ALA: Me, My Friend, & A Trusty Bag

So on Sunday I attended the ALA annual conference in D.C. and now I'm reporting back with some pictures. I was supposed to bump into some bloggers like Tara (The Bodacious Pen) and Angela (Bookish Blather), but it was kind of overwhelming and - oops - it slipped my mind to be on the lookout! I did meet some amazingly nice authors though... And these pictures were all taken with my cell phone, so excuse some bad quality.

6:45 AM: Since I can't get my driver's permit until July 3rd, my mom picked my friend Katie up and drove us to the metro.

Picture of Katie I took at the metro station after the long, toilsome day was over.

7:50 AM: We arrived at the metro station in DC and had an amazingly nice duo of librarians (one was from Cali, wow!) walk us to the convention center. Because, of course, I HAD to leave my Google-mapped directions to the convention center at home. Once we arrived, I went to go pick up my badge while Katie registered. Running-around-the-building ensued then as we tried to secure small pamphlet #2 with an exhibit map. I considered getting Starbucks but there were too many early morning caffiene-addicts in line, so we went down, sat near the exhibit entrance, and started highlighting the booths we (or more like I) wanted to visit and signings we wanted to attend.

9:00 AM: EXHIBITS OPENED. Neither Katie nor I had been to any sort of convention before and it was WAY bigger than I expected. We kind of walked around looking like awed ducks. The Scholastic, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and other YA book booths were all in the mid-2000's aisles, so we started heading to that area but were stopped by the Candlewick Press booth. They had Stork, which was on the wishlist I made, and a couple other interesting ones. I almost didn't get Stork because I was waiting for the wolves fellow convention-attendees near the ARC table to move away - until I realized they weren't going to move as long as ARCs still remained. So then my planned method of "asking before taking any ARCs" kind of flew out the window and I dove in there; Katie was a much more aggresive grabber than me. Pretty much all of the booths had clearly labeled their display copies with "display" and the ARCs with "free, please take!" so it made it much easier.

I'll skip the quick ARC-grabbing we did on the way, but just after we grabbed copies of Clockwork Angel (I was surprised at how calm it was), we saw Ellen Hopkins! Aka amazing author of Crank and Fallout. She wasn't scheduled for anything on Sunday, so we kind of jumped her and asked to take pictures. She took us maniacs in stride though, and she even asked if the booth staff had any copies she could sign for us! Unfortunately no, but Ellen was so incredibly nice and a great start to the day. (I saw her again in the bathroom later but gave a "I might know you and you may see me but I'm don't want this to be embarrassing" smile.)

That's basically what I looked like.

And this is the part where the trusty bag comes in. I WOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED WITHOUT THIS BAG. Katie and I luckily stopped by just as Harlequin was handing out these cute and BIG bags below:

Trusty bag on right, Vladmir bag on right (from purchasing books at Penguin).

Throughout the day, people kept asking me where I got it and for the directions to the booth. If you're reading this, publishing companies, please remember to splurge on bags at conventions. People want BIG bags for lots of books. No one asked my about my small Vladmir Todd bag, which is cute but small. Good bags = the best publicity.

10:30 AM: Time for Andrea Cremer and Ally Condie's joint signing! Again, we were surprised by the number of people in line. But their books are definitely worth all the attention they garnered. Again, amazingly nice authors and Andrea remembered me from our emails (for hush-hush purposes)! I think I was awkward and smiling way too much but they kinda went along with it.

You can see the too-excited-smile trend for the rest of the day...

We then lined up for the John Green and David Levithan line, which was already spanning across 5 aisles. It went slowly at first, but the Penguin reps then cut out the part where John/David (I feel like I have to say their first names with their last times) would pose with us. So 50 minutes later, I walked away with two more awesome signatures and a four-books-heavier bag.

After, Katie and I listened to Laurie Halse Anderson's reading of Forge for a while then walked around looking at booths. The novelty of free-and-AMAZING galleys was dying at that point along with our arms. We stopped by HarperCollins and saw Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution - but couldn't take them. *sniffle*

1:00 PM: Back to the Penguin booth for Elizabeth Scott's signing of Grace. LOL, she's funny and writes awesome books. She immediately commented on my shoulder-killing messenger bag and proceeded to take this picture:

At this point, Katie and I had already grabbed about thirty books - each. We slowly trudged upstairs, stuffed all the books we could into one Harlequin bag, and checked it into the coat & baggage check. SO MUCH BETTER. We then headed off to lunch where we were ripped off on a tiny pizza for $9. I passed on the $4 cup of soda.

2:30 PM: Reinvigorated and back to the exhibits! Katie and I did a couple more signings, picked up a couple more books on my wishlist, then we decided to head back around 3:30. Just as we were about to leave we spotted The Cat in the Hat, so of course we had to take a picture (sorry, it's blurry):

The walk back to the metro was TORTURE, but we made it. All I can say is: I can't wait to drive. 5:30 PM and I'm back at home and never more grateful for a comfy bed.

I'll go into more detail in my In My Mailbox post this week, but here's a quick picture of what I got:

It doesn't look like much from this angle, but I counted for a total of... 40 books! Recall: grabbing-mania at the beginning. Despite all my complaints and sore shoulders, ALA was incredible and I'll definitely have to make it to BEA one day! :D

Winner: $60 CSN Store Gift Card

Thank you to everyone who entered and to Alexandra and CSN stores for sponsoring such an awesome giveaway! I asked "what would you buy if you won?" and a majority put down bookcases - no surprise - though there were also some lamps, shoes, and Le Creuset items thrown here-and-there. Without further ado, the winner of the $60 gift card is:

Congrats, Alyssa! I'll be emailing you soon. And for those of you who didn't win, feel free to enter my 700 followers contest for a signed copy of Paper Towns by John Green and a mystery ARC. It's international, so go, go, go! :)

Review: The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Emily Franklin's website here, Brendan Halpin's website here // $11.55 from {amazon}
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (June 15, 2010)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Source: ALA
Summary: from {goodreads}
Liana is an aspiring planetary scientist... and also a kissing addict. This summer, though, she plans to spend every kissworthy hour in the lab, studying stars. Hank has never been kissed. He’s smart and funny and very socially awkward, because he’s got Asperger’s syndrome. Hank’s plan for the summer is to work at a music store and save enough to buy the Fender Jazzmaster he craves. What neither Liana nor Hank plans for is their fateful meeting... in the women’s bathroom at the hospital. But their star-crossed encounter could be the very best kind. Two veteran YA authors tell, in alternating chapters, the story of two kids who discover that the best parts of people can’t be summed up easily.

Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: The Half-Life of Planets is a perfect summer read with a bit of depth and a lot of fun, adorable fluff. The unique perspectives and dual narration are strongly reminiscent of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, though the sunny beach setting alleviates the tension and sense of urgency seen in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; instead, soothing coffee shops and hand-holding teenage couples replace the dark streets and beach-side walking takes the place of frantic cabs. And ultimately, regardless of much you do or do not enjoy The Half-Life of Planets, it's tale of innocent and awkward first love is certain to leave you with a wistful smile on your face.

There's Hank, the boy with Asperger's syndrome. There's Liana, the girl with a kissing fetish. Then there's them together. Hank and Liana came off as authentic teenagers with their understandable adolescent insecurities and family troubles - Hank with his dead father and normal brother and Liana with her distanced mother and preoccupied father. With their shaky past, Hank and Liana are both looking for normalcy and support and that's what they're tentatively trying to find in each other. However, it's not a smooth road and Hank and Liana's engaging voices and thoughts immediately drew me into their dilemmas. The writing is spot-on with my fellow teenagers' speech and mentality and proved to be my favorite aspect of The Half-Life of Planets; it kept me hooked on the book when the plot lulled. The dual narration also flows smoothly and efficiently. We get a glimpse of why Liana is skeptical of love and why Hank is unsure of it, and I loved seeing both of their perspectives on the same event with the slight narration overlaps at each transition.

Despite The Half-Life of Planets's light premise, it works in some depth with Hank's Asperger's syndrome and the resulting lessons. During Hank's narration, there's an evident lack of body language analysis and he speaks, outwardly and inwardly, in a blunt, archaic, over-formal, and hard-to-describe way. It's surprisingly endearing and as the book progressed, his tendencies become less-and-less noticeable; it just becomes Hank. I definitely felt more strongly for Hank than Liana, mostly because Hank is awkward but adorably quirky while Liana is kind of like every other girl I know - minus a kissing obsession. But maybe that's the appeal. However, while Hank and Liana were very strong characters, I would have liked to see more of their families. Their family members are there enough to cause drama and impart the intended message, but they felt a little two-dimensional; as in, Liana's dad is always worried about his health condition. And he flies around the country to give lectures. Period, done.

Still, The Half-Life of Planets had me completely engrossed for the majority of the book. There's nothing especially stand-out about it and the plot moves incredibly slow, but I still couldn't put it down. I suspect the main cause was the authentic YA voice, though the fact that it's just the right time for an idyllic, carefree summer romance can't hurt. The end wraps up very fast compared to the rest of the story but it's sweet, it's promising, and it's satisfying. Really, this is the perfect type of book for a "holding hands and walking along the beach and sunset" cover - with a guitar, of course (Hank's focus on music). Overall, The Half-Life of Planets is such a feel-good, enjoyable read with sprinkling of solid lessons about self-acceptance and self-identity.

Romance: Holding hands, light kissing. There's a bit of kissing, but that's about it. I'd say it's safe for the book recommend age range of 12 and up, though be mature to handle some mentions of sex, "slut," and masturbation. Mentions, not actual blow-by-blow descriptions of the event.
Cover: 2.0 -- The disc idea is cute and matches the large role music plays in the story, and I can envision Hank like that. But that is not what I imagine Liana to be AT ALL. Liana is depicted with a medium-big chest (model: small to none), "womanly hips" (model: super skinny), and dark brown hair with short choppy pieces at the front (model: light brown/dirty blond hair with bangs - I don't think the bangs are exactly what they were going for...).** The 33 1/3 I just find mysterious.
Writing: 4.5
Characters: 4.0
Plot: 3.5

Bottom Line: The Half-Life of Planets is definitely something I'd recommend if you're looking for a light, smile-inducing summer read that isn't complete fluff. Plot-wise, it is slow - so if you get frustrated with slow plots, you may want to skip this one - but the solid teenage writing kept me interested and if you're into music, Hank spews endless interesting facts about KISS, the Kinks, etc. I'm not a big chick-lit fan, and I loved The Half-Life of Planets much more than I expected to. Liked it to the extent that I almost want to say "why haven't I been hearing more reviews of this one?!"


700 Followers Contest!

UPDATE: End date is changed to Friday, July 16th at 11:59PM EST.

Whew, so my day at ALA is finished. It was amazing though a bit overwhelming; I can't believe BEA is even BIGGER. I was so busy trying to get the hang of things at the beginning that it slipped my mind to look for fellow bloggers! So I might do a post about my ALA adventure but it'll only be the journey of me, authors, and a friend. As for the future, I'm looking at the schedules for ALA and BEA now, and I'm pretty certain my next book convention will be BEA 2012, when I'll be an almost-graduated senior that can drive to NY and won't have to attend school after late May. I want to go to BEA 2011 but, alas, AP testing and school...

As promised, the 700 followers contest! I'm currently very indecisive, so I'll be giving away a signed copy of Paper Towns by John Green (for you John Green fans out there) and a mystery August/September ARC. I didn't grab extras and I'm not sure what to read first, so I'll email the winner a few choices later (or if I decide on something). Some books that I was considering giving away but couldn't decide between are: Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore, Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, The Candidates: Delcroix Academy by Inara Scott, etc. Just to give you an idea of what to expect.

