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Afterworlds

“Everyone was talking about their own work as well, and about the superpowers of their agents, the bloody-mindedness of copy editors, and the perfidies of marketing departments. Darcy was swimming in a sea of publication, and all she wanted to do was drown.”

I’ve long felt that writing is – and always has been – my strength. It’s something that I have always enjoyed doing, and the feedback that it has received over the years has me believing that it’s a skill that I’m at least somewhat competent at. Yet I’ve never had much of an urge to try my hand at storytelling. Essays and reviews are all very well and good, but the thought of attempting a novel’s worth of fiction has never much appealed to me. Perhaps I simply don’t have the patience or work ethic. Perhaps I’m afraid of inadvertently telling a really, really crummy story. Whatever the reason, the concept of writing a book just hasn’t been an interest of mine.

The Zoo Box

The Zoo Box by Ariel Cohn and Aron Nels Steinke is one that tries to marry old classics such as Jumanji (if one can consider it a classic) and Where the Wild Things Are and does not quite succeed. When Erika and Patrick’s parents go out for the night, they leave Erika in charge of her younger brother. She takes Patrick up the attic where they find animal suits and put them on. They also find a box from which, impossibly, animals emerge. The animals, reminiscent of Orwell’s Animal Farm reverse the circumstances and put unsuspecting humans in cages while they go around, popcorn in hand, observing the humans.

I am not a fan of this art style and this affected my reading experience substantially. I found the art to be unsophisticated, especially since I had just finished Hatke’s book intended for the same audience. I found the writing to be overly simplistic and lacking the dips and leaps that usually characterize the language used in a picturebook.

Messenger of Fear

“He is not indifferent, that’s the thing. His too-near voice that seems always to be whispering in my ear is held to a standard of cool detachment, but his eyes and his mouth and his forehead and the way he swallows all speak of reflected pain.”


The opening installment to Michael Grant’s new series seems largely a routine affair. As the introductory piece to a larger work, Messenger of Fear is rather simplistic in both its construction and its establishing of an overarching mythos and cast of characters. It’s all mostly predictable (particularly the big “twist” near the end, which one will likely figure out very early on), following as it does the well-worn formula that so many YA authors have taken to since the meteoric rise of the paranormal romance genre.

This particular incarnation centers on Mara, who awakens in a sort of limbo with no clear memory of who she is or how she came to be in this new dimension.

islaiscoming-badge2

We are officially one week away from Isla and the Happily Ever After (!!!!!!!!!) and that means it’s time to read Lola and the Boy Next Door!

If you’re new to the readalong, here’s the deal: Judith, Jamie, Lindsey, Andi and I have put together a read/reread of the series in preparation for Isla’s release (and also because these books are cute as all hell and totally worth a read for whatever reason). It’s all pretty laid back, we don’t have specific daily goals or anything though we are trying to finish each book in a week. We’ve got a bunch of fun posts lined up (see the schedule below) and be sure to join in on twitter with #IslaIsComing for a bunch of awesome giveaways and general fangirling over the books.

For those of you that are reading Lola for the first time, here’s what you’re in for:

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books
Add it on Goodreads.

Katie Finn_Gina Marie Stock

So a few months back I went to a Fierce Reads signing — as one does — and the super cute Katie Finn, author of Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend, was there. We got to the question and answer section and Andye from Reading Teen mentions writing with different aliases. I don’t remember what Katie’s response was because I was in the midst of a WAIT WHAT moment. So naturally, I interrupted the panel and said, “WAIT. I’m confused. WHO ARE YOU?!” She smiled sweetly and said, “Morgan Matson.”

To be honest, I didn’t believe her at first. I mean, how could this have gone on for so long without me knowing?! Then my blogging buddies were all, “Uh, yeah, Steph. It’s her calm down, you’re making a scene.”

So I went to Twitter to see if I were the only one to not know this, ya know?

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