Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy 3000 Followers, Literary Rambles!

This was going to start out as a simple blog contest shout out that Casey and Natalie have planned to celebrate 3,000+ followers, but as I began typing I couldn't help but share what their blog, Literary Rambles, means to me.

I don't think there's anyone in the children's writing community who hasn't heard of the awesome blog Literary Rambles. It was one of the first blogs I joined when I began writing and searching for information on literary agents who represented children's literature. At the time, Casey McCormick ran the blog by herself, spotlighting and interviewing literary agents. I was amazed at how generous she was devoting an incredible amount of time gathering information, setting up interviews, and posting everything on her blog for writers like me. What a resource! And it was such a beautiful and professional blog. Remember the dark background with white lettering - so unique!

When I think of all the time that Casey must have devoted to the blog at the time, I'm floored. I remember her sharing about going to school, raising her young family, and pursuing her own writing and thought, "How on earth does she do it all?" Enter Natalie Aguirre :)

In my early blog visiting days, one of the names that I would see in the comments sections on a regular basis (and usually one of the first ten of the day) was Natalie Aguirre. Her smiling image accompanied her encouraging and positive comments. So when Casey announced that Natalie would be joining her as co-host of Literary Rambles, she seemed like the perfect fit. And is she ever. Natalie organizes wonderful author interviews, reviews and contests.

What I love about these two classy ladies is how they really bring the writing community together. And they don't seek praise or recognition for all they do. It's truly one of my favorite blogs. One of my writing goals/dreams is to some day be able to promote my debut novel on their site :)

Onto the giveaway. To celebrate reaching over 3,000 followers (3,200 last time I checked), Casey and Natalie have three fabulous prize giveaways. You may enter the contest between now and midnight of March 9. Winners will be announced on March 11. Stop by Literary Rambles for more details on how to enter and while you're there, why not thank Casey and Natalie for their wonderful, selfless contribution to the writing community.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013 Book Love

Is it me or is this going to be an amazing year in new novels? There are so many books I'm anticipating this year, not to mention those from past years I haven't read yet. My "To Read" List never seems to shrink! And I wouldn't have it any other way. Below are several books I'm looking forward to reading.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
It's been tough waiting for a new Gayle Forman novel, but finally, it's here! If I Stay and it's sequel, Where She Went, are must reads for anyone writing for teens. Just One Day is currently available and I can't wait to read Forman's latest YA contemporary. Release date: January 8, 2013.

Prodigy by Marie Lu
I recently reread Legend to refresh my memory and to prepare for Lu's second book in the trilogy, Prodigy. Legend is a quick-paced novel with two main characters that I really cared about. It was as good as I remembered it to be the first time around. Release date: January 28, 2013.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Just released on February 5, 2013, this is book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles. I thoroughly enjoyed the imaginative Cinder and have been anticipating Scarlet ever since.

Mind Games by Kiersten White.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in White's Paranormalcy series and I'm currently reading the third, Endlessly. Mind Games has been described as very different from that series. Release date: February 19, 2013.

Arclight (May 1, 2013) and Premeditated (October 8, 2013) by Josin L. McQuein
If you follow writing blogs, Josin has been a regular in the comment sections over the past few years. She's smart, knowledgable about the process of writing and publishing, and wow, can she write. The writing community knew it was only a matter of time before she would land an agent and get a book deal. And what a year for her! Her debut, Arclight will be released this spring and in the fall, Premeditated.

The Spirit of Nimue by Donna Hosie
My dear friend, Donna will be releasing the last book in her YA ebook trilogy this May. I'm currently in the middle of reading (and loving!) Book 2, The Fire of Merlin. It's a fun adventure involving time travel, romance, and hot knights. For more information on her series visit Donna at Musings of a Penniless Writer.

Transparent by Natalie Whipple May 21, 2013
I've been a long time follower of Natalie's blog and am thrilled that she will finally realize her dream of seeing her debut novel on bookshelves. Release date of May 21, 2013.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie's novels are like eating chocolate. You want to savor every delicious word. I adored Anna and the French Kiss and thoroughly enjoyed Lola and the Boy Next Door. I can't wait to get my hands eyes on her next novel! Release date: tentatively, summer 2013 (according to her blog)

Written In My Own Heart's Blood
If you're a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, she expects a Fall 2013 release date for her latest installment. To say I loooooove this adult series is an understatement. Jamie and Claire are one of my favorite literary couples of all time and I'm anticipating (with trepidation) book 8. Trepidation because I'm not quite sure how many more years Jamie and Claire have left together. They're not exactly newlyweds at this point, if you know what I mean. I've already started a 10 month reread of the previous books as I prepare for Book 8. And believe me when I tell you I need 10 months, they are door stopper books of between 800 and 1000 pages each.

I've saved the best, imho, for last.

The Final Descent by Rick Yancey *****
THIS is my most highly anticipated read for 2013. The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey was my favorite literary find in 2012. Categorized as YA Horror, it is a blend of literary prose, extraordinary character development, and believe it or not, humor, with a Dickensian feel. I absolutely loved the first three books: The MonstrumologistThe Curse of the Wendigo, and The Isle of Blood, as did my 13-year-old daughter. Yes, they contain descriptive, gruesome scenes - hence the category of horror - but don't let that deter you from reading them. The novels focus on the complicated relationship between the two main characters, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop and his 12/13-yr-old orphan/assistant, Will Henry, and the doctor's unusual line of work - monstrumology. The stories unfold at a slower pace than most YA novels, howeverYancey's rich and thought-provoking prose completely pulled me into this story, and made me gasp, cringe, laugh and cry. Absolutely brilliant! The 4th and sadly, the last book in this series, The Final Descent, will be released in September of 2013.

What are you anticipating in 2013? Have you read any of those already released? Inspired to read any of the previous works by the authors I mentioned above?