Ask an Author deadline EXTENDED.

January 31, 2009

I’m extending the deadline to enter questions for Lisa Schroeder to answer for another week. So the new deadline is February 8, 2008 @ 2:00 PM EST.

Also, if you have any suggestions about Ask an Author feel free to tell me.  I’d also like to know what you think of the feature itself. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated. Who knows, maybe I’m even thinking of having a secret contest of some sorts. (That’s a *hint* *hint* in case you didn’t catch it.) 😉

Again, just comment here or e-mail me at towerofbooks(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you.


Ask an Author – Lisa Schroeder

January 27, 2009

Ask an Author is a new feature that will give my readers a chance to ask authors questions themselves. The first author to be featured is Lisa Schroeder, author of Far From You (my review) and I Heart You, You Haunt Me (Story Siren’s review).

Now, if you have any questions for her, just comment them on this post or e-mail them to towerofbooks[at]gmail[dot]com. I will select up to ten reader questions. The deadline to send in questions will be Sunday February 1 8 @ 2:00 PM EST .  If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. 🙂


Far From You – Lisa Schroeder

January 26, 2009

Alice’s mother died of cancer years ago. However, she has yet to move on. Things worsen when her father remarries, and her half-sister, Ivy, is born. Of course, Alice has a few things in her life: her wonderful boyfriend Blaze, her best friend Claire, her music, and most importantly, her faith.

However, one day over Thanksgiving Break, Alice, Ivy, and her stepmom become trapped in a snowstorm. Now Alice must deal with issues she has long avoided and wait for her angel to save her…

I enjoyed Far From You. The greatest strength of novel is that it is written in verse. I don’t normally read books in verse, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. Schroeder’s writing is engaging, this novel definitely makes me believe in the phrase, “Less is more.”  I am now  more interested in reading Lisa Schroeder’s other work I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

The only real criticism of Far From You I have is the cast of characters. I felt that they were underdeveloped. After I finished reading the book, I realized that I knew very little about Blaze, Claire, or even Alice, but this is not something that should detract anyone from the novel. It is worth reading. 🙂


Upcoming Books – February

January 25, 2009

There are so many books I’d like to read that will be released in February!


In My Mailbox Jan. 18-24

January 24, 2009

If you would like more information on In My Mailbox, go here. The first two  sypnosises are from the Barnes and Noble website, while the last one is from here. I didn’t get as many books as last week, but with school and extracurricular activities, I just can’t find time to read as much as I’d like to, so it’s not too bad.

Far From You – Lisa Schroeder

Lost and alone…down the rabbit hole.

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn’t quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she’ll face issues she’s been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she’s not so alone after all….

Return to Sender – Julia Alvarez

After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

French Bred – Frederic Guarino (as an e-book)

Frédéric was a perfectly normal French boy. He lived on the outskirts of Paris, in a countryside setting, and his life seemed destined to be a quiet, predictable ride if you were willing to ignore a reasonably dysfunctional family, dangerous and colorful friends, a gorgeous English teacher, a near-paralytic attitude toward women on a romantic level, no self-confidence to speak of, and a habit of letting himself be dragged into twisted situations. Through the French school system, family vacations, beauty school, military service, complicated border crossings, wedding plans, and a ludicrously long trail of failed attempts at relationship, he remained barely sane enough to forge his own opinions on what, how, and why the French do the things they do. In this series of essays, he reaffirms or decries stereotypes, presents the pros and cons of the French lifestyle, but also shows that not all French men are smooth, sophisticated, or have all the answers about the female gender. However, if you’d rather read about car sickness, moped accidents, German flatulence, foul-mouthed grannies, beachside mishaps, tanks, or the wrong way to marry the right girl, you’re in luck! This book does that too.

Far From You came from Pulse It, and Return to Sender came from Book Divas. I’ve already started reading Far From You, and so far, I like it.

What did you receive this week?


Are We There Yet? – David Levithan

January 20, 2009

Sixteen-year-old Elijah Silver and his brother Danny Silver are complete opposites. Elijah is a dreamer and believes Danny is too serious. Danny enjoys his work and believes Elijah does not take life seriously. It’s no surprise that Elijah and Danny do not get along well. In order to help mend their relationship, their parents trick them into going to an all-expenses paid trip to Italy. How will two brothers who don’t get along spend so much time with each? At first, Danny would sleep in the hotel room, while Elijah would explore Italy. Then, Elijah meets Julia, a twenty-year-old from Toronto. Then, Julia makes a move towards Danny. (I know I could have just used the same summary from my previous post, but I felt like doing something slightly different ;))

This is the first novel I’ve read by David Levithan, and it will certainly not be the last. To be honest, at first, I was not sure if I would like Are We There Yet? I was not used to reading from third-person point of view. However, the more I read, the more I realized that it worked. In fact, it really worked.  There is no way I could like the novel as much as I do right now if it was written in first person.

One thing I enjoyed about Are We There Yet? was how Levithan showed the brothers’ relationship with each other. I feel like he really captured what it’s like to be brothers in writing. While I was reading the novel, I couldn’t help but wonder if Levithan had any brothers. I will do some research later. 🙂 (edit:// I looked, and yes, he does have a brother.) Another thing I liked about Levithan’s writing was how he delved into Danny’s and Elijah’s minds. It did not feel like Levithan was writing about how they felt. It felt like he knew, like he was reading their minds. That’s not something most writers do.

David Levithan’s website is located here.


In My Mailbox Jan. 12-17

January 18, 2009

This is my first time doing this. All but one of these books was purchased during Barnes and Noble’s After Holiday Sale. The other one, Dating Jesus, was from LibraryThing’s Early Review Program.

If you would like more information on In My Mailbox, go here. All of the sypnosises are from the Barnes and Noble website.

Are We There Yet? – David Levithan

Sixteen-year-old Elijah is completely mellow and his 23-year-old brother Danny is completely not, so it’s no wonder they can barely tolerate one another. So what better way to repair their broken relationship than to trick them into taking a trip to Italy together? Soon, though, their parents’ perfect solution has become Danny and Elijah’s nightmare as they’re forced to spend countless hours together. But then Elijah meets Julia, and soon the brothers aren’t together nearly as much. And when Julia suddenly decides that maybe it’s Danny she’s really interested in, Danny has a decision to make: does he honor his relationship with the brother he thinks hates him, or does he follow his heart, which sorely needs some repairing of its own?

Dating Jesus – Susan Campbell

By the age of twelve, Susan Campbell had been flirting with Jesus for some time, and in her mind, Jesus had been flirting back. Why wouldn’t he? She went to his house three times a week, sat in his living room, listened to his stories, loudly and lustily sang songs to him. So, one Sunday morning, she walked to the front of her fundamentalist Christian church to profess her love for Jesus and to be baptized.

But from the moment her robe floated to the surface of the baptistery water, she began to question her fundamentalist Christian faith. If baptism requires complete immersion underwater, what does it mean, she wondered, if a piece of fabric attached to a would-be Christian floats to the top? Does the baptism still count?

Flavor of the Week – Tucker Shaw

Cyril Bartholomew isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of a dream date he’s a little on the heavy side. Not that he gets pushed around or anything, but it does cause him to keep one very important secret from everyone: he loves to cook. The only person who knows this secret is Cyril’s best friend, Chris. Chris is just about the opposite of Cyril-a track star and really attractive in a cool, rebellious way. Cyril isn’t at all jealous of Chris, though. . . until the day that Chris decides he is interested in Rose Mulligan, Cyril’s lab partner. Flavor of the Week is a classic love triangle between three very unclassic teens, with lots of delicious food courses in between.

Edenville Owls – Robert B. Parker

There is something evil in the air ; Bobby senses it. Who is that man he saw arguing with his pretty new English teacher? Bobby knows he should mind his own business, but times are confusing. World War II just ended, and the world is changing- Bobby’s world, especially. There’s Joanie, for one-why does being her friend feel awkward? And then there are his buddies, the junior varsity Edenville Owls-basketball players in need of a leader. Can they help each other off the court as well as they can on it? They will need to.


Promise Not to Tell – Jennifer McMahon

Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered—a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate’s childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del—shunned and derided by classmates as “Potato Girl”—was brutally slain. Del’s killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems . . . and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten.

Permanent Midnight – Jerry Stahl

A searing confessional infused with the darkest humor, Permanent Midnight chronicles the opiated abyss of a Hollywood screenwriter and his formidable climb into sobriety.

Made into a major motion picture starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, Permanent Midnight is revered by critics and an ever-growing cult of devoted readers as one of the most compelling contemporary memoirs.

What did you get this week?