Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lit Day Ecstasy

I have known about this for over a month now and haven't said anything. Which is saying something because I am not a quiet person!

*drumroll please*

I am going to LeakyCon 2012's Lit Day.

*epic gates of heaven opening music*

I have never been to a book signing or conference or anything. Hell, I haven't been to a concert since I was 13 (American Idol tour. No. Joke). Despite being a Nerdfighter since 2007 I have never gone to a gathering or a tour event.

You know that game Never Have I Ever? I ALWAYS win. Now is the time to remedy that!

If you're wondering "What the heck is Lit Day?" or "Where can I sign up for this majesty?" please mosey on over to this lovely page here.

This is the part where I start fangirling. Because I am going to meet...
Maureen Johnson
Maureen Johnson. Bestselling author, Twitter goddess and who has been promised to be the most eccentric person I will ever meet.

Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins. The best YA romance writer there is with awesome hair and a soul that is made of puppy sized elephants. I already claim her as my best friend. I call dibs!

Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor. Soon to be canonical writer of YA fantasy, wearer of pink locks, owner of my dream life in the Pacific Northwest and creator of an adorable daughter whose middle name is Pie. 'Nough said.

And last but not least...
John Green
John Green. You heard me right. Printz award winning writer, epic vlogger, creator of online communites and all around awesome person.

These are the attendees I am most excited about but make sure to check out the link above to see what other amazing writers, agents and industry professionals will be there.

If you are also going to Lit Day I would love to hear about it. How cool is it, not only that we are going, but we could meet each other?!?!

If not rest assured that come August I will be posting plenty of pictures and stories and most likely more fangirling. I already have a Stephanie Perkins tribute video along the lines of this in the works. Its bound to be a bit creepy but hopefully it will be mostly funny.

If you were meeting any of the epic people who are going to be at Lit Day how would you react? What would you say to them? What kind of questions would you ask them?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writerly Resources

Until recently I didn't have much in my writers toolbox. I read a lot of books, I'm an English major, what else is there? I had the blinders on.

Then last month I had my eyes opened wide. There are so many things out there that I had no idea I needed!

Think of it like this: you up and decide to build a skyscraper. First you need to learn about architecture and physics and safety and costs. You need materials, you need to find people to help you, you need to get investors. If you went into building this skyscraper blindly you wouldn't get very far. It would be falling apart, dangerous and possibly the shortest "skyscraper" ever to bear the name.

Writing is the same. You need to do your research, you need support, you need practice.

Here is a list of resources that I couldn't do without.

I randomly clicked on a link to this site and I am so glad I did. This is a blog about writing, books and the industry. The lovely ladies at the Pub are authors, agents, editors and book sellers. Every week day they dispense advice and insight and recommendations. An absolutley invaluable wealth of knowledge. Love love love.

I credit this collection of essays with altering my mindset on writing. From brain storming, to drafting, to editing, to publishing its all covered here. Laini (one of my favorite authors/people I have never met but I will do anything to remedy that) describes everything in a way that absolutely sets my mind on fire. Ever read one of her books? Yeah, its more of that poetic majestic goodness. Her writing fills me with a burning need to write. Literary aphrodisiac???

Here is where support comes in. If you write YA, plan to do so or just really love YA you need to join this site. Whether you're looking for a critique partner, need help on a tricky scene, want information on contests or want to promote your blog its all here. I am really excited for the day I get to participate in some of their agent contests. Every one is really nice and helpful and super talented. Join up immediately!

Admittedly when I first discovered this blog I was scared out of my freaking mind! Who knew queries were so hard and met with such judgement? I sure was blind. But the more I read the better I felt about queries in general. People submit queries to be critiqued and are given chances to revise until its perfect. Being able to watch that progression really helps me wrap my mind around it. I'll no doubt be on this site an excessive amount when I write my first query.


If Laini's how to is a little too abstract for you or if you just want another opinion this has you covered. Ness is a genius award winning writer for adults, teenagers and children. He sets out the steps in a very logical and straightforward manner. When I saw that his daily writing goal is only 1000 words I felt relieved. It is always nice to know that the talented and successful people find it hard too right? His discussion of voice and pacing I also found very helpful. Another great tool.

Okay, okay, I'll admit it: this is the only book on writing that I have read cover to cover. Eep. I know, I'm naughty like that. Come on guys its Stephen King! The literal king of our diverse literary world. Part of the reason I love this book so much is because its part memoir, his life was so interesting (he lived in the same town that I go to college!). The stories that relate to his writing and his journey to becoming Stephen Freaking King will connect with everyone. I take his advice very seriously. 

What are your favorite writerly resources? Is there something that completely changed your outlook on writing? What couldn't you do without?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Self Publishing Mayhem

Is it just me or is self-publishing the new Y2K? Everybody is threatening each other, playing up the issue or playing it down, acting like publishing as we know it is terminal.

This is, of course, an over exaggeration but it holds some truth doesn't it?

I wasn't even aware of self publishing until last year when I started looking into getting a Kindle. It intrigued me but not enough to take a chance and buy many self published ebooks. I've read a few (of the best selling kind) and was pretty impressed. Sure there were some minor grammatical issues and the stories weren't as polished as I was used to.

But you know what? Those books were all refreshingly different from what you might find on the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble. I could go on for an entire blog post about the need for college aged YA (I probably will) but the point is I never took traditional publishing vs. self publishing seriously.

Until I read the prosecution and the defense. On her blog Shannon Hale wrote a post entitled "The self-publishing paradox; or, why I love my editor." Jessica Park wrote a piece for the Huffington Post called "How Amazon Saved My Life." Woah. For the first time I was able to see how the issue went far beyond quality. Both ladies have valid points and were very persuasive in their arguments. They are also on different ends of the spectrum, and tend to speak in absolutes that don't reflect the general population.

Hale and Park are very successful in the mode of publishing that they have chosen. They are not the norm. Most writers cannot live off of their earnings and must make ends meet other ways. Despite conceptions authors don't have a lot of control over what is published; from the cover to marketing. Not every book that is traditionally published is popular, innovative or widely read. But there is a trust in the population that these books are worthy of your time and money.
While there may be more "slush" self-published books (not well written, not worthy of your money) nobody can deny that sub-par books get published traditionally every year. BECAUSE IT ALL COMES DOWN TO TASTE.

It's hard to say what the general population will like, what book is going to touch that nerve. And it won't always be something "of substance."

Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey are good examples of this. Both are wildly popular and making their authors exorbitant amounts of money. And yet both books have been accused of being badly written with weak plots. People like what they like despite the quality (reality television comes to mind, I love me some 16 and Pregnant!). Sometimes we like escapism, something that is "bad" for us to break up the monotony.

This is what makes me sad: big publishing houses take on books that they think they are going to sell. Park's break-out Flat Out Love (which I read and really enjoyed) got turned down because it didn't fit nice and pretty in the YA market. But every publisher liked it, thought it was a strong piece of work. They didn't think it would make money but Parks proved them to be very, very wrong.

The elitist image the publishing houses are giving themselves is, I imagine, what is making many people resort to self-publishing. Good and bad more books than ever are finding their way into the world through this method. And getting a bad name because the slush hasn't been weeded out.

I ask you though: don't readers know best what they like? Look at all the best selling self published authors who got turned down for not writing something that fits in the market.

As a young writer all of this makes my head hurt a little. The big dream has always been the traditional route. Write a book, polish it up, get an agent, get a publisher, watch everything fall into place.

I'm honestly concerned though. The book I'm working on now doesn't fit into that neat, little picture of what YA "is". I like breaking the rules and I believe the story is the better for it. Its the kind of story I would want to read and I would like to think that readers will embrace it for its differences. But will agents and publishers see that? Or will they just see a marketing mess that could loose them money?

In conclusion: lets not be snobs about how a book gets into our hands. Judge it as a story not a product. Lets respect our fellow writers. Professional or amateur, successful or still slaving away.

Also in conclusion: I plan on working hard towards traditional publishing. That is my biggest dream. I really, really want it. But it is nice to know that self publishing is there for me if I need it. 

What do you think? Would you ever consider self-publishing? Are there any self-published books that you love?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration #2: Video Edition

I don't know about you guys but I've been a little bit all over the place lately. Just yesterday I read a book that half way through had me dancing around singing. Yet by the end of it I was emotionally devastated. It took a lot of talking to myself encouragingly to get back to a state of homeostasis.

I needed to be grounded. Reminded whats important, what makes me happy. Thanks to these videos I found my center again, regained control and came out the other side refreshed.

This first video is the speech that Severn Suzuki gave at the UN Earth Summit in 1992. Isn't it amazing how a wise 12 year old can put everything in perspective? I wish I was as aware and passionate when I was her age.

My high school Sociology teacher played this Baz Luhrman video in class. I'll never forget sitting there and feeling the bubble of high school dissolving away to reveal the bigger picture. "Don't worry about the future. Or worry, knowing that worrying is as useless as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum." True. Life. I get chills every time I see this.

And lastly for those people who are in a creative slump (god knows I have one of those every week!). Elizabeth Gilbert does a great job of articulating those moment of genius we all have in our art. As well as the feeling that we can't always call on that genius or rely on it. "Show up for your job," she says. If that genius decides to make an appearance that's wonderful. If not, at least you worked on something you love. 

Are there any inspirational videos that you have stumbled upon lately? Or ones that you turn to again and again?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hipster Book List

Everyone has one.*

Rachel Seigl's post this week on Pub(lishing) Crawl, Under the Radar: Authors Who Don't Always Get the "BUZZ", really got me thinking.

Everyone has those handful of books that they love but you seem to be alone in this infatuation. Those books aren't wildly popular or widely read or perhaps even highly acclaimed. But heck you don't mind because this makes them your books in a way. One might even get a little proud and, dare I say, hipstery about it.

Here is my Hipster Book List:
1. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness.

So if you are from England you are probably thinking "these books are highly acclaimed and wildly popular". Yeah, well, I live in America and that is not the case here friend. I have never met another soul who has read these magnificent books and that just makes me sad.

This series is so unique and innovative and heart wrenching that it blows my mind. Todd Hewitt lives in a community made up entirely of men. Every body's thoughts are painfully audible, called "Noise". What happened to all the women? How did the war get started that caused this mess? How can a community survive with no privacy and no dishonesty? These are just the questions being asked in the first chapter! Never has a book made me cry so hard as Monsters of Men. I was a sobbing, inconsolable pile of mucus by the end of it. This is some VERY special science fiction that is genius and violent and insightful.

Everybody needs to read it. NOW...are you reading it yet? Well, hop to it!

2. One on One by Tabitha King.
This is one of those books where I honestly have no idea how I found it. Was I perusing the Stephen King section when I picked up a book by his wife? Who knows, but I am so glad I did.

Be warned: this is a sports book. Trust me though, as someone who avoids sports at all costs, that is just a thin veil over the bigger story. Sam Styles and Deanie "the Mutant" Gauthier came so close to winning the basketball state championships last year. Sam is determined that both the boys and girls team can do it this year but that means trying to help the most damaged, hostile and bizarre girl in school. Deanie shaves her head, wears chains across her face and loves smoking illegal substances. All of this is a method in concealment as she has a mother who hates her and a step dad who beats and molests her. Sam has to fight the administration, his friends and even Deanie herself to get the teams ready for state.

This is one of those books that is successfully gritty and honest and jarring. It is also the strangest and most satisfying romance I have ever read.

3. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.
It seems like everyone and their cousin have read the Ender Games series by this great American author. But how many, I ask, have read this fairy tale re-telling?

Ever since I read this diamond in the ruff four years ago I am constantly measuring other fairy tale re-tellings up to it and they never compare. The elements that combine to make Enchantment great: time travel, medieval Russia, Judaism, linguistics, magic, science and the gods of ol'. I truly admire Ivan for being his bookish good natured self and Katerina for her royal tenacity.

Definitely a fairy tale made for adults who like intellectual and religious debates alongside their quests and spells.

4. Love Walked In and Belong To Me by Marisa De los Santos.

Yay for something lighthearted! (you guys probably think I'm all doom and gloom over here) These two books are where intelligence, hilarity and cuteness come together. What I imagine an Adult Nerdfigher book written by Stephanie Perkins would be like...

Cornelia Brown--a big hearted, day dreaming, literary and cinema geek--is one of the most likable and admirable main characters ever written. I want to be Cornelia. If you're looking for something gorgeously written than look no further than the books by this award winning poet. Or you could read them for the warm fuzzies, adorable romances and true to life family dramas. As feel good as these books are they also deal with such issues as mental illness, parent abandonment and cancer.

You'll learn something, be inspired, feel joyful and optimistic about life all at the same time.

5. Tea Rose/Winter Rose/Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnely.
I remember going to a school book club meeting when I was 16 and ranting and raving about these books. "They have history and romance and adventure and politics and mystery oh my!"

Seriously, when I think of epic I think of these books. They span from the time of Jack the Ripper to the end of WWI, all the while following the Finnegan family. Entrepreneurship, mountain climbing, White Chapel gangs, Parliament, England, New York, Kenya, California, the Middle East, death, birth and war. They have everything.

This series is like a one stop shop for any sort of reality based fiction you can think of. You'll cry and laugh and gasp and scream and you will love every second of it. I promise.

6. Stories of Columbyana by Linda Winstead Jones.

Now, I don't often read a lot of Adult Romance. They can be, frankly, cheesy and one dimensional. These three trilogies are the exception.

 I would describe these books as paranormal fantasy. Each trilogy focuses on the love stories of a whole slew of characters but has an over arching conflict. Curses, prophecies, spells, shape shifting, folklore and court politics play heavily into these stories.

That is probably the reason why I like them so much: you get your romance kick without feeling like you're reading complete fluff. Jones does a great job of world building and tying all of her books together.

Readers, what literary gems are on your Hipster Book List?

*I apologize to any hipsters who may have found their way to this list. Honestly I don't know if you will approve of these selections. Your taste is more obscure than mine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The (Not So) Bare Bones

[Note: This a serious post, you have been warned. I put off hitting publish for days because it so emotional and close to my heart. Here goes nothing.]

Full disclosure: I have been overweight my whole life.

That's twenty years. Two decades. For some people, a lifetime.

I am staring at these words and I can't grasp thier truth. If I were to describe myself I would never say fat. 1) because it is shameful (or so the world has taught me) and 2) because I am more than my shell.

The reason I decided to write this post is because I don't think people talk about the truth of being overweight often. And those who do aren't often heard. The world doesn't seem to want to hear it.

The first truth: being overweight is painful. In the physical sense (low stamina, aching joints, muscles that cannot support their load) and the psychological sense.

As I look back on my life I am angered by how my weight has held me back. Every dream I ever had for myself has been relegated to the back of the line to make way for my most pressing dream: losing the weight.

In my head, from a very young age, losing the weight was a magical cure to all my problems. If I got down to XXX weight I would finally write that book I always wanted to. If I was normal sized I wouldn't be so shy, I would have more friends, I would become someone others wanted to know. After I lost the weight I would meet the love of my life, travel the world, discover a cure for cancer, blah blah blah. But not before I lost the weight, never before.

Somehow my weight made me unworthy of the things I desired for myself.
Me at 4 years old (in the pink)
The second truth: people who are overweight are not lazy. Everyone meets challenges in life and different people chose different ways to deal with them. I chose to overeat, to spend the majority of my time sedentary, to lose myself in the stories of others. I avoided my problems. But I never looked in the mirror and was satisfied with what I saw. For some reason I never had the tools I needed to deal with my problems in a healthy way.

So for anyone who ever thought that a person is fat because they want to be or because they don't want to lose the weight you are wrong. You are so wrong.
Our culture is very firm on the fact that to be overweight is to be wrong. From someone who has personally experienced this I would edit it to say that to be overweight is to be separated from normality. A misplaced puzzle piece, sticking out like a sore thumb, someone to be pitied or ridiculed or ignored.

I have been on a quest to be "normal" since I was eight years old. I can remember being at summer camp, looking at everyone else, feeling depressed and deciding that I needed to lose weight. I was in fourth grade. And so for the next twelve years that was my mindset. I went on diets, started exercise programs, changed my "lifestyle". I joined Weight Watchers. Twice. I lost some, gained more back, lost some, gained more back.

To this date I have never been at a "normal" weight.

Sometimes I wear a mask.
The third truth (a very recent truth to me): the number on the scale isn't the issue. And what I mean by this is that bigger people are taught that being fat is their problem, it is a result of their actions, only they can save themselves. Why is this okay?

All of a sudden being overweight is solely an internal problem and the burden of fixing it is all on you. This is very lonely. No wonder people who are overweight have higher rates of anxiety and depression.

Imagine being told to change your eye color or the way your brain functioned or structure of your bones. Science could surely offer you some drastic (and horrifying) solutions but who would you be in the end?

I have found that treating my obesity as a external problem can be very empowering. I was a child and countless adults allowed me to reach this point. The United States obsession with fast food. The thousands of channels of television. How healthy food is more expensive and harder to come by. That I was allowed to skate by in physical education. And the silence. The silence that was lent to the issue of obesity for so many years (silence that was similarly lent to teen pregnancy and homophobia and the failures of our school systems).

With those thoughts in mind I can breathe deeper, dig for more strength and see a clearer vision of my future. I am not my whole problem. Some of the pressure has lifted and I feel capable.

Me at 19 years old

The fourth truth: I don't know everything.

I am not blaming any one person or group of people for what is being called "a national epidemic". I am not saying that I, or anybody who is overweight, should be left off the hook. I am my own person, I am responsible for my health.

But I am saying that obesity should not be regarded as an individual problem and treated as thus. This is isolating and cruel and misguided. I wish that I had been made to do more physical activity, I wish that healthier food was served in my school cafeteria and I wish that as children we were taught to love ourselves and others at any size.

So many of the pitfalls I have encountered could have been avoided if I was taught to treat my health as a precious and immediate thing. As it is I have had to discover this slowly until now when I am an adult and so much less open to change.

Already, the world is so different from when I was a child. Fast food restraunts are ushering in healthier menu items, the First Lady is working hard on getting children more active and there are big beautiful people popping up everywhere in pop culture. The kids of today live in a different world than I did. But it will be decades before we see if its enough.

I am no where near a success but I am smarter and more experienced and I know I will get there.
I put off writing something like this for years. Breaking the silence feels like my first full breath. It feels like I am letting the light out.

Readers, Internet, Universe: I am ready and eager to let your light in.

I like to smile.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you see promising changes or are things the same as they always were? Would you have anything to add or something you disagree with?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Example of My Work

I made this little animated gem last year as an homage to the dysfuncional relationship between my friends Garrett and Alex.

It is SO full of inside jokes that posting it here is probably shooting myself in the foot but, heh, oh well. I like to think that I am pretty hilarious (she said all humbly ;).

The gist of it: Garrett often refers to himself as a bear. Alex's nickname is "Alex the Lion". BP means "Bitch Please" because someone gave up cussing for Lent... Garrett hates Ancient Aliens. Alex loves it. Bickering ensues.

 WARNING: strong language

It is sad how proud I am of this, out of all the things I have ever made *sigh*

If this is funny to anyone who doesn't know these two I would love to hear about it!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


For some reason I've been thinking a lot lately about this quote from one of my all time favorite books, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green:

“I was blind and heart broken and didn't want to do anything and Gus burst into my room and shouted, "I have wonderful news!" And I was like, "I don't really want to hear wonderful news right now," and Gus said, "This is wonderful news you want to hear," and I asked him, "Fine, what is it?" and he said, "You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!”  

Wow, right? Whenever I'm feeling lost or sad or scared these words comfort me. So much of life is unplanned so don't stress out just enjoy the ride.

Also, Augustus Waters is just so swoonworthy ;D

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Joint Book Review: Shatter Me and Incarnate

After reading--and really enjoying--Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi I moved on to Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. I was suprised and pleased to find that they shared some interesting ideas and themes.

Here are thier synopsis from Goodreads:

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel."

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)"New soul
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life."

Wow. Don't you just want to go devour these books and then horde them forever?

If those enticing bits are too much for you then I say shoo! Go forth! Read read read!

Are you still here? Did you just get back from reading these two yummy nuggets of awesome? Nice...

The main thing that inspired me to write this joint book review (comparison? analysis?) was the heroines: Juliette and Ana. I would describe them both as isolated, unprecidented, abused, powerful and underestimated. They are in the position of being the first of thier kind and are therefore constantly in danger. Juliette can kill with a touch. Ana is the first new soul in 5,000 years. They have many enemies and no friends. But that is about to change...

The boys *Victorian swoon* The BOYS! Just by virtue of allying with these girls alone I would love them. They're not the bad boy or the unattainable guy or the clown or the super bad ass. What I loved so much about them is that they weren't cookie cutter but they were the smart-girl choice. Things they had in common: mature, passionate, responsible, sacrificing and not threatened by strong women. It takes a special guy to break down the walls that Juliette and Ana have built around themselves and these guys were perfect for the job. Although I love me a good love triangle I really appreciated the abscence of one in these novels. As a reader I was able to focus on one couple, I knew where to put my energy and hopes. The world outside the romance was where I needed to put my anxiety and I found that refreshing.

Next on the roster are the worlds that Mafi and Meadows created. Shatter Me is set in a dystopian future shrouded in mystery. A new goverment has taken over and wants to effectively destroy the past. Incarnate takes place in fantasy world that resembles our own in minor ways but is completely original in major ways. It is baffling to think about a group of people who can essentially live forever (of course they have to body hop, but for immortality? psh whatevs) and what that would mean culturally and socially. Juliette lives among chaos and drastic change. Ana brings the chaos and drastic change. Seeing as this is science fiction compared to fantasy these books stayed true to thier genres. Some cool connections my brain made (because my brain never concentrates for long, too much of a free spirit that one) involved some all time scy fy and fantasy favorites. Shatter Me definetly has some X-Men elements that I really look forward to being explored in further novels. On the other hand Incarnate reminded me of Lord of the Rings with modern elements. Mostly because of dragons but also because of sylph eggs and a magic city that came out of nowhere. How did Heart get there??? Yet again I must wait for the sequels. Le sigh.

The point of this joint review isn't meant to pick a winner, it isn't a contest. However I am dying to talk about the strong elements that aren't necessarily shared by both novels.

1. Steamy Romance. Boy does Shatter Me have this in spades! I was all blushy and had to resist the urge to fan myself and kept thinking "this is so much hotter than most YA...hooray!" Don't get me wrong Incarnate gets nice and steamy but its not as prominent. Think about it: Juliette hasn't been touched/held/cherished her whole life. And when she gets a taste of that, well...*gives in and fans herself*

2. Character Building. For me Incarnate hits this out of the park and its all because of the complexity of souls and Sam. This beautiful boy has lived for thousands of years, lived and died, as a man, as a woman, had every job imaginable. He was like this huge onion (cake? parfait?) and I couldn't go through his layers fast enough. And yes he made me tearing up (Megan: making onion analogies work since This Sentence).

3. World Building. Both books were successful but for very different reasons. Incarnate benefited from being a fantasy which requires a good deal of background and doesn't require a super fast pace. I was fascinated by the culture and religion and history that Meadows dreamed up. Shatter Me on the other hand needed to be action packed and able to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I was totally satisfied by Mafi's dystopian future but have a ton of questions that I trust will be answered in time.

In conclusion: I love how complex characters, original worlds and satisfying romances are being written for YA more and more. Shatter Me and Incarnate are amazing debut novels that give you substance and fun and an unquenchable thirst for more.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Five Random and Amusing Things About Me

I am a strange person. Here is proof.

1. I cannot wink with my left eye. This is a serious problem. When I try winking with my left eye I end up looking like I am having a seizure. I cannot help but close my right eye. I try and fight it and the result is quite unattractive. This has become a sort of party game among me and my friends. They think I'm hilarious ;D
This little guy has got it down!
2. I own only one pair of sunglasses, they are weird. Owning a sole pair of sunglasses is abnormal enough. Don't most girls own like five? This is compounded by the fact that they are heart shaped and floral patterned. Most of the time I feel like a bad ass walking around with these baby's on. I will admit, however, I have gotten some strange looks...
3. I have too many stuffed animals. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this is a problem. But as I enter my third decade of life (gulp) this definitely sets me apart. I don't mean that they sit in a closet somewhere either. They travel between home and college with me. They are affectionately arrayed around my dorm. Every one knows them by name. The queen of this collection is Suzie, she is a Squishable sheep. Filling out the family is a pillow chum panda named Dumpling, a mini Squishable kangaroo named Marigold and a monkey-sheep named Norby.
Suzie is prepared for that Wisconsin winter.

4. I have to stare at a winter scene desktop for the next two years. This is a minor inconvenience in the scheme of things but an annoyance nonetheless to me on a daily basis. As a student office worker they have to restrict us somehow. My computer at work had a "deep freeze" placed on it over spring break. This means that any changes I make (new desktop, updates, adding programs, etc.) will be erased after shutting it down. I had yet to change my desktop to a picture of milder weather. Winter scenes are pretty sure, sure. But, dude, I live in Wisconsin. Its summer. I don't need to be reminded of the snowpocalypse that will bury us in 5 months. Can't I live in ignorance bliss for a few months? The universe says NO.
Awww. So pretty, right? Shoot me now.
5. My friends enjoy remarking on how "moist" I am. Sounds dirty, but its not! I have a bit of an obsession with moisturizing, especially with my hands. I have lotion on my person at all times. There is nothing worse than when your skin is dry and your cuticles are pealing and it is just plain uncomfortable. The "moist" joke started because the first time I tried henna it turned out all wrong. I am the palest person I know and you could barely make out the design. My friend Shaina blamed it on my moisturizing habits. People started feeling my hands to confirm and were genuinely amazed. Apparently I have really, really soft hands. There are worse things to have a claim to fame to.

My secret weapon.

What do you guys think, am I a truly unique individual? Are there any random or amusing facts that you wish to share about yourself?