January 30, 2013

Start Spreading the News...

*Groan* Okay, that was lame and cliché, but I don't care. For the three of you who didn't get that reference, let me elaborate:

I'm headed to New York!

"New York Sunrise" by Jeffery Turner on Flickr
February wouldn't normally be my first choice of months to visit New York, but I'm not going just to sight-see. My main reason for going is SCBWI's (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) Winter Conference which takes place annually in New York. I know I've already mentioned this, but I thought it was worth mentioning again so you don't wonder where I am for the next week. (Assuming, of course, that you wonder about silly things like that. :P)

Some of the keynote speakers this year are Meg Rosoff, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Shaun Tan, and Mary Poppins Maria von Trapp Julie Andrews (!). I'll be sitting in on sessions by:
  • Rosemary Brosnan - executive editor of HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperTeen
  • Molly O'Neill - editor at Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins 
This is my first ever writing conference, so I'm pretty excited. But what takes my giddiness to a whole new level is that I'm going to be meeting one of my CPs Jess Silverstein, along with Rebecca Behrens, and Ghenet Myrthil. It's been great getting to know these ladies through the blogs and Twitter, and now I'll actually get to meet them face to face, so YAY! ☺ Plus, all of these ladies know the city, so that's an added bonus. I can pick their brains for what to see and do and how to get there.

This happens to be our first trip to NYC, so that should make this even more fun. I have to say, I'm a little worried we'll get lost or mugged or some crazy thing, but that hasn't dimmed my excitement. I've got a transit trip planner app on my phone, so with any luck we won't end up in Jersey or somewhere else out of our way. We'll be visiting a lot of the typical tourist places—Central Park, New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, and so on—but Jess is also taking us to Books of Wonder. We'd also like to visit Ground Zero to pay our respects. I wish we had a month to explore, but a week will have to suffice.

I'll take lots of pictures, tweet from time to time, and come back with lots of stories to share. Have a great week, friends!

January 25, 2013


So I realized something about myself recently, and as the title of this post suggests, I'm guilty of missing the sometimes pathetically obvious. Perhaps one of my worst offences relates to book covers and not seeing what's right in front of me. Really, it's almost like looking at those pictures that you have to practically cross your eyes to see the image hidden in them.

Okay, not really. I'm just unobservant, unseeing, oblivious...you get the idea.

Exhibit A:  Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

I read Kristin Cashore's Bitterblue some time ago after winning an ARC of it. And yet somehow I failed to notice THE FACE behind the keys. I mean, really?! The eyeball is dead center in the key ring. Not to mention both Graceling and Fire employ the same technique on their covers as well. (The face in the sword and the face above the bow respectively.) I was visiting some blog or another yesterday and was kind of scanning the post when my eyes fell on the eyeball staring right back at me. I actually went over to my bookshelf to pick up my copy and verify that it did in fact have a face there too. (Because who knows, maybe the ARC didn't have the face or something? I don't know.)

Exhibit B:  What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

So this week was kind of a two-fer (good gravy, I hate that expression) for feeling like a bit of a tool where cover discoveries were concerned. I was talking on the phone with my sister, visiting some blog or another again, when I finally saw it—the two heads. Or rather, the forward facing head and the silhouette of an upturned head. How on earth did I miss that?! Every time I saw this cover I focussed on the the fact that we're shown what could be considered a fragment of a face, which seemed fitting given the title. Not even once did I notice the silhouetted profile. How do you miss something like that?

What's left of me? A lingering sense of embarrassment and idiocy, that's what.

Exhibit C:  Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Well, would you look at that? It's another hidden face on the original cover of Lauren Oliver's Delirium. On the one hand, I read this on a Kobo where it appeared black & white and wasn't overly clear. But on the other hand, I saw this book sitting on the shelves at Indigo multiple times before it finally clicked, so really I have no excuse for failing to spot the obvious. I was visiting my sister's place, picked up her hardcopy of the book and almost dropped it when I saw what I'd thus far been missing. It's actually a little bit creepy, when you think about it. Like realizing that somebody's been watching you without your knowledge. (Okay, the latter is WAY more creepy than the former.)