In addition to the "spread the word" entry, I'm giving out an extra entry for following because it IS a followers contest after all. And I want to again say THANK YOU! :)

· To enter, please fill out the form below
· Open Internationally
· Ends on Monday, July 12, 2010 at 11:59 EST
· For more info, please view my Contest Policy

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

As you read this... I am at ALA! I'm going to talk to my future self and hope it's living up to expectations. ;)

Anyways, I received two books this week:

For review:
The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla - Another mishap with JKSCommunications, aww. But I do want to read this book!

For hush-hush purposes:
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

If you're wondering what exactly these "hush-hush purposes" are, I can't tell, sorry. *coughBLOGOVERSARYcough* Nope, lips are sealed. But watch for future news on this!

So yep, that's all I got this week. What did YOU get? :)

The Saturday Network (22)

WHAT IS THE SATURDAY NETWORK? The Saturday Network is meant to be a quick, easy way for you to network your blog and, more specifically, get comments! All you have to do is comment on the previous blog and, in return, you're guaranteed a comment by the next participant. We all love comments, right? :)

I also randomly feature a Saturday Networker every week, and it could be you! If you'll be featured, I'll email you and let you know.


Welcome to the new - and possibly improved? - The Saturday Network. I'm trying to incorporate Mr. Linky to see if it makes the process any easier and more appealing, but please let me know what you think in the comments! And thank you to everyone who has filled out a survey(s).

This week's featured blogger is Jessica (SN#11) from A Fanatic's Book Blog. She's a fellow YA book blogger, and you may recall her previous guest post about "The Power of the Review." She recently started a feature called Me Mondays where you submit questions and she answers. As incentive, she's giving away a copy of Wherever Nina Lies to a U.S. question-submitter!

To Participate:
1. Submit your blog to Mr. Linky in this format:

Blog Name - Child/MG/YA/Adult/ALL; R
(genre(s) you review; R = if you feel your blog is for mature audiences only, 18+)
Blog link

 ie. Books At Midnight - MG/YA

2. Head to the blog listed before yours and comment on his/her most recent post (or the previous one if it's rated R and you're under 18). Thoughtful comments are appreciated, but if you really can't think of anything to say, feel free to just drop a line and say "hi!"
3. That's it! I encourage you to visit more blogs and I hope you find a blog to enjoy! :)

And if you'd like to grab and post the button anywhere, you can find the code on the right side-bar, thanks!


Interview: Anastasia Hopcus

Today I have Anastasia Hopcus, the debut author of Shadow Hills, to answer some of my questions after reading her book! And if you'd like to know what exactly I thought about her book, you can see my recent review here. :)

Very Clickable Links: {website}{blog}, {goodreads}, {amazon}

1. Shadow Hill is all about mystery and intrigue. How would you summarize your book using the phrases "sixty-four-thousand-dollar question" and "tough nut to crack" (courtesy of searching "mystery" on
Phe Archer goes to Shadow Hill, Massacuhetts to attend Devenish Prep because she has been having dreams about it. But when she arrives there and meets the cute and mysterious Zach Redford, she realizes that the real sixty-four thousand dollar question is why she dreamed about Zach before she ever met him. Phe soon learns that Shadow Hills is full of secrets, but perhaps the mystery that is the toughest nut to crack is the reason behind her own developing powers.

2. At the beginning, Phe is torn up with the sadness and guilt over her sister's death. Are you able to personally relate to Phe's struggles and her ability to push forward?
I haven't ever experienced what happened to Phe, but I used the feelings I thought I would feel in such a situation.

3. Assuming you could, would you choose to trade places from Anastasia Hopcus, the YA writer, to Persephone Archer, girl with a paranormal secret (and a cute boyfriend, of course)?
No, I would not trade with Phe. I already have a cute boyfriend. ;) And if I had to do Devenish Prep level homework, I would probably flunk out.

4. It's embarrasing, but I searched up Shadow Hills on the internet - and didn't find anywhere called that! Is there any special reason you chose Massachusetts for Shadow Hill's setting?
Massachusetts was the perfect fit because it had the kind of geographical area I wanted, including forests and hills, and also because it fit historically. Also, there are a lot of prep schools in that area, and I think people associate that area with schools with high academics, like Harvard and MIT.

5. The name "Persephone" automatically made me think of Greek mythology, and there were many hints of it throughout the book. Why Greek mythology (as opposed to Roman or Egyptian mythology)?
I don't really know much about Egyptian mythology. And I have just always liked the Greek mythology a little better than the Roman.

6. Who would you be if you could be a(n)...
· Greek goddess/god: Hermes because of the cool wings on his shoes.
· Superhero: Hit Girl from "Kick Ass"
· Known musician: Alice Glass from Crystal Castles
· Author other than yourself: Scott Westerfeld

7. Having almost finished the entire writing and publishing process, what's a word of advice you'd give to aspiring authors?
Persevere. Getting published can be a long, hard process, but it's well worth it in the end.

8. Are there any projects you're working on now?
I'm working on several projects right now. I have a lot of interest in continuing the story of Phe and Zach, but I also have some other ideas that I'm developing. They're still in the earlier stages, though.

9. Finally, can you leave us with what you think is the most important, one-sentence lesson Phe learns through the course of Shadow Hils?
Phe discovers her own strength.

Thank you, Anastasia!

I'm not even kidding, GO CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE NOW. It is EPIC, definitely one of the coolest author websites I've seen.

And I hope I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of Hit Girl and Alice Glass... I've included a Crystal Castles video for your viewing pleasure below - just in case. ;)

It's strangely addicting.

Mark the date: Shadow Hills releases July 13, 2010.

Survey & ME!

WARNING: To skip any personal content and potential scarring, move to the last paragraph.

Okay, so I've decided to swallow my low self-esteem and dislike for photo taking (I'll subject myself to photo torture at ALA, don't worry!), to make it easier for some fellow bloggers - and you, maybe? - to recognize me at the upcoming ALA conference. The skinny on me: 1) I'm Chinese, 2) I'm 5'6"-ish, 3) I'm definitely not skinny but I do fit in one airplane seat, and 4) I have straight, dark brown hair that appears lighter due to a few blond strands (last year: bleached some of my hair to highlight it reddish-purple, then didn't die it again) and it falls a little more than half-way down my back. I'm also planning on bringing a pair of rectangular, chunky black-rimmed glasses for things that people dare print so small and far away from me.

I'm not entirely sure why my cellphone thought my room was a strange tint of yellow, but there it is. I HATE HATE HATE taking pictures and am extremely out of practice, so excuse the awkward smiling - that's me trying not to scare anyone away. ;)

On to more important things, I have two surveys up that I would love for you to fill out! The first is a three-question, multiple choice demographics survey, the second is slightly longer and is a content survey. I'd love if you did one, though I would love you infinitely more if you did both! If you fill out both, please comment below for an extra entry into my 700 followers contest (honor system!). It's TBD but it will be international and will be up as soon as ALA is over.

Questions, complaints? Or want to comment about how dorky I'm looking? Do so below.

The Weekly Debate (12): Plagiarism, the Elusive Foe

New format: Questions at the bottom! Don't like? Please tell me; I won't be offended.

THIS WEEK'S DEBATE: Plagiarism - Why You Shouldn't Do It and What To Do Post Facto

You’ve been plagiarized – period, exclamation mark, DONE. So, now what?

I’m going to state the obvious first:

SCENARIO ONE: In a fit of sense-clouding anger, you email the blogger or comment on his/her blog and start cursing at him/her to take down the post. Why you should NOT do this:

• You want to preserve your image as a friendly, innocent blogger
• You want to be the “bigger man” in the situation; calling out on flaming can be just as incriminating as plagiarism, even when you’re being called out by your plagiarizer
• You want to preserve these little things called HONOR and DIGNITY
• You want a response – most humans I know respond better to “dear so-and-so” rather than “you @$$ $h!#*$&%@”
• Basically, IT IS NOT COOL, okay? From the viewpoints of fellow bloggers, readers, and receiver.

SCENARIO TWO: You email the blogger, politely inform him/her of the transgression, and ask for the post(s) to be taken down. Why you SHOULD do this:

• Scientifically-proven to work more often than not
• You appear understanding and respectful – what I, as a reader, expect from a blogger (I feel pretentious speaking on behalf of all readers but I suspect it’s universally true)
• You ARE understanding; the other party may not be aware of the full implications of plagiarism
• In the long run, you’ll feel morally better. :)

I’m sure you smart readers/bloggers are already aware of all these points but it’s VERY important (and builds up to my next question). A blogger’s reputation can be completely ruined because he/she plagiarized and the actual “victim” in this situation can inflict self-damage by flaming. BE COOL, folks.

My dilemma is what to do when one of your blogger “friends” plagiarizes you? I’m honored that anyone would want to plagiarize me – I have no idea what or, more importantly, why you’d want to plagiarize any of my posts – but it’s still annoying to see my hard work being credited to some other blogger. And when it’s one of my supposed “friends,” one I follow and interact with (commenting, one-time email), I’m at a loss of what to do. It was one incident and I didn’t feel like making a big deal out of it, so I let it slide. But I haven’t really been on her blog since. Not out of spite, but it’s like a constant tugging on my mind that makes me question her sincerity and intentions.

What do you think you should do when you've been plagiarized? And, more specifically, when you've been plagiarized by a friend?

Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Anastasia Hopcus's website here // $12.23 from {amazon}
Publisher: EgmontUSA (July 13, 2010)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

Shadow Hills is an intriguing mix of Greek mythology, mystery, romance, and a hint of suspense. From page one, readers will be sucked in to the captivating world

Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts:Shadow Hills is a prime example of YA paranormal romance; it has everything characteristic of the genre: the mystery, the intrigue, the swoon-worthy love interest, the conflicted and forbidden romance, with a unique twist, the Brevis Vitas. While Shadow Hills isn’t exactly a diamond in a densely-populated paranormal mine, the combination of tried-and-true aspects and a dash of Anastasia Hopcus’s originality make for an enjoyable and fast-paced read.

Shadow Hills opens with Persephone “Phe” Archer leaving sunny L.A. for Devenish Prep in damp Shadow Hills, Massachusetts. Phe’s haunted by vivid, strange dreams and her sister’s recent death and eighteen pages in, bumps into her handsome stranger. A little iPod incident with Zach, mysterious hottie, and she’s already suspecting the normalcy of some boarding school classmates. Shadow Hills plunges us head-first into the secrecy surrounding Shadow Hills, and though I felt a little woozy at first from the rapidity of events and pummeling of information – similar to Phe’s starting confusion – I soon found myself maniacally speculating with Phe over the hidden facets of Shadow Hills. Anastasia Hopcus definitely knows how to balance the romance and action, integrating the two elements and ensuring their quick development.

Phe is a bit of an enigma, despite Shadow Hills being narrated in first person from her perspective. On one hand, she’s one of the most mature characters I’ve encountered when it comes to accepting the existence of the supernatural; on the other, she’s surprisingly immature for her fifteen years. I connected to her emotionally to an extent but her impulsive actions and words made me feel older and slightly condescending – when we’re really the same age. For instance, Phe easily becomes irked and her following comebacks often come across as elementary and cringe-worthy. As in the type of comebacks that made me think, “Oh, I’ve heard that somewhere before” but in a better form. Instead, Phe’s instinctive, sarcastic commentary is infinitely superior, in both maturity level and humor value, to her manufactured retorts. Her overreactions, rash decisions, and almost annoyingly frequent remarks on Zach’s sexual appeal notwithstanding, I applaud Phe’s determination and drive in uncovering Shadow Hill’s secrets, which are a refreshing change from the helpless heroine. And, overall, Anastasia Hopcus does a good job of capturing the teenage voice.

