Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren.

I've had  a VERY,  VERY good week:

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (I'm reviewing this one for Figment)

Hourglass by by Myra McEntire

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (I've already reviewed this one, you can read my five star review here)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievater

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

The Earth, my Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Caroyn Mackler

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Yay! Leave the link to your IMM so I can check it out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

  Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.


I feel that there have been so many other reviews of Imaginary Girls that express my own opinions of the novel. Haunting writing, unforgettable characters, dream-like.
A wondrously strange book.

The writing set this book apart from the rest. It isn’t like all other books. With every paragraph, with every elongated sentence, a picture was planted inside my head. Suma’s writing style added in an eerie dream-like quality to Imaginary Girls. I didn’t quite know what was real, or what was happening. I would love to quote the whole book on here, but, you know, I can’t.

I wasn’t sure whether to like Ruby or not. Her relationship with Chloe was beautiful. It was so carefree and weightless. I remember having kind of the same relationship with my sister. (But with less cussing and more fighting. Ten year age difference is a lot to come across.) But then Chloe would go out into the town and see Ruby’s influence. Chloe would see Ruby’s evil, egotistical side. Whatever else Ruby might be, she is a character to remember. Five stars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Stars: 5/5 

Summary from Goodreads:

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray was good. It was more then good. It was Great. I’ve read A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine by Libba Bray, but although I loved Cameron’s unique voice in Going Bovine, the books didn’t click with me. Beauty Queens clicked. It had all the amazing voice and charm of Going Bovine, but without the confusing plot.

I was hesitant to read the book at first because of how many characters there were. In the first chapter I was overwhelmed by all the people I had to memorize. Thirteen girls to memorize? *Brain explosion.* But by the end of the book I knew all the characters and their personalities. It was ridiculously cool. Bray was great at making sure every character was unique and relatable. I liked how Beauty Queens chose a new character to focus on every few chapters. It was so much easier to get to know them. I think my favorite character would have to be Sosie. She does back handsprings, I want to do back handsprings= instant favorite character. Of course I like her for more then that, but you can read about her yourself!

I can’t not (ohh… double negative…crap) talk about Beauty Queens with out mentioning the funky commercials. Bodacious Pirates IX: now more Badder and Bodaciouser? Maxi Pets? Mygosh. Craziness. Read Beauty Queens just for that. Except don’t. Read it just for that, I mean, because the entire book is Great.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

IMM vlog (2)

Yo. Dis is my second vlog. Don't be a hater.

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren.


Possession by Elana Johnson

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

*Blushes* *Fiddles thumbs* So I was on Figment a few days ago (and the day before... and the day before), when I found out there was a writing contest.

I tried to write a good fable. But then I got into one of those funks where I say that the world sucks and I'm a horrible writer. Yeah... happens every few weeks. No prob.

But today I climbed out of that hole. No way was I a crappy writer! I'm downright spiffy! I'm the spiff-master! One problem: The contest is ending tomorrow. So after I hyperventilated, I posted the fable I did on Figment. I did a basic run-through of grammar and general okay-ness, but I want it to be better. (I'm invested in it now : P)

Would any closet bloggy figmenters mind looking at it? I dubbed it The Man Who Dared Smile, which right off the bat says it's for Kool-Kidz. So, read only if you're Kool enough for it. (If you don't have a Figment account you can still comment under this post with suggestions you might have.)

Thanks =)
Leave your IMM link in a comment and I'll be sure to come and check it out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Release date: June 21 2011

In Dead Rules, Jana Webster (of Webster and Haynes) innocently dies in a bowling accident. Which Jana actually would have handled pretty well if her boyfriend, Michael Haynes (also of Webster and Haynes), would’ve died with her. Instead, he is still among the living, leaving Jana to navigate though her new home at the Dead School. Yup, school for the dead.

Everyone in Dead School can be separated into two groups, the Risers and the Sliders. A Riser is what Jana is, on the fast track to the greater good. Sliders are the deadlies who did awful stuff in life. Sliders have stolen and killed before.

Jana is warned to stay away from the Sliders. Nothing good can come out of them…or so the rule-following Risers say. Than Jana meets Mars Dreamcote, the hot, sweet, sensitive Slider with whom she is not going to fall in love. Really. No love. Her true love is Michael.

And Jana will make him join her.

I love how all the characters twist and turn throughout the novel. I thought I understood them, but they all had their own inside motivations and secrets. For instance, Jana’s bud Wyatt started out as a freaky, mutilated Slider. Further into the book he was revealed to be loyal, sarcastic, a kick-ass friend… and my favorite character.

