Sarah Quigley Signing/Last Day of School

Hate that picture. Grossgrossgross. I look slightly pregnant. I'm not.
But it's the only one I took so I guess I'll have to deal.

Sarah Quigley is the adorable author of the newly released YA novel, TMI. I haven't read it yet but according to almost every review I've read, it's awesome. Of course it is. It's set in Minnesota.

So let's start at the beginning.
Friday was my last day of school. I had to take two finals and then was released from prison at 11:30. It is so great to have your last day be only two and a half hours long. I love it. I got to walk to the neighborhood cafe, drink tea spritzers, eat grilled cheese that tastes like grandma's, and get sunburned while sitting at the park. I also saw the movie New In Town for $3. It's hilarious and Minnesotan and it has Harry Connick Jr in it. I think I can just leave it at that.

After all that fun, my friend and I headed over to The Red Balloon Bookshop to meet Mrs. Sarah Quigley. The Red Balloon is the definition of indie. It's aimed mostly at kids but it does have a section of YA and some adult stuff too. It's also pretty teensy. Before Friday I hadn't been in there for a year or two which is a tragedy.

I don't know what I was expecting, but when I walked in I was a little shocked because it was all old people. Like adults. Not old old. Just in comparison to me. There were a few younger girls there but my friend and I were almost the only teens.

What's so cute about it is that all of the adults were family/high school classmates/college classmates that came to see her. Awww.

So she talked for a little bit - about the book, about her background, about how she got her gig as a writer, etc, and then she read an excerpt and then we got our books signed and...that was it.

It was fun.

Although I do have a confession. I didn't introduce myself as a blogger or anything. I was too scared of all the old people and of being like, "Yeah I'm a blogger and you're book is about how one girl gets in trouble for all of the stuff she posts on her blog and I'm just like her and I need attention, blahblahblah." So yeah. I don't think Sarah knew who I really was. I've even emailed her. How pathetic am I? Sarah, if you ever read this, I was the blonde one in the striped dress. Don't hate me.


This is just a quick reminder about the Shakespeare challenge that I'm hosting for the summer.

It's sponsored by Lisa Mantchev.

It's not that hard.

It'll make you smarter.

There already about 12 people participating which is so so great but I'd love to have more! The more the merrier, eh?

You can read the post with all of the info here. Hope you'll join us!

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #35: Unread

On Saturday

Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?

Oh have I got a story for this.
So back in the day when I was a young and innocent second grader, I was very into the chapter book series like The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, etc.
I walked into the school library one day and headed over to the section that housed those type of books and decided to try something new. I picked up a Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery book. The Case of the Missing Mummy.
I went home that night expecting it to be like a crappy Nancy Drew book or just entirely fluffy and superfluous. What I didn't expect was to be scared out of my mind. I stayed up super late to try and finish it but had 20 pages left by the time I had to go to sleep. I had the worst nightmare that night and had to wake up my mom and get her to finish the book with me so I would know how it ended and hopefully sleep soundly from then on.
But that didn't happen. For the next two years I couldn't go down in the basement by myself and before going to bed each night I had to check in my closet and in the crack between my bed and the wall to make sure that there were no mummies hiding there.
It was seriously the scariest book I've ever read and it scarred me for life.
Curse you Mary-Kate and Ashley.

Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg

Bobby Framingham is the star quarterback at Durango High School and one of the most talented high school football players in California. He's waiting on scholarship offers from big schools and hopes he'll go pro after college. On the field, his teammates are like his brothers. But off the field, he knows he's different - Bobby is gay.
Can he still be one of the guys and still be honest about who he is? And even more, if people knew, could he still get that scholarship? Bobby's not sure. After all, there are no openly gay male atheletes in any of the major college or pro sports. Can he help change that? He doesn't want to be a hero or a poster boy for gay rights - he just wants to play football - but how he handles his istuation will send a big message.
Just like in football, once Bobby's forced out of the pocket he'll have to make a play. He'll have to deal with the changing dynamics of the team and his changing relationships with his friends an family, and accept that his path to success might be more difficult, and more public, than he'd hoped.
(Summary from jacket flap)

Out of the Pocket is a surprisingly readable and relatable take on homosexuality in high school.

And I say "surprisingly" because I'm a cover judger. It looked like it might be a little too boy-ish and manly for me based on the football player and the sky and the black but it wasn't at all. It could appeal to anyone and I think that's the point. How anyone should be able to pick up a book like this and enjoy it.

I actually like the fact that the cover is marketed at guys because I know a guy or two who could stand to read a little more about homosexuality.

One of the things that really impressed me about Out of the Pocket was how realistic it was. Bill Konigsberg wasn't afraid to tackle all of the stupid stereotypes and idiot high school jock guys head on. Jokes, slurs, and crudeness, all included. It added personality and "real-ness" to the football guys and made it even more dynamic when Bobby came out and had to deal with their crap. Nothing was sugar-coated or brushed over. It was all laid out on the table and dealt with in a methodical manner.

I also like the statements that some of the characters made to Bobby.

"Bobby, you're a cool guy. Who cares if you're gay or straight? It's all the same, I mean, either way you love someone. That's all there is to it."

And amen to that.

There were a few tiny things that could have been improved about the book. I wish there had been a little more depth - I would've liked to hear more of Bobby's opinions and thoughts about the events. There wasn't enough of that. I also think that a few of the side characters, like Carrie, would've been fun to learn more about. Their backgrounds and personalities could've been hashed out more.

But overall, I think that this was a solid novel that dealt with a real life issue in a way that's simple and understandable. I applaud the author for that.


The Lake

Memorial Day weekend at the cabin. It's officially summer.

Bits 'n Pieces - A.S. King

Ladies and gentlemen, today I present to you the new, improved, and more readable than ever version of my interview feature, Bits 'n Pieces. It's great.

Cooking or eating out?
Oh cooking--by a long shot. Though authentic Mexican food is a favorite that I'd go out for. Take out food is a nice treat once a week, though where I live the selection is pretty limited.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Mike & Ikes.

Have you ever gotten a tattoo?
Yes. My first was 20 years ago this month.

Would you rather be the sand castle or the wave?
Castle. No wave. No wait. Castle. No. Wave. Hold on. I have no idea.

If you could have lunch with any three people (alive, imaginary, or dead), who would you choose and why?
My husband, Kurt Vonnegut, and my old friend David. Why? because we'd have a really great chat for hours and all of us would get something out of it. Plus, KV is my writing hero & I miss David. I mean, I could've chosen Prince & Stevie Wonder or John Cleese and Woody Allen, or Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix or Ben Franklin or David Bowie or George Orwell, or Ayn Rand. And meeting all those people would be cool, but I think I might be awed a bit too much to enjoy myself and relax. So, to have a really great and memorable lunch? Me, Topher, Dave and KV. Or Walt Whitman. Or Jack Yeats, the painter. Or Tony O'Malley. Ooo! No. Me, my friend Krista, Topher and Jimi Hendrix. Oh this question tortures me. Final answer: I have no final answer. I really hope I never have to make this choice in real life.

What are some of the little things you love in life?
Fleece socks. Walking in light snow. Swimming laps. Corn on the cob.

Where would you bury your treasure?
In a hole someone else has dug. (I've shoveled enough in my life.)

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Negativity. People who have nothing positive to offer perplex me, and simultaneously make me very happy to not be them.

When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
I have no idea. Let me go look. Looks like 1973 I was Bugs Bunny and 1974, I was the Devil. Sweet.

A Little Bit of Skin

Thanks to Little Brown Pen to alerting me to this masterpiece of a music video.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way - thin, thinner, thinnest - maybe she'll disappear altogether.
(Summary from jacket flap)

Let's start out with a few choice quotes from the book, mmk?

"The snow drifts into our zombie mouths crawling with grease and curses and tobacco flakes and cavities and boyfriend/girlfriend juice, the stain o lies. For one moment we are not failed tests and broken condoms and cheating on essays; we are crayons and lunch boxes and swinging so high our sneakers punch holes in the clouds. For one breat everything feels better."

"We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned us into wintergirls, and when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone."

And that right there is the novel summed up in a few sentences. Dark, haunting, sick, and still hopeful. It messes with your mind.

Laurie Halse Anderson really knows how to write. I actually think that Wintergirls would've worked really well if it was written in prose. The way the words are put together is almost poetic, but not quite. It's a different kind of writing style than I'm used to and it helped to lend an air of surreality to the story. I liked it.

The other thing that was great about the book was that it dealt with a harsh problem in a harsh way. There was no sugar-coating anything. How could there be when it's told through the eyes of a girl who's starving herself to death? Lia was brutally honest and seriously messed up, but she was convincing.

People exist that do things like this to themselves. It's horrible. I think that Wintergirls did an oustanding job of portraying something that's usually shoved into the closet because people are too scared to face the reality of it. But this is real. Girls like this are out there. They just need to be seen.

The only teensy thing that I took issue with was that this book actually didn't leave a huge impression on me...? Which is strange. Maybe it's just me. It was a great book but I think I read it at an inoportune time.

So a B+ for this one. Heavy stuff here.

Look! I'm Special!

An interview with me just went up today over at Across the Pond. Check it out!

Waiting on Wednesday #12 - We Were Here by Matt de la Pena

The story of one boy and his journey to find himself. When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home—said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live. But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself. Life usually doesn’t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.
(Summary from Amazon)

Sounds like a pretty good guy-ish book, right? If done right, I think that the character development and analysis could turn out to be awesome. And breaking out of jail? That's right up my alley.

A conspiracy

Jordyn is having a count down to the release of 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. My post went up today. Enjoy.

A Shakespearean Summer

photo credit

One of the most influential and renowned authors of all time.

Hundreds of years after being written, Shakespeare's works are still read and adored by millions of people. And with good reason. They provide the basis for modern literature - everything from comedy to tragedy. There's no storyline out there that's not tainted by Shakespeare's influence. Tragic love, selfish rulers, magical and conniving creatures. It's everywhere.

The sad thing is, is that more and more our generation is passing Shakespeare off as too hard to understand, too old, too cliched. My own first foray into his works was just a few weeks ago and then only for school. I just didn't even consider reading Shakespeare an option for me. I thought it was above me.

How wrong I was.

It's perverted. It's hilarious. It's romantic. It's witty. It's great.

I need some more of it. The cool thing is that it's not meant only for the snooty literary types. It's meant for everyone.

And it's now a summer goal of mine. To read some Shakespeare. See what all of the fuss is about.

I think you guys should join me on this little adventure. It wouldn't hurt you. Shakespeare doesn't bite. And you'll get to feel a little more sophisticated and knowledgeable by saying that you've read a few of his works.

So onto the rules.
1. You must read three plays by Shakespeare between June 1st and August 31st. There's a list of all of his stuff toward the bottom of this page.
2. After you've finished reading one, do a post about it on your blog. Link back to this original post in your own post so people can see what it's all a part of.
3. If you don't have a blog, leave your thoughts in the comments of this post so there's some sort of documentation.
4. The Sparknote versions of the plays can count. Because yes, Shakespeare is hard to understand and sometimes we might need a little help along the way. I know that I'll be reading some Sparknotes.
5. Have fun.

And to make this all even better, this challenge has a sponsor! Doesn't that sound official?

spon-sor -noun:
a person who makes a pledge or promise on behalf of another.

Lisa Mantchev is that person. She is making a pledge on your behalf.
Her book, Eyes Like Stars, is coming out on July 7 and is centered around the theater and magic and all sorts of other fabulous things.

All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.That is, until now.
Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
(Summary from Amazon)

Doesn't that sound delicious? And quite appropriate, no?

Lisa's pledge to you is that if you fully participate in and complete this challenge, you will be entered into a drawing to win
1. a signed hardcover of Eyes Like Stars
2. a fabulous prize, TBD
3. an invitation to do a guest post on the series' website, Théâtre Illuminata.

So...yeah. You should participate. Because not only will you get to read some of the greatest literary works of all time, you might also win some awesome swag from Lisa.

Sign up, spread the word, and enjoy some Shakespeare!

^ a little picture/icon for your use ^

Leave your link to enter!

A concert

*** These are not my pictures. They were taken by my dear friend Rachel. :)

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #34: Gluttony

On Saturday

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

YES, my eyes are bigger then my belly.
No. I don't buy books. Or at least very rarely. Too much money for a broke high school student. Although I do mooch a lot of books, if that counts.
I'm hoping to stop getting books for the summer - library, bookstores, bookmooch, and review copies included, because I need to read what I have. Thankfully summer's coming up so I'll have more time to read. I'm hoping to make a pretty big dent in the pile in the three months of delicious freedom that are coming up. Because what else is there to do but read?

Shelter Me by Alex McAulay

Maggie Leigh just wants to be a normal teenager, but when German bombs tear apart London during World War II, her ultra-religious mother sees the destruction as divine punishment. She sends Maggie to a remote boarding school in coastal Wales, supposedly to keep her safe, but also to keep her in line. The school is creepy, the headmistress is a lunatic, and the students range from spoiled rich girls to speechless trauma vitims. But when a tragic accident happens on the beach, Maggie and three friends are forced to flee the school, plunging into the nightmarish world of Europe during wartime. Now every decision Maggie makes is fraught with danger, and living to see another day depends on how quickly she can think and act...and how far she's willing to go.
(Summary from back of book)

To be blunt, this is one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Seriously.

I usually try and find something good to say about not-so-great books that I read but I can't with this one. It was all just weird and implausible and creepy and bad.


I guess it was a quick read? If that's a good thing? Once I sat down to read it, it didn't take me very long to get through it.

But besides that, it was not good at all. The characters were seriously messed up, the ending was horrible, and basically, I didn't see the point to this book. Was there even meant to be a point?

I don't even know what to say.


I Tried type something interesting and intelligent and coherent for today but that didn't work and so this is just going to be a random, word-barf post. Like a diary except not so revealing because, hey, this is the internet.

1. Spring allergies are killing me. Mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. I'm dying here. It's like this feeling that nothing's going to get better. Like my eyes are going to be nasty and blood shot for the rest of my life. Like summer's never going to come. Like I'm never going to have fun ever again. Seriously. I'm that congested and moody. The only thing that makes me feel better is watching this:
It's just so happy. Expect a post about this when the Pilot comes out. Probably lots of fangirling.

2. Can I just reiterate how congested I am?

3. I hate having to make decisions. My options for this summer were to either find a job or to resign myself to a month of volunteering to watch little kids scream out in the middle of the woods. The job thing was basically an impossibility as I am going to be out of town for two and a half weeks for various trips and whatnot, so I'm doing the volunteering thing which sucks. Because I was expecting to get paid for it this summer but because of budget cuts, they took away the paid positions. Next year I'll get paid for five weeks but this year it's all volunteering again. But then two months of relative freedom which should be nice. I just have to endure a month of sunburn and mosquito bites first.

4. If I lick my arm, I smell like chlorine. Yum.

5. No school tomorrow because of teacher workshop/prom. So I'm having a picnic and going to a concert. Maybe that'll lift me out of my allergy induced bad mood.

6. I really love when it's windy outside and you have your hair down and it blows around like you're a model with a big wind fan turned on you. I always imagine that I've got this perfectly windswept 'do when in reality I look like Medusa. But while all the hair swooshing is going on, I feel lighter than air.

Bits 'n Pieces - Deborah Kerbel

Deborah Kerbel's debut novel, Mackenzie Lost and Found, came out last November and since then has received tons of glowing reviews. Her next novel, Girl on the Other Side, is due out this coming November. You can visit Deborah's website here. Enjoy the interview!

This or that:
Rain or shine?
Shine! Rain makes me sleepy…and then I end up napping instead of writing.
iPod or mp3 player?
iPod – but my husband and I share it and somehow I only get my turn when the battery needs charging.
Movies or TV?
Well I love movies, but they’re expensive since my husband and I need to hire a babysitter every time we go. So I’ll have to say TV by default (but usually I’d rather be writing).
City or country?
City to live…country to visit.
Mountains or beaches?
Beaches – as long as I’m in the shade (I burn to a crisp when I’m in the sun).
Dots or stripes?
Dogs or cats?
DOGS! Cats freak me out!
Cooking or eating out?
Eating out – I’ll do anything I can to avoid cooking dinner!
Coffee or tea?
Both – I must absolutely positively have a hot drink on my desk when I’m writing! I don’t usually care what it is, as long as it’s hot.
Books or magazines?
Books, baby! Magazines make me nervous – they’re so much about nothing.

Book -
Such a hard question! But I’d have to say Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels
Book store –
Sorry, I plead the Fifth!
Movie –
Probably Sense and Sensibility…I love anything Jane Austen.
Music artist -
The Beatles (Paul fan here).
Website -
Ha! -- of course!
Designer –
Um…who’s designing for Old Navy these days?
Coffee chain –
Deb’s Café (where I make my fabulous home-brewed cuppa)
Guilty pleasure –
I’m secretly and hopelessly addicted to America’s Next Top Model. Oops – guess it’s not a secret anymore.
Restaurant -
Mata Hari – a fabulous Malaysian restaurant in Toronto
Color -

Have you ever:
Lived abroad?
Yup – I was born in London, England and moved to North America when I was two.
Gotten a tattoo?
Never – I’m petrified of needles!
Stayed up for the midnight release of a movie or book?
No – nothing keeps me from my 8 hours.
Disliked your job?
Yes – before I became a writer.
Cried during a movie?
Definitely! IMHO, the best movies are the ones that make you cry!
Sang karaoke?
Once…under intense pressure…with a group of people…hating every second!

If you were on a desert island, what 5 things would you bring with you?
Sunscreen, a notepad, a pen, my husband, and our (shared) iPod.
What’s on the list of things you have to do during your life?
Swimming with dolphins – which I did a couple of years ago. It was fantastic!
If you could have one super power what would it be?
Flying, for sure!
What’s your perfect music playlist?
I look for the same thing in music that I look for in books – something that stirs my soul and carries me away.
What’s the one food you could eat day after day and not get sick of?
Mint chocolate-chip ice cream on a sugar cone.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
To Africa for a safari.
What moment in history do you wish you could’ve experienced?
Hanging around Florence during the Renaissance would have been pretty cool!
What does your dream library look like?
One of those old English, dark wood libraries with bookcases stacked up to the ceiling and a tall ladder on wheels to access the highest shelves. Of course, each shelf would be filled with all of my bestsellers (hey, this is a dream…right?)
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
I motor to the YA section to check out all the cool new covers…and to turn my book face out for everyone to see.
If everyone had to read one book, what would you have it be?
My book! Because, if everyone in the world bought a copy of Mackenzie, Lost and Found, I could finally get my own freakin’ iPod!


Thank you sooo much Deborah!
I have to agree with you on the Old Navy thing. That store is pure genius.

ALSO. This interview marks the last one of its kind, at least in this format. From now on, they're shorter, there's more variety, and there may be some Halloween pictures. So yeah, be on the lookout for that. :)

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin

Fifteen-year-old Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It all started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only perosn who knows about that night is Audrey - Finn's best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person (under thirty) Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn's childhood friend Jersy moves back into town - reckless, beautiful boy Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you'd want to dip your fingers into it if you weren't careful - Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. After all, how could she possibly say no to Audrey?
With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time since September, for the first time in her life maybe, something feels right - absolutely, stunningly right. But Finn can't be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she?
(Summary from back of ARC)

Ahhh...can I decline to do a review on this one please? That would be great.

Because I adore C.K. Kelly Martin and I wouldn't want to say anything less than glowing about her book. But I think I kind of have to with this one. It wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be.

The biggest thing that bothered me about One Lonely Degree was how passive it was. Her first book tackled a big issue in a big way (teen pregnancy from a guy's perspective - it doesn't get much better than that) and this book just didn't. I guess you could say that the whole Adam Porter thing was the event that was supposed to add a little bit of tension and edginess to the book, but I didn't see that at all. Nothing really jumped out at me or made me take a second look.

The other thing that bothered me was Jersy. On the surface he was the cute, idealistic guy, but, at least to me, he was a complete man ho (don't laugh at my terminology). He hooks up with Finn's best friend. Like hook-up, hook-up. And then once she's gone, he turns around and tells Finn that it was really her all along. While reading, I was just like, seriously? Really, Jersy? Because if any guy did that to my best friend or to me, I'd slap him across the face and walk away. Not okay in my book. Jersy was just a big ol' slime ball.

Other than that though, this book was quite good. After I realized that there weren't going to be any big controversial events, I resigned myself to reading it like I did Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. Like it was a fun little account of a teen's life. I listened to the voice instead of any underlying hints and meanings that there might have been. And once I got into that, I decided that the book wasn't half bad. Finn had a really great voice and the way she described things and reacted to different twists in her life struck a chord with me. She reminded me of myself.

I also loved the ending and the openness of it all. Because, really, in real life, nothing turns out perfectly. It's about finding the silver lining and making the best out of what's put in front of you.

One Lonely Degree wasn't a book about some big issue that needs to be confronted or some star-crossed romance, it was a book about life.

And I loved that.

So thanks C.K. You really can do no wrong in my mind.



...for someone who reads/has visited my blog who DOES NOT have a blog of their own.
I know this is a shot in the dark because, for the most part, bloggers read other bloggers' blogs and they're the ones who leave the comments and what-not, but.
If you do read my blog and you're just a random person on the street without your own blog, pleasepleaseplease leave a comment here.
Also, an email address is preferable? Or you could just email me at
I'll love you forever.
And I don't bite, I swear.

My Baby

This Monday, I came home to a wonderfully large and bulky package sitting on my front doorstep.
My dog took quite a liking to it...

Ah yesss...

My favorite part? Click to enlarge.

I've been click-clacking away all week. And while typing on my laptop keyboard, I already go to "shift-8" for the apostrophe. *palm-forehead*