Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My favorite books of 2011


Boy, do I have a lot of catching up to do here on the blog. But that will have to wait. For now, I'll start by saying that I hope you all are having an awesome holiday season full of friends and family, relaxation, fun and reading. I have a lot of fun stuff to share later (vacations, holidays, writing, working less) but since I'm still in holiday mode and trying to get extra writing time in I'll just share a quick list before 2012 arrives.


CATHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally
LEGEND by Marie Lu
THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Steifvater
LIESEL & PO by Lauren Oliver
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
SILENCE by Becca Fitzpatrick
WITHER by Lauren DeStefano
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
THE THRONE OF FIRE by Rick Riordan
INSIDE OUT by Maria V Snyder
THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter

I can't wait for some of the followups to these books and all the other amazing stories to come in 2012!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A very special day!

to Miranda Kenneally and her incredible debut,

You know how time drags when you're waiting for something really big and really exciting to happen? Well, it seems like forever ago that Miranda shared with me the awesome news that her first book had sold. And here it is December 1st and Jordan is officially out in the world. Party time!

I've already shared this story and gushed about Miranda's critiquing superpowers and kick ass writing talent here before, but I needed to say again just how extremely gifted she is as a writer and what a great friend she has been. There are few people in this world who make a difference in our lives in a measurable way, but thanks to Miranda I can truly say that I am a better writer today because of her. Whether it's brainstorming a new idea or having her suggest I hack off the first 2 or 3 chapters (this has happened several times and has always made the story a billion times better) or urging me to read what have become some of my favorite authors (Sarah Dessen, John Green), Miranda's support and friendship have meant so much to me.

But this isn't about me, it's about Miranda's and Jordan's big day. I'll stop being all emo and get to the fangirling.

CATCHING JORDAN is one of my all time favorite books and one I can now recommend to EVERYONE. It's romantic and fun and full of characters you can't help but love and root for, and sometimes want to shake until they come to their senses. In other words, it's perfect. And you all need to read it! I'm repeating myself again from an earlier post, but how can I not? I hate football (almost as much as birds) but Miranda made me not hate it so much. Some of my favorite scenes take place on the football field. On the football field! *gasp* But since I suck at reviews make sure you check out what other authors and readers had to say about CATCHING JORDAN here.

Way back when (ok, so it was only like a year ago even though it feels way longer) I met Miranda and got to know her and knew this kick ass book was on submission and would sell, I spotted the perfect gift to honor the day it released. Umm, then the time came to buy said shirt and it was nowhere to be found. No sweat. I searched online. And I searched...and I searched some more. Then I finally gave up and looked for something that would be just as perfect to honor Miranda's big day. Yeah, that didn't happen either. Nothing felt right.

Then it hit me.

What does every author wish for when their very first book goes on sale (AKA the biggest day of their life)? TO SELL THOSE BOOKS!

So, in honor of this very special and life-changing, long-awaited, well deserved and magical day, I am purchasing 4 copies of CATCHING JORDAN. 2 will be donated to my local libraries in honor of Miranda and 2 will be given as gifts to 2 very special friends for Christmas. The t-shirt would have been awesome, but I'm pretty thrilled to have the opportunity to help get Jordan and her incredible story out in the world. *for the record, I'm still searching for that shirt*

Enjoy this day Miranda! You are ridiculously talented, beyond dedicated and hard working and your characters should thank their lucky stars that their stories are in your hands. This is your first published book and even though you already have 2 more books coming up next, I'm willing to bet everything I own that there will be piles of books after that.

Congratulations to Miranda, her agent Sara, and her editor Leah!
Cheers to this special day and to all that follows!

I almost forgot!

Please stop by and check out this month's Featured Fiction on FallenArchangel this month for contests, bonus content and an interview. I'll give you a's a book about a girl who plays football. ;  )

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving thanks everyday

I'm not big fan of reading, watching, or listening to the news. It's too depressing (but that's a blog post for a different day). But I do like skimming through the newspaper while I eat breakfast. I scan the cover, the Life or Home section and occasionally read my horoscope. I always make time for the comics.

