Thursday, January 31, 2013

Audio Review: Winter

Winter by John Marsden

Type: Audio book provided by Publisher

Rating: 3 Stars

I was surprised that Winter was such a short story. Most audio books range from seven to fourteen hours and this was only three. Winter's parents died when she was six years old and she was sent away to live with distant relatives. At sixteen she makes the decision to return home and live in her childhood home. She doesn't remember exactly how her parents died and she feels that if she returns home it will make sense. With no one to look after her Winter has become strong headed and sometimes comes across as bratty. I found it hard to connect to her. As the story goes on she finds out that the people left to care for her home were taking advantage of her. The more times she spends at her home she starts having flashes of memories. She also begins to investigate her parents deaths, but the truth is something she never saw coming.

If you like short mystery novels then I would suggest giving Winter a try.

Audio:This is the first time I have listened to Katie Hosking and it was not a great experience. Winter was published by Bolinda, an Australian company, so the narrator has an Australian accent that was hard to understand. Katie also speaks pretty fast and some of the words blur together. I constantly kept having to rewind the track and if I didn't concentrate I would miss things.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Triple Threat Blog Tour

I'm happy to welcome one of my favorite authors Jennifer Lynn Barnes! Jen is part of the Triple Threat Blog Tour and today she is talking about Nobodies, Nulls and Real World Psychology. Stay until the end of the post because there are two chances to win great prizes!

Nobodies, Nulls and Real World Psychology

The basic premise behind NOBODY is that people have a certain metaphysical energy to them, and when we interact, we exchange this energy. When someone makes a strong impression on you, that’s actually their energy leaving a strong mark on yours. All emotions that we feel for each other also trace their way back to these exchanges. In short, energy is what lets people love and be loved. It’s what lets us make our mark on other people and the world.

On the first stop of this blog tour, I talked some about Nobodies (who don’t have enough energy and therefore cannot matter to other people). But in developing the rules of this world, I actually drew a large portion of my inspiration from the flip side of the coin. In the books, “Nulls” are described as having so much energy that they cannot be affected by other people. They can be loved, but they cannot love others. Human beings do not matter to them—and in the Null’s eyes, people have virtually the same moral status as objects. They can be used and discarded, broken or played with. This is a terrifying idea, but it’s also one that is very much grounded in real-world psychology.

Psychopathy is defined in large part by the absence of empathy for other people. Psychopaths report reduced experiences of fear, as well as no remorse for their crimes. While getting my PhD in developmental psychology, I was once sitting in a lecture on psychopaths, and the lecturer put up a quote from a psychopath who’d been shown a picture of a woman making a fear face and who had been asked what emotion she was feeling. The psychopath’s reply was something along the lines of “I don’t know what that’s called, but that’s the face women make right before I stab them.” When asked why they feel no remorse for killing people, psychopaths often indicate that they don’t understand what the big deal is—after all, the world is full of people. Why would a couple here or there really matter?

Those lectures were the things I kept coming back to as I came up with the world-building for this book: what kind of supernatural or science fiction framework could explain a total lack of human empathy? And if individuals who can be loved, but cannot feel love exist, what about the reverse? From there, everything fell into place: the psychopathic Nulls, the secret society dedicated to hunting them, the maximally unnoticeable individuals who would make the perfect assassins, and the psychological costs to someone who could feel empathy to be raised to kill those who could not.

One lucky person will win a finished hardcover copy of Nobody and the new paperback edition of Every Other Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jen talking about Every Other Day:

The Triple Threat Blog Tour Grand Prize

* There are a total of 15 pieces to the puzzle - one for each stop on the tour.
* Collect all 15 pieces to reveal the cover of Infinityglass by Myra McEntire (pubbing in July)
* Submit the assembled cover via the following link by no later than 2/12 at 10pm ET. You will be entered to win the 6 book Grand Prize Giveaway of: Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Nobody and Every Other Day, Kate Ellison's Butterfly Clues and Notes from Ghost Town and Myra McEntire's Hourglass and Timepiece.
* The puzzle can either be assembled electronically or a picture of the assembled printed pieces is also acceptable
* The winner and completed cover will be posted on Myra McEntire's blog on 2/13.

Be sure to stop by the other blogs on The Triple Threat Blog Tour:
Tuesday, January 22nd – Read for Your Future
Wednesday, January 23rd – I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Thursday, January 24th – Pageturners
Friday, January 25th – Read, Breathe Relax
Monday, January 28th – Evie Bookish
Tuesday, January 29th – Reading Teen
Wednesday, January 30th – Cari’s Book Blog
Thursday, January 31st – YA Books Central
Friday, February 1st – Once Upon a Twilight
Monday, February 4th – Bookhounds
Tuesday, February 5th – Luxury Reading
Wednesday, February 6th – Good Choice Reading
Thursday, February 7th – I Read Banned Books
Friday, February 8th – All Things Urban Fantasy
Monday, February 11th - Supernatural Snark
Tuesday, February 12th – Mundie Moms

Monday, January 28, 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Out of all the giveaways this is the one I couldn't miss. I don't know if you have noticed but I mainly blog about YA novels. Make sure to fill out the rafflecopter form and be sure to read the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and BookLove101 for hosting this giveaway hop!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Audio Review: Of Poseidon

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Type: Audio Book Purchase

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Do you like hot guys, shark attacks, romance, and a bit of a mystery? Well then, look no farther then Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. I loved this book! I found Of Poseidon to be a refreshing break from dystopia, vampires and darker YA.

Emma is on vacation when she runs into a gorgeous guy. I mean WHAM like literally runs into him. This is one of my favorite scenes, because it’s not only funny, but something I can see happening to me. Only the gorgeous guy isn't a guy, but Galen the prince of the Syrena. When Emma finds out, she of course, thinks mermaids, but Syrenas are descendants of Triton and Poseidon who were Syrena generals and not gods. Emma can't believe her luck when she embarrasses herself in front of a gorgeous stranger. But after a tragic accident, Galen realizes that Emma might not just be some clumsy human and decides to show up in her life to find out.

I also recommend reading Legacy Lost, a short prequel novella that answers a few questions about the characters in Of Poseidon.

Anna's writing is witty and will have you smiling. I can't wait for Of Triton, the sequel to Of Poseidon. Anna Banks is going on tour this summer, if you get a chance to meet her, tell her I said hi!

Audio Review: This is the first time I have listed to anything by Rebecca Gibel and she does a good job. She has narrated a number of novels including Splintered by A. G. Howard and Undeadly by Michele Vail.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Local Event: Montgomery County Book Festival

Texas have you heard about the Montgomery County Book Festival? It's a huge event hosted in Houston the first Saturday in February. This event is a little different because it's not just YA authors and there will be writing workshops as well. Are you planning on attending? I'll be there, so I hope to see you there too!

Montgomery County Book Festival
Location: Lone Star College - Montgomery
Date: Saturday, February 2, 2013
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Admission: FREE

Festival Schedule

9:00 - 10:00 am Registration, Book Sales and Entertainment in Commons

10:00 am Keynote address in Theater with Jonathan Maberry

10:45 am Session I Author Panels / Writing Workshop - Beginner

11:30 am Author Signing Session I

Noon Book/Concession Sales Special Keynote Presentation with DeeAnne Gist

1:05 pm Session II Author Panels / Writing Workshop - Intermediate

1:50 pm Author Signing Session II

2:10 pm Session III Author Panels / Writing Workshop—Advanced

2:55 pm Author Signing Session III

3:15 pm Keynote Address in Theater with Sherrilyn Kenyon

4:00 - 5:00 pm Closing Author Signing Session

Jonathan Maberry - Opening Keynote Speaker
Deeanne Gist - Special Lunch Keynote Presentation
Sherrilyn Kenyon - Closing Keynote Author
Remaning Authors in Alphabetical Order
Jill Alexander
E. Kristin Anderson
Kathi Appelt
Kendare Blake
Anita Bunkley
Rachel Caine
Suzanne Crowley
Lindsay Cummings
Carolee Dean
Tracy Deebs
Wendy Delsol
Brian Falkner
Janet S. Fox
David McGinnis Gill
Bethany Hegedus
CC Hunter
Sophie Jordan
Diane Kelly
Jacqueline Kelly
Mary Lindsey
Kimberley Griffiths Little
Nikki Loftin
Diana Lopez
Mari Mancusi
Lisa McMann
Anna Meyers
Jenny Moss
Mike Mullin
Joy Preble
Cory Putnam Oakes
Bettina Restrepo
Victoria Scott
Janni Lee Simner
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Greg Leitich Smith
Dom Testa
Jo Whittemore

For more information visit:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Uncommon Criminals

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (Heist Society, #2)

Source: Purchased

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

No one can pull off a heist like Ally Carter! Simply brilliant! Katarina Bishop comes from a family of criminals. They are best at stealing high price art, forgery, and running cons. Kat has been helping in the family business since she was three, but when she turned 15 she walked away from it all. Then in Heist Society she was pulled back in by her family to help with a job. Kat lead the team who robbed the biggest and most secure museum in the world.

In Uncommon Criminals she spends her time stealing back stolen art and returning it to its rightful owners. Kat has pushed her family away and takes unnecessary risks. Hale, her only friend (who happens to be super hot and my dream boyfriend) is upset that Kat doesn't include him. Hale and her cousin Gabby worry that Kat is consumed by the danger of doing these jobs alone. The truth is, she doesn't want to include them, because the jobs she pulls aren't going to make them any money. Kat is simply using her skills to set things right in the world. When Kat and Hale are approached to steal the Cleopatra Emerald, which is rumored to be cursed and is a job that is strictly forbidden by her family, she of course decides to take the job. With help from Hale and Gabby they successfully steal the Cleopatra Emerald. Only it turns out that this time Kat is the one being conned. Kat was so caught up in helping return the emerald to its rightful owner, that she made a huge mistake and will do anything to set it right.

Kat is trying to find her way in the world. She knows she doesn't belong in school, but stealing for profit isn't the life she wants. I am in awe over how much I loved Uncommon Criminals. I have read other books about thieves, but hands down Ally Carter is the best! If you haven't read Heist Society drop everything and read it now. Perfect Scoundrels the third book in the Heist series will be available February 5th. Ally Carter will be in Houston at Blue Willow Bookshop on February 5th, so if you can't make it to Houston you can still order a signed copy online. Blue Willow Bookshop also ships all over the world, so if you're not in the US and are a fan of Ally's you can still get a signed copy of her book!

To learn more about Ally Carter visit:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mini Review: Double Crossed

Double Crossed by Ally Carter

Source: Free eBook

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Fans of Ally Carter are going to love Double Crossed. I've only read the Heist Series, but I can see why fans love Macey McHenry from the Gallagher Girls. In Double Crossed, Hale from Heist Society and Macey McHenry from the Gallagher Girls attend the same event. When the event gets highjacked it's up to Hale and Macey to make sure the thieves don't hurt anyone and not let them steal what they are looking for. Hale and Macey receive a little outside help from Kat of Heist Society and Abby of Gallagher Girls. I loved that the story is told from Hale and Macey's point of views. You get to see little glimpses of how Hale feels about Kat.

If you have read Heist or the Gallagher books then get this ebook! I hope that Ally Carter publishes more short stories. Maybe one with Uncle Eddie or Kat's cousin Gabby!

Get your free copy of Double Crossed from wherever ebooks are sold including Blue Willow Bookshop.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Nobody

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Type: ARC provided by Publisher

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Nobody is so different from anything in YA today. Nobody is a unique story that moves quickly, but since you don't have a lot of characters with their own story line the story is very plot driven. At the same time readers will never feel lost or rushed. Nobody has something for everybody, it's not just another girlie novel a la Twilight, there's plenty of action for the guys too.

Nix is a Nobody. He is easily forgettable and that makes him a great candidate to be an assassin. Nix grew up in a facility where starting at the age of five they would wake him with a knife to his throat to train him to disappear or bury him underground to make sure he wouldn't panic. Nix has never questioned an order until he is sent to kill Claire.

Barnes brilliantly captures the moment when Nix and Claire meet and he feels like it's the first time anyone has noticed him. Only it's those exact feelings that make him extremely nervous. Nix will battle with wanting to know why she can focus on him and at the same time wants to push her away.

Claire is so strong. I know at first glance you think Nix, the trained assassin is the strong one, but Claire has surpassed him. Claire grew up being forgotten and without friends, but she built a way to cope. I like that she never gives up and isn't whiny. Claire just tells herself she has to be better, funnier, and nicer. Then one day a guy is standing outside her window with a gun pointed at her.

I think there is room for a prequel and for an adult mystery and suspense fans looking to start reading YA I would highly recommend starting with Nobody. I really like that Jennifer Lynn Barnes always writes strong female characters. She also does a great job of giving readers an ending, but leaving enough room to come back and possibly write more. I'm a big fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' writing and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Event: Gayle Foreman

I'm excited to share pictures from the first YA event of the year in Houston. Gayle Forman is on tour promoting her new book Just One Day. I was glad to see a number of bloggers in the audience and Gayle did a great slide show and reading. I picked up Just One Day, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. The blogosphere and twitter are buzzing about it which of course makes me happy and nervous. Are you planning on reading Just One Day?

Thank you Penguin, Dutton and Blue Willow Bookshop for a great event!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WriteOnCon Guest Post

We here at WriteOnCon have decided that we sleep too much. To rectify that, we're organizing a mid-winter "Luck 'O the Irish" pitch-fest, where agents, book bloggers, and authors will team up to read and vote for the best pitches of 2013.

You read that right! A pitch-fest! At WriteOnCon!

But you won't need a pot 'o gold--or a lucky leprechaun--to participate, because our goal is to make sure you're well prepared. After all, we have bonafide literary agents coming to this thing! Yes, they will be reading the pitches, and yes, they are looking to sign clients. It could be you!

Not a writer? WE STILL NEED YOU! We're recruiting book bloggers and readers to spread the word and to vote for their favorites. Advocate for the books you want to see published--contact us at to become an official WOC 2013 Pitch-Fest Blogger. You'll even get a special button. Ooooo. Shiny buttons.

The details:
--Pitch-fest runs from March 18-22. Authors, book bloggers, readers, and our fabulous literary agents will be voting on the pitches. The favorites in each category will win prizes, including some great agent feedback or membership in the official WriteOnCon mentorship program!

