Sunday, October 31, 2010

I just had to share!

This is my little giraffe Katie trick or treating; she got a bunch of candy!

Guess what's coming!!!!!

Gratitude Giveaways

Gratitude Giveaways - Blog Follower Appreciation - A way to say thank you to your fabulous followers.

The giveaways will start one week before Thanksgiving and run until the Sunday after.

This giveaway is all about Books. Each blog will host their own giveaway.

I am currently one of 132 blogs participating!!! Check out I am a reader, not a writer for all the blogs!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


In my mailbox is a weekly meme started at The Story Siren which explores the contents of your mailbox and is designed to put new books on the radar, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here is what I got:
Hannah: My True Story of Drugs, Cutting, and Mental Illness
 Hannah by Hannah Westberg
Won from YA Book Queen 
Review scheduled Nov 12th

Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Won From Tiger at All Consuming Books
Re-read to prepare for BD

Beautiful Darkness  Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 
Currently reading- review to come

What about you- what did you get this week? What do you think of my books?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Giveaway: CSN Certificate

Prentice Cocktail Table Set

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from contemporary coffee tables to fantastic fitness equipment to cookware! They have generously chosen my blog to host a giveaway! As my wonderful followers you can win a $35 certificate to use on any of CSN sites.

-Initial entry go CSN's coffee tables and chose your favorite

- go to the form to enter
- comments are wonderful, but not counted as entries
-Extra entries can be earned by spreading the word, and for joining Swagbucks (free and legit) under my referal link HERE

-Ends 11/12 at 11:59pm EST

Thursday, October 28, 2010

All I want for Christmas! (2)

This is a feature/meme where I choose a book each week leading up to Christmas hosted by A Tapestry of Words

My pick for this week is:

Portal (Portal Chronicles, #1)  Portal by Imogen Rose

I have read so many good reviews and I want to try it for myself.

Contest alert- 3 different prize packs so far

Repost from Bookspeak you MUST enter at her site 

The more followers- the more prizes- 

What's for grabs you ask?

Prize Pack #1

Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia (signed)
Angel Star Postcard (signed)
Angel Star Bookmark
Angel Star Sticker
Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness Bookmarks
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas Postcard

Prize Pack # 2

13 to Life by Shannon Delany (signed)
13 to Life Bookmark (signed)
13 to Life Postcard (signed)
13 to Life Buttons (2 - one square and one circular)
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas Postcard

Prize Pack #3
Rae by Chelsea Rae Swigget
Rae Bookmark (signed)
The Pace Series Bookmark
Watersmeet Postcard (signed)
Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness Bookmarks
Rain by Kieryn Nicolas Postcard (signed)

Voting FINAL round!

The winner of this round wins! So pick your favorite! Thanks to all who participated, making covers and voters. This round will last until Tues Nov 2nd at 11:59pm EST

Chose your favorite!

View Results
Create a Blog Poll

Review: A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler

A Blue So Dark 
A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler 

Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

Book links to The Book Depository and photo and teaser from Goodreads
Published in US:  May 1st 2010
Standalone novel

**My rating: 4/5**

*My review*

     A Blue so Dark is a very powerful and emotional book about a teenager caring for her schizophrenic mother.
     Aura, the main character has a wonderful voice that is easy to read even when the subject material is difficult. The quotes at the top of each chapter make me laugh even while giving an insight into the life. It is hard to watch her keep her promise to her mom to keep her off meds, and struggle with her belief that art is a contributing factor to the disease.
     This book does not have the happiest of endings, but it does resolve the plot, and it gives a realistic outcome. It is a wonderfully written ending, and it is brighter than the rest of the book, but when I say happiest- I guess that some people will expect that there is a break-through cure and that everything ends up completely tied up with Aura and her mom. That is not realistic, and neither is Holly's ending. In my opinion though, that is a major plus to this book.
     I devoured this book, and I loved that Aura is a strong main character, the point of view and support that her best friend brought, the character of Nell, and how she fit into their life, that although Aura probably should have gotten outside help for her mom sooner, she tried to keep her promise and she knew her limits. I love the hint of romance with Jeremy in this book, and that though it was there, it did not overshadow the plot, rather it gave Aura something to look forward to and a semblance of a teenager's "normal" life. I enjoyed that Holly put in Aura's poems, and that they were beautifully written.
     This book will not be for everyone, but if you like edgy books, those that realistically address illness, then this book will be for you!

