Friday, January 29, 2016

Badass Books: Emmy & Oliver

I'm trying to get better at this whole blogging-about-the-books-I-read thing. If I were a New Years resolution making kind of girl, I'd have made one about modeling my blogging abilities after this lady. Instead, I'm justing going to try to post book reviews within a week of reading a book. Sounds like a fair compromise, right?

Summary (from Goodreads):

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Why I read it: Tracey Neithercott told me to. At least, I think I remember her telling me to, so I'm going to give her credit. I actually didn't even read the summary before buying it when it was on super sale as an e-book. Tracey's taste is just that good.

ZOMG Yes! This book hits you right in the feels. As someone who came from a broken childhood (not kidnapped by my parent like Oliver, thank god, but broken nonetheless), this brought up lots of emotions, which tells you it's well done.

The characters in this book feel fresh and raw. I really enjoyed the relationships that Emmy has with her two best friends. None of it felt forced to me--which can some times happen in contemporary romances. The family dynamics with both Emmy's family and Oliver's were very spot-on, too.

Beyond that, the development of Emmy and Oliver's relationship with each other felt natural and made a lot of sense.

kthxbai If you like contemporary YA that makes you feel things, then definitely pick this book up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Currently: January 21, 2016

Katy Upperman has started the trend of doing weekly "Currently" posts--which is a great way to not only keep my blog alive and fresh but also to keep a record of my reading/writing/life journey. So even if no one else reads it, I'll appreciate it later (I think). Without further ado, my attempt to get back into blogging regularly.

My lovely friend and fellow writer Sara Biren sent me a five year Q&A journal this Christmas, and it's been wonderful having a quick, easy way to document my life. It has simple questions like, list three things you ate today, to more complicated questions like, can people change. I'll be curious to see this time next year how my answers have changed!

I just finished Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, and I LOVED it. (Here's my review) I haven't yet decided what to read next because I'm not ready to put these characters aside!

Unless you're living under a rock, then you know that they (the powers that be) are bringing back the X-Files. We never finished watching all of them, so we're on the final season on Netflix!

Listening To
Awesome Mix, Volume 1. I found the list of songs from Peter Quill's mix tape in Guardians of the Galaxy, and I made a playlist on iTunes that I've been jamming pretty hard to for about a week now.

Thinking About
I spent the weekend in San Francisco, and being on the west coast made me miss my family, so I've been thinking about them a lot. I have some phone calls to make!

I'm almost through the revisionary part of my revision/rewrite, in which I make my original ending my 2/3 mark--which means I need to write a new ending. I'm pretty excited and nervous about it.

I really wish all of my books would put themselves back on the shelves. We repainted our office and hung some shelves, but that meant moving everything out. Now my house looks like I'm a hoarder of books (which I guess I kind of am).

Making Me Happy
My husband and I have spent the past several nights in bed watching the X-Files and writing/playing games. It's been awesome :)

What's currently making you happy?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Badass Books: Truthwitch

If you regularly follow my reviews, then you know I'm a big fan of Susan Dennard. You can check out reviews of her previous series, Something Strange and Deadly here: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3. Truthwitch is her latest novel, and you really need to just skip my review and go buy it now. It's that good.

Summary (from Goodreads):

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. 

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Why I read it: I really love Susan Dennard's work, and I love everything I see of her personality online. She's a wonderful friend to writers everywhere. In fact, she's one of the reasons I started writing historical fiction. That being said, I've followed her on Twitter for years and subscribed to her newsletter. She teased bits and pieces of this book, and I knew I had to read it.

ZOMG Yes! My favorite element of this story, by far, is the strong female friendship. Our main characters are so strong together (while standing on their own as well), but their relationship is the sort of women-supporting-women friendship that's lacking in a lot of literature. (Also I couldn't help imaging Safi as Sarah Maas and Iz as Susan Dennard for the whole story).

Secondly, the magic system in this story really drew me in. While it definitely uses elemental magic, it's a new take on the concept. And it's described really well, so you feel immersed in the story without having to put the pieces together. The world building is the same. A lot of fantasy can feel pretty strong on the info-dump in the first few chapters. Not Truthwitch. Susan really pulls you in so you just get it without having to put forth any effort.

Also--there's a romance and it's awesome. 

kthxbai I really felt satisfied with the ending of this story, but found myself wanting the second book right away (obviously). If you love fantasy, pick this series up now!

All the Chiweenies to Susan Dennard!