Interview with author Holly Cupala


I was able to interview the wonderful Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me A Secret.

Describe Tell Me a Secret in one sentence:

Miranda’s family has secrets: her parents’ silence, her sister’s death, what really happened that night…and now she has a secret of her own.

If you could pair Miranda with any character from another book (romantically), who would it be?

I wonder…who would Miranda like? Kartik from A Great and Terrible Beauty? (No wait, that’s me.) I imagine Kartik to look like my devastatingly handsome Indian husband. In fact, Kamran in TMAS, who is Persian, kind of looks like him, too…

Character-wise, I think she’d maybe like Owen from Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen, or Sebastian from Deb Caletti’s The Nature of Jade. Or Creed, from STREET CREED (my second novel, coming Fall 2011)! Swoon. I can’t wait for him to be out in the world.

What do you hope your readers will take away with them after reading your book?

Many ideas went into this book—so many questions I ponder about relationships and time and the universe, and how different people can experience the same events and come away with completely different memories. If I had to boil it down to one or two things I hope readers will take away, I’d say you can’t find yourself in other people, and the past does not have to define the future.

What part of Tell Me a Secret was the hardest to write?

Definitely the second-to-last chapter. I knew Miranda would have the final knock-down-drag-out with the primary villain, and that there would be some significant secrets revealed that would shed light on the entire story. The first draft, I skipped it! The second, I muddled through and kept peeling back the layers until I felt like I’d hit on something true.

What do you do when you have writer's block?

I wish I’d know this while writing TMAS—it would have made things so much easier. While I was writing STREET CREED, I discovered the most amazing trick: a kitchen timer. I would set it for 15 minutes with a goal of 300 words—candy at the end…bonus!—and usually I would hit 400 or more. It was great for outrunning the internal critic, which can be really devastating when you’re trying to write a book (or do anything, really). The last voice you should listen to is the one that says you don’t have value.

About you - Favorites:

Midnight snack?

At the moment, I’m completely taken with the gummy stars from Whole Foods. Yum!

Movie you've seen this year?

Alice in Wonderland – loved the costumes, especially what Alice wears in the Red Queen’s castle. Xanda would have made it herself by now!

Song of the moment?

Right now I’ve been listening to “Ironspy” by Splashdown, which is featured in the TMAS trailer. And “Beyond Orions Arms” by Symbion Project, written and performed by some of the same people who created “Ironspy.” You can find them all on iTunes!

Book you read this year?

Conrad Wesselhoeft’s Adios, Nirvana, which comes out in October. It’s exquisite. You can watch the trailer here.

Word?

Palimpsest. It’s my favorite, and I was able to include it in TMAS! It means something that has been erased and written upon again in layers of history and meaning. (Hint: look for it at the Halloween party.)

Anything else you'd like to say?

Just to say thank you, Ashley, for inviting me to interview and for your very kind support of me and Tell Me a Secret. I’m excited to be here!

Thanks a bunch for the interview Holly! Readers, you must check out her book Tell Me A Secret.

Saturday Spotlight - Tay's Bookshelf


Saturday Spotlight is where I feature another book blogger for you to check out! You should take a look at their site and leave a comment. (: [I got this meme from Kristen.]

Name: Taylor
Age: 17
Blog Name: Tay's Bookshelf
URL: www.taysbookshelf.blogspot.com

Share a little bit about yourself:
I am a 17 year old bookworm. for me there is nothing I love more than spending time with my nose buried in a new book. I'm also a pretty quiet and easygoing person.

How long have you been blogging and what made you want to start?
I've just started blogging in June of this year. My mom is actually the one who suggested the idea to me since I love reading and writing and I really enjoy doing it.

What does your site have?
Right now my site has a bunch of reviews but I am hoping to add some other types of posts eventually.

What are your favorite things about book blogging?
My favorite thing about book blogging is getting to share my opinion with other people. I don't have any family or friends who enjoy reading as much as I do so i like having somewhere to go to talk books.

What are your favorite books and/or authors? What about genre in general?
Oh, there are so many. I love anything by John Green, Sarah Dessen, Ellen Hopkins, Suzanne Collins, J.K Rowling and Laurie Halse Anderson. To name a few specific titles I would say 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, We Were here by Matt De la Pena or The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I could list things all day.

Now for the random questions!
Best pizza topping? Jalapenos

What's something you really want to do before you die?
Make a difference to someone.

What's your favorite word?
Oxymoron.

Best thing you've done this summer?
Started my blog.

Anything else you want to say?
Thanks for the interview and happy reading.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Any of you who aren't followers of Taylor's site yet - what are you waiting for!?

If you would like to be featured on a Saturday Spotlight post, shoot me an email at booksobsession(at)gmail(dot)com
It doesn't matter how long you've been blogging - I'll interview anyone!

Contest for "Forgive My Fins"


CONTEST IS CLOSED!

I started school this week...which means that summer is officially over and my life is going back to stressful and having no more free time. :/ Especially since all of my honors classes were crammed together in my first semester, not to mention I'm now a Junior - which is your hardest year in high school. UGH overall, this week has sucked and I'm now throwing a pity-party for myself! So how about I bring a little happiness into this post? To celebrate my 700+ followers (wow, what?!) and try to hold onto summer for just a little bit longer - I'll have another giveaway. :) One person will win a copy of Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs!

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush. Lily's mermaid identity is a secret that can't get out, since she's not just any mermaid—she's a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn't feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she's been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems—like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher—but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren't really the casual dating type—the instant they "bond," it's for life. When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

The Details, Rules, All That Jazz...

Open to the U.S. only.
Must be a follower to enter.
Ends on September 10 at midnight.
One winner will be randomly selected and emailed.

To enter, click here and fill out the form.

Waiting On Wednesday: It Started with a Dare


This week's WoW book is It Started with a Dare by Lindsay Faith Rech! It will be released on September 13, 2010.

Book Description:


Self-proclaimed nobody CG Silverman sees her move to an upscale new school as her chance to be somebody different. Her devil-may-care attitude attracts the in-clique, and before CG realizes it, a routine game of truth or dare launches her to iconic status. While this rebel image helps secure CG’s newfound popularity, it also propels her through a maze of unprecedented chaos, with each new lie and every dare opening doors that, in most cases, were better off left shut. CG is on a collision course with disaster. Will she be able to keep up the fa├žade? Or will the whole world find out she’s a fraud?


Looks good! The cover is cute so I'm hoping that the book will live up to it, too. PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2010!

What you've all been waiting for!


I guess I should probably post the winners to my big contests, huh? :)

For my Paranormal Pre-Order Contest, 305 of you awesome followers entered!

First winner gets their pick of three books from the pre-order list.
Second winner gets their pick of two books from the pre-order list.
Third winner gets their pick of one book from the pre-order list.


The Pre-Order Book List Choices:
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Torment by Lauren Kate
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink



And the winners...



of this contest....



who get pre-ordered books....



that everyone else really wants....



but have to wait so much longer for....



are...



named....



SUE R - CLAIMED!

BRITTANY K - CLAIMED!

NICOLE S - CLAIMED!

Congrats you lucky three, all the rest of us are very jealous! I just finished emailing you all so get back to me within the next 4 days or I'll have to pick new winners.

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For my Choose Your Genre Contest, I had 164 followers enter.

The prizes were....










And the winners...



who are....



really lucky...



are....



named....



KAILIA S with the Paranormal Pack - CLAIMED!

ELISE with the Historical Fiction Pack - CLAIMED!

CAITLIN with the Romance Pack - CLAIMED!

AMY S with the Suspense Pack - CLAIMED!

Congratulations you fabulous followers! I just finished emailing you all so get back to me within the next 4 days or I'll have to pick new winners.

For The Future (11)


This is a monthly meme of mine that I made up! :) It's similar to my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, but highlights many books, not just one. And doesn't include summaries.

Here's a list of young adult books that are still in-the-making or will be published in the future. This can range from being released tomorrow, to two years from now! These covers and release dates might not be permanent, it's just what I saw on Amazon, Goodreads, or the author's website. Hope this will be efficient to expand your reading pile!



Virgin Territory by James Lecesne (September 14, 2010): Enter the Virgin Club, a nomadic group of trailer kids whose mostly single parents drag them all over the country in search of sightings of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Dark Song by Gail Giles (September 7, 2010): Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?
The Ivy by Lauren Kunze (August 31, 2010): Freshman year at Harvard--glamorous parties, blossoming friendships, steamy romances, and scandalous secrets. Get admitted to The Ivy, the first book in a provocative new series about the world of the Ivy League.



Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers (September 14, 2010): A demon and angel fighting for Frannie's soul. She possesses a unique skill that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation.
Slayed by Amanda Marrone (October 5, 2010): Daphne, a teen vampire slayer, falls in love with the son of a rival slayer family.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (August 31, 2010): "A fast, flirty roller coaster of a ride. This story was everything I hoped for—sassy, light-hearted and downright scary." - Becca Fitzpatrick



Firelight by Sophie Jordan (September 7, 2010): Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.
The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger (September 7, 2010): Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
Crossing Over by Anna Kendall (October 14, 2010): Roger has the ability to cross over into the land of the dead and speak with its residents. Soon he is using his gift as a way to get the life he dreams of even if it means bringing the dead back to the land of the living.

The Hunger Games Ramblings


Mini-Review of Catching Fire / Getting Everyone Excited

I am beyond thrilled for the third book of The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. I pre-ordered my copy months ago and am literally dying for it to be released already. Since I read Catching Fire back in October, I wanted to re-read it again so that it will be fresh in my mind in time for the third book. So yesterday I began Catching Fire again, got through 219 pages, and completely forgot about so many of the brilliant things in the book!

- Suzanne Collins' writing. Oh my goodness, I don't even know if I can find a flaw in it. She writes even the simplest sentences beautifully. In my mind, I have the whole world of The Hunger Games sketched out and detailed, same goes for the characters. She just has a way with setting up the scene and writing it out so descriptively and vividly. I'm in awe!
- The characters. Yes, Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, etc. are adored characters who are deeply layered and come to life before our very eyes. However, there so many tiny, non important (..I use that term loosely) characters in the book - some only mentioned one one page - who I immediately grow to know so well. Suzanne Collins can develop any single character that shows up in the series perfectly. I don't know how she does it!
- The freakin creativity just flows out of the pages! I completely forgot about all of the unexpected twists throughout the book. I'd name a few but I don't want to spoil the reading of those that haven't had a chance to read it yet.

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So what is everyone's predictions about the third book?!
I've read a lot of posts about what might happen - but who actually knows?

-I think that Gale is going to die. Don't kill me all you Team Gale fans! It's just what I think. I love him and Peeta, but there's only room for one of them in Katniss's life. And since Peeta is pretty much untouchable and can't die or else everyone reading might commit suicide, I think Gale is the one who will go. :/ OR who knows? Maybe he and the mayor's daughter, Madge, might hit it off.
-The arena. Who thinks there will be more scenes from inside the arena?? I hope there are! Not to sound disturbing, but those are usually my favorite chapters to read about. They are so suspenseful, creative, and clever. Can't wait to see if Suzanne Collins will include more in the third book!
-I think something might happen to Katniss's family: either her mom or Prim. I don't know, I just have a feeling something bad will take place.

------------------------------------------------------------------

No ARC's of Mockingjay - YES!

And I'm so glad that they didn't have any ARC's for Mockingjay. Sure everyone, point your weapons at me, but just let me explain myself first! Since the book is coming out August 24, it's cool knowing what that day will be about: people all around the world will be reading the exact same book! Also, no one already knows what happens and can't write up any early reviews about it. I absolutely love how secretive it is, how much people want to read it, and that no one has had the chance. Not only is it fair to all of the other people who want to read it, but it's also making me more excited every day the release date draws nearer.

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Team Gale vs. Team Peeta Needs To Stop

Ugh I'm so sick of the whole "Team Peeta vs. Team Gale" thing going on. (I don't want it to become like the next Twilight freak-out!) Sure, so obviously the love triangle in the book adds on to the greatness of the series, but it seems to be stealing the spotlight from the actual best thing about the books: KATNISS. I'm for Team Katniss all the way! She's determined, courageous, tough, and doesn't take crap from anyone. Unlike all the readers, choosing the right guy isn't on the top of her to-do list. Instead she's too busy trying to save the world. I don't really have a preference for Gale or Peeta, they are both different but have the same thing in common: they love Katniss. Gale is the tall, dark, handsome hunter who's tough and just plain hot. But then there's Peeta who is so charming, sweet, loyal and honest. I just don't think it's fair to make judgments on who's your favorite guy. Because Gale is rarely even in the book as much as Peeta is. How do you even have enough information on him to take your pick? Both seem like good guys for her but there is so much more to the series than just the love triangle!

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Hunger Games Related Posts From Other Bloggers - must read!

Lastly, while scouring out the blogosphere, I have come across a ton of posts relating to The Hunger Games/Mockingjay. I recommend you check them out, leave some comment love, all that good stuff. Spread the word about Mockingjay to get the whole world excited! :)

- The Secret Adventures of Writer Girl wrote a list of ideas for your very own Mockingjay release party!
- First Novels Club made up her own version of the hunger games: disney princess style! My vote is that Mulan will win.
- Here's the official Mockingjay Trailer from Scholastic. It doesn't reveal like anything but is still exciting!
- Novel Novice complied a list of theme songs for the first two books in the series. Vote for your favorite! I chose "Ranger" by A Fine Frenzy because the lyrics really popped out to me relating to how the districts must feel about the Capitol. And the second verse about how Katniss must feel towards them.

And the rangers stream out of their cabins
They are the hunters, we are the rabbits

Let's keep hiding, all quiet like
They'll keep seeking but they won't find us
Let's keep living a quiet life
You and I, you and I

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen


Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: May 2009 by Speak

My Rating: 3.5 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Romance
Includes: Brief Profanity, Brief Drug/Alcohol Use

First Lines: "And finally," Jamie said as he pushed the door open, "we come to the main event. Your room."



Ruby has a hard family life. After her mom abandons her, Ruby is sent to live with her older sister, Cora, who she hasn't seen in ten years, and her husband, Jamie, in their expensive house. She starts going to a private school and wearing fancy clothes but just doesn't feel like she fits in. Ruby decides to stay independent and not befriend anyone - that is until she meets her neighbor Nate. As they become closer, she realizes that not everything is as it seems on the surface. Nate's life may not be as perfect as she first thought.

I am a HUGE Sarah Dessen fan, and was ecstatic to start reading this book of hers. In the past, her feel-good books have been written so beautifully, she hits emotions spot on, is known for her amazing characters, and creates truly realistic storylines. However, I didn't find all of those things in this book which was a big let down. It seemed to me that all of the previous books she wrote were just combined into this one: an abused boyfriend (Dreamland), moving to a new house/school (Keeping the Moon), messed up mothers (almost all her books), etc. Even though you can run wild with these topics, I wanted something brand new from Sarah Dessen. One thing that I absolutely loved though was all of the hidden connections in this book to her other books. So many characters and places from her previous novels made small appearances in this one and I was always running back and forth between all of my Sarah Dessen books whenever I got the subtle feeling of deja vu. It was really creative and interesting how she did that.

Ruby's characters was very...complex. I liked that she was unpredictable and hard to read. She's sweet and lonely in the inside, but on the outside is independent and doesn't like getting help from people. I'm glad she wasn't just a two-dimensional character, but instead had layers that were revealed as the book progressed. Nate: Ruby's carpool and preppy, cute, and popular guy at school. At first he seemed too good to be true. He was friendly to anyone he came in contact with and always thought positively. But later on in the story, you find out he's not too perfect. Dessen is known for her amazing, romantic, almost flawless boyfriends that are in the majority of her books. Even though I sort of doubt there are high school guys that great out there, it's still fun to read about.

From Page 322
He was still watching me, both of us bobbing, and I could feel the water around me, pressing in, pulling back. Then, slowly, Nate was moving closer, leaning in, and despite all I'd told myself, and all I wanted to believe I was and wasn't capable of, I stayed where I was as he kissed me.


I was disappointed at how SLOW this book moved along. It took me weeks to finish because I was just never in the mood. The more and more pages I read, the more bland the book was getting. It seemed like nothing worth interest was happening, until halfway through the book when Ruby and Nate finally hit it off. If the book wasn't so boring I would have enjoyed it a lot more. There were some great moments in the novel and characters that I will definitely remember. One of my favorites being Gervais, the nerdy, annoying twelve year old who's a senior. There was something about him that really got my attention and left an impression on me.

Unlike many reviews for this book I've read referring to the bad ending, I actually loved it. I think Dessen wrapped it up perfectly with a bow on top. It for sure wasn't a happily-ever-after ending (thankfully), but did put everything in its place just as it should be. This book definitely is not close to one of my favorites of Dessen's work, but still made the cut.

Cover Thoughts: I really like it - it's pretty, fits the title, and looks elegant.

Book Supplied by: Bought at Borders.

Waiting On Wednesday: Girl, Stolen


This week's WoW book is Girl, Stolen by April Henry! It will be released on September 28, 2010.

Book Description:


Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?


Oh my gosh, this one looks freaking amazing! I love the cover and this seems like a very unique book. PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 28, 2010!

For the Future (10)


This is a monthly meme of mine that I made up! :) It's similar to my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, but highlights many books, not just one and doesn't include summaries.

Here's a list of young adult books that are still in-the-making or will be published in the future. This can range from being released tomorrow, to two years from now! These covers and release dates might not be permanent, it's just what I saw on Amazon, Goodreads, or the author's website. Hope this will be efficient to expand your reading pile!



You by Charles Benoit (August 24, 2010): "Charles Benoit has written a shattering, gut-wrenching novel that puts You right in the center of the story. Pick it up and you won't put it down!" -Michael Grant

The Mourning Wars by Karen Steinmetz (August 31, 2010): "Eunice’s largely imagined life makes a fascinating story with a setting that is vividly and dramatically evoked." -Booklist
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon (September 21, 2010): A compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.



Empty by Suzanne Weyn (October 1, 2010): It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. No heat. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (September 1, 2010): Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.
Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney (August 24, 2010): In this riveting, heartrending story, the truth changes the lives of three families—as the bonds of blood must withstand the strains of long-hidden secrets that are at last revealed.



The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green (September 1, 2010): A fabulously original, warm, and funny teen debut that follows a trio of best friends as they navigate love, lies, school, and family-with some unlikely supernatural help.

The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block (September 28, 2010): When she was thirteen, something terrifying and mysterious happened to Liv that she still does not understand, and now, four years later, her dark secret threatens to tear her apart from her family and true love.
Annexed by Sharon Dogar (October 4, 2010): Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz.

Saturday Spotlight - Books Glorious Books


Saturday Spotlight is where I feature another book blogger for you to check out! You should take a look at their site and leave a comment. (: [I got this meme from Kristen.]

Name: Maryam
Age: 18
Blog Name: Books Glorious Books
URL: http://gloriousbooks.blogspot.com/

Share a little bit about yourself:
Well, I am an avid reader (obviously). I'm obsessed with buying, reading and (quite recently) reviewing books. Apart from that, I can be quite creative; I like to paint, draw, bake and make jewelery.

How long have you been blogging and what made you want to start?
I haven't been blogging for that long actually. I started BGB in the middle of July this year and I'm absolutely loving it! After being a reading fanatic for a long, long time, I found myself needing to share my thoughts and opinions on more or less every single book I have read. I only have one or two friends that are just as into reading as I am so after following so many blogs I decided to start my own. So far, I've found it to be a great way to discuss books, share great titles and look for more great reads!

What does your site have?
So far my site has several reviews - I hope to have a lot more in the near future - and a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City called 'On My Wishlist' which is posted every Saturday. I'm also hoping to participate in a few more weekly memes such as 'Teaser Tuesdays' and the like. And after I get some more followers I want to hold a giveaway!

What are your favorite things about book blogging?
I love the support I got when I first started blogging which I am continuing to get...it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside! Also, from the blogosphere I can get so much great advice to improve my blog and great reviews of books that I may have thought of reading before.

What are your favorite books and/or authors? What about genre in general?
Ooooh...that's always a tough one to answer. Okay, I'll start off with my favourite book. A few years ago my friend introduced me to a book called Lord Loss by Darren Shan; as soon as I saw it in my local Waterstones, I HAD to have it! It has one of those unforgettable covers - it actually scares some people - and it's truly a unique story. It's a horror book based on demons and in some parts werewolves and it is by far the best book I have read so far - in my opinion anyway. Just a word of warning...it's pretty gruesome! Darren Shan is one of my favourite authors, particularly for his Demonata series (Lord Loss is the first book of the series) and for the Saga of Darren Shan. Shan is pretty unique in his writing style which is why I love his books. Apart from Darren Shan I love Kelley Armstrong, Alison Croggon, Stephanie Meyer and J.K Rowling...to name a few! I don't really prefer any particular genre but I do read more paranormal romances than anything. For the most part, I read from a wide variety of genres...I just pick a book that appeals to me on the whole.

Now for the random questions!
Favorite meal to order at a restaurant?
Hmmm....if I go to a restaurant it normally serves Middle-Eastern dishes and most of the time I get falafel...fried balls of deliciousness!

Last movie you watched and did you like it?
If I waited one more day to answer these questions, I would say Inception which is what I am going to see tomorrow. But no, the last movie I saw was Clash of the Titans...it was alright I guess, if you like soldiers shouting incoherently throughout the duration of the film. I thought it didn't have a decent plot to be honest.

What's something you really want to do before you die?
This may be a really bizarre answer...but I really want to try my hand at archery! It just looks so cool!

Best thing you've done this summer?
Cleaned out my room...haha. I've had to wait until now to sort out all of my books, clothes and other assorted junk. But now, I feel so much better.

Anything else you want to say?
Yes! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in 'Saturday Spotlight'. It was my first interview so I hope I did okay...awesome questions by the way, I really enjoyed answering them! Thank you!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Any of you who aren't followers of Maryam's site yet - what are you waiting for!?

If you would like to be featured on a Saturday Spotlight post, shoot me an email at booksobsession(at)gmail(dot)com
It doesn't matter how long you've been blogging - I'll interview anyone!

Interview with author Christine Johnson


I was lucky to get to interview debut author Christine Johnson, who's YA book Claire de Lune came out in May.

With so many werewolf novels being written now, how did you make the novel your own?

It was pretty easy, since I started drafting Claire long before the (very recent) popularity of werewolf novels! I started to build my own particular wolf mythology by researching traditional werewolf myths, and then superimposing that on my idea of an all-woman werewolf species. I looked at which pieces fit, which needed to be turned on their heads, etc. Building Claire’s world was challenging, but oh so fun.

Did you put parts of people you know in real life into your characters?

Yes and no - no character is based on any one particular person I know, but I might take the hair from a girl I knew in high school and mix it with a quirk of a boss I once had and stir in a little bit of the musical tastes of one of the teens on my block. Pretty soon, the character is so uniquely their own that they don’t resemble anyone - they’re just *themselves*. That’s when they’re ready to be part of the story.

How did you come up with the title Claire de Lune?

It’s a very nerdy play on words, as well as being (obviously) a fairly famous piece of music. In french, Claire de Lune means “moonlight,” which is appropriate for a werewolf novel, but with “Claire” as the protagonist’s name, it could also be read as “Claire of the moon.” Again - so perfect for a werewolf novel! I loved the multi-layered meanings combined with the musical reference. It was too good to resist!

Describe Claire in one word and why?

Ooh, that’s really hard. I guess I’d have to go with “dedicated.” She’s very loyal, and also stubborn, and a little bit idealistic when it comes to her own vision of how the world should be. “Dedicated” sort of covers all those traits.

