Tag Archives: Music

Fireworks – Katie Cotugno

Fireworks – Katie CotugnoTitle: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Publishing Info: April 11, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 1, 2017

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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Heads up, talking about specifics so there will be SPOILERS.

This book wasn’t quiiiite what I thought it would be and that was okay but there were things that just didn’t quite fit. I liked Dana a lot but it never really felt right for her to be a part of this pop star world. I feel like it would have been a little different if there had been an expressed interest in singing before she took Olivia to her audition. It just felt so off of Dana to even enter the world of singing and show business without even wanting any part of it before she got there. Maybe that’s just me as a big choir nerd not understanding how you can jump into this without a passion for music or performing… I have no idea. Not staying that you HAVE to have experience in order to get into the music industry but trying to think about it as someone who was only a part of choir was overwhelming, not to mention voice lessons, dance lessons, and all of the show biz type stuff that you have to do. I don’t know… I just felt like Dana didn’t belong there, which I guess was the point, but it felt wrong to take that opportunity away from someone else just because she wanted to get out of her town. There are so many people who have that DREAM and while she may have been a natural performer, I don’t know… It just didn’t click for me and I actually was not rooting for her to make it in the industry. It really bothered me throughout the whole book and despite the fact that she was actually putting a great effort forth to grow and listen and perform… I still didn’t think that was the right place for her and I knew it the whole time.
Aside from that, let’s not even tap into the fact that four girls are chosen for this girl group and out of four in the whole country, Dana is selected ALONG WITH her best friend, even when she sings Happy Birthday and… that’s it. No other auditioning process? No other callback? No tests to see if she even knows how to read music or if she’s a good dancer or if she doesn’t have an attitude, etc etc etc?? I 100% understand selecting someone for their star quality but people aren’t selected because of that alone. There has to be something else going there to make someone think they can turn that person into a star and that the work is going to be worth it. They flat-out didn’t see enough of Dana to even know that.

The friend thing bothered me too. One of the reasons I loved Open Road Summer so much was the fact that the best friends were supportive and things didn’t get catty. One was the star, one was not, and it wasn’t a competition. I didn’t like that Olivia sort of abandoned her best friend for the other girls because they had more experience and were, for lack of a better word, cooler than Dana was. I didn’t like that this book pitted the two best friends against each other and then Olivia stabbed Dana in the back!!! Ugh UGH UGH. I couldn’t stand that.

I also just had more hope that this was going to have some more 90s/early 2000s type feelings with all of those shows like Making the Band and Popstars. That was what I immediately went to when I heard the girls were going to audition for a girl group and there were some feelings of it there but I would have loved to get a little more of that feel. There wasn’t much of a time era feel aside from music references, which I would have loved to see more of because HELLO 90s, like the best time ever (ha)! There wasn’t that nostalgia that I had hoped for at all.

There were other feelings I got from this book though, in so many ways. I actually felt a lot of Center Stage because of all of the industry moments and things we got to see that happen in closed-door meetings. People get cut from groups, deals are made, people get stabbed in the back, images are created. I also felt some That Thing You Do! and Selena with some of those musical moments about trying to get your music out there and be heard, so that was a fun feeling.

The book was entertaining but I feel like I had a totally different image going in. FIREWORKS is a cute title for it but the cover is pretty misleading for what the book is about (despite the fact that I love it). Things were not really fun and friendly… they were kind of catty. And the fireworks were a small part of the book although related to kind of a big concept. I feel like it made the book seem so much lighter and easy-going and it was intense show business work!

When it comes down to it, I enjoyed the read and it was quick but I can’t quite give it four stars because I didn’t feel like Dana ever fit into this world and it stuck out to me the whole time. I just felt like everyone was forcing her into that role even though SHE knew it wasn’t the right place for her either, even if she did have that star-quality. It made it hard for me to root for her to succeed because I didn’t feel like even she wanted it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Not-quite-historical-fiction. I love books set in specific eras that aren’t quite historical fiction since they’re still somewhat current (even though the 80s are now 30 years ago and the 90s are 20 years ago!). It’s fun to have that nostalgia while still peeking into a time frame that I was actually alive and enjoying!
Left Me Wanting More: Fun. This book just wasn’t… fun. The girls were mean to each other, there wasn’t a lot of 90s nostalgia, and it all felt a bit dramatic. I just really was hoping for more a light summer read.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

Some people LOVED this book. It just didn’t work for me. I think I went into it thinking it was something else so I guess it depends on what you’re looking for!

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BOOKS LIKE FIREWORKS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    THE REECE MALCOLM LIST

Top Ten Tuesday – February 16, 2016: Top Ten Songs I Wish Were Books

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TOP TEN TUESDAY
February 16, 2016

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic was Top Ten Songs I Wish Were Books

I LOVE music as inspiration for writing. There’s just so much that you can imagine coming from a song and the music totally sets the mood. There was an alternative to this topic to come up with theme songs for a book or matching a song with a specific title but unless I write those down while I’m reading, I tend to totally forget what I had associated with each book!

This topic was SO fun and actually pretty easy for me. I tend to lean on songs pretty hard when I’m coming up with inspiration for writing (not like I even write a lot anymore, but still) and I can picture a lot of situations from a song playing out as a book in my head. Here are some of the songs and lyrics that I have pictured over and over! (I also realized like all of these are about break-ups? Apparently I don’t listen to happy songs or the sad ones just so easily reminded me of conflict scenes that could appear in a book… *shrug*)

“LAST NIGHT” BY MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK

She whispers something in my ear, the message is unclear
She motions outside.
I trail her closely from behind
She tries hard not to cry
She shakes underneath the pouring rain

“I can’t compete with all your damn ideas
This isn’t working out for you or me
The truth is I’m too tired to play pretend
This is goodbye, this is the end.”

SCENE FROM A BOOK: An almost-relationship that just never quite made it there

“CASIMIR PULASKI DAY” BY SUFJAN STEVENS

All the glory when you ran outside
With your shirt tucked in and your shoes untied
And you told me not to follow you

SCENE FROM A BOOK: Throwing on a pair of shoes quickly to escape from a fight/break-up (I always picture this scene so vividly)

“KILL” BY JIMMY EAT WORLD

Well, you’re just across the street
Looks a mile to my feet
I want to go to you
Funny how I’m nervous still
I’ve always been the easy kill
I guess I always will

SCENE FROM A BOOK: Girl who easily falls for “the wrong guy” crushing on the boy across the street

“FIVE DAYS AND COUNTING” BY SPITALFIELD

In my car
Five days and counting here you are
The phone rings what more could you say

I know you won’t ever admit that
You fell for him, he never loved you back
Isn’t it wonderful? So predictable? I told you so

SCENE FROM A BOOK: Unrequited love, girl hopelessly waiting for her crush to call her. He’s sending all the right signals but isn’t following through in anyway and she’s beginning to wonder if he’s leading her on.

“PICK UP TRUCK” BY KINGS OF LEON

Hate to be so emotional,
I didn’t mean to get physical,
But when he pulled in and revved it up,
I said you call that a pickup truck,
And in the moonlight I throwed him down.
A kicking, screaming, a rolling around.
A little piece of a bloody tooth,
Just so you know I was thinking of you

SCENE FROM A BOOK: The “bad boy” taking on the best friend as they both attempt to prove how much their care about their girl. Clearly they don’t like/trust each other

“BLUEBIRD” BY SARA BARIELLES

I told him I saw this coming
That I’d practically packed up my things
I was glad at the time that I said I was fine
But all honesty knows I wasn’t ready, no

SCENE FROM A BOOK: The guy calling it quits and the girl pretending she’s totally on the same page even though it took her completely by surprise.

“BRICK BY BORING BRICK” BY PARAMORE

She lives in a fairy tale
Somewhere too far for us to find
Forgotten the taste and smell
Of a world that she’s left behind
It’s all about the exposure the lens I told her
The angles are all wrong now
She’s ripping wings off of butterflies

SCENE FROM A BOOK: A twisted fairy tale set-up

“PAPER COVERS ROCK” BY AM TAXI

You can swear like daggers right before my eyes
You can never be sure
You can switch to blood when the ink is dry
You will never be heard
Now I write words like a target and your aim is poor
So give me your worst I don’t feel a thing anymore

My downward path
Don’t you forget to mention
You’re selling out tickets to my intervention
RSVP you’re a hell of a friend
Somehow I’ll still sleep tonight
Raised on your dial in a FM hiss
Until I died on the air at the top of your list
Pointing fingers would you ever have guessed that
I learned it all from you

SCENE FROM A BOOK: Battle of the frenemies!

 


I’ve also created a few playlists for books (before I forgot all of the songs I wanted to include)! You can find some of them here:

Which song lyrics inspire you to write a scene for a book? Have any songs reminded you of a specific passage or quote?

 

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music Nerds

Welcome to the blog tour for THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on this blog tour because I get to talk allll about music! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is the story of Liza, the band’s drum major (for those of you non-band/music nerds, the drum major is essentially the band’s conductor and responsible for/assists with leadership responsibilities) and her mission to save her school’s band program from being cut. I immediately latched onto this concept because A) I’m a total music nerd (I was a choir-fanatic in high school… and college… and I still am) and B) because it’s Lauren Morrill! For my stop on the blog tour, Lauren (and I) are sharing some favorite book recs for fellow music nerds and I am so excited!

Before we get into the post itself, here’s a bit more about THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY for you to get more acquainted with the book!

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music NerdsTitle: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

ABOUT LAUREN MORRILL

Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It’s a wonder her brain and teeth haven’t rotted out of her head.

Lauren is the author of Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny, and the forthcoming My Unscripted Life (October 2016), all from Random House.

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

ON BEING A CHOIR NERD

Music nerds come in all forms — from classical to contemporary, performance to listening, there are all sorts of ways to get involved in a musical passion. Personally, I was a huge choir nerd in high school and I was totally obsessed. I started my choir experience my freshman year of high school, mostly because my sister had and she absolutely loved her teacher and the subject itself. (I went to a private school for pre-8th grade so we didn’t really have a “music program”.) I immediately fell in love and it also happened to be something that I was good at picking up so that just fed into my love of choir. I had always wanted to play an instrument because I just loved music but instruments were expensive and my parents didn’t want to purchase one for me on the chance that I would get frustrated and not practice (by the way, there were totally right on that. I tend to practice the things that I’m good at and give up on the things that I’m not haha!) and choir was a much more reasonable option — no instruments required!

Singing was an instant hit with me and I loved being a part of a group where my voice got to blend in with others, including different harmonies! It was also a great option for chickens like me who had little confidence to sing in front of others, though I did conquer that fear a bit more as the years went on! I continued with choir all throughout high school, made it into Madrigals (a Renaissance-style singing group, smaller ensemble), and even picked up a few solos along the way. My junior and senior year, I gave up basketball in order to participate it the spring musicals (though I probably would have dropped basketball anyway, but it gave me a good excuse). I didn’t land any major roles since I had little to no action experience but every minute was just a blast and I was just happy to be a part of them!

choir nerd

Even in college, music was important to me. I remained a part of choral groups throughout my time in college and it was always something I had so much fun with! To this day, I still look back on those memories as some of my fondest. I’m not in any groups now because I really don’t have the time but it’s something I always miss and really hope I can do again someday!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY actually hits a little soft spot in my heart as well because I just found out that my old high school’s Madrigal group is no longer doing their annual Madrigal dinner. Each year the Madrigals put on an entire performance for an audience of friends, family, and fellow students and it always felt so prestigious and it was so incredibly fun. Granted, I’m not still in school with this announcement of no more Madrigal dinner so it’s definitely not the same as Liza’s situation but it does make me sad to think that there won’t ever be another one (for our school anyway) and that this is my very last chance to go back to the dinner as an alum! I’ve been putting it off for years but now I feel the pull to go back one last time and revisit one of the most fun times in my high school career.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MUSIC NERDS

And now the fun part! I know you’re here for the book recs so let’s get to it! Lauren Morrill put together a list of her Top Ten favorite books for music nerds and I couldn’t resist adding some of my own as well! If you’re a music fan, you definitely need to check out these book recs!

top books for music lovers

  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Leila’s books are always incredible, but I especially loved this one, about a teen misfit DJ. 
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: I love this book SO MUCH, and if you haven’t read it, you need to fix that NOW! 
  • Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker: Another book you have to read—it will make you want to visit Austin and binge on some music.
  • The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Funny and fresh, for your inner music-theater nerd. 
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Two words: Tiny. Cooper. Need I say more?
  • If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: This duology is a punch to the gut, but it gets so much right about music being your life.
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Another punch to the gut, but Jandy writes so beautifully about music.
  • Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hug Nate.
  • Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg: Fame meets Step Up in YA? Yes, please! 
  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: I can’t make a top-ten list without a Dessen book on it. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. And this one is just perfect.

I couldn’t resist sharing some of my own favorites too! Here are some of my picks:

  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: I’m not even a country music fan but I was so into the whole scene with this book! I loved the music aspect and how it was a main focus of the book (the country-wide tour).
  • Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols: This was another country music book that had me craving a trip to Nashville. Again, I don’t even like country but I could just picture myself in each scene and I wanted to be there!
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: This isn’t a traditional go-to for a music theme but I love how much music means to Kvothe and how his lute is really an extension of himself. Even when he loses everything, he can’t bear to part with his lute. I also want a set of talent pipes… but I’m not that talented.
  • Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke: This is a sci-fi novel about parallel worlds but I totally geeked out over all of the musical ties. The different worlds have different pitches and so there’s tons of music theory in this book which was SO much fun to see.
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: Nastya is a musical prodigy and her world changes when she loses her ability to play piano. There’s actually not a ton of music directly involved in the book since she can’t play but there’s that grief that the readers also experience for her loss of connection to her passion.
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith: A musical genius and a rock band make up quite a bit of this whirlwind of a book!

TOUR STOPS

Week 1:
 
Week 2:
 
Week 3:
 
Week 4:

 

GIVEAWAY

Of course we can’t let you go without a giveaway! Random House is offerring a Lauren Morrill prize pack of signed copies of all Lauren’s books and swag for one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below! US residents only, please! Must be 13 years of age or older to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pub Date [18] | Music

Pub Date

Hi, all! Welcome to back to our feature called PUB DATE where Estelle from Rather Be Reading, Andi from Andi’s ABCs, and Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages and I all team up to pair books + beers in harmony! Each week, one of us will features a beer and a book of our choice, each with a different theme for that month!

This month’s theme: Music

I had plenty of ideas which book to feature for this month’s Pub Date with a music theme (The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill, The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding) but since Andi the name of the wind pub datefeatured The Trouble With Destiny and I wasn’t the biggest Reece fan, I started thinking of other books where music was if not a main theme, an important part of the character’s life and I immediately landed on THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss. THE NAME OF THE WIND is about a boy named Kvothe and his dream to attend the University to become an arcanist (that is, essentially a magician). Having grown up around music, theatrical performances, and the arts his entire life, one of Kvothe’s most prized possessions is his lute and throughout the book, readers really experience how much music really means to Kvothe and how much it impacts his life. I absolutely love seeing his dedication and passion for his craft and Patrick Rothfuss really does a great job at bringing the musical performances of the book to life. (Also, not going to lie — I really want a set of talent pipes.)

“I took a drink from the tall tankard to give myself a chance to collect my wits, and something wonderful happened in my mouth: cool spring honey, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, pressed grape, burnt apple, sweet pear, and clear well water. That is all I have to say of metheglin.”

I wish I could say the drink I was featuring today was metheglin, a mead featured in the book. I’d love to make a bookish drink when homebrewing someday but I’ve never made a mead before. I’d really love to taste something like it because it sounds absolutely amazing! It’s definitely on my list of things I’d love to brew someday and I’ve dreamed about making a drink from a book but since I read a lot of YA, it’s not like there are too many beers out there, ya know? But hey, that’s what adult fantasy is for and that’s what THE NAME OF THE WIND has me craving!

The awesome thing is that Patrick Rothfuss even wrote up a whoooole blog post about the making of this magical mead including ingredients (!!!) but honestly there are a whole ton of them so that’s another reason why I haven’t made a valiant attempt on producing this yet! It is my dream someday though so my future batch of metheglin is today’s brew of choice. (Cheating, I know.) Cheers!


Thanks for joining us for another edition of Pub Date! Missed any posts? You can catch up at any time on my blog page for the Pub Date Feature!

Recent Beers 

  • Anti-Hero IPA by Revolution Brewing Company. American IPA // 6.5% ABV. IPAs have really been growing on me and Revolution has some pretty amazing beers. Anti-Hero is one of their flagships and it’s always top-notch.
  • Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale by New Belgium Brewing Company. Brown Ale // 6.30% ABV. I will absolutely admit that I bought this sampler back because of this beer. I was super intrigued. At first sip, it just tasted like a brown ale but the more I drank, the more I tasted that chocolate coming through!
  • Lavender Wit by Penrose Brewing Company. Witbier // 6.20% ABV. Penrose is a local brewery and I just love their beer. You could definitely taste the lavender here and it was weird to have such a floral taste (well, for me personally — I’m not too much of a floral person) but it was light and delicious!

** Beer styles and alcohol content from the Untappd app ** ** Drink responsibly ** 

Are you a beer fan? On the Untappd app? Add me as a friend!

Blog Tour: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Interview + Giveaway!

ThisSongWillSave TourBanner

Welcome to the blog tour for
 THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales!

Firstly, many many thanks to Macmillan for asking me to be a part of this tour! I first read THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE a little over a year ago and almost breezed through it in a day. It was so captivating and really spoke to me in many different ways so when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of this blog tour, I immediately said yes!

This Song Paperback CoverOne of the reasons I loved this book so much was because of the characters but also the importance that music played in their lives. There are many songs that have “saved me” over the years so I loved this concept for the book… AND Macmillan has turned this into a really great social media experience. You can share the songs that have helped you through hard times or mean the most to you with the hashtag #SongsThatSavedMe on social media and join the experience!

This book also got a gorgeous cover redesign for its paperback release! (Check it out to the left there!) I’m in love with the colors, the design, and still impressed that each word in the title is four letters so the words line up just perfectly! It helps make a wonderful design, doesn’t it?!

Now without further ado, I’m really excited to share with you my interview with the author of THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, Leila Sales!

INTERVIEW WITH LEILA SALES

Brittany: This Song Will Save Your Life follows the story of Elise who finds her true passion in life learning the art of DJing and I loved how original and refreshing a teenage DJ was. Was there any inspiration for such a unique hobby for Elise?
Leila Sales: I love music—I always have—and I love going out dancing. Over my years of doing so, I’ve met many other people in the world of nightlife, including a number of DJs. It’s such an interesting culture with so many fascinating characters, and that made me want to set a story in this world.

Brittany: Naturally, music plays an important role in the book — a literal life-saving role. Why do you think music reaches us on such a personal and emotional level?
Leila: That’s a very complicated question, but I think the simple answer is that music—like fiction—makes us feel understood. Sometimes it seems like even your friends can’t understand your feelings or what you’re going through, but when you find an artist who gets it, then you no longer feel so alone, and your feelings are validated.

Brittany: Macmillan shared the playlist for This Song Will Save Your Life (which I absolutely craved and loved while reading the book!) and it was just so perfect. Are there any songs or playlists that you listen to for inspiration or while you write?
Leila: Thank you! I can’t think of few better compliments than somebody enjoying a playlist that I made. Generally when I’m writing I listen to “quiet” artists—the Clientele, Belle & Sebastian, the Acid House Kings, Camera Obscura—music that I love that’s not too distracting. But if I really need to tap into an intense well of adolescent emotion, then I go back to the soundtrack of my high school experience: Matchbox Twenty, Counting Crows, Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, etc. That should give you a down-to-the-year accurate picture of how old I am.

Brittany:The romance of the book involves Elise and Char, a DJ that she makes a connection with and who helps her learn some important DJing skills. Do you think the lines became a bit blurred between Elise’s emotions for her new hobby and her emotions for Char?
Leila: Sure. I think Char is an important catalyst. He helps Elise get to a better place in her life. But, you know, he has his own issues. Everyone does. Even cute slightly older guys with great taste in music.

Brittany: Elise was just so relatable for me — from the way she felt to the decisions she made. What’s been your favorite reaction that readers have had to Elise’s story?
Leila: I’ve been blown away by the positive responses I’ve gotten to this book. It means the world to me to hear from readers that meeting Elise makes them feel less alone, like they’ve finally found someone who understands them. That’s why we go into this job in the first place, you know. No one becomes an author to make millions of dollars—there are so many easier ways to get rich quick. We become authors to connect with readers, and to get real human experiences down on paper.

Brittany: Your next book, Tonight the Streets Are Ours, comes out in September. Can you tell us a little about it?
Leila: Tonight the Streets Are Ours is about a small-town girl who becomes obsessed with a blogger living in New York City. She’s never met him, but his writing makes her feel like he understands her more than anyone in her everyday life. So when his heart is broken, she sets out on a road trip to find him in person.

A big, big thank you to Leila Sales for this wonderful interview! I always love getting more insight to an author’s process and more details behind the book after I’ve read it. If you haven’t picked up THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE yet, be sure to do that ASAP!

leila sales author photo franck goldbergWant to learn more about Leila Sales and her books? We’ve got the hook-up below!

// Learn more about This Song Will Save Your Life
// Learn more about Tonight The Streets Are Ours
// Tell Us About Songs That Saved Your Life on Social Media with #SongsThatSavedMe
// Add Tonight the Streets Are Ours to your to-read list on Goodreads.
// Visit Leila’s website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

And don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

April 2 : Paper Riot
April 3 : The Irish Banana
April 4 : Rainy Day Ramblings
April 5 : Lili’s Reflections
April 6 : The Compulsive Reader
April 7 : Teen Librarian Toolbox
April 8 : The Book Cellar
April 9 : Great Imaginations
April 10 : The Bevy Bibliotheque
April 11 : Jenuine Cupcakes
April 12 : Ticket to Anywhere
April 13 : The Book Addict’s Guide
April 14 : MacTeen Books
April 15 : The Perpetual Page-Turner

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Macmillan, I have TWO giveaways for you today! One winner will receive an ARC of Leila’s new book TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS! The second giveaway is for an amazing ‘SONGS THAT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE’ mix CD! There will be ONE Rafflecopter to enter for both giveaways and TWO WINNERS will be selected. US/Canada entries only, please. Must be 13 years of age or older to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Selective Collective features A Little Something Different

selective collective

The Selective Collective reads A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by SANDY HALL

The Selective Collective features A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by SANDY HALL provided to us by Macmillan & Swoon Reads for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I wanted to do… well, a little something different! Throughout the book, I felt like Gabe and Lea had trouble expressing themselves and maybe needed a little bit of help to do so. What better way to do that than through music? Music can be so powerful and say everything you need to say! Music was also a huge part of my college career so I think it’s the perfect thing to incorporate into this month’s Selective Collective post for A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Without further ado, here is my soundtrack for the book!

A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT soundtrack:
Listen to the full collection of songs at 8tracks.com!

Now, 8tracks doesn’t let you see the full listing of songs but I’m going to cheat and let you see the whole listing of songs! Unfortunately with 8tracks you can only skip three songs on one mix so I wanted to share the entire collection with you so you can see what’s on it even if you end up skipping a few!

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The soundtrack has a very “chill” feel. Gabe and Lea get a little tongue-tied around each other (hence song #3), but for the most part, they seem like pretty relaxed sort of people! They’re just a bit shy and both seem like they’d listen to a lot of mellow, easy-listening alt rock and indie rock.

I think “Tongue Tied” and “Something to Talk About” are two of my favorite selections because they sum up the book pretty well according to my reading experience! Gabe and Lea connected on a level past words since they had a hard time talking to each other and putting themselves out there… And yet everyone (and even everyTHING (squirrels and benches included)) were talking about their chemistry and how obvious it was that these two lovebirds should just get together already! The lyrics obviously don’t EXACTLY line up with the story, but I really like the idea and the sentiment behind them and the titles work REALLY well!

Don’t forget to check out the mix on 8tracks.com and you can listen to it in full!

So what do you think? Which songs would YOU put on the soundtrack for A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT? What do you think best sums up Gabe and Lea?

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  From Page to Screen
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  A Little Something Different: Candice’s Choice
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Round Table: A Little Something Different
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Interview with Sandy Hall + Giveaway!

 

 

The Reece Malcolm List – Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List – Amy SpaldingTitle: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Publishing Info: February 5, 2013 by Entangled
Genres: Contemporary, Music, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 5, 2013

bookreview1I have to admit that THE REECE MALCOLM LIST didn’t quite impress me as I’d hoped. I was expecting a cute contemporary, which yes it was, but I had heard so many different reviews about how this book was about a choir/musical nerd and I was like “NERDVANA! I will love this!!!” See, if you didn’t already know, now you do. I am a choir geek. Hardcore. I adore musicals as well, so I was banking on being BFFs with our MC, Devan. Only… that never happened.

Okay, I feel like I have to dissect THE REECE MALCOLM list in parts in order to get my thoughts out there:

1. The Reece Malcolm part: So Devan is “shipped” to L.A. after her father dies to live with the mother she never knew: famous writer Reece Malcolm. I gotta say… I kind of loved Reece. I love that she was figuring out how to be a good mother to this teenager that was dropped in her lap and awkward as she normally is with adults, trying to adjust to even figure out how to TALK to her teenage daughter. Reece was definitely my favorite part of the book! I liked the storyline too. It was really interesting to see these two characters try to figure each other out after barely knowing about each other their whole lives.

2. The choir/musical part: This is the part where I burst into song and flail some jazz hands at you *JAZZ HANDS!* (Okay, we didn’t have a show choir, but I can pretend) I really did love the musical aspect of this book! I really felt like I was reliving some of my own high school experiences through the descriptions of the choir classes and the excitement of waiting behind the curtain while the overture plays… The excitement of the very beginning of the production! It was a ton of fun to read about all those events which were really the best times of my high school career. Amy Spalding really nailed the specifics and I absolutely loved it! The only downside? I’m sure she picked Merrily for the musical either because it’s not well-known (aka overdone) and/or because of a personal connection to it, but I felt like a lot of the specific scene references/character names/costumes were lost on me whereas if it were a production I was a bit more familiar with, I could have had a better connection with the book. Maybe I wasn’t geeky enough to get there! Ha.

3. The romance part: Say what you will, but I never came around to liking Sai. I don’t know what it was! Maybe because he was kind of blowing Devan off and leading her on all at the same time throughout most of the book? His character always felt a little slimy to me and I felt like he was hanging out with Devan for the wrong reasons. I actually was NOT rooting for Devan to end up with her crush.

4. Devan’s singing talents: Devan was an awkward main character for me. There were so many times that she was timid, shy, soft-spoken, humble, etc – You name it, but when it came to singing, it was the thing she excelled at so naturally she was confident, right? Right! Buuuut… There were so many times that I felt like she was being boastful about her talent. From personal experience (I mean, my high school wasn’t anything flipping fascinating or anything but) EVERY kid had to work really hard to be as good as they were. My parents never wanted to shell out the money for voice lessons (I don’t really blame them, but still wish I could have taken them), but that was THE THING to do if you were serious about music. I felt like Devan’s talent was TOO perfect. She never did anything wrong as far as singing/acting goes in the whole book. Not even during auditions, which yes, okay… Some people thrive in auditions instead of choke (like I do), but not even a hint of nerves. It didn’t come off as confident to me – It came off as bragging and I just didn’t like it one bit.

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Devan: I really was not a fan of Devan. Sigh. She wasn’t terrible by any means but she really wasn’t an enjoyable main character for me either. I felt like she was too timid in most of the book and it kind of shut me out of getting to know her. Once she started standing up for herself, I actually started to like her a little more! (Also, see notes about regarding Devan’s all-too-convenient amazing singing talent — I think too much of it was too easy and perfectly neat.)
Reece: I actually really loved Reece. She made the book enjoyable for me! Her awkward parenting is more like just talking to an adult since she’s not really sure how to do it and I felt like I not only got a real personality from her, but I also saw a lot of changes. She was definitely my favorite character of the book!
SaI: I guess I just never trusted Sai in the long run. There was never anything really specific for me to be so wary of him, but I just got that vibe, ya know? I really wasn’t rooting for him to warm up to Devan and I felt like he abused their friendship a little bit. That’s happened to me too many times in my long-gone past, but I guess I’m still a little sore about it haha!

addiction_factor1Try it

Lots of people enjoyed this book more than I did, but I just couldn’t get on board with Devan. When I don’t connect with a character, it really affects how I see the book overall. It’s worth a try, though! We all relate to characters in different ways.

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BOOKS LIKE THE REECE MALCOLM LIST   

 Anna and the French kiss      Confessions of an Angry Girl

The Selective Collective Features: ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

The Selective Collective reads ELEANOR & PARK by RAINBOW ROWELL

I am SO GLAD that we got to read ELEANOR & PARK for one of our February books for The Selective Collective! I’m a huge music person so whenever I read books with a strong music focus, I feel like it adds an extra layer to the book and an additional way to connect with it. Additionally, I love that ELEANOR & PARK took place in 1986 because it also added some nostalgia (not like I was even born in 1986, but you get what I mean) for some great and possibly forgotten songs until I read about them again. That, and it rekindled my love for The Smiths.

SO! For the people who were also not born yet as well as those who want to reminisce about the songs from their past, I wanted to put together a playlist of the songs/bands that were featured/mentioned in the book. Some were talked about in detail and others only appeared on one of Park’s band T-shirts. (Oh, I do miss the days of wearing band T-shirts in high school…)

Let’s back track a second before we jump in because I know not all of you know much about the book! Here’s what we’re diving into:

Eleanor & ParkPublishing Info: February 26th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press Source: ARC copy provided by St. Martin’s Press for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: “Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
“I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says. “You should be.”
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under. (Summary as listed on Goodreads.com)

THE ELEANOR & PARK PLAYLIST

As I was reading, I kept noticing all of this great music I had totally forgotten about and quite a few bands that I recognized, but didn’t know many of their songs. I know some people can listen to music while they read and others can’t, but I feel like some of these songs have such a “listenable” quality (okay, I know that doesn’t make sense, but just go with me here) that they should totally play on loop as you’re reading this book (*cough*The Smiths*cough*). Others are not quite background music (talkin’ about the punk rock here), but really help you get to know Park a little bit better, and maybe even help you appreciate some 80s punk rock even if it isn’t your style.

1. How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths

“How Soon Is Now?” is actually mentioned a few times in the book. Many people probably don’t recognize the title, but I think you’ll recognize the song once you start to listen to it! I didn’t even know this was The Smiths for the longest time because it’s got such a unique style. I love that it’s featured in ELEANOR & PARK because I can totally see this fitting perfectly into the story!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrvRlI4hlBE

2. Bad by U2

I’m actually not a huge U2 fan, but in the context of ELEANOR & PARK, I absolutely love “Bad”. Gosh. I mean, just putting it into the context of the book just makes it so much more emotional and picturing these two characters listening to “Bad” together just kind of makes my heart melt.

3. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

I KNEW this song was out there! I had a total confusion mash-up in my brain because (I’m embarrassed to admit) that the first version I heard of this song was a cover by Fall Out Boy (Right? Ugh.) and every time I thought of Joy Division, I kept thinking of the song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” by The Wombats, so YouTubeing this song was a bit of an adventure in itself! I definitely prefer the original to the cover (Thank God) and it has some classic 80s keyboards in there to really bring you back in time!

4. Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen

I had actually never heard of the song or the band before the mention (of the band) in the book. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to look up a song by The Dead Milkmen and surprisingly…… I actually liked it quite a bit!

5. Alison by Elvis Costello

“Alison” is a bit more of a ballad and a little less punk and do you want to know where I first heard this song? It’s kind of embarrassing as well….. In the movie Get Over It (2001) with Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst and SISQO. (Ugh. For real) It’s kind of a terrible movie (and an embarrassingly terrible nod to Shakespeare), but that’s not what we’re talking about (please help me get off this topic). Anyway, that what was where I first heard it and thank GOD the real song is better than a love-sick Ben Foster screaming it at the top of his lungs.

There are a bunch more songs on the playlist that were mentioned in the book by bands like The Smithereens, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Joe Jackson, and The Dead Kennedys as well as all of the ones you’ve listened to above. If you want to check out the full playlist, I set it up on 8tracks.com so you can take a listen (maybe even while you read the book). Here’s your link: Eleanor & Park playlist

So that’s the playlist and I absolutely love how Rainbow Rowell combined music and literature in a fantastic relationship in ELEANOR & PARK. I hope you enjoyed the music and that it helps you connect to a book on a whole different level! If you didn’t care of the music, I beg you to PLEASE pick up the book regardless because you guys, it’s freaking phenomenal. It was such an amazing experience to read this book and I think it’s going to knock your socks off!

And thank you again to St. Martin’s for sending us copies and to Rainbow Rowell for being an amazing author! She’s been so great with helping us with extra tidbits for these Selective Collective posts and it’s been so much fun! And thanks again for re-turning me on to The Smiths (and I’m sorry, but I just had to stick this gif in there… another thing that the book reminded me of <3).

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of ELEANOR & PARK so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Review: Eleanor & Park
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Round Table: The SC discusses Eleanor & Park
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Author Interview with Rainbow Rowell & Giveaway
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Casting Call: Eleanor & Park