Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday- Beach Reads

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is concentrated on Beach Reads! I'm not one who really goes to beaches or reads outside, for that matter, but I do know what I'd bring if I did do that sort of thing...

In general, beach reading for me would include old favorites of the popcorn kind.

1- 'The Grimm Legacy' by Polly Shulman
2- 'The Host' by Stephenie Meyer
3- Old School Star Wars novels (ie: The Courtship of Princess Leia, The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Even some Young Jedi Knights!) by Various authors
4- 'Beauty Shop for Rent' by Laura Bowers

I can't think of anymore, but these books would be a good start to any beach excursion!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

In honor of those who have fought bravely protecting our country,

Looking Towards Peaceful Futures...

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Updates

Why, hello there, readers! Not a huge amount of updates this week. For those following my reality show news, the digitized footage is in and on its way to the editor for the 3rd pass! I now understand why producers handle five projects at once-- television pre-production is such a waiting game!!!

This Week on the Blog:
Review: Enclave
Hunger Games Movie News

I'd like to remind you all about the review I did of Stacey Kade's 'Queen of the Dead'. It just arrived at the bookstore (mine, at least!). It comes highly recommended from Brooke's Box of Books!

Also, congrats to Ricki at Reading Challenged! Ricki recently won a copy of 'Sweet Valley Confidential' courtesy of Francine and Ann Marie!

And onto the Hops...

Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked? Which have you disliked?

Answer: By far the worst adaptation known to man (or me at least) happened to one of my favorite book series-- The Dark is Rising sequence. Susan Cooper's 'The Dark is Rising' was adapted into the travesty that is known to movie folks as 'The Seeker'. *shudder* I don't blame acting, directing, or the decision to cast an American lead instead of a British one. I blame the script writer, John Hodge. John, just so you know, I'm never hiring you-- for anything-- ever. Mr. Hodge decided the term adaption meant keeping the main characters names the same as in the book, but re-writing everything else. And I mean everything. Heck, he invented a twin brother for Will and decided that Will, the human boy, would be one of the signs! How ridiculous. John Hodge, you suck. (Oddly enough, he hasn't actually worked on anything according to IMDB since 'The Seeker'. Just desserts? I think so...)  His excuse was that the book originally didn't have enough action to keep the story entertaining.  Well, I agree to an extent.  But that means using your brain to enhance the features in the book or, if you want to add something, add something that makes sense.

Ironically enough, my favorite movie that was adapted from a book is 'The Neverending Story'. I know it jumps from the book in large ways, but I think it's fantastic. While it may not play out entirely like the book, the feeling of the book was definitely present. And seriously, Atreyu trying to get Artax to cross the the Sea's of Sadness (or whatever it was called-- I forget at the moment)-- so sad!!!

The Question of the Week is:
How many books do you read in a week? And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

Answer: I typically bank one book a week. 99% of the time it is a physical book, not an ebook. I don't really have an e-reader, though I'm considering getting the new Nook Simple Touch eventually... I'd love an e-reader I could put my manga scans on, but I don't know how in the heck I'd ever do that!

And that's it for this week!  See ya again soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

At the Movies: The Hunger Games News and Tidbits...

Oh, to be a PA or extra on this set... Seriously, this job, even with long hours and hot weather, would be a dream to work on!!!!

EW debuted the first photo of Katniss:

I hope this picture teaches people not to judge until they see a finished product. This picture reads Katniss from the look all the way to the accessories!

Speaking of cast, anyone heard about Cinna yet? I'm looking forward to seeing who is going to play the fashionista.

As far as Haymitch is concerned, I'm not a hugeWoody Harrelson, so I'm a bit worried. The casting directors must have seen some sparkle in his audition, though...

Add Johannafan's YT page to your links! She has video of what seems to be the Disctrict 12 train station and maybe District 12 itself! (Possibly from the Shelby/Hickory, NC set)

Currently, Hunger Games is filming in Hildebran, NC.

Extras have been hired!!!

The Hunger Games Trilogy website has a ton of great info about the books, movie, etc. Check it out!

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Genre: YA, dystopian, romance, sci-fi
Perfect for: dystopian readers (especially those that enjoyed 'Birthmarked'!)
Star Rating: 4/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads, "In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known."

Wow, a lengthy description for this novel. Here's what you really need to know: while this is great dystopian, do not read it expecting 'The Hunger Games'. It has a similar feeling, but the characters and environment are are quite different. Don't ruin this great novel by expecting 'The Hunger Games'. To be honest, I found this novel more like 'Birthmarked' or (to a lesser extent) 'Matched' in terms of storytelling than 'The Hunger Games'.

Now, onto 'Enclave'... I really like 'Enclave'. It is good dystopian and comes highly recommended! If it's not on your 'to-read' list and you like well done dystopian, then you should add this to your list! 'Enclave' is the beginning of a trilogy and will leave you wanting more!

What do I love about this novel? To begin with, the world is easy to settle into. It clearly separates itself from other dystopian titles. Main characters Deuce and Fade are likable and their relationship is believable, never crossing into 'sappy' territory! The secondary characters are characterized in a way where you really do form connections to them and care about their well-being.

Ann Aguirre knows how to tell a story. 'Enclave' doesn't follow the story you'd expect it to. Midway through it takes a turn that introduces (the before mentioned) great secondary characters and poses intriguing questions. And the ending? Well, it really shows you that the saga for Fade, Deuce, and the others is only just beginning.

All in all, 'Enclave' is a novel you want to check out. I think you'll enjoy it!  'Enclave' gets 4 out of 5 stars!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Updates

Hi all!  Brooke here!  This week kind of flew by, didn't it?!  No hard core updates this week.  I finished watching 'Hikaru no Go'.  While I hated to see it end, the ending was quite fitting.  One of my favorite things with anime finale's is when they bring back the characters-- all the characters-- that played a part and 'Hikaru no Go's finale did that perfectly.  

Also ending this week is 'Smallville'. In reality, I probably only watched the pilot and this two hour finale, but after ten years of seeing promo's during other WB/CW shows, I felt I needed to be there to watch the finale.  Again, it was a nice ending.

And 'Vampire Diaries' had its season finale.  It wasn't as crazy an 'oh my gosh' moment as seasons one's cliffhanger, but still this finale was very, very good.  I already miss it.  It needs to start season 3 soon!!!

This week on the blog:
Review: The Lens and the Looker

I missed my usual meme this week, so I plan on adding another post to the blog tomorrow or during the weekend to make up for it.  I'm thinking it's about time to post my review of 'Enclave' or 'Immortal Beloved'!

Onto the Hop's...

The Question of the Week is:
Tell us FIVE quirky habits...
1- I don't mind wearing matching earrings of different colors or two colors of nail polish at the same time.
2- I can only take one book at a time.  Multiple books and me don't mix!!!
3- If you were to call me, 8/10 times it will go to VM and I'll call you back!  If I don't know a number, 10/10 times it will go to VM.  I totally screen my calls. 
4- I talk with my hands, even when I'm on the phone.  At work, someone will call and ask about where their hold will be held and I'll be pointing to the registers while telling them.  What can I say?  I'm Italian...
5- I have a knack for remembering the names of toys/dolls from years past.  For example, I can spot a Spectra from a mile away, can name all the Jem dolls, and can pretty much judge what decade a doll came out by looking at it!

Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?
Answer:  Two answers.  First, I'd love to spend time in JK Rowlings Wizarding world.  Heck, I'm even looking forward to one day going to the Florida amusement park!  

Second, a little more down to Earth, I'd like to see Susan Cooper's Wales.  I know, she pretty much took it from the actual Wales, but I'd love to see the places described in the book!!!  One day, I really do plan on making a trip around the Dark is Rising sites!

