Short Story: The Abyss

I wrote this story last week and spent the last few days editing it. I tried to write a more intense story than what I usually write. I might use this concept or these characters again, because I’m pretty happy with what I came up with.

The Abyss

The world around us is white and blank until one of us forces it with our mind into a definite object. The abyss is putty in our hands. Physics is vague. “Possible” is up to interpretation. Logic is optional. Power comes only from a durable mind.

We are dueling in our imaginations.

We want to kill each other.

There are no rules.

The only thing that will be real is if one of us succeeds.

I feel her mind grab at the abyss and a sword materializes in her hand. She lunges at me, and I duck and jump back, creating a cliff to fall over. I push the ground farther and farther away from me as I drop, giving myself time to think.

She trips over the sudden edge and gravity catches her. The sword disappears as surprise trashes her concentration.

Fear for her clenches my heart; I shove it away. It’s just a reflex, left over from a different life, the way your knee jerks out when you hit it just right.

I focus on how much I want to hit her.

My mind unfurls a parachute and I jerk back. I stop pushing the ground away and focus on landing safely—and hoping she doesn’t.

She wrestles free of gravity and takes her captor prisoner. The world around me rotates ninety degrees and I slam into the cliff face. Ready for the shift, she catches herself with a roll along the new ground. I pop onto my feet, the parachute gone with a thought, and throw myself at her.

“That was a cheap trick, Alyssa,” I growl, tackling her. I head-butt her, wrapping my hands around her head, shoving her skull into the ground. In the milliseconds as her head falls, my mind flails outward, groping around the invisible fibers of the abyss for Alyssa’s control over the ground, gracelessly trying to turn the nondescript flatness into rocky spikes to impale her on.

“You’re mad because you didn’t remember it, Jenna,” Alyssa smirks, turning the ground beneath her into a plush mattress the second before her head slams into it. I curse, beaten at my own game, and push myself off of her.

One more thought and I set the bed on fire, making the burning sheets knot themselves around her limbs. Her panicked mind slams into my own and I lose my control of the flames. The sheets go limp and the fire vanishes. She jumps off the bed and runs away. Her arms are charred. I smirk.

I don’t chase her. I let the bed disappear, grateful to be free from the mental drain of imagining realistic flames.

I’m proud of my fire, because I know it hurt her, because I know what burns feel like. If you want something to feel real, you have to know what real is.

She never had the dedication to learn the things I did.

I’ve lost her. I bounce on the balls of my feet, waiting for her attack.

An arrow appears from the whiteness and lodges itself in my heart. Not a problem, as long as I act fast. I slow my heart and imagine cells that can survive a few more seconds without air. We can’t make ourselves immortal, but we can tweak the laws of nature to our advantage in this landscape. I imagine the arrow—it is part of the abyss and can therefore be manipulated—as a part of my internal organs, making the idea as detailed as possible. My mind bumps against hers and I shove until her illusion gives way. The arrow melts into my flesh and the pain disappears.


I make the distance between us shrink and hope to catch her by surprise. She smiles at my incurable impatience and the whiteness vanishes.

I’m in my bedroom and there is a knife driven through the back of my hand. Two inches of the blade are embedded in my writing desk below. Alyssa sits cross-legged in the corner, watching from my bed my blood flow with bland eyes. “What does if feel like?”

This memory is from a lifetime ago, back when we were training together. She has recreated it perfectly, mirroring back the pain I described to her all those years ago when she first asked the question.

“Cheater,” I snap, trying to break the illusion. But while my skill is recreating experiences I’ve been through, hers is a parasitic ability to imagine stories she’s been told.

I’ve told her a lot of stories.

I can’t keep myself from admiring her handiwork. This room is a masterpiece, and I can’t imagine how much strain she has put on her mind trying to hold every detail together like this.

I don’t try to break the entire illusion. Continuing it is easier, working within her construct, using her energy instead of mine. Following the plot of the memory, I grab the hilt and yank the knife out of my hand and the wood. Before she can react, I break from the past—using surprise and blunt force to rupture her illusion—and hurl the blade into her arm, carefully forcing a pain illusion into her mind.

She winces, and the remains of the shattered memory vanish. I start constructing my own attack in secret, only dropping the knife illusion when I slam the new memory down around us.

She’s in the dean’s office, a large room made small by towering bookshelves and the dean’s anger. It’s hard to recreate an entire person, but I spare no detail, nearly passing out from the effort of controlling so much of the blankness. Every volume on his shelves, every freckle on his face, rebels against my control, longing to revert to their natural, blank state. I clench my teeth and my fists and my muscles, trying to hold my body—and my mind—together.

The dean is young for his position but deserving of it, brilliant but stupid, arrogant but loveable. He has messy golden hair and wears a suit that would fit better if his chest and shoulders filled out. Faithful to the past, I stand silently at his side and watch her destruction unfold. My hair is combed and my blouse is ironed for the occasion; I am the picture of professionalism. Cowering in the chair before his desk, hair ratted from a lack of sleep, face mauled by tears, she is the absolute opposite.

The dean hadn’t been able to see the problem with telling Alyssa anything. I’d…enlightened him. I considered my mission to be fact-optional. It would be true eventually. It had been true enough times before.

She is expelled from the university. I play the scene over and over, torturing her, waiting for her to overpower me as the effort of manipulating so much of the abyss drains away my strength.

She throws off the illusion the third time he calls her a whore. Blood flushes back into my face and I catch myself before I faint. She sees my weakness and laughs. Neither of us bothers our surrounding and we stand in silent whiteness.

“Are we fighting with memories now?” she asks.

“You started it.”





She waves her hand and a knife appears, the blade in her palm, the hilt extended toward me. “You want another knife to stab me in the back with?”

“Sure.” The knife vanishes when I reach for it. “You deserved it.” The first time, I mean.

“I never betrayed him. I would never have betrayed him.”

Right. “You would have eventually.”

“Not him.”

“You betray everyone. I was protecting him.”

“Why didn’t you ‘protect’ any of the hundreds of students, if you care so much about keeping the world safe from me?”

“He was more important.”

“He was more important to me.” She gnaws on her bottom lip. “You knew you were destroying me.”

“I was returning the favor.” I long to show her the hundreds of scars I bear that she exploited.

She glares and the knife is back in her hand, the point aimed at me this time. “I’ll kill you.”

We haven’t seen each other in ten years. She took everything from me, until I figured out how to take the one thing she wanted from her.

Taking the dean from her wasn’t enough for me.

My death won’t be enough for her.

I snap my finger and the knife vanishes. “You can’t kill me. I know everything you’ll try. We learned everything together, remember?”

My sister can’t argue the fact. “Dad always was the best teacher.”

Book Haul #1

As a Back-to-School treat, my sister and I went to Vromans Bookstore and spent probably more money than we should have.



1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

cover anna and the french kiss

Amazon description:

Anna can’t wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?

I’ve seen a lot of excited review for the third book in this series, Isla and the Happily Ever After. I needed more Chicklit to look forward to, so I decided to buy book one.

2. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

cover half a king

Amazon description:

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

This book reminds me of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I like this brand of not-really-historical-fiction-not-really-fantasy, and I want to read more. The title is interesting as well.

3. The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

cover the ring and the crown

Amazon description:

Magic is power, and power is magic… Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures. Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire. As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth. But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires. Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn’t even want Leopold—she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry. When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

Honestly, I haven’t really looked at this book yet. My sister read the first few pages and fell in love, so I’m sure it will be good.

4. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

cover the kiss of deception

Amazon description:

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

I also read a very positive review for this book. The premise of this book sounds amazing and it’s a genre of books I haven’t read much of, so that will be interesting.

5. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

cover alice in wonderland

I don’t think you guys need an amazon description for this one.

I’ve always love this story, but I’ve never read the book. I meant to read it over summer but I just didn’t get around to it. I got it off of (a website you guys should definitely check out).


The seventh Stephanie Plum book should arrive soon as well. I’m currently reading Insanity by Susan Vaught, which is creepy as hell.

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55 Questions for Readers (part 2)

I found this list of questions at The Literary Lollipop. On the off-chance that any of you want to know more about me, I thought I’d answer some of them.

I did #1-25 yesterday, and now I’m answering #26-55.

button 55 questions


26. Favorite cookbook? How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. But I don’t use it much.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year? Umm…The Mistborn series wasn’t really inspirational but I loved it. Code Name Verity is also inspirational, in a really sad way.

28. Favorite reading snack? Microwave popcorn, super buttery.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience: I read a lot of review for We Were Liars before I read it, and I got really disappointed when it wasn’t as good as other people thought.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? Not often, actually. If I read a review for a book that I’ve already read, other people are usually more critical. Then again, I read most of these books before I started reviewing books, so I didn’t read them very critically.

31. How do you feel about giving negative reviews? I don’t care. If I don’t like a book, I’ll speak out about it. There are enough good books that bad books don’t need to be sugar-coated.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? Probably French, but only because that would mean I’ve learned enough French to read a book. (I’m taking French right now, so being fluent-ish enough would be amazing.)

33. Most intimidating book I’ve ever read: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. It wasn’t really deserving of the fear, but it was intimidating.

34. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin: No idea.

35. Favorite poet? Edgar Allan Poe.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time? Zero. I don’t check books out of the library.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread? Again, I don’t go to the library.

38. Favorite fictional character? Eugenides of the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner.

39. Favorite fictional villain? The Mayor of the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation: Anything at all.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading? Two days? Maybe a week at the most.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish. The Wrap-Up List.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? A really good song coming up on my Pandora station.

44. Favorite film adaption of a book: I guess The Hunger Games, but that is one of the only film adaptions I’ve actually watched.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? I don’t watch movies very often, so I can’t answer this question.

46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time? $200, I think, but I always split it with my sister halfway.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Literally never. Why would you do this? Why?!

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? The only books I’ve stopped reading have really bad writing and the author’s voice annoys me.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Obsessively, in order of how much my sister and I enjoyed a book. You can get a glimpse of that on my Top Shelf page.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read? I keep them always.

51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding? Anything by John Green and the third Divergent book. Too much hype for all of them.

52.  Name a book that made you angry. The Wrap-Up List made me angry because it was so bad. The ending of We Were Liars angered me because it ruined it. Lots of other books have made me angry on the behalf of the protagonist.

53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did: 10 Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) I knew it would be good but I didn’t think it would touch me so emotionally.

54. A book I expected to like but didn’t: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: Anything by Ally Carter.

55 Questions for Readers (part 1)

I found this list of questions at The Literary Lollipop. On the off-chance that any of you want to know more about me, I thought I’d answer some of them.

I’ll to #1-25 here, and then #26-55 in part two.

button 55 questions

1. Favorite childhood book? This is more middle grade, but I loved the Theodosia series (it’s a spinoff of Egyptian mythology).

2. What am I reading right now? I just finished a book, but I’m probably going to read book 2 of the Cahill Sister series, Star Cursed, next.

3. What books do you have on request at the library? I literally never go to the library.

4. Bad book habit? Probably getting food on my books if I eat while I read. Sorry :/

5. What do you currently have checked out from the library? Again, I don’t go to the library.

6. Do you have an e-reader? Yes, a Kindle Fire, but I never use it, because I prefer paper and it just isn’t practical to bring to school.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? One book at a time, definitely, though I sometimes have to read another one for school.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting your blog? Not really, though I am trying to read faster to have consistent reviews.

9. Least favorite book I’ve read this year? We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

10. Favorite book I’ve read this year? Probably The Hero of Ages, book three of the Mistborn series.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I pride myself in reading many times of books, but I almost never read nonfiction or “classics” unless my school makes me.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? Pretty much anything written for YA. I read most genres inside that age range, and sometimes NA or adult books too.

13. Can you read on the bus? I never ride the bus, but reading in the car makes me car sick (I still do it anyway).

14. Favorite place to read? This awesome chair I have in my living room that I can completely curl up in.

15. What is your policy on book lending? I lend books to my friends all the time. I get a little bummed if they don’t return it, but I feel bad asking them to buy it again.

16. Do you dogear your books? Never.

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books? Never, that would be annotating, and I only do that for school.

18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books? Yeah. I don’t know how to prevent it. Plus, I kind of like the look of a really broken spine. I know the book has been read a ton of times, and was well loved.

19. What is your favorite language to read? I only know English, so yeah…English.

20. What makes you love a book? Characters. If they aren’t good, I don’t care about your plot.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If I love the book, of course. Also, I like to think that I know my friends well enough to recommend books that they will personally like, instead of blanket recommendations to the masses.

22. Favorite genre? Probably YA fantasy, but sometimes contemporary romance.

23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did? I’d like to read more psycological thrillers, but I’m rarely in the mood for them. I think I’d be a better person if I read more classics, but I just can’t get into them unless school forces them on me.

24. Favorite biography? Have I read a biography? I don’t think I’ve read a biography.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? And was it actually helpful? I’ve never read a self-help book.

The rest of the questions will be in part two tomorrow.

Book Review: Stephanie Plum books 4-6 by Janet Evanovich

I read these three book in the space of a week. The series is still amazing, finally delivering on the drama it spent books 1-3 promising.

Four to Score gets 5/5 stars

High Five gets 4/5 stars

Hot Six gets 5/5 stars.

(Follow the links to get to the amazon descriptions of the plots of the books.)

In my review of books 2-3, I complained that the series was promising a lot of drama and wasn’t delivering.

Books 4-6 solved that issue. And it is awesome.

Something actually happens in her semi-love-triangle with Morelli and Ranger. Her grandmother gets crazier. She wrecks more cars.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that makes me laugh out loud this often. I looked like an idiot in the middle of chemistry while reading book four. My sister is ready to kill me for laughing while she was doing homework. But these books are so funny.

Though some plot lines carry over, each book’s plot is separate from the rest. I didn’t love the mystery in book four, but Sally was probably the funniest character of the entire series. Book five’s plot was a lot more put-together and ended up being pretty fascinating. Book six’s was perfect, finally making Ranger be more than a mysterious character with basically no personality.

I like how the romance in these books is almost completely autonomous from the main plot of the book. In YA books, I’m used to the romance being an integral part of the plot, driving it forward and contributing a major portion of the drama. In these books, the case Stephanie is working on and her love life remain fairly separate, joining at key moments. It is a nice break from YA, but I also miss my familiar age range, so I don’t know if I’ll read book seven.

The writing in these books is great. The descriptions and characterization aren’t overdone, but still convey powerful imagery and bring the story to life. The plots are fast-paced and hard to put down–enough that I’m definitely not doing as much homework as I should be. The second and third books had some slow moments, but I didn’t have that problem with any of the next three. The ending of each book leaves you no choice but to read the next one–especially the ending of book five. I seriously hadn’t planned to read book six this weekend, but I had to. (Ugh.)

You can definitely see Stephanie evolve as a character, though it is subtle. I like that she doesn’t have any major character shifts, just slight ones that over the course of the series significantly change her as a person. She also breaks down into hysterics less in these books, which was getting a little old in the first three books. Her life feels real, and the changes her character experiences make sense.

I’m really glad I picked this series up. It’s not that inappropriate (except for a few scenes in book four), so I’d say YA readers should totally look into it. The humor alone is reason enough to keep reading them, and the plots are a nice change of pace from the intensity of most YA books.

Short Story: Jewels or Information

In this story, I experimented with writing a story with a serious tone but that came off as humorous. I’d like to think I succeeded.

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Jewels or Information

God, I need a win today, the girl thought, staring at the glass without really seeing her reflection.

As if on cue, the lock to her apartment door trembled. The lady let the lock pick work in peace, waiting until she finally heard the click of success and her door swinging open to turn away from the mirror.

The girl stared at the man in her apartment.

The man stared back.

The girl was naked.

There was no fear on the girl’s face, only casual defiance. A smile crept across her face and the hairs on the back of his neck rose. He glanced at her body, assured himself she wasn’t armed, and forced his gaze back onto her pale face, wondering at here confidence. His gaze slipped to a mirror behind her and no part of her body was left to his imagination.

Neither moved, and it grew less and less certain who was the predator and who was the startled prey.

“I could have sworn I locked that door,” the girl said. The last time she’d closed it, she’d wanted to keep her failures out. Now she was almost pleased to see it open.

The man slid the leather wallet he was holding into his pocket, though it was an empty gesture. If the girl had any brains at all she could figure out what materials a thief would require to break through a locked door of this caliber.

“Excuse me?” the girl asked, her tone like a whip. It was one thing to be an atrocious lock pick, it was another to try to pass it off as if he hadn’t floundered around her doorknob for five minutes before getting the tumblers out of the way.

The thief flinched. “Lady Casara, I assume?”

The girl rolled her eyes, grabbing a shift from a nearby chair and tugging it over her head. “You would be correct.”

The thief squirmed, uncertain as to how the girl in front of him putting on clothes could possibly make the situation more awkward than it was when she was naked. However, he felt inexplicably ashamed, as if he had failed a test.

Well, of course, he thought, I got caught.

The girl kept staring at him, her eyes an unnerving smoky blue. Her skin, so light that he wondered if her blood was red or white, made her eyes glow unnaturally bright.

Impossibly, the thief started blushing. He’d never been this mortified in his life. She should be yelling at him. She should be calling for guards. She should at least have the decency to look surprised when a man dressed in all black came through her front door and found her naked, pondering herself in the mirror.

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you that the Lady Casara never leaves her rooms?”

The thief seemed to have forgotten how to use his tongue. “I-I assumed—with the royal festivals—that everyone—that the rumors—”

“I live in an apartment in the city, a mile from the palace. I’ve lived here for four years. You think anyone expects me to show up for anything anymore?”

The thief looked around the apartment. It was luxurious but melancholy—the gold of the molding and the fine silk of her chairs were muted by the shadows of the room. Two large floor-to-ceiling windows were covered with thick, grey curtains, allowing light only through a thinner section near the ceiling. There were other rooms, of course, this was the penthouse, but it seemed a very small place to live and never leave.

“Was it the sapphires or the pearls?”


Her eyes narrowed at the breach of ceremony he executed in forgetting her royal title. Separated from the palace or not, she still had the king’s blood in her veins. The thief wasn’t especially worried about it. If he were to be arrested, it would be for larger issues than the dropping of “My Lady” at the end of a question.

“Which did you come to relieve me of? My sapphires or my pearls? Because, between you and me, the sapphires are too well cut to pass off as anything but mine and the pearls are so large any pawn broker worth half the hair on his head would accuse you of trying to rip him off with pastes. You really should have considered these things before you broke into my apartment.”

No mention of the immensity of the oversight that was the robbee being in the apartment during the robbery.

“It was the pearls.”

She raised a blonde eyebrow, so pale that the gesture was more conveyed by the shadows from the crinkling skin than the visibility of her brow.

“Some people know the value of looking the other way,” he felt the need to add.

“And hoping the person they sell it to is stupid enough to fall for the same deception?”

The thief (though he wondered if he should stop considering that his profession with the way this job was going) nodded.

Lady Casara strode over to an ornate jewelry chest, long white-blonde hair shifting around her as she retrieved the infamous necklace. “You’d only be perpetuating the cycle.” She held the pearls out to the thief.

He took them into his gloved hand, the pearls starkly white against the black leather. He wondered if you could even tell when she was wearing them against her pale skin.

“They’re pastes?” he asked.

“Of course,” Lady Casara said. “But not if I pretend otherwise.”

The thief considered the pearls in his hand. Knowing the truth didn’t change their value; it was as she said, as long as the people who should believe believed, the pearls were as real as God.

Mentally, he counted how many steps it would take to get him out of the apartment and free of the building. Probably too many, but it seemed idiotic to consider this mission a failure as he held his quarry in his hand.

“I’ll be wanting those back.” Casara fixed him with a pointed look.

“How would you get them back if I didn’t hand them to you?” the thief asked, baring his threat.

She laughed delicately. “Clothing isn’t weaponry, dear thief. Just because I’m wearing my shift doesn’t mean I don’t have the power to stop you.”

“Is that why you were naked?”

“To prove my strength, just in case an impressively stupid thief stumbled upon me? No. I did not bare myself just for that possibility.”

The rebuke landed dead center and embedded itself in his pride. He winced. “May I ask why, then?”

“What are you now, a thief of jewels or information?”

Curiosity flared in the thief. He needed to make sense of this encounter, in the vain hope that in recollection, today wouldn’t be has horrible as it felt at the present. “I guess I’ll try my hand at information.”

“Since you’ve failed so spectacularly at the other discipline? Unfortunately, you don’t have the skill to pick either type of lock.” She turned away from him, picking up a book off a couch and placing it on a nearby table, acting for all the world as if she were alone in her apartment.

Pride. It wasn’t just that there was no fear—there was no doubt, no uncertainty, nothing but pride and confidence in her being. Was it the beauty of her body or the power of her title? Which one should he flatter to get the answer he wished?

She’d put on clothes, so he guessed that door was closed. He went for politeness. “Why were you naked, My Lady?” He dropped into an exaggerated bow, unable to keep the sarcasm out of the dramatic flick of his wrist.

Casara regarded the man before her, stripped of his pride and his dignity. She thought of the plans that had failed today, of the guilt and hate he was distracting her from. “Today didn’t go as planned. I’m sure you know the feeling. Don’t tell me you won’t torture yourself with your flaws when you get home tonight?”

Book Quote Binder Covers

I’ve always made covers for my school binders and notebooks covered with quotes from books and TV shows. In the last two years, with the help of Corel Draw X4, things have gotten a little out of hand.

Here are two of my binder covers, covered with quotes from my favorite books. Each of these took about 12 hours each, including finding the quotes and putting everything together. I made one last year, and one this year.

The quotes shouldn’t have any major spoilers, but check the list of books quoted before reading if you’re worried. I apologize for the first of the binder covers; sometimes the quote got broken up into a few different lines, and then I used the space between the lines to fit more quotes. This makes it somewhat hard to read some of the quotes if you don’t know them to begin with.

Most of these quotes aren’t funny or emotional out of context. If you recognize the quotes, then these covers will make you happy. If not, please just stand in awe of how many words and fonts I crammed onto a piece of paper. 🙂

I got my fonts either pre-installed from my laptop or off of I don’t intend to infringe on any copyrights. Vast apologies if I step on anyone’s toes.

Last year’s:

book quotes 2013 pic
click on the image to enlarge it

Books featured:

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, The Graceling series by Kristen Cashore, Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, The Heist Society series by Ally Carter, The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Going Underground by Susan Vaught, The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

This year I added color for emphasis: 

*I blacked out spoiler lines. There weren’t any this bad in last year’s, but this one featured a couple lines that had major plot reveals.

2014 binder cover pic spoiler free
click on the image to enlarge it



Books featured:

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, The Heist Society series by Ally Carter, The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, Graceling by Kristen Cashore, Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Book Review: Stephanie Plum books 2 and 3 by Janet Evanovich

These books are pretty similar in regards to what I have to say about them so I decided to just make them be one post together.

Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly

both 4/5 stars

Genre: contemporary crime fiction (adult)

I really enjoyed reading both these books. They are easy reads, but manage to be well written and thought-provoking. Perfect for my first week back at school.

(Sophomore year is going well, though it’s exhausting, thanks for asking.)

*Amazon descriptions of book 2 and book 3 here.

Both books are very similar in structure and pacing. The plot does lag a bit in the beginning of the middle, while Stephanie dead ends over and over. It’s a part of the story that is important to her, but I felt it drag on, especially in book three. However, the ends of the books are always so climactic and compelling that I have trouble disliking the books.

I love Stephanie. She’s the perfect example of what people mean when they say a strong female character doesn’t have to be masculine or muscly. She’s a horrible bounty hunter, but she’s determined and has fairly good instincts. She handles what the world throws at her and doesn’t give up. Her fortitude and awesome sense of humor are endearing. Over the course of the three books I’ve read so far, she does grow as a character, learning and changing at a believable pace. I want to read the twenty-plus books in this series just to spend more time with her and see where she ends up.

The one problem I have with these books is that they are very obviously part of a long series. What I mean by this is that when you’re reading the books, you can tell Janet Evanovich is holding off on her dramatic plot points, especially the ones involved in her subplots, to be used later in the series. She does a good job of foreshadowing, promising her readers romantic conflicts and character developments, but only delivers tiny pieces in each book. It starts to get old by the third book. I want something to happen. Evanovich has promised me drama–I want to read it sometime in this lifetime.

Even with that said, I’m in love with these books. I plan to keep reading them until I need a change of pace (I’m guessing that will be in a few more books). With school being crazy and taking up most of my free time, I’m enjoying have a quick dose of humor on hand with these books. Whatever else the Stephanie Plum books are, they are hilarious.

Grand Total: 23 Books This Summer–Wrap Up

A few weeks ago, I set myself a goal to read 20 books this summer. When I blew past that, I decided I just wanted to read as many books as possible.

And the grand total is…

*drum roll please*

Twenty three books!!!!

YAAAAAY!!! Go me!
YAAAAAY!!! Go me!

Crap…now school is here. Save me!!!

(Don’t worry, I scheduled this post, I’m not online at school)

This means there will probably be a drop off in the number of posts I make, but I’m determined to keep this blog going at a 1-3 posts a week rate. We’ll see how that goes.

For old time’s sake, let’s go through all the books I read.

The 23 Books I read this summer (in the order I read them):

1. United We Spy by Allie Carter (Gallagher Girl book 6)

book 6

I wasn’t doing star rating when I read this book, but looking back, I’d give it a 4/5. This entire series is hilarious but touching, and the last book tied up the series perfectly. One of my favorite series, definitely a guilty pleasure. Read review for the series here.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (HP book 1)

cover HP 1

To be honest, all of the HP books are sort of running together in my memory, but I remember this book surprising me with the hold it had over me. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (HP book 2)

cover HP 2 real

I loved the mystery in this book, the way it slowly unraveled. I remembered the “secret,” and that allowed me to catch all of the tiny details Rowling dropped in the lead up to the reveal. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askiban by JK Rowling (HP book 3)

cover HP 3

I love Sirius Black. He’s the ultimate good/evil character. And Buckbeak is adorable. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (HP book 4)

 cover HP 4

This book was too long. The plot structure became monotonous. Even so, the book is still great, and the ending of the book marked a definite (and needed) division between the more MG early books and the darker YA later books. 3/5 stars. Read my review here.

6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (HP book 5)

cover HP 5

I think this was my favorite of the HP books, with books 6 and 7 close behind. I love the Order, and the way a ton of characters came together and we really got to meet the older players in the fight. Umbridge is the ultimate evil character, and sooo relatable as the unfair teacher. 5/5 stars. Read my review here.

7. Harry Potter and the Half Prince by JK Rowling (HP book 6)

cover HP 6

I loved the insight we gained into Voldemort’s character in this book. JK Rowling didn’t leave him as a plain evil character; she gave him a rational behind his scheming. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (HP book 7)

cover HP 7

This was a great end to a fantastic series. Harry, Ron, and Hermione matured, completing their character arcs from book one. The romance in this book was perfect. The last battle was well done, dramatic but also allowing for character growth. 5/5 stars. Read my review here.

9. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin book 1)

cover grave mercy

This book really impressed me. It deals with heavy topics–death, killing, abuse–without taking over the book. The romance is sweet and evolved at a good pace. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

10. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin book 2)

cover dark triumph

This book wasn’t as good as Grave Mercy, but it was still really good. Great characterization, good plot. Much darker than the first book. Still good romance, though book 1’s was better (though my sister disagrees profusely). 4/5 stars. I didn’t actually review it, but I will when book three comes out later this year.

11. Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

cover sea of shadows

I didn’t love this book. There wasn’t anything great about it, and the romance was really lame. The plot didn’t make sense and lacked continuity. I gave it 3/5 stars, but looking back on it, I’m lowering that to a 2/5. Read my review here.

12. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn book 1)

book 1
book 1

Just amazing. Impeccable plot pacing and characterization. The magic is unique–I want to be a Mistborn so badly. 5/5 stars. Read my review for the series here.

13. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn book 2)

book 2
book 2

This was my least favorite of the three books, but I still loved it. The characaters really developed, especially Elend and Sazed. This book forced each character to confront their doubts and fears–and Sanderson did it really well. And talk about trust issues after the end of this book!!!! 5/5 stars. Read my review for the series here.

14. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn book 3)

book 3
book 3

This was probably my favorite of the series, close with book one. The series wrapped up perfectly. This book dealt with heavy issues–atheism, crises of faith, leadership, war, sacrifice, usurpers–but was still incredibly hopeful and hilarious. The end made me happy, even if it wasn’t necessarily what I had imagined. 5/5 stars. Read my review for the series here.

15. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil book 1)

book 1
book 1

Classic paranormal romance. Not great writing, but it’s addictive; you can’t stop reading it. Not much plot or characterization, but really great romance. 3/5 stars. Read my review for the series here.

16. Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil book 2)

book 2
book 2

Not as much fun as book 1. The main character was too mopey for the first part of the book, though the second half of the book was enjoyable. Still not much plot, but more than the first book. 3/5 stars. Read my review for the series here.

17. Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil book 3)

book 3
book 3

Probably the best book of the series, in regards to characterization and plot development. The romance is sweet and sexy. 3/5 stars. Read my review for the series here.

18. Blonde Ops by Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo

cover blonde ops


I loved this book. It’s ridiculous and improbable, but hilarious all the same. The romance played out nicely and the mystery driving the book was appropriately mysterious. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

19. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked book 1)

cover born wicked

I was impressed by this book. It had good world-building and character vs society conflicts. The dynamic between the characters was fascinating, and I look forward to reading book two, Star Cursed. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

20. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

cover we were liars

I did not like this book, despite the hype surrounding it. The voice was annoying, and the twist ending ruined it for me. 2/5 stars. Read my review here.

21. Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

cover belle epoque

This book was fine–nothing special, nothing horrible. Interesting conflicts and messages, but the story wasn’t executed well. 2/5 stars. Read my review here.

22. Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

cover ten things we did

I loved this book. It went beyond my expectations of a flippant ChickLit novel, with the classic teenage conflicts handled well and teenage emotions captured realistically. The book was surprisingly relatable for me. 5/5 stars. Read my review here.

23. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

cover one for the money

This book was a fun read. I laughed out loud, but in the serious moments, the book got me thinking about heavy topics–death, guilt, abuse. 4/5 stars. Read my review here.

23 books in 9.5 weeks ends up as about 2.4 books a week, which I think is impressive. So, yay me!

colbert award gif

Book Review: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

I don’t know what I expected this book to be. It was funnier than I expected. It wasn’t nearly as inappropriate as I feared it would be. It was a fun, quick one-day read. I sacrificed myself to car sickness to keep reading it, which is a good sign, and I literally laughed out loud, often.

4/5 stars

Genre: adult contemporary fiction…ish (I don’t really know what you call this)

Book one of the Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money

cover one for the money


Amazon description:

Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.
She’s a product of the “burg,” a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six.
Now Stephanie’s all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad’s, doing her best to sever the world’s longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.
Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook.
Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one. Morelli is also the irresistible macho pig who took Stephanie’s virginity at age sixteen and then wrote the details on the bathroom wall of Mario’s Sub Shop. There’s still powerful chemistry between these two, so the chase should be interesting.
It could also be extremely dangerous, especially when Stephanie encounters a heavyweight title contender who likes to play rough. Benito Ramirez is known for his brutality to women. At the very least, his obsession with Stephanie complicates her manhunt and brings terror and uncertainty into her life. At worst, it could lead to murder.

I’ve been seeing Janet Evanovich’s name for years–in my mom’s bookshelf, in book stores, even on a few bus stop posters. I knew they were adult, and I knew my mom found them hilarious. I asked her if she thought I’d like them, and she ordered me book one off of Paperback Swap in answer.

She was right. This isn’t my new favorite series. Frankly, I’m just not really comfortable reading NA/adult books yet. I know I like YA more, and I’m a sucker for fantasy and paranormal, so this series isn’t going to take over my life. I plan to read the books in between other series, when I need a breath of fresh air. As breaths of fresh air go, this book was pretty awesome. I gave it 4/5 stars for these reasons, even though there isn’t anything definitely wrong with the book–it’s just not my new best friend, more like that girl you share a few class periods with and complain about homework with.

The characterization is great. Stephanie is lovable in her awkward, impossibly naive way. She’s not cut out to be a bounty hunter–at all–and it’s hilarious. At the same time, though, I respected Evanovich for writing a female character who takes on the big bad world without an ounce of badassery, who is still strong as hell in her own way. She feels real, as do the rest of the characters.

Stephanie’s parents were perfectly infuriating, yet comforting. Each male figure in the book interacted with Stephanie a little differently, adding a sense of individual friendships and resentments which enhanced the realness of the book. Evanovich didn’t shy away from writing every sort of character–and when you meet Lula, you’ll love her.

Even with the largely humorous tone, the book touches on some dark topics–namely race and abusive men. I felt that Evanovich did an impressive job at capturing the awkward, degrading, unsettling feeling of knowing you’re a small white girl who’s stumbled into the wrong neighborhood. And she tackled the plot line with Ramirez (an insane boxer with a love of brutalizing women) well, making you feel actual fear for Stephanie, drawing you into her need to be strong even when her knees were giving out.

The book does a good job of setting up a series. It’s worth reading if you want a laugh, but also respect a book that doesn’t put the real world on it’s best behavior. Stephanie’s struggles with poverty and threats of abuse were powerful and vividly portrayed. Young adult readers can totally handle it, as long as you can handle themes of violence against women. For some people, the vividness of that part of the plot could be too much, and I would say make sure you know what you’re getting into with this series. It’ll make you laugh, but it won’t keep you from thinking.