quotes Elisquared likes


"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green

1.28.2015

Life by Committee (Review)

Title: Life by Committee
Author(s): Corey Ann Haydu
Edition: ARC, 304 pages
Publisher: Katherine Teagan Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2014
Source: Inkwood Books (Blog ARCs)
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - Book Depository - Inkwood Books















The Summary


Some secrets are too good to keep. 


Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat. 

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. 

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

My Opinion



I was happy to get this ARC from the awesome staff at Inkwood Books (PLEASE check out this amazing indie bookstore if you're ever in Tampa, Florida).  Sometimes, if I'm an especially good customer that day I am gifted with some ARCs to dive into.  I was browsing the ARC shelf (yes they have an ARC shelf, but it's in the back and only available to super secret awesome people), when I saw the spine of this book.  I had heard of Corey Ann Haydu's first book, OCD Love Story, so her name caught my eye.  Even though I had not read that book, I read great reviews on it, so I figured her sophomore novel would be good as well.  I was right!

I really enjoyed this book.  It was an interesting mix of contemporary with a little bit of  mystery.  I thought that the characters were portrayed as realistic, and I could totally relate to the concept of the secret sharing because when I was in 9th/10th grade I use to post to an anonymous forum where we would tell secrets and write poetry and be all "emotional".  A little different, but a lot of the same feelings welled up in me when I read about Tab and her secret sharing.  This is the best part of Life by Committee; Haydu has crafted a slice of life that feels real.

Tab is a teenager, so sometimes she's whiney, sometimes she's ungrateful, but at other times she's loving and insightful.  Just like any young adult, she is trying to figure out her place in the world and she doesn't do it gracefully at all times.  But this expansive emotional range is what I really love about teenagers; they have such big feelings because everything is so personal to them.  Haydu captures this brilliantly.  Of course I know some may find Tab annoying for this reason, with the whole "typical teen" attitude, but I loved her and found her very relatable. 

As I mentioned above, the idea of secret sharing was very cool, and intrigued me.  Can you imagine divulging some deep secrets and then allowing complete strangers to decide what you have to do in order for those secrets to stay secret?  I don't think I'm either brave enough or reckless enough to do something like that.  Of course, it could be freeing at the same time, which is the precipice Haydu works with.  At any moment Tab's world could get so much more complicated than it already is, but that's what makes being a member of the Committee that much more enticing.

Overall, this is a fun contemporary that has both real feelings and humorous moments throughout.  I think it is a good sophomoric follow up to Haydu's previous book OCD Love Story, and makes me want to pick up her next works.  I would recommend it to readers who want a contemporary with a secret twist.

Extras


Other Books by Corey Ann Haydu
(Click on the images to go to Goodreads)


Final Rating


Book Cover: 4/5
Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 43/50: B


1.27.2015

A COLD LEGACY Release Day Blast! (+Giveaway)


I am so excited that A COLD LEGACY by Megan Shepherd releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an excerpt from the book!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Megan Shepherd, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blast also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and swag courtesy of Megan and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Title: A COLD LEGACY
Author: Megan Shepherd
Pub. Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Pages: 400

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls. 
Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own. 
With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity. 

A COLD LEGACY excerpt

p.21-24

Montgomery stopped the horses outside a tavern. He came to the carriage door, opening it just a crack to keep the rain from drenching us. “I’m going to ask directions. We can’t be far now.”

We watched him saunter over the muddy street as though he didn’t even feel the bite of freezing rain. A face appeared in the tavern window. The door opened and he spoke to a woman in a wool dress for a few moments, then stomped back through the mud. “This village is called Quick,” he told us. “The manor’s only five miles from here.”

“Did you hear that?” Lucy murmured to Edward, still stroking his hair. “We’re almost there. Just hold on. Everything will be all right once we arrive.”

Montgomery’s eyes shifted to me. Neither of us wanted to remind Lucy that the prospect of Edward’s fever breaking—and the Beast’s reappearance—was almost more frightening than the fever itself. Delirious, he was less of a threat.

“Let’s go then,” I whispered to Montgomery. “And quickly.”

He closed the door and in another moment we were moving again, passing through the rest of Quick. Then all too soon the village was nothing but fading lights. The storm grew and the road became rougher, and all the while Edward’s eyes rolled back and forth beneath shuttered lids.

Thunder struck close by, and Lucy shrieked. Montgomery whipped the horses harder, pulling us along the uneven road impossibly fast, trying to outrun the storm. I twisted in the seat to look out the back window at the pelting rain. A stone fence ran alongside us.

“We must be getting close,” I said.

“Not soon enough,” Lucy breathed. “We’re going to crash if he keeps driving like this!”

The road widened, straightening, letting us travel even faster. Lightning struck close by, blinding me. The horses bolted. Lucy screamed and covered her eyes, but I couldn’t tear mine away. The lightning had struck an enormous oak tree, twisted from centuries of wind. The oak took flame, blazing despite the rain. A smoking gash ran down the trunk—the lightning’s death mark. I watched until the rain put out most of the flames, but it still smoldered, billowing hot ash into the night.

The horses pawed the earth, and I grabbed the window to steady myself. At this wild speed, just hitting a single rock at the wrong angle would send the carriage shattering to the ground. It was madness to go so fast. Couldn’t Montgomery calm the horses?

Just when I feared the carriage would careen out of control, it stopped short, throwing me against the opposite wall. I tangled in Lucy’s limbs as the chains around Edward’s body clinked. Balthazar grunted, jerking awake at last. We scrambled in the bottom of the carriage until the door flew open.

Montgomery stood in the pelting rain. I feared he’d say we’d broken another strut or the horses had gone lame or we’d have to spend the night in the harsh storm.

But then I saw the lights behind him, and the night took shape into a turreted stone manor with bright lamps blazing and gargoyles on the roof vomiting rain into a stone courtyard.

Montgomery’s eyes met mine beneath the low brim of his hat.

“We’ve arrived,” he said.

About Megan:

Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography
Hello! 

I’ve been many things, like a professional exchange student, park ranger in Montana, and LOST enthusiast, but what I am now is a writer.

I think it’s fair to say I was born into it. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, raised behind the counter of my parents’ independent bookstore, Highland Books in Brevard. Ah, so many free books. But I never thought being a writer could be a real career. After college I thought I’d end up as a foreign service officer somewhere dashing and exotic, like Canada. I studied French, Spanish, German, and Russian and still speak a few of those. Then I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Senegal, where I learned a few more languages I’ll never speak again and lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water. You can probably imagine how that experience went, but if you’re curious, here are the dirty details

It wasn't until a chance aquaintance read something I wrote and said, "have you ever considered being a writer?" that something clicked and I realized it was possible. My husband encouraged me, and I quickly fell head-over-heels in love with writing and children's literature in particular. I started out writing articles, which have appeared in Faces, Appleseeds, and Calliope magazines, and stories for younger children. I soon realized I wasn’t sweet enough to write fiction for that age and found myself writing young adult literature instead, which doesn’t require nearly as many tender moments and includes a lot more cursing.

When I'm not writing, I can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I love to hear from readers, so please drop me a line!

I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.




Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed copy of A COLD LEGACY and swag! US Only.

Ends on February 6th at Midnight EST!

AND check out the Twitter Party Megan is hosting:



LOVE, LUCY Release Day Blast (+Giveaway!)



I am so excited that LOVE, LUCY by April Lindner releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome guest post from the author in which she shares “Some Rules of the Road” for traveling abroad, as Lucy did in the book.

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful new book by Author April Linder, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blast also includes a giveaway for a copy of the book courtesy of Rockstar Book Tours and 3 signed JANE posters courtesy of the author. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


About LOVE, LUCY


Title: LOVE, LUCY
Author: April Lindner
Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.



About April Lindner


April Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, releasing January 27, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.


The Guest Post

SOME RULES OF THE ROAD



Like Lucy Sommersworth, the heroine of Love, Lucy, my parents gave me the gift of a lifetime: a backpacking trip to Europe. I was a bit older than Lucy—22, and just out of college—but when I arrived in Milan, Italy with a Eurail pass, a copy of Let’s Go: Europe, and a seventy-pound backpack I could barely lift, I was a wee bit terrified. Like Lucy, I spoke only a little bit of Italian, just barely enough to get by, and I wasn’t particularly good at reading maps or train schedules. Unlike Lucy, I was travelling solo.

Luckily, my journey began with training wheels. I’d just taken a college Italian class, and my professor had offered a safe crash pad for the first few days of my trip—in her family home in the Alps. Less luckily, when I reached Malpensa airport, nobody was there to pick me up. Giddy with excitement and jet lag, I wandered around the airport, eavesdropping on Italians as they hugged each other hello and goodbye, and had noisy arguments. I’d never felt more alone in my life. Where would I sleep that night if my ride didn’t show up?


Luckily, my professor’s brother arrived at last to whisk me away to the family home in Domodossola. The extended family welcomed and fed me, gave me tours of their city with its charming medieval center, helped me practice my Italian, and, when the time was right, brought me to the train station where my solo travels began for real. It was time to take off the training wheels.

If I’d felt alone back in the airport, I was even more so on that train to Verona, a city where I didn’t know a soul. In those pre-internet days, I could disappear into thin air and nobody would even notice I was gone. The thought was chilling, but oddly exciting.

By nightfall, I’d made it to Verona. I’d figured out the public transportation, found a youth hostel, and booked myself a bed. Best of all, I had introduced myself to a handful of other backpackers. We hung out together in the hostel’s common area, sharing bread and cheese, exchanging stories, discussing the rules of the road—those bits of practical wisdom our travels were teaching us. Here are a few:


Time passes differently on the road.  Spend a few very intense hours seeing the sites with strangers and by the end of the day, those strangers have become a part of your story. Years later you’ll see their faces in your photo album and still remember stray details of the adventures you shared together, even if you can’t quite recall their names.


Spontaneity is key.  There are few things as magical as showing up at a train station with no idea where you’re headed next, picking a random train, and hopping on.

Janis Joplin said it best: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.  When you’re carrying all your possessions on your back in a city where you don’t know a soul, you’re absolutely free. You can go anywhere, do anything. That freedom has its lonely moments—but it can be the doorway to all kinds of adventures.


Embrace misadventure.  As carefully as you plan there will be crazy mistakes: wrong turns, slept-through train stops, multilingual misunderstandings, and all kinds of other blunders—and these will make the best stories. My misadventures are some of my favorite memories. The time I missed curfew and had to climb into my hostel through a second-story window. The morning when, hanging out my recently washed clothes to dry, I dropped my wet underthings out the window, onto a stranger’s head. The night when, with no room to stay in, I slept on Venice’s train station steps with about a hundred other backpackers, the stars above us and the Grand Canal stretched out before us. Would I trade that last memory for a safe, comfy night in an actual bed?  Not on your life.


The Giveaway

There is a blast-wide giveaway, ending February 6th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific, for:
  • 1 copy of LOVE, LUCY to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository – Int’l
  • 3 JANE posters (signed) – US only
Enter in the Rafflecopter below...




1.15.2015

Hellhole by Gina Damico (Review and Book Tour)





Title: Hellhole
Author(s): Gina Damico
Edition: Hardcover, 368 pages (also available in eBook, and audio)
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Source: Rockstar Book Tours 
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - Book Depository - Inkwood Books











The Summary


There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high.

With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out.

My Opinion

I am so excited to be a part of this book tour (check out the other awesome stops on the schedule below) for Gina Damico's Hellhole!  I have throughly enjoyed her previous books, the Croak series containing CroakScorch, and Rogue.  I knew that I would love her newest endeavor, and I was totally on point.

