Monday, May 31, 2010

And Our Winner Is...

The winner of a signed copy of The Not-So-Great Depression by Amy Goldman Koss is...

Bunny B!

So Bunny B., please e-mail me at with your contact information and I'll get the book in the mail to you!

Thanks to all who entered and gave us such great tips on ways to cut back living expenses!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Not-So-Great-Depression Giveaway!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the launch party of Amy Goldman Koss’s newest release, The Not-So-Great-Depression.

Here’s what Booklist has to say:

“14-year-old Jacki and her two siblings live a chauffeured, private-school life with their executive mom in a rich Los Angeles neighborhood. Their father is more of a free spirit, and when they visit him, they are inducted into such delightful chores as vegetable gardening. The plot is a simplified version of the effects of the current economy on many households: Jacki’s mother loses her high-powered, high-paying job, and they have to downsize. Jacki embodies a complex of credible traits: she is both spoiled and anxious to please, worried about her friends and family and about her own standing. Koss makes the economic reality accessible while giving readers a character with whom they can either identify or relate to a friend they might know. As ever, Koss’ writing is smooth, and the dialogue keeps things moving briskly.”

The launch was held in the IMIX Bookstore in Los Angeles, a small independent shop whose goal is: “to provide a balancing point of view in our socially-conscious reading material, apparel, and artworks.” In addition to books, they also “provide access to the more lighthearted items, or 'chucherias' found in more traditional Chicano and Latino homes.”

While I schmoozed with Amy, Betty Birney (author of the fabulous Humphrey books), and a debut author whose name has escaped me--but if he’s reading this, I’d appreciate him saying hello--my husband roamed the shelves. And even though they did not have a YA section, per se, was excited to find a copy of our very own Kelly Parra’s Invisible Touch.

Amy was kind enough to sign a book for one of our readers. In order to be entered, please give a suggestion for a family like her main character, Jacki's, that suddenly has to make-do with a restricted budget. For instance, I’d suggest making lunches for school or work and eating “in” whenever possible. What say you?

And check back on Monday to learn our winner!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What's Fresh with Jennifer Echols's Endless Summer

The Boys Next Door and the sequel, Endless Summer, in one volume!

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.

Lori can't wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she's turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that's not going to happen--not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori's romantic summer melt into one hot mess?

Hello Jennifer, as always, it's a pleasure to have you with us on YA Fresh! Please tell us about your latest novel Endless Summer and what we can expect from your characters.

Jennifer: Endless Summer will be published by Simon Pulse on May 25. It’s feel-good romance about a girl who tries to catch the guy she’s had a crush on forever, only to be foiled by his younger brother, who has a crush on her. The story is set in summertime on a lake in Alabama like the one where I grew up, and I really think anyone who wants to laugh their way through a romantic beach read will not be disappointed in this book.

Sounds great! What's your current writing schedule like?

Jennifer: I get up at 4:30 a.m. and work for two hours. I make breakfast for my son and get him off to school, run four miles, then come back to work for another six hours. I’ll try to get a few more hours of work in late at night. “Work” could mean copyediting other people’s writing or creating my own, depending on which deadlines are closer! It’s very difficult to juggle these two jobs, and I just have to take it day by day.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Jennifer: My next more serious book, Forget You, will be published by MTV Books on July 20. I’m also working on another romantic drama for MTV that will be published in July 2011.

Fantastic, Jennifer! Thank you again for stopping by and best of luck with Endless Summer!

Jennifer Echols grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama--a setting that has inspired many of her books. Always interested in creative writing, she finished her first (and still unpublished) novel soon after graduating with a degree in English from Auburn University at age 20. She worked as an editor for newspapers, a writer for business publications, and a writing instructor for three major universities, completed a master's degree in English, and finished the coursework for a PhD in genre studies before selling a book. Since then, she has written many young adult novels for Simon & Schuster, including Major Crush, which won the National Reader's Choice Award, and Going Too Far, which is a finalist in the 2010 RITA, the National Reader's Choice Award, and the Book Buyer's Best. Her next novel, Forget You, will be released on July 20. Currently she works as a copyeditor and lives in Birmingham with her husband and son. Please visit her online at

Monday, May 24, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Thanks for all who weighed in on the pink prom dresses! And the winner of a signed copy of TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS is...


