Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Releases: Nobody But Us, The Madman's Daughter

Nobody But Us
by Kristin Halbrook
They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

 The Madman's Daughter
by Megan Shepherd
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RTW: Road Tripping It

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:
In celebration of the release of Kristin Halbrook's NOBODY BUT US (hooray!!) we're asking: Zoe and Will set off on the road to seek a better life and encounter loads of drama on the way. What's the most dramatic road trip you've ever been on?

I expected to have to think really hard on this one (partly because I've never been on a proper road trip), but the answer popped into my head immediately.
I go to a university between seven and ten hours away from home (depending on who's driving and how the weather is). Luckily, I have a cousin with a truck that also comes here so I'm all set when it comes to rides home. 

Every break, without fail, we get hit by a blizzard either on the way down or the way back up.

The weather is overcast, but not bad, when we set out around four in the afternoon. There are five of us all piled in the truck. I'm in the middle of the backseat because that's just one of the "perks" of being the smallest.

We drive. And drive. And drive. We end up missing our usual turnoff, but that's okay we can stay on the route but it will just take a little longer. 

It starts to snow until it's really coming down. We can barely see out the front windshield. We're basically just following the tracks of whoever is in front of us.

Then, in the middle of nowhere, the electrical system of the truck starts to go. We keep driving until it quits. The boy driving coasts the truck onto the side of the road and turns on the warning lights.

The boys get out and, after several attempts, manage to flag someone down. We get a jump and get back on the road. 

We don't get far before the truck cuts out again. We flag someone else down (I'm so thankful for awesome college students willing to help out their stranded fellows) and get another jump. This time it holds for quite a while. The problem is in order to keep the battery running, you have to drive fast. And driving fast in a blizzard is a recipe for disaster.

By this time, all of our families have been contacted and know what is going on. My grandpa and two uncles are preparing for the possibility that they might have to meet us somewhere.

Things go well enough for a while. We pass a city and consider the possibility of stopping for the night. The only problem is they are expecting two feet of snow and we're afraid that, if we stop, we might not be able to leave for days. 

We keep going. 

About an hour south, the truck quits again. It's done this time. My family leave home to come get us. 

We sit on the side of the road, playing games in the truck, until we finally see their headlights through the snow. We don't want to just leave the truck in the middle of nowhere so we begin the arduous process of jumping it, letting it charge, and then driving until it quits.

We do this all night. By daybreak, we're almost home. It's nine in the morning by the time I finally fall  into bed, happy to finally be home. All told, what should have been about an eight- or nine-hour drive turned into a fifteen-hour one.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Books that Every High School Student Should Read

I just saw the movie for Perks of Being a Wallflower (amazing movie, by the way, probably the best book-to-movie adaptation I've ever seen) and it got me thinking about all the books that I wish I'd read when I was in high school. Here are a few of the books that I think every high school student should read at least once.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Every Day by David Levithan

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Forever by Judy Blume 

They're all fantastic books with characters that feel absolutely like real teenagers. I shared their pain and it made me see high school in a whole new light. Some of them (Cracked Up to Be, Wintergirls) I did read in high school. Others (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Forever) I didn't sit myself down and read until college.

I actually remember, once, going to the bookstore and seeing Perks on the shelf. I looked at it. I thought about it. I had the money. And then I walked away. I believe that certain books attract me at certain times for a reason, but that one I really wish I had picked up that day instead of just buying it last semester.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Room With Your Best Friend

In April, I blogged about how I roomed with my best friend even though everyone told me not to.  My advice to everyone was to think long and hard before deciding to room with your best friend.

Now, a year and a half later, I've become one of those people who says "Do not room with your best friend from high school." Here are a few reasons why.

1. Your best friend is not necessarily the person you'll live best with. There are some things you just don't know about a person until you've lived with them for awhile. Even in the first few weeks or months things will be fine because you'll still be watching to make sure you're doing okay in your new home. After awhile, though, people tend to get complacent with each other and the bad habits really start coming out.

2. Rooming with your best friend doesn't encourage you to get out and meet new people. You still need to get out and make new friends. Living with your best friend can make it too easy to just hang out with each other all the time because it's convenient.

3. Potential loss of friendship. If things don't work out with your best friend when you room together, there's a potential that your friendship could take a hit. I know two best friends that moved in with each other. Within a couple weeks, one of them decided to move out because they weren't compatible living together and they decided it would be better for their friendship.

