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Showing posts from February, 2013

New Releases: Dualed, The Summer Prince, Things I Can't Forget

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Dualed by Elsie Chapman Dualed #1 The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the mi…

RTW: Best Book of February

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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:  What's the best book you've read in February?
Number of books: 1 (Clearly, I am failing epically at my goal.) 
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin This book...is insane. For those of you who haven't read them, this is the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire. It's fantastic, possibly the best so far. It kind of destroyed me. When I got to the ending, I screamed, threw the book across the room, and curled up in a ball around a pillow. I read the last 300 pages in one day, ignoring the fact that I had homework that I really needed to do.

I'm still amazed at this book. There were some huge shocks for me. Some characters I hated that I actually came to like.

I'm dying for A Feast for Cr…

Outside Comfort Zone

When it comes to writing, stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing. It will make you a better writer by stretching your writing muscles. Sometimes those stories that we feel least able to write will be our best works.

In the beginning, it's best to try all types of writing styles, points of view, tenses, characters, and genres. You'll never know what you like best and what you're the best at if you don't try a lot of different things.

This is especially true because different stories require different things. Some stories are best written in third person, others are better in first. Some stories are better in present tense, others in past. Multiple points of view.

If you get an idea for something new, don't be afraid to give it a try. Write a short story to give a new idea a test run. NaNoWriMo is also a great time to try new things, as well. Use prompts to stretch yourself and experiments with things.

College: Surviving Midterms

Midterm week is upon me once again. It's also the week before spring break so I'm wandering around with a severe lack of motivation. Here are some tips on how to get through one of the busiest weeks of the semester.

Keep strict track of all due dates and exam dates. 
I'm keeping a running list in an Excel document of each day next week and the work that I have to have done before that day. This includes exams, assignments, assigned chapters, and essay due dates. It keeps everything in the same place and shows which days are the busiest.

Don't leave papers until the night before. 
If you have an essay or research paper due during midterms, start it early. Leaving it off until the last minute can put a lot of pressure on time that you might need to study for another exam. 

Start studying for exams well in advance. 
A few days before an exam, start studying instead of waiting to cram the night before. Your brain will retain the information better and it will take away some …

New Release: Mind Games

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Mind Games by Kiersten White 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.

College: Making Presentations

In college, you'll probably be giving a lot of presentations. My freshman year alone, I had to make four or five of them. Some of them were as a group, but others were alone. Here are a few tips on how to make nice presentations. Most presentations will require visuals (I usually use Powerpoints), but some won't. This advice mostly caters toward presentations with visuals.

Don't put all of the information on the slides. 
You don't need to put everything in your presentation on the slides. Use bullets to jot down the main points. This will also help keep you on track throughout the presentation. Too much text is hard to read and looks cluttered.

If using videos, add and test links. 
If you intend to use extra material in your presentation, such as YouTube videos, add the links to your presentation and test them before giving the presentation. This will prevent any technical difficulties on presentation day.

Pick professional, attention-attracting backgrounds. 
Don't …

Favorite Romantic Reads

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It's Valentine's Day and I thought I would talk about a few of my favorite romantic YA novels.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Boy Meets Boy  by David Levithan
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
What are some of your favorite romantic YA reads? 

RTW: Love for Writing

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:  It's (the day before) Valentine's Day! Let's jumpstart the lovefest by blogging about what you love most about writing (and/or reading)!
The thing I love most about writing (besides the feeling of triumph after finishing a first draft) is the characters. I love getting to see all of these characters and letting them come to life. Sometimes I feel like I'm just writing down their story, rather than creating them. It's fascinating watching them grow and change and take courses of action that I don't agree with.

I love the feeling of a particularly good writing day when the words are just flying onto the page almost faster than I can type them. The way the rest of the world just disappea…

New Releases: Pivot Point, Out of the Easy

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Pivot Point by Kasie West Pivot Point #1 Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a mur…

College: Reading Books for Class

I'm an English minor so many of my assignments involve reading books for class. Reading books in high school is not the same as reading books in college. Oftentimes in high school there will be a certain number of chapters assigned per day, sometimes chapters may be read in class, and in my classes there will be a sort of study guide of questions to answer while reading.

College is not typically like that. Here are some tips on how to handle required novels.

Step 1: Write down deadlines 
This information may also be in the syllabus, but if it's not make sure to write it down. It makes it harder to forget and keeps it as an accessible reminder.

Step 2: If the professor assigns chapters, keep up. 
It can be really easy to say "I'll just catch up this weekend" and end up falling way behind. Don't let this happen.

Step 3: If the professor just assigns a deadline, figure out how many chapters per day have to be read and actually read that many chapters 
It's also…

New Releases: Etiquette and Espionage, City of a Thousand Dolls, The Whole Stupid Way We Are

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Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Finishing School #1 It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the moder…

RTW: Best Book of January

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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:   What's the best book you read in January?
The first month of my Year of 100 Books has come to a close. I only managed to read three books last month (though, in my defense, I did finish one Martin novel and start another). All three books were great, but when it comes to the best it isn't a contest. 
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
The second installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was so excited to read this book after adoring the first and it did not disappoint. I'm still in shock over some points. This book may very well have destroyed my heart. I've already started the third book in the series, A Storm of Swords. 
I'm getting into this series late, but this is definit…

Favorite Sick Day Movies

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I came down with a cold this week, of course when I need to do a ton of homework, and I don't feel particularly inspired on what to blog about.

So, here are a few of my favorite sick day movies for when I'm curled up with a blanket, a glass of tea, and some soup.

Ever After Also my favorite Cinderella interpretation ever. 
The Avengers Princess Diaries 2 The Proposal The Three Musketeers What are some of your favorite movies for a sick day?