Friday, October 29, 2010

How To Be Popular Book 38

Yep! 38 book reviews into my project and a passion for YA and this is my first Cabot book. It was a good one.

Stephanie Landry is a social pariah in high school and desperately wants to be popular. Partly because she's just tired of being the butt of everyone's jokes and partly because she is obsessed with a popular guy and need to be popular so he'll notice her. She finds a book in her best friend's grandmother's attic and thinks it's her ticket to popularity. With her new tool, she sets out on a mission.

The thing is Steph's book makes it seem like popular people are nice, respectful people and that's what it takes to be popular. She finds out that's not always the case. Although, she makes a comment that using those tips would make you popular. I think anyone who has ever been to high school could tell you that isn't always true.

I really liked the book. It's a light read. I even laughed out loud a couple of times. I loved the voice and found most of the characters easy to relate to, because you've either been one of these characters or you've known them. The one thing I didn't like was that I was pretty sure how would end from the beginning. But even that didn't bother me because getting to the end was a fun ride.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wed & Writing: Falls

I had a severe case of pneumonia as a small child. It caused a bit of inner ear damage, which as you probably know contributes to your sense of equilibrium. The damage contributed greatly to mine. However, I grew up in the sticks, literally. I periodically had purple hair and sometimes wore a gold necklace cascading onto my forehead from a Pebbles ponytail on top of my head. (I thought it was cute. In the sticks I was labeled a problem child in need of attention--mind you I never actually got in trouble--not only by the grown ups but my peers). So since I wanted attention and couldn't walk in a straight line, you can a) imagine my social standing b) understand that every time I fell on my face (which due to the middle ear damage was more than once) people accused me of purposely falling for attention. (People are great in small towns, what can I say).

But we don't care, because I graduated early and blew that town. Fortunately, I did this right after the blue braces and several pounds came off. I was glamorous. (It only lasted for a year or two but hey, it happened to be the year I started college). This was a new start. No one knew I had purple hair or wore a necklace on my ponytail. I wouldn't even need purple hair to make people look at me. This was my one year to be glamorous. Who cares if I was a reject in hs I was going to be cool in college. I set off to be cool, an "it" girl.

It was the first day of school, I had ballet on one side of campus (right behind Greek Row) and then one hour for lunch on the other opposite side of campus before algebra, every English majors favorite subject. I could have skipped lunch. I wouldn't have minded, but I was supposed to meet my roommate and her friends. (Being that I was six years younger than most of them, should have been in high school and would graduate sooner than a lot of them, they already hated me). I seriously didn't need to add to it. I must be punctual! I ran from the ballet studio down Greek Row. I'm not sure what happened, but me and my curls did a cartwheel through the air and landed on the concrete, with ripped jeans and bleeding where a frat boy scraped me off the ground and asked me if I could walk. (At least, he didn't accuse me of wanting attention). First day of school, needless to say social standing experienced no change.

Now I'm a grown up. My one to two years of gloriousness has long since passed. I have dealt with this. I'm almost comfortable in my own skin. I don't need acceptance (except on days when I do). Friday I walked from the building that I work in to another building owned by the job and I'm not sure how it happened. But I found myself laying on my stomach with a face full of concrete, recyclable to go coffee cup shattered just out of my reach. As I'm laying there, inching my mouth away from the cement I have two thoughts. 1) Does this ever quit happening? Seriously. 2)This is like writing. You fall. You get up again. You keep falling and you keep getting up again. It's a continual process. How many times must you eat a face full of concrete before you have a manuscript that struts its grace? I seriously don't know, but I hope it happens before my social standing changes! I think the more important question is do you have what it takes to walk back to the dorm in the ripped jeans and do it all again tomorrow. The thing about a less than balanced equilibrium is you develop a thick skin. I'll get up again when I fall. What about you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beautiful Darkness Book 37

First a reminder you can win an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness here.

