Carrie Jones, will you be my best friend? Author of Need Series captivates with humor.

I’m a sucker for humor. But I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for the tongue-in-cheek writing that greeted me in Need, Carrie Jones first novel of the same-named series. By the second book, I was a total fan, and now on book three, I’m craving it. I need more Carrie Jones.

Before I continue with this author-on-author worship, let me explain that I’ve been reading my share of the lastest and greatest YA novels, and some are terrific, but generally, quite serious. For instance, Divergent, The Book Thief, Matched, Delirium, Before I Fall, Lament, and Starcrossed are just a few recent reads. This is good stuff, but sheesh, the drama is taking it’s toll.

And then I open Need and am treated to an exciting story, but one that has no problem making fun of itself. I thought I couldn’t handle any more vampire-type novels for a while, but Jone’s take on the whole pixie situation is hilarious. Oh, and werewolves. Where would we be without those? Not nearly as entertained, that’s for sure.

So Carrie Jones, you’ve won me over. I love the fact that I can read something exciting and romantic and still laugh every other page (or every page). Sometimes we just need to take things a little less seriously, you know?

Check out her website–it’s funny too!

Shelter – Harlan Coben’s first Mickey Bolitar Novel thrills, captivates, and charms

Okay, so I have a soft spot for the paranormal, but because I enjoyed writing a series based on reality (check out www.teenmobster.com), I knew I had to expand my reading to include books that go beyond vampires, ghosts, and time travel. I can only tell you that reading Shelter by Harlan Coben was definitely a step in the right direction.  I’m happy that it sounds as though he’ll be using the same cast of characters he developed in this book for an entire series. In fact, I’m so impressed with Coben’s ability to create a suspenseful page-turner that I may even check out his mainstream novels. That is, if I ever get through the pile of YA still sitting on my Kindle!!!

If others have read this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the the characters. Another thing I liked is the trailer for this book (check it out on http://www.harlancoben.com/). As a former recording arts major, this nailed it for me.

Okay, so it’s a bit of a lovefest for this book, but I’m a novelist, not a critic. Happy reading!

Can the genre-divide be crossed? J. K. Rowling’s new venture raises the question of whether YA and adult mainstream novelists can dabble in both

The big discussion last month was J. K. Rowling’s announcement that she will be writing a novel for the adult crowd. The question was whether her larger-than-life Harry Potter series would eclipse any future attempt by her to create a compelling story and cast of characters. But she’s not the first YA novelist to try a new market. Stephanie Myer released The Host last year, and Judy Blume has several adult novels available, which seem to appeal especially to those who grew up reading her numerous books geared for a younger crowd. Anyone know of others?

As for crossing the other direction, James Patterson, John Grisham, Harlan Coben, and Lauren Conrad are just a few big names in publishing who are now trying their hand at YA fiction. Having read Coben’s Shelter, I can give him a thumbs up and hope to see more. I haven’t read the others yet, but word on the street (or in some author chat rooms) isn’t pretty. However, I’ll reserve judgment, as always, until I can give them a whirl myself!

Revenant – A new, old ghost story by Sonia Gensler woven with history, romance

Okay, here’s a shout out to a fellow OKC YA novelist. Sonia Gensler’s Revenant is definitely worth a read! I’d say adolescent and teen girls (or any history buff) will get the most out of this book. The story has a nice mix of supernatural elements, American history, and romance. It’s not the scariest ghost story I’ve ever read, but it will definitely have the reader on edge. The romance is woven throughout the story, and it’s not as racy or vulgar as some of the stuff you’ll read in YA novels these days. I wasn’t quite sure what “Revenant” meant without looking it up, and I’m a little concerned some teens won’t be sucked in by the title or the cover (which doesn’t quite do the book justice), but this novel is certainly worth recommending. My husband is Cherokee Indian (which means my kids are too), so this book also held some interest for me in that department.

I think the book’s promotional trailer is catchy too. You can check the video, the book, and the author out on http://soniagensler.com/ and let me know what you think!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Unusual Children invites you on a journey that stretches the imagination – and oh the pictures!

I was a little worried at the beginning of this book–scary images is one of the reasons I enjoy reading scary books over watching scary movies. Pictures stick with me. But some disturbing (or maybe not so disturbing if you’re not as easily frightened as I am) images aside, this story does fascinate, even as it asks you to expand your scope of the fantastical several times throughout the narrative. One of my pet peeves are novels that have to explain too much to make their plots work out, but I think this book manages this aspect just fine. The details are woven in incrementally. I know this doesn’t really explain to you what the story is about, so here’s a few words to wet your appetite–paranormal children, time travel, WWII, murder, romance, and spectacular imagery. To learn more, check out http://www.ransomriggs.com/, and once you’ve given this book a read, let me know your thoughts!

My Worst Best Friend – Dyan Sheldon’s story is in the dialogue

You may have heard of the book Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, on which a Hollywood film is based. But author Dyan Sheldon’s repetoire goes far beyond that successful YA novel (check her out at http://www.dyansheldon.co.uk). Recently, I just finished My Worst Best Friend. I have to say, the story is in the dialogue , which may be Sheldon’s specialty. She definitely “gets” what drives teenage girls and the fact that not all of them are only boy-crazy (most, but not all).

This is fun. It’s nothing too deep (and it’s not supposed to be, I think), but the dialogue is snappy. Also, the heroine’s love interest is unique compared with most of the hearthrobs that pervade teen fiction. I found myself getting a little aggravated with the heroine at times, but I think maybe this is because I saw a little of myself in her. And that made the ending all the more satisfying.

What say you, Sheldon fans?