Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns and AWESOMESAUCE.

I'm not really sure how to write this review. Because I'm not the best reviewer in the world. And I know without starting my words won't do Rae's words justice. Like, at all. But hopefully that alone gives you some idea about the amazingness of The Girl of Fire and Thorns in itself.

From the Amazon description for the UK version: 
Princess Elisa is a disappointment to her people. Although she bears the Godstone in her navel, a sign that she has been chosen for an act of heroism, they see her as lazy and useless and fat. 

On her sixteenth birthday, she is bartered off in royal marriage and shipped away to a kingdom in turmoil, where her much-older and extremely beautiful husband refuses to acknowledge her as his wife. Devastated, Elisa decides to take charge of her fate and learn what it means to bear the Godstone. As an invading army threatens to destroy her new home, and everyone at court maneuvers to take advantage of the young princess, Elisa becomes convinced that, not only is her own life in danger, the whole world needs saving. But how can a young girl who has never ridden horseback, never played the game of politics, and never attained the love of a man save the world? Elisa can't be sure, but she must try to uncover the Godstone's secret history before the enemy steals the destiny nestled in her core.

I actually had a kind of cool advantage with this book. Even more so than having snagged an ARC. In May of 2010, at WisCon, I got to hear Rae read the first chapter. It was her first ever reading (though you'd never have known!) and from her voice, I picked up the tone of the story. (I mean, it shines through loud and clear when you read it anyway, but still . . . ) So while I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I got to hear Rae's voice in my head. Which, yes, could be kind of weird--except I love Rae so much that it was SPLENDID! The pacing between the words. The pronunciations. The . . . everything.

Rae Carson was in. my. head.

And I loved it.

(PS Rae if you're reading this, I hope I'm not creeping you out too much . . . )

The book is full of beautiful language, which moves the story forward at a pace quick enough to have you flipping pages at paper cut-inducing rates, but slow enough to let you really take it all in. The action is nonstop. Character growth is evident on almost every single page, and it's all interspersed with conflict on a both fluid AND jarring levels. (Trust me, fluid and jarring do too go together here. You'll see.)

So then, we're moving along at this already fabulous pace . . . and KA-POW. The end of Part I reaches out and sucker punches you. Trust me. Like the book even needed to get more exciting. But it does. By, like, a zillion percent.

My eyes looked like this : O.O

I can't say much more about that without giving anything away, but dayum.

I think I've said before, I'm not a huge setting description kind of person. But The Girl of Fire and Thorns converted me. Elisa travels all over the place. Sometimes willingly, others not. But there's not a step she takes in which I couldn't picture her location with complete precision. And I wanted more. Rae's words weave up and around you until you feel your feet taking Elisa's steps. Your eyes taking in Elisa's sights. I'm not sure I've ever read anything that's pulled me in this way. (Oh, and while we're on the topic of Elisa--you don't need to look any further for a strong female MC. She's brave and smart and just all around spectacular.)

Another thing I don't do much of, is read a book with the actual craft of writing in mind. I mean, I could do it--but really, I just like to get lost in books. And I did get lost in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. But it's one of those books that sticks with you. For days. And at some point during one of those afterdays, I realized that as a writer I could learn a LOT from Rae's craft. You'll see, when you read the story, that every single thing in The Girl of Fire and Thorns has a specific place and purpose. Not that you'll notice while reading, because the writing's so smooth . . . And the subplots. Oh, the subplots. They're threaded together so seamlessly you almost forget they're there. Almost. But afterward? You'll realize that each and every one of those things builds and builds and builds into something much BIGGER, with way more relevance than you'd ever expect.

And to that, I say: BOO-YAH. Well played, Rae Carson.

Well played.

You can WIN an ARC of The Girl of Fire and Thorns HERE.

Visit Rae's website HERE.

And Rae's on twitter, too :-) @raecarson

OH! And you should pre-order Rae's book HERE. or HERE.

Peace out, home slices.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Somethings are worth giving up on. Others are not.

Truth: I've had a pear-shaped few weeks.

Truth: I haven't been able to write. Like, at all.

Truth: It's not that I haven't tried. But I open my WIP and just stare at it. My mind hasn't been in the game. I end up typing a few words and then cutting them. And then cutting entire scenes, and my word count has just been . . . plummeting.

Truth: I've had a few thoughts about stepping out of the writing world.

Big Truth: It was tempting.

BIGGER TRUTH: Further thought about quitting made me miserable.

See, the thing is, things weren't pear-shaped because of my words--it had nothing to do with those. But I kept thinking I needed to simplify my life. And cutting out the writing would definitely give me more time to do so. But my world without writing?

I'd miss it like I'd miss a limb.

I'd miss it every time I read a book. The way I miss dancing every time I see a performance. The way I miss college when I'm back together with my friends.

Except way, way more.

Writing is a part of me. It's who I am. And today. This week. This month. NOW. I am getting back to it.

Who's with me?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Funny: The History of Rap 2

Yeah, okay. It's Friday. It's the end of a lo-ho-hong week. And you deserve a laugh.

So, I bring you Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, with The History of Rap 2.

And, in case you haven't seen it--here's the original. It's my fave. Seriously, I don't know how they'll ever top it.
(Fast forward to the 1 minute mark . . . )

PS Want some more laughsies? CLICK HERE

Monday, July 18, 2011

"One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain."

I love me some Bob Marley.

But I also think music can TOTALLY bring on the pain.

