Sunday, September 29, 2013

12 Writing Is Kind of Like the Road Trip from Hell (and a THE MURMURINGS Giveaway!) by Carly Anne West

Debut Authors Bash at

Hosted by Nichole over at YA Reads

All of us here at Adventures in YA Publishing are SO incredibly happy to be taking part in the 2013 YA Debut Author's Bash this year and we are even more excited to have the author of the supremely creepy and delicious THE MURMURINGS, Carly Anne West! (And by the way, that genius editor she is talking about is also Martina's genius editor!)

Kind of Like the Road Trip from Hell

When I'm in the throes of writing a novel, I look like crap. Gray hairs coil from my roots. Bangs grow to epic lengths. I am what I eat. After I've progressed through that phase of the writing process (let¹s say, for instance, I've allowed my genius editor to pry my manuscript from my neurotic hands, or I've left it in the delicate cradle of my brilliant agent for submission). Magically, the frizz in my hair vanishes. I can see past my bangs. I eat vegetables again.

Many people have heard Flannery O'Connor's famous quote: "Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system."[1] I suspect Ms. O'Connor and I might have diverged on certain topics, but with her sentiment on writing, I couldn't possibly agree more. I could quote maybe that entire essay and just end with "YES!" but I think that¹s frowned upon, so I'll offer my own thoughts instead.

I've been asked to delve into the creation of the creep factor, a process in which I engaged a great deal in THE MURMURINGS, and most recently in my newest book (which I just turned over to aforementioned genius editor). And while many practices between writing these two books have changed in terms of my writing process, the creation of the creepy atmosphere remained relatively the same. It exhausted me to the brink of collapse.

That's not to say it wasn't fun. I can think of any number of exhausting activities that equal fun (hush, Peanut Gallery). But make no mistake, the build-up of an intense atmosphere of any kind in a novel requires a ton of diligence and stamina, qualities I have to continually remind myself to employ. They don't come naturally.

Why all the exhaustion? Here's the thing (and I suspect not all authors would agree with me on this front, but that's what makes us all beautiful, unique snowflakes): For me, in order to experience actual fear, I need to be emotionally involved. Something about the characters' plights has to be relatable enough in order for me to feel connected straight away. A common theme in any work I write ­ horror or otherwise ­ seems to be loss. I write a lot about the ends of relationships, the death of a loved one, the breaking from one persona and the emergence of a new one. I often write about characters in massive transition. I find that characters in these states are rife with emotional material, and all that material is exposed, ready for examination. And that sort of vulnerability lends itself nicely to fear. But I'll get there in a minute.

For me, writing horror employs the same literary practice much of writing engages: holding a magnifying glass up to emotion, Ms. O'Connor's "plunge into reality." Now here's the thing with horror ­some of the most compelling human emotions are the ugliest ones. And plucking emotions from that buffet of tragedy I typically like to nosh from is a little like cleaning the sneeze guard on said buffet; what I find is often unexpected and most often a little frightening. Sometimes I don't set out to write a scary novel. Sometimes that's just where the character's emotional state directs me.

Which brings me to the way I look when I write a novel with disturbing content, which you might consider horror or supernatural or just weird. I don't know what to call it either, by the way.

Once I've landed on the emotions I'm going to follow, that character and I go on this little adventure. It's in that adventure that I start to see the plot, and thus begins the deterioration of my personal appearance. Studying that kind of emotion up close causes a lot of tension. We're on this path together, the character and I, and at times, the car is a little too tiny. Imagine us in a Fiat. We get sick of one another's presence. We eat one another's granola bars that only one of us paid for. And up close, I start to see things in that character I might not have seen a couple of days earlier. Not all of it is pretty. And this character often makes terrible decisions. Like bringing me along on the road trip from hell in a Fiat.

After a while, we're both starting to smell like the car, which reeks of the stench that human emotion creates after so much time in an enclosed space. But the tension is building to a boiling point, and here is where things get interesting. We've been sitting on a kind of pressure cooker for a while now, getting so close to the emotions that you can see its pores. And bam! That's when something happens. And in a creepy book, that's typically the big BOO!

But the big BOO! can't happen at least for me without all that atmospheric pressure. I want to say it's like a storm, but that feels a little too obvious, and besides, I've already extended, like, five metaphors throughout this post.

So this is the process that makes me pace the floors. That makes me chew my cuticles to pulp. That makes me twist my hair into frayed clumps and eat my bodyweight in nachos. Being that close to another person for that long ­examining each and every thought they have and the emotional, physical, psychological and often irrational reaction they have to the events in their life ­is an exercise in stamina. In THE MURMURINGS, I knew that in order for Sophie to engage in the pursuit of finding out what was happening to her, she would have to be dealing with several powerful emotions: guilt, sorrow, fear for her own sanity. In my newest book, I took a ride with my protagonist, and she brought me to the woods. I don't think either of us knew exactly what we were getting into, but we went to a very dark place.

