Monthly Archives: January 2012

UNDER THE NEVER SKY – ARC Giveaway (Plus, Bookmarks Galore!)

I normally don’t read a lot of dystopian fiction, but when I got the ARC of UNDER THE NEVER SKY by fellow Apocalypsie Veronica Rossi, I thought I’d give it a try.  And boy, am I glad I did!

Reverie, where Aria comes from, is a place where people “live” only in virtual realities, where enhanced experiences supplant real ones, and people no longer have a need to touch each other, even to procreate.   Conversely, Perry’s world of the Outsiders is savage and visceral, and its inhabitants have developed heightened, animalistic senses.  Rossi builds the worlds of Reverie and the Outer Wasteland with great humanity and intelligence and a deep understanding of the struggles present in our own society.  And this clash of cultures is the perfect setting for a love story, and watching the restrained, almost clinical Aria give herself over to Perry and his very primal world of love, pain, and emotion is not only compelling, but also a very apt metaphor for anyone falling in love.


If you would like to WIN A COPY OF THE ARC for UNDER THE NEVER SKY, just leave a comment on this post and you’ll automatically be entered in the drawing!  And you can snag  extra entries by completing any of the following:

And if you do all five you’ll be entered five times!  But make sure to leave your entry total in your comment.  The giveaway will be open until Friday Feb. 3rd at noon, and I’ll announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Plus, as a bonus, the winner of the ARC, and 3 additional winners, will receive an assortment of Apocalypsies bookmarks and postcards from including:

  • Jill Hathaway’s SLIDE (signed)
  • Jessica Spotswood’s BORN WICKED (signed)
  • Jenny Lundquist’s SEEING CINDERELLA
  • Robin Bridge’s THE GATHERING STORM (signed)
  • Elissa Jane Hoole’s KISS THE MORNING STAR (signed)
  • Megan Miranda’s FRACTURE
  • A.C. Gaughen’s SCARLET
  • Caroline Rose Star’s MAY B.
  • Lissa Price’s STARTERS (signed)
  • and of course, my bookmarks Hilary Weisman Graham’s REUNITED (signed)


Filed under book blog, books, movies, YA, writing, young adult

True Teen Stories: Three’s a Crowd

Welcome to Volume 3 of “True Teen Stories,” a blog series which features non-fiction essays from teen writers.  I am incredibly impressed and proud of the writer of this next story, 14-year-old Angel R. of the U.K., author of “Three’s a Crowd.”   It’s not easy to open yourself up to the world, and I think Angel’s bravery and candor will be an inspiration to girls everywhere.


By Angel R., age 14 

I remember sometime last year, lying on my best friend’s bed with my nose stuck in a book as she complained about yet another boy that had ‘broken her heart’. This one only lasted a week. The pair of us, I realize now, must have looked like those cheesy best friends that you see in all the 1990’s movies. Phoebe Smith* and I had been best friends since she stood on my foot on the first day of primary school and, at 13 years a piece, had been through so much together: first bras, first boyfriends, first break-ups, and first periods. You name it, we had been through it together.

It was around this time that my feelings towards Phoebe started to change. We went from being BFFs to me being madly in love with her and her being completely clueless as usual. I think that I’d always had a special place in my heart for Phoebe and, once I discovered it was okay to like girls, finally admitted my feelings to myself. I remember her falling beside me on the bed and asking why she didn’t like girls instead, it would be so much easier. We talked about sexuality for about an hour and both agreed that yes, it was okay to date other girls but no, she and I wouldn’t be doing it anytime soon after all, as Phoebe said “Neither of us are really lesbians”

A couple of months after the ‘bedroom incident’, a new girl showed up at school. Her name was Laura Slough and she was one of these girls that always wears designer clothes and has a giggle that reverberates around in your skull for hours after hearing it, which is why it surprised me so much when Phoebe invited her to hang around with us. Now, I’m all for making someone feel welcome, so of course I played nice.  But as Phoebe and Katy started to grow closer I couldn’t help but get slightly jealous. So, I did the only thing I could think of: not let it get to me. It worked, for the rest of that school year and the start of the next one. Sure, our cozy duo became a trio, but we were all friends and we all loved each other.  Or so I thought.

With the new addition to our group, my feelings towards Phoebe only got stronger and stronger and, I realized as the world was changing around me, I didn’t like boys the way other girls did, I liked girls and I had to face up to that fact and stop hiding it. I was happy with my new, clearer, knowledge of myself and wanted to share it with my friends, after all Phoebe had basically told me that it was okay to be gay and if Laura didn’t like it, well I wasn’t really losing much was I? So I was going to do it one day at school, I managed to get them into a quiet part of the school by telling them I had ‘something important to tell them’ but when it came around to actually saying something I found I couldn’t do it so quickly ran off leaving two very confused teenagers behind me.

I decided that the easiest way to do it would be over MSN so, during our 6pm scheduled chat I was almost forced into it by Laura. Here’s a snippet of that conversation: 

Phoebe: Or vegas! Wat bout u Ang do u wanna go vegas wiv me?

Me: I’d love to go with you Phoebe.

Laura: Oh, ang. Wat u wanted to tell us?

Me: Oh, right. Um, it doesn’t matter?

Phoebe: Go on babes, tell us

Me: Well, its kinda important.

Laura: Just spit it out!

Me: I’m gay.

Laura: WAT? Wind up rite?

Me: No, I’m being serious. I’m in love with another girl

Phoebe: I don’t know what to say baby o_O

Laura: hows bout: thats gross! Wat girl would wanna kiss u?

Me: Phoebe?

Phoebe has signed out

The conversation continued (via text now) with lots of swearing and derogatory names thrown at myself, mainly by Laura but a few coming from the girl I love too.

The next day I walked into school with my head held high even though I could hear the gossip about me spreading like wildfire through the hallways. I came face to face with the two girls that had haunted my dreams the previous night and, looking me straight in the face, Laura simply spat on my shoe and told me that if she saw me again she would do it in my face. I looked to Phoebe for support, but she just linked arms with Laura and spat on my shoe as well. I knew in that moment that letting Laura into our duo was the worst mistake of my life so far.

A few weeks later, after avoiding both girls in the hallways, Phoebe was announced to be on a long holiday, visiting family in Australia apparently. But Phoebe doesn’t have any family in Australia, so I am not certain why she is really gone, but the one thing I am certain of is that when she returns, I am going to talk to her alone.  Because, let’s be honest:  three’s a crowd.

*Actual names have been changed

About the Author:  Angel is a 14-year old girl. She has been in girlguiding for 10 years now and currently helps at both a Rainbow (young girls aged 5-7) and a Brownie (girls aged 7-10) unit, she also helps at two local charity shops (British heart foundation and Scope). In the little free time she gets she likes to listen to both classical music and the top 40 whilst writing the several novels she has on the go. She, one day, aspires to be a primary teacher along with publishing several of her own novels and leading Rainbow, Brownie and Guide (girls aged 10-14) units during the week and at the weekend continue to volunteer at local charity shops.

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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, friends, friendship, friendship break-ups, teen writers, teenage girls, thinking about others, writing advice, young adult

Cool Animation by Moss Moon

My friend Bill Long is a talented artist & animator & I’m proud to share the latest installment of his web series here.  Those of you who know me may recognize the voice of Zara, the hottie on bass.  Too bad the non-animated version of me doesn’t look that good in a purple micro-mini. 😉

Oh, and you may want to watch Part 1 first.

To check out more of Moss Moon Studio’s animation, including the gorgeous work of his partner, Kaori Hamura, Check out their YouTube Channel and their Website.

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YAmazing Race – REUNITED water bottle giveaway


Lisa Fisher Walker is now the proud owner of a limited edition REUNITED water bottle.  Lisa, I will email you to get your address.

And stay tuned for more great giveaways on my blog.  Next week, I’ll be giving away an ARC of Veronica Rossi’s amazing YA debut, UNDER THE NEVER SKY.


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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, young adult

The YAmazing race is over!

Make sure you do a proper cool-down so your legs don’t cramp.  And stay tuned for info. on prizewinners, hopefully by tomorrow.


Filed under book blog, books, movies, YA, writing, young adult

The YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes has begun!

Welcome to Stop #2, Leg #2 the YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes, the coolest blog hop ever featuring over 50 debut authors and a veritable smorgasbord of booty including: ARCs, gift certificates, swag, and a French kiss from your favorite Jonas Brother.

Okay, I made up that last one.

If you haven’t yet been to the Apocalypsies website, CLICK HERE to start from the beginning and read the complete rules.  Now on to the race!

REUNITED by Hilary Weisman Graham  (Simon & Schuster – June 12, 2012)

1 Concert.    2,000 Miles.     3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.  Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.  But when the band broke up, so did their friendship.  Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.  Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse.  And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town.  But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?


Now tuck that away in your clever, little brain for the quiz at the end.  And remember, you must complete ALL 5 quizzes to be eligible for a prize pack.

But before you go – here’s a bonus contest! Do any of the following and you’ll be entered to win a limited edition REUNITED water bottle.

And if you do all five you’ll be entered five times!

REUNITED will quench your thirst.

Ready to move on?  Click here to go the website of Lissa Price, author of STARTERS (Leg 2, Stop2 of the YAmazing Race).  Good luck!


Filed under book blog, books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, teenage girls, young adult

The Page Turner

I need to build one of these for reading in bed.

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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing

Win prizes at the YAmazing Race!

One week from today, on January 16th, the YAmazing Race will begin!  What is the YAmazing Race, you ask?  Only the coolest blog-hop ever, and the brainchild of the wonderfully clever Gina Damico, author of CROAK.

For one full week, 58 of the Apocalypsies (a group of debut 2012 young adult and middle grade authors) will post information about their soon-to-be-released novels. So, all you have to do is visit their blogs and answer some questions and you’ll be entered to win a veritable smorgasbord of book-related prizes including:  advanced reader copies, t-shirts, i-Tune gift cards and more!  Many of the authors, like me, will also be hosting additional giveaways at their own blogs.

The YAmazing Race will run for one week only. So, check back here on the 16th to get the deets.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to “meet” 2012’s newest authors as you try to win some schwag!

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True Teen Stories: Glass Houses and Shattered Bonds

Welcome to the second installment of my blog series “True Teen Stories” featuring non-fiction essays from teen writers.  For the record, I’d just like to say how impressed I am by the work I’ve received thus far.  One of the greatest challenges for new writers is the ability to write honestly.  That doesn’t mean every word the author chooses must in fact be the definitive truth, only that it represents their truth (or, in fiction, their character’s truth).

Today’s story, “Glass Houses and Shattered Bonds,” written by fifteen-year-old Emily T., does just that—detailing the unraveling of a friendship without cynicism or pretense.  When I first read Emily’s story, I was struck by how familiar it felt to me, and to the friendship break-up I had back in high school.  Sadly, I think it’s probably familiar for many girls. But by articulating those feelings in writing, Emily might just be able to get through this difficult situation with more clarity, instead of, say, waiting 20 years to write about it in a YA novel.  (In case you didn’t know, REUNITED is about a friendship break-up.)

Emily T., age 15, is an aspiring writer from Staffordshire, England.  In addition to writing, her interests include fashion design and punk rock music.

Glass Houses and Shattered Bonds

By Emily T., age 15

At the very beginning of primary school, I had one best friend, Amelia. Amelia is my oldest friend and vice versa, and though we shared a strong bond of friendship, near the end of primary school this friendship grew to include identical twins Lana and Elena. The four of us were inseparable, but the problem (according to Lana and Elena), started during our first year of high school when another new friend, Sandra, joined our group.

It all happened because of my fifteenth birthday party. As we all know birthdays are on a set date, they don’t just randomly change with each coming year. So as a normal person would do, I arranged for my party to be on the weekend of my birthday, (as my birthday unfortunately usually falls in the middle of the school term). I invited all my friends two weeks before the intended party and all was well… up until one week before my party, when Lana and Elena informed me that they had been invited to another party a month before I had told them the arrangements for mine.

Which was fine, if they’d been invited to that one first and had said yes to it, then that was fine I couldn’t just expect them to change their arrangements because that wouldn’t be fair on them. But of course, it did upset me slightly, considering they had known me for so long and had been to every one of my parties and as I’ve said before, birthdays don’t change. So not wanting to have a party without them, I graciously changed my arrangements for them, putting my entire family out, as we were supposed to be going away for weekend. But not wanting to be alone on the weekend of my birthday, I invited Amelia and Sandra over to my house for a sleepover as they weren’t going to this other party and would be doing nothing either.

Next thing I know, Elena is standing behind me saying that she and Lana will still be able to come on the original date and asking when to drop their stuff around. Usually, I wouldn’t have cared, but considering it felt like they were ditching my arrangements for someone else’s, I didn’t think it was right for them to just expect to be invited to my consolation do. So for the first time ever, I stood up for myself and said that the actual party was next week, but there was no point them coming to the sleepover as they would have missed most of it anyway by the time they got there.

This, of course, caused world war three amongst the group. They weren’t talking to me and I wasn’t talking to them. The entire week before my birthday I walked home ranting to Sandra, who patiently listened to me before we parted ways. But as soon as I was alone the tears came. I spent the entire week before my birthday feeling miserable.

Two days before my birthday, they said they wouldn’t be coming to my party because it would be too awkward between us, I of course tried to convince them otherwise but they weren’t having it, they even got their mum involved in the text conversation, painting them as the victim. This brought the total number of people in the text conversation to three against one. At this point, I could too have got my mum involved, but considering she gets paid to argue it would have been the kiss of death for the friendship. So I was outnumbered and I ended up apologizing for something that was completely irrelevant to argument and making up with them. Or so I thought…

However during the next day of school, I was sitting between them in one of our classes and none of us were talking; I was having a hard time stopping myself from breaking down into tears. Fortunately, I had to leave the room to do a job for the teacher but Elena was asked to come too. Once outside of the room, I broke down into tears and said, ‘I thought we’d sorted this out.

To which her reply was; “Why are you crying?” asked in a tone which said she couldn’t have cared less; which to me said if she really didn’t know then maybe it wasn’t worth fixing.

It was such a stupid argument, but I’d like to think it changed me for the better. Throughout this time I found out who my real friends were.

I’d like to think things got better between us from there, and for a while, they did. Until one day Lana ran off crying and Amelia went to comfort her, leaving me, Sandra, and Elena sitting awkwardly together.

Feeling fed up with the on-going argument, I arranged to meet Elena and Lana alone one day in town to discuss where we were as friends.

After spending an hour and a half going round in circles, I learned that they blamed Sandra for the friendship falling apart and wanted it to go back to just us four. Me, Amelia, Elena and Lana. When it was my turn to speak, they did what they always do and didn’t listen as to what I had to say, instead choosing to talk over me, then walking out on me, claiming they felt as though they’d gotten nowhere. Which effectively they had, because they hadn’t listened to what I was trying to say.

I still speak to Elena and Lana, seeing as they are in all my lessons, but it’s not the same. They’re not the same. I partly agreed with them when they said they wanted to go back to how it was in primary school, just not the part without Sandra. If they could go back to being their primary school selves, not repeatedly snapping at me, making me think I have to be careful with what I say when I’m with them; not being so paranoid as to what I do and who with; and less spiteful e.g. not talking to me in attempt to show me how they feel; as I can say for fact I would never do that to them. Then maybe they may be more fun to hang around with.

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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, friends, friendship, friendship break-ups, teen writers, teenage girls, thinking about others, writing advice, young adult

Not a Fan-girl

I had a friend back in college who was a huge Blondie fan. One night, he went to a Blondie show, and afterwards, got to meet Debbie Harry backstage. So thrilled by meeting his idol, my friend wanted to keep a little piece of the experience forever—not just in his memory, but in some tangible way. So he stole Debbie Harry’s plastic cup of water, carrying it—half full—back to his apartment where he carefully stowed it away in the freezer, preserving the cherished artifact in perpetuity.

“Debbie Harry actually sipped from this cup!” he would remark, flaunting the frozen hunk of ice to his guests, four, five, six years later. I wouldn’t be surprised if he still had the cup in his freezer today.

And I will always remember this act of rabid fandom with great affection (and more than a little curiosity) because personally, I have never been one of those crazy super-fans.

Had I been a teenager in the 60’s, I would not have screamed over the Beatles, no matter how adorable Paul’s dimples were, especially when he hit the high notes and shook his floppy hair. Unlike my husband and sister, I never “went on tour,” nor did I get overly excited when I got to shake Thom Yorke’s sweaty hand. And I LOVE Radiohead. And I never really got what was so damn important about buying the concert t-shirt.

Which leads me to wonder—why do some people get all riled up over their favorite bands while others do not? What separates the fan-girls and fan-boys from, say, me?


Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, pop music, rock bands, teenage girls