Synchronize Reading: Roomies

Hello Readers!

roomies

 

A few months back Miss Print and I hosted our own synchronized reading of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. It was such a great experience that we decided to do it again. Not only that, we both decided that it would become a semi-regular feature on both of out blogs.

This time around we chose yet another book we were both excited to read. We read Roomies a novel about two girls and their last summer home before going away to college, ultimately to become roommates. Written by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr, Roomies was the perfect book for a synchronized read.

This time around Miss Print and I have some fun posts planned. Not only will we both be reviewing Roomies, but we will both be digging into our personal lives and discussing some pertinent topics that were presented within the book. For starters will we both be talking about our summers before entering college. Not only that, because the two locations featured in Roomies are popular vacation destinations, Miss Print and I have decided it would be fun and take a stroll down memory lane, reliving and sharing some of our vacation memories.

As if that wasn’t enough, I have two very special, two top-secret posts that I will also be sharing with you dear readers. I won’t announce what they are until they are posted, but I’m certain that you’ll love them!

All of our posts will be posting throughout the upcoming week. We will be posting simultaneously on both The BookBandit Blog and Miss Print. So readers, make sure you stay tuned both of our blogs to keep up with all the fun.

For all of Miss Print’s Synchronized Reading Posts head over to her blog!

 

 

It Gets Better

Hello Readers!

If you didn’t already know this, this week is the NYC Teen Author Festival. All around NYC and the surrounding areas, different YA-centric events have been taking place. And on Tuesday night I was lucky to attend one of those events.

Held at Word bookstore in Jersey City, New Jersey (practically my back yard), I had the chance to see such authors as Kate Brian, Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Eulberg, Michelle Hodgkin, David Levithan, and Rebecca Serle. Some of these authors I’ve seen and/or met before, others I haven’t.

I’m not going to speak a lot about the actual event, as that is not what this post is about. But I will say this: the event was great! I had the chance to listen to some great authors, discover a few new ones, and had the chance to add more signed books to my already extensive collection.

Now that that is said, let’s move on to the topic of this post.

After the event I made my way to author Susane Colasanti with the purpose of having her sign her last novel, All I Need (which is awesome!).  Now I’ve read most of her books, and I’ve absolutely adored all of them. But, as I mentioned to her, Keep Holding On will always hold a special place in my heart. Not just because it is one of the most honest books I’ve read, not just because it’s handles a tough subject with grace, but because it’s the one that has resonated most with me, not just as a reader but as a person.

You know, readers, I don’t like to share too many personal details on here. And I have my reasons for that. But I’m going to get a bit personal, just for a bit.

Grammar school wasn’t particularly fun. It had its highs but it also had its lows. I wasn’t one of the popular kids. I was the quiet one. I was the one who wasn’t constantly surrounded by a circle of people.  I was picked on – for one nonsensical reason or another.

I knew very early on that I was different. Maybe it was because I was quiet. Maybe it was because I liked music that no one else listened to. Maybe because, from a very early age, I knew who I was – not just as a grammar school kid, but as a person. I learned early on that kids can be cruel. But I also learned, and understood that things get better … life gets better. Grammar school wasn’t the end all or be all of my life.

High school was vastly different from grammar school. All those nonsensical reasons I was picked on for didn’t seem to matter any more. I had discovered like-minded people, people I was proud to call my friend, and who were proud to call me theirs.

I knew there and then that things really do get better. And that we are control of our futures, no one else.

But the thing is this: not everyone knows that.

At the Tuesday evening NYC Teen Author event I had the chance to speak with author Susane Colasanti. I had the chance to chat with her about how Keep Holding On, and why it left a lasting impression. We talked about how, in today’s world, it’s so important to reach out and connect with people who may need that human connection. We talked about how it’s so very important for people to hear, to know, to understand that even though life can be tough, it’s worth all the trials and tribulations because, as the title of this post says: it gets better.

Even though I wasn’t popular, and I was picked on for reasons outside of my control I’ve worked hard to become the person I am today. Not that I worked hard to prove a point to all those nay-sayers but to prove a point to myself: I control my life – my present and my future. Only I can ensure my happiness.

And now, so many years after graduating from grammar school I am exactly that: happy.  I was happy then, as much as I am now.

So readers, this was a bit long-winded. But through this post I just wanted to say that when life hits a rough patch remember to keep your head up, and keep holding on. Remember that there are people in your corner, rooting for you. Remember to take the good with the bad.  Just remember that THINGS GET BETTER.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR List

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish. The above photo was taken and altered by me, please do not take or “borrow” it.)

Hello Readers!

How are you on this fine Tuesday?! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is kind of a difficult one for me. Why? Because My TBR list is a bit scattered. I’m trying my hardest in 2014 to read a lot of the books I have lying around. So because of that I really haven’t sought out new titles.  Now, don’t get it twisted. I’m not saying that there aren’t any 2014 releases  on my TBR list. There are. There just isn’t an overabundance.

10. The Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

9. Amity by Micol Ostow

8.  Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

7.  Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

6.  Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

5. Code Name Verity & Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

4. Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

3. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

2. The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

1. Because It Is My Blood & In The Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

Liv, Forever Blog Tour

Liv, Forever blog tour banner

Hello Readers!

As you can see from the above banner I’m taking part in SoHo Teen’s blog tour for Liv, Forever – a debut novel by an award-winning screenwriter and director turned author Amy Talkington. Today I will be talking about my thoughts and feeling about this new book I’m so, so, so glad I had the chance to read and love.

Liv, Forever

Bouncing from one foster home to the next has really taken it’s toll on Olivia “Liv” Bloom. Because of her not-so-ideal childhood, Live has grown up longing for love and for the chance to step into the world on her own. She longs to create in her own way, on her own terms.

So when she’s accepted into the art program at the upscale boarding school, Wickham Hall, Live finally has her chance. A chance to step away from her old life and into a new one. A chance to create what she wants, when she wants. A change to live and love.

But Wickham Hall isn’t what Liv expects it to be.

First there’s Malcolm Astor, a uber rich classmate who, not only befriends the scholarship student, but sweeps her off her feet. Then there’s Gabe, another scholarship student who warns of Wickham Hall’s wayward spirits. And as if that isn’t strange enough, Liv finds herself meeting ghost-like students. Girls that she can see, but no one else can.

And those ghost-like girls have been warning her of her impending doom. Like many before her, Liv is brutally murdered. And it’s up to her, her new-found friend Gabe, and almost boyfriend Malcolm to figure out what actually happened – not just to Liv but to all those girls – and who is behind the gruesome deaths.

If they don’t sort this whole thing out, she’ll be stuck in a life after death. Forever.

Liv, Forever is author Amy Talkington’s debut young adult novel, and it’s one that will leave a lasting impression. Full of murder, mystery, and meyhem this is one paranormal read that will haunt readers from start to finish.

The writing that fills the pages of Liv, Forever isn’t only solid, it’s also engaging. From the moment the book opens to the moment it ends readers will not be able to put the book down.  Beyond that, author Talkington handles the mystery aspect of her debut smoothly. She hands out bits and pieces, but she has a real knack for keeping readers guessing.

Liv, Forever is truly a character driven story. Main character Liv is a character that every reader can and will easily relate to. She’s honest and passionate – not just about art but about life. She’s complex and flawed. But besides those great qualities, she’s the kind of lead character that readers will root for in both good and bad situations.

But Liv isn’t the only great character. Each character featured within Liv, Forever plays a key role in the greater plot. For instance, from the outside looking in, it looks like Liv’s friend Gabe is just another scholarship kid. But turns out that this scholarship kid has a knack for not only seeing ghosts, but being able to communicate with them.

Liv, Forever was a truly unique read. One that I am sure will leave a lasting impression on every readers who picks this book up.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Books in the Paranormal Genre

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The above photo was taken and was altered by me. Please do not take or “borrow” it.)

Hello Readers!

I have a tendency to read within my comfort zone. Never really stepping outside of it.  I always thought realistic, contemporary fiction was my deal. But after looking through my GoodReads list, I realize that I am also a fan of paranormal books. But not those cheesy vampire books (you know which one’s they are).

10. Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

9. Frost by Mariana Bear

8. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

7. Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

6. Devilish by Maureen Johnson

5. Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

4. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

3. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

Shootin’ The Breeze With Elizabeth Eulberg

Hello Readers!

By now readers you already know who are some of my fave authors are, what some of my favorite books are, and why I’m a fan of those authors and books. So by now, you should know that I am a fan of author Elizabeth Eulberg’s. You didn’t know? Oh well, you should check out my reviews of The Lonely Hearts Club, Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality, and most recently Better Off Friends.

Not only does Ms. Eulberg write books that will resonate deeply with all readers, but she’s also one of the nicest people to meet (yes, I’ve been lucky enough to meet her once or twice at various signings). And besides that, she has great taste in music!

Want to know more about one of my fave authors? Well keep reading as we shoot the breeze with author Elizabeth Eulberg.

BookBandit Blog (BB): Can you tell a little about yourself and your path as a writer?

Elizabeth Eulberg (EE): I’ve always been a reader, but never thought I could be an author – they were these magical creatures (remember this is back in the old days before the internet so authors weren’t as visible or accessible as they are now). I started working in publicity for a book publisher and was so inspired by all the authors that I worked with. It was Dav Pilkey (of Captain Underpants fame) that was the first person who encouraged me to write.

