31 July 2010

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

Today is July 31st.  And if you are a Harry Potter fan, this means that today is his birthday.  So I just wanted to leave this post open for anybody to "say a few words" as it were.  I know we aren't commiserating his death or anything...so perhaps that phrase was a tad bit too morbid.

Whatever.  Keep it moving, Amelia.

I just wanted to say here how much of an impact the Harry Potter books have had on me.  Especially my childhood.  I started reading the first Harry Potter book when I was five-years-old.  I would sit in my mom's bed and she started reading it to me.  That was how I got started reading.  After that, it was all downhill.  I once raced a kid in my second grade class to see who could finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire first.

So my love for books was all because of J.K. Rowling's Big Idea.  Now, I don't really think of the Harry Potter books as books like I think of Sarah Dessen's novels as books.  The Harry Potter series has taken up an entirely different category.  I know the entire series front to back to front again.  It has redefined the meaning and interpretation of a book.

Alright.  I'll shut up  now.  Jeez, I'm waxing poetic.

So finally, a big Happy Birthday to Harry Potter and in turn, J.K. Rowling. :)

Cheers, everybody!

30 July 2010

My Weekly Finds (1)

These are books that I may or may not read--that may or may not have been released already--that I've added this week to my to-read list.

I put it in list form, since otherwise it would be too long.  (By the length of this list, can't you see what LITTLE of a life I have? XD)

So I guess I can also offer this as proof that--hello--I did not lie when I said I was adding it to my to-read list! XD

Should I start this as a meme?  How the heck do you even START a meme?  Well.  No matter anyways.  This is something I'm gonna be doing every week.  Why?  Cause that's how I rooollll.  (Alright, so I've had way too much sugar today and I need to burn mental energy.  Whatever. XD)

Ciao everyone!

29 July 2010

Follow Friday (2)

Rachel @ Parajunkee View contacted me this week to ask if I'd be the Featured Blog this week!  Need I say how long I went around the house doing the happy dance?  (My own dysfunctional version of the happy dance, of course.)  I didn't think so either. XD

You can enter the Follow [my book blog] Friday here!

Comment, lovelies!  This here book blogger LOVES comments! ^_^


GOLLY G MINOR BATMAN!  When I went to bed last night, I had 17 comments and 55 followers--now, as of 12:20 PM, I have 40! comments and 79 followers!!  Hopping harptoads!! (anyone ever seen Sword in the Stone? XD)

Thank you everybody for following and for commenting.  If you've left a link, I have responded back (give me a little bit for the newer comments, I'm trying to add a billion new blogs to my dashboard at once. XD).  But I WILL eventually get there.

(think I got a little crazy on the caps?  is there such a thing? XD)

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty--especially if they learn of her Sight--and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.

Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.

But it's too later. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost--regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectation swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

28 July 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Coming September 28th from Hyperion is dum-dum-dum-dumdumdum!!!

Isn't that, like, THE most beautiful cover you have ever seen?  Reminds me of Lord of the Rings, even if I like this series better. XD

But of course, I wouldn't let you walk away without knowing what this was about!!

* * *

*You can't always run from danger...

Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden's Ford.  But leaving the Fells doesn't mean danger isn't far behind.  Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them.  And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own.  There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery--but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana'Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets.  Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford.  If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

* * *

The Exiled Queen is the sequel to The Demon King (Hyperion 2009).  [the link will lead you to Goodreads, where you can read the summary)

* = The first (technically second) sentence of this summary was left out.  I remember reading this summary and just the FIRST SENTENCE was a spoiler.  So I took it out for the rest of our sakes.  Just in case you want to read the first book--which you should.  :)

Frannie In Pieces by Delia Ephron

What does you in--brain or heart?
Frannie asks herself this question when, a week before she turns fifteen, her dad dies, leaving her suddenly deprived of the only human being on planet Earth she feels understands her.  Frannie struggles to make sense of a world that no longer seems safe, a world in which one moment can turn things so thoroughly for the worse.  She discovers an elegant wooden box with an inscription: Frances Anne 1000.  Inside, Frannie finds one thousand hand-painted and -carved puzzle pieces.  She wonders if her father had a premonition of his death and finished her birthday present early.  Feeling broken into pieces herself, Frannie slowly puts the puzzle together, bit by bit.  But as she works, something remarkable begins to happen: She is catapulted into an ancient foreign landscape, a place suspended in time where she can discover her father as he was B.F.--before Frannie.

