About SamiK

I'm a Library Director for a small(ish) Texas town with a desire to share my love of books and the library with my community.

Currently, I am working towards my MLS (Master of Library Science) from Texas Woman's University (my alma mater!).

When I'm not treading through a pile a school work and work work, I make precious memories with both my handsome men at home. Whether we are playing with the sand between our toes, making a campfire, or just taking in a movie at home, every moment is unique.

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February 28, 2012

10 Q's Interview: Joy Preble

I've been working with author Joy Preble for the past couple of weeks and have enjoyed every minute of it! She has been such a pleasure to work with and fun too! In fact, she was nice enough to answer a few questions for us! Get to know one of YA's growing authors by reading below!

10 Q's Interview: Joy Preble

Let’s start with a couple of “fun” questions,
In your bio it says you moved from Chicago. What brought you to Texas, and what are your least/favorite parts of Houston?
I came to Houston for the same reason so many people move here – my husband’s job. I love the inner loop area of Houston: areas like West U and Montrose and Rice Village and the Heights. I like the theater and arts districts, the restaurants. (Houston has really amazing restaurants) Lots of great character to these neighborhoods, although Houston does have a bad habit of demolishing anything old to build something new.
As an author (and one that is gaining recognition) with a busy schedule, is there one item you could not go a whole day without?
I can’t imagine going a day without reading. I’m one of those geeky types who absolutely must read; I’ve been known to read cereal boxes or labels if there’s nothing else available.
You’ve probably answered this question, a million times by now, but it is a must: what inspired you to be a writer, especially one for teens?
I have been telling stories in one way or another as long as I can remember. When I was four and five, I had this cadre of imaginary friends. Later, I told stories with my Barbies. I wrote fan fiction (yes, Star Trek fan fiction; let the mocking being) after that. I was a dreamy little girl who ended up using those dreams to make a living. How cool is that? As for the teen part, I love writing YA because the emotions are so huge. So many firsts happen in this time of your life: friendships and betrayals and romance and passion. It’s life on such a large scale. I find YA far more compelling than adult novels most days.
Out of all the traveling and people-meeting, what has been your favorite memory of your publishing journey and writing career?
I have a lot, which is amazing to me since only a few years ago, the main people I rubbed elbows with were teachers and students! I loved meeting Libba Bray at the Sourcebooks Fire launch in NYC in 2010.  I am such a huge fan! Miraculously, she and my now Soho editor, Dan Ehrenhaft are part of an all YA author band called Tiger Beat, that played at the event at Books of Wonder. So that was an amazing evening. And at TLA in 2009, right before DREAMING came out, I got to meet John Green during a lull for the Bluebonnet luncheon. I was the only one in his line then and so we got to chat. Of course I think I gushed so much that he probably was thinking ‘restraining order.’ But my most recent fan girl fun occurred this past year during Austin Comic Con when the con manager introduced me to James Marsters, who played Spike on Buffy! Yeah, five minutes of one on one chit chat with Spike. Gotta love my life that day!
Everyone asks about your favorite book, but I’m curious; has there been one book that has influenced your life and writings?
There are so many, honestly. Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby is one book that influences the way I see the world. He had this dead on accuracy about how money corrupts the American dream. And Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale has forever influenced the way I see the dangerous mix of religion and politics. George Orwell’s 1984 made me forever aware of doublespeak and matters of privacy vs. national security, something that has been heightened in our lives since 9/11.  There are many others. I’m always flabbergasted when people tell me they don’t read or that they’ve never finished a book. Reading lets us develop an in-depth world view. Yay books!
Now to get the story behind your work,
Dreaming Anastasia has been a hit. What was your inspiration behind the trilogy?
Well, thank you for those kind words! I do think the series  has done far more than I ever dreamed it would! I’d been fascinated by the tragedy of the Romanovs since I was in junior high. And I’ve always been a fan of speculative fiction and fantasy – when I was younger it was Star Trek and ghost stories and then of course like every good writer of strong women with a destiny these days, I was a huge Buffy fan. I like to say I cut my writerly teeth on the work of Joss Whedon. So one day all that combined and Anne’s voice came to me and book 1 was born.
The first two have been on the shelf for a while now, but the finale to your trilogy, Anastasia Forever, releases in August; what can you share about it?
I am so excited about this final book!  ANASTASIA FOREVER begins a few weeks after HAUNTED ends. Anne has bound herself to Baba Yaga in order to save handsome and darkly brooding hottie Ethan’s life. Viktor has found a way to immortality again. Lily the rusalka is still trapped in her Russian mermaid curse. And Anne, while in love with Ethan, feels a lingering sense of obligation to boyfriend Ben for having almost gotten him killed. A new Russian folkloric character is introduced: Koschei the Deathless, which is a very ancient tale of guy who cannot be killed. Anne finds herself journeying into the past with both Tess and Ethan, searching for the answers to the final mysteries. And when Ethan’s power mysteriously returns and then turns dark, the stakes become higher. Will Anne and Ethan get their happily ever after? Will Anne have to  shed Viktor’s blood to free Lily? What final price will Baba Yaga exact from Anne? And what about Ben and Tess?
It’s the usual combination of angst and action and bittersweet humor. And I hope you all love it as much as I do!
Spring 2013 is the release of another of your books, The Sweet Dead Life. I read a preview in SOHO’s Teen Sampler (I’m loving Jenna by the way!). What inspired this story?
Oh m gosh, I really love this book! It actually came about with a bit of collaboration with my former Sourcebooks editor, Dan Ehrenhaft (an amazing writer with many YA novels of his own) who had moved to Soho Press to start Soho Teen, which will begin publishing its inaugural line in 2013. He wanted to work with me again. I wanted to work with him. We hashed out some ideas. I wrote some sample pages, established a Houston setting and there we were. I am so glad that you are loving Jenna! She is one feisty little Texas girl. For those who haven’t gone to www.sohoteen.com and clicked on the sampler to read some of the upcoming books, here’s the basic premise of TSDL: Sixteen year old stoner Casey returns from a fatal car accident as his dying sister’s guardian angel and together they solve a vast family mystery. It is comic and bittersweet and I love it a lot. This is a very different angel… Casey comes back with all his faults and foibles fully intact, but a lot more attractive to the opposite sex. I have never had so much fun writing something.
When writing a book involving such a distinct culture, as in TSDL, how do you capture the key details of the culture without being too stereotypical (Texas = everyone is a cowboy with a horse), such as language, fashion, food, etc.?
There are lots of ways to accomplish authenticity, including careful research. In the case of the forthcoming The Sweet Dead Life, however, it was mostly a matter of long-term observation. The story takes place right here in north Houston where I live. We writers are big observers: we’re the ones who eavesdrop on your cellphone conversation and peek at what’s in your shopping cart (yes, really!) and make up stories in our heads about who you are while we’re standing behind you in line. And as your question somewhat implies, it’s annoying when a place is stereotyped, so it’s important to me to observe carefully enough to get it right. With Texas, and specifically with East Texas, there’s a specific inflection and rhythm I wanted for my characters and particularly for my narrator. I spent a lot of time picking the right words for her. Beyond that I think it’s things like looking at what people eat, what they drive, what they talk about, what quirky things exist around them. If you’re in Rhode Island, you won’t see that giant statue of Sam Houston like we can up in Hunstville! So it’s a matter of bringing the specificity of a place into a book.
You haven’t let us down with your books, and it doesn’t look like you will. Do you have any other books you are working on, and what can you tell us about them?
I am working on a second draft of a contemporary romance right now that I have high hopes for! So cross your fingers! And I have another novel – a romance/mystery that is in the early stages. So yeah, I plan on giving you more as long as my publishers keep agreeing!
Thank you Joy for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. I am looking forward to all of your upcoming releases!

For more information on Joy Preble and her books, visit http://www.joypreble.com/.
February 16, 2012
Whew! Today has been unlike any other. I've been busy with Teen Tech Week plans, Texas Teens Read! supplies, and *shhh* planning with author Joy Preble for the Library's Centennial!

Only two weeks left to plan for Teen Tech Week, and I'm nowhere near close to being ready. The scavenger hunt is written out but not typed or posted, events are not set, and I'm overwhelming myself with my want-to-do list. The online scavenger hunt will begin March 1st, so keep an eye out for it.

