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

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


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


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?


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:


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.