Monday, December 31, 2012

Books I Read In 2012

People are contantly asking me for book recommendations, which I am always happy to give, but then I always add this little speech at the end of our conversation: "And every year on December 31, I post a list of all (or most, that I can remember) of the books I read that year, with a sentence or two on what I thought of them."

So it's December 31, and here's my list. My Top Reads of 2012 are at the bottom.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This was a fabulous read, full of magic and mystery and a fun sense of play from the writer. It was also such a rich, fully-realized world that was so enjoyable to delve into. I got completely caught up in the romance and the terrible dilemma between these two main characters. I was sorry when the book was over and I had to stop reading.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis. A worthy follow up to an amazing first novel. I will be eagerly awaited the third and final book of the series, Shades of Earth.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I loved this book. It was one of those that is hard to pitch (Cinderella as a cyborg, basically) but it is so well crafted, and the story is so imaginative and compelling. I will definitely be picking up Meyer's next book.

Pure by Julianna Baggott. I have to give Baggott kudos for giving us this wonderful character who just happens to have her hand fused with a baby doll. This was a fascinating read, although as the narrative moved along it became soooo gritty and so creepy that I wouldn't exactly say I enjoyed it. It was a bit much for me, and by the end I was relieved to see it over. Not one I'd recommend for young teens.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano. I was eagerly awaiting this book, as I so enjoyed the first one, and it did not disappoint. I liked the first book slightly better, but this one was definitely a good read.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. Another good, solid follow up. I read a lot of sequels this year, I'm realizing.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. This book ROCKED. I kept seeing it featured while I was on tour last winter, and decided to pick it up. So glad I did. I loved the mix of this strong, thoughtful main character and the historical setting. Later in the year I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. LaFevers at an event, and she was lovely and had such good advice about writing. I was inspired. I also picked up a couple of her children's books at said event (The Nathaniel Fludd series), and my son LOVES them. Go Greasle.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. I enjoyed this story. It didn't blow my mind the way the other two of the series did (I think Fire remains my favorite of the three), but I liked Bitterblue and I liked the journey she went on in this book. It's a very political book, but it still maintains that super detailed, interesting world from the other novels. Consider me a fan.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Consider me a fan of VR, too! This was yet another awesome sequel. These books totally live up to all the hype. I can't wait to see where it ends.

Destined by Aprilynne Pike. Aw, snif. The last of the Wings series. It was a good one. I really liked how she wrapped up the love triangle-- it felt like what would really happen, in a book about the war between the fairies and the trolls.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. I read this on an airlplane. I started laughing at the blurbs and never really stopped. Gotta love Tina Fey.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Oh, where to begin? I first came across this book (and John Green) when his name was at the top of the New York Times list the same week that Hallowed was on it. We were the only two YA authors on the list, and I thought, who's this guy? Where did he come from? And so, after a while, I read the book. And I laughed. And I cried. And I felt like Augustus and Hazel were friends of mine, and I marvelled at how beautifully written and heartfelt their story was. So I decided to use it for my Young Adult lit class this fall. And in the process of all that I got just a wee obsessed with John Green. But more on that later. . . .

The Selection by Kiera Cass. This book is marketed as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, and it totally is exactly that! Cass did an excellent job with so many of the reality show elements of the book--like the cattiness of the other girls. Oh, the drama. There were some things I didn't love about this story, but it hooked me, so much that I overlooked everything else and stayed up late wanting to see how it would end. What can I say? I watch The Bachelor. . . I want to see who gets the final rose at the end!

The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell. I am becoming a huge Saundra Mitchell fan. I loved The Vespertine, but I enjoyed The Springsweet even more, especially for its pioneers settling in the West feel. It was different from any other book I read this year. I also liked how independent it was from the first book of the series, like you could easily read it without reading The Vespertine, but it also connected nicely with the first book. Way to go, Saundra Mitchell! I also loved her story in the Foretold anthology, but more on that farther down the list.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Again with the laughing. I follow Ms. Lawson's blog (The Bloggess) all the way back to the big metal chicken, and it never fails to make me smile. So the book was a no-brainer. The woman is hilarious.

As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender. The final of Katie's trilogy. I have to hand it to her--Alexis faced some really hard decisions in this book, and Katie was so gutsy in where she allowed Alexis to go with the story. I was impressed. And shocked. And sad to see the series over. It was creeptastic.

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky. This book and the picture of a society that is almost completely out of touch with real, human interaction, felt so believable and threatening. Scary.

Revived by Cat Patrick. This was a cool book. Again with the creepy, as this heroine dies and then is "revived" several times.

Endlessly by Kiersten White. I loved this book--I better have loved it, since I blurbed it. The blurb says it all: “There’s not a character in YA fiction that I enjoy reading more than Evie’s. Endessly had me in its clutches from the first hilarious page to the last breathtaking sentence. A fun, heartfelt, and dynamic ending to a marvelous series.” So sad it's over.
Starters by Lissa Price. This book wins an EW award, as in, near the end there was a moment when I went, "EWWWW!" and shuddered. Read it. You'll know what I mean. I thought this was one of the more interesting covers of the year, too. At first I didn't dig the cover so much, but I will admit that it's very different from anything else on the shelf, and once you read the book, the cover makes perfect sense. 

The Talents by Inara Scott. I met Inara Scott in Oregon, where we sat next to each other for an event, and I thought she so cool. So I read her book, which I also thought was so cool.

How To Save A Life by Sarah Zarr. I have lots of mixed feelings about this book. First, I thought it was very well written. The characters were so real and powerful and heartfelt. But (and here's where it gets slightly personal) I am always wary of stories like this, where a young girl finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, and the author treats the subject like, of course, the good and natural right thing to do, in any instance, is for her to keep her baby. As an adopted child, I find this unsettling and mindly insulting. But I thought it was a good book, and a thought-provoking one. Consider my thoughts provoked.

Cool covers!
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. This is an adult book, a Western, that I stumbled over in the line at a grocery store in Oregon, and I was so charmed by its opening pages that I bought it. And I LOVED it-one of my favorite books of the year. It's kind of like Cormac McCarthy with a sharp, amazing sense of humor. I kept reading passages of this to my husband, which I imagine he found tiresome since of course I expected him to laugh and think it was as awesome as I thought it was. But it. was. awesome. It's a dark humor, I will warn you, and not for those who think all books should have rosy endings. (Side note: I was so surprised when, just now, I went to retrieve the picture of the cover and saw this picture on the left. My copy had the picture on the one on the right. Both work, I think, but I love the playfulness of the one on the left. So cool. It's amazing what a good cover can do. . .)

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. Such an amazing dystopian retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. One thing that makes a great retelling is a sense of familiarity with the story, of course, but also a sense of newness. I didn't know how this was going to turn out in the end, which I liked. I heart Diana Peterfreund, although I will confess I missed the evil unicorns. Bring back the unicorns!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. I sort of read this on a dare, and it was surprisingly good. Much, much better than the movie. It was a cool idea and Smith really makes you believe it.

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten. This captured the emotions of that first really young love and first heart-wrenching break-up SO well. And yet, Lucy never turned into a mean girl. Kudos to Lucy (and Lynn).

Ten by Gretchen McNeil. Speaking of awesome retellings, I so enjoyed this thriller that is loosely based on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. This book will keep you on your toes. And Gretchen (and her Army of Ten!--best marketing stretegy, ever!)

Sisters Red by Jackson Pierce. Great dula POV in this book. I like the fiesty one-eyed fighter sister, especially.

Taken by Erin Bowman. Got this one as an ARC from my editor and it made me so glad to have an editor who sends me books! This was a cool idea that was very well executed, and it was nice to have the male POV, which I found entirely convincing. I want to know what happens next.

The Book of A Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. If you'd asked me a year ago, is it possible to write a good book about two girls stuck in a tower for years, I would have said, "hmmmm," doubtfully.  And then I read this book. Amazing. So tense. I was totally enraptured by the story.

Harbinger by Sarah Wilson Etienne. Creepy futuristic boarding school meets Tarot cards. I dug it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Everybody was talking about this adult book this year, so I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. And it does, I think, deserve some fuss. But there was a point in this book where the story turned, in a major way, and from that point on I felt a bit cheated, like the book was all about shock value. I really liked the first half of the book. I was much less interested in the last half. I don't find crazy/ psychopathic characters nearly as interesting as sane ones. I think I may be the only one who didn't love where the book takes the reader.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. I read this for my YA Lit class this fall, to get a sense of YA history. This was one of the first books marketed for young adults that was really very "literary" in quality. A gritty and realistic and well thought out book. I can see why people are still talking about it, almost forty years later.
Looking For Alaska by John Green. As I mentioned above, I had no idea who this John Green fellow was until last January. But I loved The Fault In Our Stars so much I decided to use it for my YA lit class. Then, in the process of researching what I was going to say about TFIOS and John Green to my lit class, I decided to read all of his other books. Which I did. I concluded that TFIOS is his best book, although I'd put Looking for Alaska in second place. This is a great book. I also remember seeing this book on the shelf in a bookstore some years ago, and assuming that it was about a guy searching for Alaska. Like, the state.

Will Grayson,Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. Yay for my John Green research leading me to discover David Levithan. I loved how the two POVs wove together in this story.

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. These books literally creep me out, probably more than any other YA horror. I liked the first book better but I was oh-so-satisfied with how this book turned out. Yay! and (shudder) Anna scares me.

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth. Gotta love a girl who brings the lightning. I was rooting for her all the way.

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda. Sigh. I've missed vampires. This was a great vampire book, a very orginal and riveting telling of this human boy trying to pass as a vampire, who is inadvertantly chosen to participate in one of the last big-game-type "hunts" for humans. I was up late reading this one.
Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, edited by Carrie Ryan. An anthology. It was so refreshing to read a bunch of short stuff. This was a great read. My faves were the Liani Taylor story, the Saundra Mitchell story, and the Carrie Ryan story, which was ah-may-zing. Made me want to write some short stories!

Every Day by David Levithan. I thought this book was an excellent exercise in thinking about how we know who we are. The main character has no body that is strictly his own, and yet, he still has a sense of himself, and he's able to fall in love, and she's able to fall in love with him, too, even though he looks different to her every day.

Breed by Chase Novak. Whoa. This is a grown-up book, and . . . whoa. I thought it was massively entertaining, and pretty gross, and also a nice commentary on parenting in today's day and age. Another EW book--at times I just had to put it down and grimace. Uck.

Hidden by Sophie Jordan. Sigh, I am so Team Cassian. This was a great finish to the series.

Defiance by C. J. Redwine. I liked the friction and chemistry between the two main characters. They just kept stepping on each other's toes.

Serafina by Rachel Hartman. I really liked this book. The character's voice was so engaging and the stakes were so high for her, I felt like I was leaning forward the whole time I read the book. Plus it has a truly lovely cover. I would recommend to anybody who likes fantasy. This is a keeper.

Promised by Caragh O’ Brien. I really love this series, and was sorry to see it end. That said, it was the least memorable for me of the three books. Not sure why this is . . .

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Ah, more John Green. I was powering through these last two in order to get through them before we stopped talking about John Green in my lit class. This is my least favorite of JG's novel, not because it isn't well written, but because it was a head-book, I thought, instead of being a heart-book.

Paper Towns by John Green. I liked this one. By this time in the John Green research I had watched like 500 videos of John Green (and Hank!) and had developed a bit of a brain crush on him. I like the way he writes, and the way he celebrates intelligence in his characters, and the way he delves into cool little facts like the existence of paper towns. And here, to celebrate Mr. Green, is one of my favorite of the videos: John Green discussing Twilight.

"It's not because we look old. It's because we are old." Ha. Love it.

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle. My favorite of the three was John Green's. As I said: Brain crush.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. YA fantasies are on the rise, and I enjoyed this one.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. This was probably my favorite of the YA fantasies I read this year, with Serafina in close second. I loved the world that Bardugo build for us with such painterly detail. The characters were life-like and compelling, and the ideas were fresh and well-executed. Incredibly good, one of those books that I was sad to reach the end of, and have to stop reading.

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas. I really liked this one, too. I loved how the main character was plotting how she could kill the obvious love interest for like the first quarter of the book. She's not thinking, oh, he's so cute. She's thinking, I could strangle him by doing this. . . Nice.

Reached by Allie Condie. Another finale! I liked this one loads better than the last one, maybe even better than the first one. The stakes were so high in this book, and I was impressed by how smoothly Condie dealt with the love triangle in a way that felt natural and not forced or sudden. It will be interesting to see what Ally Condie comes up with for her next project.

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak. I'm a little ashamed that I didn't read this masterpiece until this year. An amazing book. I love that it is told from the point of view of Death, as in the Grim Reaper. I loved the use of art and history and bravery and pain.

Rebel Heart by Moira Young. This is the sequel to a book I loved last year: Blood Red Road. I was SOOO excited to read this book. But in the meantime my YA lit class read this book, and they were so angry at Saba's attitude toward her sister and her attitude toward Jack and her attitude in general. I didn't wholly agree with them-- I'd much rather read about a flawed, not-entirely-likeable main character with lots of room for growth and revelation than to read about a character who is clearly a version of the author, minus the flaws, which is a heck of a lot more common-- but when I was reading this book I couldn't help but cringe at how I knew my students were going to hate the questionable decisions that Saba made throughout the book. Anyway, so it lessened my pleasure of reading this novel just a tad. And !!!!!!! I can't believe she did THAT with THAT CHARACTER, Whoa.
Son by Lois Lowry. I will confess that I actually squeed when I saw this book was out. I love me some Lois Lowry. It was, like all the others, a fantastic book.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Speaking of fantastic books. This. Wow. I loved this book so much. I adore the Peter Pan story, and I heart retellings from an unexpected point of view, and I relished every page of this book. It was all about character, this one. Tiger Lily was so powerful and realistic and raw. I was breathless at several moments in the reading of this book. So good. Go read it. Like, now.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This is another one that a lot of people are talking about, and I can see why. This one will tear your heart out. But it struck me as I was reading this that it didn't really feel like YA to me. Maybe because the characters felt older at the outset on the book, like in their 20s, and of course there's no rule saying 20 something can't be YA, but they usually are in their teens. Still, regardless of what market the book belongs in, it was very good.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I re-read this in preparation to watch the movie. It was lots different than I remembered it. Maybe because I was around ten years old last time I read it. No one can delve into the crazy details like Tolkien.

Mind Games by Kiersten White. Yay for ARCs! Now, we've already established that I heart Kiersten White. This book is VERY different from the Paranormalcy series, a lot gritter, a lot angrier, but I think it is equally awesome. I loved Fia as a character so much. I also loved that my editor's (who is also Kiersten's editor) dog made a cameo appearance. Coming to shelves on Feb 19!

 Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. What's sad is that when I was gathering the links for this entry I had to scroll down a while before I reached BETWEEN Shades of Grey. Sigh. What is our world coming to? I liked this book, although I had recently read The Book Thief, which is a much better book in many ways. This had a great story, which was really compelling and wrenching at times, but I found myself often wishing that the writing was better. Not that the writing was bad, by any means, but it was very, um . . . plain. And this is a book about a girl who is, in her soul, an artist, but the language and the descriptions are are bare of the kind of lyricism or detail that would have made this book amazing.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. Notice how the word STARS is showing up in a lot of titles lately? I wonder why this is . . . This is an adult dystopian. I really liked it--it was kind of a cross between the movie Contagion and The Road. The language in this book was beautiful--I have several images from this story burned indellibly into my brain.

Gravity by Melissa West. YA Sci-fi, an alien book. I enjoyed this one.

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielson. Yay, a YA fantasy with a male protagonist. This was one where I suddenly shriked "I knew it!" in the middle of reading. Take that how you will.

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr. Oh, Melissa Marr, how I've missed you. I really liked this book, but I will say that I was greatly unsatisfied at the end. It was one of those where the tension is building and building, and you just know that the big climatic scene is going to be amazing, and then. . . no more pages. It's over. You're going to have to wait for the next book to get to the big climatic scene. *Pines for the next book.* I would really, really like to find out what happens next.

 The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I just finished this book today, and it was amazing. It's an adult book about a 13 year old boy whose mother is brutally attacked--not for the faint of heart or stomach, this one, but really, really good. I've been a big fan of Erdrich for years (my favorite is The Antelope Wife) and this novel was just as poignant and beautiful and compelling as the others. A nice way to round out the year. See what I did there?
And so ends another year, and another 60+ books under my belt. This year I read a bit more adult fiction than usual. Not sure why. And I can't think of a book I genuinely hated (I'm pretty easy to please as far as books go), although there were plenty I started and didn't finish or didn't get to yet.

My Top Choices This Year:

The Fault In Our Stars
The Springsweet
Mind Games
The Sisters Brothers (Adult)
The Book of A Thousand Days
Shadow and Bone
The Book Thief
Tiger Lily
Here's to another year of great books! What books topped your favorites list this year? What are you most looking forward to? What should I read next?
Leave a comment to be entered in the first of the BOUNDLESS ARC giveaways, of which there will be one every week until Jan 22, when BOUNDLESS hits shelves nationwide.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Some Frequently Asked Questions

It's finals week for me, so this is going to be brief, but I thought I'd post the answers to a few questions that I am receiving A LOT lately. So here goes:

About Radiant

Q: I plan to buy Radiant this week. Can I get that special autographed something you talked about in your last post?
A: Nope. That was last week only. But, fear not, I will be running an even cooler promotion for the pre-orders for Boundless, so check back soon.

Q: I don't have an ereader, so I can't read ebooks. Will Radiant ever be available as a real, physical book?
A: Um, no. The deal I made with HarperCollins is for the ebook only. But if you have a computer, you should still be able to read ebook files. Click here for Amazon's Kindle For PC information. Also, a lot of libraries these days are loaning out ereaders and ebooks, so check your local library.

Q: I live in the UK. Will Radiant ever be available for me?
A: Yes. I checked today and it still isn't up on AmazonUK, but my editor tells me that it should be VERY SOON. Keep checking.

Q: I live in Australia, same question.
A: I don't know yet. I don't think it's available now. But I do think that possibly stuff is in the works to make this happen. Sit tight and I will update you when I know anything.

Q: Why is Radiant so short?
A: Because it is a novella, not a novel. Actually, Radiant is what used to be the first two chapters of Boundless, supplemented by Angela's point of view. It's around 70 pages, which is about as long as a novella can be and still call it a novella. It's meant to be short! I like to think of Radiant as a little Unearthly snack, whereas Boundless is a three-course meal!

Q: Why isn't the hot guy I'm rooting for (insert Christian/Tucker here) in Radiant?
A: Radiant is about what happens between Clara and Angela during their summer in Italy. It doesn't have much of the hot guys because neither of the hot guys go with them to Italy. However, there is one entire significant scene in Radiant with Christian in it (a flashback) and a bunch of little flashes of Tucker all throughout. And there is a NEW HOT GUY in Radiant. And he strongly resembles Orlando Bloom. Is all I'm saying.


About Boundless

Q:When does Boundless come out, again?
A: January 22, less than 6 weeks away!

Q: I heard that Boundless is not being published in the UK. Is this true?
A: Sort of. The publisher who published the UK versions of Unearthly and Hallowed decided not to pick up Boundless, so there won't be a special UK edition with a different cover from the US like there was with Unearthly and Hallowed. However, you can still buy the US edition in the UK. (Click here to go to the UK Amazon page, for instance.) And my agent is hard at work finding a new UK publisher.

Q: What about Australia and New Zealand?
A: Yes! Boundless is being published separately in Australia! It's coming out even earlier than it is in the US, on January 2! Click here to be taken to the Boundless Australia page. There will also be a Boundless ebook available in Australia.

Q: Will Boundless be available as an audiobook?
A: Yes! It will! And it will be narrated by the lovely Samantha Quan again! I don't know when it will be available yet, but I am guessing shortly after Boundless is released as a hardcover. I will announce it as soon as I know anything!

Q: Goodreads lists Boundless as being 320 pages. Why so short?
A: Because Goodreads is wrong. Boundless is the longest book I've written to date--I think somewhere in the ballpark of 450 pages. It's big boned.

Q: Clara better end up with Tucker(/Christian) or else!
A: That's not really a question, is it? Of course, the second grader in me wants to say, "Oh yeah, or else what?" But here's the thing I really hope for you, as a reader: that you will judge the book, not by which guy Clara is smooching in the end, but by the person she is in the end of her journey. Yes, there is love she finds along the way, and there are choices she makes, but I'd like to think that the romance doesn't define her. (Also: please don't hurt me. . . )

Q: I'd like you to sign my copy of Boundless, but you aren't coming to my town. What can I do?
A: I am going a lot of places this year, and I'm sure there are more announcements on that front to come, but if I'm not doing any appearances near you this winter, you can buy signed and personalized copies of all of my books from Diesel Bookstore. Here's the manager's email, to make your request: This is the bookstore email, not my email, just to clarify. You can also call Diesel at 310-456-9961. I go into this store regularly to sign copies, but please remember that I will be on tour this winter, so there might be a week or so between when Diesel gets the request and when I will be available to come in and sign, so please be patient.

Q: Will you do an interview/guest spot for my blog post?
A: I am doing an extensive blog tour this winter with Mundie Moms (yay!) and will probably also do a few separate interviews with people who request stuff through my publicist, not to mention the marketing stuff that HarperTeen has planned for the Dark Days. So, in January/February: probably not. Last year around the launch of Hallowed I wrote more than 20,000 words worth of interview answers. That's 1/4 of a novel, and it takes just as long. So, probably not. Although when things slow down for me a bit in March and April I might consider it. Try me then.

Wow. That was a lot of questions. Not so brief, then. But I hope it helps.

Now I must go back to grading papers. Please leave any further questions you have about Radiant or Boundless in the comments, and I will try to answer in a timely fashion.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

In Which I Inundate You With News and Cool Stuff

Hello, y'all! I've haven't been around the blog much in the past couple of months. I was tired. Then I was sick. Then tired again. Then sick again. It was a lot of sick and tired.

This is what happens when you finish a series.

But there's a lot happening in the next few weeks, and I have to get off my butt now and tell you all about the great stuff that's coming:

1) RADIANT! Is coming out! In 2 days! To celebrate (and because it feels kind of weird that this is ebook only, therefore my fans won't have anything tangible in their hands when they buy this book, I am going to do a little promotion. THIS WEEK ONLY, buy or pre-order a copy of RADIANT, take a screenshot of your screen confirming the purchase (here's an awesome page with instructions on how to take a screenshot, if you don't know), email me ( the pic along with your mailing address, and I will send you a little autographed special something. So you will have something to hold in your hands.

note: If you buy on Amazon, there is a little tab where you can email me saying you purchased the book directly, if you don't want to go through the trouble of messing with the screenshot, but please remember to add your address to the email.

Here's my screenshot. Yes, I just bought my own ebook. I may have to give myself an autographed special something now.

2) BOUNDLESS is coming out, in like 50 days! I will be having a special promotion for that too, but I'll tell you about that later.

3) TOURING! I will be doing a whirlwind of touring this winter for Boundless. Check my events tab for the full details, but in a nutshell I will be going to:
Salt Lake City (UT)
Idaho Falls (ID)
Boise (ID)
New York City (NY)
Huntington Beach (CA)
Decatur (GA)
Cary (NC)
Cambridge (MA)
Washington D.C.
Redondo Beach(CA),
Thousand Oaks (CA)
Jackson Hole (WY)
Kansas City (MO).
And that's just what I know about so far!

4) UNEARTHLY is dirt cheap right now! (Well actually, it might be cheaper than dirt. I mean, have you seen the prices of high-quality dirt these days? I'm just saying) Ahem. The ebook version is only 2.99 for the next few weeks, so if you haven't started the series yet (or you know someone who you think would like it), now is a very good time!

5) HALLOWED is coming out as a paperback. . . the day after Christmas! However, it's not a hard release (meaning that the bookstore can put it out whenever they get the shipment) so you could check before Christmas if you want to give it as a gift (or buy it with Christmas money, which is what I always do. . .). You can pre-order the paperback here. Here's the link for the Hallowed audiobook, if you know someone who likes to listen to the story.

Wow, I'm kind of light-headed after all that shameless self-promotion. I should go do the dishes now. There's nothing that will put you in your place in the universe faster than scrubbing dirty dishes.

*Rolls up sleeves.*

Signing off.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Young Adult Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive TWENTY-FIVE signed books, one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM--but there is also a red team for a chance to win a whole different set of twenty-five signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

Scavenger Hunt Puzzle

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by August 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Scavenger Hunt Post

Today, I am hosting Jennifer Armentrout on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Jennifer Armentrout

USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here

Buy the book from here!


"No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well… There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger… and they know it."

Exclusive Content - Chapter One of Apollyon

Time's up on the Scavenger Hunt. Thanks for coming, but I have to take the content down now. :(

Enter the Contest

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Cynthia Hand, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 34. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

Continue the Hunt

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Click here!

Enter The Extra Hallowed Giveaway

In honor of this special event, I'm going to give away 2 extra signed copies of Hallowed. Just follow the directions in the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Guess what? I've written an Unearthly novella! And it will be out December 4th, in ebook only! Here are the cover and the description:


 From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.

Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn't ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.

I of course am super excited about the whole thing! It's a part of the story I always wanted to tell, but one that didn't fit neatly into Boundless. So I was soooo happy when my editor suggested an ebook. You guys, Angela was wicked fun to write. And, I also have to mention, there's a new hot guy in the Unearthly universe. Yay for new hot guys!

Go here to pre-order from Amazon and here from Barnes and Noble. Only $1.99!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boundless, Aussie style

I'm up tonight, putting the finishing touches on Boundless, which goes into production tomorrow. Whew, it's been a long haul. So happy to see it done.

But before I press send on that, I thought I'd share the AUSTRALIAN cover for Boundless, which is too beautiful for words--one of my favorite covers EVER.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Boundless Description

So, at long last, I can reveal the description of Boundless!

Here it is:

The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have a normal life.
Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seemed like the best option, so she’s headed back to California—and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.
As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.
In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must choose her fate once and for all.
There's a slightly different description on the HarperCollins catalog site, here, if you want to take a look at that as well!
This week I am finishing up the last major round of revisions (at least I hope the last major round--fingers crossed) for Boundless. I am so excited and a little teary-eyed at times to see it all coming to an end.
The book is out on January 22!

Click on a link below to preorder:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Powell's

Amazon | Barnes & Noble
(and now, back to revising!)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In the Cave


This is me in my revision cave right now:

(There is always a point when I think I'm going to drown in here. I've officially hit that point. . .)

I'll catch up with you sometime next week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Diving Deep

Okay, so I've got my new edits letter back from the lovely F, my editor, so I'm ready to dive deep into the next draft of Boundless. Only one big change this time, so hopefully we'll be in production soon.

And school just started, for me and my son. And I am writing the scenes for my short story, which is due soon, while my students are doing their writing exercises. Yes, I have reached that point where I may draft almost an entire story IN CLASS. I love the idea. I have 6 scenes to go. It tells you how tired I already am that 6 scenes seems like a lot.

I'm officially overwhelmed. I am keeping the metaphorical paper bag close by, just in case I need to breathe into it for a while.

So I don't have a lot to blog about currently, because blogging will take up time I don't have, but instead of my own post I thought I might offer you this, which is an interview I did that's up this week on the Starry Eyed Revue. I talk about my writing life, Boundless, my favorite characters, and a little bit about my new projects. I am also offering a signed copy of Hallowed for their giveaway and two little swag packs, so be sure to enter the contest while you are there.

Here it is! Enjoy.

I'll be back next time I come up for air.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Cutting Room Floor

I'm back to the grindstone with Boundless, working on a new round of edits. And I'm preparing for my son's grand debut into kindergarten. And I'm prepping for two classes that I am teaching at Pepperdine, also starting next week: my Intro to Creative Writing class and a YA lit class that I've never taught before and therefore have a ton of extra prep work to do. And I am writing a short story for an anthology. I have a very long interview to write up. And reading a friend's manuscript. And a bunch of other stuff.

In other words, I just got really freaking busy.

So, in the midst of all this craziness, I am coming back to Boundless with the intent to cut at least 5,000 words. At least. Whole scenes are hitting the cutting room floor. Whole scenes, people!

Trimming an entire scene always hurts like a paper cut.

In the past, I've taken some consolation in the fact that the deleted scenes from my books can be made available in different ways. I can use them as exclusive content for the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt, which I do twice a year, and there are a few other sites where my cut stuff has ended up since Unearthly was published. It makes the cut sting a bit less, knowing that even though the scene wasn't good or important enough to make it into the book, that doesn't mean that nobody will ever see it. Deleted scenes are fun!

But here's what's bugging me today:

Hmm, where to begin? Okay. Here goes. I try not to read reviews. I am getting better at it, too, the not-reading-reviews thing, I mean. I hardly ever check Goodreads anymore, because I ultimately think that it's not good for me as an artist. If I read too many reviews I start thinking differently about my story, not for the sake of the art, but for the sake of people pleasing. I start having imaginary conversations with people I don't know at 2am, where I say to them, pleadingly, "Yes, yes, I know that it's a love triangle, technically, but really, if you'd just examine the entire thing more closely, you'd see that it's not a real love triangle. . ."

It makes me think about Daniel Radcliffe during an interview, when he was asked, "Do you read what people say about you?" and he immediately responded, "No. That way lies madness."

Yes. Reading your own reviews=madness. I get that. I try to resist the temptation. Most of the time.

So imagine me this morning, sitting down to chop away at my current manuscript. I work for a while. I check Twitter. I check my email. A Google alerts comes up, which alerts me to the fact that somebody has just reviewed Unearthly 2.1. Wha?????! I think. But no, mustn't read a review, I think. But what the heck is Unearthly 2.1?

I click the link. Yes, it's true. There is an Unearthly 2.1, a cut scene from Hallowed. 252 people have rated this scene, and something like 30 people have reviewed it.

My first thought is, Cool, 252 people have read my deleted scene!

My next thought is, Wow, there are about 20 people who really don't like this scene.

My next thought is, Oh come on, people. It's a DELETED scene. Which means it didn't make the cut. It wasn't good enough. Relax! There are real scenes, IN THE BOOK, so go read those.

And I'm back to having imaginary conversations with people I don't know.

Sigh. Well, that's why I avoid reading reviews, isn't it? I remind myself. No biggie. Except now, when I go back to work on my Boundless manuscript, I think, well, this scene has to go, but is it good enough to ever see the light of day? Because if I release this scene, it will probably get REVIEWED.

This makes me want to revise the scene I'm going to cut. Which is so not the point of cutting extraneous scenes. And so not a good use of my time.

And, ultimately, it makes me less likely to want to share my deleted scenes. I cut them because they weren't good enough. To cut them and then have people criticize them for not being good enough is a bit like pouring lemon juice in my paper cut.

Ouch. Ouch, I say.

Now, I also want to make a few things clear. Prepare for the disclaimer:

1. Goodreads is good. As an avid reader, I adore Goodreads. As an author, it kind of terrifies me, but that's okay. That's natural. As an author, I should be scared of Goodreads. But I am 100% glad Goodreads exists. In fact, I attribute Goodreads to a big part of Unearthly's success. To date Unearthly has 3,781 reviews (and over 25,000 ratings), so many of them good. People are talking about my books, and I am so grateful that there is a place like Goodreads where they can talk about my books.

2. I think people, on Goodreads and elsewhere, have an absolute right to their opinions, and should be able to write whatever they want in their reviews. Period. I have imaginary conversations with some of my negative reviewers, but never in a million years would I ever dream of actually communicating with the writer of a negative review. They deserve to be able to voice their opinions without being confronted by the authors or their friends. (I do, however, sometimes think wistfully about the old days when all the critics ran in the same social circles as the writers and occasionally Hemingway liked to quote a critic's bad review back to him at a party and then punch him in the face. There was a kind of accountability for what you said, back then, before the basic anonymity of the internet.)

3. I most likely will release more deleted scenes, not to worry, because my publisher thinks it's good publicity and because, at the end of the day, I still like those scenes, and it makes me happy to be able to share them with people who will get a kick out of reading them. Which leads me to. . .

4. Maybe I'm overreacting. I am willing to consider this possibility. Maybe this whole post is a kind of knee-jerk reaction to the surprise of being reviewed on something I didn't expect to be reviewed on.

So tell me, what do you think? Are reviews for deleted scenes a good thing? Do you think this practice will make authors more hesitant to release deleted scenes, or is it just another sign of the technological age we live in, that we get to see and judge all content, not just what makes it into the pages of a print book? What should become of all that extra stuff on the cutting room floor?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Writing Short

I'm a writing fool.

I finished a novella yesterday, which was great fun. Unfortunately I can't tell you much about it. Stay tuned.

I celebrated finishing said novella by having ice cream for dinner. Don't judge: it was 86 degrees in my house at seven o'clock last night. (For more of why I don't just buy an air conditioner already, see this old post from last year's hot season. Still true this year.) I had a chocolate shake from McDonalds. With a cherry. Mmmmm. It was delicious. It was 750 calories. That's dinner.

This week I'm also working on a short story, which has brought a few things to light:

1. It's been a long time since I've written a short story. Like, more than six years. This blows my mind since writing short stories used to be what I did best. That's what I was trained in, after all. I have written two separate collections of literary short stories. I also got my publishing start with short stories; in fact, it was an old short story of mine that brought my agent to me. So writing a short story again feels like visiting a past version of myself as a writer. A ghost of the writer I used to be.

She's more concise than I am.

2. Writing short stories is hard. Before I'd written any novels, back when I was simply a proud short story writer, I used to tell my students that good short story writing was actually harder than good novel writing. You have to be ruthless. Economical. Smart. You have to make an arc fit within the span of fifteen or twenty pages. You're not free to ramble about the way novelists do. Every single word has to count.

Then I wrote a novel. And another. And another. Today, if somebody told me that short story writing is easier than novel writing, this would be my response:


And then I would quite possibly slap him/her.

Short story writing is not easier than novel writing. You don't have to keep 1400 pages of story straight in your head all at once. But short story writing is hard. It requires an intense focus. It's like a fast sprint, whereas novel writing is a marathon.

3. I am rusty at being ruthless. I find this odd, since my writer's brain is in good shape right now. I've been bench pressing more than 1000 words a day for quite a while. I'm fit. But this week as I sat down to write this story, thinking to myself, this will be easy, I can do it in an afternoon, I'm sure, I was struck by how lazy I've become when it comes to word count. I'm used to writing horizontally as opposed to vertically, which means that I often just let myself go and write whatever strikes me, focusing on getting something down and fixing it up later. (As the writer Chris Offutt used to say, "When I write, I throw in everything but the kitchen sink. . . and then I throw in the kitchen sink and turn on both faucets." Yeah. That's me. Sidenote: Is Chris Offutt that guy in the rocking chair on the credits of TrueBlood? Because I swear that's him.) Writing this way allows you more surprises, more discovery of the story as you go, but it's also less meticulous than writing vertically, when you don't leave a sentence until it's as good as it can be.

Writing horizontally also makes for chubby drafts.

This is the part of this blog where, if my editor was reading this, she would snort and point out that my last draft of Boundless was close to 115,000 words.

It's not fat. It's big boned, I keep telling her.

So this writing a short story is good exercise. I'm slimming down.