February 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday.

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!


Weekly question: Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

Occasionally I'll come up with other names and be like, Dang! Totally should've used that! So much cooler! But I'm okay with what I have; it may not be a fancy shmancy, elusive and catchy one-word name, but it's straightforward.


 * * Remember to check out my giveaway to win an e-copy of Karen Metcalf's In the Storm! * *

Interview with Karen Metcalf + GIVEAWAY!

Karen Metcalf, author of In the Storm.

Here's my review.

I have to ask: Will there be a sequel to In the Storm? If so, will it be another novella and e-book? If not, is there anything else you're working on?

I am honored that someone would request it, but I honestly don’t know if there will be a sequel to In the Storm. This is something I just can’t answer right now. I am, however, working on a separate piece. I don’t want to say too much, but it will be in the same genre, and longer.

Where did you get the idea for Carly’s storm world?

A storm world like that would be heavenly for me. I absolutely love thunderstorms, and have never seen any as beautiful as those on the North Carolina coast. I spent many a night as a kid on the back porch or in bed, struggling to stay awake just to watch them. I wanted to write about a place where it was like that all the time.

Naming characters can be a writer’s worst nightmare. How do you do it?

The name Mitchell came from my younger brother Michael. Richard was chosen specifically because Dick is the nickname for it. For the others, I spend a little time throwing names around in my head, but they usually just come to me.

What was it like to be e-published?

Just to say I am published is amazing! It is a totally different market for sure. There are still a lot of people who just want to hold a paperback in their hands. However, it is so much easier to go international this way. Anyone around the world can easily log in, and have it in seconds, without waiting on shipping. We were also able to sell it for a great deal cheaper than the cost of a paper copy.

What’s YOUR favorite book and why?

I am a big Stephen King fan. He originally wrote The Long Walk under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. It’s been my hands-down favorite for at least ten years now. In all honesty, it is YA by today’s standards, which is probably why I love it so much.


I cannot thank Karen enough for giving me the chance to review In the Storm, answering my questions, and providing me with the opportunity to give one lucky winner an e-copy (in PDF, mobi, and epub formats) of the book!



Fill out the form HERE!

February 21, 2011

How do you do it?

Have you ever been in that awful writing slump where you just can't find the words for, well, anything? Whether it's a simple description of a swirled lollipop or a mere "Hello!" exchanged between your characters? Or even just a name - that one character you just can't place, and without their identity, your story can't progress?

Or, hey, even something less complicated - like writing a blog post?

But then there's hope! You're working part-time, going to school, going to the gym, hanging out with friends, making sure to catch the latest GLEE episode, and suddenly it hits you: the words you've been looking for! But how are you going to get them down without forgetting? And why did they have to show up now, when you're incredibly busy and can't give them the attention they deserve?

Oh, but surely you can do it! Look at J.K. Rowling, who wrote bits of Harry Potter on napkins. If she can do it, so can you! But you don't have any napkins. So you'll have to improvise. You don't have a pen, either. You've got your bag and your white chocolate mocha latte, and you're on the move.

And then another thing hits you: your phone! Of course, you can use your phone to store your inspiration! You text furiously, going going going, while everyone around you asks if you're writing a novel to someone. Why yes, you are. In fact, that is exactly what you're doing. You are writing a novel and sending it to yourself. You hit send and suddenly you're relieved. You didn't lose it. You found the words and you didn't lose them.

However, the next time you sit down to write, you either forget about having texted such brilliant work to yourself, or it's no longer useful to you and you've moved on. It's a major catch-22.

To make a long story short, this is what typically happens to me. Sometimes I wish I didn't prefer typing over handwriting, so I'd be more motivated to carry a notebook around with me to store ideas. But no, I use my phone. I have racked up around thirty six texts to myself, including various ideas for names, plots, and even small snippets of poetry - all of which I never incorporate in whatever story I may be working on at the time.

But what about you? How do you get the words out? Do you use your phone? Or do you carry that nifty little notebook (but then how do you carry that delicious latte?)?

February 19, 2011

Darkest Mercy ARC + Excerpt!

Honestly, who isn't excited for the release of Melissa Marr's Darkest Mercy (the last of the Wicked Lovely series)?

I wasn't particularly pleased or satisfied with the last installment, but I have high hopes for the story coming together in its ending. I mean, we're finally getting back to Aislinn and Keenan! (Where have they been, anyway? Absent much?)

But, if you can't wait a few more days for the 22nd (which is the official release day) or afford to snatch a copy for yourself, check out this excerpt and enter to win an ARC!

Darkest Mercy synopsis, from Barnes and Noble:
" The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything. "

February 17, 2011

REVIEW! In the Storm.


In the Storm
Karen Metcalf


Abandoned by the world around her, Carly believes she is fated to a life of torment at the hands of her stepfather and is desperate for an escape. When she can bear the abuse no longer and gives in to a thunderous rage, she suddenly finds herself in an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, storm world. This limbo between dimensions appears to be her private sanctuary, but it may just be her purgatory.

No one escapes fate without sacrifice, but is the price more than Carly is willing to pay?

My rating: 3 stars.


Unique concept meets forceful descriptions and dialogue.

As the main character, Carly is well-defined; she’s got it rough, but has her footing in the world. Her voice is somewhat distinct, particularly in the beginning. But as the story moved along, I felt that I lost a bit of that which made Carly who she is. Suddenly her emotions were fickle and abrupt, and I much preferred the strong, fearless Carly that was first introduced.

The concept of Carly entering her own storm world is so detailed and refreshing. I loved how every aspect was tied to Carly’s life and history. And Morgan – how can you not love him? He’s adorable and awkward. Also, he and Carly meshed really well together, although a bit too quickly for my taste. I prefer relationships to develop in time, realistically. The instant attraction between the two just left me unconvinced.

The storm world is what really made the story for me. I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to know all about the trees, the other life dimensions, her alternate paths – all of it. Sadly, all of it couldn’t be explained in the short amount of 88 pages. But perhaps there will be a sequel?! I would love to have more explanations of Carly’s world, and Morgan’s place in it.

The writing itself is simple, but real. Carly sounds like a teenager. The dialogue is believable. The descriptions are pleasing and interesting. The plot is a bit too fast-paced, but it kept me guessing and hooked until the very end. Unfortunately I didn’t feel that things really resolved in the end; instead it felt as though everything was forced to come to a close, and that just made the story feel unnatural after such a thrilling build-up.

Still, In the Storm is truly worth reading for the limbo storm world. Cannot say that enough.

February 15, 2011


Time sure does fly in the blogging world. It doesn't seem so long ago that I posted about my return from AWP, and yet about a whole week has since passed.

I apologize for my absence!

Blogging has taken a backseat on my priority list. Schoolwork and my job are kicking my butt. I haven't had many, if any, moments to myself for the past few weeks. Every day my schedule is packed from when I wake up until when I sleep, and somewhere inbetween there I lost track of typing up my blog posts and reviews in advance. Hence the blog lull.

But there's some good news in all of this! After tomorrow, my paper will be written, my studying will be finished, and I'll have a brand new review of In the Storm by Karen Metcalf posted! (Be on the lookout for a giveaway to win your own copy, too!)

Thank you to all my fellow bloggers for sticking with me through the absence!

February 6, 2011

Back from AWP!

It seems so long ago that I left for AWP, when in reality it was a mere three days ago. But, I am finally back and well rested.

Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures - just a few of the hotel. Most of the panels I sat in on had me packed like a sardine. Especially the YA panels. Those were quite popular. There was some awesome insight on the divide between MG/YA/Adult. So look for another discussion post coming soon!

There was another panel that I particularly enjoyed, titled, Words Authors Love or Loathe. A panel of about six authors read passages/small essays on their loved or loathed word. It was hilarious. My two favorites hated the words very and pants.

Now that I can get back into the swing of things, I'll be attempting the following:

Another Grammar Bit - any particulars you'd like covered? Feel free to leave it in a comment.
Review for Bloodthirsty.
Review for In the Storm.
Author interview with Karen Metcalf (author of In the Storm).
Guest post by Karen Metcalf?
Discussion post.
Word Bit.

February 2, 2011

Conference time!

Well, in the early morning hours I'll be heading to the AWP conference. Which means I won't have time for posting for the next 3 days. So there'll be a bit of a posting lull here. I'll do my best to get something up on Sunday. (Hopefully a review of Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney?)

I'll also do my best to take pictures. No guarantees, though. I'll be working on a very tight schedule.

But I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend!

REVIEW! Twenty Boy Summer.

Twenty Boy Summer
Sarah Ockler


According to Anna's best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie - she's already had her romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

My rating: 4 stars.



Ockler's descriptions go above and beyond; they're heartfelt, beautiful, real. Right off the bat they sucked me into the story, transporting me from Anna and Frankie's town in New York right to Zanzibar Bay with them. You'd think there could only be so many ways to describe a beach and its town, but Ockler takes it that one step further - almost like providing me with a piece of it.

As far as characters go, Anna and Frankie are typical teens. Anna's more thoughtful and sincere, while Frankie's a wild-child. But it was Matt that really made the story for me, even though his actual presence is limited - he's incredibly realistic in both action and personality: boyish but caring, immature but mature, spontaneous but planned. He's a mixture of so many things all at once, and for so little time, but that's what makes him perfect. Other characters, like Sam, were nice, but seemed to be trying too hard to mimic what Matt was for Anna. Because of this, I never felt all that attached to them.

The story itself keeps a very steady pace once they reach Zanzibar Bay, chugging along in an almost real-time manner. While this worked in some spots, in others it did not. There were times when unimportant things to the story, such as when the girls applied their makeup, dragged on. 

But I'm glad the "twenty boys in twenty days" situation doesn't go overboard. Ockler could've pushed it to the extreme, but doesn't. And it makes sense the way it ends up. However, the ending was a bit iffy. I'm not all for random blow-ups and surprises without any warning or buildup, but that's exactly how it goes. Everything, in a rush, explodes and resolves at the end - which wasn't by any means terrible, it just happened to leave me with a more sad than happy feeling once finished.

Either way, Ockler manages to take the simple premise of Twenty Boy Summer and take it to the next level. Very reminiscent of Sarah Dessen's works.
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