Harmony Book Reviews

Archive for February 2008

I just wanted to let you know that The Story Siren is hosting a week-long blog party in honor of the third book in the Fire Study series.  Not only that, there’s a giveaway and the winner gets all THREE of the books. I suggest you get over there and check it out!

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Breathing UnderwaterNick’s life seems to be perfect. He drives everyone’s dream car and his father is rich. But that’s not really how it is. Nick’s father is abusive, both mentally and physically, and so is Nick. Like father like son, right? Except that unlike when Nick’s father hits him, Nick’s girlfriend doesn’t let Nick get away with hurting her. When he goes to far one day, he loses not only Caitlin, but his friends and the life he came to know.

Breathing Underwater starts out with Nick in the courtroom, denying that he ever put a hand on Caitlin, and being ordered to keep a journal, at least 500 words a week, and attending anger managment classes. As Nick’s story comes out, both in the anger classes and through his journal, I begin to loathe him, but also understand him.

Breathing Underwater is a brilliant story of a misunderstood but violent teen boy, who learns that sometimes, when you screw up, you just have to let go and move on.

So the whole Cullen family for the Twilight movie has been cast. I’ve looked at the pictures over and over again and I STILL can’t picture any of the Cullens looking like that, except maybe Emmett. And the actor for Edward… He sucks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE him in the Harry Potter movies but he is NOT Edward and does NOT in ANY way look like Edward. It’s very much irritating me. On the other hand, the actress they have for Bella ROCKS.  I’d never heard of her until she was on Stephenie’s site but I think she’s going to be great, as long as she’s a good actress.

 Hopefully they’ll change their looks big time for the movie and if they’re all good actors/actresses, I think the movie will rock.

 Anyway, I went to go see the Spiderwick Chronicles on Sunday and surprisingly, it rocked. I’ve never read the books (to be honest, they seemed sorta stupid), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a surprisingly good story, the graphics were great, and it’s definitely something I’d watch over again.

 I know it’s been out a while, but I FINALLY got the chance to watch The Break-Up on Sunday with my mom. It was hilarious. I wish there would have been more of an ending though. That’s now up high on my list of favorite movies. (Harry Potter, Flicka, A Cinderella Story, Ella Enchanted, and Chasing Liberty)

On another note, I’m an official reviewer for Teens Read Too! I’ve got some books coming in the mail from there and…Eek. I can’t wait. I’m signed up for the First Look Teen thing but the only time I ever got books from there was the first month I ever tried, which was like last year so I gave up. Hopefully I’ll have more luck this time 🙂

Since I started this blog, I’ve found out about a lot of books that I wouldn’t have otherwise, including a whole bunch of upcoming books. If there’s any books that you love or upcoming books that you can’t wait for, leave a comment because I don’t want to miss out on any good books! So, anyway, here’s some of the books I’m loving forward to.

Banana Splitsville by Catherine Clark

Better Latte Than Never by Catherine Clark

Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark

Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss

Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Perfect You – Elizabeth Scott

Undone by Brooke Taylor

La Petite Four  by Regina Scott

I could go on all day. Literally. But I’ll stop there. 

Anyway, I do have reviews that will be coming soon, along with a new feature for the blog next month.

Cover ImageRegan’s brother, Liam, is one person by day and another by night. Literally. During the day, he is Liam but during the night, his inner-self comes out in the form of Luna, a girl. She spends the night in her sister’s bed room, trying on wigs and clothes.

Regan is the only one who knows about Liam’s true identity and she isn’t exactly sure how to deal with it. Besides dealing with Liam, she struggles with normal teen problems – boys, grades, and her job.

When I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. For my local book club, we had to read a book about accepting people and another one of the girls suggested this book to me. I have absolutely no problem with the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender issue but I wasn’t sure if I could handle reading about it in detail, especially not knowing what to expect. However, since I respect Julie Anne Peters as an author (Far From Xanadu is brilliant), I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t let down.

This book is great and you should definitely read it as long as transgender doesn’t bother you. It doesn’t go into too much detail, but explains the struggles of Regan dealing with her older brother whom is truly a girl inside. The characters are believable, the dialogue is great, and the plot is amazing. It’s definitely a book you won’t want to put down once you start. I read it in less than five hours with a few breaks. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll like it, give this book a chance!

I’m super excited to tell you that I’ve done my very first author interview with none other than Lisa Schroeder, the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me! Enjoy!

Can you tell me about your road to publishing?  Is it different than
you expected?

My road was pretty bumpy. And long. I wrote three mid-grade novels and
was halfway through a young adult novel when the idea for I HEART YOU,
YOU HAUNT ME came to me. With each novel, I’d tried to get an agent,
tried a few editors, and although I came close a couple of times, it
just wasn’t happening.

Since I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME is very different – a verse novel with
a paranormal twist, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy sell. I feel so
blessed to have found an agent who really “got it” and was
enthusiastic about the book. Still, quite a few editors turned us
down.

I suppose it’s different than what I expected in that when I first
started writing and submitting, I knew it would be hard, but I don’t
think I knew JUST how hard.

How do you write? Is there a specific place or time you write best in?
Do you force yourself to write everyday or only when you have inspiration? Do you write from beginning to end or start somewhere else?

Since I work full-time and have a family, it’s often hard to squeeze
in time to write. I do find that once I start a project, if I make
myself write 100-200 words a day, minimum, that works best. Often I’ll
go beyond that, but setting that goal makes me open the document each
day and keep going.

I’m a morning person, so I’ll get up early and write. I have a laptop
now, so I may write in my office, or on the couch or in bed. Mostly at
home, though I would love to get out and write in coffee shops more.
Sometimes home can be distracting when I look around and see the
laundry that needs to be done or whatever.

I always start at the beginning and work my way through to the end. I
can’t imagine jumping around, although I know some authors write that
way.

I Heart You, You Haunt me is your first novel. Is there anything you’ve written before (such as short stories, etc)? What can we expect from you in
the future? Do you plan on writing another novel written in verse?

I have one picture book out, BABY CAN’T SLEEP, and another picture
book coming out in 2010, called LITTLE CHIMP’S BIG DAY.

I have two young adult novels finished at this time. My agent and I
will be talking next week about our submission plan. One is in verse,
from a girl’s point of view, and I think readers of I HEART YOU will
like this one. The other one is in sparse prose, from a guy’s point of
view. I would love to sell both of them, obviously, but as to which
one will sell first, we’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

This book is obviously a hit among teens already, especially book
reviewers. What’s the best thing a fan has said or done to you? What do you think about having all of these fans so soon?

Just to see the word “fans” in relation to me, makes me all tingly
inside. I can’t even describe how giddy it makes me to know teens are
reading my book and loving it. It’s what I wanted more than anything –
to connect with my readers and to have an impact.

Every e-mail, every kind word written about my book means a lot to me.
Probably the most touching thing was when a teen girl came up to me at
my book signing and told me my book was somewhat therapeutic for her,
because her boyfriend had died last fall. If my book even helps one
person like that, then everything else is just gravy.

Jackson and Lyric are both great guys in I Heart You, though they are definitely different. Did you ever know anyone like either of them? Who or what gave you the inspiration for these two great characters?

When I was a freshman in high school, the football team went to the
state championship. There was one senior on that team – cute, smart,
nice, great athlete – who makes me think of Lyric. I didn’t know him
very well, but I probably secretly wished I’d wind up on a beach alone
with him.

As for Jackson, his character took awhile to develop. I write in a
very layered way, where it takes me a few drafts, and a few layers, to
really get to who the characters are and why they act the way they do.
The adventurous part came out as I was trying to figure out how him
and Ava were different and what attracted her to him.

There are a lot of music references in I Heart You. Are you a big fan
of music? What are your favorite songs and artists? Do you listen to music when you write?

Music inspires me and my writing SO much. I can’t even begin to
describe how, though. It just does. Music that really touches me makes
me go – I want do to THAT in my books. I find, especially with my
novels in verse, there will be certain songs that I listen to over and
over, because they create a mood I want to create in the poetry and in
the story.

With my latest verse novel, tentatively titled LOST WITHOUT YOU, I
listened to “Broken” by Lifehouse like every time I opened the
document. I also listened to a couple of songs by Sara McLachlan.

I can’t always keep the music on while I’m writing, but I listen as a
warm-up. And it helps so much!

What advice do you have for teens who aspire to be authors?

Read, read, and read some more. The more you read, the more you will
begin to understand what makes a great voice, memorable characters, an
interesting plot, etc. And of course, if you want to write, then
write. Everyday, write a little something, whether it’s in a journal
or whatever. The more you write, the better you will get at it.

I love this quote, by Jack Dann: “For me, writing is an exploration;
and most of the time, I’m surprised where the journey takes me.”

Read. Write. Explore. That’s what it’s all about.

Cover Image I’ve seen so many reviews of this around that I’m not going to bother summarizing it because it would take me forever. Basically, it’s the story of a girl who’s boyfriend dies but doesn’t leave her.

 That said, I am in LOVE with this book. It’s written in verse so I was hesitant to pick it up because I’ve never read a whole book in verse before. But I’d seen so many good review of it and the plot of it seemed so great, that I had to buy it. The minute it came in the mail, I started reading it. I was hooked from the first page and stayed up much later than I should have to finish it.

When I was reading this, I felt as if it was I who had just lost the boyfriend and it was the face of my boyfriend in the mirror. Ava’s emotions were easy to relate to and I could feel the pain she was going through, along with her confusion. The fact that it was written in verse was not a set back but more of an asset to the story as it kept the story from being bogged down by details and descriptions that would have slowed Ava’s story down.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me is an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone, especially if they aren’t a huge fan of reading. If you haven’t picked this book up yet, be sure to pick it up next time you see it!

So I was just going through my books and realized that since I’m moving into a much smaller room, I need to get rid of some of them. A lot of them really. I refuse to get rid of my horse books (mainly Phantom Stallion and Heartland), along with any books that I’m reading now that are in series and I don’t have the rest of them or ones that I’m pretty sure I’ll read it again (Uglies, Principles of Love, Secrets of my Hollywood Life, etc). Aside from that, I’ve decided that any books I have but haven’t rid in a year or ones that I’ve read but I don’t feel the need to reread it, have to go. The thing is, I don’t want to just put them in a box for our yardsale because no one really looks at them and the library won’t take them because most aren’t hardcovers. So, my question is, what do you do with books you want to get rid of? I’d really like to get some money for them (not a lot, just some), so that I can buy more books but I’m not sure where/how.  Any suggestions would be SO helpful.

Also, what about buying books? I obviously go to the book store once in a while but the only real bookstore is about an hour away so when I go, I usually spend over $100 which my dad doesn’t like. I have no problem with getting used books but I don’t want to spend the same amount for a used book as I would for a new book which is what a lot sites want.

Any suggestions for anything, would be awesome.

 I’ve got some major things coming soon, that I’m pretty sure you guys will like.


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