Friday, September 30, 2011

Interview with Author Paul Schumacher

I was able to interview another TLT Publishing author (and fellow fantasy writer!) Paul Schumacher. Paul is a self-proclaimed Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (see his "Lupin" photo to the right) and Star Wars nerd (Star Wars game post) AND he's getting married next month! Lots of exciting stuff coming his way.

His book LITTLE RED WOLF is being released October 22 and you can pre-order it here and get 30% off with code: fffxxx2tlt .

Interview with Paul!
Q - So, your book is Little Red Wolf.  Give me a little synopsis of it.

A - What would old fairy tales have been like had the women been more empowered? What would have happened had Red Riding Hood been the hunter and the Big Bad Wolf been in love with her? What would have happened had Goldilocks been made into an indentured servant to pay for the damage she had done to the Three Bear's house? What if Prince Charming was an incompetent jerk and Rapunzel knew exactly what she was doing when she decided to seduce him and escape the tower?  These questions and more make up the basis for this coming of age adventure story, told by a more modern bard.

Q - Who is your favorite character in the story? Why?

A - This is a really difficult question.  It almost feels like that time a group of women walked up to me and asked, “Which one of us is the prettiest?”  While this situation is less dangerous, I don’t know if I can just put my finger on one. 
Puck is a really fun character to write, because he gets away with things I never would.  He’s a dirty pervert who is also a bard … so he speaks in rhymes.  His sense of humor is great fun but he takes a lot of effort to get right whenever he’s in a scene.  This is mostly because he’s a lot funnier than I am … so a lot of work goes into his words.
Gothel (The witch from Rapunzel) is also an amazing character to write about because she’s so very complicated.  As a mother who wants to protect her daughter, she has a great deal of powerful emotions guiding her actions and the bad things that she does have the power of a mother’s love behind them.  Thus, she is not just a cut and paste villain … I tried really hard to avoid that.

Q - What are your future plans for the book series?
A - I already have three separate book series within this world which I plan to write within this world.  Each book series will focus on a specific group of characters and they will take place over about 80 years of time.  My original outline called for a trilogy of trilogies (9 books) but then book two just turned into two books … and maybe three books by the time I am finished.  Because I want to keep my page count under control, I will be writing all of the second part of my story before releasing the next book.  That way I am less likely to lock myself into a piece of plot which I discover is unfavorable later.
It occurs to me that I will likely be writing stories for this book series for the next ten to twenty years.

Q - How many people read the story in its “beta” form?

A - Six, and my mother is always the first to respond.

Q - Tell me about the cover.

A - Matthew Maniscalco is my artist, and when Randi introduced us, I told him what was in my imagination: Selena would be in the Red Riding Hood outfit.  She’s a hunter and she should be aware of something dangerous in the forest.  Her bow is at the ready, concern on her face, and the Big Bad Wolf at her side … protecting her.  Not only did Matt get it right on his first sketch, but he knocked my expectations right out of the park.  I was very specific about her not being the typical “pretty girl” and she really does look like she’s been in the woods for a week.  She’s even got dirt under her nails!  The cover has gotten a lot of praise, from friends, and I am delighted with its construction.  I look forward to seeing Matt’s future covers.
(Lightning round! First thing that comes to mind!)
Q - Blue or Green?
A - Blue

Q - Computer or Television?
A - Computer

Q - Coke or Pepsi?
A - Coke

Q - Aragorn or Legolas?
A - Aragorn

Q - Spring or Fall?
A - Spring (Fall is allergy season)

Q - E-mail or Text?
A - E-mail

Q - Cat or Dog?
A - Cat (My cat, Gobi, is my Mascot)

Q - Camping trip or Hotel stay?
A - HOTEL (I was in the Army.  I never want to camp again.)

Q - History or Math?
A - History

Q - Teleport or Be invisible?
A - As a kid = Invisible
A - As an adult = Teleport

Q - Have eleven toes or Have eleven fingers?
A - Eleven Fingers (I have a hard enough time finding shoes that fit)

Q - Be a professional tennis player or Be a professional rodeo clown?
A - Tennis Player (I don't feel like being Gored)

Q - Have a cold or Have the stomach flu?
A - Cold

Q - Skiing or Surfing?
A - Skiing

Q - Eat at home or Eat at a restaurant?
A - Tie (depends on the night)

Q - Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese?
A - Nacho Cheese (just the cheese no peppers)

Q - Watch Pride and Prejudice (the 6 hour version) or Watch the entire trilogy of The Lord of the Rings?
A - I own all three Lord of the Rings extended collectors additions!

Q - Coffee or Tea?
A - Coffee (Check my BLOG)

Q - Plane or Car?
A - Plane

Q - Flowers or Chocolates?
A - Chocolates for me, Flowers for her (preferably mums)

Q - Paint or Markers?
A - Markers (less messy)

Q - Barefoot or Sneakers?
A - Barefoot inside, Sneakers outside

Q - Fairy tales or Ghost stories?
A - Fairy Tales!

Q - Top of the Eiffel Tower or Top of the Empire State Building?
A - Neither (fear of heights)

Q - Color inside of the lines or Color outside of the lines?
A - Color inside of the lines

Q - Five small presents or One large present?
A - It all depends on the presents (I'll be happy either way)
-Other questions of randomness-

Q - Last movie you saw in the theater?
A - Thor

Q - Last book you read?
A - THE SEVENTH BLESSING -by Melissa Buell  (YAY! - From Melissa)

Q - Last book you read that you cried while reading it?
A - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Q - If you could dress up as anything, what would it be?
A - Remus Lupin!

Q - The area of the bookstore you spend the most time in?
A - The Adolescent Lit section

Q - What did you want to be when you grew up?
A - I wanted to be a video game designer

Q - What is the next place you want to travel to?
A - All my life i have wanted to go to Japan, so that is where my bride-to-be and I are going for our honeymoon!

Thanks, Paul! If you want to learn more about Paul, you can check out his blog: Paul's Blog , follow him on Twitter: @pwschum . 

Happy reading!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Favorite Banned Books

My favorite banned books (and not because they are/were "banned" but because they are fantastic!) are...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week

So, this week is "Banned Books Week." Why are so many people celebrating this? Because SO many favorite books have been banned and/or challenged! And many are really surprising to me. Why? Because I've read them! In school!

A "banned" book doesn't mean it's illegal to own that book or even to read it in your own home. Well, unless you live in a fascist country. I'll be doing mini posts all week with lists of books that have been banned and that I've read.

ALA List of Frequently Challenged/Banned Classic Books

(Books I've read in red)

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (One of my favorite books!!)
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Ulysses, by James Joyce
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Native Son, by Richard Wright
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Monday, September 26, 2011

Melissa-ish Monday - Pride and Prejudice Edition

On this Melissa-ish Monday I'll tell you all about the "Pride and Prejudice" (as in Jane Austen!) themed party that I went to on Saturday night.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a HUGE Jane Austen fan. I've read all of her completed novels. And I own them. My favorite novel (out of ALL novels I've read) is "Pride and Prejudice." Elizabeth Bennett is my kind of heroine: spunky, intelligent, able to speak her mind. Awesome.

My friend's family threw her a surprise 40th birthday party with a "Pride and Prejudice" costume theme! You know that I was all over that like butter on bald monkey. I set out to find a dress. I knew I wouldn't find the "perfect" dress at a thrift store but I thought I could get close.

I went to the Goodwill near my house and found a dress that was the perfect fabric, color, etc. BUT the dress was the wrong style! I needed a Regency style gown. Sewing machine skills to the rescue!

I dissected the dress, starting with the bodice.

I cut the top of the bodice into a square neckline then sewed it back together (with the lining intact).

I shortened the sleeves. The dress was a size too small so I added a panel on either side of the zipper to make it bigger. I cut off the drop waist to create an empire waist.

I then needed to add some material or the dress would have been about five inches too short! Many Regency style gowns had a wide ribbon or silk belt around the waist. Perfect solution! I had an extra scrap of silk fabric from a previous sewing project.

I rouched the back of the material where it would gather on either side of the back by the zipper. I sewed everything back together and I like the way it came out.

My mom had just gone to Hawaii and brought me back some pearls that were perfect for an accessory. I had long white gloves that worked out nicely.

The party was SO much fun! We had a lovely dinner, followed by a dance lesson in the "ballroom." We learned how to do the Virginia reel and the waltz. There were 5 different birthday cakes to choose from for dessert, along with tea. WOW. This was a fantastic party!!!

Interview with Author Kerry Castorano

I was able to interview Kerry Castorano, author of the epic fantasy novel Valren. Kerry's book is now available for purchase! TLT Bookstore   Barnes and Noble

Interview with Kerry

    What is your story, Valren, about?

