RTW: Wonder (Writing) Woman

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What are your writing/publishing superpowers (drafting? plotting? writing queries?) — and what’s your kryptonite?

This is SO me!

This is such a tough question–especially the superpower element! Why do I have such a hard time pinpointing my strengths?

I suppose my writing superpower would be in the details. I’m a big description girl. I think I excel at painting a picture with words and really helping my readers to envision exactly who or what I’ve written about. I often find my first drafts so FULL of descriptions and sensory details that I end up having to go through and hack big chunks of them. Sometimes I probably don’t cut enough; someone once told me it was almost as if an attic I’d written about had become a character in and of itself, thanks to the million-and-one details I’d included. Still, I’d rather write too much and have to edit later than struggle with descriptions and ways ground my readers in a scene.

As far as kryptonite goes, mine definitely involves stakes and tension. I have such a hard time increasing the pressure, torturing my characters the way they need to be tortured to craft an engaging, exciting page-turner. My natural instinct is to make things easy for my characters (I love them!), not harder, and that seems to be the critique I get most often: Up the stakes, bump the tension up a notch. Believe me… I’m working on it!

Tell me… what is your writing superpower? Your kryptonite? And don’t forget to visit YA Highway to see how the other Road Trippers answered today’s question!

RTW: October’s Wrap-Up and Book of the Month

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What’s the best book you read in October?

Wow… October was a month of aMaZiNg books! For the first time ever, I couldn’t choose just one Book of the Month. Nope, this month, I’m giving you TWO extraordinary recommendations–lucky you! But first, here’s my wrap-up:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d like this one. I’m not a Holden Caulfield fan, and I’ve heard Diary compared to The Catcher in the Rye more times that I can count. That said, I DID enjoy Diary, iimmensely. Junior’s narration was often funny, incredibly poignant, and, at times, heartbreaking. The comics and cartoons sprinkled throughout were a much appreciated surprise. I have no idea what it’s like to be an Indian living on a “rez,” but this book felt absolutely authentic.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – I snatched this middle grade novel up at the library after reading glowing recommendations from Kat Owens, Sara McClung, and Alicia Gregoire. Frankly, I didn’t have a clue what was going on throughout the first big chunk of the story. That’s not to say I wasn’t entertained; I totally was. Miranda and her accompanying characters were vivid and intriguing. Still, all of the cryptic clues and references to the future left my head spinning. But, I just had this feeling that sticking with it would pay off big. It SO did. I literally had chills throughout the last quarter of this book–the ending is that mind-blowing, that stunning. The day I returned When You Reach Me to the library, I went out and bought my own copy because I couldn’t NOT own it. If you’re not sure whether you like middle grade, read When You Reach Me. You will LOVE it!

Toxic by Jus Accardo – The follow-up to my CP’s debut, Touch, will be available Spring, 2012. I can’t give anything away, of course, but mark your calendars… it’s fantastic!

Hourglass by Myra McEntire – I loved this premise–time travel, the chance to change lives in the span of one hour. Main character Emerson was spunky and cool, though she sort of fell apart every time an attractive boy stepped onto the scene. The boys in the book were pretty hot though… certainly good distractions! I also dug the twisty ending and the atmospheric descriptions.

Teach Me by RA Nelson – Eek… Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! I wasn’t sure about this one going in: High school senior has a sordid affair with her teacher, obsession and betrayal ensue. But, thanks to main character Carolina (and her majorly over-the-top shenanigans) I ended up enjoying Teach Me. Carolina is super smart and makes awesome observations about people and life, but she’s a social outcast among her peers. She somehow manages to garner sympathy even when making some questionable–okay, disturbing–choices. A well-written, compellingly honest contemporary.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laine Taylor – This book. Oh, THIS BOOK. Simply brilliant, and definitely one of my October Books of the Month. But, I’m not going to go into a full recommendation today because Smoke and Bone is the book we’ll be discussing for Fall Book Club. Check back Friday for my lovefest review.

And my second Book of the Month, Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

From Goodreads: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I’d heard from more than one person that Lola was better than Stephanie Perkins’ debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, which I absolutely loved. I sincerely doubted that anything could be better than Anna, but yeah… I have to say, I think I enjoyed Lola just a *tiny* bit more.

Seventeen-year-old Lola Nolan is an amazing protagonist. One of my favorites of any YA, I think. Lola is all kinds of conflicted. While she’s highly emotional, she’s also genuine and loving and unique and creative and funny. She has a humorous way of describing tough situations that lightened what was, essentially, a serious novel. And while Lola is a sweet girl, she’s not exactly a good girl. She’s self-centered. She lies. She sneaks around behind her parents’ backs. And that rocker boyfriend mentioned in the synopsis above? He’s twenty-two, and not exactly wholesome (he actually turns out to be slightly less-than-perfect, but he had his reasons and I have to say, I didn’t hate him). All of this discord within Lola’s personality made her delightfully real. She’s someone I wish I’d known in high school, someone I would have loved to be friends with.

And Cricket… what a perfectly lovable romantic interest. I see him as he’s pictured on the cover (adorable), and cherished every aspect of his sweet, highly intelligent, awkward, loyal, bumbling, pin-striped personality. He’s just right for Lola (obviously), yet he’s wonderfully flawed (like a real boy!). He knows what he wants, and while he’s full of conviction, he’s patient too. Plus, he’s friends with Etienne! I challenge any female reader to dodge to Cricket’s charms. Seriously. He’s enchanting.

Lola is set in San Francisco, which is probably obvious if you’ve given the cover a look. The city comes alive within the pages of the book, so much so that I want to visit again and take time to savor the atmosphere Stephanie Perkins so perfectly captures. All the major landmarks are there (the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Alcatraz, Muir Woods National Park), but there’s also a more subtle mood that hangs in the background, a sparkle that’s all San Francisco, yet not at all cliché or stereotypical.

And Lola‘s supporting characters… fabulous! Andy and Nathan (Lola’s dads) were distinct, strict, bona fide parental figures. Best friend Lindsey was an excellent source of comic relief. Calliope (Cricket’s twin) was an unpredictable sort of mean girl. Even Norah turned a corner and became someone I wasn’t expecting.

Lola, at its heart, is about finding your authentic self and embracing it for all it’s worth. A very worthwhile message weaved cleverly into a layered, entertaining story full of family and friendship and love. If you think you don’t like contemporary, or romance, or “chick-lit,” think again. Stephanie Perkins has a talent for creating real-life characters you’ll fall for head-over-heels, and for writing romantic scenes that’ll have your heart skipping. Please, please, please, buy and read Lola and the Boy Next Door!

What’s the best book YOU read in October? (And don’t forget to check back Friday for my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone!)

RTW: For the love of writing…

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What’s your numero-uno reason for writing?

I write because I love it. I really, really do. I think you HAVE to love writing to make an honest go at a career in it. All of the challenges, all of the nos, all of the endless hours and sleepless nights and blank pages with their blinking, taunting cursors. All of the aggravation and doubts and deleted words… Writing is hard. If you don’t genuinely love it, you’ll throw in the towel the moment the going gets too tough.

But, even though I do really and truly love writing, I don’t think that’s numero-uno reason I do it.

Simply, I write because I can’t NOT write. 

I write for the same reasons many people go to church. Writing grounds me, centers me, calms me. It drains my frustration, is an outlet for bottled up emotion, and it allows me imagine fantastical possibilities. Writing lets me create and discover new people, new places. It gives me something to focus on when life becomes disorderly. Writing gives me a tiny fraction of control over what is essentially a wildly disobedient world.

Also, writing can be such fun!

What about you? What’s the number one reason YOU write?

RTW: A Winding Road (And congrats, YA Highway!)

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday has reached the 100th mile marker. How has YOUR writing journey gone so far?

One-hundred Road Trip Wednesdays?! Huge congratulations to YA Highway and its contributors on their longevity and all their success. Thank you so much, Highway-ers, for bringing your genius to the YA community, for doling out wisdom and expertise, for sharing insightful, informative, diverse, and entertaining posts, and for inviting aspiring authors like me to participate your fantastic Road Trip Wednesdays. I’ve met tons of incredible people since I first joined in over a year ago, and I’m so thankful for this outlet, and for this chance to belong to such a friendly and supportive community. Here’s to another hundred Road Trips!

Um… my writing journey? It’s going. 🙂 I’ve met some goals, for sure, and I’ve set some new ones. I’ve grown in many areas, and I’ve identified others I’d like to improve upon. I’ve signed with a brilliant agent. I’ve made some amazing friends. I’ve read some inspired books. I’ve written some beautiful words. I hope my writing journey continues in its forward motion (no reverse, please!), and I hope it continues to give me a sense of self and accomplishment no matter where my final destination may be.

How’s YOUR writing journey going?

RTW: Stepping into the Spotlight…

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: Tell us which supporting characters you think deserve the spotlight! Who deserves their very own YA novel?

Wow. There are so many fabulous supporting characters I’d love to know more about, particularly when it comes to back story. Two, specifically, come to mind:

Tobias (or Four) from Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Everything about him fascinates me, but I find his relationship with his father and his choice to be Dauntless particularly interesting. Tobias is so genuine and courageous and direct, I believe that he could absolutely carry a novel of his own. Plus, it would be amazing to read about his relationship with Tris from his point of view.

I think Alaska from John Green’s Looking For Alaska would also make a remarkable protagonist. I’m always fond of a well-written unreliable narrator, and I think John Green could make Alaska just that. She had an incredibly intriguing back story, and I’d love to know more about what made her so rash and fanatical and intense.

So, what supporting characters would you like to see in their very own novel?

RTW: Best Book of September

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What’s the best book you read in September?

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell – This one came highly recommended by both Agent Vickie and talented author friend Jessi Kirby. Let’s just say, I was not disappointed. Plot and Structure is one of the best craft books I’ve read and I plan to use everything I learned from it to draft, revise, and rewrite. Clear and concise, fast-paced, and full of fantastic examples. Recommend!

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I’m not going to go into this one in too much depth today because I’ll be posting a full review for Fall Book Club on Friday. Please do check back then!

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles – I enjoyed the third and final book in the this trilogy more than the second book, Rules of Attraction, but not quite as much as the original, Perfect Chemistry. Nikki and Luis were both fantastic narrators with believable motivations and arcs, but I find this author’s style to be a bit too telling at times. Also, it takes A LOT of violence to upset me, and there was one scene in this book that actually made me feel a little nauseous. Fair warning to the faint of heart.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick – The concept (a girl whose memory “resets” every night, leaving her with no recollection of the past but with strange glimpses into the future) was definitely intriguing. It’s fresh (to YA, anyway), and quite well-written. Main character London was sympathetic and likable, and love interest Luke was adorable. I’ve read reviews stating that the conclusion of this book came out of left field, but I didn’t feel like that at all. I found it to be action-packed and satisfying. Recommend!

And, September’s Best Book of the Month: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly…

From GoodReads: BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break. PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape. Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present. Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

I’ve had Revolution sitting on my nightstand since March. It’s outward appearance is a bit daunting, to be perfectly honest. It’s part historical (not my preferred genre) and it’s HUGE (123K words). But, I’d heard some wonderful things about it (particularly from my sister-in-law, who loaned it to me), so I was determined to give it a go.

I’m so glad I did, because this is one stunningly sophisticated novel. While Andi’s voice is authentically YA, the book’s themes are mature, and the subject matter is very graphically addressed. Andi is an addict (she over-uses prescription drugs an effort to cope with her grief), there is much suffering in both time periods, and there are beheadings described in great detail. Seriously.

Because of all its intensity, Revolution is layered and incredibly rich, both in Andi’s present day narration and  Alex’s French Revolution-era journal entries. And Jennifer Donnelly totally takes you there. She’ll make you feel Andi’s deep, deep depression, as well as Alex’s unyielding loyalty.  You’ll hear the soulful guitar music, you’ll taste the crusty bread, and you’ll smell the stench of dirty Parisian streets. You’ll fall for Virgil, who’s subtle yet awesome, and you’ll root for Andi to recover from her loss and her guilt, and to reclaim her life.

Now that I’ve finished Revolution, I want to read the rest of Jennifer Donnelly’s work. I also want to travel to Paris and research the French Revolution and explore the catacombs. It’s that kind of book, one that broadens your horizons and makes you think more critically about the world around you.

Definitely check out Revolution if you haven’t already!

So, what’s the best book you read in September?

Road Trip Wednesday: Undercover

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What are your all-time favorite book covers?

Honestly, this post could have featured fifty book covers… there are SO many I love! But, I managed to narrow my choices to a few that really stand out…

The Sky is Everywhere – I love the contrast in colors, I love the simplicity, I love the asymmetrical heart, I love that this cover is so different from a lot of the YA covers out now. The new paperback version of The Sky is Everywhere is beautiful too, but personally, I’m partial to the original hardcover.

If I Stay – Another cover that’s clean, pretty, and completely encapsulates the mood and beautiful simplicity of the story. I love the burst of red and the font, especially that it’s all lowercase. Again, this book’s paperback cover is lovely, but I’ll always favor the hardcover.

Bad Taste in Boys – The only book on my list that I haven’t read yet! I just can’t get over the awesomeness. So striking. So unique.

In the Woods – The tree branches remind me of creepy fingers reaching out, which is so absolutely fitting to the mood of this novel. I love the contrast of the black and white, and the way the branches appear to fade into fog. Spooky.

Matched – I fell in love with this cover the moment I saw it. That green dress = Gorgeous. The futuristic font = Telling. Pretty girl trapped in a bubble = Intriguing, and so symbolic of Cassia’s journey.

Living Dead Girl – Ugh. That empty little girl’s dress. The domineering man’s leg standing above. The dead leaves. So haunting, right? I almost don’t even like to look at this cover because it reminds me too much of “Alice’s” experiences in the book. Very evocative.

The American Wife – Everything about this cover is perfect, perfect, perfect. Clean, prim, and proper. Just what we want to believe is true about the life of the First Lady. It almost made me envious of that fictional bride pictured. Then I read the book. All was not quite as perfect as it seemed…

Perfect Chemistry – What can I say, other than: HOT. The way he’s touching her face, the way she closes her eyes… These models look exactly the way I picture Alex and Brittany, which makes me love this cover even more. I also love the blurring of the title’s font,  representative of the fast, page-turning quality of this book.

The Giver – So timeless. I love the contrast of the old, withered hand next to the young eager ones. I love the glimmer of light that’s being passed along. I love the dark, mysterious landscape in the background. This is by far my favorite of the many cover versions of The Giver.

So, those are some of my favorite book covers… Which stand out to you?

RTW: Recurring Literary Elements

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

For my non-writer readers, let’s begin with a few simple definitions (thank you, Wikipedia):

THEME – the unifying subject or idea of a story.
SETTING – the time, location, and everything in which a story takes place, and initiates the main backdrop and mood for a story.
MOTIF – any recurring element in a story that has symbolic significance, a repeated theme or pattern.
SCENE – a unit of drama, provide the building blocks of plot for short stories, novels, and other forms of fiction. 

Themes I tend to favor: overcoming guilt, first love, romantic heartbreak, reclaiming happiness after loss. Settings I love: the Pacific Northwest in general, any location near a body of water, cars (why? not sure…), and I certainly lean toward stories set in the present day. Favorite motifs: water, windows, sweet foods, fire. And scenes I always include: a first kiss,  a first fight, and a first make-up. 🙂

What elements of literature recur in your stories?

RTW: A Dark (YA) Passenger

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What non-YA character would you love to see star in a YA book as themselves?

Oh, this is SO easy…

Dexter Morgan is the most complex character I’ve ever known. He’s a blood spatter analyst, brother, father, husband, rescuer, friend, vigilante and… serial killer. He does it all with a certain flair for the dramatics, a very dark sense of humor, and an intensity that borders on terrifying. Plus, um, he’s pretty hot.

I’d love to know Dexter as a teenager. His childhood was less than enviable, his sister is a bit of a mess, and his relationship with his father, Harry, is all kinds of complicated. He’d make fascinating young adult character because even as a grown man, he’s constantly questioning who he is and trying to balance all the facets of his personality. Imagine all the angst he’d bring to a YA novel!

And can I just mention that Showtime will begin airing the newest season of Dexter in LESS THAN A MONTH?! So excited!

So, what non-YA character would you love to meet in a YA story?

August’s Reading Wrap-Up and Book of the Month…

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: What’s the best book you read in August?

My August book choices were fairly diverse. Here’a a quick wrap-up of everything I read:

Notes from the Blender by Brendan Halpin and Trisha Cook – I don’t usually go for funny books, but I won this one in a giveaway and I’m so glad I did!  It’s not exactly the most unique concept (family drama, coming of age), and I wouldn’t call it a literary masterpiece, but it was seriously hilarious. Teen boy Dec’s voice was perfect (and “pervy” :)), and had me cracking up on more than one occasion. Recommend!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- There were several aspects of this book I loved: the creepiness, the banter, the setting, the unknowing, the shocking ending. And, there are a few aspects I still have questions about: the suddenly intense romance,  the “abilities” of the characters, and lots of loose threads at the conclusion. I’m looking forward to reading Mara‘s follow-up in hopes that some of those questions will be answered. If you’re a lover of paranormal romance, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Drenched by AE Rought – This is only a tease because Drenched is still in manuscript form. It’s the work of one of my fabulous CPs, and is currently unavailable to you. I have to mention it here though, because 1) it’s awesome 2) it’s the coolest take on werewolves I’ve seen 3) there’s an X-Men-ish spin that’s incredibly cool. Be on the look-out for it in the future!

Beat Sugar Addiction Now by Jacob Teitelbaum – This probably seems a random choice, but I’ve been trying to cut back on the sugar and white flour I consume and this nonfiction was a great motivator. It identifies the four types of sugar addiction and gives advice on how to break cravings. I recommend it if you’re contemplating healthier eating habits and want more information about sugar addiction in particular.

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard – Finally a “mermaid book” that lives up! Actually, main character Lexi is a siren, and she’s surprisingly likeable. Her occasional woe-is-me attitude is warranted, and the choices she has to make are legitimately challenging. Another plus: there are two hot guys in this book AND a love triangle that puts Lexi in an impossible spot. For me, the twist at the end was a little abrupt (I would have liked a few more clues leading up to it), but all in all, Ripple was a great read.

And my Book of the Month, the cream of August’s crop: Plain Kate by Erin Bow

From Goodreads – Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver’s daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square. For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate. Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can’t live shadowless forever — and that Linay’s designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

True confession: I would have never picked up Plain Kate had it not come highly recommended by Caroline Richmond and Erin Bowman, who both have amazing taste. First, Plain Kate is quite fantastical and I tend to favor more contemporary titles. Also, there is NO romance. None. I love romance–it’s almost always the romantic thread that carries me through a novel. I couldn’t imagine how Plain Kate would possibly hold my attention without a cute boy and some steamy kisses. Let me tell you, between the imagery, the action, the unknowing, the beautiful writing, and the occasional humor, it totally did.

If you’re looking for an example of the oft talked about but hard to pinpoint “strong female character,” look no further. Don’t misunderstand–Kate’s not the ass-kicking, sword-wielding kind of heroine. She’s subtler and smarter. More nuanced. While life hurls challenge after challenge at her, she stands strong in her convictions. Though many try, she refuses to let people (men, mostly) walk over her, and she bounces back from the most impossible of situations with more vitality than before.

Plain Kate is full of gorgeous language and unique, memorable characters. Drina, a spunky, sisterly-type and Kate’s first real friend. Taggle the cat, who I won’t say too much about other than that he’s fabulous. And Linay, dark and mysterious and unpredictable, creepy yet somehow sympathetic. You’ll be thinking about them–and Plain Kate–long after you finish this novel.

So, what’s the best book you read in August? (And how is August already over? *sob*)