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.


No, I’m not giving away cheesecake.

Even better, I’m giving away an autographed first edition of Rosemary Clement Moore’s new YA novel, The Splendor Falls.


 And yes, there’s a cheesecake recipe.

With or without the cheesecake, The Splendor Falls is one delicious read.

Seventeen year old Sylvie Davis is a ballerina whose dreams are shattered by a broken leg, her father’s death, and her mother’s remarriage. Even vicodin and champagne fail to numb her pain.

Sylvie is less than thrilled about her mother’s honeymoon.  She’s even less  happy about leaving her apartment in Manhattan to spend two weeks at Bluestone Hill,  her father’s family estate in Alabama.

At Bluestone Hill, Sylvie faces  more than personal demons, she encounters the spirits of her ancestors’ past. But the ghosts in Alabama aren’t the only ones shrouded in mystery. Two handsome but enigmatic young men vie for Sylvie’s attention. Each has a secret. One is hellbent on a course which threatens to destroy Bluestone Hill. The other seeks to a protect the tenuous balance between the will of man and the force of nature.

Sylvie is attracted to both suitors, but must choose an alliance carefully. Her actions will either bring ruin or renewal to her father’s family. She draws upon the power within herself and the legacy of her birthright to reverse the wrongdoing of the past. Sylvie confronts her own pain and conquers her fears in the process.

Author Rosemary Clement Moore effectively combines elements of mystery, romance, and suspense in Splendor. She conjures a sparkling tale, full of wit and lush imagery.

“The ritual sound, full of potential, thick and opaque somehow, murky as the silt of a river bottom, hiding silent, swift things below.

I couldn’t put The Splendor Falls down. The mystery, hiding silent, drew me in. I’d bet my lucky charm, you’d enjoy it, too.

If you’d like a to win a copy of The Splendor Falls, write one sentence (up to twenty five words long) including the word “cheesecake” and “ghost.” Your sentence can be funny, spooky, poetic, or otherwise entertaining. Post your sentence as a comment below.

An impartial but cheesecake worthy judge will pick a winner. I’ll contact the winner by e-mail and announce the winner in one week on Tuesday, September 21st.  I’ll send the book by snail mail anywhere in the continental US.  Good luck!


Since Rosemary Clement Moore is an avowed cheesecake lover, here’s my recipe for Turtle Cheesecake Splendor:


1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup butter

1 slightly beaten egg yolk


5 (yes, Virginia, FIVE) 8 ounce packages of cream cheese (let stand until room temperature)

1/2 to 1 tsp. (your call)  almond extract

1 and 3/4 cups sugar

3 tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 whipping cream

Make crust: Combine 1 cup flour and 1/4 sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add egg yolk and almond extract. Pat 1/3 of dough into the bottom of a buttered 9 inch springform pan. Bake (only the bottom part of the pan) crust in oven at 400 degrees for eight minutes. Cool. Attach side of springform pan to bottom and pat the rest of dough onto the  sides of the  pan. The dough should extend about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches all the way around the sides of the pan.

Make the creamy, dreamy filling: Beat cream cheese. Add almond extract. Mix in sugar, flour, and salt gradually. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each, just enough to blend the mixture. Stir in whipping cream. Pour the batter into the crust lined pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. (Don’t open the door to check on the cheesecake!) Then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking for 55-60 minutes. (Center should only jiggle in the very center. Edges should be nice and puffy).

Remove from oven. Let cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before removing sides. Cheesecake may be refrigerated after cooled to room temperature. Before serving, top with homemade or storebought caramel sauce (I like homemade salted caramel sauce), milk and dark chocolate chips, and pecan bits.

Binge. Until you feel ill. Then stop. At least for awhile.