Showing posts from September, 2012

Those Kinds of Special Books

Song of the Week: 19 and Crazy by Bomshell

Markus Zusak has said, "Sometimes you read a book so special that you carry it around with you just to be near it." That quote really spoke to me when I read it and much later, I started thinking about books that are that special to me.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 
I actually brought this book to college with me because I couldn't imagine leaving it at home. It's such a beautiful and heart-shattering story and it just didn't seem right to leave it in my dark bedroom on a shelf.

Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
Most of Pierce's books are special to me, but this one is the most special. I've read it many, many times over the years. It's gotten me through bad times and been with me through good. Last semester it was my de-stress read over finals.

Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I grew up with Harry Potter and the entire series is special to me. When I finished DH for the second time, I actually fell asl…

New releases: Confessions of a Murder Suspect, The Blessed, The Casual Vacancy

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro Teen Detectives Series #1 On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone--maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?
 The Blessed by Tonya Hurley The Blessed #1
From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy—a boy who believes he is a saint.
What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told …

RTW -- Best Book of September

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 September?
Reflecting the fact that college is the world's biggest time suck, I've only read three books this month (including one that was a beta read). It doesn't help that the one I'm reading right now is A Clash of Kings. I'm pretty sure that -- even though I adore it -- this book is probably going to take me three months to read at this rate.

There was no contest this month for the best book...

Every Day by David Levithan  I read it a few weeks ago but I still think about it all the time. The writing is gorgeous, the plot very original, and the characters amazing and diverse. I love the look into different people's lives as A switches b…

Grimms' Fairy Tales

A large amount of Once Upon a Time watching has given me a increased fascination with fairy tales. Now, I've known for awhile now that the original fairy tales were recorded by the Grimm Brothers, written for adults, and much darker than their Disney counterparts. I've been wanting to read the Grimm versions for awhile now, so when I found out that Grimms' Fairy Tales came free with my Kobo, I knew I had to read them.

Some of them were great, some were just plain weird, and others didn't really make much sense. In honor of Once Upon a Time's season two premiere on Sunday, here are a few of my favorites.

The Golden Bird 
This is the tale of the youngest of a gardener's three sons who goes on a journey to hunt a golden bird that keeps stealing the king's golden apples. I've read it twice now: the first time was because of a OUAT rumor that it would come into play in the show. I'm not sure why I enjoy it so much, but it's a very interesting tale.


College: Tips for Cold Season

It's rapidly getting cold again (it's snowing in some of the northern states for Doctor's sake) and that means cold season is upon us. Half my campus has been sick lately. Being sick in college is nothing like being sick in high school.

If you live on campus, there's no mom to take care of you.

There's no such thing as taking a "sick day."

Your professors aren't just going to hand you a stack of missed homework when you get back.

On test days, you can't just take it the next day.

Here are some tips on how to get through it and get back to being healthy as quickly as you can.

Drink plenty of fluids
The biggest thing when you're sick is to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water or your favorite drink in your bag when you're running around campus. I also recommend tea, especially green tea.

This is the best thing for getting better. If you have the chance to take a nap, do it. If not, try to relax and get as much sleep as possible. If you&…

New Releases: Ten, The Raven Boys, and Burn for Burn

Ten  by Gretchen McNeil It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Raven Cycle #1 It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, B…

RTW: Twice Upon a Time

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 this month's Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer's CINDER, name a fable or story you'd like to see a retelling of. If you're feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!
I've been thinking a lot about fairy tales lately and -- in the process of working my way through the original Grimm Brothers ones -- have been thinking about ones I'd like to see retold. Despite that, it was really hard for me to think of one for this post because there are already so many that are being retold. Plus, I'm obsessed with Once Upon a Time (eleven days to season two!) and I adore their adaptations of a lot of things.

One idea that I've been playing with for a long tim…

Every Day Review

Every Day by David Levithan 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.

This book is so beautiful and original and fantastic. If I didn't have classes, I would probably have read it all in one sitting. The end broke my heart. I probably would've been crying my eyes out if my roommate hadn't been sitting in the same room as me. I didn't even know what to do with myself after I finished it.
I love A and Rhiannon. And even though the ending broke my heart, it stil…

College Monday: Studying for the First Exam

The first few weeks of college are over (where did the time go??) and this means that the first exams are starting. The first exam is always the hardest in college because you don't know what each professor is going to ask and how they're going to ask it.

It's perfectly normal to not do as well as usual on the first exam. Here are some tips on how to study to make it less stressful and make sure you're as prepared as you can be.

Listen to the professor closely
Some professors will tell you certain things that will definitely be on the exam or the kinds of things they ask. My business professor told us that the first exam will have a lot of short-answer questions. My psychology professor warned us that we need to know all the cranial nerves. Make note of all these things so that you can target your studying to what's most important. If they show a lot of emphasis on something but don't state straight-out that it's going to be on the exam, chances are it might…

New Adult - More than Just Age?

Note: Sadly, I'm discontinuing Week in Short, at least for now, to give myself free time to work on revisions or write.

At WriteOnCon, Liesa Abrams quoted Eileen Cook as having said "In MG, the characters are learning how they fit into the world. In YA, they're learning how they stand out."  That quote has really stuck with me and I've realized exactly how true it is.

One of the major problems with New Adult is that, so far, the only distinction between it and any other category is the ages of the characters.I don't think that's the only difference between YA and NA, just like age isn't the only difference between high school and college.

Middle grade = learn where we fit in
High school = learn how to stand out
College = learn who we really are

In middle school and high school, there's a lot of pressure to fit in. There's quite a bit of identity searching but at the same time, you're still under someone else's control. When college …

New Releases - Tap Out, The Diviners, What's Left of Me

Tap Out by Eric Devine Seventeen-year-old Tony Antioch lives in Pleasant Meadows, a trailer park where questions aren't asked since everyone already knows the answers from their own experience. He dreams of rescuing his mother from her constant stream of abusive boyfriends but in reality can barely duck the punches that are aimed at himself.

When Tony is coerced into joining his friend Rob's Mixed Martial Arts class, he is surprised to find that he has a talent that he actually wants to develop. But with a meth-dealing biker gang that is hungry for recruits and a vicious cycle of poverty and violence that precedes him, Tony is going to need a lot more than blood and guts to find a way out.

The Diviners by Libba Bray Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with gl…

RTW: Scrivener Love

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.

Next week's topic:  What word processing program do you use to write your manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?
Two months ago, I downloaded the free trial for Scrivener (for Windows) and fell head over heels in love with it.At first I just used it for revisions but last month I decided to try it for writing my new WIP. I haven't been able to use it too much so far, but I'm really liking it. I can't wait for the Windows version to catch up with the Mac one. 
There are a lot of really awesome features, but the one that comes to mind that helps me while I'm writing is the project target feature. It allows you to set a targe…

Advice for Returners

I realized that most of the college advice that I've given over the past couple of weeks is geared more towards freshman students. So, this week, I want to give some advice to returning students. I'm two weeks into my sophomore year and I can say it's been an experience.

Don't become antisocial
As a returning student, it's easy to fall into groups of your old friends. There are lots of new people arriving and it's okay to go out and talk to them. Invite new people into your groups. 

It will be weird
Before I arrived, I didn't expect coming back would feel so strange. It's kind of like deja vu when you arrive and move back into your dorm room and see all your friends and start classes. In some ways it's familiar because you did this last year and in other ways it's different because you know what's going on now. The weirdness is okay. Recognize that it will be there and work your way through it.

Try new things
It's easy to make it your goal…

Week in Short

I hope everyone had a great week! I'm quickly remembering how little free time there is in college. The Doctor Who premiere last week was fantastic and I'm psyched for the new one tomorrow.

Song of the Week: "True to Your Heart" from Mulan

Must read:  
Janet Reid: Question Emporium

Should you have multiple email accounts?

#226 - YA romance

Villains: the guys you love to hate
How to be a know-it-all 

Rick Riordan:
The making of a graphic novel

Write on Edge:
Research and the art of eavesdropping

Writer Beware:
7 freelance writing scams and how to fight them
Electronic distribution and control of creative material

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

New Releases: Origin, Beneath the Glitter, Carnival of Souls

Origin by Jessica Khoury Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Beneath the Glitter by Elle and Blair Fowler Welcome to a place where dreams are made.  And where nothing—and no one—is ever what it seems.

After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia…

RTW -- Read Through Chapter Four by Tuesday...

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's your favorite book that you had to read for class?
I have a confession to make: Despite my wild love of reading, I struggled through school to finish assigned books. I hated the discussion questions and the fact that we couldn't read at our own pace. The list of classics that I didn't finish in high school is longer than the list of books that I did.

However, there were a few classics that I remember loving. My favorite was To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper. I read it my senior year and loved every bit of it. I loved the story and the writing and the social relevancy. It's still one of my favorite classics and I really want to buy a copy so that I can read it again.

Going b…

Great Writer or Great Storyteller?

My mom and I are both writers and, as a result, we get into a lot of discussions. One day, we got into one over quality of writing and popularity.

She said she'd rather be a "bad" but popular writer. She'd rather have her writing torn apart daily as long as she had through-the-roof sales. I disagreed.

There are a few writers out there with huge followings, but whose writing is also often criticized. Then there are some incredible writers out there that have a good following but their books will never be turned into movies or become worldwide phenomenons. 

Not every writer falls directly into the "great writer" or "great storyteller" mold. There's usually some kind of mixture. In some cases, it appears that great writing is falling to the wayside in favor of a story with strangely massive appeal.

What do you think? Would you rather by a great storyteller or a great writer?