Sunday, March 31, 2013

Interview with Heather Vogel Frederick



Today we are happy to have Heather Vogel Frederick stop by our blog before the re-release of her amazing Spy Mice book series.  They have ALL new covers which you will see tomorrow with information about each book.  You may remember Heather's additional books: Mother-Daughter Book Club series, Once Upon a Toad, The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed, and The Education of Patience Goodspeed.  



Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in New Hampshire, and spent my childhood there and in the suburbs of Boston. Part of my heart will always be in New England, but Portland's been home for the past 20 years.


Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
My "new" book is actually a relaunch of my SPY MICE trilogy -- The Black Paw; For Your Paws Only; and Goldwhiskers. This was a very happy surprise from Simon & Schuster, who arranged for fabulous new covers. I had so much fun writing these stories! They're an homage of sorts to my misspent youth, far too much of which found me glued to the TV, watching such classic spy-fi shows as Mission: Impossible, Get Smart, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers. And of course James Bond on the big screen (I'm still a huge fan). The books are set at the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., and feature a 5th grader who's battling bullies at school, and a secret agent mouse who's battling the evil rats of the world. Things get fast and furr-ious when the two of them join forces... The characters and stories are dear to my heart, and I'd love to write more of them, so I have my fingers (and paws) crossed that the new covers will prove irresistible.


Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Hands down Jane Austen. I'd be far too intimidated to say anything to her, however, given her penchant for poking fun at people in print. After all, she's the one who said, "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?"


Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I was given an e-reader as a gift, and it's fabulous for travel, but I never reach for it when I'm at home. I much prefer real books. Hardcover or paperback, doesn't matter, just as long as I can feel it, hold it, see it, smell it, I'm happy.


Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
Oh my goodness, Eowyn Ivey! Her debut book The Snow Child just knocked my socks off.


Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Of course! Working at home has to have its perks.


Coffee or tea?
Tea all the way. Current fave: Teaforte's Blueberry Merlot.


Laptop or desktop for writing?
Laptop. My desk is basically just a horizontal surface for collecting piles of paper.


Hot and Spicy or Mild?
Hot and spicy, mmm mmm.


Your favorite gadget -
My iPhone. I am embarrassed by how addicted to it I've become.


What is your favorite movie?
I don't know that I have a single favorite, but two that I return to again and again are Casablanca and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I have no idea what that says about me!


I love reading Heather's replies.  I'm a tea drinker as well and love to work at home in my pajama's.   Plus I think Heather and I could go out to dinner as I'm always ordering the hottest and spiciest things on the menu! ;)  Thanks so much to Heather for stopping by today!  

You can find Heather on her Webpage and Goodreads!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Elephant of Surprise preview by @brenthartinger


The Elephant of Surprise by Brent Hartinger
Paperback, 239 pages
Ages: Teens
Published by: 
Source: Author

Geography Club’s Russel Middlebrook and his friends Min and Gunnar are back, and they’re laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise—the tendency for life to never turn out the way you expect. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot, but mysterious guy named Wade—even as he's also drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min learns her girlfriend Leah is keeping secrets, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest obsession.

But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower?

The Elephant of Surprise, the latest entry in Brent Hartinger’s groundbreaking gay teen Russel Middlebrook Series, is a story of humor, romance, and danger. Before it’s over, Russel and his friends will learn that the Elephant of Surprise really does appear when you least expect him—and that when he stomps on you, it really, really hurts.
I admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book.  The cover had me laughing and I thought it was definitely something that would grab my attention were I to see it in a store or library.  I mean, just look at the elephant trunk hanging over Russel's shoulder.  What's that about?

What I loved about this book was: The cover for one, as well as learning so much about an interesting sub-culture that is all around us.  When we meet Wade and Venus we discover that they are living slightly off the grid.  Not only did it open Russel's eyes to a bigger world, but it opened my eyes as well.  I loved reading about Russel and the conflict he had with his entire decision making process about dating and what he believed in.  What will Min, Gunnar and Russel do when Leah is being so secretive and placing strange phone calls?  How will Russel react when Gunnar exposes a big plot?  You are curious now aren't you?  These questions are why I read the entire book in two trips on the bus.  I had to find out what they would all do!

