Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Awesome Author: Cluadia Gray

Claudia Gray is the author of Evernight. Her second book out of the four books in the Evernight series, Stargazer will come out is the spring of 2009. She is one awesome author. I am really glad I got the chance to purchase her book from Amazon and then after I thoroughly enjoyed it she agreed to an interview.

My review.

Claudia Gray's Website.

How did you come about picking Evernight as the title of the book and the school?

I actually came up with the title EVERNIGHT a long time ago, and for another book altogether -- the first novel I ever tried to write. It was a fairly ambitious science fiction idea, set on a world so industrialized and built-up that all the social strata depended on how far you lived from the dark, crowded and filthy ground. Daybreak was the best place to be; Evernight was the earth itself. That novel died on the vine; I still like the idea and am fond of the characters, but science fiction may not be my strong suit. But the word Evernight stuck with me. While I was trying to come up with something sufficiently spooky and romantic for the name of the school, I realized I already had a good title handy.

Which character in Evernight are you most like? Least like?

I am a little like all of them, in different ways: I love books as much as Bianca does, get as broody as Balthazar does and worry about my manicure almost as much as Patrice does -- if not quite. But honestly, the one I think has the most of my personality is probably Vic.

Just out of curiosity, if given the choice would you rather be a vampire or a member of the Black Cross?

My first impulse is to say that I'd rather be a member of Black Cross, because then at least you're alive -- in these books, being alive is much, much better than being dead. But a lot of people in Black Cross are zealots, and they've let good intentions turn them into monsters as dangerous as the evil vampires they hunt. So if I could be sure that I'd be a good vampire, maybe I'd have to choose that. Definitely the vampires have more fun, I think.

Can you give any hints as to what will happen in Stargazer, the sequel to Evernight?

Let's see:

Lucas hasn't given up on his dream of being with Bianca.

Neither has Balthazar.

Evernight Academy will turn out to be haunted, and this affects Bianca most of all.

Vic, Raquel, Courtney and Ranulf all get a lot more to do.

What is the best thing about writing about vampires for YA?

The fans, definitely. So many people are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic -- it's just terrific.

Are you going to be writing any books that don't deal with vampires?

I hope so! I am currently working on a couple of proposals that are both definitely supernatural and romantic, but no vampires -- one involved witchcraft, and the other -- hmmm -- let's call them reincarnated time-travelers. It's a lot of fun. Not that I don't love vampires, but variety is the spice of life.

What are your favorite vampire books?

My all-time favorite is THE SILVER KISS by Annette Curtis Klause.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I love hearing from readers, so feel free to get in touch via my website or livejournal anytime.

Ms. Gray,

Thank you for answering my questions. And I cannot wait untill Stargazer comes out!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


“Don’t you ever feel like there’s something at this school that’s… evil?”

Written by Claudia Gray

Pages: 327

My rating 1-5 stars:
5 stars

Bianca wants to escape. She’s been uprooted from her small home town and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn’t fit in.
Then she meets Lucas. He’s not the “Evernight type” either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands u to the snobs, and wants Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.
“I couldn’t stand it if they took it out on you,” he tells Bianca, “and eventually they would.”
But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can’t be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart… and to make Bianca question everything she’s ever believed.

Evernight is tied with Twilight for number one on my list of my favorite vampire books; they are both great vampire books that have great plots, and awesome characters. Until about half way through Evernight I was wondering who was going to turn out to be the vampire, Lucas or Bianca. But when I found out I was sort of surprised. But that was not the beginning of major surprises/twists in the book. I really want to say a lot about the twist towards the end of the book, but I don’t want to ruin it for all of you who haven’t read it. I will say that I was like WHAT and I reread the same paragraph over like 5 times to make sure I wasn’t imagining anything. But yeah I was completely taken of guard, which is great I love when books do that. Thank you very much Ms. Gray for putting that awesome twist in the book! I could go on and on ranting about how great this book is but then there would go my week…

~*~ Due to content in this book I do not recommend it to anyone below the age of 14. ~*~

Friday, August 22, 2008

Two Way Street

“A road trip with her ex? Danger ahead…”

Written by: Lauren Barnholdt

Pages: 288

My rating 1-5 stars:
5 stars

Jordan and Courtney were in love. Ever since Jordan asked Courtney to go for breakfast at one o’clock in the morning Courtney liked him. They are even going to go to the same college, so they decided to go on a three-day road trip together to the college's opening orientation. Courtney and Jordan were in love, until Jordan suddenly dumps Courtney for this mystery girl he met on myspace.

However, the road trip is still on due to the fact that it is too late to get plane tickets. So Courtney decides to hide the fact that she is still in love with Jordan and tries to make Jordan think she is dating another guy.

But what Courtney doesn’t know is that Jordan still likes her too. And that he isn’t telling her the truth about the girl he met on myspace. But that isn’t the only thing that he is keeping from her. He wants to tell her but he is afraid that she will become more upset with him than she already is.

The reason I liked this book so much is because it changed from Jordan’s to Courtney’s point of view. If it weren’t for that I probably wouldn’t of liked it as much as I did, unless it was written from Jordan’s point of view. But then it still wouldn’t be as good as it is. I also liked that there were flashbacks to before the trip, which explained most of the reason why Courtney and Jordan broke up, the real reason they broke up. The character I liked the most was Jordan, even though he wasn’t telling the truth about the myspace girl, it was for a good reason. He was trying to look out for Courtney and he didn’t want her to be hurt.

Spoilers ALERT

The one character I hated was Courtney’s dad. I cannot believe that he would try to keep Jordan away from Courtney. Sure he was scared that Jordan would tell Courtney that he was having an affair with Jordan’s mom but still didn’t he realize that Courtney would be more hurt since Jordan broke up with her and that her dad was having an affair?!?!
^End of Spoilers^

~*~ Due to content in this book, I do not recommend anyone under the age of 15 read it. Content includes drugs, language, and sexual content~*~

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Awesome Author: Nancy Viau

Nancy Viau is the awesome author of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, a book about a 10 year old girl who ab-so-lutely loves rocks and science. I read and reviewed it and it is one of my favorite middle grade books. It was released yesterday so what are you waiting for? Go and buy it at the closest book store or online!

