Showing posts from November, 2010

Liar Review

by Justine Larbalestier
Micah will freely admit she's a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you. Over the years she's fooled everyone: her classmates, her teachers, even her parents. And she's always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But it is possible to tell the truth when lying comes as easily as breathing?

If you're looking for a light-hearted read for a rainy day, this is not it. I honestly think his was the strangest book I have ever read in my life, and I mean that in a good way. The writing style might be jarring for some people, but personally I thought it fit perfectly with Micah and her story. LIAR is the kind of book that makes you think and sticks in your head long after you've closed it.

This book hooked me from the start. I felt like part two dragged on a little more than it should, but part …

2011 Debut Author Challenge

The 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren is almost here! For more information and to sign-up check out the link above. The objective is to to read a least twelve debut Young Adult or Middle Grade novels released in 2011 over the course of the year.

This year, I'm taking the challenge.

Here are some of the books that I hope to read next year:
A TOUCH MORTAL by Leah CliffordLIKE MANDARIN by Kirsten HubbardWILDEFIRE by Karsten KnightWHERE I BELONG by Gwendolyn HeasleyANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison MoultonTHE WATER WARS by Cameron StracherTHE NEAR WITCH by Victoria SchwabPOSSESSION by Elana JohnsonDIVERGENT by Veronica RothWITHER by Lauren DeStefanoTIMELESS by Alexandra MonirACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth RevisXVI by Julia KarrDARKNESS BECOMES HER by Kelly Keaton
THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER by Jana OliverI AM J by Cris BeamENTWINED by Heather DixonTHOSE THAT WAKE by Jesse KarpLIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura RoeckerBETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta SepetysEND OF THE LINE by A…

Week in Short

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! For those of you who live outside the U.S., I hope you had a wonderful Thursday. :) Hope everyone is staying safe and having a fun time shopping on this Black Friday.

Song of the week: Just The Way You Are -- Glee cast. This week's episode of Glee = MADE. OF. WIN. I haven't stopped listening to this song since Wednesday. I didn't think I'd ever find a song that topped Teenage Dream or an episode that topped Never Been Kissed...but they did it this week.

Must Read:
10 commandments of social networking for writers

Overheard at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America party

Michelle Brower: 10 tips for attending writers' conferences
Kimberly Shumate: How to create a professional submission

Jennifer Laughran:
The best time to query

Marieke's Musings:
How to write YA sci-fi with Beth Revis

Nathan Bransford:
Nine circles of writing hell

#188: YA urban fantasy

Agents request…

RTW -- Best Book of November

It was no contest this month with a reread of one of my favorite books of all time...

By J.K. Rowling
It seems like just yesterday that I was joking about trying to read it and walk out of the store at the same time (I wanted to, but I managed to hold off until we got into the car). Just yesterday that I curled up in my room, scorning human contact for twelve straight hours in favor of my favorite characters as I raced through the pages. Instead it's been two crazy years and part one is now in theaters.

This was my third time reading Deathly Hallows and it never gets old. It's still the same amazing story that it was the first time. I still cry my heart out over the end. I still grin as I turn the final page and feel the bittersweet pang of sadness that this wonderful series is over.

Overall: 10/10. Deathly Hallows gets an O for Outstanding. :) Well done, J.K. Rowling. An incredible end to what has been an incredible ride.

Outside References and Dating

A lot of people worry about adding real life references to their books in fear of dating them. Others don't have that fear at all.

I'm somewhere in the middle.

I like references to the real world in novels. It makes the characters and the plot more relatable. This is especially true for contemporary novels where creating a story that is relatable for teens is one of the most important things.

The problem for me is where the references become so prevalent that they actually draw me out of the story. For example, I read a novel last year where the main character literally lists off every song she listens to during certain parts of the story. There is no plot reason for her to list off all the songs, she just does. I had no idea what any of the songs were, or their artists, and I didn't love the book enough to have the interest in looking them up. A year later and that's the main thing I remember about that book.

Occasional song references are good things. They give the story…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Movie Review

First the non-spoilery review.

Part one was AWESOME. End of story. Good-bye. The end. (Virtual cookie to anyone who can tell me what that's from.) It didn't meet my insanely high expectations, but that's mostly because it was build-up for what's coming in part two. It'll be a lot better when the two parts come together. It was still worth stayed up until three in the morning and being exhausted in school the next day. SO. FREAKING. COOL. I'm hoping to go see it again Wednesday night. Eight months until part two!


Things I Liked
The part at the beginning where Hermione wipes her parent's memories. I'm really glad they added that part.Ron. I think Rupert was my favorite actor in this movie. He was SO GOOD.Fred and George. Enough said.Ginny. She's better in this movie than the last one, trust me.The part where Ginny and Harry are k…

Week in Short

This week was AMAZING. Best week I've had in a long time. :)

Song of the week: Glee's rendition of Teenage Dream. I am so addicted to this song.

Must Read:
Writing through doubt
References and dating your manuscript

Jessica Faust updates on submissions and is closing to them from November 25 to January 5

James Frey's Book Factory Mess:
Basically: James Frey is running a young adult book factory. He recruits writers and then asks them to sign their lives away. Almost literally. A few of the worst terms even continue after the contract has been terminated.