   I would love to hear what you think of my review and/or this book.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Facebook Like You Back (book blogger style)

Simpy StacieStacy has a wonderful idea going, but most of the people with her blog are mommies (I am too, but my blog focuses on books) So I thought I would recycle her idea.
The concept is simple- link up your facebook page on the linky, visit other pages letting them know you are visiting as a part of Like You Back, and anyone who posts on your wall, make sure to add them too!

-Feel free to make a post on your blog and spread the word!

Review: You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

You Wish
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left,her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.
Book links to The Book Depository and photo and teaser from Goodreads
Published in US: Aug 5 2010

**My rating: 4/5**

*My review*

     You wish is a funny, cute and quick read! It is light but there are underlying themes that make it more than just a fluffy read (not that there is anything wrong with that!) I love it when books make me laugh and this one made me laugh throughout- Kayla's responses to things, what is actually going on in the plot, and her snarky comments.
   Kayla is an "outcast" and makes quirps at the popular crowd throughout, and I can totally relate- I was that girl in high school! I like the growth that we see in her especially toward the end, she realizes that she can be herself, instead of the self imposed image she put on herself of being everything that "they" are not.
   Her friendship with Nicole and Ann are great, and both had something to teach Kayla and to contribute to the novel. Ben, the love interest of the semi-triangle, is cute and quirky himself, and it is fun to watch him and Kayla interact. Kayla does somewhat fall under the absentee parent trend in YA, but I like that there is at least acknowledgement of this and some resolution to it.
   The wishes are all great in their own aspects, and I was kept wondering what would come next! It really makes you think about the things you wish for and how it could effect you if it came true later in life.
   I would definitely recommend this one! And I would love to hear what you think of my review and/or this book.

Interested in You Wish? It is on my for sale/trade page!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Scary Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Make your list and link up at their site. 
This week I wanted to do a Top Ten Tuesday in honor of Halloween, so I've picked out my top ten 10 spooky/creepy/scary books for the season. And, okay, some of them might not have actually scared me, but they are appropriate for Halloween.
Here are mine in no particular order
-The Forest of Hands and Teeth
-Tyger Tyger
-The SUmmoning (Darkest Powers)
-Maze Runner

Okay so I can't think if any more, but these had slightly creepy elements-- maybe I just don't scare easily or my mind is going blank one :)

Review: From the Dead by John Herrick

From the Dead 
From the Dead by John Herrick
A preacher's son, a father in hiding, a guilty heart filled with secrets: When Jesse Barlow escaped to Hollywood, he hungered for fame--but eleven years of failure result in a drug-induced suicide attempt. Revived at death's doorstep, Jesse returns to his Ohio hometown to make amends with his preacher father, a former love, and Jesse's own secret son. But Jesse's renewed commitment becomes a baptism by fire when his son's advanced illness calls for a sacrifice--one that could cost Jesse the very life he regained. A story of mercy, hope, and second chances, From The Dead captures the human spirit with tragedy and joy.

