Browsing Tag:

Tara Altebrando

    ROOMIES ‘Win One for You and Your Reader’ Campaign: My Roomie Story + Giveaway


    I am super excited to be participating in Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ ROOMIES “Win One for You and Your Reader” Roomie Story Campaign. While the Roomie survival kit/gift pack that is up for grabs for participating blogs (and one of their readers) sounds awesome, I would have participated regardless of the prize.

    The idea of sharing my roomie story sounded like so much fun – especially as it was a complete nightmare – that it wouldn’t have taken much prodding for me to share it. AND helping to promote ROOMIES and the authors’ upcoming tour is something I’m totally stoked to do.

    ROOMIES was released on December 24th, 2013 and both Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando will be on tour in January and February. If you’d like to meet the authors they’ll be on tour…

    January 12, 2014 – New York, NY | McNally Jackson

    January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT | The King’s English

    January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT | Provo Library

    February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA | Books Inc., Opera Plaza

    February 5, 2014 – Petaluma, CA | Copperfield’s Books

    The publishers have also offered up for giveaway a copy of the book on each participating blog – US only. If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, just scroll down to the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. The giveaway ends on January 16th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

    The survival kit/gift pack winners will be announced by the publisher on January 20th. The gift pack includes: earplugs, home spa essentials, a signed copy of the book, a special note from the authors, and other fun things – all packed into a shower caddy. How awesome is that?

    If for some reason I do win the prize, I will be passing it along to one of my blog’s readers who needs it more than I do. I adore my current roomie.


    Before I get to MY roomie-from-heck story… which actually kind of makes me sound a little mean-girl… I thought I’d share some information about the book, places to find it online, a link to read an excerpt and its trailer and some information about both authors and places to find them online.

    I’ve tucked My Roomie Story in just before the giveaway. And I’m so curious to see who you think is worse – me or her. 

    About Roomies




    It’s time to meet your new roomie.

    When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

    As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

    National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

    Authors: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
    Publication Date: December 24, 2013
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 288
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook


    Read an excerpt HERE.

    The Trailer



    About Sara Zarr

    Sara Zarr

    Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, most recently The Lucy Variations, which the New York Times called “an elegant novel.” Her sixth, a collaborative novel with Tara Altebrando, came out December 2013.

    She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages.

    In 2010, she served as a judge for the National Book Award. She has written essays and creative nonfiction for ImageHunger Mountain online, and Response as well as for several anthologies, and has been a regular contributor to Image‘s daily Good Letters blog on faith, life, and culture. As of summer 2013, she’s a member of the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Sara also hosts the This Creative Life podcast. She is the current Salt Lake City Literary Death Match Champion.

    Born in Cleveland and raised in San Francisco, she currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at



    About Tara Altebrando

    Tara Altebrando

    In addition to my most recent novel, THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE, I’m the author of three previous books for Young Adults, including DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB, which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens of 2011, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and WHAT HAPPENS HERE.

    Next up is ROOMIES, a novel I cowrote with Sara Zarr (Little Brown, December) and then my middle-grade debut, THE BATTLE OF DARCY LANE (Running Press Kids, May 2014).

    I live in Queens, New York, with my husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Violet.



    My Roomie Story

    I didn’t go to camp because the idea of sharing a room with a number of strangers for an entire summer scared me to no end. While I never lacked friends, it always took me a while to warm up to strangers. And with all the nightmare stories I heard about pranks at camp, the idea of putting myself in that situation was just too terrifying to fathom.

    So it wasn’t until I left for college that I was faced with having a roommate. Which was good… and bad.

    I wasn’t given a heads-up about who my roommate would be. And as I was moving into a suite with four other girls, one of whom had the single reserved, I wasn’t even sure which of the four would actually be my roomie.

    Not knowing was nerve-wracking. But I was already a wreck as I was leaving the love of my life behind as I trekked across country to attend school. And when I got there, the roommate situation was already sorted. Which was also good… but mostly bad.

    The single was taken by a really nice, super smart, wealthy, soon-to-be-sorority girl. She lasted all of two months before she moved into the sorority.

    The first double was taken up by the two girls who got there first. They’d arrived earlier than I did – both from California already – met, liked each other and decided it was better to pair up – in the larger room, I might add – than take a gamble that the two later arrivals might be better.

    I really liked all of my suitemates, even my roommate when I first met her. On the surface she appeared to be the typical California girl – blonde, athletic, surfer. Underneath the surface she was all kinds of crazy.

    While I won’t go into all the reasons why – there were many – in a nutshell my biggest issues involved hygiene, borrowing and not returning my stuff, being overly sensitive about everything.

