Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Things That Stood Out for Me in 2009

So, I am sitting here waiting for the new year to start! And I can't help but think of all the awesome things that happened this year. I thought I would list a few (there are too much to list them all).

1. Starting my friendships with bloggers like Khy, Sarah, Mitali, Hope, and Erica.

2. Going to my first author signing, Lisa McMann YOU ROCK!

3. Going to all the other author signings! (Scott Westerfeld, Sara Rees Brennan, Sarah Dessen, and much more)

4. Meeting Khy in June! She is awesome and has killer bangs! (high-five David-stalker buddy!)

5. Receiving an ARC of Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I am a shy person. But I ran out of a bookstore, ran around a parking lot, and screamed when I got this book. Oh,yeah. I am a fangirl.


7. Getting to talk to the TENNERS and getting to talk to and meet some of the DEBS! Y'all are amazing!

8. Having my blogs 1 year anneversary! I never thought I would make it this far! Here's to another year!

9. Finding people who are interested in the same things as me! (Doctor Who, Spring Awakening, Rent, reading, Gilmore Girls, writing etc.)

10. Being apart of this wonderful community! I wouldn't be able to live without you all! You are amazing and I can't wait for another year with all of you!

The Center of the Universe by Anita Liberty

Welcome to the story of my life. Well, at least the story of my junior and senior years of high school. It's a profound, touching, and hilarious (if I do say so myself) tale told through cunning poems, revelatory diary entries, perspicacious (look it up) word definitions, shrewd bits of advice, and off-the-cuff (but brilliant) insights. You'll probably relate to a lot of it. Especially the parts about hating my parents, never feeling cool enough, failing my first attempt at the SATs, having an incredibly romantic (but one-sided) relationship with the coolest guy in school, and getting hexed by my ex-best friend who became a Wiccan. And if you can't relate? Well, step to the back of that humongous line. You'll probably be right behind my family. If you're lucky, my mom'll bring snacks. How can I be who I am and who my family wants me to be when the person I am wouldn't be caught dead with the person my family wants me to be?

Words cannot describe my feelings for this book. It was so confusing! Don’t get me wrong, I liked it and I read it straight through. But, the whole time I was reading the same question was going through my head. “Are these Anita Liberty’s real Journals? Are they based off her real journals? What is going on!?”
A lot of the parts left me confused and I didn’t really know what to think next.
What I did like about this book was that it was easily relatable. It really captured what it is like to be a teen.* One of my favorite parts of this book was the beginning, the poem. It was magnificent.
I recommend this book to teens. I found it nice to read a book that was pretty relatable.

* You know! One minute you hate someone/something and the next minute you are like, it’s best friend.

8 Books to Look for in 2010

In no particular order...

The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
.... This book was super fun to read! Suzanne if a wonderful author and I cant wait for the second book in the series!

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
.... I read this book a few month ago, and I still haven't stopped loving it. Kimberly Derting wrote a wonderful 2010 read!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
.... Do I really need to say why? It is the collaboration of my two favorite authors. I have read this book so many times already, that I am starting to know phrases and such my heart. This book has everything, and then some. I strongly encourage you to pick it up when it is released!

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Bleeding Violet was a good book that I couldn't but down. It was incredibly engaging.

Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
This was an awesome and cute book. It was original and spontaneous.

Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu
I loved this book so much! It is about a topic that is not really talked about in the YA world, Hoarding. Pick this up if you are looking for something fresh and new, that is still deep and mind boggling.

The Mark by Jen Nadol
This was the book that I read while sick on a week long field trip. It was really good. While I was reading it, all my friends kept stealing it to read the back... and then they were nagging me about how they wanted to read it. So, if the majority of the kids in my class like it... I think you might too!

Captivate by Carrie Jones
So... I posted my review of this last night. And, if you have read my review, you know I loved this book. It has adventures, love, danger, and much more!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Captivate by Carrie Jones

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town. A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Captivate was just… wow. So good. I loved it. I was a really big fan of the first book in the series, Need. The sequel just took it to the next level! And first, I didn’t really get into it. But after awhile, I really got into it. This book had all of the things that are in a good book; mystery, romance, action, danger.
I found myself actually liking Astley. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally Team Nick. But… this Astley guy said all the right things to Zara and he came across as really sweet! That being said, I want to mention a pet peeve of mine. I didn’t like how Nick called Zara “baby” every time he would say that, I would mentally cringe*.
Carrie Jones did a lovely job writing this book. It was very entertaining and totally addicting. I cannot wait for another one! Forget Edward in Bella. Zara and Nick are the new “thing”, at least they should be!

* I was talking about this with Erica of The Book Cellar about 5 minutes ago… and she agree’s. If Zara is getting called baby more than her own name, it is wrong.

10 Favorite Books of 2009

In no particular order.....

Willow by Julia Hoban
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Hot to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Read-a-Thon

So. I have decided to host a New Years read-a-thon! I thought it would be fun to start of the year with some good books, and I figured I would invite you all to participate!

This Read-a-Thon will last:

From- Midnight on New Years
To- Monday the 4th of January

Any books count.


There will be 2 prizes given out to the two people who read the most books. Both prizes will be envelopes of book-swag such as cards, bookmarks, and buttons.

At the end of the read-a-thon participants who would like to have a chance to win the swag should email me at zaser_jam AT yahoo DOT com, this email should include the number of books you read and the titles of these books.
All emails should be received by Thursday January 7th.

Feel free to post about this on your blogs/twitter/etc. If you are participating, please leave a comment! Thanks and happy reading!


Since the Year is Coming to an End...

Since it is almost 2010, I have made a Survey. I would like you readers *we should really come up with a name for all who read Zoe's Book Reviews.... maybe... I dont know... suggestions in the comments?* to do a survey telling me what you like and do not like about my blog and what you think I should work on in the upcoming year.

If you would like to take the survey.... *it is completely anonymous.*


Thank you so much!


How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?

How to Say Goodbye in Robot was brilliant. I would like to thank David Levithan for recommending this book at the author signing, without him recommending it I probably wouldn’t have discovered one of my favorite books this year. Natalie did a wonderful job writing this book. I normally don’t like books that don’t have at least a bit of romance in them, but Natalie wrote this book in such a way that I didn’t care that the two Main Characters were just friends and nothing more*.
Ghostboy was terribly sweet while still being mysterious. RobotGirl was pretty awesome too. One of my favorite things about this book is that the characters are common. They are realistic in the most lovely way. A lot of books are about the popular kid. This book was about the loner-ish people, the people who don’t have many friends, and the outcasts. Which, honestly, I can relate to**.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone, even adults. It shows that even the people who you may see and shy away from- are really cool people, and to just give them the time of day. I cannot wait to read another book by Natalie Standiford!

* I don’t read romance books or anything, but I DO love a good love story every once and awhile.
** Im not really a loner, I don’t think. It’s just that a lot of the time I like to be left alone. I think WAY to much… and I am just a quiet person.

10 Favorite Blogs of 2009

In no particular order...

* The Book Cellar
Erica's blog is amazing. She is totally nice! And her reviews are honest. She has lovely contests, and I suggest you check her blog out!

*Frenetic Reader

Khy is terribly funny, every day I check her posts and almost every day she makes me laugh.

* Sarah's Random Musings

Sarah is one of the nicest bloggers whom I have known. Her reviews are amazing, and so are all of her other posts.

* The Story Siren

Kristi is the unwritten queen of Book Blogging. When I get home from school, one of the first things I do is go read her blog. She has a huge fanbase, which she totally deserves.

* Persnickety Snark

Adele is lovely! She is fun to talk to and she is Australian! Yay!

* YA Book Queen

Lea is a fairly new blogger, who is awesome. Her blog is very good as are her reviews.

* Hope's Bookshelf

Hope is just... awesome. She is very very nice and her blog is very very good.

* Books By Their Cover

This is another one of those blogs that I check constantly. The posts are always fun yet honest.

* Pop Culture Junkie

This is one of the most interesting book blogs you may come across. You will find reviews and crafty things here. Alea is very welcoming and she is terrifically amazing.

* The Compulsive Reader

Tirzah is one of the hardest working book bloggers out there. Her reviews are always stunning and you can tell she puts a lot of work unto her... work.


Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year... New Look

So... as you all know. The New Year is upon us. And I have been in the mood to get a blog-look-change. I have had my previous layout for about a year, and I thought it was time for a change. So, I found a background that I liked and I want to know what you think of it. So.... What do you think? Do you like it, do you not like it?


Review Policy

Zoe's Book Reviews has been running since October of 2008.

I currently have 343 followers on blogger. (This number grows a bit a week)*
I get about 400 views a day.*
People from 75 countries currently visit my blog.*

Review Policy....

I accept mainly Young Adult books and occasionally accept Middle Grade Books.
E-Books aren't preferred, but I sometimes will review them.
If you are interested in having me review your book or would like to do a giveaway for your book, you can contact me at zaser_jam AT yahoo DOT com
I will usually respond to emails within a week.

No book I receive is guaranteed a good review.

I do guest posts, interviews, and contests as well as book reviews.

If you are interested in having me review your book, having a giveaway for your book, or having you do a interview/guest post on the blog please send an email to
zaser_jam AT yahoo DOT com

Best Wishes,

All lines marked with a * were updated on November 19, 2010

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out - doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T - and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize - Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare...

I LOVE this book. I read it in one sitting, within the period of a few hours. It was completely addicting and I have nothing but praise for it. If you have not read this book, you seriously need to. Danielle Joseph wrote this book from a true audiophile’s perspective, which I loved. Gavin is just… wow… *insert gushy fan girl here*. After finishing this book, all I wanted to do was sit in my room and listen to music. It also made me want to have my own radio show.
Tere was one iconic character. I really wanted to be her. She was shy, like I am. But, she got over and eventually conquered the radio and all who listened… while still getting the guy!
I recommend this book to everyone and anyone who loves music, is human, or is in need of a genuine feel good book.

100 + Reading Challenge

So, this years 100+ reading challenge is being hosted by J.Kaye's Book Blog. I did this challenge this past year and it was pretty awesome! I beat it! And, it is always nice to set a goal for yourself. I think I may actually move my set goal to 150+ .... but, who knows?
So, I encourage you to click THIS LINK.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

This book took "it" to the next level. I don't know what "it" is . but The Dark Divine is practically bathing in "it". I am sure of one thing though, and that is that "it" is a good thing.

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held. The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes. The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

I loved The Dark Divine; it was addicting, beautifully written, and something I will always remember. Bree Despain is an author that you must watch out for, she is sure to be a hit!
The characters in this book were incredibly realistic. They had understandable and real-life emotions. Daniel was possibly my favorite character... he seemed real, mysterious, and bad. *swoon*

The Dark Divine is a book everyone should read. it is simply amazing and a novel the nobody should miss. I would go out and buy a copy at the next possible chance!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The "Cool Jew Ornament" Winner!

After tallying the votes... *Sorry, I was watching Survivor last night* the winner of the Cool Jew Christmas Ornament is....


Congrats! I cannot find your e-mail, so I will annoyingly tweet to you for the next 24-hours! hehe.
Please e-mail me your address at zaser_jam AT yahoo DOT com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The David Levithan Book Signing.

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to drive an hour to go see one of my two favorite authors of all time*. This author was David Levithan. I have mentioned him a few other times on here... long time followers know that I was dared to write him a love letter and that I have had an ongoing obsession/fangirl over the past year. But, I had never actually met Mr. Levithan. And now, since I did. I am going to write a post that may or may not be fangirly. You have been warned.

While my mom and I were driving to go see David Levithan, we were listening to the Glee Soundtrack and I was getting extraordinarily nervous. When I got there, I paid for my copy of Love is the Higher Law, which is David's newest book **. After I paid, I walked around the corner looking for the event and as I turned. I saw him. At this point, I was trying incredibly hard not to scream and be a creeper. My very mediocre self control worked, and I didn't scare David, which is always a good thing. Then, the event started. The bookshop gave away some books ***. And then, David Levithan started to read. Not only is his book awesome when you are reading it, but it is even more awesome when the AUTHOR reads it. Seriously, I could listen to David Levithan read his book all day and not once would I get bored.
There was a Q&A session afterwords, in which Mr. Levithan told us some really funny stories. And the super awesome tenner Daisey Whitney asked some super awesome questions. He told us which books he recommended (I bought one, and it was AWESOME)****.
When it was time to get out books signed, I got SIX of the books by him I owned signed. As you can imagine, that took awhile so while he was signing; I wished him a Happy Hannukah and he talked about eating way too much donuts on tour and I told him what I though of Will Grayson, WIll Grayson. And basically, I almost died of the awesome *****.
After that, I talked for awhile with Daisey Whitney and then headed home. This was possibly one of the happiest nights of my year... or... my life?
I also got to meet Chelsea of The Page Flipper and got to see Alicia of Shooting Stars Mag.
They are also very very awesome, and I am hoping to see Chelsea again! And I hope to see Alicia again at another event!

*My other favorite author of all time being John Green, who is awesome.
** Which you should totally check out because it was wonderful.
*** And my mom won one. Yay! I have yet to read it, but the book was Magic Under Glass.
**** The book is How to Say Goodbye in Robot. David edited it, and it is amazing.
***** One of the reasons I almost died was because he knew who I was. He looked at my name on the post it note... and knew who I was. It took all I had not to jump up and down right then. I jumped up and down and screamed when we went down to the front of the bookshop and got coffee.

My Awesome Find...

So, yesterday I was working at the local used bookshop here. I was putting away books from our little library cart and something caught my eye. This thing was...


So here is a list of reasons why I freaked...

1. I love UK editions of books, they are just marvelous.
2. It was in paperback, and I prefer paperback over hardback because it is easier to carry around.
3. This used bookstore's books are very inexpensive. And since, I am two young to have an actual paying job, the deal that I have with my boss is that I get paid in store credit.
4. Have you seen the UK cover?!

So, yeah. I was a very happy little bibliophile. I ended up getting the book. I haven't read The Hollow yet, cuz I never really had money to buy the hardback.
That was my happy book news of the week!

Happy real life news of the week....
I got a B on my report! Yes, it isn't an A. But it is still passing! And it was 60 pages! And non-fiction!

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Josh Mendel has a secret. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is. Five years ago, Josh’s life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his town—seems like the world—thinks they understand. But they don’t—they can’t. And now, about to graduate from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First there’s Rachel, the girl he thought he’d lost years ago. She’s back, and she’s determined to be part of his life, whether he wants her there or not.Then there are college decisions to make, and the toughest baseball game of his life coming up, and a coach who won’t stop pushing Josh all the way to the brink. And then there’s Eve. Her return brings with it all the memories of Josh’s past. It’s time for Josh to face the truth about what happened. If only he knew what the truth was . . .

Boy Toy is really addicting. It tells a heartbreaking and serious story in a very graceful way. Though I couldn't bare to read it, I couldn't stop reading. Barry Lyga did a wonderful job writing this book. Boy Toy is the first book by him that I have read and I'm looking forward to reading more books by him.
I recommend this book very highly to people who can handle some deep stuff. It was lovely.

Winner of DupliKate by Cherry Cheva...

So, the contest to win Cherry Cheva's new book, DupliKate ended yesterday. And I just calculated the winner....
and that person is...


Congrats Erica! I am e-mailing you after I post this, please send me your address!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trailers and Links



DupliKate Contest... here.
Josh Berk Contest... here.

Both of those contests end very soon, so I would enter them now if you want to have a chance to win!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Guest Post by Josh Berk *And a contest*

Hey Everyone, Zoe asked me to do a guest post on her blog a little while ago and I had the fancy idea that it could be a holiday post! This way Zoe and I can wish you dear readers a Happy Hannukah (or whatever that other holiday is some of you celebrate). And also this way we can give away this weird "Josh Berk Cool Jew" holiday ornament I have lying around the house. Read on for my ramblings and for the low-down on the contest. Happy Holidays
Being a Jew is pretty great. We have lots of good writers, comedians, and, yes, let's face it: we control the media and international finance. (Kidding! Sort of.) But alas, being a Jewish kid on Christmas is about much fun as, well, being a Jewish kid on Christmas. Our parents do their best, what with trips to the movies and take-out Chinese food. And yeah, yeah Hanukkah is pretty cool -- who wouldn't enjoy the eight nights of presents? Also cool is the fact that dreidel and menorah pretty much are parent-sanctioned gambling and playing with fire.

But alas, it all comes up a bit short, especially when you're a kid. You feel awkward every time someone says "Merry Christmas." You feel like you must somehow be naughty because Santa skips your house. And perhaps worst of all: You are forced to go to Christmas parties and take part in nativity plays at school. Sure, it beats going to class, and yes, there's one Hannukah
song everyone sings off-key, but that only makes it worse somehow.
I have a particular fantastic memory of being in fourth grade or so and dressing up as an elf in a public school Christmas production. This involved wearing tights and a stupid hat. I love stupid hats as anyone can attest, but tights?! It was pretty embarrassing. No, I don't have a picture. Worse was that I had to sing "Silent Night." Some of the other songs, like "Jingle Bells" or "Frosty" could be passed off as "seasonal," but I was pretty sure "Silent Night" was all about Jesus (possibly it was that part where you say "Christ the Savior, is born" over and over again)... Also the line "round yon virgin" is pretty weird. I always imagined it was about a round virgin named Yon. Why are we singing about him? He can't help being a virgin. He didn't want to be named "Yon." Leave Yon alone.

Anyway, this is my favorite awkward Jew-on-Christmas memory, being dressed as an elf and belting out a song about Jesus. But to enter this contest you don't have to be a Jew! That's right: this is a contest! And I mean, a Jew will probably win, because we are the chosen people (and also that whole international conspiracy thing), but anyone can take a crack at it. Just share an embarrassing or horrid holiday experience from your childhood! We all have those, right? Right.

I'm sure no matter who you are you have a fun story about "accidentally" telling your aunt her gift sucked, or maybe your parents forgot to buy you a gift one year so your stocking was filled with stuff from the garage like a bunch of hammers and maybe a roll of half-used duct tape.

Winner will receive a "cool jew" Josh Berk holiday ornament for your tree. And everyone has an equal chance to win. Honest. We're going to use a random number generator to pick the prize, and really, even the Jews need a Berk-face "non-denominational holiday ornament," don't they? Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas!

(To win you must be 13 years or older. Open world-wide! Berk will mail the prize and he hates the post office so be patient. You've been warned.)

Contest will end Sunday December 20, 2009.
Open to US residents.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

An Interview with Cherry Cheva

1. What is it like writing YA novels and writing for Family Guy? Is it hard to balance your time?

YES! Sooooo hard. Or arguably not hard, because unless I’m on a deadline I kind of just don’t do it-- I’ll just go to work at Family Guy, come home, mean to work on book stuff, end up watching a bunch of TV instead, go to sleep, wake up the next day, repeat cycle. :) So weekends are when I tend to actually get book stuff done. If there is a deadline involved though, then I definitely will come home after work and do more work. It gets very tiring, as I’m sure everyone else who has a full-time day job and also writes books knows. It sucks! (And also is awesome, but you know what I mean.)

2. How did you come up for the idea of DupliKate?

Mad props go to my very smart editors; we were tossing around a couple different ideas, and someone mentioned something about computer avatars and clones and I sort of took that and ran with it.

3. How does writing for a popular TV show effect your life? Do people recognize you (on the streets) by your YA books or by Family Guy?

HA! HAHAHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA—nobody recognizes me anywhere, ever, are you kidding me? I have been not recognized by people I KNOW if I happen to be dressed differently than usual or something. But if it comes up in conversation that I’m a writer, Family Guy tends to get the bigger reaction from people; it’s a big huge hit show that sells zillions of DVDs, whereas my books have sold, um, less than a zillion. :) Also, several people who work at Family Guy are famous so then people want to know if I know them, whereas in books it’s not like anyone’s ever going, “Oh my god, I love your editor! Are they hot in person? Are they nice?” The answer, by the way, is yes. :)

4. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Sure! Read a whole lot (if you’re an aspiring author you’re probably doing this anyway). Also, be prepared! Do your research. As in, when the time comes around that you’ve written something that you actually want to show somebody, it will impress them more if you’ve already figured out exactly how a manuscript should be formatted, what a good query letter looks like, etc. This may sound like a total no-brainer, but I used to be an assistant at an agency and you’d be surprised at how many people send in something that’s formatted all crazy or whatever.

5. When you were a teen, where you like Kate?

Good lord, no. I mean, I was taking a lot of AP classes and stuff, and I did want to get into a good school and whatnot, so I felt her academic pain, but the similarity ends there. She’s more of the “do EVERYTHING!” type chick whereas I was more straight nerdy. I mean, my main extracurricular was the newspaper, and I certainly wasn’t setting foot anywhere near any sports practices of any type.

6. Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much for this interview! And if you live in/near Ann Arbor, MI or are very motivated to drive, come see me at the downtown library on Dec. 29th! Details here: and I’m sure I will be tweeting it to the skies as we get closer ( There will be PRIZES given away, and who doesn’t like FREE STUFF?! :D

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tenner Interview- CJ Omololu: Author of Diry Little Secrets

1. What made you write about hoarders?
I was reading a magazine article about a woman who had grown up in a hoarded home and it gave me an idea for a story. I've always been curious about people who grow up in unusual situations and how they use that experience in their lives.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Listen and practice. And make yourself sit down and write something every day. I had a lot of hints early on in high school and college that writing fiction would make a good career, but it wasn't until I had my own children that it even occured to me to write stories. I really feel that I wasted a lot of time. Listen to the voices inside - they will give you big hints about the direction you should take in your life. The hardest part of writing is actually sitting down, opening up the notebook or laptop and writing something down - the whole "wait for the muse" thing will have you sitting with a bunch of half-finished manuscripts in no time. .

3. Have you ever known a hoarder?
Yes, which made it a bit easier to write the book. I've known several hoarders of varying degrees throughout my life - once you start talking about it, almost everyone has known someone or had a family member that suffered from compulsive hoarding.

4. Did you have to do a lot of research while writing this book?
Tons. Luckily, I sent an email to the website Children of Hoarders and three wonderful women answered my request for help. They were invaluable to the process - sending me ideas and photos, telling stories and reading parts of the book as I finished. I've had a few people who have hoarders in their families read the book and tell me that the details were very accurate, and that's all thanks to my "experts". Now there is a show called Hoarders on A&E, but there were just a few documentaries available back in late 2007 when I wrote the book.

5. What is it like being a tenner?
I love, love, love the Tenners! It's been so great to be part of a group of people who are going through what you are going through and "get" all your angst. I have two new critique partners who are Tenners and we've been reading each other's new books and I hope these partnerships last a long time. The entire kidlit community is so amazingly supportive that even if I have an idea for an adult book, I'll have to write it as YA because I'd miss it so much.

6. Is there anything that you would like to add?
There has been a lot of talk about the ending of Dirty Little Secrets - I'm not going to give away any spoilers here, except to say that this isn't a "how-to" manual. It is the story of one girl in one situation and really, it is the only way for her particular story to end. I didn't set out to become a hoarding expert, but because of my research I've put together a pretty extensive list of websites for hoarders, their friends and their families on the Resources page of my website.

Dirty Little Secrets on Goodreads.

Contest- DupliKate by Cherry Cheva

The author of DupliKate and She's So Money, Cherry Cheva has given me the opportunity to give away her new book; DupliKate.

Getting into Yale has been Kate Larson’s dream for years—and being overworked and under-rested is the price of admission. But when she opens her eyes after falling asleep on her keyboard one night, she comes face-to-face with, well, herself. Meet Kate’s computer-generated twin. Kate doesn’t know why she’s here or how to put her back where she belongs, but she’s real. And she’s the last thing Kate has time to deal with right now. Unless. . .could having a double be the answer to Kate’s prayers? In this hilarious second novel, Cherry Cheva introduces a character who has been granted the wish of every overscheduled teen everywhere—for there to be two of her. But as everyone knows, you should be careful what you wish just might come true and wear all your clothes and steal your boyfriend.

This contest will be ending in two weeks. So.... Saturday December 19, 2009.

To Enter-

+1 Comment with your email
+2 If you answer the question "If you had the opportunity to have a twin, would you?"
+3 If you link this contest somewhere. (twitter, blog, etc.) *if so, comment me the link*
+5 If you follow/are currently following this blog

Remember... this ends...


Open to US residents....

Cover of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

So.. I am back from my trip. And, I found out that the cover of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins was released. Here it is:
Here is the summary (off of Goodreads):

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Interview with Jennifer Jabaley

1. How did you get the idea for Lipstick Apology?
So many people ask me this! Here's the true story how I dreamed up the idea for LIPSTICK APOLOGY: My sister and I are very close. Several years ago she had two children and I had none. She was about to go on her very first vacation without the kids and she was freaking out a little bit. The night before her flight she called me about ten times, each time telling me random information "in case the flight goes down". Yes, she is a bit dramatic like I tend to be. Information about our wills is here...The key to the safety box is here...If you have to sell the house call this person...When the phone rang for the six or seventh time I turned to my husband and said, Can you imagine, the flight would be going down and she would whip out her lipstick and start outlining the kid's schedule and bedtimes on a tray table. My husband laughed and said that would be a great idea for a book. So I grabbed a post it note and scribbled "note on a tray table". I stashed that post-it note in my drawer and didn't see it again until almost a year later when I was packing to move. And that post it note became the inspiration for my story. Important note: although the idea came from real life, there is absolutely no truth to any part of LIPSTICK APOLOGY.
2. Lipstick Apology has some really sad scenes in it. Was it hard to write them?
Yes. My nature tends to be light and happy-go-lucky so the grief scenes were particularly hard. What made it easier was that I didn't want this story to be about sadness - I wanted it to be about moving on. Therefore I tried to keep the grief in the backdrop - the readers know she's sad because of the circumstances but experience more of the after effects of grief: Emily's rollercoaster of emotions.
3. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes - simply never give up!! Many of life's failures happen when people do not realize how close they came to success when they chose to give up.
4. What made you decide to have Emily's mom write her apology in lipstick?
I guess I figured that would work best. A plane tray table is a hard plastic that I don't think ball point pen would work on. Unless her mother had a marker in her purse, what else could she use? Of course I loved the idea of her using make up since Emily then has to go live with a make up artist - it's like an everyday reminder of her mother's chosen instrument to scrawl her final words.
5. Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much to everyone who has read and enjoyed my book! I so appreciate all the letters and emails I've received. It warms my heart to think someone read my story and enjoyed the ride.