That's it for this week.  I promise, more updates will pop up in the days ahead!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

Title: The Lens and the Looker
Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Genre: YA, Juvi, Sci-fi
Perfect for: readers of time travel sci-fi and books that take place in Italy
Star Rating: 3/5 Stars

Taken from Goodreads, "THERE'S HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, 

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."

I'm a sucker for a good time travel story, especially when it deals with Italy or Italy like settings.  'The Lens and the Looker' is a solid read that is definitely something to consider if you are in the mood for a time traveling adventure aimed at Juvi/YA audiences.

The good bits?  The characters, for one thing.  Both main and secondary, the characters in 'The Lens and the Looker'  are likable, entertaining, and have purpose.  Author Lory S. Kaufman created noticeable character growth between the first and last page-- something that isn't always found in many juvi/ya books!

As mentioned before, the setting does not disappoint.  Kaufman's descriptions of Verona and Italy in general are done well.  Having been to Italy, I know a bit about the rich, vastness that is the beautiful country and Kaufman's descriptions rang true to me!

I don't know if I would consider this 'dystopian', but it is clearly sci-fi due to the time travel element and Genie.  The main concept is dystopian and the idea of History Camps is quite interesting  but once they skip to the time traveling, it goes straight to sci-fi.

My main issue with 'The Lens and the Looker' is the writing style.  My own personal reading preferences lead towards books that don't carry a lot of long descriptive paragraphs with dialogue between each one.  I like quick dialogue and quick descriptive lines that keep the action moving and give just the right amount of description.  'The Lens and the Looker' has good dialogue, but the long descriptions made me jump a bit, sometimes missing important details.  Course, some people love long descriptions (like Tolkien readers!), but me, not so much. 

All things considered, 'The Lens and the Looker' is a good read.  If you are in the mood for time travel and don't mind slightly too long descriptive passages, this is something you may want to consider!  'The Lens and the Looker' gets 3 out of 5 stars!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Updates

Hello, folks! Fun week? Busy week for me! Remember that reality show I mentioned I was working on? Well, we finally got the re-shoots for the sizzle reel done. I believe it will be smooth sailing from here. Pitch meetings, here we come!

As for reading, most recently I finished 'Enclave' and 'Abandon'. You can read my review of 'Abandon' on the blog already. 'Enclave' will be up later. I'll let you in on a secret-- I enjoyed it!

This Week on the Blog:
Book-alike: A Doppleganger meme
Review: Abandon
Contest Reminder: Sweet Valley Confidential-- Ends May 19th

And onto the hops...
Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?

Answer: Alas, I am not attending. I can't afford to go to NY at the moment. I'd love to attend both of those conventions, though. I'm totally addicted to attending conventions of all kinds-- anime, comic cons, ala's... And conventions that give away free books?! *wide eyed* Love them. Maybe one day I'll get to attend BEA or BBC. Just not this year.

The Question of the Week is:
What is the most emotional scene in a book that you have read lately?

Answer: My family jokes that I'm made of ice. I'm not a crazy emotional person, but certain books have made my eyes water a twinge. The ending of 'A Certain Slant of Light' gets me every time I read it-- it's just beautifully done. 'The Hunger Games' has some real tear jerkers. The first book had a moment with a sweet, young character meeting her demise-- it was depressing. Oh, and let's not forget the entire 'Life as we Knew It' trilogy. That series had a whole undercurrent of depressing!

And that's it for this week! See you again soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book-alike: A Doppelganger Meme

Ever look at a book cover and think it looks very similar to an actor, friend, etc? Occasionally, this happens to me. I've been fooling around with how to incorporate it into this blog, and finally decided to call it a meme and use it when I need it! :p Feel free to use this idea on your blog, too, if you'd like! (I wish I was talented in making icons, but alas, I'm not!)

I was working in back at the bookstore recently and stumbled upon a book called, 'The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One: The Amulet of Samarkand' by Jonathan Stroud. It's a graphic novel about a boy who finds "himself caught in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion" (Goodreads).

Take a peek at the cover.

As I looked at the cover, I instantly flashed to an actor famous for his work as the 10th Doctor on Doctor Who, Mr. David Tennant. Odd, I know, as the character on the cover is supposed to be the boy, I'm assuming, but everything screams David Tennant!

Check out the comparison picture.

What do you think? Do you see the 10th Doctor in the cover of Bartimaeus?

Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance, first in a series
Perfect for: readers who follow Cabot and those who don't mindy timey-whimy plot jumps
Star Rating: 3/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads,"Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld."

I've read my fair share of Meg Cabot books. I whipped through 'The Mediator' and '1-800-Where-R-You' series and count 'Avalon High' (the first book, not the manga) as one of my favorites. 'Abandon', Cabot's most recent YA foray, is the first in a trilogy about Piece, a girl who's had too many near death experiences for 17 years and John, the handsome, slightly off balance death deity who she always bumps into at the best and worst of times.

I'd be lying if I said that this book lived up to the hype. It didn't.  However, it is a promising beginning to what could be a fun, unique trilogy.

Cabot takes on a different sort of timeline in 'Abandon' than her normal, straight forward approach. 'Abandon' has a very jumpy timeline. The Doctor (the most entertaining time traveler on the BBC) would best describe it at 'timey whimy'. Cabot starts the story in the middle and goes back and forth between past and present. It's a very different style from other Cabot books. In all honesty, I would have preferred a little less time jumping in this novel, but as this is the first in a trilogy, I can forgive this a bit. Not unlike Cabot, her trademark wit is still infused in the writing of 'Abandon'.

Because 'Abandon' is part of a series, most of this novel is focused on setting up the town, characters, and relationships. We don't get to see as much of many of the characters as I would have liked, including main male John, but main female lead Pierce is fleshed out well. She's a strange character with an interesting way of thinking that I like. John, death deity, is still a bit of a mystery to me.  We see him in and out of the novel, but I am hoping we learn more about him in the sequels. He has a few 'hot male lead' moments that are done well and more to come, I'm sure!

For romance readers, 'Abandon' has some romance, but it doesn't overtake from the main plot of learning more about who and what Pierce is. I expect we'll be seeing more in the sequels, though.

Even though I'm not a huge fan of the back and forth storytelling, 'Abandon' is a promising beginning to what could be an entertaining YA supernatural romance. 'Abandon' gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Contest Reminder: Win Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley Confidential!

Just a reminder-- don't  forget to enter to win your very own copy of 'Sweet Valley Confidential'!  
Details can be found HERE!  Extra entries are being given to spreading the word via Twitter and blogs!  Check it out and visit here on May 20th for the winner!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Updates

To start off this weeks update post, I'd like to congratulate Meredith M. Meredith has won ebook 'Seeing for the First Time'. Please check your e-mail, Meredith, for an message from me! This week has been filled with work, meetings, and Hikaru no Go watching, but not so much reading. This weekend, I'm really going to pick up my pace and read something!

This Week on the Blog:
Review: Till Death Do Us Bark
Happy Star Wars Day
Contest: Win Sweet Valley Confidential
Author Interview: Francine Pascal of SVH fame

Make this blogger happy and check out some of the above posts and leave a comment? A bunch of fun content was published this week, including a contest, author interview, and some fun Star Warsy links!

Now onto the Hops...
Book Blogger Hop
The question of the week is:
Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

Answer: Any, really! I don't have any specific people in mind. All the blogs I follow are great!

The question of the week is:
Circle time! Time to share. What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

Answer: I'm not sure!!! In terms of what character I'd like to be, I'd love to experience Hogwarts. Count me in as an unnamed Gryffindor! Not Harry Potter or even Hermione, but just a nameless student who gets to deal with magic everyday, but isn't being hunted by you-know-who. 

I would also love to be a Stravaganti from the Stravaganza series (Mary Hoffman). It would be fantastic to be able to go back and forth to Talia.

As for the perfect YA boyfriend... Oh, goodness, who to choose! At the moment, Archer from 'Hex Hall' has my heart. He seems perfect. Strong, hot, romantic, and funny. A perfect combo! St.Clair from 'Anna and the French Kiss' is a close second. I mean, come one, he has an accent!!!

And that's it for this week, folks!  See ya next hop!

Review: Till Death Do Us Bark by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

Title: Till Death Do Us Bark
Author: Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise
Genre: Juvi, supernatural, graphic novel
Perfect for: Readers who have been waiting patiently for the third book (this one!) in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, as well as those who are more inclined to read a book told through illustrations and letters than a traditional book
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars

Taken from Goodreads, "When a dog arrives at Spence Mansion, Seymour is overjoyed. His adoptive parents, Ignatius B. Grumply and Olive C. Spence, are less enthusiastic—especially when Secret, the dog, begins barking all night long. Is it possible Secret just misses his old companion, the late Noah Breth, whose children are fighting like cats and dogs over their father’s money? Or does Secret have a secret that, in the end, will make the entire town of Ghastly howl with delight? This third book in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, a runaway mystery told in letters, limericks, a last will, and loose change, is guaranteed to please anyone who’s ever tried to keep a secret."

Ghastly, Illinois is a place I would very much like to visit. It's as much a character in the 43rd Old Cemetery Road books as the old Mr. Grumply, the young Seymour, and resident ghost, Olive. Like the first two books, 'Till Death Do Us Bark' is told in newspapers articles, letters, and illustrations. While I prefer the first two books to this one, 'Till Death Do Us Bark' was still a fun read. The charm and style of these novels will never get old.

The story was more Seymour centered than past novels and the plot was somewhat easy to figure out, but even so, I loved the humorous elements of the story. This novel had some great one liners, especially in regards to the conversations had between human and ghost!

If you have a reluctant reader on your hands, this is the book series to get them. To quote Mary Poppins, it's practically perfect in every way! 'Till Death Do Us Bark' gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Contest: Win 'Sweet Valley Confidential' by Francine Pascal

Want to win a copy of 'Sweet Valley Confidential' by Francine Pascal?

About the Book (Goodreads):
"Now with this striking new adult novel from author and creator Francine Pascal, millions of devoted fans can finally return to the idyllic Sweet Valley, home of the phenomenally successful book series and franchise. Iconic and beloved identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are back and all grown up, dealing with the complicated adult world of love, careers, betrayal, and sisterhood."

You can find my review HERE and an author interview HERE!

Contest FAQ:

How do you enter?
Fill out the form embedded on this post.

Can I earn extra entries?
Yes! You get an extra entry for posting this link in a Tweet or on a blog post! Save the URL, because you'll need that for the google docs form!

Who can enter?
Anyone within the United States or Canada. You do not need to be a follower to enter. I'd love it if you would become one, but I'm not going to force you!!!

When will I choose the winner?
This contest will run for two weeks and a winner will be pulled May 19th.

How will I notify you?
Via e-mail. I will be forwarding your address on to the publisher and they'll get a copy out to you!

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Star Wars Day!

It's Star Wars day, friends! As long time followers will have noticed by now, I'm a huge Star Wars girl. Not only do I know the movies line by line (at least A New Hope), but I also have read a good chunk of the expanded universe books, attended Celebration IV, and even collect a certain goldenrod droid...
So in honor of this unofficial 'Star Wars' Day, I thought I'd leave you with a few of my favorite clips and links!

Websites to check out:

Star Wars: The Musical
Virdity: A Jacen Solo Fanlisting (Spoilers!)
The Other Side of the Sky: A Jania Solo Fanlisting (Looks dead now, but good info!)
Through Her Skin: A Tenal Ka Fanlisting
The Star Wars Store
The 'We Are Jedi' Project- A fundraiser in support of Japan
The Star Wars Blog
The Star Wars Flickr account

Amd a few YT clips... (Watch via YT if my layout cuts them off!)

I dare you to not get this stuck in your head!

So cute!   Originally on Lego.com, this video explains the star wars movies so well!

Dancing with the Star Wars Stars!

The prequel told with LEGO characters

"He has to learn how to try to block the little Pokeball"- ha ha ha!

And with that, I'll leave you with the tag of the day, 'May the Fourth be with you'!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Author Interview: Francine Pascal, author of 'Sweet Valley Confidential'

If you are female and in your mid-twenties, you have read Francine Pascal.  I know I sure did.  Francine Pascal is the creator/author of the Sweet Valley series and most recently, 'Sweet Valley Confidential'.  Francine was nice enough to answer a few questions for this little blog!  Enjoy!

A Bit About Francine Pascal: (info/photo taken from Goodreads)
Francine Pascal is an American author best known for creating the Sweet Valley series of novels. In 1982, she created the characters and the stories for the first six books and her agent, Amy Berkower of Writers House sold them to Bantam Books. From then on, she wrote the stories for every book ever published in the series. She now divides her time between homes in New York and the south of France.

More information on the Sweet Valley series can be found on the official website.

The Q and A Session:

After 27 years, Sweet Valley is still going strong. When you first started this adventure, what were your plans? Did you expect the series to take off as well as it did and spin off into so many different series?
Francine: Of course I hoped that the series would resonate with a lot of young readers but I definitely didn’t expect it to be as successful as it became. The truth is that adolescence is eternal and transcends generations. And also pretty much the same all over the world. Sweet valley tapped into all of the major events of teenage life: love, heartbreak, tragedy, friendship, family… That's why Sweet Valley sold in twenty-five different languages- it relates to everyone, everywhere. My hope for that series was certainly fulfilled!

Did you always want to be a writer or is it something you fell into?
Francine: I never wanted to be anything else but a writer. My brother was a successful playwright and it showed me that being a writer didn’t have to be a fantasy, it could be a real career for me.

Of the Twins, which one would you rather be best friends with? Why?
Francine: I love both girls in such drastically different ways. I would say that I was more of an Elizabeth with some bad Jessica tendencies. I definitely have the same morals and work ethic that Elizabeth does, but I’m also quite social, like Jess, and I’m also a bit of a procrastinator. I won’t reveal any of our shared bad tendencies, as I’d like to keep all of my fans! So to answer the question: I’d rather be best friends with Liz and keep Jess at a distance

If a writer wants to create a grand universe of books, like you did with the Sweet Valley line, what advice would you give them?
Francine: It’s very difficult to give how-to advice to writers. The best advice is to keep a daily journal and keep writing all the time.

I read on Wikipedia that you were helping create a Sweet Valley High musical. Is that true? Is it still in development?
Francine: There was a time when a Sweet Valley High musical was in the works. I was collaborating with David Bryant from Bon Jovi with the music and it was off to a great start… unfortunately, as with most other works of theater, it doesn't always pan out. Maybe the timing was wrong.

I'm big on television (both writing and watching!). What is on your DVR right now?
Francine: Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, 60 Minutes, The Good Wife and almost everything on PBS.

Any messages for your fans?
Francine: I hope you liked Sweet Valley Confidential – Ten Years Later. It wasn’t easy to take all those fabulous characters from the Sweet Valley High series and bring them into adulthood, but I tried to capture a reality and bring in some twists and turns you weren’t expecting. Too bad about Spoilers trying to vandalize your pleasure. Hope you didn’t let them ruin the surprises.

I know it was a little difficult for some of you to leave that safe cocoon of a fantasy world, but you have to admit you aren’t the same people you were at sixteen. Nor would you want to be. It’s the same for Elizabeth and Jessica; they’re adult now and real life isn’t as easy as high school.

I'd like to thank Ann Marie and Francine for allowing this interview. Check out my review of 'Sweet Valley Confidential', and check back March 5th for information on how to win a copy for yourself!