Friday, July 31, 2009

Shareworthy Friday, July 31, 2009 [Volume 1, Edition 16]

Apologies ahead of time for this wimpy shareworthy post... I am seriously behind on my webbiness this week, and don't have a lot to share, but the few things that I do have are pretty cool, I think:

Bookish
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare can be read for free at Living Social, if you have an account there, or a Facebook account. (I have not read this yet, but the hardcover is sitting on my shelf... waiting)
  • Article at Wired about the Top Ten Geeky Things You Didn't Know About Romance Writers, made me laugh.
  • If you haven't noticed, I do not to Mailbox Mondays or In My Mailbox posts... instead, I prefer to announce what I receive via Twitter on the day I receive it. Follow me on Twitter to see what I get in the mail, and to see a sampling of my random thoughts and snipits of my life.
Poll Results
  • 73% of you said you'd rather see me post things randomly, or as they come along.
  • According to those of you who commented on that post, you'd rather see a mix.
  • So, I am going to hybridize my style:
  1. Tuesdays will either bring you Create A Soundtrack, or Storybuilders, on a bi-weekly basis. Both are participation essential features, that I would love to see more participation in. If you have any suggestions on how I could get YOU to participate in them, please leave it in the comments section, or drop me an email. (I love feedback, and won't get defensive, I promise)
  2. Fridays will bring Shareworthy. I think that this is a good day for this feature, and want to continue it here.
  3. Saturdays will bring You're The Expert, where you tune in to share your views with us. This post is meant to become a discussion topic, where you leave your views on a certain subject so that you can give us all a little tidbit from your perspective. I LOVE reading your comments on YTE because it broadens my horizons. Even if you don't comment (which I do encourage you to do - COMMENT! :op) come over and read what others have to say.
  4. Ambitious Edition, Minimal Investment, Operative Factors, Our Terms, and Book Inspections will be published at random, as I run across good content to share with you. I feel like sometimes I am stretching to give you a post on a certain day for a certain feature, and you are not getting the best you could be getting.
  5. If you have any feedback on this structure, I would love, love, love to hear it. It is, I think, a good blend of what you guys want to see. If it's not, tell me! I'll keep tweaking.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in my poll, and for helping me build the best blog I can. I really appreciate your help!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LAST DAY! Show Your Pandemonium Eyes Like Stars Contest



Don't forget to enter! Tomorrow is the last day! Click the button above to take you to the entry post.

Storybuilders, Edition 5 (and Shawna's Shadow)

This week's start:

"Jorge, what do you think you're doing? That car is just..."

The Rules:

1. Each person can only add two sentences.
2. You may not post two consecutive entries (otherwise it wouldn't be wiki-ish), but you may come back and add on after someone else has added their entry.
3. Let's try to keep it PG.
4. You can designate new paragraphs and time pauses if you want to.
5. HAVE FUN!

Last edition...

Shawna's Shadow
by Shelly, Paradox, Laina, Kate, and I Heart Monster

Shawna rushed up to her best friends, Nicole, Leah, and Bess and practically shouted, "Guess what? Guess what? Guess WHAT?!? I..." But she stopped because he was there. What was he doing with her friends? This was definitely not good.

It is bad enough to be stalked by a shadow being without it trailing those she loved. She needed to do something, but how could she without revealing her secret? This was definitely not good. It is bad enough to be stalked by a shadow-being without it trailing those she loved. She needed to do something, but how could she without revealing her secret?

She had to make a move now to get rid of him without it seeming suspicious. She could eliminate him if she threw salt at him, but she had left her salt sachet on the table, stupidly. But then, she remembered the pool. Would he follow her into the chlorinated water? It was worth a try.

She headed over to the pool and coaxed the shadow to follow her. Her secret intact for now, she headed inside to prepare for the inevitable day when the shadows would return.

Beastly by Alex Flinn [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch: Kyle Kingsbury is like the hottest freshman at Tuttle Private School in New York City. He's a shoe-in for prince at the upcoming dance, and all of the girls love him. Problem is, he knows it. After a goth girlie named Kendra with green hair stands up in class and tells everyone that the nominees are bunk because it's all based on looks and not anything of substance, Kyle decides to play a trick on her. During gym class, he decides he'll play humble and ask her to the upcoming dance. What he doesn't tell her is that he plans to still go with Sloane, his hottie of a girlfriend. When Sloane learns of his plans to take Kendra, she is hurt, until she finds out that he's still planning to take her in the limo that his dad, Rob Kingsbury (a hotshot reporter on the evening news), paid for with all of the accoutraments she is accustomed to including the purple orchid corsage. FF to dance night, Kyle finds that Magda, the maid has screwed up and gotten the flower that Kendra asked for instead of the orchid that Sloane requested. Kyle throws a little hissy and decides to take the corsage, a single white rose, with him anyway. Sloane hates it because it's a "cheap" flower. At the dance, Kyle takes pity on the ticket taker girl who thinks the flower is pretty and hands it to her. She loves it and is grateful to Kyle, and Kyle is glad that he can't give it to Sloane now that he's given it away. Then Kendra arrives in her purple and black vintage dress. Not only do they make fun of her, Kyle snubs her, and humiliates her in front of everyone. When he gets home that night, Kendra is waiting in his room. She casts a spell on him to be a beast, but because of the one act of kindness with giving the rose to the ticket-taker, she tells him that if he can find a girl that will fall in love with him in his now ugly disgusting state and kiss him, that he will return to the old Kyle. This is the story of Kyle's desperate quest to become human again.

Verdict: I Heart It!! This was a great modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I appreciated all of the work that Alex Flinn put into making the story a mashup of a lot of different cultures takes on the tale including the one that we all grew up with in Disney, and the Greek myth about Cupid & Psyche. Flinn did her research. I also like that the character, Lindy, who is essentially the Beauty character, is not your typical beauty. This is a very well-written and up-to-date take on the myth. Flinn was careful to include enough technology that it is current, but not so much that it would become obviously outdated in a few years. Her characters are well-developed, but not exactly what you would expect. The book is divided into six parts with 6-8 chapters per part, and I really liked the way it was divided. There were chat room transcripts before each part, but I kind of felt like those didn't resolve at the end of the book, and was wondering about Silent Maid... but otherwise, I thought they were a good addition.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
New York City, NY, USA

What is the main character's name?
Kyle Kingsbury aka Adrian King

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
Defintely not at first, but as the novel progressed and the character transformed, I really started to love Adrian.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
half a day

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Nope

Is this a good read for Monster?
He might like it... I dunno. What floored me though, is that my mom wants to read it, LOL. She's not usually one for fantasy or fairy tales. Maybe I'm rubbing off on her.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
The ending. I need to know what Kyle's life plan is at the ending... how he will maintain his lifestyle. Will he always depend on his father?

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
I have several:

"At Tuttle, we'd treated people bad if they had cheap shoes."

"Commercial airlines are tricky. I don't have a credit card. Apparently paying in cash makes one a security risk."

"But Adrian, sometimes is nice to let her be smart too."

"But finally, I decided something in the room should be pretty, and it wasn't me."

How many chapters were in the book?
38 + epilogue + author's note

Stats:

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: September 23, 2008
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006087418X

Acquire It:


Notes:
  • Visit Alex's website for a some an exerpt and the first chapter of Beastly.
  • Check out Alex's blog.
  • Beastly is gonna be a movie!
  • A little about the upcoming movie...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Because I Wanna Know...

I'm curious as to which you prefer... so please take a quick sec and vote on my poll.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Inspection: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Plot Sketch: Laurel has been home schooled her entire life. Now that her parents have moved out of Orkin, population 500, to Crescent City, a slightly larger city, she has been enrolled in public school. Her parents moved to Crescent City and purchased a bookstore there, where Laurel occasionally helped out. After her first day of public school, she begged to be able to be home schooled again, but her mother felt that she was unable to provide a good enough education on her own. Plus, there were the social benefits, Laurel needed to learn how to interact with people her own age. At school, a boy named David befriends her, and they begin a wonderful friendship. She tells him about her strict vegan diet--she only eats fruits and vegetables and drinks water and Sprite--and he accepts her for who she is and introduces her into his clique. When she decides that she has a tumor on her spine, but wakes up to find a ginormous flower growing out of her back, it is David that she confides in. Read the book to find out more about what Laurel is and how her relationship with David develops, with some other characters as well.

Verdict: I Heart It, but I can see why it sometimes gets negative reviews. I'd venture to say it's half-well-written. It's like you're reading along and the cheese factor goes waaaay up and then returns to normal. Then you're reading along and you hit awkward patches where the editing is sub-par. On top of that, there were some elements introduced around page 231 that made me almost put down the book referring to King Arthur and Oberon. I felt like they were a little far-fetched even for urban fantasy and that the book would have been a lot better without them. Also, the characters feel underdeveloped at times like they do things that are out of character for their descriptions to that point. I also don't think the element of time was handled well; there were several breaks mid-chapter that should have either had the *** time pause inserted or become new chapters on their own. The same goes for the consistency of the few ***'s that were in the book, it felt like they were inserted at awkward times. Wings' redeeming factor, honestly, is like the last 10 pages. It made me want to read another book about Laurel, Tamani, and David, and left it open so that there can be more drama in the future.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
Crescent City, California, USA

What is the main character's name?
Laurel Sewell

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
I like Laurel.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
half a day

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Page 231, re: King Arthur. I put the book down and was like, "Whatever. That's just stupid." If there would have been more than 50 pages left, I probably would have just quit it, even though that part doesn't even factor into the plot that much at the end.

