Interview with Bettina Restrepo (and giveaway)

27 March 2011

Today I have with me, the wonderfully introspective author who kindly answered my questions relating to her novel, Illegal.
A promise.
A promise that we would be together on my fifteenth birthday . . .

Instead, Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora stays behind. She fights to make sense of her loss while living in poverty—waiting for her father's return and a better day. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a frightening experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place. Now, Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her precious quinceaƱera.
Bettina Restrepo's gripping, deeply hopeful debut novel captures the challenges of one girl's unique yet universal immigrant experience
1.How was your experience at McDonalds ^_^? 
McDonald's taught me that I wanted to pursue my education because standing on my feet all day smelling like grease would not be fun. For a while, I was obsessed with marketing. I wanted to design the toys that went inside the Happy Meals!

2. How do you feel about immigration? 
My mother is German and my father is Colombian. They immigrated to the US back in the sixties. I have spent my entire life traveling back and forth and feeling like a fish out of water. I remembered getting so upset one day when I was filling out a scantron and they asked my ethnicity – I didn’t know what box to fill in.
I used those emotions to guide Nora into her foreign world - Houston.

The US, as most countries, have a convuluted system in need of reform. The US system, through it's complexity, almost encourages immigrants to go off the radar.

3. How or what did you do to research about Illegal?
I used to be an auditor at a chain of ethnic grocery stores, Fiesta Mart, Inc, headquartered in Houston, Texas. I drove around the city visiting the stores on a daily basis. I came to know the clientele and their financial life cycle very well.

Many immigrant customers would arrive with their weekly paychecks. After paying their utilities bills (overdue), a bag of bus tokens, and sending a few hundred dollars abroad (via Western Union), I would watch them walk into the grocery store and carefully pick out their groceries. When they went through the checkouts, they only had enough money left in their pockets to exchange for quarters (for the laundry mat). It was a vicious cycle of survival.

I found Nora at Fiesta Mart on Quitman Avenue. A girl standing on the side of the road staring at the grocery store. Her face haunted me. I wanted to know her story. How did she come to stand on that corner? Where was her family? Was she hungry?

4. Why did you decide to write Illegal? What was your motivation? 
My motivation was to tell one story of hope. Perhaps people might think differently about immigrants, but the focus was really on Nora and her struggle and how she finds her voice.

5. Do you like the smell of old books or new books? 

An old book. Specifically the way my mother's old hymnals smell and the way the pages crackle when you turn them.

6. When did you consider becoming an author and why? 
I couldn't stop myself. If I were a much more reasonable person, I would go back to accounting. Be a writer is a terrible way to make a real salary. But - someone must write the stories, so I volunteered!

Thanks Mrs. Restrepo for the interview! And, in addition to this, Mrs. Restrepo is also giving away signed bookmarks to two lucky winners.

U.S. Only
Ends 4/6/11
Fill out form below!

Inheritance Cover Reveal

23 March 2011

feast your eyes on this. it reminds me of Glaedr (the golden dragon on Brisngr). I mean, take a look at this incredible cover:

do you like the cover?! I mean, it means that the book is closer, the book is real!!!!!!

Review: The Clockwork Angel

title: The Clockwork Angel
author: Cassandra Clare
stars: 5
summary from goodreads
pages: 476

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
 my thoughts:
  I know I read this long ago, but I realized just recently that I didn't post a review.
 At first, I kind of didn't like the story, because I wanted it to be like The Mortal Instruments (and not matter what, The Mortal Instruments will always be my favourite) but as I got deeper, I started to like it. I re-read it several times over, and finally understood it all, then slapped my face and said "OH!!!!! I get it now!!! I love this book!"
  Will is like the Jace of the past. Haughty, arrogant, and hot. Jem is like, this gorgeous, silvery Asian guy with silver eyes and a gentle character that I love so much. Unfortunatley, he's doomed to die. And Will is an arse. Why is it so hard to choose?
  But Cassandra Clare, like always, gave all her characters so much....character. They were real, which is hard to do considering all the fake-like characters in other teen literature these days. Clare's work is a rare, and very wonderful, exception.
  The machine-work topic was creative, but not so much my favourite. The only things I really enjoyed were the complex characters and their habits, and their speech and their personality. Everything about the characters, mostly Jem and Will.

Review and Giveaway: Dreadfully Ever After

21 March 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.

The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

Mini Review:
Once again, this book was written in old English (but not that old) and I found it hilarious at certain scenes. I would rate this 3 stars, there were lacking chunks, but overall, it was enjoyable.

Comment with your name and e-mail to be entered.
Ends: March 30th 
Extra Entry: link anywhere.

Review: Madame Tussaud

08 March 2011

title: Madame Tussaud
author: Michelle Moran
stars: 4
review: by kirthi
summary: goodreads
pages: 426

In this deft historical novel, Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) escapes the pages of trivia quizzes to become a real person far more arresting than even her waxwork sculptures. Who among us knew, for instance, that she moved freely through the royal court of Louis XVI, only to become a prisoner of the Reign of Terror? Her head was shaven for guillotining, but she escaped execution, though she was forced to make death masks for prominent victims. Novelist Michelle Moran covers this breathtaking period without losing the thread of its subject's singular story.
My thoughts:

   Once again, Michelle Moran has written a wonderful historical fiction that is surprisingly straying away from her specialty of Ancient Egypt and moving to the French Revolution! It was historically accurate and very historical, leaving no detail behind. It's amazing because Michelle is the only author I've read that does this, whereas there is more fiction than history in other historical fiction books, in her books, there's more history than fiction.
    There were some parts where I felt the romance was lacking, even though this wasn't supposed to be a romance, it just made me scream. 
   What I found amazing was that extremely important figures in (modern) history were included, and said things that they, in real life, would have actually said!
   However, there were few bad points like, there were so many people to remember, and the events were too close to each other, and the ending was not satisfying. But besides that, Madame Tussaud's a keeper.

Review: after the kiss

04 March 2011

title: after the kiss
author: Terra Elan McVoy
stars: 3.999
review: kirthi
summary: goodreads
pages: 382
recommended for: 13+

This moment changes everything. Becca has been head-over-heels for Alec from the instant they met. He's a brainy jock with a poet's heart—in other words, perfect for her.
Camille is careful with her words and protective of her heart, especially since Chicago. Then a new boy in her new town catches her off guard with a surprise kiss.
Too bad that new boy is Becca's boyfriend, Alec.
Camille and Becca have never met, but their lives will unravel and intertwine in surprising ways as they deal with what happens after the kiss.

My thoughts:
  What a pretty cover, and what an affect all those candy hearts have, to mirror the story and to show the kind of atmosphere this book is in. I was more compassionate towards Becca, and though Camille was fine, I kind of still sided with Becca. I mean, what if some new girl came in and took your long time boyfriend that you loved so much that you thought it was impossible for you to be separated with him. 
  This book was unique and was written in verse. The impact was stronger than if it had been written like a novel. The fewer words, the stronger it is (in some cases)
  However, there was a lot more lacking than what I wanted. I do like some detail, you know?
  The down-point for me was how long it was, and how some bits repeated a bit.

pages All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger