Thursday, August 29, 2013

BOOKANSITAS: All Our Yesterdays

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I'm pretty tired of the same ol' same ol' books/plots that I keep on encountering. I was hoping this one would be different, but really I had little expectation aside from dystopian + time travel. Boy, was I wrong. This book is very different from what is out there, and just so fresh and such a treat to read! The plot moves along at a breakneck pace, and these are characters you truly care about. ALL of them, even the evil ones. I love when a book can make me care so much about the villain, and this one totally pulled it off. The relationships here are deep and complex and REAL. 

I also love time travel that explains itself well. I wasn't ever confused about how this time travel worked or was possible at all. And if a book is going to be about a future that sucks, I really care more about the characters than the world, and that's what we got here. Fantastic character development with the characters as the focus. This book was different and unexpected in all the right ways, and I can't wait for everyone else to experience it!

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

BOOKANISTAS Links and More!

Hi everyone! I know I've been silent lately, but school started yesterday and I've been trying to get myself back in a schedule and back on track. (And get used to waking up before 8:30am, which has not been easy.)

In the meantime, I have some links for you!

First of all, I was over on the OneFour KidLit blog yesterday introducing myself and talking a little bit about PUSH GIRL. Go check it out!

And, second, it's Bookanista day! No review from me today, but check out what all of the other Bookanistas are talking about:

Monday, August 12, 2013


This past weekend was my last trip of my travel-packed summer. I got on my last flight, woke up in my last hotel, and came home to my dog licking me like he hadn't seen me for months for the last time.

I'm sad that all of the fun I had planned for my summer is behind me, and I'm even more sad that it means that the school year is amping up now and I'm soon headed back to work. I'm also exhausted from weekend after weekend of packing up and heading out, so I'm ridiculously happy to be home for awhile where I can just BE.

Oh, the woes of an introvert who loves to travel. I'm packing it all in, but giving myself no time to recharge.

Here's a quick photo recap of my summer, going all the way back to June.

London and Dublin with my husband

Saw Once: The Musical
Went to the Harry Potter Studio
Had afternoon tea

Went to the Guinness Storehouse
Took an 11K hike around Howth

Dublin and Galway with the Spalding MFA program


Stayed at Trinity College
Saw the Book of Kells
Visited Clonmacnoise
Toured Oranmore Castle
Learned a lot

Quick stop in NYC

Saw some dear friends
Sweated my brains out
Had lunch with my editors

Vegas with my girlfriends

Got a cabana at the pool
Ate some delicious meals
Got all dressed up
Cheers-ed my book deal


Quality time with my favorite writer people
Dressed up as Cruella DeVil

Chicago for my friend's 30th birthday celebration

Architecture River Tour
Tons of good food
Met one of my favorite Twitter friends

In the middle of all of this, I also went to the fair several times, hit up a concert, went wine tasting, attended my sister-law's baby shower, went to some parties, and spent some time with an old friend who was in town.

Oh, and that whole book I've been working on, too.

While this summer was truly amazing, it has also been ridiculously exhausting. I'm not really looking forward to saying goodbye to my lazy trips to the park with Gunner in the mornings and my afternoon naps, I'm very happy to spend some time getting grounded again after all of this activity. I need it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

I continue to be impressed by the books Jessi Kirby is putting out! I think this one is my favorite so far because there is just so much going on -- self-discovery, romance, mystery, all woven expertly into one unputdownable book. Seriously...I read this all in one sitting!

What is so cool about this book is that it's a story within a story. There is the story of Parker and her journey of self-discovery in the last few weeks of her senior year of high school. Then there is also the story of Julianna, told through her journal that Parker finds. I was drawn to Julianna's story just as much as Parker's because both girls are at a crossroads -- the details of their stories are different, but both girls are trying to figure out who they are and what they want. 

Then there is the added mystery that Parker uncovers through the journal, which is very compelling as she starts digging for clues about what really happened to Julianna all those years ago. 

Jessi Kirby just writes perfect contemporary YA. It has everything you need for a satisfying story, and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:

Monday, August 5, 2013

The OC...10 Years Later

10 years ago today was the premiere of Fox's The OC. 

10 years ago today I was living steps from the sand in Newport Beach, and I couldn't imagine why anyone besides me and my friends would be interested in a show about Orange County. Of course, I was dying to watch it. I remember sitting in my living room while my best friend was on the phone with some dude. She was making a date for Tuesday night and I literally screamed at her, "You can't go out on Tuesday, it's the premiere of The OC!" 

I was particularly entertained by all the stuff about my home that they got so utterly WRONG. But that's the charm about shows (and books) that are set somewhere you are intimately familiar with. No one else but a local realizes that Ryan would have no need to drive through the freaking DESERT to get from Newport to Brea, or that that pier from the show is the Redondo pier and nothing like the Newport or Balboa piers whatsoever. 

Anyway, I went back to the blog I was keeping 10 years ago and found my initial posts about The OC.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Tonight is the night I have been waiting for...the premiere of The OC on Fox. I'm both intrigued and repulsed by this show. One one hand, I love trashy TV, and this looks like trash at it's best. On the other hand, not only do I live in "The OC", I live in Newport, which is where this show is supposed to take place and, from what I have seen of the previews, um, it doesn't look very accurate. Between this show and "Sorority Life" on MTV, my parents are really going to start wondering what I do with my spare time.
"This is how it's done in Orange County!"
Man, that is the best line ever. Followed only by:
"So, what do you think of Newport?"
"I think I could get in less trouble where I'm from..."
"You have no idea..."
Yes, threesomes in the bathroom, girls running around in their bras and panties, getting your ass kicked on the beach...yessir, this is how it's done in Orange County!
(To be fair, I never went to high school in Newport Beach, so maybe that's how the high school parties are. If they are...maybe I need to start hanging out with the high school kids...)

Wednesday, August 06, 2003
"The OC" Drinking Game
Whenever anyone says OC, Orange County or Newport
Anytime something is mentioned or shown that is actually IN Newport (i.e. Fashion Island)
Anytime someone says "Dude"
Whenever a surfboard is shown
Whenever a designer name is dropped
We played last night with Diet Coke and had to get up and pee at almost every commercial break. Next week we're playing with alcohol. Don't call me next Tuesday night...I don't know if I'll even be able to find my phone.
Man, this is going to be one show that I will love to hate. I know it's awful, but I thought it was great. Maybe because it's just SO over the top. I mean, what else is there to do on a Saturday in Newport besides taking the sail boat out on the water? That's what I was thinking of doing this weekend.
"I've gotta start remembering to know, in case there's a threesome going on in the bathroom."
I swear, I'm going to the wrong parties...
(BTW - If you go to The OC page on the FOX website they have a "Newport Beach Survival Guide". According to Fox, if you want to be part of the "inner circle" of Newport Beach you need the following things:
A new BMW or Mercedes (Hmm...don't have that...)
A cell phone in platinum or silver (okay, I do have that)
Stylish clothes (I think I'm doing okay with this one)
A part time job (I have a full time job! Score!)
(Oh wait, they said that one was a joke. nevermind...)
Credit Card (Okay, I have one of those, but only one, so I'm not that cool)
A pretty face (Eh...that's debatable)
A surfboard - whether you know how to use it or not (My roommate has one propped in the corner in our house...according to Fox that means instant cred!)

Oh man...reading my blog posts from a decade ago is pretty freaking entertaining. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: Dirty Little Secret

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

I love Jennifer Echols! I love all her books so much, and I was so excited when I heard that this newest one had a music focus. You know me and my music...I love it, and I loved a main character and a hot boy who were both musically talented. 

No one in YA is writing romance scenes like Jennifer Echols, you guys. They are hot, hot, hot, but they are also between awesome characters who are totally developed and interesting. Sam has a lot of issues, but so does Bailey, so they are a great pair with a ton of chemistry. One of my favorite scenes between them isn't even one of the makeout scenes, but one where they are playing music on stage together. Damn, she knows how to make a fiddle sexy.

Music + hot Jennifer Echols romance = you know its right up my alley. This newest one does not disappoint!

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...

Lenore Appelhans sings out for CODA by Emma Trevayne
Stasia Ward Kehoe admires ALL MEN OF GENIUS by Lev AC Rosen