Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and Welcome NaNoWriMo!

     Happy Halloween readers! I've added a picture of my own bookish pumpkin and shirt (deprived from the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire) to celebrate!

     Halloween is a great time to dress up in ridiculous book or otherwise themed costumes and share a scare with friends, but it's also the last day to prepare for National Novel Writing Month: a great program where participants write a 50, 000 word novel in a month.

     I've recently discovered that many book bloggers are joining Rae(informally) and myself (formally) in participating in this wonderful event! Michaelbrent Collings was kind enough to agree to guest blog with us today to talk about clarity in writing. 

"Clarity for Fun and Profit"
  By Michaelbrent Collings
Be clear.
This is something that is both very easy sounding and extremely difficult.  It is especially difficult in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, as well as other genre writing like horror or supernatural works.  People read fiction to be transported to another place, to give them some experience that they would not otherwise have. The reader of a work of fiction must always and automatically “suspend disbelief” whenever reading: he must put away what he knows to be “true” in order to immerse himself in the “reality” of the story.  This is why details can sink or save a book: too many things that don’t ring true, and the reader’s ability to suspend disbelief is undermined.  The reader stops being an active participant in the book’s adventures, and turns instead into a critic, a scientist, an observer looking for what is wrong rather than enjoying what may be right.
And the idea of “suspension of disbelief” is nowhere more crucial than when writing fantasy, science fiction, or genre works.  In addition to the first layer of suspension (the fact that the reader is not really participating in the fictional adventures of the book’s protagonists and antagonists), there is another layer of disbelief that must be dealt with: the question of magic.  Of alien technologies.  Of ghosts and specters.  These “make believe” aspects of genre writing present a special problem, as they inherently inhibit the reader’s ability to put aside the “real” in favor of the “read.” 
The best way to deal with this problem is a facet of the critical characteristic of clarity.  The best genre work always takes place in fully realized “worlds” with clear, easily-understood (or at least fairly easily-understood) “rules.”  The presence of such rules can mean a fantasy windfall.  Their absence can mean disaster.
One example of this is the blockbuster hit The Sixth Sense, one of the top-grossing suspense/supernatural thriller movies of all time.  The rules are set up very early on in the movie: the movie’s young protagonist can see ghosts.  The ghosts do not know they are dead.  He can help them “move on” by finding out what unfinished business it is that they are remaining to deal with.  These simple rules set the scene for both an engaging ghost story and one of the greatest surprise endings in modern cinematic history.  And the surprise is complete and utterly earned because it follows the rules.
Another example of literary rule-making is in The Lord of the Rings saga.  There, Tolkien draws upon a much wider palette in order to paint an epic portrait of an entire world at war.  Unlike The Sixth Sense, which is an intimate, almost claustrophobic movie, The Lord of the Rings follows dozens of characters throughout the various landscapes of Middle Earth.  The magic use is prolific and varied.  But still, there are rules, and they are scrupulously adhered to.  Elves have a natural inclination toward and protective sense over all things of nature.  Dwarves prefer to be underground.  Gandalf the Gray is quite a different person than Gandalf the White.  Each has set characteristics, set attributes, and these are as unchanging as the DNA of any real human being.
A final example (if I may) can be found in my own work.  One of my books is called Billy: Messenger of Powers.  It's a young adult fantasy about a boy who finds himself embroiled in a magical war between two groups: the Dawnwalkers, who want to protect and serve humanity; and the Darksiders, whose goal is nothing less than world domination.  As with The Sixth Sense and The Lord of the Rings, clarity is key.  Billy (the hero) is drawn into a world of magic and wonder.  But the wizards and witches he meets can't just run around "doing spells" willy-nilly: there are rules, and those rules must be laid out with enough clarity that the reader not only understands the world of the story, but believes in it. 
Simply put, clarity is key in all fiction, but critical in sci-fi, fantasy, and other genre work..  A muddled magic system, an alien technology that is capable of some things one moment then incapable the next, these can be the genesis of confusion in the reader…and signal the death knell for an otherwise viable series.

Michaelbrent is a bestselling novelist whose books RUN and Billy: Messenger of Powers have been bestsellers. He is also a produced screenwriter and member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Horror Writers of America. His website is, and you can follow him on Facebook at or on twitter @mbcollings.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Vlog (10/29)

Hey guys! It's Caressa; here to sum up the week and talk about dust jackets.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Finds (10/28)

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be reading. What great finds did you discover this week?

I had the luck to keep my numbers down this week while still highlighting some books I REALLY want to read; I hope you enjoy! Is your TBR list as large as my own? If so, how are you managing it? -Caressa

My Finds:


Soul Screamers : My Soul to Lose•My Soul to Take•My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers 0.5-2) by Rachel Vincent
Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flashback (Review): Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Sorry the review's up late today, everyone; with NaNoWriMo creeping up on me and teachers scrambling before grades are due, life's been a little hectic. On Sunday, I'll try to post a review for Ballad to create just a little more buzz for the giveaway. Enjoy guys. ;)
     Goodreads summery:
"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?"
     Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins has been sitting on my TBR list for a long, long while.  As an avid nerdfighter, I was aware John Green and all of my other esteemed authors and friends absolutely loved this book. Still, I held off reading it for a long time; finally, I picked up my copy and started.
     After a page and a half, I fell in love with the writing style and story. The characters were funny, witty, and real. I loved the Beatles and otherwise very realistic (in my life, at least) references. Anna was a brilliant narrator, perfectly illustrating friendship, loyalties, awkwardness, and her own fun quirks and, forgive me, but I never understood the obsession with the English male ideal until I read this novel. St. Clair was fun, quirky, real, and hurting.
     Admittedly, the plot summaries also deterred me from reading this book- A girl from Atlanta? In Paris? Falling in love with an English boy? -but the book was so in depth beyond the romance, that it earned a place as my first and foremost favorite book.
     If you haven't read this novel for yourself yet, you're probably, as I was, intending not to read it (and leaving your expectations low); don't be afraid to go buy or check out a copy of this novel! If you don't believe the reviews yet, read it for yourself and let us know what you think!

I'm also really excited about the companion novel: Lola and the Boy Next Door- although I can't possibly imagine how it can compare to the first!
Goodreads summery:
"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

"When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

Did you enjoy Anna and the French Kiss? Are you hoping to read or enjoying Lola and the Boy Next Door? Let us know!! -Caressa

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (10-26)

IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. I am glad to share with you about my books this week. It is hard to believe how many books can come in and out of your house in a week. thank you for stopping by. -Rae

The book I read for school.

The books my father and I have found on sale or ready to be thrown away.



Books I have bought with my nook.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Tuesday Review (10-25)

Rating:5.62/10 islands
I had to read this book for school. Before we read it I had heard that is was horrible or that it was great. So I finally I got to decide. There were things I enjoyed in the book and things that I didn’t enjoy so much.
When a plane crashes on an island young British school boys are left to take care of themselves. There are no adults and at first this seems like a paradise to the children. Then they start to realize that someone needs to organize them into a society till they are rescued. Ralph the main character is elected to be chief of the island. Jack thinks he deserves to be chief because he thinks he could be a hunter and feed everyone. Through the whole novel Jack and Ralph fight to be leader. Soon enough they split into two groups and these innocent British school boys turn into blood thirsty savages.
First I want to say what I liked about this novel. When I am reading a novel I usually don’t pay a lot of attention to how the dialogue is written. Most the time, the dialogue is plain and things seem to repeat themselves. NOT IN THIS NOVEL. This novel is filled with words made up by the children. For example they call the little ones littluns and the big ones biguns. Also the symbolism is amazing; all the names and things they find on the island symbolize something deeper in the world. In addition the boys turn into savages without parents and rules, and you see the savage inside a human.
I did not like the intensity of this novel. It was too much for me to imagine all this happening to these boys. The dialogue was great but most the time it was difficult to find out who was saying it. Even when some of the boys are hallucinating it is hard to understand what is going on.
Overall, I do not recommend this book. If you are searching for a book about young savage boys then definitely pick it up and I hope you enjoy it, but average readers would not enjoy this novel.                          
Thank you for stopping by and reading this review. If you have a comment pertaining to this review just leave it in the comments box at the bottom and I will reply back as soon as possible. Thank you so much!!! -Rae

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musing Mondays (10-24)

This week’s musing asks…

Do you listen to audiobooks?
My answer: Actually, nothing is better than the feeling of a book in my hands and the crisp pages in my fingers. Sorry! I do not listen to audiobooks and could never picture myself doing it.

Thank you so much for looking at this monday muse.-Rae

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by Kathy @ I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Rhianna @ The Diary of a Bookworm.

A giveaway hop is a huge collections of blogs getting together during a certain amount of time and linking their giveaways together. That list of links can be found HERE.

Sooo... What is Bookish giving away?

A copy of Maggie Stiefvater's Ballad.
Summery from

"James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween-the day of the dead-draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul."

A nice Halloween-y read, right? To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter form below: ;)

UPDATE: Sorry about all the confusion everyone. I've decided to use Rafflecopter to make the giveaway easier to access. A video on how to use Rafflecopter can be found HERE; if you entered before I changed the input form, I have entered you into the contest in good will. Again, guys, sorry about that, Rafflecopter will be handling our giveaways from now on. ;)
NOTE: If you cannot find your entry under the list of previous entries, feel free to add yourself. I really, super apologize for all the confusion.

In My Mailbox (10-22)

IMM is a book meme brought to us from The Story Siren. It's a really great activity to share the books we won't get to review on the blog and point out some really good titles.
This week I share some titles,  sum up the week, and describe the future schedule for the blog. Sorry for the length! Thanks so much for dropping by visitors!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Finds (10/21)

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be reading. What great finds did you discover this week?

Sorry for the delay today everyone; I have to be out of town this weekend and had to get everything ready for the weekend ahead of time! Thanks so much for stopping by, visitors! -Caressa

My Finds:



Replay by Keira Lea
Willow by Julia Hoban
The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa
Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
 Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
 Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer
 And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole

Thursday, October 20, 2011

*Review* Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Reviewed by: Caressa
A 4.99.../5 wishes
Goodreads summery:
"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

"In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

"And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

"Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

"When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"

     If I had to describe Daughter of Smoke and Bone (by Laini Taylor) in one word, it would be: WOW.
     I have been dying to read this book for months after seeing it on one of my favorite blogs. Blue hair, demons, artist-- I couldn't resist! When I headed over to the bookstore (for the first time since starting a book blog, I could hardly contain my excitement), I immediately picked this up and added it to the books I was already holding.
    Before even talking about the content of this book, I have to talk about its aesthetic. The cover for this novel is fantastic. Under the dust-jacket the binding is simple: vibrant, shiny blue lettering makes out the information on the spine. Flipping through the book after reading it, the short stand alone quotes dividing the book are beautiful, flawless and irresistible. And the names! I loved every single one of the names in this book. Karou, Akiva, Brimstone, and so many others are so original and flawless. I walked around the school flaunting quotes, names, plots, and tidbits to my book nerdy friends all day, unable to resist.
     The plot of this novel was original, a perfect, beautiful way to follow a seemingly never-ending strand of Harry Potter reads. Without giving too much away (because you SHOULD walk into this book with no more knowledge than Karou), the ending caught me off guard. Oh! Cliffhanger, galore. But I didn't walk away with an itching in my fingers to get and read the next book as soon as possible, merely a satisfied feeling I didn't want to leave Prague. I loved, loved, LOVED this novel, particularly the beautiful way it's opened and the real way characters related and communicated with each other. If you have ever enjoyed YA, this is the book for you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WWW Wednesday (10-19)

To play along just answer the following three (3) questions… 
• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

My answers:

I am currently reading: What Came After by Sam Winston 
Sam Winston the author of What Came After (duh) sent us an eCopy of this book for review; I am very excited to review this book.

I just finished: two way street by Lauren Barnholdt.


What am I reading next?: The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate.
A review of this book was also requested by the author. :)

Please leave comments below. Thank you for stopping by.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Review (10-18)

Rating:3.62/10 dorms 
    I picked up two way street because I love reading romance. Sadly I did not enjoy this romance.
   Jordan and Courtney are an unusual but happy high school couple. Everything seems to be going great until Jordan dumps Courtney for a girl he met over the internet. Jordan and Courtney have already planned their trip together and Courtney thinks she can tough it out for a couple days so she doesn't have to ask her parents to drive her. She rides unhappily all the way there but soon enough she realizes the real reason Jordan broke up with her, but can she handle the truth?
     Even though I did not like this novel the characters were pretty awesome. B.J. is so funny and I grew to like his character very much even though he is crazy. Overall, the situations between the characters are very realistic.
     The writing is sloppy and needs work but I was never confused about what was happening in the novel. The novel was very predictable and I am very diappointed in this romance. I would not recommend this novel to advanced readers. I would recommend this to teenagers beginning to read romance novels.
If you would like to share something pertaining to this post just leave it in the comments box, or you can leave a link to your blog and I’d gladly check it out and leave a comment. Thanks! -Rae

Teaser Tuesday (10-18)

     Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teasers:

I didn't enjoy this book. You will see my review in weeks to come. ."'I think I might be in love with her,'" I tell B.J. in unstructured on Thursday morning.-Rae

Monday, October 17, 2011

Musing Monday (10/17)

This week’s musing asks…

Do you judge a book by it's cover?

Awesome Question; Thanks for stopping by guys.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday posts, ;) (5-15)

Hey guys, it's time for the summery of the week and a musing from Caressa.If you have any ideas for a title or image for this bi-weekly meme leave it in comments! Thanks so much!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Finds (10-14)

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be reading. What great finds did you discover this week?

Welcome to Friday Finds! I hope you enjoy my finds this week. -Rae
My Finds: