[ image via tumblr ]
My breath is venturing out into the air with a wispy white coat on, and everyone walks around with a twinkle in their eye. Lately, I go to school each day telling myself firmly that I'll never be too old to wear mittens. I get curious stares from passerby nonetheless when they see me with a pair of them on. Carols that I've known by heart for years come barging into the radio again. Roads freeze over. Hot cups of tea become a staple of my diet. Particularly eccentric teachers at school deliver rants about "non-denominational winter holidays".

It's the holiday season here where I am, that fabled most wonderful time of the year - and it's also the time here at this blog when I take a moment to thank all of my readers. Near or far or in whatever place you may be right now, I'm ridiculously grateful that you use some time in your day to read and support my thoughts. 2013 is my second year of blogging and has been an incredible revelation to me all the way through. And those of you who have stuck with me in this crazy year are perfect brilliant people. Thank you.

Bundle up - or if you're in the southern hemisphere, you should be summer-ing down, I suppose - and do enjoy your holidays! Know that I'm wishing everyone well no matter what you celebrate or who you're celebrating with. Smile, if only because the world needs more of you smiling. Give this season a smile, a laugh, a day worth keeping forever.

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Hello again, everyone! It seems most of my latest posts have been about publication, which is terribly exciting, in all honesty.

First up is Foxglove Hymnal. The piece that's going in there is called "Finger Bones", and it's a little flash fiction I wrote when I was angsting about a big upcoming piano competition. (Which I ended up placing second in, hahaha.) Obviously, it centers around a piano, and it has some horror/macabre-ish elements. The reason this achievement is doubly cool for me is that "Finger Bones" was my first attempt at that genre.

Foxglove Hymnal is a relatively new publication. It's a quarterly mag focusing on fantasy and horror, and my piece will be in its first issue, tentatively slated for release sometime this winter or perhaps early spring. (Not totally sure on that front.) But apparently there are going to be illustrations and everything, so it's pretty exciting, plus each issue will be free to read online.

You can go to their website at http://foxglovehymnal.com/ for more info about this ~ :)

Next is Hogglepot. I first discovered this bi-weekly journal when I went looking for a story by Kimberly Karalius (I've mentioned her before, I hope - she's awesome) called "The Mattress Pea". It's still in their archives, by the way, if you do some digging around.

This piece, called "The Silence", was written for a contest hosted by the Figment group The Imaginarium, which I've mentioned before as well. The prompt was to use the concept of a time-left-to-live countdown (like the movie In Time) as the center of a story. I took an old idea - revolving around a violinist, aliens, and figurative fire - and spruced it up a little, ended up winning the Imaginarium contest, and submitted it to Hogglepot after a few edits.

Hogglepot has been around for a while and accepts science fiction, fantasy, the works. It's also got stories by a few other writers I admire, like LiAnn Yim, so I was really excited to get this acceptance. "The Silence" is planned to go live somewhere near the end of January, free online.

Their website is at http://hogglepot.com/, and the link to the piece will obviously be coming your way when it exists.

Lastly, there's The Plum Collection. It's a bi-monthly zine made up of submissions from 13-19-year-olds, describing itself as believing in the power of teens to make a change in art/literature and define what being young truly is. Lightly subversive, you know?

My piece in there is called "The Lexicon of Winter". It was written a little strangely - a story told in the format of "dictionary definitions". Still, I enjoyed writing it and it was a nice, fresh break from the other recent stuff that's been deeply rooted in the fantastical.

They operate out of Tumblr, so here is http://theplumcollection.tumblr.com/ - with the issue I appear in being released in January.

So that's that! Exciting publication news is always nice; remember to check out my "Pubs, Etc." page for a full list!

EDIT (January 19, 2014): "The Silence" is up! http://hogglepot.com/reading.php?date=20140119&vol=2014vol1

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If you follow me on Figment, you may have read "Pinioned", the magical-realism entry that I wrote for Figment's Homecoming Contest. Unfortunately, it didn't win, but it's just been accepted by this fun magazine for those in grades 6-12!

The piece itself is loosely based on the Russian fairytale "The Feather of Finist the Falcon". Using that, I basically wrote a little flash scene about how Finist and his lover come to homecoming ;)

Parallel Ink is run by high schoolers from all over, living in countries like Korea and Thailand, collaborating over a mutual love of creative work. And if that's not cool, I don't know what is.

Anyhow, I'll be linking you up to their "Archives" page when the issue's out (on December 1st!) so that you can read the ISSUU.

Fun, right? :)

EDIT (December 1, 2013): Hey look, the issue is up! http://issuu.com/parallelink/docs/issue1vol2
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Whoa, right?

The world continually manages to surprise me. (Needless to say.)

The first one, The Wandering Collective, published my poem "before bed" today. (My first poetry pub - wow.) The poem is basically my odd mind working with the "star light, star bright, first star I see tonight" nursery rhyme. You can probably see where that went :3

Anyhow, The Wandering Collective. They're very feminist and cool, and they "showcase the work of teenage girls". You can read my poem here - but hey, teen girls? You should totally submit. It's a place with very good vibes.

My second pub is GREYstone, a literary magazine for kids in grades K-12. Also a "good-vibes" place. And the best part? The story being published is the very same one I wrote in March - the one that I originally posted here in memory of a NaNoer named Ash who lost her fight with leukemia. So now I feel that though I never actually talked to her, Ash has given me a gift. And I'd like to thank her, wherever she might be now.


There might be a second best part.

You see, GREYstone issues also eventually become available for print purchase. The online issue goes live on November 23, 2013, so I'll post a link once that is up, but seriously OH GOSH IT'S PRINT.

My first poetry pub and my first print appearance, all in one post.

Okay, let's all be shocked now.

EDIT (12/3/2013): Here's the GREYstone issue for online reading! http://mygreystone.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/greystone-issue-ten/

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As returning readers might notice, this blog has just undergone a major renovation. It's all so pretty now, isn't it?

I'd like to introduce a wonderful blog designer + person in general to you: Jessie.

Jessie runs My Candy Shoppe, in which she designs blogs for free - and so fast! She was done in less than a week, and let's face it, the change was breathtaking. She also blogs herself in multiple places, but the blog I found her at is A Chirographic Mind. It's a very pretty and meaningful little site, and I'm sure she'd appreciate it if you checked it out.

So basically, she's fabulous. And if any of y'all have Blogger blogs, you may want to consider ordering a design from her :)

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So the other day I opened up my Figment profile to take a quick look at it.

And realized.

I have reached (and cleared) the fifty-follower mark.

Within four months of joining Figment.

(Note: I am also kind of learning how to use GIFs. Feedback is welcome. :3)

I mean seriously guys. Thank you. Thank you so so so much. All you amazing readers manage to make my day so often and I love you.

I joined Figment with the intention of passing by people's pages with barely a murmur. I didn't expect to garner a legitimate audience or anything - just to share my stories, be nice to people, read good stuff, the usual. I certainly didn't expect to make Fig-friends.

And now here I am looking lost because heck, what happened? Suddenly people were reading my words, liking them, featuring them in places, and basically making me so happy I wanted to burst sometimes. They still are, and it's so incredibly kind of them. It's kind of you, my darling readers.

Of course, that means it behooves me to do a thank-you post now that I've reached the 50-follower (?!) mark and here it is. Here it is.

You all remind me why I write. You are all beautiful people. Thank you a thousand, no, a million times over. And good day.
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Lovely happenings abound in Starflower's life these days.

Another lit mag has accepted a piece of hers for publication. Pretty crazy, no?

Like I've said before, occasionally I write tiny little flash-fiction pieces as a writing exercise. They turn out okay once in a while, and I tweak them a bit (or not a bit, sometimes) before I send them off to places, hoping but not really expecting for them to find a home.

Now, this one's called "Dreaming" and it's got that same magical-ish feeling to it that I'm starting to enjoy a lot nowadays. The story centers around one young woman named Penelope who has a strange problem - she's waiting for someone to come save her from the monotony of her small town, but no one's coming. And basically "Dreaming" is three hundred fifty or so words of that + tea + roses + butterflies.

Fun, right? ...Or is it?

I read somewhere a few years ago that in a faraway country (the name escapes me just now, I believe it might have been Finland), people believe that butterflies are the physical embodiment of dreams. Then, as I was sitting down in front of the computer screen to type out a few flash-words, I saved myself from blank-sheet-o-phobia by suddenly thinking of this beautiful superstition.

I took that idea and I ran with it (thought thankfully not literally), taking a few twists and turns before arriving at my final product, which I actually kind of liked. Surprisingly.

And now an awesome lit mag called varia would like to publish it.

varia describes itself as "a literary collection of flora, fauna, and other such miscellany" - isn't that the most captivating thing? It publishes prose and serials by anyone and everyone regardless of writing resume, and it's absolutely delightful. Check it out at http://varialitmag.com/ and if you're on Tumblr, why not give them a follow?

In other miscellaneous news (just because I can), my other social media reputations are growing (so very slightly)! I now have 20 followers on Tumblr, 47 followers (?!) on Figment, have just gotten addicted to the fine website called Pinterest, and have gotten one of my stories Spotted on Storybird. Very cool, huh? And BRAGGING RIGHTS. HEH.

So to wrap this up, it's a new publication from moi! It's scheduled to appear on varia's website on Saturday, October 12, and I'll edit this post with the link when it's up!

EDIT: Here's a nice promo tidbit that came up today on varia. Can't wait for you all to read this when it's published on the twelfth!

SECOND EDIT: Aaand it's here!

THIRD EDIT (November 8, 2013): It seems that the varia site has disappeared for no apparent reason. It saddens me that you don't get to read this mag anymore, but oh, what can we do?
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It's a flash fiction piece called "City of Whispers and Night", and it's a little thing I wrote inspired by a picture I found on Tumblr:

Actually, I think it was Verse Kraken's Tumblr (Verse Kraken is another lit mag that I'd like to submit to someday. It's pretty awesome.).

So first and foremost, I'd like to thank Verse Kraken for that, because HOLY WOW MY FIRST PUBLICATION. THANKYOUTHANKYOU. YOU'RE AMAZING.

Second, I had The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern on my mind as I was writing. It's a completely amazing book, btw, so go read it. But anyway, that feeling of magic and possibility was just itching to be expressed.

Thank you, Erin Morgenstern, for being an inspirational genius.

Now, where is this magazine that has agreed to publish me?

Brouhaha Magazine.

I scrolled through their pieces and was pretty mind-blown - I'm not sure if you all know this, but there's a network (an underground almost) of genius, unrecognized writers on Tumblr. Particularly poets. And there were some darn brilliant beautiful words in that mag, wouldn't you know.

I write flash fictions as a little exercise every now and then, and the image just caught my fancy and I went with it. The piece had been sitting for a while when I decided to submit.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would accept it.

My work is set to appear on Monday, September 23 - I'll post a link when it's up!

Ahhh! It's happening!

*please excuse me while I freak out some more*

EDIT: And this, just after that horribly depressing post about being too young to do anything. Brouhaha Magazine, you have no idea what you have just done for me. Thank you.

EDIT #2: Here it is! http://brouhahamagazine.tumblr.com/post/62070974626/city-of-whispers-and-night
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You all must be wondering. (Or maybe I'm flattering myself and you really don't care, but you are terribly bored, so you've come to this blog of mine to try and fix that. Either way, you're reading. Heh.)


Short answer: I'm submitting it to a competition in the hopes that it might win stuff, so obviously it can't be up on the nets while I do that.

Long answer: For the next four months or so, I'll be intensively editing the first fourteen-ish (seven actually, since I cut them in half for Figment) chapters to submit the excerpt along with a synopsis of the book to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (http://artandwriting.org/), a national scholarship-type-thingy that has a novel division and would look pretty darn good on my college application if I won something.

I'm not entirely sure about the specifics, but I'm pretty sure national winners of the novel contest get a chance to intern at Scholastic and possibly publish their novel.

I know that one of the winners, Anna Waggener, published her novel Grim as a result. (I'm planning to go read it sometime.)

Which means that I can't have it already up somewhere because... possible publication. With a traditional publishing house.

I've been thinking a lot about this, and I feel that it's worth it, even if I do lose a lot of readers on Figment. This is one of those rare instances where a traditional publishing house will even consider a thirteen-year-old's work.

(Such are the pains of being young.)

There's your answer.

Extension of long answer (the rambling part): To be completely honest with you all - sometimes I really hate being young.

Many of my Fig-friends are at least three years older than I am, so when we talk, I'm often struck by how much I cannot relate to them.

It makes me sad.

There's a lot of constraints that come with being thirteen, I think. Most days it feels like I'm standing on the cusp of something really amazing that I know nothing about. That something must be life. And while I write to try and suppress my fears, I feel so uncertain. I'm so excited for when I'm older, for when people will take me seriously. For the time when my age won't kill my chances at achieving some of my goals. For the time when I'll think I know something about the world and I'll really know it.

But for now, there's thirteen-year-old me to think about.

There are days - so many days - when I just have to concentrate, because everything is so overwhelming. I love writing, of that I'm certain. But there are days when I can't help thinking that all these words will never get me anywhere, and that's just plain scary. I want so badly to not be terrible at writing. I want so badly to write a story that is important to people.

However, thirteen-year-olds aren't supposed to know anything of importance.

Perhaps I'm just being naive. Perhaps it really does get better as time goes on. Perhaps I do have a scrap of talent in me.

Right now, the world tells me, you're just too young. Right now you should concentrate on your grades and extracurriculars like a good girl and leave the word-writing to the brilliant ones. So I try. And I fail. There's always been a writing space in my mind and it won't just go away. But so many people are telling me I'm not ready.

They're probably right.

But what the heck, if Stephenie Meyer can get published, then one more horrible writer unleashed on the world won't hurt that much.

Will it?

And even then.

They tell me I'll keep getting better.

(Good gracious, by next year it looks like I'll have a full-fledged case of senioritis. As a freshman in high school. I'm going to be unbearable to be around. -_-)

PS: I would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you and apology to all of my wonderful, amazing, fabulous Figment readers. Your support has had me over the moon lately, and it's entirely my fault for not letting you all know sooner. Please know that it's nothing against any of you. Also, feel free to leave angry comments on either this post or my Figment wall, and I'll respond as best I can :(
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Hello, everyone! So I haven't died or disappeared or been abducted... yet.

Which means I have no excuse for not posting for MONTHS.

*mea culpa, mea culpa, I'm terribly sorry*

Actually, I might have an excuse. Some of you might know that I joined Figment several weeks ago and have been dreadfully busy setting everything up, promoting my work, making friends, etc. etc. (I suppose this is where you go, "Making FRIENDS? STARFLOWER? NEVER!! O_O") Although this link is in numerous places all around the blog, I'll give it to you again - my Figment profile.

My most recent posts have basically been about this exciting new project I've started, On the Midnight Streets. I've also posted it on Figment, and let me say...

The reactions have been SO MUCH BETTER than I expected. Really.

I've gotten so much enthusiastic support from a wide variety of other talented writers. It's truly inspiring, and now that I have a readership that's relying on me, I feel more pressure to write (okay, except for when I'm posting on this blog).

In fact, one of my Figment idols, Lydia Albano (I have mentioned her here and there) approves of it. *mind = blown* *no really, blown*

This, of course, drove me to the point where I was having sudden hysterical fits of happiness. (Just between y'all and me, I think my family was a teeny bit worried.) Then so many other people came and gave me incredibly insightful reviews, and I just feel so so lucky right now. I can't believe the amazing response my writing is getting, y'know? (Oh, and I've cleaned up the Pages bar up top a bit. I've also updated the "Long-Term Projects" page, polished it and stuff :D)

I joined a few Fig-Groups, mainly fan clubs, but also CPR and the Imaginarium. OTMS was featured on the Imaginarium's front page:

The Imaginarium has over 500 members now, so you can imagine my surprise :3

Which meant that this blog faded into oblivion for a while. (Or even further into oblivion. I still don't know whether I have an audience for my posts most of the time. Teehee.) Especially since I was veery busy squealing about having OVER 20 FOLLOWERS and OVER 30 HEARTS.

Anyway, now that I've gotten all that bragging over with (yes, I know, I know, but you guys are all here for me, right? :3), I need to make a little confession.

I kind of started a thing. Without telling you.

It's called The Birdcage Room, and it's in verse (WAIT, WHAT?!) and it's magical realism (WAIT, WHAT?!)

It was very spontaneous mostly, as the idea just came to me one day while I was reading Anande Sjöden's piece "Jack of Hearts" (which is just as completely amazing and original as "Nattie and Finn", which I'm pretty sure I've fangirled over in the past, so GO LOVE ANANDE NOW even if that sounds a little creepy). Usually, I take novel ideas and mull over them for a reeeaaallly long time before I even get around to starting them, if I start them at all. Except OTMS was being frustrating right around then and I got distracted (SHINY! WHEE!). (Why am I using parenthetical bursts of randomness so much in this post?) Anyway, it soon blossomed into something I thought I could really take to paper, only I had one problem... I had no idea what kind of POV I was going to use. Third-person present sounded good, but... I may or may not be planning another novel in third-person present tense. *hides*

Well, then I hit upon the seemingly excellent (but in fact extremely foolish) idea of writing this thing in verse.

I've never been a great poet. I had a bit of a poetry craze in around second grade, but honestly, I never had any real talent. Then in fifth grade we had another poetry unit, but I can say that I had no fun whatsoever. So I completely surprised myself with the notion. Then I went, "And why not?" and began to write the first chapter. (The link to the novel is on the "Long-Term Projects" page.)

And then, by an odd sequence of events, Kimberly Karalius (another one of my Figment idols) found it and liked it.

It's completely bizarre and I'm seriously feeling so, so loved by whoever is up there or down there or everywhere in between who decides what happens. Whether that entity is God or karma or the Fates. (I support all religions that make people better. So.)

Anyway, it's been crazy. And now I'm making so many lovely Fig-friends, which is incredible. 

Which brings us to the Solemn Promise.

I solemnly swear that my posts from now on will be a great deal more coherent. At the very least. Maybe they'll even be enjoyable to read sometimes.

I won't be doing as many book reviews anymore - my posts will be more writing-related now. I'll only review indie books and/or books by friends of mine (Fig-friends... hint hint). The mission of this blog's book reviews is now to promote amazing up-and-coming authors.

So there's everything. Enjoy the new (much more scatterbrained) me.

*twirls villain mustache*
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I remade the cover. The old one was bugging me. I like this one better, but what do you guys think? (previous cover is here: http://lifeisinexpressible.blogspot.com/2013/05/cover-reveal-on-midnight-streets-my.html)

Attribution: Cover design by me. Girl silhouette made using stock image courtesy of liam-stock on dA. Boy silhouette made using stock image courtesy of CathleenTarawhiti on dA Background texture courtesy of Lost and Taken. Gear brushes made using stock images courtesy of mossi889 and n-gon-stock on dA.

I absolutely LOVE all of these stock artists. dA stock just makes my day :D

Erm. Now I suppose I owe it to all of my lovely readers to describe this new novel. (Especially the wonderful Anorastar, who specifically commented "I WANT TO READ IT" on the previous post. This one's for you, Anora! I will be posting the novel on Figment this summer as I get more and more into it.)

Hmm, where to start?

The novel is narrated in first-person present tense, with most chapters being from my heroine's point of view but once in a while you'll get a supporting character chapter. It's the first in what I plan on being a quartet, called The Bloodlace Quartet.

So I guess first we have our heroine, Chantilly Rosewater. I suppose she's fairly introverted, has a really weird internal conflict going on just now, seventeen years old, slightly depressed, bookish, writerly (YES SHE'S AN AUTHOR JUST LIKE YOU AND ME), sarcastic when she needs to be, plain-faced, purple-eyed, etc. I think I kind of like how she's turning out.

The book's a fantasy with steampunk elements. The setting is loosely based off of Victorian and Regency England. (I read so much steampunk and Jane Austen and it's finally getting to me.)

The thing is, Chantilly is just a middle-class girl working in a small bookshop. AT FIRST. But then...

Okay, you know what? Since I'm here, why don't I try my hand at an official summary?

A girl and her notebook, a boy and his hat, thievery, love, clockwork, corruption, the rich and the poor, and rebellion seething in a divided city.

Chantilly Rosewater thinks she's been thrown out of her element when her family inherits a massive estate in the wealthy sector, the Upper City. However, she finds that inheritance is nothing compared to being kidnapped on her wedding day. By the most notorious thief in the city of Peralton.

But the Midnight Hatter is not all that he seems, and soon Chantilly is working with him and his band of strangely likable cohorts. What starts out as a series of simple "acts of defiance" begins to escalate until the friends find that they have a host of angry citizens who are looking to them to light the spark of revolt...

Short, admittedly, but Figment summaries are better when fairly short, I've found.

What do y'all think?
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The second in that series I mentioned earlier today. A bit on the creepy side. I like how it turned out, though, with the two kind of staring at each other. This is the steampunk artwork in the "Dressing by Genre" series.

The girl in the dress (same stock artist as the previous dress girl, incidentally):
The skeleton:
The background texture:
The gears from which I made the brushes:

YAY. Which genre do you think I should do next?
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I think this one turned out okay. :)

It was just a little spontaneous thing I did in Pixlr Editor and PicMonkey. I was experimenting with how to use Pixlr Custom Brushes.

The girl in the dress (lovely cutout, yay):
The background texture:
The hexagons used to make the brush:

That's all, I think, since I made the binary brush using text.
This might make a nice book cover. :3 It's the first in what I hope to make a series, called "Dressing by Genre".

The series would be pretty dresses representing different book genres. This would be the "science fiction genre" artwork. Sound good?
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In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much....

The sequel didn't disappoint. :) *spoilers of Steel Corset, read at your own risk*

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar provided an intriguing, steampunk-ified picture of late-1800s America. I've always perked up at any mention of Tesla, and his "inventions" also play a role. Irish gangs, handsome and dangerous criminals, MORE EPIC AETHER STUFF, the undeniable genius of the incredible Emily, betrayal, love, a lot of fighting, I mean, what else do you need from a steampunk novel?

Finley's internal conflict isn't as interesting now that her two halves are merged. Sure, there's a bit of "Will she choose the good?" "Will she choose the bad?" but we all know that she's going to come back to the good (not that we didn't in Steel Corset but not the stakes aren't as high since Finley's dark side is definitely under control) so it was meh. Darn, I wish Emily was the MC. So much. You wouldn't even believe how much I like her. She is smart and sassy and EVERYTHING. You know? She is the kind of person I would want to be friends with.

Jasper's backstory was very neat. It was very logical (and also there was the mention of Mei's past, which immediately made me think of Daughter of Fortune, which made me happy) and provided a pretty good conflict for him. I must admit that I love the name Jasper. No particular reason.

Mmm... I don't know about Griffin. For him, now EVERYTHING IS SUDDENLY ALL ABOUT FINLEY. Only he gets all CONTROLLING. I know some people think "controlling is totally hot" or whatever, like Tobias/Four from Divergent, but personally I don't like controlling guys. And now Griffin is all,  "You cannot do anything without telling me to. Because you might DIE. Okay?" He should give Finley a little independence - after all, he's fully aware that she can manage just fine. Along with Emily. EMILY CAN MANAGE AWESOMELY.

The thing that gets me about the writing style for these two books is that it's very into-the-historical-period, perhaps a little too much so. Things like tarnation, bloody hell, etc. pop up a little too much for them to be easily readable. Then it will suddenly switch to a more modern term, which was vaguely irritating.

Anyhow, I'll see how soon I can get my hands on Iron Touch and review that for everyone. BECAUSE IT'S EMILY, GUYS.

Bye now :)
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When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Some really sweet contemporary fic to wind down my whole intense steampunk obsession.

I loved D.J. She was so candid and funny that it was really easy to step beside her and sympathize. She wasn't perfect, but she wasn't annoyingly flawed, either. She was just a person, which really got me. She had grievances and issues just like anyone. 

Brian Nelson... meh. He wasn't totally sweet or anything, nothing really special, but he had honesty to him, too. You could see that he and D.J. were cute together, although Brian as a person is somewhat doubtful.

The cow theme throughout the book was very apt and nice. D.J. becomes ambitious because she doesn't want to be like a cow, constantly doing the work that everyone tells her to do without complaint. She wants to be more important and open-minded than that.

D.J.'s family tensions were set up very nicely. Her dad, her mom, Win, Bill, Curtis - all of them had meaningful traits and failings, which was strangely likable. The secrets that they keep are logical yet hold some actual significance, which I really loved.

I know that a lot of stories set in small towns end up with the protagonist breaking out of their shell and leaving the town, but what I liked about Dairy Queen was that the MC broke out of her shell without leaving her beloved town. There's a kind of truth to that.

You can tell this review really isn't that great, but it was a nice book, even for personally-football-hating me, about finding one's family against age-old odds like gender discrimination. I would say read it. The next book is called The Off Season, but I don't know if I'll read it. Dairy Queen just ended so perfectly...

But here's a cover and summary anyways:
Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. She’s made it to eleventh grade, she’s reconnecting with her best friend, and she’s got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson. Best of all, she’s playing for the Red Bend High School football team—as the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin.

But then the season goes suddenly, horribly wrong: her brother Win is put in the hospital by a devastating blow during a game. Once again, D.J. is forced to step up and be there for her family. As her life turns completely upside down, she discovers she’s a lot stronger than she – or anyone – ever thought.

This hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately triumphant sequel to the acclaimed novel Dairy Queen takes D.J. and all the Schwenks from Labor Day to an unforgettable Thanksgiving Day game.

The author describes it as "weightier in subject matter" than Dairy Queen, so I may or may not give it a shot. :)
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In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one...except the "thing" inside her.When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no "normal" Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch....

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of "them." The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help--and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on--even if it seems no one believes her.

Recently, I've become a bit obsessed with all things VICTORIAN or STEAMPUNK (because of my new novel, which yes, I do have to get around to posting about). And this was very much both. Which made me very happy :D

Contrary to my expectations, I liked Finley (although I have to say I liked Emily more). She was basically in a Jekyll-and-Hyde position, only the change was part of her blood, not caused by potions. Her inner conflict was interesting and she wasn't a total Mary Sue, thank goodness. It was a refreshing change from the recent increase in bad MCs in popular YA, which is very disheartening. I'm actually working on my own MC's inner conflict, and I'm really not sure if I'm doing it right.

However, Emily is completely brilliant. She's all Irish and smart and strong and doesn't let boys get her down. Her accent is totally cool, too, and she creates these awesome gadgets. CLOCKWORK CATS AND STEEL CORSETS. WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT?

The boys in this book were... interesting.

So the friend who introduced me to this series is, like, OMIGOODNESS JACK DANDY IS SO AMAZING. But I don't know about him. There's really no character development, only a smooth-talking, arrogant, sarcastic criminal, who is admittedly very handsome. Therefore by default I like Griffin better, because with him I got a whole backstory that made me care about him and HE CAN ACCESS THE AETHER. He cares so much about Finley, too. It's sweet.

Sam Morgan I didn't particularly like, though it'll be really cool to see how he and Emily develop. Jasper was pretty chill, too, and I'll be looking forward to seeing more of him in The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, book 2 of the Steampunk Chronicles.

The third book, The Girl With the Iron Touch, came out a few days ago.

So here's summaries for the next two books:
In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much....

I think this is my favorite cover in the series :) That clockwork collar is scary, but sooo pretty...

In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken.

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin.

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has....

Looks like this one will be about my favorite character EMILY! *squeal*
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I've grown quite smitten with a wonderful writing website called Figment, which I plan to join this summer.
And the quality of the writing on this site blows me away.

Figment is home to a whole lot of amazing novelists. And reading the books is free. So, without further ado, I made graphics featuring my favorite Figment quotes. :)

I suppose you could use them as wallpapers... but only if you check out the Figment writing first. *wink* You'll thank me later.

Click for proper proportions and things, although this didn't do the quote justice by a long shot.
The book is here: http://figment.com/books/401-Nattie-Finn

The thing I love about Anande's writing is that the descriptions are so clear and beautiful. You want to be there so badly, to be in that moment.

This was a bit of a long quote, somewhat difficult to do. And definitely, "Finding You" deserves better than this. But I did my best.

The book is here: http://figment.com/books/370110-Finding-You

These aren't all of my favorites - more should be coming soon!
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"Corpus Bones! I utterly loathe my life."

Catherine feels trapped. Her father is determined to marry her off to a rich man--any rich man, no matter how awful.

But by wit, trickery, and luck, Catherine manages to send several would-be husbands packing. Then a shaggy-bearded suitor from the north comes to call--by far the oldest, ugliest, most revolting suitor of them all.

Unfortunately, he is also the richest.

Can a sharp-tongued, high-spirited, clever young maiden with a mind of her own actually lose the battle against an ill-mannered, piglike lord and an unimaginative, greedy toad of a father?

Deus! Not if Catherine has anything to say about it!

Hmm. This is more of a middle-grade novel. It was... cute, I guess. Just okay, you know? A 3-stars-out-of-5 thing. Not bad, not good.

So I read this for school. The main character, Catherine, is kind of strange. She seems to hate her father without ever giving him a chance, which annoyed me because it made her father incredibly one-dimensional, and at a lot of points her as well.

I know that many reviews of this book talk about how Catherine was "a feminist before her time", but it really just seems like she doesn't want to get married because the suitors are odious. She has no particular ideals about campaigning for women, particularly. Throughout the novel, she uses phrases like "when I get married" and such things.

The voice that the novel was narrated in was amusing... at the beginning. As I read more and more, I found the constant use of "Deus!" or "Corpus bones!" or "God's thumbs!" greatly irritating. It honestly seemed like the author was trying much, much too hard to make the book educational rather than just letting the plot flow. And I don't know about everyone else, but I don't like having to read through a bunch of educational nonsense.

The book had its nice moments, but the names threw me off, the voice threw me off, the main character especially threw me off, and the cover is really ugly (I mean, seriously). So while I'm not sure how to justify the Newbery Honor that it has, I would recommend this for younger readers looking for a quick, lighthearted historical fiction book.
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Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

*sits and blinks for a few moments*

So I was in the YA section of my local library, right? And I decide to check out this shelf that I've never really looked at before. And there it was.

I'm just that kind of weird person who judges books by their covers, and this color scheme was absolutely brilliant, so I picked it up and took it home to read.

This was one of those chilling, creepy but still really good books. Definitely in the same category as Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett (my review for that is here: http://lifeisinexpressible.blogspot.com/2013/01/book-review-butterfly-by-sonya-hartnett.html).

Ruby definitely caught my attention from the very first page. This is a character like no other. She had undeniable flair and a mysterious, irrational logic that made me remember her. Throughout the book, Chloe described her with such reverence that the reader was immediately pulled into Ruby's distinctly unsettling spell.

I don't know if this was just me, but I had trouble figuring out what was going on, which, interestingly, made me want to read through to the end even more. The enthralling combination of elements (yes, I just used the word enthralling) caught me by the throat and wouldn't let me go until I finished.

Chloe was, against most odds, a really likable character. I admired the way she looked at her world, although she didn't actually seem especially strong or spunky or introverted or anything. She was just very normal.

I would definitely recommend this book to those who like a mystery and some suspense, as well as fiery, unforgettable characters. Nova Ren Suma's new book, 17 & Gone, might be worth checking out as well.

Bye then :)
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The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And - most importantly of all - she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine's Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls - neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Erm. Well honestly, this one was a bit of a disappointment.

I mean, yes, there were high stakes and awesome supporting characters and most of the things that define Cassie Clare's writing.

But Cassie let the convoluted romances take over a little bit, and I didn't like that. The thing is, CoFA was originally meant to be a Simon-centric graphic novel about what happens after CoG. I could see that a lot in CoFA. Simon was basically stuck in a love triangle between Maia and Izzy (although the girl he needs to be with was really obvious to me... SIMABELLE, ANYONE? Or Isamon, I suppose... XP). He gained much more significance as a character in the plot due to his new status as a Daylighter and a Wanderer (meaning he possesses the Mark of Cain). Suddenly (perhaps a little too suddenly), everyone wanted him on their side.

Then, of course, there was CLACE. And when Jace isn't himself, that drives me just a little bit crazy. Just a little bit.

Okay, a lot crazy.

And Maia and Jordan was cute but a little unnecessary. I just don't get the point of Maia being in the story at all, you know?

URG. I'm doing it again, being too critical when I honestly would totally fail and writing something like this.

(BTW, when I join Figment sometime this summer, I'll be debuting my new novel and possibly a rewrite of The Universe Quilt.)

Lilith was an interesting villain, but it kind of felt like Cassie was spending a little too much time prepping for the actual villain, who is obviously Sebastian. I'm really interested to see how Jace and Sebastian will play out their peculiar little bond thingy.

So I know this review is pretty fuzzy and un-detailed because that's what book reviewers do when they get lazy (or maybe it's just me). The City of Bones movie release date has changed to AUGUST 21.


What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

This was definitely better. I loved the ending.

However, it seems like Cassie is losing steam a bit (no, that was NOT a steampunk reference or anything). The first trilogy (Bones, Ashes, Glass) was so completely amazing that this second one seems like a bit of a letdown. Honestly, it may have been better if she just stopped at Glass. Although that doesn't mean I'm not going to read City of Heavenly Fire (coming March 2014).

Here's the summary for that, by the way:

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance?

No cover yet, though apparently it'll be revealed "when you least expect it".

Other than the REALLY, REALLY AWK-SAUCE SHOWER SEX SCENE the relationships were okay. Still don't know why Maia and Jordan really exist. Simon and Izzy are awesome. JACE IS STILL NOT HIMSELF. CLACE. SERIOUSLY GUYS. NOOOOO.

So I'm willing to be very generous when it comes to Shadowhunter books, right? But the second trilogy... I don't know... it seems like Cassie should probably stop now. I'd like to see what she can do in other worlds.

That said, I'll still read any new Shadowhunter books that come out. ;)

Oh yes, TDA (Dark Artifices)'s first book is Lady Midnight. The series stars Emma Carstairs, Julian Blackthorn, and Cristina Rosales. (Julian apparently appears in CoHF and he also appears briefly in CoLS.)
Summary for that:
Los Angeles, 2012. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to the eradication of demons and being the best, fastest and deadliest Shadowhunter since Jace Lightwood. Raised in the Los Angeles Institute, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian. As Emma hunts those who caused the death of her parents, the trail they’re following leads back to those they’ve always been taught to trust. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with Julian — her closest friend and, because he is her parabatai, the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

No cover either. March 2015 for this. Heh. Hopefully Emma Carstairs is a nice heroine. The love triangle is apparently between *gasp* two girls and a guy this time. *shrugs*

So yeah. I guess you won't be seeing much Shadowhunter stuff here for a while >.<
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This is another part of the Sir Thomas More school project. More persecuted those he believed were heretics during his time as undersheriff and later Lord Chancellor of London. The finger symbolizes the "righteous finger of God".

NOTE (again): The burning is not meant to make any religious statement. My beliefs are personal, but I'm not meaning to insult yours, either. It is simply that More was Catholic and this is what he believed he was doing.

Again, Pixlr Editor for cutouts, PicMonkey for finishing up.

Stock photos used (thank you all so much!):

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The title of the artwork is Latin for "many things have fallen only to rise again". It's another photomanip for school, a project about Sir Thomas More. This symbolizes More's belief that humans, while sinful in nature, had the potential to rise towards better things.

NOTE: The angels are not meant to make a statement about my or anyone else's religious beliefs. They are simply there because Thomas More was Catholic and thus he would have associated this rising with the angels.

Pixlr Editor was used to cut the photos out and PicMonkey was used to put it all together :)

Stock images used (thanks a million to all of these wonderful stock artists!):


There! :D
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When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

URG. I don't want to say this. Because I went to a book signing in March that also had MARISSA MEYER  present that featured Jessica Brody and she seemed like a really cool and nice person.

But I really didn't like this book.

One big thing that sounds very picky (but actually isn't if you think about it) is the names threw me off. They were just too weird. I mean, they were cool names in and of themselves, but it was kind of like Jessica was using all the names she's ever longed to use and just dumping them into this random sci-fi novel and sending me reeling. I mean, Seraphina, Lyzender (who names the love interest Lyzender? it's just as bad as Tobias from Divergent), Alixter, Rio. It annoyed me throughout the book. Seriously.

Another big thing, though, is that the entire plot revolves around the romance. I don't know who's with me on this, but I generally don't like these kinds of books (unless they're really cute/meaningful chick lit/contemporary fic - The Fault in Our Stars, Sarah Dessen, anyone? those books just... I love them). So basically it starts out with a pretty cliché premise (she's floating around in the middle of the ocean, having lost all her memories. This sounds veeerrry familiar.) and a strange MC and this boy who is slightly creepy actually, stalking Seraphina all the time without explaining anything and then when it's time to explain, not doing it properly and instead sticking a cube of memories in her brain. It didn't make sense and the feelings just weren't there.

Seraphina was... just... a Mary Sue. I mean, there are some characters out there who fully, fully deserve to be Mary Sues (Will Herondale, Jace Herondale, Westley etc.) but this girl... no. From the beginning everyone's going on and on about how beautiful and perfect she is, which immediately makes her completely unrelatable to about 80% of the population. Then you realize she's also super smart and can run super fast and is pretty nice to people. 

Then you get PISSED OFF.

Because first of all, main characters never work well as Mary Sues. A supporting Mary Sue, sure. As long as they're brilliant and awesome and stuff. But this perfect person just plopping down at the beginning of the story, without any character building... it basically makes you hate them immediately. Grr.

And I do love stories that manage to combine the most random elements in the most perfect way. John Green does this unbelievably amazingly. But this tried... and failed.

Poetry from Shakespeare, time travel, eternal love, and Sanskrit? (BTW, Seraphina can also speak like a gajillion different languages. Agh.) Yech.

So no, I didn't like this book, and only read it if you have nothing else to read. Like. NOTHING. I'm not even going to bother looking for the next books in the series when they come out.
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Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

By now, everyone is aware of my OBSESSION with all things SHADOWHUNTER. (It is becoming super, super hard to say whether I like TID or TMI more, but I'm leaning towards TID for some reason even though I hate Tessa. Possibly because of Will and Jem and Charlotte and Jessamine and Henry. Although I do love Jace and Simon and Isabelle and Alec. And I love Magnus from both, obviously.)

The thing about Cassie's writing is her CHARACTERS. OMIGOODNESS. Especially her SUPPORTING CHARACTERS. It's not so much her heroines - somehow the characters around them seem so much more complex. Like Will and Jem are so much more layered than Tessa is. And Jace is so much more complicated than Clary. Sometimes it even gets to the point where it seems like the MCs are simply vessels through which Cassie can communicate her awesome supporting characters. I mean, I'm fine with that, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Shadowhunters, but I don't know. Hopefully The Dark Artifices will have a good heroine. Emma Carstairs sounds pretty kick-butt. :)

Anyhow, City of Ashes was reeeallly good. Unfortunately, the whole time JACE IS CLARY'S BROTHER AND THAT IS SOOOO NOT COOL >:( also, it makes everything awkward between Simon and Clary when I'm screaming SIMON AND IZZY NEED TO GET TOGETHER, OBVIOUSLY. 

And it seems like Cassie is one of those incredibly gifted people who can keep a story going, awesomely and with a fast pace, using third-person past tense. I, for one, seem to be completely incapable of doing this (The Universe Quilt COUGH COUGH COUGH). So of course she deserves a huge pat on the back for that. (Actually, a huge pat on the back would amount to more of a slap, so maybe not.)


To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

This book - this book - this book - IT IS THE BEST TMI BOOK SO FAR. :'D

The stakes become epic and the final battle in Alicante is like BOOM BOOM BOOM AND I WAS JUST SITTING THERE LIKE OH MY OH MY OH MY OH MY OH MY GOOSSSSHH. Every twenty minutes or so I had to kind of pause and take a few deep breaths. Not because of the book, but because I was drowning in the general awesomeness.

Like I said above, the supporting characters that Cassie creates are just GENIUS. And they really come into their own here in City of Glass - especially Jace. His personality and the sort of self-destructive internal journey that he takes is just heartbreaking. The conflict between what he THINKS is his demonic nature (and therefore his "father", Valentine) and what he wants to be, particularly with Clary, is something that I really loved. Like, masterful. ("Masterful" is always an adjective I've wanted to have someone describe my work with. Unfortunately, as of now that occurrence is highly unlikely. *sigh*)

The only thing that confused me was that Alec had never killed a demon before Glass, right? So why was no one making a big deal about the fact that he killed like a thousand demons out in the battle? This bothered me probably more than it should have XD

The conclusive scene, the whole climax - it was amazing. I MEAN RAZIEL JUST LIKE EXPLODED OUT OF LAKE LYN AND TOTALLY PWNED VALENTINE AND AGGGGGGHHHHHH AND THEN JACE AND CLARY AND GAH. I think at that point I was this close *opens fingers just over a millimeter away from each other* to fainting. The only thing, though, about this scene was the indirectness of it all. I mean, when it came down to it, the only person who defeated Valentine was Valentine himself. (I mean you could say the Angel Raziel did it, but Valentine summoned the Angel, so...) So maybe Clary did do that underhanded little rune thing with the ritual. But that was in a moment of weakness and desperation. And I did get that she wanted Jace alive and so she used her wish on him (I MEAN WHO DOESN'T WANT JACE ALIVE? JACE IS LIKE... JACE JACE JACE *swoons*). But that might just set City of Fallen Angels up for a whole bunch of "I love you" gushiness. And that would not look good with Jace, because Jace isn't a gushy person.

Anyhow, I'm being too critical. City of Glass really was breathtaking, and amazing and awesome and *trails away into incoherent fangirl babble*...

So I'm going to go read Fallen Angels now, okay everyone? :)
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Even though none of my readers know the slightest thing about this new novel.


More on this later, I promise.

This is mostly for the sake of the lovely deviantART artists whose stock stuff I used.

Attribution: Cover design by Starflower Hunting. Stock texture courtesy of ~Myruso on deviantART (http://myruso.deviantart.com/). Girl silhouette made using stock image courtesy of ~Lynnwest-Stock on deviantART (http://lynnwest-stock.deviantart.com/). Man silhouette made using stock image courtesy of =Falln-Stock on deviantART (http://falln-stock.deviantart.com/)
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Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I finally got around to reading this and it reminded me why I love Cinder so much :'D

Scarlet Benoit is a very nice contrast to Cinder. She's hot-tempered, more than a little feisty (she shoots Wolf in the arm! :D), and pretty awesome in general. Hopefully in future books (Cress and Winter! Rapunzel and Snow White!) Cinder and Scarlet will make an epic team.

Now, I found myself a little confused where "the boys" were concerned. Why does everyone love Wolf and Captain Thorne so much? WHY ARE THEY ALL NEGLECTING KAI?

I don't know. Wolf was just kind of weird, although his personality did seem to fit with Scarlet's well. They're good for each other, but Wolf. Um. And Captain Thorne is simply a wannabe - it's obvious that Cinder still belongs with Kai. Since Kai is so sweet and nice and funny. :)


So... hmm... this is one of those books that "you just cannot stop reading", as wisely put by one of my good friends. I kind of tore through it over a short period of time. I loved the way the Red Riding Hood fairy tale was weaved into this one - the relationship isn't as obvious as it was in Cinder.

I'm really coming to love The Lunar Chronicles and can't wait for Cress coming out in 2014! (Wonder when the cover reveal will be... Hm.)
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When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .



Now I can't decide whether I like Jace or Will more. *huffs*







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Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues - and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

GREEN GENIUS. (A phrase borrowed from my good friend, who introduced me to John Green. And Cassandra Clare. But more on Cassie later.)


I honestly could not find anything wrong with this book. Quentin and Margo were done to perfection, and... urrgghhh.... Margo is AMAZING. Quentin gets pretty amazing, too, but that's over the course of the book.

The supporting characters are funny, supportive (OH DUH SUPPORTING CHARACTERS), and really just a buoyant factor for the whole novel. Without them, Quentin probably would have gotten all depressed and then Paper Towns would just have been completely black. AND OBVIOUSLY, THAT'S NOT COOL. BECAUSE... GREEN GENIUS. (You can tell I'm going to keep saying that. *winks*)

The plot points were brilliant, and the quotes... epic as usual. I MEAN, WHAT ELSE CAN YOU EXPECT FROM JOHN GREEN?

Officially a John Green fan now, guys...

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Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of Northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.

So begins Isabel Allende's enchanting novel Daughter of Fortune. As we follow her spirited heroine on a perilous journey north in the hold of a ship to the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco and Northern California, we enter a world whose newly arrived inhabitants are driven mad by gold fever. A society of single men and prostitutes—among whom Eliza moves with the help of her good friend and savior, the Chinese doctor Tao Chi'en—California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean. Her search for the elusive Joaquín gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms her over time, and what began as a search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.

Daughter of Fortune is a sweeping portrait of an era, a story rich in character, history, violence, and compassion. In Eliza, Allende has created one of her most appealing heroines, an adventurous, independent-minded, and highly unconventional young woman who has the courage to reinvent herself and to create her hard-won destiny in a new country.

This is more adult fiction, but it was so good.

Eliza was definitely a complex and layered and awesome heroine. Her single-minded passion, her internal struggle, her journeys, everything is just completely believable and there.

ALSO, THE SETTING. Not everyone can pull off historical fiction as achingly realistic as that. In fact, like I've said before, I usually don't even like historical fiction. But the world can surprise a girl. The richness of description make you feel not as if you are walking the streets of Valparaíso or San Francisco, but as if you already have had these streets in your bones all your life.

Tao Chi'en had an intriguing backstory and he was a good guy. He also had complexities, and that really got me about this book - how easily believable and honest every character was. How there were no flat characters. Each one had a definite and honest story.

The writing style was a bit heady, somewhat difficult to take in all at once, which meant I read slower than usual. However, the end result was totally worth it - the story, while seemingly shapeless while you're reading, takes on a whole new form once you're finished.

So if you feel you're ready to make the transition to adult fiction, then by all means, give it a shot.
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June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Erm. Well.

So to sum this book up: epic action, a big fat love square, a strange worldview, aaannnd... well, I don't know. It wasn't, like, terrific, but it was pretty good.

There's a really interesting dynamic between June and Day throughout the whole book. I mean, I don't know about you guys, but I've always liked June better for some reason. She's kick-butt, and yes, I know they're supposed to be exactly the same in intelligence, but Day is just dense at times. Only June, for once, needs help. But Day is still dense.

Especially about Tess.

TESS, I HATE YOU. I'm sorry. In Legend she seems like the sweetest little puppy girl ever. And then. She. Starts. Bad-mouthing. June. After everything the poor girl has done for her. On top of all that, she's into Day and is trying to stop June and Day from being together.


However, I wasn't sure about the direction that Marie Lu was taking her in, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens with Tess in Champion (book 3, set to come out November 5, 2013).

Oh, BTW, here's the Champion summary (no cover yet though):
He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.

URRGGH. It sounds really good, but I just don't know about the direction this series is going in, ya know?

Anyhow, Prodigy was okaay, so you can try picking it up if you've read Legend. (Then again, I may just be willing to read this series for June alone. :D)

PS: Apparently they're making a movie of Legend. Sounds good, since all the action will work really well, but Day is part Mongolian :( So I fear for the casting here.

UPDATE 5/18/2013:
Soooo who has seen the new Champion cover?
It's actually pretty cool-looking. So I guess I might read it.
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