Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sharing Sam: A Review

Blurb (and picture above are from Goodreads. I do not own them but am using them for review purposes only):  

How can you take the guy your best friend loves . . . when your best friend’s going to die?

 Alison Chapman has always believed she’d fall in love hard. And she does—with Sam Cody, a new guy with a gorgeous face and brooding eyes, a guy who’s impossible to resist. When Sam asks her to the Valentine’s Day dance, Alison is elated . . . until she finds out that her best friend, Isabella Cates-Lopez, has fallen for Sam, too . . . until she finds out that Isabella is dying. Now Alison wants Isabella’s last days to be her happiest ever—even if she and Sam have to hide their love. Even if, by sharing Sam, Alison risks losing him forever.

Title: Sharing Sam
Author: Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publishing Date: 1995 (but reads like a current YA)
Source: Library

Cover: Very fitting for the story. It seems typical for the contemporary YA genre, but this time it makes sense. 

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance: The bittersweet edition. Sharing your new love interest with your friend because you’ve just found out she’s dying can lend itself to being heavy-ish material.

Plot: This book is really short--so short at its 155 pages that I almost didn’t pick it up. I tend to shy away from shorter books, doubting the book’s ability to engage me enough to care in so few pages. Sharing Sam was surprising in that aspect. The reader gets more depth of character than he or she might expect going into it. It may be predictable overall, but that doesn’t detract from its storytelling. 

Romantic Element: Yes, there was romance. It was quick but also believable. A few times I caught myself being pissy that Applegate chose to glaze over scenes, giving us a summary rather than a bird’s eye view, but I wasn’t too upset. Like I said describing the genre, the love in this book is bittersweet. 

Overall: I think you know going into the book if it’ll be for you or not, but for the little time it takes you to read it, the story is there. As a whole, I’d say this book is more like A Walk to Remember kind of Lifetime movie YA romance, and I also think that assessment will pretty much tell you whether or not you’d like the book itself. 

So what do you think? Sound like it would be up your alley or many streets away? Lemme know below!

Now to leave you with a song to write by, "Hurt" by Christina Aguilera. Sniff. I <3 this one. 


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Silver and Stone: A Review

Hello all!

Here's one of the reviews I've been promising, and it's a self-pub, which makes me all the happier.

Welcome to high school high society hell, where last season’s slingbacks can warrant a lunch table demotion, the wrong date will knock you off the it-list and behind every pair of oversized Chanel sunglasses lies a secret people are dying to keep. 

As if senior year at Weatherford Preparatory School wasn’t hard enough, sixteen year old Alexis Bardolph had to add school outcast to the curriculum.

A new found notoriety following a family scandal, her lacrosse star boy-friend dumping her for a former BFF and a string of perpetually bad hair days were among the many things going wrong in her already turbulent teenage life.

But when the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood begin to take an eerily tangible form and several Holler Creek residents are reported missing, Alexis can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to her hellish dreams than meets the eye.

The unexpected arrival of a mysterious and dangerously handsome new student ultimately leads Alexis to troubling truths that not even her wildest imagination could have conjured.

Title: Silver and Stone: The Bloodlines Series
Author: J.D. Thompson
Publisher: Self
Publication Date: 2011
Source: Author (ebook given in exchange for honest review)

Cover: The cover does its job and gives you a definite YA wispy vibe.

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance. I can’t be more specific as to what type of paranormal activity is going on since the book spends a lot of time building up to that, but the premise is more original than most.

Plot: This book has a lot going for it. The writing is good, and the beginning to middle of the book keeps you reading and wondering what exactly will happen next. There’s an element of mystery that I think a lot of people would enjoy, and for the majority of the book, Alexis is pretty likeable. The premise that frames the story is really original and was one of my favorite macabre parts about the story. 

Romantic Element: You know I’m a sucker for romance in YA, and this book definitely has it. It did feel a bit rushed to me. I tend to like a long lead-in for these things, but that’s personal preference, and other people will find the love interest entertaining. And there’s drama. Oh, how I love drama—in books--just thought I’d clarify.

Overall: This book has its highs and lows, but definitely has more highs than lows. I think my only slight complaint is pacing. J.D. does an amazing job of it for the majority, but when it comes to the romantic bits and the end itself, I felt a little rushed. BUT the end does set up the next book nicely, making you want more, and overall, I enjoyed it. Fans of YA paranormal romance would be pleased overall with this book as the beginning of a series. And for 99 cents? It’d be hard to ask for more.

What do you all think? Are you going to read it? Lemme know below!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Contest for aspiring YA authors :)

Win a literary agent or acclaimed author's feedback on your unpublished manuscript for young adult or middle grade readers.  This rare opportunity is being offered to the six winners of an essay contest recently announced by the literacy charity Book Wish Foundation.  See for full details.

You could win a manuscript critique from:

  • Laura Langlie, literary agent for Meg Cabot
  • Nancy Gallt, literary agent for Jeanne DuPrau
  • Brenda Bowen, literary agent and editor of Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust
  • Ann M. Martin, winner of the Newbery Honor for A Corner of the Universe
  • Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
  • Cynthia Voigt, winner of the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song and the Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue
All that separates you from this prize is a 500-word essay about a short story in Book Wish Foundation's new anthology, What You Wish For.  Essays are due Feb. 1, 2012 and winners will be announced around Mar. 1, 2012.  If you win, you will have six months to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for critique (which means you can enter the contest even if you haven't finished, or started, your manuscript).  You can even enter multiple times, with essays about more than one of the contest stories, for a chance to win up to six critiques.

If you dream of being a published author, this is an opportunity you should not miss.  To enter, follow the instructions at

Good luck and best wishes,

Logan Kleinwaks
President, Book Wish Foundation

Sounds neat. Are y'all going to try it? Lemme know below!

Now here's a song to write by, "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars, because I've been rocking out to this one lately. And by rocking out, I mean putting it on repeat, not headbanging...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Borrowing Abby Grace Series: Review

Hello all,

Well, I said you'd be getting a review, and today you are. It's even a twofer. lol. I was contacted by Kelly Green to review her episodic YA mystery ebooks, and here is my review for the first two episodes, The Shadow: Borrowing Abby Grace and Girls Steals Guy:

Blurb (and pictures taken from Goodreads for review purposes only; I do not own them):

Smart and sassy Abby Grace is a seventeen-year-old with a talent for getting out of trouble. Sent to repair the lives and loves of teenagers on the edge of disaster, Abby is the perfect girl for the job. She has everything going for her… except one thing: a body.

Title: The Shadow: Borrowing Abby Grace (Episode 1) and Girl Steals Guy (Episode 2)
Author: Kelly Green
Publisher: Back Lit Fiction
Publication Date: 2011
Source: Author/Publisher (Received copy of books in exchange for honest review)

Cover: I completely dig them. They catch your attention and make you go “hmm?” And isn’t that just what every cover is supposed to do? I approve.

Genre: YA Episodic Mystery. You get a complete little mystery in every episode, from when Abby drops into the story to when the case comes to an end.

Plot: The chapters are short, making the story move really quickly. Since it’s written in episode form (i.e. you get a full-slightly-longer-than-short story in each hit), the story progresses quick enough to keep you interested but is short enough to make you want more when it’s done. The story also makes sense to be given in episodes. At first, I worried it’d be like a chapter being sold one at a time, but the story lends itself to a format, and each episode is complete enough to be on its own (as opposed to it being a chapter of a large novel). I don’t think it would really work if they were put together. 

Romantic Element: There are hints of romance, enough to make you want to read later episodes. BUT, and this is huge for me, I was more than okay with reading the story without Abby running after anyone. Girl Steals Guy is especially good in this aspect. (Psst, still read The Shadow: Borrowing Abby Grace first for context—they could be read separately, but they’re cheap enough for you to start from the beginning and get the full picture). 

Overall: These episodes are worth getting into. There’s enough mystery to keep you interested; enough twists to keep you from getting bored; and it moves quickly enough that you can feel accomplished after reading each episode. What’s not to like about that? Fair warning, Abby may sound a little robotic in the beginning of The Shadow: Borrowing Abby Grace, but she does grow on you, and by the time you read Girl Steals Guy, you should like her. It’s a good snack mystery—a.k.a. a full mystery in a little package with a YA twist. Green gives great authentic teen analogies, and I fully support these episodes as being awesome for younger YA and up. (Note: The Shadow: Borrowing Abby Grace is PG-ish, and Girl Steals Guy is more late-PG-13)

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation in exchange for a review; I did, however, receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Here's some places to find out about the Borrowing Abby Grace series and Kelly Green:

Soooo, what do you think? Are you going to check them out? Let me know below!

Happy Reading and Writing, y'all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blog interview!

Hello all :)

To all my old friends, hi from a stranger who pledges to not be such a stranger, and to any newbies, big hi from a new blogger friend!

How are you all doing? Lemme know in the comments so I can blog hop and say hi back.

Coming up, I'll be letting you know what happened with me and Nanowrimo experience; I'll be posting a book review of a new self-pubbed line of ebooks (look out for this. Should be Wednesday); and I'll just be posting in general soon. If you have any blogging requests, let me know, and I'll be sure to write away about it!

I wanted to let you all know that THE awesome E.R.King who runs the Get Busy Writing Blog has posted an interview with me today which you can see here. I highly suggest checking it out (and her blog in general). Stop by and say hi!

Now to leave you with a song to write by, because we're overdue, an oldie (as in the '90s) but an oh-so goodie, "Barely Breathing" by Duncan Sheik:

Happy Reading and Writing, y'all!

P.S. Romi is hosting a giveaway on her blog for some dreamy postcards. So, stop on by her blog, The Dreamy Tree, be creative and enter!