Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Title: Never Never
Series: Never Never
Authors: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Date Added: August 26, 2016
Date Started: July 20, 2017
Date Finished: July 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 10 days
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Romance

The cover of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn FisherPages: 326
Publication Date: December 8, 2017
Publisher: Hoover Inc.
Media: eBook/Kindle

 “How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you’ve never met.” 

Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They’ve been in love since the age of fourteen. But as of this morning…they are complete strangers. Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love…every memory has vanished. “I don’t care what our real first kiss was,” he says. “That’s the one I want to remember.” 

Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be…the more they question why they were ever together to begin with. 

“I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie.”

My first impression of this novel broken in three was of amazement.  Charlize or rather Charlie and Silas have no idea who they or their families are, nor do they have a clue what happened to them to cause this.  Through a series of events, they both realize they’re in the same boat and try to figure out what the hell is going on and why they’re in this situation.  Attempting to both solve the mystery of their memory loss and keep anyone from realizing it’s occurred would be daunting enough, but they also must navigate the social travails of high school, family life, and the fact that there’s bad blood between Silas and Charlie’s fathers.

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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #2)

Title: A Torch Against the Night
Series: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Date Added: June 7, 2017
Date Started: July 12, 2017
Date Ended: August 23, 2017
Reading Duration: 42 days
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult (YA), Romance

The cover of A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirPages: 452
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Media: Paperback

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

“So long as you fight the darkness,
You stand in the light.”

The second installment of Elias and Laia’s saga is just as compelling as the first.  The stakes are even higher, the perils more vast, and not even once believed allies can be trusted.  The soldier and the scholar are joined in their point of view chapters by Helene, whose duties as Blood Shrike threaten to rip her apart as they cannot coexist with her loyalties to her once best friend and brother-in-arms.

While there are love entaglements in this series, they in no way diminish the narrative nor seem shoehorned in for the sake of its YA status.  Laia develops feelings for Keenan due to their mutual goals in the resistance, while Elias and Helene have always had their odd relationship due to being friends forever behind the Masks.  Oddly the strongest bond is the most star-crossed in Elias and Laia, which forces Helene to acknowledge her feelings for him in dealing with her jealousy.

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An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel

TitleAn Unattractive Vampire
Author: Jim McDoniel
Date Started: July 27, 2017
Date Finished: August 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 26 days
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Humor/Satire

The cover of An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDonielPages: 309
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sword & Laser
Media: eBook/Kindle

Jim McDoniel’s debut novel, An Unattractive Vampire, is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile—also known as the Curséd One, the Devil’s Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors—awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he’s just too ugly—modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. With the help of pert vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?

An Unattractive Vampire begins as a cleverly tongue-in-cheek novel with a similar silliness and satire to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, seamlessly steering your sympathies towards an unholy monster and its last remaining followers.  A subversion of a subversion, the story takes the new(ish) idea of the beautiful, more modern vampires and makes it absurd with the introduction of the Nosferatu-like Yulric Bile, who’s been entombed beneath a garishly pink painted house for 300 years.   Of course in looking at the history of vampires, the beautiful types are absurd, as well (from a historical point of view), but when a paradigm exists for a while it becomes the norm, so the idea of an ugly vampire is not only outlandish, but also obscene.

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The State of the Writer: 2/11/18

<–The State of the Writer: 1/28/18          The State of the Writer: 2/25/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2

  1. Valiant Hearts: The Great War – 1/30/18
  2. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss – 2/3/18

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,484
Prior Word Count: 261,308
Word Difference: +176
Status: Revising
Progress: Reviewing Chapter 2

Fanart of Sephiroth holding a swooning AerisI finally finished my revisions of Chapter 2 and now I’m in the reviewing process.  This was a tough week including the weekend in terms of the time and tiredness factor, so I was only able to review Chapter 1.  Here’s hoping next week is more productive.

In Progress

  • Audio Recording – I recorded the second part of the essay in question on Friday as planned, though my voice still failed me after about a half an hour.  Either way it’s done so I need to edit it.  I’m hoping my slower reading sounds better than the prior one.  I’m probably going to try to finish recording the rest of it before doing the full edit.  I have the parts with the video comparisons to record.
  • Favorite Game Every Year I’ve Been Alive – I’m in the 2010’s now.  Hoping to finish figuring out the games this week so I can start the post.

I think this may be my shortest update post of them all.  I really want to get the Game of the Years thing posted.  Why do I do these italicized afterwards?  Is it supposed to be a wrap up/summary?  I have no clue, but I’m going to keep doing them 😉  What have you worked on lately?  How is February treating you?  I’m ordering cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, because I use it as an excuse to eat cake and drink wine…not that I need one.  What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?  What type of wine do you prefer?  I think I might go for some champagne cupcakes and make this champagne mimosa drink I saw on Facebook.  I’m also seeing a rheumatologist that day, which is a good thing.  Okay, I’ve rambled long enough.  Let’s chat in the comments!

<–The State of the Writer: 1/28/18          The State of the Writer: 2/25/18–>

Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton (Flipped Fairy Tales #1)

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: Shadows on Snow
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tales
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Started: July 30, 2017
Date Finished: August 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Romance, Young Adult

The cover of Shadows on Snow by Starla HuchtonPages: 250
Publication Date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Media: eBook/Kindle

Once upon a time, a dark evil crept into my kingdom, stealing my loved ones and the happy life I knew. The world turned against me, and I swore to become stronger, to keep myself safe.

Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, hair dark as ebony, skin as pure as the freshly driven snow, and I became the only one who stood between him and death.

Once upon a time, our stories intertwined, and now, healing my heart may be the only way to save us all from the evil that threatens to destroy what little we have left.

I’ve always loved fairy tale retellings, so much so that I write them myself and infuse the all to familiar tropes in all of my works both fanfiction and original.  Starla Huchton has taken it upon herself to delve into terrain fairly well trodden in order to present the old in another new way.  Since this is the first of her stories I’ve read, I’m going off of assumption here, but it appears as though what she’s flipping is the gender of the participants.

The seven dwarfs are now seven sisters (who still manage to be princesses in their own right), the evil queen is an evil king, and Snow White is an ebon-haired, snow skinned prince named Leo who is a kind capable ruler that any man would be willing to follow and many a princess would want to marry, but he’s not the main character; the Rae is.

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The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #1)

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Series Title: Prisoners of Peace
Author: Erin Bow
Date Started: June 29, 2017
Date Finished: July 26, 2017
Reading Duration: 27 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

The cover of The Scorpion Rules by Erin BowPages: 384
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Media: eBook/Kindle

The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.

The concept of children as bargaining chips for their parents’ cooperation stopped being strange (at least in young adult) after the debut of The Hunger Games, and many YA novels have risen out of the slush pile clinging to its coattails, but there’s enough of a spin on the paradigm in The Scorpion Rules to make it stand out.  Games are still played, but they are far more subtle than the Capital’s spectacle (though to be fair The Hunger Games is more about navigating the subtlety than it initially appears); however slaughtering children for their parents’ mistakes still fits within that same motif.  These futuristic dystopias showcase a potentially missable prospect: holding the future hostage to make us slaves to the past.  When you are willing to kill off the next generation in order to control the prior, it shows a distinctive lack of progress even in a technologically advanced world.  There is little hope in a regime whose best boast is that it can wipe entire cities off the map with ease.

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The State of the Writer: 12/31/17

<–The State of the Writer: 12/17/17          The State of the Writer: 1/14/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 4

Project: Recipe
Title: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think this was the first time I ever posted a recipe on this site, and it seemed to go over quite well.  I’m actually in the process of making these right now (well…I made the dough; my husband is going to bake them.  I didn’t get enough sleep, so the fatigue is bad today, which is unfortunate since I have NYE plans).  I, er, ate the ones I was supposed to give to my brother, and when TSN makes cookie promises, she keeps them!  I’m making the last cookies of the season before I head out to a NYE party, though I’m not sure if I’m even going to make it to midnight *yawn*

Project: Blogger Tags
Name: The Christmas Tag

I managed to make some progress in my saved Blogger Tags (I still have a bunch more though) thanks to Ignited Moth’s festive post!  Though…well, I didn’t have it before, so really I added another tag even as I completed it, so, it’s a zero sum equation?  Like how a Christmas tree affects the environment o.O  Oh well, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little more merriness.

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