Thursday, December 20, 2012

Superlative Blogfest: BEST IN SHOW



It’s the last day of the blogfest L

I’ve had so much fun, and even more fun popping around to see your choices each day! My TBR list is now about the same length as my kids’ Christmas one, and I don’t think I’ll read any 2013 novels because I’ll be catching up on 2012, but still SO MUCH FUN!!! I hope you’ve had fun too. J

Anyhoo, before I begin, slacker blogger Alison’s a bit behind in the sharing department, and two of her amazing CPs recently had some super huge news!

If you are doing this blogfest, you obviously know Katy, and most of you probably know that she recently parted ways with her agent, plunged into query waters, and within less than a month signed with a new agent—the fabulous Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency! (you can read all about it here) I’ve had the fortunate pleasure of reading Katy’s story four times, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I could read it again and again and again (and again). It’s unputdownable. Her story is one I still think about, and I seriously hope you all get the chance to read it one day.

And then, while Katy was in the midst of agenting attention, my amazing CP and friend Marice Kraal signed with Brittany Howard of the Corvisiero Literary Agency! (you can check out her news here)Marice is not only an incredibly thorough, fantastic, and supportive CP, but she writes the most amazing stories. I’ve been so honored to read two of them, and her latest has the most amazing concept and the most incredible story. I seriously can’t wait until it hits the shelves and you all can read it.

Congratulations, Katy and Marice!!!

And now on with the Best in Show

Favorite Cover:




Cutest Couple: Hazel and Augustus (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, John Green)

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.): THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater)

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!) THIS IS NOT A TEST (Courtney Summers)

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.): PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver)

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel: NEVERMORE (James Patterson)—last (insert gihugic sad face) in the Maximum Ride series and ended exactly how it should have

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath: Whitley and Nathan (A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE, Kody Keplinger)

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.) AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield)

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, BEFORE 2012.): JELLICOE ROAD (Melina Marchetta)—if this book was a 2012 release, it’d be dominating my choices. SO GOOD

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green)

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.): AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield). I don’t know why I held off on this one as long as I did, but I’m glad I finally read it.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle: THE RAVEN BOYS—while I am definitely Team Gansey, I really, really do feel for Adam.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.): DROWNING INSTINCT (Ilsa J. Blick) and PERFECT ESCAPE (Jennifer Brown)

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book): I really want to say ON WRITING (Stephen King), but while that was a 2012 read for me, it was not a 2012 publication. So, I’ll go with 11th HOUR (James Patterson). LOVE the Women’s Murder Club!

Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

Character who deserved the biggest hug: Adam (THE RAVEN BOYS, Maggie Stiefvater) and COLBY (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCoeur). My heart broke for those two SO MUCH.

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL holiday! Thank you so much for participating this week! Oh, and don't forget to add your link below!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Superlative Blogfest: Elements of Fiction!



Having fun? ME TOO! Today's topic: Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.) THIS IS NOT A TEST—Red Dawn meets Breakfast Club meets the zombie apocalypse. LOVE the premise and the fast and furious plot.

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)—pretty much any dystopian society, but definitely not futuristic Chicago (INSURGENT, Veronica Roth)

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.): BITTERBLUE (Kristin Cashore)

Loveliest Prose: DROWNING INSTINCT (Ilsa J. Bick) - I want to read every Ilsa J. Bick book now, THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater) - eerie yet so beautiful, and PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver) - I will read ANYTHING by Lauren Oliver. I bet even her grocery list has gorgeous, emotion-filled prose. J

Best First Line:

Hangovers are a bitch. A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE (Kody Keplinger)

and

The night before Amelia Anne Richardson bled her life away on a parched dirt road outside of town, I bled out my dignity in the back of a pickup truck under a star-pricked sky. AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield)

Most Dynamic Main Character: They’re not all main characters, but can I just say ALL the Raven Boys? No. Okay, well then I’ll pick Gansey.

Honorable Mention: Kaleb (TIMEPIECE, Myra McEntire)

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending: PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver)—read this back in February and my mind is still reeling from it. And left me hella desperate for REQUIEM

Best Performance in a Supporting Role: Again, can I just say ALL the Raven boys? They are so distinct and so absopositively phenomenal.

Best Use of Theme: STEALING PARKER (Miranda Keneally)—I read a few 2012 issue books, but this one was very real and dealt with some very tough topics without being too didactic.

So, what were your favorites in these categories? Sign up on the linky and tell us all about it!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Superlative Blogfest: Popularity Contest!


It's Day Two of the Superlative Blog fest and today we're choosing our faves yearbook style. If you want to join in the fun, click here for a recap of the "rules" and hop aboard!

Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest

Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!

Class Clown(s): Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, John Green)

I know, I know. They're cancer patients. Just read on...

Hazel: "God, you're the best,”
Augustus: "I bet you say that to all the boys who finance your international travel.”

"What a slut time is. She screws everybody."

“It's just that most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.'
'Right, it's primarily his hotness,' I said.
'It can be sort of blinding,' he said.
'It actually did blind our friend Isaac,' I said.
'Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?'
'You cannot.'
'It is my burden, this beautiful face.'
'Not to mention your body.'
'Seriously, don't even get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away,' he said, nodding toward the oxygen tank.”

