Books, young adult

Cover reveal sign-up for ONE DREAM ONLY :-)

Blog or without blog, I’d love for you to help me reveal the cover of One, Two, Three. You can help me on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest 🙂

Goodreads button

 Sixteen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya has only one dream: becoming the best ballerina ever. Dancing’s always been who she is and she’s working her hardest to land the main role of the School of Performing Arts’ end of the year recital.

But…will she make it?

Within a week, Natalya’s life will be changed forever.

Prequel novelette of One, Two, Three. 

 

If you do it on your blog, there will also be a giveaway…

The cover reveal is planned for Tuesday, September 2nd (12.01 EST). You will receive all information for the post by Sunday, August 31st.

Books, Road Trip Wednesday

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 😀 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?

Happy Friday, Observations, reading, revising, writing

Happy Friday #14: Popping the question, Pelmeni and other stories…

Yay! It´s time again for Happy Friday!

I would love to know what made YOU smile this week 😀

Popped the question: Since I started this new WiP, currently very wisely called UNTITLED, I have been thinking that I probably should snag one of those wonderful Critique Partners everybody is talking about. I have great beta readers for my work PLAYING THE FIRE but who wouldn´t want someone along the way? And I thought about Jaime right away. We have the same taste in books, we both haven’t started the querying process, I really enjoy her blog (she’s funny, insightful and inspirational) and the interaction we’ve been having and I knew that she didn’t have a CP. So, after typing several drafts of an email, I finally sent one with this title:

And she said yes 😀 My hubby made fun of me but I don’t think he understands how nervous we can get when it comes to our writing! I’m so very excited to start this process (and quite lucky because what I’ve read so far makes me want to read more, more, more!)

Writing: This week, I’ve been quite productive when it comes to this new WiP. I love being in Natalja’s head even though she’s dealing with a lot and I’ve managed to write almost 1000 words per day during my commute!

Reading: I finished reading COLD KISS and let me tell you, Erin Bowman was RIGHT! Danny is quite a wonderful boy to have a crush on…he’s dead but the way Wren describes the moments spent with him are enough to have him alive in our minds. There are many times, I wanted to reach out and give Wren a big hug! Plus, Erin mentioned to me yesterday on Twitter that there will be a Sequel! Yay!

Revising: Last weekend, I finished the second round of revisions on PLAYING WITH FIRE and I have one more segment to revise before I go through an editing round.

Cooking: So, my hubby is originally from the Ukraine…his family is Russian/Ukrainian and his mom makes the best pelmeni…plus there is that book I really love taking place in Russia where food plays a big role and I had gotten the cooking book based on it for Christmas last year. So, I finally tried (again) to make pelmeni. And while it does take forever, the result was quite good! Yummy! 😀

 So tell me, what made YOU smile this week?

 

reading, Road Trip Wednesday, writing

It takes a village to raise a reader or a writer…

Before I get started on today’s RTW, here comes a little blog announcement…

I am thinking of organizing a blog fest the first week of May, where we could all share a typical day from our time in High School and include a little memory, a quote or a song which reminds us of those years. Would you be interested in signing up for something like this? Once I know there is a bit of interest, I’ll make a post with the details and even a button (wow!) Let me know in the comments 😀 It could be fun and inspiring!

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: Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey? 

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”  At least, that is what Ernest Hemingway said. The act of writing is usually lonely. We write at our desks or elsewhere. I write in a train but I’m still alone with my thoughts and my muse. However, the process of committing oneself to writing, to aim at becoming a better writer doesn’t have to be lonely. When looking at this prompt, so many names came to my mind, I had to smile.

To all of you reading this: Merci!

gif- thank you Pictures, Images and Photos
To my parents: For reading to me at night before going to sleep, for indulging my love of books by taking me to the bookstore and the library at all ages, for giving me books as gifts, for letting me roam their own books…for understanding my love of the written word. For encouraging my writing without maybe even knowing it and for now letting me know that they believe in me.

To my sisters and brother-in-law: For letting me borrow their books and for reading my first attempts at writing which was not school-related without laughing at me.

To my 4th grade teacher and his wife: For letting me read ahead and for encouraging me to continue turning the pages.

To my French junior high teacher: Especially for my writing, for encouraging me to take risks with school assignments and making me feel like I could do anything.

To my German high school teacher: for opening my reading world to a different language early on, for challenging my critical thinking, for encouraging me…

To my high school friends: For listening to my dreams of becoming a writer and for reading one of my first real attempt at writing a novel. Little did I know it was YA 😀

To my friends (especially you Tonya): the ones who know about my writing and have been encouraging me, not treating me like my dream/goal is insane. Tonya: thanks for being my cheerleader from across the ocean and for pushing me at the beginning to send you more of my WiP 😀

To the authors (from Ancient Greece to now): Thank you for your creativity, your words, your passion, your drive…thank you for giving me the chance to go through so many books and knowing there are so many more out there. Thank you for inspiring me in my writing and for showing me that it can indeed be done.

To the writing community: I receive so much from you ladies and gentlemen from reading your blogs, your forum posts, your tweets and from SCBWI. On reading, hopping from blogs to blogs mean that my TBR explodes with joy on a regular basis and a special shout-out to Jaime and Katy for pointing out books which became favorites of mine. For writing, I get thrilled when others receive great news, I relish in reading about the experience with the craft and I am so grateful to Tarah for reading some of my writing and giving me feedback and to Heather for letting me do it for her.

To my hubby: I probably shouldn’t use any of the nicknames we have for each other on this blog but you know which ones I want to use right now 😀 (no, not that one, NO definitely not that one!…yes that one :D). Thank you for pushing me, for challenging me, for hugging me, for being there, for being my rock! Thank you for listening to my rants, for listening to me swooning other characters and plots. Thank you for letting me dwelve into social media and be patient towards me as I tell you about my tweeps and blogfriends…Thank you for being you. And thanks for agreeing to “listen” to my MS once I’m done polishing it…I love you.

Who helped you along your writing/reading path?

Book Review

When Mean Girls meet Robin Hood: Pretty Crooked…

Before I get started on my review, here is the link for my I love reading giveaway 🙂

Disclaimer: This review is based on the version of the book Pretty Crooked which I received as ARC through NetGalley. I am happy I discovered this website and I have decided to review the books I have the chance to read when I give them at least 3 stars on Goodreads. I gave Pretty Crooked 3 stars so here we go 🙂

After reading The Fault in Our Stars, I needed something which would not make me cry. Thanks to NetGalley, Pretty Crooked was waiting on my Kindle. I love Robin Hood stories so I thought this could be a match…

Summary from Goodreads: High school sophomore Willa and her artist mother move to Arizona where Willa starts attending an elite prep school after her mother finally sells some paintings, and Willa attempts to even things out by stealing from the rich students and giving to the poor ones.

I really enjoyed Willa´s voice. She was funny, witty and yes, she does steal but she does have the best intentions at heart. Honestly, I didn´t spend too much time thinking about the possible moral implications because, well, if you´ve got a story of Robin Hood, you have somebody who steals. That´s how it works.

It would be like changing the ending of a fairy tale…It reminds me of a Desperate Housewives episode when Lynette argues with another mom on Little Red Riding Hood who wanted to change the ending because the wolf is too scary.

Anyways,,,:-)

Willa is not on a big quest, she definitely has flaws and some of her actions may be questionable.

It reminded me of Mean Girls. Cady not able to stand up to their little group because she liked being in the middle of attention. Well, Willa is a little bit like her and when she wants to make it right, while still not losing her status, she turns into “Robin Hood”. Of course, there´s more to the story than Willa trying to get back at the mean rich kids, she also meets a guy at school who makes her heart beat faster. It´s a cute romance, even though he does not end up on my list of book crushes (but I have high expectations on this, I mean Etienne St-Clair from Anna and The French Kiss is hard to compete with). The issues with her mother, with whom she got along just fine before, grow stronger throughout the book and I wonder what the sequel will entail on this front.

Pretty crooked is a fun and light read.

Sometimes fun and light is exactly what I need 🙂 

How about you?

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Book Review, reading, YA Book Club

YA Book Club: The Fault in Our Stars

So…uh…yeah…about that book…*sniffles*…it’s…*breaks down*.

That was me when I closed The Fault in Our Stars. Not eloquent and definitely in no stage to give a proper review.

Summary from GoodreadsDiagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.  Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.  Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind

When Tracey announced that The Fault in Our Stars would be the book for this month YA Book Club (by the way: if you want to join or just check out Tracey’s amazing blog, you can click here), I did this:

And then, I thanked her.  This was the comment I left on her blog:  “Thank you for picking it, because honestly I was not quite sure I would pick it up. Why? Because I am afraid to know from the get-go that I will cry. Plenty of books make me tear up. Crying while reading happened (cough *more than once* cough) but it came usually as somewhat of a surprise. I have never read books about cancer; I probably stayed away from them unconsciously. I need to warn the hubby that he might find me crying on the couch soon. Since I also become emotive while I watch TV, he might turn to me while I’m reading and say “So not crying yet?” 😀

I read that book at my Mother-In-Law’s while my husband was trying to jump the battery of the car which had died because I had left a light on. I cuddled on the bed and read until tears fell freely on my face. My dear Mother-In-Law wondered a bit when I suddenly came out of the bedroom, with red eyes, the sniffles and asking her for tissues. She smiled at me but she glanced quickly at her son, dear hubby, who had just gotten back, with a question mark on her face.  My husband who is fully aware of my possible emotional state when I 1) read, 2) watch a movie, 3) watch a TV show, 4) read old letters…just shrugged it off. “She was reading a sad book”.

But the thing is, as I explained to him while driving around to make sure the battery got charged up, 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. Hazel and Augustus are afraid of course but their feelings are not tamed. They jump out of the pages directly into the heart of the reader.

I laughed while reading. I smiled. I nodded (like my own characters, I seem to do a lot of nodding). I yelled (in my head) at the unfairness of it all. Yes, I also cried. A lot.

It is a book full of emotions. It´s a roller coaster. It´s life and it´s beautiful.

I cannot wait to join the discussion  😀 What did YOU think about this book?

Observations, writing

Triple I of writers: Inspiration, Ideas, Imagination

 “Inspiration, Ideas, Imagination”  are only a part of the writing process but they are a MAJOR one.

Stephen King mentioned in his book On Writing (which I still have not read – I need to get on this) that he gets his ideas from a “small, bloodthirsty elf who lives in a hole under my desk”.  Hmm any of you have one of those little elves (they do sound scary though). While this elf is less scary, I also don’t think Mister King has Will Ferrell under his desk.

Ok Mister King also said that: “I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.”  So it appears that M. King is both active and passive in his ways of getting the Triple I.

Where do writers get them?” vs. “Where do they hit writers?”

 The construction of those two sentences says it all. In one case, we’re the subject and in the other we become the direct object.

Are we passive or active in our quest for the shiny twist or the unforgettable character?

I started pondering about this because of the flash fiction I posted on my blog on Monday and which you can read here. This little piece which started with a given sentence has since then tickled my fancy.  I enjoyed the voice, it felt easy and right but the characters would like me to tell their story. I have to shush them right now because I’m revising and I already started another draft of another story. But I digress.

I never stopped to think about my ideas. I have them. Or not. Depending on the days but I do rely on them to keep me going. Sometimes, they flow through my fingertips. Sometimes, I go through the creative process, where I try to find new ideas, new twists and whenI stop to ask the “What if?” question. I can ask this question in very random places or just by watching people go about their business. I am very good at the “What if?” I can get a bit on the anxious side  using this way of thinking in my daily tasks.

My husband who reads this is probably rolling his eyes at the words  “a bit”…

While I need to lower my “What if” scenarios when it comes to my non-writing endeavours, I think it does help me a lot, even subconsciously, with my creative process.

I strongly believe that writers are both active and passive in their quest. We have integrated certain processes and our imagination runs wild at unexpected places. However, we also work towards our “Triple I”. How? We read a lot, we scrap entire passages in our writing process because we know it does not work and we buckle up for the tough ride which is writing. We trigger our “Triple I” buttons by consciously taking part in prompts, in discussions…We type, even if it is only a few words, even if those words hurt because we know that, for the most part, the triple I is around there with us. It helps us to almost forget about those difficult moments when the writing gets going and when we fall in our happy, fulfilling, exciting writing place.

What do YOU think? Are we passive or active with our Triple I?

Happy Friday

Happy Friday #6 – Mishmash and a big THANK YOU (yes you there reading this :D)

Yay it’s Friday…and it’s Happy Friday 😀

Did you know that people start to look for “Happy Friday” as of Wednesday? They sometimes land here, on my blog, where I pour my soul and heart :D, I hope they enjoy what they see…I think last Friday, I got 40 hits just “search related”…Everybody deserves a happy Friday…

I’ve been feeling down this week, with a cough that just thought we should be best friends and did not understand why I tried to push it away…Feeling better now and finally induldged in coffee (how I missed thou).

Here is my Happy Friday mishmash.

* Reading: I did not revise this week but did a looot of reading. For the genius-Tracey-‘s-idea-YA-book-Club, I read The Fault in Our Stars and my fingers itch to share my feelings but I’ll wait until the end of February :D. Thanks to NetGalley, I also read Welcome Caller, this is Chloe and Goddess, Interrupted. They were fun reads and a proper review will come in the next weeks. After finishing Bittersweet , I craved cupcakes and diving into The Future of Us made me miss the 90’s :D. By the way, if you have any YA romance contemporary recommendations, don’t hesitate to throw them my way…

* Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign: Yay! I joined Rachael’s fourth Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign. I saw the linkie on a couple of blogs before and it just sounds like a wonderful opportunity. The writing community is really supportive and fun to hang out with (even if it is only on the interwebs)

* The people behind the writing community aka you: Blog hopping this week (being for YA Highway‘s the Road Trip Wednesday or my regular blog reading), I could not help but notice again how insightful, thoughtful, funny and inspiring you guys are. Thank you for making me think, smile and for sharing a part of yourself. I really feel like I’m starting to know some of you and I really wish we could go for coffee/tea/movies (The Hunger Games, anyone?). Talking about smiling. thank you also for your support, wit and laughs on Twitter 😀

So, tell me what made you smile this week?

reading

Because hope is a magical word…Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Disclaimer: Laini Taylor has a way with words, she makes magic with them and spreads hope while touching your heart…

Summary from Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.  And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.  Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself

I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone this week-end. I had picked it up after reading so many good reviews about it and seeing it showing up on Best Reads of 2011. I was not quite sure what to expect from it. I went into reading this book with anxious questions: would I actually enjoy it? will I feel with Karou?

And then…I read the first sentence.

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.  Karou is the type of heroin you root for.  You feel close to her as the book reveals her personality and her quirks.  The way she reacts makes sense because that´s how well you get to know her. What I particularly enjoyed is how true the emotions felt in such a fantastic world. And there are the details: you can roam the streets of Prague with Karou (I´ve been there once and this is such a magical place), you can learn so much about men with mustache (and here I mentioned this in my Happy Friday post but it reminds me of the way Gogol wrote), you are reminded how there´s always more to a story than the surface, how myths grow on history (to use Laini´s words)

Favorite quotes:

  • “Stop squandering yourself, child. Wait for love.”
  • “Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”
  • “She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair.”
  • “My life is blood because my world is beasts”
  • “Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.”

So tell me, what book surprised you recently? and did you have a nice weekend? 🙂

Happy Friday, reading, writing

Happy Friday #2 – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and other stories…

Last week, I started the Happy Friday feature and here comes round 2…Looking forward to know what made you happy this week!

This week’s reading

* The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight: Beautiful! Though this is narrated in the 3rd person, I could feel with the main characters. The anxiety of Hadley resonated in me and talked to me in personal terms so I may be a bit partial but for a book to do this, the voice has to be strong. This story is not a simple love story; it is much more than this. It shows difficult family relationships and how love can show itself in the most unexpected places.  Two of my favourite quotes from the book:

  • And for some reason, that was even worse. in the end, it’s not the changes that will break your heart; it’s that tug of familiarity
  • That she’d gadly curl up on the grass for him, make a bed out of the dirt?”

* The Hunger Games trilogy: Amazing! Heart-wrenching! This trilogy will stay in my mind for a long time. It shows the human emotions in such a raw manner, it magnifies them, it blew me away.

I started Cinder yesterday and I’m looking forward to get into the story…

A nice reminder for us writers 😀

Lucky 13s view on “Tough Time Trouble” and especially this part made me smile as it is such a great reminder! (even though I still dream :-))

Most of us will not be the writer who pours out their first book ever in a few weeks, considers drool-ridden offers from 10 agents, has their book go to auction for over half a million dollars, and snags a movie deal as icing on the cake. Those writers are still human. None of these things gives them the ability to poop sunshine or pee rainbows.

A song

I revealed my first name on Wednesday in my Road Trip Wednesday post and I am overwhelmed by the comments this post received. THANK YOU 🙂 and if you wonder how to pronounce my first name…here is a little song from the 80’s


Others:

  • WIP progress: I am almost at 58k…but the moment which made me smile the most had to be writing a steamy scene while commuting and feeling my face getting flushed
  • ChangeWriteNow: I am feeling quite giddy since I did much better than last week. I am falling into a routine, making it somewhat easier and my team is just great! (thank you ladies)

What made YOU happy this week?

Have a wonderful weekend everybody 😀