Book picture and link from The Book Depository and teaser from Goodreads
Published in US: Aug 31 2010

**My rating: 4/5**

*My review*

   From the Dead is a story of sacrifice and second chances. It is beautifully written, emotional, and well paced.
   It begins pretty rough, Jesse, the main character is in a dead-end relationship, unable to get a job, with a cloud of depression hanging over him. There is cursing, drinking and drug use in the beginning, but if you stick with the story you realize that it is not without cause.
   He goes back to his hometown to get a fresh start and reconnects with his dad and realizes that he has a son he never knew about. I felt many emotions with Jesse as he gets to know his son, comes to terms with his minister father and the life he grew up with, and faces a medical problem of his own.
   The title is very appropriate for many reasons- his attempt to end his life, his reconnection with Christianity, and his sacrifice for his son. This is a spiritual journey interweaved in the story, but to me it never came across as preachy- just Jesse's personal battles, and his admiration of his father's life work- his church. His dad, Chuck and his sister Eden, are good examples of what Christians should look like and how they should act. They are the real thing and not hypocrites. They are not perfect by any means, but their love reigns.
    Even if you are not a religious person- don't pass over this story! It is touching, emotional and powerful!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with Kersten Hamilton (Tyger Tyger)

Kersten Hamilton Kersten Hamilton
Bio from her website:
"I was born in a trailer in High Rolls, New Mexico, in 1958.

My parents, who were not very practical people, neglected to go to the hospital or inform anyone of my arrival, so some Official Document Confusion existed for a long time as to the exact year and date.

 By my sixth birthday, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a writer. I was fascinated by the sound of words, the sweep of story. I wanted to make word magic and tuck it inside the covers of a book.   So I found a pencil and tried my hand at literature:"

Tyger Tyger coverHer YA book: Tyger Tyger
Lock the windows and doors.
Turn on every light.
And pray.
Because the goblins are coming.

Clarion, Fall 2010

And here is the interview:

--Can you give us a brief description of Tyger Tyger in your own words?

Sigh. I can’t. This is my great downfall as a writer. I know I am supposed to be able to do this. I am supposed to have something called an “elevator pitch” in which I rattle off a ream of reasons you should buy my book in the time it takes an elevator to get from one floor to the next. But I can’t do it.

I always end up saying something like, “Uh…I wrote a book. Wanna read it?” Not very compelling.

Since I do want your readers to pick up my book, can I call in three lifelines? If I borrow (with proper accreditation, of course) the words of bloggers who have read Tyger Tyger, I can get through this.

On her blog, Pat Esden said, Tyger Tyger is fast paced adventure with a backbone of Celtic myth and heart of romance.”

Roxane, from The Honeyed Knot said, “… it was so utterly different from other YA fantasy novels. It was all at once touching, hilarious, action–packed and fast–paced.”

Ello at the Enchanted Inkpot said: “Teagan is smart and brave and doesn’t do dumb things that make you want to pull your hair out. Meanwhile Finn is absolutely sexy and cocky and sexy and brave and sexy…They’ve got great chemistry.”

So, if I smash them all together, and make it kind of my own, it would read something like: “A fast paced adventure laced with Celtic myth and romance; touching, hilarious and utterly different from other YA fantasy novels. The heroine is smart and brave, the hero is sexy and cocky, and together they’ve got great chemistry!”

How does that sound? J

--How did you get the idea for the story? Did you do much research for your book?

Years of research went into the building of The Gobin Wars world, years of reading Celtic history and legend. Of course, I added science and culture, learning and storytelling to round the story out. The first true glimmer of what became Tyger Tyger came when I was a child, when a goblin crept out of the dark and slipped her paw into my hand. The creature’s name was Lina, and I met her in a book by George MacDonald.

Lina was a dog–like creature with green eyes lit by amber fire, and a huge mouth with icicle–like teeth. Curdie, the hero of the story, could feel the real hand of any creature inside its flesh glove, and when Lina put her paw in his hand: “a shudder, as of terrified delight, ran through him… instead of the paw of a dog, such as it seemed to his eyes, he clasped in his great mining fist the soft, neat little hand of a child! The green eyes stared at him with their yellow light, and the mouth was turned up toward him with its constant half grin; but here was the child's hand!”
When I read those lines I felt it. Lina was a small part of George MacDonald’s book. After I met her, I knew that when I grew up I wanted to write a book full of that kind of goblin creature.
That book is Tyger Tyger!

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?

I would love to have diner with Mamieo, because I love fortune cookies.

I would not like to have dinner with Roisin…I wouldn’t touch that pudding with a ten–foot pole. People will understand why as soon as they read the book! J

--Can you give us any teasers from the sequel? What about tentative dates for release? (There will be one right?)

I can tell you that I finished book two, In the Forests of the Night, and sent it in a couple of weeks ago; that I am still thinking about a couple of points that I will change when I get my copy edits back, and that is darker and scarier and a little sexier than Tyger Tyger. It should be out in the fall of 2011!

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?

I do read a lot of books. When I am writing, I stick to non-fiction and research. But in between my books I devour novels.

One book that I just read and loved was Dia Calhoun’s White Midnight. It is one of those books that drags your soul out and scrapes it with sandpaper—but it’s brilliant. Dia packs so much meaning into one little button….

A very new book that I loved just for the fun of it is Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?

Where the Wild Things Are. I would like to try to tame Wild Things with the magic trick of looking into their eyes without blinking.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)?

All I need is my heart. It must be in good working order. If it is, I will laugh out loud during funny scenes and cry during sad ones. People do give me the strange looks when I write in public. J But if the scene is not honest enough to make me laugh or cry as I write, how could it possibly touch my readers?

Are there any songs on the Tyger Tyger "playlist-" songs that inspired you or that were playing while you

Teagan’s song has always been Fix You by Coldplay: because of this line: “lights will guide you home…and ignite your bones…and I will try to fix you.” That’s Teagan’s heart for the world!

Finn’s song is Teardrop, sung by Newton Faulkner, because for Finn “love is a doing word.”

Teagan and Finn together have a song: Run by Snow Patrol:  “Light up, light up as if you have a choice…even if you cannot hear my voice.”

John Paul’s song is 100 years by Five for Fighting:

Aileen’s song is Dante’s Prayer by Loreena Mckennitt:

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

It’s not a magical power, actually.   I would want to be able to mend broken people, and give them courage and strength. To me, that would be better than flying, better than traveling in time. Better than any super power ever.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

I hunt dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts—well, their bones, anyway—across the badlands of New Mexico!

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?

Yes! 2010 has been an awesome year for YA books so far. I’m hoping your readers buy and love lots and lots of them—including Tyger Tyger!

Hurray for books!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reading Teen and Tween's Second Hand Saturday!

Hosted by Reading Teen:

Hosted by Reading Tween:

Go check them out- there is lots to win!


In my mailbox is a weekly meme started at The Story Siren which explores the contents of your mailbox and is designed to put new books on the radar, and encourage blogger interaction.

Make sure to Vote in Round 3: Minder Cover Recreation

Unearthly Unearthy by Cynthia Hand  From Netgalley
Review is here

From the Dead

From the Dead by John Herrick
From author in exchange for honest review
Review scheduled Tues 26th

You Wish
 You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
(on for sale/trade page here)

A Blue So Dark A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler 
Review to come
Won from Princess Bookie

Meridian by Amber Kizer 
From the library
Review to come

 Sea Change Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
From the library
Review to come

Taken by Storm Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison 
From author in exchange for honest review
Review scheduled on Nov 2nd

365 Days to a Prayer-Filled Life
365 days to a Prayer-Filled Life by Germaine Copeland
Won from Goodreads
Review to come

I would love to hear what you got and what you think of my books!

Unearthy by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly Unearthy by Cynthia Hand 
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Book links to The Book Depository and photo and teaser from Goodreads
Published in US:  Jan 1 2011
This seems to be part of a series-- at least it better be! :)

Unearthly is a delightful read, focusing on Nephilim, or as they prefer in this book angel-blood. The writing is paced wonderfully and the story gripped me right away. Cynthia has created likable and easy to relate with characters, that I was emotionally invested in. 

Clara, the main character, is a great narrator- I could easily understand where she was coming from with her actions and emotions. I liked that she wasn't fully informed on the whole angel world, and that I got to learn with her, and that I was questioning everything just like her. I was able to relate with her- her insecurities, fears and doubts. She isn't a perfect character and I love her for that- I can see growth in her, and I feel more connected to her through her weaknesses. Not that she is a doormat- she has some fiest in her, which is commendable. She has to face some hard situations- choosing between love and destiny. 

Her friends, Angela and Wendy are fantastic- I would take them as my besties in an instant. They are funny, supportive, and they both have their own personalities. They both help Clara to grow in different but important ways. Wendy also pushes her brother, and Clara's love interest to her, and helps it to develop. 

There is a love triangle, which is very well written. One is her love, and one she has a crush on to begin with but it seems that he is her destiny. I am firmly on team Tucker, but I can see the appeal of Christian as well. I like that Tucker and Clara's relationship grows through friendship first, unlike with Christian, even though she sees him in visions, it seems to be an automatic thing, built more from physical attraction. It is hard to judge there though, because Clara does have a bigger purpose- and she doesn't know all the details, even at the end. 

The end is a cliff-hanger but it is not the worst I have encountered. We get some closure and the main theme of the book has happened, even though not fully resolved. 

Overall- I really liked this book and would recommend to pick it up when it releases or as you have a chance. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Voting Round 3: Minder Cover Recreation

Next we will have 2 going to round 4, and then winner chosen, each round lasting 5 days. 
You have until Thurs 28th at 12pm EST to vote for your favorite!

And here are your choices: (click on bubble ABOVE picture you want to select)

Chose your favorite

Review: Torment by Lauren Kate

Torment  Torment by Lauren Kate
How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for? In the aftermath of what happened at Sword & Cross, Luce has been hidden away by her cursed angelic boyfriend, Daniel, in a new school filled with Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. Daniel promises she will be safe here, protected from those who would kill her. At the school Luce discovers what the Shadows that have followed her all her life mean - and how to manipulate them to see into her other lives. Yet the more Luce learns about herself, the more she realizes that the past is her only key to unlocking her future...and that Daniel hasn't told her everything. What if his version of the past isn't actually the way things happened...what if Luce was really meant to be with someone else?
Book picture and link from The Book Depository and teaser from Goodreads
Published in US: Sept 28 2010
Book 2 out of 4 in Fallen series (3 out summer 2011)

*My review* (slightly spoilerish)

       Torment was a very enjoyable read, though I had a few issues. The issues were surpassed by awesome characters and the writing. I didn't want to put it down and I am now craving Passion even though I have quite a time to wait.
       Luce grew a backbone in this book, and for this I am very glad and applaud Lauren Kate. Even though she felt this magnetic pull to and incredible love for Daniel, she began to really question why it was there. She has no memories of the past lives that they shared, all she has are stolen kisses and a few sweet memories. When he gives orders, and is forced to be behind the scenes, she stands up for herself and demands to know more, she gets angry and pushes to know the relevant information. I am not saying that this driving desire doesn't result in some bad decisions, but she has every right to know more, and to wonder at the intensity of their love.
      I really wanted to see more of Daniel in this book. I am honestly not completely sold on him, even though I would really like to be. I adore the concept of undying love, and he has the potential to be an amazing love interest and an awesome character, but I just don't know enough about him. I am in the same boat as Luce except that I don't have any pull to him. There is just too many secrets and so much mystery shrouding him and what role he plays in tipping the balance of the war.
      As for the new characters, they are wonderful and really made me get into the story more. Shelby is a firecracker and I love watching her and Luce's relationship build and their interactions. Miles is so cute, and I love his devotion, friendship and understanding toward Luce. He is a down to earth guy and I got to see the cute moments that really build a relationship between him and Luce. Though I am hesitant to get too attached because I know that this is ultimately Luce and Daniel's story and I don't want to hope for romance with them even though it made be alluded just to have that shot down or him be a character just brought in to sacrifice himself for her. Oh, and Franscesa and Steven were also wonderful- they wonderfully illustrated the talk about the line between love and hate- angels and demons- is more blurry than one would like to think. It is heart breaking when she says- "Do I love him, yes. But when the battle comes, I will have to kill him."
     Adrianne comes back in this one, and kicks some butt. I totally did not see it coming, but I am glad that she is back. Cam is also back in this one, and he is still a big question mark. I am unsure of his allegiances in the end, and him and Daniel working together.
     Overall this is a great story, and I feel like Torment is doing a lot of ground- work for scenes to come.

I have to share a few quotes that I found amusing:

"If you two were going to be that obvious about it, why didn't you come down stairs in your Team Daniel and Team Miles T-Shirts?"
"We should order those," Shelby said.
"Mine's in the laundry," Arriane said. 

"Well, as much as I love kicking asses and taking names, it's way past curfew for you three"- Arriane" 

So-- I would love to hear what you think of my review and/or the book.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The winner of my Second Hand Saturday

 The winner of my Second Hand Saturday is LatishaJean!
I have emailed and if I don't hear back I will choose a new winner. I am not participating this week, but I will again in the future.
If you didn't win you can always buy or trade some of my books: here

Beachin it up! We are taking our little girl to the beach for the first time- so I will not be around in the blogoverse today. For those of you who visit and comment, I will come and visit you tomorrow! Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All I want for Christmas!

 This is a meme hosted by A Tapestry of Words.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas you post a book that you'd like to see underneath your tree.  This is my first selection:

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6) Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
What about you? What do you want under your tree?

Guest Post by Mandy Hubbard

authorphoto Bio from Mandy's website
Mandy Hubbard is the author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, and five other to-be-published novels for teens. She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. She is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Enumclaw, Washington. 
 -My topic for her was taken from your questions a while back on my blog: How you write:  What inspires you? Do you write when the mood strikes for set number of hours? By hand or computer? How did your fictionpress writings help you? What about being in publishing business?
Mandy's answer:
Hi Brandi! Thanks for having me at your blog. J
I would say that there are two types of writers out there: those who consider themselves to have a “muse”, who say their characters talk to them, who need to feel inspired (or they have writer’s block) in order to be productive, etc…..and then there are writers who are more mechanical and business-like about their writing.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either type, but I am most definitely the “mechanical”  type. I’ve never totally understood the idea of writer’s block—if I don’t like the scene I’m writing, I can give it a junk ending and write the next chapter and just fix it later. I write more quickly if I have deadlines looming or whatnot. And if I need an idea, I actively brainstorm and look for ideas, rather than waiting for one to strike.

My inspiration for being a writer is my love of books—I am absolutely, totally enamored by them! It is actually reading which got me into writing. There is a site called, and I discovered it before I ever wanted to write. I just liked being able to find fun, exciting new stories and then reading them for free. I read on that site for months before I started to think, “Hey, I know! I could add my own work too!” And I did just that, for nearly three years without ever wanting to be published. So I truly credit Fictionpress with turning me into a writer.

I abhor writing by hand. Firstly, I hate my handwriting, and secondly, I can only write a paragraph or two before my hand cramps. I am honestly not certain I would continue writing if computers ceased to exist—probably because I’m more of a reviser than a writer so my book would have to be rewritten over and over if I couldn’t just move paragraphs around and add in descriptions and such.

I tend to write wherever I can cram it—during a 30 minute train ride, while eating a sandwich, or after my daughter goes to bed. I rarely get long stretches of uninterrupted time until its after 9pm, and then it lasts until I’m literally falling asleep while typing.

I think being in the publishing business does change your writing in some ways. For one, there are deadlines. They’re great motivators. J But it also means you can’t sit and play with your book and move things around just to see if they look better. It means I don’t always have the opportunity to ‘sit on’ a book and let it stew and run it through Cps and go back again. I have a very limited amount of time to make a book the best damn book it can be, and then I have to let it go and hope it measures up. In contrast, my debut novel, PRADA & PREJUDICE, was in its 11th draft by the time it hit shelves. It can be a little scary realizing something goes from idea to advance reader copies in six months.

On the flip side, though, that’s a reflection of the career I’ve chosen. Many writers don’t like to sell on proposal. They want to write the whole book and then share it with their editor. They may choose to have a book come out 1-2 years apart.

My goal from the get-go was to be a two book per year author. I knew I could do it, and I set out striving toward that from day one. 2009, my debut year, I had on book, This year, I had a book and a novella. In 2011 and 2012, I will have two books. I’m thrilled by that, but it also means juggling like crazy. It means selling proposals and still needing to write the rest of the book in 2 months.

I’ve learned a lot about how I operate as a writer, and it helps me know what I want to commit to.
As of right now, I’m loving every crazy minute of it! 

Mandy's newest book:

 You Wish
Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteenth sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years.  Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do. Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. And a boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride… but they MUST STOP. Because when she was 15? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her.
And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend. 
My review is here

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: The Ruby Notebook by Laura Resau

The Ruby Notebook  The Ruby Notebook by Laura Resau
Sixteen-year-old Zeeta and her flighty English-teaching mom, Layla, have traveled the world together, settling in a different country every year, making a whole new set of friends and adopting new customs. This year, they’ve chosen to live in Aix-en-Provence, France, an enchanting city full of fountains, creamy yellow light, and a fascinating group of scarlet-clad street performers.
Zeeta soon begins to receive mysterious notes and gifts from someone she calls her fantôme, or ghost, admirer. But she is expecting her boyfriend, Wendell—the love of her life, as her friends call him—to arrive in Aix for a summer program very soon. Zeeta brushes off her curiosity about her fantôme, and her simmering attraction to one of the street performers, Jean-Claude, until Wendell arrives and she begins to fear that her feelings for him have truly changed. Perhaps—like Layla—she’s simply not made for long-term romance.
As Zeeta tries to draw away from Wendell, however, circumstances seem to force them together. Zeeta’s friendship with a local antiques dealer and his reclusive artist friend leads to a dangerous adventure. When Zeeta and Wendell join forces to find a secret underground spring whose water is rumored to bring immortality, they are forced to reconsider their own desires, and their beliefs about true love. Yet as soon as Zeeta decides that her mind has cleared, she’s confronted with the biggest shock of her life: the incredible true identity of her fantôme.
Vibrant, warmhearted, and evocative, The Ruby Notebook is a remarkable novel about learning to accept love in all of its wondrous and imperfect forms.
Picture and link from The Book Depository and teaser from Goodreads
Published Sept 14 2010

**Review: 4/5**

*My review*

        The Ruby Notebook is a quick and light read. It has many themes- true love, fantome- secret admirer, and family.
       The characters are easy to like and I got engrossed in their story. We watch as the main character Z discovers her path to new love, finding friends and routine in a new country. She makes friends with some elderly folks and help them to realize that they are both quietly in love with the other.
        She journeys to find the father that she never knew, and goes on a quest to help the couple find the sacred waters- the fountain of youth.
       The plot is well paced, and the themes of the story are sufficiently explored. The ending gives good conclusion, but leaves a lot for the reader to think about and make their own endings.
       This is a little different from what I usually read, but I still liked it.

If you are interested, this is listed for trade on my page. 

I would love to hear what you think about this book and/or my review.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me!!!!! No birthday contest sorry-- but I do have my second hand saturday giveaway! I am 26 today!

Here are some cakes I would love to have!
Find any other book like cakes I might like??