Wednesday, February 27, 2013


You know that author I'm super fangirly over? Trish Doller? Something Like Normal? Yeah. You know her, right?? (If you don't, I will probably hunt you down and read Something Like Normal out loud to you.)

So her new book, Where The Stars Still Shine, comes out in May and I'm starting to get super excited about it. I won a sneak peek contest to read the first chapter--and you guys, IT'S SOOOO GOOD. Really good. Oh-my-God-please-can-I-one-day-write-like-this good.

So here's the cover. Because, you know. It's super gorgeous and I can't wait to read it and have more reasons to threaten people to read Trish's work (*ahem* Aaron.)

PS- Trish, I am officially giving you your own label because I blog about you too much and it took me 10 minutes to find all the links.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Writers Like Us - Rebecca Serle

I'm super excited to have Rebecca Serle on the blog today. I love a good retelling and Rebecca's book, WHEN YOU WERE MINE, is a modern recounting of Romeo and Juliet—from Juliet’s cousin Rosaline's point of view!

Her answers are below in bold. Let us know what makes Rebecca like you in the comments.

Rebecca on Writing
  • I've written 6 books, and 1 has seen the light of day, but there are more of those coming, so... :)
  • My favorite type of scene/character/setting to write is I write realistic fiction. I like to set things in high school. I love all of the opportunities a school setting provides...and my next book takes place in NYC. That was pretty fun to write, too. Type of character? I like to write them all! 
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with PLOT. 
  • A typical comment from my critique parnter is "why is everyone looking at each other so damn much?"
  • The book I wished I wrote is Harry Potter. Honestly-- is there another answer to that question? If so, I'm not aware of it. 

Rebecca on Getting Published
  • If my agent really knew how crazy I was, s/he would find out absolutely nothing. My agent knows that I am BANANAS. 
  • When I was querying, I felt lucky. I didn't take the traditional route. I already knew my agent, and she loved When You Were Mine on the first read. 
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was I can sleep now. It was a week of insanity, followed by one very stressful auction day. I was elated and exhausted. 
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I screamed and called my mom. 
Rebecca on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a yoga teacher or exercsie instructor. I really love yoga and spinning, and I get some of my best ideas when I'm working out.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of being a terrible writer. I don't think that ever goes away. And losing people I love. In life, that is my greatest fear. 
  • My secret girlfriend/boyfriend is -- hey, if I told you, it wouldn't be so secret anymore... ;) 
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I have rock concerts in my apartment.

Rebecca Serle is a full-time writer, which means she gets to wear pajamas to work. She went to the University of Southern California, then got her MFA from the New School in NYC. (She likes New York much more than LA, but don’t tell anyone that.) Rebecca loves shiny hair, coffee, yoga, and pretending to be British. She, too, experienced heartbreak once. It worked out okay, though, because she turned the experience into this book. When You Were Mine is her first novel.

Friday, February 22, 2013

And the YA Oscar goes to...

I'll admit it, I haven't seen any movies this year. No, wait. I saw Magic Mike (Does that surprise you? It probably shouldn't). Okay, so what I mean is I haven't seen any Oscar-worthy movies. Although, if anyone deserves an award for dancing around to dubstep, it's Channing.


That's why I wanted to pass out some YA Oscars to the books I think deserve them most. So without further adieu...

Best Use of a Kissing Scene Ten Pages Into a Book goes to...
Jodi Meadows, Asunder

Yes, it's true. Kissing. Ten pages in. If that's not enough to make you go pick this book up, I don't know what is. Oh, how about dragons and sylphs and reincarnation?

No? Dragons and sylphs and reincarnation doesn't do it for you? How about kissing. Ten pages in. Jodi Meadows delivers.

Oh, but make sure you pick up Incarnate first. There's kissing...and honey. (I made that sound so much dirtier than it really is.)

From GoodReads: Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.
In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

Best Forbidden Romance to Blossom in a Make-Shift Igloo goes to...
Elizabeth LaBan, The Tragedy Paper

I *LOVED* this book. I fell in love with it as soon as Tim and Vanessa met while waiting to board their flight to boarding school. Due to a weather delay, they agree to share a hotel room for the night until they can board the next plane first thing in the morning--but not before Vanessa convinces Tim to go out and play in the snow with her. I loved, loved, loved the igloo scene. It was sweet and heartfelt and thoughtful. And I think you should read it ASAP.

From GoodReadsTim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

Best Writing of a Literary Character Who is So Hot, I Want Him to Say Completely Inappropriate Things to Me goes to...
Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Oh. My. God. Noah Shaw. Why did I not know about Noah Shaw before I did my Top 5 Book Boyfriends post?? He would be in my Top 3 for sure (don't worry John After and Travis, you are both safe!). When I tweeted about my love for Noah, I was shocked to see so many people chime in. Basically, the consensus is that his smart mouth, cocky swagger, and complete inability to iron his clothes makes everyone fall head-over-heels. I don't even care what wildly inappropriate thing he says.

Also, can we just admire how gorgeous this cover is?

From GoodReadsMara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

Best I Hate You, Now Kiss Me goes to...
Katie McGarry, Pushing The Limits

I am such a fan of romances in which the couples are so equally broken and bruised, and they hate each other so much but can't resist each other. Noah and Echo deliver just enough mutual hatred that you're practically salivating for them to just hook up already. Katie McGarry doesn't disappoint. (And this is so not a spoiler because look at the cover. LOOK AT IT. --->)

From GoodReadsNo one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Best Face Punch goes to...
Trish Doller, Something Like Normal

Did you think I'd not give an Oscar to my all-time favorite book ever?! I've raved about this book. I've threatened bodily harm to people who don't read this book. Trish Doller possibly has a fan-girl restraining order out on me (no, not really. Right Trish?) So with keeping with my own violent tendencies when it comes to this book, the scene in which Harper punches Travis in the face is my all-time favorite scene. Who can resist a good face punching scene? Not me. And neither can the YA Academy.

From GoodReads: When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

Those are my YA Oscars. Who would you give one to? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Writers Like Us - Kristina McBride

I'm super excited to have Kristina McBride on the blog today. If you like your contemporaries to be heartbreaking, romantic, and wrapped in mystery, you have to check out Kristina's books ONE MOMENT and THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES.

Her Writers Like Us answers are below in bold. Let us know what makes Kristina like you in the comments.

Kristina on Writing
  • I've written 6 books, and 2 have seen the light of day. There are also some partials to add into the mix, but I’ve lost count of those.
  • My favorite type of scene/character to write is something with a pretty sharp edge. I love tense scenes with surprising twists and characters who act in ways that are not quite expected.
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with the waiting. It’s a HUGE part of the publication process – waiting for feedback from my agent, editorial notes from my editor, news that I’m finally finished with revisions, cover comps, etc. Seeing as how I’m not very patient, all of the waiting nearly kills me.
  • The books I wish I written are Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The List by Siobhan Vivian, Wonder by RJ Palacio (NO way I can list just one, so I selected a title from different age levels.)
Kristina on Getting Published
  • If my agent really knew how crazy I was, she would find out … I’m pretty sure that there is no way to hide my kind of crazy. My agent is well aware of my level of insanity and deserves major props for her handling techniques.
  • When I was querying, I felt like I would NEVER, EVER land an agent. (But then I did! Persistence is the key to so many things in life.)
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was mass querying a letter that wasn’t quite polished enough.
  • The craziest thought I've ever had while writing or querying or subbing or being published is … The craziest? Oh, I just can’t. All the possible answers floating to the surface right now are a little too crazy on the Crazy Scale.
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was, “No flipping way I’m answering the phone. Whoever it is can just wait.” Why was this my first thought? When my agent called with the news of my first sale, I was struggling to bathe two toddlers after a full day at the swimming pool. They were slippery and slithery and screaming. I was tired and cranky and NOT in the right mindset to answer the phone. Imagine my surprise when I listened to my voice mail. My stress instantly flipped over to excitement.
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I smiled. (I’m kind of low key when it comes to celebrating.)
Kristina on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a crazy person sitting on the side of some random street talking to myself. Writing keeps me sane. (Okay, semi-sane. I’ve already established my level of insanity. But it’s an insanity that works for me.)
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of everything. My mind tends to go to all the wrong places in any given situation. I tell myself it’s a survival skill that I’ve honed to perfection – I’ll always be ready for any disaster, no matter how big or small, right?
  • My secret boyfriend is John Cusack. (Without the Scottish accent that Mara Purnhagen ordered up. For the record, I’ll fight her for him – those zombie hunting talents don’t scare me one bit.) But I also have this thing for Atticus Finch.
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I talk to myself. Or the TV. (And I’m totally okay with that fact.)

Kristina McBride, a former English teacher and yearbook advisor, dreamed of being a published author since she was a child and lived across the street from a library. Kristina has published two novels for young adults - The Tension of Opposites (May 2010) and One Moment (June 2012). She lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children. Visit her online at

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Writers Like Us - Jennifer Echols

Whenever I read author interviews, I'm always looking for that one thing that tells me whatever it is I'm going through–rejection or acknowledgment or insecurity or excitement–is totally normal and just a part of the process. I want to know what makes that author like me.

Jennifer Echols, author of just about every single one of my favorite YA romances (GOING TOO FAR, SUCH A RUSH, THE ONE THAT I WANT, ENDLESS SUMMER, and LOVE STORY) and creator of just about everyone's favorite book boyfriend is here this week! Her new book, DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, is out in July.

Her answers are below in bold. Let us know what makes Jennifer like you in the comments.

Jennifer on Writing
  • I've written 23 books, and 9 have seen the light of day, but 4 more will see the light of day this year, and 1 next year. Which leaves only 9 sad, unpublished manuscripts under the bed.
  • My favorite type of scene to write is dialogue-heavy. In fact, the editor for my first book, Major Crush, asked me if I had worked as a screenwriter, because the book had so much dialogue. I had to go in and add more of everything else!
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with public appearances. I just spent 5 hours at a book fair yesterday and had to lie down afterward. I can pretend to be extroverted for short stretches, but it takes a lot out of me.
  • A typical comment from my critique partner, Victoria Dahl, is “HAHAHA.” She makes me feel like a million bucks, laughing at my manuscripts, but when it comes to line edits, she’s actually useless. What she’s so good at is pre-writing, setting up a story. Nobody knows the romance genre better than she does.
  • The book I wished I wrote is Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Spirit and Dust, which is coming out this year, or her hilarious Texas Gothic, which you can get right now.
Jennifer on Getting Published
  • When I was querying, I felt frustrated. However, there was no internet, and the typical wait time for a response was three months to one year. All hail the internet!
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was letting the description of the book feel like work. The description should look like the summary on the back cover of a book in the book store. It should draw the reader in and make her want to buy it. You’re trying to give the agent or editor the same feeling you get when you’re standing in the store, reading back covers, and thinking I MUST HAVE THIS.
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was, “Finally.”
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I printed it out and taped it above my computer.
Jennifer on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I would still be a freelance copyeditor for medical research articles. I loved that job, and I will try to go back to it if my writing career ever goes south. Writing novels is the best job in the world, but anything else working with words definitely comes in second for me, and I was grateful to have an editing career.
Jennifer Echols is an American writer of romantic fiction for young adults. A former newspaper editor, college teacher, and freelance copyeditor, Echols now writes full time. She lives in Alabama, where she was born, with her husband and son.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Writers Like Us - Megan Miranda

Whenever I read author interviews, I'm always looking for that one thing that tells me whatever it is I'm going through–rejection or acknowledgment or insecurity or excitement–is totally normal and just a part of the process. I want to know what makes that author like me.

Megan Miranda, author of FRACTURE (which was one of my Favorite Books of 2012!) is here this week, and it just so happens that her new book, HYSTERIA, is out today! I've been looking forward to this one for a while. If you like psychological thrillers and paranormals, Megan has the perfect amount of creepy to make your pulse race.

Her answers are below in bold. Let us know what makes Megan like you in the comments.

Megan on Writing
  • I've written 3 complete books, and 3 have seen the light of day (or are under contract to). BUT. I have about 6 partials that never made it anywhere… and many drafts that got trashed along the way to those 3 complete books.
  • My favorite type of scene to write is something tense and angsty.
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with staying on the right side of the intriguing/confusing line.
  • A typical comment from my critique partner is I am confused.
  • The book I wished I wrote is GONE GIRL.
Megan on Getting Published
  • If my agent (or editor) really knew how crazy I was, s/he would find out that they are indeed correct. I have a feeling that over the last few years, they’ve already begun to suspect.
  • When I was querying, I felt equal parts excited and nauseous. No, more like 90/10 in the favor of nausea.
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was querying about 2 drafts too soon.
  • The craziest thought I've ever had while writing is this is going to get easier, right?? (Answer: not so much.)
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was did that really just happen??
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I giggled. (This is pretty much my go-to reaction, usually inappropriately so, for anything outside of my comfort zone)

Megan on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be…on career number 3, whatever that might be.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of everything. But mostly clowns, thunderstorms, and 95% of animals.
  • My secret girlfriend/boyfriend is A SECRET.
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I sing. If I try to do this when people are around, they quickly ask me to stop. My own children, included.

Megan Miranda is the author of Fracture and Hysteria. She spends a great deal of time thinking about the “why” and “how” of things, which leads her to get carried away daydreaming about the “what-ifs.” She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Currently Reading - February 2013

My January reading game plan was fairly on. Not only did I burn my way through Jennifer Echols' ENDLESS SUMMER and the fabulous Jodi Meadows' ASUNDER, but I also read Cora Carmack's LOSING IT (omg, HOT!) and Katie McGarry's PUSHING THE LIMITS (*flail* new favorite!)

So this month, I'm reading...

Michelle Hodkin's THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER: Okay, I'm on board. I've been holding onto this one for far too long, and I really, really want to read it. I have a feeling I'm going to love this whole series.

Elizabeth LaBan's THE TRAGEDY PAPER: I waited until this month because some of us at the Strothman Agency wanted to read it together for our impromptu book club. However, I am so super excited to read this one (finally!).

Huntley Fitzpatrick's MY LIFE NEXT DOOR: I've had this book on the top of my TBR forever, and *hint, hint* she'll be making an appearance on my blog soon. I'm super excited about this one because it's come up as a reco for summer romance, and I love summer romance!

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Valerie has read 3 books toward her goal of 50 books.

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