31 October 2012

Dear NaNoWriMo: My Old Friend

My dearest NaNoWriMo,

Tomorrow marks our third year together.  Another year of stressing out, caffeine highs, pacing and far too many peanut butter M&Ms.

This will not be a third failed year.  For the past two years, I have tried to win you and I have failed to win you.  Even though I got more than a little close last year when I had over 20,000 words tucked under my belt.  Sweet success was inches from my fingertips, yet not enough.

I'm here to tell you... this year won't be a repeat of last year.  I won't get just "a little close."  I'm going to invade your comfort zone, your personal space.  I will be so far over my goal, I will be famed in song and story.  I am going to dominate this year.  You chuckle, but I'm not laughing.

I've got a plan.  I've got a story I've been stalking for over a year now.  And yeah, I'm bringing it all to the table.  I've got my notes.  I've got my reference books.  I've even got my cat, and if you're gonna be scared of something, be scared of her.  She may look like a sweet little lamb, but how do you reckon she got those black spots on her otherwise pristine white fur?

Armed with those weapons, I will dive into November strong and steady.  November will be my month.  Two thousand words will be pounded out each day.  That way, if I need a day off, I can afford to take a breather.  But I'll save kicking my boots up until the day when I cross the finish line.

I'm bringing my game face, NaNo.  You bringing yours?

Most sincerely and determinedly,

Your Biggest Fan

For the uninformed, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to get to 50,000 words in thirty consecutive days -- the "thirty consecutive days" being the month of November. For more info (and to join in the fun!) check out the NaNoWriMo site.  You can add me as a friend here.

Waiting on Wednesday (18)

30 October 2012

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.  

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy.  Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest circles. 

Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect.  Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. 

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

29 October 2012

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

26 October 2012

Follow Friday (33)

600 Follower Giveaway

Holy cow, y'all.  I was dumbfounded when I got three hundred, then four hundred followers.  When I got five hundred, I thought it was a fluke.  Now I'm a six hundred?!?  Say whhhattt?!?

Well I'm psyched for all of y'all.  Here's what I've got to celebrate six hundred followers. :)

One US Winner will receive ONE of the following:
  • HC of Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • HC of Nightspell and Mistwood by Leah Cypess
  • HC of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • HC of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • PB of The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
  • PB of Saving June by Hannah Harrington
One INT Winner will receive:
  • their choice of any one YA book from BookDepository (under $12)
Pay attention: You're only entering ONE of the following giveaways.  If you live in the US, enter the "US only giveaway."  If you're outside of the US, you're going to enter the "INT only giveaway."  Enter ONE, not both.

If I get to 700 followers before this giveaway ends (11/16), I will add another US winner and up the price of the YA book from BookDepository to $15.

I am now at 700 followers, and with only a day to spare!  Me, when I found out I had finally reached 700:

And then, I was like,

Thanks everyone!



25 October 2012

Sheltered by Debra Chapoton

Living together unsupervised, five troubled teens confront demonic forces and are compelled to deal with their problems in distinctly different ways. Paranormal meets psycho meets Goth in this story of a supernatural haunting and budding love.

High school junior, Ben, hacks into his step-father's real estate holdings and provides rooms in an old two-story house to various outcasts: the schizophrenic kid, the angry Goth girl, and the homeless girl who worships him. When Megan needs a place to live she comes to the rooming house with a different set of problems and the ability to confuse and attract Ben.

One by one strange and mysterious occurrences stretch the teens’ beliefs in the supernatural. How they deal with demons, real and imagined, has tragic as well as redeeming consequences.

23 October 2012

Perception by Lee Strauss

Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along-side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

PERCEPTION is a (SF/mystery/romance) Young Adult novel that takes place in the not-too-distant future in a world changed by climate extremes, natural disasters and impending wars, and where scientific breakthroughs cause class divisions—both financially and philosophically. It explores the clash between faith and science and how differences can separate us as enemies or ally us together. And in some cases, even in the midst of betrayal and personal crisis, there’s room to fall in love.

This is the first book in a planned three book series.

Spooktacular Giveaway

22 October 2012

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . .

18 October 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle -- and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival -- and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

15 October 2012

@ My Library: Teen Read Week Edition

In schools and libraries across the country, teens and adults alike are gearing up to promote their love of reading.  Spearheaded by the Young Adult Literature Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), Teen Read Week aims to inspire a love of reading in teens.  Ju-well, a senior at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, NC, says that the purpose of Teen Read Week is to "read because you want to, not because you have to."  This is exactly the kind of attitude YALSA wants to see in as many teenagers as possible, but how does one inspire a love of reading?

11 October 2012

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love. Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

09 October 2012

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

08 October 2012

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

06 October 2012

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City -- and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic.  It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets.  The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he'll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far.  But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds.  A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past.  A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret.  And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened...

04 October 2012

Banned Books Week: I'm Guesting

Cait, from The Hopeful Heroine, is so darling.  Her awesome self asked me if I'd like to be involved with her plans for Banned Book Week, which was a surprise because why would anyone want my opinion on anything?  Once I get started on something, I tend to run everyone else over so, to someone coordinating an event... again I think, why?

Alright so it wasn't all that fired-up dramatic.  I'm just hoping y'all are having an awesome day today and if you aren't, then maybe I made it a little bit better. :)

So we're contemplating the morality behind Banned Books Week (no, I did not bore Cait with that, so you're safe to check out my guest post).  Morality is such a touchy subject because it's so subjective.  On this particular subject, it's two parties who both believe they are right.  One says to ban the books that are "inappropriate" for people of a certain age to read and the other side says to allow the freedom to read.

As a reader, I'm on the side of the latter, though isn't that a bit of a curious statement?  I'm stating "I'm a reader, therefore" as if there's a proven correlation between readers and those who support the freedom to read.  Why can't it be true of the side who challenges books?  People who ban books must have some idea what they're talking about, or else they'd never get anywhere.  So it's a logical assumption that people who challenge books are also readers, and yet that never pops into my head when I think about all the parents that target certain books...  Interesting.

Barry Schwartz gave a talk at TED in February 2009 that talked about our loss of wisdom.  One of his points was about rules, and why rules existed.  I equate parents challenging books as attempting to establish rules about what is acceptable for the masses, and what clearly is not.  Barry Schwartz noted that rules are made to give up responsibility; they're there so you don't have to think.  Moral skills are, as he eloquently puts it, "chipped away by an over reliance on rules...That deprives us of the opportunity to improve and learn from our improvisation."  I think parents are inadvertently putting their children at a disadvantage by hefting responsibility onto institutions like schools and libraries that are already overburdened, just because they can't take the pressure of being responsible for what their child reads.  If I could give parents one bit of advice, it would be to let us -- the children -- figure things out.  Shield us as a child, and we won't be prepared when you're no longer there to protect us.

There are a lot of ugly things in the world, but not addressing something doesn't mean it isn't there.  Banning a book doesn't make children safer.  The ugliness doesn't disappear.  It merely spawns ignorance, and ignorance is an epidemic.  Oppression that results in ignorance only creates massive amounts of conflict and, as John Steinbeck puts it, "repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed."

I'm fascinated by the psychology behind what drives people to become so passionate about something, and there's a little nagging thought that says to me maybe it comes from vulnerability.  Brene Brown, a researcher on vulnerability and shame, noted that people with "courage" -- defined as to tell the story of yourself with your whole heart -- embraced vulnerability, that "what made them vulnerable made them beautiful."  I would label authors as people with courage, because they're putting their hearts into something tangible to be judged by the world.  I would label people who challenge books as those who numb vulnerability.  They attempt to make uncertain, certain; they perfect.  They also pretend that what they're attempting to do doesn't have an negative affect on people.

I'm both hopeful and skeptical of what will come of the seemingly eternal banned books debate.  I cannot imagine a situation where the freedom fighters are silenced, but on the same thought, I realize how dirty desperate people can play.  What I can say with certainty is that I will always love reading books, and I will read them based on what interests me, and not because they are banned, or because they are not.

03 October 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

02 October 2012

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

01 October 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

TBR: October

to be read pile

To compensate for my loose impulse control, this is a tentative list and will be edited throughout the month. Please stay tuned for more insanity.

* * *
Goal Books
these are the books that I'd like to read this month

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs