Sunday, September 30, 2012


By Kim Curran


Description from Barnes & Noble:
When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he's not so average after all. He's a 'Shifter'. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he's ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I snatched up the chance to read it based on the awesome premise, and the story didn't disappoint. It's fast-paced and clever with a likeable main character. It's set in London, written by a UK author, and the language has a definite British slant to it, which I enjoyed. Unlike many YA novels, this is one that will definitely appeal to boys as much as girls.

My only complaints were that the ending felt a little abrupt and there were a couple of plot points near the end that I felt could have benefited from more elaboration to not feel quite so convenient. As a writer, I think I'm overly picky about this kind of thing though, and it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.

I don't know if a sequel is planned, but there is definitely potential for more from these characters, and I'd love to go along for the ride.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater
This is a book that will make you forgo both sleep and food so you can devour itwithout even realize you're doing it. A book that when you reach the end, you'll flip back through to reread all your favorite parts. A book that sits with you even days after finishing it; that eats at your soul and crawls inside you. Full of lines you repeat in your mind over and over because you like the weight and the feel of them. A book you want everyone to read, right now, but you won't loan out your copy because you aren't ready to let go yet.
I realize my little mini reviews rarely tell you much about the actual plot of the story. Don't bother reading the jacket copy, because it's rather blah and won't tell you anything either. This is a story about killer water horses, racing, cliffs and the sea, but really it's about loyalty and all kinds of love. And a thousand other things you'll just have to read the book to feel.
Like all the best stories, I wish I could live in its world a little longer.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Two great opportunities for writers:

Editor Cheryl Klein will be open for unsolicited submissions Aug.  20-24. Check out her blog for more info.

WriteOnCon 2012, a free online writing conference, starts next week. Full schedule here. I participated last year and highly recommend it to all aspiring writers. Lots of great info, opportunities for critique and the chance to get your work seen by agents and editors.

Friday, June 22, 2012


By Kristin Cashore

This book is lovely, sad and beautiful. Heartbreaking, but hopeful. And full of touches of humor, too. (Check out these bonus letters for extra fun.) Fans of the previous two books, Graceling and Fire, will find many familiar characters, and are sure to enjoy Bitterblue, too.

The story is not fast-paced, but I couldn't put it down. Kristin Cashore's writing has a way of drawing you in and mesmerizing you, not unlike some of her characters. The world she's created is such a rich tapestry, and this book ends in a way that leaves plenty of room to grow, either with these same characters or new ones. I expect there will be more books in this universe, but either way, I'm eager to read whatever she writes next.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Recommendations for Hunger Games Fans

Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Matched & Crossed by Ally Condie
Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Surviving Antarctica by Andrea White
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Visit Maggie's blog for more info and a chance to win an ARC.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice

YA contemporary
60,000 words


High school graduation: Check. College Apps: Check. Actually deciding where to start the rest of your life: Uhhh.

For Ryan, deciding where to go to college is easy: he lets someone else choose. His girlfriend Marcy’s the planner, not him. And he’d rather not think about all the changes graduating and leaving home will bring. Then their chosen school, Texas Central, cuts their soccer program. One more thing he’ll have to give up now that high school’s done. But he doesn’t think there’s anything he can do about it. He’s already committed to both TC and Marcy.

His neighbor Summer learned the hard way that avoiding decisions doesn’t make them go away. Like last June, when she missed her chance to cross the friends’ line with Ryan. She’s spent the last year avoiding him, denying the mistake she made—but that has to stop. She has one more of year of high school, but Ryan’s leaving soon. It’s time she let go of the past and fixed their derailed friendship—especially since she might be the only one who can help him figure out what he wants from the future.

If Ryan and Summer can’t learn to start calling the shots in their own lives, they’ll never reach their goals—and they’ll all end up where they don’t belong. UNDECIDED should appeal to fans of Susane Colasanti and Jenny Han.

First 250:


His music is too loud—not exactly a problem, except that it’s louder than mine. I jack up my iPod. My tiny speakers can’t drown out the noise.

Especially since they aren’t just competing with music, but laughter, splashing, screams. Fun. That’s what’s on the other side of the fence.

My phone buzzes and skitters across the swing’s seat. Amber’s name flashes on the screen, followed almost immediately by Max’s. Their texts are identical. She’s headed to his house, his parents are headed out, I can come if I want.

Half an invitation from each that doesn’t add up to a whole.

Can’t make it, I text back. Family movie night.

Not a complete lie. The windows flicker with light from a DVD.

I give up the fight with the music and shut mine off. Despite the dark sky, the air is hot.

I could join my parents, but instead I stay outside, between my house and Ryan’s, pushing myself in the swing, digging my bare toes into the grass, listening to the party I’m definitely not invited to.

Until the soccer ball lands in my lap. I clutch it and blink into the darkness, trying to see if anyone’s there to claim it. A head pops over the back fence, followed by a body, which lands with a two-footed thump on my side.

“Nice one, man,” Ryan yells over the fence, then jogs toward me.

I could throw the ball back, but I wait for him to come to me.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


By Elizabeth Norris


This book is amazing, and that blurb above is a perfect description. A mix of X-Files and Veronica Mars, but also ... and ... and I'm not going not to tell you--because I'm like that. You'll just have to read the book to discover the awesomeness for yourself. So go out right now. Find it. Oh wait, it doesn't come out till April 24. But you can it pre-order it here.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Check out this post on The Enchanted Inkpot for a great interview with Kristin Cashore and a chance to win an ARC of Bitterblue.

I loved Graceling and Fire, and can't wait to read this next book.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Awesome Articles

I just read two great posts from Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing. I'm posting them here not only to share with other writers, but also so I'll be able to find them again.

Crafting Memorable Scenes in Fiction 
Contains a great checklist of everything a scene should do and include. Extremely helpful for both first drafts and revisions.

Sometimes Revision Means Rewriting
Debut novelist Talia Vance (SILVER, Flux, 9/8/12) shares her revision-filled journey to publication.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


For writers with completed manuscripts:

March 1 - Mystery Agent on Operation Awesome

March 5 - Secret Agent on Miss Snark's First Victim

March 1-15 - Liz Norris Pay It Forward Writing Contest on Janet Reid's blog

For anyone:
Through March 3 - Win a copy of Balthazar by Claudia Gray
Through March 6 - Win a copy of Black City by Elizabeth Richards (lots of giveaways and great reviews on Presenting Lenore, so be sure to check out all the recent posts)
And the contest to win a copy of Insurgent (the sequel to Divergent) has ended, but check out the entry by finalist #8. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012


By Jodi Meadows

Loved this book, though when I first started it, it wasn't what I expected. Since I kept hearing about it in the context of all the dystopian novels coming out this year, I expected another of those. But Incarnate is much more fantasy than futuristic.

A few elements reminded me of Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown, one of my favorites. Fans of Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire should also enjoy this book.

This interview on Miss Snark's First Victim gives a bit more info about both Jodi Meadows and her debut novel.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eliminate the Frame

A simple thing, but so important. Check out this post from Agent Mary Kole for a tip to tighten your writing and make it as strong as possible.