Posts Tagged With: YA


2015, Hachette Book Group
DPFHolly Black is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Doll Bones pulled me in head first. Now I’ve been wrapped up good and tight in the grips of Holly Black’s writing expertise, all thanks to her latest novel.

The Darkest Part of the Forest is Holly Black’s adventure back into the world of fairies. The story is set in modern times in a quaint little town called Fairfold. While tourists come to see the beautiful horned boy asleep in a glass coffin there, the people of the town know to be wary of what the fair folk can do.

The story centers on the lives and friends of two of these locals. First and foremost, we have Hazel Evans. She fancies herself a knight bound to protect the town from what dwells in the darkest part of the forest. Her older brother Ben was given the gift of music by the fairies, but he has no idea how to control it. Their friend Jack is a changeling who has one foot in the mortal world and the other deeply rooted with his fairy family. Of course, there is also the horned boy that everyone comes to see. When he wakes up, everything changes.

This story isn’t as heart racing as The Coldest Girl In Coldtown nor is it as disturbing as Doll Bones. It has a charm to it though, that is decidedly Holly Black. She takes great time in developing this world. I appreciate that. Some might find the pace slower with a lot of flashbacks, but I think the story needs this. If you like Holly Black’s writing, even a bit, and are interested in a good tale full of fairies, I recommend this book.

You can check out more about Holly Black and her writing at her website,

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve been reading and reading and reading some truly wonderful books over these past months and I must say my negligence in sharing them with you is weighing on me. Well, no more. I am going to be bombarding you with some book recommendations. Be warned.

Shadow And BoneShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The heroine in Leigh Bardugo’s Russian inspired Shadow and Bone is Alina Starkov. She, like her best friend Mal, was a war orphan from the outskirts of Ravka. Now teenagers, the two have joined the military to continue in the ongoing fight for their kingdom.

While their unit is traveling through the darkness of the magical Shadow Fold that splits their country, they are attacked by winged monsters. Mal is wounded in the exchange and Alina uses a power she didn’t know she possessed to light the darkness. Identified as one of the magic Grisha, Alina is taken from the eerie Shadow Fold to the riches of the King’s castle by the mysterious Darkling. Here she has to discover what she really is and what she holds dear.

Shadow and Bone is the first in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. I read Shadow and Bone back in December and instantly became a huge Leigh Bardugo fan. Her writing draws you in and doesn’t lag into filler. The high adventure fantasy story was engaging from the start to the explosive conclusion. While the “will they or won’t they” romantic elements of the reads I choose was there, I also was hit over the head with some surprises. That was quite refreshing.

You can read more about Leigh Bardugo, her Grisha Trilogy and even find some original Ravka folktales at her website:

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Vow Of Silence

I didn’t mean for it to happen. My goal is to touch base at least once a week. But all of a sudden, I looked up and it’s been 18 days since I’ve written a post. That’s a new record.

Of course December is a hectic month for me (and everyone else in the world). Our business goes into overdrive this time of year plus I’m still recovering from the whirlwind of NaNoWriMo. When I put my novel to rest I said I wasn’t going to work on it again until January. Nonetheless, I never thought I was abandoning the blog until it just happened.

But I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the interaction with you folks. I’ve missed spilling my guts. I’ve missed writing.

I’m a creative person. All my life I’ve drawn and painted and sculpted. I can come up with crafts for any occasion. I’m even a decent singer. All of these things I do fairly well, but I don’t have a need to do them. I don’t wake up from sleep with an idea about a painting I must create. I don’t fantasize about traveling around the world singing on the stage.

My creative need is writing stories. This I know.

But, since I am letting my story and my brain rest (right), I have been playing at other outlets. Reading has been filling my evenings (Leigh Badugo’s Grisha Trilogy is delightful…look for a written recommendation in the weeks to come). I’m also knitting a jester’s hat, making jewelry and trying out new recipes.

I’m going to finish working on these things (some of them are Christmas gifts), but then I know I’m breaking my vow of silence. A month is too long to go without writing. Besides, I have it from a reliable source that Santa is putting Scrivener in my computer stocking. That alone is exciting enough that I know I can’t keep my words quiet any longer.


Happy Winter Solstice and any holiday that you celebrate this month.

Take Care,


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IWSG and Now That NaNoWriMo is No More

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his  comrades in arms. This month they are: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

After the October I had, November and NaNoWriMo should have been easy as falling over.

Well, I fell over plenty and it wasn’t easy.

I started the novel-writing challenge six days late. First stumble. Then my usual wake up at 4:30 am to write was not happening. Most mornings I hit snooze until 7:30 and wondered where all my time went. Major trip ups. There were even a couple of days I didn’t write a single word. Picture full-blown face plant.

I considered calling it quits. My story could wait until the New Year to be muddled through. It was going to be okay. So, I stopped being hard on myself.

Somewhere in the midst of all those days I was introduced to the wonderful idea of sprinting. In just 15 short minutes I could accomplish what I wasn’t getting done in an hour. Little quarter-hour blocks of time became my best friend. I could write 500 words while waiting for water to boil. 500 more when my daughter showered. Another 500 as I waited on hold for a representative. Before I knew it, I had written my required 2,000+ words a day in the little times that I thought were wasted. Who needs to carve out huge chunks of time? Sprinting is the way to get through a first draft.

Oh, there were still days I accomplished nothing other than my regular life, but I knew I could get through it. My last big push was on Saturday, November 29. I sprinted and then I wrote in long blocks of time. My family was ignored and no dinner was  prepared. I am happy to say I finished the challenge on that evening.


Of course the story isn’t finished. 50K just got me past the murky middle. But I did what I wanted to do: Complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge. That was good enough for a November.

So, how did everyone else do this month? If you competed in NaNoWriMo did you accomplish what you wanted? I would love to hear how you did.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 29


Okay. Did you see what that image says?

It was a L-O-N-G day and I have NEVER written so much in one day, but I did it!


NaNoWriMo 2014 is history. My story isn’t finished, but I am…for now.

Thanks for your support.

Now I am off to bed and I am NOT setting an alarm.

I doubt I will see ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 7,539 / overall word count:  51,556)


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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 27

Happy ThanksgivingNow that that is out of the way…

Participant-2014-Square-ButtonOnce I finally emerged from the Thanksgiving coma I somehow put myself into,  it was a VERY productive day.

NaNoWriMo is no longer kicking my butt.

AND…I did not burn anything.

Good day all around.

See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 3,762 / overall word count: 41,746.)


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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 26




Good News:  A day off came at the perfect time for my NaNo project.

Bad News:  I scorched the cranberry sauce I was cooking while I wrote.

I am calling it Cajun Style. No one is going to notice, right?

See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 5,726 / overall word count: 37,984)


I say more profound things on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 25

Participant-2014-Square-Button I am obsessing about words. I mean, I have pretty much given up contractions (a trick I learned last year). It had to be done. Why write one measly word when two can do the job just fine?

NaNoWriMo does things like that to a person.

There is no other time in my writing life where I say, “I just NEED ten more words to reach two thousand…then I can go back to bed.”  Usually I just go back to bed. Now I am even counting the chapter headings in my tally. The CHAPTER HEADINGS! It is embarrassing.

Whenever I have read criticism about NaNoWriMo the person with the gripe always brings up the emphasis on word count. The competition is thirty days of banging on the keyboard to pass a magic number of words that may or may not be a good story. The critiques then goes on to say that 50,000 words do not even equal a novel (unless we are talking about middle grade works).

For me,  NaNoWriMo is like a big vehicle a lot of people climb aboard….maybe a bus with an infinite number of seats. Some people get off at different stops because their destination came early while others get carsick and puck their guts out in the last row. What it all boils down to is we all get ON THE BUS so we all get to sing about how the wheels on the bus go round and round together. At the end of the ride, we have a shared experience. We are all bus riders writers.

So I think these NaNo Nay-Sayers are missing the point. NaNoWriMo is not really about writing 50,000 words (it just feels like it is) or even writing the next great novel. It is about showing yourself that you can accomplish something with the added benefit of having thousands of other people doing the same thing at the same time.

This something just might be a dream you always had or a need that scratches at your gut. For a person who would not normally take the chance, attempting to write 50,000 words in a month is HUGE. It can act as a jump start to see if writing is something you could do the other eleven months of the year.

Plus, I hope we all know what we are writing is  not going to be good. Not in its present form. There is no way it could be. Half the things I put down are segues to get me where I need to go in the plot. They are NOT FOR USER CONSUMPTION. What we are striving to make are first drafts. If we are serious and the story merits it, what each of us creates during November is going to be the first in a long, long line of drafts.

Now that I have sorted out that word count  is really not that important, I am going to hop out of here. I have a few more words I have to put down and contractions to separate before I get to go to sleep. HA!

See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 2,840 / overall word count: 32,258)

The wheels on my bus also go round and round on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 24

Participant-2014-Square-Button<BIG sigh>

Day 24 of the National Novel Writing Month is coming to a close.  Can you believe there is only SIX MORE DAYS left in November? It is kind of unreal.

Last year I was already considered a winner by this day. My novel was about two-thirds of the way written (I finished it off in December) and my winner’s certificate was waiting to be printed.

As of this moment I have yet to pass the 30K threshold. I am just inches away, but I am still not there. I guess I should be panicking or at least biting my fingernails, but I feel relatively at peace about the whole thing. The truth is that I am not a quitter. I plan to cross the finish line by day 30. Just wait and see. It can be done.

For all of you in the same boat, let’s keep rowing and see just where get. Okay?

See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 1,314 / overall word count: 29,418)


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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 23

Participant-2014-Square-ButtonIt turns out today was more about collecting leaves instead of words.

My family was outside raking the yard for collection in the morning. It had to be done, but it wore me out. Once I got inside I took a shower (Yes, leaves went everywhere. I even had to dump out my shoes). When I sat down afterwards, I fell asleep.

The time to write came after dinner. I did two sprints (I am STILL  loving them). One for 584 words and then another gave me 533. It is not a lot, but I am happy. My story is going along wonderfully and I know I will finish by the end of the month. I believe it will happen even though I am behind. I guess that is half of the battle.

See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 1,117 / overall word count: 28,104.)


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