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The Compulsive Reader: June 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

I Wanna See Your Pictures of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

I've been a lousy blogger lately. But, I have excuses...I've been planning this huge cool feature for the entire month of July. Check back tomorrow to see what it's all about!

In the mean time, will a contest suffice? I thought so.

And Another Book Read, Shooting Stars Mag, Reading Mania, Bookluverreviews, The Story Siren, B is for Books,Teen Troves, and I have all banded together to come up with one rockin contest to celebrate the release of Stephanie Keuhnert's new novel, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, out July 8th!

What's the prize? a ten dollar gift certificate to either a bookstore or iTunes for each of us. So that's 8--count them!--8 ten dollar giftcards from all of us to one lucky winner! And more reviewers may be joining us too!

How do you enter? Go buy I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone! I know that it's not out yet, but you can certainly pre-order it! Then, once you buy, save the receipt and take a pic of the book and receipt and send it to Shooting Stars Mag (Lauren51990@aol.com). Screen shots of the order summary are game if you want to buy online! Also, you don't have to be included in the picture.

Send your pics in by July 30th, and your name will be thrown in the hat! Winners will be announced the first week of August! Good luck to you all!

P.S. Be sure to check out Stephanie's website and MySpace!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June Book of the Month: A Word from Cherry Cheva

Summer! Which means, among other things, summer jobs and summer camp! Or, one summer for me, a summer job at a summer camp-- an academic camp, actually, where the kids had to have some minimum SAT score to enroll (and by the way these were mostly middle school kids who shouldn't even have been taking the SATs yet) and they went to class all day and then got wrangled around by the likes of me in the evenings. (It was probably the kind of camp that Maya, the main character in She's So Money, would've gone to if her parents could afford it.) Possibly the coolest thing about this schedule was that it left most of my days free, and it didn't take me long to discover that the local public library was within walking distance. As was Ben & Jerry's, which is a whole nother thing. I also discovered that it's a bad idea to go running at noon in the heat of a North Carolina summer, but hey, as stupid things done when you're eighteen go, that doesn't even rank. As stupid things done just that summer, actually, it doesn't even rank, but hey, no need to go into that here. :) My point is, I miss summer. We had a summer hiatus the first year I was working on Family Guy, but since then the schedule hasn't been as orderly and it means that this year we're working right through. Yeah, yeah, woe is me, the last time I checked my job rocked and all I do all day is crack up and eat free food, but work is still work. And since I'm officially writing my second novel now and the deadline is already up in my face, laughing at me and pointing a taunting finger, work is now twice the work. (Seriously, I may not sleep until September.) But that's okay, I'll take it. It's still the best summer job ever.



myspace.com/cherrycheva



http://www.rocknread.net/



And now, the winner of a signed copy of She's So Money and a Family Guy t-shirt is....Christy H.! Congrats!



Thanks so much for hanging around all month, and a HUGE thank you to Cherry for donating her time and this month's prize. It was a blast!



Now, we won't be having a Book of the Month again until August, but stick around, cause what's happening next month is just as cool, and will get you in just the right mood for some August releases!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges


Gilbert Grape hates his life. At 24, he's still living at home in the boring small town of Endora, Iowa, working a part time job as a clerk in a failing family owned grocery store. His long suffering older sister is always on his case, his young sister likes to pretend he doesn't exist, and his mother hasn't left the house in years. And then there's Arnie, Gilbert's retarded 17 year old brother, whom he loves and yet resents. But things are changing in Endora. As Arnie's milestone 18th birthday approaches, and with it all of the Grapes and a mysterious, unassuming girl who has Gilbert as confused as ever, he might just begin to see his family in a whole new light.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is such a frank and straightforward novel, you can't help but read it. Gilbert has the makings of the ideal narrator: engaging, frustrating, witty, and honest to a fault. His wry humor and harsh truthfulness will capture the reader's attention from the start, and the cast of lively, colorful characters only contribute to the quaint and rather typical portrait of small town life on the cusp of a new age of progress and technology. What's Eating Gilbert Grape takes a deep look at human nature and love that will truly impact everyone who picks up this surprising novel.

(Picture is of movie poster, review is of the book.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Winners!

We have a couple of winners to announce! First, the winner of the Advanced Readers Copy of Kitty, Kitty by Michele Jaffe is Betty H.!

And the winner of a signed copy of The Elite, graciously provided by the lovely and generous Jennifer Banash, is Meredith F.!

Congrats, ladies and I hope you enjoy! Your books will be in the mail soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman


Julie has put up with a lot of humiliation through the years as Ashleigh's best friend. Ashleigh is free spirited, confident, and headstrong, which means that when she gets an idea stuck in her head, she goes with it, no matter what anyone--friends, family, society--says. But Julie can't help but feel a bit irritated when Ashleigh's latest craze turns out to be her passion—the work of Jane Austen. It's after reading Pride and Prejudice that Ashleigh decides she and Julie must find their own Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingely, and must crash the all boy prep school dance in order to do so, with some hilarious, dizzying, and rousing consequences.

