Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2009 Author Featurette

Hey guys!

This week and probably the next two weeks, TUBL will be featuring about 7-10 2009 YA authors with interviews! I wanted to do this because we should still be promoting 2009 (and early 2010) authors as well as upcoming 2010 ones! 2010 Holds great books for us, and so does 2009! Some of the authors featured will include:

Shannon Greenland - The Specialists Series
Jennifer Hubbard -The Secret Year
Rachel Vincent - My Soul to Series
Aimee Friedman - Sea Change
Anne Osterlund - Academy 5
Julie Anne Peters - Rage
Laura Ruby - Play Me
Deb Caletti - Wild Roses
Lauren Mechling - Dream Girl Series

So, hope this will be a fun week for you guys to get to know authors!!! Have fun =)))

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Monday, August 23, 2010

AWOL + Winners

Hey guys,

Sorry I've been AWOL the past two weeks! The charger for my computer sparked and kind of burned so I haven't been able to gain access to my computer. Anyway, I'll be posting regularly again this week. Also, somebody very close to me passed away and I've been helping to prepare plans for his wake.

The winner for the Paranormal Five Contest is: Lisa B. I've already emailed her.
The winner for the $50 CSN Gift Certificate is: Elie N. I've already emailed her as well.

Thanks to you guys who joined! Don't worry! There'll be lots more to come!

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Guest Post: Anastasia Hopcus

Hey guys! Here's Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills for a guest post! She's writing about nightmares...oohhhh creepy right?


I think the reason dreams play such a large role in Phe’s life, and therefore in
Shadow Hills, is because I’ve always had such strange, vivid, and often frightening
dreams myself. I don’t have any of the usual ‘anxiety’ dreams---I don’t dream about
falling or showing up late for a test I haven’t studied for. Instead, I tend to have creepy
nightmares where I'm being chased by people who are trying to kill me.

Just recently I had a dream where I was in a mall looking for a killer (I blame
Kimberly Derting for that part). His modus operandi was to bury his new girlfriends,
once he tired of them, in his dead wife’s grave. So I’m walking through the mall, and I
come to a cemetery next to Macy’s---no joke---and I wander through it. There is still a
roof and walls surrounding it, but the graveyard itself is all green grass, trees, and rolling
hills dotted with tombstones. Then, at a distance I see this guy pushing legs into an
overstuffed coffin. I’m about to run away to call the police when he spots me across the
graveyard. I try to seem like I was looking at something nearby and not him. This
doesn’t appear to be fooling him, and he starts stalking toward me, shovel in hand.

I try to remain calm and casual acting. I turn away from him and head toward the
more populated food court area of the mall. He comes after me, still dragging his shovel.
The metal scrapes along the tile floor, eliciting this awful screeching sound. I can feel
him getting closer, and I run to the condiments area looking for some kind of weapon.
There is nothing remotely scary, so I go for a straw. I turn just as he is swinging the
shovel at me and I duck. I can feel the movement of the air swooshing by right over my
head. Before he can come at me again, I put the straw through his eye. Which apparently
kills him, as he falls down and I wake up.

This is something I do a lot in dreams---kill bad guys in new and bizarre ways.
I'm always fighting to the death with something very "unweapony" like a straw. Or a
spork. Or a toothpick. And while these dreams are not classic anxiety dreams, they are
what I get before a signing or some other event that makes me nervous. I guess my flight
or fight response feels I should be prepared to defend my life under ANY circumstances.
But hey, if that visualization thing that athletes do really works, I will be totally prepared
for a battle in Taco Bell.

Thanks so much for Anastasia for stopping by! Stop by tomorrow at I Just Wanna Sit Here & Read for more of Anastasia and Shadow Hills!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Author Uncovered: Kiersten White (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Today, we have Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy with us today! If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard of her or Paranormalcy yet, here's your chance! I loved Paranromalcy! Check my review out!

Who is your favorite character from Paranormalcy?
I love Evie, the main character and narrator. Her voice is so fun to live in, and the way she thinks always surprises me. (Umm, does that make me sound crazy?) She's such a fun combination of world-weary and naive.

Then, of course, there are the boys. I hesitate to say too much about my boys, but Reth--a faerie whom I would not like to know in real life--was always delicious to write. Jerks are the most fun to create, I've found.

Why did you choose to incorporate International Paranormal Containment Agency into Paranormalcy
That's actually what the entire idea stemmed from. If you had a vampire, and you didn't want to kill it, but you wanted to make it incapable of hurting people--who would do that? How would that work? Cue Tasers and the International Paranormal Containment Agency. It all spun out from there!

Evie seems like a very unique character in Paranormalcy. Is she based on any real-life person?
Not really. She has a good dose of my sense of humor (just because I don't know any other ways to be funny), but she's definitely her own person. That's part of why I love writing, though. My characters and their voices kind of create themselves, and make choices and think things that I never would. It's a happy kind of crazy.

Theoretically, do you think our world would be better with a more paranormal environment like in Paranormalcy, or do you think normality is better? Why?
That's kind of the question of the series: Is the world better off with these things, or not? Evie in particular struggles with it, since she straddles both worlds and sees the very worst that the paranormal world has to offer. Fortunately there's someone special to show her that a little magic in the world isn't always a bad thing.

Which character do you resonate most with, in Paranormalcy?
Probably the gremlin that runs, snarling and rabid, down the hall trying to bite things.

Okay, not so much. I resonate with Evie--and hope that my readers do, too--because I think in spite of everything she's a very typical teenager, struggling with the usual questions of where she fits in, who she is, and what she wants her life to be.

What was the message that you tried to get across to your readers with Paranormalcy?
I really didn't write with a message in mind, but I think a lot of the book boils down to choice: what we do with the situations we are given. If you find any other messages, feel free to let me know!

What would you have done if you were in Evie's place?
Curled up in a ball and cried. She's a bit more emotionally resilient than I am...

But really, she's living in such a fantastic world and trying to make it as normal as possible. I think I'd do the same thing--try to normalize things just to stay sane.

The cover is very beautiful. Did you have any input in it?

Whew. Sorry. Nope! They sent me the concept, which I loved, the model's portfolio, which I loved, and the final product, which I LOVED. I knew I wouldn't have much say, but the design team at HarperTeen is so good I kind of didn't want to have a say. I write books--let someone else figure out how to represent them on a cover! And they did such an amazing job.

How does it feel to be a 10'er?
I got in on the Tenners kind of late, but it's been so nice networking with other debut authors and hearing their input and their experiences. In general one of the nicest things in the last few months has been getting to know other authors online. It's a great community.

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
Of a previous book, my sister-in-law said, "I feel kind of creepy for liking Will, since he's so much like my brother." Which was true. Sorry for making you feel creepy, Emma.

What’s up next for you book-wise?
I've turned in the sequel to PARANORMALCY and am waiting for edits. There's an anthology on the television series The Vampire Diaries that I'm contributing an essay to, and I've also got another project (a ghost story) that needs one more round of edits before it's ready for submission. Plus a new series I'm working on with the hopes of selling it next year. And of course the final book in the PARANORMALCY trilogy, which I'll try to write this fall and winter.

My head aches...

Book you've faked reading:

To Kill a Mockingbird

Book you've bought for the cover:

Book you're an evangelist for:
The Book Thief

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy (Book 1)
Author: Kiersten White
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.

All Evie has ever known since she was little, was the IPCA. Her ability to see through glamours has always been valued by the IPCA. But when secrets and lies are uncovered, and IPCA--and her own life--is in danger, she must find the answers to her own questions and finally find out who she really is. One too many secrets, two heart-stopping romances, and one girl to figure it all out.

Ingrained with suspense, romance, and the paranormal, Paranormalcy entrances readers with its addicting prose and lure of mystery. Though set in a paranormal atmosphere, White efficiently and smoothly merges together Evie's teenage world and the tangible paranormal aspects in the novel, compounding a imaginative, entertaining novel. Readers will be magnetized into this electrifying and enigmatic debut.

Evie's personality is tough, witty, and sassy. She isn't afraid of being different, despite her flaws. This makes her a grounded, down-to-earth character as well as a source for humor and sarcasm. And although she works at IPCA, her worries and anxieties are still perceptible to any teenager. Her yearning for a normal, teenage life is palpable to the reader as Evie shows her true vulnerabilities. She is a balanced character who is assertive and mature, but also sensitive and scared. Evie's history keeps her guarded but when she isn't, she truly is an exceptional character both inside and out.

Reth and Lend are both two very different love interests for Evie. Reth is manipulative and overconfident while Lend is genuine and honest. Reth and Evie's previous relationship together is turbulent and almost has a destructive air to it. Evie's feelings for Reth is highly complicated and incomprehensible to the other characters in the novel. Lend, whom Evie is unsure of, at the beginning, is mysterious at first, but as their friendship grows, so do their feelings for one another. Their chemistry is perceivable and natural, developing slowly and consistently.

White's prose mirrors the essence of Paranormalcy, suspense-ridden and unpredictable. The descriptions are clear and expressive, pulling the reader into an authentic paranormal word, rapt with torrents of secrets and unearthly beings. White individualizes common supernatural creatures and makes them unique and more otherworldly, making Paranormalcy sensationally unprecedented.

Seductive, humorous, and prolific, Paranormalcy is a combination of an unpredictable plot, quirky, personified characters, and a convincing setting, all aspects of which, create a valiantly refreshing debut that dares to defy the barriers of young adult fantasy. Kiersten White fearlessly plunges readers into a well-written debut. (A+)

The Bottom Line: A hypnotizing, addicting paranormal read.

---Field Report---
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 9/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 97/100 (A+)

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Author Uncovered: Lila Castle (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Today, we have Lila Castle to answer a few questions!!! She's the author of the ever-so-relaxing The Star Shack! If you want to read my review, click here. Welcome Lila!

Why did you decide to write a book based on astrology and romance?
I love astrology and I love a good romance so the idea of the two together in one book was very appealing. And very fun to write!

Who is your favorite character from The Star Shack?
Hm, I don’t think I can choose between Pete and Annabelle so I am going to go with Vanessa, Annabelle’s BFF. At the start of the book she is very bitter about guys (and with good reason) but there’s a summer surprise written in her stars!

Why did you choose to incorporate the mystery of a thief as well as romance and astrology?
The thief plays a small but pivotal role in Annabelle’s relationship with Pete, and Pete’s relationship with astrology.

Personally, what is your opinion on astrology? Do you believe in it? Or not?
I think anything that gives you insight to yourself and new perspective on your life is worth something. I think it can be easy to get stuck in a certain way of thinking about your relationships, goals and future, and something like astrology can open a new window. I am a fan of new windows in life!

What's your star sign?
I’m Aquarius and definitely believe this is the age of Aquarius.

I'm a Pisces (March 10), do you have any horoscope advice/sayings for me?
For a precise reading it takes the exact time and location of your birth but I can say this: the Pisces woman is a romantic who has such warmth and sweetness few can resist her charms!

Which character do you resonate most with, in The Star Shack?
I have a little of Vanessa’s cynicism, Annabelle’s zest for life and Pete’s love of good coffee.

What was the message that you tried to get across to your readers with The Star Shack?
I think The Star Shack falls in the category of fun beach read but I hope it conveys the importance of believing in yourself and the power of connections between people.

The premise of The Star Shack is quite unique. How did the idea bloom?
I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to write a romance set at the beach because I am very into both romance and beaches. When the idea of tossing astrology into the mix arrived, I knew I had enough to start writing.

What would you have done if you were in Annabelle's place?
I’d like to think I’d be as gusty and memorable as she is!

How did the title The Star Shack come to be?
My editor helped with that- I am not so good with titles. But once he came up with it I thought it was perfect!

The cover is really cool and creative! Did you have any input in it?
No, it was a wonderful surprise. I feel like it really captures the feel of the book and the boardwalk is just how I picture the one at Gingerbread Beach.

