"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I adore this picture my daughter made in honor of Wizard 101 (which you should all play along with your kids...)

ZACHARY DRAGONBLADE (my son's avatar)

Happy Monday! Hope your week is great :)

THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes WINNER!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win this amazing ARC! You all will love this book. Seriously *love*

Anyway, the winner of THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes (Octane Press, November 1, 2011)



Friday, October 28, 2011


It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! This week's topic?


With Halloween only a few days away (as my daughter reminds me every day when she asks "how many more days"), we're going with the whole scare theme. There actually is a book I read recently that scared the bejesus out of me, but since I'm going to review it next week, I won't mention it here. Instead, I'll go with this...

My favorite scary movie:
THE SHINING. The original version. I'm sure the remake miniseries was good and more true-to-story, but I loved the Jack Nicholson version.


My favorite scary memory:
Sneaking into an ancient graveyard at midnight while in college. I had the hardest time actually forcing myself to step foot inside.


My favorite scary childhood game:
The Ouija board. I could NEVER bring myself to actually complete a Bloody Mary round.


My favorite scary short story:
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER by Edgar Allen Poe. Yikes, this was creepy.


My favorite scary song:
THE MONSTER MASH (which I know is in no way scary, but it is fun and should be played at any Halloween event).


My favorite scary ride:
The Tower of Terror at DisneyWorld. I could go on it over and over again (and have). This ride rocks.


For a list of all blogs participating, check out the YA Author Club website!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TANGLED TIDES by Karen Amanda Hooper

I had the very fortunate luck of reading this back in August, and for the two days I read it, I could not put it down. Seriously. All I wanted to do was read the book, so my nose was stuck in my Nook until I finished.

TANGLED TIDES by Karen Amanda Hooper (Rhemalda Publishing, November 25th, 2011)

First off, I have to say, I don't think I have ever read another mermaid book. I'd seen SPLASH like a million years ago back in the 80s, and though it was cute, mermaids were just not something I thought I cared much about. That is until I read TANGLED TIDES. I have a whole new opinion of them now.

I'll admit it. I am a sucker for romance. But, with this in mind, I want romance to really sizzle and to really work. And I want those moments of frustration between the characters, but I don't want them to last too long. And in all these aspects, TANGLED TIDES comes through big time. But don't think this story is simply some fluffy romance. There are real world consequences to the tune of an entire race dying off and war between sea creatures. And, like so many good stories, the main characters have to solve their own problems or all will be lost.

Okay, enough rambling. In short, I loved this book. I was honored to be an early reader, and I will recommend this one to everyone I can. Full of deception, forbidden love, and intrigue, TANGLED TIDES is a story best savored but impossible to put down.

*And on a final note, the publisher has this book for a great price if you pre-order (which you should). So definitely check it out!

From Goodreads:

Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.

When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.

Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.

Young Adult fans of Mermaids, Selkies, Sirens and Gorgons will love this tale of the sacrifice one makes for genuine love. Love that could be lost at any moment to the ever-changing tides.

Source of book: From author

Monday, October 24, 2011

Austin Comic Con—Get Your Groupon

No doubt the event I've most been looking forward to this fall is Austin Comic Con! Yes, I'll be dressing up, and I'll be at a booth along with eight other YA authors. So you should totally come and check us out. And yes, you should dress up, too. Bring yourself. Bring the family. Kids love Comic Con.

The best part is there's a Groupon for Austin Comic Con, so snag one today! Don't wait, or they'll be gone.

Comic Con details here!!!!

From Dallas Comic Con...

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I'm excited to be part of the Spooktacular Blog Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm. For a full list of blogs participating, check out I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Up for giveaway is an ARC of

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr (Little, Brown, October 18, 2011)

From Amazon:

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.

This contest will run through midnight, October 31, 2011.

For your chance to win this ARC, you have to follow this blog. That gets you one entry.
  • +1 entry - Follow this blog and comment to tell me

Extra entries are here:
  • +1 entry - Follow me on Twitter
  • + 2 entries - Tweet about this contest. See button at the top of post for an easy tweet!

Okay, that's it! Good luck! And don't forget I'm also giving away:

THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes (Octane Press, November 1, 2011)

Winner—GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Thanks to everyone who entered to win GLOW (Sky Chasers Book 1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan (St. Martin's Griffin, September 13, 2011)

The winner is...



