Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bookanista Thursday: LIKE MANDARIN

It's been a little while since I've done a Bookanista post, but that's what happens when you're all of a sudden doing promo for one book, revising another, and drafting a third.  Holy cow, I've been busy!  But luckily I had a chance a few weeks back to go to Kirsten Hubbard's LIKE MANDARIN launch, where I got my very own signed copy, and until I finished it, most everything else fell by the wayside because it is that gorgeous. 

From Goodreads:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Review:
There are some books I read and enjoy.  Others I read and adore.  And then, there are some I wish I'd written because they are so achingly beautiful.  LIKE MANDARIN is one of those ones. 

From the very first sentence: "The winds in Washokey make people go crazy," to the moment I reluctantly closed the book, I was captivated by Hubbard's writing.  The wildwinds whistle through the pages, and poignant emotions tumble through the space between the words.  Her prose sings.

And characters dance.

Grace, with all of her quirkiness and insecurity, is so tenderly written that you can't help but be there with her, yearning to break of her small town and be something different.

Someone like Mandarin.

And Mandarin. She's one of those almost mythic characters, so big and bold you can't help but be taken with her. But she's troubled too.  Vulnerable.  Scared.

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that every bit of it is gorgeously rendered: the stark beauty of the badlands, the sensuous draw of Mandarin, and Grace's intense, tenuous relationship with her.  Hubbard captures the hugeness of the land and wind as expertly as she does the complicated nature of friendship and admiration between girls.  And what you get when you finish is a story that stays with you long after you've read its last lines.

If you've yet to read this gem, go get it.  You'll wish you'd written it.

And while you're at it, check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:


Monday, March 28, 2011

Moonglass Inspiration 1: Crystal Cove

A few weeks back, the brilliant Kirsten Hubbard featured a series that highlighted the inspirations for her AMAZING debut novel, LIKE MANDARIN.  I was so intrigued and inspired by her inspirations, I asked if she'd mind if I borrowed her brilliant idea.  Since she's one of the nicest people I've ever met, she said yes!


We're gonna kick it off big here, with Setting.  Moonglass is set in Crystal Cove, CA, which is a REAL PLACE!  It's actually a State Park, and if you haven't come for a visit yet, you must. It's a place
made of magic.  Really.  There is something so poignantly beautiful about Crystal Cove that I can’t define it in any other way.  I grew up in the mountains, but I love this place like I’ve been here my whole life. Being here is like falling through a crack in history and going back in time to a place that captures the beauty of simplicity.  From the crash of waves over the rocks to the tumbling-down cottages and serene sunsets, this place inspired MOONGLASS in every sense of the word. 
See for yourself!

An old artist's studio that now houses educational exhibits.

The cottage that inspired Anna's mother's house.  It's actually the one they used in the movie Beaches.

View from a cottage.

The best time of day.

This week, in celebration of Crystal Cove, I'll be giving away the following prize pack to one lucky winner on Saturday:

Crystal Cove T-Shirt, Coffee Mug, Magnet, and assorted maps and other info about my favorite place in the whole wide world:

You know you want to enter...Here's how:

It's easy! Comment on this blog post and you'll automatically be entered to win. 

Wanna snag a few extra entries?  Do this:

*Become a follower of the blog (+1) Give yourself a point if you already are too.  All twelve of you.
*Post a link on your blog (+1)
*Tweet it (+1)
*Share it on FB (+1)

Leave your total numer of entries in your comment.  I'm willing to use the honor system if you are.  Contest closes Friday at noon, PST.  Winner will be announced on Saturday.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Countdown Begins...Moonglass Inspirations and Giveaways Starting Monday!!!

I promised in the last post that there would be giveaways coming, but what I didn't say is that there would be five weeks' worth! Starting Monday, March 28th and running through May 3rd, I'll be posting each week about one of the inspirations behind Moonglass and then giving away prize packs to go along with them!

The Basics:

* I will post and announce the giveaway each Monday.
* Contest will be open through Friday at noon PST
* Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Saturday

How to enter:

It's so easy! Earn one entry each week for commenting on the Monday Moonglass Inspiration post.

Want to increase your odds? Snag some extra entries this way:

*Follow me!
*Tweet it!
*Post it!
*FB it!

How many ways is that? FIVE! Maximum number of entries? FIVE!

Easy, right?  Good.  Then all you have to do to enter is comment, and leave your total # of entries in your comment.  I'm willing to work on the honor system if you are.

Hope to see you back here Monday for Inspiration #1:

Crystal Cove

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Six Weeks!!

Yesterday began the six week countdown to the release of Moonglass and the beginning of me freaking out.  What was once SO FAR AWAY is now thisclose.  And what am I doing?  Revising Book #2, writing Book #3, planning a release party, coming up with giveaways.

Yep.  Giveaways. 

Got your attention now?  Good, because starting next week I will be giving away all sorts of awesomeness, from signed books to sea glass necklaces(red!) and mermaid bookmarks.  Seriously, you don't want to miss this stuff, especially since it comes from the real Crystal Cove!

So check back in.  You won't be sorry.

And maybe by then I'll be able to post the full details of the Moonglass Launch and Signing.  Can't give everything away just yet, but it's May 7th, and if you're there, I promise you'll feel like you just stepped into the story...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Would Have Given Anything To Be Like...

In Like Mandarin, 14-year-old Grace Carpenter would give anything to be like Mandarin Ramey. Mandarin is 17, wild, and a force almost as strong as the Washokey wildwinds.Like Mandarin

From Grace: Sure, maybe most of the attention Mandarin got was negative. But it wasn't the kind of disdainful brainfreak attention I got, when I got any at all. Hers was lust. And jealousy. Because even as they condemned her, every single girl wanted to be her.
But nobody more than me.
I want to be beautiful like you, I thought, as if Mandarin were listening.
I want apricot skin and Pocahontas hair and eyes the color of tea. I want to be confident and detached and effortlessly sensual, and if promiscuity is part of the package, I will gladly follow your lead. All I know is I'm so tired of being inside my body.
I would give anything to be like Mandarin.

In honor of LIKE MANDARIN'S release, Kirsten Hubbard has been inviting people to blog about who their Mandarin was, or is, for that matter.

any one of my friends, all for small, different reasons.  I've always heard it said that we're drawn to the people who exhibit the traits we admire and wish we had.  For me, those people are my friends.  My best friends in high school were a mix of the things I wanted to be.  Where I was on the shy side, soft-spoken and a little unsure, they were witty and self-assured, brash and a touch wild.

And now, some of my friends have changed along the way, but the things I'm drawn to are the same. The people I'm closest to and admire most now are still witty and self-assured, still a little wild, and still say things I wish I had the guts to say and wear things I'd give anything to be able to pull off.  They inspire me to cultivate those qualities in myself.  They also make me feel good about who I am, just as I am.  I don't think any of us ever grow out of the desire to be a little more or a little different, but the beautiful thing is, if we surround ourselves with the right people, we don't have to.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today: Cover Lovin'!

So excited to get to help reveal a fellow Bookanista cover today!  I present to you, AUDITION, by Stasia Ward Kehoe. 

Once you've been chosen,
what step can you take...?

Seventeen-year-old Sara's dream of becoming a star ballerina is challenged when she falls for Remington, an older choreographer. Instead of success onstage, she becomes Rem's muse, which is a future she never considered--and one that threatens to break her heart.

Cannot wait to read this one!  With it's romance and dreamers, it's right up my alley.  And, well...the cover model isn't too hard to look at either. 

Congrats Stasia on a beautiful cover!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bookanista Thursday!

So much excitement this week!  The fabulous Roeker sisters released Liar Society and turned the world pink, The Bookanistas have a very special cover reveal tomorrow, and I finally get to review ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis!!!

Across the Universe, by Beth Revis 

Okay, I know I'm late to the party on this, but this week I'm honored to be reviewing ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, by Beth Revis, who I'm pretty sure is some kind of genius.  I got to read this powerhouse, NYT Bestseller this last weekend while I was at the airport, waiting five hours for my flight out of San Francisco.  I didn't eat.  Or get up to go to the bathroom.  Let me tell you, by the time they called my boarding group, the thought of getting into an enclosed metal "airship" was almost more than frightening than the prospect of another few hours in the black vinyl seats of the waiting area, thanks to the talented Beth Revis.  Before we get to the review, though let's take a moment to admire her gorgeous cover, because really, it's so, so perfect.                                            

If you haven’t read the story yet, here’s what Goodreads has to say about it:

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Review:
I must preface this by saying that I don’t usually read science fiction, unless you count the endless Star Wars books my son has me read to him.  It’s just a genre that hasn’t caught me. 

But this. 

This is science fiction/suspense/dystopian/thriller/romance, all packed into the claustrophobic metal hull of The Godspeed.  And Beth has proven to me that it’s not about the genre, but the characters, whom I absolutely loved.  Amy and Elder are the kind of well-drawn characters you root for and get angry for when obstacles are thrown in their way.  Which believe me, they are.  They’re the kind of characters you feel empathy for and can relate to, even when they’re on a spaceship, hundreds of years in the future.

And then there’s the writing. 

Beth paints a crystal clear picture of the sanitized, cold world they inhabit, and she does it with clean, efficient prose that’s subtle and sure.  Reading Beth’s book is like sitting down to listen to the best storyteller you know and diving headlong into the world she's created.  She knows when to give a little and when to hold back, and that’s a ridiculously difficult balance to maintain.  But she does it beautifully, because I cannot wait to see where the story takes us next!

Check out where the other Bookanistas are taking us this week:

Click here to join The Bookanista Book Club at The Reading Room where you can check out all the books we're buzzing about!