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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Always worth a re-watch!

Starting out this week, I felt the strong need to watch this video again. I love so many things about it. The music. The lyrics. The shirts he wears. It always makes me smile.

And speaking of shirts, today's Shirt Woot is definitely calling my name! Go Team Pluto!
ORDER YOURS HERE (and you better hurry! It's for Monday only!)

Now back to revisions! Hope you week is off to a great start!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

THE BREAKAWAY by Michelle Davidson Argyle NOW AVAILABLE!

Happy beginning of the week!

Just a quick shout out to mention that this book is now available!
You can read my review here, and if you have never checked out Michelle's blog, I totally recommend it!

THE BREAKAWAY by Michelle Davidson Argyle (Rhemalda, May 1, 2012)

Hope you have a great week ahead!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Five on a Birthday Friday!

Yes, it's that special day for yours truly. If you count in hex, I am officially now 2A years old (so for the next six years, the hex trick doesn't work so well). Anyway, enough on the geeky engineering humor. I hope you all have fantastic days and weekends and entire weeks and months and years!

My Birthday Five:

1) So you know what a birthday commemorates? One more trip around the sun. I've officially traveled around the sun 2A times. I love that!

Yay! Pluto is still included!

2) It is uncanny how many things I look at with random numbers and the numbers come up as 427 (which is today). The clock reads 4:27. I am given hotel room number 427. The strides on the elliptical machine are 427. It's like there is a psychic power out there trying to constantly wish me a happy birthday :)

3) The thing I miss most about living at home with my parents (aside from never having to do my own laundry)?

Mom's Yum Yum Cake

See my mom always made me this incredible birthday cake. Angelfood with cream cheese and yogurt and cool whip icing and layers with pinapples and walnuts. Ugh, just typing it makes my mouth water. It was to-die-for and it was my favorite.

 This picture isn't even close to how awesome my mom's cake was

4) I'm writing today at The Place with my awesome Austin writing group! It makes for a perfect day, and I *think* I can even get a free shot on my birthday. Baileys?

Will the trolls show up?

5) As for the future? Well, it's looking good and exciting and I have no complaints. Perhaps my birthday movie will be BEASTMASTER (which I realize I've never seen). Anyone who's seen it? Is it kid-appropriate?

Thank you for all for reading and being awesome!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss

One word:


THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, 2007)

This came as a recommendation through ARMADILLOCON, a local SFF literary con held yearly here in Austin. And, so, I've started this new thing where most of my audio book listens are adult SFF (my original love), and most of my paper/ebook reads are kid and teen books. So I opted for this as my next audiobook listen, and was hooked from the first page.

Five reasons to pick this book up TODAY:

1) Like I mentioned, I listened to this on audio. If it says anything about how much I enjoyed the book, it was 25 hours long. As soon as I finished it, I bought and downloaded the sequel which is 45 hours long.

2) The book is truly episodic. And yet, it hooked me completely. It's told as a story, and I found myself sucked right in, feeling like I was right there in the inn as it unfolded.

3) I love that the main character, Kvothe, is so talented and yet so imperfect. He's not proud of his mistakes, but he's also not afraid to admit to them, and he shows them to the reader in the most humorous (or sometimes the most touching) ways.

4) The character interplay is beautifully done. Kvothe meets so many different people and finds himself in so many different situations, and in each one, the relationships with the people he meets are constructed and displayed so well. It's fun and light and dark and deep, and everything I'd like to be able to do in my writing.

5) The world Patrick Rothfuss has created is a world I can totally lose myself in. I'm about halfway through the sequel, and I'm already waiting for book 3 so I can spend just a little bit more time in this world. Everything from the idioms to the monetary system to the rankings of musicians and the songs are well thought out, and even though amazing details are given to describe and show all these things, never does it feel burdensome or clunky.

Overall, this is a book I highly recommend to anyone who loves adult fantasy and science fiction. This is fantasy at its very best. No, it's not a kids' book. And sure, the material is fine suited for teens, but this is truly an epic fantasy and is a true pleasure for those who love that sort of thing. 

From Amazon:  

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Source of book: Purchased audiobook from Audible.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick Review and Giveaway!

So prom season is totally coming up! And how better to celebrate prom season than by reading books about prom (especially since I am well out of prom age and I can't yet chaperone my kids' dances). Anyway, with prom in mind, I give you...

AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schreiber (Houghton Mifflin Books, October 25, 2011)

The amazing people at Houghton Mifflin have offered up a copy of AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK as a giveaway, but first, I want to give you...

...Five reasons why you should totally read this book!

1) The action starts on page 1 and never stops. And when I say it never stops, I'm serious. This novel is 100% action packed in at a break-neck speed.

2) Okay, premise. Perry is stuck going to prom with their family's exchange student. And he's sure it's going to be totally boring...until she turns out to be an assassin, and she ropes him into her hits. *love*

3) The humor in this book was priceless. I absolutely adored Perry. He's thrown into this completely crazy situation and has no idea what to do. So he bumbles around trying to figure out what's right while getting himself into every mess possible. And he's hilarious the entire time.

4) The settings in this book came to life. I loved the party scenes and dance scenes and traffic scenes. I felt like I was right there with Perry and Gobija as they sped around the city, getting into every bit of trouble they could.

5) The ending. It's...perfect. Just the right hint of more to come. Yes, were a sequel to hit the shelves, I would be first in line!

Overall, this book is highly recommended for boys or girls (totally boys will love this one. don't let the girl on the cover scare them away), seventh grade and up, fans of action, adventure, and dark humor.

Source of book: Won in raffle at ALA midwinter

From Amazon:

Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel. It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a muchanticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take Gobija Zaksauskas—their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student—to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. Perry finds that Gobi is on a mission, and Perry has no other choice but to go along for a reckless ride through Manhattan’s concrete grid with a trained assassin in Dad’s red Jag. Infused with capers, car chases, heists, hits, henchmen, and even a bear fight, this story mixes romance, comedy, and tragedy in a true teen coming-of-age adventure—and it’s not over until it’s “au revoir.”


Now for your chance to win an ARC of this amazing book! It's easy! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on May 5, 2012
2) Contest is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

TLA—It's all about the Books! And the other stuff!

Last week was a crazy three days of activity filled with:
  • driving to Houston (with the lovely company of Jessica Lee Anderson and E. Kristin Anderson (no relation))!
  • a detour book club visit to West Columbia, Texas (best group of teens ever. They were awesome!)
  • pictures with Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper. (we even knew one of the storm troopers...how bizarre is that?) 
  • dinner with some of my favorite writing pals!
K. A. Holt, Me, E. Kristin Anderson, Nikki Loftin, Sam Clark, Bethany Hegedus, and Jessica Lee Anderson
  • Meeting Judy Blume (being one of the first in line, and getting photobombed by K. A. Holt)

  • the first ever YART Texas Tea (what a blast! I loved talking about my book to people who wanted to hear)
Christina Mandelski, Me, and Joy Preble at the Texas YART Tea
  • our annual Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels Reception (200 brownies officially GONE!)
  • special dinner plans!
  • the TT4L teen event (where I was at the table just next to Orson Scott Card)
  • seeing all sorts of people I adore

And of course, then there were the books. I managed to contain myself pretty well, but I wanted to highlight some of the titles I am most excited for!


FIVE ANCESTORS OUT OF THE ASHES #1: PHOENIX by Jeff Stone (Random House, September 25, 2012)
We share an agent and a love of kung fu :)

VORDAK DOUBLE TROUBLE by Scott Seegart & John Martin (Egmont, August 28, 2012)
Who doesn't love this favorite super-evil villain?

 DARKWATER by Catherine Fisher (Dial, September 27, 2012)
Her books are just so unique and intriguing!


PASSENGER by Andrew Smith (Feiwel & Friends, October 2, 2012)
I can't wait to read this sequel!

SHADOWS by Ilsa Bick (Egmont, September 25, 2012)
Again, a sequel I've been dying to read!

LEGACY OF TRIL: SOULBOUND by Heather Brewer (Dial, June 19, 2012)
Amazing cover! Heather Brewer!

THE CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson (Greenwillow, September 18, 2012)
Yes, sequel, again, of a book I loved!

ETTIQUETTE ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger (Little, Brown, February 13, 2013)
So intrigued about this one!


PLUTO VISITS EARTH by Steve Metzger & Jarod D. Lee (Orchard, August 1, 2012)
I am all about the Pluto love!

PICK UP YOUR PEN: THE ART OF HANDWRITING by Monica Dengo (Owlkids Books, March 13, 2012)
My daughter couldn't get her hands on this one fast enough!

And even though I should perhaps have better things to do with my time, I could not resist photoshopping this picture of E. Kristin Anderson, Jeanette Larson, and me. I've always wanted to go to Stonehenge :)

Monday, April 16, 2012


I'm off for TLA in Houston which happens to be one of the most amazing library conferences in the world because not only do librarians rock, Texas librarians rock! If you happen to run into one of the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels, please tell us whether you are a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel, and we'll give you a button to commemorate your big decision. And please come by Booth 2629 on Wednesday from 4-5 for our annual Librarian Reception! We have delicious brownies and candy bars to hand out!


If you can't make it to TLA, here are a couple events locally in Austin you may want to attend. I'm bummed that I can't make either of these event, because (1) I adore Carla Birnberg who will be on the first event, and (2) I love the topic for the Texas Book Festival event. Perhaps if I could clone myself...

The Writer's League of Texas presents...

Thursday, April 19, 7 PM
BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Panelists include Matthew Schultz, Lexi Smith, Ruth Pennebaker, and Carla Birnberg, my very dear friend, Carla!

Carla Birnberg (aka "MizFit") is an award winning writer, community builder, personal trainer, and bodybuilding competitor. A blogger since 2001, she launched MizFitOnline in 2007 to share her health and fitness knowledge and gained the attention of Women's Day, Experience Life, ivillage.com, Glamour, Women's Health, Fitness, Yahoo!, Yahoo!Shine, Yahoo!’s YourWisdom, Runners World, and Austin FIT magazine. Carla was identified by Entrepreneur.com as one of ten individuals who exemplify the ability to create a strong personal brand, named as one of Five Favorite Fitness Blogs by Athleta® brand and voted one of the Top Five Fitness Blogs by Shape Magazine®.

The Texas Book Festival and Texas State Library and Archives Commission present graphic novelist and editor Mark Siegel.

The New Visual Literary of Graphic Novels
Thursday, April 19, Texas State Library
1201 Brazos St., Austin, 6-8 p.m.
Mix and mingle until 6:30.
Discussion and book signing until 8.


And in other news, please help me congratulate fellow Texas Sweetheart (though he claims to be a Scoundrel) Don Tate for the release of his brand new book!!!!!

It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate (Author), R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)(Lee & Low, April 2012)

See you after TLA!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Zombie Love

So I'm not much of a zombie girl, but this art, c/o my daughter, may just win me over.

The Crazy Zombie

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Thanks to everyone who entered to win these books! The winner of

BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore (Dial, May 1, 2012)


Jessica (@peaceluvbooks)!


The winner of

FRACTURE by Megan Miranda (Walker, January 17, 2012)


Lindsay Ann!

Friday, April 13, 2012

10 things—Waiting on a Friday the 13th

Sure, I normally do a Five on a Friday. But this is no ordinary Friday. This is Friday the 13th! And as seems to be the case for the last (insert amount of time), I am waiting on about 13 different things. And if you guys are the least bit like me, when I am waiting, I get a little itchy. And when I think about the itchiness, it makes me more itchy. And the waiting continues.

So when I'm waiting on stuff, here are 10 things I do to pass the time...

(and please comments and tell me what you do when you're waiting!)

1) Fold the laundry
It calls to me. It taunts me from the other room. It reminds me that it will wrinkle if I don't take care of it.

2) Order random t-shirts from tee-shirt sites
Yes, I know I've been posting some serious t-shirt love on Facebook, but sites like Tee Fury and Shirt Woot have the potential to make me broke.

3) Write a short story
And then revise said short story. And then, when I am sick of revising said short story, find something else on this list.

4) Jump on the elliptical machine
It's the perfect time to get all caught up on GAME OF THRONES (which would not appropriately be called GAME OF THONGS since that would imply the characters were wearing some shreds of clothing).

5) Scrub the toilets
Yes, I must be pretty desperate to get to this one.

6) Listen to Star Trek ambient noise
Enough said.

7) Organize something around the house
A junk drawer, kid's toys, personal finances. Whatever it is, lose myself in the minutiae.

8) Play Wizard101
And do not allow guilt from playing hours of Wizard101 to creep in. This is quality family time.

9) Read
Waiting time is the perfect time to get caught up on all those ARCs from ALA Midwinter, especially seeing as how TLA is NEXT WEEK and a whole new, fresh batch of ARCs is coming!

10) Kung Fu
Kicking and punching is always a nice solution when filled with pent-up energy.

Okay, so that's my start. What works for you? What's the best way to spend time when busy waiting? :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WITCH HUNT by K. C. Blake

Today I'm excited to feature for you guys a friend who's an indie author who has a brand new book!

WITCH HUNT by K. C. Blake

K. C. has agreed to stop by and answer a few questions for us, so I dove into the question drawer, and here's what I came up with!


PJH: There are tons of books out there. Tons! Give my readers five awesome reasons why your book has to be the one for them to read!

1. It’s about witches playing games. What could be more fun?

2. It has twists and turns you probably won’t see coming.

3. There is a forbidden romance.

4. The characters will stay with you even after you finish the book.

5. It is a fast-paced book you won’t be able to put down.

PJH: If the apocalypse came, would you still find a way to write? If yes, then how and why?

KC: Who would read it? If we were in an apocalypse, there wouldn’t be anyone available to publish it or read it. No, I wouldn’t keep writing. I would grab some guns and defend my home like Reba in the Tremors movie.

PJH: Finish this sentence, and tell us why. Writing is a lot like….

KC: Writing is a lot like time travel. You see things others don’t see, visit places others can’t visit (unless you take them along), and people are usually skeptical that you can do it. When you talk about writing they get the same look in their eyes that they would if you talked about time travel. LOL

PJH: Mummy vs. Bigfoot... Who would win and why?

KC: Bigfoot would win if he was smart enough to unravel the mummy.

PJH: Please share your favorite inspirational thought with my readers!

KC: Don’t just write what you know. Write what you love. If you love the characters, so will the readers.

PJH: Thanks, KC!


From Amazon:

A magical game of Hide n Seek begins.
Find the missing player and win.
The game resets, everyone forgets, and they start to play again.

Starr Hughes hasn’t believed in magic since her mother died. As a reporter for the school paper she’s only interested in cold, hard facts. When she hears rumors that the mysterious It-Squad members are about to play a secret game, she is determined to learn all about it, especially since she’s been in love with one of the members half her life. Hiding under the headmaster’s desk, planting bugs, and breaking into a fellow student’s locker are all on her to-do list.

Starr is about to discover that witches not only exist, but they need her help. Someone is using the game to steal their memories, their powers, and maybe even their lives.

ATTENTION: Although this is the second book in the series, each book has its own set of characters and can be read as a stand-alone book.

You can buy WITCH HUNT on Amazon now!

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Funnest Book Club Ever!

Okay, you may or may not know that I am totally addicted to the MMO game Wizard101 (and if you don't play, you should. anyway...). So I'm completely excited to have my trilogy featured in the Ravenwood Bulletin (the monthly newsletter from Wizard101) as the book choice for the Book of the Month club!


Wizard101 Balance Professor AlhazredBook of the Month Club - Special Guest!
Hello everyone, I'm Alhazred and I'm the Krokotopia Librarian. Harold Argleston asked me to step in to introduce a special guest author for our April 2012 Book of the Month Club!

P. J. Hoover is an author of fantasy and science-fiction books for kids and teens. Among other books, she has recently a written a trilogy called "The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy"...


You can read the whole newsletter here.

You can sign up for Wizard101 here (we can be friends!).

And, of course, you can read all about my trilogy here.

this is me, except I'm now level 46 :)

Thursday, April 05, 2012


I'm excited to be participating in the HOPPY EASTER GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Inspired Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer and co-hosted by Yara at Once Upon A Twilight. It's simple. Lots of blogs. Lots of giveaways. Visit them all, and you're bound to win something. The odds are totally in your favor.

To enter other awesome contests, visit all the blogs listed on I am a Reader, Not a Writer!


Today, up for giveaway is an ARC of

BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore (Dial, May 1, 2012)

From Amazon:

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Source of book: From publisher by request


It's easy to win! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on April 13, 2012
2) Contest is US and Canada only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

To enter other awesome contests, visit all the blogs listed on I am a Reader, Not a Writer!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

FRACTURE by Megan Miranda Review and Giveaway!

I kept hearing amazing things about this book, so it managed to float its way to the top of my TBR list...

(and don't forget to check below for the giveaway!)

FRACTURE by Megan Miranda (Walker, January 17, 2012)

I managed to pick up a copy at ALA Midwinter and pretty much devoured the book in one quick night. And now I give you...


1) It's about a girl who is trapped below ice for eleven minutes and lives with no brain damage. Or does she have brain damage? First off, I'm going to give this book huge kudos for such a fantastic concept. The idea of falling below ice is etched into our minds as something totally terrifying, and FRACTURE delivers.

2) Now for the second part. Does she really have zero brain damage? Or did something go wrong? Megan Miranda keeps us guessing until the very end. We don't know if the main character, Delaney, is all there or if she is imagining things or even making things up. The mystery in the story is crafted so well and dished out one little piece after the next.

3) I did mention I couldn't put it down, right? Because I just had to know what was going to happen. It's a fast, engaging read and one you won't want to stop reading until you're done. So make sure to set aside a good four hours (or whatever your reading speed happens to be) to finish this book.

4) The romance. Yes, there is romance, and yes, it works for me. I mean, there's the whole best friend thing, and the mysterious guy thing, and both are captivating and vying for attention. And I love how Delaney doesn't know what to do and who to trust.

5) So the book's not fantasy and it's not paranormal. It's kind of this in-between realistic mystery that is so unique in the current market.

In short, FRACTURE is totally worth the read. It's creepy and mysterious and completely engaging. Recommended for boys or girls, seventh grade and up.

Source of book: From publisher at ALA Midwinter

From Amazon:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.


Now for your chance to win an ARC of this amazing book! It's easy! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on April 13, 2012
2) Contest is US and Canada only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

2 Awesome Books Available Now!

Available in bookstores this week are two books I absolutely loved! Which means if you didn't pre-order them before, you can buy them for real now!

GRAVE MERCY: HIS FAIR ASSASSIN BOOK 1 by Robin LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin, April 3, 2012)

THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic, April 1, 2012)

Happy reading!

RADIATE by Marley Gibson

Today on the blog I'm featuring a book that touches on an amazing subject and is such a wonderful addition to the world of young adult literature today.

RADIATE by Marley Gibson (Graphia/HMH, April 3, 2012)

From Amazon:

Hayley Matthews is determined to be the best cheerleader she can. She works hard and pushes herself 110% all the time. Then Hayley finds a lump on her leg. The diagnosis is cancer. The prognosis is unclear. She could lose her leg. Or maybe her life. At first Haley is scared, terrified. In an instant, everything she’s worked for seems out of reach. But Haley is strong. She’s going to fight this disease. She will not let it take her life or her dreams.

This book is racking up some amazing reviews including:

"RADIATE is a word that aptly describes this novel. I found myself caught in the tight grip of hope and determination. A story as extraordinary and as powerful as this one will affect the reader long after the book is finished, especially after knowing the source of the author's inspiration." - Colleen Houck, NYT Bestselling Author

"RADIATE shows readers that the power of positive thinking can change lives!" - Simone Elkeles, NYT Bestselling Author

"I have never read a writer with a voice as characteristic and consistent! I love it!" - Jennifer Echols, author of Going Too Far and Forget You

I hope you'll help spread the word and check out the book!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Tables of Content SMU Style

I mentioned on Friday that I was off to Dallas to be featured as one of the Top Ten Haute Authors at the Friends of the SMU Libraries Tables of Content Fundraising Event (and again, perhaps the young and haute parts can be argued, but I am not going to complain). It's fun to get all dressed up and head to a posh affair, and I had a blast.

I met tons of cool people, had a chance to chat with people who love books as much as I do, and just because I think it's the neatest thing ever, in attendance also was former First Lady Laura Bush (complete with her 5 secret service agents entourage). Also in attendance, was fellow Texas Sweetheart Jo Whittemore (looking way gorgeous, I have to say!).

So pictures sum it up best...

Me at my author table during the cocktail reception

Jo and me posing Texas Sweetheart style!

My date for the evening, the elusive Riley Hoover

The meal was top-notch, and I ate every bit of this dessert!

After the event, we headed out to an Irish pub to act like grown-ups for a bit. I forgot how much fun this can be.

Thank you, Friends of the SMU Libraries! I am honored to have been part of such an amazing evening!