And don't forget I'm still giving away

THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes (Octane Press, November 1, 2011)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Weekend! Call me :)

It's not red, but it's rotary and it's working. This is my newest acquisition. Thanks for my mom for snagging this for me for $3 at the thrift store.

I'm off to the Texas Book Festival tomorrow! See you all there :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers

I remember when this book came out, Lisa Desroches and the publisher did a fantastic job blasting it onto the scene with blogs and social marketing. Aside from the beautiful marketing display, I was totally intrigued by the cover. It was just so different from many young adult novels out there. The characters drew me in and seriously made me want to read it.

PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desroches (Tor Teen, September 14, 2010)

So I met Lisa (finally) in person at ALA this past June and managed to snag myself a signed copy of the book. Sweet! And I have to admit, this book is totally right up my alley. There is an awesome love triangle (which, yes, I admit, I do love love triangles). There is a heroine that can kick serious butt and stick up for herself. (And she practices martial arts...how cool is that. Wait, I can identify with this gal.)

Anyway, the plot is excellent, there are major consequences at play (which really had me wondering how it was all going to turn out). There is steamy romance which is always a plus. And there are sequels!

This book is perfect for fans of angels or demons or anything paranormal. It's a fun read and will leave you wanting to read the second book right away...which you can because ORIGINAL SIN is already out.

Highly recommended! And the best part is it's on sale right now on Amazon for $4.

Source of book: From publisher at ALA

From Amazon:

If you had to choose between Heaven and Hell, which would it be?

Are you sure about that...?

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance--even her closest friends--and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he's as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes GIVEAWAY!

There's always that worry after meeting an author who has a new book coming out. What if I don't like it? But I'm so happy that wasn't the case for this book which I absolutely loved.

And now, you have a chance to win it!

THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes (Octane Press, November 1, 2011)

For this one, I actually have an official blurb I wrote up:

"I picked up The Veil having no idea what to expect, and may times this turns out to be the most rewarding type of read. Such was the case for The Veil. What I found inside were words that drew me in and hooked me. From the romance to the world building, the author, Cory Putman Oakes, crafts a story both clever and touching.

The main character, Addy, is transported from her world of comfort into a realm where forces once invisible are now trying to convict her for crimes she never committed. She is given a protector, Luc, and even as she runs from the truths he tells her, she finds herself unable to resist the world he shows her, or to resist him. Oakes does an especially amazing job with the romance, bringing the reader along on a ride that draws the characters together yet keeps them apart.

Fans of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and older fans of the Harry Potter series will rejoice in discovering the world of The Veil, complete with its shapeshifters, secrets, and ancient rules which should never be broken, but as in all good stories, are. Highly recommended."

Source of book: From author by request

From Amazon:

Seventeen-year-old Addison Russell is in for a shock when she discovers that she can see the invisible world of the Annorasi. Suddenly, nothing is as it appears to be--the house she lives in, the woman who raised her, even the most beautiful boy in town all turn out to be more than what they seem. And when this strange new world forces Addy to answer for a crime that was committed long ago, by parents she has never known, she has no choice but to trust Luc, the mysterious Annorasi who has been sent to protect her. Or so he says . . .

This contest will run through Friday, October 28, 2011.

For your chance to win THE VEIL, you have to follow this blog. That gets you one entry.
  • +1 entry - Follow this blog

Extra entries are here:
  • +1 entry - Follow me on Twitter
  • + 2 entries - Tweet about this contest. See button at the top of post for an easy tweet!
  • + 2 entries - Blog about this contest.
  • + 2 entries - Tell me how much you want this book :)

Okay, that's it! Fill out the form below. And good luck! And don't forget I'm also giving away:

GLOW (Sky Chasers Book 1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan (St. Martin's Griffin, September 13, 2011)

Monday, October 17, 2011


I have to start by saying I love this book. As far as big-hype books go, this one totally hits the mark! I love when that happens :)

I remember being pitched this book at NCTE like a year ago by one of the marketing peeps at Feiwel & Friends and adoring the idea of cyborgs replacing standard humans in fairytale retellings. So I waited patiently until ARCs were available.

CINDER: BOOK ONE IN THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel & Friends, January 3, 2012)

Aside from the general premise, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Many of the elements played right into the retelling of Cinderella. And the thing was, instead of feeling done-before, these elements were totally (totally) endearing. But aside from the awesome retelling part of the story, what really set CINDER apart was the future setting complete with a reworked world government, huge medical advances, and a race of special humans who live on the moon. Combine that with some wicked family dynamics, hot romance, and an author who is not afraid to kill off characters, and what comes out is a story that is not to be missed. I'm already waiting for the next book in the series (oy, why must it take so long?).

CINDER is highly recommended for fans, seventh grade and up, of science fiction, fantasy, or fairytale retellings who are looking for something fresh in the market. I'll definitely put it in my top reads of the year. Totally worth checking out!

Source of book: From publisher by request

From Amazon:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There's been a ton going on this fall, so I thought I'd capture the last week in photos.

I joined author Jessica Lee Anderson for a book signing Saturday at The Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas. If you've never been to The Book Spot, it's a fantastic bookstore with an eclectic collection and super nice owners. There are even two darling dogs that roam the place during business hours.

Me at my signing table

Jessica at her signing table

Cake Balls being delivered by Chef Jocelyn of SugaPlump Pastries

Assortment of yummy cake balls! You should totally try these. They are the new rage :)

Jeanette Larson taking a picture of me taking a picture of someone reading SOLSTICE at the book signing :)


Assembly begins for the Lego Death Star


We now have 50 tombstones in our front yard...

...including this one


Signing with Madeline Smoot and Jessica Lee Anderson and Jeanette Larson (not shown) at the Taylor Library Gala Thursday night. I'm told we made the front page of the Taylor paper!


At a book release party on Sunday for Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson for HARNESS HORSES, BUCKING BRONCOS, AND PIT PONIES (Tundra, October 11, 2011). I got a copy of WIENER WOLF (Hyperion, July 5, 2011) which is darling and a great gift idea for the holidays!
With Bethany Hegedus and Jessica Lee Anderson. The party was at Bethany's Writing Barn.

And this picture of me cracks me up.

Hope the week ahead is wonderful!

Friday, October 14, 2011


It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! This week's topic?


There are few things I like more about the writing life than hearing from fans.

Like emails such as this:

"...I just wanted to email you to let you know that you are my favorite book author of all time you have just replaced Rick Riordan. I think that your the best, You have really inspired me to write books! Ever since I was about 9 year old I have always loved reading books about Greek Mythology and I loved reading fantasy. I always get bored with children chapter books, and I love Young Adult books, but I think your book takes the cake :).I think that your the best author in the world..."

Seriously, these words are made of love <3

Or notes that include the word 'lovely' when referring to me such as this:

Or fan art such as this:

Or book-inspired school projects such as this:

It's proof. People who read are awesome. People who read my books are even more awesome :) Thank you!

For a list of all blogs participating, check out the YA Author Club website!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BOYS THAT BITE by Mari Mancusi

I'll admit first off, that Mari Mancusi is a personal friend. She's one of the writing gals that comes to "The Place," but that in no way makes me biased toward her book :)

BOYS THAT BITE by Mari Mancusi (Berkley, April 4, 2006)

Mari was one of the first onto the Teen Vampire scene, and the popularity of this book has spawned into an eight book series that is widely popular. I made it by Mari's signing a couple weeks ago at The Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas, and picked up the first two books in the series. I'd just finished reading a somewhat serious realistic story, and Mari had promised me her books were light and funny.

BOYS THAT BITE was a joy and a hoot to read. From the first page, the voice of the characters shines through. I laughed. I rooted for the main character Sunny first to not become a vampire and then to become one. I yearned for the romance, and Mari delivered. She held off, keeping me reading and hoping, and then...

...you'll have to read it to find out what happens!

Anyway, I can't recommend BOYS THAT BITE enough for fans of PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White. It does a great of adding much-needed humor to what is a dark world of paranormal young adult literature.

Source of book: Purchased

From Amazon:

Two sisters--as different as the sun and the rain. For one, getting into the Blood Coven is to die for. But for the other, getting out could be lethal...When Sunny McDonald gets dragged to Club Fang by her twin sister Rayne, she doesn't expect to find anything besides a bunch of Goth kids playing at being vampires. But when some guy mistakes Sunny for her dark-side-loving sister and bites her on the neck, she finds out that his fangs are real--and deadly.

Now, Sunny has less than a week to figure out how to reverse the bite, or else she's going to end up as the perpetually undead. And not only will she be a vampire, she'll also be bonded to Magnus--the bloodsucker who bit her--forever. And forever is a really long time...

My Very First Kidlit Friend!

When I first started writing and I reached out to the Austin SCBWI community, the absolute very first person I met was Carla Birnberg. She welcomed me in, met me for coffee, and told me I had hope. How I love her for that.

Now Carla is an amazing fitness blogger (The fabulous MizFit) and she needs your vote! She is one of twenty finalists picked by SHAPE Magazine for their fitness blogger award.

So please take two seconds, click this link right here, and vote for MizFit!

Thank you!

Monday, October 10, 2011


I'm honored to be part of the blog tour for Greg's release! But I need to start out by mentioning my son devoured this book.

GALAXY GAMES: THE CHALLENGERS by Greg R. Fishbone (Lee & Low, September 2011)

So let's see...my son is 10 years old and digs sci-fi and fantasy. He also loved Greg's previous book, SEPTINA NASH AND THE PENGUINS OF DOOM (loved it as in read it multiple times).

So his recommendation...BUY IT NOW!

But before Greg's guest blog (below), here is the blog tour puzzle piece! And the link to the blog tour information!



Stuff Edited Out of
The Challengers
by Greg R. Fishbone

In the process of writing a book like The Challengers, a lot of material gets discarded over a number of drafts. Here are some things you might have found on the cutting room floor...

Chapter Zero Dream Sequences
What do aliens dream about? Apparently, humans are their nightmare fuel--who knew? These scenes were cut because the recent movie, Inception, has already filled our cultural quota of dream sequences at least until 2014.

"What is going on here?" M'Frozza demanded.

"What, indeed." At the front of the room stood a type of creature M'Frozza had never seen before. Two legs supported its body on a pair of feet wrapped in leather shoes, two arms were folded across its chest, and a single head sprouted from the top of its torso. Strangest of all was the creature's skin, which hardly seemed slimy or sticky at all.

"Mr. Smith?" M'Frozza guessed.

"Take your seat, Miss M'Frozza. You now have less than five minutes in which to complete . . . this hour-long exam!"

M'Frozza remained on her foot-tentacles. "Even if I understood those measurements of time, I am not a member of this class."

"You are. You merely forgot. Very embarrassing, wouldn't you say?" Mr. Smith's pink mouth widened to display two rows of white teeth.

"My father-parent employs a private tutor for me," M'Frozza explained. "I have never attended a formal school."

"Oh." Mr. Smith's grin vanished. "But you still must be embarrassed . . . since you came to class completely naked!" He pointed an accusing finger and looked around the classroom, as if signaling for a session of taunting. Instead, the other students merely blinked in confusion.

"We are all Mrendarians here," M'Frozza stated. "Clothing would interfere with our natural skin secretions."

El Gatito's Story
While the world seemed to be coming to an end. we might have caught one last wrestling match between El Gatito and La Araña. Of course, our cat-eared hero would have come out on top. Was there ever any doubt?

El Jaguar nodded. "All right, then let's begin. Your first opponent is a little younger and smaller than you but also more experienced, so it should be a fairly even match. Her name is La Araña."

El Gatito looked over at the other corner of the wrestling ring, at a girl who wore a furry brown mask with spider legs dangling from the sides of it. The girl smiled at him and waved.

"El Gatito can not fight a girl," the masked boy stated.

El Jaguar scowled in annoyance. "Listen up, Kitten Boy. Do you think it was easy for me to find anyone to spar with a skinny cat-head like you? Especially one day before the end of the world? That girl is the daughter of a famous luchador. She has been training in Lucha Libre for almost three years. She has mastered many holds and techniques, and she deserves your respect."

"You did not let El Gatito finish his sentence," said the masked boy. "El Gatito can not fight a girl when her right shoelace is untied. It would not be sporting."

Felix's Story
In a world without hope, a lone reporter files an uplifting piece about the power of the human spirit. It's hard to do justice to Felix Hoffmann in scenes with so many other kids, but on his own he really does shine.

"What could your team mascot have possibly said to keep all your players from giving up?"

Coach Hoffmann laughed. "If you'd really met him, you'd know. Not even the end of the world can dampen that boy's enthusiasm, and he tends to rub off on others. Felix gave the players a speech about how they should go out in a blaze of glory while doing something they loved. Then he did the same thing for the other team, just in case they were thinking of quitting as well. Now all the players' families are flocking to Munich as if this were the game of the century."

A new story began to form in Frau Schreiber's brain: "In a time of crisis and uncertainty, one young boy dared to stand up and defy the forces of death and devastation. Felix Hoffmann, team mascot of the Monarchs, rallied the boys of Frankfurt for one final time in a game where victory was achieved by merely taking the field. When young Felix grows up—"

Frau Schreiber frowned and tried again: "When young Felix grows up...if young Felix grows up...had young Felix been allowed to grow up..." She sighed and rubbed her throbbing forehead. Felix would never grow up, because of the killer asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

Ling-Wa's Story
Ling's red boots are legendary in the annals of kid sports, but what's the story behind the famous footwear? In these deleted scenes, Ling took a long road trip across China with a girl who, at first, absolutely hated her guts.

"Stop feeling so sorry for yourself," said Ling.

"How else should I feel?" Mei shot back. "The world is about to end and I'm stuck in a train station with you! I'm tired, I'm hungry, my nose is runny, and I can't even afford a pack of tissues!"

Ling sat up and stretched her arms. Then she stood and stretched her legs. Then she bent down to touch her toes.

"What are you doing?" asked Mei.

"You wanted money, didn't you?" Ling straightened up, put her arms above her head, and started humming one of the songs used for floor routines at Master Wan's.

"You can't do a tumbling routine here," said Mei. "There are no springs or pads—if you fall, you'll break your neck!"

Ling was beyond listening. She launched into a double twist which flowed into a forward roll. She ended up back on her feet without missing a note of her hummed melody. Train passengers moved back to give her room. Men, women, and children watched with rapt attention as Ling performed more and more complicated combinations.

Mei held out her hat again. "Who wants to help a pair of stranded gymnasts?" she asked. This time, people dropped bills and coins into the hat until it overflowed.

Weez's Story
Looking back on these scenes, part of me really wishes Weez could have been the first one to meet M'Frozza instead of Tyler. What a wacky universe that would have been!

On the radio, an astrophysicist at the University of São Paulo told an interviewer that the alien ship's arrival was the greatest moment of his life. His voice choked up as he spoke.

"He wouldn't be so happy about it if aliens had taken his brother," Weez remarked. "Everyone's acting like this is the first time aliens have visited us, but it's so obvious they've been here before."

"Right. When they abducted your brother."

"No, not just then. Do you know how many people have seen mysterious lights in the sky? How many claim to have been abducted? How many lose track of hours or days and then find tracking devices implanted in their necks?"

"Not very many," Matheus answered.

Weez sat up straight. "What's the matter with you? I thought you were a believer!"

"I believe you," said Matheus. "That doesn't mean I have to believe all those other stories too."

As fun as these deleted scenes can be, I think you'll also enjoy the stuff that actually did make it into the book!


From Amazon:

Things are looking up for Tyler Sato (literally!) as he and his friends scan the night sky for a star named for him by his Tokyo cousins in honor of his eleventh birthday. Ordinary stars tend to stay in one place, but Ty's seems to be streaking directly toward Earth at an alarming rate. Soon the whole world is talking about TY SATO, the doomsday asteroid, and life is turned upside down for Ty Sato, the boy, who would rather be playing hoops in his best friend's driveway.

Meanwhile, aboard a silver spaceship heading for Earth, M'Frozza, a girl with three eyes and five nose holes, is on a secret mission. M'Frozza is the captain of planet Mrendaria's Galaxy Games team, and she is desperate to save her world from a dishonorable performance in the biggest sporting event in the universe.

What will happen when Ty meets M'Frozza? Get ready for the most important event in human history--it's off the backboard, around the rim, and out of this world!

Source of book: From publisher at ALA

Thank you Austin SCBWI...

...for allowing me to be part of such a wonderful event this past Saturday! The Digital Symposium was so well run and truly unique and worthwhile. I loved it and was honored to be included!

me convincing everyone in the audience they need to buy Photoshop :)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan Giveaway!

Up for giveaway this week is an ARC of a science fiction YA aimed at fans of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis.

GLOW (Sky Chasers Book 1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan (St. Martin's Griffin, September 13, 2011)

From Amazon:

If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean's sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.

Pulse-pounding and addictive, GLOW begins the most riveting series since The Hunger Games.

