Thursday, June 23, 2011
Release Date: March 10, 2011
Rating: 4/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
Aurora is entering her senior year and everything around her seems to be falling apart. Her best friend has joined the cool crowd and she struggles to grapple with the loss. But when tragedy strikes, Aurora realizes what loss is really all about and how moving on becomes a fight of the will, mind and heart.
This is one of those beautiful reads that everyone needs to get a hold of in their reading careers. The story is beautifully simplistic yet monumentally provoking when it comes to your emotions.
I love Aurora. At first, I was a little hesitant because she did seem immature and selfish, but she grew throughout the story and ended up growing on me as well. Her realizations through the novel that she's not defined by others is something that a lot of teens need to know and realize - it's a strong message for everyone, and not just teens. It's even better because she does have a friend to help her realize this and he's there for her every step of the way - Hudson. Ahh, Hudson... he's basically amazing. I found myself looking forward to his parts in the book more than anything because he really made the book for me. I think the best part was when he lost it on Aurora. It was something she needed and I am so glad that he's the one that did it because I don't think, in the end, she would have caught on if those things were said by anyone else.
The emotions and reactions in this book ring true to real life, making this a read that anyone can relate to. The writing was great, the storyline even greater and the book really is tops for me. Though it's a little slow to begin with, the story soon picks up and has you hooked until the very end. This is definitely a recommended YA read for 2011 for me.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Jamie Lynn Braziel
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: Paperback, 284 pages
Rating: 4/5 (Avg 3/5)
Emma Bailey is thirty years old and single. No problem for her, but a point of round-the-clock contention for her mother, her family, and too many of her friends. In Jamie Lynn Braziel's Declaring Spinsterhood, the terminal illness known as "old maid" is explored from every angle, and the result is a compassionate, compelling, and wickedly funny novel. Emma may stand up before all and declare her intention to never marry, but what about that little place in her heart reserved for Brian Davis? Sure, Brian's seeing someone, and Emma is not a vixen who breaks up relationships, but would it be so terrible if Brian returned the interest? Rather than bide her time, Emma dates…and dates. Some of the men are charming, others less so. With her vow of spinsterhood more a noose than a friend, Emma musters her courage and moves on. That is, until the unforeseen throws up the biggest obstacle of her life: love.
I want to call this book what I would consider to be one of my perfect beach reads without that sounding completely insulting. Some people see "beach reads" as one of those smutty romance novels that you take to the beach in paperbook format to read without guilt - and if you get some sand in the pages, then no problem. However, my definition is a little different. I love the beach and consider the beach to be a very romantic place. With that mindset, what I consider a good beach read is a great romance that can be read with an equally great back-drop -- like the beach. The beach just gives it that extra something that makes it that much better for me. So, that's what Declaring Spinsterhood is for me - a great romance book that I want to read with the ocean roaring at my ears, the sun warming my skin with the sand squishing between my toes. Absolute perfection, really.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I haven’t told a soul this, ’cause it’s kind of embarrassing, and frankly, quite sad, but the first glimmer of inspiration I got for my novel, Kings & Queens, came from the movie, Drive Me Crazy…yep, the one with Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier. Didn’t I warn you about the sad?
In that movie, the leads live next door to each other, and something about that scenario seemed cool and interesting to me. And in my mind, I discovered this character Majesty. All I knew was that she was feisty, tomboyish and the manager of her school’s baseball team and the BFF of two guys: Derek and Alec. Although not a direct source of inspiration, it was kind of a Dawson’s Creek thing I guess.
But I’m not a romance writer. I need plot, beyond character conflict. I love suspense and weirdness, like the Dean Koontz, John Saul, Lois Duncan variety, so I wanted to work in something odd and compelling, but had nothing. Well, one night, I dreamt I was running for exercise, yes I do that, crazy I know, and overheard these two guys planning a church massacre and escaped them in this little town. Boom! Exactly what I needed. I found the seedling for my dark plot, as well as the setting for my story.
So, I brainstormed, wrote character sketches, spun out bits of dialogue and jotted a few key points, then just dove in. And the story grew into something totally shocking, unexpected and awesome. Incidentally, Majesty and Derek ended up living on opposite sides of the river in their class-divided town rather than next door to one another. That just worked better.
Sometimes, I’ll be rereading some of my favorite scenes, and thinking, wow, I wrote that? Yeah, I actually WROTE that. Several of Derek’s scenes, especially, are so intense and heartbreaking.
One of my friends was abused as a child and ended up shooting his puppy out of anger, so Derek’s tumultuous childhood was spawned from that awful and very real place. I wanted to explore that and see what a character would do with that past, where he’d go, how he’d ever find peace and love when he kept everyone at a distance with biting remarks, when he didn’t have the guts to trust anyone. Because Derek is so complex and scarred, most of my early readers ended up caring for him the most. And I actually did too. He’s definitely my fave.
I had a blast taking the sparks of inspiration I found and weaving them together to create a wild and twisty read, one that I hope will not only entertain, but also be difficult to put down and forget.
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
“We’re sunburned. We’re dehydrated. We’re starving. We’re screwed.”
Where did the inspiration for the story come from?
If you could be a super hero, who would you be?
Do you have a favorite food?
“I can’t believe that nobody grabbed any chips. We had, like, eight bags of Doritos.”
Are there any quotes that inspire you?
“Wick started talking about how we seemed to be in each other’s orbits: biology, swim class, twin studies. And I loved that idea. I wanted to think of myself as a moon or maybe a planet being drawn to another moon. Like the path I was on with Wick was more significant than anything on earth; it was celestial.”
Besides writing, what are other things that you enjoy doing?
“I want to try cocaine,” Dale says.
How do you think authors should respond to bad reviews?
“Water enters my ears and I can’t hear anything.”