--There will only be a limited number of pitches accepted. That number is unknown at this time, because it depends on how many agents attend. We're still recruiting agents and will let you know the final numbers as soon as we do! Pitches will be selected randomly, so it doesn’t matter what time zone you live in.

--The agents have selected their top three genres, and pitches will ONLY be accepted in those genres. Again, all genres are unknown at this time as we're still finalizing agents, but don't worry. We will make announcements about genres and numbers as things solidify (sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss a thing!). At this time, we are only focusing on the children's market, so you can know now that this pitch-fest will focus only on middle grade and young adult genres.

--We're announcing this now, before all details are finalized, because we're running a "perfect your pitch" workshop in February. This will take place in the WriteOnCon forums, and will work much the same as the query critique boards do during the annual WOC. You will post your pitch, and your peers will critique it. We will have posts from industry professionals on writing pitches and genre classification.

We're doing this for a good reason. We want your pitch to be as perfect as possible once the submission window hits in March. We will only be accepting your entry for the pitch-fest one time. We will not change your genre or edit your pitch after it has been submitted. This workshop during February is the time for you to fine-tune your pitch and get feedback about which genre your novel really belongs in.

--Only one pitch per person. Put forth your best work.

--Pitches should be for polished and query-ready novels only. That means if you haven't finished your novel yet, you shouldn't pitch. Still revising? Don't pitch. The agents attending are looking for material, and when they request, you want to be ready to send out your novel. We're announcing early to give you time to finish!

Dates to know:
February 18-March 10 - Forum peer pitch critiques (Carolin has the forum boards built! Check them out HERE)
March 11-13 - Submission of final pitches (this will be done through a Google form, NOT in the forum--details to come!)
March 14-17 - We build the boards in the forum (they will be hidden until March 18)
March 18-22 - Voting and commenting by literary agents, mentor authors, and book bloggers

We can't wait to see you at the Luck o' the Irish Pitch-Fest! Watch the WOC newsletter and site for more updates as we get closer to liftoff. Yeah, that was totally a mixed metaphor.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Event: Magnus Flyte

Saturday I attended my first book event of the year. Murder by the Book hosted Magnus Flyte, the pseudonym for Christina Lynch and Meg Howrey. When asked why they wrote under a male name they said studies show men are less likely to buy a book written by a woman. So they figured for two women it was best to write with a male name and trick men, like we women do. This of course got a laugh. Christina and Meg gave a brief intro about City of Dark Magic and did a reading. After they reading, they talked a little about how they got the idea for the book and the writing process. One of the rules was one person would write a chapter and then pass it to the other. There would be no rewrites until after the entire book was done.

The audience all had questions about Prague. Christina has family there so she has traveled there a number of times, then they both went together for research. They also talked about marketing ideas like never letting people known who Magnus Flyte was. Sending friends to do the events, but the publisher explained readers really like getting to know the authors. Christina and Meg do tweet as Magnus, which they love because he can be anywhere and pretty much say interesting things.

I picked up the book last month, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm hoping to start it in the next few weeks. I hear from friends who have read it that the book could not be set anywhere else but Prague and that it's fantastic.

Have you attended your first event yet this year? Is City of Dark Magic on your to read list?

Magnus Flyte Photos

To learn more about Magnus Flyte visit:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: The Tragedy Paper

About the Book:
Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Source: ARC from Engelman and Co

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

The Tragedy Paper is the first book I have finished in 2013 and it's so unbelievably good. When I first heard about it I thought it would be a good read, but I had serious problems putting it down. There were a few work nights where I stayed up until the early hours in the morning because I kept telling myself ten more pages. Tragedy Paper is told from two points of views, Tim and Duncan's.

Tim doesn't have friends in his current school and he's counting the days until he leaves, when his mom's boyfriend offers him an opportunity to go to a private school he went to. He tells Tim that living at Irving was the best experience of his life and it could be for Tim as well. Being albino has made Tim an expert at not noticing people and ignoring anyone who stares at him. Tim's trip to Irving is completely chaotic, starting when Vanessa, a girl at the airport spills a drink on him right before his flight. As if that wasn't enough his flight is cancelled. Vanessa, making small talk, finds out Tim managed to get the last room available at the airport hotel and she decides rather than spend the night at the gate she's going to share his room with him. The two get to know each other and spending a day snowed in at the airport turns out to be a great thing. Tim finds out that Vanessa is also on her way to Irving, but doesn't tell her he's going to Irving as well because he's afraid of how she would react. It's one thing to be friends with him when no one knows, but he can't deal with her rejection at school, if she shuns him for being albino. The story from Tim's point of view is perfection. He's sweet, love struck and completely fearful of what could be.

Duncan is returning to Irving as a senior. Irving has a number of traditions, the first is that each student must write a Tragedy Paper and the students work on it all year. The second is that the graduating seniors leave a gift for the new students living in their old room. Duncan gets the room nobody wants, it's where Tim lived. Tim leaves him cds telling him all about his senior year. He promises to be completely honest with Duncan and that it could be the topic for his Tragedy Paper. Duncan starts to listen, but at the same time he is afraid to relive the horrible accident that happened last year.

The Tragedy Paper is Elizabeth LaBan's debut novel and I can't tell you how much I loved it. You won't believe how wonderful it really is until you read it for yourself. Elizabeth LaBan is going on my buy anything she writes list! If you need more convincing Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Weiner, and Sarah Pekkanen all are talking about it!

To learn more about Elizabeth Laban visit:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Interview with Jacquelyn Mitchard

I'm so excited to welcome Soho Teen's very first author Jaquelyn Mitchard. Jaquelyn has written a number of YA and Fiction novels. Jaquelyn's first novel The Deep End of the Ocean, was named by USA Today as one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years – second only to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I had a chance to talk to her about her latest novel What We Saw at Night.

How did you come up with the idea for What We Saw at Night?
When I was a teenager, we used to say, in the stone age of Facebook, which we called telephones, "Its 's good...up all night…" I was thinking about Allie. I kept wondering about, what if that was not a choice? What if you stayed up all night every night because you could only live in darkness? You would see different things from the things you see in the daylight world. Darkness is romantic, terrifying, the soul of mystery. Even in old church lore, the late, late Mass called "matins," which means "morning," used to be said between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. These are the ancient hours of the wolf. The "matins" prayers were supposed to guard against the evils of the night, which is when most bad deeds still take place. What if sunset was your sunrise were innocent? It wasn't your fault or even your idea?

Tell us a little about XP and how it came about?
XP means "Xeroderma Pigmentosum." So, right, I couldn't say that either. But it's very serious, a genetic condition that's like a deadly allergy to light. As Allie says, life is the toaster and you are the bread. People in olden times never lived long lives with XP. Even now, they usually do not live past 40. And all sorts of things were associated with XP. Like being vampires, because they hid from the light, because their eyes were weak, because they were so pale, and the sun literally destroyed them. It wasn't even until this century that XP was really understood.The comparisons with mythological creatures of the night were inevitable. I wanted these kids to be mythically strong and free, but also incredibly vulnerable. They break my heart, they look into the dark and they laugh and love. They are so vulnerable. They still fight back.

What is Parkour and how did it make it into What We Saw at Night?
If you've ever seen a youtube video about Parkour (this is from a French movie, and In Laura Croft, Tomb Raider, the Minecraft game and in the movie, that is what she is doing -- Parkour. These are strong kids, athletes, fierce, bursting with desire and energy -- despite what life handed them. My son told me about Parkour -- which is this fascinating discipline of speed and strength. You learn to conquer any obstacle by leaping over it, or rolling under it, or jumping from one level to another. I thought it was just hotdog stuff. Then I learned the amount of training in strength and endurance and speed. Unreal. AND THEN, my son told me he had done it a few years before, including jumping from the third story of a building and landing safely. I was horrified. I was also hooked. If you knew Juliet, and Allie and Rob, this would be irresistible to them.

We know that Allie likes Rob who likes Juliet who loves adrenaline. Will there be time for love?
Love! Love, yes, absolutely! What there is no time for is romance or dating or gossip or anything trivial. Just love like adrenaline, straight to the heart. And oh wow, you don't know what is coming with THIS love ...

Allie’s mom is very involved in her life and very untraditional. Where did you get the inspiration and what are some of your favorite moments with her?
Well, I have two favorites. One is when Allie's mother gives her birth control pills and Allie is thinking, hey, do you know something I don't? Because she isn't even remotely having sex. She wonders if her mother is thinking, hey kid, make the most of're going to die young. Or just being the proactive nurse manager that her mother is. My other favorite moment is when they have a huge monster fight, and then Allie's mother tells her that she loves Allie even more than she could love God. She is not a traditional mom...well, she might more part of a new tradition of mothers. She's a single mom. She's strict and she's completely independent. She adores her daughters, but she is chill. She really knows what's going on. I really admire her. As for her name. Her name is, uh, Jackie...I have no idea why. Who would come up with a name like that name?

What’s it like to be the first author for SohoTeen?
It is thrilling to be the first author for Soho Teen. Whose book launch party featured a punk band and the-artist-forerly-known-as-the artist-formerly-known-as-Prince songs? Mine. The editor played a red guitar. Take about untraditional and just so cool. The cover is my favorite cover of a book of mine, ever. Isn't it stylish?

What are your thoughts on YA becoming so popular in the last few years?
It's not only 'The Hunger Games' and 'Twilight,' although those were the great pyramids, the opening notes of the symphony. It's that Young Adult novels have great stories, fresh, big, things happening. The plot is not, like, modeled after the plot of what could be any adult novel. Like, after divorce, a woman returns to her hometown and reunites with her brother and the guy she loved in high school...I'm asleep already. Kids live epic lives. These are epic stories. Adults want to be in on it. Who doesn't?

What book are you looking forward to in 2013?
'Just One Day' by Gayle Forman, who wrote 'If I Stay.' And even more, 'Exposure,' the second book in the Twisted Lit series by Kim Askew and Amy was just was the lead story in Forbes Magazine, about Shakespeare making a comeback.The first book in the series was 'Tempestuous,' a re-imagining of 'The Tempest,' and this may be among the funniest books I've ever read, and these women are major talents. And...I'm their editor, which, if I did not say this, I would be coy. And I'm not coy.

What are your next projects?
Next up in my YA life is next year's WHAT WE LOST IN THE DARK, the second story about Allie Kim and her exploits and her loves and her terrors. In my adult book writer's life, I'm finishing MERCY, the story of a former Chicago cop who rescues a little boy from the Christmas Eve tsunami in Brisbane, and accidentally, if you will, kidnaps him. He becomes the boy's father, and slowly realizes that the boy, while human, has an extraordinary power over the emotions of any living thing, animal or human.

In my real life, I'm raising nine children, all apparently my own, who range in age from seven to 28, and an arrogant dog, a pet spider. I am taking up karate. I'm entirely serious here.

I'm a contributing editor for More magazine, and will complete my MFA studies this spring and begin teaching in an MFA program.

I like to keep busy, you think?

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, the very first Oprah’s Book Club pick, as well as more than twenty other critically acclaimed books for adults and teens. A nominee for several national and international awards, she served on the 2004 Fiction Jury for the National Book Award. She is a longtime journalist and regular contributor to Real Simple and Parade magazines. Most recently, she has been named the Editorial Director of Merit Press, the new young adult imprint at F+W.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hot Books in 2013

It's a new year which means new books and a brand new group of debut authors! I'm asking debut authors what book(s), aside from their own of course, are they waiting for in 2013. Also, you'll notice their name is a hyper link so you can click on their name and get to know them a little better. Are these on your list? What book are you waiting for in 2013?

I can't wait for ASUNDER by Jodi Meadows Demitria Lunetta author of IN THE AFTER

I can't wait for NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis ~ Tara Sullivan author of GOLDEN BOY

I'm very excited about the release of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY by Karen Harrington. I was lucky enough to read the ARC for this wonderful story, and I truly think it's good enough to win the Newberry! ~ Polly Holyoke author of THE NEPTUNE PROJECT

I can't wait to read more YA contemporaries!! In particular, I’m excited for Katie McGarry’s DARE YOU TO and Gayle Forman’s JUST ONE DAY. ~ Liz Fichera author of HOOKED

I can't wait for Antigoddess by Kendare Blake! ~ Mindy McGinnis author of NOT A DROP TO DRINK

I absolutely can't wait for Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan. ~ Nicole McInnes author of BRIANNA ON THE BRINK

I can't wait to read The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf. ~ K.A. Barson author of 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Type: Audio Book

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green tells a beautiful story about two tweens who fall in love, both of whom happen to have cancer. The Fault in Our Stars easily could have been a sad story, but what really shines is the story of teens just wanting a normal life. Gus and Hazel's message is clear they don't want to  be considered as "other". Gus wants to give Hazel her wish of meeting her favorite author. The entire time I was listening to the audio book I laughed, smiled, and swooned for Augustus. I will say that, yes, cancer is a tough subject and there are sad moments, but overall the story is brilliant! I hope everyone picks up this book.

Audio Book: The Fault in Our Stars is read by Kate Rudd. Earlier this year I listed to Beneath the Glitter a novel narrated by Kate Rudd and I really disliked her style. Luckily when I started listening to The Fault in Our Stars I had no idea it was the same narrator. Slowly, the way she said certain phrases or words Kate's voice started to sound familiar so I looked it up and yes this was the same narrator! So imagine my surprise when I decided I liked the way she narrated The Fault in Our Stars. I think Kate really becomes Hazel and she makes the character come to life.

Audio sample of The Fault in Our Stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest Post: CHEMISTRY - What’s the Formula? By Anne Osterlund

I'm pleased to welcome Anne Osterlund, author of Salvation. Anne invited me to be a part of her blog tour for Salvation after I added her book to Goodreads. The first thing that came to my mind when saw the cover for Salvation was how do you get chemistry right between two characters? Anne wrote a wonderful guest post where she has a conversation with her two main characters, Beth and Salva, about chemistry.

CHEMISTRY - What’s the Formula? By Anne Osterlund

“Salva! Beth!” I call into the warm breeze. It’s cottonwood weather in my head. (A major plus of being an author is occasionally having the power to control the weather).

There’s a sudden rustling by the cottonwood trees, and both the main characters in my new novel, Salvation, look up from a space by the creek bank. There is no space between them.

“I need your help,” I say.

Beth starts to scramble up. She’s wearing jeans, which are no problem, but she also has on a white blouse she must have picked up at Goodwill yesterday in preparation for Valentine’s Day. (Neither Salva nor I dared tell her the holiday is still a month away). The blouse has these long ties that are dangling loose and catch under her knees as she rolls over them, then tries to stand.

“EspĂ©rate.” Salva fishhooks her and pulls her back down. “For what?” he asks me.

Beth folds in against his chest, as though involuntarily.

“I’m supposed to make an appearance on Cari’s Book Blog,” I explain.

“Of course,” Beth blurts. “How can we help? What do you need? A book cover jpg? An author photo? I could borrow a camera—”

“I was wondering if you would both appear with me,” I say.

“Of course we—” Beth starts to disentangle herself.

But Salva keeps his arm around her waist. “To talk about what?” he questions. Warily.

“Well . . .” I hesitate.

His eyes meet mine.

“Chemistry,” I say.

“Oh”—Beth’s head whips toward Salva, banging into his chin. Science is definitely his department.

His arm remains around her waist, his gaze still on mine. Unwavering. Waiting for clarity.

“Cari was wondering if we’d talk about writing,” I explain, “ . . . and getting the chemistry right between two characters.”

“Oh!” Beth turns scarlet. Her gaze flies toward the creek as if her composure might be hiding beneath the water’s surface.

“I think,” Salva says to me without blinking, “that you signed up for this one and you should go it alone.”

“B-but . . .” I stammer.

“Tell Cari the key to chemistry is to respect your characters, listen to them. And never push them into a situation they aren’t comfortable with.”

His hand slips down and clasps Beth’s, which I have failed to notice is trembling.

“OK,” I tell him, then turn around to head back to my laptop.

And leave them both to enjoy the cottonwood weather. Alone.

Anne Osterlund is the author of four young adult books, including Aurelia and its sequel, Exile. Her second novel, Academy 7, won the OCTE Spirit of Oregon Award and was an ALA/YALSA Popular Paperback nominee. Anne works as a full-time author and presents for schools, conferences, and writing events. She grew up in the sunshine of eastern Oregon and earned a BA from Whitworth College, where she majored in elementary education with Spanish and English teaching fields. Anne lives in a cute little yellow house with her new feline friend, Simba, and her own library of young adult books. She and her characters can be found on her website at Salvation is her fourth novel, and she has dreams of many more in the future.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop

A few days ago I got to interview author Ellen Oh, who told us all about her new novel Prophecy. She was kind enough to offer a signed copy with swag! Thanks to Ellen and good luck to everyone!

About Prophecy:

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

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Thanks to Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Gabrielle from The Mod Podge Bookshelf for hosting this giveaway hop!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Clean Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

I wanted to start 2013 with a big Texas giveaway. This giveaway is all about Texas authors and most of the books are signed. There will be three winners. Make sure to read all the rules on the rafflecopter widget!

International Giveaway

US / Canada Only

US / Canada Only

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Thanks to Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this giveaway hop!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Interview with Ellen Oh

I would like to welcome debut author Ellen Oh she's here to talk about her first novel, Prophecy. I'm always excited when I get to interview a debut author, because you get to see the writing process through their eyes. Please help me welcome Ellen!

How did you come up with the idea for PROPHECY?
I’d been doing research on ancient Korea for years and had written two novels, both which had been trunked. It was back in 2007, I was stuck in beltway traffic staring at the unmoving bumper of the car in front of me when the idea hit me. It was a bolt of lightning. What if there was a young prince who everyone believed was the hero of legend, but when it came time for the prophecy to come true, it turned out that the real hero was not him, but his despised girl cousin. At that moment, the whole outline of the story came pouring out of my head and I frantically had to search for loose pieces of paper to scribble out my answer as I inched along in traffic. I wrote this book quickly, in less than five months, but revision took a lot longer.

You have a map of the seven kingdoms. How difficult was it to build the world?
It’s based loosely on kingdoms and city states of the Three Kingdoms period of ancient Korea. So I was able to use some real locations and come up with my own for others.

What are some of your favorite details?
I loved using the myths and legends of Korea. Like the Nine Dragon Waterfall, which is an actual waterfall in North Korea and the legend of the eight heavenly maidens who were said to descend to earth and bathe in the jade green pools. The chance to incorporate these myths and legends were the best part about writing this book.

Is there time for love / romance / kissing while fighting demon lords?
Not in the first book! But there’s a reason for this. Traditional Korea was very puritan in its approach to relationships between girls and boys. If anyone watches K-dramas, they would see that kisses are fairly chaste and relationships tend to progress slowly. To be true to the feel of a book, even though it is fantasy, set in ancient Korea, I knew that the romance had to be very light, at least for now.

Kira is the only girl in the guard and not liked. How does she not cave or give up under pressure?
She’s very strong willed and stubborn. But she also has a strong connection to a tiger spirit (which will be explained in the book) that always helps her strengthen her mind and body.

What do you want readers to know about Kira?
Kira is a strong person, and yet she has been bullied and vilified her entire life. She has no real friends. I know that I could relate so strongly to this feeling of isolation and being shunned because I myself had to deal with being bullied and shunned when I was in middle school, and yet I was a fighter. We tend to think of people who are bullied as weak in some way and that’s simply not true. It’s because they are different. I wanted for Kira to be this strong female warrior that had to deal with much adversity, and even though she may not always be able to resolve the issue, she would constantly grow and become stronger because of it.

About Ellen:

What do you have planned for your debut year?
More writing. I’m very fortunate to have two more books to write.

What book are you looking forward to in 2013?
There are so many! All of my mates at the Friday the Thirteeners have incredible books coming out and I can’t wait to grab every single one of them! And then there are 3 sequels that I simply MUST have! Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM, Robin LaFevers DARK TRIUMPH, and Marie Lu’s PRODIGY.

Where do you spend your time online?
I find myself spending too much time on tumblr now. It’s such a fun place!

Do you have a hidden talent and if so what is it?
I have a talent for belching very loudly. However, the family would like for me to keep it a hidden talent.

Can you tell us a fact about teen Ellen?
Teen Ellen was always in trouble for fighting. I had a terribly short temper and a notoriously sharp tongue for saying just the right insults to get myself in to a big old mess. Adult Ellen is much more mellow. The reason is simply that adult Ellen is too lazy and too tired to stay angry for too long.

What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on book 2 of my series called WARRIOR. I get to use even more Korean myths and legends. In this one, we get to meet a kumiho, a nine-tailed demon fox. She is, quite possibly, my new favorite character, next to Kira.


People feared Kira.

They called her the Demon Slayer to her face and much worse behind her back. It didn’t matter that she was a first cousin to the crown prince or that she’d saved his life from a demon attack. Ten years was long enough for most to forget what really happened and instead to believe the rumors that began soon after.

Even now, standing in the congested marketplace of Hansong, she could see the averted glances and hear the urgent whispering. She wondered which rumors they were spreading this time. The one that said she’d raised a sea serpent from the underworld and planned to sacrifice the prince to it. Or the one that claimed she enchanted everyone with her yellow eyes and hunted for human prey at night.

At least they had one thing right. She was definitely on the hunt.

To learn more about Ellen visit or follow her on twitter @elloecho.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bring YA To You Houston!

Have you ever wished that a big YA book tour would make a stop in your hometown? Well, here's your chance for that wish to come true! YA2U is a program that features five award-winning and best-selling authors who are holding a contest to see what city they should visit in an exclusive tour stop!

The authors are collecting votes from January 1st to February 15th, and any city in the continental US or any Canadian city (that has an international airport) can win an exclusive visit from all five authors, including an author panel and book signing! Entering is super easy--and if you help spread the word about the contest, you can also enter to win a signed copy of all of the author's books (TEN signed books in total!)--and the book contest is open internationally!

The authors in the program are:

And they want to have an event in your home town! To participate, just got to the YA2U website and let them know what city you want them to come to. And while you're there, help spread the word about the contest and you can be entered to win all of their books--TEN signed books in total! 

Here's why the YA2U Team should come to MY hometown! 

YA Book Events are always bigger in Texas. Here in Houston we have a large number of YA fans and we have a number of YA Bloggers like Kate of, Christin of, Yara of Once Upon A Twilight, Amy of, Kristina of, Sarah of, and many more! We have teachers and librarians who bring students to book events. And let's not forget we have wonderful, indie bookstores like Blue Willow Bookshop and Murder by the Book that are always hosting book events that bring in a full house! If you are looking for the best Mexican food around then look no further than Ninfa's, Lupe Tortillas, Pappasitos, or Chuy's! Also we love cupcakes, so just a note to the authors...there could be cupcakes in your future! The great thing about coming to Houston is that Austin is just three hours away and Dallas is also just a few hours north, which would make it easy to hit all three cities.

Houston Bloggers

Yummy cupcakes from Celebrity Cupcakes

Bloggers and Teachers having Yummy Mexican Food

Event at Murder by the Book

Event hosted by Blue Willow Book Shop

Event at Blue Willow Bookshop

Why should the YA2U Team come to your hometown? Why not join in the fun today and share with others about this program and your hometown. The more votes your town gets, the closer you are to having your very own personal tour stop! Vote for YOUR town here!

And if you help spread the word, you can also participate in the book giveaway. Tell them that you learned about YA2U from me and we both get extra entries in the contest! 
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January What I'm Reading

Happy New Year Everyone! Here is my schedule. Feel free to join me and then we can discuss. Also I am always up for taking recommendations. If you check my blog often you will find I add and remove books just depending on my moods. What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

Currently Reading:

Currently Audio Book:

Next Book:

Next Audio:

Finished Reading: