Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Haiti Relief Fund Auction Coming Soon! Books, ARCs, Critiques Galore!!!

Hi guys!

I'm planning to have an auction-month for October/November in which I will organize the auction on my blog to help raise money for the Haiti Relief Fund.

In order to organize the auctions to help raise money, I was hoping to be able to get donations from you all! I would be ever so thankful if you all would help out Haiti! Here are some guidelines for if you want to donate! I'm looking for about 50+ auctions if possible! Thank you so so much!

What can you donate?
-Critiques (no minimum or maximum length)
-ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies): signed or unsigned
-Your Book: signed or unsigned
-Annotated/Marked-up copy of your book/ARC
-A combination of any of the above =)

How will it work?
-When you choose to donate, I will post the auctions up starting October/November and when the highest bidder has won and payed, I will send his/her address for you to send the prize!

-100% will be donated IN A LUMP SUM to the Haiti Relief  Fund for Onedayswages.org
(I will show the PayPal receipt as proof)

Thank you so much! If you know anybody else who would be willing to help! Please ask them to do so and forward this email! My contact email is regietc@gmail.com and I am so grateful for all your help! Thank you so much!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Please do not listen to Wesley Scroggins. #SpeakLoudly

Wesley Scroggins is a delusional guy, trying to ban books like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Why? Because he is SO close-minded and just doesn't understand that times are changing, spotlighting big-deal issues that weren't so spotlighted before. As a Catholic who goes to Church every Sunday, my faith in God so strong, I don't think that he has the right to call Speak or Twenty Boy Summer 'soft pornography'. It's just so wrong.

I've read both of these books and this is a topic that I feel so strongly about, I couldn't hold it in any longer. I've listened to girls ranting about Speak, not realizing (until I actually read it) why it was so great. When I read it, I finally understood.

Speak helps young girls. Speak helps victimized young adults SPEAK UP. Speak teaches a good message to STAND UP FOR YOURSELF.

So why on earth does this guy Scroggins want to ban a book that ACTUALLY HELPS PEOPLE? Isn't it his job as an educator, as a citizen to HELP?

He's also saying this is wrong: "children at the middle school are being introduced to concepts such as homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex and specific instructions on how to use a condom and have sex." But I have to ask, how is this wrong? I know people in the 6th grade who've already had sex! I know my classmates are having it, why shouldn't we be educated about keeping ourselves safer? Sure abstinence is also taught, but this is the REAL WORLD.

On Twenty Boy Summer on the other hand, one of my favorite books, he says: "This book glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong. In this book, drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex. I confronted the school board with these issues at the June school board meeting" He completely MISLEADS people to believe that this is all that Twenty Boy Summer is all about. But it is so much more. It's about getting over grief, learning to trust again, and living life to the fullest. It is such an emotional book that everyone will relate to.

Speak up guys! Who is Wesley Scroggins to decide what we should read and what not to read? In letting him win, he is taking our right to make our own decisions. He is depriving us of our right of freedom.

Bloggers, SPEAK UP!
CJ Redwine has written a completely heart-wretching post about this and how Speak has affected her personally. Please read it.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shay Doran is AMAZING.

Hey guys!

A few days ago, I got a package, and inside was box. The box contained ripped pages from a book and a really cool flower with a key! The key was a USB that contained some totally awesome stuff that pertained to Shay Doran, from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer! Boy, was I excited when I watched the first video! OMG =) I don't have pictures right now, but I might post some later! Shay has a web show and it is totally off the hook! Here are the first four episodes! He's AMAZING. It's called Shadow Days and it is soooo COOLIO.

Hope y'all love the web show as much as I do! *SWOON* =))))))

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Title: The Duff
Author: Kody Keplinger
Pages: 288

Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: September 7, 2010

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
DUFF = Designated Ugly Fat Friend. DUFF = Bianca Piper...or at least that's what she thinks. When Wesley Rush, playboy extraordinaire, defines that she is a DUFF, it's just one more problem to think about. Her parents' divorce, her dad's leap back into alcohol, and her friendships crumbling are all problems in her life. And when she finds her escape in Wesley, creating a rivals-with-benefits relationship with him, she falls into a web of lies, confusion, and conflict. Has she had enough? Will her life finally crumble to pieces? Or will she realize that love is right there the whole time?

Full of sarcasm, wit, and humor, The Duff ferociously grabs readers with its sharp dialogue, deep insight, and original characters. The gritty reality that Keplinger embeds in The Duff is raw and vivid, completely penetrating the psyche of a teenager; full of angst, drama, and confusion. The concept of perceptions of beauty is unnervingly acknowledged in the novel, confronting problems and issues in current society. Accepting face-value is a another idea that is thoroughly explored in The Duff, amidst the skewed impressions of beauty.

Bianca remains consistent and true to her character through the development of the novel. Her personality is immediately grasped from the very beginning; cynical, sassy, and independent. But underneath her exterior, is a conflicted and confused teenager, using her quips and sharp remarks to hide behind. She is detached and disconnected towards her relationships but her insight give the reader a deep take on the immense scrutiny that teenagers have to deal with in reality. Biana's first-hand narration on her parents' divorce was extremely realistic and vivid, also recognizing alcoholism, and home violence in the process. Bianca's strong backbone is admirable and the snarky humor attached to her provides a balance of fun--in the midst of so much drama--for the reader.

Wesley's character stays strong as well, and his big ego is tangible through his flirty actions and words. The banter between him and Bianca is always clever and interesting. Though he may seem like the ultimate player; disrespectful, and detached--just like Bianca--Keplinger carefully unravels each layer, revealing the secrets and problems he keeps. As his fervent romantic relationship with Bianca turns into more, he starts to doubt what he really wants. His ulterior façade of popularity and perfection hides his familial problems and the inner-battles raging within him.

Loyal, and always reliable, Casey and Jessica are both endearing and hilarious. Casey is always fun-loving and supportive while Jessica is constantly optimistic and uplifting. Casey and Jessica are two completely different people, and yet, the relationship that Keplinger has built between them and Bianca is inspiring and strong. Both three-dimensional characters have their own problems, spotlighting attention on them as well.

With a fresh writing style and edgy characters, Keplinger's tenacious and impactful writing fearlessly explores controversial issues that are still hard-to-grasp today. Keplinger's bona fide prose delves deeper into themes of casual sex, alcohol abuse, violence, and teen-pregnancy without straying from a YA tone, as well as recognizing the consequences. These themes and concepts are introduced and probed tactfully with an authentic teenage mindset.

The Duff is a powerful, realistic, contemporary novel that isn't afraid to push the boundaries of teen life. Based upon the term 'Duff = Designated Ugly Fat Friend', Keplinger writes a book so completely and utterly true. The Duff completely envelopes the reader in an searingly honest take of a journey through heartbreak, love, and friendship.

The Bottom Line: So emotionally-demanding. So relatable. It's called real life.

---Field Report---
Originality: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 9/10
Imagery: 9/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 9/10
Total Score: 96/100 (A+)
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Hungry for HarperTeen Contest!!! *INTERNATIONAL*

Hey guys! TUBL has been rather quiet the past few weeks don't you think? That's because blogging took a backseat to school for a little while. Now that I've figured out how to juggle both, I'd like to start anew with this contest!

There will be ONE winner who will win ONE of the prize packs below. This contest in international, but only to where the Book Depository ships to. If I reach 2000 followers, there will be another winner.


Note: These books will be finished copies from BookDepo.

Fill in the form:

-Open to EVERYONE (whom the Book Depository ships to)!
-This contest will end on October 15 at 4pm (GMT+8) unless this contest doesn't meet at least 35-40 entrants...then, it will be extended.
-Contest Policy applies.
-I will use The Contest Winner Picker for picking the winners for this contest.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Crescendo (Book 2)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Pages: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: October 19, 2010

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

Nora's life is in shambles. Her relationship with Patch is shattering, her father's murder still haunts her, and a new secret society is hot on her heels. With everything not making sense, she forces herself to find the pieces of the puzzle to the mysteries and secrets of her life. What she finds about Patch is shocking, and more so the truth about her father's death. Will the angels finally tear Patch and Nora apart? Or are they willing to sacrifice everything to be together?

Electrifying, edgy, and emotionally-charged, Crescendo plunges readers into an intoxicating plot of action-filled, striking drama that will leave people completely breathless. The world that Fitzpatrick has forged in Hush, Hush, is further developed with its vivid imagery and thought-provoking flashbacks that have the reader grasping for more, and at the same time, solidifying the mythological concepts in the novel. The conceptualized details and themes are infused tastefully and not to overwhelm the reader, making this sequel an elaborate and intriguing look on angel mythology.

Nora's character in Crescendo is bolder, taking more daring risks than before, and audaciously confronting Patch a number of times. Her primary goal is to figure out the mystery of her father's murder and learn why Patch is slowly pulling away from her. Her determination and perseverance pushes her to find out for herself, but not understanding the dangers that are potent. In her narration, Nora is mature and independent for her age, especially because of what she has been through, and she is perceptive to those around her, but sometimes over-analyzing them. At her core, she is truthfully a practical albeit insecure person who has to deal with the lies, mysteries, and betrayal that surrounds her life.

Externally, Patch is portrayed as a bad-boy with a knack for trouble. His flirty quips and erratic behavior conveys him as the bad-boy stereotype. But as his character develops more fully throughout Crescendo, his love for Nora becomes more palpable and believable. Although he can be manipulative in some ways, he still has his pure values in heart. His constant guard makes him seem distant, but internally, he is fighting for Nora and isn't afraid to put her before himself.

Patch and Nora's relationship in Crescendo is more physical, as well as more emotionally explosive. The secrets that come between them complicate things even more, and eventually forces them apart. As Nora questions Patch's faithfulness, she is made more vulnerable to jealousy and resentment. This renders her as a flawed character, convincing and realistic, making Crescendo exceedingly relative and grounded.

Captivating, riveting, and mysterious, readers will surely gravitate to Fitzpatrick's strong prose. Fitzpatrick's writing emanates a thrilling, dark tone, deriving an intense, tension-ridden atmosphere. Fitzpatrick manages to capture real-life concepts such as decision-making, and relationships as well as adhere a supernatural environment.

Crescendo is a seductive, witty novel that immediately catapults readers into Fitzpatrick's well-developed world of angels and nephilims; a world where anything is possible. With a sensational romance, a staggering plot, and expressive characters, Fitzpatrick finally brings Crescendo to a temporary close with a stunning cliff-hanger.

The Bottom Line: Hush, Hush was a FANTASTIC book. Crescendo is even better.

---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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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Author Uncovered: Rachel Vincent (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Let's all welcome Rachel Vincent, author of the My Soul to... Series! It's an amazing series that I'm completely enthralled with!

How does it feel like, knowing that your books are on bookshelves in bookstores all around the world?
It feels great. Also, kind of stressful. But in the best possible way. ;-)

Who or what is your biggest influence as a writer?
That would probably be Stephen King. I don't know that my style was actually influenced by his, but he's my favorite writer, and from a young age, I was captivated by the worlds he creates, and I wanted to be able to do the same thing with my own writing.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?
No. I never base my characters on anyone real, because I don't feel like I have the right to do that. I'd hate for someone I actually know to think I portrayed them badly in a story--now immortalized for the life of that book. So my characters are all made up, based on what I need for that particular story. ;-)

Rejection letters from publishers -- do you save them or throw them?
I actually only personally got one rejection letter from a publisher, and I think I still have that. Somewhere. Maybe. But the good thing about signing with a literary agent is that s/he gets the rejection letters, and I've never asked to have any of them forwarded. There are only a handful anyway, and they kind of cease to matter, once you have offers on the table from someone else. ;-)

But I do have several rejections from agents, from several years ago. Those were pretty frustrating.

How are you and Kaylee alike? How are you different?
Um... Kaylee's social standing at the beginning of the book is a lot like mine was in highschool. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't a pariah either. I had close friends, and that was enough. I dated more than she has, though.

Other than that, we don't have much in common. I'm not a banshee, thank goodness. ;-) Her life is much harder than mine was in highschool.

My Soul to Take sounds completely original. How did you come up with the plot?
Once I decided I wanted to write about bean sidhes (banshees) I spent a lot of time filling in the blanks--details that the original folklore doesn't give. Like the purpose of a bean sidhe's wail. I decided all that screaming had to be about more than simply mourning the dead. Brainstorming my Soul Screamers world was the most fun I've ever had with my job. I let my imagination go completely wild, and once I knew what bean sidhes are really doing when they scream, the plot came naturally. It was simply a matter of asking, "How could this possibly go wrong?" And there you have it!

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Several people have told me that my books (my adult series) were the first they ever finished by choice. They said they hadn't read a book since they were forced to in high school, until they found my Shifters series. That completely stunned me. I was blown away, and suddenly I saw my job as being about more than just entertainment, though that's chiefly what I do. ;-)

What do you see are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
Um... I think I'm a pretty good plotter, and I think I portray strong emotion pretty well. People tend to think of my characters as real, and they get mad at me when bad things happen to characters they love!

My weaknesses... I'm not good at creating ambiguous bad guys--yet. My bad guys tend to be truly bad, and not the least bit sympathetic. I'm working on creating bad guys whose goals are simply at odds with my main characters goals, but that's really hard. I naturally tend toward bad guys who are truly evil. ;-)

If you weren't an author, what would you like to be?
I don't know! I taught ninth grade English for a very short while, but writing is where I feel like I belong. Guess I better make sure this gig pans out, huh? ;-)

Do you have any upcoming books?
Oh yes! In the Soul Screamers series:

My Soul to Save (book 2) Jan 1, 2010
My Soul to Keep (book 3) June 1, 2010

In my (adult) Shifters series:

Shift (book 5) March 1, 2010
Alpha (book 6) Oct. 1, 2010

What's a favorite piece of advice you like to give to young writers?
Keep writing, no matter what. Channel whatever you're feeling into a story and harness your emotion. That's what gives your prose power and meaning.
Thank you so much for having me, Reggie!
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Author Uncovered: Jennifer Hubbard (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Let's welcome Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year! She's an early 2010 author that completely blew people away with her debut novel!

Did you always want to become an author?
Yes, ever since I could read. I made my own picture books when I was little.

What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an author?
I've always had an ear for dialogue. I'm not as good at description; I really have to pay attention so that my characters don't float invisibly in space, but are people you can visualize in a vivid setting.

What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
I love when readers talk about characters as if they're real people: when they argue about what they would do in hypothetical situations, or about what should've happened. My first critiquers had very strong opinions about whom Colt should be with at the end of The Secret Year--but they didn't all agree!

Do you have any must-haves when you're writing?
Not really. I prefer to write on the computer in my home office, with music on, and a glass of water and dark chocolate within reach. But I have written on trains, on beaches, on airplanes, in hotel rooms. I can write longhand when I have to.

How does it feel like, knowing your books are going to be on those bookshelves in a bookstore?
It's still difficult to imagine. But I will be right next to Mandy Hubbard, author of Prada and Prejudice (no, we're not related, but we're friends through the Debut 2009 community), so it will be fun to have a friend "next door!"

Did you base any of your characters on real people?
I deliberately avoid basing characters on real people. But the black-and-white TV in The Secret Year is based on a real black-and-white TV that my husband owned until recently. The shell in Colt's room is based on a shell in my writing office (although I, unlike Colt, have seen the ocean many times). All the books mentioned in The Secret Year--Kerouac's Desolation Angels, Krakauer's Into the Wild, Heller's Catch-22, Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye--are real, and I've read them all.

What are your ten, most favorite things?
I decided to narrow this down and give you ten spectacular places, in no particular order: Paradise, Washington; Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah; Cannon Beach, Oregon; Rome, Italy; Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; Reykjanesviti, Iceland; Sorrento, Italy; Mount Saint Helens National Monument, Washington; Glacier National Park, Montana; Glen Aulin and May Lake camps in Yosemite National Park, California. I would need ten times as much room to list all the great places I've seen, but those are a few!

Do you have any upcoming books apart from The Secret Year? Are you working on something else?
I'm always working on something. I do have projects underway, but nothing with a concrete publication schedule at this point.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Author Uncovered: Shannon Greenland (Author Interview)

Hey guys! Here's a short Q&A with Shannon Greenland, author of The Specialists series! It's one of my ultimate guilty pleasure reads!!!

Morning person or night owl?
Definitely morning!

Any nicknames we might come across if we looked into your past?
Yep. My family and some childhood friends call me Nay Nay.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?
All my characters are built on bits and pieces of actual people I meet. I take a little bit of this person and a little bit of that person and combine it with some fictitious details and wa-la a character is born.

Rejection letters from publishers --save them or throw them?
Save them definitely. I used them as a learning tool. Also, I keep detailed files of everything so I can reflect back and remember things.

How are you and GiGi alike? How are you different?
We’re both low in the common sense arena, both sometimes a little too smart for our britches and definitely klutzy!

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
I love fan mail that comes in capital letters and lots of exclamation points. It shows the readers’ enthusiasm. Like: OMG, I FREAKING LOVE YOUR STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Lol, I love that!)

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