DNF Review for Crash, by Lisa McMann!


Lisa McMann

Release Date: January 8th 2013 (Wellp. Guess I kind of missed the point of the ADVANCED reviewer’s copy…)

(1/5) Overall Impression (As per the “Did Not Finish” (DNF))

In a Nutshell: Just don’t bother. I’m usually on the fence about McMann books in general, but I just couldn’t push myself through this one. My grandma read it though, when I accidentally left it at her house one night… Not sure how she felt about it.

Quick Shpeal:

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode…and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more shesees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

Vivi’s ‘View:

Ah, how I’ve missed writing reviews.

*stretches back in a hammock on a warm summer night* But not really because it’s March in Canada.

So I turned to my phone to check the few notes that I bothered writing about this book, and it literally reads as such:


-Main character is bland and uninteresting

-The visions are lame, unrealistic, and meatball-themed

-Love the gay brother

– Note: He is the only thing I love


I don’t really think I can summarize this book any more concisely than that. Our protagonist was a pessimistic, socially anxious teenager who seemed to be afraid of communication and sharing her thoughts with anyone or anything. Her hobbies include uselessly pining over a guy who she could literally walk over and talk to if she wanted, working at her parent’s Italian Restaurant, and not spending as much time with her Fabulous brother as she should be, because he was the only interesting part in the book.

The whole concept of the “some external force is making me have visions” literally made me want to just slam the book shut. Maybe it’s because my literary tastes have been starting to mature lately, but I just had no patience for this book, or any of the characters in it. (Except the brother. Hail to the meatball truck, girlfriend.)

The character development was weak, the plot line flat, the general concept boring, and the story was weakly framed. If you see this book on the shelves, keep walking.


(PS: Not going to bother with the full rating for a DNF review). x




A Quick Bit on Life

Hey bookies!, I know I’ve been on hiatus the last few months, so I thought I’d update. This is a short story I wrote when I was feeling. (Yes, I purposely wrote the sentence that way. I wrote this bit because I was feeling). It has no title.

A figure stands, almost a silhouette floating in the half-lit street, watching the cars fly by. On the sidewalk busy people swim about, pushing, shoving, and grunting their way though the commotion. With the pass of each car a putrid spray that is half-water and half-filth shoots out into the mass of people. Despite the chaos that surrounds him, the figure remains still, immune to the commotion of the city.

It rages every day and every night, never ceasing for any one person, place, or thing. Everything is irrelevant in the swirling grey of society, where time has more value than money. Life is irrelevant.

The police rope off the area with sticky yellow caution tape. Yellow and sticky like honey. White tape is used to trace the body however: at least the parts they can still recognize. It’s funny to watch. Pedestrians crowd around like wild dogs, sniffing and scratching at the borderlines. They leave after a few minutes though, not enough time to care.

The silhouette continues to observe the scene at hand, invisible. He feels no emotion. No pain, no joy, no tears.

Just memories, if that counts.

They say that it is the ghost that haunts a person. Thinking of this, the silhouette experiences a nostalgic sensation. No, not nostalgia, irony. No, not irony, regret. Regret, yes, that’s it. Looking out into the sea of pure humanity that surrounds him: the grief, the love, the warmth, and even the imperfection, regret is most definitely what he feels. For it is truly not the ghost that haunts the people, it is the people, so ignorant of the beautiful world they live in, that haunt the ghost. 





Reading, and Revelations. And my YA Fanfiction goggles. And Tumblr.

Hello bookies!

This is the post where I make a triumphant return to book blogging and relive the glory days of posting every single day and now I can poop butterflies and burp rainbows as well and puppies shall rain down from the heavens in the mighty burst of sobber and fur and…

I think I’ll stop there. This is actually the post to explain how my life has been changed by none other than (of course), books.

In the time of the last few months, or even back to last June, I’ve been actively engaged in reading. Not young adult books, however, but moreso classic novels. 

The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, Shakespeare, the Scarlet Pimpernel, some Non-Fiction where Shaw scathingly reviews Shakespeare’s plays, LOTS of Steinbeck, The Hobbit, A Tale of Two Cities, a book on Philosophy and jokes, some Edgar Allan Poe, Heart of Darkness…

I could go on and on. But actually the list isn’t too much longer than that because I am only human.  

And I have to say, after reading such beautifully written literary masterworks, coming back to the Young Adult Genre and trying to give them decent reviews is just harder. It’s not that they aren’t fun to read still; it’s just that they really aren’t comparable to anything significant in the world of classic literature. They require no thought to read, anymore. There’s no real deeper message.

It’s like I’ve put on a pair of magic pair of glasses and now every modern YA book I read feels like fanfiction. 

Before you get scared, this isn’t me kissing my book blogging career goodbye. I’m sixteen, in Grade Eleven, and I’ve still got a ways to go in life. That being said, I am sixteen, not the twelve-year-old bookaholic and die-hard-twi-hard *shudder* that started this blog. I’m old enough to drive a car, have my own health card, and lie about my age to buy alcohol. (Just kidding, you need a social life in order to do that!)

What this is, however, is me going to be a lot more honest in my reviews of the YA books that I do end up reading. This has been your official disclaimer, and I shall refer back to this posts in my tweets should you be horribly offended by any of my future reviews. 

Lots ‘o love,

PS: If anyone want to hang out on tumblr, follow me up! (My Tumblr is a personal blog, nothing to do with book reviewing)




The Almost Truth Blog Tour with Simon & Schuster, and Eileen Cook!