Have any books/projects you're currently working on?

Yes! Nocturne, the sequel to Claire de Lune, is just getting ready to go to copyedits. It will be out next May (2011.) I’m so excited about the sequel. I can’t wait for everyone else to read it!

What's the last book you just finished reading and enjoyed?

I recently read Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves and was so intrigued by the voice of her main character. It’s a very unique story, and her imagery is quite powerful. I also recently finished Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell, and her writing is so concise and clean - she manages to say in sentences what it often takes other writers pages to get across. And by the time I finished that one, I found myself fighting off traces of a southern accent that I don’t naturally have - always a good sign that a book has gotten inside my head when I start talking like the characters!

If you could be any paranormal creature what would it be and why?

Oooh, great question. I’ve answered this once or twice before, but now it’s summer and that makes me need to say Mermaid. I *adore* the water, and while other people have recurring dreams about flying, I have recurring dreams that I can breathe underwater. I *love* those dreams. So, yeah. Gimme a fishtail. I’m going Mermaid.

Imagine being stranded on an island. What would be the first thing you'd do?

Panic. I’m not well-equipped for survivalist situations. After I finished panicking, I’d probably go see if I could find some fruit trees and water and pray that I didn’t get eaten by some undiscovered species of giant centipede. *shudder*. Of course, if I was stranded on an island with a nice hotel and fruity rum drinks, I’d change my identity and stay forever!

Anything else you'd like to say?

Thanks for having me “over” for a chat. It’s been so much fun! If anyone wants to hear more of my random ramblings, Twitter (@cjohnsonbooks) is a good place to find me doing just that.

Thanks so much for the fabulous answers Christine! Readers, be sure to check out her book Claire de Lune.

Waiting On Wednesday: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters


This week's WoW book is Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford! It will be released on September 1, 2010.

Book Description:


The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless. Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it. And so the confessions begin....

This one looks and sounds awesome; can't wait to read it! PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2010!

On My Bookshelf (20)


(Originally by The Story Siren, as "In My Mailbox.") On My Bookshelf is used to share what books I bought, won, traded, received for review, or got from the library this week. It's to let you know what to expect for me to read/review next. (:


*Sorry the quality is awful - I had to take this picture from my phone.*

BOUGHT FROM BOOKSTORES:

Suck It Up by Brian Meehl: Are you up to your neck in bloodsucking vampire stories? Tired of those tales about dentally enhanced dark lords? Before I wrote this book I thought all vampires were night-stalking, fangpopping, bloodsucking fiends. Then I met Morning McCobb. He’s a vegan vampire who drinks a soy-blood substitute called Blood Lite. He believes staking should be a hate crime. And someday he hopes to march in a Vampire Pride Parade. He was also the first vampire to out himself and try to show people of mortality, like you and me, that vampires are just another minority with special needs. Trust me—this is like no other vampire book you’ll ever feed on.

WON FROM CONTESTS:

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

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

RECEIVED FOR REVIEW:

Other by Karen Kincy: Gwen Williams is like any other modern teenager with one exception: she's a shapeshifter. Never having known her Pooka-spirit father, Gwen must struggle with the wild, wonderful magic inside of her alone—and in secret. While society may tolerate vampires, centaurs, and "Others" like Gwen, there are plenty of folks in Klikamuks, Washington, who don't care for her kind. Now there's a new werewolf pack in town, and Others are getting killed, including Gwen's dryad friend. The police are doing zilch. In the midst of terrible loss and danger, Gwen meets a cute Japanese fox spirit who's refreshingly comfortable with his Otherness. Can Gwen find the courage to embrace her true self and find the killer-before she becomes the next victim?

