Friday, December 27, 2013

Hex Hall

I couldn't resist reading another book yesterday. Yes, I have work to do, and quite a bit of it, but I wasn't yet ready to leave my Christmas laziness. So I settled down with my fuzzy blanket and some country music low in the background and read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
After a prom night spell gone horribly wrong, Sophie Mercer is sent to Hecate Hall, a premier reformatory school for witches, shapeshifters, and faeries. And on the first day she makes quite an impression. She makes enemies with the girls in the strongest coven on campus, befriends the outcast and only vampire in school, and begins a futile crush on Archer, resident heartthrob. Not bad for a day's work. Hecate Hall seems pretty normal, though. Well, as normal as it can be when Lord Byron is actually one of your teachers. But when students start getting attacked, and Sophie's only friend is the number one suspect, her life at Hecate is about to get turned upside down.

Hex Hall reminds me of a cross between Mean Girls and Harry Potter. There's a ton of magic going on, and funny stuff happens when it goes wrong. There's also a lot of telling instead of showing, which leads me to a big observation about this book: I wish it had been longer. I rarely say this because most of the time books could have been edited down. But some of the conversations that are described I wish I could have seen. I think they would have deepened the characters. Another observation: Sophie barely reacts to anything happening around her, even the attacks. She's like a set of eyes for us to see Hex Hall through. But, onto my biggest observation: overall, I didn't care about the downsides. I read Hex Hall in one sitting, and I laughed out loud several times. The writing is quick and witty and, as we all know, easy reading is damn hard writing. I thoroughly enjoyed Hex Hall, and will certainly be picking up the sequel.

*edit: weird thing I just noticed. There is a cat on the cover of this book when there are no cats in the story. Weird...

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scarlet

Happy Holidays, everyone! For those of you who celebrate Christmas,  I hope you got a lot of books to read. I know I did. That's a perk of being addicted to reading. They're basically the only thing on your Christmas list. Now, you see, my family has had a tradition for the past 3 or 4 years that after we do all our Christmas traditions it's pretty much every man to their own corner to play with their new gadgets. My dad went to play with some new software my mom got him. My mom tried to figure out her new kindle. And me? I pulled out Scarlet by AC Gaughen. My tradition on Christmas is to read a book all the way through in one day. This used to be hard to do, but lately not so much. So, without further ado, my review of Scarlet.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Posing as a boy in Robin Hood's band of thieves, Scarlet is one of the cleverest of them all. She can scale a wall, throw knives with deadly accuracy, and travel the length of Sherwood forest by running through tree branches. But everything is not merry for this little band. Tax day is coming, and the sheriff of Nottingham will string up anyone who can't pay. So Robin and his men will pay for them. But when a thief taker named Gisbourne comes to town, that task becomes all the harder. Gisbourne is ruthless, and he's after Scarlet in particular.

Okay, so I loved the idea of a retelling of Robin Hood. Apparently there are a lot of them out there (steal from the rich and give to the poor) but to my knowledge I haven't read one. So I was very excited to pick this book up, as it also seemed to promise a kickass heroine. And Scarlet is pretty kickass. How Robin Hood is with a bow, she is with knives. And the tree thing was pretty cool. There were several points where my heart was thumping faster than normal. But this story did not grab me as I hoped it would for several reasons. 1) Using "were" instead of "was." This is a big technique in the story to show Scarlet's uneducated speech. But it just bugged me. 2) Where did Scarlet learn to throw knives? This is never explained, and some important backstory shows she would have had about 2 years to go from completely useless with them, to damn near perfect. 3) Love V. I don't care if there's a love V as long as it's done well and not a way to make an otherwise intelligent heroine into an idiot. And this V started out promising. John Little was quiet, strong, and seemed to take Scarlet for what she was. Robin saw exactly who Scarlet was and didn't treat her any differently for being a girl. It had promise. And then it imploded. Robin refuses to believe that Scarlet isn't with John even though she tells him explicitly 3 or 4 times. And he calls her a whore for being forced into an engagement when she was 13. Nope, sorry, can't do it. Lost all respect for him there. By the end I didn't want her with either guy because they were clearly idiots. Wow, this went on much longer than I thought it would. Don't be mistaken, I did enjoy this book. And I'll be reading the sequel eventually. These things just bugged me.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Up Next: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Linger

As I wrote yesterday, I haven't been reading much. I've had so much work between finals and my job and life stuff that at the end of the day I just want to collapse into bed and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Incidentally, I'm watching season 6 now! But now that I'm on break and have a bit more time on my hands, I got around to reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, the second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. So, spoilers below.


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Sam is a full time boy now, and he's struggling to accept his cure. He's also become the leader of the human pack in place of Beck, his adopted father. There are a couple new wolves in the pack, one of them the lead singer of Narkotika, a very popular band. Self-destructive and cruel, Cole St. Clair is not the kind of guy Sam likes having around. Meanwhile, Grace isn't feeling too well. Her parents have decided they don't approve of Sam and forbid them to see each other until Grace turns eighteen. She keeps feeling sick, like she's about to shift into the wolf she should have become ten years ago, but she can't.

As usual, I loved Stiefvater's prose, which is lyrical and beautiful and paints the best pictures in your head. At the same time, I didn't feel like the prose justified the lack of concrete plot like it totally does in her Raven Boys series. Things crept along in Linger like a sequel that didn't need to exist. Sam feels the burden of responsibility and misses Grace. Grace feels sick but refuses to talk about it. Cole and Isabel shine in this book as new POVs, and they kept me pretty interested. I will definitely read Forever and any napkin Stiefvater writes on, but this book came up short for me. The ending was abrupt and a bit unbelievable. Sam turned from sweet and sad to mopey and afraid. The switch in Grace's parents' opinion of Sam was just too abrupt to believe. And threads like Shelby and Olivia from Shiver were completely lost in this book. But still, love Stiefvater.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cover Reveal and other things

So you probably haven't noticed, but I haven't blogged at all this month. I swear I have a good reason. Well, a couple. 1) It was finals at school, which meant a mountain of work. 2) I'm sick and have been exhausted (cherry on the cake is the doctors don't know what's wrong with me). 3) Laziness. I haven't read a book in over a month because of how busy I am, and my free time was spent with friends relaxing or sleeping. I'm almost done with Linger by Maggie Stiefvater though, so review coming your way soon!

But on to the exciting things! The signups for the cover reveal of Balancing Act are open! And, guys, I'd love it if you'd be part of it. It's a beautiful cover that just encapsulates what this book is about. I almost cried when I saw it. Please, if you have a blog or a website or anything where you could put the cover on December 23rd, please sign up here.

Hope your December is going well!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Am Thankful


I have a lot to be thankful for. If you aren't interested in a really optimistic, sappy list of stuff I'm grateful for, you probably should stop reading.

My life is amazing. I am at a top 40 university, double majoring in subjects I love. I got a book deal at 19, and I've got a great job at Entranced Publishing where I recently got promoted. I have amazing friends and family who support my frantic reading habits and don't mind me blathering on about books. I've gotten scholarships that take a tiny bit of the sting out of tuition costs. I'm going to San Francisco soon, and then I'm spending my spring in London. I'm so young and I've gotten to fulfill so many of my life's dreams. I couldn't be happier.

I have a lot to be thankful for. You know, I have a cork board in my room by my bed where I pin up the tickets from shows, movies, concerts etc. I have only had it for a year, and it sports things from the past three years. It is completely full. I look up there and I see a lot of memories. A plane ticket to Philadelphia when I got to visit my best friend. A bookmark from Marissa Meyer. The expert reviews from the first time I entered ABNA. So many amazing memories, and I can't wait to put more up there.


Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/mtt9ogj
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Have a piece of pie on me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaNo on a Busy Schedule

I am not the busiest person out there. I can think of several right off the bat who would have much more trouble fitting writing into their schedules than I do. But, I do have a busy life. I am a full time student at a university doing a double major in history and creative writing. I am a senior editor at Entranced Publishing, where I assess submissions, edit manuscripts, and interact with a seriously awesome community of people. My own book is also coming out soon, and I'm starting to coordinate with my publicist as to the cover reveal and blurbs and author photo and all that fun stuff. I also try to have a social life.

Suffice it to say, I don't get to write as much as I'd like. It seems that whenever I check something off my To Do list, there's something even more pressing that needs to get done. So I knew this year doing NaNo would be tough. But I needed a way to keep myself accountable for my writing. And NaNo is the perfect way to do that.

How do I fit NaNo into my busy schedule? Well, as it should be, writing is very fun. But I treat it like an item on a check list. It is something I need to get done every day, otherwise that little box will stay unchecked. And I'm a perfectionist enough to not like that.

So while writing is fun for me, I make sure it is something that needs to get done every day or the appearance of my lists will suffer. I am a list person. I even think I've done a blog post about how much I love them. Anyways, it's been working for me. Poison Ivy is at over 31k as of today, and going strong. Now it's back to work. I have a paper due Friday.

How do you fit NaNo into your schedule?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Champion

This year has been rife with amazing book releases that I've been very excited about. They include Crown of Midnight, The Bitter Kingdom, Days of Blood and Starlight, The Dream Thieves, and Shades of Earth. Suffice it to say, it's been a very fun year for me in books. And adding to this fun comes Champion by Marie Lu, the final novel in the Legend Trilogy which I began reading in the summer of 2012. I have mentioned my love of the details in Lu's books and the fact that the romance is not the center of the plot. Well, I have these feelings and many more about the end of this amazing trilogy. If you don't want spoilers, don't read on.


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Day Wing is a legend in the Republic of America, and their most wanted criminal before he threw his support behind the new Elector, Anden. June Iparis is a prodigal military student of the Republic whose family and faith in the institution has been ripped apart by the Republic's schemes. With a new Elector in power, the Republic is on the brink of peace with the Colonies. That is, until a new plague sweeps through the Colonies and the ceasefire ends. Day's brother is in danger of being used in experiments to find a cure for the plague, and June must convince him to submit to it. June and Day are brought back together after eight months apart to save their country one last time.

Oh how I love Lu's novels. This book has been on my radar ever since I finished Prodigy last year and was amazed at how well it did as a middle novel. The details in this book are just as good as those in previous, and it's one of the reasons I love June as a protagonist. Add this to the fact that she uses logic instead of emotions to make decisions, and doesn't let her feelings for Day interfere with her every thought, and I thought she kicked butt. As for Day, I liked how emotional he was, and how loyal he was to his brother. By the end of the book I was so sad and at peace at the same time. Lu doesn't wrap up the ending in a nice little bow. There are wounds that can't heal and time means a lot of changes that wouldn't be expected. The end of the Legend trilogy was satisfying and heartwarming. Long live the Republic!

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Up Next: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Late Thaw Blog Tour

Today I have with me Ana Blaze, author of A Late Thaw, a YA contemporary romance novella. It was released October 28th through the Kissed imprint of Entranced Publishing (my employer). Before you meet the author, here's the summary of the book.

The town's too small for Kiley St. Claire's reappearance to be a surprise, still seeing her hits Cole Thomas like a punch tot he guy. She ripped his heart apart when she turned to ice and ran away all those years ago. Now that she's back, Cole's going to say his piece and move on.

Even if she does look damn good in that uniform.

Kiley St. Claire is back in the small town of Barrett, Vermont, for one reason and one reason only: to earn some cash so she can survive her final semester of grad school. She's not there for the sexy Christmas tree farmers.

Even one who once held her heart.

About the Author:

Ana lives just outside Washington DC with her very supportive husband and three rather demanding cats. She loves the ocean, Indian food, Ikea, and cooking. Ana admits to watching too much television and she swears that someday she's going to learn how to play the guitar resting on the bookshelf in her office.


  1. If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?
    I read. I write. I love my mom. I'm married to my best friend. I'm a sentience-based egalitarian. (Basically, I value other animals as much as humans.)
  2. What was your inspiration for A Late Thaw?
    I went to college in Vermont and I fell in love with the place. In a way, this novella is a love letter to the state and some of the good solid hotties there. So I started with a good Vermont man and then found his perfect match.
  3. How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
    This one came pretty quickly. It's not a long story, the whole thing takes place over two days, but I believe I had a draft in just a few weeks. That is fast for me. I often find the beginning of new stories come quickly and then I slow down in the middle. Ends often take longer. I think I have a hard time saying good-bye.
  4. What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?
    I outline a little in my head, but I try to let the characters lead so that I maintain my enthusiasm for the story as it progresses.
  5. How did you decide to go the indie/small press route?
    You know, I don't know that it was a very conscious decision. I was writing but not submitting yet and I came across a submission call that fit a novella I had completed and I decided it was time to give it a go. I polished it up and sent it in. It eventually got rejected by that publisher but made it through a couple rounds and I received a very nice personal email from an editor. That gave me the confidence to send it somewhere else, so I looked for an acquiring editor who seemed to like the kind of story I'd written and she was at a small press. I do think it was a good choice for me. There is a lot to learn and I think smaller presses are in a better position to teach. Also, I think they tend to have a lot of beginning authors and that leads to a wonderful, warm, and enthusiastic community.
  6. What are your favorite books overall? Recently?
    I read A LOT, so here goes: I love all of Anne Rice's vampire novels (and many others too) and urban fantasy from Kelley Armstrong and Rachel Caine. Patricia Briggs has a couple of series that are always excellent. On the romance front, I adore Nora Roberts, Jeaniene Frost and Charlaine Harris. I love the Selkie Series by Sophie Moss. Like many readers, I've been really enjoying the offerings of the YA genre lately: The Matched Trilogy, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Divergent Trilogy. I highly recommend If I Stay by Gayle Forman and its sequel, Where She Went. I'm enjoying some of the recent surge of New Adult romance as well, such as Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder. And I have to mention Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion for making me believe in zombie romance.
  7. Favorite type of ice cream?
    Peanut Butter Cup. But only because Ben & Jerry's broke my heart many years ago and retired Cool Britannia, a strawberry ice cream with fudge covered shortbread cookies in it. That was the best ice cream ever.

Add to Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17830852-a-late-thaw


Author Social Media Links:
Blog: http://anablaze.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ana_blaze
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnaBlazeLove
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/anablaze/


Buy links: Amazon | B&N

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 11, 2013

100th Review: Shiver

Oh my gosh, guys, this is a very important review! It's my 100th book review on this blog! And it feels so appropriate that I would be reviewing a book by one of my favorite authors (Maggie Stiefvater). I first read one of Miss Stiefvater's books last summer right before starting my sophomore year of college. It was The Scorpio Races, and I was instantly drawn in by her unique way of characterizing and fleshing out her world. I then went on to read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, and met the author herself this year. This review, however, is about an earlier book of Stiefvater: Shiver.

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Grace and Sam have known each other for six years, ever since Grace was attacked by wolves in the woods behind her house. Sam saved her. But he was also part of the pack that attacked her. Sam is a werewolf, and in the summer he is a human while in the cold of winter he's a wolf. He's always been afraid to talk to Grace, until now. There's a new, unstable werewolf on the loose, and the townspeople want to get rid of the wolves once and for all. Winter is coming, but Grace and Sam's love is just beginning.

It's always so hard for me to describe the plots of Stiefvater's novels. There is always so much more going on than a simple description can describe. I just want to shake all my readers through the computer screen and go "It's such an awesome book, you don't even know, just read it." Shiver is of a slightly different style than either The Raven Cycle or The Scorpio Races. There are glimmers of that unique, artistic voice that's most prominent in The Raven Cycle, and so Shiver reminds me more of a typical YA paranormal novel than any of her others. It is beautifully written, and a cool twist on the idea of werewolves. There is an interesting cast of secondary characters, and my heart was twisting by the end of the book. I would definitely recommend it.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Champion by Marie Lu

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Adorned Blog Tour

Today I have with me Georgeann Swiger, author of Adorned, a YA paranormal romance. Adorned is the first book in the Trinity of Souls Series, and was released November 4th through the Rush imprint of Entranced Publishing (my employer). Before you meet the author, here's the summary of the book.

When seventeen-year-old Anya finds out she's actually an angel being trained to protect humanity, she discovers that becoming an angel has nothing to do with winds and halos. For Anya, becoming an angel has to do with death - her death.

Micah, the angelic soldier ordered to protect her until she transitions from human to angel, promises her death will be a glorious experience as long as she follows his rules. But getting Anya through this life and to the next isn't as simple as Micah expects. His job becomes even more difficult after he unwittingly performs a miracle that exposes Anya's hidden angelic light.

With her secret out, Hell's legions begin targeting her. Unfortunately, Hell's minions are the least of Micah's worries. He's more concerned about the forbidden human emotions he's developed toward Anya. Even more troubling, is she seems to love him too. And giving in to those feelings could mean dire consequences for them both.

About the Author:

Georgeann Swiger earned her degree in journalism from West Virginia University, and then spent five years as an anchor/reporter at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, WV. After having children, she left television news to be a stay at home mom. During that time, she discovered creative writing was more fun than writing about real life tragedy. Imagining interesting characters and having them come to life on the page is now her passion. When she's not writing, she works as a substitute teacher. She lives in Reedsville, West Virginia with her husband, two kids, a beagle dog and a temperamental cat you tries to rule the house.


  1. If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?
    1. I'm a real life coal miner's daughter. I come from a family full of West Virginia coal miners. My family has been instrumental in keeping the lights on for a lot of people in the U.S.
    2. I'm married to a WV State Trooper. As a trooper's wife, I've heard many gory details about the despicable things people do. I've also found a greater empathy for the victims of crimes.
    3. I'm the mother of two teenagers. Raising a son and a daughter is the most challenging thing I've ever done.
    4. I'm a former television anchor/reporter. Stepping into TV news helped me become more outgoing and willing to take risks.
    5. I'm the owner of a cat and a dog. Surprisingly, being around both has made me realize I'm more of a cat person, maybe because I'm fickle and always already for a nap just like this moody fur ball. :)
  2. What was your inspiration for Adorned?
    I have always loved the concept of forbidden romance and wanted to use it as a catalyst for a story. When I began working on Adorned, angels ended up being my go to paranormal creatures, possibly because I have a collection of angels my husband started for me when we got married. I put my own twist on these angelic beings, by taking away the wings and haloes and making them complicated and complex beings with a special set of rules to follow.
  3. How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
    I spent about a year working on the first draft. Then I spent another six months revising it. It was a story that flowed out of me in between substitute teaching and taking care of my family. Finding time to write was an issue when I started. Today, I make time to write.
  4. What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?
    I'm a pantser trying to be an outliner. I have a basic outline for the third book in The Trinity of Souls Series. But for some reason, the story isn't matching up exactly with the outline. Characters and situation are popping into the manuscript I can't ignore. I have a habit of turning down dark roads, wondering where I'll end up. For the most part, I find a lot of interesting things by letting a story tell itself.
  5. How did you decide to go the indie/small press route?
    In March 2013, I entered a pitch contest on Twitter. Since Entranced Publishing was interested in YA paranormal romance, I came up with a Twitter pitch and sent it out in between getting dinner ready and washing clothes. I didn't expect to hear anything, but I had nothing to lose. Minutes after pitching, Ashley Christman posted she was interested in the first three chapters. By the next day, I had sent her the whole manuscript and she offered me a contract. This success story occurred a year after I started querying agents. After talking to Ashley and learning about Entranced, I knew signing with a small/indie press was right for me.
  6. What are your favorite YA books overall? Recently?
    I'm a fan of YA paranormal romance. I recently discovered author Jennifer Armentrout. Her book Obsidian is now one of my favorite YA romance novels. What I like about her is not only is she a fantastic writer, she's from West Virginia, the same as me. For some reason, our state gets a bad rap. So it's nice to root for a WV girl and wish her lots of success.
  7. Favorite type of ice cream?
    I live in walking distance of a Dairy Queen. I'd happily eat anything from their menu. Dilly Bars, Blizzards, Mudslides, banana splits, hot fudge sundaes...It's all good.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meeting Marissa Meyer

This happened a while ago now, but I still want to write about it. Marissa Meyer is the author of Cinder and Scarlet and the not-soon-enough to be released book Cress. These were some of my favorite books of the last couple years. She is a PNW writer just like me, and so I feel sorta connected to her. Not in a creepy way, I swear. So when I found out she was giving a talk at a book store near me I was very excited. Even though I'd spent the previous night in the ER, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to meet her. And boy am I glad I did.

I have gotten much better at raising my hand at these things and asking questions. My usual question is "How was the query process for you?" because it's always fun to hear other stories about submissions. Well, Marissa had the dream story. She landed her dream agent quickly and after putting together a submission packet had an offer from one of the Big Publishers like a week. What author doesn't dream of that?

I also asked about her favorite YA books currently and how she chose the fairy tales to base her stories around. She was so nice and fun and she really tried not to give any spoilers about Cress.

Then she had a drawing for a copy of Cress. Another girl named Heather got it. I felt like I was having a heart attack there when they said the first name. And then I just felt sad. Now I have to wait even longer for this awesome book.

Anyway, it was an awesome experience.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Adorned Release Day

Today is the release of the lovely Georgeann Swiger's novel, Adorned! It's a YA paranormal romance So today I have the cover, as well as places you can buy it. And a giveaway! You guys should check it out! She's an awesome lady.


When seventeen-year-old Anya finds out she's actually an angel being trained to protect humanity, she discovers that becoming an angel has nothing to do with winds and halos. For Anya, becoming an angel has to do with death - her death.

Micah, the angelic soldier ordered to protect her until she transitions from human to angel, promises her death will be a glorious experience as long as she follows his rules. But getting Anya through this life and to the next isn't as simple as Micah expects. His job becomes even more difficult after he unwittingly performs a miracle that exposes Anya's hidden angelic light.

With her secret out, Hell's legions begin targeting her. Unfortunately, Hell's minions are the least of Micah's worries. He's more concerned about the forbidden human emotions he's developed toward Anya. Even more troubling, is she seems to love him too. And giving in to those feelings could mean dire consequences for them both.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Adorned-Trinity-Souls-Georgeann-Swiger-ebook/dp/B00G1OFBX0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382353568&sr=8-1&keywords=adorned+georgeann+swiger


: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNo and Misc.

Well I barely posted last month, and a few posts I planned to write were stalled by all means of connecting to the internet disappearing from my apartment. So I'm super behind in NaNo, my email, tweeting, and blogging.

Last month was good, but bad at the same time. I was busy, I was sick off and on for almost a month, but I experienced some pretty fun times with my friends, and the weather was pretty decent here in the PNW. I also met Marissa Meyer! I'll write a post about that later.

Well NaNoWriMo is in it's third day and I have less than 1k written. But I plan to make up for lost time today. What book am I writing, you ask? Well, remember that fantasy novel that was a very loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet? That's the one! I woke up one morning from a really weird dream about being chased by some weirdly put together sheep balrog. And thus a story was born. Don't worry, there are no sheep balrogs in it. Just to refresh everyone's memory, here's the prologue!

