Today I would like to welcome Tara Hudson to Hooked to Books as part of a blog tour hosted by Mundie Moms! Tara has been awesome enough to write up a guest post about her five favorite YA/middle grade novels she had while growing up.
Thanks for stopping by Tara!
When I was a preteen and teen, YA hadn’t really become a wildly popular subgenre yet. But lucky for me, there were some early, pretty outstanding YA and MG authors out there to guide my path! Here are my top 5 favorite YA/MG authors from my childhood.
5. R.L. Stine – First of all, my maiden name was Stine, so I was pretty convinced that I had some cosmic connection to this guy. Also, he wrote such dark, fun, easily consumable stories that I started to find myself fascinated with an entirely different subgenre: horror.
4. Zilpha Keatley Snyder – It is an absolute shame if ya’ll aren’t familiar with this woman. Her books rocked my world, mostly because they combined contemporary settings with slightly spooky elements. (Ex. Potentially cursed Egyptian artifacts, bewitched animals, etc.) She also created believably flawed young characters – not an easy task. Try out THE EGYPT GAME. Trust me.
3. Joan Aiken – Her children’s books were so atmospheric, so deliciously gothic, that I couldn’t help but get lost in them. I wanted to move into THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE and fight sinister English caretakers right along with her heroines.
2. Christopher Pike – Much like Mr. Stine, Christopher Pike introduced me to horror. But he also introduced me to a world where adult writers didn’t talk down to their audience. They assumed that young adults could handle a good scare – even a particularly disturbing one.
1. Ray Bradbury – Although Bradbury is traditionally considered a Sci-Fi writer, a lot of his work dips into childhood issues , too. SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES terrified me…in the best possible way.
Insurgent (Divergent #2) Veronica Roth Publish Date: May 1, 2012 Harper Teen Purchased Copy Reviewed by Mandi
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked
by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day
ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the
factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be
chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more
irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions
but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and
shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if
she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book
of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride
of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and
powerful insights about human nature. -Goodreads
I was so excited for this book to come out. I absolutely LOVED Divergent and I REALLY enjoyed this book as well! The book picked up immediately after Divergent, which I loved because that means you didn't miss anything. The only bad thing was that I hadn't read Divergent for a year so I forgot who a lot of the secondary characters were and forgot some of what actually happened in Divergent. Lucky for us, Veronica Roth posted a blog giving the back history of the characters and a refresher on who was who and what had happened. I do admit, I had to refer to the blog post a few times while reading the book because some of the characters ran together a bit and I had a hard time keeping them straight. This might had been more due to me reading it fast because I was so anxious to see what happened then due to the story/her writing.
The story picks up with Tris, Four and some of the others are on their way to Amity to take refuge from the Erudite and the Dauntless (Tris and Four's faction that were used by the Erudite to wage a war on the Abnegation, Tris' old faction, the one her mother and father were still a part of). You find Tris trying to come to grips with losing her mother and father and also dealing with shooting and killing one of her best friends, Will, when he was being controlled by the mind controlling serum. She really is more like a lost child in this book. She is reckless and has no regard for her life, which makes Four (Tobias is his real name, but he goes by Four because he only has 4 fears when put into the fear simulation used at the Dauntless compound for initiations) really, really mad at her. In all honesty, I got frustrated with her myself, I wanted to reach through the book and shake her to make her snap out of it. The book follows Tris as she comes to terms with who she is as she fights to uncover the secret of the Abnegation. The secret that caused the Erudite to start a war just to keep it hidden. A secret that can change everything they know to be true.
This is a must read if you read and loved Divergent. I am already anxiously awaiting Book 3 and can not wait to see how this story ends!
Published March 20th 2012
by Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0803737262 (ISBN13: 9780803737266)
Reviewed by: Lindsay - The Violet Hour
Goodreads "Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance
When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel."
Although I am not a huge fan of Michelle Zink's work, I'm always on the lookout for new angel books. Ever since I read Cynthia Hand's series, Unearthly, I've been hooked. The title, A TEMPTATIONS OF ANGELS, is very alluring, so I grabbed it. Sad to say, I was not super impressed.
There is very little personal description of any character. That made it hard for me to visualize and connect with them. Turns out Helen has violet eyes, but I didn't find that out until halfway through. The only thing I learned about Darius's and Griffin's looks were that they had yellow-green eyes and tawny hair. Zink also did not develop their characters very much. Helen a bit more than the brothers, but they all just fell a bit flat for me. Griffin was the only character that even remotely had any intriguing qualities, with his mysterious lines of protectiveness and hints at his feelings for Helen.
Being 'angelic descendants', I was expecting the remaining three Keepers to be...well, more angelic. Mostly they are just Keepers of 'the records' that can 'light jump' and have a group of protectors and informants that help them out. They did have some sweet sickle skills, though. I was just expecting...angels. A very dear blogger friend tried to explain this to me and likened them to Shadowhunters (of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments fame). That comparison helped somewhat, but these Keepers just didn't do 'it' for me.
Also, I'm confused as to what time period this book takes place in. Helen wears dresses made by an honest-to-God seamstress and washes her face with water in a basin (very 'Right-o, old chap!), yet Galizur has a computer-like device that pulls up information in the blink of an eye. I understand that with his being connected with the Dictata there would be perks and things like that, but it just seemed inconsistent and odd. The same blogger friend brought up that Zink was trying to go for a steampunk feel, and I admit that I've not read much of that, but still I think there should have been more of that throughout the story to tie it in.
I almost never tell anyone to not read a book, and A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS will be no different. Just like with the Prophecy of the Sisters series, some people absolutely loved it. I did not. So if this book sounds appealing to you, give it a shot. Maybe you will catch things that I didn't and end up liking it. If you're looking for an actual book about angels, I suggest the series I mentioned at the beginning of my review.
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2) Ally Carter Publish Date: October 2, 2007 Hyperion Purchased Copy (borrow from Megan) Reviewed by Rachael
Cammie Morgan is back, and it's clear that her life hasn't calmed down since the events of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. At first, giddy anticipation is in the air. Gallagher Academy, Cammie's elite spy school, is hosting a visit from a covert training center for boys. Soon after the boys' arrival, though, everything goes dangerously awry when a series of security breaches are discovered at the academy. Worse yet, teenage agent-in-training Cammie is being blamed for the penetration. With the school's top-secret status at risk, the Gallagher Girls have to work quickly to save their beloved school. -Goodreads
Sure Megan has already reviewed the most current book in the series, Out of Sight, Out of Time, but hey, some of us are a little late to the party and that's okay.
I was super stoked to see if the second book of the Gallagher Girls series would live up to the hype built in first book and I was not disappointed in the least! I loved the integration of the boys school into the world of Gallagher Academy and the girls' daily lives. I much preferred Zach to Josh and I hope this plays out in future books (I'm trying to be good and not constantly bug Megan for spoilers!) It was nice to see Cammie as "herself" with a boy and as expected her roommates are always good for a laugh...makes you wish you were living with roommates that always have your back and shoes to borrow if the need arises!
Can't wait to get one step closer to Out of Sight, Out of Time by reading Book #3 ASAP!
I loved Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch and when she announced she had written a story about Cole I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. After waiting for what felt like months - the story is now available to read! Click the link below to be taken to Cole's story and enter the world of The Near Witch again.
It's May 15th!
Not only does THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab come out in paperback TODAY, but, to celebrate its release, "The Ash-Born Boy" is finally up over at Disney*Hyperion's website!
So, what IS "The Ash-Born Boy"?
It's a free story Victoria wrote as a thank-you to her fans, and she wrote it to answer ONE question: "Who was Cole before he came to Near?"
Now, if you've already read THE NEAR WITCH, "The Ash-Born Boy" is guaranteed to change the way you see Cole.
And if you haven't read THE NEAR WITCH yet, don't worry, "The Ash-Born Boy" won't spoil anything!
So basically, either way, you should go read Cole's story ;)
And if you want to wait and read THE NEAR WITCH first, don't worry! Cole's story will stay up on Disney*Hyperion's website, and if it ever comes down, Victoria will carve out a space for it on her own site. It will always be available somewhere, and it will always be free.
Cole's story isn't the only goodie to go along with the paperback release. In the back of the paperback itself, you'll find the first chapter of Victoria's new book, THE ARCHIVED, which doesn't come out until January!
So what are you waiting for?
Help Victoria celebrate today by taking a look at "The Ash-Born Boy," and don't forget to buy/order/pick up your own paperback copy of THE NEAR WITCH!
The folks at Harlequin Teen have been amazing enough to offer the reader's of Hooked to Books a chance to win a copy of Goddess Interrupted!
This book has been reviewed twice here at Hooked to Books - first by Mandi (here) and then by Lindsay (here). If you missed them the first time - head back over and check out the reviews.
Below is a Q&A with Aimee Carter provided by Harlequin. What a fun interview! Make sure to check it out as well!
How familiar were you
with Greek myths and folklore before writing the Goddess Test series? Was a lot of research required?
+ I first fell in love with Greek mythology when I was a kid
learning how to read, and my infatuation only grew from there. I’ve studied
various kinds of mythology for years, sometimes for class and always for fun,
but even then I put a great deal of research into the Goddess Test series.
Mostly as a refresher to make sure I was getting my facts right, but I also
researched the various myths looking for ways to tie the plots and characters
together in unexpected ways.
Was Goddess Interrupted any easier or harder
to write than the first book in the series, The
+ It was both easier and harder, in a strange way. I rewrote
The Goddess Test multiple times, and I’ve never edited a book more heavily in
my life. Goddess Interrupted did require some editing, of course, but it was
However, the pressure to deliver a sequel worthy of the
series made the writing process for Goddess Interrupted more difficult than I’d
anticipated. There’s something called the “sophomore slump”, where sequels or
second books generally don’t quite match up to the second, and I wanted to
avoid that at all cost. So that added a lot of stress, but in the end, I was
very happy with the results.
You give the gods and
goddesses in the series “ordinary names” – Zeus is named Walter, Aphrodite goes
by Ava, Hermes is named James. Why did
you do that and do the more contemporary names have any significance?
+ This was something I went back and forth on multiple
times. Initially the characters Kate encounters weren’t council members at all
– I changed that very, very quickly though. By the second draft, I had a place
for each of the Olympians, and I did some heavy rewriting to replace my first
draft characters with the gods. I wanted to find a way to keep their names the
same, but since they’re supposed to live among us in secret in the modern
world, it didn’t really make sense. How many men named Zeus do you know, or
women called Aphrodite? On top of that, keeping the council’s identities secret
was incredibly important to the plot. So eventually I decided they would have
changed their names when Western civilization stopped worshipping them as gods,
allowing them to live freely among us.
I did choose each name for what it means, some more than
others – Walter, for instance, means “army leader”, while James means
“supplanter”. The exception is Calliope, which in the story was chosen by her
counterpart for its Greek roots. The reason the gods changed their names – and
why Artemis didn’t wind up with the name Diana – is explained throughout the
series, but you get to actually see this happen in The Goddess Legacy (July 31).
begins with the main character Kate Winters adjusting to her new life as an
immortal. Given Kate’s innate strength
and stubbornness, was it difficult to switch gears to portray her as a bit more
vulnerable and unsure of herself in her new role as goddess AND wife?
+ Not so much, to be honest – her progression felt natural
to me. While Kate is very tough in certain ways, she’s extremely vulnerable as
well. She’s emotionally dependent on the people around her (her mother in the
first book, Henry in the second), and that in and of itself carves the path she
takes in the sequel. She’s spent six months with Henry, falling in love with
him and forming a relationship she thinks is going to last for eternity. But
Henry is battling his own demons and isn’t ready to be the person she needs him
to be, and because Kate is so stubborn, she has a hard time coming to terms
with that. In the sequel, Kate really is her own worst enemy emotionally – her
entire world has changed, after all, and that’s a lot for anyone to take – but
it’s all part of her development into a goddess and queen.
Kate finds herself
trying to work through her rather complicated relationship with James, as well
as her relationship with her new husband, Henry (Hades). Neither seems to be black and white, but
rather varying shades of gray. Were any
of Kate’s feelings or situations based on any relationship struggles you’ve
+ Not personally, no, but I did try to make Kate’s
relationships with the people in her life as realistic as possible. She isn’t
perfect, and neither are they, and that’s something they all have to work
through at varying points in the series. None of the relationships in the books
are based off of specific experiences I’ve been through though.
What is your favorite
part of the writing process? Least
+ Outlining is by far my favorite part of the process. I
love the idea stage, where anything’s possible, and it’s such a shiny place.
All of that comes crashing down when I write the first draft though, which is
the hardest part for me. I tend to get mentally exhausted about two thirds to
three quarters of the way into the manuscript, and it’s always a struggle for
me to push through it, especially if I’m on a deadline. And inevitably there
are a ton of problems I didn’t notice in the outline stage that have to be
fixed for the story to work. I’m a perfectionist, so in order for me to
continue writing the story, everything I’ve already written has to make sense.
Do you have a
favorite quote or line from a poem or book?
+ I love so many quotes that I couldn’t possibly pick a
How did you get your
first publishing deal and how did that feel?
+ My agent, Rosemary Stimola, sent the manuscript out to
various publishers, and after a long submission process, Harlequin TEEN offered
to publish it! I was stunned at first, but that quickly gave way to giddiness.
It was an incredible feeling to know I’d be published, and to this day, I still
can’t quite believe it.
When is the next book
in the series due out? Any hints on what will happen in book 3?
+ Goddess Interrupted, the sequel to The Goddess Test, came
out in late March. The next book in the series, The Goddess Legacy, will be out
July 31. It’s a collection of five novellas told in the perspectives of
Calliope, Ava, Persephone, James, and Henry, and together they form one story.
The third book in the series, The Goddess Inheritance, is
currently scheduled to be released in March 2013. Unfortunately I can’t say too
much about it, but the challenges that Kate will face are pretty clear by the
end of the sequel!
After the huge
success of The Goddess Test, Goddess Interrupted is on many, many TBR lists for
this summer. What’s on your TBR list?
+ I’m so excited for a slew of books coming out – The Girl
in the Clockwork Collar, Grave Mercy, The Selection, The Serpent’s Shadow,
Philippa Gregory’s YA novel, and a ton of others. I never have as much time to
read as I want, but I’m definitely making time for all of those and more!
Superlatives! If you went to high school with the Greek gods and goddesses, who
would you vote for?
·Most likely to succeed? - Hera
·Class clown? - Hermes
·Nicest? – Demeter or Hephaestus
·Best dressed? - Aphrodite
·Best dancer? - Apollo
·Most school spirit? - Iris
·Most likely to attend summer school? - Ares
·Teachers pet? - Athena
You can purchase a copy of Goddess Interrupted from any of the links below!
The Weepers: The Other Life Susan Winnacker Publish Date: May 15, 2012 ARC from Around the World ARC Tours Published by: Marshall Cavendish Reviewed by Michelle
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world
Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.
When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.
But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all? -Goodreads
I was very excited to get on the blog tour for this book - anything dystopian-ish and zombie-ish I'm all for reading. While it didn't fully live up to my expectation - I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one to find out what happens with Sherry and her friends.
Sherry has been living with the same five (technically six but her grandpa died a year ago) people for the last three years in a bunker under their house. They know something bad has happened above ground but haven't been able to find out what is going on since closing the door three years ago. When their food runs out, Sherry and her dad are forced to venture out of the safety of the bunker to look for food so they don't starve to death. When they emerge from the bunker, they find a world that has been completely destroyed and nothing like the one that was in existence when they went underground. When Sherry's dad is taken by the Weepers, she is saved by another survivor, Joshua, and her eyes are opened up to a whole new world.
Once Sherry meets Joshua, The Other Life takes off at a fast pace - which isn't necessarily a good thing. I felt like a lot of world building was left out - I wanted to know more about the world that Sherry had stepped into but instead I was left trying to figure it out while the book sped on. Joshua takes Sherry to Secret Haven - a hideaway out in the middle of nowhere where he lives with a handful of other survivors. From there, Sherry and Joshua must rescue her family from the bunker, find her dad, and stay alive. While The Other Life read fast, I just wanted some more details.
As for the characters, we are introduced to so many but really don't get much of a back story. With the book ending how it did, I'm pretty sure we will be getting at least a sequel - so hopefully we find out a little bit more about all the interesting characters that Winnacker introduces us to. As for Sherry and Joshua, I could get behind their friendship but not so much the love story. The book is just so fast - the majority of the stuff happens in a matter of days - and their relationship felt forced. But, then again, if I had been living with just my family for over three years and there was a cute boy around I would probably think I was in love with him too after a week. So, there's that.
The Other Life is a fast, entertaining read. I liked the direction that Winnacker went with the Weepers and think the world that she created would be very interesting if I knew more details. I'm a details person, y'all. I love them - so I need that in my books, especially my dystopian books. The Other Life is definitely more character driven and I definitely want to know more about the characters in the book and find out what happens next.
UnCONventional Various Authors Publish Date: January 13, 2012 Spencer Hill Press Review Copy Reviewed by Rachael
It's about to get weird... okay, weirder in here.
Alien ascensions in hotel ballrooms.
Mermaids on cruise ships.
Werewolves in dog shows.
Steampunk fairy time travelers.
A teenage superhero hitching a ride with a supervillain.
Comic books that absorb their readers.
Magical filk... and much more.
With stories by: LJ Berger, Vikki Ciaffone, Daniel Cohen, Gordon Dupuis, Anthony G. Francis, Jr., Justine Graykin, Randy O. Green, Melina Gunnett, Kate Kaynak, Danielle M. LeFevre, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Lauren Marrero, Will Morton, LS Murphy, Ira Nayman, KT Pinto, Jennifer Allis Provost, Patricia Puckett, Keshia Swaim, Sherry Thompson, Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg, and Trisha Wooldridge -Goodreads
UnCONventional is a collection of paranormal short stories which may lead you to ask, why is Rachael reviewing this book since we haven't seen her review a paranormal anything yet? Well, I think that's actually a good angle for this book review. This collection of stories, broken up by different types of paranormal subjects (faeries (which I learned are not fairies, like Tinker Bell), vampires, werewolves, aliens, myths becoming realty, etc.) There are several stories of varying lengths in each section, or "Panel" as the book puts it. It's a great intro into the paranormal world for a novice (like me) to see which niche is right for them. I would definitely recommend it to anyone trying to figure out what all the hype is about in the world of YA paranormal literature.
On a personal note, I enjoyed the faery stories more than I anticipated for sure and may try and pick up an actual book with faeries as the main characters, any suggestions for my first venture into their world?