Monday, June 30, 2014

Announcements/ Updates/ TBR

Hey Fantabulous Readers!

I have a few announcements and updates to share with you guys!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June Wrap-Up

Hey Fantabulous Readers,

I read a total of 12 books this month! Woohoo! And I made a video, so you should watch it, k thanks.

Dorothy Must Die | Danielle Paige

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I've been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

Non-Spoiler Review

Dorothy Must Die is a kick-butt book about a girl named Amy who travels to Oz in a tornado and is given the task to kill Dorothy, who, from the famous story, isn't as much of a hero as everyone thinks. She's turned Oz into a place of misery and despair. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love books with bad-butt female protagonists who have to overcome difficult odds to become successful. Amy was a great character and really enjoyed reading about her and her journey through Oz. 

If you enjoyed Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins, then you should definitely try Dorothy Must Die! 

Spoiler-Filled Review

The characters within this book were so well written. There were some characters I liked, some I hated and some I just didn't know how to feel about. We were really able to get inside of Amy's head and really feel what she felt, all the confusion and hesitation. 

I hated Madison from the beginning and completely hated how she dealt with the principal and how Amy got blamed for that entire fight. I hate when things like that happen in the books and the good guy is the one who gets in trouble. It makes me so mad. Gr. 

I loved the entire part when Amy was being trained just because even though Nox was there and even though it was quite obvious that they liked each other, neither strayed from the original plan and I love that. Generally, I'm also a huge fan of fighting/training scenes, when the protagonist is trained to fight. They're just epic and I love them. 

One thing that really blew my mind was that Pete was actually a girl. Halfway through the book I was spoiled, but it was still really weird and quite confusing, mostly since it was never fully explained. 

One thing I really really hate is that hesitation before killing Dorothy. Amy had at least three different chances to kill Dorothy but she always stopped just a little too long and her chance is gone. I understood why she stopped, but it was still frustrating since the book could have easily ended in the middle. 

This is the first book in a series and there are some things that I'm really looking forward to. I'm really hoping that Amy's real life and the life of Oz somehow get integrated. Maybe Dorothy escapes to the real world and gets involved with Madison and her mother and Amy has to control that situation and still kill Dorothy. I'm also looking for more progress in the relationship between Amy and Nox as well as an explanation to Pete and his/her disguise. 

Overall, I really did enjoy this book! I found it extremely similar to Rebel Belle, which was good considering I loved that book. What was your favorite scene in the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Words with an Author | Ted Galdi

Hey Fantabulous Readers,

        Today I got the chance to interview the awesome Ted Galdi, author of the upcoming book Elixir to be released in August 2014. 

1.     How did you get into writing? When did you first start writing?

I’ve always been into writing – even as a little kid scribbling out crayon-illustrated stories at my old dining room table.  I didn’t start “formally” writing though until I was about fifteen; screenwriting was my initial hook into it all.  I’d always been a big movie fan, so writing screenplays was a natural transition into it.  None of them actually wound up getting made into real movies, but it was still a good experience and eventually led to the novel writing today. 


2.     Where did you come up with the idea for Elixir? Who/ what is your inspiration?

At first, I just thought it would be a cool premise to base a book around an extremely intelligent kid who got thrown into wild situations against his will because of his intellect.  In the beginning though, there was no concrete story, only that premise.  After thinking about it for a few months, I had the idea to add the love-story element; this really made the flow of the book come together, since it gave Sean, the protagonist, something to fight for.  Inspiration-wise, my biggest influence when doing the “scenes” in the book was music.  I’m easily inspired by a good song.


3.     Are any of your characters based on people you actually know, if so which ones?

Nobody is based entirely on a real person I know.  However, there are definitely certain things about most of the characters that were inspired by real people I’ve come across; everyone from Sean all the way down to the bit-part characters.


4.     Have you written anything before Elixir?

Formally, just the screenplays, which I did when I was a teenager.  Once I got to college though – and then the business world afterward – my writing unfortunately went on pause.  I took a ten-year hiatus between screenwriting and breaking into novels.  It’s great to be back in that world though.  I really missed it.  I just had so much other stuff going on in my life during those years (school, starting a career, etc) that I wasn’t able to dedicate enough of myself to it to make it worthwhile.

5.     If you had to pick only five books from your bookshelf you could keep, what would they be?

Hmmm…The Catcher in the Rye.  Slaughterhouse-Five.  Liar’s Poker.  Rabbit at Rest.  Where the Wild Things Are.


6.  If you could pick one character from Elixir whose perspective (besides Sean) that you could write from, who would it be and why?

The old man who wakes him up at the foot of the Pantheon.  I don’t want to give anything away, but though that character plays a very small part in the actual story, he represents something much “larger,” which could make for some pretty interesting story perspectives.

7.  Who is your favorite character from any book and why?

Max from Where the Wild Things Are – he symbolizes the imaginative power we all have, which tends to sadly get muffled as we get older and things get in the way.  He reminds people they shouldn’t lose sight of that.    


8.   How long did the writing process take for Elixir? From conception of the story to final publication?

I came up with the premise in late 2012, then didn’t have the love-story idea for a good six months, which kick started the initial outline.  I started writing the actual chapters about a year ago.  All in all, it was around a year and a half.  I had a full-time job through the whole process though, so was only able to write on nights and weekends.  This made things kind of tough.  But I really enjoyed doing it, so the weird hours weren’t a problem.  


9.  Who are some of your favorite authors?

I really admire Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, and JD Salinger.  In terms of newer authors, I recently read A Visit from the Goon Squad, and like Jennifer Egan’s style a lot.

10. What actors/ actresses could you see playing the characters of your book?

I get asked this a lot about Sean.  Though there are some good young actors today, I haven’t seen enough of their stuff to be dead set on one person.  Ideally though, I tell people it would be a young Leonardo DiCaprio, from the Basketball Diaries days.


11.  How did you come up with the title and cover of Elixir? Did they morph as you wrote the book, or were they constant?

The title was constant.  It of course relates to the central conflict in the book – the search for a cure, or elixir, for Sean’s girlfriend, Natasha.  And the concept of a one-word noun was appealing to me; I think titles like that tend to grab attention.  So Elixir seemed fitting.  As for the cover, I live in Los Angeles and have friends who work in entertainment.  Luckily, I was able to get put in touch with a very talented artist who does promotional artwork for movies; she made the cover based on a terrible stick-figure sketch I drew.  It definitely has a cinematic feel to it, which I think is pretty cool.  Like the title, the design was constant through the whole process.

12. Are you planning to write any other books besides Elixir?

I absolutely want to write more books.   I loved writing Elixir.  As for what to do next, I’ve been thinking about three different ideas – one being an Elixir sequel – but haven’t decided on one yet. 


13.  What would your advice be to someone who's aspiring to be a writer?

Don’t try to force fit your story into a current “hot” trend or sub-genre because you think it’ll be easier to make money that way.  Write a story that means something to you on a personal level, no matter the business climate of the book industry at the time.  The authenticity will show, and you’ll ironically sell more copies than you would’ve by chasing a sales trend.


14.  Finally, just to wrap things up, what's your favorite color and why?

Blue.  Why?  That’s a really hard question, which I can’t honestly answer.  I just kind of like it.  Not a very climatic way for me to end this interview, but at least I didn’t make up some fake story about the color blue.  That just wouldn’t be right. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review Mashup: My Life Next Door and Everything Leads to You

Hey Fantabulous Readers!

I did another mashup review of:

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour

I really enjoyed both of these books, let me know what you guys thought in the comments below!

Elixir | Ted Galdi

Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. 

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. 

Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review Mashup: The Secret Diamond Sisters, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, We Were Liars

Hey Fantabulous Readers!

I decided to do a mashup review of three books I've read so far this month!
The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Haul #3

Hey Fantabulous Readers!

I got a bunch of new books that I got from BookCon and the bookstore, and I just wanted to show  you guys!

The Book Blogger Test

I've been tagged to do The Book Blogger Test by the lovely Emily from The YA's Nightstand


What are your top three book pet peeves? 

1. Dog-earring the pages. Like please don't fold my book. It's precious to me. 

2. When people lend me a hardcover with the jacket still on it. Or when people read with the jacket still on it. I'm not why, but this drives me nuts because the jacket is so easily damaged. 

3. When people get overly excited about books they've never heard of or read. Like they pretend they're part of the fandom and everything, but they're not. They're a fake.

Describe your perfect reading spot.

Literally anywhere I could get comfortable.

Tell us three book confessions. 

1. I have not yet read the Mortal Instruments/ Infernal Devices series. I have ordered the hardcover box sets of both though. But I have yet to read them...

2. I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan. *gasp* I know, I know. They're not bad books, I just never got into them the way other people did. 

3. I buy way more books than I can read. The more books I buy, the less books I read from my bookshelf. It's a horrible cycle.

When was the last time you cried for a book? 

Reading Where She Went by Gayle Forman last night.

How many books are on your bedside table? 

None. I usually don't put books on my bedside table, I put them on my desk, which currently has 6.

What is your favorite snack to eat while reading? 

To be completely honest, I'll eat anything.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone. 

1. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

2. All the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan

3. Swimming Through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase. 

Write how much books mean to you in three words. 

Freedom || Life || Adventure

What is your biggest reading secret? 

Hmm... I don't really have one. I guess people would be surprised to know that I read erotica. Like not consciously, but I won't not read a book because of intimate scenes. Although that's not really that secretive. 

Who I'm Tagging

Cindy from The Book Feels

Danielle from The Fangirl Existence

Ellen from Pottermorebooks

Sunday, June 15, 2014

If I Stay and Where She Went | Gayle Forman

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Non-Spoiler Review

If I Stay is a riveting novel about a girl, Mia Hall, who seems to be perfect. She has fantastic musical talent, a great family, and a loving boyfriend who admires her. But her life completely changes when she gets into a severe car accident and her entire family is instantly killed. As Mia experiences this out of body sensation, she must make a decision, whether to stay, or to go with the rest of her family. Where She Went is continuation from the end of the first book and is told in Adam's, Mia's boyfriend's, perspective. Personally, I enjoyed the first book much more than the second mainly because it was more heartfelt and emotional as opposed to Adam's constant anger within the second book. Although I wish there wasn't a change in perspective from the first book to the second. Once both books were over, I found myself wondering Mia's thoughts after the accident. But I also wanted to see Alex's perspective during the accident. Wanting more of each character's perspective just shows that it was a great book, leaving me wanting more. If this sounds interesting, I really do recommend it! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My BookCon Adventures!

Hey Fantabulous Readers!

I just wanted to take a couple minutes and tell you about my experience with BookCon!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June TBR

Hello Fantabulous Readers!

I was finally able to film my June TBR! Since it already is like halfway into June, I've read most of these books, but anyways, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

May Wrap-Up

Hello Fantabulous Readers!

Finally I was able to film my May Wrap-Up! Enjoy :D

Monday, June 2, 2014

Words with an Author: S. Elle Cameron

Hello Fantabulous Readers!
I hope you are having a wonderful day, because it's about to get even better! I got the chance to ask S. Elle Cameron, author of A Tragic Heart, a few questions about her latest book and career!

1. How did you get into writing? When did you first start writing? 

I seriously got into writing when I was in middle school. My teachers always took note of my writing skills when it came to creating stories and poetry so I was asked to join a writing program at a university not too far from my home where a selection of my poetry and short stories were published. I first started writing when I was about six or seven. I always wrote about my feelings, mostly through poetry and journal entries.

2. Where did you come up with the idea for A Tragic Heart? Who’s your inspiration? 

A Tragic Heart is sort of an autobiography for me. Most of the story came from my personal experiences and struggles as a teenager in high school & early college. I never thought to write a book until one day I heard a voice say “write a book and call it A Tragic Heart.” I had no idea what it would be about. I just had an idea of Mason in my head. The rest just followed. I wrote it within one month back in 2010 when I was only 18. My inspiration is more of a “what” than a “whom”. I would say music is my inspiration, especially music by Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.

3. Are any of your characters based on people you actually know, if so, which ones? 

Taylor is mostly me from high school and freshman year of college. It’s almost like Peyton was a prediction into my future because my current boyfriend of four years share a lot of similarities with him. It’s sort of funny. But my main idea is that Mason and Peyton are supposed to represent different sides/stages of life. They’re both so close yet so different.

4. Have you written anything before ATH? Published? Unpublished? 

A Tragic Heart is my first published novel. I guess it’s pretty much the starter point for the rest of my stories and novels. It’s the first thing I written of that length. I usually only wrote poetry and short journal entries (like Taylor).

5. If you had to pick only five books from your bookshelf you could keep, what would they be? 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Impulse, Clean, Thirteen Reasons Why, & Breaking Dawn

6. If you could go back and change anything in ATH, what would you change and why? 

I’m not really sure if I would change anything only because it was all meant to fall into place the way it did for a reason. For example, I rushed Mason and Taylor’s relationship to show how impulsive they both were and to show why we all should just take our time. It was also meant to show how fickle teenagers (and people in general) can be. Nothing good ever comes from rushing things. Also, I wanted people to know how much can happen/change in so little time.

7. Who is your favorite character from any book and why? 

Peyton from A Tragic Heart, because everything about him is unusual and mysterious; from the color of his hair to his attitude toward things. He’s pretty much easy to fall in love with in every way.

8. How long did the writing process take for ATH? From conception of the story to final publication.

The novel itself only took me one month to write. I sat for hours a day just writing as ideas popped into my head. After that, I let it sit for over three years until I decided to get it published in May of 2013. That process only took me a few months. The book was released September 27, 2013.

9. Who are some of your favorite authors? 

I really love Ellen Hopkins because she takes risks with her novels. She talks about things that most stray away from. Same goes for Stephen Chbosky & Jay Asher. I also like Lauren Oliver.

10. What actors/ actresses could you see playing the characters of your book? 

Danielle Campbell as Taylor, Chace Crawford as Peyton, and Wade Poezyn (I would choose Ian Somerhalder if he was younger) as Mason.

11. How did you come up with the title and cover of ATH? Did you have any say in the final cover? 

I randomly heard a voice; clear as day tell me the title. I had a more gruesome cover in mind but decided to tone it down because of my audience. I was actually able to give the complete idea for the cover. I wanted a human heart that looked like it was shattering like glass with cracks in the cover. It’s all meant to be symbolic. I’m huge on symbolism which is why a lot of the time people can miss the point of something I say or write. I’ve always been overdramatic that way.

12. Are you planning to write any more books besides ATH? What are some ideas you have?

I’ve actually written 3 more books and am about to start my 5th. My next book, RED (which is part 2 to A Tragic Heart) will be going through the editing process this July. I’m hoping for an October/November release. After that, I will release Turn It Off, which is the prequel to A Tragic Heart. It’s based entirely off of Peyton. It’s his personal story in detail since we only get to know bits and pieces of it in A Tragic Heart. All 3 books form a series that connect with one another and it all starts with Peyton. Everything will make sense after Turn It Off comes out. My other book is called Smoke & Mirrors (for now) and I have no idea when I’ll release that. It’s really risky (or risqué) for a young adult novel so it depends…

13. What would your advice be to someone who's aspiring to be a writer? 

Honestly, just to keep writing and put themselves out there. Self publish if you have to and try to write for blogs and other people as much as you can. Also, share everything you create, it makes putting yourself out there easier in the long run.

14. Finally, just to wrap things up, what's your favorite color and why?

Black is my favorite color (even though it’s technically a shade) probably because it represents mystery and sophistication. I try to incorporate the color on every cover for my novel (same goes for my wardrobe). When something is black it’s hard to tell what it really is…you have to search to find its true meaning (or maybe that’s me being overdramatic again).

Where to find S. Elle Cameron: 
Twitter: @SElleCameron