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Showing posts from April, 2015

Q & A With Author Joe Sitzwohl

What are your ambitions for your writing?  If Surrounding Saturdays is received well I hope administrators at Ohio State notice and adopt it as a summer reading recommendation for incoming students. That would be a dream come true.
What would your career look like in an ideal world? Well right now writing is just a fun hobby for me, not a career. I’m starting a fulltime job in NYC soon that I’m excited about. But if I find time to hone my writing skills I’d love to publish more books.  I think going on a book tour and doing signings one day sounds like a super cool thing to do.
Which writers inspire you? I feel like 9/10 readers and writers my age would all say JK Rowling, so I feel uber unoriginal saying her, but how could I not? She instilled in me a love for literature from a young age.
Did you make the drawings in your book yourself? Yep, I’m obviously no Van Gough but I took a drawing class once and enjoy doodling so I scanned each drawing in.
How did you pick the quotes for each cha…

Surrounding Saturdays: A College Journal | Joseph Sitzwohl

Surrounding Saturdays is a short journal-turned-memoir about the college experience of a student from The Ohio State University. It chronicles some of his experiences including his first week in college, his classes, study abroad trips, and standout life events. 
I am a graduate of The Ohio State University (OSU), so this book really resonated with me. I found myself nodding along to a lot of sections because it reflected some of my own experiences. I think other people who went to college might be able to reminisce about their own experiences while reading this. I know his target audience is high schoolers, and I can see how that would be accurate. I think it could be a small glimpse into what it means to go to college. Granted, every person has a slightly different college experience, but I thought Joe did a great job of highlighting the atmosphere of OSU. 
The book included a lot of quotes and doodles. It really made me feel like I was looking into Joe’s journal. I could also recogn…

Q & A With Author Mindee Arnett

What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world? My goal is very modest – to make enough money on my writing to comfortably leave my day job. What that mostly means is getting to the place where the inflow of money from the writing is steady. For most writers, the inflow is very uneven. We will get large advance checks and then go months and months with nothing. That’s pretty scary for a worrywart like me.  Which writers inspire you? Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor are two of my contemporaries that inspire me all the time. I think Tami Hoag is stellar. She does great dialogue and characters. I also adore Stephen King, JK Rowling, Douglas Adams, and my all-time favorite—Jennifer Roberson. She’s who inspired me to be a writer in the first place. Give us an insight into how you create your main characters.  My main characters usually have some aspect to them that is wish fulfillment for me. Be it that they have a magical ability like D…

Rain Reign | Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign is about a little girl, Rose, with Asperger’s syndrome. She loves homonyms, which is why her dog is appropriately named Rain, which has two homonyms: Rein and Reign. Her mom is absent and her dad has a temper, so when her only friend, Rain, goes missing, Rose struggles to find a new routine and purpose. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
You may recognize the author’s name from somewhere, that’s because she was the author of the infamous Babysitter’s Club series. Rain Reign is vastly different from Martin’s original work. This novel is meant for children, but it is so deep, complex, and touching in every way. It has been highly talked about and is up for a lot of literature awards. When you have a book like this, it can be very polarizing. Some people will love it and some people will hate it. Personally, I loved every second of it. While, I could see why some parents may not want their young children to read this book (i.e. an angry/potentially abusive father), I…

Belong to Me | Marisa de los Santos

Belong to Me is a fictional story following three main characters: Cornelia, who just moved to town for her husband’s job; Dev, a thirteen-year-old who moved to town with his mom so he can attend a school for the gifted; and Piper, a snotty housewife who is dealing with her best friend’s cancer. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
I picked this book to read because I read de los Santos’s other book Love Walked In. I adored that book, so I figured that I would give this book a shot. I didn’t realize that it follows the same main character, Cornelia. It has some of the other characters too, as well as a lot of new characters. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a sequel though. You could read this book without reading Love Walked In. There was one big event that happened in Love Walked In—that Cornelia is married to her sister’s ex-husband—that was conveniently left out of this book. I thought it was weird that it was never even mentioned, especially because it was a main part of th…

Sliding into Home | Kendra Wilkinson

Sliding into Home is a memoir about Kendra Wilkinson, ex-girlfriend of Hugh Hefner and star of the TV show “The Girls Next Door”. She details her troubled childhood and teenage years and her rise to fame via the Playboy mansion. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
I’ll be completely honest, I am embarrassed to even write a review about this book. Just like I am embarrassed to admit that I watch “The Bachelor”. Sometimes, you need to read or watch something a little trashy to feel better about your own life…I can’t believe I just admitted that. With that said, this book is exactly what you would expect. It’s entertaining and that’s about it. 
I appreciate how honest Kendra was in this book. She admitted a lot of things that most people would be too embarrassed or scared to ever admit. She talks about all the drugs she used (hint: it’s a lot), how she lost her virginity, her time in the psych ward, her cutting habit, and her experience in the Playboy mansion. Along with her hon…

Orphan Train | Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train is a fictional book that tells the stories of two orphans: a ninety-one year old woman, Vivian, and a seventeen year old girl, Molly.  Though their lives may seem very different from the outside, they share very similar pasts. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
When I first started this book, I was more drawn to Molly’s story line than Vivian’s. Vivian’s story just started out slowly. As the book went on, Vivian’s story got more dynamic and interesting, and I actually really appreciated the parallels between their lives. However, it did get confusing at times and was hard to keep track of what happened in which person’s past. There were also a lot of names, so it was hard to keep track. I actually had to go back to look up some names from earlier in the book. 
My favorite part of this book was when Vivian realizes that each piece in her life is a stepping stone—good or bad. Without each of those events, she would have never ended up exactly where she is now. Tha…

Cinder | Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a futuristic, sci-fi version of Cinderella…except Cinder is a cyborg in China. She works as a mechanic to earn money for her evil guardian. When her sister contracts a deadly disease, Cinder tries to help the prince and his medical team find a cure. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
I think that this book would have more successful if it was more similar to Cinderella, or if it was disassociated with it completely. I think Cinder would have been successful as its own story, and that tying in Cinderella was an attempt to bring in more readers. The plot very, very loosely follows the original Cinderella story. You have an evil “step-mother” figure, a ball, a prince, and main character who is treated like a servant. It also takes place in New Beijing—which ties it back to its Chinese roots. That’s where the similarities end. There is no fairy godmother, no glass slipper (but there is a whole foot), there’s no animal helpers, no happy ending, and no beautiful transfo…

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