Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cover Reveal for SOME QUIET PLACE

Today The Mod Podge Bookshelf and Mod Podge Blog Tours are hosting Kelsey Sutton's Some Quiet Place 


BOOK COVER REVEAL EXTRAVAGANZA!

A special thanks to Mod Podge Bookshelf for hosting the cover reveal. 

Summary of Some Quiet Place from Goodreads:
" Elizabeth Caldwell has perfected the art of pretending to feel emotion, but it’s always a lie. After a near-fatal car accident when she was a small child, Elizabeth lost the ability to feel any emotion, but along with that loss she gained bizarre abilities: she can see the personified Emotions she cannot feel. Fury, Resentment, Longing—they’ve all given up on her, because she doesn't succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one. Fear. He’s consumed by the mystery of Elizabeth’s past, consumed by her. 
And then there are Elizabeth's cryptic, recurring dreams, in which there’s always love, and there’s always death. Haunted by these dreams, Elizabeth paints them, knowing that they somehow hold the key to the mystery of her past.  
But a shadowy menace is stalking Elizabeth. Her survival depends on uncovering the truth about herself. And when it matters most, she won’t be able to rely on Fear to save her. "
And now for the cover!!



Isn't it gorgeous? I absolutely LOVE the symbolism in this cover. The novel is about loss of self, and the image of the girl simply fading away into windswept leaves is lovely. I can feel the anguish and the aching ecstasy of falling apart. I seriously got goosebumps the first time I saw this about a month ago. (Yeah, I've been holding back. I am perfectly capable of keeping a secret. So...does anyone have a secret for me?)

I've known Kelsey Sutton (aka Kills) for approximately two years, but it feels like I've known her forever. We met via Young Writer's Society and developed a unique and wonderful friendship, shared with our co-conspirator Tiger, that has stepped beyond the anonymous confines of YWS. 

We three share our feelings, our frustrations, our successes, and our failures. We pass documents back and forth, bounce ideas off of each other's craniums, beta-read, proof-read, critique, and lift up each other when we're feeling somewhat like we've lost sight of what we want to write. Some of my favorite discussions have been during Skype conversations with Kills and Tiger. We even gave each other nicknames. I'm Bambi, just in case y'all were wondering. 

We're an odd group. None of us lives within comfortable driving distance. Tiger is from "Oh! Canada!"; I am from LA (Lower Alabama); and Kills is a Yankee from Minnahsodah. So, we rely mostly on Skype and often on Facebook. We have our own secret club-group that no one else can see because we're super cool and secretive. 

I read Some Quiet Place in some of its earliest forms and loved it. Of course, it underwent some major changes, as is to be expected, but I still love it. Although, I haven't read the final version, simply because I want to wait until I can have it bound and in my hands. I'm a book nerd, y'all. This should not come as a big shock. "I like big books and I cannot lie," "I don't normally get excited, but when I do it's about books," and all that memetastic jazz.

Anyway, I won't detain y'all any longer. Mod Podge Bookshelf is hosting a book giveaway, so head down to the Rafflecopter thingamabob and enter!!





Kelsey is very enthusiastic about her debut novel's cover; here is what she has to say about the design:


"It is gorgeous, eerie, and maybe a little strange. I love how much relevance it has to the story, as well. The farmland in the background, the town, the stormy sky, the leaves, the way the girl is vanishing. The point is, I am in love. Hope you adore it as much as I do."

 What relevance is she talking about? 

Enter to win a Pre-Order of Some Quiet Place below to find out!!!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!


Author information (the official kind): 
Kelsey Sutton has done everything from training dogs, making cheeseburgers, selling yellow page ads, and cleaning hotel rooms. Now she divides her time between her full-time college classes and her writing, though she can also sometimes be found pounding out horrible renditions of Beethoven on the piano and trying bizarre drinks at her local coffee shop. Kelsey lives in northern Minnesota with her dog and cat, Lewis and Clarke. Visit her on her blog at www.kelseysutton.blogspot.com.

Monday, November 5, 2012

We Have a Winner!

As y'all may or may not know, I had a giveaway a week ago. The prize is a choice of one of the six books I bought at a recent 50-Cents-an-Inch book sale. And today I have the distinct pleasure of announcing the winner!


Monday, October 29, 2012

The Haul and the Giving

Compared to past book sales, this time around was not as rewarding. I bought eight inches ($4); that's down from 22 inches last time. It was an odd day, that's for sure. For some reason, the weather decided, "Hey, it's almost November, let's get freaky cold, freaky fast!" And since the clouds and the wind are followers, there was no stopping the resulting dip in temperature.

I was unprepared. And I couldn't get a close parking spot to the library. I was supposed to take my grandmother with me to make up for lost bonding time, but even that didn't work out as planned. 

So, there I was. Freezing and staring at tables full of romance novels and John Grisham paperbacks. Slim pickings for the connoisseur that I assume myself to be. Don't even ask me about the YA section. I kid you not, there were THREE boxes full of copies of Twilight and New Moon. THREE. One foot by one foot boxes. At least 20 books in total. 

I should have taken a picture. But I was too tired and cold for that. And I wasn't surprised. 

Anyway, here is what I managed to find despite all of that: 

1. The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan 
2. Middlemarch by George Eliot (Admittedly something I should keep and read.) 
3. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti 
4. A Place to Come To by Robert Penn Warren
5. A World of Great Stories ("115 stories, the best of modern literature")
6. Library of Choice Literature Vol. V: Humorous

I wish I had better choices for y'all! Hopefully the next book sale will be a bountiful book harvest. 

Aaaaaand here is the Rafflecopter thingy! Go crazy!

A few things though. I am a poor college student, and I can't afford to send packages to most foreign countries. Therefore, this contest/giveaway is open to U.S./Canada only. Sorry! I wish I had lots of money. I'd buy more books that aren't being sold 50 cents by the inch. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Potential for Some Giveaways

Bloggy friends! It's that time of year again. The time of year when my local library has its Fall 50-Cents-an-Inch Book Sale!

It happens rarely, but when it does happen, I get really excited. So excited, that I make memes.


But this time around, I had an idea. What if I bought these gently used books (some of them have probably only been read once! The travesty!) and then had a blog giveaway? Does that sound like a good idea? 

There are always some good finds at these sales, but I never really know what I'm going to find. Usually I just buy whatever appeals to me. Hopefully, I'll find some books that y'all will like too! If not, then I guess I get to keep them... *fails at looking sad*

I don't know if any of y'all are "old" book fans like me, but one great thing about these book sales is that a lot of older library patrons participant and bring in books that they've had for decades. This gives me the chance to snatch up some awesome first editions of books that you don't find very often. 

I wrote about one such instance of rare book finding in this post last year. I found a collection of poetry by the infamous Ossian. I may or may not have squealed like a little girl being tickled by her father when I found that book. Okay, I did. Every once in a while I'll pick it up, smell the old yellowed pages, and clutch it to my chest like it might disappear. 

Anyway, back to the idea at hand. Once I make my purchases and throw my back out carrying the books to my car, I'll do a catalogue of books, put together a giveaway thingy, and then let mayhem ensue! Feel free to share this with others, or not depending on how greedy you're feeling once the books are revealed. 

I may just find some super awesome books at this sale. Or I may not. One never knows how a 50-Cents-an-Inch Book Sale will turn out until one finds oneself there. 

Until next time...





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

RTW: Adapting the Words

Welcome to our 153rd Road Trip Wednesday!


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

It isn't surprising that this month's Bookmobile selection, Leigh Bardugo's (@LBardugoShadow and Bone, has sold film rights; the darkly magical world of the Shadow Fold begs for an on-screen translation*! But that got us wondering. We'd like to know, in your opinion, what is it that makes some books seem ideal for a film translation?

(*And don't forget, you can chat with Leigh about the movie, and any other burning questions you have about Shadow and Bone, during YA Highway's live chat with her next Tuesday, Oct. 30!)

The moment I saw this prompt, I giggled. Why? Well, it just so happens that I'm reading "A Theory of Adaptation" by Linda Hutcheon right this minute (I literally just set the copy down to check on the Internet and make sure it's okay), and my head is full of the why's and how's and other theoretical thingamawhosits surrounding adaptations from books to film to opera to plays to poetry to video games and beyond. 

Now, don't get me wrong. It's actually quite enjoyable. Relating to this RTW, one question that Hutcheon discusses is:
Are some kinds of stories and their worlds more easily adaptable than others? (15)

Well, in short, yes. Some books naturally lend themselves to visual translation. Books that contain a wide breadth of imagery and visual scope give screenwriters and directors more to work with on the visual aspect of films. However, another important piece of this adaptation game is the style of the novel. "Linear realist novels" are easier to adapt to the big screen than what we call "experimental" novels (Hutcheon 15). (Look at me using MLA format in a blog post!) 

So, basically, novels that follow the plot pattern of cause and effect, point A to point B, etc., are easier, and therefore more likely, to be translated to movie form. It's more difficult to translate stream of consciousness novels or novels narrated by a single protagonist with lots of internal reflections, unless the director is going for the Sundance effect and cares about "art" and the "craft." If that's the case, I say more power to them. Indie theatres need films too. 
The most successful films are adapted from books that do meet the requirements of "linear realist novels," at least in the respect to the linear part. I happen to believe that the term should be retooled to say "linear fiction novels" due to the preponderance of fictional--often fantasy--novels that were made into movies or are currently in the works. Ex.: The Hunger Games series, Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Percy Jackson series, Twilight series (I'm ready for this to just be over...),  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Eragon (although that was kind of a flop), City of Bones, and now Shadow and Bone, and the list could go on forever. 

You also have to take into consideration the relative success of the novels themselves. A production studio is not going to take a risk on a novel adaptation unless that novel has a large fanbase and they think they'll sell bajillions of tickets. Another component is the book's theme and connection to other, highly successful adaptations. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," pretty much sums it up. Exciting or otherwise appealing themes (dystopian boom, anyone?) are what big studios count on to drawn in the public. People like what they like, and if the public is clamoring for more Vampire/Werewolf dramas, then the film companies will rush to give it to them. In exchange for their money, of course. 

We, as humans, are attracted to the known without often realizing it. We want more of whatever satisfies our desire for escape and adventure, but it has to be within the boundaries that we are comfortable with. Movie studios recognize this fact and use it to determine what they produce. 

It's a tough business, but if an author is lucky enough to attract the right attention, he or she might just see his or her novel adapted to the big screen. Wouldn't that be exciting? 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review of "The Crown of Embers"

I wrote a review a week or so ago for The Vanguard, and I just want to share it with y'all. I don't have time to write another review of The Crown of Embers specifically for this blog, but if y'all want to see what I had to say (in AP Style, no less) about this second novel by Rae Carson (@raecarson), then please hop on over here to "Carson's 'The Crown of Embers' burns bright."

I hadn't planned on writing a review for The Crown of Embers at all, simply because I don't really have time right now, but my friend Jake needed another article for the JagLife section and I wanted to help him out.

As a past JagLife Editor, I know what it's like to have writers not turn in articles by deadline. It makes one crazy. Crazy enough to kill. So to prevent any more deaths, I read The Crown of Embers in two hours and wrote an article directly after. Super speed-reading Bailey to the rescue!

I know it may sound funny, but I love the fact that the quote on the cover is by Rachel Hawkins (@LadyHawkins), and she perfectly summed up my feelings about the book in three words: "I adored it."

So there you have it. I actually managed to write another review without meaning to write another review. Fantastic!

Until next time...

(And yes, I realize this is my second post today. I'm being oddly blog post prolific today for some reason.)

RTW: NaNoWriMo Not Likely (for Me)


Welcome to our 152nd Road Trip Wednesday!


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?


Alas, I will not be able to participate in the annual scramble for words that is NaNoWriMo. I know that once November rolls around (and it will be here before I'm ready) I'll see Tweets and Facebook updates galore about word counts and so forth. And I will not be one of them. 

I'm just too busy with classes and work to even think about adding another thing to my plate. Sure, I'd enjoy it, but I have a thesis to worry about and it needs my attention quite desperately at the moment. 

Perhaps next year I'll be able to participate again. I do enjoy the thrill of getting the requisite number of words each day. It's addicting in some sense. Okay, it's very addicting. Every writer--published or not--who participates gets the NaNo Buzz. Exhausted but exhilarated, we type like fiends until our fingers refuse to continue, and then sit back on our heels to whistle appreciatively at the words, glorious words, that fill our screens. 

Just the mere fact of thinking about trying my hand at 50,000 words makes me want to try...

But I can't. There are times when I can do something, and also times when doing what I want to do will be too  much of a burden for my already laden schedule to bear. This is one of those latter times. And I hate it. 

However, there's always next year. I'll just have to live vicariously through all of y'all's NaNoWriMo experiences this go around. I hope y'all have fun. I'll be watching wistfully over here...

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

RTW: Cooler Days are Coming


Welcome to the 150th Road Trip Wednesday!


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic: How does your writing (place, time, inspiration) change with the seasons?


As far as creative writing goes, winter and fall are the most productive times of the year where my stories are concerned. I'm afraid they get a bit neglected when the weather is hot and humid.

For some reason, when it's hot outside I don't want to write. It's strange, I know, but it's the truth. My creativity is near zero during the hotter months. But when the first crisper days of fall roll around, I start to get the writing itch. Ideas come flooding into my head and my fingers just want to type. 
I just love this image. It's so beautiful. 

I can feel the change coming on, too. This week the mornings and evenings have been in the 60's and I've seen the leaves turning orange, yellow, and brown. I'm waiting, quite impatiently, for the day when wearing a thick jacket outside is socially acceptable and not just something I do because I'm too lazy to take it off after exiting the freezing buildings. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the energy I'm saving not sweating to death. That's my theory. And along with the colder weather comes fun things like bonfires and hot chocolate. Some of my fondest memories from growing up have been during this time of year. There are holidays and gatherings of friends and family. 

Everyone gains a new energy once the temperatures begin to dip. It's wonderful. 

Writing while under the influence of cooler temperatures and hot chocolate comes easily. Throw in a crackling fire and you've got one happy writer girl. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reading Online: Google Play Explored

I know that today is Wednesday, which means I should be going on over to YA Highway and participating in the Road Trip with my other bloggy pals. But for some reason I just don't want to today. I must have put on my stubborn, independent pants this morning. I've been doing things "different" since I woke up. I didn't park in my normal place. I didn't get a bagel with strawberry cream cheese and a coffee after my first class. I went back to my place and...put together a bag of fruit and veggies to take to work. Wacky, I know.

I'm still in shock, too.

Anyway, I've decided to write about something I've been doing lately: reading online. I know it's not a new concept. We read online all the time, but I'm not talking about reading blog posts or doing research. A few months ago Google debuted it's new area called Play. It's like a combination between iTunes, Amazon, and a bunch of other similar things that sell stuff like movies, music, games, and ebooks. However, Google Play is something different, or so I think.

At any given time in the day, I have an Internet-capable device on or near my person, whether it be iPhone, iPad, or laptop. Sometimes all three (like right now). And as it so happens, I find myself with pockets of free time that can't be spent doing something other than sitting quietly and waiting. Or as has been the case most recently, reading online.

So far, so good.
I call these times my Page Snatches. I don't have time to read much, maybe just a page or two, or if I'm lucky or very early to class or all alone in the lab, I can read maybe a chapter or two before being interrupted. So, I've been Page Snatching my way through From The Two Rivers: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Google Play had a special on it a few months ago, and I got it for .99 cents. Score!

I've also appropriated a collection of classics such as Vanity Fair, The Sea-wolf, The Prince, Call of the Wild, and A Little Princess. All are free. Of course, getting classic ebooks for free is not a new concept either. There are, in fact, apps for that. So it is expected that Google Play would do the same and provide that service to readers.

But wait, there's more. You can also download the books you buy from Google Play and transfer them to your device. That's right. Not only are your books available online at any time, but you can also download a transferable copy. Theoretically, you could "share" this copy with friends, an option that other booksellers and their requisite devices do not allow. The one exception is Barnes & Noble's Nook, which allows you to Lend a copy of a book (that is earmarked for Lending and not all are) to a friend for two weeks, but you can only do that once per book.

Copyright and Digital Rights Management (DRM) are important, and I would not deny any author his or her dues. Do NOT pirate books for your own profit or to just "share" with all your friends. It's an awful thing to do. (Despite the fact that you can share paperback and hardcover books as much as you want, but I digress.) Intellectual property is something I hold very dear and near to my heart. But I'm not going down the road of discussion on DRM. Too messy. 

Amazon offers the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, but you have to be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $79 annually. There are two catches: you must have a Kindle to borrow and you can only borrow one book per month. Amazon gives Prime members a bunch of other services in addition to the lending library, but those features don't have anything to do with books so I won't go into them. (I got the Prime membership free trial for free two-day shipping. I need to remind myself to cancel it so I don't get charged the fee...)
Readers that work with Google Play.

Unfortunately, if you're a Kindle user, Google Play books are not currently compatible with your device. This is (likely) because of the rivalry between the big players, Google and Amazon. But the fact that Google Play books can be transferred to multiple other devices as well as read online is quite impressive. All you need is the Adobe Digital Editions download and you're good to go.  Or the capability to use a web browser to read online.

So even if you do purchase your books from Amazon via a Kindle device, if it's a Kindle Fire you should be able to read Google Play books regardless of compatibility issues, if you have a web browser.

Well, this post has succeeded in growing beyond my expectations or intentions. Hopefully it makes sense and stuff.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

RTW: The Things They Made Me Read

Welcome to our 146th Road Trip Wednesday!


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.


Back to school time! What's your favorite book that you had to read for a class?

For this post I'm going to break things down into two groups. The first being high school and the second being college. Since I'm currently in college and can actually remember most of the books I've read, I feel like that will be the hardest group in which to pick just one novel. 

High School
courtesy goodreads.com
This one is a no brainer. My favorite book from those turbulent years is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I love that book so much I even used it in a few essays I wrote my freshman and sophomore years of college. I wasn't a huge fan of Steinbeck's other most popular work, The Grapes of Wrath, when I was in high school and I can't say that I am today. It's a great novel but just doesn't appeal to me. East of Eden, however, did and still does. I love(d) how Steinbeck took the Cain and Abel story and applied it to westward expansion and the American tale of growth. Even just writing about it makes me want to go pick it up again. The whole book is simply dynamic and littered with allusion, morality, and the dirty politics of family. 

courtesy goodreads.com
College
Last semester I took a class that compared the works of Ernest Hemingway and Willa Cather. I'd read All Quiet on the Western Front in high school and hadn't loved it. Turns out I still don't like it. But I'd never read anything by Cather prior to taking that course. Fortunately, Cather seemed to be my cup of tea. Her novel My Ántonia completely won me over. I think I even wrote a post about it...*runs off to check past posts*...guess not. Maybe that was a dream. Anyway, I seem to have a thing for American turn-of-the-century, coming-of-age novels. I'm actually really surprised since my focus is on Southern literature not on midwest or western American literature. But I digress.

So that's it. My two favorite required readings. I'm gonna go now. Things to do. Questions to answer in the lab. Sandwiches to eat. Stuff.

Until next time...

Friday, August 31, 2012

After the Storm

It wasn't really as bad as the media outlets made it out to be, at least not in my area. The local news stations squawked about TS Isaac for days before it "hit."

The one and only casualty at our house was Frank.

Frank. 

Other than Frank losing a leg and falling over, the weather was simply perfect for skimboarding in the yard (Boyfriend had a blast) or just walking around. Like I did. 
Oh it's a tropical storm out here? I didn't realize.

When all was said and done, I'd watched what amounted to two seasons of Top Gear (the UK version of course) in the three days that TS Isaac splattered and blew outside. For once in the history of history, my university actually cancelled classes not one but TWO days in a row! This never happens. I'm pretty sure if scientists knew for a fact that the end of the world was going to happen the Thursday of next week, we would still have classes that day. 

Just because. 

Anyway, I hope everyone is well and doing wonderful things wherever they may be. Oh! And have a great Labor Day!

