Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Love, Love, Love Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen

I have spoken about Tom Leveen often with writers and readers, telling them how uniquely realistic he is as an author for young adults. He gets to the right level of real when it comes to the crazy emotions of young love and the levels of intimacy between two people with all the awkwardness that a reader can bare. After I read Zero I became an instant fan of Leveen’s. His characters are people that are actually out in the world who have always had a voice but maybe just don’t get heard as often because they aren’t dealing with the end of world.

What I enjoyed most about Manic Pixie Dream Girl was the layout of Tyler’s story. Just a night out with friends and memories of the past couple of years playing out in his mind. It read like a cult classic 80’s movie that had a way better ending that was just wonderful. I can see Leveen’s variety of characters as they banter with hilarious and deep dialogue that keep the impact of Tyler’s actions at full throttle. Everything about this book was perfect.



Sometimes the most dramatic scenes in a high school theater club are the ones that happen between the actors and crew off stage.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Darcy's dream of being a writer is starting to feel very real now that he's sold his first short story to a literary journal. He should be celebrating its publication with his two best friends who've always had his back, but on this night, a steady stream of texts from his girlfriend Sidney keep intruding. So do the memories of his dream girl, Becky, who's been on his mind a little too much since the first day of high school. Before the night is over, Ty might just find the nerve to stop all the obsessing and finally take action.

Even though Ty finds himself having to choose between two girls I got him. I understood why and how he was with someone like Sidney. I did like that he was kept honorable and maybe that’s why I like him. I don’t believe the intention of Leveen was to hate Ty but to be able to understand that people can see the good in the ones society puts negative labels on. He is able to accept Becky’s faults and see what the cause is just by listening and observing, not reacting. He is the type of guy who must review a situation before judging but can also make up excuses for something he doesn’t want to admit. He reveals a lot of himself within his writing, which I think readers will have fun with.   

Becky is someone readers will want to shake. At least I did because I wanted to tell her she was worth something and to stop making awful mistakes. Becky’s family situation is so awful that I wanted to give her dad in particular a punch in the gut just like Ty wished he could. I’m not sure if teens will identify with her family issues but may be able to get a glimpse of how someone like Becky is labeled for her possible rumored actions.

The dialogue between all of the characters is so witty and fun and yet they still maintain seriousness about them that I loved. Ty is more confident when dealing with Becky when he’s being sarcastic. I thought he developed into a more daring guy as he progressed through high school. Ty and his sister are funny in the best way siblings usually are but really listen to each other. Sidney and Ty set an example of a typical high school couple that hit a bump in their relationship. They have a connection though that I appreciated because they both support each other in what they hope to do later in life.

I really stand by Tom Leveens’s books because of the issues he manages to shed light on for teens. Ty is someone who is discovering who he wants to be in life while he tries to cope with his crush on Becky the girl he can’t seem to make his. Becky struggles with a heavy load of high school rumors that she has to overcome and has to want to see herself the way Tyler does. People may be torn over the ending but I really fall in love with Leveen’s endings because they end with possibilities. He is able to take his characters and implant them in your brain to create your own ending. You think about them afterwards and people like Tyler can be inspiring to teens on so many levels. Manic Pixie Dream Girl is out now to purchase.

*Make sure to check out my song pick for Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I wish I could have found the acoustic version but the lyrics still scream Tyler. 

Song of The Week!

I. Love. This. Song! I'd like to say that my love of time travel brought me to the song 'I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.' As soon as Looper came out I had to see the movie, had to. So the moment I heard this tune I melted. It's so incredibly laid back and can either start a night or end it. I played it in the car while my husband was driving and he even said, "Damn this song is really good." Richard and Linda Thompson released this song in the early eighties but it has a timeless quality to it that I like. It's a great song to add to your Spring or Summer night playlist. Listen and don't be surprised if you start swaying. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Song of The Week!

I am picking this song for one of my best friends in the world. I always find it funny that my happy song picks irritate her sometimes. If a song sounds happy she knows that I am the first person to share it with. She has always shared Ra Ra Riot's music with me and their new album Beta Love has many happy tracks. It is very eighties to me and that's probably why I love it even more. The video is so much fun to watch. It's looks a bit scary at first (I am a huge wimp) but surprises you with a tune about just dancing. My favorite line from the song is "Come and dance with me, bittersweet fool." It's sort of challenging someone to get of their high horse and have a good time. Plus it makes me want a cookie. :D

Transparent by Natalie Whipple: LOVED IT!

Transparent called to me because of the summary alone. I had to know why an invisible girl would have to flee from anyone. Why does someone who can’t be seen have to hide from danger? So Transparent was then downloaded from Edelweiss to my Nook. Natalie Whipple wrote quite an original concept for a popular ability such as invisibility. There were a lot of surprising layers to the lead character Fiona that I wouldn’t have thought of, especially for a teenager. She can’t turn invisible whenever she wants because she was born invisible. Fiona has never seen what she looks like. She has no idea of what her hair color or eye color is. She has no cool suit that goes invisible when she touches it either so when she can’t be seen she is pretty much nude. She is a real invisible girl with no conveniences and I loved it.



An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

Fiona is a very complicated character and as a result of her family she has put up many walls. Even though Fiona is an invisible girl with issues, they are on a realistic level that readers will connect with. She struggles to please her famous criminal father who uses his own ability to control his entire family, her mother who she doesn’t feel cares enough about her over her own dysfunctional relationship with her father and her brothers Miles and Graham who both have their own issues with the family. There is no secure level of trust when Fiona deals with them. Except for Miles who is her only confidant. While Fiona and her mother struggle to stay away from her father she never knows if her mom or Graham are telling her the truth about their plan to keep her safe. She is constantly worrying about her father finding her and forcing her to use her ability to help him in his criminal activities.

Even though she is hiding out away from her father’s territory her name is stilled recognized and this keeps her on her toes. So when she meets a group of friends she struggles with letting them in. Fiona always questions when someone is being legitimately nice to her. This is when I absolutely loved her because Natalie Whipple allowed her to be vulnerable. She lets people in and instead of worrying about what could happen to her, she worries about her friends and their families. Fiona’s ability hides her from the world but her father’s ability to follow through on a deathly threat keeps people away from her.

Enter Bradley and Bea who smash that problem to bits. These two are great friends to Fiona and push her to have fun. Bea especially shows her the possibilities of a loving and trusting family. This is another special element of the book Transparent. Whipple tells a fantastic story about different levels of friendship and family. Fiona comes from a massively dysfunctional family that needs help, while Bea comes from a family that would die for each other. Brady and his brother Seth come from a family that has been hit with loss and struggle to rebuild it. Which was a great metaphor for the house they are actually renovating.

Now we can get down to Seth, who even though was a bit of a know it all, I still loved his character. He was weaved in the book just enough to establish a great mystery. I liked that he wasn’t nice to Fiona at first. Very Mr. Darcy, especially with his willingness to help people. He is someone who helps because you are a good person. Oh, and he can definitely keep a secret which is good for Fiona. He holds the most surprising element of the story that I was not expecting. I still can’t believe that I didn’t see it before. Natalie Whipple is very crafty indeed.

Transparent had an X-Men vibe to it because of the multiple abilities the characters are capable of, but it has it’s own originality because of the level of the abilities. Nothing is outstandingly grand like shooting lasers out of your eyes but subtle which I found refreshing. Miles for example can conjure up scents, which doesn’t sound that spectacular until Natalie Whipple writes about it. Bea can imitate voices, providing scattered humor and even help Fiona out of a bind.

Transparent had a lot of talking points that would make a good book club selection. I would love to tell you more about it but that would spoil the best surprise. All I can say is that the walls Fiona has built will come down but in the best possible way that I couldn’t imagine possible. Fiona is a great example of what exactly goes on in the head of a girl…exactly!  

I guess it was bound to happen that one of my book song picks wouldn't be available on Youtube or So you and I both will have to settle on this little sample from iTunes. It's the reason why I stalled on posting this review. I just couldn't find another song that compared to this one or this version of the Beatles cover. People who have read Transparent will SO get it. Enjoy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pivot Point Dessert Game Giveaway!

I have decided to do another giveaway because I was inspired, yet again. Plus I'm anxious to read Kasie West's new book The Distance Between Us available this July. So I guess I'm doing a Pivot Point theme giveaway to tide me and other fans of Kasie's over until the summer release. Back in February I was able to meet Kasie West at a book signing and even got to hear her presentation about her journey to publication. She was SUPER informative, and made the night really fun. As a writer I took everything she said to heart. I only wish that I had asked her one question that had been on my mind since reading Pivot Point. Is the dessert game real?

I think about this silly question often because it was one of many favorite parts of the book for me. A game where friends split into two teams and drive to one team mates house and have to make a dessert out of the contents of that person's kitchen. Best dessert wins and the losing team excepts a dare from the winning team. 

So you can see where this little giveaway is going. First the PRIZE! One Winner will receive (1) signed copy of Pivot Point by Kasie West, (1) $10 Cold Stone Creamery gift card and (1) duct tape wristlet mini purse made by me and inspired by the cover of Pivot Point. 

Now the fun part! What CREATIVE dessert do you LOVE to make! For example, I had a chocolate attack the other night and was able to make a gooey Chex mix with brown sugar, butter, a cup of gold candy, and a variety of chocolate morsels. I do feel it needed a green apple though...anyway, I am a baker so I do have an advantage most times. But that will not excuse simple desserts! I want your fun and crazy ideas that you have tested yourself because I want to try them too. Even if they didn't work I still want to know. There are many other ways to enter but this will get you the most entries with the Rafflecopter form below. So in the comment box below describe your dessert and let me know if it was successful or not. You can enter once each day if you'd like. The more desserts the better!

The Prize!
U.S. Only. Sorry :(

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Song of The Week

This song makes me feel so happy! 'Change Time' by Tessa Rose Jackson is a unique song because (for me) there are so many influences that can be heard. There is definite Kimya Dawson, and a little bit of Fleet Foxes in the chorus and maybe some Katie Herzig. It's nice to have songs that are fun that you can just smile to while hearing. I would definitely listen to this in the car while on a road trip, or in the kitchen cooking, or even exercising. 

Tessa Rose Jackson just released her album The Sandbox and it's got a variety of songs including 'Chang Time' that would please any mood. 'All the King's Horses' is also a favorite of mine and I've added it to the playlist below in case any of you are curious. I say since spring is here why not listen to happy music? And may I add that the video you are about to watch is adorable!!!     

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Song of the Week!

So sorry I didn't post a song last week. Sort of been busy juggling my TBR pile, my writing, my reviews, my new obsession, oh and that thing called my life. So 'Harper Lee' by Little Green Cars was the song that I wanted to post last week. So I'll give you another song by them that I like as well and will talk about it in just a sec. I really find this groups lyrics interesting. They literally tell a story and their voices are hauntingly good. I love a good voice that can haunt me and Little Green Cars certainly does. 'Harper Lee' caught my attention just because of the title. Like many, To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book and to hear a song with her name in it is fantastic. The song I suppose is like the video explains. A love that is about to die, an innocence maybe depending how you see it. It could be about something totally different but that's what I personally get from the lyrics.

I picked another song by the same group called 'The John Wayne' because of the build up. You think you're gonna hear a slow song about a boy meets girl love story but you get an epic one instead. I simply adore it and the intensity of each singer of Little Green Cars. This band will be HUGE and I predict we will see big things from them. Love their videos, love their music, love them.