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Best Book of September…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: What was the best book you read in September?

This month, I breathed, dreamed, smelled, ate my revisions. But I also read quite a lot of great books…

The wonderful books I read in September…

RULES OF ATTRACTION and CHAIN REACTION by Simone Elkeles were both very enjoyable even though I have to admit the first book in the series is my favorite.

IF I LIE by Corinne Jackson was heart-breaking, and I felt with many of the characters.

TEN by Gretchen McNeil takes on one of my favorite novels of Agatha Christie (and I´ve read a lot of her books when I was a teenager :-)) and she does it very well, building up the tension and creating a creepy setting.

And then there´s BUTTER…this book made me FEEL so much.

Summary by Goodreads: A lonely obese boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?

Disclaimerthere is one scene I COULD NOT read. Could. Not. Simply. Could. Not. It´s the scene which shows how Butter got his nickname. It wasn´t overly visual but it just made me feel so much and it was difficult because I almost had the feeling to be a by-stander when I was reading. It´s difficult

This book does an uncanny job at instilling the way Butter feels, and the way people are cheering for him to go through his plan. I´ve read that some readers have an issue identifying with Butter because why doesn´t he do something to lose weight? I didn´t have that question. For me, it´s clear Butter suffers not only from his body weight but that he has many unresolved issues and that he doesn´t have the tools to deal with them. Getting bigger for him isn´t something he likes, it´s something he does, it´s part of who he´s become. Bulimia is an illness. And Butter is sick.

Butter is so much more though. He´s talented, he has an attitude, he has dreams, he does have some friends, and he longs for many things, including popularity.

You wonder how it can go that far, but at the same time, you know it could. You get to know Butter, his family, the people surrounding him. And you want to tell him: “You´re not alone. Simply look around you.” You want to reach out to his classmates and tell them: “Open your eyes.” But then again, you have the insight of being in Butter’s mind, you know exactly what he’s going through. This book broke my heart as I was reading it.

Scary? Yes.

A book I would recommend? Definitely.

So, tell me what was your favorite book(s) of the month?

June – Best Book of the Month…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: What was the best book you read in June?

This month, I’ve read 4 Young Adult books and 2 romantic suspense novels :D All of them were amazing. Looking at the YA stories I immersed myself in, it will be tough to come up with a favorite but I´ll try my very best. I will do this post a bit differently by just writing words which for me symbolize my reading experience and link my full review when available (I have already reviewed 2 out of the 4 :D)

SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson: Family. Love. Growing up. Tragedy. Tears. Friendships. (full review here)

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman: Tragedy. Tears. Life. Music. Hope. Family. Love.

WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman: Recovery. Anger. Love. Music. Family. Scars. Love.

THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass: Love. Heart. Power. Family. Privileges. (full review here)

While I loved all of them, I will pick WHERE SHE WENT for this month because I am so unused to read something from a guy´s perspective. Being in Adam´s head felt like a privilege, like I really could understand his thoughts process and the emotions were just so raw and beautiful and true.

His relationship to Mia and to her family made me tear up a few times.  There were also moments I wanted to shake him but mainly I just wanted to hug him and tell him that I was sorry, that he too suffered from the tragic accident not only by losing Mia at first but by losing his second family.

If you want a book which will tear you apart while slowly building you back together and on top of that, reread sentences because they’re mesmerizing, you should go and pick up both IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT.

Truly amazing.

So, tell me if you could describe your favorite book of June in only one word: what would it be?

Summer after graduation…

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: In preparation for our Bookmobile discussion of Kody Keplinger’s A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE, how did you spend/how will you spend the summer after graduation?

In France, we don´t really have a graduation: no ceremony at school, no wearing a cap and gown, no big prom celebrating the end of the year. What we do have are those really hard exams called Baccalauréat. During the last two years of High School, depending on your major, you have to take national exams on many. many, many subjects. I went to pick up my results with my dad…I still remember searching my name in the pass section. I was there and with honors (yay!).

The month of July after my High School graduation was spent working where my dad worked, filing a lot and in August, I think I went on holidays with my parents  there (it´s in the Pyrenees, close to Spain and we used to go every winter and every summer) :

This is a postcard clearly showing Winter so you´ve got to imagine how it looks during the Summer time :D

And then I went to spend some time at my sister´s (also in the South but close to St-Tropez)

This picture was not taken right after my HS graduation but in 2003 probably :D

Some very random memories from this particular summer:

  1. The pair of the jeans of the girl I was working with. She had kind of expensive jeans and I thought maybe I could buy some like hers with my money. I never did.
  2. It was hot in the small office but the radio we listened to made me smile very often.
  3. Feeling all grown-up going in to work with my dad – I babysat before but this was different somehow…
  4. Getting drunk for the first time (17/18 was kind of a late bloomer) –> and at the age of 30, I still wonder if it´s ok for my parents to read this even though I´ve gotten a tad too much to drink a bit more since then!
  5. Turning 18 (I still have the empty bottle of Champagne from that day, it was biiiig)
  6. Spending  fun times with my sister in the South
  7. Waiting to hear from US families as I wanted to go as an au pair. I actually ended up going to the US only the next year and starting university first.
  8. Getting my driver license the day after turning 18

So tell me, what was your very first job?

 

Say Hello to Balzac…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic:   What images inspire/ represent your WIP or favorite book?

Pinterest is great for creating visual boards of novels, shiny new ideas, WiPs. It´s not just another way to spend time on the internet, I promise :D

I´ve already shared some of my inspiration before, including some pictures (moonlight, my male MC…) but today I want to introduce you to somebody who came into my WiP PLAYING WITH FIRE late in the game: Say hello to Balzac!

 
 
 

Balzac can be annoying. He´s always hanging around Erin and she trips on him from times to times. But he´s cuddly. He´s always there when Erin needs him and while he may be a tad afraid of those spirits hanging out around her, he really does want to protect her. He wasn´t part of the WiP at the beginning but the more I wrote, the more I thought that Erin not only liked dogs but that she needed one…And have you seen those eyes?

And here is a little snippet of my WiP which shows you a tad more of Balzac:

I smile as I hear the familiar barking of Balzac. His welcoming bark. Not that I ever heard a difference between any of his barks. That dog would lick an intruder if he thought he could get some food out of him. His tail whips my legs as I enter and I mentally give him treats. I kneel and put my head on his.

Do you enjoy stories where pets play a role?

Or any favorite pictures which represent a book you love or your WiP?

Best Books of the Month…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: What was the best book you read in March?

This month, I’ve read less books than in the previous ones. I’ve been immersing myself in revising, beta-reading and Stephen King’s ON WRITING…but luckily, all the ones I’ve read brought me a little something something…

              

WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard : more on this story on Friday (keeping the suspense for Tracey’s YA Book club)

AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson: I really really enjoyed this novel. The setting was great and made me think of my upcoming honeymoon so definitely a winner for this month! I thought both characters were  well developed and I got lost in their story. And there are definitely a lot of swoon-worthy moments…and those which squeezed my heart. Always a plus! I am definitely adding SECOND CHANCE SUMMER to my TBR list. Thanks again Jaime for pointing this book out to me!

GETTING OVER GARRETT DELANEY by Abby McDonald: A cute one and I liked the premises of the story. I also think the author did very well at portraying the different relationships. I enjoyed the developing and rekindling of friendships.

     

RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbart: I’ve been meaning to read more mermaid books and this one had a different twist to it. While I wish I could have been immersed more in the curse itself, I still wanted to know what would happen to Lexi :D

INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows: Honestly, I was unsure about this book before started it. I was afraid I’d be disappointed. I’m glad I wasn’t. It took me a few pages to really get into it and once I was, there was no turning back for me. Plus, the swoony moments involved a piano and gosh how I missed mine while reading those lines!

TRAFFICKED by Kim Purcell: Difficult. Heart-wrenching. Some reviewers mentioned that they thought Hannah was too naive and I don’t think she was. Of course, she knew the dangers but she was going for what she thought to be a better life, for her grandmother. I felt for her. I cringe and I wanted to scream at some of the things happening during the book.

So, tell me what was your favorite book(s) of the month?

The magic of a kiss

Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: A long-awaited kiss, a surprise ending, a character’s sudden decision…  these are the moments that make us smile, gasp, and LOVE a book for the rest of our lives.
What is your favorite literary moment?

So many moments come back to my mind from my decades of reading. Some excerpts from Albert Camus and Victor Hugo which made me think so hard. Some theater plays which got a strong reaction out of me. Some thrillers who got me jumping out of my seat when I heard a noise. Some historical fiction which made me dream I was in another time. Some novels which got me turning the pages so fast because I just wanted to know what would happen next…

However, if I had to pick one and only one  favorite literary moment (arrrghhhhh I don’t like playing favorites :D), it would be the anticipation to the long-awaited kisses and the magical moment when the kisses actually happen.

The butterflies before lips meet either tentatively or with force. Those moments where I turn the page and my own body reacts: my stomach flips, my muscles tense because I wonder what may happen.  Yep, done well, those get me every single time…

So tell me, what is your favorite literary moment?

Where would YOU go?

If you have not entered my “I love reading” giveaway, you can still do it :-): You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with.The giveaway is open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to. Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

 Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week´s topic: In honor of the release of Kirsten’s WANDERLOVE yesterday–which is amazing, by the way; get yourselves to a bookstore if you haven’t!–we bring you a travel-themed RTW prompt today! If you could wander anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?

If you´re planning on reading WANDERLOVE soon, you should join in Tracey´s wonderful YA Book Club as it is the pick for March :D

Now, onto the question…where would I go?

A castle about 25 minutes away from my small village

First I would not go alone, I´d take my hubby with me :-)

We would go to my “home” in France. It is pretty. It´s a small village an hour north from Paris, it does have beautiful landmarks around it (see example above) but the reason why I would wander there is simple: we´d spend time with my family, have coffee at my grandmother´s, have breakfast with my parents, go to the movies with my sisters and brother-in-law, spend time with my niece and nephew…see my aunts, give a call to my friends…maybe even pass by my old High school to go visit the teacher who influenced my love for languages.

We would also wander back to the US, again to visit our dear friends…

Now, if we´re talking about a place I´d like to visit: Italy…I´d like to see for Tuscany, Rome, Pompeii…

Tuscany - Sunset (thank you Microsoft Clip)

Where would YOU go? :-)

My life version of The Butterfly Effect

If you have not entered my “I love reading” giveaway, you can still do it :-): You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with.The giveaway is open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to. Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

 Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic

Name this life: What would your memoir be called?

I cry, I laugh, I smile, I yell. I make mistakes. I learn.  I find it unfair sometimes but I’m grateful for all the hardships and all the joys because it brought me to where I am today. I love my life even if it’s not always easy. Looking back, I realize that sometimes the small decisions, the tiny steps turned out to become milestones. I don’t think I’ll write a memoir, but I do like to look back…So my title would be:

My life version of The Butterfly Effect

International life: As a child, I used to say that I would never leave home. I enjoyed the comfort of my place. Always a tad anxious, going to summer camps was not easy. My parents always pushed me. I am so grateful for them. Why? Because 10 years later, I decided it was time to see the big big world and to go to the United States. My parents once said to me: “We know we did a good job with you girls if you can leave us but are always happy to be back.” I am definitely always happy to go back home.

Funny how it works out: At the age of 11, I decided German was indeed quite an interesting language to learn. 9 years later, in the United States, I met a cocky boy who was surprised a French girl could speak German and English (yes he’s funny :-)). 19 years later, I live in Germany with a charming man I am lucky to call my husband (he’s still cocky).

Writing: My parents read to me at night. They encouraged my passion for books. My sisters read my first attempts at poetry, not mocking me but nodding along.  My teachers gave me positive feedback when I was young on my imagination. My sisters, my brother-in-law and my high school friends didn’t cringe away from my drafts when I tried my hand at writing a novel. My husband trusts that I can do it. He tells me several times a week or a month or a day (depending how stressed I am). All those little moments encouraged me and are still with me today.

These are only little moments but I am just amazed by how those little moments help shape who I am today.

How would you call YOUR memoir?

The one with my favorite books (read in February)

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic

What was the best book you read in February?

I am going to cheat a little on this month’s Road Trip Wednesday. I read a lot of books in February (a grand total of 11 novels) and I cannot only pick one. While I am choosing more than 1, I am still narrowing it down and it’s a tough exercise :-)

The one where we believe in hope as magic

 The Daughter Of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: “Laini Taylor has a way with words, she makes magic with them and spreads hope while touching your heart (…) The story of Karou and Akiva is not just another star-crossed love story. It takes your heart, breaks it and tries to mend it as it goes. ” (for my full review, you can click here)

 The one with the roller coaster of emotions

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene  which I read for Tracey’s wonderful YA Book Club: “this book is not a “sad book”. John Green did not show us mopey, he introduced us to fun, loving, funny, quirky, witty, strong, weak, flawed, lovable, smart characters. He introduced us to “people”. And that is where the magic of this book is. (…) It is a book full of emotions. It´s a roller coaster. It´s life and it´s beautiful.” (for my full review, you can click here)

The one where we realize growing up is hard to do but worth it

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour which I picked up thanks to Katy’s recommendation. It´s the type of book which is at times hard to read because it pinpoints so well that difficult/exciting/scary part between staying and leaving, how to move on without losing oneself and the ones we love. I found myself really falling into the book at times while trying to pull myself away from it because it was so powerful. Hmm not sure if I make sense :-)

The one which gave me butterflies

Forget you by Jennifer Echols which I picked up thanks to Jessica : Hot, hot and can I say: hot?  This book definitely holds steamy scenes, the kind that makes you read them again because Jennifer does not write them in an obviously graphic manner but in a suggestive tone. She does that very very well! :D  Ok now that the gushing of those scenes is out of the way, I need to tell you about how I enjoyed the characters.  They´re not perfect. None of them are. Zoey does what many girls do when they want to keep control of something (I´ve done it as well) or at least give themselves the illusion of controlling: they pretend. They pretend they´re happy, they pretend they´re in love and loved in return…because sometimes it appears easier that way.  Zoey does not necessarily realizes that she´s doing this even though she can be manipulative on other fronts. She grows throughout the novel and that´s what made me root for her. Plus, there is Doug and he´s quite the guy :D

So, tell me which book was your favorite “February read”?

Dear Idea: are YOU a keeper?

I’ve been a bit out of the blogosphere and twitter the past days cos’ I’ve been a tad sick…I’ll be back full speed soon though :D

Now, on to Road Trip Wednesday (get ready for a long post!)…

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: What Shiny New Idea were you psyched to work on, but discovered it was too close to something already done?

I finished my first draft of my first-ever-finished-draft last month so I don’t have a lot of experience on this and I have plenty of ideas for my second/third/and upcoming WIPs…none of them I am tossing aside yet.

The question would be: How close is too close for comfort?

Let’s say I am writing a dystopian book and my new shiny idea is: a world where each year tributes from different sectors fight to death until only one stays alive.

This may sound a tad too close to something already published (*cough* The Hunger Games)…unless…it takes place in an avatar-like world and it’s beasts vs humans and we see the perspective of the monster and it’s in an arena where everybody can cheer them on and nobody volunteers for somebody else and the humans become more monstruous than the beast and a beast rescues a human and they flee the game and the winner of the game needs to kill them both if he wants to survive and it’s her brother and the monster and the beast discover they have more things in common and….the story is actually different. 

  • Does my actual draft (the one I wrote, not the imaginary one I just made up above) have similarities to something already published?

Yes.

  • Is it a bad thing?

I don’t think so.

My book has witches in them. It also has love, steamy kisses, sad moments and learning to know oneself. 

Plenty of books have witches and love, just like plenty of books had vampires before Twilight. And don’t get me started about books where love plays a role in…

  • Would you pick my draft  up and think: wow, wait a second, I read this and this French lady should totally be sued for copyrights’ infringement, like Deforges for Gone with the wind? (by the way I love the Bicyclette bleue series)?

No

I will not toss my idea aside for two reasons:

  1. By the time I am actually done with the process of seeing my book on shelves: revising, sending it to my beta-readers, making changes, querying, getting-the-agent-who-loves-my-story-and-the-way-I-tell-it, making changes, landing the contract with amazing-publisher,  possibly making more changes…, the market may be curious for new stories about witches.
  2. The story will be different. Let’s take another example the fairy tales re-telling…they have the same idea in them but the way they are told make them stand apart,

Let’s talk movies.

See, I love that movie!

And I love that one too :D (not ashamed to admit it)

And wow, Drew Barrymore in that one? (amazing…)

Ok to get back to point 2) :-) The story will be different because this is the one I wrote. We all bring ourselves to the paper, one way or another, if we recognize it or not. Books are not written in a vacuum – New Historicism amongst other literary theories help us to see this.  I get inspired by other people’s writings, by the sun, by the clouds, by music, by a certain light, by a smile…by many things. I get better thanks to other people’s writings but the story I am telling is still my own.

Sometimes, as a reader, we see story lines which ring a bell but we still dive into a novel because of the craft of the writer, because the characters become endearing, because this story becomes fresh in our eyes when we do so.

My story is original and I certainly hope that it will get the chance to see the wild wild world…And if it does not, it might get tossed aside for awhile but it will always hold a special place in my heart!

Wow…this was a looong post :-)

I cannot wait to read your thoughts on this!

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