Until next time...


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RTW: Lovely Things

Welcome to our 144th Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic is: 
(Inspired by Stephanie Perkins' post on Natalie Whipple's blog) 
What is your novel's "Love List"?

A love list, according to Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss, is a list of things, which can be ideas or concrete objects, that make you love your WIP. I've never thought about making lists like this before, but since I really like making lists writing this post was fun (my favorite kind of lists are the grocery kind). 

Explosions. In the sky. Over my house. 
Off the top of my head, here are a few of the things on my love list for a little WIP of mine that I like to call "Super Duper."

1. Ireland
2. Spanish moss
3. red hair
4. super powers
5. blue-eyed boy
6. sarcasm
7. a green man
8. betrayal
9. growth
10. explosions
11. more explosions
12. yummy food
13. mind control
14. the elements
15. family

As you can see, I like my novels to be a bit more combustible than most. So what are y'all's love lists?

Until next time...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Trains, planes, and newspaper articles

Hello blogosphere! I'm so happy to post once again. I know it's been for-freaking-ever since my last post, but lots of Things have been happening.

First, the Boyfriend came home, and then left again a few days later to visit his family. He's currently stuck in Boston after taking a train and a bus to that airport because he couldn't get a flight from the Providence airport. It's been a long day for him. Poor thing. Hopefully he'll get a seat on a flight in Boston that will take him somewhere not...in Boston. Preferably somewhere closer to Mobile. Like Mobile.

In addition to the Boyfriend stuff, I have moved into a new apartment and spent the past week getting settled in. The settling has gone nicely. Here's a picture of my living/dining area. I eat where I watch TV. Like a boss. (Also like a college student.)


I've also dropped the education major and now I'm simply an English major. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and that weight would be the unnatural bulk of my Honor's thesis as it used to be. It has since been scheduled for weight-loss surgery, which is sometime this week. Wish it luck.

So that's what's been happening in my neck of the woods. Classes are about to resume and with it my two jobs. I'm no longer the Life Editor at The Vanguard, but have taken over as the Copy Editor, and I've been editing up a storm the past few days. It's been nice. I love editing.

I'm actually at the office right now waiting to get more articles to edit. I hope all of my bloggy friends are doing well.

Until next time...


Monday, July 23, 2012

"Grave Mercy" at Last

These no longer exist.
Since it's pretty early in the day for me to be doing anything, here is a picture of my breakfast. I cannot function at this hour without copious amounts of coffee and sugary things.

These little beauties are mini raspberry filled donuts. When I saw them sitting with the other baked goods, I knew we were meant to be together. And for that, I thank Publix.

Moving on.

It's been a while since I read Grave Mercy, but I still have a few things to say about it. From looking at the cover, I got the overall impression that the story would be along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during medieval times: a girl in a red dress holding a crossbow while looking forlornly, yet steadily, off into the distance. Sounds pretty slayerish, right?  

courtesy Goodreads.com

But I was wrong. There is something of the supernatural in the book but it doesn't have anything to do with vampires or werewolves. For some reason, this made me very happy. I guess I'm just tired of the vamp/wolf storyline. 

*intermission of approximately 3 million years*

And now it's been a longer while since I've read Grave Mercy. I wish I had some awesome story about how I got abducted by aliens and couldn't finish this post until I saved their home world from dire straits. Actually, I wish I could remember what I've done the past week and a half that's prevented me from writing the rest of this post. I'm drawing a huge blank. For some reason my only memories are of watching the final rose ceremony of The Bachelorette last night. (Yay for Jef!)

Anyway,  here goes nothing. 

I give Grave Mercy four out of five bookends for overall greatness. The plot is well-paced, the characters have fleshiness, and the world is built of steel beams and granite. My only qualm was with the MC, Ismae, and her attitude at times. She can be really dumb (in my opinion) about things that are no-brainers. 

But I digress. I just have problems with over the top stubbornness. (Says the stubborn girl.)

However, don't let that little quibble of mine stop you from reading Grave Mercy. It's a great read and has earned a permanent place on one of my steadily filling bookshelves.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"The Near Witch" Reviewed

Well, I finally found time to write this review at least. The Boyfriend has gone back for another month of Army things and now I have time on my hands again. When he's here I tend to...not do anything productive unless it includes cooking recipes I find on Pinterest. We're crazy like that. I wrote a review (not a very long or opinionated one) for The Vanguard about The Near Witch but it hasn't been printed yet. So, I'm going to write another one. Yay!

I was lucky enough to win a copy from @BookReverie with a signed bookmark. I love blog contests. Really, I do.


I read The Near Witch in about two hours. That's a good thing. I couldn't put it down. I think I may have even missed dinner. I can't remember. All I can recall was the sheer awesomeness of the story.

Schwab is a GENIUS. I love fairytales in general, and The Near Witch is like reading all of the Grimm tales but BETTER. Magic, witches, dark mystery, spooky setting, and a romance that doesn't end with someone being sacrificed. Or does it? Muahaha.

In addition to being a great storyteller, Schwab also has magic writing fingers. The words seem to flow and sing like the wind on the moors, a wild and inspiring thing. When a book is this aesthetically and visually pleasing, then you know you have something special. Reading becomes a joy and the words envelop you in...in...words. Well, that was deep.

Let me explain. It goes without saying that I like to read books that are well-written. Let's all say, "Duh!" Books that are the mental equivalent of eating broken glass or hearing nails on a chalkboard usually don't get such glowing reviews. Or if they do, the reviewer is obviously insane or lying. Or both.

What was I saying?

Oh right, good books. I like them. A lot. But what I really like is when a book is made with the best of ingredients. Word choice is a big player in this dynamic. The right word or selection of words can make or break an image for a reader. You can be reading along without a care in the world and then BAM! you run face first into an awkward phrase or something equally disturbing, like a misplaced/missing comma (Okay, I'm projecting my own issues with grammar usage onto this topic). That book is now tinged from that encounter.

In moments like that, I usually heave a large sigh and wish that I could somehow edit every book before it went to the printing press. However, that's not going to happen (although it would be my dream job) so I just have to content myself with making a tally and holding the bitterness I feel towards those problems deep inside. repress repress repress

Sometimes though, a book has the It factor. All of the qualities that make up a well-written book meld with the story itself to create a book worth reading. And that is what The Near Witch is.

Would you look at that? I managed to tie that rambling stuff up there into a conclusion that also related back to the original intent of this post. Success!



Until next time...


Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Fun!

A wonderful thing has happened to one of my bestest friends. After much labor and re-writing, Kelsey Sutton has scored a book deal for her novel Some Quiet Place with Flux publishers!! *cue my squeals* She posted about it (here) a few days ago. Kelsey even quoted me in her post. I'm so excited for her!! I've seen this book develop and I feel like a proud aunt.  It's on Goodreads now, too! EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Kelsey's agent, Beth Miller of Writer's House, has done a great job throughout this entire thing and I'm so glad that both of their hard work has finally paid off. If you could only see me now, I'm doing my excited face, which is exactly what I sent to Kelsey when I found out the good news.

Here ya go.


Lovely. There's just too much joy and not enough space in my tiny body to contain it. Hence the face: squinty eyes, wrinkled nose, bared teeth. The photo doesn't capture the bouncing up and down in my seat well though. The fact that I'm a little blurry around the edges is only a minor indicator. 

Anyway, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I can tell y'all of the book reviews that are upcoming here on the bloggy blog. I've got a few things to say about The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, which I have read courtesy of @BookReverie. And then after that I will be moving on to discuss Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Both are great reads and I can't wait to delve deeper into What I Thought About Them. Dun dun dun. 



Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Trip Through DRAGONSWOOD

Dragonswood

by Janet Lee Carey
goodreads.com
Published January 5th 2012 by Dial


Goodreads summary:

Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt, hoping to rid the island of half-fey maidens. 
Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn't expect to be accused of witchcraft, forced to flee with her two best friends, or offered shelter by the handsome and enigmatic Garth Huntsman, a warden for Dragonswood. But Garth is the younger prince in disguise and Tess soon learns that her true father was fey, making them the center of an exciting, romantic adventure, and an ancient prophecy that will bring about peace between all three races - dragon, human, and fairy.

 So...based upon that summary, one would assume that Dragonswood would be full of adventure, preferably the "exciting, romantic" kind. Is it? Not really. It pains me to say that because I was fervently hoping that it would suddenly wow me. However, each page failed to bring that spark that I've come to expect from anything I read. You know the feeling. It's a quickness of breath, an irresistible need to read more and more, a fanatic search in the shelves of your local bookstore for the next in a series.

True book lovers know what I'm trying to say. We all have this addiction to literature in our veins and we're always looking for our next fix.

Dragonswood failed to satisfy my craving. I'm not saying that it's a bad book. It has its moments and I think that Janet Lee Carey is a good writer. But...

It could have been so much more. Personally, I feel that Dragonswood would have been much better suited as a series so that Carey could really explore the vastness of the world she crammed into only 407 pages. When you throw fairies, dragons, witches, and the historical Pendragons into a story, you need to have a LOT of room to allow those separate entities to breath and move about.

Take Saberhagen's The First Swords series for example. (Actually, there are tons of examples I could list.)

The entire novel was rushed. From the very beginning, I didn't feel like I got a good grasp of the pace. Things happen boom, boom, boom, putting Tess in situations that don't feel real. I actually said at one point, "This doesn't feel real." Out loud.

That's about the point that I stopped reading and didn't pick the book up again until a few days later. I was close to giving up entirely. And that doesn't happen very often guys. I like to give all books a chance. So I kept reading.

I'm not going to say this book is one of the best I've read this year. But I can't say it's the worst. It has its moments (is it sad that I can't think of one to mention?) and a lot of potential. But that's about it.

If you're feeling like you want to give Dragonswood a chance despite my review, then I say more power to you. Who knows? Maybe it's just me and the book is really awesome. I certainly hope that's the case.

Until next time...

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Confusion of Princes

I'm struggling folks. Not with life, but with reading Dragonswood. I don't know why it's taking me so long to read it but perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it isn't that great. Admitting that to myself made me really sad. I hate when books fail to live up to my expectations.

BUT I will finish it and provide y'all with a full review. I just can't promise it will be a timely review. Until then, I can write a little piece about A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix. I recently lost control of my credit card and bought myself a Nook Tablet and since that time I've been blowing up the download book option like it's going out of style. 

A Confusion of Princes was one of the first ebooks I read on it and it completely blew me away. As you all may know, or not if you don't know me, I adore Garth Nix's Abhorsen series. I've seriously read Sabriel about 30 times and it's only the first book. I keep that (--->) on my bedside table just in case I feel like reading before I go to bed. Yes. I'm that in love with those books. 

However, when I found out that Nix was writing a book based in space, I reached a whole new level of fandom. It was quite amusing. The first few sentences is where Nix always manages to get me. (For some reason my autocorrect wanted to make manages into mangoes. How odd.)

Just take a read for yourselves. 

I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old Earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time.  
This is the story of my three deaths, and my life between.  
My name is Khemri, though this is not the name my parents gave me. I do not know who my parents are, and never will, for I was taken from them as a baby.
                                        -A Confusion of Princes (Chapter 1, page 5) by Garth Nix



See what I mean? How can you not want to learn how Khemri died three times and still lives?

Nix does what I've rarely seen other authors do, at least not as well as he does: he combines a feeling of history with fantasy. I'm not sure of any other way to explain it than that. Even though his books are filled with magic or in this case, advanced science and alien technology, it still feels like it could be real. Nothing is too outlandish to exist. Everything feels plausible. And that distinction marks true fiction.

The worlds of Sabriel and Khemri have history. They have weight. The backgrounds aren't just filler, they are actual characters in the story, without which the main characters would be lost.

And I love every minute I spend reading about them.

Anyway, I feel like I've sufficiently sung the praises of Garth Nix today. Mission accomplished. I hope y'all follow the link to check out Goodreads' summary of A Confusion of Princes. It's a great book.

Until next time...




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RTW: Best of May

Welcome to our 133rd Road Trip Wednesday! 

 Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. 


We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.



Well, I've done quite a bit of reading since classes officially went kaput, so I actually have non-class related choices this time. That's always fun.

Let's see...best book of May...has to be Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I already blogged about it and all (Burnt to Cinders), but I'm perfectly content with mentioning it again. Since it is such a great book. I also have to give a shout out to Lamplighter and Factotum by D.M. Cornish.

Also, to give you a taste of Cinder (if you haven't already partaken of that wonderful fairytale/alien concoction), here is the book trailer that I made for it a few weeks ago. I've already posted it once, but hey, where's the harm, right? Right.

Well, that's all I have for today. I've been working on a new WIP (it's super top secret, even I don't know what it's about to be honest) and I'm all worded out. (And yes, I realize May was like 6 days ago. It's summer.)





Until next time...

Friday, June 1, 2012

THE COLLECTOR


Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. 
His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag. 
Stealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: 
Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days. 
Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care.  
This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions deeply buried.

And here is the cover!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meet Victoria Scott

Day two of my Pre-game Show for The Collector is here! Welcome back. I'll be your host for this post. Yes, I am indeed your normal host. I'm in a weird announcer mood today though and y'all will be reaping the benefits. I can sense y'all's enthusiasm. It's wonderful. Onward!

Meet Victoria Scott

She has such a nice face. I like her. 
The Details:
YA author repped by Laurie McLean of the Larsen-Pomada literary agency.
Member of Writer's League of Texas
Member of Team Shiver

Characteristics of Note:
Doesn't drink coffee. *checks the list again* *gasps* Yep. It's true. She doesn't drink coffee and readily admits that on her author page. Well...more for me!! Muahahaha!
Afraid of monkeys. That I can agree with. It's the fingers. I don't like their fingers. No idea why. Moving on...
Carries around water like a human camel. Minus the hump. I wish I was as conscious about my own hydration, but sadly, I do not drink enough H20. 
More interesting facts about the delightful Victoria Scott can be found on her author site. It's a pretty cool place so I recommend going over yonder and seeing what's what.

Find Victoria:
Website
Victoria Scott-Author
The Twitter
@VictoriaScottYA
Facebook
Victoria Scott Author Page

Scott's first book, The Collector (A Dante Walker novel), is set to be published in March of 2013. It features darkly handsome Dante Walker, known as The Collector, and his tale of soul-collecting, bad-boy fun. The cover will be revealed tomorrow (June 1) on a wide-selection of blogs that volunteered to participate in the cover reveal event, including this one.

I hope you'll all show Victoria and Dante some love by Tweeting about the event tomorrow (hashtags #DanteFever #DanteisMine #DanteWalker), taking one of the lovely teaser badges down below and sharing them on your bloggy blog, reblogging about The Collector, or ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Also, her short story Four Houses is available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It's going to be the next download on my Nook. And because I'm so nice, I will buy the first three people who comment on this post a copy of the digital book. Just leave your email addresses so I'll know who to send them to! (If you don't want a copy of Four Houses, please let me know so I can give it to the next person who does want it. Thank you!)


This is my favorite...














Until next time...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pre-gaming THE COLLECTOR

I'm so excited to get to participate in this cover reveal! I found out about it through Twitter and I know it's going to be super fun! Victoria Scott's debut novel gives me chills just looking at the cover...and as soon as you see it you'll understand why. Muahaha!

Dante Walker is a bad boy. Actually, he's the ultimate bad boy. And that's what makes him such a good Collector. A collector of souls, that is.

In preparation for the cover reveal on June 1st, please follow this link to watch the teaser trailer posted by Entangled Teen on the book website. It's...shivery.

And then show back up on Friday to see the cover! I'm going to have the countdown to the publication date on my sidebar as well.

Until next time...(keep hold of your soul!)



Dark Goddess (It's Not Chocolate. Sorry.)

So, I actually finished Dark Goddess about a week ago, I think, but I just haven't been able to corral myself into writing a review. I don't know what's wrong with me. *gives self stern look* But I've managed to do it today!

Dark Goddess is book two by Sarwat Chadda (his blog) about the Templar squire, Billi SanGreal. Billi is a teenage girl in an order of men whose holy purpose in life is to destroy the unholy forces of evil. Sounds great, right?

In book one, The Devil's Kiss, Billi must face a fallen angel and the loss of someone very dear to her.

Dark Goddess picks up in the aftermath of that trial and thrusts Billi into the frozen wastes of Russia to stop an ancient force bent on destroying humanity. With the help of fellow Templars and the lost heir to the throne of Russia (a descendent of Anastasia), Billi fights a battle not only for her world, but for her very soul.

Dark and dangerous paths lead Billi on her fast-paced journey, and Dark Goddess does not disappoint as a second novel. In fact, I think I quite prefer it over The Devil's Kiss, but perhaps that's just the ravages of time on my memory again.

Anyway, I can finally cross this review off my list and move on to the next book in the Queue Up for Review!

Until next time....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cinder Book Trailer

I told y'all I was going to do something video-y for Cinder, and here it is. A book trailer. Actually, it's more of a teaser trailer, but whatevs. I had fun making it. I hope y'all enjoy it!




Until next time...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Burnt to Cinders

courtesy Goodreads.com
It seems like only yesterday I was announcing that Cinder was the next book on the queue for a review. Wait a second...it was only yesterday! I seem to have regained my ability to read a book in a mere two hours and let me tell y'all, it was quite the read. Please direct your attention to the Goodreads summary below.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .  
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Whew. What a summary. When I bought the book a few months ago (I know, I know), I saw the cover and thought to myself, "Gee, that looks like something I'd like." Shame on me for not making time right then to read it because Cinder is probably one of the best books I've read in a while, and I don't say that lightly.

Marissa Meyer, author extraordinaire, has created a vibrant world with a story that hijacks your brain and takes it for a joy ride. In all honesty, I'm a sucker for retellings of fairy tales, but I've never seen Cinderella's story taken in such an awesome direction. This Cinder is tough, street smart, and far more interesting than the original. Sorry Bros Grimm. And Walt. This day was bound to come eventually.

Plus, how can you resist the added twist of a race living on the moon with an evil queen bent on conquering and enslaving earth? Ummm, mixing science fiction with fairy tales has got to be the best cross-pollination in literary history.

I'm only sad it didn't last longer. That said, I can't wait until the next book is released. It's going to continue Cinder's story and introduce us to Scarlet, aka Little Red Riding Hood. Appropriately enough, this second installment in the Lunar Chronicles will be titled Scarlet. Sadly, Scarlet will not be published until next February.

However, it won't hurt y'all any to get a jump start on its release by reading Cinder. In fact, I highly recommend y'all do. Immediately. I totally would post the book trailer that the publisher made for this book, but...it stinks so I didn't want to subject y'all to that. I'm going to be posting a video reaction to Cinder later today on my YouTube channel as well. In fact, I think I may just make a better book trailer. Hmmmm....I guess y'all will just have to wait and see what I decide.

Until next time...


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Back in Action

That's right. You read that title correctly. I'm back and reading up a storm. And with such activities come the arrival of new video reactions to said novels. To wet your whistles I have whipped up a double look at D.M. Cornish's Lamplighter and Factotum.









I think the video rather speaks for itself, so I won't drone on unnecessarily. It feels great to be back though and I hope y'all are doing well in your various and sundry locations.

Until next time...

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Last Monday

This is it, folks. The last full week of classes for this semester.

That's really all I have to say, which is quite unlike me. However, considering most of my time is taken up with writing papers (I'm sick of it by the way), it's not that unusual I suppose.

Words, words, words. I love them and yet at this moment I sort of despise them. Although I'm looking forward to next week when things will be a lot slower on the class and work front.

Summer. That is one word that I can't help but cherish.

Well, in order to make this post worth reading, I've embedded a book trailer for The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, which I really want to read when I get time. Soon.

It appears to be steampunk with an interesting paranormal twist, but I can't be sure. I haven't even picked up a copy yet, but thank the Internet for YouTube, right? I've provided y'all with the Goodreads link so check it out if you get a chance. And if you've already read it, would you kindly let me know how it is?



Until next time...