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Saturday, February 26, 2011


IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at: The Story Siren.
Every week I will (try to) post about what books and/or other goodies I have received through out that week (via my mailbox/library/store bought/gifts/or whereva!)
Ciao! Molto kisses dahhlings! Let's get straight down to business. No time for small talk this time lovies. ;)
I have to give a great big THANK YOU to my friend and fellow blogger, Ashley over at BookAHolics Anonymous! for the birthday gift:
Secrets and Shadows (13 to Life, #2) by Shannon Delaney and check out the Awesome card too! :) Thanks Ash! You rock, doll face!
The Girl Who Became a BeatleDarkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5)SweetheartsThe Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3)
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr purchased from Amazon
The Dark and Hallow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3) by Carrie Ryan ARC provided by Random House - Thank you very much!
Welp. Here's the part that matta's. On stuff like your opinion! Have you read any of my new goodies? Did you think they were just okay? OR, was there one (or more) that you thought was abso AMAZING?!
When you’re through here please leave a link in the comments and tell me what goodies you got in your mailbox! As always, have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by.
Don't forget THE MARBURY LENS giveaway ends Monday 2/28 at midnight (EST). If you haven't entered, you betta hurry!

Happy Reading & Arrivederci

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Update! The Marbury Lens Giveaway and Interview with Andrew Smith

Ghost MedicineIn the Path of Falling ObjectsThe Marbury Lens

Giveaway Goodies! That's right, I made the pot even sweeter.. by adding Andrew's first two published novels. Now the giveaway includes all three plus some signed swag. How sweet is that? (like honey) !

Ghost Medicine
In The Path Of Falling Objects - Read my review
The Marbury Lens - Read my review
Signed Marbury Lens book cards

Lady Reader's Giveaway Deets:

1. Open to everyone. Yay.
2. Must be a follower of Lady Reader's Bookstuff via Google Friend Connect.

(I'd abso LOVE it if you'd follow on Twitter, FB & Networked Blogs too! **This is NOT a requirement, I just heart friends)

3. Leave a comment with your email addy so I can contact the winner.
4. Giveaway starts at February 14th 12:01 am(est) and ends at February 28th midnight (est)

Please be kind enough to leave a comment or question for Andrew as he has given all of us his time to do this interview, which by the way he has decided he will be doing no more of . So, if you have something you want to know or share with Andrew Smith, now is the time to do so.

These are the links for Andrew Smith:
Ghost Medicine - Andrew's blog
Andrew's website
Andrew's FB page
Andrew's Twitter page

Happy Reading


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review - In The Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith

Jonah and his younger brother, Simon, are on their own. They set out to find what’s left of their family, carrying between them ten dollars, a backpack full of dirty clothes, a notebook, and a stack of letters from their brother, who is serving a tour in Vietnam. And soon into their journey, they have a ride. With a man and a beautiful girl who may be in love with Jonah. Or Simon. Or both of them. 

The man is crazy. The girl is desperate. This violent ride is only just beginning. And it will leave the brothers taking cover from hard truths about loyalty, love, and survival that crash into their lives. 

One more thing: The brothers have a gun. They’re going to need it.

My Thoughts:

I don't think that Andrew Smith can write a novel that I wouldn't love. He has a unique writing style that is all his own. In The Path of Falling Objects is Andrew Smith's 2nd novel that I've read to date.

In the very beginning of the story we get a huge shocker, then we are left to let it digest for a little bit. I think Smith likes to wow us with an introduction like that. The kind that just kind of sneaks up on you and POW! Then nothing. No explanation until he feels the need to give us one. He's smooth and in total control of what he writes.Then we're introduced to the brothers. Jonah is 16 and Simon is 14.

"Our brother fell apart in the war.
Mother fell apart after that.
Then we had to leave."

Jonah vows to take care of Simon, always has. Simon has always resented Jonah for this very reason or because Jonah was trying to take on more of a paternal role than a brotherly role.
Smith describes in detail the destitute situation the boys are left in. They have nothing. Only each other.

Their brother Matthew had been sent to Vietnam to serve in the Army. Their father was in prison.

"Their mother had gone off with one of her men friends for Georgia, or Texas, or someplace, and Simon and Jonah had been left behind, alone in the crumbling shack of a home. The electricity had been gone for days."

They had a destination. They began their journey walking to Arizona to hopefully find Matthew once again. Taking with them the very few items they could carry in a backpack including all of the letters that Matthew had sent to Jonah from Vietnam and a notebook that Jonah would draw in daily.

Never would the brothers believe the road trip from hell they are about to embark on. Accepting a ride from the most beautiful girl on the entire planet, Lilly, and sociopath, Mitch was the worst thing they could have done on this adventure from New Mexico to Arizona to find the rest of their existing family.

There were so many great things about this book. One was the multiple viewpoints. Even though there are multiple viewpoints, the alternating viewpoints are still being told by Jonah. Every now and then you get a sneak peak inside Mitch's head and that is a very disturbing place to be.

Another thing are the letters written from Matthew to Jonah. You could see how his mental state slipped, how hard it must have been for him. The descriptions that Smith gave in the letters were so real...
The letters for me meant a great deal.

Also, the relationship between Jonah and Simon. Obviously, just like brothers they are going to fight and argue, but when you are left with only each other, you're love is stronger than nothing else. Smith really was able to show that blossom - in a manly (boyish) sorta way.

I'm not going to give away the ending and or what happens to any of the characters because I want you to buy the book and read it, so I'm ending my review here. I hope I was able to give this book some of the justice that it deserves.

Rating = 5 Stars

Purchased from Amazon
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Feiwel & Friends
Thanks everyone and don't forget to enter THE MARBURY LENS giveaway HERE!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Marbury Lens Giveaway - Interview with Andrew Smith

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.
There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.
Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.
Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.
But, it’s not.
Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

benvenuto, Empfang, Καλωσόρισμα, välkomnande, bienvenida, ようこそ, accueil
Welcome to my blog, Andrew.

1.       I’m just going to put it out there right away, about The Marbury Lens. Do you wanna give us the deets on The Marbury Lens and how much of it is fiction and not? Are you ready to give that info up?

So far, I suppose I haven’t written a single thing that isn’t somehow connected to real-world experiences I’ve had. I hope that, at the very least, the connection between my prose and my life allows for some element of realism in my narrators’ voices.

I’ll leave it at that.

It’s a question that I get asked – and evade – frequently. But I will add that writing The Marbury Lens troubled me quite a bit. I had terrible nightmares throughout the process, especially in the beginning, when I had intended to take the story in an entirely different direction. The nightmares became part of the narrative, too. Then I got particularly stressed and panicky right when the book came out. Just ask Liz (my editor) or Jean Feiwel (my publisher). I went insane, I think, and it had nothing to do with the typical writer’s book release jitters. Honestly, I don’t know how those two remarkable women put up with a basket-case like me.

2.       When you wrote Ghost Medicine and In The Path Falling Objects were those novels loosely based on life events as well or just stories made up in your head?

As I mentioned above, yes… all my novels have a great deal to do with things I did and went through in my own life. A lot of Troy Stotts’ (he’s the narrator in Ghost Medicine) story were things from my own life. I mention as much in the acknowledgments from In the Path of Falling Objects, too – how I once took a road trip with two of my buddies through the Southwest, and I had to sit in the backseat beside a life-size tin statue of Don Quixote, always thinking to myself how one day I’d write a story about that situation. Also, when I was very young, my older brother served as a soldier in Vietnam. A lot of the letters he sent home became the basis for Matthew’s story in that novel.

3.       How long did it take you to write The Marbury Lens? During that time did you come across any blocks/times that you couldn’t write?

It seems like such a long time ago. I’ve written three complete novels since I wrote The Marbury Lens. But, I believe, it took me about 3 months to finish Marbury. I’d sent the first portion of it in to my editor, Liz Szabla, before I was anywhere near finishing it. And, to be honest, I haven’t yet encountered a time when I couldn’t write.

Sometimes the writing goes slower than others, but I always have an idea about what’s going to happen next. Just knowing that kind of forces me to get through the tougher, more uphill, portions of the journey.

4.       Is there a living Conner?

Conner is a lot like most of the guy friends I had when I was younger. Well, actually, he’s a lot like the guy friends I have now. Although I frequently “name” characters after people I know, I never actually make a character who serves as a representation of anyone specific. Except the bad guys. Usually, my bad guys are more like real people who I actually do know.

5.       I learned this recently in the video about warning labels, but wanted to know for a long time so will still ask for others, how you do you feel about your own children reading The Marbury Lens and if in fact they have read it? (The video can be found here)

This question has a couple separate parts to it: First, I don’t feel uncomfortable about my kids reading pretty much anything they want to. I’d be hard-pressed to specifically name anything you could get that I’d want to take away from my son (16) or daughter (13).

That said, everything I’ve written was produced with my son in mind. I realized when he was younger that a lot of the books that found their way into his hands had some weaknesses – in my opinion – as far as being “good” books for boys. For one thing, the books he was exposed to at school, to me, had a kind of anti-boy bias – an agenda – to them. I wanted him to read stories about REAL boys – kids who have to deal with difficulties, who make mistakes, and who sometimes fail, without having super powers or magic. So, all my stories kind of hover in that atmosphere. They’ve also grown up as he has – from Ghost Medicine to The Marbury Lens. And yes, he was the first person, besides my editor and agent, to ever read that book.

6.       Do you still work with a YA Lit group? Wanna give us the basics with that?

To be honest, I don’t do groups very well. I’ve never found one that I fit into, and the ones I’ve made an effort to participate with invariably make me feel like an outcast. I don’t like politics and cattiness, so I prefer my uncomfortable isolation. I do, however, coach a group of young writers who range in age from 15 to 18 years old, and this is one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences ever. It’s not about giving anything up or trying to fit in, and I can only hope I’m helping the kids discover – on their own – how to be better writers, help one another, and discover their own creative instincts.

7.       What are your feelings about blame and innocence from your youth? (Marbury) Do you still have any that you harbor over?

I thought about this for a long time. There were four boys in my family. My parents were very strict, but we had nothing to compare our upbringing to, so there was really no questioning the system (and this, by the way, is a big part of the storyline in my upcoming novel, Stick). But it was like there was this general expectation that everything we ever did was bad and wrong. As a result, I think that as I grew up I naturally began to assume not only that I was a bad person, but that anything negative that happened to me was my fault and that I deserved it. I guess for readers of The Marbury Lens, this may echo as something very familiar in Jack’s narrative.

8.       We never hear about your wife? Does she just prefer to stay behind the lines? Does she have an opinion of The Marbury Lens?

Ha ha! I only see my wife when I put on this special pair of glasses I keep on the stand next to my bed.

She was, I think, a little shocked and stunned after reading The Marbury Lens. To be honest, I don’t think she liked it. But I don’t expect everyone to like everything I do. In fact, I suppose I truthfully expect very few people to like the stuff I write. And, by the way, I never allow anyone to read my work until it actually comes out in published form, as an ARC. So, my family generally knows less about my forthcoming projects than people who read book blogs like yours.

I have modified my tight-lipped demeanor in recent months. I’ve allowed a few friends to read initial drafts of Stick, and I sent a final-draft copy of another novel I recently finished, called Winger to an author friend, too.

9.       Do you have a tour schedule started for Stick yet? Any idea if Atlanta will be on there?

Nothing is scheduled in permanent marker yet, but I’d really like to get out to Texas for TXLA this spring. People in Texas have always been so great about my books. But I am definitely doing some Marbury/Stick appearances later this month and in April around Southern California, including the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I am tentatively scheduled to go to Chicago in November. And I really want to get to Atlanta and a few places in the Midwest that have really supported my books tremendously. Then, of course, there’s the ALA gathering in New Orleans this summer, too. All of this may change, depending on my state of mind. I can be pretty unpredictable when it comes to certain things involving the writing career.

10.    Please list ten random likes; then do the same for dislikes, go way random.

Random Likes: (this sounds like a singles survey) Thunderstorms in summer, running in the hills around my house, meteor showers, my sauna, kayaking, going to bed early and waking up at an outrageously early hour, watching snow fall and having a fire going, traveling to somewhere I’ve never been.

Random Dislikes: Putting my contacts in backwards, the weird guy who drives a white truck and looks like a murderer, people who follow too close, people who walk too slow, television, exclamation points, emotions, and text speak.

11.    Stick, your 4th published novel will be out this fall correct? Care to elaborate?

To say that Stick is like nothing else I’ve written is kind of vague, because if you look at the body of my work, I think one thing that stands out is that not one of my novels is even remotely similar to another. That said, Stick involves some experimental-type narrative structure that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in any other novel (which doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m the first writer to try something like this). But here’s what I wrote as a description (also very vague) of the plot:

Stark McClellan (“Stick”) hears the world in a different way. He is surrounded by cruelty and ugliness, but holds on to a powerful sense of wonder, faith, and love for his best friend, Emily, and the most important person in Stick’s world -- his older brother, Bosten, who happens to be gay. When the boys’ father throws Bosten out of their home, Stick steals a car and takes off on a three-state odyssey to find and rescue him.

12.    Still keeping hush, hush on the sequel to The Marbury Lens?

Yes. I am. I promise it will come out eventually, and I will tell something about it very soon.

13.    Is there anything that you’re working on that we need to be looking out for?

I’m contracted to write a short story for an upcoming YA anthology that includes authors Michael Grant, Carrie Ryan, and Neal Shusterman. It will be coming out in 2012. I had a tough time letting go of my submission because I wanted to turn it into a novel (which I did) as opposed to keeping it as a short story. In any event, the story I wrote will be my submission to the project, but there is also a novel about the same characters that goes into much more detail about the story arc. The anthology, to give you a hint, is about YA Dystopian fiction with a romantic/love interest (oooh!), and the story I’ve written – that is also a current novel-in-progress which, hopefully, will be completed by April – is called Once there were Birds.

14.    Where do you come up with the names for your characters in the novels that you've written?

I used to worry about character names because I know too many people and I had this insane assumption that characters should never have the name of anyone you know in real life.

Maybe that's why so many people want to write fantasy: you get to make up totally bizarre names that you'd never hear in the real world. The bottom line is you'll never be able to write for any length of time and NOT have a character name that isn't attached in some way to a real flesh-and-bone person that you've known in your life. So there are many characters in my books whose names I've "borrowed" from people I know. In fact, sometimes, I'll write a scene, give a character a name that just doesn't sound right to me, then I'll change it to the name of one of the first people I talk to that day.

The catch is to not have characters that ARE real people (or, to make them just different enough that only you will know for sure who they are). But the bad guys in my books... they all are really people that I knew. Really.

15.    Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process.

I have a few challenges, I think, that make my process quite a bit different from most of the writers I know (and certainly different from the handful of writers I can honestly call “friends”).

First of all, I never sell things before writing them. I don’t think I could respond properly under that type of pressure. I know most writers do this, but I feel like I would always suspect my judgment and creativity if I ever got a contract on the basis of I am going to write a novel about…

So the challenge is that I do invest a lot of time and energy producing things that are very personal, and for ME only, before I ever take the risk of submitting them to anyone. And I have lots of stuff that is just sitting there on my hard drive. My agent, and other people in the business, tell me I’m too prolific. I know that already. I’ve considered taking gigs as a ghostwriter, but I couldn’t stand myself if I did something for another person’s brand.

The other challenge for me is that I really don’t have anyone I can talk to about the job part of writing. I don’t belong to any writers’ groups, and I live in a very remote location, so I don’t hang out with people at all where I live. I have a couple friends whom I’ll sometimes ask for advice by email, but I rarely do that because I’m more of a say-nothing kind of person. I most appreciate my friendship with author Michael Grant, because 1) he’s a guy, and 2) he has absolutely no qualms at all about being brutally honest with me. He has a wicked sense of humor, too. Wow, I guess this sounds like an ad for a dating service or something.

But I never talk about writing with my wife or kids. I’m not a bring-the-job-home-with-you kind of guy, for one thing. And, to be honest, I think my wife and kids secretly hate the fact that I’m a writer. So I shut up about what I’m doing and what I go through (sometimes writing is really very painful, and it can make me insanely moody) around them.

On the other hand, I do talk to my son about his writing. He is an amazingly talented writer – much better – by light years – than I ever was at the age of sixteen. If he keeps it up and seriously pursues the craft, I have no doubts that you’ll be hearing his name soon.

Bedankt, merci, ringraziamenti, Multumiri, Şükürler, спасибо, ありがとう, gracias

Thank you very much, Andrew.

Are you open to Q&A if bloggers have questions for you or about The Marbury Lens?

Yes, yes, yes!!!! Absolutely. And thank YOU, Amy.
(Andrew, four exclamation points? dude, I didn't do that) <--- That was only for Andrew.
Sweet! So, if any one has questions for Mr. Andrew Smith please don't be shy. Just make a comment on this post and he will reply.
Welp, I have lots of goodies to give away. Yep! Lots. Thanks again to Andrew and Liz Szabla at Feiwel & Friends. I'm going backwards in order with reading Andrew's books. I started with The Marbury Lens, you can read my review here, I just finished with In The Path Of Falling Objects (and can you say hello, Mitch is a freaking whacko!) and will be posting a review next week sometime. I have Ghost Medicine and will be starting it soon. Now. Goodies! I have several hard cover copies of The Marbury Lens & signed book cards to give away! Cha-Ching.

Lady Reader's Giveaway Deets:

1. Open to everyone. Yay.

2. Must be a follower of Lady Reader's Bookstuff via Google Friend Connect.

(I'd abso LOVE it if you'd follow on Twitter, FB & Networked Blogs too! **This is NOT a requirement, I just heart friends)

3. Leave a comment with your email addy so I can contact the winner.

4. Giveaway starts at February 14th 12:01 am(est) and ends at February 28th midnight (est)

Groovy. If any of y'all would like to check out Andrew's blog, it's way cool, like cool enough to go back almost a couple times a week even! So I will put the links up for convenience. I'm pretty cool like that, too. haha.

Ghost Medicine - Andrew's blog
Andrew's website
Andrew's FB page
Andrew's Twitter page

This was fun Andrew. Thanks for spending all of your time with us and taking the time to come back and answer questions for our friends and other bloggers. I look forward to reading something from your son in the future.

Happy Reading