Monday, August 8, 2011

A New Story Experience with Michael Grant

Storytelling just got even more fun! Michael Grant, the author of the Gone series has created an online reading experience where you join the main character, Nexus Humanus, through the action. It is filled with puzzles, videos, and community collaborations. Here is a Q&A with Michael Grant to help you understand a bit more about the concept:

What is “Go BZRK”? Is this a book or some kind of interactive story?

Both. The book comes out this winter, but the interactive part starts now. One leads up to the other, but they're part of a complete package.

Why “transmedia”?

There are different approaches to transmedia. Most people take a single story and reproduce it on various platforms. My philosophy has been to make each element - ARG, app, web, book - a thing unto itself, each revealing some aspect of the world of BZRK. I've been fascinated with this is as a new way to tell stories. The book remains central, but now I can reach beyond the book and create a much more complete world. I can tell stories that enhance the book, and stories that parallel the book, and stories that are offshoots of backstory. I guess the answer to "why" is "because it's fun."

Is this the future of publishing?

I began a few years ago reaching out to publishers and saying we collectively needed to understand that the old models were dead or dying. I want publishing to survive, and of course I'd like my own career to thrive. So Egmont Publishing and my partners and I certainly hope this is a part of the future of publishing.

How long is this running? Is this part of a larger picture?

We'll be running this in several chunks between now and the book release this winter. Because these things have a hard start/stop point, August is a ramp-up phase. There'll be a lot of content coming out, but the experience really gets underway at the end of the month… just in time to distract the kids from their schoolwork.

What if someone wants to follow the story but doesn’t want to participate?

You don't have to do anything. You can do one thing and not another. But the deeper you plunge the wetter you get. I think every part of this is fun, I think people will enjoy the ARG, the app, the site and the books.

App? You've mentioned that a couple times now.

Just wait and see.

What can you tell us about the story? What is “BZRK”?

It's a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a world that you're not going to expect. It's a world where if you make a false move, you're going to lose your mind.

Insanity… is this something you have a personal familiarity with?

The line between writer and crazy person is very thin. Both go around holding long, involved conversations with people who aren't there.

What’s this other world thing all about?

Do you really want spoilers? I'll tell you this. We'll be going "down in the meat." It's going to be vast, bloody, and beautiful.

Wait… isn’t this supposed to be for kids?

Adults like to flatter themselves that kids won't get, won't understand, won't be able to handle, more intense, more complex stories. That's nonsense. It's the adults who are easy to creep out or scare. Say the word "biopsy" in a room full of adults. Or "audit." See? Easy to scare. Kids are a tougher audience because kids think they're immortal.

* I did not conduct this interview but was provided to me.

The missing son of a U.N. diplomat... the reemergence of a strange organization... a pair of society twins caught in the middle... this is just the beginning of "Go BZRK," a new transmedia experience from author Michael Grant.

If you're ready to take the plunge in an interactive story like you've never experienced before, visit SocietyTWins.Com and register with NexusHumanus.Com to take your first steps in a strange and compelling universe.

Filled with video, puzzles, community collaboration, and more, "Go BZRK" put YOU the player right in the middle of the action as you join Nexus Humanus and unravel a mystery that may hold the key to the fate of all mankind.

So go ahead and join! I sure will.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Here Lies Bridget
What do you do when the five people you meet in limbo all want you to go to hell?

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough.…

At First Sight:
I thought this would be an interesting read. I've never really liked mean protagonists before because I find it very hard to relate so I treaded this book with caution.

My Thoughts:

Bridget is definitely the Queen Bee. She's popular but has gained her popularity for being intimidating rather than nice. She's even horrible to her friends and step-mom. I have to say, throughout the book in general, I really didn't connect with Bridget. I tried to feel sorry for her, to understand her confusion, to feel some kind of sympathy for her--but it never came. That was my biggest problem with the book.

Of course, there's a rival girl and a cute guy. Anna (the nice/rival girl) is too cliche for me to relate and the cute guy (what was his name again? See, this is why I hate reviewing books months after I read them) was bland, nothing that stood out as a perfect match, to be honest.

My favorite character was the step-mom. She had the most depth and complexity out of all of them and actually reading her part in the book made me like the book more.

The story is not bad, I suppose. I enjoyed the book and some parts were fairly entertaining and light enough to read quickly but I've discovered that I certainly do not like the mean-type characters (why do I still want to read Before I Fall?). I'm such a big character-driven reader and writer that any time I face a character I cannot relate to, I'm not as invested in the story.

By the end, it got better but it didn't feel as believable as it should be. I don't want to spoil it for any one so I'll leave it at that.

Plot: 4
Characters: 2.5
Writing: 4
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 3
Average: 3.7

Sunday, July 24, 2011

OMG I met Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, and Maggie Stiefvater!

Yes, you read right! Photos and squeeing ensue:

The event took place at Books & Books at Coral Gables in Miami, FL. I am here visiting grandparents and it was total coincidence that the authors happened to have a signing the weekend before I leave. I've been dreaming about this forever.

