Happy Release Day: “Not After Everything” and Michelle Levy Spotlight, Review and Giveaway!

So I’m sort of doing this on my own today, click but that’s because I’m so excited for the release of this book today and I’m so excited for Michelle and I want to implore all of you to grab this book and read it! We’re going to learn more about the super awesome Michelle Levy, her brand new, incredible book and you’ll even have a chance to get your hands on a copy too!

So let’s get started!

Meet Michelle Levy

Michelle Levy originally is from Denver, CO and is now a resident of our Los Angeles, CA. She has worked as a casting director for both movies and television in the past. She has a Great Dane named Magnus and a cat named Max and can sing and play piano but won’t do it so don’t ask ;) Not After Everything is her debut novel.

You Can Find Her At:

Her Website / Her Twitter / Her GoodReads / Her Facebook / Her Instagram

About Not After Everything

Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?

Find Her Book at Your Local Bookstore or the Following Links: 

GoodReads / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / iBooks / Amazon

My Review

I am so so so in love with this book. So in love with this book. I met Michelle over a year ago at a book event for, I think, Jessica Brody. I’m pretty sure. And I just adore her. She’s a lover of books and she’s insanely encouraging and I was excited to learn about her debut novel. She was a moderator at the Ontario Teen Book Fest this past March and she slipped an ARC my way. Because she’s the most amazing person in the entire world. I knew immediately I had to go home and read it. And I did. And I devoured it.

I’ve seen comparisons to The Spectacular Now and to Eleanor and Park. I definitely agree with those. If you like either of those books, definitely read Michelle’s books. You’re going to love her book if you loved those books. But Michelle’s book stands on its own and I loved it from the first page to the very last. The two main characters are just incredible. Tyler and Jordyn are as different can be, or at least they seem so on the outside. Tyler is the football guy, the one who is supposed to have it all, until its revealed he really has nothing. Jordyn has the angry goth girl look going on but she has a loving family, she has direction, and she’s incredibly caring and loyal. When the two of them find their way to each other…its just beautiful. Its beautiful and heartbreaking and perfect.

Michelle has a way of creating her characters that just blows my mind. They’re both so real and familiar and yet different and out of reach at the same time, and its a great balance. You feel for both of them, you feel connected to both of them, but you’re frantically turning the pages in order to learn more, to find out what happens to them because she makes you care about them right away and I just love it. They’re memorable and I read this book MONTHS ago. I still remember how both of them made me feel and what I still feel for this book.

Then you get down to the story. Michelle is an incredibly beautiful writer and her prose is just fantastic but she also has a way of speaking to you as if you’re really that person, as if you’re a friend that Tyler is confiding in. I felt like I was right back in high school with him, and Jordyn, and all the feelings and struggles they both go through felt like my own high school romance all over again. She makes it feel real and genuine but its also unique as hell. There are some unexpected twists and turns and it doesn’t turn out at all the way I had expected it to. I had an idea of where things were heading and when they took a 180 and ended up in a completely different direction, I had to sort of pause for a moment. How on earth had that happened? But it was the exact perfect ending for this book and I applaud Michelle for writing an incredibly novel from the first to last pages.

The Giveaway!

Its SUPER easy. You have until August 8th to repost this image on Instagram with the hashtag #NerdGirlMichelleLevyGiveaway. The winner will win an ecopy (Kindle, Nook, etc) of Michelle’s Not After Everything! Make sure to tag me as well!

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Congratulations Michelle on your debut novel! I am so insanely excited for you and I wish you all the best for you and your beautiful beautiful book!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Fancasting for My Novel!

Okay, sale so I was not going to do this post because, well, I didn’t really feel like I needed to and I had other things on my mind.

But I like fan casting. It helps to give me a better background for my characters. When I create my characters, I do have a basis for them in my mind but I do have that sort of blurry image for their face because its hard to create an entirely new face in your head. So I use actors and actresses as basis. Sort of the way I use Santa Cruz, California as a basis for my town, Macon, California.

