Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): When I Look At You by Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton [The Scarlet Pimpernel musical soundtrack].

My reviews are a bit different than most. As an undercover superhero (ordinary girl extraordinaire), my purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the familiar radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself (just like the pirate code). :)

I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 bestselling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will review recent books or books of great merit (preferably both).

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Published: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 416
Current Amazon Rank: #30,623

Author's Website: Diana Peterfreund
Want it? Find it here.

The First Line:

Dear Kai,
My name is Elliot, and I am six years old and live in the big house. Everyone says your smarter than me but I know I am the smartest. I bet you can't even read this letter.
Your friend,
Elliot North


Elliot North raced across the pasture, leaving a scar of green in the silver, dew-encrusted grass.

My Take:

I adore this book. Go. Read it as soon as you possibly can. Buy many copies. *tosses fairy dust in your eyes*

Somehow, even though that is all I want to say over and over, I don't think that will cut it.

This book is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion. If that doesn't catch you in a ball of squee right there, Elliot's character will capture your heart within pages. I love Elliot. She is so smart, and kind, and resourceful. And so incredibly brave, but not in any of the normal sword-wielding, butt-kicking ways you might immediately think of (don't get me wrong. I love those girls aplenty too). She is strong by standing still, like a rock against a terrible, relentless storm. She is the only one standing between the people who work on her estate and her own family. She is the only one who truly cares about them and sees them.

That is why, four years ago, when her closest friend and the boy she deeply loved asked her to leave with him, she refused him. The people on the estate needed her more. But now Kai is back, but he is Kai no longer. He has taken the name Malakai Wentforth as a sign of shedding his status as a "post-reduction" worker. Employed under a group of explorers known as the Cloud Fleet, he is now rich beyond imagining. And with her estate on the knife's edge of ruin because of her family opulence, she has no choice but to rent out land to them so they can build a new ship.

At first she hopes that something might be mended between them, but those hopes are quickly incinerated when Kai shows her just how little he cares and what she lost. There are times when I literally wanted to thump Kai upside the head with a 2x4, but at the same time, I understood Kai's hurt and betrayal. Also, knowing this was a reimagining of Jane Austen kept me turning the pages in eager anticipation, fully realizing how this would end. But oh man, does she [Austen and Peterfreund] put you through the emotional wringer. I read this into the wee hours of the morning, refusing sleep because I could not put the book down. That doesn't happen often, and it is a glorious moment when it does. Because there is a secret Kai is keeping from everyone, and he is not the only one.

Elliot is not the arrogant, demure and obedient Luddite he believes her to be, and the secret Kai keeps could bring their entire world to its knees. It changes everything, for both of them.

It is such a fantastic read, and let me just say this now - THE BARN SCENE. Oh my gosh you might die during the barn scene. And no, it has nothing to do with hay. Diana Peterfreund has done something masterful in this work. She has paid a beautiful homage to Jane Austen while fully making it her own. Absolutely wonderful.

The Final Word:

For lovers of Austen and of good stories everywhere. So so good. Really, just go read it.


There is a FREE ebook that serves as a bridge/prequel to For Darkness Shows the Stars! It tells all about Kai and what happened to him after he left the estate. If you ever got frustrated with Kai, you will understand him a whole lot more now. It is fantastic and is a perfect compliment, in my opinion. It's called Among the Namelss Stars.

Also, if anyone is terribly interested (like I am), Diana is offering a marked up copy of this book as a part of Presenting Lenore's Dsytopian Month.  And there are some other amazing ones there too. You may want to submit your own dystopian review soon. Like, before Saturday.

Recipe: Lemon Cake from CJ Redwine's DEFIANCE

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Fairy Dance by James Newton Howard [Peter Pan soundtrack].

CJ Redwine is a darling. Let me just put that out there right now. And she has a debut novel coming out tomorrow. And... I've made a surprise for her. Yep, it's dessert time (oh my goodness. I think this may be the very first, full-on dessert I've ever created. Holy cow. I may have to check to verify this, but dude, this could be an epic moment).

Now ORIGINALLY I was going to invent a recipe for cinnamon rolls, since they are Rachel's (the main character of Defiance) favorite food (almost always an obvious choice for me). But then I saw a small, almost out-of-the-way mention of something that happens on Rachel's birthday, something significant to the story at hand. And it all happens over lemon cake. Now that plus the fact that CJ's husband is something of a cupcake god, and the fact that CJ loves lemony things, little bells started going off in my head and I changed course. Now she can make her very own version of Defiance cupcakes to celebrate whenever she wants. Surprise! :D

Before we plunge into the deliciousness that is this lemon cake of ohmygoodness, let me say this. This cake is LEMONY. It is intense, but it is so good. If you don't like lemon flavor, just scale it back a bit. I'll tell you where. Ready to get started?

Defiance Lemon Cake

1/2 lb (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 C. sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature(ish. Yes, this is important)
7 lemons. This will =
1/2 C. lemon zest. 1/3 or 1/4 C if you want a less intense flavor

3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt.
3/4 C. lemon juice (leftovers from the lemons you'll be using)
3/4 C buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 tsp almond extract
Yellow food coloring

 It's a miniature mountain o' lemons!

Grease and flour a pan of choice. I used a bundt cake pan because I liked the shape, but pick whichever you like. Make sure you grease and flour. Don't spray or use another method. This will help separate the cake from the pan and not leave a sticky residue on top, which is especially good for this presentation.

Cream the butter and 2 C. of the sugar with an electric mixer until quite airy.

While that is going on (or if you have a helper) it is time to zest the lemons! This may take longer than you'd think, so you may actually want to start this step before creaming the sugar and the butter. It's citrus. It will last. :)

If you have a micro-planer - brilliant. If not, a cheese grater will doing the job swimmingly. I went with the cheese grater because I am not sure how many have a micro-planer and I wanted to show it works just as well. ^_^


Nekked lemon :)

Add the eggs one by one, along with your newly grated lemon zest. Don't tell me that it doesn't look and smell gorgeous. Oh, and the reason why it is important to have the eggs at or near room temperature is so that they emulsify (bind) easier and stick to all the right bits in the cake. Same with the buttermilk you'll be adding in just a minute. :)

 In a separate bowl, add the flour, salt, and baking soda together.

In ANOTHER bowl, add 1/4 C of the lemon juice (freshly squeezed), buttermilk, vanilla, and almond extract. Basically liquid and dry in separate bowls.


After. You want to get as much goodness out of these as possible. :)

Now, in small portions, combine each of the wet and dry ingredients into the first/main bowl. Now mix! (Yes, very bad me. I forgot to take pictures of this part). But this is what it looks like when it's done!

Here you add the food coloring. I'm not sure if I had weaksauce yellow, but it took me 15 drops before I thought it looked ready. But I did it in 3 drop increments. So don't go dumping it all in at once. You want it to be a rich yellow, not a fake yellow. Then, pour into the pan of choice and smooth it out.


Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to 1 hour, testing using a toothpick. And here is the trick with the toothpick test. You don't actually want it to come out clean. Because the internal temperature of the cake will continue to cook it, what you want is to have just a few moist flakes come out with the toothpick (we're not talking goo here). Then by the time the cake cools, it is absolutely perfect. ^_^

Once you pull your cake is ready, a couple of things will happen pretty quickly (but not like candy making. That stuff is insane). First you'll pull the cake out of the oven. While it begins to cool, put the remaining 1/2 C of sugar and 1/2 C of lemon juice into a sauce pan/pot. Heat and stir just until the sugar dissolves. Now you need to flip the cake over. For those of you who don't know, here is a neat little trick.

First, get a plate (or any flat, stable surface really). Cover the bottom of the pan.

Then literally turn the thing on its head in one quick, smooth motion.

With your supreme greasing and flouring skills, the cake should glide right out of the pan.

For a normal cake - voila! - you'd be done. (It's like a practical party trick) ;) But this is not an ordinary cake. So flip that sucker back over again.

Why? Because that lemon juice/sugar mixture you just whipped up. We're pouring it over the top. Well, bottom. We want it on the bottom because it is more pourous and it will soak in deeper and better into the cake, making it just that much more flavorful and moist. It's like heaven in a mouthful. (Why didn't we do this while still in the pan? Because the sugar content might have stuck to the sides of the pan, this making it not come out clean). Pour the lemon liquid over the cake.

Doesn't that look delicious? Wait until it is cool. Or not. Then, feast! Bon appetite, everyone!

Palace of Stone GIVEAWAY (did I mention it was INTERNATIONAL?)

