Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of Twenty Boy Summer! I will be emailing you, please get in touch with your address by next Tuesday! Thanks!

the wanderer
New Winner! Janssen

GIVEAWAY: The Painter From Shanghai

Now that you've read my review of The Painter From Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein I'd love to give you a chance to win your very own paperback edition of the book!

If you need a reminder here's some information about the book.

TLC Book Tours:

Reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha, a re-imagining of the life of Pan Yuliang and her transformation from prostitute to post-Impressionist.

Down the muddy waters of the Yangtze River and into the seedy backrooms of “The Hall of Eternal Splendor,” through the raucous glamour of prewar Shanghai and the bohemian splendor of 1920s Paris, and back to a China ripped apart by civil war and teetering on the brink of revolution: this novel tells the story of Pan Yuliang, one of the most talented
—and provocative—Chinese artists of the twentieth century.

Jennifer Cody Epstein’s epic brings to life the woman behind the lush, Cezannesque nude self-portraits, capturing with lavish detail her life in the brothel and then as a concubine to a Republican official who would ultimately help her find her way as an artist. Moving with the tide of historical events, The Painter from Shanghai celebrates a singularly daring painting style—one that led to fame, notoriety, and, ultimately, a devastating choice: between Pan’s art and the one great love of her life.

Onto the rules!

To win a paperback copy of The Painter From Shanghai leave a comment sharing one artist who's life story has interested you and why.

For 1 additional entry post/blog about this giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you have done so.

The giveaway is open to addresses within the U.S.

Please leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner!

The giveaway will end July 14th at 11:59 pm Central Time.

BLOG TOUR: The Painter From Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein

From TLC Book Tours:

Reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha, a re-imagining of the life of Pan Yuliang and her transformation from prostitute to post-Impressionist.

Down the muddy waters of the Yangtze River and into the seedy backrooms of “The Hall of Eternal Splendor,” through the raucous glamour of prewar Shanghai and the bohemian splendor of 1920s Paris, and back to a China ripped apart by civil war and teetering on the brink of revolution: this novel tells the story of Pan Yuliang, one of the most talented
—and provocative—Chinese artists of the twentieth century.

Jennifer Cody Epstein’s epic brings to life the woman behind the lush, Cezannesque nude self-portraits, capturing with lavish detail her life in the brothel and then as a concubine to a Republican official who would ultimately help her find her way as an artist. Moving with the tide of historical events, The Painter from Shanghai celebrates a singularly daring painting style—one that led to fame, notoriety, and, ultimately, a devastating choice: between Pan’s art and the one great love of her life.

I am always fascinated by stories that are based on real people and The Painter From Shanghai is a very strong example. I feel like it would be harder to write a story where there are some facts involved, you can only know so many facts so you have to create the story in such a way that you can string the actual facts together to make sense. That takes talent.

It was really empowering to read the story of Pan Yuliang. From being sold into prostitution to attempting the close to impossible to achieve her dreams of being an artist and a "woman artist" at that. Pan Yuliang couldn't and doesn't give up. I loved seeing her evolve and turn into a strong and confident woman. She was so meek and innocent when her uncle sold her into prostitution and to see the woman she becomes is amazing.

It was insane to me to read what a struggle there was for Pan Yuliang to be an artist and create the art she wanted to create. Nowadays at least in America most people wouldn't bat an eyelash at a nude portrait but in Pan Yuliang's time it was beyond scandalous. It's just so crazy to me. If I had to face that kind of abuse to just create art I'm sure I would have given up. We are so lucky that we don't have to deal with that in 2009 in America.

While the art related parts were obviously my favorite I really enjoyed the book as a whole. All the people that come in and out of Pan Yuliang's life to either help or harm her, they were all a part of what shaped her in the end. Pan Zanhua, the man that becomes her husband and sort of guardian is an interesting character as well, watching him grow and change with the politics of the time. I also really liked the passages when Pan Yuliang went to live with Pan Zanhua and his first wife. Really interesting.

Overall a really interesting story based on a real life!

4/5 Stars

Review copy provided by publisher for blog tour

Visit the author's website here!

Hardcover vs. Paperback 35

Summer Blowout by Claire Cook




A string of Italian beauty salons run by a lovably insane Boston Irish family is the backdrop for this hilarious, rambunctious work that is full of juicy conflict and unconditional love.

Oooh this is a hard one. I read the book when it first came out and thought the cover worked really well, the dog was one of my favorite parts of the book. But I also really like the new paperback! I like how the composition remains the same for them both. Tie!

Which is your favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2009

BLOG TOUR: Guest Post from Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance, authors of The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading!

Today I am pleased to welcome Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance, the authors of The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading. You can visit Charity and Darcy at their website and also check out the rest of the tour posts here! Also, if you comment on any of the tours posts you have the chance to win a Summer Geek Read Prize Pack from the authors! Stop back this Thursday to see my review of The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading!

You Don’t Have to Wait!

One of our favorite themes in The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading is: You Don’t Have to Wait! There’s a point in the story where ultra-nerd Todd realizes this and corners Bethany in the Little Theater:

“We don’t have to wait,” he said.
O-kay. “Wait for what?”
“For anything. We’re always talking. Can’t wait for the weekend, can’t wait for summer, for graduation. For anything that doesn’t involve high school. I mean, I wouldn’t have picked cheerleading--”
“You don’t have the legs for it.”
He held up both hands to shush me. “But there you are, embracing the here and now, making the most of high school.”
Oh, so that was what I was doing? And I thought all I’d been trying to do was keep most of the school from seeing my purple-clad butt.
“And why the hell shouldn’t we?” Todd smacked his fist against his palm. “Who says you’ve got to be popular to be a cheerleader?”
Certainly not me.
“Or.” He peered at me over the top of his glasses. “Student body president.”

Throughout the process of revising our book, getting it published and now promoting it, we’ve actively sought out help from young people – so we know this is true...you really DON’T have to wait! There are things you can accomplish right now if you just take a chance.

Some of the great (and cool) people we’ve worked with along the way are:

The Granada Hills Gang – These are the kids who ate all Darcy’s chips, drank all her soda, and taught her that age really can just be a state of mind. They helped us endlessly with details like dialogue, sweet shoe choices and how online RPGs really work. Hi Brittany, Nicole, Thanh, Andrea, James, Jarrod, Robbie, Johnny, Carly!

The Website Crew – Apart from Shelby N (Queen of Code and definitely young at heart) all other aspects of our website – its design, implementation and emergency trouble shooting – were completed by Darcy’s son Matt (age 23) and her friend Sean (age 21). We also regularly tap Andrew (Charity’s 13 year old son) for his opinion/ideas. And her six year old daughter, Kyra, provides any original artwork we need for the site.

The Creative Kids – The photographer who took Darcy’s author photo and pics for our free short story (Speechless – have you read it yet?) is a college student named Nikki. Darcy’s daughter is also a college student and designed the t-shirts we give out as prizes. And then there’s Mieke -- a high school girl who interns at Darcy’s local newspaper. She wrote Geek Girl’s Guide’s first news article – and got it published on the front page!

The Bloggers – Oh my gosh, what would we do without you? You guys are on the front lines of getting the word out about The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading. Your thoughtful reviews and allowing us to take over your space for a day are essential to telling teen and young adult readers about our book. Without you, we’d just be another novel on the bookstore shelf. You are VIPs to us, and yet, most of you are still in your teens or early twenties.

The Readers – You might not think reading counts as doing something, but if you feel that way, you haven’t met our fans. They have a special Super Power – just by leaving a comment, or sending an email they can lift these writers off the ground and send us soaring up to the clouds.

So … want to stop waiting? Embrace your inner geek. What do you love? Writing? Start a blog (okay, so many of you already have.) Public speaking? Look at--or listen to--what some teens are doing at Custer County Youth Radio. Acting? Do what our friend Sam did – write and direct your own award winning plays.

Or … embrace your inner fear. That’s what Geek Girl Charity did her junior year when she joined the speech team (like the protagonist in Speechless). “Oh, I was awful,” she says, but she knew she couldn’t go through life not being able to speak in front of a crowd. Unlike Kara, the heroine of Speechless, it took her until her senior year before she ended up with any kind of award. Probably because she didn’t have a dead sexy class clown coaching her ;)

It is amazing what young people can accomplish so, what are you waiting for? (And, for any older folks who might be reading this, what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to start! – Darcy who was 49 ¾ years old when Geek Girls was published.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Me? Interviewed!? Part 3

James over at Book Chic has just interviewed me and also he has up a Guest Blog from Kristi of The Story Siren, in celebration of his 2-Year Blogiversary! Congratulations James!

Oh and if you know what's good for you go check out these posts 1 and 2 about coughtapirscough. Do it!

And I think it's still going on? Help? Go enter some of the YA Book Carnival Giveaways! I think some of the giveaways are still open yes?

And one more thing! My Friend Amy and Presenting Lenore are hosting a Book Drive for Beth Kephart's Nothing But Ghosts, go check out Amy's post about their goal and the potential prizes we can win!

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman


Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels.

Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead - except Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts - a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen.

And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother.

As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets - especially the dangerous ones - were never meant to be unraveled.

I felt like this book just got me. It was a mix of my favorite things, a little sleuthing (I love Veronica Mars) a pair of crazy aunts (I love Pushing Daisies) one who has fabulous taste in 80s movies, a cute boy, New York City and ice cream. Yes, there is a lot of ice cream in this book, I kid you not! I just loved this book.

I loved the mystery in the story and really I still don't know how it going to end, can you say sequel! I found the book really funny too, Delia's descriptions of her cousin's facial expressions, just priceless. And Delia in general was just a great character, I really liked her. She was one of many strong characters in a great cast. They were all unique from the P.I. with the cute ties to Natalie the girl that promised her parents she would go to a party to work on her social skills!

There are so many elements in this story I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find out that the story is left open for a sequel. I need that sequel NOW! It ends with so many unanswered questions, I must know what's going to happen! It reminded me a lot of how Kiss Me, Kill Me and Kisses and Lies acted together, almost thinking of the first book and sequel as one book split into two.

I found this to be a great opener to a really interesting story. I can't wait to see where the story picks up and check out some of the author's adult titles in the meantime.

And Then Everything Unraveled will be released on July 1st.

4.5/5 Stars

ARC provided by publisher

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Week In Books Or My Greatest Book Discovery!

Monday: nothing


Sookie Stackhouse, 1-7 Box Set by Charlaine Harris

Yay! Was so excited when this came. It's so tiny and cute. *pets* I just hate that stupid True Blood graphic, it is ugly :/


Cupidity by Caroline Goode
Ripped at the Seams by Nancy Krulik
Tell It To Naomi by Daniel Ehrenhaft
Boy Trouble (The 310 Series) by Beth Killian
Perfect by Sara Shepard

So I got these at the $2 bag sale at the library. Notice, that's not a grocery bags worth of books, can you believe it! Even the lady that checked me out asked, "You're not going for the bag?" I wanted to scream, "Don't tempt me lady!!!!" Anyhow, I've had the first book in the Pretty Little Liars series for years, why haven't I read it? What's wrong with me!

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Second Skin by Jessica Wollman
Girl to the Core by Stacey Goldblatt

These came for review, and specifically As You Wish for the Traveling to Teens tour!


Ballads of Surburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

For a Traveling to Teens tour in July!


The Peril of Magnificent Love by Emma Magenta
Missing You by Meg Cabot
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter
Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches
To Have and To Hold by Jane Green

So these were from my local library's sale. I'll probably be going back a few more times, they only do a sale once a year so gotta get in there a few times! I'm totally unsure if I will like the Gena Showalter books, I met her at BEA so I figured why not. And her YA book sounds interesting, has anyone read this series?

Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon
Fiction by Ara 13

These two came for review, not really sure what to think of that second one.

Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry

So I went to Borders to see their big Dollar Sale even though everyone said it was crap, which it was. I also brought my camera to see if the display with the two books I worked on was still up, but nope that's where the stupid Dollar Sale was :/ Anyhow I browsed around and left with that book, I had never heard of it but it sounds really interesting! Has anyone read Driftwood Summer, did you enjoy it?


In The American West by Richard Avedon
Simply Love by Mary Balogh
Negative Space by Zoe Strachan
All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

So went back to the library sale, and brought my sister. I found small pile of art books didn't see anything I liked so I moved on. 5 minutes later I walked by that table again and what was sitting right on top but In The American West by Richard Avedon, and then I opened it up and it was SIGNED! I almost died! Who cares if it's falling apart, I sure don't! My greatest book discovery ever!

The End by Anders Nilsen

This came from Bookmooch, was very excited because I'm not sure if this is in print anymore!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dork Diaries + Nikki's Purse Giveaway Winner

Congratulation to Bobbie who is the winner of the Dork Diaries and Nikki's Purse giveaway! Bobbie, please email me your address! Thanks!

Lookalikes 55

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy

Well, I'm not really fond of either of these two but Eternal is done a bit better. I mainly have issues with the title font and treatment of Arrival, it just doesn't look right, it looks like it's laying on top of the image and not incorporated at all with the rest of the cover.

Which is your favorite?

Thanks to Book Chic for suggesting this lookalike!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Girl Stays In The Picture by Melissa De La Cruz


If you can't be a mega teen superstar sensation then maybe you'll be lucky enough to join her entourage.

Devon -- one name only, please -- is the latest and jail-bait-est pop star to hit number one on the Billboard chart, and she's making her big-screen debut in Juicy. But after her stint in rehab, the studio isn't so sure she's their girl anymore. If they cut any more of her lines, she'll be a silent film actress! Can Devon regain her star status? She needs to watch her back and make sure that flash doesn't catch her causing a scene, and we don't mean the kind you can yell "Cut!" after.

Livia has lost the weight and gained the attitude in the Hollywood party scene. Her dad's an Oscar-winning producer, and with a hot Beverly Hills boyfriend on her arm as well as her photos all over the pages of Gosizzle.com, Livia looks like she has a perfect life. But looks can be perfectly deceiving....

And there's fresh-faced Casey, who left a job bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly to play personal assistant to her best friend...and Devon's rival. She's got the biggest crush on the biggest star of the film -- a hot Brit known for loving and leaving. Will Casey stay true to herself while trying to find a place in his universe?

Stars. They're just like us. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Stay tuned, people.

For me, Girl Stays in the Picture was squee-worthy to the tune of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sleepaway Girls. Pretty much good clean fun. I was surprised at how on their own these teenagers were but I think that goes along with the whole Hollywood lifestyle. I loved the glimpse in to film sets and overworked assistants.

One thing that really excited me about this book was that I couldn't pick a favorite character, usually I gravitate towards one or two that I feel like I understand better but in Girl Stays in the Picture I loved them all equally! For me that shows the strength of the characters. They all had their own unique storylines, Devon and her mess of a mother and the chance to clean up her act, but does anyone care? Livia, always in the background until a weight loss surgery brings her out of the shadows, and Casey who's totally out of her element with the Hollywood elite! I just loved them all. You better believe I'm excited beyond belief that this is a series.

This book was an addiction for me, at 432 pages I wouldn't call it short. I somehow was finished it within 24 hours, which is pretty much unheard of for me with a book this size. I just couldn't put it down. I loved being right there in the adventures these three new friends were experiencing.

And oh the ending, how perfect. Can you say cliffhanger! I think I've already searched several times for information on the next book in the series and haven't found anything. I'm ready for it, bring it on!

I think this is the most fun I've had with a book in a few months and I'm excited I have a few of Melissa's other books to read!

Girl Stays in the Picture was released June 2nd!

4.5/5 Stars
Review copy provided by Amazon Vine

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BLOG TOUR: Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

Welcome to the next Traveling to Teens book blog tour! Created by the lovely Yan and lovely Carol! Today I'm excited to welcome Cyn Balog author of Fairy Tale!

Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She’s also the Race & Event Manager for several national fitness magazines. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and young daughter. Both are 100% human, or so she thinks. FAIRY TALE is her first novel.

From Amazon.com:

A captivating and witty dark fantasy that will have girls lusting after it.

Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future.

I loved Fairy Tale. It felt like my own personalized blend of fantasy and reality. Sometimes I'm a bit leery that fantasy books will be so much fantasy that I will be lost, I need fantasy that is extremely grounded in our own reality and I found that with Fairy Tale. It made it all the more exciting for me when fantastical elements were introduced. I just loved the way the author crafted her story.

I loved the three main characters. I just got Morgan and her sense of humor. And Cam and Pip, can you say a sandwich of cute/sweet boys!!!! I loved the push and pull between the three of them, and the relationships that grow and change throughout the book.

I also found the book to be really touching, what a dilemma these characters face, no matter what happens if Cam stays or goes someone is going to be losing. I had an inkling as to what would happen in the end and it did make the most sense but I wasn't really sure which way I wanted it to go, I kind of liked both possibilities. The book hooked me in and I basically had to know what was going to happen RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT! Ultimately I really liked the ending the author gave us.

I think that Fairy Tale would be a great book for someone to start with if they were interested in the Fantasy genre but were a little unsure. I loved it! Can't wait to see what the author comes up with next!

Fairy Tale was released on June 23rd!

4.5/5 Stars
ARC provided by publisher

And here's an interview with Cyn Balog!

1. Where did you get the idea for Fairy Tale?

I got the idea for Fairy Tale because I wanted to write a paranormal story, but I felt like the girl who learns she is a fairy princess is pretty dull. After all, she’d be the envy of all her friends! I did the “what if” game and asked myself, “What if the fairy was a guy?” I found that much more interesting—imagine a football player trying to explain to his teammates that he’s a fairy.

2. What time of the day do you do your best writing? Any special spot you like to do it in?

If I didn't have any pressing obligations, I would probably say that morning is my most productive time. But now that I have a job and a family, my most productive time is whenever I can get a few minutes of peace and quiet. Right now I write for like, 19 minutes on my lunch hour, in my office. I am blessed to have an actual office with a real door, so I write while snarfing down lunch. And yes I have to clean my keyboard often because I always seem to get crumbs in there!

3. What do you like most about writing for young adults?

I'm still amazed that I can vote and drink, because I still feel like I am 16. Adults are pretty boring; been there, done that. The range of emotions young adults experience are much more fascinating, I think. Plus, I just love it when teens email me loving my book... they're so excited by it, and their enthusiasm is like, virtual Red Bull.

4. What is your favorite fairy tale? Pun intended!

Cinderella! I had a very similar name when I was growing up, so that was what everyone called me. When I was a kid, someone got me the Disney video and I watched it a zillion times. Though I can't say I believe "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes", because last night I dreamt I was being chased by gigantic beetles. Yeah, like I wish that would happen in real life.

5. It sounds like you have had a variety of jobs, which has been your favorite?

Well, other than writing? ;) I used to work in Seaside Park, New Jersey, as a "beach attendant", which just meant badge-checker. All I did all day was make sure people were wearing their badges to get onto the beach (yes, in NJ you have to pay to use the beach). It paid really well, and I got to sit in the sun and read or write the rest of the time, so it was awesome! Plus I also got to wear the coolest little uniform and use a radio and blow my whistle at people who didn't listen to me, which made me feel important. Oh-- and I was barefoot the whole time! I am still trying to find another gig like that.

"Waiting On" Wednesday! 36

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

From Amazon.com
Six years after the phenomenal success of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger has returned with a spectacularly compelling and haunting second novel set in and around Highgate Cemetery in London.

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers -- with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including -- perhaps -- their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

Niffenegger weaves a captivating story in Her Fearful Symmetry about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life -- even after death.

Released September 29th 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books and I remember reading oh gosh a year, two years ago? about this book. And of course it sounded awesome! When I started doing Waiting on Wednesday I really wanted to use this book but since the author had never updated past the little blurb in her FAQ I figured it wasn't coming out for a long time. At BEA I realized it had a release date and just about drooled all over the booth that was announcing it, I can't wait!

Ok so the cover was just released, I'm sort of ho hum about it. It reminds me a lot of some other covers I've seen recently. I much prefer the cover to the left right here, I wonder if this is the UK cover or what? I really like this one though!

What can't you wait for to be released?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hardcover vs. Paperback 34

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Hardcover (US)

UK Edition


In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I've always been mesmerized by the US edition but there is definitely something very creepy about the UK/AU edition.

Which is your favorite?

Thanks to Adele for suggesting this Hardcover vs. Paperback!

UPDATE: 6/24/09: Diana Peterfreund added the German cover into the mix! Also, the UK cover was updated, seems the one I had had the wrong tag line, also click the image to see a nice, crisp large one!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Georgia Nicolson Reading Challenge!

This awesome challenge was put together by Greenbeanteenqueen! Yay! When I joined my first few challenges in 2009 I thought my just joining a few I could seriously finish them all and it's really not looking like that. So instead with these new challenges I'm joining I'm just going to use these as a goal and try not to be so hard on myself. We'll see how it goes!

Here are the rules:

1. Between now and June 18, 2010 read all ten of the Georgia Nicolson books. They can be any format. (I'm going to cheat and start at the second book because I read the first last summer... though I might need a bit of a refresher.)

2. There's a Mr. Linky at the bottom of the post-sign up here. Greenbeanteenqueen will post another Mr. Linky to post reviews of the books in another post.

3. Post reviews on all the Georgia books you read and share the Ace Gang fun!

4. If you don't have a blog, no worries-join however you want! Post reviews on GoodReads, Amazon, LibraryThing, or Shelfari (or wherever!) or just talk to your friends about the books you read or just leave comments on the challenge posts telling us what you thought.

5. Anyone can join at anytime! So join in and have fun and laugh out loud with Greenbeanteenqueen's favorite British teen!

Who's with me, join up!

I thought it would help me if I made a list of the books to see what I need to do to prep for the challenge. Here are all the books:

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God
Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas (need to buy)
Dancing In My Nuddy Pants
Away Laughing on a Fast Camel (need to buy)
Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers
Startled by His Furry Shorts
Love is a Many Trousered Thing
Stop in the Name of Pants (need to buy)
Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (released Oct 6 2009)



Get ready for the comedy adventure that’s “smart, funny, and tailor-made for the inner-Jedi in all of us” (Pete Hammond, Hollywood.com). In 1998, four childhood buddies with a shared love of all things Star Wars reunite for one final, hilarious odyssey. Their insane plan: a cross-country road trip to storm George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch and steal a copy of Episode I before it’s released. With the police, a crew of angry Trekkies, and a crazy pimp hot on their trail, what could possibly go wrong? Featuring Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury), Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder), and Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), plus a slew of hysterical surprise cameos, “the Force IS strong with this one!” (Brian Gallagher, MovieWeb).

I basically wanted to see this because everything Kirsten Bell is in usually rocks, I was kind of over Star Wars for the time being and hoped this movie wouldn't annoy me. Thankfully it was hilarious beyond belief! Probably one of my recent favorites. For the most part all 5 of the leads were great, sometimes Dan Fogler got on my nerves but I think that's just him, maybe he will grow on me, maybe not. I loved all the cute nerdy boys in this movie though!

Another great thing this movie had were all the cameos including Seth Rogen playing multiple characters, can you say awesome. I think one of my favorite scenes in the movie involved the 4 guys taking a detour on the way to Skywalker Ranch to go to Iowa and battle it out with some Star Trek nerds.

Sometimes I get bored during "road trip" movies but this one was really successful for me. I really liked the bittersweet part of the movie involving one of the friend's illnesses. In the end, I think it was all the random cameos that really made the movie for me. I would highly suggest this to any Star Wars fan and anyone like me that's enjoyed Star Wars in the past but maybe needed a break. Watch This Movie.

4.5/5 Stars
Watched via Netflix

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rock The Garden

So every year or two (I'm totally not kidding) I find myself at a concert. Not sure why I don't go more often but it appears that I don't. This one was a lot of fun though. It was put on by my favorite local radio station The Current and also my favorite local museum The Walker Art Center.

It started in the late afternoon and went until about 10. It was really cool because the stage was facing a massive lawn so people could sit stand whatever they wanted. And tons of people from the surrounding condos got to sit on their terraces and get a free show too!

There were 4 bands in the line up; Solid Gold, Yeasayer, Calexico, and headlining were The Decemberists. Now the only band I was really familiar with were The Decemberists (and I'm not even terribly familiar with them, for shame) but turns out I had heard several songs from each of the other bands because of how frequently they are played on my radio station! I know I'm always looking for something new and different to listen to and I would definitely suggest checking out these bands. I myself just bought the Solid Gold cd and the Yeasayer cd after seeing them yesterday.

Luckily we were able to get pretty close to the stage after Solid Gold so I was able to snap a few pictures!

Ok so this is Yeasayer, they were pretty awesome. Now check out this tv performance of them, it's hilarious, where did all their hair go!

This is Calexico. I think they were my least favorite but they were still pretty fun to watch. They have people from all over the world in their band! Here's one of their videos:

And finally The Decemberists!

These two ladies were brought in from other bands to lend vocals to their latest cd, The Hazards of Love. Doesn't the lady on the left look like she's looking right at the camera!

My friend is a major The Decemberist fan and said this lady's voice was everything she hoped it would be live!

One thing I've always liked about The Decemberists is the artwork that surrounds them on their cds, websites everywhere. Here's one of their cds:

And this illustrator actually did the artwork for the first of The Mysterious Benedict Society Books, love it:

I was doing a bit of The Decemberists research today and found this video which I love, because it reminds me a lot of one of my favorite movies, Rushmore.

Here's a shot of the crowd!

And here's one of Solid Gold's videos, pretty cool I must say!

So hope you enjoyed a bit more of the Pop Culture aspect of this blog, gotta live up to the name right!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Week In Books Or I Have Nothing Interesting to Write Here I = Boring!


Pop Art

My dad got this for me when he was abroad. :) I love pop art!


Days of Little Texas by R.A. Nelson

I know this makes next to no sense, but after watching True Blood I'm extra excited about this book! Came for review.


The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein

The Secret Year came for review, I cannot believe it doesn't come out until next year, 2010 sounds so alien to me! And The Painter from Shanghai came for an upcoming TLC Book Tours tour.

Wednesday: nothing


Mates, Dates and Cosmic Kisses by Cathy Hopkins
The Diagnosis of Love by Maggie Leffler
Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali
Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena

So I was mistaken, I thought it was $2 bag week at the library book store but it was actually 25 cent week so next week is $2 bag week. Regardless it is crazy how often they have these sales. So I spent basically a dollar there on Thursday!

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Came for review :)


Two Years, No Rain by Shawn Klomparens

This came for another upcoming TLC Book Tours tour!

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Target!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lookalikes 54

Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning

True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet by Lola Douglas

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Amee and Yan emailed me about some of these possibly being lookalikes and I sort of think that Guitar Girl + Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet = Absolutely Maybe! So naturally I would have to say that Absolutely Maybe is my favorite here, it has the full package and looks the most contemporary.

Which is your favorite?

Thanks to Amee and Yan for pointing out the pieces of this lookalike!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

BLOGTOUR: Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass by Erica Kirov


What would you do for an hourglass that stopped time?

Nick Rostov's father is the worst stage magician in Las Vegas. He can barely pull a rabbit out of a hat. So it is a strange morning indeed when Nick wakes up to find himself on the top floor of the Winter Palace Casino with a promise from the greatest magician in the world to teach him magic.

And not just stage magic. Real magic. Nick sets out to learn about his mother's family, the strange Russian clan of magicians that secretly run the Winter Palace. But there is a catch: Nick has the sight, the ability to see into the past. And so it must fall to him, with only his cousin Isabella to help, to pick up the long-buried clues and unravel the mystery of The Eternal Hourglass, the only magic artifact ever created that can actually stop time.

I thought the Eternal Hourglass was a great set up for a series. Right away, main character Nick is plucked out of the life he knows with his father and grandfather and placed in this large Russian family that lives and works within the Winter Palace in Las Vegas. They are the relatives of his mother and they are all magicians! I felt sort of bad for Nick's dad who also worked as a magician at another nearby hotel but he's not very good at what he does. I did really like seeing how this family operates though. I especially liked Nick's cousin Isabella and her white tiger Sascha. I like the idea of animals that we would normally fear being part of this family!

What I thought was really clever is that the author takes pieces of history and melds them into this book thus getting readers interested in finding out more about these pieces of history. It was interesting to see how these flashbacks related to the present storyline. I also liked Nick's lessons from learning how to use a crystal ball to switching out Isabella for Sascha those were some great parts of the story for me!

I think the story will work best for younger teens and older children but I still had a great time reading it. It will be interesting to see what other kinds of adventures Nick gets into with his new family. I sure hope he still gets to see his dad and grandpa!

Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass was released on May 1st 2009.

3/5 Stars

Review copy provided by publisher for blog tour

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge!!

OMG OMG OMG yay yay yay! My "big sis" made my dream come true of a Sookie Stackhouse reading challenge! I've recently become obsessed with the show, True Blood and decided I wanted to read the books as well!

Here's the info!

The challenge will go from July 1 of 2009 to June 30th of 2010 and we have this time to catch up on the series. So it's great for newbies like me and for people that have already read part of the series! I might even get daring and try one of them in an audio book we will see what happens!

If you do decide to join make sure to go here and sign-up with your own challenge post in the mr. linky. It looks like after July 4th there will also be a new mr. linky for review posts!

Here are the titles in the series so far:

Dead Until Dark

Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone

I'm super excited about a short stories anthology that's coming out in the fall called A Touch of Dead!

Anyhow please join us... i'm off to probably buy this to help me with the challenge! :P

"Waiting On" Wednesday! 35

Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett

From Amazon.com

Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.

Beautiful, wild, funny, and lost, Katie Kampenfelt is taking a year off before college to find her passion. Ambitious in her own way, Katie intends to do more than just smoke weed with her boyfriend, Rory, and work at the bookstore. She plans to seduce Dan, a thirty-two-year-old film professor.

Katie chronicles her adventures in an anonymous blog, telling strangers her innermost desires, shames, and thrills. But when Dan stops taking her calls, when her alcoholic father suffers a terrible fall, and when she finds herself drawn into a dangerous new relationship, Katie's fearless narrative begins to crack, and dark pieces of her past emerge.

Sexually frank, often heartbreaking, and bursting with devilish humor, Undiscovered Gyrl is an extraordinarily accomplished novel of identity, voyeurism, and deceit.

Released August 11th 2009

So I heard about this via the Shelf Awareness newsletter and watching this really interesting video a few weeks ago. It just sounds highly original and I like the idea of a blog coming into play. I just have to know more about it. Good news for those of you like me, it comes out in paperback!

What can't you wait for to be released?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hardcover vs. Paperback 33

Dirty Liar by Brian James




Benji must escape his home. His mother's boyfriend has crossed the line, and Benji can't deal with it anymore. So he leaves behind everything he knows to go live with his father and stepmother in Portland.

Hardcover all the way. I hate the yellow of the paperback, it dates the book in my opinion and the lightbulb? It's just strange.

Which is your favorite?

Thanks to Sarah for suggesting this Hardcover vs. Paperback!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sarah Quigley Reading + Signing + Giveaway!

So last weekend I had the exciting opportunity to go meet Sarah Quigley the author of TMI! Her event was held at a local Barnes and Noble and I thought there was a rather nice turn out! Before Sarah even began to speak she came over and we introduced ourselves to her! It was so nice meeting her in person. It just so happens that fellow blogger PoloPony decided to come too so we got to sit together! Another twitter pal MNBird also came so we got to do some bonding in the used book section afterwards!

So first Sarah talked a bit about growing up in Minnesota and why she decided to set her story here instead of in some exotic location. Then she read one of the funniest scenes from TMI! Sarah is definitely as funny in person as she is in her book! Speaking of which she hinted a bit at a new book she's working on and I can't wait to hear more about it!

After her reading she kindly signed books for everyone and chatted. It was a lot of fun, her adorable daughter was even there! Here's a picture!

So not only did I get my own book signed, I got one for one of you!

In case you need a refresher here's a little about TMI (from amazon.com):

Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend’s sloppy kisses—and gets dumped!bit more drama. After all, no one’s going to read it, right???

Onto the rules!

To win a signed copy of TMI leave a comment sharing one time someone else shared too much information with you. (Sort of the opposite of the book!)

For 1 additional entry post/blog about this giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you have done so.

The giveaway is open to addresses within the U.S.

Please leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner!

The giveaway will end July 6th at 11:59 pm Central Time.

SUNDAY: BEA Day 3 + Guggenheim + The Strand (again)

So today was the last day of BEA. *weep* Laura and Sharon were there already because apparently Laura wanted to get up at 6:30? So I wandered in but I couldn't find them so I looked at everything on the lower level one last time, wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything before heading back upstairs to find them! Eventually we started wandering the whole upstairs as well, what can I say, I wanted to make sure I saw everything! I had much less on my schedule for Sunday and also a lot of the bloggers weren't going to be there that day. Here's another picture of the floor!

After a little snack I headed over meeting Elizabeth Scott one final time, she was signing her book Something, Maybe. Here's a picture! She is so so sweet!

After meeting Elizabeth I went down to the shipping area to ship my box off and that's when I discovered the 4 books that I hadn't been able to fit inside and set on the top had vanished. I figured it would be ok since a lot of other people were doing it, but just my luck I'm the one that has stuff stolen :( Anyhow I shipped my box and after some more wandering went upstairs to the Little and Brown Young Readers booth to meet Michelle Zink and her family one last time! Here are some pictures.

After that everyone started packing up and really there wasn't much more to see. Here's a few pictures, sorry Steph I looked horrible in all the ones you took of us...

Before I headed back to my hotel me and Mitali went and had some ice cream, very nice as it was a bit warm outside! Here are the books I ended up with the last day, and also all the swag I collected over the whole weekend.

After stopping at the hotel me and my mom headed over to see the Guggenheim before it closed. For the most part everything was Frank Lloyd Wright related and while I do like him, I don't think seeing architecture plans and models is really all that exciting, rather just look at a book for that... I was hoping to see far more modern art. But I did like the building itself, how amazing. And I was thankful they had so many benches my feet were still so sore from the day so I kept sitting down.

After that we headed over to Little Italy for some dinner and gelato. I really liked all the walking to and from the subway stops we did that afternoon even if my feet hurt. Here's a picture I took, love those buildings.

At dinner I realized my trip was quickly coming to an end since we were leaving the next morning so I was determined to visit the Strand one last time and I did! Here's what I picked up.
And that's pretty much the end of my trip. Went back to the hotel that night and I tried to balance my books between my carry ons and luggage as to not go over the weight limit (I didn't). One of my carry on duffel bags ended up being like 40 solid books weighing about 30 pounds. Ouch!

So there we have it that's my trip!
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