Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Interview with the Fabulous Dandi Daley Mackall

An Absolutely Amazing Interview with the Fabulous Dandi Daley Mackall!!!

I would like to apologize to everyone but especially to Ms. Mackall for not posting this on the correct date. It was my fault to not add it to my calendar on the day we agreed upon it. So everyone, to repay Ms. Mackall for my mistake how about we all go buy ourselves 1, 2, or 472 copies of her newest book My Boyfriends’ Dogs!!! Not convinced that it’s a great book? Read my review HERE

I am truly sorry for this mistake and hope that your fabulous self can forgive me. Thanks J


5 things readers would be surprised to know about you

1. I love riding horses bareback, and I rode my first horse solo when I was 3 years old.

2. I started out writing for grown-ups, never dreaming I’d write for any other age group. Then I had kids! At one time, I wrote Scooby-Doo books, and Yogi Bear, Jetsons, Flintstones, etc. Now I’ve written for all ages.

3. I get up about 5:-5:30 AM every day, read the Bible for about 30 minutes (to get my head straight!), then write—sometimes for 12-14 hours.

4. I LOVE to dance—every kind of dance!

5. At a wedding or birthday party, I trade my cake for other people’s frosting. I adore frosting…cake, not so much.

4 things you wish you knew in high school

1. There would be other boys and better boyfriends.

2. One great friend beats a clique of fair-weather, popular friends.

3. If you open up and share real things, like real problems, hopes, and dreams, fears, questions—other people will open up to you. I would have peeled more layers from myself and my friends so we could get down to the heart and things that really matter.

4. Family members can actually be some of your best friends—and they’ll still be around long after you’ve lost track of most high school friends.

3 things you are embarrassed to own/love/have done

(I could list 300!)

1. I got to attend the University of Aix-Marseilles in France when I was a junior in college. That summer I bummed around student hostels in France and ran out of money—before I bought my return ticket. So I sang (with guitar) at sidewalk cafes, and people put money in a hat. It was great—actually got enough for the ticket—until the French police did a “sweep” of street performers. I didn’t have a license (I didn’t know I needed a singing license!), so I spent a few hours in the Paris police station. I never did tell my parents, so mum’s the word, eh?

2. Once I sent an email to a fellow writer, confiding how difficult my editor was to work with and what a poor editor she was, etc. Only (you guessed it) I accidentally sent the email to that editor. Gulp!

3. First date with a fantastic guy in high school. Trampoline. My pants split…all the way up. No second date.

2 careers you might have chosen if you weren't an author

1. Horse trainer

2. Librarian

1 thing you can't live without

Seriously, only one? OK—we’ll take God, husband, children, and books for granted. The answer is: cheese.


5 words to describe your book






4 reasons you love writing YA

1. I think I’m stuck at this age—my memories are so fresh.

2. YA readers are open—I can switch genres, experiment with things, like three novellas tied together as one novel, or two points of view, a guy’s and a girl’s. In Love Rules, I told the story through my heroine’s eyes and point of view; but I switched to the guy’s point of view every time she was on a date (she dates a lot). Usually the guy thinks he’s doing great…then we go back to our heroine’s point of view and discover he wasn’t impressing her at all.

3. I love doing school visits with YA readers—makes me keep up with music, dialog, dreams, etc.

4. So many decisions to make as a YA. I love thinking about readers riding inside the head of my main character and watching the good and the bad decisions and their consequences.

3 reasons everyone should read your book

1. Jill likes it!

2. You get 3 books for the price of one: 3 guys, 3 dogs, 3 love stories…and 1 girl.

3. I promise you’ll laugh (and remember that the scenes with Goofy really happened…to me).

2 YA books you adore

1. Speak by Laura Halse Anderson

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (OK—not strictly YA, but wonderful, a classic (yes, it’s old)

1 tip for aspiring YA writers

Use your edge—If you work at McD, put your character there and give us insider details. If you know and love horses, write about horses. Use your life, your edge, your voice.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets Review

Title: Dirty Little Secrets
Author: C.J. Omololu
Release Date: February 2010

Summary (from ):

Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.With details that are as fascinating as they are disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt at normalcy. Her fear and isolation are palpable as readers are pulled down a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have readers completely hooked.

Character Development: 10/10pts
Originality: 10/10pts
Plot/Story Line: 6/10pts
Ending: 6/10pts
Voice: 8/10pts
Recommendation: 8/10pts
Total Score: 48/60
Grade: B

Age Appropriate Rating:
Cussing: 6/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 5/10
Sexual Content: 5/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 8/10

Written Review:
This review is different. I didn’t take the time to organize my thoughts out of their bullet points like I normally do. I’ve edited it some but mainly these are my notes I took while reading this novel. I’ll be back to my normal reviewing style once I am back from my “Vacation”. Thanks for understanding and please enjoy the review J

·        Dirty Little Secrets was a novel I didn’t fall in love with, but I didn’t come close to hating it either. It was definitely a unique story but I think that it would have been better if it took place over a longer period of time. I did enjoy this novel though. Quite a lot actually.
·        My only real complaints were that even though the hatred Lucy felt for the life her mother created for her seemed real; the idea that she would hide her mother’s death just so her friends wouldn’t find out about her mom’s hoarding seemed a little unrealistic. But I could also see how someone who is used to lying over every fact or her life can blur the lines between right and wrong, truth and fiction. Also Lucy was already used to living her life independently and taking responsibility for all problems that happened to fall around her.
·        The fact that her absent father and 2 older siblings completely checked out of the situation and left Lucy to fend for herself instead of seeking help was also something that bugged me, but again, I could see the thought process  behind it too
·        Most of this story took place at Lucy’s home by herself which made Lucy’s personality and voice really stand out
·        Lucy was a wonderful  character who faced all the typical teen problems (friends/boys/popularity) while also dealing with a massive family secret
·         Her strong emotions and compelling story kept me reading. Lucy’s voice and intricate descriptions made it easy to get sucked into the tragic world of a hoarder.
·        Very fast paced. The whole book takes place in a little over 24 hours.
·        And though the ending concluded things in a very thought provoking way, I wanted to spend more time with the characters and see how her decision affected her and her siblings. (maybe a sequel???)
·        Lucy’s memories as she attempts to clean up her house really make you sympathize for how hard her life has been and what the world of a hoarder is really like
·        Overall, With a sympathetic protagonist and a very addicting yet haunting theme,  Dirty Little Secrets is a unique and intriguing story about a secret illness that is hidden among the boxes, garbage, and extravagant lies which safely conceas this dirty little secret.
·        I will definitely be looking for more novels by C.J. Omololu in the future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I hope...

....that you had a very lovely Valentine's Day.

I did. And as a lovely present to myself I'm allowing myself to read what I want for the next 2 weeks.

I went to the library. I picked out my books (Tangled by Carolyn Mackler, Reality Chick by Lauren Barnholdt, and The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti) and now all I have to do is read.

Please don't expect reviews of these books for a few reasons.
1. I don't usually review library books
2. I want to read these for pleasure. I don't want to have to remember to take my notes and work on wording my review correctly before I move on to the next book.

I'll be back on track reading normal review books and then reviewing them as normal within the next 2 weeks. I'm just giving myself a much needed break to remind myself why I love reading.

Thanks and Happy Valentine's Day (or as some are calling it-Singles Awareness Day)


I was just informed that what I said above may sound rude. I don't mean to imply that I don't like reading or reviewing my ARCs. I LOVELOVELOVE reviewing books and for the most part, I love the ARCs I do read. And I know it's a privilege to get them and I really do appreciate it. Please don't think that I don't know how blessed I am. I just need to take a small vacation from it. Like people take vacations from work, right? No big deal. I'll be back from my "vacation" soon. Thank you so much for understanding.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Before I Fall Review

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 2010
Summary (from ):
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High, from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12 should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Fortunately, she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Character Development: 10/10pts
Originality: 10/10pts
Plot/Story Line: 10/10pts
Ending: 8/10pts
Voice: 10/10pts
Recommendation: 10/10pts
Total Score: 58/60

Age Appropriate Rating:
Cussing: 7/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 6/10
Sexual Content: 7/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 6/10

Written Review:

BEFORE I FALL is thought provoking, gripping, intense, and wonderfully written. 
In the beginning Sam was the kind of girl you hate but also secretly want to be. Her style, her boyfriend, her confidence, her friends, her ability to get away with almost anything just because she can all contribute to her popularity. But her attitude to those “below” her and her self-centeredness makes her someone you really can’t stand.  As the novel progressed so did Sam and she quickly grew into someone to relate with and feel for.  
Even before Sam matured, bits of everyone could be found in her personality.  Who hasn’t judged someone wrongly? Talked about someone behind their back? Cared a little too much about what others think? Picked friends over family? Sam had six chances to amend her wrongs but for us, it makes you realize that life is much too short to go about wishing things would change and not do anything about it.
Though most of the book was based on Sam, the other characters were just as well developed and as close to real as can be.  From the awkward but cute Kent to the “perfect” boyfriend, Rob, to the best friends who are as close as can be but still have their own slew of secrets.
Each day was the same yet completely different. It really makes you think how one thing can affect so many and how all decisions-big or small-are important. As Sam matures and realizes how even her smallest action affects those around her, she also begins to discover her purpose and what’s really important in life.
This was the shortest 470 pages I have ever read.  I couldn’t help but want to spend more time with Sam as she fumbled her way through what’s right and what’s wrong in life. Woven within the pages was the perfect blend of suspense, heartbreak, and little moments that really make you think about the meaning of life and of course little life lessons are thrown in along the way.
It’s a very overdramatized real. Sex, parties, drinking, smoking, and an insider’s look into the brutal world of high school. Lauren Oliver did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of what is sadly high school today. 
The ending was touching and sad, but also very peaceful and full of hope.  I loved every bit of this book and recommend it to everyone.  It’s a book that makes you think about your life, your mistakes, and your ability to change them.  It makes you wonder how one action can affect so many. It makes you feel all sorts of emotions from hate to love and everything in between. It makes you want to pick it up and read it again and again.  So do. And then give it to your friends and let them read it so everyone can experience this captivating novel about life in all its glory and heartbreak.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Slump :(

I'm in a reviewing slump and I have been for a while if you haven't noticed.

I should still have reviews starting soon but please understand when you see that they aren't even close to their normal length or as in depth as I usually like to make them.

Thanks so much for understanding. Hopefully I come out of this slump soon and back to the normal reviews y'all have come to expect from me.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interview: Suzanne Young

An Interview with Suzanne Young
*author of THE NAUGHTY LIST*

5 things readers would be surprised to know about you:
  • I was never a good cheerleader
  • I was awesome at Speech and Debate
  • The only class I did my homework for was English
  • One of my favorite movies is Heathers
  • I let my husband make the playlists for my iPod
4 things you wish you knew in high school:
  • That life beyond high school would be WAY COOLER
  • That boyfriends weren’t going to last forever
  • That you didn’t HAVE to stay friends with someone
  • To have as much fun as possible
3 things you are embarrassed to own, love, and have done:
  • I once made a music video
  • I check my horoscope every day—and make plans around it
  • I give great advice, but never take it. And regret it.
2 careers you might have chosen if you weren't an author:
  • Professor, or possibly a private detective
1 thing you can't live without:
  • My writer friends
words to describe your book:
  • Cute, Quirky, sleuthy, loving, and perky
4 reasons you love writing YA:
  • The mindset of the characters
  • The pacing
  • The dope covers
3 reasons everyone should read your book:
  • Fun. Fun. Fun.
2 YA books you adore:

  • Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
1 tip for aspiring YA writers:
  • Keep writing-it was my fifth book that sold

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Soul To Save Contest

My Soul To Save Contest

3 Winners
U.S. Only
Feb.5 - Feb.19


Book 1 -- My Soul to Take -- was released this past summer, and readers found out why Kaylee Cavanaugh screams bloodymurder when someone's about to die.
In Book 2 - My Soul to Save - when teen pop star Eden croaks on stage andKaylee doesn't wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can't cry forsomeone who has no soul. The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking herdad's ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend's loyaltyto the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickeringlifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld-aconsequence they can't possibly understand.Kaylee can't let that happen, even if trying to save their souls meansputting her own at risk.Soul Screamers: The last thing you hear before you die.

You can learn more about Kaylee by downloading the free Soul Screamers prequel--My Soul to Losehere<> !

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Enter the Contest Below: