Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Have Been MIA, I Know

September 1st is tomorrow. (Wow, big shocker, I know.) It is a mixed date - Like Simple Clockwork (the outline) releases tomorrow, but I hate to say that Magic will not be on its way to the HC editor's desk. Inkpop changed the way projects are ranked yesterday, and Magic fell out of the top 5 with a ranking of seven. It is now ranked six, but I have to say this whole ranking issue is probably for the better. I haven't been editing Magic as much as I've liked - school and life in general got in the way. Now, I'll have more time to polish it up before HC sees it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
(from Goodreads)

So. My four-word reaction: This book was AWESOME. Let's start with the things I think could have used a bit of work, then get onto the good stuff.

The cover and title are okay. A bit too girly for my taste, but it is a romance book, so they were passable. I would like to say, thought, that I would never have read this book based on the cover and title. I had heard such good things about it that I knew I had to pick it up.

Onto the good stuff!

I don't think there was anything bad I could honestly say about the writing part of this book. The writing was flawless. The characters were perfect - they had their flaws and everything, but they, especially Anna, were really relatable. And the way Stephanie Perkins painted the setting was amazing. I've always wanted to go to Paris, but I felt like I was actually there.
I wasn't expecting to like this after reading the title, cover, and blurb, but it had been getting such good reviews I knew I had to. And I don't regret it. :)

In short, go read this book now!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Under the Trees

-An Inkpop Review-

There aren't enough fantasy YA books today. Not paranormal, not science fiction, just your good old princess-prince/romance story. Under the Trees by Ashley Maker is one of the few.

The book is the perfect combination: old-fashioned enough to sound fantasy-like, yet modern enough that the readers can connect easily with the characters.

I really liked how this book was told from both Araya and Thor's point of view. So many YA books today only tell books from female POV that this book was a breath of fresh air.

Under the Trees has a ranking of three. I wish it the best with its HaperCollins review, and after it gets published, I'll be the first to buy a copy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

At the Train Station

-An Inkpop Review-

alli_cat's short story is one of the sweetest romances I've read on inkpop. Although it has been posted for a little over a month, it's ranked at 17. After reading it, it's hard not to see why.

Although the plot is a bit cliche, alli_cat's wonderful characters and writing style make up for it. Jace and Hayden felt very real to me - although this is a romance short story, they have their flaws reasons why they come to the train station.

You can read this story here. And if you're looking for another great read, the story Shattered Glass by the same author is wonderful. Mark my words, we're going to be seeing alli_cat's books on the shelves one day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Ideas

So this is a screenshot of the blog post that encouraged me to write my first outline ever...Thanks, Bri, for sharing the post with me!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Like Simple Clockwork - the new and improved blurb!

Passion and power go hand in hand with pain.

Ellie Thompson’s past has taught her to keep everyone at arm’s length. She knows she’s not normal, not with eyes that glow silver and the ability to cast spells more powerful than England has ever seen. People feel safe and comfortable with normal, and Ellie doesn’t fit their mold. She lives as an outcast on the edges of London society, working for the one man who will accept her – Jack Cross, King of Thieves.

All is not peaceful in London. The automata[1] that have kept the city running for decades have grown and developed minds of their own; they are revolting against their human masters. Before his death, Ellie’s father taught his daughter a spell that could enslave them. Only she can cast it.

But Ellie can’t draw attention to herself. Someone called the Meistr[2] is after Ellie and that spell and will do anything to get them both. Anyone – from one of the servant girls to the mysterious newcomer who has a way with the dead – could be a spy for the Meistr. Ellie feels as though she cannot trust anyone.

Bran Smith fled to England to escape and to forget. He, like Ellie, has secrets that he would prefer be kept hidden. A chance meeting on the street lands him a job working for one of the most powerful men in London. Bran has a chance to reinvent himself, and he takes it.

Ellie dislikes Bran from the moment she meets him. He knows too much about her – he knows parts of her past that she would rather stay buried. She has to hide.  And in order to disappear, you can’t be seen or known.

It’s not easy hiding when the Meistr wants you. But Ellie has to. Her life and the future of England depend on it. And Bran is the only one who can help her – if Ellie can put aside her judgments and trust him first, no matter who or what he is.

[1] Automaton: a mechanical figure that acts on its own power, a robot. Plural: automata
[2] Meistr: Welsh for ‘Master’

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Signs

The Signs
If you asked me before him where I wanted to be, nine times out of ten I'd say somewhere else. Paris, or New York. San Francisco, even. But after him, it was more like two out of ten, or possibly three.

Zoe hates small-town living; she's counting down the days until she can get out. When a new family moves in next door, she just knows that they'll be as dull and sleepy as the rest of the town. What she hasn't counted on is a boy her age with something that makes him unlike anything she's ever known.

Coming soon to inkpop

Friday, August 12, 2011


Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he's willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough.... (from Goodreads)

I picked up this book with apprehension. I knew it was about a relationship gone wrong, and I don't normally read those. But I had heard great things about it, so I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad I did.

Stay wasn't about a relationship that was physically abusive. Christian was literally obsessed with Clara staying with him, and that was even scarier than a physically abusive one, because it can be hard to tell.

The one quote that really got me comes from the middle part of the book when Clara says, "In their mind, you are theirs and will always be their and your own choice about that matters very little...A person shows signs...of jealousy, of guarding you...But these signs can be so small they skitter right past you. Sometimes they dance past, looking satiny, something you should applaud" (158). This made me realize that there is a very fine line between 'falling in love' with someone and being obsessed with them, and that it's very hard to distinguish the two. 

Stay was told in two parts. They alternated every chapter, and really helped the reader feel what Clara was going through. The first part was during her relationship with Christian - how everything went from fairy tale to horrible. The other part was her life the summer after Christian - how she got over him and met a new guy, Finn. 

There was only one part of this book I didn't like: I felt her relationship with Finn moved too quickly. If she was getting over Christian, wouldn't she be more wary of getting into a relationship with someone? 

This book was excellent. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011


"Cuz these things will change
Can feel it now..."
-"Change" by Taylor Swift, who happens to be one of my favorite singers.

No, there have not been changes like the one in the song, but there have been changes to this blog all the same. It is still the same blog with the same topics, but it has a new header. I felt my old one was too busy, and this one conveys a better message. It is also easier on the eyes and the title is more meaningful to me.

Kudos to anyone who can figure out where I got the title from! *winks*

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Magic in the Tapestry

I first learned about inkpop when I saw a post by author Gail Carson Levine on teen publishing. I had heard about online writing sites but had never looked closely at one before, so I decided to take a look at it. I liked what I saw, so I created an account. My plan was to post part of the book I had been working on and off for two years. Needless to say, when I went back and looked at it, I was horrified with what I found and knew I could never post something like that for other people to see.

After having an account for a couple of days, I felt weird being on a writing site and not having any projects posted. So I posted the only thing I felt was presentable - my short story "The Magic in the Tapestry." As with every piece of writing, it has a story behind it.

In English, we had to write and finish one short story that we would get a grade on at the end of the year. Because I was in one of my 'off' writing stages where I couldn't bring myself to write anything, I dithered and procrastinated. By the night before it was due, I only had half the story done and no idea how it was going to end. I was up all night tearing my hair out, trying to figure out how to end it.

After posting it, I was curious what people's reactions to my story would be. Inkpop is a teen writing site - there aren't many projects on there with unicorns in them. I began swapping for it, more to see what people's opinions were than to raise its ranking. Inkpop then changed its format - before, it was mostly books that got into the Top 5. Now there are three separate categories - fiction, short writing, and poetry. More and more people started picking Magic because of the category changes. Magic's ranking moved steadily upward.

Not only did this teach me a lesson in procrastination, but after being on inkpop for two months (tomorrow  marks that day exactly) Magic has reached the Top 5 with a ranking of four. I am so grateful to all of the inkies who have read, picked, or critiqued Magic. I really couldn't have done it without you all.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Are Nightmares Always this Beautiful?

No. But this one is. If you even call it a nightmare in the first place.

I had the pleasure of reading Bri's outline of her upcoming novel, and boy, am I glad I did! You might think - since angels and demons are all the rage now - that this story would be filled with millions of cliches. Bri will prove you wrong.

Her characters are fresh and original. Even just from reading the outline, I could tell they were fully fleshed out and well-rounded.

You can read it here. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Set on the island of Nantucket, Starcrossed tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.

Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?
(from Goodreads)

So this was the third of the Dark Days of Supernatural books I read. And I'm disappointed to say that it fell below expectations. Granted, I had high expectations for the book, but this book fell far below them.

Helen and Lucas were your stereotypical characters without flaws but with amazing extraordinary powers no one has ever seen before. It was the same old cliche: hot guy and beautiful girl hate each other, but then realize that they're soul mates and can't live without each other. Lucas was your typical black-hair-bright-blue-eyes hot guy that's seen in half of YA books today, and Helen depended on Lucas too much.

I also felt as though Josephine Angelini was trying to fit too much into one book. Helen and Lucas had at least five powers each. It would have been all right if the powers were ordinary, but no. The talents that these two had were rare; they were the only ones of their generation to possess them. I also felt that Helen hadn't really changed by the time the book ended. If possible, she went from bad to worse.

Don't get me wrong: there were things I liked about this book. Cassandra was a strong character, Claire was cute, and the writing style was pretty good, but the major plot and character issues overlooked that.

I give Starcrossed a 6/10. It was a nice break from vampires, but this book just didn't do it for me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Like Simple Clockwork

This is a part of the prologue of my book Like Simple Clockwork, set to release on inkpop September 1st. Enjoy!

Prologue: Deadly

January 1, 1835
London, England
On the bank of the Thames

It was time, and the anticipation was delicious. He could practically taste it on his tongue.

“Bring it to me!” the man snapped. He stroked his small pointed beard nervously. The ritual could only be completed on the stroke of midnight on the first day of the new year. It had snowed the night before, and now the thick coating of ice over the Thames held a dusting of it. The man shivered and blew gently on his chapped hands. The conditions were perfect. 

The metal creature held out a golden net so finely woven that nothing could pass through it. It was beautiful, a work of art, but its purpose was one so unnatural that defied both Heaven and Hell. 

“Good, good.” The man lay it down on the ice. Steam rose up from around the net. “They should be coming just about…now!” 

The water vapor materialized into human forms. Souls.

These were no ordinary human souls, however. These were ghosts, the souls of people who were unclean – murderers, adulterers, and the like. They were tethered to this world by past mistakes, and until those mistakes were resolved, they couldn’t leave. Some of them would be stuck here forever; their mistakes were too old or too large to be undone. Some mistakes had forgotten. They were constantly seeking forgiveness – it was the surest way a ghost could atone for their past sins. Another was to do an act of good so large it would overlook their past, but it was hard to judge an act. 

The ghosts tried to flee, but the power of the net was too strong. It sucked them back down and tethered them there. Moaning in horror, the ghosts tried to escape again, but to no avail. They were trapped.

The man smiled. So that spell he had come across in the Kensington palace library was true, after all. “Speak to me!” he cried, throwing his shoulders back. 

The ghosts watched him with worried looks on their faces. None of them had any idea what he was talking about.

“’Scuse me, sir,” a peasant called, “but are you sure you ‘aven’t ‘ad too much to drink?”

The man looked at him irritably. “Do you have any idea of who I am, of what power I hold?”

“Yes,” came a clear voice from the back of the crowd. “Yes, we do know who you are and of the power that you’ve abused, John.” Her voice was filled with scorn.

“Ah, my lovely Grace,” John smiled. “I was wondering what had become of my Air.”

Undaunted, Grace looked John directly in the eye. “William and I swore with our dying breaths that you would never catch her, John. She knows of you and your cursed ways, to be wary of your twisted metal machines. William may have been a Metal, but even he knows how you’ve turned public workforce into your own private army. Mark my words, you will never catch her,” she spat. 

John smiled. Unwittingly, Grace had given him the answer he needed. “Thank you, Grace,” he said. “Now come along.” He snapped his fingers.

One of the machines came forward and picked up the golden net. Another held out a wooden box, and the first thrust the net into the box and slammed the lid shut. 

“You fool.”
John could hear Grace’s voice, muffled by the box. He didn’t stop to listen to the rest of what she was saying. “Come along. This night has proved quite helpful indeed.” He set off for the Kensington, flanked on either side by his two machines. “Now I just need to find the perfect boy…”