21 November 2011

BLOG TOUR: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

I am honored to have been contacted by Emlyn Chand to be a part of the Blog Tour for her book Farsighted. I've never been a part of a blog tour and am super excited to be a part of this one. Even more exciting, I'm thrilled to have author Emlyn Chand as my very first Guest poster. Emlyn wanted to share her top 10 reasons why she decided to write YA novels.

This is a guest post by Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted

I am 26-years-old, and I write YA books. Now here I sit on the cusp of my big debut as a published author (squeal), but it probably never would have happened if I hadn’t found my affinity for YA. In fact, the first novel I wrote was multicultural literary fiction— it’s never going to be published. I wrote lit fic, because I was trying to prove something to myself, to the world, to somebody. But the book didn’t encapsulate who I am or what makes me a strong writer. So naturally, the story fell flat. I have no idea what made me decide to write YA the second time around. I even remember trying to avoid it. I spent months trying to convince myself that Farsighted was too ambitious of a project. I was this close to writing a historical fiction novel instead. I’m glad I didn’t listen to my inner worrywart, because writing Farsighted is the best thing I’ve ever done. When you find that genre that speaks to you and allows you to speak through it, don’t let that go! Now I’d like to share 10 reasons why I love writing YA. It’s okay if YA isn’t your genre du jour, but don’t force yourself to write something just because the genre is popular or well-respected. Write what your heart wants to write, and the rest will turn out okay.

 I write YA because...
  1. I wish I had a chance to do my teen years over again. To live them more fully. Writing about teens gives me the chance to do so vicariously.
  2. YA is a broad genre. The sky’s the limit. I can write a dystopic novel this year and a romance or mystery next year. YA is not confined by specific plot conventions like other genres. It’s more focused on the characters.
  3. YA has a broad readership. The primary audience is, of course, teens. But younger kids also enjoy reading about what the big kids are doing, and adults like reliving their glory days too.
  4. The language is fun and approachable. Sure, you could write literary YA, but the candid and easy-to-read style of YA is part of its appeal.
  5. First person POV is where it’s at. YA doesn't have to be told in the first person viewpoint, but a lot of it is. Adult literature sticks more to the third person. I love writing in first person. It’s easier for me to develop a character that way, and I enjoy the writing process more.
  6. The characters are sympathetic. It’s easier to forgive the misdeeds of someone who’s “just a kid,” making it easier for readers and writers alike to identify with YA characters.
  7. The characters can change and grow. They aren’t yet set in their ways. Growth is an expected part of teendom, and it’s wonderful helping your characters achieve that potential.
  8. The readers of YA are incredibly devoted. If they like what you’ve written, they will tell the world. Can you think of any books that have a greater cult following than Twilight, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games? Because I can’t.
  9. YA readers WANT to enjoy books. They’re not looking to tear a book apart and flesh out all of its flaws. They are willing to overlook weaknesses within a book and focus on what they love about it. Their pleasure in reading is free and much more pure.
  10. It’s what I most enjoy reading. Write what you love to read. Don’t force yourself to write a romance if writing sexually suggestive scenes makes you uncomfortable. Don’t write literary fiction as a way to show off your intellect. Write what you want to write. Write was fits your talents and enthusiasm. That’s your best chance at success (no matter how you define the term).

Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday). THE CASH PRIZES: Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that. THE GIVEAWAYS: Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site. THE AUTHOR: Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky! MORE FUN: There's more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer.


I have to say, I don't normally read Paranormal fiction. It's not usually my cup of tea. However, when I started reading Farsighted, I couldn't stop. Emlyn found a way to suck me into Alex's world and his mind. I found that "seeing" through a blind boy's eyes, I didn't care what the other characters looked like, I was able to focus on Alex's interactions with everyone. I found myself mesmerized with Alex, Simmi and Shapri as they began to figure out/ learn to accept their special gifts. If you like paranormal books or just enjoy stories where there is a mystery to unravel, I really think you'll enjoy Farsighted. 

I recommend this book!
Full Disclosure:  I was contacted by the Author to review this book. I was sent a free eBook to read and review. This had no say in my actual review. 

04 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Hello all! I was trying to think of something to do and came across this meme from the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is:

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

Here is my list:

10. Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
9. Unwind by Neal Shusterman-- this book actually gave me nightmares. I was way too freaked out!
8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling-- by the time the "DEATH" occurs in this book, I'm still too angry about that persons behavior from book 5.
7. Extraordinary: a Novel by Nancy Werlin
6. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. The ending seemed a bit anti-climatic to me.
5. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling-- this book just ticked me off! I hated Umbridge and the death made me furious.
3. Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson-- the ending devistated me and I had to wait YEARS for the sequel.
2. Stork by Wendy Delsol-- the ending made me really want the sequel right away-- IT COMES OUT TUESDAY!!!
1. Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher-- Reason number 13 was HORRIBLE. Well, really all of the reasons were awful, but number 13 could have been prevented. . .

11 September 2011

September 11-- Ten Years Later

Dear Readers,
Please forgive me for posting a NON Book related post today. I feel that today should be a day of reflection and remembrance, so I want to take some time and talk about 9-11-01.

They say every generation has a moment that defines them. For my PaPaw and Grandma's generations, it was the Great Depression and World War II, for my parents, it was Woodstock and Vietnam. For my siblings, cousins and me, it has to be 9-11-01.

I will never forget that Tuesday morning. I was in my Freshman year at Freed-Hardeman University. My best friend and I had 7:30 am (CST) classes right next to each other so we went to breakfast in the dining hall and then to class, Heather was going to her Bible Class and I was going to American History I with Dr. John Collins. Looking back, it's kind of ironic that I was in my American History class while one of the most significant/ defining  moments in American History was being played out in our country.

After our classes were over, Heather and I met to go to our English class. As we got to the 3rd floor, a fellow student told us that the Twin Towers had been hit and the South Tower had fallen. At that point, we didn't hear about the Pentagon or the plane in Pennsylvania and North Tower was still standing. I remember Heather being completely shocked-- she had been to the Towers that summer and couldn't believe they had been hit. We still didn't know that we were under attack. I think we just thought it had been a crazy accident that two planes had crashed. We didn't want to think of someone attacking our country. We were still young teenage girls. We couldn't imagine this happening.

I think most of our English class must have been in classes at 7:30 because there wasn't much discussion about what was happening. Most of us didn't know. It wasn't until we were at Chapel (10:30 CST) that we learned what had happened that day. I can't remember which Professor stood up and addressed the entire campus to tell us that our country had been attacked, the planes were not accidents-- someone had planned this. For the first time in my life, I realized people did not like our Country.

We were encouraged to go to our classes for the rest of the day and our professor took time to talk to us and let us talk about how things were affecting us. We were able to talk about our concerns and vent our fears and frustrations.

I remember walking into the student center and dorms after classes and every television was turned to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other news stations. We were a tiny college craving news. We needed to know what was happening and we needed to know what our President was going to do. For weeks, our tv's were tuned to the news.

Looking back on that day, I think my generation was forced to grow up really quick. Kids who had gone into the military before 9-11-01, had joined during a time of peace, some looking for a military career, others looking for a way to pay for college. Now they were thrust into war time and it wasn't the same Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or National Guard they signed up for. College Students in the Reserves and National Guard waited for news they were being deployed. We all knew it was coming. Then I heard that my cousin E had signed up for the Army. He had been meeting with a recruiter prior to 9-11 and the attack on America solidified his decision to go. Thankfully, E served in Afghanistan and Iraq and made it home to us safely. He's out of the Army now and pursuing his degree in Radiology.

Where were you on 9-11-01? Were you in class, at home? What were you doing? Please leave your 9-11 story. I want this to be a post of rememberence. We will NEVER FORGET.

29 August 2011

YA Bloggers Book Battle WINNER!!!!

Alyssa from The Shady Glade has spent a ton of time this year hosting the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle. The Theme for the Battle was Best Overlooked Book. I was very lucky to be paired with Emily from What Book is That to determine the overall winner of the Book Battle! So many really amazing books were chosen by bloggers to be read and judged and after months of work the other judges narrowed the finalist down to StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce and Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Each book had its own unique moments and drastically different styles.

In StarCrossed, Elizabeth C. Bunce created a whole world around the suppression of magic, sneak thieves and mayhem. Bunce created a world where silver jewelry can help hide magical powers from those who want to squash magic. She created a character named Digger who had to stop trying to hide and not take sides in the war against magic and determine where she stood.
 While in Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper urged us to look beyond what we see to the person inside others. We met a girl named Melody who has Cerebral Palsy and is seemingly locked inside her own mind. With the help of an amazing aide, a neighbor and her parents, Melody receives the tools she needs to show everyone she is brighter than anyone gave her credit for.

While people will enjoy both books, Emily and I realized that the winning book was one that made people think. It was a book that would taught us to look past what we can see and to not underestimate others.

With that said, I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2011 YA Bloggers Best Overlooked Book Battle is . . .

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper!

22 August 2011

Out of My Mind by Sharon M Draper

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is about an almost 11 year old girl named Melody who has never uttered a word. Melody can't walk, she can't talk, can't feed herself and people have to help her use the restroom. Melody has Cerebral Palsy and although she is extremely bright, people outside her family and her neighbor don't see past her condition to the brilliant girl she truly is.

Melody has had doctors call her brain-damaged, teachers who insist on teaching the first few letter of the alphabet ALL YEAR long, a dumb Styrofoam snowman and mean kids. She has also had loving parents, wonderful neighbors and a helper named Catherine there with her helping her each step of the way.  When another girl comes to school with a new laptop, Catherine helps Melody research and find something that will finally give Melody a voice. However, not everyone is truly ready to hear Melody, to accept that she's much brighter than she looks.
I have to admit I loved getting a look into Melody's mind. It was wonderful seeing her thought processes. Sharon M. Draper really made me re-think something about myself and how I view others. You never know what is going on in someone else's head and we shouldn't be so quick to judge.


17 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1): Frost by Wendy Delsol


In this sequel to STORK, Katla Leblanc has to employ her grit, spirit, and special gifts to rescue the boy she loves.
After the drama of finding out that she’s a Stork, a member of an ancient and mystical order of women, and that her boyfriend, Jack, is a descendent of the Winter People able to control the weather, Katla Leblanc is delighted when all signs point to a busy and peaceful Christmas. That is, until the snowstorm Jack summons as a gift to Katla turns into the storm of the century, attracting Brigid, a gorgeous scientist who, in turn, attracts Jack. Between the school play, a bedridden, pregnant mother’s to-do lists, and keeping an eye on her aging grandfather, Katla doesn’t have time to question Brigid’s motives or deal with Jack’s increasingly cold behavior. But Katla’s suspicions mount when Jack joins Brigid on a research expedition to Greenland, and when the two of them go missing, it becomes clear that Katla is the only one who can save her beloved Jack from the Snow Queen who holds him prisoner. Adventure, romance, and myth combine in this winter escapade for teens who like a bit of fire with their ice.

I LOVED Stork and really can't wait to read what happens next fot Katla and Jack. I will be picking this book up the day it comes out which is October 11, 2011!

06 August 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

I have finally seen the final instalment of the Harry Potter EPIC Saga. I have been a fan of the book since I read the first one back in 2000. I will admit, I was a little apprehensive to see this movie-- mostly because I did NOT want to see my Favorite character be BRUTALLY murdered by a maniac and his pet snake, but I was also afraid it would not live up to my expectations.

I was gladly surprised with the awesomeness of the movie. I enjoyed the fight scenes and even though I cried when my favorite character was brutally murdered, I was pleased with how they made that scene. My favorite Molly Weasley line of all time was left in the movie and caused me to throw my arms in the air with joy.

One thing I will say about the movie, it should certain background characters dying that I didn't realized died in the book. I don't want to give too much away, because I'm not sure who has seen the movie or read the book yet. . .

I can't believe this era is over. The movies have been coming for the past 10 years and the books were out before that. I feel as if I have grown up with these characters who are actually OLDER than I am if we go by JK Rowlings timeline. Thinking about it, I'm younger than Ginny Weasley!

11 July 2011

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Ginny is home after a summer long trip her dead Aunt Peg sent her on. School is out for Christmas break and Ginny gets an email from a stranger named Oliver claiming to have her backpack and letters. The mysterious stranger refuses to give Ginny her letters until they are face to face, so Ginny has to go back to England and Uncle Richard. Once in England, Ginny goes to visit her "Friend" Keith (the one she needed to have a DTR talk with) only to find out he has a girlfriend now.

When stranger Oliver demands Ginny follows the instructions of the 13th Letter WITH him, Keith insists he go as well and Keith's girlfriend tags along. Now not only does Ginny have to deal with Oliver-- who still hasn't given her Aunt Peg's letters-- but her feelings toward Keith and his new girlfriend.

I loved loved loved The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson. When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to the first book, I squealed. I've been waiting for this for awhile now, and I'm thrilled I was not disappointed with it. Maureen Johnson found a way to suck me right into Ginny's experience and I found myself working through my feelings of the book much as Ginny did.


20 June 2011

Stork by Wendy Delsol

Hello everyone! I know it's been an eternity since I last talked to you all. I've been slacking. Anyway, I just finished a REALLY great book called Stork by Wendy Delsol.

