Thursday, December 31, 2015

Truthwitch Party Prep: Something For Instagram

Today as part of my Truthwitch party-planning series, I have some printable photobooth props for you. They are the perfect party activity – you can recreate the world of Truthwitch and take selfies and everyone will look at your Instagram feed and wish they could be half as badass as you.


In the printable PDFs, you'll get a ship captain's hat (for Merik, our Windwitch and sailor), two swords (one of them is slicing through a splash of water – a little nod to the book cover!), red eyes (so you too can be like Aeduan the Bloodwitch), and some colorful curse words, care of Safiya fon Hasstrel.

All you have to do is print out the PDFs on a heavy cardstock paper, cut out each prop, glue to a wooden stick (like a skewer or a dowel or even a popsicle stick), and get those cameras out.

Just a reminder – these printables are for your personal, non-commercial use only. If you share these anywhere, please include a link back to this post. Thank you kindly!

Also, if you end up using these, I would LOVE to see pictures!! You can tag me on Twitter (@codenametiffany) or on Instagram (@bookplatesforbrunch).

Check out all my Truthwitch party posts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Truthwitch Party Prep: Something To Wear

Sing with me: On the third day of Truthwitch party-planning, tattoos to wear temporarily!

Including Witchmark tattoos!

A Witchmark is the mark all witches are required to have tattooed on their right hand. It indicates what kind of magic they have (Aether, Air, Earth, Fire, Water, or Void). However, certain kinds of magic are more rare and valuable than others, so some witches choose to hide their powers so that they don't get hunted down by evil political figures and questionable mercenaries...


Not only do you get your 6 clan tattoos in this downloadable PDF, I've also included 2 friendship bracelets (because so much of Truthwitch is about Safi and Iseult and their bond as Threadsisters), 4 heart tattoos so you can declare your love for Aeduan (my personal fave), Merik, Safi, and/or Iseult, 1 gorgeous quote from the book, and "Truthwitch" (for those of you who are brave enough to declare your Truthwitchery).

The printable PDF has all the art reversed so that the tattoo looks right-side up when you apply it to your skin. All of the temporary tattoos are formatted to fit on a standard 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. For detailed instructions on how to print and apply your temporary tattoos, check out Wendy's post at The Midnight Garden.

These tattoos are for your personal, non-commercial use only. If you end up sharing them anywhere, please include a link back to this post. Thank you!

Check out all my Truthwitch party posts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Truthwitch Party Prep: Something To Eat


It's Day 2 of the Truthwitch celebrations! So you have something to drink – coffee from Mathew's Coffee Shop – and now you need some tasty treats to eat. Luckily I have just the thing.

Susan Dennard has said that the Witchlands are loosely inspired by three ancient European empires – the Venetian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire – so I wanted to find something with a little bit of that Eastern European heritage. I landed on these jam thumbprint cookies which I love because the jam filling reminds me of blood (bwahaha) and Aeduan the Bloodwitch by association. You can use any fruit preserves you like – I went with raspberry because I wanted that deep red color and I just like raspberry-flavored things.


Bloodwitch Cookies


Modified from Allrecipes.com
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Prep time: 40-45 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
Stir flour and salt in separate bowl. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients slowly until a soft dough forms. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Use your finger or teaspoon to make a well in the center of each cookie.
Spoon the raspberry preserves into each well halfway (about 1/4 teaspoon of preserves).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

*No Bloodwitches were harmed in the making of these cookies.

Check out all my Truthwitch party posts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Monday, December 28, 2015

Truthwitch Party Prep: Something To Drink

In anticipation of Susan Dennard's new book Truthwitch, I'll be sharing one fun Truthwitch-related surprise each day this week! Just some little things to get you in the spirit for its release on January 5th. Not everyone will be able to see Susan on her book tour, but who says you can't throw your own book launch party to celebrate?

So come on in, relax, have a drink... how about coffee? Specifically, coffee from Mathew's Coffee Shop.

Mathew, the proprietor of said coffee shop, is an Aetherwitch and a friend of Safi and Iseult. He's a minor character, but I've inexplicably latched onto him. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Mathew serves "real" Marstoki coffee, the "best" in Veñaza City... Of course, by "real" I mean fake, and by "best" I mean terrible. Definitely no hearts decorating your latte here.

In the spirit of Mathew's Coffee Shop, I've got some tips on how to make terrible coffee, the kind worthy of being served by Mathew himself.


Serve your coffee in a mug that's on-brand.


Here's a Mathew-approved mug – perfect for sipping your beverage of choice. You can buy it at my Society6 shop, the only official licensed retailer of Mathew's Coffee Shop products (currently). Wink.

Brew coffee beans that have gone stale.


Coffee is like wine or cheese, right? You want a good vintage bean for the best flavor. The older, the better.

Never wash your coffee brewing devices.


Think of your coffee maker like a cast iron pan – you don't want to wash a cast iron pan with soap and water, you want to season it with oil to keep it in good condition. Your coffee maker is the same way. The mineral buildup and coffee residue just help ensure it's working at its best.

Use any old water for your brew.


Bathwater, tap water, any water will work. Don't get too fussy with that filtered water or distilled water – who wants to drink sanitized coffee anyway? Keep it real for a nice earthy brew.


Try letting your coffee sit for hours until it cools.


You can always add some ice to make iced coffee, or pop it in the microwave and heat it back up for a different taste. Easy peasy way to keep things fresh.

Ratios are for jerks.


Just throw in a couple scoops of ground coffee and enough water to fill a cup. Remember, real chefs don't measure. Coffee is an art, not a science. (Bonus tip, in case you want to get fancy: lots of ground coffee + a little bit of water = an espresso!)

And there you have it. Coffee that will make you feel like you're right there in Veñaza City.

Check out all my Truthwitch party posts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday if you celebrate (and even if you don't)! Hope you get to spend it with a great book, a dog, cookies, cake, hot chocolate, warm sweaters, clean underwear, socks with no holes, socially aware relatives, and all the people you love. XOXO

Monday, December 21, 2015

Shop Talk with Leigh Bardugo


I love Leigh Bardugo. She just spouts off wisdom like a teapot, and I always look forward to her events, Twitter chats, livestreams, etc. because I know I'm going to learn something new. It just so happens that Monica Sanz (@MonicaBSanz), Rebecca Sky (@RebeccaSky), Erin Latimer(@ELatimerWrites), and Leah Crichton (@LDCrichton) of the Wattpad4 hosted a Twitter chat with Leigh back in November and I was lucky enough to catch it.

As always, I'm not recapping what happened play-by-play, but instead highlighting what I found to be the most interesting & insightful moments. But... it was a short chat, so this is pretty comprehensive. ;D

Tell us why/how you started writing, and what inspired you to write the Grisha trilogy.


I was born of poor but honest folk... Erm, this is a tough one. Always wanted to be a writer, trick was finishing a book. I had a bad habit of starting strong and then just fizzling out. I needed to find my process (for me it's outlining). I'm going to tell you what EVERYONE tells you, banish perfection! Write a dreadful, messy, shoddy first draft but FINISH. I think we get a little too hung up on inspiration or THE BIG IDEA. The first idea is easy, first act is easy. The trick isn't falling in love, it's staying in love.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Illuminae: A Short Debriefing (Am I Not Merciful?)

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Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf/Random House Children's Books
Publication date: October 20, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

Summary (via Goodreads):

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

I have a poor grasp on science fiction.

In the landscape of my mind, SF stands for San Francisco (or Saving Francesca, heyo!), a space opera is basically a musical that takes place in outer space, and a hyperspace jump drive is just another word for a USB stick.

See? Science fiction. Not really my thing. But Illuminae? It           blew me away.

A day may come when I am able to speak intelligently about this book. But it is not this day. This day, I can only describe my thoughts on Illuminae in computer-generated graphical representations.

So. That's what I'm doing. DON'T LOOK AT ME.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Killed It (And Me) In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

10 days to Christmas! 2 weeks to 2016! Where has the time gone?!? Looking back, I read SO many incredible books this year. I didn't get to all the books I wanted to read (Queen of Shadows and Six of Crows for starters... although I blame my reluctance and general slowpoke-ness on The Hype™), but I did manage a good amount of new releases, a handful of debuts, and plenty of backlist titles. (Urgh, does anyone else hate the word "backlist" as much as I do?) Out of all the books I read, these are the ones that stood out the most.


Best Fantasy: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

This book destroyed my life. I know people have mixed feelings about the middle child of a series, but Siege and Storm was everything I think the second book in a trilogy should be. Here's why I loved it...

Best Science Fiction: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I should have a label just for my Illuminae posts. Here's my fake review of Illuminae. Here's my Illuminae playlist. Here are some pictures I took of the interior. Here's my recap of the book panel and signing with Amie and Jay.

Best Historical Fiction: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

If Hitler and Nazi Germany hadn't lost the war... I said it once, and I will say it again: HOLY SCHEISSE! Powerful writing, fascinating characters, and an unimaginable story imagined. Get ready for your mind to be blown. AND the second and final book comes out in 2016 – in March, I think!


Best Contemporary: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I read this book way back in June and I still find myself thinking back on those little moments between Mac and Sydney. The Kwackers, the pizza deliveries to the middle school gym, the first time Mac laid eyes on Sydney... Here's thirteen other reasons why Saint Anything is my favorite contemporary from this year.

Best Literary Fiction: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

A+ for diversity, representation, and complex family dynamics. This is actually Celeste Ng's debut novel and it is beautiful. Read more of my thoughts on Everything I Never Told you here.

Best Debut: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Ha. Ha. Ha. This debut from Estelle Laure killed me. I'M DEAD. I can't even talk about it. Just read my sort-of-review and you'll understand why.


Best New Adult: Ricochet by Krista and Becca Ritchie

I like to consider 2015 my breakthrough year in terms of NA reads. Krista and Becca Ritchie's Addicted series is one that has really stuck with me (for good and bad reasons, which I talk about in this post). I'm slowly making my way through the rest of the books, but I loved this companion novel they published from Lily's POV. It made me cry in a public space. It also made me realize that I love Lily Calloway like she's my own child.


Best Standalone: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Oh, look! Another book that I loved. LOVED. Looooooved. The story is a delight – so magical, such an escape – and the relationships! The slow burn! Excuse me as I internally combust from all the feelings! Siiiigh. If you missed it, here's my complete review of Uprooted.

Best Novella: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

This was such a treat to read. In fact, I would like to read it again, but I'm scared of the feels. Here's my review (with Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight spoilers!).


Best Series: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

I feel like I talk about the Grisha Trilogy/Leigh Bardugo/Nikolai Lantsov ALL. THE DAMN. TIME. Did I reeeeally read Shadow and Bone for the first time just SIX months ago? Leigh has become one of my all-time favorite authors, and my goal is to get progressively cooler and less awkward every time we meet.

Storytime! I always forget (or erase from my memory) the little fact that I didn't love Shadow and Bone. Fortunately, there was one little moment, one line, that really struck a chord. The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.

THANK THE LITERARY GODS FOR THAT LINE because it pulled me through the Shadow and Bone and compelled me to check out Siege and Storm (and that book was the ultimate gamechanger for me – I wrote a mini-review of it here and shook in withdrawal for DAYS), followed by Ruin and Rising (which I loved so much that I wrote about it twice: non-spoilery version here and uncontrollable, spoilery outbursts & general flailing here).

Oh, and I put together a playlist for the series here, too. It's pretty dang good if I do say so myself.


Best Female Protagonist: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

If you haven't read this book already, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR. Here. You need this list of 7 things I loved about The Wrath and The Dawn. And then you need to get yourself a copy of this book. And then we can rejoice over the amazing, sassy female protagonist that is Shahrzad. We will bond over her expensive jewelry! We will laugh about tiny cucumbers! It will be a grand time!

Best Male Protagonist: The Queen of Attolia by Meghan Whalen Turner

Yes. Eugenides from The Queen's Thief series. Not Nikolai Lantsov, the love of my life from the Grisha trilogy. It's Gen. Gen! I'm surprising even myself with this choice.

I mean, did I highly dislike The Thief? Yes. I really hated it SO much. And while I did not love The Queen of Attolia either, there were little bits of dialogue that made me think, "Hmmmm. There is something here."

So I haven't totally, completely written off this series. Plus, Gen just gives me distant Froi* vibes and let me tell you, FROI VIBES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.

*Froi from Melina Marchetta's Lumatere Chronicles (speaking of which, I've just realized I DON'T HAVE A MELINA MARCHETTA TAG ON MY BLOG. WHAT IN THE WHAT!!!).

Best Friendship (TIE): A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith / Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I have SO MANY FEELS about Annabeth and Steven's friendship in Hilary T. Smith's A Sense of the Infinite. (Also, come to think of it, Annabeth and Ava are amazing too?!??) Friendships that last through the thick and the thin (snotty tears withstanding!) are A+ in my book. Read more about my thoughts on A Sense of the Infinite here!

And for a best friend-ship that most of you are probably already familiar with, given the rave reviews this book has received all year... Agnieszka and Kasia from Naomi Novik's Uprooted. Hooooly crap, you guys. Their friendship is powerful and magical and just #FRIENDSHIPGOALS. Here's my review on Uprooted. I go on and on about their friendship and I call it a force to behold. Because it is. BEHOLD.

So, that's my list for this year! I can't wait for 2016 – so many exciting books coming out (Truthwitch! Strange the Dreamer from Laini Taylor!), and so many great books still to read.

Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you agree/disagree? What other books would you recommend for each of these categories? I especially need more dashing male protagonists in my life!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Longest Night by Andria Williams – Like Playing a Sad Song on Repeat

Title: The Longest Night
Author: Andria Williams
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: January 12, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

Summary (via Goodreads):

In 1959, Nat Collier moves with her husband, Paul, and their two young daughters to Idaho Falls, a remote military town. An Army Specialist, Paul is stationed there to help oversee one of the country’s first nuclear reactors – an assignment that seems full of opportunity.

Then, on his rounds, Paul discovers that the reactor is compromised, placing his family and the entire community in danger. Worse, his superiors set out to cover up the problem rather than fix it. Paul can’t bring himself to tell Nat the truth, but his lies only widen a growing gulf between them.

Lonely and restless, Nat is having trouble adjusting to their new life. She struggles to fit into her role as a housewife and longs for a real friend. When she meets a rancher, Esrom, she finds herself drawn to him, comforted by his kindness and company. But as rumors spread, the secrets between Nat and Paul build and threaten to reach a breaking point.

Based on a true story of the only fatal nuclear accident to occur in America, The Longest Night is a deeply moving novel that explores the intricate makeup of a marriage, the shifting nature of trust, and the ways we try to protect the ones we love.

Many thanks to Random House for sending me this electronic copy via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Andria Williams makes a gorgeous authorial debut with The Longest Night, a story that explores one family's complex, tangled relationships with neighbors, with friends, and with each other. Williams throws us into a sleepy town where much of life revolves around the presence of one of the country's earliest nuclear reactors. From the start, we know that something's not quite right with the ol' CR-1, and this feeling of unease grows and grows until we reach a tipping point. It's hard to imagine that The Longest Night is based on a true story: the events feel like they're straight out of a science fiction plot, and the 1950s have never felt so iconic yet, strangely, so unimaginable.

The high tension setting provides the perfect backdrop for the messy interpersonal dynamics in the story. Interactions between Nat and Paul, husband and wife, feel more loaded somehow – as though the two are dancing on shaky ground. Every observation feels sharper, more significant, more pressing. Paul reflects on his life before Nat, while Nat reflects on who she was then and who she is now; and meanwhile you're sitting there thinking about the complexity of marriage and love and friendship – how we sometimes fall into things and how, for better or for worse, time turns relationships into something you had never expected.

And so, when Nat is presented with a choice, a fork in the road, it's difficult to say which way she should go. There's no black and white answer – Williams develops the story and these characters in a way that makes it so easy to understand and justify their actions and thoughts, even if you know that they're walking a fine line, teetering somewhere between status quo and free-fall. Throughout the book, you feel as though these characters are forever playing with something, some force, that is beyond them – whether it's the nuclear reactor, or the institution of marriage, or the expectations of society in the 50s... And maybe you know what they should do, how they should respond, but if you're being totally honest with yourself, you find that mostly you just want them to shirk the responsibilities and obligations, and instead choose the path that will give them the greatest happiness.

As I reflect on Williams' story, I'm realizing that this entire book is a study in character – in people, in who we are and who we become and how people affect us and shape us over time. At its heart, this is a story of life and desire and the values we carry with us. The characters in The Longest Night are fascinating: flawed and fucked up, and still there's something that keeps you turning the pages, wanting to know more about them, even if you can't.

And isn't that just so true to life? You can never know a person's entire story. All you can do is watch and observe and make sense of actions and try to draw out meanings from things and people that are unknowable. And there's something sacred about that. Andria Williams puts it brilliantly, this pleasure of not quite knowing:

I wanted to keep that moment where he was so grown-up and so perfect that I wasn’t quite sure it was really him. I wanted to keep it like I could have it forever and ever, over and over, that feeling of recognizing.

That's what this book is. It's not knowing. It's ambiguous. It's disturbing. It's unfair. It doesn't have a perfectly happily ever after ending – but it's okay, because this book is a reflection of life and there's no such thing as a neat resolution. And by the time you get to the last page, you don't really want the disingenuous fairytale ending anyway. What you want is something that feels real – and that real-ness is what you get. The Longest Night feels a little bit like a sad song, but it's a song you want to play over and over again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

00100011 01100010 01111001 01100101 / Illuminae Fanmix

Some books are impossible to talk about – maybe the words don't come, maybe your thoughts aren't cohesive. All you really know is what you felt while reading the words on the page... the grief, the fear, the surprise, the worry, the secondhand heartbreak and love...

I can't figure out a way to share that experience in my own words, so I crafted a playlist to do it for me.

It's thirteen songs that embody my own experience reading Illuminae. These songs are a little bit electronic, a little bit futuristic, unearthly. It's the present-day version of what I would expect to hear in 2575. It represents moments, pages, general vibes. And I threw in that Explosions in the Sky song as a memorial to the people who die in this book. Because they deserve it. Especially that one character in particular. Who I'm still crying about.

Anyway. Thanksgiving is tomorrow – whether or not you celebrate, I hope you're all surrounded by the people you love and who love you back. Here's what I'm thankful for this year: my close-knit family, my privilege, and the fact that I'm not being hunted down by intergalactic terrorists.


"Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death."

listen on spotify )

01 // Beyond Daft Punk (x)
The perfect song is framed with silence / It speaks of places never seen / Your home's a promise long forgotten / It is the birthplace of your dreams

02 // Milk and Cookies Melanie Martinez (x)
Hush, little baby, drink your spoiled milk / I'm fucking crazy, need my prescription filled / Do you like my cookies? They're made just for you / A little bit of sugar, but lots of poison too

03 // Digital Love Daft Punk (x)
Last night I had a dream about you / In this dream I'm dancing right beside you / I don't know what to do about this dream and you / I wish this dream comes true

04 // Fuck Em Only We Know Banks (x)
Did I say / You're all that matters to me anyway / I'd give up everything to see your face

05 // Prophet Pretty Lights (x)

06 // Gifted N.A.S.A. ft. Kanye West, Santigold & Lykke Li (x)
You don't know my mind / Like I've said a thousand times / I gotta stay ahead / Know what I'm fighting for

07 // Remember Me As A Time Of Day Explosions in the Sky (x)

08 // Be Together Major Lazer ft. Wild Belle (x)
Maybe if the stars align, maybe if our worlds collide / Maybe on the dark side we can be together

09 // Waiting Game Banks (x)
What if I never even see you 'cause we're both on a stage / I don't wanna say your love is a waiting game

10 // Thousand Miles Tove Lo (x)
That's when I run / All of these thousand miles to get you back

11 // Light It Up Major Lazer ft. Nyla (x)
We live where the war is raging / Chasing our crazy dreams / Hoping that the bridge won't cave in

12 // The Game of Love Daft Punk (x)
There is a game of love / This is the game of love / And it was you, the one that would be breaking my heart when you decided to walk away / I just wanted you to stay / Me, I just wanted you to stay

13 // Svefn-g-englar Sigur Rós (x)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Things I Learned at the Illuminae Book Tour in NYC


On Saturday I went to an author panel at Books of Wonder with Kendall Kulper (Drift and Dagger), Mackenzi Lee (This Monstrous Thing), Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Illuminae), and Jon Skovron (This Broken Wondrous World). I was mostly there to see Amie & Jay – it was the last stop of their Illuminae tour, and I have a thing about Aussie authors, and I also have a thing about Illuminae, so how could I resist?

If I were a more diligent person, I would have taken notes and pictures and written down all the questions that were asked, but alas we can't all be Jo from Wear the Old Coat, so instead I've just searched the recesses of my brain to cobble together the most interesting bits from this event.

There were maybe fifty people in attendance, mostly teens, which was good (I always feel kinda squicky when I see pictures from YA book events and the front row seats are filled by adults). There was also a moderator with a very laissez-faire attitude toward moderating (in other words, the best kind of moderator!), which made the panel a lot more interactive... kind of like Twitter, but with more face time and no character limits.

Anyway GOD I'M SO SORRY – I'm really sucking at highlighting the "interesting bits." Let's just jump right in.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Note to Self (from Junot Diaz) & Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

How is everyone doing with NaNoWriMo so far?? I have personally released myself from the bonds of National Novel Writing Month. Yep – released. No, I'm not "giving up" or "quitting." I'm setting myself FREE!!!

What I've learned is that the hype & excitement over NaNoWriMo is incredible. It's forced me to be excited, once again, about the stories that have been swirling around my head. Like air kick, back flip, hi-YAH excited. It's forced me to write a thousand words, pause, and rethink the story I want to tell. And it's made me more focused about who my characters are and what they become.

What I've learned is that my villain is not the villain, my love interest is not the love interest, the friendship is more important than the romance, and bad decisions are all relative. And I think, I hope, that that's what makes for complex characters and sophisticated, compelling stories.

What I've learned is that writing by hand in a composition book is easier said than done. But it's still perhaps less daunting than facing a white screen on a computer with your cursor blinking. Blinking. Blinking.

What I've learned is that getting words out, in any way you can, is what matters. And that a first draft is destined to be a trainwreck. And that is okay.

But what I've also learned is that the pressure of writing 50,000 words, and being surrounded by people who tweet or blog about their progress ("11k words and I'm only on Day 2!" or "I FINISHED DRAFT 1 OF MY NOVEL IN 4 DAYS" – Cait from Paper Fury, I'm looking at you, you incredible supernatural being), gives me mega anxiety and doesn't motivate me at all, even though I know in my head that this isn't a competition.

So yes, I hereby declare that I am no longer tied to the NaNoWriMo machine.

But to all those who have been chugging along on their novels – good job and good luck. And to those of you who have similarly decided to write your novel on your own terms and your own timeline, I throw a fistful of confetti in your general direction. Huzzah! These words of wisdom belong you to you, too.

"A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway." – Junot Diaz

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Moment of Truth(witch)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I wanted to have a weekly feature on this blog where I talk about all the new releases I'm looking forward to reading – I had the best/worst name for it too: Worked Up Wednesday!!? But then I discovered there is a far more legitimate weekly feature that already exists in the book blogging world, and that feature is the less charmingly named but more universally recognized "Waiting On Wednesday." So, officially, this feature will be called that – but just know that I'm still referring to it as Worked Up Wednesday in my head.

This week, I'm talking about TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard.

Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: January 5, 2016

Summary (via Goodreads):

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble – as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

I've had the opportunity to read a preview of the book, and I think this one is going to be really good (and not just because I'm on the street team, hah!). In the 15 chapters I've read, I've noticed a few things...

1. Susan Dennard puts so much care into crafting a story.

She knows every single thing about the world she's built – the history, the magic, the language, the political strife... even the best (and worst) place to grab a cup of coffee. And she knows each of her characters like the back of her hand: Iseult and Safi and Merik and Aeduan and Uncle Eron and Prince Leopold and Alma – their backgrounds, their insecurities, their joys... It's very clear to the reader that there's more to each of these people than what's printed on the page – that they're all complex and multi-faceted and just compelling. It's impossible not to turn the page.

2. Susan Dennard has said that she loves a slow burn romance, and it shows.

I cannot wait to read more about Iseult and Safi and Merik and Aeduan as they get to know each other – they're all fascinating in their own right, and I want to see how they (and their relationships, whether romantic or not) grow and change over the course of this book. Susan Dennard is good at writing moments and interactions that feel powerful and intense and a little bit steamy and a little heartbreaky, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of that in Truthwitch.

3. Characters with diverse backgrounds and stories!

I am particularly excited about this!!! Listen, you've got a main character who is an outcast, part of a nomadic group that represents the lowest rung of society; another main character who comes from nobility but has a dangerous secret and shirks expectations through her bravery and love of adventure (and trouble); a handsome hot-tempered prince whose nation is in poverty; and a monk and assassin with questionable morals... And those are just the main characters! Let's not forget Safi's alcoholic military strategist uncle, or Iseult's annoyingly perfect but unexpectedly fierce childhood friend!

So many interesting pieces to this story and so many things to anticipate. And here's a bonus for you – if you preorder by January 4, you're eligible to receive a free signed bookplate and double-sided poster with your order. (First 2000 preorders and available in US/Canada and UK only, though.) You can read up on all the details at TheWitchlands.com.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Brief Intermission: Illuminae

Normally I like to highlight snippets and quotes from the books I'm currently reading, but Illuminae has been a treasure trove from cover to cover, and I wouldn't even know where to begin. So instead I'm going to share some of the photos I've been taking obsessively while reading. The book is a goddamn work of art, honestly – I'm so stinkin' impressed with it.



There we are. Isn't it marvelous? I borrowed this from the library and by the time I was a quarter of the way through, I was sure of two things: First, Edward was a vampire. First, the hype is 1000% deserved. Second, I desperately need my own copy of this book. (Which I bought. And which will arrive just in time for Saturday's book signing with Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.) I am mega excited about the event now! If all goes well, I'll try and do a recap of the event on here next week! xo

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tonight the Streets Are Ours But I'd Rather Netflix and Chill

Title: Tonight the Streets Are Ours
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: September 15, 2015
Rating: ★★★

Summary (via Goodreads):

That's how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she's grown resentful of everyone – including her needy best friend and her absent mom – taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn't even met her.

Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music – the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does – Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

Pancakes, Nebraska, Tonight the Streets Are Ours. What do these three things have in common? They're all FLAT. In a nutshell, Leila Sales' latest book did not meet my expectations.

What doesn't work for me:


There's not a character in this book that I care about, from "recklessly loyal" Arden to her actually-terrible best friend Lindsey to Peter the Internet sensation (who, in my opinion, is 1000% overrated from the start).