Is this a good read for Monster?
My Monster wouldn't like it, but I could see men who liked Twilight liking it. I'm not comparing the book to Twilight, just saying if they enjoyed it, they might enjoy this too.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
It was plenty interesting, but I'd lose the King Arthur and Oberon references, they just sound so hinky.

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
"You taste like honey."

How many chapters were in the book?
25

Stats:


Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: May 5, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061668036


Acquire It:

Hardback

Notes:

  • Aprilynne's Wings podcast on Harper Teen.
  • Find out more about the characters with introductions on Harper Teen.
  • Take the Wings quiz to find out if you have blossomed yet. (apparently I'm part faerie)
  • Check out the original opening to Wings (which I linked to in a Shareworthy post)
  • Wings has been optioned for film by Disney with Miley Cyrus to play Laurel, and Aprilynne thinks its a good fit. Read her reaction to the announcement.
  • Check out Aprilynne's blog, Apparently!
  • Apparently, Aprilynne now lives in Phoenix, AZ (which is kinda close to me!)
  • Watch an interview with Aprilynne about the book from Harper Teen:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Inspection: Across The Pond by Storyheart

Plot Sketch: Fred's parents just won an all expenses paid trip to Australia for two. Now, what to do with Fred while they're gone? He has his choice of visiting his aunt and uncle in Scotland, or visiting some family friends in America. He chooses America. Because of the exchange rate from the pound to the dollar, it costs his parents about the same amount. He sets out "across the pond" to visit Phil & Julie and their daughter, who just happens to be his age, Brittany. At their first meeting, Brittany insists Fred call her Brit. After less than a day, Brit divulges her deepest secret, one she's been holding from her mother and father, to Fred, because she feels like she can trust him with it. It involves a boy and the way he treated her. Through the story, you get to see the relationship with Brit and Fred develop and you get a lot of glimpses of Fred's summer homework, which is to compare the differences in American English and British English. You also get baseball and a very cool encounter with the sport.

Verdict: I Heart It, but see room for more story development in the novel. A lot of things happen really quickly without much support from the characters. The characters are on the shallow side, but that is to be expected from a novel of 114 pages, I think. On the plus side, it was a great, fun, light read and I really enjoyed it. A lot of the English tends to be more along the lines of what my friends in England write in their emails to me, so don't be surprised when you pick it up. I think that's to be expected with an author who originates himself from "across the pond," and found it a refreshing angle to read from. I myself, am hoping for more of Fred & Brit soon!

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
USA

What is the main character's name?
Fred Squire

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
Yes, I do. He's got a refreshing outlook on life for a teenaged boy.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
A couple of hours

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Nope

Is this a good read for Monster?
This is a YA romance, so probably not. Guys - if you're interested in a romance, you might like it, but if not, it's probably not for you.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
I think a little more plot development would be nice.

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
Fred winced. That damn baseball stuff again.

How many chapters were in the book?
37

Stats:

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Publish Date: September 25, 2008
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1436371767

Acquire It:


Notes:

You're The Expert: TWILIGHT



I had a dream once about vampires. Wait, what am I saying, "once?" I have dreams about vampires all the time. And zombies, and demons, and werewolves, oh and mermaids, and yeah, I have a very vivid subconscious, thankyouverymuch. Sometimes I wonder if I should write down my dreams and turn them into books (hee hee) and whether or not they'd be best sellers (hee hee)

Ok. Now, I'm not trying to start World War III or anything, but I would honestly like to hear from you whether or not you liked/disliked the Twilight series and why. Who was your favorite character? Who could you have lived without? What was your favorite scene? Did you enjoy the writing style? What could have been done better?

Please, no profanity, and no name-calling, let's keep this civilized, mmkay? Oh, and my comments have a 3k character limit, so if you go over that, you'll have to start a new comment. Not that you will, just a forewarning.

I'd love it if you comment with just a "liked" or "disliked" or something even if you don't want to explain it! :o)

You know I heart you (and your opinion!!),

I Heart Monster

Oh and P.S. I saw this little clip over at Wired today from Comicon this week with three of the vamps from the New Moon Movie... thought I'd go ahead and add it to this post for your enjoyment (or hatred) or whatever!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shareworthy Friday, July 24, 2009 [Volume 1, Edition 15]

Things I thought I'd share as I was perusing the web this week, so shareable actually, I deemed them Shareworthy:

Bookish
Beautiful Creatures Preview height="500" width="100%" > value="http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=15855299&access_key=key-znc8n6suqhqofdnw1zq&page=1&version=1&viewMode=">

Contests
  • Check out Bookluver Carol's Geektastic giveaway. Share your geeky story for a chance to win a copy.
  • Bree Despain is having a contest to help her name a new character and countdown to The Dark Divine. How cool is that?
Random

Around IHM
Blog Awards

I just wanted to make a note that if you have given me a blog award, and I haven't passed it on yet, I have the best intentions of doing so, I am just super behind on them. I will try to keep up once I'm caught up! Thank you so much for giving me an award :o) I have not forgotten about it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Minimal Investment: The Elves by The Brothers Grimm

The Elves (Fairy Tale #39)
The Brothers Grimm
Word Count: 506

There was once a poor servant-girl who was industrious and cleanly and swept the house every day, and emptied her sweepings on the great heap in front of the door. One morning when she was just going back to her work, she found a letter on this heap, and as she could not read, she put her broom in the corner, and took the letter to her employers, and behold it was an invitation from the elves, who asked the girl to hold a child for them at its christening. The girl did not know what to do, but, at length, after much persuasion, and as they told her that it was not right to refuse an invitation of this kind, she consented.

Then three elves came and conducted her to a hollow mountain, where the little folks lived. Everything there was small, but more elegant and beautiful than can be described. The baby's
mother lay in a bed of black ebony ornamented with pearls, the covers were embroidered with gold, the cradle was of ivory, the bath-tub of gold. The girl stood as godmother, and then wanted
to go home again, but the little elves urgently entreated her to stay three days with them. So she stayed, and passed the time in pleasure and gaiety, and the little folks did all they could to
make her happy. At last she set out on her way home. But first they filled her pockets quite full of money, and then they led her out of the mountain again. When she got home, she wanted to
to begin her work, and took the broom, which was still standing in the corner, in her hand and began to sweep. Then some strangers came out of the house, who asked her who she was, and
what business she had there. And she had not, as she thought, been three days with the little men in the mountains, but seven years, and in the meantime her former masters had died.

A certain mother had her child taken out of its cradle by the elves, and a changeling with a large head and staring eyes, which would do nothing but eat and drink, lay in its place. In her trouble she went to her neighbor, and asked her advice. The neighbour said that she was to carry the changeling into the kitchen, set it down on the hearth, light a fire, and boil some water in two egg-shells, which would make the changeling laugh, and if he laughed, all would be over with him. The woman did everything that her neighbor bade her. When she put the egg-shells with water on the fire, goggle-eyes said, I am as old now as the wester forest, but never yet have I seen anyone boil anything in an egg-shell. And he began to laugh at it.

Whilst he was laughing, suddenly came a host of little elves, who brought the right child, set it down on the hearth, and took the changeling away with them.

Our Terms:

canard \kuh-NAHRD\ , noun:

1 .An unfounded, false, or fabricated report or story.
2 .A horizontal control and stabilizing surface mounted forward of the main wing of an aircraft.
3. An aircraft whose horizontal stabilizer is mounted forward of the main wing.


Quotes:

This is just a canard that is assumed to be true because it has been repeated so often.
-- Bruce Bartlett, "Lower Taxes Higher Revenue?", National Review, March 13, 2003

Loath as I am to resurrect the old canard accusing writers or critics who dislike a popular work of art of being jealous, in Byatt's case, it might be true.
-- Charles Taylor, quoted in Rowling books "for people with stunted imaginations", The Guardian, July 11, 2003

Several students say they still believe the canard that no Americans died in Bali -- in fact, six did.
-- Phil Zabriskie, "Did You Hear...?", Time Asia, February 1, 2003

Whether this was true (which seems improbable) or was one of Lawrence's numerous canards (which seems very possible), it appears that Father did intend to strike camp at some time.
-- Douglas Botting, Gerald Durrell: The Authorized Biography

Origin:
In French canard means "duck" or "false news; hoax." The latter sense of the word probably comes from the phrase vendre un canard à moitié, "to half-sell a duck" -- which is to say, not to sell it at all, hence "to take in, to make a fool of."

New word to you? Use it in a sentence in the comments section to give your new vocab addition a workout. Here I go...

It was an incredible story, and I felt so deflated when it was revealed that it was a canard.

Now you give it a whirl.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch: The Gallagher Academy looks like a snobby boarding school for rich girls, but looks can be deceiving, especially if you want them to be. Every girl who goes to Gallagher is exceptional, they have to be, because Gallagher Girls are spies in training who speak like, 14 different languages on demand. Not only are most influential American women graduates of The Gallagher Academy (think Amelia Earhart), its graduates hold a lot of patents for things you wouldn't want to live without, like Velcro. Cameron Morgan, Cammie for short, attends as a legacy, and her mother is the headmistress there. Since her mother is the headmistress, Cammie has had a lot of time to roam the halls and find all kinds of secret passageways and nooks and crannies and useful schematics. She has two BFFs, Liz & Bex. Enter Macey McHenry, yes, she's one of those McHenrys, and yes, she has the attitude to prove it. Macey is assigned to live with Bex, Liz, and Cammie since they had an extra bed in their suite. Macey ends up coming in handy since she's the only one of the four with practical guy experience because on a CovertOps Class assignment in town one night, Cammie runs into a really. cute. boy. His name is Josh and he flirts with Cammie. Pick up the book to learn more about this most unusual romance.

Verdict: I Heart It! Picture me with the book open. *Turn the page* *Laugh* *Giggle* *ROFL* *Turn the page* *Giggle* *Turn the page* Get the idea? Ally Carter did an amazing job of keeping this book fun and light and still spy-like. I love that it goes into other areas of spydom such as spy support, etc. This is the first book in the Gallagher Girls series, and there are currently 2 more available after this one. I will definitely be reading them both (and quickly I hope!)

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
The Gallagher Academy, and Roseville, Virginia

What is the main character's name?
Cammie Morgan

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
Love her.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
Like For. Ev. Er. I tried to read along with the Epic Rat's Gallagher Girls Book Club, but I kept falling behind because I didn't want to get ahead. It was so hard for me to read one chapter four times a week that I just gave up. When I picked it back up, I flew through the remaining chapters, and LOVED them.

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
I forcibly made myself get stuck so that I didn't get ahead for the group discussions, but after I quit worrying about that, there was no getting stuck.

Is this a good read for Monster?
Monster wouldn't like this one. Some guys might, but I'd not recommend it to the vast majority of the male gender.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
It was plenty interesting. I actually didn't predict a few of the plot twists too, which is always a plus!

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
One? Just one? Can't do it.

"So, is this an inside joke thing or a your-mom-made-you-buy-it thing?"

So those are normal parents.

A cold front blew in that night--in a lot of ways.

How many chapters were in the book?
35

Stats:


Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publish Date: March 20, 2007
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423100042


Acquire It:

Paperback

Notes:

  • This book has been optioned by Disney for feature film rights. (per the back cover)
  • The Fun section on Ally's website has some videos of Ally, an iTunes playlist, and even a quiz to see if you could get into Gallagher Academy (which I guess I would IF they were taking apps)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Create A Soundtrack: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Building a soundtrack for:

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

So, leave a song in the comments section that is beachy, summer-rific, speaks about loss and love, or BFFs, or surfing all themes and items we find in Sarah's debut.

I'll start us off by putting Summer Girls by LFO on the playlist. Add yours in the comments section below! I'll post the mix in two weeks. Feel free to upload the youtube video for your song into the comments section as well ('cause you can totally do that!)



Wait! Where is this week's Storybuilders?
I'm changing it up a little. Storybuilders participation has dropped off significantly and I think weekly may be a little too often for that feature, so I am going to alternate with Create A Soundtrack on Tuesdays. These are both now bi-weekly features. Click here to add to last week's story about Shawna!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Tour & Mini Inspection: Ravens by George Dawes Green

Plot Sketch: *I did not finish this book* The Boatwrights always play the lottery, but they, like most other people do not win. Shaw & Romeo are on their way to Trinidad to make money a different way than in their dead end tech support jobs in Ohio. On their way to Florida, the go through the Boatwrights' town and happen to overhear that the winning lottery ticket for the $318MM jackpot was sold in the store they had stopped to fill up at. The Boatwrights are the ones that won, but they made a family pact not to tell anyone that they won. Jase, the youngest, breaks that pact and tells his best friend, who tells the whole world. Tara, the college-aged Boatwright, quits her job at the bank with a bang and heads home. She tells her gramma, Nell, and that's all. After doing some research, Shaw finds out that it was the Boatwrights that won and concocts a scheme to infiltrate their winnings. Romeo will kill someone important to the Boatwrights if they don't go along with Shaw's scheme, so they start to.

Verdict: No Love. Now, the plot was good for the 100 pages that I did read of this book. However, I chose to stop reading because of all of the profanity in it. I realize that the profanity probably made it more authentic, but I didn't feel like it was something that I wanted to pursue. I am not a fan of the "f-word," and didn't enjoy all of the times that I had to read it in the first 100 pages. The plot is good and thick and twisty, and if you don't mind the swearing, you will probably enjoy it a lot. But unfortunately for me, I couldn't get past it and move on.

Notes:
Review copy provided courtesy of Hachette Book Group.

Other participants of the Ravens blog tour:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ambitious Edition: Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert



Title: Ballads of Suburbia
Author(s): Stephanie Kuehnert
Release Date: 07.21.09
ISBN-10: 1439102821
Website: http://www.stephaniekuehnert.com/home.html


The Usual Questions:

Is this the first in a series?
Does not appear to be, but please, someone correct me if I'm wrong!

What is the basic concept?

from Amazon.com:

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....
Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.


Is the cover art favorable?
It's funky and fun and is definitely attractive.

What are some of the author's other works?
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

Notes:

  • Order Ballads of Suburbia
  • Check out Stephanie's Blog, where a release party is already underway!
  • Check out the MTV Books blog about the book's cover.
  • Click play below to view the book trailer

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Book Inspection: Meridian by Amber Kizer

Plot Sketch: It started when Meridian was born. Small creatures would find their way into her crib at night and die. As she got older, the animals got bigger. Every morning she would wake up with new dead things in her room. It started to happen not just at night too - kids at school started calling her mean names and staying away from her. Meridian just accepted that she killed everything that came near her. The only person who was seemingly unafraid of her was her little brother, Sammy. Then, on the morning of December 21, her parents hinted that they had something to tell her... something important. She went to school as usual, but on her way home, there was a car crash right in front of her house, a really bad one. It crippled Meridian immediately because even though she was walking, she felt the pain of the dying around her. Her father rushed to her and got her away from the scene and took her to Costco, where he took her through to the back and told her he would never see her again. He told her to go to see her great aunt in Colorado. All Meridian has is a few dollars and the things her mother had packed for her. She has no idea what she is. Once she finally arrives in Revelation, Colorado, she meets Tens, a young man who lives with and takes care of her great aunt, and who she is immediately attracted to. Read Meridian to find out their intertwined fate, and Meridian's path to becoming a full-fledged Fenestra, half-angel, half-human being who does not kill the beings she is around, but helps the dying get to the other side successfully without being intercepted by the Aternocti, who would take their souls to what we see as hell.

Verdict: I Heart It! I really loved the story line. I think Amber Kizer created an original story and original concepts. I thought that they related to modern religions very well, and has created what could become a new classic good vs. evil struggle, if there was a little tweaking. There were several passages in the book that felt awkward and just didn't flow right. I really did enjoy it, and when I was away from it, I thought about the story, which I mark as a sign that a book is good. I hope there is another book in the series!! ADDED LATER: As I continued to reflect upon Meridian in the days after I posted this review, I began to appreciate the novel even more. There was a great point made in the novel that any religious belief can be manipulated and twisted to fit the ideals of a religious fanatic. The Bible was used throughout by the "bad guys" to justify their actions and beliefs. Kizer annoted the verses and you can find a list of them at the back of the ARC. I really didn't think much of it at the time, but I came to appreciate it even more. This book has many layers and is a lot deeper than I originally thought.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
Revelation, Colorado

What is the main character's name?
Meridian Sozu

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
I like Meridian. Though I can't really relate to her, I felt like she was a good character who grew as the story progressed. She's deep.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
A couple of days.

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
There were several parts that I had to re-read, but was still unable to ascertain what Kizer was trying to say. Later on I made sense of them, but they didn't flow, and I think if those little kinks were worked out, it would have been a better read for me.

Is this a good read for Monster?
Maybe, maybe not. I think that men will be able to enjoy this story. Tens is a very intensely male character with his outdoorsy skills, and his demeanor, and he is very likeable as well.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
Nothing.

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
I don't have one per se, but I loved the Fenestra journal entries that were at the beginning of some of the chapters. Before the chapter, in bold, would be a relevant entry to the predicament that Meridian was facing. The journal was one that her family had kept, Fenestra to Fenestra, and only Fenestras were allowed to read. I thought those passages gave a lot of depth to the book.

How many chapters were in the book?
35

Stats:

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: August 11, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385736681

Acquire It:

Hardcover

Notes:

  • Check out the Ambitious Edition post for Meridian
  • Check out Meridian's website, MeridianSozu.com
  • This is a review of an Advanced Readers Copy, so most of it, including the parts that I thought awkward, are subject to change before the book is printed.