Hi bookies! In case you haven’t read my review for Eileen Cook’s lovely new book The Almost Truthcheck it out here and now!

If yes, continue on to getting the inside scoop about the book from Eileen herself in this Book Tour interview sesh!

Vivi: 1) What inspired you to write The Almost Truth? 


Eileen: Most often book ideas come to me as a collection of unrelated things. A bit of an idea here, another piece there, until it sticks together as one idea.  This process can take months or years. This is one of the few books where I can remember the exact second I had the idea.  I was on the ferry and saw a missing child poster.  At the bottom there was an age enhanced photo so you could see what the person might look like now. I had the thought “How weird would it be if I looked like the age enhanced photo?”  In that instant the idea of the book dropped into my head. I ran back to my seat and wrote it down as fast as I could.  I spent another week thinking over some different details, but I started writing almost right away. 


I’d be thrilled if more book ideas came to me this way! 


V: 2) Were your characters written about any real people you’ve met?


E: I haven’t based a character completely on any one person, but I steal shamelessly odd bits of personality or conversations from friends and family. I warn people if you tell me something really good there’s no promise that I won’t take it and use it in a book. In coffee shops I always look around to see who would be the most interesting person to sit close to and spy on. Then I practically lean into their space to hear what they’re talking about. 


V: 3) Any author-stories to share from the process of writing The Almost Truth?


E: My favorite author story comes from my first book. I was on a ferry and all the way across the room I saw someone reading my book. I was GIDDY. I’ve waited my whole life for something like that to happen. I went across the room and introduced myself as the author.  The woman became really excited and asked me to sign it. I whipped out my Sharpie (I’d bought an entire package just in case I was rushed by fans).  When she handed me the book I realized that while it looked like my book from across the room- it wasn’t actually my book.  I was mortified. I signed the other authors name and ran away. 


For THE ALMOST TRUTH I really enjoyed doing the research in con artists. I read several books on the subject and even had the chance to interview a few con-artists. I learned all sorts of interesting tricks in case the whole writing thing doesn’t  pan out and I take up a life of crime. 


Go grab a copy of The Almost Truth today! It hit the shelves on December 4th, so technically you’re already late. Tisk Tisk. 😉




A Short Story for Remembrance Day. 11/11/12

Hello readers! 


Usually my posts aren’t this dreary, however I was feeling it today. 

As you may have noticed, today is Remembrance Day, a day to honour the fallen soldiers in World Wars One and Two. 

In respect to this, I’ve written up a short story commemorating what happened to my Great Grandfather in World War Two. I’d say enjoy, if it wasn’t such a dark concept. 

With love and respect,

~Vivi Valenz

*Scampers off to read some Edgar Allan Poe*


The panicked screams of the dying fill the wet and cloudy air as bodies fall to the earth, one by one. Groups of men crouch below the rotting sand bags, remaining as still as the night sky. A platoon of soldiers crawls towards the East, seeking refuge in the bloodbath. An exploding shell interrupts their journey, killing most instantly while leaving a single survivor alone in the back. Exposed to enemy forces, he lies in the mud, struggling to remain out of the battle’s crosshairs. His ankle has been almost completely blown off in the explosion. An enemy soldier approaches from behind, preparing his shot. He inches forward, closer and closer to the soldier in the mud. The enemy soldier however falls victim to the perils of war, shot straight through the skull. His corpse lands facedown onto the still-breathing body of the first soldier, and both men lie motionless in the mud. Minutes stretch into days as rain seeps into the clothing and skin of the corpse and the survivor. After what feels like a lifetime, the cannons cease-fire, the remaining soldiers drop their weapons, and the infirmary staff members arrive to collect bodies. The solitary soldier is then found, alive but unable to move, beneath the decaying corpse of the enemy soldier. Wounded beyond what can be understood by those outside the war, the soldier is carried away from the battlefield. 


New Review for The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook! 3.5/5!

The Almost Truth 

Eileen Cook

Release Date: December 4th, 2012 

(3.5/5) Overall Impression

In a Nutshell: A good read. I definitely recommend it to anyone else who’s read something by Eileen Cook, or anyone who’s looking for a paranormal-free, interesting, unique, and easy YA read. 

Quick Shpeal:

From the author of Unraveling Isobel and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, a smart, romantic novel about a teenage con artist who might be in over her head.
Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn’t prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose….

Vivi’s ‘View:

I was excited when I saw this book in the mailbox, it gave me a sort of nostalgic feeling, as a couple years ago The Education of Hailey Kendrick was among the first batch of ARC’s I’d ever gotten. *Sniffle sniffle.* Eager to explore this new Eileen Cook novel, I dove right in. 

The first few chapters… I could have done without them.  Sadie came across as whiny, angry and bitter towards her family and their financial situation. (Not that she didn’t have the right to express her hostile emotions, I just found it a discouraging place to start the book). In this scene we are also introduced to some of the other characters in The Almost Truth, being greeted by the infamous “Blowjob Becky” in the supermarket, and receiving a phone-call from Brendan; the town hottie, and Sadie’s best gal-pal. (Okay he’s her  guy palI mostly just wanted a legitimate sentence in which I could incorporate the phrase “gal-pal.” Carry on now). 

Luckily, as I passed page 50 with ease, I found the book to improve as it progressed. The actual concept of the novel was original, and I liked the Katniss-Esque manner in which the protagonist was determined to get what she wants – even after her mother spent all of her college money and ultimately ruined her plans for the future. 

