Because who can afford books in this economy?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blog Tour: Song Playlist for Five Flavors of Dumb and a chance to win!

Hey everyone! Today I have the author of Five Flavors of Dumb, Antony John, on the blog to talk about songs that inspired or suit his novel. This is all thanks to the great blog tour site The Teen {Book} Scene. Here's a link to my review of the book if you're interested! Make sure to read to the end of the post if you want to know how you could win a copy of the book or even a signed copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson!

Make up a playlist of a few songs you think suit/inspired Five Flavors of Dumb 

Hi Taylor! Thanks for having me on your blog today. 
Okay, so I’m going to limit my playlist to 20 songs, ‘cause otherwise this will become the longest blog post in history! 

I’ll start with the easy ones (i.e. music that actually features in DUMB): 
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
“Seasons in the Sun” – Nirvana
“Star Spangled Banner and Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix (live at Woodstock)
“Ionisation” – Edgard Varese (bonus points to anyone who has heard of this one!) 

Then there are the old-timey songs that may have influenced the fictional songs in DUMB: 
“Paint it Black” – The Rolling Stones. (Pure, undiluted angst.)
“Twist and Shout” – Beatles. (Peppy, infectious, and it only uses three chords!)
“Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers. (Piper and Ed’s love song.)
“Layla” – Derek and the Dominos (This is how the guitarists wished they sounded.) 
These songs seem appropriate given some of the events that happen in DUMB: 
“Word Up” – Cameo (check out the cover version by Willis – it rocks!)
“Hot N Cold” – Katy Perry
“Paparazzi” – Lady Gaga
“It’s the End of the World as We Know It” – R.E.M.
“Idioteque” - Radiohead
“We Will Rock You” – Queen 

And finally, some songs whose titles are almost like portraits of Dumb’s band members: 
Piper (manager): “Out of My Mind” – James Blunt
Josh (lead vocals): “You’re so Vain” – Carly Simon
Ed (drums): “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” – The Police
Tash (lead guitar): “Not Ready to Make Nice” - The Dixie Chicks
Kallie (guitar): “You Know I’m No Good” – Amy Winehouse
Will (bass guitar): “Zombie” - The Cranberries 

Oh, and I’ve just noticed that the actual playlist I was listening to as I wrote DUMB has about a hundred songs on it, each of which I’ve listened to at least twenty times. This tells me two things: 
1. Without music, I’d probably never have written DUMB at all.
2. It takes a really long time to write a book!

Thanks so much Antony! Now, if you want a chance to win a signed copy of The Five Flavors of Dumb, or a signed copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, all you have to do is like Antony's Facebook Page and you're entered! How easy is that?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John
Release Date: November 11th
Source: ARC Tour through Blog Tour
Synopsis from Goodreads:
THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

THE DEAL: If she does it, she'll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she's deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family's decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

Five Flavors of Dumb is the first book that I've read featuring a deaf main character. It was a completely new experience and I think that I both learned a lot and enjoyed myself. Obviously the main character being deaf is a large part of the story, but it's not the whole story. The story itself wasn't quite what I expected, but it was good.

The concept of this book is very original. A deaf girl managing a rock band? Really? Well, yes. I was curious as to how it would work, but work it does. Piper doesn't see being deaf as a disability. Her lip reading is so good that she can get by without much trouble at all, and who needs to hear music when you can feel it? I loved that she was so strong and didn't let herself get her down.

Something that I had a problem with was the inconsistency of the characters. I had a hard time figuring out exactly who they were supposed to be. She was introduced shy, but then she would be outspoken. I understand the natural evolution of a character throughout the course of a book, but sometimes it seemed a little abrupt. Another thing is that there are a lot of characters who are in a scene at once, which I think made it hard to connect to each individual character.

I loved how big a role music played in the book. It made me want to get on YouTube and listen to songs by Jimi Henrix and Nirvana. I also loved Piper's family and how they played such a large role in the book and her life. It doesn't make sense to me when a characters family plays next to no role in the book because they are obviously a large part of their life, so I appreciated that they played a large role in this book.

Basically I really enjoyed this book, there were just a few things that made it difficult for me to connect to the characters. I would definitely recommend it.

Characters: 7/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 44/50 B+
Cover Comments: Love this cover! It's so loud and bright. The girl on the front looks really cool and I love that there's a band performing in the backround!  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published: October 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

I went into this book with super, super high expectations. As in, I don't think that I've ever expected a book to be as good as I expected this book to be. I mean, why shouldn't I have had high expectations? It's written by two fantastic authors, it's a romance, it's set in New York City, it has alternating narratives, and the cover is cute as can be. So did it live up to my expectations? Not only did it live up to them, it exceeded them. That's because of one thing that I couldn't tell before I read it: the characters are fan-freaking-tastic.

I have to say that this book is exactly what it looks like: a fun, light read with heart. But it's so, so much more than that. It's hilarious, heart-warming, heart-stopping, has some really kick-ass quotes, and manages to make you think. I liked it even more than I liked Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and I loved that book.

The characters are really what makes this book. Dash, who's so intelligent it's almost hard to think of him as an actual teenage boy, and Lily, who's probably one of the most kindhearted people ever, are just the beginning. There's Lily's gay older brother and huge extended family, and Dash's quirky best friend and ex-girlfriend from Spain. They're all dynamic and so real it's ridiculous.

Something else that I loved about this book is that it's set at Christmas time. I love love love Christmas, and Dash and Lily's feelings about it play a large role in establishing them as characters. Being set at Christmas gives the book a very holiday feeling to it, which just makes it seem even more magical. You don't have to love Christmas to love this book though, nor do you have to read it at Christmas (but if you don't you might find yourself longing to hear some carols or eat gingerbread men). 

Basically I loved, loved, loved this book. If you have even a vague interest in it you should read it, it's definitely worth it!

Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 50/50 A+
Cover Comments: I love this cover! I think that it captures how big a role New York City at winter plays in it while also being playful. I love the heart snowflakes!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Help get me out of my reading funk!

Hey everyone! So, I've been in kind of a reading/blogging funk lately. I'm working to get out of it, and I'm making some progress with the blogging, but the reading is just killing me. I can't find a book that I stay interested in. I forced myself through Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison, which is so a book that I shouldn't have had to force myself to read, and I'm struggling through Stolen by Lucy Christopher. This is where you come in: choose a book from the following list that you think will get me out of my reading funk and make me actually want to read again! So, here are the choices:

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week:
 Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
This book sounds so fantastic! So original, and it's by the author of one of my favorite series ever AKA The Jessica Darling books, beginning with Sloppy Firsts. I love this cover too, it's very fitting.
What are you waiting on? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
Published: August 2010
Source: Book It Forward ARC Tours
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four. 

I had some pretty high expectations for this book, but sadly it didn't meet them. Not that it was a bad book, just that it wasn't as good as I would have liked it to be. I loved the story line, but I think that the writing could have used a little more work. I didn't think that John's voice was very convincing either.

 Let's start with what I did like: The story line. I haven't read a YA book about aliens before so it was definitely different for me from the very beginning. I really liked learning about the other planets, why they were fighting, why John was on Earth to begin with. I thought that the pacing was pretty good in general, though a bit slow in parts.

I liked most of the characters, Henri was my favorite. I think that John was a bit too formal for a teenage boy, alien or not. That was one of the big things. I couldn't seem to connect with John as someone that could really be out there somewhere. He wasn't real enough, he seemed too much like a narrator and not enough like the person living the events.

I think that this book will translate really well into a movie. It's pretty detailed and heavy on the descriptions, especially when there's a lot of action. It read a lot more like a movie script than a book in some parts, actually.

Basically, I liked it but didn't love it. I'm really looking forward to the movie though!

Characters: 7/10
Writing: 7/10
Originality: 9/10
Plot: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 39/50 C+
Cover Comments: Cool cover, grabs my attention.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (39)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where we share the books that we've somehow acquired the previous week.

The Library:
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

That's all I got, but I'm in no way upset by that! This book looks like it rocks! 

What's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: Sweetly
Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: August 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED and FATHOMLESS.

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

My Thoughts: I LOVED Sisters Red, and I love modernized fairy-tales in general, so I think that I'll LOVE this one too. Plus that cover is just so awesome! I didn't see the face the first time I looked, it's really creepy! 

What are you waiting on?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Title: The Duff
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: September 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Let me just start by saying that I LOVED this book. Loved it, loved it, loved it. It was sassy, sweet, funny, and heart-felt. Everything I love in a book and more. Plus it had a great message about self-esteem and loving yourself.

Bianca was...something else. I've never read a character quite like her before. She was really, really cynical, which I enjoyed, but you could also tell that a lot of it was an act. Her feelings got hurt easily and she questioned herself all the time. Plus all of the not-worthy vibes about herself that I got from her. On the surface she was sassy, but if you look a little deeper and you could see that she was hurting.

Bianca's two best friends were so well developed.That both had separate personalities and stayed pretty true to how they were first portrayed. Wesley was...something else. I don't think that I've read a book where the main love interest was such a player before. It was definitely interesting. It was cool that as Bianca started liking him more, I started liking him more.

I really liked how this book had family issues too. In fact, Bianca's family is the root of all of her issues. Seeing her family work through the issues really gave the book another dimension. The self-esteem issues did as well. I think that every girl who's ever felt like the Duff should read this. Which means that every girl should read this, because at one point or another we all have, which is the whole point of the book.

As I stated at the beginning of this review I loved this book, and I would recommend to any girl, anywhere!

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 47/50 A
Cover Comments: LOVE the cover! It's so bright! And I love how the words that make up the acronym are in the letters. 
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