Thursday, May 5, 2016

POISON by Lan Chan

Poison by Lan Chan is part dystopian, part fantasy, part sci-fi, and all parts engrossing.  The characters are likeable, the plot believable, and the world itself well rendered.  It was such a nice change of pace from what I'd been reading, and I found myself slowing down as the end drew near because I knew that I'd want book 2 immediately.

In the story, scientists (aka Seeders) rule the land by withholding any viable seeds.  They control everything from a place called the Citadel, where the wealthy live the good, plentiful life while everyone else exists on the meager scraps the government provides for each region.  If anyone is caught with seeds in their possession, the consequences are dire.  I found this plot entirely believable.  The talk of genetically engineered seeds and the vibrant descriptions of plant life that could be just as deadly as it was beautiful was an added bonus.

My favorite part of the book was the characters.  16-year-old Rory was my kind of heroine.  She was brave, loyal, and knew how to carry a grudge.

After her mother was killed by Seeders (as she watched), Rory never lets go of her need for vengeance.  When her stepbrother, Micah, is taken by Seeders, she doesn't give up on finding him.  When she is betrayed and returns to the Citadel to find the one boy she thought she loved has become a Seeder, she doesn't fall back into his arms.

Rory was tough as nails.  Her POV was filled with a need for vengeance--which I personally loved reading.  And seriously, can you blame her?  But Rory also had something that made well-rounded and more human and that was her loyalty and love for several characters in the book.

I loved Sully the most.  She is Rory's pet sabrewolf in the book, and I developed an attachment to her from her very first mention.  Throughout the book, Sully matches Rory for loyalty and bravery, and I couldn't imagine a better pet/companion/friend.

Other favorites were Micah, Rory's engineering genius of a stepbrother, Aiden, Gage and Yuri.

Without giving too much away, I will also say that I loved the scene at the circus.  We get to see the circus as it actually is: a place where the darlings of the Citadel are pitted against one another in a deadly game for the audience's enjoyment.

I also loved what happened at the Citadel dinner when one of the rich girls asks if she can "borrow" Gage.  Rory's reaction is perfection!

In the end, I was left wanting more (in the best way :)).  I need book 2!!  I was sad because Lan Chan is definitely not afraid to kill her characters--though I'm hoping for a reprieve because if the scientists can save Rory after falling off a high tight rope, surely they can save others, right???  Aiden, the boy who may or may not have betrayed Rory all those years ago, is still a mystery.  (Although, between you and me, I think he's actually one of the good guys.)  And I need to know what happened to Micah.

So basically, I'm waiting for book 2 of the Wind Dancer series and hoping my favorites will make it through to the end!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Thursday, March 31, 2016

ADORKABLE Release Day!

So, today's the big day.  I think...yes...I can finally take a breath :).  ADORKABLE is finally out there! *happy dance*  All week I've been swinging between nervous, happy, scared, anxious, and every other emotion you can think of.  Probably all writers do this, but it was a new experience for me.

And I'm glad I made it lol!

Here's a link in case you'd like to check out my debut novel ADORKABLE on Amazon and Goodreads.  Here's another link if you'd like to follow the Adorkable Blog Tour.  Some great bloggers have left some awesome reviews, and I am so so grateful.

I hope you are well and that you've been reading some amazing books!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


This book came at the right time for me.  It really touched my heart, and I'll explain more below, but again…Until Friday Night came at exactly the right time.

To tell you the truth, I initially wanted this book because: 1) It's Abbi Glines <3.  2) The title, cover, and what I remembered of the summary made it sound a bit like a swoony Friday Night Lights (which I loved).  3) I remembered that Maggie, the female MC, doesn't speak.  Couldn't remember the reason, but I have a thing for MCs and love interests who are scarred, mute, illiterate etc.

What I didn't remember (and what likely would've prevented me from buying)...

...was the cancer.

West, the male MC, has a dad whose health is rapidly declining and who has been dying of cancer for a year.  West hasn't told anyone, not even his best friends.  It's just him, his mom, and his dad dealing with this awful disease.  He's living with this unbearable secret.  And it is eating him up while it takes the person he looks up to most, the person he loves most in the world away.

I don't know where she got the inspiration for this book.

But Glines must have had some real life experience to draw from.

I know this because I lived it.  My aunt passed away in December after a nearly nine month long battle with cancer.  She was my best friend in all the world.  I loved her so very much and was helpless in the end to help her.  Even as I write this, I'm crying again, so I'll get back to the review.

The reason I loved this book was that I could relate to nearly every emotion West had: The guilt at being away from home.  The fear of going home and what he might find.  The fear that came every time his cell phone rang, rushing to answer to make sure his dad was okay.  The pressure and anger that comes with keeping everything secret.  The despair.  The helplessness.

It made me not feel so alone.  That was what ultimately made me love the book.  There was just enough real to convince me that Glines (or someone she knows) lived through this tradgedy, too.

Until FridayNight is truth, raw and ugly.  West's emotions, his fears, were real, and anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer can relate.  What's more, Glines gives us two broken people and shows us the journey they take to understanding, to love, and ultimately to heal.  It is a beautiful book.  It found me at just the right moment.  And I enjoyed it very much.

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ADORKABLE Cover Reveal

Book covers are one of my favorite things.  There are some really beautiful ones out there, and the ones I like best completely capture the spirit of the book.  Today I'm revealing the cover of my debut YA romance Adorkable.  It has the feeling and spirit of the book and still makes my eyes smile every time I see it.  The book will be released in March 2016.  I love the cover, and I hope you do, too :).
Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Hi there! Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  I got three books that I'm over-the-moon excited to read, so I decided to share.

List of Books: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
                         Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
                         Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

First up to read: ???????????????????????????

I honestly don't know which book to read first...  I've been waiting for Assassin's Heart since forever ago, back when it was called All That Remains.  It has assassins--families of them--and a girl who was betrayed and wants revenge, which I LOVE.  Then there's Shallow Graves; I've read some great reviews about it recently, and yes, that first sentence is A-mazing.  Throw Abbi Glines in there with a book that's part Friday Night Lights, part swoonworthy romance, and I'm completely torn.  I wish I could read all three at the same time...but I really don't because I want to give each book some one-on-one time.  Ack!

Anyway, I hope you got some great books this week!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Hi everyone!

So, it's a new year, and I have something exciting to share with you all.


That was so, so fun to write.  If you've been following me since I started this blog in 2011 to now, you'll know the journey to publication for me has been a long one.  Over the years, I went from querying agents to signing with one to going it alone once again.

Last year was the toughest year of my life.  I lost my best friend in December.  She was my first reader, my shoulder to cry on, my favorite person of all time, and I miss her every day.  I deeply regret that she is not here to see me publish a book.  But I know that she would've wanted to see me do it.  So, this one is for her.

I know that I'll make some mistakes along the way.  Going "indie" is hard--as I'm sure a lot of you authors know--but I'm going to stick it out.  I'm not scared anymore.  Or at least I'm not scared of the same things.  I want my books to find readers.  I want to make my family proud.

So, I will be publishing my debut in 2016 :).

If you'd like to follow my journey on my new author website, you can find it here:

I'll still be posting reviews here (I'm still Ninja Girl!), but I hope you'll come and visit The Cookie Jar.

Authorly peeps and blogger peeps: I'd love any advice you'd like to give me.  I write YA romance, and  it's my first time traveling this road.  Any help, wisdom, or encouragement you can spare would be greatly appreciated.  Hope you're all having a great new year and that 2016 is treating you well!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Sunday, November 29, 2015

DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy

I really, really enjoyed this one.  Dumplin' by Julie Murphy is definitely my kind of book.  It hooked me with a catchy summary, kept me interested with a fun plot and quirky characters, and sealed the deal with a happy ending--that okay yeah, might've been a little too happy, but I couldn't have cared less.  I wanted the happy and Murphy delivered.

Here's the summary that drew me in:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

I mean, come on!  If I didn't already love pageants (which I totally do), if I didn't want to read about a "self-proclaimed fat girl" (again, I do), I'd still buy because of the mention of Private School Bo.

And trust me, it was worth it.

Private School Bo was everything I hoped he'd be.  *Sigh*  He was hot-sexy-cool because he knew what he wanted, and that was Will.  He was also sort of Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life, what with all the secret stolen kisses--BUT unlike Jordan, Bo wanted to publicly claim Will as his girlfriend. It was her hang-ups that kept them apart for most of the story.

Murphy handled her main character's insecurities deftly, and as a reader, I felt for Will.  Her contrasting feelings of wanting Bo but feeling awful about her body (and therefore, herself) whenever he would touch her were heart-wrenching and believable.  This actually reminded me of a bit of Rae and Finn from MMFD tv series--which I LOVE <3.  So yes, this was a delicate issue to tackle, and I think Murphy did a great job.
Other things I enjoyed were the pageant and Will's little band of misfits, as well as the drag queens who taught the girls to strut their stuff.  I didn't appreciate how Will treated Mitch (love interest #2) in the book.  He was a kind, decent guy, and he really liked her.  But Mitch never did stand up to Patrick, his loudmouth jerk of a best friend, so yeah, he wasn't perfect either.  Also didn't love some of the thoughts that Will had about other people (namely Millie, genuinely the nicest, best person in the book).

However, overall, the book was in the tradition of some of my favorite things.  I wouldn't put it in the same category as MMFD, but I really liked this read.  Dumplin' is a contemporary YA with heart, laughter, tears, and kissy moments in equal measure.  What's not to like? :)

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl