Saturday, June 27, 2015

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 5

  • Fink, Chapters 3-4


Oh the failure. Abject failure. I may have caught up on my reflection journal, but I am so far behind in my textbook reading. I haven't ever read this many books in such a short span of time. It's actually exhausting. But I digress. I am so far behind on this it isn't even funny.


Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King

I...didn't get this book at all. I love a good unreliable narrator, but I had a hard time "believing" the story, if that makes sense. Not only that, but I really didn't feel emotionally invested in this person's story. If this wasn't required reading, I wouldn't have read it. What started out with a bang, kind of fizzled as it went on. Yes, the main character does grow as the novel progresses, but I had a hard time connecting with her because she was not a nice person and I didn't really have a reason to like her. I don't have to like the character to enjoy the story, but I have to feel some emotional connection or there really isn't a point. I felt the entire plot was "and then...and then...and then...and then." I know a lot of people like King, my coworkers were shocked that I didn't like this story, but I no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I wasted my time.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I've been told by several people that I need to read this book. I will, I just haven't yet.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

This book was ok. I liked the description of life in the ghetto, but I felt like it was a little light on substance. I can enjoy a story that doesn't have a lot of depth, but I really need to feel a connection. I didn't here. Maybe it was my mindset that week (it was not the best week for me personally) but like King's book, I didn't get it. I did enjoy it a more than King, but I still felt it lacked something that would make it really good. Does that make me a story snob? I don't think so. I read a lot of different genres, but a story has to have a unique twist to it and it really didn't.


City of Ember

Haven't watched this yet, but I expect I'll enjoy it. I know the book was very popular even if the movie didn't hit it off as much as was expected.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 4

  • Cart, Chapter  7
  • Fin, Chapter 2



I should just throw myself onto the mercy of the court on this one. Once again, I failed to get my textbook reading done. I will have to find my bloody scourge in my bloody scourge closet and correct my behavior.


Steampunk! An Antholoyg of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

I haven't read many anthologies lately. I remember reading a few when I was a kid, and of course, they were SciFi. It's hard to talk about anthologies in such a short format because there are so many different stories. Yes, they have a central theme, in this case Steampunk, but that's where the similarity ends. One the stories that did stand out for me was Steam Girl. It was different because it wasn't actually steampunk. It was the real world and the main characters were normal kids who loved the concept of steampunk and wrote stories about it as a way to escape their situations. I would have thoroughly enjoyed this as a teen and I definitely enjoyed it as an adult.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

This book reminded me, in some ways, of the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher. Mostly in that the humor was often dry and sarcastic, but also because the main character wasn't necessarily a tough guy, but still able to step up to the plate when people he cares about are threatened. Just like Dresden, he doesn't do it alone. He has friends and allies who support him. I also loved that it had a Monty Python reference in it. Not many of those around. Definitely a book I would have enjoyed when I was younger. I actually want to read the rest of the series.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I've had this book on my shelf for a while and just never got around to reading it. It's a dark story that touches on a lot of deep topics including domestic abuse. The characters, though archetypical, are the product of their lives and they don't exist in a vacuum. I've read other Stiefvater books, but this is probably one of her best. I definitely would have enjoyed this a teen and I really enjoyed reading it.


The Hunger Games

I've been kind of apathetic towards the Hunger Games. I don't know exactly why. I know it is a ground breaking series and the movies have excellent acting. I sometimes don't get involved in series that have too much hype surrounding them. That being said, I loved this movie and the second one. I can see why every girl wants to be Katniss. She's strong, dependable, but also human. She's terrified, but still gets the courage to keep fighting. But she's not impervious to her situation either. It affects her deeply and though she "wins" she is also damaged by what has happened to her and what she has been forced to do.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 3

  • Cart, Chapter 6
  • Fink, Chapter 1



Once again, I'm behind! It took forever to get a copy of the Fink book. Ended up ordering it through Google in digital format. Unfortunately, since I don't have a physical copy, I often forget it exists. And of course, I'm missing out on the information in Cart.


I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This book was required reading and I LOVED it. It was beautifully written and did a great job of drawing* me in. The narrative is unlike anything I have ever read before. We see Noah's side when he and his twin are 13 and then we have Jude's story when they are 16. I really can't express how this book affected me. I wish I could open up people's brains and impart the understanding directly. Both characters are artists and how they perceive the world is through art. At times fantastical at other times full of pain. The end fits the story. It may not be "realistic" but honestly, I don't care. It fit the book. It fit the story. I would have definitely enjoyed this as a teen. It was just weird enough, for a lack of a better word.

*not an intentional pun, but a pun nonetheless.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

This was a fascinating book. I liked that the main character was hispanic instead of the overly common white teen. This is a scifi book and is almost post-apocalyptic/dystopian in nature. It's not overt, but it does crop up in how people perceive the world. The story is about a young boy who must overcome the fact that he is the clone of one of the most notorious drug lords in the world. It raises a lot of questions about nature versus nurture and the lengths someone will go to live forever. I enjoyed this book a lot and expect I may have as a teen. I was big into SciFi back then.

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

I still need to read this book, but it popped up when I was finding comparable stories to I'll Give You the Sun. I look forward to reading it. Based on the blurb, I don't know if I would have enjoyed this as a teen. My tastes were more restricted back then. We'll see.


Mean Girls

Once again, I didn't get a movie watched. I had planned on Napolean Dynamite because everyone says I should see it. I guess it's one of those movies, but I wouldn't know.

Mean Girls is an awesome movie. It's a lighter version of Heathers (which if you haven't seen, you should). It's a story about fitting in and learning what is really important. The kind of story every teen should see. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere, but the costs aren't always the best thing.

Having watched this several times, I know I probably would have enjoyed it as a teen as it has the right amount of physical humor and general craziness that just appeals to me on a certain level.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 2

  • Cart, Chapters 4-5



I could lie and say I read these. I'm not entirely sure what happened this week, but I didn't get as much done as I should have. As such I don't have much to talk about on this point. I need to do some serious catching up at some point. This class is pretty intense reading-wise and I've already fallen behind in this regard which is unfortunate as the textbook is really enjoyable.


Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus

I loved this book. I would have loved it as a teenager too. Paranormal/Urban Fantasy novels really didn't take off until I was an adult. When I was younger, the only stories like this were  by Piers Anthony.

What separates Blood and Chocolate from a lot of urban fantasy stories is the main character, Vivian. Vivian is a werewolf, but unlike a lot of stories, she doesn't hate what she is. She embraces her differences. She's beautiful and she doesn't need some guy to make her feel that way.

This isn't to say that she doesn't have her moments of insecurity, because she does, but rather that she has no problem stalking her prey (so to speak). She falls in love with a human boy, but unlike most stories, he rejects her and even attempts to "save her." Except she doesn't want to be saved. She embraces her life and who she is.

I think a lot of young girls would benefit from reading this.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

I literally read this book in two hours. The story is compelling and highlights the rampant racism inherent in our judicial system. Very appropriate given what has been going on in the country lately. In this book, Steve Harmon gets put on trial for murder. In reality, his only crime is being black and knowing the people involved.

I've read only one other story that was written in the fashion of a screenplay. I enjoyed both of them. I think I would have enjoyed this as a teen. I know I did as an adult. It's an important novel to read. It says a lot with very little.


Pump Up the Volume

You would think the movies would be the easiest things for me to do, but the reality is, I usually put them off because I prefer reading more. So instead of talking about Mallrats, I'll be discussing my feelings on Pump Up the Volume.

I've seent his movie several times and the first time I watched it I was a teenager. It was dark, funny, but it exposed the ugly behind the facade of American education system. Like Chocolate War, we are presented with a school that has more invested in its image than its students. However, in this case, students are not beaten or abused, but anyone who is considered "undesirable" is expelled. Mark is a complex character that most teens would enjoy (I know I did). Quite and shy student during the day, shock jock of a pirate radio station by night.

LI832 -- Reflection Journal Week 1

  • Cart, Chapters 1-3



The first thing I noticed about this textbook was its voice. I've had the dubious pleasure of having to read library science textbooks and most of them are dryer than the Sahara desert. This dusty tombs are written without expression and lack any semblance of life.

