Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's YA Yighway Road Trip topic:

What's the best book you read in November?

I've had another fabulous listening month. I'll tell all on Monday for my How Many Have you Read/Heard Contest.

For the best book, I had to go with a tie this month.

First off:

Sam, a somewhat-satisfied underachiever, has no clue about the paranormal world, let alone that he's a part of it...until a friend's head shows up, unattached from her body, but still talking.

The side characters alone (including the head) make this one an immensely enjoyable read. Well worth putting on your TBR list.

And as for the other favorite? Well, I just found out it's a 2011 Debut Author book, so I'm going to wait and review it as one of my last Debut Author Challenge books....Yay!

Remember to come back Monday and see how many of my November listens you've read/ could win you an ARC or book...Anyone interested in FRACTURE by Megan Miranda, or IRON QUEEN signed by Julie Kagawa?

What about you? Favorite book this month?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday Bliss

I love Black Friday...spending every non-cooking/non-family minute of my Thanksgiving day going through the ads and preparing my master list.

Then, post Black Friday this year, I read reports of crazy crowds, riots, tramplings and tasering...even a lady using pepper spray on some other customers who'd dared to get between her and a computer game...oh my.

I saw none of this.

The biggest headache I faced was a blocked off checkout area at Toys-R-Us, meant to organize the crazy crowds that weren't there yet.

Of course, to enjoy this sort of shopping bliss I had to arrive at the first store around 3:00 in the morning.

It also helped that I didn't have my heart set on any certain items or electronics...content with some $2.00 movies for my mother-in-law at Walmart, and a super deal on jewelry from my daughter's wish list at Kohls. Oh, and the $1.50 candy melts from A.C. to have those for my Christmas baking:)

All in all, I made it to seven stores, returned to my still-quiet household before 10:00 am, and crawled back into bed with my hubby, dog and if I'd never left.

Ah, Black Friday Bliss.

Any other Black Friday fans out there? Anyone who'd never go there? 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Debut Author Challenge #10

It looks like I'm going to finish the challenge this year. Thanks to Audible. After all my years of "free-loading" from the library (Though I do pay taxes...and more than my share of late fees), I guess it's high time I invest seriously in the thing I can't live without...audiobooks.

And, as a (hopefully) debut author myself someday, what better authors to invest in than debut ones :)

If anyone is interested, Here's the link for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.

STARCROSSED- by Josephine Angelini

The Starcrossed Lovers in this book have all sorts of barriers between them...starting with the fact that they want to kill each other...literally.

Intrigued? So was I. This contemporary-set book has furys and demigods and even Helen of Troy.

More serious and romantic than the Percy Jackson series (by Rick Riordon), this book has demigods who fight each other, the gods, and even fate to save the world.

What about you? Read this one? Any other debuts to recommend?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's YA Highway Road Trip topic:

In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

As a person with an education background, this topic has me rubbing my hands together in glee!!!

Idealistically, literary required readings are there because they contain truths that endure...but it takes an amazing teacher sometimes to convey that message to teens.

So...I propose adding two units to the required curriculum.

First, some Dystopian. The kind that uses features from our present to get readers thinking about our future:


-Televised Violence

-Body image

The other unit would be on contemporary relationships...the kinds all teens are dealing with:


-Guy's perspective

-Everyone's perspective

Ahhh. What a nice dream...time to wake up now and get back to reality.

What about you? What books do you think should be required reading?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Debut Author Challenge #9

Number nine on my debut author list came from Audible. (Entwined was from my library, BTW)

It's A Long, Long Sleep, by Anna Sheehan:

In this Dystopian version of Sleeping Beauty, a girl wakes up after being cryogenically frozen for one hundred years, only to find out that her absentee parents are still managing her, even from the grave.

I loved the clever premise, and there were some surprising twists to keep things interesting. Overall, a great listen.

What about you? Read/Heard this one? Any other debut favorites?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's YA Highway Road Trip topic:

What are your writing/publishing superpowers (drafting? plotting? writing queries?) -- and what's your kryptonite?