BB: What is the inspiration behind your latest book Better Off Friends?

EE: It was a conversation I had with my editor. He and his colleague were talking about how they wanted a YA book like When Harry Met Sally … which is about a guy and a girl best friend and the complications that come from that. I loved that movie and decided to take a crack at it!

BB: How was writing Better Off Friends different from writing your previous books?

EE: I spent a year solely thinking about the characters – not the plot – before I started writing. Once I knew them inside out, everything fell into place.

BB: Of all your characters – not just from Better Off Friends – who would you say you identify most with?

EE: Definitely Penny Lane Bloom from The Lonely Hearts Club, mostly because that was my first book so I put a lot of myself into her. But I’m also a lot like Macallan in that I stand up for people who are important for me.

BB: What are some of your fave books, and how have they shaped you as an author?

EE: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of my favorite novels of all time, not just because I did a modern retelling with Prom and Prejudice. I learned so much for retelling that book. I had to break the story and characters down. It changed the way I write. Now I make sure I have a complete understanding of the characters and where they are going before I  sit down to type a single word.

BB: While editing Better Off Friends, were there any scenes that were edited out that you can share?

EE: There wasn’t a specific scene that was cut. There’s a Halloween party scene that was edited pretty severely (for length not for content). I think I’ll post the part that was taken out on my blog sometime after the  release (maybe I’ll wait until Halloween!).

BB: Can you tell anything about any upcoming projects?

EE: Yes! I’m working on a sequel to The Lonely Hearts Club that will come out next year. THere will also be three e-original short stories that will all be released this fall for FREE featuring Penny Land and Co! But that’s all I can say about it for now!

BB: What advice can you offer aspiring authors?

EE: First and foremost, write for yourself. Don’t get concerned about what will “sell” or who the book is for. But most importantly, never give up!

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For more information about Elizabeth Eulberg and all of her awesome books check out her website! Besides checking out her website, make sure you check all of her books. You will not be disappointed!

A big THANK YOU to Elizabeth Eulberg for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to answer a few questions for the BookBandit Blog.

Better Off Friends

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (Copy provided by the publisher)

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When Macallan first meets Levi all she thinks is that she’ll point him in the right direction, and they’ll move in two separate directions. But after one semi-awkward lunch period with the shaggy haired new kid from California, Macallan realizes that her and Levi have a ton in common.
And there starts their friendship.
As days turn into months, and months into years Macallan and Levi’s relationship transforms. From school buddies who pass the lunch period talking about their favorite television show to tried and true best friends, Macallan and Levi prove that people of the opposite sex could be just friends.
Too bad no one believes them.
Macallan and Levi have explained their relationship – to their families, to their friends, and to their significant others. They just do not get that guys and girls can just be friends. Guys are scared to ask Macallan out, and when they do their relationship doesn’t last too long. And Levi? Well, there’s a list of girls that like him, unfortunately he never seems to like those girls as much as he likes Macallan.
Macallan and Levi are too scared to openly admit this, but they are perfect together. Does this mean they’d made the perfect couple? Or are they really Better Off Friends?
Better Off Friends, written by author Elizabeth Eulberg, is a romantic comedy that will leave readers feeling all the feels!
Admittedly, I haven’t’ read all of Eulberg’s books. But of the one’s I’ve read to date, I’m going on record and saying it: this is Eulberg’s best yet. Better Off Friends is an honest examination of friendship – all the high and lows, all the flaws and fine points, all the emotions that are involved in a relationship.
Eulberg’s writing is exquisite. More than mere words on a page, her writing paints a vivid picture in the reader’s minds eye. Never giving anything away, Eulberg’s skilled at giving just enough detail and descriptions, and letting the readers figure out the rest. Making an engaging and inviting read.
What makes Better Off Friends such a great read isn’t just the writing. It’s how the book is written – the format in which it is written. Starting from their first meeting and moving and growing along with them/their friendship to their present status, Better Off Friends offers chapter breaks with Macallan and Levi interjecting their current thoughts on previous situations. They interject wisdom and rationale, the converse all the he saids and she saids, and they even dissect the same situation from two completely different points of view.  Making this book a well-rounded read.
Macallan and Levi are both great characters. Author Eulberg has created two memorable characters that readers will root for throughout the entire book. Macallan and Levi are well crafted – with care, expertise, and raw, honest emotions that run deep. Because of this they aren’t only believable, they are relatable.
Eulberg’s Better Off Friends is the kind of book that once it’s picked up readers will not be able to put it down until the book has been devoured. And even then readers, if you’re like me, will be wishing there was more.