Host with the Most: The Heartless City

Hey readers, it’s the time again! You know, the, ‘Oh no, was I supposed to host the book club this month?’ realization. No worries, I’ve got you covered! Check out The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot and all of the awesome things to do with the theme. Did I mention the eBook is on sale today and tomorrow (15th – 16th)??

The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

The-Heartless-City-front-cover

Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters.

Once shared secretly among the good doctor’s inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production – but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers – ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.

It’s 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.

Son of the city’s most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes – and finding instead he’s become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.

He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city’s rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.

Together, they aim to discover who’s really pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.

Time for Tea!

jekyll, hyde, coffee cups, tea cups, cute,

What’s the first thing a good host asks their guests? “Can I get you anything to drink”. And these are the cups to do it with my friends.

Lace Mug Candles!

These are super easy to make and give an edgy, vintage feel.

Dress the Part!

Go thrift hunting for old canes, hats, tailcoats, pearls and any other vintage clothes you can find. If your group is ambitious, you could even stop by the local costume rental store for Victorian wear!

Who’s Who Mystery Game

No picture for this one, but how fun would it be to  give everyone a secret piece of paper with either Jekyll or Hyde, and they person with Hyde as their tag has to give hints throughout the event (maybe be mischeviously steal a cookie from someone!).

Crumpets!

You simply cannot host an English themed anything without tea with  crumpets or scones. You just…can’t.

Damask. Damask Everything.

Go ahead and google Victorian. Damask is one of the main tab filters. That’s how major Damask was to this timeframe.

genre bending books

Genre-Bending Books: What to Do With Non-Cookie-Cutter Books?

Readers like what they like, and most of the time we describe our book tastes through their genres and subgenres . How a book is categorized can (and often does) make the difference between the right readers finding and falling in love with it or becoming another obsolete novel lost in the Amazon slushpile.

The only thing worse than no one finding your book is the wrong people finding it and destroying your rating because it wasn’t the type of story they thought when they discovered it. This, sadly, happens all the time, and until someone develops a mind-reading-book-search machine (nudge nudge Amazon, get on that!), we have to rely on the categorizations stores and publishers put books in. So what do you do with stories that don’t fit into a black and white category?

One such example is the delightfully difficult-to-place novel by Rebecca Strong, Who is Mr. Plutin.

coverCaught between Bridget Jones and The Bourne Identity, Rebecca describes her story as a “Spy-Fi” that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Unfortunately Amazon and Barnes & Noble haven’t picked up on our use of the Spy-fi genre, so we are stuck in the competitive crossfires of contemporary fiction and international mystery. It’s really not a hard-boiled mystery at all, in fact it has the light tone beloved for summer reading, but there is mystery. It’s not about a romance, though there are a few romantic encounters throughout the plot. In a way this is the best problem for us to have, because it means we have a unique story on our hands, with a nice balance. So where do we put it?

On the CQ site we’ve tried to remedy this at least a bit by offerin filters by age group, genre, subgenre, and themes, so as to target exactly the kind of book a reader is seeking, but there’s definitely room for growth in developing categorization for novels.

My suggestion? Scales. Not the dragon kind, but sliding scales, so that publishers and authors can add an ‘amount’ of various elements in their novels, and readers can choose ranges of acceptable material for each category their interested in. Exhibit A through A because this is all you need to know to decide it t is a good idea-

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Bookmates: General Adult Novels!

Everyone has at least a dozen book soulmates, bookmates, if you will. This segment will single-handedly find your perfect match in literary form, one blog post at a time. Here we go!

If you..

Destruction, by Sharon Bayliss - CoverAre a Slytherin who is all grown up might like: Destruction (December People #1) by Sharon Bayliss

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

 

Reborn: The Serendipitous Curse, Book 1, by Lisa Collicutt & Aiden James - CoverAre a Paranormal Romance reader with Antebellum angst: Reborn (Serendipitous Curse #1) by Aiden James and Lisa Collicutt

Since the Civil War, the name Solomon Brandt, has been reviled, a painful reminder to all descendants of the slaves the wicked plantation owner cruelly tortured.

When a man bearing this cursed name stumbles into the heart of Savannah and its storied history, he can’t help but attract the attention of the locals in the know.

A seemingly kindhearted amnesiac, he is drawn to an ancient and haunted plantation home that bears his name, as well as to a Hoodoo practitioner who converses with spirits, and her gorgeous green-eyed niece.

But curses run deep, and Solomon’s crippling nightmares tell him more than he cares to know – or bear. Immersed in wickedness long ago, he has been given a second chance to set things right and redeem his feared name.

Will he use the life he once took for granted to save the hearts – and lives – of the women he cherishes most? Or will the bloodthirsty Solomon of ages past reign once more, in the modern age?

 

The Curse Merchant, by J.P. Sloan - CoverWant Gregory House’s personality in an Occult expert: The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian’s captivating ex-lover. After two years’ absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen’s affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation… with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

 

 

Going Through the Change, by Samantha Bryant - CoverAre a woman who enjoys making things Super: Going through the Change by Samantha Bryant

Going through “the change” isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated—super-heroic changes.

Helen discovers a spark within that reignites her fire. Jessica finds that her mood is lighter, and so is her body. Patricia always had a tough hide, but now even bullets bounce off her. Linda doesn’t have trouble opening the pickle jar anymore…now that she’s a man.

When events throw the women together, they find out that they have more in common than they knew—one person has touched all their lives. The hunt for answers is on.

 

cover1000Can’t think of anything better than James Bond, except for maybe a Jane Bond: Havelock by Jane D. Everly

Eliana Havelock is a female with no past, whose determination to bring down a Karachi arms dealer catches the attention of the British Secret Intelligence Service. MI-6 is currently fractured due to political upheaval with many of its covert programs dissolved or disbanded. When Eliana presents the opportunity to divert an international arms disaster, the head of MI-6 partners her with one of it’s best and brightest, the enigmatic, Connor Blackwell. But in a world of secrets and hidden agendas, who can Eliana trust? And what, or who, is Eliana really after?

 

 

 

 

The Mussorgsky Riddle, by Darin Kennedy - CoverAre a voracious reader AND a music virtuoso: The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy

Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.

 

cover1000Like a little teleportation with your detective novel: Pop Travel by Tara Tyler (Pop Travel #1)

In 2080, technology has gone too far for J. L. Cooper. He thinks he can avoid pop travel teleportation, until he stumbles onto a video of a pop traveler who turns to dust.

Sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother, Cooper wants to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

With help from the neurotic genius “Creator” of pop travel and a beautiful Southern charmer, Cooper must expose the deadly glitch and shut it down or die trying. No problem.

 

That’s all the mates for now, but don’t worry if you’re still sitting single- we have a whole catalog of books to pair away!

Host with the Most: Inconceivable!

Hey readers! Today I’m pretty pumped to announce a new series I’ll be producing once or twice a month, called Host with the Most. This series is all about throwing awesome book club gatherings and I’m here to make sure you are the host with the most.Each post will focus on one paticular book, providing recipes, favors, and decor that will ensure your turn as host is more anticipated than a Harry Potter novel. Stay up to date with all of the Host with the Most ideas on Pinterest.

The Book: Inconceivable by Tegan Wren

inconceivable, tegan wren

A popular, young royal couple can’t produce an heir? INCONCEIVABLE!

When Ozarks native Hatty goes “whole hog” during karaoke, she catches the eye of Prince John. He isn’t what she expects the heir to a small European nation to be: he’s affable, witty, and isn’t put off by her tell-it-like-it-is demeanor. Their flirtation should be short lived, but a force stronger than fate—Hatty’s newspaper editor—assigns her to cover the royals. After spending time together, she and John soon begin dating, and Hatty finds herself making headlines instead of writing them.

But challenges loom that are even more complicated than figuring out how to mesh Hatty’s journalism career with life at Belvoir Palace. Hatty and John soon find themselves embroiled in an unusual sex scandal: they can’t produce an heir. Tabloids dub Hatty a “Barren-ess,” and the royals become irate. Hatty politely tells them to shove it. But beneath her confident exterior, she struggles to cope with a heartbreak that invades her most intimate moments with John. Pressured to choose between invasive medical procedures and abandoning John’s claim to the throne, the couple feels trapped until a trip to Ethiopia shows them happy endings sometimes arrive long after saying “I do.”

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads | NetGalley

Cinnamon Scones

For a delicious experience with Inconceivable, you need to have connamon scones to represent Belvoir Palace’s signature famous treat. Even better, they taste fantastic with coffee (I recommend Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce coffee).

Tiaras

Because every woman deserves to be a princess for a day, pick up these plastic tiaras for $5 per 6 pack!

Paparazzi Selfies

As guests enter, take snapshots of them in a paparazzi style. Bonus points for sharing to #ChattyHatty. Double bonus points if they’re walking a blue carpet!

Matching Nail Polish

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Everyone loves a good takeaway, and what’s better than a new mani color?

Set up a donation box!

inconceivable, charity, donation, babyquest, infertility,

googleimages

Make a box for donations to the author’s partner company, BabyQuest Foundation, which assists with grants for fertility treatments. Find out more.

Read all about it!

paper hearts, newspaper decor, inconceivable

Via Pinterest

This is an easy and adorable way to add some decor and romance to your setting. You could also laminate old royal wedding newspapers as place mats, wrap the silverware in squares of newspaper, or on top of plates of chocolate chip cookies (Hatty’s favorite)

Don’t forget the goodnight kiss

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As you will find out, Hershey kisses have a significance in Inconceivable, so make sure you have a stash for your guests!

 

Fall into Fall! (books)

Technically Fall doesn’t start until September 23rd, but let’s be honest we all mark the Fall season by the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, (or PSL if you’re a frequent lover). To get you in the mood, we’ve picked books that are set in Fall to envision the foliage-laden landscape we’re about to be in. Check these out, grab a coffee or tea, and breathe in that crisp air.

p.s. While we love sitting outside with a good hard copy, all of our eBooks are $4.99!

The Rearranged Life- Annika Sharma

 cover1000Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.

Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.

As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned…

Your thoughts will be provoked. Your mind and heart will be tested. Annika Sharma’s debut novel will linger in you. -Paula M’s review

Get it on Amazon

The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy

The Mussorgsky Riddle, by Darin Kennedy - CoverMira is a psychic, hired to help a couple’s autistic son who has suddenly become a mute. When she enters Anthony’s mind, she discovers it has formed into a fantastical gallery, inspired by Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at the Exhibition. She also discovers that his silence coincides with the death of his brother girlfriend months ago, and that Anthony knows much more about her death than he’s saying…

This psychological thriller is an intense read with layers of mind-twisting intrigue that kept me guessing who-done-it till the end. – Jo’s review

Get it on Amazon

Charming by Krystal Wade

Charming, by Krystal Wade - CoverSixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder…

WOW WOW WOW. I have gone through so many emotions with this book! Perfect fall read! I loved the cinderella and Saw movie re telling! – Benjamin of Tomes review

Get it on Amazon

Wicked Path by Eliza Tilton

Wicked Path EBookIn Wicked Path: Book Two of the Daath Chronicles brother and sister are forced to opposite sides of Tarrtainya on a fast-paced adventure where the wildlife isn’t the only thing trying to kill them. Avikar is forced to take a treacherous pass with a woman and baby in tow, while Jeslyn is forced to team up with the last person she wants to see again to save her kidnapped Grandfather. And his assistance comes with a price…

note: this is a sequel novel to book 1, Broken Forest

LOVED the characters in this book. The description of the landscapes and fighting very detailed draws you into the book. Had a hard time putting it down. – Amy’s review

Get it on Amazon

The Curse Merchant by J.P. Sloan

The Curse Merchant, by J.P. Sloan - CoverDorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy…

If you love well written urban fantasy this is a must.  I simply cannot wait to read the next chapter in Dorian’s life – The Curse Servant – I am veritably hooked.  – BookChatter’s review

Get it on Amazon

Five: Out of the Dark by Holli Anderson

FIVE: Out of The Dark, by Holli Anderson - CoverFive teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes. Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with, is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon…

Books about teenagers having unique and supernatural powers are very mainstream in the book publishing industry these days, and all of it just gets plain and boring, but this- “FIVE: Out Of The Dark- is just plain special. – Debbie’s review

Get it on Amazon

Fifteen by Jen Estes

Fifteen, by Jen Estes - CoverLegend has it if you die in your dreams, you die in real life. Fifteen-year-old Ashling Campbell knows that’s not true because when she closes her eyes each night, she doesn’t dream about public nudity or Prom dates. Instead, she’s catapulted to the front row of her future self’s execution – fifteen years from now – where monsters have taken control of her hometown and she, or rather, her 30-year-old counterpart, is their public enemy number one…

This YA read is fascinating, angst-free and brilliantly gripping! Be prepared to hang on for the sharp twists and turns that will leave your head spinning and your breathing shallow. – Dianne’s review

Get it on Amazon

The Curse of Ash and Iron by Christine Norris

cover1000Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Definitely one of my favourites of 2015 🙂 There’s a bit of a Cinderella storyline going on, with a gorgeous steampunk touch, and it’s set in Philadelphia – I’ve not read much steampunk but it all seems to be Victorian London, so I loved this being set elsewhere. -Sally’s review

Get it on Amazon

Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson

Deadgirl, by BC Johnson - coverDead is such a strong word . . .

Lucy Day, 15 years old, is murdered on her very first date. Not one to take that kind of thing lying down, she awakens a day later with a seemingly human body and more than a little confusion. Lucy tries to return to her normal life, but the afterlife keeps getting in the way…

I absolutely loved this book. I couldn’t put it down when I started reading this. Paranormal fantasy novels are one of my favourites to read. – Lisa’s review

Get it on Amazon

Hour of Mischief by Aimee Hyndman

Hour of Mischief front coverBorn in a whorehouse in the slums of Fortuna and burdened with a prosthetic arm, seventeen-year-old JANET REDSTONE doesn’t think she owes the Clockwork Gods anything—which is why she makes a living stealing from their temples. But when she lands her team in prison, making a pact with the God of Mischief, ITAZURA, is the only way to right her wrongs and free her friends.

Using her unconventional wits, an impressive tolerance to alcohol, and a strong right hook, Janet has to convince the gods that humanity is worth saving…

If you like your fantasy with a tiniest touch of steampunk (Edward Elric would love her arm), you like gods that feel human and are looking for a fun read, absolutely give this a shot. You should enjoy yourself as much as I did. – Carrie’s review

Get it on Amazon

Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire

Gifts of the Blood, by Vicki Keire - coverCaspia Chastain, art student and barista, is gifted (or plagued, if you ask her) with the ability to draw the future, usually at the worst possible times. Her parents are four years dead; everyday she watches her brother Logan fight his cancer diagnosis. Things get worse for Caspia the day she draws an angry stranger framed by planes of light and violent, bloody images. That exact same stranger walks up to her out of nowhere mere hours later knowing things he shouldn’t, like her name, her brother’s illness, and her strange ability. That’s when Caspia discovers her hometown is a refuge for supernatural beings both Light and Dark, and she and her brother find themselves caught up in a war between the two that predates their very birth…

It’s hard to overstate how much I loved Vicki Keire’s writing in this book. She has a gift for creating beautiful sentences and painting pictures with her words. -Tegan’s review

Get it on Amazon

Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

Escape From Witchwood Hollow, by Jordan Elizabeth - Cover

Everyone in Arnn knows the story of Witchwood Hollow: if you venture into the whispering forest, the witch will trap your soul among the shadowed trees. After losing her parents in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother escape New York City to Arnn.

In the lure of that perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she should be afraid. Perhaps the witch can reunite her with her lost parents. Awakening the witch, however, brings more than salvation from mourning, for Honoria discovers a past of missing children and broken promises…

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book, as I tend to find fantasy young adult books a little too predictable, but “Escape from Witchwood Hollow” was very far from that. – Sara’s review

Get it on Amazon

The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt

The Gathering Darkness, by Lisa Collicutt - CoverThey say “third time’s the charm”, and for sixteen-year-old Brooke Day, they had better be right. She’s been here before, twice in fact, and an evil demon-witch wants her dead a third time.

