Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Still reading Mockingjay. Still excited. :)

So, I haven't done a teaser in a while. This is from the rough rough rough draft of a story I've been working on. I can't decide if it's gonna be short or long, but at this point, it's looking more novella length than novel length.

Some background: The MC, Sienna, is just out of high school and her little sister, Amber, committed suicide about a year and a half ago at this point. She works at a public pool as a lifeguard and Danny is her manager. (He's only like three years older than her, though.)

Warning - there's some sex.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I have it. In my hands.

After a slight upset at the UPS store, I have it.

So, blogosphere, I will be back.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

Title: You Wish
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Page Count: 284 pages
Summary: Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.

Review: I haven't read Prada & Prejudice yet, so this was the first thing I'd read by Mandy Hubbard! I've been following her blog and twitter for awhile, so I was super excited when I saw this book in the store. I got it right before I left for college and it took me less than two days to finish.

What I Liked: 

  • Ben. Ben was super dreamy, guys. He was adorable and did motocross and was sweet and laughed at Ken and generally - all he did was be amazing. He made me swoon and this is hard to get me to do over a character.
  • The wishes! This shouldn't count as a spoiler, but - Kayla's Raggedy Ann doll turns into a real person and she is super entertaining! Kayla's a total loner at the beginning of the book, but the main plot point - the wishes - really turned her life around! Her character development was totally spot on because of these things and she becomes a better person because of it.
  • Super Loner Girl? One of my professors talks circles around why it's dumb that you should feel you have to relate to characters, but I think it just enhances the story - I love to relate! And relate to Kayla I did. She made fun of popular girls, had twenty different pairs of Converse shoes, and was totally fine being a loner. And I'm totally like that, guys. But she realizes - spoiler alert! - that being a loner is usually self-made. It's not like she was just a freak. She just used that to cope. WHICH I CAN SO RELATE TO.
What I Didn't Like: 
  • Cheesy? Maybe a little. The premise itself sounds like a Disney movie, as my friend Tom so eloquently put to me. And it does. The writing isn't intense or literary, which I don't think was the author's purpose. Maybe what I'm trying to say is: It was a little too light and fluffy, candy for the brain. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing! 
Overall, I enjoyed You Wish a lot. It had great characters and character development, some really funny moments, and some very witty prose at times. If you're looking for an intense read, though, this really isn't it! But that doesn't detract - it was still lots of fun! 

Romance: 4/5 stars
Overall: 4/5 stars

Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Other by Karen Kincy

Title: Other
Author: Karen Kincy
Page Count: 326 pages
Summary:Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.

When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.

Review:  Sorry for the lack of reviews lately! I've just been getting settled into college like. But, without further ado:

What I Liked:

  • Crazy Christians! In Other, the super religious Christians believe that being an Other, usually something that is out of your control, means that your soul is damned and you are automatically a sinner.  For some reason, this made me laugh. It reminded me how some fundamentalist Christians are against people who are homosexual, so I like that tie in with real life.
  • Sex! Yay, the last two books I've read don't skirt around the fact that teenagers have, and always will, have sex! I like it when there's some steamy moments, although the steaminess factor in Other couldn't really touch the amount of steam in Forget You
  • Even the Others are prejudiced! I found this to be really funny - at the beginning of the book, Gwen hates werewolves and vampires because they are seen as thieves and murderers, but they are Others just like her, only made that way. I think that's sometimes a way to cope in a society that is prejudiced against you; say, "Well, at least I'm not like them."
What I Didn't Like:
  • School? Gwen states in the beginning of the book that she is homeschooled. However, not once in this book is she actually homeschooled. The author seems to use this as a device to make sure she doesn't have anything in her way to going to investigate things.
  • Police? This one is more of a question than an actual thing I didn't like: why are Gwen and Tavian more competent than the police? I understand that the police are prejudiced, whatever, but they just seem to be oblivious in this book, to an infuriating point. It just didn't seem realistic to me.
  • Boyfriend? A lot of people complain that the first half of this book is slow because it is mostly character development. I kind of agree and something that really bothered me about the first half of this book is how Gwen's relationship with her boyfriend is completely not realistic. They don't seem to know each other well or because comfortable around each other - it's like they've just started going out. 
Overall, I did enjoy Other and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of paranormal fiction. However, a lot of the characters and the world seemed a little too unbelievable for my taste, which kept me from enjoying the book as much as I would've. (Also, the format of the book, at least mine, made me uncomfortable. The pages were super white and the font was super dark - the contrast was a bit too much.) 

Romance: 3.8/5 stars
Overall: 3.5/5

Thursday, August 26, 2010


No, this isn't a review. I've been kind of avoiding the blogosphere because I don't want to read reviews.

Nope, this is a complaint.

I still haven't gotten it yet!

Barnes & Noble, I'm disappointed. Amazon gave me Deathly Hallows that day it was released and you can't even manage to get it to me two days later?

I actually went to the mailbox place (at my university) all excited because I thought it had arrived. I had a package, yay! I waited in line for a couple of minutes, excited to start reading.

That package wasn't Mockingjay. It was a book for class.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Author Interview: Jackson Pearce

Right after I read Sisters Red, I asked Jackson if she'd like to do an interview. Of course, this woman is amazing and busy and what-have-you, so I've just now gotten around to posing it! Blame my first day of college for it!

If you guys are unaware, Jackson is the author of two YA books: As You Wish and Sisters Red, both of which are amazing and both of which I own! I'd definitely recommend you read them. 

Anyway, here's my review of Sisters Red, which I was totally in love with. I liked how it stuck to the roots of scary, not-sexy werewolves, even if I am a fan of sexy, Native American werewolves. (Ahem, I did not just admit that!)

What was the first novel you ever wrote called and what was it about?
My first book was called THE KEYBEARER, and it was about a girl who finds out the attic in her deceased mother's house leads to another world when she uses a set of old keys in the door. It was a fun book, but a little too overdone to be publishable (I now realize).

What do you think is the hardest part of being a writer?
The hardest part of being a writer is juggling the writing side with the author side. As a writer, my only job is to write, edit and revise. But as an author, I have to answer emails, do interviews, live shows, talk to publishers-- I love BOTH the writer and author side of the profession, but sometimes it's tough to make time for both!

Who is your favorite character in Sisters Red?
I truly don't have a favorite character-- I love both Scarlett and Rosie. I do find myself a little more empathetic to Scarlett, perhaps since I'm an older sister too. When people say she's too obsessed with hunting, or that she needs her own love story, I get really defensive!

A lot of authors have been romanticizing werewolves in recent novels (Twilight Saga, The Dark Divine, Shiver). However, Sisters Red definitely doesn't do this. Were you trying to contradict the current trend? (I loved the idea of returning back to the scary roots of werewolves. They seem a little too... whiny nowadays.)
I wasn't really trying to contradict the trend, I was just writing a book I loved! It just happened to be the opposite of what's going on with werewolves nowadays. I did, however, want to make sure that if my wolves were monsters, they were REALLY going to be monsters. The eat-your-face kind :)

And, a random bonus question: Are you a dog or a cat person?
I've got one of each! I love both dogs and cats.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Title: Forget You
Author: Jennifer Echols
Page Count: 292 pages
Summary: There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

Review: First of all, me and this book have a little history. I read the summary a while ago and I started freaking out: A girl named Zoey and an amnesia plot? It totally looks like I copied for The Unlikelihood of Nostalgia! This made me sad. But it also made me realize - hmm, this book sounds interesting.

So, without further ado:

What I Liked:

  • Amnesia - Is it obvious by the TUON summary that I'm a fan of amnesia? I know it seems overdone sometimes and a little soap-opera-esque, but there's something about it that just intrigues me. If you don't remember something, it's like it didn't happen, right? But it did! 
  • Doug - I think that Doug just might be one of my favorite love interests. Not only is he smoking, but he and Zoey had such good chemistry that I had that tingly-please-kiss feeling right from the beginning of the book! And he and Zoey had some steamy moments.
  • Sex! I'm a pretty vocal advocate of YA books containing sex - it's just a part of life as a teenager and even though it's still a big deal, it happens, which a lot of people try to skirt around. But no, this book definitely didn't! It was so steamy that sometimes I had to stop and fan myself. (Well, figuaratively.) 
I honestly can't think of anything I didn't like about this book! Zoey was such a real character and so genuine and trying so hard to keep it together after what happens with her mother that I just felt for her. Doug and Zoey's chemistry was through the roof - I'm astonished by how tingly I felt on the first page he was introduced! That usually doesn't happen to me; I tend to be a little less reactionary to books than I am to real life. Anyway - go read this book! It's great! 

Romance: 5/5 stars
Overall: 4.5/5 stars

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tiny Hiatus!

Hey everyone! So I'm going off to college next Thursday and I've been packing like mad. I don't want you guys to think I'm neglecting you or something, so I've decided this - no more blogging until I'm settled in. This means, of course, that I won't be on here or Twitter until next Friday about, but I will be writing posts in my spare time for AWESOME books I've been reading lately.

See you guys next week!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Page Count: 336 pages w/ appendix
Summary: When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise!

Review: I loved Holes so much - it was my favorite book when I was a kid. Everything ties together so well and it's just amazing. I'm still in love with it, something like nine years after I first read it. So when I saw The Cardturner sitting on the table at the library, I snatched it up.

What I Liked:

  • Bridge! I'd never really known much about the game before I started this book and I'm sure the long descriptions of the game might've taken away from the book for some people, but they just served to make me even more interested in the game! I really, really, want to learn to play now.
  • Awesome old people! Alton's great-uncle Trapp is an awesome character. He's gone blind, which is why he needs a cardturner, but he memorizes every card without thinking and he's totally sarcastic and grumpy. But the best thing about grumpy old people? It means all the more when they compliment you!
  • Spirits! I'm not gonna reveal too much here, but the culmination of this book results in an awesome game of bridge that features two dead partners! Yay! 
  • Sparse writing style. I love the way that Louis Sachar writes - it's so easy to read and absorb but also contains so much voice that I can help but feel for the main character. 
  • Money-grubbing parents! Alton's parents want money from Uncle Trapp when he dies because he's ridiculously rich, so they always try to make Alton suck up to him. It's so gross and gold-digging, but somehow Sachar makes it funny. I don't quite know how he manages to make something that should be disgusting and sad hilarious, but it worked for me! Alton's mom was the best - she's always like, "Tell your uncle he's your favorite and you love him! Tell him, Alton. TELL HIM!" 
As you can tell by my enthusiastic exclamation points, there wasn't much I didn't like about this book. There was even a nifty little whale that told you when the boring bridge parts were coming up and then a little summary box if you didn't want to read the long bridge parts. I usually did though. I'm surprised how much I was infected with the bridge fever, though - I even downloaded a game! I'm really bad at it though because I don't completely understand it, but I'll get there! 

Overall, if you can get past some of the boring bridge parts, this book is golden. I didn't love this as much as Holes and I don't think anything can touch that book, but it was a really good read! 

Overall: 4.5/5 stars

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Layout!

As you may have noticed, my header has changed! It was done by the AMAZING Amelia of The Authoress. Her graphics are amazing and splendid and wonderful and at this moment, I'm so happy with my header (and button, in the sidebar!), I practically worship her. Seriously, though, her blog is really awesome - go look!

Thanks so much, Amelia!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

It's that time of the week again! I've been working on a new story, based on a short story I wrote a few years ago for creative writing. It's about a girl who's in a car accident and befriends the blind boy who lives next door. It's totally untitled, but I thought I'd share part of it.

The doorbell rang, loud and chiming. Our house was so tiny that the door was right off of the kitchen so I used the wall as support to hobble forward. It was probably a package or something for my mom; she was always getting those infomercial products that are supposed to make your life easier.

But when I opened the door, the blind kid was standing there, dark glasses over his eyes. He was wearing a pair of jeans, but they weren’t baggy and falling off like his brother’s always seemed to be.

“Yes?” I asked. It was weird not to feel self-conscious. If he couldn’t see me, he couldn’t judge.

“May I use your phone?” he asked, very politely. “I don’t know where my mom went and the door to our house is locked.”

“Um, sure,” I said, “Come in.”

He left his cane outside, propped up on the porch steps, and felt his way along the walls of the entranceway. For a moment, I felt the pity that most people must feel when they see him – “Poor boy, can’t even see where he’s going,” but then something snapped in me. It was so harsh that I almost fell over. Feeling bad for him was worse than feeling bad for myself because he’d always been like this; he didn’t know any other way. And I’d only been hurt for a year and I could barely wake up for self pity sometimes. Fuck pity.

“Let me go get the phone,” I said, going into the kitchen to pick up the wireless.

“What’s your name?” he asked and his voice was very soft.
“Danielle,” I told him.

“I’m Henri.” He said it like he was French; “Ahn-ri”.

“Um,” I said, holding the phone. “Do you want me to dial the number for you?”

He told me the number, standing very still with a hand on the dining room table, like it was the only thing holding him up.

“Here.” I gave him the phone, brushing my smooth hands over his rough palms.

He stood there for a second, holding the phone to his ear. The volume was so loud that I could hear the ringing as I leaned against the kitchen counter, watching him. But no one answered and he sighed, handing me back the phone.

“Do you want to stay here? Until she comes back?”

“It’s alright,” he said. “I’ll just wait outside for her.”

It was June and we lived in north Miami. No way was I going to let him sit out in that heat. “It’s fine, really. I know it’s really hot outside.”

He sighed and I figured he was admitting defeat.

“There’s a chair right behind you,” I told him.

“Can I ask you something?” he asked me quietly as he sat down.

“Sure,” I said, settling at the kitchen table across from him.

“My mom always talks about your family and calls you fi tris. It means sad girl. But no one in my house tells me anything and I want to know why they call you that. You don’t have to tell me if it’s too personal, but I was just wondering.”

I pressed at the frowning corner of my lips, thinking. I was about to tell him about my accident and my sister dying since he couldn’t see the real, obvious effects of it, but something inside of balked at telling him. He’d probably say something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I didn’t want anyone to be sorry. It wouldn’t change anything.

So I told him, “I don’t smile much.”

Suddenly, he stiffened. “I think I heard my mom’s car.”

Maybe it was because he didn’t see them, but his facial expression didn’t seem to change much as he bid me goodbye at the door. Or maybe it was because I didn’t see his eyes. But his mom was yelling something unintelligible and he hurried down the steps and clacked towards his house.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review: She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Title: She's So Dead to Us
Author: Kieran Scott
Page Count: 278 pages
Summary: Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?

Review: I really didn't expect to love this book. I thought it would be a good book to lose myself in, but not something that I'd be clamoring to finish, wanting to know what happens. I read a few reviews of it, so I pushed it up to the top of my to-read pile. I'm a fast reader, but this one went by too fast!

What I Liked:
  • The main character. Ally was fierce, guys. She stands up for herself, plays sports, and doesn't get so swoon-y over guys that she forgets how rude they've been to her. She isn't a pushover. I loved her.
  • The setting. Orchard Hill was so well described, I thought I'd gone there myself. Kieran Scott did a wonderful job on describing the scenery and the people who lived there; some scenes were so rich with description that I was almost amazed at how in-depth Scott went.
  • Jake! In the beginning, I hated Jake so much and even by the end, I wasn't sure how much I liked him. But I totally swooned over him at times, even if he could be a total dick. He acted like a real person who cares what their friends think and I really enjoyed that about him. And even he knew when his friends went too far.
What I Didn't Like:
  • The conflict. I found it super childish for Ally's old friends to completely hate her for something that her father had done. Sure, they could be a little annoyed and not want to be friends with her, whatever, but the extent to which they pranked her and froze her out was a little extreme.
  • The end. Total cliffhanger, urgh! I thought this was a standalone book but the end makes it obvious that it is not. But I liked the idea that it was a standalone book, even if Ally didn't reconcile with her friends at the end.
  • The slang. The rich kids were called 'Cresties' because they lived on the crest of a hill and the not-rich people: 'Normies'. I'm not kidding. I cringed every time it was used.
Overall, I really enjoyed the characters and the setting of She's So Dead to Us and the good definitely outweighed the bad. I was surprised at how much I liked it! I'd definitely recommend it if you want a light read.

Romance: 3.5/5 stars
Overall: 4/5 stars

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I got this week:
The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C.K. Kelly Martin
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
Lucky T by Kate Brian
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams

Friday, August 6, 2010

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
1.)Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list.
2.)Follow our Featured Bloggers - not this week..
3.)Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4.)Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5.)Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6.)If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7.)If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Book Blogger Hop


1. Enter your book blog link in the Linky List below (be sure to include how long you've been blogging and what genres you review!). If you post about the Hop on your blog, please link directly to your Hop post (don't forget to answer this week's question - see below!).

2. Visit other blogs in the Linky List! Make new friends! Follow new book bloggers! Talk about books! Rave about authors! (Please do not leave your link and not visit other blogs - it's just not cool and not in the spirit of the Hop!)

3. Post about the Hop on your blog! Spread the word about the book party! The more the merrier!

4. In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!):

Aside from the obvious answer (Mockingjay FTW!), I'm super excited for Queen of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I follow her blog and read part of it when it was up on FictionPress, so I'm super excited to see it published!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Page Count: 264 pages
Summary:"In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, re-reading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love—and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love."

Review: I was intrigued by the blurb of this book, since I don't often read books that feature a LGBT narrator, especially one in a fantasy setting. And while I did enjoy Ash, there was some things about it that didn't impress me as much. I'm trying out a new format for my reviews; tell me if you like it better than the other ones!

The things I did like:
  • The setting. The world-building was really cool - I liked that 'the old ways' meant believing in fairy tales and fae magic and that the new philosophy was a completely practical one. I thought it was super creative.
  • The fairies. Well, there was technically only one, but he was an awesome character; I think he was my favorite. He was one of the only ones that I really connected with - you could totally feel his sorrow.
  • The incorporation of the original fairy tale. The prince of the land, Prince Aidan, was just barely mentioned, but he danced with Ash at the ball and invited all of the most eligible ladies of the land to the ball. I thought it was entertaining that the original fairy tale storyline was completely secondary and the prince's attentions were completely unwanted.
The things I didn't like:
  • The characters. Specifically, the title character, Ash. I didn't connect with her at all and although I kind of liked her development, I couldn't really sympathize with her. She just seemed very stoic and controlled and it was hard to like a character that I didn't see much emotion from, aside from the in the beginning. Kaisa I did like, but I didn't learn much about her, so again, I didn't get the depth of the love between the characters.
  • The romance. No matter the gender, a good romance sweeps me away, and when the two characters finally got together in Ash, I only felt a little glimmer of that. It didn't seem like there was enough development to me, but maybe that's just because I love the development of a romance more than the romance itself.
Overall, I would recommend Ash, but it didn't impress me as much as I thought it would.

Romance: 3/5 stars
Overall: 3.5/5 stars

Monday, August 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

I haven't been writing too much lately. Maybe it's just writer's block, maybe laziness, maybe I'm just not as confident in my writing as I used to be; hence the lack of teaser last week. However, the past few days I've been working on a story that is in the very, very rough stage - I'm not even sure what the plot is going to be quite yet. Tentatively titled Touchstone, it centers on a shy girl named Georgia Blue who becomes an unlikely hero when she witnesses a rock-climber falling from a stepp wall and carts him to safety.

This scene takes place a day after the accident, when Georgia visits the boy she saved in the hospital.

"The hospital was like all hospitals: cold, sterile, and blue. The door to his room was dark wood, with the numbers ‘264’ stenciled onto it neatly. My mom opened the door for me and I realized that I didn’t know his name, only his blood under my fingernails and his bright shirt climbing the cliff.

There was a woman sitting next to his bed reading a magazine and she looked up when we came in. She was stunningly beautiful and not even in a cliché type of way: bright brown eyes, straight black hair, and skin just dark enough for me to know that she was Native American. But she looked tired; the purple under her eyes matched mine.

She stood up and smiled, keeping her eyes on me. “Are you Georgia Blue?”

I gulped, lingering in the doorway. “Yeah.”

She broke out in smile, revealing crooked white teeth. “I’m Tabitha. Um, I guess you’ve met Nick?”

I pressed my finger to my lips, creeping slowly into the room. “Is he gonna be okay?” I whispered. He looked so peaceful, lying on the bed. There were tiny cuts in his cheeks, the largest of them sewn up with stitches right across his jaw line.

“They think so,” Tabitha said. “They’re saying he might not walk again, but I know Nick. He’s gonna make himself walk again.” She smiled again, like she was thinking about what he might say.

“Um, are you his wife?” I asked, but he didn’t look old enough to be married. He looked only a few years older than me, maybe just out of high school. But everyone looks younger when they sleep.

She shook her head and held up her left hand. There was a silver ring with a tiny stone in it. “His fiancée,” she said happily, wistfully.

“Congrats,” I said and turned to look for my mom. But she wasn’t standing at the door anymore. Maybe she wanted to give me some privacy.

“Georgia?” Tabitha said. She was staring at her feet when I looked back at her, like she was nervous. “Thank you. So much. If you hadn’t been there…” She swallowed, a huge, audible gulp. “Thank you so much.”

I was unready for her to step forward and throw her arms around me, but she did. Her body was tiny against mine; not skinny, just petite. And then the enormity of the situation hit me, through the visions of gore I’d been having all night: I’d saved his life. This man would be dead without me and Tabitha would be sobbing at his funeral and they’d never get married and have beautiful Native American children. I wanted to cry, suddenly, but I just returned her hug awkwardly.

She pulled back, her eyes bright. “I’m actually gonna go get some lunch, okay? He’s been kind of talking a little bit, so I think he might wake up soon. Are you gonna stay here?”

“Sure.” I sat down on the couch next to the bed and picked up her magazine. It was an outdoors magazine, filled with pictures of canyons and cliff and advertising: “Top 10 Perfect Hiking Trails”. Tabitha paused at the door and I could feel her eyes on me, but I didn’t look up to see if she was smiling. I’m sure she was.

The moment she left, Nick started to groan. Not loudly, but low and guttural. I shifted uncomfortably because it sounded sexual but then he stopped, turned over, and opened his eyes.

They were blue and I realized I hadn’t seen them before. He said, very lucidly, “Who are you?”

I hated when people asked me that question because my answer always rhymed. “Georgia Blue. I, um, I helped you when you fell.”

“What?” he said and then his eyes closed and he was out again."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Title: White Cat
Author: Holly Black
Page Count: 310 pages
Summary: "Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories."

Review: I've been in love with every single one of Holly Black's books - I think they were my introduction to urban fantasy. White Cat was no exception to this!

The world building in this book was fantastic. Cassel's family has all types of powers, which is pretty rare because there's so few curse workers in the world. Workers (as they're called) are all seen as criminals and an awesome detail that I loved was that Australia had more than normal because it was originally a penal colony - cool connection to the real world! My favorite part about curse working though were the 'blowbacks' - the kind of aftershock a worker gets when they curse someone.

Cassel was a great character - easy to sympathize with but also kind of awesome. His mom, an emotion worker, taught him all types of cons because he didn't have powers to fall back on, and he's really clever in using them. The secondary characters were awesome as well - I love Holly Black's ability to make all her characters just jump off the page.

The twist was another thing I really loved. Something I never saw coming, maybe because I'm stupid. I should have guessed it, but it just popped up out of nowhere.

The one thing I didn't like, and maybe this is just me: I couldn't really follow the action scenes that well. I have a problem with that in most books, because too much is happening at once, but I got really confused in some parts because there wasn't a whole lot of tell as to what was going on. Some things you had to guess and so it took me a little while longer to do so.

I feel like I'd have to read this book a few times to catch all the cool details, because I positively sped through this one. But overall, I loved it! I think I liked some of Holly Black's earlier books better - namely Ironside - but I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.

Overall: 4/5 stars