"The pen is the tongue of the mind." -Miguel de Cervantes

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And the Winner is.......


Ok, so here is the moment you have all been waiting for. The winner of the YA Trends contest is Caitlin! Congrats, you have won a hardback copy of Beautiful Creatures and Hush, Hush!

The top secret second place prize goes to.... Bee! You have won a hardback copy of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher!
To everyone else, thank you so much for entering. This will not be the last contest on Pen Sister. To my winners, give me until Saturday and I promise I will have your prizes on the way.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What's Next For Review

My name is Mara Daniel and I have a problem. Ok, we should have a BBA (book buyers anonymous) for people who have a book hording problem but i'm not sure if i'm ready for the cure. My bedroom floor is covered in stacks of books and we are very ready to have a house to put them in. There was a poll on the Absolute Write forums a few months ago that asked how many books members owned. I listed in the 100-500 range. If I counted just *my* books I think the total would come out to be in the 300's but that is a rough estimate.

As you can imagine I have a stack of unread books and I want to gush about each and every one of them as soon as i'm finished. So here is the list in no particular order.

Red Sisters
Dirty Little Secrets
Paper Towns
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick
Tender Morsels (need to finish)
The Graveyard Book (need to finish)
Claire de Lune (finished need to review)

These plus the half a million books I want to buy when I get a chance. Stay tuned.

White Cat By Holly Black



On a recent trip to B&N this book came as a wonderful suprise. Having recently become a fan of Holly Black's Tithe series I was hungry for more, and didn't have to wait long.
White Cat is the first of Black's new Curse Worker's series, about boy named Cassel who belongs to a family of magical mobsters. Props for 1) Having a male protagonist, 2) That protaganist not having a girl next door love interest 3) haveing another cast of super engaging chararacters that has become Black's hallmark and 4) Trying a first person pov. At first this threw me because Holly Black is known for 3rd person but I was very happy with the change and I think she pulls it off better than 3rd even.
Cassel is the black sheep of the family, he can't work curses like his two brothers, and being the youngest he often feels left out. His past is marred by a terrible truth. He murdered his best friend Lila four years ago. As the story goes on the reader is easily sucked into Black's world. Cassel's character is such a nice change of scenery for the same old goody two-shoe main character we are so use to seeing.
This book is filled with twists and turns and keeps your head spinning. When you think you have figured it out you are mistaken and the book goes into a different direction. I'm not sure if this would be Paranormal YA or Dystopian because it is set in our world and society is based around the world Black has created. Either way, make sure you pick this one up. It is sure to be one of summer's bests!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trends In YA: What Comes Next?

What is the next big thing? Is the question on every YA writer, agent, and editor’s mind. In recent years Paranormal Romance has been BIG with the emergence of Twilight. But this in itself has had a string of trends from vampires to fairies to werewolves to angels. The word is angels are on the way out so what is riding in on high tide?

Dystopian. (Hah! I got ya’) With the emergence of books like The Hunger Games, Unwind, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth agents are receiving more and more queries pitching Dystopian YA. Is Pen Sister excited? Well freaking yeah! I admire these people because I don’t think I could ever pull off that much world building myself.

What is coming up this year? Werewolves. We will see a ton of werewolf novels this year. One that recently made it to the shelf is Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson. A quick but fun read about a girl that finds out she is a werewolf.

What do I want to see? Well, I will leave that for another blog post. Make sure you take a look at my Trends in YA contest if you haven’t yet, and as always happy writing.

Trends In YA Contest!




Trends in YA Contest!


Because everyone likes to win free books! The contest will run from Monday June 14 and end Thursday June 24. The contest is simple.


1. Follow Pen Sister (Does not apply to local entries)


2. Write a paragraph (or two, or three..) on what you would like to see more of in Young


Adult literature. Minimum of 50 words and maximum of 300.


One lucky winner will receive a hard back copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and a hard back copy Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl!


E-mail your entries to PenSister @ Gmail (dot) Com . Participants under the age of 18 make sure you get your parent’s permission before entering. Check your e-mail on the date the contest ends, this is how I will contact the winner.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Graphic Novels: A Solution for Art Lovers

Growing up as a kid in the 90's I never had a big opprotunity to get interested in American comic book companies like Mavel, DC, or Dark Horse. In fact when I think about comics I either picture the 50's or the 80's.

Until I met my fiance in 2007 I had all but forgotten them. I can remember the first time we ate dinner at his house. After dinner and a movie it was almost time to head back home but curiousity had me in it's nasty clutches and I stole a peek into his room.

The walls were lined with bookcases and on them without a space for more were hundreds of graphic novels. "Uh, I thought you said you had books?" "These are books." he said giving me a blank stare. I have to say until then I thought Graphic Novels were for people that hadn't outgrown those old lower Middle Grade picture books.

Upon better inspection I realized that he was drawn more so to the art than the story line. These books that he had collected since the 80's were what fueled his inspiration. I realized that a lot of my friends from High School had the same thing going on with Anime and Manga and most of them were some type of artist.

Comic books have drawn kids and teens to read for close to a hundred years and with the explosion of dozens of major motion pictures like Iorn Man, Watchmen, and Fantastic 4 we can be promised that comic book characters will be part of the main stream for quite some time. Not so much into endless words on the page? Pick up a Manga book or a graphic novel. Some of my favorites are Japanese: Hana-Kimi, Petshop of Horrors, Bleach, and Inu Yasha. American: Green Lantern, Dark Avengers, The Mighty Thor, and Batman.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mom and Pop Bookstores


(Above Cavalier House Bookstore)
So I was hanging out in Denham Springs this past week and decided to drop by the Antique Village. What can I say? I have an affinity for junk and dusty books. When I rounded the corner I didn’t get a chance to go further than the first store. To my left were books in a large picture window and I have to say I was shocked because Southern Louisiana isn’t a place where people read.

The bell on the door made a jingle-jangle when I stepped in the door and I looked around half expecting an ancient man or woman to be behind a counter with a book in hand. The place wasn’t dusty it was very clean and I was met with the smile from another young woman perhaps a year or two my senior.

We had a nice chat and the best part of it was? They had a Young Adult section! No, it wasn’t as big as the one at B&N but it did have a nice selection. She even informed me that they could order any book I wanted and hey, that saves gas money, so I ordered Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu. (Yes, I will post a review when I’m finished, promise.)

So about the title, what is a Mom and Pop bookstore you ask? Mom and Pop is a term coined to mean a personal business, generally the locally owned stores in your city or town that often fall prey to chain outlets (Walmart, Home Depot, in this case Books-A-Million and other book store giants). When you support a Mom and Pop bookstore you help the economy and hey, that benefits everyone.

First blog contest presented Monday, make sure you check back so you can have a chance at winning a few shiny YA books to add to your shelf!

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong


When most people think of Paranormal YA, they think of Twilight, I think of The Summoning published in 2008 by Harper Collins.

In her debut YA novel, Kelley Armstrong (Authors of the popular Women of the Otherworld series) brings not only the fun and excitement related to Paranormal Fiction but realistic characters that pop from the page.

One day at school, fifteen-year-old Chloe Saunders starts to see ghosts. Her reaction sets off a chain of events that land her in ‘Lyle House’ a place for “troubled teens”.

At Lyle House Chloe runs into a slew of suspicious administrators and kids very much like herself. It is there she finds that she is not the only one with paranormal problems.

I don’t want to spoil this great trilogy for you. Readers of Armstrong’s adult novels will be plesantly surprised that her Young Adult trilogy resides in the same ‘universe’ as her adult novels.

The second book The Awakening is out as of last year, and the third and final book of The Darkest Powers trilogy The Reconing is due out April 2010. So don’t worry, you still have time to catch up with the fans of this fab series.

Tithe by Holly Black


I passed by this trilogy numerous times over the years and I never gave it a good look over. Now I’m sorry it took so long to realize that Tithe is another amazing feat by Holly Black, author of the popular Middle Grade Spiderwick Chronicles.
If you want a cute and cuddly fairy tale then leave Tithe on the shelf. On the other hand if you want an edgy, gripping read then this is your best bet.
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is about as real-world as it gets, following her band junkie mom from dive to dive. When she returns to her child hood town on the Jersey shore she finds that her imaginary friends from child hood weren’t so imaginary. In fact they are back and begging her to help win their freedom with a risky plan.
What really had me hooked were Black’s characters. I was sucked into Corny and Kaye’s POV from the first few chapters. It is really hard not to gush about them. Not to mention you have the smooth, mysterious knight Roiben.
The faeries Black has created are true to legend and as far from Fern Gully as you can imagine. I suppose I will leave the rest up fine patrons. But seriously, next time you visit the library think about picking up Tithe.