I meant to do this like a month ago, but kinda forgot. I have officially moved over to my blogspot blog, which can be found here. Feel free to become a follower there!
So this means that the myspace blog won't be used anymore. Myspace was a great tool in getting this blog started, but there have just been too many problems with Myspace in the past couple months and I've grown frustrated with them. Also, it was difficult to keep up with two blogs, both for myself and for my readers. Blogspot is just much better at this point in time.
The only thing I'll do here on Myspace is to do retrospectives every week providing links to what I've done over on the Blogspot blog so that people who frequent Myspace more can still be kept up-to-date on what I'm doing on Blogspot.
Here's the first retrospective:
Monday, July 27- I reviewed Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover by Ally Carter
Wednesday, July 29- I reviewed Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
Thursday, July 30- I posted my weekly Seven Book Babes vlog
Saturday, August 1- I posted my weekly In My Mailbox vlog
Check out my review of Wings by Aprilynne Pike here on the blogspot blog. And also check out my recap of the Sarah Dessen event I went to a couple weeks ago!
Guest Blog from Julia Hoban
James is such a sweetie! You'll love him! I love him! Everyone loves him!" Kristi, The Story Siren.I first became aware of James last fall when I stumbled across a review he wrote of "The Explosionist," by Jenny Davidson (a former professor of mine). I was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and fresh take on the material, and thought how fun it would be to work with him. I filed his name away as someone to suggest to my publisher when the time came to send out ARC's of my own book, WILLOW. I was thrilled (and nervous!) when I found out that they had already sent him one of their own accord!
After James had read WILLOW we began to correspond. I immediately connected with him, in fact, as I've often told him, he reminds me of one of the characters in my book, Carlos: the quintessential, easygoing, reassuring, best friend that we all wish we had.
"James can be summed up in one word - fabulous. He seems to be everyone's go-to person for blogging advice. Recently, I had the chance to meet him and I can say he's just as awesome in person as he is online!" Harmony May, Harmony Book Reviews.
I was very excited when James came up with the idea of reading a passage from WILLOW on one his vlogs. It was the first time I ever heard my words out loud, and it was a real treat! He's full of creative ideas like that .....
"Although he still owes me a kitty, James totally rocks. He's got spunk and YA-knowledge galore, plus he's incredibly hysterical. One of my favorite bloggers!" Chelsea, The Page Flipper.
But beyond his creative ideas, beyond his knowledge, there's one thing that really stands out about James, his incredibly positive nature. This time I'll quote the man himself:
"I read a ton of books and loved them all without having met or known anything about the author. I'm still the same way- my reviews are all honest, no matter how fanboy-ish they may be. Believe me, I know that the vast majority of my reviews are all glowing and people may think that I'm sucking up to the author or publisher, but I'm really not. It's how I'm programmed; I'm just content with how a book goes and am just in awe after finishing it. I'm actually also the same way with music and movies- I enjoy most everything I listen to or watch. I'm just easily pleased, that's all."
I myself am a very cynical person. This does not always make the world a very fun or comfortable place. James may be in awe of the authors that he reads, but I am in awe of someone who can say with all sincerity that they are most often content, that they are easily pleased, that they take such enjoyment out of life.
What a fabulous way to be in the world!
Guest Blog- Jennifer BanashWhen Book Chic asked me to write a post about either my best or worst review ever, I began looking through my file of reviews—which is substantial—and picking out my faves. After having three books published, I’ve had my share of reviews—both wonderful and terrible, and although I’ve had many great reviews, there have been very few where I loved both the reviewer’s take on the book, and their suggestions for improvement. Enter Diane over at The Book Resort, whose recent review of THE ELITE made me chuckle and think in equal measure. One thought reverberated through my brain while reading the review (thank you Google alerts!), This girl gets me—she REALLY gets me! Now, I don’t know about other authors out there, but feeling like a reader really GOT what you were trying to accomplish with a book, a piece of literature that, most likely, you slaved over for years, is pretty rare. Sure, there will be many people who will review your books and like them—eve LOVE them, but that feeling that someone really understands your style and what you were trying to accomplish—is priceless. You might be asking yourself, why not a bad review, JB? Well, to be quite honest, with the release of SIMPLY IRESISTIBLE just around the corner, I’m way too happy to focus on that kind of negativity. And, besides, there are other sites for that—like my good friend Alexa Young’s kick-ass blog THE WORST REVIEW EVER. So, without further ado, here is Diane from The Book Resort’s review of THE ELITE, with my own running commentary :DHmmm... Another series about a Midwestern beauty moving to NYC. Another series featuring more rich, beautiful, bratty teens.
*Gulp. Begins sweating profusely*
Excuse me, haven't we done this before? Yes! Unfortunately, many times over! Excessively!
*Pours glass of wine the size of God’s ego*
Enter Jennifer Banash. JB has skills. Ms. Banash extinguishes the competition w/ her Manolo's then struts down to Bergdorf's to pick up a pair of Corset Bootie 's (Dior), a Stella McCartney Piercing Tote & a Kooba Blake Leather Shoulder Bag (love)! Banash is clearly a rock star & the others pale in comparison screeching karaoke.
OMG! She just named SEVERAL of my favorite fashion obsessions of the moment! She speaks Bergdorf’s! She knows fashion! And she just called me a rock star! WOOT! Most important, however, is the fact that she somehow senses that I worship Manolo’s—and that she clearly has a way with words . . .
Like movie theater popcorn w/ extra butta, a foot massage, a sundae w/ caramel, marshmallow & cherries ;P; a shopping spree @ Christian Louboutin, Victoria Secret & Sephora. Jennifer Banash has a sure fire hit w/ her fabulous Elite series.
*Emails publicist immediately*Dear Caitlin,Can we somehow get this girl a job writing back cover copy? This blurb MUST be on my next book!xooxoxJB
Also: I am now hungry. Thank you, Diane, for thoroughly derailing my diet with your talk of luscious ice cream sundaes, marshmallows and cherries. *Opens bar of extra dark, 85% chocolate and shoves half in face*
Banash's characters are authentic, unique & interesting. Every player has a tale to tell & it is not just filler... it's substance. Banash was brilliant crafting the chapters in alternating points of view. It brings all the characters front & center. No kibbles & bits for the secondary characters... Banash illuminates every cast member w/ a glow of their own. The Elite isn't just about "poor" Casey & snotty Madison doesn't overshadow the novel w/ her grandstanding & diva tantrums... Jennifer deftly displays every character's voice & allows them to be genuine characters not high society caricatures! Applause! Sophie & Phoebe aren't Madison's accessories they are three-dimensional young adults w/ intriguing lives w/ secrets to confront, endure & disclose.
Brilliant is good. I would never argue with brilliant :D And she gets the fact that Sophie and Phoebe are EVERY BIT as important as Madison and Casey, that there truly is no MAIN character in the book, and that these kids have real problems—their not just cardboard cut-outs of the lives of the rich and fabulous. Yay! *Does happy dance* However, I am quite the fan of diva tantrums—particularly Madison’s—as they are the most fun to write. I mean, really—who DOESN’T want to play the bitch at least once in their lives? Or, umm, every day?
Now, I'm not going to leave out the tidbit that the beginning of The Elite was a bit slow going but once Banash sets the members up...away we go! Some may grouse @ the designer brands dripping off the pages, but it is a way of life in the world of big bucks! Eventually, Banash eases up on the labels & gives us the true grit. Drama, check! Scandal, of course! Fashionista's, come hither... The Elite is a must to toss into your tote!
Yeah, a lot of people complained that the beginning of the book was too slow, but I really did need the time to set up the story and build all that fabulous characterization Diana loves so much! And as far as the brands go, yes, they were a bit excessive in the first book, and I toned that tendency WAY down in the subsequent book. But I STILL am obsessed with knowing what every character in a series is wearing, but, then again, I sometimes take out the trash in a ballgown and tiara, so you do the math :D And, umm, HELLO? “Drama? Check, Scandal, of course, Fashionistas, come hither?” This girl should really be writing her OWN YA series. She could probably give me a run for my money . . .
Kudos to Banash, she didn't wave a La Perla garment & make Casey uber pop. Nah, just wouldn't be believable. Double kudos to Banash for the way she piloted Drew ~ spot on!
Jennifer's characters are extremely well developed. Madison is one of the nastiest something ~ somethings, but Banash writes w/ such emotion, you can't help but feel empathy for the bratty prima donna! Madison tells it like it is & remains true to form. Casey seems to lose herself once stepping foot in NYC. She is too easily manipulated & I wondered @ times if she left her smarts back home. Grrr.... I hate when a intelligent female loses sight of herself for a guy or a clique. Weak! Casey needs to toughen up if she's going to make it in the big A. Casey has the backbone to make it... she is just finding her way in Gotham city.
I love Madison. I realize that she is the character that most people love to hate, but I just love her. She really can’t help being such a bitch, and her home life is such a complete nightmare that it completely colors everything she does, and negatively affects most of her relationships with others. She’s never gotten any parental love or support, so she has zero idea how to impart it to other people. Hmm . . . Casey as too easily manipulated? Interesting. I’d never thought of Casey in that way—and not at the end of the book, but that’s what a good review does—it makes you reconsider your choices, and now, with a little distance from the writing of that book, I can see where Diana is coming from in terms of Casey’s character. Maybe I could’ve handled the end a little differently . . .But I do think Casey has backbone in general—it’s just a little depleted at the end of the book.
Banash has a hit on her hands & a mean pair of stilettos on her feet!
Again, can I steal this for the back of subsequent books? *Emails editor immediately*
SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, the latest installment in THE ELITE series, drops July 7th.
Here's the Simply Irrestible trailer:
Jennifer has kindly offered up a signed copy of Simply Irrestible, due out next Tuesday. So just leave a comment below by Friday, July 3 at 9pm EST and a random winner will be selected and notified by Myspace email. This is open to North American residents only.
Interview with Alea from Pop Culture Junkie
1) How do you write your reviews? Do you write them right away while the book is fresh in your mind, or do you wait a few days to let the book simmer and your thoughts gather before sitting down to put your thoughts on the screen?
I always write my reviews (for the most part) on Sunday evenings. That way the book should still be fresh in my mind seeing as I read it sometime in the previous week. I guess I’ve never sat down right after reading a book to start a review. Sometimes I’ve written it the same night I finished but that was when I was in a crunch.
Do you find it difficult to write a bad review? If you didn't like a book, do you just skip over it and not review it, or do you feel an obligation to review it, no matter what your thoughts on the book may be?
I guess when I’m writing a review for a book I didn’t all together care for I try and be more careful with my words so in that sense it is more difficult. In everything there are pluses and minuses so when writing a “bad review” I try and make sure to mix in some of the good with some of the not so good, it’s important to tip people off about things they might like about the book.
What qualities do you aim for when writing your reviews? Is there any set criteria of things that you have to go over in each review, or does it vary book-to-book?
I guess I like when people point out details they like about a story instead of a vague overall look at a book. So I try and do that, not sure how much I succeed but I try! I also like finding out how a book made someone feel so I try and include that sometimes too. I’m not sure I really follow any guidelines when writing a review but maybe someday I can get good enough that I can do that!
How did you find my book blog, as well as any others that you frequent?
Oh gosh I don’t remember! I do remember coming across Bookshelves of Doom via her etsy store and then somehow The Compulsive Reader and those were sort of a gateway into reading YA blogs. Before that I was mostly reading design blogs.
What book blogs, if any, inspired you to start your own book blog?
I think seeing the community of book blogs in general, the ya blogs and the adult blogs all of that excited me enough to turn my own blog that I barely used into a book blog. I had already written a few reviews for LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program so I took those reviews placed them on my blog and there we have it! And actually before I was posting the lookalikes I post now I had posted several that were movie related. Kind of funny that really it’s a feature I had before it was even a book blog! But back then I was really the only one enjoying it!
Do you have any advice or thoughts on how authors should handle mediocre or bad reviews, or their expectations when sending a book out for review?
I guess since I’ve never been an author myself it’s hard for me to really give them any advice since I’ve never been in their shoes. For the most part to me, it seems like they are doing a wonderful job interacting with bloggers!
Guest Blog from Kristi of The Story SirenSo, YAY! James is celebrating his two year blogiversary! Which is totally awesome, because I’ve never had a two year blogiversary myself, so as you can imagine I’m insanely jealous! But he did ask me to do a guest post... so that means I’m pretty cool right? But enough about me, let’s celebrate the blog at hand, er I mean the person behind the blog... JAMES!
When I first started The Story Siren, I used MySpace a lot! Personally I absolutely hate it now and I rarely if ever get on there (I do still have an account though). But when I first started I used MySpace to network my blog. There are a ton of authors on there, as well as a ton of readers, so it only made sense for me to be there at the time. I don’t exactly remember who friended who, but somehow Book Chic and I ended up being friends. I’ll say he added me, because honestly he probably did, I mean he’s nice like that.
Now, I know I’m not alone in this, but when I was first introduced to Book Chic, I totally thought James was a girl. And don’t act like you didn’t, because you know you did too! I mean, his icon is a girl! Of course he’d be a girl. And then to further add to my confusion, I mean stupidity, I’d been pronouncing Book Chic as Book Chick... you know like a little baby chicken... because I am a dumb-ass and didn’t realize it was chic:
chic >adjective (chicer, chicest) elegantly and stylishly fashionable. >noun stylishness and elegance.
Uh yeah, I’m naturally a blonde.
I think it was an interview that James had done on another site that I finally figured out he was in fact part of the male persuasion! I was still a little confused as to why he had a girl icon, but that was later explained when I found out James is also gay. Total sense! Why I didn’t put two and two together I’ll never know. Again with the blondeness.
James was one of the few people that came to my blog back in the stone ages. And he commented and everything. (He commented more on my blog that I did on his MySpace! As you all know, I was and still am one of the worse people to leave a comment ever.) So, I’ve always loved James even before I got to know the person. You cannot not love some who comments on your blog... am I right? I’m right.
James is also one of the nicest people in the blogging community. I know that I have the upmost respect for him, not only as a person but as a fellow blogger. He’s always true to his beliefs and never hesitates to speak his mind and stick up for someone. Which is a lot more than I can say for myself personally. I am the chick-en.
I’m so psyched that James has decided to leave the hell hole that is known as MySpace and join the awesomeness of a blog platform! YAY for Book Chic: In My Mailbox and More!! It only adds to his personal awesomeness.
On a more personal note, I want to thank James. Thanks for supporting me and your fellow bloggers. Thanks for leaving me comments, thanks for participating in my
memes, thanks for being my friend, thanks for being YOU.
I’m truly blessed to call you a friend. Happy Two Year Blogiversary! I <3 U!
Thanks so much to Alea and Kristi for helping me celebrate my blogiversary! I love both of them and their blogs, and can't wait for their own blogiversaries!! They're such great people and I hope you'll check out their blogs if you haven't already (though I'm sure you all have their blogs in your favorites already- they're so popular!!)
Check out Sarah Ockler's interview posted over here on the blogspot blog yesterday! Also, there's still time to enter the contest for an ARC of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler that was posted just the other day here on Myspace- just check the blog entry below this one.
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
Ockler's debut is full of what makes a great summer read: humor, a seaside city, boys, and friendship, but also some deeper exploration of the emotions of loving and losing someone, and how to move on from it. It's a quick, compelling read and she does a great job of balancing the light and serious sides. Anna and Frankie's adventures throughout these few weeks shown in California are fun to read about and it shows how good these two are together. So when the climax occurs and there's a huge argument between them, it's extremely difficult to read about because, for me at least, I felt like I was Anna and I was the one being yelled at. That's the mark of a great writer- to make the reader feel like they're really there in the novel, in the character's head. I really loved the romance in this book and the back-and-forth that Anna felt about it; Ockler explored that angle extremely well. This book is a fantastic way to start off your summer reading.
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King. Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future.
I really enjoyed this book; it was a quick and extremely interesting read. Balog has a great take on fairies and love triangles (or maybe square is the right term for this? I don't know.). The plot had some great twists and turns, and the ending was done well, bittersweet, realistic, and just right for the storyline. Morgan is a fun, sarcastic character with some great depth to her. The same can be said for a lot of the other characters here; Balog does a wonderful job of creating all these characters and making them unique and be crucial to the various parts of the storyline. It was really interesting reading about a guy becoming a fairy rather than a girl because it opened up some great topics for her to explore with Cam's character. This was a great book, and I can't wait to read more from Balog in the future!
Both books are available at bookstores everywhere now, or can be ordered on Amazon: Twenty Boy Summer and Fairy Tale