Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Harry Potter Sequel to be Published

So guess what I learned guys?

JK Rowling is going to publish a series of short stories as a sequel to the Harry Potter series. They're going to be alternately told from the point of view of the Potter children, and the Wesley children and people like Teddy and Scorpio. AND there are going to be prequels from the point of view of Snape and Lily and Sirius.

Watch this video from JK Rowling explaining it.

A quote from the video:

"I originally had no intentions to make this, but to celebrate the Olympics being held in Great Britain, I've decided to make exclusive short stories."

Okay, so there's no sequel series.

However, today, July 31st, is Harry Potter's fictional birthday.

I'm actually contemplating crying because I, like many others, grew up with the Harry Potter series. It was my childhood, and the reason I got into reading. If you open to "The Prince's Tale" chapter in the 7th book, there are tear stains all over it. And that's saying something, because I have read that chapter multiple times over the course of the last few years. Every time I was feeling awful, I would read that. Whenever I wanted to escape, I'd flip to Harry's problems. And that time someone in my family died, I was struck with a sort of insomnia that would only be alleviated once I read the whole Harry Potter series.

To think it's already been 5 years since the last book was published. I cannot tell you how sad I am that the series is over.

However, I would not want any sequels to the series. It would ruin the life I've imagined for Harry. Stories do go on after the last page, and I want to acknowledge that by this post, and by celebrating his birthday, however childish or stupid you may think it is.

I'm no die hard Potterhead, and if you don't like the series, that's fine. Reading is subjective. I'm just happy to have found a home at Hogwarts, and to have been friends with Harry, along with many others.

Happy birthday, Harry. I hope all is well.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


by Lucie

Publisher: Jet and Jack Press
Pages: 209 (ebook)
Series: No
An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

I liked the realistic aspect of this fantasy story. At the beginning, the author could almost tell the story of a teenager who goes abroad on holiday and that will exercise poor judgment.

Axelia wants to be different from the good girl she is for all to see. She wants to be daring and adventurous, and what better than a fling in Italy, far from her parents and habits, to try new things. Except when one crosses paths with a vampire who wants to empty your body from your blood...
I liked the simplicity of the heroin. She just wanted to live a little dangerously and she finds herself the star of an apocalyptic prophecy. Immortal, sentenced to death, forced to drink blood to survive, hunted by mercenaries, her life radically changed and will never be the same again.

Between the lines, the reader can decipher the moral weight of an impulsive decision that seemed, at first, innocent and inconsequential. The situation will deteriorate, faster than in a blink of an eye, into a radically transformed life. Throughout the story, it is the feeling I had. Under the first layer of the rather dark fantasy hides the lines of life lessons about trust, betrayal, courage and strength to stay in the light.
I also appreciated the brevity of the meetings like in real life ... Sometimes you meet people without getting to know them but that does not prevent you from being emotionaly marked by them. Some will reach you out, others will stick a knife in your back. 

Thus apart from Axelia and Lucas, all the other characters are crossing briefly the reader's path inside the story or make occasional appearances. As a result, the novel is constantly moving with a lot of rhythm, action and the fights. There are many deaths too. So, If you are looking for a love story like in "Twilight", you are not in the good novel.

However, the author without pressing heavily on the romantic card manages to keep you alert and play with your emotions. The ending is also a nice surprise that makes you want to put your hands on the further adventures of Alexia that promises to be radically different.

A nice dynamical story that takes you into a crazy race.


From Axelia: "Would his trying to pick my back pocket count as second base?" 

From Axelia: "I'm like Snow White, doing housework in the forest for dwarfs. Lucas is definitely Grumpy." 

From Lucas: "Choosing to survive. That is brave. So be brave."

From Axelia: "My idea of excitement was getting the perfect shot of a ladybug on a leaf. Now I'm getting into car chases and sword fights."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ARC Review of Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

by Isabelle Doan

Random Info:
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Pages: 304 pages (paperback)
Series: Yes, this is #1
My Format: NetGalley
Time it Took me to Read: 10 hours
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover

Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some CONFESSIONS to make... #1: I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

#2: I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who "might" be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

#3: High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry-get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.) (Sorry. That was rude.)
 From Underachiever's Guide to being a Domestic Goddess

The age of fourteen is probably the most awkward year of anybody's life. (And if you're shaking your head at the screen right now, I suggest you stop lying to yourself.)

It's the age where you're too young to do anything, and too old to do anything. Too young for parties, drinking, IT (ahem), and too old for bouncy castles and slides and eating off the kids menu. You know, all the fun stuff. Rose Zarelli realizes this, and thus begins her tumultuous freshman year of high school.

But there's a catch- her father died the summer before, and she's an Angry Girl. (Note the use of capitalization.)

In a way, I suppose that Rose's angry-ness would have made her unlikable. After all, she treats her friend, Robert, like crap. Robert is basically one of those clingy, whipped guys, and Rose continually ignores him and figuratively beats him up, even as Robert gives Rose gifts and treats her nicely. And he keeps coming back for more, just as Anastasia kept going back to Christian.

But the love interest is not Robert. It is Jamie, who is pretty much a jerk. He's older (a junior, I think), and he's taken. And YET Rose wants him.



Yeah, I would have not read this book based on what I just said.

However, things pick up. Although Rose is sort of unlikeable, she's real, and acknowledges her faults. There is amazing character growth, and as the credits were scrolling, I came to the conclusion that I did, in fact, like Rose as sort of an anti-hero.

The supporting characters were interesting as well. The cast includes Angelo, (although all I really know about him is that he likes Nirvana and Metallica), Tracy (the best friend who has a falling out with Rose), Michelle (the nice cheerleader), and others. They're all pretty much archetypes, but I can't blame Rozett. They all exist in high school.

I still didn't like Jamie, though. He's a jerk to his girlfriend (Regina), who helped him in a time of need. WHY. Why would you do that?

From horrormovies.org. Yes, this is a real movie.

Because Regina is a stereotypical cheerleader that deserves to be punched in the face?



I'm only hoping that in the sequel Rozett will make Regina more of a layered character, because I don't want to have to deal with some more cheerleader witches.

Other than that, the technicalities in this book were minor. There were a few discrepancies that removed me from the reading experience. For example, Robert works at a restaurant, and he's able to serve Rose's mom alcohol. It's illegal for minors to serve alcohol.

So. If you don’t enjoy reading about high school, don’t read this book. It is as much a tale of that dreaded place as any I’ve read.

Also, if you’ve never had anyone close to you die before- I probably wouldn’t read this book. It would be hard to connect with Rose, and I would understand why someone would find her character to be totally and utterly awful if said person could not make the connection.

But if you don’t fall into those categories, know that Confessions of an Angry Girl has a surreptitious way of filtering into your heart with its clever writing and humor. Definitely a worthwhile read.


Content: There's quite a bit of underage drinking, implications of sex, and mentions of condoms. However, none of these are condoned. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Praise Puns- Anna and the French Kiss

Welcome to this week's edition of Praise Puns.

Mandatory introduction:

You ever notice that when real reviewers are reviewing books, they always make puns?

Well, we here at Wake Up at Seven have a sense of humor, and will take the liberty to make fun of those who are too clever for their own good. We're going to point out any puns that are pasted on the back of YA books, whether they're from another author or from Kirkus reviews.
Anna and the French KissToday we're looking at:

Anna and the French Kiss

"Smart and sensual, Anna and the French Kiss is everything your heart is longing for. You'll want to live inside this story forever." -Lisa McMann

"Very romantic. You should date this book." -Maureen Johnson

"Anna and the French Kiss charms [readers] with its Parisian setting and a trés bien boy." -MTV.com

 Not a whole lot of great ones, although the paperback has a total of eleven blurbs. Yes. Eleven. They really want you to buy this book.

However, I actually like that there isn't a lot of punniness, because most of the praise is true. Although there's a lot of "magicals" and "charmings" and related synonyms, I'm happy to say these outlets meet my approval.

So that was the short segment for today. 

Leave a comment if you found any praise puns in other books, and tweet this post if you're a trés bien boy.

Don't forget to check out last week's month's edition- Anna Dressed in Blood.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Comparisons- Are People Overdoing it?

Several years ago, when Twilight was first published, everything was compared to it. If I had walked into a bookstore in 2008 all I would have seen would be "perfect for fans of Twilight" or "If you liked Twilight..." on the backs of book covers. Not to mention the endless blurbs from Stephanie Meyer.

Even before that, people were looking for "The Next Harry Potter". So was the onslaught of Harry Potter getting endless mentions in praise and reviews of drastically different genres. I would pick up a memoir, and it would be compared to HP. (Like your life story is about getting stalked by an evil wizard.)

The trinity. (from ashworthcollege.com)

The next (actually good) big thing was The Hunger Games. In response came the floods of Dystopias, lapping up at reader's feet, drowning them in a flurry of "If you liked the Hunger Games, don't miss this."

The difference was, however, The Hunger Games was actually a good novel, so to be compared to it is a win/lose situation.

But it's also meaningless.

You don't want to be compared to something successful. That's like Google Chrome saying it's the next Facebook. You don't want to replace something that WORKS. You want to BE the mold breaker. There's a reason that The Hunger Games booted Twilight from its throne. Because it was wholly different. No one compared The Hunger Games to Twilight.

I was reading the blurbs on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and a lot of them compared it to THG. One blurb said,

"...watch out Katniss, I think Celaena [MC] could give you a run for your money!" [Taken from physical ARC]
Although this was said in the best intentions, I have to say that if someone said that about my book, I'd be pissed. That's pretty much saying, "Oh, your book is good, I guess maybe it could be as good as The Hunger Games..."

On the other hand, Fifty Shades of Grey is now mainstream, despite being of a very niche genre. It, too is getting compared to everything. (I should add that romance novels getting compared to 50 Shades is completely wrong... erotica is NOT romance. At all.)

Prompting this tweet from Elsie Chapman, author of the 2013 Dystopian debut, Dualed:

 True story.

All authors shouldn't have to go through the pain of getting compared to something else, even if it's good. But if it's bad- that's another story.

Plus, as the saying goes, you can't compare apples and oranges.

So, what do you think? Apples or oranges?

Sunday, July 22, 2012


by Lucie

Website/ Goodreads/ Amazon

Random Info:
Publisher: namelos
Pages: 126
Series: No
Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl...

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it...

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers...

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same..

Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.

No parents present, tipsy girlfriends, a party well stocked in alcool and a cool guy on which she has a crush. But during the evening, Valerie, tipsy, vomits before she could do other thing than kissing Adam. The next day, he returned to finish what they started. When Valerie prosecutes him for rape, few people think she is telling the truth ...
A novel pretty short, too short maybe since you can not put this book down before knowing how Valerie will heal. The subject does not leave indifferent and it is very well written by Alina Klein. I was touched by the accuracy with which the author portrays the emotions and stages through which pass Valerie during its reconstruction. After reaching the end, I read that the author spoke knowingly. That touched me even more! This experience should not have been easy to put on paper for her but it is what made the story so realist.

No trash details, just a sad story that unfortunately happens too often. Why some men can not understand the meaning of the word "no"? Why having fun and drinking a few glasses must be the door open to abuse? What is going on in someone's head to force an act that should be pleasurable and shared?

As rape can happen to all women at any stage of their life, this testimony, even though it is fictionalized, shows the importance of talking about it and go to the police to help the victim to rebuild herself.
Paradoxically, doing the right thing is also more complicated when one sees the difficulty of the task. The victime must prove her innocence because in the minds of many, the victim has often played or seduced before chicken out and must have something to blame because it does not happen to good girls.
Bullshit! It's so absurd but so often heard that it becomes revolting

I was also most angry against the women in this book. Even if the book depicts in a very real way how relationships can change in the aftermath, with guilt, awareness, pity feelings that the victime receive from her relative or friends. Nobody is prepared so nobody knows how to deal with a traumatic event. It's why communication is the best way to try to move forward. Don't guess the feeling, ask or don't ask but be strong.
To be honest, I was not able to understand Mimi and her friends, who think that rape can make somebody popular... Are you insane, awfull bitc... or too much of a coward ?

Beyond the main subject that is treated very skillfully, my pleasure was mitigated by the religious aspect with reference to Mormons. Why want to place the action in a context like this?
This troubled me because I did not see the interest of this precision as rape can occur in any social class or religious affiliations.

I also would have wish to know more about the support group. Maybe Valerie should have confide more because even though she showed great strength to face adversity, her judgment and by accepting a confrontation with Adam, the healing process is very long. Even though I felt that hope was at the end of the tunnel for Valerie, the fact that the novel is so short I was given the impression that I was missing something to be sure that she has faith in the future.

It is a story that I highly recommend for the correctness of the emotions ...


From Valerie: "I didn't need to spill my guts. I just need this whole thing to go away. For life to go back to the way it was before."

From Valerie: "For you, Adam, my answer will always be no."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review of My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

by Isabelle Doan

Random Info:
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 395 pages (hardcover)
Series: No
My Format: bought e-book
Time it Took me to Read: Four Days
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another
“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

I'm not exactly sure what perpetuates the idea of "The Boy Next Door". All of my neighbors are meth addicts or kids. Well, respectively. I haven't seen a lot of bleary eyed babies around here of late.

Anyway, seeing as that I'm not attracted to the concept of being high, nor am I a pedophile, you can see why I wouldn't relate to Samantha's problems.

Samantha is the daughter of a state senator, whose next door neighbors are a family of ten, AKA the Garretts. Jase Garrett is the love interest of this story,and they have an epic, and rather fluffy love story. And that's basically it. Nothing particularly radical happens in this story. As I said before, it's rather fluffy.

The big "thing" at the end didn't surprise me at all. That's because, you know the copyright page at the beginning of books? You know how there's a summary on it? Well that summary give the BIG FRUGGING THING AWAY. However, I do have to admit, though I knew what happened, it gave me some chills reading Samantha's narration during it. If Fitzpatrick had written the whole book like that moment, I'd have given this book eight million stars.

I wasn't particularly happy with the romance in this either, though this is mostly a romance book. It was very rushed at the beginning. Let me give you an example. (Minor spoilers from first 100 pages, highlight to see)

Samantha asks Jase if he is a serial killer, because it's only, like, their third time talking. He says he's not. Guess what happens after this exchange.




They KISS.

(End spoilers)I wanted to slam my head into a bed of nails, it was just too painful. I considered dropping the book, but I kept going. All of the characters were archetypes, as there were just too many of them. None of them were layered or that interesting, and all of them have the luxury of being white. True, Samantha didn't much drama. But that just isn't interesting to read about.

In short, they were too goody-goody for my tastes. Which is okay, some people like that and I respect that.

However, this book did redeem one star because of Nan, Samantha's friend. I could identify with her because, I, too had a blonde, perfect, friend that I wanted to stab in jealousy and I always thought I was competing with. She was such a memorable character. From this, I can easily tell that Fitzpatrick knows how to write secondary characters- now can she do it for the main ones?

It redeemed another star because it became more readable as it eased off the romance, which I was rolling my eyes at.

All in all, you should give it a try, as I see everyone else has given this five stars, and I can't deny it is a good book. Everything's good, the characters are good, the plot is good, all is good in shangri-la. However, there just wasn't that factor that pushed me over the edge. It was too safe in my opinion. So give it a shot, you won't be disappointed, and I shall be reading Fitzpatrick's novels in the future.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

State of the Book Web this Week

Lots of stuff was going on this week! Normally I just read Buzz Worthy News at Cuddlebuggery, but today, I felt like I had to update you guys in short snippets. Most of this will be links, so click away!


Finnick Odair was cast. Sam Clafin is signing on to Catching Fire, the next movie in the Hunger Games series.

This is his profile picture.



