Friday, January 28, 2011

Bookanistas Happy Dance for Beth Revis in a Vlog of Solidarity and Ultimate Embarrassment

Across the Universe So, by now many of you already know that Beth Revis, author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, is pretty freaking amazing. And not just because her book debuted on the NYT Bestseller list!!! She's an incredible person with endless kindness. For me, that goes a long way. And we Bookanistas are so happy for Beth's success that we just can't stop dancing for her.

So we decided to make a video.

An embarrassing oh-my-gawwwd-did-we-really-do-this sort of video.

And we're going to share it with you. Because we love Beth and would walk through fire for her. In this case, we walk through the FIRE O' HUMILIATION.

Here you go.




Not sure if you spotted me in there. But rest assured, the embarrassment is hard earned. It took me a long time just to make a thirty second video clip (not too humiliating) to show Beth just how much I love her. In fact, I had way more unusable material than usable. But in the spirit of ridiculousness, I thought I'd share a short unusable outtake with you.

Beth, THIS is how much I love you.



Congratulations on your successful launch, Beth Revis! I wish you the very best in your writing career. You're a super star. And a remarkable human being.

**********************

AND THE WINNER OF THE SIGNED COPY OF XVI BY JULIA KARR IS:

Tere Kirkland

Tere, please email me an address where I can ship your book. Congratulations!!!!!


Also, don't forget to enter to win a Signed ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker! GO HERE to enter!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review of THE LIAR SOCIETY with a SIGNED ARC GIVEAWAY

What a long day I had today--actually Wednesday! Got a call at 6 AM--my baby brother's wife was in labor, and I headed up to Chicago not long after to greet the little one. But baby was not born until 12:55 AM Thursday.

Oh gawwwd that was exhausting!!! I still haven't been to bed, and I'm dead on my feet. (Little brother and Sis-in-law are a little tired, too. That's what they hinted at, anyway...) So, I didn't get a chance to post as I'd wanted to--I'll bump that post to Friday. I'll try to have a winner drawn for the Signed copy of XVI on Friday as well. Which reminds me:

1. Today is the last day to enter to win a Signed copy of XVI by Julia Karr!! Please GO HERE to enter! This giveaway is international. You have until midnight to get your entries in with tweets and FB and blog posts, etc. Which reminds me:

2. Today begins my giveaway for a Signed ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker!! Please see details below! Which reminds me:

3. I'll be reviewing THE LIAR SOCIETY today for the Bookanistas! Yahoo!! Which reminds me:

4. Welcome, Rosemary Clement-Moore ! Our newest member! We're so glad to have you join the Bookanistas! Which reminds me:


5. Please be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are recommending today. Don't forget to stop by Myra McEntire's blog to check out her COVER REVEAL!!!!!!!!!

Bookanistas_logo

THE LIAR SOCIETY
by Lisa and Laura Roecker


LiarSociety
Goodreads summary: Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure. 

To: KateLowry@pemberlybrown.edu
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceLee@pemberlybrown.edu
Subject: (no subject)
Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Cameron.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.


Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...


MY REVIEW
You know, I don't really read a lot of YA mystery. None, actually...which is weird. Because I love mysteries. It's the mystery part of every novel that really sucks me in, that entertains by challenging me to think. I used to devour Nancy Drew books as if they might disappear before I could finish reading them--and my first reading love was Encyclopedia Brown. So what the heck happened? Is it because there aren't a lot of straight up mysteries in YA that I don't read them any more?  Did I get sidetracked by Romance and my unquenchable hormones? Um. Perhaps. It may also be the flash of vampires and dragons and falling-apart future worlds that beckons me like tiny gym shorts for Richard Simmons. Who can say for sure? But I do know one thing: if I can find any more YA mystery books like THE LIAR SOCIETY, I'll be reading every single one of them--and I can't wait for the next one by the Roecker sisters'...

THE LIAR SOCIETY is like Nancy Drew, but way cooler, sassier, and a thousand times funnier--with language that is reflective of REAL teenage voices. And Kate Lowry is the girl we all wish we could be--good looking with a biting wit, razor sharp intelligence and mega attitude. Nobody rocks a set of pearls quite like Kate Lowry. The only problem is she's an outcast forced (by necessity and pity) to rely on the biggest nerd in the school (who nearly pooped his pants at one point, which OHMYWORD, had me cracking up so badly, I nearly po...well.) And the setting couldn't get any cooler either: Pemberly Brown, an elite private school set in...Cleveland. Not Beverly Hills, not Boston. But freaking Cleveland. Now how refreshing is that? You should see what Kate thinks about it...

Which reminds me. Let's get back to Kate for a minute.  I mean, the mystery was great. LOVED the whole premise--the clues, the twists, the danger, and the who-dun-it-what's-gonna-happen questions that drive you forward hunting for answers. There's also a romantic element that adds a lovely degree of tension and intrigue. But I'll be honest--Kate totally made this book. Her voice is so distinct and appealing. She's one of those people you wish you had in your life, just because she would make everything sparkle a little bit brighter...the kind of person that makes you laugh until you pee at everything you probably shouldn't laugh at simply by stating her slightly slanted, unfiltered view of the world. I laughed in much the same way that I laughed reading ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS or even WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON--both of these being stories that were taken to the next level of AWEsome by the voices of the protagonists.

But Kate's voice is one that alters, too--not the sarcasm or the wit, which is just a natural part of her--but her view of those around her as well as her self-confidence. It's seeing this progression and  subtle maturation that keeps her dynamic and fluid, a being capable of change, and thus someone we can care about beyond the laughs. And for me, a book is all about the characters. But lucky for you, THE LIAR SOCIETY has a plot that will leave you guessing and reguessing as well, just as any fabulous mystery should.

********************

To Enter to win a Signed ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY, please fill out the embedded form below which will be emailed to me (mainly so you don't have to expose your email in my comments section).

Thank You!  Giveaway ends February 6, 2011. Open Internationally!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Message to Young Writers

pie1 Click on image for source.

Recently, I read a truly inspirational blog post by Ashelynn, a young writer-blogger, encouraging other young writers to ignore all the naysayers and just.keep.writing. Which may not seem like a big deal--we all say this, right? We get discouraged with rejections and all the stupid shite that floats in whenever you're trying to break into a new business, especially one that can feel as fickle and SLOW as publishing, so we often say: just keep writing, dude. Because we want to encourage other writers who've been struggling possibly years.

But imagine being a writer at twenty. No, sixteen. Or eleven. Whatever.

Well, a lot of us older peoples WROTE back then. But how many of you wrote wrote? As in, with serious dedication. As in sacrificing time with your friends and parties and money for books and workshops and conferences? As in having to listen to your mom and dad bitch because you're wasting your time away in front of that computer, dear, and then doing it anyway. Hell, a lot of adult writers don't even write with that kind of drive. Yet, there are some young writers out there who do just that. And they often do it with virtually no support. Because pshaw! What does a kid know about writing??? Let alone publishing? They have no experience. No expertise. No wisdom, yo.

Uh. Maybe that's true. I don't know. But does it matter? Is there some magic age or level of experience that you have to reach before you can proclaim yourself a writer? I mean, while we're at it, why don't we just start saying that anyone who's not published isn't a real writer either.

Seriously, people. There are NO RULES. None. That's the beauty of writing. If you can find a way to do it without words, then good for you. If you want to write upside down hanging from a monkey's tail, you can. At any age.

So, I won't be telling a sixteen-nine-five-any year old to stop wasting her life away with her silly little stories just because she's not got any hair on her upper lip. Or whatever. I wish someone had encouraged me to plant my arse in a chair and crank out story after story, no matter how ridiculous and copycat and make-you-want-to-puke awful they might be (because mine probably were) and then FLAUNT IT. And scream out: I AM WRITER! Who knows where I'd be today if I'd felt more confident about my writing back then. You only get better, you know. And if you totally rock as a new writer? Holy crap, just imagine what kind of writer you'll be five years from now.

If you keep writing.

But I will say this (try not to throw sharp things at me as you listen to my old-person babbling): don't forget to breathe sometimes. Take it from me--the most obsessive writer I know. I have to make a concerted effort to stop being a f#$%ing hermit with my writing all the time. But for good reason. I have a family. I'd lose them if I didn't (and have to pay for their therapy later). But for a young writer? Well.

Listen, writing is an endless thing. It goes on and on, but time? It withers, and then it's gone. Write write write until your fingers bleed and your eyes go blurry. But take time away sometimes. Feel the sun on your face, go to parties, get into fights, feel hurt and vulnerable and broken, screw around, screw up--whatever. All of these experiences make for a richer life and a better writer. Don't avoid the world--it hurts you all the freaking time, but it also makes your stories kickass. I PROMISE. You never know where the next idea, the next character, the next setting will come from. Finding inspiration is as much a part of writing as the writing itself. But you'll never find it if you never leave your room. So don't be a f#$%ing hermit like me all the time. Seriously, I'm all pasty and s#!%.

But do keep writing. Because you gotta let the demons out.

And you're effing brilliant. Like Ashelynn says, you are the exception.

****************

Be sure to check out Ashelynn's blog, A Gypsy Writer, and her blog post You Are the Exception. She's awesome.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bookanistas: Sweet XVI...and Signed Book Giveaway

First order of business:

Congratulations, Beth Revis, Bookanista and newest New York Times Bestseller!!! ACROSS THE UNIVERSE debuts at NUMBER SEVEN!!!!




Read more about the wonder that is Beth and Across the Universe at Lisa and Laura's blog.

*****

Second order of Bookanista business:

WELCOME, Carrie Harris!! Our newest Bookanista! Glad to have you on board! 

*****

Also, make sure you enter the Giveaway to win a SIGNED COPY of XVI!! Info below!
*****


Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are recommending today!

Bookanistas_logo
Katie Anderson raves about THE LIAR SOCIETY
Christine Fonseca applauds Michelle McLean's HOMEWORK HELPERS: TERM PAPERS AND ESSAYS with Signed Book Giveaway
Carrie Harris celebrates THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE
Jen Hayley lauds DELIRIUM
Shelli Johannes-Wells  is IN LOVE WITH HARLEQUIN
Elana Johnson recommends Michelle McLean's HOMEWORK HELPERS: TERM PAPERS AND ESSAYS with Giveaway
Jessi Kirby admires MATCHED
Myra McEntire gives some cover love for THE LIAR SOCIETY
Shannon Messenger commends THE LIAR SOCIETY with an ARC Giveaway
Megan Miranda gives some love to ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
Lisa and Laura Roecker happy dance for Beth Revis
Shana Silver cheers for HERE LIES BRIDGET
Scott Tracey acclaims DIVERGENT
Bethany Wiggins praises Michelle McLean's HOMEWORK HELPERS: TERM PAPERS AND ESSAYS

Now, my review of

XVI by Julia Karr
XVI_CVR
Goodreads summary: Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.


My Review

I don't think a review of XVI would be complete without at least addressing the cover--because it's so freaking fantastic. A little startling, almost disturbing in the way that girl, smeared mascara, peers into you through her age. Like her age is the slim wall between you--which is perfect because it represents so much of what this book deals with.

Sixteen. The age in this dystopian world when you become an adult--when you are legal to have sex, and if you aren't fully protected by cunning, planning, and economic status, also an age when you're likely to be preyed upon. Karr's world in XVI is futuristic, to be sure, with hovering trannies and PAVs, but it's not like Back to the Future, you know? It's gritty and pretty realistic, a distinct possibility given the right chain of events--wars, coups, rise to power, greed and corruption--perhaps even feminism gone awry, as the centralized government gets a hold of the movement, and with complete control of the media, convinces people that they are making the world a better place (such as for young girls, keeping them safe until they are sixteen). Except nothing is what it seems. Economic striations are blatant and government endorsed. And girls are brainwashed into feeling like they have power through sex, while in reality, they have very little volition. But I don't think this is necessarily an idea confined to Karr's futuristic world, as it seems to apply quite aptly to our own (think of every ad you've ever seen featuring some woman in skimpy clothes getting a man to do her bidding). Sex sells no matter what time you live in, but in 2149, the cost is free will. And Nina resists this brainwashing with all her might.

But there's also a great mystery in XVI as Nina and her friends try to solve the riddle of her mother's final words, all while trying to protect her little sister who's being threatened. Yet every step of the way, Nina finds herself falling for the mysterious Sal, undermining the walls of antipathy she'd put up against the government's manipulative pimping of sex. Because suddenly, she wants to do it. Suddenly there is no black and white. Oh, but if that isn't the bane of adolescence...except Nina has to deal with a fundamental rite of passage in a dark world with so much loss in her life. Yet it's not all gloom and doom. Karr does a great job adding moments of lightness and mirth, alleviating the tension for Nina and for the reader.

XVI is a thought-provoking, but entertaining read that tackles real issues pertinent to today's world and to contemporary teens: a dystopian, a mystery, and a love-story wrapped up into one.

**************************************

To Enter to win a Signed copy of XVI, please fill out the embedded form below which will be emailed to me (mainly so you don't have to expose your email in my comments section):




Thank You! XVI Giveaway ends January 27, 2011. Open Internationally!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making Your Super Characters Extraordinary

At dinner, over a discussion of Superman, my cousin’s wife brought up the notion of changing her hair color to hide her superhero identity (actually, first she said that Brandon Routh did not honor the suit—I think because he was too skinny; it’s a valid argument, but not the one I’m making here, so…). Then I got to thinking what my superhero self would look like. I think I might do something with my hair. Maybe wear something shiny like any self-respecting superhero. And glasses. Can’t forget the glasses. Because glasses help to hide who you really are. And since I wear contact lenses most of the time, my superhero self would have to have glasses.
So here I am, in my everyday disguise. Boring ol’ Carolina.
Carol2 
And here I am in full superhero splendor. Meet me, AKA Cool Girl.
superhero_Carol

No, seriously. That’s me!! It’s crazy how little it takes to make yourself into someone else entirely. Look at Miley Cyrus. I bet it blew your mind when you found out she was really Hannah Montana with a wig on. And Lady Gaga? NEWS ALERT: She’s not always a superhero. Sometimes, she wears non-shiny clothes.
Unfortunately, you can’t slap a cape on an ordinary fictional character and make them extraordinary. If you’re struggling to make your characters more appealing (especially in UF/SFF/Paranormal), it may be because you’re only making your character extraordinary on the surface. You have to dig deeper than that. Can’t just give your characters a cool ability/job/location and expect that to do the trick.
Let’s face it, it wasn’t the shiny boots and tights that made Superman so fabulous. It wasn’t even because he was so super. Not really. It's just his real life personality was so impossibly different from Superman’s personality. He lived out the fantasy that so many of us have—to be able to put on a cape and become way cooler than we are (I may look like a nerd, but you should see me in tights).
So what can you do to make your characters extraordinary?
1. First and foremost, your characters must have DEPTH. This means that your characters MUST HAVE:
A. Motivations. You don't act without motivation. (You might think you do, but you don't. All acts stem from some motivation, whether conscious or unconconscious, so it should be the same for your characters.) So even if your characters don't know why they act the way they do, YOU SHOULD.
B. Human qualities we all have. Things like dreams, hatreds, desires, goals, weaknesses, strengths, longings, secrets, embarrassments...without these qualities, we become robotic and boring. So do your characters.
C. Emotions. Layers of them. And their emotions should correspond to their personalities. Some people might cry at funerals, others laugh uncontrollably. Bring in the prostitute mourner in the red dress, and watch the tears dry up, and the sense of awe/embarrassment/shock/discomfort/anger/confusion take over.
D. Internal Conflict. If Peter Parker hadn't worried as much about what might have happened to Mary Jane Watson (movies, not comic books), he probably wouldn't have turned her away and limited himself only to spidey kisses hanging upside down. He was so torn--wanting revenge for his murdered uncle, feeling guilty it might've been his fault, his love for Mary Jane which has to go unfulfilled, and the many issues he has with the supervillains (just the issues with the Green Goblin and his son alone could drive a therapist mad).
2. Second, you must latch on to the unexpected…
A. …in the characters' personalities and subsequent actions. Nobody ever expected vampires to fall in love with humans—or to go to high school. Nobody expected Forrest Gump to go to college or to win International ping pong tournaments or to inspire a nation. And nobody expected Superman would be some shy, nerdy journalist. Audiences can’t wait to see what unexpected things such unexpected characters will get up to.
B. …in the characters’ motivations. In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, nobody expected that Tiny Cooper, best-friend-of-Will Grayson/gay-football-player’s greatest motivation in life would be to find love and let his light shine through the most fabulous high school musical the world has ever seen.
C. ...in the characters' human qualities. A secret doesn't have to be big to feel HUGE. Not if it's unexpected. Say a boy carries around a rock in his pocket with a face drawn on it, yarn for hair. It's name is Albert. Occasionally, he pets it when he gets nervous. At home, he sets it on his nightstand and talks to it. But it's his secret. He'll never tell anyone about it. No one would make fun of him, especially because his mom just died, but to him, it'd be humiliating. He's fifteen.
D. ...in the characters' emotions. Have you seen HANCOCK? The depressed superhero? Yeah. Unexpected.
E ...in the characters' internal conflict. What could be more unexpected than a vampire fretting over having sex with his human girlfriend because he might get too excited and drink her blood and kill her? Seriously. Nothing. Totally UNEXPECTED.

Caveat: Make the unexpected believable. Or make it so freaking awesome that your audience will gladly abandon reason and force themselves to buy it.
**********************************
These are just some ways to make your characters worthy of kickass plots. I bet you have some tricks, too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Vlog: Carol’s Tips for a Kick-Ass Life

Recently, I received a brilliant email forwarded from my sister, a list of 20 tips for a positive new year by author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon. It was a cool list, very…positive. In fact, it inspired me to create my own list. Which may or may not be a tactful list.

Anyway, I thought this list would make a great vlog.

However. I've been pretty sick, so I looked like a half-dead thing through much of the vlog. Thus, I tweaked it, chopped the drooling, hideous bits, added some music and slides, and you got this.

Oh, also! Before you go, if you aren't sick of me yet, be sure to stop by super writer Heather Kelly's blog, Edited to Within an Inch of My Life, to check out my very first pre-pub interview. I was surprised she asked me (what?! ME?!!!), but in it I divulge all my dirty, little secrets. Hyperbole. Only a few are dirty. Thank you, Heather!




In case I didn't say it before, happy new year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Bookanista Review: Across the Universe

To those of you that stopped by yesterday, I apologize that I had no post/vlog as I'd intended. I've been battling a nasty bug, but even so I was up until 3 AM working on the vlog, In the end, technical difficulties got the best of me.  And just as I was starting to feel better, I've had a bit of a relapse. Still, I wanted to post my review of Across the Universe, as it was released this week and because it's awesome, but my apologies in advance if I flu-ramble. I will try not to infect you with my cooties.

Also, be sure to stop by and see what the other Bookanistas are highlighting this week!

Bookanistas_logo

Elana Johnson and LiLa Roecker celebrate the release of Across the Universe with giveaways

Christine Fonseca gets lost in Nightshade

Shannon Messenger raves about Like Mandarin with an ARC Giveaway

Jamie Harrington thinks the outlook is good for The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball

Shelli Johannes-Wells celebrates Harcourt winners

Michelle Hodkin, Carolina Valdez Miller and Shana Silver travel Across the Universe

Scott Tracey gets some Clarity

Myra McEntire is In The Fort with Beth Revis

Megan Miranda falls head over heels for Fall For Anything

Bethany Wiggins is living for Three Quarters Dead

Jen Hayley worships Unearthly

Carrie Harris flips for Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Kirsten Hubbard goes crazy for Delirium

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

by Beth Revis

Across the Universe

Goodreads summary: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My review

I picked up ACROSS THE UNIVERSE thinking that it would be a sci fi novel. And while it was--complete with all sorts of cool futuristic spacey technology, I discovered it was so much more than that. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is like STAR TREK meets THE GIVER bound together by a delicious romance (and lets face it, all the best books will have a delicious romance). Already, I know this will be one of the best books of  2011 for me. I read this book straight through in one day without stopping. Every chapter had me by the throat.

While AtU is set so far in the future, on a spaceship with cryogenically frozen bodies no less, the learning curve is actually not that huge.  Beth does some really cool things with language, as well as with structure that really helps to pull you into this futuristic world without you even realizing it, weaving in details of this world and its history into the narrative in  a masterful, unnoticeable way. For writers, there's a lot to be learned in the way of technique. For readers, it's like taking a trip aboard the Godspeed, albeit one full of secrets and lies.

The mystery is one of the most exciting aspects of the book, as Elder and Amy uncover clues  bringing them closer to answers--and to the murderer. But AtU is more than just a mere mystery, or a mere dystopian--more, even, than a simple combination of genres. It's a powerful book that says so much about right and wrong and that muddy space in between. It questions what it means to be human, to love, and to fight tooth and nail to protect that which you love.  It highlights issues of leadership, war, and "true" history.  AtU offers the reader so much to think about without being preachy or obnoxious, asking readers to come up with their own conclusions about the choices and sacrifices they would make to preserve the things most important to them.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is a book rich with complex emotions and conflict, but fast paced and gripping. You won't be able to put it down.

******************************************************

I will make a tremendous effort to post that vlog tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Upchuck Takes Priority

I was going to vlog for you today, but I didn't get it finished. Little Bean upchucked on my pajama bottoms. And then on my cardigan. And the third time on my second pair of pajama bottoms.

Sadly, she was sleeping in my bed.

But let me rewind a bit. Friday night, my oldest daughter had a birthday sleepover. That's seriously a blog post in itself--probably a series of them--but I can't talk about it because my daughter is old enough to look up my blog. And to hunt me down. Suffice it to say she had a fabulous time. Saturday, I took the party girls out for the day. Can't talk about that either, but suffice it to say it involved a mall and lots of stores including Victoria's Secret because damn if I'll ever miss their semi-annual sale and omg:

Me: Oh, look, here's my bra! That I'm wearing right now. Isn't it cute?

Bigger Bean: GAH! OMG. Mo-om!! Too much information!

Anyway, all day Saturday Little Bean was super cranky. I assumed it was because she had stayed up with older sister and company until freaking infinity. I threatened her with a grounding, which normally would earn me a snort and an eye roll, but this time, it had her declaring war in the middle of The Limited. Then at bedtime, she was hungry, so she ate a banana. But I didn't know this, see. Not until I sat in it. You know, banana upchuck. Guess she wasn't just tired.

That was pretty much how Saturday night went. All night. So Sunday, I looked like this:

haggardShakira

Sorry. I'm so tired, I posted the wrong image. Some frickhead labeled this image "Haggard."

 

tiredmonkey

There now. That's more like it.

So,  yeah. That's me. Except it wasn't just Sunday. I've been like this for a while now. Because every day lately seems to have been like this weekend. CrazyFullSleepless. But I figured if I told you I had a vlog I wanted to post for you, that it might force me to finish it no matter how tired I am.

So. Okay. Let's shoot for Wednesday. Will you promise me you'll come back Wednesday? Don't make the mistake everyone made on American Idol--the killer assumption that got Chris Daughtry voted off. Like, don't assume that everyone else is going to stop by so you don't and then everyone assumes the same thing, so no one does, and then I feel stupid and insecure and swallowed up in misery like the image up above (haggard monkey, not vra-vra-voom-Haggard).

It sucks to be this tired. I mean, it's 3:15 AM and I'm still awake trying to blog. I've stopped to take a two-minute nap at least ten times since I started this post. I know I'm not the only one who's this tired either. I've noticed lately that a lot of bloggers are taking breaks from blogging or cutting back. Is it the time of year, you think? Or something else? Are we becoming disenchanted with it? Bored? Frustrated? Unmotivated? Prioritizing?

For now, I'm going to bed. If not tomorrow, see you Wednesday.

Except, that banana I had a bit ago is not settling well. Maybe I should plan this vlog for Friday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I’m Back withThe Healing Spell

I have been a very naughty blogger being gone so long. But…I’m back…at least for today. But I know I need to blog more often, if only to stay regular. And we all know how being irregular really screws with your system. So, let’s make that goal numero uno for 2011, shall we?

1. Blog regularly.

There now. That’s my first goal for the new year.

1A. And first on the unwritten, unofficial To-Do blogging list, I’d like to welcome the three new members of the Bookanistas!!

Jen Hayley, Shana Silver, and Gretchen McNeil!

Let’s give them a rousing welcome, k?

Heyyyyyyyyyy, ladies!!! WELCOME!!! *cheers* *claps* *stomps*

1B. In other news, Michelle Hodkin’s Cover and Scott Tracey’s Cover have been revealed! Check them out. They’re amazing!

1C. My first review of the year—THE HEALING SPELL—is below. But make sure you check out what books the other Bookanistas are spotlighting. We’ve got a large crew reviewing today!

Bookanistas_logo

Michelle Hodkin gushes about The Near Witch

Elana Johnson schools us on The Education of Hailey Kendrick

LiLa Roecker celebrates XVI's book birthday

Christine Fonseca raves about Wither

Shannon Messenger travels Across the Universe with a special giveaway

Shelli Johannes-Wells gets Lost in the River of Green

Scott Tracey falls in love with Across the Universe

Beth Revis is captivated by Prisoners in the Palace

Megan Miranda takes a peek through The Marbury Lens

Shana Silver is digging Delirium

Jamie Harrington tells the truth about The Liar Society

Jen Hayley dies for a Touch Mortal

Bethany Wiggins dotes on Paranormalcy

 

THE HEALING SPELL

by Kimberley Griffiths Little

HealingSpell

Goodreads summary: Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption. Livie's powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.

My Review

I have to admit, I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. I stupidly thought it would just be a sweet middle grade book that I whipped through and would say, “Aw, that was nice.” I can be a dork like that. But honest to freaking greatness, I bawled at the end of this. I was so absorbed, and when that climactic moment came, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I could—and yeah, I gasped and felt a tug in my chest. So. Yeah. Not your average middle grade book. And there weren’t any mythical creatures or flying things. Just a baby alligator named T-Baby that stole my heart. Did not see that coming. I’m not one for reptiles, yo. But Livie’s T-baby was just so darling.

Little did an amazing job sucking me into the world of THE HEALING SPELL. The bayou, the Spanish moss, the alligators and the crawfish and Cajun traditions. Just brilliant, I tell you. She painted such a vivid picture, it was like getting to visit. And Livie’s voice—my word it was strong. Honestly, I misread her age at the beginning, thinking she was 14, and for the longest time I thought, no way is this kid 14. 11…12 tops. Then come to find out, she actually was eleven going on twelve—talk about capturing a voice on the page. So well done. And what a great voice, too. I adored Livie, wanted so badly to take her under my wing and comfort her. The poor thing is so broken in this, struggling not just to grow up, but with the tragedy that has struck their family..

Such a heartbreaking, moving read, but also funny and sweet, just like Livie who is so resistant to change. The writing was unbelievable as well. While the voice was strong with Cajun eleven-year-old influence, it was also lyrical and poignant. So much said in so few words—about growing up, about dealing with tragedy and immense guilt, about the tempestuous link between family members, and especially about that complicated, angsty bond between a mother and daughter. We also get to see the stirrings of first love. It’s a vivid portrayal of one girl caught between childhood and adolescence dealing with a life-changing, earth-shattering event. But above all, it’s a story of redemption and the incredible power of hope and love.