Thanks 2010 Sincerely, Jami of YA Addict

Thanks 2010 Sincerely Me is a daily segment running on my blog until New Year's, in which some of authors/bloggers will write letters to 2010. On January 1, Dear 2011... will begin and run for a week and feature other authors/bloggers. 

Dear 2010,

Just like the years before you, you were full of your ups and downs. I moved into a new apartment. My little sister got married, and now has a baby on the way. I have lost friends, but have also gained new ones. A good friend to the family has passed on. It was tough, especially on my dad, but the imprint he left on our lives is undeniable. 

You were a big writing year for me. I finished the story I started in 2009, revised, then ended up shelfing it...for now. It's not the story I want the world to see from me first, but I am proud of myself for completing my first, full manuscript. Now I have two new stories I am working on, both I am so passionate and excited about. Writing has become such a huge part of my life during you, and I will always remember you for that.

Another huge part of my life you brought to me, blogging. Yes, I love blogging! Especially that I can blog about my beloved reads, and other people actually want to hear what I have to say about them! I am so grateful for the doors my blog has opened for me, and how many fabulous people I have met because of it. 

The biggest highlight of you for me would have to be going all the way to New York for the weekend, just to see my favorite band play. It was my first trip I took by myself, and it liberating. Being a mom, I don't get that many opportunities very often. MUSE was amazing, and I even got to see a little of NYC. It didn't take much for me to fall in love with the big apple, and I definitely plan on going back.

I am a little sad to see your decade go. My whole relationship with my husband has happened in your decade. From dating as teens, to getting married, to now with our family we have created. Your decade has brought me the two most beautiful children in the entire word. I also started my career in child care in your decade, then ran my own daycare for a few years, then went to staying home with my own kids. I also moved out of my home town to a VERY small town, then back to my home town again. I have experienced so much life in your decade. I am leaving a lot of history behind with you. Please cherish it. 

Now I am moving on to another year and another decade. I am taking with me the knowledge, wisdom, and memories I have gained because of you. For that, I thank you. 


Jami Slack is blogger over YA Addict. She loves books and her home is crammed with so many books that her family bought her a Kindle in hopes of preserving space. It didn't work.

Thanks 2010 Sincerely, Gwen Hayes

Thanks 2010 Sincerely Me is a daily segment running on my blog until New Year's, in which some of authors/bloggers will write letters to 2010. On January 1, Dear 2011... will begin and run for a week and feature other authors/bloggers. 


Dear 2010,

You were so much fun!  
Remember that day we saw the cover of Falling Under for the first time? So cool. And the first time we held the book in our hand. Priceless. It's been a really great year.

New Year's Eve is going to be bittersweet. We had such a great relationship, it will be hard to say goodbye--but I think your new job as 2011 is going to be even better for us. Especially March. Just sayin'.

Gwen Hayes is the author of the March release FALLING UNDER

You can also read some of her e-books for Kindle: BUTTERFACE, OH GODDESS, and THE CHOSEN.


Thanks 2010 Sincerely, Leah Cypress

Thanks 2010 Sincerely Me is a daily segment running on my blog until New Year's, in which some of authors/bloggers will write letters to 2010. On January 1, Dear 2011... will begin and run for a week and feature other authors/bloggers. 

Dear 2010,

Let’s start with the most obvious thing: you are the year I became a published author. The year I got to walk into a bookstore and see my book sitting on the shelf. My debut year. That is, without question, the most dramatic thing that happened to me over the past twelve months. I’m incredibly grateful for it. It’s something I was starting to think might never happen, but it did. In 2010.

You’re also the year I slowly slid from “ecstatic that I’m getting published” to “obsessed with the details of being published” and back again. I learned a lot: about how reviews work, about how sales works, about how promotion works, about how not to obsess about any of those things. Well, almost. Most of the time. I’ve been getting better at it – and 2011, you’re the year in which I’m going to conquer it.

Other less dramatic but equally amazing things happened. My older daughter turned from a toddler into a preschooler – or, as my husband likes to say, “a real person.” My younger turned from an infant into a toddler. An adorable toddler who is so eager to talk she makes up nonsense words when she doesn’t have enough real words. Both of them like to “read” and can often be found sitting on the couch, studiously turning the pages of picture books. Both of them amaze me every day (even on the days when I’m counting the seconds until bedtime). And both of them were with me when I first walked into a bookstore on my release date. It was like the snapshot of the perfect moment.

Thank you, 2010!

Leah Cypress is the author of MISTWOOD and it's 2011 companion NIGHTSPELL.


Thanks 2010 Sincerely, Me.

Thanks 2010 Sincerely Me is a daily segment running on my blog until New Year's, in which some of authors/bloggers will write letters to 2010. On January 1, Dear 2011... will begin and run for a week and feature other authors/bloggers. Feel free to leave comments/thoughts on any that you read!

Dear 2010,

This has been one quick year! Didn't it just start? Wasn't I just welcoming you in? Feels like it. These last twelve months haven't always been great, but they've been a journey. I start this letter to you in a coffee shop so far from where I came that I can barely believe it. You've been a roller coaster, 2010. The first half of you was rough; the second has been incredibly better. I thank you and I hate you in the same breath for every experience. It's hard to put into words, but this is my brief attempt to try.

Thanks. You put me through the ringer this year, especially in that city I hated living in. Plague, bugs, ice, fire, flood...what the heck was that? I'm glad we've moved on. You really screwed me up there with those challenges, but I know I'm stronger. Sucky as it was, you did some good things there. You gave me roommates who taught me a lot and let me work in a great bookstore full of people who became my family. I love them all so much still. It's the people I met there, the ones sprinkled in the mess of bad, who will always have my heart. There are too many to name, but a few wonderful ladies I should point out. The first opened my eyes to YA. Another who showed me the strength I had within myself and constantly encouraged me to keep moving forward. And three more who showed me the possibilities of Twitter, of trying something scary, of words and of perseverance. You used them all to keep me from quitting--and still do.

Boston is amazing! You've exceeded my expectations here. I don't even know how to thank you for all the good. It can only get better! Even when it's not perfect or what I'd like it to be, you still constantly surprise me. I look forward to what next year brings. Hopefully, some more friends and lots of writer-stalking with the #entourage. That'd be nice and super fun.

The end of you marks the end of a decade.* A decade in which I graduated (high school and college), went to South Africa, started blogging, made two major moves and started writing. Really writing. And thus, started living. You will be forever remembered for that. Even among all the crappy things, you brought so much good.

I can't say I'll miss you or that I'll want you back. I can't say I will always look back on every piece of you with fondness. I can say I will always remember, because 2010 you taught me a lot. A whole lot. I'm ready for 2011. It's going to be a good year with many new challenges. I'm ready for them. I think...

Thanks 2010.


*It being a new decade is debatable. For this case, just go with it.


2011 Titles!!

Dear 2011: You are going to rock! Why? Well...

Gail posted her books for 2011--the ones she's excited about. I copied.  Now, disclaimer...this took four hours b/c my computer is possessed. Finally, though, it worked--but sadly cut off my awesome ramble ending.

In this ending, I shamelessly plugged: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (again), Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins and The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab b/c I read and LOVED them. And then pleaded for Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Wildefire by Karsten Knight and A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford. That was fun. I'm sad you missed that ending. Alas...

I hope you find some titles that you're excited about too! (Feel free to laugh, this is really random at some points.)

What are you looking forward to? What are some titles you'd want to see as giveaways, focuses and author guests? Tell me!!

 Don't forget to check out my favorite 2010 titles! AND...



Thanks 2010: My Favorite Books of the Year

Thanks 2010 is a feature segment that will run on my blog until New Year's Day where I join forces with authors and bloggers to thank 2010 for what it brought us.

This year brought so many marvelous books. I seriously loved too many of them. Picking my top ten was nearly impossible. I got it down to twenty and stared for a few hours. Then, I got it to seventeen. Fifteen. In the end, I couldn't get past eleven. So, although the post says my top ten, you really get my top eleven. And since it's my blog, you have to deal with it. :) I'll say it's to ring in the new year! Without further adieu: my top choices from 2010, in no particular order.  

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall is the first book that made me laugh--like, actually laugh--out loud. It's got cute boys, funny characters, a strong female lead, a fun sidekick and magic. What's not to like? Read my full review.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
I can't even explain how much I love this book. Syd's world is so incredible, vivid, bright. She and North are the perfect team. Swoon is written on the cover and even after you finish it, BW stays with you. Read my full review.
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney 
This book really affected me and challenged me. It's a story of standing up for right in a time when that's not always the easy decision. Read my full review.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 
Funny. Romantic. Thrilling. French. ANNA has everything! There's nothing else like this story! Read my full review

Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia lives in perfection, until she realizes that everything is one big lie. This is her story to find the truth, to fight for love, and to see what happens when perfection fails. Read my full review.

Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
One of two novels released this year, FFA is the remarkable third novel by Summers. It's a poignant tale of death, understanding, and moving on. It stole my breath and my heart.  Read my full review.

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 
Lennie is the part of us that we are afraid to let out. The way she deals with the loss of her sister and how she has to find something to grasp in the midst of the grief. It's a powerful story. Read my full review.

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel 
 This book is so richly woven together with details, emotions, characters and some of the prettiest prose I've ever read. Her take on vampires is unique & captivating. Read a full review from Overflowing Shelf.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 
 I love everything Cassie writes. She knows how to weave a tale together, plot, characters, world--I fell quickly for CA. I can't wait for the rest of this series! Read a full review from Ticket To Anywhere.

Sea by Heidi Kling
 Sea provides this heart-wrenching tragedy and truth and hope. It's beautiful, romantic, real, intense. I've been overseas on mission and I could totally connect to the things Sea felt. (Spider is also so much fun.) Read full reviews from Sea's head cheerleaders: Erica and Dani.

The Iron King and The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
I know, I know. These are two books! But they aren't. They are a series, thus they go together. You can't have one without the other. They count as one.

It's a funny, adventurous take on Fae. Meghan Chase grows a lot in these books. Grim and Puck and Ash and Meghan make an unlikely team and I love them. Did I mention Ash? I love Ash. It's just a marvelous series. I had to include it! Check back for full review during a special author week! Or read Ticket To Anywhere's IRON KING review. Overflowing Shelf's IRON DAUGHTER review.


Cover Me! (2) and a birthday!!

Today is a good day. It's Scott Tracey's birthday!! (Happy birthday Scott!!) It's also the day he revealed the cover for WITCH EYES.

