Sharing the Love – GOING VINTAGE

BY MINDI SCOTT

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Spoiler: I’m giving away an advance copy of Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt at the end of this post!

From around age 8 to age 18, Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday. I loved making cupcakes with pink frosting, picking out cards and candy to give to my classmates, and getting presents from my mom.

More than all of those things, though, I loved the anticipation. Valentine’s Day felt like a day when anything could happen. Every February 14th, I hoped that whichever boy I liked that year would buy me a school-fundraiser balloon or rose to be delivered to me in class. Or that he’d ask me to be his girlfriend. Or that he’d make some grand gesture that showed me he liked me.

It never happened. Not even once. I now appreciate Valentine’s Day for the heart-shaped Junior Mints (when the stores aren’t sold out!), but it’s otherwise kind of unimportant. I have a husband who loves me every day, so I don’t want or need grand gestures in February. (Unless it involves tracking down the aforementioned Junior Mints–that’s real devotion.)

This year, on my formerly-favorite holiday, I thought it would be fun for me to kick off a series of SHARING THE LOVE posts about books! I received a few advance copies at ALA a few weeks ago, and I’d love to use them for their intended purpose of talking up upcoming books that I enjoyed.

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Today, I have Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt! This one comes out in mid-March this year, and is the story of Mallory who, after discovering that her boyfriend is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, decides to “go vintage” and live like it’s 1962–when there was no internet. As the jacket states,  it includes “heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance.”

What especially resonated most with me in this book is the theme of “finding your thing.” Mallory doesn’t feel like she stands out or has anything that is really hers, so she (sort of accidentally) sets out to discover those things about herself. I so relate to feeling non-unique and average, and especially would have related to it as a teen.

Here’s a short list of “Things About Me” that I came up with after reading this book:

1. Vegetarian cooking (My mother-in-law says I make the best vegetarian food of anyone she knows)

2. Mixing my lipsticks and applying with a brush for truly custom colors.

3. Absently drawing hearts all over the place.

4. Collecting every book by Victoria Holt/Phillipa Carr (but not Jean Plaidy, because I didn’t like those very much)

5. Writing books (Because it is a thing I do)

Surprisingly, I actually could go on. But I want to hear from YOU!

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For a chance to win my Going Vintage ARC, please leave a comment below (along with an email address where I can contact you) telling me one or more of the “things” that makes you you.  

Edit: We have notified a winner! Thank you to everyone who joined in the discussion here. It was very fun to read your responses.

Zombies on the Brain!*

BY MINDI SCOTT

*See what I did there? 😀

Anyone who knows me knows that I have never liked watching horror or suspense movies. For the most part, I avoid anything that looks like it has the potential to scare me. The same goes for the books I choose to read too.

Vampire Duck

I can still clearly remember night after night as a child, lying in bed awake with my mind racing with thoughts of The Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent in dragon form, and Those Gross-Looking Pale People Who Bite You. I also remember being age twenty-two and having to keep flashlight next to me while I slept. Just in case any dead people showed up in my apartment.

(Side note: Typing that last paragraph just reminded me of the time I watched Once Bitten with my cousin as a kid and later explained to my mom that the reason the main character had been chosen by the Countess was because he was still a virgin. My mom didn’t like hearing those words come out of my nine-year-old mouth, I tell you what.)

So when I heard well over a year ago that Courtney Summers, one my favorite authors, was getting a novel about zombies published, I didn’t know what to do. I want to read all of Courtney’s books forever and ever, but how could I read This is Not a Test?

this is not a test

In the meantime, I discovered that Emma Stone had been in a movie called Zombieland. I love Emma Stone and I want to watch her movies, but how could I watch that one?

The solution to my zombie dilemmas came from the book Zombies Vs. Unicorns. A friend gave it to me to borrow, saying that I didn’t have to read the zombie stories if I didn’t want to, but that I might just like some of them. I was wary, but I wasn’t reading anything else at the time so I decided to give it a shot. For the unicorns only! But I ended up reading all of the short stories in the book, and I realized afterward that I’d enjoyed a greater portion of the ones about zombies than of the unicorns.

Whoa, right?

After making it through those short stories, I went on to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I’d actually had the author sign the book for me at an event in 2010, but I had no intention of ever reading it. (And, by the way, I just finished her two other novels in the trilogy during the past week.)

And that was when I came to strongly suspect that I could probably experience more zombies without nightmares. I’ve since watched (and loved) Zombieland, and read (and loved) This is Not a Test, which might be my very favorite Courtney Summers novel so far.

It isn’t the zombies that interest me so much in these stories, of course. It’s the living people. It’s the desperate situations they find themselves in and the choices they make about survival and human connections. I love to ponder the potential metaphors about the zombies, and I find it all so inspiring–these stories about people who have to decide how just badly they want to keep living and how they’re going to go about it.

I don’t know if I can officially say that I’m a convert to zombie stories on the whole, or that I’ll ever have the urge to branch out to reading or watching another facets of horror.  But for now, I know that the trailer for Warm Bodies makes me smile and tear up every time I watch it. I can hardly wait for this movie. (And lucky Michelle has already seen it, by the way! She says it’s cute!!!!!!!!!)

What about you? How do you feel about zombie stories? Any recommendations?

Win an ARC of Mindi’s LIVE THROUGH THIS + Cuteness + a Mystery Gift!

by Michelle Andreani

LTT contest

“We want to live with you!” says Plush Giraffe.

Hi, there! You’ve certainly visited on a great day because not only did I just get a haircut, but Mindi’s giving things away! And some very cool things at that. The very coolest of which is an ARC of her upcoming release LIVE THROUGH THIS. (I was lucky enough to read an early draft and I loved loved LOVED it so much. And you will, too!) Here’s a little more about LTT:

Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . .

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect in this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel.

Praise For Live Through This . . .

Live Through This is by turns harrowing, sad, funny, and romantic. I couldn’t put it down.” -Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss

“Intensely emotional and beautifully crafted, I savored every word.” –Amanda Grace, author of In Too Deep

“An honest and realistic portrayal of what it is to live with secrets and shame.” –Jo Knowles, author of Lessons From a Dead Girl

*     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *    *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Such well-deserved praise! Along with the ARC, Mindi is also giving away the most adorable stuffed giraffe (which will make total sense once you read your arc, but until then, doesn’t it look so snuggable?), and *cues dramatic music* a GIFT. OF. MYSTERY! Honestly. Who can resist a mystery gift??

Let’s review! One enviable winner will get three awesome (and mysteriousssss) prizes! So, if you want the haul for yourself, check out the details, including all the ways you can enter, in the Google form below.

Crossing my fingers for you! GOOD LUCK! 😀

I Fell for Hamlet

BY MINDI SCOTT

PhotobucketI’ve gone to Shakespeare in the Park at least once every summer for the past ten years or so, but I wouldn’t say that I have a ton ‘o Shakespeare knowledge. My high school sort of glossed over the whole literature thing. (Or maybe I was too busy not doing my homework to have learned All the Stuff?)

In any case, Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray, a modern retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s point of view, was completely off my radar, and would have stayed that way if a  friend hadn’t recommended it.

I sure am glad that she did. Because you guys! I fell for Michelle Ray’s version of the character Hamlet! I fell hard. For about the first third of the book, I was in love with him. Desperately. In. Love. I wanted to kiss him and marry him and run away with him forever and ever. I understood why Ophelia was so wrapped up in him because SO WAS I. I stayed up late reading, fell asleep with the book beside me, and dreamed about Hamlet all night.

It isn’t like me to get like this. If I were to come across a wax figure of a certain actor who plays a sparkly vampire, I’d be more likely to make faces at him than embrace him. (And Michelle still speaks to me! Or maybe she didn’t know until now . . . ;-))

But there was something about this Hamlet. He was intense. He was silly. He was needy. He was romantic-ish. For some reason, that combination won me over and I was so very into him.

The next morning, I dove back into the book immediately when I woke up. That’s when horrible things started happening and Hamlet started to scare me. By the end of the story, after seeing how much Ophelia had lost because of her love for Hamlet and her involvement in his family, I was relieved that it all happened to her and not to me.

Phew! I’m lucky to have averted all that, right? But I also feel lucky because I will always have the memory of those hours that I was able to spend with him before he was driven mad and started killing everyone. Oh, Hamlet! xoxo