Posts Tagged ‘YA’


Want a set of six(!)
exclusive quote cards? Pre-order MARKED from any retailer, e-mail proof & (US only) mailing address to 

These are limited edition, 3×5 glossy beauties. Each quote is one of my very favorites, from a favorite, crucial MARKED scene. Consider it a sneak peek of the book that stole my heart and made me cry way too hard.   

Order MARKED from Amazon:

Order from Indiebound (❤️), B&N, etc:

Pre-order campaign ends May 16th. Thanks, dearest ones! 

Dear  Ms. Mafi,

Did you know that SHATTER ME was one of my *most* anticipated YA books of the year? Did you know that your blog posts are so funny and wise that I simply couldn’t wait to cheer the release of your debut? Did you know you are exactly the humble/endearing/charming kind of author we readers/writers/librarians root for in earnest?

Really? You had no idea?

Then I’m positive you didn’t know how secretly worried I’ve been. I was one of the lucky mortals who scored an early ARC last spring at TLA, and let me tell you, once the book was in my hot little hands, I was terribly anxious. I feared I’d somehow be disappointed. How could the book possibly live up to my expectations? How could a book be THAT GOOD?

My anxiety melted away once I started reading. Yes, SHATTER *is* that good. Actually, it’s so lovely and heart-wrenching and adrenaline spiked and fearsome in all the right ways. Its hyperbolic spirit echoes the essence of adolescence. Its prose aptly crystallizes moments, making my heart flutter with excitement and yearning.

In short, SHATTER ME made me fall in love with Juliette’s story. May I beg a favor? Please make haste and write more books. (I just bought and downloaded the enhanced e-version and I’m not sure how long the extra content will tide me over! GASP!) I need to know much more about Warner, Juliette and Adam. Even more importantly, I simply must unlock the secret of the ‘white bird with streaks of gold like a crown atop its head.’

Most Sincerely,

Your Constant Reader and Applauding Mafi-keteer

 P.S. Hungry for more, blog readers? Try this version of my grandmother’s Caramel Pie, a decadent treat worth devouring SHATTER ME style.

Dear Rosemary Clement-Moore,

I know you wrote TEXAS GOTHIC for yourself and not for me especially (Althoughitsurefeltlikeyoudid, didyourealizethat?), but I thought you should know some of the reasons I think it’s the BEST BOOK YOU’VE EVER WRITTEN:

a.) The gorgeous word choices that stop me in my tracks, the ones that make me remember how much I appreciate stellar writing. (Anyone who can use the word ‘cabal’ as effectively as you do, deserves some kind of Hermione-Granger-Smart-Girl-Snark Lifetime Achievement Award)

b.) The fabulous, dead on analogies that make me nod my head and help me understand and relate to the character’s precise emotion: “…cognitive dissonance up to eleven.”

c.) The delicious, complicated, sweet Tracy and Hepburn/John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara flavored relationship built between Ben and Amy. TEXAS GOTHIC is the kind of romance freshly painted in a gothic palette with touches of DuMaurier’s REBECCA and classics such as TURN OF THE SCREW.

d.) The terrific characterizations, including loyal, half nerd, half not-so-crazy loon Phin and every-ranching-patriarch-I-ever-known-in real-life Grandad Mac. (I grew up in a ranching town, and I know you did, too. You’ve really captured the small touches of ranch life.)

e.) The Goodnight family’s tea shop products which I picture marketed in Philosophie meets Practical Magic packaging.

f.) Finally, I love that I can successfully turn off my editorial mind and just bask in appreciation of a truly good book.

This one’s definitely a keeper.

Your Constant Reader,

Jenny (Who Would, Thank You Very Much, Like a Sequel Soon.)

Here’s the back cover description of the book from the back cover:

Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn’t as simple as it seems–she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts. But she also understands that “normal” doesn’t mix with magic, and she’s worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect her family, who are all practicing witches, but to protect any hope of ever having a normal life.

Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin, aren’t alone. There’s someone in the house with them–and it’s not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door.

 It’s a ghost, and its more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back. This is the summer when the wall between Amy’s worlds is going to come crashing down.

Y’all, I LOVED Texas Gothic. Go out and buy it so we can talk about it over white mocha lattes and these Ranch Cookies!


Although Entwined is a retelling of the twelve dancing princesses, it stands on its own as an enchanting story, a fairy tale romance with unique elements of magic and suspense. Dixon’s story threads are at first golden and whisper light, but as the novel unwinds, the author weaves in darker tones. When Azalea and her royal sisters discover a magicked passageway, they all become entangled in a moonlit snare. Night after night, they return to Keeper’s Pavillion to dance. But Keeper, their mysteriously handsome host, is not all he appears to be. For Azalea, a touch of silver reveals the frightening truth about blood oaths and curses–her castle, her kingdom, and her life are all in danger.
Dixon has a special knack for subtle characterization and gorgeous detail. Azalea is no cookie cutter Princess Royale–she’s resourceful and delightfully headstrong, the caring eldest sibling to her motherless sisters. Along with protagonist, many of the other principal players evolve as Azalea’s perceptions change. Page by page, the reader comes to love Lord Bradford (the Princess Royale’s swoonworthy suitor) Mr. Pudding (an elderly servant), Lord Teddie (a surprising and silly visitor) and even grim Fairweller (the handsome, but sober minded Prime Minister). The dynamics between all players change as the plot thickens–the relationship between Azalea and her estranged royal father is especially poignant. The texture of these relationships makes the novel feel all the more satisfying and complete.
I reccommend ENTWINED for anyone with a weakness for rich, well drawn fairy tales. This one’s an absolutely lovely debut.
Hungry for more? Like Azalea’s mother, I enjoy a rich, moist white cake. This recipe is delicious, the same one I use for basic layer and strawberry shortcakes.

So…looking for a YA thriller? I’ve got you covered!

High Concept, Action Packed Story?


Northrop’s plot equation is genius: Seven mismatched, unprepared teens + One creaky, remote high school building x Eleventy billion falling flakes = Holy Cow, TRAPPED is scaring the snow out of me and I’m loving every minute of it!

Brilliant YA voice?

Double Check.

The author nails an authentic point of view. Protagonist Scotty Weems is as real as any guy you knew in HS. Weems’ locker is just above yours, remember? Over the course of the novel, I didn’t just watch him slowly unravel. I came to understand his dreams (He’s got more on his mind than basketball), his anxieties (Acne is hell), and his panic. (Are we all going to die here? Alone? With nothing but cafeteria food?!)

Adrenaline Fueled Suspense?

Triple Check!

Oh…the panic! As the snowdrifts rise above Tattawa High School’s safety glass windows, the feeling of claustrophobia is frighteningly palpable. Each nightfall brings new terror–pitch black hallways and oppressive, opaque walls of snow. Whispers and prayers in the dark. Will the heat last? When will the lights go out? WHEN WILL SOMEONE ARRIVE TO RESCUE?

Is there anyone out there who can?

And just as panic gives way to despair…the teens decide to act. I bit my nails as I turned the last pages. I had to know who survived…and who didn’t.

TRAPPED is terrific. I’m begging for a sequel. For me, Scotty’s story just can’t be over.

Hungry for more?

Try this recipe for Perfect Divinity Candy. This white, melt away treat is a lot more satisfying and sweet than snow.


Be still my Beatle-maniac heart, I’m in love with a book.

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Why is this super fab new release? Let me count the ways…

1. The BEATLE-rific references.

Hello, you know me, right? How could I not fall for lines like this:

There was only one thing I could do to ease the pain. I turned to the only four guys who’d never let me down. The only four guys who’d never broken my heart .

John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Yep, you had me right there, Ms. Eulberg.

2. Contemporary Realism? Who, me?

Let’s face it. I usually prefer to throw realism out the window when it comes to YA novels. Give me a dash of magic and a smokin’ hot supernatural love interest any day of the week.

But Eulberg’s book sucked me into a 100% vampire/angel/werewolf/fae/zombie/prophecy free world. And I loved it. The characters could have easily been teens I know  facing real life obstacles.

3. Sweet premise, savory resolution.

When Penny Lane gets her heart broken one too many times, she decides to swear off guys for good. She and her friends start The Lonely Hearts Club to affirm the bonds of friendship and the vow of self-preservation. These gals grow into a force to be reckoned with–they come to redefine themselves sans boyfriends.

But…when a non-jerk works his way into Penny’s heart, is the club doomed?

The author resolves the plot without tying things up with a giant valentine bow. The ending is satisfying without becoming too sweet or too simple. It’s just right. And thanks to a pitch perfect protagonist voice, I found myself thinking about Penny long after I’d turned the last page.

I’m so excited about this book, I’m giving a copy away. In the comments area for this post, use at least one Beatles’ reference to convince me why I should send YOU a copy of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB. I’ll pick a winner next week.

Hungry for more?

Try this recipe for Strawberry Fields Forever Shortcake


Arthur Slade’s latest YA novel, The Hunchback Assignments, is steampunk-tacular.

Hunchback AssignmentsModo, a disfigured hunchback, is born with a strange gift. He can twist his appearance to mirror any imaginable person. Modo can hide behind the countenance of a prince or pickpocket, if only for a few hours. His true face, the one reflection he avoids at all costs, masks a heroic figure.

The enigmatic Mr. Socrates rescues Modo as an infant and trains him as an agent of  a shadowy Victorian era organization. Modo’s assignments thrust him into danger at every turn and pitt him against the mechanized villainy of a mad scientist. A monstrous enemy threatens the British Empire, and Modo must use every ounce of wit and skill he possesses to combat the forces of evil.

Modo not only faces physical peril, he also wrestles with his feeling for Octavia, a beautiful and compassionate fellow agent. Although Modo longs to accept Octavia’s affection, he finds it impossible to reveal his true face. He dreams of becoming the handsome knight who can win her heart.  She longs to know the real man behind the mask.

In the Hunchback Assignments, suspense builds steadily up to the ripping climax. Throughout the story, the audience feels Modo’s heartache and witnesses his courage. After the final scene, the reader will be reluctant to leave his side.

Assignments is a satisfying brew infused with crisp writing and high flying action. It reads as though Slade threw the machinations of a 007 caper, the intrigue of a Young Sherlock Holmes adventure, the gothic romance of a Victor Hugo tale, the clever gadgetry of an H.G. Wells yarn, and the thrilling horror of a penny dreadful into a blender and pressed pulse.

Yes, it’s that good.  Read it.

While the gadgets in The Hunchback Assignments are steam powered, my Sticky Toffee Pie is steam-cooked. Fortunately, it’s much easier to make than the Sticky Toffee Pudding of Victorian times.

Sticky Toffee Pie


2 14 ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk

1 9 inch graham cracker pie crust

1 8 ounce container of Cool Whip

English Toffee Bits (for garnish)

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass dish (at least one quart in size, but small enough to fit into your crockpot). Cover dish with foil. Place in a (at least 3/12 quart size) crockpot slow cooker. Add water around (not inside) the glass dish so the water level matches the level of the milk in the dish. Cover the crock pot. Cook 8 to 9 hours or until the mixture is the color of peanut butter.

Once mixture is cooked, pour into a bowl and stir. Once whisked, pour mixture into crust. Chill and top with Cool Whip and toffee bits.