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My newest project

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been MIA on this blog for the past few months. I have a good reason for this. I’ve been working on a new project! This project is awesome for several reasons:

  • It did not require any revisions
  • It didn’t even require any writing, unless you count a few forms I had to fill out
  • Though I’m proud of ALL my WIPs, I’m definitely the most in love with this one
  • This project requires the most stressful character name search EVER.
  • This project took A LOT out of me. In fact, I was so exhausted from working on it that I had to change my bed time from 11pm to 7pm! That meant I slept through most of November sweeps! The horror!
  • Unlike my other writing projects, I had to change my diet a bit for this one. Usually I ingest lots of coffee to keep me awake for late night writing but this time I nearly cut out caffeine completely! And a few other things (like cold cuts).
  • Lastly, I usually do most of my writing and reading on my bus commute but I had to set that aside in favor of brainstorming, or more accurately, just sitting still.

But the best part is I already have an estimated pub date: July 4th (give or take 2 weeks). I can’t wait for the debut of this project (though I’m a little nervous about the delivery).

Here’s a special preview of my latest project. Please note, this is only a rough draft:

This photo was taken yesterday when I was exactly 3 1/2 months pregnant with my first child! Though I love my book babies, I’m pretty excited for this actual baby!

Now that I’ve gotten some energy back and can read on the bus again without getting nauseous, I’m planning to kick my writing into high gear and get as much done before the baby arrives this summer.

My husband and I plan to find out the sex of the baby as soon as possible, even if that means an elective gender scan. But there’s one thing I know for sure, I’m growing a future writer in here!

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Congrats to Jessica Love!!!

My friend and former roommate from SCBWI has amazing news! She signed with an agent!


A celebration is not really a celebration without a shirtless pic of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Look how happy he is for you!

Head on over to her blog and give her a shirtless pic of a vampire as a celebratory gesture!

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Bookanistas Review: Shatter Me

What It’s About:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but TheReestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices,Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

What I thought:

This book is gorgeous. I almost had a hard time reading it because I wanted to stop at every pretty sentence and pet it. The writing in this book blew me away. I absolutely loved the imagery and the way the emotions sizzled off the page using the imagery. The use of strikethroughs was perfect to show Juliette’s conflicting thoughts. I can’t wait to read through this book again so I can savor every sentence.

But obviously those sentences have a purpose and that purpose is an action-packed plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. I was with Juliette every step of the way, feeling what she was feeling. We meet her when she’s broken down, having been alone for hundreds of days, and we watch as she grows stronger over the course of the novel through daring escapes, hiding out on the run, infiltrating enemy areas, and oh yes, super hot steamy scenes.

Seriously, get yourself a fan as you read this because you’re going to need one! These are some of the hottest steamy scenes I’ve ever read in YA. I absolutely loved the chemistry between the two main characters and the way they were all over each other. Often the romance is very chaste in books I read, so this was a nice change of pace. I loved the passion between Adam and Juliette. And I loved Adam too. He’s definitely swoonworthy, and I bet lots of readers fall in love with him. But back off, he’s mine!

I won’t be surprised if this book hits all the big lists because it really has it all!


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Friday Five

1. I’m going to NEW YORK COMIC CON tomorrow and I CANNOT WAIT! It’s nerd heaven! I’m planning on going to a Buffy and Angel comic panel, meeting Spike (aka James Marsters, but really just Spike), attending a YA heroine panel and many other things.

Also, I am wearing a custom made Doctor Who shirt! Pics to follow.

If you see me there (among the other 100,000 attendees, say hello!)

2. As far as a writing update, I’m revising two books that are really close to being done. I just received some awesome notes on one of them from my agent and I cannot wait to implement her changes this weekend! I’m hoping to get both revised by end of October so I can participate in Nanowrimo.

3. I’ve been outlining my nano book for several months now, just here and there whenever plot points come to me. Now the book is pretty much all plotted out. I’m so excited about this book! I’ve been wanting to write this premise since I first conceived it when I was in high school. It was mostly just a premise and it took me a long time to find the right characters for the story. But I have them now and I HEART them. The book is sci-fi, so it’s a bit of a departure from my contemporaries, but hopefully in a good way, and this will definitely be the most challenging thing I’ve written. I love a good challenge!

4. I’m also excited because I found out my office is most likely sending me to the UK the last week in November! I mostly have to do work stuff while I’m there, but I also plan on kidnapping David Tennant. I’m taking requests for other cute British boys I should stow away in my suitcase home. I also hope to take home an accent and get rid of this American one I’ve been carrying around my whole life.

5. I can’t think of a number 5 so I will just say have a good weekend!

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Bookanista Review: THE FUTURE OF US

What it’s About:

It’s 1996, and less than half of all American high school studentshave ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on–and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

What I thought:

This book is set in high school in 1996. I was in high school in 1996. I was a freshman, not a senior, but I still related to everything the characters were going through at the time. I loved all the little references to that time period, like discmans, and oh those AOL CDs. I remember them fondly. I kept smiling as I was reading about all the small things I remembered. Beepers! Without a beeper, I would never have gotten picked up from after school activities!

While I was reading, I couldn’t help but imagine what my 1996-high-school self would find if she logged onto her future facebook account. In an experiment, I decided to see what my past-self would find. And, lol. The day I looked, I had just taken FB quizzes for Sailor Moon and Buffy. I was having a conversation with my high school best friend on my wall about meeting up with another high school friend. I had posted a snarky comment on one of my sister’s photos. Basically–NOTHING HAD CHANGED. In HS, I loved Sailor Moon and Buffy. Obviously I hung out with my HS friends all the time back then and making snarky comments to my sister was like my favorite past time!

Clearly this is why I was not the subject of the book. Emma and Josh have a much more exciting story that follows. I loved the way they were able to change their futures by altering small things in their presents, like how Emma decided she didn’t want a certain food and then her future self was eating a different meal. I also loved how one character got a future they wanted and the other didn’t. It was nice to see both sides of the story.

I also loved how the future presented a problem in the present for one of Emma’s friends and she had to make the decision about interfering and helping or not. I felt that gave both timelines a grounded perspective.

My only complaint was that the book lacked a reference to MY SO-CALLED LIFE. I can only assume this was an editing mistake that will be corrected in the final version. (I kid, I kid.)

I loved this read!


Elana Johnson offers a preview of upcoming awesome!
LiLa Roecker dances for Audition
Christine Fonseca is wowed by Witch Eyes
Beth Revis features a guest post by Darkfall author Janice Hardy
Carolina Valdez Miller steps up to Audition – with giveaway
Shana Silver contemplates The Future of Us
Carrie Harris is dazzled by Don’t Stop Now
Corrine Jackson celebrates the success of Epic Fail
Shelli Johannes-Wells is psyched for some swell book launches!

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Bookanistas Review: Shut Out

I adore Kody and I adore this book! I had the pleasure of listening to Kody read from it last night at the NYC Teen Author Night, and she was awesome!

It would have been more awesome if I had remembered to take pictures, but instead I’ve got an excellent review!


Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it’s acivil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy’s car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players’ girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won’t get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don’t count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.


I adored THE DUFF and this book is a perfect follow up to it. I love the way Kody plays with the theme of sex. And I also love how this book has a completely different take on the subject. While The Duff was about casual sex, this book is about withholding sex. I think they work as nice companions to one another.

I’m a huge fan of retellings, and though I haven’t read the original source material, I thought the idea to set this as a sex strike in high school was really clever. I empathized with Lissa wanting to end the rivalry so she doesn’t have to share her boyfriend with it or risk him getting hurt in the violent war. What a unique idea!

Lissa’s a strong character. She knows what she wants and goes to great lengths to get it. I really admired that about her. The supporting characters around her may seem more confident on the page, particularly Chloe, but I think deep down Lissa is the strongest of them all. (Except when she gets a weakness for a certain boy, but I was PERFECTLY FINE with that weakness. In fact, I wanted more more more!)

I loved the way girls from rival teams banded together for a common cause and not only that, they became friends. Though this is a story about sex as power, it’s also about girl power. Each of the girls who band together to strike had their own unique motivation for doing so and unique personality. Lissa must reunite with her ex-best friend, another causality of a past rivalry. And there’s Kelsey, who stomps onto the page and steals lots of scenes. I also loved quiet Mary, who was strong in her own morals.

But of course, there wouldn’t be a strike without boys, and well, the sexual tension between Lissa and Cash crackled off the page. He’s a worthy opponent in this love triangle, and I confess, I wanted the rivalry to end just so they could act on that tension!

Yay for a contemporary that rocks!


Elana Johnson is obsessed with Possess

Christine Fonseca twirls for Audition

Shannon Whitney Messenger is wowed by The White Assassin – with giveaway

Shelli Johannes-Wells applauds The Pledge

Beth Revis interviews The Girl of Fire & Thorns author Rae Carson

Carolina Valdez Miller delves into The Future of Us – with signed book giveaway

Shana Silver shouts out about Shut Out

Sarah Frances Hardy fancies You Will Be My Friend

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Thoughts on all the new shows

First, I’m going to the NYC TEEN AUTHOR NIGHT at the library tonight, so if you are going too, and see me, please say hello!

As you saw in my watching schedule, I watch a lot of TV. Here are some of my thoughts on the shows, in no particular order in the order I feel like discussing them in. I’ll post my thoughts on returning shows another day.



Everyone on my twitter feed seemed to be obsessed with this show, piquing my interest. After all, I like sci-fi, I like things involving time travel, I like watching entire series’ in a row like I did last year with Buffy and Angel, and I like British accents. I’d heard it was campy and so I went in expecting to be entertained but my reaction to end there. I was wrong. First, as you may be able to tell from my twitter feed, I became obsessed. So obsessed I am making a Doctor Who-themed outfit for New York Comic Con. So obsessed I think my husband is ready to divorce me if I mention my love for David Tennant one more time. But I also had an intense emotional reaction to the show. I cried several times, in many different episodes (Father’s Day, Doomsday, The End of Time, etc). I sat on the edge of my seat, not even daring to breathe during the intense episodes (Midnight, Silence in the Library, the End of Time, The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone). And I was also impressed. Some of the writing on that show, particularly Stephen Moffat’s episodes, are brilliant. The end of Doomsday competes with Buffy’s Becoming Part 2 as the best cliffhanger ever (and both are similar in the way they end). I thought the mystery solutions in some episodes were clever and unexpected, and it’s hard to take me by surprise with mysteries (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, Blink, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead). Oh there are just too many to name!

Also, have I mentioned how much I am in love with David Tennant? I was devastated when my coworker went to the UK office for work last week and didn’t smuggle him back in her suitcase like I had requested (however, she did bring me a mini-TARDIS, so she redeemed herself).

I’m only in the middle of Series 5 right now, and every time I watch a new episode, I experience the loss of David Tennant once again. I mean, I know Matt Smith is going to be the Doctor, but I still get jarred at seeing him. That being said, I think Amy is my fave companion, so there’s that. I’m hoping to catch up to the rest of the world by Comic Con next week, though that still may not be possible due to the gazillion of other shows I watch and revisions that need tending to.

I’m interested in watching TORCHWOOD but afraid it’s too violent for me. Thoughts?


Suprisingly, this ended up being my absolute favorite pilot so far. I haven’tseen the 2nd episode yet (since it doesn’t air until tonight), so I don’t know if it will live up to the bar it set in Episode 1, but I adored it. The voice crackled off the screen with the kind of humor I just adore. My favorite part of the episode was when the father and daughter sat silently across each other at the dinner table and the voice over said, “Dad and I expressed our feelings through passive-aggressive reference books.” The daughter was reading How to Become an Emancipated Minor and Dad was reading Is Adoption For You? Awesome! I’m really looking forward to the second episode.


I have a thing for witches. The movie THE CRAFT is in my all-time top five movies ever (and honestly, it’s a feat in itself that I ever watched it in the first place because I hate scary things and that movie came out before I had a trusty Kids In Mind website to tell me if the movie would be too scary/violent for wimpy Shana (yes, I know that website is for parents, but I considering I have the violence-tolerance of a 7-year-old, it works for me too). ) Anyway, I like witches. I like mysteries. I like when parents are evil. So naturally I like this show. That being said, I do think there are places it’s lacking. Particularly in the way of character development. I don’t know ANYTHING about the protagonist Cassie and frankly, she keeps coming off as a bitch. I don’t like her yet, and I feel like I should like the protagonist by this point. That being said, this seems to be a common flaw in Kevin Williamson’s shows for me. I didn’t like Elena at all during season 1 of Vampire Diaries and now I adore her and think she’s fabulous. So I have faith that eventually I’ll grow to know and love Cassie, but right now her only purpose seems to be to oppose the witches without a good reason to do so. Yes, her mother didn’t want her involved and I know that’s what’s driving Cassie, but that’s the ONLY thing I know about Cassie. I want more.


Image from one of the scenes cut I had watched them film

As I previously mentioned, I went to the taping of the second episode when I was in LA for SCBWI LA. That experience was awesome, I am so glad I went, and I found watching the episode that aired to be an interesting lesson in revision. When I was on set, they would do a take, then pause to rewrite all the punchlines. Literally rewriting them on the spot with all the writers huddling together. They usually did 2 or 3 different takes of punch lines, but the jokes always had the same set up. So it was cool to see which jokes made it on air. And it was cool to see which darlings got killed. Entire scenes (that I thought were funny) were axed from the final edit. One scene that I thought wasn’t working ended up being reshot entirely with all new jokes–and since it hadn’t been reshot the night I was on set, it must have happened later. They did, however, sometimes choose jokes I thought were subpar to others.

I know this show has no concept of what hipsters and Brooklyn is really like, but I do find it funny and I think both actresses are great. Plus, I like a lot of the writers involved.


I really didn’t want to like this. Most of the reason for the rewrites of 2 Broke Girls was because Whitney arrived on set and nixed every joke already in the script. I feel annoyed that I actually liked her show. The problem is, I related to it. It’s about a couple happy unmarried. That had been me and my husband for, oh, seven years before we tied the knot. The last episode involved Whitney realizing the two of them never had a first date and so they make up for lost times by doing the whole First Date thing/not calling right away/dressing sexy to make him want her. And the thing is…my husband and I never really had a first date! We started as platonic roommates. So…I found myself identifying with her. And with utter horror I went to watch the latest episode on my DVR only to realize I had already watched it…and I was upset I didn’t have a new one to watch! Gah. That’s how I know I like something, when I look forward to it.



I do think this show gets better with every episode, and I haven’t seen lastnight’s yet. At first, I was really only watching for the cast. Buffy back on TV? Yes please! The hot guy from LIFE UNEXPECTED (and short lived VALENTINE, a show only my sister and I watched it seems based on the ratings)? YES! Non-aging Richard Alpert from LOST? Sure. Logan Echolls on his way? YES YES YES. That’s what was keeping me going despite the show’s obvious problems, and it’s horrible visual effects and compositing (something I used to do for a living) is the least of them. The real problem is this show lies too much on Mystery! and Dangerous (and highly unlikely) Situations! that it sacrifices character likability. Our protagonist is someone whose twin sister “dies” and what does she do? She considers it an opportunity and assumes her identity! We’re supposed to care about her because she’s in danger, but she’s also a former prostitute, a former addict, and pretty selfish. She does show some signs of sympathetic behavior when she helps out her twin sister’s step daughter, but it’s not enough yet. And then there’s the twin sister who fakes her own death and does such stupid things as trying to take out money from the bank (because that won’t start a paper trail of her whereabouts *eyeroll*). So I think the show needs some work, but I’m hoping Logan Echolls is the fix it needs!


The pilot seemed to be “Look at Zooey Dechanel! She’s so quirky and adorable! Yeah, there are these other guys, but don’t pay attention to them. LOOK AT ZOOEY!” I didn’t think the pilot was all that good for the above reasons, but I liked the second episode better. I thought Leo from Veronica Mars stole every scene he was in, quite a feat against ZOOEY. (Obviously actors from Veronica Mars are the fixes any show needs. See my Ringer comments.) What the show failed to do, however, was introduce the replacement roomie after Damon Wayons Jr. went back to Happy Endings. I felt like Damon was the only guy to hold his own against Zooey in the pilot…and then he was gone. And replaced with someone far less memorable. I’ll give it a chance but now I sort of wish the 3rd roommate went the way of the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Or the secretary on Murphy Brown. AKA someone different every week, a running joke. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. I haven’t seen the 3rd episode yet. I’m sticking with this but it’s in the middle of the pack for me.

I just wish the boys are cuter. I’m not that attracted to any of them (including poor Leo) and I find being attracted to a cute boy on show is necessary for me to like the show. However, I could be swayed by superior writing, which this show has not demonstrated yet.


I love Christina Applegate. I love Will Arnett. I don’t mind Maya Rudolph. Ithink this show is cute, and I’m entertained while I watch it, but I also don’t look forward to it every week. I think my problem is that I’m not quite sure where it’s going. It seemed to be a show about two partiers now having to spend their nights with a baby in the pilot. But in the next two episodes, it felt more like a workplace comedy with the stay-at-home-dad’s workplace being at home. That being said, I do think the show is cute and the characters are fun. Possibly I would relate better to it if I had my own baby keeping me up at night.


I did like this. More than I thought I would. I am equally elated by Giles making lewd sex jokes as I am creeped out by it. Unfortunately, the ratings are atrocious and this show is not long for the world.


I’m still not all that enamored by it. I think the show is super contrived and suspends my disbelief a bit too much. But I want to give it a chance, particularly because it focuses more on the characters in the small town than on the medical stuff. I like small towns, I hate medical stuff. (I just wish the medical stuff was accurate. The last episode about MS was so blatantly wrong, I got frustrated. My uncle had MS. In my experience, they made claims about the disease to raise conflict that are simply untrue. But whatever.) I like Rachel Bilson and there are some cute boys on this show, so I’ll stick around for a bit.


I thought I had really liked the pilot, but then I left episode 2 on my DVRuntil last and dreaded when it came time to watch it. That’s not a good sign for me. That being said, I still enjoyed the second episode like the first. I’m kind of confused about this show though. Am I supposed to root for the main character to do horrible things to people? Or am I supposed to root against her? I’ve found arguments for both things. I found the stock stuff in the 2nd episode super confusing as well. But, I like the mystery and I want answers. I want to know how Amanda changed her identity to Emily. Why the other Hamptons residents framed her dad. If her dad is really alive (since I don’t believe he’s dead…if we don’t see a body, it’s not confirmed in my mind).</p>


This suffers from the same horrible visual effects as Ringer and also the lacking writing and characterization. It WANTS to be LOST: Mysterious island = Mysterious Land! Time Travel = Portal through time! Smoke Monster = Dinosaurs called Slashers! The Others = The Others! (okay they are called Sixers). Kate the fugitive on the run = Main character Dad fugitive on the run (I don’t remember his name). Ben, the mysterious leader of the island = White-haired guy, mysterious leader of the settlement (again, I don’t remember anyone’s names). Mysterious Hatch on the island = Mysterious writing and symbols found on rocks.

The problem is, Lost excelled at setting up intriguing mysteries and even more intriguing characters. Terra Nova failed at these things. In the biggest head scratcher of them all, they ANSWERED THE QUESTION ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS WRITING at the end of the pilot. Seriously? They had set up an awesome mystery. I was really really intrigued. THen, they answered it. And they answered it in the LAMEST WAY POSSIBLE. It wasn’t another group of people already on the island. Or aliens. Or something else cool. It was (SPOILER ALERT) just a son trying to piss off his dad. *headdesk*

They also didn’t answer the major question I had? Why the hell did they need to go back 85million years into the past to save the future? To me this isn’t a mystery, it’s a question of motivation. And I see none.

I didn’t really get to know any of the characters. The fact that I don’t remember any of their names is a problem. I have a thing for names and it’s rare I don’t remember them. The only one we really got to know was the son, who makes such stupid decisions that I didn’t care at all when he found himself in peril when chased by dinosaurs. DUH. Don’t go out of the fence, idiot! He’s a kid though and he was following an equally rebellious pretty girl, so I’ll give him some leeway. But I still wanted to learn more about the characters and in particular, I wanted to learn interesting things. A kid rebelling is not interesting, whereas LOST presented us with all types of interesting characters from the get go.

I think the show has potential, but I fear it will go the way of FLASH FORWARD and THE EVENT, both shows that focused more on Plot! and Mystery! Than on characters. And both shows failed.


I’m watching but I’m not hooked yet. I keep getting all the charactersconfused and I can really only remember one of their backstories (the spy). I’m not quite sure what this show is supposed to be? It seems all the good drama takes place in flashbacks OFF the plane. I’ll keep watching to see where this goes…</p>



I gave it a shot, but it’s just not for me. I hate procedurals and Michael Emerson seemed to be playing Ben Linus. Same type of character. Same voice. It was unnerving! I had to stop.


By some miracle, I made it through the entire first episode. I blame the fact that I was watching while getting ready in the morning and only half paying attention. It was just noise in the background and I could have been watching the weather and been just as rapt. I never watched the original and I won’t be watching this revival. (Neither did anyone else, it seems.)</p>


I turned it on. Within the first minute there was a bloody surgery. I turned it off. My mom loved it and we have generally the same taste, but I couldn’t subject myself to all the surgeries this show promised. I can only get through Grey’s Anatomy because the characters usually talk about other stuff, character stuff, during surgeries so I can just close my eyes and listen. This show talked about surgeries while doing a surgery. No thanks!


I just couldn’t even bring myself to watch. That’s not a good sign for me continuing to watch!


I watched the pilot, and though it intrigued me, the ratings made it clear it would be the first show canceled. It was, I stopped watching. Nothing else to mention.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on returning shows (hint: most are in the SHOWS I LIKED category, but there are some I gave up completely).

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Bookanistas Reviews

Hello, blog readers!

I’m so sorry I haven’t blogged much in the last few weeks. I know I was scheduled to do two reviews that I missed completely. I kept being optimistic each week that I’d have the time to write the reviews, but between a revision deadline and being swamped at work, the days just kept getting away from me. Many apologies!

But I intend to make it up to you, dear readers, by posting not one, not two, but all THREE reviews I missed in the past few weeks. I will do them in reverse chronological order from when I was supposed to post them. The books I will be reviewing today are as follows:

AUDITION by Stasia Kehoe

What It’s About:

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she’s deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem’s muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she’s chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

What I thought:

Wow! This book is gorgeous. I am a sucker for pretty writing and in my opinion, there’s nothing prettier than books written in verse. Every word is so carefully chosen that I just want to savor each page.

This book was gutwrenching and raw, everything laid bare on the page from Sara’s struggles with ballet–and the extremes she needs to resort to in order to compete with the other girls, sometimes depriving herself of things she needs and wants in order to get it. I went through intense emotions reading this book, wanting desperately for her to succeed but knowing succeeding would be at a cost.

I am a huge fan of books about dance and this was no different. It reminded me in a way of one of my favorite movies, CENTERSTAGE. I just love the intricate world of ballet and the only time I get to experience it is through another character’s eyes. I loved the conflict of the dance school where you must compete against your friends.

Sara’s relationship with Remington was a dance in itself and I loved the way it twisted and turned across the pages. I was with her at every step, every movement that brought her closer or further away to him.

I loved everything about this book!

FATEFUL by Claudia Gray

What It’s About:

Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

What I thought:

I’m a huge fan of Claudia Gray’s EVERNIGHT series, so naturally I was psyched to get this book. In fact, I made the signing at BEA a priority, choosing to wait for this book over many others, and I devoured it shortly after I got home.

I was super impressed with this book. I was curious how Gray would handle a historical setting versus a modern setting, and I’m thrilled that Tessa’s voice is very different than Bianca’s. The voice fit the setting perfectly. And whew–the setting! So…back in 1997 a tiny movie called TITANIC was released. High School-aged me saw it back to back on premiere day and then two more times that same weekend. I’m not even going to get into how many times I saw it after that. Every time I spot the movie on TV, I’m compelled to watch and every time I get depressed for over a week (seriously–why couldn’t Rose and Jack take turns on the damn wood???!?!). Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the Titanic. And that made me even more eager to read this.

I loved the different perspective we got of the ship even though some things were similar. Both the movie and book involved a 3rd class passenger spending a lot of time in 1st class. Both involved a forbidden romance between a third and first class passenger. Though this time the first class passenger’s family accepts the romance–there are plenty of other conflicts at stake.

I liked that the focus wasn’t on the ship itself but on the werewolf mythology. Less time was spent on the actual sinking (no spoiler alert needed there, haha). I thought that worked really well since this wasn’t a story about the Titanic sinking but rather two people stuck in unfortunate circumstances.

I thought the characters were great–and Alec was super sexy! Those that love the Titanic–or paranormal in general–will love this!

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins

What It’s About:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

What I thought:

My love for ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is not unusual. That book has sneaked its way into my top ten all time faves. I’d heard that LOLA was better, but I didn’t think it could be possible.

Wow do I believe now.

The best way I can describe this book is that it’s the opposite of ANNA. This time Lola is the one in the series relationship. Where Etienne was short, Cricket is tall. Where Anna was a neat freak, Lola is chaotic and messy. Where parents were absent, parents have a huge role. I thought all these opposites worked perfectly to not only set Lola apart from Anna but to give an entirely fresh story along the same universal theme.

Lola was such a fantastic character. I adored her from page 1. I loved her quirkiness and her costumes. I loved Cricket’s sunny and always-upbeat personality. I loved Lola’s family from her two-dads to her tea-leaf reading birth mother.

I loved everything.

It’s hard to write this review without putting an exclamation point after every sentence and doing a bunch of dances and also running up to you, shaking you, and forcing this book into your hands. I loved it. No, I LOVED IT.

I think I have a new favorite top ten!


Elana Johnson interviews Elle Strauss, author of Clockwise
LiLa Roecker discusses S R Johannes’ e-book experiment
Christine Fonseca is wowed by The White Assassin – with giveaway
Shannon Whitney Messenger loves Lola & the Boy Next Door – with giveaway
Beth Revis delights in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – with giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells falls for Fracture
Carolina Valdez Miller adores Ashfall – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Shana Silver steps up to Audition
Corrine Jackson is crazy about Cracked
Stasia Ward Kehoe swoons for Swan and To Dance

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Clearly I have no life

I’ve been a horrible blogger lately thanks to revisions and a recent obsession with Doctor Who. But since Fall TV starts next week, I thought I’d take some time out of my busy schedule to discuss my favorite topic ever.

Below you’ll find the handy TV schedule I made for myself to help me figure out what new shows I wanted to watch. As you see, I plan to watch 31 HOURS of TV per week. *dies*

Blue background Shows taped in Living Room DVR
Pink background Shows taped in Bedoom DVR
Blue text Shows I think I’ll hate but I’m giving them a 1-episode chance just in case
Dotted background Shows I’m considering giving up for good
Striped background/yellow text Husband’s shows I don’t watch but need a DVR slot

So even though there are 31 hours of TV listed here, I doubt I’ll stick with all of them. Some I think I’ll like I might actually hate. Some I used to watch I might find I’m sick of.

I chose Bedroom vs Living Room based on whether my husband watches the show as well. If he doesn’t, then I put it in the Bedroom. Or I put shows in the Living Room if I plan to turn off the computer, turn off the lights, and want to see it on the big screen (Vampire Diaries for example).

Here’s a list of the shows (new or returning) I’m looking most forward to. In order!


Buffy and Logan Echolls? YES PLEASE. Also, it has Kris Polaha, who I had a big crush on when he was on Life Unexpected and Valentine. YES, I watched Valentine. What? You didn’t? Also, it has Mr. Guyliner himself, Richard Alpert from LOST. I hope he doesn’t age in this either! Anyway, I almost don’t care what this show is about (or that it has an identical premise/mystery to THE LYING GAME). I’d watch an infomercial if Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in it. I’m declaring this my new fave show even before I’ve seen an episode of it!

The only thing this show is missing is Spike guest starring/becoming a series regular.

2. Vampire Diaries

This writing in this show is fabulous. I mean, it has Damon. It’s constantly twisting and turning and surprising me, something that’s very difficult to do. I usually gasp out loud once per episode, and not always as a result of Damon taking off his shirt. I’m SO EXCITED to see Stefan go bad and Damon go good. Have I ever mentioned how much I love bad boys that intentionally work hard to turn good? (coughSpikecough. coughLoganEchollscough.) Plus, that cliffhanger at the end with Jeremy? EEE!

Also, did I mention Damon yet?

3. 2 Broke Girls

I probably wouldn’t have put this so high on my excitement list normally. It would have been in the top 10 but maybe not number 3. Except I went to a taping of the 2nd episode when I was in LA last month. And I loved it. I’ve already seen the pilot (they showed it to us prior to the taping. Otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten a lot of the jokes!) and I thought it was hilarious. Seriously well written. I love the Brooklyn hipster humor. And I can’t wait to see how the second episode turns out. The taping was really interesting because each joke would have the same set up, but they’d often change the punchline during each take to gauge the audience’s reaction. Sometimes they’d do 3 or 4 different punchlines per joke. So I’m really curious which ones they chose (if it’s the ones that stuck with me or ones that weren’t all that memorable). I’m also curious to see if I’ll hear my laughter on the voice track!


My husband kept begging me to watch this year saying he’d knew I’d love it. I don’t know what my problem was. I finally made a point to watch the series so far over the summer and I was completely hooked. I flew through all the episodes and then watched a lot of them again. This show is fabulous! It’s one of the funniest things on TV. The TWILIGHT episode is amazing! And oh my God how much do I love Adam Scott? In fact, I love every single character on this show. Ron Swanson is an amazing character “Give me all your bacon and eggs.” I love Chris Trager’s extreme health nut kick and the fact that he’s so nice, Anne didn’t even know he broke up with her. I love Leslie and how hard working she is that she’s equal parts admiring and pathetic. I love everything that comes out of Tom Haverford’s mouth and all the things that never come out of April’s mouth. AHHH I can’t wait for new episodes!!!!!

5. The Secret Circle

  • Same author as the Vampire Diaries.
  • Same writer/producer/show runner as the Vampire Diaries.
  • It stars Britt Robertson, who I LOVED as Lux on Life Unexpected.
  • And it’s about witches.

Um, how could this go wrong? I LOVE witches. One of my all-time fave movies is The Craft. I’m super excited for this!


The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that it doesn’t start until end of October and therefore I have other things to be more excited about first. But I’m really really excited about this show. Fairy tales in the modern world? That’s my favorite thing ever! Also, Jane Espenson, who wrote for Buffy, is one of the writers on this. Therefore, I know it’s going to be amazing. Jane wrote some of the funniest or scariest Buffy episodes: Band Candy, Earshot, Intervention, Conversations with Dead People. FAIRY TALES and RETELLINGS for the win!

7. The Middle

This show is just precious. I used to hate Patricia Heaton. I couldn’t stand to watch even a commercial with her starring. But I absolutely adore her in this. I don’t know what it is about her or maybe her character Frankie, but I just want to hug her. My fave character is Sue. She’s so optimistic yet so clueless. She wants desperately to fit in but has no idea she keeps doing the opposite. The actress is a joy to watch. And Brick, well, he’s such a great character as well. In fact, I love everyone on this show and the small town hi-jinks they get into.

8. The New Girl

I have a girl-crush on Zooey. I mean, who doesn’t? I just want to be her best friend. I almost don’t care what this show is about because I like Zooey in everything else she’s been in. I’m sure she’s playing a Zooey-like character who viewers are supposed to fall in love with immediately. And it has Leo from Veronica Mars (who I didn’t really like on that show, but STILL. I’ll support my Veronica Mars peeps anywhere! Well, anywhere except Private Practice). I’m sure I’ll love this show.

9. Glee

I love the songs, I don’t really like the contrived plotlines. I love the satire campyness, I don’t really like the characters. I love Puck, I don’t really like Finn. I love Brittany and Santana’s romance and Kurt and Blaine’s romance, I don’t really care for the Finn/Quinn/Rachel/Puck quadrangle. I love Rachel’s voice, I don’t really like Rachel. I love when Sue Sylvester is mean where it’s funny but I hate when it’s mean where I feel bad for the characters. That about sums up my feelings on the show. Still, I’m excited for it to come back.

10. Community and Survivor.

I didn’t want to go over 10 but I had a tough choice choosing between these two. I actually am a little tired of Survivor, but Jeff Probst’s live tweets during the show renewed my interest last year. I really like learning about all the inside production secrets that he reveals on twitter. And for that reason, I’m looking forward to the show and I’m back to watching it live instead of on DVR. As for Community, I think it’s one of the most underrated shows on TV. I LOVE their spoof/parody episodes. They are usually super clever and no other show on TV is venturing for that kind of creativity. I also adore every single character on the show (except Britta, I can’t stand her). More Joel McHale please!

What shows are you most looking forward to in the fall?

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Bookanista Review: POSSESS

*Apologies this is up so late. I had some technical difficulties, mainly in the form of me forgetting my WordPress password.  Doh.


Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons’ plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.


Gretchen is awesome. And so is her book!

I admit, I wasn’t sure if this would be my thing. I’m not big on the scary stuff but I was still eager to read. And I’m so glad I did! I couldn’t put it down. And yes, it was scary, but I loved every minute of it.

Bridget was an awesome protagonist. I loved her snark and confidence and the way she went head first into scary circumstances. She had so many great one-liners that continually made me smile. And her snark was the perfect balance to Matt’s, the love interest, sweetness. I love nice guys and I couldn’t get enough of him. I’m sure there will be many readers calling dibs on him as their boyfriend!

But it wasn’t only just the two main characters I loved. I thought Bridget’s trio of male friends were AWESOME. It was a different friend dynamic than I usually see in YA and I found that extremely refreshing. Especially because the personalities of those friends flew off the page. Each one stole their scenes, which is difficult to do when all 3 are in the same scene together!

And then of course there was the plot itself with some very creepy scenes. For instance, one in particular that took place in a doll shop that had me clutching the book with white knuckles. And some elements involving a cat. Yet the creepiness was still Shana-proof, so that means it’s appropriate for everyone!

Also, the mystery was fantastic. I never knew who to trust, including the demons themselves. But especially the priests. Since I know nothing of the Catholic religion, I found the elements here fascinating. I had no idea that priests did exorcisms (which may be stupid of me, but mind you, I’ve never read or watched anything else about exorcisms). I was so curious about the dynamic of it all.

What a refreshing paranormal with brilliant writing and complex characters!


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