From Barnes&Noble.com:

Moving from LA to nowhere Minnesota, sixteen-year-old Katla Leblanc expected the local fashion scene to be frozen in time. What she didn’t expect was induction into the Icelandic Stork Society, an ancient order of women charged with a unique mystical duty. Not only is Katla the youngest member, but Hulda, the society’s omen-guided leader, immediately bestows the coveted Second Chair on her — a decision that ruffles a few feathers. . . 
Things would be looking up if it weren’t for editor in chief Jack. Even though they argue every time they meet, Katla is inexplicably drawn to him. Juggling her home life, school, and Stork duties, will Katla be able to unravel the mystery surrounding Jack? More importantly, will she find a dress in time for Homecoming?


I have to admit, when  I first picked this book up, I wasn't sure what I would think.  I liked the blurb and the cover was pretty cool too. Then I started reading and fell in love. The only bad thing about the book is sequel doesn't come out until October and  I really want to read it now!


02 May 2011

Best Weekend EVER (so far)

On Saturday, I went to one of the local high schools for a really cool event. It was the first annual April is for Authors event.
So many wonderful authors made time to come and give amazing lectures and sit on panel discussions. The authors I was able to meet were Chris Crutcher, Doug Wilhelm, Donna Gephart, Edward Bloor, Katie Alender and Alex Flinn.
Since I focus on YA books, I loved being able to hear some of the thoughts and advice the different authors had for Teens. I never realized just how FUNNY Chris Crutcher really is. I went to a panel discussion called "Dear Author" and on this particular panel Edward Bloor, Chris Crutcher and Alex Flinn answered questions about various letters they have received from fans (or English students who were forced to write to them) and how they touched them. It was really cool to hear just how much authors actually listen and respond to their fans.

One thing that was super cool was meeting Chris Crutcher. The first thing  I read of his was Chinese Handcuffs and I haven't stopped reading. It surprised me that he was so funny when the material he writes is usually dark and deep.

I also went to a panel about the middle school experience with Donna Gephart, Mary Monroe and Doug Wilhelm. This panel had the authors focus on why they choose to write for Middle schoolers. I love that Doug Wilhelm described himself as being awkward! Donna Gephart and Doug Wilhelm both talked about how they remember their awkward middle school years and wanted to make sure kids knew they are not alone.

I also went to a lecture by Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don't Die) which was highly entertaining. Katie is such a happy and delightful person-- high energy and really neat to talk to. Even though I'm no longer in High School,   she had some really fun things she learned in school like being your own boss and realizing that your true friends like you for who you are, not what you have. Her ideas were SPOT on and something I wish I would have realized back in high school.

Probably the best thing about the author even on Saturday was how every author there was super encouraging for those who are thinking about becoming a writer. Each author gave budding authors helpful tips and hints on how to get their creativity going.

I have to admit, I was completely STARSTRUCK on Saturday. So many authors were there and I got to meet them. It's cool that  I can now say I have books signed by Alex Flinn, Chris Crutcher, Doug Wilhelm, Edward Bloor and Katie Alender on my bookshelf. I'm still in awe and totally grateful for the opportunity to meet them. :O)

Love and Happy Reading,

12 April 2011

Teaser Tuesday 1 Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

 Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
"At least my hands not wet. Or smelly. I reach back into my bag and pull out Fisher's surprise." page 163

08 April 2011

YA Bloggers Book Battle 2011: Best OVERLOOKED YA Book!

I am so excited. I've been sitting on this little nugget of information for a couple of days now and I am so excited to announce to you, my participation in this years YA Bloggers Book Battle. Alyssa from The Shady Glade has graciously decided to host this Battle. I am going to be a Round 2 judge for Alyssa! I won't be active in the first part of the Battle, but when the Round 1 judges narrow the Long list down, I'll step in and start reading. This will be my first time participating as a Judge in any kind of Battle so, I'm a little nervous, but extremely ready for this.
This  Year's Theme is really cool. It's Best Overlooked YA Book. According to Alyssa at The Shady Glade,
Best Overlooked Book
For the purposes of this battle, the definition of an "overlooked book" is a book that never got the recognition it deserves. These are books we love, but no one has ever seem to hear of. So now they'll get their chance to shine!

