Monday, June 30, 2008

Breaking Dawn Break Down

Hey everyone, hope you're all having a great Monday! (It's Monday, so how can it be, huh? But it's also vacation time for us high schoolers, so...!)


Fellow blogger (and my best friend) Ambeen and I will be running a contest to win a preordered copy of Breaking Dawn. Keep in mind this doesn't mean advance -- we are reviewers, and we do get some early copies of some books, but not of this one. (They aren't even distributing ARCs of it, actually.)

So this means I'll pay for the book, but it'll only get there whenever Amazon dispatches it. Got it?

NOW. This contest is not like others I've run on my blog. Ambeen is participating because she's going to help me judge the entries... hehe :)

Contest Theme: Floor a 100-year-old vampire. (This means Edward.)

What must you do?
You have to think of pick up lines you'd use on Edward. They have to be good. They have to get him away from that Bella creep.

What do you do to try your lines out? Send your entries to bdbd (at) Subject line MUST BE "Contest Entry". If it's not, entry is disqualified.

Any rules you should know about? Yes, of course:
- Only one entry per email. You may enter as many times as you'd like, but you have to send different emails in.

- No lame pick up lines

Until when is the contest open? Wednesday, 12AM central.

NOTE: This is phase one. You should receive a confirmation email to EVERY entry you send in (in SEPARATE EMAIL MESSAGES). If you don't receive a confirmation message within eight hours of your submission, RESEND.

Phase 2 begins on Thursday. You'll get details of that then.

Do not comment on here unless you have a question or you want to send us a link to someplace you advertised. Advertisement won't help you in Phase 1, but if you make it to Phase 2, it could help you quite a lot.

Judgment Criteria:
- Creativity
- Originality
- Hilarity
... basically, if it makes us piss our pants, that's a good sign.

This contest is subjective -- Ambeen's taste and mine. It's not a random drawing. Phase 2 is where you get to make your voices heard.

Got it?


bdbd at

$15 Giftcard Winner Is...


Anilee, email me, please, with which online retailer you'd like!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reviewing Is Not For Freaks. Hello.

Hey, hey, lovely people! How art thou? (Thee? How do these Shakespearean expressions work?) I'm fabulous. About to post something on about Paper Towns, for those interested. I've just arrived home once again and commenced my usual rounds of web browsing and reading like the dork I am. Oh! And this reminds me! I have a topic to blog about other than myself!

The Selfish Steph alter ego (or, main "ego", as the case may be) is growling at this. She likes talking about herself. But whatev, some duct tape oughta shut that bitch up. *squee!*

Anyway, it's recently come to my attention that people have this preconceived, somewhat negative depending on how you look at it, view of people who are fond of reading. I mean, I've always gotten some weird looks when I bring a new book to school to read between classes. But now that I've turned to reviewing, people are always looking at the cover of some of my ARCs are going, "Why do you have an 'Advance Uncorrected Proofs' of such-and-such books?"

Now. I am not in the slightest shy of my reading habits. Why would I be, when the activity that proliferates my fellow peers' afternoon schedules typically involve things that they can't do in front of most adults? I mean, I have a busy schedule, y'know, and I like being able to perform my hobbies while waiting for my turn at the orthodontist's office. Coming in straddling my boyfriend or doing lines at the waiting area won't earn me a lot of smiles.

But, there's just no way in hell, earth or heaven that I'll ever, under any circumstances, allow them to see my review site. Just, no. This is a nice, positive space for me to connect with people who like reading, authors, publicists, and freaky stalker dudes, and allowing people at school to see every word I write on here is not even an option.

It'd hinder my process.
Cramp my style.
Rain on my parade.
(Insert ancient expression here.)

So I just say, "Oh, I'm on (publisher) beta reader list. Like, I tell them if the book sucks or not and they get a better idea of how the targeted audience might react to their product." Which isn't so far from the truth.

Keep in mind that I don't live in the US and in the country where I live reading isn't as big as it is there. I'm the only big reader in my class of 100.

Anyway, I'm usually met with, "That's cool... So you read, like, a lot."

To which I always respond, "Yup."

"Like, how many books a month?"

"Depends. On a really good month, maybe 20?"

I swear, you'd think I said I'm into S&M. Like, their eyes bulge out in epic proportions. And then their gaze alternates between me and whatever book I'm holding and trying to get back to. And then they're like, "That's so unlike you."

This usually gets my interest. "Whaddya mean?"

"Like, you're such a crazy party chick. I wouldn't have thought you're into sitting around and reading for hours and hours. Like, it's something that nerds do, you know."

I must give them credit here. You know that girl that always jumps up when she sees someone she recognizes, and I mean anyone and everyone, and goes over to hug the hell out of them as a form of "hello"? Someone who likes screaming more than talking and who is always, always, always cracking jokes in the back of the room while the precalc teacher drones on and on about bijector, surjector and injector functions? Someone who goes to parties to actually dance, not stand around waiting to be begged to dance only to decline all the kindred souls trying to get them involved? The person who is doing the persuading to the people in the sidelines?

That's me. And I believe the stereotype that follows people like me is something along the lines of, "Suuuuuuper wild, in every sense of the word, and dim, dumb, stupid. Oh, and superficial."

Well. My grades aren't spectacular most of the time, but I manage. I got in to the prep school I go to with a scholarship that covers nearly all of the tuition, through an exam which 600 people took in my round (there were two rounds), which I got 3rd place on.

I go to a lot of parties and drink and dance (dance to electronica, that is - I don't know how to "shake what mah mama gave me", so don't worry about finding scary grinding videos of me on YouTube), and do all that other teenager crap, but I'm not a crackwhore. My parents know this, and they allow me to do it all because it's good figuring out your boundaries early on. Saves you a lifetime of trouble later on when you go and get drunk for the first time in front of your friends, when you don't know your alcohol tolerance yet, and make a fool of yourself. Or worse. (If you disagree, know this is my personal opinion, developed by my family's values. Don't dwell on it.)

Superficial? As opposed to what? Give me a point of reference. Compared to Plato, I'm a one-inch-deep pond. Compared to an amoeba, I'm the deepest of oceans. This is relative.

I'm also the person who most uses the expressions, "Omigod!!" "like", "whatever", etc. etc. etc. to boot.

I usually reply with something like, "Reading doesn't make me a loser, ya know!" and then make some sort of cute face, like :P

Then the person goes all, "But how do you find the time?"

"Insomnia. 99% of what I read is read between 1 and 4AM. It's something to do."

"So, like, you sleep in the afternoon?"


"When do you sleep?"

"After three or four days sleeping two-to-four hours, I crash one day and recuperate all of my strengths."


And so the cycle of "so, like, you read but, like, you're not an alien" continues. It annoys me. What, I can't read and be social? I can't enjoy fictional worlds apart from Harry Potter's (which is popular even around these parts) and not be a recluse?

So, in conclusion, I'd just like to say that if you think you've got a person pegged as a stereotypical blonde or the derogatory likes, they may come and surprise you with an all out, all-geeked up book review site much like mine. It doesn't mean we're those nerds Hollywood is only so happy to promote the image of. It doesn't mean we're the losers even books themselves make us out to be. It doesn't mean we're freaks from Krypton.

What it may mean is that we're even cooler, more experienced, more articulate, and more secular savvy than you. ;)

Now I must be on my way to Glow In The Spark, so if you'll excuse me...

Reviewer Profile: Liv's Book Reviews

Yay for scheduled posts! Am still away =) Back later tonight. Anyway:

On to Reviewer Profile Saturday! Authors, Reviewer Profiles are to help you get to know reviewers better. Reviewers, if you're interested in getting profiled, please click here to read the info post and email me.

This week's spotlight = Liv's Book Reviews!

Take a wild guess...
Alias: Liv
Headquarters: :)
Mission: To promote the love of books and get people interested in reading.
Genres: YA of course, with some romance and urban books added to that.

What's your occupation by day?

A student. And one who happens to get higher than average amounts of homework. Ugh.

What made you decide to tackle this whole blog reviewer biz?

Well, I love reading and before, whenever I would read a book I wouldn't be able to remember a thing about it the day afterwards. I started blogging so that I'd actually be able to digest the books that I read and be able to remember what they were about later on.

What are your blog's strong points?

I always feel so weird complimenting myself, but I guess I would say that with my blog I'm honest and say what I really think. Also, my blog is kind of matchey-matchey. I like the color scheme. :P

What are the best aspects of being a reviewer?

Getting to cyber-meet new people! And it's just a great way to put what you think out there so other people can see it. I also love getting emails from authors and other reviewers. It's so much fun to hear what people think of my reviews and my blog.

In your opinion, where lies the heart of a good book?

Ooh. I would say that for a book to be amazing, it needs to have an author that can relate to teens. An author who can create realistic characters. So I think the characters are pretty much the most important part. If you have bad characters, you're going to have a boring book.

What books rocked your world? Which authors?

Oh wow. Well, my funny story is that up until last summer I hadn't read any of the Harry Potter books. I tried to way back in second grade and got so scared in the second book that I couldn't pick one of them up with out being freaked out. But in August I figured that since the Deathly Hallows had just come out, I had to give the books another chance, now that I was older. Way older. Old enough to handle scary dementors. I hoped. And so then I read all of the Harry Potter books in two weeks and they pretty much rocked my world to infinity and beyond. I now understand all the hype about them. :P But besides Harry Potter, I loved the Uglies series, and a bunch of Sarah Dessen's books. Some books that I read recently that I've liked are Perfect You, Life As We Knew It, The Elite, Airhead and Vampire Academy.

As for authors, there are a ton of them; Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, Cassandra Clare, Jennifer Banash, and so many more.

What are some of your other passions and interests?

I love to swim. I'm on a year round team, and I'm not super amazing, but I'm able to get down the pool in good time. :) I also love biking outside, especially at this time of year. Um, I have a passion for chai tea! Ha. I've gone to tons of coffee shops on the quest to find the perfect chai and the closest I've come is this little cafe near my house. The tea there is so thick and vanilla-y and wonderful. Yum.

Can you roll your tongue or do other nifty stuff?

Yes, I can roll my tongue, and I can also touch my nose with it. But that's not so unusual is it? Other than that, I don't think I can do anything else that's too interesting. No double-joints or mutations. :P

What music puts the rock to your roll? Any movies you can watch over and over again and not get bored? TV shows?

I love, love, love music!

Some of my favorite CD's are: Little Voice - Sara Bareilles (<3), I Will - Mozella, Coco - Colbie Caillat, Eye To The Telescope - KT Tunstall, Life In Cartoon Motion - MIKA, One Cell In The Sea - A Fine Frenzy, and Introducing Joss Stone - Joss Stone.

Some recent movies that I've seen and loved are 27 Dresses, August Rush, and The Bucket List. I think I sobbed through the last 15 minutes of the Bucket List. It's a super amazing movie. And I confess, that when I'm bored, I'll put High School Musical into the DVD player. Come on though, it doesn't get much better than watching a bunch of high schoolers sing and dance their way through their troubles. There's something just a little addicting about that. :D

And as for TV shows, I like American Idol and Gilmore Girls. I'm so sad Gilmore Girls got canceled!

Young Adult or death?

Young adult for sure! I could live off YA books.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Author Interview: Annette Curtis Klause (!!!!!!!!)

Hey, everyone! If you read my previous post, you know that I am not actually here posting this. It's scheduled posting. Sorry for the petulant repetition of this trivial tidbit -- I feel important saying it. :)

Anyway, I am so, so, so excited to be posting this particular interview. Originally, it was part of an Author Week, but I felt that reviewing Annette's books was inappropriate for a number of reasons, some of which include 1) the fact the ones I'd picked to review, Silver Kiss and Blood and Chocolate, were released a few years back and reviewing books of a certain age is like kicking a dead horse, and 2) nothing I say could possibly do them justice. They're cultural reading (MUST-READS to werewolf/vampire fans).

In conclusion: This interview carries a certain weight, even if it's not packaged in with an Author Week.

(Note: Blogger likes to screw up pictures, which is why I am not scheduling a picture-filled post. I might go back and add a little visual aid, but for now, enjoy this in all its plain-text glory :P)

Author Interview: Annette Curtis Klause

On Writing

Could you describe your path to publication?

Yikes! I’ll try to streamline that. I’ve written since I was a young child—stories and poetry and snippets—and I kept notebooks of my work, an books I wrote and taped together to look like real books. I had a few poems published in school magazines, growing up. In college, I was in poetry workshops and had some poems published in college magazines. After college I had some poetry published in a few small magazines, many of them science fiction oriented, and I began to write short stories which were rejected if I submitted them. After I became a children’s librarian, I joined a workshop on writing for children. Then I had a writing teacher who talked me into writing a novel. That was The Silver Kiss. See: “I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if not for---“

Your book, Blood and Chocolate, was made into a major motion picture. What was the experience like? How did you like the film?

Up Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up Down


It was exciting to have the book optioned although the contract was terrifying (I did retain stage rights but have no control over theme park rides or lunch boxes *grin*), then nothing happened much for years, except the option was renewed periodically and I received some money. MGM even dropped the option for a few months then quickly picked up again. Directors came and went. Still nothing. The producer stopped sending me scripts—maybe because I was too “helpful” in my suggestions.

Ten years later, the movie suddenly took off. No one from the studio told me about this. My husband and I kept an eye on the Internet and that’s how we found out. A new director came on board, and she looked interesting; she seemed feminist. Cool. Then BAM! The Internet Movie Database restored the entry for the movie and names were added to the crew! There was a best boy grip, a contact lens maker, a wolf wrangler! Every time a new position was added, we would look the person up. Then the cast began to expand. I wasn’t thrilled with all the choices, but I was willing to wait and see. (I didn’t have much choice, actually). I had no idea what the new script was like except Ehren Kruger had written it and I liked some of his movies. After a while some pictures began to leak, and there was information in German on the director’s fan website.

Then there was an English version of the website. People started talking about the movie on-line—they said things that in turns depressed me, elated me, and worried me. It seemed there was a fan base out there that was not pleased with the direction the movie was taking, although most people didn’t blame me. Good, because I didn’t have any control and no one told me anything. I was basically ignored by the people making the movie. No one kept me abreast of what was happening, I wasn’t invited to the filming and I was never even invited to a showing. The only way I got to see the movie was a friend who has a comic book shop gave me some free tickets he was given by a promoter. This was kind of pathetic.

I was still willing to like the movie, though. I really tried to like the movie. But the further into the movie I watched the more depressed I became. I could have dealt with them making the characters older and changing the setting, even though that missed the point of the book, but they totally changed my ending and made the mundane, predictable choice, and took away Vivian’s joy in being a werewolf, which was unforgivable. Sigh! I liked the actor who played Rafe (Bryan Dick)—even if he was totally over the top, at least he seemed to b enjoying himself.Your first book, The Silver Kiss, was published in 1990 and it was about vampires.

Vampires are currently a huge trend in the YA market. Back when you wrote The Silver Kiss, was it the same?

No, there was just me. I guess I started it all—sadly, I didn’t get the big bucks that the hot vamp authors now get.

Being originally from England, do you write using British English or American English spellings? (sorry, couldn't resist!)

It depends—I can’t spell very well in either English or American so YAY for spell check programs.

How long does it take you to finish a book?

Too long! I think most people would agree with me there. There is no standard answer to that, really. Each book has its own time. Some of the creating is done before I even actually touch the keyboard and each book has its own length of time before it reaches critical mass and I can start to write. I need to know enough about the book to begin—it might be seeing the setting in my head well enough to walk in it, or the character coming alive in my head, or I know the mood or the sound track. Suddenly the book becomes real and I can write. That doesn’t mean I get stuck in ruts along the way. Each book is its own world and has its own time table.

How important is music to your writing? Any artists you especially like and want to give a shout out to?

When I was writing Freaks: Alive, on the Inside I found midi files of calliope music to get me in the mood and discovered a web site that had the sheet music for 19th century songs. I ended up using parts of a few of the songs with circus themes in the book.

I often have a soundtrack in my head as I write or revise. I even taped (that shows how long ago it was) a soundtrack for Blood and Chocolate when I was revising the manuscript and sent a copy to my editor and agent. It had werewolfy songs on it, songs that had Vivian’s attitude, and songs that represented Aiden’s viewpoint, as well as real wolves howling. I included music from a wide time-period. Of course I had to use Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”, but I also included songs by The Ramones, the Stranglers, Nine Inch Nails, Oingo Boingo, The Kinks, and even The Loving Spoonful to represent Aiden’s point of view (“Do You Believe in Magic”). “Brass in Pocket” and “Night in My Veins” by The Pretenders especially captured Vivian. That was a while ago and even the newer songs I used seen a bit dated. LOL

One of the books I’m working on right now has an even older soundtrack, though—songs by Tim Buckley (not Jeff, that was his son) and even a little Doors thrown in. If you’ve never heard of Tim Buckley, look him up. He was a brilliant musician with an incredible vocal range who combined rock, soul, folk, and jazz into long, meandering, haunting songs that rip your heart out. He died tragically in the early 70’s at the age of 28. His son, Jeff, also had a beautiful voice and died tragically young.

I often listen to music to get in the mood to write. Recently I’ve been enjoying Amy Winehouse, The Fratellis, and The Libertines, and I always enjoy The Ramones and Green Day (I definitely lean toward punk in its various incarnations). But I sometimes have to turn music off once I start writing, because the words of the songs distract from my own words. Wordless stuff is good though. I really like the soundtrack for Dracula composed by Philip Glass.

I recently discovered the website You can plug in a song or musician you like and it creates a playlist for you. It’s fun to see what it comes up with—sometimes it’s right on the money and other times it hasn’t a clue, but it’s always an adventure. I’ve discovered some interesting modern avant-garde composers that way. Recently I plugged in Arcade Fire and Final Fantasy to discover more experimental indie rock. I like lots of music but don’t keep on top of what’s new right this very second anymore--not enough time—so this is a good way to get a sampling of what’s out there.

What makes a good writer?

Someone who never stops learning, who constantly tries to refine their craft, and doesn’t take their audience for granted.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there?

I’ve answered this question many times, so it’s hard to be original, but this is what I usually say:
Don’t expect anything to be perfect the first time you write it. Even successful published authors have to re-write and revise repeatedly. Let your first draft sit, and then go back to it to see how you can make it better. Take out all the words and phrases you don’t need and streamline as much as possible so the reader is drawn through without stumbling over distractions. Of the words you leave, make sure they are the perfect words for what you mean to say. Sometimes using the perfect word means you can get rid of half a sentence and still say more than you did to begin with.

Share your work with others, especially experienced writers, and don’t let your ego get in the way when you listen to their advice. Sometimes critiques can make a writer feel angry and rejected. Sit on those feelings. Don’t get defensive. Make notes, and then put those notes away. Go back and look at those notes after a cooling off period. Often you will find that they make perfect sense and give you great ides on how to make your work better. Sometimes you discover the person just didn’t get what you were trying to say. Even then, ask yourself why they didn’t get it. Perhaps you need to clarify part of your story. Once you fix the other thing then maybe the point they didn’t get will become understandable. It can happen that a detail is so real to you in your mind that you forget to write it down. Oops! Always feel free to toss out the suggestions that really don’t work for your tale, but give them serious consideration first.

Read, read, read, and figure out what makes the books you love the best work.

What's the best part about being a published writer? The worst?

The best—knowing that other people appreciate what I sweated and dripped blood over.

The worst—oh, the pressure! The pressure! Now I have to write something else just as good or better.

Of the books you've written, which is your favorite?

Argh!!!! That’s so hard to answer. I love them all for different reasons. Maybe Blood and Chocolate because I really identified with Vivian deeper than any of my other characters.

Now, tell us: Does writing for young adults rock or what?

Totally! Teens are the best audience because they can really walk into a book and believe in the characters. The books we read as children and teens stay with us all our lives. I feel like when I’ve made a connection with a reader I am part of that person’s life forever. That’s scary and wonderful all at the same time.

About Yourself

Do you have a British accent? (Again, couldn't resist--I'm fascinated by England!)

Well, I don’t think I have much of a British accent anymore, but some people still notice it. Sometimes they are confused about what accent it is, though. People ask—“Are you from Canada? Are you from Australia? Are you from New England?” LOL

What's your all-time favorite film? TV show?

My mind always goes blank when I am asked this and there’s never just one. Let me try to come up with a few answers and see where it goes—

TV: Dr. Who, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Psych, Dexter, Heroes, The Rockford Files, StarTrek: Deep Space 9, Babylon 5, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Monk, Futurama, South Park, Reaper, My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, Medium, New Amsterdam, Dirt, Chuck, House, The Riches.

Movies: Anything by John Waters, Blade Runner, Alien, 28 Days Later, romantic comedies featuring Hugh Grant (Yeah, who would have known?), Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, The Beast With Five Fingers, The Tingler, The Bodysnatcher, Susperia, Reefer Madness, Freaks, Godzilla vs The Thing, The Mummy both the Boris Karloff and the Brendan Frazier versions, Desperado and other Robert Rodriguez movies, Mae West movies, John Hughes movies, argh!

I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots. I could never choose just one.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Inside my head.

What book has changed your life?

The Silver Kiss because it made me a published novelist.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Geez, I can think of a number of things, none of which I would tell you or allow to be printed on the Internet. Heh heh!

What makes you laugh?

Thinking about some of those crazy things I’ve done.

What makes you cry?

Animal abuse.

What's your biggest fear?

I have so many that I don’t know where to start. I’m a quivering jelly of apprehension and insecurity. Drowning might be one. Never being able to write another book is up top.

What's your most treasured possession?

I’d say my cats except I don’t think of them as possessions but companions. Gifts from my husband. The things I wrote while growing up. My computers. My books. Photographs. If I had to flee the burning house, though, I’d try to get the cats and husband out and screw the possessions. I’m sure there would be things I’d kick myself for leaving behind once the flames went out—but on the spur of the moment…eh!

If you had to pick any other career besides writing, what would it be?

I already have another career. I’m a librarian. I am both a writer and a librarian because of my love of books and of stories.

What are you reading right now? How do you like it? (A little outdated, as this interview was sent back to me early June, but oh well...)

I just finished A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore and thought it hilarious. It manages to be funny and touching at the same time. Mild mannered, second-hand storeowner, Charlie Asher discovers he has a new, unwanted job—as death. I’m now reading a children’s science fiction book called The True Meaning of Smekday which is also hilarious and in the car I’m listening to a fantasy called Endymion Spring.

Fill-in-the-blank time!

In a perfect world,
I would be rich. Okay, that’s not too altruistic, but hey.

Most people would be surprised to find out that I, do not grow fur when the moon in full. You are surprised aren’t you?

Ayesha from She by H. Rider Haggard is my favorite fictional character because she is beautiful, intelligent, powerful, and immortal—and flawed. You have to read the book.

I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for a wonderful writer named Larry Callen who encouraged me to write a novel when it was the last thing on my mind.

I met Larry at a seminar on writing Children’s literature organized by The Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC of which I am now a member. Soon after, I received an invitation to join a writing workshop that he taught. It was in that group, which met in a church, that I first shared with a wider audience my short fantasy stories in which teenaged girls often met with untimely ends. Larry never flinched, although I could tell he was highly amused sometimes at my take on fiction. I soon discovered Larry’s great insight into the writing process and incredible knack of homing right in on the problems of a story. The greatest thing, however, was the way he could point out these problems so gently and positively that you never ever felt criticized or slighted. I learned so much from him.

People dropped out and the church group disbanded after a couple of six-week sessions, but Larry invited me to join another, more established group. But I didn’t drive and I didn’t know how I could attend these meetings at night and get back home at a reasonable time. Larry had the solution right away. He would pick me up from work and take me home after the meeting. Wow! He had that much faith in my writing.

It was Larry who said to me on one of those rides home after writing group, “Annette, your short stories are not short. You want to write a novel.” And it was Larry who would not let me weasel out of doing so and gave me advice every step of the way. So because of him I wrote The Silver Kiss and he even sent it to his own editor to read. She didn’t buy the book but she gave me great advice that improved it and Larry encouraged me to keep on sending it out. I only had to send the manuscript out five more times before it was accepted for publication. The editor said he had never seen a first time manuscript in such great shape. I know that was because of Larry.

(Steph: I knowingly didn't underline the above cos it'd be too long and too hard to read underlined.)

When I'm not writing,
I’m thinking about writing.

I Speak To You From The Grave...


Haha, okay, yeah, not from the grave. But you should know that by the time this post gets put up, it'll have been nearly fourteen hours since I wrote it and scheduled it for publication. Cos see, I'm going away this weekend! (Have gone away, I mean.)

I haven't had time to do ANYTHING this week but study for finals (yes, I am still in school) and, well, as of right now, as you're reading this, as I'm off enjoying myself, I am officially on holidays! Yay!

So anyway: No Young Adult Weekly this week either cos of my lack of time. Sorry! And yes, I haven't picked the winner for the $15 giftcard yet because, one more time with feeling: no time!! Which, ironically enough, gives people more time to enter that contest. I'll be offering double points from now on if anyone posts a BLOG post or bulletin about it (no sidebar contest compilation thingy -- sorry, that's tried and true by this point). That means that instead of +1 to all of your other entries, you get a +2. Remember to link it to me. You can do so in this post's comments area.

Some news for all of you:

I have my own personal blog! It's a play on words! :P There might be random scheduled posts there as well, so if you're ever bored... :)

A fun contest is upcoming... Woot! You'll like this one. At least, I think so.

... and that's all.

Remember: Annette Curtis Klause interview later today!! (Also scheduled posting, in case anyone that's wondering.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Personal Blog

Well, I'm beginning to like this blogging thing quite a bit. Every now and then I go off topic here, and while I'd love to do that a LOT more, I don't think this (Reviewer X place) is the way to go.


Not that exciting really. I created a personal blog. It's located at Cool, huh? On there, I'll post status updates on my reading piles, very weird jokes/thoughts no one but myself will understand, etc. etc. etc. Feel free to venture on there ;)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thank You

Thank you to the person who told their teacher to email me. You know who you are, and you know what this is in relation to. I'd love to thank you personally, so if you'd like, feel free to email me. :)

Peeled by Joan Bauer

Hildy Biddle dreams of being a journalist. A reporter for her high school newspaper, The Core, she’s just waiting for a chance to prove herself. Not content to just cover school issues, Hildy’s drawn to the town’s big story— the haunted old Ludlow house. On the surface, Banesville, USA, seems like such a happy place, but lately, eerie happenings and ghostly sightings are making Hildy take a deeper look. And she suspects the editor of The Bee, the town newspaper, is more interested in selling papers than he is in reporting the facts to a frightened public.

Hildy’s efforts to find out who is really haunting Banesville isn’t making her popular, and she starts wondering if she’s cut out to be a journalist, after all. But she refuses to give up, because, hopefully, the truth will set a few ghosts free.

Grade: B+

(Thank you to JL for this book! I loved it!)

Memorable Quotes/Lines:
You shouldn't quote an ARC, but I will either way. *ahem*

"Courage isn't all it's cracked up to be. I thought it came with some big rush of confidence and adrenaline.

Instead, I just kept moving forward, wondering.

What am I doing?

Is it the right thing?"

(Pages 194-195.)


As of finishing Peeled, I have to say, without a doubt, it’s getting some big smiles la Steph. It appealed to me tremendously to begin with, because of the journalism element and the fact it’s set in the country. No need to say more—I love tranquil stories and nothing like a little country haze to get effect.

Onward. I’m going to try this new thing where I’ll say the bad things before the positive, so I can end this review on a good note. (After all, I’d hate to go the other way and have a bittersweet ending; this is supposed to be a positive review.)

The character development was a little off. I’m not one to get all judgmental about showing and telling and all those perceived be-all-and-end-all writing rules1 but I do think Joan Bauer could’ve expanded some scenes in order to achieve a cast filled with defined, distinct voices. (This is especially true with Zack—I’d love to know some more about him.) Consequently, because of the shift between drawing on some traits instead of letting the characters grow into them, their interaction also suffered.

That said, I really loved Hildy. She was strong and knew the true feeling that often accompanies bravery is uncertainty, not confidence. She was interesting by her own virtue and her own conviction, because of what was inside of her. It was refreshing to see a character who didn’t curse, who didn’t drink, who didn’t smoke or snort up crap. A character who, when presented with a social problem that threatened her entire town, did not turn unto herself and cause internal damage but rather fought for the values and life she was given.

Which brings me to the plot. Could this be any more pertinent to us teens? I would love to see some more thoughtful and thought-provoking stories such as this one. I won’t give away any of the setup—the book description says enough. All I’m saying is: If you’re looking for something that touches on politics and social dilemmas, this book = perfect for you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get A Load Of Me! (I'm Not Poisonous, I Swear.)

Yo, people. (I'm trying my hand at "yo". I don't think I'm cut out to use that word -- my jeans don't ride low enough ...)

Guess who just got INTERVIEWED (yes, yes, interviewed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) at Class of 2k8. Me!! And others did, too! And it's a party! And it's a blast! And it's too cool for mere humans, which is why we book-lovers must take it over!

The path to righteousness:

Sorry, I know it's pretentious to link to my own interview as a "starting point", but meh -- first time I got interviewed ever, and it might never happen again, so woot!

And if you comment on there, you're entered to win an ARC of Undone (!!!!!!!!) by Brooke Taylor. Which I have: read, signed & fabulous. So go enter!

THANK YOU, CLASS OF 2k8!!!!!!!!!!

(I kind of hate too many !s, but it's justified here, right? :P)

ETA: Enter on the Class of 2k8 blog, guys (girls...), not in the comments section here!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

Grade: A // EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Memorable Quotes:

How about the entire damn book? Seriously, there are too many, so I’ll just link to the excerpt so you can get a real taste of this novel. Behold, the fountain of youth:c


(Side note: Did anyone notice some (okay, a lot of) typos in this book? A glaring one is the fact Evan’s new girlfriend’s name changes from Kayleigh to Ashleigh on the last two pages...)



Audrey, Wait! is fucking awesome. I hope we can aptly conclude how much thought I’m putting behind that statement, given this is the first time I’ve outright cursed on this blog. (Which is surprising, actually, as I’m such a potty mouth.)

When I started this book, I was expecting great things because of all the glowing reviews it’d received. I went out of my way to buy it, too, which isn’t something I do often. Some people have been saying this book is fantastic from the get-go. I agree the first chapter is positively charming. It is. But then chapter two slowed down, and I was afraid of continuing on, because I was afraid the rest would go downhill, la too many books to remember, let alone list.

Turns out I could not be more wrong. The "slow down" was actually not as slow as I figured (how did I reach that conclusion?), and as soon as I got past this perceived bump on the road, the book charged forward with such flair, such candor, and a voice that just won’t quit. The writing could not be more pitch-perfect (and though there’s a lot of cursing—not a problem with me, but with others it’ll be, I’m sure—the profanity! is! perfectly! done!) to a teen’s. While the narrative often reads like the character is enacting a monologue (and most assuredly not a monotonous one), it’s also got this magnetic, readable quality that makes it shine.

And finally, to my favorite part of any review: the characters. Beautiful to the third power, well-drawn, three-dimensional; in short: great. The development was mind-blowing, not only on the part of the main character, the witty Audrey, but also Victoria’s, Jonah’s, and James’s. And, of course, Evan, even though he’s absent for most of the novel. They all—especially Audrey—had this amazing sense of humor that kept me turning pages. Pair this up with the quick pacing and edgy realism, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Robin Benway’s got one hell of a skill on her hand. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. Whatever it is, Robin, please don’t kill it by sticking My Chemical Romance in the middle :P

Monday, June 23, 2008

Think Green

[redacted for a while]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Reviewer Profile: The Story Siren

Name: Kristi
Alias: The Story Siren
Mission: To make reading fun and appealing
Genres: Mostly young adult, with some adult titles

What's your occupation by day?
I graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Health Sciences. My official title is a Dental Assistant. I work at an orthodontic office, so I'm an Orthodontic Technician. I make pretty smile. It was actually one of my patients that recommended Twilight to me. Most of my patients are young adults themselves, so I do get some good ideas from work.

What made you decide to tackle this whole blog reviewer biz?
I actually had a personal blog "Impassioned in Indiana" but I never had any visitors! I really liked blogging and I read all the time, so it just kind of made sense. Thus, The Story Siren was born. And I'm proud to say, my blog actually has visitors!

What are your blog's strong points?
As an insider it's kind of hard to say. I guess there are a lot of things that could be considered good or bad at the same time. I usually post everyday. Which can be a good thing, because there is always something new, but at the same time my posts come and go! I have a lot of contests, I would consider that a good thing all around, except that most of the time I supply the books I give away so it strains my wallet!! I just started Author Tales, which is an author guest blog or interview every thursday, I think that will become one of my stronger points. I don't really think me reviews are the best, I am by no means a professional writer, but we are most critical of ourselves, so my reviews are probably just fine!

What are the best aspects of being a reviewer?
Of course getting to read great books! I also like the aspect of the reviewing community! There are some great reviewers out there! Just the fact that someone reads a book because of my recommendation is probably the greatest aspect of it all.

In your opinion, where lies the heart of a good book?
For me that is something that varies from book to book. Sometimes it is the characters themselves, other times it is the plot. It really just depends. Most of the time for me it is the characters.

What books rocked your world? Which authors?
What a hard question! I guess some of the books that have really gotten to me are; Nineteen Minutes, Twilight, Water for Elephants, The Time Travelers Wife, Just Listen and so many more but those are a least a few. There are so many great authors. This is a list of authors that I love and some that I expect to do great things; Jennifer Banash, Jessica Blank, Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Melissa de la Cruz, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Claudia Gray, Richelle Mead, Stephenie Meyer, Lisa McMann, Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Christopher Paolini, J.K. Rowling, Daniel Waters and so very many more! I hate to only name a few!!!

What are some of your other passions and interests?
When I'm not reading, which is most of time.... I'm an avid scrapbooker! I love to bake, cook, go to the movies, shop, swimming, and walking my dog.

Can you roll your tongue or do other nifty stuff?
I can totally roll my tongue, I can also do the clover trick, where it looks like a three-leafed clover! I can also whistle with my fingers!

What music puts the rock to your roll? Any movies you can watch over and over again and not get bored? TV shows?
I love listening to music, I never leave my house without my Ipod, cell phone and a book!

Artists I am loving at the current moment; Paramore, Boys Like Girls, Secondhand Serenade, We The Kings, Flyleaf, 3 Doors Down, The Veronicas, Breaking Benjamin, OneRepublic, Red Jumpsuit Apparatusm Gwen Stefani, and Nelly Furtado.

Movies; My absolute favorite movie of all time is the Princess Bride! Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly, Becoming Jane, Finding Nemo, Talladega Nights, I love movies really... my favorite genres are comedy, romantic comedy, drama, and action, no scary movies please!

I don't watch much t.v. but my favorite shows are Heroes, Pushing Daisies (is it even coming back) and I enjoy watching the food network!

Young Adult or death?
Hmmm... I think I'll have to go with Young Adult. Although, I read Generation Dead, so maybe I'll go with death and hopefully come back as living impaired..... nah. But seriously, I love the ya genre. I guess I am one of those people who never grew out of it. Secretly I wish my lacking high school experiece would equal something that I've read. I think that is what makes it so great, the fact that it can appeal to more than just teenagers, but to adults also. I mean, even my mom reads some of my books! Reading brings people together. I remember waiting in line at midnight for my copy of The Deathly Hallows, and it was crazy the diversity of people standing in that line. To think that a book brought all those people together, now that is truly awesome!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

$15 Gift Card Giveaway

Hey, hope everyone's had a nice Friday-Saturday turnover!

Party yesterday has left me very near dead, and for that reason, I don't feel up to compiling this week's links & new releases. BUT, because I don't want a boring Saturday blog, I am doing a give away!

$15 to any online store you want. I'm talking anything, people. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or something not even book related. Your choice.

Leave a comment to win. Anonymous commenters will be disqualified. If you don't have a blogger account with an apparent email address, please leave your email address, too.

Bonus entries? Advertise (and link me to it!) and you get one extra. If a friend is referred here by you and they say as much in their entry, you also get an extra entry.

This contest goes on until... well, next Friday, but enter up, cos I may end it sooner!

Friday, June 20, 2008

What Makes A Book Popular?

Hey, hey, everyone! How are all of you?

I’m coming to realize that doing Young Adult Weekly on Friday is not very convenient for me. Today, for instance, I’m setting up for a party I’m throwing and I can’t be on long. Last Friday I couldn’t be on for long either. I hate having to be late putting it up, so I am just going to change the day it gets posted. From now on, Young Adult Weekly gets posted on Saturday and that pushes Reviewer Profiles back to Sunday. That leaves me the entire week to post reviews and interview, which is a plan I am actually liking way better :)

Moving swiftly on...

Yesterday I posted a negative review of Ally Carter’s I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You, which, surprising as it is to me, was met with a generally concurring crowd. I thought you guys would tell me I could stick it because of that post, not agree with it! Color me shocked.

Despite all the positive responses to my review, however, I did get two comments from people who said they didn’t agree. (Which is fine with me, by the by—I don’t mind disagreement. I kind of like it, even—diversity is what makes the world go ’round, yes?) One of them said:

Book Chic said...
Like Em, I actually also really enjoyed this series, though I got both books from the library and pretty much went through them so fast. I love Ally's writing and think she does a great job with it, though, also like Em, I haven't read many, if any at all, spy novels so I have nothing to compare it to.

I don't know, to me, I love these books and think they're hilarious, pretty clever and I love the romances in them (so sweet!). Kinda makes me sad you didn't enjoy it, but different strokes and good on you for being honest.

And the reason (supposedly) sucky books get popular is because a lot of people DO actually like them. It wouldn't be popular if everyone hated it, lol.

June 20, 2008 11:49 AM

Which left me thinking: What makes a book popular? Obviously, an excessive amount of readers. But what makes people go out of their way to buy a certain book? What makes one book have the It factor?

I for one don’t agree with Book Chic’s affirmation. A book by no means has to be well-liked to be widely-sold. For instance, I think Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld is perhaps the best book I’ve ever read. However, a lot of people disagree with me. Just look on Amazon. How many negative reviews does it have? No matter, it went on to sell over 500,000 copies worldwide. Further point-in-case: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I won’t say whether I liked it or not, because that’s irrelevant. How many copies did that one sell? 60,500,000 copies.

One could say The Da Vinci Code inspired a LOT of controversy, which I would argue is the biggest spur of interest among people. But Prep? What controversy is there on that one? Sure, race, class and politics are discussed and some controversial comments were made here and there, but overall, it was just a story about prep school life as seen through the eyes of a cynical and oftentimes misunderstood girl.

And then there is Gallagher Girls, which is just plain dead to me. No controversy, and not much else, either.

So: What factors do you think are involved in making a book a success?

(Side-note: I'm starting a new category: Food for Thought. You'll see more of these questions!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school. That is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year shes already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti).

But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks shes an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her?

Grade: D // Is that all? Seriously???

Memorable Quotes:


I picked this book up because of all the media hyper surrounding it—the Disney option and the New York Times bestseller status, not to mention the cute cover and interesting premise. Who hasn’t found themselves imagining what it would be like to be a secret government operative during an especially boring Physics lecture? Behold: the appeal of this book (to me, at least).

With all this in mind, why oh why was I so disappointed upon finishing it?

Because this book was subpar to its media attention. The writing, the characters and the subplot were average. Boring. I didn’t learn anything particularly new reading it, I wasn’t entertained, and I wasn’t blown away with Ally Carter’s prose. What’s ironic is, the setup that would’ve worked toward building the elements this novel lacked—such as character development, for starters—were all there. The girls had interesting (and heartbreaking) backgrounds. But those were for the most part ignored, except for some scenes where Cammie feels the loss that her friend could be facing and feels the loss of her own father, which I felt were the best parts in this entire novel.

Because of all the superfluous jokes and one-liners inserted in places that did not require the likes of them. (And usually in parentheses and followed by an exclamation point so the reader can feel the excitement!) The only comment I have of this is: Uncooked spaghetti is not as clever a weapon choice as the author seems to think it is...

Because of the underdeveloped relationship between Josh (is that his name? I can’t be bothered to check) and Cammie. I would’ve liked to see the beginning stages of first love instead of being told, after the fact, that they went to such and such movie or something equally nondescript. With a book based on the challenges of falling in love as a spy and having to lead a double life, one would think such details of the romance would be shared from time to time.

Because of the main character. No way in hell is she sixteen and no way in hell is someone that average, intelligence-wise, qualified to go to such a pizzazz school like Gallagher Academy. Oh, and, how was she able to fool the adults in that place even for a second? What does that say about the school we are led to believe is The Godsend of Security?

I’m not understanding what makes this as popular as it is. It’s not really funny and it’s not really bright. What gives? The only redeeming quality it has, in my opinion, is that it’s making me re-evaluate my verdict of The Squad: Killer Spirit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which I am coming to realize is infinitely better.

If I had to describe this book in a word, it’d be: Lifeless. No real stakes and no stimulating qualities. Get it from the library.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sorority 101: The New Sisters by Kate Harmon

As freshman year at LU kicks off, Lora-Leigh, Jenna, and Roni are all equally thrilled to have found a home in the Zeta Zeta Tau sorority. Lora-Leigh still can’t believe she’s wearing a sorority pin and, what’s more, that she and her new sisters have become so close so fast. Roni already loves her sorority, so when it comes time to elect a new member president, she can’t keep herself from adding her name to the ballot. And Jenna can’t keep herself from being in two places at once! The girl has a full load of classes, a demanding antisorority roommate, a marching band scholarship to uphold, and lots of sorority activities to attend. How’s a girl supposed to appease everyone and everything—not to mention strike up a romance with a very hot fraternity boy—all the while keeping her diabetes hidden? Lora-Leigh and Roni are there for her, but initiation is on the horizon and Jenna must decide if she really trusts her new friends enough to share her secret.

Grade: A- //

Memorable Quotes:
ARC version -- cannot quote.

Review time!
I am hopelessly addicted to these books. I’m serious, dude. Someone disentangle me quickly so I can move on with my review pile.

I thought the first one in the series, Zeta or Omega?, didn’t have enough focus on its characters, opting to shine the spotlight on the sorority recruitment process instead. That’s fine—I can even see where it is necessary. Regardless, I was hoping against hope that The New Sisters would backpedal and focus on its characters more. No series, in my opinion, can fulfill optimum quality value without good character development. (Not to mention the fact hearing about the inner workings of sororities is interesting only for so long!)

This installment focuses entirely on its characters while still dabbing on sorority life in the background (but of course, as it’s initiation period!). It does a great job of portraying the emotions of the three main girls—Lora-Leigh, Roni and Jenna—in a way that, by the end, gave me a clear image of each of their identities. Their storylines are far from original, but there’s something captivating there; it’s working its charm on me.

When I read the first book, I couldn’t pinpoint what had registered with me that made me like it as much as I did. After finishing this one, though, I have a vague idea: The relationship between the sorority sisters is inspiring. They get along great, they support each other, and they’re each other’s families—the way they mesh together, seamless, is this series’s star quality. While I will say the sisters sometimes have a too-perfect friendship with each other, I can’t deny there’s an appeal to it all that makes these books such a great reading experience.

As with the previous novel, this one has masterful writing, relatable characters, and heartwarming situations. Great afternoon/beach read. Very much recommend, so much in fact that I went scouring for info on further books and found out the third, The Formal, will be out in November of this year! (And the irony here is, all this info could also be found on the back of the ARC I got...)

That's A Great Way To Make The Earth Explode, You Know

AH, yes, today is my birthday! I have received lovely messages and I just want to thank all of you who went out of your way to send me something :) It's much appreciated. Special thanks go out to:

Ambeen! She posted about my birthday here!!! We've been best friends for two years now (longer than most Hollywood marriages, dude!) and, what can I say? You rule, Ravenous :P

Reader Rabbit! Also been my best friend for over two years now, and ohmigawwwwwwwd, I think you're just the coolest thing (yes, thing, as she is not human, now is she?) EVER. She also posted about it HERE!