For the most part, Shadow Hills is an enjoyable but fairly average paranormal romance. It has an interesting and diverse cast, an exciting dose of action, and a climactic ending. Anastasia Hopcus’s unique and original ideas are the one area where Shadow Hills has the ability to stand out, and the Brevis Vitas and well-developed history certainly do make it a step above the run-of-the-mill paranormal read. By itself, Shadow Hills’s potential is stunted by a slightly baffling main character and the convenience of some events – is Zach a little too perfect? – but Anastasia Hopcus has created a solid foundation that allows for great potential in the following book(s). All I know for sure is that she has me hooked on discovering the deeper mystery Phe is left to solve at the end of Shadow Hills, and I’ll be eagerly anticipating the sequel.

Romance: Kissing, hugging, deep staring into the eyes, and not much else. Romance-wise, Shadow Hills is safe for young teens. However, there is rather liberal alcohol, and more subtly drug, usage which isn't condemned. There are also instances suited for more mature or slightly older teens, such as a (humorous) instance with Pictionary and "self-service"... I leave the judgment on age to you.
Cover: 3.0 -- Simple, mysterious, and aesthetically pleasing, but it tells next to nothing about the book itself. Sorry.
Writing: 4.0
Characters: 3.5
Plot: 4.5

Bottom Line: Anastasia Hopcus's suspenseful debut provides original, fresh fodder for paranormal fans looking for something different than vampires and werewolves with all of the excitement, all of the mystery, and all of the juicy romance. Don't necessarily read Shadow Hills expecting something absolutely ground-breaking but do read it expecting an enjoyable, fast-paced, and thrilling ride.

Source: Thank you to Anastasia Hopcus and EgmontUSA for the review copy!

ALA & BBAW: You, Me, and Them

Edit -- If you're an author, I'd also love to know so I can stop by! 

So, it's decided. I'm going to the ALA Annual Conference on Sunday! I know it's no BEA, but I'm still excited for all the author signings. If you're going too, LET ME KNOW! I would love to see you there, and I won't do anything overly embarrassing. I think.That also means I'll be announcing my 700 followers contest AFTER ALA.

Also, a heads up for Book Blogger Appreciation Week registration., which is open from June 7th to July 7th. I still feel awkward with the “self-registration” concept but there are about three weeks left for registration – I might change my mind. If you’ve registered or are planning to, I’d love to know and wish you good luck! :)

So will I be seeing YOU at ALA? If you’re going, I’d love to talk about it with you, especially since I’m a book conference newbie in general. If you’re going on Sunday, we can tell each other our outfits (I identify outfits over faces) and possibly make plans to meet up and grab ARCs and author signatures together – I’m excited! Perhaps a little too excited, as you might be able to tell with my liberal use of exclamation marks, but I hope I’ll be able to meet some fellow bloggers there. Basically, EMAIL ME!! Or leave me a way to contact you please. :D

And this is sort of what I look like right now...

Review: Sea by Heidi R. Kling

Heidi R. Kling's website here // $12.23 from {amazon}
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (June 10, 2010)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.
And Sea’s real adventure begins.

Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: Have you heard Sea is amazing? Because so have I. And. It. Is. Amazing. Sea isn't one of those "edgy" reality books, nor is it a paranormal read, but its bittersweet love story holds its own brilliant torch. Sea isn't the type of book that's in-your-face with boundless originality and melodramatic tragedies; rather, the greatness lies in the quiet beauty of innocent love and pure hope. When I finished Sea, I didn't have one of those "wow" moments, but the more I reflect upon it, the more I am in awe of Sea's rich setting, vivid characters, and the intricacy hidden behind a simple plot.

I've never been in Indonesia, so I can't vouch for authenticity, but Sea definitely makes me feel like I have been there - and enjoyed it immensely. Heidi R. Kling quickly swishes us away into this exotic country, taking us from the cringe-worthy mandi (bathroom) to the delectable tempe (soybean cake). Sea subtly introduces interesting bits of Indonesian tradition, without ever seeming didactic, and allows us to form our own opinions about Indonesia. But regardless of opinion, I truly felt like I was there as Sienna and Deni visited an Indonesian temple and strolled through its humid streets. 

As for Sienna and Deni themselves, their insecurities yet underlying hope - Sienna's hope that her mother survived the plane crash and Deni's hope that his father is alive after the tsunami - make them believable and easy to relate to. Though it's hard to admit, it is human nature to keep on hoping and hypothesizing when there is a lack of closure, and Heidi R. Kling captures that perfectly in both characters. Yes, they're still fairly naive and idealist, but it's understandable; it cements the fact that Sienna and Deni are teenagers, despite the devastating tragedies they've undergone. The two are trying to discover themselves while just beginning to discover each other and the result is an outburst of emotions: grief, joy, confusion, anxiety, betrayal, and love, all jumbled up into a quickly-progressing yet tentative relationship. Sienna and Deni's relationship is beautiful in its intensity and has all the raw emotions of an Edward-Bella relationship, minus the possible stalker aspect.

Basically, I'm at a loss of words of what else I can say about Sea because the basic premise of it is simple: boy meets girl, they fall in love, they journey off together, and, ultimately, find themselves. So, apa (for those of you that have read Sea, you should know what I mean)? It's all of the little pieces - the exotic setting, the vivid writing, the strength of pure hope and love - that combine to form such a, not exactly "heart-rending" tale, but more of a heart-striking, true tale. Sea isn't technically a "perfect" book, but the way Heidi R. Kling weaves together emotions, the past, and promises for the future is perfect.      

Romance: More emotional than physical. There are a few kisses, but Sea's pretty safe in terms of age appropriateness. Don't mistake lack of physical contact for lack of emotional depth though.
Cover: 4.5 -- The cover is beautiful, don't get me wrong. It combines the different aspects of Sea well, though the two people in the water made me first expect a mermaid story. Not really where it's supposed to go.
Writing: 5.0
Characters: 4.5
Plot: 4.5

Bottom Line: Sea is a quiet beauty: the story gradually and unexpectedly sucks you in, takes you for an emotional ride, then returns you content - only when the ride is over do you look back and marvel at the complexity. Its mundane $17.99 price tag deceptively hides a lush trip to Indonesia, an innocent, intense romance, and an extraordinary, stunning debut.

Source: Bought. It's worth it! :D

In My Mailbox (19) & Trailers

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

Sea by Heidi R. Kling -- I can now confirm that this book is AWESOME. Review coming soon. :)
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride -- Again, finished. Possible review...?

Borrowed from Library:
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

I've been really wanting to read both Sea and The Tension of Opposites, but now that I've bought them, I'm not quite sure what to buy next - so many amazing books coming out in June and not enough money, lol. If you've read something absolutely amazing that is a must read, please suggest it to me!

(And I keep on meaning to do a vlog, but I never seem to get enough books to do so... or, when I do, my webcam breaks on me. Eventually, I promise!)

I also wanted to share some trailers...

Majix by Douglass Rees
The book's premise sounds interesting, and HarlequinTeen makes some of the most gorgeous trailers (The Iron King's trailer was stunning too). I'm not above judging by trailer. ;)

Manifest: A Mystyx Novel by Artist Arthur
POC main character, and mysterious!

And that wraps it up. What did YOU get this week?

The Saturday Network (21)

Summer break isn't quite feeling right yet... I need to go buy more popsicles. The 80 degree weather is certainly living up to expectations though. How's June treating you? :)

This week's featured blogger is Chas (SN#16) from Lovin' & Livin' Life in the 808. She's actually an adult book reviewer, but I love her and her blog! She's super friendly and never lets you forget that she lives in Hawaii with her constant "aloha"'s -- cute. She's currently looking for someone who'd be willing to review Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1) by Kelley Armstrong and then allow her to feature that review on her blog, with due credit of course. Head on over here if you're interested!

For Bloggers:
1. Comment with a link to your blog and a one or two-sentence description.
2. Head on over to the blog of the previous commentor.
3. Click on any post on that blog, preferably a recent one, and comment! (Thoughtful comments are appreciated.)
4. That's it! If you'd like, feel free to comment again and repeat the process, including the link to your  blog. You don't need to give a description again, just please wait until at least one person comments after you to comment again. :)

For Non-bloggers:
1. Don't worry, you can still participate! Just look for any blog that you like and head on over, then check it out.
2. Come back and look for another great blog!

And if you'd like to grab and post the button anywhere, you can find the code on the right side-bar, thanks!


Winner: Everlasting & THANK YOU for 700!

Sorry for my "caps in the post title" trend of late, it's just me being excited. Perhaps TOO excited, but that's how I am (aka weird). I'm also sorry if I scared any of you with my Miley post yesterday (sorry poor commentor that said so)! I can get a bit carried away... sometimes... hehe. I swear I do not stalk unsuspecting children and kill them in their sleep. Really. I'm a bit disturbed that I need to confirm that.

ANYWAYS. On to lighter topics, we have the winner for Everlasting by Angie Frazier, which was an international contest thanks to Angie's awesomeness! So congrats to:

Bookaholic (from Bookaholics Oye!)

Thank you to everyone else that entered and if you didn't win, feel free to check out the CSN Stores giveaway! I only wish I had endless copies of Everlasting because I LOVED reading all of your responses to my question "Why do YOU think sailors are sexy?" - you guys made my day, haha. I cracked up so many times reading them. :D

Bookaholic's reponse was (chosen by and incidentally a long response):
"Sailors are sexy because they sail on sea which is so beautiful by itself! And also sailors are strong with all the work they on board and because the sea is so moody, there is always death staring at the sailors! And they look at it right in the eyes! Sailors are indeed sexy with a capital S."
The most popular reponses were variations of "It's their uniform." and, one of my favorites:

"Popeye didn't eat all that spinach because it was delicious. He did it for the muscles. And, WOW, are those muscles sexy."
LOL. Though some of you expressed preferences for pirates (I can understand that) and a few didn't think sailors are sexy at all! Take a look at that picture of sailors and tell me it's not the least bit sexy. Or just go read Everlasting. ;)

For the thank you portion, a HUGE thank you to everyone who follows me! From my post here, you guys already know why you make my day. I can't fully express how I feel in words, so I hope you know how much your support means to me. It's amazing knowing that people actually want to read what little ME says. And, of course, I love reading what you say back - THANK YOU!

To soothe any fears, there will definitely be another international contest to celebrate the occasion, the prize just isn't quite determined yet. It's still not certain whether I'll be able to go to ALA, so once a decision has been reached (hopefully yes), I'll put up a contest. Keep an eye out in the next one-to-two weeks!   

The Weekly Debate (11): Miley, GET OUT OF MY BOOKS.


This week's debate: What are your opinions on Miley's starring roles in YA book-to-movie adaptations (namely Wake)?

I’m not the kind of person who keeps up with celebrity news, but first it’s Miley and Wings and now it’s Wake, as recently confirmed by Lisa McMann herself.


Miley, are you determined on ruining all my beloved YA books???!!!!!

I’m not going to the extreme and saying Miley should never be cast for a movie, but she doesn’t match my images of Laurel or Janie AT ALL. Setting aside the possibility that Miley can’t act to save her life – I’ve never seen her outside of Hannah Montana, so I can’t say – let’s consider her iconic name and newfound “edginess.” Or, wait, what edginess? If her music video for “I Can’t Be Tamed” was any indication, Miley still has a far way to go until she achieves this elusive, true edginess versus her poorly manufactured imitation of it.

What Miley really has going for her is her NAME and everything attached to it. She has her status as Disney star and pop diva and regardless of whether we hate her or love her, she’s on the rise. Who knows, all this posting against her could be considered as additional popularity, the fact that we feel strongly enough about Miley to post about her. Maybe it’s negative publicity but, hey, facts are facts and “MILEY CYRUS” are the two words that helped The Last Song make $230 million worldwide. And despite the failure of her music video, I couldn’t stop watching it. Watching Miley Cyrus is occasionally like watching a train wreck; it’s horrible but oh-so amusing, and you just can’t stop looking.

Given the recognition that comes with the word “Miley,” it’s obvious that Wake won’t be the last of her ventures. I’m not saying Miley Cyrus should get out of the industry entirely, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stick to something other than YA book-to-movie adaptations. Or, at the very least, find a book where you actually FIT THE DESCRIPTION. I can understand how this move may make Wake more appealing to the general audience, but there are so many other well-known and lesser-known names out there that would fit Janie better. Miley, you’re wonderful in a sick way, but please leave my beautiful YA books alone. Thank you.

As a side note, whether I will actually go to see Wake is yet to be determined... If the other casting is perfect, then maybe.

Agree with me or disagree, Miley's still playing Janie. Let's see where this will go.


WANT MORE FUN QUESTIONS (you know you do!)? Check out Eleni's Monday's Question of the Day over at La Femme Readers! :)

Review: Burned by P.C. and Kristin Cast

P. C. Cast's website here // $8.45 from {amazon}
Series: House of Night, #7
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (April 27, 2010)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampire High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left…

Enter BFF Stevie Rae. She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own. The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences. Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good. The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.

In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it). She’s always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not. Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance.

Three girls… playing with fire… if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.

Rating: View my rating system.

WARNING: Contains spoilers from PREVIOUS books in the series.
My Thoughts: To be honest, I started Burned with very low expectations. Back when Zoey first became a Redbird and her biggest problem was the mystifying mark on her forehead, The House of Night series was a quickly devoured manifestation of unique ideas and unlimited potential. But potential is unrestrained, so my interest quickly disintegrated when it chose to take the path of Zoey’s doomed love triangles; books three through six involved different guys, same teenage angst. I expected Burned to be a continuation of this trend, but surprisingly – and fortunately – found it to be more of a return to the series’ plot-centric beginnings.

Burned opens with few males remaining: Eric is long out of the picture, Heath is freshly murdered, and Stark is left broken over Zoey’s impending death. The conclusion: Zoey may now practice monogamy – minus the jealous fits and tears. But since we all know how boring monogamy is, the focus shifts to Stevie Rae’s struggle between her new, conflicting feelings over Rephaim and her old sort of-boyfriend Dallas. In the previous books, Zoey’s relationship drama often overshadowed the plot and was characterized by meaningless make-out sessions between various males; in contrast, Stevie Rae’s relationship, though similarly sexual, reached semi-closure in the course of one book and took more of a backstage to the action. It's unusual for me to say this, but I felt the toned down romance was a major improvement.

In terms of writing and narration, I found Burned lacking. The multiple POV’s were an interesting aspect, though slightly disorienting, but did not contribute my enjoyment of Burned – at all. The narration was from different perspectives but the characters’ styles of narration were unexcitingly similar and in third person. I can understand the plot necessity, though it doesn’t change my opinion that the writing and the characters could desperately use more personality and less cliché. In fact, the only character that I felt had any degree of substantiality was Aphrodite. She’s the type of character made so readers can love to hate her and hate to love her, and love her I do. Aphrodite was refreshingly harsh in a world where everything seems a bit too perfect: the self-sacrificing Heath, the unerringly devoted Stark, etc. In Burned, Aphrodite was my fist of reason that I strongly wanted to knock against a few characters’ heads and since I couldn't, I'm glad she sometimes did.

At this point, what I see as The House of Night’s largest flaw is its relentless ability to drag things out. First it was Zoey’s love entanglements, now it threatens to be the Light versus Darkness struggle. Burned hardly mentions Neferet and Kalona and instead chooses to reveal more mysteries regarding the world’s possible demise. While the one aspect I really enjoyed was learning the mythology – especially the extremely vital role of the Scottish – it distracted me from the main evil/good conflict at hand; there are numerous sub-plots and simply not enough time. The lack of concentration in one area lead me to finish Burned feeling like I had just read about the solving of one minor conflict, though admittedly with much more knowledge. Ideally, in their future books the Casts will find a balance between fleshing out the plot with their original, intriguing ideas and pacing the main Light versus Darkness struggle appropriately.

Ultimately, despite my complaints, Burned was new -- period. Its focus on background markedly stood out from its recent predecessors, whether in a good or bad way is objective. For someone like me, who only tolerated Zoey’s indecisiveness and flightiness, Burned was a welcome change. However, it lost some of the series' dramatic tension and suspense, by-products of the strong romance, and breezed through some important past conflicts. Burned's role in the overall series seems to an informational one but as an independent book, the action was entertaining enough to keep my interest.

Romance: A little bit of sexual action, but it concentrates on Stevie Rae's emotional conflict. Given what I've read of The House of Night series already, it's fairly standard.
Cover: 3.0 -- It's pretty (and the inside of the cover is a mini-poster!), but it doesn't say much about the story itself.
Writing: 3.0
Characters: 2.0 
Plot: 3.5

Bottom Line: Burned suffers heavily from a lack of focus and authentic, three-dimensional YA characters; yes, we're partially back to the childish cussing again. However, if you're willing to overlook those flaws in favor of steady paranormal romance and an intricate, unique plotline, Burned may be your form of an enjoyable light read.

Thank you to Tara and St. Martin's Press for the review copy!

**Side-note: I would not recommend reading Burned if you haven't at least read up to the fifth book, Hunted. At the very least, I suggest reading plot summaries of the previous few books.

Start Your Day with Serial Tour: 13 to Life

Intro: Welcome to Shannon Delany's Start Your Day with Serial Tour! Shannon's debut novel (and first in her YA paranormal series) 13 to Life started as a winning cell phone novel written in serial segments. During the tour you can read bits of the book in order. Miss a day? Hop to Shannon's blog and check the link to the blog tour calendar in her sidebar.

There will also be a contest that will close at the end of the tour. Winners get a bunch of stuff.

1. If you had to describe 13 to Life using the words "out-of-this-world," "dull," and... "sandwich," what would you say?
Oh boy. :p LOL! Here we go: 13 to Life is an out-of-this-world story about Jessie, who believes her small town is dull and insignificant, until a mysterious boy shows up and Jessie finds herself sandwiched between the interest of the new guy at Junction High and the boy she's crushed on for years and who is only now paying attention to her.

2. How do you identify with the main characters, Jess and Pietr? Or is there a secondary character you identify more closely with?
I identify closely with Jess, 13 to Life's narrator, because we both lost our mothers too soon and both struggle with doing what our mothers want us to do compared to what we might be tempted to do instead. But Pietr is also close to me because he's struggling with his own issues and during the course of this first book in the series he's trying to figure out what the dramatic changes in his life really mean. But I also adore Max and Amy--they are all so very in my mind.

3. Do you feel there is a certain aspect of writing you focus on that makes 13 to Life so unique?
Yes. Jess is written in what we consider "deep POV." This means we only ever get to see things through Jess's eyes and her opinions (and personal baggage) colors everything readers experience. The question readers may wind up asking is: How much of what's happening is Jess blowing things out of proportion and giving in to her personal teen drama and how much is absolutely accurate?

4. With all these books on werewolves these days, what's your unique take on werewolves?
Ha! The funny thing is, when I first started writing 13 to Life (November 24, 2008) there weren't many YA werewolf novels around! But publishing takes time. :-) I can't reveal the details of what makes my werewolves unique (other than Russian heritage, a significant history and the fact they are the culmination of quite a bit of Cold War and World War II-related research) because it only really becomes obvious in the last bit of the book and some readers have been very excited guessing about it before they hit the last 20-some pages. I don't want to take that excitement away by spilling the beans. ;-)

5. In your biography, you mentioned that you started writing during hard times in your life. How did the life's obstacles influence your writing and, if given the choice, would you change anything?
I believe strongly that we are the product of our history and our choices. Would I change anything in my personal history? Yes. Simply: I'd want my mother back so my son could really get to know her. Would that change me? Probably. Would it change 13 to Life? Perhaps Jess's situation would be different. But perhaps not. It's one of those things we can never do more than hypothesize about.

6. Having almost finished the entire writing and publishing process, is there any unexpected lesson(s) you've learned?
Yes. That most authors are tremendously friendly and willing to share their thoughts and time (Kitty Keswick, Judith Graves, Shari Maurer, Jenn R. Hubbard, Jeri Smith-Ready and Ann Aguirre pop to mind first as being great examples of this--Class of 2k10 members specifically). I ran into a few folks that were absolutely the opposite last year and it shook my faith a little bit. But there are so many wonderful people in this business (at all levels of it) my faith's absolutely restored now.

7. As you said, publishing is a long process and, presumably, hard! If you could invent anything to help you along the way, what it do and what would you name it?
I could use a SpeederUpper (I know, I know--everyone's going to want to make something with *that* name ;-). All of the people I've met along my path to publication have been tremendous, so there's nothing more I could ask from them, but the time it takes to go from concept to paperback seems like forever most days. With the magic of a good SpeederUpper I could imagine the story and have it go straight from my brain into a Word document (without employing my fumbling fingers). That, at least, would trim a little time out of the process. I guess the reason I'd want stuff to move faster is that when I have the idea initially there's almost no competition for a book like I'm envisioning. But by the time it gets to market everyone and their brother has also had time to come up with something in a similar genre. This is where e-publishing can truly have an advantage by skipping the paper print process altogether.

8. How would you describe yourself as a...
- Song (song name or description)?
This is a tough one. I do playlists for all of my main characters and some of my scenes, but don't think of myself musically at all (if you ever hear me sing, you'll know why ;-). I'll describe my attitude with Bon Jovi's "It's My Life."
- Fruit?
Darn it. I would have had this if you asked for a vegetable: onion (because of the layers--not the stench). ;-) Hmm. Ah ha! A medlar. They're a fruit that was the favorite of Charlemagne (and not too many did well arguing with *him*). They are related to the rose (which I love), have a strange look to them (I am *not* the most photogenic gal in the world ;-) and have a tremendous ability to last longer than most fruits and they get better with age (two things I'm really hoping for in this biz). The medlar tree (though small) has wood some say is nearly unbreakable (also a necessary trait in this biz ;-). (image source)
- Eating Utensil?
A fork. I can be prickly but very useful. ;-)

9. Are you working on other projects at the moment?
Yes. The ideas keep coming (thankfully). As soon as I wrap up the 13 to Life series (which is coming up pretty shortly since books release every six months-ish) I'm allowing myself to fall back into a few other projects that have taken the backseat while I attend conventions and do promotional stuff for 13 to Life. I have to make some tough decisions, though, as to which to tackle first. All of them (currently) are YA.

10. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Just: Thank you so much for hosting me and I hope you and your followers read and love 13 to Life!

Thank you to Shannon (aka such a funny lady!) for stopping by! And now for the suspenseful excerpt...

13 to Life: Chapter 3, part O (used with the author’s permission)
He leaned across the table to meet me, his nose nearly touching mine. The strange and nearly minty crispness of pine made my nose tingle. He smelled like the northern woods in winter. Clean, sharp and full of mystery.

He stopped chewing, his eyes holding mine — and glittering dangerously. He swallowed. "Perhaps you should consider the motivation of people a little more honestly." He glanced again at something behind me.

Contest Info: Shannon's hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.

And that's it! I just want to add that Shannon's also hosting some awesome giveaways on her blog to celebrate 13 to Life's upcoming release, so be sure to check those out (she just gave away an ARC of The Ghost and the Goth yesterday). Other than the book, what's my incentive for following this tour? This adorable stuffed wolf, of course! :D