Polly Shulman writes with all the flair and talent of a modern day Jane Austen. Her characters are decidedly grounded and candid, and the emotions are true. The plot is a complicated one that cannot be pulled off easily, but Shulman makes it look like a breeze. Julie is intelligent and sensible, which thankfully eliminates all needless drama that would weigh down the flow of the book. The credible dialogue and colloquialisms will ensure that this energetic and highly entertaining read is one that will live on in the readers’ memory long after that final page is read. Rather than come off as an attempt to mimic and modernize Austen's work, Enthusiasm stands as a tribute to the great author, and is a sparkling and humorous debut.


Today's your last chance to enter the Kitty, Kitty and The Elite contest! Be sure to enter!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June Book of the Month: An Interview with Cherry Cheva!

So the first question that I'm sure is on many minds: why write about a girl creating a cheating ring?

It just seemed like a good way to force Maya and Camden to hang out, because otherwise they would probably never even meet. Originally I thought maybe Maya would just do one assignment for him and they'd immediately get caught and wind up in a bunch of detention together, and get to know each other that way, but then it's like, where's the fun in that?


Was it hard to keep the plotline realistic and at the same time not make Maya and her friends seem like bad people? Or make it seem like they were getting away with it too easily?

Hmmm. No? I don't know that I ever thought about it in terms of whether they're bad people-- I mean, obviously cheating is wrong, but Maya only did it out of desperation to save her family's restaurant, so that seems justifiable, and since everything went down in a fairly short span of time it didn't seem like anybody was really getting away with all that much.


How much of She's So Money is related to your own life and experiences?

Just the bare-bones background stuff, like her being all AP-classed out and trying to get into a good school, or her being from Michigan. I certainly wasn't ever involved in any cheating shenanigans, and my parents didn't open their restaurant until years after I left the house, so I never waited tables on a regular basis.


What was your road to publication like?

Let's see, I wrote a proposal, which was like six chapters and an outline of what else was going to happen, and after it sold I had several months to write the rest and get notes and do revisions and all that, but I was also working my day job at Family Guy the whole time. So I guess the road was tiring. :)


As a new author to the YA genre, what sort of expectations did you have?

None! Coming from TV, I really had no idea what to expect or what I was doing. It's all been a fun surprise.


What's one really good book you can recommend to readers?

I really like The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology, if you're into that sort of thing. A new one comes out every year though so I probably just recommended, like, twenty books instead of one. Oops. :)


It's required summer reading season...what's one book that you were required to read that you really liked?

"Kindred" by Octavia Butler. It was awesome.


Do you have any secret talents?

Ha! I wish. I used to dance, but that's not really a secret, nor was I all that talented at it. :)


If you had any superhero power, which one would it be and why?

Teleportation. No commuting...ever! No airport hassles, woohoo!


Anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?
Nope, these questions were great! Thanks!


Thanks so much, Cherry!

Thank YOU!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How NOT to be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler


Maggie Dempsey has lived her life all over the country...a few months here and a few months there. And she is sick of it. It is during her family's latest move from Portland to Austin that she comes up with the perfect plan. At her new school, she won't make friends, she won't join any clubs...she won't invest herself in Austin, so when it comes time to leave, it won't hurt at all. At least, that's what she thinks.

Hilarious, upbeat, and full of confidence, Maggie is one knock out of a narrator. Ziegler cleverly draws the reader in at the beginning of each chapter with hints for being unpopular, such as "Only popular people join popular clubs. And...it always helps to be seen lugging around foliage." Maggie keeps the reader in excited anticipation at what she'll do next as her plan backfires and every uncool action slowly becomes a beacon for all that's cool and real in her conforming high school, giving us a whole new perspective on what popularity really consists of. Full of wry humor, outrageous clothes, crazy antics, and misunderstandings, How NOT to be Popular is the best fun you'll have all summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jennifer Banash Pays a Visit and a Chance to WIN!


Jennifer Banash, author of new teen novel The Elite, which was released earlier this month, graciously agreed to answer some of our questions, and give away a copy of The Elite while she was at it. Welcome, Jennifer!


First off, what do you like most about the YA genre?

I love the readers most of all—they’re so honest and opinionated and I really appreciate that. But besides readers, what I like the most about YA is that I get to relive (or re-do) my adolescence in some small way every time I sit down to write. It can be very satisfying—or terribly humiliating, depending on what kind of a chapter I’m writing.

What do you want readers to take away from reading The Elite?

Above all, I want them to take away the idea that, although some of these characters undoubtedly live fabulous lives, that there IS a price to be paid for all that glamour—it comes at a cost. Although the girls might be dressed in Prada and Posen, their personal lives are often less than ideal. Money doesn’t magically make everything the picture of perfection.

You co-founded Impetus Press...what has that been like, and what exactly does it involve?

I’m co-publisher and executive editor, which means that not only do I help take care of the day-to-day operations of the press, but that I also edit manuscripts and work closely with authors, weighting in on everything from cover design to layout, to back cover copy. Impetus Press was created to champion authors whose work can’t be pigeonholed easily, and only publishes serious literary fiction with a pop edge. It’s a lot of fun—and a lot of work. I don’t sleep much and basically function in a haze of caffeine-induced nervous breakdowns. Story of my life . . .

If you had an autobiography, what would it be called?

Running in Stilettos: The Kindergarten Years.

What's one of your pet peeves?

I have a love/hate relationship with technology—for example, my computer has recently made a habit of turning itself off whenever it damn well pleases. Good times. It’s probably possessed by Satan.

What do you think would be the coolest job ever--besides writing!

Being a celebrity. But it would most likely be the best AND the worst job on the entire planet—in equal amounts.

Do you have a favorite quote, word, poem, or piece of literature?

No, but I have a LEAST favorite word—it’s a tie between two words actually—“blogesphere”—which I think is one of the ugliest words on the entire planet, and the word “moist,” which is just hands-down disgusting. “Lotion” comes in at a distant third . . .

Quote?

“If you want the girl next store, go next store.”

--Joan Crawford

And literature is just impossible to answer—I can’t choose! Some of my favorite authors of all time would be everyone from Oscar Wilde to Bret Easton Ellis to Virginia Woolf.

It's required reading season for many teens out there, and one book that I've made my summer project is The Count of Monte Cristo--which is really quite easy to read, and I am liking way more than I thought I would. Is there one book that you were required to read that surprised you?

Catcher in the Rye. I first read it in eighth grade, and it had a boring cover, and seemed like a “boy book” to my inexperienced eyes, so I was totally less than excited. But, of course, I ended up loving it—how could I NOT? I remember cracking up at the line “He had a beautiful telephone voice—he should’ve carried a goddamn telephone around with him.” Of course, this was before cell phones completely took over the planet—which is what made the line so totally funny. Now, it goes without saying that the joke is kind of spoiled . . .

So I hear that you are writing a supernatural book (which sounds quite intriguing, I must say!). What makes yours unique?

BITTEN is like a cross between GOSSIP GIRL and DRACULA. What makes it special is that it’s a contemporary update of the Dracula legend—seen through the eyes of two identical twin socialites whose parents have bought Dracula’s castle in the midst of a mid-life crisis, and who then, of course, move the family to Romania.

Why vampires, as opposed to the many paranormal beings out there?

When I was around thirteen, I was completely OBSESSED with Anne Rice’s Vampire Trilogy—before she became a born-again Christian! I thought the Lestat books were some of the most compelling and imaginative fiction ever penned about Vampires (sorry TWILIGHT fans!). Ever since then, I’ve always loved vampires. Actually, I wouldn’t mind being bitten—their lives—no matter who’s writing—are always so glamorous and dark—and I have a dark side roughly the size of Australia . . .

What's next for Casey, Drew, Madison, and the rest of the gang in In Too Deep?

Ahhh . . . now that would be telling! All I CAN say is that it somehow involves reality television and a fabulous party. But that’s all you’re getting out of me. if you want to know if Casey and Drew are still together, you’ll just have to wait and see!

Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?

Yeah. You could ask me to lunch, as I’m kinda hungry. That would’ve been epic . . .


Thank you, Jennifer! Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors, and I can't wait to see what you will do!

And now for the WIN part of this post: In case you missed my Elite giveaway, here's your second chance: send your name, address, and email address with THE ELITE in the subject heading to thecompulsivereader@gmail.com by this Friday, June 20th, and you'll be entered to win! Also, go befriend Jennifer on MySpace...not only is her page totally awesome, but she's also giving away The Elite.....TWO chances to win!


Monday, June 16, 2008

The Serious Kiss by Mary Hogan


Libby is struggling against Creation. You know the big debate, nurture vs. nature? Well, either way, Libby is in trouble, with her alcoholic father and a mother who overeats, and whose idea of a wholesome meal is a large pizza from Dominos or a red and white bucket from KFC. But amidst the chaos, Libby is determined to experience It. True love in the form one perfect, unforgettable kiss from the One. And with the way things are going, her dream may not be that far off.

But all of her plans are disrupted when her father's drinking leaves him jobless, friendless, and ultimately, their family homeless. Libby's family must pack up and leave the only home she's ever known and move out in the middle of nowhere. She's devastated, humiliated, and hurt. But slowly she'll learn to find peace within herself, and maybe come to find beauty and life in the middle of the desert.



The Serious Kiss is quite an accomplishment of a first novel. It deals with many heavy issues at once in such a way that you can only feel deep empathy for Libby and at the same time deep admiration for her as she's dealt blow after blow, but still manages to bounce back. The characters are all far from perfect, but each is honest and significant. Hogan has a way with details that breathe life into each element of the story, giving the reader a more realistic reading experience. Eye-opening, a bit quirky, humorous, and poignant, The Serious Kiss is the sort of book that won't leave you any time soon, and it'll very easily become a favorite as this resilient heroine still manages to move on and learn to let go.






P.S. Dominique! Where are you?? Send me your address so I can send you your ARC of Kitty, Kitty before I have to pick another winner! You have until Friday!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor


Here's a fun and indulgent read for the young and young at heart.

Anne Marie is desperate for a baby, even if it means going to a witch for help. That witch gives Anne Marie a seed, which in no time at all produces a flower holding the tiny Thumbelina. Thumbelina is curious, brave, and extremely adventurous. She doesn't understand why her mother wants to keep her safe and protected all the time when everyone from the outside world seems so nice. But one summer night, she'll begin her journey to find out for herself what the world is truly like.

Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride is the perfect book for those questioning minds that always want more than the glossed over and short version of the original tale written by Hans Christian Anderson. Full of details and glimpses into Thumbelina's personal diary, this is one delightful story packed full of details that will satisfy even the most inquisitive reader as we watch Thumbelina escape the most unfortunate engagements as she discovers the world around her and searches for where she truly belongs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs


First off, congrats to dominique, winner of the ARC of Kitty, Kitty! Get me your address, and I'll get it in the mail!


And for all of you who didn't win...I have a confession to make. I have another copy. And since ARCs are always the best to read before the actual book comes out, I guess I need to hold another giveaway (oh, darn!)! So to enter to win, send your name, address, and email address, with KITTY, KITTY in the subject heading to thecompulsivereader@gmail.com by June 20th, and I'll throw your name in the hat! Now, without further ado, I give you the perfect summer read:


Phoebe's got it all in the bag...a promise of a great scholarship, the top cross country title, great friends, and a wonderful mother. Senior year is going to be perfect. But then her mom drops the bomb--she's getting re-married. And they're re-locating. To Greece. Soon Phoebe is on a plane to a whole other continent, her old Southern California world quickly fading out of sight.

But when she finally arrives to the island of Serfopoula, she's hit with another shocking surprise--the place is inhabited by descendants of the Greek Gods, godly powers and all. This wouldn't be so bad, except Phoebe is considered a nothos; a normal person who they feel doesn't deserve to be anywhere near them. But Phoebe herself may be more than she appears at first glance…

Not only is Oh. My. Gods. funny, smart, and absorbing, but it also contains a surprising amount of depth. Childs gives us a real and honest look at Phoebe's thoughts and memories, making it easy and enjoyable to connect with her. Though a couple elements of the story do seem rushed (a friend's willingness to dump her boyfriend, for example), it does not detract from the pace or charm of the story. This is a highly imaginative book packed full with many mythical facts and a dash of romance, conflict, and girl power, making Oh. My. Gods. your thinking girl's beach read.



Thursday, June 12, 2008

June Book of the Month: Read an Excerpt from She's So Money!

Hey guys! This Thursday Cherry Cheva is giving us peek inot She's So Money! Here's the scenewhere Maya and Camden get together for their first (and disastrous!) tutoring session.
___________________________________________________________________

“Maybe you should worry less about what I’m wearing and more about the fact that you’re flunking algebra,” I said icily.

“I’m not flunking,” said Camden, flinging his hoodie over the back of the chair next to him. “I’m getting a D. Didn’t they give you all my info, uh . . .” He leaned over and looked at the cover of my notebook. “Mayo?”

“Maya.”

“Whatever,” he said. “Your handwriting sucks.”

“As do your grades, so we should probably get started,” I said, yanking my notebook away from him and taking out some pencils. “Do you have any homework you want to go through?”

“Homework? Sure,” he said agreeably. I would have been surprised at the sudden attitude shift except for the fact that it lasted about two seconds—his cell phone beeped, and he spent the next several minutes sending ten different texts to various people. Somewhere in the middle of the process, he pulled an algebra book out of his backpack with his non-texting hand and shoved it in my general direction without looking at me; it slid off the table and I leaned over to grab it.

“Nice butt,” Camden said from behind me. I quickly sat back up. “Too bad your personality doesn’t match it,” he added.

“And too bad your brains don’t match your dad’s bank account,” I shot back. “If they did, we wouldn’t be here.”

Camden stared at me for a moment, opening his mouth and then closing it again before breaking into a grin. “Wow,” he finally said as he got out a mechanical pencil and started clicking it noisily.

“You’re an interesting one. Most girls are so stunned by this whole business”—he waved the pencil at himself—“that they can’t even attempt to be bitchy.”

“Well, I’m not and I can,” I said.

“I don’t know if I like you or hate you.”

“Hate me. It’ll make us even,” I said. “Now shut up and open your math book.”
___________________________________________________________________

Don't forget to enter to win a signed copy of She's So Money and a Family Guy t-shirt! The link is on the sidebar!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Guy Next Door by Carol Culver


Maggie's life took a nose dive after her parents' divorce. Forced to move out of the large mansion that she grew up in, Maggie and her mother now live in a small house in a decidedly less affluent neighborhood. None of their old friends talk to them, and they are always coming up short on money. Luckily for Maggie, she still attends exclusive Manderley Prep, and she's made a few new friends along the way. But she'd like nothing more than for Ethan, her childhood playmate and ex-neighbor, to notice her as a girl, and not think of her as the metal mouth tomboy she used to be. The perfect chance arrives in the shape of a class trip to Hawaii, but how will Maggie ever be able to afford it?

The Guy Next Door is a completely absorbing and unique read. Maggie is intelligent, grounded and self deprecating in an empathetic way. Her continued worries about money may rub some readers the wrong way, but they'll be happy to see as the plot goes along, Maggie comes to find that she can live a happy and fulfilling life without the deep pockets she had before. Returning readers of the BFF series will also be able to summon up a bit of righteous indignation as the headmaster of Manderley Prep continues to form the school to his expectations, causing chaos along the way. The Guy Next Door is the perfect froth of teenage angst, romance, rule breaking, and action that'll keep you reading to the very last page.


Be sure to check out the prequels Manderley Prep and Rich Girl, also by Carol Culver!

Zoey Dean's Talent



Mac Little-Armstrong has the ideal life: she's pretty, popular, rich, has a great and loving family and wonderful friends. But she's missing only one thing--a talent. She's surrounded by many talented friends and people, but yet can't seem to find one thing she's gifted at. Until one night she sees Midwesterner Emily Mungler cajoling security into letting her into one of the most exclusive after parties in Hollywood, and realizes that this small town girl has It. She's got the talent to make it as the new big actress, and only Mac recognizes it. Now she'll have to do the nearly impossible: teach Emily the Hollywood ropes and land her the most sought after role in the surefire blockbuster movie along side the hunky Davey Woodward. She'll have her work cut out for her…

Zoey Dean's Talent takes a fresh new spin on the boring privileged teen genre. The plot is one that is fast paced, awesome, and one that is easily believable. The characters have a tendency to be a little vain and quite materialistic, but their attitudes and personalities are a clear representation of young teens today. But Talent isn't all about the fabulous clothes and jobs--staying true to your friends, honesty, and loyalty are very present throughout the story, and add just the right touch of reality to the plot, making Talent a wholesome, yet deliciously fun and summery read.



Talent will be available from Razorbill on June 19th, 2008!

Also check out The Ashleys by Melissa de la Cruz and Susanna Sees Stars by Mary Hogan!

Also, it's not too late to enter to win an ARC of Kitty, Kitty by Michele Jaffe! Click here for details.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman and a Chance to WIN!



Sorry for the lack of updates, guys! I've tried to post like 5 times this past weekend, but due to some seriously nasty storms in my area, the power kept getting knocked out. But yay for the electricity people, because it's back, and it looks like it's back for good!


Geena Sloane, despite her skater girl stereotype, entertains fantasies of her cousin Hero and best friend Amber becoming lifelong pals this summer while bonding over their shared job at the shoe box sized coffee shop, Triple Shot Betty and painting their toenails at late night slumber parties. But nothing can be further from the truth when Hero arrives in town, and Amber decides to hate her right on the spot, for seemingly no particular reason. The situation isn't helped any when John Jamieson, Amber's ex, falls for Hero. But Hero isn't interested in anyone but Claudio, the hot Italian guy who is interning at her father's winery. One thing's for certain: Geena, Amber, and Hero's sixteenth summer will be special all right, just not in the way that they imagined.

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty is laugh out loud funny and a fully engaging read. Geena is one rocking character that nearly every teen girl can relate to…amusing, smart, intensely loyal, and just trying to make her way through the summer with minimal bloodshed between her two best friends. Though a spin off of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, this read never becomes predictable or boring. While funny, romantic, and breezy, it also has some serious tones as it deals with absentee fathers and the consequences of partying too hard. But overall, this is a kick butt read about a group of smart, confident girls who are a force to be reckoned with.


You might also like Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks!


And now for the WIN part of today's post. I'm in a good mood, seeing as I know have my computer and running water back (I'm so spoiled, I know), so I declare today RANDOM COMMENTER WINNER DAY, and I'm going to be giving away an ARC of KITTY, KITTY by Michele Jaffe! Just leave me a comment, and you'll automatically be entered to win!


Also, be sure to enter Keri Mikulski's YAY for YA contest, and click here to enter to win a copy of The Elite by Jennifer Banash!


Friday, June 6, 2008

Susanna Hits Hollywood by Mary Hogan


After making quite a splash on to the celebrity reporting scene with her scoop on Russell Sanders last summer, Susanna Barringer is ready to take on Hollywood and the Academy Awards. But when she arrives, she's disappointed to find that no one, not even Keith, seems to be interested in finding the perfect scoop. They all just want to take their pictures of the stars on the big night and be done with it. But Susanna can't accept that, and knows that if she wants to be taken seriously, she'll have to be creative and daring in order to find that perfect story that'll earn her the respect she deserves. And she plans to do just that. If, that is, she can get away from her demanding boss Nell long enough to figure out just what that perfect scoop is.


