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

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review: THE RAVEN BOYS

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!)

Summary:

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:
Tea


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)

Won:

 
(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?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #3


Feature and Follow is a fun blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. It's really easy to participate, and it's a great way to meet new blog friends! Go check it out here

This week's question: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?

Hmmm...this is a hard one. I'm a bit of a movie junkie, but I've never really thought about it before. Martin Socrecese's The Departed is one of my favourites, so I'll go with that one. It'd be cool with alternating perspectives, what with all the spying and undercover stuff going on. We'd get a whole different look into the characters' heads.



What do you guys think? Leave a comment so I can go check your posts out!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #1


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.

Without further ado here are the books I've somehow acquired this past week:

Received for Review:




(An eARC from NetGalley)
Won:




 (Thanks to the awesome authors over at The Apocalypsies for their YAmazing Race!)



I've heard a lot about Venom on the web so I'm excited to read that, and Freakling looks awesome! Pantomime looks really cool too. So what books did you all get?

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:
Snow

My word is Aurated
          adj. gilded
And here is my wonderful sentence:

Alice woke up early that morning. The cold seeped in from outside and wrapped her in thin tendrils. She jumped up and raced the window, her toes curling up as they touched the cold floor. The front yard had been covered with a blanket of white, aurated with glittering snow and untouched by anything alive.

(Just a random note, my original word was "Tarchanjan", from Old High German. It meant "to hide, to conceal" but I can't speak German, so I was unable to use it in a sentence :(  It's a cool word, though. It's theorized that it's where we get our word "dark" from, which is originally from Old English.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday

Feature and Follow is a fun blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. It's really easy to participate, and it's a great way to meet new blog friends! Go check it out here

This week's Question: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic? 

Hmmm, this is a hard one. I'm one of those people that believes that there's not really anything new under the sun. But it's not really the basic idea that's important, it's what you do with it. Basically, I don't mind when an idea is similar to another, as long as it's spun in a different way. There were stories about magical boarding schools long before J.K. Rowling came along, what made her so awesome was that she managed to do something entirely unprecedented with the idea. Do something crazy, and new and completely awesome with an old idea and I won't hate you for it, in fact it might even make me love you all the more! As for retellings-- I love retellings, especially fairy tale ones (however, this may be in part due to my love of fairy tales in general. So bring me ALL THE FAIRY TALE RETELLINGS).

Published fanfic *sigh*. This is a complicated topic. I, quite adamantly, find nothing wrong with fanfiction. The fanfic writer isn't making any profit of another author's work, and so it doesn't negatively impact anyone in any way. And for that matter, there is a lot of beautifully written fanfiction out there (sometimes it's just a little hard to find). Now, when a fanfiction story is re-vamped and slated for publication, things get a little bit tricky. If the story is a completely different one, where there are similar themes or origins (like Cassandra Clare's Immortal Instrument series) that's fine. But when you get a story where basically only the names and some slight aesthetic details have been changed (like another story I won't name here), that's when you get into dangerous territory.

So, in short (even though this wasn't short at all), similar ideas are fine with me. As long as the authors do something cool with them.

What are your thoughts on the question? Leave a comment so I can go check out all your awesome posts!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest!

Cally Jackson is celebrating the release of her YA novel The Big Smoke! Hooray for her writerly wonderness!

She decided that to celebrate the release she was going to host a really neat blogfest. Since the two main characters of her book both turn 18 during the book, all participating bloggers are writing about the year they turned 18! (Or, if they haven't reached 18 yet, what they hope it will be like.)

You can find out more about the blogfest here, and add the book to Goodreads here.

So without further ado, here is my post:


When I was 14 years old, my family packed up our house in Virginia, hopped on a 24-hour plane ride and moved to Singapore.

By about the first week, I knew what I wanted to do for my birthday: eat at Morton's steak house, the nicest and most delicious steakhouse on the island. Unfortunately, the food there costs a small fortune.

My parents adamantly refused.  "Maybe next year," they said, "for your 16th birthday."

Well 16 came and went, and so did 17. By the time my 18th birthday approached, I had turned into a Morton's steak-craving zombie monster.

"But moooom! I just want a steak! It's all that I want in the whooole worrrllddddd."

Somewhere along the way, I managed to convince them that this would be a wonderful coming of age present. My parents decided that we would go out to eat on Saturday night, even though my birthday wasn't actually until Monday. They planned it all out-- my dad would take me to the restaurant bar before dinner started,and buy me my first-ever legal alcoholic drink. (In Singapore, the legal drinking age is 18. However, this does nothing to stop the crazy partying that goes on. Not that I was ever a participant of said parties...)

So, dressed in beautiful clothes, we walked through the fancy hotel lobby, over the fancy bridge of the fancy koi pond, and ascended the hotel in the fancy elevator.

Morton's bar was closed. They weren't open on Saturdays.

Feeling a tiny bit dejected (and at least for me, a tiny bit nervous, as I had never ordered an alcoholic drink before) we walked across to another bar where I nervously ate a bunch of snack mix and my dad ordered me my first ever "legal" Cosmopolitan.

The bartender didn't even look at me with a single ounce of suspicion on his face. (I came to the conclusion that this was because I was a master of deception. Clearly this meant I should become a spy.)  I felt so freaking sophisticated there are no words to describe it. I was in a bar, with a real Cosmo in a super fancy-sophisticated Cosmo glass, and I only tripped over my heels once and also there was A KOI POND IN THE LOBBY and the Cosmo was surprisingly good and the bartender was cute and I turned 18 in two days and everything was awesome.

And that is the story of my first ever kind-of-maybe-sort-of-not-really-legal alcoholic drink on my almost-18th birthday. It was a good birthday.

So happy book-birthday to Cally! And happy (belated) Halloween, everyone!

Do you guys have any cool 18th birthday stories to share?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday



Feature and Follow is a fun blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. It's really easy to participate, and it's a great way to meet new blog friends! Go check it out here. This week they're featuring two lovely blogs: Carmen Jenner and The YA Bookworm Blogger. Go follow them!

This week's Question: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.

In my review of Blackwood I mention how I hate insta-love (thankfully that book was mercifully free of it). And I have come to a conclusion: It's not necessarily fast-moving relationships that bother me; it's when the love story is presented as the Truest Love That Ever Was. No one else comes close, these two characters are freaking Romeo and Juliet reborn, that's how magnificent their love is.

Gag me.

I think the problem is it's often used as an excuse to not write a real relationship. It's like the author thinks that if they tell me this is Deep Love, I'll believe it, and they won't need to spend the time developing a believable connection between the characters. But that plan always backfires. It makes me want to release a rabid ninja unicorn who will then stomp on the supposed True Love with its magic hooves until the True Love disappears and stops making me mad. Okay, rant is over.

So what's your FF? What annoys you in a book? Tell me in the comments so I can follow all of you totally awesome people! (Way to sound like a stalker, Hannah...)

  




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: BLACKWOOD

It's time for a book review! Today's review is on Gwenda Bond's Blackwood. (I'm sorry it took so long to finish this book. I got on a huge knitting kick and let's face it, it's practically impossible to knit while also trying to turn the pages of a book.)

(I love the snake. And the actual cover feels all silky and soft. Just saying.)

Here's the summary from Goodreads:

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.
  
I really enjoyed Blackwood. It was a lot of fun to read and I thought the concept was neat and original. The story follows Miranda Blackwood and Phillips Rawling-- two teenagers forced to deal with crazy undead alchemists and ancient curses when 114 people go missing on modern-day Roanoke Island.

Miranda was a great main character. Her life kind of sucked, but she never fell into self-pity. Instead of whining about how awful everything was, she moved on with her life and dealt with her problems. (Often with the help of nerdy television shows). She was a very likeable, geeky teenage girl-- the kind of person I'd like to be friends with.

As for the other main character, what can I say about Phillips Rawling besides HE'S WONDERFUL AND I LOVE HIM AND YOU SHOULD LOVE HIM TOO. He and Miranda were both weird in all the best ways, and I think YA needs some more love interests like him-- guys who know who Elena Gilbert is but who can also break out of jail.

I've seen a couple of people talking about how the insta-love between Miranda and Phillips annoyed them. But honestly, as someone who wants to claw her eyes out at the thought of insta-love, I didn't see much of it. I think it's because even though their relationship developed quite quickly, it was never presented as true love. They were simply two compatible people with a connection who end up crushing on each other. And sometimes that kind of thing happens pretty fast in real life. I thought it was kind of refreshing that I wasn't reading about a couple who's true love was better than all true loves that came before it.

The plot moves along at a very quick pace. Bond keeps the action going, but never lets it feel episodic. However, my one complaint is that I think the plot could have been a little more well-developed. The book, while coming in at 325 pages, feels a little short. I know this will sound weird, but I think it could have used a little more info-dumping. (Whoa...I can't believe I just said that.) I don't mean Bond needs to throw tons of information at the reader, I just think the story never slowed down enough to offer a solid explanation. While I liked the book, and the storyline, I still can't tell you why everything happened.

So, in short, Blackwood was a fun and fast read (well, fast if you aren't trying to knit at the same time). The main characters were quirky and interesting to read about. Their relationship has become one of my favourites in YA (I'm telling you, Miranda and Phillips are frakking adorable.) And plus, the book is filled to the brim with nerdy pop-culture references! What more could you ask for! So go pick up a copy!

Verdict: 3 Stars


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tusday is a wonderful meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.


Anyone can join in. So here are the rules!

Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers this week come from A.E. Rought's Broken. I recieved an ARC from NetGalley. So, without further ado, here they are:

He takes a step to the side, slides an arm around my shoulders and guides me until I’m in front of him. My pulse quickens—we’re curve and plane, breath and skin. He slips his arms around my shoulders, hands resting beneath my collar bones. It feels so familiar and right, I ease back against him.


Alex clings to me like I may honestly be a fairytale princess and when he lets go, I’m going to disappear. He pulls off one glove, tingles following his bare hand as it glides over the curve of my back, up my neck to tangle in my curls. He guides my head to his chest. Thunder rumbles in his heartbeat, and his electric surge slicks over my skin like warm oil.


Find it on Goodreads here
Title: Broken
Author: A.E. Rought
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: January 8, 2013

If you have a teaser leave a link in the comments so I can check them out!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paperback Cover Reveal: BORN WICKED

Jessica Spotswood's Born Wicked has a new cover for paperback! Jessica is also holding a contest over on her blog! Go check it out!

 
(I have a obsession with ravens and crows. Yes, I know it's weird. But it makes me like this cover!)


 Jessica said that Penguin decided to change the look of her Cahill Witch Chronicles. As you can see, its got a very different  feel than the original cover.



So what do you think of the new cover? Personally, I like the old one better. However, the new one feels much more YA and is more obviously paranormal. I actually used to think the book was a historical romance before I picked it up and read the back.

You can find it on Goodreads here.

Has anyone read Born Wicked? Have any thoughts to share on the new look?

Upcoming Blogfest: The Year I Turned 18

Look! A wild blogfest has appeared!


Cally Jackson is running a blogfest to celebrate the upcoming release of her New Adult book, The Big Smoke! Both of her main characters turn 18 in the novel, so she decided to have all of us post about the year we turned 18! Or, if you're not 18 yet, what you hope it will be like! (Note-- it's a fun experience, I promise.)

The blogfest will run from October 29-- November 2. When it goes live you'll be able to sign up on over on her blog. For more details about the event go here.

So mark your calendars! Spread the word! Because it sounds like this will be a lot of fun :)

The Apocalypsies' YAmazing Race!

Hey everyone! The lovely people over at The Apocalypsies (a group of 2012 debut YA authors) are going to have a super awesome blog event!

 (You could win signed ARC's, and tons of swag, and bookmarks! And who doesn't like bookmarks?)

The event will last from October 22-29. They're going to give away tons of awesome prizes, so make sure to stop by when it goes live!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cover Reveal: LACED IN MALICE

The cover for Riley Gray's Laced in Malice has been revealed! And it's awesome, just so you know.

(Maybe I'm just a sucker for creepy graveyards, but I am in love with this cover.)

You can find it on Goodreads here.

Title: Laced in Malice
Author: Riley Gray
Release Date: November 1, 2012

You can find out more about the author on her twitter, and over on her blog.

So, what do you guys think?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover Reveal: THE PIRATE'S WISH

The cover of the sequel to The Assassin's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke has been revealed! And isn't it gorgeous? I love how it ties into the cover of Assassin's Curse.

(Seriously, though. I will read this book just to get my hands on this cover. No joke.)

You can add it to Goodreads here! (Apparently this isn't quite the final version, but it's still too good not to share!)

Title: The Pirate's Wish
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Relsease Date: June 2013

So, what do you all think?     

Friday, October 12, 2012

To Kill or not to Kill?

I'm currently worrking on the second draft of my WIP. Essentially, it's a dark paranormal/horror YA. There is a murdering ghost, a haunted house, a witch, etc. It's going quite well.

Except for the fact that I think I'm going to have to kill my main character.

Don't ask me why. For some reason, I just feel that the story will lose all its impact if the MC survives. But now I have to decide, who else is going to die?

Should I kill off her mother, to make the MC's death even more depressing? Or will that make her death lose some of its punch because she now has less to lose? Should I just kill the MC and have her mother be heartbreakingly sad about her death? *sigh* SO MANY DECISIONS.

And then there is the fact that I know some readers hate it when the MC dies at the end. I don't want to alienate a bunch of readers.

So, anyone out on the blogosphere have suggestions? Comments? Concerns about my mental health?

P.S.-- Have a gif of my writing process at the moment:


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Writerly Rambles

I would like to announce that I have officially done nothing productive all day. I have literally sat at my computer reading fanfiction and stalking the internet. That's it.


Well, I have written a book review and I wrote a thousand words of WIP, but I haven't done anything that screams, "PRODUCTIVITY IS MY LIFE WOO-HOO". No, it was more a whimper of, "I tried."

In other news, I finished Hush, Hush this week and started Gwenda Bond's Blackwood. So far it's quite good, I'm about halfway done with it. And can I just say that I am utterly in love with the MC's love interest? Phillips Rawling-- you're funny, you're sweet and a little bit mischevious. Where can I get a boy like you? Wal-Mart? Target? The world of fanfiction? Narnia?

So yes, review of that to come probably sometime next week.

And now I'm off to go watch ABC's Once Upon a Time because of reasons. Mainly reasons that have to do with shipping Snow White and Charming together because they are adorable.

How is everyone else out on the interwebs?

Book Review: GIRL OF NIGHTMARES

You guys. You guys. This book was so good. I finished it like two weeks ago and I'm still dying. That's why it took me so long to do the review. I have ALL THE FEELS.

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. And it was wonderful. Anna was one of my favourite books of 2011 and if you read my review of it then you know how much I loved it. I was a little worried about this book because sequels are hard to get right. They always differ from the first book, and oftentimes the things we liked best are the things that were changed. But I needn't have worried, Kendare Blake knocked it out of the ball park with this one-- again.

 (Dear lord, this cover. It basically kills me with all the awesome.)

Here's the summary from Goodreads:


It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.


Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.


Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

I must have a thing for really weird love stories or something, because Blake's books are some of my favourite YA books with a romance aspect. I think it's the fact that they're so different. There isn't any creepily-obsessed love interest, there's no angsty brooding over tortured pasts and there is absolutely no insta-love. Cas and Anna's relationship is not a normal one, but that's okay because neither of them could strictly be called normal. And the creepy in their relationship comes from the fact that Anna is a mass-murdering vengeful ghost, not because she's a slightly abusive stalker. Their relationship beautiful in a tragic sort of way, and it's a nice change from all of the "truer-and-more-perfect-than-any-before-it" love stories that have been popping up in YA recently (*cough* Hush, Hush *cough*).

Like I said before, I think one of the problems with sequels is that the characters have been changed since the first book. They're not always the people we fell in love with. Well, it is fair to say that the characters in Girl of Nightmares have changed from Anna. But I didn't care, because it was a good sort of change.

Cas Lowood is no longer the cocky ghost hunter he once was. He is broken, and obsessed with finding out what happened to Anna after her disappearance in the first book. He is convinced that she is the only girl for him, despite the fact that she's dead. Cas is not normal, so the idea that he could just go out and find a normal girl after Anna is a laughable. When he finds out that Anna is being tortured in her own personal hell, he goes looking for her. He ends up putting himself and his friends in danger. But instead of being annoying, Blake makes his actions heart wrenching. This is a boy who deals with the dead on a daily basis, and is finding out for the first time that he can't let go of someone.

As for Anna-- what can I say, other than HOLY FLYING LAMAS HOW DID YOU GET EVEN MORE AWESOME? She's trapped in Hell, she's been tortured, broken and beaten down-- but she still managed to kick some major ass.

I loved the secondary characters just as much as I did the first go around. Carmel goes through some pretty painful character development in this book. At one point she has a bit of a mental crisis over how the supernatural has invaded her neat and orderly world. But her crisis was understandable, and didn't detract from her character at all. The wonderfully dorky witch, Thomas Sabin was back for comic relief. He was awesome, as usual.

This book did introduce us to a new character-- Jestine. She's a kind of ghost-hunter-in-training. I didn't hate her, I was just sort of ambivalent towards her. I think her characterization was sacrificed a little in the name of moving the plot forward. She felt a little flat,, and the maybe-just-me-reading-too-much-into-things romance she had with Cas didn't help matters. I couldn't quite work out who she was supposed to be.

And now for the plot. Whereas Anna was a more traditional horror story, this was more of a mystery novel with a ghostly twist. The pacing was a little slower this time. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Blake has a lot of information to pack into 330 pages. A lot of time was spent on showing us how broken up Cas was about Anna's disappearance, which might annoy some readers. I didn't mind, because I thought it set the story's tone. Cas is a boy who his desperate to find the girl he loves, dead or not, and his desperation had to be believable for the rest of the story to make sense.

The story was satisfyingly creepy. Kendare Blake does a great job with believable, but striking imagery, and it definitely manages to amp up the scary in this book. All I have to say is don't read the Suicide Forest scene in an old and creaky hotel in the middle of the night. It won't end well.

And that ending-- wow. Going in I didn't know this was the last book in the series. While I'm sad that it had to end, I thank the book gods that it ended well. Blake could have chosen any number of cop outs endings for her book, so I applaud her for not taking the easy way out. The ending she chose was the most difficult one, but also the right one. There are going to be readers who hated the ending, but I loved it. Even though it made me bawl like a baby at one o'clock in the morning while my family slept, probably thinking I was going insane.

All in all, Kendare Blake managed to switch up the formula from her first book and make a thoroughly enjoyable sequel (enjoyable even when you cry your heart out). So go read it. Go read it now. You won't regret it (even when you're puking tears).

Verdict: Four Stars! 

P.S.-- I have decided that these books need to be made into movies. Someone get on that. Like right now.

Obligatory gifs of me at the end of the book:




  







Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: HUSH HUSH

It's book review time! Today's review is on Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush. The book is nestled firmly into that vein of YA paranormal that everyone is tired of. Since it stirred up so much hype, I decided to start off my YA reading kick with it.



(I must admit, the cover is pretty.)
Here's the summary from Goodreads:

A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.


I can't really think of much to say about this book. Except maybe, "What the hell?" But, let's try and make some sense of this, shall we?

First off all, the characters. I feel I should get this out up front: I want to slap Nora in the face. People will go on and on about how she's stupid for loving Patch (who is the book's resident bad boy). But you know what, I don't care. I don't really give a crap that she likes a boy who wants to kill her. Because I can get behind liking someone who's not good for you. What I can't get behind is plain stupidity. Nora doesn't think her actions through, she doesn't do research things before jumping to dangerous conclusions, in fact she doesn't do anything. I can't even try to sum up her character because she was that boring. Literally the only thing that stood out about her were her astonishingly stupid actions.

Next up is Patch. I am not going to talk about how Patch is horrible for young girls to read about or how he's a horrible love interest. Countless people have already talked about that. And honestly, I don't really care. He's a bad boy, he's supposed to be dangerous. That's the whole point of his character. And honestly, that's part of the problem. I didn't feel anything whatsoever for Patch. There was no character behind the dark-past-dark-jeans facade. I didn't care about his backstory, I didn't feel bad for his tortured soul (which really wasn't all that tortured, I mean suck it up, dude!) I just didn't care one bit. He tried so hard to be hot and dangerous and it just didn't work and I honestly wanted to laugh every time he showed up.

And now for the plot.

I legitimately have no idea what to say. It was so convoluted and confused that I don't know what happened. It was like Becca Fitzpatric forgot about important details only to remember them all IN THE LAST THIRTY PAGES and then she smushed them all together and pretended it was a plot.

Lastly, the writing. I would like to find something nice to say about this book, so here it is: The writing made me laugh. Rather unintentionally, but still, laughing is always fun. In the end, though, the writing was boring and melodramatic. If I have to read one more sentence about Patch's "dark levis" I will shank someone. JUST CALL THEM JEANS, FOR PETE'S SAKE.

 Also, she named a character Chauncey. This was an important character. One who was integral to the plot. And his name was Chauncey. I'm sorry, but I cannot take anything seriously when a character has that name and it's not supposed to be funny. I just can't.

But for all it's faults, the book did keep me reading. However, I'm not sure if that was me actually being hooked by the story or just the easy writing style. It took me over a week to read the last fifty pages. That's never a good sign.

So, overall, Hush Hush was a very boring, over-hyped book with flat characters and bad writing.  Maybe if you like angels you could give it a whirl?   (But then you could just go read Supernatural fanfiction and it's online for free, so nevermind).

Will I be picking up the sequels? Maybe, if I ever want to laugh at some hilariously bad writing again. But it sure as hell won't be because I care about the characters or the story.

Verdict: Two Stars! 

(It gets two instead of one because of all the unintentional laughter it induced.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Too Many Feelings

I have a new goal in my life: I want to be a "Successful Manipulator of Feelings".

Saturday night was the premier of one of the most anticipated Doctor Who episodes in a long time. It featured two of the Doctor's friends (or companions) leaving the show. And it was heartbreaking.

I don't mean the kind of hearbreaking where a single manly tear slides down your cheek, or the kind of heartbreaking where you sniffle a bit and make some hot chocolate so you'll feel better. No, this is the kind of heartbreak that immobilizes you to the point where you can't even get out of your chair to go make that hot chocolate. This is the kind of sadness that resonates so deep within your soul that you end up a blibbering mess on the floor, crying into the carpet while your relatives look on in shame and disgust.

It's the episode that makes you look like this:





Yes, this is just a television show, and these are just fictional people. But that's the power of a good story, isn't it? Making you feel something so strong that it might as well be real? Isn't that the whole point of stories in the first place?

And what's one way for a storyteller to do that? Powerful characterization.

Now, I am not going to go on and make this a deep post on Steven Moffat's characterization in Doctor Who, because that's a can of worms I don't want to open. I am simply going to talk about one single character arc, the one that was responsible for most of my feels: That of Amy Pond, the Girl Who Waited.

Now, since this is a post about Amy Pond leaving the Doctor, it is inevetible that there will be spoilers. This is your one and only warning. If you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now.

It is arguable that one of the main character traits of Amy Pond is that her life revolves around the Doctor. She's the little girl who waited all night in her garden, who ran off in the TARDIS on the night before her wedding.  And in this episode, she finally stopped waiting. 

Amy's husband, Rory Williams, gets zapped back in time. She chooses to go back with him, leaving the Doctor behind.

Amy Pond finally became Amelia Williams. She stopped waiting for the Doctor and chose to live her life with the one person she truly needed: Rory. She grew up. It took three seasons and heaps of painful character development to get her to that point. And it was wonderful. Because she finally got to be her own person and live her own story, and I think she became a better person for it.

But, you may ask, if I am so happy for Amy's character development, why all the gross sobbing? And I shall sigh and simply say, "Because of the Doctor."

While Amy was able to let go and stop waiting, the Doctor was not. The Doctor is constantly potrayed as someone strong and unbreakable. He is bound by his morals and he does the right thing. But Amy is his best friend, and he cannot let go of her. For the first time he wasn't able to give up a companion -- he loved them too much instead of the other way around. He needed his Amy Pond, but in the end she did not need him. And that is what hurts.
 
So it is those two character arcs that made this story so particularly sob-inducing. All good stories need their characters to change, and this episode delivered on that front. And I am glad, because it was a change that needed to happen. But I am also still dead inside, because now the Doctor is alone and I will never get to laugh at Rory's face again. 

So now I'm gonna go cry some more.