Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I've Read from the Top 100

Emily V had this on her blog, and I thought it was interesting to see what others have read, so I’m copying.

A couple of disclaimers before I start:
  1. I don't know who originally made this list, so I don't know who is proclaiming these books to be the "Top YA." It actually excludes some I really love, and includes others I don't even consider to be YA.
  2. This list is NOT a list of my recommendations. Just because I've read it (or own it), doesn't mean I highly recommend it. And just because I haven't read something (and don't own it), doesn't mean I wouldn't like to. It's simply a list of what I've read.
So, with that in mind, here we go:

Bold = I've Read It
Italics = I Own It
Underline = Started, but Didn't Finish It

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
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)
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 Haddix – 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 – 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 Gaiman – 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, 4)
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 – 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 – 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

So what have I missed that is a MUST READ in your book?

And P.S. This is your last weekend to vote on the THIS big debate before I tally the votes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

National Book Festival Gushings

Shortly after I moved to the DC area 2.5 years ago, I learned about the National Book Festival. I made it a point to go that first year (me and 3 kids, including a newborn), and boy am I glad I did.

Who knew that the Library of Congress threw a huge celebration of books and authors on a yearly basis? And this year they expanded the festival to 2 days to allow for even more awesomeness.

The invited authors (and all the sponsors) converged upon the Mall. Sarah Dessen spoke this year, along with Tomie DePaola (this is the end of the amazingly long line of people hoping to get his signature), . . . 

. . . Lisa Yee, Michael Buckley, Cassandra Clare, Toni Morrison, and oh so many others I can't possibly list them all without boring you to tears.

Since I was there with my kids, I participated in the picture book reading of Stagecoach Sal! by Deborah Hopkinson, who then signed copies and gave them to the audience (sponsored by Wells Fargo). We enjoyed the Build Your Own Book craft with Scholastic, the Book Nook provided by Target, and danced to the fun music of Steve Songs in the PBS kids tent. Though we just missed Clifford, and avoided the long line to meet the Cat in the Hat, we did get to meet Martha, from Martha Speaks (though my 2-year-old refused to get anywhere near her).

And after we got home, I tried to explain to my husband why I loved it all so much. Being surrounded by people who love books as much as I do is really something. It's power. It's inspiring.

It reminds me why I write. And why I put myself through the grind that is querying.

And do you know what else? It reminds me why I love being part of the blogosphere. How privileged am I to meet all of you amazing people and to share in your adventures as we make our way down this crazy and otherwise lonely road we call WRITING?

So thank you. Thank you for sharing, and visiting, and commenting, and just being you. Thank you.

What has inspired you lately?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Your Kryptonite?

Every super hero has one. Something that trumps their amazing abilities. Because if they didn't, the story would sure get boring fast.

Imagine if there was no such thing as kryptonite. Lex Luthor would stand no chance. Zero. And where's the fun in that?
  • So, for Superman it's kryptonite. (Duh.)
  • For the Green Lantern Corp, it's anything yellow. (Seriously.)
  • For Ironman, it's magnets. (Build a suit of iron and what do you expect?)
  • For Captain America, Batman, and all those superheros who have no actual superpowers, you have your kryptonite of choice: guns, swords, grenades, etc.
Anyway, I'm sure there will be people who argue with me on this, but that's okay. Debate is good. My point in all this is to ask you:

What is your kryptonite?

Because mine . . . mine is cookies. As long as there are no nuts or fruit involved, I will fall to the power of a cookie every time. And don't even get me started on a soft sugar cookie with just a smidgen of cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Mmmm . . .

Everything tastes better with sprinkles.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a battle to lose.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Chillin'

Today, I am just admiring some license plates.
  1. CRPE DM
  2. TRNTLA (Bonus points if you guess the model of the car)
  3. AWSUM 1
  4. HUGGS
  6. HAF PINT (This one's funnier when you see the car)
  7. 2SLFSH
  8. YES OCFR (My personal favorite)
  10. LIV W1LD
Did you get them all? So which of these plates is on your car today?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Water Is Dangerous

When news of Hurricane Irena came, I happened to be vacationing in Virginia Beach with my husband's family. The morning before we were scheduled to evacuate, the Port Authority came by and posted this flag next to our waterfront beach house:

Now, I won't go into all the implications for the real-life scenario of this posted warning (rip-tides, being pulled under, etc.).

Rather, I am sending out a warning to all those contemplating entering the waters of writing.

WARNING: Water Is Dangerous

Top 5 Dangers:
  1. Book Brain. All spare brain power (and brain power that isn't so spare) is sucked into the void that is called plotting. Side effects include burned dinners, failure to pick up loved ones at scheduled times, taking wrong exits on the interstate, etc.
  2. Carpal Tunnel. Numbness of hands and mind. All that typing and writing can only lead to one thing. I mean besides a book.
  3. Schizophrenia. Voices whisper in your mind. Worse, they don't listen to you.
  4. E-mail Addiction. Neurotic need to constantly refresh your inbox. Because surely that agent whose had your ms for a day will finally respond NOW (as opposed to twenty seconds ago).
  5. Shattered Ego Syndrome. Certainty that your written work is crap. This includes Works-in-Progress, comments on blogs, and even grocery lists (because seriously, did you misspell Brocolli Broccoli again?)
Now let the records show. You have been warned!

So, what warnings would you add?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life's Too Short to Dry Tupperware

Today I'm going to do something I don't often do, which is to write a serious post. This past week has been full of craziness, and I'm feeling kind of somber.

Last week, my really good friend got the call. Not the good kind we author's often dream about. Just the opposite. The worst kind you can get . . . her mother (who had been suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease) was fading fast, and could she come?

Then, completely unrelated, Tropical Storm Lee paid us a visit. And let me tell you, I have never seen rain come down that hard for so long. Truly, it was astounding to watch. So I really can't blame the mother who went outside with her son and daughter to enjoy the amazingness of something I had surely never seen in my lifetime.

My heart still breaks when I think about it. A flash flood---right through their backyard---that swept away her 12-year-old son.

And of course, the week culminated with Sept.11. The tenth anniversary, no less. I sat at my computer last night and I looked through National Geographic's 25 indelible pictures, and I felt the horror of that day once again.

The point of all this is that life is too short to worry about things that don't matter (like drying the tupperware). It's also too short to NOT worry about the things that do. Play with your kids, call your parents or siblings. Tell them you love them, and don't let things that really don't matter get in the way.

And you know how you've been putting off editing that book you wrote? Or writing anything past the first chapter? Or querying the book you just finished? Well Nike knew what they were talking about:

Just Do It.

Don't wait. Because life's too short.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apples to Apples Winners

This post is already going to be epic, so I won't bore you with a long prelude. Voila, the winning answers:

Day 1: Darth Vader
  1. Asmatic (because, yeah) by R. Garret Wilson (+3)
  2. Yikes! (because I never want to meet him!) by Lenny (+2)
  3. Legos (because Legos are taking over my life) by Kelly (+1)
And an honorary win goes to Theresa Milstein for Lavendar. Because her link made me smile. Click HERE to see it.

Day 2: Stereotyped
  1. Bose (because I love a good play on words!) by Beth (+3)
  2. Asian mathematician (because its so TRUE!) by Lori M. Lee (+2)
  3. Mary Sue (because I'm a writer) by Amy Sonnichsen (+1)
Day 3: Rubber Gloves
  1. Comet (because I grew up cleaning with Comet) by LTM (+3)
  2. Super-villain (because I'd rather face one of those than the "exams" everyone else mentioned) by Bethany Elizabeth (+2)
  3. Dishes (because it's unfortunately true) by Reb's Photo World (first to mention it) (+1)
Day 4: Charming
  1. Toilet Paper (because that's just funny) by Lenny (+3)
  2. TIE: Chris Philips by Chris Philips (+2)
  3. TIE: Older Brother by MikeS (my real life older brother) (+2)
And the because on those? Yeah, if they have the moxy to put it out there, who am I not to laugh?

Day 5: Phony
  1. Baloney (because who doesn't like to say "Phony Baloney"?) by Lenny (+3)
  2. Reality TV (because that's about as phony as it gets) by Sarah Nicolas (+2)
  3. Folex (because I LOVE making up words) by Amy Sonnichsen (+1)
Day 6: License Plates
  1. Janet Sumner Johnson (because "Booyeah!" I've left my mark!) by R. Garret Wilson (first to mention me) (+3)
  2. Criminals (because I find it hilarious that I'm right in there with the criminals) by Theresa Milstein (+2)
  3. Drive-thru dinner ware (because it made me giggle) by MikeS (+1)
Day 7: Pigs
  1. Miss Piggy (because there's so much back story there I don't have the space to tell you) by Reb's Photo World (+3)
  2. Fly (because they do!) by LTM (+2)
  3. Christmas Ham (because I really wanted to choose BACON! but it was submitted too late) by Robyn Campbell (+1)
Day 8: Squeaky Clean
  1. Sterilized Mice (because I fell off my chair when I read it) by MikeS (+3)
  2. The money I made from organized crime (because LOL) by Chris Philips (+2)
  3. OCD (because I don't know anything about that. Really.) by CarolynV (+1)
Day 9: Absurd
  1. The National Debt (because le sigh) by MikeS (+3)
  2. Albert Camus (because I had to read his stuff for my thesis and he IS!) by Beth (+2)
  3. Turd (because I feel like a little kid saying it and then giggling) by Sangu (+1)*
Day 10: Pond Scum
  1. Delinquent Goldfish (because ROFL!) by Chris Philips (+3)
  2. Pogo Sticks (because it's SO random!) by LTM (+2)
  3. Ex-boyfriend (because I may have had one of those) by Missed Periods (+1)
Thank you to everyone who played along with me! I had a blast reading through all your answers, and can I just mention how HARD it was to choose? I'm thinking I'll have to do this again some time. Okay, so tallying up the scores, here are the winners:

1st Place

2nd Place: 

3rd Place (TIE): 

Since there are 4 winners, I'll add Mystery Prize Pack #2. First place gets the prize pack of his choice and then so on with the leftovers. I have e-mailed them all and will have shiny prizes in the mail as soon as the choices are all in. Thanks again for playing!

*Note: The author of this post does not encourage the use of the word Turd. ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Prizes to Win!

Perhaps I should have done this in the beginning, but to entice you to play this game with me, here are the prize packages to be won by the top three contestants:

The Possession Prize Package:

  • Hardback copy of Possession by Elana Johnson
  • $25 Gift Card to Best Buy (you'll be wanting lots of cool tech after reading Possession)
  • An Idea Book and Pen (because any good writer needs one)

The MG/PB Prize Package:

  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
  • An Idea Book and Pen

The Mystery Prize Package:

  • Ha! I got you . . . as if I'd reveal what's in there.
  • The tantalizing unknown (because who can resist that?)
For the complete rules, click here, but really, it's basic word association. So go ahead, click on over and add  your responses for each contest day.

Apples to Apples Contest Day 1
Apples to Apples Contest Day 2
Apples to Apples Contest Day 3
Apples to Apples Contest Day 4
Apples to Apples Contest Day 5
Apples to Apples Contest Day 6
Apples to Apples Contest Day 7
Apples to Apples Contest Day 8
Apples to Apples Contest Day 9
Apples to Apples Contest Day 10

And remember, the contest closes at Midnight, EDT, 4 September 2011. May the most clever answers win!

P.S. I won't be here Monday, as I'll be out there laboring or something for, you know, Labor Day. And my blogging friend Amy just nabbed an agent, so go congratulate her at The Green Bathtub if you get a chance. So excited for her!