Susanna Hits Hollywood is a lighthearted and wholesomely fun read. Susanna is a strong, determined, and clever character; a real role model plunked down in the middle of a very materialistic and vain world. Her values and self deprecating humor keep her real, and her zany ideas and knack for getting herself into predicaments make her an easygoing and enjoyable character. Though this second installment is shorter and a bit lighter than its prequel, it's just as much fun. Susanna Hits Hollywood is the ideal beach ride.

Click here to read a review of the prequel, Susanna Sees Stars.

Be sure to check out the third book in the Susanna series, Susanna Covers the Catwalk, coming in October!

Fun Filled Friday!

Here are a few videos that might spark your interest. First, a completed scene from the Twilight movie:



And the book trailer to Read My Lips by Teri Brown. Click here to read my review.



(You'll have to excuse me if I start slamming you guys with videos....I just sorta figured out how to embed them, and ahve since then gone a bit crazy....)

Have a wonderful weekend!

TCR

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Winner of The Elite

I just got an email from Hope saying that she already bought her copy of The Elite, so I've had to pick a new winner....Sara! Congrats Sara! Send me your mailing adress and I'll get The Elite right out to you!

June Book of the Month: She's So Money by Cherry Cheva



Wow, June is here and so is summer! Finally! This month we're featuring a really cool read from new YA author Cherry Cheva! Cherry grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is super hilarious (she writes for Family Guy!) and also wonderfully fun to talk to, and her book includes everything you'd ever want for a good read.

Maya is that girl...you know the one. The girl who gets straight A's, works as a tutor, and helps her parents out at their Thai cuisine restaurant in her spare time. But there's more to her than just being a good girl. Maya can't wait to get out of Michigan and start her life, and hopefully have a little fun along the way.


But when she's left in charge of the restaurant for the weekend and gets a little careless, she's smacked with a $10,000 fine. She's at a loss as to what to do about it until Camden King, the biggest idiot she's ever had to tutor, suggests that she charge students in exchange for doing their homework. Despite her reservations, Maya needs the money, and soon she's got herself a complex cheating ring that is teetering precariously on lies and half truths. If only she can hold out until she can earn enough money to pay that fine...


There's no doubt about it--She's So Money is a hilarious, fun, and wild romp. Maya's journey to finding herself and gaining confidence is one that will reach across to many girls and strike home, even if the ride getting there is a bit bumpy. Cheva doesn't sugar coat the cheating aspects of the book. She tells it like it is, and gives Maya very plausible reasons to take the actions that she does. It all culminates in an ending that although may seem a little too good to be true at first, is quite believable and entirely gratifying.


Cherry is going to be with us throughout the month, giving excerpts, a guest blog, and an interview (so if there's anything you want to ask her, send me the your questions by commenting or emailing!). She's also been so very kind as to donate a signed copy of She's So Money and a Family Guy tee shirt to one lucky winner! So send me your name, address, and email to thecompulsivereader@gmail.com, and be sure to go out and buy yourself a copy of She's So Money! You won't be disappointed!

Genius Squad Book Trailer

Check out the Evil Genius Books website.

Click here for the review of Genius Squad, and here for the review of its prequel, Evil Genius.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don't Die On Us....

Don't die on us, Hope! You've just scored a copy of The Elite! Send me your address and I'll get that out ASAP!

Once Upon a Time....


So as you guys might know, I like fairy tale retellings. A lot. And one I'm especially excited about is The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn, which comes out in less than two weeks. This is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, which I've only read two of before, Spinner by Donna Jo Napoli, and A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. It'll be great to get another take on the classic story, and I do love the Once Upon a Time series.





Another book that is set to come out in the Once Upon a Time series is Belle by Cameron Dokey, which will be released in November. Cameron Dokey is the most prolific author in the Once Upon a Time series, and I really like her flair for magic. Though this seriesalready has a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (Spirited by Nancy Holder, another amazing book), I think that this one will be wonderful too!

And I just found out the other day that Cameron Dokey has also written a new book for the series called The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan". Since my knowledge of Mulan extends as far as the Disney movie, I'm especially excited for this one! I don't know if I can wait until February!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Identical by Ellen Hopkins


There are so many similarities between Kaeleigh and Raeanne. They're identical twins. They share an absentee politician of a mother, and lonely drunk of a father. They both have had a painful childhood, and for both, it all began with a gruesome accident. But the source of that pain is entirely different for each girl.

For Kaeleigh, it's the pain of a father who loves her too much, who loves her as no father should love his child. Raeanne's pain is the feeling of being unloved and unwanted, except by a string of sleazy boyfriends with an abundance of alcohol and drugs. Each girl knows that what they're experiencing is wrong, but they know nothing else. And unless someone can do something to bring about a change, their pain is all they'll ever know.

Identical is depressing, disturbing, and yet strangely engrossing and electrifying. Through her irresistible and varying prose, Hopkins coaxes readers into the story, just far enough in for Raeanne and Kaeleigh grasp on, taking you on an unforgettable ride through their lives, and showing us their convoluted--yet curiously levelheaded—reasoning and their innermost thoughts. The beautiful and innovative poetry gets right down to what makes the twins tick in a frank and straightforward style that is not necessarily comforting, but is gritty and real. Full of passion, pain, remorse, and, amazingly, love, Identical is one of those books that will make you gasp theatrically at the end, and then want to immediately re-read the entire thing with new eyes--it is a book that will cause you to think.


Cool New Reads!


Twelve Long Months by Brian Malloy

Molly is a bit of a nerd. She has a full scholarship to Columbia in New York City, and is obsessed with school, physics…and Mark Dahl. Mark is her gorgeous lab partner, and the love of her life. He just doesn't realize it yet. And at the close of their senior year in their tiny Minnesota town, Molly despairs of ever seeing him again. But she is shocked and delighted to find that he is moving to New Jersey, and knows that they are meant to be.


But Molly isn't in New York very long before she finds out Mark's secret. He's gay. And no one but Molly knows. Suddenly their relationship shifts wildly, and Molly finds herself trying to be just a friend to the guy she was sure she was meant to be with, while at the same time trying to mend her broken heart.


Twelve Long Months chronicles Molly and Mark's relationship beautifully. Told from Molly's point of view, it is a vivid look at what happens when suddenly your dreams and expectations collide with real life, and how you can pick up the pieces in order to move on. Molly's voice rings true, and you'll empathize with her as she struggles to make her way through her first year of college, and balance friends, work, and a love life. Malloy's writing is very effective and personal. His ability to reach out to the reader and make that strong connection between protagonist and audience is remarkable. Twelve Long Months is a well drawn out, gratifying, and very humorous read that will especially appeal to anyone who has ever understood the heartbreak of a crush.


Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab

Matisse can't help but feel bitter when her mother moves her and her father, who has a debilitating disease, away from their wonderful home in New York City, to Prague, New York, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Stuck in a high school whose name she can't even pronounce, without any friends, and nothing to do is miserable for Matisse. People either want to talk about her dad (which Matisse isn't ready to do), or pretend everything is fine (Matisse knows it isn't). But if Matisse wants to make in Prague, she'll have to learn to open up to new things and people, and accept her situation at hand.


Alive and Well in Prague, New York was a very heartfelt read. Grab's smooth, empathetic writing will easily reel in readers by the hordes as she artfully portrays the hurt of everyone knowing your business in a small town, and the joy of true friends. Matisse is smart, practical, and yet very hard headed. Your heart will go out to her as she tries to balance school, friends (or lack thereof), and the situation at home. Grab captures the essence of small town life perfectly; quirky, quintessential, and endearing, Prague will appeal mightily to readers who have ever been curious about small town life, or to those who know exactly what it's like, and can easily commiserate and identify with with Matisse.




Read My Lips by Teri Brown

For Serena Nelson, fitting in has never been easy, but it was possible. A punk skater at heart, she had her own niche of likeminded friends who didn't mind that she was deaf. Serena's talents for lip reading are excellent, and allow her to live a pretty normal life. But when she moves to a small town, the preps in her new school see her talent as something to profit off of, and use Serena to get the juiciest gossip, enticing her with a membership into a secret sorority and the promise of fitting in. But will her so called friends go too far?


Read My Lips is an attention grabbing page turner. Serena is a smart and edgy narrator, who is quite normal despite her condition, and doesn't seek attention because of it. Her desire to fit in is something that we can all empathize with, and the lengths that she goes to do so are relatable. But it's how she fights back and overcomes those that belittle her that makes Read My Lips such a compelling and quick read. Read My Lips is a delightful mix of complex characters, biting wit, and the angst that comes with making new friends.



Rumors by Anna Godbersen



















Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

It would seem that Claire Danvers's life couldn't get any worse, what with living in a college town that is also inhabited by vampires who wouldn't think twice about killing her, and having her parents pressuring her to move back in with them when she already lives with her three best friends. But when Mr. Bishop arrives, things turn positively deadly.

No one's really sure what Mr. Bishop wants exactly--all they know is that he's more powerful than anyone--possibly even Amelie, and he lacks any good intentions. Everyone is on their guard. Soon everyone is buzzing about the upcoming formal ball, and all the humans are clamoring for invites, even Claire and Eve. But this is one party that the breathing might want to pass up.


Feast of Fools is an exciting, fast paced and chilling thriller. Caine has a real knack for combining a headstrong heroine, nicely creepy happenings, and a dash of romance and intrigue to bring about a knock out of a novel that'll stun, spellbind, and utterly captivate readers. There's a twist around every corner, and a cliff hanger that will leave readers desperate for more in this wonderful series that's reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A word of caution: once you start into the Morganville Vampires series, it's impossible to let go.


The Elite by Jennifer Banash

When Illinois girl Casey McCloy's mother gets a temporary job in London, she finds herself standing in front of The Bramford, one of New York City's exclusive apartment buildings, ready to move in with her grandmother. It's here that she meets Madison, Phoebe, and Sophie, who are all filthy rich, and take pity on Casey and befriend her. Well, some of them anyway. Madison hates everything about Casey...from her less expensive wardrobe to the fact that Madison's long time friend and sort-of boyfriend Drew is drawn to Casey, and she's not going to let some small town hick take away what's hers. Things are about to get ugly.

Before you start thinking that The Elite is just another novel of its genre, Banash surprises the reader by giving the seemingly perfect rich girls problems and flaws that aren't unfamiliar to Midwestern girls like Casey. It's a hard task to get readers to feel an ounce of empathy for mean girls like Madison, but Banash does it.


When Madison is determined to humiliate Casey, rather than beat her at her own game, Casey admirably stands her ground, making her a real role model. But this novel isn't all about nasty remarks and stunning makeovers: it also explores the meaning of family, and the angst that comes with relationships that have run their course. Finally, a novel that isn't all about the materialistic things in life. This absorbing read will fly by quickly.

P.S. Today is RANDOM COMMENTER WINNER day! Tell me what you think about these books, or what books you are looking forward to this summer, or whatever, and I'll pick one random commenter to win a copy of today's new release, The Elite!


Monday, June 2, 2008

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson


Anna, despite her lavish upbringing, has always been a mild and very well mannered child with endless opportunities for the future. But then came the Russian Revolution, and with her father dead and their family betrayed and left penniless, Anna, her mother, and her younger brother flee Russia and head to England to live with Anna's English nanny, Miss Pinfold. But Anna is restless there, and without anything to do, and resolves to get a job as a serving maid, much to Miss Pinfold's horror.

But Anna is not to be dissuaded. She takes a position at the Westerholme estate to help with the preparations for the return of the estate's young earl, Rupert, who is to arrive with his fiancé. It is here that Anna enchants the entire Westerholme estate, from the animals to the butler to the Earl himself. But Anna is determined to keep her previous status a secret, something that is becoming harder to do as the wedding preparations progress and the bride's true colors begin to show.

Subtly humorous, ironic, and utterly captivating, Eva Ibbotson is one of those rare and wonderful authors that can construct a story so well, each reader—as reluctant as they may be—cannot help but find themselves completely charmed and enthralled. A Countess Below Stairs is no exception. Each of the numerous and colorful characters is presented in such a way so that you feel like you know them intimately, making for a more meaningful and enjoyable read. The novel is full of historical facts and tidbits of information, but rather than detract from the reading experience, they add just the right touch of seriousness. Though at first this novel might seem predictable, Ibbotson cleverly fools the reader, giving them an amusing, rewarding, and completely unforgettable ending.
Be sure to check out A Song for Summer, The Morning Gift, and A Company of Swans as well!

I Am a Forgetful Person

So I realized sometime this morning in between making coffee and brushing my teeth that I forgot to tell you guys who the winners of the Airhead Tee contest were! I am very sorry to keep you all in such suspense! It was cruel and inconsiderate of me!

And so, here they are:

BRIDGETTE B.
ELLEN C.
LEAH L.
ASHLEY P.
and
LALITA B.

Congrats, ladies! Those will go out this week, along with all the other prizes that have been won recently! Enjoy, and wear those shirts with pride!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine



It would seem that Claire Danvers's life couldn't get any worse, what with living in a college town that is also inhabited by vampires who wouldn't think twice about killing her, and having her parents pressuring her to move back in with them when she already lives with her three best friends. But when Mr. Bishop arrives, things turn positively deadly.

No one's really sure what Mr. Bishop wants exactly--all they know is that he's more powerful than anyone--possibly even Amelie, and he lacks any good intentions. Everyone is on their guard. Soon everyone is buzzing about the upcoming formal ball, and all the humans are clamoring for invites, even Claire and Eve. But this is one party that the breathing might want to pass up.

Feast of Fools is an exciting, fast paced and chilling thriller. Caine has a real knack for combining a headstrong heroine, nicely creepy happenings, and a dash of romance and intrigue to bring about a knock out of a novel that'll stun, spellbind, and utterly captivate readers. There's a twist around every corner, and a cliff hanger that will leave readers desperate for more in this wonderful series that's reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A word of caution: once you start into the Morganville Vampires series, it's impossible to let go

This book will be available from NAL JAM, a division of Penguin Group USA, on June 3rd, 2008!

Be sure to check out the House of Night series and the Mortal Instruments Trilogy too!

Now, this is my first Morganville Vampire book, so my only criticism is that I was a little confused at the beginning because I started with the fourth book. Are there any Rachel Caine fans out there that can tell me how the series is supposed to go? Thanks a million times over!