Posts Tagged ‘ YA novels ’

Finding Your Story

   I have found the adage “You gotta know when to hold, know when to fold” very appropriate during my latest writing adventures. I’m busy writing, or rather, was busy writing, a new YA novel. I was in the flow, finding my story, really making great progress – in my opinion – when *sound of brakes squealing* everything came to a halt. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my story anymore. It wasn’t that I didn’t connect with my characters anymore. It wasn’t even that I didn’t know where I wanted the story to go or what I wanted to happen. What stopped me, quite abruptly, was that I realized that a lot of my action and, if I’m going to be honest, a lot of the really interesting storylines was happened in the past. I found myself trying to explain something that had occurred prior to the what I was writing about now. It gave me a headache quite frankly.

I like writing with a general plot in mind and who the characters are, but tend to hash out all the details as I go along. In this way I keep surprising myself and appreciating my story as it unfolds and then correct any inconsistencies when I go back and work on my subsequent drafts. But this time, I got 12,000 words into my story before realizing I had started my story in the wrong place! How aggravating! Not only would I have rework my storyline, but I’d basically have to scrap all that work and time (although I do like to lie to myself and say I’ll still be able to use some of it…ha!).

While this temporary deviation made me lose both work and momentum, I believe that rethinking my story will only make the final product that much better. 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by the fabulous Sheila @ Book Journey. Need a good book to read this summer? Swing by check it out!

I spent the weekend with my family in PA celebrating both Father’s Day and my little bro’s birthday. I love getting to spend time with my nieces and nephews. They’re at just the right age where everything they say is hilarious. Very entertaining.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – I love Libba Bray’s work. She’s snarky and witty and I enjoy every minute of her books. Beauty Queens is no exception. It took me a few chapters to get used to the tone of the book but once I did it made it easier to read. The crux of the book, at least from what I can tell being about 3/4 of the way through, is how women of all ages are made to feel as though they should act, think, and be a certain way in our society. But when a plane filled with beauty pageant contestants crashes on a supposedly deserted island, they begin to shed their societal confines and start making decisions for themselves instead of letting others decide for them. Another Libba Bray gem. 🙂

  Boy by Roald Dahl – Dahl is one of those authors that I read a lot of as a child (as all children should) and his books have lingered in my mind since. Boy is autobiographical and filled with great stories from Dahl’s youth. I’m listening to this book on CD and the narrator does a great job as well.

  Run! by Dean Karnazes – Karnazes is an ultramarathon runner. Ultra meaning anything over a marathon, but Karnazes takes it even further by running to his breaking point. He runs 100-milers without batting an eye. Someone called him to run 360 miles through the Australian outback and he jumped at the chance. He’s run through deserts and mountains, then throws his medals in a box in the garage. For him it’s about pushing his body and mind to the ultimate limits and seeing if he can make it to the finish line. His anecdotes are funny and inspirational and make for a quick read.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to get some great Clockwork Prince loot! Happy reading! 🙂

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


I just finished a great weekend with Natasha @ Maw Books and the fanfare of Bloggiesta and I’m beat! It was great to tinker with my site and change some things. You’ll see I have a new page that I’ll be updating regularly called Gears & Gadgets as well as a new background. The picture is actually one of mine of a local indie bookstore, so I’m pretty excited about that too. I had so much fun hopping around the blogosphere to some of my favorite blogs as well as getting to visit some new ones as well. I was able to get a lot of great ideas, tips, and suggestions from my fellow bloggers through their posts and their tweets. So I’m tired, but happy!

This weekend, aside from being on my computer most of the time, I paid a visit to an indie bookstore called The Bookworm to preorder my friend Alissa’s new novel Popular which comes out in May. Here’s what the cover looks like:

I’m super excited (both about supporting my local bookstore and Alissa’s big debut). Here’s the Goodreads blurb on Popular:

Meet the clique that rules Fidelity High: Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly, each one handpicked by über-popular Hamilton Best. You know you’re “in” when you make the guest list for one of Hamilton’s parties. And in the thralls of senior year, everyone wants to get noticed by Hamilton.

But Hamilton’s elite entourage is coming apart at the seams. Olivia fantasizes about finally having a boyfriend, Zelda dreams of ditching high school, Nordica wants to be alone with her photography, and Shelly’s plotting to dethrone Hamilton. Lies and secrets are ripping away the careful ties that have kept them together for years. But Hamilton has the biggest secret of all, one that only her boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would shock everyone and destroy Hamilton’s fragile world—and she’ll do anything to protect her secret and keep her clique together.

Aside from that funness (sure, that’s a word), I also joined the Y through a super promotion they were having (more on that in another post) and read some great books.

Here’s what I read this week:

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher – If you’re going to read one novel this year, make it Incarceron. I know, I know, it’s only January and already I’ve read my book of the year? Well, it’s just that great. You may as well jump on the bandwagon now because I predict it’s going to get crowded very fast. Fisher’s novel was released in her England home a few years prior and has already gotten a lot of transatlantic buzz. Her second in the series – Sapphique – was released in December 2010. I loved this book because it was so unique and I tire of wanting to read a fantasy book but being relegated to vampires, werewolves and fairies. Not that I don’t love those books as well, but this was like a breath of fresh air – well, prison air if you’re going to get technical. So pick up a copy and enter the world of Incarceron where nothing is as it seems and everyone wants to find freedom.


Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith – I’m listening to this YA book on CD and so far it is nothing like I expected. When a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses, Jack enters the mysterious world of Marbury. There he is in charge of two young boys. His best friend Connor is there as well, but he is trying to kill them. While all this sounds very steampunk/scifi so far it is more reminiscent of Going Bovine by Libba Bray in which the protagonist goes on the strangest road trip ever but not everything is as it seems. The first few chapters open with Jack being kidnapped so it is a scary beginning despite the blurb on the box letting me know he does escape. I have a feeling the novel will be a mixture of the psychological as well as the science fictional.



That’s it for me this past week – What have you been reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun meme brought to you by your lovely hostess Sheila over at her blog Book Journey. Swing by and check it out!

Despite having to work all day Saturday, I still had a great weekend. I’m a big football fan and enjoyed relaxing and catching up on my magazine reading while watching the games. My Eagles ended the evening with a great victory over the Giants, so I’m one happy camper. 🙂 (Are campers really that happy? Why isn’t it “one happy runner”? I’d rather be running than camping…) I’ve also been reading some great books, which always makes my days a little brighter.

Here’s what I’ve been enjoying:

Virals by Kathy Reichs – Anyone who is a regular visitor to my blog knows that I’m a HUGE Kathy Reichs fan. I think she’s brilliant both for her adult books and her TV series Bones. But, and I’ve seen this before when authors of adult lit, especially crazy brilliant ones like Ms. Reichs, the language is a little on the dull side. I guess I was expecting it to be more like her other novels. I feel like authors who write for adults than make the transition to YA lit don’t really understand that YA lit is really, really smart. And sharp. And involved. And while I think the writing is more suited to maybe a middle grade level, I have been enjoying the story and think it’s a book worth reading.



Fallen by Lauren Kate – I’m finally, FINALLY, reading Fallen. After hearing mixed reviews since its release, the book on cd came through the circulation desk at the library and I decided it was fate. I just started listening to it and am only at the very beginning, pre-drama. So far I’m enjoying the way Kate has set up the plot and am hoping there are more twists in the story that I won’t see coming.




X-Men: Magneto Testament by Greg Pak & Carmine Di GiandomenicoIf you aren’t familiar with the story of the X-Men or Magneto, here’s what you need to know: the X-Men are humans, mostly, who have a mutant gene that sets them apart from the rest of the world. Led by Professor Xavier, these X-Men live at a school established by Professor X while trying to teach the world that being different isn’t bad. Magneto is their main nemesis, arguing that he must destroy non-mutants because they are too ignorant to understand that differences aren’t to be feared. Thus, the X-Men are continuously trying to prevent him from killing those who hate mutants.

That said, this graphic novel really has nothing to do with any of that, except that it revolves around the back story of Magneto. (Like how I slipped that nerd lesson in there? 🙂 Magneto, Max Eisenhardt, was a German Jew who endured the atrocities of the Holocaust and lived to escape the fate that befell almost everyone he loved. The illustrations and the story in this graphic novel are very powerful. It helps to show readers how much graphic novels of superheroes parallel the real world – in this case the persecution of others because one views them as different. A must read for everyone.

That’s what I’ve been reading this week – what are you reading?

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren every Sunday. Very cool, check it out!

This is my first blog for In My Mailbox, it just looked like so much fun I had to participate. 🙂 My generous friend at the library where I work let me peruse the box of ARCs she received in the mail. I picked the following because of their great covers and intriguing story lines.

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen – A greenhouse that grows humans?  An experiment gone horribly wrong where engineered life-forms are meant to be self-sustaining and the evil genius will stop at nothing to make his plans succeed? Sounds like a recipe for a successful book!

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier – Twins born in a biracial family – one black, one white. The girls have always been close to each other and to their parents, but when they get sent down south to live with their grandmother for a summer trip tension between the girls crops up. Will the twins be able to overcome their outward differences and keep their close-knit bond? A new story concept for me and one that I’m sure will keep the pages turning to the very end.