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole.

Okay guys. You are in for a TREAT. This is the kind of book you read in one sitting. The kind of book you sink into and lose all shape and sound around you as you become immersed another world entirely. The kind that tickles you and fills you with delight and wide-eyed awe. Shannon Hale is a wonder. As a sequel to one of her most beloved stories (and one she swore she would never write a sequel to, by the way) this one had a lot of expectation riding behind it. This book lived up to it, and in some ways, exceeded those expectations. Like I said, she is a wonder. Even if you have never read read Princess Academy, this is a marvelous story that holds its weight all by itself. And really, don't let the name fool you. This is not like any "princess" book you've ever read.

That is why I am ECSTATIC to be offering a copy to you all--INTERNATIONALLY!!! But really, don't wait for me. Heck, go buy this book today. I'll be here when you get back.

And let me just say - OHMYGOODNESS PAGE #317!!! Yes, I think that is all I can say on that. I care about you too much to spoil that particular paragraph for you. In about a year, I swear I'll quote it in full. :)

Now, onto the contest! And don't forget to read Shannon Hale's interview with Enna! And wish her a happy birthday!

I'm hosting a contest as part of
Enna Isilee's Birthday Bash 2012
Presented by Squeaky Books

August 22nd-September 22nd are big days for Enna Isilee at Squeaky Books because she is having a huge bash to celebrate her birthday! There’s a giveaway nearly every day, tons of author interviews, and guest posts from some YA book bloggers. What's not to love?!

Up for grabs from me is Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale! Entering is simple. Just fill out the rafflecopter below *looks down*. This next bit is huge, guys. THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN INTERNATIONAL. Did you hear that, my wonderful, beloved international followers out there? I glomp you all with love. You have until September 21st at 11:59pm EST to enter. All winners will be announced on Enna Isilee's birthday (September 22nd) on her blog (Squeaky Books) so don't forget to check back there on that day.

Without further ado, enter to win! Click below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Best of Me by Kyle Tallman.

My reviews are a bit different than most. As an undercover superhero (ordinary girl extraordinaire), my purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the familiar radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself (just like the pirate code). :)

I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 bestselling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will review recent books or books of great merit (preferably both).

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Published: April 27, 2004
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Current Amazon Rank: #5,578

Author's Website: Nancy Farmer
Want it? Find it here.

The First Line:

In the beginning there were thirty-six of them, thirty-six droplets of life so tiny Eduardo could see them only under a microscope. He studied them anxiously in the darkened room.

My Take:

With a positive bursting of dystopians available out there, it can be hard to find one that sticks with the kind of force that requires flipping right back to the beginning to start over.

I've mentioned this book before, but I've been saving reviewing it until Lenore's Dystopian month came up again. Nancy Farmer really is an extraordinary writer (I mean, she won three Newbery Honors in almost as many books).

Matt's story of realizing he's a clone to one of the most powerful drug lords in Opium--the imaginary strip of country in between the US and Mexico--is a riveting, multi-layered adventure. She makes many wonderful decisions, like having Matt realize he is a clone within the first chapter instead of waiting for the "big reveal" that the end. He's only five years old and it is heartbreaking what happens after.

I adored the Hispanic elements of this story. I loved how Celia, his caretaker and one of the few people that actually loves him, spoke Spanish to him. It just made the story that much deeper. And by the way Chupacabras are really freaky.

Nancy Farmer excels with the craft of language, but also her characters. She has an incredible knack for making even the villains (including Matt's horrible extended family) filled with layers and hidden parts to where you feel real sympathy for them. Even El Patron, the ancient drug lord from whom Matt was created, has glimpses of humanity. And trust me, this dude is evil. You want an totalitarian dictator more soul-shivering than President Snow? Look no further. You have him right here, full stop. Because this man is terrifying. I cringed from reading some of his passages. You read about dystopians with "absolute control" and it is something you learn to accept. But here, I actually felt it. I fully believed this man had control of every particle of his little empire. I think this works so well because it echoes reality just enough to make it feel real. I know about drug lords and the rule they have, I know of men like this. El Patron does not try to control the world, but he does control his world. I could not turn the pages fast enough.

But first and foremost, this is Matt's story and I loved every twist and turn in it. Biggest complaint though? There is a part (trying not to give too much away here) where he leaves the opium plantation for a bit and until he gets back that little piece does not feel like it belongs to the rest of the book. It feels… disjointed. When I reread this, I often forget that it is there. But other than that? Hardcore love. This is the best kind of story, one that raises the best questions while being a story first.

The Final Word:

A dystopian that has stood the test of time. Rich, complex, and different, this is a dystopian I would recommend almost without exception, especially for the different cultures represented.

Monday's Muse, 60th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to one of several places, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:
Dystopian - "Old School".

Here are some books that were dystopians before some knew to call them that. Feel free to add to it in the comments!

Shade's Children by Garth Nix.

Plunge directly into a nightmare--a scrawny boy flees monstrous trackers in an urban wasteland. Gradually the reader learns that Earth has been taken over by the terrible Overlords, the laws of physical reality warped, all adults killed, the brains and body parts of children raw material for endless war games. Led by an all-too-human artificial intelligence known as Shade, a forlorn resistance battles on, with hope only because the misfit warriors have special talents that came with the Change. Throughout the struggle, hints that Shade's sympathies are not irrevocably human add additional suspense. Although the trappings here are science fiction, Nix tells essentially the same story as he did in Sabriel: a desperate quest by a talented few, aided by a potentially treacherous Other, to destroy the source of the power of an evil force that has poisoned the world. As in the author's previous book, the alternate world he creates is amply imagined and the twists and turns of the action-filled plot compelling, though the flat banality of the Overlords' evil is disappointing, as is the sketchy characterization of the four major protagonists. But while the book lacks some of the emotional depth of Nix's first work, it will draw (and keep) fans of the genre.--Publisher's Weekly.

The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer.

Set in Zimbabwe in 2194, this sci-fi/fantasy combines a coming-of-age quest with its attendant dangers and rewards and an interweaving of elements from African mythology. Tendai, 13; his younger sister, Rita; and preschool brother, Kuda, are children of Matsika, their country's Chief of Security. Frustrated by their choreographed existence, they attempt a cross-city trip that will fulfill requirements for a Scouting merit badge in exploring. They little realize the opportunity this unchaperoned escapade will afford their father's enemies, and find themselves abducted soon after their trip begins. Prisoners of the "She Elephant," so-called queen of a toxic dump known as the Dead Man's Vlei, the children discover they are not to be ransomed, but to be worked and then sold to a terrorist group called The Masks, deadly and spirit-damning. Matsika calls in "The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm Detective Agency," whose three agents each have a special power to aid in their search for the captives. They are steps behind as the children escape from one dire situation to another. Ultimately, the Masks are unveiled and destroyed, and the family is reunited. Rich in setting, the story is as complex as a weaver's kente pattern, as symbolic as an eijiri figure, as sophisticated as a Benin bronze. Demanding and intricate, but often convoluted, it will be rewarding to readers willing to travel beyond everyday places and to work to untangle its many strands.--Patricia Manning, Eastchester Public Library, NY, School Library Journal.

 The Gods and their Machines by Oisin McGann.

To Altiman teenager and trainee fighter-pilot Chamus, the people of bordering Bartokhrin are just Fringelanders--backward religious fanatics whose women wear geishalike makeup and wigs and whose men occasionally appear in Altima to commit a kind of supernatural version of jihad. But when Chamus crashes his plane near the home of a Bartokhrin young woman named Riadni, the two are thrown into a reluctant alliance, with ramifications that are as personally jolting as they are politically far-reaching. Although the protagonists’ coincidental ties to key leaders on both sides require a significant suspension of disbelief, the action hurtles forward deliciously, and the alternating narratives build sympathies for both protagonists as they grapple with “a situation so big and so brutal that there was no way to make sense of it.” The real-world parallels with Western secularism and the more traditional societies of the Middle East are clear, but McGann’s facility with both character and world building makes this impressive debut as rewarding as pure fantasy as it is as provocative allegory. --Jennifer Mattson (December 15, 2004, pg. 736), Booklist.

Among the Hidden by Margaret Petersen Haddix.

Born third at a time when having more than two children per family is illegal and subject to seizure and punishment by the Population Police, Luke has spent all of his 12 years in hiding. His parents disobeyed once by having him and are determined not to do anything unlawful again. At first the woods around his family's farm are thick enough to conceal him when he plays and works outdoors, but when the government develops some of that land for housing, his world narrows to just the attic. Gazing through an air vent at new homes, he spies a child's face at a window after the family of four has already left for the day. Is it possible that he is not the only hidden child? Answering this question brings Luke greater danger than he has ever faced before, but also greater possibilities for some kind of life outside of the attic. This is a near future of shortages and deprivation where widespread famines have led to a totalitarian government that controls all aspects of its citizens' lives. When the boy secretly ventures outside the attic and meets the girl in the neighboring house, he learns that expressing divergent opinions openly can lead to tragedy. To what extent is he willing to defy the government in order to have a life worth living? As in Haddix's Running Out of Time (S & S, 1995), the loss of free will is the fundamental theme of an exciting and compelling story of one young person defying authority and the odds to make a difference. Readers will be captivated by Luke's predicament and his reactions to it.--Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA, School Library Journal.

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.

Ember, a 241-year-old, ruined domed city surrounded by a dark unknown, was built to ensure that humans would continue to exist on Earth, and the instructions for getting out have been lost and forgotten. On Assignment Day, 12-year-olds leave school and receive their lifetime job assignments. Lina Mayfleet becomes a messenger, and her friend Doon Harrow ends up in the Pipeworks beneath the city, where the failing electric generator has been ineffectually patched together. Both Lina and Doon are convinced that their survival means finding a way out of the city, and after Lina discovers pieces of the instructions, she and Doon work together to interpret the fragmented document. Life in this postholocaust city is well limned--the frequent blackouts, the food shortage, the public panic, the search for answers, and the actions of the powerful, who are taking selfish advantage of the situation. Readers will relate to Lina and Doon’s resourcefulness and courage in the face of ominous odds. --Sally Este (April 15, 2003), Booklist.

The Giver by Lois Lowry.

In a complete departure from her other novels, Lowry has written an intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. Twelve-year-old Jonas's confidence in his comfortable "normal" existence as a member of this well-ordered community is shaken when he is assigned his life's work as the Receiver. TheGiver, who passes on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all memory "back and back and back," teaches him the cost of living in an environment that is "without color, pain, or past." The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of the sessions with TheGiver are gripping. The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is inevitable. The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time. --Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, School Library Journal.

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick.

In this riveting futuristic novel, Spaz, a teenage boy with epilepsy, makes a dangerous journey in the company of an old man and a young boy. The old man, Ryter, one of the few people remaining who can read and write, has dedicated his life to recording stories. Ryter feels a kinship with Spaz, who unlike his contemporaries has a strong memory; because of his epilepsy, Spaz cannot use the mind probes that deliver entertainment straight to the brain and rot it in the process. Nearly everyone around him uses probes to escape their life of ruin and poverty, the result of an earthquake that devastated the world decades earlier. Only the "proovs," genetically improved people, have grass, trees, and blue skies in their aptly named Eden, inaccessible to the "normals" in the Urb. When Spaz sets out to reach his dying younger sister, he and his companions must cross three treacherous zones ruled by powerful bosses. Moving from one peril to the next, they survive only with help from a proov woman. Enriched by Ryter's allusions to nearly lost literature and full of intriguing, invented slang, the skillful writing paints two pictures of what the world could look like in the future—the burned-out Urb and the pristine Eden—then shows the limits and strengths of each. Philbrick, author of Freak the Mighty (1993) has again created a compelling set of characters that engage the reader with their courage and kindness in a painful world that offers hope, if no happy endings. --(November 1, 2000), Kirkus.

The Diary of Pelly D by L. J. Adlington.

A young driller breaking up rubble in war-devastated City Five unearths an old water can with a diary inside and then breaks Rules and Regulations by keeping it, rather than surrendering it to the authorities. So begins Toni V’s relationship with the diarist, PellyD, a teen who, before the war, had it all. Toni V enters the everyday thoughts and experiences of a privileged girl who, despite her societal status, may not be protected when the most powerful ofthe planet’s three genetic clans demands all citizens be identified and sorted by genetic type. Although inspired by the buried diaries found in the Warsaw Ghetto, Adlington has crafted an original and disturbing dystopian fantasy told in a smart and sympathetic teen voice. Particularly skillful is the author’s use of setting and detail to build slowly toward a full revelation ofthe unique physical, psychological, and political worlds PellyD and Toni V inhabit. This provocative addition to the growing body of dystopian literature for teens is a disturbing book that shouldn’t be missed. --Holly Koelling (May 1, 2005, pg. 1586), Booklist.

Defieance WINNER!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): One X by Three Days Grace.

I won't even keep you in suspense this time. ;)

I'll email you tonight! And you guys know the rules. If I don't hear from you in 24 hours, I'll pick a new winner. :) And keep an eye out. There's some cool stuff coming around the corner.

Contest Updates

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Terrified by Among Savages.

So. The contest has been quiet of late the past couple of days. Anyone feel like ending it tonight at 9:00 PST instead of tomorrow at midnight? (Somehow I think those of you who have already entered will be totally okay with this). :) That way I can send it to you sooner and that makes everyone happier.

Though not being able to drool at this cover will be just the teensiest bit heartbreaking. But we must all make sacrifices. *stares at book cover again*

I will survive. I just need cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes.

So we will go with that unless someone has some major objection in the comments by the time I get home from work. Sound good? :)

And a brilliant and funny post is soon forthcoming. I was totally planning on doing a dystopian book review to help Lenore celebrate her zombie chicken dystopian month, but I got caught up in writing in a major way today. And you know what? I'm okay with that. :)

See you guys soon!

Feature Fun Friday - The Unnaturalists Cover Shoot!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Songeries d'un Orchestre by David Ari Leon [Contre Jour soundtrack].

I've discovered another behind-the-scenes photo shoot for a YA book! I don't know why I loves these, but I do. It is so fun to see how a cover is made. This is for a very fun-looking book, The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent. It's got steampunk, a girl (named Vespa Nyx. How cool is that?!) who wants to spend her life cataloging the unnatural creatures in her father's museum, and an adventure when things go wrong. Yep, I'm looking forward to it. And it comes out next week! Enjoy. Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Ya know, I think it's about time for a contest.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Middle by Jimmy Eat World.

Every once in a while I get this inkling, an empty place where something just niggles at me. And then I realize it is time to give something away. :)

So how about it guys, do you want an ARC?

How about an ARC for a book I've been dying to read since I first heard the publication announcement? (It's been a long wait, I know).

Does anybody want a copy of Defiance by CJ Redwine? :)

I had to blow it up so you could see how pretty it was. ^_^

Sure you do. Just LOOK at that cover! I've had some serious cover lust of this one. It makes me want a poster of it. *stares*

Here is the funny thing. This ARC came to me quite suddenly after I put the book trailer up on Feature Fun Friday. So no relation there (or is it? o.0) And since I know ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) are meant to spread buzz for a book, plus this being a debut author with an incredible road-to-publication story, I read this one as quickly as I could so I could pass it along, and thus the joy multiplies. :)

So if you want it, take it! All you need is to be a follower, and leave an email address of some kind so I can notify you if you win. US only this time. I am so sorry my international friends. I think you are very pretty. Or handsome. Take your pick. But just know, I DO have a contest coming for you very soon! It is one I am super excited about. So on that note, comment away!

You have until midnight (go you, you Cinderellas) on Thursday August 16th PST (3:00 AM EST). YAY!!!!

Feature Fun Friday - Fan Culture is Awesome (Hunt for Gollum).

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Tsuisou by Michiru Oshima [Fullmetal Alchemist soundtrack].

If I haven't shouted it from rooftops, I will gladly do it again now. Fans are some of the COOLEST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. Period. Their excitement and fervor is awe inspiring and their knowledge of any given subject can make your jaw drop. I honestly think they are some of the most talented people in the world.

Here is one such stunning example. Did you know that Aragorn was charged by Gandalf to find Gollum after his suspicions about the ring were aroused after Bilbo's encounter? So did a lot of fans. And they made a freaking movie about it.


Funded out of their own pocket.

And they released it in its entirety online for free. Just because they are fans and wanted to share it with other fans.

Here is the trailer (they released a trailer too!)

Look at what the power of passion can do. Like I said, fans are freaking awesome. I don't have any yet, but I love you guys hardcore. *tackle hugs*

(by the way, did you know you can download the entire soundtrack for free too? You've probably seen a several songs crop up on my Current Theme Song through the months).

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Goodnight and Goodbye by Mree.

And since I am in a gardening mood from my farmer's market post, look at the little guy in my garden! It's a watermelon pretending to me a tomato. Look, he's in a pinstripe suit. :)