Friday, April 28, 2017

Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am reviewing Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs. In fact, it's been a year since I reviewed book one, Future Shock.

The Story-
So, this book takes place six months after book one, Future Shock. Elena, Adam and Chris are trying to get on with their lives, and the money they received from Aether Corp is definitely helping, but Elena can't shake the feeling that the corporation is not done with her yet. Her relationship with Adam is strong, although she still feels as if he should find somebody better than herself.

One morning, a black car arrives out front of Elena's apartment, and voila, Aether Corp is back. They want Elena, Adam and Chris to go back to the future. A future where another crew of teenagers from Aether have gone AWOL. One of the missing is Aether Corp's CEO's son, Jeremy. Drugged and sent against their will, our trio find themselves in an even more advanced future than before, a future where Aether Corp is leading the way in technology. The problem, someone is killing the people on the missing team's crew, and Elena's group is next.

My Thoughts-
At first I wasn't sure how the author would pull of another trip to the future, but she does a great job at making it more about the characters, than the technology. There is still cool stuff, but with the threat of death hanging over Elena's head, the reader is drawn more into the mystery of who or what is tracking them. Plus, it turns out they go into the future twice and both outcomes are completely different, which is fun, because it means someone is changing things.

As a reader I keep wanting to smack Elena because she keeps holding Adam at arms length. Their entire relationship goes through the ringer in this book and I am happy to say the author brings their romance to a good point in the end (though who knows about book 3).

Now, the real thing I would love to talk about, but won't because it would spoil the book, is who is doing the killing and why. As you read, you are pulled through different scenarios, but all with similar outcomes, someone dies. Each time you hope they've figured it out, and bam! nope. So, kuddos to the author, because in the big reveal she totally got me. Yahoo!

This series has so far been a fun read. I'm giving book 2, Future Threat, 4 stars!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cover Love- Canivores

These are my personal choices, books can be published traditionally or self-published- I'm only interested in the art choices. I would love to hear what you think of these covers, so please leave comments.

Today's pick...

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds. Cover Art by Dan Santat

Oh my goodness! When I saw this one at the book store I grabbed it for my eight year old. Three meat eaters, looking terrified under shrink wrap. Too funny! Plus, the shark has to wear a fish bowl to breath.  Plus, the sticker on the shrink wrap, made to look like a food label, goes into safe handling instructions. Love this cover!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Editor Alison Weiss, Sky Pony Press

Continuing my report from the SCBWI WWA Spring conference, let's look at Alison Weiss from Sky Pony Press.

Alison is a senior editor at Sky Pony Press who works on picture books through YA. She loves assassins and spies and sleuths, friendships that feel like they’ll last forever, and love stories that will twist you in knots before they’re through. She’s especially eager to find a middle grade with a cozy feel, and a voice-driven, sweeping, romantic YA. She told the audience, "I seldom cry. If I'm crying at the end of a book you're doing something right."

What did she talk about during the panel? Well, passion. That's right, passion. "If I don't feel that level of passion about a book, how can I work with it for months or years?" She went on to say that her vision needs to match your own. "If we're going different ways it's never going to work. There will be tension."

Before taking on a client she will call the author and talk about the book and the author's plans. She needs to know how an author will promote their book so that she can help sell them to the acquisitions board. An author needs to be flexible in letting others in to help guide their writing and publishing journey.

Her advice to writers?
1. Don't compare yourself to others. This is your journey. It is special in its own right.
2. Support the writing community. Be a good member.

For more information check out Alison's wishlist and submissions page.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cover Love- The Bronze Key

Every Thursday I will be sharing a book cover with you that grabbed my attention. You know, the ones you see in the book store or library and you just have to pick them up to see what their about. Some of these books I have read, others not. This is not a review segment, just a cover profile. So, no blurbs. Where possible I will try to figure out who the cover artist is too. Keeping with the theme of my blog, these will be picture books, chapter books, middle grade and YA.

I hope you like this new segment. These are my personal choices, books can be published traditionally or self-published- I'm only interested in the art choices. I would love to hear what you think of these covers, so please leave comments.

Today's pick...

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Jacket art by Alexandre Chaudret

The giant blue snake grabbed my attention first. I love the way the blue turns into purple and then red and orange. It is truly eye catching. The three youth are front and center, but the big serpent is looming over them, so you know this will be an adventure. Each character holds a different weapon and the girl in front has magic glowing hands. I love hints of magic. So yep, I picked this one up. FYI- It is part of a series.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Editor- Jessica Anderson, Christy Ottaviano Books

For Inside the Publishing World Wednesday I am reporting on the editor/agent panel from the SCBWI WWA Spring Conference. First up, editor Jessica Anderson from Christy Ottaviano Books.

Jessica is an assistant editor at Christy Ottaviano Books, an imprint of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. She has assisted in the publication of a wide range of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She is on the lookout for lyrical picture book biographies, hilarious middle-grade diary fiction, and gritty contemporary realistic YA.

She was asked what would make her look at a query and what would make her pass. Her response, if something is pitched in an unconventional way for a certain genre, we'll take a look at it. However, if it would compete with something already on their list, they'd pass.

In regards to agent/author dealings, Jessica likes to establish a relationship of trust. Before taking on a client she will contact them to see what they can bring to the table, how they will respond to issues, and make sure that together they can have a fruitful collaboration. "We will be the in-house advocate for your book. We want to have a deep personal connection."

To find out more about Christy Ottaviano Books, check out their Facebook page.
Submissions must go through the parent company at

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dragon Captives (The Unwanteds Quests #1) by Lisa McMann

I love Middle-Grade Mondays! Today I am sharing a recent release from Aladdin, Dragon Captives (The Unwanteds Quests #1) by Lisa McMann. This is actually the first book in a sequel series set after The Unwanteds.

The Story-
Twin sisters,  Fifer and Thisbe Stowe, are tired of being treated as little children. They have remarkable powers, magic that often gets out of control. They believe they should get training to help. Their big brother Alex, the head of magic on the Seven Isles, thinks just the opposite, that they should be kept away from it at all costs until they are much older.

In a quest to prove themselves, Fifer, Thisbe and their best friend Seth, lie to a dragon and fly to Dragon World, where dragons are enslaved and need help.  Adventures are not quite as fun as the stories they've been told, and the trio are quickly cast into the dungeon. Nothing goes as planned, and with untrained magic powers, Fifer and Thisbe might not be able to save themselves or the dragons.

My Thoughts-
I did not read the first series, The Unwanteds, so I came to this book with a fresh perspective, and it was just fine. There is enough of a back story given that you don't get lost, plus this story is about the twelve year old twins, where the other series happened ten years in the past to their older twin brothers. Alex and Aaron.

I really felt bad for these poor girls. They are obviously talented, but their brother keeps all magic away from them. He fears that his sisters are out of control and wants to keep them in a safe bubble. Fifer and Thisbe believe just the opposite, and of course, this gets them into trouble. And because they have been sheltered by their big brother, they are not prepared to face the adventure ahead. Good news, the twins quickly realize this, which I liked, and they take responsibility fast.

There are a score of other fun characters, including stone statues that are alive. I found this aspect of the story delightful. The highest level of mages can turn unliving matter into living things. For Fifer and Thisbe, this means that they need to add on length to the enslaved dragons wings so that they can fly free.

 The very first chapter gives a dynamic start to the book, and a very good insight into Fifer and Thisbe's  personalities and the problems with their magic. Plus, one of the twins causes a stone creature to die, and the reader is able to see the depth of her pain at harming or killing another creature.

This is a good start off to what seems like a very adventurous and exciting series. I really enjoyed it. 5 stars!

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

For YA Friday I am reviewing The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. This book caught my eye for the cover alone, so it would also fit in with my Cover Love segments. When I went on to read the blurb, I was captivated.

The Story-
Tea is a witch, just like the other women in her family. She just doesn't know what type of witch she is until she accidentally raises her brother from the dead. Tea is a bone witch, one who controls death. As a bone witch she will be both feared and revered.

Taken under the wing of an older bone witch, Tea begins her education, with her undead brother by her side as protection. She studies to become an Asha, a witch of special elemental magic. However, competition is tough and political intrigue abounds. Plus, war is on the horizon. Her journey will be one of legend.

My Thoughts-
First off, this book is told as a two-parter, from Tea in the past as she grows and trains and from the current time as a bard that is meeting Tea, now a full Asha bone witch with full powers. At first, I just wanted to stay in the past, to see how Tea became a mighty witch, but as the story continued and I realizef that the Tea in the present is in a strange place, doing strange things, then I wanted to know what had led to her current situation.

This book has everything I love. A girl with mighty powers that trains to be the best, but the establishment is against her, so she must prove herself. The cool part is that with the story being told in two parts, I was able to see so much more of the Tea character. Her romance takes on a deeper meaning when you realize that something happened in the past, because in the present, she is alone with the bard. The tension is high because you just don't know what exactly happened, only that something did. Something that turned her into a hermit living in a cave on the beach and her undead, but utterly devoted brother is no longer by her side.

It's really hard to put into words how the flow of this story works so well. You'll just have to read it! 5 stars!