graphic novel · paranormal · young adult

TAPROOT: a graphic novel that made me cry because it’s so cute, and also scary

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Taproot

author : keezy young

pages : [paperback] 127

favorite character : blue

summary :

Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realizes Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him.

review :

Feeling the urge to read something incredibly cute and yet nearly guaranteed to give you nightmares or just weird dreams if you read it too late at night? Taproot is here for you.

Blue is a ghost with a best friend who’s alive. Hamal can see ghosts, including his best friend Blue, so people constantly think he’s talking to himself. Blue isn’t ready to move on. Hamal is trying to keep the flowers at his shop from wilting. But then things start getting . . . weird. Creepy weird, scary weird, grim-reaper-might-be-coming-after-us weird. The afterlife is unbalanced, and Blue needs to figure out a way to fix things or else his friend might end up hurt.

This book is so. Cute. I flew through it, so I know this is a graphic novel I’ll reread over and over again. I love the art style–whimsy mixed with realism mixed with the unsettling. I love how much Blue and Hamal care about each other and would do anything to keep each other safe. And, okay, I just really like ghost stories, and Taproot is like nothing else I’ve ever read before.

Of course, things really never go as planned when the living and the dead mix, so I liked how this book was unpredictable. Short, sweet, BITTERSWEET, incredibly satisfying. I just want to read more; I could have sat and happily read a few hundred more pages of this story. It’s not often that you find something like this that makes you feel good while also freaking you out just a little bit. This unique combination is what makes me love and recommend Taproot so much.

5/5 stars

 

5 stars · fiction · young adult

Foul is Fair: I LOVE THIS BOOK

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Foul is Fair

author : hannah capin

pages : [hardcover] 336

favorite character : elle

summary :

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

review :

This book is badass. Foul is Fair is brutal and beautiful.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from Wednesday Books in exchange for my honest review. Yes, this book doesn’t come out until February. Yes, I started reading this as soon as I got my hands on it because I couldn’t resist the urge to find out what Foul is Fair is all about.

Before page one, content and trigger warnings are printed for readers. I hope that Foul is Fair is setting a precedent, because this is something that is so important to include. Wednesday Books might be starting one of the best trends to happen in literature.

Elle goes to a party. Something terrible happens at the party. Elle begins to call herself Jade. Jade plots her revenge.

Foul is Fair is truly a revenge fantasy for girls who are tired with boys getting away with their crimes. It is dark, it certainly doesn’t hold back, it screams and attacks for every girl out there who’s ever been kept silent. It certainly isn’t like anything I’ve ever read before.

It does require a little suspension of disbelief. This book is a retelling of Macbeth (which, I’ve just realized, isn’t mentioned in the book summary?) and if you keep thinking about it within that context, you’re fine. However, the book does take place over the span of three weeks (at most) so if you think of it within a contemporary context, it makes less sense. It happens so fast. If there had just been a few chapters in the middle that said Jade wormed her way into the lives of her enemies over even a few months, it would have been infinitely more believable.

The writing is so incredibly beautiful–enough to make me not really care about the timeline. Which is saying a lot, because usually I rail against insta-love, even in retellings. Hannah Capin has the kind of writing that is *chef kiss* delicious. I want to read anything she’s ever written or will write; I want to sink into these beautiful words that talk about such dark themes. You all know I’m not the biggest fan of books set in a contemporary world. I feel like Hannah Capin could write about anything, she’s so good. Maybe this also plays into why I didn’t mind the rushed timeline so much; as a reader, you’re so in tune with Jade’s thoughts that you understand her completely. Her motivations. Her fears, that she tries to hide from even herself.

I’m sorry so many of you are going to have to wait so long to read this book, because I want to discuss it with all of you right now. It’s unique. It’s amazing to see this badass girl pulling all the strings. And it’s very satisfying. Foul is Fair is fairly brilliant.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Renee Dugan

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Renee Dugan, current trilogy writer of witches!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Renee hopes to take her writing career!

renee

What is the first thing you remember writing?

