What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'young adult')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: young adult, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,964
1. Friday Feature: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick


16059938
Sometimes danger is hard to see... until it’s too late. 

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. 

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally? 

My thoughts:
It's no secret that I love the Hush, Hush series. Becca Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite authors, so when I found out this book was going to be given out at BEA, I had to have it. (Special thanks to Dan Cohen for making sure I got a copy since I missed the actual book drop.) This book is very different from the Hush, Hush series, but I was still sucked in.

Britt is an interesting character. At times she comes across as being very dependent on the men in her life. I didn't like this part of her personality. But there are other times when she's extremely strong and the men in her life depend heavily on her. Showing both sides helped the reader to see how Britt grows as a person throughout the book. I was really glad to see her moments of strength because without them, I would have had a hard time rooting for her.

I did love how Britt put totally set herself up for trouble, first agreeing on a trip with her ex-boyfriend, who happens to be her best friend's older brother, and then by claiming a total stranger is her new boyfriend just to save face and having her ex confirm her story. Luckily that stranger goes along with Britt's lie, and isn't she surprised when her truck gets stranded in a snow storm and she winds up on that very same stranger's doorstep. ;)

From there, trouble begins and Britt isn't sure who to trust, especially since there is a murderer on the loose. I admit, I figured out who the murderer was early on. *Sigh* I'm really cursed when it comes to figuring out plots before I'm supposed to. But anyway, I still really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

Add a Comment
2. Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Wow! This is a hard book to review, because it’s so important for the reader to go in blind, or it won’t work.  The slow unfolding of Cady’s forgotten memory, like a languid summer day, is suspenseful and engrossing.  I started reading They Were Liars without even reading the blurb, and I’m glad I didn’t.  Knowing too much going in spoils the mystery of Cady’s lost summer, so I hadn’t even read any reviews for the book.  I hate spoilers!

I’ll give you a general overview of the story, with no spoilers, and try to tell you how I felt about it without ruining the read for you.  Deep breath – here we go!

Cady spends her summers on Beechwood, the family island.  Her grandparents, and each of their three daughters, have a house there, and Cady’s summer days are spent swimming, hanging out with her cousins, and enjoying the closeness of her extended family.  Everything seems so idyllic to her, until she turns fifteen.  Then her life slowly starts to unravel; her father leaves her and her mother, moving to Colorado with another woman.  Because her family doesn’t believe in actually expressing your feelings, her mother works out her hurt and grief by erasing every trace of Cady’s father from their life.  Their old furniture is given away, the house in Vermont is redecorated, and only then can they begin their summer vacation.

While Cady is hurt and confused, and hadn’t found the process of rearranging the house therapeutic, her mother continues on as though nothing has happens, and she expects Cady to do the same.  Stiff upper lip, steady square jaw, no emotional outbursts allowed.   It’s during this pivotal summer that Cady realizes how imperfect her family is.  Petty jealousies tear away at her aunts.  Her grandfather takes pleasure in fueling the discord between his children.  And Gat, her cousin Johnny’s friend, a boy she’s known forever, has suddenly stolen her heart, despite her family’s disapproval, because Gat doesn’t fit into their wealthy, white world view.

Cady is an unreliable narrator, and I was never sure when she was telling the truth, or what she thought was the truth.  When she forgets most of summer fifteen after suffering a traumatic brain injury, she frantically attempts to discover what happened.  Why was she swimming by herself?  Why won’t her mom or the rest of her family tell her what happened that warm summer night?

While I loved Cady’s voice, I’m not so sure that I liked this over-indulged, spoiled young woman.  Even though I was at odds about how I felt about her and her equally privileged cousins,  I could not put the book down.  Now that it’s a day after I finished We Were Liars, I can’t even tell you if I liked the book.  All I know is that it held me mesmerized, and all I wanted was to find out the truth behind Cady and her whacked family.  If you are looking for a quick, hard to put down read, We Were Liars has your name written all over it. 

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

The post Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
3. The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson | Book Review

This is a book that will have readers reveling in and recognizing the difficult journey that is trying to make sense the present and the future, all while navigating the complexities of high school and teenage life.

Add a Comment
4. In the After: Demitria Lunetta

Book: In the After
Author: Demitria Lunetta
Pages: 464
Age Range: 13 and up

In the After is the first of a two-book series by Demitria Lunetta (the second book was just released, though I haven't read it yet). In the After is set in the wake of a world-wide apocalypse caused by an invasion of predatory, man-eating creatures. 17-year-old Amy has lived for three years in hiding, alone except for the company of Baby, a young girl she rescued from a grocery store. Amy and Baby live in silence, for fear of drawing Them. They use sign language to speak, and have never even heard one another's voices.