Braden Michaels wears his sunglasses at night.  And at the movies.  And in the shower.  Raised by his warlock uncle and taught to use magic, he suffers from a deadly curse: the witch eyes.  He sees everything that normal eyes filter out: history and memory; love and pain; magic and darkness.  The mind, however, was not meant to process so much, and the power is killing him slowly.  The only thing saving his sanity are the sunglasses he always wears.

And then the visions reveal a dark threat on the horizon.  Braden runs away to Belle Dam, the city where the threat originated, and is immediately swept up into the town’s mysterious feud.  Two rival magical families have divided the town into a personal chessboard of scheming and machinations, and Braden is their latest pawn.  As he tries to avoid their manipulations, and see the truth behind his return to Belle Dam, he has a choice to make.  One side, or the other.  Ignite the feud, or end it.  Sacrifice himself, or someone else.  Live, or die.

WITCH EYES will be released in the fall of 2011.
Watch the (original)  book trailer here

Isn't it cool??


Book Talk: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date:
March 9, 2010
Hardcover, 288 pages
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

First line: Gram is worried about me.

This is a hard review to write. I can’t figure out what I want to say about this book. I’ll start with I didn’t expect much of it—which is weird, because so many people have talked about loving it. I picked up because my book bully extraordinaire kept preaching it. But it had a shaky start for me. It wasn’t the writing—because that was beautiful—or the characters—because I liked Lennie from the beginning—it was something else. Something that I hate admitting in a book review. Liking this book, reading this book, was hard for me because really, honestly, didn’t want to. But we’ve all learned those are the books that you end up falling for. This was no exception.

See, the problem is I don’t handle grief well. Grief is one of those things that doesn’t fit in a box. My life tries to be a box. I separate as many things as possible, to try to make life easier and organized. Grief always spills out. It spills out and overflows and seeps into all the other boxes. So instead of boxes, I trap grief in jars…and I never open the jars. I only pray they don’t break. If they break then everything falls apart. I fall apart. I know this is probably not healthy but it’s the way I was taught. Un-teaching takes a long time.

That’s what SKY is about. It’s about the way you can’t do that! Lennie can’t do that. She tries to act like everything is fine and amazing but really it’s not. She’s broken and cracked. She’s lost someone she allowed her whole world to revolve around. That loss has changed her. It’s changed everyone in her life. When her big sister Bailey dies, Lennie feels alone. She has no one now, no one who understands her loss. She copes the best way she can—leaving notes scattered across her life. Notes that act as memories and emotions she can’t say out loud. The other thing she does is change absolutely nothing—not the dirty laundry, not Bailey’s side of their orange room, not the pieces of hair that still sit in her sister’s hairbrush. Lennie lives in it, lives around it, and she struggles.

She’s not alone in that. She realizes it first with Toby—Bailey’s boyfriend. The two of them share this connection to Bailey, this loneliness they both feel and draws them together. It makes them both feel better in their grief together. Then, suddenly, there’s Joe. Joe is the boy who moves to town and opens Lennie’s eyes. She’s reluctant at first, unsure, but Joe tears down her walls and storms her life. He steals her heart and mends the broken pieces. But Lennie is still in too far, uncertain if she should grieve forever or move on. Uncertain of what that means. And from the first few pages of SKY, you know that when and if she figures everything out—it’s going to be explosive.

Mid-reading, I got this tweet from my bully: "I identified a lot with Lennie...so was love from the start. She could be me in many ways." My response: "I get Lennie. I think she’s that part of us that we keep in hiding."

I didn't really gather the full weight of that tweet until I finished the book. Lennie is all the emotions and feelings and thoughts that we can't say or have or feel. She's the leftovers from the pain. She's the one who's allowed to feel it and to live it and to attempt to hang on to the memories of everything when we try so desperately to move on from it.  Even in that trying, we all want to hold on. We want to stay in an orange room, hair in the brush, things untouched. We want to act like someone’s still alive, despite the huge void that's in our lives and hearts. Everyone tells us we can't do that--so we move on. Lennie doesn't. She doesn't have to, she can't and she doesn’t know how. She's the part of us that we keep in hiding, the part that still mourns even years later. 

That may be only my idea...no one else may ever see that from this book--but I did. I felt it. I wanted to be Lennie, even when she was going crazy from the pain and frustration. She made it all seem so doable, I can't explain it. I’ve dealt with loss and this book captured every moment of that for me and packaged it up in a way that I could understand it. Grief and life is a process and Nelson really explored that. 

The whole book is Lennie’s process. Her world. Her thoughts. Her loneliness & realizations & frustrations. It’s her life after death. My favorite line from this book is at the end. It’s the moment she realizes the point of everything and that maybe, just maybe, she can move on. She says this of life and death and truth: A whole bunch of stories, all going at once, in our heads, in our hearts, all getting in the way of each other. It's all a beautiful calamitous mess.

Courtney Summers Prize Pack WINNER

Kailia Sage!

Kailia, you've been emailed! Thanks to everyone who participated. Stay tuned because I think we'll do another week like this again! 

Tell me...Who are some authors you'd like to have a focus week with? 


Coutney Summers Week: FALL FOR ANYTHING

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: Dec 21, 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN:  0312656734
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
When Eddie Reeves's father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why. Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, former student of her father's and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. He seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie's vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on... but some questions should be left unanswered.

First Line: My hands are dying.

