Friday, July 31, 2015

REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year! I am so glad to say that this book exceeded my expectations! This was a wonderfully unique novel!

Madeline never leaves her house. She dreams of it, but Madeline has a rare disease in which she is allergic to everything and going outside can kill her. Madeline is used to staying indoors with only books, movies, and board games to keep her company, even if she wishes she could go outside. It's when a new family moves next door that her small world changes. She falls for the son, Olly, and they keep contact with each other, despite the fact that she much never leave her home. But meeting Olly makes Madeline realize that she's not living and more than anything, Madeline wants to live.

I really don't know how to talk about this book without full-on gushing! Everything (ha-ha) was perfect! I started this book late at night, I only meant to start it, but I had to keep going! I adored the writing, the characters, the story, everything. I picked up this book originally after reading the intriguing synopsis! A girl who is allergic to everything is certainly a new idea in the book and a perspective I wanted to see. Add the complicated relationship and I was curious to see how things would work out. The premise was very well-incorporated! It was precisely what I expected and more. The story was enormously realistic, in a new environment. I know I'm just gushing and repeating myself a lot, and I'm sorry for that.

I would also like to mention a nice surprise in the book. There are illustration, notes, and whatnot all throughout the pages. I'm a sucker for these things, so they made me very happy.

Now, Madeline is a fabulous MC. Also, she's a POC, which I feel weird mentioning, but it's so rare in YA and books in general that this just made me very happy. Anyway, Madeline is a very realistic character. Yeah, she has a rare disease, but she felt so real, as with her thoughts and actions. She also has her own flaws, like a normal human being. She makes many mistakes, but all of them are understandable is that makes any sense. It's interesting too, how this book is also a coming of age tale. She has lived a very sheltered life and the introduction to Olly gives her the realization that there's more to life and she's not really living it. I'm having a hard time describing more about her, but she's really a fabulous and strong character, and I love how real she is, while still being a character that stands out from other YA MCs.

As for romance, some people have described it as insta-love, but it's not. Keep in mind that Madeline hardly ever sees anyone and she's immediately interested in this odd boy moving in next door. This only escalates when Olly actually begins communicating with her and doesn't judge her for her disease. Also, their relationship starts as a friendship and then the feelings grow and instead of being cheesy, it's just real (there's that word again). Olly was also kind of adorable and just a fantastic guy!

The ending, though, was a bit odd. There was a twist that I wasn't expecting, but its still made sense and gave the book a very satisfactory ending.

Overall, I strongly recommend this book! Everything is amazing about this book! If you want to read a new contemporary that is wonderfully unique, then pick up this book! As for me, I'm looking forward to more books by Nicola Yoon!

I hereby give this book
5 Stars
Meaning: A new favorite!

Cover Lust: Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Cover Lust is something that I do every week where I feature a book cover that I absolutely love!
Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall, #1)

Vane Weston should have died in the category-five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past - except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she's real.

Audra is real, but she isn't human. She's a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She's also a guardian - Vane's guardian - and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, Audra and Vane start to realize that the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

 Why did I pick this cover? 
Sure, this cover is a bit cheesy, but I think it really fits the book AND the title! They are literally falling through the sky. I also like the aspect of all the clouds and I think it overall has a wonderful effect.
 What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

REVIEW: Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell

Expiration Day
What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?
It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….

Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.

Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?

Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.

I was expecting so much more in this book. Granted, I didn't know much about it when I picked it up, but I knew it was a dystopian and the tagline promises a lot more than I ended up reading. This book was okay, but it's basically a coming-of-age with robots and not a whole lot happens.

This book begins in the year 2049 on Tania's eleventh birthday and follows her throughout her teenage years. Tania lives in a world where there are few human children left, because a majority of the population is unable to have children. Instead, they adopt robot children. They look human and act human, even think they're human, but each are owned by a government corporation called Oxted. And once they reach 18, Oxted takes them back.

This book is written in diary format, as Tania's diary. She starts it at age 11 and continues writting out the details of her life as the years go back. It's an interesting format and Tania's voice was very strong in the writing. She also wrote as if to a future race, which could be annoying, but I actually thought that made it more real. I would probably wonder that too, and who's to say it's not possibly? In fact, there are intervals throughout the book that are actually from a future race reading Tania's diary. This was interesting, but unnecessary to the story. It was also really confusing.

I like the idea behind the book behind the robot children, but this book was less high-stakes dystopian and more coming-of-age. I wasn't expecting that and while I did like the ideas the book had (sorry for being vague, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers), this book was extremely slow-paced. Not much happened at all, it was mostly details of Tania's life. Granted, she's in the future, but not a whole lot happens.

Tania, as a character, she's okay. I thought it was interesting seeing her grow and learn more about the world she was living in. She has her flaws, but she did feel real. I can't really say much about her without spoiling things, though.

As for romance, Tania kind of likes a guy throughout the book, but I really didn't feel anything from it. It was really meh.

Overall, I wasn't overly impressed by this book. It has a very interesting idea, but it wasn't what I was expecting. If you want to read a slow-paced coming-of-age in a futuristic society, then this is for you, but not enough happened to pique my interest.

I hereby give this book
2.5 Stars
Meaning: I almost liked it, but not quite

Cover vs Cover: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

This week's pick is...

Smart Girls Get What They Want VS.  Smart Girls Get What They Want
Hardcover                   Paperback
This is such a hard one! The first one emphasizes on smart girls, while the other one just screams "feel-good cuteness". I really love both of these, but I'll go with the paperback purely because I love the gentle colors and I love her skirt!
  Final Verdict: Paperback
Do you agree? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where you talk about whatever book you are IMPATIENTLY WAITING for!

This week I am waiting for...

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.
Release Date: September 22nd 2015

Why am I waiting?
I'm surprised I haven't done this one yet, as I've been lusting over it ever since I first heard of it! A) Rae Carson B) Awesome premise C) DAT COVER!
Seriously, I need this.

What book are you waiting for this week?

Monday, July 27, 2015

REVIEW: The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

The Bar Code TattooIndividuality vs. Conformity

Identity vs. Access

Freedom vs. Control

The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.

But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run...for her life.

I've seen this book around, but never picked it up because of the awkward cover. I saw it at a cheap book sale, though, so I figured "why not?". I probably could've done without reading this book. It wasn't horrible. It's your typical dystopian, but it was just meh overall.

Everyone is getting the bar code tattoo. Everyone over the age of 17 gets one. The tattoo is becoming the new currency and it carries all of your information. What's the big deal? It's not a problem if you have nothing to hide? But normal people's lives are being destroyed by this tattoo, while others are getting promoted. Kayla is against the tattoo and knows that it's dangerous, but when her society is getting closer to it being mandatory, can she keep her promise to herself? And what is in those bar codes?

This book is your typical dystopian. Government tries to be utopia, everyone goes along with it, except for MC, and MC joins rebellion. This isn't bad, but I've seen it all before (though, this book was published before the dystopian craze, so I can't really blame the book). I still liked the idea behind this book. I thought the tattoos were interesting and you really see a sheep-like effect in the population with the introduction to the tattoo, then they ignore any bad rep. It was also interesting seeing how fast and far things escalated. It's sad to say that this is how people would probably react, but it's true. I would also like to mention that there was a surprising kind-of paranormal-ish element to the book. It made it a bit different.

Now, I'm sorry to say that from here on, my review is going to be a bit negative. The book wasn't bad, but I couldn't ignore the flaws. My main problem was the pacing. The pacing was extremely fast, which meant that we were told things rather than shown and some parts were completely skipped over. There is one part where it mentions that Kayla's birthday is weeks ago, then the next chapter she wakes up on her birthday! Where did the time go?

Kayla, as a main character, was okay. I liked that she was into art and how she stands up for what she believes in, but other than that, there really wasn't much to her. The characters in this book felt really flat to me, not just Kayla, everyone.

As for romance, it was there, but it was so flat! There were actually two love interests, but I felt NOTHING for either of them, because their characters were so flat. Also, the thing I like about romance in books is all the feels. The romance was just cardboard. Instead of describing the kiss, it was described as "we kissed". Then they supposedly loved each other and had dates, all of which were skipped over!

Overall, this book was just "meh". I liked the idea and despite it being a typical dystopian, it had some new ideas. The pacing, though, was too fast and both the characters and romance were pure cardboard. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't ignore the flaws. As for continuing the series, maybe. If I see it at another book sale, I'll pick it up. Otherwise, I'll just pass.

I hereby give this book
2.5 Stars
Meaning: I almost liked it, but not quite

Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Releases in YA! (July 26th-31st)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG and, rarely, adult) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to this week:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

What books, if any, do you plan to buy?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cover Lust: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Cover Lust is something that I do every week where I feature a book cover that I absolutely love!
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

 Why did I pick this cover? 
Her pose is a bit awkward, but I still think this is a great contemporary cover and fits he book perfectly! I love the light tones, which is unusual for me and I live the writing quality to the title!
 What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cover vs Cover: Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

This week's pick is...

Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall, #1) VS.  
Original                   Redesign
The redesign isn't bad, but I really prefer the original. The redesign has a strong fantasy aspect, as well as a MG vibe, though the book is more paranoia than fantasy. Also, the original lets you know there's a romance, while also hinting at the paranormal element (air elemental). The redesign has the wind mill things (forgot what hey're called), butt it just looks oddly placed.
   Final Verdict: Original
Do you agree? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

REVIEW: Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein

Cold Fury (Cold Fury, #1)
Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.

I picked this book up sort of impulsively at a cheap used book sale. I didn't really know much about this book except that it's a thriller. I was a bit disappointed, it wasn't as actiony as I expected, but it was very interesting!

Sara Jane thought her family was normal. They're a bunch of bakers, that's all. Then she comes home to find her family missing and her home ransacked. Turns out her family is part of the Chicago Outfit, basically a long-running mob. Now, Sara Jane is the keeper of the notebook, full of the Outfit's secrets, and must prevent it from getting in the wrong hands, as well as trying to survive, and find her family.

My main problem with this book is that it takes forever for things to happen. The first 150 pages is mostly just backstory. It isn't until then that her family disappears, though Sara Jane alludes to it in the very beginning. I was expecting a thriller, but the first half was a bit dull and just was leading up to the family disappearance, which it took way too long to get to. The second half was much more action packed, with made me happier. I finally got to know what was going on, though was some info-dump but that's okay mostly because Sara Jane didn't know what was going on either. I ended up finding the whole Outfit interesting as well as how everything was organized!

As a main character, Sara Jane is a great one. She's tough and smart. Many others in her situation wouldn't know what to do, but she was able to keep it together and figure things out. Still, she felt real. The other characters in the book didn't feel so real, they felt like there were just there, but most of them were necessary so...

As for romance, there is supposed to be some, but it's hardly there and it just felt so important. Sara Jane kind of has a crush on a boy, but nothing really happens with him. I also really didn't care about him because he was really flat. Good news: the romance didn't distract from the plot.

I sound like I'm just complaining, but I did like this book. It had a compelling plot and a great MC, it just was slow-paced for a thriller and the other characters felt too flat. I don't know if I'll read the next book or not, mostly because I've heard the the second book is a bit of a slump. Maybe I'll read it if I come across it, but otherwise I might pass.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where you talk about whatever book you are IMPATIENTLY WAITING for!

This week I am waiting for...

The Girl from Everywhere
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.

Release Date: February 16th 2016
Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

Why am I waiting?
I adore time travel books and this sounds way too interesting to pass up!

What book are you waiting for this week?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Music Monday: How Does it Feel (Album) by MS MR

I love music and often listening to music all the time (when I'm reading, on the internet, falling asleep, etc.)! Every week I will list my current music obsession, whether it's a new discovery or an old one!

I loved MS MR other album, Secondhand Rapture, so I was ecstatic to hear that they had a new album! Sadly, it's not yet available on Spotify, but thank goodness for Youtube!

What have you been listening to lately?

REVIEW: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly Stepsister
When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she's magically transported into the world of Cinderella--as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she'll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm a bit of a sucker for fairytale retellings, so I snatched this one up right when I saw it! I thought this was a very interesting take on a well known tale and I got sucked in (ha ha) right from the start! This book can now go down as one of my favorite retellings!

Kat is told to clean out the attic and comes across an old stash of picture books, when she accidentally rips one of the books, she gets sucked into the story. Now she has to play out the tale of Cinderella, all the way to the happy ending. But she's not Cinderella, she's one of the stepsisters and nothing seems to be following the story. Since when does Cinderella have another family? Where is the fairy godmother? And why is the prince taking an interest in Kat?

This book was actually very unexpected for me, because it's a retelling but not a strict retelling. I actually enjoy this, even though it made things more difficult for Kat, because it maakes the story completely new and it just all-in all surprised me. There were other things that I weren't expecting, like the child labor, but it did oddly add more to the book. It made the setting feel more real, not all rainbows and butterflies, and also added more to Kat's character.

Kat is actually a very relateable heroine. One might think she's just another one of those YA girls that think they're ugly and awkward, but not. She's not an ugly girl, and she thinks she's more average, but she's cast as "the ugly stepsister" because of how she thinks of herself. I say she's relateable because a lot of girls, me included, feel awkward and whatnot. I also say she's relateable because she likes to read!! I love characters who read! One other thing important about Kat is that she will stand up for what's right and against what's wrong, hence the child labor thing, and all throughout the book she tried to finish the story to get home to her family, even if she was finding her own happiness.

As for romance, I actually really liked it. It was a bit confusing,, because you want things to happen, but you don't think they will or things will work out differently, but there was no insta-love or other cheesiness that you would expect and I actually really liked the guy.

Now, I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending. I'm being vague, but I knew it would end that way, sort of, but it doesn't mean I didn't like it. It also included a trope I hate in books. <highlight to view spoiler>I hate it when characters lose their memory of the entire book!! If you're going to go that route, why not have Kat see a guy at school who is like the prince or something?<end of spoiler>

Overall, this was a brilliant retelling and it was very different! I think my only major problem that I had was the ending, but I'll just pretend that it didn't end that way.
Anyway, if you're a retellings fan, pick this one up!

I hereby give this book
4 Stars
Meaning: It was amazing!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bookish Rants and Rambles: Crying is Good?

Bookish Rants and Rambles is basically where I either rant or ramble about something dealing with books.
I think all of us can relate to this. All of us have read a book that left us in tears, but is this a bad thing? Tearjerkers sometimes get a bad rep and I know many book nerds that just will not read them. Why? Yes, crying isn't fun, but in my experience, the books that make you cry are the ones that can be the most brilliant.

Sounds crazy, right? But stick with me here. If a book makes you cry, that means that you care. You care about the characters, the story, the book in general. It's a mark of a great writer when they can make the story feel so real that you feel all the feels. That even after you finish the book, you finish the book, you still think about it. 

Still don't believe me? Well, I've read many books that made me feel the feels and I've given almost all of them high ratings. The only one that got a low rating was Allegiant, but I still count it since I cared about the characters in the previous book (still cared in the last one, but the story sucked). A whole lot of them are now some of my all-time favorites. 

That doesn't mean that books that don't make you cry aren't good, there are plenty of amazing books out there, but most of them at least make you feel and they impact you in some way. Also, you don't have to cry tears of sadness! I've read many books that just read me cry just by how beautiful they were, such as Wonder.

I think where I am going with this is that you don't have to be afraid of the tears!

Some Tear-Worthy Recommendations

So, what books have you shed tears over?

Interview with Erica Cameron (author of Deadly Sweet Lies) + Giveaway!

Today I'll be interviewing Erica Cameron! She's the author of Sing Sweet Nightingale as well as Deadly Sweet Lies, coming out this August! Look below for the interview and scroll down for the giveaway! But first, here's some info about the book:

Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2)
Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.
 Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.
 Julian Teagan is a master of deception.
 To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness.
Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…

Describe your book 5 words.
Truth, secrets, fear, trust, and family.

I know you get this question a lot, but how were you inspired to write this series?
A few years ago my friend Lani Woodland called me to ask if I had a paranormal short story I wanted to submit to a young adult anthology. I didn’t because short isn’t my thing at all, but I promised her I’d think about it and see what I could come up with. I was working at Border’s at the time and one morning two songs played back to back while I was opening the store one morning. First it was “Mariella” by Kate Nash, a song that talks about a girl who has decided to stop speaking and was inordinately pleased with her own silence. I wrote myself a note--”Why would a girl be happy about not speaking?”--and then I moved on. At least until the next song: “Creation Lake” by Silversun Pickups. There’s a line in that song that says “There are 24 parts in a day that divide me from you.” The first questions my not-quite-awake brain comes up with is “Well, what about the twenty-fifth part of the day? What happens then?” Suddenly I had a character and a concept and the entire Dream War Saga universe built from those two starting points. Mariella was, obviously, named after the song that inspired her existence.

What was your favorite scene to write?
There’s a moment in the book where Julian has a personal epiphany about his asexuality and it thrilled me to be able to put that moment in the book. It’s especially important because it was literally the last major moment added to the book and because I was going through a similar epiphany while I was writing this. It took that long both to add it to Julian’s story and my own because I hadn’t ever heard of asexuality in the context of human orientations until last year. That scene and the discussion he has with one of the other characters is most definitely the moment in the book that I have the strongest tie to.

Do you have any odd writing habits?
Possibly my lack of actual “habits”? How, where, and when I write changes constantly depending on what else is going on in my life. As long as I manage to get something done in a day, I consider that day a success. The “how” isn’t that important.

What character(s) did you have the most fun writing about?
The cast list of my series expands exponentially in Deadly Sweet Lies and it was so much fun getting to play with the diverse set of people and personalities that now exist! In the group we meet through Nadette and Julian Lexi is sweet and fun, Kelsey is wise beyond her years, Clarke is an enforcer, Vasha is the technician, Anya is the artist, Tanner is the caretaker, Beth is the scholar, and Johanna is the leader. They all have their roles in the community they’ve built and the interactions of their personalities were amazingly fun to write!

Are are you are Plotter or Pantser?
Somewhere in between the two! Every book is a different process for me in terms of how I meet and develop the characters, how I figure out the plot, and how I actually write the book. However, what I have figured out is that detailed plotting is impossible for me to accomplish until I have written a fair amount (usually somewhere between ten to twenty thousand words) of a book. Until I get to know a character, there’s no way that I can predict how and why they’ll react in certain situations. Even after that, though, I still find outlining or summarizing difficult. I prefer editing!

What book(s) defined your childhood? Or got you into reading?
I do not remember a time when books weren’t a part of my life. My mom always read to me and my sisters and my dad read The Hobbit to us twice.Movies were big in my house too and my father is probably one of the reasons I am perfectly capable of rewatching with pleasure a movie I’ve already seen a hundred times. That being said, the first author I remember developing a particular passion for is Tamora Pierce and her Tortall books. To this day there’s nothing I don’t love about her books and her universes.

What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?
I spent a lot of time looking up train schedules and train station layouts, stalking Google Images to find interior shots so I could describe the station. Also, bad neighborhoods in Vegas. I spent a fair amount of time looking for really seedy apartments near the touristy section of Las Vegas and, luckily, found exactly what I was looking for behind the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino.

What made you want to become an author?
I’ve always loved hearing/reading/watching stories, but it wasn’t until I discovered I wasn’t that bad at creating them myself that I began to see it as a viable career choice. Fanfiction taught me that I was indeed capable of stringing together enough sentences to form a book and my first finished attempt at a novel (an angel book called Fallen that will never see the light of day) showed me that all my years of reading hadn’t been wasted because I really did know things about plot and tension and characters. Honestly even with all the stressful bits of writing and the publishing industry, I can’t think of anything else I want to do.

Random Questions:
Cats or dogs?
Both! I am a bad pet owner (the dogs I’ve owned are always so poorly trained!), but I love playing with other people’s fur babies.

Unicorns or zombies?

Favorite color?
Blue. All of the blues!

Favorite movie/TV show?
So many. Love stories, disaster scenarios, action/adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, period pieces--I really just love stories. I’m a notoriously non-critical viewer. Just entertain me and I’m happy!

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Almost all of the superpowers have pretty massive drawbacks, but I’ve always been fascinated by the ability to have complete control over your own body and brain--enhance your own senses, control your perception of time, permanently record or delete memories. It seems like it’d be the most useful power to have in day to day life.

Erica Cameron
After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
Her debut novel Sing Sweet Nightingale released March 4, 2014 from Spencer Hill Press. It is the first book in The Dream War Saga, a four-book young adult series.


New Releases in YA! (June 19th-25th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG and, rarely, adult) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to this week:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

What books, if any, do you plan to buy?