About half-way through the book the main plot of the novel really picked up with the introduction of  a wealthy family, whose child went missing fifteen years ago. At the current point in the novel they run a charity to help other families who have lost their children, and this is where the international man of mystery Chase Parker is introduced. (Watch out Brendan). 

I expected another new-sexy-mysterious-guy to appear in the book somewhere at some point (It wouldn’t be a YA novel otherwise!) Chase took me by surprise, though. I quite enjoyed reading his character at first, however he began to change and became increasingly annoying as he did so. That is all I shall say on that matter. 

To get right to the point, I figured out what the “be all end all” twist was, around page 30. And yes, I was right, but what I didn’t expect was all of the wrenches that got thrown in the plot later on. That was interesting, and kept me going long enough to finish the whole thing. 

This brings me to my next point, I loved the climax. The way that Cook braided all the different sides of the story into one big rope was really interesting to read, and I quite enjoyed all of it.

Unfortunately, this  wonderful climax was followed by a less-than-satisfactory ending. An epilogue would have been a nicer way to end everything off. 


Vivi Valenz

(2/5) Cover (Something with less characters and more scenery would have been nicer on the imagination). 

(4/5) Originality

(4/5) Plot

(3/5) Characters

(2/5) Ending

(3.5/5) Overall








New Review for Speechless by Hannah Harrington! 3/5!


SpeechlessHannah Harrington

Release Date: August 28th 2012

(3/5) Overall Impression

In a Nutshell: A fast, light read. Good for if you’re looking for something not too stressful, or mind-bendingly original. The moral of the story is nice.

Quick Shpeal:

The story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences…

Saying she’s sorry isn’t enough.


Vivi’s ‘View:

Well, I do believe that Shpeal was sufficiently quick, don’t you?

Moving on. I decided to read this book on a summer whim, and all in all I finished it in about three hours. As can be assumed, I quite enjoyed Speechless.

At least, from the middle onwards.

Speechless had a rocky start to say the least. The curtain goes up on Chelsea Knot, an irksome high school sophomore whose sole purpose in life seems to be to mindlessly traipse after Kristen the Queen Bee, spreading lies around the student body like the black plague. The shallow, insignificant thoughts  in Chelsea’s head annoyed me to the point where I seriously contemplated deleting the eBook file. Still, I held my ground and trudged on.

Luckily for me, Kristen soon kicks Chelsea out of the “popular crowd” and throws her to the metaphorical high school wolves after an incident at a New Year’s Eve party. At this point, the book began to pick up. Chelsea embarks upon a vow of silence, riddled by guilt from the “incident” (No spoilers!) , and undergoes a complete personality U-Turn.

As fantastic as the U-Turn works out for Chelsea, the completely random personality transfer is a little disorienting for the reader. The transition was very choppy, and it took a couple more chapters for the reader to clue in to what exactly was going on. The story continues, and we learn more and more about Chelsea’s wholesome past and how much Kristen restricted her as a person, yet the silent Chelsea felt completely disconnected from the girl who started the book.

Speechless improves dramatically the further into the story you get.

I absolutely adored the characters that Chelsea became friends with during her vow. Asha, Sam, Andy, Dex, Lou, and even Noah, were entertaining, refreshing to read, and very comforting to the reader. They came across as real people, as opposed to the members of the popular crowd we were first introduced to. Actually, these characters quickly became my main motivation to continue reading, as they picked up the pace in areas that could quickly become tedious.

There were very few subplots in Speechless, which made it a little strange to read. I often found myself imagining little scenarios for the secondary characters but none ever came into play, slightly disappointing. Regardless, I kept moving forward, entranced by the circle of friends Chelsea had found in her new life.

Pages turned and chapters passed, and before I could get my bearings I found myself through with Speechless. The end. Finito. This led me to pause for a minute…


There was no moment of terror, no bad place, or metaphorical wrench thrown into the story that could then build into a climax… so there simply wasn’t a climax. Unless you count announcing who won Winter Prince and Princess at the Winter Formal.

As I’m discussing this, I’m also realizing that Speechless also did not have a distinct plot line. It was written in the same manner as a journal or calendar, each chapter discussed each day as it happened. (As opposed to having the chapters separated by specific events or important points in the plot). That could explain why I felt like I was re-reading another good novel instead of a new one. If Hannah Harrington had switched out Chelsea’s “Vow of Silence” gimmick for repeating her life seven days before she died, you would literally have a trashier version of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Or if you left it the same, you’d have the second half of Mean Girls. (Identical straight down to the school dance scene). Still a good read though!


Vivi Valenz

(3/5) Cover

(2/5) Originality

(3/5) Plot

(4/5) Characters

(3/5) Ending (It was really cute.)

(3/5) Overall Impression




Top Tips for Wannabe Book Bloggers- By Vivi Valenz

Top Tips for Wannabe Book Bloggers

The Words of Vivi Valenz

An Awesome Button.

Hi Everyone! 

This is something I recently guest-posted on the Gritty Blog at GritCityPublications.com! I thought it was a pretty good advice post, so why waste it? Enjoy, my beloved bookies. 


“I want to start by thanking Ron and John Gavalik for giving me the chance to guest post here. If you like what you read check out my blog www.teenbookaholic.com!

So, you want to be a book blogger? Easier said than done, my friend, but if you truly love books it is endless fun. (Enjoying my Seussical Rhymes?)


