Monday, April 23, 2012

Memorable Monday #11

And I'm back with my eleventh Memorable Monday! For those who have no clue on what this is, this is a meme hosted by Escape in a Book, where you share a a certain quote that you love- funny, beautiful, or memorable in any way.

How to participate?
1. Share a quote that has captured your interest lately in a Memorable Monday post on your blog.
2. Go here and leave the link to your post in our inlinkz widget.
3. It would be nice if you visited one or two of the other participants.
4. If you tweet your posts then feel free to use the hastag #MemorableMonday

This week, my quote comes from...
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Okay, so my quote today is pure... stupidity. Ah heck, it made me laugh the first time I read it. ;) You just gotta love Cole!
“My father—” 
“The mad scientist,” I interjected. “Yes, the mad scientist. He used to tell a joke in his
classes. It’s about a frog. I think it’s a frog. It might be a grasshopper. Let’s go with frog. A scientist has a frog and he says, ‘Jump, frog.’ The frog jumps ten feet. The scientist writes down Frog jumps ten feet. Then the scientist chops off one of the frog’s legs and says, ‘Jump, frog,’ and the frog jumps five feet. The scientist writes Cut off one leg, frog jumps five feet. Then he chops off another leg, and says, ‘Jump,’ and the frog jumps two feet. The scientist writes down Cut off two legs, frog jumps two feet. Then he cuts off all the frog’s legs and says, ‘Jump,’ and the frog just lies there. The scientist writes down the conclusions of the test: Cutting off all a frog’s legs makes the subject go deaf.” Cole looked at me. “Do you get it?”

I was indignant. “I’m not a total idiot.”
Heh, that never fails to crack me up! :)

Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Twelve Dancing Princesses: Review

I loved fairy tales back when I was a little kid- and I still do. Yes, I know I already reviewed a fairy tale back in January, but I couldn't help it! The Twelve Dancing Princesses was one of my favorites, and I've read it tons of times over and over again. 

So why did I pick this certain book this month? Well, a few weeks ago, I read Entwined by Heather Dixon. It was a retelling of this certain fairy tale, but with a darker, more suspenseful edge. And I absolutely loved it. I also read Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn a few years ago, also a retelling of this, but with an Excalibur twist, and I also enjoyed it. So I got the idea of choosing this one, and went with it. 

Okay, so as I said, its been a long time since I've last read this story, and through the years, I guess my mind has warped it, remembering all the great parts, and forgetting all the bad ones. It had magically become a perfect fairy tale in my head- but now? Not so much. 

So first off, I loved the idea and the main plot of the story. I gotta admit, the thought of having a secret place where you danced all night, a place filled with magic, is simply enchanting. The story was mysterious, and even suspenseful!

But then again, the way the story was written- the narration was a bit dry. It was like the story was rushed and forced out, thus kinda ruining the experience for me. And also, the "romance". I don't really like the way the man who solved the puzzle just managed to marry the eldest princess like that. I dunno- it might have been nicer if the princess actually liked him back- but then, that's not even mentioned in thr fairy tale. 

So... I guess I'm giving this one 3 stars. A good fairytale, with a really unique premise- it was just the way it was written that threw me off. A shame really, since I love most fairy tales. (And on a side note- I'm kinda hoping there will be an episode in Grimm about this fairytale. :D)

Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

Monday, April 16, 2012

Memorable Monday #10

And I'm back with my tenth Memorable Monday! For those who have no clue on what this is, this is a meme hosted by Escape in a Book, where you share a a certain quote that you love- funny, beautiful, or memorable in any way.

How to participate?
1. Share a quote that has captured your interest lately in a Memorable Monday post on your blog.
2. Go here and leave the link to your post in our inlinkz widget.
3. It would be nice if you visited one or two of the other participants.
4. If you tweet your posts then feel free to use the hastag #MemorableMonday

This week, my quote comes from... 

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
So yeah, this series might have been out for a while now, but I just fell in love with it recently. The summary doesn't even do this book half the justice it deserves!  I picked two quotes for today, both between Rose and Dimitri. So, the first one, which made me snort out loud:
“Wow." I hadn't thought Dimitri could be any cooler, but I was wrong. "You beat up your dad. I mean, that's really horrible...what happened. But, wow. You really are a god." 
He blinked. "What?"

"Uh, nothing.”
And the second one... well, its so sweet. Really. It just made Dimitri all the more swoon worthy. (Though I did think he was a bit of a pedophile, falling for someone 7 years younger than him. Though I think I can look past that one. ;) )
"Because we can't be together." 
"Because of the age thing, right?" I asked. "Because you're my mentor?" 
His fingertip gently wiped away a tear that had escaped down my cheek. "That's part of it," he said. "But also, well, you and I will both be Lissa's guardians someday. I need to protect her at all costs. If a pack of Strigoi come, I need to throw my body between them and her." 
"I know that. Of course that's what you have to do." 
"No. If I let myself love you, I won't throw myself in front of her. I'll throw myself in front of you."
Ooh. Swoon. Its too bad really, that Dimitri's: a.) waaaay older than me, and b.) fictional


So enough of that. What was your quote this week? :)

Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox #10

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme over at The Story Siren's, where you share what books and other goodies you got. Okay, so I’m still officially on vacation, but the good news? At least I’m gonna have some internet for the time being. So of course, I just couldn’t resist posting an IMM for this week, because I got some really great stuff this week!

So first off, I went shopping for- what else?- books, and managed to snag these books- and got them real cheap too!

I’ve read some pretty crappy anthologies lately, but I’m pretty excited for Kiss Me Deadly, since I recognize some authors from the list. And while I had no plans of reading Hereafter soon, I couldn’t resist buying it- and it’s looking pretty good now! :D 

And Last Sacrifice- ah, I’m reading that book now, and loving it. I just recently fell in love with the Vampire Academy series, and I fell hard. I read the entire thing pretty much at the rate of one book per day- so addicting- but now I’m at the last book and I don’t want it to end! Rose is pretty much the most kickbutt heroine ever, and Dimitri- gosh. If you’re interested, drop by tomorrow, because there’s gonna be some swooning involved over that guy. ;) 

And Illuminate! I was pretty ecstatic when I won the swag bag giveaway Aimee had held, and I love love love it! Aimee is the best, and I can’t wait to dive into Illuminate- and check out all the pretty swag I got! :D (Except for the Iron Fey bookmark. That- well, I got it some other way. I’m not so sure you’d wanna know. :P)

So that's it for this week. What did you get this week?

Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sykosa Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Please enjoy this interview with Justin Ordoñez, author of the YA novel (for 18+ readers), Sykosa. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 The Interview

1. Who or What is a Sykosa?
Sykosa is a sixteen year old junior in high school. She’s the main character of a novel I’ve written by the same name. For a quick rundown, she attends a prestigious preparatory academy, is part of the school’s coolest clique, “the Queens,” and she has started dating the boy she’s secretly been crushing on for a year, Tom. It’s taken a year to start dating him because A) there was this SUPER HUGE thing that happened during her sophomore year, and it delayed things and made being intimate with Tom difficult, and B) she kinda starts seeing stars around him and loses the ability to behave in any type of serious manner.

2. Why is Sykosa different from other novels?
It’s different because youth driven literature has become full of metaphors for danger that seem to have split into either science fiction or fantasy. (Before I go any further, I like both genres, so I’m not being a snob!) Sometimes, it feels like instead of dealing with real problems, it’s easier to have kids use magic. And instead of facing real contemporary issues, kids should fight aliens or something. These metaphors are meant to represent real life, but I fear they’ve slightly crossed over into a bit of denial about contemporary Americanism, which is a hard topic to write about since our country is in an identity crisis, and has been for about 11 years. Sykosa is an attempt to counter-act this trend. When I was young, I read books about young people that blew me away like One Fat Summer and The Outsiders. These books felt real, and it felt like I could slip into them at any moment. The writing was gritty, it was unapologetic, it was brilliant. I just don’t see many of those around, and I wanted to write one, and I wanted to write one with a female protagonist.

3. Why did you chose cross-gender writing?
Toward the end of the my high school education, I was allowed to split my school day from my normal, traditional education and a newer style, self-directed educational program. I took an English class where my English teacher, someone who I’m still friends with to this day, gave me only one assignment for an entire semester, and it was, “Perform a deep self-evaluation of yourself and your writing and come up with one goal for what you’re going to improve on.” At the time, I was seriously into writing, and had taken to writing a few books per year, but most of them were in the first person, and they were just me talking about myself. The issue was that I had been in a serious car accident the year prior and I had injured a friend in it. (He fully recovered, but never forgave me). I had tried to write a first person story about myself many times since the accident, but I was constantly failing because I was dealing with some lingering self-loathing and guilt. As a way to get away from it, I decided I wanted to work on a story I had been thinking about for a while, but that I never started writing for one super scary reason.

The main character was a teenage girl.

Odd as it might sound, I was intimidated by the fact that the main character was a woman. So I faced my fear and said my goal would be to write women better, and I proceeded to work with several teachers and several female students to help me craft a female character that was realistic, yet met my vision of her as well. This challenge stuck with me into my adult life, and it eventually found its ultimate form in Sykosa.

4. How will I know I’m a fan of Sykosa?
I’m glad you asked! has tons of stuff to help you determine if this book is right for you. Below you’ll see some humorous diagrams I’ve made, but at the website you can read an excerpt of the book, watch the book trailer, read character profiles and really get a solid understanding of Sykosa’s world.

5. What kind of stuff influenced you to write Sykosa?
The primary motivators for Sykosa were Buffy The Vampire Slayer and It by Stephen King. It so happened, in 2001, I moved in with a woman I was dating. She was a fan of Buffy, so I had to watch it and became a fan myself. While most people were probably drawn to the vampire killing, it was the last thing I was interested in. I thought Whedon created an interesting cast of personalities and analyzing them was something I enjoyed. At the time, I was reading It. What I liked about It was the small town, insular feel to the novel, and how the inhabitants of this town were able to show a “front” of values, but were secretly hiding and allowing evil to proliferate all around them. From these two things came Sykosa, a girl who does not have any super powers, nor does she kill any vampires, but she did have a traumatic event happen in her life, and she’s struggling to deal with it, and its made no easier by the fact that her small, insular parochial school has decided to ignore the incident.

6. What is your most favorite and least favorite part of Sykosa?
The most favorite part is easy. It’s Sykosa’s best friend Niko, who just gets my blood pumping every time I have to write her. I love Sykosa, she’s definitely the main character and the story would never work without her, but I could sing Niko’s praises all day and all night. She’s such an interesting young woman and to see how she’s developed over the years as I’ve written the story has been a real treat. When someone first reads Sykosa and then decides to talk to me about it, I’m secretly waiting to hear them mention Niko. It’s never the first thing they say, it’s never the last, it’s always sandwiched somewhere in the middle, “By the way, this Niko—I love her!”

My least favorite part… Wow, that’s hard to answer, isn’t it? In the middle of the book, there’s a section called an Interlude, which is a story structure that Stephen King used in It, and that I borrowed as an homage to it. There’s a section where Sykosa, Niko and her mother are driving in a car together. I swear, I rewrote it fifty times—maybe more—and it’s never read right to me. It just never has.

7. What kind of writing schedule do you keep?
Let’s put it this way: I recently heard a story that there are “cat writers” and “ox writers.” I’m an ox writer. I put in the time, every day, whether I’m feeling it or not, whether its terrible or not, even if I know I’ll just end up deleting it, I push through it and I do it anyway, and somewhere along the way, it ends up coming together as a story.

8. What’s the coolest story you have from writing Sykosa?
Sykosa is interesting in the sense that it took me a long time to finish it. The first couple years I was writing it, I was really just writing stories about the characters, feeling everyone out, figuring out how they fit together, but there was no plot holding it together or pushing anything forward. In 2003, I seriously debated quitting, as it had been the hardest piece of writing I had ever taken on, and to be honest, I was somewhat used to overcoming challenges easily and without a lot of adversity. And while I usually worked on the book on my bus ride to and from work, this one beautiful, sunny day, I decided not to. I sat on the bus and kept the binder of writing closed on my lap. When the bus stopped at Pioneer Square, a homeless black woman sat next to me. She noticed the book, then said to me, “So you’re writing a novel?” I couldn’t tell how she knew that, but I said, “Yes, I am.” She asked me what it was about, but I’m terrible at talking about my work, so I gave her the gist, “teenage girl” “high school” “likes her boyfriend” etc, etc. The conversation lasted one stop, when the bus opened its doors, the woman reached out with her hand, put it on my own (which was clinging to the book like I was protecting it or something) and she said, “Justin, I want you to know, God blesses this book. He blesses it, and you can’t quit.”

I had never mentioned to her that I was quitting it.

I started working on it after she left the bus, and I never spoke or saw her again.

True story.

9. Do you have any tips for people who are struggling with writing or want to take it up?
I do. First off, keep struggling. It’s a worthwhile struggle. There’s a lot of be gained from writing. And for those who want to take it up and for those who are already writing, I can’t stress this enough: Draft. And by the I mean, write in drafts, don’t sit in a chair and challenge yourself to make it perfect now, write it perfect now, but instead write in drafts. If something only gets 5% better, that’s fine, cause it’s just one draft of what will be many, and eventually, that 5%, that 3%, that 7%—it adds up and you end up with a really good story. But, if you try to knock it out of the park every time you step up to the plate, you’ll swing the bat a whole lot, and you’ll be tired and exhausted when you’re done, but you won’t have a ton to show for it. That’s when most people quit. They think, “I can’t do this” or, “I don’t have the talent.” They don’t understand they’re doing it wrong, that’s all.

10. When you’re not writing, you’re…
Singing karaoke. I go once a week with some close friends of mine. It’s a fantastic release, also you get feedback from an audience, which you sometimes miss from writing, and you can forget how exciting it is to share your work with others. My favorite song to sing right now is Gaga’s “You and I.” Gaga has got a great voice that she can make raspy if she needs to, and I’ve got a voice that can match the raspier songs, so I think I do her proud. Otherwise I’m singing the Killers, Kings of Leon, Oasis or Lauryn Hill.

 The Giveaway

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:
    1. Purchase your copy of Sykosa for just 99 cents
    2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
    3. Visit today’s featured social media event
    4. BONUS: Leave a comment on this post*
Leave a comment, win $100:
One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you'll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Interested? Well, support the author and buy yourself a copy! Or, leave a comment, and you might just win $100- then you could buy yourself a hundred copies! :D

And don't forget to vote for my blog HERE!

Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

Memorable Monday #9

And I'm back with my ninth Memorable Monday! For those who have no clue on what this is, this is a meme hosted by Escape in a Book, where you share a a certain quote that you love- funny, beautiful, or memorable in any way.

How to participate?
1. Share a quote that has captured your interest lately in a Memorable Monday post on your blog.
2. Go here and leave the link to your post in our inlinkz widget.
3. It would be nice if you visited one or two of the other participants.
4. If you tweet your posts then feel free to use the hastag #MemorableMonday

This week, my quote comes from... 
Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

Okay, the Curse Workers is one of my favorite series, ever! Its seriously brilliant, and it mixes magic with the real world. Now my quote below is really bittersweet, but I don't think those who haven't read the series yet can relate. But if you had... well, just get your heart crushed all over again.
I watch her go. Watch the shadow of her steps and her straight back and the gleam of her hair. 
I remind myself that this is what I wanted. When that doesn't work, I tell myself that I can survive on memories. The smell of Lila's skin, the way her eyes shine with mischief, the low rasp of her voice. It hurts to think of her, but I can't stop. It ought to hurt. 
After all, hell is supposed to be hot.
Why, why did you have to end Red Glove right there, Holly Black? Now I really really want to read Black Heart right now!

But enough of me griping. :P What was your quote?

And oh! I almost forgot! Just a reminder to go enter Patricia's April Giveaway Surprise HERE! She's got some pretty awesome books up for grabs, and you get additional entries by commenting. But her blog is so awesome you can't help but comment, so its a win-win! :) (And go check out her timeline HERE! It's so cool and totally unique!)

AND... Just in case you missed the upper left corner of my sidebar, I'm going on a two month long vacation. I leave tomorrow, and will return during the first week of June. Now, I'm not sure how often I'm going to have internet, so my blog will be on hiatus as of now. I still might update it occasionally though! 

Okay, that's all. :)

Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

Care to Share?