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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 unleashes something terrible that affects everyone. Some edge of your seat scenes that kept me wanting to know the secret Mia's father had hidden. Coming in February.


4. Right now reading:



Love the futuristic twist of fairy tales! Got the paperback version through Scholastic book orders! Great deal for a great series!

5. Also reading the third installment in Heidi Kling's amazing witchy e-book series. Let's just say: I LOVE IT! Heidi nails the emotions, tension, and conflicts of this coven of witches/warlocks. So much better than Witches of East End and The Secret Circle.

**Guilty Pleasure:

Probably going out to lunch with son and husband! Yay, for holidays!

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 being one of those on Schindler's list. Fascinating and horrific at times, I couldn't put this book down.

4. One that shows how DNA solves mysteries:



Fascinating insight into how modern day science helps solve history's mysteries. Included are was King Tut murdered? Did Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russian survive? How did Napoleon die?

Love how modern science is used to explain some of these mysteries in an easy to follow format.

Also fun fact: My younger sis is a genealogist and she used DNA samples from our mother to verify that we in fact have mestizo heritage along with Jewish.

5. Totally loved this twist on the dreaded essay:



I homeschool my seventh grader son and this is a fun twist on the whole boring essay thing. Seriously, when son was in 3rd and even 4th grade he loved writing stories then our ES clamped down on the 'required' formal essay writing and he HATED to write. This book is fun and I wished kids could be more creative when it came to writing the dreaded formal essay!

**And I had to have a YA novel to read! Finally got around to reading this:



I met Shannon during ALA12. It was the ending of a really long day and I was waiting around to go to a YA author signing. She was in front of me in line. I of course introduced self and she signed some of her bookmarkers for me(which I still have!)

This YA is about a teen who survived a storm and is haunted by the girl he saw, who is a sprite. So far really good!

**Guilty Pleasure:

Finally hoping to see this:

MAN MADE BOY TOUR





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:

http://www.yabookscentral.com/explore-ya-fiction/preview?id=16172:man-made-boy



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 Boy more closely resemble dark elves than the stereotypical Scandinavian trolls. They even go by the name “trowe”, which is the Scottish word for a troll-like fairy creature, as a way to distance themselves from the stereotype. The trowe in my story are only slightly taller than humans, with long lean limbs, dark green skin, white hair, and bright jewel eyes. Of course, they also have protruding fangs and long curved claws. They are still trolls, after all. But my hope is that once you get used to Boy pining for this diamond-eyed, be-fanged troll girl named Liel, you begin to think of her as attractive as well. With any luck, by the time Boy leaves the safe confines of his monster enclave, you’re thoroughly used to his own monsterishness. So that when humans treat him as ugly, you are just as shocked and hurt as he is. And when Liel gets out among the humans…well, that’s when things really start to get messy.
Body image and concepts of beauty are things I examine a lot in Man Made Boy because they are topics I’ve always found fascinating, both conceptually and personally. Beauty defines so much of what we do and how we perceive the world, and yet it is entirely subjective. Standards of beauty shift from one generation to the next, sometimes even from one year to the next. More to the point, our own view of ourselves changes almost constantly. There are days when I feel like Hottie McHotpants. And then there are days where I feel like calling me a troll would be a kindness.

At no time is that heightened awareness of beauty more intense than when we are teenagers. Partly that’s because our bodies really are changing so fast, with smooth skin erupting into horrendous pimples in the space of hours. But I would say that even more than that as we begin to decide who we are and who we want to be, there is a fear for so many teens that they are unlovable. And it’s difficult to desperate that feeling from the idea of being attractive. I think this goes for boys as well as girls, although it might manifest in different ways. They’re all feeling the same way, and yet they’re all ashamed to admit it to each other because what if they take that risk and find it’s actually only them.

It blew my mind when Kurt Cobain just came out and said it:

“I’m so ugly. But that’s ok. ’Cause so are you. We’ve broke our mirrors.”

I gotta say, 1991 was a great year to be an angsty teen.

Throughout the revision process for Man Made Boy, people would ask me, “So is Boy ugly or not? It seems to keep changing.”

To which I would generally smile in this irritating way I have and say, “Yes, it does.” Because the question really is, “Will Boy recognize his own beauty by the end of the book?”

MAN MADE BOY Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Boy’s father is Frankenstein’s monster and his mother is the Bride. A hacker and tech geek, Boy has lived his whole life in a secret enclave of monsters hidden beneath a Broadway theater, until he runs away from home. Now, the boy who’s never set foot outside embarks on a madcap road trip with the granddaughters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that takes him deep into the heart of America. Along the way, Boy falls in love, comes to terms with his unusual family, and learns what it really means to be a monster—and a man.

