Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
I don't usually do posts like this. But I found this really awesome post by Kristin Nelson and wanted to share :-).
The article talks about the dedication and effort it takes to get past that 20,001 word. Sometimes it's great to hear about another person (in this case Andrea Cremer, a published and successful YA author) who hits that wall like everyone else--and crashes through it.
I think the most important thing to take from this is: Keep writing! It's worth it. Just buck up, and write the crap out of that mid-section! Because you love your characters. Because you love your story. And because the world deserves the chance to get to love them, too :D.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
When I found out Gail Carriger was writing a YA series, I was like "HOO-HA!" (Picture this said with great passion, Al Pacino style J). When I found out the book was going to be about a finishing school for girls where they learn the fine art of espionage? Gah! I can't even tell you how excited I was.
Etiquette &Espionage delivered everything I look for in a Carriger book:
--Characters you care about
--Plotting that's out of this world
--A flair for Victorian fashion
--A good dose of the ridiculous
--Friendships and romance and dirigibles, oh my!
Sophronia Angelina Temminick, our heroine, was a girl after my own heart. She was overly curious. She loved to climb and contemplate the inner-workings of machinery, and wasn't all that interested in fashion (shocking!). Shipped off by her mother, she goes to Madame Geraldine's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Quality in a carriage with three strangers: Dimity and her brother, Pillover, and Madame Geraldine--who may or may not be an imposter.
When the carriage is attacked by flywaymen (think hot air balloons operated by men of criminal intent), the real fun begins. Sophronia shows her cunning and ingenuity in this first encounter, using only Pillover's "Depraved Lens of Crispy Magnification" and some fancy getaway driving to escape.
Sophronia was a spectacular main character. Like I said, she was curious enough to land her in loads of trouble--but smart enough to get her and her friends out of it.
I really loved all the friendships. Dimity and Sophronia quickly became besties. With her love of accessories and bold yet tacky fashion sense, Dimity reminded me of Ivy Hisslepenny (a favorite from Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series). Dimity had no interest in becoming an evil mastermind, like her parents, and she was a true friend. She and Sophronia couldn't have been more different on the surface. But throughout the book, they stand by each other.
Also loved the part where Sophronia goes down to the boiler room and meets the sooties. Especially, Phineas B. Crow aka Soap, who develops an immediate sweet spot for Sophronia and even sends a bit of coal up to her room for her pet mechanimal Bumbersnoot!
Seriously, you guys, this is why I love Gail Carriger.
I definitely recommend this book. When you read a Carriger novel, you can't help but be swept away. There's no one out there, YA or otherwise, that writes quite like her. Etiquette & Espionage was a great YA debut, and I can't wait for the second book of the series!
P.S. If you enjoyed the Parasol Protectorate, you might recognize a few characters in E&E :-). These were some of my absolute favorite parts, but I didn't want to give them away.
Monday, February 18, 2013
I'm going to post a few lines from the first page of a book (current or past read), and say whether or not I think it has Page One Wow. As always, feel free to chime in!
"The moment she saw the young man walking down the darkened hall toward her, twirling his walking stick, Finley Jayne knew she'd be unemployed before the sun rose. Her third dismissal in as many months.
She tensed and slowed her steps, but she did not stop. She kept her head down, but was smart enough not to take her gaze off him. Perhaps he would walk right by her, as if she were as invisible as servants were supposed to be.
Felix August-Raynes was the son of her employer. At one and twenty years of age, he was tall and lean with curly blond hair and bright blue eyes. Ever woman who saw him called him an angel. Most who knew him thought him the very devil."--page 1, The Girl in the Steel Corset
So, does it have POW? For me, it's a yes. I feel the tension, the menace wafting off of Raynes, and the danger to Finley. I really loved this first scene. Hint: Finley can take care of herself, and the awful Felix finds this out the hard way :-). What do you think?
Have a great one,
Friday, February 15, 2013
Activity: Write a letter to your favorite character. Rant, rave or gush…just pretend like they are real and you just want to let them know a “few things”.
I never doubted you. Not for a second. Sure, you have greasy hair, wear the Dark Mark, and have this unhealthy fascination with the Dark Arts. In fact, I'm convinced that you invented the word "snarky" and magically put it into Jo Rowling's head. But you loved Lily. Always. You sacrificed everything for her, even though Lily didn't choose you back. Your love made all the difference. In short: You rock Severus Snape!
It was tragic how you died. But in my mind, you wouldn't let some snake venom take you down. Oh, no. Beforehand, you concocted a potion--a really awesome, never-heard-of-before elixir--to save yourself, and you're now living the high life on some far off island, getting a tan and enjoying a world free of the Dark Lord. Still harboring the deepest love for Lily and looking out for Harry from afar.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
SHE WILL CHOOSE ME.
Gah. I read and reviewed Shatter Me a while back (loved it btw). And after reading this, I just have to say: Warner is one of the best, most complex baddies I've come across in some time.
Destroy Me--a novella completely from Warner's POV--was everything I'd hoped it would be--and more. I knew the guy had issues. I knew he had a horrible/tragic backstory. But I also knew there was more to him then the tyrannical dictator-like presence we saw in Shatter Me. Warner was simply too interesting. The choices he made, the way he carried himself, the things he said to Juliette, I just knew there was more to him than that.
And Mafi apparently thought so, too J.
I love it when an author can deliver like this. In Destroy Me, we get pure Warner, bared to the soul, his thoughts completely open--which he would absolutely hate b/c he's such a control freak. Being inside his head was intriguing and scary, sad and exciting.
Mafi did a terrific job of highlighting the similarities between Juliette and Warner. Warner's POV was the perfect device to do this. I got that he thought he shared some connection to Juliette--that he and she were the same--in book 1. But it's so clear here. I felt his loneliness. Though they definitely handle it differently, it was very similar to Juliette's feelings.
I loved when Warner found Juliette's journal. The sections where he reads the journal, and we see how affected he is, really show us his deepening obsession. And again, there was that connection. Even though Juliette is never present on the page, she definitely makes an appearance through the recording of her thoughts. Having Warner read her journal/diary was so smart. I couldn't get enough.
I sped through the pages. At the end, I felt a deeper understanding of this character. The son of an evil ruler, the boy who is still afraid of his abusive father, the man who will do anything to possess and protect the girl he loves. The Bad Guy who, like all the best villains, has hidden depths. This is why we love Warner as a character.
Will Warner's obsession lead him to do more horrible things?
Will he finally stand up to his father?
Will he win Juliette's heart?
Will he become the anti-hero and do something totally unexpected?
Let's face it. Without him, Juliette's story wouldn't be nearly as unpredictable. Unravel Me is sitting in my TBR right now, and I'm itching to get started. Hopefully, there'll be plenty of Warner J.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
1) Emmylou by First Aid Kit (Warning: This song is addictive!)
2) I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons (one of the only exciting moments on the Grammys imo)
3) Ghosts by Laura Marling (Okay, so it's really about heartbreak--but I choreographed a dance to it, listen to it every Thursday at least 3 times a week, and I still LOVE it)
4) Ho Hey by The Lumineers (My Best Song of the Year. Oh yeah, and the other exciting Grammys performance :-))
Sunday, February 10, 2013
List of books: How The Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
They're all awesome (and seriously, the covers are so beautiful!). But the ONE that I've been waiting on forever is:
Cannot wait to read!
And the one that stood out most on the shelf? Well, that had to be Speechless. The pure white cover was such a stark contrast to everything else. And yes, those movie trailers (and Emma Thompson's Southern accent) finally convinced me to read Beautiful Creatures. I'm going to the movie first so I can enjoy without comparing ;-).
Hope you got some great books this week!
Monday, February 4, 2013
WELCOME TO THE REAL WONDERLAND
I've got to be honest. I've never been a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. It's a cool story, and I know the gist: Girl goes down rabbit hole, meets tons of crazy creatures, has an adventure. But besides seeing both the animated and 2010 movie adaptations, I haven't read the book. *ducks*
However, I've always loved Tim Burton J.
And Splintered by A.G. Howard features not Wonderland but "Underland." It's a Tim Burton-esque take on the children's story that had me enthralled from start to finish.
Alyssa Garder is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the original Alice. Madness runs in her blood. She hears the voices of insects and plants but does her best to shut them up by making artistic (yet morbid) bug mosaics. She doesn't want to end up in an insane asylum like her mother. But when Alyssa discovers that Wonderland is in fact a real place and that going there is the only way to save her mother, Alyssa follows in Alice's footsteps--and goes down the rabbit hole.
But Alyssa isn't alone. She's followed by her long-time best friend Jebediah Holt. Besides being easy on the eyes and having a surprisingly tempting labret (one of those just-under-the-lip piercings. Who knew those had a name, right?), Jeb is unfailingly loyal and protective of Alyssa, determined to get her home safe.
Alyssa's mysterious guide, Morpheus (aka the caterpillar who is actually not a caterpillar but a really hot hybrid of moth man/dark angel), has other plans. With his mercurial moods, it's unclear whose side Morpheus is really on. But Alyssa will need all the help she can get to make it out of Underland alive.
What I loved about this book was: the unexpected Burton-esque imagery, the mystery, the brave-yet-believable heroine, and of course, the romance.
From the start, you know this isn't going to be a sweet children's tale. The "white rabbit" that Jeb and Alyssa encounter on their first meeting in Underland is actually no rabbit at all. He's a skeletal figure known as "Rabid" with red eyes and antlers growing out of his head. *Shivers*
I loved the Twid sisters. Here we really see Burton's influence and Howard's masterful vision. The twins (one good, one evil) are in charge of guarding Wonderland's souls. The scene was so rich I could see every detail. Sister One with her spider web of roses, Sister Two with her dead weeping willows hung with long-forgotten children's toys. Amazing.
The romance was so well done. Jeb was swoonworthy, and Morpheus--though nefarious--was just as viable an option for Alyssa. I really enjoyed the ending and how it all played out. The mystery was resolved (no cliffhangers, YAY!!). My first DAC 2013 read, and it was awesome! I'd definitely recommend Splintered to anyone who's a fan of edgy fantasy with risks and romance.