All I can say is that I must have been delirious when I missed the face behind the words.
(Hardy har.)

And then there was the time that I missed about 3/4 of the Snow White references in Sydney White the first time I watched it. (Despite the fact that it was called Sydney White. Blatantly obvious, right?Altogether now: DUUUUUUHHHH!!! O_o

January 23, 2013

RTW: Good For a Giggle


Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Good for a laugh: Who is your favorite comedian or funny book and/or movie?

Lately? This completely hilarious lady:

Rebel Wilson aka "Fat Amy" in Pitch Perfect.
(Bonus points for stealing the entire show.)

The funny former femmes of Saturday Night Live:

From left: Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch,
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph.
(Fey + Poehler get bonus points for the Golden Globes.)

Annnd anybody who is willing to dress up like this for the sake of comedy:

Justin Timberlake, Bobby Moynihan, and Andy Samberg performing
(Mr. Samberg gets bonus points for that crazypants face.)

Funny Book:
I don't tend to read much in the way of comedic books, but I know that I laughed out loud while reading this one:

by Julie Halpern

(Bonus points for a scene involving Krispy Kreme 
donuts that made me choke I was laughing so hard.)

Funny Movie:
Napoleon Dynamite

This movie never ceases to crack me up. The first time I saw
it it was like a train wreck I couldn't look away from. Every
time since it has just gotten funnier and funnier. Heck yes!
(Bonus points for the America's Most Wanted glasses.)

How about you? What kinds of comedians, books, or movies make you laugh?

* Seriously, go watch this video on YouTube. My face hurts from laughing.

January 21, 2013


{I'm borrowing this "Currently..." idea from Katy Upperman, who got it from Kate Hart, who got it from somewhere else.}

• Homemade chocolate chip cookies. I've made a couple batches while my husband has been home. Not healthy, but so tasty.
• Researching for a YA Historical/Time Travel that I'm dying to sit down and write. I've been finding some really interesting stuff, some of which gives me the chills because it's just so perfect and kind of a creepy coincidence. Can't wait to write it!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
I've really been digging YA fantasy lately. I credit Graceling with getting me hooked, but I've read so many good ones since (Throne of Glass, Shadow and Bone). I'll have to do a post for fantasy-lovers and those who don't yet know they are.

Some time back, my husband and I were big into watching Battlestar Galactica, but for whatever reason we didn't finish all four seasons. We'd been meaning to start at the beginning, and then happened to find a super sweet Black Friday sale for the entire series on blu ray. So we've been working our way through season one again. I really want to know how it all ends!

Thinking About
My WIP and my query. All the time. Every minute of every day these days. I think I've gotten my WIP pretty close to where it should be (I'll have to see what my CPs think.), but my query rewrite is still at the blank page stage. The only way to stop thinking about this stupid thing is to just sit down and write the stupid thing, right?

NEW YORK. NEW YORK. NEW YORK. Can you tell I'm excited? There are only eight more days until we fly to New York for the SCBWI conference with some days tacked on either end to check out this amazing city. As an added bonus, I'll be meeting one of my writer friends, Jess Silverstein. We're hoping to meet up with Ghenet Myrthil and Rebecca Behrens too! I am very, very excited about this. There will be Books of Wonder, cupcakes, The Lion King on Broadway, the usual must-see locales, and maybe even a trip to Serendipity 3.

Listening To
The usual patchwork quilt of the following awesome musicians: Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Snow Patrol, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, and this song ("Home" by Phillip Phillips):

• the snow would just start melting already. We've had snow since before Halloween. Dear Snow: You're no longer welcome.
• my query letter would magically write itself. I've gotten great tips from Jess, but I'm avoiding the work like the plague.
• that I lived somewhere way cooler than where I do. Ideally, this place would be situated much closer to my sister.

Making Me Happy
Last night I had the privilege of attending a Burns dinner, a celebration of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns. This dinner took place at our local chapter of the Royal Canadian Legion (a nationwide organization for vets), which is where I take snare/side drum lessons (so I can join the pipe and drum band). I kid you not, you haven't lived until you've experienced the piping in and toasting of a haggis. So crazy and fun! There was plenty of bagpipe music, Highland dancing, and of course recitations of Burns' poetry. I met some really friendly people—other band members and their spouses—and had a great time.

Hey, Hot Stuff. I bet you looked good in a kilt.
So what have you been up to lately? Is there anything that you're currently loving?

January 18, 2013

Beluga By Beluga

This post title brought to you by flipping massive revisions and by the craft book Bird by Bird (by Anne Lamott). But if we're talking about tackling a writing project piece by piece, my WIP issues feel more like belugas than birds. Just sayin'... I'm not quite finished my read of this insightful, funny, and informative book, but I'll share my thoughts on what I've read thus far. (While I eat ooey gooey freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and try not to smear chocolate on my keyboard keys. Yum!)*

Jess over at Reading on the F Train suggested sometime back that we should read and post about Bird by Bird. I'm taking on the first half of the book and she will be wrapping up the latter half at the end of the month. If you would like to join us, feel free to email Jess with a link to your post. Since I have too much to say in one post, I'm going to cover some things today and post again another day.

Drafting and Unabashed Suckitude
I think perhaps the biggest thing I've gotten from this book so far is the challenge to buck perfectionism and embrace the "shitty first draft". (Henceforth referred to as SFD so I don't have to keep typing such an "excrementitious"** word.) For as long as I can remember, I've tended toward perfectionism, which stinks when you're writing to get published. I'm not sure I could write a truly SFD even if I wanted to. Maybe if I was to pry my delete button off my keyboard, but I'm not sure that's a good idea. I revise as I go, and that seems to work for me. But I wonder if it would be less stressful getting that initial story plunked out if I just ignored the urge to polish and prettify my WIP as I write it. It's okay for it to suck. It's supposed to suck.
"All good writers write [SFDs]. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts."

More On (Moron?) Perfectionism
On the issue of perfectionism, Lamott mentions a friend's suggestion to "learn to keep yourself company", to basically treat yourself a little better. You wouldn't tell a CP, "This sucks monkey spleen. Fix it now."*** Instead, you'd probably offer them a really well-crafted compliment sandwich: "This part is really great. Have you thought about doing this? Oh, and this part is fantastic!" So why do we become our very own personal Regina George? (Thanks, Rebecca, for this comparison. It's totally fetch.) Treat yourself like you'd treat your CP.

Eureka Moments and the Crud Leading to Them
Lamott touched on something that was both interesting and very, very true. She talks about sitting down to write and rereading what she wrote the day before. (I totally do this to get in the right frame of mind to write.) There will be a pile of 'meh' sentences—paragraphs even—limping along pathetically until they reach one golden nugget that basically breathes life into the whole story. This is what we were going for, what we wanted our story to be. While everything leading up to this stroke of brilliance seems like a waste, it really isn't. We needed all of it to show us what we really wanted to write. Like the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City.

Gagging the "Drunken Monkeys"
The process of writing is often fraught with just as many rock bottom lows as over the moon highs. We sit down to write and find ourselves plagued by self-doubt—"banshees and drunken monkeys" as Lamott calls them. But we persevere, managing to ignore those voices and write something. And it might totally suck (as SFDs are wont to do), but we do the work and eventually that SFD will suck a little less. It's never going to be easy, but that's what makes finishing so darn satisfying.
"Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward." 
To be continued another day...

* I just felt like rubbing that in because I'm cruel like that.
** Her word, not mine. Though, I think I might adopt it.
*** If you do, maybe you should retire from CPing. O__O

January 16, 2013

My Bookshop Around the Bend

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Imagine you get to open your own bookstore. What would it look like? What kinds of books would you sell?

Well, I'm about to bust out probably the most cliché response imaginable. If I was lucky enough to have my own bookshop, I'd want it to be almost identical to The Shop Around the Corner in You've Got Mail. (You know, minus the whole being squeezed out by the Big Bad Big Box store. Though, rubbing shoulders with Tom Hanks would be all right.) 

The twinkle lights are a must, as are the checkerboard flooring, stripey curtains, and whimsical framed children's book illustrations. My bookshop would be children's books only, with an extensive young adult section. Since we're wishing and dreaming here, I'd love to have authors swing by and visit for signings. (And just because I'd like to hang with these wonderfully creative people.) While I'm an avowed YA junkie, I do love a good picture book, so this dream shop would have to be well stocked with glossy, fun, delicious-smelling picture books. Did I mention I'm also a hopeless book sniffer?

I feel like there are any number of book-buying destinations for adults, so this is why I'd focus on books for kids. Getting kids hooked on reading at an early age is so, so important. I think having a shop that feels like its own little world, a place to get lost in a good book is exactly the kind of thing to get kids excited about reading. I love the idea of comfy chairs in tucked away nooks where little and big kids alike can curl up and read. This might seem random, but have you been to Vegas? One of the hotels on the strip (I can't remember which) had the ceilings painted with blue skies and clouds. Wouldn't that be great to have on the ceiling of a bookshop to further this notion of dreams and imagination? I think so.

Although it's not the healthiest idea in the world, I'd carve out a little niche in the shop for a a cupcake café.  (Nut-safe for all of those folks who can't enjoy baked goods because of the risk of cross contamination. Every kid should be able to enjoy a good cupcake without worrying about anaphylaxis*, in my opinion.) Of course, it would have to be several arm's lengths away from any books that might end up with sticky gooey icing fingerprints on them. Mostly I would just want a trip to my bookshop to feel like an event, an adventure. I would have loved something like this as a kid. As an adult even!

How about you? What would your dream bookshop look like?

* Blogger was trying to correct 'anaphylaxis' with 'prophylaxis'. Um...I'm pretty sure I didn't mean that.

And the Winner Is...

Congrats, Crystal!

Just send me a quick email with your mailing address 
and I'll have The Diviners off to you in the mail post-haste.
(A little mail humour for ya, because I couldn't resist.☺)

January 14, 2013

Beginning Again

So remember how I started querying back in November? Well, I've pulled myself out of the trenches temporarily thanks to a nasty bout of trench foot AKA a need for further revisions. I thought my WIP was no longer 'in progress', was buffed up and ready to send out into the world. Turns out the front end of my story needs some work. Again.

How do I know this?

One of the agents I queried actually took the time to give me some compliments and some pointers when she rejected my story. (This, after requesting my first fifty pages.) While the rejection still bummed me out, I felt like I had something concrete to work on. Radio silence and "This isn't for me" are expected, but actual advice? Golden. I also took a gander at Pitch Wars, and two out of the three ladies I applied to sent me encouraging rejections with constructive criticism. And you know what? They mentioned the same issue that Helpful Agent had: my intro had too much world-building/info-dumping. I should mention that my CP, Elodie, said much the same thing long before any of these ladies did.

The funny thing about all of this is that I always kind of had an inkling that my opening was weak. Deep down I just never felt right about it. I convinced myself that all of this info was just so darn important that it had to appear early on. Wrong.

But how to fix it?

After completely avoiding even thinking about it over the holidays, I'm now face to face with this thing and on a bit of a self-imposed deadline. (I'd like to have it sorted out before the SCBWI conference that I'm attending at the beginning of February.) Thankfully, a phone chat with my sister helped me to resolve some of the issues, but not all of them. I still don't know exactly where to open this thing so that it starts with "action and/or interactions between characters" (thanks, Helpful Agent ☺). I've always been one of those people who hates being tossed into a story without knowing what I'm dealing with, but I know I'm in the minority. Here's what I've figured out about fixing my sad sack opening pages:

  1. Not all backstory/information crucial to world-building needs to happen right away. I knew this, but now I get it.
  2. Not all of this information actually needs to be in the story. Really. Sometimes it's just a pile of extraneous words.
  3. Weaving this info into the story can add to the suspense. It can also keep the reader hooked, waiting for answers.
I also realized (following a question my sister asked me) that my timeline can be altered a bit too, which might actually help with some of the issues I'm facing. I've got my figurative red pen handy and I'm all ready to tackle this Montauk Monster once and for all. After I'm finished with all that fun stuff, I'll be reworking my query. Again. Wish me luck?

And just a quick reminder about my Pos-i-tute-ly Bee's Knees Giveaway: Have you entered for a chance to get your very own copy of Libba Bray's The Diviners? The giveaway is open internationally and ends Wednesday, January 16th.

January 8, 2013

Scintillating Stuff

Did that title lure you in? I thought it might. :P How was your Monday? Mine was, well, a Monday. Between spending the better part of my day at the dentist (a string of appointments all lumped into one day), and taking the wrong bus home which resulted in an hour-long ride, I kind of wanted to kick the crap out of Monday. Thank goodness it's Tuesday, right?

So, I finally got around to reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Some months back (!), I won a signed copy of the book from the lovely Katy Upperman, but I sort of danced around it for a while. If you've been following this blog for some time, then you probably know how I feel about 'cancer books' in general.* I'm happy to say that there was a darn good reason why everyone raved about this book. I'm still amazed at the way that John Green was able to make Hazel and Augustus' story so amusing while still so heartbreaking.  I've never—that I can recall—been brought to tears by a book before. Well, thank you, John Green. I blubbered like a baby at one particular point in this one. The story was engaging, the characters interesting and likeable (albeit a good deal deeper than most adults I know), and it made me laugh out loud which seemed impossible given the subject matter. Definitely a five-star read for me. What did you think?

As some of you may know, Jess Silverstein (Reading on the F Train) and I are currently reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, a book about writing and life. You're welcome to join us! Toward the middle of the month, I'll be posting my thoughts on the first half of the book, and Jess will wrap up the latter half of the book at the end of the month. If you'd like to post your own thoughts on this book, email Jess so she can post your links at the end of January. It's a quick and easy read that is both informative and entertaining. My copy is all marked up with pen underlining, so I don't forget anything. Craft books are the only books I allow myself to mark up like this.

And a quick reminder about my Posi-tute-ly Bee's Knees Giveaway of Libba Bray's The Diviners. It's open internationally, so that all of my blog friends can take part. (That means you!) I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and since I currently own more than one copy I figure why not share? So far there are only 52 entries, so your odds are fairly decent. And hey, free book, right?

* Personal family experience with cancer makes me give books dealing with cancer a wide berth. Usually.

January 3, 2013

Celebrating Debut Authors

I'm sure many of you have heard of the Debut Author Challenge, but for those of you who haven't, here's what it's all about:

"It helps debut authors out with exposure, but it also helps readers find debut books that they might have otherwise missed." (from the Hobbitsies blog)

Tara over at Hobbitsies is hosting the challenge this year, and over 300 participants have signed up already. For more details about the challenge go HERE. I'm anticipating some great debuts ahead in 2013!

A minimum of twelve debut books must be read for the challenge, but I'm hoping I can top that. I've compiled a list of books by debut authors that have piqued my interest. I hope to read at least one a month, but more would be great:

2013 Debuts That Have Grabbed My Attention
(As always, book titles are linked to their Goodreads synopses.)

01.  All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill  (August 1)
02.  Altered - Jennifer Rush  (January 1)
03.  Art of Wishing, The - Lindsay Ribar  (March 21)
04.  Belle Epoque - Elizabeth Ross  (June 11)
05.  Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke  (August 20)
06.  Broken - A. E. Rought  (January 8)
07.  Cadet of Tildor, The - Alex Lidell  (January 10)
08.  Canary - Rachele Alpine  (August 1)
09.  City of a Thousand Dolls - Miriam Forster  (February 5)
10.  Falconer, The - Elizabeth May  (May 16)
11.  Gated - Amy Christine Parker  (August 27)
12.  Insomnia - J. R. Johansson  (June 8)
13.  Legacy of the Clockwork Key - Kristin Bailey  (March 5)
14.  Madman's Daughter, The - Megan Shepherd  (January 29)
15.  Mila 2.0 - Debra Driza  (March 12)
16.  Nantucket Blue - Leila Howland  (May 7)
17.  Nightmare Affaire, The - Mindee Arnett  (March 5)
18.  Nobody But Us - Kristin Halbrook  (January 29)
19.  Oathbreaker's Shadow, The - Amy McCulloch  (June 6)
20.  Parallel - Lauren Miller  (May 14)
21.  Pivot Point - Kasie West  (February 12)
22.  Poison - Bridget Zinn  (March 12)
23.  Premeditated - Josin L. McQuein  (October 1)
24.  Prep School Confidential - Kara Taylor  (July 30)
25.  Prophecy - Ellen Oh  (January 2)
26.  Reboot - Amy Tintera  (May 7)
27.  Rules For Disappearing, The - Ashley Elston  (May 14)
28.  Rush - Eve Silver  (June 11)
29.  Summer I Became a Nerd, The - Leah Rae Miller  (May 7)
30.  Taken - Erin Bowman  (April 16)
31.  These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner  (TBA)
32.  Transparent - Natalie Whipple  (May 21)

And check out some of these covers! Pretty fantastic, right?

Even if you aren't able to take part in the challenge, it's always nice to throw support behind authors breaking onto the scene. On the Hobbitisies site, you can save or print off a spreadsheet of all MG and YA debuts in 2013 (find it HERE under the 'debut lists' heading). This is a pretty cool resource if you want to know what's new this year (aside from the glut of middle books and series finales due out this year). Give it some thought and maybe join in!

January 2, 2013

Best Book Bar None

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

What's the best book you read in December?

This was an easy one for me, because one book pos-i-tute-ly stood out. It was the bee's knees, and quite possibly one of the most swell books I've read this year. And how! Okay, I'm done with the 1920s jargon, BUT I'm not done raving.

Dames and gents, I give you The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies." When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer—if he doesn't catch her first. (from Goodreads)

There is so much I could say about this book, but the most important point is that the author really did her research on 1920s New York. And how! (Okay, I lied. There may be more jargon than you bargained for.) The beauty of it is that she wove it all in so seamlessly that you almost don't realize that this book was written in a completely different millennium. It's just that well done. I've always loved the Roaring Twenties and stories set in NYC, so this pairing was perfection. And the story is just so compelling. It's nearly 600 pages long, and I read the bulk of it in one sitting. I just couldn't put it down!

Good time gal, Evie, is a truly dynamic character. Throughout her evolution as a character, she still knows how to have fun, but she deepens and becomes less selfish and more responsible. I kind of loved that about her. Jericho was fantasticly swoonworthy, Will was such a cool uncle, Mabel was the most loyal of friends, Sam was sometimes annoying but often endearing, Theta and Henry were fabulous, Memphis was all-around great... Such a superlative cast of characters. And then there's Naughty John. I'm not sure I've encountered a villain who was so pos-i-tute-ly eerie as this serial creeper.

Which brings me to a teensy word of caution: This book was seriously creepy. I'm fairly certain the twisted snippets from the book of Revelation (read: altered by a cult), the rhymey ditty Naughty John kept whistling and singing, and the murders themselves were what totally wigged me out. In many ways, it read like an adult crime thriller only much better.

Things I could have done without which might be dealbreakers for you:
  • There were three instances where animals were killed. In each and every case it was entirely unnecessary and added nothing to the plot. If the rest of the book hadn't been so darn good, I might have been tempted to put it down. I'm that bothered by cruelty to animals. Fortunately, they were all very brief mentions.
  • One of Naughty John's victims was a tween kid. Enough said.
(Added 03/01/13: I read through a bunch of reviews on Goodreads, and I only found one other person who commented on the cruelty to animals thing. I suppose it's possible that I'm just overly sensitive to this, so bear that in mind.)

Things that were the "elephant's eyebrows":
  • 1920s NYC—seriously well done. Though I've never been to New York (yet!), I felt like I was actually there. The Ziegfeld girls, the fashion, the jargon, the landmarks, the historical references... It all comes alive.
  • The writing is fantastic. This one falls under the category: Books That Make Me Feel Unworthy as a Writer.
  • The cast of characters and their unique abilities. Favourites: Evie, Jericho, and Memphis.

Let me put it this way: I liked this book so much, I'm going to give a copy away! (Truthfully, I received duplicates this Christmas, so I figured why not share the love?) And the best part? You can ALL enter no matter where you live.

The Pos-i-tute-ly Bee's Knees Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Honourable mention for Best December Read: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!