Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mara Dyer Fabulousness!

If you are a fan of YA Lit, you've probably heard of a little book that just came out this week called THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER.  You know, the dark, twisty, sexy debut by Michelle Hodkin?  The one with this gorgeous cover:

And this BRILLIANT trailer:

Believe me--like the book, this is NOT something you want to miss out on.  So go! Now!

Then check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week!

Elana Johnson interviews Elle Strauss, author of Clockwise
LiLa Roecker discusses S R Johannes' e-book experiment
Christine Fonseca is wowed by The White Assassin - with giveaway
Shannon Whitney Messenger loves Lola & the Boy Next Door – with giveaway
Beth Revis delights in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – with giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells falls for Fracture
Carolina Valdez Miller adores Ashfall – with giveaway
 Shana Silver steps up to Audition
Corrine Jackson is crazy about Cracked
Stasia Ward Kehoe swoons for Swan and To Dance


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Fall Events!

So today I opened up my calendar to the month of October, and holy wow, it's shaping up to be a busy one! I've got lots of fun author events and appearances lined up.  Things like:

The Orange County Children's Book Festival
This is a FREE event and takes place on Sunday, October 2nd.  I'll be on the "Keepin' it Real Panel," which is hosted by superstar writer Heidi Kling, and includes authors Lindsey Leavitt (Sean Griswold's Head), Kirsten Hubbard (Like Mandarin), and Andrew Smith (Stick, Marbury Lens). More details here!

Debut Author Signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego

This event will take place on Wednesday October 19th at 7pm, with Kirsten Hubbard, Elana Johnson, and Corey Whaley. If you're in the San Diego area, come see us!

Oceanside Barnes and Noble: Four Fabulous Authors on One Night!

On Thursday, October 20th, I'll be teaming up with fellow debut authors Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back), Elana Johnson (Possession), and Kirsten Hubbard (Like Mandarin), for a fabulous, fun-filled evening. Come see us!

SoCal Independent Bookseller's Association Author's Feast and Tradeshow

This event takes place on Saturday, October 22nd, and is one I am definitely looking forward to! I'll be the totally starstruck one with this list of attending authors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

1st IN HONOR Giveaway!!! Jacket Proofs and a Special Sneak Peek!!!

I love emails from my editor that end in multiple exclamation marks.  When I got the one titled "Jacket Proofs!!!" I dropped EVERYTHING to open it up and ogle the cover image of IN HONOR on my laptop screen.  It made me wish I had one of those mammoth-sized monitors that I could just stare at forever and ever.  But then last week, I got something even better from the UPS man:

The actual jacket proofs!!!

Why yes, I took them around my house and photographed them in various locations with my own red boots, but I had a reason, and the reason is this:

I'm going to give them away this week
(The proofs, not the boots. They were a gift from my hubby.)

And you want these. Know why?

On the back cover, which you can't see anywhere online, is Honor's travel companion, Rusty.  And whoa boy, is he perfect.  Rugged-looking like I imagined, with just enough revealed to hint at his hotness. 


I'm going to do something special with these proofs.  Every road trip needs a playlist, and IN HONOR has one that's near and dear to my heart.  It's a playlist I listened to almost every day while I was writing the story of Finn, Honor, and Rusty.  I listened to it on my runs, while gardening, doing dishes, waiting in the school pick up line...everywhere.  It's how I stay connected to a story.  Each song corresponds to a scene, theme, or feeling in the book, and three lucky winners will get an exclusive sneak peek at the list all of the tunes that inspired IN HONOR.


On the inside of each jacket proof I give away will be the IN HONOR playlist, hand-written, and signed by me.

How do you enter to win one of these???  Easy:

1. Leave a comment on this post. (+1 entry)

Want to earn some extra entries?

Tweet about the giveaway (+1)
Share the giveaway on Facebook (+1)
Link to this giveaway on your blog (+1)

Leave the links to these in your comment and I will count an extra entry for each one. (Max number of entries is 4.) 

This contest is open internationally and will run from today through Sunday, September 18th.  I'll post the winners that day.