Able to dart around large plotholes in a single bound, catch repetitions and redundancies that are paragraphs or even chapters apart, make readers fall in love with offbeat guys, and write dialogue that makes you want the characters to go on talking all day.

Look. Sitting in front of her monitor. Is it a computer programer? A Facebook junkie? No.


        -Too bad doing outlines (before or after the book is done), writing action scenes, and giving verbal pitches can make her crash and burn...

What about you? What are your super-writer powers?

Oh, and the winners of my How Many Have You Read/Heard Contest are: Chicklitgirl, Carol and Alicia. Thanks everyone for participating, and I'll be sending out emails to winners later today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Debut Author Challenge #8

As some of you might have noticed from my September listens list, I've been busy finishing up my twelve debut author books, but not so busy blogging about them.


So, here's number eight:

ENTWINED, by Heather Dixon is a charming, romantic retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses.

After the death of their mom, a mysterious man called The Keeper gives twelve sisters a chance to do what they love but aren't supposed to do in

Heather Dixon does a wonderful job developing so many characters, and (best of all) there are three different love stories entwined in this magical novel...the kind of historical-style romances I love with suitors and misunderstandings and secret trists.

A novel well worth reading or listening to.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How Many Have You Read/Heard Contest (My September Reads)

Wow, I got a lot of listening in this month. Ten YA plus five other adult and nonfiction. A personal record, I think.

I'm giving away the following ARCS and book:


To win, let me know which of the following books you've read/listened to. You get one entry per book.

My September Listens/Read:

I'm still not totally sold on Steampunk, but I am sold on this series.

A Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling with wonderful historical-style love stories.

I actually read, read this intriguing Dytopian...time well spent.

The BONES author tries her hand at YA. Mainly a who-done-it with a superhero-style supernatural twist.

A mind-bending , shape-shifting supernatural world where curseworkers both control and are controlled.

An abducted teen starts to sympathize with her captor. I appreciated this story more than I thought I could (as an overprotective mom).

A modern retelling of Lysystrata where the girls of Hamilton High go on a sex strike to get their boyfriends to stop fighting. My favorite book of the month.

A clever Dystopian retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
Another adult mystery/thriller author trying a YA spin off.
Modern Greek demigods meet the Furies, Helen of Troy and fate.  
Let me know which ones you've read or are currently reading. You get one entry per book. I'll announce winners next Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's YA Highway Road Trip topic:

NaNoWriMo is starting! Writing a whole novel in one month is hard and you might need some motivation, but luckily, Sarah posted about writing coaches back in August. Today, we want to know:

What kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you?

On Critique Circle, there is/was an unofficial group that calls/called themselves the Thick Skin Club. I was an unofficial member...mainly because I have mixed feelings about this idea.

On one hand, I've been blessed with some tough critters, even the tear-you-down-just-because-they-want-to types. They toughened my skin and opened my eyes to the fact that some people enjoy being critics. If/when I get published, I'm sure there will be plenty of those, and I won't be able to repond to them publicly without looking unprofessional.

On the other hand, I've been blessed with wonderfully supportive critters/betas. Also, the kindly honest, the brutally honest, those who've connected with my work and those who haven't. I'm so grateful to all of them.

In short, I want/need/appreciate any response to my work, as I feel like I learn from all of it.

As for what kind of writer coach I am, I'm pretty honest...somewhere between gentle honest and brutally honest, depending on the writer. I use a lot of "This feels..." and "It seems like..." statements to make it clear I'm expressing my opinions. I'll always find something positive to say at the end, but I only give inline  compliments if I feel moved to do so.

What About You? What are your coaching wishes and do you return in kind?

Oh, if anyone is wondering, I've been offline this week because of internet problems (due to five inches of pre-Halloween snow...ack!) I'll be posting my How Many Have You Read/Listened To Contest on Friday.