Thursday, February 26, 2009

Zombie Blog Bash and a Giveaway!

I just had to share about the fun book I read by author Amanda Ashby--Zombie Queen of Newbury High coming out March 5th!

Here's the blurb:

Quiet, unpopular, non-cheerleading Mia is blissfully happy. She is dating super hot football god Rob, and he actually likes her and asked her to prom! Enter Samantha-cheerleading goddess and miss popularity- who starts making a move for Rob. With prom in a few days, Mia needs to act fast. So she turns to her best friend, Candice, and decides to do a love spell on Rob. Unfortunately, she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class, making herself their leader! At first she is flattered that everyone is treating her like a queen. But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up, because in a few days, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. She's sure she and Chase can figure something out, but she suggests that no one wear white to prom, because things could get very messy.

This is what I have to say about it:

"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is where popularity can turn you undead (with an unsettling appetite) and Prom will be a little dangerous this year. Amanda Ashby moves into the YA world with snapping prose and an entertaining high school mix of teen crushes, popularity drama, and a zombie squad. Zombies beware--you'll love to follow the twists and turns of this fresh and fun novel!"

And Amanda is like having the coolest blog launch party this week on her blog! Check out the vid below...

And because Amanda is so cool, she's also sharing an ARC of Zombie Queen of Newberry High with a lucky YA Fresher. Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! Winner to be announced Sunday (March 1st)!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scottish Food, Anyone?

Watching the Oscars, I was reminded that a few years ago, Morgan Spurlock was up for Best Documentary for his film, SuperSize Me. And while he didn’t win, his film had a profound effect on me, encouraging me to make “healthier choices” in my diet.

In fact, I probably didn’t go to McDonald’s for what my friends and I used to refer to as “Scottish food” (you know, like Chinese and Mexican) for an entire year. Which was a dedicated life change because I had had a serious Filet o’ Fat (uh, Filet o’ Fish) and Orange Hi C addiction.

And when I did return, the trips were few and far between and out of dire necessity.

Until recently.

But it’s not about fish filets or Hi C anymore. It’s about coffee. Iced, hot. Mocha, vanilla. Latte, drip.

Not only are they my idea of delicious, but they’re reasonably priced and (being the ultimate lazy consumer), I can get them in the drive-thru! And sure, yeah, a Filet o’ Fat and small fries sometimes makes its way my bag now, too.

Uh-huh, I’m back. And since “misery loves company,” I have to ask if any of you partake of Scottish food, too. Come on, make me feel better.

Just don’t rat me out to Morgan Spurlock, ‘k?

Monday, February 23, 2009

In Too Deep Giveaway!

Thanks to all of you who entered Jennifer Banash's giveaway for the second novel in The Elite series--In Too Deep!

And the randomly picked winner is...

Brooke Reviews

(We had to pick a new winner since the previous winner already won IN TOO DEEP! (oops!))

Congrats to Brooke! Please email me your mailing address through my website, and I'll forward your info to Jennifer to get you your book!

Stay tuned for another giveaway this week! :)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's Fresh with Jennifer Banash's In Too Deep & a GIVEAWAY!!!

I have to tell you how intriguing it is to follow the lives of Casey, Madison, and Drew! I read THE ELITE and was blown away by Jennifer's descriptive voice and each character's deep and complicated issues. Writing multiple point of views is an awesome talent that Jennifer has pulled off with chic style. If you enjoy intrigue, gossip, and the lifestyle of the elite, check out this tantalizing series.

Hello Jennifer, it's great to have you back! Please tell us about your latest novel.

Jennifer: My latest novel, IN TOO DEEP, is the sequel to THE ELITE, and was just released last month from Berkley Jam! A little about IN TOO DEEP:

If you don’t belong here— you just don’t belong...

The Bramford building’s newest resident and small-town transplant Casey McCloy is adapting to life in the Big Apple and loving it. She’s got the look, the attitude, and a delish new boyfriend, Drew Van Allen. But she’s starting to have second thoughts as to whether the “New York” Casey is the real Casey. And she’s not so sure she likes herself much anymore. She’s not the only one.

Madison Macallister has always had her Manolo Blahniks firmly planted on the top rung of the social ladder—until that corn-fed cow Casey stole Drew away from her and made her look the fool. So what if Madison wasn’t exactly dating Drew at the time? She wanted him. And everyone knows that Madison gets what she wants, like Drew—and a little revenge.

Could you share a bit about the main characters of your book and what makes them unique?

IN TOO DEEP--like all of the books in THE ELITE series, switches off between characters, so there really is no "main" character in the series, which is what I think makes the series a bit unique. The story does revolve around Casey McCloy, who moves from Normal, Illinois to NYC to live with her grandmother for a year in the most lxurious apartment building on the Upper East Side, but all of the characters have their say!

So fun! How did the idea for this novel come about?

Jennifer: IN TOO DEEP is the latest novel in the ELITE series, and it picks up right where THE ELITE leaves off. Without telling you TOO much, all I can say is that the plot revolves around reality TV, and a fantastic sweet sixteen party that makes the ones featured on MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen look cheap :) I was obsessed with reality TV when I was structuring IN TOO DEEP, and since the girls eventually get their own reality show, I wanted to make the structure and plot of the book itself as much like a reality show as I could.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Jennifer: I hope it functions, first and foremost, as an escape! I know that escapism is half of the reason that I, personally, like to read! But the characters also have real problems--infidelity, cutting, adoption, etc, which I think makes the series interesting. My characters may look perfect on the outside, but their lives are far from it.

Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Jennifer: I really love Megan Kelly Hall's SISTERS OF MISERY. It's the one novel I read last year that I wished I'd written myself! The characters Kelly Hall has created are simply masterful.  And it's scary!

Jennifer Banash grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and is the author of HOLLYWOODLAND: AN AMERICAN FAIRY TALE and The Elite series. She divides her time between Paris and the Midwest—where she lives with her vast designer shoe collection and her beagle puppy, Sigmund. Visit her website,

Jennifer is being totally awesome and giving away a copy of IN TOO DEEP! Leave a comment and be entered for a chance to win--winner will be posted Sunday--I mean Monday! (haha)

Bradford Bash!

I would like to point you to Micol Ostow's Bradford Blog, where she's hosting a blog bash for the release of her new Bradford series...

Micol kicks off the series with Golden Girl available now! Read an excerpt here.

Micol's got it all on her Bradford site:

The Bradford Tweets

Bradford Blogs & Myspaces

Author Vids

Book Trailers

I'd say Micol knows how to launch a series!

I wouldn't miss this party. Check out my interview with a chance to win Invisible Touch. :) :)

And for your viewing pleasure...a book vid for Golden Girl!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Cute Is This?

Have an idea what is it or what it says?

It's the Indonesian version of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, published by Atria! They did a darling job with it, didn't they?

Here's the bookmark that was sent, too:

Many thanks to Atria for giving it such beautiful packaging, and my fingers are crossed that some of their readers find their way here to join us!

Friday, February 13, 2009

What's Fresh with Allison van Diepen's Raven!

Zin dances with fire in every step, speaks in a honey-sweet voice, and sees with eyes that can peer into your soul. Nicole's friendship with him is the only thing that saves her from the boredom of school and the turmoil of her family life. It's no wonder she is madly in love with him. But she can't understand why he keeps her at a distance, even though she can feel his soul reaching out for hers.

Zin is like no man Nicole has ever met, and he carries with him a very old secret. When Nicole uncovers the truth, her love may be the only thing that can save him from it.

 Hello Allison, it's so awesome to have you back on YA Fresh! Please tell us about your latest novel, RAVEN.

Allison: My new book, RAVEN, is published by Simon Pulse, and was released on Feb. 10, 2009. RAVEN is the story of Nicole, a teen who works underage at a New York City dance club. Nicole is madly in love with Zin, the head of her breakdancing crew, a gorgeous guy with a mysterious past. Nicole believes that she and Zin are like magnet and metal -- destined to be together. But Zin has a very good reason for keeping his distance...

I'm intrigued already! Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Allison: Nicole is a passionate person -- whether that passion is for breakdancing, or for her crush, Zin. She is fiercely devoted to her loved ones, including her meth-addicted brother, and only wishes she were powerful enough to work miracles.

How did the idea for this novel come about?

Allison: A psychic friend told me she once saw a homeless person who was possessed. She said that addiction can pierce a hole in a person's soul, which makes them vulnerable to spirits who might want to prey on their weakness. Somehow, the idea resonated with me.

More personally, I know what it's like to care for someone who is self-destructive, and to be powerless to help the person. I know the toll it takes on a family. So it wasn't hard to write about Nicole's difficult family situation.

Lastly, being rather philosophical by nature, I often wonder why we’re all on this earth, and what life after death will be like, if there is such a thing…

Wow, Allison, I agree, there are so many questions... What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Allison: I hope, first and foremost, that they are entertained -- that they fall in love with Zin as much as I have, and that they care about the relationship between Nicole and Zin. I'd also like them to look at their own lives, at those painful situations they can't change, and find a way to move forward.

Thanks for sharing, Allison. I'm so snagging my copy this weekend! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Allison: I got an advance copy of EYES LIKE STARS, Lisa Mantchev's debut novel due out in July, and I loved it! I've never read anything like it. The main character, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith, had me cheering from the first page!

Allison van Diepen began her teaching career in Brooklyn and now teaches at an alternative high school in Ottawa, Canada. Her first novel, STREET PHARM, has been named an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age.  She is also the author of SNITCH and the newly released RAVEN. Visit her website,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Come Chat With Me!

Tonight, Thursday, February 12, at 5:00 PM Pacific (8:00 PM Eastern), I will be chatting with The Page Flipper, readers and writers HERE, and hope you will join us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Ultimate Fluff Piece

Kelly and I love to feature author interviews, book reviews and contest giveaways here at YA Fresh, but also have fun promoting pop culture, yummy foods and current trends--the latter of which I sometimes refer to as our “fluff pieces.”

So when our good friend, Vanessa Barneveld, sent me the following link, not only did my eyebrows shoot toward the ceiling, did my mouth drop open in astonishment, but what ran through my mind was that this was the ultimate fluff piece.

Okay, here’s the deal. A woman in South Carolina will take your dog or cat’s hair and weave it into “warm, cozy creations” like mittens, sweaters, hats, purses. For real.

Check this out:

Warm, Cozy Creations

Reactions have included “What a great way to use all the hair my cat sheds!” to “This is five kinds of creepy!” I suppose it depends on your perspective. I mean, if you have a moose head mounted on the wall of your study, why not one-up that trophy with a purse made of your cat’s hair? However, if you’re like me and put a lint brush to good use when your pet is shedding, it does rather seem like taking recycling to a well, hair-raising place.

So please, weigh in! Could you see yourself ordering up a “warm, cozy creation” of your pet’s fur?

Monday, February 09, 2009

What's Fresh with Wendy Toliver's Miss Match

Sasha Finnegan has always had a knack for setting people up, and at sixteen, she's turned her talent into an online business, molding high school crushes into true love. But Sasha finds her toughest match yet when hottie Derek Urban asks her to set him up with Sasha's gorgeous sister, Maddie. It's not that Derek isn't a good catch. In fact, after spending so much time with him, Sasha can't help but think he's perfect — for her, that is.

Can Sasha push her feelings aside for the sake of her business? Or has this miss finally found her match?

Hello Wendy, its great to have you back on YA Fresh! Please tell us about your latest novel, Miss Match.

Wendy: Miss Match is a Simon Pulse Romantic Comedy that comes out Feb. 10, 2009, right in time for Valentine's Day.

Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Wendy: Sasah Finnegan is a 16 year-old girl living in Salt Lake City, UT. She is smart, funny, and business-savvy, but can't help thinking her older sister (who has the whole beautiful, skinny, popular package) gets all the breaks. Sasha loves fixing people up, from her best friend Yasmin to her own mother, and even starts a matchmaking business.

How did the idea for this novel come about?

Wendy: I’ve always loved fixing people up. I still do! (By the way, if anyone out there is interested in meeting my 29 year-old brother who lives in Orlando or my adorable mom who lives in Denver, leave a comment. Haha) Also, my sister and I have a great relationship and though we might not have always seen eye-to-eye growing up, we always came through for each other like Sasha and Maddie do in Miss Match.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Wendy: I hope they're entertained, and I also hope they can relate to a heroine who isn't super skinny and gorgeous like so many others. This book deals with topics such as divorced parents, dating parents, body image issues, and sister relationships. I hope they laugh, and I hope they swoon at the romantic parts. It’s a story about making your own happily ever after, which is so important.

Thanks for sharing, Wendy! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Wendy: I recommend any of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies. They're funny, romantic, feature strong female protagonists, and are hard to put down.

Wendy Toliver lives in the Utah mountains with her three little boys, her husband, and other various wildlife. She graduated from Colorado State University with a BA in Speech Communication/Broadcast and has had a variety of jobs, from performing singing telegrams to working at an advertising agency. Now a soccer (etc.) mom and the author of The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren and Miss Match (both Simon Pulse), she couldn’t be happier. Well, if she had a self-cleaning house, a Porsche, and an endless supply of chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, she just might be a tad happier. Visit her online at

Sunday, February 08, 2009

We Have a Winner!

My handy-dandy random number generator selected:

Tara Lazar, and her favorite flavor, Watermelon Jolly Rancher!

Tara, please contact me with an address at so I can get Jessica's book in the mail to you!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Take the Reins Giveaway!

I’m happy to announce a giveaway of Jessica Burkhart’s novel, Take The Reins, the first in her Canterwood Crest middle grade series.

All you have to do is leave a comment telling us YOUR favorite lip gloss flavor (real or imaginary).

And why lip gloss flavor, you ask? Because the main character of Take The Reins, Sasha Silver, is delightfully lip-glossed obsessed, and with all our recent talk here on YA FRESH about lipsticks and glosses, it’s just the thing to do!

I pre-ordered this book, especially excited to read it because my daughter was a horse-obsessed tween reader not so long ago, devouring The Saddle Club books, and wanting more/more/more about horseback riders. Occasionally, I’d picked one up, too, so I knew it would be fun to feed my own tween horseback riding fix!

Accordingly, I found that I read this book as a reader, a mother and a writer, pausing to appreciate elements like the pure love that Sasha feels for her horse, Charm, and the thorough details of his grooming, training and showing. I smiled at the little touches like aforementioned lip gloss collection, Sasha’s roommate’s love of cooking, and the occasional, heart-pounding appearances of a Zac Efron look-alike cutie.

Overall, I felt the theme of this book was about the value of friendship--making the right ones, and learning to deal with the wrong ones--which is something most every tween reader has either gone through or will go through.

So if there’s a tween reader in your life who likes horses and lip gloss and chocolate chip pancakes and cute boys, this book is for her! But it’s by no means “restricted” to that demographic...I mean, we’re all just tweens who got a little older, right?

So go ahead and leave a comment! I’ll choose a random winner, to be announced after the contest closes at 7:00 pm PST on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What's Fresh with Alyson Noel's Evermore!
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

Hello Alyson, it's great to have you back with us! Please tell us about your latest novel Evermore.

Alyson: My latest book EVERMORE, is the first in a new five book series and I’m really excited about it! It’s published by St. Martin’s Press and in stores on 02.03.09. The second book in the series, BLUE MOON, releases on 08.04.09, with three more
titles to follow in 2010.

EVERMORE is about a sixteen-year old girl who undergoes a near death experience only to awaken with psychic powers she doesn’t want. And just when she’s beginning to adjust, the gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy Damen Auguste comes to town and turns her entire world upside down . . .

It sounds awesome! Could you share a bit about the main character of your book and what makes her unique?

Alyson: Ever Bloom can hear thoughts, see auras, and get a person’s entire life story by touch. She’s also visited daily by the ghost of her dead little sister Riley. Basically, she’s a sixteen-year old girl who longs to be normal again. Sure that her new psychic gifts are nothing but payback for her role in the accident that caused her entire family’s demise.

How did the idea for this novel come about?

Alyson: Well, a few years ago I lost three people I loved in five horrible months, and just when the dust began to settle my husband was diagnosed with leukemia and it felt like my entire world was crashing down. A year later, when he was in full remission, I wrote SAVING ZOE and CRUEL SUMMER, both of which explore the subject of grief and unavoidable change. But when it came time to write my next book, I realized I wasn’t finished exploring those themes though I wanted to do so in a much different way, by giving the story a paranormal twist and pushing the boundaries between life and death, and EVERMORE just came pouring out of me.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?

Alyson: At it’s core, EVERMORE is a story about love, destiny, and forgiveness—with an emphasis on forgiving ones self. I hope readers come away from it thoroughly entertained and maybe even with a different perspective of their own unique place in the world.

Thanks for sharing, Alyson. I wish you the best with this intriguing series! Would you like to close with a novel you highly recommend and why?

Alyson: There are so many novels I’d recommend for so many reasons, but one that comes to mind is Courtney Summers’s debut, CRACKED UP TO BE. I was lucky enough to get an early read on this one, and thought it was completely amazing! The writing was clean and beautiful, the main character complex—I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

Alyson Noël is the best selling, award-winning, author of FAKING 19, ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS, LAGUNA COVE, FLY ME TO THE MOON, KISS & BLOG, SAVING ZOE, CRUEL SUMMER, FIRST KISS (THEN TELL)- an anthology, and the upcoming IMMORTALS series including: EVERMORE (Feb 09), BLUE MOON (Aug 09), and three more titles for 2010. Her awards and honors include: the National Reader’s Choice Award, NYLA Book of Winter Award, NYPL Books for the Teenage, TeensReadToo 5 Star Gold Award, TeenReads Best Books of 2007, Reviewer’s Choice 2007 Top Ten, nominated for a CYBIL award, nominated for a Quill Award, nominated for YALSA’s Teen’s Top Ten, chosen for the CBS Early Show’s “Give the Gift of Reading” segment, and selected for Seventeen Magazine’s “Hot List” and Beach Book Club Pick. Her titles have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Hungarian, and Romanian. She lives in Laguna Beach, CA. Visit her website,

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered. I loved your captions! But


took top honors with his caption:

Cat: This is the last time I use Craigslist!

So Ben, please contact me at with your address and I'll get a copy of The ABC's of Kissing Boys in the mail to you!

And everyone, please remember that we have another contest this Friday. Hope to see you there!


Monday, February 02, 2009

Seeing Double!
We’re doing two giveaways this week--a copy of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, which starts today, and a copy of Jessica Burkhart’s Take The Reins, starting on Friday.

YA Fresh is just the place to be this week, huh?

Here’s the 411 on today’s contest. I got a call from the owner of the store where I did my big booksigning to say most of the signed books I’d left had sold, and to come sign more. (Insert me yelling, “Yay!”)

In doing so, I came across a copy that had sat in the window display, whose cover had faded from the sunlight. Not wanting a customer to pay full price for a book that was anything less than perfect, I made a swap for one of my author copies.

So the winner of today’s Caption It! contest gets a, well, one-of-a-kind (slightly sunburned) signed copy of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys!

Now, here is an adorable animal photo that’s just calling out for a caption.

I’ll start: “Get it straight: cats rule, dogs drool.”

Your turn!

The contest starts NOW and will end on Tuesday at 7:00 pm PST.

Many thanks to those of you who have entered the latest giveaway on YA Fresh!

And good news--more giveaways are coming this week! ;)

The Winner of Stefan Petrucha's Rule of Won is....


Congrats, Anum!! Please email me through my website with your mailing address and I will forward your info to Stefan to mail your copy of Rule of Won!