September's ILYB Award Winner: IB Book Blogging

IB Book Blogging
A few months ago, I came upon a blog with an intriguing name. After knowing about the IB program, I had to see what this blogger was doing. After looking around seeing the beautiful designs and reviews, I contacted Bailey to ask her a few questions about the IB program. In a few conversations, I knew that Bailey deserved some recognition for pulling together an amazing blog while still being a high school student. That's why, I picked Bailey and IB Book Blogging to be this month's ILYB Award winner!

Here is my interview with Bailey:

How did you get started blogging?

Well, in the summer of 2010 I got really into reading book blogs. All of the blogs that I read inspired me to contribute to the community of book lovers but it took me awhile to actually do something. I was pretty self-conscious at first about whether my reviews would suck, or no one would read them. But I met some pretty awesome bloggers who gave me advice and helped me to gain confidence.

How did you come up with the blog design?

Rachel from Parajunkee made my blog design and I love it so much! I love faeries and my favorite colors are pink and purple so I asked her to incorporate that into my design, and she took off with it. I couldn't have asked for a better layout for my blog!

What do you think your blog brings to the blogging community?

I think my blog brings thoughtful reviews to the blogging community.

Have there been any highlight moments since you've started blogging?

Goodness, there have been so many! I guess one of them would be when I celebrated my blogoversary. I cannot believe that it has been that long already!

What do you think is the best and worst part of blogging?

The best part of blogging is the friends that I make in the community and the readers that tell me they love my blog. =) I honestly can't think of anything bad about blogging.

As a teen, what are some advantages and disadvantages with blogging?

The advantage is that I probably have more time to blog than an adult who probably works full time would. The disadvantage is that I feel like sometimes teen bloggers aren't taken as seriously as the adult bloggers.

What reads are you looking forward to reading?

I am really excited to read Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, and Article 5 by Kristen Simmons. I have been drooling over them for awhile!!

Is there any genres you could never read?

Probably horror. I do not handle scary stuff very well and easily get nightmares. I know, I am a wimp. ;)

What would you like to do with your blog in the future?

Well, I am almost 18 now so I would like to start posting reviews of the adult books that I read along with YA, kind of to reflect my transition from teen to adult.

Will there be any events in the next few months?

Well, as soon as I reach 1000 followers (So close!) I will have a huge celebration and giveaway. =)

What have you learned from blogging?

I have learned how to become a better writer and how to manage my time better, what with my full IB schedule. It isn't easy managing a blog with IB but I still manage. =)

Do you have any tips or advice for new bloggers?

Don't worry about what others will think of your blog or your reviews! Do what you want to do, read what you want to read, and write what you want to write!

Bonus: With the fall season coming up, what do you do to keep cozy while reading?

I like to curl up with a warm blanket and my doggies while I read. They definitely keep me warm and cozy. =)

You can find Bailey on:

Thank you to Bailey for having an amazing blog and taking some time out to answer our questions.

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article 'I Love Your Blog' Awards with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/september-ilyb-award-winner-ib-book.html. Thanks!

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books I Want to Reread

TTT is a weekly feature held by the Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic are books that we would love to reread. Here's my list:

1. The Book Thief by Mark Zusak
Beautifully written and a different take and perspective on a huge event in our history. This was a school read, but everyone in my class was captivated by it.

2. Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell
It was absolutely hilarious and some of the best kissing scenes I've ever read. I kept up with this series and would love to reread how it all began between Fran and Ben.

3. Beastly by Alex Flinn
This is one of the best YA book I've read so far. It's so simple with being based in Brooklyn, but I love the development of the characters and budding romance.

4. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
I tried to read this at first and could not get through it. I wan to read it in the future since I know how well-written it is and what the heck Mackie is.

5. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
I absolutely love adaptions and this was a perfect one. I can not wait for the sequel to this one, but I will definitely be rereading this before it comes out.

6. Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead
I love the VA series, if you don't already know. But, I really want to read this book in the series again. This is where Rose meets Adrian and I remember my reaction to him, a mixture of confusion and giddiness. But, it will be awesome to reread Rose's thoughts about Adrian.

7. Unleashed by Kristopher Reisz
This is one of my favorite werewolf books. This was actually what started my obsession with paranormal and Urban Fantasy! I haven't read it in years, so I'd love to get my hands on it again.

8. Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper
Again with the adaptions! I loved this take on Romeo and Juliet. It was suspenseful in some parts and very sweet, innocent romance mixed in with it.

9. Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran
This was my first adult book and kicked off my love for them. it was like any other book, but had the drama of adulthood and how your lies will catch up with you.

10. Immortal by Gillian Shields
I love this series and Sebastian makes me jump up and down with glee. I love reading this series and want to continue. However, Immortal is more about the romance while Betrayal just caused me to cry.

What are some books you'd love to reread? Did I put some of your choices?

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Top Ten Tuesdays with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/top-ten-tuesdays-books-i-want-to-reread.html. Thanks!

Giveaway Winner for After Obsession


The winner of After Obsession is:


Aydrea from Random Thoughts







The winner is given 48 hours to reply to our email to confirm notification. If a winner is not able to reply back in time, a new winner is chosen by Random.org.

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Contests/Giveaways with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/giveaway-winner-for-after-obsession.html. Thanks!

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

"In the beginning, there's boy standing in the trees....
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angle blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place- and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tires to find her way int a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she's have to make- between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?"

Plot: Best. Book. Ever. I probably say that about every book I have reviewed, but I mean it. I wish I could tell you the ending, but I am not that kind of person. Anyway, the ending is really confusing so I don't think I could... In the beginning, Clara has finally found her purpose. She doesn't know much, but there's a boy and a fire. She figures she must have to save him. She moves away from her home, and moves to where she has to go. And may I just say, I think she is top on the list of "Worst First Days of School." She trains and works hard to stay focused on her "mission." But then Tucker comes along. At first he seems like some jerk who she can't stand, but then she gets to know him more. Everything turns into one big question mark as she struggles with everything she must decide. I love it!
Main Characters: Tucker. Is. Amazing. Nothing else to add to that. He is just epic in every way, shape, and form. Of course, so is Clara. She's a perfect balance of responsible and whiny teenager.
Cover: I was interested that it was Natalie Portman (...it is right?). I never see real celebrities on books for some reason and I thought it was awesome. She is one of my favorite actresses and she looks beautiful on this cover.

Overall: I read this one at my aunt's too, and I don't think I looked up once from this book. It is one of my favorites so far and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves romance stories about angels. I give this a 4/4 but for some reason my computer won't upload the picture, so imagine it's there.
Sweet Daydreams,
Brooke

P.S. If you go here then you can go to Cynthia Hand's blog, which has news about her books, and what I thought was cool, different covers for this book. One has her with her angel hair, and another has her with her redish orange. Look it up if you want!
You have read this article 2011 Reads / Brooke's Reviews / Paranormal Romance / Thriller/Horror/Suspense / Young Adult with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-unearthly-by-cynthia-hand.html. Thanks!

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

"Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her... beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing... it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step though the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late."
Plot: Right in the beginning of the story, these twelve princesses lose their beloved mother. Devastated, the girls must learn to stay a family. But the king is king, not dad, and it makes the girls even more distressed. Thinking their dad does not love them, they become angry and distant from him. Meanwhile, they have to go into a "mourning period" for a year full of isolation, black clothes, no outdoors, and even worse; no dancing. When they find a magic forest full of dancing, fun, and an amazing man, Keeper, they find themselves under a spell. What will become of them?

Main Characters: I really like how all the sisters are in alphabetical order (Azalea, Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Eve, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale, and Lily). They each have very different personalities, and I have to say, I love Bramble. Though, I think I am most like Clover. But Azalea is a wonderful, strong main character.

Cover: I love this cover. I had no idea what this was about or anything, but I knew I wanted to read it because of the cover. I love the dress, and where she is.

Overall: I didn't even read what this was about so when it started sounding like the Twelve Dancing Princesses, I was thoroughly confused. But I loved the cover so much, I assumed I would love it. I was right! It is full of ball gowns, dancing, and even magic. Heather Dixon wrote this beautifully, and I found myself at my aunt's house, locked in the guest room reading, rather than spending time with them. I give this a 3/4 because it was very well written and enticing.
Sweet Daydreams,
Brooke
You have read this article 2011 Reads / Brooke's Reviews / Drama / Historical fiction / Romance / Young Adult with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-entwined-by-heather-dixon.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully: Nancy Garden *Guest Post*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.


Today on the blog is Nancy Garden, author of "Annie on My Mind":


A versatile writer, Nancy Garden has published books for children as well as for teens, nonfiction as well as fiction. But her novel Annie on My Mind, the story of two high school girls who fall in love with each other, has brought her more attention than she wanted when it was burned in front of the Kansas City School Board building in 1993 and banned from school library shelves in Olathe, Kansas, as well as other school districts. A group of high school students and their parents in Olathe had to sue the school board in federal district court in order to get the book back on the library shelves. Today the book is as controversial as ever, in spite of its being viewed by many as one of the most important books written for teens in the past forty years. In 2003 the American Library Association gave the Margaret A. Edwards Award to Nancy Garden for lifetime achievement.

Nancy's Guest Post

Now that I've read my colleagues' stories in Dear Bully I'm struck by what a large and potentially strong underground sister- and brotherhood of bullying victims, bullies, and bystanders we form! I am struck even more by the probability that our remembered pain is shared by thousands of other adults, most of whom, like most of us, have kept silent about the fear, the humiliation, the guilt, and the agony they suffered years ago, and the ache we all carry in our hearts for the kids who now find themselves spinning in the same vicious circle. And I ask myself and all other adults: Can't we now at last try to end this scourge by speaking out and by teaching and demonstrating that all kids are valuable and have a right to be "different" whatever that difference is? Can't we now, in our own homes and neighborhoods and schools and houses of worship make the effort to acknowledge that bullying is ubiquitous, that childhood bullying kills and wounds permanently? Can't we also begin to acknowledge that childhood bullying that goes untreated can lead to extreme horrors like school shootings, adult bullying, and torture?


Please--let us at least try!
Where you can find Nancy:


I want to thank Nancy and all of the other authors who jumped on board with this event! It has been incredible to get to know reasons why authors got involved with this project and their views on bullying. I hope that Dear Bully is an inspiration to those everywhere and can start a new revolution of peace.

You can order Dear Bully on Amazon and click here to view the website.

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Dear Bully Spotlight / Guest Posts with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-nancy-garden-guest-post.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully: Jessica Brody *Interview*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.


Today on the blog is Jessica Brody, author of "My Life Undecided" and "The Karma Club":
Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self "publishing" her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples and electrical tape. After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author. In four short years, Jessica has sold five novels. Jessica recently sold five more young adult titles to her publisher, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Jessica's books are published in over ten foreign countries. Jessica now works full time as a writer and producer. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Colorado.
Interview with Jessica

About You:

How did you come up with the idea for "My Life Undecided"?

This book was definitely one of those “aha!” moments that I hear writers talk about. My husband and I were watching TV, an ad for a reality show came on and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a reality show where you could vote on what the characters did. As in, “who they went out with?” or “Whether or not they forgave their backstabbing best friend.” Like American Idol meets The Hills. We both agreed although it would be cool, it wouldn’t be practical from a production standpoint since they shoot those reality shows months before they air. I was not deterred though. I said, “Fine, I’ll write it as a book,” and then marched up the stairs and in ten short minutes, wrote a page-long synopsis for what would become MY LIFE UNDECIDED and sent it to my editor. She wrote back right away saying that she loved it and the book was born!

What is the difference between writing a screenplay and writing a novel?

There are many things I love about writing both. In novels you really get to live inside the character's mind and learn about everything she's thinking. I love internal monologue and so writing novels is fun in that you get to explore so much of what you would never see on the screen of a movie. Screenplays are great, though, because you can tell a story so much more succinctly and visually. I love writing montages in screenplays. A series of quick scenes that speed you through a part of the story. You can't really do that very well in novels.

Is there any genre that you wish to touch on in the future?

I would love to one day write a mystery novel. I try to put a little bit of mystery in all my books, regardless of the genre. I lay clues for the main character to find that eventually lead her to solve the puzzle at the end. So I think it would be fun to try my hand at a real mystery novel!

What do you think adult novels have that you can not do with YA?

I don't think there's much you can do with adult novels that you can't do with YA these days. YA has become so edgy and mature in the last few years. I think the big difference between YA and adult fiction is the point of view. Adult characters have a bit more perspective about the world and are sometimes more jaded than teen characters. What makes YA fiction so fun is that the characters are experiencing a lot of emotions and situations for the first time. Everything is raw and new. It's really fun to put yourself back into that mindset.

What is the most rewarding part of being an author?

Getting feedback from readers. Whether it's in a good review left on Amazon, a fan letter or email, or meeting readers at signing events, when someone tells you they enjoyed your book (or better yet, it changed them somehow), there's no better feeling in the world!


About DB:

Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?

There was no decision to be made. As soon as Megan and Carrie sent around the email about what they were doing, I instantly knew it was something I wanted (needed!) to do. I was affected by bullying in middle school and it truly shaped who I am today. I was so excited to be able to share my story in such an important anthology.

Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?

I think there's something in here for everyone. Parents of teenagers, parents of kids who will eventually be teenagers, teachers, aunts, uncles, grand parents, adults who were bullied when they were younger, bullies themselves. Everyone can get something out of this book. I guarantee it!

How has your experiences made you stronger?

I always say, "I don't believe in regret." Everything that happens to you makes you who you are. There's an opportunity to learn and grow from every experience you encounter. When I moved to a new school in the sixth grade and I was bullied by some of the kids, it only made me more independent and determined to do something with my life. It fueled my drive to be successful. Because I didn't have many friends in the beginning, I threw all of my energy into studying and creative endeavors. And it set me up to be motivated and a self-starter in the future.

How should someone reach out for help or support?

Talk to someone you trust. A friend, a parent, a relative, a teacher, a volunteer at a hotline. There are so many people out there who can help you. I know it may not seem that way, but it's true. Tell someone what's happening. Don't hold it inside. It will only make it worse. When my sister was in junior high, she was bullied by an older girl at her school who threatened to hurt her. My sister told my mom, my mom told the police and the girl and her parents got a very serious visit from the police department. She never bothered my sister again. Please reach out!

Give advice about bullying in three words.
 
You're not alone.
 
Where you can find Jessica:
 
Thank you to Jessica for participating with our Dear Bully Spotlight event! You can order Dear Bully on Amazon and see the official website here.
 
Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Author Interviews / Contests/Giveaways / Dear Bully Spotlight with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-jessica-brody-interview.html. Thanks!

Winners of Tantalize Graphic Novel and Firelight Merch

Sorry for the delay! Everything is very hectic at the moment, so blogging has become rare for me this week. However, here are the winners for the past two giveaways:



Winner of Tantalize Graphic Novel:


Katherine Cromwell







Winners of the Firelight merch are:

Ashly F. from Lost in the Stacks

and

Wanda from Books are Magic





Winners are chosen by Random.org and are given 48 hours to respond to our email. If they do not respond, we choose another winner from the existing entries.

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Contests/Giveaways with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/winners-of-tantalize-graphic-novel-and.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully: Steven E. Wedel *Interview/Giveaway*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.


Today on the blog is Steven E. Wedel, author of "After Obsession" and the Werewolf Saga:


Born and raised an Okie, Wedel typically sets his stories somewhere in Oklahoma's diverse landscape. He began writing in high school in the early 1980s and never stopped. He currently lives in central Oklahoma with his wife and four children. Besides writing, he earns his living as a high school English teacher.
  
Interview with Steven:
 
About Steven:

Why did you choose to go into writing?

I've always been a quiet, kind of shy person who preferred the company of books to most people. In sixth grade my teacher suggested I enter an essay contest. I wrote a short story instead, but that made me realize how much fun it was to write. Then in high school another teacher sort of fanned the flame and I've been writing since then.

What turned you on to writing about werewolves?

I like the werewolf as metaphor for the wild side we all have buried somewhere within us. For some it's deeper than others, but I think it's there in everyone. I thought I'd see what happened when a shy young woman was able to tap into her inner beast. And now it just keeps growing. This summer I finished the next book in the saga and hope to see it released in 2012.

Is there any paranormal creatures you would like to touch on in the future?

Yes. I've had an idea for a vampire story since the 1980s and I think it's about time to put that on paper. My vampire won't sparkle, though. He'll be the old fashioned scary kind. I'm getting old. I want to play with the idea of immortality.

Other than the amazing Carrie Jones, is there any other authors you would like to co-write with?

That's an interesting question. I really don't know. The chemistry Carrie and I have when writing is something I never would have predicted. I can't imagine it being so good and so easy with anyone else. I have a lot of writer friends I respect and admire and would be willing to try collaborations with them, I guess, but I would be worried about trying to catch lightning twice.

What is one thing you have learned from becoming an author?

That writing can be great therapy. Anything bothering me in my "real" life can be worked out in writing.

About DB:

Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?

It was an odd coincidence. Carrie contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in contributing something. She happened to do that just after some fantastic students at the school where I teach created Stand for the Silent, an anti-bullying campaign they put together in memory of Ty Smalley, a young boy who killed himself after being horribly bullied at school. Stand for the Silent had me remembering my days of being a scrawny, shy kid who got picked on a lot, then Carrie's e-mail came, so I decided to put those memories on paper.

Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?

Parents, teachers, counselors, ministers ... anyone who is in a position to help kids at risk of being bullied. I think anyone can read it and be touched, but those in contact with kids can definitely use it as a resource to help encourage those being bullied.

How has your experiences made you stronger?

When I have a bad day at work now, or the car breaks down, or whatever, I can look back to being clubbed on the head or dragged out of the school bathroom in my underwear and realize I got through that, so I can deal with this, too.

How should someone reach out for help or support?

Go to an adult you trust. I'm a teacher. I know teachers. You may think your teachers don't like you, but I promise you we are there because we care about you. We don't get paid very much money. We come to school every day because we want to be with you and help you. So go to your teacher and tell him or her what's going on.

Give advice about bullying in three words.

Tell someone NOW!

Where you can find Steven:

Giveaway item: US copy of After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

Type: International

Requirements: 13 years or older

How to enter: Leave a comment on this post with your name, way to contact, and what country you live in.
The giveaway ends on Sunday, Sept. 18, 11:59 PM EST!



Thank you to Steven for hanging out here with us today! You can order Dear Bully over at Amazon and check out the website here.

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Author Interviews / Contests/Giveaways / Dear Bully Spotlight with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-steven-e-wedel.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully: Stephanie Kuehnert *Interview*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.


Today on the blog is Stephanie Kuehnert, author of "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" and "Ballads of Suburbia":


STEPHANIE KUEHNERT got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist 'zines. After short stints in Ohio and Wisconsin, Stephanie ultimately returned home and received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago. She currently resides in Forest Park, IL.


Interview with Stephanie

About Stephanie:

How do you combine your love of literature and music into your writing?

I write about characters who love music as much as I do. Sometimes they are the kind of characters I wish I could be, like Emily from I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, who is the frontwoman of a punk band. Sometimes they are more like me, like Kara from BALLADS OF SUBURBIA, who uses music as an outlet and escape like I always have. Music also feeds me while I'm writing. Sometimes a song or a certain band will inspire a scene or a character or the whole vibe of a book.

Have you put some of your personal experiences into your writing?

Yes, especially in BALLADS OF SUBURBIA, which deals with depression and self-injury, two things I struggled with quite a bit in high school, as well addiction, which I dealt with and a lot of my friends dealt with. On the lighter side, I also do give my characters my interests and hobbies. I just finished the manuscript for my first adult book and one of the characters is a bartender, which is my other job besides writing and the other character is vegan and politically active much like I was as a teen (and still am, I suppose though maybe to a slightly lesser degree. I'm still vegan.)

What book genres interest you the most?

Realistic Young Adult Fiction is probably my all-time fave, but I love everything: paranormal, urban fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian. I like memoirs and contemporary adult fiction, as well as classics like John Steinbeck. If it is well-written I'll read it.

What have you learned from becoming an author?

Oh man, loads, but the best thing is how much I love readers, especially teens. The readers of your books are what make your job as an author worthwhile.

Do you have any future ideas for books?

Always. Lots of ideas, just not entirely sure where I'll go next. Trying to find a home for this adult book right now and working on writing things for an online magazine for teen girls: http://rookiemag.com/ so I'm writing about a lot of my personal experiences as non-fiction. Which is kinda scary!

About DB:

Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?

Because the more articles I read about teens being bullied, especially teens like Phoebe Prince who took their own lives because bullying made them feel so hopeless, the more upset I got. I was bullied in grade school and junior high and the resulting emotional scars made me pretty self-destructive and have low self-esteem for quite a long time. It's important to me to talk about ways to survive bullying and it is equally important to give bullying survivors a voice. In all case of abuse, silence is big part of what empowers the abuser. When survivors start to talk, their wounds begin to heal and abusers/bullies lose power. Increasing awareness is a huge part of stopping bullying from happening.

Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?

Everyone should read this book in my opinion. The pieces are so varied and there are some really interesting ones where people talk about not even knowing they were a bully or being a bully because they couldn't stand up to their group of friends. That happens a lot. So the more teens who read Dear Bully, the more will be aware of what bullying behavior really is and really feels like, and hopefully bullying will lessen. To me that is part of the goal of this project, not just helping those who've been bullied heal, but examining the bully issue as a whole and changing our mentality as a society so that it stops and we are kinder to each other. Parents, teachers, guidance counselors, any one who works with, lives with or is a friend of teenagers should read this, too.

How have your experiences made you stronger?

Being labeled an outcast helped me figure out who I was rather than blindly following a group. When I realized that no matter what I did or wore that certain people were still going to be cruel to me, I stopped trying to fit in and just embraced who I was. This wasn't easy. I am not going to lie, I was very unhappy for a long time. But once I learned to talk about it and to write about and put my feelings in words, I got stronger. It was a slow process, but in the long run, I'm doing what I want to do and am proud of who I've become.

How should someone reach out for help or support?

This is the hardest question because it is very personal. But remember what I said before, silence gives the bully power. Also what they are doing is not acceptable. They have no excuse. Not everyone thinks they are as cool as they think they are. Most people probably are just afraid to stand up to them. You have to reach out to the person who makes you most comfortable, if not your parents, a cool teacher, librarian, coach or other adult. Start by writing your feelings down, that always makes it easier for me.

Give advice about bullying in three words.

Talk about it.

Where you can find Stephanie:

Thank you, Stephanie, for participating in the DB Spotlight! You can order Dear Bully over at Amazon and check out the DB site here!

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Dear Bully Spotlight with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-stephanie-kuehnert-interview.html. Thanks!

{Friday Round-Up} Book Blogger Hop :: Follow Friday :: TGIF

Book Blogger Hop
Q: Many of us primarily read one genre of books, with others sprinkled in. If authors stopped writing that genre, what genre would you start reading? Or would you give up reading completely if you couldn’t read that genre anymore?


A: My favorite genre is romance, so if there were no more romance novels...I'd die! Maybe not die, but there would be a lot of...sad nights. I think I could get over it and venture on to other books, but I would have to go through the grieving process first.



Q: Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one?

A: Hmm....I would have to say the Twilight saga. Not that it was horrible or anything, I'm a HUGE TwiHard! However, in Breaking Dawn, I feel like Stephenie took the safe way out so that known of the beloved characters would have died. But, I would have wanted to know what happened if the Volturi and the Cullen clan/friends fought and the Volturi won. Who would have died? What would Nessie's life be like with Jacob since he would have taken care of her with her parents and family gone?


Q: Books to Television: Which books would you love to see made in to a TV series? or movie?
A: So many! But, I'll say a few. Since Vampire Academy is on it's way of becoming a movie, I'll leave that one out. But, my top five I wish would be a movie/TV series would be these:

Vampire Kisses: TV series
Hush, Hush: TV series or movies
Darkest Powers: TV series
The Maker's Song: TV series (but on HBO like True Blood)
Immortal series (Gillian Shields): movies

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha

Source: Crazy For Books
You have read this article Friday Round-Up with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/friday-round-up-book-blogger-hop-follow.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully: Cynthia Leitich Smith *Interview/Giveaway*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.


Today on the blog is Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize and Blessed:

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of TANTALIZE, ETERNAL, BLESSED, and TANTALIZE: KIEREN'S STORY (Candlewick). Her award-winning books for younger children include JINGLE DANCER, INDIAN SHOES and RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (all HarperCollins) and HOLLER LOUDLY (Dutton). Her website at http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/ was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer's Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com was listed as among the top two read by the children's/YA publishing community in the SCBWI "To Market" column.

Interview with Cynthia

About Cynthia:


What first turned you on to writing?

Like many writers, I began as an avid reader. My mom took me to the public library for books on Saturdays, and my dad took me to the local convenience store for comics on Sundays. I also fell in love with stories on the big and small screens.

I played “pretend” longer than most kids—focusing on superheroes and “Star Wars” in part because my beloved pal next door was a few years younger.


By second grade, I was writing fiction and poetry for fun. By sixth grade, I had a column, “Dear Gabby” in Mr. Rideout’s classroom newsletter. I went onto become editor of my junior high and high school newspapers before majoring in news/editorial (with a concentration in English)at the University of Kansas, going on to earn a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and then launch into writing fiction full-time.

But if I had to pinpoint a handful of specific influences, I’d say The Wild Things, Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Nancy Drew, Terabithia, The Witch from Blackbird Pond, Stephen King, “Teen Witch,” “Meatloaf,” Bram Stoker and Joss Whedon.

What interests you about children's and YA books?

For young heroes, so many of their experiences are new. There’s a kiss, there’s a first kiss, and there’s your first kiss ever. Which will you remember for the rest of your life? It’s a matter of heightened intensity. Beyond that, kids and teens have extra limits placed on them by the adult world, so they often must work harder, stretch and grow more to meet their challenges. Finally, young readers are the best audience in the world. It’s an honor to work for them.

Are there any other paranormal creatures you would like to write about?

I’m pretty excited about the wereotter in my upcoming novel, Diabolical (Candlewick, Jan. 2012), but that manuscript is (newly) finished.


Hmm. I’m yet to tackle fairies, but they’re tempting me at the moment.

How is writing about younger characters different from adult characters?

In addition to the factors mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind that intelligence and talent are innate, not functions of age. There are kids out there who’re smarter, more talented at this or that than every adult they know.


In contrast, wisdom and skill are earned over time, effort, multiple failures, and persistence.

What can we see in the future from you?

My latest release is my first graphic novel, Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle (Candlewick, 2011).


Beyond that, I look forward to the publication of my latest YA short story, “Moon Over Broken Stars,” which will appear in Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle, Jan. 2012) and the previously mentioned novel Diabolical.


Another graphic novel, Eternal, is currently in production, and I’m writing a new paranormal YA prose novel, Smolder, which is set in the Tantalize series universe but emphasizes new and previously secondary characters.

About DB:

Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?

I knew Dear Bully anthologist Carrie Jones from her studies at the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. (I’m on the faculty.) She has such a wonderful heart and is so passionate and sincere that I knew the project would be terrific.


I also had been bullied myself from fourth through ninth grade, and I wanted to toss out a line of hope to kids who found themselves in a similar situation. I wanted to let them know that others had survived it and gone on to live their fondest dreams.

Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?

Perpetrators, the people who stay silent and/or get involved from the sidelines. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, administrators, clergy members, law enforcement officials, politicians, social workers, private tutors, employers of teens—really anyone who has children and teens in their lives or cares about our society in the whole. In other words: everybody.

How have your experiences made you stronger?

Absolutely. Ultimately, being bullied made me realize the importance of reaching out to others in positive ways. You never know when someone needs a kind word, hug, or unexpected show of solidarity.

How should someone reach out for help or support?

Try confiding in your closest friends and/or an adult you can trust. It’s also okay to take refuge in story or to find safe havens in other kid communities. If school is a battleground, get involved in church or local theater or a GLBTQ teen center—wherever you feel safe and valued.

Where you can find Cynthia:

 Giveaway item: One graphic novel of Tantalized

Type: US Only

Requirements: 13 years or older

How to enter: Leave a comment on this post with your name and some way to contact you




The giveaway closes on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 11:59pm EST!

I want to thank Cynthia for stopping by for the Dear Bully Spotlight You can check out the DB website here and buy the book on Amazon now! 


Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Author Interviews / Contests/Giveaways / Dear Bully Spotlight with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-cynthia-leitich-smith.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully: Melodye Shore *Interview*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.

Today on the blog is Melodye Shore:

Interview with Melodye

About Melodye:

What are some comparisons and differences between writing and public speaking?

Speakers invite people to see things from different points of view…to think, to question, to act. So do writers. Whether on papyrus or at the pulpit, around the campfire or on Twitter, we create bonds of understanding by communicating. And as we draw people in, the walls of separation fall away.

There are differences, of course, between writing and public speaking. A speech is a snapshot of ideas, framed for a specific audience and purpose. In the best of all worlds, sparks fly, and light bulbs go off. In the end, though, the feedback loop is structured, and take-aways are tied to the agenda. But a writer can take more liberties. Done right, a piece of writing is much like an impressionistic painting--timeless, transcendent, and open to interpretation. Readers return it at will, and when they do, they bring their imaginations along for the ride.

What is your memoir about?

My father was a faith-healing evangelist, and I was his “Miracle Baby.” We crisscrossed the country in a cramped sedan, holding revival meetings wherever we landed. CAN I GET A WITNESS? Memoir of a Tent Evangelist’s Daughter chronicles my childhood experiences within a fundamentalist Christian family. It’s about religious zealotry and private rebellions, dark secrets and the healing power of forgiveness.

How did it feel to write a memoir?

True fact: memoir-writing is not for the faint of heart! From the humorous, to the humiliating and horrific, I’m holding up my life experiences for public scrutiny. Lord knows, it’s difficult to write from a place of truth when you’re worried about what others might think! So I’ve learned to tune out destructive influences--and to trust my own instincts, instead.

Story-telling takes time. Honesty takes longer. But as I contemplate both, the deeper story gets coaxed to the surface.

What are some memoirs and/or biographies you enjoyed?

Oh, so many great memoirs from which to choose! I worry that I’ll leave out a gem (or several), but here’s a handful that I’ve loved, start to finish, and which linger with me even now: Jesus Land (Julia Scheeres); The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls); I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou);Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt); Night (Elie Wiesel); A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana (Haven Kimmelz); and This Boy's Life (Tobias Wolff). Feel Free to recommend more!

Do you think you will write fiction in the future?

I’m writing nonfiction now, but I wouldn’t want to get pigeonholed. I love to explore new possibilities! But whatever the topic or whomever the audience, you can always count on me to write from the heart.

Is there anything you want to do that you haven't done yet?

I’m imagining myself in a rented flat in Paris, writing by day and exploring the City of Lights after dark. Ooh la la, this is on my bucket list for sure!

About Dear Bully:

Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?

I’ve often wondered what happened to Luz, a friend-in-need who disappeared from my life long ago, but whom I’ve never forgotten. It made me sad to think that I might never see her again, but when I heard about DEAR BULLY, it finally clicked: I could memorialize our experiences in writing!

I am deeply honored to be counted among those selected for this anthology. Each author wrote through the prism of his or her own experiences and observations. That's all we have, all that we know. But magic exists, beneath and beyond any single contributor's words--the alchemy of storytelling. Scattered light. Bridges. Rainbows. That’s the best tribute to Luz I can think of.

Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?

At the risk of sounding flippant, I wouldn’t want to single out any group for inclusion or exclusion. Each selection speaks to a common topic, albeit from different vantage points. As for its potential readers, I invite everyone to come to the page with their own set of expectations. Bullying is a widespread issue, and DEAR BULLY gives voice (and a platform) to our mutual concerns.

How has your experiences made you stronger?

I got misty-eyed when I saw DEAR BULLY’s Table of Contents. “Luz” is smack-dab in the middle of the section called Thank you, Friends! What better place could there be for a story about a girl who craves companionship, and who discovers that sense of belonging when it’s least expected? No spoilers here, but Luz offered me friendship when I needed it most, and I’ll always remember the lessons she taught me.

How should someone reach out for help or support?

By now, most of us know about resources available to victims: Teachers. Clergy. Family members we love, and friends whom we trust. But it’s not always easy to reach out for help, even when it’s in our best interest to do so. Some of us are blinded by fear, rendered deaf and mute by grief and pain. I like that bullying awareness projects are cropping up all over the place. When we give voice to this issue, we learn how to keep our eyes and ears open--to speak up when necessary, and to be good listeners when we’re asked.

Give advice about bullying in three words.

Trust your gut.

Where you can find Melodye:

Thank you to Melodye for participating in our Dear Bully Spotlight! You can visit the Dear Bully website here and order the book on Amazon.


Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Author Interviews / Contests/Giveaways / Dear Bully Spotlight with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-melodye-shore-interview.html. Thanks!

Review: Seduced by Her Highlander Warrior (MacKinloch Clan #2) by Michelle Willingham

Synopsis: The MacKinloch Clan Highland warriors prepared to fight fiercely for their country...and for love

BACK IN HER HUSBAND’S BED

Alex MacKinloch is chief of his clan and, in these dark times of unrest, he has united his people. The void between him and his wife is proving a much harder challenge. When Alex discovers Laren has been keeping secrets from him, his thinly veiled frustration can no longer be contained.

The pleasures of the marital bed seem long forgotten to Laren. Yet her warrior husband is looking at her with increasingly hungry eyes... This powerful highlander has seduction on his mind and his wife in his sights! Source
 
Review
Plot: Laren is feeling unloved and unwanted from her husband. Alex is feeling his wife growing distant from him. The book revolves around this couple trying to figure out what happened to their marriage and what will become of it. Many have said that this plot dragged in some parts and I can agree with that. There were some scenes where it would seem it was written just to fill up space. However, I didn't read any scenes that weren't beneficial to the plot. Whether it was about the English attacking or Alex/Laren being in danger, each scene progressed to that and didn't have any hanging questions. I was pleased that the relationship between Alex and Laren progressed and wasn't like they waited until the last page to make up or just had lots of sex scenes. Each time they were together, it presented the time to slowly make up and get to the bottom of their problems as well as rekindle their love for one another. This was a great plot and was pleased with the ending that came. It wasn't forced, but by the end of the second to last chapter, you knew how the book would end.
 
Characters: Laren - Laren was very sympathetic. I liked that she did have a deep history and was scared to take her place as chief's wife because of how she grew up. However, her character did progress and she started to see that to make their marriage stronger, she had to find the courage within herself. I will say that I did like Laren's skill and how descriptive it was in the book. Willingham didn't put vague details about, but actually described Laren working and the different colors of the item she made.
Alex - Alex is definitely a hot warrior. He's protective of his family, wife, and clan. He would kill anyone who tries to harm any three of those things. That, unfortunately, was his downfall in the marriage. He makes sure his clan is always alright, he forgets that he has a wife and daughters. But, he isn't show of emotions. Through his passages, you see the adoration and love he has for Laren and his daughters. He just keeps them hidden because he is chief. But, throughout the book, you progressively see he is trying to be better.
 
Cover: The cover is of Alex I'm guessing. I like the simpleness of it. It's not too busy, but just shows Alex and the land of Ireland in the background. It is a common theme for this series to show the husband and then the land in the background.
 
Overall Rating: I am giving this book a three out of four. I love this book so much! It did drag in a few parts, but that is only a blur compared to the rest of the book. Willingham did an amazing job with the progressing of the characters and actually giving the culture of that time. The romance scenes were beautifully written and never too much where I had to turn away. If you like romance and historical fiction, I would highly recommend reading this.
Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article 2011 Reads / Action/Adventure / Alisha's Reviews / Drama / Historical fiction / Romance with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-seduced-by-her-highlander.html. Thanks!

Interview: Sophie Jordan *Giveaway*

With the release of Vanish on Tuesday, Sophie Jordan is stopping by BNR for a quick interview and a giveaway for our followers.
Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.
Interview with Sophie

What was the process of getting your first book published?

I went the standard route of getting an agent first. This process took almost two years. I queried and submitted again and again again until someone finally said yes! ;) Ironically, it only took her 2 weeks to sell my first book.

What are the differences between writing YA and writing adult?

Hmm, for me each book is a different journey based on the characters and story. Whether it's YA or adult doesn't signify to me. Every book is a new experience. Some easier to write than others, some not ... it just depends on the story and how I approach it. That said, I probably most enjoy writing in first person in YA - something I don't ever do in adult.

Lastly, what would you rather be a draki or werewolf and why?

Oh, a draki! If you're a draki, the possibilities are endless. Aside of flying, which they all do, your talent, ie paranormal ability, can be anything. Fire-breathing, invisibility ... the list goes on.

Where you can find Sophie:


*2 Winners*

Giveaway item: 5 Vanish and 5 Firelight postcards (w/ book summaries on back), 5 Firelight bookmarks, 10 Firelight stickers

Type: US Only

Requirements: 13 years or older

How to enter: Leave a comment on this post saying you want to enter

The giveaway closes on Monday, Sept. 12, 11:59pm EST!
 


Thank you to Sophie for stopping by! You can pre-order Vanish now over at Amazon and can look at other titles here

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Author Interviews / Contests/Giveaways with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/interview-sophie-jordan-giveaway.html. Thanks!

Dear Bully Spotlight: Melissa Walker *Interview/Giveaway*

With the release of Dear Bully on September 5th, we are celebrating it's release and message here at BNR. From Sept. 4th to Sept. 14th, we will be having authors that contributed to DB on the blog.

Today on the blog is Melissa Walker, author of Small Town Sinners:

Melissa Walker is a writer who has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. All in the name of journalism, she has spent 24 hours with male models and attended an elite finishing school for girls in New Zealand, among other hardships. She co-founded I Heart Daily with fellow ex-ELLEgirl Anne Ichikawa in 2009. It’s a daily newsletter about likable stuff. Melissa lives in Brooklyn and has a BA in English from Vassar College. She would tell you her SAT scores too, but, you know, the math part was hard.

 She loves meeting teenagers, and is game to speak at your library or school about writing, books, fashion, magazines or pop culture (but, you know, in a smart way).
Interview with Melissa
About Melissa:

Why did you decide to go into writing books?

I always loved writing, probably since I could hold a pen. When I found out that if I got good at it someone would PAY me for it, I knew that was my dream job.

Has your experiences with Seventeen and Ellegirl influenced your stories?

Definitely--the Violet books were based on encounters with the fashion world I had while working in magazines, and Small Town Sinners comes directly from a story I wrote for ELLEgirl about Hell Houses.

Are there any genres you would like to dive into someday?

Yes! I'd love to do a middle grade novel, but I'm not sure I've got the voice down. I'm going to try!

What are some authors you admire?

There are so many but I have to say my favorites as a teen were Judy Blume, Christopher Pike and VC Andrews.

What have you learned from becoming an author?

Wow, a lot! But one big thing is that writing is a job. It's a fun job, but it's definitely still WORK at the end of the day.

About DB:

Why did you decide to get involved with Dear Bully?

I loved the concept of a bunch of authors being open and honest--EVERYONE has a bully story.

Other than bullying victims, who should read this book?

Everyone. I think, if we really look at ourselves honestly, we've all been both victim and bully at some point.

How has your experience made you stronger?

Every experience is a learning moment, and my bullying experiences definitely taught me to be a better person.

How should someone reach out for help or support?

You know who you trust, whether that's a parent, one specific friend, a mentor, whoever. Reach out to the trusted person--your gut will guide you.

Give advice about bullying in three words.

Just walk away.

Where you can find Melissa:


Giveaway Item: One copy of Dear Bully

Type: International

Requirements: Must be 13 or older to enter

How to enter: Fill-out the form

*You can tweet about this giveaway for +1 entry.
The giveaway closes on Saturday, Sept. 10th, 11:59pm EST!


Thank you to Melissa for participating in our DB Spotlight! You can visit the Dear Bully website here and pre-order the book on Amazon.

Peace and Fangs,
Alisha
You have read this article Author Interviews / Contests/Giveaways / Dear Bully Spotlight with the title September 2011. You can bookmark this page URL http://renthompsonishere.blogspot.com/2011/09/dear-bully-spotlight-melissa-walker.html. Thanks!