Wrapped Reads (GIVEAWAY!!)

Hello Readers!

At my library we are currently hosting Blind Date with a Book. Have you ever heard of that, dear readers? No. Well, let me explain. Through out the adult and young adult sections of the library we have several books on display, all of which have been wrapped up in beautiful wrapping paper. We encourage library patrons to pick any one of the books, based on the few given clues, and check the item out.

I personally love this idea, even though the thought of checking out a book blindly makes me a bit nervous since I don’t love reading outside of my comfort zone.

I did this once before, and even though it may or may not have been my biggest success here on the blog, I have decided to give it a whirl. Yes, I’m here with another edition of wrapped readers!

A year or so ago I hosted a giveaway called wrapped reads.  I offered up several books for giveaway, but the catch was they were all wrapped up in beautiful wrapping paper. Since perspective winners didn’t know what they were winning, I gave clues as to what the book was.

I thought it was a fun idea. So much so that I decided to do it once again!

Today I am giving away two books! One is an older young adult book, and the other is an ARC of a pretty popular ya sci-fi book.

Book 1:

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Hints:

  • Recently reviewed this book on The BookBandit Blog
  • About an up and coming rock band
  • Main character proves to herself and to everyone around her that she can do anything.

Book 2

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Hints:

  • Hardcover ARC
  • Young adult, sci-fi set in the year 2575.
  • Told through various documents … emails,  chat transcripts, interviews, reports, etc..

The fine print:

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents ages thirteen years old and older. Giveaway will run from Thursday February 25 (noon) until Thursday March 3rd (11:59 pm). To enter this giveaway, comment on THIS blog post telling me what was the last book you have read and loved.  When commenting make sure to leave a valid e-mail address.

Two winners will be selected via random number generator, and will be informed via e-mail on Friday March 4th. If selected winner does NOT respond to e-mail notification within two days, a new winner will be selected and notified.

Good luck! And happy guessing!

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Lists Galore (#9)

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(The above image if from My Future Listography by Lisa Nola)

Hello Readers!

And welcome to another edition of Lists Galore! Today’s list is one that I am personally excited to share with you. It’s one that, if you know me, is probably easy to gather who would be on this list. But for those of you who don’t, keep reading!

Today’s topic is …

List of Fictional Characters You’d Love to Hang Out With

This list is composed of characters from my favorite books (obvs) and my favorite TV/movies as well.

Lola (from Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)

Cher (from Clueless)

Alice (from Alice in Wonderland)

Chubs (from The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken)

Lydia Deetz (from Beetlejuice)

Willowdean Dickson (from Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy)

Lara Jean (from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han)

Lorenzo aka Ren (from Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch)

Hazel & Ben (from The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black)

Willy Wonka (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

Veronica (from Veronica Mars)

Clarissa & Sam (from Clarissa Explains it All)

Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard, Bernadette, Amy, & Penny (from The Big Bang Theory)

Jasper Dent (from Jasper Dent trilogy by Barry Lyga)

Ronan & Blue (from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

Cas Lowood (from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake)

Daria, Jane, & Trent (from Daria)

Angela, Rickie, and Rayanne (from My So-Called Life)

Lorelai & Rory (from The Gilmore Girls)

Jess (from New Girl)

Eleanor and Park (from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell)

Jacob (from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs)

Caroline and Max (from 2 Broke Girls)

Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

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Piper isn’t impressed by Dumb’s over the top antics. Sure they may have won the battle of the bands, but they didn’t win over Piper.

Even though Piper cannot hear their raucous music, she knows this much: they need to get their act together. And when she tells them exactly that, front man Will takes it as a challenge. If she can turn them into an honest to goodness band with a paying gig, that she can have the honor of managing them.

The only good thing about taking this challenge is the fact that, if she is their manager, she has to be cut in on their royalties. She needs the money, especially after her parents drained her college fund of her baby sister’s cochlear implants. Hesitant, she accepts the challenge realizing this may be her ticket out of Seattle.

Getting a paying gig isn’t the challenge. Turns out being Dumb’s manager is the real challenge. Will Piper rise to the occasion and realize that rock and roll isn’t about the paycheck, but rather the passion? Or will she burn out before she gets the chance to shine?

Five Flavors of Dumb, written by author Antony John, is more than just a contemporary book about a band. It’s a book about finding one’s self in the midst of everyone else’s preconceived notions of who you are.

Dumb may be rock starts on the rise, but author John’s writing  is the real rock star.  John’s strong words and even stronger description bring this book to life. Reading, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the action, in the emotions, and the lives of the characters.

In terms of characters, each were interesting, complex, and above all things, honest. John’s characters of multi-layered creatures who, when you peel back their superficial layers, are the kinds of characters that readers will easily identify with.  Beyond that, they are the kinds of characters that readers will view more as friends rather than fictional characters they will only meet between the covers of the book.

Main character Piper is one for the books. She is smart, determined, and does not let her being deaf stand in her way of managing a rock band. Full of great qualities that readers will root for, Piper is the poster child of underdog. In true form, she rises to the occasion, and by the books end, she’s, not only self-assured (she has the pink hair to prove it) but she’s proving every preconceived notion that anyone has every thought about her wrong.

Five Flavors of Dumb really should have been a five-star book for me. After all, it had everything I would want in a book – great characters, a solid plot, and it’s chock full of Nirvana references – but there was one very big, very important aspect of the book that knocked a star off of my rating. Piper’s parents, especially her father.

Reading, I constantly felt as if they undermined  her, not just as their daughter, but as a human being. They often treated her like an outsider because of her disability, and beyond that a hinderance they couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to at times. This really, really bothered me. And it’s little consolation that they started to right their wrongs by the end, but it still wasn’t enough to add that star back to the rating.

Push come to shove, I really did enjoy John’s Five Flavors of Dumb.  What I enjoyed most, besides the musical aspect, was the books message: no one and nothing can hold you back. Only you have the ability to do that. And I think that, if you give Dumb a chance, you too will enjoy it!

(Cover image from GoodReads)

 

Shootin’ the Breeze With Charlotte Huange

Hello Readers!

And happy Sunday! Today is a special post. Today I’m chatting with Charlotte Huang, author of For the Record. As you know, I loved it.  I loved that it focused, not just what happens on stage, but also what happens off the stage. I loved it so much I needed the scoop on it. So I reached out to author Charlotte Huang, and asked if she’d be willing to answer a few questions. And graciously, she did! Lucky for us!

And this is what we chatted about …

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

Charlotte Huang (CH): I grew up in the Boston area and wanted to be a writer since I was maybe in second grade. I always loved to read and make up stories but it was a very long time before I approached writing in an organized way. After college I worked in a bank, went to graduate school for business, and then worked in advertising in New York for several years. But when my husband and I moved to Los Angeles we didn’t know anyone here so I decided it was the perfect time to take writing classes. I consider that to be the point that I started to pursue writing seriously.

BB: What was the inspiration behind your debut, For the Record?

CH: A piece of writing advice we hear a lot is, “Write what you know.” Because my husband and many of our friends work in the music industry, I’ve been to hundreds of shows and listened in on many conversations about the business side of being in a band. And I thought about how being a rock star is such a popular dream and yet there’s so much that goes into being successful in a band that not many people know about. I wanted to explore and bring that to light more.

BB: In terms of For the Record, what was the best part of writing it, and what was the hardest part?

CH: The best part of writing it was being able to use all the little bits of information and anecdotes that have been taking up space in my brain for years. The hardest part was probably deciding what to exclude. I still have so many stories—I could probably write another book.

BB: If you had to describe your debut using only three words, what three words would you use to describe it?

CH: Fun, authentic, adventure-filled.

BB: What kind of research did you do in preparation of writing For the Record.

CH: I didn’t have to do a lot but when I didn’t know something, I had a lot of experts to call upon. I consulted with a friend who is in a band, a tour manager friend, my husband, and a girl friend who does live on a tour bus from time to time.

BB: For the Record is filled with a lot of great characters. Which one of your character would you say you see yourself most in?

CH: Hmmm, honestly, I’m a little bit like all of them. I’m probably most like Beckett though. I think of him as being creative but practical at the same time. He also gives people a chance but expects a lot from those around him.

BB: If have to ask this — who is your favorite musician and/or band?

CH: I don’t have a favorite! It truly varies with the situation and my mood. In terms of live shows, I love going to see the Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, and The Pixies, but I rarely sit around my house listening to their albums.

BB: If you were to create a playlist to describe For the Record, what bands and songs would be on it?

CH: I always say I really hope people will picture a band that they personally love when they’re reading about Melbourne. That said, here are a few songs that I think feel right:
“Bros,” by Wolf Alice
“The Mother We Share,” by CHVRCHES
“Our Own House,” by MisterWives
“How to Be a Heartbreaker,” by Marina and the Diamonds
“Punching in a Dream,” by The Naked and Famous
“If I Could Change Your Mind,” by HAIM

BB: Can you tell anything of any upcoming projects you are working on? With that, will us readers see Chelsea in any upcoming books?

CH: I’m just in the final editorial stages of my second YA novel from Delacorte, which is called, GOING GEEK. It’s due out in September and it’s another standalone contemporary! Unfortunately, Chelsea doesn’t have a role in this one but you never know–maybe she’ll make another appearance one day!

BB: What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

CH: When I was starting out, I asked a screenwriter friend to read something I wrote. She wasn’t particularly impressed but she said, “I think you’ll be successful one day because you actually finished something. Do you know how many people say they want to be writers but never actually finish a project?” Now when someone tells me that they’re interested in getting published, that’s one of the first questions I ask. So my best piece of advice is, you have to finish something. I firmly believe that there’s something psychologically important that happens when you finish and also that you have to get to the end of at least a draft before you really know what you have.

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So there you have it readers, isn’t Charlotte great!? I want to say THANK YOU to Charlotte for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me/the blog.  Readers, she’s awesome, and you shoud all run out and pick up a copy of For the Record. In the meantime, check her outline for more information about her, her writing, and obviously her books!

 

For The Record

For the Record by Charlotte Huang

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For as long as Chelsea could remember she’s dreamed of being a singer. And when she lands a spot on a TV talent show, she figures that this is her chance. Her chance to, not only make her dreams a reality, but a chance to get out of her small town where rumors of her nonexistent reputation follow her.

But when she is voted off, and sent packing back to her small town, Chelsea has practically given up on her rock star dreams. That is, until she receives a phone call for the record label associated with that TV show. Since she’s still contractually obligated to them, they’ve decided to give her another chance at stardom.

This time though, Chelsea won’t be on some lame TV show. Instead, she’ll be the front woman of the band Melbourne.

Thrust into the spotlight, Chelsea struggles to find her place – in the public eye, in a band that barely likes her, and in the music industry as a whole. Will she become the rock star she knows she is? Or will she, once again, be sent packing?

For the Record, written by author Charlotte Huang, is a contemporary YA novel that is musically charged, fun, and offers its readers an honest look into the music industry.

The writing that fills the pages of this debut novel is simply stellar. Author Huang has an undeniable way with words. She does a great job at infusing just the right amount of description, emotion, and tension to keep readers both engrossed and engaged in main character Chelsea’s rise to fame.

Besides Huang’s impressive writing, her characters are rock stars.  The characters that make up with story are honest, real, and well crafted. Each has a personality all of his or her own, making it easy for readers to relate to any or all of them. However great the characters are as a whole, its main character Chelsea that stood out the most.

At the start of For the Record, leading lady Chelsea comes off as a classic underdog. Readers, although they will instantly like her, may sense that Chelsea has no chance at fitting into Melbourne, the already established band that she’s been dropped into.

But Chelsea is tougher than she appears – on the inside and the out.  Whatever the guys throw at her, she handles, proving how strong she is to her band mates, but most of all to herself.  Chelsea is the kind of character that reader’s will easily see themselves within. And because of that they will cheer this rock star on!

There’s a little bit of something for every reader. For the music lover, readers get the chance to see what the making of a successful band is like. For the romantics, there’s more than one budding romances within the pages.  And for the rest of us,  there’s they great story that Huang has spun. Simply put, For the Record is truly a great read.

(Cover Image from GoodReads)

The BookBandit’s February Reading Tracker

ReadingTracker

(The above image was created by me for the purpose of this post via Picmonkey.com)

Hello Readers!

After talking with real life BFF and fellow blogger Miss Print I decided that creating a monthly reading tracker would be helpful – not just to me as a reader, but also to me as a blogger. At the beginning of each month I will post three books that I hope to read during the month. At the end of the month I will report back on if when I read the three planned books, I will discuss my thoughts on how the month went reading wise, and I will also post the following month’s reading tracker. By keeping track I hope to read more and read better. And that is, without putting any pressure on myself.

As of late, I feel as if I haven’t been reading as actively as I used to. And I’m starting to seriously miss it. I’m hoping that this tracker will remedy that.

Now, I have to real standards of how I’m picking and choosing books each month. My choices could be random, they could be based on a current mood/feeling, or they could be themed.

For the month of February, I plan on reading three books. I plan on reading one book that has been taking up residence on my shelf for some time (aka a backlist book). I will read a historical fiction book (because I’m just in the mood). And finally I will read an upcoming book (or rather an ARC/egalley).

Current Read: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Backlist: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Historical Fiction: My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter

Upcoming: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

So, readers — what books are you planning on reading this month? Are there any books that you’ve been looking forward to this month?