Tag Archives: books


You guysssssss.

Late last night, a Monday PW post went up early and broke the news.


First of all, let’s have a moment of OMG FOUR BOOKS FOUR BOOKS FOUR BOOKS.



Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

  1. What are these four books?!?!
    1. Well, one of them is the sequel to VICIOUS!!!! And one is the third book in the SHADES OF MAGIC series!!! And one is the ‘Devil Book’ I’ve mentioned here and there around the internet–aka the book of my dark soul and probably the only love story I’ll ever write–and the fourth is a secret.
  2. I thought VICIOUS was a standalone!
    1. VICIOUS was, in fact, always designed to be the first in a series, but I feel very strongly that first books should always be able to stand on their own. That said, many people who’ve finished VICIOUS have rightly suspected that I wasn’t done with Victor Vale and the rest of the book’s motley crew.
  3. How many books are in the SHADES OF MAGIC series?
    1. That’s a very good question! I thought it was going to be a trilogy, but it’s safer to think of it as a series. I have always had the arc planned out, and known where it was going and how it would end, but as the world and cast have grown, the adventure has, too. I don’t believe in adding for the sake of adding, so the series will only be as long as it needs to in order to tell the story. Whether that’s 3 or 4 books, I’m not totally sure.
  4. Wait let’s get back to VICIOUS!!! Does the sequel have a title? When is it coming out? What can you tell me??
    1. Haha, right now, I can only tell you what’s in that PW announcement 😉 You’ll have to stay tuned for more.

Right now I just want to say thank you. Thank you to my incredible agent, Holly, the hardest-working champion in the world. And thank you to my amazing editor, Miriam. I want to make book babies with you forever.

But most of all, thank you to my readers. NONE of this would happen without your love and support. Thank you for buying books, for spreading the word, for demanding more Victor Vale. Thank you for helping me make this dream of mine a reality.

Thank you.

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Oh don’t mind that, it’s just my jaw on the floor…

So, you might have noticed, I don’t actually talk about books often on here.

I talk about my TBR pile, but almost NEVER review. There’s a reason. I am the Russian judge of the book world. I am so super picky, and anything from bad writing to a familiar plot will turn me off a book. A lacking ending is the worst offense, but poor craft is pretty darn close. The number of books I love is small (but man when I love a book I will shout it from the rooftops).

So let’s talk about three books I love, one’s been out for almost 15 years, one just came out this year, and one isn’t out yet.

NEVERWHERE. Neil Gaiman.

So I’m a little behind. This came out in 1996 and I just finished listening to it driving to and from classes. Oh. My. So, my love of Gaiman is nothing new, and just a few months back I talked about how THE GRAVEYARD BOOK was one of my all-time favorites. This book had me similarly in awe. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in edits and am thus hyper-attentive to the writing/craft and the world-building/rules, but I found this book to be SPECTACULAR, from the amazingly horrific bad guys down to little details. One of my favorite elements was a major plot element, established in only TWO sentences. It was so cleanly done, I might have paused the CD to marvel. Love love love abounds from my corner for this master.

BEFORE I FALL. Lauren Oliver.
I was so, so happy to see this book have SUCH a strong debut, since I had read an ARC and been amazed by the depth and complexity of the characters. The only way I can describe them is REAL. The most real I have ever found fictional people to be. Beautiful craft and compelling narrative make this one of those books I hock on street corners and in YA aisles of bookstores.

INFINITE DAYS. Rebecca Maizel.
Wow. Okay, so this book comes out this summer. It’s a vampire book, and yet it is SO incredibly refreshing. Once again, beautiful language, engrossing plot, and a wonderful attention to detail made this book a DELIGHT. I am actually considering re-reading (and I almost NEVER re-read, no time, but that’s how much I loved it). Put this one on your lists, people. LOVED.

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BEA is over, but the evidence is everywhere!

It reminds me of a room after a large party. Half-drained cups here and there, an article of clothing, an unconscious friend crashing on the couch.

Two big things came out of BEA, as far as I can tell from my position on the sidelines (I’m SO going next year):

-Books. Lots and lots and lots of books.


Now, I’m ALWAYS up for books. I’m positively SALIVATING over the ARCs people managed to grab, but what intrigues me even more is BUZZ. Buzz is that things ever author wants. That thing publicists and houses try so hard to time and calculate.

Buzz is like fire, in that it can flare up in a flash, engulfing, or it can spread in a slow burn. So my favorite part of watching BEA is watching how the books burn (metaphorically, of course). I want to see if the buzz on some books cools off in the wake, or if the roaring fires created under some titles manages to last all the way to their publication in the form of that slow burn.

I’m excited to watch these two books by my friends, which had GREAT buzz, continue to burn.

And hoping that one day, maybe, my book will catch fire, too.

So, in the BEA aftermath, what books have you been hearing about?

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Bright Lights, Big City, 18 Miles of Books, and 14 Bars of Chocolate!

I’m home! Wow, what a trip.

So, my week in NYC was a crazy mix of work and fun and awesome and a little stress and a TON of sugar!! I was lucky enough to be there with three of my closest writing buds, Tiffany Schmidt, Susan Adrian, and Emily Hainsworth.

There was much play, from the Empire State Building at 1am, to Dylan’s Candy Bar, to fun lunches and drinks night, and cocktails with pub friends, to Hitchcock and Rainbow Brite viewings, and converting the closet into a phone booth, complete with chair. We even kidnapped the wonderful author Nova Ren Suma, and made her signed books in there!

I was also lucky enough to have an incredible high tea with a friend who is fast becoming one of my favorite people. And I got to meet Alex Bracken, who is ADORABLE! I also met Sonia Gensler, Shana Silver, Kim Harrington, Jen Hayley, and many, many others!

And after SCWBI, my mom flew up and we played for a few days. We took morning walks in Central Par, ate most of NYC’s sushi, drank pear martinis, went to the Tim Burton exhibit, and saw West Side Story on Broadway!

And I got to see my agent, Amy! AND my editor, Abby! I call these two my A Team, and they’ve totally earned the title. Neither has a Mohawk, or a giant silver chain, but they rock just as hard. I am so incredibly lucky to have them. And they put up with my constant sugar high speak, which is admirable :p

NYC by the numbers!

Cupcakes consumed: 4 (+ 3 mini ones)
Times to Dylan’s: 2
Chocolate bars bought: 14
Times to the Strand: 3
Books amassed: 12 (9 bought, two given by editor, one given by tea friend)
Times I saw agent: 2!
Times I saw editor: 1! <–first time!
# of hot chocolates consumed with said editor: 1
Pieces of news to share: 1

So, my little piece of news isn’t terribly exciting, but I found out my pub date. I can’t give you the date yet, but I needed to make a correction. I had said before I was a WINTER 2011 debut, and I am now a SUMMER 2011 debut. Originally I believed Winter to be at the BEGINNING of Hyperion’s year, but actually it was at the end, so I wasn’t pushed back, I was bumped up! Anyway, wanted to clarify.

My mom jokingly said "You’ve finally found your people," in reference to all the wonderful bookish people I got to see and share my time with, and I couldn’t agree more.

So now I’m home, and trying to detox and not think about how much I’d love to still be there, in the city, sipping cocoa and walking for hours and finding new worlds within slices of city. At a time in my life where I feel very much up in the air, where I feel like I could just change or morph or wander off at a moment’s notice, it was hard to leave. I am sure that the city’s strange gravity will draw me back.

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Some Girls Are! It’s finally here!

It’s finally out!!!

You guys. This book. is. AMAZING.

You should know I’m a hard sell when it comes to realism. I like escapism, I like fantastical elements, I like magical realism and mystery and dreamlike worlds.

But wow. This book. Go get it. Here, I’ll even give you a link:


Here’s my review:

Some Girls Are, like Courtney Summers’ first, but to an even greater degree, was brimming with awesome. But what makes it so special, such an incredible, can’t-put-down book, is the intense contradiction woven throughout. It’s at once brutal and uncomfortable and captivating and addictive and impeccably written. I was never comfortable or at ease while reading, because the whole time I cared so deeply about the balance, or lack of it, in the characters’ lives. Summers’ characters walk tight ropes as…more This book, like Courtney Summers’ first, but to an even greater degree, was brimming with awesome. But what makes it so special, such an incredible, can’t-put-down book, is the intense contradiction woven throughout. It’s at once brutal and uncomfortable and captivating and addictive and impeccably written. I was never comfortable or at ease while reading, because the whole time I cared so deeply about the balance, or lack of it, in the characters’ lives. Summers’ characters walk tight ropes as she balances their lives so precariously, and then does everything in her power to shake the ropes beneath their feet. I held my breath for most of this book.

Courtney Summers has being getting some fabulous nods from her first book, Cracked Up to Be, and the reviews for Some Girls Are have been wonderful, too. This really is an author to read, to get to know, because she’s going to be around a long time. At 23, she’s already leaving an indelible impression on YA realism.

Happy Book Birthday, Courtney. You earned every star and every word of praise and every ~*~.

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The Bookshelf Share!

It’s time for a Vlog!

AND my first contest!

First, the vlog:

The Contest!

Rules are simple.

1. Watch the video.
2. Marvel at my selective anal-retentiveness regarding book order in my room.
3. Pick a book you’d like to have.
4. Leave a comment, telling me which book.
5. Spread the word for an extra entry!

Contest ends Friday at noon. That afternoon I will put names into a hat (yes, a REAL hat) and draw a winner. If there are enough entries, I will draw more winners.

The point: Sharing is caring.

A few of the books in the video: Beautiful Creatures, Forest of Hands and Teeth, Cracked Up to Be, Lament, Ballad, Maze Runner, Wicked Lovely, Strange Angels, Deliverance Dane, American Gods, Soon I Will Be Invincible, Prophecy of the Sisters, Wake, Evermore, Neverwhere, The Book Thief, Blue is for Nightmares, Tithe, and many more!

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I made it! I survived Twittercation!

Wait. What do you mean Twittercation is only half over???


In other news:

-Reading Strange Angels, and really enjoying it so far!

-NaNoWriMo is going surprisingly well! Even though I ditched my outline temporarily and started writing the scenes I wanted to write, even if they’re not important for twenty, or fifty, or a hundred pages :p

-I am fighting a cold with all I’ve got. So far I’ve managed to skirt it and avoid the worst, but it makes me think of zombies. Namely, that being the only healthy person in cold and flu season is a lot like being the only living person during a zombie apocalypse. I feel like I should be armed.

-WIP Wednesday. I’ll share just a few brief bits of BOSS (Book of Sparkly Stuff) from NaNoWriMo:

“Hyde School is green. Green makes you think fresh. Makes you think new. But here the green is a top coat of paint on the dusty grays, rusted reds, and dead browns. Beneath layers of ivy, Hyde school is a web of old stones and mortar and earth. According to the brochure, it’s even got a hedge maze.”

“When I was young we lived in a house with a white marble floor. I spilled something dark and acidic, grape juice I think, onto the marble one morning. I tried to clean it up, as quickly as possible, but it has already eaten away at the white, had already left a stain. That’s how I feel. Like the red that splashed onto me at the end of my summer was strong enough to eat right into my marble finish. Like I’ll never be clean again.”

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My Preciousssss…

So, I’ve been cleaning and organizing my bedroom and office, since both have fallen into a state of utter shame and disrepair during these last couple weeks. At one point, I went through my books (I’ve said on numerous occasions that I have a pitifully small supply, compared to most writers, somewhere in the 100-200). But as I was going through them, I came upon something very special.

Yes, almost everyone I know owns at least one of the HP books…

But this one’s signed.

I don’t have anything from my grandparents. Nothing treasured and passed down. But I do have this. My mother was in a bookstore one day, a little over a decade ago, and called me to say a woman was signing books there. I hadn’t heard of J.K. Rowling, or of Harry Potter yet, but my mom decided to go ahead and get me a copy. There was hardly a line. And that’s one of the reasons it’s so precious. It was just a matter of luck and timing, at a time when Rowling was just another up and coming author.

So, what’s your most precious book?
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Five Things on Friday: Books/Authors

So, I’ve read about 40 books so far this year. This Friday Five is dedicated to:

The Five Best Things I’ve Read This Year (more appropriately the five best AUTHORS).

1. HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE, by Suzanne Collins. Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE Collins fan. I’m essentially in awe of her ability to NEVER rely on backstory/info dumps, and to seamlessly reveal her world as needed. I love her stories, I devoured HUNGER GAMES, and then I devoured CATCHING FIRE. I won’t say more about it, since many people haven’t read it yet, BUT I did have a few qualms about how the book functioned on its own. THAT SAID, I still bow before this author.

1. CITY OF BONES, by Cassandra Clare. I’m a latecomer to this series, but I fell in love with the rhythm, the world, the characters. The story was exciting and flowed so smoothly I had devoured half the book without even noticing. I can’t wait to read the others.

3. LAMENT, and SHIVER, by Maggie Stiefvater. I really, really liked LAMENT. The book passed in the blink of an eye, but I enjoyed it throughout. And I just kind of fell into SHIVER. It wrapped me up, and I loved Sam, and I loved that, like Jace in CITY OF BONES, he was fascinatingly complex. With both of Stiefvater’s books, I just found myself constantly engaged. Very strong storytelling marries with interesting characters and worlds in both books.

4. GRACELING, and FIRE, by Kristin Cashore. FIRE is the prequel to GRACELING. I’m a really hard sell when it comes to the world-building kind of fantasy (NW is magical realism), but Cashore is the kind of writer who makes me eat my words. I had high hopes for FIRE after loving GRACELING, and it did not disappoint. This is one of the only books I have actually forced myself to put down regularly, so that it wouldn’t end too soon.

5. CRACKED UP TO BE, and now SOME GIRLS ARE, by Courtney Summers. This book doesn’t hit stores until January, but OH MY. It’s spectacular. I really enjoyed Courtney’s first book, CRACKED UP TO BE, but this new one is even better! If that’s possible, which Courtney proves it is. It’s at once brutal and uncomfortable and captivating and addictive and impeccably written. Summers’ characters walk tight ropes as she balances their lives so precariously, and then does everything in her power to shake the ropes beneath their feet.

So tell me, what’s the best book you’ve read this year?


Because I’m fond of pretty things…

Being a visual person, I am always on the look out for imagery. It might very well be a universal means of procrastination for writers, but I love to amass images that inspire and guide the writing.

But some days, when I want to distract myself, I go hunting for covers. Not just ones I love (that list would be VERY long, I did an entire manifesto in school on universal properties of successful covers) but those I feel embody my writing/stories. And, as I make an effort to collect them, I’m seeing a pattern.

I definitely lean toward dark whimsy.

A.S. King’s brilliant cover for a brilliant book, DUST OF 100 DOGS:

Everyone should be familiar with this by now, but Maggie Stiefvater’s much anticipated SHIVER:

I love this book, and I adore the cover. It tells its own story. John Connolly’s BOOK OF LOST THINGS:

How pretty is this?! Alex Flinn’s BEASTLY:

A haunting cover for Amy Mackinnon’s TETHERED:

I’m SERIOUSLY looking forward to this book! Anna Jarzab’s ALL UNQUIET THINGS:

This might be my current favorite. Malinda Lo’s ASH:

Do we see a pattern?

Do you have covers you adore? Ones you want to pet, or want to have, or simply want to abduct the designer?

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