Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Book

Snippet from new novel I'm writing (I'm writing again!) where the main character (Noah) introduces a new, integral character (Charlotte) to the story:


There are surprisingly few things Noah knows about Charlotte.  Charlotte is three months older than her to the day.  Charlotte dyed a blue streak in her black hair in May (which Noah saw on Instagram).  Charlotte was at an arts camp over the summer for drama and cello.

Noah knows that Charlotte is the kind of person who will attend family Christmas parties and say she’s a new vegan just to piss off Aunt Clare and her elaborately baked ham.  She knows Charlotte is the kind of person who likes to read fantasy novels (based on her Goodreads profile), eat Skittles in order of color (based on the one Halloween they spent together at two years ago for a distant relative’s funeral), and run for class president just because some guy told her women couldn’t be leaders (all over her campaign flyers on Facebook—she won that year).  

Apparently, Charlotte is also the kind of person who misses the first day of school.

Noah has always thought of Charlotte as teetering dangerously close to becoming a real life trope of a manic pixie dream girl and was a little curious about what getting to know her would be like.

It turns out, Charlotte is not particularly interested in getting to know her.

Noah didn’t text Charlotte the night before, but Aunt Clare had called and said, “Charlotte is so excited to show you around, dear.  It’s so nice that you two can be together again.  You two are such peas in a pod.”  Which is not precisely true, all things considered.  Charlotte has always been herself, and Noah has been … completely lame in comparison, in her own mind anyway.

Jamie met Charlotte once, when she was around for the day after Thanksgiving.  “I don’t do Black Friday shopping,” she announced when they asked if she wanted to come along.

“Is it because you’re, like, against corporate America and our materialistic society ruining a family-oriented holiday?” he asked, eying her then-black fingernails and the anarchy button pinned on her bag.

“No,” she said, raising an eyebrow in amusement.  “Because I hate waking up early.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Where I Am

Although I really don't post anymore, I felt that the fact that this blog has existed through six years of my life and that through that time, I kept it up--some years very consistently, others not so much--makes it the right place to once again return at this juncture in my life.

This blog has seen me through my most vulnerable years in college. Now it has been around for my three years of law school. That's right, I'm done. In a few weeks, I will officially have graduated from Harvard Law, and in the fall, I'll be a real practicing attorney at a DC law firm. I updated my profile already because I'm not really a law student anymore, and hey, I think I get to jump the gun a little bit, because I'm excited and I am very, very happy.

In the past year, I have not written almost at all, and I have read dramatically fewer books. I mean, I still read a lot of fiction in comparison most people I'm around (e.g. law students and lawyers). For some reason, it's not a profession where a lot of people enjoy reading novels.

I think I just want to leave a few thoughts re myself (because I'm cool and talk about myself a lot) and my choices in life and writing, for anyone who happens to stumble by in the future:

I have always loved writing, but at no real point in my life (except maybe when I was eight) did I consider doing it full time as a career. It was very deliberate, and I have continuously been happy with that decision. I hope that you people who are aspiring writers know that you do not need to be full time to be a writer. You can write books, and you can have a day job. I will admit that the fact that I chose an extremely time-intensive career very likely means that I am temporarily saying goodbye to my life as a writer. I think if I REALLY REALLY wanted to keep writing while lawyering, I could do it. Like maybe only a couple hundred words a week, but I could make that goal. But I know that I will not be doing that.

The thing is, I'm not inclined to write at the moment and I haven't been inclined for a while. And I think that is okay. I don't think my interest in writing was "a phase" and that I have now "grown out of it." Before I started intensively writing in college, the few years before, I had essentially stopped writing. I specifically remember that I began writing again after finishing the Percy Jackson series in January of 2009. I am going dormant again. To be frank, I have been dormant for a while already. I know, I am confident, that one day--it may be a long time in the future--I will begin writing again. It's in my bones, it's in my blood. I stop, but I always come back.

The great thing is, I am so lucky, guys. I knew I was going to have a non-novelist day job, and that happens to be being a lawyer. Everyone has definitely heard horrible things about lawyers as people and lawyering as a career. But you know what? I LOVE the law. From what I've experienced in the field, I will like practicing. I am so passionate about my subject area (telecom). I do not, ever, not for an ounce, not for a second, feel like scaling back on writing for my time-consuming day job as a lawyer is a sacrifice.

I have done some incredibly cool things because I am going to be a lawyer. In the past three years, I've worked in government (in a federal agency and for a U.S. senator), in the private sector, and for a non-profit. I have enjoyed all of those positions immensely. I am so optimistic about my career. Maybe it is immodest to say, but I am. I feel privileged to have found something I so thoroughly adore.

And I fell in love with a wonderful guy, and suddenly, all those stories I wrote about people falling in love were no longer words on a page, but the raw, wonderful, real parts of life that inspire those stories. As if before, when I read stories about love, it was grayscale, and now when I read, I see all the colors.

Do I feel like I wasted all my time writing all those years? Absolutely not. Writing brought me out of the dumps at the worst of times, it made me feel like I had some calling, and it was and continues to be a form of emotional catharsis. It is an almost mystical experience. I think, no matter if I ever get published, writing will always be something special for me. And I hope for all you writers out there, that you feel it is something special, even if you do not ever publish a single thing. It has enriched my life in a way that I cannot replicate by any other method.

I really look forward to one day when I start writing again. I do. Maybe it will be this summer, when I'm studying for the bar and in desperate need of an outlet. Maybe it will be five years from now. I don't know. But I can tell you, I can't wait to see what that next story will be.

If this all reads like a goodbye, it is absolutely not. I'm starting a new chapter in my life, and it felt like the right thing to do, to reflect on where I am today. I have said before, I am sporadically inclined to post at times, and I never know when they will be. As for now, this blog is a fascinating record of how I have lived, loved, written, and felt in the years of my adult life so far. Like writing, I may stop and disappear for a while, but I will always come back.

Until then, life continues to be a marvelous adventure, for all its ups and downs.

Keep writing.

Please believe that things are good with me, and even when they're not, they will be soon enough. And I will believe the same about you.

--The Perks of Being A Wallflower

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Rant: Fangirl

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to.

Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Okay guys, I take back everything I said about Rainbow Rowell following reading Eleanor & Park. I LOVED this book. I've gone quite a few books recently feeling pretty meh about the whole experience, but Fangirl is my favorite in a while. 

I guess this book falls under that weird genre New Adult? But this is definitely what New Adult SHOULD be. It's a book that deals with all the coming-of-age stuff in this most graceful way possible, so that I did not feel as if the romance, the internal struggles, or the family problems ran away with the plot. Rowell deftly handles all of the elements with perfect grace.

And of course, a major reason why I liked this book is its focus on fandom. I mean, Rowell obviously gets it. I love authors that show an appreciation for fan fiction, because it really is a great thing that creates a lot of new book nerds and helps new writers. And even though in the acknowledgements, she says she's never written it ... I'm going to go ahead and assume she's keeping it on the DL, because there is no way she's never dabbled in some fic. I don't buy it. 

I also felt this book, along with being well-written and developed, was a touching reflection of my early college experience. College was sort of hard at first, and Rowell hit all the notes right. I mean, I felt like she knew my life. Because what did I do when things got lonely and hard? I wrote. A lot. I wrote a whole novel in 3 months, and it definitely wasn't because I had suddenly blossomed into a literary genius. It was because I was alone and weird and needed something to make me feel in control. Of course, I am happy that I ended up doing all that writing--I think it was an important part to making me okay again. But Rowell gets it in a way that makes the book connect; at least, it connected with me.

My only (minor) complaint is that the love interest is ... slightly too perfect. No one in real life is like a perfectly muscled, gangly, farm boy who brings you coffee whenever you want, asks you to read your slash fiction out loud like it's not a weird thing, and kisses you after you share books together. Come on, that's basically every book nerd's wet dream. But. Won't complain. Because he's pretty swoon-worthy, and we all can dream, right?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Rant (Sort of ... Plus Other Stuff): The Blood of Olympus

I. Blood of Olympus and All the Spoilers

So almost 20 days after release, I finally finished Blood of Olympus. I kept putting it down, because I was honestly bored with the plot and couldn't quite follow what was going on because there were A MILLION story lines going on at once.

I'm sorry, RR. I love you, but this could have been better. This whole series could have been better. There were a lot of highlights, especially with Nico, who was such a great character in the original PJO series. And Reyna, who probably had some of the best moments in BoO. And I could tell RR was making a huge effort with the diversity and you know, imparting good life lessons for the childrens, etc. But the plot was weak and the cast was way too big to do anything effective. Also, nobody will ever be as good a character as Percy. Seriously, no one.

But I don't necessarily regret reading the new series. I will always enjoy what the original PJO series brought to me, and of course, all the characters hold a special place in my heart. Now that it's finally over (yeah, I'm going to ignore all the continuing offshoots that RR is certainly going to aggressively profit off of in the future), I can say, it was a pleasure growing up with Percy. I started reading in '09 (when this blog started!) and finished in '14. It's been a very good five years.

II. Life

Life is, as far as I can tell, really, really good right now. I'm on my third year of law school. I'm almost done. I cannot wait to be done. I have to say--law school has not been the most emotionally healthy time of my life, to which I'm sure a lot of people who've gone through it can attest. But sometimes you have to go through some unpleasant stuff to get to the good parts, and that's what I keep telling myself. And I have been better at not letting the little things get to me.

I have a lovely job lined up in DC, and I will be moving to DC in January. Early, because I'm doing a my final semester there. I love DC more than I love any city ever, and I can't wait to live there. I am so tangibly happier in DC. I'm crazy excited. My next novel is set there, and let's be real, it's mainly because I want to write a lengthy love letter to the city of my heart.

III. NaNoWriMo

And finally, speaking of my next novel, I am forcing myself to do NaNoWriMo this year. I have an abundant amount of free time, and currently, I'm spending it watching reality TV. This time should be spent at least toward something that will yield some actual work product. So I'm going to write. I haven't been successful in writing for a long time, and I'm afraid if I don't get to it, I will lose this habit. Writing is something that brings me a lot of joy if I persist, but sometimes, I really HAVE to persist.

But I did NaNo in '09, and if I could finish while being a full time student and working 20+ hours weekly at the paper, I don't see why I can't do it when I have virtually no work until December. So let the adventure begin, I suppose.

Probably mentioned it in an earlier post, but the premise of my novel is a boy, Sawyer Thomas, who has hyperthymesia--an affliction that gives him a virtually perfect autobiographical memory. This means he can remember everything that has happened to him with extreme detail. He can recall exactly what happened on any given specific day. This presents a problem when his girlfriend, Annie Rose, passes away in a car accident. It leaves him with a crippling inability to return to the places they frequented, because the memories there are too strong. Eventually, he decides that in order to take his life back, he's going to go back to all of those places, the places that belong to her, and do something extreme there that he will have new memories to crowd out the old ones.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Books of 2014 (Part II)

I KNOW, IT'S BEEN FOREVER. (I can't believe anyone still reads this blog other than me, but hello, Anonymous. I am, indeed, alive!)

I had a very busy summer, but I was still reading and I'm back in business. This is my last year of law school, and I have my dream job nailed down for when I graduate. Can you believe it? This blog started in 2009. That was over 5 years ago and I was a freshman in college. I will be a full fledged lawyer after next summer. Will maybe do a life update post after this one. I'm in a good place.

On the writing (what writing?!), yes, I've basically not written in months and months. But I started a new novel without finishing the old one yet. Broke my cardinal rule, but I will go back to the old one, probably. The new one has just been stewing for a long time and I wanted to get it underway.

I'm on track for my goal for reading. I think it was supposed to be 35 for this year? I will easily reach 35 books. Probably.

So without further ado, here are the books I've read since I last posted and ratings (out of 5).