"There were many things I never expected to happen on my wedding day. For instance, I never expected blood to cake my mouth, and my lip to be split, so even smiling would send a fresh dribble down my chin. I never expected my bouquet to be daisies. They're such smelly flowers. I never expected my dress to be lavender and covered in scorch marks.

But most of all, I never expected to love my husband-to-be."

Hope your NaNo endeavors are going well!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Adventures

So you guys may have noticed that I've barely posted this month. And I do apologize for that, because clearly I'm the most important person in your life. Well, here's why I haven't been around lately. It's been a crazy month. With school I'm generally so snowed under I barely have time to read for pleasure. The time I have left I generally try to spend with friends because I was sort of bad at that last year. But I do have some pretty cool news.

The next book I review will be the 100th review on this blog! How crazy is that? Pretty crazy. I'm contemplating doing a giveaway. I'll let you know if it comes to fruition.

And now to the adventure that was last night. I got an infection this week and so was on antibiotics and not feeling too hot. Nothing life threatening or anything, just sorta bleh. Then last night I had sudden, severe, spasming pain in my abdomen that did not go away. I got sick, I could barely stand, all that fun stuff. So last night I ended up in the ER, an IV sticking out of my arm and feeling kind of silly. Because all the tests came back normal. And as I lay there, the pain started going away. My appendix was fine, my kidneys were fine, I was fine.

But it was an interesting night to say the least.

Hope your weekend is less interesting than mine!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Grave Mercy

This week has been about standard. Which means busy. I have a midterm today. How crazy is that? I'm already almost halfway done with fall quarter. How the heck does time keep speeding up? Every time I think it's settled, suddenly it's January and not June anymore. But anywho, I actually sorta got ahead on work this week (gasp!) so I really spent some time reading. Normally this would mean reading two books in a week, but this time I read one book which was the size of two. At 550ish pages, Grave Mercy is a hefty book. I had to restrain a smile when my English teacher saw me reading and raised an impressed eyebrow.

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Ismae was rescued from an arranged marriage and sent to the sisters of Mortain, women who are the handmaidens of death. Under their tutelage, Ismae learns the art of poison, vengeance, and seduction. Then her skills are put to the test when she has to pose as the mistress of Gavriel Duval, bastard brother of the Duchess of Brittany. She is supposed to root out his treachery against the Duchess and kill him if necessary. But Duval seems to loyal to his sister. The only trouble is, he seems to be the only one. Drawn into the world of political intrigue, Ismae must play a key role in whether Brittany is subsumed by the French, if the duchess is married off to a monster, and if she can protect her own heart.

I had heard a ton of amazing things about this book. And seriously, I'm up for any book with a kick ass female assassin (see reviews for Throne of Glass books). And I was not disappointed. Ismae is pretty awesome, and she has a great loyalty to her, which was really nice. I was seriously rooting for Duchess Anne not to get married off to the heathen D'Albret, and I liked the interactions between Ismae and Duval. However, it didn't knock my socks off. I didn't really connect with a lot of the secondary cast. I also wished LaFevers would give the French regent a name. He was so important to the story, but was never referred to by name. Neither was the Holy Roman Emperor. It just bothered me. I will absolutely read Dark Triumph, though. At no point in this story was I bored.

Goodreads Rating:4 stars
Up Next: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shadow Born Blog Tour

Today I have with me Nicole Camp, author of Shadow Born, a YA novel released on October 14th through my employer (and publisher) Entranced Publishing. Before I get to the interview, here's some stuff you should know about this lovely lady and her book.


Eighteen-year-old Raffin has been hiding on Earth since before he was born, but he's more comfortable in the shadows anyway. He's part of one of the most hated races in the universe. It's a secret he's forced to keep from everyone he meets.

On his first day at a new high school, Arianna Val crashes into his world, literally. One tumble on the track field and suddenly she's acting like they're best friends. Worse, Raffin doesn't mind her invading his shadows -- and that's before he realizes she knows his secret. But, she's not quite human herself, and her very life force is what Raffin needs to survive.

Can he trust her to keep his secret? Can he trust himself with Ari when his body yearns to drain her soul? Haunted by memories of death and destruction that aren't his own, Raffin has to come to terms with the truth. He is shadow born.

About the Author:

Author Nicole Camp has written three books to be published by Entranced Publishing. Her first book, "Shadow Born" will be released October 14th, 2013; followed by its sequel "Shadow Throne" in Spring 2014.

Nicole is an ice cream lover, who lives in Arizona with her family and pets. When not writing, she likes to explore the world through photography, snapping pictures of her surroundings.

  1. If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?
    Leaning on God moment by moment. Creative but not always organized about it. Stubbornly dedicated, sometimes to a fault. A constant story teller, not always a writer. I take the scenic route a lot, for better or worse - it's definitely more adventurous than the direct one.
  2. What was your inspiration for Shadow Born?
    It's been so long that it's hard to remember exactly what started the idea that ultimately become Shadow Born. I was between 10 and 12 years old and it was a concept that came to me while playing with my Barbies. Barbie and I didn't stay at Barbie's home and play house. We were super heroes, crime fighting detectives, and aliens with special powers - probably because I grew up watching "Star trek Next Generation" and reruns of the original "Dr. Who" from the 1970s and 80s.
  3. How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
    It took me two weeks over Christmas back in December 2011 to write the first draft of Shadow Born. It's still the fastest I have ever written a novel. The story that became Shadow Born was actually a rewrite of a handwritten novel. I had written this idea so many times before, both in my head and on paper, that I knew my characters by heart. They were old friends more than anything at that point.
  4. What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?
    I am a panster when it comes to writing books. I pick a character and let them lead me through the story they want to tell, watching as things go along in the plot. As for edits, i've come to realize in the last few months that I never really "edited" any of the stories. Not a true edit. I wrote them, spell checked them, then sent them off into the world to see if they would make it. Probably not the best plan, because recently I have become aware that I am unfortunately greatly lacking in punctuation and grammar skills at times.
  5. How did you decide to go the indie/small press route?
    One of the editors at Entranced Publishing approached me on a writer's forum that I belong to, when I was about to shelve the Shadow Born idea for the umpteenth time. I really didn't think I could make the story any better at that point, and i was and am, ecstatic that my book found a home.
  6. What are your favorite YA books overall? Recently?
    My favorite YA books over all are "Beastly" and "A Kiss In Time" by Alex Flinn, "The Moor Child" by Eloise McGraw, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, "The Silver Kiss" and "Blood and Chocolate" by Annette Curtis Klause, "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater, and "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer. It's a mix of recent titles and older ones, not always in that order.
  7. Favorite type of ice cream?
    My favorite ice cream is Blue Bell's Coffee ice cream, or their Dutch Chocolate. Either one.
Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.camp.shadowbled

Giveaway Information:



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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Until There Was You

Well this week has been full of ups and downs. My weekend was awesome, receiving the cover of Balancing Act as well as getting promoted to senior editor. Then the school week hit, and I was snowed under with work. I ended up working myself to exhaustion and getting sick. So I've been fuzzle-headed and dry-nosed for going on four days now. And it's not fun. But I've been around this block so many times it's sort of hard to care about a cold. Anyways, because I had so much work, I didn't get to read for pleasure until Thursday (cue gasping crowd). And yesterday while waiting at a hair salon, I finished off Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins.


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Posey Osterhagen was stood up at the prom by a jerk, but it was really Liam Murphy who broke her heart that night. But that was a long time ago. Posey now owns a successful architectural salvaging company, has a wonderful family, and a huge Great Dane to gamble around with. Then Liam moves back into town. Now a widower with a fifteen-year-old daughter, Liam is not the bad boy he used to be. Now he's a wildly overprotective parent and a bit OCD. Posey should stay away from the guy who broke her heart, but fate seems to have other ideas.

How many of Higgins' books have I reviewed now? 5? 6? So it will come as no surprise that I enjoyed Until There Was You (although I still can't figure out the reason behind the title). Higgins' books are light on raunch and heavy on secondary characters. I loved strolling through the different stories, watching the painfully awkward moments with family, and commiserating with Liam's daughter. I am the daughter of two highly protective parents. Of course, it has lessened with time, but I could totally understand Nicole's frustration with her father thinking that she's going to get knocked up and addicted just because she has a crush on a boy. Still, none of her books have replaced Too Good To Be True and Fools Rush In as my favorites. If you want a fun romp with some funny characters and some sweet romance, this is the book for you. Well, any of Higgins' books are, really.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

News and Other Stuff

I'm in week three of my junior year of college, and it feels like it's been three weeks of dead week. Which is sort of how I felt most of junior year of high school. Pattern? I think so. Here's why it's been so busy: I had a book due this week for work, I'm in a reading-intensive history class (300 pages last week), an intensive poetry class, an oceanography class (which isn't really hard, but it still takes up time),and I've been trying to have a social life.

BUT I am not here today to complain. I am here to tell you all two awesome things that happened this weekend.

1) I received the cover of Balancing Act. I can't show it to you guys yet, but it is so beautiful and wonderful I want to cry. I had a hard time picturing a way in which multiple aspects of Callie's life could be portrayed on a cover, but the cover artists at Entranced just nailed it. I can't wait to show it to you all.

2) I was promoted from associate editor to senior editor at Entranced Publishing. There was a position open, I threw my name in the ring, did the editing test, and then spent the next week obsessively refreshing my email. As a senior editor I'll be doing content edits on books instead of line edits. I know I say it a lot, but so much has changed since last year. I was a line editor for eight months before getting this promotion, and looking back it's hard to believe it's been that long. I can't wait to start my new job.

That's about the extent of what I've been up to. Work, school, homework, and a bit of play. I hope to have a review for you by the end of the week. This one proves to be just as crazy as the last.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cover Reveal: Breakable by Aimee L. Salter


Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you all the cover of Aimee L. Salter's self-pubbed novel, Breakable. Breakable is a YA Magical Realism novel, and is set to be released on November 4th. It will be available for purchase on Amazon (kindle and paperback) and B&N (nook). Here you are!

When seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. "Older Me" has been Stacy's secret support through the ongoing battle with their neurotic mother, relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark.

Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.

Still reeling from that betrayal, Stacy buries herself in her art. But even that is taken from her when her most persistent tormentor uses her own work to humiliate her - and threaten her last chance with Mark.

Stacy's reached a breaking point.

Literally.

About the Author:

Aimee L. Salter is a Pacific North-Westerner who spent much of her young (and not-so-young) life in New Zealand. After picking up a Kiwi husband and son, she's recently returned to Oregon.

She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, are still in touch with their inner-high schooler.

Aimee is the author behind Seeking the Write Life, a popular blog for writers at www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/@AimeeLSalter) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/AimeeLSalter). You can add Breakable to your to-read list on Goodreads at http://goodreads.com/book/show/18377058-breakable.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why

Okay, I'm really late in reading this book. I've been hearing good things about it for years, but I hadn't picked it up. I'm still not sure why. But I ordered it a few weeks ago, and then a couple days ago I sat down and started to read. I was just going to read a few chapters before starting my vast amounts of homework (more for a later post). I ended up reading it in one sitting. Woops. Keep reading for why that happened.


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Two weeks ago Hannah committed suicide. Today, Clay comes home to find a package on his doorstep. Inside are 7 cassette tapes and a map of the town marked with stars. When he turns them on, he hears Hannah's voice. Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself, and Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why, and what the other twelve reasons are. Told from the two perspectives of Hannah's tapes and Clay, he discovers what led to the death of his classmate and crush.

This book. Oh my lord, where do I start? I thought the beginning was rather choppy, cutting out of the tapes to Clay's rather uninteresting actions. But then, somewhere along the way, I was hooked. I looked up and suddenly I was halfway through the book and didn't know how it happened. Hannah's story is compelling in that you know how it ends. You get to see her depression progress through her interactions with the thirteen people on her list. The snowball effect of small actions lead her to a dark place where she can't get out. And waiting to find out how Clay made this list made me keep flipping pages. I've read some reviews that state that they thought the reasons behind Hannah's death weren't enough in their opinion. That the people around her couldn't possibly be so stupid as to not realize she was in trouble. But that's why I liked this book. Hannah is not perfect. She is not the straight A student with everything going for her and a happy go lucky attitude. It's almost like she is more willing to accept death than life. And while that's definitely not a good thing, it made her more real in my eyes. To address the second part of the arguments, I would like to point out that people are essentially self centered. And people with depression and suicidal thoughts can be very good at hiding their pain. Combine these two, and I could see how Hannah's signs could be missed. Is it awful that all these people missed the signs? Absolutely. But it happens. It's not good, but it happens.

I loved this book. It made for a tiring next couple days because I had to catch up on work, but it was totally worth it.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Up Next: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Dream Thieves

My junior year of college has begun! I know I say it a lot, but time really does fly by. It's crazy to think that this time last year I was considering applying for my first internship, thinking up my next NaNo idea, and editing Balancing Act. I hadn't been accepted into either of my majors yet, and I hadn't even thought of getting a job in publishing. Well, one thing has stayed consistent, however. I have been reading whenever I get the chance. This week's choice was The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater.


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Everyone has secrets. Ronan's are just more dangerous than most. He can take things out of his dreams. But most of the time he has no control over what he brings out. Meanwhile, the ley line has awakened, but it keeps flickering in and out, taking Noah with it. Adam is having even more financial troubles now that he's left his abusive home. And something sinister is approaching the charming town of Henrietta. Gansey, Blue, Ronan, and Adam are not the only ones looking into the mysterious magic around Cabeswater, and the possibility of Glendower being buried nearby.

I cannot possibly fangirl more over Stiefvater's writing if I tried. I want to walk up to random people and shout "READ THIS" because honestly, the writing is so beautiful. I have never been one for poetry, but Stiefvater invokes the strongest imagery with unique turns of phrase. It reminds me of what poetry is supposed to do. I just...this book...this series...the characters. Oh, it's all so amazing. The story is sort of slow, but I did not care ONE BIT. Because every chapter delved a bit deeper into the quagmire surrounding Cabeswater and Glendower, and delved a bit more into the characters. Blue and Gansey take a backseat to Ronan and Adam in this book, and thus it is definitely a touch darker than The Raven Boys. Ronan is self loathing and Adam seems to slowly get angrier and more isolated and you just want to hug them both if you wouldn't get a punch in the throat. I am so glad I didn't read The Raven Boys until this summer because I couldn't have waited much longer for the sequel. And now I have to wait a year for the next one *sob*. If you pick up a book this day...this week...this year, let it be a Stiefvater novel.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, September 23, 2013

Crown of Midnight

Even though I've finished my summer reading project, I'm not done reading. Not by a long shot. I recently got a copy of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, sequel to Throne of Glass, and I've been dying to burrow into it. Then I got the chance while resting in my dorm room.


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Celaena Sardothien has beaten the odds and become the King's Champion, the most deadly assassin in the realm of Adarlan, and maybe the world. Yet Celaena is not loyal to her king. She refuses to kill for him, and has been faking the deaths since her appointment. It's a deadly game that, if played poorly, could result in her death and the death of her closest friends. Meanwhile, strange forces are brewing. Magic, gone for ten years, has been trickling into the castle in sinister forms, but she can't figure out how. When Celaena is given a new mission, she must walk an even thinner line to find the answers to the strange things happening in the glass palace. And it just might make her choose who to fight for.

I absolutely loved Throne of Glass when I read it last year. The cover did not even begin to describe how awesome it was. A bad ass assassin competition with a soft love V and witty dialogue?  Sign me up any freaking day of the year. I love Celaena's voice, and the fact that she is a cowardly assassin. She does what is best for herself because she has a hard time making big choices. Even when it comes to the V, she doesn't force things or let herself become a Mary Sue to decide between the two. Oh, and these guys. Can we all just take a moment to swoon over them? Dorian, the crown prince who is easily convinced, smart, and a fool in love. He has his own problems in this book, and they could cost him his life. And Chaol, Captain of the Guard. He gets more depth in this book, with the reader seeing a softer side of him that nicely pairs with his practical voice. We discover more about why he is loyal to the crown, and why he hates his father. He's very swoon worthy. And then finally let us come to the story. I wish we could have learned more about the mechanics of Wyrdmarks, because they're so important, and I'm a huge nerd. There are a lot of plots going at once here: Celaena hiding the deaths of her marks, tracking down the new threat to the king, complications with her friendship with the princess Nehemia, strange occurrences of magic, a possible rebel uprising making strange claims about a lost princess, the Celaena/Chaol/Dorian V, Dorian's problems, Chaol's problems. There's a lot going on, and Maas manages to bounce between the many story lines quite smoothly. I am sooo looking forward to the next book.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer 2013 Reading Project

I did it! This summer I set out to read 31 books, and by using my lunch breaks, days off, recovery time from my surgery, and any free moment, I did it. I have yet to go to the eye doctor to see if my eyes have worsened because of all this reading, and I don't really want to know.


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This summers selection of books included the genres of romance, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, contemporary, dystopian, and apocalyptic, with the scale leaning heavily on fantasy novels. If you've been a reader of this blog for a while, you'll know my love of fantasy. The book that really set me on the path to becoming a writer was Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. I picked it up for a plane ride and never looked back.

Here were my favorites from the summer with their accompanying genres. These are the books I would put on my staff recommendations shelf at Barnes and Noble if I worked there. Or would recommend to anyone who asked me about books.:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (fantasy), Insignia by S. J. Kincaid (sci-fi/dystopian), The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy), Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (fantasy), The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (fantasy), Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy).

Looking at that list of favorites now, I really am realizing how much fantasy I read and love. For instance, today I am starting The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, which is also a fantasy novel.

Anywho, you can find my reviews of these summer books by looking at my Review labels. They're fun to read, I swear.

Every year my reading slows down while I'm in school. These summer reading projects are a chance to keep up with all the amazing books coming out each year, as well as a way to immerse myself in stories which take me to other places. A castle where dragons pose as humans. A Roman camp of demigods. The Titanic. A broken world covered in ash.

If you can, pick up a book today. I swear it's worth it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom

Well, I'm still recovering from my tonsillectomy. I've been so doped up on pain meds that I took a lot of naps, and my eyes couldn't focus on words for the first three days. I really hoped I'd get a lot of reading/work done during my recovery, but that didn't turn out to be the case. The upside? I still have five days till classes start, and I'm moved into my new home. I have free time galore for the next few days, and I'm already taking advantage of it. First on the list: finish my summer reading project. Which I actually did, this morning! I'll have a special post on it tomorrow, because today is about telling you about The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson.


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Elisa, Queen of Joya d'Arena, sorcerer, bearer of a godstone, is on a mission to free the man she loves from the country who has hated her people since they first appeared. Her country is on the brink of civil war, and she is being lured to the gate of darkness. She and her companions must travel into enemy territory to save Hector, and unwrap the secrets of the prophecy surrounding Elisa's godstone. The discoveries they make could unravel the world around them into chaos, or secure it with peace.

I like Carson's work. Reading her notes on the first book in this series, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, she really wanted to present a good body image to girls. Elisa is beautiful, but she is not thin, and she has flaws. And she is smart, very smart. There is also the concept of loving more than one person, but in different ways, without it devolving into a love V. Elisa loved Humberto in the first book, even sort of loved her husband from her arranged marriage, and now she loves Hector. But the reader is not made to think her fickle or silly for this. It is different kinds of love, and love which she chooses for herself. I found it very refreshing. Even though the initial premise of this story is romance in saving Hector, most of the time it takes a back seat to Elisa's political scheming and getting through dangerous scrapes. I also liked this. The romance was not thrown in willy nilly because there seems to always be a romance these days. It was part of the story, but not the main part. Were parts of this book slow? Yes. Were there parts where I wondered why it had to be added? Yes. But honestly, I loved Elisa's character, which is loving and confused and always always searching for answers. Kudos, Carson.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Crown of Midnight

Monday, September 16, 2013

Unfortunate Opportunity

Since Christmas Day of my junior year of high school I have had trouble with my tonsils. Whether it's tonsillitis, strep, or tonsil stones, I get it at least twice a year. It hasn't been a walk in the park. So finally I went to an ENT back in August and got a tonsillectomy scheduled. Which I got on Friday.  And so I've been in bed for almost four straight days now, eating all my food in liquid form and sleeping almost around the clock.

I thought that this week would be a great opportunity to get a lot of reading. Sort of an unfortunate opportunity, if that makes sense. Nope.

My eyes are so tired, my body is so tired, my mind is so tired all the time.

Oh well, I swear I will be reading soon. I just wanted to check in and let you guys know I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. I just haven't been on my computer much lately. Hope your week is going better than mine!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Endlessly

Alright, I actually finished this book several days ago, but I have been rather busy and haven't had a chance to review it. I read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White last summer, and followed it up with Supernaturally soon after. I also purchased a copy of Mind Games this year and had it signed by the lovely lady herself. So it's safe to say I'm a Kiersten White fan. I follow her blog and twitter (seriously, she's a hilarious person), and would be more than happy to go to another book signing. But I still waited for Endlessly to come out in paperback.


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Normal is a thing of the past for Evie. She's working at the paranormal diner, trying to decide which college to go to, and figure out that whole I-barely-have-a-soul-and-can-suck-souls-out-of-others thing. Then every bleeping thing hits the fan. The paranormals swear she's the only one who can save them from some unknown fate. She's got the Unseelie queen of the fairies gunning for her, and IPCA is back in Evie's life with a new aggressive supervisor who so doesn't understand Evie's stance on fairies. At least Evie has her boyfriend Lend and vampire bestie Arianna. Otherwise she might just curl up on the color samples for her prom dress and cry.

Oh, Evie's voice. It's so fun. She points out the irony of her own situations, but can also have internal narrative about whether doing the right thing for the wrong people is still a right thing. She is also a bad ass with her rhinestone Taser. My one peeve with this book? It didn't really need to be marketed as a paranormal romance. Yes, there is romance, but it was established in book one who Evie was going to be with. Lend was really his own character in this book. Their love wasn't really in contention. Yes, there were dangerous situations about whether they would live long enough to still be together, but honestly I think it was more about who wanted to kill Evie more. I am really excited to read The Chaos of Stars at some point.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Friday, September 6, 2013

Preparation

This last week has been crazy. I finished up at my day job, and had to pack my life up again to move back home. Of course, this is just a place I'll stay for three weeks before packing up *again* and moving to school to start my junior year. So, as you can probably guess, I'm rather tuckered out. The last few days at home have been spent sleeping, baking delicious things, and watching bloopers on my favorite television shows. I've also started going through the annual process of cleaning out my room. Not that I'm a messy person (quite the opposite), but every year I go through practically everything I own and get rid of things I will never use/wear again.

This year I also have to get another bookcase. That's right, I finally ran out of room. The case I have in my room was completely double stacked, no room for other books. This not being safe, I decided it was time to invest in another case. So about 150 books are now sitting in my room, awaiting a new home.

I have gotten very little else done. I have a book to edit for work, and submissions to assess as usual. But in terms of my own writing and reading, I look like a snail. I'm 100 pages in to Endlessly by Kiersten White, and I'm staring at The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson, really wanted to read it. But I have zero energy.

Hope ya'll are having a great first week of September!