Review: Lie by Caroline Bock

Caroline Bock's website here // $9.99 from {amazon}
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (August 30, 2011)
Paperback: 224 pages
Source: Publisher (ARC)
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Summary: 

Everybody knows, nobody’s talking. . . . 

Seventeen-year-old Skylar Thompson is being questioned by the police. Her boyfriend, Jimmy, stands accused of brutally assaulting two young El Salvadoran immigrants from a neighboring town, and she’s the prime witness. Skylar is keeping quiet about what she’s seen, but how long can she keep it up?  

But Jimmy was her savior. . . . 

When her mother died, he was the only person who made her feel safe, protected from the world. But when she begins to appreciate the enormity of what has happened, especially when Carlos Cortez, one of the victims, steps up to demand justice, she starts to have second thoughts about protecting Jimmy. Jimmy’s accomplice, Sean, is facing his own moral quandary. He’s out on bail and has been offered a plea in exchange for testifying against Jimmy.  

The truth must be told. . . . 

Sean must decide whether or not to turn on his friend in order to save himself. But most important, both he and Skylar need to figure out why they would follow someone like Jimmy in the first place.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
My Thoughts: 

Caroline Bock's debut (solo) novel LIE is ambitious in its subject area, which leaves a lot of room open for both success and failure. Or, in my opinion, either being blown away or utterly disappointed. Unfortunately, I'd have to side with the latter.

I still can't get over how much potential LIE had. Caroline Bock really does a brilliant job of growing this small and sadly prejudiced town from the roots up. The nine (I counted) perspectives were unique, brutally honest, and clearly revealed how racism permeated all of their lives. I sympathized with Gloria Cortez's sacrifices for her dying family, accepted the pragmatism of the school principal, and understood Tommy Thompson feelings of failure as a father, to name a few. Caroline Bock skillfully captures the many grim facets of reality, and I loved it.

So, what's the problem? Perhaps that the premise was practically the only thing I enjoyed about LIE. Perhaps that the no-holds-barred access to the characters' minds was the one aspect that kept me reading. And, honestly, when I have to endure reading a novel, that's not a good sign.

The reason I wanted to put LIE down a few times can be summed up in one word: Skylar. If you've read my blog, you'll know I'm extremely character-centric when reading and reviewing. While reading LIE, I jotted down brief thoughts about every fifty pages and Skylar-related comments turn up every time: "frustrating," "so indecisive," "annoying," "brainwashed," etc. I can excuse the brainwashed feeling, but her constant dependence on others made me want to shove a spine into her. Gently... I think. Though maybe not when it comes to her dependence on Jimmy, since when she begins to question the town's beliefs, she quickly backs up to JimmyJimmyJimmy. My impression of their relationship was also one-sided dependence bordering on mutual obsession (...I wish that was cleared up more.), and, frankly, I'm not sure what to make of it. But I do believe she makes the right choice in the end, and I'm happy for her and what seems like the rebirth of a fragmented family.   

However, even if I understand her difficult circumstances, that doesn't mean I liked Skylar. Or her unreasonable anger towards her father for -- what I believe to be -- the inevitable and, thus, forgivable. Or her overall self-centered tendencies. Second wish: that I could have known at the end what happened to everyone else, not just Skylar who I'm not such a fan of. My favorite character was Sean, who seemed to be the only town member with a brain, and Skylar's best friend Lisa is interesting, if selfish and promiscuous. Again, another area that I would have like clarified but was left clutching at loose threads.

My other main problem was the writing style. I understand that with such a large number of perspectives, it's impossible to establish personality quirks for each, and I don't believe that's a major purpose of LIE. Caroline Bock does attempt to give the speakers distinct flavors with varying backgrounds and speech naunces, such as Tommy Thompson's "lookit." Yet I still felt like they were all one person due to the consistent writing style: short, concise, and dotted with poetic images √† la those deep, moving, lyrical reads. Style variation between, say, Skylar and her father could have gone a long way towards fleshing out the two. That, and the clarification in perspective. It was disorienting for me (note: for me) how all the perspectives were told partially in stream of consciousness, then partially like a testimony of their past and commentary on the trial. But I suspect I may have missed the point here, sorry. 

AGH, I wanted to love LIE, but I just didn't. The writing is beautiful, but my lack of story investment made the symbols and imagery appear superfluous and the plot seem almost nonexistent. That being said, Caroline Bock tackles head-on a difficult issue, leaving not one dark corner spared, and I definitely hope to see the her return with more thought-provoking topics.
 
My Rating: 2 out of 5

Bottom Line: Telling it straight: I struggled with LIE. My heart hardly twinged for the majority of the characters, and I felt weighed down by the seemingly endless symbols and ponderings and background information and UGH. Mindset: must. get. through. this. But don't just cross LIE of your list because of my criticisms. Unless, perhaps, you're not much of a character-journey-little-to-no-action novel reader like I evidently appear to be. Though I like to think that I kind of am? I mean, I loved THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson and WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson... maybe LIE just wasn't for me. Especially since the majority of reviewers seem to be giving it strong praise that directly opposes my points (see review links below).

Even Kirkus gave LIE a star and disagrees (quote: "character-driven"). I do agree with Kirkus that LIE would be a solid source of discussion.

The Real Bottom Line (condensed): Ultimately, LIE is a deep exploration of a rich and girtty topic. Genius premise, not such a fan of the execution.

My Middle School Sister's View: Lie was meh. The plot was interesting but the characters didn’t pull me in. Aaaanywho, Skylar was annoyingly insecure, and Lisa Marie was mean. I mean, liking your best friend’s bf? And manipulating her for him? As for Sean, while I hated that he killed himself, I can understand why. Jimmy was my favorite character. Well, not favorite but he interested me the most. Offering two young immigrants a ride and then chasing/beating them with bats? Brutal. 

-- It took endless convincing for me to get my sister to write even such a short blurb about LIE. But I think having a middle school student's (8th grade) view is interesting as well, even if she seems to be as character-centric as me, haha. I must be a bad influence... Though I second that Jimmy sparked my interest, and I would definitely have liked to see things from his point of view. :)

Cover: I think it's a pretty accurate portrayal of what makes LIE, LIE. The vulnerability of the exposed neck ties in with Skylar's struggles and the picture frame in the background mirrors the influence of the past. So, for that, I like it.

The View from the Other-Side:
· The Irish Banana Review
· Bewitched Bookworms
· The Teen Bibliophile
· Nose in a Book, Head in a Blog
· YA Book Haven

Sweet Venom 2 Title Hunt!

Happy Tuesday, and happy Sweet Venom 2 Title Hunting! I'm psyched to be part of Tera Lynn Child's title hunt, and be sure you follow along for a chance to win five signed copies of Sweet Venom and a grand prize $50 bookstore gift card, open internationally.

To be eligible to win, visit all the title hunt tour stops and collect the letters of Sweet Venom 2's title. For more info on how to do this, links to the tour hosts, and the entry form, visit Terra Lynn Child's blog (http://teralynnchilds.blogspot.com/).

My letter: S

And be sure to check out SWEET VENOM, which releases on September 6th! :)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Summary: 

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they’re triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Giveaway: Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Thanks to Big Honcho Media, I have two copies of DARK SOULS by Paula Morris to giveaway to TWO lucky winners!

Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, and has published several novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She has lived in a number of cities around the world, including York, England. She now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and teaches creative writing at the University of Stirling. Visit her online at www.paula-morris.com.

For more info on Paula Morris and all things DARK SOULS, visit www.facebook.com/thisisteen.  

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Summary: 

Welcome to York, England: the most haunted city in the world.

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint shops, hoping she won’t run into the many ghosts who supposedly roam the cobblestone streets. Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy -- one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls? 

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous -- and deadly -- is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery -- and find redemption. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rules: 
To enter, please fill out the form below.
** You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Open to U.S. addresses only
Contest ends Monday, September 12th at 11:59 EST 
• For more information, please view my contest policy.

The Usual Ramblings -- But With a Hurricane

It's Saturday! And what does that mean? RAMBLING. I know, I know. If you'd rather hear more book-related things tune in tomorrow.

Or, actually, maybe on Monday. It feels extremely weird having a scheduled rambling, but I'll be out today morning (god, this feels weird), and the thunder storming and hurricane-ing is expected to commence in Maryland today afternoon. So I'll schedule a Monday and Tuesday post, and hopefully everything will be back to normal by then. I live more inland so it should be fine, but my best wishes goes out to those living along the coast or in Pennsylvania. If you're reading this in the morning and live in an area the hurricane is expected to affect, Jacqui at Single Parent Retreat posted some helpful tips.

...to lighten the mood, I quite like Hurricane Irene's name. Hurricane naming is definitely a case of personification in my eyes, and I can't help but think of a lovely storm giant. Like Hurricane Isabel (that one was bad). I guess it's truly a sign that I'm a hardcore fantasy fan, haha. :P

Anyways, I've been having this weird syndrome where I don't want to read. And then I read a book and, of course, it's FANTASTIC. And I'm like "JENNIFER, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" (Yes, follow along, I talk to myself.) Response: I don't knowwwww. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!!!

... and then it's still hard for me to bring myself to read another book. 

I don't know what's wrong with me, and it's driving me crazy. Has this ever happened to you?

2-Year Blogoversary Giveaway! ♥

GUYZ. How many times have you already heard me say I love you? Answer: Way too many. Is it possible to die from love overdose? 'Cause, if so, I may just have to commit mass homicide.

It's 2 years. TWO YEARS. 2YRS. Despite my short attention span and sporadic posts, I'm still here. Why? Because of you. Quick shout-outs to some special peeps:

Aly -- If not for your shoves pushes loving nudges, I might not have returned from my super long break earlier this year. ♥

Sandy -- We are two halves of one alien. I swear.

Audrey -- You're AWESOMESAUCE. The not-from-concentrate kind.

Cara -- You are destined for great things. In NY, you hipster. B)

So, so many more. But if I compiled a list of everyone that inspires me and brightens my day, my list would rival Santa's. Really.

Sorry I'm spouting off on so many tangents, but it's still so unbelievable to me. That the blogosphere has witnessed my progression from a measly little 14-year old to the 16-almost-17-year old I am now. That's going to enter college and the gates of adulthood. The blogosphere's been like my... godmother for the past two years, and Books At Midnight is such a huge part of my life, I don't know what I'd do without it. Without you. Who knows what teen angst I would have gone through if I didn't have you 10, 100, 1000 people listening to me.

... I know. I'm also kind of creeping myself out with all the mushy feelings pouring onto this post right now. *gets teary* I'll save it for the Oscar's, sorry.

Anyways *dabs tears*, I know you didn't tune in to have a heart-to-heart. So shall we move onto the giveaway? :3

I'm offering up two prizes, one for each of my blogging years:

PRIZE ONE --  a preorder of one of the following books
Open Internationally


---♥---
PRIZE TWO -- a box of 2011 books, one for each month
Open to U.S. addresses only, unless you are willing to pay for shipping


January – Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell (ARC)
February – Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
March –Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt (ARC)
April – The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
May – Instructions for a Broken Heart (ARC)
June – Legacy by Cayla Kluver
July – Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
August – Lie by Caroline Bock (ARC)
September – Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (ARC)
& various signed bookmarks and other swag


Ta-dah! Hopefully you see something you like there. On the form, I've offered the option to only be considered for one prize if you'd like. Reminder: You don't need to live in the United States, I just need to be able to ship to a US address. So if you have a US friend who's willing to ship it to you, that also works. :)

Annnnnd, since I love pretty numbers, if my follower number somehow shoots up to 1234, I'll offer another preorder of one of the above books. Again open internationally.

OKAY, I know I've blabbed enough, so fill out THIS FORM to enter.
Giveaway ends Friday, September 23rd at 11:59 EST.

To get five extra entries, post the button on your blog! Button code and extra entries available here.

edit// forgot my resolution: I will reply to and comment on the blogs of everyone that comments here. Because I've been so horrible in commenting recently, and it always amazes me when I find a blog that's following me that I didn't know about. So SHOW ME YOUR LOVELY VIRTUAL FACES. ♥

Blog Tour: Bloodborn Review

Karen Kincy's website here // $9.95 from {amazon}
Series: Other #2, read my review of OTHER (Other #1) here
Publisher: Flux (September 8, 2011)
Paperback: 312 pages
Source: Blog Tour
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Summary: 

It isn’t working. The doctor said it would, but it isn’t, even though I keep taking the pills, and I keep seeing Dad sneak into the bathroom and count how many are left. As if I would stop taking them. As if I would let myself become a beast.

