Friday Five

This week is Spring Break so I've been hitting the rough draft of the second book in the goddesses series and going over the revision of a critique buddy.

***And there's a great deal going on over at Amazon for my ebook EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA for $1.99! For those of you who are asking for fantasies with PoC, well my book has one! What a deal!

1. Saw two movies with similar themes of struggle with faith.

God Is Not Dead

Intriguing argument for and against God in the classroom. That was the strength of this movie. Some of the other parts bordered predictability.

2. I thought this one though handled the subject better and was nothing like I thought. I went in as a skeptic and came out moved.

Heaven Is For Real

3. Really loving the voice in this memoir:

4. Can't wait to read this one:

5. Went to Mother-in-law's assistant living community for an Easter party. And yes, Easter bunny came!

12 year old got to help his grandma and other elderly lady to dye Easter Eggs:

**Guilty pleasure:

Hope to go to Frye's and pick up a new laptop. Angelina, my current cherry red laptop, is five years old and dying.

Plus, want to treat self to a grande Starbucks drink!

**Photo courtesy from

(no subject)

First I'm going to start off with some links to two of my small press publishers.

1. I'll be over here until April 17th.

I'll be sharing tidbits on my first novel EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA and maybe some of my other stories!

2. I was hosting here yesterday on my take on inspiration:

3. Yes, I admit it. I've never read John Green's YA novel FAULT IN OUR STARS. All my friends are shocked with this confession as they've read and LOVED. I have a thing on books with cancer. I don't usually like to read them. Maybe this is because of my own cancer scares and this protagonist is based on a girl who died of thyroid cancer. I had a very real scare with that back in 1989. My own younger sister has thyroid cancer. So does a friend of mine. But I'm willing to give it a shot especially since the movie adaptation is coming out in June!

**Image courtesy of

4. Finished reading this:

Love this series and this one takes place in Paris. There's some very lush images and the author 'admits' that Google Earth was her friend. It's also been my friend with researching for book two in my goddesses series.

5.Speaking of,

**Image courtesy of iStock

Next week I'm going to read through my first draft, take notes, and then roll back my sleeves and do revisions! Love how fellow YA Books Central editor and head Ninja Mandy does hers. Mine looks very similar:
**Image courtesy of Mandy Buehlren

**Guilty pleasure:

Hope to meet up with two friends and go out to lunch. Love to do this! It's always fun to hang with some friends minus family and just catch up on gossip.

Friday Five

Sorry, I haven't been here lately! Will try to cross post more!

**To start off, last weekend ended with a rattle and jolt. Friday night around 9ish I felt a huge jolt and rumble in my house. Yes, earthquake! The only damage so far had to be our cockatiel Jenny breaking her feathers. Blood was everywhere. One fact most don't know: if a bird's blood feather is broken? It can bleed out and die.

She's okay but it always freaks me out big time when this happens!

1. Fun to talk to Mary Hering, son's theater and yearbook teacher. She's reading NO MORE GODDESSES and says it's fun. I'm being interviewed for the school's paper. Fun to hear teens asking to read my book!

2. Heard that there is a big chance that Star Crossed on CW might be canceled. I have one word for that:


Seriously this show is so much better than The Vampire Diaries this season. I have one word for that show:


This season's TVD is just one repeat storyline after another. You know it's bad when you laugh during a so-called 'sad' scene. And they renewed it for next year!

If you haven't had a chance yet, check out Star-Crossed. It's similar to the YA book ALIENATED and the 2000s ROSWELL the TV series.

3. Also really enjoying The 100 on CW. Think Lord of Flies meets Sci-Fi. Highly recommend reading the book which is basically the first episode:

4. Reading:

I'm a HUGE fan of author Wendy Higgins. This third book in the Sweet Peril series is filled with awesomeness sauce.

5. Also reading FATES:

This is about a 'Fate' that has been banished from her world to ours. She has one final duty in that she needs to kill a human in order to return to her home. Problem is she feels something for this boy and struggles to fulfill her task.

**Big shout out to Edelweiss for approving my ebook galley requests! Another one I got:

**Guilty pleasure:

Hope to pick up some moisturizer that is pretty amazing. They use a computer to decide your true makeup color. Love the concealer and rice powder.

Then later plan to see latest Captain America movie.
  • Current Mood
    busy busy

Friday Five

1. This week's been busy as usual! Getting lesson plans ready for visit this afternoon with our ES-educational specialist-Laura. Most people don't realize how much work is involved when you homeschool. I'm a credentialed teacher(yes, it's up to date!)for grades K-12 and also can teach ELD/Spanish. I work through a charter school which has been wonderful with a student center that son attends twice a week for theater, Lego League, History, and Campus publisher(they put together the yearbook) with credentialed teachers. We go once a week to a math academy. Biweekly to semi-private art classes and weekly to homeschool PE classes. Yes, I'm busy! But we've found this has been so much better for our son who has sensory issues.

**Son at last weekend's Legoland event.

2. Books! OMG, books!

First, I admit, I'm kind of burned out on YA dystopian novels so I asked the fab Jen or cupcakegirly on Twitter for recommends(she's a fellow YABC editor and has fab taste in not only cupcakes but YA/NA books).

Here's Jen's blog site:
**I so want one of your cupcakes, Jen! One day!

Here's what she recommended:

OMG, it's so GOOD!

While reading I couldn't help but think of this couple:

3. Speaking of if you loved Roswell The TV series as much as I did, then you had to, I mean you NEED TO DVR this new CW series-Star-Crossed:

It's on CW Monday nights!

So anyhow, ALIENATED has the whole Roswell-Star-Crossed feel going for it: Alien comes to Earth/meets/falls for Earth girl. Totally loving!

4. And YA Books Central revealed the cover of Melissa Lander's sequel to ALIENATED that comes out in Feb 2015:

5. And here's a teaser at some of the books I received this week:

Love ya, Penguin Teen books!

***Guilty Pleasure:

Hmmm, this will probably happen on Saturday after my yoga practice. Thinking of grabbing a Starbucks mocha/raspberry iced drink or the Java chip frap with soy:

Totally will need my yoga and drink as I'm thinking I'll be at mother-in-law's house helping her pack to move to independent/assistant living community. Cross fingers that she'll make some friends over there and not sit in her room, getting depressed. Yeah, just thinking about this whole situation makes me want an session of yoga.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired

Friday Five

1. First off, so excited that this week's issue of EW has this as the cover:

Yes, I'm proud to say I'm a 'marshmallow'. I also was one of the kickstart backers! Can't wait to see movie next month!

2. Finished reading:

This book brought back memories of 1983. Loved it!

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: What worked was the amazing voice of this historical YA novel. It brought back memories. During the early 80s, no one thought the wall would ever come down. We only heard stories of those who were lucky to escape. Ada and Stefan's story is beautifully written. Kephart shows us the heart and that not even a wall could separate a love.

3. Read this:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: What worked had to be how Ember puts together the pieces of her life before the accident even if it might be too painful to face. Her struggles/conflicts resonate and the reader can't help but want to know what really happened on the night that took away so much from her.

I also liked the chemistry between Ember and Kai. It's sudden and very intense. You want to follow him and discover what he might know but on the same hand can't help but wonder if the key he holds might shatter Ember.

4. Starting this one for next week's blog book tour:

Love Janet Gurtler's writing!

5. Found another yummy loose tea place at Irvine Spectrum:

The Mango green tea is very nommy. I also love the mocha nut mate.

**Guilty pleasure:

Finally, I'm going to see The Vampire Academy! Loved all the books. Read the first one and had to read the rest. Devoured this whole series in under 2 weeks! Yes, it's that good!

  • Current Mood
    sore sore

Friday Five

1. Really having a hard time working through Act 3 in this revision. I ended up tossing the original part as it wasn't working. Ugh. Ended up printing up another Plot wheel from Joyce Sweeney and trying to write through this plot block which is very painful. Double ugh.

Then fab YA author Maggie Stiefvater was on Twitter and I asked her what she did when she had this happen to her and she nailed it perfectly with this post:

Yes, my other project--plot bunny--has been hounding me. Love her suggestions! You rock, Maggie!

2. This week I was able to read fellow YABC Head Ninja's debut book: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfarer:



It's a cross between Somewhere in Time meets Dr. Who with amazing chemistry and exciting time travel stops.

Love the twists and turns in this time traveling/past lives tale. The chemistry between Alex and Blue(especially the 1927 dance scene) pulsed with chemistry. The reveals kept me on the edge of my seat.

3. Excited to get this novella from THE ELITE series.

This novella tells the story from the POV of the Prince and guard. Love it! Book three, The One, comes out in May!

4. Also the third book of Marissa Meyer is out!

Love this dystopian twist on fairy tales.

5. And what is going on with Stiles on Teen Wolf?

I love this character so much. When I meet one of the writers, Nancy Holder, at a RWA conference, I told her that they better not mess with Stiles! LOL. I have to admit I love how the writers are deepening his character. Now just give him a love interest!

**Guilty Pleasure:

Hope to see this:

  • Current Mood
    busy busy

Friday Five

1. Having a fun time with my NO MORE GODDESSES blog book tour! Thanks YA Reads! And to all the wonderful bloggers for hosting me!

Some of my reads for this week:

2. UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan:

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: What worked: Jordan opens by showing readers Davy's 'privileged' world. She's a music prodigy, rich, attends an exclusive private high school, and is dating the hottest guy on campus. But all this shatters with the results of a DNA test that shows she carries the killer gene HTS. Within a day everyone turns against her, including her BFF Tori and even her family. Jordan does a very efficient way of showing us how easily a privileged life can be erased. Chilling because this could very well be our own future with recent technological advances and how some use genetic testing to determine many factors.

3. TEEN SPIRIT by Francesca Lia Block:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: What worked: I love Block's words and how she works magic in each of her novels. In TEEN SPIRIT I love how she shows Julie's relationship with her grandmother and how painful it is after her death. The descriptions are very vivid and alive. It reminded me so much of my own grandmother.

When Julie finds an Ouija board in her new apartment she thinks it's a sign from her grandmother. She asks Clark to help but something else happens. Little do they know what they've unleashed. The changes that come over Clark are subtle at first, then downright creepy. This sinister twist I totally loved.

4. Right now reading this amazing book, THE FALCONER by Elizabeth May:

**Love the UK cover as it reflects how I picture the heroine!

Think Jane Austen meets steampunk 1844 Scotland.

Here's the blurb:

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

I was up until 3am as I couldn't put this book down! But you all know how much I love a kick-ass heroine with a bit of 'tude. Aileana lives a double life trying to avenge the death of her mother by a terrible faery creature. So far loving!

5. Check back tomorrow for the cover reveal of PARIS CRAVINGS!

**Guilty pleasure:

I admit I watch Shark Tank and one episode had a teen who suffered from eczema(like me!) showing her Simple Sugars line of body scrubs. Intrigued, I went to the site: I purchased the candy cane body scrub and LOVED IT. So when I asked if they had a chocolate one? They delivered:

This body scrub isn't gritty at all and doesn't leave a mess in the tub like another project I've used. It smells like brownies. So nommy! So far I haven't broken out which is a huge plus.

Friday Five

1. Today's my birthday! Happy birthday to me!

2. Well, the flu bug finally bit me. Ugh. Been fighting it but feel that it could have been tons worse if I didn't have my flu shot. The bug is really nasty. Stay healthy!

3. My virtual book blog tour starts tomorrow! I thought I'd celebrate my birthday with another tour.

Here's my stops:

January 25-

The Book Beacon-

January 26th
Cassandra M's Place -
Elizabeth Delana Rosa - Interview

January 27th

Pandora's Books - Review
We Do Write - Interview
Literary Chanteuse 2 - Excerpt
Don't Fold the Page - Review

January 28th

Fantasy Book Addict - Interview
Book Briefs - Review

January 29th
Book Lovers Life - Guest Post

January 30th

Book Infatuation - Review
Verbosity Book Reviews - Interview

January 31st
We're All Mad Here - Review
Blissful Book Reviews - Guest Post

I'll be giving away a signed copy of NO MORE GODDESSES and CROSSED OUT along with some fun swag all in a Paris bag(a hint at where Jordan will be in book 2).

4. Fun to get these books this week from the fab YA Books Central!

Yes, after I read the last Vampire Academy book? I'm so reading UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan. This book is getting some awesome reviews!

5. Also got a package of galleys from Chronicle books:

Love this publisher! There's a YA book with a twist on the Bronte sisters; a historical YA, and a YA set in the 1980s!

**Guilty pleasure:

For my birthday I'm going and getting a must needed facial which includes an arm and underbody massage. Plus, going to go to Cheesecake Factory and get a piece of nommy cheesecake!

Friday Five

1. School's back in session which means I'm busy driving all over the place, taking son to his other classes. My favorite thing though is being able to drop him off at the student center and go to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and write. I also love their tea lattes-the Chai with sugar-free chocolate is to die for! I swear this coffee house has helped me finish the first draft of the second goddesses book and is helping me finish another round of revisions of my current project.

2. Finally read VAMPIRE ACADEMY:

Verdict: Love it!

Can't wait to see the movie this Valentine's Day!

3. Finished reading Heidi Kling's latest installment of her Spellspinner's series:

Heidi nails the emotions, tension, and conflicts of this coven of witches/warlocks. So much better than The Originals and The Secret Circle.

YA Books Central Review coming soon!

4. Mandy, the head YABC Ninja leader, sent me an Amazon giftcard for Christmas and this is what I got:

Can't wait to read this series! I did get a ebook galley but it didn't load right on my Nook. Happy to finally have the book in print!

5. Loved this YA romance:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: I totally loved this story. Romantic bittersweet coming of age story that heats up in the shadow of the Burning Man festival. Seems that the fortune Lala gave might not be Ben's alone. Choices are made by not only Ben but Lala. They have to have the courage to make their own fates.

There's a twist of Romeo and Juliet conflict woven through this tale with surprise revelations at the end.

