23 Dec 2012

Old Favourites #2: Christmas Classics

(I'm bringing back Old Favourites. If you would like to participate in this meme, let me know in the comments and link me to your blog. If enough people participate, I can make this an official meme with a specific blog post about it and a list of blogs participating and everything!)

It seems only fitting to do a Christmas-themed blog post, right? Thought so.

This episode of Old Favourites (it's okay to call it an episode, right? Pretend you're watching tv or something. Okay. Moving on) I'd like to talk about one of my favourite Christmas classics.

Yep. How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss, right? I, along with hopefully everyone ever, grew up reading Dr. Seuss. And each year my brother and I would sit in front of the tv several times in December watching the half hour animated movie adaptation of this wonderful book.

It features everything a book about Christmas should have: memorable morals, remarkable rhymes, and incredible visuals (sorry, I couldn't keep up with the alliteration there. I hope you'll forgive me).

Dr. Suess' stories are classic, and I'm glad to see that parents are still buying their children these books, and especially that they are continuing to buy those that have been made into movies. But that's a topic for another blog post.

Christmas. Old Favourites. Right. Get back on track, Courtney.

The moral in The Grinch is, of course, an important one. It highlights family and community unity, reminding children that Christmas (and other holidays) are not all about the decorations and the presents (even if those are great bonuses). Christmas is about family and friends and being with the people you care most about and who cares most about you.
It's an important anti-materialistic message that everyone should be introduced to at a young age, especially with the advances in technology that are mind-blowingly putting iPads in the hands of six year olds (seriously, parents?). It's messages like those in Seuss that our children should be reading (or hearing, if they are too young or inable to read).

Not only that, but Seuss' stories are fun to read! And that's what makes them all the more appealing. I had no idea I was being taught life lessons in these books when I read them. I read them and I loved them, and I even read them today.

Parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents, guardians, older siblings, etc, I hope you're gifting some Seuss to the children in your life.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, fellow readers and bloggers.
And, of course, happy reading!

Since we're on the topic, what are your favourite Seuss books?
Green Eggs and Ham and The Lorax both tie at number one for me.

20 Dec 2012

Worldwide Covers #2: Pure

(A book blog meme hosted by Librarian Mouse. To participate and for more info, click here)

More book covers! Because let's be honest, we all judge them. It's one of the first impressions we get on a book. This time I'll be sharing and comparing the worldwide covers to the book I am currently reading.

Pure by Julianna Baggott

Above is the USA and Canada cover. I love the simplicity of the cover; it's one of the things that first drew me to this book. (My boss recommending it is what ultimately made me pick it up, but then I went home and went to add it on Goodreads, only to realise I already had!)

The UK paperback cover is pictured above. Not my favourite, but I love the font!

Another UK paperback cover that was released several months after the first printing. Very fiery and eye-catching and sure to draw in Hunger Games fans.

The German cover. Basically the same as the American cover, but in German.

The Italian cover. The colour pops out a little bit more on this one.

And above is the Polish cover, which is very different from the others. Still a great design!

So which cover is your favourite?
I personally am attached to the American cover, probably because it's the one I'm reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

17 Dec 2012

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Tainted by Lynn Rush

I am very pleased to be involved in the cover reveal for the third installment in Lynn Rush's Wasteland series.
The cover is absolutely beautiful, but I will just stop typing now so you can all see that for yourself...


I love the red against the snow, personally. Awesome cover. I can't stop staring...
Oh, right. The blurb!

Even death can’t stop true love…After over four hundred years as a Guardian, Durk Langdon rebuked it all. Walked away from everything when his mate, Jessica, was brutally murdered. Yet he has no recollection of anything since that gruesome day. 
Nothing alleviates his longing for Jessica or his disdain for the Guardians until a former brother-in-arms joins him and his cause. Visions of his lost love start appearing in the most unlikely places, until Durk learns she survived. 

But when he sets out to find her, demonic obstacles he never could have imagined tear them apart. 

If only he had trusted her.

 And of course, a portion of all proceeds will be donated to cancer research and treatment.

Add Tainted to your goodreads to-read list! And if you have yet to read the first two books in the series, click here to check them out on goodreads as well.

Connect with Lynn Rush:
Follow her on Twitter: @LynnRush
Visit her website
Like her on Facebook

And to make this cover reveal even more exciting, there is a giveaway you can enter! See the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and happy readying to all!

15 Dec 2012

Cover Judging #2 + Cover Reveal: Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa

The publishers of the Blood of Eden series have designed new covers for Julie Kagawa's vampiric dystopian series, Blood of Eden. The new covers looks great, and I am excited for them, but I do understand why some fans of the series are concerned about the new cover designs. However, I have a few points that should soothe your hesitation, Kagawa fans.

(The first edition The Immortal Rules cover)

Like with Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me trilogy, Blood of Eden is going to have new cover designs, presumably so the series can have covers that flow. Both YA series had standard covers featuring the main character (See my post on the new Shatter Me trilogy cover reveal here), and I believe that having a cover that features more of a design than a face will appeal to readers. Current fans already love the series, and a cover that could appeal to everyone would only benefit the series. I don't want to get into a super deep analysis of what type of covers attract what groups of people, so I won't say much else about that.
Plus there isn't much you can do with a character's face at the cover, unless you change up the characters featured on the cover, or if you do what the Delirium trilogy did with their covers (which I personally am not a fan of, because it was just different angles of Lena's face with a different colour featured on each colour. It did not feel as creative as it could have been, but hey).

Cover changes happen, and usually it is for the better, even if not everyone is a fan (and it's impossible to please everyone, so) of the changes.

And honestly, I had a feeling the covers would change. I personally love the new covers. They're fun to look at, and even though this means I'm going to have to buy another copy of The Immortal Rules so my covers will match, I can live with that.

So what are your thoughts on the new covers? Let's discuss in the comments!

14 Dec 2012

Book Haul #3: December 2012

No video for this one, unfortunately, as the camera I usually use has no working batteries to use. Perhaps I'll do one later, but for now, a text blog post will have to suffice.

It was employee appreciation weekend at my work, and, well, I took full advantage.
I could have bought more books, but I just finished my Christmas shopping (anyone else done yet? Doesn't it feel amazing?!) and didn't want to put too much stress on my bank account.

(PS, to view more information about each book, click on the covers to be taken to their Goodreads page)

I picked these two lovelies up, checking two more off of my to-read list on Goodreads. And bonus! Lullaby is a signed copy.


If you guys have not had a chance to see these covers 'in person', then I highly recommend that you do. They are shiny and gorgeous. Wake, especially, is my favourite. I cannot wait to read these.

The next is a book I really should have read long ago, but did not get around to it until now (and probably would not have read it had I not started to get myself more into contemporary fiction).
That's right, I'm a Perks virgin, but I own it now! And in my defense, at least I have not seen the movie yet. I'll save that until I've read the book. I took the pledge, after all. I also did not get the movie cover, because I refuse to buy the movie tie-in covers of books. Books are books, and movies on books are a great addition when done right, but I don't want those covers in my collection, not matter how much I loved the movie.

I also picked up the original paperback cover of John Green's Looking for Alaska, because I love this cover so much more than the cover I bought when that was all my store had in stock (and then threw out my receipt so I couldn't even exchange it. Stupid, stupid me). BUT my pickiness benefits you all, because sometime in the new year I will be giving away my other copy of Looking for Alaska, so keep an eye out for that!

And lastly, I bought the debut novel of Jodi Picoult's daughter, Samantha Van Leer. While I am not a Jodi Picoult fan (her ideas are interesting, and maybe I'll try again, but the books I've read by her just dragged on and I couldn't finish them. Couldn't even force myself to. But like I said, maybe I'll try again one day), I'm excited to read this book:
A book character who talks to his reader and they fall in love? Isn't that every fangirl's dream? I expect this one to be a light read, but an enjoyable one all the same. Should be interesting.

(I also bought a cookbook, but that's not as interesting, haha)

3 Dec 2012

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Hover by Melissa West

The cover for Melissa West's second novel in The Taking series is here!

Isn't it gorgeous?
Hover does not yet have a blurb, but there will be one released closer to Hover's official release date, which is August 6th, 2013. So look out here for that closer to August.

You can pre-order Hover today. Provided below are some links to do just that :)

Pre-order Buy links:
BN.com- No link yet

Melissa’s links:
Melissa lives in a tiny suburb of Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. She pretends to like yoga, actually likes shoes, and could not live without coffee. Her writing heroes include greats like Jane Austen and Madeleine L'Engle.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

Website- http://www.melissawestauthor.com/
Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5287439.Melissa_West

There is also a giveaway (hosted by the publisher) for a signed paperback copy of Gravity by Melissa West. Enter in the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 Nov 2012


NaNoWriMo winner? Oh, yes. Hi. Yes, that's me.

Yep. I just completed my first NaNoWriMo and I feel pretty awesome.
And not just because I was down over 7k words and caught up to them today.

No, I'm super stoked because right where I finished writing connects directly with the ending I wrote before NaNoWriMo started. So my novel is COMPLETED.

71 055 words total :D

*parties in desk chair*

Anyone else finish NaNoWriMo? Congrats! If not, hey, getting started is the important thing. Keep going! Don't let the fact that it's no longer NaNoWriMo let you slack off. If you're on a roll, keep going.
I have lots of editing and rewriting to do, so that will be most of my 2013, I think.


Well, happy writing and editing and rewriting, everyone!

27 Nov 2012

Crunch Time

There are three more days of NaNoWriMo left.
I am down 10k words and I work tomorrow and Thursday.

I know, Harry. I know. *cries*

Anyone else panicking about completing NaNoWriMo on time?
If no, then I envy you.
If yes, what are you doing on my blog? Get that novel written!!
Says the girl writing a blog post instead of writing her novel...

25 Nov 2012

Cover Judging aka Book Cover OCD

When it comes to book covers, I am a very picky person.

For example, if I am going to buy a book series, I like their covers to match. Shatter Me is coming out with new covers, so even though I had the original cover, I got the new one so that my collection would match.
You know how Shatter Me used to be this:

And now it's this:
I also like my book series covers to be the same in terms of hardcover, trade, and pocket paperbacks. I have two series currently that greatly bothers my book cover OCD. My Matched trilogy, for example, is a mix of cover types. I have the first in paperback because it was only available in paperback when I bought it, but then Crossed and Reached are hardcover because the series became popular and the bookstores in my city got those. So that series of mine is mixed up, which bothers me a lot, but I try my best not to think about it.

My The Mortal Instruments series collection by Cassandra Clare also suffers from this. I was introduced to the series earlier this year and the first three were out in paperback, so I got those. Then I bought the next two in their hardcovers, so that series is all mixed up. I am justifying this one, however, by saying the first three were meant to be only a trilogy, but then more were made (if this is wrong, don't correct me. It will only drive me insane! haha).

Then I have my Tamora Pierce's Protecter of the Small series which is all mucked up because I have First Test and Page and Lady Knight as trade paperbacks, but when I bought the series, they only had the pocket paperback for Squire and I did not want to wait to order in the trade. So that series is all weird and I'm SUPER tempted to but the trade paperback of Squire because we have it at my work, haha.

But then sometimes I get even pickier, and this is what I really wanted to write about for this blog post.

I bought John Green's Looking For Alaska in the new cover. You know, the one with the girl's face? This one:
WELL. A little over two weeks after I bought it (you know, just over the 14 day return policy at my work - not that I kept the receipt anyway), my work got in the original covers in paperback. The awesome-looking one that I had wanted to get but we didn't have them... To clarify, this one:
And now I have what I refer to as the 'ugly' cover (it's not ugly; I just prefer the original) and I pass the 'nice' cover multiple times per day at work (I work at a bookstore, in case that wasn't already clear :P) and it's TORTUROUS. Because all I want is the pretty candle cover.

So I'm pretty sure I'm going to give in and buy the candle cover. Then I'll have two copes of LFA, which is just silly.
So look out in the future for TWO giveaways from me. One featuring the 'ugly' LFA cover (sorry. The content is still the same and it's perfect condition - just not the nicer candle cover :P) and one featuring the old Shatter Me paperback.
Yay free books!

Again, the giveaways won't be until 2013, because the end of the year is just too busy for me to focus on anything like that. Plus shipping costs money and Christmas is coming up and yadda yadda. You get it.

Anyway, I just had to share that.
Anyone else extremely picky with covers?
I had to borrow copies of the Harry Potter series as they came out because I had the first three in paperback. Now THAT was torture. I don't know how, but I managed to avoid spoilers for each book, and sometimes I had to wait months before I could get my hands on a borrowed copy because I was not about to go out and buy the hardcover when I began the series with paperbacks. (Speaking of HP, my covers are getting worn. I really like the adult covers, so I'm probably going to buy them when I can justify the purchase. But hmm. Hardcover of paperback? The paperback covers are pocket, which I love. But hardcover will be more durable... Yeah... HC it will be.)

As I was asking, is anyone else extremely cover-OCD like me? I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. I've had discussions about this with customers at work, but I'd like the reassurance on here, too. Plus talking covers is fun! Haha.

22 Nov 2012

I Am Not Dead

I'm not dead, I promise!

Things have become really busy for me, and while I've been reading and have some books I could write reviews on, there have been others things I've needed to work on.
NaNoWriMi, for example. I've been getting more hours at my new job, and with the holiday season upon us, work's been getting busier and busier. As I write this, I should be working on today's NaNo count, because I'm barely scraping by right now, but I've also got the beginnings of a headache.
I'm not even sure this blog post is making any sense! Haha.

Basically, I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I have the start of a review for The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa saved as a draft, but I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to write the rest of it up (seriously, all I have right now is the formatting, the star rating, and 'Ethan is all grown up!', which might not even make it into the actual review, haha). I did not even post a Wednesday meme like I have been for the past while.

I'm honestly not sure when I'll get a decent post up here, but bare with me. I have no plans on giving up this blog; it's just a busy time of year and a busy month.

But let's do something fun before I go. Some very mini reviews for you all...

What I'm currently reading: Reached by Ally Condie.
What is it? The final book in the Matched trilogy.
How is it so far? Fantastic! I love the new point of views we're seeing and I'm enjoying Xander's the best. For anyone who was worried the series was going downhill after Crossed (I know a lot of people did not enjoy it as much as they did Matched), you need to read this one. It's paced great and is already more interesting than Crossed. Don't let your thoughts on the second book bring you down! (I for one enjoyed Crossed, though not as much as I did Matched and not as much as I am Reached, but like I said, I know a lot of people did not like Crossed very much).

What did I read before Reached? The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse.
Thoughts: It was a quick read and I'm looking forward to the sequel. I'm interested to see where it will go. I had a few qualms with the portrayal of Canadians (which I might make a video about because there's a bit I feel the need to talk about), but the rest was great. Not my favourite dystopian, but certainly quite interesting and definitely worth the read.

What are you guys reading right now? Let me know in the comments :)

15 Nov 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #3

Wishlist Wednesday is a blogger meme hosted at Pen to Paper where bloggers feature the books on their wishlists. You can join in on the hop over at Pen to Paper's blog by clicking here.
I first want to apologise for the lack of posts as of recently. I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo and I've fallen behind, so I've been writing my novel more than I have been writing blog posts (as I'm sure you have all been able to see). I do have two reviews coming up, one being The Lost Prince and the other being The Forsaken. I just need to find time to finish both reviews. I'll try to get one up before the weekend, but I don't want to make any promises. To all those doing NaNo, keep up the great work!
Now onto the regularly scheduled meme Wednesday.

Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

How crazy is it that I have not yet read this book? It has been on my list for a while, but I just have not gotten around to picking it up. With the second one due out at the beginning of January, I guess I need to hurry it up, huh?

Have you read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi yet? What did you think? How crazy is it that I don't have this one on my shelf yet?
Let me know in the comments (but no spoilers, please!) :)

9 Nov 2012

Keep Writing

Happy day nine, NaNoWriMo participants!

The goal word count for the end of today is 15 000 words!

If you are there, congratulations and keep it up! You are 30% of the way there!
If you are over 15k, then wow! Keep it up! At this rate you'll finish before November 30th, which is a great accomplishment.
If you aren't quite at 15k yet, don't worry! Don't focus on the numbers. Just keep writing. I feel that is the most important thing to remember here. Yes, the end goal is to reach 50 000 words by November 30th, but we are still near the beginning. The time is not yet to panic. The important thing to keep in mind at this point in the game is just to keep writing. If the writing is crap, who cares! First drafts are supposed to suck. That's where editing and re-writes come in. But you have to push through that first draft first, and that's where just keep writing comes into it. Forget about what your writing. Does the dialogue sound fake? Ignore it! Are you pretty sure your character started out as a blonde and now they are magically a brunette? Forget it! Edits are for later. Writing is for now.

Remember, it's not NaNoEdiMo. The time now is to write. Editing comes later. Make December your NaNoEdiMo.

Three years ago on VlogBrothers, John Green made some of the above points plus a few more genius ones.
You can watch his video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCTO91aBFXk or by watching below:

Keep up the discipline. Close Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/Pinterest. Let the amazing John Green motivate you! Why are you still here and reading this? Write, write, write! You have 35000 (or more or less) words to go!

My current progress: 15 201 words.

7 Nov 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #10

This week I am waiting on a sequel to a book I wrote a review on here. Now while it was not one of my favourites, I am still very curious to see where the sequel will take us. The premise is interesting and the sequel has promise. I had no idea the cover and title had even been revealed on this one, but here it is:

Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She's trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed's girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She's been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war.

Natural Born Angel is due out in April 2013.

3 Nov 2012

Encouragement Plus a Thank You

Whether or not you are a writer participating in NaNoWriMo this month, you can do something very significant to help those who are. And this goes for people who are also participating in NaNo.


Yep, it's as simple as that. A few of my amazing writing friends and Twitter followers are commenting on my progress and letting me know they are supporting me with NaNo this month and are commending me on the word counts I am reaching daily. And I just want to thank those of you who are doing so. It really means a lot and it's helping me keep up the writing. Just so you know, I'm hugging my computer right now because I can't actually hug you all. But if I could, I would.

(I tried taking a picture of myself hugging my laptop as proof, but it just looked ridiculous, so here's a very procrastinate-y drawing. As you can tell, I'm quite the artist, and since my skills are so grand, I have labelled things that your mortal eyes would not be able to identify... Yeah, that's the story we're going with here.)
Because believe it or not, a simple 'Good luck on your sprint!' or a 'Congrats on your sprint' or a 'You're doing great!' goes so far. It brings on a smile and helps up the motivation, which as many of you know, is so easy to lose.

So keep on encouraging each other and keep on meeting those daily goals! Remember 2k a day brings a total of 60k. If you do some very successful sprints, that's just an hour or two of writing each day!

Keep up the great work, everyone!

Add me on NaNoWriMo: Courtney Shawnmarr. Or post your username below and I can add you.
You can also follow my progress on Twitter @Courtvents or on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyShawnmarr

Happy writing, everyone!

1 Nov 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 1 Log

Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone!

Today started off like any usual day off. I slept in. I'm a night person, but the past two days I've been waiting up at 6 and 7 am for work, and two early mornings is not enough for my body to adjust. I don't nap, so I've been going to bed late because once it hits 8pm, I'm over-tired. Plus, I write better at night. So last night I was up a little past midnight and this morning my body basically was not getting up until 10am. Which wasn't bad, until I stayed in bed until 11 and then mucked around on the computer (curse you, tumblr) until 1:30pm. But now commences my day of writing.

I have a minimum goal of five thousand words for today. I want to get ahead now because I'll be working more and longer shifts towards the end of the month (curse you, holiday season), and I don't want to freak out on November 20th and realise I'm 20k behind or something like that. I know if I average 2k words a day I will easily pass the 50k, but if I can do more, that would be ideal. And so commences my day of writing, as I said above.

Wish me luck!

I did two back-to-back #1k1hr sprints which brought me to a total of 2 649 words in two hours. Two more hours of writing and I should reach my goal. Big tip: Close out of the internet. Heck, disconnect your wifi on your laptop if it helps. It is so easy to 'just check Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/Website for a minute' and then turn that minute into several. The internet is distracting! If you need to research something, try to just leave a blank space or write what you need to look up in parentheses so you do not find yourself back on the internet. Then when the sprint or scene is over and written, you are free to do that research and fill in the blanks without having interrupted your flow.

Now I'm going to take a lunch break and continue writing later. My stomach is starting to really distract me, and I've just ended a chapter and a scene, which is the perfect place to take a break, don't you think?

Took a long break, perhaps longer than was necessary, but I did some other writing in the mean time. A future blog post, and much of this one.

End of day
I ended up breaking my no research rule and spending some time doing enough that I know the basics of what I'll need for when I write tomorrow. Sometimes research just has to happen. I decided to stop at the end of a scene because stopping mid-scene doesn't agree with me. There's no flow when I go back to write. This brought me to a total of 4, 444 for the day, which is a very fun number to end at, haha.

Here's hoping for another 2, 000 for tomorrow!

To all those participating, best of luck! And happy writing, whether or not you are doing NaNo this year! :)

31 Oct 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #2

Wishlist Wednesday is a blogger meme hosted at Pen to Paper where bloggers feature the books on their wishlists. You can join in on the hop over at Pen to Paper's blog by clicking here.

This week I'm wishing I had obtained this series a while ago, but alas, it has yet to grace my bookshelf with its presence:

Series Title: Maze Runner trilogy
Books in Series: The Kill Order (prequel), The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Yep, this week I'm wishing I had The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner. I have heard many great things about this series, and there have been so many times I've gone to the bookstore to get it, only to come home with different books. Each time I get home I beat myself up thinking 'Why? Why didn't I pick it up?' And then I remember: 'Oh, right. The store had the paperbacks of the first two novels and the hardcovers of the final book'. I'm big into my books in a series all being either paperback or hardcover. I really like matching covers, okay? It's killing me that my Shatter Me trilogy is going to be all messed up, but... that's something to get into later.

So basically I'm waiting on this series to all be out in paperback so it will all match. I might be able to get the hardcover of the prequel and be okay with it, but we'll see. Or maybe I'll use my bookstore discount and spend the extra cash on the hardcovers if I can get them sent to the store. Hmm... Either way, The Maze Runner Trilogy needs to find its way onto my shelf and then into my hands!!

29 Oct 2012

NaNoWriMo: The Preparation

This year I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

I tried to do this a few years ago when I was not as serious about writing as I am now, and failed. I do not remember how many words I managed to get done, but I was in high school and I think I just gave up part-way through.

That will not happen this time!

This time I am prepared. This time I am ready. This time I am anxious to begin.

There are a few things I think are necessary to have prepared before one begins something as big as NaNoWriMo. I mean, you are aiming to write fifty thousand words in a month. That is thirty days of writing at least two thousand words in order to achieve this. This might not be true for most people, but I know that for me, who is hoping to accomplish writing the 50k and finish most of a novel (because I really feel this one is going to be at least 70k - my last WIP's first draft reached over 80k), there are some things I need to have done before November 1st.

Number one is time. Let's face it. No one has time. School, work, family, and other responsibilities are big time-suckers. But we are all going to have to make some in order to get this done. Two thousand words a day can be done in two hours or less. I would suggest participating in #1k1hr sprints on Twitter (or doing them yourself if you are not a part of the Twitterverse). You aim to write one thousand words in an hour. And it's totally doable. If you keep writing for that entire hour, you can even hit two thousand if you have the scene you're writing plotted out. Which brings me to the second thing...

Number two is an outline. Or at least a solid idea of what you will be writing. I used to never write with an outline, but as I began to write my first WIP (working title: Dragon Legends), I found that an outline was very helpful. This time my outline is not as detailed as I would like it to be, but it's good enough that I know where the story is going and I know each scene I'll need to write. I'm sure mid-way through November I'll find myself re-outlining, but I have a start of something, and that's what is important. There's nothing worse than starting of NaNo without having any idea what you want to write. You write nothing the first day. Then the second. And the third. And by then you're already six thousand words behind. Have an outline or at least an idea of what you want to write. Hey - I know outlines don't work for everyone, but if they do, use one.

Number three is motivation. Motivation never comes when we need it, but if we're going to write 50k words in thirty days... well, is that not motivation enough? Again, this is where #1k1hr sprints are helpful. Click on the hashtag, find a fellow writer who's about to do one and hop in. Join them on the hour and write your 1k. Writing with someone really helps getting the motivation going because, for me at least, you cannot blow it off. You are not the only one participating in the 1k. It feels really crappy to end the hour by replying to someone's tweet saying "Congrats on the 1k you wrote. I didn't write anything." Now, life gets in the way sometimes, but don't be making excuses for yourself. That won't get you any closer to the 50k.

So far I am the only one of my writer friends (that I know of - I kind of decided to do this only a few days ago) who is participating in NaNo this year, so let me know in the comments or @reply me on Twitter if you are. I'd love to do some sprints with you all. There is more information on how to contact me on my Contact Me page up in the menu bar, but you can find me on Twitter @courtvents.

Also let me know some of the ways you are preparing for NaNo. Anyone take time off work to get some writing done? (I wish I could have, but I just started a new job and I kind of really want to keep this one for a while, so... Haha.)

Happy writing, everyone! And best of luck hitting that 50k!

28 Oct 2012

Worldwide Covers #1

I have been wanting to participate in a meme such as this one, because as great as the content inside of a book is, sometimes I just like to sit and stare at their gorgeous covers! It's time the covers get some attention (and let's face it, some of us do judge a book by its cover. So let's do that for a little bit here, shall we?).

Honestly, I don't think there is really anything particulary horrible about judging a book by its cover. A book's cover is its first impression upon us, as well as the title and possibly the author. But it's the cover that catches our attention most of the time, be it the face of the spine. It's all a part of marketing. The cover is supposed to capture your attention. Like a lure captures the attention of a fish. Then we read the blurb (follow the pretty shiny thing moving quickly through the water towards the boat or dock), and if that captivates us, we bite the hook. Fishing metaphor? Yay/nay?


This week, for my first WWC, I'll be looking at Legacy by Cayla Kluver.
I have chosen four covers. One from Australia, one from Germany, and two covers from Spain.
But first let's look at the American cover:

Not too shabby. I love the vine effect. A lot of people complain about girls in dresses being featured on YA book covers, but it works for Legacy, considering Alera (the main character) is a princess in a high fantasy. What else would she be wearing, exactly?

And now for the international covers I have chosen:

Here is the cover published by HarlequinAustralia. I love the text on the cover "An ancient blood fued. A love to destroy nations." Not sure how much I like the cover. It is pretty and I love looking at it, but I'm not sure if it really captures the story for me. If I were to look at this, my first impression would be 'fairy fantasy' or something along those lines. But I like it.

The German cover by Piper Publishing. This one's title is "Alera, Geliebter Feind", which of course focuses on Alera specifically. Geliebter Feind means 'beloved enemy', according to Google translate. Interesting title. Interesting cover. I love the font used for Aleria's name and the effect on it. The cover is a simple one, but I do get the fantasy feel in the text there.

Planeta Publishing based in Barcelona, Spain gives us Alera, A Princesa Herdeira, which I'm guessing means something like heiress princess? Maybe? Let's see what google translate says (sorry, I barely passed grade 12 Spanish and it's been a few years). Crown princess. I was close. This cover is so great to look at. Everything about her dress and the text says fantasy to me, and it so elegant. And then you look to the background and it's all dark and spooky. If I saw this in the book store, I would definitely pick it up just based on the cover.

And our second book cover from Spain:
This one is not my favourite of the four. The text for 'Legacy' is cool, but I think if I were to look at this, I would peg it as a contemporary. I can't see enough of (I'm guessing Narian?) the guy in the back's outfit to stick it to an era or 'other world' that would make me think it was fantasy. However it is intriguing enough. Her dress does not look all that 'royal' though, which doesn't really help. Either way, still a nice cover.

I wonder why there are two Spanish editions but with different titles? I suppose I could look into it more, but I'm not that curious. Both companies are based in Spain (Legacy having been published by Roca Editorial, based also in Barcelona). Interesting though.

What are your thoughts on the covers? Do you have a favourite/least favourite?
And are there any covers in the future you'd like me to look at?
Let me know in the comments :) I'd love to discuss with you.

Also, see my review of Allegiance, the sequel to Legacy and the second in the trilogy by clicking here.

26 Oct 2012

Review: Eve and Adam

Title: Eve & Adam
Authors: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Rating: 4/5
And girl created boy…
In the beginning, there was an apple—

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die—not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect... won’t he?


I expected to enjoy this book when I picked it up; it had been on my to-read list the second I heard of it a few months ago. So when I picked it up in early October, I added it to my 'immediately to-read' pile. And if you haven't guessed from my rating, I was not disappointed.

Eve & Adam was everything I expected it to be. The story was intriguing, unique, had great characters I could not help but love, and kept me interested until the last page. I think the only reason I did not give this book a full 5/5 rating is because I was left confused and slightly disappointed on a few things. I will get to those in a minute, but first I want to talk about what drew me in to this book and what kept me there.

I've been  looking to get more and more into sci-fi, so this book was a great help. It included the right amount of sci-fi for a non-sci-fi reader to enjoy without being overwhelming, but I feel it would be still interesting enough for a heavy-sci-fi reader to also enjoy.

The whole concept of this book was interesting. I don't want to give too much away, but basically Eve is given a project by her mother in which she is told to create a simulation person. Eve chooses to create her perfect male, whom she names Adam as a play on the whole 'Eve and Adam' thing. And as you learn later in the book, things happen and the technology is taken to a whole new level. It's a pretty amazing concept, to be able to create another human, but as Eve learns, it's not always the most ideal thing.

The bits of mystery added in (who really is the 'bad guy' here?) was fun. It had me constantly second-guessing myself. Was it person one? Then we find out a bit more about other people and was it person two? Or was it one? Is this idea just here to throw me off the trail of person one? I really enjoyed that.

I felt like this book could have been longer or had a sequel. Everything was solved so quickly, which was great, and maybe it's just me because I'm a huge lover of series, but the fact that everything was solved so quickly also made me feel like there was something missing. Everything felt so neatly tied up, but at the same time, it didn't. I'm not sure how to explain that any better. After you've read it, discuss with me in the comments. I'd like to see your take on it.

It never once mentioned what year this book takes place, does it? It's obvious from the world the authors drew up that it was not written to be taking place in 2012, nor even a few years from now. But it definitely doesn't sound like it takes place over one hundred years -- or even fifty -- from now. There was still talk about iPods, although there were hints in the text that that sort of technology was considered 'old'. How old, though, I am not sure. Old as in how walkmans to us now in 2012 are old? Or old as in the first generation of iPods are old to us now? This never felt clear to me, and unless I really missed it, I would have liked a year mentioned somewhere in the book. This did not take away from the story, but looking back it's something I think would have helped people like me who wondered.

I think that's all I have to say on this one. Definitely something I'd recommend, especially to a non- sci-fi reader looking to get into sci-fi (or not). It was a really interesting novel, even though I do with the concept was taken further. But who knows? I feel like there is room for a sequel, but we'll see.

Let me know what you guys think of this one in the comments after you've read it -- whether or not you agree with me.

24 Oct 2012

Reached Book Trailer

I absolutely love book trailers. They are not always perfect, but they are a fantastic way to get readers even more excited about the book, and an easy way to link people to an amazing series.

For those of you like me who are eagerly anticipating the final installment of the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie, Entertainment Weekly has put up the trailer. To view it, click here.

The hardcover will be 512 pages, while the hardcover of Crossed and Matched are 367 and 369 pages, respectively. That's a big difference, and I cannot wait to read this epic conclusion!

Reached hits bookstores this November on the 13th. Only twenty more days!!
Will you be picking up a copy?

Waiting on Wednesday #9

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly blogger meme started by Breaking the Spine. If you want to check this meme out at its origin and particpate, just click here.
Every time I read the blurb for this one, I squeal a little and bounce a lot. I CANNOT WAIT.

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium trilogy

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. 
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

I'm not sure what part of this book I am more excited for: the anticipated conclusion or the fact that it's told from Lena AND Hana's point of view. Also, the cliffhanger we were left with in Pandemonium (read my full review of Pandemonium here) was absolutely brilliant.

I can't believe we still have to wait until March 5th, 2013 for this one. Thankfully there are other books to read in between to keep our minds off the wait, huh?

So what books are you guys waiting on this week? Link me in the comments!

21 Oct 2012

Book Haul #2

My second book haul video!

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver (book #3 in her Legacy trilogy)
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa (book #5 in The Iron Fey series)

and a special mention of Looking For Alaska by John Green

Reviews to come of The Lost Prince and The Forsaken soon, for sure (and possible Looking For Alaska and Sacrifice).

17 Oct 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #8

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly blogger meme started by Breaking the Spine. If you want to check this meme out at its origin and particpate, just click here.

I have seen arcs of this lovely floating around the bloggersphere, and it is the book I am anxiously waiting on this week.

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend

June and Day make their way to Las Vegas where they join the rebel Patriot group and become involved in an assassination plot against the Elector in hopes of saving the Republic.
The blurb is small for this one, but I could not be more excited! Legend is one of my favourites that I have read this year, so I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Fun Fact: It was originally titled 'Patriot'

Prodigy is due out on January 29th, 2013. I will certainly be visiting the bookstore that day to get my hands on a copy.

16 Oct 2012

CourtTalks: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Caution: The following video review contains spoilers. For a non-spoiler review of Tiger Lily, please see this post.

14 Oct 2012

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: Tiger Lily
Series: n/a
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Rating: 5/5
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.
 Firstly, the cover of this book is so gorgeous. At first I thought it was a flower, so it took me a while to realise it is actually Tinkerbell. I guess I'm not very observant, haha.

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the perspective from which it was told. It was not written from the main character's perspective, be it first or third person. No. It was told from a secondary character's perspective. An observer. Tinker Bell. I found this to be really unique and interesting, because it enabled the author to show us the goings on of other characters when Tiger Lily was not around, but still bring in some mystery as to the other characters' intentions. Because even though Tinker Bell could read emotions and sometimes thoughts, she was no psychic who could tell exactly what was going to happen. Plus we got a look into Tinker Bell's mind and I loved the little tidbits she gave us about her family and her life and the fairies. I just found this all to be very interesting. I'd definitely read a novella starring this Tinker Bell

Of course I could not help comparing this telling to the Peter Pan disney movie I grew up with, so a few other elements that made me smile were because of that, which I'm sure Jodi Lynn Anderson included on purpose. What that includes I will not spoil, because I think it will be more fun for anyone who has not yet read it to find those little easter eggs on their own.

That being said, I loved the contrast of Tiger Lily compared to the disney movie. There was a lot more depth to this story, and it allowed for a different telling than we are used to. There are versions of this tale following Peter Pan, and there are versions following Wendy, and so if my quick google research is correct, this is the only telling that follows Tiger Lily -- a character I definitely over-looked when watching the movie.

Of course, comparing this book to the movie in a way bothered me because (and this is entirely my fault here) I could not help but picture the characters as Disney portrayed them. I saw Smee, for example, as the short and chubby old pirate as he was portrayed in the movie. Luckily I did not picture the Lost Boys as being dressed in animal fur, haha. But again, this has nothing to do with how the book was written. I have a hard time picturing characters as they are written unless I really focus on them or am reminded of their looks constantly.

I also really enjoyed the character of Tiger Lily. I don't really remember my thoughts of her in the Disney film (I have not seen the movie in a while and all I remember is when she nearly drowned and Pan had to save her and how brave she was then -- perhaps that inspired this version of her), but I thoroughly enjoyed her character. She is very strong and very closed off and I was intrigued by her immediately. I've read some reviews where people called her emotionless, but I don't think they really understood Tiger Lily. She was closed off for a reason; she just did not show her emotions. That is the type of person she is. I would have loved to see more inside of her head than what Tink could show us, but that little air of mystery was nice.

I was hoping for a concrete explanation as to the why's and hows of ageing and time in Neverland. That was something I had some trouble wrapping my head around, since it was apparent that fairy dust and magic were not something that existed in this Neverland. Perhaps I missed something, or maybe it's just the island that has some sort of magic? I'm still a bit confused over this, but it's fantasy so I can just accept it the way it is.

Also I love how Wendy was portrayed. I don't remember if I liked her much in the Disney film, so it was fun to be on Tiger Lily's side.

Overall this book was great. I really enjoyed the story Jodi Lynn Anderson told. I absolutely adore fairy tale retellings. I think they are really fun and interesting. And of course I definitely recommend this book. It's also making me want to go watch my copy of Peter Pan (except I have the VHS and we haven't had a VHS player in the house for years... This is a dilemma I will have to overcome somehow)!

What are your thoughts on fairy tale retellings? Have you read Tiger Lily yet? I'd love to hear your opinions on this book, whether you agree with me or not.

Also, look out for my spoiler-filled review in video format which I will be posting hopefully by October 16th. I will go more in-depth into my opinions and reactions. I have a few particular scenes I need to talk about (there was one in particular where I just started ranting at the book and rolling my eyes), so keep an eye out for that. I will be posting a follow-up review later on once that is up for viewing, and if you have read this book then I invite you to discuss with me there :)

12 Oct 2012

Book Haul #1

My first book haul video!


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Siezure by Kathy Reichs
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

With a special appearance by my current read, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

10 Oct 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #1

Wishlist Wednesday is a blogger meme hosted at Pen to Paper where bloggers feature the books on their wishlists. You can join in on the hop over at Pen to Paper's blog by clicking here.

This is my first Wishlist Wednesday and I am very excited to be participating. I know I'm posting this late, so I apologise for that, but better late than never, right? Moving on...
I will most likely be alternating between this and Waiting On Wednesday.

One book that has been on my to-read list for a while is Eve by Anna Carey:

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Hopefully I can pick this one (and the sequel) up soon. The third book in the Eve series is due out at the beginning of April, 2013.

If you've already read this book, let me know what you think! But no spoilers, please!

9 Oct 2012

CourtTalks: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Above is a follow up review to this post, my mini review of Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. Caution: spoilers!

8 Oct 2012

Review: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

Title: The Waiting Sky
Series: n/a
Author: Lara Zielin
Rating: 4.5/5

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better.

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most?

The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.

Contemporary novels never used to be my thing, but I decided it was time for me to step back and give them another try, especially since my reader friends keep recommending them to me. The Waiting Sky is one book I came across somewhere on goodreads a month before it came out, and I decided this is it. This is the book I'm going to start with on my road to contemporary YA fiction.

It was a great place to start for me. I absolutely loved this book.

This book was a quick read for me. I finished it in two sittings, mostly because I forced myself to get some sleep so I would not be dead tired at work the following morning. And I certainly did not expect me to have to force myself to put this book down! Especially considering how for the past little while I've been struggling through a certain other book; I feared it might be the same this time.

The characters in this book were great. They felt like real people and the secondary characters weren't just there. They all had unique personalities that I was able to latch onto quickly, and even though we saw them through the main character's eyes, they were written well enough that I was able to form my own opinions about each character without being swayed by the main character's bias.

The last contemporary book I read did not feel real to me at all. The characters felt so fake and the world that was set up was too perfect; even though the ending in that one was tragic, I didn't feel anything for those characters, but the way Lara Zielin wrote her characters and made the plot realistic was really something I appreciated. Nothing felt formulaic or fake. The characters were real, and what was happening to them was real.

Even though the book is a lot shorter than what I've been reading lately, Zielin was able to give us background stories to a few characters that made sense without taking away from the plot. Everything written in this book was important for us to know; there was never a moment where I was like 'okay, I need to skip this paragraph because I don't care to know this'. The sub-plots were intruiging as well; the world did not just revolve around the main character as I've seen happen in a few first person YA novels, and not just the contemporaries I've read.

The voice of the main character, Jane, was evident right from the beginning, and the way that Lara Zielin wrote her was amazing. We were inside of  Jane's head -- everything was told from her perspective -- but we were able to see the flaws in her character without Jane  pointing them out. Everything about Jane's personality was evident through Zielin's writing without taking away from Jane's voice.

Zielin's writing really had me hooked. I'll try not to give anything away here, so I'll just say that I really was not sure how this book was going to end. I feared for certain characters and I wasn't sure what was going to happen to them until it did happen; Zielin's writing kept me guessing almost up until the very last page.

Since the premise of the tornado chases is what first drew my attention to this book, I need to talk about that really quickly. I know next to nothing about tornados but I could tell this book was well-researched. I understood the scientific stuff that was going on without feeling overwhelmed or confused or like it was dumbed-down for people like me (who were terrible at anything science-related in school) to understand. The chase scenes themselves were so well-written; I felt like I was there in the car with them. Another kudos to Zielin's writing.

What I enjoyed the most about this book would be the plot itself. We were given a look into a teen with real life troubles and saw just how they affected her and how she overcame them. I felt for Jane and for the people in her life and I think this book really taught something, whether it meant to or not. For anyone going through problems in their lives, be it something similar to the problems Jane was having with her family, or be it something entirely different, Lara Zielin taught a very clear lesson through the pages of this novel. And never once did it feel forced.

I feel like I have more to say, but I think  I've rambled on enough without giving too much away. I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether you're like me and aren't all that into contemporary or you are. This book is a great, quick read that will truly erm, no pun intended (okay, maybe it is), suck you in. (Get it? Because tornados...?)

And on that note, go read this book!