Thursday, October 29, 2009
Syrah Cheng is the daughter of the billionaires Ethan and Betty Cheng. She used to be a snowboarder, but after an accident that destroyed her knee, she isn't allowed to snowboard anymore by her parents. And if that isn't enough, her boyfriend Jared dumped her the same time because he discovered that Syrah wasn't the golden ticket to paradise he thought she was (because of her whealthy parents). Her haflbrothers and halfsister ignore her mostly, because they think Syrah is not a 'real' Cheng family member. Her strict mother has clear rules about almost everything, especially on appearrance. And Bao-Mu, Syrah's nanny is leaving the family suddenly. Syrah is tired of her keeping up appearances family, and misses Bao-Mu, the only one who really cared about her, it seems. But then she gets the chance to help the family of her friend, who has a seriously ill little sister who needs a bone transplant. Syrah's dream to realise a big snowboarding event to raise money, attention and awareness for this cause is born!
And then she discovers the past of her mother, and with that she meets family she has never met, and that there are people who really care about her, no matter how whealthy her family might be, just because she is Syrah.
I have heard many great things about the books of Justina Chen, and I really wanted to read Girl Overboard for a long while. And it was worth waiting. This book was just amazingly good.
The story has so many layers, it is sporty, cultural, funny, serious, and it has positivism written between the lines.
Isn't this all a good YA novel has to have in it? Girl Overboard has it all. Don't look further for a ya book, just pick Girl Overboard. And stay tuned for my reviews of the other two books by Justina Chen, wich I am sure I am going to read soon..
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
How to enter? Go to Suzanne's official blog by clicking here for all the details, good luck!!
Isn't the cover of The Naughty List just way cool?? PINK! High on my want-to-read-and-review list!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Susanna Simon, a girl who is a mediator and helps the undead to 'move on' gets a new ghostly case in this fifth book of the series. The brother of the little boy she babysitted during the summer at the Carmel Beach Club and who almost exorcised her and Jesse, is at the same school as her now. And he seems to follow Suze everywhere, and it even leads to a not unpleasant kiss. But what does Suze feel for Jesse, the ghost in her bedroom who is her true best friend?And her brother has a friend who is haunted by his drowned brother. Rivalry between Paul and Jesse and the drowned guy and his brother are leading to some very spooky and serious threads for Suze and she has to use all her mediator powers to solve them..
This fifth book in the Mediator series by Meg Cabot is a nice and easy in-between book. A fast read (I finished it in a day) that will lead to the final book in the series, book 6. I must honestly say that I think it is not the strongest book in the serie. Some parts really left me unclear in some details. But somehow it was entertaining.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
First, can you tell me and the readers something about yourself and about your book?
Secret Society is my third novel, though it's my first one aimed at young adult readers. It's a mystery about a group of teens who get inducted into a secret cult that is headquartered on the Upper East Side.
When did you start writing? I started when I was 17 years old.
What do you like most about writing for young adults?
I've found this genre to be very freeing in terms of plot -- knowing that I have a sequel in the wings allows me to spin out some plot threads over several books.
If you could be a character from your books for one day, who would it be?
I think it would be fun to be Patch for a day. He always knows all the angles on everything.
Since you are a YA writer can you tell us what you were like as a teen? Does that influence your characters? How?
It definitely does! I was somewhat shy and withdrawn, though I became more confident as I entered my late teens. I think I know what it's like to have a constant inner monologue running, which a number of my characters have.
What where your favorite books as a young adult?
I read mostly adult fiction, actually -- I read Tom Wolfe, Pat Conroy, Dominick Dunne. A lot of popular escapist fiction.
Where do you get inspiration for your books and characters?
From just about everywhere -- everything from things I read to people I see on the street.
What's your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?
I love how much freedom it gives me, but that also comes with the responsibility of being self-motivated. That can be hard.
Do you have a dream for the future of your writing, something you'd love to accomplish?I think, like most writers, I'm always seeking a healthy balance between my work and the rest of my life. Someday I will achieve it!
You can visit Tom Dolby's website here I received a copy of Secret Society yesterday, the book is absolutely gorgeous! Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone. . . .
An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York's wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.
They didn't ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything—even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they're forced to get on the nape of their necks. Once they're part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It's all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo. Tom Dolby makes his teen fiction debut with this riveting novel about a dangerous society so secret that once you get in, you can never get out.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Hi everyone. Dina and I are about to kick off a month-long tour for our book, Another Faust, and we want to do it by announcing a contest! We are looking for the most promising writers out there (that’s YOU). And then we want to showcase their work, so that all of the Internet can bask in their awesome writing might (and, you know, give them prizes).
HERE’S HOW IT GOES.
We want you to write your own short story, re-imagining of the Faustian Bargain. (For inspiration, check out Bedazzled, Simpsons “Tree House of Horrors IV,” and The Little Mermaid). It can be about anything you like (but let’s keep it PG-13, and under 3,000 words), and it’s open to everyone.
All you have to do is send your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org before January 31.
Rules and details can be found here
Make sure to read them so you don’t get DQed
And the winner gets all kinds of sweetness:
A signed copy of Another Faust
A handwritten deleted scene
A featured article & interview on our site
An author’s galley of the sequel Another Pan
Though we’ll feature the top five on our site for comments, the judging WON’T happen by popular vote (so basically, we don't care which contestant has the most friends). Dina and I will personally read them.
So, spread the word! Tweet, retweet, forward, thread, spread, embed this post.
You might also like to read: Interview with Dina Nayeri
Blog post about Dina's author reading at ABC The Hague
Aimee Albert, a Jewish girl who lives in New York City, is wondering if Shiksa's (non-jewish girls) have more fun and more chance to find the right guy. With her friend Krista she starts dating and pretending that her friend is Jewish (wich she is not) and that Aimee is a shiksa. Ofcourse the pretending doesn't last long because Aimee makes some mistakes..wil she ever find Mister Right? Or didn't she have to pretend that she was a shiksa at all?
The whole book is set up around Aimee pretending to be a shiksa. But is this enough to fill a book with and entertain the reader till the last page? It isn't.Most of the parts are repeats of previous scenes and I am sure the book would be more fun if it had a better plot and more funny moments wich would be perfect for this book.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Splendor ,(the fourth and final book in the The Luxe series) by Anna Godbersen;
As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.
Click here for my interview with Anna Godbersen
How to ruin your your boyfriends reputation by Simone Elkeles( book three in the How to ruin series)
Guess who's jetting to the Holy Land this summer!
Remember me, Amy Barak-Nelson—a.k.a the queen of disaster? In case you forgot, my boyfriend Avi is in the Israeli army. A visit is definitely in order.
Somehow my grandmother convinced me to sign up for two weeks of pure hell in a military training base. Getting up before dawn, peeing in a hole, and playing war games in the desert isn't my idea of fun. But what's worse? Our team leader turns out to be Avi!
Click here for my interview with Simone Elkeles
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (the sequel to Suite Scarlett)
Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-agent, entered Scarlett Martin's life, nothing has been the same.
She's still in charge of the Empire Suite in her family's hotel, but she's now also Mrs. Amberson's assistant, running around town for her star client, Chelsea - a Broadway star Scarlett's age with a knack for making her feel insignificant.
Scarlett's also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, her lab partner who is being just a little TOO nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart.
In the midst of all this, her parents drop a bombshell that threatens to change her New York life forever...
Click here for my interview with Maureen Johnson
Then Nonie and Edie meet Crow. A twelve year old girl who is a refugee from Uganda and who dresses funny with fairy wings. Crow designs the most beautiful flower petal dresses and she is trained by her neighbour, an elderly lady who was once a seamstress for Dior. Crow's designs are sold out every time at the Portobello Road market in Notting Hill, where the clients are mostly top models. Crow starts to design more than flower petal dresses because she gets more and more design requests.
Edie and Nonie are getting to know more about the past of Crow in Uganda and they want to help her, but most of all they want her to get her own fashion show..
Recently Threads caught my eye in a bookstore, the cover is just gorgeous, and the book is even more than that. It is a fun book in every way, and every girl who loves fashion will fall in love with Threads. Crow is just an amazing girl to read about and I am really curious how her designs would look in real life. Its a modern fairy tale about fashion and its just real fun to read. I am already looking out for the sequel..
Friday, October 16, 2009
Her book The Princess Diaries was the first ya novel that I've read, after the movie ofcourse, and since then I was hooked to books, she made me enjoy reading again!
And you can imagine how excited I was today when I read about the two upcoming titles by Meg. Runaway (Airhead book 3): and Allie Finkle's rules for girls book 5: Glitter Girls and The Great Fake Out
There are a few reviews coming up here of Meg Cabot books: Nicola and the Viscount, Mediator book 5 and 6, Portrait of my heart and Allie Finkle's Best friends and drama queens. Still have to get copies of Victoria and the Rogue and Allie Finkle's Stagefright..and then my Meg Cabot collection is complete so far!
Visit Meg Cabot's sites here (US) and here (UK)
One of the authors who you can chat with is Melissa Walker, the author of the Violet series and Lovestruck summer. Last year Melissa did a guest vlog for my blog, here it is another time..thanks again Melissa!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sparrow Delaney is the seventh daugter of a seventh daughter, and there are seven girls in her family (six sisters) and her mom and Grandma Bee. They live in a bit of a messy household, and they are all very spiritual. Sparrow can see ghosts since she was five. At the first schoolday of tenth grade, she meets her new classmate Jack Dawson. And a ghost, wich she is not sure of who he was in his former live.
When Jack tells her about his brother Luke who suddenly dissapeared years ago, Sparrow discovers that the ghost who is following her is no one else than Luke.
He won't leave till Sparrow helps him to move along to the 'other side'. And that means she has to tell Jack that she can see Luke's ghost, but will he believe her and can she tell Jack who she is going to like more and more that his brother is dead?
Once you start reading in The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney, you can't stop.
I thought this was a real good and very original novel. Mostly I find books that have a story about a ghost and a spiritual side confusing, but this one wasn't at all. It was really funny and very entertaining, and Sparrow is just fabulous to read about. Fun and light read about a teenage medium, hilarious! Suzanne Harper also wrote The Juliet Club, wich I have reviewed here and two Hannah Montana books, wich I hope to review someday too!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I recently have read and reviewed the English book (see here)and it is a book you really have to read!! Can't wait to read and review it again in the Dutch translation!
Let's welcome Isabel for an interview!
CAN YOU TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BOOKS?
My eight novels are romantic comedies, all written with a combination of pathos and humour. They are all first person narratives because I like the directness and the intimacy of the first person 'voice'. My novels are page-turning reads, with a lot of mystery, so in that sense are 'commercial' - but they are also quite literary, with many descriptive passages alongside the dialogue. People often say that though they are easy to read there is a lot 'to' them and I certainly try to piece the story together in an intelligent and satisfying way. In each book my heroine has done something that she regrets and is given the second chance - that so often eludes us in real life - to put it right. I think it's important for the reader to feel uplifted at the end, and hopefully to feel that the world is a slightly better place. They are defintely redemptive stories. I want my heroines to be redeemed.
I give my heroines interesting jobs. In 'The Trials of Tiffany Trott' (also published by de Kern) Tiffany is an advertising copywriter, in 'The Making of Minty Malone', Minty is a radio journalist; in 'Out of the Blue', Faith is a TV weather presenter, in 'Rescuing Rose', Rose is an Agony Aunt, in 'Behaving Badly', Miranda is an animal behaviourist, in 'A Question of Love', Laura is a TV quiz show presenter, in 'Forget Me Not' Anna is a garden designer and in 'Villa Vintage' Phoebe runs a vintage dress shop. I give my heroines these interesting careers because I think it's nice for the reader to learn about a different world, while at the same time enjoying what is, I hope, a really page-turning story. But the job that each of my heroines does is not just background, but is absolutley crucial to the plot - the story flows directly from it.
WHEN DID YOU START WRITING AND DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BECOME AN AUTHOR?
When I was younger I wanted to be an actress, but when I realised that an actor's life was not really for me I joined the BBC and became a broadcaster, spending 12 years as a reporter at the BBC World Service. I also wrote freelance articles for a variety of newspapers and magazines and in 1997 was asked to write a comical 'girl about town' column for the Daily Telegraph, and so Tiffany Trott was born. I was then commissioned to turn Tiffany Trott's adventures into a book, and as 'The Trials of Tiffany Trott' was an international bestseller my publishers, HarperCollins, asked me to write a second book, then a third one and so on. All the novels have a lot of poignancy alongside the humour, and I think that each book is more poignant than the last, and this is certainly true of 'Villa Vintage'. Many readers have told me that it has moved them to tears.
IF YOU COULD BE A CHARACTER FROM VILLA VINTAGE FOR ONE DAY WHO WOULD IT BE?
I guess it would have to be the novel's main character, Phoebe, because I always identify with my heroines very closely - I almost *become* them - even though their lives are very different from mine. But I would enjoy being in the Villa Vintage shop, arranging and selling the beautiful clothes, helping my customers to find the perfect outfit, or to accessorise an outfit they already have with a vintage bag, belt or scarf. And I would very much enjoy sourcing the clothes - going out to buy them at auction, and from private individuals - it would be fascinating. But Phoebe has a lot of sadness in her life - her best friend has died in mysterious circumstances and she is struggling with this, so of course I would find that part of being Phoebe hard. But because I am also the author I would know that Phoebe is about to be helped, in ways she could never have imagined, by a little blue coat from wartime Provence...
VILLA VINTAGE IS ABOUT VINTAGE DRESSES AND ABOUT A LITTLE BLUE COAT - HOW DID YOU RESEARCH THIS?
Although I have always loved vintage clothing I wasn't an expert on it, and so I did a lot of research. I spoke to nine or ten people who own vintage dress shops or sell vintage clothing online. I also interviewed a textiles expert from Sothebys and read lots of books about vintage clothing, so I immersed myself in the subject. Of course vintage clothing (which means anything up to the early 1980s) is really a history of 20th Century fashion. Vintage clothes are both lovely to look at and of very high quality, and they also provide a powerful reminder of the era in which they were made. But I think the main point about vintage clothes is that you're not just buying fabric and threads - you're actually buying a piece of someone's past. This is what Villa Vintage is really about - the poignant stories that often lie behind beautiful old clothes.
I'd like to add that some of the clothes are almost like characters. There are four sparkling 1950s evening dresses, or 'prom' dresses (I call them 'cupcake' dresses) and each one inspires a sub-plot of its own. But the most important garment in the novel is the blue coat, because one of the main characters is an elderly Frenchwoman called Therese Bell, who came to London after the war. Phoebe goes to see Mrs Bell to evaluate her wardrobe of clothes - but there is one garment that Mrs Bell says she'll never part with - a child's blue coat from wartime Avignon. So I went to Avignon to research Mrs Bell's background story so that it would feel absolutely real to the reader. I also did alot of finding out about wine-making as Phoebe falls in love with a man who owns a vineyard in Chateuneuf-du-Pape. I find the research that I do not just enjoyable but fascinating and I feed that passion into the book.
IT MUST BE GREAT TO SEE YOUR BOOK BEING TRANSLATED INTO DUTCH - CAN WE EXPECT MORE BOOKS BY YOU IN THE FUTURE?
I was absolutely thrilled when de Kern bought 'Villa Vintage' and I am even more thrilled by the beautiful cover that they have put on it - it's so perfect for the story - suggesting as it does, fashion and dressmaking, France, and also a haunting: those wire dress formes do have an abandoned, almost ghostly look to them which suits the story perfectly, because both Phoebe and Mrs Bell have lost their best friends (one in the present day, and one during the war); and both feel that they were to blame. They become close friends, and each woman helps the other to overcome her sadness.
I am now working on my next novel, about a portrait painter - and about the poignnt stories that often lie behind paintings - and I very much hope that that book will also be published in Holland.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MAIN CHARACTERS?
The novel sprang from the idea of vintage clothing. Once I knew that it was to be about that, then everything else flowed from it and in a way the book is about all apsects of ageing - whether we treasure our past or try to discard it, whether we are happy and accepting about getting older, or try and superannuate ourselves with bizarre treatments and plastic surgery (as Phoebe's mother does). The book also taps into vintage films, and vintage wine, and also archeology - so it's all about the Past and to what extent we value the past. I suppose Phoebe is a bit like me - she has to be otherwise I could not identify with her enough to write her character, let alone in the first person. Mrs Bell is partly based on my grandmother who came to Britain from Germany in the early 30s. I will never forget her telling me, when I was 8, that her best friend, Helene, had been 'murdered'. I was naturally shocked and horrified, and didn't understand why or how it could have happened (and my grandmother didn't want to tell me) - until a few years later. Helene left Paris for Lyon in March 1944 and was arrested there soon afterwards, and was killed in Auschwitz a month later. Although my grandmother was in England by then, and could not have helped Helene, even if she had known what was happening, she nevertheless felt a terrible and lifelong sense of regret and I am sure that this underpins this part of the novel. So because of the vintage theme I took the idea of a piece of clothing - a little blue coat - that Therese, aged 13, promised to take to her best friend, Monique, who was in hiding. But Therese got there too late...
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF BEING A WRITER? I suppose my favourite part of being a writer is hearing from my readers - which because of Facebook and twitter etc. is happening more and more - its' wonderful that writers and readers can now connect so easily. I am happy beyond words when someone tells me that they loved one of my books and was moved or amused or cheered up by it. This is the greatest reward. My least favourite part of being a writer is when I'm trying to work out the plots - which I always do very carefully in advance: the mental struggle involved in creating a good, coherent plot with emotion and humour, mystery, surprise and, ultimately, redemption is SO hard - but once I've got there I feel so, so happy.
DO YOU HAVE A DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR WRITING - SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO ACCOMPLISH?
I suppose my dream is just to be able to continue writing novels that people want to read, and are hopefully moved, amused and uplifted by - that is my only aim.
For more about Isabel Wolff, you can visit her website here .
For my dutch readers: Villa Vintage is uitgegeven bij De Kern en vanaf nu in de boekwinkel.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Gemma's mother suddenly commits suicide and Gemma is shipped back to London to the boarding school Spence, where young girls are being prepared to marry a rich husband.
Gemma has a strange gift. She can see visions that are coming true shortly after she has seen them. She is followed by a strange and mysterious Indian man who says he is send to watch over her and she makes friends with the most powerfull girls at Spence. And she finds the diary of a former Spence girl, Mary Dowd.
The four girls are going to form The Order, their own secret society. They secretly sneak out of Spence at night and they are going to read the diary of Mary Dowd. They find out that Gemma's mother once was a student at Spence and that strange deaths happened that time.
I finally had the time to read this book after it was at my reading pile for almost a year.
I liked this book, it is a bit of a new Jane Eyre kind of book. It has the same spooky Victorian style, with lots of mysterious people. Made me really curious for the other two books in the Gemma Doyle series...Libba Bray is starring now on Readergirlz, and you can chat with Libba during the Teen Read Week Chats at Readergirlz on Wednesday, October 28th at 6 PM PST/9 PM EST. See here the official Readergirlz banner and click on it to go to the Readergirlz site, and don't miss the Teen Read Week chats from 10 till 23 of October!
When Samuel Falk Simms after graduating from college steps on a plane for a little break in Tibet, his life changes. In the seat next to him sits Panchen Lama, a buddhist monks who secretly hides a secret map in Sam's backpack. When Sam steps off the plane in Kathmandu, the monk is arrested immediately by Chinese soldiers and Sam is questioned by police officer Zhang. Zhang wants the map, but Sam doesn't know yet it is in his backpack. The map shows the way to the newborn who is born as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, and Sam has to everything in his power to prevent the baby for falling in the hands of the Chinese rulers. He meets Parker, a woman from HongKong who lives in Tibet, and together they are going to try to find the baby, hopefully without falling in the hands again of Zhang..
This book really surprised me. I got a review copy of it a long time ago. It was really good and a stunning fictional travel through Tibet. The end was just awesome, I will not post to many spoilers here, just read it yourself!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I truly hope Meg will someday visit the Netherlands! This interview is so much fun!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
When Jacob spots Avery during a mass, he really wants to be more than friends with him.
And it works out, and then its a long part in the book about if they are doing ''it'' or not.
They want to keep their relationship a secret, but ofcourse it leaks out in the end, a big scandal on a catholic school ofcourse and one of them is suspended from school.
What can I say about this book. The story was very weak, I felt most of the book was about the issue of if they where doing ''it'' or not and that was very annoying after a while. Without Sin is a book you won't miss anything of if you don't read it. It wasn't my cup of tea. If the story had been worked out more and some of the excessive parts where let out, it could have been an interesting one, but unfortunately it wasn't.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The author have used Stephanie Meyer's book Twilight to begin with, and with Defining Twilight you can practice in a fun way (if you like Twilight ofcourse) for your tests.
I, as a reader and reviewer from Europe who haven't seen a SAT or other american school test , and as I haven't read Twilight yet, found this book a lot of fun to read. And I certainly have added some new words to my vocubulary after reading it.
I think if you have to study for any tests named above, this is one of the books to pick, especially if you are into ya novels.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
And then Devon gets shot in a street fight, and Theresa has to apply by herself for the top colleges, even though she has low scores she still has a little chance after all..and maybe Devon still has a chance to get into college, but they have to hurry..
Alan Sitomer has written an amazing ya novel with Hip Hop High School. What is really fun about Alan's books is that for example Sonia Rodriquez appears in this book (wich is a sequel to his book The Hoopster, I just found out) too. It was very realistic with a funny edge in it.
It reminded me a bit of my own high school time and the people that where there.Alan is a high school teacher and he really knows what he writes about.
Tee-Ay is just a brilliant narrator and I felt really sorry for her when al her hard work didn't pay off.She really deserved better with her test results! I thought it was a ya novel with a real and good story, and I can also recommend Alan's book The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriquez too, wich is also on of the characters in this book.
Friday, October 2, 2009
And of course you can let your book sign by Dina!