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

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 2,325
1. Monday Mishmash 2/8/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Blues Bones Cover Reveal  I couldn't be more excited to share the cover of Blues Bones by Rick Starkey because this is the first book I offered on as an acquisitions editor for Leap Books, Seek. It's an AMAZING story, and the cover is just as awesome. Check it out and preorder the book here for a special discounted price. The book releases March 7th.
  2. Into the Fire's New Cover  Into the Fire's new cover has been revealed as well. This book has been heavily edited AND new content has been added. I'm really happy with the end result and think readers will be too. For now, check out my gorgeous cover designed by Deranged Doctor. And thank you to everyone who participated in the social media cover reveal this weekend.
    Preorder it here.
  3. Editing  More client edits and edits for Leap this week. :)
  4. The S-word  No, I don't mean spring, though I wish I did. I'd like snow if it was warm and melted within a few hours. ;) We're getting two storms this week and I'm not thrilled.
  5. Drafting  Because my editing schedule is crazy, I got an idea for another adult romantic suspense. Of course! So I'm literary jotting down snippets of dialogue and scenes while cooking, lying in bed at night, and any other time when I can spare a few minutes.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
2. Into the Fire Cover Reveal!

You know when you see a book cover and it brings tears to your eyes because it's just so perfect? Well, that's how I felt when Limitless Publishing sent me the cover of Into the Fire. Deranged Doctor blew me away. I mean this is Cara. Right down to the freaky red streaks she has in her hair and her sapphire eyes. And that Phoenix emblem! Oh wait…you haven't seen it yet! ;)

Okay, check out the GORGEOUS new cover!

In one month’s time, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die and be reborn from her own ashes…

Her life of secrecy has never been easy. She’s watched her younger brother, Jeremy, burn and rise again in a coming-of-age process called rebirth. And just like her brother, when her time comes, she won’t remember anything from her first life other than she’s a Phoenix—a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical Phoenix bird.

The last thing she needs to worry about is falling for the new guy in town—Logan Schmidt.

Cara is drawn to Logan in a way she can’t explain, but she’s not exactly complaining. Everything is perfect…except it’s not. Once she’s reborn, she’ll forget Logan. And to make things worse, a Phoenix Hunter is on the loose, and Cara’s involvement with Logan is bringing out her Phoenix qualities—the very qualities that will draw the Hunter right to her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Afraid of hurting Logan, Cara breaks it off for good. But her attraction to him runs deeper than a typical high school crush. She wants him—needs him. And if he proves willing to stay by her side, their love might destroy them both.

Can Cara hide from the Phoenix Hunters long enough to survive her rebirth? And if so, will it mean a new beginning with Logan—or the beginning of the end?

So, what do you think? I can't tell you how much time I've spent staring at this cover. The book is now up on Goodreads, so you can add it to your shelf here. Want the book to arrive on your Kindle on release day? Preorder it here NOW.

Add a Comment
3. Writer Wednesday: Into the Fire Street Team Revealed!

Applications have been carefully reviewed and the official Into the Fire street team has been selected. Before I share the list of people who made the team, let me just say that this experience was very surreal for me. I was amazed at how many people submitted applications and how excited people were at the prospect of being selected. I want to thank everyone who applied, and know that even if you weren't selected (because we committed to only taking 20 people to keep the group small—and I still took one extra because narrowing down this list was SO hard!), you made my day and have my gratitude for wanting to help me promote this series.

Okay, without further ado, here is the official Into the Fire street team!

Keren Hughes ~ Gothic Angel Book Reviews
Jennifer Helms ~ @JenBibiHelms 
Shieka Doctor ~ Doctor's Notes
Stephanie Belden ~ @smbmar 
Veray Carter ~ @pinkladyroses 
Michelle Willms ~ Michelle Willm's Blog
Janera Holt ~ Booknut101: Once Upon a Time
FSMeurinne ~ Book Enticer
Rachel Andrews ~ Rachel's Book Reviews
Elizabeth Thiele ~ Crazii Bitches Blog
Maghon Thomas ~ Happy Tails and Tales
Jessica Porter ~ Crossroad Reviews
Denise Cayetano ~ I Am Shelfless
Beth Consugar ~ @eaconsugar
Stephanie Faris ~ Stephanie Faris
Kat Romeo ~ Living in a Fictional Reality
G. Donald Cribbs ~ G. Donald Cribbs Books
Kristen Chandler ~ Shelf_Life
Rachel Gunter ~ Bookish Wonderland
Ashley Kemp ~ Mama Reads
Brie Chelton ~ @Chapter_Break

Some of these amazing people have supported my other books and some are completely new to me, but they are all equally incredible for wanting to be part of this series. I thank them all immensely.

First up for promo of Into the Fire is the cover reveal happening this Saturday through Monday. And guys, it's so GORGEOUS!!!!! I can't wait for you to see it. So, that means my usual Friday Feature post will actually be on Saturday so I can share the cover. Be sure to stop back on Saturday. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Add a Comment
4. Monday Mishmash 1/25/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Scholastic Book Fair  I'm working the book fair at my daughter's school this week. I always love getting to browse all the books, and I'm the crazy woman who has to fix the shelves because series are never together.
  2. Editing  My editing schedule is packed! I'm booking for the summer already.
  3. Into the Fire Cover Reveal  If you'd like to sign up for the cover reveal, which is a social media blitz (so you don't need to have a blog), you can do so here. It will run February 6th-8th.
  4. Into the Fire Street Team  If you haven't been able to apply for the INTO THE FIRE street team but you want to, I'm extending applications until 1/28 due to the demand! You can apply here.
  5. Reading  Even though my editing schedule is busier than ever, I've kept to my 2016 goal of making time to read. I've read some great books lately too.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
5. Friday Feature: The Packing House by G. Donald Cribbs

The Packing House Banner 500x200 png
Paperbacks & Wine is pleased to bring you G. Donald Cribbs- THE PACKING HOUSE virtual book tour January 18-31.
Author: G. Donald Cribbs
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: 1/18/16
Pages: 261
Genre: YA
When sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener has a raging nightmare in study hall and someone records it on their phone, he awakens to a living nightmare where everyone knows the secret he's avoided for ten years. Reeling from a series of bullying incidents posted on YouTube and an ill-timed mid-year move, Joel takes to the woods, leaving the bullies and his broken home behind. However, life as a runaway isn’t easy. Joel finds it difficult to navigate break-ins, wrestle hallucinations, and elude capture. He races to figure out who his dream-world attacker could be, piecing clues together with flashes of remembered images that play endlessly inside his head. Besides these images, the one constant thought occupying Joel’s mind is Amber Walker, the girl he’s been in love with for years. Amber sees little beyond the broken boy Joel has become, despite the letters they’ve written back and forth to each other. But Joel is stronger and more resilient than he looks, and it’s time he convinces Amber of this fact, before he runs out of chances with her for good.

