Monday, August 30, 2010

Debut Author Challenge (and FREE ARCS)

I signed up a while ago, put their icon and my blog then sort of forgot about it.

The challenge is to read twelve debut authors in the year. As an audiobook listener this is tough since most debut authors don't come out in audio until the book is wildly successful.

This keeps me from supporting debut authors as much as I should, especially since I'd very much like to be one myself.

So, I'm going to share the only two debut books I've read so far. Then I have some Free ARCS of one, THE DUFF, to share with those who can give me recommendations on who to read next.

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

This book, DESIGNATED UGLY FAT FRIEND, is about a girl who learns about herself through a seemingly dysfunctional relationship. It comes out Sep. 7th, and will be available in audio the end of Oct. I read it right after BEA, and it is so worth all the hype.

Losing Faith (Paperback)

I read LOSING FAITH before the author sold it, as Denise Jaden is one of my wonderful critique partners. But I'm not just promoting this because my name is in the acknowledgments (which it is, BTW). I love Denise's writing style. She says so much with so few words, which is always my goal when writing. Plus, this one has grief, mystery, romance and a cult. What more could you ask for?

Now, as I said, I have a few FREE ARCS of  THE DUFF to give out to those who give me debut author recommendations of where to read from here. I'll pick the ones that sound most promising, and send the ARCS to them. I also have signed LOSING FAITH bookmarks for anyone else who helps me out in getting to my twelve books by the end of the year.

What debut authors do you recommend?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free Audiobook Downloads

This week, from Audiobook Community, more free YA downloads:

HANDBOOK FOR BOYS by Walter Dean Myers

Handbook for Boys

and OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens

 Oliver Twist

Surviving on the streets is the theme this week. I haven't listened to either yet (I'm in the middle of MOCKINGJAY), but I downloaded them already. Go check it out: 

As I said in my last post, for those of you who haven't plunged into the audiobook world yet, this is a great chance to do so. Make the most of your time when driving, doing dishes, mowing the lawn, or doing laundry by getting some extra reading in.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Audiobook Review and Free Download

Wondrous StrangeLesley Livingston

For the first time, I'm posting about a book I haven't finished listening to yet. That's because it's available as a free download through Audiobook Community...but only until tomorrow.

***Wondrous Strange blends faeries with the human world and Midsummer Night's Dream into reality (there's even a "real" Puck playing Puck onstage). Things are not what they seem, and Kelley isn't who she thought she was. But this mixing of the worlds could have dire consequences for more than just Kelley and her new-found friends.***

As a Reader:

I love books that use theatre and/or literature to enhance the story. This one does it well. The twist of a mortal stealing a fairy baby in revenge for her stolen son also worked for me, along with using Central Park as the "porthole" between the two worlds.

As a Writer:

Kelley (the protag) living independently in NYC at seventeen felt like a bit of a stretch for me. It made it seem like an adult book pushed into YA. Kelley does do some reckless things to make her seem like a teenager but also some overly mature things. The voice also mixed between teen and adult sounding to me. And it felt like we were missing info about Kelley's social life before she moved to NYC.  I'd be curious to know why the author made some of the choices she did.

If You Like This, You might also like:

Valiant- Holly Black
Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity- Melissa Marr
Minister's Daughter- Julie Hearn 
Keturah and Lord Death- Martine Leavitt
Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle series)- Libba Bray 
Carter Finally Gets it- Brent Crawford 
Undercover- Beth Kephart
Enthusiasm- Polly Shulman

Don't forget, this is a free download until tomorrow.

For those of you who haven't plunged into the audiobook world yet, this is a great chance to do so. Make the most of your time when driving, doing dishes, mowing the lawn, or doing laundry by getting some extra reading in.

And for my fellow writers, not only do audiobooks help improve your skills because you're reading more books, but I'm convinced that hearing books read out loud has helped me improve the flow of my own writing when I read it out loud.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

This week, I'm joining in on YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday because their question of the week just dragged me in and wouldn't let go. Sort of like the book I'd like to write a new ending for, SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr.

Okay, so if I were writing that book *SPOILER ALERT* then Cameron and Jenna would have gotten together in the end. Cheesy romantic? Yes, as a writer, I guess I am, but even as a reader I would have been much happier if they'd just resolved things between each other better and/or stayed in each others' lives.

BTW, Sara Zarr's books, SWEETHEARTS and ONCE WAS LOST are both available in audio. Both great listens.

Monday, August 16, 2010

TELL ME A SECRET by Holly Cupala

I wanted to post this trailer of TELL ME A SECRET by Holly Cupala not just because I met her at BEA but because there will be a free serialized podcast of her book starting in a few days... Aug 18th. Yes, that's a free audiobook reading by the same narrator who read The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Check out Holly's website for more details and/or click the sidebar ad to the left.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Audiobook Review

Incarceron- Catherine Fisher

A prince lost in a prison that is a world unto itself. The warden’s daughter living in a prison of conventions where she will be forced to marry a man she does not love. Both have keys that link them together and could be the means of their escape.

As a Reader:

It took me a few chapters to get into the story. It would have been even harder if I hadn’t known and liked the premise before I started. Otherwise, I loved the dark Alice in Wonderland/Big Brother feel of the prison, the multi-world aspects, and the themes of prisons and what it means to be free.

As a Writer:

I feel I’ve become oversensitive to clichés. After all, it's the lost prince and the legend, Sapphique, serving as part prophecy/part map, that makes this book clearly fall into the Fantasy genre. The overdependence on coincidences also stood out to me, but having the two keys fall into the right hands at the right time not only makes the story but adds to the fantasy elements. Cliché, to me, means overdone, but at what point a certain element starts to feel overdone is subjective for different readers, writers and (it seems) the publishing world. Also, readers do want familiar elements, so I try to aim for familiar with a twist. I do shy away from most coincidences, preferring to build in enough believable backstory to make situations seem more logical than coincidental.

If you like this, you might also like:

The Maze Runner- James Dashner
Hunger Games and Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson series)- Rick Riordon
Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr- Christopher Paolini