Source of book: From publisher by request

This contest will run through Friday, October 21, 2011.

For your chance to win GLOW, you have to follow this blog. That gets you one entry.
  • +1 entry - Follow this blog

Extra entries are here:
  • +1 entry - Follow me on Twitter
  • + 2 entries - Tweet about this contest. See button at the top of post for an easy tweet!
  • + 2 entries - Blog about this contest.
  • + 2 entries - Tell me how much you want this book :)

Okay, that's it! Fill out the form below. And good luck!

STICK by Andrew Smith—Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered to win this awesome book!

The winner of STICK by Andrew Smith (Feiwel & Friends, October 11, 2011)


Look for another giveaway this week!

Friday, October 07, 2011


I'll be presenting at 10:00 in the morning. Wait! You're not registered? Here's the link :)
I'll be talking about making SWAG and book trailers and showing the awesomeness that is Adobe products.

See you all there (I hope)!

(my first slide...)

YA INDIE CARNIVAL: My Favorite Character to Write in SOLSTICE

It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! This week's topic?


Honestly, I love so many of the characters in SOLSTICE mainly because I feel like they are all so different. I posted on my main characters last week, so just for something different, I'm going to pick my favorite minor character to write.

In SOLSTICE, the main character Piper spends a bit of time in the Underworld, and if you know anything about the Underworld from Greek mythology, not all parts of it are sweet, green pastures. In fact some of these places are downright scary, and the people that have been damned to live in these places are rotten.

So Piper heads to Tartarus, the worst of the worst places in the Underworld. She meets some bad guys. And of these bad guys, the one I adored writing was Tantalus. If you don't know the story of Tantalus*, it's one not to miss. See, Tantalus offered a sacrifice by killing his son, cutting him up, and boiling him into soup. And then, when the gods came to dinner, he served the soup. And Demeter, being a bit distraught and scatterbrained, ate the soup. Yuck.

Tantalus was guilty of cannibalism, human sacrifice, and infanticide, and was sentenced to eternity in Tartarus. And there in Tartarus, his punishment was to always be within close reach of food and water, but when he reached for either, they receded. So he eternally starved.

Now Piper is in Tartarus, and she gets to meet Tantalus (yes, I realize the two names are very similar...I didn't create them). So he's this crazy hungry guy who wants to nibble on her shoulders and lips (or even a little finger should she place one too close). But he never can, and so he begs and pleads for just a little snack. Very fun to write! But it seems like many times the bad guys are :)

* You can read all about Tantalus on Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge :)

For a list of all posts, visit all the blogs!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

DARK OF THE MOON by Tracy Barrett

Last year I read and fell in love with KING OF ITHAKA (read my review here) which was so much different than a retelling of a myth. And this is what I loved about it. There's something about taking the myths and twisting them up that hits the right note for me. Like this newest one from Tracy Barrett...

DARK OF THE MOON by Tracy Barrett (Harcourt, September 20, 2011)

It's funny because not too long ago I read a fabulous article theorizing about the myth of the minotaur and what it really might have been. I mean, sure, you can hold onto the belief that there really was a scary monster eating teens. Or you can open your mind and try to come up with a rational explanation, which is what Tracy did in DARK OF THE MOON.

So what did I love about this book? Let's start with the mythology. Yes, there was still death and crazy god rituals. It was sprinkled in enough to keep me hooked. Next, there was the character of Theseus. I kind of loved that he was so not perfect. From his motivation to his mistakes, he's totally deserving of the hero status he achieves. And the last thing I'll point out is the monster. Because yes, there is a monster. But he's not all that bad (even though he might kill people).

I definitely recommend DARK OF THE MOON for fans of mythology, girls or boys alike.

Source of book: From publisher by request

From Amazon:

Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.

So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.

Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . .

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


So there are books I love, and then there are books I *love*. Seriously.

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline (Crown, August 16, 2011)

I managed to pick this book up at ALA with zero clue what it was about and never having heard of it. I was actually standing in line waiting for an ARC of THE NIGHT CIRCUS. This one had a cool title and looked a bit like the 80s. But it wasn't until I saw it in the Audible recommendations that I decided to read it. What pushed me over the edge was the fact that it was narrated by Wil Wheaton :)

So I started listening on audio, and I could not stop. This is the kind of audio book I found myself making excuses of places to drive so I could listen to it. I listened when my kids were in the car (which I never do). I looked forward to folding laundry because I could listen while I folded. And even though the book ended nicely with all ends tied, I still wanted more because I enjoyed it so much.

Set in a future where the energy crisis has hit big time, lots of people are calling this the next 'SNOW CRASH,' and sure, I do see 'SNOW CRASH'-ish elements in the story, but overall it's a story about the virtual world the characters live in, and not so much about the real world (though world development is done well...don't get me wrong).

The author (who happens to live in Austin) does an amazing job of creating tension, worrying the reader, and then assuaging the situation. I love this. I want to reach a point of worry and frustration, but I don't want to stay there too long. And READY PLAYER ONE delivers.

Who would I recommend this book to? Everyone :)
Okay, seriously, if you
  1. love the 80s
  2. love video games
  3. love MMO games (like World of Warcraft or Wizard 101 is that is more your speed)
  4. love science fiction and enjoy books like SNOW CRASH
  5. want to see what Wil Wheaton is up to these days (listen to audio in this case)

Wait, does that cover everyone? My recommendation: AN ABSOLUTE MUST!

Source of Book: ARC from publisher at ALA, Audio purchased from Audible.com

From Amazon:

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

TYGER TYGER by Kersten Hamilton Paperback Release!

In case you guys missed it, I read and reviewed this fabulous book almost a year ago, and I'm thrilled that the paperback is now available. If anything about goblins, shapeshifts, or romance interests you, then this book is for you! The best part is now you can get it for a great price :) Always nice.

by Kersten Hamilton (Clarion, September 6, 2011)

(and I think my review was only sent to the publication I was reviewing for at the time, so I'm reposting it here...)


Tyger Tyger is the first in what is hoped to be a series of books set in the enchanting worlds of humans and goblins. An unexpected house guest at Teagan Wylltson’s home sets off the spark for what becomes a chain of events that change the very world around her. As Teagan’s world comes crashing down, she has to fight for herself, her family, and her heart.

Hamilton brings readers fully into the world of goblins, showing the beauty layered with evil so old and deep it is rooted in the nature of both the human world and the goblin world. Ashes from an unexpected death allow for the portal between the two worlds to be opened, and in this moment, nothing will ever be the same. The main character Teagan is lead into the goblin world to save her father, but in doing so, her life and that of her younger brother Aiden are threatened. Their biggest hope for survival seems to be in the legend of The Mac Cumhaill who is embodied in the teenager Finn Mac Cumhaill who makes no secret of the fact that he would like to take his relationship with Teagan to the next level. What really sets Tyger Tyger apart from other young adult fantasy novels is the beautiful world building Hamilton creates and the uniqueness of the goblins as the fantasy creatures.

Tyger Tyger is highly recommended for kids and teens ages twelve and up interested in stories of mythology, adventure, and paranormal romance. Because of the magical beliefs of the Irish mythology, it will also appeal to adults interested in seeing these legendary stories used in a more modern setting.

Source of book: From publisher by request


From Amazon:

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.
Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

THE GALAXY GAMES by Greg Fishbone Blog Tour Kickoff Blast!

Galaxy Games: The ChallengersCelebrate the release of The Challengers by Greg R. Fishbone! This is the first book of the Galaxy Games series, published by the Tu Books imprint of Lee & Low Books. In this hilarious middle-grade romp through space, eleven-year-old Tyler Sato leads a team of kids representing all of Earth in a sports tournament against alien kids from across the galaxy.

Great Galactic Blog Tour

Join Greg during the month of October for the Great Galactic Blog Tour! Every day for 31 days, Greg will spotlight a different children's literature blog with book giveaways, author interviews, in-character interviews, excerpts, deleted scenes, and more. Happening right now is the Launch Day Giveaway. There are lots of ways to enter!

Puzzle Piece #1

The site of the day will also feature one of 31 "puzzle pieces" that will lead one reader to a grand prize. Here is the first piece in the contest:

Galaxy Games: The Challengers

Book Info

  • Series: Galaxy Games

  • Title: The Challengers

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-60060-660-1

  • Author: Greg R. Fishbone

  • Illustrator: Ethen Beavers

  • Publisher: Tu Books / Lee & Low Books

  • Ages: 9-12

The Challengers is available now from online and offline booksellers and as an ebook. Read more about the Galaxy Games series and be sure to follow the Blog Tour!