Giveaways & Contests - THIS IS THE POST!

ARC Giveaway the "Paranormal Five" @ Undercover Book Lover - So she may not be undercover but she's still got an awesome contest going down!  Win Paranormalcy, Nightshade, Halo, Pegasus, and The Eternal Ones! Click here to join! INTERNATIONAL. Ends 7/28.


The fabulous ladies over at Girls Without a Bookshelf are holding a birthday giveaway!  You can win copies of Ascendant (Diana Peterfreund, sequel to Rampant), Beautiful Darkness (Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, sequel to Beautiful Creatures), Sapphique (Catherine Fisher, sequel to Incarceron), Torment (Lauren Kate, sequel to Fallen), Crescendo (Becca Fitzpatrick, sequel to Hush, Hush), Return to Paradise (Simone Elkeles, Leaving Paradise), The Haunted (Jessica Verday, sequel to The Hollow).  GO ENTER NOW! Right HERE!

27 July 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

I have been given the honor of accepting the Versatile Blogger Award from Missy @ Missy's Reads & Reviews. :) Big thanks to her for the award.

I also have the pleasure of passing this award on to 15 of the blogs I am following.

How the award works:
  • Shout from the mountaintop and slap this up all over your blog. :) Link back to the person who gave you the award.
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Once you're done doing a happy dance, pass this award along to 15 other blogs.  It can be awarded for any reason.
  • Make sure you contact the bloggers so that they know they've won! :)

26 July 2010

Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck

Elle's living the dream--but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina--lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories.  And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too.  Life is good.

Then the dynamic paster of her small town church sweeps her off her feet.  She's never known a man like Jeremiah--one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt.  When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state.  If she's series about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly.  Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.  

Is love transferable across the miles?  And can you take it with you when you go?

25 July 2010

Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

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 liked 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.

24 July 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.  Click for more information on how IMM works.

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.

23 July 2010

M. Stiefvater + Follow Friday

So this is a repost from Maggie Stiefvater's blog and I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to check it out.  For all you fellow musicians out there--particularly pianists, like me--this is a HUGE treat for you.  CAN'T YOU TELL FROM THE CAPS!?!

*coughs* So anyways.

Linketh HERE!  (Again with the CAPS!?)

Oh man, I am SO incredibly tempted to learn this and make a video like me and my dad did for "Bella's Lullaby--How It Was Meant to Be". (And if you haven't checked that out yet, SHAME ON YOU!  So go check it out now.  Like, right now.  Right HERE!  It's bloody awesome--not really bloody, at least.  I mean, vampires do draw blood when they sink their fangs into a person's neck, right?)

Tangent: sorry.

So read, and enjoy!

PS - I can now pronounce Maggie Stiefvater's name now!!!!!!  <--the exclamation points a bit much?  Serves it right, I'm excited.  I DESPISE pronouncing someone's name wrong, so I ended up calling her "Maggie...You know, Maggie.  Wrote Shiver.  Like, the best werewolf novel ever?"  Yeah, I'm SO not kidding about that. XD

22 July 2010

One Butt Cheek at a Time by Amber Kizer

Gert Garibaldi isn't one of those people who believe high school is the best part of life. She has a whole notebook full of rants about high school, and she's fully aware of how ridiculous the experience is, thank you very much. Gert just wants to survive the next three years, one butt cheek at a time, with her best friend, Adam, by her side - and maybe Luscious Luke attached to her lips. With a stapler. Or something. But muddling through isn't even as easy as it seems - there are geriatric parents to deal with, Homecoming festivities (admit it - those words just sent a little chill down your spine), crushes, ed (both sex and driving), and potential new boyfriends - for both Gert and Adam. Frank, funny, and totally unique, Gert's ready to pull on the Pants of Life and start dancing.

20 July 2010

Teaser Tuesday (3)

"Teaser Tuesday" is hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.  To participate, just do the following:

  • Grab the book you're currently reading.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Don't go posting spoilers!  Don't ruin the book for the rest of us mortals!
  • Make sure to include the title and author so we can track it down and add it to our TBR pile.

So I don't have a lot of books to tease you with today because someone who shall remain nameless forgot to pick up my library books yesterday and the library is closed today.  I know, it's Tuesday.  The library shouldn't be closed, there aren't any national holidays.  Well, the library system here in Charlotte is going belly-up.  Lack of funding is forcing many, many branches to close.  So instead of my library being open 7 days a week, it's now open 4 days a week with limited--LIMITED--hours.  So.  My books will just have to chill and rest at the library for another day.

The book I DO have...I'm almost done with it.  But it's pretty good, so I'll tease you with it. XD

Leave a link to YOUR Teaser Tuesday and I'll gladly take a look! ^_^

**EDIT** I have 17 followers!  *happy dance*  Totally psyched over here!  

Sabriel -- Garth Nix
p. 166

Sabriel ignored him.  All necromancers had to be musical, had to be able to whistle, to hum, to sing.  If they were caught in Death without bells, or other magical instruments, their vocal skills were a weapon of last recourse.

17 July 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

"In My Mailbox" hosted by Kristi @ the Story Siren

So this week, I got a lot of awesome books!  I've ordered the entire "Gallagher Girls" books, so I have two more coming in.

(All links go to Goodreads.com.)

I've read all of these books except "Sabriel," by Garth Nix, which I am currently reading.

What did you get this week!?

Other by Karen Kincy

Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.

When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.

16 July 2010

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . 

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Mistwood by Leah Cypess

The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

14 July 2010

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart. 

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past....

13 July 2010

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Here's what you do...

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select a few sentences from anywhere on the page
  • try not to include any SPOILERS!
  • make sure you tell the name of book and the author so we can add the book to our TBR pile!

Glimmerglass -- Jenna Black
p. 171

"His eyes were like blue spears impaling me, and I gathered he wasn't used to being talked back to.  He was going to have to get used to it if I stuck around.  Still, that stare was intimidating enough that I felt myself sinking down into my chair."

Other -- Karen Kincy
p. 184

"Gwen?" His voice sounds distant.  "Are you going to faint?"
"Not if I can help it."
But then I do.

Only the Good Spy Young -- Ally Carter
p. 87

I thought of all the things I might say if someone saw me: I was there to meet my boyfriend.  My classmates had sent me on a dare.  I'd seen a stray animal come this way and it had appeared to be hurt.
          So I wasn't afraid when the man stopped and opened the door of a long building that sat hidden in the midst of the park.  I waited ten seconds, then followed, praying the door's hinges wouldn't squeak as I pulled it slowly open and stepped inside.

11 July 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

In my Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.  Click here for full info. :)

So I got some really cool books this week.  A surprising amount, actually.

Note: I took "Voices of Dragons," and "Intertwined" back to the bookstore.  
Also new: I now have 13 followers!  I cannot even begin to express how excited I am. :) Thank you to everyone who leaves comments and decides to follow me. ^_^

Personal update this week:  None of you know this, but I'm a musician, I play the piano.  There's a song called "All of Me" by Jon Schmidt (you can listen to it free and easy here) and I got the sheet music for free off his website!  I've been practicing it most of the morning.  Also, since we're on the topic of my piano playing, if you have ever heard of "River Flows In You" by Yiruma, check out this video my dad and I put together.  I'm playing the piano and my dad did the background strings and video.

If you have a IMM post, leave a link and I'll check yours out! ^_^

(Note: Linna @ 21 Pages is hosting a huge awesome giveaway/contest for ARC's.  Lots of books.  Lots of competition.  Lots of adrenaline flowing. XD So check it out here!)

10 July 2010

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

"Their eyes, human eyes in wolf skulls, remind me of water: the clear blue of water reflecting the spring sky, the brown of a brook churning with rainfall, the green of the lake in summer as the algae begins to bloom, the gray of a snow-choked river. It used to be only Sam's yellow eyes that watched me from between the rain-soaked birches, but now, I feel the weight of the entire pack's gaze. The weight of things known, things unsaid."

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves...and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love--the light and the dark, the warm and the cold--in a way you will never forget.

08 July 2010

New Release Date for LINGER!

Alright.  So I'm supposed to be this straight-faced, cool and business-like blogger right?  Psh.  That's basically shot to smithereens right now because I just found out that LINGER by MAGGIE STIEFVATER has been moved up from the 20th to the 13th!!

*waits for the screams to die down*

So we're all beyond excited.  At least I know where I'm gonna be next Tuesday: parked outside Borders two hours before opening.  Not to mention, calling the night before to reserve a copy.  Lord knows that I am gonna get that book FIRST!  Cause I've been feeling pretty jealous seeing my fellow bloggers getting ARC copies while I have to wait for the release like everyone else. XD But no matter!  IT'S COMING OUT IN FIVE DAYS!

I think I'm going to faint.

So there's my little spiel for today.  I am officially psyched.

EDIT:  Yes, it's true that book stores are now carrying Linger.  I have no idea why.  But Maggie Stiefvater has acknowledged this.  I have already gotten my copy of Linger today at Borders.  I'm already halfway done with it, in fact.  However, Linger probably won't be available everywhere until or after it's official release date.  So just be aware that you might not find it at your local bookstore.

Hey, stop by and read my interview with Anne Osterlund, author of "Aurelia," and "Academy 7" here!

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young-adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a distinctly twenty-first-century tale of myths and machines, and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide.

07 July 2010

20 Questions with Anne Osterlund!

I have had the incredible pleasure of interviewing Anne Osterlund, author of "Aurelia," and "Academy 7".  So first off, I must thank Anne (again) for giving me her time to answer all these questions and her patience for putting up with my ridiculous ranting.  She's one cool cucumber.

* * * *

1. How long have you been writing?  When/Why did you decide to get published?
Sometime around Christmas of 2004, I decided to complete a book that could really be submitted for publication.  Aurelia volunteered for the position.  And I guess, ultimately, the decision to be published was based upon the fact that I have been writing forever.  And that Aurelia is very determined, stubborn, and full of overconfidence!

2. What is your writing schedule like?
I write all day (about eight hours) every day that I can.  During the school year, this is Friday through Sunday.  During the summer, it is every day of the week.  With exceptions, of course, for family trips and holidays.  But not many.

3. What type of research did you do for your books, if any?
This depends upon the book and the topic I need to research.  Aurelia, and its upcoming sequel, Exile, require a lot of research because they are set a world roughly similar to our 18th century.  For them, I spend a lot of time checking details online.  For Academy 7, this would be next to useless, because you simply can't type in "Space Ship, 5021" and get any details.  LOL.  Along with the internet, I use the encyclopedia as a written resource.  And I've been known to call up family members and hound them with vital questions like "How do you change the oil in a car?" and "Can you plunge a sword under someone's ribcage and up into the heart?"

4. Who were your inspirations?  Did you grow up reading?
Tamora Pierce, Louisa May Alcott, S.E. Hinton, James Barrie, L.M. Montgomery, Ann Rinaldi, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, Sally Watson, and on and on and on.  I started reading voraciously as soon as I knew how.  I had an hour long bus ride to school every morning and another hour back.  Achingly boring, and tremendous incentive to read!

5. I've read that Aurelia came to you complaining about an itchy ankle.  What about Dane and Aerin? How did they appear?
I first found Aerin while she was gazing in a mirror, removing her headband, and contemplating the vast question of whether she could scrub away the person she had been in order to become someone different.  Dane, I found in prison, throwing away his future and angry with his father.  There is actually a much longer summary about this on the About Academy 7 page of my website.  www.anneosterlund.com.

6. How much would you say your personality is reflected in your characters?  Is there any that you identify with especially?
Oh, I identify with all of my main characters, and I think every character whose head you climb into must reflect some of the author's personality, but the key is actually for me to get beyond that and make sure that everything the character does, from waking up in the morning, to fighting fire, to riding in a horse race is done from the character's point of view.  Aerin walks into a room, and she automatically feels terror.  Aurelia sees a challenge.  Robert sees danger.  This is a simplification, but they all see differently than when I walk into a room.

7. How long did it take to write "Aurelia," and "Academy 7," from the first word to the final manuscript?
I would say the average is three years.  Aurelia and Academy 7 both began long ago and spent many years in notepads and with a few pages of typing, but once I decide to actually dedicate myself full time to a story, it takes about two years for me to complete the writing process and then another for revisions after it has been submitted to an editor.

8. Between the more medieval setting of "Aurelia" and the beyond the stars of "Academy 7," which would you rather spend all your time in?
Literally, I suppose space would be better.  I am extremely fond of indoor plumbing.

That said, the country of Tyralt is far more pleasant place to visit as an author because Aurelia has a sense of humor and fun!  I love Aerin and Dane, but they are so intense.

9. Out of your books, which character was the most difficult to write and which was the most entertaining?
The villains are always the hardest to write.  Because they lie.  They won't admit who they are, and they like to wreak havoc all of my stories.

As for entertaining, well--Chris is very entertaining.  Dane is explosive.  And Aurelia is a lot of fun.  Though I dragged poor Beth out of bed this morning and sent her scrambling all over her disastrous room, which was quite entertaining as well.  So sometimes I can be entertained by characters who are having a dreadful time.

10. What inspired the change between the historical fiction aspect of "Aurelia," to the sci-fi setting of "Academy 7"?
These are the worlds in which the characters live.  I didn't really have a say.

I do think I chose to flip from Aurelia to Academy 7 because the tones of both stories are very different.  And as an author, that is fun.  To leap out of one mood and into something else.  I do this as a reader as well.  I read about 1/3 fantasy, 1/3 historical fiction, and 1/3 everything else.  So I enjoy floating in the fantastical for a while and then plunging into serious realistic fiction and then riding a covered wagon across the Oregon Trail.  I'm rather wretched at staying inside a box.

11. What is your opinion on writing critique groups?  Have you ever participated in one?
Yes, I think they are a great thing, especially the writing exercises for coming up with new ideas.  I've had a critique group for the past three years, but unfortunately, it recently dissolved.  People are relatively few and far between in Eastern Oregon.  And people who have the same time available to meet are even more rare.

12. What type of reception did you receive when your friends and family found out that you were getting published?
They were all happy, especially my cats.

13. How do you deal with the pressure of deadlines?
I can achieve a lot when I know there's the potential to reach a goal.  I'm not a good multi-tasker.  I like to plunge into something with intensity, work at it full tilt, and create magic.

14. Are there any "gotta have this/gotta have that" during the writing process?
Hmm.  Orange soda is nice.  A warm snuggling white cat.  Occasional ten minute breaks with episodes of Robin Hood from Netflix.  Those would be this week's "gotta haves."

15. You've done historical fiction and sci-fi.  Any plans for exploring another genre?  Is there one genre that you absolutely will not write?
The book I am writing now, Salvation, which is set to come out spring of 2012 is a young adult contemporary novel about Salva, a young man who doesn't want to be everyone's salvation, and Beth, the walking disaster area.

Never say never.

16. What's something about you that would surprise others?
I grew up on a ranch in Eastern Oregon, and I cannot drive a stick shift to save my life.  Well, perhaps to save my life, but it would require practice.

17. Who are some fellow authors that you would like to meet?
Actually, I had the chance this past fall to meet my favorite author, Tamora Pierce, at the Sirens Conference on Women in Fantasy Literature in Vail, CO (fabulous conference!  Highly recommended).  And I was able to meet Sherwood Smith and Kristin Cashore there as well, who were both great.

I would love to meet Ann Rinaldi.  I think her ability to take great moments in history and share them through the perspective of female heroines is amazing!

18. I see you're a very open-minded and adventurous person.  Were you always having adventures as a kid?
Only in my head.

19. What's your writing environment like?  Do you absolutely have to have music going, or can you only write when it's quiet...etc.?
No music.  Quiet.  Couch.  Laptop.  Coffee table.  Writing bag: with dictionary, thesaurus, pens, pencils, sharpener, notebooks.  Printer.  Fore-mentioned "gotta haves."  All very boring, but I like the scene in the movie, Finding Neverland, where James Barrie's door opens and you see all the magical things floating around.  Because that is what writing is like.  You see, I'm not really there on a couch.  I'm wherever my characters are, experiencing whatever they're experiencing.  So today, I spent time in Beth's disastrous bedroom, and walking down with her and her best friend to the asphalt pond in front of their school, and with Salva, at Table Numero Uno, the most exclusive location at Liberty High.

20. Do you have any advice for young adult writers?
Write the story you love!  The one that refuses to disappear--that stays in your head and keeps calling "Write me!"  And when you finish that one, write the next and the next and the next.

* * * *

Make sure to head over here to post a comment!

Straight from Anne Osterlund folks!  Again, I cannot say how honored I feel for being able to ask all these questions.  It was hard narrowing it down to just twenty.

Thank you again, Anne!  For all your time and for all your fabulous books. :)

* * * *

Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College.  She lives in a cute little yellow house with her best feline friend, Dance, and her own library of young adult books.  She also teaches sixth grade and enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination.  Anne has written two novels, Aurelia and Academy 7, both published by Penguin Books, and is ambitiously embarking on two more.

Read a fuller (and more entertaining) biography here.

You can befriend Anne on Goodreads here.

You can purchase "Aurelia" from Amazon here as well as "Academy 7" here.

All additional information can be discovered at Anne's website.

06 July 2010

Teaser Tuesday (1)

"Teaser Tuesday" created by MizB @ Should Be Reading.  Info can be viewed here.

05 July 2010

Intertwined by Gena Showalter

There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High . . .
Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time-travel.

One can raise the dead.

One can tell the future.

And one can possess another human.

With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now, they’re causing him all kinds of trouble.

Like, he’ll blink and suddenly he’s a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he’ll change the future. Or, he’ll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she’s going to die.

He’s so over it. All he wants is peace.

And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, for as long as he’s with her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He’s a loner; she has friends. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, he should stay away. But it’s too late. . .

Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own and a vampire princess Aden can’t resist. Two romances, both forbidden. . . doomed. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger. . . but not everyone will come out alive. . .

So you can tell by the rating that this wasn't the best novel I've ever read.  It's hard to pinpoint exactly why I didn't like it.  The main character, Aden, was pretty cool.  Always cool and confident and all that.  But it's almost like the book lacked focus.  From the beginning, I expected to have some idea of the end game.  I felt like I was just reading about the characters meandering along, getting attacked by witches and swimming in a pond.  The ending didn't fulfill any hopes.  It was quick.  Too quick.

The romances were not my thing, either.  I cannot stand romances where one, or both, of the parties lose every sense of survival for themselves.  I can understand being willing to die in their lover's place, but to dedicate every molecule of their being to someone else?  It was very Twilight in that aspect.

The book alternates points of view between Aden and Mary Ann, which was interesting and which I enjoyed.  There are always subtle misunderstandings represented there and I always found it amusing.

This book didn't leave me with a good feeling in my stomach.  It just...didn't appeal to me.  I did manage to finish it, but I'm taking it back to Borders and won't read the sequel.

I still recommend that you try it, cause despite my review, you could still really like it.  So give it a shot, see what happens. :)

Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 440
  • publisher - Harlequin
  • rating - 3/5 stars

04 July 2010

In My Mailbox (2)

In my Mailbox was created by Kristi.  You can view the info on it all here.

Look at this!  I'm losing my blogging virginity!  I'm so proud of myself!  Look, I'm tearing up.  Oh dear.


Alright.  I'm civil now.  So to the more important things, yes?  I did get a few books this past week, actually.  I returned all my library books since I have plenty of books that I own that I need to read.  Besides, the library already makes all their funding off of my library fines.  *nods*


03 July 2010

100 Days to "Beautiful Darkness"

Looking at that number and putting it perspective is hard.  But ladies and gents, 100 days is all we have left to endure until the release of "Beautiful Darkness"!!  Can I get a round of applause for the authors?

For all those to whom this is news, you can check out the first book in the Caster Chronicles here (links to Goodreads) as well as my review here.

I know that this is one of my favorite series.  The characters are so alive.  And I was always wondering, "How the heck do you co-write a book?"  This youtube video highlights the realism of the characters and well as touches on Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's writing style.  (This women look like really cool people to hang out with, by the way.  Brunch, anyone?)

Youtube video here.

If anyone here has an iPod touch or an iPad, I know that you can download a twenty minute podcast with Kami Garcia and Maragaret Stohl for free.  It's awesome to listen to them talk about their characters and their backgrounds.  Just FYI...

Also, did you know (you would know if you read my review of "Beautiful Creatures"...*meaningful look*) that there are FOUR books planned for this series!?