Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review Discussion: House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Book: House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Genre: YA Supernatural
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review, and Local Authors
From (and FTC Disclosure):  Received for free from the publisher through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: Jo is a witch, and is from a long line of witches... a line of only women. (The men in their lives come and go.) When her grandma gets sick, it prompts Jo to break a lot of witch rules, including letting her friends in on the secret. There's a powerful force coming to hunt her and her grandma that she doesn't quite understand. Behind the force is a guy and guys don't have magic. Solving this mystery and saving her family and home is the driving force behind this fast paced story.

My Response: I'm not much into the witch talk. All that potion mixing and spell casting isn't my thing I guess. But, though there is a lot of that in this story, it goes beyond that to the relationships between the these women. And also the friends that she ends up including in the circle. It makes a pretty powerful statement for the strength of sisterhood. So that was awesome. The dark magic is pretty scary and creepy too and there is  a lot of gross and evil stuff going on here! If you are into that! The magic in general was all pretty cool.

Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Let's Talk About: It makes some people uncomfortable reading about witchcraft. I guess maybe because this practice is all too real in the world today? Anyway, I wondered how you felt about it? Does it bother you at all, or do you just shrug and go, eh, it's fiction.

Other Reviews:

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple was an intriguing tale filed with old school witchcraft set into a very contemporary setting. From Bewitched Bookworms

Ultimately, The House of Ivy & Sorrow is a classic Good Against Evil story, but it's done well, and I enjoyed every minute with these characters. From Annette's Book Spot

This was a refreshing YA paranormal read with great characters, cute romance, and a fun plot. From Dark Faerie Tales

A to Z Blogging: Nano-ing Again


While November is Nanowrimo, I guess April is Camp Nanowrimo... which is different in that you can set your own word count goal. And I'm gathering that everything is also much more low key.

But since I've been in the midst of revising (ah that's such an official term! I want to say something like... fixing!) the stuff I wrote in November, I thought, why not? And joined up with Camp Nano. I'm thinking that this was the initial purpose for Camp Nano anyway, for all the November Nano-ers to set aside a month for fixing.

So I've been fixing... revising... my story. And it's really hard to actually call that writing. I mean, how do you determine a word count when all you are doing is fixing and changing words around? But the other day, one of the Camp Nano dudes during the live stream said he calculated every 1 hour of revising as 1000 words. I liked that! So now to determine how many hours I've worked on my story this month....

I have no idea.

But it's a good handful. And it's fun. Yes, it really is fun. It's great to take all those messy words and turn them into something.... not quite as messy. And to figure out where more detail needs to be, or where less detail needs to be. And then share them and let others tell you. And then hopefully they'll say, "hey, that's... not too bad really." Or maybe they'll say, "Um.. yeah... so it's pretty bad. This is how you fix it!"

But I get discouraged when I go to the conferences and/or workshops and they say.... "your first novel is crap you know. You won't have anything good until your, I don't know, 16th novel or so!" Which makes me want to stop working on this my first novel and start some others so I can get the 16th one! Why waste time on this my first one, right? That's what I hear when  they say stuff like that!

Because, speaking of time, the other bit that's discouraging is the part when they say, "Yeah, so this will take awhile. Yeah, probably like 20 years or something before anything will happen."

That's all well and good if you start this process in your 20s or even 30s. But what if I'm nearly 50? Yeah... what then? I might be DEAD by 70!!!

But still... I'm revising away, because truly, I have no expectations other than learning and enjoying the process and just the ability to say, I've done this thing.


(For more A to Z posts, here's the main website link.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z Blogging: Monsters!


So, as you know, I love thinking about villains and what makes them cool or interesting or scary. And, as you know, I love those villains with a vulnerable side. The villains that you can feel sympathy for. The villains where you see the glimmer of good.

But there are those villains for which none of the above apply. And it's those villains we might call monsters. Yes? Agreed?


I've decided that one of the worst villains that I've ever come across is the governor from The Walking Dead. I've just finished up season three and wow... he is one scary dude. And even though we do see a bit of humanness with him regarding his daughter (sort of, if you can call it that), there is not enough to have any sort of sympathy for him at all.

Yes, I think this guy is one of the scariest, creepiest worst monsters I've watched OR read.

Agree or disagree? What other villains would you consider through and true monsters?

For more A to Z posts, click on over the main site.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z Blogging: Let's Laugh


I saw this video awhile back and was laughing by the end of it whether I wanted to or not. I have no idea if it's "real" but either way, you can't deny that laughing is contagious. I love that! We really need to laugh more, you know?




Happy laughing! 

For more A to Z Blogging posts, check out the main page here!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A to Z Blogging: K-I-S-S-I-N-G


Okay. I couldn't help it. Today for the A to Z challenge, let's talk about kissing. In books that is. Kissing in books! Is there even a better thing to talk about? I think not! What's your favorite book kissing scene? I must know!

As for me, here are a few scenes from more recent (ish) books that I absolutely love. Do they include some of your favorites too? I'm finding it absolutely fascinating to lay these scenes side by side like this and study them. What makes them good? What do they lack (if anything)? What do they have in common? Or not? Compare and contrast the styles! I love it! Some are pretty simple. Some are very intense. Some are sweet. Some are... very intense! :)

Anyway, what do you think?


From The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
From Legend by Marie Lu
From The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

From Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

From Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

From Divergent by Veronica Roth

From The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

From Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


From My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

From Fragments by Dan Wells

Sigh. Well, one thing a person could gather from these examples... boys have soft warm lips!


Friday, April 11, 2014

A to Z Blogging: John and Josh


Two of my favorite guys today for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. And I tried to resist. I really did. But, resistance was futile.

JOHN (Green)

I love what John has to say about creativity and inspiration in this, one of his more recent Vlogbrothers videos:




And you know I love the voice of this guy with all my heart:

JOSH (Groban)


British Isles Friday: Our Stonehenge Experience


You know how you look forward to some things in life, like, forever, and then that thing finally happens. That's how it was for me finally seeing Stonehenge. But it wasn't quite the experience I thought it would be, because, you know, the weather in England can sometimes be a bit... inclement.

Here's a video of our Stonehenge experience back in 2003:




Anyway, if you go, be prepared for anything! And enjoy it no matter the weather!

Have something British you'd like to share? Link up over at Joy's Book Blog!

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