My Very Late Announcement About Joining YA Interrobang?!

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This is going to be a very late announcement (I’ve been swamped with college essays and exams), but I am very happy to have joined the YA Interrobang?! Team! Ever since its beginning a little less than a year ago, I have been an avid reader. As you can see, I am very happy to actually be a part of YA Interrobang!

Now, what is YA Interrobang? YA Interrobang is an online magazine that “[celebrates] YA literature.” Every other Sunday, YA Interrobang releases a new issue (issue = updates with a bunch of new articles) that revolve around anything and everything that is happening within the YA book community. Essentially, it is a roundup of all current YA news. What YA Interrobang doesn’t do though, is review books. It presents news and opinions on other topics, hence why it is called a magazine.

I have joined the Team as a columnist. My column is called “Once Upon a Tweet” and in it, I round up the best of YA author tweets in the past two weeks. This last Sunday, my third post came out (hence why this is a really late announcement).

If you’re an avid YA follower, or you just want to know what’s going on, I suggest checking out YA Interrobang?! While you’re there, you might as well browse through my column too (;

YA Interrobang
(some awesome links you should click on)
Home –  Team Once Upon a Tweet DragonRagePlays With WordsAuthor News & More!

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My Roomie Story (& Giveaway)

In honor of the release of the novel Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando, Little, Brown has asked us reviewers to post our own story of having a roommate. Not only that, but I’m including a giveaway for a copy of Roomies at the end of this post!

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Here’s my Roomie story:

I’ve had to share a room with my younger sister, Melissa, my whole life. Some info about my sis: she’s two years younger than me and we look nothing alike. Other than that, our personalities are different and we listen to different kind of music.

When I was younger, I used to get very upset when my sister used my things. Since we shared a room, there was nowhere else for me to put my possessions, except in my room (which we shared). My sister knew I would get upset if she even touched my things, so she decided to wait when I was out with friends to use my things. I would come back to find my toys scattered around the room and my sister pretending she hadn’t touched anything.

As we got older, we stopped caring about using each other’s things. Instead, we focused on how little room we actually had. At first, we had bunk beds. Then we asked our dad to take the beds a part, but then that took up too much space. Finally, we went back to bunk beds. Not only that, but for a good three years, my sister and I would rearrange our room two times a year because we got bored of the layout. And each time, our mom would get mad because we shoved all of our items into the hallway when we moved things around. We even moved our bed and bookshelves around, even when our parents told us not to move the heavy stuff around. Our motto: if you want something done, do it yourself.

Looking back, it’s not bad sharing a room with my sister. There were the bad times, like when my mom told me to read in the hallway since my sister didn’t want the light in the room on. There were the good times, like I had someone else to feed and help clean the tanks of the goldfish and hermit crabs.

In the end, sharing a room has taught me a lot: to share, to cooperate and to learn to work together. This is my roomie story; even though I’m in college, it still hasn’t ended…

Alright, I wanna hear your roomie stories now! Tell me yours in the comments (:

Also, Sara & Tara are going on a tour for the release of their book! Here are the tour dates:

Also, thanks to Little, Brown, I’m giving away a copy of Roomies! This giveaway is U.S. only (no P.O. boxes!), and will end on January 13 at 11:59 EST. You will get an extra entry if you leave me a roomie story to read!

To enter, fill out the Google form here.

Religion in YA & NA– Or well, Lack Thereof

I have actually had this topic on my mind for quite awhile. Okay, really I thought about it almost a year ago but never decided to write down my thoughts until recently. After finishing Lisa Desrochers’s  A Little Too Far, I decided to sit down and put my thoughts on paper. In the book, Alessandro Moretti has given his life to God…He’s also one of the few book characters that I’ve noticed that is influenced heavily by religion.

Think about it. Can you name five novels off the top of your head that mention religion? Or well, religion in a serious matter? While I typed this post, I can think of two – the book mentioned above and When We Wake by Karen Healy. I’ve read hundreds of books and yet, I can only mention two when it comes to the topic of religion…interesting, isn’t it?

This is what makes me think. Why do books generally stray away from religion? Now, I’m mainly only going to be talking about young adult [and sorta kinda New Adult since A Little too Far is NA] books; I’m sure that there are more adult novels that deal with religion than there are in the YA genre. Why is this?

Religion is part of human culture. No matter where you are from, the people from your country have beliefs of higher beings, or higher meanings of life. No matter where you go, a majority of the population identifies with a certain religion. Clearly, most of the United States is Christian. Not only that, but there are many other prominent religions in the US that grow every day.

