Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Amanda Project Street Team

Hey, everyone! You may remember a while back when I posted the review of The Amanda Project: Invisible I (from HarperCollins), rated at 5 stars. Now, it's time for you to get acquainted with the site! An overview:

What Happened to Amanda?

AMANDA VALENTINO came to our high school on Halloween. She disappeared on the Ides of March. She left us some clues, but we’re not sure what they mean. The only thing we know for sure is that she utterly, completely changed our lives.

If you contribute, your idea of what happened to Amanda may get into a future book in the series!

So make account now, to help us find Amanda!

Why is this post titled the way it is, you ask? I'm one of The Amanda Project's Street Team members, trying to help spread the word of this amazing website and book series. If you have the time after making an account, send me your Amanda Project username and your zipcode so it can be counted as part of the Street Team's recruits. It would help a lot! So send your information here:

ReadingToMyself @ yahoo . com
(remember to remove the spaces when copied into your email or I won't receive it)

You Are Here


The way Emma Healy thought of her childhood and family changes. At the age of sixteen, she finds a birth certificate in the attic of her supposed twin brother. And with it, his death certificate dated two days after. Emma never felt like she belonged with her scholarly family and now she can imagine that there had been someone else like her, someone ordinary. Though she doesn’t own a car, she wants to visit her brother’s grave, states away in North Carolina. Her neighbor, Peter, offers to drive her there so she accepts. What she didn’t expect, though, was to find someone who understands her way better than she does herself that it’s almost scary. And he’d been next door for all these years.

You Are Here is now my All-Time Favorite book. Enough said. But since you want to know, here is a list of everything I loved about it: Each sentence, paragraph, and chapter ended on the perfect note. The characters and their lives were so fully described that I felt connected to them and wanted to never, not ever, stop reading. At 2am I finished it and I could feel a cry coming up my throat just because it ended. There is a whole world inside this book that explores every corner of awkwardness, kindness, love, failure, imagination, death, hope, anger, and all the other kinds of emotion. And I experienced every one myself while reading. It’s amazing! I have nothing bad to say about it. Author Jennifer E. Smith has an unbelievable talent that I can’t even dream of having. She weaves together great writing, a wonderful storyline, an amazing plot, completely likable characters, and emotions that make the reader feel like they are just discovering them for the first time. All while keeping her unique voice.

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith (author of The Comeback Season)
pages: 251, release date: May 2009, publisher: Simon & Schuster
Contains: rebellion against parents (but resolved) AGES 12+

5 out of 5 brightly shining stars

*To see what others said about this book, click on the cover.

Friday, October 23, 2009

*Another* Another Faust Contest

Daniel Nayeri, one of the two authors of Another Faust, guest blogs:

Hi everyone. Dina and I are about to kick off a month-long tour for our book, Another Faust, and we want to do it by announcing a contest! We are looking for the most promising writers out there (that’s YOU). And then we want to showcase their work, so that all of the Internet can bask in their awesome writing might (and, you know, give them prizes).


We want you to write your own short story, re-imagining of the Faustian Bargain. (For inspiration, check out Bedazzled, Simpsons “Tree House of Horrors IV,” and The Little Mermaid). It can be about anything you like (but let’s keep it PG-13, and under 3,000 words), and it’s open to everyone.

All you have to do is send your entry to dviergutz(at)gmail(dot)com before January 31.
Rules and details can be found here.

Make sure to read them so you don’t get disqualified.

And the winner gets all kinds of sweetness:

A signed copy of Another Faust
A handwritten deleted scene
A featured article & interview on our site
An author’s galley of the sequel Another Pan

Though we’ll feature the top five on our site for comments, the judging WON’T happen by popular vote (so basically, we don't care which contestant has the most friends). Dina and I will personally read them.

So, spread the word! Tweet, retweet, forward, thread, spread, embed this post.
Good luck!