Ahhh, the infamous start! The very first thing I ever wrote was a story about a little fat dog who had to go to an agility school because he was so out of shape (inspired by our cat who at the time was also very out of shape). I was five years old. My mom kept that one-page story forever.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Anything I can fit into a fantasy-shaped box, haha! I love writing about swords and kingdoms, dragons, grand-scale battles, saving the world, that kind of thing. But ultimately my favorite elements in any story, fantasy or not, are romance, found family, self-growth, and spiritual/emotional matters.

 

Tell me one of your writing goals.

Successfully rewrite the latter half of my STARCHASER series! I’ve always balked at doing rewrites, but this year I’m really diving into the hard work of it, and so far I’m two down, three to go!

Have any particular writers inspired you?

So many! It’s funny, as a young adult I was much more inspired by the writers who “made it big”- JK Rowling, Sarah J Maas, Tamora Pierce, etc. But the older I get, the more inspired I am by the people I see in the trenches on Instagram and Twitter who invite us into their process. It’s the blood, sweat and tears I find so motivating these days. So here’s a shoutout to Lina Amarego, Cassidy Eubanks, Bethany Atazadeh, and Miranda Kulig, just to name a few inspirers!

 

Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

I have SO MANY to choose from, this is really hard! But right now I am very much loving being in my boy Thorne’s head. He’s so real and so flawed and so fun. A man coming from a family full of generational abuse, saved by his grandmother’s self-sacrificial love from becoming the same kind of monster as his own father, but he still struggles with that shadow on his back every single day. He’s so fierce and so tender, I love him to bits. Can you tell? 😉

Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Yes! But how much time have you got? Ha! I think one piece of advice every writer needs, myself included, is to not worry about getting it perfect – just make it good enough. Even your already-published peers have said years later “If I could, I would change x, y, and z.” I don’t think there’s a book in existence whose author is completely, 100% satisfied with it, so don’t feel like your book will be ready only when you run out of things to change. It’ll never happen. Just concentrate on getting it to the place where it’s telling the tale and sending the message you’re after, even with tiny things you’d still tweak!

What’s the last book you read?

A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth. Such a great, haunting, Spooktacular, LOVELY book! I highly recommend it to fantasy fans, especially those with a taste for English culture!

Renee Dugan is an Indiana-based YA/NA author who grew up reading fantasy books, chasing stray cats, and writing stories full of dashing heroes and evil masterminds. Now with over a decade of professional editing, administrative work, and writing every spare second under her belt, she has authored THE CHAOS CIRCUS, a horror-lite fantasy novel available now at online retailers everywhere, and THE STARCHASER SAGA, an epic high fantasy series with its first installment debuting December 3rd, 2019. Living with her husband, dog, and three not-so-stray cats in the magical Midwest, she continues to explore new worlds and spends her time in this one encouraging and helping other writers on their journey to fulfilling their dreams.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Renee! I’m excited to check out that trilogy.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Katerina King

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Katerina King, current trilogy writer of witches!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Katerina hopes to take her writing career!

katerina author photo

What is the first thing you remember writing?

I love characters, I love getting to know, developing them, treating them as if they are real people. For some readers, they keep reading depending on the plot or pacing or if the grammar is good or not. But for me as long as the characters were life like and I can relate or connect with them I can keep reading the book and that’s what I hope to convey in my works.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Witches! Which I guess isn’t shocking considering my entire series and the next eight books after it all have to do with them. Its been an obsession since I was young.

Tell me one of your writing goals.

Finish book two of my trilogy by February of 2020.

Have any particular writers inspired you?

Rick Riordan, which if you don’t know who that is, he is the author of the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books.

Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

My favorite character that has walked into my headspace is Elijah Hutton and he is the best friend of my main character Scarlette Petrova. He is my favorite because there is such a complex nature to him, he grew up in an overly religious family that he thought was really tight but when he came out of the closet at seventeen he quickly learned that blood wasn’t always as thick as water.

Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Just keep writing and don’t give up!

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read… geez. A Twisted Fate by K. A Grayson

Katerina King is a fiction author who spends most of her time in the world of witches. Her debut novel, Malediction, is the first installment of the Ritual of the Court trilogy, which also has a multitude of planned spin-off novels and has just been published via Amazon. The easiest way to connect with her is through her Twitter @_KingKaterina.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Katerina! I’m excited to check out that trilogy.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

 

5 stars · Fantasy · series · young adult

WAYWARD SON is a very fun sequel okay

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Wayward Son

Simon Snow #2
Book 1: Carry On

author : rainbow rowell

pages : [hardcover] 356

memorable quote :

But it was a mistake thinking of that as an end. There is no end. Bad things happen, and then they stop, but they keep on wreaking havoc inside of people.

favorite character : baz

summary :

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.

review :

I remember a time when I never thought I’d get to read any more Simon and Baz, so I count myself lucky that this book exists and there’s going to be a third book. This book isn’t perfect, but it was a lot of fun and I loved every minute of it (not to mention it dragged me forcibly out of my perpetual reading slump).

Wayward Son deals with the “aftermath of the Chosen One” trope that seems to be popping up a little more often in YA these days. The world is saved. Simon sacrificed a lot for that and everyone seems to think he should be just fine. Nothing will ever be the same, and no one seems to really care.

So they all go on a roadtrip, to try to shake things up and make Simon a little less depressed.

What I liked so much about Wayward Son was the characters, because they all felt very real. Penny is having some harsh realizations about herself that typically happen to people after high school. Baz is still trying to figure out where he belongs in the world. Simon has lost so much and has taken to that quiet kind of depression that affects so many people–not taking care of himself, pushing away the people who care for him because clearly they would be better off without him. And they’re just as young as he is, so they’re equally at a loss for what to do. They’re three teenagers trying to find their footing in a world that really doesn’t need them anymore, and basically anyone who picks up this book should be able to relate to that.

The plot was a little bit all over the place for me, because for half of the book is was just ROADTRIP and then the rest seemed to be building toward something that didn’t quite have its foundation yet. I was still fully on board; the only thing that really threw me off was the last few chapters. It sort of felt like only then and there the decision was made to build up for a third book, which I regrettably wasn’t anticipating because the first book read like a standalone so I assumed this one would as well. Cue sad violins for me as I desperately wait for book three.

Wayward Son also confirms for me that I’m back in it with vampires. Give me all the vampire books. Brooding ones. Dorky ones. Closeted vampires like Baz who have literally no idea what they’re doing but are trying their best.

If you enjoyed Carry On, I really think you’ll like this sequel as well. The same sense of humor that permeated the first book is still here and made me actually laugh out loud a few times. I think I might have groaned a few times too, as in Oh no Simon don’t do thAT WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT. These boys will be the death of me. Go read this book.

5/5 stars

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Shadia Omer

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Shadia Omer, aspiring TV writer and current freelancer!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Shadia hopes to take her writing career!

shadia pic

 

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?
Hmm, trying to go way back with this one. I remember in middle school I would always enjoy writing short stories that I never shared with anyone. When I started high school, I joined this online writing community website called Mibba (I think it’s still active!) with my best friend and I would write on my blog there. Short stories and a few cringe-worthy poems. Good times, good times.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
I grew up with so much love for TV. Watching TV was my escape and as I started getting older I realized I needed a way to channel my feelings, my thoughts on the shows I’ve been watching and just predict things that may happen on the show. So as I started writing about TV, I eventually found websites to contribute to talking about shows (doing reviews and recaps), which then ignited my passion to one day write FOR TV. So in short, my favorite thing to write about is TV and pop culture as a whole.
3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

Ooh kind of spilled this in the second question! I’m an aspiring TV writer so I’m in the works of writing a pilot/spec script soon. I keep lagging, and I don’t know why! (Writers’ block is definitely to blame!)
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

Oh yes. For the past couple of years, I’ve been avidly following (and sometimes) interacting with other writers on Twitter. To name a few, Carina MacKenzie (creator of Roswell NM and former writer on The Originals) has been a huge inspiration to me along with Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away WIth Murder) along with Issa Rae (Creator of Insecure).
5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

I haven’t created this one just yet but would LOVE to one day. I want to create a Black Muslim (hijabi wearing) woman with the same personality as Elenor Shellstrop from ‘The Good Place’.
6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?
I usually am the one that asks that question! But hmm, from my experience I would honestly say to keep going and love what you write. Hone in your skills, embrace it and keep the momentum going. Even when you keep on doubting yourself (like I have), keep it going. Also, exploring different styles of writing is a plus because it’ll help you find what type attracts you the most. Also, never stop reading. Reading and writing go hand and hand.
7. What’s the last book you read?
Not done just yet– The Hating Game.

Shadia Omer is an entertainment writer, pop-culture enthusiast, and an aspiring TV writer. She’s based in San Diego, CA but will always rep being from Houston, TX instead. Catch her at San Diego Comic-Con every year as it’s the most wonderful time of the year. She watches way too much TV for her own good and has too many thoughts on it. With her passion for the TV/entertainment industry, Shadia is working to change the American-Muslim narratives on TV, pushing for authentic and inclusion representation in the media. When she’s not writing, obsessing over her love for pizza and traveling, you can find her on Twitter tweeting about her favorite shows one tweet at a time at @shadiawrites. She currently is freelancing with Den of Geek (Shadia Omer), TV contributor with Shuffle Online (Shadia Omer, Author at Shuffle Online) and Senior Writer with Talk Nerdy With Us (Shadia Omer).
Find Shadia over on Twitter:
and instagram!

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Shadia! I can’t wait for that pilot script to be finished!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Lynn Jung

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Lynn Jung–dino-enthusiast and creator of wonderful worlds.

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and what it takes to make yourself improve as a writer!

 

 

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?
I was a hardcore dinosaur kid growing up. Every other weekend, I would pester my parents to take me to the Museum of Natural History so I could gawk at the fossil displays. So in elemental school, I wrote a nine page short story about two kids time traveling to the Cretaceous Period and befriending some Triceratops, running from T-rex, all that jazz. Once I was done, I had my artist friend illustrate it, bound it up with ribbon and glue, and passed it around to the class to read and review. The boy I liked gave me an 8.5/10. It crushed me.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
Demons & child-eating monsters. Just kidding. (Maybe.) I enjoy writing complex, troubled heroes and crafting strange worlds and creatures. My true bread and butter, however, is anything that bends or mixes genres—horror fantasy is a current favorite!
3. Tell me one of your writing goals.
I’d love to see a television adaptation for one of my books someday. (Netflix, call me. Please.)
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?
Yes, many! Elizabeth Acevedo, Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Linda Sue Park, and Emily X.R. Pan, to name a few. All voicey, unique, and highly recommended.
5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.
My favorite character tends to rotate depending on what project is occupying my attention, but I do have a strong bias toward the Big Bad of my longest-running project. He’s a bougie demon monarch with a bad attitude and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. He raises voice-mimicking crows to work as his spies and wears a lot of black, of course. And he’s pretty. Need I say more?
6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?
Study story craft. Many aspects of writing are intuitive, but I find this is not one of them. Lots of otherwise excellent writers fall short because they don’t quite have the skills and knowledge required to lay out a solid, coherent story. So, pinpoint your weaknesses and study up! Reading books on craft and watching the film analysis side of Youtube has helped me level up as a writer in so many ways.
7. What’s the last book you read?
As I mentioned before, I’ve been digging into a lot of books on craft lately, and I’m almost finished with K.M Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs. It’s an excellent breakdown of why strong character arcs are so important and how to effectively weave them into your story’s conflict and theme.
In terms of fiction, I recently finished Rebecca Roanhorse’s Storm of Locusts, the sequel to her excellent Trail of Lightning. Roanhorse’s Sixth World series has both incredible worldbuilding and a scrappy cast of characters you can’t help but root for. (I’m in love with both Maggie AND Kai, and I’m not ashamed.) If “an indigenous Mad Max” sounds like something you’d enjoy, I highly recommend checking the series out!

Lynn Jung writes offbeat speculative fiction. She likes characters you’d want to be friends with and monsters you wouldn’t want to find under your bed. Currently, she is a veterinary assistant and bio major based in California. She spends her spare time volunteering at her local wildlife rehab center, where she wrangles cormorants and gets pounced on by baby crows. She is represented by Kerstin Wolf at D4EO Literary Agency.
Twitter: @sweater_giraffe
Instagram: @lynndjung

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Lynn! I can’t wait until we all get to read your work–I want to love/hate that demon monarch!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!