Saturday, September 13, 2014

Veronica Bartles- Interview & Giveaway

So, I had the pleasure of interviewing  author Veronica Bartles for the 2014 Debut Authors Bash! Stick around for the giveaway at the end of this post :)

1. How long have you been a writer?

I've been writing since second grade, but I didn't write my first novel until 2008, when I finally decided that it was time to turn my dream of "being a writer someday" into reality.
2. Who/What made you begin writing in the first place?

Well, when I was in second grade, I won the Wyoming State Young Author's contest (it was a school assignment - everyone in my class was required to enter, and I never expected to win). I had so much fun writing the story, and I loved being in the spotlight for my win. I decided I was going to be a writer one day and started a collection of special pencils that I wouldn't sharpen or use until I was ready to write my first published book.
 (Incidentally I got my first taste of working with an editor while writing my entry for that contest. My mom marked up my first draft and encouraged me to rewrite it over and over again until the story actually made sense. She's probably the reason I won, come to think of it.) 
           I wasted a lot of years when I didn't write at all after graduating from college, because I was afraid of discovering that I wasn't good enough. I'd probably still be floundering in a sea of self-doubt today if I hadn't met Jason F. Wright (bestselling author of THE WEDNESDAY LETTERS) at a Time Out for Women event in 2008. He encouraged me to follow my dream, and I sharpened my story pencils as soon as I got home, to write my first novel.

3. Would you be anything else, besides an author?

When I was very young, I decided that I wanted to be an author and a mom when I grew up. And I'm totally living the dream. I have four great kids who are mostly supportive of my writing, and a husband who absolutely believes that being a mom is just as much a real job as being an author. I couldn't imagine any other life.

4. Did you like to read when you were younger?
I was constantly reading when I was a kid. I carried a book with me everywhere I went. I sat in 
my bedroom with a pile of books more often than not. I would sneak books into my desk so I 
could read at school while the teacher was talking. I read on the playground. And when we went 
on vacation, I brought my books along with me. The beach, restaurants, Disneyland ... I read so
much that, whenever I got in trouble, my parents used to punish me by making me watch TV – 
without being able to read a book while I watched! (I still read all the time, by the way. And yes, 
I always have a book to read while I’m watching TV.)

5. If you could sit on a bench with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’d love to go back in time and meet Mark Twain. He had a snarky, quick wit, and a unique way 
of looking at the world, and I think we really would have gotten along well. (And I’d get him to 
sign all of my Mark Twain books, so they’d be worth a lot of money!)

6. If there was a movie for your book, what would your ideal cast be?

This is always the hardest question for me to answer, because my characters are so specific to me 
that it’s difficult to match them to real-life celebrities. Hmmm... Maybe ...

• Andi: Liana Liberato might actually be perfect.

• Jarod: Theo James, wearing green contacts (It’s possible I just want to meet him, and 
I’m looking for an excuse.)

• Laina: I would pick an unknown actress. I’m thinking a cross between Marilyn Monroe 
and Doris Day, but with long, curly blonde hair.

• Dave: I think Jake T. Austin could probably pull off Dave’s combination of cockiness 
and adorkable moments.

• Nick: I know he’s not really a main character in TWELVE STEPS, but he’s actually a 
very important character in my mind. He would have to be just right. And I can’t find a 
single actor who fits, so there would definitely have to be a casting call for him. Maybe 
someone with Will Smith’s body, Bruno Mars’ smile, & Nathan Owens’ eyes. 

7. How do you overcome writers block?

I always have at least two or three different writing projects going on at any given time. Partly, 
this is because I’m fickle and flighty, and I can’t commit to just one idea. But mostly, it’s 
because when I hit writer’s block on one project, I can skip over to another one with fresh eyes 
and excitement for the new ideas there. The project that has me stuck can percolate in the back 
of my mind while I work on the one that’s flowing easily. And when I get stuck again, I can hop 
back to the first manuscript. This means it usually takes me quite a while to finish a manuscript, 
but when I do, I usually have one or two others that are pretty close to being finished at the same 
time, so it works for me.

8. Did you listen to any music when you were writing your debut novel? If so, what songs 
did you listen to?

I always have to have a writing soundtrack for every manuscript I write. Generally, the 
soundtrack for each project is guided by the musical tastes of my main character, which really 
helps me to get into my character’s mindset when I sit down to write. For TWELVE STEPS, 
I had a super-long playlist that I listened to exclusively whenever I was writing. Andi’s tastes 
are probably the most eclectic of any character I’ve ever written, so her playlist was the most 
varied I’ve ever put together. After the book was finished, I narrowed the list down to my top 12 
favorite songs, that really help tell Andi’s story:

1. “Sisters” – Rosemary & Betty Clooney

2. “Stepsisters’ Lament” – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella 

3. “Who I Am” – Nick Jonas

4. “Still into You” – Paramore

5. “Cover Girl” – Big Time Rush

6. “Take a Hint” – Victorious cast

7. “Everything Has Changed” – Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran

8. “Help Me, Rhonda” – The Beach Boys

9. “The Prince You Charmed” – Youngstown

10. “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” – Susan Egan

11. “Falling for You” – R5

12. “You Snuck Your Way Right into My Heart” – Love Handel

9. What's your favorite quote?

Oh, I love so many quotes! (Seriously, I used to fill whole notebooks with quotes when I was 
in high school, and I still have a ton of quotes posted up around my house.) It’s hard to pick 
a favorite. But there is one that I read every single day, to keep me going when I’m feeling 
discouraged. In a writing workshop I attended years ago, publicist Matt Birch said, “No matter 
how hard it gets, don’t give up. Someone will care.” This came at a moment when I was 
particularly discouraged, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. And I still need to hear it 

10. Which author amazes you most with their writing?

Oh, I have so many authors I love and admire. I’ve always adored Mark Twain’s wit and humor, 
and I love C.S. Lewis’ ability to build fantastic worlds, and to point out universal truths in our 
own world so clearly. 
But there are so many recent and upcoming authors that I also love to pieces. I could never pick 
only one! It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Rachel Harris. (I was so excited when she agreed to 
write the cover blurb for TWELVE STEPS!) I’ve read every single one of her books, and I’m 
really looking forward to her next YA contemporary novel, THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING, 
which releases September 30, 2014. Rachel writes the most amazing characters, and I just want 
to be friends with every single one of them in real life! We’ve actually decided that Andi, my 
main character in TWELVE STEPS, would be best friends with Aly, the main character of THE 
FINE ART OF PRETENDING, if they ever met in real life.
And I recently had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Kelsey Macke’s debut novel, 
DAMSEL DISTRESSED, which comes out October 14, 2014. This book has such a beautiful,
lyrical quality to it, and it touches on some very important topics, in a gorgeous, yet totally-
accessible way.

11. Where can we get ahold of you?

Twitter: @vbartles

Great interview, huh?  If this doesn't make you want to learn more about her and pick up her book, I don't know what will. Speaking of her book... 

Displaying FINAL Twelve Steps 1800 x 2700.jpgTWELVE STEPS by Veronica Bartles

Release Date: March 25, 2014

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Format: eBook

Price: $2.99

About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. The only 
thing Andi’s sure she has going for her is her awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's 
perfect everything else.

When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough, 
and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina and get the guy. 
Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really 

Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities. She MUST have more than just great hair, right?

Step 7: Demand attention for more than just the way she screws things up. 

When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi realizes that her twelve-step program 
isn’t working. Her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and the spotlight she’s been trying to 
steal isn’t the one she wants.
As Laina’s flawless façade begins to crumble, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big 
enough for both to shine.




Displaying Veronica_cropped.jpgVeronica Bartles grew up in Wyoming and currently lives in New Mexico with her husband 
and four children. As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is
no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. She uses this insight to write stories 
about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy. When 
Veronica’s not writing or lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, she enjoys creating 
delicious desserts, exploring new places, and knitting with recycled materials. 

TWELVE STEPS is Veronica’s first novel.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Two Year Blogaversary and GIVEAWAY

Wow. Just wow. I've hit TWO YEARS ON MY BLOG. And I just don't know where to start with all this. 
There's just so many people id like to thank. 

Bookmarkbelles, if it wasn't for your blog, I never would've come across the idea of even having a blog. I won a giveaway from you and saw that you wrote posts on books. I thought it was neat, and I wanted to be like you. I love to write little articles and I loved to read books, so it was a perfect match.

Sasha Summers, thank you for donating stuff to my blog (and being the first one to). It may not mean much, but it really does to me.

Rebecca Hamilton, I don't even know how to make this short. You helped me the most with EVERYTHING. You gave me my first review copy, you donated prizes, you tweeted my posts and you were just being you. You helped me out with non blogging stuff and you helped me out with blogging stuff all the time. I can never repay you. 

Audra Trosper, I'm not entirely sure how we met, but you've made a really big impact on my blogging life and my writing life, and even my personal life. You treated me like a daughter  But you really did give me good advice which I greatly thank you for 

Kayla Curry, I remember you helped me a lot when my blog was just starting out and you were there and that even just makes an impact 

Bree Vanderland, thank you so much for being a sister to me and for helping out when I really needed you. You were truly a great help and if you ever need anything in return I will do anything.

Heather Kirchhoff, thanks so much for everything! Thank you for helping out with my blogging, thank you for taking over the page, and thank you for giving me advice. 

And even though he'll probably never read this, thank you Stephen Chbosky for inspiring me as well.

So, it's all so crazy to me. I never thought I'd get to interview Lauren Oliver or Ava Dellaira. Or get a signed signature from Stephen Chbosky. Or receive a review copy from James Patterson. And it's crazy to think that if I just hadn't met one of you guys, it wouldn't have happened. Thank you  
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Top 11 Teen Summer Reads

So, summer is almost over and I've been seeing so many people complain about not yet finding the perfect summer read.
Well, the cute, quirky, and easy  teen summer reads  listed below (in random order) might just help you get out of your slump.


Beach Blondes: June Dreams, July's Promise, August Magic (Summer) 

By: Katherine Applegate


Three months. Three guys. One amazing summer.
Summer Smith is in for the best summer of her life. Between the cold weather and her boyfriendless existence in Minnesota, Summer is ready for sun, sand, and boys in the Florida Keys. And by the end of the first day, she has more than enough to keep her busy:

Adam, the senator's son, has looks, power, and all the money in the world.
Diver, the mystery man, is mellow, intriguing, and definitely unique.
And Seth, the perfect guy... only he has a girlfriend.

But with new friends, cute guys, and miles of hot white sand, Summer's in for more trouble than she thinks....

Page Length: 736 pages (should  keep you quite busy!)
Series: Yes
Buy Links:


The Summer I Turned Pretty 

By: Jenny Han

Some summers are just destined to be pretty

Belly measures her life in summer. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place a way from the beach house, away from Sussannan, and most importantly, away from Jerimiah and Conrad.
They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. 

Paperback Print Length: 304 pages
Series: Yes
Buy Links:


The Summer I Found You 

By: Jolene Perry

16094953Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. 

Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life.

When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?
Hardcover Page Length: 256 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:


We Were Liars 

By: E. Lockhart

16143347 We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury. We are cracked and broken. It is a story of love and romance. It is a tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth?
Paperback Page Length: 240 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:


On the Fence 

By: Kasie West

18298225 She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door.
With three older brothers, Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, has always been more comfortable calling the shots on the basketball court than flirting with the opposite sex. So when her police officer dad demands she get a summer job to pay for the latest in a long line of speeding tickets, she's more than a little surprised to find herself working at a chichi boutique and going out with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with her neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But there's a secret Charlie's keeping that even he hasn't figured out- she's fallen for him. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
**I did a review on this, so check it out!**

Paperback Print Length: 304 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble


Since You've Been Gone 

By: Morgan Matson

18189606Before Emily, Sloane didn't go to parties, she  barely talked to guys and she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend-- someone who yanks you out of your shell.
But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There's just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Wait...what?

Getting through Sloane's list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her-- and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter-- who know's what she'll find.

Go Skinny Dipping? Um...
Hardcover Length: 464 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:


Chelsea isn't looking forward to her summer at the lake. It's the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can't break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny... and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can't believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful. 

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She'll be heading home at the end of the summer-- and he'll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea's summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

Paperback Print Length: 274 pages
Series: Yes(?)
Buy Links:


These Girls 

By: Sarah Pekkanen

These GirlsFamily secrets may shape us all, but it's the rich, complicated  layers of friendship that can save us.

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazines. It's a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated. 

Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee's weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills--- despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she's heading for real danger.

Then there's Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby-- or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Pekkanen's most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different woman as they navigate the complications of careers and love--- and find the lifeline the need in each other.

Paperback Print Length: 336 Pages
Series: No
Buy Links:

104379The more things change...

As far as Haven is concerned, there's just too much going on.

Everything is changing, and she's not sure where she fits in.

Then her sister's old boyfriend shows up, sparking memories of the summer when they were all happy and everything was perfect....

But along the way, Haven realizes that sometimes change is a good thing.

Hardcover Length: 208 Pages
Series: No
Buy Links:


The Spectacular Now 

By: Tim Tharp

 The Spectacular NowSUTTER KELLY.
 He's the guy  you want at your party. He'll get everyone dancing. He'll get everyone in your parents' pool.  Okay, so he's not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men's shirts for a living.  But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram's V.O., life's pretty fabululoso, actually. 

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee's clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it's up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee's not like the other girls, and before long he's in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else's life-- or ruin it forever.

Paperback Print Length: 294 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:

Paperback Print Length: 294 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:


The Truth About Forever 

By: Sarah Dessen

Expect the unexpected.

Macy's got her whole summer carefully planned. 

But her plans didn't include a job at Wish Catering. And they certainly didn't include Wes.

But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect least are sometimes the things you need most.

Paperback Print Length: 400 pages
Series: No
Buy Links:

Well... That's it! Again, these are in no specific order. 
These books are truly amazing ones, so if you're bored in the summer or you're going to the beach and need a good read, keep these book suggestions in mind!
Comment if you like any of these books! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On the Fence by Kasie West- Review

**I was provided with an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
On the Fence by Kasie West

Charlie Reynolds is not like the other girls. She's a tomboy, not the girly-girl type. She can outrun and outsmart any guy she wants to which is what makes her so special. When she is forced to work at some lame fashion place to pay off her speeding ticket(s), everything just completely changes for her.  She slowly develops into someone who she's just the opposite of. She relieves herself with almost-daily fence chat with her brother/actually neighbor Braden. But really, he's just making it worse. And worse. And worse. 

This book needs to turn into a film! Oh my gosh, oh how I wish I was Charlie. I was laughing my butt off so hard, and holy crap I  just want three hot brothers and a hot neighbor. Okay, so maybe that's a little weird (especially the hot brothers), but I'm telling you, you'll understand when you read this. 
 Charlie (Charlotte) is a tomboy who's not your typical girl. She dreads makeup, would wear sneakers over heels anyday, and wears athletic clothes all the time. She's great at sports, and would kick your ass anytime playing. When she crosses the line with all the speeding tickets she gets, she has to work at some chic boutique to pay off her debt. The thing is, it changes her. She starts wearing... makeup (ohmigod) and actually dresses nice! It's not like her at all. Along the way, she develops feelings for Braden. She's seriously devoted to just staying friends, because anymore than that and it could ruin them for good. She just can't help it.
She doesn't know how to act properly to everything. Her mother died when she was a young child, so her dad and her three- well, four- brothers were the only people to help. 
This book was freaking amazing. It's the perfect light summer romance read. It's so romantic in a quirky way, and I laughed way too much at some parts. It's just like a sad romantic comedy book. 
The guys in this book are sooooo dreamy. Especially Braden. Oh yes, you will want Braden. He's strong, cute, athletic, and caring. Charlie's brothers are the same, but if you're a guy and you hit on Charlie even the teeniest bit, you're going down. They won't hesitate to punch you. I just can't get enough of her brothers. They're so geeky and cute. 
I loved the characters. Especially the realness of her brothers. They were playful and fun when they had to be, and protective/ big brothery when they had to be. And her father acted like how a father would at times where he was raising a daughter by himself. The characterization was perfect. 
There was not one negative aspect of this book. It was written so smoothly, and I didn't get bored. Even during parts where I usually would skim, I made myself not. The author didn't overwrite any descriptive parts. 
Referring to my statement earlier, I seriously want to be Charlie. I also don't, but for the most part do. She's tall (5'11), athletic, pretty, strong, and charismatic. She just has many struggles in her life when she falls for Braden, dates the wrong guy, finds out the real truth, and becomes an entirely different person. Charlie is in a war with her enemy being herself. Only one side of her can win. I just adored her personality overall, despite any lashing out. 

West has written an amazing summer read. She had me saying
-Well now I'm depressed
- Can I date him like plz
and when finally finished
 It's such an adorable love story that you won't be able to put down. I would know, I read it twice!  It's intriguing enough to make you want to devour the whole thing in a day if you're just that interested (which you will be). The ending seems like a HEA, but I know that she's just trying to live off the pain. 
Buy this if you want a quirky, cute, and sweet guys. It has just a right amount of all. This is her third book, and three is a charm :) She hit the nail right on the head with this book. I cannot wait to read more of her amazing contemporaries. 
Rating: 5/5 stars 
Platform: ARC
Pages: 304
Age Target: 13+
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1 2014

Find it on:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart- Review

Introducing: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart 
**All opinions below are mine and nobody elses**

15 year old Ruby Oliver suddenly started having panic attacks all of a sudden, after some crazy debacles during her freshman(?) year. Within a 10 day period she:
-Lost her boyfriend (boy #13)
- Lost her best friend
-Lost all her other friends
-Learned gory details about her now-ex-boyfriend's sexual adventures
-Did something shockingly advanced with a boy (boy #15)
-Did something suspicious with a boy (boy #10)
-Had an argument with a boy (boy #14)
-Drank her first beer
-Got caught by her mom
-Lost a lacrosse game
-Failed a math test
-Hurt Megan's feelings
-Had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom
-Became a leper
- and a famous slut.
Yeah, a lot isn't it? After about 5 panic attacks, she finds herself stuck with Doctor Z., her therapist. 

 The book is flat out hilarious! You won't want to do anything else except read when this is in your hands.

            Okay most will admit that once they heard the title of the book, and saw the cover, they were mislead by it. It's not exactly a book that will appeal to people at first. But seriously, they are missing out. The ceramic frog resembles something that pops up later in the book, and the title just fits.

 I totally related to Ruby (she narrates the book) as I read this. Ruby's personality is so quirky! Even considering all that  bad stuff did happen, she's not a total optimist about her situation but neither is she a pessimist.  More of a realist if you will.  Most of the time, she makes idiotic mistakes (sorry Ruby), but the ones that happen to her make sense. It fits well.
When Lockhart tells the story, she describes it in great detail,  and you just think it's all happening to you. Which half the time isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Make that 1/4 of the time.

This book has fun little footnotes which  are really unique and they work out well with this kind of plot. The plot isn't rushed, but at one moment it felt as if it could have been written better.

The author has great potential, and I just love this series even though I'm not done. I just know I'll like the rest of the books. She may have been in her thirties when she wrote this, but her mind is like a teenager's. She is officially added to my not-yet-made list of favorite authors. Haha. :)

Overall, this is an eccentric, quirky and feel good novel that all pre-teens/teens should read.
Ruby Oliver lives to tell the tale!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Platform I read it on: Paperback from Amazon
Pages: 229

Barnes and Noble
E.Lockhart's Website

Have a safe summer everyone!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

☆ The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- Review ☆

The movie came out this Friday and I hope everyone got the chance to see it! If you went on June 5th you got a signed poster and bracelet. Although I'm a tad late, I'm going to post my review in honor of it.   I've read many books, but none were as great as this one. 
**Any opinions below are mine and nobody elses.**

I've read many books, but none were as great as this one. If you haven't heard of this book, here's a summary in my perspective: Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old cancer patient, is diagnosed as clinically depressed. Her doctor and parents, her mother mostly, thinks she needs to get out a little more. This means that her mother is pretty much forcing her to go to support group. Relenting, she goes, but has a sucky first day. It's pretty boring to her. But then, a charming boy named Augustus Waters comes around, which changes everything.  Together, they begin to solve a question.
How will they be remembered in future life?

Green wrote a sad, tragic, yet beautiful book. He handles the heavy material in a way that most likely doesn't offend anyone  who might be sensitive to the topics he writes about. John Green knows what it's like to be dying without actually dying.

I would highly recommend that teens, adults, even mature kids pick this book up. It's a book that makes you think differently about life. In my opinion, there's a moral in the book saying "Don't take life for granted." or "Life's too short to live on fear." I mean, life is too short anyways. By the way, this book is an emotional rollercoaster, so keep tissues handy. You can thank me later.
It's a beautifully written novel about love, life, and death, and it really makes you question yourself. The characters are so madly in love, but it's not in a harsh way. It's not something you'd exactly find hot (but Augustus is *cue creepy winky face*) I've never read a book or spectated a relationship with a connection as strong as the one Hazel and Augustus share.  Opinions may argue on the ending, but maybe it made the characters discover that the whole ending isn't sad. Maybe it was meant to happen, for closure. Green wrote a sad, tragic, yet beautiful book. He handles the heavy material in a way that most likely doesn't offend anyone  who might be sensitive to the topics he writes about. John Green knows what it's like to be dying without actually dying.

My star rating: 5/5 stars 
Would give six stars if I  could.

Platform I read this on: Hardcover from Library
Pages: 318

Favorite quotes:
Okay? Okay.

Maybe Okay will be our Always.

I'm on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend.

My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.

It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.

How will you be remembered in future life?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Interview with Melissa Groeling

Hey, everyone!
 I'm pleased to have Author Melissa Groeling here on my blog today, for an interview. Below are a couple questions I have asked Melissa (questions = highlighted in black and blue) and her answers to them (answers = purple color).  
       I met Melissa about a month ago and she is one amazing lady! You should definitely check her out. I'll have some info on her towards the end. 

But I'll just let Melissa do the talking for now. 
1.What's your author name? Do you have multiple?

In order to keep things simple, I stick with one name and one name only: Melissa Groeling :)

2. What do you write about?

 I write about whatever pops into my mind. I know, it’s a vague answer, right? But seriously. I can’t sit down and say, “Okay, I want to write about purple cats and three-legged iguanas who team up to fight a slew of warlocks.” My ideas have to literally come from nowhere. It makes the writing process much more fun.

3. Who is your targeted audience?

Anyone willing to get their heart rate going!

4. Who/What inspired you with the idea of your first book?

Traffic Jam came to me while I was watching which is kind of hysterically weird because I never watch the news…especially while on vacation, which is exactly where I was when I got the idea! It was the perfect story line for Val and Sam, the two main characters, who were kicking around in my head for a long time before Traffic Jam was even born.

5. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that

particular image/artwork?

I love this cover! My cousin’s husband, Joey, designed it for me. He was so good about taking the pretty vague instructions I gave him and creating something completely awesome. I remember telling him that I didn’t want any full-on faces on the cover. I always find that takes away from the reader’s imagination when it comes to imagining what the characters look like. So he gave me part of a face and the tear coming down was the perfect touch of misery.

6. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

As much as I love Val, I find myself torn between John and Jude. The two of them are completely misunderstood. They stand for something so much greater than what people see on the surface. The loyalty John has for his friends is so unheard of nowadays and Jude’s willingness to give up so much to stop what was going on, says oodles about his strength and character.

 7 .How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Hmmm…least favorite? That’s an interesting question. Let’s see…I’d have to say Brandon. To me, he embodies all the guys in high school who thought everyone was there for his own sick enjoyment. He was surprisingly easy to write because I knew a lot of guys like that and I’m sure it hasn’t changed any, has it?

8. Would you ever go back and change something about your first book?

No! I can’t! Seriously, if I change one thing then that leads to another thing, and then another and then another and before you know, the entire story is different. So to save my own sanity, I can’t change anything! lol

9. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Everything Val and Sam’s dad does is totally something my dad would do. If my sisters, my brother or I were getting in trouble at school, he would not have a problem marching us to school in front of everyone! There’s no room for embarrassment with my dad, I’ll tell you. Looking back, it’s pretty funny but when you’re in the moment…not so much.

10. What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

Honestly, I can’t think of any other books that are similar. Can you? Let me know if you think of any and I’ll check them out.

11. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies? I'll let you brag for a moment.

Heh heh. Did I ever tell you what a book nerd I am? Or how much I hate shopping? Or how much I love playing chess even though I’m no good at it? And I’m loud. Is being loud a talent? If it’s not, it should be. :)

12. Are you self published or do you have a publisher?

I do have a publisher—Black Opal Books. They’re really a great support system and very easy to talk to and work with, which is important when you’re pouring your heart out onto a page.

13. What book is your ABSOLUTE favorite?

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons, hands down. I’ve read that book at least 3 times and I’m sure I’ll be reading it again. The spine is so cracked, the pages will probably start coming out!

14. If you could sit on a bench with any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Wow, that is such a good question. Let’s see…I’d say Mary Shelley. Who wouldn’t want to sit next to someone who created one of the most famous and saddest monsters in human history?

15. Anything you'd like to add?

Natasha—you are awesome! Thank you so much for having me!
Happy reading, girl!

16. Where can we check out your books? (provide links)

Here you go:

Amazon Author Page
  Traffic Jam on Amazon
  Traffic Jam on Goodreads
     Traffic Jam on B&N
       Traffic Jam on Smashwords
Author Bio:
     Melissa Groeling graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in 
English. She lives, reads and writes in the Philadelphia region and wherever else 
life happens to send her. She is a hardcore New York Giants fan and loves 
chocolate. Lights Out is her second novel to date. 
Come find me at Facebook!

Twitter: @stringbean10

Displaying Authorpic.jpg

Links to check her out on:
Traffic Jam: Blurb:
When you’re caught in traffic, you’ve got nowhere to go…
Val Delton’s life is spiraling and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Her dad lost 
his job, her mom works fourteen hour days to pay the bills and yet somehow there are 
high-end shopping bags and an iPod in her older sister’s room. Naturally, Val becomes 
suspicious but her sister’s lips are sealed. Then by accident, she uncovers a dark, dangerous 
secret hidden behind her sister’s bright smiles and cool indifference. Val has no idea how 
far and how deep the repercussions of her sister’s secret will reach but she’ll do whatever it 
takes to keep her family safe. Will she succeed before her sister’s secret destroys everyone 
she loves?
It was great having you, Melissa! It was great meeting you last month, too. I hope to see you again sometime, and  I wish you have a lot of success in your life and with your books. By the way, here's a little throwback to the YA Fest.