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Teen Beat Thursday: Miranda

MirandaIt’s been a busy couple of weeks, but Teen Beat Thursday continues! Meet Miranda, a 16 year old high school student from Arizona. Here is a bit about this lovely teen:

  • Sports played: None
  • Involved in drama/ theater at her high school
  • Last book read: Love the One You’re With, by Emily Giffin chosen because she read another book, Something Borrowed, by the same author and thought it was “amazing”.
  • Last movie watched in the theaters: The Fault in Our Stars
  • Favorite Restaurant: K’ya Bistro
  • Favorite place to shop: Farmer’s Market
  • Favorite Band/ Musician: Maroon 5

Miranda chose to review The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (book version). Miranda’s review was short and to the point. She liked the author’s objective perspective on cancer, but disliked how the book felt unsentimental at the beginning of the story. She gave the book 5/5 stars and will definitely read more by this author.

Teen Beat Thursday: Myles

Myles J


My next guest for Teen Beat Thursday is Myles, a 13 year old from Southern California:

Myles chose to review The Red Pyramid:

The Red Pyramid


Myles says he hates to read but had 4 days to finish a reading assignment for school. He had to choose a book and the book had to be worth 25 points. The Red Pyramid was the only book on his list worth that many points, so he chose it by default. However, he ended up liking it because it got him an A in reading and he loved the way the narrative switched with each chapter. The only thing he disliked about it was that it was a book and he had to read it. When I asked how many stars out of 5 he would give it, he made no hesitation when saying 5 (maybe he likes to read a little?). He says he’ll keep me posted on the books he has to read this year.


Teen Beat Thursday: Erika



Teen Beat Thursday continues with Erika, an 18 year old from Florida. WAIT A MINUTE!! Today is Erika’s birthday and she is 19!!! Here is a bit about this young dynamo:

  • College student, studying criminal justice and hopes to be a private investigator
  • Played soccer in high school and now on a club team
  • Her favorite things to do are: read, go to the beach, fish, listen to music
  • Last Book read: Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Last movie watched in the theaters: Into The Storm
  • Favorite Restaurant: Salvo’s Seafood in Louisiana
  • Favorite place to shop: Changes from time to time but currently, Cotton On because they have really good deals right now
  • Favorite music: depends on mood, but mainly Country

Erika chose to review Looking for Alaska, by John Green, a book she picked up after having read his book The Fault in our Stars. Here is her review in her own words:

Summary (from Amazon):

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award An ALA Best Book for Young Adults An ALA Quick Pick A Los Angeles Times 2005 Book Prize Finalist A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age A 2005 Booklist Editor’s Choice A 2005 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

What I liked:

I liked how the book itself was written. It’s about a boy who didn’t know anything about friendship, love, loyalty, and how to break the rules. All of which changed when he fell in love with a girl named Alaska when he moved away to boarding school. Its also about not knowing what could happen at anytime and that the inevitable is bound to happen at any given moment. This book to me just made me realize about growing up and finding love and friendships with others that you never thought would be there. I also like how this book took an unexpected turned, but I also disliked that turn at the same time. Any great novel has to have some type of unexpected twist to make you want to read more. But once I finished this book by John Green I decided to go out and read some of his other novels, and I haven’t been disappointed by any of his books so far.

What I disliked (SPOILER ALERT):

There’s nothing I really disliked with this book. I guess the part that I didn’t like the most was that Alaska died once Miles kissed her and decided that he was going to tell her he loved her. I did want Alaska and Miles to be together and that’s why this part of the book would be something I disliked. But at the same time, I understand that this plot twist was needed for the book. And like I said, I didn’t really dislike these parts, I just didn’t expect these sorts of things to happen. My heart was broken when Alaska died and how Miles and Chip took the news. This book builds you up into thinking one thing will happen, and then breaks you down when something you didn’t even think was bound to happen, happens.


Out of 5 stars I would probably give it 4.5/5 just because he did a surprising plot twist but without the death of Alaska I don’t think the book would have been as good if it was a happily ever after. This plot twist did break my heart but it also goes to show that you shouldn’t leave anything unsaid because you never know what’s going to happen.


Teen Beat Thursday: Sophia

I am fascinated by teenagers and what makes them tick. I especially love the awkwardness of the age group– the in-between stage bridging childhood and teen-dom. Is it any wonder that these two top my favorite teenagers list?

beavis & butthead

In honor of these enigmatic creatures, I decided to introduce a series of posts called Teen Beat Thursdays. My requirements are simple: fill out a brief questionnaire and chose something to review (book, movie, tv show, restaurant, etc).

First to return the questionnaire and review was Sophia, a 16 year old from California, about to enter her junior year of high school. A little about Sophia:

  • Plays tennis on the Varsity team for her high school
  • Auditioned for and made Advanced Drama for the upcoming school year
  • Studies French
  • Last Book read: Fallen, by Lauren Kate
  • Last movie watched in the theaters: Lucy
  • Favorite Restaurant: King’s Fish House
  • Favorite Place to Shop: Free People

Sophia chose to review Fallen, By Lauren Kate. Here is her review, in her own words, lightly edited:


What attracted me to this book: I picked this up at Barnes and Noble because I thought the cover looked interesting and I wanted to know more about the story. After I read the description on the back I was all in.


Modern day seventeen-year-old Lucinda (Luce) Price is suspected of the murder of her prom date her junior year and is sent to a boarding reform school in Savannah, Georgia. She doesn’t remember committing any of the crimes people are accusing her of doing. Her new evil, Sword and Cross reform school built during the civil war era is dull and ancient until she sees Daniel Grigory. Even after his rude introduction, she’s drawn to him like a “moth to a flame.” Even though there is Cam, the super handsome and reliable bad boy craving her attention, she still can’t get Daniel out of her head. Little does she know Daniel is hiding a huge secret, and they’ve met many times before. How will Luce get the answers she wants from someone as stubborn and uninterested as Daniel?

What I liked about the book:

I loved an abundance of things about this book. I’ve always found myself a little attracted to the darkness and unusual ideas (for me at least) about religion or concepts on life. This novel is the perfect dark romance for this generation. Yes, it may have your typical forbidden romance with two adolescent males fighting for the same pretentious, timid, helpless girl, but who doesn’t love a good love triangle? What girl wouldn’t want to be fought for over two hot fallen angels like Daniel Grigory and Cam Briel? I’m a huge history freak myself, (it’s my favorite subject) so two lovers meeting again and again throughout the ages is a complete page-turner for me.

What I didn’t like about the book:

There’s not much to dislike about the book unless you’re a complete stubborn skeptic. However, there are a few things about the novel I wasn’t a huge fan of.

Don’t get me wrong, I always love a good villain. But, my name is Sophia and the main villain in the story is their trusted teacher, Miss Sophia. Also, I didn’t like how Daniel would take Luce away from whatever she was doing and leave her within a short amount of time all by herself. Leaving her in random places like the woods to just figure out the way back.

I also don’t really like how strong Cam comes on to Luce. I’ve never known a guy that acted that way, so it’s a little unbelievable. It can also be quite irritating at some parts because it completely interrupts the plot.

Final Thoughts:

This book is definitely one of my favorites. With a wicked imagination, you will get swept up in a thrilling fantasy world you could only dream of. To me, this book is 4 out of 5 stars.

World Blog Tour- The Writing Process

I am super excited to be invited to participate in my very first blog tour! Thank you to Therese Gilardi for inviting me and for being patient with all of my questions. Therese is a novelist, poet, and essayist whose work has appeared in numerous publications.

Matching Wits With Venus


My novel, The Energy Crusades, was published in May and is now also available in print. It is light science fiction suitable for all ages and is the first book in a series of three. I am a reader, writer, tennis enthusiast, and chemistry geek.

What am I currently working on? I am 95% done with my second novel, the sequel to The Energy Crusades.

How does my work differ from others in the genre? The Energy Crusades has been classified as dystopian. If you look up “dystopia” in the dictionary, the definition reads something like this: an imaginary place where people lead de-humanized and often fearful lives. The world I created in my novel does not feel bleak to me. I want to live there! Sure, the society is imperfect, as is any, but there is hope and it isn’t all doom and gloom. Hardly!

Why do I write what I write? I write what I want to read. And, since you have to read your own book countless times, it’s a good idea to like what you’re writing, correct? I still love reading The Energy Crusades.

How does my writing process work? I write slllloooooowwwwwwly. I am always amazed when authors can write 2 or more books a year. My agency brother and dear friend Stephen Alix (see his link at the bottom of this post) gave me some great advice, and I stick to it. He suggested aiming for about 300 words per day, a reasonable goal for a writer like myself. If the words aren’t flowing, I edit. Editing helps keep me inside the story, so to speak, and the characters in the front of my mind.

Okay so that is a little bit about me and my process. Want to hear about some other cool writers and their writing process? Simply click on the links below!


The Energy Crusades in the news…

Well, in the mentions at least. Since it was released on May 6, I’ve had tiny bit of press coverage. First came this little blurb:

VP mention

Which turned into a bigger mention in the Orange County Register: The Five to Know

And another small blurb in a local paper:The Sentry

And today The Energy Crusades is mentioned in the Fresh Ink section of my alumni


fresh ink

Sometimes little things can lead to big things, you never know. Keep trying, don’t give up!!

Step Into the Future

The future, as I imagined it in The Energy Crusades, is closer than even I predicted. Lately, I’ve read articles on solar roads and the architecture of the future. In the Huffington Post article on architecture, this green power plant is the embodiment of how imagined buildings would look (Photo courtesy of AZPA):



Disaster-proof forts, green power plants, compostable towers, and wooden skyscrapers are all visions I would love to see come to fruition.

Planet in danger

Humans and Energy


In my novel, The Energy Crusades, I imagine a future in which humans are a main source of energy. Is it even possible? Perhaps my imagination is not as far-fetched as you might first believe. Human energy is being used, even today, in a variety of capacities. Here is an article from Alternative Energy News which explores human kinetic energy and its uses.

Man Unplugged

In The Energy Crusades, humans wear energy suits which serve to capture and use energy as the wearer generates it. Am I crazy? Here is a quote from an article in Business Insider from November of 2012:

The technology can be used on the outside of the body as well. Nanotechnology researchers are developing the perfect complement to the power tie: a “power shirt” woven from pairs of fibres coated with tiny strips of zinc oxide and gold. As you move, the fibres rub against each other to produce a current. Prof Zhong Lin Wang, at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says that “we could provide a flexible, foldable and wearable power source that, for example, would allow people to generate their own electrical current while walking”.

Read more:

And if you still don’t think it’s possible, how about this gym in Hong Kong which is Human Powered?

humanpoweredgymsFurthermore, wearable electronics are in our very near future. Here is an article from The Conversation discussing just how close we are to energy generating clothing. Perhaps we’ll all be wearing energy suits very soon.


In one week…

In one week...

Book Review: Marie Antoinette, The Journey by Antonia Fraser

thejourneyI recently finished this biography of the ill-fated Queen of France, famous for words she never uttered. Sent from her home in Austria at the age of 14 to be wed to the future King Louis XVI, her tumultuous life at Versailles is vivid in Antonia Fraser’s book.

What I liked about the book:

Everything. A well written, detailed account of the Queen of France, you can’t help but feel enmeshed in the daily life of Versailles during her reign. From the descriptions of the clothes to the intimate letters she wrote and the abuses hurled at her, Marie Antoinette’s life feels timely and timeless in Antonia Fraser’s pages. A young ‘celebrity’ who for awhile gets caught up in the spoils of her fame, the Queen seemed doomed from the start. Accused of being not too bright, a lesbian, an adulterer, and burdened with the nickname ‘Madame Deficit’ for her lavish spending, Marie Antoinette weathered her bad press in style. She also showed tremendous courage and unwavering dedication to her husband, refusing ever to leave his side as revolution broiled around them. During her trial, her composure under intense questioning and horrible accusations remained steadfast. Certainly, I will never forget her journey and the sad ending to her too short life.

What I disliked:

For me, there was nothing to not like in this brilliantly crafted book. I loved Antonia Fraser’s style, which felt both intimate and removed at the same time. Ms. Fraser’s well researched biography might have read as ‘just the facts, ma’am’, but instead felt current and as if I was seeing history before my eyes.

Final Thoughts:

I rate this book a 5 out 5 stars and give it my enthusiastic recommendation. Marie Antoinette and her entourage spring to life on the pages of the book and are not easily forgotten.