Thursday, January 21, 2010

My First Award!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Happy Award:

Thank you, Marybeth for this honor. You rock!

As with all good and happy things there are rules attached. I’m required to tell you 10 things that make me happy and list 10 blogs that make me happy. I’m sure you’re dying of anticipation, so I'll get on with it.

10 Things that Make me Happy!

1. Writing. (Shocking, I know.)

2. Singing. (Sometimes I even get paid.)

3. Sour candy.

4. Puppy kisses.

5. Snowboarding through the trees.

6. Reading.

7. Going anywhere in Europe.

8. Ketel One or Don Julio. Happiness in a bottle. ;)

9. A perfectly coordinated outfit, complete with "lotsa" jewelry and killer shoes.

10. Driving too fast.

10 Blog Friends that make me Happy!

1. Marybeth

2. Adam

3. Nicole (funniest blog EVER!)

4. Elana

5. Jillian

6. T Anne

7. Cindy

8. Linda

9. Annette

10. The Blonde

YAY! Now bring on the champagne!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Was a Bit Hasty...

Right about now I should be stuffing my toes in my mouth. Having just finished Fallen by Lauren Kate, it's clear the logic in my last post was a little flawed. Angels can be hot. Well, obviously not all of them. The pudge-r-iffic cherubs are not in any way hot. And it's never time for androgyny. (Yes, that was a SNL reference.)

Feathery attachments excluded, the book reeled me in with its disturbing setting and multifaceted characters. Ms. Kate did a fantastic job letting me, the reader, discover each person’s past. She shows, not tells, folks.

If you’re looking for some great dark and romantic YA, Fallen is the book for you.

Plot Summary:

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Angel Thing

After reading Hush, Hush, I got to thinking. (Yep, that little hamster’s still going strong.) What’s the deal with the new angel trend?

Maybe being brought up in a Baptist household changed my perception of God’s heavenly henchmen, but I don’t think there’s anything sexy about angels. Between androgynous representations like in “Constantine” (awesome movie) and the chubby cherubs seen in paintings, I don’t find hunky man-dude with feathery appendages. And about the feathers, that’s just weird. They’re like birdmen, but not. Have you seen a bird molt?

I heard someone say that angels are the new vampires. Granted, the idea of a fallen angel makes sense due to their lack of wings and sinful nature (and who doesn’t like a story about redemption?) but it’s hard for me to imagine falling in love with your guardian angel.

Let’s break this down –
1 – He’ll always be more beautiful than you with his sparkly essence and/or flowing robes of white.

2 – He’ll always make you feel bad for sinning, so you’d better get your guilt on.
(My internal editor just evacuated.)

3 – He’ll never age while you’ll continue to deteriorate. Vampires are cool because they can make you one too. I don’t see angels handing out seraph-dom.

On the flipside, the idea of sacrifice works. All I can hear right now is Sara McLachlan and it’s killing me – I’m getting there – “City of Angels” is a good example of this. Guardian angel throws away eternity to be human. Okay. I get it.

But I’m still creeped out by the feathers.

What do you think?

Disclaimer: I did enjoy Hush, Hush.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

YA Reading Fest

Over the past four days I've read four books. Yes, four: Hush, Hush, Shiver, Graceling, and Fire.

Now before you get all "she has no life" on me, you have to realize these books are unbelievably addictive. All of four engaged me, but Graceling and Fire stood out as my favorites. Both are by author Kristin Cashore.


Plot Summary:

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

My Impression:

I LOVED it and devoured the book within hours. All of the characters breathed (figuratively, of course), the plot moved at the right pace, and the writing transported me into Kristin Cashore's world. The romantic elements hooked me instantly, not to mention all the fight scenes!

What an amazing debut! (Yes, two exclamation points back-to-back. It was that good.)


Plot Summary:

She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

My Impression:

This story still haunts me. When I started it, I'd just finished Graceling, so the bar was set very high. I loved the idea of "monster" things -- Cashore's descriptions and ideas about her world improved from her first book. There was a more mature theme with this one, which I appreciated, and the relationships between characters were less straight-forward as in Graceling. Overall, Fire was a darker, more complicated book. I loved it.

My Impression of the Author:

She has a distinct style in which she uses a repetition of sentences beginning with the same pronoun or word, most often "she" or "the". Cashore uses this device several times in both books and it works. It seems to emphasize a growing intensity to the succession.

Her settings are phenomenal and I love that all of her characters have flaws. Both books do have a happily-ever-after, but not in a cookie-cutter kind of way. Sacrifices have to be made and not everyone lives.

In sum, Kristin Cashore is now one of my favorite authors. I hear she's working on a new book titled Bitterblue. Can't wait!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reasons Not to Get a Dog in 2010

In an effort to appear balanced, I would like to discuss the flipside of my post from Dec 29th: Reason to Get a Dog in 2010.

So, here goes. Why NOT to get a dog:

1 – MUD.

I live in LA where it NEVER rains and yet, there’s mud in my yard. It may have to do with Stoli being a Husky with a penchant for digging, but wiping paws six or seven times a day plus two baths a week is a major burden. No, not baths for me. I promise I take one daily.

2 – Exercise.

Dogs need loads of exercise. If you’re sedentary (apparently I was), this is a real issue.

3 – Hair.

Yeah. It’s everywhere and on everything. I thought cat hair was pervasive - its got nothing on dog hair. Vacuuming everyday and lots of sweeping / dusting / wiping is required.

4 – Commitment.

Having a dog is akin to having a child. It constantly needs to be watched, fed, and played with. Forget spontaneously taking off for the weekend. You need to plan for a sitter, er, kennel.

(yes, this is actually my dog)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to be a dog owner. Ah, look at that face.

Just be prepared before making that buying decision.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


For YA and MG writers, Kidlit is running a contest for the best beginning of a FINISHED manuscript. Entries need to be less than 500 words.

Click this link to read the rules:
Kidlit Contest
Deadline - January 31st

Nathan Bransford is also having a contest for the best teen diary entry less than 500 words. Here is the link to that:
Secret Year Diary Contest
Deadline - January 6th

Good luck!