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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

Title: All I Need

Author: Susane Colasanti

Publisher: Viking

Publication date: May, 2013

Softcover: 240 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: I was sent a copy from the publisher.

Why I chose this book: I really like some of Susane Colasanti’s books.  I read her first two books when they were published, Take Me There and When it Happens.  They are incredible and I definitely love them.  I always look for her new books when they come out, and wanted to get my hands on a copy of this beach love story.


The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did–and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?


I was…disappointed with this book.  Maybe I went in with too high of expectations, but I know that Colasanti has the ability to write some truly remarkable stories.  But I think this one just fell short.  Very short.

I had a hard time seeing the connection between the characters.  I didn’t think there was much of a spark.  I understand that the plot was supposed to be a type of “love at first sight”.  But if I can’t feel it, then how can I get into the story?  I couldn’t.  Another problem, and this might have contributed to the missing spark, was that I didn’t completely get to know the characters individually.  The story was face paced, but didn’t allow me to get to know that characters at all.  They were vague people that I was reading about. 

The conflict in the story is that there is trouble in Skye and Seth’s relationship.  And through the whole thing, I’m thinking, they should just break up.  But, as I knew they would, they stick it through.  But I don’t know why.  I didn’t see some big turning point where things clicked into place and changed. 

So, I wouldn’t recommend this book.  Out of all the books I’ve read by Colasanti, I think this one is the worst.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Author Interview: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey

Author of: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Jessica Rules the Dark Side, Jekel Loves Hyde

The Book Heist: You latest novel, Jekel loves Hyde, incorporates the haunting tales of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and placing the scenerio in modern day high school.  What kind of research did you do accomodate your novel?

Beth Fantaskey: I needed to re-read the original book, which I hadn’t really looked at since high school, and that was crucial to crafting my plot.  I also had to brush up on some chemistry basics, since I wasn’t a strong science student in school.  Last but not least, I consulted with a music professor in order to get more insight into Tristen’s life and work as a pianist/young composer.  
I tend to do a lot of research as I write, so it’s not overwhelming – and it’s always fun to learn new stuff.

The Book Heist: In the orignal tale of Jekyll and Hyde, both characters are male (and some certifiably insane).  Yet, in your novel, you make (Jill) Jekel a teenage girl, who’s point of view makes up the novel.  What inspired you to incorporate romance and teenage hormones into such a grusume tale?

Beth Fantaskey: I thought the idea of teen hormones was a good fit with a story about a potion that chemically alters the body.  It’s a confusing time, just naturally, and I thought it would be interesting to add a dangerous chemical formula to the mix. 

The teenage years are also all about choosing your identity – will I be “good” or “bad,” “shy” or “outgoing,” etc. – which is also at the heart of the original novel.  In all, I think it’s a perfect story for a high school setting.
As for the romance – I just love a good love story.  I don’t think I could write a book that didn’t have some sort of romantic angle.

The Book Heist: (I completely agree.  I’m a sucker for the romance.) Writing a novel can be such a demanding task.  What is your schedule usually like when writing? 

Beth Fantaskey: I basically try to treat it like a traditional job.  Once I send my kids off to school, I take a half hour to read the newspaper, then try to be at my computer by nine a.m.  My goal is always to write at least one chapter a day.  That usually takes me into the late afternoon, which is when I do things like answer e-mail, update my Facebook page or website, or handle other “business” that needs to be taken care of.  It’s a pretty full day, but I love the work!

The Book Heist: Many people (including myself) are anxiously awaiting your next novel, the sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, Jessica’s Rules the Dark Side.  Can you tell us some of the things we can expect to read during this new edition?  And will the wedding between the main characters (Lucius and Jessica) be incorporated in the story?

Beth Fantaskey: The wedding will not be incorporated into the story, which picks up six months after Jess and Lucius get married.  This time, Jess is the “fish out of water” – like Lucius was in America – as she tries to adjust to life as a Romanian vampire princess and wife of a still sometimes mysterious vampire prince.  And Mindy and Raniero (the Italian surfer vampire who was Lucius’s best man) make an appearance, too.  
I’ll be posting a preview and doing some giveaways on my website as publication draws closer, so I’d urge anybody who wants a “sneak peek” to meet up with me on Facebook or Twitter, or check in at bethfantaskey.com now and then.

