Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) (a book review)

You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Released: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 272

From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was "homeschooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.


I can't shout this book from the rooftops enough. Felicia Day is so incredibly honest about her life and work while also being hysterical and making me laugh every few pages. I could relate to so much of it, and each chapter I read continued to inspire me.

I’m also a homeschooled, nerdy, fangirl of a teen who looks to the internet for a lot of her relationships when her real life friends don’t get all of her fandom quirks. (Not to say that my real life friendships aren't important, because both are incredible and extremely important, but there's something special about connecting with someone--even if that person is in Australia or across the country--over something you love deeply enough to fangirl about obsessively.) I write fan-fiction, some of my best and probably lifelong friends are through blogging and a “Supernatural” roleplay that’s been going for six months now (I play Dean Winchester as well as two original characters, a hunter named Isabel Walker and a librarian named Emma Sparks who got dragged into the whole mess by being Sam’s best friend), and I’ve been trying for what feels like forever to make it in the novel writing world.

Lately I’ve felt a little stuck and discouraged creatively, and I found myself nodding through the entire chapter of how Felicia struggled through writing the pilot of “The Guild” (one of the many things she's created that I absolutely adore). By the time I read the Acknowledgements, I was tearing up a little bit (I still am as I write this). Not only has this given me the push I need to keep going, but now I want to buy several copies of this book and shove it into the hands of everyone I know who's ever felt weird or wanted to create something and share it with the world but doesn't know how.

I guess I'll just leave you all with an emphatic "READ THIS BOOK" and hope that you pick it up someday. I'm sure everyone who flips through will find something with which they can connect.


Meet the author:

Felicia Day is a professional actress who has appeared in numerous mainstream television shows and films, currently recurring on the CW show "Supernatural", and recently completing a two-season arc on the SyFy series "Eureka".

However, Felicia is best known for her work in the web video world, behind and in front of the camera. She co-starred in Joss Whedon’s Internet musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” which was ranked in the “Top 10 Best TV of 2008” by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine and won an Emmy in 2009. She also created and stars in the hit
web series “The Guild,” which is currently in its sixth season. “The Guild” has won numerous awards for web video excellence, most recently garnering a PGA nomination for best web series in 2011. She has expanded the brand into numerous merchandizing opportunities, including a hit comic book series with Dark Horse Comics.

Her production company Knights of Good produced the innovative web series “Dragon Age” in conjunction with EA/Bioware in 2011 and in 2012 she launched a funded YouTube channel called Geek & Sundry. Since launching in April 2012, the channel has garnered over one million subscribers and over 200 million views. In 2014, the company was sold to Legendary Entertainment. Felicia continues to work as creative chief officer with her company, as well as develop television and web projects for her to write, produce and star in.

Connect with Felicia Day:
Twitter: @feliciaday

What's something you're struggling to do creatively? What are your favorite parts about the internet?  Leave a comment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Six Books I'd Love to See as Movies/TV Shows

Hey, there! I'm not dead or anything, I've just been insanely busy with this summer. Our family hosted foreign exchange students for three weeks (which was awesome and so much fun) and we went to California for a family reunion (also awesome and tons of fun). It has made blogging more difficult, but I'm back now. Let's jump right in to a blog meme, shall we?

I saw this meme floating around forever ago and saved it as a post to write sometime, so I'm finally getting around to it now. I love movie and TV show adaptations if they're done right, so the following are books I'd like to see adapted, but only by the right people with the right actors. Here is my list, in no particular order:

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Now this is a book I absolutely adore, so it'd have to be done perfectly. This means Rainbow writing the script (which is already happening, so yay!), being involved in casting (if they make Eleanor skinny I might throw things), and the ending remaining the same (which was perfect and shouldn't ever be changed). But can you imagine how great of an Indie film this would make?! I can already hear the awesome music they'd include. This needs to happen.

2. The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

This would make the best movie series. Maybe Peter Jackson could even get involved, it'd have some epic fight scenes, etc. Just as long as they don't split the last book into two movies, because that's getting really old. But I would totally go see this in the theaters.

3. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Two words: time travel. We need more movies with time travel, they're just too good. It's not super confusing, either, so it'd be even easier to follow than "Doctor Who." But there's plenty of action and the plot is fantastic. I'd go to the midnight release if they had one.

4. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

THIS NEEDS TO BE A TV SHOW. Seriously, how has no one picked it up yet?! It's perfect! There are so many characters with storylines that intertwine. This could easily be a four or five series show once Winter comes out. There are also times when I can imagine John Barrowman playing Thorne . . .

5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

More sci-fi! I know this was picked up as a possible TV show a while back, but I actually think it'd make a better movie. As long as Tarver and Lilac have believable chemistry, because if they don't that's going to be an awkward two hours or so, considering they're pretty much the only characters involved . . . And Karen Gillan needs to play Lilac. I want to see that so badly.

6. The Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong

I can see a TV series of this so clearly, especially if it were made by the people who did "Teen Wolf." I ate this trilogy up in three days and I loved every bit of it. It's got action, romance, and paranormal activity that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Crawl Through It (a book review)

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

Released: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 336

A boldly surreal novel from one of the best YA writers working today.

Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving trauma, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults--and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them... until they learn the only way to escape reality is to fly right into it.

Buy a SIGNED COPY at Aaron's Books

I Crawl Through It was my first dip into the surrealism genre. And it was a great first read. It took me a little bit to get into at first, but then the rest of it flew by. It's a bizarre book, but in a good way. It definitely stands out from everything else I've read.

The story mainly follows four characters: Stanzi, Gustav, China, and Lansdale. Stanzi is a girl who feels as if she's two people crammed into one body. She loves dissection and thinks her mother is Hawkeye Pierce. Gustav is a boy who's building an invisible helicopter able to be seen by very few (even Stanzi can only see it on Tuesdays). Lansdale is a compulsive liar whose hair grows like Pinocchio's nose. China is a girl who sometimes turns herself inside out. She writes poetry to be heard.

The plot is simple, but it's the details that really make the story. Everything about it is short and to the point, but poetic. It's a story about not fitting into boxes (or in this case, ovals) and understanding the questions before you can know the answers.

As for the characters, I can't pick a favorite. They were all so unique. I did feel incredibly sorry for each of them, though. The adults in this book were absent, negligent, and avoided tough topics to the point of letting the teens stew in their own guilt and grief. You're never quite sure what exactly happened to each of them throughout the book until the end when everything starts to piece together, and I loved that.

Overall, it was a fantastic read. I'd love to be able to compare it to another book or two, but it's impossible to categorize since the whole story is about not being categorized. So I'll recommend it to everyone. Once you accept the fact that you can swallow yourself or let your hair grow ten feet in one night or fly an invisible helicopter, you'll hardly even notice the time passing.

Meet the author:

A.S. King is best known for her award-winning young adult novels, though she writes novel-length and short fiction for adults as well. After more than a decade in Ireland dividing herself between self-sufficiency, restoring her farm, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels, she returned to the US in 2004. Amy now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children, teaches  writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, and is a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut, corn on the cob, libraries, and roller skating.

Connect with A.S. King:
Twitter: @AS_King

What are your favorite delightfully bizarre books? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Happy End-of-the-World-that-Wasn't!

Today--July 15th, 2015--marks the day Grijalva would've hit if it hadn't missed. Celebrate by reading your favorite Fauxpocalypse stories! You can buy a copy at Aaron's Books. Here's my contribution to the anthology, It's the End of the World As We Know It:

Tomorrow my life will end.
    Hold up, I'm not talking about suicide or anything. Nothing that dramatic. No, I'm talking about the end of the world.
    Hold the screaming! I know the scientists have proven it. I know everyone's at home, hugging family and friends and saying their goodbyes, but I'm not.
    Why waste your time on something that's never going to happen?
    I know I said that my life was going to end tomorrow, but that was just a trap to get you to read my story.
    Did it work?
    My story is just way too interesting for anybody to ignore.
    Little Rock, AR, USA--14July2015. 3:00 p.m.
    "Aren't you worried?" my best friend Ellie asks me in her Southern drawl.
    "Worried about what?" I ask, licking a drip of ice cream off of my hand.
    "Worried about what's going to happen after tomorrow."
    "What's going on tomorrow?"
    Ellie stares at me as if I'm an alien riding the comet that's supposed to destroy the world.
    "You can't be serious, Natalie."
    "Ohhh," I say, smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand. "That. No, I'm not worried. Not at all. It shouldn't hurt if it's supposed to hit the Earth and destroy it in a few seconds, right? I mean, it should just be like, boom! Life over. World destroyed. Kablooie!"
    Ellie shakes her head with her lower lip stuck out.
    "What? What did I say?"
    "That wasn't what I meant. I meant, aren't you worried what's going to happen after the world ends?"
    "It's not gonna end, Ells," I say, rolling my eyes. "I'm sure of it."
    I’m sure of it. Part of me wonders if I’m saying all of this just to convince myself. I shake off the doubt quickly and listen to Ellie’s next outrageous statement.
    "The sooner you accept it, the better. You need to spend time thinking about your sins."
    "My what?"
    "Your sins. You know, the things that you've done wrong. Think about the people you've hurt, including yourself. What have you done wrong?"
    "What twisted guilt trip is this?"
    "Natalie you need to repent. Don't worry, God will forgive you."
    "God doesn't exist," I say with a shrug.
    Ellie gasps and covers her mouth, her brown eyes round with pain and worry. "You'd better repent fast. You don't want to end up in hell. Forever's a long time."
    I turn to face Ellie and put my hands on her shoulder. It's an easy reach, since I'm a good three or four inches taller than her.
    "The. World. Is. Not. Going. To. End," I say slowly, shaking her gently for emphasis. "And God doesn't exist. Neither does the devil or Satan or whatever the heck you call him. Where's the proof?"
    "There is no proof. Not like science. You can feel him in your heart."
    She places her hand over her heart and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. She takes my hand and places it over my heart.
    "What do you feel?" she says seriously, gazing up at me.
    I raise my eyebrows. "The beating of a healthy heart. Why?"
    Ellie backs away, looking concerned. She takes my hand and squeezes it. "If you end up in hell, I want you to know that I will always be your best friend."
    "Good to know. Thanks for that. Now if you will please exit the church?”
    Ellie rolls her eyes.
    11:00 p.m.
That night, my mom and dad spent what feels like forever hugging and kissing me. They assure me that they love me and will always love me and that it shouldn't hurt when the world ends. I humor them by hugging them back, refraining from letting some sarcastic comment slip from my lips.
    The only good things are that they don't make me go to bed, and I'm allowed to have whatever I want for dinner.
    "You should enjoy your last day on Earth," Mom says with tears in her eyes.
    "Do whatever you want," Dad says. "We love you."
    I hug them and trot off happily to the kitchen, where I gorge myself on cookies and order pizza delivery.
    My parents, along with most of our highly religious neighbors, have decided that they should spend their last day on Earth at home with their family. Unlike most of the world, they don't want to hop on planes to go to Disneyland or Europe before they die. They just want to sit around, holding hands and making bargains with God.
    “I can’t believe I managed to get pizza delivery tonight of all nights,” I say. I hand the pizza delivery guy some money and take the pizza box. It smells like cheese and doughy bread.
    The pizza guy shrugs.
    “I just don’t buy it,” he says. “The apocalypse? Really? This is the sort of stuff you hear about in sci-fi movies set in the year three-thousand.”
    I grin and high-five him before he leaves.
    The night is a long one. No one sleeps, no one eats, no one does anything but curl up on the couch and wait for the end.
    It's eleven thirty at night and we're moping around like someone's just died. I start to feel little twinges in my stomach despite the fact that I firmly believe we’ll be okay. For the most part.
    When the grandfather clock in our house chimes twelve, my mom squeals and hugs my dad. Dad makes me join the group hug. I can't make out what either of them are saying, due to all of the snot and tears trickling into their mouths.
    "I don't wanna die!" Mom says. "I don't want the world to end!"
    "It's the end of the world as we know it," I sing to myself.
    Dad glares at me.
    "As the comet comes closer to Earth, we bid everyone farewell and a pleasant afterlife," the man on the news channel says. His voice cracks at the end of his report and the screen goes black.
    I manage to squirm away from the group hug and glance out the window. I don't see any sign of a comet or anything remotely scary-looking.
    I see my drum set out of the corner of my eyes. An idea pops into my head and I sneak over to it.
My mom and dad jump about a foot in the air and I drop onto the floor, laughing like a madman. The bass drum is still ringing, but no one can hear it because my parents are screaming at me for playing "such a nasty trick" on them. My laughter drowns them out.
    The minute hand moves forward on the clock, indicating that: one, the world didn't end; two, we all look like idiots now (except for me); three, we've wasted a whole day of our lives doing nothing but sit around and look depressed; and, four, I'm going to puke from the amount of junk food I've eaten for the past two days.
    "Jesus Christ," Mom says weakly. It's a mark of how shocked she is, taking the Lord's name in vain. She stands up, legs shaking, and looks out the window.
    "The world didn't end," Dad says. He's staring at the clock. It's now 12:02 a.m. "The world didn't end!"
    The realization dawns on them and they jump up and down, hugging each other and squealing with delight. Tears of joy roll down their face and they squeeze each other, babbling incoherently.
    I just vomit all over the carpet.

What would you do if you thought it was your last day on Earth? What are your favorite stories from the Fauxpocalypse anthology? Leave a comment and happy doomsday!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June Wrap-Up

Books I Read

The Martian by Andy Weir


This was a really good sci-fi read, but it doesn't really feel like sci-fi. It seems like the kind of story that could actually happen in real life. The beginning was really good, and the second half of the book especially excellent. Some of the middle parts were slow, and there were a lot of nitty gritty details that I ended up skimming because of how long it got. But overall, great book. (And they're making it into a movie, which I'm really excited for.)

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


If Eleanor & Park and Paper Towns got together and had a book baby, this would be the result. It's fantastic. It grabs you right away, keeps your attention the whole way through, and leaves you in tears at the end. There's not much more you can ask for in a book. (And they're making this one into a movie, too!)

Movies I Watched

"Home Alone 3"


This movie was just "meh," but I was watching it with a couple of friends and we had more fun making sarcastic commentary the whole time than we did actually watching it. It's a great movie for that.

"Inside Out"


One of my all-time favorite Pixar movies. It makes you laugh, makes you cry, and is totally clever. All of the characters in it were unique and interesting, and there were a ton of female leads! Go watch it immediately.

"Ferris Beuler's Day Off" (a rewatch)


This is one of my favorite eighties movies. It's so goofy, but so good. Simple plot, small cast of characters, and good music. It's a good summer movie and tons of fun.

"The Princess Bride" (a rewatch)


Out of every eighties movie I've watched so far, this is probably my favorite. It's delightfully cheesy, very quotable, and funny. Although Buttercup drives me crazy, I love every other character in it.

Obsessions I Acquired

Mindy Gledhill She has a very unique voice and great music! My favorite song by her is probably "Pocketful of Poetry," although it's all good. I love the music video, too.

Picture of the Month

This is so perfect. And it includes some of my favorite characters from three of my major fandoms.

How was your June?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--June

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month she announces a new set of questions to answer about your characters so you can learn more about them. This month's theme is parents! There aren't a lot of parents that play big roles in MG and YA books nowadays (including a lot of mine . . . whoops), but the ones I have I absolutely love. I like writing the interactions between them and all of the other characters, including their kids and their kids' friends. This month I'll write about Celeste's parents from Cosmo (Timothy and Quentin Smitherson) and Lane's parents from Beneath the Moon and Stars (Christine and Paul Hawthorne).

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?

Celeste was given up for adoption as a baby, and as it was a closed adoption, she never knew who her parents were.

Lane may not be close with either of his parents, but he still knows and loves them, even if they frustrate him to no end some days.

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?

Celeste has no idea what she may or may not have inherited, though she definitely seems to have Timothy's playful smirk and Quentin's laugh.

Lane looks almost exactly like his father did when he was a teenager, since he has his dark hair and bright blue eyes.

3. What’s their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!

Quentin wears jeans and a t-shirt of some kind on most days, usually with an apron over top that's covered in flour. Timothy's almost always in a suit for work.

Christine and Paul, no matter the day or what they're doing, dress to impress, never a hair out of place.

4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?

Celeste and her dads are all sarcastic. She and Quentin are definitely more outgoing between the three of them, but she's also thoughtful like Timothy.

Though Lane won't admit it, he and his mother share their stubborn qualities, but he gets his creative side from his dad.

5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?

Celeste is super close with her parents, especially since they move around a lot and she didn't always have the best of luck finding friends at her schools.

As far as Lane goes, well . . . he and his mother aren't exactly the best of friends. They've been known to have screaming matches. They butt heads constantly. But Paul is hands off to the point of hardly knowing his children, so he and Lane barely talk, which makes it almost impossible to find anything to fight about.

6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?

Besides kind and loving, Celeste would describe Quentin as "fun" and Timothy as "witty."

Lane would pick "obstinate" for his mother and "apathetic" for his father.

7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life?

Celeste's parents have always been her best friends, but especially when she had to go through so many bullying problems at her various schools. When none of the students were nice to her, they were, and home's always been a safe place to sit back and relax.

As much as his parents drive him crazy, Paul and Christine have helped Lane to be driven and get good grades and take on some responsibility. He had the potential to be someone who could've decided he didn't care about how he did in school or what college he went to, but they focused him.

8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?

The Smithersons hardly ever fight. Once in a blue moon, and it doesn't last for more than a couple days, at which point they're all tired of the tension and silence and apologize to each other. But Celeste did get into a heated argument with Timothy about dying her hair. The problem wasn't even that she'd dyed her hair, it's that she did it without asking and ended up making a huge mess in the bathroom. She stained several towels and one of his expensive shirts for work. But it all worked out soon afterwards.

The biggest fight Lane had with his mother actually happens in the novel, but I can't say when or why because spoilers . . .

9. What’s their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?

Baking with her dads when she was little. They made a batch of chocolate chips cookies but it turned into a huge flour fight. It looked like it had snowed in the kitchen by the time they were done. She still has the picture in a frame in her bedroom.

His dad took him on a fishing trip once when he was about twelve, and it had to be the only time in his life he's spoken to him for longer than ten minutes. They talked nonstop for hours, and even though nothing had really changed the next day, he remembers every bit of it. As far as his mother goes, Lane actually had a pleasant time learning how to fold napkins into cranes at about the same age. They may not have talked much--they don't exactly have a lot in common--but they were both in a good mood and even laughed a few times.

Your turn! Tell me all about your character's parental figure(s). Do they get along? Are they related by blood? Leave a comment!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Thank God These Are Hypothetical

Shelumiel tagged me in the "Extraordinary Means" blog meme, and it just looked like too much fun to pass up. Thanks!

1. I would give up the internet for a month for a signed first edition of this book.

No internet for a month is a big deal, so obviously the book I get in return would have to be a huge deal. And what better signed first edition to get than a Harry Potter book? ;) My first choice would be The Deathly Hallows, since that's my favorite, but really I would give up the internet for a month or multiple months for any of them.

2. I would give up pizza for a year if it meant I could sit next to this author on a long plane ride.

Hmm, probably John Green. He definitely has enough energy and stuff to talk about to make the time pass quickly, and it'd be great to pick his brain for marketing tips. Plus, it's John freaking Green. How cool would that be?

3. I would sit through a thousand hours of commercials if it would ensure Hollywood made this book into a movie.

One book?! Nope, no way, I couldn't choose between the three. They'd all make fantastic movies. Plenty of action, awesome characters, magic and adventure, and basically everything you need for a YA book adaptation. I would go to the midnight premiere of any of these.

4. I would never read a new book again if it meant I could live inside this book.

No new books ever again?! How could I even go about my day with an empty TBR pile and hundreds of books just taunting me? If I had to make that sacrifice, I would live inside the Harry Potter books. Hogwarts would be a pretty good trade-off.

5. I would let my Google search history be made public if it meant I could be best friends with this author.

Hehehe, well my Google search history is pretty weird and fishy . . . everything from what kind of gunshots are fatal to how to hack into somebody's passwords to picking locks to pictures of sloths wearing pajamas (I'm serious). But authors have strange search histories. I'd definitely want to be best friends with Rainbow Rowell. She's funny and a great writer and just seems like a really cool person. We'd have tons of fun marathon watching "Sherlock" and eating delicious food.

6. I would donate everything I own to Goodwill if it meant I could date this book character in real life.

Maybe Augustus Waters? A sense of humor, intelligence, and a love for reading are all big pluses for me. I think we'd get along great and find tons to talk about.

Tag, you're it! What would you be willing to give up for these things? Let me know in the comments, or write a post of your own! :) Have fun!

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Wrap-Up

Happy June! :) I'm so excited for summer. I've been itching to read outside since December, really. I'm hoping to use a lot of my time working through my overflowing TBR shelves. Maybe I can read enough so I don't have to stack the books on top of each other anymore. (Ha ha ha . . .)

Books I Read

Doctor Who Special (Free Comic Book Day) by Robbie Morrison


(Let me just say, trying to find specific comic books on Goodreads is hard. I spent at least an hour trying to track them all down.)

I recently picked up a lot of DW comics at our local comic book store, and they're so much fun! I can whip one out in ten minutes before bed. The stories are cute, fluffy, and easy to read. I'd love to have a stack nearby whenever I'm sick and lying on the couch.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #9 by Robbie Morrison


Ten! Weeping angels! It's a great adventure and the ending is in typical bittersweet Doctor Who style. Just make sure you read the inside cover so you know what's going on if you haven't read the first books like me.

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #6 by Robbie Morrison


Good, but not one of my favorites. I didn't know any of the companions and the entire plot was really confusing. Lots of timey-wimey stuff that had me going back and rereading to make sure I hadn't skipped pages accidentally. It wasn't until halfway through when I figured out what was going on and could focus. But once I knew what was happening, it was a fun read.

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce


I'd describe this as Fablehaven for a younger audience. Overall it was pretty good. It didn't take long to get into, but I felt like the whole story was the same pace. It was very creative and cute, though. The characters were good, too. Pip is a spunky, smart, and brave 9-year-old and her friend Tomas is shy, sweet, and loyal. It's a short and easy read, great for younger kids and as a read-aloud story.


It's J.K. Rowling, so clearly it was fantastic. It's a fast read and a great speech. The illustrations were an awesome addition, they were artsy and went with the overall tone of the book really well. It was super inspiring, highly recommended.

Movies I Watched

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier"


Captain America is officially my favorite male Avenger! I liked this movie just as much, if not more than, "The First Avenger." Plus, Black Widow was in it, so it was doubly awesome. (Also? I really like The Falcon.)

"How to Train Your Dragon 2"


I still like the first one better, but I love these movies to pieces. Toothless is adorable--actually, all of the dragons are--and the story is just super cute. This one was definitely sadder than the first, but still great.

"Better Off Dead"


This was delightfully goofy. I loved the characters. Some were funny, others sweet, some totally bizarre. It was weird to see Curtis Armstrong as anyone but Metatron, but it worked.

"The Avengers: Age of Ultron"


This was so good! And I finally knew who all the characters were when I went. It was so much fun to go to the theaters to watch it with a group of friends who are in the Marvel fandom. It was a great balance of action and comedy and parts that'll make you cry. I loved getting to see more of Hawkeye, who is an extremely underrated member of the Avengers.

Obsessions I Acquired

"New Girl" I. Love. This. Show. Jess is adorably quirky, all of the characters are hysterical and sweet in their own ways, and every episode has me in stitches. It's extremely frustrating for enthusiastic shippers like me, because certain characters can just drive you crazy when they don't cooperate. But it's hilarious and I highly recommend it.

Picture of the Month

I saw this on Pinterest and put it on my novel inspiration board. I love the simplicity of it, and there are so many options for stories there.

Bryan Hutchinson from "Positive Writer" is hosting a writing contest! All you have to do is write an honest review of The Audacity to Be a Writer. Click HERE for more information.

How was your May?

Friday, May 8, 2015

7 Books to Read If You Like "Doctor Who"

I've been thinking about how many fangirls/boys love Netflix almost as much as they love libraries. Reading is awesome. TV shows are awesome. There are so many ways to figure out which book to read next if you like a certain one. You can talk to your librarians, consult Goodreads, find other books that author has written, etc. But there aren't a whole lot of resources to figure out which book to read if you like a certain TV show. I want to fix that, so I'm starting with my favorite TV show, "Doctor Who." The cool thing is it works both ways; If you like "Doctor Who," now you have a whole bunch of new books to read that are similar to it. If you don't watch "Doctor Who," but like the books listed, now you have a new show to watch. ;) Enjoy!

1. Doctor Who: Who-ology by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, Doctor Who: Official Guide on How to Be a Time Lord by the BBC, Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper

Reason: "Doctor Who"

I grouped these three together because they're all pretty obvious choices. Who-ology is basically the Whovian bible. It includes information on everything, from Classic Who to the regenerated series up to Matt Smith's era. Timelines, trivia, quotes, and more, it's an addictive read.

How to Be a Time Lord is fluff, fluff, fluff. It's full of pictures and quizzes and has a page for each companion, Doctor, and monster. It's a one night kind of book, great for bridging the gap between depressing novels, or if you just want to feel productive.

I only chose The Krillitane Storm because it's something I've read, but there are tons of DW fan-fiction books I wasn't even aware of. From Tennant to Baker to Smith and everyone in between, you can find all kinds of stories.

2. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Reason: Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey

TIME TRAVEL. I won this book in a giveaway and went into it completely blind. It was an excellent surprise! It's fast-paced, unique, and so good. I couldn't put it down until I'd turned the last page. It's told through dual perspectives and has some fantastic (see what I did there?) plot twists that I hadn't seen coming. Highly recommended!

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Reason: Cyborg, sci-fi, the future, oh my!

The storybuilding in this series is a-maz-ing. You get sucked in immediately, and it refuses to let you go until you've read it all. And the characters? Fantastic. Hovercrafts and spaceships and new technology and other planets and droids and other sci-fi awesomeness. Cinderella is a cyborg. Rapunzel was trapped on a satellite. All these different twists on fairytales make the story familiar, but new and exciting. Just like Doctor Who. Everyone knows about Shakespeare, but what happens when you add a few real witches into the mix?

4. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Reason: Romantic, outer space adventures

This was the first hardcore sci-fi book I read and loved, and this was before "Doctor Who" opened up my interests more. The whole story is set on a remote planet after Lilac and Tarver are the only survivors of a spaceship crash. (I do wonder why anyone thought naming a spaceship "Icarus" was a good idea, though.) Lilac reminds me of a young Donna Noble, and I love the witty banter between her and Tarver. It's a great, simple story with well-written characters.

5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Reason: Bizarre road trip w/ interesting creatures

Holy crap is this book weird. And I'm not talking weird like normal amounts of weirdness. I'm talking about garden gnomes that walk and talk and think they're Norse gods. And punk rock angels. And magic trumpets. This is a Doctor Who kind of bizarre that fans of the Russel T. Davies era will enjoy in particular.

6. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

Reason: The future . . .

Glory O'Brien drinks a bat and suddenly she can see the future. Strange? Absolutely. But the strange parts of stories--and "Doctor Who" especially--tend to be the best parts. The future in "Doctor Who" tends to be very grim, and so is the future Glory sees. Getting to see what's ahead is often more of a burden than anything. It's a great story.

7.  Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Reason: Best friends have wacky adventures

Who doesn't love the imagination in these stories? Everything from the transmogrifier to Calvin's time machine to the adventures of Spaceman Spiff keeps you laughing and turning page after page. The friendship that Calvin and Hobbes have is reminiscent of the Doctor and his loyal companion, always poking around and getting into trouble. They make friends and enemies, but at the end of the day it's the two of them against the world.

Do you watch "Doctor Who?" What books would you suggest for a Whovian looking for something to read? Leave a comment!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Wrap-Up

So I was a little late this month with the wrap-up post . . . whoops.

Books I Read

En Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


It had great characters, a fast-paced plot, and it sounds like it'll even be a movie. This was a great debut book, probably one of my favorite reads from this year so far. If you like fantasy, dual perspectives, and undercover spy work, this book is for you! Read my review here!

Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal


I hadn't ever really read superhero graphic novels before, so this was a great first comic! It read really fast and had a great protagonist. Kamala is a Muslim girl with a normal life and big dreams. Then she gains superpowers and totally kicks butt with them.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Holy. Freaking. Insanity. The characters are psycho, the story is psycho, everyone and everything is insane. This is one of the few books where I couldn't stand a single person in it, but liked the story. Those books are very rare, but Gone Girl pulled it off. I finished the last 150 pages in a single day because I couldn't put it down. Definitely worth the read.

Movies I Watched

"Sixteen Candles"


Fun eighties movie, simple story. It's not one of my favorites, but it's worth the watch. And now I get all the references people make!

"Sherlock Jr."


I really like silent movies! Buster Keaton's are my favorites, and this one was super fun and quirky. It's really short, too.

"Guardians of the Galaxy"


Another great superhero movie! I watched this one with my friends and we all really liked it. It's bizarre and funny and has great characters. It's like the Avengers meets Star Wars. I'll definitely watch the next one.

Quotes I Wrote

I won my local library's poetry contest! My winning poem is called Life Today.

The wonders of life are often
Missed by those who are too busy
To see.
Stuck in our silly lives,
Working hard to be able to eat
And go back to work,
We forget to live.
iPods and iPhones,
Beeping and tweeting and ringing.
A cacophony of reminders to check your device
And see who has updated their Facebook page most recently.
Constant interruptions turn twenty-minute TV shows into
Or sixty.
Movies take three nights to watch
Instead of one.
Kids bounce up and down in the car on road trips,
Asking how much longer it will be until they can get close to some wifi,
For their dragons on Dragonvale should be done breeding any second now.
The power goes out and we finally realize
How sad we are without
And noise.
Quiet. All is quiet.
Then a cell phone rings.

Harper frowned at the murky liquid. "It tastes like a barrel of lies."
--Plot Bunnies

    “You have to do something about him,” Harper said, sliding her tray away from me so I couldn’t take anything else from her. “Or one of these days you’re going to crack, and then where would I be?”
    “I can’t, Harper, you know I’ve already tried to—”
    “Not in-story,” she interrupted me. “Nobody’s been able to do that. I mean in real life.” She glanced around the dining hall—jam-packed and noisy with characters currently free from their stories—to make sure no one was listening. Then she leaned in closer and whispered, “I heard he’s getting you flowers.”
    I cursed under my breath, causing Harper to snort, eyes crinkling as she smiled.
    “I’ve already told him I’m not interested,” I grumbled. “He thinks that somehow this stupid, forced, and totally unrealistic in-story romance translates into the real world. What else can I do to send him the message?”
    “Just check yourself into the psychiatric ward,” Harper suggested, unhelpfully. “He won’t be allowed to see you there.”
    “Yeah, but then you can’t see me either.”
    “More fries for me,” she joked, smothering one in ketchup.
--Plot Bunnies

I caught a whiff of the familiar combination of ideas: coffee, old books, pencil shavings, and a hint of a fading campfire. Tendrils of smoke and fog still remained, drifting vaguely toward the ceiling.
--Plot Bunnies

“She’s not much of a talker, is she?” She said, quiet enough so Liz wouldn’t hear, but loud enough to make it clear that she didn’t care if she did.
    “She’s nervous,” I said, feeling this natural instinct to protect her. She couldn’t have been older than nine, maybe ten. Younger than Harper by quite a few years, at least. “We’re all nervous when we first materialize.”
    “Not me.” Harper wheeled herself in front of the bookshelf and ran her hands along the spines of my books. She pulled one at random and flipped through it, admiring the illustrations. “You know what I did?”
    “Rolled right down the hall and figured it out,” I said in a bored tone. I’d heard this story a thousand times.
    “Didn’t know anyone,” Harper continued, addressing the pages of my book rather than me. I busied myself with cleaning up the books and CDs lying around the room, making more space on the bed by scooping up my open notebook and pile of pencils. My MP3 player was almost crushed by Harper’s wheelchair before I rushed to move it from harm’s way, almost yanking the earbuds out of the headphone jack. “But I dealt with it. I listened, I observed, I explored, and I pieced together all the clues on my own.”
    “Yeah, yeah, I know, you were a genius,” I said distractedly.
    “Still am!” Harper said defensively. “Thanks to all that espionage crap, I know how to hack into anybody’s computer from my own laptop. I can also dig up deleted files and history, tap into your phone calls, and make it look like you’re getting text messages from someone you’re not.”
    “That’s just scary.”
    “That’s just the beginning.”
--Plot Bunnies

“How do I know if I’m the main character, though? I don’t even know who I am. I don’t know how old I am, what my last name is, if I have a family, nothing.”
    “It doesn’t take long for it to become clear,” Harper piped up. “Just pay attention to who the story seems to revolve around. If you end up getting dragged along on some epic quest of your best friend’s, chances are you’re the secondary character. If you’re the one the prophecy spoke of or you’re leading a rebellion or whatever, you’re the protagonist.”
--Plot Bunnies

I read the names on the doors. The first one had ‘Character 2’ engraved on the gold plaque hanging at eye level. The Writer must not have figured out a name for him (or her) yet. The one next to it said ‘Harry Potter,’ which made me wonder what fan-fiction piece she was working on now. We’d already had a few Dean Winchesters wandering the halls, but she hadn’t spent much time on those.
    Then I spotted Liz’s. The plaque read ‘Liz ???’ So she was an important character. The three question marks was The Writer’s signature placeholder for a last name, and she only gave last names to the characters who mattered. If only your first name was known, chances of you being caught in the crossfire were much higher.
--Plot Bunnies

“Hey, Indigo!” I looked up at Tony, sitting diagonally across from me. He was always the guy in big groups who looked most likely to answer, “RED BULL!” when asked what he had for breakfast. He beamed and gestured to man in his twenties next to him. “I think we've got a contender.”
    I raised my eyebrows at Tony and the man. “Really? Worse than Albert?”
    “We'll leave that up to the judges to decide,” Tony said.
    “All right, everyone, I think we're all here,” Mallory spoke in a shout to make herself heard. “If you could all quiet down, we can get started.”
    “Mallory?” Tony raised his hand, grinning innocently at her. His black hair stuck up at odd angles, greased with gel. “Can I say something first?”
    I saw Mallory give a small sigh, her shoulders rising and falling with movement that would hardly be noticed by anyone but those who didn't know her well. She knew what was coming, they all knew. “What is it, Tony?”
    Tony cleared his throat and stood, beaming at the crowd around him. He clasped his hands in front of him, standing directly underneath the lights in the ceiling, making it look as if he were in a spotlight. His skin was the warm color of redwood tree bark. “I have an announcement to make. We have a new contestant, everyone.”
    Mallory gave a groan and dropped her face into her hands. The rest of the group fell into whispers and murmurs, people leaning in to talk to their neighbors. “Did you hear that?” They muttered. “A new contestant. Wow.”
    “Tony, this isn't good for the group, you know that,” Mallory said, her words stale. I had a sudden sense of de ja vu as I predicted what she would say next. She'd said it a thousand times. “Comparing your problems to someone else's isn't healthy. Group therapy isn't a competition; it's a source of healing. You can't—”
    “Ladies and gentlemen,” Tony interrupted her, turning so he was facing most of the group instead of her. “May I present to you . . . Michael!”
    The young man—maybe a year or two older than me—who was sitting next to Tony, waved a little, smiling hesitantly at the gaping group. They stared at him like he was some kind of zoo animal, watching to see what trick he'd do next.
    “You think you're better than Albert, then, huh?” A suspicious middle-aged woman said a few chairs down from me. Her name was Trish, and she was one of the regular judges for our unofficial little game. While the whole group decided collectively who had it worse, she was our representative, our main voice.
    “I don't know,” Michael admitted. “I don't know what his story is yet. But I think I've got a chance.”
    “What have you got that's so awful?” Harper piped up.
    “Terminal cancer,” Michael said, nonchalantly. There was a collective, “Ahhh” of realization from the group. They nodded their heads and looked at each other with, “poor thing” looks on their faces, lowers lips stuck out in a pout. “And my family doesn't have health insurance. Oh, and my girlfriend who's pregnant with my baby just went missing.”
    Trish sat back in her chair and rubbed her chin thoughtfully, staring at him through narrowed eyes. “Not bad, not bad,” she murmured. “But it doesn't even come close to Albert.”
    There was a rumble of agreements from the group, mutterings of, “No, definitely not”s and “Not even close”s and “Nope, Albert's got it worse”s.
    “All right, what's Albert's story?” Michael asked, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked over at the old man sitting directly across from Mallory. He was also in a wheelchair, chest rising and falling with soft snores. He wore dark sunglasses, had tons of wrinkles, saggy skin, and a silver beard with random tufts of hair decorating his otherwise bald head. It was always hard to tell with him whether or not he'd been dragged into his story or if he was truly asleep. He was constantly drifting off.
    “Where to begin?” Trish sighed, looking at Albert sadly. “He watched his family be brutally murdered in front of him by the Nazis, wend blind, half-deaf, and lost both of his legs during an air raid, and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was twelve. He married a beautiful woman years later, but she miscarried three times, birthed a stillborn, and was later the victim of a serial killer in their quiet Texas town. He lost his job and is now homeless. Oh, and he doesn't have any of his teeth anymore.”
    Albert jerked awake, whether from reemerging from his story or waking from a dream, we didn't know. He moved his head around as if he were looking at everyone, even though he couldn't see us. “What's that?” He yelled.
    “You're still number one,” Trisha shouted. “Michael didn't beat you.”
    He mumbled something under his breath and shifted around in his chair, pulling his shoulders up until they were almost touching his ears. He was asleep again within seconds.
--Plot Bunnies

Obsessions I Acquired

Louden Swain. I found them because Rob Benedict (who plays Chuck in "Supernatural") is the lead singer, and I wanted to check them out. They're so cool! They have a unique sound with very catchy songs. I especially love "Eskimo," "Gamma Ray," and "Worlds Collide."

"Once Upon a Dream" -- Lana Del Rey This came on my Pandora station the other day and I haven't stopped listening to it since! It's simple and haunting and makes for great writing music.

Picture of the Month

I've seen this picture so many times, but every time I see it it cracks me up.

Kate Gold asked me to pass on this information: she's starting a blog chain and is hosting a video chat to discuss it with anyone who's interested. The details are HERE.

How was your April?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear OTP (TCWT Blog Chain)

I am so freakishly excited for this TCWT prompt (thank you for your genius, John). The hardest part was picking just a few couples to write about (decisions!). Let me start off by saying that I hate ship bashing. The rudeness I've witnessed (especially from aggressive Johnlock/Sherlolly shippers . . . calm down, guys) is just plain mean. Each fangirl/boy is allowed his/her own opinion without judgement or cattiness. This has been and always will be a hate-free blog, so don't be afraid to leave a comment!

(Why yes, yes I have made a list of my OTPs--all 50 or so of them--and yes, yes I did consult it as I wrote this post.)

Prompt: “Write a letter to a fictional couple.”

Dear Tenrose,
Why must you hurt me in this way? I spent an entire season squeeing over your adorableness and you had to go and break my heart. Thanks for the week I spent wallowing in my grief with tissues and chocolate, grumbling over the first few episodes of S3.

But in all seriousness, you two are the ultimate OTP. You're funny, you're sweet, you're cute, you kick butt, and you save the universe time and time again. What more could a ship ask for?

A Dedicated Whovian Surrounded By Empty Boxes of Tissues

Dear Luneville,

You two should totally have been canon. I can't think of a better pairing in the entire series. You're both quirky and often considered misfits. But I think more than anything, what would've drawn the two of you together is that you're unconditionally kind. You love your friends like family and would do anything to help them. You're the perfect match. Fan-fiction doesn't lie.

A Potterhead Who Thinks You Two Should Just Kiss Already

Dear Sherlolly,

THE FRUSTRATION. You two have had three seasons of sparks and chemistry and nothing?! Sherlock, you idiot, say something to her. For a genius detective, you sure are oblivious to her attempts at romance. Even John sees it. Molly is willing to do anything for you, including pretending you were dead for two years.

If nothing happens in S4, I'm sending another letter of protest.

A Sherlolly Shipper With Too Many Feels

Dear Megstiel,

Yes, yes, I am in the minority here with the Supernatural fandom, but I can't help it. I never would've expected to ship an angel and a demon in this show, especially a demon whom I'd previously loathed with every fiber of my body. How in the world did I ever end up squealing over you two? Oh yes, because the writing is brilliant. Ahem. But that's another letter for another time.

Cas is undeniably sweet and adorable, and Meg, while rough around the edges, was willing to stay by his side when he was crazy!Cas and stuck in a hospital bed. They take care of each other, which is probably the most important thing a ship can have, especially in the Supernatural fandom.

But, like all the best OTPs, it must either never have existed at all or end in tragedy. *sighs heavily* But this is Supernatural, after all, so there's hope for you yet . . .

A Shipper Who Hopes Meg Finds Her Unicorn

Ignore the confused moose in the background. He knows nothing of your love.

Dear Hazel & Augustus,

Apparently you don't have a ship name because you're just too awesome to even need one. That's pretty cool, but it is a mouthful to say "Hazel and Augustus" when I could be saying "Haugustus" or something to that effect.

You two are smart, sarcastic, funny, and adorable together. You even fangirl/fanboy over books together. How cool is that?! And Gus bought Hazel plane tickets to Amsterdam using his wish from the genies in order to get her to meet her favorite author?! Yeah, he's a keeper.

A Fangirl Trying Not to Cry

Dear Cress & Thorne,

Corne? Thress? Do you even have a ship name? It doesn't really matter. You guys are awesome. And hilarious. And cute. I pretty much spent the whole time reading the book with a smile on my face. Cress is adorable. Thorne is awesome and reminds me of Captain Jack Harkness. Basically you two are my favorite characters in The Lunar Chronicles. The end.

A Huge Fan Waiting Impatiently For Winter

There are SO many cool pieces of fanart out there, it was hard to choose just one!

I could go on and on and on, but I won't for the sake of keeping this post at a relatively normal size. I would like to give a shout out to Javajunkie, Sizzy, Malec, Rumbelle, Dean/Jo, and Niles/Daphne.

Who are your OTPs? Please share!

Psst. Remember the "Bean Bag's and Sofa's Writer's Group" I talked about a little while ago? Well the site is finally up! Check it out!

and (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

An Ember In the Ashes (a book review)

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Release date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 443

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.


I mentioned in my "Ten Bookish Goals For 2015" post back in December that I wanted to read and review a debut book. After consulting the owners of our local bookstore, I was handed this one. I went into it with high hopes and was not disappointed. (And it also helped me with my "read more fantasy" goal!)

An Ember In the Ashes sounds like it could be a dystopian book from the description, but it is so, so not. It's definitely fantasy, more like a Roman gladiator story than anything else. Yes, the government officials are terrifying and evil and brutal, but they are not President Snow or Jeanine Matthews. The story reminded me of Girl In the Arena (though a much, much better version of it) and the Mortal Instruments series.

The book is told through dual perspectives; Laia, an undercover slave working as a spy to free her brother from prison, and Elias, a once dutiful soldier who's having second thoughts. Though I liked both of the characters a lot, only Laia's perspective managed to keep me interested all the way through. Elias' got better over time, but his beginning was flat and confusing. I had to fight through his chapters for the first hundred pages until things started to pick up. Luckily, I love characters who try to infiltrate a system from the inside or work as a spy (think Charlie Bradbury from "Supernatural" or the members of the Order of the Phoenix), so Laia's storyline kept me hooked.

It's a familiar enough premise--imperfect fantasy society told through dual male and female perspectives--but has unique aspects that set it apart from the others like it. I love both Laia and Elias for different reasons. Laia agrees to be a spy for the Resistance, which is a group of people fighting the system, and becomes a slave for the cruel ruler, the Commandant. She needs to give the Resistance information in order to free her brother, who was captured by the government. Elias is a soldier participating in a competition to see who will become the emperor, but he feels conflicted about the way things are and forms a kind of friendship with Laia.

There are few characters who are central to the story, though sometimes it was hard to keep track of Elias' friends, who hardly did anything except confuse me. Laia was probably my favorite character, along with the more timid slave, Izzi. Laia was not ferociously brave and self-sacrificing like lots of young heroines are nowadays. She was scared, and she didn't like getting hurt, but she was able to find enough bravery to keep pushing for the sake of her brother. She didn't have bravery thrust upon her, but she grew into it, which I thought was really cool to see. Izzi was the slave she bonded with, and I like the friendship the two of them have. Laia brought Izzi out of her shell a little, and Izzi was sweet to her.

Elias is a character to feel sorry for. His mother is ruthless, and treats him like a soldier rather than a son. He has a rocky relationship with his best friend as the book goes on and their values start to change. He's constantly having to choose between what is right and what will keep him and his friends safe. And he has to figure out if his friends are really his friends.

I had a hard time with Elias' best friend, Helen. I liked her at first, then I didn't, then I wasn't sure. She's a confused character brought up in a world where she's taught that it's okay to kill people simply because you believe you're better than they are. I still can't decide if she's a bad guy or just someone in need of a friend to teach her what's right.

As for the plot, yes, there sadly was a love triangle. *sighs heavily* Maybe even a love square? I don't know. The whole time there was confusion from all of the characters, pointed looks and sleepless nights. Overall, it just wasn't believable for me. I knew the whole time which two characters would end up together (and though I won't spoil it for you, I was right!). It wasn't central to the plot though, thank god, so I can get past that.

The ending was satisfying, but definitely left room for a sequel. Nobody's sure if there's going to be one as the publisher only bought the one, but it sounds like there might be a movie! It would make a great movie if anything comes of it.

All in all, I would give this book

If you like fantasy, dual perspectives, and undercover spy work, this book is for you!

Have you read this book? What did you think? And what are your thoughts on love triangles/squares?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--April

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month she announces a new set of questions to answer about your characters so you can learn more about them. This month's theme is siblings! I love family dynamics, especially sibling dynamics, in books (and movies and TV shows). This meme made me realize that I actually don't have a lot of siblings in my stories, though. I'll definitely have to fix that.

Anyway, I couldn't decide between answering the questions for Cassandra and Cindy (unicorns from my MG fantasy trilogy) or Lane and Becca (from Beneath the Moon and Stars, my YA contemporary romance), so I'm bending the rules and doing both. ;)


1. What is the first memory they have of each other?

The first memory Cindy has of Cassandra is actually right after Cassie was born. Cindy, being only two at the time and not realizing how fragile newborn unicorns really are, tried to play with her by tackling her. Cassandra wasn't hurt, though, and thought it seemed like fun. It didn't take long for them to bond.

Cassandra remembers being scared of everything that was going on in Fantasya when she was about two. Giants, trolls, and elves invaded Prosperity Border (their home), and their dad told Cindy to take Cassandra and hide somewhere safe. Cindy stayed with her for a long time.

Becca's four years older than Lane, so her first memory is holding Lane on the couch, surrounded by lots of concerned adults giving her different instructions about how to hold his head up and keep the blanket wrapped around him. She remembers his huge poof of black hair, which never really went away as he got older.

Lane was always running after Becca when he was little, the two of them finding their own entertainment during their mother's boring dinner parties by causing mischief. When Becca was eight, she had Lane keep watch while she dumped clear alcohol into the sink and replaced it with water. Their mother screamed at them afterward, but Lane remembers feeling immensely proud of the two of them while they were actually carrying out their plan. He felt like a spy, standing at the door, peeking through the crack for anyone coming.

2. Describe their relationship in 3 words.

Cassandra and Cindy's relationship: Lots of love.

Lane and Becca: Ups and downs.

3. What kind of things do they like to do together?

Cassandra and Cindy, when they aren't fighting for their lives, love games. Even as adults, they jump in and play tag with their kids or hide and seek. They have energy to spare, so running around is the perfect outlet for them.

Lane and Becca tend to bond over exasperation at their mother's petty antics. They hated it as kids, they hate it now. But it's fun to whisper and crack jokes behind their parents' backs, both of them trying to make the other laugh first. Mostly, they just like to talk. They may not have a whole lot in common, but they can count on each other for stimulating conversation when everyone else around them is more concerned with the paint choice for the room they're sitting in.

4. What was their biggest fight?

Cassandra and Cindy rarely fight. They know all too well that they can't accomplish as much alone as they can together. Their biggest fight lasted for maybe a day. Cassandra accidentally let slip that Cindy was pregnant, when she and her husband were waiting to tell everyone all at once at a nice dinner. But after realizing it wasn't that big of a deal, they both apologized and went back to being friends.

Lane and Becca are unpredictable. Sometimes they're both in fantastic moods, the next day they could be screaming at each other. Overall, their relationship is really good, but they fight like normal siblings.

5. How far would they go to save each other?

Pfft, Cassie and Cindy have literally risked their lives for each other from the time they were toddlers. I don't think there's anything they wouldn't do for the other.

Lane and Becca have each other's backs, for the most part. It's kind of necessary for survival when they're both living with their mother. Becca hates to see her little brother get hurt or picked on, but she's willing to slap him into shape if the situation requires it. Lane is generally willing to do all sorts of favors for Becca, too.

6. What are their pet peeves about each other?

Cindy likes to tease her little sister in front of other people, which is funny at first, but quickly becomes irritating for Cassandra. Cindy hates it when Cassie chews with her mouth open.

Lane thinks Becca is too uptight, Becca thinks Lane can't take anything seriously.

7. What are their favorite things about each other?

Cassandra and Cindy love their inside jokes. Whether they're whispering and giggling late at night or cracking each other up in the middle of a boring event, they're constantly laughing.

Though he'd never admit it and risk constant teasing from her, Lane thinks Becca has good advice. She's the first person he goes to when he's in a pinch because he knows he'll listen. Becca likes the way Lane balances her out when she's feeling stressed. He's always up for a game or a night out.

8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc?

Cassandra and Cindy are both energetic, outgoing, fun-loving, happy, and funny. Their coats are pure white.

Lane and Becca are both extremely sarcastic and smart. They're both eye-rollers and share the same loud laugh.

9. Who has the strongest personality?

It's a tough call, but Cassandra probably wins. Cindy's a little worn out from her little sister's energy.

Lane, definitely Lane. He is a strong E while Becca's an I.

10. How does their relationship change throughout your story?

Cindy wasn't around for much of Cassandra's childhood, as she was separated from her during the war in Fantasya, but when the two reunited, it was as if nothing had changed. If anything, their bond strengthened.

Lane and Becca fought with each other more at the beginning of the story, sick of the other's antics, very much needing their own space. They soon found a common cause to unite them. I won't spoil what happens at the end.

Tell me about the siblings you've written! Or, even better, linkup with Cait and talk about them on your own blog. Who are some of your favorite fictional families?