That is not the case with Young Adult Literature : From Romance to Realism by Michael Cart. It is engaging, smart, and uses an almost unhealthy number of exclamation points. The first three chapters take us from 60s through the 80s and talks about the major stories of that time. It was interesting to see what these stories meant to the people of that time.


Outsiders by S. E Hinton

This is one of those books that defined an era. Until this class, I had never read it. It paints a dark picture of life in the slums of New York. The story was compelling. What I didn't know until later was that S.E. Hinton wrote it when she was a teenager. This is not a light book. I was struck by the stark reality of the character's lives. Despite its grim look, it had its moments of levity as Pony Boy struggled to survive an often violent world.

I don't know if I would have liked this as a teen or not. As an adult, and writer, I see things significantly differently than when I was younger. I think I would have had a hard time with how the Socs (the "c" is pronounced "sh") treated the Greasers. It's a story of haves and have nots and despite the tragedy of their lives, Pony Boy still manages to dream of a better life.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

I know that I was supposed to read a book I hadn't read before, I still decided to revisit a book I considered to be one of my hated for most of my life. Despite my hatred, this book changed me. The phrase "Dare I Disturb the Universe?" was one that has stuck with me for years.

The first time I read this, I was a teenager. My life was broken. I was broken. I immediately associated with Jerry and the pain of his existence and his struggle to fight the oppression of the various bullies in his life. I'll be honest, when I was younger, I couldn't handle it. I didn't understand what Cormier was doing and I hated the book. It reminded me too much of my own feelings of hopelessness.

So it was with some trepidation that I picked up this book. It is amazing what a change it was. It was like I was reading it for the first time, but without the mental baggage of my own experiences clouding it. I loved this book. I didn't see Jerry as the helpless victim. He was heroic and stood up for what he believed. The ending, though still gut-churning, didn't affect me the same way it did when I was a child.

Forever by Judy Blume

I don't think I've ever read Judy Blume before today. I remember seeing Super Fudge when I was a kid, but don't remember actually reading it. I didn't really enjoy this book. I had a hard time becoming emotionally involved in this character's life. I don't think I would have enjoyed this story as a child. I know I didn't get it as an adult. The entire time I was reading this, I thought of all the ways I would have written it to make it better. I didn't believe the relationship and to be honest, I felt the whole thing was shallow. As a writer, I was frustrated by the plot and all the "telling" that muddled what could have been a really impactful story.

Maybe I just expect more from a story these days. It has nothing to do with the genre. I don't judge genre. I would rather read Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein.


Rebel Without a Cause

I've always wanted to watch this movie. This is one of the movies that, like the Outsiders, defined a time. It was interesting to watch this and compare it to the Outsides. Whereas the Outsiders focused entirely on the Greasers, Rebel Without a Cause focused on the other side, the Socs.

There were a lot of common themes between both of them. Despite the socio-economic differences, both Pony Boy and Jim Stark struggled with the often violent world around them. Both stories show the tragedy of life as an American teen in the 1950s. I would have enjoyed this movie as a teen and I certainly enjoyed it as an adult.

Pretty in Pink

I was going to watch Rumble Fish (which I've never seen), but never got around to it, so I'll talk about Pretty in Pink (which I've watched several times) a bit. Pretty in Pink continues the theme of Haves and Have Nots and struggling with growing up as an American teen. Like Forever, it focuses on first love rather than struggling to survive in a violent world.

Pretty in Pink is a lighthearted, funny story. I have watched it several times growing up and I enjoy it every time. Even though the styles and technology are very dated, it is one of those movies that survives. It touches on serious topics, but the story is focused on a young girl falling in love for the first time. It's about breaking out of social boundaries to be with the one you love.

YA Class Introduction

© Jorge Royan CC-BY-SA-3.0
It's been a while since I've blogged on here except for the occasional blog tour or cover reveal. Well, that's all about to change. This summer I've signed up for a YA lit class. However, as it is grad school, I can't just read a bunch of books and call it good. I have to write about it too.

So, look for more posts from me. Each post will talk about what I did read (and if I didn't get all the reading done). My professor has asked that we read books that we haven't already read and watch movies that we haven't already watched and then write a little bit about each thing. I can't summarize, but rather, I need to talk about my responses now and how I would have responded as a teen.

I had planned on doing one a week for the summer, but I got behind with everything so they'll be a lot posted today. I hope to get back onto a regular blog schedule starting with next weeks readings.

I hope you enjoy this little series and maybe you'll find a new book you like.

'Till next time.

Monday, June 15, 2015


I am so honored to be able to be a part of this cover reveal. Jessica is a lovely and talented person. I LOVE the new covers developed by Carrie Butler (who is also lovely and super talented). In addition to her newest book, REDEMPTION, Jessica is releasing the first two (also with awesome new covers).

Check it out!

(Children of the Gods #1)
September 2, 2015

There are others like her. Many of them. And they have been waiting for her for a long time.

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's well over eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal.

For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability.

Or so she thinks. 

Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning-and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

(Children of the Gods #2)
October 2, 2015

The Descendants have waited long enough for freedom.

Elyse has done everything she can to protect her friends from The Council's reach. As long as they believe she's dead, she has time to rest and train for war. And war is inevitable. 

When Kara arrives with the news that Anna and Chloe have been captured, Elyse is faced with the realization that no one is safe until The Council is stopped and Christoph is destroyed. She doesn't need a prophecy to tell her to lead an army. Christoph has done the one thing that ensures she'll fight to the death. He's threatened the people she loves. 

It will take more than the words of an oracle to help them fight against the most powerful Descendant alive. To break The Council's oppression and rise up against a plot so many years in the making, Elyse will need to get dangerously close to her enemy. So close, in fact, she may not survive.

(Children of the Gods #3)
November 2, 2015

Nobody promised freedom would be peaceful.

Lead Council member, Christoph, is dead by Elyse’s hand, and Descendants have begun to emerge, exposing their secret to the world. Some see this as the prophecy come to fruition, but the prophecy caries a heavy consequence. It was never meant to be as peaceful as most had hoped.

Humans and Descendants struggle to live together in a world that isn’t ready for such a change. America is divided. Those who glorify the supernatural race believe Descendants truly are the gods they claim relation to. Others see them as a threat.

When Elyse gives birth to the next generation oracle, she sees one final vision—war. The destruction of the country’s major cities, and the end of America as we know it.

After her daughter is born, Elyse finds herself without the ability she needs to predict the future. Desperate to save the world from such conflict, she puts her faith in the hope that Descendants are the key to survival. After all, they have the power to supply a broken society with the means to survive.

Only from the ashes can a new world be born.

Don't forget to steal one or all of the countdown widgets below! Just click "embed" and copy the code for your own website or blog :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Chameleon (The Domino Project #1) by K.T. Hanna

This day has been a long time coming, and I won't usually tout my own horn, but I had to share the cover of my upcoming book with everyone!

Chameleon (The Domino Project #1) is a YA futuristic science fiction story. It's set in the wasteland of earth after a meteor shower devastates landmasses, makes seas rise, introduces the psionic gene into the human race, damages the atmosphere, and gives the gift of an alien parasite to the world.

The goodreads blurb is as follows:

After Sai's newly awoken psionic power accidentally destroys her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. The only grades are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn't a mistake--a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, which partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite and psionic hybrid. When her assassination duties are revealed, Sai understands the real reason for her training.

On a mission to dispatch a dangerous Exiled scientist, she uncovers truths she never thought possible. Sai is unsure who to trust as her next mission might be her last, and a double agent seems to be manipulating both sides.

Without further ado - here is the cover, by the amazingly talented S.P. McConnell.


It's finally here

CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

Isn't it GORGEOUS!?!?!

Sit back and bask in this for a moment.

It's available for preorder for a special price of $2.99
Amazon Link

About the Author


KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she's not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn't sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis


To celebrate, we're giving away 2 x $10 Amazon e-gift cards (open to anyone who can receive and use an Amazon e-card) Just click on as many options as you like and enter!