Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (vlog)

video


Eep! My first vlog!
Please note that this is not me, but instead a very realistic robot. Like all realistic robots, this one is incredibly awkward. Also shy. And they cannot mimic voices properly, so they sound a bit odd and cannot pronounce words properly. Also: their teeth are made of metal. Don't tease; my robot is doing it's best.







Leave a link so I can see your In My Mailbox!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winner of Happy Birthday to Me.

The winner of Happy Birthday to Me is...


Lisa Richards

Congrats! Expect an e-mail from me confirming your win.

For all you *ehem* non-winners, Happy Birthday to Me is available for only .99 cents on the Kindle.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pretty Little Liars book 9: Twisted cover.

Isn't that cover just da bomb? I just saw what it looked like yesterday. Twisted is going to rock. (Hopefully.)

 The release date is July 5. 


Summary from Goodreads:

It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.
Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.
Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore … eventually
 
 
 
 
Eep! Did everyone already know about this? This is so epic... I wonder what happened in Jamaica. Is there going to be a new A? I don't know how Sara Shepard will make this work, but I will totally buy the next four books! 
 
 
Also the next book is going to be titled Ruthless . Sounds fan-girl worthly.
 
Here is the Goodreads summary for Ruthless:
 
 
 The #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars are back with more scandals, secrets, and drama.


Everyone’s favorite pretty little liars are back with a fresh story arc filled with dark new secrets and deadly plot twists.
Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Aria are trying to move on and forget about their old friend Alison DiLaurentis and all the torture she put them through. They thought she was gone from their lives for good, but someone is keeping her spirit alive. Now A wants to ruin their pretty little lives—or does A want to end them?
The hit ABC Family TV show continues to bring new readers to the bestselling series, and the Pretty Little Liars fanbase keeps growing! Legions of readers will clamor for Sara Shepard’s new pack of lies....
 
 
 
So there IS a new A? How do you think that's going to work out?
 
 
 
 
P.S. Don't forget to enter my Happy Birthday to Me giveaway! It ends tomorrow.  : D


P.P.S. It's 6:00. Still not raptured.

P.P.P.S. It's 7:00. Still not raptured.

P.P.P.P.S. It's 8:00. Still not raptured.

P.P.P.P.P.S. It's 8:02. Giving up hope.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Stars: 4

Summary from Goodreads:

 Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.



It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….



Review:

Slice of Cherry is the companion novel to Bleeding Violet, although I was fine without reading the first book. (I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want to read Bleeding Violet now. Really.)


A conversation between Fancy and Kit:
Kit- Hey, Fancy? Feel like killing anyone today? I'm in that mood again. I'll let you cut the body open this time.

Fancy- Good morning most awesome sister in da world!!!! That is a very tempting offer, but alas... how shall we hide the bodies?

Kit- Sigh... Can we hide them in our shed like daddy use to do? I know he got caught and now he's in jail and all, but I have a need to squish a human heart.

Fancy- Me too, sister dearest. Me too. If only we had somewhere to hide all those pesky dead bodies... *HINT HINT*

End of conversation.


The reason I liked it is because... it’s odd. I can read a hundred more books, and none of them would have the same creepy/awesomeness factor that Slice of Cherry’s got going on. (Except maybe Bleeding Violet.) I would compare it to Coraline.


This book is a great break from the serious paranormal genre. All the characters in the quirky town of Portero are like, "Yeah, there's a magical portal door in front of me. Whatevs. Who wants some pizza?" That attitude made the book for me.

The way the book shouldn't make sense in normally (but in a weird way does) makes Slice of Cherry a awesome, kooky read.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

In the futuristic setting of Bumped, being sixteen- or hopefully even younger- and pregnant is the subject of every girl’s fantasy. Because of a virus making everyone over eighteen infertile, it’s kind of a necessity. Hey, no one’s complaining.




The narrators are two genetically gifted twins, Melody and Harmony. The twins have been separated their whole lives until they recently met up. Melody is all super-hyped about getting lavishly paid to “bump” (if you don’t know what the title is hinting at, don’t read this book… please!). Harmony is all super-religious, and her sister pregging for profit goes against her beliefs. All Melody wants to do is convince her sister to return to the secluded religious settlement she came from and leave her alone. And when Melody is hired to bump with world-famous Jondoe, life couldn’t get any better. But then a Parent Trap-worthy moment comes along to complicate everything…



I couldn’t find a character that I liked long enough to dub “My Favorite Character”. As soon as I found something that might qualify the character as Favorite, they did something to counter that. Parts of Bumped that are supposed to be dramatic are made ineffective because of a character’s inexplicable thoughts or actions. Like when Harmony meets with Jondoe, he first comes across as a shallow, self-absorbed idiot whose goal in life is to party his hardest. At the end, he magically (because magical is the only way to describe his transformation) turns into a Good Family Guy with Outstanding Christian Morals. Bumped, to me starts in the middle and spends the rest of the book in catch-up mode. It doesn’t leave much room for the characters’ present, the part where the characters could really develop into something deep.