The Book Heist: With vampire novels being so popular as of late, it’s always refreshing to see a new twist on the fangs angle.  In Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, the vampire angle leads way to an even larger portral of choice and fate.  How did you decide the different characteristics of your vampires?
Beth Fantaskey: I knew very little about vampires, so I just created a “mythology” that suited my needs.  For example, Lucius is a high school student, so he couldn’t dissolve in sunlight.  It wouldn’t be practical.  And he would NEVER be afraid of something like garlic! 
I’ve added a lot to my vampire lore in the next book, to make the world even more complex and nuanced.  Developing that culture and its traditions is half the fun of writing the books!
The Book Heist: What made you decide to to write for young adults?  Are you a reader of the young adult genre?

Beth Fantaskey: I didn’t set out to be a YA writer.  I just wrote a book about a teenage heroine – and later learned that made me a young adult writer.  But I’m really happy that I ended up in YA.  The fans are very interactive, and I’ve had a great time doing things like the on-line wedding, with their input.  (Thanks, everybody!!)

The Book Heist: What are some of your favorite books and authors?

Beth Fantaskey: I’m a big fan of the classic authors, like Dickens, Austen, Melville and Dumas.  Although Dickens is my favorite author, overall, my favorite book is Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo.  Edmond Dantes is my favorite dark, witty hero.  He’s just perfect!

Author Interview: Hannah Sternberg

Hannah Sternberg

Author of: Queens of All Earth

The Book Heist: Where did you get your ideas for Queens of All Earth?

HS: Queens of All the Earth is inspired by one of my favorite novels, A Room with a View by E. M. Forster. The events of my story are loosely based on Forster’s book, though I did end up changing a lot as I dove into the little world I was creating for my version. I first read A Room with a View when I was 14, and just like the heroine I was emerging from childhood and beginning to understand that one day I’d have to direct my own life’s adventures, even if it sometimes pitted me against some of my most trusted mentors, even my parents. Plus, the romance and beauty of the setting swept me away. That book had a profound effect not just on my imagination, but on how I came to understand life. It might be a slim little romantic novel, but sometimes books are bigger than they seem!

The Book Heist: Have you ever been to Barcelona?

HS: Yes; in fact, I started writing Queens of All the Earth while I was in Barcelona for a weeklong vacation. That year, I participated in a college study abroad program in London. It was the first time I had ever been outside the United States, and while I’d always been obsessed with British culture, almost as soon as I got there, I was overwhelmed with homesickness. I spent much of that year learning about myself and adulthood, in addition to trying to see the sights like any college exchange student. My Barcelona trip was especially stressful at first because I’m usually a very meticulous, cautious person, and here I was plunging off to a country where I barely spoke the language, staying in a hostel room with a bunch of strangers, where everything–even the plumbing!–was unfamiliar. One of the friends I was traveling with was also a big fan of A Room with a View, and I felt comforted talking about how much fun it would be to retell the story, folding in our experiences in Barcelona. The idea calmed me down enough to finally start enjoying the trip, and in the late evenings when my friends went to bed, I started writing Queens of All the Earth in a little notepad I’d brought with me.

The Book Heist: What kind of research did you do for Queens of All Earth?

HS: Well, I finished the first draft of the novel in one month, directly after returning to my London dorm after my trip to Barcelona. So many of the most vivid descriptions of places in the book came directly from my memory. Over three years passed between writing the first draft and handing in my final revision to my editor at Bancroft, however, and when I had to revise major scenes, it became increasingly difficult to recall what I had seen with the strength I had before. In those times, I’d set up a collage of postcards I’d bought in Barcelona, many depicting the places described in the book, and I’d surround my computer with all these little tokens of my visit: ticket stubs, guidebooks, even old gift bags! It helped me remember what it felt like to be there. I did a little bit of research online just to confirm the dates and names of some of the landmarks I’d mentioned. But, like Olivia, I don’t feel like I’m really seeing a place unless I’ve read about its history, so I went into the manuscript armed with all the information I’d already stocked up on previous to the trip.

The Book Heist: Who do you relate to more: Miranda or Olivia?

HS: I think it’s inevitable that every character I write is a little piece of myself, because they all came from my imagination, and are colored by my way of observing the world. When I wrote the book, I definitely felt more like Miranda. I used to joke with my friends that Miranda was an amalgamation of everything that’s annoying about me, with none of the good bits. I’ve been told by those friends that’s an unfair assessment of myself, so I guess that means either I have an exceptional imagination or exceptional friends. Olivia started as a much more ambiguous character, and eventually she became the fragile, child-like version of me that has long since been wrapped up under layers of responsibility. Sometimes I try to peel them back just to see if I still recognize her.

The Book Heist: How long have you been writing?

HS: Oh, as long as I knew how! My mom, Libby Malin Sternberg, is an author too, and she’s always encouraged me. She’s my best writing teacher and my best friend. I’ve been writing so long, I can’t comprehend a life in which one doesn’t spend every available moment writing.

The Book Heist: What made you decide to write a YA novel?

HS: I joke with my agent that I write young adult literature unwittingly, because I haven’t been an adult for very long. I didn’t intentionally set out to write a YA novel, but the themes and the age of the heroine naturally made it one. My publisher, Bruce, calls it “an adult novel for young adults.” I never tried to “write down” to my audience in terms of how I used language; instead, I hope that young adults will feel an affinity for Olivia, Greg and Miranda’s struggles and growth.

The Book Heist: What are some of your favorite novels and authors?

HS: E. M. Foster, clearly, the inspiration for this novel! I also admire the works of J. D. Salinger, and his portrayal of a nervous breakdown in Franny and Zooey was a huge inspiration for Olivia’s own psychological problems. I love the historical fiction of Louis Bayard and Mark Helprin, and their vibrant, emotional use of language. The poetry of E. E. Cummings figures prominently in the story, too; he, too, hugely influenced my perspective on life as I crawled out of my shell and into adulthood. Other favorites, in no particular order: Charlotte Bronte, Dorothy Parker, Umberto Eco, Virginia Woolf, David Foster Wallace, John Cheever, Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen. And, of course, my mom!

Author Interview: Beth Revis

Beth Revis
 Author of: Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Shades of Earth

The Book Heist: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

Beth Revis: Yes!  Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to tell stories.

The Book Heist: Where did you get your ideas for Across the Universe?

Beth Revis: A lot of it came from the twist at the end–I had an idea for a solution to a mystery, and I wanted to build a novel around it.

The Book Heist: When you first wanted to write a novel, did you automatically think “dystopian”?

Beth Revis: Nope! I’ve been writing for years and mostly wrote fantasy–this was the first dystopian I wrote–and actually, I didn’t go into thinking dystopian, I went into thinking sci fi.

The Book Heist: You write about things other people would tend to shy away from (details about cryogenics, medical procedures, etc.).  What is it like for you to write these scenes?

Beth Revis: I just tried to be as honest and graphic as possible, to push it far as I could go. I do have to say, while writing the first chapter, I actually accidentally gagged myself while trying to figure out what the tubes would feel like!

The Book Heist: A lot of authors listen to music while they write.  Are you the same way?  What kinds of songs are on your playlist?

Beth Revis: I do like to listen to music–but I only listen to it for sound–I tune out the songs and the words. That said, I did listen a lot to the Beatle’s song “Across the Universe” while writing 😀

The Book Heist: What type of research did you do for Across the Universe?

Beth Revis: I just researched enough to find out why we don’t have the technology I needed for the story. For example, I figured out that we didn’t have cryogenic freezing because cell walls burst, then I invented “blue goo” to make that not happen for Amy and her family.

The Book Heist: What was it like to write from the male point of view (Elder)?

Beth Revis: Interesting! I’d write scenes and run them past my husband. For example, when Elder first sees Amy, I had written pages of description where he sees her and notices her eyes, her hair, etc. Showed it to my husband. He said, “If I were Elder, I’d just be looking at her boobs.” So I took out a lot of the description and had him look at her boobs.

The Book Heist: Being a YA author, do you read any YA novels? What are your favorites?

Beth Revis: I read YA almost exclusively. I’ll occasionally read MG, and sometimes pick up an adult novel, but nearly everything I read is YA. My faves are Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, CS Lewis, Carrie Ryan, and more!

Author Interview: Jordan Dane

Jordon Dane

Author of: In the Arms of Stone Angels, Indigo Awakening, and more.

Question: What kind of research did you have to do for In the Arms of Stone Angels?

Answer: For Stone Angels, the main research came from the Native American inspirations for the book. I wanted to highlight a tribe that not many people know about, the Euchee. And I got this tribe name from a librarian friend of mine, Susan Johnson, who is in charge of the Native American cultural resources at the Sapulpa OK library. She is a fan of my adult books and had always wanted me to write a story based in Oklahoma. And yes, I listen to my readers. But one of the coolest things about my working with Susan was the inspiration behind White Bird, my half breed outcast American Indian boy. Since I’m part Hispanic, I knew what it was like to face bigotry in all forms. Even as a kid, I recognized it for what it was. So I wanted to create a character who wasn’t full blooded, who straddled a line between cultures, not fitting on either side. And when I was describing my character to Susan, she said, “I know this boy.”

Yes, there is a real Whitebird. He’s a great kid who also graciously allowed me to use his name, because I loved the symbolism of innocence and he helped me research how to make a sweat lodge, for example. The real Whitebird was just released from the foster care system in Oklahoma and is now living on his own. We’re friends on Facebook, in fact. My story is fictional, so please don’t think this poor guy ever was in a mental hospital or was involved in a crime J, but I really admire his ability to survive the struggles in his young life with the optimism and maturity he has. He’s an inspiration in many ways. I recently blogged about him on my YA blog at: http://jordandanebooks.blogspot.com/

Question: What was your writing process like?

Answer: When you love what you do, it’s hard to call it a process. That sounds too much like real work. As an author, my mind never stops thinking about stories and characters. I can be watching a commercial and I’ll pick up on something that triggers a thought or a line of dialogue or an image I want to describe. I write every day. I take days off at times, but it always feels like I’m missing something if I don’t write, like the lives of my characters are going on without me and I’ll miss something. Writing is a strange addiction that has added so much to my quality of life. I’ve become a better listener. I prefer hearing other people tell me their stories. And I see things every day that make me want to write about it.

Generally, I write every day between the hours of 9-4, although that’s not a hard and fast rule. I take breaks and handle the business end of my job after those hours. I edit what I’ve written every night before I go to bed. I edit, edit and edit as I go along until I’m able to let go of that scene or chapter. So when I’m at the end of my book, I don’t have to go over it again and rewrite draft after draft of it. I’m ready to move on to another story. One of my favorite quotes about writing is  “A book is never done. It’s only abandoned.” I can totally see that.

I also don’t plot. I see books unfolding in my head like a movie. And I follow my instincts on how a story should be told. I believe that someone can learn the craft of writing, but it’s the story telling that separates authors and distinguishes them from each other. In my opinion, storytelling is innate and can’t really be taught. It’s instinct. I also like the idea of learning the craft of writing, but then breaking the rules when I see it fits…just for fun. I guess I’m a bit of a rebel like my character Brenna Nash.

Question: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Answer: I LOVE to talk to aspiring authors of all ages. Write, write and write some more. For budding teen authors, I think it’s important to write anything, from poetry to your thoughts and feelings. The roots to a budding author start early and can become rooted very deeply in who you are or will become. That’s the way it was with me. I never forgot my love for writing, from my teen years. At that age, writing is more about self-expression and developing the ways you will think as an adult too. Writing can be a way of exploring who you are. And it’s the same whether you’re an adult or not.

On my adult website, I have a FOR WRITERS page that I post articles on author craft and other topics. I keep this page updated to pay back all the kindnesses other authors have shown me. It’s my way of “paying it forward.” http://www.jordandane.com/writers.php  I have my first sale story posted, plus writer tips on many subjects.

But the best advice I can give anyone is to write every day. The writing is the only thing we can control. It’s what makes us most happy. The minute I decided that I would write, whether I ever sold or not, that was the day I knew I had found a passion that would be hard to deny. I sold not soon after that, but I would still be doing it if that had never happened. I heard a motivational speaker say that he wrote his non-fiction book doing it a page a day. After I heard that, I had no more excuses. I made time for what was important to me. And that’s good advice whether you’re a writer or not. 

Question: What part(s) of In the Arms of Stone Angels did you like writing the most?

Answer: I loved “being in” this book the whole time. And when it came to finishing it, I stalled, not wanting to leave Brenna and White Bird. I wanted to know what would come next for them. Now that I’ve created them, they live in my mind. So the flashbacks to how Brenna fell in love with White Bird and remembered him were some of my favorite passages. People remember the past, not like a running video of their life, but they see a color or feel a chill in the air and that triggers a memory or a feeling. For Brenna, seeing a small bird might always remind her of how she met White Bird or nudge at the memory of their first kiss on the day they set the wounded bird free, for example.  Through the book I shared the past for her by those types of triggers. What triggers your best memories?

I also loved how Brenna’s perception of her mother changed from start to finish of that book without any scene actually being written from the mother’s point of view. I wanted Brenna to be the judge of her mother’s actions. And I thought it was important to stay in Brenna’s head to do that.

For more on Brenna and White Bird, readers can visit my YA website for a Q&A on them. Here is the link for that: http://www.jordandane.com/YA/jordan.php

Question: Will there be a sequel to In the Arms of Stone Angels? 

Answer: I planted seeds in this story for a sequel. They were deliberate. I wanted the story to feel like it had ended and was standalone in plot, but I wanted small meaty morsels to choose from if my publisher wanted me to write a sequel. We’ll see how this first book goes. I can certainly see a whole world built around Brenna looking for her estranged father and how her “gift” was a legacy from him and his family. And since Brenna talks at the end of the book about finding her own path/destiny to becoming a star in the night sky, I think there are stories that could help her get there. Her strong ties to White Bird and Joe Sunne, the Euchee Shaman, are not accidents. And her connection to the dead is worth exploring. I actually can see a whole series coming from this book. And I absolutely LOVED being in the heads of Brenna and White Bird. Those two have a bond that transcends this life. Wouldn’t it be cool to find out what their connection might be? 

Question: What is your upcoming book, On A Dark Wing, about? 

Answer: Sixteen year old Abbey Chandler cheats death and lives past her expiration date, but her lucky break comes at a price. And Death has never forgotten. Now, years later, Abbey is riddled with guilt over her mother’s death and the role she played in it. She’s become a loner and her father’s occupation hasn’t helped her DOA social life. Her father is the only mortician in a small Alaska town and he runs his business out of the house she lives in. Bodies are stored in her basement to be planted with the spring thaw in Alaska. Kids call her the ghoul next door, Zombie Queen, Citizen from Cremation Nation, and Necro Girl. She’s heard it all. But when Death comes calling, he sends his black winged messengers to find her. And when her secret crush, Nate Holden, crosses paths with the Angel of Death because of her, his soul is on the bargaining table. And Abbey is the only one who can speak up for him.

I’ll have an excerpt on my website soon for this 2012 book with Harlequin Teen. Below is a sneak peek at the early book jacket summary:

On a Dark Wing
Harlequin Teen (2012)
ISBN 978-0-373-21041-1

The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over.
I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for.
And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her lucky break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s Ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death is with him because of her.

Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

Question: What made you decide to write for the YA genre?

Answer: I loved reading YA books. They are so imaginative and rich in atmosphere…and possibility. I love dark edgy YA and wanted to write stories that were grounded in the teen experience yet force my characters to deal with sometimes life of death situations. So when I was between adult projects, I had a chat with my niece, Dana, who loves dark edgy YA too. She had graduated high school and was about to enroll in college. Before she took off to school, we spent a long weekend playing “what if” games about the book idea I was hatching. We took photos of location shots for the small town. And we came up with inspirational character images and clothing ideas. And we ate a lot of sushi, brain food. In short, the book was an excuse to have fun, but we also created a foundation for the book and got to know each other better in the process. Basically, YA stretches me as a writer. The only thing that limits an author of YA is their own imagination. What’s not to love about that?

Question: What are some of your favorite books and authors?

