If you haven't noticed, my blog has been a little light on the reviews for the past two weeks.
I just can't keep my mind on a book to finish it!
*there goes the big crowd gasp*
Yeah... I went from reading 10ish books a week to none...
But you all know the reason why. Once I say it, you'll be nodding too....
Yep. My mind's on one track, and it won't be satisfied until I read Breaking Dawn. So sorry about the lack of reviews-- I'm pretty sure that once I finish Breaking Dawn, the blog will get an influx of reviews from me.
But in the meantime, check out some of the other cool kids on my blogroll that haven't let the wait for Breaking Dawn beat them down...
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Posted by paperxxflowers at 12:19 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I just finished a really great book, and it made me want to write about when I know that I l-o-v-e something Iʼm reading.
I know I love a book if its world completely overtakes me. This has happened with a range of authors, from William Faulkner to Mo Willems (he writes awesome picture books that are totally set in my Brooklyn neighborhood).
Just this weekend, as I was reading John Greenʼs Looking for Alaska, I got so involved in the story that even when I took a break to take a walk, I didnʼt really want to talk to my boyfriend. I just wanted to stay silent in my own mind and ponder Alaskaʼs past and The Colonelʼs present and Milesʼs future. (If you donʼt know who Iʼm talking about, that means you havenʼt read Looking for Alaska, and you really, really should. I know what Iʼm talking about here. The book is GOOD.)
Of course, John Green won a Printz Award, which is all gold-foil-literary, but thatʼs not what makes the book good. Itʼs the voice and the way a reader can get entrenched in the main characterʼs world. I like a lot of books, but I love the ones that completely overtake me and make my own reality a little hazy.
Some others that have done that for me recently include Elizabeth Scottʼs Bloom (with riveting romantic chemistry) and Sarah Mlynowskiʼs Bras & Broomsticks (with total hilarious energy).
So what books have you used the L-word to describe? Iʼd love to know.
Posted by paperxxflowers at 9:58 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Posted by paperxxflowers at 10:12 AM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Today we have with us Catherine Ryan Hyde.
How did you decide to become an author?
My mother was a writer when I was growing up. And I have/had two sisters (sorry to say I lost one in 2007) and they are/were both writers. Whether this is nature or nurture, I can't say. But it seems to run in the family.
When I was in the second or third grade, my mom came to school with me in one of those "parent day" things. Those days when you bring a parent and have them talk about what they do. She brought her books and talked about being a writer. Later all the kids said things like, "Wow. Your mom is really cool." Which had maybe never occurred to me before. At least, not the way it looked through somebody else's eyes. I think that might have been a factor.
Third, and possibly most important, was my sophomore English teacher in high school. Lenny Horowitz. He told me I could write. Out loud. In front of all the other students, who didn't know I could do anything. Later I found out he went back into the staff lounge and told all my other techers I was a good writer.
That was when I made up my mind what I wanted to be. Unfortunately, there's a big gap between wanting to be something and being it. But that's another story.
As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
First I wanted to be a cartoonist. Then I wanted to be a songwriter. Then I wanted to make animated films. I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I just had to find my avenue.
What’s your greatest influence?
I think I am influenced by my endless curiosity about human nature. I'm fascinated by what scares us. Also by what we do when we're scared, particularly when we aren't willing to admit it. Also by the odd ways we vent our anger, which is generally something we use to cover up our fear. I also enjoy exploring our responsibilities to one another. If we are decent people, we owe some measure of helpfulness amd respect to those around us. But what measure? Where does it start and where does it end?
I believe there are limitless novels hidden in the previous paragraph.
Are you working on something right now?
If revisions count, yes. I told my YA editor I would show her something new around the end of the summer. I wrote the last page barely over a week ago, then took off on a little mini-vacation. Now I'm home and making sure it's clean and tight, especially the parts I wrote most recently.
Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?
I hope not. If possible, I bend over backwards to include the parts that will challenge others the most. I don't think it's my job as a novelist to help people be comfortable. If anything I'm trying to bump them out of their comfort zone.
When I first wrote Love in the Present Tense, I had an opening chapter in which Leonard was standing on the hood of his friend Marco's car at 50 MPH. I was worried some teenager might be inspired to try that. I shared the fear with a couple of people, but they both said the same thing. They said I couldn't pay too much attention to that, or I'd never be able to write anything. Later, after selling the novel, that scene (and for that matter, Marco) was cut, but not for that reason. Because my editor thought it made Leonard seem too crazy. So I never got to find out if it would inspire others in a dangerous way. Probably just as well.
Now I just try to silence all those voices when I write. I'll deal with the reactions of readers later, when it can't change the course of the work
Who’s your favorite author? Your favorite book?
I always had trouble with stating a favorite author, because I seem to go book by book. I'll love a book by an author, get everything they ever wrote, and not feel as strongly about any of it.
So far as I know, one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer, has only two novels (and other things that are non-fiction). Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. And I loved them both. So maybe he's my favorite author.
Books? Hard to narrow it down to one. Maybe one of the two I just mentioned. Maybe The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Maybe Flowers for Algernon. There are so many.
Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?
Is the movie Pay It Forward a faithful adaptation of your book?
Not really, no. The idea itself comes through well, but they changed a lot. Not all for the better in my opinion. So many people tell me they loved the movie. Some say they've seen it a dozen or more times. I'm thinking, if they love the story that much, why not try the book? You know. See the movie eleven times and read the book once. Sometimes it's because they don't know it was a book. Which is why I asked myself the question. I'm on a kick to raise consciousness on the matter with this simple question: Did you know Pay It Forward started with a book?
Thanks so much, Catherine!
You can visit Catherine at her website, www.cryanhyde.com.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I'm in serious need of some help.
You see, there comes that time in everyone's like where they have to face it... college.
Fortunately (or not so fortunately, as you'll see) I'm only at the applying stage now.
So I get to the bottom of the applications... and I see this blaring at me:
Uhm... yeah. :?
I have no idea what I'm going to go to school for.
Anyone want to help?
Johnny was only twelve when his dad died. With his mom suddenly too filled with grief to take care of them, Johnny learns how to take care of both of them. He also learns how to take care of himself – drinking, to make him buzzed.
Years later, Johnny is looked at as some kind of freak. He is pale, dresses in black, wears makeup, and listens to punk rock. He constantly gets called gay because of the way he dresses. When one night crawling into the bottle leaves him almost dead at a hospital, his mother sends him to get treatment for alcoholism at Parkview. Johnny’s glad he went, though, because if he hadn’t, he would have never discovered the band Blondie.
Monday, July 21, 2008
In case you haven't heard yet, everyone's favorite blogger is back reviewing!
Chelsea, AKA The Page Flipper, is back from her reviewing hiatus. Check out her awesome reviews on www.thepageflipper.com.
Posted by paperxxflowers at 7:57 PM
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Eep! There's such a buzz going around about this book.
Want to increase your chances of getting a copy? Head to Reviewer X's blog.
She's giving away a signed copy of Undone.
(Oh, and please, please, please say that I referred you :] )
Friday, July 18, 2008
Jenna Fox has just woken up from a coma. Her parents told her that she was in an accident about a year ago. However, Jenna doesn’t remember. She doesn’t remember what her name is, her family, or anything from her life. She can figure out from the way her parents act around her that she’s the center of their world.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox was such a moving novel. Jenna’s struggle to find out who she really is was interesting. I really enjoyed the views I got into Jenna’s character since a good portion of the novel are Jenna’s thoughts. I would have loved to hear more about some of the other characters, but overall it was an amazing novel.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Well, sort of.
I created a new blog to keep links for my reviews in.
So if you're looking for a review, check there.
And we have a winnnnnnnnner!
Your prize will be mailed out soon.
To everyone else, thanks for entering!
And for the sake of it, November 22, 1963 was the date of JFK's assassination.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The first book I remember being read to me was SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE. Do any of you guys know that one? It’s this great story about a donkey who finds a magic pebble and turns himself into a rock with it by mistake- great premise for a story, right? It’s William Steig so the illustrations are as good as the story. I remember my dad really loved the book and would get a little choked up at the end when Sylvester’s parents unknowingly helped him become a donkey again and they all danced around together.
Which reminds me of my mom’s favorite book to read to me: CHARLOTTE’S WEB. I loved this one though I never got why my mom cried at the end when Charlotte knows she’s going to die but she’s saved Wilbur. I mean, it was sad but my mom really sobbed. When I got older I realized it made her think about one day passing away and leaving me and my sister. I think really great books like this make you think about your own life and maybe make meanings of things in new ways. I cry at the end now too.
Now that I have my own kids I get to revisit books I loved from when I was little, and I’ve already started a library of things to read to them as they grow (they are three now.) It’s going to be really fun to be on the other end of this tradition!
So what are some of the books that you were read as a kid?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
What do you do to stay motivated?
Share your answers, and get an extra entry!
Oh, and Chelsea--
November 22, 1963 (don't forget to email the answer to this one)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Okay... I'm bad. Third post today. (if you scroll down you'll see a book review and a slightly delirious post from 4 AM.) But I'm going to start with a new *somewhat regular* way to get extra entries to ANY contest that I hold. So here's the deal...
On the bottom of random posts (at least once a week), you'll see a random date, amount, etc. Your *correct* guess at what the randomness is referring to will get an extra entry to whatever contest I'm holding at the time. When I post the next random thing, I'll give the correct answer to the previous one. And feel free to guess more than once :]
Example (because I know I sucked at explaining that):
I would put this at the end of whatever post:
September 11, 2001
Your *correct* answer would be: terrorist attack on the US (or something like that)
Now, I might put random amounts (ex. a year and three days, 46 inches, etc) that you'll have to figure out what I'm referring to. It won't always be a date. And I probably will put personal things in the randomness (when I do... if you get it right, you'll get 2 extra entries instead of one) and I'll tell you that it's a personal one.
So... yeah, this explanation sucked. If you have any questions about this, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on AIM, where my current alias is paperxxflowersx3.
So... for the first extra entry this way...
November 22, 1963.
Oh, yeah. Chelsea was kind enough to point out that I didn't tell you how to enter (comment/email). Okay. Email me your answer with whatever the random thing is as the subject. So if you're sending me an email with your answer for this one (Nov 22, 1963), then you're subject line would read: November 22, 1963.
Jesse and Vicks have been friends for awhile. They work together; they get along great. Jesse usually feels like she can tell Vicks anything. But when she finds out her mom has cancer, she doesn’t tell anyone. She just wants to get away.
Vicks has this amazing boyfriend. They’re perfect together. But once he went off to college, things seem like they’re falling apart. He doesn’t call her. It’s been two weeks. And instead of telling her best friend this, she tells the new girl at work, Mel.
When Mel started working with Jesse and Vicks, she felt like the odd girl out. They were just good friends, and Mel never really had that. She’s used to people looking down on her because of her money, being second best to her sister, or being the tiebreaker in her family. So she invites herself along for the ride.
Each of their backgrounds are completely different, but they’re all united with the same goal: to get away. And though they may not be friends now, a series of events might make them closer than they could ever imagine.
How to be Bad was awesome! I thought that the writing would be inconsistent (as I’ve had previous experience with books written by multiple authors), but the story flowed continuously. The writing was seamed together; there were no flaws to distract the reader from the story. Which is good, because this heartwarming story of a blooming friendship is one that every person should check out.
And I'm awake. Again. Yay.
I don't know if I can even count how many nights in a row this has been. Well, occasionally I can actually sleep (like a normal person!), but for the last... eh... few years, I've been awake at night for quite a bit.
So my question for all you lovely people is...
How do you deal with sleepless nights?
And more importantly...
Who else is awake like me?
On another note, thanks for the response I've gotten about personal things on my blog. The vast majority (I really don't think anyone disagreed, honestly) stated that personal is good... as long as the blog continues with my awesome book reviews and other features. Which, of course, it will. So I guess... consider this top part as my first personal post.
And as for the blog...
I'm going to do away with schedules. They don't like me. But don't worry; you'll still keep getting all the cool things you get now, just maybe not on all the same dates. Author features will, however, be on the same days (Wednesdays, for all the kids who haven't noticed). Unless it's an exception.
And as you've guys have probably noticed, I usually do this on Sunday but I was a little busy... so here we go, at 3:46 in the morning, here is your schedule for the upcoming week...
Book reviews... two at least, one cross posted on another blog? hmm... we'll have to keep our eyes out for that one.
Guest blog... I believe From the Corner of Megan's Mind is playing hostess to Daphne Grab this week.
Extra entry opportunities... for sure one, maybe more.
Special surprise? We'll just have to see how it goes :]
Oh, and I think there's a review scheduled for later today. You know, when people are actually awake. So happy blogging!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Geena was definitely looking forward to this summer. She, her cousin Hero, and her best friend Amber were going to spend it all together. They were going to work together at the Triple Shot Betty, have sleepovers, paint each others’ toenails…
Her daydream crashed and burned when the two girls meet and instantly clash. They are completely different, Geena admits. While Geena is classified as a typical Skater Girl, Amber’s known for her not so innocent past, and Hero looks like an overprotected innocent princess.
Enter the guys: cute Italian, Geena’s “rival”, and the hottest guy in the city. But when Hero and Amber are messed with by the hottest guy in the city, Geena swears revenge. And when the three Betties are united with a common enemy, there’s nothing they can’t do.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Today we have a guest blog from Sara Hantz
Sara Hantz started writing when she ran out of degrees to study and decided it was much more fun to make things up than to comment on dry academics. Born in England, she moved to New Zealand a few years ago with her husband and two children. The Second Virginity of Suzy Green is Sara's first novel.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Hello, fellow book lovers! I've been meaning to ask you all a question. What's your opinion on a blogger posting about personal things?
Do you guys think that I should post about personal things? Or should I just keep it strictly to books/authors/etc.?
And I'd like to think that you'll respond without a reason, but sometimes that's just not true. So, you get an extra entry to mystery contest #2 if you respond.
But, you have to have emailed me with your first entry (see post here) in order to receive the extra entry. And as a warning now and to future entries, if you do not answer the question I've asked, your entry does not count.
Posted by paperxxflowers at 12:14 PM
Monday, July 7, 2008
Mercy O’Connor is becoming an angel. She can feel the wings coming from her shoulder blades. Sometimes, she can hear them, and sometimes they are very uncomfortable. So she knows she’s becoming an angel. And angels don’t need to eat. So she doesn’t eat. Her parents, however, are not as sure.
Out of concern, her parents send her to a clinic called Mercywood that specializes in eating disorders. Mercy can’t understand why. She can see the other girls there definitely need help. But, she knows she doesn’t have an eating disorder. She doesn’t care about her weight. But when no one else can see her wings, Mercy begins to doubt. What if she’s killing herself?
I have to admit, I did take the first line of my review from the back of the book. It just seemed too perfect not to use it. So there, it’s cited. Mercy, Unbound was an amazing book. I was a little apprehensive when I saw that it only had 165 pages, but this book continued to surprise me. The lesson Mercy had to learn was deep. The number of pages didn’t keep the message away.
I loved Mercy’s character. Kim Antieau allowed half of the novel to be Mercy’s thoughts, and it gave a clear insight on her character. The more I would read this book, the more I would hope that Mercy would be okay. If you’re looking for a deep, meaningful read with a short page count, this is the book for you.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Sorry again fellow booklovers. I've been working for the past few days and am just *exhausted*. I haven't had time to put together any new exciting posts, or write some reviews, or compile contest links betweeen last Thursday and today. Hopefully I'll get to writing some more wonderful reviews for all you wonderful people.
However, I will tell you that mystery contest number 2 is starting NOW!
(Sorry, all you out of US booklovers [I love you!]. Even number contest means that it's only open to US residents.)
If you'd like to be entered, please email me (subj: Mystery Contest #2) and tell me the book you most enjoyed reading this summer!
As always, you can get extra entries for blogging about this contest and linking to it.
So here's what's coming up this week:
Book Reviews (maybe start posting another review on a weekend? scheduled? I'd love some input!)
Guest blog with Sara Hantz
(hopefully!) Maintenance to the blog
Look for reviews of these books soon:
The Year of Disappearances (also cross posted on the awesome blog Genre of the Month)
How to be Bad
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty
Debbie Harry Sings in French
My TBR list is now almost non existant. Uh oh.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Today, our visiting author is Stephanie Kuehnert.
Stephanie Kuehnert got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist 'zines. Stephanie received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago. Her debut novel, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone—a raw, edgy emotional tale about growing up punk and living to tell—will be published by MTV Books in July 2008. You can visit her at http://www.stephaniekuehnert.com/ or www.myspace.com/theblacknotebooks.
My debut YA novel I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone officially comes out on July 8th. That’s less than one week away. People keep asking me if I’m excited, which, duh, of course I am, but I’m also totally freaked.
I had a lot of different hobbies when I was younger. I couldn’t seem to settle on one particular thing to stick with (besides writing, which I’ve been doing since I learned how). I played clarinet for a couple years, then I was in Chorus, and I’ve taken guitar lessons on three separate occasions. I had a painting phase, a drawing phase, and a ceramic phase. I quit ballet for gymnastics, quit gymnastics for stage crew, and quit stage crew to act.
Eighth grade was my actress year. I was in three plays that year. I loved trying out, I loved rehearsing, and then performance time came… My stomach twisted in knots. I couldn’t sleep. I wondered why in the world did I do this to myself? I hate addressing large groups of people. I’m a shy person by nature. I’m much happier hanging out with one or two friends or in my room by myself listening to music and reading. Why, oh why, did I sign up to go out and perform in front of all these people?
Yeah, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now. I’ve lined up this whole slew of events to celebrate the release of my book and now I realize that I have to *do* them. I’ve gotta read in front of people, many of them strangers in other cities. I’ve gotta worry if people are even going to show up. In fact, it’s kind of even worse because with plays at least I didn’t write the dialogue I was speaking or the action I was performing. I wasn’t responsible for the whole story, just a small piece of it. Now I wrote the thing and I have to perform it. And yes, I’ve been rehearsing by doing open mics and appearing at reading events with friendly familiar audiences for awhile now, but it hasn’t made it any less scary. Seriously, can we just call the whole thing off???
No. No, I can’t. In fact, Amazon.com is already selling the book before the official release date, so it’s out there right now for the masses to judge. And plane tickets have been bought and commitments have been made, so I’ve gotta do the events like I promised. *Sigh* So now I have to remember the rest of the eighth grade actress experience, which is that once I got onstage and got into my role, I loved it. It was a great rush. I enjoyed the applause and I never majorly screwed up and when I got criticism it made me a better actress. Besides, unlike acting, which was just a phase, writing is my life and is the only thing I never quit to try something else. So I really have no choice, but to step on the stage and enjoy my moment. If I’m in a town near you, I hope you will come enjoy it with me.
Well... I thought I had scheduled a post for yesterday of contest links, but apparently I hadn't. Sorry guys! I still haven't unpacked from my trip and all. But, later you guys will get an awesome guest blog! So check in for that laters.
In the meantime, I'll tryyyyyy to get things back the way the schedule dictates. (But, I might end up doing away with the contest links on tuesdays and do something else. Then just posting contest links when I come across them. Which is wayyy easier.)
Posted by paperxxflowers at 12:13 AM