Friday, May 30, 2014

Reasons I Love Alanna of Trebond

I thought to start off this perhaps-regular feature with going back to the first heroine I fell in love with: Alanna of Trebond and later Olau. She is featured in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the Protector of the Small Quartet, The Immortals Quartet, and Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce. I picked up the first book in the Song of the Lioness series quite by accident. I plucked it out of a box to take on a flight to Hawaii. It had been in the box for a while without my reading it. But by the time we landed in Hawaii I had demolished the entire thing and was eager for more. I had soon read all of Tamora Pierce's Tortall books and still read them to this day. And so, why I love Alanna of Trebond:

  • She has a temper. This temper often gets her into trouble and makes her do rash things that she later regrets. It also makes her a better fighter. I love that this is both a plus and a negative for her character, because you can't tell when things are going to work out for her. She could lay her opponent low because he insulted her friends, or she could get knocked out by a patrol because she charged in without looking.
  • She is not willing to accept the way things are. Alanna is a girl who has no interest in being a noblewoman. So what does she do? She disguises herself as a boy and trains to be a knight. And she becomes a damn good one, and she never rests when there is injustice for anyone. She petitioned for Kel to be able to train to be a knight, and she sought out dark corners of the world and made them bright.
  • She is fiercely loyal to her friends. George, Raoul, Jonathan, Gary, she loves them all and would protect them to the death, even if she wants to bang their heads together sometimes. She almost died to save Jonathan, and he in turn risked imprisonment to save her when the tables were turned.
  • She is a knight. I love sword fighting, and Alanna is great at it. But what's even better is that she wasn't good when she started out. She had to work hard to get good at it because she was horrible in the beginning. So I guess this point is twofold. She's a knight, and she's hardworking.
When I was younger I wanted to be Alanna. I wanted a purple-eyed cat and a sword named Lightning and a pretty horse. I wanted to learn to fight and be brave and not take any crap anyone said about me. And when Alanna thrashed Ralon of Malven I cheered her on. Same when she fought Alex and Duke Roger I cheered even more. I have read these series so many times that it should be clear how much I loved them, how much I admired Alanna.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reasons I Love Tris Prior

So recently I did a post about how I loved Celaena Sardothien, and it got me thinking that doing posts like that might help me figure out what I like to see in book characters. I don't know if I'll stick this out, but from time to time I think I'll do a post about a character I've loved and why. Today's pick is Tris Prior from Veronica Roth's Divergent series. Maybe I'm just procrastinating on homework. It is dead week after all. And when did that happen? Seriously? Where is time going. But I digress. Why I love Tris Prior:

  • She questions everything. Even when she thinks she's got things figured out, she always wonders if what she's chosen is right. I think this is such an important lesson for young adults since they are at a time in their lives when they are trying to figure out what to do with the next stage of their life when they might not be able to have a family to protect them from the world.
  • She tries to be the right person. Notice that I didn't say she tries to be a good person. Tris accepts that she traded cowardice for cruelty. But she tries to do the right thing in spite of her acknowledged flaws, and maybe works toward not being so cruel when she can.
  • She is not weak. Tris starts the Divergent series as, not a weakling, but weaker than she was. By the time Allegiant comes around she is one of the most badass people around. She still misses targets she shoots at, but she is clever enough to out-think her opponents and then use what physical power she has.
  • She loves, but carefully. I haven't really made up my opinion about sex in YA yet. I'll probably do a post about it when I do. But for now, I want to say that I like how Tris is careful with her heart. It's so easily broken, and often it takes a couple times of being hurt to realize that. But Tris, careful Tris, is smart enough to know love doesn't come instantly, and that if she isn't ready for something physical she doesn't have to do it.
I'll look through my other reviews and see what other characters I've loved in the past. Feel free to comment on what you think of Tris too!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Reasons I Love Celaena Sardothien

It was quite a roundabout path which took me to thinking about one of my favorite YA fantasy heroines, Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was on pinterest (I know, should have been writing) pinning a bunch of gorgeous gowns that I love but would never have an occasion to wear. And for some reason I started thinking about all the clothes and books Celaena got to buy with her salary from the king. And I was suddenly jealous of a fictional character.

There are many reasons I love this fantasy series, making it one of the first series in a long time that I've gone back and reread. So since it's a slow day for me, I thought I'd list them.

  1. She gets to buy all the books and gowns she wants, and she doesn't discriminate based on genre. No explanation needed as to why I love this.
  2. She has an awesome dog, Fleetfoot, who I want when I get my own place with enough land to run on.
  3. She keeps every book she gets, even if she doesn't like it. I'm the same way. A book hoarder. I even have two copies of Black Beauty because one was a gift and I couldn't part with the other.
  4. She is a pig when it comes to food she likes, especially sweets. I mean, come on, the girl demolished most of a 5 pound bag of candy in one sitting. You've gotta respect that.
  5. She got to ride the fastest horse in the world. I'm a bit of an adrenaline junky, and I did horseback riding for six years, and my favorite times where when I would ride so fast the sides of my vision would blur. This horse appeals to me very much.
  6. She's smart. I mean, really, really clever. I always love me some badass assassin heroines and what they can see just by looking at someone (Aly from Trickster's Choice, June from Legend).
  7. She is so tough. She can scale walls and fight and use weapons. I wish I were even slightly that tough.
  8. She's not perfect. She may be beautiful and smart and have great taste in clothes, but she has her cowardly side. She's afraid to make big choices, even when she wants to be brave. Who hasn't been in that situation? Honestly? Granted, most of us probably don't have a kingdom at stake, but still.
  9. She's a good friend on the whole. She and Chaol (excuse me while I swoon) are so cute together, even when they aren't being lovey dovey. They're good together all the time! Same with her and Dorian. As soon as they get their hormones out of the mix they have a great dynamic. And Nehemia (*sob*)...
I could go on for a while about why I love Calaena and this series, but I won't. But I do want to say one of my very favorite things about Calaena. She can both appreciate beautiful things like clothes, but also cut someone's head off. Girls of the world, you are allowed to like pretty clothes and playing sports and reading romance novels. You can like anything you want, it won't make you any less of a badass.

I guess this post was just a really long way of saying how much I wish Heir of Fire were coming out today instead of September 2nd.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Almost Done

It's crazy. I have been in England for nearly an entire quarter. It's flown by so quickly. And I've loved most of it. Being sick and having to walk around for class while being a fountain of phlegm and snot suuucked. But I've gotten to see tons of West End shows and lots of monuments and museums that I didn't get to see the last time I was here. Anyway, I have a lot of fun things planned for this summer. I am living at home for the first time in...well a long time. And I plan on making a cosplay costume of Anna's dress from Frozen and taking ice skating lessons and finishing the first draft of Spiral and many other things. Ya'll know how I like to keep busy.

I also plan on doing my yearly feature: my summer reading project. For those of you who are new to this blog, you can check out the tabs of past projects at the top of the page. But here's a quick summary: I pick about 30 books and read them over the course of my summer, reviewing each one for my readers. I don't have a full list of what I'll be reading yet, but I did just order some books that will no doubt be on my list.

They are as follows:

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Steadfast by Claudia Gray
Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
The One by Kiera Cass
Vortex by S.J. Kincaid

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Sound off in the comments!

Friday, May 16, 2014

How about that Bard, yeah?

As I've told ya'll previously, I haven't really gotten the chance to read anything new while I've been in England because of Kindle's rules about what you can access once you return to your normal country. But, I have been taking classes, and since I'm an English major, that means books! So far we've read a bunch of short stories, Oliver Twist, Henry IV, and now we're working on Much Ado About Nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing has been my favorite Shakespeare play since I saw the movie in 9th grade. It's the kind of play that I search out because I love it so much. I watch the movie for fun, I have a copy of the play because I WANTED it. That doesn't happen a lot with books you traditionally read in school.

Anyways, we're reading it for one of my classes. And I'll tell you why this play is still my favorite Shakespeare all these years later: the banter. Oh my god the banter between Beatrice and Benedick. I want to be her when I'm all grown up. She is so sharp, and she has an answer for everything. She is at once hard as rocks and vulnerable. Emma Thompson's depiction of her is pretty damn perfect in my opinion.

So, if you happen to be in London and see a girl on the Underground smiling like an idiot over a copy of Much Ado About Nothing, hi!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Untitled #3 Gets a Name

As you all know, my first novel, Balancing Act, was released through Entranced Publishing in February, only to go off the market a month and a half later when the press closed. I was devastated, but also excited to start anew. A lot of my friends from Entranced are trying their hands at self-pubbing, or are subbing to agents and presses. And I'm throwing my hat into the querying pool once again. Balancing Act is a much better book than it was when I tried querying it the first time. I'm quite proud of it. So over the past month or so I've been sending off queries.

But that's not really what this post is supposed to be about.

The companion novel to Balancing Act, Saddle Sore, was written last year and I have been off and on editing it for many months. I was planning on subbing it to Entranced, even. Saddle Sore follows Nikki, a California girl living in Colorado after her parents die, and her attempts to heal while falling in love with horseback riding and Grant.

For a long time I mulled over what to do for the third book in what I guess could be called my trilogy. These books are very tenuously connected, mostly by the idea of healing in different ways. I knew I wanted the third (and probably final one) to be about ice skating, but it wasn't until I finished Saddle Sore that I had a sense of who I wanted the story to follow. At first I thought it might be about Jen, Callie's friend from Balancing Act. But that never grabbed me. But with Saddle Sore, Jasmine Rose Murphy was born.

It wasn't until I was on the last leg of a 12 hour bus tour through the Scottish Highlands that I had a breakthrough with the story, though.

I don't have a blurb for you yet, but hopefully I'll have one soon. I will tell you though that Jasmine has purple-streaked hair, a fierce talent for ice skating, and hates that she has her dad's eyes. She also just slept with her best friend. The catch: he's friends with her boyfriend.

But the best part of my breakthrough was this: I have a title!

So, I present to you the beginning of a new WIP entitled Spiral

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Demonglass

Well, I forgot I actually did have a book to review! I read this over two weeks ago, but was too busy with midterms (seriously, that came quick) to review it. Well, now I have the time! I really do love the Underground. It gives you so much time to read. And the nice thing is, everyone around you is reading, too! Of course, most of the time it's on an e-reader or a newspaper, but it's so nice to be surrounded by readers. But I digress. Beware: this is a sequel and so will be spoilery.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Sophie thought she was a witch, and it was her blasts of huge magic that got her sentenced to Hex Hall, a school for magical delinquents. But then she discovered the truth: she's part demon, a power that could warp her evil at any time. So she's decided to have her powers removed, a process which could potentially kill her. To make her consider all her options, her formerly absentee dad takes her to Prodigium headquarters outside London for the summer, along with her vampire besty Jenna and fiance Cal. But things are still not great. Sophie's ex-crush Archer is in the neighborhood, and he's part of a group who want to kill all Prodigium. Not a great mix for a summer.

I loved the first book in this series, Hex Hall. It was fast paced and witty and I laughed out loud a lot. This book is pretty similar, without the shock factor of putting yourself in a new paranormal world. Demonglass is a short middle book that develops a love V as many books of this period did. I like Archer, and am interested to see why he's still part of the Prodigium killing group. Cal is...nice. I don't know enough about him to form an opinion. And honestly, I had forgotten that he was supposed to be only 19, so when I found out he was engaged to Sophie I went ewwwww until the book reminded me. I'd like to find out more about him. Jenna was probably my favorite part of this book. Obsessed with pink, gay, in love, and hurting over her best friend wanting to go through with the Removal, she had a loooot of good lines, and I understood her anger. Looking forward to Spell Bound.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: uhhh maybe Perks of Being A Wallflower?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What's Up

Hey, everyone! I know I've been pretty MIA over here. Part of the reason is that I don't have any new books to read. Apparently if I buy books on my kindle in the UK, I won't be able to access them when I go back to the States. So...yeah. And I don't have room in my suitcase for all the books I want, so I've been  doing quite a bit of rereading.

Also, I just spent a week in Ireland and Scotland. Talk about awesome. I won't bore you with the details of my trip, but it was great. I'll try to be on here more often. I'll be back in the States soon enough and I'll be getting a lot of the books that have come out since I left.

Umm...some other things that have been happening. I've been working on a new WIP that's been floating around in my brain for about 6 months. I also have been doing some light editing on Poison Ivy. Who knows, maybe I'll finish it this summer!

I've also been querying Balancing Act. No takers so far, but I haven't given up hope.

TL;DR: Life is awesome and so are books. Amazon kindle rules are less amazing

Hope ya'll are having a great time doing whatever you're doing!