To learn what Daniel & Dina's book is about, click here. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Once Was Lost


When her mother is checked into rehab, Samara wants her father to say the right words like he does to everyone else in their small town. His charm is undeniable and the Pineview Community Church is lucky to have him as a pastor. But Sam isn’t so sure that her dad has it altogether. Then again, what does she really know about him if he’s never home? Heat waves suck. And they make everything feel ten times worse. So Sam’s thoughts are all the more depressing. A 13-year-old girl from their congregation goes missing and Sam finds herself falling in love with the girl’s grieving older brother. But paranoia doesn’t leave without a question: Is there really a God?

Once Was Lost was predictable. The writing was pretty and flowed well but I was never fully into the story. It was too easy to set the book down. There seemed to be two sides of the main character: one was self-conscience and vulnerable and the other just wanted to scream of frustration. So I could never sympathize with Sam. The book also needed a bigger variety in character personalities. Everyone’s dialogue was basically the same things being said over and over. I really liked the ending even though I knew what was coming. Both the cover and the story are minty fresh but they’re forgettable.

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
217 pages, release in Oct. ‘09, published by Little Brown
Contains: a kidnapping, an alcoholic, and suspense

STARS: 3 out of 5

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fairies of Writing

Does everyone know Princess Neve from Princess Neve Book Reviews? If not, then you are out of the loop. She's a reviewer, of course, and an aspiring writer. Neve is the Fairy of Writing on her writing blog. I started posting to Fairies of Writing in June and recently wondered why I never announced it here.

So ... here is the announcement! Check out Fairies of Writing and answer the latest question:

What is your definition of the quote "Writing like a reader, reading like a writer"?

The ABC's of Kissing Boys


Parker has everything: popularity, friends, style, and now she’s a junior in high school. Sixteen is the age when you’re supposed to be having the time of your life but how humiliating would it be if you found out you’re stuck on the freshman soccer team? Parker hatches a plan to get on the varsity team where her friends are but it’s complicated and she needs a boy … to teach her how to kiss. When her so-called “best friend” discovers Parker kissing a freshman, rumors start to spread. Parker finally gets to see her friends from the outside, the way others do, and it’s not pretty. Now she has to decide where she truly belongs: with the popular crowd or in the arms of the loveable freshman boy across the street.

The ABC’s of Kissing Boys was sweet and enjoyable. Though the moral of the story is a little messy and not the easiest to understand at first, the author never strayed from the plot. The romance seemed so real and I couldn’t help but smile at the predictability of the ending. This book has the potential to be a great film! Author Tina Ferraro’s writing isn’t the best I’ve read but it was new and different. Have you ever read a book where the girl falls for a younger boy? The narration actually felt like it was coming from a teenage girl. I rated it a 4 was because I couldn’t feel any sympathy toward the main character for the situation she was in. Overall, I learned a lot from The ABC’s of Kissing Boys. *wink, wink*

The ABC’s of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro
pages: 215, release date: January 2009, publisher: Delacorte Press
Contains: sensuality, AGES 13+

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Poll Winner

I only read novels that ...

You probably have already found my grammar mistake but what can I say? I was in a hurry? No. I just made a dumb mistake.

Anyway, the winner was ... books that have an appealing cover!

I'm sorry for anyone who only comes to this blog each week to vote on the polls because they are now down again. I've been really busy and haven't been able to post much. So please understand!

Calling all tween/teen girls! :D

Attention all tween girls in the NYC area!

The Amanda Project
is the first series that invites tween girls to become a part of the mystery and contribute their own stories and ideas! Come celebrate the publication of the first in the 8-book series - Invisible I - and launch of The Amanda Project!

Hear author Melissa Kantor read from the book and talk about writing collaborative fiction.

AND, in the spirit of Amanda, we're also taking submissions from tween girls who aspire to be writers! Send your latest piece of fiction (up to 500 words) to, and we'll pick a select group of writers to read at the event!

For more information: