Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#EVADE BLOG-HOP! You could play a part in EVADE! (Book Two of the EVER Trilogy)

IN The EVER Trilogy?

Now's your chance!

This blog-hop is just for you!

I've been watching these award shows lately - usually just as background noise when I'm painting, if I'm being honest - and I realized something I have in common with all of these famous people.

No, not fame.

No, not wealth.

No, not action figures ....... yet.


I haz them. :-)

Well, some. I have some fans. 

No, maybe not as many as Taylor Swift or any of her seventeen famous ex-boyfriends, and maybe my few fans don't have a cool name for themselves like Lady Gaga's "Monsters" or Katy Perry's "Katy-Cats," but though my fan base is quite small, I do have a few, and those few I ADORE. Especially the fans who have taken the time to reach out to me online and get to know me a bit. You guys rock, and I am humbled every time I "meet" someone new who loved EVER.

I also have a spectacular group of supportive writers, readers and bloggers who cheer me on, make me laugh, and make angry online faces with me >_< or send me pictures of sloths or Ian Somerhalder when things aren't going my way. (I wonder if Taylor Swift can say that?) 

Now, as most of you know, I've been working on the second book in The EVER Trilogy (officially titled EVADE), as well as an unrelated project that I started during NanoWrimo. While I am focusing on finishing DIVDE in the next couple of weeks, I had an idea for what to do with EVADE while it sits patiently on the sidelines waiting its turn. 

Do you know what I came up with? 


My AWESOME friends and fans. 

Are you looking for a unique present for someone? How about their name in print? You can have the chance to immortalize their awesomeness by making them a badass character in EVADE! 

OR, on the other hand, if you know a douchy jerk you'd love to see get PWNED in a book, this works too!

Maybe you've just wanted to see YOUR name in a book for once!

Well, now's your chance!!!


Here are the details:

1) You have from now until February 14th, 2013 to get in on the action! 

2) Start by signing up using the linky list below. 

3) Then, go read or re-read EVER, to get an idea of what my characters are like!
You can grab a copy of EVER on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

4) Last but not least, get a blog post up on February 15th, with the following information:

  • Name 
  • Age (the character can be any age over 13, as I have room for a few different roles, but keep in mind that the trilogy is YA)
  • Gender 
  • Good or bad? Do you want to immortalize someone for being awesome, or call someone out for being a douchecanoe?
***Don't forget to include the linky list in your blog post!***

Now, once everyone has posted their entries, I will visit all the blogs, and with the help of my two awesome co-judges, (Miss Feaky Snucker aka Tamara Mataya, and Krystal Wade aka Krystal Wade), we will narrow it down to our three top choices!

THEN, on February 20th, I will post a blog post with a voting poll, and you can vote for your favorite character!


Such awesome prizes! Though, I may be a bit biased, I know.

The *winner* will have the exciting honor of having their character immortalized in EVADE, along with signed paperback copies of EVER and EVADE, a signed paperback copy of Krystal Wade's WILDE'S FIRE, Book one of The Darkness Falls trilogy, AND a $20 gift card to AMAZON!
*PLEASE NOTE: There will be a delay in receiving part of the prize package because EVADE has obviously not been released yet.

*I reserve the right to alter any entry accordingly to better fit the story. After all, I am the author and I do still need the story to flow successfully. 
*The winner will have a role in the second book of The EVER Trilogy, titled EVADE, but the character will not be a main character. 
*By participating you give me the rights to use the character you enter. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: EASY by Tammara Webber - An outstanding MUST-read!

I have no words to properly convey how I feel about EASY. Dear Tammara Webber, I adore you. 

A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

(Mature Young Adult/ New Adult)

This was a one-sitting read for me, and is by far one of the most gripping books I've ever read. I was sucked in immediately, as Webber artfully starts with action instead of build-up, and I could not put this book down! 

My initial thought after finishing? After the usual "Holy Crap" and "Mind = Blown" thoughts? 

"Does anyone NOT like this book?" 

Honestly, I couldn't imagine it. So I went to GoodReads. 

Well, after looking through reviews, I see there are some people who didn't like this book. Happily, I see that they are far outnumbered, and not in my circle of friends  lol. In reading their issues with the book, I can see what they're saying, but I have to disagree. 

One reviewer claimed there wasn't enough background as far as scenery and what university this book takes place at - visual world-building, basically. Honestly? I was so sucked into the story that I never even questioned this, but on that note, who cares? Who cares if Jacqueline is at Harvard or ASU? Does it change anything? No. Does it affect the story at all? Absolutely not. This story was focused on people, and the relationships we form - what those relationships can to do harm us or heal us, and ultimately help us grow. This book was about redemption and loss, letting go, moving forward, and learning to love again. I don't care if this story was at a university on Mars. Because it really doesn't matter. Instead of faulting the author for this, I applaud her because her story was so important to me that I didn't care about the outside world. I didn't care about the setting. I cared about the story, the people.

Some other reviewers complained about the main character - Jacqueline - and her reaction(s) to her assault(s). I've never been assaulted in *that* way, but I thought she reacted the way I would have reacted. Though I don't know from experience, I do know without a doubt that every person reacts to things differently. Some people are very outspoken about their pain, posting "poor m, blah blah blah" on Facebook and wanting the world to know, whereas others of us would die before we posted our deepest pain on a social networking site. Some people are very introverted with their pain, hiding it away, keeping distance from even their closest of friends. People are all unique, and their coping mechanisms are as such. I think if it were me, back when I was that age, I would have drowned my sorrows in alcohol and ran from the problem. I wouldn't have had even half the strength this character displayed, and I sure don't fault Webber for creating a character who isn't completely annihilated by a trauma. 

Some reviewers complained about Jacqueline's obsession with her ex and the break up, combined with her attraction to Lucas. I have to say, in Webber's defense as well as my own - because, let's be honest, people have had similar issues with my main character - I was as boy crazy as they come. I was pretty much boy-obsessed from a very early age. I have NO IDEA why. I attended church and church camps most of my life, even having parents that were youth pastors when I was a child. I wasn't raised in a broken home - I had a mom and dad who were still together until the day my dad died. (I am NOT saying a broken home equals boy-crazy, I'm just trying to give you some insight into the fairly normal home I grew up in.) I can't pinpoint what it was about me, or my upbringing, or my life, whatever, that made me so boy crazy, just that I was. It's a simple as that. And when I fell for a guy, I fell hard. It wasn't just a cute little high school crush. I was in love every single time. And every time I swore I'd never heal from the heartbreak - every break up crushed me. But I also bounced back relatively easily, which probably made my poor parents nuts. And if you'd been reading about me, if I was one of these MC's, I would have been the main character so many reviewers don't understand or relate to - except for the few like us. Basically, after all that rambling, my point is that maybe in Jacqueline's situation, you wouldn't have been so hung up on your ex. Maybe in this situation you wouldn't have wanted to move forward with Lucas so quickly and with such little restraint. Maybe you wouldn't have so easily pushed the assault out of your head. 

Or maybe you would have, if that's what your coping mechanism was. 

The bottom line is that we can relate to some characters, and others we can't, but that doesn't mean that their actions, in-actions or re-actions are wrong. It just means they are different from yours. I could completely relate to Jacqueline, and her story compelled me to stay up way past my bed time so I could see where it went. (If you know me - I'm looking at you, Feaks - you've probably made fun of me for how early I go to sleep. So knowing I stayed up past midnight to devour this book is saying A LOT.) 

Lucas as a love interest was so perfectly flawed, that he reminded me of half the guys I've cared for in my life. I loved his quiet strength and the pain that lurked just beneath the surface. I didn't see him as a bad boy at all - more like someone who was different than Jacqueline's normal "type," but not bad. I imagine that reviewers that peg him as such were probably going into this story wanting to dislike it. 

Tammara Webber crafted a beautiful story full of heartbreak and healing, and I know it will stick with me for a very long time.

And man oh man. After reading WARM BODIES (my review can be found HERE) and now EASY, I'm scared to pick up another book for fear they won't live up to my first two reads of 2013!

You can find EASY at these places:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

EVADE - Book Two in The EVER Trilogy

I've finally decided on a name for the second book in the EVER Trilogy!

Introducing .... 


Ever Van Ruysdael's race to beat the odds – and the clock – begins with the introduction of an integral part of her past. As secrets are revealed, and truths uncovered, Ever learns her imminent death is the least of her problems: Ariadne did more than just put an expiration date on her life; she marked Ever's soul by upping its value for greedy collectors looking to buy their freedom.

Condemned by the countdown on her life, and hunted by hired Seekers, Ever’s journey leads her to question everything she’s known and everyone she’s trusted, while growing closer to the one person from her past she was determined to avoid – and the one guy she never could – Toby James.

With her ex-boyfriend by her side, and the countdown clock rapidly ticking away, Ever tries thwarting fate’s plans. But as her nineteenth birthday approaches, and desperate Seekers follow her every move, Ever may be too late.

A marked soul is hard to come by … and even harder to escape.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion - Unlike anything I've ever read.

If you've read any of my reviews, you'll know I keep them short and sweet. I also almost always gush, leaving bad reviews to other reviewers out there because I won't touch them. I won't be snarky towards other authors, even if they've been snarky towards me, and regardless of how much they may deserve it. If I read a book and didn't leave a review or a star-rating of 4 or 5, you can assume I didn't like it. And that's all I will say about that. 

Luckily, this is NOT one of those cases!

No, no, no way.

I recently compiled my list of the first 13 books I VOW to read in 2013. Now, keep in mind that this list was compiled of physical copies I actually own, so this doesn't even begin to touch the massive Kindle TBR list, but whatevs. If you want a refresher, here's the LIST

At the top of the list was WARM BODIES. I've had my eye on this one for a while and knew it would be the first thing I read in 2013. So when I had a minute in between reading Curiosity Quills properties (I still proofread and I had an acquisition I was re-reading before it went on to the editing phase) and critiquing my CP's latest masterpiece (my Kindle has to charge every now and then), I picked up WARM BODIES. 

And within the first few pages, I went like this: O.O

Holy smokes. 

What an amazing, gripping tale of love and life, and what we can do - what one person, or even just two people can do. If they want it badly enough. 

So, without further ado, or any more gushing on my part - wouldn't want Isaac Marion to think I'm more than just a fangirl, lol - I give you my brief review (read: brief gush fest) from GoodReads: 

FIVE mind-blowing stars (x1000)

I don't even know what to say. If I could give this book more than five stars, I wouldn't even hesitate. 

You, Isaac Marion, are amazing. You're the kind of author that makes other authors question themselves and their career choice. In all seriousness, how can I call myself an author next to the likes of you? 

I can't recall ever feeling so much - so consistently - while reading a book. I was invested in 'R' so instantly and so completely, and that never wavered or changed, but grew and strengthened as the story proceeded. Had I not been interrupted by life, this would have easily been a one-sitting read. 

The prose is beautiful and strong, the story is different and unique, and the characters are so perfectly flawed that you can't help but relate to them, root for them, and ultimately fall in love with them. 

I can't wait to see what comes next for Isaac Marion. I will greedily read whatever it is.

In closing, I highly suggest you buy this book. ASAP. 

PS. Thank you, Isaac Marion. You, Sir, are inspiring. 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Peasants Revolt FLASHBACK Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Peasants Revolt Flashback Blog Hop! 
For the official rules and sign-up link, click HERE.
The rules say to go back a year, to your blog posts in January of 2012. Well, I didn't start my writing blog until March of 2012, so I will give you my very first writing-related blog post from March 30, 2012.
This gem is titled QUERY REJECTIONS: So you think you're the next J.K.Rowling, do ya? And you know what? I stand by everything I said. Because it still stands true, and some people are still behaving like lunatic douchers. So, read this, take a moment to reflect, and then if you're the one that responds in anger, or threatens literary agents or editors, STOP. Stop it right now. That's an order. *crazy eyes*
Anyway, enjoy!!

QUERY REJECTIONS: So you think you're the next J.K.Rowling, do ya?
*Original post date: March 30, 2012*
Well, you're not. 

Or maybe you are. 

But don't EVER assume so and then actually say that bit out loud or in an email. 

Especially in response to a query rejection! EEEEEEEK! 

So how do you respond to a query rejection? Well, it's completely up to you. Obviously. 

There's a quote out there somewhere, and I'm going to butcher it, but here goes. It says something like, "You can't change other people, but you can change how you respond to them." You know, something like that. 

So what does that mean? 

Well, its easy really. You can't change the agent's mind, and that sucks. BUT you have FULL CONTROL over how you present yourself. 

I hate my query. 

I hated the draft before it. I hated the draft before that. 

You can be pretty darn sure that I've hated every query I've come up with. No, seriously, I hate them all. I hate my synopsis too, but that's a discussion for a different day. 

I especially hate the "personalized" query. Yikes. What a mess that was. But thanks to one agency or another, I read somewhere to "send us something funny, something personalized" ... Well, ok, I tried to oblige. 

The only thing funny about THAT query is that I actually thought I'd get a response from it. 

No. Seriously. 

I recently received a rejection and out of morbid curiosity and utter masochism, I took a quick peek to see which query I'd originally sent to that agent. 


Oh yippy. The personalized, witty query. *bangs head against wall*

I should have responded to that agent's rejection with a HUGE apology. 

But I didn't. I responded with a THANK YOU. 


But Jessa, they rejected your query. They rejected your baby, your beautiful precious manuscript. How could you thank them for that? 

Well that's easy enough. I thanked them because its the polite, human thing to do. (DUH.) 

I thanked them because they took the time to look at my query, or at least open my email. 

I thanked them and I appreciate them because they are part of the 45% that actually TAKE THE TIME to respond to email queries. 

Now, forgive me for being a little miffed at this next part, but my goodness, some of you "I'm the next best so'n'so" people are crappy. I've come to find out that most agents who receive a response to a rejection email WON'T EVEN BOTHER OPENING IT. 

WHAT? But how can that be? WHY wouldn't they open it? What if I had something awesome to say, like, I've included a free coupon for marshmallows for you???
Wouldn't you want to know about that coupon? 

Apparently, there are some crazy-ass writers out there who respond with anger and hate. *scratches head in confusion* 

Apparently there are some crazy-ass writers out there that rant about how amazing they are and how stupid that agent is. 

"I'm the next Stephenie Meyer. J.K. Rowling. Stephen King. William freaking Shakespeare. Etc." 


Maybe you are. 

Maybe you aren't. 

Either way, get over yourself! Yeah, yeah, you're amazing. Your mom says you are, and so do five of your friends. GUESS WHAT? Me too. 

(But the difference is, I actually AM amazing.) I'm kidding. Sort of. 

Seriously though, it's so perplexing to me! 

So much so that I had to write this rambling blog post. Now, obviously, you can see that I'm a lackluster blogger by my sporadic and pointless blog posts over the years (2008 was my big year in blogging, and then my blog died a slow and painful death). I probably have 5 readers over on my personal blog, and most of those are my mom and my friends who already think I'm awesome. 

BUT BUT BUT I'm hoping this blog post reaches ONE person before they send that negative, ridiculous email. 



Yes, you.


Do not send that email. 

Want to know why? 

Well, aside from the fact that it's just rude, you need to look at the bigger picture. 

WHAT IF ... no really, WHAT IF ... you need an agent down the road for your next manuscript? What if said manuscript is so incredibly different from this manuscript, and so much better (because it will be, as I'm sure we all get better with time, practice and experience) that you just know Agent #007 would LOVE it? What if Agent #007 would have been the most perfectest agent for you EVER, but you verbally berated him/her in an email because you have no self control? 

Ruh roh. 


Gee, Jessa, you sure make sense. Thank you for being so wise and awesome. 

You're welcome. But really, I'm not. Well, awesome yes, but wise? Not really. 

What I AM however, is polite. For the most part. Friendly? Yes, almost always. 

I am trying to be especially polite and professional in an industry that I hope to one day be an active part of. It makes so much sense to me to live my daily life with class, and it should make sense to you too. But since it clearly does not make sense to ALL, you can consider this my PSA for the day. 

Now, since I imagine that you've been unable to come up with anything nice to say on your own, and that clearly THAT is the ONLY possible reason you've been responding negatively to your rejection emails, I've prepared a little sample. 

Feel free to use it. You're welcome. 

Dear Agent,

Thank you for taking the time to send a response. I truly appreciate it. 


There. Was that so freaking hard? 

Have a great weekend. Read a book. Be awesome. 

"Stay Classy San Diego." - Ron Burgundy 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Blog Hop - A new book for a new year!

Brought to you by the awesome Carrie-Ann's Blog-hops!

It's another year over! Can you believe it? Well, we authors, readers, and bloggers sure can't. And to celebrate the New Year with a bang, we're going crazy and sending out so many prizes, fun parties, experiences, and other goodies, that it's a bit scary. Each author has a favorite New Year memory, book, idea, or way to party and we're going to show you! 

And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 200 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those GRAND prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Saying goodbye to 2012, but not to the connections I've made this year ...  

Personally, 2012 has been an amazing year for me as a writer. Not only was I lucky enough to sign a publishing contract and publish my debut novel, EVER, in September, but I have made so many friends in the writing world it's not even funny. 

The true blessings of 2012 are the new connections I've made with all of you - my friends, critique partners, readers, writers and reviewers. You've all made this experience so overwhelming and full of love, that I am forever grateful for your presence in my life, however big or small it has been. 

On that note, I especially want to mention my two main girls. I can't imagine not having my critique partner, Tamara Mataya (aka. Feaky Snucker, aka my #1), or my editor, Krystal Wade, in my corner. Without them, I'd have given up writing a long time ago. 

I love you girls. 

Now, onto the giveaway, right!? 

Because Carrie Ann has put together THREE Grand Prizes, I have decided to giveaway THREE e-copies of my book EVER! So if you're looking for a new book for a new year, or maybe you've received a new e-reader for the Holidays and are looking to fill it, now's your chance! 

All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.

Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.

Some girls lose their hearts to love.
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.

Barnes & Noble


I want to be sure to wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! 

Make each day of 2013 better than the one before, and always strive to be a better person than you were yesterday! 

Oh, and keep on reading! 

* XOXO *

Now, while you're nursing that NYE hangover, add some fun to this first day of 2013 by hopping around to check out these other amazing giveaways! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MY LUCKY 13: The first 13 books I VOW to read to kick-off 2013!


I have been adding books to my TBR pile like CRAZY this year. Its amazing how many new authors you find when you start interacting with writers and reviewers/bloggers! 

Because the list is way too long, I am going to focus this post on the actual physical copies of books that are staring at me every day from my dresser top, giving me that accusatory look. And since I plan to read at least 52 books this year, I am going to focus this post on the first thirteen books only. 

So, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, the first 13 books I plan to read in 2013:

WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse. Just dreams. 

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead and the blurry line in between.


READ and LOVED. Review can be found HERE.

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours.

But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

DNF'd on page 45. (Will try again later, I guess. *sigh*)


Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?



Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Read and LOVED. Review can be found HERE.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

DNF'd on page 165 or so. May or may not try to come back to it. No review. 

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi

Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

THE WICKED AND THE JUST by J. Anderson Coats

Cecily’s father has ruined her life. He’s moving them to occupied Wales, where the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will finally be the lady of the house.

Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now she must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl.

While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And outside the city walls, tensions are rising ever higher—until finally they must reach the breaking point.

by Claire LeGrand

At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.

by Emily Fairlie

Two sixth graders solve the eighty-year-old mystery of their school, Tuckernuck Hall, in a clue-filled scavenger hunt that leads them to unexpected treasure. A classic mystery filled with humor and heart.


**A quick note about this one: Christopher Pike is the reason I began reading for fun when I was younger. He's also the reason I am such a die hard paranormal fan. I am re-reading some of his best stories so I can see if my daughter is old enough to start them yet. :-) 

Shari Cooper hadn't planned on dying, but four floors is a long way to fall. Her friends say she fell but Shari knew she had been murdered. Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams. She also comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. The Shadow - a thing more horrible than death itself - is the key to Shari's death, and the only thing that can stop her murderer from murdering again.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

So, what about you? 

Have you read any of these? 

Do you plan to? 

What is the first book you're reading (or have already read) in 2013?