Blogger vs. WordPress

December 30, 2009

So, I’m considering making the switch to blogger, but I’m still not fully convinced. I was wondering if the blogger users could tell me why they like blogger. WordPress users can also tell me why they like wordpress. If I do make the change, I have no idea when it will occur (even though Jan. 1 is quite fitting). Thanks!


Ask an Author – Jennifer Echols

December 29, 2009

Today, I have an author interview from Jennifer Echols, the author of one of favorite reads of 2009, Going Too Far. Jennifer is also the author of several Simon Pulse romantic comedies and Forget You, which will be released in 2010.

1. If you could only use one word to describe Going Too Far, what would you use and why?

Dark. This book is very unlike my romantic comedies–it goes places those books don’t go. Also, almost the entire book is set at night.

2. Do you enjoy writing YA romantic comedies or dramas more? Why?

I enjoy both, and the book I’m working on at the moment is always my favorite ever. That is the truth. I like writing a comedy and then a drama, back and forth, because that keeps my writing fresh. I don’t like writing the same sort of story over and over.

3. What is your favorite thing about being a YA author?

Messages from fans! I was a reader long before I was a writer, and I know exactly what it’s like to love a book so much that you read it ten times. When someone tells me they’ve enjoyed my books as much as I’ve enjoyed books by other authors…that is the best feeling in the world.

4. What is your least favorite thing about being a writer?

The uncertainty. Even best-selling authors know they’d better stay on top of their game, because if just one of their titles doesn’t sell well, they may have a hard time getting another book contract, ever. It’s like the constant fear of being laid off from your job, times ten.

5. What were your favorite books as a teen?

I was a big fan of Lois Duncan, Paula Danziger, and Judy Blume, but my absolute favorites were The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart and The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin.

6. Do you have any advice for teens?

Enjoy this time safely! You will remember it fondly for the rest of your life.

7. What can you tell us about your upcoming novels?

Oooh, I can’t wait! Forget You is a romantic drama coming from MTV Books on July 20. When swim team captain Zoey wakes up from a car accident with partial amnesia, she is torn between the boy she remembers…and the one she doesn’t.
Two weeks later, on August 3, Simon Pulse will publish my romantic comedy Endless Summer, the sequel to The Boys Next Door. After breaking curfew, Lori and Adam are forbidden to see each other. Lori thinks going out with boys scarier than Adam will force her dad to give in…but Adam’s jealousy may ruin everything.

Special thanks to Jennifer for participating in this interview. 🙂 If you would like to know more about Jennifer or her novels, visit her website or blog.

The Sixth Form – Tom Dolby

December 28, 2009

When Ethan Whitley’s mom gets cancer, his parents believe it’s best he goes somewhere far for his senior year of high school. Thus, Ethan leaves California for the prestigious Berkley Academy. Before long, Ethan realizes he does not fit in. Then he meets Todd Eldon, a fellow classmate and Hannah McLellan, a seductive teacher.

When Todd Eldon and his girlfriend break up, Todd befriends Ethan. The school knows Ethan as the strange kid from California. Soon, the two become friends. Todd, however, realizes that he starts developing feelings for Ethan, but how could Todd ever compete with Hannah. Not too mention, Ethan is not gay.

Together, Ethan and Todd go through their senior year of high school, a time of change and discovery.

The Sixth Form is difficult novel to review. I enjoyed reading it, but looking back Tom Dolby could have delved so much into the characters, plot, etc. Dolby had a great start to all of his characters, but unfortunately it was only a start. I really would have liked to know more development from Ethan and Todd. Todd’s homosexuality never seemed like a main focus, even though Todd was definitely struggling with it. Ethan’s relationship with Hannah was interesting at first, but then I kind of pitied him. Hannah, who is in her 30s, more than took advantage of Ethan. Eventually, Ethan does end things (I’d call this a spoiler, but come on, you had to see that one coming!), but this was not near as satisfying as I  thought it would be. Throughout the novel, Dolby hints about Hannah’s past. By the end of the novel, readers know about most of her past, but certainly not all of it. I found myself craving to learn more, but I just did not get that.

Having said all that, The Sixth Form was not really that bad of a novel. The book was pretty easy to get into, and the content itself was not the problem. The lack of content was the problem. Dolby set out to create a heartfelt coming-of-age story, but it feels like he got tired halfway through, so his greatness never truly materialized. Overall, however, I can certainly see myself reading more from him. I actually have The Secret Society, and I look forward to reading it, so there you go. 😛

I recommend this novel if you are looking for a coming-of-age story.

Related Links
Tom Dolby’s Site

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

December 26, 2009

Esther Greenwood is a young woman growing up in the 1950s. She is beautiful and talented, but unfortunately she only realizes her flaws. Eventually, these flaws add up, from not getting chosen for a writing workshop to not wanting to marry the man who loves her. Esther feels that she will never be able to live up to people’s expectations which causes her to be depressed. When Esther’s suicide attempt fails, she is admitted into a mental asylum. Will Esther be able to once and for all move on by finally lifting the bell jar or will the bell jar ultimately trap her, causing infinite misery?

The Bell Jar follows Esther’s descend into a mental  collapse, which reflects Sylvia Plath’s own life. As you have probably guessed by now, this is not a book that will put you in a cheerful mood. Instead, readers will find themselves in a rather bleak mood. One of the most harrowing parts of the novel is knowing that Plath used Esther to reflect her own life. Reading a story about a depressed woman is sad enough, but reading a true story about a depressed woman who later committed suicide is beyond sad.

Throughout the novel, Plath’s writing is sporadic. Esther frequently changes topics, and this gives readers an insight look at Esther’s insanity. Plath also did not hold back anything to readers. For me, the most revealing part of the novel was after Esther’s “meeting” with the math professor. Even right now, I am not quite sure why Plath felt it necessary to go into details about Esther’s after-experience. Anyway, overall I enjoyed The Bell Jar, but I do not think I will ever read it again.

If you have been looking for female version of Holden Caulfied, then Esther Greenwood is your match.

Related Links
Sylvia Plath Legacy Library

Youtube Connection 21

December 25, 2009

First of all, I wanted to wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS! 🙂 Usually, Youtube Connection is a Thursday feature, but since I chose a Christmas-themed book/video, I decided to move it to Friday, to coincide with Christmas.

This week’s book is Dr. Seuss’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This week’s video is How the Grinch Stole Christmas (surprised, right?) narrated by Walter Matthau. Enjoy!

Alma Short

December 24, 2009

I normally don’t post random videos, but I just had to share this one. I found it from the Mental Floss blog. It was created by Rodrigo Blaas, a former Pixar artist.

Secret Santa #2

December 22, 2009

A few days ago, I received a gift from my second Secret Santa!

The gift consisted of Post-Its (!!!), a Borders gift card, and some Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. In the card, my secret santa revealed herself to be Wendy of Wendy’s Minding Spot, so thank you! 🙂