They actually have things pretty good, all things considered. Amy's mother held an important government position, and their house is surrounded by an electric fence that keeps the monsters out. Her dad was an environmentalist who kept their home as off the grid as possible. Amy and Baby have electricity and water. But they do have to venture out among the creatures to scavenge for food. An encounter with other survivors on one of their trips starts a process that changes Amy and Baby's lives forever. 

In the After is a compelling read, one that will keep the reader guessing. The first part of the book takes place in and around Amy and Baby's home in Chicago. Without giving too much away, I'll say that the second part of the book takes place elsewhere, among other people. This is where Lunetta's storytelling really starts making the reader think. In brief, italicized scenes, Amy is in a mental ward. The rest of the story is told in intermittent flashbacks, as a mentally foggy Amy tries to pieces together how she got there. Because of Amy's fragile state, the reader isn't always sure how to interpret the flashbacks, which makes the story even more thought-provoking. 

The characters apart from Amy are distinct, though not always highly nuanced. Basically, we get to know Amy very well, and the other characters not so well. But Amy is great. Here are a few snippets, to give you a feel for her voice:

"I only go out at night.

I walk along the empty street and pause, my muscles tense and ready. The breeze rustles the overgrown grass and I tilt my head slightly. I'm listening for them." (Page 1)

"So much of who I used to be was about being good in school and having friends who were also good in school. We were, to put it simply, arrogant little know-it-alls. But I miss that." (Page 78)

"The arts were probably pointless now that everyone was focused on survival. I thought back to all my time alone, reading, as the world crumbled around me. It was the only thing that gave me solace and hope." (Page 191)

In addition to keeping the reader wondering about plot points, Lunetta is good at creating atmosphere. She makes the reader feel the creepiness of walking down a dark street where silent monsters might be a only few feet, and the helplessness of being trapped in a mental ward. 

In the After grabs the reader from the first page, and doesn't let go. Recommend for fans of YA dystopias, particularly of the alien invasion variety. Particularly recommended for those who enjoyed Rick Yancey's The Fifth Wave. Readers who have read many dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories will notice certain universal themes, but I don't think this takes away enjoyment of the story. I think that In the After is a book that will especially appeal to adult readers, actually, though I would expect teens to enjoy it, too. Highly recommended. 

Publisher: HarperTeen (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Source of Book: Bought it on Kindle

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Add a Comment
5. Monday Mishmash 7/21/14


Happy Monday! Here's my Mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Construction  We had water damage to our house and the downstairs had to be completely gutted and treated for mold. It's a nightmare. I've been out of my house since last Wednesday and will be out all this week too while it's being repaired. I'll do my best to respond to comments during that time.
  2. Revision  I'm still revising my MG sequel. It's been slow going thanks to the disaster going on in my house and having to relocate for a while.
  3. Schedules  I'm a very scheduled person and my schedule has been so off this summer. Adjusting to that has been tough.
  4. Reading  I discovered a bunch of books on my Kindle that I forgot were there. I'm going back and reading those before I purchase more. Right now I'm reading Hereafter by Tara Hudson.
  5. Deal Announcement  The official deal announcement for Into the Fire and Perfect For You is here. It's always exciting to see these. :)
Embedded image permalink
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


Add a Comment
6. Friday Feature: Souless Cover Reveal


Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


COMING October 13, 2014



PREORDER your print copy
or 
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

Add a Comment
7. Best Young Adult Books with Jessica Love, Co-Author of Push Girl

Co-written with Chelsie Hill from Sundance Channel's reality TV show Push Girls, Jessica Love's debut novel PUSH GIRL published on June 3, 2014 from St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books. IN REAL LIFE, a story about online friendship and love, comes out in 2015.

Add a Comment
8. Writer Wednesday: Switching Age Levels


When I first started writing, I was convinced middle grade was the age level for me. I wrote two MG (middle grade) books and loved it. Then I went to a conference and listened to a panel of authors who primarily wrote picture books and thought maybe I should give that a try since I was constantly reading them to my daughter at the time. After that a YA (young adult) idea came to me. And years later, I got an idea that was clearly NA (new adult). 

As you can see, I love all age groups. Writing across age groups has allowed me to branch out with my creativity, which I love. But it's also tricky. I'm revising one of my MG novels right now and my brain is stuck in YA mode. For a little while I wondered why, but I realized it's because I was reading two YA novels while revising my MG. There was my problem. In order to revise my MG, I need to be reading MG. That grounds me in the voice I need for that age level.

So, I'm scouring my MG books and diving into one this week while I revise. Am I the only one who does this, or do you read the age level you are currently writing?

Add a Comment
9. The Young World: Chris Weitz

Book: The Young World
Author: Chris Weitz
Pages: 384
Age Range: 14 and up

The Young World by Chris Weitz is a post-apocalyptic survival story, this one featuring a mysterious illness that kills everyone except teens (they continue to catch it as they reach age 18 or so). The Young World ought to have felt like "been there - done that" to me. But it didn't, for some reason. Well, because of a combination of strong characterization, well-delineated settings, and intense action, I think. With bonus points for the inclusion of diverse characters, and for tackling race relations head on. I quite enjoyed it, and look forward to the sequel (the book ends with a cliffhanger). 

The Young World is set in New York City. Rival groups of teens have formed armed encampments. There's a considerable amount of rivalry, political maneuvering, and violence. In this, The Young World reminded me a bit of Charlie Higson's Enemy series, though without the zombie adults, and with considerably more three-dimensional characters. 

The story is told in alternating chapters by Jefferson and Donna, two kids who were friends before the Sickness came, and who seem destined to be more than friends in the aftermath. If they can survive that long, that is. Jefferson and Donna are very different from one another, and keeping track of their separate first-person voices is not a problem. (The publisher also helped in the digital version that I read by using different font sizes for the two narrators.) Jefferson is a half Japanese / half white younger son of an "oldie" father. He is introspective and hopeful, a self-declared "nerd philosopher king", genuinely trying to find a better way for the survivors. Donna is a "trigger-happy feminist sniper", and calls herself "the pixie-ish, wacky best friend". She's all tough talk, but she secretly cries while watching iPhone videos of her deceased baby brother. 

Jefferson and Donna live in a kind of commune in a protected Washington Square Park. However, they soon set out on a quest to help find a journal article that their resident evil genius (and apparently person with Asperger's), Brainbox, thinks may hold a key to understanding the Sickness. Jeff, Donna, and Brainbox are joined by Peter, a gay, Christian, African American boy who is a bit of a wise-ass, and SeeThrough, a tiny Chinese girl who excels at Martial Arts, but doesn't talk much. They make friends and enemies in the course of their journey, and even have to fight a bear. 

Here are a couple of quotes, to show you the difference between Jeff and Donna's voices:

"Taped to the pedestal, mementos of the dead. Snaps of moms, dads, little brothers and sisters, lost pets. What Mom used to call "real pictures," to distinguish them from digital files. Hard copies are where it's at now that millions and millions of memories are lost in the cloud. An ocean of ones and zeroes signifying nothing." (Jefferson, in his first chapter)

"Not enough hands or time to get rid of all the bodies, though. And they're still out there, millions of them, slowly turning to mulch, pulsing with maggots. It's been a banner year for carrion eaters. Hope I didn't spoil your appetite." (Donna, her first chapter)

In looking through my clippings, I find that I highlighted a ton of passages, mostly from Donna. She has a real flair for getting to the heart of things. Like this:

"But books--books are handy. You can keep ideas on paper for, like, centuries. And if you want to find stuff out, it's right there. You don't have to grab it out of the air, call it up from some data center in, like, New Jersey. So books had the last laugh. Nobody is going to know what the hell me and Jeff and the crew did five years from now. Unless Jefferson writes it down in one of his fancy notebooks or there's space aliens who can read things from people's bones or something. But Huck Finn is gonna be chillin' on the Mississippi forever." (Donna)

I love that last bit. The Young World is an adventure story that I could see reading again, even after I know how things turn out, just to enjoy hanging with the characters. On the first read, I did read pretty quickly, curious to know how things were going to turn out. There is plenty of suspense.

I also quite like the attention that Weitz pays to the details of New York. One of my favorite scenes is when Donna finds Pooh and friends in the New York Public Library. I don't know New York all that well, but there are plenty of other details that enhance the sense of place, without being too insider-y. Like details about the exhibits in the Met.  

One has to get past the contrived nature of the premise of The Young World, of course, but that's true of all post-apocalyptic stories, particularly ones that strive to leave the teens in charge. However, I found other aspects of Weitz's world-building are refreshingly realistic. The kids scrounge up generators and solar panels, so that they still have some access to gadgetry. They run around clutching their iPhones even if there's no cell service, and they can occasionally listen to music or watch movies, too. It's not all "technology is now dead" as in many stories.

The characters also maintain certain aspects of their pre-existing social structures. The rich, white kids band together, call themselves the Uptowners, and have a fully separate society from the kids from Harlem. The Harlem kids are strong fighters, and some of them believe that they are actually better off than they were before the apocalypse. The kids from the alternative school end up in Washington Square Park, and remain cool with alternative lifestyles. I found it all fascinating. 

Bottom line: even though this post-apocalyptic scenario of killer virus leaving only teens might seem on the face of it a bit tired, Weitz's execution made The Young World totally work for me. I can't wait for the next book, and I highly recommend The Young World to fans of near-term post-apocalyptic teen fiction. It's a bit violent, though, and has some cursing and sexual references, so I would call it a high school, rather than middle school, read. 

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (@LBKids) 
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Source of Book: Advance digital review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Add a Comment
10. Review: Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Going Down in Flames is a very fun book.  It features a tried and true premise;  the big family secret.   Bryn’s parents have been keeping a big secret from her, and when she learns that she’s a dragon, she is less than pleased with them.  Her parents have fled from the dragon community because they were forbidden to be together, and Bryn, the offspring of a blue and red dragon, should never have been born.  The governing body of the dragons, the Directorate, has carefully kept the dragon clans segregated, and they are not happy with Bryn’s parents, or about Bryn.  Not at all!  Yet they force her, on her 16th birthday, to move into the boarding school where young dragons are taught to control their powers.  Poor Bryn! The only crossbred, she’s met with suspicion and hatred.  I wouldn’t have been too happy with my parents, either!

The blue dragons hate her, the red dragons think she’s a freak of nature, and only the green dragons, known for their intelligence and curiosity, allow her to move into their dorm house.  If she will allow them to study her, that is.  With no real choice, Bryn reluctantly agrees.  Refusing to attend school will have ruinous results for her parents, so for their sake, she packs her things and heads off to dragon school.  The head of the Directorate, the man her mother ditched for her father, is still smarting from the blow to his pride, and he doesn’t hesitate to take some of that rage out on Bryn.  Soon, attempts are being made on her life, and Bryn has to figure out who is behind them, before they succeed.  And she has to try to fit into the very unwelcoming dragon community, where the Directorate has the last say on everything, from career choice to marriage petitions. 

I usually find stories set in magical boarding schools tedious.  I mean, after Harry Potter, everything else seems redundant.  Going Down in Flames worked for me, though, because I liked Bryn so much.  She’s a strong character who doesn’t put up with any crap, and she fights for what she believes in, regardless of the grief she knows will result.  I’m not so sure I agree with her taste in possible boyfriends, though, especially when that guy is promised to another dragon. 

I found Going Down in Flames a fast, fun read.  There’s humor, action, and a little romance.  Best of all, there are characters that I loved and characters that I wanted to strangle, which made the book very difficult to put down.

Grade:  A-/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Directorate’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t have.

The post Review: Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
11. Interview with Robin Bridges, author of The Gathering Storm

Happy Hour banner

by

Susan Dennard, featuring Robin Bridges

I’m so excited to have Robin Bridges on Pub(lishing) Crawl today! If y’all don’t know her (or her Katerina Trilogy), then you’re in for a treat.

First of all, she has the most beautiful covers.

The Gathering Storm The Unfailing Light The Morning Star

Second of all, she has the COOLEST book trailer of all time. Seriously, watch this.

Third of all, her books are awesome. Just read this summary of The Gathering Storm and tell me you’re not hooked:

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe’s royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina’s strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar’s standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina’s help to safeguard Russia, even if he’s repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

But enough about Robin’s books–let’s find out more about the author behind them.

Robin Bridges1.  Can you tell us how the idea for The Gathering Storm came about?  And why did you choose 1888 St. Petersburg (which I ADORED)?

I love Russian history, and have always loved Russian fairytales like Vasilisa the Brave and the stories of Baba Yaga. I do hate the Romanov family’s tragic ending, however, so I prefer to read about the earlier generations of the Imperial family.  Alexander III’s family was my favorite. Nicholas and his siblings were teens during the late 1880’s- early 1890’s. Princess Elena of Montenegro really did attend the Smolni Institute and truly opened the Smolni Ball by dancing with Nicholas in the fall of 1888.

Russia of the late nineteenth century, especially St. Petersburg, was steeped in superstition and mysticism and interest in the occult.  The Montenegrin princesses, Anastasia and Militza, were known as the Black Peril and they fascinated me with their séances. Papus, the French occultist, was one of their known companions. It was not hard for me to imagine a St. Petersburg where the magic was real.

2. Wow, the Black Peril. That is just so cool. Now, can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? I’m sure our readers our curious.

The Gathering Storm was the fourth novel I’d ever written, (not including the 118 page murder mystery I wrote on notebook paper in seventh grade.) The first novel taught me how to craft a novel, the second one taught me how to find an agent, and the third one taught me how to write just for fun. The Gathering Storm taught me the importance of persistence (and revision).

