Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interview with Lisa Greenwald

Lisa Greenwald is the other of the upcoming young adult novel, My Life In Pink & Green. It is being released March 1, 2009. Click here to preorder it!


What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I'm not writing, I like to read (of course,) go to the movies, and go out to eat. I also like to people watch and walk around New York City. I'm not really a party-all-night kind of person and I prefer to go places where I can wear jeans and a hooded sweatshirt.

How long did it take you to write My Life In Pink & Green?

I started MY LIFE IN PINK & GREEN in the spring of 2007 and I sold it in November of 2007 but then I did a few revisions after that. I'd say it took about a year and a half.

How did you come up with the title?

Actually my fabulous agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin came up with the title so I can't take any of the credit. I know a great title when I see one, but it's very hard for me to think of them on my own!

Are the experiences in MLIP&G based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Most of MLIP&G is totally fictional but my grandfather was a pharmacist and he told me many stories about owning a pharmacy. My mom would help out there so she also told me stories about working behind the counter and talking to the customers. And even though the rest is totally made up, I think that I'm a little bit like Lucy. I worry like she does and I like to try to find ways to help when people are struggling. Also, Sunny is based on my best friend growing up. I loved her family and spending time at her house and learning about her culture.

Who is your favorite author and why?

My favorite book of all time is TUCK EVERLASTING by Natalie Babbitt. I read it in 6th grade and fell in love with it immediately. The characters felt so real to me, the writing is beautiful and the concept of living forever fascinates me. As for other favorite authors, I love Gabrielle Zevin, John Steinbeck, Ann Packer and Melissa Bank.

Who is your favorite band/singer and why?

This is a hard question! I can tell you my favorite song is "When a man loves a woman" by Percy Sledge. My other favorite singers/bands are: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Dar Williams. I like songs that tell stories and songs that take a stand on events/circumstances going on in the world.

Are you working on any other novels?

Yes, right now I'm working on another tween novel. This one is about a girl going to the summer camp that her mother went to. I'm also beginning an adult book. I love writing for teens but the main character in this story is 21 so it's for slightly older readers.

Why did you choose to write books geared toward young adults?

I chose to write books geared toward young adults because in many ways I still feel like I'm a teenager. I remember middle school better than any other time in my life. I think the stories and experiences of young adults are the most interesting and often the most inspiring.

What advice to you have for aspiring novelists?

Write about what's important to you. Don't worry about writing anything groundbreaking or trying to write commercial fiction and don't think at all about following trends. Write what's meaningful to you and the passion and heart will come through.

Can you summarize the plot of My Life in Pink & Green?

I'm terrible at writing summaries actually. But you can visit my website for a summary:

If MLIP&G were made into a movie, who would play the characters?

I'd pick Abigail Breslin to play Lucy. I'd pick Laura Linney or Mary Louise Parker to play Lucy's mom and Mimi Weddell to play Lucy's Grandma. She's a little old for the part but the makeup people can make her look younger and I love her. I don't have anyone in mind for Sunny so I'd love to do an open casting call where kids could come and be discovered! When I was that age, I really wanted to get discovered and even went on a few casting calls! It was so much fun.


Thanks for the interview, Lisa! I'm really excited to read My Life In Pink & Green!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro

Synopsis from

Parker Stanhope has played soccer practically since she could walk. And now that she’s a high school junior, everything she’s worked for is finally coming together. She’s paid her dues on the field, and as an upperclassman, she’s a shoo-in for the varsity team. But that’s not what happens.

This year, Coach Hartley moved up every JV player but two—and one of those two was Parker. Now, she’s stuck with the freshmen, her friends are cutting her loose, and her love of the game is seriously beginning to fail. But Parker is determined to get her life back. She has to get on the varsity team, and she has the perfect plan. All she needs now is the right kind of coach.

If I had to describe this book in one word it would be "aww." There were sad "awws" as well as adorable "awws." I really felt sad for Parker when she didn't make varsity. I was happy for her when things were developing with Tristan. I think that her relationship with her neighbor is a great example of how you can't control your feelings for someone and sometimes you fall in love with people you never expected to even like.

I really liked that Tristan ended up being a great guy and not just some immature kid. It was interesting that he had more kissing experience than she did even though he was a freshman and she was a junior. That definitely made for some complications in their relationship. Their kissing lessons were lots of fun to read about.

The writing: great.
Characters: anything but flat.

I can definitely see myself reading this book again in the future. This would be the perfect romantic comedy novel to curl up with on a rainy day - or a sunny day for that matter. I really enjoyed reading this book and I think any teenage reader will, too!

5 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yay! An Award!

I received my first award!
Lots of love to Ashley from Ashley's Bookshelf!

Rules are: Write 5 things you’re addicted to and then nominate 5 other blogs to pass this award on to!

1) Books, of course. I literally never go anywhere without one.

2) Music. My iPod earbuds are permanently implanted in my ears.

3) The Internet. If I'm not on Blogger, I'm on AIM, Myspace, or checking my email.

4) Friends. My blog and I would be nothing without them!

5) Cheesecake. Hands down the best dessert ever.

5 Blogs I Nominate For This Award:

The Epic Rat
Wondrous Reads
Melange's Book Reviews
Katie's Book Blog
Kiss My Book

In My Mailbox 2/16-2/22

All the credit for creating the In My Mailbox feature goes to The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Decent haul this week! =]

From the author or publisher:

Miracle Girls #2: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt

Something Happened by Greg Logsted

A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn (ARC)

Secrets Unveiled by Sheshana Pledger

The Debs by Susan McBride (SIGNED), a ton of bookmarks, & some mini tiaras


Perfect, Unbelievable, & Wicked by Sara Shepard

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam

If I get one more book, I'll have to start TBR Pile #2. =]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Watch This Video If You're A Fan of Melissa Walker & Mari Mancusi!

Watch this video if you're a fan of Melissa Walker or Mari Mancusi!
Mari Mancusi is having contest and all you have to do to be entered is post or link to this video. Go here for more info.

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Synopsis from

Nina was beautiful, artistic, wild . . . and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, without any warning, Nina disappeared.

Two years later, Ellie can't stop thinking about her sister. Although everyone else has given up hope that Nina will return, Elile just knows her sister is out there, somewhere. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.

And then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing tucked into the pages of a book. Determined to find her sister, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy, cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance -- her hot, adventurous new crush.

Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Mysteries. Lies. And something far ore shocking -- the truth.

This book really surprised me. I had a little trouble getting into it at first but things picked up pretty quickly. I read the first 3/4 of it and I'm thinking "okay, this is a cute story" but then once I got to the last fourth of it the whole mood changed completely. I'm not really sure if I liked how it went from fun and lighthearted to dark and sinister in such a short amount of time. I thought the ending was shocking and unexpected. I definitely didn't see it coming. There was more than one laugh out loud moment. I can see myself rereading this in the future. I recommend this novel if you like road trip stories, siblings finding each other, or general chick lit.

4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald

Synopsis from

Take an administrative snafu, a bad breakup, and what shall heretofore be known as "The Hot-Tub Incident," and you’ve got two unprepared sophomores on a semester abroad. For American party girl Tasha, an escape to Oxford may be a chance to ditch her fame as a tabloid temptress, but wading Uggs-deep in feminist theory is not her idea of a break. Meanwhile, the British half of the exchange, studious Emily, nurses an aching heart amid the bikinis and beer pong of U.C. Santa Barbara. Soon desperation has the girls texting each other tips — on fitting in, finding love, and figuring out who they really are. With an anthropologist’s eye for detail and a true ear for teen-speak, exciting new novelist Abby McDonald has crafted a funny, fast-paced, poignant look at survival, sisterhood, and the surprising ways we discover our true selves.

Sophomore Switch was a lot of fun to read. I think it would be really exciting to be a foreign exchange student so this novel was particularly interesting to me. Emily and Natasha were realistic characters and most everyone will be able to relate to one of them. I really liked the feministic movement that one of the girls became involved in later in the novel. (Hope that wasn't too spoilerish) It had just the right blend of girl power and boy craziness. I thought it was very well-written. I'm looking forward to more from Abby McDonald. I recommend this book if foreign exchange, feminism, or film college majors appeal to you. Fans of general chick lit will also enjoy this novel. Sophomore Switch is being released on March 10, 2009 so be on the lookout for it next month!

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby

Synopsis from

Quiet, unpopular, non-cheerleading Mia is blissfully happy. She is dating super hot football god Rob, and he actually likes her and asked her to prom! Enter Samantha-cheerleading goddess and miss popularity- who starts making a move for Rob. With prom in a few days, Mia needs to act fast. So she turns to her best friend, Candice, and decides to do a love spell on Rob. Unfortunately, she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class, making herself their leader! At first she is flattered that everyone is treating her like a queen. But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up, because in a few days, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. She's sure she and Chase can figure something out, but she suggests that no one wear white to prom, because things could get very messy.

Zombie Queen of Newbury High was on okay book. It was entertaining when I was reading it, but now I realize it wasn't all that memorable. As far as paranormal books go, this one was definitely not the best I've ever read. I just wasn't fond of the characters. A lot of the storyline was a cliche - Mia is trying to snag the "super hot football god" and the head cheerleader is trying to stop her. That just wasn't appealing to me. If you're into that sort of thing, this book might be for you. If not, you might want to pass on this one.

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In My Mailbox 2/9-2/15

The In My Mailbox feature was created by The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

I received some great books and goodies this week! I think I'm going to have to start a new TBR pile...

From the Jessica Verday:

2 The Hollow postcards (1 of them signed), tattoos, stickers, and a bookmark with a teaser quote.

From Amber Kizer:

One Butt Cheek At A Time by Amber Kizer (Signed paperback)
3 bookmarks and a sheet of stickers

From the author/publisher:

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee (ARC)

Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten (ARC)

TMI by Sarah Quigley (ARC)

From BookDivas:

Robert Pattinson: Fated For Fame by Mel Williams
I was soo excited to get this one because Rob is GORGEOUS. =]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the other of quite a few novels for all age groups. Her upcoming young adult novel Crazy Beautiful will be released on September 7, 2009. The countdown widget for it can be found in the sidebar of my blog. I encourage you to add it to your blog!


According to your website, Crazy Beautiful is "a contemporary re-visioning of Beauty & the Beast." How so?

CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is told in he-said/she-said fashion and is similar to Beauty & the Beast in many ways. Both stories feature characters who are judged by most of the world - one positively, one negatively - strictly based on what can be seen on the surface. There's also the theme of impossible love. And - without giving too many secrets away! - there's a handsome boy who is evil like Gaston, and a librarian father who is widowed. Yet, despite it's debt to classic fairy tales, CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is also a very modern story of teens just trying to fit in.

Speaking of Beauty & the Beast, what's your favorite fairy tale?

I do like Beauty & the Beast for the way it's set apart from other fairy tales - it's really the only one of the major ones that features the male as more than just a device to make the girl look good and to save her in the end. But if I have to pick a favorite, I think I'll go with Sleeping Beauty, because if I'm going to live in a fairy tale I want the prince to have to do something grand to save me in the end like battling a fire-breathing dragon on a narrow bridge.

Which character in Crazy Beautiful are you most like?

The librarian father, maybe? Really, I don't think I'm most like any of them, certainly not the lead characters Lucius and Aurora. That said, there's a part of each of them in me and I suspect that's true of a lot of us. Like Lucius, sometimes the greatest tragedies in my life are of my own making; and like Aurora, I sometimes fail to see my strengths in the ways that others view them. And yeah, like the librarian father, I really am gaga about books.

What sets Crazy Beautiful apart from other YA novels?

Oh, I think I'll leave that one to readers to decide. After all, if I attempt an answer, won't people say, "Ooh, doesn't she think she's special?" The only answer I'm qualified to give would be to say how it differs from my previous YA novels, ANGEL'S CHOICE and SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE, and that would be that due to using the he-said/she-said format, and writing each of Lucius' and Aurora's perspectives in first person, this is the first time in my career that I've channeled the voice of a boy. It has been both challenging and fun in ways I hadn't dreamed.

How did you decide on Crazy Beautiful for the title of your upcoming novel?

Finally - an easy question! It's because the rumor about Lucius is that he's crazy and the first thing anyone thinks about Aurora is that she's beautiful.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Read. I read an insane amount of books. I also like to spend time with my family and friends. And, occasionally, I still get out to shoot pool.

You've written books geared toward all age groups from children to adult. Which age group is your favorite to write for and why?

I love them all, and I'm not just saying that so none of the genres or age groups I write for will be offended! Seriously, each one stretches different writing muscles and I'm grateful to have a writing career in which I can pursue so many different writing interests. That said, I am particularly fond of THE SISTERS EIGHT series for young readers, because I created it with my novelist husband Greg Logsted and our nine-year-old daughter Jackie. Readers can learn more about the series at How could I not be partial to the series I got to create with my kid??? But of course, I adore writing YA, because it's just such a fascinating age group to write for and about. And then there's writing for adults, which I love because... Do you see how hard this question is for me?

Can you give us a teaser quote from Crazy Beautiful?

From Lucius, who opens the book:
My arm rises toward my face and the pincer touch of cold steel rubs against my jaw.
I chose hooks because they were cheaper.
I chose hooks because I wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly.
I chose hooks so that everyone would know I was different, so I would scare even myself.
And then when Aurora's voice enters into the story 10 pages later, it sounds like this:
I hear the dog alarm go off in the same instant I become aware of the first morning light in my room. I like rising early, like sleeping with the blinds open because I’m scared of the dark.
In the dark, almost anything can happen.

What are you reading right now?

Graceling, the YA novel by Kristin Cashore, and it's absolutely glorious.

What advice to you have for aspiring novelists? The YA book blogging community?

For aspiring novelists, I always give the same two pieces of advice: read, read, read everything you can get your hands on because you need to be a good reader if you want to be a good writer; and always remember, the only person who can ever really take you out of the game is you.
As for my advice to the YA blogging community, it's simple: keep doing what you're doing! I've been in the publishing business in one capacity or another - independent bookseller, Publishers Weekly reviewer, freelance editor, novelist - for over a quarter of a century and I've never seen anything like the enthusiasm that the YA book blogging community brings to the table. Every time I read another article bemoaning the supposed fact that teens don't read anymore, I think about all of you and realize that about some things the conventional journalists don't appear to have a clue. You people rock.


Thanks, Lauren! I can't wait to read Crazy Beautiful!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Updates

As you all probably know, Ashley from Books Make Great Lovers has started up a newsletter for YA bloggers. I'm in charge of the New Bloggers feature. So if you're new to the YA blogging community or know of someone that is, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me! My email is listed under the Contact section of my sidebar or you can always comment.

I've got everything put back together on the sidebar (everything got deleted when I changed my layout earlier in the week.) I'm not sure if I added everyone to the link list, though, so if you're not listed there and you want to be (even if you weren't before) just let me know!

I haven't been blogging for all that long so I'm still trying to get the hang of things. So in order to improve my blogging skills I have a few questions for you, my readers. Does it make a difference to you if I write my own summary of a book as opposed to just copying and pasting the synopsis from another website? What can I do to make my reviews better? Are there any other features you would like to see on my blog? Would it be totally lame if I changed the name of my blog now? It is rather unoriginal.. Any other comments or advice?
Thanks for all your help!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott

Synopsis from

In a world of clashing cultures, a girl fights for freedom — and finds a surpring romantic ally — after learning a startling truth about her identity. Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fi fteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.

This was one of the best books I've read in awhile. It was so action-packed - seriously, there was never a boring moment. I don't think there was ever a time where I was like "man, I wish she'd just get on with it!" It was fast-paced, funny, and there was even a few "aww" moments. A few unexpected plot twists also helped liven things up. Marriott's wonderful writing makes you really feel Zira/Zahira's emotions. The setting made me think of the landscape depicted in the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini. Another aspect that I can't say because it would ruin it also reminded me of that series. I haven't read Marriott's other novel, The Swan Kingdom, but after reading Daughter of the Flames, I think it would be worth my time. I definitely recommend Daughter of the Flames if you're looking for a quick-paced, action-packed novel. According to, this novel comes out tomorrow so be on the lookout for it!

4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In My Mailbox 2/2-2/8

I got a lot of awesome books this week! I'm really excited to read them. I'm pretty sure this is the most ARCs I've ever gotten in one week. Yay! =]

From Candlewick:

Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott ARC
I read this one already. I'm planning on posting the review tomorrow.
Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald ARC
Reading this one now and loving it.
Hidden Voices by Pat Lowery Collins ARC
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones ARC
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

From the author/publisher:

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

From contests:

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson
This is the second copy I've won of this book. Anyone want it? It's a brand new paperback.

The In My Mailbox feature was created by The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson

I'm feeling lazy again today, so here's the synopsis from

After discovering that someone saw what looked like Dan’s emergency EpiPen in A-lister Plum’s designer handbag, Scarlett and her tough American sidekick, Taylor, sneak into a posh London nightclub, where Plum has a private table. Scarlett is stunned to discover a piece of evidence that might implicate another girl in Plum’s exclusive circle, Lucy Raleigh. Which means Scarlett must cast a wider net in order to catch the right suspect. Back at school, groundskeeper Jase is hoping to take Scarlett’s mind off her troubles with some heart-stopping kisses. Scarlett can’t help but feel guilty for indulging in romantic rendezvous when she should be hunting down Dan’s killer. However, once Scarlett finds out how Lucy is connected to Dan, she knows she must drop everything and travel to the McAndrew estate in Scotland to hunt for more clues. But when she arrives, Scarlett becomes the target of a dangerous hunt herself.

I loved Kisses and Lies even more than I loved Kiss Me Kill Me. And I REALLY liked Kiss Me Kill Me. You can read my review of that here.
I was really surprised by who Dan's murderer turned out to be. The person's reasoning behind it was also rather shocking. Like I said in my review of Kiss Me Kill Me, I can't get enough of the British dialect. It's just fascinating to me for some reason. The ending was quite satisfying and even made me laugh a little. This novel definitely kept my attention all the way through. I recommend Kisses and Lies if you liked Kiss Me Kill Me. Also, general chick lit or mystery fans will eat this book up.

5 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blog Updates

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me and told me that my comments weren't working. I messed with the settings and got a new layout and now everything's working. So those of you who wanted to comment and couldn't, I apologize. Feel free to do so now.

You may have noticed that the sidebar is looking pretty bare. I'm in the process of putting everything back there, they got deleted when I put in the new template code. Be patient!

I plan to post a review of Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson sometime this weekend. Also, an In My Mailbox post is probably in the near future. So be on the lookout for those!

Any thoughts on the new template? Is it too bare? Ugly pattern? I want to hear what you think - the good and the bad!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

I usually write my own summary but I'm feeling lazy today so here's the synopsis from

When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then . . . Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.

This book is one of my new favorites. It so suspenseful, I just couldn't put it down. I read it in about a day. I loved the British dialect - things like "bloody hell" and "oh bugger" cracked me up. Kiss Me Kill Me was a murder mystery with elements of classic chick lit and touches of boy and family problems. The ending will have you running to Borders to get the sequel. I recommend this book if you like mystery, chick lit, and/or the author's other novels.

5 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 2, 2009

Boy Minus Girl by Richard Uhlig

Ever since Charity Conners moved to Harker City, Les Eckhardt has been in serious crush mode. With tips from The Seductive Man and advice from his Uncle Ray to help him, he is determined to make her his girlfriend. His plan is coming along nicely until Charity drops a bomb that will change their whole relationship. His Uncle Ray isn't making life any easier - his ex-girlfriend shows up with some big news and a local man wants him dead. Les also has to deal with the school bully and his overprotective parents. Who said high school was easy?

This book was...different. The storyline was definitely original. I would've liked to see more depth in the characters, though. I liked that it was set in the 1980s. It was funny but in a way that some people might find it inappropriate. I was picturing Les looking like a younger Michael Cera (who played Paulie Bleaker in the movie Juno.) Uncle Ray was my least favorite character and if he was a real person I would've felt like slapping him across the face at the end. You'll see why if you read it. I'd say you should be at least 15 to read this book because there are some slightly gross moments. Boy Minus Girl was interesting when I read it but now I realize that it wasn't all that memorable or something I would want to read over and over again. It does have a lesson to it - role models aren't always the people you perceive them to be. I recommend this book if you liked Richard Uhlig's other books or if you're looking for a quirky standalone book.

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 1, 2009

In My Mailbox 1/26-2/1

I got some great books this week! My number of books in my TBR pile is growing faster than I can read them!

From Zondervan:

Carter House Girls series #5- Lost In Vegas by Melody Carlson

From authors/publishers:

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby (ARC)
Hot Mess: Summer In the City by Julie Kraut & Shallon Lester

From contests:

Hey Diddle Diddle, the Corpse and the Fiddle by Fran Rizer
Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

From BookDivas:

Nights In Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks

The In My Mailbox feature was created by The Story Siren. You can find out more about it here.