In which I blog about writing, YA fiction and the occasional sparkly unicorn.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Before I start this review, I'd like to apologize. It's taken me an absurdly long time to get this review up. I blame the craziness of Nano, three different research papers, and the fact that every time I sit down to write this review, I stop and go re-read bits of the book again. It was that good. So here is my very belated, full-of-feels review of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys.

(This cover is ridiculously cool. I might actually have to go buy a hard copy of it just so I can look at it whenever I want.)

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I'd been hearing some positive reviews of this, so when I saw it available on NetGalley I requested a copy, thinking that it would probably be okay. Ever since I've finished it I've gone and read every single review of it I can find. I practically have to restrain myself from protesting violently in the comments whenever anyone says something negative about it. The general consensus seems to be that the book was very good, but had a few issues.

My issue with it is that it was perfect.

I know, I know, no book is really perfect, at least not completely. But my heart wants to fill this review with sparkles and rainbows and tears of glorious happiness because in my heart it is PERFECT. But now that I've had time to organize and analyze my feelings for this book, I think I've figured out why I feel that way.

This is my first Maggie Stiefvater book. I've heard of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and Scorpio Races, but I never really considered reading them. I'd also never researched them to find out if I should read them. And so I went into Raven Boys completely unprepared for the magic that comes along with reading a Maggie Stiefvater book.

The prose is beautiful. I don't think there's another word for it. But it never lapses into the realm of the over-done, wordy, or pompous. The words just seem organic, like they sprung fully formed from the page. And I think I was shocked by this. I'm used to reading books where the writing itself functions just as a tool, as if all it is is a device to get the story across instead of something that should stand on it's own merit. So I think most of my feelings of perfection were feelings of unexpected awe. I didn't expect beauty, or loveliness, and so when I turned the page and found it, tears of happiness may have sprung into my eyes.

I also may have formed a slight obsession with the characters. I went into this book thinking that Blue was the main character. And she is, in a way. It is through her eyes that we delve into this world of mystery and magic. But the stars of this book are the title characters.  The book, whatever the summary might tell you, is really about the relationship between the Raven boys, four boys who live at a boarding school. They're all a bit odd and messed up, but they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. And I loved them. I loved their inside jokes, their quick banter and their unswerving loyalty to each other. And Gansey *swoon* I cannot express the extent of my love for Gansey. He's so confident, but also really nervous about making the right impression, and he constantly just wants to do the right thing and help his friends AND I JUST HAVE A LOT OF GANSEY FEELS, OKAY. 

That being said, I don't think this book is for everyone. The writing is very introspective, and in contrast to how its marketed it's also a very introspective story. It's very character driven, and if you're not prepared for that, I think it could come as a bit of a shock.

Some of the comments I've seen around the web is that the pacing is too slow, that it lags, and that there's no real resolution to anything. But I think that's the point. The mystery is never solved, the romance that's set up on the back cover is only hinted at in the most subtle of ways, and the end can feel abrupt. But I think that was the point. I think it was supposed to be a slow build up with these fascinating characters to hook us into the story. This is the first of a four-book series, so yes, it served as a lot of set up. But it's set up wort reading, partly because of the prose and partly because of the characters.

So, in short, go read The Raven Boys. But if you're looking for some high-octane fueled adventure story, you might do better looking somewhere else. This is a very introspective, intricate story that spends more time delving into its characters instead of barreling you along on a whirlwind plot. But I didn't mind. The prose is gorgeous, the characters are wonderful, and it has fully convinced me to go read every book Maggie Stiefvater has ever written.

Verdict: 4 Stars

To conclude, have some gifs of me at the end of this book:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Look, a wild reading challenge appears!

And at such an opportune time, too. My to-be-read pile has been growing exponentially, lately, so I'm hopping on the band wagon and joining in on this super awesome challenge!

For all the super cool stuff, like rules, guidelines and the sign-up list, you can find them all over at Bookish, here

Basically, you set yourself a goal of how many books you want to read in 2013, then at the end of each month you post your reviews to enter a bunch of fantabulous giveaways. The catch, however, is that all your books have to have been released in 2012 or earlier. That means no ARCs or new releases! *starts to hyperventilate*

Here are the levels:

1-10 – A Firm Handshake
11-20 – A Friendly Hug
21-30 – A Sweet Kiss
31-40 – Love At First Sight
41-50 – Married With Children

As for me, I'm going to try and read about 21 books this year. Hopefully I'll read a bunch more, but who knows. 

So, anyone else planning on whittling down their to-be-read pile?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back from the Netherworld

Hello, people of the internet! I have an announcement: I AM ALIVE.

Yes, I know, I was gone for so long you all thought me dead. But I wasn't! I was just buried under a mountain of NaNoWriMo Craziness.

But I finished Nano! I'm so proud of myself; I wrote 20,000 words in two days. Of course, those 20,000 words are awful, but who cares? NOT ME.

My insane typing killed my hands and my brain so I gave myself a few days to recover. But now I'm back from outer space, and regular posting will resume tomorrow! (Not that it was ever that regular to begin with.)

You also might notice that I have changed my blog url. The last one was super boring so I wanted something new. This one is only slightly less boring, but whatever. It will do.

So congrats to everyone who won Nano! And congrats to anyone who tried, even if you only got 100 words! Writing anything is good, so here, have some gifs that express my feelings towards all of you guys:

And also have this gif because it is wonderful and no one will ever convince me otherwise:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Live-Blogging Nano

Hello Blogosphere. I have a confession. It is a terrible and heart-wrenching one. It is the kind of confession that makes you weep copiously while pounding the carpet with your hands as your family members look on in shame, wondering how on earth they could be related to you.

I am behind on NaNoWriMo. Like, way behind.

Now, this is my fourth year doing Nano. I'm used to being behind. But I've never, and I mean never, been this behind. I am currently 25,000 words behind where I'm supposed to be. Let that sink in a minute. 25,000 words.

This is a bit disheartening. But because I have this thing where I cannot imagine failure being a distinct possibility, I SHALL PREVAIL. It's the holidays, I'll just chug out a few 5,000 word days and be back on track! No big deal, right?

Well, it's not that much of a big deal when you don't have shopping to do, or family to visit, or knitting to catch up on or tv to watch or posses the most amazing procrastination skills on the planet. And so I have decided to take a cue from Beth Revis's live-blogging of her Nano experience and try it out for myself. Maybe public shaming will spur me on to my first 5,000 word day of the month.

So, I will update this post throughout the day with my writing stats. And, without further ado, LET THE NANO DAY OF AWESOME BEGIN.

Word Count at Start of the Day: 10,969 (Even though it's not really the start of the day, seeing as it's already 1:30 in the afternoon...DON'T YOU JUDGE ME. Sleep is important for good writing...right?)

Round One: 10,969
Time: 1:40
Status: Time for the important scene of importance that is filled to the brim with nightmares, ghosts, romantic tension and endless shipping. I am going to tackle this scene LIKE A BOSS.

Round Two: 11,505
Time: 3:40
Status: Well...oops. The good news is that I wrote 500 words! But the bad news is then I ate lunch...and cleaned the kitchen...and did laundry. Who knew cleaning could be a procrastination tool? But now I have tea and a cool scene to write. I AM BACK ON TRACK.

Round Three: 12,214
Time: 4:20
Status: THE CHEESY ROMANCE HAS ARRIVED. And it has arrived with a vengeance. It's literally like I've taken spray cheese and sprayed it all over my novel, you guys. It's so hilariously bad. Part of me is proud of my ridiculous levels of cheesiness. The other part is horribly ashamed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: EXHALE

Hey everyone! I'm happy to be a part of the cover reveal for Jennifer Snyder's upcoming YA novel Exhale!

(Isn't the cover gorgeous? It was created by Once Upon a Time Covers! Go check them out!)


Inhaling in life is easy. It’s the exhaling—the letting go— that’s the hard part.

Katie Elliot has always known the Conner twins. For years she secretly pined after one, while playfully averting the advances of the other.  Once upon a time, she was fine with that. Then came the moment when her twin of preference kissed her and changed everything.

As if realizing love can be complex—even when it’s reciprocated—isn’t hard enough, tragedy strikes, tearing Katie and the boy she’s always desired apart.  Finding herself torn between love and guilt, Katie must learn when it’s acceptable to let go—when it’s finally okay to exhale.

Release Date: December 10th, 2010

You can find Jennifer over on her blog, twitter or goodreads!

And look! A wild giveaway appears! Enter to win an eARC of Exhale

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Save a Word Saturday

The lovely bloggers over at The Feather and the Rose have started a cool blog hop! It's dedicated to saving old and archaic words from disappearing into the dust of history. You can sign up and learn more about it here!

Here are the rules:

1.  Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice). Luciferous Logolepsy is a great database of lovely words, if you're having trouble coming up with something on your own.

2. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

3. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

 This week's theme is:

My word is vade mecum
n. - a favorite book carried everywhere

And here is my sentence (well, it's more like a paragraph...whatever):

Miranda sat on the banks of the river, cup of tea clutched in hand, and watched families float by in their little boats. They all laughed as everyone failed rather spectacularly at steering in a straight line. She looked at her book where it lay in the grass and mused about how funny it was that even after ten years, her tattered (and quite tea-stained) copy of Lord of the Rings still remained her vade mecum.

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. You can learn more about it here! It features books I've received throughout the week, whether they're physical books or ebooks I bought, borrowed, received, etc.

 So here are my lovely books (That I'm super excited to read when I finish all the others I'm supposed to be reading...)

Received for Review:

 (eARC from NetGalley)


(Thanks again to all the authors that participated in The Apocalypsies YAmazing Race! It was a lot of fun.)

I'm super excited to get to read all of these! I have a good friend that loved Starters, and The Dark Light looks really cool. Haven't heard much about A Shimmer of Angels, but look at that cover. I mean seriously, how can I not read that?
What do you guys think? Have any shelves of your own to share?