About Jon Skovron

Jon Skovron is the author of STRUTS & FRETS and MISFIT. Visit him at jonskovron.com.

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 she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.


But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.


It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.


Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.


And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.


Pre-order The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare now!
Barnes & Noble|Books-a-Million|Amazon|Indiebound|The Book Depository




About the Author




When she’s not writing, M.G. moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director. She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website YABooksCentral.com, a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers.

These are the places you’ll find M.G. hiding: in her creaky old house nestled in Michigan pines, sipping coffee on her porch, cooking over campfires, and dipping her toes in creeks. Say hello to M.G. on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.






Giveaway Details



One winner from each participating blog (10 total) will receive signed bookmarks and stickers.


One grand prize winner will receive a copy of the book (once available) as well as the Mega 57 LIVES Character Prize Pack (each item pertaining to a significant character in the book):


- A pair of black Wayfarer glasses, like Alex wears

- A pack of chocolate pudding cups, courtesy of Jensen

- Vintage piano sheet music for the song Star Dust, the song Nick plays for Alex

- An orange Baltimore Orioles cap, like Porter wears

- A pair of engraved Polygon game piece stones (You’ll have to read the book to find out how these come into play!)

- A YABooksCentral.com tote bag

- Signed bookmarks and stickers


This giveaway is open internationally. Winners will be chosen and notified by email within 30 days of the giveaway end date.


To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Extra entries can be earned by following the bloggers involved in the Cover Reveal Celebration.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 $$$$$$.

Sigh.

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.

4.

Important short stories on bullying told by teens.

5. I really loved this book:



But then again I love Laurie Halse Anderson's books.

This one deals with a teen and her former military father who suffers from PTS.

YA Books Central Review coming soon!

**Guilty Pleasure:

Really love Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's holiday drinks.

Another really yummy one has to be Toffee Nut cafe.

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 series.

My motivation





My image of Andre-the guy Jordan stumbles into while in Paris.

3. Finished reading this amazing anthology from Carolrhoda:



My YA Books Central review: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/16115-losing-it


Teaser:

LOSING IT is about teens losing their virginity. What I love about this anthology is each author's take on this sensitive subject.

Here's some of my favorites:

A.S. King's STICKY FINGERS is about a teen who realizes too late what a cheap ring from a guy she thought she liked really means. **A.S. King is one of my favorite YA authors and this short tale is nothing short of amazing on how she shows us the protagonist's raw emotional feelings that ring so true.



4. Reading upcoming ASK ME by Kimberly Pauley:




Really loving the voice of Aira, who can't help but tell the truth. Add a murder mystery and you have a real winner!

5. Waiting for this:



This is another collection of short stories from YA authors. This time it's dystopian stories. I'm a huge fan of anthologies.

Also finally got my Veronica Mars t-shirt and stickers!



Check out the back!



**Guilty pleasure:

Well, we weren't able to go out for kaboobs last Friday as we had a water pipe leak and had to wait for a plumber. At least it wasn't that $$$.

Maybe today we'll finally go though it's really up to husband as he still has the ear issue.

If anything? I'll grab a yummy Christmas frap at Starbucks.

Friday Five


1. Today is Dia de los Muertos-Day of the Dead!



Today is when some celebrate/honor their loved ones that have passed. Some have altars that they'll place something that the loved one loved such as chocolate, a glass of wine, fried chicken, or some tamales. There will be a photo of the loved one too. I have a scene in my book EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA where Lupe finds one of these altars of her mother.

**One thing Dia de Los Muertos isn't is an extension of Halloween. Rather it's a day to celebrate and reflect on loved ones who have died.

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican/Latin celebration though my husband said there are similar celebrations in Korea and other Asia countries.

Here's a fun link with some children's books that celebrate Dia de Los Muertos:

http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/ana-flores-besos/13-favorite-childrens-books-for-day-of-the-deaddia-de-muertos/

2. Here's my son bedazzling during last night's Halloween celebrations:



3. Also my YA paranormal CROSSED OUT is perfect for this time of year!



Stephanie has a little extra curricular ability that she is hesitant to share with her friends: she's a Rescuer, someone who makes talismans of murdered girls to help them to the Otherside.

4. Right now finishing up:





Think Lord of the Flies meets Across the Universe. Really enjoying this Sci-fi story by Alloy Productions. It's set to be a CW 2014 series too!


5. Really enjoying this Penguin ebook serial:


Teaser: hat I loved had to be the emotional build up of Sarah when she first encounters Will. Both of them have significant others but that doesn't stop the sparks from flying. Will has a reputation of being a player and Sarah refuses to fall under his spell but all common sense goes out the door with a single touch. The emotions and struggles Sarah goes through felt very real. It would have been so easy to have Sarah come across as a cheating girl but instead we see someone with very realistic conflicts. Her boyfriend Dave seems to be the 'safe' bet but his wandering eye doesn't make him so blameless either. I couldn't help but think why wouldn't Sarah be attracted to Will? Now we just have to see what she does decide to do and what will happen. I can't help but think there's other secrets going on too. Installment 2:


Teaser: Ooh, loved the emotion and chemistry between Sarah and Will. The relationship is hot and very sizzling. I love how the author describes the sparks that fly whenever these two are together. But also the internal struggle Sarah feels between her feelings between Dave and Will... ...When Will touched me, I wanted more. When Dave and I made out, I felt happy, but I only wanted exactly as much as I had. It was delicious, but ephemeral. Like cotton candy that immediately melted on my tongue... **Guilty Pleasure:

Husband is taking me out on a lunch date to a kabobs place.

Also getting my monthly pedi. What color should I get? I'm thinking orangish/brown for November.

Friday Five And More!


1. Halloween is almost here. Last night son went to his 'first' dance at our church. He wanted to be a vampire. **Can you guess what TV show is my favorite?



He said he loved going as he got to hug TONS of girls. Son, "Mommy, there's like double the girls there as the boys. It's like 2 girls to one of us!"

OMG, he's 12 years old and talking about girls already!


2. I'm trying to flesh out a short story for a YARWA class I'm taking. I decided to see the world through Phoenix's eyes. He's one of the dreaded 'Others' that Espie's been warned about since childhood.

I woke up the other night and heard a song on Leno that felt so much like Phoenix! Thomas Rhett, "It Goes Like This". What's funny about this is I HATE Country music but my character likes it. If anything, most of the music I hear when I write his scenes have music similar to the above. Who says characters don't speak to you?



3. Books:

Finished reading this fun collection of historical figures that Zest books put together:



Here's my YA Books Central link: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yanonfiction/15125-historical-heartthrobs-50-timeless-crushesfrom-cleopatra-to-camus

Teaser:

This is a fun collection of historical public figures that asks the question--Would you date them? There's some really fun trivia on each of these 50 individuals including a 'heat factor' that ranks their worthiness to be a crush.

4. This next book is beyond amazing! If you love Stephan King? You'll love this one:



My YA Books Central review: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/14880-the-waking-dark

Teaser: Well-written passages that show readers the horror of what comes over the residents of the small Kansas town when they follow their darkest, ugliest impulses. Warning: Don't read this alone in the dark! The images are guaranteed to stay with you long after you close the book. Just like a Stephen King novel.

There's some very edgy, and yes, graphic scenes when the murders start accelerating in town. These scenes reminded me of King's The Dome, where a similar situation happens with the residents of a small town trapped inside and the madness that is unleashed.


5. The next one was good but I felt not as great as the first book in the series. But remember that's just my opinion. There's still a lot going for this series.



http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/15657-once-we-were-the-hybrid-chronicles-2

Teaser: What I liked: I really loved how the author is able to weave in intense emotions between her characters. In ONCE WE WERE readers see the conflict that arises between two souls trapped in one body. Think THE HOST meets GOLDEN COMPASS. Eva is the recessive soul that should had faded long ago. Now though she's able to come out more and realizes that she has her own wants/desires that are different than Addie. The author does a great job showing readers this with beautifully written passages that dig deep within both of the souls. You can't help but feel the pain, frustration, and even freedom each soul feels once they realize that they can be separate.

**Also going to start reading this fun new ebook serial from Penguin books:



**Fun fact: My first book EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA was sold as an ebook serial to Virtual Tales back in 2006. I was ahead of my time...once again. It didn't do as well because ebooks were just coming out. It did well in print though. Glad others are trying e-serials again.

Friday Five: New TV series!

And on the TV new series front: The last few BLACKLIST episodes were beyond disturbing and borderline gross. Not sure if I'll still watch. New ones I'm liking so far include:

1. REIGN:

I'm a huge fan of King Henry VIII type of books/movies. So far this one has promise!



2. Been bored to tears with this season's The Vampire Diaries. Same old same old and frankly why would Elena want to leave Damon? I don't get.

Instead I'm really enjoying the spin-off so much more.



3. Also want to check out DRACULA.



4. Not sure yet on RAVENWOOD yet. If it goes in the direction I think? I might continue watching:



5. And this one looks intriguing:





***Guilty Pleasure:

After son gets his blood drawn and we go to breakfast, plan to go to the mall and get a Starbuck holiday drink (tried the Chocolate Chai which was only okay. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's is much, much better!)

And picking up the last book in the Beautiful Creature's series. I waited till it came out in paperback. I have to know how this series ends!

Friday Five


1. First off, I had a totally great experience at last weekend's OCCRWA Birthday Bash. The theme was Mardi Gras so of course I wore a mask:


A selfie I took in my hotel room. I had the 2 room suite ALL TO MYSELF. It was wonderful!



I also was able to do a booksigning with a bunch of other RWA authors including the fab Victoria Dahl!



Totally loved Victoria's speech on unlikeable women and real ones. Her speech totally resonated with me.



What I love about my local RWA? Their willingness to accept all authors regardless of what big name publisher/agent they might have. I feel welcome in this charter with my small press pubbed books.

And this was too cool:



2. Received this package from the fab Mandy of YA Books Central:



3. Son loving his history class at his student center. This year they are studying Medieval world.



This was on the Maori warriors.

Then he made a mosaic for the Byzantinne empire:



4. Finished reading RED by Alison Cherry:



My YA Books Central review: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/15972-red-by-alison-cherry

Teaser: What worked for me had to be how the author plays with stereotypes in such a way that it works. Also I loved the whole premise of having a town where Redheads rule. It's an interesting twist on discrimination against those who aren't Redhead such as Blondes. The nastiness isn't hidden much either. In this town even the adults reinforce the rule that only Redheads get ahead.

I also liked Felicity. It would have been so easy to make her vain and full of herself but she struggles with the knowledge that she's really a fraud as she'd been dying her hair since she could remember. She admits she likes the popularity that comes with being a Redhead and all that comes with it like the hot jock boyfriend. But there's times when she fears she'll be exposed for the truth. This works well in this storyline. I felt her struggles, fears, and confusion. I also like her one friend Ivy who is everything that Felicity isn't-she's not afraid to be who she is.


5. Finishing up SIX MONTHS LATER:



This one has an interesting twist on the whole forgetting everything about yourself and waking up to a compete stranger. Only it seems the town might have a part of this all. Intriguing thriller.

YA Books Central review coming this Saturday!


** Guilty Pleasure:

So son and husband are going to Disneyland for a few hours. While they're away I hope to go see either Carrie:

I remember seeing the original with my mother when it first came out. Scared the crap out of me.

Or I'll see Romeo and Juliet:



Love this tragedy!

Decisions. Decisions.

I might even pick up a salted caramel mocha frappucino with soy afterwards!

Friday Five


1. First off, it was so much fun being a part of this Fall's YA Scavenger hunt!



The winner of my own giveaway is:

RACHEL EDMUNDSON


Congrats!

2. Getting ready for OCCRWA Birthday Bash this Saturday! Booked my hotel room, got some fun Audrey Hepburnish PJs, a Mardi Gras mask, and also have some books for a booksigning. Later that night going to a couple PJ 'parties' and also plan to have breakfast the next day with some other RWA authors. Should be fun! Hope to have photos to share next week! Knocking on wood I don't get...

3. Sick as son had some virus the other day. Ugh. Been living on Airborne and spraying Listerine EVERYWHERE!

Now for the book finds of this week!

4. Read this e-book galley that was sent to me from Netgalley:



Think THE AMERICANS meets YA paranormal spy kids. Set in 1963 Russia during the Cold War this story had me on the edge of my seat. Amazing storyline that peels back what could have happened during the Cold War in the Soviet Union. **Author has notes in the back that both the US and the Soviet Union were in fact researching paranormal abilities like psychics to use in spying. Fascinating. Release date April 2014

5. Just got my copy of RED:



I've been wanting to read this book since I read about it in PW announcement. I'm an enhanced Ginger and this storyline of a girl competing for the must have Scarlet town beauty title has a little secret: her envious red locks are enhanced too. Fun play on stereotypes and cliches. At first I thought it might be too much but so far it's working!

Also really enjoyed the pilot of this new CW show TOMORROW PEOPLE which is JUMPERS with more potential:


**Guilty Pleasure:

I found it's worth the extra $ to get my hair conditioned/styled in time for a booksigning. So guess what I'll be doing later today? The head massage alone is worth the $ and Mark, my stylist is wonderful!