    My roomie liked to work out. A lot. Which was great. But she claimed some kind of problem with thin hair due to bleaching it that prevented her from washing it. Okay… but then I couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t shower, or wash her workout gear, or any of her clothes for that matter. And why, when she borrowed my clothes she’d put them in her dresser, soiled and smelly, and not bother to return them. Ever.

    While I was all about swapping clothes with my suitemates, I expected those clothes returned cleaned and folded or hung up when they were done borrowing them. I also expected them to be returned. Julie seemed to have a problem with that.

    She also wanted to be included in everything that we – my suitemates and I – did. Which wasn’t always feasible because our schedules didn’t coincide. It also wasn’t particularly desirable as our personalities didn’t, either.

    And it wasn’t just me. Both my other suitemates weren’t particularly fond of her. We tried. Oh how we tried. But her incessant need to have suite meetings to share our feelings and talk about grievances didn’t go down well with a bunch of eighteen-year-olds just looking to have fun.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back was a late-night lengthy argument in which she demanded that I and my suitemates look at her when talking to her. At all times. So if we were reclined on the sofa watching TV and she asked us a question, we’d have to lock eyes. If we were throwing a party in which we were chatting up a bunch of different people, we’d have to visually connect.

    Had we been more mature, we might have been more sympathetic. We might have understood that she was feeling left out, that she was a bit more needy than most. But the constant after-party disagreements, which were a major downer, coupled with the sour smell of unwashed roomie and the daily… or I should say nightly… visits from her rather unpleasant, super cheap (don’t ask) and noisy (you don’t want to know) boyfriend made her persona non grata.

    So after not-so-much debate we launched our own campaign to have her ousted from the suite. Photographic evidence of her uncleanliness and permanent borrowing of clothing was compiled, write-ups about her personality quirks were amassed from not only myself and my roommates but others in our “dorm” and we presented our case to the housing office of our near-campus housing.

    Thankfully, as there were a number of students who left to move into sororities after the first quarter, they were able to find her a new roommate situation. While they could have moved one of us (me or her) into the newly emptied single in our suite, they opted instead to lock that room and move her out of the suite completely.

    Which left me roommate free for the rest of the year. Well, mostly… as I did move the love of my life into our suite later that spring – yes, he moved to California – a few weeks prior to end of term. And for the rest of forever. Unless you count the love of my life, a.k.a. The Dude. Who has been the only roomie I’ve had since then.

    But what about you?

    Have you had a roommate-from-heck situation? Or was your roomie someone you liked who became a bff?

    Whether it’s a long story or a short one, if you’d like to share your roomie story, leave a comment. I’d LOVE to hear about it!

    Note: I left a LOT out about my roomie so as not to make this person sound quite as bad, so that I wouldn’t reveal how awkward things actually got, and so I wouldn’t be crossing so far over the TMI line there would be no coming back from it.


    The Giveaway

    What’s Up for Grabs…

    The publisher has offered up for giveaway a copy of ROOMIES to ONE winner – US only.

    The Deets…

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Giveaway is US only
    • Prize will be shipped directly from the publisher
    • Giveaway ends January 16th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
    • Winner will be contacted by email and announced in the Rafflecopter

    There are NO requirements to follow or like. Just leave a comment answering the question about your roomie story – or your lucky/unlucky lack of one!

    There are a few extra entry opportunities to follow the authors on Twitter, like their pages on Facebook and add ROOMIES on Goodreads.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #156


    Below are the YA books releasing this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of December 24th-December 30th that I have pre-ordered.




    ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando releases in the U.S. today, December 24, 2013, in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 288 pages.


    I first learned about ROOMIES through NetGalley when I saw the newsletter email. And after having read the description I had to add it to my list of pre-orders. It sounded like a lot of fun and as I love Sara Zarr’s writing I definitely wanted a copy for my collection.

    While I wasn’t able to read it early, I can’t wait to read the finished copy on my Kindle and meet Elizabeth and Lauren and see what they have to say in their emails to each other in the summer prior to their first year at college.

    I’m curious as to why two girls who are so very different are paired up as roommates and whether they become friends before ever meeting one another or realize that being roomies will never work out. The description mentions that their email exchange impacts both their summers and I’m intrigued as to why that is.

    While I didn’t receive an email with my roommates details, I can very clearly remember just how interesting it was meeting both my roommate and my suitemates that first day at college. Being surprised was definitely better than meeting them in advance. I might have been way too nervous to head off to college if I had. Which makes me that much more curious about Lauren and Elizabeth’s story.


    It’s time to meet your new roomie.

    When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

    As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

    National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.




    CONTROL by Lydia Kang will be released in the U.S. on December 26, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Dial, the print edition is 400 pages.

    CONTROL is the first book in author Lydia Kang’s series of the same name. The second book in the series, CATALYST, is slated for release in 2014.


    I am so excited for CONTROL’s release this week. While I haven’t been waiting for this book for ages, it feels like I’ve been waiting for a long, long time. And the wait is almost over. Just two more days until it downloads to my Kindle. I’m totally stoked.

    I can’t wait to meet Zel and Dyl and discover the futuristic world that Author Lydia Kang created. I am super curious to see what life is like in a world in which there are those with “peculiar” gifts and humans who are considered genetic “mistakes.”

    I rambled on and on about my excitement for CONTROL just a few weeks ago in my Book Watch post, so I won’t go on and on again here. But this is a highly anticipated read for me and I can’t wait to discover it for myself later this week.

    While I might not get the chance to read it in its entirety due to family stuffs, I will definitely be taking a peek at it the moment it downloads on Thursday.


    An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

    When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

    A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.


    Due to the holiday week, it’s a super quiet week for releases and there are only two books that I’ve got pre-ordered and no other books that I’m aware of that are releasing this week. Of course it is possible there are a few other releases, some of which I might discover when they download during the week, but as of this post I only have the two releases above on my radar.

    I don’t think I missed any books last week, which, aside from quite a few novellas, was also a fairly quiet release week. But I am pretty sure that there are quite a few new titles coming out next week. Which makes me really, really excited.

    As it is a holiday week this week, I hope that those of you who celebrate get the chance to do so with an amazing book or a few. And I hope that a few awesome books get added to your collection this week, whether newly released or long-anticipated wish list books.

    Happy holidays. And, as ever, happy reading!


    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!


    My Reading Pile #8

    I decided to make my pile look a little smaller this week as I managed to get ten new books to add to the physical pile and that large stack just kept falling over and didn’t photograph well. Not that this looks much better. It’s still kind of leaning.

    I am working on tackling this large heap of books and still trying to find a bookshelf I love, but in the meantime…

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

    (May 8-May 14, 2011)


    I received an electronic copy of Die for Me from HaperTeen via NetGalley. This cover is absolutely gorgeous, but I requested it for review even before I saw this version of the cover.

    I have been hiding from the reviews, but the Twitter chatter has been super positive about this 2011 debut book, and I’m excited to finally be able to put this book on top of the pile.

    As I’ve already spotlighted Die for Me for my Book Watch post I won’t ceaselessly ramble, but any book that asks if I’d risk my life for love has got to be interesting and sounds like one of those books that just may involve a little bit of sobbing.

    I received an ARC of Dreamland Social Club through a trade. I don’t know much about it, and I haven’t yet read anything by the author, but the last bit of the description really appealed to me.

    From Goodreads: “Colorful characters, beautiful writing, and a vibrant, embattled beachfront backdrop make this the perfect summer read for anyone who has ever tried to find true love or a place to call home.”

    I mean, who hasn’t tried to find true love? I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories. And a beach read is perfect for this time of year, so I can’t wait to see what this book has to offer.

    I also received an advance copy of Flawless through a trade. I only just recently checked it out as I saw it nearing the top of the stack. It looks to be a quick and fun read and is a modern retelling of Cyrano.

    This is the author’s debut book so I am excited to check out this new author.

    A beautiful girl, with just one slight facial protuberance, her gorgeous best friend and a boy they both fall for. I’m curious to see how this turns out and whether the underdog comes out successful in this battle for love.


    Yes, I’m keeping the pile small this week. I have this feeling that I’ll be reaching into my stack of books and pulling out at least one that I’m dying to read, so I refuse to commit to four books this week.

    I would have thought taking time off would mean that I’d get a ton of reading done. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I got a whole lot of nothing done, except for maybe some blogging and shopping. Was I spending my relaxing days at the beach? Certainly not enough of them to make a dent in my pile.

    So this week I decided not to overdo it and hope that I can tackle all the books in the queue.

    Wishful thinking reads:

    I just received a copy of Sirensong in the mail today. I love Jenna Black’s Faeriewalker series and I am dying to read this book. But I have too many books that I agreed to review, so I’m doubtful I’ll get to read it this week, but I am ever hopeful.

    I really want to read Heidi Ayarbe’s Compulsion. Just watching the trailer makes me want to find out more about this character struggling with OCD. I’m so afraid that this book will get buried deeper within my eReader’s pages, but I really would like to read it soon so that won’t happen.

    Those left behind:

    I did not get a chance to read Divergent, Wolfsbane or What Happened to Goodbye. But I will be reading What Happened to Goodbye some time in the next week. And I’m not caught up with writing my reviews, but at least I finally wrote up the review for The Last Little Blue Envelope.

    Although I’m just about done reading Wildefire, I still haven’t figured out when I should write or post my review. Last week wasn’t a bad week, but since I made the pile larger than normal, I feel slightly guilty that I didn’t finish.


    Do you create a reading pile?

    If so, what’s in your pile this week?