Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cover Love- Ashfall

This cover came out several years ago, but I fell in love with it then and I still love it now. The series rocks too! Ashfall is a post apocalyptic book and wow, you can tell from the cover that things are bad. Looking at a broken, ash covered mirror are two teens, both appearing ragged from behind. The mirror is hanging on a wall that is no longer a part of a building, foreshadowing the destruction of society and the loss of buildings in general. The ash all over the mirror highlights the main part of the story, a super volcano has gone off, and the world is covered in ash several feet thick. Something scary is coming, and these two teens are about to see it.

Credits go to:  Ana Correal for the cover photo and the design by Amy Perrich.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MSWL- Manuscript Wishlists 6/21

Welcome to Inside the Publishing World Wednesday. Today I am trolling twitter and updating you on what agents and editors have on their manuscript wishlists.

First- A NO-No one:
Kelly‏ @YAFantasyFan  Jun 14
 #querytip Adding to my list of dislikes:
Cat goddesses that can talk
#MSWL #DoNotWant #Sorry

Brianne Johnson‏ @SecretAgentBri  Jun 16
 Still (and prob always, who am I kidding) looking for witchy, beautiful, grounded Practical Magic-y fiction in MG, YA, & adult genres. #MSWL

Camel Press‏ @CamelPressBooks  June 17
 We're looking for romances, both contemporary and historical! #MSWL Submit to us! Our guidelines:

Lydia Sharp  @lydia_sharp  June 17
 also still seeking a romance with characters who are ballet dancers in YA or NA, doesn't have to be contemporary but contemp is ok #mswl

Alec Shane‏ @alecdshane  Jun 16
 #MSWL a book about Seattle and the rise of the grunge rock/alternative music scene in the early 90s

Lauren Spieller‏ @laurenspieller  Jun 16
 I want more funny books! Funny MG, funny YA! FUNNY ADULT! #mswl
Lauren Spieller‏ @laurenspieller  Jun 15
 Super random #MSWL: I want a middle grade that features hoarding or homeschooling. Bonus points if it is both!

Carrie Pestritto‏ @literarycarrie  Jun 16
 An #ownvoices Caribbean-set women's fic #mswl

JenniferMarchSoloway‏ @marchsoloway  Jun 16
 Would love to find a #YA romantic comedy. Think teen #MasterOfNone. Awkward dates? Check! Weird pairings? Yes! Make me laugh. 😁 #mswl

Susan Graham‏ @Grahamophones  Jun 16
 #mswl I just had a MIGHTY need to read a YA contemporary about an aspec human who's a dancer- ballet, ballroom, salsa, hiphop? Anything. Pls

P.S. Literary Agency‏ @PSLiterary  Jun 16
 "Contemporary #YA that involves a modern-day version of the T-Birds or Pink Ladies." @msmariavicente #MSWL

Bon Chance Press‏ @BonChancePress  Jun 15
 We're a new publishing house actively seeking genres in the following: #YA #NA #A #T #F #SF #R #RS #LGBT #P #PR. Please query us! #MSWL
(I have not researched this new publishing house, so do your homework!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish by Sarah Wassner Flynn

Today for Middle Grade Monday I am looking at a new release from National Geographic Kids, This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish by Sarah Wassner Flynn.

The Book-
This is a nonfiction book for kids that delves into the world of yuckyness, yes, garbage. It talks about composting and recycling, landfills and dumps, and how creative people are finding new ways to reuse trash.

My Thoughts-
This book is great for bringing to the attention of kids the problem the world has with waste. It goes about it in many ways. There are big, bold colorful pictures that show the massive amounts of garbage in dumps and landfills. There are quizzes and activities to alert kids to what they can do to help the environment. There are also charts and graphs.

 I liked the science aspect of things, where kids are shown how landfills work to stop leaking bad components into the ground and also the information about how long it takes certain products to decompose... 1 million years for a glass bottle and 450 years for a disposable diaper!

A bonus of the book is that it hits on the fact that garbage can be fun. It shows artists, dumpster divers and scientists creating new ways to use and re-use garbage. Overall, it teaches kids how to play a part in making the world a less wasteful place. I picked up this book just because I was curious about the pictures of garbage. I know that's weird, but it intrigued me and I think kids will get a kick out of the pictures too. Plus, guess what happens to old landfills? They get turned into playgrounds and sports fields! Who knew? Kids will wonder about the ground beneath them and that is cool. I'm giving this book 5 stars!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kiss Me, Kill You by Larissa C. Hardesty

It's YA Friday! Welcome to this stop of the Kiss Me, Kill You Blog Tour. For my part I am doing a review of this YA thriller by Larissa C. Hardesty.

The Story-
Emmy has never had a boyfriend, let alone a first kiss, however, she likes to read about them in romance novels and her best friend Lily has a social life hot enough for both of them. Her sixteenth birthday is approaching and Lily wants Emmy to get out there and live a little. First she asks out her crush, Paul, but when he turns her down she is devastated. So, when jock Jake asks her out, she is all in.

The only advice she gets from her bff and then her own mother, don't kiss him. What? There is no way she is going to listen to that advice. Unfortunately, when the time comes, she sucks Jake's life force out and he almost dies. Emmy is introduced to the world of the Succubi. Women who live on the romantic energy they steal from others. Emmy's mom never told her about it, so she is in shock, though her bff Lily was raised as a Succubus.

Turns out her crush, Paul, is an Incubus, and he's been sent by "The Powers" to keep an eye on Emmy and make sure her introduction to their world runs smoothly. Too bad Paul is falling for Emmy and Emmy doesn't like the idea of being a Succubus. Plus, "The Powers" require all Succubi and Incubus to kill someone once a month and send their souls to hell. What's a girl to do?

My Thoughts-
I've been waiting for a YA Succubus story. After vampires, witches, and werewolves I figured they would be coming soon. I eagerly read this book and enjoyed the ride. The story line is strong and the plot moves forward with good tension. I loved the world the author created and "The Powers" are completely evil and scary. This is for older readers, sex is implied and situations are hot. Overall, a great read.

However, I didn't feel particularly blown away. The romance between Paul and Emmy has no depth. He just suddenly is willing to die for her. Also, there is no foreshadowing of redemption. Not once do we see anything that is a threat to "The Powers" and there is no feeling that a good side exists. The story ends with the idea that there will be another book, but there is no hope of them beating "The Powers" who are all powerful. I'm sure something will come up, but an opposing force should have at least been mentioned.

So, I'm giving this one 3 stars!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cover Love- Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question

It grabs you from the aisle. It stops you in your tracks. It's cover love!

Today's pick...  

Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question by Martha Freeman
Jacket Illustration by Pascal Campion. Jacket design by Chloe Zarycky

The title caught my eye first. The way it stretches across the cover makes it seem like Effie is someone important, at least in her own eyes. The simple hills and and the lonely goat give a isolated quality to this child, a definite opposite to her name in the clouds. Plus, it looks like she has an uphill battle in front of her. The cover would pique my interest enough that I would check out the blurb. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Stop the Cliches! Advice from editor Alison Weiss

During my intensive with Sky Pony Press editor Alison Weiss, she gave us the following tips on what not to open your story with...

1. Looking in the mirror.
2. Alarms goes off. Character wakes up.
3. School showcase. Here's my bff, there's the hot guy, there's the bully etc...
4. Family showcase. Here's mom, dad, Billy Bob etc...
5. A tour of the setting.
6. I am so normal.
7. My life sucks and the whole world is against me.
8. The moving van rolls up and I get a look at my new house.
9. I'm the new kid in school. How will I make friends?
10. A selection or sorting of some kind.

Does your story start with one of those ideas? Time to go back and revise :)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am reviewing a thrilling novel, Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski.

The Story-
Marin and her twin brother Kana live on an island that only sees sun for fourteen years. After that, it is fourteen years of ice and darkness. During those cold times her village sails across the ocean to live in a desert land.

Marin was born on the island and this will be her first voyage. As the town prepares to leave, Marin notices strange things, like locks being taken off the doors, furniture arranged in specific patterns and tables set with large dining dishes.

As the ships arrive to transport the people, Marin and Kana realize that their best friend Line is missing. Believing they have a few hours, they set out to rescue him, only to find him injured and only able to travel slowly. They miss the boats! and as the ships disappear into the distance, the island begins its final changes. Ice begins to cover the land and strange creatures emerge. Worst of all, the original inhabitants of the island awake and begin to kill all in their path.

My Thoughts-
Just the premise of this story made me pick up the book. Why did houses have to be left in certain strange conditions? Why did bizarre creatures begin to awake in the forest? How do you survive the Night with killers on the loose?

The authors do an amazing job with the tense thrills and chills. From the get go the mystery is thick. Adult villagers are unwilling to talk about the Night time and what has happened in the past. They meticulously haul up crates from locked basements and then arrange large furniture and place settings into specific patterns. Plus, everything must be scrubbed clean so that not a trace of their scents are left.

You know right away that these three kids are going to end up stuck, so the mystery of who inhabits the island next is dramatically brought to life. Slash marks appear on doors and loud footsteps are heard outside where our three kids hide. Everything is well done.

The characters are great. All three kids are strong, yet wary of the darkness. Kana has his own trials as his body physically begins to change as the island awakens. Line is in love with Marin, but is still young enough to know that puppy love doesn't always work out. They each have their own back story that is fully developed and integral to the plot.

And look at that cover! It really expresses the eeriness of the three who are left to battle the darkness.

Loved it! 5 stars!