Showing posts from December, 2010

Best Books of 2010

I managed to read 50 books this year, but I wanted to make a top ten list of my favorites. These are not all books that came out this year, they're just books that I happened to read this year. Here they are in no particular order:

Gone by Lisa McMann
The incredible conclusion to Lisa McMann's Wake series. This book was everything I hoped for and more.I roared through it in a single afternoon because there was no way I was putting it down, even for a second.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It's an incredible book, filled to the brim with beautiful prose. I felt like I was right there with the characters in Nazi Germany. I read it nine months ago and it's still haunting me and I'm not sure if it'll ever stop.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book made me laugh, made me cry, gave me goosebumps, and made me open my eyes. The style is unusual but it works perfectly. The writing is so beautiful and lyrical. I…

Year in Short

RTW -- Best Book of December

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:
What is the best book you read in December?
I was a horrible person when it came to reading this month. I actually only finished one book and it's not the one below. I'm still determined to finish this one before the end of the month.
The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan

So far it's pretty great. It's the first book in Riordan's new Heroes of Olympus series. It contains some of my favorite characters from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series but it's not really a sequel, more like a companion series. You don't have to read Percy Jackson to read these, but I'd suggest it.

Resolutions: 2010 and 2011

Today I wanted to look back at my resolutions for 2010 that I posted almost a year ago and set my resolutions for 2011. :)

2010 Resolutions
1. Read 100 books in a year.
This one didn't happen. About halfway through the year I dropped my goal to 75 and then 50. I did end up making my revised goal to read 50 books, however.

2. Query Destiny and Jump.
Destiny was trunked pending a complete rewrite, but Jump was queried briefly.

3. Clean my room.
I did start on this one, but my room hasn't managed to stay clean. Dang it.

4. Start riding again.
I did take one riding lesson before we found out I have scoliosis and my lessons were put on hold until we don't have to go to the chiropractor as often anymore.

2011 Resolutions
I was going to make resolutions like "Query burning bridges" or "Read 75 books" or "try new things" but instead I'm going to make a continuation of my senior year resolution. Because I think 2010's results stand as evidence that norm…

New Releases -- Fall for Anything, Virals, Pegasus

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! I can't believe this is the last week of 2010. Time travels so fast. I saw the Christmas episode of Doctor Who over the weekend. It. Was. Awesome. I had no idea how much I missed watching new episodes until I saw it.

Fall for Anything
by Courtney Summers
When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps h…

You Just Can't Get THAT with a Kindle

This is a revised reprint originally posted on February 19, 2010.

I've been thinking about the e-book revolution a lot lately with Christmas coming up. There's a chance that my future might include a shiny Nook. Last year I was determined not to be taken in by the e-book craze. This year...I'm plotting the ownership of my own e-reader. I love print boks and I don't know how I could live without them, but then there's just something appealing about having a cute little e-book reader with all the things I'm reading on it.

But I'm not going to talk about the advantages of a Kindle over a print book or how Kindles are ruining the publishing industry today. Mostly because I'm not even close to being qualified to do that and there are hundreds of posts out there dealing with those very subjects and more by people that are. No, today I'm going to talk about the things that you just can't get with a Kindle.

1. Think back to the time you were a…

YA Love Interests

The love interests of the MC are often the favorite character of a female reader. I know I have love interests that I'd love to meet, that I root for every step of the way. But love interests are a tricky thing and there's a couple odd trends for LIs in YA literature lately.

Trend #1: Whole New Level of "Bad Boy"

Stalking is NOT okay. It is not sweet or romantic, it's CREEPY. It's not okay for someone to constantly follow you around. It's not okay for someone to sneak into your house if you're not home and especially when you are. That's called trespassing and it's illegal. We invented restraining orders for that kind of thing.

I don't understand the sudden rush of love interests that have a desire to kill, whether it's the MC or someone she's never met. It's NOT okay to date someone that wants to kill you. So what is it with the sudden rush of LIs that have that murderous urge and yet the MC falls in love with them an…

Week in Short

TGIF! Only three more days until Christmas break. Only three...more...days...

Song of the week: Haunted by Taylor Swift. I think this is my favorite song on Speak Now.

Glee song of the week: Last Christmas. I was so hoping Finn and Rachel would sing that song. It's perfect for them.

Must Read:
Who decides titles and cover art?
When you should quit writing

FIRST TRAILER for Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides is here!!!

Upstart Crow is going on holiday from December 15 to January 23, 2011.

Caroline in Space:
How do you choose between multiple offers?
When an agent offers you representation

Novel Journey:
6 tips for surviving negative reviews

Handling conflicting critiques
Resubmissions and Re-queries

Strangest Situation:
Hold Still: Losing a friend to depression
Small behaviors add up
Psychiatrist or psychologist?

In Movies:
Stardust -- Loved this movie!! Loved the fantasy and Tristan's evolution as a character. Though Captain Shakespeare was still my fav…

RTW -- Santa's Presents

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:
You spot Santa at the mall, climb onto his lap, and whisper that you've been a good boy or girl in his ear. What do you want Santa to bring you this year?

I can't believe I almost missed this one. :D

No more getting up early for school or having to find a ride to the bookstore or being late anywhere. No more trudging around outside in the snow unless Iwant to. Do I really need to say more? :)

A New Laptop
One with more memory, a better video card so I can procrastinate by playing Sims 3, and doesn't screech like it's being tortured when I turn it on. Also, Scrivener that actually works would be fantastic.

The Cure for Writers' and Editors' Block
I think this one goes…

Kicking Out Your Friends

First: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare's cover is finally here!! I can't wait to have this book in my hands already.

In the course of BB's revisions, I removed a character. It felt like I was kicking a friend out of my house, but I still did it because it had to be done.

Despite the initial sadness that comes with saying goodbye to one of my characters, I feel a lot better for having Robbie gone now.

Here are 5 ways to tell if you might need to cut a character:
He/she doesn't add anything to the story or anything they do add could just as easily be done by another characterYou have a lot of characters in a short space already.
He/she leaves after a short portion of the book without adding anything. (Robbie leaves before the second half of the book. The only thing he really added to the story was helping out Carter and that can easily be done by another character.)
There are lots of hanging plot threads centered around him. With Robbie, his leaving the ranch …

Rejection Throughout History: Christopher Columbus

That was the best weekend I've had in a long, long time. But now it's over and today is Monday...

For my English class, I had to write an essay on lessons that can be learned from Christopher Columbus' life. One of the lessons I addressed was:

Don't let rejection stop you.

When Columbus conceived the idea to find a trading route by sailing west from Europe to Asia, he needed funding. So he went first to the king of Portugal, King John II. The king listened to Columbus' proposal and passed it on to a committee. They denied his request, citing that it was too expensive, Columbus was wrong in his estimates on the distances and measurements, and that his plan conflicted with Portugal's desire for a trade route that went around Africa.

Columbus could've given up there. But instead he picked up his young son and moved to Spain. There, the Spanish monarchs were too preoccupied with a war against the Moors to really listen to his proposal. Queen Isabella was fascinate…

Week in Short

TGIF! I thought this week was never going to end. :) Been waiting for this weekend for a long time.

Song of the week: Unstoppable by Rascal Flatts

And because I was noticing a trend in the fact that almost every song of the week was a Glee song...
Glee song of the week: Baby, It's Cold Outside (Chris Colfer and Darren Criss). This song and video pretty much made my Christmas.

Must Read:
What happens when it IS you by Natalie Whipple -- a blindingly true blog about the journey to being published
On Learning, Growing, and Surviving by Mandy Hubbard, her response to Natalie's post
Dystopian and the real world by XVI's author, Julia Karr

Vee has a very exciting announcement! AHHHH! :D

New Beastly trailer! I can't wait to see it! I think this is going to be one movie that's better than the book and I don't say that very often.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader came out today!!!!!! I need to see this movie so bad...

Big news this week was Amazon's announcement that aut…

The Five W's (and one H) of Beta Readers

Everyone needs beta readers. Here are some tips for why you need beta readers and how to find them.

Beta readers are an incredible tool. I always suggest them to every writer no matter what stage they're at. I even know agented and published writers that still have trusted beta readers for each new WIP. There is never a point at which a fresh eye becomes unnecessary. Beta readers can catch things that the writer -- who may be too close the story to see it clearly -- will miss. This could be something as small as an overused word or a spelling error, or as large as an elephant-sized plot hole, slow pacing, or flat character.

It's best to find someone that you trust and know will do a good job. This could be a real life friend or someone you may never meet. I will say that out of all my beta readers, I have only met one in real life. I don't suggest family or friends you know personally because sometimes it can be difficult to give someone you really kno…

Week in Short

Hope everyone had a great week and is surviving the Snowpocalypse.

Song of the week: Up by Shania Twain

Hannah Moskowitz's Gone, Gone, Gone cover has been revealed!

The Hunger Games movie has a release date!

Something about voice
More on author-agent relationship

Querying the cliche

Rachelle Gardner:
Dilemma of a prolific writer

The Strangest Situation:
Before I Die: Coming to terms with dying

Post for procrastinators

In Movies:
Beauty & the Briefcase -- One of those made-for-TV movies that's kinda stupid but you watch it anyway. The ending was pretty great, though.Latter Days -- Directing could've been better, but this is still afantastic story
Miss Congeniality -- This is the second time I've seen it, but it's still a good movie
In Writing:
BB's revisions continued and I'm getting more and more excited about how it's coming along. I've also come to the conclusion that CT (Cardinal Three) is going to be my n…

New Releases -- After, Anna and the French Kiss, Rosebush

by Amy Efaw
Who could do such a thing? Certainly not someone like Devon Davenport: a straight-A student-athlete with everything going for her. But in a moment of denial, desperation, and sheer panic, she did something that most people couldn't even imagine. And now Devon is being charged with attempted murder.
Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
[I've heard so many great things about this book since it's recent release.]
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

by Michele Jaffe
Instead of celebrating Memori…

Everwood Season One Review

Everwood could, quite possibly, be my favorite show of all time. It started it 2004 and only ran for four seasons, but it's an incredible show.

The characters could be real people. If you don't watch it for any other reason, watch a couple episodes to study round, original characters.

For those of you who have never heard of the show, here's a quick summary:
When Manhattan neurosurgeon Andy Brown's wife dies in a tragic accident, he uproots his two children, 15-year-old Ephram and 9-year-old Delia, and moves to the small town of Everwood, Colorado for a less hectic pace.

It's a lot better than it sounds, believe me. For characters we have:
Ephram, a teenage boy with a gift for playing piano, a rocky relationship with his father, and who wants nothing more than to return to his old life in New York.
Andy, a neurosurgeon prodigy who gives up his professional altogether to become a country doctor because of a promise he made years before to his wife.
Delia, Ephram's tomb…

Week in Short

Well...this week was crazy. It was also the beginning of our school play in which I got a small part. I expect the time I spend online is going to have to go down a lot over the next three months.

Song of the week: Realize by Colbie Caillat

Must Read:
There's no use comparing
Natalie Fischer's open forum questions answered
What you can learn from J.K. Rowling's writing style

Jill Corcoran:
What to do when your agent doesn't like your WIP

Johnson Literary:
What to do with your NaNoWriMo manuscript

Putting feelers out before leaving an agent
Conference checklist

Sharing credit with co-authors

Literary Rambles:
Outlining by subplot

Rachelle Gardner:
Royalty rates
Reversion of rights

Strangest Situation:
[One of my favorite new blogs to read.]
Does Maggie Stiefvater's Sam have PTSD?
Writing YA characters with emotional and mental disorders
Psychotic vs. Psychopath

Weronika Janczuk:
Tip for formatting partial and full manuscript submissions

Writer Beware:

2011 Debut Novels Observations

So last weekend I was going through all the YA and MG debut novels that are going to be released in 2011 adding them to my Goodreads for the challenge and I decided to take notes on things that I observed. However, I am not qualified to study trends or predict them.

Genres and Subjects:
Fantasy appeared to still be very big
A few paranormal romances, but not as many as I expected.
Quite a few dystopian and apocalyptic novelsA few mermaid novelsA few faerie novelsTale retellings -- particularly the lesser known tales
I was surprised to see how many books there were about girls that want to be popular and then discover the pitfalls of becoming so
Still a few books featuring female characters that discover they have special abilities and are sent to schools for people with those abilities that end up falling in love with a guy that has a "dark secret"
Did not see a lot of vampires, though there were a couple of funnier takes on vampires Didn't see a lot of werewolvesLess of a foc…

RTW -- Movie Turned Book

I just saw the new Glee (it was okay, not nearly as great as last week's episode) and my brain's a little frazzled over the ending so I apologize in advance if this doesn't make a lot of sense.

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:
What movie do you wish had been a book first?This was a really, really tough one. I know there was a movie a couple weeks back that I wished was a book, but I can't remember what it was. I go the other way all the time, but almost never have I watched a movie and wished it was a book at all.

I'm not sure if I can count this one because it's kind of complicated reasoning, but The Last Airbender. Now, I have never seen the movie and I probably never will because I am an insanely dedicated fa…