Jan 24, 2009

The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren

I just finished my tenth book of the year and I really loved it. While I have been enjoying a lot of what I have been reading, lately it has been all serious stuff. It was a nice change to jump into Cover of something totally fun. The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren was cute and funny from page one.

Author Wendy Toliver has filled her book with a stream of pop culture references; usually this can be touchy. But she managed finding topics that are both trendy and classic. Definitely not people of the minute who will fade in a few years.

This book doesn't just rely on trends and pop culture to carry it. It is also entrenched deeply into a mythological idea. It creates the perfect blend of contemporary and classical. Allowing the storyline to be both far fetched and believable at the same time.

Jan 23, 2009

T(w)een Writing Contest

Young adult author Suzanne Selfors is hosting a contest. I found out about it through her website.

Two contests -- Suzanne will select four winners from Bainbridge Island and two non-Island winners

Thank you for your interest in my writing contest. If you are 13 years old or older, you may freely enter the contest. Please know that I will never share personal information. It is collected only for this contest.

If you are under the age of 13, you must have your parent's permission to enter my writing contest. Once you have written your essay, your parent must be the one to send the essay, with his/her contact information, not yours. Names/addresses, etc. will never be sold or shared.

In Fortune's Magic Farm (coming March 1, 2009), Isabelle Fortune discovers that she has a magical power. Your writing challenge is to describe the moment when you discovered your own secret magical power. Include a drawing if you'd like. Try to limit your writing to one page.

Include your name, grade, address and email on your entry (information will be kept strictly confidential) and mail to:
Suzanne Selfors
PO Box 10414
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Jan 21, 2009

Inside The Writer’s Studio - Tina Ferraro

Tina Ferraro recently launched her 3rd young adult novel. Earlier this month I profiled her as an exemplary specimen of young adult story creator. The cover of her current book, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, can be seen various places around her office. Also you can see just above one of the printers a shrine to herself. No, just kidding. (Or am I?)

Although we later learned that Mandy Hubbard (the first Writer’s Studio participant) is not as much of a neat freak as her space implied, how is this space different from what we saw in the first Writer’s Studio?

Is there anything about this writing space that surprises you? Anything that catches your interest? Is there anything you can tell about this writer just by looking at the space?


Tina Ferraro believes in the adage that it is never too late to have a happy childhood. Tina started writing at the age of seven, and sold her first short story following college. With three babies arriving in five years, it seemed a great time for Tina to stay home and “get serious” about the full-length books she wanted to write. After seeing a nonfiction book about uses for a bridesmaid dress, she idly wondered if a story had ever been written about reusing a prom dress . . . and from that, her first published YA novel was born, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress.

I want to thank Tina for letting us into her Writer’s Studio. Please leave your questions and comments for her to respond to next week.

Jan 20, 2009

Perfect On Paper

Perfect on Paper was a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy. Maria Murnane provides us with a light and fun read.  Honestly, it did drag a bit in the middle for me, I felt like the book couldn’t decide where it wanted to go, so there were some superfluous chapters in the middle of it for me.  But the ending more than made up for it.  I am happy to have gotten a chance to read this book.

Welcome to the life of Waverly Bryson:

  • Her dates? Cringe-inducing at times, definitely entertaining
  • Her friends? Often amused, definitely supportive
  • Her new crush? Possibly intrigued, definitely a catch
  • The results? Hardly perfect, definitely just right

In some ways Waverly Bryson leads a dream life, though she would be quick to disagree.  One of the results reading this book had on me was making sure to appreciate the things around me, even when you just feel like complaining about them.

In case you missed it, I was able to interview Maria earlier in the month.  It was a really great interview and especially informative about her hope to get published. Be sure to check it out.

What other reviewers are saying:

“Maria does an excellent job of creating a comfortable and funny novel with realistic and likable characters….” -  Blue Archipelago

“Even though Perfect…On Paper is firmly entrenched in the chick lit genre, I found it to have a bit more depth than the typical chick lit book I am used to.  This made a pretty light read even more engaging than I would have expected.” 
Book Addiction

“I’d compare this book to a “Sex In the City” or Jennifer Weiner type of book.  It’s a fun read and I did laugh out loud at several parts in the book.” 
A Novel Menagerie

Trailer Tuesday

After looking at the humorous Perfect Chemistry trailer, the great design of the Braless in Wonderland trailer, and the personal style of The Professors’ Wives’ Club trailer, I was curious to see what other varieties of successful trailers were out there.

