Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe - Meg Cabot Fans Unite!

Title: Bad Kitty
Author: Michele Jaffe
Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 24th, 2006

Number of Pages: 268

Amazon Page
Author Site

Meet Jasmine, forensic supersleuth and unwitting victim of a naughty feline.

All Jasmine really wants is to enjoy her family vacation in Las Vegas. And avoid her evil cousin Alyson and Alyson's best fiend, Veronique. And show her suspicious dad that she can be a Model Daughter. And maybe meet the hot guy she's been eyeing from across the pool. It that too much to ask?

Apparently, yes. One moment she's an innocent bylounger, the next the central figure in a Las Vegas-sized mystery. Fortunately, Jasmine is both a forensics enthusiast and possessed of some very, well, special friends. Polly, Tom, and Roxy crash the vacation, BeDazzle Jasmine's wardrobe, and find themselves key players in the most outrageous adventure in a town known for outrageous adventures.

All because of a very bad kitty.

I'm going to start off this book review with a conversation I had with my mom yesterday (the day I finished reading Bad Kitty):

Around 4 p.m., I sat down at the kitchen table to read, while my mom flipped through a magazine in the seat beside me. After laughing uncontrollably several times (according to her), my mom finally asked me the question that she knew she would regret later: "What are you reading?"

Now, if you know me at all, asking me what a book is a about is a sure-fire way of getting me to talk for at least ten minutes straight, so my mom was taking a big risk here when she asked me. For once I let her down.

"Oh, just a murder mystery," I said absently, my nose still in the book.


My mom's shocked answer caused me to look up, and I finally realized what I said. Since I didn't really want her worrying about me being a psycho, I tried to explain to her that while this book did have murder in it, it had some pretty funny parts too.

Even now, a day later, I don't think she understands what was so funny about this book, but that's not what matters. The important thing is, if this book made me laugh so hard that I was in tears AND it has dead people in it, you know Michele Jaffe's got some serious talent.

I found that I could relate to the characters really well, because each one of them had a different opinion on each situation that they landed themselves into. Even if I completely disagreed with each person I could always turn to Roxy and agree with her, "I'm hungry" motto. I also liked that there was a guy that was one of the main characters that wasn't the love interest for once.

In The End: Great book, overall! Fans of Meg Cabot, mystery lovers and people who just want a good laugh overall will enjoy!

. . . I also LOVED the sparkly cover! So cool!

Quote To Live By: "Perfection is suspicious." - Roxy, page 250.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interview with Chelsea of The Page Flipper - Not A Pencil Girl

I got the wonderful chance to interview Chelsea of The Page Flipper (yup, that awesome YA blog that you're all following), who is also going to have her memoir published in stores next year by HCI (yes, the people that publish the awesome Chicken Soup for the Soul books). It's time to figure out is she's a Colgate or Crest type of girl . . .

It's A Writing World After All . . .

Moi: 1. How did you find out about the Louder Than Words series?

Chelsea: I'd seen it posted about on a lot of blogs, and I actually sent in my story/writing samples for the first batch. I was pitched to HCI, but they didn't give the okay until they decided on a second set of LTW books. I'd already seen reviews and publications of the series, so I thought I missed my chance and was definitely surprised to get an email from Deborah, the editor, in my inbox. You should have seen me after I opened it. I think I might have ran laps around the house with my cat, whose probably still traumatized from it. Poor Kringer.

Moi: 2. How does it feel to know your memoir is going to be out in stores next year?

Chelsea: It's awesome, but really really nerve-wracking. If just one person likes or identifies with my story, then it was worth writing. But there's still that "I-hope-people-don't-hate-it" feel that I think every author has before their book hits shelves.

M: 3. Are you going to be pursuing a career in the writing industry, or will you be studying to be something else?

C: Yes! I'd already started working on a fiction book before I had this option, so I'll be heading straight back to that when everything is done and edited. I have a backlog of writing ideas, so I have a feeling I'll always be working on something. I'd really like to major in lit when I go to college (soon!). I hear creative writing classes can ruin your creativity.

M: 4. What do you want your author photo to look like? Your dream book cover?

C: Actually, this is a funny story. For the first batch of Louder than Words books, each of the covers has a girl on it and a color scheme. Like, Marni is blue, Emily is purple, and Chelsey is green. Each of the colors, if you look really closely, is actually the color of the cover model's eyes. If they do the same for batch two, I'm positive I'll be red. Demon eyes!

M: 5. How many times have you been interviewed by someone?

C: (I'm bolding this one just because I have no fricken' clue. I've been interviewed for reviewing, aside from the LTW books, and counting would be way too tiresome for the measly amount of caffeine I've had.) :)

The Serious Stuff

M: 1. Describe yourself without using any words. You can use pictures.


M: 2. What's one thing you've always wished someone would ask you?

C: Not this one! It's hard thinking of a question to ask yourself, and kind of questionable of your sanity. I feel like I'm totally talking to myself. But, anyway, hmm. "If you could turn into any fictional character, who would it be?" Jacky Faber from Bloody Jack.

M: 3. Crest or Colgate?

C: Crest, all the way. *grins*

M: 4. What colour is the nearest pencil? (Not the lead, but the decorative strip).

C: I can't find one! My room is a complete mess - books everywhere. But I usually use pens, anyway. Pens are more dangerous - they don't erase, so everything you put down is permanent. Yeah, I like to live on the edge.

M: 7. Up to this point, have you answered every single question right away, or are you reading them through first?

C: I read them through. I like to know what I'm getting into before I dive. Even though I jokingly said I like to live on the edge, I like to know what's over the edge first.

M: 7. Did you notice that this question is numbered #7 . . . just like the last question?

C: Oh, boy. Is this an analysis test? (How did I do?) Yep, I noticed. I'm observant like that. :)

Note From Iryna: Yes - this was an analysis test. *adjusts serious-looking, black-rimmed glasses* However did you guess? :)

M: 9. Bold a question you don't want to/don't feel like/haven't got the time of day to answer.

Thanks for the interview Chelsea, and good luck on you memoir!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Three Things (Not Seven*)

First of all, I just wanted to say sorry for not posting all that often. Is that annoying? I mean, I know when I read other peoples blogs I don't find it "annoying" that they don't post, but I feel as a blogger I owe some responsibility for keeping up this blog. This isn't just me, is it?

Secondly, I was wondering if I could get your opinion on something. I need a new laptop (this is a definite need - not a want!), but I'm having a hard time deciding between getting a Mac or a PC. Should I get the eco-friendly one, or the one I've known my whole life? Should I get the one that will always be virus-free, or should I get the (probably) cheaper one? What do you think?? What do you personally have?

Lastly, it seems this book-focused blog is starting to steer away from book-ish things, so what do you think about me starting a more personal-type blog, and maintaining two blogs at once? Or should I just start up a whole new blog with an "eveything" topic and then review books on that website? For those people out there with more then one blog, do you find it very hard to balance two blogs at once? Thanks and happy Friday/Saturday!


*Yes, yes - this is me trying to make a joke. Did it work?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

In Between These Pages #14

Has a quote ever painted a smile onto your face? Or made you seriously think? Or even have made you see things in a different perspective? Well, that's what "In Between These Pages" is all about: Great, wonderful quotes from books. This meme was invented by Christina at "Insert Book Title Here" and a similar one by Karin at "Karin's Book Nook" but I have decided to rename it "In Between These Pages".

"Narcissus was so vain that he fell in love with his own reflection and drowned." She leveled her eyes at Allie. What do you think about that?"

Uh, I know how the drowning part feels
, she wanted to say. But instead she reached deep into her soul and said, "His parents must have been so upset."

"I think it's a metaphor for people who use love as a mirror. Instead of seeing the other person, they see themselves. Always themselves. And how that person reflects on them. Sad, isn't it?" With that, Keifer turned on
her heel and walked away without another word.

I guess Mr. Fisher was good-looking, for a dad. He was better-looking then my father anyway, but he was also vainer then him. I don't know that he was as good-looking as Susannah was beautiful, but that might've been because I loved Susannah more then almost anyone, and who could ever measure up to a person like that? Sometimes it's like people are a million times more beautiful to you in your mind. It's like you see them through a special lens - but maybe if it's how you see them, that's how they really are.

Mom says each of us has a veil between ourselves and the rest of the world, like a bride wears on her wedding day, except this kind of veil is invisible. We walk around happily with these invisible veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way.

But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there's a wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again. We see all the beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love. But mostly we are happy not to. Some people learn to lift the veil themselves. Then they don't have to depend on the wind anymore.

. . .

I've thought a lot about those veils. I wonder if, every once in a while, someone is born without one. Someone who sees the big stuff all the time. Like maybe you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Rock That Hit My Head

Sorry guys - this isn't a post related to books. At least, not really . . .

Like a huge chunk of book lovers, I want to make a living off writing novels. Because of this, last year I entered my public library's annual poetry. The topic was inspiration: what inspires you, what is means to you etc. I wrote down a bunch of stuff about sunsets and rainbows and set it in with my fingers crossed. A few weeks later I found out that I was one of the winners. I got a library T-shirt three sizes too big, a coupon for one free used book and a reading notes journal. People at the library told me how much my poem inspired them and I was happy. I was on my way to becoming a published author.

Now, almost a year after that contest, I've barely written anything. Story ideas come and go. The only time I use Microsoft Word is for my homework. I'm not doing anything to fulfill one of my #1 goals for the future. What's up with that? Didn't I win the contest? Aren't I supposed to . . . I don't know . . . magically be on my way to success and happiness? WHY ISN'T ANYTHING HAPPENING?!

I think it was really today that I got it. Today that the rock of "duh" fell on my head. The day it hit me.

Before I continue, I need to confess something: I am a Lululemon addict. I love their clothes and even though I never buy anything from them (it hurts my wallet), I stalk their website and blog. Today I was Googling them, and stumbled upon this article.

I was shocked. Not so much that Lululemon said those kinds of things, but one of the notes that said,"You only have 30,000 days to live and then you are dead." I quickly did the math and figured out that already 1/6 of my life had flashed by. My clock was ticking.

After that I went on a bike ride with my friend, Serena, asking her to PLEASE stop and take a break at a park. (In other words, I'm not the strongest/fastest person in my class. "Sweatpants" is a foreign word to me.)

At the park we decided to go on the swings since we were insured to not get buckets of sand kicked into our shoes. At first we swung in silence, gaining momentum until we were sure we were flying: touching the clouds, soaring through the air. The huge hill we were on fueled our imaginations - the whole world spread out around us. I think it was because of the atmoshpere and the article I read regarding Lululemon only two hours before that I asked Serena, "What are your life goals, other then to get married and become an actress?"

And so she told me about how she wanted to travel to a third-world country to help the people there, swim with a killer whale, and meet a great white shark before they become extinct, among other things. All the while Serena was telling me this, I kept thinking, What are my life goals? How am I going to make the most of the rest of my life? It is because of that that I made my #1 goal: Find out my life goals, and my #2 goal: Start paving the way to becoming a published author.

Now, I've discovered that it's hard for me to do anything in life "that I don't have to do" (read: other then schoolwork and household chores) without motivation or inspiration. If I wasn't a morning person then I have no idea how my parents would drag me out of bed. At that note, even though I really do enjoy writing, I prefer planning everything out in the my head rather then taking the time to sit down and write.

It was today, not more then five minutes before I started writing this blog post that I got my inspiration.

Many of you might already know that Chelsea from The Page Flipper and Steph from Hey! Teenager of the Year have book deals. Yes, actual book deals. In the looming future THEIR BOOKS will be on STORE shelves for us to BUY and actually READ!! At first I was like, "Wait - what are we talking about?", then I was like, "Omigosh, they have book deals!!" and the I though, "Oh, shoot. I am jealous!". However, I think this is a good type of jealousy. The motivational/inspirational kind. The kind that lets you think,"Hey, they did it so why can't I?"

I don't know what kind of post this is. Maybe I'm just writing it all out so I won't forget it. Maybe because . . . it's the start of something new (everyone loves High School Musical!). Maybe I'm just writing because . . . I'm inspired. ;) Either way, I'd like to say a big thank-you to Chelsea and Steph for giving me that motivation, Lululemon for making great clothes and doing that weird thing with the bags, and my friend Serena for the conversation on the hill. Thanks, you guys - thanks.


P.S. Now it's my turn to ask - has the rock hit your head yet??

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Baaaaaack!! (With Perfection).

Alright. I know technically I came back from my vacation in the Ukraine a week ago, but I have a good excuse for not posting sooner! Okay, maybe not really a good excuse, but it's still an excuse: You know how after you haven't seen someone for two months and suddenly you're going to be seeing them five days a week, six hours a day for ten months now (I'm talking about school here, ladies!)? Well, you'd want to create a good first (okay, probably not first) impression, like me, right? Well, of course you know!! For the past two months all of the teen magazines on the stands have pages dedicated to picking out the "perfect" first day of school outfit, so I think that's saying something about our society.

Anyways, when I came back from Europe I spent quite some time trying to think up of the "perfect" back-from-vacation outfit (did I just say outfit? I meant to say blog post!), but as you can see, that didn't turn out so well. However, that's why I'm going to take pride in the fact that at least I'm writing something (I have to stop italicizing so many words! And using so many brackets!).

Before I don't forget, I also just wanted to say that I'm probably not going to do my two weekly memes - In Between These Pages and Guess Who? - every week anymore. Blogging is supposed to be fun and I sometimes find it a chore to quickly think up of a Guess Who? post on Fridays when I'm in the middle of a good book. I also want to gather up more then just two or three quotes for my In Between These Pages meme so I can post more quotes at once. However, I AM planning on doing these two memes at least twice each per month! Unless, that is, you don't particularly enjoy them . . . Do you?

Also, as you know, I've only done two interviews (I think) in my whole life of being a blogger which I think is pretty sad so expect to see quite a few more of them in the future!!

P.S. As a matter of fact, yes, I did get a new signature!
P.P.S. Thanks to all of my awesome followers (yes - YOU) for sticking with me even though I wasn't posting. That was really sweet of ALL of you!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blog Tour: T'Aragam by Jack W. Regan

Title: T'Aragam
Author: Jack W. Regan
Publisher: Sweatshoppe Publications
Publication Date: April 16th, 2009
Number of Pages: 286

Amazon Page
Author Site

Young Max Ransome watched his father die, killed by marauding phantors as they swept through T'Aragam at the bidding of the evil wizard Zadok. Barely escaping with his own life, Max is thrust into a whirlwind journey as he races against time to save T'Aragam, the world he loves, from a dark dominion. Can Max overcome the horror of his father's death and save T'Aragam from the grasping talons of its enemies? Woven with a charming mix of zany humor and genuine danger, "T'Aragam" immerses the reader in a world of original characters and tightly-woven plot. Young Max leads the cast and is ably supported by, among others, a faithful medgekin friend named Gramkin, two monster brothers named Doom and Gloom, and an equuraptor named Dresden. Coupled with quirky supporting characters, such as mercenary Captain Baggywrinkle, Lord Stench, and a perpetually hungry sea serpent named Bob, this cast of characters steps from the pages and pulls the reader into the story.

The first thing that pops into my head when I think of T'Aragam, is of my uncle who insists that T'Aragam is some sort of food in central Europe (I'll have to Google that). The second thing, however, is all of the danger and adventure in this magical tale.

In my opinion, the most impressing part of this whole novel was the way the characters talked among one another. The high and mighty wizard Zohar had this professional and serious air about him, Doom was quite the British gentleman, and the pirates really did sound like pirates! The way everyone spoke fitted their character perfectly. That is one thing I will always remember about Jack W. Regan.

Another thing I won't forgot is all of the fighting scenes in this book (and there were quite a few!). The author described them so well, in so much detail, that is was almost hard to read on. Now that I think about it, scenes that didn't have any violence in them were also written very well.

As you can see, the book seems to have it all. And I do think it does have it all (except romance! Who doesn't love a good romance?!) but. But, I think it could have been a bit better.

There are more then your fair share of deaths in T'Aragam (or, almost deaths) and I couldn't help but notice how the main character, Max, hardly gave them a backwards glance when someone died or was seriously injured. I know you're a guy, but can't you even show a little compassion, Max?

Even though this book was written quite well in terms of research and characters, personally, I think some scenes could have been more dramatic. I have to say that it wasn't hard to stop reading. And other scenes could have been a little shorter. During many of the fighting scenes, I wished the fighting would just stop. I don't know about you but reading about how some guy was mudered is not what I like to do best in my spare time.

Overall, judging by reviews I've read of T'Aragam, many people have enjoyed it. I'd give it a try if you like fantasy books, and I think boys will especially like this novel (my brother even asked to read it! Shocking!). I'm giving this novel an A-.