HUSHED blog tour: interview with Kelley York

Today on Tangled we get to be part of the HUSHED blog tour from Entangled Publishing and the lovely Kelley York. Since it was originally supposed to be here, I put a copy up in both places. You can check out a complete list of tour stops by clicking on that banner above. We asked Kelley some questions about writing, about characters and about this that book that everyone is raving out about....

You say in your bio (below) that you have an abundance of pets. What pets do you have? What's your dream pet?
I have three cats (Noel, Irish, and Quinn), three rats (Gin, Grimmy, and Noah), two hamsters (Exquisite and Hope), and more recently we’ve added a bunny to the mix named Pattie. If I could have any animal in the world...I’d probably want something like a wolf or a fox. (Have you ever seen foxes playing?! THEY ARE SO CUTE.) Obviously those kinds of animals aren’t made for living in captivity, though. Realistically speaking, I want a dog. Some kind of big, lovable mutt.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why/how does that approach help/hurt you? 
I’m definitely a panster with very little plotting. I tried desperately to plot my last book from beginning to end, and it made things a lot harder for me, trying to conform to what I’d written in my outline. My characters often take their own routes and do things I wasn’t expecting them to do and ideas come to me as I write. I never know what it’s going to be until I’m done with it.  

Which aspect of craft is your weakest and how do you overcome that? 
Anytime I’ve noticed a particular problem in my writing, I actively work on fixing it. I used to info-dump a lot in my opening chapters, and I think I’ve overcome that. It’s always a struggle for me to describe things. I don’t think my writing is very poetic when it comes to talking about settings, so I fumble with that a lot. Action scenes (fights, mainly) are terrifying to me and I’m terrible at them. It takes a lot of work and combing over it again and again to get it right.

What scenes do you get most excited about writing? What scenes are the hardest for you?
 I love the emotionally-charged scenes. Evan and Archer’s ‘just bones’ talk is probably one of my favorites in HUSHED. Drama! Heartbreak! Deception! I like those sorts of scenes.  

Was there any music that inspired HUSHED?
There was indeed music. I actually made up a whole playlist of the main songs I listened to and posted it on my blog awhile back. “What Sarah Said” by Death Cab for Cutie is always the first one that comes to mind for a very particular scene.

What are some the best kinds of characters to read? How do you enjoy seeing them develop? How does that translate into your own writing and characters?
I love the tragic, emotionally/mentally broken characters. I’m thinking of Cole from Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER series is one of my favorites of that variety. He was probably the most complex and interesting character in the entire trilogy. I like picking apart characters. When someone has that kind of emotional or psychological damage, it’s sort of like this barrier keeping them from living a normal life. I enjoy watching (or writing) those characters figuring out their own way of living life without the damage controlling them.  

Describe HUSHED in 6 words or less.  
A dark, manipulative and twisty thriller.

How did HUSHED develop?
 It started with Archer. He was the first character and I had a vague idea of him, then along came Vivian, and Evan followed. I started writing with little idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted the story to go, and let the characters bounce off each other. Chain reaction. I don’t feel I should have to throw obstacles at them and watch them react; they needed to build their own momentum.

Did you do any research HUSHED? If so, what are some things that you pulled from? 
I did some research on the various murders. Overdosing, corpses left for a few weeks, gas leaks, etc. I went through forums and websites for my answers, wanting to make sure I found several places that said the same thing rather than relying on any single source.

Every review we've read of HUSHED always references the intense relationship between Viv and Evan and Archer. Was that something you planned or did it just happen? 
 It sort of just happened. I never plan much before writing, so everything that happens is a product of the characters running off on their own. Evan and Archer, in the original vague idea I had for HUSHED, weren’t even meant to end up together...but we see how well that worked out.

What's one thing you want people to know about HUSHED if that's all they ever learn?
We might not be able to control some of the damaging events in our lives. What we can control is how we react to it.

Kelley YorkAuthor Bio: Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets.  (Although she does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.)  She has a fascination with bells, adores all things furry - be them squeaky, barky or meow-y - is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she's a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid. Within young adult, she enjoys writing and reading a variety of genres from contemporary with a unique twist, psychological thrillers, paranormal/urban fantasy and horror. She loves stories where character development takes center stage.

Kelley's website: http://www.kelley-york.com/blog
                                                       About HUSHED: 
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her. 

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed. 

Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is. 

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

Buy the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

'Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was unputdownable!!! ~YA Fantasy Guide

'How exciting that we live in a time when gay teen protagonists can be just as screwed up as straight ones -- and their stories just as creepy!' ~Brent Hartinger, award-winning, author of Geography Club and Shadow Walkers


A Journey of Passion.

I’m all about passion.

In fact, if passion was a football team, I’d be at every single game in the stand with a bullhorn, cheering. I’m the head cheerleader for passion. I’m passionate about being passionate.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a weird thing to say.” Maybe it is. Maybe it is a weird thing to say, but I’ll say it until I die: I’m passionate about being passionate. v Every person who is born is born with a purpose, wired for something special and unique. Accepting that is the easy part. Once you’ve done the easy part, the hard part follows. The hard part is finding that thing. You know, the thing.

The thing that makes your heart pound out of your chest when you think about it, talk about it, do it. The thing that consumes your thoughts and brings so much joy to your soul (JOY, not happiness, there’s a difference.) The thing that is completely you—so much so, in fact, you wonder why it took so long to find. That thing is your passion. Occasionally, it’s difficult to find but once you do, there’s no more wondering.

Finding my passion was difficult for me. I knew I had a purpose, or at least I thought I did, but I had no idea what that was. I was always searching for it, intent on finding it. I tried. I tried really hard to find it and there were moments when I thought I had. I didn’t. That’s the thing about passion: it can have many forms. You can be passionate about more than one thing, about people, about places. You can enjoy many things, but does that mean those things are your passion?

I found my first pseudo-passion in high school. Two words: Hollywood. Movies. I was determined that I’d write and direct movies. That was it. Bam, I’m ready. But, college led me to South Carolina and suddenly, that passion dissolved. Sure, I still love movies and TV, but I knew that wasn’t where I needed to be.

In college it was a lot of things. It was so many that I can’t even begin to list them all. I discovered my passion for the homeless and for HIV/AIDS awareness. I discovered my passion for ministry and college students and leadership. I pursued things and tried things and found ways to get involved. But, those things weren’t my passion either. Not really. Sure, I have a heart for all those things, but I knew that wasn’t where I needed to be.

Those pseudo-passions led me to Nashville, which led me to South Africa, which led me back to Nashville. There in those moments after my trip, I found my passion. Soon after I met two lovely women named Myra and Victoria, and my passion seemed like something I could actually, maybe, really do. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should back up because there’s something you should know…

When I was little, all I wanted was to be was normal. My childhood was less than normal and I longed for the day I could venture out on my own and find myself, find a husband, have a family. I wanted stable. I wanted to be one of the normal people who have real jobs and friends and hobbies. I accepted in college that this dream is unrealistic. It’s not who I am and I will never be that girl.

I’m the girl who’s in love with words.

The one thing I’ve always been when none of the other things have panned out is that girl. The girl who dreams. Who pretends that unicorns exist somewhere else. The girl who hid in the basement as a kid so I could write down stories and no one would see me. The girl who filled in answers of the math tests in second grade, so I could read a book instead. I’ve always been a writer, even before I knew I could be.
I had this poster.
I remember when words came alive for me. I read Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, The Boxcar Children and every Goosebumps book R.L Stine had written. I envied the characters. I wanted a secret garden and a talking pig; we had a pig, but he didn’t talk. I wanted to live somewhere else, far away from where I was, and have scary adventures.

Movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid completely took over my life. I wanted to be Ariel. I even pretended I was when I was in the bathtub. (You know, the scene on the rock when she sings, “I don’t know when. I don’t know how…” and then swoosh—the wave comes up. Yea, I did that. It made a huge mess every night, but I didn’t care. )

I talked to candlesticks and clocks. I imagined that the old man next door with the huge pond was evil and his pond was a magical gateway. I thought the house on the hill was the home of three witches and that I was somehow a witch too. I had one best friend who I let into my magical world, but no one else. I was fine alone with my Barbies and my thoughts. I loved stories and Power Rangers and anything that meant I didn’t have to be me.

In college, when I was trying to find a passion among all those things I said earlier, I took a writing class. I was good. I mean, they liked my writing. No one had ever read my writing before (except fanfiction and that didn’t count.) It wasn’t long before I had a minor in writing. I really liked it but still, even then, it was a hobby. I never called myself a writer until my senior year—and even then, it was half-hearted.

I never called myself a writer until that trip to South Africa. It was there I learned how important passion was. The people we worked with there gave up their families to do the thing they were passionate about. A guy named Mzo smiled so big when he talked about those kids; his passion was contagious. So, when I came home to Nashville, I had a new mantra: be passionate.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that my passion was writing. It was so simple, so blatantly simple, that it was overwhelming. From the first word, I knew that it was my thing. I knew I was a writer. I’d tried to deny it to myself, tried other things, tried to find it somewhere else, somewhere less scary, but it was me. It was part of me. I had to pursue it.

When the day came that Myra came into my store, my store of all the bookstores in the area, it was definitely a big deal. She will never know how much encouragement she gave me in just those few moments. She gave me an idea that I could do it if I tried—and she meant it.

Ever since then I’ve called myself a writer. I’m other things too, I have other labels: bookseller, blogger, nanny, sister, friend. But, I’m a writer. It’s the thing I’ve been my entire life and never knew. That’s the funny part about passion: it will wait until you’re ready. I wasn’t ready before—I honestly believe that—but as soon as I was, there it was. We’ve been together ever since.

I’ll never go back to how I was before. I’ll never live without my passion. Before I was lost and scared to try things and unsure. I was drowning, stuck in a hole and never going to get out.

Now, I know who I am. I’m a writer. You may never read my books or my blog or my tweets. You may never see my name in a bookstore or on a page—you may never know me at all, but I know me.
I’m also the head cheerleader for passion. I’m passionate about being passionate. Everyone needs to have that thing that makes their heart sing, that completes them, that pulls them out of the pit and stands them on their feet again. If you live a life without passion, then you’re wasting your life. You’re wasting your potential and your time.

It’s not always easy. It can be a long, hard road with twists and turns, but it will always be worth it in the end. Passion is always worth it because in finding it, you find life. And a reason to cheer.

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen for you and to you and because of you.” T. Alan Armstrong.

“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping, waiting…and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir…open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us, guides us. Passion rules us all and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace but we would be hollow, empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.” Joss Wheadon

Originally posted as a guest blog from one year ago!


In Which I Pick Writing & Frenzy Changes Focus

A COUPLE MONTHS AGO, my friend Cindy and I were having a great conversation. I was talking about blogging and how much I loved it--but how I'm so far behind that it's hard to catch up.  I don't have time to read all the books I need to read or want to read after I get home from work. All I want to do is write--and when it comes to reading something or writing something.....writing time will always win.

She said the most profound thing to me. Simple but true. She said:  "You're at the point in your life where you have to decide what you want to be known for: do you want to be a book blogger or a writer? It's too hard to be both."

And in that moment I knew she was right. So I had to step up and make a decision. It hasn't been an easy decision, but I know it's the right one. (I almost put the WRITE one. I like puns.)

LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE. Sometimes we have to move on, and that may suck, but it's true. Sometimes we start a journey one way and then a few miles down the road we're going somewhere different. That's part of the adventure. Life is an adventure and we have to figure it out as we go or what's the point? 

My life has definitely changed a lot in the last few months. If you remember back in March, I wrote this post about my life before reading felt like homework.
"I started this blog because I wanted to share a) my writing life, which I don't do as much as I'd planned b) I have all these books in my head and all these thoughts with no one to tell and I needed an outlet (my head is crowded enough!) c) maybe someone would read about a book I loved or something I'm dealing with in my writing and learn or connect or discover something new. That was why I started a blog. This was never going to be a book blog.

But it is. Of course it is! I'm a writer, a bookseller, a reader--it's my life. And that's okay. I have to read incredible amounts of books and  live a life surrounded by words, so I don't mind. In fact, I love it."
And I did: love words, love blogging about books, love spending hours reading because I had so much time that I could do all those things!

BUT THEN THINGS CHANGED. Now I don't have as much time. I'm not a bookseller anymore. I've got a new "identity" and my life isn't books and words and stories. Well, it is, it's just a different way. Now I write a lot more. I fight for things I love. I try new things. 

To bring in the new,  Frenzy won't be book blog anymore; it will be...something else. I swear, this blog is the epitome of an identity crisis. Seriously. But it is my blog, and this too I am. Time to put on a new face and a new purpose. I'm really excited about it.

So what will Frenzy of Noise be now? 

I don't know! Isn't that exciting?!? I'll be talking about writing and life and all the things in between. It will be an adventure. I want to share it with you, if you want to be part of it. Plus, if you hang out, you may get to be part of all the new things I get to experience. And I definitely don't know what those are yet!

On the plus side, there are tons of fantastic YA Book Blogs out there--like Epic Book Adventures that my lovely blog partner started up just a couple weeks ago! There are others--many more--so I'm sure I won't be missed. Plus, I mean, I'm around. Being snarky and inspirational and whatever all over Twitter and Tangled Up In Words and (eventually) back here on Frenzy.

SEE YOU IN 2012! With a new year. A new blog design. A new purpose. Gah, I love adventures!!!

I hope you do too. And those of you who adventure with me---see you then. 


Where Life Is

There's this balance that should exist between where life is and where life isn't and where you want life to be.

Where life is.

I went on goodreads today and saw that I was only 76 books toward my 100, my heart dropped a little. That's more than I read last year, but I started out doing so well.  I really wanted to reach 100. But with only a month remaining in 2011 (CRAZY!) and a novel that needs finishing and a lot of things happening between now and New Year's, it's probably not going to happen.

Life is busy. Not that I am alone in that. I'm not. But between work and writing. Between roommates and friends. Between hours of Dean and Sam Winchester calling to me and time spent with Prince Charming and a creepy horror house. Between the desire to read all the things and sleep. Between blogging ideas and story ideas. Between Tumblr and Twitter and survival. There is me, trying to do it all, trying to prepare and decide and save.

That's where life is for me.

It's so close to everything, but just far enough away that I can't reach it. I'm not saying that's a bad place to be. It simply is where I am. I'm experiencing this shift in passions. It's a little jarring how things are changing in the midst of all the things.

Where life isn't.


Honestly, I'm at this crossroads right now, where I know the decision I need to make--where I've pretty much already made a decision--but now it's finding the best time to implement the decision. Does that make sense?

It's like knowing you need to pull over the car, you need to turn around, but it's a one lane road uphill at nighttime and you can't do it. Or there's a median and you can't make a u-turn. That's how I feel sometimes. Like I'm just waiting for an opportunity. For something to happen or not to happen. For the chance to pull over. But then you've gone so far that you don't even know how to pull over anymore. Or you can't remember what direction you needed to go in once you did pull over. And how do you figure it out?

 I don't know if that makes sense. Maybe it's just an analogy that lives in my head so it makes sense to me.

I really do love my life. I love most of the things I'm doing--and I'm doing them well. I have great friends. But there are a few things that seem off. A few things I can't seem to escape or stop or find a way out of because I have a line-up of commitments that I can't cancel at this point. It puts a damper on turning around, on quitting them.

Life, in these situations, isn't where I want it to be. And I'm just driving the car, waiting for the best opportunities so I can change them.

Where I want life to be.

I don't know the answer to this.

Where do I want life to be? I was talking my roommate Derrick about what I want. A life plan, I called it. I don't really make life plans. Life isn't something you can plan. But I think I have a plan. I want three things.

To be somewhere I love. Doing something I love. With good people I love.

In some aspects I have all this. I guess you could configure all of them to be realities. Because they are.

But then I think about where life isn't. I think about the things I don't want anymore and how I can't escape them. And I get bogged down. I get overwhelmed. I want to quit driving, quit trying to find a place to turn around, and see what happens. But I can't do that. I'm not that person.

The balance.

I don't really know the point of this post. I guess sometimes you just need to share what you're feeling and see if there's anyone out there who understands.

I'm not complaining. I'm just...pensive. Life is ours to live. We should live it.

Part of this about writing, probably as much as my life. I'm in that place in my WIP where something needs to happen. Where these next 10k really, really push my book in one way or in another. That's a hard and overwhelming place because you're looking at all the options, at all the possibilities and the way it could play out. You're fighting all the shiny new ideas and pushing through. Because you know, once you pass this 10k, things will fall into place. You get to end it all.

But the in-between. That's a tough place. It's go time. It's now or never time. It's the point where everything hangs in the balance and you have to choose. You have to choose. To act. To do. And sure, you can go back and change things, but you know everything affects everything else.

Writing is a balancing game. Life is a balancing game.

Hope and desire and hard work is a balancing game.

Everything is or isn't or could be.

Exciting. Scary.



Epic Book Adventures

So, as you all know I have had help with Frenzy these few months from the lovely Nicole. I've gotten to know her and she's been just brilliant to have around. Her excitement for books and the blogging world is contagious. Now, she's ready to start her own path.

She's starting up this blog over at Epic Book Adventures.

You should go follow her. Her blog is going to be awesome. It's off to a great start and I hope all of you go follow her.


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy
 Date: January 2, 2012
Series or Standalone:  
ISBN: 978-0316122382
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages  
Source: borrowed from friend (BEA)

 Rating: A+  
First line: There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.
Image by FlamingText.com

You know how sometimes we (we readers) complain that there aren’t enough cute, funny, awesome, make-my-heart-race romantic YA books out? I’m talking the kind that make you wait for it and root for it and then reward you with this moment of epicness only to leave you guessing again? I think people started to listen. At least, Jennifer Smith did because The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is absolutely THAT.

This story all starts when Hadley Sullivan misses her flight to England (for her dad’s wedding) by four minutes. She’s re-booked on the next flight out, a few hours later, and that’s when she meets Oliver. The two are seated next to each other on the plane ride to England and so starts the story. (Now, I realize that description is lacking but I can’t tell you.)

Know that this review is so hard because I adored this book. I adored everything about it. I smiled from page one all the way to the end. It was funny, cute, a perfect blend of swoon and sadness and family dynamics. Every single character was rounded and relatable and really propelled the story forward. Smith did a fantastic job at weaving in these little twists and building the story around these moments. The way the story is revealed in some sort of masterpiece on all it’s own. The whole thing takes place over 24 hours.

Hadley is a great character. She’s flawed and sweet and a little lost. The whole story happens because her dad is getting married. As the story goes along, we learn about their relationship and why this wedding is a big deal. There’s this huge space between Hadley and her father that creates a lot of tension. Sometimes in books like this (these awesome cutesy ones) the drama stories get pushed to the side or glossed over. But here, Smith really tackles and breaks and re-builds this huge aspect of the story and of Hadley’s life. I was really impressed with that.

Obviously, too, this is a love story. And for good reason! His name is Oliver. Sigh. He’s British. He’s smart and funny. He’s sarcastic and real and so cute. I love him. I was saving him for the end because I have no idea what to say about him. Or what to say about the love story part—aside from sighs and awws.  So I will say nothing. 

I will say nothing except GO BUY THIS BOOK. You will not regret it, as it is happy and cute and will at the very least make you feel gooey inside.  

And Oliver, Oliver is great. He's my favorite Oliver yet! But don’t take my word for it. Here's a fun moment for you to swoon over..
“What’s your favorite animal?”
“The American Eagle.”
She laughs. “I don’t believe you.”
“Me?” he asks bringing a hand to his heart. “Is it wrong to love an animal that also happens to be a symbol of freedom?”
“Now you’re just making fun of me.”
“Maybe a little,” he says with a grin. “But is it working?”
“What, me getting closer to muzzling you?”
“No,” he says quietly. “Me distracting you.”
“From what?”
“Your claustrophobia.”
She smiles at him gratefully. “A little,” she says. “Though it’s not as bad until we’re up in the air.”
“How come?” he asks. “Plenty of wide open spaces up there.”
“But no escape route.”
“Ah,” he says, sighing dramatically. “I get that from girls a lot.”
(insert sigh and laughter here) :D The whole book is pretty much like that. I love snarky flirt action. I can't say enough about this book. If you're a fan of cutesy, snark and great characters, then you'll for sure like this one. 

*all quotes from ARC form and subject to change in final

 Get more info/pre-order:
Goodreads ||| Amazon ||| IndieBound ||| Book Depository |||| Barnes & Noble
The author on the web: 
  Twitter ||| Library Thing


Waiting on Wednesday (9): Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Anyone can play along just tell us which book you are waiting to read.


"It is the story of Kendra and her first 300 or so years of life. In Bewitching, Kendra ponders whether to help out a modern day plain-looking stepsister, while also reflecting on her experiences in the 1666 British plague, the court of Louis XV, and on the Titanic." (Source: author's Facebook intro)

Release Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

This sounds awesome, I like Beastly, but I always wanted to know more about Kendra, now I can! Can't wait for this one!


Ashes, Ashes by Jo Teggiari

Publisher: Scholastic Press 
Date: 2011   
ISBN:  0545255635
Kind: Hardback, 344 pages  
Source: For review

 Rating:  B-  
Image by FlamingText.com
I'm never one for "The End is near!" Books, but I really did like this one.
Lucy is living by herself in a park after smallpox, floods, and droughts have wiped out most of humanity. She runs into a guy named Aiden who tries to convince her to join him and this band of survivors. The group is terriorized by sweepers, who go around gathering people and are never seen again. They want Lucy and they'll stop at nothing to get her.
   I like how Teggiari doesn't focus so much on the epidemic and end of the world as he does the story, it makes the whole book seem less political. Teggiari also did a great job at keeping the story up and going. There was never a part where I didn't want to keep reading.
I didn't see Lucy as her own person though, it was more like I was the one playing out these things which I guess is a big seller for the whole romance thing. If you take out the romance of the whole thing it'd be a pretty bad book. At times it seemed as if Lucy and Aiden's relationship was the only important thing. I guess if you're into the whole Romance thing you'd really like that but I'm always in it for a story before I am romance. Teggiari set up the usual love triangle with Del but I never really understood her and Aiden's relationships before Lucy came along. As far as the ending I woln't give anything away but I will say it was pretty predictable.

The book did have a lot of good things though. I love the drama, and how the characters reacted, and the bond Lucy formed with the survivors, and the whole world Tiggiari set this up in. This would be great for Junior High to Lower High school. I don't really see Upperclassmen or college grade people reading this.Again I'll say it was really enjoyable and I didn't want to put it down.

 Get more info/pre-order:
|| Goodreads ||| Other Places to Order  |||
||| Amazon ||| Author's Website ||


And Then Things Fall Apart by Adrianna Tibensky

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date: July 26, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 978-1442413238
 Format: Paperback, 272 pages
 Source: for review 

Rating: C
First line: I once watched a collector kill a monarch butterfly on a nature show by putting it under a glass dome with a piece of cotton soaked in gasoline.

Image by FlamingText.com
And Then Things Fell Apart is quite literally a book about things falling apart. Or somewhat. Mostly.

In the book, fifteen year old Keek is holed up in her grandmother's house with the chicken pox. It's the proverbial icing on her over-cooked life (as in, less than perfect and unexpected, like when you burn a cake. Go with it.) She and her boyfriend have broken up, her baby cousin is dying, her mother has fled (temporarily) and her father had an affair and destroyed his marriage. Enter the pox. Now, all Keek can do is read The Bell Jar, her favorite book, sleep and spend her waking high fevered hours reflecting on how she ended up trapped in a guest bedroom with only an old typewriter for company.

This book has a unique charm to it. There's something so cynical about Keek and her view on things, that it's entertaining. She has this story to tell, these things that happened to her and really affected her in a way she doesn't even know how to express. So, she reads The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and she writes away the delirium caused by her extremely high fever.

I've never read The Bell Jar. Aside from a few poems, I've never really read Plath. I know who she is, but that's about all. I was hesitant about how Tibensky would weave together this world of fiction to this character's life, but she really pulled it off as far as relating things. Keek's story has these odd and quirky parallels to Plath's words. 

However, despite the cute quirks of And Then Things Fall Apart, I didn't love it. Keek was so whiny! She whined all the time. I'm not saying it wasn't justified--it was--but as a reader it was a little too much for me. Sometimes, it was very funny whining, but whining is still what it is even it's funny.

One major issue of the book for me was that Keek did not sound like a fifteen year old. I could peg her for seventeen--sixteen maybe--but that seemed really misplaced to me. There are so many times when she's too experienced, too sophisticated and too well versed to be fifteen. And then she sends a text message (later in the book) that I have to read 3-4 times to understand. It seemed off to me. Sometimes, I felt as if the author was talking through the character--forcing out some of the things she believed or felt into Keek--and it caused her voice to slip.

While I was reading it was hard to connect and difficult to enjoy. BUT as the weeks have passed since I've read it, I can see it's charm more and more and would actually call it likeable. I think fans of Sylvia Plath would really enjoy the parallels and I'd be interested to hear their thoughts. Even if I didn't love the book, my friend Nikki really did. I think it totally depends on personal taste! It has quirkiness to offer and I think it could be fun for some readers.

 Get more info/order:
 Goodreads ||| Amazon ||| IndieBound
  The author on the web: 
Blog ||| Twitter


Author interview: Selene Castrovilla

Selene Castrovilla is on the blog today! Selene is the author of The Girl Next Door, which has just come out in paperback, as well as a few other YA books. You can find a full listing here. Selene lives on Long Island with her two sons, who sometimes think it's cool to have a mom who writes at home. You can find Selene on her blog, on twitter, and on facebook. I'm really glad to have and I hope you enjoy this interview about writing and randomness!! 

If you could be any item on a Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why? 

Hmmm...I really would prefer not to be eaten, lol. But I would be flan – I love it so. It is custardy and creamy and makes me happy. I don’t think you can be sad while eating flan. Plus, it’s a fun word to say: “Flan.” If you are what you eat, than I am flan.

What do you do in your spare time?

What is spare time, lol? I do as much as I can with my kids, who are 12 & 17. We try and do that family dinner thing, as seen on TV (LOL.) Seriously, we have a lot of fun together. I’m very fortunate. I don’t watch much TV, but when I want to relax I sink into "In Plain Sight" and "Burn Notice". I watch the old series "The Practice" with my older son, who is going to be a lawyer. I devote as much time as possible to the writing process, or marketing. Now I write a blog on Blogspot. It’s called Selene Castrovilla’s Blog. Catchy, I know.

Have you read any good books lately?

Well, I re-read more than I read new books. I don’t know why. The Catcher in the Rye, for example. Love it. My friend Karen Dellecava just published her first YA novel – A Closer Look. I read that, and I recommend it! Do you have any pets? I know this makes me sound nuts, but I have seven cats. There are extenuating circumstances (they are ‘rescued’ in one way or another), and most of them live outside. I have one fatty named Jesse who is the size of a raccoon and has one eye. He is particularly loving, and lives in my younger son’s room.

What is the best advice you've been given as a writer? The worst?

Best: I was at a writing conference manuscript critique session, panicking over the sea of red comments the reader - an editor – had penned. Head in my hands I moaned, “I can’t do this!” She asked, “Why not?” Why not, indeed. To put it another way, Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This reader went on to become my editor at Calkins Creek Books/Boyds Mills Press. Our third book together is in production.

Worst: Someone reading the manuscript which became my first novel – Saved by the Music – insisted that I eliminate one of my main characters: Axel. She thought he interfered with the relationship between the other character – Willow- and her aunt. But I knew Axel was just as important to the story as Willow. Readers have concurred – they adore Axel. The moral of this story is: “To thine own story be true.”

Who is your favorite character from one of your books--and why?  

I think my favorite character is from a book not yet published. His name is Darwin, and he’s in my novel Evolution. You can read an excerpt here. He’s had such a hard life and reacted in a very violent way - and he’s never known love. I could cry for him (and I have.) In my published books, I’d say it’s Axel in Saved by the Music. He also had a terrible childhood, and reacted by retreating into the solitude of a sailboat. He is very good-looking (LOL.)

What's your writing process like?

Yeesh. Depends where I am on a manuscript. Day by day I make sure I write first thing – have to start the day right. I don’t do “drafts” like some people. That’s to say, I don’t write through the whole thing and then go back and revise. That would drive me mad!!! Instead, I write a scene and then go over it again and again until in shines (maybe a week.) As for an overview of the process, I always know the end. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there? I need a tight beginning and a clear end. Then I fill in the middle. That’s the journey. Is it hard? Yes! Is it scary? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes, yes, yes!!! It’s the thrill of the chase. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I couldn’t write. I encourage emerging writers to e-mail me with specific questions. You can reach me through my website, or my blog. There’s also writing tips every Monday on my blog. I call it “Method to my Madness Monday.”

Thanks so much Selene for stopping by!!!

About the book: 

In THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, two teens are forced to make some very grown-up decisions when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Sixteen year old Samantha has been best friends with seventeen year old Jesse since she moved into the New York high-rise apartment next door to his thirteen years ago. Jesse is their school's poster child for popularity: good-looking, a star athlete, even Romeo in the school play. On opening night he collapses on stage. That's when doctors discover the unthinkable: a tumor on his spine. His type of cancer is virtually incurable – 97% of those diagnosed die within ten months.

Jesse shuts down, refusing to see most of his friends. He submits to treatments of chemo and radiation, but he doesn't possess hope. Sam is the one person he’ll talk to. He convinces his mom to let her sleep in another bed in his room, saying he's afraid to die alone. That’s when Jess and Sam make a startling, bittersweet discovery: they’ve been in love all along.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR addresses the universal question: In an unpredictable world, how can we possibly feel safe?


Eve by Anna Carey

Publisher: Harper
October 2011
Series or Standalone:
Series (book #1)
Hardcover, 318 pages
Cover thoughts:
It is very pretty

Rating: A
First line:
By the time the sun set over the fifty-foot perimeter wall, the School lawn was covered with twelfth-year students.

Image by FlamingText.com

I was excited to get Eve because I have heard nothing but good things about it. When I was done reading it I had nothing but good things to say about it as well. It was a great read.

the night before Eve's graduation she learns what really happens when the girls graduate and the horrible fate that awaits her. Eve runs away from the school, into the wild, which she has only ever heard about. Eve meets Caleb, a boy living in the wild. Eve was always taught that she couldn't trust men, but Caleb slowly wins her trust and her love. When soldiers begin hunting Eve she must choose between her love for Caleb or her life.

One of my favorite things about the book was definitely the setting, it kind of reminded me of like a zombie movie, with everything some what destroyed, not many people around, and the people that were alive were hiding. Eve didn't know what most of the stuff was that she was finding, it was the stuff she had read about. It was kind of weird to see things that we see everyday, destroyed. I remember Eve seeing a Wal Mart and it being like a quarantined area.

I loved Caleb, he was just so cute and friendly and he risked his life to help Eve, he is a good guy. I also knew he wouldn't hurt Eve, unlike some of the other men out in the wild. And even when Eve hurt him, he still went out of his way to save her. He was selfless.

Eve is a fast paced, amazing read, that will keep you reading until you reach the last page, then want the next book because it ends on a huge cliffhanger.

Get more info:
Goodreads ||| Amazon ||| IndieBound ||| Book Depository |||| Barnes & Noble
The author on the web:

Website ||| Twitter


#YASpooktacular WINNERS!

The #YASpooktacular was a lot of fun!! We got to meet explore the world beneath the pond, go to a killer party and meet the corn stalker. I hope you enjoyed everything--all the tricks and treats and the fabulous authors. Before I tell you all the winners, I wanted to thank some people for making this event a success.  Without them, it wouldn't be anything but an idea.

THE AUTHORS: Beth Revis ~ Lia Habel ~Kate Kaynak~ Shannon Delany~ Ty Drago ~ Jen Nadol ~ Kim Welchons ~ Caroline Richmond ~ Christina Ferko ~ Zoraida Cordova ~ Nova Ren Suma ~ Tessa Gratton ~ Gretchen McNeil ~ Ariane Mandell ~ Leigh Fallon ~ Leanna Renee Hieber ~ Heidi R. Kling ~ Amy Garvey ~ Cindy Thomas~ Ilsa J. Bick ~ Jennifer L. Armentrout ~ Lani Woodland ~ Nick James ~ Jessica Spotswood ~ Scott Tracy ~ Patricia Riley ~  Jennifer Rush ~ Elizabeth Miles ~ Kimberly Derting ~ Kristi Cook ~ Victoria Schwab ~  Adele Griffin  ~ David (who did all the graphics!)  THE PUBLISHERS: Sourcebooks ~  Bloomsbury ~  Scholastic ~  Flux Books ~ SimonPulse ~ HarperTeen ~ Quirk Books ~  Random House ~ BookEnds Winchester ~ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ~ Candlewick THE BLOGGERS:  Page Turners ~ Good Books and Good Wine ~ Wicked Awesome Books ~ Portrait of a Book ~ Christi the Teen Librarian ~ Pirate Penguin's Reads ~ Chick Loves Lit ~ Ivy Reads ~ The Fable Faerie ~ The Book Scoop ~ Book Probe ~ LaFemme Reader ~ Bloggers Heart Books ~ Mindful Musings ~ Fiktshun ~ A Tale of Many Reviews ~ A Beautiful Madness ~ Christina's Books ~Reading Teen ~ The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia ~ Read This Instead ~ Reading Angel ~ Mundie Moms ~ Fallen Archangel ~ YA Bookie Monster ~ Overflowing Shelf ~ Red House Books ~ I Like These Books ~ Hooked To Books ~ The Book Cellar ~ Two Chicks On Books ~ Ticket to Anywhere ~ Supernatural Snark ~ Lisa Potts ~ Pure Imagination ~ Candace's Book Blog ~ Heise Reads & Recommends ~ The Non-Reluctant Reader ~ The Reading Fever ~ Stories To Be ~ Reading Nook ~ Mrs. Readerpants ~ The Story Queen ~ Paperback Dolls ~ Books Complete Me ~ YA Bookmark ~ Young Readers ~ 365 Days of Reading ~ Ezine of a Random Girl ~ Tangled Up In Words 

And now on to the winners. The prizes are broken apart by story (hopefully. Eek.) Here goes. (Winners, see note at the bottom)

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake (from A Reading Nook)---Maria (Fantasy Sink) 
Zombie Pack from PaperBackDolls--- Mariana V. 
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (from Mrs. ReaderPants)--- Sarah Brown 
Choose one: Frost, Name of the Star, Zombies Don't Cry (International, from The Reading Fever)--- Peggy (Pawing with Books) 
Signed copy of Swoon and Swear by Nina Malkin and Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts (from 365 Days of Books)--- Katie P.
The Immortals series by Alyson Noel (from Christina @ Escape from Reality)--- erin e.baker219
Shifting and Between--- Rabiah 
Zoraida Cordova's Mermaid Pack--- Jessica @ Books
The Waking (Spirits of the Noh & Dreams of the Dead) by Thomas Randall---Desi 
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Perception by Kim Harrington--- Julie Witt 
ARC of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington, Fury by Elizabeth Miles, and a SIGNED copy of Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann--- Jennelle S
Story 1 Prize Pack --- Jessica @ Book Loving Mommy

Dick & Jane & Vampires from Red House Books (international)---Hayley 
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton --- Jennifer K Jovus 
Intrisical by Lani Woodland---- Emma B.   
Shifting and Between --- Patricia Riley
TimeRiders and ARC of TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow---Hafsah @ IceyBooks 
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa & The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (from Two Chicks On Books): Kristin Justham
Mad World Pack: Those That Wake, I-boy, First Day on Earth (ARC), Circle Nine (ARC), Timeriders: Day of the Predator (ARC) --- Emma B.
After Obsession by Carrie Jones + Team Astley & Team Nick shirts---Vivien
ARC of Variant by Robison Wells and an ARC of The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch ---Penelope @ The Reading Fever 
ARC of Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly---Mary DeBorde [M.A.D.] 
Story 2 Prize Pack ---- Bwyatt

Amazon e-gift card (international only, from Fiktshun)---Katherine B
Haven by Kristi Cook---Jennelle S* 
Tighter by Adele Griffin (from Christi the Teen Librarian) ---
Frosty Nightmare Pack (Frost by Marianne Bauer, Frost by Wendy Desol, Bitter Frost/Forever Frost by Kailin Gow (from Christina Ferko)---Emily aka WilowRaven 
MG prize pack: The Thief Lord, Wonderstruck (ARC), The Secret Prince (ARC), Villian School, Timeriders: Day of the Predator (ARC), Mysterious Four, The Last book in the Universe---Melora Brock 
Now That's Not Normal Pack: Misfit (ARC) + The Iron Thorn (ARC) + Graveminder (ARC)----Dani Nguyen 
Patrick Carman Pack: Floors & Things that Go Bump in the Night, Dark Eden (ARC)----Vivien
The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell & Ruling Passion by Alyxandra Harvey---Ivy 
Signed Witch Eyes by Scott Tracy----Patsy Hagen 
The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Meyers---Zapf
ARC of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi & an ARC of Grave Mercy by Robin (R.L.) LaFevers--Candice J 
Damage by Anya Parrish and Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin----Penelope @ The Reading Fever 
Shifting and Between ---Caitlin
Story 3 Prize Pack----Jessica Harlan
Grand Prize Packs:  
US only----Throuthehaze (twitter: @raelena85)  
International---Carol Thompson

That's everyone!! Thank YOU so much for participating. It wouldn't be any fun without you. Tune in again next year! Now, I'm going to go sleep for about a week.

Please note: Your entire prize may not arrive at the same time. Prizes could be mailed out at various times from various locations. Please be patient. If you haven't received it by Dec 1, then you can email us at YASpooktacularATfrenzyofnoiseDOTnet). We are not responsible for items that are lost during shipping or not received. 


YA Spooktacular: 2011 Master Post

YASpooktacular 2011 will be hosted by me and Wicked Awesome Books. It starts October 24 and ends on October 31! Check it out below to follow along with THREE different Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories and lots of prizes.

You can follow all the action on twitter at  #YASpooktacular hastag and read along with three stories.

Story One posts on October 24 at midnight. You can start the beginning of the story at Pure Imagination.

Beth Revis
Lia Habel
Kate Kaynak
Shannon Delany
Ty Drago
Jen Nadol
Kim Welchons
Caroline Richmond
Christina Ferko
Zoraida Cordova
Nova Ren Suma
Since the stories are choose-your-own-adventure style, they can go in a number of different ways

Story Installment Links:

Frenzy of Noise - Story by Nova Ren Suma - GIVEAWAY


Tangled Up In Words - Story 1 Giveaway - Open until Nov. 3rd at midnight

Story One Prize Pack
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children book/poster 
  • Quirk Books Tote Bag 
  • Signed copy Swoon/Swear by Nina Malkin 
  • finished copy of Fury by Elizabeth Miles
  • signed copy of Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann 
  • After Obsession (ARC) by Carrie Jones 
  • Liesel & Po (ARC) by Lauren Oliver 
  • Envy (ARC) by Gregg Olsen 
  • Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday 
  • The Mark/The Vision by Jen Nadol 
  • Undertakers: Rise of Corpses by Ty Drago 
  • SWAG

Story Two will post on October 26. You can start the beginning of the story at Reading Teen.

Tessa Gratton
Gretchen McNeil
Ariane Mandell
Leigh Fallon
Leanna Renee Hieber
Heidi R. Kling
Amy Garvey
Cindy Thomas
Ilsa J. Bick
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Lani Woodland

Story Installment Links:
 Reading Teen - Story by Tessa Gratton - GIVEAWAY
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - Story by Gretchen McNeil - GIVEAWAY
Read This Instead - Story by Ariane Mandell

Reading Angel - Story by Leigh Fallon

Mundie Moms - Story by Leigh Fallon - GIVEAWAY
Fallen Archangel - Story by Lani Woodland & Melonie Piper - GIVEAWAY
YA Bookie Monster - Story by Leanna Renee Heiber

Overflowing Shelf - Story by Gretchen McNeil - GIVEAWAY
Red House Books - Story by Heidi R. Kling - GIVEAWAY
I Like These Books - Story by Cindy Thomas - GIVEAWAY
Hooked To Books - Story by Ilsa J. Bick - GIVEAWAY

The Book Cellar - Story by Heidi R. Kling
Two Chicks On Books - Story by Amy Garvey - GIVEAWAY

Ticket to Anywhere - Story by Amy Garvey
Supernatural Snark - Story by Jennifer L. Armentrout - GIVEAWAY

story 2 giveaway goes up on 10/27

Lisa Potts - Story 2 Giveaway - Open until Nov. 3rd at midnight
Story Two Prize Pack
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children book/poster 
  • Quirk Books Tote Bag 
  • Signed copy Swoon/Swear by Nina Malkin 
  • finished copy of Fury by Elizabeth Miles
  • signed copy of Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann 
  • After Obsession (ARC) by Carrie Jones 
  • signed copy of Ashes by Ilsa Bick 
  • Entice/Need/Captivate by Carrie Jones 
  • signed copy of Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon 
  • copy of Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
  • finished copy of Darker Still by Leanna Renee Heiber 
  • SWAG

Story Three will post on October 28. You can start the beginning of the story at Page Turners Blog.

Nick James
Jessica Spotswood
Scott Tracey
Patricia Osei
Jennifer Rush
Elizabeth Miles
Kimberly Derting
Kristi Cook
Victoria Schwab
Danielle Bunner
Adele Griffin

Story Installment Links:

Page Turners - Story by Nick James - GIVEAWAY
Good Books and Good Wine - Story by Jessica Spotswood - GIVEAWAY
Wicked Awesome Books - Story by Kimberly Derting - GIVEAWAY
Portrait of a Book - Story by Kristi Cook
Christi the Teen Librarian - Story by Adele Griffin - GIVEAWAY

Pirate Penguin's Reads - Story by Jessica Spotswood - GIVEAWAY
Chick Loves Lit - Story by Scott Tracey - GIVEAWAY

Ivy Reads - Story by Scott Tracey - GIVEAWAY
The Fable Faerie - Story by Jennifer Rush - GIVEAWAY

The Book Scoop - Story by Jennifer Rush - GIVEAWAY
Book Probe - Story by Patricia Riley
LaFemme Reader - Story by Elizabeth Miles - GIVEAWAY

Frenzy of Noise - Story by Elizabeth Miles

Bloggers Heart Books - Story by Kimberly Derting - GIVEAWAY
Mindful Musings - Story by Victoria Schwab - GIVEWAY

Fiktshun - Story by Victoria Schwab - GIVEAWAY
A Tale of Many Reviews - Story by Kristi Cook - GIVEAWAY

A Beautiful Madness - Story by Danielle Ellison - GIVEAWAY


Christina's Books - Story 3 Giveaway - Open until Nov. 3rd at midnight
The Grand Prize giveaway will go up on October 31st both here at Wicked Awesome Books and at Frenzy of Noise.

After everything has posted, you can come back here to Frenzy of Noise or go to Wicked Awesome Books to enter the GRAND PRIZE PACKS. They will be posted on October 31 and end on November 3!

International Prize Pack:
  • $25 from Book Depository/Amazon 
  • Witch Eyes by Scott Tracy 
  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
  • swag
US/Canada Prize Pack:
    • Beautiful Creatures shirt
    • Fateful by Claudia Gray (ARC)
    • Betrayal & Deception by Lee Nichols 
    • Click anthology 
    • The Shadowing by Adam Slater (ARC) 
    • Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor 
    • Signed copy of Ashfall by Mike Mullen 
    •  The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch 
    • The Power of Six by Pitticus Lore 
    • Legend by Marie Lu (ARC) 
    • The Girls of No Return (ARC) by Erin Saldin 
    • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson 
    • The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (ARC) 
    • Witch Eyes by Scott Tracy 
    • A Million Suns (ARC) by Beth Revis 
    • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children + poster 
    • Quirk Books tote bag
    • Immortal + Betrayal by Gillian Shields 
    • A Beautiful Dark (ARC) by Jocelyn Davies
    • signed Charlaine Harris novel 
    • Prom Nights from Hell anthology 
    • Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore 
    • The Mark + The Vision by Jen Nadol 
    • The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Meyers 
    • Signed copy of The Pledge by Kimberly Derting 
    • Signed copies of Swoon/Swear by Nina Malkin 
    •  Fury by Elizabeth Miles 
    • Signed copy of Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann 
    • Loads of swag!!

    Many, many, many thanks to the following people for making this possible:
    David--who did all the graphics! 
    All the authors listed!!
    All the bloggers
    Flux Books
    Quirk Books
    Random House
    BookEnds Winchester
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Past years:  2010