Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Signing: Carrie Ryan!

Last night I was SO priveledged to go see Carrie Ryan at my local B&N! Carrie is on tour for the third book in her zombie trilogy THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES.

I honestly didn't think I would ever have a chance to meet this fabulous author that I have been following on FB and twitter etc. Utah has an amazing author community, and many that are connected to Utah, but when I heard Carrie was coming it was a dream come true!

I hope more authors add Utah to their tour lists because it was SUCH an incredible night! I do have to warn you, this post is long. There was too much to talk about and I wanted you all to have all the info!

* I love the Vanna White pose in this one. ;)
First I have to say Carrie is amazing. She is INCREDIBLE! So personable, so funny and just completely amazing. She was writing down names and taking notes on the people she met as she signed and was just pure amazing. Here are my notes from what she told us all: *again note that these are my paraphrased notes, I tried getting direct quotes and sometimes they are, but not always exact.

  • THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH begins about 150 years after a zombie apocalypse. THE DEAD TOSSED WAVES is a generation later.
  • THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES is hard to describe. Like any final book in a series it should hit that point where the reader says there is no way the author can pull this together, but in the end it does.
  • There is no kissing the zombies. Very big rule.

  • The first question I get is "why zombies?" Like all good stories it starts in the 1980's.
  • Her babysitter showed her Poltergeist and she was so terrified she didn't watch the end (to this day she has not seen it) and always hated horror stories.
  • In her 2nd year of law school her boyfriend at the time (JP- who is now her hubby! And their first anniversary is on Friday, April fools! Congrats guys!) took her to see Dawn of the Dead.
  • Like any good zombie movie someone lives, someone dies, and someone gets infected. And there is that moment when you feel empowered like "go world!" "we will survive!"
  • A lot of zombie stories it's about getting from point A to point B. Point B is better than point A, but the problem isn't gone. They haven't solved the zombie problem, they haven't cured them.
  • Carrie kind of learned a love for the genre here. She wanted more and watched more (but still shunned other types of scary stories). She loved the idea of survival.
*this picture is of me with awesome Utah authors and writer friends that came out to see Carrie! It was an incredible night! I LOVE the Utah author community! Here is Top L-R, Ally Condie, Elana Johnson, me, Brodi Ashton, Bree Despain Bottom L-R, my writer and blogger friends Chersti and Jenny!
  • It wasn't long after Carrie was practicing law that she knew she wasn't in love with it.
  • She asked herslef, If I could do anything, what would that be? And the answer was write. She wanted to be an author.
  • Made a 10 year plan and was determined to be invested for 10 years. She would write, and write and write and submit and if after 10 years nothing had happened she would move on. But no matter what rejections or hardships she got, she knew she could hold on for those 10 years.
  • Carrie started writing out some Chic Lit, and romance and when NaNoWriMo came along she had to start a new novel. After talking with JP that ended up being a zombie story that became THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Four months later she had an agent and sold the book!

*Another amazing Utah author in attendance Jessica Day George, always willing to strike a pose!

  • And here is some notes on how Carrie came up with the idea for Forest of Hands and Teeth.
  • I read an article on the over fishing of wild Tuna and how in the future Tuna will be rare. It made me think how in one generation something common can become rare.
  • There was a story my grandmother told me about her prom. She wore purple tights that matched her dress. Back then colored tights were a brand new thing. One of the chaperones called her a harlot and asked her to leave the dance. Her mother was also a chaperone and had an awesome one liner come back.
  • This story made her 1) realize how strong the women in her family were, that this was the stock she came from and 2) she forgot the line. And that made her think that in one generation we can not only loose things outside of ourselves, but we can loose our family, our history, ourselves.
*This is James Dashner with anther attendee of the signing who brought James' book over. James was thrilled because this was the first time he had seen the line "New York Times Besteller" on the top of his book!" James was also hilarious in the Q&A portion. With so many authors present he asked Carrie "Who is your favorite Utah author?" Oh James, ever the comic. It's why we love ya!

  • I'm a survivor. I want to throw the world at my characters and I want to see if they will survive, because if they do, I can.
  • I am fascinated by people who line in the most untenable circumstances and don't just live but they thrive.
  • Then Carrie gave some advice on writing: She said if you want to write, you have to write! It is one thing to want to do it, to talk about doing it, to blog about doing it. And another entirely to sit down and actually do it. But once you experience passion for something how do you not live it?
*This is some of those same author and blogger friends, add my good friend who came with me to the signing (in her awesome zombie shirt) and one other writer/blogger friend I know I have met and I can't think of her name! I STINK at names. Sorry awesome zombie to my right! We as you can see are being zombies. I like how Jenny is about to eat by brains!

Then Carrie did some Q&A time. Here are some of my faves.
  • What is your favorite book ever read? A: Oh that's like the most impossible question ever. Um, I'd have to say at the top of the list is THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien, and THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC
  • What are you working on now? A: I am doing edits for my summer 2012 release that I can't tell you anything about. It is as of right now untitled. JP titles all of my books, and we're waiting...

*This is Carrie signing my books! I love this part! I feel like a kid in a candy store!
  • Is there a movie in the works for FofHandT? A: We have sold the movie rights, I have read the script and it is good. Right now they are interviewing directors. But I don't know what that all means really as far as when/if it will be made.
  • Do you have any good writing advice for someone just starting out? A: People will tell you write what you know. I think write what you know means the emotional connections you feel. Capture those moments that mean the most to you and use them.

This is me and Carrie. She is SO amazing and so cute! I will hopefully be getting some swag from her in the future for a giveaway, but until then PLEASE check out her books. They are creepy and beautiful and I have very much enjoyed them and how much they make me think.

If you are interested here is my review for THE DEAD TOSSED WAVES. I look forward to reading and reviewing THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Release Day!

I wanted to shout out a HUGE Happy Release Day to my friend Heather Dixon for her debut novel ENTWINED!

It is SUCH a beautiful book inside and out! Check out my REVIEW and my GUEST POST with Heather! Also check out Heather's blog and contest to win a book HERE! This is a fun one!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

by Jennifer Donnelly
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack, leaning towards Reaching New Heights

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

REVOLUTION is one of those books that could be so fabulous, but there were just some issues I had with it. I have read many reviews who loved this book, even listed it as their favorite of 2010, so I had really high expectations going into it. Maybe that was part of the problem.

REVOLUTION introduces you to Andi, a gritty troubled teenager that despite her frustrating attitude, you can't help but like. When she goes to Paris she finds a diary (how she finds it is one of the reasons I rolled my eyes reading this book) and then we switch back and forth from Andi's story and Alex's.

Here is where I think Donnelly lost me too. I like books that give us different perspectives, and I actually really like historical fiction. But I find books that switch timelines and plots almost every other chapter to be 1) usually longer than they need to be because you are telling more than one story and 2) put-downable. I'd get all invested in one character's plot and then it would switch. So I'd put the book down, even for a few weeks at a time, before I picked it up again. That of course is MY problem, not the books. There are many books out there like that. I just think that kind of book is not the best choice for me.

The last thing I had issue with in the book was the incredible coincidences. An old key that belonged to her brother was the key that opened an 18th century guitar case, that belonged to a girl with a fantastical background who knew someone that her father was researching, who was also connected to the musician that Andi was studying for school...I realize it was all part of the plot that it all worked out, but it really was sort of unbelievable.

Besides those though, I thought Donnelly's writing was good. I was drawn in to both characters, they were distinct and unique and I cared about them individually....just didn't care so much about their connection, since I thought it was forced. I loved the look into the French Revolution era, as I love historical fiction.

So all in all, this is a really really good book. I recommend it to people who love historical fiction, and who are not put off by time changes every other chapter. It really is worth reading, even though it wasn't my favorite of all time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big News!

First of all, hi everyone! I'm back from vacation and ready to get reading and reviewing again! Things may take a while to get frequent as recovery takes a while, but I am excited to get going again!

Okay, on to the news.

So it seems like I was just browsing my local bookstore with some friends commenting, "Will the Eragon series EVER be finished?" Well today, the answer is YES!

It comes out November 8, 2011.

Now I wasn't super thrilled with the last book, but I enjoyed it well enough. I am excited to finally have an end! I don't like waiting for sequels as it is, and this one took a LONG time. Brisingr (the third book) came out in 2008.

So what say you? Are you excited for this one?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Sorry I have been so off the charts lately! I am on vacation in California, and have not been getting reading done. And my co-bloggers have been busy beavers with their families.

More awesome blog stuff will be coming soon, I promise! I hope you are all having a fabulous time, and getting lots more reading done than I am. SO many great books are out this month!

If you are dying for some book suggestions, please use the blogroll feature on the left side of the blog where I list some of the awesome and best book bloggers out there!

Have fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Awesome Book Trailer

I was sent this book trailer by the publisher of these books, and I have to say it's pretty awesome. I have enjoyed the series and look forward to the last installment. Check it out!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN by Kate Morton

by Kate Morton
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Atria (first published January 1st 2008)

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

n 1913, in the last year before the world plunged into war, a tiny orphan girl arrives alone on the shores of colonial Australia from England. Struck by pity, the dock master and his wife take her in and raise her as their own. On her 21st birthday, they finally reveal to "Nell" her true origins. Suddenly troubled by her missing history, she returns to her country of origin, hoping to trace her roots. She parses together some of her hidden past but dies before she can learn the complete story. Years later, her young granddaughter Cassandra pieces together the final missing parts of the puzzle. The author of The House at Riverton has crafted a novel of gothic intrigue that will remind some readers of The 13th Tale.

First, I have to say that summary on goodreads is pretty bland for this book. Sure, it sums it up, but it does not capture the magical way the book weaves in and out of past and present to reveal bits of the whole mystery.

Some might think that THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN has a lot to do with the story THE SECRET GARDEN, and upon reading the whole thing, there is not a lot in common. But I wonder if it was a source of inspiration for Kate Morton. There is a Father with a sickly child, greiving for the loss of his sister. When that sister's daughter his neice comes, the father instantly falls in love with her, and the cousins become great friends -- the niece helping the sickly cousin get better by taking her outside often and into the garden. Sound familiar? But that is honestly only like one or two chapters of the story.

The rest is a masterfully interwoven tale of mystery. Why was Nell left alone? Why can she not remember her past -- she was nearly 5 years old after all. Who is the Authoress? I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that Kate Morton has created a gem here, and I hope you give it a try even though it isn't strictly a Young Adult book.

That being said, I have a few complaints that attributed to the book not being a "Top Pick". Some attributes of the characters were a bit creepy. The way that the father obsessed over his sister. How completely cruel and heartless his wife was. Some of the arrangements that were made etc. Were all just a little bit odd. Then there were times where I would be in the book and think...she just changed point of view. There is no way that character would know exactly what the other character was feeling or thinking. And it was only occasionally. And the fact that it took me SO long to get through this book is a negative. Did I really enjoy it? Yes! Was I dying to keep reading? No. I was able to put it down, and often needed to to digest the information.

But don't let these things stop you from reading the book! If you like a good mystery, this is a book for you!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Loveable Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered our Feb. Giveaway! I am very excited to announce the winner for our 3 book giveaway, MAD LOVE, BLOODY VALENTINE, and I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE!


I will contact you soon about getting you your books! Congrats!