So I was writing and I was having a little bit of a hard time on something so…I started googling people and fancasting for my five main characters: Evie, Lucy, Austin, Jesse, and Connor. And then because I am so completely perfect at procrastinating in actual writing (damn you, Gilmore Girls!).

So instead of writing 3K words like I planned to do for the day (its 3 pm, I have plenty of time), I’m working on a post about fan casting for my novel.

Let’s jump in!

Elizabeth Olsen as Evie and Lucy Cordova

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Evie and Lucy are really difficult because I made them really unique. I actually based them a lot on my sister, Jessica. My siblings and I are mutt children: two races. There are multiracial kids alllll over the place but I think the differences, the uniqueness that comes from multiracial kids can be skipped over sometimes. I’m half Mexican and half white, meaning pretty much every European country out there. I look like a Mexican kid, just a little lighter, I think. You can kind of tell that I’m a biracial kid but for the most part, people assume that I’m hispanic. I swear, this is going somewhere. But my sister, for most of her life, looked biracial. Blonde hair, dark brown eyes, etc. She has a pretty mix of both of her heritages and I think its awesome and I used that for both Evie and Lucy, who are identical twins. They have dark blonde hair, dark brown hairs, tanned skin, a mix from their Spanish father and their Mexican mother.

But because of this, its a little difficult to fan cast them. I found a couple pictures of Elizabeth Olsen, who is just plain gorgeous, and I liked her look a lot. Her skin could be a little darker and obviously she needs brown eyes but I’m seeing her as Evie and Lucy. I really like this particular picture of Elizabeth because she does look a little more like what I picture for Evie. Lucy would have much shorter hair, and be a little heavier, only because Evie dealt with her eating disorder. But I like this look.

Mike Trout as Austin Young 

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Okay, yes, I know it. Mike Trout is an actual baseball player. Not an actor. He probably would be really really bad at acting. Let’s be real. But he’d totally rock the baseball part. But the whole idea of the story came from the fact that I do have a crush on Mike Trout (innocent, seriously, I ship him and his girlfriend, they’re too cute together), and I did say that I wanted to marry a baseball player for a huge chunk of my life (hey, that’s still a possibility). Anyway, I think about baseball a lot because baseball is basically second to books in my life. I wanted to write a book about baseball and a sexy baseball player and the first person that comes to MY mind is Mike Trout. I mean, look at that face. SIGH.

But being serious…

Matt Lanter as Austin Young

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Hell yeah I picked a picture of Matt Lanter shirtless. Googling people is way too much fun. I like this particular picture but he looks like he could be a little country in this and Austin is a total Southern country boy. Blonde hair, green eyes, tanned from being in the sun all the time, built because he works out so much (he’s determined to make it to the pros), and he’s beautiful. Evie has a firm “no baseball players” rule and Austin’s looks plays a part in her slowly breaking that rule. I first saw Matt Lanter when he went to the Divergent premiere to promote Starcrossed. I thought he was incredibly good looking so I went home and watched the super fun and short lived show, Starcrossed, and was sad when it was canceled. Then I found out that Matt has done a TON of voice work for Star Wars, had Star Wars themes in his wedding and I just think he would work really well as Austin.

Ignacio Serricchio as Jesse Valdez

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Technically, at 32 years old, Ignacio is entirely way too old to play Jesse because Jesse is 19 in the past and 23 in the future. So yeah. But he totally has the look. Jesse is full Hispanic so he needed to LOOK Hispanic. He had to be good looking, like he could just charm the pants off of you, which he basically does and I was googling hispanic actors and this picture popped up, caught my eye and I was immediately in love. I don’t know much about Ignacio since he’s on soap operas and I’m not a big soap opera girl but he’s got the look down pat. Plus, he would look good next to Elizabeth Olsen, who would play both Evie and Lucy and both of the girls are obviously in love with him at different parts of the story so that would work so so SO well.

Dylan O’Brien as Connor Humphrey

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Besides the whole Mike Trout thing…this was one person I had fancasted from the beginning. Dylan O’Brien IS Connor. The way he looks, the way he acts, sort of a mix of Stiles from Teen Wolf and my own little extra bit and maybe a little bit of Thomas from The Maze Runner. I was so excited when I googled Dylan O’Brien and baseball and got a super hot picture, and it totally works. Connor is Evie’s best friend, but the last thing that I wanted to create with that is a sort of love triangle, friend zone thing. Evie and Connor had their thing in high school, got over it and are just friends. Connor is good looking, funny, ambitious, determined and a baseball player just like everyone else in Macon (haha!)

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The Promise of Amazing Book Review

The Promise of Amazing

Where To Buy: Amazon, viagra 40mg Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Goodreads Summary: Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how. 

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

My Review: This book was pretty bad. I honestly think it deserves to be categorized as bad fan fiction. But I digress. This is the lowest rating I’ve ever given, that I can recall, and I have not a single ounce of guilt in saying so.

The characters weren’t believeable, the plot was very weak, and the title of the book is the real kicker. “The Promise of Amazing”? Really? There’s nothing amazing about this promise. As a matter of fact, I feel like I wasted my time.

Wren and Grayson are just so annoying together, as well as separate. I think the author tried to build something worthwhile & genuine between these two, but fell quite short. Wren was a just quiet naive girl and Grayson swept in with all of his problems, and it became your typical, predictable, boy meets girl story. Even the secondary characters were weak.

Wren’s friends were boring and somewhat inauthentic to me. The friendship between them was just off. I didn’t feel like they were good friends, they felt like some people that Wren just happened to know. And Grayson’s friends were just as bad, though we learn why his friends are they way that they are. Luke was an asshole, unnecessarily. He really was just a whiny brat, who pissed in your cereal if he didn’t get his way. And his flavor of the moment, Ava, was just as bad.

The only redeemable characters in this book for me were Brooke, Wren’s sister, and Eben, Wren’s coworker. They seemed like they had decent heads on their shoulders. I actually wanted to learn more about them, as opposed to everyone else. Wren’s parents were background characters at best, and Grayson’s parents were just there. I know that his parents were supposed to paint a deeper picture of Grayson’s life and why he’s the way that he is — but nope. That was a fail, too. You get a tiny glimpse into Grayson’s vulnerability with the hosptial scene, but it was over in like 2 pages.

I couldn’t bring myself to care about ANY of these characters. And I think that’s why I’m so PISSED! I just didn’t care. The only person I wanted to know about was Brooke and that was because she was pregnant (that’s not a spoiler). That’s it. And I know that wasn’t the author’s intention, which allows me to further state that this book was lukewarm and all over the place.

By the end of the book, when it came to Grayson & Wren, I was ready to scream “just break up and be done already!” Nothing is worth how bored I am with this relationship. He lied constantly, for NO reason at all, brought Wren into his web of issues. And Wren bought it. Girl, what? ASK questions. Do not be that girl. Yes, I know they’re teenagers, but I know a lot of girls (and guys) who are more mature about things than these two. It just wasn’t realistic for me. And I felt like everything was being forced to happen. And what made it worse — it was all happening within a plot that was weak to begin with.

I remember by the end of like, chapter 3, Grayson was talking about the “connection” he felt with Wren. What connection? You literally JUST met her, like one paragraph ago. What connection? She uttered ten words to you. I’m confused. I felt like a couple of chapters had been torn out or something. There was just a huge gap in character development. And it made me angry.

This is the harshest review I’ve ever written, but I write so many positive reviews that I feel I need to make sure I’m as honest with the books I don’t like as well.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

A Little Less than Famous is Finally Published!

It’s done, illness it’s done, it’s done.

A Little Less than Famous is DONE!

After working my butt off nonstop for all the hours that I haven’t been asleep or working, its finally done. It’s not perfect; I really need a professional editor to look over it and spot the things that I just couldn’t spot but I had some amazing help in finishing this and I am supremely happy with it.

Here is the fantastic cover, that the best graphic designer in the world, also known as my dad, designed for my novel.

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Gorgeous right?

And here’s a brief synopsis of the novel:

McKinley Evans doesn’t fall in love and she doesn’t do relationships. She has rules and she’s in it for the fun and, let’s face it, the sex. I mean, she’s not completely heartless, of course. She has a good family, even though her mom ditched her in a diner when she was five years old and good friends. Then she meets Jake Kennedy, THE Jake Kennedy that woman all over the world pine for every Thursday night on the hit show Crime Scene. And of course, Jake doesn’t follow any rule in McKinley’s book and before she knows it, she’s gotten herself pretty wrapped up in the celebrity world. It doesn’t take long for her to want to stay in that world…but is it the glitz and the glam or is it Jake Kennedy himself?

Now that I’ve shown you the cover and I’ve told you a little bit about the novel, and if I haven’t scared you off yet, here is where you can actually buy my novel.

For Kindle, or the Kindle App (that you can get LITERALLY on everythin), you can purchase A Little Less than Famous here:

A Little Less than Famous for Kindle.

(Update: if you are having trouble purchasing it on amazon, check back in about an hour, or click the link below for the smashwords version…you can download it there on Kindle as well!)

For Nook, or Sony Ereader, or for such a PDF copy on your computer, you can purchase A Little Less than Famous here:

A Little Less than Famous on Smashwords

Now, I don’t want to hear any excuses from my loyal followers on how they don’t have a Kindle or a Nook and so there’s no way they can buy it, sorry! You can literally get the Kindle or Nook apps on anything: your phone, your Iphone, your Itouch, your Ipad, any other tablet, you can even get apps for them on your computer.

To get the Kindle app for your device, click here. To get the Nook app for your device, click here.

Maybe I sound like I’m bugging and being pushy but it took me over a year and a half to write this novel and I want to share it with EVERYONE that I can and I feel like so many people out there find an excuse not to support you, and its horrible.

But I’ve also learned that the people who don’t make excuses, who download a Kindle app onto their laptop and read a 400+ page novel on their computer, are the people who are your biggest supporters and they’re the people you can count on.

Anyway, though, I am hoping that you all enjoy this novel. Like I said above, this took me quite a long time to write and it holds a special place in my heart. But also, if you don’t enjoy it, please let me know too! Leave reviews on the Amazon and Smashword pages of the good and the bad. I’ll never get better if I don’t know that I need to.

But enjoy! And share with your friends and your family and your coworkers and whomever else you think would enjoy this!

I can’t wait for you all to read it!

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Also, do not forget to check out my first novel, Another Chance for Summer

On Kindle

and

For Nook and other devices.

Book of the Week: Wonder

So the Book of the Week post is a little late this week.

Sometimes things happen you know. And I think I’ve been feeding you all some seriously awesome posts lately. I added an anime contributor, generic Hobie, pharm and a comics contributor, Tabitha, and its been rad.

Our darling Jackie was up for Book of the Week this week but she’s been very busy taking care of her mom. Her mom has been pretty sick, in and out of the hospital and Jackie has been a rockstar daughter, taking care of her. Her mom is doing pretty well right now, after some surgery, so that’s great and I hope we all can send some good thoughts or prayers, if that’s your thing, or whatever her way :D

She definitely deserves them all.

So now for the Book of the Week.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

So this book was a book assigned to me for my children’s literature class.

I talk about that class a lot. It was a class I just randomly took for some units and its a class I ended up seriously loving it. A fantastic class. If your college/university has a children’s lit class, do it. You won’t regret. Especially if you’re reading my blog; you’re already half way there.

So Wonder was assigned to me for class. I went down to the bookstore and was shocked when I found out this book tops out at almost 17 dollars. That’s a lot for a book by someone I didn’t even know. So, me being the fast reader, decided to go Barnes and Noble and read the book in one sitting so I didn’t have to buy it.

Yeah that’s me, all right.

And guess what? I was totally asked to leave B&N for reading there. WHAT? It was crazy. They were like “you need to buy the book or leave?” Um, never mind the eight other people next to me reading books. I mean, its a bookstore, shouldn’t you be able to read there?

Anyway, so I ended up buying the book. I mean, I had to. I actually needed to read it for class. And let me tell you, it may not be the cheapest book you buy, but it was worth every single penny.

Wonder is R.J. Palacio’s debut novel and seriously, I don’t know how one follows that. It tells the story of August Pullman, known as Auggie, who has a face deformity. His eyes are basically on his cheeks, he doesn’t really have ears, and so on. He is constantly been in the hospital for surgeries. He has been home schooled his whole life and has pretty much gotten used to the weird looks that people give him.

But now Auggie is going to school for the first time, as a fifth grader, in middle school. Like middle school isn’t hard enough without having an extreme face deformity. The story goes from Auggie’s perspective to his sister Via’s and then a few other people that touch their lives. Obviously, Auggie has a hard time once he goes into school. His face deformity is not helping him to fit in and kids will be kids. Then you have his older sister, Via, who is used to taking care of herself and being a little neglected and how she deals with it.

The story follows the two of them as they embark on their first year at middle school and high school and how they deal with the changes in their lives and how they deal with each other, and their parents, and other hardships. It is a wonderful story.

The Good or the Bad: 

I literally cannot think of anything bad about this story. It hit me like a wall, it sucked me in, just like a good book does.

It does not matter in the slightest that this book was meant for kids in the middle school age. Because the story is universal, its relatable. And its downright touching and sweet.

Now, I don’t have a face deformity. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been a fairly healthy child my whole life. But you better believe that I felt for Auggie and I rooted for him so heavily when he walked through the doors of that middle school. The kids just stare at him, and there’s a bully named Julian who just teases him and is so mean. And Auggie just…he’s so strong. Obviously he doesn’t like, obviously it upsets him but he deals with it, you know? He only loses it once, when his friend Jack talks about him behind his back.

Buts its fifth grade, you know? Of course Jack is trying so hard to fit in, and you say things sometimes that you don’t really mean. Auggie is able to get himself a couple of good friends in Jack and Summer because even though he has a face deformity, he is an awesome, awesome kid. He’s smart and he has good interests (Star Wars and The Hobbit…badass) and you just keep rooting for him.

And you root for his sister Via too? She’s starting high school, and I remember what that was like. It was not the easiest thing in the world. And it can’t be hard to have a brother who gets all of the attention because of his deformities and health and surgeries and such. She just wants more than anything to just be Via, not Auggie’s sister. Just Via.

Its an amazing story. It puts a lot of things in perspective. I have insecurities, you know? I don’t always look at myself in the mirror and love what I see. But I’m what is considered normal, you know? To have those kind of face deformities like Auggie and to carry on with the kind of strength that he has. He has the ability to move through school, and rock his grades and he can even joke a little bit about it. And you just finish that last page and this book knocks you off your feet.

I’m not going to give away a lot. I don’t think it would be right to do so. I believe everybody should read this book, and everyone should be able to experience this. I don’t care how old you are, if you have a well enough proficiency in reading (in other words, you’re not five and learning to read), you should read this book. No ifs, no ands, no buts. This is an amazing book. I encourage everyone to read it. EVERYONE.

The best part is, if you click the link above, it takes you to the amazon page as per usual and its only 9 dollars! What a bargain! So do it, you won’t regret it. I’m going to be pushing this book on people for years because it was amazing, an unexpected delight.