Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Army of Ten

There are two things that I absolutely adore about writing Young Adult.

The first thing is the kids themselves.

I LOVE writing for teens. I love the challenge of it and the satisfaction of it and the interactions with teens. I guess that's because a part of me never really grew up.

The second thing is the community.

YA writers are a very tight-knit community. It's really like we're all in a big high school. Sure, there are cliques just like every school has. There are the cool kids, the popular kids, the mean kids. But pretty much all of these 'kids' are nerds at heart. Which is pretty awesome.

I'm still nothing but a lowly freshman, but I am working my way up. Lowly freshman need help once in a while from some of the cool upper classmen. I've gotten plenty of that and I appreciate it a billion times over.

So, when a moment comes a long where I can try and help one of these 'upperclassmen' I take it and run with it.

Now that the longest intro to a blog post EVER is complete, here's the meat of this post.

This lovely lady...

Talented, beautiful and all-around kickass, this Young Adult author is one of my favorites. Her new novel, Ten, is nearing its release date. And the buzz has been phenomenal. I, myself, can not wait to get my hands on a copy.

Look below to see why...

Now you want it, too, right? RIGHT?!

I thought so.

But it seems that Barnes & Noble has a different opinion on the matter.
The well-known bookstore chain has decided not to stock copies of Ten.
Which is pretty much insane.
Because this book is going to rock.

So, I'm pledging right now, today, that I will go to my local B&N and request a copy of Ten on its release date, September 18, 2012. I won't order it from there. Nope, I'll just request it. Instead, I will be picking up Ten from my local Inde bookstore, which WILL have it in stock. 

If you would also like to show your support for this exciting new book and its wonderful author, as well as win some awesome prizes, check out The Army of Ten.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anastasia Forever Blog Tour!!!

I am so excited to be a part of the exclusive ANASTASIA FOREVER BLOG TOUR!  Only a lucky few have the chance to debut this trailer, and I’m beyond thrilled to see where Anne’s dreams lead her in the third and final installment of the DREAMING ANASTASIA Series.  Will she unlock the secrets of the past before they destroy her future?

Here’s the scoop on the DREAMING ANASTASIA Series!

There is so much to love about this series as Joy brilliantly blends Russian history, romance, magic and mythology into an enticing adventure.

In DREAMING ANASTASIA, Anne Michaelson begins to have unusual dreams and discovers that she is the only one who can save the daughter of the last tsar of Russia, Anastasia Romanov.  Believed to be dead by the world, Anastasia has been kept captive all these years by the Russian witch Baba Yaga, and only Ethan, a handsome and mysterious 18-year-old, can help Anne free Anastasia. 

Anne once again leaves behind her ordinary life in HAUNTED to join forces with the mysterious and gorgeous Ethan as the journey with the Romanov continues.  This time she is haunted by classic figures from Russian mythology, a rusalka, , a Russian folklore mermaid with a malevolent streak –  and a particular interest in Anne,  who tells her that Anastasia is still alive.  As she and Ethan team up, Anne’s search for the rusalka’s identity reveals deep and startling secrets - including the true source of Anne’s powers.

Now in ANASTASIA FOREVER, having survived Baba Yaga and the Rusalka, Anne finds herself bound by the witch to undertake a journey into past, present, and future that will determine her destiny - and that of everyone she loves.

Catch a preview of the danger, romance, and magic await Anne in this exciting glimpse ahead of ANASTASIA FOREVER by taking a look at a special sneak peak with the first three chapters here!

ANASTASIA FOREVER comes out this August, be sure to look out for all things Anastasia at Joy’s website joysnovelidea.blogspot.com.

And now for my favorite part! Get an exclusive sneek peak of the trailer for Anastasia Forever!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review - The Sky is Everywhere

Author: Jandy Nelson
Published: March 9th 2010 by Dial
I purchased this book myself.

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transfer from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding. This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.
Grief books are a hard thing to master. I mean, just think about it. How do you write about a depressed, broken character who can't stop thinking about the one person she's just lost and make her interesting to read? It's a daunting task to say the least. I'm not sure I could pull it off. But let me assure you, Jandy Nelson does that and much, much more.

I mean stir in the following factors: that the girls' only know their mother as half-mom, were raised by their grandmother who paints willowy green women with a feverish obsession, Lenny is fighting an unexplainable and inexplicable lust for her dead sister's boyfriend, Toby while simultaneously falling in love with the new boy in town, musical wonder and all around half-French hottie, Joe Fontaine... and what do you get?

One Hell of an amazing book. That's what.

Don't be fooled. This is not a grief book. This is a book about a girl who is grieving, yes; but that's only part of her story. There's so much more going on. This is a story about first love. About tenuous friendships struggling to withstand the strain of life and loss and growing up. About losing first love. About trying to regain first love. About mothers that don't raise their little girls. About a grandmother that is a mother to said little girls. About finding out who you have the potential to be. And about breaking through the shell that you've been turtling along in your entire life and finally becoming that person.

Author, Tahereh Mafi, said at an author signing I attended the other night that this book broke her in half. I can attest to her statement. Because it did the same to me. Hello, world. I am the newly halved Amy Rose. How's it goin?

Now stop reading this blog and go pick up The Sky is Everywhere. Read it and revel in its beauty. And then come back and tell me what you thought. I'd love to know. Happy reading!

Visit Jandy Nelson on her website HERE and on Twitter HERE.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review - Bad Taste in Boys

Author: Carrie Harris
Published July 12th 2011 by Delacorte Press
I purchased this book myself

Someone's been a very bad zombie.
Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steriods are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human.

Zombiesssssss. I love 'em. I mean, really. The older I get, the more I love them. Maybe it's the fact that with each day we grow closer to death and that zombies are more than just a little bit fascinating when you really think about it. I mean look at the hordes of horror movies that have spurred from the thought of walking dead humans who crave the flesh of the living. Zombies are a true phenomenon of pop culture.

A good zombie movie or book is hard to come by. Most of them, honestly, are just crap. I will admit that I do prefer the more serious takes on them. The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows of all time. But I'm also a big fan of the more campy takes on the flesh-eating fiends that my imagination loves to play with. My favorite zombie movie is Planet Terror.

So, naturally when it comes to books, my tastes are the same. I like my zombies either super dark and twisty or super campy and funny.

Bad Taste in Boys is the latter. And in the best way. Carrie Harris is a brilliant woman and hilarious. If you follow her on Twitter, you know what I mean. If you don't follow her on Twitter yet, what the heck are you waiting for?! Get to it! Here, let me help you. CLICK HERE.

This is an extremely fast-paced book that I devoured easily in one night. The main character, Kate Grable, is a dork extroidinnaire and fancies herself a modern-day superhero when she is the first and only person to figure out the zombie virus that has infiltrated the football team of her high school. How so? Let's just say instead of a nice kiss, Kate got a nice chomp on the lip.

Through Kate's exploits in the book, she finds her footing in a world where she was pretty much invisible before. She builds a stronger relationship with her brother and finds out how to trust her Dad again. And most importantly she finds first love... or crush. This is high school after all.

If you're a zombie fan like me, you really should pick up this book. Don't expect it to be serious. If you do, you're a bigger dork than Kate... or me for that matter. And that's saying a lot.

Visit Carrie Harris at her website HERE.

Review - Welcome Caller, This is Chloe

Author: Shelley Coriell
Publication: May 1st 2012 by Amulet Books
This book was received in ARC format at ALA Mid-winter

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

"I love being a burrito. Not the actual costume, a stinky ankle-length tube of compressed foam with scratchy shoulder straps. No, I loved the physical act of being a burrito -- more precisely, of getting people to notice me -- and I was good at it."

These are the opening lines of one of the most fun, intelligent and enjoyable contemporary YA books I've ever read. I figure the beginning is a good starting point to explain what it is I love so much about this book. The main character.

Chloe Camden is a dramatic, quirky character absolutely bursting with life. She made me, the reader, feel more alive just by reading her words. She makes mistakes and she's baffled by them, confounded and deluded. And then she learns. When she learns, she grows and morphs into something beautiful. She's suddenly a stronger, more humble young woman and I found that at this point I absolutely fell in love with her.

I adored her from the beginning... obviously. I mean did you read those opening lines? But when she is ripped apart and tossed about by the great tornado that is life, she finds herself left standing but in a different place. And in a different place, people become different than who they were somewhere else. And the person Chloe is by the end of the novel is the person that I wish I could be.

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe meets up with Chloe at a very sad point in her life. It's the point where friendships change. Where that lifelong friend that you've been attached at the hip to for as long as you can possibly remember, severs the connection and kicks you to the curb.

Only someone like Chloe, so vivacious and headstrong and utterly aloof, can't comprehend why anyone would do such a thing. She has a heart as big as any Saint and she loves everyone in her life so fully that she can't see why anyone would want to leave her.

Then you, as the reader, are introduced to a cast of characters that are all unique and not at all typical in any way. Chloe loves each one of them for who they are and the more she learns about them, the more she grows and changes because each character opens her eyes just a little bit more.

And of course, there's a love story. Which would require a boy. And Ms. Coriell does not disappoint. Duncan Moore is as swoon-worthy as any other boy out there, maybe even more so.

And let's not forget where Chloe's story takes her. To the radio station of her high school. Chloe Camden is a star. And reading about her experiences on air and off is so entertaining, I was truly disappointed when this book came to an end.

Welcome Caller, This is Chloe is one of my favorite reads of 2012. Actually, it's one of my favorite reads in compterary Young Adult fiction EVER. If you're looking for a fun book with superb writing that moves quickly and will make you laugh and cry and laugh some more, then this is the book for you.

Check out the author, Shelley Coriell on her website HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review - Masque of the Red Death

Do you have a favorite type of character? Well, I do. It's the person who is so completely messed up and broken that you, the reader, actually want them to just give up and say goodbye to their cruel, cruel world. But they don't.

There's this part in them, somewhere deep inside, that refuses to snap. It's what actually holds them together, makes them stronger than I could ever dream of being. These characters make me swoon.

And I've only read a few of them. One is my favorite character of all time, Andie in Revolution by Jennifer Donnelley. Another is Araby Worth of Masque of the Red Death.

In a dark and twisted world where the plague has ravaged the lives of everyone, either through death itself or the loss of a loved one, Araby lives... sort of. It's more like she's suspended here in this time where nothing can touch her. She is invincible. But not by choice. This girl takes chance after chance, doing things that would certainly spell out death for many more careful people. And yet nothing takes her down. She just keeps on breathing, being tortured by her memories and the one person she lost.

The guilt of living without her twin brother gnaws on her day in and day out. Even while she sleeps, her dreams are full of him and how perfect and wonderful he was, how horrible a world without him in it is.

Then her life changes and death becomes more than a possibility. It's a certainty. At this point, Araby finds that maybe she does want to live after all. If not for herself, perhaps for her brother that will never have the chance.

Not only does the reader have the pleasure of being introduced to such a lovely character, but it also takes place in a breathtaking world amidst terrifying people who have no qualms about murder and deceit. Here the word debauchery is almost compliment.

This book is an enticing, torturous and sensual read. You do not want to miss out on Araby's journey. Beleive me, one page in and you will be just as devoted to her as I found myself being. The author, Bethany Griffin does not hold back on how imperfect this main character is and she has no problem throwing punches and taking nasty turns down paths that many writers of young adult literature would never veer down.

Read it, but do so with an open mind. Hold off on judgment until you've read the last page. Because the person Araby is in the beginning might break your heart, but the person she is by the end of the book not only mends your broken heart, but uplifts it and puts it in a cage waiting to be let free. But who knows when that will ever happen? Possibly never.

Masque of the Red Death will be released April 24, 2012 by Harper Collins. I received my copy via ALA Mid-Winter.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Challenges and Why I Suck at Them

So my 14-Day Challenge?

I failed.

But not entirely.

I did get a whole helluva lot more done than I would have otherwise. So, yay for that!

I'm way closer to finishing Burnout now and that is a very good thing. So I'm focusing on the positive. Mostly.

But considering that I've technically failed this self-imposed challenge, I've taken a few moments to self-reflect. Why do I SUCK so badly at challenges? Because, believe me, this is not the first time I have failed a challenge.

I do it all the time. I see people talking about some new word count challenge or there's the infamous NANOWRIMO and I get all hyped up for about five minutes thinking I can totally pull that off too if so many other people can. And then I start the challenge and do good for about ten minutes.... and then I fail.

Sometimes it's a spectacular failure that includes total and complete disregard of the challenge altogether and a whole lot of denial. Sometimes it's a little less dramatic. But I pretty much always fail them.

Am I some silly temperamental artist? Some flighty writer who can't commit to anything? No. That's not it. I'm not a quitter. I'm stubborn as all get out. That's courtesy of my parents. I swear both of their skulls are made of titanium instead of bone, which would make mine titanium to the second power.

But I think I've finally figured it out, guys. The thing that makes me stop all these online challenges that I keep signing up for.


Which is stupid. And pathetic. And just really, REALLY stupid.

Screw fear. I'm not a pansy. I mean, I like scary movies and zombies and blood and guts and gore. I adore haunted houses. I like being scared. I like the fear. Which kind of also explains why I keep punishing myself with all these challenges.

Anyway. What is my fear?

I'm thinking that it's finally finishing this damned book and have it end up being nothing more than a pile of literary rubbish that a fifth-grader would spit on.

Which is stupid. And pathetic. And just really, REALLY stupid.

But you know what else? This is a good thing. It's positive. It means I now know my fear. So, my next step is to face it and say:

HA! You know what big, stupid fear?! You can SUCK IT!!!!

So that's what I'm saying now. I actually said it aloud. Just so you know.

And hopefully this bravado of mine will resonate for longer than five or ten minutes... maybe, just maybe it will get me through the next week. Because I'm only eight scenes away from finishing Burnout. And that makes me all quivery and jittery and my heart literally thumped like Thumper in Bambi. Thumpthumpthumpthumpthump. Like that.

And here I am babbling again.


Must write.


Before bravado wears off.

Wish me luck!!