That picture above (and the other ones I'll be showing) was taken with my phone (so pardon the quality). Those who follow me on twitter (@paperezelias) might have noticed my annoying spam reporting of the events. I got to the bookstore early in order to purchase Libba's Beauty Queens (I had to purchase a book to get a ticket to enter. I already have Meg's Abandon and I haven't read book two and three from the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy).

Obviously, I was VERY excited for the event. I was most excited for Meg, of course, since I basically worship the ground she walks on (she's amazing). But I was still excited about Libba, too, because I've read all of her books (except Beauty Queens which I'll be getting into soon). At about seven fifteen, they walked in.

(again, sorry for the bad quality. Phone camera + hands shaking = shitty picture)

I could not contain myself in my seat. Like seriously, I went from being freezing cold to completely over excited in two seconds. Meg is so tall and beautiful! And Libba, my gosh, I didn't recognize her! She was adorable and was dressed super cute in a summer-y dress and black sheer shawl. Maggie (although I was excited for her) looked so young and nice with her super down-to-earth hippie-style jeans and boots.

Maggie talked first about her inspiration for Shiver (a hilarious anecdote about Sultan the Wolf Man). Libba was so excited she actually knocked over a bottle of water. That brought in many jokes that lasted through the night (it was not the only one, believe me).

Libba talked about one of her most embarrassing moments when she tried to impress some boys at a hotel pool. She touched on the subject of her tragic accident and how she grew from it. It was so inspiring and I found myself loving Libba more and more. This, however, continued when she used Mad-Libs to tell us about Beauty Queens. The funny 'blurb' was accompanied by naughty jokes such as 'Eat Pray Thrust' which made us all double in laughter.

Meg, hilarious as ever, talked a bit about how she started writing and where the story of Abandon came from. When she finished, she gave a very convincing imitation of Bella Swan (aka KStew in the movie Twilight) discovering she was pregnant. It was to die for! Dubbed the Uterus Dance.

After all three talked, the floor opened to questions which prompted more jokes (especially from Eat Pray Thrust) and Libba admitting that she has never read Harry Potter or seen the movies. After that, the authors left and we started to make a line to get the books signed. I was thankfully in the first group and got into the signing room real quick. First, I went to Libba's line and she signed my book (and gave me an awesome pin that says Sparkle Pony). She was so sweet and took a photo with me! She even complimented my outfit! GUSH!

(This one is either worse quality since I took it with my phone from the digital camera that I used to take the actual photo)

Then I went to Meg and I couldn't even speak well because I was so excited. She also complimented my outfit, signed my Insatiable copy, took a photo with me, and gave me tons of cool bookmarks.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience that I'll never forget. It is always amazing when one meets their role models and favorite people. It's something I didn't imagine would happen to me and propelled me to work even harder on my dreams at becoming a published writer. Thanks Meg, Libba, and Maggie, for writing great books and being the awesome people that you are.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Never Give Up...Maybe?

No, I will not give up!

I have queried about 5-7 agents. Most of them have said no, there are a few who haven't answered. I knew it was going to be hard but I hoped it would be easier. I've been in a little funk lately but I'm hoping to tackle my synopsis and query further and try to send out some more queries by the end of the month.

It may sound cheesy, but maybe it's not meant for me now because I'm so young and everything but the publishing business is hard itself so I won't give up! I just need a bit more encouragement for my peers, I guess. It's a lonely ride. Of course, my parents support me and my family ask about my novel but I guess I want someone to say constructive and supportive criticism and be my cheerleader. Every attempt I've made at starting a crit group has failed because the people are not as committed to it. Sometimes I think if maybe I'm just too young and headstrong and it puts people off.

Anyway, I saw the Harry Potter film at midnight. I loved it! I cried so much, too. Probably the last half hour or so I sobbed.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's A Scary Journey


Two days ago I did the unthinkable: I sent two queries to two different agents.
I'm not revealing who these agents are because I'm secretly afriad that I'll jinx everything and it would go horrible but just know they're agents.

It was scary and and exciting. After I sent the first letter I started crying because I could not believe I was at this point of my writing journey. To be honest, it's scarier that in it exciting because it's the first time I've put myself out there, plain and simple and ready to take the punches (and they will come).

I'm proud of myself and want to keep my head in the ground and just enjoy the moment. I'm not expecting anything and I know my writing has yet a lot of room to grow but PAPER ANGELS is my baby, you know?

Naturally, after I sent the queries, I keep thinking of all the things that I could have done wrong and all the things I could have made better. Did I spell my name right? Did I spell the agent's name right? What if the agent gets mad that my query appears in their inbox? Will they care if I'm from Puerto Rico?

All these thoughts and more crossed my mind and I had tot take a breather. I had to close my eyes and think that what's done is done and I should be proud of myself...right? What do I have to lose? Nothing. Yet I have so much to gain. I'm still young and still have a lot of life ahead of me. Life is nothing without risks, after all.