This is the essence of the terms being offered by Frey’s company Full Fathom Five: In exchange for delivering a finished book within a set number of months, the writer would receive $250 (some contracts allowed for another $250 upon completion), along with a percentage of all revenue generated by the project, including television, film, and merchandise rights—30 percent if the idea was originally Frey’s, 40…

New Releases -- Matched, Firelight, Grace

Deathly Hallows is almost here! As an advance warning tomorrow I'm going to do a review of Deathly Hallows. I'm not sure if I'm going to do one that's half without spoilers and half with, or if I'll just do a spoiler-filled review. I'll put spoiler warnings all over it if they're going to be included. Though if you haven't read the book yet, I don't know why spoilers matter. :D

Matched by Ally Condie
Release date November 30
[I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. I can't wait to read it!!]
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on …

Sticks, Stones, and Words -- Bullying and Suicide

Today I want to talk about something serious and not related to writing.

Bullying and suicide.

We've all heard the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Most of us know -- some more than others -- that the saying might be true for physical pain, but words can hurt emotionally.

Bullying is a very serious issue. Just last week I heard of another case of a teenager committing suicide because of bullying. The girl had been raped and the guy that did it made fun of her and blamed her for getting into trouble. Another day, a friend of mine told me a story about a girl she knew that was being bullied for turning in a bunch of kids that had come to school drunk. Both of these cases were extremely close to home for me. After I watched the Glee episode, Never Been Kissed, I knew I had to write about it.

Bullying should not be taken lightly. We're all human beings and tearing each other down is disgusting. But what's more disgusting than b…

Too Much Theme?


I watched all of season two of Glee last weekend. I didn't like the first three episodes nearly as much as season one, but I couldn't really put my finger on why until I mentioned it on Twitter.

amandaplavich: "It's been disappointing this year. Too much focus on the themes and not enough on the storylines."

And that's exactly it. In TV shows, movies, and even books there is always a theme. You as the writer might not even realize it's there until someone points it out to you. The theme should be subtle. It shouldn't leap out of the pages and slap the reader across the face. It's extremely important that the reader doesn't feel you have an agenda, even if you do.

The best way to do that is to not write for an agenda. Tell the story right and the lessons and themes should come through on their own.

NaNo Check-In

FOUR DAYS! I hope everyone had a great weekend. :) I finally managed to catch up on Glee. Last week's episode was my favorite. It was an incredibly emotional episode for a few people and Darren Criss was the icing on the cake. I really hope he becomes a regular.

Anyway, it's the fifteenth which means we are exactly halfway through the month! I'm still amazingly behind. I can see a major writing weekend in my future.

So how's everyone's NaNoWriMoing going? Are you right on track? Behind? Ahead? Do you have any tips for people that are behind to push through the second half of the month?

Week in Short

This week has been crazy. I am now convinced that the universe is on a mission to drive me more insane than I already am before the end of this month. I apologize for my complete lack of blogging this week. I will be back next week. Promise. :)

Speaking of next week, as of 12:01 this morning, there is now ONE WEEK until Deathly Hallows!

In assorted news, Darren Criss was on Glee this week (haven't yet seen the episode, I'm still on season one), Call of Duty: Black Ops came out and I still haven't managed to find someone who I can beg to let me play it, and four episodes of season one of Everwood arrived in the mail today. I'm such a nerd. :)

Song of the week: Don't Laugh at Me by Mark Wills (I love this song so much. The video is beautiful and makes me cry every time I watch it.)

Must Read:
Quick grammar review

Nathan Bransford left the world of publishing. I'm still in shock.

If you missed the Amazon debacle this week, someone self-published an e-bo…

RTW -- Supreme Ruler Rachael

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
If you were made supreme ruler of the publishing world (go you!), what would be your first ruling?

My first ruling would be that there are to be no less than 48 hours in a day.This would allow for the required 9 hours of sleep and still leave 39 hours left to get work done. I find this a win-win situation.

Since that's not possible without completely throwing the Earth's rotation off, my other first ruling would be to require anyone wanting to query to read and sign an agreement outlining basic querying etiquette and advice on how to write a strong query.

New Releases -- Hunger, Bright Young Things, Nevermore

It's VOTING DAY in the United States of America! If you're old enough to vote, go out there and celebrate your democratic right. Because if you don't utilize that right, then it is very easily taken away. For those of us that aren't old enough to vote... *sigh* Only a few more years until we can join you at the polls.

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?

NaNo Kick-Off or NaNo Tip #4: Just Write

Happy First Day of NaNo! I hope everyone's stories are off to a roaring start! Before I get to my NaNo tip of the week, I have some things I want to say.

1. I saw Secretariat last night and I just want to say I LOVE that movie. Penny Chenery is my new idol. She is made of some serious awesome. And so was Secretariat, of course.

2. EIGHTEEN DAYS TILL DEATHLY HALLOWS! I already have tickets to the midnight premiere. I. Am. Such. A. Nerd.

3. I have to complete my senior duty of going on college visits this weekend. Which means I will be offline from Thursday afternoon to Sunday night. This means that there won't be a Week in Short this week.


NaNo Tip #4: Just write

The main purpose of NaNo is quantity over quality. The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. They don't even have to be good words or make sense. You can dump in useless backstory, meander for thirty pages, spew five pages of plotless drivel if you like. The best part of NaNo is letting go of all your inhibitions and j…