Couch Potato Mama! You know who you are, and you know why I love you, and you know what you did to make this day special-er for me. *glomps*

Alexa Young! You know why, Alexa. You know why =)

Again, thank you to all who left me nice messages today!! I will be posting a review later, soon as I finish, er, writing it. :P The ol' TBR pile ain't gettin' any smaller!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sorority 101: Zeta or Omega by Kate Harmon

A fresh new series—the Sorority 101 novels will make every teen girl want to join!

High school is already a distant memory for incoming Latimer University freshmen Jenna, Roni, and Lora- Leigh. Jenna can’t wait to meet cute college boys, Roni can’t wait to get away from home, and Lora- Leigh . . . well, Lora-Leigh couldn’t care less. She’s going to LU and participating in sorority recruitment only to appease her mom. Sorority girls are pretty, rich, and snotty, and Lora-Leigh doesn’t want to be one of those girls. So she’s shocked to find herself actually connecting with the sisters of Zeta Zeta Tau. And her new friend Jenna can relate. She came to recruitment only because her roommate begged her to, but now she can’t decide which sorority to join; she likes them all! Roni, on the other hand, knows which sorority she should join, but she came to LU to reinvent herself. As recruitment progresses and the girls prepare to make big decisions, they’ll need to heed the best advice there is: follow your heart. Now where will it lead?

Grade: B //

Memorable Quotes:
No quotes for this one (haven't been doing that in a while, have I? Damn.) because I can't quote galleys/ARCs without checking first against a final copy. Don't have a bound copy, so it is what it is!

Side note: I just had to throw this in: Why are there so many ellipses instead of em-dashes? Kind of bothered me, but meh, only enough for a side note. Anyway.

Let's go for a trip on my thoughts at different stages of the book:

Beginning: I wasn't impressed. The story seemed generic, and even though I eagerly hoping for something heartwarming and cute so much that my disposition to like this book was that much higher, nothing really grabbed me. The reader is immediately thrown into the heart of three perspectives in third person limited, which can get confusing at first when you're trying to build each girl's identity in your mind. The three girls are supposed to be interesting, but nothing they did, said or thought intrigued me.

By page thirty, I, in all honesty, didn’t understand exactly what the point was. It was apparent they’d all be joining the sorority recruitment at Latimer, even if not all of them were especially accepting of that fact. So what? Why was I supposed to care what they did?

Bearing this in mind, I read on expecting to find out the answer. There are two books in this series (so far), so I assumed it was going somewhere, and getting there fast.

I can’t tell you where my opinion of this book changed, or how, or why. One moment, my mind was doing this:

What do I put in my review? There isn’t a problem per se—the writing is lovely, the characters are likable (and by this time, I had a clear sense of who each one was and they were beginning to interest me), but this book is based more on a situation than a plot. Which is fine when you’ve got compelling characters who lurch the reader forward, but while these characters were sweethearts, they weren’t the prime examples of human interest pieces. It’s all here, but it needs more synchronizing... Or something to that effect.

The next, my internal analysis shut the hell up and I fell into the rhythm of the story. My mind went something like:


Which means I read and didn’t judge. Which means I forgot to judge. Which means Kate Harmon did a bona fide job of making this reviewer forget about the problems she’d encountered thus far and focusing on the rest.

My final verdict, without scrutinizing too much, is:

The plot is predictable throughout (and if you have a copy of this, the cover gives away a lot), but the "point" (or, more aptly, the objective) of this novel does come across and is an event unto itself. The writing is great through and through. Characters—especially Jenna and Lora-Leigh—are relatable and for the most part real. We don’t get to know all of the girls in nitty-gritty details because the main focus of the novel is the sorority recruitment, which is basically set up for the rest of the series, I’m guessing. But that’s fine—you get to know enough for now. (Though I hope the next book dives deeper!)

Something Kate Harmon did particularly well was capture these characters’ emotions and expose the genuine thrill and importance of sorority recruitment. If nothing else, you do feel their emotions pulsing through you as they get ready to find out what sororities they’re in and how much it matters to them. The suspense sparkles through.

I do recommend this novel, which is not something I say lightly. I appreciated the positive light it put on sororities a lot—first book I’ve read to do so. It’s special in its own merit, and for reason I have yet to pinpoint, it left a lasting impression on me. (And hey, that’s an antithesis to my original opening to this review!)

Bottom line is: This worked. It worked great.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What Are Your Favorite Books Ever?

Like the title says, what is your all-time fave books?

Mine are:

by Curtis Sittenfeld

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Rebel Angels
The Sweet Far Thing
by Libba Bray

Sloppy Firsts
Second Helpings
Charmed Thirds
by Megan McCafferty

Looking for Alibrandi
On the Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta

The Pact
Second Glance
Plain Truth
by Jodi Picoult

Looking for Alaska
by John Green

The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

by Laurie Halse Anderson

And yours?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Word "Amazing" and Variants Thereof, MEMEs, What I'm Up To, and Other Outer-Sitely Stuff (Woo, Could This Title BE Any Longer??)

Birthday News

To all the people who asked on last week's Young Adult Weekly comments section, my birthday is on June 18th. Doesn't that remind you of A Midsummer Night's Dream with summer solstice and all of that? (Summer solstice happens on June 20th this year, but you get the point.)

Today I had an early birthday party with some family members and I got some great gifts. Mostly money, but that's what I ask for anyway because my family doesn't get me whatsoever. Guess who's gonna buy a crap load of books sometime sooooooon? And guess who's gonna help me make some book-buying decisions?!

And I also feel a contest forthcoming. But that's, you know, depending on whether or not I completely splurge or not.

Moving on.

"Amazing" & Co.

Random reviewer thought of the day: When you're reading someone's reviews and you come across, say, three in a row that use the word "amazing", "brilliant", or whatever other widely-employed synonym thereof, do you get annoyed? I do. I don't know why. I'm trying to cut the word "amazing" from my vocabulary, though, because I feel it's lost its meaning.

Perhaps I'm the only weird one, however.

What Goes On Avec My Blog (did I use the word "avec" correctly?)

If you're an author and you're supposed to be getting interview stuff from me, it's coming. It really is. (Brooke, Lisa, Gaby, Alexa, Mary, and other beautiful, beautiful authors, I have not forgotten about you!) Further, if you're expecting a review of your book, that is also coming. Oh and, have I not replied to your email/myspace message? Yeah, that's also coming.

I'm beginning to realize that maybe doing so many author interviews is not the brightest of ideas, not because you guys don't deserve it, which you do, but because at the rate I'm going, I won't have enough blog space to get through my book pile for at least another two months, which sucks for authors who are waiting. See, it goes something like this: Monday-Thursday = Review/Interview days. Friday is Young Adult Weekly. Saturday is a Reviewer Profile. Sunday is my weird randomness, usually not a review cos it's the Lord's day of rest and that means me, too.

I have 10 interviews lined up. So that's review one day, interview the next. 2 reviews a week. Too slow, too slow. I'll have to figure something out.

But yeah, authors -- I'm working on it!

Author MEME

I've been MEMEd by a ton of awesome folks, too many to name actually, and I should probably get that out of the way!

Who’s your all-time favorite author, and why?

This is hard. I have multiple personalities, and for that reason I don't have just one favorite of anything. But the author who can comfort me in any situation with just her words is Curtis Sittenfeld. Prep was... wow, it was a road of self-discovery for me and it still helps me figure myself out today. Probably my all-time favorite book.

Who was your first favorite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favorites?

I don't remember, actually. I went through many reading phases when I was younger, starting with Harry Potter when I was six. Then I went through Junie B. Jones, Cam Jansen, Pee Wee Scouts, A-Z Mysteries, Baby-Sitters Club (which I still love), Nancy Dream (same), Meg Cabot, among others. I can't say who was my favorite author back then simply because there wasn't just one -- there was a whole array of them.

Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

It's actually two: Melina Marchetta and Megan McCafferty, both only discovered this year.

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?

Curtis Sittenfeld, Libba Bray, Megan McCafferty, Melina Marchetta, Jodi Picoult and Catherine Ryan Hyde.

And I'm also adding my own question to this one:

Who are the coolest authors you have ever talked to?

Three people, baby: A.S. King, Alexa Young and Jennifer Ziegler.

I tag:

uhh... Only three people.

Read, Read, Read
Book Bopper
Presenting Lenore


Hope everyone has a happy Monday tomorrow! I am going to bed to reread The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols. <3

Guest Reviewer: Plenty of Paper

Hey everyone! So, here's the deal: the Plenty of Paper girls are going away on vacation and because they didn't want to leave things hanging, the created a Hiatus Tour. I'm stop number on in a series of seven blogs that will post guest reviews by both Heather and Caroline. At the bottom of this post is a hint of where the next location will be. Now, the contest part gets trickier, so click here for Plenty of Paper's own info post about it.

Let the games begin with Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen! Next review gets posted on the 17th (Tuesday), so you gotta figure out the next location quickly!

(Note: I have Lock & Key on my review pile so this review doesn't channel my thoughts on it -- it's just a guest review. My review comes... sometime soon, I hope.)

So my first author infatuation (other than the amazing JK Rowling*) came about some time last December when Caroline and I started discussing one Sarah Dessen’s books and I said I’d like to read it (more specifically This Lullaby**). Jessica, a friend and fellow book-lover jumped in the conversation and said “Oh! I have that book! You want to borrow it?” And, of course, I said yes. So I borrowed This Lullaby. Then, one random day during winter break, Jess walks into my room carrying about five books, three of which are Sarah Dessen books. She just sets them on my bed and says “Here are some more books.” So there’s where the infatuation began. It flooded into January, ran into February, flew into March, and ended up in April for the release of Sarah Dessen’s newest book Lock and Key. Admittedly, this is June, and I read the book over a month ago, but you should be happy this review came at all.

Ask twenty different people the definition of family, and you’ll get twenty different answers. Ruby’s definition of family is slightly askew, and when she’s assigned a project in a new school where she has to find the meaning of family, she discovers that it’s not just you relatives. It’s not just your siblings and parents.

“Ruby, where is your mother?”

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow. She knows that her mother has left, and that there’s no guarantee of her coming back. Ever. But she’s still living there on her own, fending for herself.

Until the landlords stop by and find her living in a mess of a house, with dishes piled in the sink, clothes hanging in the kitchen to dry, and drugs left on the living room table.

That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. Going from dirt-poor, delivering lost luggage as a job, and living in a run down house to living in a rich and luxurious neighborhood, going to a new private school, not having to work at all when your brother-in-law gives you hundreds of dollars a week for spending money, and having a huge bedroom to yourself (with its own bathroom) is a major change. Especially for Ruby who has never been able to experience something like this. Even if it is a dream come true.

But after not having contact with her sister for ten years, it’s weird living with her again. And now she has a new neighbor, Nate, who may just have as many problems as Ruby does. But as soon as she learns to help him out, he’s not willing to accept it. Somehow, in this new world so far from the one she knows, Ruby makes new friends and understands the meaning of family.

After finishing this book, I sat down and thought about all the characters. Ruby is strong and defiant. Nate is kind, funny, and complicated. Jamie is hilarious and sweet. Cora is tough and caring. But each of these characters is real. Every single one of them has a past, a present, and a future. They have stories, emotions, and their own thoughts. I’m a character girl, and Sarah Dessen never fails to satisfy in that department.

Ruby’s story is both tough and wonderful. She goes through hardships before coming to live with Cora that many people couldn’t even imagine, and even once she gets there, to that world of luxury, she has difficult obstacles to face. She may just relapse and end up back in her old habit of drinking and drugs, she may just fall for the boy next door, or she may wind up going to college—something she never thought would happen. Her struggle is depicted very well as the story stretches over almost an entire school year.

This is yet another great book of Sarah Dessen’s. Not my favorite, but it comes in a close fourth. I give it 4.5 cups of delicious coffee.


* she may be amazing, but we still want Alan back!
** The best of the eight
*** It’s very weird, but it’s like Sarah Dessen knows me. She put a character in Lock and Key name Heather who is strangely like me. She likes coffee, she’s a good student, and she’s blonde. It’s very odd…hmm…

Hinting Location Two:
it's bright and sunny over at her space,
she's forever reading books from her bookcase,
cherishing the books that she'll review,
go to her blog for location number two.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Young Adult Weekly (Week of June 8th-14th)

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay on this week's Young Adult Weekly! I slept some during the afternoon then got ready to go to a party. It didn't last as long as I expected, but even so, I was too wiped out to post this when I got in at 2AM. So here you have it, Young Adult Weekly, Saturday Division! :)

Note: There will not be a Reviewer Profile this week because of the delayed Young Adult Weekly post. Sorry!

Young Adult Weekly
Week of June 8th-14th

From the authors...

A.S. King (The Dust of 100 Dogs) is still mighty fabulous. Of course, she won't understand the following, but it's all part of the fun. Behold: Olá, Amy! Eu estou usando gramática formal para, se você usar um tradutor online, você entender esta mensagem. Quero que você saiba que estou esperando desesperadamente pelo seu livro!

Jennifer Ziegler (How NOT To Be Popular) needs a nudge to post a new blog because I'm not sure exactly how to plug her in here otherwise! :P

Alexa Young (Frenemies) HAS TURNED IN THE DRAFT OF FAKETASTIC TO HER EDITORS!!!! I am dying to know how it goes but Alexa won't unleash any details. Cruel? Hardly. I'll get my revenge.

Jennifer Banash (The Elite) is giving away a copy of The Elite over on her blog. I can't give you a direct link cos MySpace isn't loading right for me, but try clicking here.

Teri Brown (Read My Lips) has had a week-long blog party to celebrate the launch of her debut novel. This post, however, needs to be immortalized because it is just the coolest thing ever. Check it out to see what I mean. Down at the bottom, people.

Meg Cabot (Airhead) on her Toledo tour and BlackBerries. (Side-note: Meg? If you don't know how to use your BlackBerry, I'd be more than happy to have it...;D)

Claudia Gray (Evernight) posted a Reviewer X link on her blog which has earned this reviewer a considerable amount of page views. Thank you, Claudia!

Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) has had two exciting this happen this week: 1) Her ARCs arrived! and 2) She had her author photos taken!

Aprilynne Pike (Wings) talks about some books she's recently read and some books she's getting ready to read. Oh, and for anyone who likes checking out author sites, Aprilynne has recently launched her own: :)

Kelly Parra (Invisible Touch) posted a YA Fresh interview with Rachel Vail. I just want to add in here that, Kelly, should you interview any more debut authors (not that Rachel is a debut author, I'm just saying) before me and steal my questions, I may have to bash my own head in. (I'm kidding of course, I think Kelly's and Tina's blog is awesome and very helpful and have linked to it before and did I mention how pretty both of you are? ;D)

Melissa Walker (Violet by Design) is giving away a copy of Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood. Melissa also blogged about a ton of interesting stuff this week, like for instance, her article on Glamour magazine!

Megan McCafferty, The Goddess Indeed (Fourth Comings) talks about the fact that Fourth Comings made an appearance in the Sex & The City movie! And it wasn't even paid product placement! This makes me very happy, very happy indeed.

Debbie Reed Fischer (Braless in Wonderland, which I have had the pleasure to read and tell you it's good) posts about who she considers a true role model. Good post, worth checking.

Marley Gibson/Kate Harmon (Sorority 101) got her first ever fan note!!! GO YOU, MARLEY. Incidentally, I have both of Marley's books on my TBR shelf (thank you, Marley!) and you will see the reviews for those in the coming weeks...

Lisa Schroeder (I Love You, You Haunt Me) talks about the time frame that each thing in publishing occurs after a sale: contract arrival, editorial letter, copy edits, advance payments... Informative.

Diana Rodriguez Wallach (Amor and Summer Secrets) posts about the result of her contacting her old high school teachers now that she's a prepublished writer.

From the reviewers...

Reviewer X, aside from being lazy, had some lots of posts this week! Let's start with the reviews: Evernight by Claudia Gray and Talent by Zoey Dean. Now for author appearances: I did an interview of Claudia Gray and Kathryn Williams guest blogged! (Kathryn wrote The Debutantes, by the by.)

The Ravenous Reader posted a review of The Pact of The Wolves by Nina Blazon and Briggen by Ann B. Keller. She also interviewed Jody Gehrman.

Reader Rabbit reviewed Read My Lips by Teri Brown.

Plenty of Paper is taking a blog hiatus due to a vacation, but they're doing a fun little scavenger-hunt type of this by guest reviewing on several review blogs. First stop is Reviewer X tomorrow, so keep your eye out for that!

From the Corner of Megan's Mind (love that name) interviewed the sensational Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize and keeper of Megan, I see you're reading The Fold -- wanna see if our thoughts match up on that.

Book Chic has had a week of great posts. Check them out at (Sorry for not linking specifically, James, but MySpace is erroring its way to hell.)

Read, Read, Read launched a new blog thing called Teen Tuesday. To find out more info about it, click here.

Presenting Lenore reviewed The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.

And Another Book Read had as this week's And Another Awesome Author Visit with Regina Scott! (She's the author of La Petite Four.)

The Book Muncher reviewed Crime of the Sarahs by Kristen Tracy and When It Happens by Susane Colesanti.

Liv's Book Reviews reviewed Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler.

Released this week...

Big Mouth by Deborah Halverson
FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD SHERMIE THUFF is a Big Guy with a Big Dream— to become the most famous competitive eater in the world. But every big dream has to start somewhere, and Shermie’s determined to start his in the spotlight. If he can take first place in Nathan’s World Famous International hot dog eating competition, fame will be his. The catch? The current record is 53-1/2 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. Shermie’s personal best? Seven. Clearly, Shermie has some training to do. . . . Only, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t get past nine measly wieners. Then, just when Shermie’s about to crack under the pressure, he gets his biggest shake-up of all: news that the 53-1/2 record holder is an itty-bitty, 130-pound guy. So Shermie vows to lose his restrictive Fat Belt the only way he knows how—with the help of Gardo, a weight-cutting fanatic determined to turn Big Shermie into a lean, mean eating-machine.

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places—the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Mansion, to name just a few.

By opening that door, Charmain has become responsible for not only the house, but for an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard, and a box of the king's most treasured documents. She has encountered a terrifying beast called a lubbock, irritated a clan of small blue creatures, and wound up smack in the middle of an urgent search. The king and his daughter are desperate to find the lost, fabled Elfgift—so desperate that they've even called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?

Of course, with that magical family involved, there's bound to be chaos—and unexpected revelations.

No one will be more surprised than Charmain by what Howl and Sophie discover.

The Inferior by Peadar Ó Guilín
STOPMOUTH AND HIS family know of no other life than the daily battle to survive. To live, they must hunt rival species, or negotiate flesh-trade with those who crave meat of the freshest human kind. It is a savage, desperate existence. And for Stopmouth, considered slowwitted hunt-fodder by his tribe, the future looks especially bleak. But then, on the day he is callously betrayed by his brother, a strange and beautiful woman falls from the sky. It is a moment that will change his destiny, and that of all humanity, forever. With echoes of Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, and The Truman Show, Peadar Ó Guilín’s debut is an action—and idea-packed—blockbuster that will challenge your perceptions of humanity and leave you hungry for more.

Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne (Wishlisted!)
To Do:
[x] Investigate the French Quarter
[x] Buy new hammer
[x] Stop worrying that hard hat is going to ruin my hair
[x] Stop thinking about ex-boyfriend.
[x] No guys this summer!
[x] Find some cool jazz clubs to visit later
[x] Get psychic readings with Jenna and Amber
[ ]Get Jenna and Amber to stop talking about psychic readings, the cute guy the psychic said I would meet, and the cute guy I just met. No guys this summer!!!
[ ] Throw self into work. Stop thinking about the cute guy!

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee (Wishlisted!)
Blubber meets Steel Magnolias in this funny and honest story about body image and family.

Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile. Rosemary resolves to lose the weight, but her journey turns out to be about everything but the scale. Her life-changing, waist-shrinking year is captured with brutal honesty and humor, topped with an extralarge helping of Southern charm. A truly uncommon novel about an increasingly common problem.

Freshman for President by Ally Condie
Fifteen-year-old Milo J. Wright and his best friend, Eden, are crazy to even consider participating in the election for President of the United States of America, aren't they? Never mind that Milo is twenty years too young. Never mind the fact that he'll have to balance the election with school, his lawn-mowing job, soccer practice, and trying to understand girls. There are time in life when you just have to go for something, no matter how impossible. Readers will discover that everyone, no matter what age, has something valuable to say.

The Lost Art by Simon Morden
A MILLENNIUM AFTER the formidable war machines of the User cultures devoured entire civilizations and rewrote planetary geography, Earth is in the grip of a perpetual Dark Age.

Scientific endeavor is strongly discouraged, while remnant technology is locked away—hidden by a Church determined to prevent a new Armageddon.This is the world to which Benzamir Michael Mahmood must return. A descendant of the tribes who fled the planet during those ages old wars, he comes in pursuit of enemies from the far reaches of space. The technology he brings is wondrous beyond the imaginings of those he will meet, but can its potency match that of the Church’s most closely guarded treasure?For centuries it has lain dormant, but it is about to be unearthed, and the powers that will be unleashed may be beyond anyone’s capacity to control. Even a man as extraordinary as Benzamir . . .

Rogelia's House of Magic by Jamie Martinez Wood
IN ROGELIA’S HOUSE OF MAGIC, three different 15-year-old girls find friendship and special powers as they are trained in the ways of the curandera by a wise old woman.When Rogelia becomes a maid at Marina Peralta’s home, it’s obvious to Marina and her friend Fern that they have a real mystic on their hands. Soon Rogelia agrees to teach the girls the magic of their ancestors, much as she taught her granddaughters, Xochitl and Gracielia. Even though Marina and Fern are thrilled to have this chance to understand and use their powers, Xochitl isn’t happy about sharing such a sacred thing with anyone but her sister, who perished in a car accident. Besides, magic has let Xochitl down before. Why wouldn’t it now? But, as the girls will eventually discover, at Rogelia’s House of Magic anything is possible.
Kimi dreams of being a great samurai warrior, but she and her sister, Hana, are young ladies of feudal Japan, daughters of the Jito of the province. Her future seems clear: Girls do not become samurai.

Then, betrayal shatters the sisters' world. Their power-hungry uncle murders their father, and their mother and little brother mysteriously disappear. Determined to seek revenge and restore their honor, they disguise themselves as boys to train at a school for samurai. Kimi and Hana are thrown headlong into a life of warrior codes, sharp swords, and shadowy figures—as they work with fierce determination to avenge the brutal wrongs done to their family.

In a flash, life has swept them into a terrible adventure, more heart-pounding than Kimi and Hana ever could have imagined . . . and once it has been set in motion, nothing will ever be the same.

A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg (Wishlisted!)
IN KUCKACHOO, MISSISSIPPI, 1963, Addie Ann Pickett worships her brother Elias and follows in his footsteps by attending the black junior high school. But when her careless act leads to her brother’s disappearance and possible murder, Addie Ann, Mama, and Uncle Bump struggle with not knowing if he’s dead or alive. Then a good deed meant to unite Kuckachoo sets off a chain of explosive events. Addie Ann knows Old Man Adams left his land to the white and black people to plant a garden and reap its bounty together, but the mayor denies it. On garden picking day, Addie Ann’s family is sorely tested. Through tragedy, she finds the voice to lead a civil rights march all her own, and maybe change the future for her people.

The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan
A riveting tale about love and sacrifice by a National Book Award winner.

The Disappeared. Los desaparecidos. This is the name given to those who opposed Argentina’s dictatorial government and were kidnapped to ensure their silence. With her hometown of Buenos Aires ensconsced in the political nightmare, Silvia devises a plan to save her missing brother. She’ll make Norberto, son of the general who arrests dissenters, fall in love with her–and he’ll have his father set Eduardo free.

Told in alternating chapters, this powerful and poetic story follows Silvia as she spirals into Norberto’s world, and Eduardo as he struggles to endure physical and emotional torture. Will Silvia’s scheme reunite her family? Or will the pursuit of freedom cost these devoted siblings their lives?

Rocky Road Trip by Catherine Clark
It was a zoo the day I left.

All I remember is pulling out of the driveway. I thought I was going to crumble into a hundred pieces.

I looked at Grant. He looked at me.

Mom hit reverse. It all seemed so tragic, like I was hipping off to war.

Still and all. A really, really dumb idea to come this far for college.

Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi
Hurricane Katrina is raging and you are inside the Superdome!

Miles has only lived in New Orleans with his dad, a musician, for a few months when Hurricane Katrina hits. Father and son haven’t exactly been getting along. Miles is obsessed with football; his dad’s passion is jazz. But when the storm strikes, they’re forced to work through their differences to survive a torturous few days in the Superdome.

Paul Volponi, known for writing books that capture the pulse of urban life in New York City, creates a gripping hour-by-hour portrayal of what life was like for those left behind once the floodwaters began to rise.

Say Goodbye by Laurie Halse Anderson
Yum-Yum is an adorable shih tzu and one of Zoe’s favorite clients. When Zoe and Yum-Yum visit a ward of cancer patients, she is amazed by how much joy the tiny dog can spread in an instant. But then Yum-Yum is diagnosed with cancer himself. How can Zoe help the little dog pull through?

Storm Rescue: Vet Volunteers by Laurie Halse Anderson
Sunita Patel is book smart and good with cats. When a hurricane approaches, Sunita realizes that Lucy, a diabetic cat with a broken leg, is in danger, along with her owner, Mrs. Clark. When the vets are called out on emergency, the evacuation starts. Will Sunita be able to save Lucy or will she be a scaredy-cat?

Next week on Reviewer X...

- MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! :D

- ...umm, I don't know what else. But it's my birthday. Hopefully that means I get some books from le rentals (as if I didn't have enough already. But I do have a hefty wishlist so, ya know, they can work on that.) Or maybe an iPhone. Or the Taj Mahal.
- Maybe a birthday contest? I don't know, I'm broke. But I know I'm getting money, so if I feel charitable, I'll throw something out there.

- Book reviews, of course.

- Any ideas?
Have a nice weekend, everyone!