3. Patience and persistence paid off! I love hearing such inspirational stories! Now, as I mentioned already, you have some of my FAVORITE covers out there not to mention the most amazing trailer around. Did you have any say in those creations?

I was blessed to have Trish Parcell at Delacorte design all three covers for the Katerina Trilogy.  Katerina is played by a Ukranian model (I wish I knew her name!) and the dress she wears on the cover of The Unfailing Light is actually a dress that was worn by Empress Alexandra. I had no real hand in the process, other than crossing my fingers and being flabbergasted at how beautiful the covers turned out to be. :)

4. WHAT? Worn by Empress Alexandra?! I literally have no words. Okay, last question: Make us a story cocktail. What ingredients do you think makes the perfect tale?

Mmm, I like spicy and sweet foods, and the books I enjoy reading have a similar balance.  Half romance, half danger?  Sprinkle in lots of smooching and lots of scares, too.  Add a teaspoon of dark humor and one swoony male character.  Or two…

Yessss! I love it!! Bring on the smooching and the scares! Thank you so much for stopping by, Robin!

To celebrate her visit, we have a giveaway for The Gathering Storm. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to be entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


By day, Robin is a mild-mannered writer of fantasy and paranormal fiction for young adults. By night, she is a pediatric nurse. Robin lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband, one teenager, and two slobbery mastiffs. The Gathering Storm is her first novel.

Add a Comment
12. Monday Mishmash: 7/14/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. I have a roof!  Finally! The addition isn't finished yet but I have a roof, which means no more raining in my house. Yay!
  2. Beth Fred's Blurb Writing Class  Beth Fred is teaching another online blurb writing class in August. Beth is great at writing blurbs so you're going to want to sign up here.
  3. Revisions  I'm working on second round revisions of my MG novel this week. I still have more to trim off my word count.
  4. Kiss of Death  My Touch of Death prequel novella from Alex's POV will be ready soon, and it will be free! I can't wait to share it with you.
  5. Reviewing  I need to catch up on reviews. I have two waiting for me to write them. Hopefully they'll get taken care of this week.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
13. Conversation with Someone who Just Doesn't Get It by Sheena Wilkinson

So. You finished your book? [casual tone to hide true thought: About time: you have damn all else to do and how can a mere YA novel take that long?]

Yes. Well, there’ll be more edits when my editor sends it back to me – she says it’s not quite there yet [careless tone to pretend am totally fine with that] but for the moment, yes, all done.

So what happens now? Are you taking the summer off [not that you deserve it]?

No. I’ve started a new book.

What – already? So it must be a series? [God, they really do just churn them out.]
first book

No. It’s totally different.

How can you have another idea already? [Still, it’s only YA; isn’t it all the same book?]

Oh, I’ve had this story in my head since December. I’ve had an outline since March. The characters have been talking in my head for ages.

That’s a bit weird. [More than a bit.]

Not to me. That’s kind of what I do. You know, being a writer and all.

Ah – so you must have a really tight deadline? Is it one of those three-book-deal thingies? [impressed tone: maybe she is a real writer after all.]

I wish. No, I haven't got a contract. I'm writing it on spec.

second book 
What, you still have to do that, even when you’ve had a few books published and they’ve done OK? 

 I do. I shouldn’t imagine John Green does.

So you could take the summer off if you wanted? Nobody is actuallywaiting for this book? You’re just kind of – hoping? [oh dear; that's a bit sad.]

Well, I have a deadline for myself. I suppose the characters in the story after that would be a bit pissed off if I kept them waiting round for too long. 

That’s definitely weird.

Maybe. Now, I have to go and write this book. Have a good summer.











0 Comments on Conversation with Someone who Just Doesn't Get It by Sheena Wilkinson as of 7/13/2014 2:39:00 AM
Add a Comment
14. Children’s Book Trends | July 2014

When you see what some of the prizes are, you won't be surprised that in this month's little peek at the current children's book trends on The Children's Book Review there are some really great giveaways; including a chance to win an Amazon Kindle and a $100 Amex gift card!

Add a Comment
15. The Voice Inside My Head, by S.J. Laidlaw | Book Review

Seventeen-year-old Luke has always relied on listening to Pat, his elder sister, to help him tackle difficult decisions in life, but when Pat goes missing from a tiny island off the coast of Honduras, Luke doesn’t expect to still have to listen to her words.

Add a Comment
16. Games & Books & Q&A: Tanita S. Davis

A la CarteNext among the children’s/YA authors that I’m featuring in the Games & Books & Q&A series is Tanita S. Davis. Tanita is the Coretta Scott King Honor author of Mare’s War. Her other YA novels (all published by Knopf) include Happy Families, which was included on the ALA’s 2013 Rainbow Project List, and A la Carte. Her fourth YA novel, Peas & Carrots, is scheduled to be published in 2016. Tanita blogs at fiction, instead of lies.

CB: What do you remember about the first video game you ever played?

TSD: I remember that I was GOOD at the first video game I ever played. My cousins were kids who got everything on the bleeding edge of new when we were growing up, and we didn’t have video games, and they did… the first time they let me play, I smoked ALL OF THEM. They were disconcerted. I was disconcerted! Being raised very conservative Christians, we were all about the “thou shalt not kill,” and I was good at something with a GUN!? How did that happen? The game was, of course, Duck Hunt. Apparently, if you subtract mud, bugs, real ordinance and actual ducks, I am an awesome shot!

CB: What games did you play the most when you were a kid? What did you love about them?

Tanita Davis bwTSD: My cousins had Frogger — in which I was frequently flattened – Donkey Kong, and Pac-Man, of course. There was also Spy Hunter, and some race car driver game (Grand Prix, I think), where I flipped my car over and over and over again… (apparently I can shoot, but cannot drive).

CB: What role do games play in your life today?

TSD: My hand-eye coordination as a kid was fairly awful, and now it’s even worse! Every once in awhile, I’ll find an old game like Frogger and play it on the computer, or go to the arcade at the mini-golf place, and waste a bunch of quarters playing Pac-Man, but mostly I stick to thinks I can actually, you know, win. Like air hockey. I’m terrible at video games, but I like to watch others play and enjoy.

I expect to continue this series through the October publication of my book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet. If there’s anyone in the gamer or kidlit camp that you’d love to see me feature in upcoming posts in this series, please drop me a line or tweet at me or just leave a message in the comments (if they’re working again).

0 Comments on Games & Books & Q&A: Tanita S. Davis as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. Best Selling Young Adult Books | July 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart has been added to our best selling young adult books for this month. The rest of the titles have remained the same, proving just how these titles truly are popular books for teens (and many adults, too).

Add a Comment
18. Friday Feature: Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley



Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone. 
 
But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.
 
Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

My thoughts:
First, I love the name Aria, and considering she almost sings her answers in a very prophetic manner, the name really suited this character. Aria has a gift, but she sees it as a curse because it makes her different from everyone else. She can't ignore questions. That means she mutters to herself in class, walking down the hall, and even when watching TV. And what really bothers Aria is that she doesn't always understand her own answers.

So when a girl from her school goes missing, Aria finds herself in a really awful situation. Everyone has questions about Jade, and Aria has answers. She just can't figure out what they mean. And when the two biggest suspects, Jade's boyfriend and the guy she's been seeing on the side, both want to befriend Aria, things get even stranger.

I have to admit I figured out who the killer was, but I still enjoyed the story. Decoding Aria's riddle-like answers was a lot of fun. This is definitely an enjoyable thriller.

Add a Comment
19. The Prince of Venice Beach: Blake Nelson

Book: The Prince of Venice Beach
Author: Blake Nelson
Pages: 240
Age Range: 12 and up

The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson is about a 17-year-old runaway called Cali who lives in Venice Beach, CA. He sleeps in a treehouse behind the home of a generous local woman named Hope, has an assortment of quirky and interesting friends, and spends much of his time playing pick-up basketball. After helping a couple of private investigators to find missing kids, Cali decides that he wants to become a private investigator. However, when the case of a missing rich girl named Reese Abernathy lands in his lap, he finds his life becoming far more complicated than he would have expected. 

Cali is an engaging protagonist who should appeal to teen readers. He has a lot of autonomy (Hope is not a parental figure in any way). He knows how to take care of himself, and he tries to do the right thing. But he's a street kid, and he definitely runs into trouble sometimes, too. He's also remarkably uneducated compared with your maintstream YA protagonist (he's not even sure if Austria is a country). He's different, and that makes him interesting. 

Although The Prince of Venice Beach does involve a mystery, and has some action scenes (fights, chases), it's also quite relationship-driven. There's Cali's friendship with a young friend of Hope's, his complex relationship with Reese, and his protective attempts to help a new homeless girl on the scene. And it's a bit of a coming-of-age story for Cali, too, as he decides what he wants to do with his life, and even starts to take a course towards his GED. I found it a nice mix, and a quick read. I read it in a single sitting, and thought that Nelson's prose flowed well. 

Here's Cali musing on a runaway that he's looking for:

"He'd probably enjoyed his new freedom for the first couple days. Away from authority, from teachers and parents. But then the freedom gets to you. And the isolation. No family. No friends. Not even a dog. How many times can you go to McDonald's and eat cheeseburgers by yourself? How many days can you spend on the beach? How many nights can you sleep in your car? Not as many as you think." (Chapter Three)

The Prince of Venice Beach isn't entirely realistic, of course, but it does offer a YA-appropriate version of a private eye novel. Cali would, I think, admire Veronica Mars, were he ever to run across her. It has a unique premise and strong main character, a well-defined setting, and a fair bit of action. Recommended for teens (boys and girls) and escapist-leaning adults. 

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (@LBKids) 
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Source of Book: Advance digital review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Add a Comment
20. Lauren Henderson Talks About Kissing in Italian

Author Lauren Henderson is just as fun to talk to as we imagine Violet, the heroine of her book Kissing in Italian, would be. Half American and British, Henderson seems both posh and down to Earth.

Add a Comment
21. Kissing in Italian, by Lauren Henderson | Book Review

This enchanting romp through the Italian countryside will have any girl, or girl at heart, melting with jealousy. Cute Italian boys and breathtakingly described scenery will make readers want to grab their passports.

Add a Comment
22. Happy endings not (always) required - Cavan Scott

"Oooh, that's a bit bleak..."

I'd just told a friend of mine the plot of a short story I am about to pitch to a reluctant reader publisher. And he was right. The ending isn't just a bit bleak - it's abysmally bleak. A real kick you in the stomach-type affair.

But I don't think I could tell it any other way. The story needs to ends with a sucker punch. If everything turns out fine and dandy, it would lose all of its meaning.

It has made me think though. This week, I received copies of my latest reluctant readers from Badger Learning - Billy Button and Pest Control. Both of them end with the protagonist in deep water. Come to think of it, my last two books for Badger were pretty bleak too.

It's probably because they've been conjured up from the same part of my brain that used to enjoy late-night Amicus portmanteau movies such as Vault of Horror and From Beyond the Grave. In fact, what am I saying - I still enjoy them today. Horrible things happening to horrible people - and even sometimes nice people as well. The 70s and 80s were full of horrid little morality tales like these, from the wonderfully macabre Tales of the Unexpected to excesses of Hammer House of Horror.

I guess my recent run of reluctant reader books have come from the same stable. Stories to unsettle and to chill.

And why not? Children like to be scared. It stimulates a different part of their imagination and teaches them valuable lessons - that darkness is just as much a part of life as light. And where better than to experience these emotions than safely curled up reading a book.

Indeed, according to Kevin Brooks, recently crowned winner of the Carnegie medal, books should actively show children that life doesn't always include happy endings. He wasn't talking about the cheap scares of 70s horror movies of course, but novels that deal with the harsher sides of life, subject matter that is sometimes difficult to write about, let alone to read.

Quoted in the Telegraph, Brooks says:

“There is a school of thought that no matter how dark or difficult a novel is, it should contain at least an element of hope.
"As readers, children – and teens in particular – don’t need to be cossetted with artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending. They want to be immersed in all aspects of life, not just the easy stuff. They’re not babies, they don’t need to be told not to worry, that everything will be all right in the end, because they’re perfectly aware that in real life things aren’t always all right in the end."

He concludes by saying:

“To be patronizing, condescending towards the reader is, to me, the worst thing a Young Adult fiction author can do.”

I found myself applauding as I read Brooks' words. It's not to say that I never write happy endings - hey, I can do heartwarming as well as bleak - but being over-cautious will just kill your writing dead. And children will see through it anyway. They know all too well what real life is like. 

_________________

Cavan Scott is the author of over 60 books and audio dramas including the Sunday Times Bestseller, Who-ology: The Official Doctor Who Miscellany, co-written with Mark Wright.

He's written for Doctor WhoSkylandersJudge Dredd, Angry Birds and Warhammer 40,000 among others. He also writes Roger the Dodger and Bananaman for The Beano as well as books for reluctant readers of all ages.

Cavan's website
Cavan's facebook fanpage
Cavan's twitterings

0 Comments on Happy endings not (always) required - Cavan Scott as of 6/26/2014 3:05:00 AM
Add a Comment
23. Friday Feature: Cold Calls by Charles Benoit


18222846
Three high school students—Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common: "I know your secret."

Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .


My thoughts:

The back of this book said it was Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club, and I was sold with that one line. One of my favorite TV series meets one of my favorite movies? Yeah, I'm reading it. I love suspense. The book begins with Eric getting a threatening call from someone who has been inside his house, judging by the photo the caller sends him. It was a great creepy moment to start the story. The caller knows Eric's secret, knows it and has evidence to send to everyone in Eric's phone contact list. That is unless Eric follows a list of tasks targeted at a kid at Eric's school. Eric is bullied into being a bully and winds up getting caught and thrown into a program for bullies.
At the program, Eric meets others who have gotten the same calls. Together they try to figure out who is harassing them and put an end to the sick game before all their secrets are spilled.

I really loved the cast of characters and the variations of their secrets. Finding out who the caller was also kept me turning the pages. And the ending! It was my kind of ending. Perfect for a suspense like this one. I highly recommend this book.

Add a Comment
24. Monday Mishmash 6/30/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:

  1. Construction  *Sigh* I knew this was going to be bad, but ugh. I can't wait until July is over so this construction will be finished. Still no roof, which means lots of rain damage. :(
  2. July  How is it almost July already? I mean seriously? Where did June go?
  3. Editing  Amidst the craziness in my house, I'm editing for clients this week. It's keeping me sane.
  4. Books heading to production  I recently had three titles to proofread and get ready for production. So exciting!
  5. Touch of Death Series  Last week, Stalked by Death became a #1 best seller in Teen & Young Adult Greek and Roman Myths, and Touch of Death was the #3 best seller in the same category! Needless to say, I was thrilled! Thank you to all who bought copies.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
25. Interview with Page Morgan, author of The Lovely and the Lost

Happy Hour banner

by

Susan Dennard, featuring Page Morgan

Page MorganWe’ve had the lovely Page Morgan on the blog before, but I wanted to have her again to celebrate her latest release: The Lovely and the Lost.

If you guys haven’t yet read her books, DO. Especially if you’re a fan of my (Sooz’s) books. The Beautiful and the Cursed will totally appeal to fans of Something Strange & Deadly. I mean, just look at those titles together! ;)

For those of you who don’t know the premise:

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

The Beautiful and the CursedIn Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.

If that doesn’t have you hooked, then maybe reading the opening chapters will. Or–if you’ve already read The Beautiful and the Cursed, read the opening of The Lovely and the Lost instead! :)

Now on to the interview.

Lovely and the Lost

1. Okay. I have to know: where did the idea for THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED come from?

It all started with a picture of a Notre Dame gargoyle. I was struck by this image. It looks like the gargoyle has a heavy burden resting on its shoulders, right? So I did some research and found out gargoyles do have a duty: they protect a structure from evil spirits. I knew there was story potential there, and I was really intrigued by writing about a creature that hasn’t been seen much in books. It took a few years to build the mythology, develop the cast of characters, and research the setting (I’d never been to Paris!).

2. You’re right that I haven’t seen gargoyles in books, and yet everyone is so fascinated by them! Go YOU for seeing a story there! Now, are you a plotter or pantser…or neither?

I used to be a pantser, but now I’m a dedicated plotter. My outlines are extensive. Mini-novels, even. The outline for The Lovely and the Lost was just over 30,000 words! They take months to finish, but once I start writing the actual novel I love knowing exactly what I’m going to write.

3. WOW. I am really fascinated by this! That sounds so efficient! So, with regards to research, what’s your primary go-to location–online or in real life? (i.e. I can’t live without archive.org)

I’m going to check out archive.org! I use a lot of websites, but I found a great one with lots of old maps of Paris, appropriately named OldMapsofParis.com, and GentlemansEmporium.com for everything having to do with clothing, and a great collection of photographs from the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris from the Brooklyn Museum. Wikipedia is also my friend!

4. If I recall correctly, you got to visit PARISSSSS for your book. :) What was your favorite thing about the City of Light? (Also, our heroines would totally get along and should TOTALLY hang out there one day. We can pretend, right?) 

I did visit Paris!! I wanted to go before I finished writing The Lovely and the Lost, so I took my parents and daughters and we spent a week there. It was overwhelming and beautiful and I absolutely loved it. One of my research outings was to the Paris Sewers (they are REALLY proud of their sewer system, as they should be!) and yes, we actually walked alongside a canal of rushing sewage. There’s a scene in The Lovely and the Lost where I put that experience to good use! And YES, Eleanor, Ingrid, and Gabby would be such an amazing team! I’m thinking a fan fiction contest is needed…

5. OH MY GOSH, THE SEWERS!!! This is incredible. Okay, last question: if you could meet at the pub with any author (alive or dead), whom would you choose? 

I’d have to say Jennifer Donnelly, whose new book Deep Blue, just released and is on the top of my to-read list. I’ve loved all of her books, and after my friend met her at BEA and told me how genuine and nice she is, I think I’d like to spend an hour talking about writing and book over a pint of Guinness.

I love it! Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by, Page! I’m super curious about your outlining method–perhaps we can convince you to stop by again with a guest post. ;)

To celebrate having Page on the blog, we’re giving away a SIGNED COPY of The Lovely and the Lost! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts