Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Tour: Family - Micol Ostow - Character This or That for Henry

Today, Micol Ostow stops by with a "this or that" list for Henry, one of the main characters in her recent release, Family, courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Family. Thank you for being here, today Micol! You can follow along with the tour here. Enjoy this look into Henry's preferences. 


I'll try and answer these from Henry's point of view, as best I can.

Coffee or Tea? - Probably tea, but probably spiked with something harder. I think Henry's vices are a little bit stronger than caffeine.

Organized Religion or Spirituality? - Spirituality. The only religion he believes in is His own! (Does that mean he supports organized religion as long as it's his own organization? Maybe that's a better way to phrase it.)

Book or Newspaper? Both - for himself, not his family. He likes to be the one to pass information along to his followers at his own discretion.

Music or Solitude? Music. He believes that music is the key to fame, and therefore to spreading his own message.

Sunrise or Sunset? Sunset. The family is mostly night owls.

Black or White? Black, dark, bad, evil, chaos.

Family or Friends? Friends ARE family, and much more reliable - and pliable - than the family we're born with, who are all damaged and who project damage onto us.

Honesty or Lies? Lies and manipulation that are presented as honesty.

Singing or Dancing? Henry sings; his acolytes dance for him.

Art or Science? Art. Science is social manipulation and an effort to control by the educated, empowered "haves."

Mountain view or Beach view? Any natural landscape, as long as it's set apart from the mainstream.

Cottage or Tent? Tent. Henry is a survivalist.

Afterlife or no afterlife? We'll find out after Helter Skelter....

Thank you for that look into Henry's preferences!

For more on Micol, you can find her on her website, her blog, or on twitter.


i have always been broken.
i could have. died.
and maybe it would have been better if i had.

It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.
Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Chosen - Andrea Buginsky - Blog Tour Review

Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling. When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to detroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she’s a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma. Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures? Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction? Only time will tell.
Synopsis taken from Amazon

Title: The Chosen
Author: Andrea Buginsky
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication Date: December 14, 2010
Format: E-book
Source: Received from author courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for The Chosen. Many thanks goes to Andrea Buginsky and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour for The Chosen. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner, located below. 
Look for it: Amazon
My rating: 3/5

Halli is a shy, quiet, unassuming dwarf. When she meets Queen Laurali of the elves outside her home one morning, she is surprised, and shocked by the news that Queen Laurali brings with her. Halli is a Holy Paladin and has the rare power of healing. She is asked to aid her country as Prince Gastle is set on destroying the world of Phantasma. Along the way she will join a group called The Chosen, who will set out to wage war against the evil Prince Gastle. 
The Chosen is a cute read, and is aimed at a young audience. I think many middle grade readers will enjoy the action and fast pace used in The Chosen as it is an action-focused read. With Halli coming to terms with her new, unknown abilities, and the group of warriors she is sent to protect, she will soon endear herself to the reader's heart. For Halli's age set at eighteen, I found her voice very young.
I think those that play video games will enjoy this story more so because it reads like a companion novel to a video game with references to actions taken while playing said games. Actions like drinking potions to level up health, among other things. 
All in all, this is a cute read. I would have loved to have seen it fleshed out with more descriptions, more back-story, and more interaction with the other characters. It has great bones, but I just wanted a little bit more. This is a fast read, and I'm sure many young readers will be fascinated by Halli's journey with her new team of warriors, The Chosen. 

The scavenger hunt for an E-copy of The Chosen is still ongoing. The giveaway will end tomorrow, but you can find all of the details on the scavenger hunt located here.

Blog Tour: CYA: The Sext Crime - Jason Ancona - Author Interview & Giveaway

Today, Jason Ancona is here with a different type of author interview. He'll be using lines from his book, The Sext Crime, as answers courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for his newest release. Thank you for being here, Jason! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!

Which character do you most identify with and why?

"Pi reaches for another pillow and sandwiches his head in-between, his maroon tie trailing out. But he still can't tune out the romantic lyrics. In his hypoallergenic vice of darkness, he sees the light that is Vera, who is so beautiful. Who is such a wonderful person. Who is so genuine. And embodies everything that he wants in a girlfriend. Pi wishes they were more than just friends. More than just neighbors. More than just classmates. And dreams that she was dating him instead of JackO."

Would you have been a member of the CYA back in high school?

"I am in the C.Y.A."

What piece of advice would you give someone who needs the sleuthing abilities of the CYA team?

"You need to pay attention to your surroundings. But don't be obvious about it."

What is your favourite line from THE SEXT CRIME?

"It's my school. She just works here."

Oh no! The CYA's member identities are about to be unveiled. Who found them out and how did they do it?

"Haven't been able to crack it yet. I've got the botnets working on hacking the password."

These are great, Jason! I love your book line answers! 

Jason Ancona has graciously provided Lost For Words with an E-copy of his book, The Sext Crime. 
Thank you, Jason!
Giveaway is open internationally, and will end on June 6, 2011.
Please fill out this FORM to enter. 
Comments, while appreciated, will not be counted as entries. 
Thank you!! =)

Also, Jason is providing everyone with the chance to win a copy of his first CYA novel free of charge for the next 24 hours. 
To receive the free copy, you will have to friend Jason through one form of social media-- Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter, or Facebook. You will then have to email him through his website with the subject header stating my blog name and the promotion. 
Thank you!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mistwood - Leah Cypess - Blog Tour Review

The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Mistwood
Author: Leah Cypess
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Source: Own
Tour: Teen Book Scene blog tour for Nightspell. This review is part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Leah Cypess' Nightspell tour. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below. 
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5

The royal family of Samorna is in need of the Shifter. She is legend, and has always protected the royal line of Samorna when in danger. With Samorna's prince ready to ascend the throne, conspiracies abound, and danger lurks around every corner. Prince Rokan invokes the age-old spell in the hopes that the Shifter will once again provide protection for the royal line. Sinister plots, and betrayal from those surrounding him will have Isabel constantly on alert as she continues to protect Prince Rokan from danger.
Mistwood is a fantastic addition to the fantasy realm. Believable characters, and political intrigue will have readers devouring the pages to find out what will happen next. Isabel, being the Shifter, has been lost in her woods for years, and when she is ensnared by the spell that binds her powers to the royal family, she returns to her position as immortal bodyguard. Once inside the castle walls she realizes that she is not the same Shifter she once was, and with danger looming closer than ever, she will need to figure out what is happening to her, before something happens to the Prince on her watch. 
Isabel is an extraordinary character. Coupled with the remote life of being a Shifter, and these new human emotions, she will need to figure out what is going on, and how she will be able to protect the Prince. Throughout we watch her grapple with her immortality and how she should feel, and how she does feel. With questions arising, and answers locked down until the latter half of the read, readers may have a hard time connecting with her. I was absolutely engrossed in her story, and found her frustrations completely believable. She is enigmatic, yet is powerless in the face of her uncertainty and newfound emotions. Without her memories, she struggles to put the pieces together that are needed to help keep Prince Rokan safe. 
The story really starts to come together in the latter half of the book when certain elements come into play. I had an inkling of what was going to happen, but wasn't prepared totally for what did happen. Cypess unveils a highly original plot twist, one that I would have loved giving a more in depth look at. 
One downfall I had while reading Mistwood was when one of my favourite characters was killed off. The story just seemed to pick up and move on. There is also a romantic bent to the story, but it wasn't elaborated on until the end, and didn't provide the stability it could have, had that aspect been fleshed out earlier on in the novel.  
All in all, Mistwood is a captivating and thoroughly riveting read. I loved the characterization, the world, and the elements surrounding the Shifter and her mythology. I absolutely loved the different twists in the story as they kept me wondering just what was going on. I love that the ending surprised me as much as it did. Cypess has gained a new reader here. If the rest of the books she writes are anything like Mistwood, I think I'll inhale them. Court intrigue, immortal beings, and deadly rivalries, what's not to love? 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Tour: What Comes After - Steve Watkins - In His Own Words

Today, Steve Watkins, the author of What Comes After is here with an author bio, courtesy of the Teen Book Scene. We gave him the option to write up a bio that could be as funny, random or as serious as he wanted to be. Thank you for being here today, Steve! You can follow along with the blog tour for What Comes After here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!

When I was 22 I fell off the side of a mountain in India and tore a three-inch hole in my liver. I’d spent the night before sleeping on the floor of a cave near the holy site of Pondupol, in Rajasthan, where Hanuman the Monkey God saved the people from drought by putting his fist through solid rock and opening up a natural spring. I was riding a bike down a rocky road when I crashed. I spent a day there before my friend David was able to rescue me. When he got me to Alwar, the nearest city, the hospital there had dirt floors and no diagnostic facilities. My injuries were all internal so they didn’t know what to do except crank me full of morphine and blood. I was delirious for a long time. I spent months in hospitals in India and, eventually, back in the States. I nearly died several times during several major surgeries, and ended up with a maze of train-track scars all over my abdomen, severed stomach muscles, metal sutures that still give me problems thirty years later, and a hole in my back from a procedure called a marsupialization. I lost 60 pounds. I contracted pneumonia and malaria and an all-but-untreatable abdominal infection. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.


A gripping portrait of a teen’s struggles through grief and abuse - and the miraculous power of animals to heal us.

After her veterinarian dad dies, sixteen-year-old Iris Wight must leave her beloved Maine to live on a North Carolina farm with her hardbitten aunt and a cousin she barely knows. Iris, a vegetarian and animal lover, immediately clashes with Aunt Sue, who mistreats the livestock, spends Iris’s small inheritance, and thinks nothing of striking Iris for the smallest offense. Things come to a head when Iris sets two young goats free to save them from slaughter, and an enraged Aunt Sue orders her brutish son, Book, to beat Iris senseless - a horrific act that lands Book and his mother in jail. Sent to live with an offbeat foster family and their "dooking" ferrets, Iris must find a way to take care of the animals back at the farm, even if it means confronting Aunt Sue. Powerful and deeply moving, this compelling novel affirms the redemptive power of animals and the resilience of the human spirit.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Tour: Tighter - Adele Griffin - Character Interview with Sebastian - Giveaway

Adele Griffin is here today with one of her characters, Sebastian. He is answering a few of our questions. Thank you for being here, Adele! This character interview is courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Tighter. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!

Hi, Sebastian! Thank you for being here! What's your current Facebook status?

In a relationship with Jamie Atkinson.

What's in your CD player right now?
Glee First Season soundtrack.

Tell us one of your favorite memories of growing up on Little Bly.

How psyched I was when the summer people left and it was us locals again.

I know you love acting....would you prefer working on stage or in movies and television? What's your dream role?

I’d love to play King Lear but I guess I have to wait thirty years, right? Geoffrey Rush and Kevin Spacey are my stage/screen acting idols. But I’ll audition for anything!

Is there any other career you can see for yourself?

A teacher. I love kids. Earnestly.

You can travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Mumbai, India for the beauty and non-Little-Bly-culture, and Verona, Italy, for the street theater.

Thanks for answering my questions, Sebastian! Love that the Glee soundtrack is in your car! It's one of my favourites as well! Anyone looking for more information on Adele and Sebastian can visit Adele's website, located here!

Adele Griffin has graciously provided Lost For Words with a copy of her book, Tighter, for giveaway.
Thank you, Adele!
Giveaway is open to those in the US/Canada only. (Sorry to those of you who are international!)
Giveaway will end on June 2, 2011.
Please fill out this FORM to enter. Comments, while appreciated, will not be counted as entries. 
Thank you!!

Blog Tour: A Golden Web - Barbara Quick - Cover Post

Today, Barbara Quick is here with a cover post courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her book, A Golden Web. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner located below. In a seeming twist of fate, those in my neck of the woods might recognize this cover model. Read on below to find out why! You can find Barbara at her website www.BarbaraQuick.com Enjoy!

Writing A Golden Web was quite a magical experience for me. And the magic, it seems, extended to the publisher’s choice of a model for the novel’s cover!

Imagine my surprise and delight when I found this message in my website mailbox soon after the novel was published:

Hello, my name is Anna Kobylianski and I am actually the model featured on the book cover of A Golden Web. I know this is quite a random email, but I just wanted to let you know how honored I am to represent a girl such as Alessandra, especially as I am actually studying Health Sciences at McMaster University in the hopes of becoming a medical doctor. I have read some of your interviews and am thrilled to be involved to some extent in the publication
of a novel that stands as a source of inspiration for young women. As I am sure we would have never met otherwise, I would like to extend my gratitude over email: truly, thank you for providing me with this experience.
I wish you all the best, and hope that the book is a great success!


Anna Kobylianski
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Random email? I was enchanted! What were the chances that a pre-med student would be the cover model for my novel about a pre-med student in 14th century Bologna?

I’ d been given the somewhat unusual chance to approve photos of the model the production department at HarperCollins had in mind for my novel’ s cover image. The lovely, Italian-looking girl in the photos looked remarkably like the Alessandra Giliani who sprang to life inside my own imagination. When I saw the photos, I emailed my editor and wrote, Yes! She’ s perfect!

I was still working on the final edits of the novel—which gave me the opportunity to fine-tune my descriptions of Alessandra and make her look even more unmistakably like the girl in the photos. I already loved Alessandra like a daughter. (Giving literary birth is not all that different from the other kind, either in the daunting labor of the enterprise or the pride and delight one takes in the result!) It was as if my fictional creation had somehow become real.

Of course, I wrote back to Anna Kobylianski immediately. I was dying to know how the photographer managed to find a model who matched my Alessandra, both inside and out, so precisely.

Anna explained, “It was actually quite random that I ended up with the job. The book cover designer’ s name is Juliana Kolesova. She was in search of a girl with brown curly hair for the cover of your novel. She is also family friends with a girl who went to my school, and the girl approached me in the halls one day to ask if I was interested in modeling for the cover. I sent Juliana some sample pictures, and after she had approval from the publisher [I was part of that!], we went ahead with it.”

Nineteen-year-old Anna was as amazed at the coincidence as I was, when she read Golden Web. “ At first, this felt a little strange,” she wrote, “ as I was reading about a girl living in the Middle Ages, yet who had my features. As the story progressed, I noticed more and more similarities between Alessandra and myself. In essence, it felt as if my Self in its entirety was transported into a different time and slightly different situation.”

Like Alessandra, Anna is the eldest girl of four children who takes her responsibility as a role model and caretaker for her siblings very seriously. She is also, like Alessandra, a gifted artist who enjoys painting, drawing, and working with clay. “ And what is even more striking,” Anna confided, “ is that this careful work with a paintbrush and fingers easily translates to a desire to pursue the career of a surgeon for me as well.”

I hope I’ m not giving away too much of the plot when I tell you that Alessandra Giliani tragically died at the age of 19. Perhaps she’ s finally getting the chance, after waiting for 700 years, to live out the rest of the long and glorious life she deserved, courtesy of a brilliant, beautiful, and gracious pre-med student from Canada.

Here’ s a lovely P.S. that came in as a comment to my blog this month, from Julia Kobylianski:

Anna's my sister! When I read this novel, I was shocked about how her profile and passions were matched almost perfectly by those of Alessandra. It is an insane coincidence that this happened and knowing my sister, Anna, I could easily relate to how Alessandra felt about med school and pursuing her dreams. Amazing.

Now, that is awesome! Thank you for being here today, Barbara! 
Barbara can be found on her website, her blog, and on twitter!


Alessandra is desperate to escape.

Desperate to escape her stepmother, who's locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There's no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas.

In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee -- and an enduring fame.

In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world's first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten -- and unforgettable -- heroine.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blog Tour: The Chosen - Andrea Buginsky - Author Interview - Scavenger Hunt Giveaway

Today, Andrea Buginsky is here with an author interview courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her book, The Chosen. Thank you for being here, Andrea! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Please keep an eye out for the giveaway listed below the interview, as it is a scavenger hunt of sorts. Enjoy!

Which characters from THE CHOSEN were the most fun to write? (Why?)

Halli is my favorite, as her personality is based on me. It was fun to write about her learning experience, and have her do things I could never do as she grew. I also loved writing about Silvor, and the way he and Halli connected. They are, of course, the hero and heroin of the book. Lumina was also fun to write, because I got to be a kid while working with her.

Can you give us a description of THE CHOSEN in haiku?

