Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On the Wordpress!


     This is Willa and her web designer/wordpress helper/expert at a lot of stuff whose name is Meredith. Today, we are here to remind you that Willa's Ramblings blogger, no longer exists. If you go to, you will be automatically redirected to (that was Meredith's doing).

     So, if you are still subscribed to the blogger blog and not to the wordpress blog, we highly recommend that you CHANGE that. Like, soon. You can visit the new website here. And we promise you that the new website is utterly gorgeous!

     See? Lovely! It has tons of new features and overall we're so happy with the switch! Wordpress seems to be treating us well. :)

Thanks for your cooperation! Questions-

Sunday, February 26, 2012

IMM {21}: Breaking and Flying

This week I got two FANTASTIC novels from St. Martin's! I reviewed Switched for them last month, and I'm so happy to finally have these two in my hands! The covers are just gorgeous, and I love the type face they used.
For Review from St. Martin's:

Torn by Amanda Hocking
Ascend by Amanda Hocking
My Review of Switched by Amanda Hocking

What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Author Interview with Eileen Cook + E-Book Giveaway!

I was honored enough to interview Eileen Cook about her newest novel, Unraveling Isobel, which I reviewed earlier in the month and that review can be seen here. Alright, let's get started!

About Unraveling Isobel:

WR: How did you come up with the idea behind Unraveling Isobel?

EC: The idea came about after a discussion with a friend about how we would respond if we ever saw a ghost. Would we assume it was real? Think we were going crazy? Worry that someone was trying to pull one over on us? There are some paranormal books where the characters see something amazing and
seem very “oh yes, of course, werewolves.” I wanted a character who has some serious questions about what she experiences. Then there is the fact that I love gothic novels, big creepy houses, family secrets, ghosts….

WR: While rewriting drafts of Unraveling Isobel, did you ever want to toss the whole idea and start on something else?

EC: There is a point in every book I’ve written where I think: “what the heck have I gotten myself into? Why did I ever think this was a good idea?” The secret to writing is to keep moving forward when that feeling happens.

WR: One of my parts of the book is when you describe Isobel’s surroundings. What was it like creating the setting?

EC: When I am coming up with a story I tend to see it in my mind almost like a movie. I want to put in enough description that the reader can have a mental picture too, but not so much that it makes the pace slow down. For this book the house was really important to me. I drew out floor plans and looked through pictures on the internet to get an idea of how the house was laid out and appeared.

WR: In Unraveling Isobel the relationship between Isobel and Nathaniel was unique and put them in a tough position. How did you feel while writing these scenes and their relationship?

EC: One of the things that I enjoy about writing for teens is the difficult situation they are in- they are almost adults, but at the same time have very little control over big parts of their life. If you are under 18 and your parents want to move- you move. If you family decides to live without technology, no TV or computer, they can purge the house of those things and there’s nothing you can do.

With so many blended families I thought how hard it would be if you parent married someone else and suddenly you find yourself living with another teen your age who happens to be hot, and your attracted to, but in theory is now your sibling just because your parents are married. Isobel and Nathan haven’t grown up together. There’s no reason for them to feel like brothers and sisters just because their parents suddenly get married.

WR: Which one of the scenes in Unraveling Isobel is your favorite? Why?

EC: Oooh hard question. I like different scenes for different reasons, which makes picking a favorite hard. The scene with Isobel and Nathanial in the library is one of my favorites. I love when he sings Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to her and we see that they are starting to like each other.

WR: How did you create the complex layers in Unraveling Isobel, such as the mystery surrounding the death of Nathaniel’s mother and sister?

EC: I wish I could say that I had some sort of complicated plan, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I read a lot and I believe books are the best teachers. The more books I read with various layers, the more my mind starts to see stories in those terms, what is the main thing driving the character, what’s happening in their family, how do people around them respond. What relationships do they have? What’s happening in the world around them? Once you start thinking of all these questions you find it starting to layer up in the story.

On Writing:

WR: Which tense do you prefer when writing novels? Past or present?

EC: Typically I write in past, but I’m comfortable with letting the story tell me what makes sense. Sometimes when I am starting a new project I’ll try it out a few different ways, change the tense, change who is the main character in the story etc. If I write a few pages I get a gut feeling for which is the right way to go.

WR: Do you ever consider writing for a different genre?

EC: I love reading a wide range of books and genres so I’m always open to trying something new. I have written an adult romantic comedy, DO OR DI, which is available as an ebook only so it is a great price of $2.99. I love romantic comedy movies so this is my book version of the movies I love. NOTE: Look at the giveaway below!

WR: What has been one of your favorite experiences while in the publishing and novel industry?

EC: I still get a huge thrill when I see my books in a bookstore. I wanted to writer my whole life so it feels like winning the lottery every time. The best experience however is hearing from readers. I am still in awe that people other than my friends and family are reading my books. When I hear from a reader it makes my
entire week.

WR: When you were growing up did you know you wanted to be a writer? If so, how did you find time to write?

EC: I always wanted to be a writer, but for a long time it seemed like a fantasy job- like saying you want to be a princess or a superhero when you grow up. It took me a long time to realize that I might not ever reach my dream of being a published author, but that if I didn’t at least try there was NO chance I would reach it. Finding the time to write can be a challenge, especially if you are juggling work/school and family. It is easier to start by carving out a small amount of time. Turn off the TV early and say you’ll write one page a day. One page! Only 250 words. However, if you do that at the end of a year you’ll have a 300+ page novel.

WR: How do you stay focused while writing a novel?

EC: Now I have deadlines, which makes staying focused much easier! I am lucky that I actually enjoy writing. I find it fun. I did it for years as a hobby without any pay. I find if I can write on a regular basis (every day if possible) then I stay focused on the story and am looking forward to the next chance to write more.

WR: Unraveling Isobel isn’t your first novel. What has it been like writing multiple books? Does it ever get easier?

EC: I don’t think it has gotten any easier. There is a point in every book where I am certain that the whole thing was a huge mistake and I have no idea how I will ever finish the thing (or even if I should). What is easier now is that I can remind myself that I have done this before and that if I got through it before I should be able to get through it again. Then I sit back down and keep writing.

And the Classic Willa's Rambling Question:

WR: What do you ramble about?

EC: I suspect I ramble about all sorts of things, books, how cute my dogs are, what I’m currently writing, and what I’m knitting. I am not a great knitter, but I love to do it so I tend to talk about yarn in all sorts of detail that bores people who are not knitters (or who might have some weird fetish for yarn).
Thanks for letting me interview you Eileen! It was a pleasure!

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Places you can find Eileen Cook:

Her website:

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Friday, February 24, 2012

TGIF {27}: Required Reading

Which book from your school days do you remember reading & enjoying? Is there a book published now that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?

Since I still am a kid, and still am in school, I guess I choose the books I wish would be required reading! Most of these are ones that I love, or have an amazing message/writing/theme.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - Anyone with half a mind knows I adore this book so, so, so much. Taylor and the things she deals with are not only a part of growing up and finding out who you are, but also, Melina Marchetta has an amazing writing style that I could studying for days. And Jonah Griggs is my true love.

The Book Theif by Markus Zusak - I love how this book presents historical fiction in a way that is so intriguing! The setting is in Germany in a small town, and a girl is saving books (something any book lover would do) and this book is perfect for Banned Books Week.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - This is book battles suicide in a way that no other does. Everyone raves about Thirteen Reasons Why, but I barely hear anyone talk about this one! It confronts suicide from a boy's perspective and with a different cause, and a different way of coming to a conclusion. This one should be on every kid's To-Read List! Plus, the movie is great.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - Every English class on the planet should study Tahereh Mafi's writing style, because it blew me away. It was the most amazing thing about this novel - even more than the plotline in someways! Tahereh Mafi's writing is beautiful, and I wish I could write like her. Plus, the topic is so interesting, as is any Dystopian.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - TFiOS brings a new side of cancer to light - and one that is heartbreakingly beautiful. I loved the characters dearly and the way John Green writes, with humor and sentimental scenes all mixed in, is incredible. I love this book so much.

That's my top five! Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters: Book Review

Novel: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin | Goodreads
Release Date: March 1st, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…
(Synopsis and Image from Goodreads)

Willa's Rambles:
   When I got Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, I immediately wanted to read it because of the cover! It's so cute, and perfectly portrays the novel, but in a way you wouldn't think.
   Kelsey throughout the novel is dealing with misfortune just raining her way, and this cover demonstrates that in a way that is unique. I really liked Kelsey because she was relate-able - she has best friends to face the first day of high school with, where she wants to make a mark and for the most popular boy in school to fall in love with her. Easy enough, right? For Kelsey it isn't, especially when everything you do is falling down around you, and friends come from unexpected places...
   I loved Kelsey's friends! They each had their own personalities and their own quirks that made you love them. My personal favorite was JoJo, but that's partly because her name rocks. Em was sweet and kind, and Cass was the theatrical and fun one, but also the one that surprised me the most. I think it would be really interesting to hear this story from her perspective, because she kind of got swept up in the storyline, with her own story happening without the reader ever hearing much about it.
   Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters traces a girl's beginning of high school, first loves, first heartbreaks, and sheds light on one of the most important lessons in life: That friends are everything, especially when life seems to be raining all day and night.
   You should really pick this one up! It's funny, sweet, and a great weekend read.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday {7}: One for the Murphys

One for the Murphys by Lyndra Mullaly Hunt

Expected Publication: May 10th, 2012 from Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin)

In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family.
Carley has thick walls and isn’t rattled easily, but this is a world she just doesn’t understand. A world that frightens her. So, she resists this side of life she’d believed did not exist with dinners around a table and a “zip your jacket, here’s your lunch” kind of mom.
However, with the help of her Broadway-obsessed and unpredictable friend, Toni, the Murphys do the impossible in showing Carley what it feels like to belong somewhere. But, when her mother wants her back, will she lose the only family that she has ever known?

I love books that deal with the relationships within families, and this one sounds great! What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Illuminate: Book Review

Novel: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti (Gilded Wings #1) | Goodreads
Release Date: March 6th, 2012
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Format: ARC
Source: BookPeople Teen Reviewing
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.

(Synopsis and Image from Goodreads)

Willa's Rambles:
   Illuminate is one of the longer books I've read lately, and honestly, I read it as fast I would a shorter one, because it's so fast paced! New secrets are constantly being uncovered, and the characters are tested. That is probably one of my favorite things about it!
   Haven is one of those characters you immediately like. She's funny, sweet, smart, and has amazing friends (DANTE!) like make her shine. Plus, she has this drive that floored me! If I was put in her position, I would be exhausted by the end of the day! With every challenge she is faced with she reacts like anyone else - with suspicion or excitement, and most of the time, because of the unusual challenges, suspicion and fear.
   Dante was the "classic gay best friend" character. I love how more and more authors are taking a risk with this character type, but there are some stereotypes that Dante does follow. He's fantastic with clothes and super sweet, but what sets him apart is A) his dreadlocks and B) his love for baking! I think the baking made me love him even more than him calling Haven "honey". They were the most amazing best friend characters I've read about in a while!
   Lucian vs. Lance, that is the question. I didn't like Lucian. Never. Not for one single second. He creeped me out! Especially farther into the novel when he started calling Haven "Haaaven". I always wanted to like punch him in the face. I never really understood what Haven saw in him other than the "bad boy" look, but other than that, he didn't really have much going for him.
   Lance on the other hand... Well. Iloved Lance from the first time I met him! He was definitely my favorite character because I never knew what to expect from him! He was always surprising me with his understanding talks with Haven and his surprising comprehension of Al Capone history.
   Then there was the history and the setting. The hotel itself is gorgeous, but then there is the historical Chicago aspect incorporated that makes it even more original. "The Capone", "The Vault", etc - it was all amazing! I loved how Agresti mixed historical aspects into the storyline without overwhelming us.
   The idea of selling souls is creepy to say the least. How Haven finds out about it all is a mysterious book, which, for me, felt a little weird. At least how Haven reacted to the mysterious person writing her messages and knowing all this information about her. At first she reacted normally, but then she just... went with it. I really wanted her to find out it was her mother or something, but I guess that'll be uncovered in the next novel!
   I loved Illuminate! It was fast paced, exciting, and fresh. The storyline will pull you in from the start, and hopefully not steal your soul like it did mine.
We'll be interviewing Aimee Agresti on the blog, so keep a look out for that in the coming weeks!