Friday, July 30, 2010

Review: Tagged by Mara Purnhagen

by Mara Purnhagen
Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 9780373210077
Release Date: March 2010
from the publisher's site: 

Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself—without being labeled a snitch?

Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it—mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.

Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to…

my thoughts: 

Reading Kate's story brought me right back to high school. I could relate to her desire to fade into the background and not be noticed. Tagged tackles some interesting questions regarding art. What is art? Who decides if something is art or vandalism? Not only does Kate come to terms with finding a definition for art, but she also realizes how to define herself. 

Overall I think Mara Purnhagen's Tagged was a fun quick read that I easily immersed myself in. It's an enjoyable story of growth. Kate is a really nice girl, and even though she starts out as normal as she believes herself to be, by the end of the story she starts to come into her own. 

I like Mara Purnhagen's writing and I'm already looking forward to her next book Past Midnight coming in September.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
Hunger Games Book 2
by Suzanne Collins

Scholastic Books
ISBN: 9780439023498
Release Date: September 1, 2009

My thoughts: 
I'm skipping over a description of the book because I don't like to give spoilers and telling you what happens in book 2 reveals some things about book 1. 

Catching Fire was as much of a jaw-dropping good read as book 1. The action and the drama is seriously ramped up for book 2 making it darn near impossible to put down. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for Mockingjay to release. 

I don't want to say too much here because I don't want to give anything away, but trust me, The Hunger Games is a series that you have got to read. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Your Turn Thursday

I haven't gotten any takers for Your Turn Thursday interviews yet. Remember if you're a reader and you'd like to be interviewed for Your Turn Thursday send me an email at wantmyya at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You Recommend Wednesday

It's your turn again....

What's everyone reading this week?

I just finished Catching Fire (review to come soon), and I'm getting ready to start Tagged by Mara Purnhagen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eyecatcher: Other by Karen Kincy

by Karen Kincy
ISBN: 9780738719191
Release Date: July 1, 2010

from the author's site: 

Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.

When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate–into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and–most importantly–stay alive.

why it caught my eye: 

The fabulous cover is an eyecatcher for sure. And the story sounds like an intriguing one. Other by Karen Kincy is definitely one to add to the wishlist.  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Polls

Hey all! Got some new polls on the side. Make sure you get your votes in. This is your chance to have a say in what I review. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Scholastic Press
ISBN: 9780439023481 (hardcover)
Release Date: September 14, 2008
ISBN: 9780439023528 (paperback)
Release Date: July 3, 2010

from the author's site: 

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place. 

my thoughts: 

Why oh why did I wait so long to read this one? I was immediately sucked into Katniss' world. It was very easy to feel what Katniss felt; her emotions, along with everyone else's, leapt off the pages. The entire story was so visual it was difficult to put down. 

Honestly I'm almost at a loss for words to describe how I feel about The Hunger Games. It is an intense reading experience and I'm already looking forward to finishing the next two books.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Recommend Wednesday

Well, I got some great recommends from everyone last week. Thank you! :) What's everyone reading this week?

I'm finally reading the Hunger Games books (I'm behind, I know, but look for a review of The Hunger Games tomorrow), and I'm absolutely loving them. Can't wait for Mockingjay to release. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eyecatcher: Gimme a Call by Sarah Mylnowski

Gimme a Call
by Sarah Mylnowski
Delacorte Books
ISBN: 9780385735889
Release Date: April 27, 2010
from the author's site: 

Devi's life isn't turning out at all like she wanted. She wasted three years going out with Bryan - cute, adorable, break-your-heart Bryan. Devi let her friendships fade, blew off studying, didn't join any clubs...and since Bryan broke up with her right before senior prom, she has nothing left. Not even a working cell phone - she dropped hers in the mail fountain.
Now it only calls one number...her number. At age fourteen, three years ago!

Once Devi gets over the shock and convinces her younger self that she isn't some wacko she realizes that she's been given an awesome gift. She can tell herself all the right things to do because she's already done the wrong ones! If freshman Devi takes her advice, she can hold on to her friends, get into a good no, incredible college, be an extracurricular superstar, and most importantly, spare herself the heartbreak of Bryan.

Fourteen-year-old Devi isn't so sure, though. She likes Bryan. She's happy. But who better to listen to than your future self. . . right?

why it caught my eye: 

This one is another Twitter find. I first heard about it when Sarah Mylnowski asked people what they would tell their fourteen-year-old selves. I thought the whole idea sounded like a really interesting concept. I've heard nothing but great things about Gimme a Call so I can't wait to get started on it. Though I will have to wait since I haven't picked up my copy yet. :) Gonna have to remedy that soon.  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Your Turn Thursday

So I mentioned doing this once before, but nothing ever came of it. It's time for me to try again. I'm going to start a new feature called Your Turn Thursday, the reason for the name is two-fold. 

One since it's going to be all about reader interviews, it's your turn to talk. Two, I will be using the Your Turn questions from the author interviews I've conducted. I figure this is the best way for all of those authors to get those questions answered, plus I'm really curious about what you lovely readers have to say. 

If you're interested in being interviewed please email me at wantmyya at gmail dot com. 

I'll be compiling the questions over the next few days, but if you email me, I'll get them to you as quickly as I can.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Recommend Wednesday

It's another Wednesday which means it's your turn to tell me what to read. So go on, get talkin'.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Eyecatcher: All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

All Unquiet Things
by Anna Jarzab
Delacorte Books
ISBN: 9780385738354

from the author's site: 

All Unquiet Things centers around the murder of teen heiress Carly Ribelli, who was found shot to death a mile from her house in a wealthy Northern California suburb. Carly’s uncle, a dissolute alcoholic, was convicted of the crime, but a year later his daughter still doesn’t believe her father is guilty. Determined to prove his innocence, Audrey Ribelli contacts Carly’s ex-boyfriend, Neily Monroe, the boy who found Carly’s body. She is convinced that he knows more than he thinks about the events that led up to Carly’s death. Despite Neily’s initial reluctance, he and Audrey begin their investigation at the posh private school they attend, identifying prime suspects from among their spoiled classmates and digging up secrets about Carly’s past to get to the truth behind her murder.

why it caught my eye: 

This one that caught me by the title rather than the cover. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but something about the words All Unquiet Things just draws the attention.  This is definitely another one to add to my wishlist. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Author Interview: Swati Avasthi

It's another Monday and I have another fabulous author interview for you. Allow me to introduce Swati Avasthi, author of Split. (photo credit Ann Marsden)

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a mother of two, teacher of many, and aspiring toward having a long, long writing career.

  1. What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?
I started writing when I was 5 when I read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods. I was pretty committed to being a writer until I was 16 and my oldest sister graduated from college. When she met the real world of needing to earn a paycheck, I quickly came to the conclusion that I couldn't possibly become a writer and eat. So, I ventured away from writing and took a couple of detours (theater and law) before I returned to writing when I decided to stay home to raise my kids.

The novel, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, brought me to YA. It was the first YA novel I read since I was a teen and I was blown away by the book and by how much the genre had changed. I read Godless by Pete Hautman immediately after Speak and fell head over heels in love with the genre -- the honesty of it, the play in the language, how voice-driven it is, how it is geared toward story and character development.

  1. Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?
Split (Knopf, 2010) is narrated by 16 year old Jace Witherspoon who drives straight from Chicago to Albuquerque on the night he finally hits his father back. He arrives on the doorstep of his brother, Christian, who he hasn't had any contact with in five years and who receives Jace less than enthusiastically. Jace tries to make a new life for himself -- connecting with Christian, finding a new job, meeting a new girl. But all of his changes can't rescue his mom, who is still trapped with his dad, or erase the secret he has been harboring.

Split is about what happens after. After you've said enough, after you've gotten out. How do you begin to live again?

  1. Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?
I plot out some in advance. I know my start and have a sense of my climax. Other than that, I start writing.

  1. 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?
Yep, I'm one of the nearly-crazies. In fact, I know I've hit my stride in a book when my characters surprise me. In Split, there's a point at which Jace gets really angry and I was shocked to discover 1) that he was mad and 2) why he was mad. My writer's group thought that was so funny because they knew he was mad all along. It's like I get sucked so deeply inside my protagonist's head that if he has a blind spot, I do too. It takes me a second or even a third draft before I can step back out and see the book as a whole.

  1. Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
Probably Dakota. She's smart and centered and has far less baggage than any of my other characters and I really enjoyed writing the flirtations between her and Jace.

  1. What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
Maybe, once the second book is done, I'll get back to knitting and playing the piano. But for now, for downtime, I tend to play too many facebook games.

  1. If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?
I'd have been an attorney. I love the law. I really liked working at the domestic violence clinic and enjoyed the first year of law school. I think law and writing are closely related: you tell a story, are steeped in the uses of language, and hope for a specific outcome.

  1. Where can readers find you online?

  1. Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
I'd love to know whether your readers' reading habits are seasonal? I've often heard that lighter fare is great for the summer. Is that true for your readers? If so, what are some book fall/winter books that you enjoy reading? As for me, I prefer to read inside, so I'm partial to the rainy day reading mode and of course, I tend toward darker fare.

Thanks so much for stopping by today Swati. Personally I don't notice a change in my reading from season to season, but I certainly do have moods where I want something dark or light, or moods where I switch from one genre to another. What about the rest of you? What do you think?

And for a treat, here's the book trailer for Split.