Almost every YA book I read barely mentions religion. This confuses me. No matter where I go, I meet someone who identifies with a certain religion. I know people who live very religiously; I also know people who laugh at religion, and other people that are atheist. If, as one person, I am encountering all of this diversity, shouldn’t characters in books be the same?

Over time, I have decided that authors do not write religion into books because they want to connect with as many readers as they can. [I know that in most cases, the character writes the story, not the author, but I’m gonna disregard that for the moment.] It’s true; I know more teens/young adults that are not religious. I come to the conclusion that people that are not religious do not want to read about religion, especially if it’s something he or she doesn’t believe in. By having a book stay neutral, the book has a better chance of becoming more popular.

As much as I understand this, I do not think that should be the reason [if that is the reason] why religion isn’t put into books. I loved reading When We Wake because a few prominent characters are Muslim. I’m not Muslim, but I found it really cool to be reading about a different religion. Personally, I love reading about other cultures and learning about the way other people live.

So to all writers: if your faith is calling to be put onto paper, do not hesitate to do so. Religion is very important in human lives, whether it is a part of your life or not. Fiction, although unrealistic, still portrays real aspects of the human life; religion is one of the main aspects. When I talk about wanting more diversity in books, I’m not just talking about characters of color; I want all the aspects of life that make it beautiful.

Now my questions to you: Why do you think religion isn’t prominent in YA? And have you read any books where religion stands out?

Come to the Dark Side – They Have E-books [The Positives & Negatives]

I would like to talk about my transition from print books to e-books, and everything in-between. Originally, I had been that person who didn’t want to read anything electronic. I like physical things: the way a book looks, smells, and feels. I’m selfish. If I’m going to get any object, I want it to be tangible. If I’m not able to appreciate the physicality of something, then it’s not worth it.

Yes, e-books were the sensible way to go. Not only did they cost less, you could also carry as many of them as you wanted to at once. They made sense. But at the same time, they didn’t have any of the things that I adored about a book.

A year ago, I read e-books. I only had my little iPod Touch to read on (and that kinda sucked). Why did I do it? Netgalley. Netgalley was the reason I started to branch into the world of e-books. I needed stories to review and Netgalley offered them; except to read them, I had to try something new.

Today, I am all for e-books. In the past few months, I noticed that half of the books I read are electronic. At the same time, that happens to be due to the fact that the publisher that sends me books to review is now only sending titles out electronically. I was devastated when I found out; one, because I didn’t have an e-reader and two, because how could an e-book replace any physical book?! Thankfully, my friend gave me her old Nook.

Let me tell you, the Nook fascinated me. Some of my friends already started to read electronically, but I hadn’t played around with any e-reader until that day. I was afraid that reading on a device would bother my eyes if I stared at it too long; thankfully, that wasn’t the case. The older version of the Nook places the text on a screen that resembles paper – it doesn’t even have a backlight! With my device, I’m not able to read in the dark. Although that should bother me, I find it kinda cool that I’m not able to read in the dark. A physical book doesn’t have a backlight, and the no backlight feature reminds me of a physical book.

Now, if you’re the person that is absolutely against e-books (which I’m thinking a little under half of you are; my poll told me that only 55% of you read e-books), I’m letting you know that I’ve been there. I didn’t want to transition because I wanted all of the physical things a book could give me that an e-book could not. Although I am no longer anti-ebook, I still prefer physical books. I will always prefer an actual book. Still, if you ever get the chance to try out an e-book I suggest that you do so.

Here are the good and bad things of e-books compared to physical books:

Positives:

  • They are significantly cheaper.
  • You are able to carry as many books with you that your device will allow.
  • There are plenty of free e-books. If you browse websites, there are plenty of free books for you to peruse. If you don’t recognize the author or title, don’t skip it! There are plenty of free e-books out there that are decent reads.
  • A lot of popular authors come out with e-books as an addition to one of their other books or series. I’ve noticed a lot of YA authors have little prologues or extra stories that add on to popular characters and plots.
  • You are able to get ebooks whenever you want them (as long as you have internet). There is no need to go out to your local bookstore or library.
  • You are able to lend e-books to other people.
  • Your device allows you to take notes and bookmark pages.

Negatives:

  • You can’t physically hold said book in your hand.
  • You cannot sniff said book and smell that wonderful ink and paper smell.
  • There are no details to be seen on the cover, jacket design, pages or spine.
  • An author cannot sign the book. I mean, he/she can, but an electronic signature is definitely not the same as an actual one.
  • You are not able to turn to a certain page as quickly as you would be able to in a physical book.

There are a significant amount of positives and negatives, just like anything else. I went to the dark side, and I’m thinking that a lot of other people will end up transitioning too.

I was talking to my dad the other day about my future (since I’m going to college and all). I told him that my current goal is to work in book publishing when I get out of college. Instead of supporting me like a good parent, he stated his thoughts on how he thinks that publishing is dying. His reason for this: everything is going electronic. Of course I argued against him; there will always be people who will want those print books. Print books have been here as long as humans have been. Civilization started with written language, and with written language brings stories, fiction or non-fiction…

I want to hear what you think. Do you read ebooks or are you only print books? What do you think about publishing? Which way do you think society will lean towards? Leave your thoughts below!

Poll: Do you read e-books?

I’ve been curious…

Blog Tour: Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddell (Teasers)

Oh hey, welcome to this blog stop of Deadly to Love by Mia Hoddell! If you do not know what Deadly to Love is, you are now going to find out. Deadly to Love is a fabulous YA paranormal-urban fantasy-romance e-book re-releasing this month!

Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1)Title:
Deadly
to Love (Elemental Killers #1)

Author:
Mia Hoddell
ASIN: B00BDQ3QGA
ISBN: 9781291319170
Genre:
YA/Paranormal/Urban
Fantasy/Romance

Description

There is a love that is so dangerous, so powerful, so intoxicating that it embraces your heart and smothers your mind until it leaves you defenceless.

Serena knew that but still, it didn’t stop her. His name was Kai. He was the most beautiful, irresistible man she had ever encountered. Their attraction was too compelling to fight and she knew she would go to the end of the world beside him. That is love.

However behind the allure was hidden a deadly secret – a secret that threatened her fragile life… But secrets best left unsaid never remain hidden forever. When Kai reveals his true identity, she is exposed to a frightening world she had no idea existed. Controlled by powerful Elemental forces her life is placed in mortal danger.

Unbeknown to them, their lives have been entwined from the beginning and it leads her to discover an even greater secret about who she really is. As the pieces begin to unravel and death becomes a reality, Serena is forced to decide what is more important…her love or life.

Buy Links: 
Paperback
(Lulu)
and will be available on Amazon soon

I don’t know about you guys, but this novel sounds pretty cool. Thankfully for us, Mia gave me some little teaser quotes to share with you all…

Kai still kept a tight grip on my hand and as we neared the empty space he pulled us back slightly, deliberately slowing our pace so we were out of sync with the others. (Page 331)

His reply came quickly and my heartbeat increased a little as I read it, wondering what had come over me. (Page 58)

“Well as you can hear, I’m not dead and not planning on being so any time soon. Yeah the weathers weird but it’s not like we can do anything but wait it out I guess,” I lied. (Page 250)

“Water,” was all I managed to say as I tried to come to terms with what had happened. (Page 330)

Everyone stared at him in shock as what was written seemed to be too good to be true. (Page 291)

I seriously love the name Kai. Gahh, *swoons over characters that have amazing names*

About The Author:

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Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and her preferred genre is Young Adult, Paranormal Romance. Before 2009, Mia wouldn’t even pick up a book and was more interested in sports. However she finally found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of both reading and writing. Mia began with poems and after getting two published in separate anthologies she moved on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series The Wanderer Trilogy and from there other ideas have emerged which she hopes to turn into novels as well. Elemental Killers is her second series and book two will be out soon.

Author Links

Blog: http://miahoddell.blogspot.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia-Hoddell-Author/421368247889610?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiaHoddell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/miahoddell

Book Links:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Paperback (Lulu) and will be available on Amazon soon

Blog Tour: Ambril’s Tale, The Return of the Dullaith by Wendy D. Walter (Includes Q&A and Giveaway)

Hey guys. Welcome to the blog tour of I would  a recent e-book, The Return of the Dullaith by Wendy D. Walter! *exchanges “hellos”* Now that you guys have met, let me tell you all about this book!

Ambril's Tale-Tales of the Dullaith by Wendy D. Walter 2

Summary:

Fourteen-year-old, Ambril struggles with the mystery surrounding her father’s death when she moves back to the mysterious town where she was born. When she accidentally uncovers a secret which threatens to destroy her entire family, she continues her quest, against all odds, to clear her father’s name. But will she be able to claim her magic and and heal the rifts in her family?

Ambril’s Tale, The Return of the Dullaith has received great 4-5-star reviews. Readers are impatiently demanding Book Two, which will be out early Spring 2013.

Sounds pretty cool, right? You know what’s even cooler? Each chapter begins with a beautiful illustration from the author herself above each chapter title. For example, this picture is above chapter one:

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I was lucky enough to be able to ask Wendy some questions about her book.

About The Author: Wendy D. Walter

Writing was an early passion for Wendy. As a kid, she wrote lots of stories, but being shy, they usually ended up under the mattress. When she finally set out to tell Ambril’s Tale, she decided not to write a story but a world, full with her own marvelous illustrations. She considers The Return of the Dullaith as just the curly tip of the fairy boot. Wendy lives near San Francisco with her husband, daughters, cat and border collie. More information about Wendy’s book and art, check her site: http://wendydwalter.com.

1. Before your book, I had never seen the name Ambril; how did you manage to stumble upon that name?

I wanted Ambril to have a name that sounded inorganic and organic at the same time. One of the underlying themes in Ambril’s Tale is about humanity’s struggle to strike a balance between the environment and the technology we create so well.

Ambril Amber + brill, the first is a semi-precious stone and the second, brill sounded fern-like to me. It still does, though it’s actually the name of a fish :~).

I was so proud of my originality…until I googled Ambril and found that there were several Ambrils out and about in the world. I’m still giggling about that! Oh well, I tried!

2. How did you get the idea for your story? Was there anything that ‘sparked’ the idea?

The idea of Ambril’s Tale was born during a move from Southern California to Utah in the middle of a snowstorm. I was 10 years old, and felt like a Martian. I longed for a walking house who might take me back to my easy, sunny home.

Big questions formed in my mind then, questions that just wouldn’t leave me alone…Who am I and why am I so different?…sat across the lunch-table from me. Is this their problem, mine or is it something bigger?…we played a lot of solitaire those first few months. To be honest, these same questions still poke me occasionally. When they began to annoy me, a few years back, I decided to sit down and see if I could get Ambril to answer them for me.

3. Ambril’s Tale, The Return of the Dullaith is an illustrated book. When you wrote the story, did you plan to illustrate it? Or did it the images come to life before the story’s text did?

Great question! Sometimes the images came first, but for the most part, the writing got the ball rolling.

But whichever came first, I must say that I learned a lot about my characters while sketching them. Who knew that Mr. Pinwydden always wore argyle socks? Or that a fanged geranium’s teeth were never straight? Even I didn’t, until I rolled up my sleeves and started to sketch.

4. Which character in your book is your favorite? Why?

Another interesting question, Hendoeth and Betula are characters that simply write themselves, I hardly have time to put spaces in between the words, the dialogue comes so quickly when I write their scenes. They feel like old friends, and boss me around when we are working on a snag in the story, but I love every minute of it!

5. Any advice for aspiring authors?

Stick with it! Don’t give up, steam through to the end, then start again. It’s hard, but try to listen when your early readers critique your book. Especially if you hear the same criticism again and again. Nod, take their words to heart, and make some changes. It’s humbling, and sometimes painful, but in the end, you generally get a better book.

Thanks everyone, if you would like to contact me…

Ambril’s Facebook page
Wendy D. Walter on Twitter

Wendy’s blog:
ambrils-tale.com
Ambril’s Tale, Return of the Dullaith on Amazon
Ambril’s Tale-Return of the Dullaith- BarnesNoble

Some of the Illustrations for Book One are available here:
wendydwalter.com/illustrating

I’d love to hear from everyone,
and thank you Alison!

Giveaway Info

At each blog stop on her tour, Wendy is giving away a prize, a copy of one of her books (paperback or e-book). You can also enter her 12-12-12 Grand Prize Giveaway of a sterling silver pendant of the Tree of Life, and an End-of-Tour Grand Prize Giveaway of a hand-painted gnome, hand-painted by Wendy herself! There will also be some surprise giveaways along the way! Stay tuned!

1) To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post about what you like about magic to be entered to win a copy of Ambril’s Tale: The Return of the Dullaith in paperback or e-book format. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2) To win one of the Grand Prizes: Click the link to go to Wendy’s website and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on Dec. 12th for the  sterling silver pendant of the Tree of Life. Here’s Wendy’s site: http://wendydwalter.com/blog-tour/. OR you can click on the link here (It will lead you directly to the rafflecopter entry form): a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you doing? Go enter the giveaway and check out the other stops on this tour! (: