Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just wanted to tell everyone to have a happy Thanksgiving! Hope you eat some yummy food!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And...I'm Behind Again!

Um, hello! I had a blog post for today, but my computer sort of crashed and now I don't have it for you.

*ducks as virtual tomatoes are thrown* I'm sorry!

It seems like whenever I have free time/time off, stuff just piles up so I'm even MORE busy.

I saw CATCHING FIRE and I think I do a little compare/contrast thing later this week.  I also have a MMGM for next Monday!

And the giveaway for Kasie West's DISTANCE BETWEEN US is still on for another few days, so you should check that out.

Thanks for understanding!

Monday, November 25, 2013

MMGM: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

Today's MMGM is going to be a speedy review. I was out of town this weekend so I'm a little bit behind entering this new week. Last week was great, seeing how I got quite a few posts out there!

Current news:
I have a great GIVEAWAY for THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West. Plus, there's an interview and reviews of her two books!  Check it all out here!

Now, to the fun stuff!!!




Yay!

This amazing story is by Laura Amy Schlitz.

Goodreads says:
Step back to medieval 1255 England and meet 22 villagers, illustrated in pen and ink, inspired by the Munich-Nuremberg manuscript, an illuminated poem from thirteenth-century Germany.

Hugo, the lord’s nephew, proves his manhood by hunting a wild boar. Sharp-tongued Nelly supports her family by selling live eels. Peasant Mogg gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a greedy landlord. Barbary slings mud on noble Jack. Alice is the singing shepherdess. And many more . . . .

My review:
I really enjoyed how the different stories and how they fit together. It was interesting seeing the life of medieval children written in poetry form. The poems also demonstrated the scientific, cultural, and religious ways throughout the poems. For example, the idea that "ox gall" will take the stains out of clothing.  There was a very informative "notes" section. After some of the poems, there is a short "background" section about some of the things mentioned in the prior poem.  Very fun but also informative, this book is full of great characters.

Note: The Goodreads review says "Barbary slings mud on noble Jack". She actually throws it at Isobel, the baron's daughter. Jack is a half-wit and the son of a serf, not a noble.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Perfect Character

Before I start this post, just thought I'd remind you about this giveaway I'm doing. You could win a signed copy of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US!!

Now down to business.

When I've read complementary MG books with a female main character (i.e. CONFECTIONATELY YOURS, THE TOTAL TRAGEDY OF A GIRL NAMED HAMLET, the later books of YOURS TRULY, LUCY B. PARKER, etc.), there has been a reoccurring theme.

The main character gets in a lot of bad situations, but the character is too perfect.

Let's use CONFECTIONATELY YOURS for our example. And I'm not hating on CONFECTIONATELY YOURS- I think the first one was spot-on and I related Hayley's views and how she dealt with a lot of the craziness going on in her life.  But by the fourth book, she seemed weak. There weren't any flaws in her anymore.  She suddenly stopped biting her nails and she didn't seem to struggle in school AT ALL. All her troubles seemed to come from relationships.

That's great, but you need the reader to relate to the character. And we all have flaws. So give the main character some flaws so we can really get her.  Plus, these "shiny" characters aren't so fun to read about because they seem unrealistic and fake.

(Oh, and by the way, if you are going to make your main character have an amazing hidden talent, please don't let it be giving good advice and then have them get a column in the school newspaper. That has been so overdone.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quick Review of Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

I'm trying to get more posts out there, so here is another quick review!

Ta da!
Goodreads says:
Greg Kenton has always had a natural talent for making money -- despite the annoying rivalry of his neighbor Maura Shaw. Then, just before sixth grade, Greg makes a discovery: Almost every kid at school has an extra quarter or two to spend almost every day.
Multiply a few quarters by a few hundred kids, and for Greg, school suddenly looks like a giant piggy bank. All he needs is the right hammer to crack it open. Candy and gum? Little toys? Sure, kids would love to buy stuff like that at school. But would teachers and the principal permit it? Not likely.
But how about comic books? Comic books might work. Especially the chunky little ones that Greg writes and illustrates himself. Because everybody knows that school always encourages reading and writing and creativity and individual initiative, right?
In this funny and timely novel, Andrew Clements again holds up a mirror to real life, and invites young readers to think about money, school, friendship, and what it means to be a success.


My review:
LUNCH MONEY is engaging and has a good story and good narration. However, it is not one of Mr. Clement's better works.
The characters feel unrealistic and the plot has no twists or turns. It is obvious what is going to happen next.
Not one I would recommend, but it wasn't awful either.  3 out 5.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quick Review of Jumped In

I thought I'd do a quick review of a book I just finished. It is called JUMPED IN.

The cover:


Goodreads says:
Sam has the rules of slackerhood down: Don’t be late to class. Don’t ever look the teacher in the eye. Develop your blank stare. Since his mom left, he has become an expert in the art of slacking, especially since no one at his new school gets his intense passion for the music of the Pacific Northwest—Nirvana, Hole, Sleater-Kinney. Then his English teacher begins a slam poetry unit and Sam gets paired up with the daunting, scarred, clearly-a-gang-member Luis, who happens to sit next to him in every one of his classes. Slacking is no longer an option—Luis will destroy him. Told in Sam’s raw voice and interspersed with vivid poems, Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott is a stunning debut novel about differences, friendship, loss, and the power of words.

My review:
I can only say one thing about JUMPED IN: wow. It is a stunning story about growing- and this growth takes two paths. We follow Sam as he finds his own voice that has been quiet ever since his mom dumped him at his grandparents’ and disappeared. It is about letting go of the past and reaching out. And hope. Because the other character, Luis, tells his story in poems that reach forward into you as you learn about his life. His dad died in a gang fight and his brother follows his father's path.  He wishes to be something else, something different.  This book is sad but written with so much raw emotion and terrible beauty that I personally rank it right up there with WONDER and find it even better than COUNTING BY SEVENS. It is a remarkable, breathtaking story that is worthy of a 6 out of 5.

Monday, November 18, 2013

MMGM: The Royal Ranger (Book 12 of the Ranger's Apprentice books)

My promised MMGM!

First of all, I have this awesome GIVEAWAY going on for Kasie West's book, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US! Check it out!

 So back to THE ROYAL RANGER!


YAY!!!!
(I love the cover...the colors are so pretty!)

Goodreads says:
After a senseless tragedy destroys his life, Will is obsessed with punishing those responsible - even if it means leaving the Ranger Corps. His worried friends must find a way to stop him taking such a dark path.

It is Halt who suggests the solution: Will must take an apprentice. The candidate Halt has in mind surprises everyone - and it's a request Will cannot refuse.

Training a rebellious, unwilling apprentice is hard enough. But when a routine mission uncovers a shocking web of crime, Will must decide where his priorities lie - finishing his quest for revenge, or saving innocent lives?

John Flanagan makes a spectacular return to the world of Ranger's Apprentice - but what has happened since you last saw Will and his friends might shock you!
My review:
I was surprised when I heard that another Ranger's Apprentice book was coming out. After all, THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA, was called "the final battle".  
I am a fan of John Flanagan. I received the first Ranger's Apprentice book as a birthday gift and I was hooked.  
I really liked the plot and the writing. It was great, as usual. But I didn't like how Will morphed into Halt in a way- his actions mirrored those of Halt's in the earlier books.  I liked my Will, who was young and spry and had no grey hairs. I wasn't ready for him to change in the ways he did. Because of this, I'd say 4 out of 5.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hi again!

I'm not doing anything special this post- just checking in with those of you who are checking it often. Because you guys are AWESOME!!

I'm trying to do at least one post a week, which I know is "death" when you are starting a blog. You are supposed to do a post a day this early.  But I've been swamped lately in work, so I'm super sorry that I'm not updating often. But there is an awesome contest going on! And I currently have um... zero some entries. Which is very sad.  Because it is a cool prize!!

Check it out here.

I'll hopefully have a MMGM for you guys.  And please keep checking back and commenting. It means so much to me when you do.

Thanks for checking me out!!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Seeing Gail

On Tuesday, I went and saw Gail Carriger. She was great!  I stole this picture from her website:


I loved how she spent most of her time doing Q&A, which not only answered all of our questions, but also gave us an idea of who she was.

I have to share the titles of her Finishing School books; they are so good! 

Book 1: Etiquette & Espionage
Book 2: Curtsies &  Conspiracies
Book 3: Waistcoats & Weaponry
Book 4: Manners & Mutiny

Personally, book 3's title is my favorite.

If Gail is coming to a bookstore near you, go check it out! 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kasie West Interview and Giveaway!


Okay, today I have something really nice for you guys! Not only do I have reviews for you on Kasie West’s two awesome books, I also have an interview and giveaway!
Kasie West has written two books:

Pivot Point (PP)



The Distance Between Us




Goodreads on PP
Goodreads on Distance Between Us

The squeal to PP comes out in February 2014. It is called Split Second (SS). You can look at Goodreads over here.

The other books she has coming out soon are On the Fence and Fill In Boyfriend.
 

My quick review and summary of PP:


After Addie's parents spring the news of their divorce, she must chose who to live with. But Addie isn't your usual girl. She lives in a facility with all the others like her- those who have special mind powers. And Addie's power is the perfect thing in this case: she when she has to make a choice, she can look into the future and see the results of both paths.  But as her to paths each reap amazing rewards and deadly consequences, Addie's choice becomes harder and harder as she struggles to decide which path is the better of the two.

This is awesome. I loved how the two futures twisted together and they connected in so many different ways. The paranormal world is very believable and was very interesting to learn about. I also loved how the paranormal members referred to us “Norms”. Another bonus: the little word definitions before each chapter.

5 stars out of 5.

My quick review and summary of the Distance Between Us:

Her whole life, Caymen has lived in a town where half of the population is rich and the other half, including herself, lives to cater to their needs.  And she's learned not to trust the rich. But then she meets Xander, who might be the first person to ever really get her. But is Caymen ready to give up what she's been told so long and learn not to judge people based on the size of their bank account?

The story was great. It was very simple and very contemporary, but extremely addicting. The characters are realistic and the plot is exciting with lots of twists and turns.  This book is one I open up and read on a bad day or whenever I really just need a laugh.

I'll just say this: 5.5 out of 5.


Now for the...

Interview!


So Kasie, can you tell us three interesting things about you that people usually wouldn’t guess about you?

I don’t know if any of the three things I am about to impart will be “interesting” but they’ll have to do. ;)
If I’m awake and have to choose between sleeping or writing, I always choose writing. If I’m asleep and have to choose between continuing to sleep or writing, I always choose sleeping. Yes, my two favorite things are sleeping and writing. I wish I could do them both at the same time. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.
I always have to have my toenails painted. The brighter the color the better.
I’m afraid of heights. In a big way. Even when I watch other people on a high place, I have a physical reaction.

How did you get into writing? Was it love at first word or did you not discover it until you got a little older?

I didn’t get into writing until about 7 years ago. When I was a teenager, I loved to read (still do). I had no idea I liked to write until I came up with an idea and tried to write it. Then I was bit by the writing bug and couldn’t stop.

Who are your role models?

I’m a big Sarah Dessen fan. More recently I’ve fallen in love with Stephanie Perkins. Love Gayle Foreman. You know, I just love books. There are way too many to name. Books in general inspire me.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on my latest contemporary (that I just sold to HarperTeen) called The Fill-In Boyfriend. It’s a lot of fun. It’s about a girl who gets dumped in the parking lot of prom by a boy she was going to introduce to her friends for the first time. So then she has to snag a boy to be her “fill-in” date. It’s one of those “pretend to be my boyfriend for the night” type stories that I love so much.

Can you tell us a little about Split Second?

Split Second is the sequel to Pivot Point. It picks up where Pivot Point left off. Addie goes to visit her dad in Dallas. Of course she sees Trevor again but neither of them have their memories of each other. So we get to see them get to know each other again. This book has the added bonus of another POV character—Laila. Which means, of course, we have another cute boy.

Do you prefer writing contemporary (like Distance Between Us) or paranormal (like Pivot Point) more? Why?

I like them both so much. I’ve always been a contemporary fan at heart. So that’s why all my books, even my paranormals have a contemporary feel to them. But they both have their challenges. In contemporary, so much depends on the relationships and emotions of the characters. And sometimes that can be hard. Sometimes I find myself thinking, is this enough? Shouldn’t there be someone plotting to blow something up? And I have to remind myself that no, I don’t have to have that. As for paranormal, it’s always a struggle for me to build a whole new set of rules for the world created. So I find myself getting hung up on that. But in the end, I love both of them and hope I can continue writing both. At least for a while.

Can you tell us about your journey writing Pivot Point and The Distance Between Us?

Pivot Point took about 3 months to write and another 3 or 4 to edit. But then it took 6 months to find an agent with and another 3 months to sell to a publisher. While I was looking for an agent for PP, I wrote about half of The Distance Between Us. I had to set it aside after selling PP so I could work with my editor and work on the sequel. But later I revisited The Distance Between Us and realized I still loved it, so I finished it and my agent loved it as well.

Do you listen to songs while you write? If so, what are they? Do certain songs get you into a certain character’s head?

I love music. All kinds. But when I write, I need silence. If I have a song playing, I start singing the song and then I start writing the lyrics into my novel. It’s a mess. So yes, I listen to songs to be inspired, but not while I’m writing. Some of my favorite bands are The Fray, Maroon 5, Secondhand Serenade, Mayday Parade, etc.

Whose voice was harder to write, Caymen’s or Addie’s? Why?

Addie’s. And I’m not really sure why. Caymen came to me so easy. Maybe because she has the similar dry humor as my husband so it was easy to know what she’d say in a situation.

I loved both of your books. Which one do you think is more “personal”?

Well, neither of them are “closer to my life” or anything like that. But Pivot Point is probably more personal to me because that was the book that helped me become a published writer. That was the first book I wrote that I believed in so much that I put all my heart and soul into trying to get it out there. That was the book that any time it was rejected a piece of my heart broke. And then of course, that was the book when someone wanted to publish, my dream came true. So it was the first and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

What character is most like you?

I don’t really have a character that is most like me. They all get a little piece of me because I can’t help but bring my own life and experiences to the table when I write. But I don’t think any are me. My sister in law says that when she read The Distance Between Us she could hear me talking the whole time, but I don’t know, I don’t think I’m quite as cynical as Caymen.

If you had a power, what would it be?

The answer to this question changes on a daily basis depending on my needs for the day. Today I’ve been trying to move heavy furniture around so I’d love to be Telekinetic and be able to move it with my mind.

Which of the three boys- Xander, Trevor, and Duke- would you want to date?

What?? You’re going to make me choose? I can’t pick. They’re all my babies. ;) I like them all for different reasons. But if I only got one date, I might pick Xander, because, hello, he is super rich and can take me somewhere really cool.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

I love the JK Rowling quote (from Harry Potter): “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

And what would you tell people who want to become authors?

Don’t give up. Keep reading, keep writing, and keep trying. 

Thank you so much, Kasie!
 
Thanks for hosting me on your blog.


Now for the...

Giveaway!


I have a signed copy of The Distance Between Us and a Distance Between Us bookmark up for grabs.

The pictures are kind of awful (I used my phone), but:

 

Because I am getting NO views, I am doing something a little different!

The giveaway is broken up into two parts:

STEP NUMBER ONE:

You must:

·        -Post a link to The Reader’s Perch blog (thereadersperch.blogspot.com) on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or blog(s).  Each post is worth one entry, but if you post it in four places, I’ll give you an extra entry for being awesome.  If you do something creative, I’ll look at it so long as you make a note that it is a creative entry and judge how many entries it is worth. (If you made an epic YouTube trailer or something, I’ll love you forever and shower you in entries.)

·        -Post a comment somewhere on this blog. However, you only get one entry for ALL the comments. So five comments equal one entry. So does one comment.


STEP NUMBER TWO:

·        Fill out the form. If you don’t your entries don’t count!  If you are one of the first ten to enter, you will get a free extra entry! :) I can only take entries from within the United States. Sorry!
  This closes on December 1st, 2013 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.  Get your entries in!

     Here is the form! 

     Thanks so much for visiting my blog! This is my first time doing this sort of thing, so if there are any problems, please let me know! I'm still figuring it all out.