Which is why I have a haircut appointment next week and a fridge full of fresh vegetables.

[1] Flannery O¹Connor, ³The Nature and Aim of Fiction,² Mystery and Manners, Occasional Prose (1961): 77

About Carly

Carly grew up in Pheonix, Arizona where she spent her summers swimming and spending so much time out in the heat that she melted several pairs of shoes. 

    After graduating with a BA from Arizona State University, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee with her long time love and best friend Matt, then relocated again three years later to Oakland, California where she earned her Masters of Fine Arts in English & Creative Writing from Mills College.
    Carly now lives in Seattle, Washington with her family and writes among the luxurious rain and evergreens. 

Find Carly on her Website | Twitter | Goodreads


About The Book

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads

And now for a GIVEAWAY! 2 copies of Carly's book are up for grabs!

4 Question of the Week - How Many Blogs Do You Read?

Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

September 29, 2013

Photo credit: ©

MY ANSWER: I used to subscribe to dozens of blogs, mostly author, industry, and writing-tip blogs (I also used to do a writing-tip roundup for Adventures in YA Publishing). I couldn’t keep up with them all and my Google Reader (now defunct) contained hundreds of unread posts. I learned so much, but eventually I realized that I was spending more time reading blogs about HOW to write than I was actually writing. Now, I subscribe to only a handful of blogs. Most of them are YA book review blogs—and Adventures in YA Publishing, of course. Instead of subscribing via RSS feed, I subscribe via email so I’m sure to read each post. I don’t comment very often—a habit I want to change. I still read author, industry, and writing-tip blogs, but usually I discover those posts through links on Twitter and Tumblr.

YOUR TURN: How many blogs do you subscribe to? What kind of blogs? How much time per day/week do you spend reading blogs? Do you subscribe via RSS or email? Do you read them all every day? What motivates you to comment? 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

20 YA Fiction Pick and Mix 9/28/13 Edition with Giveaways of BLYTHEWOOD, STEELHEART, and UNTOLD

The Princess Bride Tweet Party #TPBTweetParty

Join me, Laini Taylor, Kat Zhang, Claudia Gray, and as many more Tweeps as we can round up for a Twitter party as we all watch The Princess Bride next Friday night 10/4 at midnight (ET/9:00 pm Pacific). It's a great movie, and we'll all live Tweet our thoughts and favorite parts at hashtag #TPBTweetParty. Don't forget!

Free October First Five Pages Workshop 

Starts taking submissions at noon next Saturday. Our guest mentor will be Maureen Lipinski, author of Cleopatra Ascending, Shadow's Edge, and more. Get the rules here. And we have another success story coming up. (But shhhh, the news hasn't broken yet!)

My Workshop Last Week

I love writers. I love how giving everyone is toward each other, and how the inspiration and creativity feeds on itself when writers get together. I heard so many fantastic ideas for books from the attendees of the Breakout Novel Intensive I did last week. And I ran into a couple of people I knew from this blog.

Amy Dominy and Terry Lynn Johnson have both been guest bloggers here, and it was so much fun to meet them in person. It was also great to see Jackie Garlick-Pynaert and Jen Pun, who I know from previous workshops and conferences. Terry read an excerpt from the opening for her new book that BLEW ME AWAY. I'm talking Newbery medal incredible. (Write that down, and we'll see if I'm right. :))

Book Cover News!

On a personal note, I have something to share! Would you like to see some covers done by Regina Flath, my lovely, lovely cover designer? No, I haven't seen my actual cover yet, but I have heard rumors about how fabulous it is going to be. And having seen Regina's portfolio, I know I'm going to be thrilled. Not only is she extremely talented, but she has also read my whole book. She was kind enough to say she loved it, and she loved the same things about it that I love. That tells me a lot about my cover right there!

Ready? Here's the link: You can scroll through the various projects by moving over the thumbnails on the bottom. Aren't they beautiful?

Have a great week, everyone!


Thought for the Week

via Figment

Young Adult Novel Giveaway This Week

by Sarah Rees Brennan
Random House
Released 9/24/2013

Free from bonds, but not each other

It’s time to choose sides… On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?’

Purchase Untold at Amazon
Purchase Untold at IndieBound
View Untold on Goodreads

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by Brandon Sanderson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released 9/24/2013

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Steelheart?

The pacing. There are certain things that I was able to do with a single first-person viewpoint in a fast-paced action-oriented story that I haven't been able to do in any other story that I've written. I feel like the awesome pacing just tears you through the book and reads like a really fun action movie. I'm quite proud of how that worked.

Purchase Steelheart at Amazon
Purchase Steelheart at IndieBound
View Steelheart on Goodreads

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by Carol Goodman
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Viking Juvenile
Released 10/8/2013

Welcome to Blythewood.

At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.   

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.   

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.

Purchase Blythewood at Amazon
Purchase Blythewood at IndieBound
View Blythewood on Goodreads


Young Adult Novel Giveaway Last  Week 

Winner: Heather Raglin

MORE THAN THIS by Patrick Ness
Candlewick, 9/10/13

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .


Something to Watch

Have you seen this Harry Potter proposal? 

"After All This Time... Always" - A Harry Potter Themed Engagement Proposal from NightOwls Media on Vimeo.

Books, Books, Books

If you're a fan of Marissa Meyer (as I am), you'll be happy to know she has a new book deal!

In perhaps the ultimate of oops moments, copies of Veronica Roth's Allegiant were accidentally shipped to a few lucky readers. The rest of us still need to wait until October 22nd. 

J.K. Rowling will be a writer for the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movies! :) 

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson came out this week. I was lucky to get an ARC of that, and I can tell you how much I adored it. What a spectacular series.

Mundie Moms had a great playlist for Kami Garcia's Unbreakable. And yes, I read the ARC of that, too, and ohmygosh are you in for a treat!

Young Adult Reader of the Week:

My Photo

Melody Valadez

She writes romantic and suspenseful stories for young adults and frequently blurs the lines between Christian and secular fiction. She is also a physics major at the University of Texas, where she blurs the lines between art and math. Come to think of it, she just likes blurring lines.

* Want to be the reader of the week next week? Leave a comment on our Thursday or Friday posts! 


Blogger of the Week: 

My Photo 
Mary from  "Twisted Insanity, Fallen Humanity."

She loves buffalo wings, boy bands, and slasher movies. Oh, and she writes books sometimes.

Read this post of hers on Finding Your Voice. It's about speaking out in general, and I love it!

* Want to be the blogger of the week next week? To be honest, this is pretty much the only way I have time to discover new blogs, so it's a great way to get into my twitter feed and into these round-up posts if you have great content to share. Leave a comment. I'll pick from among the bloggers who leave comments here on the blog today through Wednesday.

Writing Tip of the Week 

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that 'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.” 


Another Writing Tip

"There is, in any great opening line, a mini-conflict or tension that is strong enough to carry the reader to the next step in the narrative."


Writing Brain Fuel     

via Writer's Digest (Click to see larger version)

Friday, September 27, 2013

32 FOUR YA Book Giveaways (UNBREAKABLE; HOW TO LOVE; EAT, BRAINS, LOVE; HIDEOUS LOVE) plus New Releases 9/27-10/4


by Kami Garcia
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 10/1/2013

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia. 

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn't know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy's room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon -- a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother's place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon -- battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

Purchase Unbreakable at Amazon
Purchase Unbreakable at IndieBound
View Unbreakable on Goodreads

* * * *

How To Love
by Katie Cotugno
Hardcover Plus Swag Giveaway
Balzer + Bray Books
Released 10/1/2013

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists--until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated--and pregnant--Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love--twice.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about How To Love?

I think my favorite thing about HOW TO LOVE is how flawed the characters are. Sawyer and Reena are both real pains when they want to be, making one bad decision after another and messing up time after time. Hopefully their faults make them human and sympathetic to read about and root for--it definitely makes them more interesting to me.

* * * *

Eat, Brains, Love
by Jeff Hart
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Released 10/1/2013

Two teenage zombies search for brains, love, and answers in this surprisingly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel with guts.

Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass. But one day during lunch, Jake's whole life changed. He and Amanda suddenly locked eyes across the cafeteria, and at the exact same instant, they turned into zombies and devoured half their senior class.

Now Jake definitely has Amanda's attention-as well as Cass's, since she's been sent on a top-secret mission to hunt them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own-one that will lead the three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.

Eat, Brains, Love is a heartwarming and bloody blend of romance, deadpan humor, and suspense that fans of Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies will devour. With its irresistibly dry and authentic teen voice, as well as a zombie apocalypse worthy of AMC's The Walking Dead, this irreverent paperback original will leave readers dying for the sequel that's coming in Summer 2014.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Eat, Brains, Love?

Maybe this is a cop out answer, but my favorite thing about EAT, BRAINS, LOVE is that it's finally coming out. As a debut author, I wouldn't say I was totally ignorant of the publishing process -- revising, copy-editing, marketing, all that behind-the-scenes sausage-making stuff -- I knew how long it would take, sort of like how a kid knows when his next birthday is, you know, theoretically. But I wasn't prepared for how lo-o-o-ong it would feel. It's very strange to be talking about EBL now -- finally! -- when I'm already working on the second draft of its sequel. The book has felt like this kinda private, far-off thing for so long, that it's equal parts exciting and surreal to have it actually out there, in people's hands. Oh, and my actual favorite part of the book? Probably when my two zombie leads -- Jake and Amanda -- go all Lady and the Tramp on the intestines of a recently deceased trucker. ROMANCE!

Purchase Eat, Brains, Love at Amazon
Purchase Eat, Brains, Love at IndieBound
View Eat, Brains, Love on Goodreads

* * * *

Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
by Stephanie Hemphill
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Balzer + Bray Books
Released 10/1/2013

From award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill comes the fascinating story of Mary Shelley, a brilliant teenager who wrote one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time: Frankenstein.

An all-consuming love affair.

A family torn apart by scandal.

A young author on the brink of greatness.

Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.

Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history.

Purchase Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein at Amazon
Purchase Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein at IndieBound
View Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein on Goodreads


* * * *

Task Force
by Brian Falkner
Hardcover Giveaway
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 9/24/2013

Winner: Christina Kit

The final invasion is coming. . . .

The aliens have massed on the northeast edge of Russia, waiting to attack as soon as the turbulent waters of the Bering Strait turn to ice. Recon Team Angel must act now.

It's up to them to shepherd a task force upriver and infiltrate the aliens' stronghold. They must cripple their enemies quickly and quietly. Luckily, Recon Team Angel was made for such missions. The six teens have been modified to look like aliens. They have spent years mastering alien culture so that they can talk, act--even think--like their enemies. But with their target in sight and time running out . . . can they save humanity and themselves?

Brian Falkner, author of The Assault, The Project, Brain Jack, and The Tomorrow Code, delivers the second book in his page-turning military thriller series full of heart-pounding action and unique sci-fi twists.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Task Force?

This is my first series, and so it is the first time I have had the opportunity to extend the world of a book into a second book. I wanted the first book, Assault, to be an action-packed adventure, but in Task Force, although still full of action and dangerous situations, I was able to dig a little deeper into the characters, and the developing relationships between them, as well as looking at how teenage soldiers might actually feel about being placed in life or death situations in a war zone.

Purchase Task Force at Amazon
Purchase Task Force at IndieBound
View Task Force on Goodreads

* * * *

Dare Me
by Eric Devine
Paperback Giveaway
Running Press Kids
Released 9/24/2013

Winner: Lysette Lam

When Ben Candido and his friends, Ricky and John, decide to post a YouTube video of themselves surfing on top of a car, they finally feel like the somebodies they are meant to be instead of the social nobodies that they are. Overnight, the video becomes the talk of the school, and the boys are sure that their self-appointed senior year of dares will live in infamy. Every dare brings an increased risk of bodily harm, but Ben cannot deny the thrill and sense of swagger that come with it. The stakes become even more complex when a mysterious donor bankrolls their dares in exchange for a cut in the online revenue the videos generate. But at what point do the risk and the reward come at too high of a price? What does it take to stay true to one's self in the face of relentless pressure.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Dare Me?

Exploring how risking your life for a YouTube stunt could make sense. I was a risk-taker as a teen, and now, as a high school English teacher, I constantly hear stories from my students that echo my past. Except that today, such activities become a form of entertainment for anyone with a phone, and more importantly, for those who want to watch. It's one thing to dare a friend to do something for the fun of the situation. It's entirely different when the dare is visible for a worldwide audience. At that point, identity is as much on the line as is the success of the stunt. Therefore, when Ricky, my protagonist, and his friends begin their year of dares, not only does the reader get to watch their ridiculous antics, but gains insight into how this behavior shapes an individual, regardless of whether it is in the way he hoped for.

Purchase Dare Me at Amazon
Purchase Dare Me at IndieBound
View Dare Me on Goodreads

* * * *

The Darkest Path
by Jeff Hirsch
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Scholastic Press
Released 9/24/2013

Winner: Stephanie de Bear

USA TODAY bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism.

A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.

Purchase The Darkest Path at Amazon
Purchase The Darkest Path at IndieBound
View The Darkest Path on Goodreads

* * * *

A Radiant Sky
by Jocelyn Davies
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Released 9/24/2013

Winner: Kate Foley

Perfect for fans of Lauren Kate's Fallen series and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush saga, this darkly romantic story that began with A Beautiful Dark and gathered intensity in A Fractured Light comes to a thrilling conclusion in A Radiant Sky.

Since the night of her seventeenth birthday, Skye has been torn between two opposites: light and dark, the Order and the Rebellion, Devin and Asher. But in a shocking decision, she chose neither.

With the help of her friends, Skye now forges her own path, setting out to gather an uprising of Rogues. The elusive half-angels may be the key to maintaining the balance of fate and free will. But completing the mission her parents left unfinished is more difficult--and dangerous--than she could have imagined. And doing so comes at a cost: her greatest love may now be a lethal enemy. Because it's not just the Order that sees her as a threat who must be eliminated. The Rebellion does, too.

Dark days lie ahead, and if Skye is to survive, she'll need to rely on her extraordinary powers and the strength of her will. Because she has a future--and a love--that's worth fighting for.

Purchase A Radiant Sky at Amazon
Purchase A Radiant Sky at IndieBound
View A Radiant Sky on Goodreads

* * * *

Find Me
by Romily Bernard
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Released 9/24/2013

Winner: Vivien Propst

"Find Me." These are the words written on Tessa Waye's diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa's just been found...dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target. Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick.

Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick's deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she's going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

Purchase Find Me at Amazon
Purchase Find Me at IndieBound
View Find Me on Goodreads


Wild Cards
by Simone Elkeles
Walker Childrens
Released 10/1/2013

Another year, another move--with a Dad in the military, starting a new school in the middle of the year doesn't faze Derek. But moving with his new step-mother to live with the father and sister she hasn't seen in seven years? Awkward. Even worse--his new step-aunt, Ashtyn, is seventeen, hot, and the kicker for the high school's football team. A football prodigy, Derek has stayed as far as possible from the field since his mom's death--and not even an infuriatingly sexy housemate who talks stats and dreams of a Division I scholarship can change his mind. But when Ashtyn's quarterback boyfriend backs out of their road trip to a prestigious summer football camp run by top recruiters, Derek and his car become Ashtyn's only route to making her dreams of playing college ball come true. Four nights. Multiple state lines. Football. Secrets. Sex. This is one road trip neither of them will forget.

In a steamy new series featuring a new, irresistible band of teammates, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles blends the romance and drama of Friday Night Lights with her signature explosive storytelling.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Wild Cards?

My favorite thing about WILD CARDS is Ashtyn's drive. I love that, even though she's been hurt in the past, she isn't afraid to go after what she wants. When I was in high school, I wanted to go out for the football team, but none of my friends would try out with me, so I didn't do it. Ashtyn would never give up just because she's the only girl on the team. And when she realizes Derek might be the key to winning a state championship, and someone she can finally rely on, she goes after him with everything she's got.

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by Amy Rose Capetta
Houghton Mifflin Books
Released 10/1/2013

Alone was the note Cade knew best. It was the root of all her chords.

Seventeen-year-old Cade is a fierce survivor, solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar. Or so she thought. Her world shakes apart when a hologram named Mr. Niven tells her she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan.
Cade's quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws--her first friends--on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there's no turning back.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Entangled?

My favorite thing about Entangled is the cast of strange, endearing characters who slowly become friends, and quickly won me over. Because the book is off-planet sci-fi set in the far future, I could have fun with the details of their lives, and in some cases even their species. (The spaceship is one of my favorite characters!) Relationships developed in surprising and organic ways that I loved to watch and nudge, always rooting for connections to grow stronger, no matter how terrible things got (and I don't think it's a spoiler to admit that they do veer toward the terrible). As a feverish lover of stories, I always gravitated toward the ones that featured a strong ensemble, a whole set of varied characters, friendships, and love stories to invest in. The entire sequel to Entangled is based on the fact that once I knew my characters, I HAD to find out what happened to them!

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The Enchanter Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
Released 10/1/2013

They called it the Thorn Hill Massacre--the brutal attack on a once-thriving Weir community. Though Jonah Kinlock lived through it, he did not emerge unscathed: like the other survivors, Jonah possesses unique magical gifts that set him apart from members of the mainline guilds. At seventeen, Jonah has become the deadliest assassin in Nightshade, a global network that hunts the undead. He is being groomed to succeed Gabriel Mandrake, the sorcerer, philanthropist, and ruthless music promoter who established the Thorn Hill Foundation, the public face of Nightshade. More and more, Jonah's at odds with Gabriel's tactics and choice of targets. Desperate to help his dying brother Kenzie, Jonah opens doors that Gabriel prefers to keep closed.

Emma Claire Greenwood grew up worlds away, raised by a grandfather who taught her music rather than magic. An unschooled wild child, she runs the streets until the night she finds her grandfather dying, gripping a note warning Emma that she might be in danger. The clue he leaves behind leads Emma into Jonah's life--and a shared legacy of secrets and lingering questions.

Was Thorn Hill really a peaceful commune? Or was it, as the Wizard Guild claims, a hotbed of underguild terrorists? The Wizards' suspicions grow when members of the mainline guilds start turning up dead. They blame Madison Moss and the Interguild Council, threatening the fragile peace brokered at Trinity.

Racing against time, Jonah and Emma work to uncover the truth about Thorn Hill, amid growing suspicion that whoever planned the Thorn Hill Massacre might strike again.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Enchanter Heir?

I love being able to take an existing magical system (the one featured in the first three Heir Chronicles novels) and take it in a new direction. Tagline: What happens when magic goes mutant. It's also fun introducing new characters, while giving existing readers the chance to see some of their favorite characters from the past.

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Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
by Katie Alender
Released 10/1/2013

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She'll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family's French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won't believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue -- and one killer queen.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer?

My favorite thing about MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER is that it's a fictional story based in a very real setting -- historical locations in and around Paris, France. You could actually take the book to France and retrace Colette's steps as she goes from place to place, exploring the city and working to solve the mystery of a serial killer who's beheading the heirs of an ancient secret society. I spent a week in France before writing the book, and I found that researching a city with the aim of writing a book that takes place there is an incredible way to make yourself notice things you would normally overlook -- the architecture of people's homes, the train stations, details about the people. I've resolved to pretend I'm going to write a book about all of my future travel destinations so I can appreciate them even more!

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Six Months Later
by Natalie Richards
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 10/1/2013

Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Six Months Later?

My favorite thing about Six Months Later, by far and away, is Chloe's connection to Adam. Adam is nearly a stranger to Chloe before she falls asleep, but when she wakes up (having lost half a year of her memory) she can feel that there is something between them...something intense. I always love to have romance in my books, and while the pacing and plot-weaving in this book was a blast, it's that sizzling chemistry with Adam that kept me glued to my keyboard scene after scene. I'm hoping it will glue you to the pages the same way. :-)

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by Alethea Kontis
Harcourt Children''s Books
Released 10/1/2013

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic--until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

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by Jessica Shirvington
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 10/1/2013

Violet Eden thought she was getting things under control. Then all hell breaks loose-literally. In the war between angels and exiles, she's about to face the biggest baddie of all time. Except she's not nearly ready.
The dark exile Phoenix is still messing with her head-not to mention her heart. And her undeniable attraction to Lincoln has gotten downright dangerous. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing she will face...

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The Beautiful and the Damned
by Jessica Verday
Simon Pulse
Released 10/1/2013

Cyn's blackouts have deadly consequences in this sexy, suspenseful spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Hollow series.Cyn and Avian are far from a perfect match. She's a witch who casts spells on men so she can steal their cars. He spends his time being judge, jury, and executioner to the truly evil in the supernatural realm.

When the blackouts Cyn's been having ever since her time in Sleepy Hollow start escalating, she finds herself unable to remember where she's been or what she's been doing. Frightened, she seeks guidance at a local church, and it's there she meets Avian.

The unlikely pair soon discovers that her blackouts are a side effect of what she truly is--an Echo--a conduit for souls of the dead. The only way to prevent Cyn from losing complete control is to return to Sleepy Hollow and vanquish the source of her power--but she may not survive the process. And if she does? She won't ever be the same...

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Man Made Boy
by Jon Skovron
Viking Juvenile
Released 10/3/2013

Love can be a real monster.

Sixteen-year-old Boy's never left home. When you're the son of Frankenstein's monster and the Bride, it's tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it's important they maintain a low profile.

Boy's only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he's a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can't escape his demons--both literal and figurative--until he faces his family once more.

This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster--and a man.

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Ghost Prison
by Joseph Delaney
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 10/1/2013

'This is the entrance to the Witch Well and behind that door you'd face your worst nightmare. Don't ever go through there.'

Night falls, the portcullis rises in the moonlight, and young Billy starts his first night as a prison guard. But this is no ordinary prison. There are haunted cells that can't be used, whispers and cries in the night... and the dreaded Witch Well. Billy is warned to stay away from the prisoner down in the Witch Well. But who could it be? What prisoner could be so frightening? Billy is about to find out...

An unforgettable ghost story from the creator of the Wardstone Chronicles (Spook's Apprentice) series.

Illustrated throughout by the incredible Scott M Fischer, this beautifully produced book will make the perfect Halloween gift.

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by Kate Brian
Released 10/1/2013

Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique--including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.
But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again. From the best-selling author of the Private and Privilege series comes the second novel in a heart-stopping trilogy about a girl who must pick up the pieces after the only life she's ever known ends.

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Endless Knight
by Kresley Cole
Simon & Schuster
Released 10/1/2013

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed.

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

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Perfect Ruin
by Lauren DeStefano
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 10/1/2013

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder -- betrothed to the victim -- but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find -- or who she will lose.

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Picture Me Gone
by Meg Rosoff
Putnam Juvenile
Released 10/3/2013

Printz Award-winning author Meg Rosoff's latest novel is a gorgeous and unforgettable page-turner about the relationship between parents and children, love and loss.

Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room--sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father's best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past--slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she's closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.

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by Robison Wells
Released 10/1/2013

Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.

Jack and Aubrey are high school students.

There was no reason for them to ever meet.

But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger--where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

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Everything Breaks
by Vicki Grove
Putnam Juvenile
Released 10/3/2013

Tucker was supposed to be the designated driver. But there was something about the beauty of that last true summer night that made him want to feel out-of-control just once. He drank so much and so quickly that he was instantly sick. That left Trey to drive. "I'll catch up to you later," were the last words Tucker would ever say to his friends as he heaved by the side of the road. It was the last time Tucker would ever see them alive.

Tucker's grief and guilt are just about unbearable and he wonders how he can continue living himself. When he meets the Ferryman who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers--that divide the world of the living from the world of the dead, Tucker gets a chance to decide: live or die. The temptation to join his three best friends on the other side may be too much for Tucker to overcome.  A gripping, haunting and emotional read.

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by Walter Dean Myers
Scholastic Press
Released 10/1/2013

Walter Dean Myers brilliantly renders the realities of World War II.

Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry are on their way to an uncertain future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, yet at the same time, death's whisper is everywhere.

One white, one black, these young men have nothing in common and everything in common as they approach an experience that will change them forever.

It's May 1944. World War II is ramping up, and so are these young recruits, ready and eager. In small towns and big cities all over the globe, people are filled with fear. When Josiah and Marcus come together in what will be the greatest test of their lives, they learn hard lessons about race, friendship, and what it really means to fight. Set on the front lines of the Normandy invasion, this novel, rendered with heart-in-the-throat precision, is a cinematic masterpiece. Here we see the bold terror of war, and also the nuanced havoc that affects a young person's psyche while living in a barrack, not knowing if today he will end up dead or alive.

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Hitler's Secret
by William Osborne
Chicken House
Released 10/1/2013

This book is great for anyone who wants the gritty action of World War 2 and even though it's aimed at kids, it's not watered down at all. The dead bodies pile up more and more throughout, as does Otto's injuries! Strangely enough, Leni and Angelika never seem to injured, compared to Otto, who gets every injury you can think of thrown at him. And these are supposed to be kids!

Sadly enough, I wasn't impressed by the ending. It didn't really go where I was expecting it to go and the ending didn't feel right after the events that happened. It also made me quite confused too! The story as a whole is very action packed and I was very worried for the main characters, what with what the Author had put them through already!

This is a great read for teens of all ages and some adults too! The story really captures Germany in World War 2 and I really did feel as if I was there too, hiding from the Nazi officials. Definitely worth the read, especially if you're a fan of action/adventure books.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

19 What We Wish We'd Written

Today, we're debuting our new Thursday feature: Wish I'd Written. WIW will feature YA authors telling us which two or three recently published books they wish they had written themselves and why. It should be a great way for us all to discover new books we might not have chosen for ourselves.

To kick it off, the AYAP team is revealing the books we wish we'd written. And we are debuting three of our new interns today. Everyone give Alyssa, Kate, and Talynn a warm welcome!


Martina, our fearless leader, loves reading and writing books about beautiful, vicious, magical worlds that intersect our own, and about the monsters of myth and folklore that sometimes show more humanity than we do. She lives in Virginia with a husband, two kids, a cat, a fish and Auggie, a therapy dog who is convinced it's his job to make the world a better place. The first book in her Southern Gothic trilogy will be released Fall 2014 by Simon Pulse. You can reach Martina here, on Twitter via, or at

Here's what Martina wishes she had written:

This is going to come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but here are my picks. And even if you threatened to pull out my fingernails, I couldn't pick just one.

I wish I had written THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love the Raven Cycle books, but those are for the me I am today. THE SCORPIO RACES is for the teen me, the one who adored horses and fairies and incredible, plucky, delightfully real teenagers living lives that seemed small to them, but to me seemed enormous. THE SCORPIO RACES has everything that teen me would have wanted in a book. Add that all up with beautiful writing, a setting that feels so real I can see myself riding across the fields or walking into the shops and kitchens, and I love it today just as much as I would have loved it years ago. It is also perfectly structured, for me at least, in the sense that I love both Puck and Sean Kendrick equally, which makes it impossible to choose who should win the race. When I first picked it up, I read it through nonstop, and I've read it several times since. I love it every time, and I always find more to love. To me, that's the hallmark of a brilliant book.

I wish I had written BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I love the setting, and I love Ethan and Lena, Amma and Macon Ravenwood, Ridley and Link and, well, all the beautifully flawed and living, breathing characters. The book drips with authentic atmosphere, and the magic, the whole Caster world, is deeply layered and fascinating. This is the book that got me thinking about writing a Southern Gothic, and since I have now sold that book plus two sequels, I will always be deeply grateful and indebted to Kami and Margaret for the enormous gift they gave to me and to their legions of loyal fans. I'm delighted that there is going to be a spin off series with Link and Ridley.

I wish I had written DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. I have my own version of a twist on angels and demons, but when I read Laini's, I put mine firmly in the bottom drawer. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE is so original, so beautiful, lyrical, and haunting, that there is no competition for it. I love Karou and Akiva, but I also loved Zuzana and Brimstone, Kishmish, Issa and the whole cast of wonderfully original characters. It helps, of course, that I am from Prague, and that I adored Laini's descriptions. (I also have a cousin named Zuzana, for the record.) But in the end, what got me most about this book was the mythology and the romance. Both are heart-stopping. If you haven't read it yet, and read it multiple times, go get it quick. And the sequel. And make sure you are ready for the third installment when it is released in May.


Jan, our scheduler and contest coordinator extraordinaire, writes young adult fantasy of the contemporary and traditional varieties. She lives in Oklahoma with a husband, two kids, two cats, a dog, and a mother. Instead of unpublished, she prefers to call herself pre-published. While she enjoys drafting, her heart is truly in rewriting and editing. Recently, Martina called her “better than aspirin”, so her new goal is to become better than valium. She loves ladybugs, fairies, blue roses, cats, musical theater, and pretty much all things geek. You can find Jan on twitter at

Here's what Jan wishes she had written:

After I wrote this, it ended up being more about the authors I wish I was, rather than the books I wish I'd written. That counts, right?

1. INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows - I remember following Jodi's blog before she got her deal for the Incarnate series, back when Ana's name was Erin. I was incredibly fascinated by the little snippets that she shares on her blog. So when Incarnate FINALLY came out, I was chomping at the bit for it. And I was definitely not disappointed. Jodi's writing style is absolutely gorgeous, and I am so jealous of her ability to balance action and description. Plus, the world of INCARNATE is so incredibly detailed and wonderful. Sylph, dragons, and a city whose walls have a heartbeat?? A civilization of people who have been together through multiple reincarnations, and all of a sudden there's a new person in her first incarnation?? I mean, come on! It doesn't get much more genius than that. Plus, the fact that Jodi is a delightful person doesn't hurt either. [end fangirl moment] So basically, I wish I'd written INCARNATE, because then I would be a creative world-building genius.

2. STRANGE ANGELS by Lili St. Crow - Okay, I have to admit that I love everything Lili has ever written, both for adults and teens. Her ability to show both the pretty and the ugly is just astounding. Dru, the heroine of STRANGE ANGELS, gets sweaty and snotty and pukes, and I love it. The way Lili writes it is so realistic, but she manages to not gross me out. I really wish that I could write with the same grittiness she does, and if I'd written STRANGE ANGELS, I would have that talent. That's why I wish I'd written it.


Alyssa, our Guest Post Coordinator, is a twenty something Communications and Publishing student who hails from Vancouver, Canada. When she is not in class, she is at the bookstore where she works—whether or not she is on duty. Her passion for reading started at a young age and has continued to grow, so most of her pay cheque goes toward buying books to fill her already overflowing bookshelves. Her favourite genres within YA are dark and gothic, paranormal, contemporary, high fantasy, and retellings. When she doesn't have a book in hand, you can find her hiking, picking out her next tattoo, or enjoying the outdoors. Visit her blog at and on Twitter at .

Here's what Alyssa wishes she had written:

1. I'm going to steal the same one as Martina here, but Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of the most magical books I have ever read. The setting is so beautifully described, the romance so incredibly forbidden and the characters are so wonderfully fleshed out they make me wish I had come up with--and had the talent to write--this incredible book! And the covers have to be some of the most spectacular in YA lit!

2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson is easily one of the most brilliantly written high fantasy stories in YA. Elisa (and I love that we share the same name, albeit spelled differently) is one of the strongest and bravest YA leading ladies ever, and her character growth is some of the best I have seen. The romance made me swoon constantly, and I was so sad to see this series end. I want to keep reading all about Elisa and Hector and all of the babies I am sure they would have.


Kate, our Giveaway Wrangler and Teen Reviewer, is a thirteen-year-old homeschooler in love with everything mystical (which would explain her obsession with Harry Potter). When she’s not daydreaming, she’s writing, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and adorable dog . . . or she’s stealing all of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the cupboard. You can visit her blog at

Here's what Kate wishes she had written:

At first I was going to say the Harry Potter series, because I totally wish I could’ve written that, but then I saw that I had to single out one book, and you can’t really do that with a series. Ahem. Anyways.

I wish I’d written Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. It’s such a simple, sweet, heartbreaking book that’s very character-driven (my favorite kind). You feel so much for these characters that you’re almost surprised to find that they’re fictional. You get so attached to them that they’re almost like your best friends, no, family. I finished it wishing I hadn’t, because I couldn’t ever read that book again for the first time.


Talynn, our First Five Pages Workshop coordinator, is a stay at home mom because she loves to homeschool her children while trying to find a few quiet minutes alone to write a new chapter of her current WIP. She drinks coffee by the gallon, which competes for first place in a race with Dr. Pepper. She doesn't think twice about hiding the dirty laundry under the bathroom sink if it means gaining a few extra minutes to work on edits. (She respectfully asks you to keep that tidbit of info a secret.)

Here's what Talynn wishes she had written:

I wish I had written BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. My favorite thing about this book is how I feel like I'm right there in the story. The atmosphere and mood is amazingly authentic and real. Ethan and Lena feel like neighbors and friends. I didn't want their story to end! The world building was natural and believable and the characters moved the story along perfectly. It was the first Southern Gothic I'd ever read. Just writing this makes me want to read it again!