I'm glad to have you all here in this crazy journey with me and I hope you stick around for the wild ride that's just beginning.


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

At First Sight:
I have to be honest, when I first received an email for this book I was slightly creeped by the cover and the premise. I thought this was going to be one of those awkwardly creepy books where you just don't know what's happening and the narrator is some weird loner. But I was intrigued nevertheless and thought, why not? So I accepted and here are my thoughts.

My Thoughts:
I have to start with the title. Weird and catchy at the same time. But when I received this book in the mail, the packaging was simply fantastic. It looked like an old-new photo album with embossed pages, beautiful colors and designs. I think it's the prettiest book I have on my shelf.

When I started reading, I didn't expect how much I'd like it. Jacob is a true teenage voice and the narration is beautiful. Ransom Riggs did an incredible job bringing every single character and situation to life. In fact, he did such a wonderful job that at one point you start wondering if any of it is actually real and not fantasy.

The plot was fantastic, too. Like I said, I wasn't expecting anything that I'd enjoy but I was wonderfully surprised. I'm such a historylover that I adored the historic bits of the story. It had enough mystery to intrigue you but not so much that it would creep you out and you'd have to put it down.

AND THAT ENDING! It's a wonderful (see, I keep using adjectives?) cliffhanger that makes me yearn for the next installment NOW.

Overall, it was lovely (OH NO I KEEP USING ADVERBS) surprise. I LOVED IT!

In One Sentence:
It doesn't seem like it at first sight, but ANYONE can enjoy this book. It's eerily fantastic.

Okay, that was two sentences. See how good it was??

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5 stars

Monday, June 20, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water For Elephants

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

At First Sight:
I learned about this book through the movie. Like most movies made from books, I'd rather read the book before I get to see the movie. Lucky for me, the movie had already left theaters when I got the chance to buy this book so I was able to read it without being tempted. To be honest, the book didn't interest me that much by the cover. I mean, circus and elephants? what? But OMG was I wrong.

My Thoughts:
The Prologue is like, mind-blowing. You know that from the very beginning this book will be beautiful. The writing from the very first sentence is fantastic and the imagery that is created I was wary of a female writer narrating as a male adult but Jacob's voice was very manly and real.

We learn about how Jacob has lost his parents and he decides to simply go. Feeling his life has turned for the worse, he runs away and ends up in a train car where he meets curious people. At first, Jacob is a bit shy and curious yet he's sure of who he is and what he's able to do. Very respectful, I loved that.

He meets Marlena, a beautiful woman who is also the wife of his boss. He ends up falling in love with her. I loved the development of the romance. You have to squint a little to see it in the beginning but it grows and it's very beautiful and magical.

Water for Elephants is a masterpiece that is so unexpected. You really don't expect such a book to come from between those pages. Everything is woven and written to perfection and I just...fell in love with it. I can't wait to see the movie now.

In One Sentence:
Unexpected and Beautiful!

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Friday, June 17, 2011


Sorry for the big bold header I wanted to get your attention.

Now that I've got it I want to tell you that I am officially done with edits for my novel, PAPER ANGELS. As is usual, my thoughts are better expressed in lists:

01. I started this novel during NaNo 2009 and finished shortly after. I've been working on it ever since.

02. It's been through around 4 rounds of editing/re-writing. I have to admit, editing is not my favorite part. I love the sense of freedom and open-mindedness of just writing the novel and pouring out all thoughts.

03. I already have an account at Query Tracker where I've listed the first five to seven agents I want to query. Before I do this, though, I'm going to research them further and read everything I can read about them to make sure they're a good fit for me.

04. I'm excited but I don't want to be. I don't want to have big expectations and then have them shattered after querying to many people and then being rejected. I'm usually very big-dreams-big-fall kind of person.


Interview with Elise Allen, author of Populazzi.

Today we're pleased to have author Elise Allen, writer of POPULAZZI. Welcome Elise!

01. Populazzi portrays a fairly common high school experience: a girl wants to start fresh and hopefully make it to the top of the social ladder. Are any of the events in Populazzi based on real events of your life?

No. Sadly, my life in high school was nowhere near as interesting as Cara’s!

02. If there were to make a movie out of Populazzi, who would you pick to play the characters?

I am obsessed with the idea of Darren Criss as Nate. I’m reasonably obsessed with Darren Criss in general, quite obsessed with the Warblers’ CD, and wildly obsessed with Kurt and Blaine as a couple (I’m talking Glee, btw), so this casting choice might not be a huge shock to anyone who knows me.

However, Nate is unlike Blaine in every way, and I think it would be a very exciting chance for Criss to show a different side of himself. I believe he’d pull it off brilliantly. And if he somehow gets wind of this, I hereby promise not to totally gleek out on him when and if we actually meet.

03. Are there any rutines that you have when writing? For example, writing with music or in a designated place?

I usually write best with my noise-cancelling headphones on, and Pandora (the internet radio station) blaring in my ears. When I try to write without the music, it’s much harder. Occasionally, the characters have trouble speaking to me over the music, and I have to turn it off to hear their voices. That tends to happen in later drafts, when I’m really finessing things and have to pay very close attention to my characters or I’ll miss something. I know that sounds twisted, but it’s really how it works for me.

04. What insipres you to write?

Everything! I’m fascinated by why people do what they do, and I have an over-active imagination, so I tend to spin out all kinds of scenarios, and suddenly there’s a story. Or sometimes it’s a situation that fascinates me first, and I wonder what in the world happened to get all the players into that particular place... and soon there’s a story.

The stories are all surface-y at first, but once I jump into one and dedicate myself to it, that’s when I dive deep and start fleshing things out. When that happens, I’m hooked, and I want to know more and more and get to the real meat of the story, so I can both figure it out for myself, and also share it with other people.

05. Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring writers?

It’s been said a zillion times, but it’s so true. Read like crazy, and write like crazy. I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember, and nothing feeds a love of stories like reading. As for writing, I had my first short story “published” in a school newsletter when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and I’ve been at it ever since. Everything you write helps you learn the craft and improve.

As you get ready to move from writing for your own pleasure to writing with an eye to getting published, it’s helpful to read advice from the masters. My favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Anne Lamott’s “Bird By Bird,” both of which are absolutely brilliant – I wish I’d read both long before I did.

06. Finally, can we expect any new books from you soon? What are you working on now?

Oh, I hope so! Next out is “Devoted,” which I co-wrote with Hilary Duff. It’s the sequel to “Elixir,” and it comes out in October. As for my solo books, there are two I’m working on right now, but neither has a publication date as of yet. When it does, I’ll let you know!

In the meantime, I’m working on a passion project:, which will go live ideally by the middle of the month. The big concept behind it is that while Cara, my Populazzi MC, thinks the road to popularity requires she turn herself inside out to become what people want to see, the true road to popularity is harder and scarier. It involves being yourself, honestly and fearlessly. is all about helping people do that, with features like real Hollywood stylists offering custom advice to readers who write in with questions; tips from professionals in fashion, beauty, organization, and fitness; and stories of wildly successful people in cool careers, and how their high school experience made them what they are today.

Thanks so much for the interview, Patty! I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with me, and to feature “Populazzi”!

P.S. You can see my review of Populazzi here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried - and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss - to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston - charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all - the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love..

At First Sight:
I saw this book a year (or two) ago on The Story Siren and it got a great review. I'm not much of a romance reader but when it was presented to me, I took it up and started reading it.

My Thoughts:
Callie is a delightful character who is much like most of us. She's said to be a helpless spinster now that her peak of age has dwindled. But it is not until she takes a wild dare and kisses the notorious rake, the Marques of Ralston.

What follows is an adventurous, romantic, steamy tale of how two people who cannot be any more different from each other, finally not find company but find themselves once again. It is a classic tale of romance depicted in a beautiful setting. Readers of historical romances won't be disappointed.

In One Sentence:
"Steamy and fun!"

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? by Sloane Tanen

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now?

High school junior Francesca Manning is an outsider, an aspiring writer and secret devourer of celebrity gossip mags. A fake essay to Seventeen wins her the celeb-schmoozing opportunity of a lifetime, but after the plane crashes, she's stranded on a desert island with five of the most clueless, self-involved headcases to escape Hollywood. Happily skewering their foibles in witty observations on her iPhone proves surprisingly educational for Francesca. The group must work together to survive-if they don't insult each other to death first.

At First Sight:
The concept of this book is strangely hilarious. I mean, who would get stranded on a desert island with five other celebrities? I was attracted by the fact that it seemed very funny and just interesting. I wanted to know where Francesca would end and how everything would play out.

My Thoughts:
I picked up the book and I couldn't put it down at first. Sloane's voice is real and addictive. It's like talking to your best friend. I couldn't help but think about one of my favorite authors that achieves the same sort of feeling, Meg Cabot. I liked how the beginning moved. It was nicely paced and definitely laugh out loud funny. Francesca and her best friend, Jordan, are like two peas in a pot. Their addiction to texting is much like mine and my friend's and their relationship was very believable.

Towards the middle and end of the book I started feeling less and less excited. Of course, they were stranded in a desert island and those celebrities aren't really smart but I kept waiting for them to have redeeming qualities that would make them feel like real people and not empty-headed bimbos. I mean, we all know celebrities have lives but we don't actually see much of that, right? I expected Sloane Tannen to show us that real, emotional, sensitive side of the celebrities but it never came. It also seemed to me like they kept going over the same things again and again. The end was a bit rushed for me but it had a nice surprise that I loved and it closed the book in a good satisfying way.

Overall, I think the book's greatest strength is its humor. The characters are not ocean-deep and I've always been huge on characters. But this book is so entertaining and nicely paced that you almost forget about it. It's the type of book you'd bring to the beach because it's definitely light hearted and sort of that summery fun feel.

In one sentence:
"Laugh out loud funny!"

Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 4
Cover: 4
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 3.8 stars

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Populazzi by Elise Allen


Cara has always dreamed of being a Populazzi, one of the popular crowd. But it’s not until she changes schools that she gets a shot at it, thanks to her best friend Claudia’s crazy plan. The idea is simple: The rungs of The Ladder are relationships. First get a boyfriend who's ranked low, then climb up through more boyfriends until you're not just one of the Populazzi, but the Supreme Populazzi. Yet what starts off as a fairy tale turns into a somewhat dark comedy of errors. Just when Cara reaches the top, her life hits rock bottom. She wonders why she wanted to be popular in the first place—and if there’s any way to live happily ever after now.

At First Sight:
I was expecting for this book to be very light, humorous, and entertaining, if maybe a little bit bland. The cover was cool and it looked more like a Tween novel than a YA one, to be honest. OH HOW WRONG I WAS.

My Thoughts:
So I sat down to read this book at the beach and was like, "Okay, I'll read 5% and then put it down," but I couldn't AT ALL. Cara's narration and just the whole idea of the book had me addicted. Archer was absolutely adorable and I liked his relationship with Cara much.

The whole high school clique thing was a bit too cliche for my tastes at some points but then the author would reel back in her characters and they would seem much more realistic. I expected this book to be very tweensy but I was extremely surprised that the book dealt with deeper issues such as bullying, drugs, and sex. Definitely not as light as I thought it would be.

The only thing I didn't love was that there was the parent plot line that didn't really get resolved at the end. It would have been interesting to see how Cara dealt with that but unfurtunately, we didn't get to see it here.

In one sentence:
"Definitely unexpected!"

Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Writing: 4
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 4.2

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Instructions For A Broken Heart
Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.

Praise for Songs For A Teenage Nomad:

"A beautiful, lyrical read-I loved every last word of it!"
-Alyson Noël, New York Times bestselling author

At First Sight:
I was so excited to get this book on the mail because I absolutely loved Kim Culbertson's Songs For A Teenage Nomad. So when I actually got around to sitting down and reading it, I naturally devoured it. The cover is super cute and I couldn't wait to travel to Europe alongside Jessa.

My Thoughts:
I loved the fact that I was going to go travel with Jessa to a beautiful place. I have to say, I was also pretty smitten with her best guy friend. Not only does Jessa do really unthinkable things I won't spoil for you, but she learns a lot about herself, too. Plus, it gives us readers nice ideas for revenge ;)

However, as much as I enjoyed the overall plot, characters, and writing, there was something definitely missing. I kept waiting for that moment were I'd be like YES! GO JESSA! And although there were some memorable ones, the book felt like it was building a lot for an end with...nothing. It sort of left me a little blank. Sure, there's a nice surprise, but it's a surprise that should have been a little bit more emphasized, or, I don't know...climactic.

Overall, it's definitely a good book to read, funny at times and heartbreaking at others but in my opinion, I expected a lot more from Kim and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. This, however, will not stop me from checking her future titles.

In One Sentence:
"An okay read; fun at times yet lacking in the end."

Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 3.5
Average: 4.1 stars

Friday, April 29, 2011

Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? Giveaway

High school junior Francesca Manning is an outsider, an aspiring writer and secret devourer of celebrity gossip mags. A fake essay to Seventeen wins her the celeb-schmoozing opportunity of a lifetime, but after the plane crashes, she's stranded on a desert island with five of the most clueless, self-involved headcases to escape Hollywood. Happily skewering their foibles in witty observations on her iPhone proves surprisingly educational for Francesca. The group must work together to survive-if they don't insult each other to death first.

Enter HERE
*Provided by Publisher
** Closes May 7th

Monday, April 25, 2011

Percieval's Angel by Anne Eliot Crompton

Percival's Angel

Lili, an apprentice of the Lady of the Lake, is the childhood friend of Percy, the boy who will become one of Arthur's greatest knights. But as they grow older, Lili begins to see their differences. She has otherworldly magic while he has the magic that lives within the Human Heart. Lili dreams of knowing human love while Percy dreams of finding the Holy Grail. Neither can succeed without the other.Once again Crompton weaves together nature, feminist perspective, and Arthurian legend for a tale that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.Praise for Percival's Angel: "Crompton succeeds in incorporating the mysticism of medieval romance into her fantasy... This well-written fantasy can be compared to Katherine Paterson's Parzival." -Voya

At First Sight:
First I thought, a King Arthur retelling? I LOVE THAT! I really loved Meg Cabot's Avalon High and I was that type of book with this one. The cover's beautiful and the blurbs are pretty fantastic.

My Thoughts:
This will be a short review--and not in the very good way. But let's start with the positive. There were some parts of the book that entertained me enough to keep reading. Only a few, though. That was it.

Overall, this book has many aspects that I didn't like. The narration was weird and very unusual for me. It was more of a narration that you'd see in poems. Don't get me wrong, I love lyrical language but when the actual sentences of the paragraph turn into verse-like sentences it just doesn't work for me.

I didn't connect to any of the characters, to be honest. I didn't understand Percy's motivations or Lili's significance at all. I couldn't get into them. Most of the time they sounded distant and untouchable.

And the plot--well, there was really no real excitement to it. Maybe it's because I haven't ever heard of Percival's legend but to be honest, I didn't get it. And the whole fairy aspect just didn't work for me.

In one sentence:
"A rather empty book."

Plot: 2
Characters: 2
Cover: 4
Writing: 2
Overall Feeling: 2
Average: 2.4 stars

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Interview: Holly Schindler

Holly Schindler is the writer of two successful YA novels, Playing Hurt and A Blue So Dark. In Playing Hurt, atar basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone’s admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?

We are lucky to have Holly Schindler here to visit us!

1. What are some key factors to remember in developing romantic relationships?

Let’s face it—the story of two people who meet, date, fall in love, and ride into the sunset with no hiccups whatsoever is just…dull. You need some drama—some reason the two can’t get together, something that tears the two apart.

But you know, in all honesty, developing the drama for my romance wasn’t really all that different than developing the drama for my debut, a literary novel—I mean, a literary novel is character-driven…But so is a romance novel, to a great extent.

2. Chelsea goes through a tragedy that stops her from following her dream or living to the fullest. What advice do you have for other people in that same situation?

Wow—what a question! I think that the worst thing you can do is continue to focus on the tragedy. That’s not to say you shouldn’t mourn the loss of something you loved. But you’ve also got to keep moving forward, too…

I never had a life-altering injury, but along the way, as I sought a publishing deal, I had all these, “This is it!” moments, where an agent or editor would express interest in one of my manuscripts, and I’d feel certain that I was finally going to break in…Only to have the deal completely fall apart last-minute.

It can be devastating to go through a near-miss like that. But you really do have to dust yourself off and take another step forward. You’ve got to figure out how to reinvent what you’ve got and keep going. That’s what Chelsea realized she had to do at the end of PLAYING HURT—figure out how to reinvent her life, keeping sports in it.

3. First a literary novel, now a romance novel. Is there any other genre you’d like to try? What genres would you stay away from?

I’m always working on a new novel—and, yes, I’ve written other work in other genres that I’m actively trying to place. There’s probably no genre I’d count out. In that respect, I’m constantly surprising myself. If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d write a novel about a couple of athletes, I’d had said you were crazy. I’m NO athlete—I’m a complete klutz.

4. What other projects are you working on now? Can we expect more novels from you anytime soon?

The sooner the better, I say! Yes—my next novel will be released in 2012, with Dial. And—how’s this for yet another new genre?—it’ll be my first middle grade novel.

Thanks Holly for stopping by. I have to say, one of my friends is currently reading both of your books and I can't wait until she gets back to me on what she thinks! Here's a list of links you can use to find and contact her:
Twitter @holly_schindler

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Playing Hurt

Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

At First Sight:
I've been following Holly Schindler for a little more than a year and through that journey I've come to fall in love with her writing and her characters. When I saw that she was publishing a new novel, I immediately jumped into the opportunity to read and review it. Not only was the cover beautiful, but the story seemed to ring with me the way good books ring true to your heart.

My Thoughts:
I've never been a real sports-story sort of fan and I was a bit worried that Playing Hurt wouln't be as great as A Blue So Dark. But when I started reading the story (I had about 3 other books I was reading), I just couldn't. put. it. down.

I feel so guilty for having initially felt that way but now I feel even more reassured that whatever comes out of of Schindler's pen (or laptop, computer, etc.) is going to be a true literary work of art.

Chelsea was really--impressive. She seemed intimidating with all her star-ness and athletic ability but the deeper we got into the story, the more it seemed that Chelsea used her sports as a way to make her feel whole. I related to her (we have similar personalities) and I admired the passion she had for basketball (like the passion I have for writing) and, no matter what subject she was passionate about, the feeling transmitted so easily and flawlessly that I will officially say that Holly Schindler is not only a great story-teller, but she's a writer who is able to capture the feelings, personalities, and struggles of her characters fantastically well.

I loved Clint to death. And I thought that the names (Chelsea & Clint) were so cute together! He has times where he's funny, other times when he's confused, and other times when he's just being a boy. I loved the fact that Schindler was able to capture a male POV as well as she captured the female's.

Overall, this book was amazing and, if it hadn't done so before, it has placed Schindler among the top authors that I love. Plus, the romance is AMAZING and full of passion.

In one sentence:
A fantastic sophomore novel that WILL NOT dissappoint.

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall: 5
Average: 5

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Splendor (Luxe #4) by Anne 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.

Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

At First Sight:
So I hadn't finished this series and I wanted to do so because I'd previously loved these books. The cover on this one (like the rest) is fantastic and I couldn't wait to dive into an early 20th century society.

My Thoughts:
Wow. Just wow.

Some people might say that the books are not so fun or interesting and to a degree, I had agreed. The thing with these books is that it's like 1800s Gossip Girls and, although I haven't read or watched GG, I understand why people might be apprehensive about reading these books. What kept me attracted was the great narration and setting.

However, this book can be said to be the most exiting and scandalous yet. Everything from death, love, and change happens. We see the characters we've loved for a while finally reach happiness or at least contentment or satisfaction to their lives.

Our girls, Elizabeth, Diana, Carolina, and Penelope get their deserved conclusion to the story and although it can be sad and you might not agree to them, you can find that it was the best solution for them. They've all been through so much and whether you feel sympathy or not towards them, you've grown to at least be interested in their stories and how it will end.

And our boys, Henry, Teddy, Leland, and the rest reappear in this book and get increasingly more important. I don't want to spoil anything but this is a SHOCKING roller-coaster kind of book you don't want to miss.

In One Sentence:
The best yet from the Luxe series.

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall: 5
Average: 5

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Under The Dome by Stephen King

Under The Dome

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

At First Sight
This book, at more than 1,000 pages, is highly intimidating and daunting. All you can think of when you see it is, "How am I going to finish this?" But then you look at the description and you say, "Hm, this is a very interesting concept." I took the latter thought when deciding to buy the book.

My Thoughts:
I might start of saying that it took me since December to finally finish this book (this week). The thing is, every time I picked it up it was the same thing, "Oh, it will be forever until I finish." And, visually, it's intimidating. You could divide this novel into a trilogy and I would have read it faster.

Nevertheless, it was a great book to read. The gigantic cast of characters might be confusing at first but then you start to realize that the most important characters start to blossom and you find yourself rooting (or hating) them.

I've never read a Stephen King book before this one and, although some crude and graphic scenes were depicted, I was glad that the pure gore and horror wasn't really there. I fell in love with this book because I'm a junkie for apocalyptic style books that present some sort of 'end of the world' vibe.

Final thoughts: read this book if you are not easily intimidated by number of pages and can handle a big list of characters. The writing is of course fantastic but it's not a walk-in-the-park sort of books and definitely not for everyone.

Plot: 5
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 4
Average: 4.6 stars

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Blog About Something

You guys might be familiar with the fact that I'm an aspiring author (wait, you didn't? Well I am!). And I recently read a blog post by Nathan Bransford on how it's never too early to use the media to get myself known. So here I am!

I don't know about a formal author-style introduction post (I'll probably do it later) but the basics are these: My name is Patricia Perez; I'm from Puerto Rico and I recently turned seventeen.

I'm also thinking about changing the blog name (and therefore email address) to reflect a more author-ish vibe. This will probably be done this summer but I'll let you know in advance in order to have a smooth transition.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Vampire Diaries #2: The Struggle by L.J. Smith

The Struggle
Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.(

At First Sight
Obviously, I wanted to read this one. There's no 'convincing' here. This is IT.

My Thoughts:
So, The Vampire Diaries shows is on hiatus and I have nothing to feed my Damon obsession. What do I do? I take out my Vampire Diaries book and start reading.

Initially, I wanted this book to last for at least a week. I mean, I'm so sad there's no TVD on TV, I at LEAST need to make up for one week's worth, right?


I finished in two days. I have to be honest, Elena can be a bit irritating but she's pretty kick-ass. Damon and Stefan are a degree hotter this time around and Bonnie and Meredith are amusing as always.

The plot takes an amazing turn and I'm really wondering now where it will go from here. I have to buy the next book because this ends in the CLIFFHANGER OF YOUR LIFE. Believe me.

This is a short review because, honestly, you'll hear me gush and ramble too much.

Plot: 5
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall feeling: 5
Average: 4.8

Monday, March 14, 2011

Look What Came in The Mail

I honestly couldn't wait for In My Mailbox.

It's Holly Schindler's PLAYING HURT!!!!!!!

Please ignore the hair, skin, face, everything except the book of awesomeness.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

At First Sight:
I have to be honest, I've seen this book around for so long but I was always reluctant to pick it up. Zombies, what? But then I thought, why not? Especially since it has a 'love story' or whatever it said in its blurb. The cover is amazing and the story seemed interesting enough.

My Thoughts:
I was caught right off guard. I hadn't expected such an impact from this book. In fact, it's so hard for me to describe how awesome it is that I'm dividing this post into a few subpoints:

A) Mary as a character and her voice- Mary at first doesn't seem like an impressive character but what really made me want to read more was, not only the premise, but the writing style and voice. It's told in present tense but it's such a hauntingly beautiful voice. I always love angsty/dark but beautiful type of writing and this was it.

B) The Concept: So at first I thought, "Hm...zombies..." but then as I continued reading I actually saw the plausability of it. An infection that spread out and it wiped the face of the eart. That's plausible enough, right? Right. So that's why I wasn't appalled (or at least turned off) by the fantastic-ish concept.

