In My Mailbox #20

Posted on 22 April, 2012 by Faye - 8 Comments

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Let us know what books you’ve bought, borrowed or recieved! :)
 
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So, I haven’t done one of these in a while, due to Uni being so busy and well, just life in general, but as I went on a shopping spree yesterday and have received some books for review that I’m excited to share, I figured I would do just that! And, I’m currently hungover and have the time to just chillax, haha. So, here are all the books I have received within the last two/three weeks, however long it’s been!
 
loan!
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Thief by Malorie Blackman
Hacker by Malorie Blackman
 
I love Malorie Blackman and her Noughts and Crosses trilogy are three of my most favourite books but when I saw these in the library the other day, I realised I hadn’t read them and simply had to pick them up. I’ve actually started Hacker and am quite enjoying it thus far! Very old school!
 
bought!
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Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Sherlock (2010)
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Swift by R J Anderson
Knife by R J Anderson
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Starter for Ten by David Nichols
 
See, I went on a BIG shopping spree! Hehe! I am soo excited to read all of my new books and to rewatch my new DVDs! I haven’t read anything by John Green so I’m looking forward to getting into him, I have had my eye on Swift and Slide for a while and I am so happy to finish the Maggie Stiefvater trilogy and managing to get her latest book too! I love David Nichols so can not wait to dig into this book!
 
for review!
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The Killables by Gemma Malley
Turf by John Lucas
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen 
Fire City by Bali Rai
Bringing the Summer by Julia Green
 
* many thanks go to Bloomsbury, Random House Publishing and Hodder for these *
 
I am sooo looking forward to reading each and every one of these books!! They are all different and sound so intriguing! I think Turf is the one I’m most looking forward too though.
 
Technically, I also got a fair few ebooks over the past few weeks but I think that I have already spent too long on this and I’m tired and just want to go back to lying down, haha. But maybe I’ll add them in later or to next weeks, IMM, who knows? :)
 
So, what did you get this week?

Posted on 22 April, 2012 by Faye - 8 Comments


A Talk With Frank Nappi

Posted on 20 April, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment

Hey Guys!
So today I am introducing you to the wonderful author Frank Nappi. I will be asking him some questions about his new book Sophmore Campaign: A Mickey Tussler Novel, for you all to read over and enjoy!
Hope it helps you get a better insight into him and his novels!

 

Hello Frank! Welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! Let’s start with something simple, tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
I am a teacher and a writer. I live on Long Island with my wife Julia and our two sons, Nick and Anthony. I enjoy writing (obviously), the beach, country music, and baseball.

Sounds lovely! So, how long have you wanted to be a writer?
Well, I have written most of my life. It’s an essential part of who I am. I have only entertained the idea of writing professionally, however, for a few years. I had the good fortune of publishing my first novel (Echoes From The Infantry) in 2005 after I forged a friendship with two very special WWII veterans. They became two of my very best friends despite the age difference. They changed my life forever. That fortuitous happening has become the impetus for these other endeavours.

That sounds amazing, I’m glad they became friends for life! What do you do when you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas?
I spend most hours with my family. I can usually be found outside, either on a baseball field or walking on the beach. Both are very therapeutic for me.

So now we know more about you, what about your book? What is it all about?
The Legend of Mickey Tussler Series is a a deeply complex look into the plight of the underdog, and a sobering reminder that everywhere we turn, and perhaps where we least expect it, there exists these diamonds in the rough. All we need do is look. It is also a celebration of the power of perseverance and resiliency in the face of adversity. It is a sobering reminder that all around us there exists special folks who despite superficial differences are essentially just like us. The stories also (hopefully) foster tolerance, understanding and compassion as several characters struggle with self actualization. I have also been told – and I say this with unbridled enthusiasm—that the books are filled with authentic, breathtaking baseball action. That means the world to a baseball junkie.

Sophomore Campaign is the second book involving Mickey Tussler, can you tell us anything about the first book?
The first book introduces the world to Mickey Tussler – a young man with an incomprehensible talent. Mickey, who is autistic, is discovered serendipitously on a farm in Indiana by minor league baseball coach Arthur Murphy. As the story unfolds and Mickey tries to assimilate with his baseball teammates, the reader gets a real glimpse into the world as seen through the eyes of an autistic person. It is not the safe, predictable place that most of us enjoy.

Would you say that readers need to have read the first one in order to understand or enjoy the second?
No, the second book can be read exclusive of the first. There are flashbacks that fill in some of the gaps. However, in order to truly appreciate the journey that the major characters have experienced, knowledge of the first book is essential.

Who would you say was your target audience?
Well, I think the book appeals to several groups. Naturally, the nature of the story and the age of the protagonist make it a perfect fit for YA readers – especially those who enjoy sports stories. However, I have found that many adults, women included, who have an affiliation with a special needs family member or friends have found the stories compelling and on a larger level inspiring. Baseball worshippers like myself also will find much to appreciate.

Describe Mickey Tussler in three sentences.
Mickey Tussler is a young man who is pure of heart. He is shy, uncertain, and often ill equipped to deal with the unpleasant side of people. He also possesses a remarkable throwing arm, something which leads to his baseball prowess.

Mickey has autism, is there a story behind this?
The idea to place Mickey of the Spectrum was an outgrowth of my work with Challenger Baseball and with Best Buddies. There are so many incredibly talented special needs young people who often times go unnoticed.

When writing your story, what message were you trying to get across to audiences?
That in life, all of us are basically on the same quest. We are looking for happiness and acceptance and all of us fear the opposite. The challenge becomes that much greater for one who is given additional obstacles to conquer. In the book, several characters struggle with this very issue to varying degrees.

Did you know that you would write a sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler?
No. When I finished the first book, I thought that was it. However, as I thought more and more about the characters and the way the first story concluded, I knew that there was just too much unfinished business.

How does it feel when someone gives your book a good review?
exhilarating, rewarding, fulfilling

And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
Just keep writing…this is a tough business replete with all sorts of rejection. The only recourse one has is to just keep writing.

and a quick fire round;

ebooks or hard copies?
Hard copies
day or night?
day
reading or writing?
Writing
paper or computer?
Paper
tea or coffee?

water
favourite book of the moment?
Room
most memorable book?
The Great Gatsby

Thank you for joining us today Frank! It was a pleasure getting to know you and I am definitely intrigued about your novels!
To find out more about Frank you can find him on his website, twitter, goodreads and bleacher report.

frank

 

Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA’s silver medal for outstanding fiction for 2006. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a screenplay adaptation of the touching story which aired nationwide in the fall of 2011 (A Mile in His Shoes starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder). Frank continues to produce quality work, including The Legend of Mickey Tussler: Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

mickeyt

 

Seventeen-year-old Mickey Tussler is recruited to play for a minor league affiliate of the Boston Braves. Arthur Murphy swears Mickey has the greatest arm he has ever seen, that anybody has ever seen.  And it might be true.  But Mickey’s autism is prohibitive.  It keeps him sealed off from a world he scarcely understands.  Lost both in the memory of his former life with an abusive father and the challenges of a new world filled with heckling teammates, opponents and fans, there’s no way Mickey can succeed.  But his inimitable talent — one of the most gifted arms in the history of baseball — gives him a chance. Can he survive a real life dream?  Or are the harsh realities of life too much for him?  This is the powerful underdog story of how a young man with an extraordinary gift comes of age in a harsh and competitive world.

The Legend of Mickey Tussler can be bought on Amazon, here
A Mile in His Shoes (
Movie Adaptation) can be bought on Amazon, here

mickeyt2

 

It s 1949 and eighteen-year-old pitching phenom Mickey Tussler is back with the rejuvenated minor league Brewers in the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler (the basis for the television movie A Milein His Shoes). Despite Mickey s proclamation that he will never play baseball again after last seasons violent conclusion, his manager and now surrogate father Arthur Murphy cajoles the emotionally fragile, socially awkward boy with autism into giving it another shot. Mickey reluctantly returns to the field and must once again cope with the violence and hatred around him. When a young African American player joins the team, the entire team is subjected to racial threats and episodes of violence, one of which Mickey witnesses first hand. Struggling to understand such ugliness and hatred, and fearful of reprisal should he tell anyone about what he has seen, the boy s performance on the field suffers.Mickey now must deal with a side of human nature he scarcely comprehends.

Sophomore Campaign can be purchased on Amazon, here

Faye

Posted on 20 April, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment


Blogspiration #5

Posted on 19 April, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. This meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the authors choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

 

So, this week I am feeling a little overwhelmed by all of my university work and so I wasn’t going to do this but then it started raining all over the place and I knew that this would be the perfect week to post up this picture. I saw it a while ago in the window of my local Waterstones bookstore and simply had to take a picture. It is awesome, and in my opinion, brilliant advice.

bookslove

Keep Warm. Keep Dry. Keep Reading.

