Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ivy

I made a whole big list of books to read and buy over break, but I'm going to be so very very busy in the two coming weeks that I decided to put most of them on hold.
There is one book, though, that from the moment I opened it up at Barnes and Noble, I knew I had to read it right away. And that book is The Ivy.
Since coming to college myself, it's been my opinion that there just aren't enough YA books that are about college. I've read very few that actually take place AT college. ("Better Than Running At Night" is one book that has a college setting, though.) That's one of the many reasons I am DYING to read this book. I'm only a few pages in, but I'm already hooked. Those Harvard students don't mess around, man.

Another reason I'm so interested in YA books with a college setting is because the newest story that I'm working on is set on a college campus. (Set in? Set on?) There's so much you can do with a story within a college environment that it surprises me that this type of setting seems so hard to find.

However, it's occurred to me that perhaps I'm mistaken, or looking in the wrong places, or just completely oblivious. Can you think of any great YA titles that take place in a college setting?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things Didn't Quite Go As Planned...

...because it just so happens that my mom is a librarian. And it just so happens that once I got home, she brought home about eight YA books for me to read. And it just so happens that I started reading those instead of the ones on my list.
But! There's still hope for Low Red Moon and The Duff, because I will be visiting Barnes and Noble this weekend.

So, what DID I end up reading so far? Well, only two books. And those books are...

OTHER by Karen Kincy
This book was pretty awesome. I have to admit, I was excited to read it as soon as I read the back cover. If you haven't already seen this one reviewed, it takes place in a world where "Others" —that would be beings such as werewolves, vampires, animal spirits, dryads, mermaids, pookas (a type of shapeshifter which applies to our heroine), and so on— are known to exist, and some even live out in the open, though they suffer a great deal of prejudice, even from OTHER Others!
Before I get into any symbolism or even political stuff, here's what the story is about, in my own words: Gwen is half-pooka as a result of a fling her mother had with a Welshman (is that even the correct term?). She can shapeshift; in fact, she MUST shapeshift relatively often or she feels discomfort, her "pooka side" acting up. She doesn't reveal her Otherness to many people (not even her boyfriend, Zach). But she does have her best friend, Chloe, who is a dryad, a sort of tree spirit, to share secrets with, and she suspects that Tavian, an attractive Japanese guy she met via the BLOGOSPHERE, might have some Otherness to him as well.
Who knows of Gwen's Otherness isn't so important, however, until someone begins to murder local Others of Gwen's Washington state town, Klikas...Klika..oh man, it's such a cool name, too...(looks it up) Klikamuks! Doesn't that name just remind you of the sounds your rainboots make when you walk through a puddle? Anyway, suddenly Gwen has bigger problems than worrying about how to tell her boyfriend she's a shapeshifter, because she and all of her Other friends are in danger!
I really enjoyed this book. I know it's not exactly a unique premise, what with all the YA authors scrambling to find the latest paranormal gimmick for their novels (myself included), but it was a fun read, and man was it quick! Even if you aren't sure you'd like this one, try it anyway because it won't take a lot of your time and it's a great ride. The characters were pretty well-developed, the dialogue was snappy yet believable. There was action, romance, mystery, paranormal-ness, danger, and politics. Yes, politics. Maybe Karen Kincy didn't purposely do this (I find that unlikely, or maybe it was just unavoidable), but the problems the Others ran into were so similar to those faced of any minority group. There was also mention of Alaskans hunting werewolves by helicopter (Palin, anyone?) and an Other-hatred based group called the White Knights (perhaps a bit like the KKK?). Not to mention the term "other" in general. As in, the way we tend to place people who are different from us in the "other" category? "Other" or maybe "exotic"? (Anybody see that post on the Story Siren?) My point is, not only was there a decent, fast-paced story that I found quite hard to put down, but there were some great messages involved. Kindness, tolerance. Okay, so you don't HAVE to read it that way, but it's in there to find if you want to. Plus it could make for a cool paper! (for those fellow college students out there)
You can find out some more about this one here:
And I'm sure there are some much more detailed and thoughtful reviews out there in the blogosphere, too. I should probably add that I didn't always take the book as seriously as could have, probably because I have a friend who used to call her boyfriend a "pooka" or "pook."

I also read The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan.
I think that this one was first and foremost, beautifully written. The style was lovely, and the way Lena, the main character's relationship with her family was developed was excellent, very strong. I read this one quickly, too, and didn't want to put it down. The ocean imagery, the eventual mermaid village, even the descriptions of surfing lessons were kind of magical.
But it was sad, and I'm not quite sure about the conclusion that was reached at the end. Okay, wait...


Lena's father, once a surfer and ocean-lover, can never again enter the sea. If he does, he will be ripped to pieces by sharks at the command of his former mermaid lover's own mother. So really, the purpose of this story seems to be so that Lena can discover her mermaid heritage and have her father's sea death penalty lifted upon her return to land. But in order to have this lifted, Lena must sacrifice seeing her mermaid mother, Melusina, and the merman boy she grows to love, Nix. She has to promise never to see them again or return to the mermaid village. At the end (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) Lena returns to land and reunites with her friends, her younger brother, stepmother and father. Finally, she and her father can surf together. I guess that, for Lena, it takes seeing her possible mermaid life and heritage to really appreciate, fully enjoy, and help her land family and life. But what about her mother?! She's just going to forget and absorb happy mermaid thoughts so that her memories don't depress her?! That really bugged me, a lot. Since I just spoiled the ending, I'm going to kind of leave the rest of the book for you to read.


I suppose it was sort of what had to be done, but it didn't all work for me. Still, it's a very pretty story, and I think anyone who loves mermaids, the ocean, or stories of finding one's self might find enjoyment in this book. (Check out the blog Escape in a Book- pretty sure she has a deeper review of this one as well as some second opinions!)
Oh, here it is:

I guess I'd better visit some other blogs and then go to bed before Black Friday comes!
Happy shopping, all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Books...and books....and MORE books!

Thanksgiving break is rapidly approaching! And not a moment too soon, thank goodness. (I've been actively procrastinating in preparation for the occasion.) I have even made a list of books that I want to read over the break, just to have a little vacation from the usual textbooks and what not:

(I don't know if the pictures will work.)

1. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard..because how could I resist a book with a CUPCAKE on the cover? Also the plot sounds like so much fun! Imagine if suddenly you started to receive all of the birthday wishes you've ever made, since you were little. That's what's about to happen to the protagonist of this book. (Also, it's been sitting on my shelf since August!)

2. Annexed by Sharon Dogar...the story of Anne Frank's housemate, Peter. An imaginative, heartbreaking, YA story about the Holocaust, all based on true events and the written work of a thirteen-year-old girl. Also I've heard some good stuff about Sharon Dogar. There was no way I could pass this one up at the bookstore!

3. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger- Everyone in the book blogosphere has to have heard something about this book by now. DUFF= Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and the main character of this book. Apparently though, when it comes to this girl, there's more than meets the eye. To put it bluntly, this sounds like a book...and a character...that we can all relate to. And I have not read ANY bad reviews.

4. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin...I've read a lot of reviews about this one and the only conclusion I've reached is that I'm going to have to read it. People have said a lot of sh*t about this book, man. Others thought it was, eh, okay. And others still valiantly defend it! I must say, I'm intrigued. If I can track down a copy, I'll definitely be reading this one.

5. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab...I bought this one a while back, seduced by that magnificent, unsettling cover. I started it...and something came up. (I have a serious commitment problem when it comes to reading, I think. I got halfway through Dracula a few years ago and just stopped. Same thing with Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. I should be ashamed!) So the goal is to finish this one. If I keep buying books and not reading them, well, that's not really fair, is it?

So that's my list, short and sweet, of books younger and older. There may be some changes, and if I can't find DUFF or LRM in time, well, sadly I won't be able to read them. But I will be letting you know what I think of them soon after the break.

I've been reading a lot of different blogs lately, sampling and what not, and I just want to make a promise that I will never expressly say here NOT to read a specific novel. I'm an author. That would be ridiculous, counterproductive, and not fair. Everyone thinks and reads differently. One person's "ugh" is another's "OMG SO GOOD!" (I was going to make that second part "ooo" but then I thought it sounded vaguely sexual. :/ ) We all appreciate an honest, outspoken review, but I would never say anything like "Man, toss this stupid book in the trash!"

Anyway, I'll be posting some of my own work up here soon too! Thanks for following.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I was so sure that Angels were going to be the Next Big Thing but now it looks like Mermaids are getting their chance too! And I LOVE Mermaids! I used to want to be one.
Yeah, really, I did. I love water, and I love and respect the sea.
Anyway, if you haven't already, you should check out the Bloody Bookaholic! Her latest post is all about some upcoming Mermaid books, and I was so excited to see it that I just had to share.
Did I mention how much I love the blogosphere?

In other news, I have some stuff for my new work that I might want to post in the near future. Thanks for those who've come and take a look at my blog even after my super long blogging break!
For those who see this post, what's your favorite paranormal/supernatural/fantastic/fairy tale creature? Mermaid? Vampire? Werewolf?

I don't think I'll ever be able to decide, but that's okay because there are books about all of them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Hi all!
Or no one. I haven't been keeping up this blog at all in the past few months, but truth be told it's a little bit of a challenge to be a college student and a YA author.

Be that as it may, I have two little bits of news! I'll be updating the blog once a week now, because I am working on some new stuff and I may post some pieces of it here. Also, once the weekends hit I'm going to be looking for some book reviewers (and maybe reviewing some books on here myself). I just read a really adorable, almost magical story called Austenland, by the author of Princess Academy. Also worth mentioning soon is Poison Study (which I read because I saw consistently excellent reviews across the blogosphere).

The other news? I'm going to Paris next semester. That will likely lead to this blog getting pushed into some dusty corner for a while. So I'll try and keep up for the next couple months as best I can!

I have to say, I miss "being an author" a whole lot right now. It's so much fun, and through the book and the blog I've talked to some really great people and learned about some really great books. I've read more than one piece of advice on authors' websites, saying that it's a good idea to wait to write a book, that it's a good idea to live your life while you're young and write later on. And yeah, it's hard to do both and be consistent (at least, it is for me). But I wouldn't change having had this book published. It's helped me learn so much. So here I am again, for a limited time. If someone happens to take a look and wants to review my book (or know more about it, for that matter), email me or leave a comment!