4. It can be harder to confront your best friend. If you have a problem with your roommate, you need to be able to talk to them about it. It can be harder to go to them if your roommate is also your best friend, especially if there's a potential that it could affect your friendship. Because of this, problems can fester and become worse until they really do ruin your friendship.

5. It can be harder to think long-term. If you're planning on moving somewhere without your best friend after you've been living together for a year or two, that can be tricky. It's harder to tell your best friend the news without making them feel like you don't want to live with them. You may meet new friends that you want to live with. For my junior year, I've decided to move in with two of my other friends and I found that news hard to break to my current roommate. Vice versa, she's decided to try to move to another dorm for this semester and she had a hard time telling me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Releases: The Archived, The Fairest Beauty, Slated

The Archived
by Victoria Schwab
The Archived #1
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

 The Fairest Beauty
by Melanie Dickerson

A daring rescue. A difficult choice. Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom---but can she trust another person to keep her safe? 

Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible---she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else---he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. 

When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help---but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them---they must also protect their hearts

by Teri Terry
 Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

RTW -- For a Laugh

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:  
Who is your favorite comedian or funny book and/or movie?

When it comes to books and movies, I'm a huge fan of one-liners over actual comedies (excluding romantic comedies). For example, Avengers: "His first name is Agent" and "Security breach!" and "I don't see how that's a party" and "Puny god" and "Doth mother know you weareth her drapes" and "I was having 12% of a moment." 

My favorite funny movies are Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Princess Bride. I'm a big fan of older funny movies. 

When it comes to comedians, I'm more of a fan of clean humor. My first comedian love was Bill Engvall, followed by Jeff Foxworthy. Another of my favorite comedians is Jeff Dunham. I also desperately miss everyone on Whose Line is it Anyway.  

Princess Bride: 

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 

Whose Line is it Anyway:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Week in Short

I'm back at school and classes have started again. Things have gotten really complicated and it's only the first week. Still, I'm really loving my classes right now. In other news, HOCKEY IS BACK! First Red Wings game is tomorrow night and I'm so excited. 

Author's Echo:
Making up fantasy languages

Situation queries

Agent ethics: Schmagents and "pre-shopping"

Navigating the Slush Pile:
Grammar manners: Plural or singular

Why you should critique other people's queries

Writer Beware:
UK speaker scam
Vanity publisher Vantage Press closes its doors

Writer's Digest:
How to research a novel: 7 tips

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Releases: Uses for Boys, Return to Me, Nobody

Uses for Boys
by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer.

 Return to Me
by Justina Chen Headley
Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She's weeks away from starting college--at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad's last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! And then there's the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast.

And if that isn't enough to deal with, mere days after moving cross-country, Reb's dad drops shocking, life-changing news. With her mother and brother overwhelmed and confused, Reb is left alone to pick up the pieces of her former life. But how can she do that when everything can change in an instant? How can she trust her "perfect" boyfriend when her own dad let her down? Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants?

by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RTW -- My Bookstore

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: 
 Imagine you get to open your own bookstore. What would it look like? What kinds of books would you sell?

This was a little hard to do because I know of two local bookstores (one in my collegetown and one in my hometown) that I picture when I think of the perfect bookstore. The first one stocks both used and new books and it consists of two rooms: the first containing all adult books and the second containing mostly young adult and children's books.

The second store stocks all used books and is like a maze of bookshelves. It's beautiful and I feel like I could get lost in there forever. Above the regular books, they stock older volumes that have that beautiful, ancient look of an early edition. 

It would be two small stories with both used and new books. The first story would stock adult fiction and the second children's books and young adult. A spiral staircase would lead upstairs. On the wall with the best view, there would be large windows surrounded by chairs and tables.

The books would be organized by genre and then author's last name. Young adult wouldn't be divided into subgenres because it drives me insane when it is and then I'm not sure which subgenre a book falls under. We would only stock entire series, not just the later books (another of my pet peeves).

The entire place would be filled with the beautiful crisp smell of books. And maybe the slight smell of coffee from the Starbucks next door.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five Reasons Why I Love George R. R. Martin

This post begins with a confession: I'm late to the Game of Thrones party. I just finished A Clash of Kings last week and now I'm starting A Storm of Swords. I'm hoping to be completely caught up on the series this year, but they're thick books and, even more daunting than that, emotionally taxing.

Despite that, I am in love with the series and Martin. He's a truly brilliant writer and I think one of the reasons why I don't rush through the series is because I want to take it slow and savor every minute of it. And here are five reasons why.

1. The characters
Martin marvels me with his ability to introduce a character and then make me feel like I know them personally in just a page or two. My emotions run the whole gamut when it comes to his characters: love, hate, pity, trust, distrust, fury, sorrow, and sometimes confusion. I confess that there are characters that I don't know how to feel about them. There are characters that I love to death, but don't trust at all. There are characters that I would like to see taken by Others.

2. The writing
It's absolutely beautiful and perfect. Each book is a very long one, but they don't feel like it at all. I could curl up with these books for hours (and indeed I have) without stirring. 

3. The changing points of view
Martin's ability to have many points of view (and different ones in every book) but have each of them feel so unique that it's almost impossible to get them confused is another marvel. When a character has been gone for a while and then they show up with their own chapter again, it's like greeting a long-lost friend.

4. The world
Every bit of the Seven Kingdoms feels real. I can feel the different cultures and the ways that they mix together. I'm fascinated with everything beyond the Wall. It always amazes me the way the different areas have their own complete culture and the little glimpses of this that we get through the books.

5. The plot
The changing points of view comes back into play here. There's so much going on in the book with everyone and so many plot lines moving simultaneously. Not once, however, do any of them get confusing or snagged. They all just flow together in a beautiful masterpiece.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

College: One Thing No One Thinks About

I'm going to start from the beginning with a story, I promise that this story has a point.

For awhile now, I've been a little concerned about one of my teeth because it appeared to have a crack in it. It didn't seem too worrying and I don't have dental insurance, so I decided to let it go.

And let it go.

Until that crack started to get deeper. And turned into a cavity.

But I still didn't have dental insurance. So, I let it go.

Then, a couple months ago, the pain kicked in. Like couldn't sleep, was sitting around in bed with an ice pack on my face just to feel some relief, kind of pain. It lasted for about two days and then it disappeared. It was close to the end of the semester so I figured it could wait until I got home.

I got home. The pain was gone so I kept waiting. Then, it came back. This time it lasted for five days. I popped pills like tic tacs until even a dose of Advil PM couldn't help me sleep. It stopped abruptly and the relief lasted a couple weeks.

Then, the back corner of my tooth crumbled away and left a large hole. That's when I decided that it couldn't wait any longer. This morning I went into the dentist. She put in a temporary filling and told me that I'm going to need a root canal this summer and then a crown in the future.

There's actually two morals to this story, the first being: don't wait until the problem is dire before you fix it.

The second moral of the story is prepare for emergencies in college. Find a local doctor and a local dentist. I go to school nine hours away and if something happens where the filling comes out or the pain starts up again, I can't come home to get it fixed.

Ask around to friends, especially those that live locally, for recommendations on a good dentist or doctor. Do it before anything happens because you never know when it might.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Week in Short

I'm heading back to school today which means soon I will see how my blogging schedule is going to fit into my class schedule. In other news, first there was winter storm Draco and now there's winter storm Gandolf.

Miss Snark's First Victim announced the early info for the January Secret Agent contest

Between the Pages:
The writer's guide to rocking it on Twitter

Janet Reid:
What does "only query one agent here" mean?

Janice Hardy: 
Guest blog: Things I've learned about writing research
When should you stop revising?

Rachelle Gardner:
The facts vs the story you tell yourself
Guest blog: 5 surprises about self-publishing


Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Releases: Crash, Catherine, Just One Day

by Lisa McMann
Visions: #1
Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

by April Lindner
Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
Just One Day #1
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

RTW -- New Year's Goals

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:  
What are your goals for the new year---for reading, writing, or other?

I've never been one to actually fulfill my New Year's resolutions (or remember what they are half the time) so this year I have decided to set goals instead. Thinks that I can measure and accomplish. Because that's the problem with resolutions. They can't really be measured. 
So, here are a few of my New Year's goals: 

1. Read 100 books
I've been keeping track of the numbers of books I read for the last three years. The first year I went for 100 and just hit 50. The next year I went for 75 and hit 53. Last year I went for 50 and only hit 48. This year I want to shatter those records. 

2. Read 10 classics
I haven't read many classics that weren't school-assigned in my lifetime (and a lot of those school-assigned ones were never finished) so this year I want to change that.

3. Complete 25 hours of volunteer work

4. Do push-ups every morning for a month

5. Do five things that I've never done before
I've tried a lot of things over the past couple of years (ice skating, rock climbing, cliff jumping, making grilled cheese) and I'd like to try a few more.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Don't Believe Everything You Read

There's a part of me that can't believe I even have to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway: Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Before you pass anything on as true facts, double-check. 

This post is provoked by a recent video that appeared on my Facebook news feed passed on by a couple of friends.

The post featured this video and claimed that the rider is both deaf and mute.

Now, I am a huge horse person and the friends that shared this video and information were not. I recognized the video immediately. This is Stacy Westfall and she is neither. 

Another example would be the multiple celebrities whose deaths were falsely reported on social media sites. To the point where now, months later, my roommate actually thought that one of them was dead. The moral of this story is just be careful what you believe from the Internet. If something seems off (or even if it doesn't), do a little background research.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hex Hall Review

Hex Hall
by Rachel Hawkins
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. 

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
I've had this book on my shelf for awhile now, but I just got around to reading it now. I wanted something short and light after the heart-shattering pain that was A Clash of Kings. I got all of that and more. I want more fantasy like this. 
This book has it all. Great characters. A quick pace. Spot-on teenage voice. Make-me-melt romance. A healthy dash of humor. Great twists.  
I had a feeling I was going to wish that I had bought the sequel, Demonglass, before I read this one. I was definitely right. Can't wait to get my hands on it! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Week in Short: January 4th

They're back! I'm pretty sure I say this at the start of semester, but I'm going to try to keep them going this time. Really. I'm serious.'s the first Week in Short of 2013!

Must Read: 
Susan Adrian: Notes on writing advice

Vickie Motter is retiring from agenting

Author's Echo:
The problem with self-imposed deadlines

Glass Cases:
Year-end stats

Janice Hardy:
Dealing with the passage of time between scenes

Girl books, boy books, or just plain great books?

Pub Rants:
Year-end stats

And a question for all of you: Are there any blogs that definitely shouldn't be left out of my reading list? 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Releases: Teeth, Falling for You, The Fire Horse Girl

It's my first new release post of the new year!

by Hannah Moskowitz
Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

Falling for You
by Lisa Schroeder
Rae's always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her...and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.

The Fire Horse Girl
by Kay Honeyman
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse -- the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.

Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path . . . one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

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 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 is the best book you read in December?

So...I have a confession to make. I only read one book in December. In my defense, it was a large book and it was during finals week and then I spent the rest of the month working my way through A Clash of Kings which is an amazing book, but also very large. 
However, that one book was definitely worthy of a 10 and so I don't feel guilty. 

So, the best book I read in December was...

...The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan. It's the third book in his Heroes of Olympus series and well worth my wait to read it. I'll probably still be in shock over the ending in October when House of Hades comes out. My decision to read it during finals week was either my worst idea ever, or my best. It made a great motivational tool to study during the day, so I could spend my evenings reading. However, once I started reading I found it almost impossible to put it aside so I could get some sleep. 

Great characters, great plot, and I'm dying for the next one! It was a great book to cap off my reading list for the year. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Most Anticipated Books of 2013

Happy New Year everyone! There are definitely a lot of great books to come this year, including the long-awaited final installments of a few amazing series. If you know me, you know that I have very little self-control when it comes to acquiring books. Here are a few of the ones that I can't wait to get my hands on this year.

Crash by Lisa McMann - January 8
I've been a big Lisa McMann fan for years, ever since I read Wake. I still remember the day that Gone arrived and I curled up at the foot of my bed and devoured the whole thing in hours. I'm so excited for the first installment of her new series!

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

 Mind Games by Kiersten White - February 19

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - March 19
If Clockwork Prince is anything to go by, this book has the potential to be my favorite Clare book ever. It's the final installment in the Infernal Devices trilogy and I'm so excited to get my hands on it! So if you see me staring at my mailbox around the end of March, don't worry. I'm just waiting for my pre-order to arrive.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Taken by Erin Bowman - April 16

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

The Program by Suzanne Young - April 30

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan - October 
I just finished Mark of Athena a few weeks ago and I'm already dying to keep my hands on this book, the fourth in the Heroes of Olympus series.  

Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth - Fall 
I'm so excited for the final installment of the Divergent trilogy! You can bet this will be another one where I'll be staring at my mailbox waiting for it to arrive. 

What books are you excited about this year?