Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Be Yourself.

Let’s be honest, throughout life, especially in high school, there is so much pressure to be something or someone you’re not. High school students (and people in general) have so much pressure put on them to perform well, whether it be in sports, academics, etc. And to be honest, not all of the pressure comes from our peers, it also comes from our parents.

My advice? BE YOURSELF.

In everything that you do, whether that is playing sports, performing in the band, being in every AP and Honors class your school offers. Just BE YOU. So what if you like to read more than kicking a soccer ball or tossing a football around? So what if you enjoy chess and playing the cello? Who cares if you are covered in clay and paint from the art room? Do what YOU love to do.

If you get picked on for being you, that’s because the person picking on you probably isn’t be true to themselves and there is a VERY good chance that they are jealous of how happy you are.

And yes, I did mention the fact that our parents put a lot of pressure on us. What’s the best way to handle that? Well, that honestly depends on you and how your relationship with your parents is. Over the years, I’ve learned that throwing a tantrum, rolling the eyes, and the silent treatment just don’t work the way we hope they will. In fact, they give us the complete opposite results we hope for. Parents only want what’s best for us because they love us, care for us, and want us to succeed, but they do sometimes forget that we will and do make mistakes. Sit them down and talk to them. No, don’t yell, talk. Trust me, if you have a mature conversation with them, they’ll start treating you differently. It may take several conversations, but just be honest with them and show them that you are serious and just being yourself.

If it’s your friends who aren’t allowing you to be yourself, then maybe you should reevaluate their friendship. It sucks, trust me, but friends will come and friends will go. It’s only the true friends in your life who will stick by your side and allow for you to BE YOU.

Whatever you do in life, be honest and true to yourself. As long as you are being true to who YOU really are, you’ll be happy.

And if you need advice on how to handle peer pressure or anything else, I’m told I am a good listener. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monica's Mismatched Book Couples


If you don't know, I did this a while back on Julie's blog and I had a blast but one every week was a bit too much for me. Okay, so it was a lot for me. 

I'm Monica, by the way. *waves* So you probably want to know what this is ...
...this is where I take a YA book character and match them with another YA character from another book (although it doesn't haven't necessarily be from a book). It doesn't have to be ones we would think would go together, but more like a fun experiment to see two worlds colliding. After doing so I answer these questions:

1) Where would they go for their first date?

2) What would they eat?

3) Would there be a first kiss to go with the first date?

It's actually much harder than you think. I always see crossovers on Tumblr and I always think "I would have never thought of that" and then I have two of my favorite book/TV show/movie colliding. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

review and interview of REUNITED by Hilary Weisman Graham

This post was originally published on Julie's Blog

1 Concert 2,000 Miles 3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.
Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.
Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van know as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?
Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham was released June 12, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. You can buy your very own copy at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | or IndieBound

Ashelynn's Review:

First things first: I didn’t want to read Reunited when I first heard about it. I probably skimmed the cover and thought, “meh.” Which, guys, this happens to me a LOT. You would think by now I would learn, but alas, I haven’t  . . so when Julie asked me if I was willing to read Reunited, I was thinking er. . . and decided to read what Reunited was about and thought, “Oh hey, this book might be good!”

I was wrong. This book is AMAZING! One of my favorite books of 2012, I swear. (I keep saying that, but YO, SUCH A FANTASTIC BOOK.) I loved the relationship between the girls; I loved how real everything felt. It was one of those books were you wanted to experience the road trip with the girls—and trust me, I really want some sno cones right about now. YUM.

If you’re looking for a great contemporary read, I highly suggest Reunited. If you’re looking for a book about ex-friends getting back together, I highly suggest Reunited. If you’re a music lover, read Reunited. If you’re just a book lover, READ REUNITED. 

AND! The Interview:

(my questions are bolded; Hilary's are plain.)

Tell us a little about yourself that we wouldn’t know from your website/author bio.  
I’m a terrible singer, but I’ve never met a karaoke machine I didn’t like.  I love mangoes, watching 30 ROCK, and mountain biking, but not necessarily in that order.  In high school, there was a certain time period when my girlfriends and I referred to ourselves as the “Tikimomamas” and it drove our guy friends crazy because they never knew what it meant.  And I’m still not telling. ;)
I love mangoes, too! Eat them all the time. :) What was one of your favorite parts of writing REUNITED?
I really loved writing the scene at the swimming hole.  It’s night, the girls are stuck in the middle of the woods with a bunch of strangers, and Alice’s internal monologue alternates between sheer terror and total hilarity.   But, I think my favorite scene to write was the kissing scene in the van.  Though I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read it by revealing which of the girls finds romance on the road.
Ha! The swimming hole and kissing scene are great scenes. I was cracking up during the swimming hole scene. What was one of your favorite parts of the publishing process for REUNITED? 
Now that the book’s finally out, I’m really enjoying seeing REUNITED in stores all over the country, thanks to the photos shared by fans and friends.  But my favorite part about being a writer is getting to do what I love.
Music plays such a huge role in REUNITED and as I write these questions, I’m listening to Neon Trees—who is one of my favorite bands! What is your favorite song (or who is your favorite band) as of right now?  

The Neon Trees are great!  But my new musical obsession is Andrew Bird. It’s hard to believe I’ve been on the planet for this long without listening to him. 

Meant To Be
The Selection 
I love the cover for REUNITED—what is one of your favorite covers? (besides your own ;)) 
I really love the gorgeous covers for Kiera Cass’s THE SELECTION and Lauren Morrill’s MEANT TO BE (due out in November).
Those two covers are absolutely GORGEOUS. I love the book trailer for REUNITED, and since you are a writer-director, I’m curious: did you direct the book trailer? Or what was your role in the making of the trailer?
Level 2
 Yes! I did write and direct the book trailer, for a budget of exactly zero dollars, I’m   proud to say. Actually, I did buy lunch for the older girls and I think I spent seventeen bucks on the blue wig. ;) But my former career as a filmmaker definitely came in handy.
And the final question: what are you currently reading? 
I just finished reading an ARC of LEVEL 2 by Lenore Appelhans (due out in January) and I’m about to crack open an ARC of SKINNY (due out in October) by Donna Cooner tonight.  

Okay, I'm super jealous of all the people getting to read LEVEL 2. That book is HIGH on the wishlist! Thanks, Hilary, for allowing me to interview you!

About Hilary Weisman Graham:

Hilary Weisman Graham is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and novelist.  She lives in rural New Hampshire with her husband and son, roughly thirty minutes away from the nearest grocery store. 

You can check her out on the web at: Simon & Schuster Author Page | website | blog | facebook | goodreads | twitter 

And did you know that Level3 has a website? TRUE STORY! You can download their songs, too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

review and interview of Torn Trilogy by Erica O'Rourke

This post was originally published on Julie's blog

Everyone has secrets.Even best friends.
Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend's murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo—quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo—will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she'll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys—protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc. One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?
 Torn by Erica O'Rourke was released June 28, 2011 by Kensington Teen. Tangled, book two, and Bound, book three, are out, too. You can buy your very own copy of the trilogy at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Ashelynn's Review:

Kensington sent me a copy of TORN back in June, 2011, and I really, really loved it. I loved how it was unique to most YA paranormals out there--and it still is. There are mob and magic stories, and there's Chosen One stories, but TORN has a unique perspective: Mo isn't the chosen one, her best friend was. But now Mo steps up to the plate to save both worlds.

This entire series is amazing. I love it and hope more people would discover it! But remember: I was team Colin first. :) He's MINE. (if you want to read my full review written back in 2011, go here!)

The Interview:

Tell us a little about yourself that we wouldn’t know from your website/author bio.

Hmn…well, despite the state of my house, which is so messy it’s likely to be declared a FEMA emergency any day now, I love organizing things. Closets, bookshelves, filing cabinets…there is something about having the bare minimum of stuff, perfectly organized, that makes me profoundly happy. Which kind of begs the question: why isn’t my house tidier? It is a mystery for the ages.

 I am the same way! I love being organized, but keeping a house clean? No thank you. I love the Torn Trilogy, especially Colin *dreamy sigh* What was one of your favorite parts of writing the trilogy?

Oh, Colin. He IS swoony, isn’t he? Writing the boys was definitely one of my favorite parts. They were both so complicated and difficult and damaged and compelling to me, in very different ways, that writing them was always a treat.

Colin and Luc. <3 What about one of your favorite publishing parts of the trilogy?

Talking to readers. I am by nature a pretty chatty person, and talking books is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s still a little surreal any time someone wants to talk with me about Mo or which boy they like or why they love Uncle Billy even though he’s rotten. But it’s the very best kind of surreal.

What I really love is how real both places are—Chicago and Louisiana. Since you live near Chicago, I understand that it was (probably) a little bit easier to bring it to life, but what about Louisiana? Did you travel there before writing TORN? Or after? Or was it all just a Google experience?

Chicago was definitely easier to write from a geographical perspective. I’ve long been a fan of New Orleans, though, so I’ve read a lot about it, especially stories and articles focused on post-Katrina Louisiana. My husband and I went there for a visit while I was writing TANGLED, and it was incredible. I’m desperate to go back – I keep hinting that it would be a wonderful birthday gift, but I’m not sure he’s on board yet.

What is your favorite cover of the three? I think mine is BOUND, since I love green, but I also really love TORN.

Definitely BOUND – green is one of my favorite colors, and Mo looks a little less “magical” in that cover. Every time I go on a school visit, I ALWAYS get two questions: “Is the girl on the cover of TANGLED Demi Lovato?” and “Can you get her phone number?” (No to both, by the way.)
Holy crap, I never noticed that, but SHE DOES LOOK LIKE DEMI LOVATO. Okay, a question NOT about the Torn Trilogy—you recently sold another series (YAYAY, congrats!) can you tell us a little bit more about besides the publisher’s marketplace description? ALSO I am so excited to meet this new boy! Is it 2013 yet?

Thank you! I’m so excited about DISSONANCE, but I’ve got lots of work ahead of me, so 2013 can take its sweet time. As the PM description says, it’s about a girl who has the ability to move through alternate universes, and she falls for a different version of the same guy in each one. It’s more “soft sci-fi” or speculative than it is paranormal – Delancey’s ability to walk to these parallel worlds is genetic and science-based, not magical. Del is a lot different than Mo: she’s much more outspoken, and she wants people to notice her. I can’t wait for you to meet Simon – all the versions of him! It’s great fun – and a huge challenge – to create a character like this, who’s different in each world but at the same time, always himself.

Oh, my, I can't wait! <3 Anddd final question: what are you currently reading? Or what have you recently finished that you LOVED?

Let’s see: I just finished MOTHERSHIP, by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal, and it was hilarious – very different from anything I’ve read lately, with tons of snark and attitude, but at the same time, very touching. I’ve heard it described as Juno meets Aliens, and that’s pretty accurate.

On an entirely different note, I recently read Morgan Matson’s SECOND CHANCE SUMMER. It was devastatingly brilliant. Beautiful prose and such fully-realized characters, and I bawled my eyes out. It was a good cry, though.

I was also lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Sarah Fine’s SANCTUM, which comes out this fall, and loved it – a very dark and twisty story with one of the strongest heroines I’ve read in ages.

Yes, SANCTUM! I'm dying to read that one--lucky for me, it's on its way to me! Yay! Thank you so much, Erica!