I haven’t blogged in basically all year, but I wanted to keep the Best Books of 2018 tradition alive.
So this year I failed my Goodreads challenge massively. But that’s okay. I wouldn’t trade the experience of 2018 for topping 100 books. It would have been nice to accomplish it, but I’m content with everything else I accomplished.
2018 was a year of growth and change for me, more so than anything else. I:
-traveled to new parts of Europe
-became a vegetarian
-fell in love
-finally saw Panic! at the Disco and Harry Styles in concert
-got a full-time job in publishing (!!)
It’s so easy to paint glorious perfect pictures on social media, so in 2018, I also:
-lost my beloved cat, Timmy [2/2004-3/2018]
-was sexually harassed in the workplace and on public transit
-got my heart broken a little
-struggled with writing and wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be
But as always, there were books.
72 total, as of 3:36pm on December 31, 2018. I might be able to hit 73 if I sneak a poetry collection in. Maybe I will 😉 But for now, here is what I have to choose from.
My faves of the year:
*THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE + THE GIRL IN THE TOWER by Katherine Arden
*MUSE OF NIGHTMARES by Laini Taylor
*MY PLAIN JANE by The Lady Janies 😉
*THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY by Mackenzi Lee
It’s not a lot, and I don’t have categories like I have in the past. I really didn’t enjoy or love a lot of books this year. I don’t know why, but 2018 felt like a perpetual reading slump at times. I’m hoping to find more book loves in 2019. Looking at these 4/5, I see 2 major things. I’ve got lush, beautiful fantasies, and badass, fun historical fantasy with epic ladies. I think that sums up my interests pretty perfectly.
My wish for you in 2019 is to see the good in every bad; choose love over hate; and to use your voice for a better world.
What I’m Reading
So last month I talked about RADIUM GIRLS, a nonfic, which is pretty different from what I usually read. I, um, still haven’t finished this book, since it convinced me I had radium poisoning and also was just generally a very visceral and intense read. I have about 100 pages left, and I just need to power through. I will! I will prevail!
Anyway, as to what I’m actually reading right now, that would be Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy. I’m kind of sticking with nonfic right now. I’ve been having a hard time getting into books lately. I quit two romance novels, a highly anticipated YA fantasy, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. But the nonfic has been holding me. Been stimulating my mind? 😉
Some of the scholarship referenced and cited in Buzz is stuff I read in one of my classes (The History of US Sexuality)–shout-out to Andrea Tone and Devices & Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America (read it!)–so it’s been really cool to be like, “Oh, yeah, I know what that thing is.” Partly I like it cause it makes me feel smart, ha, but it’s also not dense and has a fun voice. I don’t think you have to be a history fan to dig into this one, so don’t discount it if you’re a non-non-fic reader like moi.
I always use this section to talk about stuff I’ve recently read too. Soooo…
Look out for this one in March. It’s been a book of my heart for so long, and now you can all finally read it!
Side note: I reread Simon VS after seeing the movie. It’s now the 3rd time I’ve read it, and it remains the most delightful book. I can’t wait to go see the movie when it’s out–also in March! So many good things are coming out soon 😀
What I’m Doing ALL MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE. I finally got to go to…
I can’t believe this actually happened. I’ve been waiting for this for years. It was absolutely magical. MAGICAL.
Also 54 Below makes amazing Brussel sprouts.
Mmmm and some other less exciting but still noteworthy things, I saw Black Panther today. It was such a visually stunning film, and also full of great characters. I know the whole universe is already going to see it, but if you haven’t yet make sure you do! No spoilers here from me but eeeeeeeepppp!!!
Also the Super Bowl happened earlier this month! I made Jess come over and watch it with me. I explained football to her, and she got pretty into it 😀 Or she just enjoyed my mom and me’s commentary bashing the Patriots the entire time.
Here is Jess imitating the black paint football players have on their cheeks, ha.
Alas, I don’t have pictures, but yesterday I was at NYPL for their Asian American YA panel! That was super relatable and interesting and when Rhoda talked about the Philippines being shaped by colonization/war and the role of superstition that’s still present in her life and shapes it, it was so gratifying to hear a little bit of your experience being shared.
Mith and I hung out after and I tried a variety of vegetable dim sum before we returned to our usual haunt, B&N. 🙂
I shall end this section of ramblings of social interactions with a duct tape Mushu I made at work.
What I’m Thinking About
Mmm stuff? I’m so proud and awed by the Parkland survivors speaking out for gun control so passionately. They are the embodiment of YA, and it warms my heart. But I hate they have to fight for this. I hate the GOP refuses to act. I hate the GOP refuses to save lives.
In other news, Virtue and Moir can’t just be platonic, right???? RIGHT???
What I’m Netflixing Listening To Usually when I do this section I talk about music. And I do have a new band to talk about–We Are Scientists.
But I actually want to talk about a podcast I started listening to called More Perfect. It’s definitely been sucking up time. It’s all about constitutional law and Supreme Court cases. You can see I’ve been surrounding myself with nonfic/historical things. But listen to it!! 😀
What I’m Writing
Still revising monsterbook. Idk if it’ll ever be done.
Fingers crossed I keep this blogging this up!! Take care, stay safe, and be kind to each other ❤
hey, hey! Look at this, a blog post a decent amount of time from my last one. Could this be the year I finally blog semi-routinely? Probably not. But stay tuned.
What I’m Reading
This is a bit of a new one for me, I’m not the most avid reader of non-fic, but I’m reading THE RADIUM GIRLS: THE DARK STORY OF AMERICA’S SHINING WOMEN. I’d heard good things about it, plus it was about women and history (two of my favorite things), and I noted in the past I have a hard time drafting/revising and reading YA at the same time. 1. Because time spent reading is time not spent working. 2. And, sometimes I tend to absorb what I read and it bleeds through into my work cause I love it too much. Then some of my revising is weeding those bits out and realigning my vision for the story. I figured it might be easier to revise and read something preeeetty different.
I did not expect this book to be as intense as it is. I should have been prepared, considering it’s a horrible piece of history, but there’s a lot of visceral description of the sickness and pain these women suffered due to radium poisoning. There are points where I find myself feeling anxious while reading, but I think if I just go piecemeal, it’ll be fine.
On the flip side, I’m so in awe of these women and their strength. It’s highly suspect if I would have been able to go through what they did. It pisses me off too, that the Radium Girls story is a lesson told over and over again in grade school (was it for you? it was for me), but the story is distilled down to “Oh, the silly women would dab the radium paintbrushes in their mouths and paint themselves, then they all died cause no one knew radium was radioactive.”
This story is so much more than that. SO MUCH more than that.
What I’m Doing
So like most recent college grads I’ve been job hunting. It’s not fun. We’re gonna quickly move on.
The coolest thing to happen recently was attending a screening of LOVE, SIMON.
If you’re a YA fan, I’m sure you’ve read this adorable novel, and if you haven’t, PLEASE GET ON IT. The movie was an absolute delight. It perfectly captures the spirit and tone of the book. Formal reviews aren’t allowed so I can’t say much. I’m a notorious critic of YA adaptations and adaptations in general, but this is one of my favorites. That’s not to say they perfectly recreated every scene–there are some changes. But it just works. I think this is the only adaptation I can say this about.
Side note: I stood outside in line for over an hour in the cold and my feet froze I was 110% convinced I was going to get frostbite and die and have to go to the hospital to have my feet amputated and miss the movie.
BUT, I can’t wait to go see it again on March 16 and take Bestie (Jess, as you longtime readers know ;D) and my mom.
I’ve done some other things recently, like finally try a pork cutlet bowl, as inspired by my love Yuri!!! On Ice.
Jess and I also hit a dessert bar right after. And we got a lot of treats (SO MANY TREATS) but we were so full (SO FULL). But look how pretty they were…
Then we got our periods the next day, so I guess that explains everything.
And no, that’s not a plant. But we named it Simon 😀
Other than gorging ourselves on dessert, Jess and I have also been hitting the gym. We’ve started off the year on a pretty healthy note all things considered. Let’s see what I’m blogging about in December 2018, muahahaha. Fingers crossed for a fit year.
Between all that I’ve been working at the library, as one does. The real work has been on monsterbook, which I guess I’ll talk about in the writing session belooowwww.
Ermm, Brittany and I hit a new cafe… but I think she still prefers her first love Breads. Oh, I also found out there’s a Goth Renaissance shop downtown, and it houses an immense amount of lingerie, but not nearly as many capes. #MoreCapes2k18
What I’m Thinking About
A list, in no particular order:
i hope the new arctic monkeys album is good
16 hour time change. the things I do for tennis #AustralianOpen
it’s been 1 year of the trump presidency, HOW are we all still here
it’s been 1 year of the trump presidency, HOW is he still president
i want to go somewhere new, but it’s winter and traveling with a giant coat would suck up all my luggage space…
women’s march 2.0 TOMORROW #riseup
how many times can one rewatch gilmore girls before it’s Too Much
What I’m Netflixing
So, have you heard of this show Cable Girls? I knew it was a show about 1. 1920s Spain, 2. women, 3. women working in a telephone company, 4. women working in a telephone company in 1920s Spain. Like, if that doesn’t sound like a Mickey!Show, I don’t know what does. But I put off watching it. I’d scroll past it on my list, searching in vain for something until I just gave up and put Gilmore Girls on again. But recently Netflix had it back on its front screen since season 2 had just come out.
I don’t know why, but I just gave in. I think I’m just desperate for new TV since Outlander is done and I’m behind on Riverdale, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Jane the Virgin isn’t back yet. I’m just starved for TV, obvs. It started with a voiceover I dug right away, but then I noticed the audio wasn’t synching up with the mouths. Puzzled, I paused it and restarted it, reloaded the page and tried again, but nothing worked. But I didn’t want to stop watching so I decided to just watch it as is.
Then the theme song came on, and my eyes glazing over, I couldn’t register any of the words. That… was not English. And then the title came on, but it didn’t say Cable Girls. It said something in Spanish.
I realized this wasn’t an American show, but an English dub of a Spanish show! Anyway, there’s a very long story about how I came to learn that, ha! I’m almost done with episode 3, and I gotta say, I dig it. I think Carlota is my fave, the blonde women below furtherest back holding something. She kinda looks backstabby to me in this image, but she’s actually the sweetest???? She’s so adorable and bubbly and wants her freedom more than anything and I CANNOT WITH HER.
Look at these women!!! Look at their faces. THEY HAVE SECRETTTSSSSS AND WANT INDEPENDENCE.
This was one of my absolute favorite bits from 1×01:
[Marga] I still can’t believe you’re here. When your father came into the bar, I almost got in the car, I was so scared.
[Carlota] Do you know what a woman’s worst enemy is? Submission.
[Marga] I was always taught to obey.
[Carlota] Sure. Me, too. ‘A woman needs to always be proper and obedient, Carlota.’ But one day I thought, ‘You’re not a woman. How do you know what I need?’ So he can lock all the doors he wants. ‘There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’ Virginia Woolf said that.
DO YOU SEE?? Do you see how perfect and wonderful? So yeah, here’s my plug for Cable Girls. Lady friendships, feminism, 1920s Spain, telephones!! (how quaint), angsty tortured love stories, handsome Spanish boys, cute outfits!
What I’m Writing Ah, yes. Here we come to monsterbook draft5! I’ve said it with every draft, but this is the most intense, trying revision I’ve ever done. This is the book, guys. I hope it is. It feels like it could be. I got some CP feedback from my darling Joan (add DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE here!!) that really highlighted how some of the plot points in monsterbook aren’t things caused by the girls, but that they have to react to it, and thus certain points feel kind of random. She said it, and I was like “Poof, yes that explains everything.” She said some other things too, but that note probably led to the biggest revision I’m doing right now.
I was at my bakery today with an earl grey latte, and I completely replotted act 2 to make sure my girls are the drivers of the plot, the makers of change, the doers of bad choices, the knocker of dominoes, you get the picture. At first, it felt daunting. When I got Joan’s messages at 11:30pm a few nights ago, I was like “omg what will I dooooo” but then the panic very quickly abated, and I felt like, subconsciously, I did know how to fix it. So I hung onto that, comforted myself with it, ha. Today, I wrote down 10 pages of notes in my writing book, completely taking apart act 2 and putting it back together. I’m so thrilled with things right now. That’ll probably change, because writing is a pendulum, where you swing from high to low, excited to horrified, etc. But for now draft5 feels like it’s starting off on the right foot.
(I listened to a lot of Bleachers while writing it!)
And I have something amazing to show you! DianaPinguicha Connors drew a portrait of Karo, one of my MCs, for me!!
IT’S SO PRETTY I DIE.
And it’s way cooler than Bebinator Karo I made, right??
bahaha can’t you see the resemblance??
This is a great way to end!! Chat soon, maybe??? Take care, and I hope your year is starting off the way you want it to. And if not, there’s still time to turn it around ❤
Another year, over! Look at that. Hopefully it was a good one–personally, since 2017 was a trashfire globally.
Personally, I think 2017 was pretty good. I hauled ass to graduate college–I did 5 classes for spring semester, took one summer session class, and completed my final 3 this fall. Last grade I got back was an A- *dusts shoulders* *sleeps for 10 years*
A highlight reel of cool things that happened: escaping the escape room with Brittany and Mith, another summer at the US Open, writing adventures (monsterbook), roaming the village for cute finds with Mith, cheering Katie on at her NY launch for The Girl with the Red Balloon, biking Central Park (ALL 7ISH MILES–yes, I died), biking Stanley Park (all 5ish miles–you can see now why I thought I could do Central Park…) (side note: Central Park has more hills) (who knew), Brittany baking me pie (again :D), going with Jess to see the very first showing of Beauty and the Beast and then taking my parents that night, Anastasia coming to Broadway and Derek Klena’s parody of Part of Your World.
(yes, it’s from 2016, but I watched it A LOT in 2017.)
I also got to intern at St. Martin’s Press and do cool things, and become privy to some cool bookish secrets 🙂
[any excuse for Galavant gifs, I use it]
Blah, blah, blah, Mic you wrote some words, did some things, met some new people, saw some new places–where are the books?
I’m getting there.
I also went to Comic Con again. I literally got to squeeze Kristen for like 5 seconds, and then escort her to her panel. And Katie was there and Brittany was there and everything was Wonder Woman, and there was some sort of Walking Dead thing that featured a guy being tortured and screaming every five minutes on the show floor which was 1000% annoying. And we stood in lines and Brittany read the first chapter of monsterbook while we ate ice cream and sat in the corner of the show floor.
How lucky are we that we get to live in the same timeline as the Wonder Woman movie? ~look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now~
Anyway, to the only topic that matters, BOOKS.
I was right when I said I wouldn’t get near 200 this time (2016, there was something special about you), but I did hit 125. I’m proud of that. My goal for next year is to read roughly the same amount.
Gonna start this one off with REREADS:
-The Scorpio Races. This was a book I read way back when it came out. I had been obsessed with Maggie because of Shiver, and when I read TSR, I don’t know what it was, but I just didn’t love it. It felt slow and overwritten and confusing to me. But so many people love it, and the premise is a Mickey!book, so I decided to give it a try this year in November and everything clicked. 6 years later I’m a bit more of a mature reader, ha, and I completely devoured it. Fell in love, and it’ll be one of my forever favorites now.
-Lola and the Boy Next Door. What a perfect delight! This was another one I didn’t totally love when it came out. Age also probably helped because I totally got Lola in a way I didn’t five years ago. And Cricket Bell is such a gem of a person.
-Bone Gap. I thought I’d be using this book for a term paper on disability, but I ended up scrapping that plan. Either way, I’m glad I got to reread this since I adore the characters so much. Sean and Petey and Finn and Roza are such a special bunch—but especially Roza and Petey because Bone Gap is really about the women at its heart ❤
-Harry Potter 1-4. So I totally failed at doing a full-scale Potter reread over the summer. But it was great to revisit the characters and the world. Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home. I’m not crying, you are. Side note: why is Prisoner of Azakaban so good??? Why does it ruin me every single time? I DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS.
-Lady Midnight. I did this one before I read Lord of Shadows, which was an A+ decision. It just reminded me how much I love the Blackthorns. And these are giant tomes with lots of plot, so I kinda needed the refresher. Not sure if I’ll do another reread before Queen of Air and Darkness next winter. We’ll see.
-Open Road Summer. The Fill-In Boyfriend. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Just some super cute contemporary I’ll always love ❤
-A Court of Wings and Ruin. So when the third ACoTaR book came out, I devoured it, and then promptly reread A Court of Thorns and Roses, Mist and Fury, and then ACoWaRagain. I don’t care. It had to be done. (It also really helped lessen the book hangover.) *anxiously waits for any bit of news about what the next novels are about* *NessianNessianNessian*
-A Darker Shade of Magic & A Gathering of Shadows. So just like Lady Midnight–and unlike ACoTaR–I reread these before the final book, A Conjuring of Light, came out. Very glad I did. Once again, needed the plot refresher and I love these characters and world so much. I wasn’t the hugest fan of AGoS when it came out since I found it slow and filler-y. But this time I was prepared for the pace and really just sunk into every word. Adore this trilogy!
So yes, those were most of the rereads I did this year (the standouts :D)! Very much enjoyed myself. Rereading is a true pleasure.
I looked over last year’s post, and I had a section for WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS SOONER, which is basically backlist books I finally read. I think this year the title goes to two individuals… firstly, Anna-Marie McLemore!
I fell head first into The Weight of Feathers and Wild Beauty. I haven’t yet read her sophomore outing When the Moon Was Ours… I’m saving it for a rainy day. I got too lost in the language when I read TWoF in 2015, but again, just a case of being older and a better reader. I love how she builds worlds out of words. Seriously, Ms. McLemore, please save some talent for the rest of us. And she’s not just telling me a story, either, but she’s showing me something about society.
Magical realism is a genre most people don’t understand, something that’s hard to explain, but it’s not just simply ‘where magic is part of the fabric of the world in subtle ways and unquestioned.’ It’s about resistance and oppression and the past and the future. I never got it before, and McLemore is a master.
Then, I’m sharing this honor with Mistress Holly Black. Holly is someone whose Curseworker series first book I read way back in the day. I wasn’t a fan, but a lot of other great people are. (I wonder if I’ll be one if I reread in 2018… :D). I ended up with an arc of The Cruel Prince from Bookcon, though, and I started reading it on a whim. It totally grabbed me from the first page. Since then, I’ve read The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
Once again, I’m drawn to Holly because of her amazing writing. I got to see her at the Brooklyn Book Fest this year, and she legit said she builds her plots around a feeling she wants to evoke in the reader. Who does that? I am drowning in the sea of otherworldly magic that is Holly Black. She completely reinvents what you thought you knew about faeries or vampires. They’re not gorgeous humans with super strength, or humans that are super witty, but this new different creature that’s legit dangerous. So don’t mind me sitting here anxiously waiting for 2019 so I can read the second book in The Cruel Prince trilogy.
Mmmm, so now let’s break this down by genre, right?
[Last year I did have a separate section for 2017 releases, but meh, I can’t be bothered to do that again, so sorrynotsorry there’s some 2018s in this round up 😉 #tease]
2017 Contemporary Love
2017 Fantasy Love
2017 Historical Love
Here we go! My top books of the year… very much anticipating 2018 and all the wonders it’ll bring.
Hope you’re having a lovely holiday, and you can look back fondly amongst all the dystopian mess that’s taken place. And if you can’t, hopefully 2018 makes up for it. The bar is literally so low. Making it this far is an accomplishment in and of itself, so be kind to yourselves ❤
I hope you’ve all had many adventures since I last spoke to you.
It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, and quite a whirlwind of a final semester, too. As I write to you for the first time in infinity, I’m back at my fave writing bakery, where I haven’t been since AUGUST. Yeah, it’s been that mad.
Basically there was Pitch Wars (and man that was all the emotions), then my last semester started, and I was lucky enough to land an editorial internship at St. Martin’s Press. A normal person would have left their job at the library, BUT I AM NOT A NORMAL PERSON. So I’m working two jobs. And life is wonderful. And I never sleep but it’s all good.
(I submitted my application to graduate the other night. IT’S OFFICIAL. I think. I mean, they can’t reject me, right?)
Comic Con is this week, so I’m super excited to score some books and search for Yuri on Ice!!! swag and buy more sweaters from The Colorful Geek. I am also thrilled I’ll get to see my friend Brittany since she’s going too, and I don’t think I’ve seen her since before the semester started, so that’s how nuts my life is right now. Comic Con is also my way to socialize.
So what do I usually talk about on here? AH, yes, books!
I just read THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo. Uggghhhhh. So amazing. The stories were so ingenious and satisfying and gut-wrenching and romantic and ALL THE THINGS. It might be my favorite short story collection ever, and I’ve now decided I want kids so I can raise them on these fairytales. And the illustrations! They are something else. The creativity in the construction of them blew me away. 100000/10 everyone must read it.
And I must say a VERY happy book birthday to THE LAST NAMSARA by my friend Kristen Ciccarelli! Seriously, this book is magical and heartbreaking and gorgeous–and it has dragons. So, like, yes. I’m so happy for you, Kristen!! She is the sweetest soul and deserves all the success that is coming her way. ❤ (I also get to squeeze her at NYCC, so yay NYCC for letting me see all my friends before I crawl back into my hole.)
So if you need me, I’ll be frantically running around, revising, and forever crying over Outlander, always. I just got my mom hooked too, so that’s been fun. 😀
I was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2015, so I’ve been where you are right now. I’m so excited to be mentoring this year, and I can’t wait to find a story I love. I work in a library, and this fall I’ll be graduating with an English major and History minor.
Besides Pitch Wars, I’ve been an agent intern since 2014, so I’ve read a lot
of queries, sample pages, and manuscripts. I’m repped by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency.
I was born, raised, and live in Brooklyn, NY! My parents are both immigrants. My mom came from the Philippines after graduating college, while my dad came here from Italy when he was seventeen. I’m a first generation American, and have been to both their home countries since it was really important to them that I know where they come from and where I come from. (I’ve also been to France, Spain, England, Canada–I loooove traveling!!)
Music wise, I listen to lots of Broadway, but you can always count on Florence and the Machine, The Killers, Twenty-One Pilots, and Arctic Monkeys to be nearby. Also movie/tv scores and Disney songs.
I used to be a writer for the Vampire Academy fan site ShadowKissed.net. (Any VA fans here? :D)
I have the same birthday as Emma Watson (April 15 babies!)
I started writing because I read a High School Musical fanfic where Gabriella went to West High and Troy went to East High and there was a super intense, dangerous rivalry between the schools. I read it, loved it, thought “I can do this too!” so I did, and man I was bad. But I kept trying (with Draco/Hermione fanfic, obviously)
I saw Hamilton with the Original Broadway Cast 😀
I made it out of an Escape Room, so I’m clearly a time traveler from a Victorian mystery.
My latest writing fuel is an Earl Grey Latte.
Wish List (General)
All right, now for the fun stuff!! I’m only accepting YA manuscripts. I eat, sleep, and breathe YA. I read it primarily and completely adore it.
big yes to: contemporary, fantasy, historical fantasy, historicals
big no to: horror, gritty contemporary, thrillers, sci-fi, magical realism (i love a lot of these, i just don’t think i’ll be a good mentor for it–sorry!!)
Some blanket statements before I get to specifics: I’m a supporter of Own Voices projects! I want diverse characters, intersecting identities, and new perspectives.
If you’re writing outside your lane you must be open to feedback and have sensitivity readers. Be critical of yourself and your work. Think about why you’re writing this story and if you’re the best person to do it. **However, I do not want identity stories the creator does not ID as (think a story based around coming out written by a straight person, etc).
Here’s how I organized this monster. First there’s a list of tropes/premises/settings I love. Then there’s a list of tropes/~things~ I do not want. After that, I broke it down by genre (fantasy, historical fantasy, and contemporary). Each section shows you my favorite authors, books, and some more specific wants within the genre. All right, time to get to it!
Wish List (Specifics)
Here are some things, in any genre, I’d go to war for:
Write your resistance.
Girls helping girls! Girls being friends with other girls! Girls loving girls! Girls charging forward in the face of adversity! Girls smashing the patriarchy! Girls kicking ass! Smart girls! Weird girls! STEM girls! Nerdy girls! Lost girls! Bad girls! Quiet girls! Strong girls! Periods, sex, masturbation! Girls who may not want to have sex and are totally fine with that! Girls who do whatever the hell they want.
Basically, girls as the stars of your projects. That’s all I need.
An Anastasia retelling
Any feminist re-imagining of a fairy tale or myth
Watery books! Mermaids, pirates, sirens, sea monsters, privateers, islands, sailing, ships, cruises, swimming, marine biologists, a Jaws retelling with a female lead, scuba diving, coral reefs, did I mention mermaids…
I love summer camp settings!
Also love famous person meets normal person. Sweep me off my feet! (royalty x normal counts, too)
Morally questionable decisions
Secret pen pal relationships, bonus points when they hate each other in real life (think the modern classic A Cinderella Story and You’ve Got Mail; loved Alex, Approximately) (this totally works in a fantasy, too–imagine if Draco and Hermione/Harry were writing to each other in secret throughout their years at Hogwarts and had no clue?? gah!)
Honest, nuanced portrayals of trauma (pleasepleasePLEASE)
A brutal, bitter slow burn romance that has me dying and fanning myself every line (think The Dark Days Club, Captive Prince, Captain Swan from Once Upon a Time, Stydia from Teen Wolf, Feysand and Nessian from ACoMaF). Burn me with that slow burn.
An Amazing Race premise (think Alison’s Cherry For Real) (seriously, my dream is to host The Amazing Race, please call me Phil)
Stories set during lesser known historical periods/events
Girl anthropologist/paleontologist; Gender bent Indiana Jones or Rick from The Mummy
Boarding school books. Whether light or slightly more serious. This also works for fantasy, I mean, HOGWARTS.
A Shakespeare retelling that includes characters from multiple plays instead of a retelling of just R+J or Midsummer, for example
I eat comps for lunch! If you can comp anything to… Six of Crows (!!!), Jane the Virgin, Once Upon a Time, Jurassic Park, Hamilton, 10 Things I Hate About You, Inception, Gilmore Girls, Legally Blonde, The Mummy (Rick/Evie OTP for life), Avatar The Last Airbender, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sense 8, Roman Holiday, Wonder Woman (!!!), Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, Bend it Like Beckham… send it to me!
Some things I do not like (ie do not send me):
The memory loss trope, or amnesia. I really don’t like it, especially when it’s a plot device to keep the ship apart (looking at you The Winner’s Kiss…)
An identity driven book you do not identify as
MCs that don’t sound their age. I really don’t like when a character is supposed to be 17 but sounds 14.
Sexual assault as a trope for the love interest to save the woman from, or poor representations of the aftermath. Also, I’d love to not read any attempted sexual assaults to establish A Strong Female Character.
What I Love in Fantasy
favorite authors: Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor
favorite books: Six of Crows, Strange the Dreamer, Rebel of the Sands, A Crown of Wishes, A Court of Mist and Fury, The Forbidden Wish, Shades of Magic Trilogy, The Winner’s Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, Stardust, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, The Glass Spare, Carry On, Song of the Current, Truthwitch
fresh, unique worlds and characters
meaty lady anti-heroines (think The Young Elites trilogy, my bae Maleficent, And I Darken, Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy (she is the BEST), Azula and her mommy issues from ATLA (okay she’s not really an anti-heroine but she’s dark and messy and I love her)).
Calculating, manipulative, and intelligent characters (think my love Kez Brekker, Three Dark Crowns, Tommy Shelby Peaky Blinders season 1)–bonus points if they’re girls 😉
Political fantasies that blend beautiful writing, rich complex characters, and important themes with action, too (think The Winner’s Trilogy, This Savage Song, The Hunger Games, Wolf by Wolf, Traitor to the Throne)
dragons, mermaids, witches, powers, all the stuff!
I don’t need magic in my fantasy!! 😉
team dynamics, like the ultimate squad The Dregs, or lighter, shenanigans of the Tulio/Miguel or Heist Society kind.
Mistaken identity–whether intentional or serendipitous (again, think Tulio and Miguel stumbling into playing gods for light, and Laia going undercover as a spy in An Ember in the Ashes, Yael as Adele in Wolf by Wolf for darker)
Hate to love. I love ships that are on opposite sides (think rip Zutara), or not as dramatic and just “good” person falls for “bad” person (think Captain Swan, Rhy/Alucard, Cress/Thorne)
And as if you still didn’t get it: watery books! Mermaids, pirates, sirens, sea monsters, privateers, islands, did I mention mermaids…
What I Love in Historical Fantasy
favorite authors: Mackenzie Lee
favorite books: Wolf by Wolf, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, The Dark Days Club, My Lady Jane, The Girl with the Red Balloon
Extra points for diversity! “historical accuracy” is not a valid excuse. it is bogus and false and I have 0 tolerance for it.
Looking at my list of faves, I have a healthy mix of fun, sassy books and serious, deep books, so I really love both, it just all comes down to execution.
I actually super love this genre and feel like its super underrated, so please send me your stuff ❤ SUPER SUPER
an American Revolution fantasy (I can’t believe this hasn’t been done yet and if it has, someone please point me towards it)
SURPRISE ME. Seriously!
Agent Carter deserved everything! So literally, anything along those lines.
Claire Beauchamp-Randall-Fraser is one of my fave female characters, so if you love Claire too, we’ll probably be good friends
I’m a Doctor Who fan, though I quit watching during season 7 or 8 (I think). One of my favorites was the Van Gogh episode, so think bittersweet and heartfelt stuff. I like pain, okay? But I also like cute happy endings where everyone lives, so basically I am the worst and there is no pleasing me cause I love all the things.
What about straight up historicals, you ask? Give me complex women in textured settings. I don’t have any specific wants; I devour all things history. The first historical I read was The Rossetti Letter, which is adult, but I have a deep and abiding love for it. Recently, a YA historical I loved was Blackhearts and Under a Painted Sky.
What I Love in Contemporary
favorite author: Emery Lord
favorite books: Fangirl, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, The Truth About Forever, All the Rage, Everything Leads to You, Heist Society, Girl Against the Universe, The Moon and More, The Sun is Also a Star, The Secret of a Heart Note, Nothing Left to Burn, Eliza and Her Monsters, The Unexpected Everything, The Upside of Unrequited, Alex, Approximately
swoony boys, sex positivity, body positivity, sister feels, settings (small towns, beach towns, cities, boarding schools, house boats, trips abroad, etc) that come alive and make me wanna go there, fandom, friendship feels, fun hobbies
take me on an emotional journey. smack me with your characters’ feelings, whether it be the excitement of love, grief, heartache, anxiety… I want to feel something when I read your book.
YA parents. There are so many good ones (think Starr’s in The Hate U Give, Sloane’s in This Adventure Ends (her dad writes Teen Wolf fanfic!), Simon’s in Simon VS), but there need to be more so give it to me!
As you know, I adore hate to love, but there’s something especially fun about it in contemporaries, especially when the characters are forced together, whether it be through a job, friends, or shenanigans.
Adorable little siblings and fun huge families (think My Life Next Door, Lady Midnight (I know, it’s fantasy, but the Blackthorns are precious), When We Collided, P.S. I Like You)
Voice is key for me. I want your characters to leap off the page. I want to know how they think and what they love and what they want.
Let me remind you again, watery books 🙂
This is by no means an exhaustive list–I actually found it really hard to narrow down what makes a contemporary for me and I’m sure I’m missing stuff–so please, if you feel like your story is similar to any of the books I’ve listed here, then please sub to me!
I’m good at queries. I love queries. Hate ’em? I’m here for you, mentee!
I’m good at big picture edits and spotting plot holes.
I read for character and detail, so I pay special attention to stuff like that.
I don’t dole out fake compliments. When I love something, I will fangirl over it and you’ll know I mean it. I’m also direct and honest when I think something isn’t working, but I’ll never force you to change something you don’t want. This is your story, and I’m only here to help. I ask questions and provide suggestions, and I’m always around to talk through something/let you ramble and brainstorm.
I care a lot about your characters having agency and being drivers of the story.
I think my strongest suit when it comes to writing is voice, so if you’re struggling with it, or lacking in places, I’ll help make your voice stand out and command attention.
It’s possible I will use some aspect of The Hunger Games to contextualize a point I’m trying to make.
Don’t forget to pick up your scavenger hunt word while you’re here: go. (note the punctuation)
What I Want in a Mentee Someone open-minded and ready to do the work. I’m not saying I’m gonna make you do an entire rewrite–I have no idea what kind of shape your ms will be in. But it’s always a possibility! Mainly though, someone fun and positive and looking to gain the community Pitch Wars has to offer. I want PW to be an experience you look back on and are happy about.
**noteynote: If I request from you, I’ll be asking for a 1 page synopsis. This is my favorite resource–just follow the template and you’ll be fine. From the synopsis I want to know you at least have the bare bones of your story in place. I might ask for partials, but I’ll definitely be asking for fulls, so have them ready 🙂
And don’t worry, I’ll read sample pages even if your query isn’t as strong. I’ll probably only skim the query to begin and get right to the pages.
–I will try to provide feedback to everyone who submits to me, but it depends on how many subs I get. I’ll update on that during the submission window. *thumbs up*
My plan is to do a big picture edit letter and then a second round of line edits.
I hope this wasn’t overwhelming! I know I threw a lot of things here, but that’s mainly because my taste is very varied and I don’t want to accidentally miss out on something I love. Feel free to drop any comments or questions below, or reach out to me on Twitter. If you’re unsure if I’d like something, just ask me.
I’ll try to sum up: YA contemporary, fantasy, historical fantasy–anything but horror, mainly. Feminist stories, with feminist characters (both male and female! :D), voice, and emotion. Smack me in the face with heart and adventure.
Go here to check out the full mentor blog hop! (but remember to sub to me <3)
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Wow, wow! It’s nearly the end of June which means we’re halfway through the year–this is madness!
So last year I did a post like this, but I came up with my own questions and categories. Today, I watched Piera’s video, and thought it would be fun to do this tag instead of doing another post on my own. The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books, and I’ve linked both their original videos here! And though it is hard, I’m gonna try REALLY hard to stick to one book per answer 🙂
Best Book Read in 2017 So Far
Hmm… probably STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor. The writing was just so beautiful and magical. And the story was just as good. Romantic, heartbreaking, brutal. I adored the characters and was so sucked into this world and the story. It was amazing.
Best Sequel You Read in 2017
Looking through my Goodreads, I haven’t read a lot of sequels this year! I read a fair bunch of trilogy enders, but not book twos. But from the few I did read, one totally stands out to me: A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi. I’m in love with this book! The writing was gorgeous and Gauri and Vikram are my babies! The story was so good and addicting. I’d love a movie, just to see this lush world brought to life.
Book You Are Excited to Read in 2017 But Haven’t Yet
This one is on the library, not me. I’ve had I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE, AND WE’RE OFF, and OUR DARK DUET on hold for ages, and the library still does not have its copies. Why must you do this to me D: I also want to really read Cindy Pon’s WANT, but that one isn’t even in the catalogue yet. There is one that is on me, though. I got ROAR in my most recent Fairyloot, and just haven’t had the time to read it yet. Woops.
Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017
WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo.
FOOLISH HEARTS by Emma Mills.
RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer.
Yeah, I broke my rule. Tough.
I respectfully decline to answer, but they made me sad.
Book You Were Surprised How Much You Liked It Most recently it was GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS. I’m not a Snow White fan and I wasn’t sure what a queer feminist Snow White retelling would look like. But it was INCREDIBLE. Seriously. I was hooked from the first line. It was so good and amazing and complete perfection.
(but it’s all TRUE!! <3)
New Favorite Author
Hmmm… perhaps Melissa Bashardoust, who wrote GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS, ha. But I did really want to have different answers to each question or else it’ll be boring. *thinks* Okay I’m gonna change my previous answer…
Book You Were Surprised How Much You Liked It
SONG OF THE CURRENT, DONE DIRT CHEAP, or THE GLASS SPARE. Woops, so much for only picking one. But I want to shout about all these books and I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to based on the remaining questions. Each of these books surprised me, cause I hoped I would like them, but I really wasn’t expecting much from them (except Song of the Current, really).
The Glass Spare was unputdownable from the beginning, and the characters were so good and the conflicts and romance and GAH MY HEART. Then Done Dirt Cheap totally snuck up on and I had to keep reading until I reached the end. And Song of the Current is the watery book of my heart! The world building was so fresh and Caro is amazing, and it was so empowering and awesome. Also A+ romance 🙂
OKAY GOOD. I have righted the order of things by breaking all my rules.
New Fictional Crush
Thomas Cresswell. He’s not new since I met him last year in STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, but I appreciated him so much more in HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA. Like to the point where I was like, “If you won’t take him Audrey Rose, I WILL.”
But NEW, NEW, as in only discovered this year 😉 is Porter from ALEX, APPROXIMATELY. Porter is… Porter. *dreamy sigh*
Some New Favorite Characters
Everyone already mentioned above for sure, and also the gang from THE HATE U GIVE. They were phenomenal. The voice in that book is overflowing. They were each so beautifully drawn and compelling.
Book That Made You Cry
Oh, just a tiny book called A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN. Full on sobbed.
Honorable mention: THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord.
Book That Made You Happy
I mean, also ACOWAR, but we’re being different (esp since I just broke the rules AGAIN) SOOOO… THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED. So precious. The most precious. Precious, precious, precious.
Book to Film Adaptation You Liked So Far
Uhhh… I haven’t seen any… I don’t think…
Fave Review You’ve Done
I don’t blog anymore, so I can’t answer this </3
Most Beautiful Book You Have
Okay, this probably has to be STRANGE THE DREAMER because the UK edition is a treasure. The blue stained pages, the cover! I don’t know if anything will top it.
Books You Need to Read By The End of 2017
So everything I listed above in the anticipating and haven’t read yet sections, plus DARE MIGHTY THINGS, UNEARTHED, THE BELLES (I’ve got an e-arc :D), AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS, INVICTUS, probably some stuff I haven’t heard of yet… 😀
And there we are! The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag! I can’t end this better cause I have to jet to work. BYE