Teaser: Beat The Reaper

Teaser Tuesday highlighter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

beat the reaper“A bunch of nerds build a rocket to the fucking moon, and who do they send? A blond man named Armstrong, who can’t even say the line right when he lands.”
Beat  The Reaper by Josh Bazell

Beat The Reaper has been an interesting read so far.  It’s written partially like the memoir of an ex-mafia guy in witness protection, but that is intermingled with a present tense story.

The most peculiar part of the book is its footnotes which tend to give non-fiction information.  I’ve learned more from those footnotes than many non-fiction books in fact. Mafia history, Nazi Germany history, medicine – it touches on a little bit of everything.

This would be the most unique book I’ve read in a long while.  Keep an eye out of my review.

What are your teasers this week?


The Real Fictional World

Musing Monday highlighterMusing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

To be lost inside a book is a magical thing.  You come out gasping at the end as if you haven’t taken a single breath since you started.  It’s in these moments, when you’re completely submerged, that you travel to a different place.  Whether it’s a city on the other side of the world, or an entirely different universe, you find yourself walking down the street or running through the wilderness with the characters.  But the sad fact of the matter is that books end (we might try to deny it but it keeps happening), and you’re ripped from the world.  It’s not just that the book is over – it’s that that particular world has ended.  It is then that I have a single thought: I have to go back there.

Sometimes real, sometimes fictional – it doesn’t make a real difference. I want to go back.  I need to go back.  I love travelling anywhere, but there are many places I want to visit to not only re-immerse myself in the book, but to place the story in a larger world.  Life goes on outside our character’s stories.  I want to see it.

This week I’ll be sharing four real places that made it to my to-visit list after reading a book.  Next week: the fictional places.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

The hustle and bustle of a Marrakech market – the sounds, the smells, the flavours.  Karou was a regular visitor to Marrakech, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the city as she described her journey through the unnavigable alleys of aromatic spices.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Karou and Akiva fly up to the highest point in Prague (by memory I think it was a clocktower) and look out over the rooftops of Prague.  The image of those two – an angel with fiery wings sitting with a blue-haired human girl – looking down in the freezing wind as the sun set over Prague was enchanting.  I know getting to that particular rooftop is probably not likely (as of yet I haven’t learned to fly) but I’m sure there’s a rooftop somewhere in Prague waiting for me.

Hampstead Heath, London
Fated – Benedict Jacka

Arachne’s lair. As you may have guessed from her name, Arachne is a giant, English-speaking, arachnid who just happens to be a skilled dressmaker (eight limbs makes it easier). As the last of her kind, she hides away in a hidden lair under Hampstead Heath in London. The Heath is an eerie, wild forest that sound like the perfect location for some spooky ghost stories.

“The Heath is the wildest of London’s parks.  During the day it’s easy not to notice, but at night, when the rolling hills blot out the lights of the city, leaving the park in utter darkness, when the branches and undergrowth rustle and whisper in the silence, when the forest itself seems to be watching and waiting . . .”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Flying_lesson_with_Madam_HoochOk, so it’s not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but they filmed Madam Hooch’s flying lessons outside Alnwick castle which is exactly how I imagined Hogwarts when I read it.  I’d love to run across the grass wearing my Gryffindor scarf and waving my magic wand (both of which I have). You’re never too old for a game of pretend.

Which real locations are on your to-travel list thanks to your favourite books? Which ones have you already travelled to?

Bout of Books Read-a-thon

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team.

In May I’ll be participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon!  It’s casual challenge to beat your usual number of books read per week.  I haven’t decided on a specific goal yet, and I might not make one.  Click the button at the top if you want to take part, and leave me a comment to let me know – we can support each other!

Tweeny Boppers and Dinglehoppers

Wordy WednesdayWords are amazing.  We string letters together to make words, and weave words to create the beautiful, funny and heart-stopping stories we all love.  So I’ve decided that every week I’ll document the new words I’ve discovered (or re-discovered) in the hopes of expanding my vocabulary.  Anyone is free to follow suit! Let’s learn new words!

As a writer, I get a certain satisfaction when I find the perfect word.  When you find one single word to describe a situation, it’s like all the planets align, and you get a momentary sense of peace among the chaos also know as the writing process.  But sometimes you can’t think of the right word.  It’s on the tip of your tongue but it’s just not coming out.

It starts with S… Or has an S in it… Or maybe it’s a T… No, it definitely starts with P…

That phenomenon actually has a name: loganamnosis (good luck remembering that).

Now I usually find that after all that thinking I suddenly realise the word I was thinking of doesn’t fit those letters at all, in fact it doesn’t fit the meaning I wanted.  I inevitably spend 15 minutes trying to decode mischievous, when what I really meant was misogyny.

But there are some writers who took this situation and went “To hell with this.  I’ll just make it up.”  Shakespeare is the most famous – he’s credited as the inventor of 2000 words!  Here are three words I use all the time, and the person who (allegedly – my source is the internet) invented them.


We use the word tween to describe that awkward “between teen” time period, after childhood but before puberty has really set in and the hormones have turned you into a raging teenager (instead, the hormones turn you into a giggling Justin Bieber fan).  But this is not what tween has always meant.  J.R.R. Tolkien (beloved author of The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings), first used the word tweens in The Fellowship of the Ring.  “At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three.”  Whether the word evolved or was coincidentally re-coined is up for debate.


In Dr Seuss’s book If I Ran the Zoo, a nerd was one of many creatures in a zoo.  One year after the book was published, university students were using nerd to describe those “weirdos” who don’t fit into pop culture.  The link?  No one knows.


(I use this one ironically, I swear)

Recently evolved into the cringe-worthy “swaggy” (a word adopted by tweens – and their almighty God, Justin Bieber – who use it constantly but don’t seem to have given it any particular definition),  swagger was one of those words credited to Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  “What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here, so near the cradle of the fairy queen?” Until recently, this word didn’t have to worry about losing it’s original definition – an arrogant, rocking walk.

Bonus: Dinglehopper

So this word was coined by Scuttle in The Little Mermaid movie, and unfortunately hasn’t made it into the dictionary yet, but it’s a good one.


“It’s a dinglehopper. Humans use these little babies to straighten their hair out. See? Just a little twirl here and a yank there and voila. You’ve got an aesthetically pleasing configuration of hair that humans go nuts over.”

Do you know any other words authors made up? Have you invented any words in your writing?

Teaser Tuesday: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

Teaser Tuesday no chevron

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be ReadingIt’s simple: turn to a random page of a book you’re currently reading and post two(ish) ‘teaser’ sentences.

The book I’m reading this week isn’t teaser-worthy (it’s non-fiction), so I thought I’d share my favourite part of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (the first book in Laini Taylor’s trilogy which I will not stop raving about):

once upon a time an angel and devil fell in loveThese “once upon a time” quotes pop up occasionally through the books, and they add to the magic.  Every time the quotes appeared I would pause, and think. Think about how wonderful the story is, or how incredible the world is, or how beautiful the writing is. And finish with a little internal squeal.

My very favourite one isn’t inside the book at all, it’s the blurb in the back of Days of Blood and Starlight:

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.”

If I could choose only one thing to read for the rest of my life it would be that blurb.

What are your teasers this week?


Better than Old Friends


Musing Monday

Musing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

“With so many great new stories out there just waiting to be cracked open, why waste time going back to one I’ve already experienced?” – Susan @ Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

I read this post recently and the idea of never re-reading a book actually stopped me in my tracks.  For I am a serial re-reader. I’ve re-read almost every book on my shelf, many multiple times.

The record holder would have to be Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  I have easily it read at least 10 times, probably many more.  (While writing this, I stopped to imagine someone only reading Harry Potter once and… ERROR: does not compute)

I understand the arguments against re-reading – there really are too many books for one lifetime – but if you’re going to read a book, don’t you want to really read it?

These are the reasons I re-read:


clues ahead signpostYou know when you get to the end of the book, or even a plot twist in the middle and you have one of those moments—ranging from a quick gasp to a full-blown throw-the-book-across-the-room-and-scream fit—where everything falls into place (or falls apart).  Well a good author will have left clues on the way, little signposts that you didn’t pick up the first time.  When you go back and re-read, you’ll find them.  Reread Harry Potter sometime.  All seven books, from beginning to end in one go.  My eyes never opened wider than the day I realised J.K. Rowling had planned all 7 novels from day one.

Find more details

You already know the characters and the story.  You know what’s going to happen.  So there’s no reason to rush.  Read every word, appreciate the writing, find the things you missed.  You missed something the first time round—a character’s habit, a beautiful passage, a sneaky quip.  It’s time to go back and pick it up.

“…the reader who plucks a book from her shelf only once is as deprived as the listener who, after attending a single performance of a Beethoven symphony, never hears it again.” ― Anne Fadiman, Rereadings: Seventeen writers revisit books they love

I’ve changed

Books might not change but that doesn’t mean you don’t.  Once upon a time I could have swept away by the shallowest of romantic stories (Twilight), but then I changed.  I pay less attention to the romance and more attention to the story, and sometimes I realise it’s lacking one (Twilight), but sometimes I realise it’s a pretty good one.

“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.” ― Robertson Davies

No touchies.

It’s a great excuse to buy books

“Why can’t you just borrow it from the library?” I’m often asked.  Because I’m going to read it again. And maybe again. There’s also a little bit of I don’t want to give it back! Don’t take it away from me!

I like it

Picking up that same book again is comfortable. It’s friendly, it’s fun and it’s enjoyable.  It’s my security blanket.  Why do you keep listening to that song? Because it’s a damn good song – it’s catchy, it’s familiar and you like it.  I re-read books because I get to go on that adventure all over again. I may know what will happen but the characters don’t, and that makes it all the more exciting.

“My favorite thing in the world to do is read a book. I read Heidi, which I love, then I read another book, then I read Heidi again. If I stopped reading Heidi in between the other books, I’d be able to read twice as many books, but the thing is I like reading Heidi. So I do.” ― Mindy Warshaw Skolsky, Love from Your Friend, Hannah

So what about you? Do you read books until they fall apart? Or are you a one-time reader?

If you are a one-time reader, I beg this of you: go sit on the floor in front of your bookshelves.  Pick up the books, especially the ones you loved most, and flick through them.  Read random passages.  Give them a good sniff.  Report back to me.  Felt pretty good didn’t it?

Book Blogger Confessions

book blogger confessions

I was tagged (in a non-specific way) by Spines and Covers to complete this. And I will continue the tradition: if you want to answer these questions, consider yourself tagged and leave me a link in the comments.

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia.  It was just too manly for me – all big guns and even bigger egos. I just couldn’t bring myself to care.

city of bones coverWhat book is your guilty pleasure?

It would have to be The Mortal Instruments series. Those YA fantasy love triangles infuriate me but I just keep reading these books anyway.

Which book do you love to hate?

Pride and Prejudice. I think the furthest I’ve ever read is 4 chapters and literally nothing happens.  I do not understand the widespread obsession with this book.

Which book would you throw into the sea?

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It’s not that I didn’t love reading it, because I did and it’s wonderfully written. But that has to be the most depressing life metaphor I’ve ever read. The bottom of the sea is where that book belongs.

Which book have you read the most?

Definitely Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. I would have read it 10 times easily, probably much more. Or actually it could also be one of many children’s books. I loved Polly Polar Bear way past my child years (and I still do).

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Pride and Prejudice. Also Wuthering Heights.

Which book could you not live without?

The whole Harry Potter series. Don’t you dare take them away from me. I won’t even lend them.

Which book made you the angriest?

Cell by Stephen King. When I finished it, I actually threw it across the room and screamed “No!”.

Which book made you cry the most?

A book I read (over and over) as a kid called With You and Without You, about a girl who’s father dies. Not once did I read that book without can’t-see-the-pages-in-front-of-me tears.

Fated both coversWhich book cover do you hate the most?

I hate the US covers for the Alex Verus novels (The UK cover for Fated on the left, and US on the right).  I accidentally bought the US cover for the latest, and I’m waiting to find a UK cover so I can replace it.