Bumped had me feeling confused. On the first page I was “rilly” overwhelmed. All the futuristic slang of Bumped-land is mostly left for the reader to interpret, or explained way later in the book. For the first half of the book, I found myself having to ponder over the meaning of a random made-up word every few sentences. But maybe that’s just me. I can be pretty thick sometimes.



I have to say, though, this book makes you think. I look at Bumped’s society, and it is something I could see happening in a situation where adults are infertile. You know, teens pregging. There is one part of me thinking, “Hellooo? Thirteen year olds pregnant? EWWW!” Another is thinking, “Oh well, what other options do they have?” Then I start arguing to myself. In case you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to have an exhausting mental battle with yourself. It is the unique plot that makes Bumped worthwhile.

Three stars.
You can also view this review on Figment.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Giveaway of Happy Birthday to Me extended.

Hey,

 I'm extending the Happy Birthday to Me giveaway by a week, it'll end on May 22. This book is a really cute summer read, so don't forget to enter.
:~ )

Friday, May 13, 2011

Author guest post: Brian Rowe on writing a novel.

I'm holding a giveaway of Happy Birthday to Me.  Dont forget to check it out! Thanks to Brian Rowe for writing this. 2,000 words a day?! Haha, that's awesome. I struggle with five hundred :P



On Writing A Novel.


I view writing a lot like how others view exercise—if I turn the practice into a daily ritual, after a while, it will feel as typical as eating breakfast and doing laundry. I don’t want to view writing as a chore in any sense; after all, it’s supposed to be fun. But facing that blank page every day is certainly daunting, and many wannabe writers feel too threatened by it to face the task of writing his or her first novel.

I was that way for a long time. I tried to write a novel once in high school, but felt too unsure of myself after five or six chapters, and I abandoned the project. I wrote short stories and screenplays over many more years but always felt too intimidated by the task of writing a novel to attempt it. Finally, after becoming inspired by an idea that I knew would work best not as a short story or feature script but as a book, I knew it was time to write my first novel. I was certainly scared, but one great man prepared me with some excellent advice, and that man was Stephen King.



For any aspiring writers out there, I recommend wholeheartedly Stephen King’s fantastic nonfiction book about writing, titled simply On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In it the bestselling horror novelist not only discusses how he got his start writing and selling his books, but also discusses concise, important writing tips for budding novelists everywhere. I’ve read this book probably ten times over in the last few years, and I’ve tried to take most, if not all, of King’s advice in regards to sentence and story structure, grammar, dialogue, and, most of all, daily writing tasks.

What kept me for many years from tackling the seemingly enormous task of writing a novel was that it seemed next to impossible. It’s hard enough to write a short story. How in the world could I write a 70,000-word-plus novel? King spelled it out clear: write 2,000 words a day, every day, until you finish your first draft. A lot of writers, including myself, will work on a project for months and months, picking out hours at a time to do some writing, and then wait a week or longer to continue. It doesn’t matter what you want a write—a literary novel, chick lit title, YA paranormal romance, or horror rollercoaster ride—you can do it if you stop looking at the big picture and start looking at the small pieces.


I started writing my first novel Slate, influenced by the two years I spent working in feature film casting in Los Angeles, in early 2010, and looked at the task with both anticipation and trepidation. I had a brief outline of the plot, knew the first few chapters, the last few chapters, and some meat of the story in between, but I definitely didn’t know exactly how every storyline and character arc would play out. But I decided that I would start writing at least 2,000 words a day, every day, until I either finished the book, or died trying. The writing of my first book was difficult at times, yes, but it also turned out to be the most freeing and joyful experience of my creative life. When I finished the first draft, which stood at 108,000 words, I knew I had accomplished something special. But little did I know then, that the work of writing the book had only just begun.

That leads me to the important of revisions. Writing a novel is a process, a long one that takes months and months, and for some, years. If the hardest part about writing a book was completing that first draft, a lot more people would be doing it. But finishing the first draft is the first of many, many steps that will lead writing to a polished novel. I didn’t know it at the celebratory time I finished the first draft of Slate, but I ended up revising the novel in full over ten times in the course of the following year until I finally published it in March. My rewriting process begins like this: finish the first draft, print it out, put it in a binder, and don’t look at it for at least four to six weeks. I love to finish a project, put it away, and then work on something else for a while. Then, when I pull that first draft out of the drawer, it’s almost like reading something I didn’t write! It’s a great thrill, and it allows me to look at the words on the pages with a fresh eye.

I’ll spend a few weeks working on the second draft, and then put the manuscript away again. I’ll do this time and time again for six months to a year until I feel the material is ready to show to my closest friends and any fellow writers who’ll agree to review my work. After taking and using much of the feedback I receive, I’ll do one final polish, and finally prepare the work for eBook and print publishing (a whole other beast of a process!).

Happy Birthday to Me is my debut Young Adult novel, and it was something that I’d wanted to write for a long time. After my joy in writing my first book Slate, I knew I wanted to continue writing novels, and Happy Birthday to Me felt like the perfect second project. I spent nearly nine months working on this book, finally publishing it in April. It’s a funny, romantic supernatural tale that is truly for readers of all ages, and I’m so dedicated to this story and these characters that I am currently writing a sequel!



Eighteen months ago I wasn’t sure if I could even finish a novel. Today I’ve written three novels, I’m working on my fourth, and I’ve outlined nearly fifteen projects to be written in the next three to four years. I’ve become a writing fiend, and I’ve never been happier. I have Stephen King to thank for his inspiring wisdom, and all the readers and writers out there like me who love a great story.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview: Brian Rowe, author of Happy Birthday to Me

Here is my first ever interview with Brian Rowe. Don't forget to enter the giveaway of Happy Birthday to Me!




When and why did you start writing?

I’ve loved reading books ever since I can remember and always imagined myself, even from a young age, as being a writer. In my third grade class at Oakhills Elementary School in Granite Bay, California, a children’s author came to speak about writing, and she gave us all an assignment for the week, to write one chapter of a novel. I ended up writing a chapter about the ghost of a librarian that haunts the school. I loved writing this assignment and ended up writing dozens more short stories over the next few years, culminating into the fifth grade, where our teacher Linda Frodahl gave us story assignments all year round. On the last day of school that year she pulled me aside and said to me, “Brian, one day I want to see your name on the front of a novel. Don’t let me down.” Fifteen years later her wish finally came true, and I decided to dedicate Happy Birthday to Me to Mrs. Frodahl.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’ve got a big pile of books on my nightstand. I’m currently reading the last 150 pages of The Girl Who Played with Fire, and up next are The Drawing of the Three, More Tales of the City, and Catching Fire. Huh. You know, I just realized all four of these books are the second installment in a series. And I’m currently writing the second installment in my Happy Birthday to Me trilogy. Coincidence?

What do you think makes a good book?


A dynamic plot is great in a book, but what makes a truly outstanding novel is complex, memorable characters. You as an author can come up with the most original, fascinating concept, but it won’t mean diddly-squat if there aren’t characters to care about on the page. The plot and pacing of your story is important, of course, but attention to character is probably the most important aspect in writing fiction. When I think about all the books I love, the characters immediately come to mind, not the plot. Take the time to come up with a killer concept, and then spend a few weeks getting to know and flesh out your characters, before you jump right into to your writing.



Liesel Maupin is going to a gathering of literary characters. Who would she sit with and why?

Now that’s an interesting question. Liesel is a strong, focused female character, a good-hearted wallflower with love for her soul mate, Cameron Martin. I would love to see Liesel go out for a Friday night dinner with Katniss Everdeen and Hermione Granger. Hermione would probably one-up the other girls on intelligence, Katniss would one-up with sheer physical strength, and Liesel would one-up with her otherworldly magical powers, ones even more impressive than Hermione’s. They could all talk about their boy toys—Ron, Peeta, and Cameron. And Katniss and Hermione could take time out of District 12 and Hogwarts, respectively, to join Liesel for a more laid-back meal at one of Reno’s delicious sushi restaurants!


What character in Happy Birthday to Me would you like to hang out with for a day? Why?

That’s tough to decide. It’d be fun to hang out with Liesel, pick her brain, and watch her perform some magic. It’d also be interesting to spend some time at Caughlin Ranch High School and see just how vicious Mrs. Gordon can be. We find out later in the book that she is way more of a free spirit than she lets on, so I’d try to peel off the layers to the strict librarian to try to find the more human side underneath. And Wesley’s a lot like me in many ways, so he’d be easy to spend time with. But if I had to choose one of these characters to hang out with for a day, I would choose Kimber. She seems like a cool, easy to talk to thirteen-year-old girl who would be fun to chat with and toss ideas off of. I also love the violin, and I’d love a front row seat at one of her applause-worthy string recitals!

What is your writing process like?

When I’m writing the first draft of a novel, I write at least 2,000 words a day, every day, until the book is finished. Sometimes I’ll write many more than 2,000 words in a day—for instance, my third book Townhouse, coming out this summer, I wrote much faster than anticipated. I allotted myself five to six weeks to write the first draft, but it ended up only taking me about four and a half weeks. I will then spend a few weeks on each subsequent draft the heaviest work being done on the pivotal second draft. The amount of re-writing becomes less and less by the fourth and fifth draft, until I finally get the manuscript to a point where I feel it’s ready to be published.


What advice would you give to young writers?


My advice to young writers would be to stop thinking, stop worrying, and start writing! For many years I didn’t think I had what it took to write a novel, and in the last year and a half, I’ve written three. Don’t worry so much about a year from now or six months from now. There will be lots of time to worry about agents, editors, traditional publishers, self-publishing, and more, down the road. Believe in yourself, believe in your story, and believe in your characters, and focus on writing the best novel you can, every single time. As Conan O’Brien recently said, “if you work really hard, and are kind, amazing things will happen.” And I believe that with every sense of my being. I’m living the dream! So should you.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for your time, and for featuring me on your awesome blog. I hope all of your readers take a chance on my YA debut, Happy Birthday to Me!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Giveaway: Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

It's finally time for my first givaway! I loved Happy Birthday to Me (4.5 stars) and I'm giving it away for Brian Rowe's author week!




  • To enter, please fill out the form below
  • Entrants must be 13 years of age or older
  • Contest deadline is May 22, 2011
  • Contest open to US only
  • One entry per person
  • Must follow Owl Review a Book
Giveaway has ended.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe

Stars: 4.5

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!
High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.
All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...


Review:

Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe was shockingly awesome. Rowe's cute, whimsical way of writing reminded me of You Wish by Mandy Hubbard.

I went into the book disliking Cameron (giggling). He was so full of himself. He’s the kind of person who would love to stare at himself in a mirror all day and do superman poses. But more then that, I felt incredibly embarrassed for him. I literally had to put the book down for a few minutes because he was making an idiot out of himself by being the total drama queen that he was, and he didn’t even notice.

That resulted in me being incredibly embarrassed for him. I also kind of felt sorry for him, because his super busy dad only seemed to show up when he was pressuring Cameron to follow in his footsteps and be a plastic surgeon or nagging him to be a better basketball player. So basically this means in the beginning of the book I was caught in the constant cycle of being sorry for him/ wanting to slap him. Hard.

What I really enjoyed about Happy Birthday to me was that when Cameron started aging he found out who his real friends were and how his family could genuinely act. Before he started aging, I could’ve (but I didn’t want to) put down the book, but after I was hooked. Everything started getting interesting, and I found myself wanting to see where all the character relationships went. The cycle of sorry/ slapping was broken. By that point I actually started to like Cameron.

Liesel is still mysterious by the end of the book. I hope that’ll change when the second book, Happy Birthday to me Again, comes out. I will defiantly be buying the sequel!

Thank you to Brain Rowe for providing me a review copy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Next week is an author week with Brian Rowe.

Just a heads up for next week:


Next week. Will be. An author week.

This will be my first time doing

1. A giveaway

2. An author interview

3.  Epic author doing a guest post for me.



Here is how next week will go:



  • Sunday- A giveaway of Happy birthday to Me.

  • Wednesday- Interview

  • Friday - Guest post

  • Sunday- Announcing winner of giveaway.




 I'm spazzing out right now because of the Brain Rowe author week. The book and the author are both amazing, I hope you'll check this out!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Whoa. Rewind back to March 19.

(I'm going to pretend it's March 19 in this post to avoid the mind-numbing guilt of forgetting one's own blogoversary.)


This is it. It has been (a little more than) one whole year since I started this book bloggy. Thanks to all of you who had inevitably became this blog's awesome stalker minion. To celebrate this blog's (belated) birthday here are the top five things I've learned from this blog:

1. No. It is not okay to use 394,439,345,302 exclamation points in a row. Unless I really, really like a book. In that case, it is okay to use up to 983,723 exclamation points.

2. No. Authors are not magical awesome fairies who ride unicorns to work every day and who's signature, when applied to a book, could quite possibly cause me to spontaneously cumbust. They are just regular people (but way awesomer).

3. No. It is NOT okay to forget my own blogoversary. That would be like forgetting to feed my cat. Unacceptable.

4. No. I am not alone in my bookish love. Their are plenty other awesome book bloggers that share my obssesion. Whom I love reading and commenting on their blog. Book bloggers rock.

5. No. Saying how awesome the book is isn't a review. I mean it is, but you have to be cleaver in your word choice. Some other good phrases to use are: dandy, bang-up, groovy, and if all else fails, nifty.


Happy Monday! I'm sad. For some strange reason, I thought it was Friday at school today. When the bell rang, I was so happy I yelled "Happy Friday!" I didn't understand why everyone was either giving me a murderous look, or a look of great confusion.