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Review

Waiting on Wednesday: Week 15

I have to pull myself out of this self-imposed hiatus without reason to post this long overdue Waiting on Wednesday, because I’ve been waiting impatiently for Maggie Stiefvater to put up the image… so here goes – the cover and first paragraph of LINGER:

grace

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.

——–

Are you crazy with wanting or what? PREORDER IT NOW!

Coming soon… my LONG OVERDUE review of Shiver. Oy…
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Jukebox Junkies: Dia Reeves

Welcome to the very first edition of Jukebox Junkies!

Since it’s Halloween, please welcome Dia Reeves, author of Bleeding Violet (January 2010, Simon Pulse), as she shares her SpoOoOoky Playlist (she ain’t kidding – that sh*t gave me goosebumps).

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Sometimes before I write, I listen to certain songs to get me in the proper mood. I have a specific playlist for this called Spooky Sh*t (since I write spooky stuff, that’s almost always the mood I need to get into). Anyway, here’s a small sampling of songs from my Spooky Sh*t playlist:

Outside David Bowie [iTunes] (a song, but also the album’s title; the whole album is a treasure trove of nightmarish sounding songs with names like Heart’s Filthy Lesson, We Prick You, and The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty); highly recommended)

The Great Gig in the Sky – Pink Floyd [iTunes] (almost the whole song is this woman screaming—freaky but oddly soulful; and just a side note, if you haven’t listened to Pink Floyd’s album, The Dark Side of the Moon, while watching The Wizard of Oz, please do so; The Great Gig in the Sky corresponds with Dorothy getting caught in the tornado—so awesome)

Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday [iTunes] (a scary jazz song about how white Southerners used to hang black folk from trees and nobody seemed to really mind—except the black folk, of course).

Alice – The Cocteau Twins [iTunes] (the freakiest thing about this song is that I don’t know what they’re saying—I’m not even sure it’s in English; plus it sounds vaguely operatic, and opera is very scary)

Vertebrae By Vertebrae – Björk [iTunes] (I have no idea what this song is about, but what it sounds like it’s about gives me the creeps; I always imagine bugs inching up my spine; and speaking of bugs…)

Bugs – Pearl Jam [iTunes] (features Eddie Vedder chanting obsessively about bugs over the accordion from hell; I wonder if I’ll ever be famous enough to write something as completely insane as this song is and get away with it)

How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead [iTunes](“I’m not here, this isn’t happening”—I’m always curious about what is happening, but I’m too frightened of the answer to ever think about it too deeply)

Poems – Tricky (Tricky’s got a couple of spooky ones, but this is his magnum opus of spooky songs; if your worst nightmare had a theme song, it would sound like Poems)

So those are some of the spookier tunes on my playlist. If anyone knows of any others, let me know—I’m always in the market for spooky. 😉

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Bleeding Violet is the story of a girl suffering from manic-induced hallucinations who discovers that not every strange thing she sees is imaginary, especially after she flees to Portero–an East Texas town where magic and monsters are frighteningly real.

When she’s not out manning space missions for NASA and scaring little children, Dia spends her time tweeting naughty stuff and reading and writing eleventy billion books, though usually not at the same time.

You can visit her website or follow her on Twitter, if you dare.

AUTHORS AND BLOGGERS: If you would like to be a part of Jukebox Junkies, email me at mya [dot] rooney [at] gmail [dot] com!


YA Celebs Playlist 2 – Fall 2009

FALL-AUTUMN

Right, so we’re already well into the fall (and probably even winter, for a lot of people), and this post was supposed to be up about a month ago. Heh. Major Myafail there, folks. My apologies.

But for now, here’s my second very special YA Celebs Playlist, where I got to ask a host of authors and bloggers one not-so-simple question:

“What’s your fall anthem of choice?”

Their answers? See and hear for yourselves! [links lead to iTunes, unless otherwise specified]

1. Something’s Missing – John Mayer

“When summer fades, I always feel nostalgic for the city nights/sunshine/mellowed out part of me that is already fading along with it. Of course, that energy is replaced with this crisp back-to-school intensity, which is all about renewal and possibility. The part of “Something’s Missing” that captures the overall feeling of this time of year is:

“When autumn comes

It doesn’t ask

It just walks in where it left you last

You never know when it starts

Until there’s fog inside the glass around your summer heart.”

Takes my breath away, that.”

Susane Colasanti, author of WHEN IT HAPPENS, TAKE ME THERE, and WAITING FOR YOU. Her latest, SOMETHING LIKE FATE (Viking), is due out in May 2010

2. Heartbreak Beat – Psychedelic Furs

“[This is] the song that reminds me most of fall… I don’t have any particular reason for this strange association except that I played it incessantly (on cassette tape! now I’m dating myself!) one summer and fall. When I hear it, I think of the beach (I spent my teenage years in Southern California), suntan lotion, parties, boys, bonfires, denim mini-skirts, an armful of bangles a la Madonna, and that magical blend of fear, euphoria, and promise and that is being a teenager.”

Michelle Zink, author of PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS (Hachette), Book 1 in the eponymous trilogy

3. Gold Digger – Glee Cast

“I watched the video with this song, not kidding, about fifty times in the first two days after I downloaded it. It is ah-mazing. Completely wonderful, way more addictive than the original version.”

Jordyn from Ten Cent Notes

4. Peaches – The Presidents of the United States of America

“When I think of going back to school, I think of [this song]. I think the song came out in 1995, but I remember it constantly playing on the radio the summer of 1996, right before I started my junior year of high school. “Peaches” brings back great memories. Tanning at the lake, driving around town with friends with the music up and the windows down, and doing the whole back-to-school-shopping thing.”

Becca Fitzpatrick, author of HUSH, HUSH (Simon & Schuster)

5. It’s My Life / Confessions, Pt. II – Glee Cast

“Right now I can’t stop listening to [this]!  I swear I listened to it, like, 50 times within 24 hours of seeing the episode.  I just can’t stop playing it over and over.”

Chelsea M. Campbell, author of  THE RISE OF RENEGADE X (Egmont USA), out May 2010

6. Go the Distance – Roger Bart (OST Hercules)

“Yeah, I picked an old musical song. Judge me. But it is SO my jam. And have you heard this song? IT IS SO INSPIRATIONAL. It tells you that you CAN GO THE DISTANCE and BE STRONG. Just like in the fall you have to be strong to get through the fall to Christmas happy time! Or something like that.”

Khyrinthia from Frenetic Reader

7. More Than This – The Cure

“It’s music full of ethereal longing, and like autumn slips into my blood, this song slips into my brain. It’s the kind of song that thins the veil between possible and impossible- it’s perfect to watch leaves change by, or to write by- or if I’m very very lucky, both.”

Saundra Mitchell, author of SHADOWED SUMMER

8. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap (OST 500 Days of Summer)

“Every time I hear it I just smile. Can’t you imagine driving around on a fall day listening to this? I can :D”

Alea from Pop Culture Junkie

9. Nightswimming – REM

“It’s not exactly an anthem, but [it] always evokes end-of-the-season happy-sadness for me: “September’s coming soon/I’m pining for the moon…” It also reminds me of certain silver-lit swim with a very special boy. (I married him.)”

Megan McCafferty, author of the bestselling Jessica Darling series (Crown)

10. Send It On – Disney’s Friends for Change

“Since I just launched LivingYourFive.com with fellow authors Alyson Noel, Tera Lynn Childs and Becca Fitzpatrick–dedicated to changing our world one person and one “Five” at a time–the song’s wonderful message of paying it forward and making a difference (and its beautiful harmonies) definitely make Send It On my anthem for Fall 2009.”