Okay, so maybe not class clowns, but despite their tragedies and struggles, they were funny. Hilarious actually. My heart and gut hurt so much from alternating periods of laughing and crying.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star: Mike Ness (ZERO, Tom Leveen)—he IS a drummer, and totally deserves a successful road to fame, IMHO

Mostly Likely to start a Riot: Ronan (THE RAVEN BOYS, Maggie Stiefvater)—ticking time bomb, one I couldn’t help but love though.

Biggest Flirt: Whitley Johnson (MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE, Kody Keplinger)

Fashion King and/or Queen: Aphrodite (HIDDEN, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast) and Mia (BETWEEN YOU AND ME, Marisa Calin)

Girl /Guy You’d Most Want For Your BFF: I debated too long on this one, trying to find a girl I’d most want for my BFF, and the only ones popping into the brain were boys. Then silly Alison realized, OH...the category is Girl/GUY. *facepalm*

So, here’s two: Corndog (STEALING PARKER, Miranda Kineally) and Colby (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCouer). They’re loyal and just always seem to be there when their friends need them—no matter what.

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School: Hands down—Heath Luck (HIDDEN, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast) I’d say more, but I’d spoil things for non-HON fans.

Most Likely to Become President: Gansey (THE RAVEN BOYS, Maggie Stiefvater). Well, he IS President Cell Phone.

Quirkiest Character: Meg (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCouer)—she’s in a band, likes the Supremes, has pink hair. LOVE her. And Gigi (SKINNY, Donna Cooner)—she doesn’t get much page time, but her eclectic wardrobe and hair stand her out when she does.

Villain You Love to Hate: King Leck (BITTERBLUE, Kristin Cashore)—still gives me the heebie jeebies

Favorite Parental Figure: the Lancasters (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, John Green) - most supportive parents EVER, and Miriam Walsh (ZERO, Tom Leveen)—at first, I didn’t care for her much. She seemed enabling and wishy-washy. She evolved into the strong, dependable parent—even if she wasn’t the coolest one.

Honorable Mention for coolest parental figure: Uncle Pete (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCouer)—he has a van named Melinda…Melinda… that he offers up for The Disenchantment’s roadtrip.

Coolest Nerd: Rat (SKINNY, Donna Cooner)—okay, so maybe not a nerd. But he’s Ever’s best and only loyal friend and I just thought he was pretty awesome.

Any you agree with? Who would you pick? Add your name to the linky and join in the fun!



Monday, December 17, 2012

The Superlative Blogfest! Head of the Class

Umm,…hi.

*dusts off blog*

Sorry I haven’t been around much. The past two months have been a little busy. There’ve been a lot of exciting things going on. My husband’s boys soccer team made a huge playoff run, earned an appearance at the State Championship game. And with one goal down and one man out, they came back in overtime to win! It was an incredibly miraculous finish - one I swear I'm putting in a story some day - and super exciting. (You can read more about it here)



My high school’s boys soccer team made their first ever appearance in a State Championship game, and they won too! Then, my high school’s football team won their State Championship game the same weekend my daughter’s soccer team won a tournament in Virginia.



Between all that excitement, I’ve been working insane hours. There’s the full time job and in between getting my kids to and from where they need to be and watching my husband’s soccer games, I tutor about ten different kids sometimes up to twelve hours a week. One week I drove to the Raleigh (about a two-hour drive) three times for soccer games. I pushed sleep to the back burner. I added five-hour energy drinks to the diet.

For a while there I felt like I was just going through the motions, and even with all this really exciting stuff going on, I just didn’t feel like I could enjoy it—I actually found myself in a bit of a funk - like a downward spiral, can't-seem-to-get-happy funk. Usually I can just force a smile, put on my big girl panties and deal with it all, but I just couldn't stop feeling sad about how I was unable to enjoy anything. (I know-I'm depressing) And when my husband had that playoff run, I looked at my schedule, looked at my responsibilities, and I just said, screw it. I’m going to focus on my family. Focus on what’s most important. I AM going to enjoy the ride.

And I did. I lessened some responsibilites. I said "no" to people (gasp). And I hung out with friends instead of worrying about trying to be Wonder Woman. Things were still busy, but I knew the busyness wouldn't last forever. Of course, just when I thought life was slowing down a bit, my eight year old had an emergency appendectomy last Monday. He’s fine. Mom’s fine. We’re all fine. But WHEW

And my little man was SUCH a trooper

totally going in his high school yearbook

There’ve been a lot of highs. Some lows. And I’ve been experiencing the emotional rollercoaster with it. My reading time has suffered. I haven’t read a book in forever, but I have been revising. And writing. And mostly, I’ve been enjoying any time I get to be with my family, which, TBH, is where my heart truly is. And while I’m sad my son had to endure surgery at such a young age, I’m not sad about the time I was able to spend with him. Especially in light of what happened in Connecticut Friday. I hugged my children extra tight that night. I’m sure you did too.

And to be honest, I was a little tempted to throw in the towel on the Superlative Blogfest, but it was one of the most fun things I participated in last year, and just picking out my choices has rejuvenated my love of reading. I think Alison will be catching up on her TBR list over Christmas vacation. Also, I've REALLY missed the blogging community. I've missed YOU. And once I finally get the WIP where I want it, and maybe possibly feel ready to plunge into query waters, I’ll be back more often.

But I am definitely here this week for the Blogfest! And I have really missed popping around and catching up on what you’ve been doing so I am super excited about seeing your choices for each day!

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about…

The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest is hosted by Katy Upperman, Tracey Neithercott, Jessica Love, and me, and is a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest will span four days, beginning today and culminating Thursday, December 20th. And…AND if you participate all four days, you could win your choice of a 2012 book from the Book Depository! (see details here)

The rules for participating are simple:

1. Select books/characters that apply to the superlative topics for each day of the blogfest. Feel free to give explanations for your choices. You can go into as much detail as you like!

2. Add a link to your post on Katy's, Jessica’s, Tracey’s or my blog.

3. Take a few moments to hop around and check out the superlatives of other participants each day.


See? Fun AND easy! But wait, there’s more!

Some additional information:

- Unless otherwise indicated by the topic, stick with books published in 2012.

- Of course we want you to participate in all four days of the blogfest, but if you’re only able to commit to a day or two, that’s cool too! (but…BUT if you do participate all four days, you could win a 2012 book of your choosing. Just sayin’)

- Don’t have a book or character to fit a particular topic? No biggie—just skip it!

- For the sake of continuity, focus on YA books only.

- Pretty please keep your posts spoiler free!

Today’s topic: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian: PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver)—honest moment: I was disappointed in DELIRIUM, wasn’t even going to read this sequel, but SO GLAD I did. AMAZING and I can’t wait for REQUIEM!

Favorite Science Fiction: TIMEPIECE (Myra McEntire)—sequel to HOURGLASS from Kaleb’s POV? The story is hooking enough, but that little twist made it fifty thousand times more fabulous.

Favorite Fantasy: BITTERBLUE (Kristin Cashore)—I read both GRACELING and BITTERBLUE this year and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Bitterblue, Katsa, Po, and everything about this series. I really need to get my hands on FIRE!

Favorite Contemporary: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green)—one of my favorite reads in 2012

Favorite Action/Adventure: NEVERMORE (James Patterson)—finale in the Maximum Ride series. Ended EXACTLY how it should have. J

Favorite Historical Fiction: umm…I read THE CARRIE DIARIES, SUMMER AND THE CITY, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER—all wonderful, but no 2012 releases. L

Favorite Comedy: tie: A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE (Kody Keplinger) and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green)

Favorite Mystery: another tie : AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield) and THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater)

Favorite Romance: Out of my 2012 reads, there were a lot of romance-y parts of books I enjoyed, but while this book is not in the romance genre, I especially loved the romance in PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver).

Favorite Paranormal: THIS IS NOT A TEST (Courtney Summers)—Red Dawn meets The Breakfast Club meets zombies. And while I’ve never been a huge zombie fan, I LOVE those two movies. And I LOVE this book! BEST read of 2012

Favorite Family Drama: A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE (Kody Keplinger)—um, mc Whitley certainly finds herself entangled in a romantic, hilarious, and dramatic family snare.

Honorable mention: PERFECT ESCAPE (Jennifer Brown)—love the sibling connection between and the adventure with Kendra and Grayson.

Favorite Genre Bender: THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater)—mystery, romance, supernatural…I’m sure there are other ways to classify this one. One of my favorite reads of 2012.

Add your name to the linky below and join in the fun! Can't wait to see your choices!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Superlative Blog Fest is NEXT WEEK!


Just a teensy reminder that the Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest will run next Monday, December 17th through Thursday, December 20th and will highlight favorite books of 2012. And…AND we’re having a contest too! Participants in all four days who live where The Book Depository ships will be entered in a drawing for one of four books (winners get to pick a 2012 book of their choice from the Book Depository within a $20 limit). MORE reason to join in the fun!

Oh, and just in case you forgot, here are this year’s categories:

Monday, December 17th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian

Favorite Science Fiction

Favorite Fantasy

Favorite Contemporary

Favorite Action/Adventure

Favorite Historical Fiction

Favorite Comedy

Favorite Mystery

Favorite Romance

Favorite Paranormal

Favorite Family Drama

Favorite Genre Bender


Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest

Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!

Class Clown

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Mostly Likely a Riot

Biggest Flirt

Fashion King and/or QueenGirl You’d Most Want For Your BFF

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Most Likely to Become President

Quirkiest Character

Villain You Love to Hate

Favorite Parental Figure

Coolest Nerd


Wednesday, December 19th: Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)

Loveliest Prose

Best First Line

Most Dynamic Main Character

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

Best Use of Theme


Thursday, December 20: Best in Show

Favorite Cover

Cutest Couple

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, BEFORE 2012.)

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book)

Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

So, get your choices ready and join in the fun! See you next week!