Thursday, April 16, 2015

Author Interview: Meredith Zeitlin - SOPHOMORE YEAR IS GREEK TO ME

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin is the follow-up novel to Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters. Sophomore Year will be available on April 21st and is published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, SOPHOMORE YEAR follows a girl on an adventure she doesn’t want to take... that ends up changing her life in ways she never imagined. I adored Freshman Year, I mean ADORED IT (you can read my review here), and I've been patiently/anxiously waiting for a follow-up. Just a few more days!

I'm thrilled to have Meredith visit my blog today to talk about writing, her cats, and throws a trivia challenge at her readers.  


Welcome Meredith!

Photo Credit: Bjorn Bolinder

Have you always been a writer? Did you keep a journal or write stories when you were younger? 

have always been a writer, but the only times I've kept a journal are under duress for a school assignment or when traveling. (I like to record my experiences when I'm on a trip so I can reread them after I return.) Growing up I'd write poems (terrible ones, I'm sure) and stories in my spare time, and I'd always try to get out of boring school projects I didn't want to do by writing a play or story instead. In high school I wrote for the school paper and was eventually the Editor in Chief, and I also worked on top secret projects in my own time. It absolutely kills me when I think about the gems I lost when our family computer died - I would give anything to be able to read the stuff I thought was absolutely brilliant in my teens. What if some of it was!? I finally threw out all the floppy discs I saved - what would I do with them, right? In college I was in a writing program for TV and Film, and continued writing short stories in my own time. But I don't think being a writer is just about specific projects. Excellent Facebook status-updating is writing. Funny or compassionate or controversial emails is writing. Toasts at dinner parties is writing. Writing can be everywhere and all the time.

How long do you think about a story or characters until you finally decide what you want to write about it/them? 

Oh, god. I've had characters floating around in my head for years that I will sometime get around to putting on paper. Maybe. If i can possibly stop procrastinating long enough... 

What is the best piece of writing advice you've received? 

"Kill your babies." I had an excellent teacher in college, playwright Michael Elyanow, who was always saying that - meaning, sometimes you have to cut your favorite bits of writing because they simply don't work with the overall piece. It's the hardest thing to do and almost always the right choice.

What one piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers? 

Don’t worry about getting a publisher or writing something commercial or any of that stuff - just write. Write anything that you are interested in or excited about - even it’s sappy poems or memories from your childhood or retellings of books you love. You never know what you’ll be able to use someday for a project, and just getting into the habit of writing is the best exercise of all. 

Tell me five random things about yourself.

1. The rhinoceros is my spirit animal.

2. I have two orange cats who are named after detectives from Law and Order: SVU. (Elliot Stabler and Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, in case you were wondering which ones.)

3. I hate Jell-O. I think it's scary and I won't go near it.

4. I love the show "The Golden Girls" and am pretty astute at GG trivia. Go ahead - try me!

5. I often change my hair color to keep things interesting. As I type this I'm dyeing it BRIGHT BLUE!

Thanks Meredith!

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

A laugh-out-loud high school adventure set in Greece, perfect for fans of Meg Cabot 

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks.

In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.
 



WATCH THE TRAILER


"SOPHOMORE YEAR IS GREEK TO ME" by Meredith Zeitlin - Book Trailer!!!

FIND MEREDITH and SOPHOMORE YEAR ONLINE



Amazon Listing: http://mzwrit.es/1789mlj

Barnes and Noble Listing: http://mzwrit.es/1BpHB0J


Twitter: @zeitlingeist


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ONE THING STOLEN by Beth Kephart: Author Interview and Giveaway


One Thing Stolen is the newest YA novel by author Beth Kephart. As part of the ONE THING STOLEN blog tour, I'm hosting Beth with a mini-interview. 

WELCOME BETH!!

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading?
One of my early reading memories circles around “Counterpane,” that Robert Louis Stevenson poem, which I was read when “I was sick and lay a-bed.” My mother had a beautiful illustrated version of the Stevenson poems, and I’ve never lost the sound of those consoling rhythms. I liked Black Beauty, too, and I liked listening to recorded versions of musicals—stories inside the songs (“Doctor Dolittle” comes to mind). Perhaps this early love for stories contained inside verse influenced my own need for prose that is in some ways musical.
What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
I didn’t study writing in any official way. My degree was in the History and Sociology, from the University of Pennsylvania. I never met a writer until I was already a young mother. In my thirties I went to three writing workshops with my family—working vacations, so to speak—where I met Rosellen Brown, William Gass, and Jayne Anne Phillips, and learned, from them, patience and faith. But what I’ve learned about writing comes mostly from reading and analyzing, from writing and getting it wrong, from sitting with the 80th draft of something and trying to decode it.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Know why you love what you love in the work that you read. Analyze it. Break it apart. Figure out how the author performs her magic.
Tell me 5 things about yourself.
1. I’ve written and published in all genres—fable, poetry, adult fiction, young adult fiction, history, memoir, journalism, how-to, even corporate histories—except for writing that would appear on the stage or screen. I’m absolutely in awe of those who can do that work. That’s magic to me.
2. I care, perhaps excessively, about how stories get made. I think language—the choice of words, the repetitions of sounds, the management of white space, the reverberations, the risks—matters just as much as plot.
3. I collect masks and strange dolls from around the world and just yesterday acquired (a birthday present) a boundary statue from Two Buttons, the store Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) owns with her husband.
4. I try to read and review—for the Chicago Tribune, the New York Journal of Books, and my own blog—some dozen books each month. This sort of careful reading keeps me fully engaged with the possible in literature.
5. I teach memoir at the University of Pennsylvania. I’m calling this year’s students are My Spectaculars. As always I have asked them to articulate their expectations for the memoirs they read. Check out their responses, here. http://beth-kephart.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-my-spectaculars-expect-from.html








