Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Dark Eden

Today's book trailer is for a book I'd heard nothing about until I found this trailer on Harper's YouTube channel, but once I watched this video, I decided to put DARK EDEN on my TBR list! What do you think?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Thank you to all who entered the contest for the copy of Victoria Schwab's THE NEAR WITCH. As always, I used random.org to choose the winner. And the lucky winner is:

Denise Zaky

Congratulations Denise! You will receive a confirmation email from me shortly. Thanks for entering and happy reading!

Boys - 0, Baby Girl - 1

1. I don't think today's list will be very long. I don't feel like I have a lot to say.

2. I might surprise myself, though, so be forewarned.

3. I didn't spend much time online this past weekend, so I was totally shocked pleasantly surprised when I saw there are a handful of intrepid souls actually willing to take on the formidable job of being my assistant even though my compensation package is ... odd.

4. I actually was just having fun with that post. I DO need an assistant at some point, but until I can pay someone in cash instead of books and llamas, I'll wait.

5. I do, however, now have a short list of those who are interested, so that's awesome!

6. Johanna is talking up a storm these days. She seems to learn new words every day.

7. Yesterday, I was reading a book to her, and I pointed to things and asked her to say them as I turned the pages.

8. The conversation looked like this:

Me: Can you say "apple"?

J: Apple.

Me: Can you say "fish"?

J: Fish.

Me: Can you say "bird"?

J: Bird.

Me: Can you say "flower"?

J: Yup.

9. I guess she was done repeating after me. :)

10. We got the latest edition of Harry Potter Scene It, the one with all 8 films represented, and I can proudly say that I trounced the rest of my family last night.

11. I don't usually win HP Scene It, but the new format and options on this edition played to my strengths.

12. Who knows how long the rest of my family will let me keep my bragging rights?

13. Last week, Clint and I went to see the Broadway musical MEMPHIS. It was fabulous!

14. I'm grateful he has a job that gives us access to so much of the art scene here in Nashville.

15. My kids have no idea how lucky they are to get to go to shows, concerts, plays, museums etc every month.

16. Speaking of kids, Baby J has the boys firmly wrapped around her little finger. Here's proof:

17. The other day, the boys were watching their favorite show, Phineas and Ferb. Baby J was wandering around the living room playing when she slipped and fell and hit her head.

18. She cried. I picked her up and rocked her while sitting on the couch, and she kept crying. All three boys got up from their seats and hovered around me, trying to get their little sister to stop crying.

19. She looked up and saw them and said "Hot dog?"

20. Which is her way of saying "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," her favorite show. (They sing a song at the end of every show that is called "Hot dog.")

21. The boys instantly changed the tv channel to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. As soon as she saw that, she stopped crying and smiled.

22. I told the boys they'd been played.

23. They didn't care. Anything to make her happy.

24. I'm pretty sure Baby J understands that attitude with perfect clarity.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Help Wanted

I've decided the general mayhem of my life would be greatly improved if I could find an assistant. Naturally, any assistant of mine will need to have some unique qualifications. I've decided to run this potential ad by my blog readers before I post it on Craig's List.

Job Description:

Personal assistant to full-time writer, mother of four, consummate food-snorter, and general lunatic.


*Must love to read YA books in any stage of completion. In a related note, must be willing to read chapters that will change fifteen times, must not bat an eye when established plot lines are thrown into the garbage disposal, and must be able to intelligently discuss things like swoony almost-kisses and how to blow things up.

*Must enjoy cooking or at least fake it really well.

*Must never, under any circumstances, bring green beans into my house.

*Must be able to keep shiny seekrits.

*Must understand social networking, have relationships with bloggers and reviewers, and must be willing to stalk do reasonable research on the possibility that Johnny Depp is moving to Nashville.

*Must be able to give a succinct definition of crazypants. Also, must enjoy working with someone who is crazypants.

*Must flush the toilet after every use. While this might seem to be a given, I'm a mother of three boys. I take nothing for granted.

*Must be able to type, text, skype, and vlog. Bonus if you also know how to make me look like Jennifer Garner in my own vlogs.

*Must know an amazing recipe for lemon bars of awesomeness.

*Must remember where I left my cellphone. And my car keys. And my brain.

*Must be willing to make emergency peach tea runs.

*Must be on good terms with the Were-llama. If you can match him for distance in a spitting contest, you are instantly hired.

*Must be able to participate in a rousing discussion on any and all aspects of Harry Potter. Bonus points if you know how to make butter beer.

*Must know how to reply diplomatically to all emails. Even those from people with an enlarged sense of entitlement.

*Must be able to carry on a phone conversation with me even while I am simultaneously changing a poopy diaper, yelling at the dog, and keeping my boys from blowing up the downstairs.

*Must not consider In 'N Out burger's fries to be the world's best. If you fail on this one, you may qualify to be my HUSBAND'S assistant, but not mine.

*Extra consideration will be given to anyone who can provide unique and inspiring musical suggestions for my playlists. Even MORE consideration will be given to anyone who can break out in show tunes at a moment's notice.


Qualified applicants will be paid in free books (both ARCs and already published), generous acknowledgements in the back of my books, my willingness to kill or maim (within the pages of my books) anyone you choose, use of the Were-llama on weekends, and an unlimited supply of cookies. Homemade, of course.

I wonder if I'll have any takers?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview With Victoria Schwab

Today I'm excited to have Victoria Schwab, author of THE NEAR WITCH, on the blog. Victoria's cover is one of the prettiest I've ever seen, and it perfectly matches the writing within. THE NEAR WITCH is a fairy tale (an original fairy tale which required Victoria to research all kinds of interesting things in order to create a unique mythic structure), and Victoria's writing is lovely, ethereal, and haunting. Here's a peek at THE NEAR WITCH:

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Looks awesome, doesn't it? When I invited Victoria to come on the blog, she decided to take on the Spork of Doom. Having spent some time hanging out with Victoria, I can honestly say she has the moxie necessary to handle the Spork.

Spork of Doom


Victoria Schwab
Now that you know who's who, it's time to reveal the incredible cupcake my hubby made in honor of Victoria's book. There are spooky woods by the town of Near, and an even spookier witch. (According to legend, of course. If you want to know if the legend is true, you'll have to read the book.) My hubby made a creepy looking twisted tree trunk with a bony witch hand clutching it (perhaps preparing to beckon you to meet your doom?). Without further ado, I give you the haunting Near Witch cupcake and Victoria vs. the Spork of Doom.

Come to me, my pretty.
1. I’m all about world domination, and I’m always looking for good help. Why would you be an acceptable minion in my quest?

Because I’ve already started! Through my continuous use of and reference to narwhals, cupcakes, chocolate, fairy tales, and diet coke, I’ve begun a system of Pavlovian response where the general public hears any of those words, and thinks of me. I shall branch out until the majority of the populace’s daily speech makes them think of me!

2. I suppose that could be rather useful. I might even employ that tactic myself. But the only word I'm interested in being associated with is DOOM. Being a Spork of Doom takes moxie. What’s the sporkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I got arrested for hitchhiking in France, jumped out of an airplane, and dream of owning a bakery where every dessert is named for a fairy tale (trigger word!) character.

3. I expect you to name a pie after me. You can call it Pie of Doom. Or you can call it The Last Pastry You Will Ever Eat. I don't care which. When I’m not busy taking over the world, I like to eat pie. What kind of pie do you think is worthy of my Spork of Doom status?

I’m quite partial to chocolate (trigger word!) chess pie, but also love a good peach cobbler :)

4. I like the idea of a chess pie. The world is my chess board! CHECKMATE, WORLD! What’s your favorite thing to do with a spork?

Spear helpless little cubes of fruit! But not grapes. Grapes are evil and evasive of sporks.

5. You would waste the spectacular stabbing ability of the spork on ... fruit?? I may have misjudged your minion potential. I have the ability to be simultaneously spoon, fork, and weapon of mass destruction. What unique ability do you have?

I have the ability to transform into a giant cupcake (trigger word!). No, really, I do. Complete with detachable sprinkles. And that cupcake is evil. Her name is Sickly Sweet.

6. A giant cupcake that is both ridiculously cute and thoroughly evil? Mwahahaha! Everyone would be too distracted by your sugary sweetness to notice their own imminent doom. You are hereby reinstated as my minion! In this day and age, a savvy spork bent on world domination can’t afford to ignore a good marketing campaign. I’m thinking t-shirts with “Spork or Die.” If you made a shirt with your own slogan on it, what would it say?

Buy a Book, Feed and Author (Chocolate). <--trigger word! But seriously, I have a team of graphic designers hard at work on the graphic representation of this sentence.

7. You seem to be implying tht most authors will work for chocolate. *checks astonishingly large supply of reserve chocolate* I may need to hire more of your kind to help in my quest. If I had to compare myself to anyone in history, I’d have to say I’m most like Napoleon. Only skinnier. And shinier. And smart enough not to lose my empire at a place with a ridiculous name like Waterloo. Who are you most like and why?

I’m obviously like Marie Antoniette, because she liked cake so much. Wait, what do you mean that’s not what she meant...

8. I can appreciate someone with a dessert fixation. Why is your job just as much fun as world domination?

Because I get to LIE. Elaborately.

9. And people believe you! You have now been promoted to Head Minion. In between conquests, I like to read a good story. What can you recommend and why?

I’d recommend some Brothers Grimm, because they’re morbid, but have found ways to infiltrate today’s society under the guise of harmless childhood tales. We can learn much for them.

10. Stop. You had me at infiltrate. You need to accomplish a secret, night-time mission as my minion. Cloak? No cloak? Why?

Cloak, OBVIOUSLY. And why? Because it’s BALLER.

11. So few realize that. My best piece of advice to others is this: “Fear the spork!” What’s your best advice?

“Eat the cupcake!” <--trigger word!

Thank you, Victoria, for such an entertaining interview! Of course, the fun isn't over yet. Victoria is giving away a copy of THE NEAR WITCH to one lucky reader. If the winner lives in the U.S., the book will be signed. If the winner lives outside the U.S., Victoria will order a new copy sent to you from Book Depository.
To enter, fill out the form below. The contest is open until 8 p.m. central time Monday, November 21. Good luck and happy reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Thank you to all who entered the giveaway for a signed copy of Brenna Yovanoff's THE SPACE BETWEEN. As always, I used random.org to select the winner. And the lucky winner is:


Congratulations, Krista! You will receive a confirmation email from me shortly. Happy reading!

Trailer Tuesday: THE HUNGER GAMES

Today's trailer is for the movie adaptation of one of my favorite books: THE HUNGER GAMES. In my opinion, this trailer is enough to make me sign up for the midnight premiere. And I will probably need a handy supply of tissue before the movie is through. What do you think?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog Post, Y'All!

Vampire kitty dares you to tell him that he sparkles in the sunlight.

1. Before I give you the few carefully cultivated gems I've been hoarding up over the weekend, let's get a few important (and fun!) housekeeping items out of the way.

2. First, the winner of the "Friend Me on YABC and Win the Book of Your Choice" contest is Lori M. Lee! Congratulations, Lori. Please send me your book choice ($20 or less, please choose from Book Depository), along with your shipping info. :)

3. Second, today is the last day to enter to win a signed copy of Brenna Yovanoff's amazing THE SPACE BETWEEN. Brenna is a fabulous writer. You don't want to miss this!

4. Okay, housekeeping items dispensed with. On to the gems.

5. We spent this past weekend in Florence, Kentucky (just across the border from Cincinnati) with three other families from our China travel group so we could celebrate the girls' Gotcha Day together.

6. It was a fabulous time. We went to the aquarium, let the kids swim in the hotel's indoor pool, had a terrible dining experience at the local Cheddar's, had an incredible dining experience at the Oriental Wok (where we had our Gotcha Day dinner), and truly enjoyed seeing the girls together again.

7. Naturally, I noticed a few things I thought you would enjoy.

8. For example, despite the fact that we were far enough north that when I ordered "unsweetened tea" I was corrected and informed that it was just "tea"--apparently "sweet" tea is the anomaly here--the huge water tower at the entrance to the city said, in giant letters, "Florence, Y'all."

9. Florence.

10. Y'all.

11. You can't say that without sounding both perky and slightly demented.

12. Go ahead. Try it.

13. I've traveled all through the south (where sweet tea, buttermilk, grits, okra, and biscuits are KING), and never once seen this on any water tower.

