Books, reading

YA superlative blogfest 2014 – Head of the Class

Class of 2014_Banner

It’s time for the 4th Annual YA Superlative Blogfest! Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and Katy Upperman hosted this interactive blogfest in 20112012, and 2013 with the hope of highlighting their favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements.  And they´re back for the 2014 edition.

All covers in my round-up link to the goodreads pages.

 

HEAD OF THE CLASS

Favorite Dystopian

TAKEN had brought me out of a reading slump last year and FROZEN exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait for the last installment…

Favorite Science Fiction

Hmmm I did read this book in 2013 but it is a 2014 release…so it counts, right? (plus I don´t read lots of Sci-fi unless you count some of the awesome manuscripts I´ve beta read but I can´t put those on this list—maybe soon!)

Favorite Fantasy

Love, love, love. And so happy for Jen! This book made me laugh, and cringe, and swoon, and yes I almost cried on the plane…Jen needs to get to the sequel soon 🙂
I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I’d follow Bree pretty much anywhere.

Favorite Contemporary

(so this section will have subsections…because I´ve read A LOT of contemporary novels…)

Favorite contemporary that made my heart beat faster

Favorite contemporary that made my heart bleed (no pun intended)

Favorite contemporary that made my heart fill with hope

Favorite Comedy that had lots of romance & made me want to go back to Italy

It´s not entirely a comedy but it does have lots of fun moments.

🙂 Hmmm it would seem I read a LOT of contemporary novels… 🙂

Looking forward to seeing what books made it at the top of your lists!

Books, reading, Top Ten Tuesday

Top New (and not so new) Series I Want To Start

It’s been forever since my last Top Ten Tuesday. FOREVER. The topic today was Top New Series I want to start (new, let´s say during the past 2 years…) but since some of the ones I really want to read are older than 2 years, I adapted the topic just a tad.

This Top Ten Tuesday feature is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and I first came across it on Jaime´s blog.

Top New (and not so new) Series I Want To Start 

All titles link to Goodreads 🙂

So tell me which series should I start first? 🙂

Books, reading, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling me That I MUST Read

It’s been forever since my last Top Ten Tuesday. FOREVER. Glad to be back 🙂 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created  at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me That I MUST Read

in no particular order, all covers link to Goodreads.com

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Since you’ve been gone by Morgan Matson
Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

The Mortal Instruments serie by Cassandra Claire
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Something like normal by Trish Doller

And a few books by author friends, that I didn’t have time to read yet, despite the glowing recommendations by many people on the Twitterverse

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle
Fierce by L.G. Kelso

Which one should I read first out of this list? Any other recommendations?

Books, reading, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m excited for…

It’s been forever since my last Top Ten Tuesday. FOREVER. But I’ve been browsing the topics and since planning blog posts seems to be one way for me to make sure this blog doesn’t soon resemble an abandoned house. The type someone asks you to enter on a dare or that has fueled campfires stories for decades. The moon reflects on the broken window and even spiders think twice before entering. Anyways…You get what I mean.

This Top Ten Tuesday feature is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and I first came across it on Jaime´s blog.

Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m excited for

I am very excited about a lot of 2014 Debuts but some of them are especially close to my hearts because those are by people I know. And I CANNOT WAIT TO HOLD THEIR BOOKS IN MY HANDS…

The list below is organized in publication order. Because you know organizing lists is an important task 😛

Out on February 4th 2014

  • WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens: First Daughter Audrey Rhodes is convinced that living in the White House is like being permanently grounded. Except with better security. What good is having your own bowling alley if you don’t have anyone to play with? After the Secret Service cancels the party she’d spent forever planning, Audrey is ready to give up and spend the next four years totally friendless–until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. Alice was a White House wild child, and her diary tells all about her outrageous turn-of-the-century exploits, like shocking State visitors with her pet snake and racking up speeding tickets in her runabout. Audrey starts asking herself: What Would Alice Do? The former First Daughter’s outrageous antics give Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun . . . and get her into more trouble than she can handle!

Out on March 18th, 2014

Out on April 8th 2014

Out on April 29th, 2014

Out on May 6th, 2014

  • The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle: Amanda Obermann. Code name Iris. It’s Testing Day. The day that comes without warning, the day when all juniors and seniors at The Peel Academy undergo a series of intense physical and psychological tests to see if they’re ready to graduate and become government operatives. Amanda and her boyfriend Abe are top students, and they’ve just endured thirty-six hours of testing. But they’re juniors and don’t expect to graduate. That’ll happen next year, when they plan to join the CIA—together. But when the graduates are announced, the results are shocking. Amanda has been chosen—the first junior in decades. And she receives the opportunity of a lifetime: to join a secret government organization called the Annum Guard and travel through time to change the course of history. But in order to become the Eighth Guardian in this exclusive group, Amanda must say good-bye to everything—her name, her family, and even Abe—forever. Who is really behind the Annum Guard? And can she trust them with her life?
Out on June 3rd
  • PUSH GIRLS by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill: An inspiring, real, and fresh young adult novel about how life can change in an instant by Chelsie Hill, one of the stars Sundance Channel’s unscripted series Push Girls, based on her own life.

Out on June 24th, 2014

  • BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler: High school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

Out on August 5th, 2014

  • THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco: You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

Out on August 26th, 2014

  • AT YOUR SERVICE by Jen Malone: Thirteen-year-old Chloe Turner wants nothing more than to follow in Dad’s footsteps as a respected concierge in a posh NYC hotel. After all, living at a hotel is heaven, and perks like free concert tickets and all-access passes to boutiques, restaurants, and attractions aren’t too shabby either. When the spoiled brat child of an important guest is only placated by some quick thinking on Chloe’s part, Chloe is awarded the role of Junior Concierge. But she might be in over her head when tasked with tending to the every whim of three royal guests: a twelve-year-old princess who can’t stand Chloe, a cute fourteen year-old prince(!), and their ten-year-old sister, who has a nasty knack for getting herself lost. After the youngest princess slips Chloe’s care, Chloe and the remaining royals must embark on an event-filled hunt for her through NYC’s best tourist spots.

Out in October 2014

  • DAMSEL DISTRESSED by Kelsey Macke: Kelsey Macke’s DAMSEL DISTRESSED, about 17-year-old Imogen Keegan and her struggle with obesity, self-harm, and the infuriatingly perfect stepsister who makes her want to drown herself in a vat of Nutella, with accompanying soundtrack of original songs written and performed by the author’s band, Wedding Day Rain, in an innovative mash-up of prose, technology, drawings, and music, to Danielle Ellison at Spencer Hill Contemporary, for October 2014, by Jessica Sinsheimer at The Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

No exact release date yet but coming to bookstores near you in 2014 too

Let’s face it I’m also excited for many more than just 10 Debut Books. My current Goodreads Debut list has  If you want to see more amazing MG/YA debuting this year, don’t hesitate to check OneFour KidLit 

So tell me which books do you want to get your hands this year?

reading

STOLEN by Lucy Christopher – A review…

I read so many wonderful reviews of STOLEN that I knew I had to read it. However, I never got around to it. Until, it stared at me at Barnes & Nobles while vacationing in the US. Once I dove in the story, there was no turning back.

Summary from Goodreads: It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost

It´s a tough book to review because how does one explain developing so much empathy for a kidnapper, so much that he´s no longer one label but a person of his own, someone I wanted to save from himself? I´ll try my best to tell you why I think this book needs to be read by writers and readers alike, by anyone who likes to step back and think after closing a book, by anyone who loves being so immersed in the story that the smells of the settings become real.

  • The voice.

Every writer has heard this before. The voice in a book is what can make or break an entire novel. I believed Gemma. From the get-go,I was with her, despite the fact that some of the sentences were short and felt almost clipped, I felt with her. The way the sentences were formed was one more way for the reader to understand the way Gemma felt, how she was coping with her ordeal.

“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time. No one had ever looked at me like that before, with that kind of intensity. It unsettled me, surprised me, I guess. Those blue, blue eyes, icy blue, looking back at me as if I could warm them up. They’re pretty powerful, you know, those eyes, pretty beautiful, too.”

As the story develops, as Gemma loses herself in the writing, the reader loses itself in the story. Completely.

  • The writing: simply beautiful

Lucy Christopher´s writing is gorgeous and becomes part of the story, making it even more alive. The writing mixed with the voice simply grabs your heart and doesn´t let go, even after you read the last word of the novel.

There were tiny stars behind my eyelids, a whole galaxy of tiny, spinning stars

and then there were the moments that relieved some of the tension without letting go of the tension.

“You’re right, he’s a killer,” you said. “A rooster with some serious issues.”

  • The setting comes alive

The Australian Outback isn´t just a setting, it´s alive. It brings fears and hurdles. It brings beauty and relief. It brings new beginnings and endings. Gemma hates it but loves it. It reminds me of the way she feels about Ty throughout the book, not sure which way to go, not sure to give in or to fight. Not sure what to believe anymore.

  • The relationship between Ty and Gemma

We know what Ty did is wrong. Gemma knows it. But during the time they spent together, the frontiers got blurred and there were moments where Ty showed such a human side that I wanted him saved. Because he had a history too. Because he wasn´t just evil or bad or crazy. He had dreams, hopes and a past. I wanted him to have a future too. Sometimes I even wanted them to have a future together.

Lucy Christopher manages to instill these moments and to show us how Gemma gets attached to Ty without wanting him, how conflicted she is, how unsure she is. She´s attracted to Ty. She feels for him. But then she also knows what he´s done to her by taking her away is wrong.

Maybe it´s Stockholm syndrome. Maybe I have it too.

“And it’s hard to hate someone once you understand them.”

And I had tears in my eyes reading this book, yearning for a resolution that simply couldn´t be and like Gemma, not sure why I would even want something different.

Oh and right after I was done reading, I talked on Twitter how weird I felt about wanting a sequel but how I really would love to know the rest of the story for both of those characters.There are so many questions I still need answered.

Lucy Christopher mentioned on her website about a sequel.

I certainly would like to revisit Gemma and Ty’s world one day, and yes, I do have a plot for a book related to Stolen all worked out in my head, ready to go. However, at present I am working on another novel for young people that is not related to Stolen to Flyaway. My advice though….stay tuned. It won’t be today or tomorrow, but maybe soon, soon, soon…..

If you haven´t read STOLEN yet, please pick it up so we can talk about it together 🙂

Query, reading, writing, ya

RTW: Quarterly check-ins…

So it’s been FOREVER since I’ve done a Road Trip Wednesday….Happy to be back!

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:

Quarterly check-ins! We’re already 1/4 of the way through the year–where are you on your reading and writing goals?
In terms of reading I didn’t set myself any specific goals except the Debut Author Challenge. And I need to review the books I’v read because WOW I’ve gotten lost in some amazing stories!
And I’ve been doing a lot of beta-reading and critiquing. Let me tell you: I’m VERY lucky I get to read all those manuscripts and pages! They’re wonderful!!!!
When it comes to my writing?
  • I finished the extensive revision of ONE TWO THREE and it’s back in Query Land (plus, it got two requests via Cupid’s contest, yay! and it’s off to the agents of the Submission mailbox of YAlitchat.org)
  • To get my mind off querying and because my fingers itched to draft again, I started SHINY NEW WIP, i.e. GUILTY…It was supposed to be a YA contemporary romance novel it’s turning into a YA romantic suspense novel. And I’m excited!
One of my goals was to be more appreciative and to find balance. Well…let’s just say I have to work even harder to find this balance I’m longing for. Work has been very very busy, hubby is traveling a lot and let’s just say it can get overwhelming.
But…
I have some coping ways:
  1. The sun is shining again. That ought to help brighten the mood.
  2. We’re moving closer to the train station, which means: YAY project and YAY having some office space and YAY no more waiting for the bus and missing my train because of it.
  3. Writing and reading.
  4. Spending time with my hubby
  5. Enjoying the small things.
  6. Listening to my cat purring (or snoring :-))
Plus, I need to disconnect from times to times, not from Twitter, no but from my blackberry, that should help 🙂
My writing goal is to finish the first draft of GUILTY by the end of April…that gives me about 2 months and I already wrote 10k in the past couple of weeks!
Tell me, how are you doing these days? Did you accomplish some of your goals?
reading

Debut Author Challenge – My reading list…

I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I would take part this year in the Debut Author Challenge hosted by Hobbitsies. There are so many wonderful books coming out in 2013 and lots of them are Debuts…

I love the idea of supporting new authors and I love sharing my views on the books I really enjoyed.

So…The challenge asks for at least 12 books to be reviewed. Here is a list of 18 Debuts I am planning to read this year (by release date) – I might read more…but I´m so very excited about all of those!

Debuts 2013 

  1. Level 2 (January 15) by Lenore Appelhans
  2. The Madman´s Daughter (January 29th) by Megan Shepherd
  3. Nobody bus Us (January 29th) by Kristin Halbrook
  4. The Reece Malcolm List (February 5th) by Amy Spalding
  5. Dualed (February 26th) by Elsie Chapman
  6. Strands of Bronze and Gold (March 12th) by Jane Nickerson
  7. Starstruck (March 12th) by Rachel Shukert
  8. Pretty Girl-13  (March 19th) by Liz Coley
  9. The Art of Wishing (March 21st) by Lindsey Ribar
  10. If you find me (March 26th) by Emily Murdoch
  11. Taken (April 16th) by Erin Bowman
  12. Nantucket Blue (May 7th) by Leila Howland
  13. The rules for disappearing (May 14th) by Ashley Elston
  14. Truth or dare (May 14th) by Jacqueline Green
  15. OCD Love Story (July 23rd) by Corey Ann Haydu
  16. Canary (August 1st) by Rachele Alpine
  17. Through The Bomb´s Breath (September 2013) by Peggy Eddleman
  18. Fault Line (November 12th) by Christa Desir

Do you have any of those on your list for this year?