Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Rec! THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab (ARC Giveaway)

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. 
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall. 
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption. 

Let me just start by saying, I loved Victoria's first YA, The Near Witch. A lot. So I had high expectations going into this one . . .

She did not disappoint.

The Archived has flavors of The Adjustment Bureau (but way darker) and a few from Inception--but at the same time, it's very unique. The world in the book is built seamlessly--and creepily, I might add. There's the Outer, which is the world as we know it, and then the Archive, a place where Histories (aka bodies) are kept, storing the memories of the lives they once lived. But between them, are the Narrows, a buffer between the worlds.

"Close your eyes and picture this: a dark alley, just wide enough for you to spread your arms and skim the rough stone walls on either side with your fingers. You look up and see . . . nothing, just the walls running up and up and up into black. The only light comes from the doors that line the walls, their outlines giving off a faint glow, their keyholes letting in beams of light that show like threads in the dusty air. It is enough light to see by, but not enough to see well." (ARC of The Archived, page 14)

Those, my friends, are the Narrows. And they freaked me the freak out.

The main character, MacKenzie--Mac--is hardcore enough to complete her tasks (which, in case you didn't read the description, are to stop the Histories--so, you know, the bodies of the dead--from waking up and getting out of the Narrows) (creepy, right?) but also vulnerable enough (over the loss of her brother, and the way she feels about her family, and how she reacts to/forms relationships with other characters in the story) so that I could really connect with her while I read.

The Archived isn't scheduled to come out until January 2013, but I couldn't wait that long to share it with you! So I'm giving away my ARC.

To enter:
  • Follow my blog
  • Spread the word about the giveaway (Tweet/facebook/blog/sidebar/whatever you want to do. 1 point for each! 2 for a blog post about it.) 
  • Leave a comment telling me the following three things: 
    • How many points you have, with links to the ways you spread the word 
    • A promise to promote what you loved about the ARC if you win it 
    • Your email address for if you win
  • That's IT!
This giveaway ends Friday, August 17th, and is open internationally!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In any language . . .

Carry it with you.

                          In your heart.

                                                And when your heart hurts?

Make it a decision anyway.

I've been working on this.

I lost power for five days at the start of July and forgot all about being kind. 

I've really struggled with this recently.

But . . . I wasn't as unkind as I felt like being. So that's something, isn't it?

I stayed patient with the power company--I didn't even yell once. I kept a smile on my face toward my family (mostly) and stayed nice toward my husband (mostly . . . okay, sort of). 

I mean, baby steps, right? 

It felt like a failure at the time, but in hindsight, I actually think I've made some progress. Like this kindness as a way of life thing is kinda starting to sink in. A little. Because while I wasn't the epitome of kindness in a rough situation--I also wasn't the epitome of nastiness. Which, at times, I totally felt like being.

Anyway, I just wanted to say--to anyone who's struggled with being kind, I think sometimes even bothering to struggle puts you a mile ahead of the rest of the game. It's not a failure. It's a step forward. Yanno? Some people choose to be nasty and mean when they're frustrated--they let their inner monsters loose when it's the most difficult to be kind--and don't even think about it after. But if we keep ours in check, or at least try our hardest to? I think we're on the right path.     

Baby steps are better than no steps at all.



Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month. 

Check out today's posts by other writerly friends participating in The Kindness Project!

Alina Klein                             Katharine Owens 
Andrea Hannah                      Len Lambert
Barbara Watson                     Liza Kane
Carolina Valdez Miller            Lola Sharp
Christa Desir                          Lindsay Scott
Claire Hennessy                     Matthew MacNish (available Jul16)
Elana Johnson                        Michele Shaw
Elizabeth Davis                      Sarah Fine
Elizabeth Poole                      Sara Larson 
Erica Chapman                      
Sophia Chang       
Jessica Corra                          Tracey Neithercott                   
Leigh Moore                          

Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Eep! I'm so sorry you guys, but I forgot I was having a giveaway! Between conferences and moving into a new house and then losing freaking power for a week during a heatwave (the definition of misery, believe me), I got all spun around and just FORGOT.

Forgive me!

The winners of my ARC giveaway are:

Monstrous Beauty: Emily (Emily's Crammed Bookshelf)

The Raft: Jessy B.

Wake: Stephanie V.

Please email me (sara.a.mcclung at gmail) your mailing addresses and I'll have the ARCs out to you asap!

Hope everyone's having an awesome July! I totally meant to do a daily blogging thingy again, like I did in May, but time . . . man, time just slipped away. Maybe I'll do it in September or something, when the crazycakes hecticness of summer is winding down.