Thursday, December 4, 2014

Celebrate THE BODY ELECTRIC and WIN!


Hey quirks!

Beth Revis is not only a YA Author extraordinaire, but she also does some amazingly fantastic giveaways, and to celebrate her book THE BODY ELECTRIC, she's having her biggest giveaway yet!

THE BODY ELECTRIC is a YA sci-fi novel set on Earth, but in the same world as the Across The Universe trilogy. It follows a girl name Ella Shepherd (<---is that a Firefly reference I spy?) who has a gift for dreams and memories of other people thanks to some futuristic technology. She does good, helpful work, BUT, as any Across the Universe fan will tell you, there is always a TWIST when it comes to reading a Beth Revis book!

I'm excited to read this, though I want to finish the ATU trilogy first (I'm way behind on my TBR books). If you find it interesting too, you can purchase the book and a dollar of every purchase will go to charity program that creates beehives in developing nations. You can also enter the huge giveaway and win THE BODY ELECTRIC, along with a bunch of other books! To read up on the book, check out the synopsis below and be sure to visit Beth Revis's blog HERE for more info and to enter the giveaway! Good luck!


From Goodreads:

The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quirk Review: Persephone (Daughters of Zeus #1) by Kaitlin Bevis

Title: Persephone ~~ Author: Kaitlin Bevis
Series: Daughters of Zeus ~~ Release Date: 07/6/2012
Source: author
FTC Disclosure: I accepted this e-book free of charge from the author and received no compensation for my fair and honest review.

From Goodreads:

There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.


PREFACE:
I received a review request from the author, Kaitlin Bevis, and decided to read and review Persephone. I enjoy stories related to myths, especially Hades related ones. It took my a long while to finally get around to reading it, but I was glad once I did.

WRITING:
The writing felt a little weak in the beginning, but after a couple chapters everything settled and I was completely pulled into the story. There was the right mix of emotion, description, and action, meaning I read through the book pretty quickly.

SETTING:
The real-world setting wasn't that interesting (except the flower shop - I love flower shops so maybe this is just a me thing), but once we got down into the Underworld, I loved it. Seeing the Underworld through Persephone's eyes and learning how Hades rules it was different from what I expected and it was cool and interesting.

CHARACTERS:
For the most part, Persephone does not take crap from anyone. She's stuck in a weird situation and resents it but tries to make the best of it, but she is no doormat and I loved that about her. I enjoyed her drive to find the truth and fix her broken world.

Hades was a nice surprise. I was afraid the marrying-Persephone-without-her-consent bit meant Hades was going to be your typical old-world misogynist or something of that nature, the the opposite was true. I liked how, despite seemingly starting to have feelings for Persephone, he tries to keep his distance because in his view, despite being a goddess, Persephone has only lived for sixteen years, and I appreciated that. Persephone doesn't start to fall for him until she see's what kind of person he is which was a nice change from a lot of YA.

I loved the secondary characters that populated the underworld, especially Cassandra. They all seemed to be fully fleshed out and had different jobs and roles to play in the "life" of the Underworld. Persephone's mom, Demeter, was a bit of a pickle for me. She obviously loved her daughter but she was the secret-keeping kind. I enjoyed the tension the mother-daughter relationship brought to the story.

Boreas was a class-A creep. His past was completely cringe-inducing and I don't even like thinking of him now.

DOWNSIDE:
The only thing slightly off about this story, besides the bumps-in-the-road I mentioned before, was the end of the book. The resolution felt too quick and easy for how dastardly the villain was.

VERDICT:
Despite a couple hiccups, Persephone enthralled me and had me dying to spend more time with the characters. After finishing this book, I immediately went and bought the second book, Daughter of Earth and Sky, and read it in a day. If you love myths and strong heroines, this book (and series) is for you.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

From Where I'm Standing [16] - Roadside YA Tour

It's been quite a while since I've gotten to go to a book event, but on Friday the 24th I got to attend the Nashville stop of the Roadside YA Tour! It was held at Parnassus Books and featured four amazing authors: Tessa Gratton, Natalie C. Parker, Bethany Hagen, and Julie Murphy!

Traffic was horrendous in Nashville so instead of visiting some places before the event, we (my mother and I) decided to go straight to the bookstore even if we were going to be extremely early. It worked out though and we got great seats.

The moderator was the amazing Courtney C. Stevens, author of Faking Normal, and she did a great job. She asked fantastic questions and got the authors talking easily, making this one of the best panels I've ever seen.


So much was discussed that it's hard to recap everything, so here is (in short) what I learned:

L-R: Courtney C. Stevens, Julie Murphy, Natalie C. Parker, Bethany Hagen, Tessa Gratton

Natalie C. Parker is a BAMF. Not only is her day-job title incredibly long (like a paragraph) and she is crazy-smart, she's also fun and witty and sweet. I've been following her career since 2011 when I participated in her Call Me Icarus critique project, which was really enlightening for me, so I've been looking forward to buying her book and seeing her for quite a while. She even recognized me (by my name because we were both Parkers).

Julie Murphy is a woman after my own heart. So much of what she said about her life and writing process connected with my own and it was encouraging to see her success. Her sense of humor felt so much like mine and I loved how she had woven some of her own life experiences thematically into her book.


Bethany Hagen is multi-talented --- librarian, author, mother, and 3-time karate black belt. I loved how she spoke on the legitimacy of the teenage experience, and she also had some great writing advice: keep writing no matter what, because your Moment may come when you least expect it.

Tessa Gratton is scarily intelligent, and she's still as hilarious as the first time I saw her. Her writing advice was not only the funniest (because of how expressive she is), but it was also my favorite of the night: if you don't love what you're writing, you're DOOMED.


If you get a chance to see these authors in person, I highly suggest you take it. It was worth the trip and even my non-bookish mom, who's never been to anything like this before, had a great time. You can find links to the Goodreads page for each book below. Happy reading quirks!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

For Fun [4] - Spooktastic Reads!


Hey quirks! In just a couple of weeks it will be Halloween, so to get in the mood for the spookiest time of year, how about some spooktastic reads! Below is a list of books I've been reading this month, as well as some all-time favorites that are just the right amount of creepy. Share your spooktastic favorites in the comments!


Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
Messages in blood, faces in mirrors, disembodied voices, and a myriad of other horrors haunt Mara Dyer. I recently re-read the first book and then the second book in a handful of hours because they are SO GOOD, so you get all the spooky you could ask for in a very awesome story, and the final book comes out on November 4th!  I <3 M.A.D.N.E.S.S.


The Revenant and The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler
Sonia Gensler is one of the most under-hyped authors, and I can't stand it because her books are not only intelligently written, but they are spooky and mysterious and perfect escapes into the (half-fictional) past. She weaves together history and the supernatural so well that you feel like these things could have really happened, and I fly through her books. Luckily, we'll be getting another one (this time contemporary!) next fall!


Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
Ghosts, ghosts, and more ghosts! Also mysteries, murders, and heart-wrenching tragedies! I love this series, except for, you know, when Maureen Johnson is ripping my heart out. Okay, I love it then too. I can't wait for The Shadow Cabinet, which doesn't come out until next February.


Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In an effort to diversify my reading, I wanted to read a book that was translated into English. I have had some of Zafon's books on my TBR, but they are series books that weren't currently available from my library, so when I stumbled upon this YA standalone, I jumped on the chance to read it. I had no idea what I was getting into, but this story is beautifully written but supremely creepy. If it were made into a movie, I don't know that I could watch without my covering my eyes at several parts. It's like a Spanish mash-up of Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera, set in mysterious Barcelona and I loved every second of it.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I love this book. It is so weird and mysterious and Gaiman-y. It follows a boy named Bod, who grows up in a graveyard and is raised by a various cast of non-living/non-human persons. It starts out being strange then moves to spooky and then hits some action that has you feeling like you're running through the tombstones alongside Bod, and it is so much fun.


Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
I could have easily put several of Duncan's other books on this list, but this one is creepy from page one and holds until the very end. Supposedly a movie is in the works for it and if so, that is one scary movie I will be seeing.


Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga
If you like more danger thrills than supernatural chills, Barry Lyga's series about a boy raised by a serial killer is probably for you. These are totally contemporary and read like dark mystery-thrillers, exciting and creepy (especially when Jasper's dad is involved), but with that YA twist.


The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
 
The short stories of Poe are some of the creepiest ever. I have a hard time deciding which is my favorite (though I'm partial to "The Black Cat"). Add in the fact that he is credited with creating the mystery genre and it's easy to see why he's one of my all-time favorites. As for The Phantom of the Opera, this one I came to read after loving the movie version, and while the film is full of drama, the book takes up the crazy and creepy to another level, making it a lot of fun to read.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Of Fever and Dreams

There's been a lot of talk in my neck of the woods about babies. Of my best friends, one has an 18-month-old, one has a six year old and one-year-old twins, and another is seriously contemplating starting a family sooner rather than later. I've even done some babysitting and spent more time lately with tiny humans than ever in my life.

And I'll admit it - I've had some Baby Fever over the past months (and it wasn't just me; The Hubs got a fair dose of it too).

But then I found out that one of my blogger buddies cleared that first big publishing hurdle - she got an agent. As I was reading her blog post about the experience (which you can find HERE), a feeling came over me that I didn't expect.

I didn't want a baby. I wanted a book - a book with my name on it.

In fact, I want a book way more than I ever thought I wanted a baby.

That may make me sound like a horrible person, but it's the truth. I'm not ruling kids out, I just want to become an author more than I want to become a parent. There are a multitude of factors that went in to me even contracting Baby Fever, but they are a little mired and weighty, so suffice it to say that in these past months when my depression got so bad, I lost myself a little and was looking for things that might help bring me some hope for the future. But being a mother was never a dream of mine. An eventuality maybe, but not a dream.

Being an author is my dream.

Since the Baby Fever has broken (and my depression is well in-hand thanks to the new meds), I feel the certainty of that dream. Not the certainty that it will happen in the way I wish it (because I have no control over that), but the certainty that I want it to happen and will do what is in my power to make it happen.

And now, without looking for it, I find that I have hope to spare.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

For Fun [3] - The Darkest Minds Fan Cast



Hey quirks! I was super excited to hear about a director being selected for the adaptation of Alexandra Bracken's novel The Darkest Minds, so I decided to do a fan cast.

Please be warned I read the book two years ago so I'm going off my memory and images of fan art, and I'm only including the main four and a fifth I thought it would be fun to cast. Also, I did not consider the acting skills of these people (some of which I haven't even seen), just their general look and vibe (and the knowledge that Hollywood can make anyone look like a teen).

What do you think? Who would you cast for The Darkest Minds movie?
 

Ruby:
You know her from:





Liam:
You know him from:


Chubs:
You know him from:





Zu:
You know her from:







Clancy:
You know him from:











 And don't forget the final book in the trilogy, 
In the Afterlight, comes out next month!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Refuse To Let It Kill Me | World Suicide Prevention Day 2014



On July 27th of this year, I had the biggest breakdown of my life. For the two weeks following, I was completely suicidal. My family was scared. I was scared. I went to work, unable to concentrate on my job but thought instead of the different methods I could utilize to carry out what every cell in my body screamed for.

I hadn't been that close to death in seven years. Even so, I didn't really want to go; I just didn't want to be in pain any longer. It's hard to describe a pain that is caused internally and cannot be seen - not by a blood test, not by an x-ray, maybe a brain scan, but I don't know of any doctors who have actually shown a depressed person what their pain looks like on a chart or film.

Drowning isn't a strong enough analogy for how I was losing myself. Maybe drowning in lava, but without the instantaneous death, just the searing, never-ending pain filling my chest and my throat and my head. Then suddenly I was out of the lava but back in the deep end of the ocean, my soul and mind charred and fragile but heavy as a planet. I learned early on how to hide my disease, so the masks went back up and off I went to work, my brittle self flaking away with every breath and no one noticing except those who already knew.

Then on August 11th I woke up, and the second my eyes opened, I felt different. I don't know what it was. My brain has had a mind of its own - quite literally making me feel how it wants me to feel - since I was ten. Since I'd been prescribed my latest medication, I never missed a pill, and I hadn't missed any of the previous prescription either, but that hadn't stopped the disease and the stress of my life from eating away at me. But despite this, that particular Monday dawned a little brighter than the fourteen days preceding it, so I clung to that and didn't let go.

A couple weeks ago my doctor suggested I try a new medication. I shrugged and agreed because it couldn't hurt. That bit of hope I'd grasped was nearly gone, and I didn't want to go back to those suicidal two weeks. In the past, a new medication meant feeling ill and strange for up to a week, then feeling better, a little clearer in the mind, a little less heavy around the shoulders. Eventually though, it also meant relapsing back into my depression, a depression that scored a 20 on the depression scale my doctor uses (meaning severe major depression).

Eleven days ago I began taking a daily half dose of this new medicine. The initial weirdness was strong in those first three days, but by day four, I didn't feel like myself  - the self that has been severely depressed for a decade. But now it's day eleven, and my improvement has been incredible. Yesterday I had a follow-up with my doctor and instead of scoring a 20 on the depression scale, I scored a mere 2.

I relate all this because I survived my disease this summer. I'm not done fighting it, but by grasping at whatever little bit of hope I could and getting help from those that loved me and from others that wanted to help me, I've made it to a place I never, ever thought I would be. I'm still cautious about the new medicine, but people around me already see the difference, and I feel the difference, so I'm staying this course for as long as it works.

I know most people who have never struggled with depression and anxiety find it hard to believe that something so invisible can be so devastating. For those of us who struggle with it, we know what it is like to be exhausted by having to take a shower or having to answer the phone. Our work suffers, our relationships suffer, people call us lazy and pathetic, we're told we don't have a real disease like cancer, or that depression isn't really a mental illness but just a phase.

And we can't prove them wrong if we aren't around to do so. I am done being quiet about what I have been through. In places like Twitter and here on this blog, I've felt that I can be more open about it, but on sites like Facebook where my internet life and my physical life intersect, I've said very little. But no more silence or veiled posts. I've always liked the mantra "Fake It til You Make It", but for those of us with depression, we are usually only able to "Fake It til We Break It," the "it" being ourselves. No more faking it.

I have severe major depression.
I have recently been suicidal.
I have smiled at you when I wanted to cry.
I have laughed with you when I wanted to die.
I have said, "I'm great," when I really meant "I'm in hell."
I am now on medication.
I am doing better.
I refuse to let it kill me.

Please don't let it kill you or anyone you know.

I have been acquainted with people who have committed suicide, and if one thing kept me alive while I was suicidal, it was knowing that the relief of my pain by suicide would be the cause of so much pain for those I left behind. You don't always know what you mean to the people in your life or how many hearts you will break by your decision. So go ahead and believe me when I say it will be more than you think.

You and your story matter, and I truly believe the motto for TWLOHA's 2014 NSPW campaign: No One Else Can Play Your Part. If you are struggling, talk to someone. Anyone. Let it out and then get help. During my breakdown in July, the only thing keeping me from breaking apart and tearing the whole house down with me was the fact that I had my husband holding me so tightly that I could do nothing but breathe. Sometimes it takes that; sometimes it only takes a listening ear.

All of us, those with depression and those with the luxury of never experiencing it, can do something to prevent suicide. Spread the word. Be the listener. Ask for help. Hold somebody's hand. We all matter.


If you would like more information on depression and suicide prevention, please follow the links below, and please share. Whether you think you do or not, you know someone struggling with this. Show them that you are on their side.





an interactive (non)fiction about living with depression

Thursday, September 4, 2014

For Fun [2] - Your Bookish Identity


Your Bookish Identity is a booktube tag created by Little Book Owl, Katytastic, and Benjamin of Tomes. You can watch their video here to learn about the tag and see their answers.

Below are the questions and my responses with some explanation. Share yours in the comments or link your own post or video!





Q: Which dystopian or fantastical world would you live in?
A: While the entirety of the world in the Legend series isn't great, I would still love to be part of that world as long as I could live in Antarctica. The technology is just too cool to pass up.






Q: Who would be your partner?
A: Kaleb Ballard from the Hourglass series, no question. *swoons*








Q: Who would your godly parent be (from the Percy Jackson universe)?
A: Athena. She has been my favorite goddess since sixth grade when I had to do a project on her. I love her combination of wisdom and strength (and the giant golden statue of her in Nashville isn't half-bad either).



 

Q: Would you be a Downworlder or a Nephilim, and if the former, what kind (from the Shadowhunter universe)?
A: I would be a Downworlder so I could be a warlock. They have immortality and magic and while it might get tiring being immortal, I wouldn't mind spending at least a few centuries traveling, learning new skills, and reading/writing.





Q: Which house would you be in (from the Harry Potter universe)?
A: Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor, but in real life I'm very much a Ravenclaw, so that's what I'm choosing.



 

Q: Which faction would you be in (from the Divergent universe)?
A: This is kind of funny because my answer is pretty much the opposite of what I chose for my house as far as color scheme and definitely not the same when it comes to personality, but I would choose Amity. Dauntless would be my aspirational faction, but again, I'm choosing what's closer to reality.



 

Q: What would be your daemon (from the Northern Lights/His Dark Materials universe)?
A: It would definitely be a cat of some kind, probably a manul (also called a Pallas's cat). They can be ferocious but they look like big, cuddly fluff balls.

Monday, September 1, 2014

For Fun [1] - Bookish Shuffle Tag


The Bookish Shuffle Tag is something done on many Booktube channels, but I'm not up to doing videos right now, so I thought I'd just make it a post! I wanted to do this after watching Kimberly Reads tag video, so go check it out!

The rules are simple: put your iPod/iTunes/whatever on shuffle, and for each song that plays, pick a book to go with the song. Because I have a bunch of ambient sound tracks and audio books in my iTunes, I did have to do some skipping, but otherwise the songs came up as listed.

Along with listing the songs and my book choices (which are all physically on my shelf and have been read), I try to explain why I picked each book. Because this was so much fun, I ended up doing fourteen (which is one of my favorite numbers). Follow the links to find out more about the books and songs. ^_^


Dreamland is (as far as I've read) the darkest of Sarah Dessen's books and by the end, while the main character is on the road to healing, she's not there yet.


This is definitely not my favorite of the Twilight books, but most of New Moon is Bella dealing with the sudden change in her life that makes her extremely depressed, and on top of that, December is one of the months she loses to her depression.


This song reminded me of the beginning of this book where Lenah wakes up to being human and without her lover Rhode.


My love for this book knows no bounds, and for me the vibe of this song just fit the characters, while the lyrics could be related to a certain rough patch they go through.


This song, about a relationship that is wanted but may not be fated, immediately brought to mind Hallowed, the sequel to Unearthly. I'm Team Tucker all the way.


Lena and Ethan could not have been farther away from each other in this book and this song has an unearthly sound that, in my mind, matches their situation.


In The Dark Divine series, Grace is trying her best to get through the craziness that has become her life, and in this last book, she needs all the help she can get to make it through and find happiness and hope again.


While it doesn't exactly match the true tone of the song, Cinder and its sequels are definitely about fairytale heroines taking their destinies into their own hands.


A song this bad-ass and sexy can only fit Hallie Girard.


This song moves from sad to hopeful, and it reminds me of the relationship between Eva and Addie.


The vibe of this song and the fact that it seems to be about werewolves (or some other nighttime monster) brought to mind Scarlett's fierceness.


This book is all about the crossroads between emotions and senses and the song reminded me of Alison's thoughts upon seeing an out-of-this-world vista.


Timepiece is about two people with secrets and walls built-up finding each other and becoming islands no longer. The cool/sexy vibe of the song is also quite fitting.


This song makes me think of a fashion show, and while The Selection isn't about a fashion show, it does deal significantly with the girls of the selection being made up to fit a certain persona and also having to act differently than how they would in normal life.
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