I found the trailer of The Dust of 100 Dogs and I found something I had never seen before. At least, not in a book trailer. The technique used in this video is called kinetic typography and I have seen them floating around YouTube, mostly using movie quotes.

I think the result for a book trailer creates quite a dynamic affect.

What do you think?
What do you like or dislike about the trailer?

Want to earn extra entries in my contest?
Email me with a link to a great trailer explaining why you like it. (Limit 3)

Jan 19, 2009

Mailbox Monday

So. You may have heard. I am old now.
One of the disadvantages of being old is that I have to buy my own gifts now.
One of the advantages of getting my own gifts is that I always get what I want.
And I always want books.

So here they are, a selection of the books I got for myself for my birthday.
(If you are reading this in a feed reader I am not sure you can actually see the awesome little widgety thing. So if you are dying of curiosity you will have to stop by the post to see.)
Plus a few others Amazon wouldn’t let me add. I got 11 in total.

Despite it being my birthday, it was a slow book week for me as far as the mail goes. I only got one other book but I am excited to read it.

I met this author, M.J. Sullivan through facebook and he was kind enough to send me a copy of his book when I asked for it.

Technically this is a prize for being his best facebook friend. Which, clearly I am. Because generally there is no one better than me.

The book looks like an interesting and fast read and I will talking about more next month. I hope, maybe.

Do you believe that time heals all wounds?
Michael Stewart doesn't. Thirteen years later, he's still struggling with the demands of being a single father. His life revolves around his daughter Elizabeth, a precocious girl who's growing up much too fast. Michael is all too aware of time lost, and time still slipping away.

Necessary Heartbreak is the first book in a trilogy. (I won’t tell Mike I am sick of this whole series book trend.)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Jan 18, 2009

The Sunday Salon - Easy

The Sunday Salon.com 

Well, it isn’t technically morning anymore, but I have had a wonderful lazy morning.  I love that slow and easy feeling that Sunday’s bring.  Even if you are rushing around at some point, there is always a moment when you have permission to just do nothing.

So far this weekend I have finished 2 books.  It is such a nice feeling because I feel like I am just in the middle of so many books. I was able to finish two young adult novels.  Unwind, which was a spectacularly written science fiction novel by Neal Shusterman.  And the very creepy audio book of Thirteen Reasons Why.  Both the book and audio format make wonderful of a dual narrator, telling the story in tandem. It is between their words and their stories that the real story emerges.  While the plot is very dark Jay Asher accomplished a genius in storytelling that some how makes everything more potable.

As I sip on my coffee I am grateful to have an extra day on my weekend.  As soon as I get this post up, I am going to read and hopefully finish Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra.

What books did you finish this weekend?

As for the books I didn’t finish.  Well, there are a lot of them.  I keep picking up new books instead of finishing the ones I am in the middle of.  Which leads me to believe maybe I shouldn’t be reading those ones I can’t manage to finish right now.  I am stock in the middle of  To Kill a Mockingbird and the countless number of people who have told me I would love it is putting pressure on me to finish. And I know I should finish, I am just stuck.  What do you do to get through or get into books that just aren’t grabbing you? I am not disliking the book, I enjoyed the first half of the book, but I am just STUCK.  It is the middle, nothing is happening, I am bored, there are so many words on the page.

I am also working on The Iron Heel by Jack London. I previously posted the opening to this book which I adored but it pretty much went down hill from there.  There are a lot of things I am enjoying about the book, but it is very political and at times immensely boring.  But it is considered to be one of the first examples of dystopic fiction and I am determined to finish it.  I was hoping to have made great progress in it and finish this weekend, but I don’t think I will have enough time.

I guess that is all for today, even though I am reading a few other books. But did you know I am having a contest? Enter to win a $30 Amazon shopping spree. (See post for more details.)  One of the things I am asking the people who enter is that they share one of the books they might get with me.  This is such a fun way to be exposed to new books.  And I hope to feature some of them on the blog.

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday and filling it with books and warmth and the things you love.

Bibliophile Exploring Dystopia | Food & Community | Utopian Projects