Monday, February 28, 2011

Colleen on "Jekel Loves Hyde"

Hey Readers!

I told you to come back today for Colleen’s first review, so without further ado, Colleen’s review of “Jekel Loves Hyde” by Beth Fantaskey.

Straight-A student and all-around good girl Jill Jekel always follows the rules, especially about never opening the mysterious old box in her father’s office. But when her father is mysteriously murdered and her college savings disappear, Jill is tempted to peek inside, especially since she believes the secrets to winning a lucrative chemistry scholarship are hidden inside. To better her odds of winning, Jill asks fellow student Tristan Hyde to partner with her in the experiments. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, the pair attempt to recreate experiments from the classic novel. At first, Jill is only in it for the money, but, as her feelings for Tristan begin to grow, so do her concerns about his well-being. For Tristan has a dangerous secret; one that puts both of their lives in danger. Tristan believes that he is a direct descendent from the original Mr. Hyde. When he realizes that Jill’s father had been studying the scientific notes of Dr. Jekyll – notes that could contain a potential cure for Trista – he convinces Jill to help him to try and find a cure for his curse. Jill’s knowledge may be the only thing that can save Tristan, but first she must overcome her own dark nature.

Overall, I thought this was a fun read. Not my usual genre of choice (I’m more of a dragons and magic fantasy type, but I’m branching out by trying to read at least one book by every TBF author). I found the author’s expansion of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson “Jekyll and Hyde” story to be creative and definitely appealing for younger readers.  Once I got used to it, I also liked how the author switched between Jill and Tristan’s points-of-view each chapter. This allowed us as readers to get the full story. Overall, I enjoyed it enough to want to read more from this author… hopefully “Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side” in the near future?

Thanks for the review, Colleen … I’m looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meet Colleen!

Hey Bookworms!

Today I have a special guest here on Carly Reads … I’ll allow her to share a little bit of information about herself with you, but allow me to introduce you to Colleen!

Hi! My name is Colleen. I have always loved to read! I am 25 years old and currently finishing up my last semester the University at Buffalo, working towards my master’s degree in Library Science. Prior to that, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Nazareth (home to the TBF – yay!). Because of my love of books, I got my first job as a page at the Webster Public Library shelving books when I was 15… and have been there ever since! I’m still at the same library – but working as a librarian assistant now. For my final semester of grad school, I am working on a special project with the Teen Book Festival (as an intern of sorts). In addition to working alongside TBF-founder and committee chair Stephanie Squicciarini on several TBF-related projects and events, I am also attempting to read my way through all of the authors coming to the festival this year (a big task, I know… but I’m up to it!). Carly, my fellow WPL employee and Naz student, has been kind enough to let me be a guest blogger on Carly Reads as part of my project. I’m new to writing reviews… so please bear with me!

Hope to see you all at the TBF!

Colleen :)

So readers, come back again tomorrow for Colleen’s first book review.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Demonglass" Winners

Well Readers,

It’s time to announce the winners of the “Demonglass” contest!  Congratulations …

Valerie B. and Cheyanna W.

Valerie and Cheyanna have each won an ARC copy of “Demonglass” by Rachel Hawkins, courtesy of Rachel’s publisher and the marvelous Stephanie Squicciarini, who picked up the books at a conference. 

Also, several readers submitted questions that they wanted Rachel to answer when I interviewed her for the blog.  I have selected three reader submitted questions.  Valerie wants to know if Rachel’s experience as a teacher helped her identify the genre that she wanted to write.  Jordan is wondering why Rachel chooses to write YA.  And Stacey asks, who are Rachel’s favorite YA authors to read, and why?

Readers, you’ll find out the answers to all those questions (and more!) as soon as I do.  Keep checking back for Rachel’s interview … and for more book reviews, sneak peeks, and giveaways!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Win an ARC of "Demonglass"!

Courtesy of Rachel Hawkins’ publisher, Hyperion, and Stephanie Squicciarini, who picked them up at a conference for me, I have ARCs of “Demonglass” to give away to two lucky readers! 

To enter this giveaway, fill out this form.

You can enter the contest once, but you can gain an extra entry by submitting a question that you would like me to ask Rachel when I interview her for the blog.  So, have you been dying to know if she has any pets, what her favorite book is, or how long she’s wanted to be a writer? This is your chance to find out!

Contest winners will be randomly selected.  I will choose five questions to ask Rachel from the submissions from you readers.

This contest ends on Wednesday, February 23 at 8 p.m.  Sorry, but this contest is not open internationally.

Good luck! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sharing the Love for "Change of Heart"

Hi Readers!

For Valentine's Day ... a review of "Change of Heart!"

In Shari Maurer’s “Change of Heart,” Emmi is your average teenager.  She goes to high school school, plays soccer for a local travel team, dreams of an athletic scholarship to a good college, enjoys hanging out with her friends, and has a crush on one of her classmates, Sam.  Her “average” world, though, is sent spinning when what she assumes is just a cold turns out to be a life-threatening virus that leaves her heart weakened.  So weakened, in fact, that within months, Emmi is in need of a heart transplant. 

A little while ago, I reviewed Selene Castrovilla’s “The Girl Next Door” as a beautifully developed tearjerker, and it’s fair to put “Change of Heart” in the same category.  Maurer will make you care about Emmi as though she were your own best friend.  You’ll celebrate Emmi’s triumphs, and feel the pain of her struggles and roadblocks.  “Change of Heart” is not an easy book to read, because you care so deeply about the characters, but it’s a book that’s worth reading. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

100th Post Prize Pack Winners

Hello Readers!

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for – the day that the winners of the 100th Post Prize Pack Contest are announced! I won’t bore you with my jabbering, let’s get right on to the good stuff …

The grand prize consists of a paperback copy of “Get Well Soon” by Julie Halpern, a hardcover copy of “The Kings Are Already Here” by Garret Freymann-Weyr, an official TBF sling bag, and TBF pens.  The grand prize goes to …

Jordan B.

The second place prize is an official TBF tote bag, a gift certificate for a 6th Annual TBF t-shirt (redeemable at TBF 2011), and a TBF decal.  Second place goes to …

Juliana C.

And lastly, the runner up prize pack includes a gift certificate for a 6th Annual TBF t-shirt (redeemable at TBF 2011) and a TBF decal.  The runners up are …

Stacey M. and Cathy K.

Congrats to all the winners! I will be in touch you all by email so that I can find out where I should send your prizes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Author Next Door

Hi Readers,

As you wait with bated breath to find out who the winner of the 100th Post Celebration Prize Pack is, enjoy this interview with Selene Castrovilla!

Carly Reads: Reading “The Girl Next Door” was so hard because I came to love and care about Jesse and Sam. Was it difficult to write “The Girl Next Door?” Did your feelings towards the characters make it hard to write and carry out their story?
Selene Castrovilla: It was very hard to write this book. I wouldn’t have chosen the subject, frankly. I dreamed the story, and it came pouring out of me (I wrote it in three months, concurrently with my first novel, “Saved By the Music.”) It was like the characters channeled through me. I have to say it was smooth writing technically – it just flowed out because Sam told me what to write. But it was gut wrenching. I still cry when I read it.

CR: What are your feelings on the power of books to help teenagers deal with illness and grief? I see “The Girl Next Door” as being a book with the potential to help a lot of teens.  Did you write it with that in mind?
SC: I think books are wonderful tools for dealing with pain and grief. They helped me through so much when I was a teen. A book can sympathize, empathize, express what we cannot and carry us even further than we thought possible. It can be taken at one’s own speed, and interpreted in one’s own way. I was aware of this as I wrote the book, but it wasn’t primary in my mind. I knew if I told Sam & Jess’s "truths," then they would find their way to where they were needed in the world.

CR: Are you working on any projects (new books!) that you can tell us about?
SC: I have two more completed novels, one of which will be out soon. It’s called “Melt.” It’s a love story told in dual first person. One of them has had a very bad childhood, and he has been damaged by that. I’m very proud of this book.

CR: What books are on your list of “Five Books I Couldn’t Live Without?”
SC: “Macbeth,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” “As I Lay Dying,” “Choke,” “Fight Club.”

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
SC: I love Ellen Hopkins’ gusto, and we are Facebook friends, so I really look forward to meeting her there!
P.S. I invite and encourage everyone to friend me on Facebook!!!

Selene, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us.  We can’t wait to meet you in May!