Showing posts from 2017

Cybils' Five-12-22-17

**This week started with me spraining my toe and then getting a cold. I couldn't go to yoga or run, but I was able to read more Cybils' nominated books!

Here's this week's round-up:

1. PIECING ME TOGETHER by Renee Watson:

Moving tale of Jade who feels the way out of her poor neighborhood is to do well in school. Then an opportunity comes her way-Woman to Woman, a mentorship program that promises a scholarship if she joins. This story shows a strong community and a protagonist who breaks the usual trite stereotypes. Explores themes of police brutality; race, privilege, and also friendship.

2. AMERICAN STREET by  Ibi Zoboi

This one shows us a Haitian teen's experience in the United States after her mother is detained and threatened to be send back.  Fabiola ends up living with her cousins and her aunt. There's magical realism throughout this story, but mostly one of the power of family.

3.  LITTLE & LION by Brandy Colbert

Kuddos on this author NAILING what's i…

Cybils' Five 12-15-17

This week's picks include a girl who accidentally gets locked in a library during a holiday weekend with a 'bad' boy;  a modern-day twist on The Canterbury Tales;  a teen's journey during the aftermath of Hurricane Karina; and a tale exposing injustices in a small Canadian town.

1.  BY YOUR SIDE by Kasie West

Sweet tale of what happens after a girl finds out a so-called bad boy isn't all that during their time locked together in a library. Also does a great job portraying a teen dealing with anxiety.


This novel has ten different POVs written by different YA authors. Think YA meets a modern day Canterbury Tales only send in a youth correction camp. **One of my favorite's has to be YA author Suzanne Young's take of a teen who is sent on this wilderness retreat after she refuses to bow down to the school dress code that only seems to penalize girls and not boys.

3.  BETWEEN TWO SKIES by Joanne O'Sullivan

CROSSED FIRE (Book 2 Crossed series) & giveaway!

I'm excited to announce that the sequel to CROSSED OUT is now out!

Here's the cover:

The blurb:

Stephanie Stewart is a typical sixteen-year-old girl—she loves hanging out with her friends, going to concerts, and sipping mocha lattes. Yup. Just your average teenager . . . Except for one difference—she can see and talk to the dead. In fact, Stephanie helps dead girls who who’ve been murdered or killed, cross over. Just as Stephanie is getting used to her unique “gift”, her mom stumbles into some dangerous witchcraft that backfires and triggers similar abilities in Stephanie’s best friend Cura, and nemesis Hillary.

Stephanie already has enough trouble trying to maintain a “normal” life between school and her cute boyfriend Dylan, who happens to have a supernatural talent all his own. But now she has to help her friend Cura and her “frenemy” Hillary cope with their new-found powers as well as cross over two murdered cheerleaders and battle an evil demon who wants to use…

Cybils Five--December 8, 2017

This week's Cybils theme has to be diversity:

I've always been a big proponent for having books that mirror us. When I was a bilingual teacher back in the 90s and early 00s, there wasn't much out there for those who shared my students and my own Mexican heritage.

Which is why I'm so HAPPY that more books are now coming out that showcase different cultures/heritages.

1.  YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Mitali Perkins

There is so much to love about this multi-generational tale of five women. It deals with immigration and shows how hard it is to acclimate into a different country and the prejudices/ racism that follows. I really loved this book something fierce. I especially loved the story of the sisters, Sarah and Tara. 
2. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon

This story deals with two very different teens who just happen to run into each other on a busy New York City street. Natasha and her family are to be deported back to Jamaica after her father is arrested for a DUI…

Cybils' Five-12/1/17

For the rest of this year I plan to report the 5 or more nominated Cybils' books I've read for the week.  I will share trends I'm seeing too.

Here we go!

1. Okay, I'm totally seeing a trend for this year in YA fiction. One has to be the theme of adoption.

Maybe it's based on the fab TV series THIS IS US.

But there's always been the topic of teen pregnancy. We adopted our son when he was 2 days old. His birthmother was 14 years old. His birth father was 16 and on the high school football team.

So, I have personal experience with this theme from the adoptive parent's point of view. Also part of our training to adopt involved many in services, attending birthmother panels(most were teens), and other things to help us with adoption.

One thing I have to say is this crop of books that deals with adoption are freakin' amazing.

Read this one this week and LOVED IT SOMETHING FIERCE:

A novel filled with hope, pain, sadness, and love. Coming of age tale that shows …

Friday Five

1. For Thanksgiving had my younger brother, his wife, and two kids over for dinner.

With his 10 year old cousin. 
 2. Up to 39K on my NaNowrimo project! Really excited about it! This one is not YA, but a romance set in Italy.

Been researching Italian foods! Remembering Grandpa Consoli's authentic Italian cooking. Omg, he used to make the most amazing spaghetti with fist sized meatballs.  Plus, he added red wine in EVERYTHING!
3. Cybils' teasers for this week include a modern-day YA meets Judy Blume's FOREVER, desaparecidos   (missing girls) in Juarez,  Mexico,  to one that deals with 9-11 conspiracies.
This is an edgy modern day meets Judy Blume (think FOREVER) with a girl dealing with her sexuality in a frank way. This one I do have to give a warning on with it's scenes at a high kill animal shelter. This book reminds me of some books that 'tried' to deal with a girl and her sexuality when I was a teen, but fell short.
This one deals with desaparecidos, m…

Friday Five

1. Been working hard on my NaNowrimo project. Now I'm at Act 2 of the story in which Sammi takes matters into her own hands and goes to Italy to uncover the mystery behind her beloved grandmother's past.

Plan to write out my story line and take to critique group next Wednesday night. Lou, my writing mentor, told me she's excited to see what I have. Plus, I really need some help brainstorming what goes on in Act 2 and Act 3 of my story. What does Sammi find out about her grandmother? In the process of that discovery, it will unleash her own resistance to moving forward in her life.

Samantha 'Sammi'


Lucca, Italy

2. Also been reading TONS due to the Cybils. Here's some teasers of books I read this week:

 I really loved this story about a girl who struggles with her faith after her mother's cancer comes back.  What's really great about this story is it shows the conflicts, struggles in a realistic light and how the protagonist learns from what'…

Friday Five

1. Going to leave little teasers on my NaNowrimo project:

My story is set in a small town in Italy. Here's my Grandpa Console who's father fled the Black Shirts(Mafia) and immigrated to the states where he ended up opening a very successful ranch where Grandpa would escort silent movie stars. His Mexican mother made authentic Mexican and Italian dishes.  I remember some of Grandpa's Sicilian dishes which he almost always put tons of red wine in.

**Guess what I'll be mentioning in this novel?

2. Been practicing yoga which has been helping with my anxiety attacks.

3. Still working on this revision. For sure, will query again in January.

4. Some more teasers of Cybils' nominated books I've been reading. But first an observation. I've been noticing more 18 year old protagonists in the books I've been reading.  Hmm, wonder if this is a new trend?


Kuddos to Miller for addressing the topic of food disorders for boys. As a moth…

Friday Five

1.  Love this altar that Angie, my sister-in-law, put together for Dia de Los Muertos. Angie is a Mexican national and celebrates this day. Love what she did for Mom.

She added some of Mom's favorite foods which were Sees chocolates and Pepsi.

If you don't know what this holiday is(and NO it's not just the 'cool' skeletons in stores) here's a link:

2. I'm doing NaNoWrimo this year!

Here's a teaser of my project:

I'm @ixtumea over there!

3.  Here's some teasers on some Cybils nominated books I've read this week:

This is a cute, sweet romance of overachiever seventeen-year-old Desi Lee who succeeds on just about everything, except cute boys. When she watches K dramas with her dad and realizes there's a formula, she writes it down and puts it to work in her own life. Really loved the voice on this one!


I really love Crissa's writing and in this novel readers get a glimpse into the world of the Amish. Lucy can't wait when the Old …