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?

A few random-ish things…

Ahh, the start of a new week… I’ve got a few random things to share on this lovely Monday morning:

Last night I watched Disney’s Prom. I’ve wanted to see it since I caught the trailer ages ago, but I don’t make it to a lot of movies and when I have “free” time at home, I’m usually writing or cleaning or reading. So…


I finally got to spend a full ninety minutes lost in high school melodrama. It was glorious. Honestly, I’m partial to any movie set in a high school (The Breakfast Club, Clueless, The Girl Next Door, Grease, and Ten Things I Hate About You are a few of my favorites), and Prom was fairly average high school fare. A little slow, a little fluffy, but still cute enough to hold my attention and leave me with a tiny crush on Jesse, the movie’s bad-boy-heartthrob and, in my opinion, a baby Johnny Depp.


Tracey Neithercott’s Fall Book Club has officially begun! Click HERE for the official stuff (don’t worry, it’s all easy). Wondering what we’re reading?


Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I started this weekend and yeah… absolutely loving it so far. I highly recommend you jump into the fun and join the Fall Book Club.

I’m revising again, this time with a heavy focus on pacing. I recently read James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure (thanks for the recommendation, Jessi Kirby and Vickie Motter!) and it has been immensely helpful. Here’s what my copy looks like:


Sheesh. You’d think I’d never read a craft book! But there’s just something about James Scott Bell’s approach, his simple way of explaining what’s already trapped in the mind of any avid reader, that spoke to me. So, I highlighted the heck out of Plot and Structure, then drafted a revision plan that’s working miracles. Yippee!

Over the  last month I’ve become obsessed with this:


Best workout DVD ever. Seriously. I happily hop out of bed a half-hour early each morning to do it. I love Jillian Michaels’ no-nonsense approach. I love how I feel when I’m done. I love that my daughter now knows what “Down Dog” is. And the results! I’m seeing them! It’s so motivating!

And, finally, these photographs beg to be shared:


That’s my husband there on the left–you know, the deliciously handsome one :)–and that’s the Washington State University flag he and his buddy are raising in Afghanistan. Yep, our beloved Cougs are representing half-way around the world. Crazy to think about, right?

And one final, incredibly important thing: Happy birthday, Dad! Love you!

So, how was your weekend?