Ode to Buffy

She saved the world. A lot.

I didn’t discover Buffy the Vampire Slayer until sophomore year of college, years after the original series had ended. I checked out the first season on DVD from my university library, vaguely remembering half an episode I’d watched at a friend’s house in middle school and looking for some way to procrastinate. (This is pre-Netflix, folks.) I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

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Age of Blood Cover Reveal!

Age of Blood (Ash and Ruin #3) by Shauna Granger

AGEOFBLOODHope is a dangerous thing, but powerful. Hope keeps you going. Hope can keep you alive.

But hope can shatter your world.

Kat and Dylan have found a home, but the monsters are still out there. The pox and plague still ravage the world. They have hope of finding a vaccine, but their encampment isn’t equipped to develop it.

Dylan is still too weak from the pox to leave the encampment, so Kat must decide between staying by his side and protecting her last remaining family member as he leaves to find supplies. Separated for the first time since they came together, Kat and Dylan will have to fight their own battles to save what is left of their bloody world.

Kat will have to hold on to hope that she has anything left to save and someone to come home to.

If she can survive.

Available 5/5/2015

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by Emmie Mears

Sometimes, when you meet a random roommate on Craigslist and move in with them, they wind up stealing your food or refusing to take out the trash or throwing all-night ragers in your living room. And other times–if you’re reallllllyyy lucky–they become successful writers and bloggers who go on to found websites and publish books.

Emmie, as you may have guessed, is the latter kind of roommate. United by Craigslist, we bonded over our shared Celtic heritage, our love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and our aspirations to become writers. Although we no longer cohabitate, Emmie and I have kept in touch for years, and I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that her first book, The Masked Songbird, is being released by Harlequin in July! Set in Scotland on the eve of the Scottish Independence Referendum, the novel tells the story of Gwen Maule, a young woman who develops powers after she accidentally drinks a strange beverage.

Here’s Emmie to tell you a little bit more about herself, and her new book! Make sure to snag a copy of The Masked Songbird on July 1st–you can preorder it HERE!

1. Hello Emmie! Thanks for being here. I’m so excited to get my grubby paws on The Masked Songbird at last! Tell us a bit about the titular superhero, Gwen Maule. What is the quality you most admire in her, and what do you think is her biggest flaw?

Even at her worst, Gwen is nothing if not tenacious. I think that’s probably her best quality and one I try to emulate. She keeps trying even when things go wrong. Even when her life sucks, she keeps getting up in the morning. I think her biggest flaw is thinking she can do it all herself. In spite of her superpowers, she can’t be everywhere at once.

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Review: The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves,
by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s sequel to 2012’s The Raven Boys, the Cabeswater ley line has been awakened, but Blue, Gansey, Adam and Ronan are no closer to finding the lost Welsh king Glendower. In fact, things are more complicated than ever. Adam’s sacrifice Cabeswater seems to have worked, but he doesn’t know what the ley line wants with him, or how to hold up his part of the bargain. Blue and Gansey’s relationship is suddenly complicated by romance. And Ronan–angry, troubled, violent Ronan–travels deeper and deeper into his dreams, even while his dreams begin to intrude into his waking life. Meanwhile, dangerous people circle closer, bent on locating Glendower before they can. Ronan must find a way to channel his dreams for good, or else the ley line might disappear, ruining Gansey’s hopes of ever finding the lost king.

I’ve read and reviewed several of Stiefvater’s novels, and I have liked each better than the last. The Dream Thieves surpassed my expectations in nearly every way. The novel is haunting, beautiful and unsettling and delicious, the kind of book that gets under your skin so much that you think about it for days after you’ve finished the last page. As Stiefvater grows as an author, her writing becomes more abstract, relying on simple images to convey complex ideas, and vice versa. Her imagery is incredible. It speaks for itself: here, Stiefvater describes a political gala attended by Gansey and Adam:

The party had become a devil’s feast: will-o’-the-wisps caught in brass hunting lamps, impossibly bright meats presented on ivy-filigreed platters, men in black, women jeweled in green and red. The painted trees of the ceiling bent low overhead. Adam was wired and exhausted, here and somewhere else. Nothing was real but him and Gansey.

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Review: The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon

For most people living in Scion London in 2059, clairvoyance is the stuff of fantasy, reserved for frightening unruly children away from meddling with things they do not understand. But for Paige Mahoney, clairvoyance is all too real and all too dangerous. Part of a crime syndicate who uses their voyant powers for financial gain, Paige fears execution when she is arrested by Scion police.

But instead, Paige is shipped to a voyant prison colony in what used to be Oxford, where her wardens are a powerful, otherwordly race known as the Rephaim. They treat voyants as slaves, feeding on them psychically and forcing them to fight the horrific monsters that stalk along the boundaries of their prison. Paige is desperate to escape Oxford, and the only way is to delve deep into the history and motives of her Rephaite masters. Will she learn enough to defeat them? Or will they devour her, body, mind, and soul?

I picked up Samantha Shannon’s debut novel on the recommendation of one of my beta readers, and I’m so glad I did! Although I usually shy away from novels with a great deal of hype, for once I thought the novel in question deserved the praise heaped upon it. I really enjoyed this novel, from its spunky heroine to its sizzling pace to its creep-tastic monsters.

I had only a few problems with the novel, and the bulk of them appeared in the beginning. The first few chapters are difficult to get through, because Shannon has the unfortunate habit of drowning the reader in information about her world, her characters, and their histories. Granted, Shannon’s world is complex and deep, but I would have appreciated a bit more showing and a lot less telling. I was so overwhelmed with nonsense words, names, and terms that I barely made it past the first few chapters.

