Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Book Addict Attends YAllapalooza

Who: Tom Leveen, Cecil Castellucci, C.J. Hill (AKA Janette Rallison), Adam Rex, Robin Brande, Amy Fellner Dominy, Aprilynne Pike, Bree Despain, Anna Carey, Kiersten White, and James A. Owen
Where: Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, AZ.
Hosted by: Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ.
When: 4pm on January 28, 2012 (but again I got there early so I had a wonderful seat--again).

I wish I had pictures--but the authors panel was in front of a beautiful window and the light from behind made it so I could not get a good picture.  But it was a fantastic view behind a fantastic authors panel.

The only author at the event that I had read before going was Kiersten White (I loved Paranormalcy).  So I went hoping to learn about a bunch of new-to-me authors--and this event delivered in spades!

Here are some highlights I collected that have firmly moved some of these books onto my TBR list:
1) Tom Leveen encouraged future writers to be honest with their characters.  That is what it takes to write characters that people care about.  And always take the opportunity to prepare and learn about the process and not just focus on the end product of having written a book.

2) Cecil Castellucci loves Star Wars.  And the first thing she remembers writing was a sequel to the original Star Wars movie.  This story really inspired me because I remember writing all kinds of fan fiction of alternate endings or continuations or episodes for my favorite books, movies, and television shows.

3) Janette Rallison (AKA C.J. Hill) recommends that new or aspiring writers keep a notebook with them at all times because you never know when you will be inspired or when you will get an idea and you will want to write it down because it may not come back to you again in the same way. 

4) Adam Rex wrote The True Meaning of Smekday as a way to explore history and in particular the way that the British colonies affected the Native American people when they came to America.  So he brought that idea to the future with aliens--but he is glad that the book does not come across as having such a forced lesson that it is not also fun.  I bought Fat Vampire, but now I want to read Smekday just as much if not more! It is on my wishlist!

5) Robin Brande was an attorney who was inspired after 9/11 to change careers and do what she loved and what she was passionate about: write.  She said repeatedly that a big part of being a good writer is to get out into the world and live an interesting life.  It is much more believable to read interesting stories if you have had interesting experiences.

6) Amy Fellner Dominy encouraged aspiring writers to not focus solely on the end goal of writing a book.  Take any opportunity to write, and through all of it develop the love of writing.

7) Aprilynne Pike really kept a smile on my face the entire panel.  She was very witty--and it made me so glad that I got the first book in her series!  I also got a glimpse of book 4 in the series and I cannot wait to get to it!  But the thought that struck with me was when she said she wrote for teens because she had always been raised to love teenagers.  Her parents could not wait until she and her sibling grew to teenagers because they knew it was such a fun and exciting times of their children's lives.  And now she cannot wait until her own children are teens because she knows it will be a fun and exciting time of her children's lives.   

8) Bree Despain always loved to write.  The story that stuck with me the most was that she wrote her assigned high school English journal as a fictional story because her life was "boring."  She was also an aspiring actor who took a job as the theater director for a camp.  She was supposed to help the kids in the camp put on a three hour play--which was a tall order when many of them had trouble reading.  But she wrote a cinderella-murder-mystery for them to perform which ended up being a big hit!  I wish I had had a play like that to do when I was in high school.

9) Anna Carey said that it is never too old to start writing especially if that is what you love.  She told us that the hero in her novel came to her first--but more of the voice of the hero then the fully developed character that we find when we read her book.

10) Kiersten White said that she gets her ideas from taking two seemingly-unrelated-ideas forcing them together and then seeing what happens.  For instance, for Paranormalcy she said that she was struck by what would happen if vampires (a feared being) had been hunted almost to extinction and so now they needed to be protected as an endangered species.  What mechanisms would need to be put into place to protect the vampires as well as the humans?

11) James A. Owen impressed me so much with his drawings (I did not know he drew his own illustrations until I met him!).  My favorite story was when told about his first "published" work: Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jim Owen Age 6.  He found a copy of this work on eBay and was bidding for it.  When he lost--he reached out to the person who won.  It turned out that he knew the person--and that person now claims to have the most complete James A. Owen collection.  :)

I also had to share the amazing drawing he did with his signature in the book! I could not believe that he did this freehand.
Overall--it was an amazing event to participate in and next year I want to do the writers conference too!  I had so much fun that it is all I have been talking about all day!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TBR Intervention (7)

Last Week
I can say with absolute confidence that I succeeded in the TBR Intervention this week!  I am also super excited about my giveaway from the previous weeks TBR Intervention!

I finished Monster by Walter Dean Myers this week.  I am so impressed with this book--and I can definitely understand why he was named The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.  My review is coming soon!

I finished Looking for Alaska by John Green.  I am pretty sure that I have a new (to-me) author to add to my list of favorite authors.  This book surprised me in so many ways.  My review is coming soon!

I am still working on this one, but I am feeling much more drawn into the book now.  I struggled with the beginning of the book--but now that I am in the last hundred tracks I cannot put it down.  I can see why so many people love it.  As soon as I finish the book, I want to re-watch the movie because I really feel like I will gain so much more insight into the movie after having finished the book!

This Week

Summary (from inside flap):
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion...she believes in costumes.  The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better.  But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future.  And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss and I am so sorry that I have waited so long to read this one!  And then I found out that Anna and St. Clair are back!  That's enough to make me love this one!

Despite my pledge to shrink my TBR pile--I attended YAllapalooza hosted by one of my favorite independent bookstores, Changing Hands!  Of course I had to buy books!  So I must get them read and off my pile!

Summary (from inside flap): 
Evie finally has the normal life she's always longed for.  But she's shocked to discover that being ordinary can be...kind of boring.  Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she's given a chance to work for them again.  Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastorous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice.  And when Evie's faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers there's a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos.  The prize in question?  Evie herself.

So much for normal.

I loved the first book in this series.  I have been putting off the second in the series--and then I saw the author would be at YAllapalooza and I could not resist!

I am determined to finish my audiobook this week--and start my next audiobook this week!

Summary (from Amazon):
The New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy makes her middle-grade dystopian fantasy debut!

When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill: Each year all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.

It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called ArtimÉ. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of ArtimÉ that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

What book are you most excited to read this week?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Follow Friday (11)

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

I do not have a genre that I avoid at all costs, but I do notice that my favorite genre seems to swift from time to time.  I will go through phases where I read almost exclusively YA and then a lot of classics and then a lot of different adult books.  So many books catch my attention that it is hard to say that I would not find at least one book in that genre that I like!

Lately, it seems to be a lot of YA books.  And I am hosting a giveaway for one of the books that I think will be my favorite for 2012:

What book has surprised you the most?  Maybe you thought you would not like it and did or maybe you thought you would love it and did not?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Book Addict Review and Giveaway: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Order Online:
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars
Bought this book and had it signed by the author at The Dark Days of Supernatural tour stop.

In A Nutshell:
It's hard to determine my best book of 2012 in January, but Under the Never Sky may very well be the one for me!

Aria has been falsely convicted--exiled and left to wander alone under the Aether Storms.  Perry has been forced to leave--left to get his kidnapped nephew back.  Their separate upbringings has led them to initially distrust each other--but their circumstances force them to work together.  As their group grows, as they have to escape large groups who want to kill them, as they dodge dangerous Aether Storms--they learn that they may not be as different as they initially thought.

The artist in Veronica Rossi comes out in her striking and visually-compelling descriptions of the world she has created.  The sights, the smells, and the sounds come together to draw the reader into the story--makes them feel like they are part of the group.  I could not stop turning the pages as the characters (who I started to think of as my friends) covered treacherous terrain, dodged cannibalistic covens, tricked their way into guarded pods, learned the truth about themselves, their backgrounds, and their talents.

The only thing that killed me is when it ended--I wanted more.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out and tell me what happens next.  This book ended in a cliff-hanger of all cliff-hangers!  The next installment cannot come fast enough for me!

Since I think this may be my favorite book of 2012--I do not have a recommendation but a giveaway to share the wealth and the experience!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Author Guest Post: Murdering A Publisher by Gervase Shorter

After reading Crime Fiction for Beginners by Gervase Shorter, I really wanted to know what his experience had been trying to get published.  He was gracious enough to share some of his insight with me:

I used to think that publishers spent their time scouring the plain in search of new talent that they could nurture but when I started writing I found that publishers are not on the lookout for new authors because launching a novel by an unknown author takes a big promotional investment for a very uncertain return. New talent is just not an attractive business proposition; it´s a risky gamble that publishers avoid if they can. Best selling authors like J.K.Rowling and William Golding took their first book to a score of publishers before they found one that would take it on and I could name several well known and successful authors who spent the first ten years of their writing careers taking their books from one publisher to another.

Another reason why publishers aren´t on the lookout for new talent is that they are inundated with manuscripts sent in by would-be authors. They receive a hundred manuscripts for every one they publish and far from looking for new talent to nurture they´re trying to keep all these would-be authors at a distance so publishers often don´t bother to acknowledge the manuscripts they receive: ‘if you don´t hear from us in three months you should assume we´re not interested’ and when they do reply they avoid wasting time on authors whose works they aren´t going to publish by taking care not to give any reasons: ‘it´s not for us’, is all they usually say.

When I was looking around for a plot, I thought that, treated like this, there must be lots of authors planning to murder a publisher and that´s the story I´ve written in ‘Crime Fiction for Beginners’. A publisher is murdered. In one way or another four authors whose manuscripts he rudely rejected are involved in the police investigation around which the book revolves but this isn´t a conventional crime novel. It´s really about the four writers and what they are writing (Regency romance, sci-fi, previous lives and a cold war thriller), in other words these authors live in their own fantasy worlds. Their plots are more real to them than their dull day-to-day-lives and the reader looks over their shoulder and follows the stories they´re writing as they develop. So ‘Crime Fiction for Beginners’ is actually five novels, not one. And there´s a really unexpected twist at the end.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

TBR Intervention (6)

I am declaring this week's TBR a success--at least a partial success.

Last Week

I finished Crime Fiction for Beginners--and loved it.  You can find my review today and I will have a guest post by the author tomorrow! 

I finished Under the Never Sky--it may be my favorite book of 2012.  My review will be out on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 and includes a giveaway of my signed hardback copy.  How's that for shrinking my pile?

I am almost to the halfway point with this one--and I am satisfied with that.  I will however be listening to a shorter book next time.  I think I need a little of a break before I tackle The Two Towers.

I am about halfway through this book--so far I love it and I cannot wait to read more of John Green's books.  I am so glad my buddy, Jen, shared this one with me.

Next Week
I will finish Looking for Alaska and continue working on The Fellowship of the Ring, but my new book addition will be:

After I read this article, I decided I had to read a book by the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Walter Dean Myers.

Summary (from inside flap of book cover):
Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie.  Maybe I can make my own movie.  The film will be the story of my life.  No, not my life, but of this experience.  I'll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me.


FADE IN: INTERIOR COURT.  A guard sits at a desk behind STEVE.  KATHY O'BRIEN, STEVE's lawyer, is all business as she talks to STEVE.

O'BRIEN: Let me make sure you understand what's going on.  Both you and this King character are on trial for felony murder.  Felony murder is as serious as it gets...When you're in court, you sit there and pay attention.  You let the jury know that you think the case is as serious as they do...

STEVE: You think we're going to win?

O'BRIEN (seriously): It probably depends on what you mean by "win." 

My friend and I are planning to read this book together and then talk about it--do a book discussion as a blog post.  So look for that to come out soon. 

What do you plan to read this week?