    The Valren follows the life of a very strong, female heroine named Freyja. She grew up among a group of fighters that are known as the Valren. They are outliers of the community and not much is known about them aside from what people hear in songs and stories. When war is being threatened from the east, the Valren ally themselves with the nobility of their country to try and find a way to stop the war from breaking out before it starts because they know their country's army is not strong enough to hold back the larger forces of the neighboring army alone. There's fighting, a little romance, friendships made and broken.... A little bit of everything! I know it was fun to write - I hope people enjoying reading it!

    What was your inspiration for writing it?

To be honest, it sort of just... happened. I like to give myself farfetched goals just to see if I can reach them, even if it takes years to do. I always wanted to see if I could get a book published - that is one of those 'goals' I made a while back. Not to make money, or try and get my name out there, just to see if I could do it. When I was commuting for grad school I had to leave very early in the AM to miss traffic, so I would always have free time between getting to the school and my first class. I took that free time to start writing and it was so much fun I just kept doing it!

    If you could cast the actors for your book being made into movie, who would you pick?

Ohhh Johnny Depp and Gerald Butler for the male roles because, come on, they don't get much cuter than those two. For Freyja.. hm... maybe Bryce Dallas Howard?

    Who is your favorite character in your book?

Freyja, hands down. She's feisty!

    Favorite author when you were a kid?

I always loved "Fritz and the Beautiful Horses" by Jan Brett. I think I have three copies of it in my attic! Also loved "Billy and Blaze" books by C.W. Anderson, and "The Rainbow Goblins" by Ul De Rico.

    Favorite book to re-read?

 Hm, let me go look on my bookshelf! (3 minutes later) I think my answer to this question would changes every few months, but I just re-read the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier. Those are some of my favorite re-reads, but I can't narrow it down to just ONE of them. Gees, that was a difficult question. Too many choices!

    What area of the bookstore do you normally browse?

Everything but the autobiographies. I will admit that I love looking in the children's section because there are always great new kid's books - but I only go in this section if there are no little kids running around. Kids often have sticky fingers and they love to smear that stickiness all over me whenever they can. I don't think I've ever been near a kid that didn't drool or puke on me. It is a curse. So I try to avoid them, hehe.

    Last movie you saw in the theater?

Bridesmaids - hysterical.

    Your favorite DVDs that you own?

Nightmare Before Christmas (best movie ever made, hands down).

    What song is always on play on your iPod/CD player?

Linkin Park is almost always in there - or Seven Nations. Quite a range!

    Lightning Round of “This OR That”

    Dog OR bird?


    Home improvement project OR spa day?

I could squeeze both in - no problem. Home Improvement in the AM, break for a nice lunch, then off to the spa!!

    Learn a martial art OR learn to play a musical instrument?

Musical instrument as long as it was the cello - otherwise, martial art!

    Go on a road trip OR go on a backpacking trip?

Backpacking, no doubt.

    Live in a different country of your choosing for 3 months OR take a week long cruise to an unknown destination?

Different country. Heck, I would pay big bucks to stay in New Zealand for 3 months! Sign me up!!

    Act in a film OR give a live interview on TV?

Live interview. I don't think anyone wants to see my acting skills. I can only imagine how terrible they would be.

    Bake a cake OR barbeque steaks?

Cake, because the raw batter is delllliicccious.

    Fly in a helicopter OR ride a roller coaster?


    Be a waitress OR be a beekeeper?

Beekeeper.... my parent's did that for a few years. Big fan!

    Oatmeal OR cold cereal?


    Play video games OR play a trivia game?

Trivia game, unless Portal is in the game system ;)

    Watch TV OR surf the internet?

Probably TV.

    Walk three miles OR run one mile?


    White daisies OR red roses?


    Chalkboard OR white board?

    White Board.

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Kerry better! You can stalk follow her on Twitter: @TheValren, "like" her on Facebook:  Kerry on FB  and follow her blog: The Valren . Thanks for coming by!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Interview with Author SM Blooding

One of my fellow TLT Publishing authors is SM "Frankie" Blooding. She agreed to my crazy interviewing skills and was nice enough to answer my wacky questions. Frankie's book is coming out October 1 but you can pre-order it now and get 30% off! Such a deal!

Interview Time!

So, your book is Demons are Jackasses.  Give me a little synopsis of it.
 St. Francisville used to be a quiet place. Until three bodies turn up dead with spells carved into their skin. Someone in Louisiana is ritualistically killing people to capture the attention of Detective Paige Ansley.

Dexx, a snarky yet incredibly sexy demon hunter, invites himself along for the chase. He knows she’s the demon talker, even if she doesn’t remember it, and he knows what kind of trouble that means. Especially since she has no idea how to control her gift.
The killer is after a demon’s soul, and who better to get that for him than a broken demon talker?  In order for Paige to save herself, banish the murderer, and save Dexx, she must decide if she’s willing to give up the one thing that can hold everything together. And bring the quiet back to St. Francisville.

When did you start writing it?
 A LONG time ago! LOL! I finished writing it quickly, but I’ve tweaked and re-tweaked and re-re-tweaked it with all of my rejections. It’s been a few years. 

What was your biggest motivator to finish the story?
 I wanted to share it. The plot is to solve the murders and to keep the Gate to Heaven and Hell closed. Awesome and fun. However, the character arc is what motivated me to complete it and share it.
When I started this book, my world had just drastically changed. I…Well, I lost a lot on a personal level; loved ones, emotional aptitude, the ability to stand up for myself, my voice (figurative, not literal). And I thought I was alone. The more I listened to other people, the more I realized there’s a whole big bad world out there filled with people who have faced similar emotional turmoil. Maybe not due to the same actions/events, but on the same level.
I was a mouse. I’d allowed myself to be beaten. I couldn’t talk to others. I wasn’t in a situation where expressing what I felt was a good idea, so I turned to Paige. I said, “Now, Paige, I’m going to break you into a million pieces, and you and I are going to figure out how to A.) put yourself back together and B.) how to stand up for yourself.” To which she gave me the finger and attempted to run very quickly, and while there’s a very wide expanse inside this brain pan of mine, there is an invariable limit – the skull. So I was able to catch her and then…well, beat her up.
I figured that if she could stand up for herself, I could. It’s been a fantastic process. I saved some money on therapy, which, you know, as a writer, that’s a GOOD thing. And I think I have a story worth telling and worth reading.

Who is your favorite character in the story? Why?
 I have *cheesy grin as head disappears into shoulders* a couple in this book. My favorite part of ANY book is the characters, and this one just has an exceptional cast! But! If I had to pick…one…*pained expression* Can I pick two?
Well, I love DEXX! Love him. He was never planned to BE a part of the book. He just barged in. He’s just a wonderfully back-handed character, and he’s so sarcastic. He’s NEVER serious. Like *huge smile* never. We were in the middle of a gun fight (scene), you know, and he’s just so glib as bullets are flying around our proverbial heads , and he’s complaining about the dumbest things. He. Makes. Me. Laugh.
But….I think my most favorite character might be Alma, Paige’s grandmother. Alma’s a character I’ve had in my brain pan (also referred to as the Nut…@_@) for many, many years. I’ve always wanted a book, or a series of books, where she could exist and where I could share her with others. She’s just so…down to earth. Whenever life gets me to going flighty or batty or catty or sideways, I find myself in my mind and in her kitchen. I love her hands. They’re gnarled and calloused and soft. And I love her eyes. When she looks at you, she sees YOU. (I know. Invisible person alert. *eye roll*) And I love her kitchen.
With that said, I am NOT on drugs. Just saying.
Most people would probably put their main character as their favorite, but I get to deal with Paige ALL the time. I don’t get to deal with Dexx or Alma or any of the other supporting characters as often. 

What are your future plans for the book series?
 Ooohhh-hoooooo! Evilness! That’s what! Book 2 takes Paige back to her home in Dallas, and things get CRAZY from there. And in Book 3, we get to see her insane demon-stalker as he “courts” her. *scared chuckle* It’s mildly gross.
Things are just going to get wilder and more intense as we get to see the intricate webbing of Paige’s life, and everyone she’s connected to. 

(Lightning round! First thing that comes to mind!)

Red or Black? Red
Computer or Television? TV
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
Humans or Vampires? HUMANS!!!!
Coke or Pepsi? Tea
Noise or Silence? Silence
Batman or Spiderman? Batman
Summer or Winter? Winter
E-mail or Text? Text
Cat or Fish? Cat
Science or English Literature? Science!!!! Muahahahahahaha
Telekinesis or Flying? Telekinesis
Have two bellybuttons or no bellybutton? None
Be a professional tennis player or Be a professional rodeo clown? Rodeo clown
Have a cold or Have the stomach flu? Stomach flu
Skiing or Surfing? Reading a book? At the fire place? There are no broken bones there.

-Other questions of randomness-
Last movie you saw in the theater? Pirates of the Caribbean
Last book you read? Grave Witch
Last book you read that you cried while reading it? Twenty-One and A Half Wishes
If you could dress up as anything, what would it be? A warrior *nods* Oh yeah!
The area of the bookstore you spend the most time in? Fantasy
What did you want to be when you grew up? An AstroBioPhysicist
What is the next place you want to travel to? India…or Texas…Maybe Montana

I hope you all feel that you know Frankie a little bit better. If you want to connect with her, follow her on Twitter (@SMBlooding), "like" her on Facebook: SM Blooding on FB or check out her website (which is super awesome!) at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Melissa-ish Monday - Favorite ("Kid") Books!

This post has been writing itself in my brain for quite a while now. I often have people ask me to recommend books, especially for their kids. (I read a lot. And I read "kid" books.) Quite a few of my favorite books are Middle Grade (MG) and Young Adult (YA) books. I've never reviewed a book on my blog because that's kinda strange for me as an author to review someone else's book. I'm sure other authors do it but...I just can't right now. I do have a Goodreads, though, and I do "star" the books I've read. I have to use Goodreads to keep track of all the books I read and I haven't found a way to add a book to GR and not "star" it. I wish the star ratings were a bit different...but that's a rant for another post. I'm a big fan of series and I think a lot of kids are, too.

Favorite books!
These are books that are appropriate for younger readers for MG and older readers for YA. (Well, depending on your kid and their reading level and interest.) Please use "parental discretion" when helping your kids pick books. It really bothers me when parents have NO idea what their kids are reading. Especially when the book has..."bedroom scenes" and bad language and...weird situations in it. Ask your kids what they're reading. You're the parent, you can grill 'em. ;)

MG Books
(Age 8+ for most books. Older readers will also like these books.)

-The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer - I own this series because I love it. A young mastermind, the fairy underworld, magic,'s all here. Such intricate plot twists and details. Love it! Set in present day.

-The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks - I own a few of the books in this series. They are all interesting. Set in present day. A boy receives a special cupboard that makes his plastic action figures come to life. History is referenced in this book. Very cool for young readers.

-The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - Does anyone not know about Aslan and the world of Narnia?? Seven books. Amazing. Read them. I own this set, too. :)

-The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder - One of my very first favorite book series. I love these books and I finally bought the series at a library used book sale. Score! Life in the pioneer days.

-Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordian - I own this set. Set in present day. Acquaints readers with the myths of the Greek gods and goddesses. (Possibly on the border of MG/YA.) Exciting stories, some violence, no language and no...I'll call them "bedroom scenes" for this post.

YA Books
(12+ for most books on this list.)

-The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn - a contemporary Christian fiction series focused on a girl named Christy. I really, really love these books, even as an adult. I own the first 6 books.

-The Sierra Jensen series by Robin Jones Gunn - a friend of Christy Miller who has her own series! I own all 12 of these books.

-The Katie Weldon series by Robin Jones Gunn - a friend of Christy Miller, college years. I own books 2 & 3.

-The Eragon series by Christopher Paolini - a series about dragons and dragon riders. Mixed reviews on these books. I like the action and the story line but these books are a bit...wordy. And, unfortunately, there is a reference to a "bedroom scene" which makes it awkward to recommend to younger readers. Though they probably wouldn't understand it...Parental discretion here. I own books 1-3.

-The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - I own all seven books. These are great books. Again, parental discretion here. Younger readers might like the books but there are some very scary elements as the books progress/Harry gets older.

-Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery - I own this series and LOVE these books. I didn't read them until I was an older teen but I think some younger readers would like them as well. Sweet stories about an orphan girl set in Canada in the late 1800s.

-The Frog Princess series by E.D. Baker - This series is SO much fun! A spunky princess, magic, great story lines. Also good for younger readers.

-The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler - I bought this book this year because I love the story so much. A great contemporary girl book. No language, no bedroom scenes. Really, really great.

-The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - For older YA readers! Violence is a major theme running through this dystopian novel. No language, no bedroom scenes. A head spinning, super fast read. One of my new favorites.

-The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter - This is one of favorite series of books for girls. The main character is spunky and smart. She attends a spy school with other girls and they have lots of adventures. A little bit of romance but it's age appropriate for a 15 year old. (A kiss.) There is a mystery woven through the plots of the books. I own three of these books.

-Heist Society series by Ally Carter - Another great series by Ally Carter. Age appropriate romance (one kiss, I think). Lots of adventure and mystery. Super fun. I own these two books.

-The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan - Follows the Percy Jackson series. Great book.

-The Red Pyramid series by Rick Riordan - Brother and sister series about Egyptian magicians in New York City...and other parts of the world. Fun adventure series.

-The Keys of the Kingdom by Garth Nix - Very different sort of adventure series. Arthur is a great protagonist because he is the unlikely hero.

-Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan - Great adventure books for boys (and girls who like good adventure stories). There are ten books in this series. I'm currently on book 7.

I might add to this page as I remember more books that I'd recommend to young readers. I hope this helps parents pick some books for their kids. :) And if you have any recommendations for me, let me know!

Happy reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Top 100 YA Book List

I saw this on Vy's Blog and I was intrigued because I love to read YA books. (And I write them, too. But that's another story...)

I've read quite a few books on the list. Some I've never heard of but will definitely look into them.
**Updated on 10/12/12**  --Updated again on 2/14/13--

Top 100 YA Book List

Green = Books I own but haven't read
Blue = Books I've read (and bold are books that I LOVE)
Black = Books I haven't read
I crossed out ones that I don't intend to read because of language, situations, etc. or don't recommend b/c of situations, etc.

1. Alex Flinn - Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
4. Ally Condie - Matched, Crossed, Reached
5. Alyson Noel - The Immortals (1, 2 , 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike - Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick - Hush, Hush (1,2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare - The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3)
18. Christopher Paolini – Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima - The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson - Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore - The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate - Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket – Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater - The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson - Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson - The Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr - Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaimen - Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast - House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan - Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld – Uglies (1, 2, 3)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale - Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles - Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer - The Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen - Flipped

Monday, September 12, 2011

Melissa-ish Monday - Meh

Sorry to take so long in updating this post. I've been a little off my game lately. Not really feeling like writing because I've been so busy with mom/wife/PTA/housework stuff. "Real life" (as my 4 y.o. says) is quite important and is taking precedence over my blogging life. What I need to learn to do is sit down when I have a brilliant (or not-so-brilliant but still entertaining) thought and type it out and save it for a day when I'm too busy to write something. I'll upload my previously written post and voila! No guilt about not blogging.

I'm working on ideas for some writing workshops for middle schoolers right now. Ideas? Let me know. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photo Friday! {Sept. 9}

I took this photo at a Cub Scout event where the boys got to shoot marbles. I love the colors and the designs of the different marbles. I'm sure if you look closely you'll want to grab some and take them home to stash in your treasure box. I really love the shiny purple/blue/rainbow ones.

Could you spin a story from these marbles? Give each colored marble a name? What does that marble think about? Maybe I'm a little weird. Well, no maybe about that... ;)

Have imaginating!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Melissa-ish Monday - Labor Day Edition

Happy Labor Day!

We spent our Labor Day...laboring. Yup, cleaning out the garage, tossing broken stuff, sorting through cupboards, sending old things on to be loved by someone else (otherwise known as The Goodwill Bag). I love organization and it disturbs my brain to have things out of place. Our third bedroom is our office/book room. We have more books than bookshelves which means some books are stacked in plastic bins on the floor. This makes my brain hurt if I look at them. I get distracted from writing because I keep thinking, "If we were to get more shelves, the books would be up off the floor. We really can't fit more shelves into the office. So that's why the books are where they are. Leave it alone and pay attention to what you're writing." (I talk to myself quite frequently. Usually it's in my head, so it's all good.)

The office seems to be the dumping ground for stuff that no one else knows what to do with. Frustrating? Yes. But today I tackled the little piles in the room and I am victorious! Once I find the USB cable for my camera, I can take pictures and post them. My craft closet is looking SO good! I can find things once again. My brain is happy once more. :)

Have a happy week!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Interview with "Reading the Days Away!" blog

Megan at "Reading the Days Away!" interviewed me. (She's so nice!)

You can read the interview here and enter to win some swag! :)