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Cover Reveal: World of Ash, by Shauna Granger

Hey readers! I’m so stoked to introduce the gorgeous, scary, stylish cover for Shauna Granger’s upcoming release World of Ash. Make sure you check out this crazy-talented lady’s book when it comes out in December!
World of Ash
by Shauna Granger
Release Date: 12/2013
Book Summary:
There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.
The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.
That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.


About the Author
Like so many other writers, Shauna grew up as an avid reader, but it was in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer. Five years ago, Shauna started work on her Elemental Series. She released the first installment, Earth, on May 1, 2011 and has since released four sequels, with the series coming to an end with Spirit. She is currently hard at work on a new Urban Fantasy series, starring a spunky witch with a smush-faced cat named Artemis.
Author Links:

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Review: Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.

But now, everyone knows better. In the not too distant future, amor deliria nervosa has been classified as a disease and the root of all the bad things in the world; war, suffering, violence. Thankfully, a cure has been discovered, the administration of which is mandatory for anyone over the age of 18. Lena Haloway has just graduated high school and only has three months until she can get the procedure; she can hardly wait. She’s seen the havoc the infection can wreak, and she knows the truth; love kills you when you have it and kills you when you don’t. A life without love, on the other hand, is safe. Happy. But when she meets Alex, things start to change. Will she be able to stave off the infection until she can get the cure, or will the unthinkable happen–will Lena fall in love?

I had mixed feelings about this book, so I’ll start off with the things I didn’t love about it. Primarily, I thought the execution of the premise of Delirium was absolute rubbish. In theory, the premise of Delirium is fascinating; future society has classified love as a psychological disorder requiring extreme treatment. Oliver’s execution of the premise, however, leaves something to be desired. She offers the reader zero scientific proof or research behind the demonization of love, nor any biological/chemical/hormonal basis for the disease. She only tells us that Scientists know it’s a disease, and Scientists found a cure using Science. As someone who happens to know that Science isn’t a monolithic organization who know everything and always agree, this premise was silly bordering on laughable.

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Book Review: Tempest, by Julie Cross

Tempest, by Julie Cross

Tempest, by Julie Cross

Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer’s life is pretty normal–for a time traveler.

Jackson goes to college, has a job, and has a girlfriend he’s crazy about. Time-travel is just this weird thing he can do, and it’s not even that useful–he can’t change the past or future. He’s only able to visit past moments for short periods before jumping back into the present. But that all changes when two armed men storm in on Jackson and his girlfriend Holly, and, in the altercation, Holly is shot in the chest. In his panic, Jackson jumps back in time, but this time isn’t like the others–he’s jumped all the way to 2007, and now he can’t get back to his present. Desperate to save future Holly, Jackson embarks on a quest to figure out just who exactly he is, and more importantly, how much he can do with his time travel abilities.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s definitely a quick read–the pacing is very fast and the story moves right along. Sometimes I wished the story would take a breather and slow down a little! Every page was packed with action, intrigue, mystery, and romance–sometimes a little too packed. There were times when I felt like this book could have benefited from just a little bit of simplification, and some moments of quiet interspersed with all the information and action. As Mozart once said, ‘The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” I think the same can be said for a story–sometimes the most important things happen in the lulls between action scenes.

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The Cape Conundrum

"And what's your superpower, young man?" "I can...throw my shield. Really, really hard." Image belongs to Marvel Comics

“And what’s your superpower, young man?”
“I can…throw my shield. Really, really hard.”
Image belongs to Marvel Comics

I watched The Avengers last night for the first time (I know, I showed up really late to that party) and as I watched I was struck by how none of the superheroes were really very super. In fact, in terms of inborn or created abilities, there weren’t many superpowers to speak of. Among the Avengers, objects are the name of the game. Tony Stark flies around in a technologically advanced suit of armor–the only thing really special about him is his intellect. Hawkeye has a bow and arrow; Thor has a giant hammer; Captain America has a fancy shield.

Hulk…well, Hulk smash.

Superheroes have been central to the cultural iconography of America for most of the 20th century, and have undergone a marked renaissance in the 21st. Nearly every major superhero has enjoyed a movie (if not an entire franchise) dedicated to them in the past decade. Even superheroes who are considered “old-fashioned” (Superman) or less popular (Green Lantern) than heroes like Spiderman and Batman have been recently rebooted to suit modern times. And the Avengers, despite being more technologically reliant than many of their brethren, easily share the stage with more classically gifted superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, and the X-Men. So why the shift in modern times to a more technologically-reliant superhero? And what does it say about our culture’s fascination with superheroes in general?

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The Story Paradox

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”   –Terry Pratchett

The first thing I usually do upon finishing a draft of one manuscript is to start thinking about what to write next. I have notebooks full of half-baked ideas and infant plot-lines, but the challenge when beginning a story–short- or long-form–is to judge whether or not it’s worth telling. And one thing I’ve come to terms with–as both a reader and a writer–is that not all stories are worth telling. And even if they are worth telling, they shouldn’t all be told the same way.

Why build a regular house when you could build this house? Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada

Why build a regular house when you could build this house?
Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada

I like to think of a story as a house. In the simplest sense, a house has four walls and a roof. Similarly, a story must meet some bare structural specification before it can even qualify as a story: some semblance of a plot, perhaps a character or two, maybe some dialogue. (James Joyce might argue that this is not the case, but let’s leave him out of it for now). But beyond those basics, a lot of variation is possible. How the story is created–what devices and structures are employed–that’s what makes the house a home, so to speak. Just as there are log cabins and chateaus and open-plan lofts, so there are a thousand and one ways a story may grow into something unique and compelling.

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