Happy Monday!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bookanista Thursday: Sean Griswold's Head

Don't you love it when you finish a great book and immediately follow it up with ANOTHER great book? It doesn't happen all that often for me, but let me tell you, I am on a Contemporary YA  roll right now! This week's book is Lindsey Leavitt's SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD, which I'd been wanting to read since I first heard about it.  I'm so glad I did, because it's a funny-sweet story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

                                                             From Goodreads:

According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

My Thoughts:

The first thing that caught me about this book was the voice. Payton's quirky, self-conscious personality and her good-natured sarcasm make her completely believable and totally endearing.  When she learns of her father's diagnosis, she's thrown for a loop, but doesn't descend into deep depression or melodrama.  Instead, she takes things day by day, dealing the best she can.  I admired that about her, and respected the way Lindsey Leavitt handled it.

Many books that deal with parents' illnesses have a tendency to be on the heavier side, but this one is refreshingly balanced.  Leavitt manages to tell the story of a girl dealing with potentially devastating news while at the same time keeping the details of her day to day life honest, funny, and relevant. The most relevant of those details is Sean Griswold, and he is a cute, well-drawn one at that. The relationship that forms between him and Payton is a sweet, understanding one, which is exactly what she needs.

 It's no secret that even when we're in the midst of what can feel like a personal tragedy, life continues to happen all around us.  In SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD,  Leavitt blends humor, romance, and thoughtful observations to show just how. 

If you'd like to find out more about Lindsey Leavitt, you can visit her website here.

If you'd like to see Lindsey Leavitt talk about Contemporary YA, you can come to the Orange County Children's Book Festival on October 2nd. Info is here!

But wait! Before you go, check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Elana Johnson shares some book love for Random Acts of Publicity Week

LiLa Roecker is wild about a double giveaway of Witch Eyes and Wildefire

Christine Fonseca thinks you should Write Your Book Now!

Shannon Whitney Messenger loves Legend – with signed arc giveaway

Scott Tracey: Today is Witch Eyes release day – wowza!

Sarah Frances Hardy applauds Lottie Paris Lives Here

Stasia Ward Kehoe marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bookanista Thursday: What Happened to Goodye

Wow. I feel a tad out of practice with this whole blogging thing, but with summer winding down, and the little people of the house going back to school in a few days, I'm thinking it'll all come back to me quickly.  And hopefully eloquently.

To be perfectly honest, I am nervous about this Bookanista review.  Not because I haven't written one in a while, or because I really haven't written anything all summer.  No.  I'm nervous because I can't figure out how in the world to write a review of Sarah Dessen's WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE.

See, Sarah Dessen is my real life hero. Seriously. Her books, and the characters that live in their pages feel like home to me.  They stay with me like the truest kind of old friends, and inspire me in the way only the best stories can.  How do I begin to "review" that?

Here's the thing--Sarah Dessen has set the standard for Contemporary YA.  Writing a review of her book is like writing about how great chocolate is.  We all know it. But the whole aim of The Bookanistas is to spread the word about books we love, and WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE is most definitely one of those books, so here we go:

From Goodreads:   

Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

My Thoughts:

In WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, Sarah Dessen delivers all of the goodness I've come to expect from her novels: a relatable main character with realistic issues, well-drawn relationships, and subtle, gracefully woven themes that will resonate with everyone.

From the beginning, McLean is loveable character.  She's accustomed to being new, and comfortable adopting different personas and the lives that go along with them as a way to keep any connections she makes from getting too deep.  It's her defense mechanism.  What she's not used to being is herself.  And that self is someone who has been hurt by her parents' divorce, who has a lot of unresolved anger toward her mom, and who is fiercely loyal to and protective of her dad.  She's also someone who is incredibly sympathetic, doesn't judge, and has a soft spot for underdogs. Once she's in Lakeview, being anything other than herself becomes next to impossible, and that's due to the relationships she builds there. 

Relationships are everything in this story.  McLean's relationship with her father is tender, heartfelt, and the sweetest one in the novel.  With her mother, things are tangly and complicated, but driven by love and a bond that she can't seem to break no matter how hard she tries.  And then there are the friends she makes: Deb, Riley, and Dave.  Each of these characters are endearing and come with flaws of their own that allow McLean to open up and be herself around them. It's through these relationships that McLean learns to trust, to forgive, and ultimately rediscovers who she is. 

I think all of have at some point wished we could step into a different life, drop all of our problems and past issues, and become someone brand new.  But McLean says it best herself: "Your past is always your past. Even if you forget, it remembers you."  Ultimately, it's what makes us who we are, for better or worse, warts and all.  And that's a good thing.

WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE ranks right up there with my other Dessen favorites, and if you're looking for a book to curl up with on this last weekend of summer, I can't recommend it enough. 

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week: