Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Artemis the Brave!


Name: Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Blog Name and URL (if you have one): Joan Holub: Author of Books for Children; Suzanne’s Place 
Any other places we can find you: JoanSuzanne

1. Tell us a little about yourself, the authors behind the series.

Joan: First off, hi Ashley, and thanks for having us on your blog! Now for the all about me stuff…I always thought I’d be an illustrator. I began as a graphic designer in advertising, then in children’s publishing in NYC. Then I became a freelance children’s book illustrator. Gradually, I segued into writing full time. I’ve written and/or illustrated over 130 books at this point. Everything from board/novelty books, early readers, picture books, and chapter/MG. I have two cats who hang out in my office and a house lined with bookshelves. I love animals, the outdoors, cookies, and my family.

Suzanne: I was an elementary school librarian before I began writing for children. I’ve published over thirty books now—all fiction— mostly chapter book and middle grade series, but also six picture books (including Library Lil, illus. by Steven Kellogg). I have two grown children, a husband, and one small, yappy dog. I live in the Seattle-area.

2. What is your series about?

The jacket blurb sums it up pretty well:  “Authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams put a modern spin on classic myths with Goddess Girls.  Follow the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.” The stars of the books are the four goddessgirls: Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis. Other prominent characters include Medusa (the mean girl), Pandora (Athena’s roommate), the Hero-ology teacher Mr. Cyclops, and the school principal, Zeus. And of course, all those cute godboys!

3. What inspired the series?

Joan: I’m a history fanatic and a museum addict, and I’ve always been partial to Greco-Roman mythology.  I really enjoy building these fictional stories on the frameworks of existing mythology as we’ve done in this series.  It’s fun to update the stories, but stay true to the myths for the most part. I have a long list of book ideas and book titles. I often start a book or series with only a title, and think…what could that be about. What if this happened or that happened? That’s how Goddess Girls was born.

Suzanne: Since our goddesses and our readers are ‘tweens we adapted the myths to make them “age appropriate.” It was fun to imagine the personalities and predicaments of our young goddessgirls and godboys based on their mythical adult counterparts.

4. What does your series mean to you?

Suzanne: Interesting question, Ashley.  One that I’m unsure how to answer, but I’ll take a stab at it.  The series means that I get to work with Joan, which is lots of fun. It also means that I’m learning more about Greek mythology than I ever knew before.  It means that Joan and I get lovely fan letters from girls who are enjoying the series, and—so far—that we’ve gotten to write/are writing four more GG books beyond the four we were originally contracted to do.

Joan: It is fun to have an ongoing series that means I get to chat with my pal Suzanne all the time and call it work. We like getting inside these goddessgirls’ heads and wondering why they act the way they do. All these girls are labeled in mythology. Athena is the brainy goddessgirl; Aphrodite is the beautiful one who knows all about love. What do these labels mean to them? Are they sure of themselves? How would I act in their shoes? If I were Artemis the brave huntress, for instance, I’m not sure I’d feel brave in every situation.

5. Random Questions, pick one or as many as you like and tell why.

Crayons or Color Pencils –

Joan: Color pencils. I have oodles of Prismacolor pencils from when I was mostly illustrating. Now that I’m writing, I use black Sharpies to brainstorm on yellow tablets. My illustration skills still come in very handy because I often create a book dummy in lieu of a manuscript when submitting a board, novelty, or picture book to an editor, even though I have no intention of illustrating the book myself.

Suzanne: Neither. Art/drawing is not my thing.  Just writing. Joan, however, is terrific at both writing and illustration.

Joan: Aw, thanks, Suzanne.

Anchovies or Pepperoni – 

Suzanne: Pepperoni, but I have a great spaghetti recipe that uses anchovies in the sauce.

Joan: Ack! I don’t eat beef or chicken and don’t like anchovies. I like Greek food, Italian, beans and rice, Cheerios, chocolate, and food in general.

Pink or Blue – 

Joan: Pink. The bright kind with glitter and sequins. I’m not flashy personally. But I think the Aphrodite the Beauty cover is my favorite because of the flashy pink.

Suzanne: Blue.  Salmon pink is okay, but most other pinks don’t go well with my auburn hair.

Cherries or Blueberries – 

Suzanne: Both! Pie cherries and blueberries are great combined in a pie, btw. 

Joan: Blueberries for sure! Suzanne actually makes jam, which impresses me.

Flip Flops or Sneakers –

Joan: Sneakers. But NC is flip-flop-ville in the summer. A friend and I sat in the Cheesecake Factory bar at lunch and watched all the women’s shoes coming in and out one day last summer. Only 3 women had on anything besides flipflops in an hour’s time!

Suzanne: Definitely sneakers. Flip flops are…well…too flip floppy for easy walking, and I like to walk a lot.

Thanks for the great questions, Ashley!  This was fun.
Joan and Suzanne

Thanks Joan and Suzanne for all the marvelous and witty answers. I always love getting to know the authors better. It seems to make the series have more meaning.

Set at the prestigious Mount Olympus Academy, Artemis along with her best friends Athena, Persephone, and Aphrodile, and her twin brother Apollo are there to learn to master their skills. When Orion, a new student to the academy enrolls, Artemis, who's usually the brave one is learning to deal with feelings she has when she's around Orion. Orion is a little too sure of himself and a little to selfish to really care about others around him. Artemis learns to over come the feelings of what it's like when your first crush doesn't like you the way you like them and the importance of being a true friend.

 One lucky winner will win a copy of Artemis the Brave from Joan and Suzanne!


Mandatory Entry:

Be a GFC follower of Passions by Ashley

Extra Entries:

+1 Be a GFC follower on Suzanne's Blog 
+1 Be a follower on Joan's Blog

Leave a separate comment for each entry. Leave email!

ENDS 2/11

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Award!

I was surprised to see that Breena at Writing and Reading nominated me for the Stylish Blogger Award!

As part of being nominated, there are some conditions involved:
  1. That you thank and link back to the blog that nominated you.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Award other recently discovered bloggers
  4. Contact said bloggers and tell them about the award!

Here are seven things you probably didn't know about me:
  1. I have a Chihuahua named Skittles.
  2. I have to close all doors and make sure the important ones are locked before going to sleep.
  3. I like rock music of all types.
  4. I am going to a nutritionist in Thomasville.
  5. I absolutely LOVE books. I steadily buy books even though I have no where to put them.
  6. I don't like for other people to lay, sleep, or anything on my bed.
  7. I do NOT like feet.
As for blogs that I love, here we go!
  1. Vampire and Tofu
  2. Black Nailed Reviews
  3. Blog with Bite
  4. Confessions of a Bookaholic
  5. Emily's Reading Room

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Artemis the Brave

Set at the prestigious Mount Olympus Academy, Artemis along with her best friends Athena, Persephone, and Aphrodile, and her twin brother Apollo are there to learn to master their skills. When Orion, a new student to the academy enrolls, Artemis, who's usually the brave one is learning to deal with feelings she has when she's around Orion. Orion is a little too sure of himself and a little to selfish to really care about others around him. Artemis learns to over come the feelings of what it's like when your first crush doesn't like you the way you like them and the importance of being a true friend.
The authors have done an amazing job with this unique twist on Greek mythology with the Goddess Girl's series. This is a series for young readers and for those of us who feel young, they are relatable and fun to read. This is a wonderful series for kids ages 8 and up. The characters are marvelous, even though they are immortal and have powers, they are still easy for girls to understand and relate too, as they deal with much of the same things they are dealing with.

I liked that the story has a little bit of everything. I got to see the girls together in action, as they learn to master their skills with some of the mythological beasts. I liked seeing Artemis and her brother Apollo at their archery competition, and while also seeing the girls dealing with normal girl stuff like crushes and friendship.

I highly recommend picking up this series. They are cute and light to read. They would be good to read to your little girls at bedtime.

Giveaway Alert: Peace. Love. Converses.: Any thoughts? + Giveaway!

Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day…a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda? Filled with shocking twists and turns, THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER is an engrossing gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end.

One lucky winner will receive an ARC copy of this book donated by Ashley @ Ashley's Bookshelf and Passions by Ashley

*ARC copy has a different cover than this book above.*

Check out the giveaway here to find out how to enter!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday's Question?

Have you ever received a TV and then got home and realized you didn't have anything to put it on? I have. CSN has the amazing TV stands that can put an end to this problem. No more watching the TV that is setting on the ground below eye view, hello to watching TV from a new level.

So my Friday question to you all is...what is your TV currently setting on? Any tutorials or ideas on how to spruce up your TV or stand?

I hope everyone participates and I also wanted to remind you of my upcoming CSN review and the Dreaming of Books Giveaway hop located in the top right sidebar.

Hot Promotion. Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

Click on this link here! For every 15 people you bring you will receive a $20 giftcard to Amazon!

Free Blog Designs!!

Have you always wanted a site to call your own? A place that represents you and is something that you always turn to no matter what? Then you need a blog and a blog design created specially by me. Here are some samples of the ones I have done below and at the end you will see how you can get your very own for FREE.

Your blog design will come complete with everything that is listed at the top of this page under Blog Design.

NOW are you interested in seeing how YOU could get your very own FREE blog design?

All you have to do is go this site and bid on this beautiful item.

I am offering anyone who bids a free blog design or a free item from my Etsy shop as long as it is not a diaper cake.

If you are interested and if you bidded then please email me at ashleysbookshelf at gmail dot com and with the answers to the questions under blog design in my navigation bar. Make sure to let me know what you want.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guest Post: Karilee Townsend author of Fused

Why MG Versus YA

I’m often asked why I chose to write MG versus YA. In all honestly, I didn’t really choose to write one versus the other. When I first started writing THE SAMANTHA GRANGER EXPERIMENT: FUSED, I set the story in high school. It was only after the book was finished that I realized it might work better as an Upper Middle Grade. A lot of YA these days tends to be darker and edgier. My story is more on the light and funny side. Mine is also full of action and adventure which really works well for that age group versus older teens. Not to mention a couple of my children who inspired this book by being obsessed with their gadgets, especially their cell phones, are in Middle School. That gave me the clue that this just might be right up their alley.

 I also thought about what it’s like to turn thirteen. That age is so full of new experiences and adventures. It’s a confusing yet exciting time in every kid’s life, but especially for girls in that age group. I have three boys and only one girl, so I love the idea of a girl superhero. There are not nearly enough positive role models out there, showing girls they can be the hero. They can be the ones to stand up and be strong and save the day.

I do enjoy writing YA as well and have some ideas brewing for future books in that age group as well. And, of course, I have an adult mystery series that debuts in August called TEMPEST IN THE TEA LEAVES: A FORTUNE TELLER MYSTERY. It’s also a lot of fun. No matter what genre I write, I always have quirky characters and humorous scenes. And I love paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi. The possibilities are endless in that realm so stay tuned J To find out more about me and all my books check out

Dreaming of Books Giveaway

Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer is hosting another marvelous giveaway hop!
Giveaway #1

Winner will receive a complete CUSTOM blog makeover! It will include-header, background, button, signature, rater, and an avatar if you like.


- Must have a BLOGGER layout (not Wordpress. Sorry!)
- Make sure to leave email.
Mandatory: Must be a GFC follower!
Extra Entries
+1 Follow me on Twitter (@ashleybookshelf) - leave separate comment
+1 "Like" Passions by Ashley [leave facebook  name] - leave separate comment
+1 Be my friend on Facebook - leave separate comment
+1 Leave a meaningful comment on this post
- +1 Leave a comment saying "voted" if you vote for me on Picket Fence.

Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry.
Also stop by here and enter this giveaway.
Don't forget to stop by my other blog: Passions by Ashley for another chance to win!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Beautiful OOAK Reborn Baby Kaitlyn Auction!

Today I bring you something a little different than books, but something that is just as wonderful. And that is an auction for a reborn baby by artist Ashlyn Nicole from The Stork's Nest. She does amazing job bringing these babies alive. I have always been in awe of them. Just to see something go from this:

to this:

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Below is the details of this gorgeous baby girl.

- Sugar sculpt by Donna Rupert 
- 18" long 
- 4 or 5 pounds
- Medium brown mohair hair  that was rooted with a 42 gauge needle for the "growing out of the scalp look". 
- Subtle veining and mottling
- Magnetic pacifier and hair bow s
-Full legs and 3/4 arms

She will come home to her mommy/daddy with:

- a receiving blanket
- a magnetic pacifier and hair bow
- a light pink dress
- crocheted booties
- birth certificate
- a small stuffed toy

For some of you who may be curious about the fabulous woman who created this baby then keep reading below.
I am a reborn artist and have been for about 1 year, and was a private artist and only selling to family and friends, but have decided to share my work with you! And either create your dream baby made exactly to your liking or you can pick from the already made babies! I hope to hear from you soon!
Here is some feedback that Ashlyn has received.
Thank you all for stopping by today. Now head on over here to check out this fabulous baby that is currently for sale. Act quickly so you won't miss out on a good deal. If you happen to contact Ashlyn make sure to tell her I sent you :]

Friday, January 7, 2011

Giveaway Alert: Two Year Blogging Anniversary

Pam at is having a two year blog anniversary. She is giving away tons of books and advance readers. The Grand Prize is a NookColor! Head on over to to enter.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interview with Nick Vandermolen

Here is a little background on Nick before we get started with the interview:
My name is Nick Vandermolen, president of Nan Bu Nan publishing. I have been writing and self-publishing on a small scale for 5 years. This year I have decided to broaden the scale of the company and take it to a more professional level. We have a new website launching in a few weeks and have partnered with a film and music video group called Hott Garbage, to enhance the quality of our marketing.
My publishing company is:
My tumblr is:

Any other places we can find you:

Google search “Vandermolen” and you might find some scary results. 

Also add Nan Bu Nan on Facebook.
Oh! And twitter’s cool too. Add @nanbunanbooks, and if you want something more bizarre add @Vandermolen.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, the author behind the series.

I moved to Chicago 2 years ago hoping I’d become a big time author…or at least get paid for it. I figured, heck, I’m pretty sweet. I’ll be roll’n in the dough in no time. I mean jeez, I had a degree in Creative Writing. Well, as it turns our, that degree don’t mean crap. And I have bad grammar. Nobody wanted to read my stuff; I’m too inaccessible THEY always say. My last book had over 300 footnotes. WTF!

Look, I don’t wanna be the guy that compromised so I can fit into somebody else’s mold. Aren’t we as authors and artists supposed to go against the grain of the world to eventfully shift the very nature of culture itself? A cultural brain change! So I said, “Hey, I’m the man, why not start my own publishing company.” I teamed up with Rick Boven and sure enough 2 years in the city and my publishing company Nan Bu Nan is a reality. What we got planned for you (royal you), oh! It’s just a little too secret. But keep your eyes on for all the latest action, live feeds, and newest books. 

2. What is your series about?
“I Hate Chicago” isn’t really a series at all. But, after 2 years, I’m sure I could make it one. The book is a collection of 5 distinct parts representing my first 3 months in the city. It exams the modern metropolis and debunks the fabled perks of city living. It starts back, when I first moved to Chicago with only 2 bags. My first apartment, I slept on the floor, using a towel for blanket and a sweatshirt for a pillow. Dude, that sucked.

It’s about a boy who thinks he a man. Thinks he’s all equipped for what the big ‘ol city has to throw at him. At college he was the big swinging dick, but in reality, in the city, he’s no better and no different then the ignored homeless man or the piece of trash blowing in the wind. And it’s about crawling and screaming, and crying and dieing…just to survive.

3. What inspired the series?
Well, dang. I didn’t have a job. I had no money. And everyone else was at work. Not a lot to do in the library while you procrastinate from filling out job applications. I wanted to be an author might as well act like one. You know L. Ron Hubbard said in a moment of non-scientologist clarity something like, “a hungry author is a good author.” I’ll tell you what, I was frigg’n hungry, for a while I just ate from a stash of 70 PBJ’s I had stashed in the fridge, which was next to my toilet. I also was under the belief that only people in their early 20’s can do new and creative work. So I was real driven. But I’ve since learned that a common misnomer, especially after hearing Robert Pattinson (Hott[?] vampire dude from Twilight) talk about the same plight in “Remember Me.”  

4. What does your series mean to you?
I like it because I wrote it and I’m the main character. Er…to be less egocentric it acts as a sort of mirror. In my bad days I can turn to the pages of “I Hate Chicago” and think, “At least I have a bed now,” or “I have a kitchen now, and food in the fridge.” I can look back and say, “I beat that game.” And it’s only been 2 years, heck, I own a publishing company. Where will I be in 2 more years? What about 10 years? Well, in 10 years I’ll probably be in another city…the White House? Perhaps.

5. Random Questions, pick one or as many as you like and tell why.

Crayons or Color Pencils
Color Pencils; Crayons don’t have the precision I require when I’m drawing pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Anchovies or Pepperoni
Anchovies; I’m a big fan of weird fish related appetizers. Here’s a picture of a hott meal I made the day after Christmas. I took a spoon and shoveled off hunks from a cheese ball, put it on a cracker, then topped it with a whole anchovy. There are 5 in the picture, but I made 8.

Pink or Blue
Dah, Blue; Blue is the most commonly liked color, I read that in National Geographic like 8 years ago. But I liked blue way before that.
Cherries or Blueberries - A few weeks ago I would have said Blueberries, for the anti-oxidants – important for ridding the body of free-radicals. But on this day, I say, Cherries; I’ve been trying to make a new alcoholic drink to name after myself, something for the bar at our Nan Bu Nan office. So I created this drink with orange juice, blue stuff, and a few other secret ingredients. But when I’m done blasting the brew I throw a cherry on top. I’m hoping it will get me babes…in marriage. So I would say cherries our better.

Flip Flops or Sneakers Flip Flops suck. What if you want to climb a tree? Wrong!

(A note from Nick) Thank you for interviewing me. We independent types have to stick together, one goes to the top, we all be bling’n all the way to the bank. It was totally fun. And I just want to add, there is a short film about my first 3 months in Chicago in post-production now. It’s called, “I Hate Chicago: In the Gutter with Nick Vandermolen.” Look for “In the Gutter,” on our site’s media page at,

Thanks Nick for joining me here today on Ashley's Bookshelf, I had fun and enjoyed all your witty answers. Feel free to come back anytime :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

100 Book Reading Challenge - 2011

This year I am going to try and participate in this challenge that is being held by Book Chick City. If you would like to join in then visit the button above!

Here are the books that I have read so far:

3. Halo (Currently reading)
4. Shadow of the Sun (Currently reading)
5. Blue (Currently reading)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Review: She Smells the Dead + Giveaway!

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like on TV. SHE SMELLS THE DEAD. Yuki is being visited in her dreams and suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. Will Yuki be able to save the spirits and herself?

My Thoughts

First things first I LOVE the cover of this book. The simplicity of it and most of all the mystery behind it. By looking at this cover I would never be able to guess that it was about psychic powers.

Stevens did a marvelous job at developing the characters - Yuki, Calvin, Emma, and Simon. Yuki is the one with the psychic ability to smell the dead. The smell can be anything in this case it is vinegar. Calvin is Yuki's loyal guy friend who is gradually becoming more and more irresistible. Emma is Yuki's vegan and headstrong friend. Simon, is Calvin's trainer and he is a tease. He constantly flirts with Yuki and calls her "love". He also has a serious side that can be frightening sometimes.

The story line was simple, an easy to read and understand. I liked the fact that the writing was like that of a real teen girl. It showed us what she was thinking and how she felt. This story was fun and I loved all the different twists and turns. I cannot wait to read the next in the series Spirit Storm which is available sometime in 2011.

Buy the book

Winner will receive my *SIGNED* copy of She Smells the Dead along with a bookmark and postcard!

- Must be a blog follower! - leave separate comment
- US ONLY - Unless willing to pay shipping!
- Leave a comment below with email addy

ENDS Jan 20, 2011

Extra Entries
+1 Networked Blogs Follower - leave separate comment
+1 add my button on your blog [leave link] - leave separate comment
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Thanks to E.J. Stevens for providing the book to review!

Winner of I Need Your Help Giveaway!

Congrats to...

Theresa @ TheCreativeWell said... 3 Know what I would do? Make a flyer with photos of your diaper cakes and pull off phone numbers/email... take them to the hospital and post them on the bulletin board in the waiting room of the baby ward :)

 Thanks to everyone who entered and for the awesome ideas. Don't forget to check out my She Smells the Dead giveaway that ends Jan 14th. It can be found in my left sidebar at the top under giveaways!

IMUA + Pearl Giveaway Winner!

 The winner of the pearl necklace set (and instructions) can be found at the Pearl Girls blog:

A great Hawaiian saying is "Imua!" which means to move forward with confidence and courage.  It's a great word for the upcoming new year as we explore new opportunities and perhaps face fears.

This week, I put into practice "imua" by facing my fear of ziplining.  Yes, I stepped off a wooden platform to soar across 1800 feet of the world's fifth largest caldera located in Kauai.  Encouraged by my teenage daughters, I faced my fear of not being in control of my destiny and took a leap of faith.">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344">

The excellent guides, Mitch and Chris of">Outfitters Kauai prepared us well for our ultimate "black diamond" zipline adventure.  We did several practice runs on what I thought were "big ziplines" but little did I know what was really awaiting.  The guides constantly reminded us that the most important lesson we all needed to learn to be safe was to "trust our gear."

True wisdom that I needed to hear.  For too long in life, I have "held on tightly" when what I should have done was to "let go and let God."  He provides "the gear" that we need to sustain us through the difficult moments of life as we soar across jungles.

So I guess my advice would be this:  "Face your fear and trust God's gear."  IMUA!!

What fear do you need to face this year?  What have you been holding on too tightly?  What does "imua" mean to you?

Margaret McSweeney is the founder of Pearl Girls (, the host of Kitchen Chat (, and an author. Her book, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, was published in 2009. Margaret is fast at work on a fiction manuscript (or three) and can be found blogging at From Finance to Fiction (