blo Teens Read and Write: June 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Teen Fiction Review & Giveaway: FAVORITE by Karen McQuestion

author: Karen McQuestion
pub: 4/1/11
genre: Teen Fiction/Contemporary/Mystery, Thriller
Buy the Book/Website/Twitter/Blog
Sixteen-year-old Angie Favorite's life so far has been defined by the disappearance of her mother on her eleventh birthday. Since then, she and her older brother Jason have been raised by their grandmother, while their father tours with his rock band. When Angie is attacked by a complete stranger, the crime seems random, until she meets her attacker's wealthy mother, Lillian Bittner, and discovers nefarious connections between the Bittners and the mother no one has heard from in five years.

Up for an exciting murder mystery? Me too! 

FAVORITE runs at a fast clip. In the very first pages Angie gets beaten to crap in a would-be abduction then quickly gets sucked into some bizarre circumstances with the kidnapper's wealthy family.  She stumbles across clues about her mother's unexplained disappearance and is soon neck deep in danger.  

Romance stays light. She has a brief date with Mike, who's the nephew of the guy who tried to kidnap her which makes things rather awkward. I liked that she and Mike have an intelligent conversation about the situation and Angie's blunt nature carries through. She goes for honest rather than trying to impress people, even the cute guy. 

Rule #1: Never enter a creepy mansion!
Suspense builds, the mystery unfolds and I was anxious for Angie to find the answers and somehow stay alive! 

FAVORITE flows well, and keeps turning in unpredictable directions. The ending surprised me - talk about wacky folk - and the story finishes on a satisfying note. 

Karen packs a lot of excitement into 170 pages making FAVORITE a quick read, a solid contemporary thriller and a great addition to your summer reading list!  

You can check out our fantastic interview with Karen and be sure to visit her Amazon page for more info on her and all of her great books! And enter below to win a copy of FAVORITE 

Contest Details:
Fill out the form below
- Be 13 or older
- Open to US
- Enter by July 13

WoW – 06/29/11: Hot Upcoming YA Releases!

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine and showcases upcoming releases we're dying to read!

Maggie Stiefvater
Oct 18, 2011/Scholastic Press
With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff--with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

Kathy Reichs
October 18, 2011/Razorbill
Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they've turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack! But now the very place that brought them together-the Loggerhead Island Research Institute--is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it!
So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can't believe her luck--buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren't the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals' special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble . .

Ellie James
Dec 6, 2011/St. Martin's Griffin
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wnts nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.
Sophie Flack
Oct 10, 2011/Poppy
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

Mike Mullin
Oct 11, 2011/Tanglewood Press
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

Molly Cochran
Dec 20, 2011/Simon & Schuster
When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow studens seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother commited suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it’s up to Katy to unravel her family’s many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction.

What are you waiting for? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Author Interview: Karen McQuestion - FAVORITE

Please welcome FAVORITE author Karen McQuestion. Cool name, right? Even cooler is the history behind it. She has graciously answered our questions - even a zombie one - so without delay... 
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Karen! 
  • You’ve written adult, young adult, and middle grade, contemporary, romance, thriller, humor and magical fairies. Which is your favorite genre to write?

Whatever I’m currently working on is my favorite. I’m not sure if that makes me versatile, easily bored or what, but I really like to mix it up.
  • FAVORITE is an exciting mystery/thriller with a surprising ending. Did you always know how it would end? And if not, how did it change?
There have been different versions of FAVORITE. With each revision I felt like it got closer to where it should be. Originally, it had a less hopeful ending, but that just seemed wrong. I wanted closure and I also wanted the story to end in triumph.  And it was important for Angie to play an active role in finding out what happened to her mother.  So I guess it was the ending that changed the most.
  • Do you have a favorite/memorable scene and/or character from FAVORITE?
Angie, the main character, is my absolute favorite.  For me, the most memorable part is when she’s stuck spending the night at the old lady’s house and has to climb the dark staircase to find her cat.
 It reminds me of when I was a teenager doing laundry in the basement and my older sister would turn off the lights and run up the stairs, leaving me to fumble frantically in the dark through cobwebs and past the furnace (which made these horrible, disturbing noises).  She did this all the time because she thought it was funny.  It was not. To this day I blame her for a lot of my anxieties.
  • You've had a unique road to publication, and become one of the most successful authors on Amazon. For those who don’t know your story, would you give us the highlights of your journey?
For years, I was a failed novelist. I wrote books and submitted them and entered contests, but no one wanted to publish them. On two different occasions I had agents represent my work, but they didn’t have much luck either.
In July 2009, as a last resort, I uploaded my unpublished manuscripts to Amazon’s Kindle to sell as ebooks. To my surprise, sales were great and supportive readers left positive reviews and sent me really nice emails. About six months into my self-publishing ebook venture, an L.A. production company contacted me wanting to option one of the books for film, and right after that AmazonEncore, Amazon’s publishing company, made an offer to publish five of my books in print and ebook form.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of my books have sold, and foreign rights have been sold for Favorite.
I credit this turn of events to timing, luck, and perseverance.  Sometimes I still have trouble believing my good fortune. After years of rejection, it’s all been wonderful.
  • What are your upcoming projects? (We heard you’re writing another YA, THE INSOMNIACS CLUB. If that’s true, would you tell us about it and when will it be published?)
How did you know I have another YA in the works?!  Tentatively titled THE INSOMNIACS CLUB, it’s about a teenager named Russ who roams around at night because he can’t sleep, and then….something  major happens.  I’m not sure of the release date, because the book isn’t finished yet.
In the meantime, I do have a middle grade novel titled Secrets of the Magic Ring coming out in November of this year. It’s a sequel to my book Celia and the Fairies; this time around Celia’s friend Paul is the main character.
  • We read you love vacationing with your family. If you all could travel anywhere, real or some place from literature, and in any time, present, past, or in the timeframe of the alternate literary world - where would you go, what would you do and who would you spend time with? 
I’d go right through the wardrobe into Narnia. I’d want to meet everyone including Mr. Tumnus and Aslan and I wouldn’t fall for the White Witch's promise of Turkish Delight, because I’m too smart for that (plus I’m not even sure what Turkish Delight is).
  •  We thought your last name, McQuestion, was a super awesome pen name you came up with but it’s actually your married name. What country/background is it from?  
 “McQuestion” is Irish, but if you go to Ireland you may not find any McQuestions. And that’s because the name was actually devised as an alias for a guy who fled to the U.S. because he was wanted by the law.  That’s the way I heard it, anyway.
  • If your husband dances like the awesome Steve Martin, what’s your dance style?
 I think I’ve got kind of an Ellen Degeneres thing going on….
  • And now the zombie question…
Another Eye Candy Excuse!
You’re walking home from your favorite malt shop, and as you’re about to make the final turn to your house all you see before you black out is a flash of a red ascot and purple go-go boots. You wake up to the sound of maniacal laughter and a chain winch slowly lowering you into a pit with the zombified version of Scooby Doo. You find that the source of the laughter is the rest of the Mystery Gang – all zombified as well! In your pocket you have a silver pocket watch, a slice of Canadian bacon, and a lock of Hugh Jackman’s hair. How do you escape your shackles and defeat the deadly dead/undead Mystery Gang?

This has to be the BEST interview question ever! J I’m thinking if f I have a lock of Hugh Jackman’s hair and a slice of Canadian bacon, and I get to hang out with the zombified Mystery Gang, I wouldn’t even care what happened next.  I’d just give in and be one happy zombie._

Thanks for stopping by! 

Isn't she delightful! And what an inspiring story about how perseverance and determination pays off to great success! Can't wait to read THE INSOMNIAC'S CLUB.  Tomorrow we'll have a review of her mystery/thriller FAVORITE but you can read the blurb below. And be sure to check her Amazon page for more info on Karen and all of her great books! 

Sixteen-year-old Angie Favorite's life so far has been defined by the disappearance of her mother on her eleventh birthday. Since then, she and her older brother Jason have been raised by their grandmother, while their father tours with his rock band. When Angie is attacked by a complete stranger, the crime seems random, until she meets her attacker's wealthy mother, Lillian Bittner, and discovers nefarious connections between the Bittners and the mother no one has heard from in five years. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

FLYING BLIND Tour: Zoe's Top Book Picks

Please welcome FLYING BLIND author, Deborah Cooke, with us today as part of her Teen Book Scene tour. Zoe is her fiesty dragon-shifter herorine Deborah's novel, FLYING BLIND, and today we're getting to know her better by seeing her favorite book picks! 

Zoë's Book Picks
1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 
2. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll
4. Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

5. Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
6. The Pit Dragon Trilogy by Jane Yolen

7. The Dragon Jousters by Mercedes Lackey
8. The Dragonfire novels by Deborah Cooke.

Maybe you sense a theme...?

Theme? Dare we go out on a limb and say...

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the book picks! 
(ends Jul 2)

Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal, except she's been told she's destined for great things. Zoë's the one female dragon shapeshifter of her kind. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr and her powers are AWOL, so she's sent to a Pyr boot camp.
Zoë quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line-unless Zoë and her friends can work together and save their own kind.

 WINGING IT (Dec '11) 
Zoë Sorensson yearns to come into her powers as the only female dragon shifter. But being part of two worlds is more complicated than she expected. It’s bad enough that she’s the target of the Mages’ plan to eliminate all shifters—she also has to hide her true nature from her best friend Meagan, a human. For her sixteenth birthday, all Zoë wants is one normal day, including a tattoo and a chance to see hot rocker Jared.
Instead, the Pyr throw her a birthday party but ban Meagan from attendance, putting Zoë in a tight spot. Things get even worse when Zoë is invited to the popular kids’ Halloween party and Meagan’s left out. Zoë knows the party is a trap laid by the host, an apprentice Mage. When Meagan gets a last-minute invite, Zoë must save the day—and her best friend—without revealing her fire-breathing secrets…
 Deborah makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns. Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honors degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. She is an avid reader of medieval vernacular literature, fairy tales and fantasy novels, and has written over thirty romance novels under the names Claire Cross and Claire Delacroix.

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