Please excuse me. It’s #NaNoWriMo Season.

Originally posted on Ashley Townsend:

buzzAh, yes, NaNoWriMo. A time during the month of November when authors attempt to climb the tip of Everest in the form of reaching a *cough* small goal of 50,000 words in their WIP (work in progress). A time when writers gain 20 lbs from sitting around, act emotionally unstable and irritable, down more caffeine than is deemed medically safe, start crying at random after looking blissfully inspired a moment before, eat their weight in chocolate, and are finally committed (for crimes that our search engines inspired when we called it “research”). Basically, it’s like the Hunger Games for writers: Let the WriMo begin! And may the word count be ever in your favor. . . . (My sisters and I are going to see Mockingjay Part 2 next week at this incredible theater with recliner chairs, so it’s kind of on my mind. ^_^)

An update on my progress…

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (The Illuminae Files #1)

IlluminaeJKT600px-copy book

“Illuninae” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

3 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:

“This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.”

I just want to start this review off by saying thank you to the lovely lady who loaned me her ARC of “Illuminae” and Knopf publishing for giving her one. In no way has this influenced my review.

There was a LOT of hype surrounding “Illuminae” before it came out, and I had joined the masses of bloggers trying to get their hands on a nearly unobtainable and coveted ARC of this book. Yeah, I was SUPER excited for this book and was getting caught up in the tide of reviews proclaiming how glorious “Illuminae” was, and now that this weighty book has been released, it seems for most people that it was not overly hyped by popular bloggers/readers. Sadly, I wasn’t most people.


Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes or gross trash at me for saying it, but I did not like this book. I ended up reading “Illuminae” back in late July (thanks to the generous loan from a fellow bookish comrade) and after finishing it, I just didn’t know how to review it due to my lackluster feelings towards it, and the longer I waited, the more I dreaded the day when I had to write my review. I kinda hate myself a little bit since I love Amie Kaufman so much as an author, but my problem was that “Illuminae” never had anything that appealed to me, no character or situation that drew me into its story. I kept hoping for something to really pop out at me like a character or plot twist, but I wasn’t surprised by much because it seemed a little predictable, and I was not at all held in suspense since the stakes weren’t high for me; I didn’t have a character that I loved, so I had nothing to lose. I didn’t want for any of the characters to die, but when a lot of them did get killed, I was sad because they were (fictional) people, yet I was left relatively unaffected. I think that one of the reasons for my feeling of distance from the characters in this story was because of the writing style where most everything was in texts, instant messages, data logs, and secret dossiers.

The writing style was definitely inventive and different from anything I have seen in YA, but the fact that almost all of this book’s 600 pages were written in the cold, distancing style of text and instant messaging, I felt like I was watching this book unfold rather than feeling involved and like I was a part of this story. I think the best thing to compare this book to is a video game that you get to watch someone else play. Not. Fun.

bored sherlock

Due to the lack of suspense, my dislike of the main characters, and the feeling of déjà vous concerning the science fiction aspects of this book, I just really wanted to finish “Illuminae” and be done with it. I was so sad about that because I REALLY wanted to like this book and I tried to, but it just was not for me. “Illuminae” wasn’t a bad book, but I don’t think it is all that epic either, and that really pains my heart to write because of how much I love both halves of the dynamic duo known as the “Starbound” authors. I guess I just kept wanting for Amie and Meagan to be the ones writing this book together, making it an extension of their creative and immensely entertaining “Starbound” trilogy. Okay, I’ve rained on this book long enough, so I’m going to talk about something that I actually liked about “Illuminae.”

I may not have liked the characters or story of “Illuminae,” but I did LOVE the design of this book’s cover and its incredibly unique interior. As I said before, the whole book was done in texts, instant messages, dossiers, and data logs, and although it did not end up being a good way to get to know the characters, they made for a very interesting visual every time I turned the page. My favorite pages were definitely the black ones because of how uniquely they were designed; some were pictures made out of words/numbers, and others were beautiful patterns drawn from strings of words. It was very creative, and I loved the artistry of those pages as well as the parts of the story they shared with me as a reader.

