Ask the Author: Charlotte Huang (For the Record)

Samstag, 30. Mai 2015

   Hey guys!
   This week for Ask The Author I'm bringing you the amazing Charlotte Huang, author of For the Record which is supposed to hit the shelves November 10th. I've read For the Record back in March and immediately knew I wanted to ask her a couple of questions about it. You should definitely mark the release date of For the Record in your calendars because it's a fabulous book worth reading and owning.
   Here is For the Record and my interview with Charlotte:

For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Published: November 10th 2015 by Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 320 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No
My Review!

   Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything.
   Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
   Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t? (

Interview with Charlotte Huang

   1 – Describe For the Record in a haiku (or twitter pitch)

   Being a rockstar
   Isn’t all glamorous fun
   Just ask Chelsea Ford

   2 – What lead to the idea of For the Record? Was it the fact that most of us dream of being the singer of some awesome rock band or something completely different than that?
   Yes, it was definitely inspired by that universal dream! But I also wanted to show the reality of sacrifice, hard work, grueling schedules, and just overall stress that comes with that level of success. Because my husband’s an agent, I’ve spent a lot of time at concerts, being around bands, listening to the planning, strategizing and anguish that goes on. So my goal in writing this book was to give an authentic, and hopefully entertaining glimpse into the world of a successful touring rock band.

   3 – Was there a scene in the book you specifically remember writing because it stuck out to you, either in a positive or negative way?
   Probably the scene where the band sees their DJ friend’s set in Detroit. That scene actually came during the editing process and I wrote it after I saw Zedd perform at Coachella. Originally, I’d written the scene in a diner but my editor pointed out that I had too many eating scenes so I had to brainstorm other settings. The EDM show atmosphere appealed to me because I feel like that type of music shifts everyone’s perspective a little bit and allows people to let their guard down.

   4 – While writing about the life on tour and the music business itself, how helpful was having a music agent husband? Did it help you give For the Record that very real touch?

   Haha, see #2. But it’s not just my husband—a lot of our friends work in the music business. Many of the details in For the Record come from years of listening to funny stories and talking about work drama.

   5 – Of all the possible names for a rock band, why did you decide on Melbourne?
   I’d written a scene where the original band members talk about a spring break trip they took to Melbourne which is when they formed the band. It got edited out somewhere along the way but I stuck with the name.

   6 - How long did it take you from first idea until publishing deal? And how many queries did it take until you found 'the one'?
   I started writing this book in the summer of 2013 and my agent sold it in February 2014. But that’s fairly misleading because this story has been percolating in my brain for years.
   Do you mean queries to agents? My guess is I sent out about 25 before entering a pitch contest and connecting with my wonderful agent. That was with a different book though.

   7 – How do you feel about the fact that in a couple of months, thousands upon thousands of people will be able to read your book?
   I feel excited! Also nervous. But mostly excited.

   8 – Did you listen to specific bands or albums while writing For the Record or do you rather prefer writing silence?
   For the most part, I actually prefer to write in silence. Sometimes when I try to write to music, I get really frazzled and can’t figure out what’s bothering me until I realize that I have to turn the music off. That said, when writing this book, I listened to Panic! At the Disco’s Too Rare to Live, Too Weird to Die! album on repeat, for hours at a time. I have no idea why this was an exception. If I had to guess I’d say that in addition to being a great album, the mood fits perfectly with what I was trying to write. I was never tempted to skip any track. That’s not a common occurrence.

   9 – What was the first band you ever saw live and what’s your favorite band?
   The first band I ever saw live was Echo and the Bunnymen in Boston. Sadly, I don’t remember anything about the show. And I really don’t have a favorite band! I like so many. People ask what I like to see outside of my husband’s work and most recently I’ve gone to The Foo Fighters, The Pixies and My Morning Jacket.

   10 – Music genre: Grunge or Punk?
   Do I have to choose? If so, grunge was probably a more legitimate part of my experience growing up. I feel like I witnessed the beginning and end of that era.

   11 – If you were forced to participate in The Hunger Games, as female from District 12, what would be your strategy? Fight or flight?
   From District 12, definitely fight. I don’t think I’d know any other way.