14. Clearly, Florence, with its regular tea and stunning lack of okra, is trying to upstage us and be both northern AND southern.

15. I might take up a petition to add "Y'all" to our local water tower just to even the playing field.

16. And then I'm going to take the "You are now entering Nashville" sign and change it to "Y'all are fixin' ta enter Nash-vull" and Florence will weep with envy.

17. On our way home from Florence, as we were driving through Kentucky, we saw a sign advertising the following:

18. "Used cows for sale."

19. I'm not sure I want to ask for an explanation.

20. I mean, clearly the cows are not brand new.

21. But unless the farmer is putting a bunch of has-been milkers up for sale, I don't know how a cow could've been used ...

22. You know what? I'm not actually going to pursue that line of thought. *has a fertile imagination*

23. Suffice it to say, if you're in the market for used cows, Kentucky is your mecca!

24. We also stopped at Mamouth Cave during our trip. I was grateful to discover the cave is both dry, roomy, and free of nasty creatures who enjoy swarming mouthy red-heads.

25. Not that I've heard of nasty cave insects that like to swarm mouthy red-heads, but with my track record, if there HAD BEEN any in existence, I would've found them.

On the blog this week:

Tuesday: Book trailer
Wednesday: Interview and giveaway w/author Victoria Schwab
Friday: Help Wanted

Thursday, November 10, 2011

3 Things You Might Not Know About Turkeys (That Could Save Your Life)

Today's post is brought to us by author Jus Accardo. Enjoy her hilarious (and disturbing) turkey warnings and check out her new book at the bottom of the post!

They seem innocent enough… Waddling through the high grass and by the side of the road…. Their eerie cry can be heard from over a mile away and their bloodlust is insatiable. I speak of course, of the Wild Turkey.

No, not that Wild Turkey, this one.

People foolishly think the month of November belongs to them—but it doesn’t. It belongs to the Turkeys. While we sit at our tables, fat and happy and indulging in turkey with mashed potatoes lust, the Wild Turkeys are out there… Plotting their revenge.

They strike when you least expect it. I know this because I’m a survivor of one such attack. It’s hard for me to speak of, but for the sake helping others, I’ll somehow manage. It was several Novembers ago… I used to drive with my windows down, zipping along without a care in the world. That day was like any other. I was on my way home from the food store with our Thanksgiving turkey, radio on and windows down, when he struck. I was alone in my car one moment—and not the next.

In through the passenger’s side he flew, wedging himself in the open window. Thrashing feathers and vicious chomping beak. His shrill battle cry haunts my nightmares to this very day. I was able to fend him off with an empty 2 liter soda bottle sitting on the seat beside me, but I will never forget...

And I’m not the only one. I’ve seen Turkeys swarm a house and invade in force through the front door. I’ve seen them use themselves as flying projectiles shot at moving cars. This threat should be taken seriously, so here are some tips to survive the month of November Turkey mayhem…

1. They’re fast. Very important. Keep this in mind when trying to outrun one. They may look bumbling and slow, but trust me, these suckers can move. Wild Turkeys can fly at almost 55 mph—and they can run at almost 25mph. Can you do that?

2. Excellent daytime vision. They see in color so avoid wearing bright clothing. By sticking to browns and other earth tones, you’re more likely to blend in. The Wild Turkey’s daytime vision is three times stronger than that of a human. If you need to travel, do so at night. Don’t bother with disguises—Turkeys see through them easily. Attempting to trick them seems to anger them further.

3. Excellent hearing. You might not see ears on the head of a Turkey, but don’t let that fool you. They can pinpoint a sound from over a mile away. Attempts at sneaking past one should be avoided at all costs unless wearing rocket powered skates.

If all else fails, you can always hide for the month of November. Be sure to stock lots of nonperishable items and plenty of batteries. Granted there are groups of turkeys on the prowl at all times, but they band together in force during November. Chances are, if you wait out the month in the safety of a hidden shelter, you should be fine.

Good luck and God be with you…

And have a Happy Thanksgiving :D

Thank you, Jus, for such an entertaining post. Now I can add fear of being mauled by a wild turkey while driving in my car to my list of strange phobias! For more information about Jus, visit her site. And here's a quick peek at her book TOUCH, which just came out this month.

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen‐year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. Dez and Kale team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.

Looks like an action-packed story! Thanks again, Jus, and to all my faithful blog readers -- beware of turkeys.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with Brenna Yovanoff

I became a fan of Brenna Yovanoff's writing earlier this year when I read her first book, THE REPLACEMENT. Brenna's writing is vivid, gritty, and full of heart. And she is one of a handful of writers who knows how to write a book from a boy's perspective and have it actually sound authentic. When I saw she had another book hitting the shelves, I couldn't wait to invite her on the blog so I could introduce her to all of you. If you love unique stories and incredible writing, you'll want to pick up Brenna Yovanoff's books! Here's a peek at her latest book, THE SPACE BETWEEN:

Everything burns in Pandemonium, a city in Hell made of chrome and steel, where there is no future and life is an expanse of frozen time. That’s where Daphne lives.

The daughter of a demon and a fallen angel, she wonders what lies in store for her. Will she become a soulless demon like her sisters? Or follow in the footsteps of her brother Obie, whose life is devoted to saving lost souls on Earth? All she wants is to find a place where she belongs.

When Obie saves a bleeding, broken boy named Truman from the brink of death and then suddenly goes missing, Daphne runs away to Earth to find him. But on Earth, everything is colder and more terrifying, and Daphne struggles between her demon instincts and her growing—yet achingly unfamiliar—feelings for Truman. As Daphne and Truman search for Obie, they must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in their way. But Daphne also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.
Brenna had a hard time choosing between our interviewers, but eventually she settled on the inimitable Captain Jack Sparrow. Let's meet today's guests.

Captain Jack Sparrow, savvy?

Brenna Yovanoff

Before we dive into the interview, it's time to reveal the amazing cupcake my hubby made in honor of THE SPACE BETWEEN. When asked for cupcake design ideas, Brenna told me the predominant colors in her book are red, black, and silver, and that there are flowers in Pandemonium. From that, my hubby envisioned a corrupt, macabre flower and then turned that vision into a cupcake that is truly worthy of a place in my growing Creepy Cupcake Hall of Fame. Without further ado, I give you the hellflower cupcake and Brenna vs. Captain Jack!

I am a flower that grows in hell. Touch me if you want to die.

1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?

I prefer to think of myself as a pirate operative, happily and sneakily ensconced within the ranks of Her Majesty's Royal navy.

2. A lovely lady skilled in the art of treasonous spying? I'm intrigued already. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

In Tortuga, the only decent thing to do is assemble a band of cutthroats and plan for the next escapade. Also, dancing.

3. Darling, I'll keep an eye on your band of cutthroats while you dance the night away. What's that? Of course your merry band of murderers will still be there in the morning. Do you take me for a thief? You wound me. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

Let's first take a quick jaunt through the Canary Islands, and then set out for the end of the world.

4. Who is the hero of your story most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?

While none of my heroes would be described as insufferably honorable, there is a certain quality of the classic do-gooder to my heroine Daphne. But that’s only because she doesn’t know any better.

5. Let me spend a few hours with her. I'm sure I can ... realign her thinking. Rum? Or more rum?

Most. The most rum.

6. A treasonous spy, a leader of a band of cutthroats, and now a woman who can drink me under the table? Where have you been all my life? Wait. You weren't planning on drinking MY rum, were you? Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

Because it is infinitely more delicious than gin.

7. Gin is for ladies and stiff-collared members of Her Majesty's Navy. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Do you mean piratish in the sense of scaling towers to get the lay of the land and creeping through dark secret tunnels in search of treasure, or piratish in the sense of taking people’s lunches on the playground? Because, yeah. That first one. Also, you think I’m lying, but I’m not.

8. Darling, you had me at scaling towers. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

Rules are for people who lack imagination. Guidelines are for people well acquainted with the wondrousness of possibility.

9. I'd like to get better acquainted with your imagination. *winks* I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

No undead monkeys at this time, but that’s not to say it will never happen. Until then, undead everything else!

10. You're better off. Undead ANYTHING ELSE is better than an undead monkey, curse his vicious primate soul. Which reminds me. Any curses in your book? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

No, yes, and my personal favorite, always.

11. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

My favorite word is diplomacy. It means the kind of lying that people can all agree on.

12. As long as diplomacy means I get to keep my ship, my rum, and the girl, I'm all for it. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

Parlay. With a cutlass behind my back, and a knife in my shoe.

13. I see I need to thoroughly search you before allowing you aboard my ship. The prospect is not without its allure. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

With a grace and daring unparalleled by any ordinary adventurer. But I can’t divulge the details. It would ruin the surprise.

14. In other words, you don't have a plan. You like to make it up as you go along. Fortunately, I understand and even approve of that sort of problem-solving method. It has worked well for me in the past. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Romantic night on the high seas, against the picturesque backdrop of charging brigands and a gently-exploding powder keg.

15. You are a little pirate, aren't you? *offers arm* Shall we make that dream a reality? My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

Almost everything is survivable.

Thank you, Brenna, for such an entertaining interview! Of course, the fun isn't over yet. Brenna is offering a signed copy of THE SPACE BETWEEN to one lucky winner! The contest is open to North America and closes at 8 p.m. Central Time Monday, November 14, 2011. To enter, simply fill out the entry form below. And don't forget to leave a comment for Brenna in the blogger comment section below the form!
Good luck to all and happy reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Abarat, Absolute Midnight

This week's Trailer Tuesday post actually has two very different trailers for the same book. The second trailer is pretty creepy. This is the third installment in Clive Barker's Abarat fantasy series. What do you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

YABC: An Introduction & A Contest!

Chances are, if you frequent this blog, you're a book lover! One of my favorite things is to connect with other book lovers and share reviews and recommendations on the books I love. My favorite site for this is Young Adult Books Central (YABC). Not only is this a fabulous site for readers, it's a site that offers a lot of fabulous things to authors too! So, I thought I'd take a day to introduce you, my fellow book lovers, to YABC by interviewing M.G., the girl who runs it. Make sure you check the end of the interview for a FUN!! contest. :)

1. How long has YABC been around?

YABooksCentral.com has been around since 1998, back during the Dawn of the Internet. It was founded by Kimberly Pauley (the author of the Sucks to Be Me Series) as a basic stopover for people looking for information on young adult books. It was originally part of the same network that is now About.com. Since then, YABC has evolved into one of the largest book review sites targeted towards teen and tween books. Readers from all around the globe, of any age, come to YABC to share their thoughts about their favorite (or not so favorite) books.

2. What is your philosophy?

At YABC, we believe every book is someone's favorite book. We do not discourage readers from any book--we strive to pair the right books with the right readers, sort of like an online librarian. This means we do not allow trolling on our site. NO trashing a book or author. NO writing reviews for shock value. NO defamation. If there is something a reviewer doesn't like about a book, we expect them to be able to explain why in a clear and helpful manner.

3. How does your review system work? (Official reviewers and those who sign up to use the site)

We have about 20 Official Team Reviewers here at YABC. We review anything from picture books on up to young adult. But anyone can post a review on YABC! That's what makes us different from other book review sites. Each book is given an "editor" rating, which is the rating our Team Reviewers give the book, and there is also a "user" rating, which tallies all the ratings submitted by our readers. It's important to us to have as many reviews and ratings as possible for each book from a wide variety of readers, because we realize everyone has different tastes! We wouldn't want to discourage a teen from picking up a potential favorite book solely because one of our Team Reviewers didn't care for it.

4. What demographic of readers frequent the site?

Even though we're a site targeted to teen and tween readers, we have visitors of all ages! We have entire classrooms visit our site during school to post reviews of books they have read in class, which I think is so cool. Book reports have come a long way since my day! We also have librarians who direct kids to YABC if they want to learn more about specific titles and read reviews. Parents love our Kids Books Central section (KidsBooksCentral.com), which focuses on the 0-12 age group. Authors and publishers sign up to submit author bios and books into our database, then they direct their readers to YABC to post reviews. Book bloggers share their reviews on YABC, just like they do Good Reads and Amazon, because they know their review will reach a targeted teen audience. We have members from all across the globe. So really, we're a community of all ages and demographics. Any book lover is welcome!

5. Care to share how many unique users hits you get a month?

YABC receives an average of 60,000 visits a month, spanning across our YA Books Central section, our Kids Books Central section, our blog, and our network of author bios, interviews, book excerpts, and reading guides. We also have supplemental interaction on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-Adult-Books-Central-YABC/49509922115) and Twitter (@yabookscentral).

6. How do you work with authors? Giveaways? Cover reveals? Book trailers?

We do it all! We not only have a passion for getting kids excited about books, but we also have a passion for supporting authors. We host giveaways for free each month on YABC's main site. Prizes come from publishers, publicists, and authors. All you have to do is contact me at mandy@yabookscentral.com for availability, and we'll set you up!

We also host giveaways on our YABC blog as well as posting cover reveals, author interviews, exclusive excerpts and other tidbits, book trailers, and more. You can also find a weekly post showcasing the new releases for that week. The blog is a great way to keep up-to-date with what's going on at YABC.

We also offer extremely affordable rates for advertising on YABC. We work with a lot of authors directly, helping them get the word out about their books to a targeted teen audience. We offer banners, skyscrapers, square ads, featured trailer slots, and more. And we're always happy to tailor to specific advertising needs, even if that means designing the ads for you.

7. Can you explain the process of adding someone to your friends list in 5 easy steps?

Sure! Just this year we added a new feature to YABC -- The YABC Community. Now readers can interact with authors, publishers, and of course other readers in our new social network dedicated solely to Children's book lovers.

1) Head on over to our YABC Community page.
2) Sign in. If you aren't a member yet, create an account with us. It's super fast and totally free. (And we won't send you spammy emails or notifications!) To make it even easier and faster, you can sign up through your Facebook account. Zip bam boom!

3) On the Community Home Feed page, use the Advanced Search to search for your friends. Our lovely CJ Redwine is already a member!

4) Click on your friend's name in the search results to be taken to their profile page.

5) Click on "Add as Friend" under their name. A notification box will pop up, letting you send a message to your friend along with your friend request, or you can leave that section blank. Hit "Add Friend" and you're good to go!

8. What makes YABC stand out from other review sites?

What makes YABC unique is that we pool together reviews from as many readers as we can. We want to hear from teens, tweens, parents, grandparents, librarians, teachers, authors, book bloggers -- anyone who has an opinion on Children's literature. We value reader feedback more than a single review from Kirkus or Publisher's Weekly because kids aren't interested in those reviews. They're interested in what their peers think, what their librarians think, what other readers with similar tastes think.

You can think of us as the GoodReads dedicated solely to Children's literature. And the best part? No trolling. No defamation. If a teen asks his librarian which book he should read next, she doesn't hold up a title and tell him all the ways it sucked pickled eggs. She directs him to the books she thinks he would really enjoy. That's what we do at YABC. Because reading is fun. The reading community is fun. And we just want to enjoy it.

We hope you choose to come and enjoy it with us!
Is there a book you've been dying to read but haven't yet found the time or money to purchase? (If you're anything like me, the list is LONG.) I'm going to be giving one lucky person the book of his or her choice! How do you enter? Simple!
Add me as a friend on YABC.
That's it! You have until Friday, November 11, 2011 at 8 p.m. Central Time. I will enter every person on my YABC friend's list into a drawing. The winner gets to pick any single title book ($20 max list price), and I'll have it shipped!
Want extra entries? Tweet a link or post a link to this contest on FB. Let me know in the comments trail that you did, and I'll give you an extra entry!
See you at YABC! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Throwback: Flushed Away!

Today's Thursday Throwback blog post is one I wrote in (I believe) 2008 in which I recount a particularly fierce battle with one of my arch nemesii (Nemesises? Or is it like moose and therefore just "nemesis"?). Here's the link:


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Forest of Hands & Teeth

This week for Trailer Tuesday, I'm posting a trailer for a book that came out several years ago. I loved this book, and I think the trailer does it justice. What do you think?

A Bad Culinary Decision

A few days ago, on a whim, I bought a bag of Lay's Potato Chips in their new Chicken and Waffles flavor. I figured my kids (who love bot...