Find out more about THE PACKING HOUSE on Amazon, Goodreads 

gdonaldcribbs author G. Donald Cribbs has written and published poetry and short stories since high school. Donald is a graduate of Messiah College in English and Education, and is currently a graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He and his wife and four boys reside in central Pennsylvania where the author is hard at work on his next book, tentatively titled, UNPACKING THE PAST, the sequel to his debut novel, THE PACKING HOUSE (2016), by Booktrope Editions. Having lived and traveled abroad in England, France, Belgium, Germany, China and Thailand (you can guess where he lived and where he visited), the author loves languages and how they connect us all. Coffee and Nutella are a close second. Find out more on G. Donald Cribbs: on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and www.gdonaldcribbs.com 


At the bell, I head to study hall, my last class. There's a substitute today. Cell phones come out. Someone has their iPod up way too high. In a way, I feel sorry for the sub; as a job, it has to be right up there with garbage collector. I prop a book between me and my backpack then close my eyes, which have been slamming shut all day.

The next thing I know, the substitute is standing over me, his hand on my shoulder, shaking me awake. Someone sniggers nearby.

“Wake up, young man. There's no sleeping in study hall.”

Pushing my glasses back into place, I look up and try to get my eyes to adjust and stay open; I blink a few times and look around wildly. What an idiot. I even forgot where I was for a moment. A flush of warmth starts at my ears and neck before sliding across my cheeks.

“All right, I'm up.”

Whispers erupt in various places around me as I sit up and rub my eyes. Someone laughs. My desk is askew. Something smells bad. Sulfur. Odd… the realization hits me hard.

A female voice remarks, “If I were him, I'd be totally embarrassed!”

“What's your name?” the substitute asks quietly.

“Joel Scrivener.”

The substitute leans down. “Joel? You might want to speak with a counselor about those dreams.”

“What do you mean?”

He leans closer, lowers his voice. “You kept saying, ‘get off me, stop touching me, get off me,' over and over.”

He gives me what he must think is a reassuring smile. Then he leaves.

The only thing worse than getting caught asleep in study hall: getting caught asleep andcrying out from a bad dream in study hall.

There's more whispering, but this time it crackles nearby. A recording—presumably of me—replays the sound of me jerking around in my chair, desk legs scraping against the floor, then “Get OFF me!” and “Stop TOUCHING meeee!”

The bell rings.

Down the hallway, students gather in odd clumps, skittering away from me like I'm the monster. A cacophony of whispers follows a chorus of aborted cackles; I hear my voice playing over and over, like my life jammed on repeat. I'm too stunned to reply, even when Shampoo Girl, who rides my bus, tries to stop me. I'm not good with names. We move too much for them to matter. This girl is heavyset, plain, with nice hair. I like how it smells if I sit behind her on the bus. Shampoo Girl. She's one of the few I've caught glaring at my attackers when I'm dropped into the lunchroom trashcan or tripped with an armful of books between classes. She hasn't said anything to my attackers, like that punk from Algebra II, but her quiet defiance is at least reassuring. Not that I've thanked her or acknowledged her for that.

“Joel? Joel, are you okay?” I definitely don't deserve her sympathy; instead, I look back down the hall.

My own brother Jonathan is with his swim team posse and says, “I can't believe you dudes got this,” before he sees me.

“Izzat rilly yer bro, man?” asks a blond-haired skater-punk friend of Jonathan's, pointing at his cellphone. They must be watching the video of me from study hall just like everyone else. Man, that traveled fast. On the far end, cackling like a fiend, my brother Jonathan laughs at his best friend Elias’ reaction, who is doubled over and turning purple. Skaterdude is on this end, sputtering and waving his arms like he’s imitating me from the video. Between the other two is Elias. God, I hate him sometimes. Why does he stick his nose where it doesn't belong?

“You still owe me a fiver for the Terror Bet,” Jonathan says, slapping the back of his hand on Skaterdude's chest. He should've kept our energy drink bet private, between the two of us, but instead I imagine he thought he'd impress his posse and make a few bucks. So he bet off me, did he? Jonathan looks up and sees me staring right at him. He tosses up two fingers after bouncing them off his chest like a salute to his homies, although I'm clearly not one of them. I'm just his loser brother.

It doesn't matter.

He's right. Jonathan must think of me as another one of his casualties just like him. I'm a cast-off, like Terror Man, my mother's latest boyfriend. To Jonathan, Terror Man and I are just accessories on his social status climb. Even after our most recent beating for touching the shrine of Terrors, Jonathan dared me to try to steal one without getting caught. I thought he was just looking out for me since I haven’t been sleeping much, but I guess I was wrong. If I can't tell the difference between someone being nice or using me, I wonder how I will ever fix things with Amber Walker, the only girl I've ever wished was more than friends.

No turning back now. My social life is officially over. I wonder how long it will take until everyone hears, and probably sees, a cell phone clip of my nightmare.

Only I can't wake up from this one.


I don't plan to collapse on my frameless mattress late that night. By the time I'm fully out.., I'm already drifting down a vaguely familiar set of stone stairs, before I realize the déjà vu—at first a cold tingle then a white-hot shudder that seeps down my spine. As it dissipates, I continue down, despite the thrumming in my ears.

Firelight dapples across shadowed walls near the bottom. Cold air gusts past, chills me until my teeth rattle, and almost blows out the torches. The room opens to the right, but I can't see around the corner.

As I step into the guttering light, I'm knocked on my face so fast I barely get my hands out to break my fall. I gasp for breath beneath this tremendous weight. There's no getting away. Sharp pain bursts along my ribs.

From its grip, I get a twinge in my spine, sharp stings that shoot up my back and spread out across both shoulder blades. Whatever is behind me is huge. Its hulking mass presses me down into the ground. I sure as hell don't dare move.

“C'mere, Joel!” the deep voice snarls against my ear.


I wake up.

Sometimes I wake screaming. How does it know my name? My mother has found me a few times that way; about as comforting as getting caught jerking off under blankets.

When she finds me like that, I roll toward the wall and mumble about a bad dream. I'll be fine. Go back to bed. Please don't ask any more. I'll never live this down if my mother holds my hand and chases away some boogeyman. I've got to figure this out. Better to man-up than be labeled a loser. At least Jonathan's still asleep. I don't need him betraying me any further.

If I could, I'd squeeze my eyes shut and will myself back to sleep. What if that thing is there? The stone stairs. The horrible, personal things it says. The sweat-rot stench of sulfur. I'd rather stare at the blurry ceiling all night. Besides, questions begin to swirl, threatening to keep me awake indefinitely. There's at least three hours until it's time to get up for school. I might have a test. Better not think too much.

Next thing I know, it's light; the roof of my mouth is sandpapery, I've got rank morning breath, and, if I don't get to the bathroom right now, I'm going to have a waterbed for sure.

I have to limp my way there, momentarily forgetting about our lecture at the hands of Terror Man last night. I don’t like him. He’s always in our faces. Always trying to prove what a man he is when he slams us against the wall or some shit.

He’s nice enough when he’s not railing on Jonathan and me for drinking his Terrors.

As I find relief in the bathroom, I start to wonder about this latest nightmare. Then I grab a shower, wincing when the tender spots in my back come under the flow. Maybe I should've let Jonathan take the brunt of it all, since he made the bet, but I couldn't live with myself if I hadn't intervened. I thought he was gonna kill Jonathan this time. What a nightmare. Which reminds me: I've got too many memory gaps to make sense of it all. I need to figure out their source. The root cause.

It's not for lack of trying.

I've scoured every book on nightmares I can find. One said the mind is a strange muscle that remembers every ache. Nightmares are a way we revisit each painful experience, circling back to make sense of what happened. That still doesn't explain how the creature knows me well enough to snarl my name. Is it someone I know? I glance at the clock. No time to dwell; the bus'll be here any minute. Time to get dressed and head downstairs.

My mother is at work, and Jonathan went in on the early bus for swim team. I grab breakfast and ibuprofen and then head for the street corner. My hand lands on the last two cans in my backpack. I'd forgotten all about the Terrors. Jonathan. I'd toss them back in the fridge if I weren't already at the bus stop.

Might as well. Chugging the first one down, I collect weird looks as I let the burp rip. Jonathan still got pretty roughed up; after all, he dared swipe from the shrine of Terrors on the top shelf of the fridge. Terror Man left no visible marks on me, only bruises, but I doubt Jonathan made it out unscathed. I wonder what Coach said to him this morning.

Was Jonathan trying to set me up? Guarantee a win for his second round of Terror Bets, so he could up the ante? It's never enough with him. Jonathan can't seem to leave well enough alone. Like he has to poke the bear or something. Everyone knows you let a sleeping bear lie. Not him.

The last stragglers come out as the bus pulls up. I'm the new guy. Technically, it's Redhead-Dude-With-Braces-And-Acne's stop.

I must space out the whole ride to school because it feels like only moments later when the bus pulls into the drop-off circle by the Broad Run High School, Home of the Panthers sign. Cheerleaders brush past in uniform, and the football team is sporting jersey hard-ons, strutting as we all press toward the door.

School's a bust. I doze through most of my classes, but at least I overhear that the history test has been moved to next week. Now I just have to make it through English class (easy for me), study hall, and I'm out.

We're reading this book Fahrenheit 451, where Guy Montag is an anti-fireman who burns books for a living. If I could talk some sense into him, maybe he'd lay off the bonfires and help me sort through all the bizarre shit in my brain. Yeah, it's a crazy thought, just like the ones about Amber.

I get flustered when I think of her.

Maybe Montag and I aren't as different from each other as I first thought. We both have problems we're running from. Beatty hunts him down when they catch Montag hoarding books in his air vent. I knew he was a reader. His own wife turns him in. Betrayed by someone that close.Man.

That's what set him off running.

My English teacher makes us write on the salamander or fire lizard. Is it a tattoo or just a uniform logo? I consider writing a story or a poem. According to legend, they're not lizards, which are reptiles. Salamanders are amphibians and have an affinity for fire. They can also regenerate lost limbs and tails. Remind me of an Escher tessellation. Patterns that transform from one thing to another. I should go for extra credit.

Speaking of extra credit, my grades have been nothing but toilet water, they're so flushed. Up until now, I've held tight at honor roll. But, just like that time in the closet with Amber, it, too, was a test I knew I was doomed to fail. Now I can't shake these nightmares. Neither could Montag.

If I don't do something soon, I'll have to repeat my sophomore year. Then I'd be in the same grade as Jonathan. That's reason enough to invoke my previous plan.

Before you go, check out this great a Rafflecopter giveaway - get one of 5 amazing paperbacks referenced in THE PACKING HOUSE: The Packing House (Fahrenheit 451, The Chocolate War, The Outsiders, Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird.) 

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Add a Comment
6. Monday Mishmash 1/18/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Curse of the Granville Fortune  I'm putting the finishing touches on the revamped Curse of the Granville Fortune this week. My hope is to have this book out the first week in February. If you missed the cover reveal on Friday, here's the new cover:
  2. Into the Fire Street Team  Only a few more days to apply to be part of the Into the Fire Street Team. The application closes on January 21, so get yours in now. Apply here.
  3. Editing  I'm working my way through my January edits. How I booked so many this month is beyond me, but so far so good. 
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. Day  My daughter is home today since it's a holiday. We're reading two Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and studying for math tests she has this week.
  5. Seeking Questions  I haven't gotten any requests for Writer Wednesday topics in a while, so what do you want to know about being on the other side of the editing desk? Pick my brain, people. ;) I'm willing to share tips from my editorial desk at Leap, so ask away.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
7. Revisited: Where the Steps Were by Andrea Cheng

Where the Steps Were, by Andrea Cheng (Wordsong, 2008)Where the Steps Were
by Andrea Cheng
(Wordsong, 2008)


Where the Steps Were is a story told in verse by five third-grade students in an inner-city school, who all come under the empowering … Continue reading ...

Add a Comment
8. Interview: Padma Venkatramen

NWD interview with author Padma VenkatramanAuthor Padma Venkatraman‘s most recent novel A Time to Dance was an Honour Winner in the 2015 South Asia Book Award and was chosen for inclusion in IBBY’s 2015 Selection of Outstanding Books for Young … Continue reading ...

Add a Comment
9. Writer Wednesday: A BIG Announcement!

Have you heard the big news? I’m announcing a brand new street team! This street team is NOT a Kelly Hashway or an Ashelyn Drake street team, but rather a street team for the Into The Fire trilogy! The first book, Into The Fire, has gotten a gorgeous new cover to match the second two books in the series, and it is being re-released with heavy edits. That means, it’s basically a new book!  What better time to get you guys involved than with the re-release of the first book?

Here are the details:

Only 20 members will be chosen. This means you will be part of a very elite group of bloggers/reveiwers, and readers alike.

It’s vital you understand you’re accepting the time commitment that comes with it.
While I want you to have fun, I’m choosing a very select group of people so that:
1. You’re able to form close bonds with each other
2. We’re able to get you better exclusives - in the form of ARCs, special edition swag, and being able to hang out” virtually with me.

The number one goal (and something you *must* do to be a member) is to agree to post your *honest and unbiased* review during release weeks!

There will be other tasks as well - that aren’t requirements - but that will be highly encouraged (and rewarded).

You can apply here: http://goo.gl/forms/cM0XD961ZC or below:

*** Important *** 
The app will close on January 21st, so make sure you get your application in before that day. Once the application closes, there will be no exceptions to allow you to fill it out, as my social media manager and I need time to sort through the responses and pick the team. We hope to have a team together by January 25th, but please be patient with us as we sort through the applications.

Thank you!

Add a Comment
10. Friday Feature: Omen Operation by Taylor Brooke

After an epidemic spreads through the country, Brooklyn Harper’s high school years come to an abrupt end.
Implanted in a rural camp, Brooklyn and her friends are cut off from their families and the outside world. Each day is filled with combat training to assure their safety against the crazed, belligerent, and deadly— those infected with a mysterious virus.
If the world couldn’t get any crazier, a letter ups the insanity…
After being assured day after day that the world outside their little camp had been compromised, Brooklyn’s cabin-mate, Dawson Winters, finds a letter that turns everything they’d known upside down. There is a world outside the trees that surrounds their camp, and the virus they’d all come to fear seems non-existent.
Determined to see it herself, Brooklyn plots with others to attempt an escape…
On the outside, Brooklyn finds the world is as normal as ever. But when they are attacked in the city, they dispose of their attackers far more efficiently than any normal human. Is there more to Brooklyn and her friends then just being highly trained?
As their exploration continues, the group is faced with impossible feats. Betrayal, love, death, and a powerful sense of camaraderie lead Brooklyn and her friends to fight for their life, their freedom, and most of all, each other. 
Omen Operation will be available on Amazon for pre-order: 1/16/2016
It will be available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes and Noble: 1/26/2016

Taylor Brooke is the author of the upcoming sci-fi adventure trilogy The Isolation Series. She started out as a freelance makeup artist, and quickly discovered her love of elves, zombies, mermaids, kaiju, and monsters of all kinds. After receiving eight professional certifications in special effects makeup, working on countless projects, and fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures, she turned her imagination back to her one true love- books. Taylor has had a knack for writing since she was a little girl, and received recognition for her skills throughout grade school and junior college. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she can be found haunting the local bookstore with a cup of steaming hot tea in her hands, scanning the shelves for new reads, or hiking one of the many mountains that surround her home of Bend Oregon.

Twitter: @Taysalion
Instagram: @Taysalion

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Add a Comment
11. A Moment with Gene Luen Yang,National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

I’m not normally in the habit of posting other people’s interviews in full at my site, but what the hell, I’m doing so today. And that’s because I was very excited to hear on Monday of this week that graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang (pictured left in his self-portrait) was named the 5th National Ambassador […]

1 Comments on A Moment with Gene Luen Yang,National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, last added: 1/6/2016
Display Comments Add a Comment
12. Monday Mishmash 1/4/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Perfect For You $.99 Sale!  To ring in the New Year, I've dropped the Kindle price of Perfect For You to $.99 through January 7th. If you're thinking of reading this book, grab your copy here now before the price goes back up.
  2. Editing  My editing schedule is crazy booked. I'm talking no breaks whatsoever for me for three months. Someone send dark chocolate and lots of it, please.
  3. Beth Fred's Blog  If you haven't checked out Beth Fred's blog yet, she's had some really helpful posts lately, including today. Check out her blog here.
  4. Up In Flames  I'm finishing up edits on Up In Flames, book three in the Into the Fire Trilogy. Have I mentioned the covers for this series are GORGEOUS? I seriously can't get over how amazing they are. I'll keep you posted on the cover reveal dates.
  5. Back to a Normal Schedule  Working with my daughter and husband home is…interesting. ;) They are both good about giving me time to work, but I still don't get the five and a half uninterrupted hours I have when they are at school and work. With all the edits on my plate this month, I need that time.
  6. Pocono Writers Conference  I'll be attending the Pocono Writers Conference this Sunday. I can't wait. It's been too long since I've attended a conference.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
13. In Remembrance of Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu

In May 2010, Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu, author of the YA novel Dirty Little Secrets, stopped by my Borders store in Glendale to sign copies of her book. I had read and loved her book, and sent her an email to let her know how much I enjoyed reading it. She was so gracious and thankful that she offered to stop by on her way down to Disneyland with her husband and sons for their annual trip. My store was in Southern California and she lived in Northern California with her family. It was incredibly generous of her to take time out of her vacation to meet me. We hugged warmly, and I got them all treats from our cafe. It was a short but unforgettable visit. I stayed in touch with her online afterwards. 

She was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, and today her family and friends mourn her passing. I hope she is free from pain and suffering. My heart goes out to her loved ones. She embodied kindness, beauty, and love, and will be greatly missed.

She also leaves behind her books, Dirty Little Secrets, Intuition, Transcendence, and The Third Twin. You can find links to her work on her website at www.cjomololu.com.

Rest in peace, Cyn.

0 Comments on In Remembrance of Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
14. Review: This Strange Wilderness

This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain. University of Nebraska Press. 2015. Library Copy. YALSA Nonfiction Finalist.

It's About: John James Audubon (1785 - 1851) wrote and illustrated The Birds of America, which contained almost 500 different birds, all shown life size and in full color.

This is the story of who Audubon was and his work.

The Good: While I was generally aware of Audubon, mostly it was because of his appearances in other YA books I've read, notably Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (my review) where some of those illustrations figure significantly into the plot; and The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Philip Hoose, about one bird in particular that was painted by Audubon.

Who knew that Audubon was born in Haiti and raised in France! I had no idea. I am not an animal person, so truth be told the birds itself didn't interest me, but the biography of Audubon fascinated me. He came to America as a teenager, sent by a father hoping to save his son from fighting in Napoleon's army. He fell in love with the new country, and there fully developed his passion for nature and birds and illustration.

The process of how Audubon drew his birds was also interesting; a combination of art and science. And yes, he killed the birds, so that he could then pose them to be lifelike. Which seems so weird to a modern reader, but this was before photographs. This was before any other way to truly study and draw the birds in a way to portray them fully. Audubon didn't just blunder along, shooting; he also studied the birds, learning about them, and wrote about his scientific findings. His writings also included his own journeys and adventures along the way. And, as a hunter, he was also an environmentalist because while he hunted for food, or for art, he also realized the danger of extinction.

If you'd asked me before I read this book about Audubon, I'd have guessed rich. And as the book begins it seems like there was truth to that, from his upbringing to the land in Pennsylvania that his father bought him. But he wasn't; and Audubon pursued his studies (which often meant travel) even when he didn't have much money. He drew portraits and taught drawing and did other things to support his dream of studying and drawing birds.

Audubon did this even though he had a wife and children. And at this point, the biography I want is of Lucy Audubon, who at times followed her husband to log cabins in Kentucky and to England; and at other times, stayed behind, earning the money to support her children while her husband followed his own dreams. Who was forced into independence while married, yet also strongly supported her husband.

And then of course there is the business end, of how Audubon's illustrations were transformed into a book. Again, in a time without computers; when each page had to be hand colored; when Audubon insisted that they remain life-size. "Subscriptions" were sold for the intended publications, and Audubon had to turn into a salesman to convince people to buy something that hadn't been published yet.

I love how this is all told in less than a hundred pages. I'm on a Regency Romance reading kick, and just checked out some thick, dense non-fiction of that period and wow, I wish at least one of them was a tidy hundred pages. (Also, it doesn't escape my notice that This Strange Wilderness occupies the same slice of time as the romances I've been reading.)

One more point, and perhaps the most important: there are many, many of Audubon's illustrations, all in full color. When reading about art, it really helps to be able to see it. And, also, now I'm intrigued to see the actual originals.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

0 Comments on Review: This Strange Wilderness as of 12/30/2015 4:06:00 AM
Add a Comment
15. Review: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Balzer + Bray an imprint of HarperCollins 2015. Review copy from publisher. YALSA Morris Award Finalist.

The Plot: Simon, sixteen, is being blackmailed by Martin. See, Simon didn't totally log out of his email account on a school computer so when Martin sat down he saw them. And read them. And made copies.

So, Martin is threatening to tell everyone that Simon is gay. Simon hasn't even told his closest friends. The only person who knows is the person on the other end of Martin's email conversations, someone named Blue. Who Simon knows better than anyone else -- the only thing Simon doesn't know about Blue is what his real name is.

The Good: This is one of those books where I started off not liking Simon that much. No, really. About page thirty I put this down and eye-rolled because I found him just too self absorbed and immature and annoying.

And then I picked it up again, because I'd committed myself to YALSA's Morris challenge to read all the finalists before Midwinter, and something clicked. And instead of having no patience with Simon I instead began laughing with him, and seeing his insecurities, and loving his loyalty, and shaking my head in sympathy at his self-absorption.

Simon is about Simon, of course -- he's the one telling the story, and it's his emails with Blue that are shared. It's not just being blackmailed by Martin - oh, by the way, Martin's purpose of the blackmail? Martin likes Abby, and Simon is friends with Abby, so Martin wants Simon to help things along with Abby. Except that Simon doesn't like being blackmailed by Martin, and Abby is a good friend, and he thinks Abby likes Nick. Nick has been Simon's friend since forever, along with Leah, and Leah and Abby do not get along.

And then there is Blue, and all Simon knows is that Blue goes to his school, but other than that no details to know who Blue is. Blue, like Simon, is gay; and Blue, like Simon, hasn't told anyone. Not yet. As Simon says early on, "maybe it would be different if we lived in New York, but I don't know how to be gay in Georgia. We're right outside Atlanta, so I know it could be worse. But Shady Creek isn't exactly a progressive paradise."

Later, Simon thinks about coming out and how it's this big thing and how he doesn't want to say anything, at least not yet, not because he is afraid or worried about how his family and friends will react, but because it's a thing. "Don't you think everyone should come out? Why is straight the default? Everyone should declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever."

Of course, Simon is trying to figure out who Blue really is. And thinking about the cute boys at his school. And dealing with his friends' drama (Nick and Leah and Abby). And then there are his parents, which at first I worried about because of the gay jokes his Dad makes, but what is wonderful about Simon is it shows that all his dad is doing is making dumb Dad jokes and while it bothers Simon it small-b bothers him, not big-B bothers him. His family is supportive and close, and at times too close and overbearing, but at all times loving. It's a great book family.

I'm glad I didn't let my initial irritation with Simon turn this into a do-not-finish; I'm glad that I gave the whole book, and the whole Simon, a chance. Because both Simon and Simon are terrific, and thanks to the Morris committee for selecting this title and the YALSA Hub challenge for making me read it.

Oh, and my favorite scene is the one where Simon gets drunk. That's all I'm saying, but it's so cute and delightful and funny.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

0 Comments on Review: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Review: X A Novel

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. Candlewick Press. 2015. Reviewed from ARC.

XThe Plot: The boyhood and teen years of Malcolm Little, who would become Malcolm X. Malcolm's family was both close and fractured: his father died when he was young. His mother, left with a large family and little support, was committed. Malcolm went into foster homes and then later moved in with a family member in Boston.

In Boston, as a teen, he saw more appeal in the nightlife of the city than in the respectable choices his half-sister has made. One bad choice leads to another, but to Malcolm, they're never the bad choices. They are his choices.

And as the reader who knows a bit about Malcolm, who knows that it's in prison for theft that an adult Malcolm converts to Islam, it's about seeing how Malcolm becomes that man.

The Good: I'm that reader who knows "a bit" about Malcolm X, which meant that I vaguely knew the bare bones of his story, particularly his life as a child and a teen.

X: A Novel did so many wonderful things, starting with showing why crime appealed to the young Malcolm. (Book talking tip: instead of selling this as a work of historical fiction, talk up the the aspect of why crime can be appealing.)

Actually as I give that tip, I have to add, that is too simplistic -- it's not as if there was a simple, easy choice. It's that Malcolm had been told that as a young black man his choices were limited when it came to education and career, and on the street, hustling or stealing, his choices were not limited. It's that Malcolm had had a close family and then it split apart (in part because the social services at the time were not committed to really helping a family, and in part because Malcolm's mother had a struggle to find work). It's that, well, you could see the immediate results of that life, the fun, the clothes, the parties, that you didn't see in a classroom. It's all tied together.

Or, better, let me share Malcolm's words: "When I first set foot in Harlem, I was a step ahead of everything. I could blend in with the jive cats, swirl the Lindy ladies. let my feet groove, think of nothing but the now. I could close my eyes and in closing them not be seen. Slip into the seams of the streets and let them swallow me. It was a glorious fit, so seemingly warm."

It takes a while for Malcolm to realize that it is not warm, it is seemingly warm. A long time. The book ends with Malcolm embracing Islam and starting to realize where best to direct his energy, his time, his talent.

X: A Novel comes with a great deal of back matter, including an author's note by Shabazz, one of Malcolm X's daughters; information about the characters in the book; a time line of events; and a historical context to the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

0 Comments on Review: X A Novel as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. Monday Mishmash 12/28/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Disconnecting/Enjoying the Holiday  I did something very rare for me. I disconnected to enjoy the holiday uninterrupted with my family. I'm behind on edits now, but not checking my email for days felt great.
  2. Editing  I have two edits I have to finish before the end of the month. Eek! I'm also booked solid with edits through March.
  3. Into the Fire Trilogy Covers  I got a great Christmas present in the form of seeing the drafts of my covers for the Into the Fire Trilogy and seriously they are GORGEOUS! I cried. I've been fortune with covers in the past, but these…I'm speechless. I can't wait until I can share them.
  4. Reading  I'm working more reading time into my schedule. It isn't easy, but I loaded my Kindle over the break and I'm determined to get in some much needed reading for enjoyment.
  5. Finished My First Adult Thriller  Last week I finished drafting my first adult thriller. It was a tough book to write, but I'm really glad I did.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
18. Writer Wednesday: Reflecting on 2015

At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what I've accomplished. I do set goals at the start of each year, but unexpected things happen. So here's my year in review:

The really funny part is that I didn't think I did a lot this year, but when I write it all out I feel a little exhausted. ;) Seven books published? Really? I guess the year was better than I thought. 

What did 2015 look like for you?

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Add a Comment
19. The Illustrations of Cannady Chapman

Work-in-progress piece (as of April 2015)   Today, I’m showcasing some artwork from illustrator Cannaday Chapman. Shadra Strickland shared Cannaday’s site via social media, and I went and saw and liked. Cannaday then gave me permission to pull images from his site and share them here at 7-Imp. As you can read here, Cannaday studied […]

0 Comments on The Illustrations of Cannady Chapman as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. Friday Feature: Fading Away and November Sky

Today I have two great books, and I have to say I love the cover of Fading Away. That's Alex from Kiss of Death (Touch of Death series prequel)!!!

One night. 
One stupid mistake. 
Changes everything.

SAMMY STEVENS was tragically orphaned at the age of nine and sent to live with a foster family in the town of Miakoda Falls. She's bullied at school by the arrogant, selfish, one and only... KAI JORDAN.
Kai is your typical entitled teen who's on the verge of attending University and having everything he ever wanted handed to him.
But that all changes when he is involved in a car accident after a night of partying...
He's suddenly and painfully brought into the world of supernatural. 
Kai turns to the last person he ever would've expected. Sammy, as he struggles with his new identity and watches the people closest to him move on. And he is forgotten. 
As Kai and Sammy grow closer, Kai must figure out a way to either stay human or risk being stuck forever, as a prisoner of his own body…

I was only nine when they died… 
I remember the colour of my mother’s hair, and her soft voice. I remember my father’s cologne and the way he used to hold my hand tightly as we walked down to the store for milk. Everything else is a blur; I don't remember what they looked like. Their faces escape me. The memory of my parents is a fuzzy one and all of the photographs are gone now.
It was dark and hot, that much I can remember very clearly. Sweat beads off my forehead and down my neck. My room smells of wood smoke, clogging up my nose and throat, making me cough. Surely the smoke detectors would have gone off by now if we were in trouble? I clutch my pillow to my stomach and watch the flickering orange light dance under the door. A shadow and then Dad is bursting through my door, bringing a cloud full of toxic smoke with him.
“Come on Sammy,” he coaxes me towards him, throwing a fearful look over his shoulder at the wall of heat. I run to him and he scoops me up, spinning and ducking through our burning house. The bright, white hot fire is everywhere. I can feel the blazing heat on my bare skin. It burns.
An overhead beam collapses above us and my dad goes down, letting go of me as he hits the ground. I scream and crawl closer to him.
“Baby girl, you need to get out.” His words come out wheezy. I glance at the burning roof beam lying across his back. His fingers lightly touch my knee and I look back down at him. “Go get help darling, outside. Stay close to the ground. Go!” I nod quickly and weave my way to the front door as fast as I can.
As soon as I push the hot door open, someone lifts me up and sprints away from the house towards the waiting ambulance. The fireman puts me down and wipes my face clean. I cough and point back at my house. He smiles and nods before pushing me further into the ambulance and handing me off to a paramedic.
I wake up in the hospital still clutching my dirty pillow, surrounded by people, none of them my parents.

The other kids at school never see me, and when they do, they whisper. I don't know how, but they know, and being a foster child doesn’t win you any sympathy points or special treatment. It’s more like I’ve contracted an extremely dangerous disease and if anyone was to talk to me or come into contact with me, their parents would magically die too. Kids can be brutal.
I was thirteen when I first met Kai Jordan. He was a kind, gentle person back then. He introduced himself to me with a smile, unaware of my status with the rest of our classmates. Being the new kid, he was immediately snapped up into the popular group at school. If I knew what he would be like as we grew older, I would never have smiled back at him.

I am eighteen now, living with foster parents and on the verge of graduating high school and getting into the college of my dreams…if I can get this stupid paper done. Argh. I slam my pen down on my desk in frustration. It’s due tomorrow and I haven't stung a single sentence together. I shake my head and close my book. I’ll just have to ask for an extension from Mrs. Danby. Gathering my things, I stuff them unceremoniously into my backpack and swing it over my shoulder.
The bell hasn’t released us yet, but that doesn’t stop the chatter from the other students around the room. Ms. Kelly sits down at her desk and starts shuffling her own books into her tote bag. As soon as the bell sounds I follow everyone out of the classroom and drift down the hallways amidst the sea of pushy seniors, thinking about what I'm going to make myself for dinner.
Someone steps out in front of me and I collide head on with their shoulder. I frown up at the dark haired, brown eyed road block and adjust my glasses.
“Watch where you’re going,” Kai Jordan sneers at me as he pushes past. He wouldn’t remember who I am, even if he tripped over me, obviously. I wonder briefly what happened to the happy, friendly little boy he was when he moved here.
Shifting my backpack back onto my shoulder, I continue down the hallway, heading for the exit. People smack me with their books or bags as I push my way through. I feel as though I'm completely invisible. Sometimes I just want to scream, I’m here, just look and see me.
I'm in no hurry to get home. My foster parents gave birth to their first child this year, so I live in the flat above the garage by myself. Not much to look forward too. And no chance of a new foster family, I'm too close to graduating and leaving for college.

“It’s impossible notto believe in ghosts, They light up the night sky every time the sun goes down, reminding us that we are never alone.”
What would you do if you had a second chance at lost love?
Kristian Reed was only seventeen when the love of his life fell to her death. The hardest part of losing someone you love is moving on without them.
After six long years of trying to escape the pain, Kristian starts his new life in the big city, working for one of the top News Networks in the state.
Enter Bailey Nichols, she’s up front, forward and just plain annoying, and what’s worse, she won't leave Kristian alone.
Everything seems to be falling into place, that is until his past comes back to haunt him and he is torn between holding on and letting go.
By denying what’s standing right there in front of him, Kristian could lose everything…

The memories come in flashes. These are the happiest moments of my life. I'm living them all over again.
Kristian leans towards me in a dark corner of Maisy’s house, the loud music surrounding us and the smell of teenage sweat in the air. I don't know how long I've wanted to touch his dark hair or to kiss his lush lips. Every time I see him at school, I make sure to pass his classroom on the way to my own.
Now’s my chance. I grab the collar of his shirt and pull him down so I can reach. As soon as our lips touch, his hands gently grasp the sides of my face, holding me close.
Pulling away slowly, Kristian gazes down at me, the dim light around the shadowed room glinting in his dark eyes. This moment is perfect. One I will remember forever. Kristian’s fingers run down the side of my face, I smile up at him and he returns it.
“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever met Jessica.” I turn away and giggle quietly. Kristian reaches between us and grabs a hold of my hand, leading me out of the shadows and into the room full of our dancing and talking classmates.

I wake close to midday the next day and stretch in my plush bed. All the memories from last night flooding my thoughts and making me blush.
“Jessica?” My mother’s voice sounds from the other side of my bedroom door. “There’s a boy downstairs waiting for you.” A boy?
“Okay Mum, I'm coming.” I jump out of bed, my blanket tumbling to the floor in my rush. I pull my nicest pair of jeans on and riffle through my dresser looking for an appropriate shirt.
Taking a deep breath, I pull my door open, dash down the stairs at breakneck speed and trip on the bottom step. Oh no, I'm going to face plant in front everyone. Strong arms catch me around the shoulders just as I'm about to hit the floor.
Plastering a weak smile on my face, I look up into Kristian's beautiful eyes.
“Whoops, sorry.” Oh god, I could die of embarrassment right now. Kristian smiles and helps me to my feet.
“I was wondering if you might want to go to the movies with me?” He looks almost shy as he asks, as if I'm the gorgeous, beautiful, smoking hot... Okay, that's enough. I have to answer before he thinks I'm dense as well as clumsy.
I lift my shoulders in a small shrug. “Definitely, I would love to.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see my Mum’s head poking around the corner of the kitchen doorway, eavesdropping. I turn discreetly so my back is to her and make a go away motion with my hand where Kristian can't see.
“I’m going out Mum,” I call out over my shoulder as Kristian leads me out to his car. I'm so nervous my palms are sweating. I hope he doesn't want to hold hands. The car ride over eases my nerves a bit. I'm sitting so close I can smell Kristian’s soap. Sort of lemony.
We arrive at the theatre and Kristian buys us both a ticket. I don't know which movie we are going to see, but it doesn't matter. As soon as we are seated, I'm not paying attention to the big screen anyway.
Kristian shifts in his seat and puts his arm around my shoulders. I look down at my lap and smile to myself.
Another flash and I'm walking down the main hall at our high school; Maisy trots along beside me, chattering about the party last Friday. I'm not listening; my eyes are scanning the people standing by their lockers, searching for Kristian.
“Hey, looking for me?” Kristian’s arms come around my shoulders and he places a gentle kiss on the side of my neck. I lean my head back against his shoulder and smile. This is where I want to stay; this is where I feel safe.
The scenery around me changes again.
“So Kristian, have you thought about what universities you will be applying for next semester?” My father is leaning slightly over the table towards Kristian with a stern look on his face. Kristian glances at me unsure.
“Dad!” My father gives me a small mischievous grin and looks back down at his plate, lifting a forkful of pasta to his mouth. This is so awkward. My mother sits across from me, trying to hide her own smile. God, could this be any more embarrassing.
After dinner is finished and I've helped Mum clean up, I follow Kristian out to his car to say goodbye.
“I had a really nice time,” Kristian leans against his car and pulls me into his arms.
“I'm so sorry about my parents. They’re a little annoying sometimes,” I apologize, twisting my fingers into his shirt.
“Stop worrying, I swear I had fun.” Kristian’s hand closes around mine and untwists my fingers. He smiles and leans down to kiss me.
I stand on the front porch until Kristian’s car turns the corner out of sight. “Was all that really necessary?” I ask, shutting the front door behind me.
“Of course, darling,” my mother answers from the lounge room. Dad chuckles from beside her. “We had to make sure he is worthy of our little princess.” Mum giggles like a little schoolgirl and switches on the television.
I huff at them and skip up the stairs to my bedroom. Lying on my bed, I stare up at the ceiling. My cell phone buzzes from my nightstand and I scramble across the bed to grab it. I open the text and nearly squeal in delight.
I love you Jessica Scott.

Another flash, they are coming quicker now.
“Do you think we will stay together after we graduate?” Kristian asks, sitting cross-legged on my bed in front of me. Our hands are touching between us.
“I hope so.” Today is our one-year anniversary. The time we’ve been together has been perfect.
Kristian reaches behind his back and pulls out a long black velvet box. “Oh my god, Kristian.” His eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiles. He hands me the box and I open it almost reverently. The sparkling gems from the bracelet shine up at me, glittering in the dying sunlight coming through my bedroom window. It’s so beautiful. “Thank you so much.”
Kristian helps me do up the clasp as I wrap it around my wrist. When he's done, I crawl onto his lap and kiss him, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him closer.
We fall backwards until he's lying on his back and I'm on top of him, running my hands up his stomach and chest. The atmosphere becomes heated; Kristian's fingers push my shirt up underneath my bra. Is this really happening? I hesitate and then yank Kristian's shirt up, he lifts himself off the bed slightly so I can take it off completely.
“Jessica! Kristian! Dinner is ready,” my father calls out from downstairs. We both falter and look at each other. Had we nearly done what I think we were going to do?
Kristian smiles shyly up at my shocked expression. “I don't think I'm ready for that yet, and neither are you.” I giggle timidly and hand Kristian his shirt. He sits up underneath me and pulls me into a tight hug.
I relax into his hold and whisper into his ear. “I love you.” I can feel his mouth lift up in a smile on the side of my face.
Now I'm sitting in a brightly lit classroom. Math is one of the most boring classes in school. The equations don't make sense to me, and who puts letters in math anyway. Maisy scribbles notes in her book beside me, I'm not sure if they have anything to do with what Mr. Saul is teaching. I tap my pen on my notebook and stare at the clock above the door, the second hand feels like it is going backwards.
As soon as the bell rings, I'm already packed up and leaving the classroom. I walk to my locker to exchange my textbooks and get a new pen.
Maisy is chattering away beside me. “So Jake asked me to the prom. Should I wear blue or green?”
I turn to her with pursed lips, thinking. She has deep red hair and a fair complexion so she would look great in either colour. “Green?”
She nods, “Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Has Kristian asked you yet?”
I spin back around to my locker and turn the knob for my combination. “No, not yet.” I thought for sure he would have asked me by now. I sigh and pull my locker door open.
Dozens upon dozens of colorful flowers and ribbons tumble out onto the floor around me; there’s so many they spill across the hall. Other students stop and gawk at me. I bend down and pick up one of the flowers; it’s a dark yellow rose. Attached to its stem is a small card with black writing.
Each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Please be my date for the prom Jessica Scott. – Love Always, Kristian
I look down at the other flowers, every single one has its own note attached to it. I can't breathe. I'm lost for words. Maisy and all the other students have stopped talking and are staring at me, open-mouthed.
“So will you go with me?” Kristian asks quietly from behind me. He’s so close I can feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. This is the most romantic thing I've ever seen. Even better than a movie. I twist slowly to face Kristian, a look of awe on my face.
“Of course I'll go with you.” He grins and pulls me into his arms, crushing me to his chest.
My mother leans over me, I watch in the mirror as she pins a stray strand of hair up on top of my head. I wince as the bobby pin scrapes against my skull.
“Sorry darling,” Mum apologizes as she sprays glitter into my hair. I'm practically bouncing on my seat in excitement. I'm finally graduating high school and I'm going to prom with the love of my life.
The doorbell rings downstairs, I can hear my Dad’s heavy footsteps as he walks across the lounge room to answer it. Mum helps me stand and I cautiously descend the stairs in my high heels. My light blue, nearly white dress is tight at the waist and loose around my legs, trailing along behind me. Kristian's face lights up as he sees me. He holds his hand out to help me from the bottom step.
“You look beautiful Jess,” Kristian exclaims as I spin in a circle to show him and my father my sparkling dress.
“You two over by the window, please, so I can take some pictures.” Mum holds up her digital camera and waves her other hand towards the lounge room window. I grab Kristian's hand and drag him over to the window. Dad stands behind Mum and smiles as she starts clicking the camera. I glance up quickly at Kristian and pause. He's watching me; I'm caught in his dark gaze. The rest of the world falls away, leaving only us.
The school gym is decorated in hundreds of neon lights of all different colors, making everyone’s lighter colored clothes glow. My arm is tucked in Kristian's elbow as he leads us through the entry way and towards my group of friends.
“I'll be right back.” He kisses me on the forehead and walks back into the crowd.
“You are so lucky Jess, he's so gorgeous.” Maisy and Jenifer come up on either side of me and sigh dreamily. Jenifer hands me a cup of punch and we all sit down at a small table at the edge of the room.
“Did you hear about Stephanie?” Maisy whispers loudly beside me.
“No, what happened to Steph?” I lean across the table to hear her reply.
“She cheated on Brodie!” Maisy’s eyes go wide and shocked. Beside me, Jenifer gasps. She's had a crush on Brodie since fifth grade, so this is big news for her.
“You should make your move tonight Jen,” I tell her with an encouraging smile.
She looks a little worried. “You think so?”
“Definitely,” Maisy pipes up from across the table. Jenifer stands up hesitantly and searches the dancing masses in the gym. After a moment, she nods to herself and walks through our classmates heading for Brodie. Jake jogs up to the table and grasps Maisy’s hand, twirling her out onto the dance floor.
Kristian stops beside me, his white dress shirt glowing under his jacket. The neon lights around the room make his eyes glitter as he holds out his hand. “Do you want to dance?”
I place my hand in his. “Only if it lasts forever.”

Kristian pulls me through the door and into his room before his family sees me. “I've organized for all of us to go and hang out at the waterfalls for your birthday.”
I smile. “Really.”
“Yes, I'll pick you up from your house tomorrow morning at eight.” He drags me down onto the bed beside him and then pushes me back so he's leaning over the top of me.

Flash, and I'm no longer in Kristian’s room. I can hear the excitement from our group as we walk along the narrow dirt track through the trees to the waterfall that our town was named after. There are about ten of us and we’re all dressed to go swimming and lounge about beside the water.
We emerge from the dense trees and I stop to stare as everyone moves past me. The waterfall is even more beautiful than I remember. The clear water sparkles in the sunlight as it tumbles down the rocks and splashes into the pool below. There are wildflowers growing in patches around the entire clearing, butterflies in all sorts of incredible colors hovering above them.
A small group of us heads up the path to get to the top of the falls so we can have a look at the view.
The trees thin out and the rocks beneath our feet turn into slippery pebbles. Kristian takes a hold of my hand and keeps me steady as we exit the trees and reach the edge of the waterfall. I can see everyone down below us, spreading out, talking and laughing.
 I let go of Kristian’s hand and take a small step closer to peek over the edge.
“Careful Jess,” Kristian warns, from right behind me. The cascading water looks fast as it speeds over the edge and crashes down into the pool. It’s not a huge drop, but it’s big enough to do some damage. I turn slowly to walk back to Kristian.
One minute I'm gazing at his face, the next I'm falling.
My fingers scramble to hold on to the slippery rocks on the side of the waterfall. Kristian's face appears above me, his expression fierce but afraid.
This is the last thing I remember and it is so clear, as if I saw it all in slow motion, every single excruciating detail. Kristian’s dark, glittering eyes open wide in horror. His mouth opens, screaming my name as he reaches for my hand.
I remember the exact moment my fingers give, ripping my fingernails to shreds as they scrape the rocks, my bracelet from Kristian slipping off my wrist as I fall.
The memories come in flashes. They are what I will remember forever.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Add a Comment
21. Monday Mishmash 12/14/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I have a client edit and an edit for Leap to work on this week. I think I'll be getting edits on Up in Flames as well very soon. Eek!
  2. Countdown to Christmas Giveaways!  I'll be counting down the last five days to Christmas by hosting a giveaway a day. Check my Instagram for more info. 
  3. Reading  I've been forcing more reading time into my schedule. Yes, forcing. It's tough to find time to read for pleasure when you are constantly reading for your job. I'm doing it though. lol
  4. Writing Fever  I've been editing a lot lately, and while I love editing, I miss writing. I was driving home last Friday and all I could think about was drafting. I really want to get back to my adult thriller that I've had to put aside several times now.
  5. Into the Fire SWAG  I'm getting my SWAG together for the Into the Fire series, which will release in its entirety in February and March 2016! I'm so excited. I may have gotten some Bird on Fire Jamberry nail wraps for SWAG as well. ;)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Add a Comment
22. Writer Wednesday: Does SWAG Sway You to Read the Book?

I have three books releasing in spring 2016. Three! And while I'm talking about my Into the Fire trilogy, my release dates have changed. Here is the new release schedule:
INTO THE FIRE (book 1) February 16, 2016
OUT OF THE ASHES (book 2) March 22, 2016
UP IN FLAMES (book 3) April 12, 2016

I'm planning for the releases now. And that of course means thinking of SWAG ideas. But it makes me wonder: What do readers love to get as SWAG? What SWAG really grabs your attention and makes you interested in the book? Or is SWAG just fun to win and it doesn't really make you want to read the book?

SWAG can be so different depending on the book. I've given away necklaces, bracelets, pins, bookmarks, trading cards, charms, stickers, folders, pencils... Personally, I like SWAG that people can actually use. But does actually sway you to read the book? I think just like with everything else related to reading, it's subjective. A pretty piece of SWAG or a really different piece of SWAG might get your attention and make you curious about a book. Or you just might really like the SWAG. ;)

So why do authors put time and money into SWAG if it might not lead to readers? Like anything else, it's a way to potentially reach more readers, who may turn into fans. For that reason, I'll ask you, what is your favorite type of SWAG? What kind of SWAG makes you want to win the SWAG and maybe even read the book?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

Add a Comment
23. Art from Özge

  As a follow-up to my Kirkus Q&A last week (here) with Özge Samanci, I’ve got art here today from Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey (Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, November 2015). You can click on each image below (except for the last one and the book cover) to enlarge slightly and see […]

1 Comments on Art from Özge, last added: 12/17/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
24. Friday Feature: Suicide Mission by Sara Schoen

Sara Night lost her family three years ago in a car crash… 

She tried to continue living a normal life, going to school, spending time with friends, and even trying to be a part of the family that took her in. She had almost gotten the hang of it, and moved past the suicide attempt. 


Then she was torn away from her new family, her old life, and thrown into a world of guns, knifes, criminals, and where every mistake could get her killed. She was needed for what seems like an easy in-then-out mission. 

That was until she got caught. 

Sara then had to form an uneasy alliance with a cartel member to escape, which reveals her family’s car crash wasn’t an accident after all. 

Is her new life worth more to her than revenge? 

Or will she die trying to figure out why her family was targeted?

"Reviewed on behalf of 2 girls who love books blog.
Suicide mission by Sara Schoen
I was super impressed with this story from the very opening sentence. It was action packed from start to finish and didn’t leave you disappointed. The story flowed fabulously and is very in depth with its descriptions. The story isn’t dragged out and is very interesting.
It’s a spy story about a young girl who is thrown some of the worst circumstances anyone could only have nightmares about but she overcomes those fears to be recruited by an agency to go from not wanting to live at all to having it all to live for. She comes across secrets that cannot be ignored and has you glued to your kindle to find out what is going to happen.
Then I get to the end and realise the author is just 19 years old! I have to say I would never have expected such mature literature to come from someone so young. DO NOT LET HER AGE PUT YOU OFF. You need to add this book to your TBR list because not matter what genre you really like you will love this story.
I personally will be looking out for more of her work as I just couldn’t get enough.
I rate this story an absolute 5 stars!!!!!!"

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Add a Comment
25. Monday Mishmash 12/21/15

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:

1.  Into the Fire Trilogy Release Date Changes  Limitless Publishing has decided to space my releases out just a bit. All three books in the trilogy will still release in spring 2016. Here's the new schedule:                    
INTO THE FIRE (book 1) February 16, 2016 
OUT OF THE ASHES (book 2) March 22, 2016 
UP IN FLAMES (book 3) April 12, 2016
    2.  Countdown to Christmas Has Begun!  I'm hosting 5 days of giveaways on Instagram. If you don't follow me there already, go here to follow and enter each day to win prizes. Good luck!
      3.  Drafting  I went back to working on my adult thriller. I hit the 50K mark last week. I'm hoping to draft more this week. I've had to put this book aside three times now to work on edits. Maybe I'll finally finish it. I am expecting more edits though. ;)

      4.  A Very Merry Jamberry Christmas  My Facebook Jamberry party was very successful and I got great rewards. Check these out! 

          5.  Christmas  We are hosting Christmas again this year. I'm excited to see my daughter open her gifts. She always has such a smile on her face on Christmas morning. If you celebrate, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. 

          That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

          Add a Comment

          View Next 25 Posts