The Chosen sets out
To save Phantasma from doom
And bring hope to all

If you found yourself in Phantasma, what is the first thing you would do?

Ooh, that’s hard to say. I’d love to visit Halli and Drumple, and then ride with her to The Castle of the Elves to meet Queen Laurali.

If you could be a Harry Potter character for a day, who would you be and why?

Hermione, because she’s smart and talented. I would love to have her brain and wisdom for just one day.

What's coming up next for Halli? Anything you can share?

Book 2 (untitled) starts with a very happy and special occasion for Halli. I can’t say too much without giving it away, but use your imagination During this occasion, in which all of The Chosen are present for, a mysterious presence is felt, and they are sent off on their next quest.

What are your musical preferences when writing?

I love to listen to music sometimes, and sometimes it helps to listen to music either before I write or while I’m writing. I find that if I have something quiet in the background, I can concentrate more. It’s like if I have something I can ignore in the background, albeit something non-distracting, I can work better. I was the same way in school, when I would study and do homework.

I wouldn’t say there is one particular type of music that I listen to when I’m working. I like a variety of different music, but not that huge a variety. My choices tend to stay toward more contemporary, quiet sounds, such as country and pop, or, as it’s called today, adult contemporary. I love Celine Dion, Richard Marx, Kenny Rogers, Peter Cetera, Billy Joel, Elton John, Garth Brooks….I could go on and on.

Now, there are times I like to listen to louder rock music, but even here I have my specifics. I don’t like heavy metal or rap. I have a few select groups from the ‘80s that I LOVE. Def Leppard is my absolute favorite! I also like Bon Jovi and Poison. I can listen to their music very easily, and turn the volume up very loud. Other hard rock bands and heavy metal just sound like noise to me, and I’d rather avoid them.

Another type of music I love is the oldies: ‘50s and ‘60s music. I could listen to them all day. I think the original rock ‘n roll bands are wonderful, and definitely set the stage for the future of music. Of course, I don’t think back then they realized just how “loud” rock ‘n roll was going to get.

Now, if I had to pick a choice of music to set as a theme to “The Chosen,” it would be something not on my list, but another type of music I do like: Gaelic. My book takes place on a world that is not unlike our medieval era, where kings and queens ruled the world, and knights and paladins saved it. When I think of my story and characters, I think of movies like “The Lord of the Rings,” which had a wonderful soundtrack. When I hear music like that, it reminds me of scenes to my own story. If it ever were to become a movie, that type of music would definitely have to be the soundtrack.

I love music as much as I love books. Sometimes, they can go hand-in-hand, but at others, they can’t. I think what it really comes down to is the reader’s personal choice: do you like background music when you read, or do you prefer silence? The choice is all yours.

Thank you for answering all of my questions, Andrea! LOVE your answers! 

Andrea has graciously provided us with an E-copy of The Chosen to give away. 

As for the rules and regulations, we're going to do this a little bit differently. 

First off, this is a scavenger hunt, and answers for the questions will be provided at three of the stops on the tour. You will find answers in the author interview posted here today, the ten's list which will be posted on Jessica's blog, Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, and the guest post which will be posted on Anne's blog, Creativity's Corner.

Every correct answer will be an entry into the giveaway. You can receive a total of 8 entries. 
You do not have to answer every question. What you answer is up to you. 

Please fill out THIS FORM to enter. You can enter up until May 31, 2011 at Midnight EST.
The winner will be announced on the last stop of the tour, June 3, 2011.

Lastly, this giveaway IS International as it is for an E-Copy of the book.
Thank you!! =)

The Lens and the Looker - Lory S. Kaufman

It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.

In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.

These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: The Lens and the Looker (Book #1 of the Verona Trilogy)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Historical
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Publication Date: March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Tracee from Pump Up Your Books for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5

Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln are three trouble-making, and spoiled teens from the year 2347. They couldn't be bothered to learn about history, and have all been relegated to spend time in "History Camps" to get a hands-on learning experience. What they don't expect, is to actually be sent back in time to the actual Verona, Italy. There are no actors here, and the three teens will have to learn to adapt to their new reality, or die. They will also have to take care that they don't do anything that would alter history. In 1347, Verona was rife with turmoil, and disease, and the trio will have to take care not to become a casualty of the times.
With these illustrious main characters, it is easy to see why Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln were sent back in time to "History Camps." They may gain an appreciation for their lives if they knew how good they had it. Coming from a dystopian world, where everything is seemingly perfect, the three are shocked when they realize how grungy their new accommodations are. Will they be able to acclimate to their new reality and the hard work needed to survive?
Filled with historical references, political intrigue, and an in-depth look at the trade of a lens-maker, this is a rich reading experience. The three teens will have to prove their mettle if they are going to survive, and it is especially fortuitous that they are able to work with, and for, the lens-maker, Agistino. 
All in all, The Lens and the Looker is a remarkable read that gives us a fresh look at Verona in 1347. With danger lurking, as well as disease, this one will keep you at the edge of your seat wondering if the three teens will survive their learning experience, and new reality without altering history. I'm looking forward to reading what will happen next in The Bronze and the Brimstone.

Blog Tour: The Education of Bet - Lauren Baratz-Logsted - Author Book Picks

Today, Lauren Baratz-Logsted is here with a Book Picks Post, courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her book, The Education of Bet. You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy! 

Reading as a Writer

I often get asked what advice I have to offer people who want to be writers and I always say the same two things, one of which is: Read, read, read - read everything you can get your hands on, including outside your field, because you can't be a good writer without first being a good reader.

I don't know if I'm a good writer - that would be for others to say - but I am a good reader. Since the age of 10, I've averaged 100-250 books a year. One year, I even committed to reading a book a day and succeeded in having a 365-book year!

My home is full of books read and waiting to be read. Any day I get to go to a bookstore or the library is a good day and my tastes are eclectic. I like almost all kinds of fiction - the few I don't read a lot of these days are serial-killer books, westerns and category romances, but if somene points out one they particularly loved I'm always willing to listen - and since I started writing YA in addition to adult fiction, I now read approximately 50% YA fiction a year. To give you an idea of what really floats my boat, here are my Number 1 picks for the past few years:

2007: This Human Season, by Louise Dean

2008: Breath, by Tim Winton

2009: Little Bee, by Chris Cleave

2010: Kings of the Earth, by Jon Clinch

2011 (so far): The Old Romantic, by Louise Dean

Coincidentally, all of these are adult literary novels, but that's all they have in common except for general excellence.

I do keep a reading journal and I put stars next to those books that please me most. Of the 64 books I've read so far in 2011, the following are the ones I consider star-worthy:

Adult Fiction
The Girl I Used to Be, by David Cristofano
Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee
The Old Romantic, by Louise Dean
Gone, by Mo Hayder
The Poison Tree, by Erin Kelly
You Know When the Men are Gone, by Siobhan Fallon
The Complaints, by Ian Rankin

YA Fiction

The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain
The Miles Between, by Mary E. Pearson
The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff
The Unwritten Rule, by Elizabeth Scott
Matched, by Ally Condie
Across the Universe, by Beth Revis
Brutal, by Michael Harmon
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King
Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
Some Girls Are, by Courtney Summers
Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan
Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin

And that's me as a reader! Hopefully it wasn't TMI!

No worries, Lauren! A good book is a good book, and recommendations are always welcome!
Thank you for this awesome book-filled post! 

Lauren's book, "The Education of Bet" is in stores now.  You can find a copy at Amazon, located here.


When Will and Bet were four, tragic circumstances brought them to the same house, to be raised by a wealthy gentleman as brother and sister. Now sixteen, they’ve both enjoyed a privileged upbringing thus far. But not all is well in their household. Because she’s a girl, Bet’s world is contained within the walls of their grand home, her education limited to the rudiments of reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing. Will’s world is much larger. He is allowed—forced, in his case—to go to school. Neither is happy.

So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: They’ll switch places. She’ll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses. But once Bet gets to school, she soon realizes living as a boy is going to be much more difficult than she imagined.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted began writing for adults, but has also written for teens and for tweens. Greg Logsted, husband of Lauren, has written one novel.
Jackie Logsted, daughter of Lauren and Greg, is making her literary debut.
She is eight years old. The Baratz-Logsted/Logsted family lives in Danbury, Connecticut.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.