Showing posts from 2013

Top 10 YA picks of 2013

I thought it would be fun to share my top YA picks for 2013.

There's a little of everything in my list: historical, contemporaries (one that is a road trip in Europe), a vampire dystopia, a scary Stephen King worthy thriller, a what-if twist on Anne Frank's life, an amazing futuristic diverse story, and a memoir just to name a few! So many great reads this year! Right now reading SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins which I know will also be included in this year!

So here's my picks!!

10. MARGOT by Jillian Cantor

A teaser: Emotionally beautiful retelling of the Anne Frank story seen through the eyes of what might have been if the older sister had lived to tell her story.

YABC review:


A teaser: Think Gilmore Girls meets Postcards on the Edge with a sprinkling of Gossip Girl laced with humor and a fab voice. At the end, I had a huge smile and wanted to hug not only the book but all th…

Friday Five

1. Had a great Christmas.

Mom sent me this:

It's a huge Audrey Hepburn blanket throw. Love it!

Had tons of this:

Son got:

Also got to help put together his new computer!

Went and saw this:

Husband and I LOVED it!

2. Read:

I'm a huge fan of THE CHRISTMAS CAROL so I thought I'd read this twist on the tale told through the eyes of Marley. There were some good parts, where we see how Marley and Scrooge's lives entwine in more ways then previously thought. What didn't work had to be all the telling, head-hopping(when the spirits visit Scrooge, they also speak to Marley. Very confusing). Plus, it was a tad bit too preachy for me. Still for those who love Christmas tales, this might be the one for them.

3. Penguin books sent me this one:

This one intrigued me. It's about Mia, a girl that fell down in a well as a child and survived. Now she's attending a very elite private school and a reporter comes to interview her but he's not all he seems. He un…

Friday Five

1. Yesterday was a looong day. Son had his play performance at 4:30PM and since I have to commute to get to his charter school, I ended up hanging around Santa Ana for the day. Did get some revising in(I really need to FINISH this book).

2. Been stressed with all the holidays, family, and other stuff. Need to mediate later today!

3. Finished reading this:

This one surprised me. I usually don't read these types of novels but this one has a great voice. The writing is gripping and fast-paced. I devoured the first book in an afternoon.

4. Also finally got the Demon Trapper's Daughter novella:

Love this series by Jana Oliver so much! So many others have 'tried' to create similar premises in their YA novels but Jana's books are the best!

**Also love how she also was with my former pub, Virtual Tales, and was able to break out into a more traditional publisher. **This gives me hope that if she can do it? So can I!

5. Great deals with Scholastic book clubs!


Dead Jed: Adventures of a Middle School Zombie Review & Giveaway

I'm very excited to be a part of Month9bks tour of DEAD JED: ADVENTURES OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL ZOMBIE

My YA Books Central review:


Jed is a zombie or rather cardiovascularly-challenged teen, who's rapier humor helps him challenge the horrors of middle school. There is so much to love about this book: the humor, the very real situations such as fitting in to asking a girl out on a date. Jed's upbeat 'tude to dealing with such things, including Mean boy Robbie and his goons, give us a hero worth cheering for!


Publication date: December 1, 2013

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-0-9

ISBN eBook: 978-0-939765-56-7

Author: Scott Craven

Dead Jed is Shaun of the Dead meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jed's not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. A…

Friday Five

1. First off, I did it! I finished my Nanowrimo project at a little over 50K!

So book two of the goddesses series is done! Well, the first draft is. I'm putting aside for a few and then will go back and polish it up before sending off to Liz, my publisher.

2. Also been reading through Cybils nominated YA Nonfiction books. Thought I'd share:

One thing that amazed me was how Jane Eyre, had critics when it first was published. Some thought it wasn't appropriate for young ladies to read at that time. Pg. 116 of THE BRONTE SISTERS THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE by Catherine Reef ...Jane Eyre was "an anti-Christian composition" So Jane Eyre was becoming a dangerous book, one that decent mothers forbade their daughters to read.

Fascinating read into the lives of the Bronte sisters who all died too young but left us amazing classic tales.

3. One book that deals with the holocaust:

I loved this retelling of a young boy who survived the Holocaust by bei…


Today I'm excited to share a fun sneak peek of an upcoming Sourcebooks's YA novel!

In FAT BOY VS. THE CHEERLEADERS, Gabe Johnson is waging war against the in-crowd to prove that he is not just some fat boy, but the leader of a revolution. Geoff Herbach is the author of the hilarious novels STUPID FAST and I’M WITH STUPID, which YALSA calls “One of the most real, honest, and still funny male voices to come around in a while.”

And here's the first chapter!

Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders
by Geoff Herbach
Sourcebooks Fire
From: Henry P. Rodriguez, Attorney at Law
Submitted To: Seventh District Court, Otter County
Re: Case No. 1745321—Gardener et al v. MLA Independent School District

Guest blog with Anna Staniszewski, author of The Dirt Diary

I'm excited to host author Anna Staniszewski and her very fun MG book, THE DIRT DIARY.

My YABC review:

Book trailer:

Hi, Anna!

My father was a janitor for a community college when I was in middle school and high school. I love how you give your protagonist's tale an unique twist on how she handles her mother cleaning job.

What was the inspiration behind your story?

A few years ago, I was listening to a story on NPR about teen mortification that mentioned a girl working for her mom’s cleaning business and having to clean her classmates’ houses. When I heard that, a bell started clanging in my head. As I sat down to play with the idea, Rachel’s voice jumped off the page. She told me about the other problems going on in her life (her parents getting divorced, the guy she liked dating her nemesis, etc.) There were a lot of plot threads that were woven in as I continued to work on the story, but the overall idea has st…


Welcome to the MAN MADE BOY blog tour! The son of Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride, 16-year-old Boy has lived his whole life in a secret enclave of monsters hidden beneath a Broadway theater, until he runs away from home after he unwittingly unleashes a sentient computer virus on the world. Together with the granddaughter(s) of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Boy embarks on a journey across the country to L.A. But Boy can only hide from his demons for so long…

**I totally loved this book! My YA Books Central review:

Jon’s Guest Post

On Trolls and Beauty

Boy, like his parents, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride of Frankenstein, is made from dead body parts stitched together. But he doesn’t really think of himself as ugly because he’s grown up in a secret enclave of monsters. He has a completely different standard for beautiful. Which is why he has a crush on a troll girl.

To be fair, the trolls of Man Made …


Cover Reveal Celebration + Giveaway: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen

It’s time to PAR-TAY!

Today we’re celebrating the cover reveal for THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE by MG Buehrlen with a giveaway!

BONUS POINTS: Mention you saw the cover on my blog (when you fill out the giveaway form below) and you can earn extra entries!

Ready to see the cover?



Here it is!

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare

by MG Buehrlen

US Release Date: March 4, 2014
UK Release Date: March 6, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry / Distributed by Random House
ISBN: 9781908844934

I'm so excited for Mandy and CAN'T WAIT TO READ HER BOOK! Mandy rocks big time as the head YA Books Central Ninja. I'm proud to be a part of her cover reveal! Let's just say I expect huge things from this chica! You go, Mandy!

About the Book

One girl. Fifty-seven lives. Endless ways to die.

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like s…

Friday Five

1. Got our first big rain storm here in Southern Ca and guess what happened?

Yeah, water seeped inside our office...again. So frustrating. Husband got one of those extender pipes to help divert water from the add on part of our house. We think we got it in time but still need to call Elwood, my stepdad, for some help on what to do. We're worried we might have a crack in the foundation and have to have it fixed. All I hear is $$$$$$.


2. Good news though is doctor's office called with results of MRI for husband.

He doesn't have cancer!

3. Also this week got some Cybils nominated books!

Really loving being on the YA Non-fiction panel this year. 12 year old LOVES history so guess what he's been doing? Perusing the books too.

Really enjoyed this book:

Loved this behind the scenes life of film maker Andrew Jenks. Shows how he used rejections to fuel him to continue to chase after his dream of being a film maker.


Important short stories on bullying told by…

Poetry Friday: Tortillitas-Traditional + The Mortimer Minute

Last week I was tagged by Little Willow for the Mortimer Minute. This means I get to share a poem today. When I was a bilingual teacher I used TONS of poetry with my students. Some fun ones I used were from the anthology: DIAS Y DIAS DE POESIA edited by Alma Flor Ada. **Loved this author and used tons of her bilingual twists on fairy tales with my students.

So today our poem is:


Tortillitas, tortillitas,
tortillitas para papa
tortillitas para mama
tortillitas de salvado
para papa cuando esta enjado;
tortillitas de manteca
para mama que esta contenta.

In English:

Tiny Tortillas

Tiny tortillas, tiny tortillas
Tiny tortillas for daddy;
Tiny tortillas for mommy.
Bran tortillas
For daddy when he is mad;
Butter tortillas
For mommy when she is glad

In the Latino-American communities, this is a traditional poem. I loved using it with my first graders as they picked up on the rhyming patterns which helped with learning to read in their native language which was Spanish.


Friday Five

1. Around 2ish last Friday, husband said he got a strange ringing in his right ear and couldn't hear anything out of it. He said he'd had similar things happen and it 'cleared' up within a few hours. Well, it didn't so we had to go to urgent care. They didn't do much so we had to wait until Monday to see regular doctor. Long story short, that doctor told us he should have been placed on steroids ASAP. Two days later he went to a specialist who said that there is a 72 hr window of time with issues like this and we just made it. Needless to say I called insurance company and filed a complaint against the urgent care. So scary. Now he needs to have a MRI and see another specialist to check to see if he has any hearing loss. Just shows how everything can change in a blink of an eye.

2. I'm doing Nanowrimo this year! I'm @ixtumea over there if you want to friend me! The project I'm working on is the second book in the contracted Goddesses seri…