Like in breakups. You have "your" songs--and just the opening notes of one can firework into an explosion of pain in your stomach. So you avoid them, to avoid the pain. OR if you're like me, you listen to them over and over and over until they don't hurt anymore. (Seriously, that's what I used to do. Okay, and maybe it's cray-cray, but dude. I have fun taste in music. I don't want good songs ruined for me!)

Or when my Nana passed away. My sisters and I sat in the car and blasted music that had the tears flowing even harder. It helped. A lot.

Though, really, I'm digressing. My point today is not to disagree with Bob. I just really like that quote. Plus, he's right, too. Music can bring on all the JOY in the world.

When you're in love.

When you're getting ready for a girls' night out. (Like I did over the weekend and, omg, that's a post for a later day, let me tell you . . . )

When you're on a road trip.

When you're sitting on the beach drinking pina coladas, or margaritas, or whatevs . . .

Or, yanno, when you're WRITING. Or plotting. Or whatever. My WIP playlists have at least 60 songs on them. Most of the time more.

In case you can't tell, I like music. I'm not a diehard fan for any particular band or anything, but still. Tunes play a big part in my life. And so does writing. And while I don't talk much about the specifics of my WIPs these days, I thought today I'd share two of the theme songs for my current one.

Okay, and honestly, the version of ET that goes with my WIP is the one sans Kanye. (There is no alien probing in my WIP, promise.)

Also, my playlist is NOT comprised of all pop hits. But these are the two that fit them the most overall.

Since I don't really talk about what I'm writing here, I thought maybe each week I'd share some music that speaks to it instead. Or maybe just music I'm feeling at the moment. Deal? Deal.

What about you guys? Do you have WIP theme songs? Playlists? 
Are they epic in length like mine? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

EPIC Signed ARC Giveaway

Every time I think about this giveaway, I get that Pitbull song stuck in my head. You know the one . . .

I know you want me*. 
You know I want cha.

*Clearly, the "me" in this situation isn't ME me, but the ARCs. They're singing to you, babies. SINGING.

ARC: The Name of the Star (SIGNED by Maureen Johnson)
Lola and the Boy Next Door (by Stephanie Perkins)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (SIGNED by Laini Taylor)
Every You, Every Me (SIGNED by David Levithan)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (By Rae Carson)

And now, are you singing for them too???

(If, by some weird chance, you haven't heard of one of these, click on the title for its Goodreads description.) 

See, here's the thing: I know how badly some of you wanted to be at ALA this year. So I made it my goal to nab some of the absolute best ARCs available, and then spread the joy with you. And this, my friends, is just the beginning!

Watch for my reviews of these books in the coming weeks--starting with Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns. (I just finished it, and ZOMGWTFBBQ* it's amazing.)

The deal is this . . .

The contest
  • is open internationally
  • is easy to enter 
    • all you have to do is leave your name / email / location / book choice (in the form)
  • has lots of ways to earn extra entries (see the form)
  • closes August 5th


*For the record, I've never used the expression zomgwtfbbq in my life. That's how good Rae's book is.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ALA: A Post in Pictures

Okay, so, yet again ALA was a phenomenal time. I swear it gets better and better every year.

So, here's what went down in New Orleans:

I ate my FIRST EVER beignet. Holy delicious.

Seriously, are you drooling yet?

I got to hang with some of my favorite writing friends!
Cristin Terrill, Alexandra Shostack, PJ Hoover,
Jessica Lee Anderson, & Carolina Valdez Miller
And Shannon Messenger
And Tere Kirkland, whose NOLA knowledge was invaluable!
I also got to meet some AWESOME authors!
Here, with Franny Billingsly, who wrote Chime, which I can NOT wait to read.
With Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons and
the recently released Original Sin!
With JAY ASHER! I heart his books. A lot.

With the HI-larious Jonathan Auxier, author of
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
With Kimberley Griffiths Little
Author of many books including recently released
The Healing Spell
With Elana Johnson (Possession), Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty),
Jessi Kirby (Moonglass), and Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back
I mean... Who could resist?
And then we ate some more beignets. 

The End.

Sike, not really. 

It's not the end. Not yet. 

Because first I have to give you a little heads up (twss) to visit again on Thursday for a giveaway in which I share some of my ALA spoils with you. 


That you want. 

Like, a lot. 



Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Fabulous Announcement

Dudes, the good news just keeps on flowing! Seriously, I have the most talented, amazing, fabulous writing friends EVAR.

Today's good news?

Miss Karen Amanda Hooper has a book deal!

With Karen back in October 2010 <3

Yup, you read that right. A BOOK DEAL.

As in, her awesome book, Tangled Tides, is 





*happy dances*

*tosses sparkle confetti*

*jumps up and down*

So go now! Head over to her blog to learn all the deets AND tell her how marvelous she is :)

OH. And when you're done over there, get to the twitter and wish @cristinterrill a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Fabulous Announcement!

Soooooooo I told you guys I'd have some fun things to tell you about in the next few weeks. And here is FABULOUS THING NUMBER ONE!

Ricki Schultz--you guys know her right??? If not, omg, get your butt to her blog and meet her!

Well, Ricki SIGNED WITH AN AGENT!! A fabulous, fabulous agent! Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Pre-agent days with the Rickster <3 
I've read the manuscript that Ricki snagged Barbara with--and let me tell you, after the first fifteen pages I knew this manuscript would be THE manuscript. Ricki's an amazing writer--and a great friend.

So, seriously. Go congratulate her--because she deserves it :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

YOU are all my favorite fireworks!

Happy 4th of July, loves!

Make sure you check back frequently in the next few weeks. There will be some fabulous secrets revealed AND some fabulous ARCs given away.