Monday, July 25, 2011

ALA Con: Part 2 (With Photos) and Giveaway Winners

I figured too many photos all at once might get a little overwhelming but mostly boring, so I decided to break this post up into two parts. You can check out PART ONE of my ALA Post, if you like. This is the second half of my trip to New Orleans in June for the ALA Annual Conference.

Last post, I left off with pictures taken at the conference on Saturday, but neglected to post this fun one:

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From left: Cristin Teril, Alexandra Shostak, Sara McClung, PJ Hoover, Jessica Lee Anderson, and Me. <3 <3

Sidenote: I had to type Hoover four times before I stopped typing it as HOOver. I don't know why.


Saturday night, I attended a Blogger event hosted by Stacked Books and YA Highway's Kirsten Hubbard and Kate Hart. Arrived at Tommy's Wine Bar to find a group of authors sitting outside. In the heat. My first words were: "OMG, it's so good to finally meet you Elana, holy bazooka it's hot whyareyouguyssittingouthere????"

Here I am with the fabulous Elana Johnson.
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Dark and mysterious
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Bright and shiny


She's just as lovely and beautiful in real life as she is online, by the way.

DSC03276 And with the super sweet Kate Hart. I finally remembered to snag a shot just with her. In fact, I think I might have cried, "KATE!!! WE HAVE TO TAKE A PICTURE!" and then reached longingly for her hand and tugged her to me, holding her close.

Or something like that.







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Awwww, look at Sara and me. <3 <3
See you in October!



From left: Tere Kirkland, me, Cristin, Sara, and Alexandra. So fun! Loads of laughs.

A few of us capped off the night with a trip to Cafe du Monde for some beignets (more), and then we saw this guy...

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Okay, so, the best thing about this picture is not the guy in the fancy feather suit, but the guy on the cell phone behind him who's totally oblivious.





Sunday, I headed back to the convention, where I got to meet up with more cool people.

DSC03292 Here I am with the super supremo Mike Mullin, author of ASHFALL. So fun to meet him and his wife. Lovely people. I look forward to reading Mike's book and attending his launch party in October. The line at his signing was ridiculous long. End.Less.



DSC03295 With the amazing Medeia Sharif, author of BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. I talked and laughed with her for ages, and then when I walked away, I forgot a bag of books on the floor. Doh.*


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Here I am with Tere Kirkland. Love her. We spent most of the day together on Sunday. One of the kindest people I know.




268159_141555252586240_100001952982406_299682_1156325_n Sunday evening, we met up with a large group of people for cocktails at the Newberry Reception. From left: Jenny Moss' daughter, Jenny Moss, me, Sara, Stephanie Pellegrin, Cristin Teril, Shannon Messenger, and PJ Hoover. In front: Jo Whittemore and E Kristin Anderson. (Not pictured: Michelle Hodkin, Elana Johnson, and Jessi Kirby)



 259975_141555315919567_100001952982406_299684_2404881_nAfter the Newberry Speeches, around 11 o'clock, some of the Bookanistas (those present) and a few others met up at the W Hotel.From left: Michelle Hodkin, Jessica Martinez, Elana Johnson, Shannon Messenger, me, Kirsten Hubbard, Kate Hart, Kari Olson, and Jessi Kirby. (Veronica Roth left early Saturday AM)



DSC03300 Monday morning, all the Bookanistas who were present in NOLA at the time met up for breakfast at Cafe Adelaide in the Loewes Hotel. From left, Jessi Kirby, me, Elana Johnson, Michelle Hodkin, and Shannon Messenger (Kirsten Hubbard had left super early in the morning to catch her plane).



After breakfast, we all headed back to the convention. Jessi and I went around taking pictures with all the books written by Bookanistas that we could find. There were loads, but here are a couple:

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Left: With THE LIAR SOCIETY (Lisa and Laura Roecker) Right: With DIVERGENT (Veronica Roth)
By the way, this involved having to hunt strangers down and torture them with puppy dog eyes into taking the pictures for us.

Tuesday morning, before everyone took off for the airport (I was staying until Wednesday), a few of us met up for beignets one final time. Gobble gobble.
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Cristin, Elana, Jessi, me, and Sara


I'm pretty sure Jessi wins for being covered in the most powdered sugar.


The End.


PS. Miss.


*You can stop hyperventilating. I recovered my bag of books.





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WINNERS!

Huge thanks to all who entered my recent giveaways. I've got some winners for you.

ARC of BETWEEN by Jessica Warman
Marisa H.

ARC of THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
Theresa M.

ARC of AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones and Steven E Wedel
Sophia C.

Signed ARC of PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES by Jonathan Auxier
Lenny

ARC of THE BEGINNING OF AFTER by Jennifer Castle
Valerie


Please email me with an address to which I can send your book. Thanks again to all who entered. Rest assured, I'll be having another giveaway soon. Err, really soon. So check back.


And if you haven't yet entered my latest giveaway, ANOTHER THREE ARC GIVEAWAY to win ARCs of  THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (Rae Carson), THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE (Jeff Hirsh), and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR (Stephanie Perkins), you still have a chance. Ends Thursday, July 28 at midnight EST. Oh, and it's open internationally! I've had winners from all over the world. Most recently Mexico, Canada, and India. Will you be next?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS and Super ARC Giveaway...Another One

I actually read this book a while ago, but I've been waiting to review this until it got a little closer to its launch date--mainly, I wanted this book to be fresh in your mind for the release. Because you MUST READ THIS. It's not an order. Just, you know, a really strong suggestion. Look into my eyes...you are getting sleepy.


No, seriously, check it out.
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Me with Derek Molata, TGOFAT ARC, and Brad Beaulieu

This is the ARC cover, which if you win this book, you will get. See below for the other hot ARCs you can win.

Okay, so first my review:

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
by Rae Carson


Girl of Fire and Thorns
Summary: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.


MY REVIEW
YES. A fantasy YA with a strong heroine that is not also perfect. Elisa doesn't have the ideal body, astonishing self-control, confidence disguised as razor sharp wit, or all the answers. She doesn't always know what to say, she overeats and overindulges and gives in to bouts of self-pity and insecurity. Which is just...right. Because most people do all of these things sometimes, especially sixteen year old girls. So how is she strong? Well, she's not at first, at least not on the surface. Elisa has to earn her strength like most people do--through trial and tribulation. Nobody is really born kickass. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS shows us that bravery is a learned behavior. That kickassedness is not a fixed, natural trait, but an assertion that has to be made over and over--an act of sheer will and possibly even an act of defiance. And always, an act born out of necessity. How incredibly hopeful that is. I can never be like Superman. But Elisa? Possibly.

The irony is, here's this princess who is somewhat of an outcast within her own society. So while you might expect a princess to be a "chosen one," you wouldn't expect Elisa to be anything. It's like weakling Harry Potter if he knew from the get-go he were a wizard and everyone in the wizarding world thought he was kind of lame despite that scar. Elisa has to somehow overcome her own insecurities as well as the doubts of everyone else to fulfill a prophecy to save all their hides.  And then she discovers that not everyone believes in the prophecy in the same way she does, so suddenly her faith, which has been her constant companion and her greatest strength, is tested most of all. There are no easy answers, no obvious choices or hidden paths that Elisa just isn't seeing. It's a complicated world of grays where she has to learn as much as she can and rely on her instincts and her faith for answers. Pretty realistic in that regard--and in many other ways.

While THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is indeed a fantasy, I sort of kept forgetting that. It reads almost like a kickass historical with paranormal elements. Yes, there are some freaky-cool things in this world, but it feels inspired by real-life elements. It wasn't your typical medieval feeling fantasy, but rather felt sort of like an amalgamation of Latin and Middle Eastern cultures with a YA fantasy twist. The descriptions are rock solid--so, so vivid, I could nearly feel the grit of sand against my skin--with a world that is rich with detailed history, religion, monarchy, and paranormal mythos. But while the world building is remarkable, the characterization is easily a highlight with fully fleshed, complex characters. The overweight girl is not one to pity and the pretty, charming girl is not one to hate. This is bigger than that. Like I said, a complicated world of grays, just like ours. Even love feels complicated in this, and thus authentic. It's not a matter of love at first sight, but love as a choice.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is intense, full of emotional twists and unexpected plot turns, riveting to the end. Will be available September 20, 2011.


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ANOTHER 3 ARC GIVEAWAY


I'm offering up these books, okay? Click on their covers for pop-up Goodreads summaries.

Girl of Fire and Thorns
GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
by Rae Carson


See my review above! Please note, the ARC in the giveaway has a different cover.






The Eleventh Plague
THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE 
by Jeff Hirsch


I read this one entirely on the plane ride home from New Orleans. It's amazing. So real and scary and just...un-put-downable. I'll get a full review up for this in a few days.




Lola and the Boy Next Door
LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR
by Stephanie Perkins

I haven't yet finished this one, but Ahhh! Whipping through it. It might possibly be even better than ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Not sure yet. That one is hard to top. But I'll try to get a full review up for this soon, too.


This 3 ARC Giveaway is international. Ends on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Must be 13 years or older to enter. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment.

Click Here to Enter Another Three ARC International Giveaway


EDIT (28July11): The jotform site is giving me a load of trouble. If you are having issues entering the giveaway with the above link, but would still like to enter, please fill out the form below. Your entry will be recorded in a separate document only I can see (not on this blog). If you have already entered via the link above or in my comment section, no need to fill out the form again. I've already recorded your entry. Thanks for your support of these authors and of my blog!

Note: You may have to click on the down arrow key to scroll to the submit button on the form. Thanks!

ENTRY FORM REMOVED. THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING!





Also, if you haven't yet done so, be sure to enter to win my first 3 ARC giveaway for AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones and Steven E Wedel, PETER NIMBLE by Jonathan Auxier, and THE BEGINNING OF AFTER by Jennifer Castle. This giveaway ends Saturday, July 23. EDIT: This giveaway is now closed. Winners were posted HERE.

Three ARC giveaway

GO HERE TO ENTER the other 3 ARC Giveaway.

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

Bookanistas-logo-hisnhers
Elana Johnson raves about Blood Red Road
LiLa Roecker shivers over A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie
Christine Fonseca is wowed by The Near Witch
Beth Revis loves The Last Little Blue Envelope
Carolina M Valdez gushes over The Girl of Fire and Thorns – with arc giveaway

Bethany Wiggins cheers for Chime

Rosemary Clement Moore is enraptured by Entwine

Stasia Ward Kehoe applauds The Predicteds
Scott Tracey praises Supernaturally






*********************************
The Another 3 ARC Giveaway is now over. Here are the winners:



WINNERS


THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
Emy S.

THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE by Jeff Hirsch
Mary B.

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
Sarah T.

Congratulations, winners! Please send me an address to which I can ship your ARC. Thank you so much to all who entered! Your support of these authors and of my blog means loads to me. I'll have winners posted ASAP for the giveaway that closed last night. I'm also preparing another giveaway to go up really soon. It's pretty...major.






Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My ALA Adventures (With Photos)

At the end of June, I attended the ALA conference in New Orleans. Finally, I'm getting around to posting about it. This is the annual conference for the American Library Association. The best thing about this con is that it's not actually for writers, but for librarians. As a writer, it's tops. Not only do you have access to a giganto number of books, it's a perfect opportunity to dive into the publishing industry. Behold. Here is my adventure with photographs. Lots of them.

DSC03200
Upon arrival in NOLA, Wednesday. I made this trip with my family, but you won't see them here because they are invisible. Or in the witness protection program. Or just private.

This day I said, "Oh, NOLA isn't so hot. I can handle this heat. Look, my hair is barely frizzing up at all." And then five minutes later came.

  Thursday, I arranged a dinner at Cochon's for a number of publishing peoples, including (pictured here) Courtney Moulton, Leah Clifford, myself, Sara McClung, Lisa Desrochers and (not pictured) Shannon Messenger, Cristin Teril, Tere Kirkland, Mary Kole, Valia Lind, and Kari Olson and a couple others whose names escape me at the moment. Here we are out in the French Quarter after dinner listening to some music. There was much laughter and a hot saxophone player who came into the crowd and played for us. I also got a really great photo in the back of our taxi, but I'd risk dog poo in my mailbox if I posted it.


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Friday was the first day of the actual con, but it didn't open until the evening, so Sara met up with me and my family for some beignets. So fun! <3 Here we are at Jackson Square & then nom noming. At this point I thought, "Okay, getting a little hotter, but I have extra hairspray in my hair. I'm good. I have Sara and sugar and fried dough." Next on the bucket list: Elephant Ears with Sara.

The con started off with a bang. We hit the con floor running. But first, we got shushed by a bunch of librarians. Don't ask.

DSC03256 Friday night, from left: Kiki Hamilton, Courtney Moulton, Leah Clifford, Shannon Messenger, Lisa Desrochers, Julie Cross, Kari Olson, Kate Hart, Veronica Roth, Kirsten Hubbard, Me, Sarah Enni, and...gah! I can't remember.  We met up at this place called...I don't remember. But it had no electricity. Ambiance was great--nothing but candlelight. But there was no air conditioning. My hair was really suffering, despite the excessive amounts of hair spray. But the adventures? I'm still cracking up. Kari said something hilarious, and also there was an almost naked guy parading down the street blowing a whistle.

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Me with Kiki and Lisa. Such sweeties.


I also met Jay Asher for the first time, but for some reason, I neglected to get a photo with him. Here he is with Lisa, though:  DSC03257
NOLA
And here I am with Kirsten, Courtney, Shannon, and Veronica. Sara, Cristin, Tere, and others had left a little earlier. Notice how we all have a leg bent? That's cuz I said, "everybody, strike a pose." Not really.



Some random shots from the actual con (Saturday). The best thing about this was the air conditioning. Although my hair was nearly toast from the trip to the convention.
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With Franny Billingsley (CHIME). She had the best outfit of the con. Love the book, love her.





With Lisa at her book signing. <3
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With Tere Kirkland, who is a dearie dear. I don't understand why she can't live in Indianapolis with me. We have corn here. And John Green.



DSC03269 Finally got a shot with Jay. I really wish I could go to SCBWI LA this year if only to see his costume for the ball.





An exhausted Sara, Cristin, Alexandra Shostak, Tere, Me, and Shannon. Cristin went all out playing the role. I came in second place, yeah? Everyone else mostly pretended like they weren't tired at all. What's up with the smiles, people?

With Cristin, my UK-expat sister. <3 <3


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With Kimberley Griffiths Little (THE HEALING SPELL & CIRCLE OF SECRETS). Love her.



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With Jonathan Auxier, author of PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES. We were very excited to meet one another, clearly. Also, the camera guy mooned us.


FYI, I'm giving away a Signed ARC of PETER NIMBLE right now if you want to ENTER HERE TO WIN. You can also win an ARC of Carrie Jones and Steve E Wedel's AFTER OBSESSION and an ARC of Jennifer Castle's THE BEGINNING OF AFTER.

Um, yeah, so this post is getting long. We'll call this ALA ADVENTURES: PART ONE. More pictures to come...


P.S. My apologies for not linking everyone. I get lazy at 3:30 AM.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review of THE NEAR WITCH and More ARCs and Prizes (And Reviews) for You

For today, here's the plan. I've got a full review of THE NEAR WITCH finally. And if you scroll down, you'll also find another ARC giveaway and more.


THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab


Near WitchSummary: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.


The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.


MY REVIEW
THE NEAR WITCH opens with a looming sense of darkness, an undefined eeriness that draws you in. Sort of like sitting around a campfire, listening to the beginnings of a well-told ghost story. Except Schwab's ghost is a mysterious wind and the songs of the past--whispers of witches, betrayals and revenge.  There's also an edge of sadness because of a loss, but it's not too bitter as it's reined in by Lexi's unrelenting spiritedness, presenting a sharp contrast to the emerging gloom. As the story progresses, the mystery that sprouted at the beginning takes a dark turn when children begin to disappear.

And then you hit page 40.

What had been before just a darkness in the distance, a mystery that begged to be solved, suddenly becomes a danger to Lexi. The mystery becomes a threat--even if Lexi doesn't fully realize it at first. But you do. I think I spent the better part of this book in a constant state of shivers. THE NEAR WITCH is a book that sucks you in and has you thinking/saying things like, "Lexi, check the charm! Make sure it's still there!" It's a book that makes you feel fully invested as a reader. Not just in the mystery, but in the characters themselves--and in the romance. The difficult circumstances within the story heighten the romantic tension, making it feel at times bittersweet.

But one of the most impressive attributes is the paranormal element. It's not that witches haven't been done before, but Schwab took them a new direction, creating such an original twist. Even the setting felt completely new--not modern and not fully old, not fantasy and yet not conventional. Some of the typical conventions of witch stories are employed, but Schwab also created some new rules--which means no expectations for a reader. The best stories are the ones you can't predict, creating something entirely new out of the old. THE NEAR WITCH is a remarkable debut--original and truly gripping.


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For now, how about a couple more ARCs to win? I've got a lot of these guys. So many coming out in August and September, so some of my reviews may be a little more condensed. But you'll likely be seeing more reviews than usual. Only so many Thursdays...

Today, I'm offering:

(Click on images for Goodreads summary in a pop-up window.)

AFTER OBSESSION
by Carrie Jones and Steven E Wedel

After Obsession
MY CONDENSED REVIEW: Told in alternating points of view, AFTER OBSESSION is a riveting paranormal romance about demonic possession. Very spooky. It's a compelling read with hints of humor that help to dispel that darkness. So often alternating POVs feel really similar, but this one had two very distinct voices, likely because of the two authors. It was refreshing. A great read, especially for fans of dark paranormal romance.




[Signed] PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES by Jonathan Auxier 

Peter Nimble
MY CONDENSED REVIEW: I haven't read a lot of middle grade, but I fell in love with the voice in this. It's different from anything I've ever read. A certain dry humor which I found really absorbing.  There's a dark undertone there, too, but it's subtle--if you really think about the reality of what's being hinted at, you realizes how gloomy it is. But there's overall a very light feel to it meshed with the darkness--sort of like the first Harry Potter. It's an adventure story, very fun. Would appeal to both boys and girls. Highly recommend it for fans of adventure middle grade.



THE BEGINNING OF AFTER
by Jennifer Castle

Beginning of After
MY CONDENSED REVIEW: A beautiful story that is both heartwrenching and sweet. There's the potential for some serious tears, though, as it's a story of one girl's grief journey. The greatest heartbreak occurs very early on. But unlike some of the other grief stories that are out there, it's not a constant emotional battle. There are a number of happy moments to relieve the tension. Moments of laughter. Overall strong characterization and voice. A memorable contemporary.


So, up for grabs: AFTER OBSESSION, PETER NIMBLE, and THE BEGINNING OF AFTER

Click Here to Enter to Win my Three ARC International Giveaway

Giveaway ends Saturday, July 23, 2011, Midnight EST. Open Internationally. Must be 9 years to win PETER Nimble and 13 years to win AFTER OBSESSION and THE BEGINNING OF AFTER. Under 18's must have parent permission to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipping.

Thanks so much for entering. Good luck!


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Finally, I wanted to tell you guys about a wicked fun middle grade that has just released.

BORN TO BE A DRAGON
by Eisely Jacobs


Born to be a dragon
Summary:
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup…


This is what Lord Edric wants you to believe. He will do anything in his power to see that humans never come in contact with dragons again. However, he doesn't plan for Meia, the foster child who dreams of dragons, believing they are real. Or Deglan, the ten-year-old dragon who bears the ancient mark that threatens everything Lord Edric has worked for.
Join these two unlikely friends as they discover the truth behind a legend so extraordinary it will alter each of their lives… forever.



MY THOUGHTS:
Super cute middle grade! A dragon action adventure that features an unlikely bond. Some great touches of humor, as you might expect if you've been following Jacobs' Twitter. I loved her dragons and the special friendship that holds the book together. The book also features fostering as well as themes of family and loyalty. A memorable read for kids that will appeal to boys and girls.

Check out LK Gardner-Griffie's blog for a thorough, emotional review of BORN TO BE A DRAGON.

GIVEAWAYSEiselyJacobs is hosting a huge scavenger hunt giveaway with daily prizes including two polos that feature Deglan, a dragon from her book as well as a NOOK at the end of the giveaway! Stop by Heather McCorkle's group blog Critique Sisters Corner to enter to win a copy of BORN TO BE A DRAGON.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pretty Little Liars

Hm. I'm a bit behind on things. I know. I make promises, and yadda yadda, what has Carol done, that tramp. (Or not done, as the case may be).

Seriously, I've been uber sick. Sleeping a lot, and then I take meds to feel better, and I sleep a lot more. So basically I'm feeling icky, but also I'm well rested. That's my excuse for not posting winners before now or the additional ARCs giveaway.

But I am posting winners today, FYI. I've got something else going on today, too, which is super cool and important (see below), so come back tomorrow for another ARCs giveaway, okay? I know, you're afraid you'll come back and be all like, "What? Carol that tramp, why didn't she post what she promised?" Well, I'll try not to do that. But there's just no accounting for real life, you know? Try to make some allowances for that. I don't live inside my computer, yeah? Not really.

Stupid real life.

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Okay, so before I announce winners, first I want you to know that

 twenty-eight cover
A. Denise Gover Swank has published a book called TWENTY EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES , which is awesome. I would highly recommend you check it out (links to do so will be posted below)




and


DSC_3211 B. Denise Grover Swank may be keeping secrets. Like, okay. I suspected that something was up. Because one, she's got five kids. And yet she works her tail off. Every time I turn around she's just written a new book. And now she's gone and published one and it's awesome (see A.) And two, hello--she's got five kids. I'm still trying to figure out how she sleeps.

SO. I point blank asked her. I said, "Denise, there's no way you can write as much as you do and publish and still keep a clean house and feed the children and stay generally sane. Seriously, I think you're hiding something." Except I was really polite and euphemistic and stuff.

And she says, "Oh ho ho, I just work really hard. It's not magic--it's math. For every hour spent working, I must lose one hour of sleep. Simple. I get no sleep."*

Uh huh. Sure. I was dubious. So I did the only rational thing. I turned to her children. And they were rather forthcoming with the secrets.

Watch as they expose their mother... It's frigging hilarious.




Okay, so that was pretty brilliant. Leave it to your children to expose all your dirty, little secrets. And look so dang cute while doing it.

And guess what? Denise is just as humorous in her writing as she is in real life. That same lightness and sense of frivolity, that charm you saw in her video is captured so beautifully in her book. There's also a sexy, sweet romance and a great mystery, too. Be sure to check it out. Here's some info:

TWENTY EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES
by Denise Grover Swank


twenty-eight cover Summary:  “It all started when I saw myself dead.”

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

Winner of The Beacon – 2010 Unpublished Division, Mainstream Category.


TWENTY EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES is available in print and e-book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

HUGE thanks to Denise for sharing her video! And an even BIGGER THANKS to Julia and the children for roasting their mom publicly. Now that's LOVE. <3 <3 <3

Oh, and want a chance to win a copy of Denise Swank's TWENTY EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES? Critique Sisters Corner is hosting a giveaway. Be sure to check it out!



*I may be lying about her saying this. And possibly about me even asking the question.

**This had nothing to do with anything. I was just wondering what Julia was cooking and thought perhaps you might be wondering too. I'm hungry. Please send cake.

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Annnnnnnnd now. Winners!


1.


ScarySceneScaryMovie_HR (1) Personalizedm Signed Hard Cover of A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE by Matt Blackstone



                         Lisa P.







2.Personal Demons


Signed Copy of PERSONAL DEMONS


AND



Original Sin
ORIGINAL SIN by Lisa Desrochers



   Elizabeth (Swords for Fighting)





Congratulations to both winners! Please email me with an address so I can send you your books. Thank you to everyone who entered! I very much appreciate your support of these authors and of my blog. More giveaways coming right up. Stay tuned!

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Oh, and don't forget! If you haven't entered to win ARCs of  Victoria Schwab's THE NEAR WITCH and Jessica Warman's BETWEEN yet, maybe consider it, yeah? HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN ENTER. Giveaway ends tonight at midnight, EST.