Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tagged by Mara Purnhagen

This book will be available March 2010.

Grade: A

Synopsis:

Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High School to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the king-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to atay out of it--mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.

Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to...

Rating:

Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 8/10
Plot: 8/10
Setting: 9/10
Total Score: 54/70

Obtained: Finished paperback copy provided by publisher (Harlequin TEEN).
Age Appropriate? PG

Cussing: Some (I think)
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Not much.
Sexual Content: Limited, if any.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Hmmm...nothing, I think. One brief mention of child prostitution, but nothing too bad.

Review:

While I had some major issues with the cover (see our latest Cover Story), I mildly enjoyed reading Tagged. It was a pretty average high school drama novel, complete with popular rich chicks, MTV, huge parties, and boys. Kate was an intelligent, mostly likable character with an interesting voice. While I did not admire her weakness where social acceptance was concerned, she had many endearing qualities that made her story a good one.

Tagged questions what art is and how people react differently to it. I loved the bizarre image of the graffiti gorillas that seemed so random yet so right. The author did a good job of crafting those images and making them at once symbolic and entertaining.

With fairly well developed characters, a detailed and believable plot, and some quirky philosophical points about talent, self-image, and art, this book was a pretty decent read. Fans of high school lit will appreciate Purnhagen's narrative and ideas. While I didn't love it, it was not a waste of time. It's a short read, but not a bad one.

LINKS:

Mara Punrhagen

Reading Rocks' COVER STORY: Tagged

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interview with Amy Brecount White

As part of her blog tour to promote her upcoming release
Forget-Her-Nots

(to be released March 10, 2010), Reading Rocks interviewed
AMY BRECOUNT WHITE

Along with the blog tour, Amy is also hosting a rather interesting contest, details here, that I insist you all check out. In it, readers should follow the blog tour to "collect" virtual flowers that each host has selected for followers to gain additional entries. The prices include signed copies of the book, iTunes giftcards, and a book on the language of flowers.

Reading Rocks has decided to give our followers pansies, which symbolize thoughts, because our follower's valuable input keeps our spirits and our site alive, and our exchange of ideas is the most valuable thing to this online society of which we are all a part.



Interested? Watch for:


When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door,Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.
Read the first five chapters here!
Here's the trailer:



And here is the interview:

How do you think your frequent moving as a child affected your writing?

I think moving often made me a very observant person. I always had to be reading new situations, settings, and people and then finding ways to adapt and fit in. Writers have to be very observant of the world around them and its nuances, so I think that really helped my skills.


What does it mean to major in "Great Books" and why did you make this choice?

Great Books is a specific program that started at the University of Chicago and focuses on a classical education. It's also an historically oriented and interdisciplinary approach. So, for example, if you study Ancient Greece, you study their history, philosophy, literature, mathematics, and science all at the same time. I thought it was cool, because it emphasizes how everything is very connected, and it was also very challenging. I think it's a fantastic education for a writer.


How has your teaching experiences affect you as a writer?

I have classroom scenes in FORGET-HER-NOTS and in my WIP, and I definitely drew on my teaching experience to write those. Also, I taught high school English, so I spent a lot of time with teens and focused on how best to appeal to their interests and concerns, but also be fun and interesting. I hope I do that in my novels, too.

Why did you decide to become a writer?

Partly just because I could. I love reading and words, so I kept challenging myself to try to do different types of writing -- from college type literary analysis, to personal essays and feature stories for newspapers, to a novel.

Do you have any other passions, besides writing?

Definitely gardening. It's so rewarding to have things grow and bloom because you planted them. I find seeds nearly miraculous. I also love hiking, long walks, roller blading, biking -- basically being outside. And, of course, reading novels.


What is one of your most amazing experiences as a writer?

I think simply completing a novel. Lots of people talk about writing one, but few people have the discipline it takes. And then you have to go back and revise so much, but I was amazed that it kept getting better and better.


What event in your life most inspired you to become a writer?

Having children. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I decided not to teach any more, but to devote myself to writing, because I could control my schedule better. I often wrote at 5 am before the kids woke up or at 9 pm after they went to bed. I also wanted to set an example of following my dream for my children.


What do you think is most unique about your writing?

I hope it's a balance between being literary and fun at the same time. I have a lot of life and reading experience that I'd love to share with my readers.


The title of your upcoming novel is interesting. Can you reveal the inspiration behind it?

My editors came up with it as a pun on forget-me-nots. I loved it right away, because the novel is partly about memories and wanting to make yourself memorable. I had thought about calling it Flowerspeak, but I think FORGET-HER-NOTS is catchier.


What can we expect from you in the future?

I'm working on a contemporary novel called STRING THEORIES that has nothing to do with flowers. I would love to revisit the world of FORGET-HER-NOTS in a companion novel, but I'm not sure what the future will bring. :-)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wherever Nina Lies Giveaway

Celebrating the paperback release of Wherever Nina Lies, we have another giveaway for you!

Synopsis: Nina was beautiful, wild, and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But, one day, Nina disappeared. Two years later, everyone has given up home that Nina will return, but Ellie knows her sister is out there. If only Ellie had a clue where to look. Then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing. Determined to find Nina, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy, cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she’s got a chance—her hot, adventurous new crush. Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn’t planning on. Like love. Lies. And the most shocking thing of all: the truth.

About the Author:
Lynn Weingarten spends a lot of time writing in coffee shops while occasionally reading strangers’ laptops over their shoulders. In the past she has been a book editor, a barista, a counter girl at a bakery in Ireland, a waitress at a bar, and a seller of tiny homemade clay animals. She lives in New York City. Wherever Nina Lies was her first novel. Please visit her online at www.lynnweingarten.com.

Visit the book site HERE.

GIVEAWAY INFO:

  • US Residents only
  • 3 winners of paperback copy of Wherever Nina Lies
  • To enter, comment with email
  • Ends March 12

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cover Story: Tagged

I recently received and read Tagged by Mara Purnhagen, which will be available in March, (review to be posted shortly) and thought the cover rather curious. See what you think.

Synopsis:

Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High School to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the king-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to atay out of it--mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.

Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to...


The issue I have with this cover is that it is so incredibly distant from the atmosphere of the novel. It sounds like it should fit. I mean, it's a book about graffiti, right? Except it's not. It's about an average girl in high school, with average high-school-girl problems and dramas, whose life is briefly interrupted by the appearance of a mural--not graffiti--on her school. The mural is actually not the biggest issue in the book at all. And neither is the romance. So why create a cover with a graffiti style with a guy and a girl so obviously in love on it? I think this gives the completely wrong impression and appeals to the wrong audience. The bright colors of the cover contradict the mellow atmosphere of the book. The model's clothing, also, is entirely inaccurate, at least according to my impression.

What is your take on covers that misrepresent the novel or appeal to the wrong audience?


Click HERE to go to Mara Purnhagen's site.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Grade: A (barely)

Synopsis:

Kate is at a loss. She meets a boy with extraordinary powers and a bizarre family history that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. But Jarrod doesn't believe in the paranormal. When Kate tries to convince him that he has supernatural powers that need to be harnessed, he doesn't take her seriously, and only puts up with her "hocus pocus" notions because he finds her captivating.

However, the dangerous, uncontrolled strengthening of his gift finally convinces Jarrod that he must take Kate's theories seriously. Together, they embark on a remarkably journey -- one which will unravel the mystery that has hung over Jarrod's family for generations and finds them pitted against immense forces in a battle to undo the past and reshape the future.

Rating:

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 7/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 7/10
Voice: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Total Score: 51/70

Obtained: Bought.

Age Appropriate? PG

Cussing: Very little, if any.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Mentions teen drinking.
Sexual Content: References to marital sex.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Graphic violence and murder. Mentions of depression and suicide.

Review:

This book was a standard modern fairy tale. Well written, sure, with a strong basic plot, decent voice, and interesting settings. It was moderately enjoyable. However, it was seriously lacking in two points: character development and consistency.

The two main characters, Jarrod and Kate, confused me utterly. They had that "inexplicable attraction" that is so annoyingly unrealistic, yet appears in countless stories. But...the thing that threw me off was that they honestly didn't seem to like each other. They did not fit together in that way. There was nothing positive (physical traits aside) that they could think about each other. Their love seemed to be a manipulation by the author of their true characters, not a natural occurrence.

Additionally, Jarrod began as a spineless wimp. This was acknowledged by Kate early on, yes, but it was not an attractive characteristic in him. It made it embarrassing to read about him. Uncomfortable. Kate herself was weirdly unbalanced. Though she narrates half the story, the reader never seems to actually know anything about her.

This brings us to the second point: Inconsistencies. The story jumps through time, which was actually pretty cool. The author is very good at the Middle Ages thing. The only problem I had was dialogue. There is a big to-do about the difference between modern English and Middle English, and the character's dialogue reflects this change by their syntax and word choice. When Kate is talking to Jarrod, she reverts back to modern English.

Or that's the theory, anyway.

I was caught off-guard by how often the lines between modern and Middle English were blurred. Jarrod might say something to a Middle Age character in archaic, formal speak, then turn to Kate and rattle off something using modern slang, and then return to the Middle Age character, still speaking in a noticeably modern way. Similar discrepancies occurred throughout the novel. Very confusing.

That's not to say the book wasn't worth reading. I liked it a lot, particularly the time-travel part. My enjoyment increased two-fold when the setting changed from modern day Australia (which I didn't pick up on for a while) to Middle Age England. The book went slowly, but in the end I did not regret reading it. Lovers of tales of modern witchcraft, time-travel, and magic should pick up this novel if it crosses their path.

LINKS:

Marianne Curley

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman



Grade: A+

Synopsis:

It's off-season at the Jersey shore. The boardwalk belongs to the locals--including Rosie and Skate, sisters who are a year apart in age but couldn't be more different. Rosie's fifteen, shy, and waiting for her life to begin. Skate, sixteen, is tougher and knows what she wants. Rosie still believes in their widowed father, a likable drunk, who is spending a few months in jail for petty theft. Skate thinks he's hopeless and nicknames him the Old Crow, after the whiskey he drinks. Rosie wants to experience her first love and is drawn to Nick, a boy in her support group. Skate and her boyfriend, Perry, are madly in love--inseperable. But this fall Perry goes off to college, leaving Skate behind.

There's no Dad. No Mom. Just their home, a falling-down Victorian on the beach, with a cousin to look after them. Ultimately, Rosie and Skate must count on each other.

Rating:

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 67/70

Obtained: Library.

Age Appropriate? R

Cussing: Quite a bit.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Alcoholism is a major theme. Teen drinking. Mentions teen smoking/drug use.
Sexual Content: Lots of references to sex/sexual activities and one semi-detailed scene. Copious amounts of discussion.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Themes of severe familial dysfunction.

Review:

Rosie and Skate is the most touching, poignant, carefully constructed novel I have read in a long time. I zipped right through this short book in one evening, but it left me weeping after an emotional roller coaster ride. I am convinced that Beth Ann Bauman is a master. She perfectly captured the spirit of these teenage girls and the dynamic of teen relationships--both the serious and the short-lived.

This book is depressing. That's all there is to it. Don't read it if you need a pick-me-up or if you're expecting a cheerful read. It had me so firmly in its hold from beginning to end that I was rather tetchy and preoccupied. Rosie and Skate's lives are fascinating and enchanting, if screwed up. But Bauman has captured their stories in an expert way, with honesty and respect. Her characters are crafted with ingenuity and understanding, and I loved both of them unconditionally.

I think this is an important novel. Relevant to teenage life, incredibly engaging, and written with understanding and care. It's not just a teen girl novel, though. It's not all whiny and girly. It's not about boys, but about two girls' struggles to cope with very adult things at a young age. Readers of any age and gender could see the cathartic beauty in it, I believe. So go pick it up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cover Story: Birthmarked

I am currently reading Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien (and loving it), therefore, it was the perfect candidate for our first Cover Story.
Here's the synopsis:

IN THE ENCLAVE, YOUR SCARS SET YOU APART, and the newly born will change the future.

Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia’s mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.



This is the jacket that my ARC has, but it is not the final cover.

My thoughts: The earthy colors bring a bit of the setting and culture forth. Then the type of text used is very sci-fy style, blocky and harsh, a perfect representation for the dystopian aspect. The model accurately represents the physical look of the main character, Gaia, from the descriptions in the book. Her strong and defiant gaze hints at her inner character. All in all, I really like this cover.

Wrapped around my ARC was this cover, the final one.

My Thoughts: This cover has a much darker atmosphere than the last one, symbolizing corrupted and callous society. The model's face is blocked by her hair, but rightly so since in the book she often hides her scar with her hair. She also has a defiant look, reflecting her character. The colorful squiggly lines immediately remind me of DNA and genetics, which I believe will come to play a part in the book.

My Conclusion: I believe that both of these beautiful covers are excellent representations of the book. I can't decide which I prefer. What about you?

Click HERE to read about the evolution of this cover.

Read an excerpt from Birthmarked HERE.

And check out Caragh M. O'Brien's website HERE.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Soul to Save Winners

The three winners of this fabulous prize are...
jada
xxsquigglesxx
Anna
Congratulations!
Also, at this time, it is my pleasure to announce another winner of The Lonely Hearts Club.
This contest took place back in January...
And the lucky winner is...
Lasha

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Grade: A+

Synopsis:
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Rating:
Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 61/ 70

Obtained: Borrowed from a friend.

Age Appropriate? PG-13
Cussing: Occasionally.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Mentioning of teen drinking champagne.
Sexual Content: Some creepy faery stuff (I'm not really sure how else to describe it), but nothing with the main characters.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Kidnapping, blood and gore, faery creepiness.

Review:
This tale did not end where I thought it would... which was very good. At first, I felt I was reading a mix of different aspects from books, movies, and plays I have already encountered. There wasn't anything new or fresh. But the characters (whom I adore) kept me plugging. And I am so glad they did.

The Iron King spiralled down a path I was not expecting it to. As I read, the world of the fey grew and flourished. Reading this book was like putting together a puzzle, watching the small images fit together to form a masterpiece. The vivid imagery that Kagawa used created a world that popped out of the page and engulfed me. Everything about this story is simply beautiful.

The characters: a strong heroine, a mischievous best friend, an adorable little brother, a talking cat, and an icy prince... this is a priceless cast that cannot help but make the reader smile. It's not the characters themselves, though, but their relationships with one another that made them seem so real. Then there's the epic, adventurous plot and the wonderful writing that were icing on the cake.

So basically... this book is good.

LINKS:
Julie Kagawa's Site

Julie's Twitter

Our interview with Julie

Friday, February 12, 2010

Arson by Estevan Vega

This book will be available in stores on May 4, 2010, but can be bought from the publisher online here.

Grade: A
(really, really, reeeaaally close to A+ though!)

Synopsis:

Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off.

Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster.

Rating:

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 6/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Total Score: 60/70

Obtained: Free copy provided by author.

Age Appropriate? R (readers beware!)

Cussing: Mild. (edit 1/12/2010)
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Alcoholism (much). Teen smoking and drug use. Teen drinking. Excessive drinking.
Sexual Content: Lots of discussion/references to sexual activity of teenagers. Adultery. References to masturbation.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Child abuse. Bipolar disorder. Insanity. Grotesque violence. Vivid imagery of violence and murder and the burning of people. At times, gruesome.

Review:

This book is scary. Simply terrifying.

It's not meant to be frightening, I think. Just eye-opening. And, goodness, it was! The harsh beauty of Estevan Vega's words was breathtaking. It was a difficult book to read, content-wise, but the smooth, poetic voice made it all too easy to get into.

Arson is unforgiving and grimly honest. The characters' lives are sick and twisted, yet Vega relays this without pity or remorse. His courage is admirable. The omniscient point of view leaps effortlessly between characters, at once distancing the reader and making them more uncomfortably intimate with the horrors of the story. Beautifully, gracefully done. Vega has a gift he uses well.

While an exquisitely intelligent, ruthlessly realistic book, Arson should be approached with caution by even the most mature readers. It is vulgar. It is real. It is tortured. But if read with respect and an open-mind, there is beauty to be found here. There is a love story that is heartbreaking and painfully authentic. There is a boy and a girl who represent what is lost in all of us. And there is an ending that will leave you confused and frantic, but strangely satisfied...

If you have the courage, read it.

LINKS:

Estevan Vega

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler


Grade: A+

This title was released today!


Synopsis:

In this daring, provocative, and insightful book, bestselling author and internationally acclaimed playwright Eve Ensler writes fictional monologues and stories inspired by girls around the globe. Moving through a world of topics and emotions, these voices are fierce, alive, tender, complicated, imaginative, and smart. Girls today often find themselves in a struggle between remaining strong and true to themselves and conforming to society’s expectations in an attempt to please. They are taught not to be too intense, too passionate, too smart, too caring, too open. They are encouraged to shut down their instincts, their outrage, their desires and their dreams, to be polite, to obey the rules. I Am an Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams, and become the women they were always meant to be.

Rating:
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 10/10
Total Score: 39/40

Obtained: Free ARC received by publisher, Random House.

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Yep
Alcohol, Drugs, etc.: Yep
Sexual Content: Lots.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: This book is filled with too many too describe here.

Review:
This book is a must read for every girl everywhere. This work of literature is powerful, life changing, and heart breaking. Eve Ensler's prose and verse are filled with a unique emotional power, a voice that will take the readers breath away.

It is harsh, yes. These stories are brutal and hard to read. The feelings of these characters are so strongly portrayed... and it is frightening to know that the words written in these pages reflect so truly what you know that real girls in this world today are feeling, that these fictions are the realities of emotional creatures living beside each and every one of us, living inside some of us.

But this book is inspirational. This work is about the strength and courage of teenage girls. This work is about the love that every girl should have for herself. It is about the pressures we face, and the constant bombardment to be something we are not. Yes! We are emotional creatures. But no. It is not a bad thing. In fact, it is an amazing, phenomenal miracle of nature, and we should be proud of it.

LINKS:
Eve Ensler (Random House)
VDay

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

Grade: A

Synopsis:

Daughters of a famed clairvoyant, the five Taylor sisters begin the twentieth century desperately searching for a home. Their mother takes them to the small town of Spirit Vale, where she makes a living by talking to the dead. The future, however, is something even she cannot clearly see.

The Taylor sisters are not destined to stay in Spirit Vale for long. Mimi's fate is mingled with that of rich society, and threatened by a secret surrounding her birth. Jane becomes involved in a feat of scientific intrigue that has the potential to alter the course of history--and the course of her greatest love. The twins, Emma and Amelie, appear ready to follow in their mother's footsteps. And the youngest, Blythe, will stop at nothing to make her dreams of wealth and fame come true.

All of the sisters' destinies converge on board the Titanic. A transatlantic voyage that promises great wonders--including a surprise wedding--soon turns into a fight for survival. Not everyone will make it through...for neither love nor sisterhood can escape the threat of death.

Or can they?

Rating:
Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Voice: 7/10
Plot: 7/10
Setting: 8/10
Total Score: 51/70

Obtained: Library.

Age Appropriate? PG
Cussing: Very, very limited.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Mentions of drinking.
Sexual Content: None.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Some graphic images of death. Some creepy psychic-ness (?).

Review:
Distant Waves was a book that flawlessly captured the essence of the early 20th century. The historical accuracy was painstaking. From the music to the descriptions of clothing to speech patterns to the attitudes toward science and spiritualism, this book really grounded the reader in the time period better than most period novels of today.

The voice of Jane was occasionally annoying, occasionally interesting, but in reality I am entirely indifferent to her and her journey. I found her slightly naive and boring. While her character had some moving moments and insightful opinions, I feel like, through her, I became much closer to her sisters than to her. Even after reading the entire novel, I feel a distance between me, as a reader, and her, as my hero.

Overall, it was an interesting take on a well-known tragedy. I learned a lot about Tesla and spiritualism and scientific opinions of the age, and I became genuinely interested in that period for the first time. Suzanne Weyn is and always will be an intelligent, creative writer, and Distant Waves was certainly worth reading. I just feel like it will fade into the background of my reading memory. If you have a particular interest in the Titanic, science history, Tesla, time travel, the psychic movement, or the early 1900s, by all means, pick up a copy! You will not be disappointed.

LINKS:

Suzanne Weyn
Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn review

Monday, February 1, 2010

Interview with Author Kate Cann

Kate Cann
is the author of

POSSESSING RAYNE
(called Possessed in the USA, to be released February 2010)


and its sequel

FIRE & RAYNE


Interested?

HERE IS THE INTERVIEW:

What do you think is most unique about your writing?

I hope I write honestly. By which I mean I draw realistic characters who change and develop according to their experience – who learn things. That’s certainly not unique but it’s maybe not that common in YA fiction and I hope it’s one of my strengths.


What was your experience in the editing/publishing industry like?

It’s wonderful to earn a living in the book world, I loved it. And editing helped me develop a sense of the ‘shape’ of a book, and understand the need for consistency – it’s helped my writing.


What or who has been your biggest inspiration for your writing?

I’m going to risk being a cheese merchant here and say my husband Jeff! He is consistently encouraging, he’s my first editor and best critic. And we talk all the time and his ideas feed into mine …


How do you choose the names for your books?

With massive difficulty. Like book covers, they have to be immediate and commercial – and I’m not good at that. Sometimes my publishers choose them for me!


What is your writing process like?

Organic. I start with some ideas – usually disconnected things that have collided - and let them ‘compost’ for a while. I have a basic idea of the plot. Then I get the characters right – not just hanging about waiting to be told what to do but existing in their own right and dictating the action. Then I roll my sleeves up and get stuck in. Writing a book has been described as a voyage of discovery and I think that’s right. You discover and uncover things as you go along.


You mention in your bio that you used some of your own diary entries in your books. How and why do you do this?

Ah, not actually entries – but I re-read my teenage diaries when I was writing the Diving In trilogy, and I used some of the events, and reminded myself of the feelings. Also I wanted to make sure I got that authentic teen voice right. Everything is so raw and intense and passionate when you’re a teenager.

Which of your books have you most enjoyed writing?

Ask any writer that and I think 99% of them would say their most recent. I loved writing the two Rayne books. I was completely caught up in that dark world, I felt I was burrowing down into ancient mysteries …sometimes it felt like my subconscious was writing. For example, at the start of Possessed I describe a pagan-looking fireplace in the Old Stone Hall in some detail, not really knowing why I do that, and then later it turns out to be of vital importance … it was thrilling to have that kind of spooky thing happen as I wrote.


What types of books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I started with quite realistic books, often relationship-based. The Holiday books have been popular in the USA. Then I moved into the Gothic genre with Leaving Poppy and the Rayne books. And they’re all my favourites, honestly …I couldn’t write a book I didn’t get immersed in.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m finishing off a book I’ve written for adults. Then I’m hoping to get a contract to write a dystopian YA book called Witch Crag, about two girls and a boy whose only hope of escaping a repressive regime is to get taken in by the women whom everyone believes are real and dangerous witches ….

Are any of your other books going to be published internationally?

Apart from the USA, I haven’t got outside Europe yet - though I do quite well in Australia. My best sales are in the Netherlands!

KATE CANN was interviewed by READING ROCKS on JANUARY 4th, 2010.

My Soul to Save Giveaway

Book 1 of The Soul Screamers series -- My Soul to Take -- was released this past summer, and readers found out why Kaylee Cavanaugh screams bloody murder when someone’s about to die.

In Book 2 – My Soul to Save – when teen pop star Eden croaks on stage and Kaylee doesn’t wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can’t cry for someone who has no soul.

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can’t possibly understand. Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk.

Soul Screamers: The last thing you hear before you die.

3 Winners will recieve...

Book #2 in the Soul Screamers Series: My Soul To Save.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only.

To enter?

Simply leave a comment stating why you want to read this book and also include your email address for us to contact you with if you are the lucky winner.

Contest ends February 15, 2010.

LINKS:

Soul Screamer Site

Free Soul Screamers prequel My Soul To Lose