All my supplies for TTR came in! I've got logs, bookmarks, posters, and certificates all over the place; looks like a tornado went through! Summer is only a few months away, so the delivery reminded me to get into gear!

This year the last TTR program will occur with the Centennial celebration. I don't want to give away too much info just yet, so I'll I'm saying is that Joy Preble is involved! If you have not read her books, I highly suggest them! Look for Dreaming Anastasia and the sequel Haunted in the PBYA section! The final book in the trilogy, Anastasia Forever, is set to be released in August. Also, coming Spring 2013, Joy has another novel being published with SOHO. The company has a Teen Sampler with previews to upcoming releases.

On another note:
I won't normally post reviews on movies unless, well I want to. haha  A couple weeks ago I watched Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Unsure what to expect, I checked it out even after hearing "it didn't make sense." Although I should have been reading, I popped the disc into the DVD player and relaxed. 90 minutes later and I had another all-time favorite movie!

Why (besides Owen Wilson), well let me tell you how much I LOVE the 1920s! After reading The Great Gatsby, I use to imagine (and yes, even dream; don't judge me!) that I should have been born in the time of the flapper and parties. Oh, I just love the Roaring Twenties!

In the movie, Wilson time-travels (just another theme I love!) back to the 1920s with none other than F. Scott Fitzgerald himself! Oh just borrow, rent, or buy it and you'll know why I just lose myself just thinking about it!

Now, that I'm in my happy place, I will leave you with my CURRENTLY READING section.

Unfortunately, I have not been reading like I should have (wedding plans, you know) so my currents reads are Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Tempest by Julie Cross. New books should be arriving soon, and some of them aren't getting past me! :)
February 9, 2012

Review - Lenobia's Vow by P.C. Cast

So I finally finished my review for Flamingnet, so I'm ready to post it here.

Lenobia's Vow by P.C. Cast

In Lenobia’s Vow, readers are welcomed into the back-story of the favorite House of Night professor. Set in France in 1788, at the urging of her mother, Lenobia takes on the role of Cecile, her recently deceased half-sister, to better her life in New Orleans. Fate has a different plan for her, which centers around a mulatto she loves, horses, and the evil Bishop. Lenobia’s plan works until the Bishop recognizes her as the illegitimate child and not Cecile. By the end of the novella, she has been introduced to world of magic and marked as a vampyre.
I must admit, I have not read any of the other House of Night novels, so I did some research before diving into a series midway. The novella is a wonderful stand alone book, but the Casts’ have caught my attention with Lenobia’s story, and I’m ready to get lost in the magic of the House of Night.
Although I started of cautious at the beginning of Chapter One, by the end of it I was completely hooked. Needless to say I finished it in one sitting. To all magic lovers and House of Night fans, read this book!
Definitely a good read, even if you haven't read the rest of the series.

Currently Reading

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Tempest by Julie Cross

I started the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge! Here is my widget:

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge

Samantha has

read 3 books toward her goal of 24 books.


All books I read will be posted here with reviews (of course!) Keep checkng back for more reviews!
February 3, 2012

New Arrivals 2/3/2012

Yippee! The only delivery of the day was for me!

I have been trying to catch up on ordering books from Teens' Top Ten, Top Ten BFYA (Best Fiction for Young Adults), and those that were recommended. So far I haven't even touched the 2012 list for BFYA. Below you will find the covers of the books that have arrived and are in processing. The first two I am looking forward to reading before they ever touch the shelf. Unfortunately I have too many to read at home to get these now. They should be on the shelf soon.

Cristina at thePrincessofStoryland recommended Tempest, and from the reviews I've read, it is going to be worth reading.

Have you read any of these or any other books you'd like to recommend?

Rating System

IT WAS AMAZING!!!! You should be at the book store right now buying it! :)
I really liked it. You should def check it out and give it a shot
It was ok. At least read the synopsis on the back.
Eh....It was alright. It's borrow from a friend material.
Leave it on the shelf!!


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2012 Reading Challenge
Samantha has read 6 books toward her goal of 24 books.