Well, today, Alyssa has posted the long list of nominees for the Book Battle and I am Happy to announce the list to you. You can also view the list on Alyssa's blog and watch the Battle unfold. Here is the amazing LONG list:
2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle official long list (in alphabetical order):

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky
Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Aya by Marguerite Abouet
Birthmarked by Caragh M O'Brien
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell
Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe
Crowned by Julie Linker
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding
Dreamhunter (The Dreamhunter Duet, Book 1) by Elizabeth Knox
Elixir by Hillary Duff
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Hannah (Daughters Of The Sea) by Kathryn Lasky
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Heist Society by Ally Carter
High Heat by Karl Deuker
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland
John Belushi Is Dead by Kathy Charles
Kathleen's Story (Angels in Pink) by Lurlene McDaniel
Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
Keturah And Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kristen Miller
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt
Meridian by Amber Kizer
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
On Viney's Mountain by Joan Donaldson
Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Polly and the Pirates, Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh
Powerless Book 1: The Synthesis by Jason Letts
Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice) by Joseph Delaney
Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson
Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates
She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens
She's So Money by Cherry Cheva
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Song Of The Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Stork by Wendy Delsol
Storm Thief by Chris Wooding
Stravaganza: City Of Masks by Mary Hoffman
The 10 PM Question by Kate De Goldi
Cry Of The Icemark by Stuart Hill
The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
The Flappers: Vixen by Jillian Larkin
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
The Last Knight (Knight and Rogue) by Hilari Bell
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose by Mary Hooper
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
The Shifter: The Healing Wars #1 by Janice Hardy
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan
The Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke
The Trouble with Kings by Sherwood Smith
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro
Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book by Kersten Hamilton
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

This list has some pretty cool titles, and it has some books I haven't come across. I'm super excited to be a part of this Battle and can't wait to see how it goes.

Stay tuned to my blog to see how things go these next couple of months and also keep checking Alyssa's blog. She'll have more about the battle as things progress. I can't wait to find out what the YA Bloggers have decided is the BEST OVERLOOKED YA BOOK. Be sure to head over to Alyssa's blog and pick up a Book Battle Button.
Happy Reading!

29 March 2011

Beastly by Alex Flinn

With the movie already out in theaters, this may seem a bit late. . . however, I told myself I had to read and blog the book before I would allow myself to go see it in theaters. I wanted to use my own imagination before I had Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer's faces dominating my brain. I'm not sure how well that worked though. . .

Since I just finished the book, I figured I would go ahead and review it BEFORE I see the movie and then once I see the movie (sometime this weekend) I will discuss how I felt about both of them. I've already noticed a few discrepancies with the movie from the previews alone. . .

Kyle Kingsbury is a spoiled NYC prep boy. He lives in a fancy Manhattan apartment with his father-- a newsanchor who is rarely home and he's nominated for 9th grade prince for his school dance. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. He has a girlfriend named Sloane who is just as self-absorbed and focused on popularity as he is and Kyle fails to respect those who are "below" him.

As a joke, Kyle asks Kendra-- an overweight goth girl-- to go with him to the dance, knowing he had no intentions of going with her. His girlfriend, Sloane demands an orchid for her corsage, but instead of getting the corsage, he sends his housekeeper, Magda. Magda finds the beauty in a white rose and gives it to Kyle to give to Sloane. Sloane has a hissey fit about the rose and Kyle ends up giving it to a girl who is taking tickets at the dance.

When Kendra shows up without a ticket, Kyle blows her off after insulting her, but its Kendra who has the final word. She leaves Kyle with a simple warning, "You'll see." and leaves the dance.

Kyle's world is turned upside down when he gets home from Sloane's after the dance. Kendra is there, but she's not just a high school girl. She transforms Kyle into what he was inside-- a horrible beast. She tells him that he has 2 years to find a girl to love and to be loved by her in return or he will be DOOMED to remain a beast forever. Kendra also bestows on him, a magic mirror to see the world with and warns him NOT to break the mirror.

Kyle only has 2 years to find a girl and once his father locks him away in a Brooklyn Brownstone with his housekeeper, Magda and a blind tutor named Will, he looses all hope. It isn't until a drug adict breaks into the greenhouse he built that hope begins to blossom again. . .

This is probably one of my FAVORITE retellings of a classic tale. I never thought to think about things from the Beast's perspective, mainly because I'm a girl. However,  I LOVED how Alex Flinn was able to break into the Beast's mind, show us what lead to his becoming the creature we've grown to love through Disney and through him into 21st Century America. In the decade where we are obsessed with shows like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, it's great to see something from a guys p.o.v. I found myself repulsed by Kyle in the beginning, but loving and rooting for him in the end. Even though I was pretty sure how the book would end, I was still facsinated and engrossed in the way Alex Flinn was able to make Kyle's journey from Beast to Man occur.

This book deserves 4 dragonflies: I love it, recommend it, and someone is getting Beastly as a gift sometime this year.

03 March 2011

Teen Tech Week is approaching. . .

As you may know, Teen Tech week is almost here! This will be my first year working on Teen Tech and I'm wicked nervous. Now, I am not a Ludite by any means, but I can't help but wonder at the amazing skills teens have with technology. I'm supposed to be showing them how to use Windows Movie Maker, but when my Windows 7 laptop is not compatible with the Windows XP Pro at work. . . I can't get much done at home and since I don't have a computer at work except for when I'm on desk . . . it causes some undo stress.

However, I am trucking through and am fully ready for the Teens to show me the wicked cool stuff I'm missing with technology.

18 February 2011

Harry Potter Reading Challenge

Marcie at To Read or Not to Read is hosting a Harry Potter Challenge. It has been years since I've read the whole series, and I am actually excited to read the series again. I've been semi-protesting them because I'm not too happy with J.K. Rowlings body count in Deathly Hallows, but this should be some fun reading before Deathly Hallows 2 comes out.

17 February 2011

Page to Screen: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

I recently sat down to rewatch and reread The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares and as much as I enjoyed both the book and the movie, there were a few things that I really wished they had NOT changed in the movie.  I miss Lena's sister Effie-- mostly because she does a MAJOR thing in the 4th book, I miss Lena flying to California/Mexico to rescue Bridget from herself, I miss knowing Bridget has a twin brother!

Even though the movie had several flaws that made the book so wonderful, I loved it! I really thing Jenna Boyd completely stole the show as Bailey and like I did when I read the book, I bawled my eyes out when she left the story. I found myself connecting even more with Carmen as I watched the movie this time than the first time, but Lena will always be my favorite.
The one thing I wish was real-- those magic pants. How cool would it be to find pants that fit you and your best girlfriends?

11 February 2011

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde takes the story of Little Red Riding Hood and spins it 8 different ways. Picking this book of the shelf at the library, I was immediately intrigued. Little Red Riding Hood had always been one of my favorite Fairy Tales and I was looking forward to Vivian Vande Velde's interpretation. Unfortunately, this book let a LOT to be desired for me. Maybe I'm too much of a traditionalist, but I didn't like the interpretations Vande Velde used.  I struggled through finishing this short book and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction chapter much more that the actual book.

I was surprised by my dislike in this book because I love Vivian Vande Velde and her book, Heir Apparent. This one, Cloaked in Red left me wanting and disappointed. However, they maybe some out there who enjoy her possible takes on Little Red Riding Hood.

I can only give this book 1 dragonfly.
I read the book and forced myself to finish it.

04 February 2011

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy audio book performed by Rupert Degas

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is about a girl named Stephanie Edgley who at the age of 12 inherits her late Uncle Gordon Edgley's estate-- making her a VERY rich girl once she turns 18, anyway. Since Stephanie inherits Gordon's estate, she also inherits the weirdness he lived with. She first meets her uncle's strange friend, Skulduggery Pleasant, at the repast of his funeral. She learns a little more about him at the reading of Gordon's will. Her life become entwined with his when he saves her life. . .

Now, I KNOW I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but look at that book. No way in the world should that cover lead to a book I actually like! I mean really. It has a skeleton throwing fire. I don't like fire and skeletons make me freak. However, once I learned this book takes place in Ireland (I want to go there so bad) and heard Rupert Degas perform the story, I was hooked. I'm still finishing this one and I really can't wait for the next one. Too bad I have other things I need to read for work first. . .

Love and Happy Reading,

24 January 2011

Bloggiesta. . .It's over already.

I can't believe Bloggiesta is over already. I had an AMAZING time reading all the tutorials and putting some of them into practice. When I started my Bloggiesta adventure on Friday, I had 4 goals in mind:

•to be more consistent with my blogging practices
•Make my blog more aesthetically pleasing to my readers
•Learn the really cool codes to make fun gadgets for my blog
•Not be afraid to use my voice, even if a review isn't all sunshine and roses.

Well the Goal I was most excited about (number 3) was my most successful one this weekend. I learned how to make favicons and a really cool button for my blog. I am working on making a brand of myself and I love dragonflies so why not. I think with my work on goal number 3, I am well on my way to making goal number 2 reality.

Goals number 1 and 4 are ones that are going to take a lot of time to see if  they will be completed. Consistency is important for me to work on and  I don't think its something I can change in a weekend. Using my voice is going to be a fun one to work on. For the longest time, I've only been posting reviews on books I have really liked, but I don't think that helps my integrity. If I can't show both sides of the coin, the good and the bad, I'm not doing my job very well.

I want to thank Natasha at Maw Books for hosting Bloggiesta. This has been an amazing weekend full of new knowledge that I can't wait to implement. I know this is the end of the current Bloggiesta, but I do plan to keep going over some of Natasha's links for past Bloggiestas because I know they will help shape me into a better blogger.

Love and Happy Reading,

22 January 2011

Bloggiesta. . . this is actually really fun. (Button!)

So I am so grateful to Elisabeth Marie at YS Princess for reminding me that Bloggiesta was coming up. I have been having a lot of fun learning really cool blog things that I can share with you. As you may have noticed Amber's Teen Reads is in the process of a makeover and today I learned how to make my very own button! I've been wanting to learn how to make one for some time now, but never really tried to look up the information until today. Callista at SMS Book Reviews has a really cool tutorial on Banners and Buttons that I was way too excited to try. While I will admit, I had some difficulty with her tutorial, I was able to find another one that worked really well for me. The tutorial that worked the best for me was actually from Okiology101. I never would have found Okiology had I not started out at SMS. So, thanks Callista.

If you take a look to the left of this post, you should see my really cool new button and if you look up by the url, you should see my brand new favicon!

This Bloggiesta has been AMAZING. Who knows what I'll have done by the end of the weekend.

Love and Happy Reading,

21 January 2011

My Blog Goals for 2011

I still can't believe 2011 is actually here. Since I am participating in Bloggiesta this year, one of the mini-challenges is to think about what your goals are for your blog. I've actually been thinking about this for awhile. I have not been nearly as consistent with my blogging as I initially planned and I think that will be a great place to start. With that stated, my goals for 2011 are:

  • to be more consistent with my blogging practices
  • Make my blog more aesthetically pleasing to my readers
  • Learn the really cool codes to make fun gadgets for my blog
  • Not be afraid to use my voice, even if a review isn't all sunshine and roses.
I think these few goals are a really good start for me and I hope you will join me to see how well I do. Hopefully, this will work MUCH better than the New Years Resolutions I make for myself each year. :O)

Love and Happy Reading,


Ladies and Gentlemen, Bloggiesta has arrived and for the first time, I am planning on participating. Bloggiesta is the creation of Natasha at Maw Books and is used as a time to PEDRO (Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize) your blog. I'm really excited about this because Amber's Teen Reads is going through some makeover changes (if you hadn't noticed, I can't seem to settle on a background right now.)

For 72 hours (not necessarily consistent) I will be PEDROing it up and reevaluating the way my blog is going. I'm going to learn how to make my blog more fun (not just for me, but for you as well), participating in mini-challenges and of course I'm going to read and review books.

This should be a really fun experience for me and I really hope you stay tuned. Fellow bloggers, head on over to Maw Books and read the description of Bloggiesta. I think you'll have fun if you choose to participate.

Love and Happy Reading,

16 January 2011

Teen Movies based on Books that I Can't Get Enough Of

Two things that I really love are books and movies. ( I love music too, but that may be another blog post.) I wanted to make a list of teen movies I love to watch that also came from books. Sometimes, the book to movie transition is obvious, but sometimes, it's a little more discrete.

One of my absolute favorites is Ten Things I Hate about You  staring Julia Stiles and the late Heath  Ledger. Did you know that Ten Things I Hate about You is based on a play by William Shakespeare called The Taming of the Shrew? Although Taming of the Shrew is NOT my favorite Shakespeare play, I do enjoy the Merchant of Venice. . .

Clueless based loosely on Jane Austin's Emma. While it has been an EXTREMELY long time since I've read even a part of Emma, I do still have Clueless on DVD.

Another great book to movie adaptation is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Now I much prefer the movie version that came out just a few years ago. Anything with Alan Rickman either on screen or as a voice over is automatically wonderful for me. Both the book and movie make me laugh like crazy.

My current favorite movie adaptation is The Twilight Sage: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I love this saga and Eclipse has always been my favorite book in the saga because that is when Bella finally makes her decision between Edward and Jacob or as I like to refer to them sometimes, air conditioning and a space heater. (LOL)

These will probably be the first books to movies I read/watch for the really cool Page to screen challenge. Happy reading and viewing!

My Favorite Tear Jerkers and Why I Cried. . .

A friend of mine asked me which book make/made me cry. I stopped to think for awhile and realized a LOT of books make me cry. Here is a list of a few of my favorite Tear Jerkers and why they made me cry.

The book that made me cry more than any other is Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher. The reason I cried so much is actually really simple. When I has just started my sophomore year at University, a really good friend of mine committed suicide. My relationship with Kyle was very similar to Clay's relationship to Hannah. I remember desperately wanting answers to why Kyle had committed suicide and reading Th1rteen R3asons Why kind of gave me the answers I wanted, even though what Hannah had gone through probably wasn't the same as what Kyle dealt with. That book gave me a sense of closure.

Another book that made me cry was Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I really fell in love with Stargirl's character, but I hated the way the kids at Mesa High treated her. I cried when she left Arizona, and I bawled like a baby when I read about what the school has done since Stargirl left. I love that book!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling caused me to burst into tears with the death of Cedric Diggory. That was a horrible scene for me because I realized not even children were safe from J.K. Rowling's deadly pen. I was fine with adults being murdered by sadistic wizards, but a teenager was too horrible for me to imagine. (I just have to remember all the Avada Kadavra curse does is turn boys into sparkly vampires and I'm okay.)

Forever in Blue: the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood  by Ann Brashares had me crying and all I have to say is all four girls in Greece and Lena's sister's huge mistake. . . The whole series had tear worthy moments for me, but none as much as book 4.

I know there are more books that have caused me to wipe out a tissue box, but I can't think of them right now.

So, what books have caused you to go running for the tissue box? I would love to know. :O) Happy reading.

11 January 2011

My FIRST Blog Award!

So I found a pleasant surprise in my email this afternoon. Trusty gmail told me I had a new comment to approve and the comment came from Cheree at Justified Lunacy. She simply replied to a Challenge I had joined and wrote " I left something for you at my blog." So of my curiosity was peaked and I found this:

I was definitly surprised and very excited. This is the very first award I have received and I still can't believe it! The rules of the award are simple,

1. Thank and Link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact the bloggers about the award

Well, I'm not going to do 15 bloggers, because a lot of the people I follow I have been following for years and I'm sure they have received this particular award before. So, I have found 5 blogs that I have recently started following to pass this award to. However, I reserve the ability to come back at a later date and add more as  I find them. :O)

7 Things about Me: This is actually harder than it should be. . .

1. I played Clarinet in my University Band
2. I have had a purple dream catcher in my window since I was a baby. My mom made it for me. I actually have a hard time sleeping if the dream catcher is not with me.
3. I did not get my official drivers license until I was OUT of college. (I just didn't care to drive)
4. My cousins made me audition for American Idol through a contest at a local car dealership. I did not advanace in that competition and chickened out of going to the Miami audition.
5. My favorite book of all time is The Velveteen Rabbit
6. I firmly believe Canoes are evil, straight from Satan. There is a TERRIFYING story with that one.
7. I am addicted to music-- especially Broadway. I secretly would love to be on Broadway. . .

The bloggers I have decided to honor are:
1. Amber at Books of Amber
2.Gabrielle Carolina at The Mod Podge Bookshelf
3. Nely at All About {n}
4. Lori at Pure Imagination

Now that I have narrowed my field down to my 5, I will go ahead and let them know. Thanks again to Cheree for giving me my first blog award. I am honored and amazed that she likes my blog! Happy 2011 everyone.

07 January 2011

Page to Screen Reading Challenge ( I So wish this was my idea!)

Okay, so I came across a really cool reading challenge today that I HAD to spread the word about. It's called the Page to Screen Reading Challenge. I must say that I LOVE reading books that I know are going to become movies. Reading Extensively  (the challenge host) is offering different levels to this particular challenge, and the one that appeals to me the most is The Read and Watch. As of right now, I'm going to be cautious and attempt Level 1 of the Read and Watch, which is simply 5 books and movies/t.v. shows. I know I could probably do more, but I want to make sure. I figure it couldn't hurt to err on the side of caution this time. This one is going to be SUPER fun! Popcorn anyone?

05 January 2011

My favorite books of the DECADE!! 2000-2010

Happy New Year everyone! Instead of doing a Favorite list for 2010, I'm doing a favorite list for the entire decade. Now, I know many of you out there are of the belief that the decade ended LAST year when we entered 2010, but I am one of those kooky people who firmly believes that the decade started in 2001, so it ended at midnight last night.  I know, I may be crazy.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to go back and look at the books that have made my decade more interesting, the books that made me want to start reading again.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
I was one of those people who was reluctant to pick the first book up. I didn't want anything to do with what everyone else was reading (this is actually a habit of mine. I always try to ignore the "fad" but sometimes, I get hooked. . .)

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I have yet to see The Lovely Bones because I can't imagine Stanley Tucci as a bad guy, but it's on my list.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and  Target by Kathleen Jefferie Johnson-- both haunting tales about the aftermath of rape. Target was amazing because it is truly from the perspective of a boy.

Impossible: a Novel by Nancy Werlin and The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
I picked up Impossible because I enjoyed Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. Mockingbirds was pickd up because I kept reading about it on different list-serves and decided to give it a try.

The final entry for my favorites of the decade must be:
The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. To this day, this is the only vampire/werewolf series I have been able to read. I think the reason I love this series is because its more romance than supernatural.


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