Top Anticipated February Releases!

Young Adult

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Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight #1

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, look dirty, approved hard existence, recipe and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016

My Thoughts: I’ve already read it. Already love it. Melissa Landers rocks at these science fiction romances, seriously she’s quickly becoming a favorite. This had a nice Firefly feel to it and I loved every minute of it.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen #2

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Release Date: February 9th, 2016

My Thoughts: It took me ages to sit down and read Red Queen but it absolutely blew my mind once I did. I literally canNOT wait until this novel comes out.

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

The Reckoners #3

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back…

But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

Release Date: February 16th, 2016

My Thoughts: I really really need to read Firefight before I read this one. Obviously. I’ve had Firefight in my TBR pile since the day it came out. I fail.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

My Thoughts: Ever since Jessica announced she was writing this book, I’ve been so so so ready for it. I’m dying. I tried so hard to get my hands on an ARC to no avail. Sad. But I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Titans by Victoria Scott

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

My Thoughts: I’m about halfway through and absolutely loving it. Victoria Scott is such a great writer and I really want a Titan.

*****

New Adult

*****

The Power by Jennifer L Armentrout

Titan #2

With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.
Fate has other plans.

The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve. Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.
But the gods are sensing a greater threat.

Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back.

And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

My Thoughts: I mean, its Seth. For some reason, that guy just doesn’t get out of your head…

*****

What books are you looking forward to in February?! Did I forget some! Leave them in the comments!

Book Review: Salt and Stone (ARC) by Victoria Scott

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through snail mail at the permission of Scholastic Press. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, buy information pills  Dystopian/Science Fiction

Pages: 

320

Part of a Series?:

2nd Novel of the Fire and Flood Series

Release Date: 

February 24th, more about 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

In Fire & Flood, this site Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t quit–she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left–and only one can win.

My Review:

Please be advised that while there will be no spoilers for Salt and Stone, there will be spoilers for Fire and Flood. You can read my review for that book here

When I first read Fire and Flood, I was blown away by it. I had heard some comparisons to other books, in particular, The Hunger Games. And while I can see those comparisons, Victoria’s story and characters stand on their own and I became a staunch supporter of her right away. I’m proud to say I’m part of the V Mafia and I’m eagerly counting down the days (not many of them left) until this book releases and all of you can enjoy it. Fire and Flood was absolutely fantastic and I wasn’t quite sure where the rest of the story was going to take us so when I managed to get my hands on Salt and Stone, I was ready for an adventure of a novel and I was granted just exactly that.

What really gets me about this book, besides the fact that it COMPLETELY TORE OUT MY HEART AND MADE ME SOB INTO MY PILLOW (ahem, ahem), is that she’s not afraid to take it just one more step further, one more step further, one step further. Its incredible. The basis of this series is this: how far are you willing to go in order to save someone you love? How far are you willing to take it? Are you willing to kill? Are you willing to let others be killed? Are you willing to maybe die yourself? Its incredible. Every single person taking part in this…”game” of sorts has volunteered. They weren’t forced. Every action taken, its a choice they made, and its crazy. Some of those choices didn’t feel like choices because they want this cure and they want to win the game and they want all of that, and it feels like they have no choice, and this is getting a little tangent-y but it all boils down to…every single person in this game makes the choices they feel necessary to get them where they need to go.

Which is why this book is so good. Fire and Flood was brutal but when compared to this novel, its child’s play. Tella and the rest of her gang are faced with worse obstacles than they were before, including each other. They are pit against each other over and over again, struggling with the feelings that they have each other, whether its friendship or just plain straight out love, which is something that’s hard to feel when you’re all battling for the same thing, something that you can’t all win. But its also the struggle for Tella and Guy at the same time. Victoria creates such real characters and even when they’re in this completely incredible world…they still feel real to us. You don’t know if you would do any different if it was yours.

