Monday, March 28, 2011

Something Sweet Is Coming Your Way

Just got home from an employee meeting today-  found out some exciting news for Indigo customers. I can't say what, but something sweet is coming your way. Check back on April 4th when I reveal the juicy gossip!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Writing Soup: Birthday Contest!

Come Celebrate Debbie's Birthday with an AMAZING Giveaway!

Writing Soup: Birthday Contest!: "Guess what? My birthday is next week! In honor of turning 22 I'm doing my first giveaway in, like, a year! Yay for you! I couldn't figure o..."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
By: Stephanie Perkins

Book Summary curtesy of Goodreads:

 Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

  For a while I thought this book was stalking me. I swear I saw it everywhere I went; on the shelves at work, goodreads, and amazon kept recommending it for me- so I figured "what the heck, might as well see what the hype's all about" and boy am I glad I did!

My Review:
 Perkins' novel was a breath of fresh air from all the paranormal reads that have taken over YA fiction these days (not that I'm complaining). I think what I found most enjoyable about this read was Perkins' writing style. The teenage language didn't feel forced, and at the same time it didn't feel overly crude. It was realistic because let's face it, we all know the language teens use, especially when they're away from their parents. While Perkins' writing style was realistic, it was also incredibly engaging (I had the hardest time putting it down to even eat or take a bathroom break haha). Anna and the French Kiss, relies on it's dialogue to keep the story moving, there's very little action in this plot, but the fresh voices of Perkins' characters move the story along and keep the reader hooked from the very first page.

Anna is a strong character. She doesn't play games, she's flawed (like every teen) and is just trying to find her independence in a foreign city.

 I can't give a full review of this book without mentioning the chemistry between the two main characters, Anna and St. Claire (excuse me I mean √Čtienne). I couldn't help but root for these two from the get go. The build up of their relationship is realistic, there's no love at first sight with these two (but perhaps lust at first sight). I actually had butterflies in my stomach at a few scenes between these two. If you like a fun light read with great writing then Anna and the French Kiss is the book for you. If you prefer paranormal reads then you might wanna pass this one up (although I'm sure glad I didn't).

 My overall rating GGGG1/2 4.5/5

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kelley Armstrong Contest!!!!!!



Well as I'm sure a lot of you are aware, Kelley has a new release set to hit the shelves next month (April 12th to be exact) and to celebrate the release of "The Gathering" I am pleased to present to you my very first contest. So I'm sure you're asking yourself umm Hayley what do I need to do to enter? Well I'll tell you MUST BE A FOLLOWER of this blog and comment on this post to enter; and you will receive extra points for doing each of the following:
+1 point for leaving a comment on this post about my interview with Kelley Armstrong (if you can't find it just click the Author Interview icon at the top of this blog)
+ For following me on twitter (HayleyAG)
+1 for each time you tweet about this contest (make sure each tweet has @HayleyAG in it so I can record each tweet for you)
+1 for posting this contest on your blog

Be sure to add the links to your entries in your comments on this post.  If you're not comfortable leaving your emails out in the open that's fine, once I announce the winner I'll give you an email address to respond to.

Now I'm sure you're next thought is, what do I get for all that work? Well my friends you get the following, curtesy of Kelley and Alison Armstrong! Thanks Ladies!!!

1 Summoning bookmark
1 Awakening bookmark
1 Reckoning bookmark
1 Gathering bookmark
1 Darkest powers pen
1 copy of The Summoning (1st of the Darkest Powers Trilogy)

Here's a picture so you can see the awesomeness of this contest for yourself (sorry for the crappy film- I'm definitely not a photographer haha).



This contest runs from Tuesday March 22 until Friday, April 1st Midnight. I will announce the winner here on my blog Sunday April 3rd after 12pm. This contest is open to Canada and US residents only sorry.

Good Luck to you all!!!
Edit: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED, THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED. I WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER ON MY BLOG TOMORROW!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Interview with New York Times Bestseller Kelley Armstrong

I had the amazing opportunity to interview Kelley at one of her readings of The Gathering. Thank you so much Kelley! I'm glad I get to share her wonderful thoughts with all of you. So without further adieu, I give the interview (read it out loud- that rhymed)

 K = Kelley Armstrong HG = Hayley Gillis

 HG: Was it hard for you to get Bitten published?
 K: Yes definitely, I mean I was writing Bitten for years every time I told someone what I was writing they said ‘O god Kelley if you have to write about that stuff at least write about vampires. People buy books on vampires’ so I was writing other stuff that I was told was more marketable and it was rejected. I was trying to send out query letters and it was... I think they probably heard the word werewolf and four rejection letters so after four years at it I asked my instructor to take a look at it and asked whether or not he thought I should pursue it. Whether I should take up knitting and sent me to an agent who you just met who is Helen Heller. He asked would you take a look at my student’s writing. She asked “what’s it about,” he said “werewolves” she said “no thanks” (laughing). So she continued to say no until she only said yes to get him off the phone (more laughing) then I sent it in and a week later she called and offered to represent me and it sold right after that. So it was a long time of getting no where and then getting a lot places really fast.


HG: You had released prequels on the web before Bitten came out right?
K: Not for Bitten. Because Bitten was sold in ’99, there wasn’t a lot of web presence going on then. After that I’ve done free online stuff.

HG: Ok so your prequel stories were written after?
K: Yes after, I had already written the background story for Bitten but I hadn’t written it out in prose form. I did that because I had a website and I wanted to give readers something so I wrote out the back-story in actual story form.

HG: Ok so you have three different series out now; your fantasy, your mystery and your young adult fiction. Would you say that you enjoy writing mystery over fantasy or is it harder?
K: I like a combination ideally it’s a combination of thrillers plus fantasy. So while I really like these, straight mystery because it’s a change of pace, my ideal would combine the both. So my adult series combines both mystery and fantasy, and my YA has more thriller action plus fantasy.

HG: Have you faced many struggles as a female Canadian author?
K: I don’t think so, I really don’t. I haven’t ever found that... there is certainly a bias against commercial writers, but you get that anywhere. There’s always that struggle between literary and genre commercial, but as a female I don’t think that I have ever felt that I was being categorized like that, especially YA where it is predominately female authors (laughing)

HG: Definitely. Your works are partly set in Toronto; do your U.S. readers ever have a problem relating?
K: No they don’t. They really don’t I mean I was told in Canada I was told “please change all that to the U.S. or you will never sell it or if you do sell it they will make you change it all” they never have. There’s always Toronto bits, my next young adult trilogy is set on Vancouver Island, so I am allowed to do that and nobody complains.

HG: That’s great and exciting. After listening to your first chapter I’m dying to read it (Kelley laughs in response). In your latest works you’ve been writing from duel perspectives- is it easier or harder to write from two perspectives?
K: It is I think both. I mean you can actually do less plot when you do it from multiple perspectives. Normally you are only following one person this way you’re following two and have two things going on at the same time that normally you wouldn’t see. So the more perspective the less plot you need to have- so it’s good and bad (laughing at her answer).

HG: Which genre do you enjoy reading more: mystery, fantasy or young adult?
K: Right now probably young adult but in general mystery. Thrillers are what I really love to read.

HG: In your opinion, young adult is really emerging right?
K: Young adult is really strong right now. I speak to a lot of adults who read YA and say you know what some of this stuff is better than the adult fiction. A lot are on the market now, so you almost have to be on your game for that.

HG: Would you categorize your works as fantasy?
K: I let anyone categorize it as anything they want. So when some people pull this out they will say ‘this is fantasy’ so they’ll shelve it in fantasy. Canada mainly shelves it in horror, which is fine as long as everything else is similar in the same place. In the U.S. it could be in fantasy it could be mystery it could be in romance, so it really depends, I think, on what people pull out of it.

HG: Yeah, I know it’s used to be shelved at Chapters in fiction and now it’s moved to horror with the new edition releases. Oops bee (we both laugh at the bee in my face). Do you have a favourite author?
K: O tons of favourites, but all time favourite is Stephen King.

HG: Really? So do you like reading from a male’s perspective or does it make a difference to you?
K:  It doesn’t at all, because I grew up with both and I think that’s important for any kids growing up to read from both perspectives especially for boys to read from a girls perspective which is a lot harder sell.

HG: I actually have a quote from a local librarian, she says that your young adult trilogy is easily assessable to both boys and girls in middle schools, grades 7 and 8, what would you say to that?
K: I would like to think that. It’s always told from a girl’s point of view but the romance is muted and the action is high we have zombies; we have strong female and strong male characters. So as long as the boys can get past those girlie covers (laughing) and the female narrator, I think that there easily accessible.

HG: Do you think you’d ever write from a young boy’s perspective?
K: I’ve done a lot in my online. So I do have two novellas online told from the main male’s point of view, my werewolf Derek, and the teens love it.

HG: Yes we all love Derek- the mystery (laughing). Ok so I saw that you were reading from an e-reader but my next question is would you ever buy an e-reader?
K: I have my I-pad. So I do have an e-reader which is great for travelling and then the I-pad which is an e-reader I can write on, I can send emails on it. When I travel I use an e-reader but when I’m home I read a book, but it’s good for travelling.

HG: Absolutely and it’s easily accessible for books that aren’t in the store. You live in Toronto correct. Do you have any favourite venues in Toronto?
K: I grew up in Southern Ontario so I was in sort of the London area, but yeah Toronto I love, love, love Queen’s Park, the museum. Queen’s Park is a great place to write and the museum is a great place to hang out.

HG: Is that where you’ve written a lot of your books?
K: I have sat in museum and written yeah.

HG: Really that’s interesting. Do you have any advice for someone entering the publishing industry?
K: Write, write, write. Don’t think about your novel for ten years. If you haven’t wrote it, write it because you cannot waste an idea. If you don’t like it you can always restart it and nobody ever has to see it, but if you just think about writing you don’t get any practice.

HG: Ok great thank you so much. I appreciate this I know you guys are very busy. I hope you guys have a great day.
K: O your welcome. Thank you and you as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

ARC!!!!!

Win a signed ARC of STARCROSSED @josieangelini. Details at http://bit.ly/hFCDYF This is a widely anticipated YA novel for the Spring. If you haven't entered be sure to check out the link above.
Good Luck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review Time!!!

Ok so I have been lacking in the review department and I am ashamed but I've been trying to figure out which book I want to review first and the winner is: Drumroll please

FIRELIGHT BY SOPHIE JORDAN!!!



About the Book:
Jacinda is a fire-breathing dragon, the only of her kind and therefore, very valuable to her pride, whom feels it is her duty to procreate with their alpha, Cassian in order to spawn many more fire-breathers. While Jacinda loves her pride, she doesn't care for Cassian in that way and flees with her mother and twin sister (both of whom are unable to shift) to get away from the tyranny of home.

New home, new school. Jacinda doesn't fit in like her twin sister at their new school. Nothing feels right and no one understands what she's going through. Well no one but Will, a dragon hunter. The closer these two get, the more danger they both fall into. Will love conquer all? You'll have to read to find out.

My Review:
This was by far my favourite YA novel of 2010. Why you ask- well I will tell you. First of all I am sucker for romance of any kind. If you know me, than you know I need some sort of romance in my reading and Jordan delivers this in abundance with Firelight.

What makes Firelight extra alluring is the forbidden element that's added between Jacinda and Will. These two characters have amazing chemistry. I have re-read Firelight more times than I can remember because of these two characters. However, while the romance between Will and Jacinda is prominent in Firelight, it doesn't dominate the entire plot. Jacinda has her own struggles to deal with. While her mom and sister excel in their new town, Jacinda doesn't feel that connection she felt with her pride. Jacinda is a strong leading character and meets her match with leading male, Will. Firelight has it all, drama, action and ROMANCE!!! Plus a stunning cover.

MY OFFICIAL RATING IS GGGGG 5/5

Be sure to look for the next book in the Firelight series, Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Happy Reading!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Supernatural Underground: Conquering Goals (& creating them)

Supernatural Underground: Conquering Goals (& creating them): "One of the things that I’ve been pondering lately is reaching goals or destination points. This year, I finished my first series (YAY! Dark..."