The other day, author Terry Goodkind posted personal information about someone who pirated his books. You can read the full story here.

(Sidenote: Author Stephanie Lawton wrote an article detailing how to deal with Pirates.)

Later, this actually incited a few twitter comments from the EVER AWESOME Chuck Wendig. See below:

We totally agree! Have you actually read Kat (the Aussie Zombie)'s post about nice authors? Authors CAN respectfully comment on reviews! As another author weighed in:


Now, on the other side of legal things, author Elizabeth Fama wants you to KILL HER ARC.

chicklitgirls.com is apparently charging $95 dollars for reviews. Further detail by Dear Author.

(Guys, I only charge in books. One book gets you a review- wait, has someone already done that?)


We apparently owe publishers/ authors something when we request ARCS.


We're very sorry for Lucy. Please try to show her some support.


The Bookish Brunette (aka Zombie Queen) has some well said words about how we can untwist our panties. I think I may be in love with her. (Part 1, Part 2)


Crushable is calling Beautiful Creatures the next Twilight. *cough*


Lisa Burstein talks about authorial jealousy.


Marissa Meyer tells you how to read faster.


Yet another author uses Twitter as a weapon of stupidity:


But I used Twitter as a good thing! In non-relevant news, I made somebody laugh:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

By: Rachel Hartman
Review by: Sarah
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 467
Rating: ★ / Definitely worth checking out and putting on your shelf. If you're into that sort of thing.

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

Well first of all I must admit I went into this book a little biased because -here's a fun factoid about me- I absolutely with all of my soul love the !@#$ out of dragons. I love dragons, I love looking at drawings of dragons, I love watching any movie or show with dragons in it (I get emotional when they are slayed), I love reading about dragons, If there's a dragon on an article of clothing I will buy it, I. Love. Dragons. 
So of course when I read the synopsis for this book my reaction was a little something like this

A fantastical post-war world where dragons can take human form? And the main character is a girl? AND SHE MIGHT BE PART DRAGON? It was all I could do not to throw up from excitement. 

So, the story follows 16 year old (I think I'm getting the age right? Sorry busy thinking about dragons....) Seraphina, who is the child of a human man and dragon woman.

You: Um gross hold up what
Me: no no she was in human form okay
You: oh okay
You: hold up what

Yes, in this world dragons are able to shift into human form to live among humans as part of a peace treaty that was signed between humans and dragons (or saar, as they are often referred to) forty years before the book's opening. Dragons are fascinated by humans, though they are not able to fully comprehend things like emotion and sarcasm and why things like art and music are important. Oh dragons, that is just so you.

Now, human-dragon hybrids are thought to be stuff of legends to most people in this world, but even hypothetically speaking they are thought to be abominations from both sides. So, Seraphina must keep everyone in her life at an arm's length lest they get too close to her and discover her secret. (PS- Most of the humans are still kinda P.O'd that dragons are allowed to live among them in "peace". They are not ready to be bffs, to put it lightly. Cue: hella social commentary)

Seraphina's mother died giving birth to her, as I assume is the case with all dragon women who bore hybrid children (yes turns out Seraphina's not the only one! ho Ho HO! Drama!), but she is able to pass along memories to Seraphina before she dies. (Dragons are able to pass along memories to their children, fyi) These memories begin to unlock in Seraphina's impossibly vast mind as the story unfolds, convenientally laid out in italics.

Anyway, back to the plot. Seraphina is a talented musician who plays for the royal family and when a member dies suddenly and everyone's like "DRAGONS DEF DID THIS THEY ARE TREATY BREAKERS IF U THINK WE SHOULD KILL DRAGONS RAISE UR HAND!!!!" her whole plan of trying to remain unnoticed goes to shit when she gets caught in the middle of helping the royal family solve this mystery and help her "teacher", Orma, track down a particular douchey dragon who may be in the mood to ruin lives.