Answer: I have a list of my favorite reads, but this list is growing all the time. Here’s my latest list of YA books that I loved reading and my take on what they are about.

1.      THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak – The story of a young German girl during the time of the Holocaust, narrated by Death. An amazing story that the New York Times endorsed as “life changing.” (This book is on the top of my list for a reason.)

2.      CITY OF BONES, CITY OF ASHES, CITY OF GLASS by Cassandra Clare (the Immortal Instruments series) – An urban fantasy story with incredible world building and wonderful characterizations. Prepare to get sucked in.

3.      THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins – A futuristic tale told through the eyes of a young girl in a post-apocalyptic world where the government demands two sacrificial tributes (gladiators, one of each sex) from each of its territories, for a televised reality show fight to the death. 

4.      THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher – It’s the story of a girl who had committed suicide and sent audio tapes to the 13 people who had contributed to her making that decision. (An amazing debut for this gifted author.)

5.      WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson – This novel is the gripping tale of a girl secretly suffering from an eating disorder as she plummets closer to dying, all under the watchful eye of her well-intentioned parents. (The Queen of Edgy YA)

6.      IF I STAY by Gayle Forman – After a tragic car accident, a young girl loses her entire family and is in a coma in the hospital, but she’s aware of everything that is happening and must find the will to stay with the living or die and let go.

7.      THIRTEEN DAYS TO MIDNIGHT by Patrick Carman – A creepy gut-wrenching fantasy. After a fateful car accident where he should have died, a young boy realizes his guardian had given him the powerful gift of invulnerability before he died in that same crash. He gave him the power to survive horrific accidents, and once the boy realizes this ability can be transferred to others to save their lives too, will his newfound skill become a gift or a curse?

8.      STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr – A young teen girl’s life is changed forever after she’s discovered by her father in a car having sex with a boy. (This is a simple story without a lot of bells and whistles, but it reads like a real slice of life.)

 And BTW, a book that I can hardly wait to read is from a debut YA author, Karsten Knight. His book is called Wildfire ( July 2011, Simon & Schuster)

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: June, 2012

Hardcover: 384 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I was actually going to wait a few weeks to read Sarah Dessen’s, but ultimately I couldn’t hold off.  I absolutely love Dessen’s novels, and they only come out occasionally, so I had to jump.


Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?


This book…surprised me, to say the least.  I’ve come to know Sarah Dessen’s writing style, and I expected this book to follow the similar, well-known pattern all of her other books possess.  While I’m not going to completely reveal the difference, I will say that this book focuses less on that once-in-a-lifetime love, and more on finding out who you truly are.  Different, but good.

The challenge for Dessen, though, is writing an amazing novel that can top her other amazing novels.  Which is hard, because she has written some amazing works of art.  So in case you’re wondering, no, The Moon and More is not as good as Just Listen or This Lullaby.  Of course, this is just my opinion.  I’m not sure she’ll ever be able to top them.  But I still absolutely love her writing style, and getting to revisit the amazing beach town of Colby, which feels so familiar to me.

While reading the book, the only issue I found was that I had a hard time trying to figure out and connect with the main guy in the story, which is unusual for Dessen’s novels.  I don’t know if this is intentional or not because of the shift in plot-lines, so I’ll let you be the judge.

Overall, this is an amazing novel from and amazing author.  I would continue to read Dessen’s novels no matter what age I am.  There’s always something to learn and take away from it.  So it’s not the best she’s written, but it’s still worth it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Title: Bittersweet

Author: Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication date: December, 2012

Softcover: 400 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I’ve been seeing this book on the shelves every time I get to the bookstore.  I liked the synopsis, but hadn’t been in the mood for this type of book until now.


     Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
     So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life—and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
     It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last….


I have mixed feelings about this book.  It was a good book, easy to follow and read, but it just didn’t grab me and keep me on the edge of my seat the way I wanted it to.  I thought it was “okay”.  Sometimes I’d be in the middle of a chapter and get bored, so I’d set the book down and come back to it later.  I don’t want to have to do that with books, but I did with this one.   

I really don’t have much to say on this book.  It was okay, nothing more, nothing less.  It’ll sit on my shelf, but I probably won’t pick it up for a reread.