In the beginning of Dead Rules, Jana sounds like a crazy, lovesick ghost. Before death, Michael was her sweetheart Romeo and only friend. Jana loves him, and she is sure he shares her feelings. (It’s obvious Jana never read Dateable: Are You? Are They? : P) Sheesh, I felt super sorry for her. In life her best friend (except for Michael) was a literal Ken doll. Ironically, it is on her quest to bring Michael back to her that Jana starts coming out of her shell. I liked her determined attitude. Jana knows what she wants accomplished and gets it done.

Farts, fudge, and popcorn! Dead Rules deserves four figgystars.

You can also view this review on Figment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

summer reading list

I. Can. Read. A. Lot.
And. I. Will.
Trust. Me. I. Will.
Here are some of the books I'm planning to read that comes out this summer:

Twisted by Sara Shepard
Wildfire by Karsten Knight

Starstruck by Cyn Balog
The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Anything I should add?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Giveaway winner

The winner is...




The Forts novels are available for 2.99 in the Nook and Kindle!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Forts: Liars and Thieves by Steven Novak

Stars: 5/5

Having survived their initial excursion into the land of Fillagrou, Tommy Jarvis and the children of the prophecy find themselves drawn into the war once more in a desperate attempt to rescue their old friends. This time however the stakes have been raised - this time there will be no coming back.


      Forts: Liars and Thieves is up there with Forts: Fathers and sons on the likability factor. But better. Read my five star review of the first book here. Enter the giveaway for the signed copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons here.

      In Forts: Liars and Thieves I could see a definite increase in the writing skills in the novel. I love when I can see an author improve writing prowess from book to book. Since Forts: Fathers and Sons was AH-mazing, I guess I'm saying Liars and Thieves is more then AH-mazing.

    I was eager to see how all the relationships that were left off in book one would progress. Especially the one between the Jarvis brothers and their dad. I was glad when the daddy-son issue got put more in the front of the book. I liked the way Tommy and Staci's crushes on each other got more fleshed out on the second book. Tommy and Staci are both young and I although I was afraid of them acting to old with the crush; they never took it too far. Plus, the chrush (thankfully) never interfered with the action.

   The third book in the Forts trilogy better come out soon. Or I am going to kick a baby. Not kidding.



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest post by Steven Novak on being a jerk. Err.... character developement.

Bethany asked me to write a little something about character development, so here I am attempting to write a little something about character development. There’s one major problem. I honestly don’t know anything about character development.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit for the sake of comedy.

The truth is that I don’t know anything that I’m supposed to know about character development. Plus, I’ve always found it a bit weird for me when someone asks me to write about the “craft” of anything.

The only real “craft” I have any right lecturing on is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – which happens to be the only food in existence with a taste wholly dependant on your mood. If you’re depressed it’s awesome. If you’re happy, it’ll make you depressed.

That should be their slogan.

The only real bit of advice I can offer up when it comes to your characters is this: Be a jerk.

As a writer you’re in control of every aspect of your character’s lives and it’s pretty safe to assume that you feel a certain love for them. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great actually. You should love them. If you don’t love them, the fact that you’re going to spend endless hours and upwards of a 100,000 words writing about them would just be silly.

A problem arises when you love them so much that you start treating them the way you want them to be treated, rather than the way they need to be treated.

If it makes sense for them to get hurt, be prepared to hurt them. If they have to die to get across your point, I suggest you find yourself a sturdy tree and pull out the hangman’s noose.

Remember that great story where everything always worked out for everyone and everything was fantastic all of the time?

No? That’s because it doesn’t exist.

You can’t be a good friend to your characters. You have to be a terrible friend. It’s a necessity of the relationship. At some point you’re going to make them hurt. You’re going to drag them through the mud and make them cry. You’re going to take them to the lowest of lows and just when they think you’re done hurting them, you’ll slap on some more.
It’s for their own good. It has to be done and you’re the heartless jerk that has to do it.

In my opinion the love you feel for the characters you create has be a tough love. Anything else is a detriment to your story. It does them an injustice, it does you an injustice, and it does the term injustice, injustice.

Wait…That last part didn’t make any sense. Ignore the fact that I typed it.
Love your characters and love your story enough to be the jerk they need you to be.

Wow, that almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about – a little bit anyway. And I wasn’t even ruminating on the pros and cons of Velveeta Shells and Cheese as opposed to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Don’t even get me started on that battle of the unhealthy titans.

We’d be here for hours.
I'm sorry I didn't get my review of Forts: Thieves and Liars up yesterday. I will put it up on Saturday instead. sorry guyz :D

I'm hosting an amazing giveaway for a signed, with illustration copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons! Check it out because it's ending soon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with Steven Novak

What was your favorite scene to write in Forts: Fathers and Sons?
That’s actually a pretty tough question. There are moments that I like a lot because they’re so personal and I’m really close to them. There are also moments I really enjoy because something really cool happens and writing stuff that’s “cool” is, well – pretty cool.

It would be tough to nail down a single one, and it would be even tougher to do it without giving away any spoilers.

Stop trying to trick me into spoilers, Bethany.

What is your favorite book of all times, why?

It might sound a bit silly, but my absolute favorite book of all time is still, Harold and the Purple Crayon. Before I was even confident about the spelling of the word crayon, that book stuck with me. I have a copy here at the house and if I were to crack it open tomorrow I think it would affect me the exact same way it did so many years ago.

It’s an incredibly simple idea pulled off remarkably well, and that’s the sort of thing that lasts a lifetime.

If you weren’t an author/ illustrator, what would be a cool job to you?

Unfortunately I’m terribly unqualified to do anything else at all. Seriously, beyond the arts I really have no skills of which to speak.

I’m not all that personable. I’m terrible with money. I’m a bit of a lumbering oaf physically, and I’m not entirely sure I even know how to change a tire.

It’s sad, really. That being said, in a world where anything is possible and tire changing is as simple as digging into a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving morning, I think it might be kind of cool to be an astronaut - or something - maybe. Of all the things a human being can do, blasting into space and floating around is beyond a doubt one of the most interesting.

When I was growing up all I wanted to do was write and direct movies.That would have been fun too.

I really like the characters within Forts: Fathers and Sons, how did you come up with all of them?

Thanks! I appreciate that. My main goal was to make sure the characters in book were more than your initial impressions of them. I wanted them to grow and change, and learn from the situations they found themselves in. I also wanted to make sure that the good guys weren’t always good and the bad guys weren’t always bad. I think it’s just more real. A lot of them are pulled from people I know today, or I knew growing up. I actually have a brother that’s two years younger than me, and his name is, Nick. I know it’s not exactly “new” advice, but I personally think that writers need to write what they know. The stories I’ve always been drawn to are the ones where you can really hear the author in the words. There are things in this book (and series) that I experienced first and hopefully that comes across.

What does every young writer need to know?

Write for yourself.

It really is as simple as that.
Write for yourself, write to have fun, and if you love doing it don’t let anything stop you.

If you’re writing simply because you think you’re going to become the next J.K. Rowling, and someone is going open up a theme park based on your characters, you’re in for an awfully rude awakening.

You’re more likely to make a decent living as a plumber.At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it’s important that you’re able to look at what you’ve created and be proud of it. If you can do that, none of the other nonsense really matters and if you can’t a theme park will never make up for it.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit. A theme park would be pretty sweet.


Thanks for doing this interview, Steven Novak!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Win a SIGNED, with a CHAPTER ILLUSTRATION copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons

Click here to read my review.

•deadline: June 12, 2011

•entrants must be 13 years of age or older

•contest open to residents of the US only


Go here to enter the giveaway.

If the giveaway link doesn't work, copy and paste this into your browser: 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Forts: Fathers and Sons Review. Plus Author Week with Steven Novak!

Forts: Fathers and Sons takes place in Fillagrou, a once peaceful land now in the power of a war-loving dictator. Tommy Jarvis is human. He knows nothing about Fillagrou and its problems. Tommy has enough problems of his own, a dead mother, an abusive dad; he doesn’t need any more problems.

When Tommy and four other kids stumble across an entrance to Fillagrou, they discover they are a part of a prophecy. A prophecy to save everyone. But how can five children have that kind of power?

I’m surprised with this book. Really surprised. I expected to like it, but what I didn’t expect was staying up till twelve PM to franticly finish the book. I thought “just one more chapter” about 66 times.

All characters of Forts were extremely likeable. Even the villains... okay, maybe not. But they were still interesting to read about! The chapters often alternated between different characters. Instead of being annoyingly confusing like I thought it would be, the alternative chapters gave me greater insight on each of the characters. Like Tommy’s abusive dad. It helped me to understand each of the characters stories. I wanted every one of the characters to accomplish their goals. (It caused quite a problem between heroes/villains :P)

I would recommend this (although it would work for just about any reader) to reluctant younger YA reader. I don’t know why, but (maybe because of its sheer awesomeness, but that’s just a guess) about four people asked to borrow the book after me. I really liked the imaginative plot and characters. Forts reminded me of the Narnia series except I actually enjoyed Forts. A lot. Five stars.

Thanks to Steven Novak for providing me with a review copy! It in no way influenced my opinion of the novel.


Steven Novak, author of Forts, has awesomely agreed to do an author week on Owl Review a Book. Here is how this week will go:

Saturday- Forts: Fathers and Sons review.

Sunday- Giveaway of a SIGNED, with a CHAPTER ILLUSTRATION copy of Forts: Fathers and Sons.

Tuesday- Interview with Steven Novak.

Wednesday- Review of Forts: Liars and Thieves (the second installment).

Friday- Guest post by Steven Novak on making characters interesting to read about.

Sunday- Announce giveaway winner. (If not enough people enter, I will extend the deadline by a week.)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


The first this I have to do about Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is gush over the amazing photography. *gush gush* ... *gush* The people who took those photos are AMAZING! All of the photos added to the creepy, vintage feel of the book. I could amuse myself for hours by flipping through the photos.

At fist I felt disappointed by the book. I expected Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to be super-creepy. Instead it was mostly fantasy. I think it’s important to know that Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t a horror/thriller novel before starting. Once I got past that, I was sucked into the story.

I liked discovering all the kid’s powers. One girl had a “back mouth”... nuff said. It was good to see how they changed from innocent little kids into something more knowledgeable when Jacob came into the home.

Jacob’s, the main character’s, journey was finding out about his grandpa’s twisted past. (It was a very twisted past, it had lotsa weirdoes in it as well.) And Jacob’s own uncertain future. Jacob’s sweet love with Emma made a great subplot. Emma is so sheltered and Jacob is her like to the outside place she cant go. Great job on making it as star-crossed as possible. ;) Four and a half stars.

Also check out this awesome book trailer:

Awesome right? And the book is going to be made into a movie! I'm pretty psyched for that :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Love/hating on my Kindle

I’m having a love/hate relationship. I hate love/hate relationships. The way I see it: You either love something or hate it. There is a fine line between love and hate (its called sanity).

Yes, I’m love/hating on my Kindle.


I’ll start out with a believable scenario for this one: The AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book just came out for the tenth time this year. If I don’t get the book RIGHT THIS SECOND something bad will happen. Preferably something dramatic like CHOKING ON A PIECE OF COOKIE DOUGH FROM A BEN AND JERRY ICE CREAM TUB I was eating to console myself because I didn’t get the AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book RIGHT THIS SECOND.

All this tragedy could have been averted if I just would have used my Kindle. Amazon has something called a “Whispernet.” This “Whispernet” delivers the AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book in a blink of an eye (less than sixty seconds). (I imagine Whispernet as an overgrown Collie, “Lassie” if you will. Lassie sees me suffering from book deprivation and brings me a book in its non-slobbery, blunt-toothed mouth. Yay Lassie! Er... yay Whispernet!)


This is the part where everything turns into a large complicated vat of ooze. Namely: book samples. *Gasp* DUN DUN DUU. My love for samples comes from being on the borderline with a book. The book sounds good, but not good enough to buy on a whim. I need to hear more about it. If I don’t like the writing, good. Saven’ me some maja mullah! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) If I do... (This is where the hate starts) I have a dilemma on my hands. Do I download the book immediately? Or wait till I go to a store? Is it cost effective to get the book on the Kindle? Does it have a drop-dead amazing cover?

If I really like the book, the petty voice of Logic isn’t going to help much. Usually the books I check out have breath-taking covers. This brings us to the hate...


Grr... *punches hole through Kindle* *pauses* *spits* *steps back to admire work* *cries* *stops using asterisks* *fools readers* *laughs evilly*

Going back to my first example in THE LOVE section, the happy (or not so much) ending would be me buying the book and Lassie bringing it to me in her loving, capable jaws. I will celebrate by reading my prize within an hour. Back to THE LOVE/HATE example, the cover would be really boring. The next time I go to a bookstore, I will longingly pet the glossy, beautiful cover of the AZAZINGISTAWESOMIST book. Then I will look at the price tag and be annoyed. Turns out, the lovely, new, glossy covered hardback book would have, with a coupon, cost less then the boring, black and white Kindle copy. Than I go through a period where I don’t use my Kindle and imagine myself throwing Lassie out of the house and telling Lassie to never come back. It would’ve been very tearful.

Again and again the cycle goes....

Now you know all my woes....

(OMFG i rhymed.)

P.S. Sorry for the crappy posting this week. School is trying to murder me before I leave. Does anyone have some tips for starting in high school?