I was excited to start reading this book when I came across the first 3 pages which were named: 'Previously' and gave info about Brent's first three books.  I wish every book that was later in a series would have this.  So often I forget what the first couple books in a series are about when I haven't read them for well over a year.  The short descriptions were enough for me to know exactly where Russel had been and prepare me for 'The Elephant of Surprise'.

So this book surprised me!  I really enjoyed the whole thing and am definitely recommending that you read the whole Russel Middlebrook Series RIGHT NOW!


BRENT HARTINGER is an author, editor, screenwriter, and playwright. Geography Club, the first book in the Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series, is now a feature film starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky.  Watch the trailer here.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and all opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Author Interview with @BrentHartinger


We are so pleased to have Brent Hartinger stop by our Blog today in a lead up to his next release 'The Elephant of Surprise' which comes out March 30th.  Brent is the author of The Russel Middlebrook Series: 'Geography Club', 'The Order of the Poison Oak', 'Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies' and 'The Elephant of Surprise'.  His first book of the series has been turned into a movie.  Check out the trailer for 'Geography Club' here.



So Brent, where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Spokane, and I live in Seattle now, on Green Lake. I've
spent most of my life in Washington State, but did live in Los Angeles
for a year and half, to help establish myself as a screenwriter (it
helped: I have two movie projects in the works).


What books have influenced your writing?
Well, the books I loved as a kid were The Chronicles of Narnia, The
Lord of the Rings, The Outsiders. Now I love Jacqueline Carey, George
R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Ken Oppel, Jonathan Stoud, and many
others.


But I'm of the opinion that writers learn just as much, if not more,
from bad books. Which I absolutely refuse to name! But like everyone,
I read a whole lot of them. Sadly, I still do.



Where do you prefer to buy your books?

Basically, everywhere. I try to buy from independent bookstores
mostly, but I've been given a couple of Kindles as gifts, so I
sometimes buy ebooks too. I honestly can't think the last time I
bought a book in a chain.

I also get a lot of books from the library, and I get many, many books
and manuscripts sent to me (a perk of being a published author!). I
seem to read about three books a week, so if I paid for every book I
read, I'd be broke.


What book are you currently reading and in what format
(ebook/paperback/hardcover)?


I'm reading The Bridge of Years by Robert Charles Wilson (loving it,
but then I love all his books). It's a library paperback. Before that,
I read The Martian by Andy Weir (on my Kindle). Before that, I read
Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple in hardcover (another
library book). I liked the voice and the insider-y Northwest humor,
but was a little disappointed by the story.


Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?

A couple of self-published authors who wrote terrific books: one
everyone knows about, Wool by Hugh Howey (it deserves all the
attention it's getting), and one that's a little less well-known: The
Martian by Andy Weir, the book I mentioned before, about an astronaut
who's left behind on the surface of Mars and has to figure out how to
survive. They're both top-notch books, among the best I've read in a
year.

The fact that they're so very, very good, and that neither was
traditionally published, tells me things are changing rapidly in the
world of publishing. Hurricane ahead!

Do you buy a book by the cover?

Never. I learned that lesson when I was about twelve. But truthfully?
I think sometimes I DON'T buy a book that I might have otherwise
bought if the cover is truly awful, even though I know how totally
unfair that is. I have a lot of author friends, and I know for a fact
that there are a lot of great books with horrible covers. Even today,
after all the talk about horrible covers!

But a weird "group-think" sets in at publishing houses around book
covers: sometimes no one wants to admit it stinks. And, of course,
they never listen to the author!


Do you have any advice for other writers?

Well, all the usual advice applies: read everything; learn the craft
(and the business!) of writing; network like hell; don't respond to
bad reviews; never be a jerk or a diva; get an agent to make sure
you're not being screwed, and never sign the first contract; be open
to criticism even as you hold fast to your vision.


But there's one piece of advice that I don't read that often.

When I was younger, I was under the impression that most everyone
shared my taste in books. I'd read some critical darling or a
bestseller, and I'd hate it, see all these flaws, and I'd think,
"Well, if people like this book, they're going to love mine!"

Now that I've been published, I understand that's not how it works:
everyone sees every book differently – REALLY differently. Those books
that I hate – that seem so obviously flawed to me? Other people really
do love them! It's not just that they haven't read the right books:
they'd probably read the books I love and hate them just as much as I
hate the books they love.

I won't say that awards and reviews sometimes seem completely random
to me – I still believe that cream usually rises to the top (not
necessarily with every good book, but definitely with every good
writer). And that the audience is usually right (although some
successes still do completely baffle me).

But the point is, you just can't control how people respond to your
book. I mean, I always knew it was out of the writer's control, but
it's REALLY out of your control.

But in a way, once you really internalize that, it's kind of
liberating. Because then you can stop worrying about how others will
react to your book and just write the damn book you'd love to read.

My favorite question are you a Night Owl or an Early Riser

I'm such a Night Owl that it's not even funny. My natural rhythm is
probably to be up until about 2 AM and get up at 10.

What do you normally eat for breakfast, or do you skip it and get
straight to work?


Uhhh, sometimes I get up so late that I do go directly to lunch
(yikes!). But if I have breakfast, it's a smoothie (yogurt, soy milk,
and frozen fruit) and toast or a bowl of oatmeal.


What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money
and phone)?


Four things I WISH I always had with me: my sense of humor; a thick
skin; sun block; and my partner or a good friend to share whatever it
is I experience.


Stop by and visit Brent at his webpage, facebook, goodreads, tumblr, and twitter

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blog Tour: @CatWinter's In The Shadow of Blackbirds





We are so pleased to have Cat visiting our blog today as she tours blogs for her new release 'In The Shadow of Blackbirds'.  Check out the review by Candace, which posted earlier today.  We asked Cat some fun This or That questions to see what her choices would be...


Alright Cat, what is your preferred pleasure reading: Fiction or Non Fiction

Fiction

And do you feel like you make more progress when: Writing Retreats or Writing at Home

Writing at home

Which do you prefer Coffee or Tea

Tea

Are you a Chocoholic or Carboholic

Chocoholic!!!!!!

Summer or Winter

Winter (I love the holidays and getting cozy with books and loved ones)

Night Owl or Early Riser

Night owl

Board Games or Card Games

Board games (unless you consider Apples to Apples a card game, which it sort of is)

When writing: Outline or By the Seat of your Pants

A loose outline that gets filled in with some flying by the seat of my pants

Beach or Forest

Beach (I was originally a Southern California girl)

Stop and Smell the Roses or Every Day is a Race

Stop and smell the roses as much as possible!



I love Cat's answers.  Mainly because we have a lot in common.  


If you didn't know it, Lauren DeStefano loves 'In The Shadows of Blackbirds' too!  She even sent me a postcard with the book cover on it.  So if you need more urging she said 'Buy It, People'.  
Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds—a YA ghost tale set during the World War I era—is coming April 2, 2013, from Amulet Books/ABRAMS. She currently lives outside of Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.

Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds—a YA ghost tale set during the World War I era—is coming April 2, 2013, from Amulet Books/ABRAMS. She currently lives outside of Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.
You can find Cat online at Her PageFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads

Cat Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing.




And don't miss out on the awesome giveaway that is happening for 'In The Shadows of Blackbirds'
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Blog Tour: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by @CatWinters + Giveaway

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected Publication: April 2nd, 2013 by Amulet books (ABRAMS)
Source: Publisher

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.
This review was also posted at Candace's Book Blog.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is an incredible novel that fully transported me to San Diego 1918 during the Spanish influenza pandemic.   I truly felt the time period and setting, along with the horrors that awaited every corner.  The fear that people had of the flu was nearly palpable.  I truly felt that horror and fear with them.  But Mary Shelley is brave and doesn't let fear rule her.  She has been through a lot but she knows that it's not worth hiding out at home living in fear every moment of her life.

I haven't read many books set in this time period.  I'm not very familiar with the first world war and didn't know much about the Spanish influenza.  While reading I wasn't sure what was real, because it all felt so real to me.  Like it was true history and I was watching it unfold.  After reading the back and now knowing that the author kept things pretty close to historical facts I feel like I got a bit of a history lesson by being transported back in time and experiencing it first hand.  Yeah, this isn't the war, not right there in San Diego, but war is all around them with men being shipped off left and right, and shipped back damaged.  Many dead, many more severely injured and others mentally damaged.  We get a look at this when Mary Shelley volunteers at a hospital.  And while this is just a small bit of the book it was powerful for me to see this and experience it.  It truly was horrifying and so sad.

The ghost aspect of the book was absolutely phenomenal.  I'm a bit of a chicken, but I do love ghosts in books.  Luckily this book wasn't too scary for me, but I did find myself on the edge of my seat a few times.  I also grew frustrated because I needed some answers!  I was having trouble figuring things out.  But that's a positive really.  I just desperately wanted to know if any of my guesses were right.  And honestly, they weren't really.  There was a big twist and while I expected a twist it wasn't that exactly. 

This is a darker read, but I never felt terribly depressed while reading it.  And while I feel like I could have cried I didn't.  I think some of the sad things were pretty expected, I knew that it would have sad moments.  But the horrific things that happen absolutely made me beyond furious and that anger was so strong that I actually did get tears in my eyes, because how can any human being treat another human that way?!  It's incomprehensible to me.

I absolutely loved the characters in the book and they were very well drawn and easy to imagine.  Mary Shelley was a character I most definitely admire for her strength and honesty.  Her unfailing ability to see things so much more clearly than so many others who are blinded by grief.

This is a book I recommend to mature young adults who enjoy some history in their horror novels (light on the horror).  The rich descriptions that are never flowery, but so bold, transported me completely in time and place and living through Mary Shelley was a true honor.  Having lived this short time in 1918 I am ever so grateful for the time period I now live in.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.


25th- Recreate the cover contest @ The Mod Podge Bookshelf
26th- Interview @ Icey Books
27th- This or That @ Novels News & Notes 
28th- Guest Blog @ Jaime Arnold
29th- Interview @Hobbitsies
30th- This or That @ Carina's Books
31st- Interview @ Book Whales
1st- Character Interview with Julius @ Read Write and Read Some More 
2nd- Guest Blog @ Mundie Moms
3rd- This or That @ The Book Galaxy
4th- Guest Blog @ Teen Librarian
5th- Interview @ A.L. Davroe
6th- Character Interview with Mary Shelley @ IBTeens
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Poison by Bridget Zinn Event Recap



Last Saturday evening I attended the release party event for Poison by Bridget Zinn.  Sadly Bridget passed away from cancer in 2011 so she was unable to be there.  But I'm sure she was smiling the biggest smile ever as she looked down on it and saw the tremendous support everyone showed.  Many Portland area authors showed up to sign copies of the book and three of them read portions of the book.  They really did a great job in finding the best parts too!  Before the authors read, Bridget's husband Barrett went up and greeted us and thanked us for coming and sent out thanks to everyone who has done so much for the book.  He told us how happy Bridget would have been and shared a little about her and her love for celebrating. 

Sara Ryan (Empress of the the World) read the first scene where Kyra breaks in to find the potion in her old home.
 Then April Henry (Girl Stolen & The Night She Disappeared) read the river scene where Kyra first meets Fred.
And then the last one to read was Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) and she read the scene with the witch.  

All the readings were wonderful and had us in giggles over the funny bits (which were a lot!) and it they were so good at reading aloud that it was easy to be immersed in this wonderful story.

Lisa Schroeder, April Henry and Inara Scott. 

After the reading we all got photos of all the authors and illustrators who signed the book.  Barrett, Bridgets husband, is also in the picture. He's to the left between Lisa Schroeder and Laini Taylor (the guy in the very front is Laini's husband, who is an amazing artist/illustrator).  It was hard to get a good picture since so many were trying to take pictures, but this is the best one I got. 

Then we all got to eat some goodies and sit around and chat.  It was super crowded so it was kind of a challenge to talk but my friend Mel (co-owner of this blog!) was there and she introduced me to a couple authors I hadn't yet met.  Emily Whitman and Amber Kizer were two I was excited to meet. Quite a few of these authors I'm already quite familiar with.  I know Lisa Schroeder very well and Laini Taylor and I are on familiar terms and I have met April Henry several times as well.  

Anyway, this is what the signed part of the book looked like.  Oh, and they sold out of books almost instantly!  I was very lucky to grab my copy!  I know this is a book I will cherish always and it deserves a place of honor on my shelves.
Pretty right?  Sorry about the poor quality photo.  I took it on my iPod and was too lazy to grab another with my camera.  

The event was wonderful and it was so heartwarming to see so many people come together for such a great event.  I know I will remember it for always.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Iron Fey is being made into a Manga Series & they need your help!




Bluewater Productions wants to bring THE IRON FEY, to the comic book manga medium, starting with THE IRON KING miniseries, and we need your help!  - Taken from the Indiegogo campaign page

I'm really excited about this particular project because I actually have several connections to it.  I of course LOVE Julie Kagawa and ALL her books, but the company doing this comic book manga, Bluewater Productions,  is right here in the town I live in.  ALSO, my good friend Sara (also from Novel Novice) is doing it.  She's the editor, which means she putting the words to the page.  I think that is VERY cool! 

I'm not the biggest fan of comic books.  I read them as a kid but as an adult I never really got into manga's like so many others have.  But when the art is good then I really enjoy looking at them.  And honestly, this is some of the best art I have seen.  I'm absolutely in awe and think there's no way it could possibly be better than this.  Here's some examples for you.


Pretty amazing, right?

Now they need the funds to make this happen and Bluewater Productions and Julie Kagawa are looking for backers to make this happen.  You contribute $1 up to $200 (and probably more...).  AND you can get awesome stuff!  If you give $15 and you can get Issue No. 1 with a unique glossy cover delivered right to your door once it's released!  There are many other options like t-shirts, artwork drawn by Julie herself and can even get drawn in the book!  I like to contribute just to help, but the awesome stuff you get kind of motivates me even more.

Make sure to check out the Indiegogo page and check out more of the artwork that's up and see if you can maybe help get this project up and running.  Seriously, you don't want to miss out on getting some really cool stuff!




Monday, March 11, 2013

Bridget Zinn Release Celebrations

Bridget Zinn's first YA novel, Poison, is being released by Hyperion on March 12, 2013. 

Unfortunately, Bridget died from cancer in May 2011 at the age of 33. Being published was Bridget's dream. Now, nearly four years to the day from her diagnosis, her novel is at last reaching readers. On her behalf, her friends and family want to celebrate her accomplishment and help get her book into the hands of readers.

Poison's first review just came in, a near-rave from Kirkus Reviews, who write, "Don't let the title or cover fool you! No grimdark teen fantasy or angst-y heroines here; just a frothy confection of a fairy tale featuring poisoners, princesses, perfumers and pigs, none of whom are exactly what they appear (except maybe the pigs)…. Good silly fun—a refreshing antidote to a genre overflowing with grit and gloom." We're sure this is the first of many happy reviews to come for Bridget's debut.

Since Bridget isn't here to share her novel, people are pulling together to help get the word out about this former librarian's sweet, hilarious debut.

As Bridget was a Portlander we are excited to be a part of the Blog Tour and will be posting later in March for the release of Poison.  Below are two events that are coming up that we hope to see you at!

Events for Bridget Zinn & Poison
Since Bridget isn't here to share her novel, people are pulling together to help get the word out about this former librarian's sweet, hilarious debut.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 8:30 PM to 9:30PM (EDT) ♥ONLINE Video and Chat♥
Join Bridget Zinn's friends and fellow authors as they remember her life and celebrate the publication of her debut novel, POISON
The event is free.
RSVP

Saturday, March 16th 6 P.M., Portland, OR
A Children's Place Bookstore
4807 NE Fremont Street
Portland, OR 97213


Join the following authors to celebrate Bridget Zinn and the launch of her debut novel Poison. 
Purchase your copy at the event and get it signed by all.

Click on a name to visit the author's website. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Candace Reviews The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson @kcemerson

The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
Hardcover, 432 pages
Ages: Upper middle grade
Grades: 3 and up
Published: Feb. 26, 2013 by Walden Pond Press
Source: Publisher
Two kids from opposite sides of the country find themselves on a road trip to save the world from an impending alien attack - and bolster their middle-school transcripts in the process.

First came the missing people, missing time events, and untraceable radio signals. Then came Juliette, Arizona, a town that simply disappeared from existence. Suffice it to say, something strange is going on. Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids from opposite sides of the country who both think they can prove that these unexplained phenomena have a very real cause: aliens, and they are about to discover that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial life are one-hundred-percent accurate.

Having each been awarded a Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation dedicated to proving aliens have visited earth), Haley and Dodger and their families each set off on a cross-country road trip over summer vacation to figure out what is happening in towns across America. They soon realize that the answers to many of their questions lie in the vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone, or something, is doing everything in its power to ensure they never reach it. If Haley and Dodger don't act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as we know it may change for the worse.
This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.

This is a fun but yet slightly scary (you know, aliens, YIKES!) upper middle grade book about Haley and Dodger.  Haley and Dodger live on opposite sides of the country and don't know each other, but they were both selected for the Fellowship for Alien Detection due to their accumulation of evidence they have already gathered to the evidence of aliens.  The story starts with Haley and her family as they set out for Haley to interview people  who have had 'missing time' or are connected to things that may be extraterrestrial in nature.  One of these such people is the sister to Suza, who has gone missing after a night where people have 16 missing minutes.  Right on the start of the trip it's pretty obvious that Haley is definitely onto something and it's not long before she's told to 'go home', cause it's just too dangerous.  Of course Haley can't do that, she has to get to the bottom of this!  

About halfway through we start getting Dodgers story.  Dodger has always felt different from everyone else.  He doesn't really connect with anyone and doesn't have friends.  But he does have this radio station that sometimes plays in his head that is coming from the town of Juliette.  Dodger isn't sure if he's crazy or if Juliette is real (it's not on maps) but he sets out with his father to find out.  Right away he starts to realize that this Juliette seems to be a real place, now he just has to find it.

I really liked Haley and Dodger both.  They both have distinct personalities even if Dodger is use to 'dodging' people and sticks to his own little world.  Haley is a determined 'reporter' who doesn't let anything stand in her way, and Dodger doesn't have anything to lose and has been drawn to Juliette far too long to not pursue this.  While they were together a fairly short amount of time in the book, they did seem to compliment each others personality since they are both so different, but yet have this thing in common.

The whole alien thing is actually kind of scary.  Maybe I watch too much television about UFO sightings and stuff, but I do believe that aliens exist, and this whole concept wasn't so out there as you might think.  Some of it may be a bit extreme, but for a large chunk of the book it's pretty easy to imagine that it's real.  
I really liked figuring out where things might go and what the heck is going on.  It was pretty hard to put the book down, but it is a long one and took me two days rather then the one day it usually takes.  Haley and Dodger are in 8th grade so this is a book the more mature middle grade readers may enjoy.  However there's not any inappropriate content for the younger readers.  There's no romance to speak of, other than approximately two quick thoughts of "he/she is cute".  Nothing to even really be noteworthy of.  This is also a book that would be appealing for boy and girl readers equally.

Definitely a fun read and I very highly recommend it!
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Candace Reviews The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by @Finneyfrock

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published: Feb. 21st, 2013 by Viking Children's
Source: ALAMW 2013

That’s the day the trouble started.
The trouble that nearly ruined my life.
The trouble that turned me Dark.
The trouble that begs me for revenge.


Celia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did something unspeakable to Celia last year.

But then Celia meets Drake, the cool new kid from New York City who entrusts her with his deepest, darkest secret. When Celia’s quest for justice threatens her relationship with Drake, she’s forced to decide which is sweeter: revenge or friendship.

This debut novel from Karen Finneyfrock establishes her as a bright, bold, razor-sharp new voice for teens.

This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.  
I know Mel reviewed this last week, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to share my own thoughts.

I have to apologize because I finished this book several days ago and then read another contemporary book.  So I think the impact it left on me has faded a bit and my true emotions may not show as strongly as they may have if I had reviewed immediately after finishing the book.

This book did impact me fairly strongly and I think that's because it's about bullying (largely).  Through the book we know that something happened to Celia the previous year that devastated her enough to become 'Celia the dark' and she is planning to exact revenge upon the person who did this thing to her.  We do not know what happened until later, so it's a bit of a build up, wondering what this thing was.  In this time we get to know Celia and see other things in her life that aren't so great.  Her parents split up and her father moved far away, Celia's mother works long hours and isn't terribly involved in her life, and her best friend was pulled from her life which left her very much alone.  All this is enough to 'turn dark' but this other thing was what pushed Celia over the edge.  Now turning dark is pretty much what it sounds like.  She dresses in black, wears big boots and dark eyeliner, etc.  She doesn't have any friends until she gets to know Drake.  Drake is a very interesting character with a very big secret he entrusts to Celia.  But when his own heart is broken he kind of goes nuts himself.  At times he's very focused on himself and you can tell that he's not acknowledging Celia's issues (though she never talks about them either) even though it's obvious she has stuff going on.  But Drake isn't a bad guy, and we see him come full loop and be the real friend she wants and needs.  But he is  distracting her from her revenge plan, which is not at all going as planned.

Celia is a freshman in high school and this was a very realistic portrayal and voice of a freshman girl.  It really was spot on.  Celia also has a touch of snark, especially her inner voice.  This brings to the book more light moments where you can't help but laugh out loud.  This adds to this story that is pretty serious for the most part, and really lightens it up.

I have read that some said they felt disappointed when discovering what happened to Celia and that they felt like she overreacted.  I didn't feel this way at all, it actually was a pretty devastating thing for a girl to go through all alone.  But something I think that is very important to point out is that everyone is different.  They handle things different.  There may be a teen girl who's mother has brain cancer, her father is an alcoholic and she has 15 brothers and sisters to raise on her own but she wakes up each day with a smile on her face and happy to be alive while anyone else would be at their wits end and ready to walk out that door (true story example).  There are teens that have no major issues in their life that we can see, their parents are (mostly) happily married, they have a car to drive, friends to hang out with and no major issues, yet they can't hardly haul their butt out of bed each day because they hate themselves and their life so much.    We all handle things differently and it's not fair to say anyone is overreacting to anything, but especially a case of being bullied.  If they feel hurt, they have that right to feel hurt.  And I like that the author made this something so realistic.  This stuff happens every. single. day. 

I was very satisfied with how things played out in this book.  It was hard to put down and I was very eager to find out more and see where things would go because I really had no idea.  I think the writing was fantastic and characterization was spot on.  While there are some instances of cursing other than that this is a clean read and perfect for those entering high school or in high school. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book at ALAMW 2013 and all opinions expressed are my own.  I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.