Thursday, November 29, 2012

Authors galore!

Today I thought I would share a few pics of the authors I've met (of course through book signings) over this past year. Actually I have to start with one from 2011. That was the first time I ever went to visit an author on their book tour. Since then, I've discovered a fun new past time. It's just as fun to meet authors as it is to read their books. It makes me feel closer to the world and characters I become fond of...I'd highly recommend going if you haven't before.

So first....introducing! Meg Cabot!

She's the author of many many many books, including the famous The Princess Diaries. Meg was one of my first favorites in the YA genre. I've recommended her Mediator series (, Ransom My Heart, and Abandon ( Most of the books I've read by her are contemporary, but I especially enjoy her paranormal books. I don't think I can say I haven't enjoyed a single book I've read by her. They include:
The Mediator Series
Abandon Series
Airhead Series
Avalon High
1-800 Series (books 1-4)
All American Girl Series
How to be Popular
Pants on Fire
Teen Idol
Insatiable Series
Ransom My Heart
Foretold (an anthology, including her short story Out of the Blue)

Meg has written well over 50 books and other short stories. She has a fun, quirky personality, and knows how to relate to children, teens, and adults by seeing the world through their eyes and making it enjoyable to read about at any age.

Next.....Marissa Meyer!

(Marissa is on the left. Unfortunately I did not ask for a picture with her.)

She is the author of the The Lunar Chronicles. The first book in a four book series is Cinder which I've recommended here:
Marissa is sweet, intelligent, and she writes one heck of a blog. I love reading her author tips. They can really help aspiring authors when they are feeling both up and down in the writing and publishing process. Check her blog out here:

Now introducing........Danny Marks!

He is the author of the newly published Velveteen.

(I love this cover!)

Description: "Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her."

Here are my thoughts on it: I would give this book 3 and 1/2 stars. I don't normally give a book five stars unless it's changed my life. So, Danny's book is almost a four. I was a little hesitant to read it, since I knew going in that it had elements of horror in it (generally not my style), but I enjoyed Danny's vlogs and personality so much, I just had to read it.
The main character Velveteen, is a true warrior and guardian. She doesn't take crap from anyone, and knows how to get a job done; in this case, take care of the "good" souls in Purgatory by keeping them safe, whilst kicking the "bad/banshee" ones out of human hosts and helping those poor souls who are lost find their way to Purgatory; and she's a smart mouth (but in a fun way).
Then there is Velvet's salvage team, who provide support when she goes kicking naughty souls back to Purgatory. They consist of the twins (a brother/sister duo who are both smart, cunning, know it alls and mature beyond their years), Quentin (an extremely shy, lovestruck teen, and Kipper (a jokster, "part-time Salvage trainer", and all around tough guy...when need be). And there might be Nick (a lost soul/love interest). He has Velvet's back, doesn't mind being led by her, won't be easily pushed around, and adapts wells. And he's extra hot.
I liked these characters and seeing how they interact around one another. You get to know some of their back story, which you don't always get for secondary characters.
The plot, although very interesting and a concept I haven't read about before, was a bit confusing at times. I thought this, because the characters are often running around Purgatory and the Earth plane trying to accomplish a multitude of tasks. They get one thing taken care of and then another problem occurs almost immediately. This direction of various plot lines doesn't always sit clearly with the reader; but the more you read, the more you can see the connections clearly. I would say, this was the only thing that bothered me about the story....and maybe the gory parts. Though, in all honesty, it did not freak me out quite like I had anticipated. Don't get me wrong though. Danny has a way of describing without describing. Kind of like how Hitchcock showed you things without letting you see them.
And lastly, there's Bonesaw. Creepy, pyscho, very realistic. I wanted Velvet to get her revenge just about as much as she did.
I would like to read the sequel. It doesn't quite exist yet, but I know there could be one. Danny leaves room for more, but it's not a cliffhanger ending, which is nice if there isn't a sequel.  

Danny also vlogs regularly on two YouTube channels, his personal channel: DannyMarksYA, and as Sunday on the YARebels channel. Check both out for laughs and books galore! P.S. follow him on twitter for food nom!

Next!......Tahereh Mafi!

(Me and Tahereh)

She is the author of Shatter Me (it's the book she's holding in the pic above). Check out my recommendation here:
I love Tahereh! She's so funny and witty. I follow her on Twitter, and let's just say, her tweets are a treat. And her writing is compelling. Plus, she has great fashion sense. Check her out!

Next!...........Veronica Rossi!

She is the author of Under the Never Sky. I've recommended it here:
I loved how original this book was. And I love how sweet Veronica is. She's also loves painting, so I feel like I can relate to her more. It was great meeting her in person and have her answer some of my questions about her book.

Finally! give a round of applause for.......Richelle Mead!

She is the author of the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series, which I highly recommend here:
and here:
When I think of Richelle, I imagine a small woman with a chill personality, glazed over a secret femme fatale/kick butt heroine. She's funny when she wants to be and sweet to all her fans.

All the authors I've mentioned, I also follow on Twitter. It's a great way to learn more about them as people and writers, and to find out all the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and when their next book comes out (including fun giveaways, pictures, snippets, book tour info, etc). Send some love and follow them.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. And if you have not read the books mentioned above, yourself a favor....READ THEM!

Hope your day is bright!
- Olive juice


Thursday, November 8, 2012

YA Sub Genre Rec Tag! 16-18

I'm back for more! Today is all about tigers, time-travel, and vampires...
16. Tigers: I think there is only one book I can mention here, but that is exactly why I included tigers as one of my sub genres....If you don't know which book I am referring to by now, it means you need to head over to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse.

(Did I mention this is a series??? Tiger's Destiny comes out Sept 4, 2012)

Description (book 1): "Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever."

Recommendation: When I read Tiger's Curse, I was instantly enamored with the relationship between Kelsey and Ren. He's this massive, dangerous creature, anyone would run away from if they ever came face to face with him. But not Kelsey. She's drawn to him instantly (moth to flame so to speak). At first I thought, "Maybe she's just being stupid. I mean, who sticks their hand in the cage of a Tiger?" Then I realized how daring Kelsey is. It is that gutsy nature that makes Kelsey such an interesting character. She seems normal in every way. She has her own baggage and oddities like every person in the world, but her bold tenacity is what makes her really shine. 
   I also loved all of the little nuances throughout the book, and consequentially throughout the series (To this day I love putting hair ribbons in my hair, I'm ever in search of the perfect peaches and creme fragrance, and I love chocolate and peanut butter even more than I used to)
   There's something very memorable in the way Colleen writes her story. It has that (very popular) love triangle, but told from a fresh perspective. There's action and adventure, romance, and mystery galore (I'm still questioning things, and I'm waiting on book 4). Plus, the majority of Tiger's Curse takes place in India. Not many YA authors leave the United States behind in their stories and delve headlong into another culture as diverse and brightly engaging. When I finished Tiger's Curse, I felt a pull to go to India (that's never happened before). 
   At the end of Tiger's Curse, I couldn't believe what I just read. It definitely left me wanting more. Each book has kept me anxiously waiting for the next, and I'll be sad when it ends. 

Want to read: Since I don't know of any other Tiger books in YA, I have to say I'm eagerly looking forward to September 4, 2012. 
17. Time-travel: Next! Time-travel. How exciting. But.........I don't really have an example in which time-travel takes up the majority of the book/series. Another but...I do have a couple of series that have elements of time travel in them which I really enjoyed reading.

Firstly, are The Immortals series by Alyson Nöel. 

Description (book 1): "Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch.   Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste . . .
Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition.  He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets.  Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head.  She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is.  Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies."

Recommendation: I remember when I first started reading Evermore. I can honestly say I was sucked into Ever's world right from the start. Her ability to see auras was an amazing concept after having read a lot of vampire and dragon books.
   Despite the fact Ever is a seriously depressed and socially quiet individual, she is one of the most unique characters I've come across in a while (it's probably all the auras she can see and her ability to sense people's thoughts and lives through touch). Then there is Damen. He is also an unparalleled figure in the world of fictional leading men. He has some serious issues he's never dealt with; he's mysterious in an alluring way, and yet he is also scary at times. Every time you think you have him figured out, there is a new layer added to his enigma, and I always found myself wondering if I should keep trusting him or not.
   The journey these two take together to find love and a sense of identity (on Ever's part) is exciting and adventurous. Nöel puts forth a lot of good questions. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, but you find yourself asking whether or not you would take the same paths as Ever and Damon. Would you follow love no matter the consequences, and what would you risk in order to keep that love? What are the limits? And when do you give up on love?       
   As far as time travel goes, there are a few jumps back in time, but I don't think they take place until the second or third book.

Next, is the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

I have already recommended this series, but it does have time travel in it, so I will recommend it twice. The time travel element doesn't take place until the third book. It actually encompasses the entirety of this book, but I couldn't recommend it alone. You must read the first two.

Want to read: I'm currently reading the Harry Potter series. On book two. I've seen all the movies. The third one is my favorite, and since my sister told me I sort of have to push through the first to books in order to really get into them, I'm looking forward to reading book 3; which has time travel!

18. Vampire: Let's get straight to it. No explanation needed here! The YA book (or rather set of series) I have to recommend, are the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. Since I've already recommended the former series (check it out here, I'll just talk about the Bloodlines series.

(Book 1: Bloodlines, Book 2: The Golden Lily)

Description (book 1):  "Blood doesn't lie...Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning..."

Recommendation: I loved the Vampire Academy series. When I was reading that series, I was able to invest my heart into the characters, really get to know them, enjoy all their adventures, and admire the strength, love, and determination they had to help one another along the way. Plus a lot of action, romance, and Dimitri (wink wink). Who could ask for more??? Everyone! 
And so...Richelle has thankfully continued the series by taking a different look at the world she created; through the eyes of religious, smart, and dutiful Sydney Sage. She's very different from Vampire Academy's main protagonist Rose Hathaway. You could say they are the opposite of each other. But Sage (as Adrien calls her) is just as loveable of a character. I've grown to the love this world just that much more through Sydney's POV. I root for her, the (good) vampires, Adrien (who's made his way from VA into Bloodlines seamlessly), and the continued hope in finding a way when there seems like there isn't one. If you loved the Vampire Academy series, then you'll love this spinoff. And if you're not sure about vampires in general (I understand), this series will definitely change your mind. It has three different vampire races! That's unique...
Also, I would also recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first. It will help the main characters, little nuances, and world in general make more sense. 

Want to read: I seriously can't wait till the third book The Indigo Spell (part of the Bloodlines series) comes out in February next year

(Book 3: The Indigo Spell)

So that's it for this post. Up next (and the conclusion to this tag) is werewolves and zombies. But until then...

-Hope your day is bright
Olive juice  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Great (Lunar Chronicles) Pumpkin Contest Finals!!!!

Yay people! Yay!

I'm in the finals! It's almost too exciting for words. Just the fact Marissa acknowledged she likes my pumpkin design is reward enough. But who doesn't love a little prize for their efforts???

I'm one little step away from winning, and I can't do it alone. I need your help...that is, if you like my design. If so...pleeeeease vote for me, "Whitney" here:

(Here's a reminder of my entry. Click on the photo to see it bigger.) 

And while you're at it...check out Marissa's blog. She gives great advice on writing, and she is currently writing an awesome series called The Lunar Chronicles. Each of the four books are a retelling based on different fairy tales. The first book, Cinder is already out. Scarlet  (book 2) will be out February 2013.

My prize...if I win the People's Choice Pumpkin award, will be a signed ARC of Scarlet.  How cool is that?!

Also, a BIG thanks for those of you who have checked out my blog because of Marissa's contest. It means a lot to me.

Hope your day is bright
Olive juice


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Great (Lunar Chronicles) Pumpkin Contest!

Happy (belated) Halloween!!!

How many of you out there still like to dress up despite not being children anymore? I know I certainly do. This year, I sort of changed my mind last minute on my costume and decided to make myself look like an anime. No one in particular, though a few people said I reminded them of someone (but they couldn't place it). So here's me in my get up. I think it kind of has an Alice in Wonderland vibe.

Anywho...This past month, I've been up to something. I know it's been forever since I last posted anything, but I promise this post will be fun. At least for me. And maybe Marissa Meyer...without whom, I would not have made a pumpkin this year. Before I reveal said pumpkin, I would like to take a moment to explain why it looks...the way it does.

Firstly, if the title of this post hasn't explained it, I am entering my pumpkin into The Great (Lunar Chronicles) Pumpkin Contest. Here are the guidelines:

"The Mission: Create a Lunar Chronicles-Inspired Pumpkin
The Prize: Two lucky winners will receive a signed ARC of SCARLET: Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles

How to Enter
1. Create a pumpkin inspired by CINDER or The Lunar Chronicles.
This could mean carving, painting, glitterizing, or otherwise decorating a real pumpkin, or even another squash or vegetable of your choice. (Random fact of the day: Before people carved pumpkins for All Hallow’s Eve, they carved turnips. True story.)
Or this could mean creating a papier-mâché pumpkin, sewing a pumpkin pillow, making a blown-glass pumpkin, painting a picture of a pumpkin, or any number of other things I can’t even fathom.
In other words, use your imagination!
Consideration will be given for creativity and effort. Just make sure that your design relates in some way to CINDER or The Lunar Chronicles."

Make sense? If you are wondering what Cinder is all about, check out my review of it here:

So, with those instructions in mind, I sat on my thoughts for a while. I tried to think of what I could do to make a) Marissa happy, b) me happy, and c) make my pumpkin stand out from all the rest. Then it hit me!

Make a pumpkin from Cinder's perspective!!! How cool would that be? You're right. So cool.

My reasons??? I figured it would be really interesting to see how Cinder might make a pumpkin. She didn't have a great upbringing (her stepmother is a horrible person), and wasn't allowed to do the same things as her stepsisters (all fun denied). Despite those circumstances however, Cinder tries her best to make the most of her situation by doing what she loves most. She's a mechanic. She can fix most anything...probably better than any guy.
I imagined Cinder watching her stepsisters carving pumpkins every year, while she had to clean all the pumpkin guts off the floor (yuck). I could envision her wanting to take part in the festivity but not being permitted to. But knowing Cinder has a bit of a rebellious streak, I thought she would defy her stepmother by making her own pumpkin downstairs in the basement. She would make it by compiling any of the spare parts she wasn't using. She might even go to the junkyard to find things that would work.
With that in mind, I give you my entry for the contest:

(It's a collage!)

The upper left picture has all the parts I started with. I found them all in my dad's shed. It was really fun raiding his stuff, because I felt like Cinder on one of her treks through the junkyard. The other three pictures are of the pumpkin. The top right shows what the inside looks like. I used orange ribbon to celebrate the color theme of Halloween, and I thought Cinder might have received the ribbon from her stepsister Peony (she's the nice one) who may have wanted Cinder to make her pumpkin marginally pretty. The bottom left shot is of the pumpkin from above. To make it glow, I used five tea lights, which I imagined Cinder pilfered from her stepmother's things. 

Here's a bigger image of the bottom right picture:

And here is one of me and the pumpkin:

(it's a bit blurry, but I was so happy it came out nicely. Plus I put on the gloves I used while making it, so I really felt like Cinder. Yay!)

And it wouldn't have been complete without this shot (albeit blurry) of my little buddy Harley. He's my Iko stand in!

(I had to make it black and white, or he wouldn't be visible. Isn't he cute!)

I hope you have enjoyed my little tricks here! If you are interested in learning more about Cinder or Marissa Meyer (the author), please check out her website here: She has a great blog for any aspiring authors looking for tips on writing.

Have a great day
Olive juice