About the Author

   Charlotte Huang is a graduate of Smith College and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, which is clearly something every aspiring writer should do. When not glued to her computer, she cheers her two sons on at sporting events and sometimes manages to stay up late enough to check out bands with her music agent husband. Charlotte lives in Los Angeles and is the author of For the Record (Delacorte, 2015)

Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Dienstag, 26. Mai 2015

Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Published: January 7th 2015 by Hoover Ink
Number of Pages: 159 Pages (Kindle)
Series: Yes, #1

"How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you've never met."
Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They've been in love since the age of fourteen.
But as of this morning...they are complete strangers.
Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love...every memory has vanished.

"I don't care what our real first kiss was," he says. "That's the one I want to remember."
Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be...the more they question why they were ever together to begin with.
"I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie."

   I'm not sure if I have the words I need to describe what I feel about this book. The first that comes to my mind is wow, followed by holy hell. The premise might seem simple, two teens who lost their memory and have to try and figure out who they are and why it happened, but this book is so much more. Never Never is brilliant, captivating and has a cliffhanger straight from hell.
   Never Never was exactly what I hoped it would be: mysterious, smart and brilliantly written. The atmosphere is spot on, the plot realistic and the characters interesting. Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher managed to write a story which feels real, as if it has been written by Silas and Charlie themselves, as if this really happened to two real teens who now want to share their story.
   It was fascinating to read and follow them while they tried to wrap their heads around the idea that they have no clue who they are, where they are and, once they started to piece together who they are, how they doubted if this was really them.

“My drawers are neat. I must have OCD. I toss around the socks and 
underwear to see if I can piss myself off.” (Charlie)

   I really like Silas and Charlie. I love how in love Silas seemed to be with Charlie and how what was going on between their families affected both them, their families and their relationship. It was interesting to see them interact with their siblings and friends while they tried to play along so they wouldn't figure out they have no clue.

“Lucky for you, I’m not Monopoly Silas anymore. I’m Tetris Silas. 
All my pieces and parts are going to fit into all of your pieces and parts." (Silas)

   All in all Never Never was fascinating and amazingly written, Colleen and Tarryn have done an amazing job, which definitely makes me want to pick up something written by Tarryn. I cannot wait to read Never Never Part Two because, as mentioned before, this part had the worst cliffhanger you can only imagine.
I give Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher 5 out of 5 Stars.

Review: The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy

Dienstag, 19. Mai 2015

The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy
Published: April 14th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 272 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

It's Superbad meets Spaceballs in this hilarious extraterrestrial road trip!
Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert.
Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.
Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band's outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance? Fans of King Dork and Winger won't want to miss this. (

   This book was beyond hilarious and just gigantic fun adventure on a whole new level. Completely crazy but brilliant at the same time with diverse characters, a wonderful main character and a, considering the plot of this book, very realistic ending.
   Generally, if you are looking for a book with a logical and realistic plotline than you are definitely wrong here because the plot is just really crazy with occasional conveniences, which might bug some people but I think they are rather expected considering this book plays in space with an alien rock band. When I first picked up The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion I wasn't sure if the blurb was serious with the "ride into outer space" and I also wondered how the author would describe said interstellar travel. I'm very happy with the way it was done and that he didn't try to overly explain how it works or why, it was just a fact and that's good.

"That's how you get the truck to go? You stroke the wheel and whisper that you love it?"
"Sometimes it gets insecure and needs to know that it's appreciated."

   I love the characters. Bennett is such a lovable, sarcastic and funny protagonist and narrator. He's had a crush on Sophie for like forever and it was just really funny to see him drive around the desert wondering what he's supposed to do, after she's been abducted by aliens, and then suddenly stumbles across a rock band tour bus.
   The band members were hilarious, especially Skark with his sassy, over the top dramatic ways. He was funny and also, in his own way, broken even though he decided to ignore that. Driver was super friendly and helpful, just like X, the only human member of the band. The band had problems with themselves and also their music, which made reading their journey along with Bennett even more fun as they evolved and grew as band. And their concerts and their locations were brilliant.

"If I know a word exists, I like to know it's meaning," she
said. "How about this: foist some ointment on my moist goiter."
I almost gagged. "I feel like you could go around saying
that sentence and just make people throw up on the spot."

