Top 5 Wednesday

Books I Want to Read Before 2019 – Top 5 Wednesday

–Our Goodreads goals are quickly closing in. What are you prioritizing for the end of the year?




Let me be honest – I have not met my goal. At all.

As a massive mood reader I wanted to read a book a week but ended up choosing mahoosive books which took me 2 weeks to complete ( not a fast reader ). I also wanted to read 15 classics, ended up reading about 3.

But! I have some books on my TBR that I got recently, and I’m keen to get them done before 2018 closes out so–


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Birthday gift! A short read about spooky girls and a gorgeous cover? VE Schwab? Yes please.


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That’s a pain in the arse to type. I’ve read most of Jay Kristoff’s books this year, and thanks to the lovely Lexi (another birthday gift!) I can now read this one!


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BIRTHDAY GIFT #3! I’ve wanted to read this for so long, and I got it for my birthday recently so I’ll be digging into this in December.


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You guessed it… BIRTHDAY GIFT #4. Another one I’ve wanted to read for years. I enjoyed Marissa’s Renegades book and heard lots of good things about this one.


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I ADORE Holly Black. Not another gift! But borrowed from Lexi. I’ve heard mixed things from this one, you either love it or hate it, but I don’t want to be ignorant to what this is about any longer.



book tags · Just For Fun

Hocus Pocus Writing Tag!


Scorpio season, spooky season, the “excuse to watch Halloween movies every day” season.

In honour of the best Halloween movie, HOCUS POCUS, Kim Chance and Destiny Murtaugh have created the Hocus Pocus Writing Tag! Huzzah!

The tag is filled with questions that are all related to Hocus Pocus, and writing combined!

Let’s get into it, shall we sisters?

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1. Sarah, Mary, & Winifred Sanderson: Being a witch is hard, but so is writing. If you had magical, witchy powers what aspect of writing or what part of the process would you magically skip over?

The second or third drafts.

Don’t get me wrong I love editing – but it’s the progression of “this might work” – “no wait this might work!” that I don’t get along with. I would much prefer to have the shitty first draft then instantly know how to make it refined, polished, and multi-layered without the time-consuming months of in between.

2. Max and Dani: What relationships tend to be at the core of your books? Friends? Family? Romance?

Friends – found, established, unlikely or otherwise – united by the same mission: whether it’s revenge, truth, secrecy, there’s always a friendship at the heart of it. Sometimes it turns romantic, other times it’s just buddies fighting the good fight.

Also unhealthy friendships. In one or two books I wrote, there was an obsessive quality to two friendships, and I like exploring that.

3. Amuck, Amuck, Amuck!: How do you approach the chaos that is drafting? Are you a plotter, a pantster, or a combo of both?

At first I was a pantser. Now I’m a plotser. I tend to have an outline of what I want to write, but when intuition takes me on a certain road, I tend to obey it. It might not work, but on the occasions it DOES work it opens up a hell of a lot more interesting layers and insights into character.

4. I Put a Spell on You: How do you deal with book ideas that want to pull your focus from your main WIP?

Ah. This happens often. Usually I play around with the idea, write it down, throw a few characters, dialogue scenes, pinterest board. I allow myself a day or weekend to play.


I can’t focus on more than one idea at a time and do the projects real justice, so I tend to mark it in the shiny box and wait until I have the mental capacity to write it.

5. Thackery Binx: Things aren’t always what they seem–Think back to when you first started writing to where you are now. How has your process transformed from then to now?

I took a lot longer back then. I had so many ideas and crammed them all into the same MS. I used to give up editing about draft two, and then figure that was okay. (it was not okay).

Otherwise the process of ideas and ruminating with them generally remains the same. I get feedback a lot more, and I can see my writing improving with every project.

6. My Lucky Rat Tail: Do you have a writing ritual? If not, what are some of your favourite writing tools?

I don’t have a ritual usually. I normally have a drink, usually it’s tea or coffee, and I light a candle before every writing session but that’s just for atmosphere and good scents ^_^

7. Boooooookkk: Favorite Writing Craft Book?

The Emotion Thesaurus! Full of different ways to show and describe people’s feelings without having to write “X is sad”

8. Another Glorious Morning: Do you enjoy writing in the morning? Or do you prefer the evening, like Winnifred?

Winnifred’s my girl, I prefer evening no doubt. Everything I need is done for the day, I don’t have the worry of not doing housework, or having to do something else. It’s just… me. The dark. And my thoughts.

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9. The Black Flame Candle: What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made so far in your writing journey? OR What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Biggest lesson is to get some trusted CP’s because they are INVALUABLE. Also to read more than I write. Devour everything, no matter what genre, just expand my tastes.

10. Billy Butcherson: What’s a trope that most people hate, but you love and would like to see “come back from the dead”?

I love a good hidden identity trope. Like “he was the prince all along!”. It’s not quite dead, but I really enjoy it when it’s done well.

11. Come Little Children: Songs that give you a “hypnotic” focus when writing? I.e., fav songs on your writing playlist.

Firstly – I adore Come Little Children. It’s got the same tone as Once Upon A December for me.

My playlist changes with each project but currently it’s:

Rauha by Lasse Ennersen
You Had To Go And Spoil It by Steven Price
Kill V Maim by Grimes


Many thanks to Kim Chance and  Destiny Murtaugh for the inspiration!


Random Musings

The Reader’s Curse – Reading Slumps

If you’re a reader who devours many books at a time, you’ll probably have experienced the dreaded reading slump –

It happens without warning. You could be half way through a book and then… just don’t want to pick it up a few nights in a row. Concentration wavers. You’re distracted by something shiny.

Image result for tower of booksI look at books piled on my bedside table, calling to me to finish them, only to get in bed and turn off the light.

Maybe I start another book, hoping it’ll cure it but – nope. For some reason I can’t get *into* it, I’m anxious, I’m frustrated, my mind wanders. And so the leaning tower of Pages takes residence beside my pillows until it’s knocked over by my flailing-sleep arm or a cat demanding breakfast.

There’s nothing quite like struggling to read, in the worst of ways. For me, reading is an escape–a way to shut out the world around me and get lost in another. And when those portals to other words aren’t registering, or not working as well as they should, I immediately feel guilty that I’m not doing my authorly duty of actually devouring someone else’s words.

Reading fills up the creative holes scoured out by life. (How depressed does that sound? But coming from someone who experiences depression, expected.) When I can’t fill up those holes, it takes its toll.

So what can you do – or what do I do – to combat reading slumps?

Continue reading “The Reader’s Curse – Reading Slumps”

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Monsters

Although I used the word monsters, this can technically be any mythical creature. But if you want to go scary, by all means.

Top 5 Wednesday group, run by Sam, here!

VAMPIRES – Gavriel – the vampire out of COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN:

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A vampire with what I can only describe as PTSD after being tortured, captivating and gorgeous.

SUNAI – August – the Sunai out of THIS SAVAGE SONG / OUR DARK DUET:

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Beautiful August who sucks out peoples’ souls with his music – the most sensitive, beautiful and amazing monster. Sunai in general are fascinating, and I love the unique monsters she created.

URUK HAI – Lurtz – Fun fact, I stomped on this guy’s foot at a convention. EMBARRASSING.

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I remember seeing this huge, monstrous, but still-kinda-built Uruk Hai for the first time and I was SOLD. He was nothing but a killing machine and I adored the fight he had with Aragorn at the end of Fellowship. Which brings me to…

SHELOB – fucking huge spider NO THANK YOU

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I screamed bloody murder in the cinema when this thing came on screen. AUDFGOUSDGFBNSDFG

FUCKING GROTESQUE ALIENS – The suckery alien things out of GEMINA:

I can think of nothing else but to call them monsters. Nik harvests his drugs from a dangerous alien species that looks a bit like a snake with four heads – FOUR HEADS. On a SNAKE. Ugh.



Blog Tours

Yes, it’s a blog tour! I’m happy to host a mini interview with Matthew S Cox, author of new sci-fi Out of Sight, which is available now. There’s also a giveaway which you can enter at the bottom of this post!


The premise sounds like it could easily fit into the sci-fi rush of today, with the popularity of Altered Carbon and a renewed love of Star Wars – what was the main inspiration for the novel and its setting?

I initially conceived this idea a few years back in response to a call for short stories from a publisher I worked with. As I so often do, I let my mind roam in search of potential story ideas. The first thought I had was a young woman stranded alone on an alien planet, and maybe running into some signs of non-human civilization. From there, I kept thinking on potential things she might run across in said situation. Of course, the whole time I was trying to cram it into a short story, I realized I had too much in my head to squeeze into that format. So, I fleshed out the “before the alien planet” parts, deepening the backstory of what Earth is like in this world and fully developing the character on her transition from the person she is at the start to who she evolves into by the end.

How do you think you’d fare in the setting of Out of Sight?

Which setting, the Earth part or the Mirage part? : ) I’d probably manage, but doubtfully as well as Sima does.

What was the first book you ever wrote?

This could be answered in different ways. Are you talking about novels or books in general? The first thing I ever wrote would likely be a roleplaying game manual. After that, a software user manual for a place I formerly worked at. The first fiction novel I wrote (as so often happens with writers) is an enormous monstrosity that I basically wrote and put away in a box somewhere never to see the light of day again. It’s massive, something like 400k words. I haven’t laid eyes on it in more than ten years and I’m honestly afraid to.

The first novel I wrote that anyone saw is Virtual Immortality. However, the first book to be published is Division Zero #1. VI came out a little later.

You’re stranded on a spaceship – what 3 novels would you want with you?

Lord of the Rings, Neuromancer, and The Martian.

— for more information about Matthew and Out of Sight, scroll below!


Out of Sight
Matthew S. Cox
Publication date: August 13th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

Most Citizens hold Outcasts in dim regard, but Sima never expected they’d throw her off the planet.

In 2411, overpopulation has spread a plaque of filthy, congested city to the corners of the Earth. Government has raised corruption to an art form, and no one hears the cries of those left to die in the dark passageways of civilization. Following the End of Nations, people cling to the only division left: social status.

Since running away from home four years ago, she’s managed to stay a step ahead of death―or worse. At sixteen, she’s getting too old to survive from begging, despite her best effort to pretend she’s younger. Worse, the sidewalks teem with little kids edging in on her turf, monopolizing Citizens’ charity with their wide, pleading eyes and genuine innocence.

A chance meeting with suspiciously nice cops leaves her more confused than ever. Between deadly gangs, unforgiving security forces, and a terrifying madam eager to exploit a girl her age, merely getting older is the biggest threat to her life. With no good choice to make, she risks the least of three evils.

Sima thought her life on Earth had been dangerous…

She hasn’t seen anything yet.

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio:

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats. Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Cover Reveal


*horns blaring* It’s cover reveal day!! Wooo!

This time it’s for Wayward Stars (Starswept, #2) by Mary Fan! This sweeping sequel to the award-winning YA sci-fi novel Starswept will be released on February 26, 2019 by Snowy Wings Publishing. The cover features photography by Roberto Falck, with graphic design by Streetlight Graphics.

Are you ready…?






Wayward-Stars_800 Cover Reveal and Promo

Isn’t it gorgeous? Read on below to find out more about the book!

[!!!!Warning!!!! Since Wayward Stars is a sequel, the book’s description may spoil some plot points for the first book in the series, Starswept!]


Sing your truth. Defend your dream. Defy your stars.

A month has passed since Iris joined an underground rebel group to save Dámiul from the brutal prison he was sent to for fighting back against his world’s oppressive system. Here, conformity and compliance are enforced through telepathy, and Earthling performers are brainwashed into absolute obedience.

Word of a merciless crackdown on those who sympathize with their cause leaves both Iris and Dámiul yearning for action. Determined to liberate her kind, Iris volunteers to return to her former patrons and covertly recruit supporters.

A raid on their hideout catapults her plan into action sooner than expected and forces her to leave Dámiul behind. After persuading the authorities that she’d been telepathically manipulated into helping him, Iris assumes the role of a dutiful musician while secretly spreading whispers of a possible uprising among her fellow performers. But the authorities always seem to be one step ahead, and anyone who defies them is swiftly mind-wiped.

Soon, Iris is forced to confront a horrifying fact: there’s a traitor among them. Desperately clinging to her cover, she races to find out who before her true loyalties are discovered—and the search leads her to an unthinkable answer.

Add it on Goodreads to show you’re keen to read!


Mary Fan author pic mediumMary Fan is a YA and sci-fi/fantasy author based in New Jersey. Her books include the Jane Colt trilogy (a space adventure series from Red Adept Publishing comprising Artificial AbsolutesSynthetic Illusions, and Virtual Shadows), Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil (YA dark fantasy, Crazy 8 Press), and the Starswept series (YA sci-fi, Snowy Wings Publishing, currently comprising Starswept and Wayward Stars). Her YA steampunk fantasy Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon will be released in June 2019 by Page Street Publishing. In addition, she is the co-editor of the Brave New Girls YA sci-fi anthologies about girls in STEM, which aim to encourage girls to explore STEM fields and raise money for the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.



Twitter: @astralcolt

Instagram: @astralcolt

Top 5 Wednesday

T5W August 29: Book List for Class on VOICE

–Just in time for back to school, create a reading list for a class on a bookish topic of your choice

Voice is probably the hardest thing to learn, as well as the toughest thing to get right tonally, when you figure out what craftspeople mean by “VOICE!”


Five POVS… all distinct from the last. This is how you do Voice in multi-POV novels.

Un libro tras otro: Illuminae - Jay Kristoff &amp; Amie Kaufman

A bit harder, but VOICE comes from another source–group chats, surveillance, audio recordings. Adds a difficult layer to portray characters through but does so effortlessly.


7 Best Books That Are Coming Out in 2017

One POV and an astounding look at how you can distinct your first person present tense POV into one packed with VOICE, with humour and vulnerability

30 Much Anticipated Young Adult Novels for the First Half ...

Perfect example of how to show a quieter voice in August, the monster boy who wants to be human ❤

Cracked (Soul Eaters, #1) by Eliza Crewe — Reviews ...

Again, a huge example as to how to create a dynamic voice. Meda is an anti-heroine, a bit unreliable, with tons of personality.