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
Since the book isn’t out yet and I haven’t heard from many readers yet, I am going to have to get back to you on that one.

What’s up next for you book-wise?
My editor and I are in the very early stages of developing a project I am very excited about. When I can say more, I will!

Book you've faked reading:
In college I faked reading The Iliad and I so regret it- how many times do you get to dive into Greek classics with an expert to deepen the whole experience?

Book you've bought for the cover:
A Great and Terrible Beauty- how gorgeous is that cover?! The book was pretty good too.

Book you're an evangelist for:
Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Marcelo in the Real World and Sorta Like a Rockstar are the current ones. I love books with great characters that surprise me and pack a real emotional punch.

Anything else you'd like to add?
That you are awesome- thanks for having me on your blog!

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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Star Shack by Lila Castle

Title: The Star Shack
Author: Lila Castle
Pages: 224
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Pete and Annabelle live for their summers together on Gingerbread Beach. They've always believed they were a perfect pair… until junior year, when Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other. Pete thinks that Annabelle (a Leo) has become a total flake; Annabelle thinks Pete (a Scorpio) has become an uptight jerk.

When Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the Boardwalk generating personalized horoscopes, their fast-paced, hilarious bickering soon rises to a fever pitch. The he-said/she-said advice of the Star Shack is wildly popular and seems able to fix any relationship problem… except their own.

But when one of Annabelle's star charts helps catch a thief, Pete might have to admit that the stars could really hold the key to the future…and to his own heart.
Pete and Annabelle are meant for each other. Or so they think. When Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology, Pete starts thinking she's weird and breaks up with her. And since Annabelle knows Pete can't refuse a dare, she dares him to start The Star Shack with her. Too bad it backfires. Soon, Annabelle's fed up of Sarah, Pete, and Gingerbread. She thinks Pete is happy with Sarah, but is he really? Maybe Annabelle and Pete are really meant to be together. Or are they really?

A lighthearted tone, lively characters, and a quaint, yet intimate setting, The Star Shack charms readers with its exceptionally executed split narrative, and lively, quirky supporting characters. Pete and Annabelle's narrative presents both sides of the story and provides the reader with their biased, but nonetheless entertaining take on one another. And although the overall tone of The Star Shack is light, it still embodies deeper emotional turmoil and sentimentality, sustaining a fun, contemplating summer read.

Initially, Pete is perceived as a close-minded jerk but his narration is able to make the reader root for him as well. Pete's baseball obsession as a Boston Sox fan, is significant and sparks plenty of humorous banter with Annabelle and other New York Yankees fans. His internal conflict and pretense stops him from being with Annabelle and his sarcasm and comebacks are defense barriers that keep him detached from her. But as he learns more about astrology, his façade starts to break and he finally starts being true to himself. He finally realizes that Annabelle is really what he wants. His strong narrative truly portrays him as a practical, pensive character despite his faults.

Witty, passionate, and understanding, Annabelle is a well-developed character that emanates a cheerful personality, but is truly sensitive inside. She keeps her emotions well-hidden from the others, but the reader will unequivocally feel her emotions and heartache stirring within her as she struggles with Pete throughout the novel. Her viewpoint is optimistic at first, but as her friendship with Pete dissipates, so does her optimism. And even though their chemistry is palpable from the beginning, both Annabelle and Pete refuse to accept one another.

Astrology and baseball are extremely significant in The Star Shack, the combination of these two very different subjects is connected creatively and tangibly. Here, the idea of astrology is strongly questioned by Pete, and is strongly believed by Annabelle. Both sides are argued well with baseball incorporated into it. Lila Castle smoothly brings controversial topics into this entertaining novel and immediately sparks interest into the subject.

The Star Shack is a balanced, introspective read that makes readers reflect and muse about the subjects presented here. The great chemistry between the characters, the relaxed and easy tone of the book, and the fun concept of astrology and baseball, all pull together to contrive a beautifully written, perfect summer read. (A+)

The Bottom Line: Truly the perfect book for the beach =)

---Field Report---
Originality: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 96/100 (A+)
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