by Jen Nadol
Match Made in High School, The by Kristin Walker
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
Maze Runner, The by James Dashner
Meridian by Amber Kizer
Miles Between, The by Mary E. Pearson
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
My Boyfriends' Dogs by Dandi Daley Mackall
My Double Life by Janette Rallison
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman
My So Called Death by Stacey Jay
Mysterious Howling, The by Maryrose Wood
Musician's Daughter, The by Susanne Dunlap

Naughty List, The by Suzanne Young
Need by Carrie Jones
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter
One, The by Ed Decter
One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Others by Karen Kincy
Out for Blood (The Drake Chronicles #2) by Alyxandra Harvey
Outside In (Inside Out #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Party by Tom Leveen
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Pearl Among Princes, A by Coleen Paratore
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkelse
Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
Play Me by Laura Ruby
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Probability of Miracles, The by Wendy Wunder
Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Pucker Up (Stupid Cupid #2) by Rhonda Stapleton
Purge by Sarah Littman

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Raven by Allison van Diepen
Raziel (The Fallen #1) by Kristina Douglas
Read, Remember, Recommend by Rachelle Rogers Knight
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
Reckoning, The (The Darkest Powers #3) by Kelley Armstrong
Reign Check (Demon Princess #2) by Michelle Rowen
Replacement, The by Brenna Yovanoff
Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
Rich and Mad by William Nicholson
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins
Rise of the Fire Tamer by Kailin Gow
River, The by Mary Jane Beaufrand
Rise of Renegade X, The by Chelsea M. Campbell
Royally Jacked (Royally Crushed #1) by Niki Burnham
Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Running Dream, The by Wendelin Van Draanen

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Season, The by Sarah MacLean
Season of Eden, A by JM Warwick
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Shelter Me by Alex McAulay
Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zama
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
Sky is Everywhere, The by Jandy Nelson
Slept Away by Julie Kraut
Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Sleepless by Cyn Balog
Sleepless by Thomas Fahy
Snap by Carol Snow
So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Splendor Falls, The by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Spoiled (Spoiled #1) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Sprout by Dale Peck
Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Sweet Life of Stella Madison, The by Lara M. Zeises
Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne
Swoon by Nina Malkin
Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter

Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
Tallulah Falls by Christine Fletcher
Tear Collector, The by Patrick Jones
Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman and Lisa Pazer
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Tempo Change by Barbara Hall
Tension of Opposites, The by Kristina McBride
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Time Traveler's Wife, The by Audrey Niffenegger
To Be Mona by Kelly Easton
Touch by Francine Prose
Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Truth About Delilah Blue, The by Tish Cohen
Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Twilight: the Graphic Novel by Stephanie Meyer; Illustrated by Young Kim
TwiLite: A Parody by Stephen Jenner
Two-way Street by Lauren by Barnholdt
Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Undead Much by Stacey Jay
Unpredictable by Eileen Cook
Unraveling by Michelle Baldini and Lynn Biederman
Unwritten Rule, The by Elizabeth Scott

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson
Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl
Vinyl Princess, The by Yvonne Prinz
Viola in the Reel Life by Ardiana Trigiani

Wake by Lisa McMann
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook
When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales--Sanctuary by Melissa Marr
Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris
Winging It by Deborah Cooke
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Witches of the East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

X-Isle by Steve Augarde

Year of Living Scandalously, The by Julia London
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith
You Had Me At Halo by Amanda Ashby
You've Got Blackmail by Rachel Wright
You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Zen and Xander by Amy Kathleen Ryan

-updated 02, January 2012-