Kay Cassidy, author of the THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY (Egmont USA), due out in April 2010

11. Fireflies – Owl City

“I think it’s whimsical with an electric pop attitude lol”

Yan from Books by Their Cover

12. Don’t Stop Believing – Glee Cast

“Because when you’ve got a special ability, you just have to believe. (That’s so corny!)”

Lisa McMann, author of WAKE & FADE, part of the Dreamcatcher trilogy. GONE, the final installment (Simon & Schuster), will be released in February 2010

13. The Last Good Day of the Year – Cousteau

“When Autumn rolls around I always have to think of [this]. I think the music and lyrics fit the fall mood so well – kind of a meloncholy that winter is approaching and this still pretty warm day with the sun shining through the trees that are losing their leaves could very probably be the last good day of the year (from a weather perspective).”

Lenore from Presenting Lenore

14. Sally’s Song – Amy Lee

As Halloween approaches, this song goes into heavy rotation on my iPod. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a gloomy autumn evening.

Sarah Cross, author of Dull Boy (Dutton)

15. Autumn (from “The Four Seasons”) – Vivaldi OR Under My Bed – Meiko

“I think Autumn from “The Four Seasons” because it obviously reminds me of autumn, and I just like Under My Bed by Meiko, it is a beautiful song!”

Senfaye from A Maze of Books

16. We’re Going To Be Friends – The White Stripes

“I love this song because it’s about the start of the school year and it also has such a sweet nostalgic feel to it. I also love Jack Johnson’s version that they played in Curious George.”

Heidi R. Kling, author of the 2010 release SEA (Penguin/Putnam)

17. The Boys of Summer – Don Henley

“My all-time favorite end of summer song… The Ataris version doesn’t suck either. It takes me back to one particular summer (let’s not name the year, it makes me feel old) that I remember with particular fondness, but it’s kind of a melancholy song. And, honestly, melancholy is one of my favorite emotions.”

Trish Doller, author of MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY and all-round purveyor of awesome, represented by kt literary

18. Black Roses Red – Alana Grace

“It’s appropriately beautiful and a little bittersweet to usher in my favorite season: autumn! The singer has an amazing voice, the lyrics are wonderful, and there’s just something melancholic about it. I can totally listen to this song while standing in a field of golden leaves!”

Steph Su from Steph Su Reads

19. Windmills – Toad the Wet Sprocket

“Okay, it’s totally maudlin, but it feels like fall to me. Listen when you’re feeling mellow.”

Melissa Walker, author of Lovestruck Summer (Harper Teen) and the Violet series

20. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

“There’s just something about that song that lifts my spirits and it makes me want to throw my hair down and dance till the my muscles ache and remind me that I’m getting old. xD

In all seriousness, its probably the beat that makes me want to do that but I love it nonetheless. And the Pulse 87 remix version even better. Which is by David Guetta. But thats for another time.”

Mitali Dave from Alley of Books

21. School Anthem – MC Paul Barman

“Well I love the fall and get kinda romantic and misty about autumn weather and the color of the changing leaves, but I hated school with a fiery passion. So I’ll go with an anti-school anthem, actually called “School Anthem” by MC Paul Barman, the greatest Jewish rapper of all time.

Sample lyric: “I’ll let a mystery gas out of my blistery ass / Just to disrupt the misery of history class.” I’m sorry, but that is a hilarious line and it pretty much sums up how I felt about high school. And sadly college wasn’t that much better. As Paul says, “I found college awkward / Another teacher, same old chalkboard.”

It’s on YouTube with a very boring video, but the song is killer. [Click the link above!]”

Josh Berk, author of THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN (Knopf), due out in 2010

22. You Picked Me – A Fine Frenzy

“Lovely.”

Korianne from Korianne Speaks

23. Breathe Me – Sia

“It reminds me of Ever and Damen and especially how she felt at the end of BLUE MOON when she realized what she’d done! A reader actually made an EVERMORE video using this song and sent it on to me and I thought it was perfect!”

Alyson Noel, author of the Immortals series, including EVERMORE & BLUE MOON. SHADOWLAND (St. Martin’s), the third installment, is due out on Nov. 17.

24. Anything But Mine – Kenny Chesney

“I’m not usually a huge fan of country music, but this is probably the most beautiful and heartbreaking end-of-the-summer song ever.  I could write a whole book about the imagery in this song.  Maybe I will one day!”

Kody Keplinger, author of THE DUFF, coming out in 2010

25. Fifteen – Taylor Swift

“I picked that song because it’s about the first day of school. XD”

Kate from Read This Book

26. Somewhere A Clock is Ticking – Snow Patrol OR When Your Heart Stops Beating –  +44

“I have the very Shiveresque end of summer song — it’s very ominous: “A Clock is Ticking” by Snow Patrol. (it’s on the Shiver playlist). But if we’re just talking what’s blasting out of my car as an end of summer song, definitely +44 “When Your Heart Stops Beating.” For some reason this song is really desperate end of summer to me (though more appropriate for James of BALLAD, my October book, than my Shiver people.)”

Maggie Stiefvater, author of BALLAD & LAMENT, as well as the bestselling SHIVER. The sequel LINGER (Scholastic) will be out July 2010

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I hope you all enjoyed the playlist, and find lots of new things to add to your playlist!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a new feature to you, titled Jukebox Junkies, featuring a plethora of playlists from your favorite authors, bloggers, publicists, groupies, editors and many other fascinating personalities from the publishing industry.

If you fit into any of the above categories, and would like to do a special playlist for this new, exciting feature, please contact me at mya [dot] rooney [at] gmail [dot] com

And watch out for the first playlist this Halloween with a very special guest! =)


And we return in 5…4…3…

SO THIS IS THE WEEK I’M GOING TO RETURN…

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

Watch out for guest posts, a new playlist (FINALLY), readathon updates (which I’m currently in the middle of), all-new WoWs, and above all, the 136272532 reviews I currently owe you.

I know I fail… BUT NOT FOR LONG! MUAHAHAHAHA! LET THE SHOW BEGIN!

PS How’s everyone doing? =D


Goddess Boot Camp – Tera Lynn Childs

WARNING: This review is FILLED with spoilers, so if you haven’t read Oh. My. Gods. yet, I suggest you look away now!

Summary:

Phoebe recently discovered she’s a descendent of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), and now she’s finding out that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve. Her new stepfather, headmaster of the Academy for descendants of Greek gods, has enrolled her in Dynamotheos Development Camp—aka Goddess Boot Camp—with a bunch of ten-year-olds for the summer. Embarrassing as that is, hopefully it’ll help her get control of her powers in time to pass the test of the gods, continue training hard enough to qualify for the Pythian Games (the only sporting event bigger than the Olympics), and enjoy her godly boyfriend, Griffin, all while avoiding getting smoted for accidental misuse of powers!

It’s another fast-paced myth-inspired heroine’s quest that’s sure to bring out the goddess in anyone.

Review:

Move over Princess Mia, there’s a new misfit in town. And she prefers running shoes over tiaras.

Yes, it’s time for another edition of the wonderful world of Phoebe Kitanidis Castro (Thanks for catching that! Clearly, someone needs to proofread her reviews more closely), and her exciting life on the Greek island of Perfopolis. When we last saw Phoebe and the gang, she’d just decided to take another year in school and train for the Pythian Games, and also acclimatize herself as a newly-discovered descendant of Nike. Not to mention, to spend some extra time with her new, ultra-hot boyfriend Griffin, and try to get in some bonding time with her new buds Nicole and Troy. Phew!

It certainly isn’t going to be a piece of cake, though. For one, Phoebe’s home alone with wicked stepsister Stella. Who also happens to be one of her trainers at boot camp. Which happens to be filled with lots of overeager tween girls. And, on top of all of that, Griffin’s up to something secret with his ex Adara. And you know that never bodes well…

What I love most about Tera Lynn Childs’ writing is that it carries all that fun feel of teenage within, without losing or skimming over any of the authenticity of Greek history and the Greek lifestyle. You can taste, smell, feel, and see everything as if you’re right there on the Mediterranean coastline, with the white sand under your feet. Lovely!

It’s a good light read with lots of laugh-out-loud moments and even a few heartbreaking ones. Phoebe’s finally found her footing, and it’s now time to figure out how to deal with her new life, instead of floundering about. Her relationships develop, both at home and away, and the results aren’t always pretty.

The only issue I had here was the addition of some new characters and storylines without any real resolution to them all. I couldn’t quite digest the significance of Xander, in all brooding, dark glory… and there were things about Phoebe’s dad that just never made any sense in the end.

But I told myself there was going to be another book, of course, and I’d just have to wait and see… so, I went to go check when the next book was going to be out, and OMGs there isn’t one planned yet!

But… but… but I have so many questions! There’s so many loose ends to tie! I can’t be left hanging like this!

There’s still a lot of riddles to Nicole and Griffin’s past. And, man, I’m still staunchly on Team Troy, so I need that boy to get his happy ending. Is my love affair with this series over? Most certainly not.

So please, pretty please, go out and buy this and the prequel… and help me beg TLC to write another part to the series! =D

Rating: 3-crowns


Dead Until Dark (Southern Vamps 1) – Charlaine Harris

Okay, I’m going to change things up a little bit with my Sookie reviews (other than the basic change of, you know, actually putting them up), and not rate them or talk about them as I do my regular books. This is my first official reading challenge, and I’d like to make it a cut apart from everything else here.

I first picked up Dead Until Dark many years ago, when it was still new and unknown, and eons before I’d even heard of Twilight. Back then (and see here how easily I slip into old person vernacular… “oh, in the good old days…”), vampire stories (other than Buffy/Angel) were still considered kinda weird and fanciful and only for desperate housewives with no lives. At least in my circles – no offense intended towards longtime fanpires. Please don’t slay me. I am now long over that unfair and outdated stereotype/personal opinion.

For the uninitiated, and those who haven’t yet been introduced to the wonderfulness that is True Blood (the TV series), Dead Until Dark is the first book in the Southern Vamp series by Charlaine Harris, which brings us into the world of a Southern barmaid named Sookie Stackhouse who just happens to be able to read minds. Except those of the undead (vampires), who have made their existence known and are now legal citizens of the world.

Weird, huh? Oh, it’s only just begun.

First line: I ‘d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.

I’m going to skip the cheesy Casablanca reference that comes to mind, and just say that the vampire in question would be the very dark, very dangerous and very very hot Bill Compton. Yes, it’s true. If ever there were fictitious vampires (or guys in general) to fall for, this is the series to find them in. 100% testosterone-loaded, dark, brooding men. Who just happen to be nocturnal. Yum.

Bill Compton... mmmmm...

Bill Compton... mmmmm...

Um… right… got a little distracted there. Sorry. Back to Sookie, who was orphaned at an early age and lives with her grandmother in the small town of Bon Temps, northern Louisiana. She doesn’t have a lot of friends or prospects, because mind-reading kind of takes away all the fun and mystery. Things get shaken up in this sleepy town once Bill walks into Merlotte’s (owned by the equally hot Sam Merlotte) and announces himself as the newest resident.

Sam Merlotte... drool...

Sam Merlotte... drool...

And coincidentally, along with that comes a series of murders aimed at fangbangers (Which, yeah, means what it sounds like). The main suspect? Sookie’s promiscuous and non-discerning brother, Jason. Crap.

Jason Stackhouse... who is also, obviously, steaming.

Jason Stackhouse... who is also, obviously, steaming.

What follows is a surprising series of events and developments, as well as a burgeoning sizzler of a relationship between Sookie and Bill, all in the hunt for Bon Temps’ own psychotic serial killer. And of course, Charlaine Harris’ matchless sense of humor comes through in real laugh-out-loud moments provided in the form of Sookie’s insight and strange capabilities, as well as a dazzling supporting cast (And no, I swear, no one sparkles).

If you’re a fan of True Blood, here’s some warning – I think this book alone constitutes the entire first season, so there’s spoilers. And there’s a lot of divergence in the storyline, so go into this with your mind clear.

All in all, this one’s an old favorite of mine, and I’ll still recommend it to everyone who’s a fan of mature reading – even if vampires aren’t your thing.

Question: I’m curious… those of you who are reading/watching Sookie, are you Team Bill, Team Eric, Team Sam or someone else? And why? No spoilers!!!

Hint: Pick Team Eric. For the TV series, anyway. Book series loyalty still up for grabs...

Hint: Pick Team Eric. For the TV series, anyway. Book series loyalty still up for grabs...


The Season – Sarah MacLean

The Summary (from jacket):

Seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford doesn’t fit into the world of Regency London – she’s strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and she absolutely loathes dress fittings. Unfortunately, her mother has been waiting for years for Alex to be old enough to take part in the social whirlwind of a London season so she can be married off to someone safe, respectable, wealthy, and almost certainly boring. But Alex is much more interested in adventure than romance.

Between sumptuous balls, lavish dinner parties and country weekends, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get entangled in her biggest scrape yet. When the Earl of Blackmoor is killed in a puzzling accident, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. It’s a mystery brimming with espionage, murder and suspicion. As she and Gavin grow closer, will Alex’s heart be stolen in the process?

Romance and danger fill the air, as this year’s season begins!

The Review:

Okay, to be honest, I almost skipped this ‘09 release altogether. It wasn’t on my to-read list this year, and despite the glowing reviews, I found the premise to be a little yawn-inducing. You know how it is with historical novels – you read one, you’ve read them all, right?

Wrong!!!

I had no idea a historical novel could be so much fun! My experience with the genre is pretty limited – my YA one exclusively confined to two Meg Cabot novels – but really, you don’t get a bunch of 17th century English high-society Debs more fun than this.

Alex Stafford is a strong, level-headed, low-maintenance sort with four brothers and a father who pays attention (and encourages her to be smart, not airheaded – go Dad!). Her mother’s probably the most normal of fictitious mothers you’ll find in the entire genre – there’s no swooning episodes a la Mrs. Bennet to be found here! Alex’s two best friends share her mindset, but have personalities of their own. It might seem like a huge cast to keep track of at first, but it really isn’t. There is no way you can confuse Vivi with Ella, or vice versa, and each of the Stafford brothers seems to emerge with his own set of quirks. And then there’s Gavin… oh yum, Gavin.

Of course, it’s a little longer than the standard fun read, but Sarah MacLean very cleverly uses each page to its fullest, with descriptions and characterizations galore. And that’s where the biggest forte of this novel is, the fact that every single one of the characters has a unique personality, and they don’t blend together.

The mystery in the story might be unraveled a little sooner than ideal for a mystery novel, and you’ll know exactly how it ends early on, but it’s the ride you need to experience. Excellent imagery, great use of characterization, and a romance that leaves you swooning. You’ll wish for sequels with Alex and Gavin, and more stories for every single one of the other characters!

This one’s deserves nothing less than the full five crowns, and maybe a fun, girly tiara too!

The Rating: 5-crowns

PS: Thanks again to Saundra for sending me a copy!

PPS: Why do most historical novels have a particularly irritating character titled “Stanhope”? It’s getting rather peculiar.

PPPS I found out right at the end of the book that Sarah and I went to the same college. Eeep! So obviously, I’m reading through this again soon, to see if we’ve been in any of the same “places”. Hey, I practically lived on the staircase that inspired the one in Gone with the Wind, I’m long overdue for another lit-squee in my life 😉