Monday, October 29, 2012

Dear Teen Me, A Book That MUST Be Read! Enter To WIN Your Copy Here.

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me.

Everyone needs to read this book! Buy it for the teen in your life, even if you’re not a teen I advise on buying this book for yourself and sharing it with friends. This will be the book that I will always recommend to teens, parents and teachers. When I read about the concept I thought it was interesting but when I received my advance copy I could not put it down. I forgot what it was like to be a teen and all the memories came flooding back. All the issues that my younger mind went through but no answers. I wish I had this collection of letters back then. Plus as an adult reading Dear Teen Me I was able to see how much I have grown as a person and realize that I am my own encourager through life. My biggest wish is that I could write and deliver a letter to my teen self and tell myself that things will be okay. My problems weren’t as big as many but I had my low points that every teen has. That moment of doubt that adults say will get better, but what you long for is proof.

There are some heavy issues in Dear Teen Me such as eating disorders, dysfunctional families, bullying and the idea that you are all alone. There are also moments of laughter and friendship and tons of encouragement. I will take the lessons from this book and use it in my future parenting. I will keep it and remember how it was to be a teen with questions and doubt and will remember how to talk with my own kids and tell them with proof that I know what they are going through. If any parents are out there lost about what their teen is going through I am personally telling you to stop, and reminding you that you already know. Check this book out and remember. Share it with them and their teachers so that it may be included in libraries and help others.

My first challenge is to do the same as the many talented YA authors did in Dear Teen Me. I will take the first step and write a letter to my teen self. I think this is something that all adults need to do. You may think it’s silly but you realize how far you have come in life and then something just clicks. My letter is not that juicy but all the same it’s part of who I was and I became.

Dear Teen Me,

I think back on our teen years as a blur. You don’t really remember too much about high school or any specific moments that are worth mentioning. Sorry but it’s true. It may be because of the choice you made for yourself to not drink, smoke or do any drugs of any kind. It’s not because of fear or wanting to be superior to others. You and I both know why you made this choice and the darkness behind it. It’s because of trust. How you do not trust yourself if you were ever to actually try a drink while with friends. If while intoxicated you accidentally let the reason slip and what people will think. I will let you know that we maintain this choice to this day and have no regrets about it. You don’t miss out on much because of it. The darkness still lingers behind it but it absolutely gets better than now because of the friends you have.

Right now you have just broken up with a terrible boyfriend and are tired of wondering if boys actually like you. After a small string of guys who say they are interested in you and even go out with you, nothing ever happens. You start to wonder if you are even attractive and at all interesting. Please stop wasting time on this issue because when you are older you will be slapping yourself of how great you looked and all the fabulous outfits you could have worn instead of hiding under those baggy Mossimo sweatshirts. Remember to teach this lesson to your future daughter.

You will soon struggle with friendship. You have a couple of great friendships but they eventually turn sour because of trust and loyalty issues. You are going to be without a group of girlfriends for a while because you will make the hard decision to cut all ties from them. You’ll feel empty for a while during your college years and will go through a rocky academic period. But never fear; you do manage to take one fantastic thing away from high school.

A couple of months from now you will notice a guy smiling at you. You even stop and wonder if he’s looking at someone behind you, he isn’t. You realize that he has had a class across the hall from yours your entire senior year. He is even taking a class with your sister and is one of your close friends best friend. He will invite you to a party he is throwing and because you finally make the decision to throw more caution to the wind you go and even get into trouble because you stay out until 2am talking with him. He will call you and invite you to prom and when he tells you he loves you shortly after graduating you are not scared because you love him too.

You realize later that you did have a true best friend in high school; he just arrived late. He is the one that you can always count on and the one that will see you at your worst. You look to this person and always wish that you had met him earlier. One day he will arrive at your doorstep on your 21st birthday after you have been crying your eyes out because of how far in debt you are because of your car and college. Your mom tells him that you need cheering up and he takes you to see a movie. Instead of a movie he will propose to you with a ring he won from a gumball machine. You say yes then he gives you the actual ring that he’s been saving months for.

This man will make you laugh to the point of tears and will be an incredible father. He will hold your hand during your endless stays at the hospital when you find out that you have a unique condition that will unfortunately be very painful but you get through it. You will be left with horrible scaring that you can hide but he says you’re still beautiful. Don’t waste your money on the Maderma because you never use it. 

Your life will only get better after this. You will have a son and shortly after tell your husband about the stories that have always cluttered your mind. He pushes you to start writing and is your biggest supporter.

You also find that group of girlfriends that you wish you had in high school. One always seems to make you feel stronger and isn’t afraid to tell you when you’re wrong, one let’s you cry on her shoulder and hugs you often, and the other helps feed your creative soul and allows you to be silly. Because of where your line of work takes you, you end up making amazing friends that you can be yourself around.

The point of this letter is to tell you that high school is sometimes this big wonderful thing but not for you. Your big wonderful thing is just about to happen. You are about to discover who you want to be and the people that you want to include on that journey. When you feel that you absolutely have it all, your husband tells you about a dream he had and continues to have. You laugh it off and convince yourself it’s unthinkable because things like that don’t happen to people like you. But they so will. So pay close attention to the guy who smiles at you, he will change your life.  


** The prize is an autographed copy of Dear Teen Me—signed by 4-5 contributors, plus postcards, bookmarks.

I will be verifying comment entries to the giveaway. No cheater's please. Please leave a comment by clicking the little pencil below the comment section. That easy people. 

Winner's name will posted here at the end of the contest date. Winner will be required to email me within 24 hours at and I will make sure you receive your fabulous prize. 

Enter the Rafflecopter form below and Good Luck!
As of 11/7/12 the winner of this giveaway did not contact me within the 24 hour time period. So I had to pick another winner. Congrats to Nikki C. you are the official winner of this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dear Teen Me website:
Dear Teen Me events page:
Zest Books Dear Teen Me book page:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Settling from Shelley Workinger is a Gutsy Installment To Her Solid Series.

So after reading Solid I wanted to jump right into reading Settling, the second book in Shelley Workinger’s Solid series. This was very different then the first book and a bit hard for me to read only because Clio’s character is put through some surprising tests. She does everything that I don’t want her to but I can’t help but want to know how it turns out. I do love it when an author can put their characters in an unthinkable predicament where it makes the reader react. Much like I did when I kept saying, “No, no. Don’t do it!”

Settling was a fast read and I feel readers will get to know a lot more about Clio. She has many questions lingering in her head and even though she may seem distant with her friends they still seem to work together as a team. There is a sense of what is to come for these characters and how they deal with solving the mystery on campus. Shelley Workinger seems to be setting up something major for her final book Sound and it really has my interest peaked.



At the beginning of the summer, Clio Kaid was one of a hundred teens brought to a secret Army installation. But it was no ordinary camp and they weren’t ordinary kids…

Picking up where “Solid” left off, Clio and her friends realize that they aren’t ready to go home; they’re determined to stay on campus and continue their journey of self- discovery. But someone doesn’t feel the same way and will do anything to drive them away – even kill.

Friendships will be tested, abilities will evolve, and more secrets will come out as the teens race to stop the killer before he sets his sights on one of them…

In Settling we get the same Clio as before only she has a lot more to think about after what happened in Solid. Just when her and Jack start the fun part of their relationship a murder occurs. The school is on lock down and Clio is determined to figure out what is really happening. Clio does seem a bit more lost in Settling and more flawed because of her trust issues, which I enjoyed because she is more real. She will make a huge choice that I’m not sure is a mistake but it is super big and I was greatly surprised. At times I did want to shake her a bit and question why she wasn’t paying attention to her friends and Jack but when a character makes unexpected choices the reader can’t help but continue to find out why.

Jack still manages to be a mystery to me. We do find out something major near the end of the book and it makes me even more excited to read the third book. I do hope there is more of Jack in Sound, the final book in the Solid series. Jack seems to feel a bit left out amongst his super powered friends because he has yet to discover his ability. So he always tries extra hard to do what he can around the school. This made Jack’s story more difficult to swallow because of his dedication and then what winds up happening to him, so sad.

I have to mention Garrett because he still manages to steal scenes and make me laugh because of his in your face honesty. I think one of my favorite moments in the book is when he and Clio take a jog. The dialogue is pretty flawless between them and winds up being bittersweet at the end of their story.

The book is fast paced at the beginning and the end but the middle dragged just a bit only because Clio has a lot of inner thought regarding the killer who is on the lose. She is alone with her conclusions and is left to piece it all together on her own. She seems to turn to mentor Lieutenant Graham and this gets her into trouble. If you are wondering what kind of trouble, you’ll just have to read Settling to find out and see what you think of Clio afterwards. I did feel bad for Clio and am very curious to read what happens next. I feel it’s a good thing that Clio is allowed to fail sometimes and is not seen as perfect. Characters are better that way for readers like me who have grown attached to them. It makes you care for them.

I said it last time and will say it again; Shelley Workinger has some serious guts as a writer. She put her star character through a lot in Settling and challenged me to read on. But I had to because I loved her in Solid and want to see her succeed. But now I don’t know what to think. I was left with a sort of a Revenge of The Jedi kind of ending which is fabulous! But I thought I knew what I wanted for Clio but am not so sure going into the final book. But I can tell you that I can’t wait.