The best part of this book is the end. I can’t go into too much detail because spoilers and all that. But she pushes it to the limit at the end, that last sort of thing she makes the contestants go through just…oh my god, it kills me. It breaks my heart. I literally was clutching the pages, wanting to scream at her, how could you do this? It was really pushing the limits. She really takes it to the very tip…really, how much are you really willing to sacrifice in order to get what you want? Its incredible. And the ending just makes me want the next book. The book is brutal and harsh and incredible but I just love it. And I can’t wait for more.

 

Rating: 

Tuesday Top Ten – Most Anticipated Winter Releases!

Welcome to the new year everyone! Its a brand new beginning and all of that sort of thing. But the best part of the new year is this: NEW STUFF. All that stuff that was “next year” is now THIS year. And that includes books.

Now its time to talk about the top ten books that I’m getting excited for this winter! Check them out, troche and let me know what books YOU’RE excited about!

10. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

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The third installment of the series, price and I’ve been waiting for it for so long. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so so so long for this book that I absolutely need to reread the first two books to remember what the hell is supposed to be going on in the third book.

Release Date: February 10th, 2015 

9. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

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I am so excited for this debut novel…I think its my most anticipated debut novel of the year. I absolutely adore Mary, she’s a librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library and has always been a dear friend and supporter of me and this blog, and I can’t wait for her book. Its set in the 1940s, amidst the glitz and glamour of the film age and it sounds deliciously thrilling. I can’t WAIT.

Release Date: March 3rd, 2015 

8. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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I am so so excited for this new novel by Emery Lord. I had NO idea who she was until she was on a panel with…I think Stephanie Perkins at the Festival of Books and I just loved everything about her. Plus she was so cute and I don’t know haha, I wanted to read her book. I absolutely LOVED Open Road Summer. She has a fresh teen voice and a total knack for addicting romance and I can’t wait for this one. Max sounds amazing.

Release Date: March 31st, 2015

7. I Was Here by Gayle Forman 

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Gayle Forman is a QUEEN of contemporary YA lit. She blows my mind with everything that she writes, especially Just One Day/Just One Year (which were optioned for film!!). I’m VERY excited for a brand new release from her, especially since the synopsis makes it sound like another emotional roller coaster. Oh Gayle.

Release Date: January 27th, 2015 

6. Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott

Salt & Stone Hardcover

This one would be much lower on the list but I’m spoiled as hell and I already read it and know how absolutely amazing it is. But now that I know its great, I’m dying to get that book with that beautiful cover in my hands, and for everyone else who loves the first one, you’re going to love the second one even more. Its a truly heartbreaking.

Releases: February 24th, 2015

5. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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I know! A novella on the list. For those that don’t know me, I’m usually not a massive fan of novellas, and find most of them are unnecessary. But…but…I think Fairest is going to be spectacular. One, because Marissa Meyer is a fantastic writer. Two, Levana is SUCH a mystery and maybe some of this will shed a little light, and maybe it’ll open up new possibilities for Winter. Either way, I’m excited for it.

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

4. Invaded by Melissa Landers

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This is another winter release that I’ve already read. And one that I totally absolutely love. But I think I’m really excited about this because I KNOW how good it is and I get to meet her this year! Plus, if I can have more Aelyx and Cara in my life, I’m totally okay with that! And maybe if we all show love to Invaded and buy it, we WILL get more!

Release Date: February 3rd, 2015

3. The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith  

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I mean. Duh. I want my hands on this book so badly. I’ve been trying to get my hands on an ARC of this thing for MONTHS and have not been able to do that. I am dying for this book. Every single thing about this book sounds amazing and Andrew is an incredible author. When I interviewed him last year and he described the book as “It’s about a ship that gets stuck in ice, a fifteen-year-old kid, a schizophrenic who thinks he can speak to Joseph Stalin, a summer camp for kids who are addicted to technology, the de-extinction of a species of crow, and there’s a bigfoot in there, too. You know…the typical stuff.” Come on. I’m sold.

Release Date: March 10th, 2015

2. Unchanged by Jessica Brody

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I’M DYING TO READ THIS BOOK. I need to know what happens next. Unforgotten left on such a crazy, heartbreaking, emotional note and I’m dying to see what happens next for Sera and Zen and Kaelen. It hurts just to even think about it because of allllll the crap that went down in the second book and I need this book in my hands. You hear me, Jessica? Give me the book and no one gets hurt ;)

Release Date: February 24th, 2015

1. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead 

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Yes. Please. More Adrian Ivashkov. Oh and of course Sydney too. But definitely Adrian. And after that ending in Silver Shadows, I basically wanted to scream, get in a car and drive up to Richelle’s house and demand that she tell me everything that was going to happen next. Luckily, I’m a patient girl (ha!) and its nearly upon us to find out the ending to this fantastic series! AND I’m finally going to meet Richelle! AGH

Release Date: February 10th, 2015

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What are some the books that you’re looking forward to releasing in January, February and March? Make sure to share them in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten: Authors New to Me in 2014

Hello my lovelies! How are you all doing on this fine Tuesday? I hope fantastic. I hope you’re all watching fantastic shows and movies and reading fantastic books and just being all around nerdy and fantastic. Did I ever tell you how much I absolutely love the word “fantastic”? Well, seek I do.

But anyway…I had been trying to think of topics for a Tuesday Top Ten because I’ve been SO incredibly bad at doing them, and I was checking my emails and saw that this week’s post for The Broke and Bookish was the one I’m doing and I thought, hey that’s kind of fun!

So here we are, my top ten authors that are new to me, and a couple of honorable mentions as well because it was SO hard to narrow it down!

Honorable Mentions: 

All debut novelists who rocked my world this year. The Jewel and Love Letters to the Dead all absolutely blew my mind  and are books that I definitely won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Amy Ewing 

Ava Dellaira

10. Tonya Kuper

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I met Tonya at ALA in Las Vegas this past summer, and she made an impression on me. I didn’t know what her book was about, I didn’t even really know anything about HER. All I knew was that she was really nice, she was published by Entangled and that she was massively enthusiastic about her book. I went home, followed her on Instagram, became her friend on Facebook, and helped promote the hell out of her debut novel, Anomaly. I love her book and absolutely ADORE her so I’m glad she is a new author to me this year.

9. Cora Carmack 

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Cora Carmack came on my radar because she was friends with Jennifer Armentrout, who I adore to bits and pieces. The first novel I read of hers didn’t massively impress me, which I think was Losing It, back in the beginning of this year. However, when she started talking about her new series, which boiled down to football, hot guys, romance and sexiness, I knew I couldn’t resist and I immediately bought All Lined Up when it came out. Not long after, All Broke Down, released and I’m officially in love.

8. Lauren Miller

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I first met Lauren when she made an appearance at my fave event, Ontario Teen Book Fest. I was already about halfway through the ARC of her new book, Free to Fall. She was so FUNNY and I had a ton of fun talking to her and so I immediately went home and finished this book, and then read her first novel, Parallel. I love both of these books, so fresh, so new, I love the romance, and I adore Lauren. I’m also glad they’re both standalone so that I didn’t get sucked into the never ending abyss of series!

7. Jenny Han

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I had never read Jenny Han before. Ever. For some reason, her series just never ever appealed to me. I’m not sure why, but I know I went to the bookstore numerous times, and held her books in my hands and then ultimately decided not to get them. She did a signing in May with Morgan Matson and you had to buy one of their books in order to do the signing. I already had all of Morgan’s books (obviously) so I bought this one. Jenny read from it and it was funny and SHE was funny and I went home THAT night and read it in a few hours. This book is fresh and hilarious and beautiful and I’m already DYING for the sequel.

6. Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

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I had seen this book circling around the interwebs for a while, I think instagram or some such like that and finally I decided, hey, what the hell, I’m going to buy. Even though I had heard good things, I was still wary. I think the cover is totally beautiful BUT I also think its a little cheesy too haha. Its possible for it to be both right? Right. Anyway, what I found was a fantastically written science fiction novel that also held an incredible romance as well. I BLEW through this book and was amazing at every moment. This book is incredible and brilliant and I’m counting down the days until the sequel comes out.

5. Sara Raasch

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I literally read this book about a week and a half ago but that’s how much of an impression it made on me. I’m not really sure how it got on my radar but it did and it sounded really awesome and I liked the title and the cover and her name is Sara without the H which is brilliant and yeah. I was on a book buying ban, technically, but I decided, meh, what the hell, and ended up buying it anyway because I wanted to read it so bad and I am so glad that I did. Its a fantastic fantasy novel that I legitimately canNOT get out of my head and I hope there are more (please be more) because Sara’s writing was just so fluid and descriptive and real and beautiful that I need more of it in my life.

4. Melissa Landers

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This was another book that seemed to be floating around my radar on IG and that sort of thing. She was signing ARCs of the sequel, Invaded, at ALA and somehow, miraculously, I got my hands on it. We joked that I got mine early, before Sasha (because I think that’s who I had heard it from) and I kind of felt bad! I had a signed copy of the ARC and I hadn’t even read the first book! So I went to the book store, bought this one and read in a few hours. This book is INCREDIBLE. I swear by it. I keep telling people about it. Its beautiful. I love that its an incredible romance but it also has a great science fiction background with it. I love aliens and there just aren’t enough alien books out there, not ones like this.

3. Victoria Scott 

Fire & Flood - Paperback

I only found Victoria because of Jessica Brody and I seriously thank her SO much for that. She did a live vlog thing with Victoria because their books were releasing the same day and I won a trivia part of it and got some signed swag from Victoria. So when Fire and Flood released, I immediately bought it and I LOVE it. A lot of people compare it to The Hunger Games, which I *kinda* see but I honestly think its unique and fresh and I love the main character, Tella, so much and I LOVE Pandoras (read the book). I recently won a copy of the sequel and LOVED that as well, and I also read the first of her Dante Walker series and I’m just madly in love with Victoria. I’m glad to be part of her V Mafia now!

2. Kiera Cass 

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It took me AGES to read this and I can’t believe that it did. I think it was the cover. Scratch that, I know it was the cover and I just didn’t know what it was going to be about really but there wasn’t much desire to read it. That is, until someone gifted it to me. I had heard it described as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, and its totally that, in an amazing way. The entire trilogy was totally brilliant and I’m anxiously awaiting The Heir. I’m SO glad I finally buckled down and read it and I’m so glad that I totally have the entire series signed now too! Kiera is always a totally LOVELY human being that I adore to pieces so I’m glad I finally read this book.

1. Catherine Linka 

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This is the debut novel of a local author friend of mine. I had heard about it through Alethea, who runs Read Now Sleep Later and managed to get my hands on an early copy, because I was going to be meeting her at Ontario Teen Book Fest. This book completely BLEW my mind and I am seriously anxiously awaiting the sequel. I’m going to convince her to get one to me ;) The reason she’s number one is because I’m so inspired by her. She had a struggle to get it published, she had to change things, and work out kinks but the book has done SO well and won awards and she’s SUCH a great friend and inspiration. She’s constantly giving me tips and words of encouragement and I just adore her. Her book is fabulous and I can’t wait for the sequel.

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What are some new authors YOU’VE read this year? Share in the comments!

Book Review: The Collector by Victoria Scott

13449677Genre: 

New Adult, buy information pills Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

352

Part of a Series?:

The first in the Dante Walker trilogy

Release Date: 

April 2nd, 2013

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.
Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

My Review:

I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time now. I absolutely ADORE Victoria’s Fire and Flood. I just recently finished the sequel to that, Salt and Stone, and I just love her. She’s super sweet and her books are great and I’ve been wanting to read The Collector for awhile now. So when it went on sale for Nook for only 99 cents, I was SO there.

I nearly finished it in one night except I had to go to work fairly early the next day so that was a total failure but I immediately finished the next moment that I was able to. I LOVE this book. I love that its told in the point of view of Dante because you alternately want to punch him in the face and throw him down on the bed and make out with him? I mean, a bright red Escalade? Who does that?! But then he’ll do something incredibly sweet for Charlie, like carry her out of the woods and it KILLS my heart. He’s addicting as a character, and he has a natural character progression. Nothing about his transformation through out the novel seems forced or wrong. You watch as Dante changes and its beautiful. Its my favorite part of the book.

But I also just love Charlie as well. She’s SUCH a great person, which would kind of drive me crazy but it doesn’t because everything she does seems so genuine and real. As soon as you meet her for the first time in her room, dorky and fantastic, I knew I was already madly in love with her. She’s not your typical heroine. Most heroines are always beautiful, even if they don’t know they’re beautiful. They think they’re ugly or average but of course, they’re extraordinary. But that’s not Charlie. She’s straight up not classically beautiful at all. She has frizzy hair, a limp, crooked teeth, freckles, the whole nine yards. And I know it can sound kind of stereotypical and all that but Charlie really wins everyone over with her beautiful personality. She’s so beautiful on the inside that she brings in her best friend and, eventually, Dante, because she’s such an incredibly beautiful person. Obviously that’s a huge part to the general plot of the story but I loved that about this book. Its good to see a character that is so genuinely good on the inside that Dante slowly falls for her, not immediately. I really really enjoyed the freshness of that.

What really got me about this story was that its something I haven’t really read before. Dante is a collector the devil, basically. Its his job to go around, marking people for their sins and collecting them for the devil’s collection in hell. He’s sexy and kind of addicting but he’s a bad person. He’s working for a bad guy and yet you kind of can’t help but be on his side, no matter what he’s doing. Dante is kind of an anti-hero who eventually becomes a hero and its not really something we see a lot in books, not written this well, with this kind of story line. I read a LOT so sometimes I need a really good, fresh story to keep me addicted and satisfied and this book definitely did that. After reading this (now I need to read the next two), and reading the first two books of the Fire and Flood series, I’m completely sold on Victoria Scott as a writer. She’s fantastic, she’s great at world building and her characters are unique and fresh and relatable. I can’t wait to see more. I’m hoping to get The Liberator soon!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

November Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2014:

150 Books

Am I On Track: 

No.21 books behind

Books Read So Far: 

116

Total Books For October: 

2 (OMG)

Snow Like Ashes

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The Collector

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I can’t believe it. Two books. In ONE month. I swear, viagra approved I’m a better book reader and blogger than this. I resolve that I WILL get better in December!

How was your month? Share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Actual Writing Advice from Actual Authors!

Hello everyone!

I am so so so so SO excited to be sharing in this post today.

I talk about writing and writing advice a lot when it comes to the blog and my aspiring career as a writer. I am lucky enough that I get to interact with authors on a daily basis, side effects whether over the internet or in person, buy more about and I’ve met SO many inspiring ones that have given me such amazing advice. The advice and guidance that I’ve received over the past two years as whatanerdgirlsays has been so helpful in my journey to becoming a better writer.

Now, I have a goal of 45K words for NaNoWriMo but my biggest goal is to really nail down my character and her development over the course of the story. Evie is my main character and Untitled (it will have a title one day, I promise…) is her story. Its her story in the past, when she’s 15 years old, and its her story in the present, at 19 years old. Both important, and it takes a lot of development. She’s going to develop in both stories and its a little overwhelming but I believe in her and my story.

So when I started planning my NaNoWriMo schedule on the blog, I knew that I wanted a post about writing and writing advice and I wanted to reach out to the authors that I’ve met over the past two years and ask for their assistance in creating and developing characters.

I hope you enjoy. Every single piece of advice of below is unique to this post. Each author was contacted individually and responded individually. There’s seriously awesome, quality advice down there, and I am so grateful for each and every single one of these authors for participating and helping out!

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Jessica Brody, author of The Unremembered Trilogy

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When first fleshing out a new main character, I like to start by asking myself one question: What motivates this person. Is it power? Ambition? Love? Idealism? Reason? This helps me begin to narrow down who this person is and how they think/respond to situations. Someone who is motivated by power is going to react very differently in a crisis than someone who is motivated by feeling loved. The second question I ask myself is “What does this character want?” And I don’t mean after the book has started. What do they want BEFORE the first page even begins. It always needs to be something tangible and concrete. Like to win a sports championship. To make it onto a team. To graduate valedictorian. This immediately focuses the story around a central goal. It gives the story direction and purpose before the plot has even begun. When your character’s goals are clear, the reader is more likely to come along for the ride.

Elana K. Arnold, author of the Sacred duology and Burning

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When I was a younger writer, I used to disbelieve it when I’d hear people talk about their characters surprising them, their characters heading off in directions they hadn’t planned. Impossible, I’d think. Your characters ARE YOU. They can’t disobey you… they aren’t REAL. For me, characters were like dolls that I bounced around from situation to situation.

I think that’s why I had a hard time completing a project, or even falling deeply in love with one. There was no RISK if I walked away from a story, no real LOSS. Honestly, I don’t know what changed. I think I got older. (Actually, I know I got older.) But over time, I started to become surprised when a plotted-out scene or chapter took a turn away from my outline. Pleasantly surprised.

With INFANDOUS, which will be published in March 2015, plot took a backseat to following around Sephora Golding, my main character, and seeing what she would do. Try this–give your character a secret, and then see where it takes you.

Livia Blackburne, author of Midnight Thief

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I’ve found it useful to have all my characters tell their life story and narrate the events of the novel itself in their own voice, with their own commentary.

Katherine Ewell, author of Dear Killer

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My main tip in character development is this: make your main character at least a little bit unlikeable. However, no matter how unlikeable said main character is, your reader has to root for them anyway. The easiest way to make a reader like an unlikeable character is to show said character’s weakness and humanity right off the bat: their fears, their likes, their dislikes, what makes them cry, what comforts them, etc. And you can go pretty far with how unlikeable they are at the surface level, take it from someone who knows! Some of the most vivid, fun characters out there are severely messed up. (Take a look at Game of Thrones for tons of great examples.) I feel as if the worst thing you could do in character creation is make a character that has no flaws, or has too few flaws: it is in their flaws that characters and their stories come alive.

Cora Carmack, author of the Losing It series and Rusk University series 

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When it comes to characterization, I rely pretty heavily on the idea that my main character’s desire should shape the plot, instead of the plot shaping my main character. I don’t want my MC to be just a cog in the bigger mechanism of the story. I want them being the one *making* the machine move, rather than just being a component of it. When I was studying theatre in college, we took a lot of time talking about our character’s objectives and motivations – asking “What does this character want? How will they get it?” and things like that – and that has continued to inform the way I shape my characters.

Tonya Kuper, author of Anomaly

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Every character, especially the main character, has to have a GMC – Goal, Motivation, & Conflict – in relation to the plot. I usually have a pretty good picture of my characters before I start plotting, but after the GMC is decided, I know what matters to them, which, in my mind, is the most important thing to know about her main character.

Victoria Scott, author of Fire and Flood and The Collector

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I often use friends and family members when creating characters. I note people’s real life quirks and incorporate them into my fictional world. For example, my husband points to what he wants on a menu when ordering. It doesn’t matter if it’s a difficult-to-pronounce dish, or french fires…that man is holding up the menu for the waitress to see, and pointing to his selection. As if she needs to see the item to understand. No matter how many times I call this to his attention, he still does it. That quirk will probably show up in one of my characters to make them more memorable. My advice is to watch the people around you, and keep notes on your phone.

Sara Benincasa, author of Great

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You have to love your main character. Even if you hate your main character sometimes, you have to love her. Because if you don’t love her, you won’t want to spend the time it takes to churn out 50,000 or more words centered around her. You don’t need to love her choices. You don’t need to love her attitude. But you do need to love her, somehow, in some corner of your soul

Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless

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Getting a handle on a character can be pretty haphazard, because we might start out not really knowing them at all. One thing that helps me is finding an object that captures my character. I knew Yates wore tee shirts with quotes, but when I found Thoreau’s quote– “Let your life be the counter friction to stop the machine”–it hit me that was exactly what Yates believed and who he was at heart. In the sequel to A Girl Called Fearless, it was a scary religious tattoo that nailed the character of a new antagonist and suggested his unbalanced righteousness.

CJ Redwine, author of the Defiance trilogy

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If YOU aren’t connected to your characters, no one else will be connected either. Characters aren’t scenery to populate your world. This includes secondary characters. Characters aren’t pawns to use in playing out your conflict. Characters CREATE conflict. Connection takes time and effort, just like it does in real life. Take the time to get to know your characters on an intimate level. Find out what their deepest fear is, what they most regret, what they truly want more than anything, and the secret they hope no one discovers.

Lauren Oliver, author of the Delirium Trilogy, Before I Fall and Panic

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Do some work to understand what your character wants, and what your character needs, and how these might be different. Think about your character’s formative memories. How does he/she react under pressure? When frightened? What does she like to do for fun? What are her nervous habits? Where does she go to recharge? You have to know your character the way you know your best friend.

Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten, Possess, 3:59 and Get Even

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I start with the plot, actually, and the role of my main character in the story. What part does she need to play? What type of person does she need to be so that all of her choices are realistically motivated? Her personality is shaped by the plot, and once I know the core of that, I can begin to layer in the idiosyncracies of character: how she dresses, what she likes to eat, what songs on Pandora make her want to sing along or change the channel, and how she feels about everyone around her. Voila! Character!

Lindsay Cummings, author of The Murder Complex

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Characters are my favorite part of a book. Everyone is different…but I always start with a character, and build my world around him/her. For me, the best way to develop my characters and get to know them is to interview them–as if they were real people. I find that, even the silliest questions will give you a glimpse into who each character is, and what motivates them.

Bethany Hagen, author of Landry Park

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One of my favorite tricks for developing a character is to make a character sheet before I get started. I use these sheets to help me keep track of a character’s physical attributes (and I might even attach a picture of an actor or model to help me visualize the character.) And I also use these sheets to develop a character’s personality traits: their likes and dislikes, their hopes and dreams, their past mistakes. Not only is it a useful tool for conceiving of a character, but it makes a handy reference to come back to during the drafting process.

Beth Revis, author of the Across the Universe trilogy and The Body Electric

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When coming up with your main character, don’t be afraid to go into your own personality to find traits. He or she doesn’t need to be an exact replica of you, but if you have a strong emotion—a fear, a desire, a love or hate—build off that emotion to influence your characters. I was never stuck on a space ship alone, but I made Amy of Across the Universe feel alone the same way I felt alone when I had to go to college, 200 miles from home, with no one I knew near me. I never had my memories messed with like Ella in The Body Electric, but I have had relatives who were affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. Build on these real feelings you have to create realistic characters.

Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust

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I just let my characters go, be real people within the world that I built and let them react naturally, however they want. To me, this is the most organic way of building a “real” fake person.

Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles

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After I’ve determined the basics of who my protagonist is (name, age, gender, job, etc.), I like to ask myself two important questions. 1: What does this character want? Giving them a goal from page one will immediately give your story somewhere to go. (Although it’s normal for that goal or desire to change over the course of the story.) And 2: What is this character afraid of? Whatever they’re most afraid of is something that they should have to face (possibly multiple times), and will therefore give them somewhere to grow.

Tamora Pierce, author of The Song of Lioness, The Immortals, and the Protector of the Small quartets and more

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The way I write a character is–usually–to start with a person I know or admire (actor, musician, professional wrestler, the character played by an actor). The look has to grab me for the vague outline of the character I need–teacher/mentor, law enforcement in a very loose era, street kid, Then I go through my baby name books till I find the right name. Once I have the right name and the right look, I generally know the character: intellectual, absent-minded, can be very sexy when he wants to be, but easily distractible, and very dangerous when crossed–that was one. Then I needed the slacker daughter of two famous over-achievers who ended up as a spy in a foreign country. I looked through my files of pictures of girls until I had three or four I thought interesting, then I waited for one to grow on me–the one with her head tipped to the side and the knowing smile. I knew she was a smart-alec, really good at flirting and dancing and being silly while taking in everything around her, a daddy’s girl who lived to make mom nuts, but underneath she needs something to fight for.

Sarah Skilton, author of High and Dry and Bruised

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In my latest book High & Dry, a Young Adult novel written in the style of a hardboiled detective mystery, Palm Valley high school students “traffic in labels.” As a result, it’s very difficult for my main character, Charlie, to break free from his perceived identity, that of a varsity soccer star with a reputation for playing rough. The problem is, Charlie’s identity is a front he projects to the world in order to survive. I needed to show both sides of his personality: that of a tough guy jock accepted by his peers, and that of a heart-broken sci-fi nerd–a trait he keeps hidden. For example, Charlie tries to win back his ex-girlfriend, Ellie, by suggesting they both take Ellie’s little brother to a sci-fi movie. In this way, he gets to show Ellie he’s a “nice guy” while also indulging his own secret hope of seeing the movie. When constructing a main character, ask yourself, “Who is this person really, and who does he/she pretend to be?” The answers may surprise you!

Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles and the Seven Realms series

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After publishing nine books and writing several more, I still haven’t settled on the best way to develop character. Everything goes much more smoothly if I know the character very well from the beginning. And yet, that process of filling out a character questionnaire or deciding what he has in his pockets or dresser drawer doesn’t really work for me.

With the Seven Realms series, I knew the main characters, Han Alister, Raisa ana’Marrianna, and Micah sul’Bayar very well, because I had already written extensively about them as adults. So all I had to do was think about what they would have been like at sixteen and seventeen. Because I had their characters well in hand, story flowed more or less effortlessly.

But writing three hundred thousand words about a character before you get started on a novel isn’t really efficient, is it? So mostly, I get to know characters in the same way as we get to know people in real life–by spending time with them. In other words, I get to know them while writing my first draft. And once I decide who they are, in revision, I go back and strengthen those elements of character and make them more consistent all the way along.

That’s my process—but it may not be yours. There is more than one way to craft characters and craft story. One of the first jobs a writer must do is find out what works for them.

Crystal Perkins, author of The Griffin Brothers series

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I try to have a cover idea when I start writing. When I look at the girl and guy-I write in dual POV-I think of how they’ll speak and act. It’s nice to have something, even just a picture to look at. Then when I think of them in my head, they already have a distinct personality.

Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began and Afterparty

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You know all those cheesy drama-class moments in B movies where the teacher starts panting that the kids need to beeeeee the wind in the trees (or whatever)?  That actually has a lot in common with the way I develop main characters : method writing.  I try to see the story through the eyes of the character in a very literal way.  While I’m writing, I don’t observe the character from the outside, but I try to see what she sees.  I think this helps me to stay with the character’s feelings and emotional reactions, and to remain in her point of view.

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