What is always great about Gina's books is the humor infused throughout.  Even in the most dire of situations, and there are some doozies during the course of the book, there is always a grain of humor, even if it is self-deprecating or tinged with a slight hysterical edge.  In this crazy absurd premise, you would think that all the humor would make it even that more absurd, but I felt the humor was the most grounding aspect of the book.  Humans often use it as a defense mechanism or as an offensive attack.  Gina's deft hand crafts the humor into a support system to make the fact that poor Max Kilgore has gotten saddled with a "Satan" more believable.

Speaking of Max and his unfortunate houseguest, characterization is another aspect that Gina excels at.  Max is instantly endearing.  He is this nerdy, fossil-loving, crossword-doing outcast who is trying to make ends meet while taking care of a terminally ill mother.  He just wants to live his life, and is resigned to the fact that he is a non-entity in his town. But Burgundy Cluttermuck, Burg for short, blows that existence out of the water.  Burg is the embodiment of that creepy second cousin at family reunions that no one really likes but is made to put up with.  He has this presence of a slob and a greaseball, but there are glints of something much more sinister lurking underneath.  The extreme differences in personalities make every interaction between Max and Burg that much more enjoyable.  And of course the supporting characters are great as well.  I love Max's Mom so much, and Lore is great!  Each one of her characters adds to the overall plot and never felt superfluous to me, which I consider really important in order for a book to be enjoyable.

Now the plot I'll leave you to discover because the key to this book is getting surprised by what comes next straight out of left field.  But I will just say this: I was always right about cats.

Deliciously fun and frightfully hilarious, Hellhole by Gina Damico is one book you'll sink into and come out of blinking, trying to refocus on reality after the crazy romp you've just experienced. Highly recommended for all readers; it is a delight!

Extras

Book Trailer



Giveaway

We are giving away a Hardcover copy of HELLHOLE to TWO WINNERS
Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships.
Giveaway ends on January 21st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

A NOTE FROM GINA: Hey there book fans! I'm running a Follow Frenzy giveaway over the course of this blog tour, and the prize is pretty neato: a signed copy of HELLHOLE wherein each chapter will have a little bit of trivia and/or a doodle handwritten by yours truly. (Gina) (Damico) To enter, all you have to do is follow me on one or more of my various social media outlets (TwitterFacebookTumblrInstagramYoutube), then fill out this adorable little form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MbfSsZCiALw_I_C7WpI0d71hPNe0b94Ot89sxFesUzM/viewform . That's it! The more things you follow, the more chances you will earn to win. Good luck!


Final Rating


Book Cover: 4/5
Book Title: 5/5
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 47/50: A
About the Author


Gina Damico is the author of Croak, Scorch, and Rogue, the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives outside Boston with her husband, two cats, and one dog, and while she has never visited hell in person, she has spent countless waking hours at the Albany Regional Bus Terminal, which is pretty darn close. Visit her website at www.ginadami.co.




Tour Schedule


Week One

Jan. 5th Xpresso Reads – Guest Post
   Fiction Fare – Spotlight
Jan. 6th Paranormal Book Club – Guest Post
               Two Chicks on Books – Spotlight
Jan. 7th A Dream Within A Dream – Review
  Book Jems – Guest Post
Jan. 8th BookHounds YA – Interview
   YA Midnight Reads – Dual Review
Jan. 9th Novel Novice – Guest Post
   Consuming Words and Worlds – Interview

Week Two

Jan. 12th Once Upon a Twilight – Review
    Book Sniffers Anonymous – Interview
Jan. 13th No BS Book Reviews – Interview
    The Best Books Ever – Review
Jan. 14th Teen Readers’ Diary – Guest Post
    The Book Bratz – Review
Jan. 15th Sweet Southern Home – Review
    Eli to the nth – Review
Jan. 16th Bad Bird Reads – Guest Post
    Crossroad Reviews – Review 


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