   Another favorite of mine in this book are the dialogues which were just perfect. Witty, sassy, sarcastic and interesting. Personally this book could have even only been dialogues and I'd love it all the same. I have no clue how Chris McCoy managed to make those dialogues so spot on but I wish he'd teach me, be my sensei.
   It was also interesting to see how aliens see us humans, which was nicely presented by the human zoo which one of the alien races has built to trap humans in. It was a hilarious, but also very truthful, representation of how many people see and imagine Americans hidden inside this crazy story. I love it when books do that, hide commentaries about today’s society in places and ways you least expect it.

"I never went to college, but I may have some advice for you," said Skark.
"When you don't get something you want, give yourself a moment to feel
terrible around yourself, and when that's over, remember that all rejection means is
that every other possible path has just opened up to you. It's freedom."

   All in all The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion is a hilarious, crazy, space road trip which will make you laugh until you cry. The characters are amazing, the plot totally unrealistic for the most part but so much fun. This is one of those books you'll come back to every once in a while to just relax and laugh and have fun.
I give The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy 5 out of 5 Stars!

BLOG TOUR Review: Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien

Dienstag, 12. Mai 2015

   Hey guys!
   I'm excited to be part of the Book Tour for Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien. I want to thank Spencer Hill Press for providing me a ARC of Bone Deep for review. You'll find said review below, and all the way at the end of this post you'll even find a link to a giveaway for a paperback copy of Bone Deep!
   Here's what the book is about and my review:

Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien
Published: May 19th 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
Number of Pages: 242 Pages (Paperback)
Series: No

   Spending the summer on an archeological dig sounds like fun, and it would be, if Paige Patterson didn t have to work for her dad--the man who walked out on their family. Luckily, her best friend Emily Linton is also interning for her dad. The summer takes on a romantic possibility when she meets Jalen Yazzi--the super attractive son of her father s project manager. But then Emily vanishes. As the police struggle for answers, Paige sets out to find the truth. What was Emily doing alone in the ruins the night she disappeared? Did she see something she shouldn t have? The search for Emily brings Paige and Jalen closer together, but it also unlocks long hidden crimes and dangerous mysteries. As Paige digs deeper into Emily s disappearance, she realizes that uncovering the truth may cost her everything--even her life. (

   Bone Deep is a very unique and interesting take on the YA murder-mystery genre. It features a unique setting, diverse characters with interesting backgrounds and stories to tell. And there is also some archeology thrown into the mix, too, which was very interest and something I've not encountered in YA before.
   I'm a big fan of mysteries, especially murder ones, so I knew Bone Deep would be something for me the moment I read the blurb. Luckily, the book did not disappoint me in any way. I enjoyed seeing this setting with ruins and pieces of information’s and stories about Native Americans. I think we hear about them way too little in school during history, and so it was refreshing to read about. The way Kim O'Brien described it I could easily imagine the characters and places.

“You will fall in love, but you won’t help her and she’s going to die.”

   Speaking of which, I liked the characters a lot. I identified a lot with Paige, probably because we are both divorce kids, but also because she was a different character with flaws, one that could also admit and own up to her own mistakes, even if it wasn't easy it do. I liked her relationship with Emily and how it slowly warmed up in the beginning of the story, how we slowly got more information on their past and explored what made their friendship definitely stand out. I felt sorry for her due to the fact how hard she took her parents’ divorce and how she slowly started to figure out that maybe the reasoning behind it wasn't quite the way she thought it was. And also that it wasn't just something mentioned two or three times, but something that really bothered her a lot, which made her even more of a believable character.
   I also really liked Jalen with his stoic and sometimes weird behavior, which was understandable yet slightly infuriating at times, though not in any really negative way. It was rather amusing. I really liked seeing him warm up to Paige and their relationship form and evolve in a believable pace. Seeing his background with his memories of his grandparents living in the Navajo Nation and how he wishes to live there one day too was great and new. I've never read a story which featured a character with a Native American background before, which made Jalen quite intriguing.

“I think the sneakers and the corn are symbolic. A lot of ancient tribal burial ceremonies involved placing moccasins and food along with the body of the loved one. The moccasinssymbolised a swift journey to the next world, and the food was to provide nourishment along the way.”

   Kim O'Brien very cleverly lead us through the search of who is responsible for Emily's disappearance, made us think that 'I am pretty sure I've figured out who it is' just so she can prove us wrong in every way. The ending and conclusion to who is responsible was believable and surprising, not obvious at all, which I feared might happen but didn't.

   All in all I enjoyed Bone Deep very much. I practically read it in two sittings, both way too late at night which meant that the morning after I looked like a sleep deprived zombie but it was worth it. If you're into murder-mysteries and unique characters, this might be the book for you.

I give Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien 5 out of 5 Stars.

About the Author:

   Kim O’Brien grew up in an old Victorian house in Bronxville, NY. Her mother loved telling her bedtime stories, especially ones about the ghost in their attic. Kim not only believed the house was haunted but also fell in love with books and the art of storytelling. At Emory University in Atlanta, Kim earned a B.A. in psychology. She then attained a M.F.A in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. She worked for many years as a writer, editor, and speechwriter for IBM before becoming a full time fiction writer. She lives in Texas with her husband, daughters, and four-legged friend Daisy. Kim is the author of eight inspirational romances and seven non-fiction children’s books. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at, Facebook, and Twitter (kimobri).

Win a Paperback copy of Bone Deep (US Only)

Buy Bone Deep:
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Ask the Author: Michelle Falkoff (Playlist for the Dead)

Samstag, 2. Mai 2015

   Hey guys!
   This week for Ask the Author I'm bringing you the author of Playlist for the Dead, a YA Contemporary, Michelle Falkoff. I'm super excited to read her book hopefully very soon, and I'm even more excited that she took her time to answer a couple of questions.
   Here is her book and the interview:

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Published: January 27th 2015 by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 288 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.
   Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.
   As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own. (

Interview with Michelle Falkoff

   1 – Describe Playlist for the Dead like a twitter pitch – 140 characters.
   Teenaged boy's best friend commits suicide and leaves behind a playlist of songs to help him understand what happened.

   2 – What sparked the idea of writing a YA novel which deals with teen suicide and its effect on those who were close to the one who committed suicide?
   I'd read some books I really loved in which boys lost girls they'd been interested in, and I wanted to explore how it would be different to lose someone who was a friend.

   3 – How did you prepare yourself to write a story like this? Did you simply try to imagine how it must feel like when something like this happens or did you talk to people who had to deal with someone close to them committing suicide?
   For me, it's usually a process of researching the surrounding circumstances and then imagining the specifics with respect to the characters. This means I did a lot of research on suicide generally, but I didn't read a lot of personal narrative because I wanted to be true to Sam's experience, as someone who'd lost someone.

   4 – What was the process of deciding on the playlist which Hayden left for Sam? How hard was it?
   It was so hard, but so much fun! I started out looking for songs that dealt with suicide and death, but they weren't really working for me--they were too dark or too on-the-nose; they didn't really hint at anything specific to Hayden. I ended up looking for songs that fit the theme of whatever I was trying to explore in each chapter, themes that would have meant something to Hayden. Sometimes they were supposed to trigger memories for Sam; sometimes they were signals from Hayden that there were things going on in his life that Sam didn't know about.

   5- How long did it take you from first idea until publishing deal? And how many queries did it take until you found 'the one'?
   I worked with a production company, so thankfully I didn't have to deal with the business side of things very much. From our first conversation about the book until it came out was about two-and-a-half years, though I didn't spend all of that time writing.

   6 – What do you think about the final cover? While writing, did you ever imagine how a cover might possibly look like?
   I had not imagined the cover at all--for some reason I had no idea what I thought it should look like, except that I was hoping it would be somewhat abstract, just because I like abstract things. When I got the first version of it I absolutely loved it, and though it went through some edits, it only got better.

   7 – What do you like most about YA?
   I love that it tends to be honest and raw and unfiltered. And I love that the category is broad enough to encompass so many genres--there's really something for every kind of reader.

   8 – Which do you prefer: trilogy or standalone?
   Standalone, but that's because most of what I read is realistic (or semi-realistic) and doesn't lend itself to serialization as well.

   9 – If you were forced to participate in The Hunger Games, as female from District 12, what would be your strategy? Fight or flight?
   I suspect I'd hide until someone came and killed me. Though I like to think I'd set up some traps, just in case. Does that mean flight?

About the Author

   Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law.