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YALL Fest Author Interview: C.J. Lyons

Well hello there!

As you may know by now, I’m participating in a little blog hop to promote the awesome YALL Fest book festival in Charleston on November 9. This will be my first year attending YALL Fest, as I just moved to South Carolina this past July, and I just cannot wait.

Because I’m so excited I agreed to host some author interviews. Today’s interview is from C.J. Lyons, author of the YA thriller Broken. I haven’t read this one yet, but it really does sound interesting…AND apparently C.J. Lyons went to Medical School at the University of Florida where I went for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. CJ LyonsGo Gators!

Describe your book in 5 words:

CJ: Girl dying of broken heart (literally)

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

CJ: The first. I’ll often return to it over and over again until I’ve sliced and diced and fine-honed it to that perfect combination of intrigue, visceral reaction, and emotional connection with the reader.

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

CJ: “Code Name Verity” because it is so emotionally honest and inspiring, empowering, not to mention gut-wrenching. Really brings the era to life as well as the sacrifices made in the name of freedom.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.Broken by CJ Lyons

CJ: When I was a kid I worked summer stock theatre and was actually a theatre major undergrad before switching to pre-med. I’ve had two hard landings in helicopters while working as a flight doc. I survived rampaging Cape Horn Buffalo and a pack of wild baboons, not to mention a leopard (he’s already eaten) while hiking in Hells Gate Park in Kenya. I’m a Capricorn. I diagnosed my niece with the heart condition that’s at the center of my YA thriller, BROKEN.

What are you working on now?

CJ: DAMAGED, my next YA thriller, due out in 2014. It deals with the really tough topic of abuse and coercion and is the most difficult book I’ve ever tackled—there have been times while writing when I was literally in tears as I typed.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

CJ: I created my own genre of Thrillers with Heart—I love writing fast paced stories with raising stakes but centered on the emotional heart of an evolving relationship. As for reading, I read almost every genre but especially love YA, magical realism, and thrillers. As long as a story grabs me by the throat and won’t let me go because I’m too worried about what the characters are going through, I’ll read it and love it.

Okay, when other authors recommend a certain book it makes me feel like I should read it too…so maybe I’ll pick up Code Name Verity soon too! :)

Remember you’ll be able to see C.J. Lyons at this year’s YALL Fest in November! Maybe I can get her to do a Gator Chomp photo with me! :)

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Cover Reveal: Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood

I know we’re not supposed to judge books based on their covers, but sometimes I totally do just that!

Are you ready for the cover for Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood?!

Okay, so this isn’t really breaking news because author Jessica Spotswood recently shared the cover for the third book in her Cahill Chronicles trilogy on her own blog, but I’m so in love with this cover I had to share it too!

Here it is!

Sisters' Fate by Jessica SpotswoodGAH!! I completely love it! It is seriously my favorite in the series, when we’re talking about the new covers (the original Born Wicked cover was absolutely gorgeous!). GAH! In this one we get to see all three Cahill sisters and that completely fierce expression on Cate’s face is just awesome. She looks like she is ready to kick some major Brotherhood butt.

If you haven’t seen the covers for the other two books in the series here you go:

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Jessica Spotswood also announced that Sisters’ Fate wouldn’t be released until August 14, 2014. Yup. 2014.

We have SO LONG to wait! I’ll just spend the next year gazing at the gorgeous cover wishing it into existence!

What do you think of this new cover? Is it your favorite in the series?

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Cliffhanger Central: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Hello!

Who is ready for a review?!

Over the summer I finally read Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood! This series is just so much fun!

Star Cursed by Jessica SpotswoodWith the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

The Cahill Witch Chronicles are just such fun reads so far! Ever since reading Born Wicked I had been waiting for Star Cursed. Apparently I never actually reviewed Born Wicked though…which makes NO SENSE! I must have just looked over it when planning reviews, but I completely loved it. So, you should definitely read that one before Star Cursed.

In the second book, we pick up where book one left off. Cate has reluctantly joined the sisterhood and is living at their convent only to discover that it is actually a safe haven for young witches to train their powers. I’m pretty sure this is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much; it takes place in a boarding school! Cate’s world opens up a little bit more as we learn of other witches and the divisions within the Sisterhood. She is delving deeper into the history of Prophesy and what must happen in order to stop the tyranny of the Brotherhood. The always reluctant Cate must make decisions based on who she can trust and who has ulterior motives in order to save those she loves the most.

One of my favorite things about Star Cursed are the scenes in the “hospital”…I cannot for the life of me remember what its called (Edit: Jessica Spotswood herself (!) responded to my question on Twitter and the hospital is Harwood. Thank you!) but the characters we meet here really make what the Brotherhood does that much more hateful and evil. Oh and speaking of hateful…Maura?! Seriously…you’re my least favorite character in any book I’m currently reading because you just don’t get it! She is sooo frustrating and creates so much sister drama that I am sooo glad I’ve never had sisters! haha (I’m sure they’re not all bad like Maura!)

Oh and romance? Yes…the romance is back! Finn Belastra is back and just as swoon-worthy as before…almost even more so because he and Cate can only meet in secret due to the roles each of them must play.  Just think of stolen kisses under the cover of darkness…you’re welcome!

The ending? Cliffhanger central!! Seriously, this ending made me immediately check Goodreads for the release date of book three (which, by the way, is still untitled and has no release date yet..)! So, until then I’ll be checking Goodreads regularly to figure out book three’s release date.

If you like supernatural fiction with just the right amount of romance then you should read The Cahill Witch Chronicles… but you should start with Born Wicked first since it’s book one in the series.

Author: Jessica Spotswood

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (June 18, 2013)

Format: e-book (ARC)

Length: 371 pages

Series: Book 2 in The Cahill Witch Chronicles

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:  Star Cursed: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book Two

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Lauren Oliver

Hi there everyone!

So, I’ve been talking a lot about YALL Fest recently.  Mostly because I don’t know if I’ll be able to act like an actual adult when I am surrounded by 50 of the most amazing YA authors. I’m afraid I’ll just start fangirling and we’ll have another experience like the one with Rain Pheonix (Yes. THAT Pheonix family) where I told her I love her and her brother in the bathroom at a bar…yeah she looked at me like I was a crazy person. Which I guess in that moment…I kind of was!

Lauren-oliver

Well,  we definitely don’t want any of those freakout fangirl moments at YALL Fest. For the sake of the authors and my pride.

Fangirl or not BookTasty is bringing you another YALL Fest author interview and today’s author in question is the awesome Lauren Oliver, author of the Delirium series,  and Liesl & Po!

Let’s see what she has to say:

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Coffee!

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

Honestly, neither. It’s just every single line in between that feels impossible.

Best writing tip you ever received?

Aim for truth and beauty will follow.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I have fourteen tattoos. I can fall asleep any time, any place. I have a phobia of worms. I hate fruit. I wrote my first novel largely on my Blackberry.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

In my sunroom in upstate New York.

What are you working on now?

Two different middle grade books and an untitled young adult novel that my agent described as “the most disturbing thing he’s ever read.” Oops!

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

I love realistic books that include just a hint of fantasy.

Delirium by Lauren OliverLiesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Is it weird that I kind of want to sit in that sunroom in upstate New York with a mug of tea while I watch Lauren Oliver write?!

Because I totally do! :)

If you’re a fan of Lauren Oliver and her books you definitely should not miss the YALL Fest in Charleston on Saturday November 5!

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Waiting On Wednesday: The Clockwork Scarab

Hey there!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme I participate in (hosted by Breaking the Spine) because it gives me the opportunity to showcase some “coming attraction” books.

Today, I’m particularly interested in The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason! Just read this summary and you’ll find out why!

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen GleasonTwo young women of similar age and standing have disappeared: one found dead and the other still missing. The only clue to connect them is a small Egyptian clockwork scarab. Only Miss Stoker and Miss Holmes are well-positioned enough—similar in age and stature as they are to the victims—to investigate. An unlikely pair, the fierce Evaline Stoker and logical Mina Holmes must follow in the footsteps of their infamous families—Miss Holmes has inherited her Uncle Sherlock’s keen investigative skills, while Miss Stoker has accepted her family calling as a hunter of the undead. The partners must find a way to work together, while navigating the advances of a strange yet handsome American, a clever Scotland Yard investigator, and a cunning thief, to solve the mystery of the clockwork scarabs.

Guys! The Clockwork Scarab is set in London…steampunk London! Also, literary references: the families of Holmes and Stoker? YES PLEASE! Plus this cover is just so gorgeous!

I hope this one turns out to be a good read because it’s supposed to be a series!  It’s due to release on September 17, only a few short days away!

 

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Should Totally Be TV Shows

Well, hello and Happy Tuesday!

It’s time for the weekly Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish)! This week’s theme is a really fun one: Books that Should Totally Be TV Shows!

See?! I told you it’s a FUN one!

Okay, so when choosing the titles for my list I thought about qualities that would make a book transition to a TV show well.  First, the book’s story line cannot be so tight that there isn’t room for meandering…does this make sense?  There needs to be enough “stuff” to explore. Second, there needs to be a lot of characters (not like millions) but there needs to be more than 3 or 4 strong characters to hold the story down so the watcher doesn’t get bored.

So, here is my list of books I’d freakin’ LOVE to see be made into TV shows:

The Name of the Star by Maureen JohnsonThe Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson: First we have a boarding school book. YES. Then we have a secret “police force” that can see and help/stop ghosts. There is so much to explore with these books!

Paranormalcy by Kiersten WhiteThe Paranormalcy books by Kiersten White: A girl who has mysterious and special powers and hunts supernatural creatures, while also learning more about herself? So much could be done with this storyline!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: We totally need a steampunk show. Also, because it’s set in a boarding school with lots of characters there are tons of storyline to checkout.
The Boyfriend List by E. LockhartThe Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart: We totally need to see Ruby Oliver tough it out through her years of high school. There is so much humor, drama and romance in her story that a TV show would be perfect for these books.

I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterThe Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter: Apparently TV shows and boarding school books mean like the same thing to me! Each week the girls could be using their cool spy gadgets and going on secret missions!

The Luxe by Anna GodbersenThe Luxe series by Anna Godbersen: We already know that Gossip Girl was a win. Now, let’s just add AMAZING 19th century gowns and we’d have a SUPER WIN.

Heist Society by Ally CarterThe Heist Society books by Ally Carter: Like the Gallagher Girl books there is just so much to explore in these books!

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn ChildsForgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs: We need a tv show about a teen mermaid. I mean we already have Teen Wolf…it’s time we become equal opportunity, especially with mermaids.

Happenstance Found by P.W. CataneseThe Books of Umber series by P.W. Catanese: With the success of Once Upon a Time I think another fantasy based TV show would be so well received and again, there is just a lot of story to explore here!

The Selection by Kiera CassThe Selection books by Kierra Cass: Rumors have been flying out the CW picking up, then dropping this book as a potential TV series.  I think the CW just needs to acknowledge that it’d be awesome and that they just need to say “yes”.

Okay, now you’ve seen my list of books that I think should TOTALLY be made into TV shows…what books are on your list? Do you completely disagree with me on one or two titles? Go ahead and share your thoughts on this week’s list theme in the comments below! :)

 

 

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Cinda Williams Chima

Hi there everyone!

Have I told you that I’m going to my first ever YALL Fest in Charleston soon?!

Well I am!

YALL Fest is a young adult centered book festival with 50 of the nation’s top YA authors, including 25 New York Times bestsellers.  Some of the authors who will be at this November 9, event are Rae Carson, Libba Bray, Heather Brewer, Shannon Hale, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth and TONS more! Yeah…I’m pretty excited. These are seriously my celebrities, guys!

Another author, who I’d like to spotlight today, is fantasy author Cinda Williams Chima. She writes young adult Cinda Williams Chimafantasy and will be at this year’s YALL Fest (YAY!)   Honestly, I haven’t yet read any of the books in her Seven Realms series or the Heir chronicles, but I have had my eyes on them which is why I jumped at the chance to feature today’s author interview! And let me say that I am thrilled to be participating in a little blog hop to help promote YALL Fest and these awesome authors!

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and get to know Cinda Williams Chima a little bit better!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

A computer

Describe your book in 5 words

Wizards misbehave, magic goes mutant.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

Usually the lines in between.

Best writing tip you ever received?

Give yourself permission to write badly.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

1.  I am a twin.

2. I am named after a character in a novel.

3. I didn’t really start driving until I was 27.

4. I am descended from Puritans and scoundrels.

5. I used to be in a folk music band.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

On a balcony overlooking the ocean.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing The Sorcerer Heir, the fifth book in a trilogy.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

When I’m finished with a full-length novel.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima   The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Don’t forget that Cinda’s two series, The Seven Realms and the Heir Chronicles are available in stores and online from Hyperion Books.

I cannot wait for November 9th!

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Pulling Out the Floorboards: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Welcome back to BookTasty!

I’m always on the lookout for audiobooks my husband and I can both listen to together. It has to have the right plot, the right characters and just can’t be too girly in general I think. In the past we’ve listened to Agatha Christie mysteries, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Maze Runner series, and Gregor the Overlander together. Since I’d heard the news that a movie was in the works, we decided it was time to listen to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Cardtrain them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

This was such a great one for us to listen to together. I know this book was published in the 1980s, but I had never read it until now. Honestly, I’d never been interested before but the movie is releasing in November so I knew I had to finally read it! Overall, Ender’s Game is a very cool dystopian sci-fi tale that kept me coming back for more. I think it’s a great story for a family to read together because it will appeal to both adults and (middle school & older) kids.

I liked Ender as a main character and always cheered him on for sure, but I also just felt sorry for him the whole time! Just when things are going okay (not even good) for Ender Wiggins another floorboard is pulled out from under him. ALWAYS!  Ender just keeps getting the crappy end of the stick! CONSTANTLY! Honestly, after a while I couldn’t help but get tired of it, I wanted him to succeed and  you can only take so much hardship with little-to-no relief for so long! But I think that’s what makes Ender’s story so special in some twisted way! haha

Ender’s relationships with his siblings were especially interesting. You have the dangerous relationship between  Ender and Peter contrasted with Ender and Valentine’s close connection.  Then it all gets mixed up when Valentine and Peter become a duo.  You have some really intense relationships on both sides of the spectrum and they both spur Ender on in different ways. In fact, I kept forgetting that the story is about kids/teens because they’re thrown into these very adult roles and relationships. There were some times, however, where things got a little heady for me…specifically when Valentine and Peter are discussing politics/government, but it didn’t ruin it for me or anything.

Regarding the audio, the narrator was fabulous…there was even a cast of narrators for specific voices, which we loved!

All in all, you should definitely check out Ender’s Game (the book!!) if you’re even the smallest bit interested in the movie!

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Fantastic Audio (2002)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 57 mins

Narrator(s): Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison

Series: Book one in Ender’s Saga

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet)

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Waiting on Wednesday: United We Spy

Hi there!

I’m excited to be posting regularly again and even more excited that my Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine) title this week is United We Spy by Ally Carter!

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher United we Spy by Ally CarterGirls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

The Gallagher Girls series is seriously one of my favorite series ever (see my review of book 1). These books have everything: spying, friendship, humor, a boarding school and romance! If you haven’t read these books yet, you definitely should because they’re just plain fun!

United We Spy is the 6th and final book in the series, so I’m a whole big mess of excitement to find out what happens and sadness that it’ll be over! I can’t even handle the fact that this is so close as it’s due for release on September 17!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Were Taught in Schools

Hello!

I’m back!

Wow! The past few weeks have been really busy and tiring with school starting back up. I didn’t intend to take some time off the blog, but I didn’t plan well and all of a sudden I had a lot going on and no posts planned. And THAT is how the blog gets away from you folks!

But I’m back and I’m working on getting some posts scheduled for the next two months or so. *crosses fingers*

Well, it is time for Top Ten Tuesday (A weekly meme hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and Bookish) and I’m ready to go! There was a bit of a choice for today’s theme.  We could either pair up classic school required reading titles with contemporary books, or we could list titles that we wished were taught in schools. I chose the second option since I’m also a school librarian. Sometimes I read a book that I just have to share with my teachers because I know it fits perfectly into their curriculum…this list contains some of those titles.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin LevineThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This is a middle grades level historical fiction novel that would fit really well in an 8th grade American History course. It is all about Little Rock, Arkansas in the year following the integration of the public schools with the Little Rock Nine.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This one is perfect for a high school history course when covering the Holocaust and World War II. It would be so beneficial to see the Jewish Holocaust was not an isolated event, but that this type of thing has happened in other places/eras as well.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I think this one should be taught in English classes all over solely for the beauty of Stiefvater’s prose.

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Another 20th Century history topic that gets skipped over frequently in the classroom. It could be taught alongside a 20th century American History course.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda WoodsSaint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods

This quick read could be taught in a science class to support a unit on weather or natural disasters since it’s all about a boy’s experience in the midst of Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkA Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A quick but moving story detailing one boy’s story of civil war in Sudan. This could be taught in a World History class.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny RorbyLost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Floridian science and social studies teachers could use this in the classroom when discussing Florida.

 Bystander by James PrellerBystander by James Preller

A fabulous read for a Character Development course on the middle school level as it touches on bullying: the bully, the victim and the bystander.

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine PatersonThe Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

Again, with the 20th century history topics! This one tells the story of an Albanian girl whose family is forced to become refugees while escaping their Serbian oppressors.

Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld

This dystopian sci-fi read could be taught in a middle or high school English class as an alternative to the more traditional dystopian titles.

So there you have it! These are some titles that I think would be great titles to teach in a classroom setting. Have any of you educators actually had to opportunity to teach any of these books? Let me know! I’d like to hear your thoughts!