My Favorite Reads...and My Life

Some of you may ask why all my blog posts say "kudos" instead of "comments" at the bottom. I changed it because "kudos" is the same in its singular and plural form. So instead of "1 comments," which drives some people crazy, you see "1 kudos" or "3 kudos," both of which are correct.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Boys Next Door

The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols.

In a word: Cute.

In a many words: The Boys Next Door was an all-around perfect summer romantic comedy read. Lori spends all her summers on the lake, wakeboarding and swimming with the Vader brothers. Adam is her best friend, and Sean her longtime crush. Finally, Sean seems to be flirting back with Lori! But when Sean steals Adam's girlfriend, Lori cooks up a plan to make Sean jealous and give Adam back his girlfriend. The excitement that happens in The Boys Next Door will make you want to jump up and down, and all the cute romantic scenes will flip your heart. And just when you thought you had everything figured out, the plot twists again. Read it, and be on the lookout for some subtle foreshadowing!!

You can buy The Boys Next Door on and check out Jennifer Echols's website. She's also one of the writers for the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies Blog.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cindy Ella

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer

Cindy Ella Gold has been teased about her name since forever, but the truth is, she's not a fairytale princess. She's just a normal high school student who's in love with the most popular boy in school, Adam Silver. The hope of dating Adam (hello! Silver and Gold. They should be together!) is dashed when she writes an anti-Prom letter to the editor of her high school newspaper, hoping other people will agree with her views. Instead they shun her, because in LA, prom is super-important, especially to her fashion-obsessed, popular stepsisters. They're not evil and neither is her stepmom, but they just don't have the same priorities as Cindy. And while all this happens, she tells it to a guy she met online, BrklynBoy. It's too bad that BrklynBoy doesn't live in LA, because he's the one who totally understands Cindy.

Cindy Ella sticks to the Cinderella story without overdoing the cliche. Readers will enjoy the strong, sometimes confused high school girl, and her quirky friends, in addition to the situations Cindy gets herself into. A super fab, super cute, un-cliche but fulfilling happy ending will satisfy readers, while the plot twists will engage readers. And teenage girls from LA will totally enjoy and laugh out loud at the references to the real-life LA environment, from the traffic on Coldwater Canyon to the skirts of the girls from Immaculate Heart.

I completely recommend this book!

Buy it on Amazon!!!!

Also, check out Robin Palmer's website. It's so cute, and the colors match the cover of the book. It was designed by Little Willow of Rock the Rock web design.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Promo/Sell Sheets

Who makes promo sheets?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Hey! Let's play a game!

Si! Me encantan los juegos!

It's called, List All the Books on Your Nightstand RIGHT NOW.

Ok. Pero my nightstand es muy grande!

Jealous? Melissa de la Cruz
There's a New Name in Town Melissa de la Cruz
The Second Virginity of Suzy Green Sara Hantz
Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend Carrie Jones
Cindy Ella Robin Palmer

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You Ally Carter
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy Ally Carter
Gettin' Lucky (haven't read yet) Micol Ostow
How NOT to Spend Your Senior Year (haven't read yet) Cameron Dokey
The Boys Next Door Jennifer Echols

The Girlfriend Project (library--haven't read yet) Robin Friedman
Fireworks: Four Summer Stories Niki Burnham, Erin Haft, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle
Alive and Well in Prague, New York Daphne Grab
The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren Wendy Toliver
Simon Boom, The Gravity Keeper Michael Reisman

How to be Popular Meg Cabot
Cathy's Book (haven't read yet) Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman
The Portable Dorothy Parker (not the original; I have the complete works of Dorothy Parker)
Harry Potter 7
Harry Potter 5

Fourth Comings Megan McCarfferty
Reckless, an It Girl Novel Cecily von Ziegesar
Beloved Toni Morrison
Tell It to Naomi Daniel Ehrenhaft
Assorted Gossip Girl Books by Cecily von Ziegesar

1984 George Orwell
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Dial L for Loser Lisi Harrison

21 Proms
Jane Eyre

The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne (technically, this was on the floor next to my nightstand).

Yes, my nightstand is quite tall, and it is stuffed with books. Some of them are mine, some of them were reading for school. Some are from the library, and some belong to Little Willow.


What's on your nightstand?
(This is said better as in mimicking the Capital One commercials that ask "What's in your wallet?")


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Ashleys: There's a New Name in School, and Jealous? (part 2)

I've been meaning to post about a new series called The Ashleys by Melissa de la Cruz.


Meet the three Ashleys. They rule the seventh grade, and Miss Gamble's Preparatory School for Girls. They are all pretty, rich, and named Ashley.

Ashley Spencer: Is the only one allowed to use her real name, and she's deathly allergic to nuts. She rules the Ashleys

Ashley "Lili" Li: She plays the violin, takes advanced classes, and has her schedule micromanaged to the second. The one thing she wants, though, is take Ashley Spencer's position.

Ashley "A.A" Alioto: Athletic, and apparently good with the boys. Has an online buddy named laxjock who she thinks is in love with, but has never met.

And the outsider...

Lauren Page: Last year, she was at school on scholarship. Then her father created and she became one of the wealthiest girls in San Francisco. She wants to take down the Ashleys and make the seventh grade a better place.


In book one There's a New Name in School, Lauren Page steps out of her expensive car looking fabulous. She got a complete makeover, and personal shoppers to help her put together stunning outfits. And it's all thanks to her new wealth from her dad's website And with her transformation, she's ready to take down the Ashleys, an elite clique that rules over the school and makes life miserable for the non-SOA's (non-Seal of Approvals). But even with her new clothes, car, mansion, makeover, and money, will she be able to keep up with the three vicious girls?

In book two Jealous? the girls find a new website called AshleyRank, which weekly ranks each girl in the seventh grade from 1-10 on four categories: Style, Social Presence, Smile, and Smarts. It defines the grade, and the Ashleys have to work even harder to maintain their social standings, since the anonymous keeper of the website could be watching them at any time. And Lauren has to at least rank in the same league as the Ashleys, in order to get in with them and take them down.


The Ashleys Series is quick read, but with drama and suspense to keep you reading until the very last page. The characters are each unique, and they each have their own story. In addition to the plot, readers will enjoy the fashion tips throughout the book and looking in on the world of the rich. Tweens and teens: Look out for the Ashleys!


Click to buy the first book There's a New Name in Town

Click to buy the second book Jealous?

Visit Melissa de la Cruz's website here and her blog.

ALFA Round Table

So maybe you guys are sick of me talking about A Little Friendly Advice. Well, sorry. Because it's an AWESOME book!!! You must read it now!! Seriously, go out to Borders, B&N, visit Amazon or your indie bookstore and buy it. Take pictures of yourself picking it up off the shelf or table. Looking interested as you read the back cover. Taking it to the register. Send the pictures to Siobhan Vivian. They'll make her giddy with a newly-published-book glow.

And after my rambling, here's the round table with me, Alexia, and Little Willow (yes, I do know her. Aren't you jealous?)

Copied from Little Willow's LJ.

"Roundtable: A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian

After I read A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian, I passed the book to Alexia. Shortly thereafter, it made its way to Gela. Judging from their initial reactions to and subsequent conversations about the story, I think it's safe to say they loved it as much as I did. In fact, we just kept talking about it. A week after they'd read it. A month after. And so on.

Now that the book is officially out in stores, I asked if they'd care to create a collaborative post about it and they said sure, like Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. (Well, not exactly. They didn't say it with Audrey's accent. Only I did.)

Welcome to our roundtable. Well, we're sitting at a desk, talking and typing, so it's really more of a line. Well, Alexia calls it a point graph, and I call it my desk, but you'd never know that since she's the one sitting in the chair. The point is we're all talking about the book at once together here. Via email, blogs, and in-person conversations, we've pieced together one comfy, crazy ALFA quilt.

Because we love the book so much, we didn't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it yet. Our goal is to encourage you to go read the book and to share our randomness, so you'll see that we employed fairly basic questions and steered clear from spoilers. However, if you leave a comment or question below, one, two, or all three of us will be more than happy to respond.

Little Willow: I'm trying to think of a clever opening, but let's just be direct: ALFA rocks. I'm so glad that you two read it.

Alexia: Who was your favorite character? For me, it was all about Maria. C'mon. I loved how on the outside, she seemed to be a regular party girl that was kind of cold, but you eventually got to see that she really was a good friend. Yay!

Little Willow: I liked Ruby, the leading lady. She felt REAL.

Alexia: I agree that she was real, but for some reason I didn't connect with her. I'm not really sure why. I think that her emotions were very real, but because our lives are drastically different I had never experienced some of the emotions that Ruby went through. Nonetheless I thought she was a perfect main character for this book.

Gela: I liked them all. I liked Katherine because she seemed like this tough girl, but you got to see her vulnerability. When her friends said that they would go to her basketball game, she lit up. I liked that you could "see" that.

Little Willow: My favorite supporting character was definitely Charlie.

Alexia: Of course, we have Charlie.

Little Willow: (said with appreciation, said rather loudly) Charlie!

(Alexia points out that there's a happy dance too. Little Willow smiles. Gela breaks into a song about Charlie the unicorn, who is not Charlie from this book, but we're having some good times here.)

Gela: He's such a cutie. A big sweetheart. I just want to give him a big hug.

Alexia: My only qualm is that he seems too mature for his age, but it's partially explained by his situation and his past, which made me happy.

Little Willow: I dug Charlie. And the buttons.

Gela: Charlie, Charlie, buttons!

Alexia: None of my high school friends would act like Charlie. But hey, he's nice to dream about. He definitely makes my top 50 guys that should exist but don't. I'm seriously thinking of making that list.

Gela: I enjoyed that Charlie was an artsy who did all of these crafty little things. I love when they go down the hill and take a picture of the giant fishtail, then trace the half of a heart.

Alexia: My utmost favorite moment is when they're sitting on the grass at the college and just talking. I thought it was great and very realistic.

Little Willow: I liked that scene as well. I wanted the "I Don't Go Here" button. I liked pretty much any and every scene involving buttons, badges, photos, or scarves - all these little things that mattered to the characters throughout the entire story.

Alexia: Did Ruby ever find her scarf from Beth?

Little Willow: (looking at the people reading this) If they want to know, they will just have to read the book!

Alexia: I also liked when Ruby was sitting in Maria's car and Charlie walks up to her and her friends start flipping out. That is exactly what we do. I found it so cute. Another favorite scene: When Charlie first walks into the costume party! I remember Ruby thinking, "A Girl Scout cookie box. The perfect compliment to a Girl Scout outfit." ADORABLE.

Gela: I love that he was a cookie box! I love it! I also love that Ruby's Girl Scout patches are her battle wounds, and that she proudly displays them. If Beth doesn't like that, then too bad. Ruby shows her story on her sash. I was a Girl Scout for about two weeks.

Little Willow: I envy Ruby her camera. I've always loved the look of Polaroids, but I've never owned the actual camera. They stopped making the cameras, and now they are ceasing production of the film as well. Of course, just as I finally prepare to get something, it's gone. I am sad.

Alexia: We have a Polaroid camera! Honestly, that thing is the best. I never tire of it. I'm sad that they stopped making them.

Alexia: This book taught me to look at things from somebody else's perspective and not to immediately jump to conclusions about other people. I think that Ruby learned a lot when the truth came out about her parents' split. It was a valuable lesson, and I learned it with her.

Gela: People always say, if you can't trust your family, then you can trust your friends, or if you can't trust your friends, then you can trust your family, but it's sad that Ruby feels as though she can't trust either group of people. Maybe when she was little, it wasn't the best time to tell her what really happened with her parents, but she had the right to know. It brings up the question: Who has the right to hide something that major from someone else? It can be argued for both ways. When you're hiding something like that for that long, when can finally tell them?

Little Willow: Trust and forgiveness are tricky little beasts, especially if secrets are involved. They are handled with integrity and respect here.

Gela: With her friends, with Beth, when you have a fight that big with someone who you are close to, you can be friends again, but you have to work through it.

Little Willow: I don't want to wrap this up. I want to keep talking about the book and keep giving Siobhan Vivian kudos for creating such realistic characters.

We will stop for now, though, ONLY because Gela has to go study for her Biology test and Alexia for her Physics test. If you want to discuss this book more in-depth with us, please feel free to leave a comment or question below!"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Alive and Well in Prague, New York

Daphne Grab wrote Alive and Well in Prague, New York which is literally an amazing book.

Matisse Osgood is a true city girl who is forced to move to the country because her dad has Parkinson's disease (PD). Alive and Well shows Matisse coping (and not coping) with her dad's disease. Matisse learns more about trusting and relying on your friends, opening up to people, such as Hal, as sweet farmer boy, and letting people really get to know her. This book is heavy, but it made me cry and it made me laugh as well. [Literally, tears were streaming down my face while I was reading it.] To lighten it up a little, readers will enjoy the romance in the book as well.
Matisse is a very strong person, and her friends are very supportive. She makes mistakes sometimes, but she ultimately learns to deal with her life instead of trying to escape.

Alive and Well is scheduled to hit the shelves in June 2008.
Preorder it now on Amazon

Check out
Daphne Grab is also one of the Longstockings, so check out their blog:

Sorry for the short review, but I've got homework!!

Really, this is an absolute INCREDIBLE book!! Read it!!


Talent by Zoey Dean: You Either Have It or You Don't

In Talent Mackenzie Little-Armstrong has everything a rising eighth-grader could want: she's beautiful and she's rich, thanks to writer father and agent mother. But what she wants is to find her own talent. When she sees Emily Mungler fake her into an A-list party, she's determined to turn her into a star. But there's more riding upon Emily than her own happiness. Turning Emily into a star would lock the position of social chair for Mac, and she needs it when Ruby starts competing against her.

The unique premise of Talent is refreshingly different from the other decent middle school stories of new-girl-comes-to-town-and-wants-to-join-the-popular-crowd cliche. The twists in the plot lead to a suspense that will keep tweens and teens reading 'til the very last page.

Talent is scheduled to hit the shelves June 2008, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon:


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

ALFA Buttons!

I got buttons from Siobhan Vivian, the author of A Little Friendly Advice.

Can I just state that Siobhan Vivian is made of awesome? I proudly wore one of the buttons to school today. They were a bright spot in my exhausted, homework-filled, yearbook stressed day.

Here are some pictures!!

This is a little button of a bird

A camera!!

The back....

....and front of the promo card that came with the buttons!

Hello. I wore this on my sweater today.

A Little Friendly Advice

The entire cute little package!!