Archive | April, 2015

Cover Love #94


Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive.

Eeeee, lookee! It’s a wolf that’s also a forest that has creepy cries and another wolf! I’m not sure how I feel about the background and font color, but does it matter? WOLF! Boom, done, argument over. Wolves are like dragons in that way.

What do you think of the cover?



Burn, Rewrite, Reread

I have no idea who started this tag game [ETA: It was Lina!], so my apologies for not properly attributing it. It looks like so much fun, and while I haven’t officially been tagged multiple bloggers (Christina being the latest) have opened up the game to all of their readers, so I jumped on it!

The point of the game is to randomly choose three books that you’ve read and, of those three, decide which book you would burn, which you would rewrite, and which you would reread untouched. The general consensus seems to be that the tagged blogger can do five rounds and you can restrict the books used by any age category you wish. I’m going to stick with YA becaue, though I love MG, combining my shelves will just give me a headache. The easiest way to do this (as far as I’ve seen) is to use your Goodreads “read” shelf and a random number generator, so that’s how I’ll do it. (Bless all the clever people who have done this tag before me.)

Round One


Burn: The Merchant’s Daughter by Melody Dickerson

This book wasn’t bad at all, but it isn’t nearly as good as the other two books, making it the easy burn choice.

Rewrite: The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

I really liked this book, but I did have a few requests at the end of my review regarding my connection to the protagonist. Punch up the emotion, and voila!

Reread: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Thank heavens, this was an easy decision the make. S&S is perfect. Nobody touch it.


Round Two


Burn: Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

Hahahahahaha I hated this book so much. I considered making it the rewrite for half a second, but my hatred won out in the end.

Rewrite: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

I would definitely rewrite this one, because it had potential. I liked the promise of what was there, just not the execution.

Reread: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

I think this is the only novella that made it into any round, but WHAT A NOVELLA. *snuggles Warner*


Round Three


Burn: Contact by Laurisa White Reyes

Gosh, this book was weird and boring. I don’t loathe it with the power of a thousand suns or anything, but it’s definitely the weakest of the trio in this round.

Rewrite: Splintered by A.G. Howard

GAH. I don’t actually want to rewrite Splintered because I like it and want to read it again someday. However…

Reread: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

There’s no WAY I’m touching Princess of Thorns except to hug it and squeeze it and reread it a million times over. I love this book so much.


Round Four


Burn: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

This one gets burned simply because I remember nothing about it. Ho hum.

Rewrite: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

AUGH. SO HARD. Let’s say I rewrite this one and add EVEN MORE DANGER and EVEN MORE KISSING, k?

Reread: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

This book has flirting using chemistry terms. THERE’S NO WAY TO IMPROVE THAT, PEOPLE.


Round Five


Burn: Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Heeey, another book that I hated! I couldn’t even finish this one, honestly. Burn, baby, burn.

Rewrite: My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal

Again, didn’t hate it, but I wanted so much more than what I received.

Reread: Body and Soul by Stacey Kade

This entire series was so fun and swoony. I’d love to binge reread all of them.

There you have it! Now it’s YOUR turn.

I tag Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings, Molli @ Books and Whimsy,  Nikki @ There Were Books Involved, and any of you who want to join in!


Top 10 Tuesday – Books With Characters Who Manipulate Court

Woosh, this was a hard decision to make. I aaaalmost picked “Characters Who Lie,” but realized that would just be a list of my favorite books of all time. (Don’t judge.) Then I almost picked “Serial Killer Characters,” but I didn’t have enough. (REC ME MORE!) So instead I settled on this topic, that of characters who manipulate the royal court, which makes me happy. Rather than focusing on the royals themselves (YA/MG is lousy with princes and princesses), you get the sparkle of royalty with the underhanded deceit of the courtesans. Lovely!

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

If you want clever manipulation, this is where you start. My darling Gen, the protagonist, manages to manipulate not one but THREE courts (four, if you count the Medes by proxy). He’s amazing. The royalty he’s manipulating are also pretty amazing, so that’s a bonus.

The Maids of Honor series by Jennifer McGowan

Depending on which book you’re on, the Maids in this series either manipulate the court on behalf of the crown or the crown on behalf of the court. And since the crown in question is the indomitable Queen Elizabeth, you know the crown itself is doing some world-class manipulation.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

As the queen, Elisa is the head of the court, but she’s also female and a foreigner and therefore has to do some pretty impressive manipulation on her own behalf. Chica is shrewd.

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

I have crazy amounts of respect for the protagonist in this book, our lady Persis. Persis is second only to Gen in the way she manages expectations and can manipulate outcomes in full view of everyone without being caught. She’s an absolute genius!

The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

We can’t talk courtly manipulations without discussing Ms. Bardugo’s series. The handsome and brooding Darkling has the Grisha and human court under his thumb, but he has a challenger in Alina, his Sun Summoner protege, and her ally, Prince Nikolai (who probably lies even in his sleep, let’s be honest.)

His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers

Whether they’re taking down opposing assassins, ferreting out secrets, leading a battle charge, picking locks, or fighting for those they love, Death’s Handmaidens are no joke.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Oh my beautiful little crack book. The amount of manipulation going on in you is truly delightful. I can’t even talk about what’s going on. Y’all just need to read it for yourself.

The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein

Yisss. Just… yisssssssssss. Wickedly smart female manipulators. Breathtakingly crafty kiddo manipulators. Yes yes yes.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen

You know, for a book set in a society where the citizens can’t lie, there’s an awful lot of deception in this book. I love it. (The romance is pretty awesome, too.)

Seraphina duology by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is a little liar liar pants on fire, and she’s great at it. She needs to be to bring about a peace between human- and dragon-kind.

What books would you add to the list?


Review: CRIMSON BOUND by Rosamund Hodge

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

Ms. Hodge’s first book, Cruel Beauty, was very much a mixed bag for me. There were things I liked and things I didn’t, and I left the book looking forward to see what her next book would be like. Enter Crimson Bound. After anxiously devouring this mashup retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and The Girl With No Hands, I’m no less settled on Ms. Hodge’s work than I was before. Continue Reading →


Rewind & Review (89)

Rewind & Review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Stuff I Received

  • The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer (from S&S via EW)
  • One by Sarah Crossan (HarperCollins via EW)

Thanks, Simon & Schuster! Thanks, HarperCollins!

What I Read

How To Steal a Dragon’s Sword by Cressida Cowell – Am still reading, am still dreading. Bad times are coming. I can feel it.

2 internship manuscripts

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger – So surprisingly wonderful. Review to come.

Loop by Karen Akins – Rereading so I can dive straight into Twist next. Hooray!

Added To My TBR

Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor – Thief gets roped back into his family of grifters. Yes.

The Book of Kindly Deaths by Eldritch Black – Monsters! Creepy books! I wish I could remember which of my friends reviewed this book, because they’re how I know about it.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – I can’t know what this is about because I haven’t read the first book yet, but that doesn’t prevent me from putting it on my TBR!

Untitled book by Marissa Meyer – Marissa Meyer is writing a trilogy about superheroes. Sold.

Event of the Week

Nothing too special this week. The weather was wonderful, then awful, then wonderful again. I went back to the Met and cracked a bunch of Queen’s Thief jokes. I bought an unnamed begonia. That’s my week. Not too bad.



Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is a completely average twelve-year-old: average height, average weight, average brown hair of average length, average brown skin and average hazel eyes. The only things about her that aren’t average are her name (too long and princess themed), her ability to draw animals (useful for her future career as a wildlife illustrator), and the fact that she is a half-orphan who has never met her father and is forced to live with her aunt and uncle (who treat her almost like their own kids, so she doesn’t want to complain).

Then one completely average day, everything goes wrong: the most popular girl in school, Annabelle Jenkins, threatens to beat her up, the principal gives her a demerit, and she’s knocked down at the bus stop . . .

Until a limo containing Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia pulls up to invite her to New York to finally meet her father, who promptly invites her to come live with him, Mia, Grandmère and her two fabulous poodles . . . .

Maybe Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison isn’t so average after all!

After six years away, we’re finally back in Mia’s world! Except, of course, this time it isn’t Mia running the show but her half-sister, Olivia. Per her dead mother’s instructions, Olivia has been raised by relatives and never told that her father (whom she’s never met) is actually royalty, until one day Princess Mia herself rolls up to school in her limo and opens up a whole new world. Continue Reading →


Cover Love #93


In a small river village where the water is cursed, a girl’s bravery—and the existence of magic—could mean the difference between life and death in this elegant, luminous tale from the author of Parched and Audacity.

Along a lively river, in a village raised on stilts, lives a girl named Luna. All her life she has heard tales of the time before the dam appeared, when sprites danced in the currents and no one got the mysterious wasting illness from a mouthful of river water. These are just stories, though—no sensible person would believe in such things.

Beneath the waves is someone who might disagree. Perdita is a young water sprite, delighting in the wet splash and sparkle, and sad about the day her people will finally finish building their door to another world, in search of a place that humans have not yet discovered.

But when Luna’s little sister falls ill with the river sickness, everyone knows she has only three weeks to live. Luna is determined to find a cure for her beloved sister, no matter what it takes. Even if that means believing in magic…

This has to be one of the more beautiful covers I’ve ever featured on Cover Love. It reminds me a lot of Listen, Slowly in terms of color palette and the like. (Anyone know if it’s the same designer?) I love every inch of it. The huge, full moon in the center, the details in the trees with the vines and the birds, the two girls (one who is Jack Sparrow-ing it on the prow), the ripples in the water, and that creepy hand reaching out from the depths… Even if I weren’t getting a fabulous Two Princesses of Bamarre vibe from the synopsis, this book would flare on my radar because of the cover alone. Well done!

What do you think of this cover?



Scheduling Tips

Recently, I’ve seen different blogs talk about scheduling, ask for scheduling tips, and generally bemoan how hard it is to remain on top of posts. I thought I’d chime in and offer tips on what works best for me. If it helps you out, great, and maybe I’ll learn something from you all in return. First, let’s talk about what I’ve done before. Then I’ll show you what I do now and what you’ll need if you want to try my way out.

When I first started this blog, I didn’t schedule posts at all. I tried to review books on Sundays (I later changed this to Mondays) and do Top 10 Tuesday posts on Tuesdays, but other than that, I did what I wanted. I’d write posts on the fly—the day before I wanted them to go up or even the day of.

Freestyling will work for you if you want to remain flexible. If you don’t have a lot of things that need to be scheduled (memes, ARC reviews, blog tours), then freestyling allows you to post whatever and whenever you please. It’s good if you don’t want to be boxed into writing a certain number of posts per week, if you like to write and publish posts immediately, or if you like to take a lot of breaks from blogging (be that due to wavering interest, busy life schedules, or whatever.)

Freestyling will NOT work for you if you need a lot of structure to stay committed, stay sane, or keep organized. It’s also not a good idea if you have a lot of promises, commitments, and plans you need to remember in the future. For instance, if you commit to blog tour spots in advance, without some kind of system, you run the risk of forgetting to write and publish your post on time. And lastly, if your life is too busy for you to write posts on the fly but you don’t want to go on frequent hiatuses, then freestyling is not for you.

About ten months into blogging, I hit a wall. My life schedule went from manageable to intense, and I knew that if I tried to freestyle, I would probably end up crying in a corner somewhere. Thankfully, I knew that the change was coming, so I made the radical switch from freestyle to hardcore prognostication. I sat down with my list of upcoming ARCs, any posts I had committed to for outsiders (giveaways, tours, interviews, etc.), and planned out two months straight. Memes were the easiest. I marked out which meme fell on which day of the week, with TTT posts already marked with their assigned topics. External commitments were next, marked on their promised days. Then I took out my reading list and marked out a rough draft of which ARCs would be reviewed when based on their release dates. Lastly, I looked at my discussion post drafts and tried to fill up any holes.

>With everything in order, then I could sit down whenever I had free time and knock out a good chunk of posts to queue. On a good day, I could write weeks of posts and just leave the final formatting details for closer to the post date. Some people are much better at this method than I ever was, though. People like Christina or Debby amaze me with all their planning and spreadsheets. They don’t just plan months out; they actually WRITE and QUEUE months out. It’s really impressive.

Hardcore prognostication will work for you if you crave structure. If you need to know exactly what’s happening weeks in advance, this is a great plan. If you love spreadsheets, color coding, or other forms of organization, odds are you’ll get along well with this method. If you’re about to enter a busy season or go on an extended vacation but don’t want to go on hiatus, you might want to switch to this method at least temporarily.

Hardcore prognostication will not work for you if the thought of planning that far out makes you feel claustrophobic. It will also be difficult if you don’t have a lot of content or commitments. This method relies on you having a list of things to post already on hand.

I’m ridiculous. I have no shame.

I kept up with the hardcore prognosticating for several months after my life eased up but soon found it too much to manage. I slipped to the point where I was frantically writing posts at the start of the week (and sometimes during the week), having planned in advance but put off the actual writing until it was nearly too late. I was able to keep on top of things, but this half-baked scheduling meant that, at best, I’d only have a day or two to rest before I needed to start planning and writing the next week. It was exhausting!

What I do now works a little better. I write my posts two weekends in advance with the help of my drafts folder and iCalendar. Okay, take this post, for instance. This post is part of the week that starts on April 19th. I’m writing it not that weekend (the weekend of April 18th and 19th) but the weekend before that, on the 11th and 12th. Psychologically, this produces way less pressure on me. I can still pound out my posts for the week in those two days, but I know that if I can’t finish one or two, I’m okay, because I have the entirety of the coming week to tweak them. I’ve also kept track of my commitments, just like when I was hardcore prognosticating, which means my meme and tour posts are already marked on my calendar. All I really have to figure out in the way of scheduling is which reviews I want where and what I want to discuss that week. (Unless it’s a New Releases week or I have an interview or something; then I allow those to have my discussion spot.)

So what does that look like on my calendar?

This is what my last month looked like. Blue posts are reviews and discussions. Green posts are memes, TTT and Cover Love for me. I don’t mark Rewind & Review on Sundays, but I should. If I had any blog tours or other scheduled events, they would be marked in turquoise. Guest posts I’ve promised to others on other sites are in orange. And any really extensive events get their own color when necessary–the Attack of the Assassins event was marked in (what else?) blood red. You can also mark hiatuses and vacations, if you like. My main concern is keeping a healthy balance between green (meme) posts and other kinds of posts. I don’t want to become too meme heavy, but they’re great fillers.

This is my upcoming month. As you can see, it’s pretty sparse. Up at the top, you have my week to come (last week for you all, as you read this.) That’s filled in prettily with two reviews (Monday and Friday), two memes (TTT and CL, with R&R unmarked), and one discussion post (my interview with Erin Fitzsimmons.) Next week (the week we’re in the middle of, as you read this) is almost done. Both reviews and my Cover Love are already written. I decided to skip TTT because the topic was too similar to one I’ve done before. All that’s left is to finish this post, and the week will be good to go. (That is, except for Rewind & Review. Since those are due on Sundays, I don’t finish them until Saturday, for obvious reasons.)

For the rest of the month, I only have my memes and two blog tour commitments mapped out. I’ll be able to fill in the review spots based on what I read in the weeks to come and my discussion posts will be pulled from my drafts and written based on what I feel like talking about. (Sidenote: Always keep a running list of drafts. Whenever you get a post idea, open up your drafts and write even just a sentence so that you’ll remember the idea for later.)

One last thing you should notice: until a post is written, proofread, formatted, and queued, I keep a “uw” before the post name on my calendar. UW = unwritten, so I can tell at a glance which posts are done and which ones still need work before they can be marked off. Though I’m writing this post now, it won’t get the uw taken off until I figure out my graphics, tag it, and plug in the scheduled date. And let me tell you, it’s really, really satisfying to delete that pesky little uw, let me tell you.

So there you have it! That’s my system. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. Also, how do YOU keep track of your posts? Do you do something like one of the systems I’ve outlined above? Or do you do something radically different? Tell me!


Review: LION HEART by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Scarlet was an introduction, full of flying knives, prickly girls, and angsty love triangles. I loved itLady Thief was a meaty middle book. It looked at the darkness and pain in Scarlet and laughed throatily before turning the dial to eleven. Gone was the love triangle, but boy oh boy was the angst still there. The book hit the market and lo, the blogosphere was filled with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And Lion HeartLion Heart was a celebration, a full-throated fete with life and love, sword fights and derring-do, reunions and, yes, happy endings.

Continue Reading →


Rewind & Review (88)

Rewind & Review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Stuff I Received

  • A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder (from S&S via Edelweiss)
  • Hello, I Love You by Katie Stout (from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley)
  • 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (from Penguin Random House)

Thanks, Simon & Schuster! Thanks, St. Martin’s! Thanks, PRH! They’re all so beautiful!

Stuff I Won

  • Duplicity by N.K. Traver audiobook (from the author in a Twitter giveaway)

Thanks, Ms. Traver!

What I Read

How To Steal a Dragon’s Sword by Cressida Cowell – I am so, so nervous. The opening is scary. I think someone may actually die in this book. These books (hilarious though they are) are tense enough without actual death thrown into the mix!

3 complete internship manuscripts

2 partial internship manuscripts

Buckle and Squash: The Perilous Princess Plot by Sarah Courtauld – This is such a weird little book, and I kind of love it. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Added to My TBR

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine – This is an oopsie on my part. I knew about C.J.’s Snow White retelling AGES ago and thought I already had it on my TBR!

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher – A Polish-American immigrant in the 1940s uses her charm to stay alive. Yes, please and thank you.

Unspeakable by Caroline Pignat – The Empress of Ireland disaster has been described as Canada’s Titanic. I’m all over that.

How To Disappear by Ann Redisch Stampler – One story, TWO unreliable narrators, and a murder. Yissssssss.

Doreen by Ilana Manaster – MG Picture of Dorian Gray retelling. Interesting…

Alterations by Stephanie Scott – SABRINA RETELLING!!! OH MY STARS I NEED THIS!!

23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde – It sounds like Groundhog Day meets All Our Yesterdays and will hopefully be better than the other attempts I’ve read.

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger – I don’t know why I ignored this one before. It just hit my blind spot, I guess. But I was offered a review copy and really read the synopsis, so now I’m intrigued.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Bower – I want all the scuttlebutt!

Painless by S.A. Harazin – I’ve always found the negative repercussions to not feeling pain interesting. I hope this story is good.

The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly – I thought the voice in the first para. of the synopsis was interesting, and I love the idea of two FEMALE enemies working together. Very Buffy/Cordelia, no?

This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup – Honestly, I only added this so I could do the cover for Cover Love later. Preeeettyyyyyyy.

Event of the Week

Little event: I went to the Met! It was fun. I saw hieroglyphs and became overly excited. I’m going to try to visit the Met every weekend until I see it all, so be sure to follow my Instagram account for all my nerdy delight.


I got to watch the Celebration panel online where the host chatted with J.J. Abrams, President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, and members of the cast! It was so cool and, frankly, just the reassurance I needed. Sure, there are lots of ways for Abrams to screw up the movie, but everything I heard indicated that both the production team and the cast had their heads on straight.

We got to “meet” BB8, the little ball droid from the first teaser, and the three primary members of the human cast—Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega. They’re all still being really cagey, but we did learn a bit about each character. Daisy’s character Rey (no last name yet) is a scavenger. We meet her on the desert planet in the trailers, which is not Tatooine but Jakoo (Jakku?), a planet I know nothing about. (How exciting!) Daisy describes Rey as solitary and self-sufficient, and I’m so excited to learn more about her! John’s character is named Finn (no last name yet), we meet him when he’s in no small danger, and… yes, he’s actually a stormtrooper! That’s no disguise, folks! John won’t say whether Finn is a good guy or a bad guy, though. My bet is that he ends up being good, since John did say that Finn teams up with Oscar’s character, Poe Dameron. Other than learning that Poe is an X-wing pilot, which we already knew, we didn’t get much else… except for the fact THAT HE WAS SENT ON A MISSION BY PRINCESS FREAKING LEIA HERSELF.


To my absolute delight, Ms. Kennedy also managed to get in a pretty good knock at the previous movies’ lack of female characters before promising that the latest trilogy would do much better. You better believe I’ll hold them to that! Also awesome? Look at our three main cast members. We have, from left to right, one Latino actor (half Guatemalan, half Cuban), one white actress, and one black actor. WOOHOO! And that doesn’t even cover other cast members still under wraps like the fantastic Lupita Nyong’o, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Dante Briggins, Miltos Yerolemou, Crystal Clarke, and Phoenix James.

We ALSO got to see old friends—Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, and Carrie Fisher—as well as a peek at the new stormtrooper uniforms. Snazzy. BUT I WAS HAPPY TO GET THROUGH ALL THAT BECAUSE IT WAS TIME FOR THE TRAILER!

I don’t think I breathed during the entire thing, especially once I saw that Star Destroyer and got gut-punched by the voiceover. Empire has an awesome frame-by-frame breakdown of the trailer.


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