Friday Five

1. This is the first week back from vacation.  I'm getting over a bad viral infection and still hobbling on one foot. Another week wearing a special boot for my sprained toe.

2. Being sick=having a hard time being motivated to write.

Need to have this as my mantra:

Started getting back to my writing this write by tearing apart my query letter. Next week will work on the synopsis.  Plan on doing another quick read through of my story and then hope to query it out in February.

3. Been reading. **Even when I'm sick, I can't not have a book!


This is women's fiction with some time travel set in Italy during the 14th century. Totally loving! Reminds me of OUTLANDER with a little DOOMSDAY.
I'm reading this along with son. My thoughts? There's lots of adventure throughout. But I feel very uncomfortable reading the N word-which is throughout this book. Also for a 13 year old, feels very mature. The dialect is ha…

My Top Cybils Books of 2017

I was proud to be a part of the Cybils. I helped , along with other panelists, narrow down over 100 nominated YA fiction books to the top 7 of the year.

Let me tell you all this: There were some amazing books published in 2017! And it was hard to whittle down the list. The books we did agree on, were all fantastic.  I enjoyed discussing the nominated books with the other panelists.  It's always fun to meet others who love books as much as I do!

At the end of the year, I usually share what books I really loved. A couple that didn't make the finalist list. 

So here we go:


I've heard from teens and others that they want a light, fun, sweet romance. This novel delivers! There is just so much to love about this book. The voice is fresh and unique. The premise is of a Korean American  over achieving teen that puts together a formula to get a boyfriend by watching Korean soap operas. There's humor, friendship, laughter that e…

And The Cybils' Finalists are...

A Short History of the Girl Next Doorby Jared Reck
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publisher/ Author Submission A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck captures the awkward yearning of early adolescence and the hesitant fizzings of first love—all in the note-perfect ninth-grade voice of basketball-obsessed Matt Wainwright. What begins as an amusing battle with cool senior guy Liam for the heart of Matt’s lifelong best friend Tabby explodes into tragedy, and Matt’s rage threatens to destroy his relationship with family, friends, and the sport he loves. Reck explores the toxic anger of grief without ever losing the humor and heart that drew us to Matt in the first place. William Polking, Guys Lit Wire

Moxie: A Novelby Jennifer Mathieu
Roaring Brook Press
Nominated by: Jennifer W After one sexist incident too many pushes Vivian Carter too far, she decides to fight back. Inspired by her mother’s Riot Grrrl past, Vivian creates an anonymous feminist zine that she leaves …

Cybils' Five-12-22-17

**This week started with me spraining my toe and then getting a cold. I couldn't go to yoga or run, but I was able to read more Cybils' nominated books!

Here's this week's round-up:

1. PIECING ME TOGETHER by Renee Watson:

Moving tale of Jade who feels the way out of her poor neighborhood is to do well in school. Then an opportunity comes her way-Woman to Woman, a mentorship program that promises a scholarship if she joins. This story shows a strong community and a protagonist who breaks the usual trite stereotypes. Explores themes of police brutality; race, privilege, and also friendship.

2. AMERICAN STREET by  Ibi Zoboi

This one shows us a Haitian teen's experience in the United States after her mother is detained and threatened to be send back.  Fabiola ends up living with her cousins and her aunt. There's magical realism throughout this story, but mostly one of the power of family.

3.  LITTLE & LION by Brandy Colbert

Kuddos on this author NAILING what's i…

Cybils' Five 12-15-17

This week's picks include a girl who accidentally gets locked in a library during a holiday weekend with a 'bad' boy;  a modern-day twist on The Canterbury Tales;  a teen's journey during the aftermath of Hurricane Karina; and a tale exposing injustices in a small Canadian town.

1.  BY YOUR SIDE by Kasie West

Sweet tale of what happens after a girl finds out a so-called bad boy isn't all that during their time locked together in a library. Also does a great job portraying a teen dealing with anxiety.


This novel has ten different POVs written by different YA authors. Think YA meets a modern day Canterbury Tales only send in a youth correction camp. **One of my favorite's has to be YA author Suzanne Young's take of a teen who is sent on this wilderness retreat after she refuses to bow down to the school dress code that only seems to penalize girls and not boys.

3.  BETWEEN TWO SKIES by Joanne O'Sullivan

CROSSED FIRE (Book 2 Crossed series) & giveaway!

I'm excited to announce that the sequel to CROSSED OUT is now out!

Here's the cover:

The blurb:

Stephanie Stewart is a typical sixteen-year-old girl—she loves hanging out with her friends, going to concerts, and sipping mocha lattes. Yup. Just your average teenager . . . Except for one difference—she can see and talk to the dead. In fact, Stephanie helps dead girls who who’ve been murdered or killed, cross over. Just as Stephanie is getting used to her unique “gift”, her mom stumbles into some dangerous witchcraft that backfires and triggers similar abilities in Stephanie’s best friend Cura, and nemesis Hillary.

Stephanie already has enough trouble trying to maintain a “normal” life between school and her cute boyfriend Dylan, who happens to have a supernatural talent all his own. But now she has to help her friend Cura and her “frenemy” Hillary cope with their new-found powers as well as cross over two murdered cheerleaders and battle an evil demon who wants to use…

Cybils Five--December 8, 2017

This week's Cybils theme has to be diversity:

I've always been a big proponent for having books that mirror us. When I was a bilingual teacher back in the 90s and early 00s, there wasn't much out there for those who shared my students and my own Mexican heritage.

Which is why I'm so HAPPY that more books are now coming out that showcase different cultures/heritages.

1.  YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Mitali Perkins

There is so much to love about this multi-generational tale of five women. It deals with immigration and shows how hard it is to acclimate into a different country and the prejudices/ racism that follows. I really loved this book something fierce. I especially loved the story of the sisters, Sarah and Tara. 
2. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon

This story deals with two very different teens who just happen to run into each other on a busy New York City street. Natasha and her family are to be deported back to Jamaica after her father is arrested for a DUI…