What terrific and amazing words! I am so in love with this little display! Unfortunately it has already been taken away but I loved it while it lasted! And it holds true, the best thing about cold, rainy days is sitting inside curled up in a ball with a cup of tea and a good book. It is the perfect excuse to stay inside, warm and dry.

So, now I ask you, what books will you be reading this spring while you keep warm and dry? (Australian bloggers, what will you be reading while you swelter? :p)

Faye

Posted on 19 April, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments


Getting to Know Michael Cargill

Posted on 19 April, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments

Hey Guys!
So today I am introducing you to the talented Michael Cargill, author of Shades of Grey. I will be asking him some questions for you all to read over and enjoy!
Hope it helps you get a better insight into him and his novel!

 

Hello Michael! Welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! To start us off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
I am 32 and it’s my birthday soon.  Yay!  I am not actually a fulltime writer and by day I work in IT for a jolly large company that has made lots of people redundant over the past couple of years.  Luckily I wasn’t one of them and I get to sit in my cosy office all day.

Let’s hope you can keep your job! Since it’s not your full time career (yet), how long have you wanted to be a writer?
In all honesty; not very long at all.  I am not one of those people who loved writing the moment I was conceived.  In school I found it boring and tedious.  It was only in the middle of last year that I seriously considered it.

I think it’s really refreshing to meet someone who hasn’t been writing for years, so when you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do?
Fix stuff what has been broken.  IT was actually my passion from a fairly early age.  I found out that I was pretty good at it and have been nerding it up ever since.

So now we know more about you, what about your book? What is it all about?
It is a collection of three short stories.  Each story throws the main character into a situation that they have no control over and it is about how they deal with it.  There is some suspense, a spot of action, a bit of humour and several thrilly bits.

Sounds interesting, but I’m curious, what inspired you to write a book set out this way?
Um, dunno really.  Short stories are a common way for a writer to find his writing feet and this is the result of my efforts.

I’d say that’s a good enough reason! With that in mind, who would you say was your target audience?
Bleurgh.  Gonna have to say ‘dunno really’ again.  Anyone who likes short stories or something interesting to read I suppose.

Anyone, anywhere, anytime then! Would you say there is anything you feel readers should know before they start reading?
None of the stories are set in Wales or Australia.  Also, if anyone is wary about handing their hard-earned cash over to a new author I completely understand.  My book titled Shelter from Thunder is a short story that is available for free and is probably the ideal starting point for anyone wanting to see what I can do.

Ah, thanks for that helpful tip, I may have to get myself a copy! Going back to Shades of Grey though, I’m curious, did you use a structured plan or did it sort of tell it’s own story along the way?
Plan, schplan!  I just get a kernel of an idea and tippy-tap my way through the story as I go.  If it worked for Roman emperors it can work for me as well.

Haha, why not? Sounds like an inventive way to write! With no true plan, how long did it take you to complete? (roughly)
I would say four or five months, give or take four or five months.

Brilliant! In those four or five months, what was your favourite part about writing it?
When I finished I actually thought “this is jolly fun and I may even be able to make a pretty penny out of it.”

Wise thought to have! I hope it goes well for you! You finished it, but were there any challenging scenes that you felt that you just couldn’t get right?
Yes, several.  Any writer who says they are 100% happy with every single little thing is a liar.  Roman emperors probably said it but they were Roman emperors so no-one dared say anything to them.

I think you may have a thing for Roman Emperors, or is that just me? Back on topic though, aside from Shades of Grey and Shelter from Thunder, do you have any more novels already written, or on the way, or both?
I have one on the way that I am working now.  Anyone hacking Google Docs will probably find it there.  I have several kernels of ideas bouncing around in my head as well.

And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?Yes.  All those writing guides out there that give you dos and don’ts?  Ignore them.  They will just fill your head with rules that will confuse you.  They don’t really make sense until you have an idea of how to write.  It’s like learning to ride a bike – giving someone a list of rules won’t help them.  You just have to kick them up the arse and tell them to keep practising instead of reading comics in their treehouse.

and a quick fire round;

ebooks or hard copies?
Ebooks.  My Kindle is brill.
day or night?
Day.  I can draw the curtains if the sun starts to annoy me.
reading or writing?
Oooh, evil.  Reading as it can be fascinating.
paper or computer?
Computer.  Away with your papyrus scrolls of nonsense.
tea or coffee?
Coffee if done properly by someone else.
favourite book of the moment?
The Dukkering Boy by Frances Lewis.
most memorable book?
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.  A fascinating book that propelled me into the world of non-fiction.

 

Thank you Michael, it’s been a pleasure questioning you today!
To find out more about Michael and his works feel free to follow his twitter, blog or add him on goodreads!
All of his current books are available for purchase on Smashwords, here.

Faye

Posted on 19 April, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments


The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Posted on 18 April, 2012 by Faye - 12 Comments

Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Atom
Published: January 16th 2012 (UK) April 12 2012 (US)
Pages: 434
Format: Paperback
Source: **Review Copy from Little Brown Books Co**
Goodreads: Add It

Summary:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.
When the night began, Nora had two best friends and a boyfriend she adored. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands. Chris was dead. Adriane couldn’t speak. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora’s determined to follow the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. But Chris’s murder is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆

I have never read anything by Robin Wasserman before but after reading The Book of Blood and Shadow, I know that I definitely want to now. She has a brilliant way with words and really knows how to tell a story that keeps the reader captivated and hooked. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I had been warned that it was a brilliant read but I hadn’t wanted to get my hopes up too high. Luck would have it that my fellow blogger, Lucy from Choose YA was right about this read and I did really enjoy reading it. It had me hooked from the very first sentence, right up until the last sentence and I was even left wanting more when it was finally over and done with.

This story definitely takes you on a journey, in more ways than one. There is the first story that is the interaction between the characters and how everyone gets along, how they are living their lives up until that point and how it all changes once the Book is introduced to them. Then their is the second story, the Book and the mystery that surrounds it, the past that is attached to it and the future it holds. Then there’s the third story, the now, the crime investigation, the unveiling of the mysterious book and the secrets it deems to hold. And finally there is the adventure, the travelling from place to place, the mysterious cults trying to stop Nora and her friends from unravelling the mystery of the Book. Confusing? It should have been but the way that Robin Wasserman writes allows that confusion to disappear, or rather, to never surface in the first place.

I thoroughly enjoyed Nora and the journey that she went on. My heart went out for her as I read about her family life and how the events of the past shaped her in the present and would continue to shape her throughout her future. I found that this really brought her character alive to me. She wasn’t just someone who was happy in her life who got caught up in something interesting. She was a person with a deep, dark scar that would never be properly healed but there was only one person who even knew it was there. She just wanted to get through her life and not think about the past, the what ifs or the what could have been’s. I loved this about her, I loved that she connected to Elizabeth through the letters but really I just loved how she would use the translations of the Latin as a way to centre her world. Yeah, she was a brilliant protagonist, strong, hard-headed and confused but determined.

I so wanted to see more of Chris. He was the second character in the story that I loved. From the first moment he was properly introduced to the reader, I fell for him. His goofy smile, the way he kept Nora’s secret and the way that he was just so lively and characteristic. He was the kind of the guy that you could actually believe existed in the world. And Nora was smitten with him. But, of course, they were only best friends for his girlfriend was Adriane, Nora’s other best friend. This subtle triangle was interesting to see, and while it was acknowledgeable to the reader that Nora loved Chris, it was almost as though she couldn’t see it herself, she didn’t quite understand her feelings and that helped to make this triangle bearable. I think, if Nora had openly known about her feelings it would have been harder to read, it’s not easy watching someone you love be with someone else, especially not your best friend.

That gets me on the line of Adriane, I despised her. I think, in some parts, you probably were supposed to but I just couldn’t get on board with her. I think, for me, she just seemed to fake for a lot of it. I can’t think that you would just be that okay with everything. And it infuriated me. I also didn’t like Max. Right from the start, I just didn’t like him. He was too shy, too innocent, too annoying. Then there was the actually annoying Eli who I wanted Nora to end up with. I loved how protective of her he seemed, how he was pushing her in the right direction, how he was trying to help her without saying things outright. Yeap, he was goodness that I particularly enjoyed reading.

I enjoyed the way that this story played out. The way the mystery unravelled bit by bit and how it was sorted through. I liked that it was interesting and it really painted an interesting world to read about. I loved the descriptions of Prague and all of the buildings and streets there. I’ve never been myself so I don’t know how realistic they were but they were definitely beautifully pictured in my mind due to her words! I also loved where it ended, how it ended, it was so interesting to read about and I found it to just be amazingly written. The book itself was based off of real information and I really liked how Robin Wasserman took that information and sculpted a fictional story around it.

The few things I didn’t like included the way that sometimes it got a little monotonous. I found my attention spanning slightly as I read Elizabeth’s letters, but I feel that this was more to do with the old style language it was written in more than anything. I found that I wasn’t able to truly understand what was being said throughout the entire letter until it was semi explained by Nora’s narration at the end. This irritated me slightly but didn’t stop the overall charm of the book. I also didn’t like the way Nora was around Max, the way she just forgot all about how much he annoyed her or how mad she was with him when they were together again. I found myself wanting to scream at her to see what was going on under her eyes. I think though, despite my annoyance at this, it was probably a, unfortunately, realistic depiction of someone in that sort of relationship. So, in a way, it worked and it certainly worked out towards the end of the novel but while I was reading in the middle, I just remember wanting her to see what was happening with Max the same way she was seeing the clues in the letters.

I would recommend this book to anyone. It has elements for everyone. Lots of character building, strong characters, interesting story and plot, mystery and crime that needs to be solved and just emotions being thrown at you from left, right, and centre. I found myself close to tears quite a few times throughout this book and I loved that about it. It wasn’t too slow, nor was it too fast. It wasn’t too confusing and it always explained everything that seemed like it got to be too much. A perfect balance, and one that I just really liked and would love for others to go and read a copy themselves!

Feel free to read Lucy’s review, here.

** I received this book in return for an honest review from Atom Books. Thank you Madeleine. **

Faye

Posted on 18 April, 2012 by Faye - 12 Comments


Why is YA so attractive? + A Special Gift

Posted on 17 April, 2012 by Faye - 17 Comments

talisman of eli banner1

Hey Guys!
So today I am introducing you to the amazing Alecia Stone who is going to be telling you all about why YA is such an attractive genre at the moment! This is for her book tour hosted by Making Connections Goodreads Group for her book Talisman of El and she has also kindly offered FIVE of my followers a copy of the ARC ebook! (via netgalley) For more details, read the post and enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Without further ado;

The Appeal of the YA Genre
By Alecia Stone

I think it’s safe to say that the YA genre is one of the hottest categories in literature right now. I think the greatest appeal of the YA genre is the ability it has of attracting not only teenage readers but also readers of all ages. I definitely believe there is something in a YA novel for everyone. Whether you are a preteen reader, a teenager or an adult, there will most likely be something in a YA book that everyone will be able to relate to.

Some of the universal themes in YA novels allow readers of all ages to connect. Themes such as love, friendship, trust, identity, are all subject matters that many people either have experienced or will experience in their life. And, let’s be honest, YA novels are just plain fun to read. Whether you read it for the magic, mystery or the romance, when it’s good, it is really good. YA novels are ripe with emotions, and it is emotional responses that guide much of human behaviour, so it’s no surprise it has such a wide appeal.

 

About Alecia Stone;

Alecia

Being a fan of fantasy fiction, Alecia Stone’s novel was inspired by her love for paranormal mysteries. She loves to write for it is a means of escaping her reality if only for a moment. Talisman Of El is her first book. She lives in England, UK with her family.

Author website: Alecia Stone
Talisman Of El website: Talisman of El
Goodreads Page: Alecia Stone
Facebook Page: Alecia Stone Fan
Twitter: @Alecia_Stone

  Book Cover

 

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?
One Planet.
Two Worlds.
Population: Human … 7 billion.
Others … unknown.
When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He’s afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him … because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago – the day before his dad died.
Char­lie doesn’t know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn’t belong in the world he knows as home.
He belongs with the others
Talisman of El Book Trailer

Alecia Stone has kindly offered FIVE followers an ARC ecopy of her book, Talisman of El through netgalley. For your chance to win a copy, all you have to do is follow this blog and use the Rafflecoptr Widget below. If you would like a better chance of winning there are also extra entries for you to do after you’ve followed the blog but these are NOT mandatory.
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
Please look at my Giveaway Policy before you enter or you may not be eligible to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted on 17 April, 2012 by Faye - 17 Comments


Seven Months Today!

Posted on 15 April, 2012 by Faye - 19 Comments

Hey Guys!

So, I was trying to think of a snazzy and awesome title for this post but my brain has sort of gone into the heavens after I worked so hard on my university work today so you’re stuck with that boring title up there.

Ooops.

Oh, but at least you know what to expect from this post, right? Right?
You don’t?
Oh. Well, I guess I could tell you that today, 15th April 2012 is this blog’s

Seven Month Anniversary!!

I know, right? I am so totally overwhelmed, it is unbelievable. I cannot describe to you just how much my life has actually changed in the last seven months but I will let you in on a big, big secret; it’s changed a lot.

This blog was originally started as a book and film blog that looks mainly at adaptations and it has transformed before my very eyes. Today it is a blog that ventures mostly to all things YA with a few AF here and there and the odd film review or comment here or there too. In the next coming months, however, this is going to be changing a little bit more as well – are you as excited as I am for this? But I promise, it will still have the same stuff, it’ll just have some extra stuff thrown in as well but you can always just ignore the few posts that aren’t you’re cup of tea!

On that note, I really, really, really want to just say

THANK YOU

Honestly. You, my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, brilliant followers, are the reason I am still here. More than likely this blog would have been sitting and getting “dusty” in the blogosphere. But, because I have met so many wonderful fellow bloggers and authors and publicists, I am still here today and am always thinking about my blog, the things I need to do on it, the things I want to do in the future, things I want to change, add, etc. 75% of my time is now fully dedicated to my blog, and the other 25% of it I am constantly thinking about it anyway. I love this place, I love the blogging community and I am so totally looking forward to whatever happens in the upcoming future.

So yeah, this is a thank you post, a wow I am overwhelmed post, and a this is my new obsession post.

Before I leave, I have a question for you all.
If you’re a blogger, how long have you had your blog for? Is it what you expected it to be or something else, better/worse? What stops your blog from “collecting dust”?
If you’re NOT a blogger, would you ever consider becoming one? What do you like to see in other peoples’ blogs?

Faye

* if you do not yet know, I have a giveaway going on. For your chance to win Blood Awakening and Burden of Blood by Wenona Hulsey, click here *

Posted on 15 April, 2012 by Faye - 19 Comments


Take My Eyes (2003) – Aidy’s Review

Posted on 10 April, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Hey Guys!
Every fortnight, Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews and I exchange reviews to cross post on our blogs. He writes a film review for my blog, and I write a book review for his blog. Today, Aidy, has written a review of Take My Eyes (2003) for you and I wrote a review of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, which you can find on his blog. Here is his review!

Te Doy Mis Ojos - Take My Eyes 

 

Director: Icíar Bollaín
Writer: Icíar Bollaín and Alicia Luna
Stars: Laia Marull, Luis Tosar and Candela Peña
Year: 2003
Country: Spain
 Production Company: Alta Producción

 

 

THREE.FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS ★★★★☆

Take My Eyes, is a foreign romantic drama directed by Iciar Bollain and jointly written by Iciar Bollain and Alicia Luna. Laia Marull and Luis Tosar are the stars of the film, portraying Pilar and Antonio; a couple where the wife is the victim of spousal abuse but cannot shake the feelings of love she harbors towards him.

The film opens with Pilar rushing around her apartment to wake her son and fetch essential items. Pilar (Laia Marull) and her young son escape to her sister Ana’s (Candela Pena) home. Not too long after she arrives, she suddenly bursts into tears, still in her slippers. While in such a hurry to leave home before her husband returned, Pilar had no time to dress herself. Ana decides to head back to their home in order to salvage the remainder of their clothes. In the apartment, she discovers documents from the local hospital detailing her sister’s injuries. Antonio arrives and sees Ana packing and realizes Pilar had taken off with their son.

Antonio (Luis Tosar) decides to visit his wife at her sister Ana’s home. She only cracks the door just a little in order to speak to him. Antonio showers her in compliments, apologizing for his actions and promises he will change; all the while she shakes in fear. When he does not receive welcoming responses from Pilar, he begins to again, threaten her, revealing his true nature. The couple desires to save their marriage, as their love is still strong for each other.

They are soon back together, and it seems their relationship is flourishing; Antonio started attending therapy for spousal abuse, and Pilar took up a part-time job as a cashier and a museum tour guide to take care of her living expenses. Pilar’s journey of self-discovery had led her to an epiphany–she didn’t need her husband ruling over every single aspect of her life. She is now living an enjoyable life full of friends and a job she relishes. She then comes to see she has become fed up of Antonio’s overbearing presence.

One of the more poignant scenes in the film is when Antonio comes home from work and sees Pilar getting ready for her shift. He strips her down to her bra and pushes her out onto the balcony for passerby’s to see. She pleads with him to be let back indoors. He then snatches her by the throat to bring her inside–she is petrified with fear and urinates on herself and on the floor of the apartment.

The movie spotlights the events surrounding Pilar but comes up short showcasing the more prominent aspects of her personality. Instead, the film reveals more about Antonio; he is mocked by his family and his father has a bias towards his brother. At work, he is just a low-end salesperson with a poor salary. The audience discovers the root of his issues and why he takes his anger out on his wife. However, no personal information about Pilar’s characters other than she has a son, sister, and what she is subjected to in the abusive relationship.

Take My Eyes offers a painful glimpse into aspects of an abusive relationship. The highlight of the film is the believability; we personally may or may not know of someone in a similar situation. Bollain’s brilliant script brought us into the viewpoint of the victim and leaves a lasting impression upon the viewer.

Aidy

Posted on 10 April, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Advice to Teens; Peer Pressure

Posted on 10 April, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments

Hey Guys!
So today I am introducing you to the amazing Liz Reinhardt. A few days ago I reviewed her newest book, Forgiving Trinity, as part of the book’s tour and now Liz is here to talk to you all about peer pressure.

A huge thank you to Faye for letting me come on and talk about something that has been getting closer and closer to my heart every day: peer pressure.

The other day, I went to the supermarket and the very cute, very sweet checkout girl had hairy arms. Really hairy arms. I noticed them, because I’ve always thought my arms are kind of hairy, but I had nothing on this girl. And she WAS NOT REMOTELY WORRIED ABOUT HER ARM HAIR. She had on bracelets and watches, wore short sleeves, smiled a ton…I mean, maybe she does once in a while say, “Man, my arms are crazy hairy. Oh well!”, but I know for a fact she doesn’t really care. How do I know? Well, when I had hairy arm issues, and I NEVER WORE SHORT SLEEVES. At one point some stupid classmate pointed out my arms, and I could never get over it. Never mind that he was a huge, awful jerk. I, for some reason, took his opinion seriously.

The sad thing is, it really doesn’t stop just because you get older. I mean, it did stop for me, but not because of age. I rock tank tops and let my hairy arms hang all the time, not because I’m older, but because I learned something.

Or a few somethings. And I think it would be cool to share, especially because my kid is about to go to school, and it makes my stomach hurt to imagine people being unkind to her. Or to imagine her being unkind to other kids. Ugh. Vomity feeling.

 

  • You’re parents tell you ‘no one will notice…’ and that isn’t true. People will notice. They will comment. And tease you. You have to decide to care or not care.

clip_image002Not my arm. BUT I look at this picture and wonder WHY little, tiny hairs on my arms worried me so much and gave me such a weird, distorted view of myself. Hmm. Life can be super weird.

 

This isn’t just about arm hair or whatever. Serious stuff gets made fun of. I had a friend give up dance (which was his passion and he was amazing at it) to pursue a ‘manlier’ sport (which he was fine in, but didn’t love. Because people noticed and teased him. I had friends who broke up their relationship because other people weren’t supportive.

I’ve had friends hide what they read, listen to, pray to (or don’t), who they love, hang out with, work with, all because of what others think.

Life is long, and you spend it with a lot of different people. My advice? Spend your time with the few good people who stick by you and support you, and let the others go.

 

  • There are a million ways to live life the right way…even with huge mistakes! The only wrong way is to live it for someone else.

clip_image004I don’t have one. And I really don’t need one. The mistakes I’ve made have made me stronger, smarter, and better overall. BUT I would like to erase a few ideas/opinions that I got in my head from someone else. My own mistakes? Mine. The mistakes of others? I like to stay faaaar away!

 

I’ve made some serious mistakes all my own. And I own them! I don’t regret those mistakes because they were mine, and I learned from them. If I hurt others, I made amends as best I could. Those mistakes helped me grow.

The only things I truly regret are the things I did because someone else persuaded me to. The decisions that weren’t my own – good and bad – wound up being things I regretted for good. I always wonder if things would have turned out better if I had made my own decisions!

So, yes, I regret not listening to Pearl Jam in high school, not going abroad during my sophomore summer, wasting time in Italy going to bars instead of museums and old churches…not that these were the biggest mistakes. They were just ones I made by listening to others.

 

  • There is a wise quote from Mary Schmich: “Don’t waste your time on jealousy.  Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.  The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

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Seriously. It’s a long, crazy run, and you’re not competing with anyone but YOU. So enjoy and celebrate whenever you reach your own goals. Ignore everyone else.

 

I think one of the biggest reasons teens especially give in to peer-pressure is because there’s this competitive feeling that’s wildly inaccurate with the youths of America. It’s kind of like, “You have to do this and be this and it has to be now or your life will never, ever be worth anything ever.”

So there’s cutthroat competition to be the fastest, the smartest, the best. And it leads to a lot of stupid mistakes.

Well, here’s the reality. I was a good English student with only the occasional flunking grades in math. I did college quickly and well, and graduated with degrees I wound up never pursuing. When I finally decided I wanted to teach, I had to go back to school and get my license. I worked so hard for it, and once I was in the classroom…I missed being home with my little girl. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach after all.

What?! I had worked SO HARD for that degree. I had to DO something with that education, right? I had all these wildly successful friends. What was I thinking, considering staying home?

Guess what? I stayed home. I LOVED being home with my little girl. I loved the freedom of the hours alone, and I used them to write. The writing shaped itself into a book. The book got edited and critiqued. I published it. And, now, I’m doing well enough writing that it can be my career.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but it’s because I stopped looking at what everyone else was doing and kept my own race in mind. It was hard to tune out the voices around me, telling me what I should do with my degree, my job, my life. Advice is all good, but you have to do what works for you. And if you’re brave enough to do what you believe in, you just might make yourself the happiest person you know!

Posted on 10 April, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments


Top Ten Places To Find Inspiration

Posted on 8 April, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments

Hey Guys!
Today I am introducing you to Nicola Black author of A Story Not Wished to Be Read.
She is here today as part of the Making Connections Book Tour. To follow the rest of the tour, click the banner.
Today, she will be telling you all about her top ten places to find inspiration, feel free to tell us yours once you’ve read!

A Story Banner

As a writer I’m always looking for inspiration.  That inspiration can come from many places, especially in this age of the internet.  Whether that inspiration is a favorite place to chill or an interesting article that gets your gears turning, everybody has one.  Here are my top ten:

  • 10. Controversial blogs.  What I mean by controversial is something that completely disagrees with your beliefs.  Not often do I go to controversial blogs.  But when I do, it’s always an interesting experience.   Although other people’s beliefs frustrate me if I see a lack of common sense, they always help me strengthen my own beliefs.  In the moment of clarity I get from knowing exactly what I don’t believe, I can rant, I mean write, some of my greatest work.
  • 9. Waiting rooms.  Sometimes you find that you have to wait quite a while in some public places.  While most people would get frustrated, I tend to listen to the conversations going on around me.  I always find it interesting that everybody has their own life that only select people are privy to.  By listening to their conversations, I can make up whole scenarios of what’s going on in their life.  Thus, I just found inspiration for a new short story.
  • 8. Goodreads role play groups.  I have to admit that when I first found a group on Goodreads that said “role play,” I wondered if it was of the kinky variety.  But I was completely wrong.  These groups create whole worlds where someone can create and develop a character.  I love using these groups to find out how a new character would react to situations that I myself did not create.
  • 7. Big Green Chair.  You know what I’m talking about;  that big comfy chair that you just love curling up in to read.  Well I like reading AND writing in my big comfy chair.  There’s just no better place, when my brain refuses to work, to get settled in and write gibberish until something good comes out.
  • 6. Smashwords.  Smashwords is a great place for indie writers.  It is a free and easy way to get your work out there without editors or publishers telling you what to do.  You can also get free books from it.  Thus, I read other peoples works and get a feel for the quality indie writers are putting out there.
  • 5. My bedroom.  My bedroom has all sorts of knick knacks I’ve gotten over the years.  Sometimes it’s just nice to sit and look around and remember all that’s happened.  Somewhere in those memories is a good story.
  • 4. Movies.  Although I would never like to steal another’s idea, sometimes movies provide an idea for a new story.  I like taking several movies and fuse their ideas together to get a whole new story.  Sometimes it’s hard to do this without conforming, but it’s possible.
  • 3. Books.  Books are always a great inspiration.  I go through the same method that I do for movies, fusing ideas until I get one great idea.
  • 2. Dreams.  I’ve always had the weirdest, wildest dreams.  I would spend the next morning telling them to my parents.  They didn’t always liked it, though.  Eventually I started enlarging them as I tried to fall asleep at night.  Now my dreams are one of my favorite ways to get stories. 
  • 1. My top favorite place to get inspiration is my own daydreams.  When I watch a movie, I try to think how I would react in the situation presented, or how I would like to act.  And it’s also a great way to act out situations that you want to happen in your life, or are afraid will happen.  A person’s imagination is always the best way to get inspiration. 

These are merely my own top ten places to find inspiration.  All of these places (or things) play a key part in my writing.  I believe that everyone should have places and things to inspire them to write.  Sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut and can’t seem to write, then any one of your top ten could help.  So happy writing!!

~Nicola Black

Posted on 8 April, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments