Okay, why haven’t I read any books by Holly Black before??? Again, my sister suggested this one (B, you’re becoming my book guru!), and said, “It’s not a typical vampire novel”.  Wait…what?? THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is a vampire novel?  Yeah, the whole pale, lifeless hand on the cover wasn’t even a little hint for me.  Anyway, I must admit I was skeptical, but started it anyway, and boy, was I surprised!



Holly Black is NOT afraid of writing dark, gritty moments, and her writing is as solid as her story. I was immediately caught up in the scariness of the plot, and as a writer, listening to how she crafts her sentences with great interest.



The premise to the book is that vampires have basically taken over the world in a kind of epidemic. Most either voluntarily go to a designated Coldtown, or end up there in various ways, along with some unlucky humans. Once you enter a Coldtown, however, you can’t leave. It’s easier to keep people inside the gates, than to risk infecting more people.



Black opens the book with a girl named Tana waking up after a night of partying. She finds herself in the bathtub, and is thoroughly embarrassed that she may have been in there without realizing other people were coming in and out. Did they know she was there? Were they all laughing at her? It’s a slightly comical opening…until she leaves the bathroom and realizes everyone at the party is dead, everyone except her ex-boyfriend (who has been bitten), and a fully-turned handsome vampire who helps them leave in an especially harrowing escape from the house.



I wasn’t expecting the depth of the writing here, and yet thoroughly enjoyed the plot and character development.  It’s a scary read—expect that and you’ll delight in it!


I’m definitely going to pick up more from Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles, anyone??).  Now I know why kids love her books!


What’s up next on my scary book reading list?  Seems like I’m in that kind of mood lately. *Spoiler….I hope this is rubbing off a little bit in my own new WIP, MANIAC.




Posted in Book Review | Tagged , 1 Comment




Over at the YA Buccaneers, I’m doing an interview with author Charlie N. Holmberg about her debut THE PAPER MAGICIAN.  Charlie is a fellow agency sister, and I was thrilled to be able to talk with her about her first release and the upcoming second book in the series, THE GLASS MAGICIAN.



Go there now! We talk about origami, quilting and the dreaded rejection letters! And there’s a giveaway, so don’t miss it.




Posted in Author Interview, YA Buccaneers | Tagged , Comment




I heard about this book from my sister who has been devouring audiobooks on her commute each day. 172 HOURS ON THE MOON, by Norwegian author Johan Harstad, was originally released in Norway back in 2008, but was released in the US by Little, Brown in 2012 with a big web campaign to try to gain a whole new following. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of it.



172 HOURS looks like sci-fi, but it is actually a horror novel with a sci-fi background. I wasn’t even sure it was YA until I really got into it, but it follows the premise that NASA wants to send people back to the moon for a special mission—including three teenagers chosen from a worldwide lottery. Interesting idea, even if a bit far-fetched at times.



So, the teens spend months training and accompany five astronauts to the moon, where they are to locate and live on a secret NASA moon station called Darlah 2, which was erected kind of like the International Space Station—in sections and over time, although no one actually (supposedly) spent any time in it.



As it turns out, there was a Darlah 1, but it was abandoned along with all other missions to the moon after some strange occurances, which none of the teenagers and most of the other astronauts knew nothing about. I won’t give away the twist, no worries.



This was a fun listen for me. At first, I was a little distracted by the woman who read the audiobook.  She gave each character the appropriate accent for each character’s country (a Norwegian, a Japanese student, a French student, and several Americans) as they would sound speaking English. I found it a bit funny, but after a while, I realized that it was really necessary with so many different characters, especially in an audiobook version.



172 HOURS ON THE MOON won a Brage Prize (A Norway Library prize) when it was first released there. However, even though Little, Brown devised an incredible web campaign to generate interest in the book when it was released in North America (a website where teens could register for a supposed mission to the moon), I’m not sure it worked as well as they hoped. Or maybe I was just oblivious to it at the time.



While I’ve seen some complaints about the English translation of this novel being spare and stilted, I think it fits this novel perfectly. We don’t need a lot of flowery prose in a book about a place as desolate and harsh as the moon.



If you can pick up a copy of this book, it’s a quick, fun, chilling romp on the surface of the moon. I’m all about the scary….




Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , 2 Comments




YES!  We’re doing it again, this time with a little more flexibility and fun! A fall writing bootcamp with the YA Buccaneers is the best idea you’ll hear when it comes to fall. We’ll keep you motivated, get you ready for NaNoWriMo and have some fun (and prizes) along the way! Yay!



So, how does it work? Pop on over to the YA Buccaneers website and JOIN the bootcamp. It’ll run from Sept.1 – Nov. 30, with lots of exciting events. Start by posting your goals.  We won’t have “official” teams this time, but we’re planning on organizing everyone into groups who are revising, groups who are planning, and groups who are writing. We’ll have lots of writing parties, word sprints, and spontaneous fun! What are you waiting for?



When you go to the site, grab a fun badge for your blog to show you’re participating. It’s going to be a great three months!  I’m going to work on finishing the first draft of my WIP called MANIAC.  What are YOU planning on doing?




Posted in Fall Writing Bootcamp, YA Buccaneers | Tagged , , Comment




Like many of you, I spend time on Pinterest. I love how easy it is to organize everything and I am inspired each time I go searching through boards. I use it for work, mainly, but also find time to have a few fun boards for myself.



This is my professional Pinterest site. I love to keep track of my book reviews, books I want to read, gorgeous book covers, websites I like to use, and everything else in between. Take a minute to check out my boards, and don’t forget to follow me if you like something.  I’m always on the lookout for new people to pin!



Happy pinning!




Posted in Pinterest | Tagged , , Comment