First thing’s first: Establish your brand. What kind of books do you want to review? Adult, Children’s, Young Adult? Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi, Horror, Urban Fantasy, Classic, Thriller, Erotica, Drama, Historical Fictions? The answer can be any combination of the above, or something else, as long as YOU YOURSELF are passionate about it. No one likes to read a post without any heart in it. Also, figure out what your blogging style is. Are you funny, witty, serious, sarcastic, tough, gentle, or a combination? Once you figure it out, stick to it kiddo.


Step Two: Get a URL. So now you’re inspired and full of great things to write about… but where? I highly recommend Blogger, even though I myself am Wordpress. It’s much simpler if you don’t know a lot about HTML and CSS. And avoid using Tumblr as your blog.

If you can buy your own URL, that’s great, and it makes you look more professional. But if not both Wordpress and Blogger offer free www.myawesomebookblognamehere.blogger.com URLs. As another sidenote, a nickname helps. For example, my blog is called TeenBookaholic Reviews, as I am a teenage bookaholic.


Step Three: Should I make pages? If you want. I encourage you to write a Review Policy, because sooner or later (with proper marketing) you are going to get bombarded by author emails asking you to review their books. To help siphon a few of the way-out-there authors off, write a clear review policy stating which books you will, and won’t review.  A Review Archive, a Contact Me page, and an About Me page are also good to add. The rest is up to you, and depends on your blog.


Step Four: REVIEW TIME BABY. Start with any book. Your favourite, your least favourite, your books, your friend’s books, library books, illegal books the works! Just get as many, good quality reviews up as you can. How can you make sure your review is good quality? Don’t talk about the plot, talk about the content. Was the writing good, were the characters realistic, were the scene transitions nice, plot holes, loose ends, cliffhangers, etcetc. The list goes on. It helps if you take notes of your thoughts while reading the book, that way you never have to stare at your laptop having no clue what to talk about in your review.


Step Five: Marketing and Expansion. So you’ve got reviews. How do you get people to read them? Twitter. TWITTER. TWITTER!!!!

There is a HUGE community of book bloggers on Twitter. Also be sure to check out GoodReads, BookBlogs.net, and Shelfari. Once you have a following of people on social networks, advertise yourself there. Facebook is okay, but not the best for marketing a new blog.


An Afterthought: You’ve now stumbled upon…ARCs?!?! Ah yes, the ever envied Advanced Reviewer Copy of a book. They will arrive in the mail with time as you build up your reputation. But if you truly can’t wait for a publisher to discover you on your own time, I suggest NetGalley.com which, if you register your URL, will give you access to hundreds of seasonal ARCs online. Be careful though, if you download a book, you HAVE to review it, and whatever you do, DON’T POST IT ON THE INTERNET!


So, these have been my words of wisdom to any aspiring book blogger. Hopefully you enjoyed them. Shoot me an email at vivi.valenz14@gmail.com  if you have questions, or have decided to get into the blogging game! Also, I would be ever so honoured if you would follow me on Twitter. ”



New Review for Embers and Echoes by Karsten Knight! 4/5!

Embers and Echoes

Karsten Knight

Release Date: August 28th 2012

Overall Impression: (4/5)


Quick Shpeal:

Fan the flames: A teen goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire.”Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love–because even though her romance with Colt had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess–and she doesn’t get burned.

This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire “continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.


Vivi’s ‘View:

So here we have the much anticipated sequel to Wildefire, Karsten Knight’s first novel in this series. I have to say, I actually enjoyed the sequel more than I did the original. Embers and Echoes was purposeful: the storyline had a distinctly determined shape for the most part, (at the end it got fairly muddy) but overall it was much improved from the first book. This accounts for a large portion of the 4 star rating I gave it. Bonus marks for raising the bar!

Embers and Echoes kicked off the exact second after Wildefire ended, which I enjoyed. It was nice to not start off with some out-of-character story about Ash waking up one morning reflecting on her past or something like that. Sadly, the good start took a turn for the worse when Colt’s character had an unexpected attitude makeover. In the first book I really enjoyed reading about Colt, and was a general fan. Now, I’m beginning to grow concerned regarding his mental health. After  Ash broke it off with Colt in the first chapter, the state of his mind worsened to the point where he landed face first in the looney bin at the conclusion of Embers and Echoes. The journey in the middle was a complete emotional turnaround that ended up antagonizing his character, to my displeasure. I got the impression that the author got bored with Colt after writing Wildefire, and when he began writing the second book he used it as an opportunity to change his personality.

Moving on – when a door closes, a window opens. That window appeared in the shape of Wes Towers, the unbelievably sexy Aztec God of Night that Ash runs into after she ends things with Colt. Trés convenient. I enjoyed Wes, and his winged buddy Aurora. It was fun to introduce some more nice gods to the story.

Even more on the positive side, I liked reading the flashbacks into Ash’s previous life. It gave the reader a chance to take a breath between intense chapters, (and believe me, there were many of those) and showed a window into another story with the same characters. They were fresh, and entertaining. As a side note, even though I’m bashing Colt a fair amount, I liked reading Ash in the sequel. After everything she’s been through, Ash is still the same beloved volcano goddess she was in Wildefire. 

This book was ACTION. PACKED. You’ve got your high stakes car chases, flaming car chases, fights to the death, stealthy spy missions, kidnapping, fire, ice, lightning, a deal with the devil, EVERYTHING. So it’s pretty much safe to say Embers and Echoes would make a most excellent action movie. Also, if you’re a teenage guy, you might actually enjoy reading this book.  

Another tidbit I wanted to discuss – the loose ends. In my last review I ranted about how many loose ends Wildefire left hanging, and how I hoped they would be resolved here. Well, they were. (YAY!) But they were a little late. Actually, they were so late in bringing the plot back to the original story that I began to wonder if the author was ever going to discuss them. Either way, mission accomplished.

Now, the ending. Oh boy, the ending.

Embers and Echoes is the only book I’ve ever read with a triple climax. I can genuinely say that there were three places in the final 100 pages that the book could have ended and I would have been happy. I kept thinking “Oh, I guess it’s over now… but why are there still 60 pages?” It was like a roller coaster: UP and then down, you wait for it to end, and then suddenly you’re back up again! And I loved every second of it. (Hey… I like roller coasters!)

Still, as great as I just made that sound, the final ending was bizarre. Anything controversial, dramatic, or important got flung into a literary salad bowl and tossed up until everything was evenly distributed among the last few chapters. Definitely a unique experience.

In a Nutshell: A well-paced action movie in novel form. Worth the read 100% if you’ve read Wildefire! Can’t wait till the third comes out!


Vivi Valenz

(5/5) Cover (Love it!)

(4/5) Originality

(4/5) Plot

(3/5) Characters

(4/5) Ending (It was very busy… but it was dramatic).

(4/5) Overall Impression







Emotobooks- You reading them yet?

Hello my lovely readers!

The following is a guest post from Ron Gavalik, the publisher and creator of Emotobooks: a hot new mash-up of art and appellation. Hope you enjoy, and check out what he’s doing! It’s super cool.

Emotobooks: The Fusion of Written Fiction and Expressionistic Art

Ron Gavalik

Thank you to Vivi for allowing me to guest post.


As a writer and publisher, it’s always been a goal to bridge the gap between the cerebral gratifications of well-plotted fiction writing and the visual stimulation of illustrative art. Then one day I had a mini-epiphany. Insert expressive, emotionally representative imagery in written stories, during moments of emotional consequence. By delivering a visual of what a character feels, the reader becomes more intensely immersed in the story.


Emotobooks are written fiction stories, not comics or graphic novels. The few emotional abstract images woven in the stories are the dream-like visuals each of us experience in the middle of the night.


The term Emotobook is a portmanteau word I conjured as a memorable label for the very first fiction medium for smartphones and tablets. For the first time, readers can now see actual representation of character emotions right on the page for a fun, interactive experience.


Stories are published as EmotoSerials or EmotoSingles. EmotoSerials are monthly-released, continuing stories, much like TV dramas or miniseries that continue until their climactic ends. EmotoSingles are individual experiences.


I launched Grit City Publications in July of 2011, with the first Emotobook series titled Grit City, a seven-part story about Dillon Galway, an idealistic freelance journalist, who scrapes out a living reporting on corruption. Since then, we’ve grown the Emotobooks Catalog into an array of fun genre fiction titles in Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, and Horror.


Each Emotobook title consists of three creators: the author, editor, and illustrator. It’s our philosophy that three contributors on each Emotobook delivers a richer, more flavorful story. The creators even offer Autograph Cards and suggest mood settings, such as food, drink, and music. This way our fans can achieve a full-bodied experience.


Emotobooks accommodate a new audience, who desire a fast “full story experience” on smartphones, iPods, computers, or tablet readers in about 30 to 60 minutes. They can be purchased from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and other retailers.


Our editors are currently seeking the best genre fiction for the Emotobooks transformation. It’s required that fiction writers read our submission guidelines and the free handbook, How to Create Emotobooks, before submitting. Our publishing model is unique and we require long-term participation from authors for everyone’s success.


Now that you’ve been introduced to the Emotobooks Revolution, I hope you’ll join ourReaders Cult and begin collecting the coolest titles. We even offer free Autograph Cards to our fans. What it really comes down to is we write, edit, and illustrate the best modern fiction for our fans. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you.


Ron Gavalik’s Bio:


Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ron Gavalik is a seasoned freelance journalist and fiction author of the successful Grit City thriller series. As Publisher for Grit City Publications, he oversees the Emotobooks Revolution. Ron holds an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Point Park University. When not writing, you can find him in the outdoors of Southwestern Pennsylvania on his trail bike, hiking, or fishing


Did I not say cool? Well, I believe I did. All you Deviantart people– GET ON IT! 




PS- I just downloaded one!


New Review for Wildefire by Karsten Knight! 3.5/5!

WildefireWildefire (Wildefire, #1)

Karsten Knight

Release Date: July 26th 2011

Overall Impression (3.5/5) Pretty good!


Quick Shpeal:

Every flame begins with a spark. Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Vivi’s ‘View:

Truth be told, I started this book when I received it as an ARC about a year and a bit ago. For various reasons I made it to page 15 before forgetting about it completely. (Whoops!) Let not that careless error on my part reflect unto the quality of Wildefire itself – as a matter of fact I quite enjoyed it. 

There are a lot of positive comments that come to mind when I think about Wildefire. The characters were fun, the story was entertaining and witty, and there was never a dull moment. One aspect I enjoyed in particular was that the book doesn’t read the way an average YA paranormal romance novel does. At least two or three chapters passed before the paranormal element was introduced, and a very long while passed before the protagonist, Ash, found herself mixed up in the middle of something huge.

The latter half of that sentence is both a good, and a bad thing. It kept the mystery alive, but also forced me to wait for the “Big Reveal” page by page until it was finally introduced in the middle of the novel.

Another pleasant surprise what that the story encompassed several unexpected plot twists (A little out-of-the-blue) near the end, that left me shocked.  I am seldom shocked by plot twists that stir up in the climax a book, and these ones packed a punch. Me gusta.

I’d say Wildefire’s plot was its best asset, as opposed to the writing style, characters, and cliffhanger ending. Wildefire was not based around a romantic storyline, which was actually a refreshing change from the standard YA novel nowadays. Its plot was well paced, the transitions were nice, it never dragged too long or skipped over anything too quickly, and it flowed forward nicely. Still, there were a few topical details that could have been emphasized more to enhance the reader’s experience regarding the protagonist’s description.

I wanted to touch on a few of the flaws I found in Wildefire as well: specifically, the loose ends. During the actual novel there were a few sub-plots that kept it moving along that I quite liked. The unfortunate bit was that almost all of them were left unfinished. It’s just that irksome little tug in the back of your brain saying “…What happened to the blind girl from the beginning of the story?” or “If she is the god of the dead… why can’t she bring him back to life?” (I’m refusing to openly acknowledge any spoilers. You’re welcome reader).

Anyways, it is blatantly obvious that there is a sequel to Wildefire. The ending was an Grade-A cliffhanger, times 3 for all the loose ends and plot holes. Nonetheless, the novel is definitely worth a read – lots of good fun in this one!

In A Nutshell: A fun read that will keep you guessing. Great if you’re looking for witty banter, or are just in the market for a YA book different than the norm.





Vivi Valenz


(4/5) Cover (Great!)

(3/5) Originality

(4/5) Plot

(3.5/5) Characters

(2/5) Ending


(3.5/5) Overall Impression







New Review for the Blessed by Tonya Hurley! 1/5!

The Blessed (The Blessed, #1)

The Blessed

Tonya Hurley

Release Date: September 25th, 2012

[1/5] Overall Impression

Quick Shpeal:

From the author of the “New York Times” bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy–a boy who believes he is a saint.What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Vivi’s ‘View:

How to begin this review? A dramatic quote, a distinct opinion, a harsh statement, maybe a positive statement?

Long story short, I truly did not enjoy this book. The graphic beginning was an immediate turn off, the main characters were shallow and unrealistic, the minor characters were poorly developed, most of the book dragged, the writing was mediocre, not to mention there were quite a few plot holes and unresolved stories.

Religion is a touchy topic to write about, and as an individual I consider myself to be an unbiased Anglican. To other readers The Blessed could be interpreted as highly offensive, boring, seem stupid, irrelevant, or even unpleasant. I simply interpreted it as a poorly written book.

The Blessed is written in the third person, revolving around four main protagonists: Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, and Sebastian. Lucy is a Paris Hilton esque fame monster who sells herself to the limelight. Cecilia is a hardcore rocker who ran away from home to play music. Agnes is a teenage girl, a bit of a loner, who attempted suicide after having problems with her life. Sebastian is a clinically diagnosed “lunatic” who believes himself to be a Saint, along with the three other girls. As interesting as I’m building this book up to sound now, it falls flat in reality.

The graphic beginning was a seemingly out of place vision of bloody tears, vicious dogs, self fulfillment, and foreshadowing to events later in the story. It was really not an ideal beginning. Following this unfortunate start, the protagonists were introduced, none of whom I felt particularly attached to. There was a secondary character, Jesse, the celebrity blogger that sky rocketed Lucy to her fame, who was quite literally the only part of the book I enjoyed. Perhaps he was the only character I could relate to.

The author, Tonya Hurley, also incorporated a series of minor characters into the story, whose purposes were never really revealed. I kept waiting for some sort of resolution or mention of their existence later on, but none ever came. The Blessed’s final conclusion was comparable to the frayed tip of an old, weather-worn, rope. Too many loose ends to count.

Tonya Hurley’s writing itself was also far from the the best I’ve experienced as a book blogger. She had a tendency to over-use adjectives, making run-on sentences and awkward paragraphs a frequent occurrence. The wordy text in The Blessed forced its plot to drag more than a cross-dresser in a gay pride parade.

In any case, as a reader and skeptic, I found that The Blessed revealed a fair amount of information on the author’s point of view in the eternal Science VS Religion conflict.The antagonist of the story was a psychiatrist, Dr. Frey, who was basically the epitome of Science. All of the protagonists had ended up as his patient at one time or another, and he seemed to feel that religion could be cured with a prescription drug.

Frey was depicted as a man with a one track mind, who appeared to have no life outside of stalking the four teenage protagonists in their religious endeavours. I found the character of the Evil Dr. Frey to be a bit of a paradox. Why would the doctor send in gangs of men to murder the four protagonists, Saints Agnes, Cecelia, Lucy, and Sebastian reincarnated, if he himself was a non-religious man? Why should he bother if he doesn’t believe in any of it? Obviously, by creating the antagonistic character Dr. Frey, Hurley was projecting her opinion that religion succeeds science.

Personally, I found the constant repetition of this theme to be a little tedious. As a matter of fact, THIS WHOLE BOOK WAS TEDIOUS. I encourage readers to run and hide.

In a Nutshell: You don’t need to read this. I’m sure there are many better things you could do with your life.


Vivi Valenz

(4/5) Cover (Surprisingly Good)

(2/5) Originality

(1/5) Plot

(1/5) Characters

(1/5) Ending (This could be perceived as 5/5, because of the THANK GOD IT’S OVER factor.)

(1/5) Overall Impression







Paranormal Poetry #23

This paranormal poetry isn’t in association with one specific book, but as usual, is written by yours truly. 

I’d like to dedicate this poem to one of my best friends who is struggling with some tough problems right now.

I’ll always be here for you babe. <3


Beyond Goodbye


Beyond the trees.

Beyond the stars.

Where all lights fade,

There are no cars.


Beyond where you thought life could end,

This was how I lost a friend.


There lies a place, so far away.

No one could ever make you stay.

Stay if you like, but I’ll say again,

This was how I lost a friend.


They immerse you in your darkest desire

They dance around a burning pyre

Scream to the gods what they require

To keep still safe from those who conspire.


Conspirers yes, they live in us all.

In fact, mine yesterday placed a call

To a friend I once saw months ago

And lost herself to this place no one knows.


She answered the phone and declared with delight,

That we must see in each other, and then reunite.

Share all of our stories as we come and we go,

From and into the place where no one knows.


Now I find the place, after a long grueling journey.

Perhaps here I’ll stay here for all of eternity.

Living and laughing in this land of desire,

Dancing around a burning pyre.


The temptation is high, yet I must resist.

Must I return somewhere simpler than this?

Then I remembered my mission, temporarily dunce,

I’ll recover my friend and return home at once.


I stepped onto the threshold,

of the kingdom entranced.

I spotted some people,

as they screamed and they danced.


Amongst gnarled faces, I saw one that I knew.

Her eyes bore into mine, now so dark and now so shrew.

She snarled as her lips pulled back, then she stalked away.

That was when I saw her soul, and she won’t be coming today.


I painfully returned to my humble abode,

Living my life in a car on the road.

The road of life, in its twists and turns,

It one day may lead me to return.


To the place far beyond all the borders of man,

Perhaps one day I’ll truly understand.

All of the compulsions and all reasons why,

I’ve somehow lost a friend, beyond goodbye.


Poem composed by: Vivi Valenz


Paranormal Poetry #21

This week’s post for Paranormal Poetry is not particularly related to any one book, but as usual, is composed by yours truly. 

The View

Paper thoughts and paper dreams.

Carved into a stone.


What starts a spark dies as a flame.

Proclaiming how it’s grown.


An idea, a love, a passion, a whim.

The epiphany strikes, each her and each him.


A tirade of lightning crusading the sky.

It strikes down many, though none of them die.


Soberly left in a field of warm ashes,

The fragments of thoughts, there to ghost into gashes.


It is truly and only a caring few,

Who clutch at this moment, enjoying the view.


Later hunting the morsels in the idea zoo,

Thus satisfying the hunger within me and you. 


Lucky people are the few to have met,

This stunning vista, of un-regret.


Through all of the care and through all of the strife,

It’s the infrequent moment, where one changes one’s life. 


Poem Composed by: Vivi Valenz


New Review for Beautiful Creatures! 4/5!

Beautiful Creatures

(4/5) Overall Impression

In a Nutshell: Worth a read. Beautiful Creatures was a very thick book, both literally and figuratively. It had just the right amount of mystery, balanced with the supernatural, romance, and a hilariously small town. Plus it’s going to be a movie. What’s the golden rule? Always read the book before the movie.

Release Date: September 2009

Movie Release: February 2013

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Quick Shpeal:

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Vivi’s ‘View:

First off, I’d like to note that Beautiful Creatures was written in the perspective of a boy, Ethan Wate, which was instantly a differentiator that worked in favour of the book. The male protagonist was something that made me stop and say, “Oh, this is different.”

So, the stage opens to the middle-of-nowhere  town of Gatlin, located in South Carolina, USA. Me, being from a middle-of-nowhere town myself could instantly relate to the protagonist, and that drew me in.

Then they started with the American History lecture.

At the beginning of the novel, the civil-war aspect was a big turn-off for me. I’m not a fan of history, and found it hard to keep track of which side was which, who fought for what, and why. As the story progressed however, I began to enjoy it a little more. The townspeople’s lineage and the history of Gatlin grew to be a hilariously large part of some of the characters’ lives, much larger than when it had first been brought into the story. (And I do mean hilarious quite literally). It was a sort of joke on itself, intentionally slipped in there by the authors. 

A unique bit about Beautiful Creatures was that it had more than one antagonist. The effect could be better described as introducing several roadblocks that the protagonists have to struggle against in order to achieve their goals. It was an effective writing strategy. 

Pages turned, characters were introduced, secrets were uncovered, and soon I found myself in the middle of Beautiful Creatures. I loved the characters. There wasn’t a single one that turned me off, with the exception of Sarafine. Bottom line with her, she was a boring, A-Type, villain.

Oh, so you’re incredibly evil, and you want to encourage Darkness? 



Moving on to other characters, I loved Macon Ravenwood. He was definitely the highlight of the whole story for me. His character was developed nicely, and I genuinely enjoyed reading about him. Macon Ravenwood was cool, stealthy, smart, and quick with an eloquently phrased comeback. 

Part of what made Beautiful Creatures so enjoyable was that the book was never boring, and it was spaced out perfectly. Nothing was rushed, and nothing dragged on for too long. (With the exception of a brief period in the second quarter of the book, you just have to push through that!) This note applies to Ethan and Lena as a couple as well, they didn’t rush into their relationship, unlike so many other YA books in this genre. Thumbs up for being friends first!

In a final note, the climax of the story was completely brilliant. BRILLIANT. It was long, detailed, well written, carefully thought out, and exciting. I caught myself holding my breath several times, and couldn’t stop reading. 

In fact, I didn’t even mind the ending. *Cue shocked gasps from the audience.*


Vivi Valenz

(3/5) Cover (Meh.)

(4/5) Originality

(5/5) Plot

(4/5) Characters

(4/5) Ending

(4/5) Overall Impression





Happy June!

Hello one, hello all,

It has come to my attention that the deliciously warm month of June is now upon us!


…Just kidding. I’ll spare you that grotesque imagery.


Anyways, as you all know, with June comes exams, which are followed by school’s out, which is followed by SUMMER VACATION! HUZZAH!

My summer plans are as follows: two weeks away in July, working at a summer music course in composition and history, a week away in August, the removal of all four of my wisdom teeth (eurgh..) work towards next year’s science fair project, and of course, READING AND BLOGGING!

Yeah, it’s a bit of a courseload, but I’m looking forward to every minute of it!

… minus the surgery bit. Yuck.

So let us open the blinds and welcome the shining delight that is the summer’s golden rays of sun. When the sun decides to come out. Ironically as I type this I’m curled up in bed, freezing cold, with my laptop and some tea. 



Vivi Valenz

Ps: Did any of you guys see Dark Shadows? I missed the primetime showings at science fair and I dragged my family to another city so that I could see it. IT WAS AWESOME. *BurtonAndDeppGasm*




New Review for Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver! 4/5 Stars!

Before I Fall

(4/5) Overall Impression (I LOVED THIS BOOK!)

Release Date: March 2nd 2010

In a Nutshell: Read it. This is a beautiful story of self-growth, change, sacrifice and acceptance. I laughed and cried. Awesomely well written. What are you waiting for? READ IT. 

(Nom’d for the Best New Writer Teen Read Award back in 2010!) 

Quick Shpeal:

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Vivi’s ‘View:

I can’t say enough good things about this book. It was an easy read, and as soon as I picked it up I couldn’t stop. I dedicated an entire day and just blasted through it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a one-day-read-piledrive. 

Before I Fall is a journey of self-discovery and reflection. Samantha, the protagonist, starts the book as one character, then as the novel progresses she learns about herself and blossoms into a new person. Since Samantha’s last day on earth is repeated seven times, the happenings of the day aren’t really reflective of the storyline, but rather the characters themselves drive it forward. That is part of what made Before I Fall so addictive, I think. The characters were real, relatable, and constantly changing, so the character-driven plot was never boring. 

The reason why Before I Fall is missing a star, is because it wasn’t necessarily the most original book I’ve ever read. It was a little predictable, and definitely not the first book to be written about self-discovery and the value of life. On the plus side, the lack of new concepts didn’t take away from the story at all. It’s sometimes nice to read a book without any paranormal activity or mutant species involved for a change. 

Before I Fall’s ending was really powerful. Right from the first sentence, you know that the protagonist is going to die, but the impact of the death after her experience throughout the story is very moving. After I finished the book, it really made me think. Before I Fall came with a huge book hangover: a sort of haze that clouds your mind with thoughts, opinions, and aspirations you may hope one day to follow through with. The story puts life into perspective, and it leaves behind the open ended question, “What would you do if you could re-live your last day seven times?” The possibilities are literally endless. I’m not going to get into what I would do in those seven days, no, I think I’ll save that for another blog post, but I’m sure you see my point.  

As a concluding note, I’d like to say that Before I Fall was Lauren Oliver’s first book, and it is an incredible accomplishment for her to have written something so awesome on her first run-through. Worth a read 100%, just as any of Lauren Oliver’s books are. Miss Oliver– I am a fan.



Vivi Valenz

(3.5/5) Cover

(4/5) Originality

(4/5) Plot

(5/5) Characters

(4/5) Ending

(4/5) Overall Impression





Paranormal Poetry #20 … Not based on a book?

This poem, is not dedicated to any one book in particular. I composed it myself when I felt inspired. There’ll be a few like this coming up. Stay tuned! 


My favourite time of night or day,

Is not the day or night.


A sepia tone fantasy,

Is all that I desire to see.


Eyes stretch towards the setting sun,

Mine robotically invert.


The true beauty of late afternoon

Is not outside, but in a room.


Painted in a portrait frame

These rich room walls should be.

Complete and utter stillness,

Is what’s beautiful to me.


When something is in motion,

It sucks away the life.

No time to admire, shape or form

No time to watch the light.


But when stagnancy takes control,

And everything is silent.

It lets your mind expand to see,

The world that is behind it.


The world where everything is warm,

And nothing is restricted.

No rules, deadlines, or obligations

Just temptation for the exquisite.


Yet, when not a soul is stirring

It allows one to just think.

Romance those shades, from gold to grey,

That twinkle in this light.


Absorbed into a photograph,

A snapshot of the past.

The radiance to be captured cannot,

Nor will it ever, at last.


The shadow’s caresses fade to matte,

The magic dies away.

The night continues to stifle the spirit,

and make the world mundane.


For just a solemn hour,

This effect can be achieved.

So until the 23rd has passed;

Then once again, I’ll see. 



Poem composed by: Vivi Valenz

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"For Those Addicted to Books and Avoiding Rehab." ~Vivi Valenz