Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway: Teen Author Boot Camp

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Are you a writer? Do you dream of being one? Then you'll love this guest post from Writers Cubed. Once you've read all about the amazing Teen Author Boot Camp they're hosting, enter to win a free subscription to the event! It sounds really awesome. 

Hey everyone,
My name is Tahsha, and I’m a member of Writers Cubed. I’m here to talk about something I think is downright amazing:

Teenagers.

Particularly teenage authors.

Did you know that there are tons of teen writers out there? There are. And guess what? They are freaking good at writing! Good chance is you are one of those teen writers, or maybe you want to be but you’re hiding behind your facade of coolness, not believing that you actually have the skills to be a writer.

That was true for me (though I’m not a teenager-even though I act like one half the time.) I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t believe I could. In fact, I was embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be. Silly, I know.

Then I found an awesome writing group, (feel free to pause and go to our website if you want to know just how cool we are--I’ll wait for you.) and we started learning how to write together. We attended classes and conferences that taught us that there is more to writing then just romantic tension.

Guess what we discovered through the process? There wasn’t much available to help the super talented teenage writers that we were friends with. So, with our combined brain power, super awesomeness, and freaking hard work…

Voila!

TEEN AUTHOR BOOT CAMP WAS BORN!!!

The boot camp, held in Orem, UT, has been so popular in the past, that this year Writers Cubed wanted everyone out there a chance to be a part of it, even if you live in the middle-of-no-where and even if you are just a teenage wanna-be like me. So we are introducing the first EVER LiveStream of Teen Author Boot Camp.  

The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome

9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)

10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (JanitorsClass: Imagine and Create. 

10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair GodmotherClass: Bad dialogue can kill a story.

12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy)  Class: Plot Like a Villain.

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (FarworldClass: Finding Your Voice.

2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel:             Agent Amy Jameson & authors Chad Morris, Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett

3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings)   Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks.

If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine--haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.

To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit www.teenauthorbootcamp.com and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”

Stay tuned for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE on this blog.

Tahsha Wilson is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who created the Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. Please visit her website at www.writerscubed.com.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (73)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
1. Robin Benway
It's funny that this is today's topic, since I actually went to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Also Known As! Its release date has been marked on my calendar. (:

2. J.K. Rowling
As evidenced by my copy of The Casual Vacancy sitting on my shelf. (I haven't read it yet, but that's only because I'm waiting for a chunk of time where I can read it without interruption.)

3. Robin Palmer
I own all of her YA books and love them! I can't wait for her newest novel, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

4. John Green
Whatever he writes, I will buy it. Period.

5. Stephanie Perkins
She's going from love stories to a slasher novel and I'm definitely going to get it!

6. Libba Bray
She has written everything from historical to fantasy to contemporary satire and I love it all!

7. Kristin Cashore
If you've read the Graceling books, you understand.

8. A.S. King
Her books are AMAZING.

Just eight this week! There are a bunch of authors who have series or debuts that I love, but I decided to go with my longtime favorites for this post. Who are your auto-buy authors?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

Monday, February 25, 2013
Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Speak
Series: Standalone
Website: N/A
Source: Bought
"Jubilee Express": Jubilee, or "Julie" as she's known to her friends, had the perfect Christmas planned with her perfect boyfriend, Noah. But then her parents get arrested, her train to take her to Florida (where her grandparents are) breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm, and everything goes south. Well, until she meets a charming stranger in a local diner.
"A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle": It's the night before Christmas... and Tobin's parents can't make it home because of the raging snowstorm outside. The same snowstorm that has a whole squad of cheerleaders stuck in the local diner. It'd be ridiculous to try and head out... but Tobin's friend, JP, isn't going down without a fight. The Duke, or Angie as everyone else knows her, isn't so enthusiastic, but it will sure make for a great story.
"The Patron Saint of Pigs": Addie made a huge mistake, one that ruined her near-perfect relationship with Jeb. But instead of bemoaning her problems, she has to focus on a much more important dilemma: the well-being of an adorable teacup pig.

I'm glad I waited to read this in the winter. It's been a chilly couple of months where I am, so what better book to read than Let it Snow? It's fun, with all that wintry joy that comes with this time of the year. Don't expect anything particularly deep from it- this is a light, cheery collection from a group of very talented writers. I don't read many short stories, but Johnson, Green, and Myracle made them really enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the short story format made the first and last stories seemed rushed. The first, being Maureen Johnson's "Jubilee Express" has a very abrupt ending. More on that in a minute. The last, Lauren Myracle's "The Patron Saint if Pigs", doesn't have nearly enough development. If just a few more pages had been added to each, I feel the stories could have been much better, especially in the case of "Pigs." It's as though the story is supposed to go from Point A to B to C, but B is just glossed over.

This doesn't take away from the characters, though. The protagonists of each part of Let it Snow are all vibrant and quirky, nothing less than what I expected from these authors. There's Jubilee, the hilarious but insecure star of Maureen Johnson's story. Then there's Tobin, the slightly awkward but overall good guy in Jon Green's part. I really liked the Duke, Tobin's best friend, in this one. She is just so effortlessly cool. And then there's Addie, the self-centered but kindhearted main character of The Patron Saint of Pigs. One of my favorite aspects of these stories is that they all interconnect, so we get to see these characters interact with each other. We also get to see John Green's characters through the eyes of Addie, and she personifies them in this perfect quote: "he [Tobin] and all of his buddies were intimidatingly clever. The kind of clever that made me feel cheerleader-dumb, even though I wasn't a cheerleader, and even though I personally didn't think cheerleaders were dumb." (279-280)

One last note on the the characters: One character that is awesome and deserves to be mentioned is Tin Foil Guy. That's all I'm going to say. If you want to know more, you'll need to read the book yourself. :)

As for the romance, my favorite is the one in "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle." It's completely predictable, but it is still sweet and very natural. Conversely, the relationship in "The Jubilee Express" is far too rushed- I felt I could have gotten into it if it were a longer story, but it isn't very believable as it is. Addie and Jeb's story is okay, but despite the book's tagline ("Three Holiday Romances"), the focus isn't on their relationship. Jeb isn't even around for most of the story, although we see him in both Maureen Johnson's and John Green's. I actually liked that- it made the story a bit different, and the magical feel of "The Patron Saint of Pigs" is one of the things I liked best about it. There's just not enough time for Addie to have realistically grown as a character, like I said earlier.

Basically, this book is just a fun, feel-good read. Don't take it too seriously. It's meant for lazy days spent in your pajamas, with snow on your lawn and a mug of cocoa in your hand.
*3 stars*
Other Books by These Authors: Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Shine by Lauren Myracle
What is your favorite wintry read?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In My Mailbox (73)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!
As always, my apologies for the terrible photo quality.
In My Mailbox
From a Friend:
Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith
Wreck This Journal
It's really fun! I'm far from every finishing, but it's still really cool and creative!

Weekly Recap
Monday

Tuesday

Friday

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bookish Buys: Childhood Favorites

Friday, February 22, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.
Custom Peter Pan Canvas Sneaker
Peter Pan Kicks
These shoes are gorgeous. Although it's not shown here, there are quotes on the side!

A Wrinkle in Time Women's T-Shirt
A Wrinkle in Time Shirt
My first (and favorite) science-fiction novel.
Buy it here.


Nancy Drew Fabric
For those crafty people out there, I'm sure you could make something awesome out of this!
Buy it here.

Disney The Chronicles Of Narnia Susan Action Figure
Susan Action Figure
I had a bunch of Chronicles of Narnia action figures when I was little, including this one!
Buy it here.

What are some of your favorite childhood books? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (72)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Top Ten Favorite Fantasy/Realistic Fiction Characters
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
1. Katsa 
Her growth is what makes me love her so much. But it's also her independence and bravery.
Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
2. Karou
The fact that she's kick butt while still being in touch with her emotions endeared her to me automatically.

3. Anna
As soon as she made a dig at her father (who reminds me of a certain romance writer), I knew I'd love Anna and the French Kiss.
Anna and the French KissEvery Day
4. A
A said so many things that he seemed to have pulled straight from my own head. It's always incredible when you connect with a character like that.

5. Hermione
She's a know-it-all book nerd. While I like to think I've grown out of my know-it-all phase, my book nerd status remains.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Inkheart (Inkheart, #1)
6. Maggie
I wanted to be her. Seriously, if I could read myself into books, all of my dreams would come true!

7. Peter Pan
When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to go to Neverland. 
Peter PanAudrey, Wait!
8. Audrey
She's confident and cool, with excellent music taste.

9. Victoria
Her lists, her bluntness, her wit- everyone wants a best friend like Victoria.
Audrey, Wait!The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)
10. Elisa
I admire her for her strength and intelligence.

Who are your favorite characters?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

Monday, February 18, 2013
I'm exhausted.
This month has been crazy. Between school (and the million activities that come with it), work, and other obligations, I've only been getting through a book a week. (Which isn't terrible, but I can usually get through a 300 page book in a day or two, not seven.) And in the past few weeks, I've had so much reading material for school that I haven't read anything for pleasure. Trust me when I say that this has made me feel so off-balance. 

Last week, I still managed to have a Monday post by doing mini reviews. This week, though, I have nothing to speak of review-wise. (I'm all out of scheduled posts, unfortunately.) What I DO have is a book to finish in order to write a research paper, aforementioned research paper to write, a book to read for a writing competition, an essay to write for said writing competition, and a boatload of other assignments. Hopefully you understand why I have to take a 1 day blogging hiatus.

As far as I know, I'll have a review up next Monday, per usual. All other posts (TTT, Bookish Buys, IMM) will go up this week. I just need today.

Thank you all so much for understanding. I *HATE* missing even a single post. I'll see you tomorrow for Top Ten Tuesday!

Much love,
Sara

Sunday, February 17, 2013

In My Mailbox (72)

Sunday, February 17, 2013
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!
As always, my apologies for the terrible photo quality.
In My Mailbox
Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky
Won from Random Buzzers! Love the book sleeve it came in! 

Hysteria by Megan Miranda
I've been waiting for this book for MONTHS and I was lucky enough to win a signed copy from the author herself! Thank you so much, Ms. Miranda!

John Green BN gift card and TFIOS tattoos
My friend and I went to a nerdfighter gathering, which was awesome! The gift card was a prize for winning the John Green trivia challenge (what up!). Also, my laptop is now proudly tattooed. (:

Weekly Recap
Monday
The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)ReunitedCity of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

Tuesday

Friday

Hope you all had an awesome week!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bookish Buys: A Cheerful Selection

Friday, February 15, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.
Bookworm - 3 Colors
Bookworm Socks
These are so delightfully nerdy!

Team Don't Read Crappy books sweatshirt in Shades of Grey
Books Sweatshirt
I think all book lovers can agree that they're on this time.

I'd rather be READING! iPhone 5 Case
Reading Phone Case
Love the message and the color scheme!

Set Owl Bookends - eco-friendly by Maple Shade Kids
Owl Bookends
Owls are my favorite animal, so I LOVE these bookends!

Do any of these Bookish Buys catch your eye?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (71)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Top Ten Romances
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy
My love for them has been reignited by the Lizzie Bennet Diaries especially!
Pride and PrejudiceThe Fault in Our Stars
2. Hazel and Gus
Do I really need to explain this?

3. Ron and Hermione
They balance each other out so perfectly.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas (Piratica, #1)
4. Felix and Art
Spoiler: The last book never happened. I refuse to believe it happened.

5. Noah Shaw and Mara Dyer
They have their troubles but are always there for each other.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)
6. Katsa and Po
These two will forever be one of my favorite literary couples. Ever.

7. Tessa and Jem
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I LOVE Tessa and Jem. The only blemish is that she has feelings for Will, as well. :/
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)
8. Gemma and Kartik
Their romance is one I use to compare OTHER literary romances to.

9. Anna and Etienne
PERFECTION.
Anna and the French KissAudrey, Wait!
10. Audrey and James
He's so awkward and adorable! There's a mix CD involved! It makes my heart turn to mush!

Do we share any favorite couples?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rest of the Reads: The Kill Order, Reunited, City of Bones

Monday, February 11, 2013




The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)
Thanks to a CRAZY past few weeks, plus a ton of reading I have to do for school, I didn't get a chance to read anything for pleasure. (And I've been feeling so off my game because of it! I don't do well when I don't read!) So instead I'm going back and doing a few mini reviews!

The Kill Order by James Dashner (The Maze Runner #0.5)
Source: Random Buzzers

One of my most-anticipated books of the summer! Dashner didn't disappoint- there was plenty of action and survival. But the fact that it was a prequel kind of killed the suspense. Right from the bat, the reader knows it won't end well and knows what's going on with WICKED. Mark is a good guy, but I found myself missing Thomas. 
Rating: 4 stars

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
Source: Won from WORD for Teens- thanks!

Reunited
Music lovers, rejoice! This book is for you! I especially enjoyed it since the main characters discover the band when one of their older brothers makes them a CD. My brother did the same thing for me, and I still listen to a lot of those bands! (Guster, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20, Maroon 5, etc.) Each girl is very different, and they have a lot of history to cover. Their emotional journey takes place on a literal one- a road trip! (Which is nearly always awesome.) All in all, this book is a fun fast, read.
Rating: 4 stars

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Source: Library
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
To be honest, I was slightly disappointed. It's not that I'm not enjoying the TMI books, but The Infernal Devices are just SO good, and TMI is just... okay. Mainly, I felt bad for Simon while reading this. (I like Clary, but would it kill her to be a little nicer to him?) I can see why everybody loves Jace, but he's not my favorite fictional guy. Give me Will or Jem (Jem!) any day.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Have you read any (or all) of these books? Which one was your favorite?