Posts Tagged With: young adult


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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Being Torn

I’m torn. I’m torn about a number of things.

I’m torn about my status as a writer. I get this way from time to time.

calendar-on-waterDecember seems to be a throw away month for me in the area of my writing. The past two years I was treading water from my experience with NaNoWriMo and didn’t have the will or the strength to pull myself up on a lifeboat to write. In a way January has turned into a recovery from December. Just like the past two Decembers, I did not write a thing worth keeping in either January. But I wasn’t drowning. It was more like I was floating around on my back enjoying the quiet of the water around my ears and just how prune-y my fingers could get.

Now it is February and I will have a guilty conscience if I don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). February is the swift kick in the rear that flings me into the new year. January is nothing.

I’m also torn about some news.

Yesterday I heard that a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee will be published this summer. When I first read that my heart leaped into my throat. That one book single-handedly introduced me to a world outside of my own and one, as a small town Southern female, I knew so well it was like looking in a mirror. It is THE book of all books I hold up as my favorite (yes, even above Pride & Prejudice).

For a long time I have known that the public life was not something Harper Lee enjoyed. She did not write that book to become famous or to have people like me pour over the story in an obsessive way. It was too much for her. I also remember her saying she wouldn’t publish anything else. So, the report that a new book was coming from her camp surprised me.

Now I am wondering if, as a woman in her eighties, is it really her wish to have this book put out for the world to see. A great part of me doubts it. As much as I WANT to read it, I wonder if I should.

Are you torn about anything today? How is your writing or other goals for this year going? Are YOU going to read the new Harper Lee book?

This 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.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry co-hosts. This month they are: Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!

Categories: Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

My Computer Went Down, Down, Down In A Burning Ring Of Fire

computer-on-fireWell…not exactly. It did crash though.

A few weeks ago a strange message came up on the screen that said one of the files on my computer was corrupt. That program didn’t seem to be effected, but I decided to re-boot the machine anyway. Then it turned out my entire drive was showing up corrupt. In other words, it wouldn’t start again.

And the thing is, I am uber careful about sites I visit or emails I open. Norton Anti-virus and I are on a first name basis. How or why my computer died is a mystery.

So we’ve been trying to salvage anything we can from the hard drive. Luckily I have already been backing up my books onto jump-drives. Now I just need to back up the jump drives. The thing that KILLS me is that for more than a year I have been filing away emails from writing blogs that I knew would help my writing. Those are all gone. So are all the bookmarks for websites and graphics I created for this site.

It just hurts so much.

I wanted to let you know why I was missing from the blog. This is coming to you from a borrowed computer. Technically I could have posted on my phone, but I can’t stand typing in more than the 140 characters a post for Twitter allows on that thing. A full-blown blog entry would exhaust me.

I have been reading an unusually large amount in the absence of my typing ability. So, look for some book recommendations in the next little bit.

Take Care and Stay Warm,


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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.

Find me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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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)


Look for me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!


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NaNoWriMo 2014 Update: Day 28



While a lot of people had today off, it is not the case for me. I had to work on more than just my novel.

I am going to finish tomorrow or Sunday. Count on it.



See ya tomorrow,

Leanne Ross aka Read Faced  (daily word count: 2,271 / overall word count: 44,017.)


I am also on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Emai

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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.)


Follow me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!


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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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