Now, this brings me to what I enjoyed most about this entire book: the relationship between Seraphina and Orma. This may make me seem a little heartless, but 90% of the time family or family-esque relationship arcs in books just don't really do it for me. I'm just like yeah blah blah blah we all love our families ok NEXT. But their relationship was so heartbreakingly beautiful I pretty much full on sobbed anytime they had a scene together, especially toward the end of the book. It was done SO WELL. I stan for Seraphina and Orma. 4 EVER.

You know who I don't stan for? Seraphina and Lucian. Oops, there goes my unpopular opinion. I liked Lucian from the beginning, it was obvious they had a connection and I enjoyed watching their friendship blossom. However, when she started to obsess over him I was just like NOW GIRL. PLS. PLS GIRL. GIRL. GURL. GURRRRRRL. I don't know, I was just so caught up in the immaculate world that was unfolding before my eyes and the main plot alone was enough to keep my interest I wasn't really looking for a love story. But I wasn't super irritated or anything. I just knew it was going to end in heartbreak for poor Phina, Lucian is a prince and also engaged. :SPOILER IN WHITE FONT: And when she finally confesses herself to him he just is kind of like :|. Like, I'm glad he didn't fall to his knees and swear his undying love or anything, that would have been awkward and unneccessary, and I know he's all torn because he has his princely duties and shit, including the fact that he is engaged. BUT. I guess I just wanted him to be a little more enthusiatic? Maybe it was just the way I read it but I wasn't very charmed. Plus, I may or may not have been secretly holding out for Lucian to profess his love to Seraphina, only for her to flippantly reply that she is too fierce for him.  :END SPOILER: That being said, I do like them together and I'm interested to see how this tangled web is going to play out! And afterall, "strong female plots" don't HAVE to be completely devoid of romance. With this book I decree, you can be a strong woman and still desire/want/need companionship and love and acceptance! Humanity! Deal with it!

All in all this book was fantastic. I loved Seraphina's journey as a character, I loved the writing, I loved the world-building, I loved all the "I just learned a valuable lesson about tolerance" moments, I love dragons, and ugh just read it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hard Hitting Questions with Stephanie Lawton (whom I suspect is a ninja)

Oh hey, check out my REVIEW before you read this. There's also a giveaway.

Stephanie Lawton, aka Queen Cool.

Website/ Goodreads/ Twitter

Nickname as a Kid: Stephie (only a select few people are allowed to call me that!)
Astrological Sign: Taurus
Favorite Video Game: I hate video games
Last time you got pulled over: In a speed trap when I was sixteen
Brand of Shampoo You Use: Burt's Bees


1.The first line of WANT is something ravenous readers like myself want to hear so desperately. Let me reiterate it here: "If you want vampires and werewolves, faeries, fallen angels or zombies, you won't find them here." I found myself cheering as I read these lines. Did you start out writing WANT because you wanted to write something that deviated from the popular, or was this idea always in your head?
Real Life Monsters can definitely be scary.
From The Daily Scoff
I had been reading tons of paranormal YA books at the time I began writing Want, and while they're great, I was getting a little tired of them. I wanted to make it clear that Want was contemporary, but that real-life monsters can be just as scary, or even more so. 

2. The main characters, Julianne and Issac, are very meticulously and wonderfully crafted. Even the secondary characters are electric and riveting portraits. Did anybody you know in real life influence their characteristics and behavior?

Julianne's mother, Margaret, was inspired by a stuck-up lady we bumped into at a Mardi Gras parade, but otherwise, the characters are all from my imagination. There are bits and pieces of people I know in some of the characters, but I think that happens with anything you write. It wasn't intentional, although I will admit that Dave Gaston is kind of the male version of me. :) [Isabelle's Note: I want to be your friend. LIKE RIGHT NOW. Please.]

3. How did you go about crafting sympathetic characters like Juli?

I had a hard time with Juli, but I wanted to show what years of a messed-up family life could do to a girl. I did a lot of psychological research and drew on some past experiences to create a character that was--sickly--attracted to the same thing she loathed in another situation. (I'm trying to avoid spoilers!) 

 I did a thorough character profile, and as I researched, I noted how someone in her situation would probably react to things, but honestly, she kind of just "told" me how she'd react.

4. There are a lot of things in this book that you either have experienced or haven't. For instance,
Juli likes to scrape herself, something that I wouldn't have known unless I looked it up. How much was experience, and how much was from your life travels?

 There's a lot of both, though I prefer not to go into details. I do need to make it clear, though, (Hi Mom!) that my parents were great and I never experienced anything like Juli does from her parents. In many ways, we write what we know, so yeah, many of the terrible things in the book either touched me directly or someone I knew, and I was shocked when some of my beta readers said Want affected them deeply because they'd been touched by these things, as well. That's pretty scary when you think about it.

From If It Ain't Baroque
5. Julianne and Issac breathe for music. Are you musically inclined yourself?

I wish! I took ten years of piano lessons and played French horn for a number of years--I even considered being a music major in college--but I didn't have that spark of genius that you need to make it in such a small, competitive field. Maybe I was fullfilling that dream through Juli? :)

6. Another reviewer commented that this story reminded them a bit of
 Wuthering Heights. Do you think so?

Oh, wow, I haven't seen that review! Hmm ... [major spoilers ahead] I can see the comparison in that Juli and Isaac are terrible for each other like Cathy and Heathcliff are. Neither relationship is healthy and will ultimately end in disaster. I like to think Want is a little more hopeful, though, and I don't think Isaac and Juli feel as deeply about each other as Cathy and Heathcliff.  

7. I live in the South, and so do the characters. What do you think about the South makes it such a popular setting for novels?

You know, as a relatively new citizen of the Deep South (we moved from Ohio to Mobile three years ago) I think it's that the South is such a study in contrasts. In many ways, it's extremely old-fashioned. Men still hold doors, we refer to others as "ma'am" and "sir," and etiquette it alive and well. Add in some Spanish moss dripping from live oaks and you've got a fantastic setting. Yet the South has large, modern cities that rival any you'll find north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

[Isabelle's Note: I didn't actually say goodbye here, but I'll add it for kicks. Goodbye, Stephanie! You are awesome. Write more books. Be my friend.]


Don't forget to check the other blog tour stops! Clicky!

Review and GIVEAWAY of Want by Stephanie Lawton

This book changed my frickin life.
by Isabelle Doan


Random Information:

Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Pages: 318
Series: Nope
My Format: Received for Blog Tour
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover

Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her. She can't understand why he suddenly gave up Boston's music scene to return to the South. He doesn't know her life depends on escaping it. Julianne must face down madness from without, just as it threatens from within. Isaac must resist an inappropriate attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball-the pinnacle event for Mobile's elite-forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past. Will Julianne accept the help she's offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?

Let me fill you in on a little secret. Once upon a time, I auditioned for a spot on a junior panel of piano players. It was highly prestigious, and my hands were shaking like crazy. I prepared for this for months now, and I probably played the piece a million times, had nightmares over it, and gained twenty pounds for all the ice cream I ate when I played badly. When I stepped in front of those judges, my life flashed before my eyes.

Guess what happened?

I botched the audition. And then threw up.

I'll let you decide whether that's a true story or not.

I'm pretty sure this was me.
From Parents.com
My point is, I got Julianne as she struggled with her audition to the New England Conservatory, but that wasn't important at all. The story is more than that. It's an edgy coming of age Young Adult novel with characters that made me cry my own pools. (Which was very efficient for the summer season, I might add.)

As she struggled with her crazy mother (and I do mean crazy in the most literal sense), her decade older mentor/ love interest, her decade older hilarious other love interest, and others, my hands were shaking again. What was I doing? I wasn't playing piano or anything. How could a novel make me feel anticipation that I only felt with something important? Why did I feel like I was going to throw up?

No, not because I wanted to throw up on the book. This is, in fact my favorite read of 2012. It was because I was FLAILING all over the place as I read this. Every little thing made me whisper, "Be still, my hairy heart." It was all too much for me.

Well, that, or because I was reading in the car.

The characters are amazing. Dave is perverted, older, and pretty much everything you want in a guy. Issac is akin to Heathcliff literary-wise, and also pretty hot if I do say so myself. And I know you're wary of love triangles, but let me just say, Juli is not some helpless Bella. She doesn't focus on guys. She focuses on her music, with a few sexy excursions here and there.

The writing is stellar- writers, if you want the epitome of show, don't tell, THIS IS IT. There are so many little insinuations and things you have to pick up on yourself. The writing is interactive, which is great.

So why do I refrain from giving it a glorious five stars (other than the fact that I'm afraid of odd numbers?) Well, it's purely personal, but though Juli made the right choice in the end, I DIDN'T LIKE IT. Plus, this novel left me in a literary corner for days, so really, it made me feel four stars emotionally.

Perhaps that's what actually makes WANT such "bejeezus" worthy novel. 

Now, you've probably noticed that I've refrained from saying that "This was a lyrical novel that sang to me" or something like that because I hate praise puns. But, I've got to say it.

WANT was a lyrical novel that hit the notes in all the right places.



Oh, hey, there's a giveaway for an ebook copy of WANT, so you can possibly win the awesome.

Duh it's international! Unless your country blocks internet... in which case... how are you reading this?

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Saturday, July 14, 2012


by Lucie


Random Info:
Publisher: Random House Children's
Pages: 352 (hardcover)
Series: No

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lose its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.
Miranda has just completely flunk her performance in "The Taming of the Shrew". Depressed, she is hidding behind the scenes, when one of her partners asked her if she would meet Shakespeare. Without giving her time to reply, Stephen strongly leads her into the 16th century with a mission: save the future of the most famous playwright.

An enormous pressure awaits Miranda who must thwart conspiracies, betrayals and never let her secret be known. Will she be able to carry out her mission and return home safely now that own her heart is at stake ?
What would you think if someone were to offer you to meet William Shakespeare? Sure, If someone said it point-blank, obviously I would take it for a madman or worse I would wonder if he is laughing at me.
Obviously, for all lovers of literature and theater meeting Shakespeare would mean ... I believe that there would be no words strong enough to write an opportunity as extraordinary or unimaginable.

Meanwhile, at the time when Miranda must cross path with the famous playwright, he has not written anything. What should you say or discuss about with a man known for his writings that will have a immense impact for generations long after his death? Personally, I would have been damn annoyed because it is his works that I find phenomenal …

I chose this book, at first, for its attractive and cute cover. Besides, even if its a nice one, it does not give the good impression on what the reader is about to read ...
Indeed, it is mainly the plot which challenged and intrigued me after reading the summary.

To be honest, I was excited to anticipate how the author was going to manage the past and the present situation as well as meeting Shakespeare. I was expecting a novel of the same ilk as the movie "Kate & Leopold." That is to say how I was off the mark! I am therefore delighted to have been blown away by Pamela Mingle.

While I regretted the lack of interaction between the duo Shakespeare / Miranda and if I expected more poetry, more juicy details about the poet's youth, I admit it would have been difficult to steer the young man on his future without arousing suspicion...

As soon as I begun to immerse myself in the story, I even forgot about Will. I focused on descriptions given by the author on the habits and customs of the Elizabethan period. Certainly with Stephen, Miranda manages to quickly adapt but that is the beauty of fiction...
In reality, to forget the comfort of our lives, our freedom of thinking to jump into an archaic 16th century, will be such a shock that few would survive. Typical example with the force imposition of a religion by decree. And the deadly consequences that go with the will to follow your own beliefs.

The author took me on a journey through time and also helped me to remember a few history lessons sprinkled with a nicely romance. Moreover, the end came too quickly as I got attached to Olivia's and Stephen's adventures. If there was a sequel, I'd be thrilled...
Hats off also to the research work that Pamela Mingle had to do to make her realistic setting plausible.

A novel that will intrigue you, make you smile and be grateful to be part of the 21st century!

From Miranda: « Only you can judge what to make of your life. »

From Miranda: « There are other kinds of learning. One learns from being out in the world, from engaging with others, from experience. Learning doesn't come just at univerities. »