Our narrator Arden is especially frustrating to read. She seems to see herself as a saint, which is the strangest thing because we're seeing the world through her eyes, and even then it's pretty clear that what Arden considers to be her strength is really her biggest flaw. I mean, sure, sometimes it's hard for us to recognize our own shortcomings... but it's still exhausting to read a character who continually paints herself as a victim and refuses to acknowledge her part in things.

But I'm biased in that respect. I like stories with women who take responsibility for their lives, never mind if they're "likable" or whether or not they make good decisions – at least they're owning those decisions. I don't take well to characters who complain about their circumstances but don't take steps to change them... and for me, Arden fits smack dab in the middle of that category.

Sadly, the story development is lacking, too. The plot line itself is intriguing, but there are a lot of throwaway details – scenes, events, moments, characters – that make the story feel unfinished. Plot points are revealed much too conveniently, with lots of telling and not enough showing. Resolution comes easy ("I was wrong," "no, I was wrong," "no, trust me, it was my fault," "it was both our faults, now let's kiss and make up"), and key themes are written in a way that feels a little bit preachy and forced ("love isn't this simple thing that I always thought it was, it's actually this other simple thing!").

Leila Sales' writing style in this book is also just too clunky for my taste. It's told in the third person perspective, but shifts from past to present. Interesting stylistic techniques resonate much more with me when the story and characters are equally compelling, but since I didn't care for either, the writing style felt out of place and mismatched.

I just wasn't into this book. That being said, there are a few things I did appreciate about it.

What works for me:


The cover is beautiful. And when it comes to giving books a chance, that's half the battle, isn't it? The colors are gorgeous, the photo is classic (though it doesn't really represent the story), and the typography is so lovely. It's just a really pretty cover.

Leila Sales writes New York City perfectly. According to this map, I am a Real New Yorker, so you can trust me on this. It's fun to read and recognize and imagine these places and moments in New York City – the Cube at Astor Place and the homeless people and anarchopunks that do indeed sleep under and around it... the wild imaginative loft parties... the incredible window displays along 5th Avenue... the rambling late night walks on streets that are empty enough to feel like they're really yours... Leila Sales captures the city vibe extremely well and makes it feel as awful and as magical as it is in real life.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a contemporary read with some strong elements and an interesting premise, and I like that there are some unexpected twists in the story, but the plot is poorly developed, the writing is awkward, and the characters fall flat. Tonight the streets may be ours, but I think I'd rather Netflix and chill.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm Obsessed With a Story About Beautiful Rich White People & I'm Not Sure How To Feel About It

I hope everyone's got a nice cup of tea on hand because we've got a long discussion ahead... Here's the deal. I've started reading this new adult series and I have so many conflicted feelings about it.

On one hand, I love it. A lot.


The characters in the Addicted series are complex and real. They're not all likable – in fact, they're all pretty unlikable and insanely flawed, but everyone is written in a way that feels relatable, even if it's impossible to ever truly understand their experiences.


I also love this series because it explores important issues like sex addiction and alcoholism, and it does so in a really intelligent, honest, and respectful way. Despite the strides we've made in sex positivity and sexual empowerment, sex addiction continues to be a taboo subject in society. Still, Krista and Becca Ritchie make it accessible and understandable without ever dumbing it down or relying on hurtful stereotypes to tell the story.

The other books in the series delve into issues like gender roles and double standards, friendship and sisterhood and what those things can look like, addiction and its impact on both the addict and the people around them... This series is meaningful and important, and it tells stories that matter.

And yet...


And yet. Even though it does represent a subset of diversity, I feel guilty about reading it and supporting it. The main characters are all white. They are rich. They are all described as conventionally attractive – most of them look like models, tall, with perfectly tousled hair, sharp cheekbones, thin bodies. I mean, it's not hard to rationalize – a WASP-y community is, by default, rich and white.


But it does beg the question: Do we need to keep glorifying and telling stories from the same perspective again and again? Every time you buy a book, you're saying, "I support this author and this genre and the subject matter and everything that makes this book what it is." And sometimes I get tired of continually supporting work that ignores the existence of other cultures, including my own.

In the grand scheme of things, the Addicted books are far less problematic than most of what's getting released into the world. But it represents characters so far on the other end of the spectrum that it's hard for me to ignore just whose stories are being told. Especially when I look through the fanmade graphics and edits for the series and all I see is one beautiful white face after another.

It's okay to consume and enjoy problematic media.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

batshit & beautiful * – Fanmix for Wild Awake


“I want to kiss you," I say, "but I seem to be holding this cat."

Skunk lifts his hand and touches it to the side of my face. His fingers are warm from carrying the hot skillet to the table. He regards me very seriously, and for a moment I wonder if he's about to tell me we should Focus on Bicycle Repair. Instead he just looks at me for a very long time.

"You're beautiful," says Skunk, "and completely batshit.”

listen )

01 // (Hospital Vespers) The Weakerthans
Doctors played your dosage like a card-trick / Scrabbled down the hallways yelling "Yahtzee!" / You tried not to roll your sunken eyes and said "Hey can you help me, I can't reach it" / Pointed at the camera in the ceiling / I climbed up, blocked it so they couldn't see

02 // Going To Your Funeral Part I Eels
I knew that you were not insane / Living in the insane world

03 // Every Single Night Fiona Apple
Every single night's a fight with my brain / If we had a double-king-sized bed, we could move in it and I'd soon forget

04 // Youth Knows No Pain Lykke Li
Come on, honey, cut yourself to pieces / Come on, honey, give yourself completely / And do it all although you can't believe it / Youth knows no pain

05 // Heavy In Your Arms Florence + the Machine
My love's an iron ball, wrapped around your ankles, over the waterfall

06 // Numb Marina and the Diamonds
I feel numb most of the time / The lower I get the higher I'll climb, and I will wonder why I got dark only to shine

07 // Mad World Gary Jules
When people run in circles it's a very, very mad world

08 // I Wanna Be Yours Arctic Monkeys
I wanna be your vacuum cleaner / Breathing in your dust / I just wanna be yours

09 // I Luv the Valley OH Xiu Xiu
That's a pill and you've got to take it / I won't rest until you take it

10 // A Better Son/Daughter Rilo Kiley
You’ll fake it if you have to, and you’ll show up for work with a smile, and you’ll be better, and you’ll be smarter, more grown up and a better daughter or son

11 // Love Out of Lust Lykke Li
We will live longer than I will / We will be better than I was / We can cross rivers with our will / We can do better than I can

12 // Falling Florence + the Machine
Sometimes I wish for falling, wish for the release, wish for falling through the air to give me some relief

13 // Don't Die in Me Mirah
And if you want something back / All the things that got cracked / When I felt like you lied to me / And all the million mistakes and the kicks in the face / But I don't want you to die in me

14 // P.S. You Rock My World Eels
I was at a funeral the day I realized I wanted to spend my life with you / And I was thinkin' about how everyone is dying / And maybe it's time to live

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Halloween Costumes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I went on a bit of a Halloween costume rampage yesterday, but I seem to be on a bit of a roll, so what's a few more?! Here are my picks for fun & unexpected bookish costumes.


Rainbow Fish. Confession: I was Rainbow Fish for Halloween last year! But clearly I need to be hanging around more book people because nobody got it. I found this amazing rainbow sequin vest that sort of looks like fish scales – it was so perfect that I had to buy it. A sparkly blue-green shirt, a purple cardigan, a fluffy purple skirt, and blue tights made up the rest of my ensemble. I wore electric orange lipstick (fish lips!) and tied metallic blue ribbons in my hair and painted my nails glittery gold. I plan to improve on my costume every year moving forward until I am #RainbowFishGoals.


The Little Prince. I admit I am not totally sure how to accomplish this. I suspect a floor-length robe (or cape), a gold scarf, and a flower are good starting points. Maybe some bird- or star- shaped balloons, too. Speak in riddles and when people ask you questions, change the subject to something else entirely.

The Secret Garden. Decorate your clothes with fake flowers & vines & twigs and branches. Throw on an oversized trench coat. When people ask what you're supposed to be, look around surreptitiously, then flash open your coat and say, "I'm the secret garden."


Harriet the Spy. Who else pretended to be Harriet the Spy as a kid?! I think by now I have her outfit down pat: a striped shirt, flare jeans, Converse sneakers. A tool belt that holds a flashlight, pen, mirror, and some rope. A red hoodie – or, if you're going for film accuracy, a yellow raincoat. A composition notebook with the words PRIVATE on top. Maybe bring a tomato sandwich to snack on.

Dorian Gray. Put on a suit or an evening gown – just look as swanky as possible. Take a hideous picture of yourself, print it out, and put it in a frame. Carry it with you all night and get twitchy when people ask you about the portrait you're holding.

Baby-Sitters Club. This would be a group costume, but I've ALWAYS wanted to get my friends to dress up as the whole gang. Okay, so Kristy Thomas would obviously wear a turtleneck, mom jeans, and a baseball cap. Maybe she could carry a clipboard too. Mary Anne Spier would wear a jumper and Mary Janes or saddle shoes with bobby socks, with her hair braided in pigtails. And carry a box of tissues everywhere. Stacey McGill would have her hair permed out huge, and she'd probably be wearing a black off-the-shoulder sweater with, like, green leggings, with her nails painted a sophisticated pink. Claudia Kishi would have 3 different earrings in each ear, an ugly sweater, a windbreaker from the 80s, zebra print mom jeans – I mean, basically just pick one thing from your mom's closet, one thing from your dad's closet, and 5 different pieces of jewelry, and you're good to go. And for Dawn Schafer, you could probably just go with ripped jeans and a tie-dyed t-shirt that says SAVE THE WHALES. Maybe carry around kale juice for bonus points?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Discussion: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard


I'm participating in the Something Strange and Deadly readalong, hosted by Stephanie Kaye & the Waterwitch Babes over at Steph in Wonderland. (Incidentally, Stephanie Kaye & the Waterwitch Babes would be an AMAZING band name, don't you think?) We're about halfway through the book, but it's not too late to join & catch up – I read the whole thing in about 3 days and have already started the next book in the series, A Darkness Strange and Lovely.

First off, let me just say this – Something Strange and Deadly is such a fun, spooky read for fall: paranormal and a little bit dark and filled with characters who manage to shirk my expectations of who they're supposed to be. The story is narrated by Eleanor Fitt, of the Philadelphia Fitts, which I think just means she descends from wealth and privilege. Over the course of the novel, Eleanor surprises me with her fire. That's not to say there aren't moments when she's wholly exasperating, but I like her feminism and how she's always pushing the edges of what's socially acceptable in the late 1870s.

Of all the characters, I think I am most intrigued by Daniel Sheridan, one of the Spirit-Hunters and a researcher of all things paranormal. He's cranky and funny and kind, and I love the way he interacts with Eleanor, both of them stubborn and awkward and passionate and sassy and set on protecting the people they love. They have such an interesting dynamic – soft moments and silly moments and salty moments that are just so entertaining to read.

"Don't think I'll look after you, though – the world would be better off with one less princess."
"I'm not a princess," I huffed, beating my brain for some worthy retort.
"A queen then?"
"No! That's not what I meant –"
"Oh, an empress. I see. Pardon me, Your Majesty."

I'm less excited about the remaining Spirit-Hunters. Joseph Boyer is the head of the group; I like that he's a POC character and that he's arguably the most proper of all of them – intelligent, composed, gentlemanly – but unfortunately he just doesn't make much of an impression upon me. The story moves so quickly that he just doesn't get that much facetime or character development.

As for Jie, my thoughts are still up in the air. I like the idea of her – a Chinese girl who is holding her own in a society where she's an outsider on so many levels – and I think there's a lot more to her story. I'm hoping we get to explore that more over the course of the next few books in the series.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Title: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Rating: ★★★★½

Summary (via Goodreads):

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I've been rereading the first three Throne of Glass novels to refresh my memory in preparation for Queen of Shadows, and I finally had the chance to read The Assassin's Blade, which includes all five of the pre-Throne of Glass novellas: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire.

This review contains spoilers for those who have not yet read Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight so proceed with caution, my little darlings.

I have always loved Celaena, in spite of her haughtiness and arrogance, or maybe because of it. I have always admired her. I loved her even more in Heir of Fire, watching her grow exponentially, seeing her confront her biggest fears and challenges.

But The Assassin's Blade made me respect and admire and feel for her infinitely more. It's that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, when you're observing something and you already know it's going to end badly. It's like watching a train come off its tracks – fascinating and horrifying and dreadful all at once. This is what it's like to read these novellas.

It's almost upsetting to hear her talk of the life she will lead once she's free of Arobynn Hamel – all you want is for her to be happy and for her to live the life she deserves… and for a moment, you almost forget that Sam dies and that Celaena ends up in Endovier and that everything else happens. For a moment, you entertain that dream with her. For a moment, you imagine what her life could have been had she stayed in the Red Desert from The Assassin and the Desert – not the most lavish of destinations, but maybe something good for her soul. How different things would be.

It's hard to watch things start to backfire, from the slave deal in The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, all the way to her sentence to Endovier in The Assassin and the Empire. Just thinking about it makes my heart squeeze painfully. I can't even get into what happens with Sam in The Assassin and the Underworld. Like, my brain will just not even go there.

And that's only the beginning of her story. To think about everything else Celaena has gone through… all this darkness that spans her life… she is one of the strongest characters I've ever read. You just want to tell Sarah J. Maas to give the girl a freaking break already. There's a line in Heir of Fire where Celaena says that she can't remember anymore what it feels like to be free. And reading that, and knowing all that happens in The Assassin's Blade, makes it so much harder to take.

I loved these stories. I love that they were meaningful and revelatory without being required reading. I love that they enhance the rest of the series – they make Celaena a more empathetic character; they reveal more of the world that Sarah J. Maas has built; they expand and play on little details mentioned briefly in the other books, like Dorian's sapphire eyes that feel like something she's forgotten, and the stolen Asterion horses from the Red Desert, and so much more… Such a treat for anyone who's read and enjoyed the Throne of Glass books.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

September/October Book Hauls

I'm running out of space on my bookshelf for all of my recent book acquisitions! Between Housing Works, Book Outlet, and all the used bookstores in Seattle, I've probably increased my library by thirty percent. Which is not saying much, since I only had like fifteen books in my apartment to start, but whatever! Space is a precious commodity in my life! Speaking of space… sorry these pictures are so big! Wish I knew how to fix it because it's giving me immense anxiety! Success!


Left: I FOUND SAVING FRANCESCA AT A USED BOOKSTORE. This was an awe-inspiring moment for me. There I was, standing in this tiny house that had been converted into a bookstore, this tiny house overflowing with cats (literally, cats around every corner), scanning the children's books section, when lo and behold – I spotted the rare Melina Marchetta, goddess of everything, her name embracing the spine of this book. I MUST HAVE IT, I said. And have it, I did.

Right: This picture and book hurl marks the start of my weekly trips to Housing Works (as well as the beginning of my Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel collection, yippee!). It started with an innocent study session – the only place where I could focus on preparing for my project management exam – and has ended ("ended") with frequent visits just to see what's new. Dear wallet: sorry I'm not sorry.


Left: My Book Outlet book hurl. I'm so excited to have gotten Siege and Storm (my favorite in the Grisha series) and Ruin and Rising (the collector's edition, which has that lovely bronze text on the cover). Also bought Wild Awake, which I feel like I frequently talk about on this blog, and Friday Never Leaving, née Friday Brown, by the illustrious Vikki Wakefield. As much as I love the original Aussie publication of Friday, I have to say that the cover of Friday Never Leaving (hardcover, not paperback) is freaking gorgeous and creepy and perfect for the book. Insert more gushing, bows down to Vikki Wakefield, etc. etc.

Right: I went to this yard sale in the Upper West Side this past Sunday. There was a woman with boxes and boxes of great books. I saw these hardcover Heroes of Olympus books, did a double take, and had to have them. I mean, seriously! Only a dollar each. I felt like I was committing theft, but I am so pleased because the only book I have left to purchase is BoO and soon there will be no more BoO HoO because my HoO collection shall be complete! (I think it's time for me to go to bed.)