I've said a lot this week that Courtney Summers is brilliant/genius/every other adjective for amazing. I say that because it’s true—and never in my wildest dreams did I think she would extend beyond that. She did though, because Fall For Anything does exactly that.

She said in her interview with me earlier this week: “On the surface, Fall for Anything is similar to Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are in that it's a book about a girl with a problem.  But in terms of tone, in terms of style, I think it is a quite different book.  Readers who go in expecting to read about the misadventures of a mean girl are going to be disappointed. Eddie is very vulnerable and broken.”

I can’t explain this book any better than that. Eddie’s one of those characters that makes you feel—because the things she feels and wonders and searches for scream off the page. The grief and the nothingness that she experiences are the things that propels this book from first page to last. The images that Courtney Summers uses to portray all Eddie’s emotions, the small actions, the lyrical prose all makes this story so unbelievably vivid. Eddie is indeed broken, as you see from the first lines. She tries to hide her vulnerability but she carries it on her like a flag. She doesn’t really see it, but everyone else does.

I need to talk about Milo. He’s Eddie’s best friend and it’s the first time I’ve really, really connected with one of her male characters. Don’t get me wrong; they are all wonderful in previous books. I like them. But Milo is different. He’s a constant player in the story, in Eddie’s life, in the mystery of what happened the night Eddie’s life changed. He’s real and powerful and very swoonworthy; he cares so much for Eddie that the things he’s had to endure as well are just as traumatic for the reader. He helped make this book.

I’ll even mention Culler Evans, just to say that I get Eddie's appeal toward him. I felt her struggle and her desire and her confusion. She was confused about almost everything in her life—and it was beautiful.

Even in her grief and pain Eddie is a strong character. She still searches for answers, wants to understand things, desires things that maybe she shouldn’t. It’s a theme that lives in each of Summers’ characters. Eddie is no exception.

I can’t express how much I loved this book. It was remarkable. It’s my favorite of hers to date—which is a huge statement because I adore Some Girls Are. This book only proves the genius and extraordinary talent that Summers’ possesses. If you’ve ever dealt with loss and grief, this story will resonate with you…but probably not in the way you expect.
FALL FOR ANYTHING comes out Tuesday!! Don't forget to enter the CS Prize Pack! It ends Monday!


Courtney Summers Prize Pack

It's a been a great week celebrating and sharing Courtney Summers. Here's a sneak peek of Fall For Anything. Enter to win below!

My hands are dying.

I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I'm crazy.

"They don't feel warm—they haven't." I squeeze the tips of my fingers as hard as I can, which hurts. "They're not numb, though . . ."

"Maybe you have that . . . Raynaud's disease," he says. He takes my right hand and studies my fingers. They seem healthy, pink. He shakes his head. "They're not blue.

"But they're cold."

"They feel warm to me."

"They feel cold," I insist.

"Okay, Eddie," he says. "They're cold."

I jerk my hands from his and then I rub them together. Friction. Heat. Milo can say what he wants; they're freezing. It's the hottest summer Branford has seen in something like ten years, but I haven't been able to get my hands to warm up since it happened.

I hold them up again. They don't even look like my hands anymore. They don't even look like anything that could belong to me, even though they're clearly attached.

"They're different," I tell him.

"Would you please put your hands down?" he asks. "Jesus."

My hands have changed. I catch Milo looking at them sometimes, and I see it on his face that they're different, no matter what he's saying now.

We're at the park, sitting on the picnic tables, watching a summer world go by. Kids play in the fountain with their parents. Pant legs are rolled up and big hands are holding on to tiny hands, keeping them steady against the rush of water. The smell of burgers and fries is in the air; food. It reminds me the fridge at home is empty and I have to go grocery shopping today or my mom and I will starve. I don't even know how long the fridge has been that empty, but I noticed it today.

"What's in your fridge?" I ask Milo.

"Doesn't matter," he says. "My mom isn't home." 

We're stuck between my house and his lately. He hasn't been allowed to have girls at his place unsupervised since he hit puberty and I don't like hanging out at my place now.

It's too depressing.

Click here for more of this excerpt. You can also read AWAKE, a bonus short-story told from Milo's perspective. (He's Eddie's best friend.) It's spoiler free and from a boy's perspective. It takes place before the events of Fall for Anything and you can read it here.

Now...the winning!!!

Courtney Summers Prize Pack

The lucky winner will receive Cracked Up To Be, Some Girls Are and Fall For Anything---all SIGNED and PERSONALIZED by Courtney!

*Contest closes December 20th at 9 am EST.
*US/Canada only!


Courtney Summers Interview!

Today is the day! I'm so excited to have the wonderful and talented Courtney Summers live and in person. Kind of anyway. Before we jump into the interview, here's a little about Courtney!

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse. She enjoys Archie comics, Trailer Park Boys, and other fine art. Pierre Trudeau is her hero and if you are a volcano, she would like to know you.

If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Guacamole.  Because it is green.  Make of that what you will!

You are on a desert island and you stumble upon an unlocked chest. You open it. What three things do you want to see inside?
A satellite phone, an inflatable, working helicopter and a handsome pilot to fly me to safety.

Tell us a secret that you’ve never told anyone else.
It wouldn't be much of a secret if I did that.  :)

If you could only pick one of these to talk about forever, which would it be? Zombies. Volcanoes. Survivor. *insert evil laughter*
SO EVIL!  But I think it would have to be zombies.  I've got a lot to say about zombies.

What is the scariest thing you have experienced?
I've thought about this and you know, I'm drawing a blank--which makes me feel very fortunate!

What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given—personally or professionally?
To make my dream of becoming an author a back-up plan and pursue something more practical instead.

What is one thing you have learned through your time as a published author?
That you'll forget everything you've learned each time one of your books comes out!

What is your writing process like?  How did you develop it and how do you keep focused?
I developed my writing process by writing, as boring as that sounds.  And generally my writing process is to plug into some good music and type!

What have you learned from writing each book?
That you can only learn to write the book that you're writing.

Which of the boy characters in your books do you like best?
I really, really like two of the boy characters in the book I'm working on now, but since that book is under wraps I can't say anything about them!  Unfair, I know.  I like Milo in Fall For Anything.  I wrote a short story about his perspective that should be going on the Macmillan site sometime soon and that was fun.

Has there been any memorable feedback from readers about any of your books that has stuck with you?
I got one reader letter from a girl who was having a hard time and decided to get help after reading Cracked Up to Be.  That was an incredible and gratifying moment for me.  I also got a long email from a reader telling me how much they loved Cracked Up to Be and how much Some Girls Are sucked in comparison.  Funnily enough, that was really gratifying too.  It's neat to be able to elicit strong reactions from people.  I try not to take that for granted, even if the reaction is negative.

Where does your inspiration come from? (I realize that's like asking what the sun feels like or some other ridiculous question with too many answers yet I'm asking anyway.)

Asking a lot of questions.  Also, I'm really inspired by people in extreme situations.  The darker and more challenging, the better.  I love thinking up emotionally tough situations and then trying to figure out how the main characters will work through and/or survive them.

Do you have an "issue" in mind when you write the story or does that develop?
I know what my characters' issues are when I'm writing my books, but I don't start with an issue and then find a character for it, if that makes sense.  Character first, issue second.

What has been the most different thing about writing these three books?
Each book has been an experience all its own. Cracked Up to Be I wrote with the hope that it would get me representation and eventually become published. Writing it was a very exciting process.  Some Girls Are was a different experience because I knew it would have certain expectations placed on it following Cracked Up to Be. And Fall for Anything was different because it was my first time writing a non-mean girl character.

Which of your three characters (Parker, Regina, Eddie) do you see the most of yourself in?
Well, I want to be clear that I am not my characters, but I do identify with them in different ways.  I can be really cynical like Parker, for better or for worse.  I see a lot of teenage Courtney in Regina--I really wanted to be accepted by my peers.  Like Eddie, I can have a hard time letting go of things.

Parker’s character snaps her fingers. In my head that was such a powerful image. Where did that come from and how did it develop in the story?

I wanted Parker to have a physical manifestation of her need for control--so when something goes wrong, that she has no control over, that is her response.  I knew I wanted her to have something like that, but the snapping fingers thing just sort of happened as I was writing.

I love the ending of SGA and Regina’s struggle with herself and her ex-friends and even with Michael. What would you say the main theme is that book is, beyond bullying?
I think it's very much about forgiveness.  Wanting it and getting it--or not getting it.

In FFA Eddie’s father is a photographer. Did your own experience play into that part of the story?
I used to dabble in photography when I was a teen. I thought it was what I really wanted to do--but I didn't have the discipline to pursue it. It always turned out ot be something I did when my writing was going poorly. Eddie's father's relationship with photography doesn't get anywhere close to reflecting my own experiences and neither does Culler's really. But I think the way they view photography, what they want from it, and what they want other people to take from it, is not totally far from my own views on the topic.

How did the idea for FFA happen?
I always knew that I wanted to write a story about grief.  After my grandfather died, which was just after I finished the first draft of Some Girls Are, I knew it would only be a matter of time.

How is FFA different/similar to CUTB & SGA?
On the surface, Fall for Anything is similar to Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are in that it's a book about a girl with a problem.  But in terms of tone, in terms of style, I think it is a quite different book.  Readers who go in expecting to read about the misadventures of a mean girl are going to be disappointed. Eddie is very vulnerable and broken.

In CUTB/SGA, Parker and Regina are flawed. I love how raw they are. I saw a trend and if it’s wrong you can tell me. Parker was perfect and isn’t now. Regina never really saw all her imperfections until she was on the other side of them. Was that something you planned or did it happen as you wrote? And does Eddie fit that mold?
I think it happened as I wrote.  Parker and Regina's flaws sort of cause their situations, though, whereas Eddie's situation kind of causes her flaws, if that makes sense.

What is one thing you want people to know about FFA if that’s all they ever get to know?
Oh, wow!  That's a great question.  And one I am not sure it's one I have the answer to!  It was a tough book to write. I'm glad to see it out there now.

This is the final question I have. I hope you’re ready for it. *Clears throat* What would your thought be on Edward Cullen as a zombie? * waits * What about Edward Cullen as a shiny zombie who lived in a volcano, had Jeff Probst locked in a cage next to a massive collection of Popples?
Edward Cullen as a zombie isn't exactly a stretch is it, since he's already dead, right?  But Edward Cullen as a shiny zombie living on a volcano with Jeff Probst next to a massive collection of Popples is such an extraordinary visual it just blew my mind.  So I think that means it would be awesome.

I think it's awesome, too. Though, not as awesome as Courtney and her books. In fact, she's so awesome that she's giving away a pack of her books and tomorrow you can enter for that!! So don't forget to come back.


Courtney Summers Week: Some Girls Are

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: January 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 978-0312573805
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.  Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.

First line: Hallowell High: You’re either someone or you’re not.

I waited a couple months to read Some Girls Are. I did that because Gail told to me to wait until I could read it in one sitting, so that’s what I did. It was probably the best advice she could’ve given me. She also told me “Courtney Summers is brilliant.” I couldn’t agree with that until I read both her books. So, I carved out time and after reading SGA, I texted her and said, “Courtney Summers is brilliant.” Some Girls Are was an intense read. In the aftermath of that book I’m still not sure anything I can say will do it justice, but I will try very hard. My heart is pounding just thinking about it—which is what it did for all 256 pages.

Regina isn’t a good girl or a nice girl. She’s ruined a lot of lives. Everyone in her school fears her and her entourage, the Fearsome Five. She’s the top of the tops; she has everything. And then, one incident sends her straight to the bottom. She loses everything—including the people she called friends—and suddenly finds herself living the hell she created. The people that feared her, really hate her. She is completely alone. It’s not long until she finds herself the new target for her ex-friends. The only person who’s even willing to let her sit next to them at lunch is Michael, a boy who’s life she also ruined. Regina now has to fight for survival—and fight she will.

The story that unfolds through Some Girls Are is the ugly truth that can be high school. Regina is bullied, ignored, whispered about, tortured in every way possible—and everyone watches it happen. The others revel in the ugliness because Regina deserved it. Like in CUTB (which is 100000 times opposite of this story) Summers doesn’t hold back. She tells everything with precision and honesty and vivid details. Each day Regina goes to school and faces something new, you can only wonder if it will ever end. The Fearsome Four are relentless, pulling and poking at a girl who’s already hurting. It’s a frustrating story because you don’t want to like Regina. You want to hate her like everyone else for the things that she did but you fall for her somewhere in the story. You feel for her, connect with her and want her to be safe again, to have something good, to be redeemed.

This story is full of incredible characters, which I mean in good and bad ways. Michael ends up being one of the most remarkable male characters, a perfect example of a friend and the embodiment of forgiveness. And there’s Liz, whom I can’t even put words to.   The rest of the Fearsome Four really shape the book and when I read about them, I can picture my own people. Kara and Anna, who are talk and action, full of hatred and pain and fear, will stick with me forever. They are as real as Regina, which is sad to think about.

The thing about this story that makes me love it: it could happen. It probably has happened. It’s maybe happening as you read this. People are bullied every day. People keep secrets. People suffer. People fight back. Every teenager should read this book—heck, every single person should read it. To say this is a book about bullying wouldn’t be incorrect. But if that’s all you catch from it then you missed the point. Yes, it’s about bullies. But it’s so much more.

It’s a heart-wrenching picture of what our actions can cause. To me, it’s a chain reaction. It starts with Regina and it ends with Regina but people feel the affect of her actions and her responses long after it happens. Things that we say and do (as Regina learns) do have consequences. They affected the person she bullied and they affected her. It’s a story about truth and what it costs to stand up for it. It’s also about forgiveness. Not only forgiving others, but also forgiving yourself.

The other thing I love about this book—as well as CUTB—is the ending. I like stories that aren’t wrapped up in pretty red bows but don’t have loose ends. Life doesn’t come with pretty red bows. It comes with heartache, sadness, lost-ness, pain and mistakes, but rarely with bows. There is hope at the end of Summers stories, hope that the characters haven’t found yet but you can believe that maybe they will.

Courtney Summers is brilliant. If you haven’t read this book, you must. Some Girls Are will haunt you forever.


Courtney Summers Week: Cracked Up To Be

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: December 2008
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 224 pages


When “Perfect” Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter’s High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher’s pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn’t want to talk about it. She’d just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there’s a nice guy falling in love with her and he’s making her feel things again when she’d really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she’d turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

First line: Imagine four years.

I heard about this book everywhere I went for months. I had seen it on the shelves at work and some of my friends told me I should read but my TBR was just so big and never-ending. I kept saying I would eventually. Even when I bought the book, it sat on my shelf for months unopened. Then, one day I needed a really good read to get me out of a slump. I wanted something different so I picked up Cracked Up To Be. And boy, it was amazing.

This story picks up in the middle. When we meet Parker, she’s already lost in her world and in a downward spiral from perfection. You don’t know at first exactly how far gone she is. In the opening pages Parker seems like a normal teen in class with her friends but in an instant, you know she’s far from normal. Throughout this whole story, Parker is never normal and never wants to be again. As things move you learn she used to be. She used to be a lot of things and now she was nothing. She wanted nothing, tried for nothing and she was fine with it.

CUTB wraps the present with past (all the events leading up to Parker’s transformation) in order to keep the suspense. It's an intriguing story. I wanted to know what happened but even more, I wanted to know what would happen to Parker. Because Parker is an amazing character. I truly don’t think I’ve met anyone like her before. She’s witty and sassy and honest, even when it hurts others. Her actions are confusing and unusual and they don’t make sense; then, they don’t really make sense to her either. It’s what makes her such a real and intense character. She doesn’t let anyone get close to her anymore—not after what happened. She doesn’t want them, doesn’t want to be where she is, doesn’t want anything. Unfortunately for her, no one will leave her alone. They want her to try again, to be the person she was before everything. And well, as I said, she doesn’t want any of it. (Ergo, plot.)

Parker’s voice is so strong and I can’t even tell you how amazing the characterization is. Every detail, every movement, every piece of dialogue has a purpose. CUTB is the epitome of “show don’t tell” and all the details really make it stand out. Parker has this snapping problem, a new tick that she has developed to make things “better”. That was the most incredible detail I’ve ever read.

Something else unique to CUTB are the other characters. Each character—the ex-boyfriend, the girl who took her place and the new kid—bring a new element to the story strengthen the plot. And make Parker want to run away screaming because they don’t get it. They can’t get it and she can’t bring herself to tell them.

Parker keeps you reading because she’s so amazing and infuriating at the same time. You want to know why?! Why would she do this? What on earth happened to make her this way? What is the secret? But Courtney Summers doesn’t tell us. Not until we are so far in that everything has to come out. In the end, you can understand why Parker reacted as she did. The reason for it will blow your mind.

This book will make you laugh and make you cry and it’s something you will never forget.


It's Courtney Summers Week!!

Today is the first day of Courtney Summers week!

Photo taken from her website http://courtneysummers.ca

Courtney Summers is the *brilliant* author of Cracked Up To Be (winner of the 2009 Cybil Award for YA Fiction, Forest of Reading 2010 White Pine Nominee), Some Girls Are ( Forest of Reading 2011 White Pine Nominee) and the upcoming Fall For Anything, which is released next Tuesday, December 21 in stores everywhere.

I've been so excited for Fall for Anything since I read her first two novels. I decided I was going to do a whole focus week on Courtney and her books to help promote it's release. I asked her if she would be willing to do an interview and she said yes. (Which is huge because she's on deadline!) If that wasn't amazing enough, she even offered up a some great treats for later in the week.

To celebrate Courtney Summers week, I'll be sharing my reviews of her books and the illusive-amazing interview. Then on Friday, you can get a chance to win the Courtney Summers Prize Pack. All you'll have to do is fill out the form on Friday. But, as always, there are a few ways you start gaining extra entries NOW into the CS Prize Pack. All of these are optional but they are here if you'd like to gain them!

How to get Extra Entries: 
(each item is +1 entry unless indicated. Keep track of what you do--there will be a tally on Friday when you enter the giveaway.)

  • Follow this blog
  • Follow me on twitter
  • Follow Courtney on twitter
  • Tweet the reviews, the interview, the giveaway. (You can get +1 entry each day from this, starting today. You MUST include @daniellebunner and #CSweek in the tweet.) 
  • Leave a comment each day
  • Write a blog post (add link in comments below) (+3)
There are lots of opportunities to get extra entries. Why? Because the CS prize pack is totally awesome. Yall are going to love it!

The contest will only be open to US/Canada. 


Winner: Vampire Academy

The winner of the VA Holiday giveaway is.....


Thanks to everyone who entered. Come back next week for a huge/awesome giveaway. :)


a VA holiday giveaway!

If you didn't know, LAST SACRIFICE, the final book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, came out on Tuesday. I wrote a non-spoiler review for it here. I bought the copy at work and they had these amazing bookplates that you could get with the book.


And since it's Christmas and I love all of you....I'm going to give you a chance to win this.

Yup. It's true....And I'm going to toss in a VA book. You can pick the one you want so if you're missing a piece of the series, now's the chance to get it. OR to give it as a gift. I'm even going to open it up internationally---but only if the Book Depository delivers to your country.

All you have to do is fill out the form completely and leave a comment with an answer to one (or all) of these questions:

What do you like about this series? Which character is your favorite? OR If you've never read the books, tell me why you want to/what appeals to you about them?
And don't forget to explain the reason. Meaning, I want more than "Carl." I want to know why you like Carl. (There is no Carl so don't write that.) I'm just looking for things you think about the series b/c opinions are fun. 

You can gain extras by: Tweeting this contest (include @daniellebunner)and being a follower of this blog---neither are required.

Contest ends Sunday morning!



If you haven't heard of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, the Jan 2011 debut sci-fi/dystopia by Beth Revis, then you live under a rock. (Sorry. I say that with love.)

With the release only a month away, she's hosting an enormous EPIC giveaway contest where you could win one of 100 prizes. One Hundred. (Yes, that is correct.)

It even has TWO covers...The blue and the beautiful space cover. 

This an amazing book and soon you will see my review and can even win an ARC from me....but that is later. This EPIC contest is now.

So watch this video and then go support ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. 

Doesn't it look so good!?! That's because it is.


Book Talk: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill
Date: December 7, 2010
Series or Standalone: Final in series (#6)
ISBN: 978-1595143068
Format: Hardcover, 594 pages
Source: Ordered from work & got it early!!
Description: (from back of cover)

It all comes down to now.

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.

The Queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. Now, with Rose awaiting wrongful execution and Lissa in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and to question those they thought they could trust….

But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all? Each other. 

 (Quote from back)

"As much as it killed me--as much I tried to deny it--I still felt a lingering attraction to Dimitri. But he had rejected me, and I needed to harden my heart, especially if I was to move on with Adrian. 

"Sorry Roza," Dimitri's eyes flashed. "If Lissa wants me to be your bodyguard, then that's what I'll be." He gave me a dangerous look. "There's no way you're getting rid of me anytime soon."

First line: I don’t like cages.
There are NO spoilers. I promise.  You can read chapter one here for free. Now.

Did you know that Vampire Academy was the first YA book I read? It’s true. I really loved that series and it opened many more pages for me, spurred me on to my deep passion for YA. I’m so glad the last book of the series came out this year. Why? Because 2011 starts a new round of entrancing YA series. (And believe it or not, sometimes there can be too many to keep track of.) Anyway, I’ve been so excited for Last Sacrifice.

I was distraught at the end of Spirit Bound because nothing was working out for Rose. I loved Dimitri, and admittedly Adrian, and everything was one mess and struggle after another. Rose deserved a good ending, which she didn’t get. Of course, with one more book how could she get that? That girl was a hard-working heroine. So, for months we wait and wait and wonder, “What will happen at the end?”

That excitement and the wondering was so worth it. I couldn’t have been any more pleased with this book. Wow.

Last Sacrifice is nearly 600 pages—it’s wonderfully massive and hard to hold. Every page is filled with action, anticipation and lots of “what just happened?” At least for me. The book opens with Rose in jail for the murder of Queen Tatiana. Abe is there and tells her two things. One, her trial will be moved up to happen in two weeks. Two, he promised her in the courtroom that she will not be executed—or even go to trial. He plans to stick to that promise.

I don’t want to give anything away because this is an epic title and a great conclusion to the series. Let’s just say that after the visit with Abe things get interesting—and stay interesting—for the next 590 pages. If you’ve been waiting for this title, you’ll be thrilled to read it.

All of our questions are answered.  The truth of the illegitimate Dragomir is explored. Victor Dashkov returns. Snarky lines are exchanged. The question of Moroi being trained to fight is resolved. The queen’s murderer is revealed. Some people are saved. Some people die. A lot of asses are kicked. A new queen is selected. A last sacrifice is made.

And of course, the burning question gets answered: Rose and…Dimitri or Adrian?

Oh man, oh man. It’s so good. And do not fear, the spin-off series will be in our hands sooner or later. Crap. There goes that theory about a series ending…*adds new one to tentative calendar.*

This was definitely my favorite of the series! You will not be disappointed by this series finale! *eep * Let me know when you read it!


Questioning Freedom

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately is freedom.

It's a word we toss around a lot, especially in the US, since our country was founded on it. (Even my faith was founded in it.)  Countries have fought for it. People have died for it. Suffered for it. Searched for it. And when those without obtain it, it changes everything.

Undeniably, freedom is a big deal. It affects everything. 

My character is on this search for freedom. She had a glimpse of it and then she fought for it--and is in the midst of it. It's not for herself; it's for everyone else.  The thing I'm wondering is....after 63,000 words and the end still far away...what does freedom look like?

Obviously, it's this instant change. This feeling. This, in some cases, actuality is life-changing. It affects everything: the way you think, feel, look, operate, your motives, actions. The thing I am finding now--which may very well be because I'm over-thinking, wondering, examining--is how that affects Neely. 

I think I should have experience in freedom, that I should know what it feels like. I don't, though. Not entirely. I carry around so many of things that I should be free from. So then, how do I get my character to translate that feeling on the page?

Short answer: I have no idea. 

Longer answer: I imagine it's me. I imagine her freedom as the feeling I'd experience and then make it happen on the page. Because surely, my view of freedom is a little accurate. At least I hope. 

I really like that image up there. I love the green in contrast to the blue, blue sky. To me, that is freedom. I hope to pull in an image like that to help me understand what she is feeling when  she experiences freedom.

And, since this is called "Questioning Freedom"......What is freedom to you?


Guest post!

I had the pleasure of doing my first guest post ever!!! *squeal*

It was great. Well, not really. It took forever to figure out what to say but I was really pleased.

It's called Passion and Things. Check it out.

Book Talk: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Publisher: Hyperion
Date: March 2008
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 978-0786838189
Format: Paperback, 352 pages

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.
This is the story of how she got that way.

First line: I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.

This was a very unique story, which I say because of the narrator. Have you ever seen Pushing Daisies? Part of the reason that show was amazing was because of the narrator. If you clicked that link then you got to hear a snippet of his voice.  Maybe it’s just me, but that was the part of this book that stood out for me. I could imagine it all, see it played out like an episode of Pushing Daisies so that was a win.

I enjoyed reading the book. It was intriguing enough that I was able to read it quickly. Frankie was a strong, smart, fierce main character. They underestimated her and she outsmarted them. She's a good example of strength and a take charge attitude.

I smiled every time Matthew and his friends spoke—not because I was in love with Matthew, but because I could see my own guys friends in them. The playful banter, the remarks, the sarcasm. I liked the dogs a lot.

I didn’t understand her motivation sometimes, which is the purpose of the book. I know that she doesn’t either but as a reader I really wanted her to. I really wanted her to figure it out after 300 pages. I don't think I got that as much as I would've liked to, or as soon as. But all in all, it was a good read.

I liked the way it ended, the realization that she comes to about who she is and why she matters. I like that she doesn’t accept things and go with them just because someone says that’s how it should be. I like that she stands up for herself, even at great costs. That’s the best kind of story.