By Beth Kephart
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Published by Chronicle Books
Pages 280
Ages 14 and up









Synopsis:

Something is not right with Nadia Cara. While spending a year in Florence, Italy, she's become a thief. She has secrets. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom only she has seen. Can Nadia be rescued or will she simply lose herself altogether? Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is a celebration of language, beauty, imagination, and the salvation of love.








I was a child writer-dreamer who never strayed far from that path. Today I’m the award-winning author of seventeen books—dreaming my way toward more by night, while running a boutique marketing communications firm by day. I'm privileged to teach creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania in spring semesters. I love writing about the intersection of place and memory for the Philadelphia Inquirer. I am honored to review literature for the Chicago Tribune. Always and most importantly, I am privileged to be a mom.






GIVEAWAY
Prize: one copy of ONE THING STOLEN by Beth Kephart
Must be at least 16 years old to enter
U.S. addresses only
Invalid entries will be disqualified 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: THE SUMMER I FELL by Sonya Loveday






THE SUMMER I FELL


by Sonya Loveday
Publication Date: July 27, 2014
Pages: 239
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Purchase Amazon / B&N






from Goodreads

“So you wanna be part of the Six, huh? You wish…” 
~Jared, Ace, Mark, Josh, Aiden & Eli 

Riley Clifton can’t remember a time when she wasn’t a part of the Six, a group of rowdy boys who would do just about anything for her. Growing up alongside of six guys is never easy. Especially in high school. Falling in love with one of the Six? Even harder when Ace has a hold of her heart, and he doesn’t even know it. 


Jake (Ace) Aceton has loved Riley for a long time, but has kept the secret oath of the Six. Riley was off limits. At least until after graduation. When he overhears Riley admitting to her best friend, Paige how she feels about him, Ace doesn't let his chance slip by. Riley, in his mind, has always been his. 
When her college plan falls through, and her future is left to the hands of fate, Riley finds herself scrambling to keep up with all the changes. But that's not the hardest part. The hardest part is saying good-bye, especially to Ace. 

Heartache, hard lessons, and a love deeper than her Alabama roots will threaten to crumble Riley’s world as she waits for Ace’s return. 


Will Riley and Ace’s love be strong enough to hold them together when life tries to tear them apart? 

My Thoughts

I was initially drawn to The Summer I Fell because of the friendships between the Riley and the boys who make up "The Six". In high school, I had a best girlfriend and we were best friends with the rowdiest group of guys. We all loved each other, teased each other, and took care of each other. And there were a few crushes and romances over the years. Reading about these friends was like reliving those good times and it was great. Their rough-housing and razzing had me cracking up, but they loyalty they had for each other was endearing too.

I LOVED the opening scene of The Summer I Fell. Field parties and fighting, ah memories. Just kidding. I'm not a proponent of violence, but when it's a character in a book, sometimes they get pushed too far and they need to put someone in their place. It showed just how much of a badass Riley could be. 

The romance between Riley and Ace was super sweet. While their getting together may seem sudden, the relationship was years in the making - the readers just didn't get to experience that part with them. I didn't mind it because what we do get was enough to notice that they mean everything to each other. My favorite part about them as a couple was that they were shy but exhilarated that they were making a go at it - it was like they shared a secret between the two of them, but it wasn't a secret at all.

There were some really great moments throughout the book. Some honest moments between friends and some honest moments between family. One of my favorites was between Riley, Ace, and Ace's mother and he was packing up to leave for a life beyond their small-town. I don't want to say too much more than that to avoid spoilers, but I am so glad this scene was included in the book. 

There are a good number of characters to keep track of and there is a lot going on, but the heart of the story doesn't get lost. It is easy to become immersed in the lives of the characters and want to know more about them. I couldn't read this book fast enough and then suddenly it was over! I immediately bought the next book. I had to know what was happening with the characters (I'm still reading and finding out) and I'm already looking forward to book number 3!!

Readers will love this story about friendships and romance and making life choices and what happens after high school.



Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from Xpresso Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)

$25 Amazon Gift Card
6 ebook copies of The Summer I Fell
3 button swag packs


Monday, April 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: #SELFIE by Cambria Hebert


#SELFIE 
Series: Hashtag Series #4 
by Cambria Hebert
This is not a standalone
Release date: May 18, 2015 
Genre: New adult college romance  

Synopsis:

It’s all about the #Selfie.
She was the one girl I never wanted.

Until I had her.

One night.

One mistake.

Something we both wanted to forget.

I got rid of the proof. The one piece of evidence that could remind us both.

At least, I thought I did.

When it shows up on the school Buzzfeed, rumors fly. Friendships are tested and the feels get real.

I don’t do relationships. I don’t open my heart.

Especially for a girl everyone knows I hate.

What happens during spring break, stays in spring break.

Until it follows you home.



FULL COVER

AUTHOR BIO:
Cambria Hebert is a bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: Text, Torch, Tryst, Masquerade, and Recalled.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.




Author links:



Friday, April 10, 2015

Just One More Day: ROANOKE AUTHOR INVASION!!!



Image Credit: Laura Howard

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!!

Thirty Authors will be invading the Star City - ROANOKE, VA.

Over the past weeks, I've featured many of the authors attending the events. If you missed any of the interviews, I've compiled links to all of them below. Check them out then enter the giveaway for a selection of books and swag. 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

For more information about this FREE event, please visit Roanoke Author Invasion at roanokeauthorinvasion.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RoanokeInvasion

Get your tickets now through EVENTBRITE.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS by Ann Aguirre - Excerpt and Giveaway

post it note with clothes peg against wooden surface  
It's finally here! THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS is out now!! This book has been on my "I WANT THAT/WISHLIST" since I first found out about it. 

THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance published by Macmillan!! 

Grab your copy today!
  Queen of Bright and Shiny THings - cover

About THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS:

Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted. 

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage. 

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

 Excerpt: 

When I walk past the music room, I hear something that stills me in my tracks. People push past; I've become a rock in the middle of a rushing stream, but I can't move. Then someone shoves me from behind, not on purpose, but the result is the same. I slam into the lockers past the classroom and bounce. The underclassmen who were wrestling don't even notice that my brain has stopped firing.
            Shane Cavendish plays like it's his reason for living.
            I don't write that on the Post-it, of course. That would just get him beaten up even harder. Instead I scrawl, You’re awesome on the guitar, because the jocks might think that’s cool and leave him the hell alone. It's a long shot, as I don't have any particular cred with their crew, but being a musician is pretty spectacular. I can't breathe for how good—how remarkably talented—he is. And I suspect that if he found out anyone was paying attention, he'd stop playing.
            Backtracking to his locker will make me late for class, but it's worth it. I stick the note just below the vents, as I always do, but this time it feels weightier, more somehow, like this is a turning point. Shaking off the odd sensation, I dodge into Econ with a mumbled excuse. Sadly, it holds no weight with Mrs. Palmer. Unlike the male teachers, she isn't impressed with talk of 'female problems', so I get my first detention of the year, only the second I've ever had.
            Since tomorrow is Friday and I have standing plans with Ryan, I ask, “Can I just get it over with tonight?”
            I calculate; school lets out at 2:45. An hour of sitting in silence, and I’m supposed to be at work at four. If I hurry, I can still make my shift at the Curly Q. Which sounds like a diner, but it's actually a hair salon. I'm not qualified to do anything but wash hair, sweep up, and answer the phone, but it's better than fast food. I work two afternoons a week from four to eight, which earns me spending money for the week. Since I'm under eighteen, I get paid fifty cents an hour less than an adult; that makes me a bargain.  After detention ends, I’ll just need to ride hard to keep Mildred from yelling at me.
            Mrs. Palmer glances up from scribbling down my doom. “Can you get a ride home?”
            “Yeah.”
I’ve always got my bike out front, and the town is small enough that I can ride anywhere I need to go from school. This is the one positive aspect of living in a tiny berg like this, especially given my opinion of privately-owned fossil fuel burning vehicles, which covers nicely for my lingering fear.

Author Photo
About Ann Aguirre: Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.         




 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: KISSING TED CALLAHAN by Amy Spalding





KISSING TED CALLAHAN (and Other Guys)
by Amy Spalding
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Published by Poppy
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher








from Goodreads

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.

After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.
 


My Thoughts

Kissing Ted Callahan was the first book I read in 2015 and it was such a fun book to start off the new year. I wanted a story that would make me smile and laugh and entertain me, and it did just that.  Kissing Ted Callahan is about crushes and kisses and music and best friends. It's about falling in love, falling out of friendships. There are journals and letters. And secrets. So many secrets. 

It's a book without jerky boys (well . . . there might be one). These boys that are worth having crushes on which is a major plus. It was fun to meet them and discover what Riley liked about them. It was fun to experience the dates and interactions through her eyes. 

I loved how Amy explored the shifting dynamics of Riley's friendships in Kissing Ted Callahan. The problems weren't overly complicated but showed how misunderstandings and assumptions can lead to hurt feelings and friendships falling apart. 

I adored this book. I had a smile of my face the entire time I read it. I loved reading the rules and advice that Riley and Reid wrote back and forth to each other. Those two cracked me up. They were both misguided in hilarious ways and reminded me why best friends are all kinds of awesome. 

Readers who want a fun book with kissing and crushes and a story about friendships should check out Kissing Ted Callahan.




Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from TheNovl Newsletter/Poppy in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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