Posts Tagged ‘ YA ’

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

I officially signed up for Book Expo America this June in NYC. Yay! It’s like a mini vacation for me as I get to meet new people in the world of books, pick up some fun ARCs, and listen to great speakers about the craft of writing. If you love books and have never been, definitely check it out! And this week is the big Pitchapalooza event. I’ve been working on making this event a great experience for the community, so as excited as I am I’m also looking forward to it being finished after all the work and planning! 🙂

I’ve been reading some great books as well:

  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – I’m listening to this book on CD and the narrator does a great job of bringing Bradbury’s classic tale to life. The descriptive language alone makes Something Wicked a wonderful book to listen to.



  Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder – I just started this graphic novel and so far, so good. The illustrations are classic superhero with their bold colors and ideal figures. It begins with Dick Grayson as Batman after he took over the cape and cowl when the original Batman was supposedly dead. But Batman has returned as well as a fun litany of evil villians – a recipe for excitement!


  Wonder by R.J. Palacio – This juvenile fiction book is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. August is a typical 10-year-old boy starting his first year of middle school. Except August was born with severe facial defects that, countless surgeries later, have made breathing and eating better but haven’t changed the aesthetics of his face. Told through several people surrounding August, Palacio’s story paints a wonderful picture of being different and how it’s the love and kindness that makes all the difference.

  Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – The first book in the Mistborn series, Sanderson, who I was first introduced to through his collaboration with the late Robert Jordan in finishing his Wheel of Time series, has written a high fantasy book where evil reigns and there has been no salvation in sight for the past thousand years. This series has been recommended to me several times, so I’m excited to finally be reading it!


I hope you’re reading week is just as enjoyable as mine is! Happy reading! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Happy (Almost) Valentine’s Day! I hope everyone gets shown – and shows – a little extra love this week. Although I do fall in the “I want to show my loved ones that I love them every day, not just Valentine’s Day” I still think the holiday is fun. 🙂 I had off from work today which has afforded me the opportunity to catch up on my To Do list. I’ve gotten a chance to do some writing on my novel, which is progressing nicely, and watch the most recent Downton Abbey – yay! Love days off! 😀

I’m reading and listening to some wonderful books right now. Here’s what I’m enjoying this week:

  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – I’m really enjoying this book on CD. The narrator is wonderful and it doesn’t hurt that the topic is interesting too. McDougall seems to have done a thorough job in his research on running and, more specifically, why some runners are faster, healthier, and seemingly indefatigable. I’m not quite finished, but I believe the argument and conclusions that follow are on the merits of barefoot running and going back to the days before the running shoe revolution. Stories about the featured runners and the history behind some of the longest, most challenging races are really interesting. Makes me wish I were reading it so I didn’t have to stop when my drive was finished! The only aspect I don’t like is how McDougall writes like he has a bone to pick with Dean Karnazes, another, very well known, ultrarunner. I don’t know if Dean turned him down for something, but McDougall comes across as being petty. It’s strange when the rest of the book is so positive and really detracts from the story McDougall is trying to tell.


  Legacy by Molly Cochran – I’m not very far into this YA paranormal book, but I’m already in love! Cochran has a wonderful way with storytelling. It has everything I look for in an engrossing paranormal read – mystery, attractive love interest, protagonist with unrealized powers, delightful setting and side characters. I have a feeling I’m going to rip through this one quickly! 🙂





  100 Bullets written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso – What would you do if a stranger offered you the chance to get away with murder? Thus begins the graphic novel series 100 Bullets. With a premise like that, how could I not read it? The illustrations are classic and keep in tune with the integrity of the plot. There are actually, as the title suggests, a hundred untraceable bullets, one gun and a promise that no repercussions will take place against the person who decides to use the gun and the bullets. Although I’m only on the first one, I’m already intrigued and am looking forward to reading the others (there are 12 in the series).




Happy reading! 🙂

Dystopian Novels

  I’m a huge fan of dystopian novels, especially dystopian YA novels. There’s something about man reaching the brink of everything – sanity, food, fuel, and other resources – where everything he knew has been stripped away and left him forced to fight or die that appeals to me. I want to think that I’d kick some butt if ever faced with such a grim scenario,  but I’m pretty sure if there were ever a zombie apocalypse, I’d be toast. I’ve seen what people are like when faced with a snow forecast and I’m sure I can compete with milk-crazed loonies let alone flesh-eating ones!

During my research regarding past Pitchapalooza winners I stumbled upon Gennifer Albin which led me through a delightful online maze of resources and new (and old) dystopian novels and authors. Albin’s series begins with her debut novel Crewel, release date October 2012, and features a 16-year old girl who is chosen to become a Spinster, but weaving the fates of others isn’t what Adelice wants. I’m already looking forward to this one, but in the meantime check out Gennifer’s website HERE.

Then I stumbled upon a dystopian goldmine in the form of The League of Extraordinary Writers which features debut YA dystopian authors. Awe-some! 🙂 Not only are there many great books and authors on the site, Julie Karr, Beth Revis, Elana Johnson, and Jeff Hirsch to name a few, but I’m discovering authors I’d never heard of before! Susanne Winnacker is a British author whose debut novel The Other Life is being released in the US in May 2012. It’s already been released in the UK and after seeing her website and her incredible book trailer, I may just have to order it before it’s scheduled US release date. It gave me the shivers just watching the trailer. My only gripe is that the UK cover is a thousand times better than the US cover. Why is it that we keep getting waifish, girl, stock photo covers? The UK cover is intriguing and the colors are perfect in their sparseness. Yet another reason to order the UK version! I’m not even going to tell you the premise of the book, so you have to go check it out for yourself! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature! And if you are a lover of YA and children’s books like I am check out Teach Mentor Texts for more fun reads!

I’ve been busy making progress on my next YA novel as you can see by the word count widget on my sidebar. In between actual writing, I’m researching and planning Pitchapalooza (more on this soon!), so my life seems to be encompassed by writing of late. I love it! Yesterday, I ran the inaugural Super Sunday 4-Miler in Morristown, NJ. In conjunction with other Super Hero runs, it helped to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The course was hilly but gorgeous with lots of music and fun at the end (including free beer at a nearby bar in honor of the Super Bowl, but I didn’t stick around for that). A great way to kick off Super Bowl Sunday – not to mention the Giants won!!! So it was a great, great weekend. 🙂

  Frost by Marianna Baer – A purportedly haunted house, a group of friends who decide to live there, and a blanket of mysteries surrounding it all. Sounds like the recipe for a good book. The cover caught my eye and that couple with the premise of the story and I was hooked. To be honest the protagonist wasn’t someone I connected with, nor did I connect with the guy who was her love interest. While I appreciate that the author worked to craft a tale of mystery and intrigue it went a bit too far with the way the guy was kind of creepily obsessed with his sister. Even if it did add an extra layer of complexity to the novel, I could have done without it. Especially since, in the end, it was really just that and not tied into the mystery behind the house.

  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick – I was terribly overdue in reading this highly touted, Caldecott medal winning by Brian Selznick. Not only did I love the book, and it’s delicious illustrations, but it managed to live up to all the hype. Part graphic novel, part written and all brilliant, readers are taken into the world of Hugo while he endeavors to find his way to what he thinks will bring him peace. In the end, what we want and what we get are often two separate things, but, as in life, the ending is even better than our stinted imaginations. A must read!

  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Another YA book that lives up to the hype, TFIOS is one of the best books I’ve read recently. Green always seems to capture the awkward yet joyous moments that make up teenaged existence and this latest is no exception. While I don’t know much about the ins and outs of having cancer, I didn’t feel out of place while reading this book. Not overly maudlin or depressing, Green manages to take the good and the bad and the ugly and smoosh them all together in one amazing, must-read novel.

  Amnesia by Dwayne Harris – I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of this graphic novel. Recommended to me by a colleague, it is the story of a man who wakes up with amnesia that has not only affected him but seemingly everyone else on the planet too. It felt as though there was too much crammed into a thin book – a team of subversive military agents who want something the main character has, but doesn’t realize he has, zombie-esque people who try to attack him and his family, and solutions that come too easily to help the protagonist out. And, I’m sorry, but I expect excellence when a graphic novel is published. Not only were the illustrations overdone and flat, but the writer/illustrator spelled the guy’s name one way in certain panels and then another way in others! Shame on him.


Happy reading! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature! And if you’re into reading YA and MG books like I am, check out What Are You Reading: From Picture Books to YA @ Teach Mentor Texts.

I’ve had a great week. I decided to take a couple days off work to finally get some writing done and run errands I kept putting off! So despite the days being busy, they’ve also been very productive. I added a new work in progress widget to my sidebar. It’s been a lot of fun seeing it creep forward, even if it doesn’t happen overnight. 🙂 Now I’m enjoying football playoffs in front of a crackling fire while it’s in the low 20s outside. Ahhhh…. 🙂

Sparks by S.J. Adams – Follow the (almost) holy quest of Debbie as she follows her new found friends Emma and Tim in an attempt to find her best friend Lisa. Complicating matters is Debbie’s realization that she has a major crush on Lisa and needs to tell her before Lisa takes her relationship with her boyfriend to the next level. Filled with made-up religions, quirky characters and awkward situations that make YA novels so much fun, Sparks is a great, fun-filled read.

  Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James – Renown for her engrossing mysteries, James is now touted as Austen incarnate with her latest novel. My current book on CD, James’ novel is set six years after the conclusion of Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley is thrown into a whirlwind of murder, mystery and mayhem. Mystery and English drama? Sign me up! 🙂

Not a very busy reading week due to my writing goals, but it’s been enjoyable nevertheless! 😀

Happy reading!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by the fabulous Sheila over @ Book Journey. Start the new year off with a good book recommendation!

I feel great about how much I accomplished in 2011. I had record views and subscribers to my blog in 2011. Hoping to break those records in 2012! I read 107 books and finished another novel. I joined a new writing group that I love and I ran a half marathon and felt great. I challenged myself by doing things outside my comfort zone like going hang gliding, going to Book Expo America for the first time by myself and surviving Comic Con NYC solo too.

Not too shabby… Now on to making 2012 even better! 🙂

I’m starting the new year off with a race, some reading, and football. Ahhh…perfect! Here’s what I’m reading this week:

  This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel – This is my first experience with Oppel although I’ve heard a lot about his books before this. Oppel is an excellent writer and quickly brings his readers into the world of Victor Frankenstein as a brooding teen discovering the dark arts of alchemy for the first time. The story is engrossing and adventurous while still staying true to who Frankenstein would be if Shelley were to write him as a much younger man. I’m listening to this one on CD and the narrator is very good making the experience even better.



  Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet – I’m always on the lookout for a good mystery. I especially love a good mystery this time of year when I can snuggle under a heap of blankets next to a cheery fire and get lost in an English village where some dastardly deed has been done. The problem is wading through piles of mediocre mysteries to get to those treasured few that shine above the rest. So when I saw one of my favorite mystery authors Louise Penny write a blurb on the latest Malliet novel, I knew I had to pick up the series. This is the first one in a series set in England and features the sharp Detective Inspector St. Just. It’s a perfect blend of readability, eccentric characters, and murder. Already looking forward to reading the next in the series. 🙂


  Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls – Bear Grylls has to be one of the most interesting men around today. A former member of the British Special Forces before breaking his back in three places after a parachuting accident in Africa, he now stars in the reality show Man vs. Wild where he survives through a combination of determination and wilderness knowledge in desolate locations around the world. I’m just beginning this autobiography and am looking forward to learning more about this rugged man.



Happy reading and happy new year! 😀

2012 Writing Resolutions

  A new year means new goals for many people. This morning I ran a 5k called the Resolution Run because for me it’s sets a perfect tone for the new year. Well, that and you get a kick butt hooded sweatshirt each year. 🙂

Part of the race packet given out to all entrants is a list of people’s resolutions for the new year. As I read through them I noticed that many revolve around the common goal of weight loss. Run more, eat better, stay healthy, feel great. Some were more personal – find someone to love, spend more time with my family, get out of debt. And some were funny. My favorite was “My 2012 Resolution: 2450 x 1080 pixels.” 😀

Personally, I like to make resolutions throughout the year just because I’m more likely to keep a resolution if I say I’m going to make a change and then implement it immediately rather than waiting for a new year. But I do make goals for things I’d like to accomplish for the upcoming year. My big goals for this year? Finish writing my next YA novel. Find a agent. Keep working toward getting published.

I’m working toward this goal already by: 1. Making time to write (and making more time!!)  2. Building my social networking platform 3. Reading great articles about writing 4. Reading, reading, reading 5. Finding a great writing group to help critique my work.

What are your writing goals or goals in general for the new year?

Happy 2012!!! 😀

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Man, oh, man have I been having fun. I got to see one of my favorite authors A.S. King at the Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, NJ, this past week. She’s even cooler in person than I imagined from reading her books. And completely crazy in a dance groove queen kinda way, so of course I loved her immediately. I went with my friend and author, also amazingly awesome, Alissa Grosso and we happily bought King’s latest book Everybody Sees the Ants and listened to her read excerpts from her books and generally regale us with tales. I’ll post more about her latest book later this week, so stayed tuned.

I also just got back from a great trip to the Finger Lakes, NY, where we rented a cabin for the weekend. There were three little ponds surrounded by colorful trees on the property, plus a great outdoor patio with a fire pit and Adirondack chairs. The cabin was located just West of Canandaigua Lake (took me a while to even pronounce that!), and rolling hills on fire with changing leaves. We went to wineries, local artisan shops, wooded hikes replete with waterfalls, and charming cafes. The perfect weekend. 🙂

In other news, here’s what I’ve been reading:

  Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King – King does it again with a story that is at the same time gut-wrenching and hopeful. Somehow her books always make me want to go on adventures and be a better person, not sure how she manages to do all that through her books. And while this particular book is about bullying, it also touches on an gamut of other topics, including the Vietnam War. If you’ve never read King, pick up one her books, you won’t regret it! 🙂



  Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas and Micah Sparks – This is probably my new favorite book by Nicholas Sparks. I’m listening to this raw, emotional story of his childhood that is interspersed with a present day trip around the world with his brother. What surprised me most was how rough his childhood was and the tragic events that shaped his life. Also, his evolution in writing and quick rise to success is amazing. The narrator is great and Sparks reads the introduction which is fun as well. Definitely worth listening to or reading!