Today, amidst all the scandal and bad news there was a great article, The power of saying 'thanks.' I didn't have time to read it then but I made sure to go back later, and I'm glad I did.

It's not surprising that giving thanks is a good thing. But apparently scientists have evidence of just how good it is for us. 

You can read the article here.

It made me realize I needed to take more time each day to be thankful, not just on a day like Thanksgiving. I have so much that I'm grateful for! So I thought I'd share the list of tips they provide for giving thanks on a daily basis.

1. Keep a gratitude journal. Regularly write down at night the good things that happened to you that day or that week. Don't let this become rote; but put a lot of thought into being grateful when you count your blessings. If it gets to be too routine, vary your schedule and do it only a few times a week.

2. Put the "you" in "thank you." The personal part of gratitude works well. So be more thankful for people and how they help instead of things. When thanking someone, emphasize the person instead of the action.

3. Think about how you would be without the people close to you and remember that when you are thankful.

4. Find something that may have gone wrong in your day or your life and think of something good from that time that helped you. Remember how that helped you survive the bad times.

5. Don't minimize the power of  "you're welcome." It is important to acknowledge someone thanking you and not slough it off by saying it's nothing. It is something--that's why someone thanked you. (I love this one!)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

It has arrived

My Kindle Fire came earlier this week.
My old books are there, I've purchased a few new books, added my current
manuscript for proofreading,  played Angry Birds (way too much),
transferred my must-have music of the moment, watched an episode of the
The Vampire Diaries, and tons of other stuff.

I'm totally in love.

The only problem is that in addition to all my own content I've also got plenty
on there for my 4-year-old son, (books, interactive stories, games, movies)...
so I'm having to do a whole lot of sharing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Awesome. Awesome. AWESOME.

As if it's not exciting enough that Miranda's book comes out next month (eek! some have even shipped early), now her fabulous swoon-worthy debut, CATCHING JORDAN, has a book trailer!

And I love it.

GO Miranda and Jordan!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Awesome contest, awesome author, awesome prizes!

Sarvenaz Tash, author of the upcoming MG book, THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST, is running a super awesome contest for a chance to win an ARC (advance reader copy) of her book, swag and even an Amazon gift card! All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite birthday memory. I'm dying to win so I can get my hands on this amazing book! Be sure to check out the summary below and see for yourself.

Click here to enter

How fantastic is this cover?!
 From Goodreads:

Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest.

Debut author Sarvenaz Tash combines an edge-of-your-seat adventure, a uniquely clever voice, and an unforgettable cast of characters to prove that sometimes the best adventures of all are waiting right in your own backyard

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One of my favorite quotes...

Sometimes, the things that we can't change 
end up changing us.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I set a goal to finish the current draft of my new project by the end of October so you can see why I'm praying my horoscope for today comes true...

Your chances of achieving one of your ambitions before the month is over are quite good. Much depends on the work you do today and your ability to repeat this work more or less daily.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clearing the clutter

I've been feeling a litle "blocked" lately in my writing. I'm still writing every day but some days instead of my free flowing rush of ideas and words it's more like a trickle.

So I tried something new and decided to sacrifice some of my precious quiet/writing time while the boy was at school and listen to a meditation by Deepak Chopra called The Soul of Healing Meditations

It worked!

In fact, it worked so well that I'm trying to incorporate a little more meditation
into my daily routine. And if my son incorporates, a little extra sleep, too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Season 3 Premiere Party for The Vampire Diaries!

SO. MUCH. FUN.  What a way to kick off the new season and this show didn't disappoint. It was epic.
Now I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reckless Reading

I'm a one book kind of girl. So the fact that, up until last night, I was reading three books at the same time had been making me a little twitchy.

The stories are just as different as the cover art. As are my reasons for reading them all at once. (If you have time and haven't already read any of these books, please check out the summaries at the bottom. I highly recommend them all!)

1. Dragonfly in Amber is an adult book. I very rarely read adult books but I'm hopelessly addicted to the Outlander series so there wasn't a choice on finishing this one. Even though this book is a beast at over 900 pages it still took my longer to finish it then normal. I'm currently writing a book for ages 9 and  up so to go from reading a book like this that is R rated to writing a book that's PG rated can be difficult.

2. The Lost Hero had been sitting on my bookshelf for months, patiently waiting to be read. I planned on finishing the Percy Jackson books first since this is a spinoff series. Then I decided to change my MG adventure book from first person to third person. And The Lost Hero, with its male third person POV, was the perfect example. This one really gets my head in the game.

3. Wonderstruck is an ARC I received at BEA. It's super heavy and full of fascinating illustrations so I've been dying to read it since I brought it May. As usual, too many books and too little time. The other day I asked for suggestions of great MG books and someone suggested this title.  How could I not pick it up?!

And this is why I've become a totally reckless reader lately. Now that I've finished the one very adult book I can focus on the two MG books, perfect for what I'm working on. As long as I can avoid the temptation of the last two Vampire Academy books staring at me from across the room...

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon

From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she’s his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.                                        

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?
Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.

WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Sellznick

A boy named Ben longs for the father he has never known. A girl named Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room, and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Ben's story, set in 1977, is told entirely with words, while Rose's story, set fifty years earlier, is told entirely with pictures. The two stories weave back and forth before ultimately coming together. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful—with over 460 pages of original artwork—Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Live Chat with the author of FURY, Elizabeth Miles!

Please come and join us on FallenArchangel 
Thursday September 1st @ 9pm EST for a live chat with the amazing Elizabeth Miles, author of FURY

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It's winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year's even better--the guy she's been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there's no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em's best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that's nothing compared to what's really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it's only a matter of time before he's exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

I read FURY this summer and loved it. Part horror, part suspense, part romance, part mythology---FURY is a wild ride where you never know what you'll find on the next page!

FURY releases August 30th.
But in the meantime you can check out the first chapter here, the series website here, and the beautiful book trailer from Simon & Schuster UK.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Making a big commitment

No, I'm  not talking about a relationship or a diet (OK, so maybe I am secretly working on this last one). I'm referring to the all consuming, exclusive, time commitment of reading a book series. In a rather innocent conversation with a friend the other night she asked if I had read the Outlander series.

Long story short, ten minutes later I had the first book, OUTLANDER, loaded on my Kindle.

Later that night I started reading it. As I had been warned it started out a bit slow but then BAM. I was hooked. Nothing wrong with that is there? There are few things in life as rewarding as losing yourself in a great story. I live to read. But I'm also a writer, so when I have an extra 5 minutes in my day I ask myself, read or write?

The answer is easy...when I'm not deeply involved in someone else's book, that is. So this is where that whole commitment thing comes in. I'm VERY deeply involved in OUTLANDER. There's no turning back now. The problem is I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started.

The paperback version of OUTLANDER is 600 pages long and that is the shortest of the bunch. The paperback of book 5 is a staggering 1008 pages! Can you see why I'm in trouble here? And (yes, there's more!) after visiting the author's site I see that there are 8 books. Disclaimer: I'm a total sucker for a series. I'm all about spending more time with characters I already love. But that usually means I get to hang out with them in 2 or 3, maybe 4 books.

I. Am. In. So. Much. Trouble. You see, I'm already committed, and I'm only halfway through book 1.

Becca, I don't know whether I should hug you or cry for telling me how much you loved OUTLANDER. Maybe a tearful hug? I can already tell it's going to be a long (expensive) journey, but I can't wait to see where the story takes me. My writing vs reading battle might have become a little more fierce, but I have a feeling it's going to be totally worth it.

Have you read the Outlander series? What you think? Have you loved a book then later discovered it was part of a long series?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pottermore Day 2...I'm in!

I imagine I looked all kinds of crazy this (very early) morning as I sat on my bed clutching my laptop and my (not so gently used) paperback of HARRY POTTER and THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.

This is why...

It was 5am. My hair was wild, my eyes were glazed over with exhaustion, and I probably had a nervous twitch or two going on. I had slept through my 4am cell phone alarm and woke up at 4:58. Did I miss it? Would they even post the clue at the same time as Day 1? Am I crazy? No. Yes. And YES. Considering my 3-year-old wakes up around 7 everyday, I am definitely crazy for getting up like this just to sign up for a website.

Was it worth it?

Definitely. This is Pottermore we're talking about.

I made it in!
*I'm SeerAuror184*
(the site gives you a small list of names to choose from)

I even managed to secure my 11-year-old niece (and Harry Potter buddy. I read all 7 books aloud to her over the course of 2 years) a spot. I was like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for her to wake up and call so I could give her the good news. I'm still in shock that I was coherent enough to take the clue, find it in the book, do the math, and make it in time. Wow. And all these years I thought I wasn't a morning person.

Then again, I did have some 
serious motivation this time around.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

CATCHING JORDAN in the flesh!

I'm a little late posting this BUT...

It came! It came!


And now for a picture that shows how
beautiful the cover really is

As a writer who is working toward publication I dream of seeing my own name on a book cover.But you know what? Seeing one of your writing buddies name on one is pretty awesome, too. I'm lying. It's REALLY awesome. Go Miranda!

And even though I had already parts of the story and knew a lot of what happened, I devoured CATCHING JORDAN. I read it one day and loved every second of it. (Check out my gushing Goodreads review here ) I'm not just saying this because I think Miranda is a great human being, kick ass critique buddy, and super talented writer. I hate sports. I mean really hate sports. Especially football. And she made me love a story about a girl who plays football who has football player friends and a football loving family. And I loved each and every one of them. Like I said, GO MIRANDA!

But CATCHING JORDAN is about so much more than football. It's about finding your way, chasing your dreams, surviving high school, opening your heart, stading for what you believe in, navigating the craziness that is family and friendships and love. With a few (extremely) hot boys thrown in.

CATCHING JORDAN doesn't release until December so I'm saving the rest of my lovefest for later, but be sure to add this title your To Be Read lists and tell your friends. We're even featuring it on Fallenarchangel in December to celebrate the release. And one last time in my best cheerleader voice, GO MIRANDA!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good-bye Harry (tissues required)

I planned on writing a heartfelt good-bye post to Harry tonight but this awesome fanmade
(whoever you are you rock!) 
video does a way better job than I ever could.

"...whether you come back by page or by big screen Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."
-JK Rowling

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Glutton for Punishment

I'm just now realizing how much I must enjoy punishing myself. I started watching Veronica Mars (I know, where have I been?) last winter and only now am I allowing myself the treat of watching the last few episodes.

*update: I am NOT happy with the end of a series that was only meant to end a season. But what happens to Veronica and..??!!.*

This isn't my first time delaying the inevitable.

It took me 2 years to read the Harry Potter series aloud to my niece. I vowed I would wait to read the last book until we had caught up (it hadn't been released yet and I read all the other books years before) and I ended up waiting over a year to read THE END of my beloved Harry Potter. How did I survive? Sick! Twisted!

When I have a handful of candy, let's say Sour Patch Kids, I always start with my least favorite and save my favorite for last. This makes me sound like a patient person, but I'm not. I wish! It would come in handy with all the waiting when it comes to critiques and queries I'll be sending out in the world soon.

But back to my love of epic greatness like Veronica Mars and Harry Potter. I thought I'd share a little list of some of my very favorite TV shows and books (some I'm just discovering and some are old friends) right now. You know, in case you want to share your undying love for them too or tell me what thing I need to obsess over next.

I'm thrilled to have caught a few episodes on DVR.
I was 15 when this show was on and I was completely obsessed.
And now I'm having just as much fun watching it at the age of 32.
Sigh. Jordan Catalano, how I adore thee.

Oh, Veronica. I love you. I love you so much it hurts.
You are the best female character. Ever.
And knowing the show was cut short before they actually made an ending to the story...UGH.
It goes against nature!

Where do I begin? I love this show. I would have no problem giving up TV as long as I had this show.
Come fall I will be glued to my TV on Thursday nights.
No one does plot twists like TVD.

(and anything else Stephanie Perkins ever writes!)

I'm not a big fan of what I call romantic comedies BUT Stephanie Perkins books are
beyond romantic AND funny. In my review of LOLA I said reading these stories
were like getting a big hug from your best friend while eating chocolate and snuggling a puppy.
I squee like my 12-year-old self every time I read them.

 (yep, saving the last 2 of this series too)

People kept telling me to read this series but I pushed it off. I'm not really a fan of
vampires so Vampire Academy didn't sound like my thing. Oh, was I wrong. These books
are a fresh take on vampires and the main character isn't even a vamp! Rose reminds me
of Veronica Mars a little in her kick ass ways and fiery spirit and loyalty.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Webinars, Feedback and Vampires!

Summer seems to have finally arrived here in Northeastern Pennsylvania (I think the last of the snow melted in the backyard yesterday!).  That means plenty of sunshine, swimming, vacations, farmers markets, thunderstorms, campfires, parties and a million other awesome things. Sigh. It also means my schedule is a lot busier and the boy is out of school for the next few months. Less writing time for me. As much as I love summer and all that it brings I'm anxious to get back into my writing groove. Lucky for me I read about this insanely awesome opportunity on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog...

Cheryl Klein, Editor for Scholastic (and of Harry Potter Fame), Teaches ''How to Plot and Structure Your Novel'' on June 23, 2011 (Includes a Critique)

I can't wait to hear what Ms. Klein has to say and *gasp* have her critique my query and opening of the Middle Grade adventure story I'm currently working on! I adore this book so I'm beyond thrilled to benefit from her knowledge as I continue to work on (and hopefully improve) the plot.

Speaking of feedback and knowledge.

I want to send out a HUGE thank you to the Query Tracker team and Roseanne Wells, literary agent at Marianne Strong Literary Agency, for yet another great contest opportunity. I just received Ms. Wells critique of the first 10 pages of my YA Paranormal, DARKEST LIGHT. And WOW. I'm super grateful that she took the time to read and critique my work. I can't wait to get cracking on revisions. The hardest part will be dividing my time between writing the MG and revising the YA!

And last but not least I'm very excited to report that the last two Vampire Academy series books arrived in the mail yesterday.

I'm dying to get back to Rose and Dimitri. (spoiler alert: er, maybe not so much Dimitri as things stand where Book 4 left off) It's also sad knowing this is the end of the series. I really should listen to all of you next time you tell me I HAVE to read a book.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June's Must Reads: Posession and Blood Red Road

My life has been rather insane lately (last minute trip to Florida, husband leaving for Iraq for 400 days) so I'm way behind on my BEA post and a long list of other things BUT I had to take a minute to post about 2 fabulous books out this month. Who both just happen to be from the fabulous Simon & Schuster!

POSSESSION by Elana Johnson
We're hosting a live chat with Elana on June 29th 9pm EST at!

BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young
Check out on a sneak peek here . You won't want to stop!

I was very lucky to read advanced copies of both of these books so I can assure that they are both spectacular non-stop action with just enough romance and perfect for summer reading. The future looks pretty grim in both of stories but in very different settings with very different conflicts. And both stories will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will  happen for these two kick ass heroines that you can't help but love and cheer for as they go up against all sorts of obstacles to save the people they love. I highly recommend them both!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

NYC here we come!

My sister and I are leaving super early tomorrow morning for NYC so I don't have too much time to write this post, but YAY! We're beyond excited for this mini trip.

Tomorrow is meeting more amazing folks at S&S (if we get there early) and their luncheon for bloggers then our Fallenarchangel fan dinner with the fabulous Sea Lion team that is publishing the HUSH, HUSH Graphic Novel. Tuesday is BEA until we decide to head home. Wooohooo

Two days away with nothing but book involved fun! Can't wait to share the details ;  )

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Editor Interview, a contest and an epic finale!

Woops! I meant to share this last week when I posted it on Fallenarchangel but forgot all about it. Better late than never. If you're a writer you really need to check this out. I got the chills reading what Molly had to say about reading Veronica's submission and just her obvious passion for the story and characters and author. I dream of working with an editor like this. Good stuff! Plus, I freaking LOVE this book. And if you happen to read this before May 13th then go enter the contest. We have 5 copies of DIVERGENT to give away this week!

You can find the interview with Molly here.
Enter the contest here. (Ends Friday, May 13 at midnight EST)

And tonight is the big night. The Vampire Diaries season 2 finale. Eeeeee! Last week was huge so it's hard to imagine what they can do tonight that would end the season in a bigger way. I'm part afraid, part excited, part sad to see what will go down.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An A+ for The Goddess Test

I do my best to stay on top of what books are coming out that I *need* to read, yet somehow, THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter flew under my radar. The second I saw the title and cover on Netgalley I knew I had to read this book. And...

I wasn't disappointed. At all. I loved it!

The Goddess Test

Goddess Test #1 - Harlequin Teen - April 26, 2011

Every girl who has taken the test has failed.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.
 If she fails...

Right from the start I was swept away in the part fairy tale part Greek myth from the start. Like so many books I love, TGT lured me in with a relatable character in a real world setting before bringing on the fantasy. I like a story that challenges me. Give me twists and turns! Well, Aimee Carter certainly did that. At one point I actually became firustrated that a certain aspect of the story was too obvious, too easy. Then BAM. I got my twist.

Of course, now I'm dying to read the next book.  And the one after. Yes, there are 2 additional books scheduled in the series. Check out dates and info here. (Umm, and another book in a new series? Squee!) I can't wait to read anything Aimee Carter writes. Love that her bio says she started writing fanfiction at age 11! Awesome.

THE GODDESS TEST is out in stores now so you can go pick up a copy today. I can't wait to get my hands on an actual copy. I'm beyond grateful I had the chance to read the advanced copy on my Kindle, but that cover must be mine.

*A big thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read an advanced copy of  THE GODDESS TEST*

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another awesome opportunity for fiction writers looking for feedback

Do you write YA or adult fiction? Are you looking for feedback on your writing? (who isn't?) Then click the link at the bottom of this post for an awesome contest. I've already entered. ;  )

 Good Luck! (But not too good of luck because I really want to win!)

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm a huge Maria V Synder fan. Her Poison series rocked my world. (Check out my interview with her here) Ok, I admit that I was late on reading INSIDE OUT, the first book in her latest series. But this is one time when I'm glad I was late. It was one of the first books I ordered on my new Kindle after Christmas, and as soon as I finished I had an advanced copy (thank you Netgalley!) of OUTSIDE IN, ready to go. That is the one advantage to coming into a series late. You get to read the story straight through. (like how awful was it waiting a year for CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY!)

I loved loved loved both of these books, and even though OUTSIDE IN is the one that was recently released, I'm not going to say too much about that. It would spoil too much! And this is the kind of story that must not be spoiled. If you haven't read INSIDE OUT then I'd suggest you skip reading the summary of OUTSIDE IN. Yes, it's that good. For starters, Maria is a fantastic writer.The world she has created "Inside" is chillingly realistic. It's fast paced and full of the twists and turns I love. I mean that literally, too. Trella works inside a maze of pipes. Creepy.

It's not a typical love story. In fact, its in this way that it reminds me of THE HUNGER GAMES. The story, the plot, the characters, are bigger than that. They would be great books without the love story. Even if you're not a fan of science fiction, you'll love the futuristic world Maria has created. I highly suggest this series and have my fingers crossed that there's at least one more book to continue this amazing story.

Here's a little more info on the books. Go pick them up today!

INSIDE OUT by Maria V Snyder
ISBN 13: 978-0-373-21006-0

Pub date: April 1, 2010, Harlequin Teen
Price: $9.99 Trade-size paperback

Keep Your Head Down. Don't Get Noticed. Or Else.
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. The Trava family who rules our world from their spacious Upper levels wants us to be docile and obedient, like sheep. To insure we behave, they send the Pop Cops to police us.
So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous--the only neck at risk is my own.
Until a lower level prophet claims a Gateway to Outside exists. And guess who he wants to steal into the Upper levels to get the proof? You’re right. Me. I alone know every single duct, pipe, corridor, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. It’s suicide plain and simple. But guess who can’t let a challenge like that go unanswered? Right again. Me.
I should have just said no...

Visit Maria's site to read an excerpt here.

OUTSIDE IN by Maria V Snyder
ISBN 13: 978-0-373-21011-4

Pub date: March 1, 2011, Harlequin Teen
Price: $9.99 Trade-size paperback

*Spoiler warning*

Me?? A Leader??

Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion-between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again-while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.
Visit Maria's site to read an excerpt here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honest Balance

It started innocently enough this morning. I saw a comment about a book that caught my interest. I went to a site to see what people thought of the book. What I was looking for? Intellegent reviews and feedback on what readers did or didn't like so I could get a feel for this book and decide if it was something I wanted to purchase. What I got?
Now, I don't mean to get all mommy-minded here but honest and nice are two of the things I'm struggling to teach my toddler at this very moment and it's not easy. It would be way easier to teach him one of these very important life skills. Not both. Here's an example:

Toddler being honest: "Ew! *throws chicken* "This chicken is disgusting. I'm not eating it. I want something different!"

Toddler being nice: *winces and spits out a mouthful of chicken back on plate* "I'm done. My belly is full."

(yes, they are both things son has done or said) See the difference there? One lands him in big trouble and two leaves him hungry. I'm doing my best to teach him to combine them. State his honest opinion in a nice way. To me nice doesn't mean pretending to like something. No one should have to pretend to like something (unless it's a present from Great Aunt Marge that she's watching you open, but that's a whole different subject). I want my son to feel comfortable telling people his honest opinion on things in life. But I want him to stop and think of a way to do it nicely. I don't want him to let people walk all over him but I don't want him to be a bully either. I must tell him 10x a day now to, "Treat others as you want to be treated."

We aren't robots. We all have our own invididual opinions. On everything. That's part of the beauty of this world. We should embrace that. Share it. Honest does not equal nice or mean. Honest is honest. It's how we choose to deliver it. It's a choice. (I struggle with this daily in my personal life!)

I've been involved in creative endeavors in one way or another my entire life. I took art lessons all through school, went to college for art. I had teachers, judges and every one with an opinion, dissect my work. Some were honest, some were nice and some were mean. The only ones I remember are the ones that were a combination of honest and nice. The ones that helped me grow and learn. Become a better artist even if it stung.

Same with my writing now. I seek out the people who take the time to be honest and nice. Not only nice. As great as it would be to hear nothing but complimentary things all day it wouldn't do a thing to help me grow as a person. To me, being nice and honest shows that the person respects me even if what they have to say about my writing isn't all ponies and rainbows. It makes me respect them. Value their opinion.

Awhile back I made a decision not to post negative reviews on my blog or any review type sites. Do I read books I don't like?  Definitely. But I'm a writer before I'm a reviewer. I want to spread the love, support authors and help people discover books they'll love. That's my choice. I know a lot of people disagree with this. On the flip side, I'm grateful for those who share thoughts on both books they like and don't like. I resepect that. I just wish we could all remember that no matter where we stand on issues, what kind of lives we live outside the internet, we are all connected by our love of books.

What are your thoughts on this? I know there are some very strong opinions on this subject but
remember honest AND nice, people!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When you know what's ahead

March is here! The sun is shining and the birds are chirping again. Spring is around the corner. Which got me thinking.

One thing that makes the cold dreary winter days bearable (for me at least) is knowing there's an end. Spring will come and bring with it the warm sun to melt away the snow. We know the grass will turn green and buds will appear all over the trees just like they do every year at this time. With the exception of a cosmic shift or some other freaky change, that's one thing we can count on.

Imagine if we it were that way with everything in life. How much easier would it be to suffer through a diet if you knew without a doubt you'd lose those 15 lbs? Hmm, or what about knowing for certain that the book you're writing would be a NYT bestseller?

As we all know, life doesn't work that way. But faith does.

Faith - firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Like every other human being who chooes to write, I have bad writing days and I have good writing days. When the words don't flow or I get to page 230 only to discover my main character is a total douche bag that no one connects with, faith is what keeps me going. I have faith that I'll continue to grow as a writer. Faith that writing is part of my future. It may take 6 months from now or 6 years but I have faith that I'll see one of my stories as a published book.

What are your thoughts on faith? Does it play a part in your writing?

George Michael certainly thinks so...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New love interest...

Ok, so he's not my love interest, just the love interest in my WIP,
but holy mama is this boy hot. I like starting a story and spending some time
with my characters before I go out and look for inspirational images.
He looks exactly the way I picture my character, Reilly.

You can see Shiloh Fernandez next month when Red Riding Hood hits theatres.
He's the love interest...I am so there!

Monday, January 31, 2011

There's no cure for my deliria

I thought it would be easy to write a review on DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver. Wrong! Where do I even begin? It's so good. So freaking good that I've been staring at a blank screen, trying to come up with the right words. Yes, it's THAT good.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn't understand that once love--the deliria--blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold.

Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love.

I read great books often. Books I rave about, recommend to people. But DELIRIUM is in a whole different league. It's the kind of book you'll see kids reading in a high school English class. A modern day classic. It's brilliant. Mind blowing. Lauren Oliver's writing, characters and concept make me want to curl up in a ball crying and give up on writing, then crawl back to my laptop and write until my fingers cramp up.
I don't remember feeling this inadequate and inspired since my first time reading THE HUNGER GAMES.
There are similarities between the books. (can't sleep until you finish kind of page turners) The crumbled society, the government control, the love. Oh, the love... I've heard people saying DELIRIUM is a modern day (er, would it be future day?) Romeo and Juliet and I agree. The love Lena finds is epic. It's a grand, sweeping romance in the best way possible. It's a story of a girl who finds herself against the worst imaginable odds. I adore Lena. And I adore the boy who steals her  heart. And as you may have noticed, a boy who I haven't named. Nope. Won't do it. You need to find that out for yourself. But I adore him too. Swoon.
As if Lauren's books aren't amazing enough, she's just as fantastic. My sister and I had the opportunity to meet Lauren when she visited a nearby town for a very amazing reason. If you've got time please read more about how Lauren paid it forward here. She rocks! Just another reason I'm wishing Lauren and DELIRUM a very very Happy Book Birthday! I have no doubt that they'll dominate the best seller lists of every kind.
I hope you'll join me in picking up a copy of DELIRUM tomorrow! (yes, I know I've already read it but who could resist that gorgeous cover of the finished hardcover?)
Happy Reading! Beware the deliria...
My sister Jenn and I with the signed cover Lauren so generously gave us. *Fangirl moment*

A big thank you to Netgalley and Harper Teen for allowing me
 to read an electronic advance copy of DELIRIUM.