When Brooke is forced to leave Boston for the small town of Deadwich, she thinks her life is over. Before long, her new friends start acting strange—downright evil. But worse than that, nightmares she’s had her whole life become reality…

This book was wonderful, absolutely fantastic! I adored it! I went into this book thinking “oh, this seems like it will be a nice story.” And, wow, did A Gathering Darkness exceed my expectations and blow me away. – Farrah’s review

Get it on Amazon

Silent Clarion by Matthew Graybosch

cover1000My curiosity might get me killed.

I thought I needed a vacation from my duties as an Adversary in service to the Phoenix Society. After learning about unexplained disappearances in a little town called Clarion, I couldn’t stop myself from checking it out.  Now I must protect a witness to two murders without any protection but my sword. I must identify a murderer who strikes from the shadows. I must expose secrets the Phoenix Society’s executive council is hellbent on keeping buried.

note: this is a serial

All I can say is RATZ! I’m hooked on a serial. I hate when that happens. Nothing to do but by the next segment of Silent Clarion. – Sarah’s review

Get it on Amazon

Enjoy!

Trends & Tomes: Latest Fashion and the Books to Go With it!

Fashion Trends go in and out of style all the time, and then usually make their way back into catologs a few decades later. Here are some of the style trends I’ve seen cropping up in stores, on Pinterest, and on passerby in 2015, and which book to carry for each!

The Book: Who is Mr. Plutin? by Rebecca Strong

cover

What would you do if you woke up in a luxurious hotel in Russia with no memory of your life there but enough diamonds and caviar to make  you forget you don’t remember?

The Look: Fur Hat and Jewelry

russian hat, fashion, mr plutin.

The Book: Viola Doyle or an Unconventional Gift by Amy Spitzley

VIOLA DOYLE, by Amy Lynn Spitzley - Cover

Having a dragon for a friend and a magical pin that could save her life or destroy the world? Just the every day for Viola Doyle.

The Look: Red Peacoat

red peacoat

The Book: Night of Pan by Gail Strickland

Night of Pan, by Gail Strickland - Cover

Thaleia refuses to marry at the command of her father, or be used as the tool of the priests. This Oracle isn’t some drug-crazed depressed teen, she is the savior of a city who beats to her own drum, and as they say, ‘you can’t kill the song’.

The Look: Arm Cuffs

The Book: Game of Love by Ara Grigorian

Game of Love cover_award

When your heart and your dreams are on the line, love isn’t just a game.

The Look: Creative Cut-out topss

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 9.26.46 AM

The Book: Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy

deadly delicious, middle grade novel, diverse, YA, voodoo,

Josephine’s lack of cooking skills is the least of her problems when a grease fire turns into a fiery demon and she discovers she is from a long line of voodoo witches. 50’s Paris Missouri just got a lot more interesting.

The Look: Rompers

The Book: The Deathsniffer’s by Kate McKintyre

deathsniffer's assistant

How Chris Buckley found himself under the employment of a manic Deathsniffer and hunting down murderers is a bit confusing. What is perfectly clear is that he needs to save his magically-inclined sister from the exploitive hands of a political entity before she loses more than her freedom.

The Look: Victorian Cardigan

The Book: Archon’s Queen (The Awakened II) by Matthew Cox

archon's queen, awakened series, matthew cox,

The emotionally electrifying theif Anna has had a hard life, even by 2413 standards. Living on the streets, Anna has to make a choice, should she numb her psionic abilities or own them and risk a price she isn’t willing to pay.

The Look: Leather on Leather

black leather jacket, fall, combat boots, style, fashion,

The Book: Fairy Keeper by Amy Bearce

Fairy Keeper by Amy Bearce - cover

In Aluvia, fairies are not the cute little things in pretty dresses and flowers, and Sierra wants nothing to do with them. Unfortunately when all the Fairy Queens disappear, she’ll have to take up her destiny as a Fairy Keeper in order to save her sister.

The Look: Flower Headpieces

flowers, headpiece, headband

The Book: Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson

Deadgirl, by BC Johnson - cover

The Look: Skull tank tops

The Book: Fade by A.K. Morgan

fade ak morgan, fall, winter, wolves, wolf, norse, mythology

The Look: Oversized Sweaters

big sweater, oversized sweater, fall, winter, outfit, fashion,

The Book: Without Bloodshed by Matthew Graybosch

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Morgan Stormrider’s ex-girlfriend is murdered, he is being accused of murdering Society members, and someone is stealing some of the most powerful weapons in the world. Oh, and he’s one of many born with pseudofeline morphological disorder. All in a days work.

The Look: Everything Cat

 

 

 

 

What the %@$& is up with YA’s Cursing?

Language is a powerful thing. It can relay emotion, politics, and opinion, and it can be used to to skew perspective in a multitude of ways (Check out Aldous Huxley’s Words and Behavior excerpt) Most of the words we use on a regular basis are automatic and unconscious, derived from a slew of variables including location, culture, gender, upbringing, and age. The issue with these differences if that what is appropriate language for some could be obscene to others.

Enter the great debate within young adult writing. Is it appropriate? Will librarians place a YA book that has swear words in it? Some will, some won’t. This is a pretty subjective issue that we expect will still be in discussion years from now, but these are the pros and cons of utilizing harsh language in YA novels.

Pros:

Let’s be honest, kids are not as innocent as we like to imagine they are. By censoring language that young adults use in real life, we lose the realistic authenticity of our young fictional characters, and make them less relatable to readers. It also adds grit or maturity (depending on your perspective) to writing that evokes a less-than-bubbly tone. A 14 year old from the wrong side of the tracks, raised by a single dad with the mouth of a sailor and a tendency to drain a bottle of scotch, he’s definitely not saying things like “Gosh Darn” and “Butthead” when he’s upset.

Generally, what was and is considered obscene language has become less taboo and both more commonly accepted and used. In an expose by Mikaela Conley (ABC News), assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Dr. Steven Schlozman, says,The documented increase in the use of profanities within YA fiction keeps with the increased acceptance of obscenities in general.” He states, “The subsequent [truth] that increased profanity within dialogue or first-person narratives, or third-person familiar narratives, adds to the YA novel, and a kind of challenging that is characteristic of identity formation for all adolescents and young adults, especially in Western culture.”

As they say in Harry Potter, “fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.” It’s similarly believed that reducing the scandal of a bad word will reduce it’s power and effect on people, therein completely diffusing it.

Cons:

Adding harsh language to characters that are often admired role models for young readers could encourage said language in everyday life. This drastically limits the chances of librarians and parents desiring the book, whether or not kids are actually using this language.

Another issue is that some curse words are offensive to a specific race, gender, sexuality etc.

The above pro can also be turned on it’s head, when, as Dr. Steven Schlozman says, “The increased use of profanity in YA fiction increases acceptance of obscenities in general.” Leading to the normalization of curse words and desensitizing kid. Popular culture has a profound influence on teens, and if the literature they’re reading includes profanity, they’re likely to assimilate and repeat the words they’ve learned.

Another point to consider is that kids mature at different rates, and boundaries differ from parent to parent. What might be a strong, never to be used profanity to you, could be seen as a mild curse word to another parent. Likewise, one teen might be able to read a curse word, understand the meaning and context of its use, and know it’s not to be repeated in everyday life. Whereas another might not fully understand the implication of the word, and go around saying it, because they read it in a book they liked.

There is an argument that fictional characters in novels do not carry the weight of say a movie or music celebrity because it is only visual, not auditory and visual. However, more and more popular books are being made into movies, which reinforce the tone and language used in the book.
Are you pro-cursing or against? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

cuteness overload, cute pets, animmals, cat

Cuteness Overload

Just in case you needed a little pre-TGIF procrastination, here are some of CQ’s favorite writing companions!

cat

I know, people be crazy.

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Can I eats it?

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In this family I make the human wear funny hats on holidays.

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I can’t.

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Beauty is pain, right?

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Does this collar make me look fat?

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Paint me like one of your french girls.

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Look into my eyes. You want to FEED ME.

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I’m definitely a lap dog.

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I am not a dog, I am an Ewok, stop taking me for walks!

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I see you on FB and I am judging you.

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I’m a dog. Woof. Let me outside.

sanctity of books, books, love, librarians,

The ‘Sanctity’ of Books

In high school I was a big nerd *dramatic pause for gasps of surprise*. There are many breeds of nerd, but my drug of choice was books, making the library my homebase (and occasionally my hide out).

gravity falls, reading, gifs, funny,

Needless to say, I was in tight with the librarians.  I was firmly in the “never mark, rip, or dog-ear, and returned spines in the crisp, unbent form received in” camp, and had this whole book ‘sanctity’ thing in my mind. It took me a long time to get over eReaders and embrace them for how wonderful they actually are. Now I say go ahead, write in the margins. Highlight or dog-ear your favorite scenes. A book is meant to create a connection, meant to draw out thought and emotion. I honestly think books carry the same weight as smells or places do in tying a feeling or memory to them, so while they need to be respected they also can be claimed as your own.

(note: I DO NOT think you should mark locations up like you would a book, you will leave so in handcuffs).

There are three specific occurrences that I attribute to my shift in attitude as a bibliophile. The first was when the last Harry Potter book came out. I was at a hard age (around 16) and Harry Potter was one of the few things that I could always escape into.

harry potter books

My mom knew that solace was ending for me and made sure there was a copy on my bed when I got home from school, but with one difference. She wrote an inscription on it that made me cry on my bed for a solid ten minutes, and still tears me up. I would attach it here, but I lent out that copy never to get it back. To this day I remember she wrote something wonderful but cannot remember what it said, and that loss was way more significant than losing the book itself. Sometimes words attached to a book are stronger than the book itself. It’s the first time I wasn’t angry at someone writing on a book.

The second instance in which my resolve faltered was a year later. I was assigned The Grapes of Wrath, what the TA at the time fondly referred to as “a dense symbolistic tome of sorrow”. I was paired for an essay with a jock who by all indications was a certified meat-head, so when he finished reading the novel and handed it over with notes covering the margins, I was a tad angry.

benedict cumberbatch, sherlock holmes

Then I read through his blasphemic notes and realized I was wrong. I expected to see more genitalia drawings than gender role analysis, but they pages were filled with insights that completely changed my understanding of the story and brought a whole wave of appreciation for it that I lacked prior. Most likely it’s still sitting in my podunk high school classroom giving others the same perspective shift, and that’s pretty incredible when you think about it.

The last and final kick off of my book high horse came at my alma mater, where I, in true nerd fashion would meet with peers and professors for a sort of creative ‘meeting of the minds’ debate. The professor leading conversations, a Mr. Bashaw, wanted to discuss the concept of free art, stealing vs. mimicking ideas, and things such as illegal downloading of music and other forms of art. These sort of conversations (read: arguments) always thrill me because they always challenge my perspective. That day however, it changed my mind completely. As you know, I was very against writing on books and harming/stealing art in any manner. I made my thoughts known to the group and Bashaw turns, looks me right in the eye, and says, “You’re an artist. Should ideas about art be shared? How is it any different from two people stating opinions on a piece of art? Isn’t the purpose of Art to evoke emotion or thought and share it with others?

And pause…mind-shift.

So, as a booklover I give you permission to fold a page, dog-ear a corner, and write in the margins. Books aren’t made to sit in glass cases, they are made to be shared, to tell stories that are loved or hate. To be an escape (note: this is sort of how our ‘Find Your Escape’ tagline came to be).

There are only four rules regarding the sanctity of a book that I now adhere to:

  1. Real Art (that’s Art not art) should not be free. If you have poured your being into a piece of creative work, share it, but give back to that artist because they have supplied you something invaluable- human emotions.
  2. More specific to books, never, ever burn books. Do not take something away from others that they might have experienced.
  3. Do not ban a book. Freedom of speech should extend to books, end of story.
  4. Judge a book by it’s cover, but never judge someone else for their reading choices. Everyone gets something different out of a book, don’t make that a bad thing.