Showing posts from August, 2012

Week in Short

I'm back at school for the year! It was a pretty surreal experience being back. I'm really excited for my classes this semester, though, and I'm so happy to see my friends again. I'm slowly starting to settle into a routine. I think I forgot how spontaneous college is and just how little "free" time I have. 

Doctor Who series seven premieres TOMORROW! I'M SO EXCITED! I also started watching the BBC America show Copper. Not the best written show I have ever seen but I love it anyway.

Song of the Week: "What a Shame" by Shinedown

Must read:  
YAHighway: All the small things
Nathan Bransford: The publishing process in GIF form

Blood-Red Pencil:
When your character doesn't speak English

Navigating the Slush Pile:
Secondary characters

Writing realistic love relationships
Whose story is this anyway?

Rachelle Gardner:
Not so fast: ideas to rethink

Real Actual Hillary (formally Intern Spills):
Why writing with a book deal is a whole differ…

New Releases: Every Day, If I Lie, Dangerous Boy

Every Day by David Levithan Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by …

RTW - Best Book of August

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: What was the best book you read in August? No contest. Hands down. I've been waiting to write this post since I finished it on the 18th. 
I tend to be cautious about books when I'm hearing nothing but good things about them. This was true of Code Name Verity but it had an incredibly awesome premise so I decided to pick it up anyway. One of the best books I have ever read. This book deserves all the praise and more. It's beautiful with fantastic plot twists and lifelike characters. It broke my heart and shattered my soul. I actually brought my copy up to college with me even though I'd already finished it because I couldn't think of leaving it behind. 
If you haven't read it yet,…

Once Dead, Twice Shy Review

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison Madison Avery #1 Madison's prom was killer—literally. For some reason she's been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she's stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn't know why the dark reaper is after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff.
The reading of this book has been three years in the making for m…

That First Day of College

In high school, the first day is all about showing off your new clothes, meeting your teachers, reconnecting with friends after the summer, and going through all the formalities of a new school year.

College is kind of like that but also not. You will be meeting your professors -- and maybe showing off your new look -- but it's all about figuring out what your classes will be like this semester. In my high school, the first day was all about going over the rules and maybe the syllabus. In college, we jumped right into learning almost immediately.

While the first day can be nerve-wracking, here are five tips to help you get through it:

#1: Dress to impress
Wear something simple but nice. The most important thing is wearing something that makes you feel confident. If you feel confident, you'll look confident. Don't wander into class on the first day wearing a hoodie and sweatpants. It's okay to walk around the dorms or your apartment like that, but it's important to …

No Post Today

I was going to do Week in Short this week, but then Things Happened and moving-back week turned out to be more hectic than I thought it would. I'll be back to my normal posting schedule next week, including Week in Short. In the meantime, have a picture of my adorable kitty.

New Releases: Over You, The Sweetest Spell, Defiance

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.
The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratcher's daughter, has escaped death twice-first, on the night she was born, and second, on the day her entire village was swept away by flood. Left with nothing and no one, Emmeline discovers her rare and mysterious ability-she can churn milk into chocolate, a delicacy more precious than gold.

Suddenly, the most unwanted girl in Anglund finds herself desired by all. But Emmeline…

RTW -- Night's Love List

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:  Inspired by Stephanie Perkins' post on Natalie Whipple's blog, what is your novel's "Love List"?
It took me a bit to decide which WIP I wanted to make the list on (I have one in revisions and one I'm writing). This is the one in revisions, In the Night. 

Spanish mythology
Fairy tales
Fantasy-obsessed boy
Smell of old books
Cliff jumping
Lake Superior
First kisses
New friends
Small city

Code Name Verity Review

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.
I heard a lot of things about this book and it was all glowing praise. This tends to make me a little wary of books but when I read the jacket copy I knew I had to have it. It took trips to two different bookstores to track it down b…

What to Do on Your First College Weekend

Moving to college for the first time can be a very exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Chances are you'll arrive days before classes start. This gives you a lot of time to get settled. Here are a few things that you can do in those days before classes start.

This one's very important. Get everything out of the storage containers and organized. If you have a lot of totes and not a lot of space, send the totes home with your parents if at all possible. That way they're not taking up valuable dorm space. You may think that you'll have time to unpack later, but the truth is you really won't. It's better to do it now than to be searching through all your stuff later for something that you need.

Talk to people
Get out and meet everyone. College is a very diverse place and you're bound to find people that share your interests. That's not going to happen, though, if you don't go find them! Leave your door open during the day when you're in your…

Week in Short

I hope everyone had a great week this week! Mine was pretty crazy. There's just so much to do and not a lot of time left to do it in. I still can't believe the summer is almost over. This time next week I'll be back at college. This means my blogging schedule is going to shift a bit. 

Last year, I dropped my posting down to three and stopped doing Week in Short. This year, I'm going to try to stay with five days a week and keep Week in Short. I'll give it a trial period of a couple weeks and see how that goes. I'm also considering doing some kind of college-related post once a week or every other week. (What do you think? Yay? Nay?)

In other news, I saw The Bourne Legacy this week because Jeremy Renner was in it. Now, I thought it was great but I also haven't seen the other Bourne movies (I know, I know) so I don't really have anything to compare it to.

Song of the Week: "This is Gonna Hurt" by Sixx AM

Must read:  
Veronica Roth: Loud,…

New releases: Sweetly, Kissing Shakespeare, The Treachery of Beautiful Things

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past -- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone -- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it …

RTW: Knock it Out of the Park

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:  In honor of the end of the Olympics, share your favorite sports book!
I'm going to start this post with a confession: Sports books are rare on my shelves. When I first saw the topic, I honestly couldn't think of a single one that didn't involve horses. I've read books with sports in them, but never books where the sports were a central element (excluding books with horse racing). 
Now, I like sports to a point. During hockey season, I'll be walking around listening to the games and wearing my mom's Shanahan or Yzerman jersey. If you stood within five feet of me while I watched the Preakness, you'd probably be deaf now.
When it comes to books, there are some sports book…

The Outside of a Horse Review

The Outside of a Horse by Ginny Rorby The stories Hannah Gale’s father told her of breaking wild horses in Nevada one glorious summer when he was just her age have captured her imagination. After her dad is called up to fight in Iraq, she feels most deeply connected to him when she is watching the horses at a nearby stable, and finally gathers her nerve to ask the owner for a job. There, she helps bring a rescued mare back from the brink, takes her first riding lesson, and witnesses the birth of the filly who steals her heart.
Hannah believes the worst is over, when her dad returns from war, but soon she realizes her family’s fight is only just beginning. When his nightmares rock the household, it is to the horses she turns to for comfort. But it is not until she discovers the true gift a relationship with horses can give, does she think they may be the way to help her father heal. She becomes convinced that horses can teach her dad the same lessons of survi…

Book Buying Tally: 2012

Two years ago, I kept a list of all the books I bought and what about them initially caught my attention. Then I analyzed my list to see what were the biggest factors in my buying decisions. I think it'll be fun to make this an annual thing so that I can see how things change over the years (or how they stay the same).

2010 results
2011 results

First a summary of my results and then I'll get into how it all broke down. In parentheses are last year's results for comparison.

Book in a series: 30% (35%)
Classic: 3%
Premise: 23% (5%)
Author: 20% (20%)
Unusual story: 3%
Word of mouth: 17% (20%)
Being made into movie: 3% (5%)
Cover: 7%

I was kind of surprised by just how much premise went up this year. Last year I put a lot of stock in other factors so that really shows how I'm going back to whether or not a story's idea catches my attention. Another thing that surprised me was just how large a portion of the books I bought were the next installment in a series. I knew th…

Things Have Changed

I've been writing seriously for almost four years now and I started thinking about how much I've changed since I started especially regarding my reading habits.

1. Word of mouth is king
I used to buy whatever book sounded good to me in the bookstore at the time. Word of mouth had some influence, but not very much. I might pick up a book if I was hearing a ton about it and was curious to see what the fuss was about. Even though my friends were also readers, we didn't really talk about books all that much.

Now, however, that I'm connected to hundreds of readers and writers, word of mouth has a huge effect on what I read. Good things can cause me to add a book to my TBR list or raise it higher on the stack. Bad things can cause me to lower a book on my to-buy list or even remove it completely. Of course, there are situations where I won't love a book that's getting rave reviews or times when I will love a book that I'm hearing less-than-favorable things abou…

New Releases: Throne of Glass, Wake, and Innocent Darkness

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out w…

My Favorite Children's Stories Today

When I was a kid, I loved to read. I devoured books in a matter of hours and searched for more. When I hit my horse phase, my reading habits developed an obvious preference for books that involved horses. Some of my favorites included The Boxcar Children series (I read the first one more times than I can count), the Pony Pals series, the Thoroughbreds series, Black Beauty, and the Black Stallion series (though, for some reason, I was a bigger fan of Flame's books than the Black's.)

Now, many years later, I've started hunting out those books I used to love to relive the magic. Unfortunately, in some cases, the magic is now gone.

Harry Potter
I'm going to do a complete review of the series once I reread the whole thing again. The later books I'm still fully in love with, but I'm starting to see the flaws in the earlier ones.

Tamora Pierce
She got me through middle school, then high school, and now she's getting me through college. I'm still just in love w…

War Horse Review

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?
I read this book while I was in the middle of season two of Downton Abbey and on a major WW1 kick. The end result was a lot of tears over the course of my watching/reading. I picked up this book some time ago intending to read it and then see the movie. I still haven't seen the movie but I want to even more now.

This book ripped out my heart, cut it in half, put it back together, stomped on it until it shattered, and then tried to pick up the pieces again. The…

Books Read in One Sitting

This post was inspired by a post a couple weeks ago at Publishing Crawl. It got me thinking about books that I devoured all in one sitting. There are some books that are better absorbed slowly. They're not necessarily not as good; they're just quieter.

The books I'm going to talk about today are not like those books. They're books that grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go until I turned the final page. Books that wouldn't let me sleep, wouldn't let me work, wouldn't let me think about anything else.

When you ask me about books that I've read in one sitting, the first thing I always think of is Deathly Hallows. I started it at noon the day of the release (the soonest I could get my mom to drive me to Borders to pick up my pre-order). The only times I paused were when I was sobbing too hard to see the words. Twelve hours later, at midnight, the words "All was well" broke over me and I closed the most anticipated book of my life.



I've been hearing about Scrivener for a long time. If you've never heard of it, it's an awesome drafting and editing program for writers. Originally it was only available for Macs but the makers recently came out with a version for Windows. I tried to use the beta but had to stop when it started deleting large blocks of my text.

Now over a year later, I decided to give it a second chance and downloaded the free trial. I have never wanted a Mac more in my life. The free trial is almost up and I'm intending to buy the full version soon. Here are some things about the program based on my use of the free trial.

Scrivener is fantastic for revisions. I love the ability to divide my document into scenes, give them all note cards, and switch between them. I also love the ability to seamlessly move scenes from one part of a document to another without having use copy/paste. Because I do several rounds of edits (usually one for plot, one for character revisions, one for grammar …

New Releases: Something Strange and Deadly, Cold Fury, and Pushing the Limits

Something Strange and Deadly  by Susan Dennard The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

 Cold Fury by T.M.…

RTW - Best Book of July

I'm on vacation right now so this post was scheduled ahead of time. I'll check everyone's answers as soon as I get home!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: What was the best book you read in July?  I read ten books this month (though a lot of those were re-reads or beta reads) so this was kind of a tough decision. The best book I read in July was...
...White Cat by Holly Black. Original and fantastic concept, great characters, and a clever voice. I loved everything about this book and I can't wait until I get my hands on the next installment!