an ode to the precious and some gemma doyle fangirling

my latest book haul!

my latest book haul!

books are such magical things. we can open them and be transported to new worlds, new times, and new adventures. we can laugh and cry and shake our fists along with our favorite characters, and we can fall in love and have our hearts broken with them, too. my ya gothic horror is on submission right now, and i’m in the midst of researching and drafting out my latest project to keep from obsessively checking emails from my agent. i’m also binge-reading a bunch of books and loving every second of this part of work. here are a few titles from my recent book haul that i’ve been super excited about reading.

A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY – Libba Bray

ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE – Gail Carriger

A COLD LEGACY – Megan Shepherd

RED QUEEN -Victoria Aveyard

omg the gemma doyle trilogy??? where has it been all my life. so. effing. good. i bought the other two books and am eagerly* awaiting their arrival. i cannot believe it’s taken me so long to get into them.

what debut are you most looking forward to? and what are some of your favorite creepy books? i need to add some more titles to my (ever) growing list!

*by eagerly awaiting i mean pacing back and forth, cursing the mail for being late, and breaking out into a cold, i-NEED-it-now sweat. the next step will be rocking in the corner and smacking my gums until the precious arrives. not pretty.

xx

happy world book day!

just in time to celebrate world book day – behold the new stash!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset*pets the precious* 

i am really looking forward to reading Nova Ren Suma’s THE WALLS AROUND US this weekend. the cover is GORGEOUS and the inside of the book sounds delightfully terrifying. have you read the blurb yet??

if you’re shaking your head then okay okay okay, i’ll paste it here for your convenience then you can froth at the mouth and grab a copy so we can read and fangirl together. sound good?

THE WALLS AROUND US:

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS

Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 1.28.55 PMWhy, hello there lovely blog friends. It’s been…well…it’s been a SHAMEFULLY long time. Between moving a thousand miles, unpacking, decorating, writing books, revising books, going through the submission process, reading/critting/and beta’ing friends books, researching the ever loving heck out of my new book, and…excuses, excuses. I know. Hope you’re all doing exquisitely on this lovely spring day. Did you do something different with your hair? It looks GOOD. How the heck have you been, huh?

So, one of my very best pals has something awesome going on, and it’s big enough to yank me out of my blog silence. Bethany Crandell’s debut SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS is hitting shelves on April 1st, and I’m not foolin’, it’s hands down one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Even if Bethany wasn’t so near and dear to my 90s music-loving heart, I’d be shouting from the proverbial rooftops for you to all add it to your TBR piles and buy it at your local bookstore immediately. Bethany is an amazing talent. She creates these characters that are SO believable, it’s crazy. If you’re in the market to laugh until you cry, or if you’re a writer and want to see how a master creates characters and emotions, do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Her cover is awesome, the prose is awesome, and Bethany is even more awesome than that.

Oh! But you know what’s even MOAR awesome??? There this BIG FANCY GIVEAWAY going on at the swoony boys podcast. You can win lots of great summertime swag including a copy of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS! HUZZAH! Go enter. It takes two seconds and you could get free stuff. Pretty. Darn. Awesome.

Here’s the blurb for SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS:

Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell.

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there’s life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she’s ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

 

IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS

Blackbirds CoverBook Review: IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS

Author: Cat Winters

Genre: YA Historical/Mystery with a Paranormal twist

Rating: Five out of Five stars

Back of book blurb:

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Review:

This is one of those books that is so beautifully written you want to go back and immediately reread it. Cat Winters did a spectacular job bringing the haunted feeling of walking around during the Spanish influenza to life. I could actually smell the onions people used to keep the flu away, and feel the gauze suffocating me. The details and historical accuracy really elevated this novel into something otherworldly. I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but hands down this is one of the most breathtaking reads of the year. If you are in the market for something unlike anything else on the shelves this is the book for you.

Mary Shelley Black is a delightful character full of quirks and spunk. She is such a remarkable young woman who deals with everything that’s thrown at her with courage and bravery, and the mystery surrounding the death of her first love kept me turning the pages well into the early morning hours. I’m not a cryer when it comes to novels, I RARELY tear up, but there were two parts in this book that brought on full-blown ugly crying.

MY GOD YOU NEED TO READ THIS. There are so many things I want to chat about so please go buy a copy and make some tea.

Here’s a taste of the first page to whet your appetite:

Portland, Oregon–October 16, 1918

I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way. Gauze masks concealed the passengers’ mouths and noses. The train smelled of my own mask’s cotton, boiling onions, and a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.

Keep moving, I told myself.

My legs shook and threatened to buckle, but I managed to clomp down the aisle in the brown Boy Scout boots I wore in case I ever needed to run at a moment’s notice. The heavy tread drew unwanted glances and at least one raised eyebrow, but nobody uttered a word.

Praise for IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS:

“Winters’s masterful debut novel is an impressively researched marriage of the tragedies of wartime, the 1918 flu epidemic, the contemporaneous Spiritualism craze, and a chilling love story and mystery…Deliciously creepy.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Unconventional and unflinching… More than anything, this is a story of the breaking point between sanity and madness, delivered in a straightforward and welcoming teen voice.”—Booklist, starred review

“Winters deftly combines mystery, ghost story, historical fiction, and romance…the story and setting are atmospheric and eerie.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Winters strikes just the right balance between history and ghost story, neatly capturing the tenor of the times, as growing scientific inquiry collided with heightened spiritualist curiosity.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Cat Winters’s debut novel is creepy good… Mary Shelley, with her Boy Scout boots and penchant for aviatrix goggles, is just plain awesomely odd.” —The Boston Globe

“Words like ‘unputdownable’ and ‘irresistible’ are simply not enough for Cat Winters’s In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Days after finishing this story, it remains the first thought I have in the morning, and the thing that haunts me until I sleep.”—Lauren DeStefano New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy

Keep up with Cat Winters on the interwebs:

Twitter

Official Website

Facebook

Goodreads

She’s also hosting an international giveaway on her blog RIGHT NOW through July 2nd, so you miiiiiiiight want to check it out.

Summer, summer, summertime reading

You may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet over here the last few weeks, and I’m really sorry to leave you guys hanging. But there are a few reasons for my neglect silence…

One: I’m getting that old familiar NEED to write my next book. It’s starts out quietly, then all hell breaks loose and all I can think about is my WIP, WIP, WIP, WIP. So yeah, that’s happening and I can’t fight it. Right now I’m plotting and letting the creative process do its thing. Know that I love you, but it’s going to be quieter than normal around here. At least until September-ish.

Two: I’ve been reading like a complete maniac. Like, lockdown, no leaving the house, my eyes are crossing and bleeding from the abuse, I haven’t eaten a decent meal in days, my friends hate me for being aloof, reading. Why? Because I think there’s no better way to know the market than to read everything you can get your grubby little paws on. And let me tell you, I’ve been LOVING this part of my research. Sometimes this writing gig isn’t bad 🙂

Here are the books I’ve read over the last two weeks (if you’re into summer reading lists):

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini 

DREAMLESS by Josephine Angelini

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor

FALSE MEMORY by Dan Krokos

DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum

UNTIL I DIE by Amy Plum

CARRIER OF THE MARK by Leigh Fallon

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

FIRE by Kristin Cashore

BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White

ENDLESSLY by Kiersten White

POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil

ONCE by Anna Carey

INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher

SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood 

Aaaaaaand here’s the next batch of books that I’m getting ready to dig into:

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr

CITY of BONES by Cassandra Clare

SOMETHING STRANGE and DEADLY by Susan Dennard

SHADOW and BONE by Leigh Bardugo

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting

THE FORSAKEN by Lisa M. Stasse

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin

FALLEN by Lauren Kate

THE DEMON KING by Cinda Williams Chima

So what’s on your summer reading list?

(FYI: All the books above are links, so feel free to click on them to read their descriptions.)

Blog that sparks MY soul!

Holy Helvetica, I’m so darn honored you guys! The wonderful (and super talented author pal of mine) Anita Grace Howard, has bestowed my humble site with the ‘Blog That Sparks the Soul Award.’ Here’s what she said on her blog last week that warmed my heart:

Also, I’d like to thank Kerri Maniscalco for her blog of many hats: Write. Eat. Repeat. — a place of peace, inspiration, and witticisms. Kerri not only writes novels, but is a Folk Arts Columnist and always has beautiful and inspirational quotes on her twitter feed that warm my heart throughout the day. So to show my gratitude, I’m bestowing her this:”

Thanks so much for saying all those wonderful things Anita! If you all haven’t followed her yet on twitter, do so now! Her handle is @aghowardwrites. Not only does Anita run a mighty fine blog herself, if you’re a writer, she’s probably cheered you on in the query trenches on querytracker.net. If you’re a part of that community, then you already know her as, raven1.

Stop by her blog A Still and Quiet Madness. She’s always got something wonderful going on there. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy #WW (Writers Wednesday) to her and all of YOU out there. For good measure, here’s a quote:

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~Albert Schweitzer

PS One of these days soon I’m going to figure out some fun awards and pass them along too! <33333333333333

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Book Review: Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Press Photo

Back of book blurb: Sparks are igniting. Flames are spreading. And the Capitol wants revenge. Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol — a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel victory tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Review: I might have come to the Hunger Games party fashionably late, but this book sealed the deal for me. After reading book one, I couldn’t wait to run out and grab my copy to see what would become of the star-crossed lovers in the much anticipated sequel. Would the Capitol kill them? Would Katniss finally fall for Peeta? And what about Gale? So much drama, so expertly crafted. So worth reading. Collins was able to pull off a fantastic continuation of Katniss Everdeen’s story. Dare I say, flawless even?

Collins masterfully combines suspense and science fiction with a touch of romance that leaves you wanting for more. I had doubts as to whether I’d be disappointed with the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, but was pleasantly surprised with how it played out. It kept me up, turning the pages all night. In fact, I went ahead and bought book three, Mockingjay. Guess what? I loved that book too.

QOTD: So what do you think about the casting choices for Peeta & Katniss? Feel free to weigh in in the comments, or @reply me (@ScribeQuotes for any blog newbies). #thehungergames

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