Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eyecatcher: The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall

The Waking: Dreams of the Dead
by Thomas Randall

Bloomsbury USA
ISBN: 9781599902500
Release Date: September 29, 2009

from the author's site:

Kara Foster thinks the hardest thing about moving to Japan will be fitting in as an outsider. But dark secrets are stirring at her new school. When Kara befriends Sakura, a fellow outsider whose rebellious nature sets her apart from the crowd, she learns that Sakura's sister was the victim of an unsolved murder on school grounds. And before long, terrible things begin to happen.

It starts with nightmares - strange, otherworldly dreams that wake Kara in terror every night. Then more students start turning up dead, with strange marks on their bodies. Is Sakura getting revenge on those she suspects are responsible for her sister's death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

This first book in a frightening new trilogy will have teens glued to the page and scared to go to sleep.

why it caught my eye:

This is actually one that I found from a Publisher's Weekly review. We have a subscription at work and I love flipping through the reviews to see what they're talking about. I like to make my own opinions about books, but PW is great for letting me know about books that I probably would not have found on my own. I hoping to pick up a copy of this one later this week when I get paid. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Recommend Wednesday

So we're only 2 days away from Christmas. Anyone else giving out books as gifts this year? I always do, but I don't suppose that's too surprising since I work in a bookstore. :)

What books do you recommend as gifts this year?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eyecatcher: Bite Me by Melissa Francis

Bite Me
by Melissa Francis

ISBN: 9780061430985
Release Date: July 28, 2009

from the author's site:

AJ Ashe isn’t your typical seventeen-year-old vampire—as if there is such a thing. Her ex-boyfriend—whom she’s still totally in love with—is now her stepbrother. A former classmate—who, um, she may or may not have turned into a vampire—is stalking her. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. Whatever happened to the good old days when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her taste for blood?

why it caught my eye:

Melissa Francis is another author I found thanks to Twitter. :) I've been meaning to check out this book for some time now. I just love a good vampire story and this sure looks like one. Here's hoping it's waiting under the tree for me this week.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush
by Becca Fitzpatrick

Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781416993551
Release Date: Ocober 13, 2009

from the author's site:

Falling in love was never so easy . . .

or so deadly.

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

my thoughts:

Hush, Hush had me hooked from the first page. Becca Fitzpatrick has created an amazing world that I can't wait to visit again. Patch had me intrigued from the get go; I was hoping he was going to be good in the end, but I really couldn't be sure. All around Nora it was hard to know who she should trust. Strange events are happening all around her and even as the reader you aren't sure if it really happened or if Nora is losing her mind.

For me the relationship between Nora and Patch was rather reminiscent of Deirdre and Luke from Maggie Stiefvater's Lament. So if you're a fan of Maggie you should definitely check out Becca. I can't wait to see more. I fear next Fall may be too long to wait for the follow-up story Crescendo, but I guess I'll just have to be patient.

Hush, Hush is a book that you really need to check out for yourself. I absolutely loved it, and I flew right through the pages. I highly recommend adding this one to your TBR pile right away.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Recommend Wednesday

Hello all! How are my lovely readers doing on this fine Wednesday? :) I don't have any specific topic for the recommendations this week. I just want to know what all of you are recommending these days.

I'm currently reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I'm totally loving it, watch for a review to come as soon as I get it finished. :) After that the next book in my ever-growing review pile is The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. I can't wait.

So what are all of you reading? What should I be reading?

P.S. You may have noticed that there are now 2 HeatherMarie's listed in the authors. Those are both me. :) I wound up with 2 different Google accounts and in an effort to quit confusing myself I've made both accounts authors on the blog.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eyecatcher: Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

Dreaming Anastasia
by Joy Preble

ISBN: 9781402218170
Release Date: September 1, 2009

from the publisher's site:

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

why it caught my eye:

Just look at that cover, wouldn't it catch yours? This was another book that caught my attention while I was re-shelving other books at work. So I picked it up and I'm rather intrigued by the plot. There has been a lot of speculation about what happened to Anastasia Romanov over the years, so I'm really curious to see where Joy Preble takes this story. I didn't catch this one in time to add it to my Christmas wishlist, but maybe I'll be able to pick up a copy with some Christmas spending money. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You Recommend Wednesday: Holiday Edition

Hey all! It's that time of year. Well, first it's that time of week. It's Wednesday and since I'm getting back into the swing of things that means it's time for you to tell me what to read.

My question for you this week is:

What holiday themed YA novels do you recommend?

Leave a comment letting me know what I should read. Who knows? Your recommendations could become Tuesday Eyecatchers, or even get reviewed here at Want My YA. :)

And if I don't say so before then, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eyecatcher: Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

Never Cry Werewolf
by Heather Davis

ISBN: 9780061349232
Release Date: September 1, 2009

from the author's site:

"Moonlight can totally change your life.
And it all starts so simply.
You. Him. The moon. You’re toast."
Okay, so maybe Shelby has made a few mistakes with boys lately (how was she supposed to know Wes had “borrowed” that Porsche?). But her step-mother totally overreacts when she catches Shelby in a post-curfew kiss with a hot senior. Suddenly Shelby’s summer plans are on the shelf, and she’s being packed off to brat camp. It’s good-bye, prom dress; hello, hiking boots. Things start looking up, though, when Shelby meets fellow camper (and son of a rock star) Austin Bridges, III. But soon she realizes there’s more to Austin than crush material—his family has a dark secret, and he wants Shelby’s help guarding it. Shelby knows that she really shouldn’t be getting tangled up with another bad boy…but who is she to turn her back on a guy in need, especially such a good looking one? One thing’s for sure, that pesky full moon is about to get her into trouble all over again.

why it caught my eye:

Never Cry Werewolf keeps popping up on my Amazon recommends so I decided to check it out. I'm a total vampire girl, but I do love a good werewolf story and this certainly looks like one. I'll be adding Heather Davis' Never Cry Werewolf to my wishlist for sure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Author Interview: Rhonda Stapleton

Hey there! Got another wonderful author interview for you today. My guest is Rhonda Stapleton author of Stupid Cupid. Check it out!

    Tell us a little about yourself.

Rhonda Stapleton started writing a few years ago to appease the voices in her head. She lives in northeast Ohio with her two kids, her manpanion, and their lazy dog. Visit her website at rhondastapleton.com.

    What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

I started writing because I had this urge to try my hand at a novel. I expect a lot of people get into it for that reason! But I didn't try YA until one of my friends told me I had the voice for it and totally had to give it a whirl. I hadn't read contemporary YA in a long time--she gave me a book to read. And from there, I was hooked.

    Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

    Here's the blurb about Stupid Cupid, the first in my trilogy: Felicity Walker believes in true love. That's why she applies for a gig at the matchmaking company Cupid's Hollow. But when Felicity gets the job, she learns that she isn't just a matchmaker...she's a cupid! (There's more than one of them, you know.) Armed with a hot pink, tricked-out PDA infused with the latest in cupid magic (love arrows shot through email), Felicity works to meet her quota of successful matches. But when she bends the rules of cupidity by matching her best friend Maya with three different boys at once, disaster strikes. Felicity needs to come up with a plan to set it all right, pronto, before she gets fired...and before Maya ends up with her heart split in three.

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I do plot in advance. I'm totally a plotter. I like to actually create a list of scenes so I have a general road map...it helps the process be less intimidating. I can tackle the book one scene at a time, knowing I worked out the bulk of kinks beforehand. Takes a lot of pressure off!

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Occasionally. My heroine is very, very overdramatic. I love to hear the crazy things that fly into my mind and beg to be put on paper. She's a lot of fun to listen to...haha.

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Ooooh, tough call.Absinthia. She's a fortuneteller. I hadn't planned on writing her at all--she just came to me, but I loved adding her.

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I looove reading, singing, photography, and eating.

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

Probably a singer. I'd love to be one!

Where can readers find you online?


Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

Ooooh good question! Tough one...I want it to really count. Okay, how about this: what book is at the top of your re-read list, the book that's a total classic for you, and why?

Thanks so much for visiting with me today Rhonda! I love your answers. :) Hmm..classic re-read for me? Well, actually I'm currently re-reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Totally love that book! It's the first in the Thursday Next series; they're great books but so confusing to try to explain.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Writing for the YA Market by LM Preston

Hey all! Today I have a guest post from YA SciFi author LM Preston on how to write for the YA market. I was really curious about what she had to say about this because I've often wondered how adults successfully write about and for teens. Here's what she has to say:


YA, what is that? It’s the young adult market which ranges from ages 12yrs to 18yrs. If you write for ages 12yrs to 13yrs realize that parents may be heavily involved in their child’s reading selections, so in most cases if you want to promote your book to this age group – keep it a bit clean. Ages 14yrs and up, will usually mix it up a bit between reading YA focused books and adult books. You can use most of the taboos that you can’t for the younger age group with kids 14yrs and up. There are also many sub-genre to consider when writing YA. Those include: adventure, romance, humor, mystery, historical, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, and so on.


Take time to observe the group you are writing about. When writing for teenagers realize that they are very picky about sounding old or goofy. This is easy for me because I have four kids, and two of which are within the age group in which I write for. They are the best resources of information on language, what’s interesting, what not to say, how far to push it and so on. Not to mention, I also observe their interaction with their friends, siblings and adults. It is enlightening and it has given me great material.


The best feedback I have ever gotten for my work came from my kids’ friends. I allowed many of them to beta for me. I even bribed some with free movie tickets in order to get them to do it. Getting feedback from this group is invaluable. I gave them a checklist to fill out, and a facebook page to update with question or comments, and also invited them to give me feedback on my cover. The results were outstanding.


- Don't bore them. Keep the story moving.

- Don't write for them as if they are idiots.

- Don't write characters that they don't identify with.

- Lastly, don't bore them (I was told this was something I did well with my writing by my YA)

- Don't assume that they all curse, use drugs, swear, or have sex on the brain all the time.

These tips were given to me by many of my Beta - Readers of whom I asked for a big list of No-No's in books that they didn't like.


Several of my teenage betas loved my book so much that they offered to start an email chain about my book. They also posted it on their facebook and myspace accounts. I was floored, because I didn’t even ask for this. They offered it.

Remember, if you are writing for young people, the best judge of how your book will do in the market comes from your market group. Also, when acquiring an agent or publisher you can refer to the large amount of young betas that had reviewed your work. So grab your nieces, nephews, kids, cousins, or anyone who has kids and write that YA novel.

by: LM Preston, author of EXPLORER X - Alpha (coming out 2/2010) http://www.lmpreston.com/

Keep an eye on the blog for my review of EXPLORER X - Alpha. Big thanks to LM Preston for visiting with us today. :) It's a great post.

Thanks again to all of my lovely readers for stopping by. Without you, this blog would have no meaning.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm Back!!!

Hey there my lovely readers! NaNoWriMo is over and I'm back to blogging again. :) Coming up, I have a guest post for ya, an author interview, and I'll be working on getting those Tuesday Eyecatchers up and running again.

There are so many great books coming out these days I can't wait to get back to reading them and telling you all about them. Keep checking back for more.

And, not to sound like a broken record, but...

Don't forget about the polls in the left sidebar. You can have a say in what I review here at Want My YA, all you've got to do is vote. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: Skinned by Robin Wasserman

by Robin Wasserman

ISBN: 9781416936343

Simon Pulse

Release date: Hardcover - September 9, 2008

Paperback - August 3, 2009

from the publisher's site:

Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular -- until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.

Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime -- for which they must pay the ultimate price.

my thoughts:

This book was amazing! When I first started reading Skinned I flew through nearly half of the book before I put it down once. After just a few chapters I purchased book 2, Crashed because I knew I'd have to read that one too. The only reason you're just hearing about this book now is because my reading took a break for NaNoWriMo, but last night I was just in the mood for a good read. I finished Skinned in one sitting before falling asleep.

Aside from the fact that I find Skinned to be very original, I love the way it actually made me think. It makes you wonder about what truly makes someone human. I also found the society that Lia inhabits to be fascinating. Technology has taken over so much it makes you wonder if everyone is really better off or if they should be longing for the good old days.

I highly recommend Skinned; I absolutely loved it and I'm sure you will too. I can't wait to read Crashed (though I think I'll need to get a little further through the review pile first). Robin Wasserman has definitely made my author list and I'll be looking for more books from her.

ps: Don't forget to vote in my polls! You can have a say in what gets reviewed at the blog. Skinned is a readers' choice review. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Gonna be MIA

Hey all!

During the month of November you may not see much of me. I've decided to join the rest of the crazy nuts for Nanowrimo. All of my free time will be spent trying to catch up on my word count. If you send me an email and don't hear back from me for a bit that's why.

If you've already been waiting for a reply, sorry, aside from Nano I've had a lot going on in real life which is making it difficult to keep up with online stuff.

Don't worry, the blog's not going anywhere. I'll be up and running again, if not in December ( I work retail, it tends to get crazy) than definitely after the 1st of the year. :)

In the meantime, keep on reading and be sure to tell me all about the awesome YA books you find.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: Ghost in the Machine - Skeleton Creek #2 by Patrick Carman

Ghost in the Machine
Skeleton Creek Book 2
by Patrick Carman

Scholastic Press

ISBN: 9780545075701

Release Date: October 1, 2009

from the publisher's site:

Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek...and Ryan and Sarah are trying to find out why. Ryan writes down everything in his journal, and Sarah records everything on her videocam. The two move deeper into the mystery they've uncovered, determined to discover the secrets buried in Skeleton Creek, in the conclusion to Patrick Carman's thrilling series. In this groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts - Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

my thoughts:

I absolutely love this book! I read/watched it straight through over the course of a few hours. Which unfortunately left me reading/watching some of the more suspenseful sections while I was home alone in the dark. Not the best idea, but it sure sets the right mood. :)

Patrick Carman's innovative Skeleton Creek series is phenomenal. Both Ghost in the Machine and its predecessor Skeleton Creek held me riveted. I had to keep my laptop handy so I could immediately watch Sarah's videos after reading Ryan's journal entries. There was no read a little bit then check out the video later, for me. I had to know what was happening right now.

I highly recommend both of these books to everyone. Yeah they are suspenseful and some parts are outright freaky, but you can just do what I did, don't turn off the lights and keep a teddy bear nearby. :)

And now for the book trailer:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Author Interview: Shelia M. Goss

Hey all! Sorry I've been so quiet lately. I was out of town for most of last week. Travelling is more exhausting than I thought. :)

Today I have Shelia M. Goss author of the Lip Gloss Chronicles visiting Want My YA. Keep on reading to see what she has to say.

1.Tell us a little about yourself.

The Lip Gloss Chronicles series is my first young adult novel series. I'm the author of six women’s fiction novels. Besides writing books, listening to music is one of my favorite pastimes. Prince is one of my all time favorite artists and if I could live anywhere else in the world, it would be Paradise Island, Bahamas. I'm also a Young & The Restless fan. I usually have it playing in the background in the morning when I’m writing.

2.What got you started writing?

I've been writing since I was 9 years old but didn't decide to do it professionally until after I got downsized from a fortune 500 company. I had originally planned on pursuing writing as a career when I retired, but as fate would have it, my plans got pushed up.

What brought you to YA?

It was a combination of things. I've always wanted to write books in the genre since being a teenager and reading Nancy Drew. I decided to finally do it after hearing my friends complain about their teens reading adult books.

3.Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

The Lip Gloss Chronicles series tackle current issues affecting teens. Each book in the series is told from one of three best friends point of view-Britney, Jasmine and Sierra.

Splitsville - The Lip Gloss Chronicles Vol. 2 is Jasmine's story. Jasmine must deal with her parents divorcing. Jasmine believes she's the reason why her parents are having so many problems. One of the friends learn about the dangers of giving out personal information to strangers on the internet. Teenagers spend a lot of time on the internet. I decided to show the dangers of improper internet usage by allowing one of the characters to communicate with a stranger they met online. Internet safety is important and bringing awareness to this issue will hopefully make teens and their parents think twice about time spent online and on social networks.

4.Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I usually write a synopsis. The synopsis is used as my guide but I add meat to the story as I start writing it.

5.Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Yes. The characters speak to me so that I can tell their stories. If the characters voices didn't come across, it would be difficult to write any of the books I've written.

6.Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Wow. Hard question. I think that whatever book I'm working on at the time has my favorite character for a variety of reasons. Jasmine, the main character in Splitsville, definitely makes herself stand out from her two friends. I like the fact that readers get to see her grow.

7.What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I love to travel and read.

8.If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

I have an engineer degree. In my former life, I was a Project Manager and Technical Trainer. I worked in the telecommunications industry and other private sectors. Technology has always been an interest of mine.

9.Where can readers find you online?

To keep up to date about my books and other YA happenings, be sure to stop by my blog at www.thelipglosschronicles.com/blog or visit the main site:

You can also find me at the following sites:

10.Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

What top three qualities should a good YA novel have in your opinion?

Thanks for your responses Shelia! It was great having you here at Want My YA today. :) Readers be sure to comment and answers Shelia's question.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Review: You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay

You Are So Undead to Me

by Stacey Jay

Razorbill (Penguin)

ISBN: 9781595142252

Release Date: January 22, 2009

from the publisher's website:

Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she’s part-time shrink to a whole bunch of semi-dead people with killer issues. All Megan really wants is to go to homecoming, but when you’re trailed by a bunch of slobbering corpses whenever you leave the house, it’s kinda hard to score a date. Let’s just say Megan’s love life could use some major resuscitation.

Megan’s convinced her life can’t get any worse – until someone in school starts using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into scary, hardcore flesh-eating Zombies. Now it’s up to Megan to stop the Zombie apocalypse. Her life – and more importantly, the homecoming dance – depends on it.

my thoughts:

I LOVE this book. Yeah I know I always say this, but that doesn't make it any less true. I was hooked from page one. Megan's story was a great read. As with any book I read I really need to feel the characters I'm reading about. Stacey Jay made Megan's voice come through so clearly. I could understand her frustrations with Zombie settling and yet I could also understand the need for a Zombie Settler to exist.

I can't wait for Undead Much? to release. I really want to read more about Megan and Ethan and even see more of Monica. Stacey Jay has gained a loyal reader in me and I'm so excited for more. :)


This book was reviewed thanks to your votes. So if you want a say in what I review on this blog make sure you vote in my monthly polls. There is always at least one, sometimes more, running in the left sidebar.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review: The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon's Lexicon

by Sarah Rees Brennan

Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)

ISBN: 9781416963790

Release Date: June 2009

from the publisher's website:

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

my thoughts:

Have you ever read a book with a story so intense that the minute you're finished reading it you have to tell someone, anyone, about it to just get it out there? That's what The Demon's Lexicon from Sarah Rees Brennan was like for me. And my boyfriend was in close enough proximity that he got to hear all about it.

There were so many events that I just never saw coming. I was well and truly hooked into this story and I had to know what was going to happen next. Nick and Alan have a true brotherhood bond and it's put to every test imaginable.

I can't wait to see what happens in book two. I really want to see where Ms. Brennan is going to take the story next. Run out and grab your copy today. This is a book not to be missed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The James Patterson promo is now closed and thanks to Random.org the winners have been chosen.

Congratulations to Alexa and Kathy! Please email me at wantmyya at gmail dot com so I can pass your mailing info on to the people with the books.

Thank you everyone who entered and voted in my polls. Keep your eyes open for more promotions and more polls. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Author Interview: Stephanie Kuehnert

Hey there lovely readers! It's interviews galore! :) Can you believe it? For the third week in a row I actually have an interview to post with yet another fabulous YA author. Check out what Stephanie Kuehnert has to say.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in St. Louis in the fine year of 1979. Moved to Oak Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago when I was 8. Went off to live in Madison, Wisconsin and Ohio briefly, but returned to the Chicago area to get my bachelors and master's in fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago. I currently live in Forest Park, IL with my fiance (wedding is in October!) and our three cats. I love punk rock and reading. I'm vegan. I'm the author of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE and BALLADS OF SUBURBIA, both from MTV Books, but I still earn my living as a bartender.

What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

I've been writing for as long as I could remember. As a little girl I idolized Laura Ingalls Wilder and wanted to write my life story like she did. But my life wasn't that interesting so I started writing fiction. As for why I write YA, I just gravitate toward coming of age stories. The teenage years are what shape you into the person you are. My teen years were a crazy, tumultuous time and I was always looking for books that reflected the way I felt. I didn't find many, so I started writing stories to fill that void.

Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

My most recent book is BALLADS OF SUBURBIA. I think the back jacket copy sums it up best:There are so many ballads. Achy breaky country songs. Mournful pop songs. Then there’s the rare punk ballad, the ballad of suburbia: louder, faster, angrier . . . till it drowns out the silence.

Kara hasn’t been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park. . . .

Amidst the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I just start writing. Right now, working on a third book, I'm trying to plot though. It's not going very well.

Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Yes. I hear them. I dream them. And I do listen when they want the story to go another way.

Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Oh man, I really can't choose because I do love them all for many different reasons. Emily from I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is the kind of girl I wish I could be. Kara from Ballads of Suburbia is more like the girl I was. I love Emily's best friend Regan and Kara's best friends Maya, Stacey, and Cass. Kara's bad boy love Adrian is like my bad boy love. I just want to fix him. And then there is Kara's brother Liam. I really, really feel for Liam. This is like trying to pick my favorite child. I can't! I'd rather ask readers who their favorite character of mine is and why :)

What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

Hobbies, I have no time for hobbies! Seriously, I really don't. Other than reading and listening to music. I also watch TV- soapy drama stuff. I really want to learn to play guitar, but I just don't have enough time to practice. I've learned that lesson repeatedly.

If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

Before I went to school for writing I went to school briefly for sociology. I wanted to be a social worker. Sometimes I still think about that. But I also toy with the idea of going back to school to be a librarian. I just need to be near books in some fashion.

Where can readers find you online?

www.stephaniekuehnert.com is my main website. I blog regularly at stephaniekuehnert.blogspot.com and I tweet even more often at twitter.com/writerstephanie

Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

Umm, well the favorite character question that I asked above. But if you haven't read my books, then who are some of your favorite YA characters in general and why?

Thank you so much Stephanie! I love your responses. :) Totally need to move Ballads to the top of my TBR pile. And I'm also thinking I'm going to need to see if we have I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone at work, cuz I'm gonna need to check that one out too.

Favorite YA characters...hmm...I love Bertie from Lisa Mantchev's Eyes Like Stars. I love Caleb and Maggie from Simone Elkeles' Leaving Paradise. There are probably so many more, but those are the first ones that come to mind. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review: Dead Girl in Love by Linda Joy Singleton

Dead Girl in Love
by Linda Joy Singleton

Flux Books

ISBN: 9780738714073

Release Date: August 2009

from the publisher's website:

Oh, wow—I'm my own best friend. Or at least, I'm in her body!

Okay, this assignment will be quick and easy. Thanks, Grammy! See, my dead grandmother keeps finding people who have big problems and then I have the freaky experience of stepping into their life—and their body!—to provide help. This time, I'm in the body of my BFF, Alyce.

Since Alyce and I know everything about each other, I won't have to do a lot of detective work, which is a definite plus. But, as Alyce, I've got some really pressing questions to answer—starting with, What am I doing in this coffin?

my thoughts:

Dead Girl in Love is the third book in the Dead Girl series, but it's the first one that I've read. It definitely has me intrigued to read the other two books. :) Amber is a great character. She's highly motivated and really wants to help people. My favorite secondary character is probably her grandmother. While Amber is running around her in best friend's body, dear old gram is running around in Amber's. You know that's going to lead to some interesting situations. :)

I thought it was interesting the way Linda Joy Singleton explores how little we can know those closest to us in this story. Amber and Alyce have been best friends for years, but until Amber lives in Alyce's skin she has no idea what her best friend's home life is really like.

There was plenty of drama and action to keep me turning the pages and now I'm going to turn around and start the series with the beginning. Even though this book is the third Dead Girl book, I was able to pick it up and understand the story with little problem. However I do recommend reading all of the books because, well, that's the way I am. :) I want the whole story. Book one is Dead Girl Walking, and book two is Dead Girl Dancing. Check them out today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Author Interview: Samira Armin Hodges

Hey there YA fans! I've got another great author interview for you today. Check out my guest Samira Armin Hodges.

1.Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! My name is Samira Armin Hodges and I’m a 29 year old Pediatrician by day and Young Adult author by night. I recently moved from the crisp, cold north to the sun (sorry, I mean Central Texas) with my husband and two crazy rescue dogs. Oh and I recently found out that the stork might be on its way too!

2.What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

I’ve been writing my entire life. I guess I’m somewhat addicted to it. But the thought of writing for others was never something I seriously considered. To me, that was as realistic as flying to the moon on a vacuum cleaner. However, a couple of years ago, I came up with this story…the story for Milestones. It just came to me; this tale about a girl named Faye Martin and her quest for self-discovery. At first, I was reluctant to actually commit to it and to attempt to publish it. But then, as time went on, the story wouldn’t leave me alone. The more I tried to ignore it, the more it kept nagging at me. So one summer, I wrote the first installment of the trilogy. And the rest is history….

3.Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

Part one of the Milestones Trilogy was released August 1st, 2009. It can be found at all major booksellers and the “tour” (both virtual and physical) is currently ongoing! I just had my first book-signing and it was truly a wonderful experience. Can’t wait to do it again.

4.Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I definitely plot out in advance. For instance, I even know the plot of the book that I will write after the Milestones trilogy is complete. With me, I’ll just be sitting there (or here) and the characters form in my head. The next thing I know, the story materializes and then I have no choice but to put it down on paper and see what happens.

5.Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

I can’t say I’ve experienced this phenomenon firsthand but sheesh, it kinda sounds fascinating! No, with me, I’m the puppeteer and the characters are definitely my puppets. Their fate is pre-determined by me. From the get-go.

6.Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

I love this question! I read one time that JK Rowling’s favourite character was Hermione and it made me love her that much more. My favourite character is Melaine. She is very humble, kind and gracious and she goes through a lot in the trilogy. First, she deals with her mother’s death and next, she finds herself alone and confused and well, up the creek without a paddle (as the saying goes). She then goes through a lot of physical changes and experiments with darker looks, all the while keep the essence of her unique qualities.

7. What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

I love to play tennis and swim. I used to play competitive tennis (once upon a time) so it’s my favourite active thing to do. Oh and let’s not forget the great thing that brings us all together: read! I’m currently reading Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen.

8. If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

Well, this question is a little strange for me to answer because I’m sort of already doing it. I am a doctor and I love my job. But then I look at authors like John Grisham (lawyer first, author later) or Michael Crichton (doctor first, author later) and I think…well, I wouldn’t be the first!
9.Where can readers find you online?

My blog site is www.sahodges.blogspot.com and I welcome all readers. I write about all types of topics and be forewarned, I tend to rant about high school a lot! I feel as though high school is a really tumultuous time in one’s life and nobody really ever tells you that it stinks. I like to remind people that it does in fact, stink, and that everything in life flip-flops once you graduate. That’s a promise. Also, my book’s site is at: www.campmilestone.com.

10.Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

Are you a fan of happy endings, suspenseful endings, surprise endings or bittersweet ones? And what is your favourite ending and why? (By the way, I’d have to say Milestones falls under the “surprise ending” category).

Thanks so much Samira! It was great having you here today. :) And readers - don't forget to answer her question.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Author Interview: Jennifer Brown author of the upcoming Hate List

I've got another fabulous interview for all of you today. We're chatting with Hate List author Jennifer Brown. Check it out!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I began writing about 9 years ago, when my second kiddo was born. I wanted to be a novelist, but learned very quickly that I didn't know anything about novel-writing. So I concentrated on "smaller" projects for several years, while at the same time studying and learning everything I could about writing the novel. In the meantime, I won the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award twice (2005 & 2006), and began writing a column for The Kansas City Star. I also blog for The Star's mom blogsite, Mom2MomKC. In my non-writer life, I'm a stay-at-home mom of three kids, two cats, and two dogs (basset hound and boxer), and spend my days listening to the "Wicked" soundtrack and cleaning the same ten square feet of house over and over again.

2. What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?

As cliche as it sounds... I've always written. It's a relaxing thing for me, sort of like watching TV or taking a hot bath, and it allows me to do an "emotion dump" without making people around me crazy. I never really considered doing it "for a living" until my middle child was born. At that time, I thought, Well, I'm going to be staying home for a few years anyway. Might as well give it a try. I gave myself a goal -- if I didn't sell a major project before 2010, I'd go back to work and resume writing for hobby.I didn't really mean to write YA. I was just writing the story that wanted to be written and it turned out to be a YA story. Right away I realized that I'd accidentally written in a genre I wasn't totally knowledgeable about. I've spent a lot of time since HATE LIST sold just learning about the genre, meeting other YA authors, reading scores of YA books, and so forth. I'm finding a happy home in YA.

3. Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?

HATE LIST is the story of the aftermath of a school shooting, told from the point of view of the shooter's girlfriend, Valerie Leftman. Val's got a tough road ahead of her as she returns to school. She's technically the "hero" who stopped the shooting and saved the lives of some fellow students, but also the "villain" who, without realizing it, began the list that her boyfriend used to choose his victims. She has to navigate all the emotions and fear of having lived through the shooting, having lost her boyfriend to suicide, not to mention having gotten shot herself in the process of stopping the shooting.

4. Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?

I'm not a big "plotter," because I find that for me, personally, to write down what's going to happen sort of takes the story out of me. I get to a point where I feel like I've already told the story, so I don't have the same amount of oomph! for writing the story itself. That said, I don't start writing until I have the major plot points figured out in my head. I always know where the story is going to go, and how it will generally get there, but the details are up for the characters to decide.

5. Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, one thing that I do make sure I do before sitting down to write a story, is write out an exhaustive "character profile" of my main character. That way, she's more "real" to me when I actually start putting her in sticky situations. For Valerie, my main character in HATE LIST, I actually had her "go to therapy" before I started writing. She told her therapist lots of interesting things that really helped when trying to get into her head in the story.

6. Who is your favorite character (of your own)?

Valerie Leftman, my main character in HATE LIST. I love Val because she's strong and I have a lot of hope for her. She's going to struggle, but she's a good learner and she's got a good heart, so I know she's ultimately going to have a great life.

7. What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?

Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom of three, so there isn't a ton of time for hobbies when I'm not writing, just because there's all the mom stuff to get done. Of course, I'm a constant reader. I read every day (actually, every night, and I can't sleep until I've read enough to satisfy me, even if it's 2AM before I've found a moment to read). I love to get outside and play with the kids -- take them to the park, play soccer or baseball or basketball, whatever. I love musicals and try to take in at least a couple of them every year (and I listen to musical soundtracks on my iPod constantly), and I'm a Disney fanatic, so I collect Disney snowglobes and trading pins, and am almost always planning a trip to Walt Disney World, even if, technically, we're not actually going there anytime soon.

8. If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?

I always wanted to be a high school English teacher, but for some odd reason I majored in Psychology and worked in Human Resources. So I guess it's fair to say if this writing thing hadn't worked out, I'd still be filling out insurance forms and payroll for some company. Or I'd be back in school, getting that Education degree.

9. Where can readers find you online?
I'm just about everywhere. But all of my online paths converge on my website, which is: www.JenniferBrownYA.com.

10. Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?

If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?

Thanks for visiting with us today Jennifer! I'm definitely going to have to look into Hate List for myself.

Be sure to comment and answer Jennifer's question. I'm really curious what titles you are all going to come up with. :)

And don't forget, the James Patterson promo is still going on. Vote in my polls, and leave me a comment letting me know you voted and you are eligible to win 1 of 2 James Patterson prize packs.