My Review

Nancy Viau's Website

And now for the interview...

Samantha Hansen is a total mad scientist. Have you ever been or are you as interested in science as she is?

Yes! But don’t get me near test tubes, microscopes, or complicated equations. Keep me out of the science lab, please. I want to roam the great outdoors--investigate how a mountain range forms, feel the winds of a hurricane, sit near a volcano, find out what causes animals to do the things they do, see what’s up with global warming, and discover how scientists are finding new ways to look at the universe. I guess what I’m saying is that what interests me most is what goes on in the natural world, outside.

What do you like most about the Grand Canyon, one of the several Natural Wonders of the World?

Seriously, what’s NOT to like? That whole place is just awesome. It almost looks like another planet. Before I visited the canyon, I had seen dozens of pictures of it. I thought that upon actually seeing it, it would be cool, but I’d be unaffected. Wrong. My favorite part ended up being my first impression. My family and I traveled up that long road en route to the overlook. Evergreens grow in a dense forest heading toward the South Rim, so it’s easy to get used to seeing lots of green. But then, I pulled up, parked, and walked to the railing…and honestly…the entire Earth just opened at my feet. I will never forget that. I just couldn’t believe that what I was seeing was real.

Did your kids influence any part[s] of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head?
My grown sons have a huge appreciation for hiking, traveling, and adventure. They’ve seen more of the U.S. than I have, and have a constant desire to experience nature in all its glory. Although I’ve beaten them to the Grand Canyon, they influence how I see the world on a daily basis. It’s a thirst-for-adventure-life-is-too-short kind of thing. I also have two daughters, five years apart, and let’s just say that without them, Sam and Jen would be pretty dull. My daughters’ daily exchanges keep me on my toes, and give me plenty to write about.

Are you planning on writing any more books?
Yes! I’m fairly addicted to writing, and not sure I can stop.

Will Samantha Hansen appear in one of your future books?
I certainly hope so. She’s a kick. And because she is obsessed with science there is so much more she can get into. Her obsession could change from rocks to bugs or space or the weather. ; )

Will they all be Middle Grade books?
Perhaps. I love to write for the middle grades. Kids between 8-12 keep their sense of wonder close to their hearts. They haven’t gotten totally jaded by what their peers think is cool or what they should think. They form their own opinions, enjoy humor, understand sarcasm, and are full of endless energy. And although I’m much older, I feel the same.

Have you always had such a wonderful talent for writing?
Hmm…thoughtful question. When I was very young, I created picture books with illustrations and text, and (by hand) made copies for my neighbors. I distributed them in my wagon, and charged ten cents per copy. The writing should have been on the wall, yes? In school, I aced my writing projects, research papers, essays, etc., but not once did anyone say I had a “talent” for writing and suggest I should pursue writing as a career. Weird, I know. In college, I became a teacher because I loved kids, and it seemed a terrific way to release my creative energy. (Don’t even ask about the day I turned my classroom into a complete restaurant for a math lesson or how I pleaded with the principal daily until he ordered 37 Bunsen burners for a science experiment.)

What is the one thing that you love most about being a published author?
I love picturing my readers, sitting (like I used to) in a comfy chair, turning pages, smiling, and giggling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jimmy's Stars Book Tour Day 3

So today is it the last day of the Jimmy's Stars Book Tour. For the past two days I was one of the few lucky bloggers that have gotten a chance to read Jimmy's Stars by Mary Ann Rodman and get an interview with the author. But what I haven't told you yet is that the other bloggers that read Jimmy's Stars are liking it as much as I did! So basically in this post I am going to be quoting bloggers on why they think you should buy the book.
But first if you missed Day 1 or Day 2 of the blog tour I sugest you go to those first:

Day 1 (Review of Jimmy's Stars)
Day 2 (Interview with Mary Ann Rodman)

And now for what others are saying about Jimmy's Stars:

"Not only do I give Jimmy's Stars my highest recommendation, I also believe that this would be a perfect book for a book club pick. Such a perfect book for young people (and adults alike) to read and discuss together. Mary Ann Rodman brings forth an engrossing story, with Jimmy's Stars, and displays a true talent to engulf young people in the treasure of reading.
" A Childhood of Dreams

"Although Jimmy’s Stars is intended for the middle school crowd, I was hooked immediately. I instantly felt like a member of the neighborhood and cried along with the characters when Jimmy was drafted. Ellie does a lot of growing up through the book and is a character even I could identify with. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a middle school aged child and also to any adult." A Mom Speaks

"Jimmy’s Stars was the first book that I have read in a long time that has brought me close to tears! Mary Ann Rodman does an incredible job conveying the feelings of a nation in the midst of war. You’ll feel like you are being transported back in time when you pick up this book! " By The Book Reviews

And those are just some of the great reviews for Jimmy's Stars. So what are you waiting for?? head on over to Amazon and purchase this heart captivatiting story!

Others that are Talking about Jimmy's Stars:

A Childhood of Dreams
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
A Mom Speaks
All About Children's Books
Becky's Book Reviews
By The Book Reviews
Dolce Bellezza
Fireside Musings
Homeschool Reviews
Looking Glass Reviews
Maggie Reads
Maw Books Blog
SmallWorld Reads
The Friendly Book Nook
The Hidden Sign of of a Leaf

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An Awesome Author: Mary Ann Rodman (Book Tour Day 2)

MARY ANN RODMAN’s debut novel,Yankee Girl, was chosen as a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers and an NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. She lives with her family in Alpharetta, Georgia.

How did you come up with the story of Jimmy’s Stars?
This book has been through a couple of incarnations. It began as the first book I ever COMPLETED, twenty-five years ago. It was terrible, but I held on to it because the characters were based on family stories and letters from WWII…and I had done all that research. Then I recycled one of the chapters into a picture book. That didn’t work either, but an editor who saw it said, “I love these characters. Why don’t you turn this into a middle grade novel?” This time I found a story for them that worked. I guess it was bubbling on the back burner of my mental stove for the last twenty -five years.

Do you have any personal connections with the story?
As I mentioned above, what got me thinking about WWII (a time period that has always fascinated me) was a cache of letters my mother, her siblings, and her mother wrote each other during WWII. My mother came from a family of eight, and she and her three brothers all served in WWII. (My mom was a WAVE, one brother was a Marine in the Pacific, and the other two were in the Merchant Marine.) Each sibling wrote each other and their mother each week (sometimes more often) and in turn, their mother wrote each of them. That was a lot of letters. In addition, one of my uncles kept a shipboard diary. What struck me about these letters was that while what I think of as History was included, so were the more mundane events of life. So one of my aunts wrote “I guess the war is over. Lots of people carrying on in Times Square. I went home and washed my hair.” Or, “There are German subs following us. I am reading Steinbeck’s THE MOON IS DOWN.” They didn’t think about it being History or themselves as being special. It was just what you did when your country went to war. Nor did they think about the possible negative effects of the war on their families. (“The Greatest Generation”…having spent the Depression just trying to survive…were not big on introspection or analysis. They were people of action.)

About how long did it take to complete the writing process of Jimmy’s Stars?

The actual writing took 18 months, but I have been thinking about it and researching it off and on for over twenty-five years (as you probably gathered from the previous questions.) What is your ideal writing environment? I have an office, (which used to be the living room, except no one ever “lived” in it!) and when I am in it, I try to keep it conducive to writing. I turn off the phone, light a candle and turn on the music. If I am writing the first draft of a historical novel, I only listen to music of the time period I am writing about. For JIMMY’S STARS I listened to a lot of big band music (especially Glenn Miller and early Sinatra) as well as a compilation of “propaganda music” by the Smithsonian (funny stuff like Spike Jones’ “Der Fuehrer’s Face” and really blatant stuff like “You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap). On a perfect first draft day, I fall into my time period (1943-44 in this case) in my own personal time machine, so that when I finish writing for the day, I have to turn on something like CNN to reorient myself to the “real world.” If I am not writing a first draft, I can take my laptop anywhere. Most often I am writing in the den, revising in front of what used to be called Court TV (I am a big true crime fan) or at the skating rink (my daughter is a figure skater who skates hours every day). I have learned to write in five-minute spurts, while being interrupted…but not during a first draft. How does it feel to be a published author? I still have my “I-can’t-believe-I’ve-published-a-book” days…especially when I get fan mail from other countries, or I spot a book in a library. I have never wanted to be anything other than a children’s writer (OK, there was that stretch in college when I thought I was going to be on Broadway) and if I never publish another book I feel like I have achieved one of my life goals. My other goal is to keep writing (and hopefully, published) until I drop in my tracks. Writing is a compulsion, and even on my most discouraged days, when I said “OK, I quit,” I found myself writing endlessly in my journal about …being discouraged!

What are the other books that you have written other than Jimmy’s Stars? What are they about?

I have published another middle grade fiction, YANKEE GIRL, and two picture books, MY BEST FRIEND and FIRST GRADE STINKS. I have two more picture books, A TREE FOR EMMY and SURPRISE SOUP coming out in March and April, respectively, 2009. There are two more picture books under contract, THE ROLLERCOASTER KID (Viking) and CAMP K-9 (Peachtree…which I sold just this past week!) whose publications are yet to be announced but you can count on them being sometime after 2010.

YANKEE GIRL (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004) was based on my childhood as the daughter of an FBI agent in Civil Rights Era Mississippi. It was named a Best Book by the Chicago, Cincinatti and Baltimore Public Libraries, as well as a Best Book by the National Association of Social Studies Teachers, and the University of Wisconsin CCBC, Voice of Youth Advocates “Top Shelf Fiction” and nominated for 9 state book awards, including the Illinois Rebecca Caudill Award.

MY BEST FRIEND (Viking, 2005) came from an event in my daughter’s life, and is about the nature of friendship. It won the Ezra Jack Keats’ Best New Picture Book Writer (from the New York Public Library), the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Best Picture Book Text (from the University of Wisconsin), was a CCBC Choice, a Bank Street College Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, and was nominated for the Kentucky Bluegrass Award.

FIRST GRADE STINKS (Peachtree, 2006) was again, based on my daughter’s troubles
adjusting to the increased demands of first grade, after a lovely, if undemanding, year in kindergarten. It was named a Bank Street College Best Book.

A TREE FOR EMMY (Peachtree, March 2009) was based on something that happened to a friend of my daughter. All five-year-old Emmy wants for her birthday is a mimosa tree, which if you live in the South, you will recognize as a “nuisance” tree…it sheds big pink fluffy blossoms and large seed pods, and usually grows wild. But if you are a five-year-old, it is a magic sort of tree. (The Northern equivalent is the cottonwood tree. I’ve had both in my yard at one time or the other…and lots of complaints from the n

SURPRISE SOUP (Viking, April 2009) is illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This book came from a combination of things…my dad’s very labor intensive vegetable soup recipe, the hours I’ve spent watching him make it…and my husband’s childhood as the very LITTLE brother in a family of three.

Are you currently writing another book?

Yes…I’m always writing at least one novel, and one picture book, and researching another novel.
If so what is it going to be about?

The novel, which is more toward the YA audience, is based on the Great Tri-State Tornado of 1925. My father and his family were actually in the middle of the greatest tornado disaster in American history. In the space of 2 hours, the tornado hit three states, killed 1200 people (one of which was my great-grandmother) and completely changed the lives of not only my family, but entire towns. The question I hope to answer is “What happens when your whole life disappears in an afternoon?” I’m also writing a picture book that involves a gerbil…but the story keeps changing.

When will it be published?

Well, finishing them would help!

Is there anything else you would like to share about Jimmy’s Stars?
I would like to tell writers, both young and “experienced” to never throw out anything you write. You can never tell when you may have a revelation that can help you “find the real story” in something that you have had rejected, or that you don’t personally think is any good. As for whether or not you “learn a lesson” from JIMMY’S STARS, I trust the reader to come to his or her own conclusion about that. A book will mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. In general, I would encourage people to pay attention to those “boring old family stories” your older relatives like to replay over and over. I was an unusual kid who actually enjoyed those stories, remembered them, and am now using them in my work. Even if you don’t write for a living, the stories need to be remembered for another generation. (My father is 85, and HE now wishes he had paid attention to those “boring stories” his aunt told!)

Buy Jimmy's Stars!

Other Blogs that are hosting the Jimmy's Stars tour:

A Childhood of Dreams
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
A Mom Speaks
All About Children's Books
Becky's Book Reviews
By The Book Reviews
Dolce Bellezza
Fireside Musings
Homeschool Reviews
Looking Glass Reviews
Maggie Reads
Maw Books Blog
SmallWorld Reads
The Friendly Book Nook
The Hidden Sign of of a Leaf

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jimmy's Stars (Book Tour Day 1)

Written by: Mary Ann Rodman

Pages: 257

My rating 1-5 Stars:
5 Stars

It's September 1943, and eleven-year-old Ellie McKelvey is used to making sacrifices for the war effort--sacrifices like eating soy extender instead of meat and giving her roller skates up to a scrap-metal drive. Then Ellie's older brother, Jimmy, is drafted. Jimmy has a joyful heart and a kind word for everyone, and he's the only person who thinks Ellie's smart and funny and as beautiful as Lana Turner, the movie star. Ellie can barely stand to see him go. People shouldn't be sacrifices.
With Jimmy gone Aunt Toots moves into their house and his bedroom, Ellie's mother takes a war job at a factory, and everything in Ellie's life seems upside down. The war drags on and on, and so much changes because of it. But no matter what happens, there's one thing Ellie refuses to give up. Even as families in the neighborhood begin to receive telegrams informing them that their boys are wounded or worse, Ellie never stops believing in Jimmy.

Jimmy's Stars is a story that I will always remember in my heart. Mary Ann Rodman did a superb job of making me feel like I was there during the war and that I felt that sadness when families in Ellie's neighborhood found out that their sons were hurt or killed in the war. On top of that, I could not depart from this book; it was so good I had to bring it with me everywhere, just in case I had a second to read. And after I had finished reading it I wished that it hadn't ended it was so good. I also got to know more about World War II, which I have studied before but after reading this book I got a unique perspective of the war from Ellie, an eleven year old girl whose brother goes to fight in the war. I recommend this book to every one. Who doesn't enjoy a story that makes you laugh, cry, has a great main character and a story you will never forget.

Buy this book!

Other Blogs that are hosting the Jimmy's Stars tour:

A Childhood of Dreams
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
A Mom Speaks
All About Children's Books
Becky's Book Reviews
By The Book Reviews
Dolce Bellezza
Fireside Musings
Homeschool Reviews
Looking Glass Reviews
Maggie Reads
Maw Books Blog
SmallWorld Reads
The Friendly Book Nook
The Hidden Sign of of a Leaf

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Contest Winner

After looking at the cool banners I received for the Farworld contest I have chosen the one that I liked the most! So I am please to announce that the winner of the contest is

Kelsey from Just Blinded Book Reviews!!

I will be in contact with you some time today. I am leaving for a wedding so it may not be until tonight.

Thank to all that entered in the contest!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Movie Information- Harry Potter And Twilight

Harry Potter: The half Blood Prince is unfortunately going to be released 8 months later than the original release date. The official release date (as of now) is July 17, 2009. I was really bumbed about this. Until I found out that someone made a smart move by moving the release date for Twilight forward to take Harry Potter's spot on the 21st November! I am super excited that it is going to be realeased sooner than expected! Click here for more information on this.

Do you think that this will help Twilight sell more tickets?

Rogelia's House of Magic

“Three very different girls. One Wise Teacher. A Summer they’ll never forget.”

Written by: Jamie Martinez Wood

Pages: 300

My rating 1-5 stars:
4 Stars

Meet the three apprentices of Rogelia Garcia, a wise old woman who holds the key to the magic of their ancestors:

Marina, the sweet yet spoiled Latina princess –she can hear the voices of dead people, and one of them is talking in Spanish. Marina knows she must interpret an important message from beyond, but how can she do that when she doesn’t even speak the language?

Fern, the feisty free spirit—she sees colorful auras, especially around Tristan, a cute boy from the barrio. Fern is certain that the grayish cloud hanging over Tristan is bad news, but how can she ignore him when he’s so gorgeous?

Xochitl (So-chee), the wallflower—she has the ability to turn invisible whenever she doesn’t want to deal. And considering that she’s mourning the untimely death of her twin sister, it’s a wonder that anyone can see her at all.

When Xochitl’s grandmother Rogelia becomes a maid at Marina’s house, she agrees to teach the girls the ways of the curandera (spiritual healer). Even though marina and Fern are thrilled to have the chance to understand and use their powers, Xochitl isn’t happy about sharing such a sacred pratice with anyone but her sister. Besides, maic has let Xochitl down before—why wouldn’t it now?

But as she and her new friends eventually discover, at Rogelia’s House of Magic, anything is possible.

I enjoyed this excellent story. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters. While reading it I felt as though I was with them learning the ways of the curandera. I feel that getting to know the characters is one important part of a story, and Mrs. Wood does a great job of making the characters so realistic. And the plot was good too. Which is just another reason that made me like the book. I am looking forward to reading some more of Mrs. Wood’s books, especially if they are as good as this one. I defiantly recommend this magical book to all teens out there, especially if you like fantasy books.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Awesome Author: P.J. Bracegirdle

Mr. Bracegirdle is the awesome author of Fiendish Deeds which is the first of three books in The Joy of Spooking Trilogy. I got chance to read and review the book and I enjoyed it a lot.

The number one question that has been on mind since I started reading Fiendish Deeds is did you purposely make Joy’s favorite author’s (E.A Peugeot) initials to be the same as Edgar Alan Poe or is that just a coincidence?

There’s no such thing as a coincidence, at least that’s what people say. I should point out that the lives and histories of these two great masters differ vastly however. They also wrote in different eras, with Peugeot at least 60 years more modern if my quick mental math is correct. They do share much in spirit though, as well as a penchant for wild hair and dark stares.

Are you as big of a fan of horror as Joy is?

I don’t think anyone is as big a fan as Joy Wells, but yes, I do consider myself a fan. That said, as the years add on I have become even more a fan of a good night’s sleep, and so find myself consuming less and less of the stuff these days. This is especially true of the icky type of horror now being produced, whose one-word titles always seem to reference either a woodworking tool or rest-stop. Why is that? It seems like these people won’t be satisfied until they’ve ruined even such innocent pleasures as chisels and bed-and-breakfasts for everyone…

What is you favorite horror book? Movie?

There are too many books to pick out a favorite, but I think my favorite horror movie might be “Tremors”—it not only has an amazingly creepy premise (not being able to walk on the ground—what could be better?), but is also jam-packed with rollicking action and hilarity. Exactly my cup of tea.
How did you come up with the idea of Fiendish Deeds?
Gosh, I’m really not sure. As a writer you always have a whole slew of ideas sloshing around your head. Eventually, when a few start sticking together, you suddenly become aware of having an actual story worth exploring.

What is your writing environment like?

I wrote most of Fiendish Deeds from a prone position in bed actually. Not because I was so confined with tuberculosis or anything, but rather because no one tends to bother me there. It is also a very expedient place to fit in a sly nap, which is very creatively stimulating, I find.
Unfortunately all that awkward craning forward over the keyboard whilst reclined eventually injured a muscle in my side, and those wonderful days appear to be over. I now write these very words from a desk like every other unhappy sap, sitting on a rather uncomfortable old wooden chair, I might add.

What are Joy and Byron going to be up to on the sequel to Fiendish Deeds? And can you tell us what the title might be?

In the next installment which I have currently down as “INSERT COOL TITLE HERE”, Joy and Byron get swept up in some awful goings-on over at Spooking Asylum, the mysterious mental institution that hides behind tall walls nearby. New villains are revealed, old secrets begin to unravel, and Mr. Octavio Phipps is back again with a brand-new scheme to obliterate Spooking.

Will you be writing any other books that do not deal with Joy? If so, what will they be about?

I have an upcoming picture book called THE DEAD FAMILY DIAZ, wherein a little skeleton boy dreads walking among all the hot and squishy living people during Day of the Dead festivities. It will be out in a year or two from Dial Books for Young Readers. I’ve also got another novel in the works that skews towards an older YA readership that I plan to start on as soon as Joy’s adventures are complete, but I want to keep the details a secret for now.

Any advice on how to write a spooky/gothic themed book?

I think the most important advice is to keep developing your characters until they feel completely real. It’s impossible to make anyone afraid of what might happen to an imaginary person until they first forget that very fact. Then, once you’ve done that, remember to say ‘boo’ at precisely the right moment.

Anything you would like to add?

I’ve said it before but I will say it again: please buy my book—I am no longer fit for proper work.

-Thank you so much Mr. Bracegirdle for stopping by. It was a pleasure interviewing you and reading your wonderful book. -

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

Written by: Stephanie Kuehnert

Pages: 340

My rating 1-5 Stars:
5 Stars

When Emily Black was just four months old her mother left her and her dad to follow punk rock. Now Emily is in High School and she is starting a punk rock band of her own with her best friend Regan. She sings and writes the songs with Regan, who is the drummer, and Tom the bass player. They finally get to play at River’s Edge, the place where punk rock lovers hang out while watching small town bands rock the stage and also the same stage that Louisa, Emily’s mom, saw Emily’s dad play for the first time. Everyone loves her lyrics and sound but they don’t know the real reason that is behind the word that Emily sings. She hopes that one day her mother will follow the music right back to her and her dad.

This was one cool book. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is probably on of the most down-to-earth books I have ever read. It isn’t full of fairytales and other. Stephanie did a great job of making the book very realistic. The plot was also great, sometimes something would happen that I never suspected but then there were times when something would happen that I knew was going to happen. Which in some books I don’t’ like figuring out what is going to happen but I didn’t mind it at all in this book. The characters in this book were stupendous; they all had their flaws, which is great because in life everyone has flaws. I also enjoyed how big of a part music plays in the story. Which is probably because I am a big fan of rock but I think every one who reads this book will be able to envision Emily rocking out on the stage, like I did. I also introduced to some great rock bands while reading the wonderful story. I recommend this book to every teen out there, especially if you like listening to rock bands. Also some adults might enjoy the story too.

~*~ I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 15 due to drugs, language, and other themes in the book. ~*~

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Fun Little Survey Thing

I was tagged by Kelsey over at Just Blinded Book Reviews. So here is that fun little Survey

What was I doing ten years ago?

I was probably getting really excited for school to start. Which is the same thing I am doing now.

What are five things on my to-do-list today?

Post my review for I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.

Write some questions for an author interview.

Set up all the technical stuff, like fonts, for another author interview.

Bike 15 miles.

Finish reading Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt.

Places I have Lived?

Virginia (two places)

North Carolina (Three, technically four, I lived in a beach house for a month while my parents found my current house)

Things I would do if I were a millionaire:

Buy me a saweet house in Malibu. Buy houses for the rest of my family (Grandparents etc.) in Malibu.

Buy a Jeep.

Save for College.

So now I am supposed to tag someone. Well I am not sure who has been tagged and who hasn't, so if you haven't consider this as me tagging you!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Why Do You Read?, August 2008 Edition

First Name: Breanna (pronounced like bre-aw-nuh)

Age: 20

Gender: Female (woot go females! No offense Kyle.)

Blog URL:

What do you do when you are not reading?
I do a lot of things when I'm not reading actually. Most of what I'm doing consists of taking care of my 18-month-old identical twin girls or working at the local movie theater.

How old were you when you first became interested in reading books?
I'm told that I liked reading when I was a baby which makes sense because my girls love to look at books. So I guess I'm saying I became interested in with books when I was probably a year or so old. I remember liking books when I was older too, around 5-10 years old. I lost some interest after that. But about two years ago I picked up the reading bug again. Yeah, that's a wordy answer to a simple question, lol.

What is your most favorite book? Why?
Totally hard question. I've read so many great books that it's hard to choose which one is my favorite. I think I'll have to go with Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It was absolutely amazing. I remember I was enthralled in the storyline so much that even when my boyfriend came over I couldn't put it down. And I rarely got to see him so I know I loved that book. I want to read it again now, lol.

What is your favorite Series? Why?
I think my favorite series would have to be The Mediator series by Meg Cabot. I read it two years ago I think. I just remember being so in love with the characters and the story line. It was just so amazing. I remember being pretty much breathless the whole time I was reading the last book in the series. I was so sad when it ended but happy that I had just finished an incredibly amazing series that I'll always remember.

Who is you favorite author? Why?
That's a really hard question. I know everyone says that but that's because it's true. With all the different authors out there it's so incredibly hard to choose. But I think I have to go with Meg Cabot. I've read most every single one of her books and have loved them all. They're all such fun reads

What is you favorite genre of books? Why?
I guess I'd either have to say Vampire books (that counts as a genre, right? lol) or just basic Contemporary. Vampires because they're always so full of forbidden love and action. I love all the excitement. And Contemporary because I like reading about basic almost everyday things. I just love reading all the different stories that authors can come up with. I find it so amazing how many books there are in this world.
How many books, in average, do you read a week?
Well it varies because I'm a mom to twins and all. For a while last month I was reading maybe 2 to 3 books a week. But now it's 1 book a week if I'm lucky because I have a job now (at my local AMC theater) that requires me to work at night a lot which is when I get most of my reading done. So that sucks but I'm definitely liking my new job. So that makes up for it.

Describe your favorite place to sit down and read a great book?
I like sitting on the purple couch in the living room at my mom's house where I'm living right now. It's pretty comfy and it's just a nice spot to sit and read when I actually have a few minutes to myself. I also love sitting outside in the backyard on my mom's lawn swing. It's definitely really comfy to sit out there when it's warm, especially when I can actually get the swing to recline like it's supposed to.

What bookstore do you go to the most?
I go to Borders and Half Priced Books. Basically because they're the only two bookstores that are even remotely close to me. There aren't a whole lot of independent bookstores around Tacoma which is really sad. But I like Half Priced Books and Borders. They have books, what's not to like? Although I'm starting to just order off of Amazon more because it's getting harder to find the books that I want at the stores.
Which character (in any book) are you most like? Why?
Hmm tough question. Umm I think I'm a lot like Scarlett in Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen. No I've never had a boyfriend die in a motorcycle accident and then find out I'm having his baby. But I did end up knocked up when I was 18 and my girls' father is as good as dead to me. But like Scarlett I really needed a friend to rely on during the past 2 or so years when my life completely changed. Just most everything about Scarlett seems like me. At least what I can remember anyway, (the last time I read Someone Like You was like 3 years ago) which isn't much. I just feel like that out of all the books that I've read I'm the most like Scarlett.

If you could bring only one book with you to a deserted island, what would you choose? Why?
I'd probably have to say Twilight by Stephenie Meyer because well it's Twilight, lol. I've only read it once. But I know I'll be able to read it over and over again. It's just so great. And it's also a great length. I definitely like longer books. Especially when they're amazing like Twilight is.

Thank you so much Breanna for answering my questions! You have a great blog and I hope all my viewers will check it out.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Book Vault’s Birthday Contest Riddle

This is the next leg of The Book Vault’s birthday book riddle contest! For more information on the contest, go here:
Each correct answer counts as an entry into the drawing on August 29th!

Vitrified for 10 years, the main character has trouble adjusting to her new life—especially since her formerly younger sister is now older—and married with a kid of her own. But her crush from 10 years ago, who was also vitrified, is about to rediscover the world with her.
What book is this?

Know the answer? Send Dominique an email at with:

“BDAY CONTEST” in the subject line

The Riddle: Vitrified for 10 years, the main character has trouble adjusting to her new life—especially since her formerly younger sister is now older—and married with a kid of her own. But her crush from 10 years ago, who was also vitrified, is about to rediscover the world with her.
What book is this?

Answer: (full book title + author)

The name of the site where you found the riddle: Book Review Maniac

Your site’s URL: (if you have one)

Please send a separate email for each riddle you answer!

Good luck!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

An Awesome Author: PJ Hoover

In July I read and reviewed The Emerald Tablet, which is PJ Hoover's debut Middle Grade Novel. I enjoyed the book so much that I got my younger sister to read the book who loved it just as well. And I got to ask her a few questions for a segment of AN AWESOME AUTHOR. The Emerald Tablet releases on October 21st but you can pre-order it on Amazon right now.

My Review
My sister's review

PJ Hoover's Website

How did you come up with the idea to write about lost continents and telegens, a superior race of humans that have Telekinesis?

There was this TV show back in the early 80’s (yes, I realize you’re too young) called The Powers of Matthew Star. ( Matthew Star was basically this ordinary kid who had special powers like telepathy and telekinesis. He could pop popcorn with his mind so fast, the other kids thought he was magic—which I guess he kind of was. He was good looking and cool and oh so 80s. The show was on air for about six months, but I loved it, and it always stuck with me. How cool would it be to have powers like that and to have to pretend to be a normal kid? And so Benjamin Holt and telegens were born. As for the lost continents, I’ve always loved ancient civilizations, and I’ve wanted Atlantis to be real. So I knew Atlantis would have to be in the storyline. But while researching, I came across the sister continent of Lemuria and knew immediately my main story would be set here.

Why did you decide to tie in the ancient gods (Greek, Roman, etc.) into the book as just telegens from Atlantis trying to control humans?

OK, when I answer this, it will seem like TV is the basis for everything. But the sad fact is I spent much of my childhood watching science fiction and fantasy stuff. I’d say the time was wasted and I should have been writing, but then where would all these ideas come from? There was this Star Trek episode (Who Mourns for Adonis) about how the ancient Greek gods were real and lived among the humans. Adonis and the other gods had been super beings on Earth, but, as people stopped believing in the Greek gods, they went away. ( But even more so than the Star Trek episode, when we look at mythology, there are strong beliefs (mine included) that the mythological figures were actually based on factual people from long ago. I believe the gods were real and influential historical figures. And if there were good ones in the past, then certainly there were bad.

How do you feel about the fact that the release date of The Emerald Tablet is getting closer everyday?

Super excited. It’s kind of hard to believe there are people I don’t even know reading my book. Hard to believe and exciting all at the same time. As a writer, I sit alone just writing most of the time. So now to realize there’s this other side of writing is pretty cool. Not to mention rewarding!

Approximately how long did it take you to write The Emerald Tablet?

First draft about three months. First revisions another six months. But, trust me, there were still plenty of revisions ahead. I started The Emerald Tablet in December of 2004 and signed with my editor in March 2007 (though we’d been courting for about a year). I’m all about getting a first draft done quickly and then spending time as needed on revisions.

Are you writing any books at the moment that aren’t a part of The Forgotten Worlds series? If so, can you tell us what they will be about?

Yes! I’m working on a middle grade/young adult urban fantasy series with an Egyptian slant. So far I have one book completed and another in the post-first draft stage. As far as fun factor goes, they’re huge. If you thought the Greek gods were cool, wait for the Egyptian ones. I’ve also just started working on a standalone young adult urban fantasy rooted in Greek Mythology.

What are some authors that have inspired you

I’d be lying if I didn’t say J. K. Rowling. But I have to say, my favorite kid’s author these days is Rick Riordan. Before writing for kids, lots of the reading I did was adult fantasy and science fiction. Authors like Tad Williams (love the Otherland books), David Eddings, Terry Brooks, George R. R. Martin, and Robert Jordan (just to name a few).

What is your writing environment like?

So I may not be the cleanest person in the world, but I’m one of the neatest. The only things allowed on my desk (beside a computer) are my to-do stack and items which provide inspiration for my current project. Oh, and of course, my kids draw pictures which I tape to the wall. I have an Ammonite to make me think of how old the earth is, a whiteboard with key writing reminders so I don’t forget, and a wordle of my current project ( I never used to have an office. Instead we had this fancy two story entryway with a huge chandelier hanging above. But when I started looking for space around the house, we had the second floor extended over the entryway, and my office was born. It’s small (about 8x8) but it works for me).

What are your favorite books that you have read?

The Lightning Thief is my current favorite book. The greatest thing about the Percy Jackson books is how strong the beginnings are. In my best dreams, this is how I write ☺ As for other kid’s books, I loved Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (super great plot), Madapple by Christina Meldrum (needed to know how it ended), How not to be Popular by Jennifer Zeigler (laugh out loud funny), and A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (such great writing). I don’t love everything I read by any stretch, and I’ve gotten a lot more picky since time is so limited.

What is something about the making of The Emerald Tablet that not everybody knows and you would like to share with readers?

One of my favorite Emerald Tablet bits of trivia is word count. When I finished my first draft, it weighed in around 115,000 words. Yikes! Especially considering how much of it was backstory. With tons of help from my editor, I managed to pare it down to somewhere around 60,000.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Model: A Memoir

“Pretty girl. Ugly Business”

Written by: Cheryl Diamond

Pages: 357

My rating 1-5 stars:
4 stars

It is the year 2001 and Cheryl Diamond is a model for a top modeling company in New York City at the young age of 14. She returns home to North Carolina waiting and hoping to be called back to New York for a photo shoot or runway when a catastrophic event occurs. This event causes the modeling company that Cheryl was working for to go out of business.
When she is sixteen, she returns to New York City for a few days to see if she can sign with another modeling company. She gets what she wants, a three year contract with Prima. She rents and moves into an apartment in New Jersey, just 15 minutes away from Manhattan, with her cat Tigger. She goes to the City almost everyday for photo shoots, auditions for runways, and even to go clubbing with some other Prima models. Cheryl learns that modeling is a dirty business; bookers try to get money from your photo shoots any way possible. But Cheryl finds ways to avoid those hidden price. Everything is going as wonderful as it could get and Cheryl loves every minute of it. That is until an incident occurs and Cheryl’s dreams are ruined. But Cheryl manages to stay strong and make a brilliant come back into the world of modeling.

I got this book from Pulse IT and at first I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it because of the whole modeling theme of it and me being a guy. But shockingly I did like it. The reason I liked it is because of the humor in it. Which surprised me because I didn’t expect humor to be in a memoir and a non-fiction book. And I thought that Cheryl must have been very brave and mature to live in Jersey for a whole summer while commuting to New York City almost every day for photo shoots or runway shows at age 16. All the while her parents were at home all the way in North Carolina! This book made me open my eyes and realize that not all models have millions of dollars and live in penthouses.
Something else I want to mention about this book is that I normally detest non-fiction books. I don’t know why, maybe because they are usually full of facts and dates, which can be a drag for me. I fully enjoyed this non-fiction book because it was about someone following their dreams, while overcoming some obstacles. Also the fact that it is written like a fiction book helped too.
The ideal audience for this book is probably high school girls, who would probably enjoy it more than I and any other guy who reads it. But if you are a guy that loves to read and you like books that will make you laugh then I definitely do recommend it to you.

~*~ Due to content in this book I do not recommend it to any one under the age of 14. ~*~

*Also reviewed for Simon and Schuster’s Pulse IT.

Contest Deadline and Other News

I have just decided that the contest for the ARC of Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage will be August 15th which is not this Friday but next Friday. So get in those banners! Click here for more details.
Also in the next few days there will be an interview with an author and an interview with a fellow book reviewer. So keep checking in. And send me your feedback on my site! I would love to hear what you think about my site and what I can do to make it better!

happy readings,

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Big Game of Everything

Written by: Chris Lynch

Pages: 288

Releases to the public:
September 2nd, 2008

My rating 1-5 stars:
3 stars

Jock is a regular, well-adjusted guy, except for one thing: His family is a bunch of freaks. They’re lovable freaks, but freaks all the same, and he’s spending the whole summer with them at his grandfather’s golf course. Although Jock’s devil of a younger brother, Egon, is plotting his early demise, his grandfather has lost more than just a few of his marbles, and the town’s biggest bullies are out to pound him, Jock’s summer is still planning out to be two sweet long months of freedom. That is, of course, until some trouble making visitors arrive with the Big Game of Everything and leave Jock to figure out all the rules.

I was somewhat disappointed with this book. It is supposed to be humorous, but for some reason it isn’t. It could have been made a funnier book. And in the first 150 pages I wasn’t sure where it was leading too and what the story was about. And the ending was a disappointment, it seem rushed. That was the bad parts about it. The good parts were that it had a great moral to it. The moral was that happiness doesn’t come from things you own but from your family. I also liked the fact that the main character’s family was sort of on the weird side but they love each other all the same. I would recommend this book to some teens, which would like to read it and get the moral out of the book, not for the ‘humor’ in it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Who? Me? Nominated?

I was very excited to hear that I was nominated for the Brillante Weblog Award by Kelsey from Just Blinded Book Reviews! Thank you very much Kelsey! Here are the rules fr what to do when you are nominated:

The Rules:1) Put the logo on your blog.

2) Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.

4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

5) Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

And now for the fellow bloggers that I am nominating:

Tasha from And Another Book Read because she writes really good reviews that have made me buy some really good books!

Carol from Book-Luver Carol's Reviews. She has a great book review site and she has got me in a really cool book club called Readers United.

Mrs. Magoo from Mrs. Magoo Reads has a really great site! She has even been on TV because of her blog, I mean how cool is that?

The Book Muncher because I really like the way she ties everything in with her blog name, like she has 'books to be muched', 'munchers current diet.

Book Worm Readers because this reader is a book worm and a great reviewer.

Reviewer X because she writes amazing reviews and she is a fellow Twilight fan.

Last but not least Reading Junky from Reading Junky's Reading Roost. She is another great review plus she teaches 8th grade!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Contest: Farworld (Water Keep) by J. Scott Savage ARC



Have you been hearing great things about Farworld by J. Scott Savage, a fantasy adventure book that releases in September? Well if you have I know that you cannot wait to get you hands on it when it releases. That is why I am holding a contest to get an ARC of Farworld! That way you get to receive the book before it even releases!

I enjoyed the book so much I gave it a 5 star rating! To read about what I liked about it so much, head on over to my review.

This contest is going to be different from my first contest, which I held at the beginning of June. You are not going to comment on this post to get an entry in the contest.
One thing that I really want changed with my blog is the title bar(at the top where it says Book Review Maniac. Great book reviews on teen, blah, blah, blah). I have been looking at some of my favorite book review blogs and I noticed that they have really cool banners on there sites. And since I have no creative ability that is what inspired this contest.

How Do I Enter?
Make me a cool banner and email it to me with the subject, Farworld Contest (email at bottom of post)! I will pick my favorite banner out of all the entries and who ever made that banner will get the ARC.

Not Sure What Type of Banner I Would Like?
Well one thing that I really want on it is my alias, Book Review Maniac. And in case you are wondering, the banner does not have to match the current colors of my blog. I will change the colors of blog once I pick the winning banner. Another thing is that since I am a guy, please do not make the banner with pink and purple flowers. If there is a little pink or purple in the banner, that is okay.

What If You Don't Pick My Banner?
I will delete the banner that you send in.

What If You Do Pick My Banner?
Then you will win the ARC and I will mention at the bottom bar of my blog that it was made by you and I will link your blog there.

Since it is me that will be picking the banner that I like the most, and I won't be drawing a name out of a hat like the last contest, I will not be giving away extra entries. Sorry. But if you would like to link to this contest on yourside bar or through a post on your blog, you can. And I will very much appreciate your thoughtfullness.

Oh yeah, if you have any questions/comments about this contest or about my blog, just comment on this post please. I love recieving feed back! But please remember that if you comment that does not get you a chance at winning the ARC.

Thank you and Good Luck,


P.S I am not sure when I will be ending this contest, it could be in one week or in two weeks but I will post when I decide on a deadline. So, get those banners in! And to enter you have to be from the United States or Canada, Mr. Savage can only send the book to those countries right now. Thanks!