C) The Love Story- If you go into this book thinking that you'll be getting a wonderful love're wrong. Sure, there is one but--and BE WARNED--it is so raw and emotional that it really leaves you thinking for days (at least).

D) The ending- I'm not going to go into detail but it was so surprising, realistic, and exactly the right kind of ending for this novel.


F) Plus, I couldn't decide between the two boys (or three if you count Jed ;) )

Overall, this story was impressive and realistic. I mean, you can't expect a happy-go-lucky ending in a zombie apocalypse, right? There were a few questions left unanswered (more like a lot) and I hope they are touched upon in the next two books. Either way, I'm pretty satisified (whcih is an understatement).

Plot: 5
Writing: 5
Characters: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enter The Query-Writing Process

As you all know, writing a novel is not just writing it and it's done. You go through revisons (check) and then revise it again (check) but then you go into the tough, confusing, and in my opinion, even more hard job of writing queries that can be presented to prospective agents.

I already narrowed my list to about 7 agents I want to send a query to (at least in the first round). Now I have to really tackle writing a good, attention grabbing synopsis of my book that's short, right to the point, and effective.

I have already posted various blurbs, but like the novel, it needs revising and polishing before it's ready. Also, I have to do further research of the agents so that I can personalize each query and tell them why I think my novel will be a great fit for them.

As I write my first query, I'll post it in here and you guys can tell me what you think. I'm excited. This road to publishing is crazy and I just can't wait to finally be on that car and just go.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

At First Sight:
The first thing that caught my eye was the cover and then I read the description over at NetGalley. I am a fan for futuristic/post-apocalypic books with a romance twist and it was natural for me to request this book. I finally got around to reading it a few weeks (maybe months, who knows, I've been so absent from this blogging world I've lost track of time). Unsurprisingly, I was hooked right off the bat.

My Thoughts:
Maddie is like us: dependant on technology to live. And although her world is much more drastic than ours, you really can't mistake the path we're heading to. She lives, breathes, and even socializes through computer screens.

But inside, Maddie's always been some sort of rebel, never fully satisfied with what the cyber-world has given her. All this is proven when Maddie reveals her past.

She meets this boy that seems to change everything for her (again). This boy is the typical swoon-worthy hero named Justin (hey, I now realized that his name has some meaning...) who challenges her to think out of the box and to question what really goes around her.

Filled with romance and adventure, Awaken takes your through a labyrinth of situations, every corner asking you if we're leaving our real lives behind when we enter the cyber-world.

Awaken is an amazing book with a great protagonist, an amazing boy (who's a bit too good for my taste but oh, well), and a plot that really hits home. Although the book can seem preachy (well, it kind of is) you forget about it as you move along and start to unravel the truths about the world Maddie lives in and the world we live in.

In One Sentence:
"Fun, fast, and definitely a must read!"

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Cover: 5
Overall Feeling: 5
Average: 5

My first book in the Debut Author Challenge for this year (finally!).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Finally Finished

Hey everyone!

I know I've been pretty apbsent from the blogging world but I have news! I have finished (hopefully) the last round of revisions for my novel, PAPER ANGELS. I'm so happy! Now I will have more time to dedicate to everything else.

I'm changing the look around and I'm definitely going to be more active now.

To Do List

01. Update the Authors page

Friday, January 28, 2011

L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

L.A. Candy

Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer . . . everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can't wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun. When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a "reality version of Sex and the City," they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please! Soon Jane is TV's hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara-free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres-and she's lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane's spotlight. In a city filled with people chasing after their dreams, it's not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be. L.A. Candy is a deliciously entertaining novel about what it's like to come of age in Hollywood while starring in a reality TV show, written by a girl who has experienced it all firsthand: Lauren Conrad.

At First Sight:
I love Lauren and really admire her. So it was about time that I picked this book up and see how it was. I mean, I went into it knowing it's not this masterpiece of literature but I thought that at least it'd be interesting enough and entertaining. Also, I admit, I wanted a bit of insight into Lauren's 'real' life.

My Thoughts:
I knew from the very beginning that it wasn't exceptionally well written. But within the first few chapters, I was able to ignore that and immerse myself in the story per say. It was fun and funny, sometimes even witty. Jane is the girl next door who anyone can relate to. By 1/3 of the book I thought, "Hm, this might be good after all."

Unfortunately, I was dissappointed. The story line didn't go anywhere very interesting and all the characters are one-dimensional and flat. I always like when I can't completely describe characters but in the case of most books with flat characters, you use one word to describe a character and voila! You've told their whole life story.

I'm not sure yet if I'm picking up the next book. I mean, I can basically tell where it's going. But I always feel bad when I leave a series without completely reading it so I might...when I have the time.

In One Sentence:
"Flat and disappointing."

Plot: 3
Characters: 2
Writing: 2
Cover: 4
Overall Feeling: 3
Average: 2.8 stars


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