Happy Reading! 😀

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

I had an amazing weekend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so I took full advantage of it by driving up to Storm King in the Hudson River Valley, NY. If you are ever around the NY area and want to see something incredible, head to Storm King. It’s a beautiful sculpture park set on acres and acres of perfectly landscaped hills and trees. Massive sculptures by artists like Richard Serra, Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy, and Alexander Calder dot the land, rising up like bandersnatches of metal and rock. Absolutely breathtaking. I’ll post some pics tomorrow of its grandeur. 😀

My reading week has been no less grand. I’m on an excellent book streak that I hope continues for a long time!

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – Ever since I saw the undulating widgets counting down to the release of Hodkin’s debut YA novel, I’ve been entranced. So of course as soon as I could get my hands on a copy I snatched it up and gobbled it down. And I’m still entranced! Hodkin’s has a brilliant way of spinning on tale of intrigue yet believability.  And while there is romance, I appreciated that it didn’t overshadow the wonderful mystery that surrounded Mara. And I also loved how Mara’s family made her character even more well-rounded, adding to the story instead of being a nuisance to the heroine’s quest like in some other books I’ve read. Mara Dyer is a definite must-read!


  Echo by Terry Moore – I love, love, love Terry Moore. I think he is one of the most brilliant graphic novelist ever. His Strangers in Paradise series is one of my favorites. His Echo series is turning out to be just as amazing. After a horrific accident, Julie finds herself in possession of powers beyond her understanding. Filled with government secrets, heartless villains, and likable heroes and heroines, Echo should be read by everyone who loves a great story and gorgeous illustrations.



  Machine Man by Max Barry – I love the idea of this book. Man has a limb-losing accident, man, already obsessed with technology, builds himself some new limbs to become a bigger, better version of his old self. But it’s not all roses and butterflies when others begin to view him not as a man but as something more sinister.




  50/50 by Dean Karnazes – Karnazes is one of the most impressive long distance, ultra, runners in the world. He has inspired millions through his previous Ultramarathon Man book, his blog on Runner’s World, and his outspoken candor on running. His latest book and documentary on running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. I’m listening to Dean read this book on CD and I find it interesting how much he loves to run. It gives him energy and keeps him sane even in the midst of the chaos that surrounds his quest to run his latest challenge.



Hope your reading week is as good as mine! Happy reading! 😀

Banned Book Week

  When Sheila @ Book Journey posted about her week of Banned Books and asked if anyone wanted to join in the fun I quickly jumped on the banned wagon. 🙂 Swing by her blog and check out what she’s reading and all the other cool bloggers participating!

I decided to read Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler because I’d heard great things about the book and yet nothing that would indicate why it would be banned. I didn’t know much about Banned Book Week or even how book get banned, so I checked out the ALA website before I got reading. I found out that the top four reasons books get banned:

1. Sexually explicit

2. Offensive language

3. Violence

4. Unsuited to age group

And that parents were by far the largest group of people who sought to get a book banned. Oh, and CHALLENGED means an attempt to remove a book from a library, school, etc., while BANNED means a book has been removed from that institution.

All things I never knew!

First, I LOVED Twenty Boy Summer. I thought it was a perfect example of how good books get banned needlessly. I think that, yes, I have become a bit desensitized when it comes to reading about sex or language or even a little violence. However, I read Twenty Boy Summer with the mindset of “this is a banned book because of it’s sexually explicitness and, gee, I wonder why.”  Even with that in mind I found only one scene that I wouldn’t consider graphic in which two teens consent to have sex. In my curiosity I found that the book was actually banned in a Missouri school when a man, who didn’t even have kids at the school, said that the book contained values contrary to the Bible.

I can’t even begin to rant on how this infuriates me. But then I think about all the kids who will go out and find Ockler’s book simply because they are told they shouldn’t be reading it. Awe-some. After all the book isn’t about sex at all. Sex may be a by product, but it is a far cry from the point of the story. The book is about grief and the ways the soul tries to mend itself as it heals. As a matter of fact Twenty Boy Summer may be the best book on how to move through and beyond heart-wrenching grief that I’ve ever read. And as everyone grieves differently, then seeking the physical company of someone through a hard time isn’t too difficult to understand.

And to celebrate this great novel I am giving away two copies of Twenty Boy Summer to two lucky winners. Yay! 😀 All you need to do is comment on what your favorite banned book is and why. Two bonus points for commenting on another blog about banned books (add the link to your comment) and three bonus points for subscribing to my blog. Easy-peasy. I will notify the winners next Wednesday, Oct. 5. 😀

Happy Banned Books Week!