**Shout out to YA author friend Marlene Perez's latest:

This is a fun twist on what if one of the Fates had a son in modern times? Love Marlene's worlds and punchy dialogue.

**Guilty Pleasure:

While son is at a friend's 13th birthday party, husband and I are going out on a date to an Italian restaurant:

2013 Cybils YA Nonfiction Finalists

I was so excited to be a part of the Cybils again! Love this group so much! This year I decided to think outside my box and help judge the YA Nonfiction category. So many great nominations. Here's what we decided made the top five picks of this year. Trust me, this was hard. Tomorrow check my own top 5 list!

2013 Finalists
Young Adult Non-Fiction

Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays
Roaring Brook
Nominated by: Katy Manck (BooksYALove)

Writing and reading essays usually evokes yawns. Forcing students to use the formal style of writing not only is boring but kills creativity. Breakfast on Mars takes the dreaded essay assignment and spins a fun, creative twist that is sure to inspire younger writers. Each essay takes a usually boring subject and brings it to life. There are examples of persuasive, informative, literary, personal, and illustrated essays. In this collection, readers will find essays on such topics as summer camp, invisibility, life on Mars, and the first kiss. Delightful twists on the dreaded essay. A must-add to any middle and high school classroom.

by Kim Baciella, Si Se Puede

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II
Martin W. Sandler
Walker Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

Imagine having your loyalty to your country of birth questioned and you and your family sforced to relocate to an interment camp. For the Nisei , second generation children Americans of Japaenese descent, that meant the United States, Canada and parts of South America imprisoned them in interment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Imprisoned outlines the challenges Japanese immigrants faced while trying to make a life for themselves and their children in the years before the war, the weeks leading up to the relocation, the years in the camp, and the fight for reparations by the Sansei, or third generation, on behalf of their parents and grandparents.

Included in the book are numerous photographs, maps, and first-hand accounts.

by Sarah Sammis, Puss Reboots

The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List
Leon Leyson
Nominated by: Mary McKenna Siddals

Leon Leyson’s memoir offers a distinctive glimpse into the life of the youngest Holocaust survivor on Oscar Schindler’s renowned list. Unlike the Hollywood version of events, Leyson tells his story in a matter-of-fact style, which helps readers connect to the daily fear and hardship of the Holocaust from his first-hand perspective. Leyson veers away from anger or blame, leaving readers free to experience and reflect upon the momentous history in his telling. The Boy on the Wooden Box is a significant book, not only for the unique historical perspective it holds, but for the dignified way the author lived his life.

by Cheryl Vanatti, Reading Rumpus

The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne
Catherine Reef
Clarion Books
Nominated by: Sherry Early

In this thorough and engaging family biography, Catherine Reef recreates the lives
and works of the famous Brontë sisters. Raised by a busy Reverend and a somber aunt, the Brontë children turned to each other for entertainment – rambling about
the English moors, writing stories, and constructing elaborate fantasy worlds together. This shared passion for imaginative play and storytelling would lead the sisters toward literary greatness, but first they endured severe boarding schools,
family tragedy, and unrewarding teaching careers. The Brontës’ swift but hard-earned transformation from playful girls to serious writers is fascinating and inspiring, but what makes Reef’s biography shine is her attention to the everyday struggles of 19th century living, especially for young women.

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne become strong female protagonists in their own life stories; readers will root for the three girls as they overcome challenges of class and gender in order to pursue their art. Well-read teens will enjoy tracing paths from the Brontë’s childhood experiences into the worlds of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and Reef’s crisp, readable narrative will easily breed new fans.

Jessica Tackett MacDonald at

"The President Has Been Shot!": The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
James L. Swanson
Nominated by: Amanda Snow

“There was a father with a little boy, a little girl, and a joy of each in the other. In the moment, it was no more, and so she took a ring from her finger and placed in his hands.

There was a husband who asked much and gave much, and out of the giving and asking wove with a woman what could not be broken in life, and it a moment it was no more. And so she took a ring from her finger and place in his hands “ (page 180).

Ask anyone who was a teenage or older about November 22, 1963, chances are they can tell you where they were when they learned President John F. Kennedy had been shot. A moment that defined a generation, it has forever changed our country. Swanson takes readers through the a brief account of JFK’s presidency, the last several days leading up to the pivotal moment, Jacqueline Kennedy’s bravery and strength as a nation watched her every move, through the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.

With a subject that has been well covered by both media and conspiracy theorist alike, Swanson presents the information in an engaging tone and select photographs. One of the most intriguing aspects of this book is the ending, which includes the diagrams, photos and illustrations from the assassination. Also included is Places to Visit, Source Notes and a thorough index—all adding to the usability of this title.

Stephanie Charlefour