change is coming.

Change is coming. It's a wind blowing through Frenzy of Noise like a tornado. Okay not a tornado. Maybe a soft breeze.

I have found two girls who are going to help out around the blog. I'm really excited about it and you will get to meet them on Wednesday!!! The girls are Hannah-Beth and Nicole. And I know they are going to be a fantastic addition over the next few months. In the meantime, I'm revamping some things around here to make it more friendly for them. It's fun because a new set of sheets is always good.

Since we're going to be changing the way some things are happening....I have questions for you and I really, REALLY need your feedback on some things. So take a second and leave a comment for me with your thoughts. Please??
  • Do you want a rating system? (I'm thinking of bringing it back!)
  • What about negative reviews? Do you want us to talk about books we don't like too?
  • What are some things you'd like to see on the blog? (ie. More author or character interviews, guest posts, more popular memes, more reviews, more posts about what we're reading, new....something!) 
And, just an FYI--the blog has it's own Twitter now. It's @FrenzyofNoise. So go check it out and add us there!

That's all I have! So take a second and let me know. Change is coming--and I want it all to be for the better!


The Start of a Short Story

I'm doing something today that I don't ever do. I am not sure why I'm posting this. But I am. For the first time ever, and possibly the only time, I'm giving you a snippet from something I'm writing.


I KNOW. I know. I promise I know.

I've been so pre-occupied and busy with life that I can not work on my WIP. So, I started playing with this short story. THIS short story. It's a rough, rough, rough draft. (I haven't even finished it yet! I haven't edited. My CPs haven't even read it! eek. I have done nothing. Nothing.) But, I hope it makes you laugh. Maybe? I don't do funny a lot. I don't do short stories a lot. I guess it is a day of firsts!! Anyway, enjoy....(Sorry for the spacing!)

Fat Girl in a Cupcake World

I know I’m the fat girl buying little chocolate cupcakes at the gas station. I saw myself in the mirror before I left. I struggled to breathe while walking down the sidewalk to get to this stupid gas station. I argued with myself the whole way here because this guy—the dark-haired-and-flannel-one at the register ringing out some old lady buying lottery tickets—is always here when I come in to buy these damn chocolate cupcakes.

“This all?” he asks.

I nod, because of course it. Golden crème cupcakes. Cookies. Doritos. A blue raspberry slush, which is for the boy I babysit and not for me.

He nods back. He’s seen it before. He’s always here. Always. And I have to face him, to watch him look me up down while he scans the little buggers and tells me a total. I read his face with those big eyes full of disgust and disappointment.

“$7.58,” he says.

I hand him the cash and he starts putting my junk in a bag. He gives me The Look when he hands it over. I smile, even though all I want to do now is shove these little cupcakes into his face. I hate The Look. I know it so well because everyone has it. That “why don’t you exercise instead of eat” look. Even my best friend has it in the corner of her eye when we go out somewhere. That shame of having to stand next to me.

And I get it. I really, really get it.

I stare at other fat people and my stomach churns because they disgust me. It’s laughable. There’s always this thought that I’m not that big. I tell myself I will never be that fat.

In reality, I am. I am that fat. I deserve The Look.

My phone sings Lady Gaga to me—Courtney’s ringtone—when I cross the sidewalk. I take a bite of one of the delicious, marvelous, disgust-myself cupcakes and mutter hello in my phone.

“Nina! Where are you? There’s a party tonight. We. Have. To. Be. There.”

I roll my eyes. “I’m babysitting.”

She whines in the phone. “But we have to go! Chance will be there.” I make a noise. “Chance Brennan!” Then, she squeals. A long, sharp, annoying sound. I pull the phone away too quick and nearly drop my cupcake.

“Go without me. I’m with Jake tonight. I told Mrs. H I’d be there until 10.”

Courtney squeals again. “Ten is perfect. I’ll pick you up then.”


“I’m so excited! He hasn’t been here in…forever. I don’t even know.”

I do. Eight months. I don’t say that though. I don’t want to encourage her. I also don’t want her to know that I’m well aware of how long Chance Brennan has been gone. It wasn’t long enough.

“Court, I don’t want to—”

“What are you eating?” she asks suddenly.

I swallow the last bite of my cupcake. “Nothing.”

“What were you eating?” I don’t answer. I shove the package and the other goodies deeper into my large bag. “Cupcake?”

“I have to go, Court. I’m here. I’ll talk to you later.”

“I’m picking you up at 10!” she yells before I hang up.

Great. An evening with children and a night with drunk children. It’s already a perfect Friday night. Maybe I’ll call her after bedtime and talk her out of it. The last thing I want to do is watch the entire junior class drink themselves stupid.

 Mrs. H is chasing her youngest son—the three year old terror, Sonny—around the yard. He’s naked and running around like it’s being free is the best feeling in the world.

“Sonny Harrison you stop!” she yells. The boy laughs and ducks around the other side of their mini-cooper and toward me in the street. “James! I need help!” she yells to her husband.

 She’s not far behind Sonny, but he’s already two houses down. I say his name and he smiles at me.
“Hey Sonny!” I say to him. I hold out the slushie toward him, thinking it will make him stop because who can resist a bit of sugary blue freeze? No one.

But Sonny’s smile is devious. I realize what’s about to happen just in time for it to happen. Instead of stopping, he runs faster. And straight toward me. I try to move out of the way, but I’m not fast enough. He bounces into me—and more importantly my hand—and the sugary blue awesome covers me from head to toe. It’s like a bad episode of Glee.

Sonny lands in the grass, laughing and playing with the plastic cup and straw. Me? I’m a sticky mess of blue. My arms, my hair, my white Doctor Who t-shirt are all covered.

“Oh Nina!” Mrs. H says. Her hand flies to her mouth in shock. Or laughter. I’m not really sure at the moment and my eyes are burning from the sugar.

Mr. H swoops up Sonny. “Look what you did to Nina, Sonny,” he says.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean to,” Mrs. H says.

“Nina a really big smurf!” Sonny claps. Everyone is mortifyingly quiet. No cars are even driving by. I blink away the blue and look at Sonny. He’s still smiling at me. Little brat. I better get a large tip for this. I’m talking bigger than my pants size large. Ginormous.

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Mrs. H says. She leads me into the bathroom and offers to wash my clothes, even though there was nothing else for me to wear. I decline and end up drying my shirt with the hair dryer. I sent Courtney a text to bring me clothes from my house, and spent the evening smelling like raspberry. And the worst part? Now I have to go to that party.

I will never touch a slurpie again. Ever.


Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Date: September 29, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone (Companion)
ISBN: 978-0525423287
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: ARC
Get more info/pre-order: Goodreads ||| Amazon ||| IndieBound ||| Book Depository |||| Barnes & Noble

The author on the web: Blog ||| Website ||| Twitter ||| Facebook

First line: I have three simple wishes. 

This review is going to be all butterflies and squeals, much like what happens while reading it. (And NO SPOILERS! I PROMISE!!) I have nothing but love—over joyous, shout-it-from-the-mountaintops LOVE—for Lola and the Boy Next Door. To say that Stephanie Perkins has “done it again” is an understatement. Not only did she “do it again” but she did it BETTER. She did it in such a way that she re-established herself to a new level of amazing, higher than she did with Anna and the French Kiss. At least in my opinion.

ola & The Boy Next Door is nothing short of stupendous. In fact, I liked it way more than Anna (which I loved so much.)

The story is pretty simple (only not.) Lola lives in San Francisco with her parents (Andy and Nathan) and her dog. She has an older boyfriend, Max, who’s in a band, and she makes her own clothes. Her rule in life: never wear the same outfit twice. She has fun wigs, loves sparkles and she is fantastic. Enter the new neighbors…who in fact, are old neighbors: Calliope and Cricket Bell. They grew up together. Calliope and Lola the worst of friends; Cricket the first boy she ever kissed. But she doesn’t like him anymore. In fact, she hates him because he hurt her and then left. But when he shows up, all tight pants and wide smiles, Lola realizes that maybe her feelings for the boy next door are something more than hating him. And her whole life spins out of control faster than she can change her wig! Now, she has no idea who "the one" for her really is.

I really loved Lola. One thing I don’t want to do is compare this book to Anna—because they are very, very different books. (Even if Anna and St. Clair are in this one, which they are.) It’s so easy to look at something and compare it to what came before. All of my conversations have even done this, but it’s not really fair to either book because they are different characters, stories, emotions and reactions. So I will try hard not to do that.

Lola is a spunky girl. She’s pretty confident in who she is, knows what she likes, knows what she wants--at least she thinks she does at first. She loves her life—which is not perfect and has things she would change, but she loves it—which is refreshing. She has a solid friendship with Lindsey, the Nancy Drew to her Ned. Lola is a far from normal girl with her family and her clothes, yet she is normal in every single way. She has flaws! Her best flaw: she says things and doesn't realize she said it out-loud until someone comments on it. It really shows you how sometimes, she’s kind of lost in her own head and ignorant to what’s really going on around her—but who isn’t? She’s human, and I love her.

I can’t say a single bad thing about this book. I loved everything. Her gay dads, Nathan and Andy, are probably one of my favorite aspects of the story. One owns a pie business and one’s a lawyer, but both have intricate roles in Lola’s life and “neither is ‘the woman.’ They’re both gay men. Duh.” I love their relationship with Lola. They offer support, understanding, actual involvement in her life, and cute over-protectiveness. In a world of literature where parents are rare—and gay parents are even more rare—they are very important to the story. I can’t imagine it without them. This is because Perkins does them wonderfully, without adhering to stereotypes and with complete and utter awareness of their characters. There’s even the added dimension of her birth mother, who is in the picture in an unusual yet endearing way. She’s a great catalyst for Lola and I like seeing their interactions.

Then we have the boyfriend, Max. He’s older than she is and this is a big problem for her parents. But they give him a chance. I really liked Max in the beginning. I liked Max so much that when Cricket came to the scene, I wanted him to go away. I didn’t know why Lola hated him, but I didn’t even care. I liked Max. And then….and then something happened: I turned the page. And fell madly in love with Cricket Bell.

Cricket Bell is amazing. He’s quite possibly the most amazing male speciman that’s ever existed in literature. Or at least he’s WAY up there. Like, next to Mr. Darcy. (Seriously.) My love for Cricket surpassed my love for Etienne St. Clair in the first few pages of meeting him. Cricket is shy and sweet and sincere. He’s so adorable, consistent, genuine, smart, giving, caring, pure, kind…and I adore him. I want to steal him away and keep him in my pocket! I love him. I love him. I don't know what else to say about it. He’s TOTALLY the boy next door and beyond perfection. We really get to connect with Cricket—and there’s no wondering why she’s confused about her feelings toward him and toward Max.

There’s this whole journey that Lola goes through. It really shows her character, shows what she’s dealing with and when it’s all over, you can look back and know how much she’s grown. I love so many, many, many things about this part of the story. There are times in the journey I’m so frustrated with Lola, but the payoff is beyond worth it. Beyond. Part of this is that Lola tries to make herself be fully whole, fully alive, fully aware before she gives her heart away. This is rare. Lola finds herself before she finds the real boy of her dreams. And I absolutely applaud that.

There are some other really great things about Lola and the Boy Next Door. The cover is one of them. While Cricket isn’t what I saw, there are so many minor details on the cover that are major details in the story. I won’t say what they are, but when you read the book go back and look at the cover. You will swoon and squeal even more.

The end of the book is another thing I loved. It is filled (and overflowing) with so much ooey-gooey-goodness that it will take over your soul. Seriously. It’s GOOD. It’s romantic. It’s chocked full of all the reasons this book soars. It’s completely that thing which makes Perkins stand out among all the contemporary YA romance stories.

I really want to say that if you liked Anna and the French Kiss then you’ll like Lola and the Boy Next Door. But I don’t think I mean it. For me, all the things Anna had/lacked are repeated/fulfilled in Lola sevenfold. Someone who didn’t like Anna could love Lola just as someone who loved Anna could love Lola. I don’t know how you can read Lola and NOT love it. I would definitely recommend everyone give a try. I think it’s a very surprising and wonderful story.

I think I should stop now. I could go on and on about this book. It did not disappoint. Stephanie Perkins captures love and all the things we’re afraid to dream of with such an ease that you can’t help but fall for every aspect of the story. Lola and the Boy Next Door will leave you feeling with butterflies in your stomach, squeals on your lips and Cricket Bell in your thoughts.  Lola and the Boy Next Door is stupendous.

Example Post for YA Spooktacular

Basically, it looks like this:

YA Spooktacular banner
Welcome/How it works
Author Bio
Story banner
Link(s) to other part(s) of story--or if you're an ending, link to grand prize giveaway.
Trick or Treat (if you have one)

Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.

This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.

There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for (enter your story # here) will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs! (the link to Frenzy of Noise Spooktacular page will be included in the email and updated daily.)

Author pic, not Mr. Montoya
About the author:
Jennifer lives in West Virginia and she’s never seen the Mothman or an outhouse. When she’s not busy writing about Greek gods, fallen angels, kissing, general mayhem and shenanigans, she’s reading, watching zombie movies or working out.

Her Young Adult debut novel Half-Blood, the first in a four book series, will release in October 2011 through Spencer Hill Press and her debut Adult paranormal romance is set for April 2012 release through Entangled Publishing. In two years, she has gone from not having any books on the shelf to expecting the release of 8 books in total.

Jennifer likes to keep busy.

You can pick it up at the beginning by clicking on the banner! (Link to first piece of the story and on the button)

This year, we wanted to really dive in and re-visit our childhood, so we've decided to leave the story in the hands of fate and do choose your own adventure! We're hoping to have three stories with 9 to 11 authors/aspiring writers at the helm for each story.

One author will start the story and leave it in a place where the reader can choose what happens next by going to blog A or blog B. At some locations, another author will write two scenarios, which will allow the reader to choose what will happen next and the story will continue on another blog(s).

The fun part of this is that sometimes, you die. Sometimes, you live. Sometimes, you fall into a pit and wait for someone to find you. The three stories will be separate--with a new character and new challenges.

Since we're doing three stories, day one will post the entire story. Day two will be a giveaway. Day 3 a story...and so on until the grand prize on Halloween day.We'll send you additional information about what author/what story/what else will need to be posted.

We’re going have Trick or Treats along the way. (Treats are giveaways; Tricks are ways to earn extra entries). Some of you will be hosting ToTs but not everyone. We'll give you the details on these in a later email. If you are willing to donate something as a Treat giveaway, then let us know ASAP and we can put you on a list. That will make distribution of ToTs and organizing a lot easier--as not everyone will host somethingIf you are interested, we'd LOVE to have you host a piece of the story.

The date we need the story will vary depending on where you fall on the list and we will work our hardest to have ALL the information to you as soon as we can.

One of two things will happen here. You will have:

To read the next part of the story go here. Direct link to the next


If Sara goes left, go here. If Sara goes right, click here. Or something of that variety so they can pick an option.

And tomorrow, make sure you stop by Insert link here to enter the Story Prize Pack!

Everything below this bar depends on of the following:
1. You are hosting a ToT
2. You are hosting story 2 or 3

If you are hosting a ToT:
Your post will include a) one of these images b) directions for the Trick-or-Treat c) a link to the corresponding forms, etc. (when needed--will be provided by us unless you are hosting your own prize).

Other story banners:




Open Call to Someone Awesome

Are you a lover of YA books??

Do you want a place to talk about them??

Do you follow this blog??

Are you someone who has initiative and takes the lead?

If I asked you random questions could you answer them without being nervous? Do you KNOW how random my questions can be??

Do you like the word "awesome" and know what someone means when they mention the TARDIS? 

If you answered YES to these questions (the TARDIS one aside) then you might be the someone awesome I am looking for. In which case I urge you to keep reading! 
If not....well, you can keep reading too. 

Okay. So here's the deal. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to share this in such a public way, but here we are. This is a big step for me, it's something I don't like to do a lot (or ever if I can avoid it) but I know I must. Here goes.

I need some help around here.

This is an idea I've been toying with for a while. I love this blog. If you read it all I think I've said that a thousand times. I would love to share some of the joy I've had from it with someone else. So, I've been thinking for a while. And now that grad school has started up, the YASpooktacular is approaching and a sekrit project is happening (not to mention my job, my house and my novel) it's become one I need to act on. Plus, I was bed-ridden all week with some weird summer plague and it put me behind. There are a million reasons. The main one is none of those though...

I need help. Do you want to help?

All those questions I asked you up there--I meant them. If someone out there reading this wants to talk with me about helping run this blog--EVEN if it's just until Christmas!--I would love to talk with you. I have stipulations. (Of course I do, I'm a lister.) It's a short list.

This can't be about getting ARCs. Quite simply, I don't have them to give to you. I have some that I got at BEA but they aren't coming to my doorstep or anything. Don't expect that. That's not why I blog and it certainly can't be why you blog.

This must about your love of books. That's pretty simple. If you love books--if you can talk about them (and their authors and readers) in a respectful way, then that is awesome. This blog. This entire community is about connecting. If you want to be part of it, then I want you here. If you love this blog and want to step up, then I want you here. It's a passion thing. I'm all about passion.

Now it's up to you. I was going to do a fancy form and all, but I'm not. If you are interested in helping out for a few months (or maybe forever!) then EMAIL ME. That's all I need right now.

If no one does, then don't worry lovelies. Frenzy of Noise is not going anywhere. I'm just deciding to extend my hand to someone else. Because who knows, maybe there's someone out there who wants to blog and doesn't know where to start. Or maybe there's someone who's never thought it before. There could be a whole lot of someones out there who are reading this and never even really thought about it. Well, here's a chance. THIS is the main reason I'm asking.

Email me. It's not a commitment from you--it's merely a conversation. If you can be sure of nothing else be sure of this: it will be a fun one! 


Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Date: September 1, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 978-0761375265
Format: hardcover, 202 pages
Source: ARC
Get more info/pre-order: Goodreads ||| Amazon ||| IndieBound ||| Book Depository ||||

The author on the web: Blog ||| Website ||| Twitter

First line: On the corner of Franklin and India streets in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is the north wall of Fish's bar.

Have you heard of this book: Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff? If not, let me tell you why you should put it on your list. Here's the short answer: you'll be hooked. The longer answer...well, let's continue. (And I apologize because I tried to say less and I couldn't.)

I'll start this review by talking about the setting, which is Brooklyn. (I bet you didn't get that from the title.) Everything is so detailed--from the mural to the street corners to the cellar of Fish's bar. I loved it. They all added something incredible and unmatchable to the story. I could see everything, which was really important to have something concrete since I didn't get that with the characters. (more on that in a minute.)

The story jumps to Kid's past-- the summer before with a mysterious boy named Felix and a more mysterious fire. It's so amazing and sad and completely terrifying because you know that it will break your heart. You know because you see how Kid is now. Only, you have no idea WHY.

One compelling aspect of the story, carried both in the present and the past, is the music. Kid is a drummer, along with Felix and Scout. Now, I'm not a musician but I know what it's like when something comes alive, fills your blood and makes your heart race. I don't know if Brezenoff is a musician (or was ever before). But every single time Brezenoff describes what it's like to play, how it sounds, how it feels---I felt it. That takes a lot of talent.

Another great part of the story, the part that made it for me, it Kid's voice. I love Kid. Kid is a blend of poetic and grit and pain and hope and snark and insecurity that come out to create this incomparable narrator. And you have Scout, who is undeniable and intriguing. The passion between and for them really comes across on the pages. There's a line where a minor character says, "The love between you is so obvious it crackles." And it does. Seeing Scout through Kid's eyes is a different perspective, but still gives you the freedom to paint your own picture.

What Brezenoff does with his characters and the abstracted-ness of their existence is completely amazing. There's a line in the book that Kid's father says, "I have a kid who doesn't know whether to be straight or gay or a boy or a girl or what."

I (personally) have never read this before. On the back of the ARC there's this line about the book, "Brezenoff never identifies the gender of his two main characters, and readers will draw their own conclusions about Kid and Scout." And IT'S SO TRUE. And unique. And intriguing. And wonderfully done.

There isn't much physically that we know about Scout and Kid, other than Scout has black hair and bangs---which could be a boy or a girl. We don't know if they are male or female. I thought that would be weird, but I got so involved and committed to the story that I didn't even notice. I had this picture in my own head and that's what mattered. But that picture kept changing, even. I loved that. I've never read a book where something so "important" is unclear and....doesn't matter all that much at all.

I also really loved the whole cast of minor characters, too. Fish, Jonny, Konny...they were all just a really intricate part of Kid's story. Kid's parents even served a purpose that was so special. The message there (especially of Kid and Kid's mother) will definitely resonate with a lot of people.

Another great aspect of the book is that Kid tells the story to "you", which is Scout. I could see that part in my head. The two of them sitting together and Kid telling this whole but thing about last summer and this summer and what it all means.I'm not sure how accurate that is, but I don't even really care. This book is about interpretation. The things that matter are told and the rest is up for you to decide. Its a hard thing to pull off and Brezenoff does it fantastically.

Everyone wants new and refreshing stories, things that are different--and this is one of them. The great thing about this book is that it's for everyone. It will resonate differently with everyone. It will get people thinking in so many ways. And you shouldn't miss it.



Have you heard of the Relic Master series?

It's a new fantasy series by Catherine Fisher (author of Incarceron and Sapphique).  RELIC MASTER is a four book series. Each book will be released over four consecutive months this summer:

* Book One: The Dark City, May 17
* Book Two: The Lost Heiress, June 14
* Book Three: The Hidden Coronet, July 12
* Book Four: The Margrave, August 9

Each book will include a piece of the map of Anara, the world of RELIC MASTER, on the reverse of the jacket. Collect all four books and you will have the complete map. It's a really neat and interactive idea. AND....

I'm giving away the whole series!! 

I've read the first book recently, and I really enjoyed the world. Fisher always does that really well. Here's what the book is about:

Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters-some human, some not-that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it. 

Sounds good right? It is.  And you can read it. You can also get excited and download the widget!

One winner will receive:
The complete Relic Master series, including The Dark City, The Lost Heiress, The Hidden Coronet and The Margrave!

To enter, fill out this form completely!

About the Author:
Catherine Fisher is the author of the New York Times bestselling duology Incarceron and Sapphique and in the Relic Master series has created a world equally as developed, dynamic and dangerous as that of Incarceron. Visit her at www.catherine-fisher.com.

High School Library NEEDS BOOKS. How You Can Help.

***NOTE**** New address to ship books. Below.

While I was in classes a few weeks ago, I had this huge (kinda funny to me) realization. All week everyone kept talking about community. Saying "this is the place you'll build a lifeline." All week I was that smug girl who's said to myself: I have that. Because I do have that. I have it in bloggers, in readers, in writers, in authors, in twitter. I know I have people.

I know I'm part of a community that bans together to stand up for literary injustice, backlash, plagarism and everything in between. We build hashtags on twitter and give small ideas a way to be big. We're awesome.

That's why when the director of my MFA program sent us an email about a book drive, I knew I had to bring the need to my community. This community. Why? Well...
"The literature section of Ballou Senior High School's library in Washington, DC has 63 books, not enough to fill five small shelves. In the area marked "Pure Science," there are 77 volumes. The generally accepted standard for school libraries is 11 books for each of Ballou's 1,104 students."

It's completely unacceptable that a high school is lacking a basic need of life, a need that opens the doors to education, creativity and imagination---books. And this is the time for all of us to step up, to ban together, to help out. No matter what genre you read, because they need everything.

This selection I take out of the email from my program director because he says it better than I ever could.

"It's a challenge for kids to take their literacy seriously when they don't even have books to read. Ballou is located in the most dangerous ward in our nation's capitol. Right now, the library serves as a physical safe space and a refuge for students in off school hours, but wouldn't it be great if they had something to read while they were there--even choices across genre?....This is not the only school in the country with needs, but when the flare went up we saw it and chose to respond."
What they need:

Everything.  From Shakespeare to Octavia Butler to Richard Wright. Fantasy, sci-fi, YA, adult fiction, history books, poetry, classic literature, science. Basically anything and everything that's suitable for high school. They will take anything as long as it is in GOOD condition and has no writing in it. 

I've asked if they would accept ARCs (new and old), and the director of the book drive, Lisa, said YES. Please note however, that this they really need finished copies. ARCs are fantastic, but the lasting value isn't always standing.

How to donate:

If you have books you want to give, please mail them directly to:

The Art of Living Center
International Association for Human Values
c/o Filiz Odabas-Geldiay
2401 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

There should be a note inside donation boxes that says:
Green Line Initiative Book Drive 
attn: Lisa Pegram
They will be accepting books until August 22!! 

Also, if you'd like to include some kind of quick note for the kids, words of encouragement, that would be awesome!! But it's not mandatory.

Spread the word!

Reblog this post on your blog. Tweet this post. (we're on twitter at #HSBookDrive) Tell everyone. Send books.

This is a chance for our community to step up, to reach out and to provide teens with books. This is why we are here so I challenge you to be part of this. If you can, if you have even one book or a stack of books from that project you finished a year ago, give them. Donating books is not really about the book, but about what happens when someone reads a book. And not even having a chance to read a book is completely devastating to me. I can't even imagine my life without books.

I hope you will help!! Even if you can't send a book--tweet, tell others, and take action.


An Ending. A Beginning. Some Things In-between.

An ending. 

The biggest and most important event in history is happening tonight at midnight.  At least, in literary and movie history.

I can't even handle it. I will cry and I just know it. I'm so nervous, so excited. It's bittersweet to see the end of an era. For some, it's been 13 years from book 1 to this movie.  I'm not even sure how to handle that.

I will always have this amazingly special place in my heart for these three children:

And these three gorgeous adults they turned into. (Sometimes British people age well and beautiful.)

If you are going at midnight, here's a hug from me and a box of tissues. It's going to be emotional. I can't believe the end has come! AHHH. Come back here after you watch it and let me know what you thought.

A beginning.

Have you heard of this little book called Shatter Me? If not let me inform you. Here's the description:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Sound awesome? IT IS. It's so completely flooring. Well, the cover was revealed today at Hollywood Crush. It too is just GORGEOUS. I imagined the cover in my head and I never imagined this because it's that good. See? I will wait while you swoon.

Seriously. It's fantastic. I'm sure I'll be talking about it A LOT between now and when it releases in November. Taherah Mafi is uber-talented and so so so sweet. And the best part? You can pre-order it now on Amazon | Indie Bound || Book Depository || B&N
Some Things In-between.

1) I just read this book for grad school. And it was FANTASTIC. Just wait, yall. Just. Wait.

2)  I am currently drowning in life. Seriously loves. Writing, homework, apartment searching, planning, sleeping, working--ah! It's so much right now. I feel like I'm neglecting you and I am so sorry.  I will return next week with fun/highly-anticipated book reviews, a giveaway and an open call for awesome. What's that mean? Just wait and see.

3) Enjoy HPDH part 2.

4) Go say hi to Taherah Mafi. She's so awesome and she will say funny things on Twitter.


5 Reasons You'll Love WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight

I tried to write a review of Wildefire by Karsten Knight. I tried. I've had this book for months! I couldn't do it without ruining things. So, I'm doing something different. I've boiled my long and wordy review to my top five reasons you will like this book. And here they are in no particular order!

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date: July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages 
ISBN: 978-1442421172
Read the first chapter here!

First line: Ashline Wilde was a human mood ring.

The author on the web: Twitter  |||  Blog ||| Goodreads  

Pre-order:  IndieBound |||  Amazon ||||   Book Depository  ||| Barnes & Noble

1. The mythology/story. Forget about Greek gods---Polynesian volcano gods is about to be the new rage. After what Karsten Knight did with this story, people are definitely going to be interested. In fact, there are more than Polyensian gods in the story. There are many different types, each unique to a certain character, and each equipped with a backstory and lots of intrigue. The mythology throughout is really intriguing, and I can't wait for more in #2. The story really centers around this mystery (the mystery of these teens and the strange things happening in their lives) and what will happen to them now that they know just who and what they are. Ashline is the main character, so hers is the story we follow closest. Hers is also the one that keeps you on your toes.

2. The characters. Every person in this book is so well-rounded and filled with intrigue. They all have their own stories and their own history. Let's start with the MC.  

  • Ashline Wilde. Her name alone promises that she's going to be awesome. And she is. She's a fresh protagonist. She's angry and clever and as soon as the story starts, we're tossed into her world with no chance of escape. This never changes. She's always smart, always snarky and always trying to figure out something bigger--even when she doesn't know what it is. 
  • Eve Wilde. Eve is the wayward sister of Ash. She's completely off her rocker. All sorts of crazysauce. BUT, I liked her. Why did I like her? Am I a fan of loonies? Am I a fan of girls who do the things Eve did? Apparently. Because behind all her talk, all her bad-ness, all her trickery--I liked her. She's a girl who simply wants to know who she is and what she can be. No one can blame her for that. (Well, they can but everyone can relate.)
  • Colt. Steamy, steamy boy. Girls will love him because--surprise!--Karsten Knight is pretty good at the kissy-kissy, heart-flutter romance scenes. For me, I liked him because he and Ash had this really awesome banter. I'm a big fan of banter. And he had to work for a date, like really work for it, which is quite refreshing. And did I mention the banter?
  • There are MANY other great secondary characters in the story. Raja. Rolfe. Serena. Ade. Lily. Headmistress Riley. I loved them all for so many reasons. I won't tell you any of those reasons, though. You'll just have to read it. There are even characters in a bar, characters who don't really even matter much, but I think they really added to the story.

3. The writing. The book is full of funny dialogue, one-liners and lots of sarcasm. It's done so it's not an overtly "funny book" but the humor and sarcasm really add to it. I laughed quite a bit, which is refreshing. The writing is crisp and something I can't really explain to you. I knew from the first page that the style was like nothing I've ever read before and I liked that. There's even this really awesome part where the third person narrative turns into...well...something else. (I don't want to say and ruin the surprise!) but it's freaking flawless. That pretty much made the book for me.

4. The pacing. Wildefire is a long book. There are very long chapters. I feel like you should know that because so often we read books thinking we'll only read a chapter. This is a trap Knight catches you in every single time. I say this because when I look at a long book, I wonder how much of it I don't really need to know. This never happened in Wildefire. The pacing in this book is solid and it really keeps the suspense going throughout the book. You'll be reading and reading and wondering what's really going on. And Knight doesn't let you know until the very end. It's evil of him, but it's so fantastic. There isn't much foreshadowing (so you definitely can't predict the ending!) and he really uses the time to develop these character relationships. It's all so important. So important. And you don't know how or why until the end. That is hard to do.

5. The ending! Wow. WHAT AN ENDING. I obviously can't say anything about it. It's half the reason I didn't write a proper review, but if you read this book for none of these other reasons, read it for the ending.

Of course, then you'd be confused. So you should just read the whole thing and marvel at the ending.

AND HEY YOU PEOPLE WHO READ THE END FIRST....don't do it. Do not do it. It will ruin everything. I'm not judging you--I am someone who struggles to not read the end first--but I promise, it's worth the wait.

In summation: Wildefire is hot for many reasons. You should go order it!


Sometimes you write a book...

Sometimes you write a book and you freaking love it. I mean, love it. It's your heart and your soul and you're proud of it.

Then you send it out into the world and learn that some things need to better. Big things that make a lot of sense, but you're not really sure how to fix them. You want to, but you're too attached.

So you step away from it until you have the eyes to fix it.

And then you get an opinion or two on how to fix it. Maybe workshop it or let people read it or whatever.

And then you fix it. And you had all these doubts about whether the changes would work or not--but they do! This is so good. This is awesome.

But it's not awesome.

Because the things you "fixed" really slow the story down. Changing the whole timeline, really does change the whole story. And now you have to face the fact that at least half of what you wrote will be GONE. Scary right? It is. But it has to be done.

Even scarier? You still have to figure out how to fix the story, how to make it the best it can be. But you have to figure it out alone. There's not someone telling you what's not working. Sometimes there are four and they are all very different opinions.

But in the end, it's you figuring it out. You and the characters and the story.

Sometimes you write a book...and then you revise a book...and rewrite a book...and rewrite it again. And hope, that in the end, it turns out to be something fantastic.

Sometimes that's what writing a book is like. It's not fun. It's hard and exhausting. But it's all about learning, about trying, about failing and trying again.


And when you finish, you get to start all over again. Every day. Until you die. Because no matter how frustrating it is. No matter how lonely it is. It's something you have to do because writing is part of you. 

This is my current place in life. Anyone else with me??


THE NEAR WITCH: A winner and a new *international* contest!

The last winner (courtesy of D*H) of THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab is:


Yay! Please email me your address asap.  

Also, since none of these lovely giveaways were open to international, I'm going to give away one to you from The Book Depository! 

So, if you're international and you been itching for a chance to win THE NEAR WITCH, fill out this form below and if Book Depository ships there, you can win!!

  • Open until July 15 at midnight! 

  • Not eligible if you've already won a copy

  • This DOES include Canada. (Anywhere not US)


The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Disney*Hyperion
Date: August 2, 2011
Series or Standalone: standalone
ISBN: 978-1423137870
Format: hardcover, 288 pages
Source: arc
Get more info/pre-order:  Amazon |||   Goodreads  |||  IndieBoundBook Depository     ||||  

The author on the web: Blog  |||  Twitter  |||  Tumblr  

First line: It starts with a crack, a sputter and a spark.

Things that make me happy: A good song. A fantastic story. Dreams. Romance. Beautiful words. Things that require the suspension of disbelief. Magic. Getting lost in a world that isn't my own. Hope, passion and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the extraordinary can happen to the most ordinary people.

There are very few places in life these things all come together. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is one of them.

I've read a lot of books. A lot of books. I also love a lot of books. If you read my reviews regularly or have a conversation with me then you know that. But I say to you now that The Near Witch is one that will forever stand out to me as an wonderful novel. Why? Well, it has all those things I listed above, for one. For another, I wrote a freaking rap song about it. I wouldn't do that if I wasn't devoted. Thirdly, I love it. It's a flawless re-telling of a story you've heard before but never knew and something you'll never hear again. (I kinda stole that from the book flap---but it's so completely true.)

On the surface, the town of Near is a place like any other. It's a community nestled in the moors, on the edge of the forest, where no strangers dare to tread. The town is safe, quiet, and protected. The only things to fear are the old tales of the Near Witch, which spread through the town like echoes of an old song. But beneath the surface of these tales lie more secrets than anyone knows. When children start disappearing from their beds at night and a strange boy appears in the town, the truths that have been buried for centuries begin to surface. The town condemns the boy--except for our heroine, Lexi--who is determined to save the children of Near, protect the stranger named Cole, and discover the truths the town has kept as quiet as a whisper.

I talk a lot about writing in my reviews, about this ability that some authors to have to completely floor you and create a line that's so powerful it etches itself into your soul. Victoria Schwab does this extremely well. Her lines all so elegant, powerful and read with a grace that I could only dream of possessing. Every beautiful description is flawless and so vivid I felt as if I was there every second of the book, racing through the trees and listening to wind with Lexi. I could die just thinking about the world she so beautifully created. There's a good balance here between what we are told, what we see and what we get to make up ourselves that demands praise and attention.

The characters in The Near Witch are so incredible. They each have their own story, own actions and purpose. I love that they are all flexible. What does that mean? Schwab paints them all very distinctly, yet lets the reader create their own picture of what the character looks like. It's  like Van Gogh or Picasso where it's unmistakably one thing, but it has the possibility to be something else. Every character in the story is like this--and they all jump off the page and into the heart. It lets them take on a life that's a little bit of what they were created to be, and a little bit your own.

Since I'm talking about characters, I need to mention my love for the sisters, Magda and Dreska, as they are two of my favorite characters in any book. I love their descriptions, their voice and role in Lexi's story, the mystery they bring with them and the wisdom that these two characters seem to carry. It's almost like Schwab pulled them out of the deep recesses of real life and placed in Near to offer guidance, snarky remarks and a sense that when all is hopeless, everything will be alright.

Another wonderful thing about The Near Witch is the romance between Cole and Lexie. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's a good romance. The best part about it is that it takes nothing away from the overall plot of the story, but it adds to it completely. The two of them together are a fantastic team and with everything happening around them, you can only root for this girl who wears muddy boots and this boy with a burnt robe. Their story will be one you want more of and when it's all over, you know they lived happily ever after because there's no way they didn't.

As much as The Near Witch is a book of passionate words, of love and of truth, it's also got it's share of creepy. I'd me amiss to not mention that. It's done in such an lyrical way that the effect is greater than anything else you'll ever read. This is a wonderful fairy tale, with love, enchantment and creepy queens who poison apples. (Ok...Not really. There are NO poisoned apples or queens! But there is plenty of edge-of-your-seat creepiness.)

This is a book you'll be reading to your children. It's going to survive the times and become a story that everyone knows. It's that kind of book. It has that kind of power. You won't want it to end, you won't want to stop reading it, and you won't be disappointed. The words will haunt your sleep (in a good way) and you will love it. The wind has a song to tell...and you should listen.

I mean, this is the stuff of legends. And songs have already been written about it. If you don't then you will miss this mesmorizing book that's not only a stunning debut, but a surefire classic.


One month until THE NEAR WITCH

This fantastic book (which I have talked about since I started this blog. Or it feels like it anyway. It's been a long time!) is finally coming coming out! I'm even posting my review tomorrow, so you'll know ALL the reasons I'm in love with it. And all the reasons you will want to buy one for every single person you meet on the streets. I'm not even kidding.

In less than four weeks, you will find it on a shelf
much like this one. ---->

And Victoria will probably be smiling like that, pointing, and crying. She's not crying here but I don't doubt she will! Especially if everyone buys a copy and she makes The List. It's my personal goal for her, lovelies. I mean, I'm dedicated. Rap Song. Need I say more?

Anyway, thanks to the lovely people at Disney*Hyperion, I have one final signed, first edition copy of THE NEAR WITCH to give to a lucky winner.

What do you have to do to win?

Leave a comment below (include your email address!!) and tell me why you want to read The Near Witch. You know, if there's another reason aside from me bashing it over your head for months. Or, if you're feeling really awesome and want TWO entries, write the reason in a little poem to me or Victoria. That'd be fun. I'll close the contest on July 8.

**This is US only. If you've already won a copy you're not eligible for this one. This prize will not arrive until closer to the publication date in August when the finished copies are available.**

Also, check around the other blogs because I'm sure at some point my fellow Book Pimps will have a final giveaway.

Wicked Awesome Books
Overflowing Shelf
Ticket to Anywhere
Secret Life of a Bibliophile
The Book Cellarx
Victoria Schwab  (she's having weekly giveaways until NW comes out!)


Book Review: Memento Nora (Guest review)

*WAVES* Hello Frenzy of Noise readers!! First off, I want to thank Danielle for inviting me to take over her lovely blog for the day. I'm all for a little power rush! I don't want to bore you by talking about me, but my name is Nikki and you can find me over at Wicked Awesome Books. I review YA, MG, and some adult books too, so feel free to stop by anytime. Now on to my 'yay this book was better than I expected' review of Memento Nora . . .

Title: Memento Nora
Author: Angie Smibert
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
ARC, 184 pages
Date Published: April 1, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A teen struggles to hold onto her memories-and her identity-in a world that wants everyone to forget-and keep on shopping. Three dynamic teens come together to create a comic book of their memories. Ages 13+
Forget your cares at TFC. That's the tagline for Memento Nora and it anchors the entire book. Smibert has written a politically-charged and eye-opening book about the lengths a government will go to for power. And that power comes with fear and the lure of forgetting the horrors of life.

Set in the not-too distant future, Nora, Winter, and Micah are three teens held in Detention, telling their stories just before their memories are to be erased. We get to see how these three teens wound up on the receiving end of a power-hungry government's wrath.

Smibert has layered this story with three strong, intelligent, and remarkable characters that, together, stand up to expose the truth, but separately, have their own stories to share. Nora's pretty, rich girl life is contrasted by Micah's poor, skater boy lifestyle, and Winter's bitter and socially abrasive attitude, but work together to create this powerful force. In making a comic (titled Memento) that depicts what's really happening in their world, Nora, Micah, and Winter are able to connect with people in ways no other groups have.

Somewhere along the way--you'll know where when you read it--these three refused to take the forgetting pill. They decided that their memories and some things, needed to be remembered, were worth remembering.

Angie Smibert's writing is simple, fluid, and absolutely clear. There's suspense, confusion, anger, a feeling of building tension and resistance, and even a smidge of romance thrown in. Each character plays an important role, some more important than it seems possible at first. And even though this future society resembles our own, Smibert ties it back to the present day with references to actual events, publications, and even pop culture. The geek in me jumped up in down when Harry Potter appeared, then Maus, then a Ninja Warrior reference.

This debut is taut with tension and suspense. The reader knows the end outcome, but can't help but fly through the short number of pages to see exactly how Nora, Micah, and Winter get there. It's a little terrifying to consider that this could be a reality, but it could. It's not unimaginable to have a controlling government and a little pill that will make you forget all your troubles. It's not unimaginable, but if I were ever in that position, I only hope I'm strong enough to fight to remember.
Opening line: I'm about to forget everything I'm going to tell you. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: "It comes back up on you sometimes," he said as quietly as the breeze rustling through the trees. "The things we're supposed to forget." ~ pg. 84
*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy

Find Angie Smibert online:

Buy it online: