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. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Giveaway! (Now Closed)

Check out this giveaway of bookmarks that Karice Bolton kindly donated to us. Two winners! US only.
**Giveaway Closed**
Congrats to Paige and Tony! Winners have been contacted.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 5, 2014

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins REVIEW

          I picked this book up from my school's library. From what I read on the back, it was enough to have me check it out. I read this book in a longer amount of time than usual, but it wasn't because of its length. It was because I had to actually devour the text and understand it, and I just didn't want to reach the end of the book.
       The characters that Perkins writes about... You can't help but feel sympathy for them. You feel like one of the characters in this book when you read it. I felt like giving them good luck at times, a hug when they needed it, felt like hitting them etc. You just empathize towards them, and you want to give them your condolences. They act as how really teenagers may act, but they're more thoughtful, you could say. The characters in this book are trying to find the meaning of life, really. But the author has written this book so it's done in a funny, serious, yet realistic manner. The whole book is like a masterpiece: some will detest and criticize and some will adore it, but it's out there and to some it's truly beautiful.

This book won the Newbery Award, as many people know. There's loads of Newberys out there (they've been giving them out since 1922 I believe). I've read heaps of them, and are some exceptional? Yes. But there's also some poor ones out there. Criss Cross isn't good but it's not bad either. It's far from both. This is a book that's so poetic, beautiful, and crisp yet it has its moments where it's tragic. Perkins really hit a home run this time, and I'm really happy because of that. If I hadn't read this, I would be a whole different person. It's just /that/ kind of book.

Anyways, I really encourage whoever took their time to read this review, to pick up Criss Cross by the lovely Lynne Rae Perkins. This book is one that will not disappoint, and you will surely fall in love with it the way I did. It's a book that stays with you...

Final Verdict: I would suggest picking up this book asap! It's a must read for everyone.
Rating: 5/5 stars!

Click for websites
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Barnes and Noble
Lynne Rae Perkin's Website