{teen} Book Scene: Interview with Kimberly Pauley, Author of Cat Girl’s Day Off

Kimberly Pauley has been a guest on the blog before, and her book Sucks To Be Me, is one of the first YA novels that I reviewed here.  I love her writing, so I was thrilled when she agreed to drop by and answer more of my questions.  Check out what she has to say about her latest release Cat Girl’s Day Off.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Cat Girl’s Day Off?

[Kimberly Pauley] Sure! In five words or less: Talking Cats. Ferris Bueller. Mayhem.

Longer…Natalie Ng comes from a Talented family. While her sisters can do stuff like levitate or blend like a chameleon, Nat can talk to cats. But it’s Nat’s Talent that lands her right in the middle of a celebrity kidnapping plot, crashing movie sets, and racing across Ferris Bueller’s Chicago. Can Cat Girl save the day?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Kimberly Pauley] I started with the basic idea of a character with a super power that they really didn’t like and didn’t think was useful. The plot really took off when I started adding in the Ferris Bueller-related bits (I was living in Chicago at the time).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Nat?

[Kimberly Pauley] Short. Snarky. Spunky.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Nat would never have in her bedroom?

[Kimberly Pauley] 1. Really expensive, really high heels (she’s just not that kind of girl).

2. Cliffs Notes. She always reads the books for class.

3. Peanut butter. Nat likes it, but her cat Meep hates it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Kimberly Pauley] My laptop (though I can write out things longhand) and…uh…well, maybe that’s it. I used to “need” other stuff, but now that I have a young son, I pretty much just grab whatever time I can! Though I am most productive when I go to a café WITHOUT WiFi.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kimberly Pauley] Well, first and foremost there’s my website at www.kimberlypauley.com. I’m on Twitter (er, too much) at www.twitter.com/KimberlyRPauley and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kimberly-Pauley/81688255502

I’m always overjoyed to hear from readers!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thanks!

You can order Cat Girl’s Day Off from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

About the book:

Nat Ng comes from a family of the super-Talented: levitation, lie-detecting, chameleon-like blending into one’s surroundings. Her Class D (as in dumb) Talent of talking to cats isn’t something they ever discuss and she’d rather no one—ever—knew about it anyway. Her life would be over if she became forever known as Cat Girl.

But when Nat’s celebrity-addicted best friends show her a viral Internet video of a celebrity blogger being attacked by her own cat, it’s only Nat who can see the true story. To solve the mystery and prevent a murder or two, Nat and her friends must race through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago from movie set locations (such as Wrigley Field) to the suburbs, accompanied by wise-cracking
cats. Perhaps Cat Girl might save the day after all!


Interview arranged by {teen} Book Scene

Review: Sports Illustrated Kids Pro Files: Baseball


Title: Sports Illustrated Kids Pro Files: Baseball

Publisher:  Time

ISBN: 9781603202381


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A must-have for every young baseball fan and player, "Pro Files: Baseball" showcases 15 of the big league’s hottest stars and fathers through "Sports Illustrated: Kids’" signature content: great writing, fun trivia, amazing statistics, and dynamic photography. Full color.


Even though I am not a huge sports fan, I enjoy reviewing these SI Kids books.  They are attractively packaged, engagingly written, and filled with glossy action shots.  In addition to giving tips on how to play like a pro, each featured player has an introduction which includes their stats and career highlights.  While this is nice, I appreciated the background information for each player even more.  The human interest elements made the book accessible to me, a self-admitted non-fan of baseball.  Each player also has a selection entitled Inside Information, which lists their favorite foods, movies, cartoon characters, and even video games.  That’s the stuff that I’m interested in.  It’s great to know all of Justin Verlander’s stats, but since I don’t get into the game, those are just random numbers to me.

I took this book to work to show to a co-worker, and he really liked reading through it, too.  He is a huge baseball fan, and while he questioned some of the players that were included, overall he agreed that the featured athletes were among the top of their game.  He liked the photographs, which are printed on bright, glossy paper and capture a variety of intense action shots. He agreed that the text will interest both fans and those not so enthusiastic about the game.  The tips are fun to read, too, though I doubt that I will ever be able to advance my skills to the level of Ichiro Suzuki or Dustin Pedroia.  Chris, on the other hand, insists that with practice, he will be able to pitch just like Verlander.  I remain slightly skeptical.

If you have a baseball fan at home, this would be a great purchase for them.  I bet that even reluctant readers will be cheerfully engrossed learning about the players, their backgrounds, and the secrets behind their moves. 

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher


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This is Not In My Mailbox

funny cat pictures - Lolcats: Ohai hooman

see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

While trying to the avoid getting caught up in the Drama that has been the YA blogging community the past week, I do have some strong opinions that I want to express.  If you are tired of the plagiarism scandal, please scroll down to the photo I have added to this post for your enjoyment. 

Early last week, Kristi from The Story Siren was busted for plagiarism.  Her lack of judgment was actually discovered by the fashion bloggers she stole content from way back in January, but at her request, they choose to keep quiet about the discovery after she deleted the posts with the filched content.  Jane from Dear Author and Sarah from Smart B*tches caught wind of the cover up and exposed her dishonesty on their blogs.  Why am I even mentioning this?  Because as someone who loves books and loves words, I am not going to support her blog any longer by linking to her site, participating in her memes or entering her contests.  I urge you to do the same, if you love authors and their words as much as I do.

I am writing this post on Wednesday evening because I will be out of town over the weekend.  Because Kristi’s published apologies are vague and don’t actually take ownership of her indiscretions, I am including links so that you can read about the mess for yourself.  Form your own opinion of how to handle the situation.  I have a very difficult time supporting a blogger, a prominent leader in the YA blogging community, as well as an aspiring author, after she has been caught stealing another’s words and representing them to the community as her own. 

After reading her two non apologies, I was appalled.  She did not take ownership of her misdeeds, and in order to truly be forgiven for a crime, the perpetrator needs to actually be remorseful for their actions.  She does not do that.  She instead worries about her connection with publishers and authors, with little regard for her readers, the sole reason for the existence of her blog.  Instead of fessing up for her plagiarism, she says that “It was a confusion of inspiration and plagiarism on my part.”  That left me in a confusion as to the sincerely of her apology.  She dances around the issue, instead of accepting her guilt. 

If you are interested in reading more about this, check out these links –

Rachel from Parajunkee’s View

Jane from Dear Author

Sarah from Smart B*tches

B from Beautifully Invisible

V from Grit and Glamour

These are bloggers that I respect.  They have integrity, they are well spoken, and they don’t shy away from the truth.  That is behavior that I expect from a “leader” in a blogging community.  What I don’t expect are lies and half-truths.  Plagiarism is a big deal.  It gets you kicked out of school or fired from your job.  I don’t understand the lack of concern from Kristi’s most ardent admirers.  The reason I hear is that she is nice.  Guess what, guys? People thought that Ted Bundy was a charming guy, too. 

To borrow a page from The Story Siren (see, I am giving her credit), I will be moderating any comments received on this post.  Insulting comments will be deleted.  I will be out of town most of Sunday, so comments probably won’t start showing up until later in the day.

And here’s your picture

cute animals - Daily Squee: Hamster Love
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Have a great Sunday!

Cover Shot! The Moonstone and Miss Jones by Jillian Stone

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I love the covers for Jillian Stone’s books.  She keeps winning the cover lottery.  This cover for the second book in her Paranormal Investigator series is sassy and fun.  I hope the book is too.  The Moonstone and Miss Jones hits stores October 2012.


In this dark and sexy sequel to The Seduction of Phaeton Black, Phaeton returns to England in time to help Doctor Exeter and the mysterious deadly Nightshades rescue London once again—this time from Professor Foucault’s destructive tinkering.

As the threads of existence begin to unravel, the eccentric scientist attempts to save his son’s deteriorating condition by replacing body parts with mechanical apparatus. Ah, but how to power them? The near mad professor believes he has found a way to unleash the arcane energy inside the Moonstone, and he needs Phaeton Black to help him do it.

When Phaeton is shanghaied in Shanghai, America Jones assumes the worst—that he has abandoned her in the Orient. An angry Miss Jones returns to London, where their spirited partnership takes an unexpected turn—a new business venture Moonstone Investigations. No uncommon psychical disturbance refused.

Well, why not mix business with pleasure?



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Review: Batman: Super-Villains Strike by Michael Teitelbaum


Title: Choose-Your-Own-Fate Adventure Book Batman: Super-Villains Strike

Author: Michael Teitelbaum

Publisher: Starscape

ISBN: 978-0765364814


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Batman’s instincts tell him that Catwoman, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy are all involved. But how could that be? They are all behind bars at Arkham Asylum. Batman knows these super-villains would never agree to work together…or would they?

Is a copycat criminal to blame? How could one person be in all these places at once? Follow the clues with Batman and then make your own choices for how the story will go. Can you help Batman solve this mystery? Will you be able to put the criminal—or criminals—behind bars and save Gotham City from chaos?

These DC Super Hero “interactive” stories will incorporate fabulous DC art along with puzzles and games to guide the reader through multiple outcomes of the story. The puzzles and games will appear at random chapter endings providing clues to help the reader decide where to go next. Familiar interactive elements, for readers otherwise absorbed with online games and other digital devices, these original concept books will add a new level of excitement and challenge for the reader.


I received this unsolicited Choose-Your-Fate Adventure Book, and since I am a big fan of both Batman and choosing your own fate, I sat down with it and put the book through its paces.  Intended for readers 7 – 10, Batman: Super-Villains Strike keeps poor Batman on his toes from the first page.  Four of the most dangerous criminals in the world are committing crimes in Gotham City, even though you, as Batman, are certain they are all still behind bars in Arkham Asylum.   Dodging one villain after another, you are desperate to catch Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Mr Freeze, and The Riddler red-handed and hustle them back to their jail cells.

While I love the concept of these choose your own adventure books, I am not fond of the execution of this one in particular.  The continuity is not smooth, and there were several paths I traveled along that jerked me from one location to another with no explanation, and worse, from one villain encounter to another without regard to events in the chapter I launched off from.  Several times I was chasing after Catwoman, picked a path, and was suddenly pondering riddles from The Riddler, even though I hadn’t encountered him previously in my adventures.  I didn’t even know he was out of jail yet.  This was frustrating when it happened.

To assist me in my crime-fighting journey, there are several puzzles that I had to solve that added variety to the adventure.  Word searches, mazes, and scrambled words gave the book a more interactive feel.  I enjoyed these little brain teasers, and would have liked to see more of them.

One thing I didn’t like was having to search for chapter numbers.  I wish instead that I had been directed to a specific page number, instead of the numbered chapters.

Continuity issues aside, this book will keep younger readers occupied during wait times or trips in the car.  Just don’t be surprised if they ask you where The Riddler or Poison Ivy suddenly came from!

Review copy provided by publisher


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Review: Weekend Agreement by Barbara Wallace


Title: Weekend Agreement

Author: Barbara Wallace

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

ASIN: B007KM61M2


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Cynical billionaire Daniel Moretti works hard, plays harder, and has one ironclad rule. Never trust a woman. Bad news for historian Charlotte Doherty who shows up at exactly the wrong time. Like every other woman in Daniel’s life, Charlotte wants something from him–the deed to her family farm. Daniel agrees, but only if he gets something in return: Charlotte’s company for the weekend!

The property is Charlotte’s only link to the mother she never knew. Desperate to keep her history alive, she’ll accept Daniel’s indecent proposal, but not without a few terms of her own. Namely, a propriety clause. No flirting. No kissing. No sex.

Daniel has no intention of honoring her conditions, but after one weekend with Charlotte leaves him hungering for more, he can’t help wondering if she could be the exception to his unbreakable rule…


When I picked up Weekend Agreement, I was in the mood for something fast, that didn’t require a lot of brain power.  That’s exactly what I got.  As long as I didn’t try to overanalyze the plot, I enjoyed my time spent with Daniel and Charlotte.  Once I started to question some of the story threads or comments made by the characters, I was jarred right out of the book, though. 

Charlotte has discovered, much to her dismay, that her brother has sold the family farm to Daniel Moretti, a billionaire businessman who has plans to develop the land and make himself even more money.  Charlotte is desperate to buy the house on the property back, because she feels that it is the last connection she has to her mother.  After being abandoned by her mother when she was a child, Charlotte has struggled to understand why her mother would leave both her and her brother.  When she was killed in a car accident, any hope of a reconciliation was lost forever.  Instead, all Charlotte has to remember her mother is the house that was in her family for generations.  Reluctant to let this last piece of her mother go, Charlotte agrees to act as Daniel’s escort to a weekend party in return for the opportunity to repurchase the house from him.

Daniel is shouldering a lot of emotional baggage as well.  His mother is only interested in climbing higher on the social ladder, and she doesn’t hesitate to use Daniel’s notoriety to launch herself up a few more steps.  Unable to trust anyone, Daniel has only allowed himself to be in meaningless relationships with socialites, careful to keep himself emotionally distant, and, in his mind, safe from messy romantic entanglements.  He is immediately suspicious of Charlotte and her motivation behind offering to buy back the house.  Since his current arm candy has been seen hooking up with a director, though, he is in need of a companion to attend his parent’s anniversary party.  He makes a deal with Charlotte; if she goes with him for the weekend, he’ll sell the house back to her for what he paid for it.  After demanding a propriety clause be included, Charlotte agrees, despite her misgivings.

I’ll share a secret with you.  I don’t usually read the synopsis before I decide to read a category romance.  I have been reading them for years (decades, to be honest), and other than a few tropes that I don’t care for (pregnancy being the main offender for me), I don’t really read these stories for the plot.  I read them as an escape from reality, so I can kick back for a few hours and forget about things like paying my mortgage, the rising cost of groceries, and all of the other stresses of life.  I like the disconnect from my daily worries, and if I happen to connect with the characters, so much the better.  These are brain candy, and even after reading hundreds of them, I can never get enough of them.

I wasn’t able to completely disconnect from real life for a couple of reasons.  They weren’t deal killers, but they jarred me out of the story.  Daniel suffers from extreme motion sickness.  So do I. If I’m not driving, I become nauseated during car rides.  When I was a young child, I remember vomiting in plastic bags during trips in the car.  It was mortifying.  Then I was given Dramamine, and didn’t get sick anymore.  I went on a vacation on a small cabin cruiser when I was an older teen, relying on a patch to keep my sea sickness at bay.  Even in rough waters, I did not feel sick.  So I wondered why Daniel, billionaire businessman, didn’t go to the doctor and get a prescription for motion sickness medication.  It had no side-effects, and I was able to enjoy my vacation.  This attempt to give Daniel a chink in his tough outer shell did not work for me.  At all.  When he was suffering from motion sickness, I just wanted to yell, ‘Take a freaking pill! They even have non-drowsy formula now!”

Daniel’s dysfunctional family is one-dimensional, too.  Their sole purpose is to stir up discord between Daniel and Charlotte, or in the case of Daniel’s drunken brother, to throw them together.  His mother is worthy of being the star villainess of a soap opera, as she only thinks of herself and her youngest son, Cole.  Daniel is only tolerated because of his deep pockets and his ability to fund Cole’s half-hearted attempts at making his own fortune.  When Charlotte, a history professor, shows up on Daniel’s arm, his mother is not pleased.  She doesn’t hold much regard for Charlotte, her career, or the book she has published.  His mother had been expecting his previous squeeze, an up and coming actress, to attend, and had even arranged for a magazine to come out for a photo shoot of the proceedings.  Charlotte is a nobody whose presence at her party won’t add any glamour to the event.  A master manipulator, Vivian is scornful and dismissive of Charlotte.  Needless to say, their relationship starts off on the wrong foot and only gets rockier as the story continues.  Vivian is one of those characters you love to hate, and I wish she had been given a little more depth so that she could have been even more love to dislike.

Despite a few misgivings about Weekend Agreement, I really could not put it down.  I gobbled it up in just a few reading sessions.  If you enjoy series romance, you will enjoy this read.  Just switch on over to auto-pilot first, for a more fulfilling reading experience.

Grade: Waffling between a B and a B-

Review copy provided by publisher


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Interview with Barbara Wallace, Author of Weekend Agreement and Giveaway!

Barbara Wallace is the author of Weekend Agreement, as well as several other romance novels.  Barbara is a new to me author, so I was delighted when she stopped by to chat about her book. She even brought along a digital copy for one of you to win!  Check out how to enter after the interview.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Barbara Wallace] A hopeless romantic who battles inner critics and doubt crows to love stories about ordinary people. Oh and I can’t spell.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Weekend Agreement?

[Barbara Wallace] Can I have more than 140 characters J  Seriously, Weekend Agreement tells the story of Professor Charlotte Doherty who, in order to regain the last link to her dead mother, agrees to step in and play billionaire Daniel Moretti’s date for the weekend.  I like to think it’s a story about overcoming the demons in your past and about letting yourself be loved.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Barbara Wallace] I have a huge weakness for broken characters.  I knew I wanted to do a story about a man who, despite outward and initial appearances, was really, deep down, afraid of rejection.  Thus Daniel was created.  The story sort of grew from there.  The version that finally made publication, by the way, is not the original version at all.  It’s been revised several times.  In fact, originally, Daniel’s name was Daniel Harrington!  He decided to change it after a few versions.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Barbara Wallace] I think for me, there were two challenging aspects.  The first was making Daniel sympathetic.  When you first meet him, he pretty much dislikes women.  The key was to give him such a miserable back story that his cool exterior makes sense.  The second – and I struggled a lot with this – was giving Charlotte a strong enough motivation to go on this trip.  I wanted her issues to be very similar to Daniel’s – that is, a lonely childhood, a past that is prohibiting her from growing, etc.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Charlotte?

[Barbara Wallace] Intelligent, naïve, romantic

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Daniel would never have in his bathroom?

[Barbara Wallace] A second toothbrush, tampons, scented shower gel

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Barbara Wallace] Hmm, that’s a tough question.  My greatest creative influences…. Well, if we’re talking about people, then I would say that there are a number of writers whose writing is just so amazing, I’m inspired to be just like them.  Barbara Hannay, Deborah Smith, Martha Grimes.  In addition, maybe because it’s my generation, by I’m strongly inspired by television.  I grew up when Luke and Laura were at their peak of popularity.  Believe it or not, I learned a lot about sexual tension, about pacing, about romantic payoff, etc. from watching soap operas in the late 70s and the 80s..  Writers like Doug Marland and Agnes Nixon were trailblazers when it came to creating character-driven drama. 

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Barbara Wallace] Coffee!!!! That’s the first thing.  The second is a good spiral bound notebook with pencils, and the third is my Alphasmart.  (I tend to switch back and forth between media when working).

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Barbara Wallace] Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s the last book you read that knocked your socks off?

[Barbara Wallace] Second Chance Family by Winnie Griggs.  I loved it.  There was a sweetness to the story that I can’t put into words.  Her characters felt very real.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Barbara Wallace] I have a teenage son who is getting ready for college, so right now my time is spent touring schools and filling out financial aid forms.  When I’m not immersed in the college application process, then I love to read (of course).  My family and I are also huge Big Bang Theory fans so Thursday nights is must watch TV night.  Finally, my husband and I love just sitting on our deck and watching the wildlife in our back yard.  During the summer, we get up very early in the morning before the rest of the neighborhood and simply enjoy watching the day break.

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Barbara Wallace] They can follow me on Twitter at @BarbaraTWallace; on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/BarbaraWallaceAuthor or by email atBarbara@barbarawallace.com   I’m also part of a blog called The Moody Muses (www.moodymuses.com)  We talked about the ups and downs of writing life.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!


Want to win a digital copy of Barbara’s Weekend Agreement? Thanks to Entangled Publishing and Barbara, all you have to do is fill out the widget to enter for a chance to win.  Following will get you extra entries, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway p>Didn’t win? You can purchase a copy of Weekend Agreement from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below

Cover Shot! Sacrifice the Wicked by Karina Cooper

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Yes, strip the clothes right off of that hunk of manliness.   I just received a copy of the first book in Karina Cooper’s Dark Mission series (which also has a guy being divested of his attire), and I really want to read it!  I love this cover for Sacrifice the Wicked.


No blurb yet, but YUM, this is a nice cover!
In stores Sept 2012



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