So Cherie, if you'd e-mail me at with your contact information, I'll get it in the mail to you ASAP!

Thanks, and be sure to keep checking back for more giveaways!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Prom Dress Book Giveaway!

It’s prom time again, and I caught myself checking out the styles on-line recently. In fact, one site,, amused me by having a category called Top 10 Prom Dresses, which of course, I like to think is a wave hello to my book!

Here are two prom dresses that I know the main character of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, Nicolette, would have loved. Pretty and pink, right up her alley!

I’d love to hear what you think of these dresses, or the prom dress or your fantasy. To be entered to win a signed copy of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, leave a comment and let me know!

The winner will be announced here on Monday!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kiss of Death

And I continue my adventures with Rachel Caine’s Morganville series with Kiss of Death!

For those of you who are not familiar with the series, a group of teens: Clare, Shane, Michael, and Eve are friends who live in the same founder home called the Glass House, trying to survive while living in Morganville, a town filled with Vampires and their terrifying politics. The team is caught up in vamp conflicts and end up fighting for their lives, with Clare being such a kid genius using her smarts to save the day.

In Kiss of Death the four teens are allowed to leave Morganville for their roommate Michael to record a music demo with interested producers. But of course, they are given a Vampire escort and on their way out of town, they make a detour into an unwelcoming town for Vampire business that turns into “The road trip from hell.”

The kids face what could possibly be one of the worst situations they’ve ever been up against—diseased and monstrous vamps out for blood and a town that doesn’t trust them.

As they fight to survive, with sweet, romantic stolen moments between Clare and Shane, the wildcard Shane wonders why do they have to return to Morganville? Why can’t they keep going and never look back?

And the answer?

You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Rachel Caine never fails to give Morganville series readers entertaining suspense, adventure, romance and danger!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Ice Cream Week Winner!

Chosen by my handy-dandy random number generator is...


Who said that Cookie Dough or a chocolate brownie flavored are her absolute faves!

Sarah, please contact me at with your mailing address and which ice cream store you’d prefer the $10.00 gift certificate to, Baskin-Robbins or Cold Stone’s.

With all this talk of ice cream, I am definitely hitting getting a scoop of one of my favorites this week, and all of you YA Fresh readers do, too!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Favorite Flavor--and Giveaway!

As many of you know, I declared this Ice Cream Week at YA Fresh--just ‘cuz I like ice cream.

Kelly asked us about our favorite ice cream spots, and surprised some of us (well, at least me) by saying she’d actually worked in a Baskin-Robbins back-when.

I never worked in one, but one of my closest friends did, and I will never forget the night I wandered in and had her push a free sundae at me.

What had happened was some guy had ordered it, then realized he had no money and left, promising to come back. He never did. Short of throwing it out, she pulled it back out of the freezer and handed it to me.

It was blueberry cheesecake ice cream with marshmallow topping. Which sounds weird, but was actually really good. In fact, it set me on course for a lifetime of loving Baskin-Robbins’ marshmallow topping. (Thanks, dude!) Although my preference is on chocolate ice cream.

My all-time favorite flavor is also from Baskin-Robbins, but something they (sadly) discontinued years ago: Peppermint Fudge Ribbon. It was the bright pink peppermint ice cream that they still serve, but with thick, chunky, icy ribbons of fudge. Perfection. So if you’re reading this, Baskin-Robbins, you’ve got my vote to bring it back!

Now, in celebration of Ice Cream Week, we’re going to giveaway a $10 gift card to either Baskin-Robbins or Cold Stone’s (your choice). Enter by leaving a comment here and telling us YOUR favorite ice cream flavor. The winner randomly will be chosen and announced on Monday morning. And feel free to enter again and again...we realize that “favorite” doesn’t always stop at one!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fave Ice Cream Spots!

It's Ice Cream Week at YA Fresh....yummers!! And I thought I'd share some of my favorite ice cream spots.

Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors!

It has nothing to with the fact I worked there one high school year. haha. And everything to do with their lovely flavors. From World Class Chocolate to Pistachio Almond. :) :)

Cold Stone Creamery!

And it has nothing to do with the cute little song they sing when you give them a tip and all about the many cool mix-ins with my favorite Cake Batter.


Technically, MYO is frozen yogurt shop in Monterey, CA, where you can pile up as much healthy and pure yogurt as you like with amazing toppings in a cup, and then weigh your cup to pay. Pretty nifty, huh? And pretty delish, too.

So tell me, YAF friends, where are YOUR favorite spots for your ice cream fix?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Couple Announcements...

I'm happy to report that the winner of this past weekend's giveaway, a copy of The Alpha Bet is:


So, msdarcy, please e-mail me at with your contact information so I can get that in the mail to you!

And also, I'm declaring this Ice Cream Week at YA Fresh (just because I like the sound of it), so be sure to check back in and see what's what with that!

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Alpha Bet Giveaway!

Stephanie Hale’s newest young adult novel, The Alpha Bet, is quite a treat for fans and new readers alike. It features the 16 year-old Grace Kelly Cook in her first semester of college, setting out to perform 26 alphabetical tasks in order to advance herself from Geek to Greek. And what could go wrong definitely does!

You may have read Stephanie’s Aspen Brooks series, featuring the beautiful, popular, talented (and ultimately sleuth-crafty) heroine whose humorous reflections of the life she felt owed to her made the pages practically turn by themselves.

Grace Kelly is almost Aspen’s polar opposite, in that her lifetime focus has been her brainy achievements, trying to overcome natural clumsiness and finding a common ground with her neurotically overprotective mother. Fashion, popularity, dating--not in her vocabulary.

But what these two so-different heroines have in common is Stephanie’s sharp, clever writing, and her ability to focus in on the little details that simply bring a story to life.

Booklist loves The Alpha Bet, too, saying: “Hale sets a perfect tone—overtly bubbly with glimpses of Grace Kelly’s obvious intelligence—for her gawky, brainy wallflower with a delightful personality."

And so now the giveaway! In order to be entered to win a copy of The Alpha Bet, simply leave a comment telling us so. The contest starts NOW and ends Sunday night, with the winner chosen by my handy-dandy random number generator on Monday.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

What's Fresh with Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart?and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Hello Jeri!! It's so cool to have you with us on YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Jeri: My first sale was REQUIEM FOR THE DEVIL, an urban fantasy sold to the e-publishing arm of what is now Grand Central/Hachette. I entered the Warner Aspect First Novel contest, and while I didn’t win, the senior editor, Betsy Mitchell, liked it enough to send it to Paul Witcover, who was editing the new e-book line. He bought it, and it came out in 2001. Sadly, the line closed about eight months later, and it was 2005 before I sold my next book (grad school had something to do with that, as well as a book I just wouldn’t give up on but should have).

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Jeri: Since I’m incapable of higher brain functions before 10am, I tend to spend early mornings doing chores, reading, and checking e-mail. Then I write in twenty- to thirty-minute spurts until about 4 or 5, with frequent ten- to thirty-minute breaks to keep my back and neck from killing me. Evenings I usually spend doing business tasks like website updates, mailings, or catching up on e-mail.

But after a while, routine really bores me. I’m always shaking things up and trying different schedules to trick myself into getting stuff done. I’m the hardest working lazy person I know.

Please tell us about your latest novel Shade and what we can expect from your characters.

Jeri: SHADE is coming out Tuesday, May 4, from Simon Pulse (although it’s already been spotted at several Borders over the weekend). It’s about a girl (Aura Salvatore) who can see ghosts (as can everyone born after her) and isn’t thrilled about it, until her boyfriend dies and becomes a ghost. There’s also a cute Scottish guy who is all too willing to comfort Aura in her grief.

Very fresh! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Jeri: I’m writing the sequel to SHADE, called SHIFT, which will be out in May 2011. I also just finished page proofs on the third book in my adult vampire series, BRING ON THE NIGHT, which comes out in August. I can’t wait to see what fans of the series think of this installment! After I turn in SHIFT, I’ll get back to work on the fourth vampire book, which is still deciding what it wants to be named.

Thanks so much for sharing, Jeri! I wish you the best with the new series. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Jeri: Whenever you give a character a dog or a young child to take care of, you need to make sure they’re accounted for AT ALL TIMES.

Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband, two cats, and the world’s goofiest greyhound. Jeri's plans to save the earth were ruined when she realized she was more of a “problem maker” than a problem solver. To stay out of trouble, she keeps her Drama Drive strictly fictional. Her friends and family appreciate that. When not writing, Jeri she can usually be found—well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter. Like her characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late. Check out her website, .