Overall, I think “Illuminae” was a very creatively designed book with a promising concept. Despite that, however, this was definitely not a book that I like, and as much as I love Amie Kaufman as an author, I don’t think I’ll pick the second book in the “Illuminae Files” series up.

P.S. Most people are giving “Illuminae” rave reviews, so don’t let my review steer you off of picking it up.

Fangirl Friday #14…Cover Reveal: The Crown by Kiera Cass

I am super excited today because the final book in Kiera Cass’s “The Selection” series has a cover!!! A couple of weeks ago the title of book #5 was put onto goodreads, but I didn’t think a cover would be posted so soon after the title reveal, and I was SO surprised to see the gorgeous cover for “The Crown” just pop up on twitter! Alright, here it is…






the crown by kiera cass

The designer and crew who make the covers for Kiera’s series know how to make a gorgeous, eye-catching piece of art! Bravo, cover designer(s), bravo!beauty and the beast

The HarperTeen crew kinda blew my mind with how stunningly beautiful their cover is, and all the sparkly lights completely sold me on this cover. Here’s to hoping the final installment of this series wraps up the story of Illéa and its people well, and that Eadlyn learns to lead rather than command and control her people. I also want there to be a lot more Kile, so I am hoping that he plays a bigger part in the last book of this series. Now we just have to wait until May of 2016 to find out what happens…

Um, excuse me while I go run into the future and get myself a copy of this book.


Book Recommendations for Today!

So, I know it’s Halloween and that most people are into eerie, scary stuff book wise, but that’s just not me. I like gritty tales of adventure and heroism, but I also enjoy unicorns and magical rainbows of happiness and joy, so today is not usually my deal with all the creepy movies and books that people love. Due to this time of the year, a lot of bloggers that I following have been reading and recommending more Gothic or horror-based novels, and although I know I probably won’t end up reading those books, it makes me really happy to see people sharing their love of books with other, whatever genre it may be, and it kind of inspired me to make a post of book recommendations too!

Obviously my likes don’t read coincide with this particular holiday or the horror/zombie/thriller genre, but there are always exceptions, and here are mine!

the madman's daughter by megan shepherd“The Madman’s Daughter” by Megan Shepherd.

5 out of 5 stars.

I LOVE “The Madman’s Daughter” so  much!! It was really surprising to me because normally I don’t like books like this, but this story was absolutely perfect and just eerie enough to make it feel different from the others books I’d read. I also liked the fact that it was Gothic-horror, so it felt like it had more of the eerie tone of “Jane Eyre” in addition to “Doctor Moreau’s Island.” The rest of this trilogy was also really great, but “The Madman’s Daughter” had the perfect amount of mystery and bittersweet undertones that it is still my favorite. It was a very good Gothic book that I like to recommend to anyone who’s looking for a darker historical fiction book.

fadb7a3d83fd596acdf8c4e4476217da“A Mad Zombie Party” by Gena Showalter

4 out of 5 stars.

This was by far my favorite book in Gena’s “White Rabbit Chronicles”! I loved Camille as the main female because she was really tough, but she also had a good heart and sacrificed so much for her brother River. I also really liked Frosty as the main male character, and it was nice to get two perspectives with this book rather than just one. “A Mad Zombie Party” was a fun ride, I loved Frosty and Camille, and Gena wrapped up the series pretty well. I liked this book a lot!

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
“Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer” by Katie Alender
4 out of 5 stars.
THIS was a fun read! There was not real mystery to it, but I loved that “Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer” delivered a fun adventure, taking me through the streets of Paris; it also had a fairly good moral to it by the end, so that was cool. It was a very fun and cute book, and I loved the nice Parisian boy who kind of became Colette’s friend. He and his family were so nice!
Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) “Wither” by Lauren DeStefano
4 out of 5 stars.
“Wither” was a bag full of crazy and it ended up being a little creepy at times. I loved this book when I read it back in 2012, and it might just be crazy enough to appeal to others on a day like this.
Alright, well those are about all I have in my personal collection to recommend to you in the Gothic, horror, and zombie genres! Thanks for visiting me and have a good weekend!

Fangirl Friday #13…Books that I’m Waiting (Impatiently) For

Okay, so this week’s Fangirl Friday has a few of the books that I am really forward to in 2015 and 2016. Here’s my top five:


13138736 their fractured light amie kaufman and meagan spooner

“Their Fractured Light” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Release date: December 1st, 2015

Goodreads summary:

“A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.”

I want this book to come out so bad, and I don’t know if I can wait another month for it!!!

the one funny


 2. the rose and the dagger renee ahdieh

“The Rose and the Dagger” by Renée Ahdieh

Release date: May 3rd, 2016.

Goodreads summary:

“I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.”

Don’t even get me started on how much I need this book!!! *hyperventilates*




3e8130f0-da10-0132-cec8-0e01949ad350 marie rutkoski the winner's kiss

“The Winner’s Kiss” by Marie Rutkoski

Release date: March 1st, 2016.

Goodreads summary:

“War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?”

This is another one to not get me started on with how much I want it. Why must March be so far away?????? *weeps*

poldark ed47af38abb3ec0293e8f31130a7da61



walk the edge by katie mcgarry book

“Walk the Edge” by Katie McGarry

Release date: March 29th, 2016.

Goodreads summary:

“One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.”

Uhhhh, can I please have this book, like, now?





“My lady Jane” by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.

Release date: June 7th, 2016

Goodreads summary:

“For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.”

“My Lady Jane” sounds really fun, and I love that they are comparing it to “The Princess Bride”! I am definitely looking forward to it!

I guess the theme of this post is that I REALLY want a time machine so I can go forward in time so I can read my most anticipated books without having to wait for them. *sighs* But maybe it’s all the waiting that makes them so sweet when you get your hands on a copy? I still want a time machine, but I do see the benefits of being patient…

Thanks so much for visiting me this Friday! Have a good weekend!

#FanArtFriday Round 4!

Originally posted on Ashley Townsend:

What’s this? Fan Art Friday on a Friday?!!!! Imagine that. ^_~ So this is the last Friday of Chasing Shadows‘ birth month, where we celebrated a year of reading by giving away copies of Chasing Shadows, swag, gift cards, plenty of fan art, and also new pieces of art created for Defying Shadows that I released every week. This next piece of art was designed specifically to torture you guys, but I have a couple things to cover before I get into the gorgeousness that has been created for the final “official” Fan Art Friday. But fret not, dear Hooders! There will be more agony and tempting teasers to come, especially since four Fridays of fan art is certainly not enough for my liking. ;-)

The winners of the Chasing Shadows 1-Year Celebration all received their packages–yay!–and posted pics of their prizes on Twitter. I hope you…

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#FanArtFriday … Well, Sort Of

Originally posted on Ashley Townsend:

So because I live in a fantasy world Monday-Sunday during all of my waking and sleeping hours, I may or may not have forgotten that yesterday was Friday—hence, Fan Art Friday on a Saturday. Umm, yeah. I spent all day writing/rewriting/perpetually adding extra lines to an intense, time travel-heavy scene and got a teensy bit caught up in the awesomeness of it all. 


So, now that the distraction has passed—that is, until I start writing again as soon as we’re finished here—brace yourselves for some slightly spoily fan art that is, let’s face it, drool worthy. 

Quite Some Time

I know, right?!!! 0.0 And I’m working with this artist on the cover design concept for Defying Shadows next week, so I am ridiculously excited to get started on that. *excited clapping*

And in case you’re wondering, the winners of the Chasing Shadows Celebration were all notified via social media last weekend, and their packages mailed…

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