*Will now preface every book rant with reminder that I have utter, absolute respect for authors and just because I didn't like something--doesn't mean the book is objectively bad for everyone. Everyone should remember that I also passionately love things like One Direction yet cannot tell what is a good wine to save my life, so a preponderance of the evidence definitely indicates that I just have REALLY BAD TASTE.

12) The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5)
13) Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (3)
14) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (3.5)
15) Sex With Kings by Eleanor Herman (3)
16) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (4)
17) Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour (4.5)
18) Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor (4)
19) Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (4)
20) The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (3.5)
21) Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (4.5)
22) The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (3.5)
23) Gilded: How Newport Became America's Richest Resort by Deborah Davis (4.5)

Nothing super terrible this time, as you can tell, but a few disappointments and highlights.


Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea started out quite promising, and then the end literally just fell off the rails. I have no idea what is going on with the plot but I certainly did not expect what happened to happen. So I guess if you like surprises, go for it. But I pretty much disliked all the characters after about two-thirds of the way in, even all the ones that were supposed to be protagonists.

Sex With Kings was a super blah historical book. Like none of it was unexpected or scandalous, but maybe I'm just a history major with too much background in this type of royal intrigue stuff to have found anything groundbreaking.

I expected a lot more of Frankie Landau-Banks, which has such great reviews and I feel is sort of a cult classic. It was trying really hard to be feminist but actually failing aggressively, so I disliked it on both points. I'm a feminist, but I don't like books that are really obvious about an agenda. I'm reading for pleasure, not a lecture. And even while trying to push that agenda, it was really crappy because I didn't find Frankie to be very empowering at all. I found her obnoxious and needy and in denial about her neediness. Whatever. I don't regret reading it, so I'm not giving it lower marks.

The Geography of You and Me was underdeveloped and underwhelming. I love sappy romances sometimes (see my adoration of Stephanie Perkins), but like, why the fuck do these characters even like each other? Confusion. Great example of an excellent premise that had no follow through. Also, main female character whose name I already cannot remember is the definition of first world/white girl problems. Oh your parents don't love you enough to take you on their world traveling until the moment you use your words and ask them to take you with them? CRY ME A GIANT GODDAMN RIVER.

After Tiger Lily, I expected more of Jodi Lynn Anderson. Tiger Lily continues to be one of my favorite books, and I reread it every year. The Vanishing Season was ... really boring.


OBVIOUSLY A.J. Fikry was PHENOMENAL. Man, when Gabrielle Zevin gets it right, she nails it.

Everything Leads To You was good while I read it, and it ended up being even better in the few days after I finished. It's a book that sits with you and kind of leaves an awesome impression. I don't know how to characterize it. I would highly recommend. We need more good LGBT fiction, always.

Why We Broke Up was less good than everyone has made it out to be. I think it largely succeeds because it has a cutesy premise, but I won't dock a book for riding on its premise and actually executing it with relative success. I enjoyed it. I read it in one sitting and felt satisfied when I was done.

Isla and the Happily Ever After was less good than the first two in the series, but I'm not going to lie. I cut Stephanie Perkins a lot of slack because I think she just conveys emotion really well, so I was still pretty into it. Everybody loves reading about non-ironic falling in love. Lola is still my favorite of the three books. I'm pretty sad this series is over. I'm excited to see what Perkins comes up with next, though. With her, it's always worth the wait.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Rant: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

"You can only live your one tiny life, but with books, you can live thousands more." A quote from Reddit. 

This is a magical book. As I mentioned before I read it, I said if it came anywhere close to Margarettown, it would be high up on my Life Favorites list. It's not as good as Margarettown, but man, does it come damn close. 

I love this kind of book. From the cover, the blurb, and the actual story, the book trumpets itself as one of those heartwarming, literary reads that puts a smile on your face and a tear in your eye. That's what it presents itself as, and sometimes, isn't it refreshing when that's exactly what a book ends up being? In the whimsical journey through the life of an eccentric bookseller and his marvelous, multidimensional friends and family, you really feel what it means to be a reader, a writer, and a lover of books. This is, as many reviewers have noted, is a love letter to book people. It is littered with references to classics and modern bestsellers that any person loiters around bookstores and libraries, hoping to meet the love of their life at these haunts instead of at a sporting event, and getting proposed to with a favorite novel, will not fail to delight in. 

This book is rare. It's hard to put my finger on it, but there are some books that are just written in a way that captures you, that transforms you. Not just enjoying a book or getting caught up in a book. I read a lot of books, and there are many that I deem good and got lost in while reading. But this is a special kind of experience. For the time you are reading, you feel as though you are exploring some magical land--you feel as though you have entered your own Narnia. I can't describe it as well as I would like to. I love those books, and they do not come around nearly often enough. I spend my life looking for them. When I find them, I rarely forget the feeling the book inspires in me. I was enchanted. I was engrossed. It is the feeling of falling in love. For those of us in the know, books and love--they are much of the same thing.

It occurred to me as I was reading, that this was really a book about nothing, a book with a plot that did not matter much, and surprises that did not surprise. You knew where it was going, you could feel it coming to an end. And when it did, it ended as quietly as it began, with little fanfare. A nothing book. But I've rarely read a book with so much heart. It sweeps you away. And at one point, A.J. Fikry asks, perhaps for a brief moment revealing the voice of the ever-lovely and wise Gabrielle Zevin, "Is a twist less satisfying if you know it's coming?"

No, dear readers. It is every bit as satisfying as it promises to be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Books of 2014 (Part I)

LONG TIME NO UPDATE, SO SORRY. AM STILL ALIVE. Working on law school. You know the drill. Getting stuff nailed down for the summer and spending time with friends. Probably a better use of my time than hanging out on the blogosphere ranting to nobody. Although somehow I gained a new follower in the time that I've been away, so maybe there are still creepers out there?! I mean creepers in the most loving of ways. It's probably an Internet robot that is following me, but I'm going to pretend like it's a real person.

I'm still something like 7k from the end of my novel. Womp womp. I'm going to finish it this year, I swear. In the meantime, I wrote a substantial academic paper for the first time since undergrad, so that happened (things of extreme disinterest to everyone who might be reading). THINGS THAT ARE OF INTEREST THOUGH: Isla and the Happily Ever After FINALLY has a release date--August 14, 2014. My faith is blind. I know this delay will have been WORTH IT.

These are the books I've read so far in 2014. Sadly, the first eight I basically read in January, and then I severely dropped off until a couple of weeks ago. That's how I roll. I'm all about teh books for a short burst, and then I don't read for basically two months. C'est la vie. But you know what? People in law school continued to be shocked and super impressed that I read for fun still. This is good, because I am neither shocking nor impressing in any other aspect of my law school life.

I think I'm going to do a new thing where I rate the books Goodsreads-style here, because I'm obviously way too fucking lazy to write reviews. I'll have ratings in parentheses. I'm a harsh reader and things fail to impress me often, so 3 is what I consider not a waste of a read, but solid-ish and average. Anything that drops under 3 means I pretty much wish I hadn't read it. I'm not one of those people who gives 4's and 5's out like candy, guise. This all hinges on whether you believe in my memory skills and stuff, because it has likely been a while since I've read the book I'm about to arbitrarily rate.

*Will now preface every book rant with reminder that I have utter, absolute respect for authors and just because I didn't like something--and I may virulently dislike something--doesn't mean I think the book is objectively bad for everyone. Everyone should remember that I also passionately love things like One Direction yet cannot tell what is a good wine to save my life, so a preponderance of the evidence definitely indicates that I just have REALLY BAD TASTE.

1) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (3.5)
2) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (5)
3) More Than This by Patrick Ness (3.5)
4) Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen (2)
5) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (3)
6) The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (4)
7) Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (4.5)
8) When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney (4)
9) Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia (4)
10) Pages For You by Sylvia Brownrigg (1.5)
11) Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart (3)

Plus, if we're going to cheat and count things I read "for fun" but weren't fiction:

12) Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age by Susan Crawford (4.5)

I realize this rating system makes my comments on "best/worst of the bunch" kind of redundant. So instead, general comments:

This collection of books should really be called All Those Things I Have Been Told To Read For Years But Never Did Until Now.

A Monster Calls was obviously freaking awesome, just like everyone has said. It is the only book I rated 5 for a reason (although Hollow City was really close! I'd give it a 4.75 if I was splitting hairs!). Holy shit, it was extremely powerful and moving, and I was reduced to tears multiple times through the book. It was surprising and illuminating and one of those things you think about for long after the book is over. Unfortunately, I think Ness tried to do the thought-provoking!concept thing with More Than This, and it read like a crappy version of the Matrix.

Eleanor & Park, I already reviewed and don't need to rehash. Wow, now going back and reading my review, I seemed to have liked it much better immediately after reading than I do now. Curious.

Bright Young Things had literally nothing interesting happen in the entire book, only people whose motivations I gave less than zero fucks about, doing things that seemed entirely irrational unless you were a 12 year old with no real concept of the world. But come on people, you live in goddamn New York City. Please grow a brain before you go out and make bad decisions, even if this is the 1920s. Maybe especially because this is the 1920s. Only a sheer stubbornness to finish (since I'd bought it on my Kindle instead of just checking it out at the library) prevented me from dropping it about a third of the way through. Also, the description is way too over the top.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I think was perhaps not as impactful on me because I watched the movie first, and I'm no longer 15. I do think if I had read it as a teenager, I would have identified with Charlie more, but I'm just not at a moment in my life where the character or his writing resonated with me. I kept thinking, okay, this must be a trope, so as the book goes on, Charlie's writing is going to get better, right? Right? Is it not? Oh. Okay, then.

The Silmarillion was amazing, of course, but I'm a LOTR girl, so ... duh. Fun fact, though. I've never made it through The Hobbit or the LOTR series (stopped somewhere into ROTK), so I may be the only person whose never finished those books but managed to plow through The Silmarillion. I dunno, I liked The Silmarillion more; it was like a mythological bedtime story for adults.

Ransom Riggs FREAKING DELIVERS on Hollow City. I never got bored. The book runs at such a consistent level of quality and excitement throughout, it's almost astonishing. This is how all reading experiences should be. He's a veritable treasure to the YA community. Cannot wait to see how he wraps this series up. He ends on a cliffhanger, but I CAN'T EVEN BE MAD ABOUT IT, BECAUSE IT'S SO GOOD. The only reason I don't give this book a 5 is not even a real reason, which is that sometimes the book relies on rote formula of metaphorically dropping a gun every other scene to artificially generate excitement. What do I mean by this. Whenever things are getting vaguely calm, he inserts some zany problem, and the book becomes what the Percy Jackson series runs on: dispatchable monster after monster, to the point where it seems like the author is kind of just biding time until the Big Reveal for the actual plot arc at the end of the book. But as you know, I love Percy Jackson probably more than any person should love any thing, so ... I mean, I'm not really complaining. This is a crutch I'm okay with authors relying on.

Pages For You started out super promising and then turned into purpley lesbian smut for the rest of the book, with very little plot development. And I am okay with smut of any kind as long as there's development ANYWHERE, and the author doesn't find super flowery, bizarre ways to describe nipples and sex on Murphy beds. Biggest disappointment, for sure.

Up next, which I am SUPER EXCITED ABOUT:

1) The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin Bought it, preparing for my mind to be blown; if it is anywhere close to Margarettown, her other adult novel, this is going to be high up on my Life Favorites list.
2) Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke. The cover is gorgeous. I'm ready for some good horror, so bring it on, Tucholke.
3) Storm by Donna Jo Napoli. She's been my favorite author since I was eleven. I almost peed myself when I found out she published a new book recently. About the biblical story of Noah. I'm honestly pretty skeptical as to whether this will measure up to the other Noah retelling I've read: Not The End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean. That book was pretty great. Check it out if you have the chance. Just searched it on my blog. Apparently I read it in the tail end of 2010. Damn, this blog has been going forever.

Okay, that's all for now. Will check back in soon (hopefully?). There's no telling when I post, but at least I'll say that I'll probably never abandon this blog; it's a great way to keep up with what I've read.