Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bookanistas: Eleanor & Park

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

So, you guys know by now my love for books with Asian characters...specifically Asian boys. And even more specifically, Asian boy love interests. So, yeah, as soon as I found out that Park is Korean I knew I would be in love with this book. Park is Korean, you guys! He's the romantic interest! This is awesome and I absolutely love it. 

This book is all about first love...the slow, spinny way you fall for someone you don't want to fall for and the way it changes you from the inside out. The things you do for that love and the things that love makes you feel. This book captures all of those feelings, the good and the bad, and spreads them all over the pages. It's awesome, and it's full of The Feelings.  This is one of those books that makes you feel all giddy inside when you read it. 

And if that doesn't sell you on this book, lovers of love, look at that adorable cover! I's exactly what a cover should be. Perfect. Just like Park and his t-shirts and mix tapes and his guyliner. (Don't get me wrong...Eleanor is awesome, too. But PARK!)

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

Katy Upperman is thrilled with THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT

Carolina Valdez Miller celebrates new book deals

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bookanistas: Also Known As

Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. 

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover.

I've been Robin Benway's #1 fan for years now. Audrey, Wait! was one of my very favorite reads...pretty much ever. And I even have a blogger blurb on the paperback of April, May, and June. I've been waiting not-so-patiently for her newest release, and, let me tell you guys, it is totally worth all the waiting.

Robin Benway just rocks at voice. ROCKS IT. She is my voice inspiration every day I sit down and write. I'm not trying to copy her or anything...please. But, I think about her humor and how she is able to voice up almost every single line, and how she just owns her random humor, and it really gets me through some of the more ho-hum parts of my own writing. And she really brings her signature voice in this book. It's full of humor and randomness, my very favorite things about her books.

The highlight of the book for me was the character Roux, Maggie's first and best friend at her new school. Roux is...oh man, there aren't even words for the awesomeness of Roux. You just need to meet her for yourself. She sort of reminds me of a Paris Gellar-type for you Gilmore Girls fans, but less angry and more...Roux. She's awesome. You need to meet her.

This book was just so much fun. Spying. Mystery. Intrigue. High school. Cute boys and ice cream and New York, and, of course, Robin Benway's signature amazing, hilarious voice. I promise, you'll love it.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today:

Katy Upperman is mad about THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER

Tracy Banghart announces her new novel BY BLOOD

Monday, February 18, 2013


It looks like the Currently... post is making the rounds again, and it's a perfect time for me to rehash it, since I haven't checked in on the blog in a while.

(It's not that I haven't wanted to's just that I've lost a little bit of my mojo. And a lot of the things I want to talk about aren't really appropriate for public blogging, which is why my friends have been getting lots of long emails from me instead.)

Anyway, here's what I've been up to.


The gorgeous weather we had here this weekend. I know some people say they like seasons, but I am not one of those people. 85 degrees in February? Yes, please.


So far this month I have read these:

And I LOVED all of them! It's been a great month for reading.

Now, I just recently started this:
I've heard nothing but enthusiastic raves about this one, so I'm totally expecting to fall in love.


The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. As I'm sure any of you who follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram have noticed...I'm obsessed! This series has me squealing like a little girl, and it's pretty much all I want to talk or think about.

I never really considered watching it because I've never actually read Pride & Prejudice (I know, I know), but my lack of knowledge about the plot of the book hasn't hindered my enjoyment of the series AT ALL. And it doesn't hurt at all that the guys in the show are particularly yummy. You know me...I love some good eye candy. Nom nom.

I mean...come ON.
If you've considered starting to watch, now is the perfect time in the story to jump in and get caught up. It's right in the thick of the climax right now, and the delicious tension going on right now is almost too much to handle. I love it.

thinking about

My very last grad school packet for my first semester. It's due at the end of the month and then I'll be finished with my first semester. I've had the pleasure of working with Susan Campbell Bartoletti on my writing since July, and she's been so incredible to work with. It will be nice to not have to worry about sending in 50 pages of essays and writing in for awhile, but I am really going to miss working with Susan. She's incredible. I've had a really fantastic first semester at Spalding, and I can't wait to see what next semester has in store for me. (Hint: It kicks off in Ireland this summer.)


My two-week long Spring Break at the beginning of April. The days on the calendar can not be crossed out fast enough. I don't have any exciting plans or anything, just...two weeks off. TWO GLORIOUS WEEKS.

I actually have only about three months left until the end of the school year. I can't even tell you how happy this makes me. *counts down*


I have a lot of wishes out there in the universe, none of which I can really talk about publicly. Some are personal, some are professional, but all are very dear to my heart, and I am just closing my eyes and wishing with all of my might that this will be the year for me in all of these things.

I've had a lot of okay and meh and alright and passable in my life over the past few years, and I'm really hoping that 2013 will be the year of awesome.

(Of course, wishing for this kind of thing without any action to back it up is pretty pointless, so of course I'm doing that, too.)

making me happy

The answer to this one never changes. I love my fuzzy boy so much...he's the light of my life.

Sorry for being so MIA, everyone. How are you all doing?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bookanistas: The Reece Malcom List

Things I know about Reece Malcolm:

1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.

Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.

L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.

But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything?

This book is exactly what contemporary YA should be. Even more than that, it feels like it was written especially for me (or for Teen Jess, anyway), and I love that. 

First of all, you know I love me a hot guy, and this book had two. One for Teen Jess - Sai, the Indian/Chinese tall, hot-bodied, dorky, book-loving show-tune singer with great hear. And one for Old Jess - Brad, Reece's British, awesome in the kitchen, TV writer, band t-shirt wearing boyfriend. (I read a review where someone said she shipped Brad and Reece just as much as she shipped Devan and Sai. SO TRUE. I feel like in so many books the parents seem OLD and BORING, even to me, an old and boring old lady. But Brad and Reece were these awesome people you really did care about, even if you don't usually find yourself interested in the parent stories.)

This book is all about the relationships. Devan and Reece. Devan and her dead dad. Devan and the people at her new school. Devan and the best friend she left behind. Devan and Sai. Reece and Brad. Devan and Brad. All of these complicated, messy, confusing relationships built and built and built into this fascinating story about people you truly cared about. I didn't want this book to end. I wanted to move into Reece's guest room and keep living with these characters, because by the time this book was over, they felt like actual people to me. 

It might seem like it's a little niche because a lot of the story centers around Devan's performing arts school and show choir and putting on a musical. I promise, though, even if you aren't into these things, I think you will still be super into this book. (I say this as someone who IS into these things, but still...) Because at the heart of all of the singing and performing is a girl who wants to get to know her mom and get to know herself, and absolutely everyone can relate to that. 

Contemporary YA lovers, don't let this one pass you by. 

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to: 

Nikki Katz swoons over SCARLET

Katy Upperman  adores JUST ONE DAY

Stasia Ward Kehoe is ga-ga for GOING VINTAGE

Thursday, February 7, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: The Sea of Tranquility

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

So, I had never heard of this book before. That doesn't happen to me often, because I stay pretty tuned in to new releases through reading blogs, following a zillion people on Twitter, keeping tabs on, and all of that. There aren't too many book titles that I don't at least recognize. But when one of my friends said she was reading it and loving it, I couldn't believe it had slipped under my radar. 

After a little investigation I discovered it was actually originally a self-published book that got so much buzz that it was picked up by S&S for traditional release. So, right now you can only get this book in ebook format, but it will be on sale in physical copy in June. 

Anyway. This book. Oh man, this book. 

I don't even know where to begin with it. The rich, fully-formed characters? The slow-burn, completely developed in every way romance? The fantastic voice? The cast of multi-dimensional side characters I could read entire books about? (Drew, ILU!) The layers and layers and layers of this beautiful story that unfold piece by piece? I dont even know. This book has all of this and so much more, I don't even know how to talk about it without flailing my arms around and making high-pitched squealy noises. 

Fans of contemporary romance, or any well-developed stories with characters you will fall in love with and feel for: run, don't walk to this book. Now. If you don't have an ereader, buy one just so you can read this. Don't let the fact that you might not have heard of it before stop you. I promise, it will move you in so many different ways. 

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Katy Upperman  praises THE TRAGEDY PAPER

Debra Driza wonders at WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Stasia Ward Kehoe delves into OUT OF THE EASY