If you're read Beautiful Creatures you know it had a rather open ending, and you probably like me, were counting down the days to the release of Beautiful Darkness. The sequel totally lived up to the expectations set by the first book in this series. The thing I love about these books is that while the romance is very stong, it's not the whole book. There is so much more going on, the struggles of good and evil and the both protagonists' struggle to find their identity. Identity--another thing I love about these books. Very often, in a series you have one book with a very strong theme and the next either has a completely different theme or no theme at all. Beautiful Creatures had a strong theme of identity mostly shown through Lena's struggle to claim herself. Beautiful Darkness continues that theme mostly through Ethan's struggle to determine where he fits in a universe where he's more or less rejected by and rejects the mortals and cannot be supernatural, but doesn't abandon Lena's need to claim herself.

I've said more than once that if Twilight is a love story with vampires, The Caster Chronicles is a magic story with love. That's one thing I absolutely love about this series. The romance is up to par with paranormal romances but the magic is so strongly weaven in that I think it could appeal to others, like my husband, as well. I've also enjoyed that Beautiful Darkness was from Ethan's perspective. I know the first one was as well, but that didn't matter to me. Lena isn't really a girly girl and it was a new relationship. I don't think either perspective would have changed the story that much. But this book was more about the struggles of maintaing a relationship and the feelings you experience when you lose someone you love. I think from a girl's perspective it would have been annoying, sorry. (I will own up to my political incorrectness). Finally, my last brag for this book is that I do not think it was a filler. The story unfolded, not the way I expected it to, but was an authentic story. There was a need for  a sequel the way the first one ended which supported the authenticity.

What I didn't like--the end. Yep, I said it. The book wasn't a filler the end sets up a filler. Lena's claimed herself, but messed up the order of things setting up one sequel. This was skillfully tied in and did not bother me. The claiming moon was called out of season and with the choice she made, there is still the need for a sequel. But some other things happened in the last ten pages that I felt was really just to set up a sequel and served no other purpose. It makes me think the third book might be a filler. Of course, with the way this one ended I'll have to read it anyhow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful Darkness & Halloween Goodies

I have a very special Halloween treat for someone, an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness. 2 entries for old followers, 1 entry for new followers, 1 entry for fb, twitter, chrome, myspace, (though you can do all of these multiple days and earn a new entry each new day) 2 entries for sidebar, blogroll, and blog shout-outs. The autographed book comes with some other goodies I snagged from the book event, like a keychain and pin. Contest ends on Halloween night!

And now I leave you with goody photos and pics of the signing:
Me with Anastacia Hopcus
Kami and Margie being interviewed by Anastacia

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday & Writing: What Writing Looks Like

Usually when I write it looks like me typing away on the pearly pink keys of my mini. This week writing has looked like a lot of things including but not limited to the following:

And like:
me: "I'm a scalar. Ask me what a scalar is."
Jennifer: "What's a scalar?"
me: "An object with mass but no direction. I'm a scalar, lots of mass but not much direction."
Jennifer: "It sounds like a dinosaur or some kind of reptile."

...which led to a whole lot of talk that my husband had to get involved in about scalars versus objects at rest. If a scalar were an object at rest, I would not be a scalar but since the house scientist says it's not I can still be a scalar.

Which led to my attempting to understand a scalar.
Jennifer: "If a car is going 70 mph down the highway and hits a brickwall"
me: "the driver dies?"
Jennifer: "Yes, but the speed is a scalar."

But I think I enjoy it when writing looks like this. I even think Emil's enjoying writing looking like this. And I'm starting to get attached to my new manuscript for the first time. So what  weird forms has writing taken for you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two for Tuesday

1. I met Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and Anastacia Hopcus Friday night. It was a lot of fun, a blast. Something about meeting successful people gives me the drive to be successful. I got some photos I wanted to post all about the event today. But being married to a genius comes at a price. You see I'm writing to you from a comp that I believe was probably originally constructed in the 90's. As  you can see it's still kicking. But not without flaws. Flaws a normal person would have kicked it to the curb for a long time ago. Flaws my nerdy husband finds endearing and rather than kicking it to the curb he just uses the opportunity to implore creativity. His creativity means for my pc to function it needs more extensions than an octopus. I know what you're thinking--Beth, what does any of this have to do with the Beautiful Darkness Tour. Well, one such extension is a black rectangular box with lots of slots for different cards. One such slot a perfect fit for my memory card. The problem is said extension seems to be MIA. Therefore, I can not post the pics. So I guess, all of our writing celebs must wait until a later date because let's face it: a picture is worth 1000 words.
2. Let's talk winners. (Something you're far more interested in, I'm sure). The winner of the hardback set of The Hunger Games is Jenn Draiker and the winner of Kiss of Death is Reading Lassie. (Sorry, Lassie I couldn't get the link to work). Please shoot me an email to so I can get your books to you.
This is really three but who cares. I have a special contest coming up which I will post as soon as I spot the rectangular box with lots of slots. I think you need to see this one to get the real effect. ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

5 things....

1. A desperate plea--if you haven't already done so and you want to be my bff pls go to vote for Phantom Fires. I have been pushed out of the top ten :(.
2. Reminder the contest is still open till midnight CST today. The prize is a hardback set of The Hunger Games with a runner up receiving Kiss of Death.
3. Lots of book events going on in A-town this weekend so I'm one incredibly busy with blogger...and since I just left the day job at the moment, one incredibly busy blogger w/ bad hair.
4. If you're still reading (which after that last comment u prolly are not, but if you are) there are Halloween treats to come so check me regularly ;). In fact, those of who have entered a previous contest on P-52 will especially love the Halloween Goody Contest I will be bringing you shortly.
5. If  #4 is going to matter, I must get to my book event.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday and Writing: What kind of writer are you?

What kind of writer are you? That question was asked on many blogs this summer, and it always seemed to come down to two answers: character writer or a plot writer. Character writers get a character in their head which compels them to write. Plot writers get a plot, a storyline if you will, in their head and create characters to play out the story.

I--I'm neither. That really bothered me, especially this summer. Because I've been writing less than a year. Lots of people in the blogosphere have been writing much longer than me. They know these things. I felt that if I were neither a character writer or a plot writer, maybe it meant I shouldn't be a writer.

I tend to be stubborn, so I just kept going, refusing to accept that. I'm glad I did. I figured it out. I'm a premise writer. I dreamed of a fire annihilating a man, and Phantom Fires came to be. I saw a girl meet the brother she didn't know she had and Chance Encounters was born.

When I started Phantom Fires I had no idea who the characters were. Though, I figured out what kind of people they were and who they symbolized for me as I watched them interact. I didn't know where the story would go. I kind of made it up, or watched it as I went along. It was fun that way. I figured things out about the time the reader will. The premise served as my muse.

Chance Encounters was a similar story. It's a bit more personal so I had a good idea who most of the characters were, but I didn't know them all. And I wasn't exactly sure how the story would come together. I'm only about 20,000 words into it. I think that means I haven't figured it all out yet. (In fact, I know it does). But it will come together. Because for me the concept makes the story.

Now I'm asking you. What kind of writer are you? Don't box yourself in. If you can only write while skydiving you're probably a skydiver writing. Most of us have something that triggers the process. I'm just interested in hearing what those somethings are. So what kind of writer are you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Summer of My German Soldier Book 36

I don't know. Maybe, I'm crazy. Maybe, I wouldn't know a good book if it slapped me in the face. Maybe, I should consider another profession. Because I have to say I was just a little disappointed in this book. Yet my little paperback is a 30th anniversary edition so obviously someone liked it!

It's the story of a Jewish girl helping a German POW escape officials after breaking out of a US war camp (yep, we had them too) in Arkansas. She's being held by some blonde guy on the cover. It's so adorable, really. (Except the male lead wasn't blonde and barely there so I've no clue what the blonde dude on the cover was about). She risked everything to help him find freedom. I bought a book expecting to find first love and real passion. Instead, I got abusive parents, racism, and anti-semitism.I got a government that prosecutes 12 year old girls for feeding the hungry and kills 22 year old med students for being drafted into the German military. I got a book bogged down with details in which nothing, NOTHING happened the way I wanted it to.

Now I have to be fair. It was heartrending. I'd be lying if I didn't say that. I felt bad for the POW because he didn't even agree with Hitler. I felt sorry for the girl because her parents were absolutely horrible. But seriously, had I realized all this I wouldn't have bought the book!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Climbing the Stairs Book 35/Contest Clarification

First of all, I think I may have left some things out of the contest post. I’m going to post them here for everyone to see and then I’ll leave a comment on my contest post as well. Contest is open till midnight CST on Oct. 15. It is also opened internationally (provided you can tell me how to mail these books to you)!
Now on to Climbing the Stairs. As the future parent of half Indian children I have to say I absolutely loved this book. It will definitely go into a box of things to be saved for the ELF (Emily Lace or Edward Laurent Fred). But I think even without my connection to the Indian culture I would have adored this book anyhow.

For the most part it was accurate in its depiction of Indian culture (though it depicted India in 1941 not today). Many things have stayed the same. The one major flaw I saw in this depiction of a Tamilian (South Indian) Brahmin (Hindu faith’s educated caste) family was that they had a dog. Today, in India people don’t keep pets and Brahmin still believe they are untouchable. In 1941 there is no way they would have had a dog. But this book was intended for an American YA audience and I think most people wouldn’t have picked up on that. I did, but I can ignore because she uses the dog to set up metaphors for the treatment of women in pre-WWII India throughout the book.

It’s a historical fiction with a great deal of accuracy. It’s an issue book that stays interesting as it explores the treatment of women, the impoverished and really even the disabled. Though what I really loved, was the romance. The back of the book described it as a fairytale with a Cinderella (Vidya) who was unable to see it when her Prince Charming tried to rescue her. So I would have loved for the romance to come in earlier, but when it did it was strong. The thing that made it interesting was that the author was able to paint the romance so well and the characters couldn’t touch! It was a very interesting choice. It was a necessary choice. Even today in South India public displays of affection are tabu. Still, it was an interesting choice. Having a romance with characters that can’t hold hands, a Prince Charming who can’t hold Cinderella while she cries. This has me questioning all kinds of things. As a writer do I rely too heavily on physical touches to display emotion? Does my culture rely too heavily on contact to display love?

In fairness, I have to say the writing seemed to be missing something. There were elements that could have been stronger, still it’s a great book to read.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Contest To Help me Get 50 Followers & Total Randomness

Hey guys I appreciate all the comment love and new followers but this contest ended on the 15th and the winner has already been announced. However, I'm running a new contest if you want to check that one out. It ends Halloween night and is for an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness.

Okay, let's start with randomness. I need help (in more ways than one)! I put a query up for my manuscript Phantom Fires and it needs votes, so if you have time and you like my letter could you please go to and give Phantom Fires a thumb up.

More randomness, I saw a post on Nathan's about the Prince Charming myth. Still convinced that Prince Charming is not a myth and I married him, I asked my husband:
 "Do you fantasize about rescuing me?"
Emil: "Yeah."
Me: "Really?"
Emil: "Huh?'
Me: "Do you fantasize about rescuing me?"
Emil: "You're not in trouble."
Then I start trying to tell him why I asked and before I can finish the sentence he says, "Shut-up. I'm trying to do something."
....Maybe Prince Charming is a myth! LOL.

AND NOW FOR THE FUN PART!!! I'm giving away a hardback set of  The Hunger Games and Kiss of Death (the latest Morganville Vampire). Leave me a comment on this post for 1 entry, tweet it for 1 entry, fb it for 1 entry, blog it 1entry, buzz it 1 entry, blog roll me for 2 entries. And of course followers get 1 entry. You can post on social networks multiple times for multiple entries. Please tally your points in the comment section of this post. I'll use to determine winners. The first name chosen will receive the The Hunger Games Trilogy and the second name will receive Kiss of Death.

Much thanks in advance!!!