Brock Koeman lost his brother to werewolves. Now he’s in danger of losing himself. Bitten by a werewolf at sixteen, he fights the transformation, taking the excruciating pain as a punishment for his mistakes. With the help of a risky drug called Lycanthrox, he’s managed to stay human for two full moons. But he knows he can’t last much longer.

Hungry for revenge, Brock vows to kill the silver wolf who bit him. But Brock’s ex, the fiery Cynthia Lopez, still cares about him enough not to let him do anything suicidally dangerous—never mind that Cyn gets her thrills from danger herself. Together again, the heat between them rekindles, but Brock feels like a beast beside her beauty. He can’t stay with her; he can’t ignore the werewolves howling outside his window. When he hunts down the pack, Cyn doesn’t sit on the sidelines. She’s right beside him as they get taken hostage and start running with the werewolves, the police hot on their tails. Brock has to get a grip on who he truly is—before the wolf within kills him, or someone else does.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
My Thoughts:

Before you think "oh, it's another werewolf story," think Karen Kincy. Think of her debut OTHER. And if you've read it, think of its awesomeness in all of Gwen's pooka glory. We get a bit of a similar gist in BLOODBORN: Brock starts out prejudiced against Others though he'll ultimately have to accept his "other" half. But don't let that fool you: BLOODBORN is different on so many levels -- and that's GREAT.

Since I've read both, it's pretty much obligatory that I do some comparison between OTHER and BLOODBORN. The most obvious difference that comes to mind is if OTHER was rated PG13, BLOODBORN would be PG16. Cursing frequently dots BLOODBORN's pages of bloody, on-the-run action and there's some strip club visits and boob appreciation. Nothing extremely explicit in either gore or nudity, but it's definitely not something I'd be recommending to an elementary school student. The cursing also occasionally seems a tad much, but, overall, it fit Brock's "I-don't-give-a-shit" attitude and quickly faded into normalcy. Or as normal as BLOODBORN gets, that is. For the most part, OTHER took place in their quaint little town, but Brock's there for about 5% of the story and the rest is spent hightailing from the police. Whether the decrease in fluff and increase in fugitive-operations is a good or bad thing is up to you, but as you may be able to guess from my complaints over OTHER's slow start, I thought BLOODBORN was a perfect companion novel that showcased Karen Kincy's improvement over the past year. Brock's prejudice was much more understandable (aka much less aggravating) than Gwen's, which surprised me since Brock and Chris were portrayed so poorly in OTHER. And the reason why I love companion novels: I reread all the OTHER allusions in BLOODBORN, especially Gwen and Tavian's cameo.

While I'm still a proud bearer of the Tavian flag (Tavvvvian ♥), I wanted to take Brock under my wing. He's rough around the edges, but he has a heart. No, not like those bad boys that turn out to be teddy bears or those tortured souls who drown in self-pity. Thankfully not. It'd still be a stretch to call Brock sweet, but it's more realistic that way. Honestly, how many people can have such strong attitude and secretly star in Care Bears? At least not Brock, and I love him for it. Instead, his shining point -- or flaw, really -- is his stubbornness. Due to how thickheaded he is, Brock's character progression is slow and subtle, almost not progressing until he has a life-changing event. Which is, again, how it often happens in real life. Karen Kincy's writing stays raw and true-to-reality, and it makes for a dark, immersive adventure.

Karen Kincy is my new definition of pure paranormal YA. In a genre that seems to have gotten quickly populated with often stereotypical and romance-prevalent light reads*, BLOODBORN shines with its gritty edge and intense action (particularly at the end, wow). BLOODBORN leaves off with not a happily ever after but an open feeling of hope and contentment -- and me eagerly anticipating Karen's next OTHER novel, FOXFIRE.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Bottom Line: Have I not fully expressed my love for Karen Kincy? If you haven't tried her books yet and you're a fan of all things paranormal, GOGOGO.   

Cover: Meh. After reading, the models seem pretty accurate to how I would imagine Brock and Cynthia, but if I was looking at this on the shelf, I'd probably pass right over it. The faces and the moon background make BLOODBORN seem like another stereotypical paranormal read, sorry. ):

FOOTIES:
*Not that there's anything wrong with light paranormal YA, but sometimes I want something darker. That being said, I recently and FINALLY read PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White (thanks to a book trade with Cara), and it was AWESOME.

Blog Tour Note! I'm kicking off the BLOODBORN blog tour, so be sure to check out the rest of blog tour schedule over at the {Teen} Book Scene for more exclusive content with Karen and, if you're still not convinced, other bloggers' reviews! :)

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

 
Burning Brooklyn by Steve Brezenoff
September 2011 (but available from Amazon & B&N)

When you’re sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you’re lucky, you find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you’re really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. But as summer draws to a close, Kid finally finds someone who can last beyond the sunset.



Formula for success: love, music, summers. Burning Brooklyn sounds absolutely beautiful, and following someone named Kid is bound to be interesting. ♥

And after the summary's specificity, I had to search up Greenpoint, Brooklyn:

music, boys, the city // source

Look out for my interview with Steve next week! In the meantime, find out more about Steve Brezenoff or check out the {Teen} Book Scene's blog tour.

What are YOU waiting for?

Interview & Giveaway: Terra Elan McVoy


Sorry for the eerie silence the past couple days; I just got back from my Missouri trip at 1AM this morning, but I'll be sure to check my email later tonight and put up the last two TFFOS winners ASAP. ♥

Today I have with me TERRA ELAN MCVOY, the YA author of PURE, AFTER THE KISS, and, most recently, THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS. Terra's super sweet and enthusiastic about everything she does, so please give a warm welcome as she discusses writing contemporary YA and her 2012 spring release BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS (which you can get a blurb of in Terra's blog post).

Very Clickable Links: {website} · {blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. How would you describe your writing in one verb, one adjective, and one noun (they don't necessarily have to flow together/match)?
Verb: Delve
Noun: Tootsie Pop
Adjective: Thick

2. Out of the three -- almost four! -- books you've released so far, do you have a favorite?
The problem is, I can’t say! Each book is special to me for different reasons. Pure because it’s my first, but also because the issues in it are important to me. After the Kiss is special because it’s my first novel in poems, and I loved doing that form. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts has a significant place in my heart because it is all about sisterhood. And forthcoming Being Friends With Boys is one I love, because of all the different relationships in it!

3. All of your YA books are contemporary. What draws you to portray the lives and relationships, both romantic and sisterly, of teens?
I’m attracted to real life because I think it is full of incredible detail and drama. There is SO MUCH in real life that is fascinating, and there’s an endless number of ways to look at things. Also, I think that being a teenager is one of the hardest, and worst (and also most exciting and fantastic) periods of life, which is why I like writing about them. There is so much happening when you’re a teenager that is happening for the very first time. Love. Jobs. Driving. Physical changes. Discoveries in school and other places . . . everything feels like it is so intense, because it is! 

source

4. And how do you take seemingly ordinary situations and shape them into riveting stories? Any tips for writing contemp?
This is hard for me, because I am so fascinated, myself, by the every day. Single details are riveting to me, but not necessarily to everyone else. So the key is to remember that there has to be a beginning, middle, and end to your story. Details matter, but the character has to go from here and now, to there, then. There has to be an arc. And you have to create events within the plot that force your character to act and change, even if she doesn’t want to. It’s not enough to write a pretty scene about how she’s feeling. She has to get somewhere with it. There has to be growth.

5. As for all of your book covers, including the new one for BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS, they seem to share that simple, clean, and cute feel. How much input do you get in the design process, and what are your thoughts on the covers?
I definitely get a little input, but not a ton—and that’s really okay with me. I think if I was horribly against a cover, they’d take that into consideration, but my main feeling is that I’m a writer, not a graphic designer. There are people who have very good jobs that require them to know what looks good on a cover, and I am very happy to let them do their work, because everything’s been beautiful!!

6. Speaking of BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS, can you give us some hints on what to expect? How is Charlotte different from your previous main characters?
Charlotte is different from Tabitha, Camille, Becca, and each of the Winthrop sisters in that she really isn’t a high-performer. She doesn’t care much about her grades. She isn’t pert and snappy with her appearance. She is just kind of a kick-around girl, and she likes it that way. I think the other girls I’ve written about are a lot more self-confident, while Charlotte —at first anyway— is content to kind of sit back on the sidelines. She’s quietly cool; you have to look close to see it. But then, maybe, she finds ways to let that out a little more . . .


7. Over the course of your "published writer" career, do you feel like you've changed and/or improved as a writer (i.e. your style, character-building)?
I always think I’m improving, but then I find ways in which I’m not! Writing a novel is so hard—it’s hard every time, for different reasons, at least for me so far. There’s always something new you’re learning, something you’re taking on. My best friend and writing advisor says that she thinks my writing improves every book, but I feel like I am always starting from scratch. I think I’ve improved in terms of plot, a little—being able to make it more complex and challenging. But I ALWAYS include too much information, and there’s always a ton to cut out during the revision process. I’m always looking for ways to write sharper, savvier, simpler.

8. What titles would you give if you chose to write a novel in the genre of:
- horror: The Bloodred Face
- science fiction: Two Minutes Till Dark
- paranormal romance: She
- historical fiction: The Pen and the Key

9. If you could pose a question to yourself, what would it be? Answer it! :)
Gosh, I feel like I’m always questioning myself. But one that I ponder a lot is what kind of job I might have if I weren’t an author or Decatur Book Festival Program Director. I sort of always wanted to try bartending, actually, because you’d get so many good stories. And it might be interesting to be a fireman. Or, -woman, I guess! And a teacher. I could definitely have a ball doing that.

Thanks so much for this terrific interview!

Thanks, Terra! Charlotte definitely sounds like my type of girl, and those are some pro "ambiguous-and-seemingly-philosophical" titles. ;)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Summary: 

Three sisters. One life-changing summer.

Calla loves summer because summer means Duncan. They’ve been best friends for years, but Calla has never worked up the nerve to tell him how she really feels. This summer, the summer before college, is Calla’s last chance.

Violet isn’t much of a rule breaker in real life. But this isn’t real life, this is summer, and Violet is determined to make the most of it. Besides, a little sneaking out never hurt anyone. And sneaking out with James is 100% worth the risk…even though James is completely off-limits.

Daisy has never been the sister that boys notice, but when sparks fly with Joel at the first bonfire of summer, it seems so easy and right. So why is being his girlfriend so complicated? 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Terra and Simon & Schuster, I have one finished copy of SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS to giveaway!

To enter, fill out the form below. Contest ends 9/6 at 11:59PM EST and is open to US only.

Giveaway: Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Thanks to Zeitghost Media and Macmillian, I have one finished copy of LOCKDOWN by Alexander Gordon Smith to giveaway! The premise and the cover are BRILLIANT, and if you're looking for a gritty, unique read, definitely check this one out. :)

(As a side note, I'm trying Rafflecopter for the first time. I think I'm still leaning towards Google Docs, but we'll see. It feels... weird.)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Summary: 

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More about the 'Escape from Furnace' series:
Beneath Heaven is Hell....Beneath Hell is Furnace! Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world.

Escape from Furnace Series by Alexander Gordon Smith includes: Lockdown, Solitary, Death Sentence, Fugitives (Available in 2012), and Execution (Available in 2012).


Links:
Website: www.alexandergordonsmith.com
Become a Facebook fan: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lockdown/126095974414
Macmillan page for the book & author: http://us.macmillan.com/author/alexandergordonsmith

Blog Tour: Touch Of Frost Review

Jennifer Estep's website here // $9.95 from {amazon}
Series: Mythos Academy #1
Publisher: Kensington (August 1, 2011)
Paperback: 336 pages
Source: Blog Tour
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Summary: 

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My Thoughts: 

These days it’s hard to impress the “boarding school paranormal or urban fantasy (BSP/UF)” series clique: HEX HALL, OH. MY. GODS., VAMPIRE ACADEMY, HOUSE OF NIGHT, DARK ELITE, etc. That’s not to say it’s impossible by any means, but there’s definitely some pressure; it’s like being the new kid among the snobby mean girls. So, has TOUCH OF FROST passed the entrance exam into the school of unique BSP/UF series to watch out for?* I think so.

TOUCH OF FROST begins as many others do – with death (and a caring grandmother). What’s different about TOUCH OF FROST is that Gwen, our go-to-girl, is a gypsy with past-revealing powers upon physical contact. And that’s only the tip of the mythological iceberg as Mythos Academy reveals Valkyries, Amazons, Spartans, and much, much more. Don’t know much about them? You’re covered, as TOUCH OF FROST seamlessly slips in enough mythology so that even you hobbits from Lonely Mountain will stay in the loop. Jennifer Estep expertly molds these traditional tales around the plot of TOUCH OF FROST, and though the story starts off slow and almost scarily clich√©, the delightfully unexpected twist ending strongly hints at still undiscovered mythology and exciting action in books to come.

As for Gwen, she's the "perfect" YA protagonist. She maintains a strong, humorous voice throughout, and is a balanced mix of vulnerability, strength, and overall relateability. Yet she's just a little too perfect with no real personality quirks that can make me say THAT'S GWEN. Instead, Daphne, the traditional mean girl -- technically Valkyrie -- that turns out to be not so bad, ended up being my favorite character. Surprisingly so, since she's a little too pink for my taste, but I love her 'tude. And not so much the attitude of Logan, the traditional (do you see a trend here?) mysterious, tortured, and brooding** bad boy. Boy, get over yourself please.

TOUCH OF FROST was like Gwen herself: enjoyable, but not overly unique. The mythology was easily the highlight of TOUCH OF FROST, and without it, I can definitely see TOUCH OF FROST lost among the crowd. That being said, Jennifer Estep really does create an intriguing world and presents it in a fun, light-hearted manner that will doubtlessly attract many-a-teenager. 

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bottom Line: I highly recommend TOUCH OF FROST for BSUF fans looking for a new series addiction or mythology fans in general. In movie terms, TOUCH OF FROST was like a trailer for me. It gives tantalizing glimpses of what the Mythos Academy promises and sets up a general stage for future action/romance/anything else Jennifer Estep decides to throw in there. Definite potential, but will it be a full-fledged member of the BSP/UF clique or just a lowly minion? Only time will tell.  

Cover: ...I like it? It's clean and suits TOUCH OF FROST. But, again, face shot... a little bit of background... where have I seen this before? (Answer: EVERYWHERE. So don't feel bad, TOUCH OF FROST. *pats*)

FOOTIES:
* ALL PUNS INTENTIONAL. Just saying.
** ...I need an acronym for this. Mysterious, tortured, brooding = MTB. Or simply E for Edward.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

This review is posted on behalf of The {Teen} Book Scene TOUCH OF FROST tour. Click to visit the rest of the tour stops (with interviews, reviews, and what fun have you) and check out Jennifer Estep's earlier guest post here. :)

Waiting on Wednesday (8): Cover Dump

Honestly, I've been wanting to do one of these for a while. Just covers. 3 rows of my want-want-want YA's with 1 row of MG's. I'm sure some of you have seen most, if not all, of these covers, but some additional beauty never hurt anyone, right? And for future reference, I have lots more where these came from. ;) 4 just seems like an not-overwhelming, not-underwhelming number. Goodreads links at the bottom.

I'm restraining myself from rambling about my love for these novels but if we get started talking... I have bundles of love for them. Trust me.


left-to-right, row-by-row:

What are YOU waiting for?

Guest Post: Jessica Brody


So, my combo review-and-giveaway of MY LIFE UNDECIDED by Jessica Brody was a while ago, but Jessica's back again with not a spunky, feel-good novel but a 100% honest story of her own high school experiences -- with the same spunk, of course. It goes to show that while high school can be a painful and toilsome process, it also sparks some of the best ideas. ;)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK... THAT IS THE DECISION

I guess I should have seen it coming. I wrote a book about decisions so it’s only natural that people would ask me to guest blog about…you guessed it…decisions!

In my new novel, MY LIFE UNDECIDED, 15 year-old Brooklyn Pierce is notorious for making horrible decisions. So she starts an anonymous blog and posts all of her decisions on there with a poll, asking her readers to vote on what she should do. But she soon discovers that some things in life simply aren’t a choice…like who you fall in love with.

When Books at Midnight asked me to write a blog post about an important decision from my own teenage years, I immediately knew which one I wanted to divulge.

Let us go back X years ago (where X is an indeterminate number equal to the sum of the years between today’s date and the date I started high school)

High school was hard. I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t really fit in. At least not easily. And all the things I tried to do in order to fit in, I didn’t do very well. And that’s probably due to the fact that the primary reason I chose to try those activities was not because I enjoyed them or because I was good at them, but because I believed they would make me more popular. And oh how I longed to be popular. Or at the very least known. By more than a few peers and teachers at least.

I think it’s pretty safe to say, I was fairly invisible in high school.

At the beginning of freshman year I tried out for the gymnastics team. Why? Because I saw them at the pep rally flipping their way across the gym floor and I envied the way everyone cheered for them. And how adorable they looked in their little leotards and warm-up pants. And I thought, if I joined the gymnastics team, maybe then I would be popular. Maybe then people would know my name.

Only one flaw in that plan…although I’d taken gymnastics for several years, I really really stunk at it. But I went to try-outs anyway. I was told by the coach (who was very nice, by the way) that you had to be able to do at least 1 back handspring to get on the team. Could I do a back handspring? No. But I tried anyway and I fell on my face. Literally. And my hopes of becoming one of those cute leotard-sporting back flippers that everyone cheered for went right out the window.

i wanna look like that too... // the US gymnastics team!

So after that, I decided to try out for the school musical. Surely being on a stage would get people to notice me. How could they not? I’d be standing directly under a spotlight. But that didn’t go so well either. The next morning when that elusive piece of paper was taped to the outside of the theatre door, I searched for my name like everywhere else. And it appeared. But not exactly where I thought it would. It was listed under “crew.”

The theatre director apparently thought I’d be better back stage than center stage. Which was pretty much the story of my life thus far.

So I turned down my assigned “role” and decided to try my luck elsewhere.

It wasn’t until the second semester of freshman year that my best friend asked if I would join the speech team with her. Notice she said, “join” and not “try-out.” Because at my school, you didn’t have to try out for the speech team. Whoever wanted to be on it, was on it!

This did have a certain appeal since clearly the whole “try out” process wasn’t going too well for me. But I didn’t like the fact that no one had ever really heard of the speech team. Most people at our school didn’t even know we had one. And if they did, it certainly wasn’t considered as cool and elite as the gymnastics team, or the cheerleading squad.

The speech team was, in a word, obscure. Like me. And that was the very thing I was trying to escape from. Obscurity.

Joining the speech team certainly wasn’t going to make me popular. I was sure of that. But I decided to give it a try anyway. Mostly because my friend asked me to and I didn’t want to disappoint her.

Well, it turned out the speech team was perfect for me. It’s where I finally found my place in high school. Where I met my real friends. Where I felt accepted.

I was good at it, too. Junior year, I even placed second at the state competition. Of course, I didn’t exactly receive the same recognition as if I’d placed second at the state gymnastics competition but by that time I no longer cared. I’d received recognition where it mattered…amongst the people that mattered to me. I had found my “niche.” And to survive high school, everyone needs a “niche” in high school.

Some niches are bigger than others. Some make bigger impressions than others. Some are recognized by more people. But the very definition of a “niche” is not where you think you want to fit in, but where you do fit in. And mine just happened to be here.

My decision to end my quest for high school fame (which probably would have continued down the same dead end road it started on) and follow a path that better suited me, has had long term repercussions in my life. The speech team instilled confidence in me that still remains today. Plus it certainly comes in handy now that I’m an author and have to speak in front of people on a regular basis. And it even inspired a certain love storyline that can be found in my latest book, MY LIFE UNDECIDED.

unknown tumblr source ):

And although, I’m sure being able to do a back handspring would have made a pretty cool story to tell at parties X years later, I’ll take the obscure second place trophy that still sits on a shelf in my parent’s house any day.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jessica Brody is the bestselling author of THE KARMA CLUB and the recently released, MY LIFE UNDECIDED, about a decisionally-challenged teen girl who places her fate in the hands of her blog readers. Jessica’s books have been published in over ten languages and a few have recently been optioned for film. Visit her online at www.jessicabrody.com, follow her on Twitter @jessicabrody, and check out her new book website, www.MyLifeUndecided.com.

Classics You Can't Believe Are Classics

Short post today since I'm a-summer-homeworking. I'm currently reading and taking notes on THE LONG FUSE: AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ORIGINS OF WORLD WAR I. If the title didn't put you the sleep already, the writing will. The content's interesting, but I can never understand the convoluted structuring and wording of these in-depth historical explorations. I didn't need to know Cecil Rhodes was "half-educated, half-genius, half-maniac, and all English" to know he was the British god of imperialism. Just saying.

But onto the topic at hand. Summer homework also mean I've recently waded through some classics, namely DEATH IN VENICE and MADAME BOVARY.

One sentence summary time, just in case:

DEATH IN VENICE by Thomas Mann -- An aging, famous, yet unattractive author goes to Venice to find inspiration and instead discovers his pedophilia and stalker tendencies with a beautiful, god-like, yet sickly young Polish boy. (The translation I read.)

MADAME BOVARY by Gustave Flaubert -- Throughout her life of infidelity and frivolousness, Emma Bovary continually strives for and fails to realize her romantic ideals, which ultimately leads to her corruption and her appalling corruption of others. (The translation I read.)

I can appreciate MADAME BOVARY for Flaubert's clever references, as in both allusions and repeated symbols and events within the story, and unique characterization, even though I wasn't at all impressed until Madame Bovary starts her little trysts. But DEATH IN VENICE... I'm still left with the feeling of WHY, OH WHY IS THIS BOOK A CLASSIC. I'm not adverse to pedophilia in literature, but the endless Greek allusions and descriptions almost bored me to tears. DEATH IN VENICE's underlying themes might be profound but the layers and layers of obsession and depression just weren't for me.

(If you're interested in all things pedophilia, I've heard that the plot is comparable to LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov, though I can't personally attest to that since I haven't read LOLITA.)

my last impression of DIV: old man suntanning // source

Have you ever questioned why a "classic" is a classic? If so, which one(s)?

IMO, Baring The Mysterious Blather of Our Age

I think I may officially dub my weekends random brain-spew days with remotely, remotely book or writing themes. Or review attempt days. Ack, I'm sorry I've been seriously lacking in reviews lately. ): I'll look at some past books I've read and want to share my thoughts on. The ones I never reviewed because they're just weren't "in" at the time, you know?

I've been drifting away from In My Mailbox because, honestly, I haven't been requesting many books lately. I also haven't had the time to sit down and think about what I want to order with all this college ickyness swiftly approaching. It's like my brain is hard-wired to wake-up, work, blog, eat, read, STRESS, and sleep. Rinse and repeat. Repeatrepeatrepeat. By the end of all of this, I swear my brain will be thoroughly fried and my reviews will sound like a malfunctioning robot. Really.

SO, I know you guys didn't tune in to hear me complain about life but rather complain about "the mysterious blather of our age." IMO, ofc. Or maybe you were just checking in for contests, which I totally understand (HAUNTING VIOLET winner announced at the end of this post!). But I just thought I'd say this because I really, really don't want to get naked with any more people.

Did you hear that? I WON'T GET NAKED NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU TELL ME TO.

Yeah, it's the number one thing that irks me, people saying, "Please bare with me!" I'm fine with my clothes on, thanks. But I've encountered this error so often that I started to doubt myself and my "please bear with me" ways. Thus, to confirm my sanity, I referenced my trust old internet.

Bear vs. Bare 101 (courtesy of oxforddictionaries.com):
BEAR: verb [with object] 
- endure (an ordeal or difficulty): she bore the pain stoically
·  [with modal and negative] manage to tolerate (a situation or experience): she could hardly bear his sarcasm
   [with infinitive]: I cannot bear to see you hurt

BARE: verb [with object]  
- uncover (a part of the body or other thing ) and expose it to view: he bared his chest to show his scar
think: we need cute BEARs to BEAR with sadness // source

The next time I use "bare" incorrectly, like in this post title, you have the permission to gouge my eyes out. Next time I see YOU using "bare" incorrectly, I will call you a pedophile. (Haha, no. But I will give you the virtual Asian glare of disappointment.) But who knows? Maybe 10 years from now we'll all be saying "PLEASE BARE WITH ME, BBY," in which case I will gladly go back and appropriately change this post.

Moving on. Have you heard of this phenomenon called "swag?" Just in case, here's the:

Swag Usage 101 (courtesy of my teenage experience):
1) Blurt out "swag" during those awkward silences when all conversation lulls. "Swag" should be expelled forcefully with heavy emphasis and an optional accompanying hand motion (just fill it with swagger, it's hard to put into words). A pose like below is acceptable.
2) Start a "swag" chant with fist pumps.
3) As the ultimate defining adjective. The swag classroom.
4) As a noun. It should be drawn out like "he's got swaaaaagggg." 
YEAH, ABDC got SWAG. // source

... I don't get 1) or 2) either. But it works, for some inexplicable reason. Try it. I dare you.

Finally, just general chat acronyms. I remember when I was first introduced to acronyms. Back in fourth grade playing Runescape (a classic MMORPG for those in the know) when I first heard "LMAO." My reaction: ... Is that supposed to be some twist of "lame?" LMAOOOO. Is that a panda sound? The world has just grown x3405976 more mysterious. D:

And I can guarantee I sounded extremely stupid going "afk" like it was a word. Or "brb."

"Lol" is a huge plus, but some of these acronyms I can't help but giggle-snort a little over (courtesy of webopedia.com):

HFAC -- Holy flipping animal crackers
MTFBWU -- May the force be with you
SHID -- Slapping head in disgust
TYAFY -- Thank you and *freak* you
^URS -- Up yours

I WILL USE THAT HOLY FLIPPING ANIMAL CRACKERS IN A FUTURE REVIEW. It's awesome. Sillyness aside, to survive in the chat world, I'd say a necessary addition to the laugh and talk-later acronyms for online chatters is asl or a/s/l. Age, sex, location. Which is one I actually didn't know, so I thought I'd tack it on just in case. Even though I'm sure there are many of you more txt- (I don't text *gasp*) and chat-savvy than me.

You've just heard my random view from Saturday. This is Jenn signing off, and hopefully you'll leave this post with some new tidbit of knowledge. Or, at least, amusement. 

P.S. HAUNTING VIOLET winner: Alyssa! Congrats, I've already squeezed HAUNTING VIOLET into its lovely orange envelope home. <3

24 Hour Giveaway: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

I was thinking about it. It's Friday. It's my last day of my internship. And I'll be going to the post office this weekend. So why not end it with a contest for a book that, honestly, wasn't that amazing for me but might be for someone else?

I don't want to ramble on forever, so the form is below. Fill it out and press the "submit" button if you'd like to win an ARC of HAUNTING VIOLET by Alyxandra Harvey. US only please, and, again, it ends 24 hours from now. As in whatever time this post goes up on the 13th.

If you'd like, here's my review of it. Happy submitting!


Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Alyxandra Harvey's website here // $11.55 from {amazon}
Publisher: Walker Children (June 21, 2011)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Source: Publisher (ARC)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Summary:  

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
My Thoughts:  

I went into HAUNTING VIOLET conscious of Alyxandra Harvey’s ability to write exciting, fast-paced paranormal romance in THE DRAKE CHRONICLES. So despite HAUNTING VIOLET being marketed as a spooky, spirit-filled murder mystery, a huge deviation from her usual plotline, I still expected it to exhibit the writing capabilities I associate with the name Alyxandra Harvey.  

Verdict: Different, but lacking.

In YA, “murder mystery” tends to imply suspense, dark secrets, and anticipation. Out of the three, HAUNTING VIOLET has only the dark secrets well covered. If I felt any suspense, it was extremely fleeting. If there was any anticipation, it disappeared when what happened just… happened. Some things were life-threatening enough or ghostly enough, but I never felt a true sense of danger or urgency, which I largely attribute to poor character development. Primarily that of our heroine, Violet, who’s the dreaded “okay:” a little bit of everything (bravery, endurance, love, brains), but not much of anything.  Conversely, Violet’s mother is at the extremes of evil, but a sad history or occasional streak of humanity would have made her character that much scarier in its understandability. Looking back, I see so much unrealized potential that could have been realized with more yin & yang in the characters’ personalities and/or histories.

As for the mystery itself, rather than a steady incline of clues, it was a mixture of one pivotal suspect and a number of random smaller ones were either: a) superfluous, or b) obvious. The pivotal suspect? WHO is this creepy man and WHY does he keep appearing everywhere. OH, YOU, CREEPER. Problem was, creeper factor? Yes. Danger factor? No. So that was interesting for 50 pages or so, but it could’ve easily been solved in those 50 instead of being dragged out for another 200. That’s not to say the smaller clues and ghostly signs weren’t interesting – you don’t see chandeliers falling every day – but they simply don’t seem at all necessary when the ending twist is revealed. Like the icing on a cake that first needs more sugar.

That being said, in my eyes, the ending redeemed HAUNTING VIOLET. My thoughts while reading can be essentially summed up as (page approximates from ARC):

50 pages in: “Beautiful setting. Oh, a clue! I wonder where this will go…”
 
60 pages in: “Oh, that’s cool. A ghost. Hm.”

170 pages in: “COME ON, VIOLET, GO FOR IT. Can’t you see? Auisdha3e#)*#3rfysdAW(_@?!” 

310 pages in: “WOAH. Okay, is this it? Yay, they get a happy ending.” 

BOOK SHUT. *feels satisfied but kind of apathetic*

In spite of my seemingly endless complaints, HAUNTING VIOLET was actually a mildly enjoyable read. It just failed to meet my standards for solid mysteries. I do give kudos to Alyxandra Harvey for fleshing out a plausible 18th century society, complete with stunning balls and proper etiquette – and I’ll be anywhere that promises sparkly gowns, moonlit rendezvous’, and honey-coated deceit. HAUNTING VIOLET really had an intriguing plot during a lovely time period, and with proper execution, its plot could definitely have taken the book from ordinary to nail-biting, breath-stopping extraordinary. Perhaps next time – and, yes, I'll still be keeping an eye out for a next time.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Bottom Line: HAUNTING VIOLET was there, and I read it. That pretty much sums up my feelings for it. However, looking at other reviews, it seems HAUNTING VIOLET is one of those books that's either meh or OMGAMAZING, with most people falling in the latter. So if you're an Alyxandra Harvey or ghostly mysteries fan, I recommend giving it a try. Not the right haunt for me, but maybe it will be for you.

Cover: It's beautiful. I love the soft, watercolor feel it has to it.

The Flip-side:
Dreaming in Books
Jess Hearts Books
Rebecca's Book Blog
Confessions of a Bookaholic

More Winners & IntenseDebate Opinions

...are you tired of them yet? :>

First, some TTFOS winners didn't respond, so we all know what that means: redrawing! New TTFOS winners are:

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab & swag – 

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby –
Rebel; rebxxx@gmail.com (third winner that has won twice. o_o)

Dead Rules by Randy Russell –
  Cassandra Hernandez; herxxx@yahoo.com

And more winners:

Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule –
SpadesHighReads; TVaxxx@gmail.com

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody – 
Victoria Zumbrum; torxxx@aol.com 

All winners can either email me with your full name and address or wait for my emails, which will be sent out tonight. Again, 48-hour limit to reply and redeem your prize. Congrats, and thanks to all who entered!

Moving on to IntenseDebate. I've had IntenseDebate for a few months and while I like the reply feature, I hate all the complications that have been popping up (i.e. now it's erased all my older blogger comments...; it switches off-and-on). And it sucks using it for "comment-to-enter-this-giveaway" method. BUT it's like a Catch-21 in that if I uninstall it, all ID comments disappear. At this point, I'm just frustrated and resigned.

What are your thoughts? Have any of you been/are in this position? Does IntenseDebate encourage you to comment or is it more of a hassle?

ID is turning me into something like this... // source

Blog Tour: Blood Ties -- Rayne's This or That

(Sorry for the overload on author features. More reviews coming soon!)

I reviewed BLOOD TIES last week on behalf of The {Teen} Book Scene blog tour, but I'm back again with a character This or That from our favorite girl on the dark side -- Rayne McDonald!

1) I know you're a fan of Tim Burton. I'll be excluding your favorite, Edward Scissorhands, for: Corpse Bride or Alice in Wonderland

I'm going to go with Corpse Bride. It's just so dark and romantic and I adore classic stop-motion animation. That said, I do adore all the outfits Alice wears in Alice in Wonderland. I so want that red, black and white dress she wears when she goes to the Red Queen's palace for my own closet.

LOVE. WATCHIT.

2) The classics: All American Rejects or Fall Out Boys
Can I put a vote in for My Chemical Romance instead? -- me: TOTALLY. <3

3) The scarier animal: Bunny or Puppy
I'm with Anya from Buffy--bunnies are way freaky. Those twitchy noses, those beady red eyes...

oh, Draco...
4) Music-listening preference: Headphones or Earbuds
Headphones. I like to totally immerse myself in the music.

5) Kids TV character: Barney or Blues Clues
Blues Clues. I can't stand that happy go lucky purple dinosaur. He gives me the creeps.

6) Paranormal: Faeries or Vampires
Even though my family is fae, I still love the vampires! I guess fairies are just too frilly for me. And I absolutely hate the color pink.

7) HP love: Harry Potter or Draco Malfoy
Draco! I'm all about the bad boys!

8) Weather: Snow or Rain
Rain - my namesake! Especially if it comes with crashing thunder and lightning streaking through the sky. It's beautiful and so romantic.

9) Clothes: Dress or Skirt
I love dresses. Especially Japanese inspired Gothic Lolita ones. Skirts are okay, too...especially leather ones. But you won't catch me dead in pants.

10) Architecture: Gothic or Victorian
Gothic. Dark and rich in detail. Someday when I have my own house, I want to decorate it like a gothic crypt. Maybe even get one of those amazing coffin couches. (http://coffincouches.com/) How cool would that be?


11) Boys: Dark-and-handsome or Blond-and-fun
Normally I'd go for dark and handsome, but Jareth, my boyfriend and blood mate, is a blond. Of course he used to be blond and dark, but ever since he gained the ability to hang out in the sunshine, he's become more of a beach bum. Not really my thing, but, of course, I love him anyway and I'm happy he found something he likes to do. (However you won't catch me surfing anytime soon!)

12) Ideal date: Classy dinner or Out on the beach
The beach at night is beautiful. I'm not so much on the sunshine during the day. A goth's gotta keep her pale skin, after all. As for dinner, while I'd love to eat one, since I've become a vampire food's totally off the menu. So I guess a blood picnic at the beach would be the way to go.

Check it out on goodreads!

Am I the Only Blogger/Reader Who...

source
  • Just reads her review books whenever she wants, wherever she wants (as long as the review is on time)
  • Feels stifled when scheduling posts
  • Now writes reviews in a stream of consciousness, without multiple edits
  • Needs occasional blog hiatuses 
  • May have her fidelity questioned by her 492 literary crushes
  • Picks up whatever is lying around when reading and uses it as a bookmark
  • Often cries in empathy over literary heartbreak
  • Thinks she's pretty prepared at this point for a vampire takeover or the fall of society
  • Feels like a disappointment if she can't keep up with upcoming releases
  • Sometimes pretends she remembers a little more about a book than she actually does
  • Still isn't completely sure where the reviewer line lies between brutal honesty and brutal attack
  • Is, at times, too emotionally-driven and impulsive -- and regrets some of her previous posts
  • Gets intimidated meeting authors and other bloggers face-to-face
  • Would be happy if her life mirrored THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, INKSPELL, or HARRY POTTER
  • Needs an about page -- WHEN DID THIS ABOUT PAGE TREND START *rageface* (forever ago, sigh)
  • Wishes some of her books could have lovely book cover babies together
  • Can't help but want to review like some other bloggers she admires -- and sometimes tries and fails
  • Frequently has a hard time seeing past eye-searing blog designs, but it's possible
  • Still pictures a computer behind every blog (though I SHOULDN'T, AGH)
  • That doesn't really have a social life, but is okay with her life the way it is
  • Is shy as a caterpillar in real life -- and is scared of caterpillars in real life
  • Is putting an end to her struggles over these two years and finally resolves to BE HERSELF 24/7 (as lame as that is)
  • ...sucks at resolutions

It's a mix of blogger and reader, serious and non-serious things up there, but some of the blogger bullets are legitimately areas that I feel... alone on? Like a disappointment as a blogger.

Do you share any of the same bullets (serious or no)? Are there any things you do/habits you have/etc. that you feel alone on?