RECEIVED FROM TRADING:

Top Ten Uses For An Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro: Sophomore year, Nicolette Antonovich was dumped two days before prom by the hottest guy at school. As a result, she became the proud owner of one unworn, perfectly magical pink vintage dress. But Nic is determined to put that night behind her for good. She's a junior now— older, wiser, and completely overwhelmed by a new set of problems: (1) The bank's ready to foreclose on her childhood home. (2) Her father's too busy with his "replacement" daughter to care. (3) Her best friend's brother is an eternal thorn in her side. (4) Her best friend isn't exactly the rose attached to that thorn. (5) Rumors are flying around school that could get her kicked off the volleyball team, which would (6) ruin all chances of a college scholarship. (7) She still likes the boy who dumped her in the first place. (8) And what in the world do you do with an unworn prom dress, anyway? Strangely, it's getting to the bottom of this last dilemma that just might hold the answer to all Nic's problems.

I found some contests...


Want to win some YA sequels such as Crescendo, The Haunted, and Beautiful Darkness? Enter Girls Without A Bookshelf's contest. It's international and ends 8/31.

Over at Noelle Nolan's blog you can win a $10 Amazon giftcard! Once she reaches 150 followers the contest will close; so hurry and enter because she currently has 85 followers!

The Norwegian Book Girl is having a 100 followers contest with prizes such as: The Clockwork Angel, Mockingjay, and Torment! Ends 8/27.

You can win an ARC of Firelight at The Smarty Owl! It ends on August 15 and US only.

At Today & Everyday, you can enter to win a book of your choice from the Book Depository! Ends 8/14 and is International.

Want a signed copy of The Body Finder? Enter Kimberly Franklin's contest! Ends August 11.

Waiting On Wednesday: Nobel Genes


This week's WoW book is Nobel Genes by Rune Michaels! It will be released on August 10, 2010.

Book Description:


It's tough to measure up to your parents' expectations. Imagine how much harder it would be if your mother told you that your biological father—whom you'd never met—was a Nobel prize-winning genius? What if, after years of testing and tutoring, you never showed that particular spark of brilliance? What if you found out that you'd been living a lie, and that the truth was darker than you could have imagined? Does it matter who you come from? Or are we all just made from dust? In Rune Michaels's most powerful novel yet, she examines the fragile emotions surrounding finding out who we are and what we’re made of.

Not too fond of the cover, but the summary got me hooked! PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 10, 2010!

Tell Me A Secret Trailer Launch Party!


Holly Cupala's Tell Me A Secret now has a book trailer! :)



Party Prizes! Here’s what people can win:
Signed TMAS books
TMAS t-shirts
Fan-made bracelets by Hannah S
Music that inspired the book
Sneak Previews
Bookmarks and Handmade Magnets
Tell Me a Secret handmade necklace made by Gypsy Wings

How to win? Share the Trailer Love!
1. Click here to go to YouTube, then click the Share button to send to your Facebook, Twitter, or blog! 5 pts each
2. Click here to tell where you posted, and enter to win!

Plus Holly will be featured at readergirlz for the entire month of August, with a live Twitter chat coming up!

Choose Your Genre Contest


CONTEST IS CLOSED.

For the past month I've been planning and arranging this big giveaway and finally it's here! *insert applause* Sometimes people are picky about what genres to read/not read so I made it easier for you all...a "Choose Your Genre Contest"! Here I have 4 separate prize packs for 4 different winners; each genre pack consists of young adult books (all but one were published this year) and swag that fits that category.

Unfortunately, because of my last huge contest, my wallet is practically empty so this one won't be international; it's for the USA only. You also must be a follower (new or old) of my blog to enter... because I just feel like it. And this giveaway will be open until August 22. I'll post the 4 winners a day or two after.

To enter, just fill out this form!

You can get extra entries by tweeting, linking, and spreading the word about it. Also by leaving a comment on this post about something funny! A joke, a short story, link to a video, picture, or blog post, something that happened to you today - I don't care, just something that made you laugh or smile.

On the form it will ask which genre packs you want to be entered for. Feel free to enter for all four of them, however you can only win one. If someone's name appears twice on the random generator, I'll simply pick another winner.

Alright enough chit-chat; I bet you're wondering, "Ashley, just show me the prizes already!!" Well here's what you can win! :) Many thanks to the authors and publishers that contributed, too.










So to enter just fill out this form.
Good luck everybody and please spread the word. Thanks for following!

CONTEST IS CLOSED.