Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Release Day to Frozen

Bad news: It’s April 15 and you’ll be forking over your savings to Uncle Sam. Good news: It’s April 15 and my friend Erin Bowman’s Frozen releases today. I’m so excited (for the book, not the giving of my money), and you should be, too. The book is a great follow up to Erin’s debut, Taken. (My review for that is here.)

I read it back when the title aptly described the landscape outside my window so I got the whole immersive book experience. Seriously, Gray and the gang’s trek through freezing, icy terrain was a little too realistic during this never-ending winter. My ears were freezing while I read it, and I was yelling for Gray to put on his damn hat. The trek is necessary, though, because Gray and his band of rebels believe there are people in abandoned Group A who may help their cause.

I loved the twists and turns. In a world of forgeries, it’s hard to know who’s real and who’s a reproduction. I also liked Gray’s romance with Bree and the confusion he feels over Emma’s betrayal.

But my favorite part of the novel is Jackson and his relationship with a little boy they find along the way. The way he grows, both through the relationship with this boy and as a person (yes, as a person), was absolutely wonderful. The ending was great, but—and not to get spoilery—you are a cruel, cruel woman, Bowman.

On a whole a great second book in a suspenseful dystopian series.

What spring release are you most excited to read?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: One, Two Three

Hello, friends. It’s been a while, I know. Seems my wrists weren’t too happy with the work I put in on my WIP and protested with serious aching. I’m not sure if they’re sprained or if I have carpal tunnel, but the result is the same: typing hurts.

Which is why I’ve been MIA. I wanted to give my wrists some time to rest before I start tidying up my WIP or working on a new project. I’ve also been wearing the latest fashion accessory because I am cooler than cool.

But I’m taking a break from my break-taking to reveal the cover of a coming-soon YA contemporary romance by my friend Elodie Nowodazkij. (Publishing June 26, 2014.) Check out the cover and synopsis for One, Two, Three, then enter to win some great prizes.

When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.
 Last year, Natalya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive. 
But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career. 
At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present, and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell. 
But when upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself. 
Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?
I personally can’t wait until this comes out! Here’s a little info about the author:

Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the U.S., where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Germany with her husband and their cat (who doesn’t seem to realize he’s not human), and use her commuting time to write the stories swirling in my head. She’s also a serial smiley user. One, Two, Three is her first novel.

LEARN MORE: Elodie’s website | Twitter | Goodreads author page | Add the book to Goodreads | Learn more about her upcoming releases by subscribing to her newsletter

Now, for a chance to win a signed copy of One, Two, Three, an ARC of the book, or other great prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A New Series to Start


Hey guys! Just a quick note to let you know I’m over at YA Confidential today reviewing a series I love: Scarlet and Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen. Check it out here!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Read, Set, Goal

A couple weeks ago I joined the YA Buccaneers in a writing boot camp, which is the only type of boot camp I will ever join, mostly because I am not insane. If you haven’t heard of the YA Buccaneers blog, you can check it out here. Who are they? A bunch of cool writers with eye patches and peg legs who punctuate their speech with words like “arrrgh!”

Anyhow, they’re hosting a writing boot camp, which I joined (go Team Defiance!) because there’s nothing I love more than accountability with writing goals. That’s a much kinder way of saying I’m weak and need others to force me to work.

Instead of writing, I’ve been revising because that stage of my process is never-ending. Good boot camp members have been posting their goals and progress to their blogs. I forgot rebelled. (Then again, kids get sent to boot camp for rebelling so it seems almost fitting.)

Anyhow, my goal in joining the boot camp was to finish this set of revisions before sending my MS off to one more round of beta readers. I also wanted to finalize a query and synopsis. So far, I’ve written a query and synopsis and made the biggest revisions to my MS.

This week, I have some very specific goals:
  1. Critique a friend’s query.
  2. Finish read-through for pacing then send MS to betas.
  3. Revise query and send to readers.
  4. Attempt to make synopsis not suck.
  5. Attempt not to slam head into desk while working on synopsis.

I’m pretty sure I can handle numbers one through four.

In other news, last night I heard about this writing goal–setting program from Liz Briggs’s blog and decided to try it out. It’s called myWriteClub, and lets you create all sorts of goals, track them, and keep up with friends’ goals. Anyone use it?  (I’m traceyneithercott on there if you do.)

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bookanistas Review: Better Off Friends

Sometimes I get in a certain kind of book-reading mood. I don’t want anything heavy. I don’t want anything complex. I don’t even want beautiful words that make me envious as a writer. I just want something happy.

Like hot chocolate after playing in the snow.

With marshmallows.

The good kind, not the microscopic pellets that come in the pack.

The book equivalent: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg.

I’m a sucker for best-friends-in-love stories, but even if I were tired of such storylines I’d have found this book adorable. This isn’t an issue book. It isn’t deep and meaningful. It won’t rip your heart out or change the way you view literature. It’s fast—get upset in the morning and you can breeze through this and be smiling by dinnertime. It’s light, kind of like cotton candy. I mean that in the best way possible.

The book is told from the POV of Levi and Macallan, from seventh grade through their junior year. With so few pages, I was worried the story may feel rushed, but it was perfectly paced. The characters were loveable, the conflict real without being too intense, and the romance? Gah, the romance was flippin’ perfect.

The end-of-chapter discussions between present-day Levi and Macallan were funny and sweet and totally adorable.

And, no, there is no limit to the amount of times I can use the word adorable in this review because it’s about the best adjective to describe every aspect of the book. I dare you to read this without a smile on your face.

Here’s what the other Bookanistas are reviewing today:

What’s your favorite best-friends-in-love story?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: The Embarassing Confession

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk for like-minded writers to meet and encourage one another. Everything you ever wanted to know about it (now, with 50 percent more!) is right here.

What I’m Reading: I’m kinda on fire. I mean, I’m always literally on fire, which is pure joy. But I’m also metaphorically on fire when it comes to reading good books. This seems even sweeter because it’s following a string of books that completely and utterly sucked.

Thankfully, I picked up Lady Thief, the follow up to A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet. I loved it for all of the reasons I loved the first: a vivid setting, characters who feel like friends, and the way Scarlet speaks, which should be bothersome to read but really flows so perfectly.

I also read Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory, which I will say absolutely nothing about because it’ll be better for you that way. Trust me, it’s good. Just skip reviews and go into it knowing nothing.

Most recently I read a beta draft of Alison Miller’s current story and laughed my abs firm. Thankfully, Alison has shared a particularly hilarious excerpt on her blog. Seriously—go read it.

What I’m Writing: So I’ve basically been MIA on this blog, but it’s not because I don’t adore you. I do. But the reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I was finishing revisions on my sci-fi mystery WIP. [Insert uplifting music here.] It’s off with beta readers now, so naturally I’m spending the time finding plot holes and inconsistencies in my current draft. Next up: I’ll jump back in for another revision based off of reader comments. Which I’m hoping aren’t “Please try again.” I’ve also been writing my query and synopsis. And plotting my own assassination.

On that lovely note, have a pig in a bath:


What’s Inspiring Me: I would seriously be going out of my mind if it weren’t for Susan Dennard’s synopsis guide. She brilliantly breaks a one-page synopsis down so you can write it without drowning your inadequacies in a lethal combination of salt, fat, and sugar.

And now for a confession I’m somewhat afraid of putting on my blog. This is a serious matter. It might change how you see me forever. But here it goes:

For a while now I’ve been singing a certain song by some band I didn’t know. And I liked it. A lot. It kind of reminded me of a story idea I had, so I’ve been listening to it for inspiration. A lot.

And then I discovered the group. And yet I still really, really like the song. I’m not proud of this.

I also can’t get the song out of my head. Now excuse me while I find something salty, fatty, and sugary in which to drown my shame. 

What’s the most embarrassing song or movie you absolutely love?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Review: Counting to D

The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.
I’m not sure what to be more amazed by: the description of dyslexia presented in this book that’s so different from what I imagined dyslexia is or the fact that author Kate Scott is dyslexic herself and was functionally illiterate for the first twenty years of her life. 

So here’s what I thought before I read Counting to D: People with dyslexia mix up letters, so dyslexia might appear as dyslxeia. But that’s now how it works, which Sam explains during the course of Counting to D. (Read Scott’s description of dyslexia here.) This was an interesting look at someone with a learning disability that’s often misunderstood.

What I loved was Sam’s natural smarts (she’s practically a math genius) in contrast to her inability to read. To fit in with the brainy crowd at her new school—and to keep the cute valedictorian from thinking her stupid—she hides her dyslexia. But as the story goes on, she shares some of her struggles with Nate and a reading teacher she’s forced to see. Through that, I got to learn how dyslexia works. It was fascinating to watch Sam learn the alphabet and struggle to identify an S or a B. That, I think, is the novel’s strength: revealing a learning disability that so many people misunderstand. It’s clear Scott understands dyslexia—not just that she’s done her research, which she obviously has, but that she’s struggled with it herself.

Sam’s narration slips into a teaching mode a little too often (she’s very wise and self-aware for a teen) and the conflict is resolved pretty easily, but the romance is cute and the story has a nice moral for teens: You can be both brilliant and illiterate. Your faults (or strengths!) don’t define you.

Anyone know of any other YA or MG books that focus on dyslexia?

An ARC of the book was provided in exchange for an honest review.