Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guest Blog and Giveaway- Wendy Wax

I am so honored to have Wendy Wax, author of Magnolia Wednesdays, guest blog for me today. 

My undergrad in college was broadcast journalism (although I went to grad school for early childhood education and am now a Kindergarten teacher) and I wondered how Wendy Wax went from broadcast journalism to becoming a fiction author!

Andrea asked how I went from broadcasting to writing novels and all I can say is, ‘I wish I knew.”

It seemed as if one minute I was filming interviews and doing stand ups; the next I was sitting at a computer while my babies napped and telling myself it was OK to make stuff up. It’s not easy to make that kind of switch. After years of checking facts and looking for corroboration, all of the sudden I could invent places and things and all kinds of people not to mention their motivations. It was pretty heady stuff.

I began the transition to writing fiction when I had a two year old and newborn to take care of. (I chalk this up to post pregnancy hormones, lack of sleep and ignorance-- I simply didn’t realize the magnitude of what I was undertaking!) The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to be off on location any more or working twelve hour days. “It’s flexible,” I told myself. “How hard can anything you can do in pajamas be?”

It hasn’t been all that easy of course, as you know if you read The Accidental Bestseller, but the pajama part remains a pretty nice perk. And I’ve discovered that although I changed fields, I didn’t quite let go of my journalism/broadcast training. In fact, a lot of it has come in quite handy.

For one thing, I understand the importance of research and have always dived into it at the start of each novel.

For 7 Days and 7 Nights, even though I had once worked in talk radio—my largest claim to fame was hosting a Friday night show called Desperate & Dateless in the eighties when I was both--I interviewed and observed a radio talk show host in action and asked him to read my manuscript to make sure I got things right. When it came time to enter the world of beauty pageants and the bra industry for Leave It to Cleavage—my favorite title ever—I found a neighbor who’d grown up in pageants and coached others and spent time talking with staff and touring a bra manufacturing company. Even the small fictional mountain town I created as the setting was based on a place I know well.

The same has been true for all my novels—the advertising business for Hostile Makeover, investigative journalism, police procedure, and ballroom dance for my current release, Magnolia Wednesdays. In some cases I’ve also used what I’ve personally experienced—youth baseball, suburban living, being a mother and wife, the constant battle to lose weight. But in almost every book there are vast unknowns that need to become known before you can make them real for your readers.

There are a lot of things that I’ve carried with me from my years in broadcasting and film that have helped me build a writing career. Writing for the spoken word and being a voice over and on camera talent has given me an ear for writing dialogue; writing copy and producing packages for air got me used to meeting deadlines and reinforced the importance of organization and working steadily on a project. I was also used to dealing with creativity as a profession—the rejection still hurts, but I’m constantly aware that publishing, like broadcasting, is a business. Our product is ourselves—our voice, our thoughts, our ability to communicate—but it has to be packaged in a way that can be sold. Broadcasting was a tough, competitive field, too. You had to be a self starter and you had to have perseverance. The hardest part of both fields is not to give up and never to surrender.

Like me, many writers come to writing later in life and from a variety of professions. I feel really fortunate to get to ‘make things up’ for a living. But it’s reassuring to have come from a background that makes me careful about what I know and what I make up.

Now I’d like to hear about Andrea’s transition. I don’t want to date myself too badly, but when I was in journalism school I don’t think the word ‘blog’ even existed.

You're not dating yourself.  When I was in journalism school, I had never heard of a blog either.  In fact, I don't think I had ever heard of them until a friend's wedding in 2006.  My blog is only a little over a year old--and I started it because I read so many books and I wanted to have a place to record my myself at times still writing like a journalist at first and have to go back and edit what I wrote--I was alwthoughts about them.  I had no idea I would meet so many great authors, publishers, publicists, and other bloggers!  I do  find ays taught to write facts for journalism, not opinions, so sometimes my reviews are more factual initially and I have to go back and make them more personal.

Thank you so much for your post!

Magnolia Wednesdays will be released on Tuesday!

Thanks to Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, I have a copy of Magnolia Wednesdays to give away!  Enter the contest here by Sunday, March 7th at 11:59 pm.  This contest is open to US/Canada only.

The Sunday Salon- February 28, 2010

The Sunday Salon

Well, not much happened this week besides the weather getting cold again.  I thought I was done with dealing with ice on my car in the mornings.  I live in Florida for a reason!  Oh well, spring will be here soon enough!  Oh yeah, and on Friday night I went to the Lee Ann Womack/Reba McEntire/George Strait concert.  It was....interesting.  Reba was by FAR the best performer.  I think she should have been the headliner.  Lee Ann Womack was okay, but George Strait was just boring.  I mean, I like his songs on the radio, and I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he just didn't have much of a stage presence and I just didn't enjoy it.

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:
Wish by Alexandra Bullen
Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 23, 26, 28
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 19
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 9
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 17, 19
What's In A Name? 3 Challenge: Plant
2010 Chick Lit Challenge: 3
I am currently reading The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott and up next is Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review- Magnolia Wednesday

I just finished reading Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax.

From Wendy Wax's website:

Sometimes life comes at you in full swing...

At forty-one, Vivien Armstrong Gray spent most of her life fighting to make it in investigative journalism, only to have it crumble after a bullet lodges in her backside during an exposé. As if the humiliation of being the butt of everyone’s jokes isn’t enough, Vivi learns that she’s pregnant, jobless, and very hormonal. Maybe that explains why she actually says ‘yes’ to a dreadful job covering suburban living back home in Georgia, a column she can only bear to write incognito.

Leaving her tiny apartment in New York, she unwillingly heads south to experience the suburban soccer mom existence through her widowed sister’s eyes. Surrounded by mini-vans and bake sales, she has lots of material for the column. Her sister’s ballroom dance studio becomes her undercover spot where she learns about the local life while posing as an ‘extra’ dance partner. But Vivi’s little stint starts throwing her for a loop as friendships develop, and a real relationship with her sister blossoms. As she digs up her long buried roots, and begins to secretly investigate her brother-in-law’s death, she starts to wonder if life inside the picket fence is so bad after all…

Since my undergrad was in broadcast journalism, I am always excited to read a good story about a journalist.  If it has a chick-lit theme with a good plot and good characters, that's even better.  And Magnolia Wednesdays was just that.

While I didn't completely connect with the main character, Vivi (although I love the teaching job that I have now, it's not my life), I definitely remember how intense broadcast journalism can be and how life-consuming it can be.  I loved how Vivi grew into a warm, loving sister and mother.  She had setbacks, but in the end she had grown so much.

The other cast of characters were great as well.  From Melanie, Vivi's sister and the all-around great single mom, to Ruth, the elderly lady who spent her days in the dance studio and wanted her marriage back to the way it used to be, to Amanda, the bride-to-be who can't get over her formerly obese days, to Shelby and Trip, Melanie's children.

 And there was a twist with Vivi's brother-in-law's death that I didn't see coming at all.  I had my own theories about what would come out about the death but I was so far off! 

This was a heart-warming story and one that I truly enjoyed.

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 28
What's In A Name? 3 Challenge: Plant
2010 Chick Lit Challenge: 3

*FTC Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for an honest review.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Firsts- February 26, 2010

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.
~Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.
~Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.
~Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)
"Well-bred girls from good southern families are not supposed to get shot."
~Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax (ISBN 978-0-425-23235-4)

Friday Fill-In- February 26, 2010

Friday Fill-In

1. A cup of tea needs to have a lot of sweetness for me to like it.
2. Laughter makes a place feel like home.
3. Everything has its beauty in its own way.
4. Doesn't chocolate go so well with the taste of strawberries?
5. Art makes me feel bored (I know, but I just don't like most paintings and sculptures).
6. LOL I just noticed I forgot to do all of my Friday memes on Friday, so I'm doing them on Saturday and posting them with a Friday date.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to see the Lee Ann Womack, Reba McEntire and George Strait concert with my mom and aunt, tomorrow my plans include going to the Wine Room with Brit and Sunday, I want to go to a Wedding Show with a friend to plan her wedding!

Friday Finds- February 26, 2010

Here are my finds for the week:

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin #2)- Jennifer Estep
Curios­ity is def­i­nitely going to get me dead one of these days. Prob­a­bly real soon.

I’m Gin Blanco. You might know me as the Spi­der, the most feared assas­sin in the South. I’m retired now, but trou­ble still has a way of find­ing me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my bar­be­cue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the bar­rage of gun­fire on the restau­rant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Vio­let Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Vio­let and her grand­fa­ther pro­tect their prop­erty from an evil coal-mining tycoon, I’m begin­ning to won­der if I’m really retired.

So is Detec­tive Dono­van Caine. The only hon­est cop in ash­land is hav­ing a real hard time rec­on­cil­ing his attrac­tion to me with his Boy Scount men­tal­ity. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental—with a lit­tle Ice magic thrown in—but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luck­ily, Gin Blanco always gets her man … dead or alive. (From Jennifer Estep's website)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Contests- February 22- March 1

Presenting Lenore is giving away 3 copies of The Line by Teri Hall.  The contest ends on March 8.

Reverie Book Reviews is giving away a copy of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  The contest ends on March 12.

Dark Faerie Tales is having a big 500+ Followers contest!  The contest ends on March 21.

Wednesday Wordle- February 24, 2010

Here is a screen shot of my Wordle for the week (Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from words that is seen on my blog)

Waiting on Wednesday- February 24, 2010

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Release Date: July 20, 2010

From Maggie Stiefvater's website:

The sequel to Shiver follows the story of Grace and the wolves of Mercy Falls.

Maggie says: "It's about after. What happens after you discover there are werewolves in the wood, after you've fallen in love for the first time, after you've lost what you think you can't live without, after you've become someone you can't live with."


This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it's only me who's not firmly in my own skin.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday- February 23, 2010

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers:

"Backed by Todd Rawley on bass, little Mrs. Beazley attacks the piano keys, her pink beads jumping against the flapping bow of her blouse.  A row beneath Laura and me sits Jake, and I watch as his finger slides along his song sheet in time with the actual song."
~pg 81, Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday- February 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Warrior Princess- Frewin Jones--Book Ring
Bitten By Cupid- Pamela Palmer, Jaime Rush, Lynsay Sands—PaperbackSwap
Princess For Hire- Lindsey Leavitt--Around The World Tour

Steamed- Katie MacAlister--PaperbackSwap

Blonde With a Wand (Babes on Brooms #1)- Vicki Lewis Thompson—PaperbackSwap
The Secret Shopper’s Revenge- Kate Harrison--Book Ring

Book Review- The Things That Keep Us Here

I just finished reading The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley for a Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour.

From Goodreads:

How far would you go to protect your family?

Ann Brooks never thought she’d have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. In this chillingly urgent novel, Carla Buckley confronts us with the terrifying decisions we are forced to make when ordinary life changes overnight.

A year ago, Ann and Peter Brooks were just another unhappily married couple trying–and failing–to keep their relationship together while they raised two young daughters. Now the world around them is about to be shaken as Peter, a university researcher, comes to a startling realization: A virulent pandemic has made the terrible leap across the ocean to America’s heartland.

And it is killing fifty out of every hundred people it touches.

As their town goes into lockdown, Peter is forced to return home–with his beautiful graduate assistant. But the Brookses’ safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce, and neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and the community is left huddling in the dark.

Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear.
Carla Buckley’s poignant debut raises important questions to which there are no easy answers, in an emotionally riveting tale of one family facing unimaginable stress.

Wow.  This book really makes you think.  And it can definitely make you paranoid.  Working in a school, we had several kids (including one of my own students) that got the H1N1 virus and I know the slight panic that came with it. 

Carla Buckley wrote this story so efficiently that I was totally engrossed in the story.  I am one of those readers that when I'm reading, I am so involved in the story, that if I am interrupted, it takes me a couple of seconds to realize where I am.  And with this story, it took me a couple of seconds to remember that the pandemic was only in the story, not in our real life.  But the horror---and the possibility of it happening!  It easily read like a thriller movie.    I didn't want to put the book down and was hooked right until the end--and there is a shocking confession in the epilogue that I definitely didn't see coming.  This was a suspenseful read and will have you wondering if you would have what it takes to survive a pandemic.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 23
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 17

About Carla Buckley

Carla Buckley was born in Washington, D.C. She has worked in a variety of jobs, including a stint as an assistant press secretary for a U.S. senator, an analyst with the Smithsonian Institution, and a technical writer for a defense contractor. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband and children. The Things That Keep Us Here is her first novel. Bantam Dell will publish Buckley’s next novel in 2011. You can visit Carla Buckley’s website at

FTC Disclosure: I was sent this book a part of Pump Up Your Book Promotions for a honest review.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review- Wish

I just finished reading Wish by Alexandra Bullen.

From Goodreads:

For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.

In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, Wish asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for?

I admit--I am one of those readers who judges a book by its cover.  And if I had been in a store and randomly saw Wish without knowing anything about it, I would have picked it up for its cover alone--I think it's so pretty!  (And I want the dress that is on the cover of my ARC!---its a slightly different dress from what is on the final cover)

I really liked the premise of the story.  A girl who is heartbroken needing wishes isn't a new plot, but having wishes come from beautiful dresses is!  What girl wouldn't want a magical gown? 

I really liked the characters in the story.  (side note, I have always been fascinated by twins so I was excited that there were twins in the story).  I really identified with Olivia--living cautiously and sometimes feeling like you're on the outside.  And I loved that Violet was the complete opposite--friendly, outgoing, and the life of the party (when she was alive).  I loved the advice that Violet gave to Olivia throughout the story.  And at the beginning I wanted to hate Calla--the perfect, popular girl, but I just couldn't!  She was just too sweet and vulnerable. 

The ending of the story had me reaching for tissues.  So sad, but right..if that makes sense.  I can't wait to read the next Wish book!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 26
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 19
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 9
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 19

* FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.

The Sunday Salon- February 21, 2010

The Sunday Salon

Ugh...I can't shake this cold.  I guess I shouldn't complain.  Normally by now I would have had several colds this school year, but so far (6 months in) this is my first one.  I think it's because I've been drinking the Dannon Immunity yogurt drinks (my mom, a nurse, got me hooked on them).  And my friend and fellow Kindergarten teacher has been drinking them too and this is the first time she's been sick all year.  And neither of us can get rid of it.  So we figure either the drink isn't working for us anymore, or we caught something really nasty and this is the only effects we're getting from it.  It's just lasted a while....and I'm tired of my voice sounding like a guy and like its going to stop working at any minute :(

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:
Still Sucks To Be Me by Kimberly Pauley
Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 20, 22, 24, 25
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 17, 18
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 16, 18
A to Z Challenge: L
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 8
What's In A Name? 3 Challenge: Title, Place Name
I am currently reading Wish by Alexandra Bullen and up next is Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Review- Made in the U.S.A.

I just finished reading Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts.

From Goodreads:

Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father. While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart, Floy keels over and the two motherless kids are suddenly faced with the choice of becoming wards of the state or hightailing it out of town in Floy's old Pontiac. Choosing the latter, they head off to Las Vegas in search of a father who has no known address, no phone number and, clearly, no interest in the kids he left behind.

MADE IN THE U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.
This book was just okay for me.  I have read the other books by Billie Letts and enjoyed them a lot more than I did this one.  The two main characters, Lutie and Fate, just didn't do it for me.  I liked Fate some of the times--I mean, I felt poorly for the young boy and his situation.  But I didn't feel any warmth from Lutie and at times I thought her moves were stupid and selfish.  In most stories where teenagers and young children lose their families, you want to root for them.  But I just couldn't root for Lutie.  She was just unlikeable.  I grew more interested in the end of the story when the siblings are welcomed into the family of circus owners.  But other than that, the story dragged for me.
I gave this book a rating of 2.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 25
What's In A Name? 3 Challenge: Place Name
*FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Hachette Book Group for an honest review.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Friday 56- February 19, 2010

1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like).
5. Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.

"As much as she'd hated it while she was there, she missed Willis, her old school and friends, the lame parties, the drunken jocks, the girls who were superficial and fake, fine, but at least they knew who she was.  Mostly, she missed Violet."
From Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Friday Fill-In- February 19, 2010

Friday Fill-In

1. Johnny Weir is talented, but weird.
2. I've watched more than I thought I would of the 2010 Olympics.
3. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became too much and the flower bloomed.
4. Do it if you get an urge.
5. Having sweet dreams is something I rarely do.
6. What does it take to finally get engaged?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing, tomorrow my plans include grocery shopping and Sunday, I want to read!

Friday Finds- February 19, 2010

The Department of Lost and Found- Allison Winn Scotch

It didn’t start out as the worst day of Natalie Miller’s life. At thirty, she is moving up the political ladder, driven by raw ambition and ruthless determination. As the top aide to New York’s powerful female senator, she works hard, stays late, and enjoys every bit of it, even if the bills she’s pushing through do little to improve the lives of the senator’s constituents. And if her boyfriend isn’t the sexiest guy alive, at least he’s a warm body to come home to.
Then he announces he’s leaving. But that news is barely a blip compared to what Natalie’s doctor tells her: She has breast cancer. And she can’t cure it by merely being headstrong. Now the life Natalie must change is her own.

All her energy, what little of it she has left, must go into saving herself from a merciless disease. So when she’s not lying on the sofa recovering from her treatments and indulging in a curious addiction to The Price Is Right, she realizes it’s time to take a hard look at her choices. She begins by tracking down the five loves-of-her-life to assess what went wrong. Along the way, she questions her relationships with her friends, her parents, her colleagues, the one who got away, and, most important, with herself: Why is she so busy moving through life that she never stops to embrace it?

As Natalie sleuths out the answers to these questions, her journey of self-discovery takes her down new paths and to unexplored places. And she learns that sometimes when life is at its most unexpected, it’s not what you lose that makes you who you are ... it’s what you find.

The One That I Want- Allison Winn Scotch
What if you woke up one day to all your dreams coming true...but those dreams were more like nightmares?

Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a school guidance counselor, trying for a baby. Perfect.

But one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into a fortune teller's tent and meets an old childhood friend, who offers her more than just a reading. "I'm giving you the gift of clarity," her friend says. "It's what I always through you needed." And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her alcoholic father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; her husband uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway. And even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly's perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And as she furiously races to keep up with - and hopefully change - her destiny, she faces the question: Which life does she want? The one she's carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible?

What if you could see into the future? Would you want to know what fate has in store?
Summaries from Allison Winn Scotch's website

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Review- Princess For Hire

I just finished reading Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt for an Around The World Tour.

From Goodreads:

When a well-dressed woman steps out of a bubble and wants to know if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you
A) run
B) faint
C) say yes?

For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for some glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C). Desi has a rare ability: with the help of "Royal Rouge," she can temporarily transform into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras.... In this winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.
Let me start off by saying that I am totally one of those girls (okay, women) who always wanted to be a princess and had daydreams about it.  So when I read the summary of Princess For Hire, I knew I wanted to read it.
While I was reading this book, I kept thinking that I could totally see this being turned into a movie.  And since it is published by Disney Hyperion, I could see that happening.  I think that this is definitely more of pre-teen book that the books I normally read, but it was a nice escape from some of the darker books I had been reading lately.
Desi seems like a normal teenager.  And like most girls, she jumped at the chance to be a princess, even if it was just subbing.  While I liked the characters that Desi had to sub for, I feel that there could have been more depth in the plot. I feel like it just skims the surface of the princesses that Desi is subbing for and that more could be added to that part of the story. 
Overall, a quick, cute read and I will be reading the next book in the series when it comes out.
I gave this book a rating of 3/5.
Princess For Hire will be released on March 16, 2010.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
A to Z Challenge: L
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 24
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 18
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 8
What's In A Name? 3 Challenge: Title
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 18
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Contests- February 15- February 22

Princess Bookie is giving away an ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and 2 ARCs from her pile!

Brooke Reviews is giving away 2 copies of Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison.

The Book Butterfly is giving away a copy of My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Whilite.  The contest ends on March 5.

Book Review- Spider's Bite

I just finished reading Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep for a Pocket Books Blog Tour.

From Goodreads:

"My name is Gin, and I kill people."

My name is Gin Blanco. They call me the Spider — the most feared assassin in the South (and a part-time cook at the Pork Pit BBQ joint.) As a Stone elemental, I can hear the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet and feel the vibrations of the soaring mountains above me, though I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

After a ruthless Air elemental double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way. I may look hot in a miniskirt, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble when irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine agrees to help. The last thing a coldhearted killer needs when she's battling a magic more powerful than her own is a sexy distraction ... especially when he wants her dead just as much as the enemy.
I have previously read all of the Bigtime series books by Jennifer Estep and really enjoyed them, so I just at the chance to read Spider's Bite.  And I wasn't disappointed.
First off, let me say that Spider's Bite is a bit more gory and gruesome than what I normally read but that didn't stop me from devouring the book.  For some reason, Estep's writing just flows so easily and I always plow through her books so quickly.
I loved the characters in this story.  I really liked the main character Gin--she was hard and tough, yet there was a slightly softer side lurking below the surface.  And the morally-good detective Donovan Caine just sounded plain hot.  Plus he was such a good guy.  How could I not like him?
I thought the plot was interesting.  It kept me hanging on until the end.  And I liked the idea of Elementals having special powers. It was a new twist on the paranormal or urban fantasy (not sure what you'd consider it).  The next book in the series, Web of Lies, comes out at the end of May and I can't wait to get my hands on it!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:

2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 20

Other Stops On The Tour:
Pam’s Private Reflections
The Cajun Book Lady
Book, Books Everywhere
Book Junkie
My Life In Not So Many Words
I Heart Monster
Carol’s Notebook
My Guilty Pleasures
The Neverending Shelf
Steph the Bookworm
My Friend Amy
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Chaotic Book Obsession
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm
Drey’s Library
Jeanne's Ramblings
Books Gardens & Dogs
See Michelle Read
Book Series Reviews
The Wayfaring Writer
What Book Is That?
Jen’s Book Talk
Pick of the Literate
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Temple Library Reviews
Dan’s Journal
I Heart Book Gossip
Geek Girl Reviews
All Things Sizzle
Find the Time to Read
Poisoned Rationality
Reading with Tequila
Mindful Musings
Vision Quest Fail
Wendy’s Minding Spot
Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks
Red Headed Book Child
Eclectic Book Lover
Parajunkee’s View
You Wanna Know What I Think?
Patricia's Vampire Notes
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free by Sarah from Pocket Book Blog Tours for an honest review

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Wordle- February 17, 2010

Here is a screen shot of my Wordle for the week (Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from words that is seen on my blog)

Waiting on Wednesday- February 17, 2010

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Beautiful Between
by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication Release Date: May 11, 2010

From Goodreads:

If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday- February 16, 2010

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers:

"The television in the family room showed long lines of people standing in an airport, waiting to have their temperature taken.  Ann lifted the remote and turned off the television."
~pg 66, The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review- Still Sucks To Be Me

I just finished reading Still Sucks To Be Me by Kimberly Pauley for an Around The World Tour.

From Kimberly Pauley's website:

WARNING! If you haven’t finished the first book yet, I highly advise you to NOT read any of the following!!

Why It Still Sucks to Be Me

1.My parents and the stupid Vampire Council are still ruining my life unlife? death (ugh, whatever).

2.Not only did they make me fake my death and funeral (I didn’t even get to go!), but I had to leave behind my BFF Serena and move. Really far away.

3.Meanwhile my boyfriend George is off “reconnecting with his parents” in Brazil. Land of beaches, bikini babes, and the biggest party in the world. He’s probably going “Mina, who?”

4.Grady asked me to Homecoming and won’t take no for an answer.

5.Did I mention cute but oh-so-complicated Cameron, the only other bloodsucking teen in town? That’s because I’m trying not to think about him, thank you very much.

6.And ugh, Raven. Is she seriously stalking Serena?

7.But the absolute worst thing is that here I am, some all-powerful (ha), all-knowing (yeah, right), in-control (totally not) vampire and my parents still get to dictate everything I do.
Okay, before I start my review, I just want to say that I was sent the book directly from Kimberly Pauley for the book tour and on the package she wrote Go Gators!  (If you know anything about me, you know I'm a HUGE Gator fan)  That totally made my day and she rocks!
This was a cute sequel to Sucks to be Me.  I read the first book back in 2008 and enjoyed it.  This book was no different!  I love how every chapter starts off with a cute Myth and Truth about Vampires and that some chapters had lists of things that suck (and sometimes rock).  I also enjoyed a lot of the pop culture that was in the story: 80's movies, you tube, The Princess Bride, Twilight, and my favorite one: Lolcats.
I love all of the characters in the story.  You just have to like Mina.  She's funny and witty and just seems like a real teenager.  And the mystery vampire, Cameron...I want to know more about him.  And of course we have Mina's BFF Serena and her boyfriend, George who I loved in the first story and loved in this one again.
The plot was pretty good too.  But I want to know more!  I want to know more about the Black Talons and the Carter family.  And I want to know what happens with Cameron! 
(Another side note...I'm not sure if the cover that I have on my ARC is the same one that will on the finished book, but for some reason, the color blue used really jumps out at me--I love it!)
This was a cute, fun, read and I can't wait to see what Kimberly Pauley writes next!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
Still Sucks To Be Me will be released on May 11, 2010.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 22
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 17
ARC Reading Challenge 2010: 16
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.