You're The Expert: Contests/Giveaways


Curious!

  • What prevents you from entering a contest or giveaway?
  • Are you annoyed by contest reminders on blogs?
  • What are your favorite types of contests to enter?
  • What is your favorite way to enter a contest?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shareworthy Friday, July 17, 2009 [Volume 1, Edition 14]

Things I thought so fun and cool, I labeled them Shareworthy:

Bookish
  • Aprilynne Pike published a deleted scene from Wings, and apparently there is going to be a movie, with Miley.

  • Khy over at Frenetic Reader wrote about what is good and bad in author's websites. Being that I totally agree with what she said, you should check out her post and let us both know what YOU think.

  • Along with the debut of Eyes Like Stars last week, Lisa debuted The Call Board, which is a great informational website for the Theatre Illuminata!

  • Wondering which Tenners tweet? Wonder no more in this Twitter directory post. Just wish they were linked for easier following.

  • Bookalicio.us links and discusses an interesting article about zombies being the new vampires.

  • Are you an author or a blogger who would like to be interviewed on A Book And A Chat with Storyheart or interested in a written interview for his blog? If so, please contact me and I'll get you his contact info!

  • Cupcake Witch shares a survey that Teensreadtoo.com has asked us to take.

  • My Friend Amy has announced that the Second Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be held September 14-18.

  • Quirk has announced their latest classic mashup with Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters. Here is the book trailer:

Contests
  • Win Surf Sisters and Surf School over at Hey! Teenager of the Year. Just comment with a story about your BFF, how cool, right?

  • Candor Book Trailer Contest is taking place over at Pam Bachorz website. Check out the book trailer for Candor on You Tube, then go over and enter her contest by tweeting or posting the link somewhere. Fab prizes.

  • Maw Book Blog is giving away a signed copy of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Random
Around IHM
And now I leave you with a video I saw on Carrie's YA Bookshelf... it made me laugh!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Savvy Scribblers: Julia Hoban (+CONTEST!)

Julia Hoban is the author of Willow, a book that I rave about. Julia and I have been chatting about Willow for a while now, and I asked her to do a formal interview with me for IHM which she agreed to do and I am so thankful. Willow came out on audiobook on Tuesday and is available at Audible and iTunes!

About Willow:

IHM: I noticed that you didn't specify a location for the novel in the pages of the book. What was the reasoning and purpose behind that?


JH: It's interesting that you noticed --- not everyone does, but you're absolutely right, I never specify the location. The book deals with a rather sensitive topic, one that could in fact be off putting, I needed my readers to be able to connect as immediately as possible to the material, and I felt that naming a location might put up a kind of barrier. People needed to have their own image of where the book takes place and their own associations, that's why I never name the locale. BUT, to my mind the book takes place on the campus of Columbia University where I went to school, Riverside Park, where I walk every day, and the Museum of Natural History which I visit as often as possible.
On a related note, you may have noticed that I never described the characters either. This was for much the same reason. I wanted people to have their own image of them -- what if I had described Guy and he sounded like your ex? Or Willow sounded just like the girl who stole your ex? It would have put up an insurmountable barrier.

IHM: A kind of slight spoiler here, so don't read this question if you've not read the book, skip ahead to question 3. Willow loses her virginity during her journey to self-discovery, do you believe she lost it in the right way? Can you please touch on both the emotional and physical aspects of this for us?

JH: Yes, I do believe that her first sexual experience is in fact a very healthy choice for her. She not only has technical safe sex, but she has emotional safe sex as well. Right before she loses her virginity she runs into an old friend of hers who asks her who Guy is --- Willow doesn't say "He's someone I met at my new school," she doesn't say "Someone I know from the library," she says "He's someone that knows me, and someone that I know." I used the word "know" deliberately because of the biblical connotations, and I believe that it speaks to the "emotionally safe" sex that she and Guy have. They are indeed two people that know each other very deeply, and love each other very much, before they take their relationship to the next step.

IHM: You advocate both emotional and technical safe sex in this novel, which I think parents would appreciate, but have you had any ickiness from any parents talking about how you shouldn't talk about sex at all in a YA genre?

JH: I love your use of the word "ickiness!" No. Just the opposite!! Of course there may well be parents who are scandalized, but so far the only ones who have gotten in touch with me, have had a very positive reaction. In fact, the phrase that I used above, "emotional safe sex' comes from a letter a mom wrote me!

IHM: Can we talk about the metaphor on the cover a little bit? The way I interpret it, it hits Willow's cutting release, and her fragmented sense of self... am I anywhere close?

JH: It may surprise you --- and your readers as well --- but I had nothing to do with the cover, authors rarely have a say in the matter! I can say that I am extremely pleased with it. I think your interpretation is very interesting, and may well be what the designer had in mind. I never thought of it that way, to my mind it's more illustrative of the actual cutting.

IHM: Guy is an amazing character, and I am wondering if there is a real life inspiration for him?

JH: Well, I like to say that Guy is based on my husband.... That I am in fact married to someone that kind and special, but one day my husband heard me say that on a radio interview, and he hasn't stopped trading on it since!

About Julia

IHM: Willow has such a strong, valid, and healthy perspective. Do you come from a background in psychology?

JH: It's rather extraordinary that you should say that Willow has such a strong, healthy, take on things, when she is such a self destructive character. However I do think she is strong in many ways, her deep love for her brother and the degree to which she wishes she could take on his suffering spring from that strength.
You may have noticed I didn't answer the question! Do I have a background in Psychology? No, certainly not in any formal sense....

IHM: Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

JH: I went to Columbia University, and then went on to graduate school there. I was in Physics, but left the program midway though, to write WILLOW.

IHM: If you could be written as you are, as yourself, into one of your favorite novels, which one would it be?

JH: Readers of WILLOW may have picked up on the fact that I am a Sherlock Holmes fan. if I could be written into anything, it wouldn't be a novel, but a short story. "A Scandal in Bohemia" to be exact. I would take the place of Irene Adler, and best Holmes just the way she did!

IHM: Name three things you don't leave your house without.

JH: I would say that I don't leave the house without my keys, a hat, and gloves, except that I have been known to forget my keys! As to the hat and gloves, I don't leave without them! I wear a hat and gloves 365 days a year. My middle name is eccentric! My summer gloves are very pretty though, many of them are embroidered with flowers......

Thank you Julia! I really enjoyed your answers to these questions, and we appreciate you taking the time to answer them! Now for a special treat, here is Julia's list!

The Top 5 Fantasy Books Julia Wishes Existed:

1) The Complete Ten volume set of Sherlock Holmes (There are only two volumes)
2) The Complete NOVELS of Shakespeare. Can you imagine a novel by Shakespeare? Sigh.
3) I adore the book "Seven Men" by Max Beerbohm, to my knowledge the only short story collection he wrote. Your readers MUST rush to read "Enoch Soames." In any case, I would like the further three collections of Max Beerbohm's stories.
4) Death twixt Wind and Water by Harriet Vane. Harriet Vane is one of my favorite fictional characters, written by Dorothy Sayers. Harriet was a novelist, and one of her books was "Death twixt Wind and Water" What a pity it doesn't exist!
5) The complete twenty volume set of Josephine Tey's novels. Tey was an extraordinary mystery novelist, unfortunately she only wrote a handful of books, fortunately they are among the best of the genre.

NOW, to enter to win a copy of Willow by Juila Hoban (a new hardcover from Amazon) leave a comment with your email address AND a fantasy book YOU wish existed.
Extra entries as follows (please leave all entries in ONE comment):

+1 For using the Retweet Button on the top of this post (tell me you did it and leave your @name!)
+2 Following/RSS Subscribing to I Heart Monster (new and old followers, tell me in the comment)
+2 Linking to this interview/contest in another place button code for your convenience at the bottom of the post! (leave link in reply to your original comment if you do this after your first comment please!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prada & Prejudice Contest


Yeah, this book is too cute not to share!  I haven't seen a gazillion contests for this one, so I thought I'd start one for my copy.  It is of course open worldwide. Entry deadline is 11:59PM on August 5th.

Read my Book Inspection of Prada & Prejudice.

What will you get?  My copy of Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

How do you win?  Leave a comment with what year you would want to end up in if you bonked your head and magically appeared in a different time.  (one year, not a date range, and you must include this to be entered.  No single year, no entry)

Extra Entries?  Of course! (REMEMBER TO LEAVE ALL ENTRIES IN ONE COMMENT)

+1 for telling us WHY you want to go back to the year you selected.
+1 for leaving a relevant comment on my Book Inspection of this title. (tell me you did) (+2 if you already did leave a relevant comment before this contest came along... just tell me!)
+1 for using the Retweet button on the top of this post (please leave your @name in your comment)
+1 for being a new follower (tell me!)
+2 for being an existing follower/subscriber (tell me!)
+2 for linking to this contest on your blog (you may come back later and reply to your comment with the link)
+3 for having a well thought out answer that includes a picture :o) (you can upload a pic into your comment)

Come back tomorrow for an interview with Julia Hoban and a chance to win a brand new hardcover of her debut, Willow.