Wednesday, October 26, 2011

GUEST POST: Author Jus Accardo talks about writing quirks!

Hello readers! Please welcome author Jus Accardo, who joins us to chat about her writing quirks. Be sure to check out her website, and check out her new release (coming out November 2011), "Touch"!

Without further ado... Jus!
5 Quirks About My Writing Process…

Quirks. Strange little rituals. We all have em. Some people have to check
the stove before bed—even if they haven’t used it. Others need to tie
their shoes in a specific order. A friend of mine will only drink soda on

Like everyone else, I have my quirks. Little things I need to do or have
while working. Here are a few of them…

1.      I need to be barefoot. Yes. I’m serious. I cannot work with shoes
on. Socks—yes. In the cooler temps, nice fluffy socks are a must
(preferably dry and untouched by doggie drool). Why? I have no clue. It’s
just one of those things. Like leftover pizza being eaten cold for
breakfast (Ick, by the way).

2.      I must have music and doggie snores. I know, I know. Odd combo.
But I can’t concentrate without the right tunes blasting and the subtle
duet of soft snores from the Narcoleptic Akita and the Duck beneath my
feet. The GSD doesn’t snore. It’s beneath her.

3.      Lights out. Yes, this is probably not the best thing for my eyes,
but I can’t write with the light on. Day light is okay, but once the sun
goes down, I need the light off. It’s distracting—which is funny because
during the holidays, I can’t write without the xmas lights on.

4.      CHEESE! It’s my snack of choice. I need fresh, (none of that
processed crap) salted Mozzarella while I write. Who among you can dispute
the awesomeness that is cheese? I dare you!

5.      I cannot plot. TOUCH was born without planning. It started with a
picture in my head and two characters whose voices would not be silenced
(which is pretty much how my brain works). I began writing and the story
unfolded as I went. All those funky twists and turns were unplanned. When
I started writing, I had no idea what was going to happen. Don’t get me
wrong. I envy the plotters. I ever tried to be one. I can sometimes get
away with a very rough outline, but anything more screws me up.

So what about you? Do you have any special rituals or funky quirks in your
daily routine?


Thanks so much for sharing, Jus! Personally, I find that sort of thing fascinating. We all have our little quirks and "must dos," and it's so cool to learn about other peoples'. Again, make sure to visit Jus at her website (link above), and learn more about her new book "Touch"!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Monday, October 24, 2011

REVIEW: "The Queen of Attolia" by Megan Whalen Turner

"The Queen of Attolia" by Megan Whalen Turner
Why this book?: I really enjoyed "The Thief" by Megan Whalen Turner, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on the second book and see how Gen's life continues.

Type: Series, Young Adult/Juvenile fiction, Fantasy (sorta!), Historical (sorta!), Thieves, Queens, War, I love it when a plan comes together

Recommendation: At my library/work, this book was classified as Juvenile (up to age 12), but I would more likely place this book in the Young Adult section. In book 1 ("The Thief"), Gen is a teenager, and he grows up fast in book two. Nothing too "adult" happens, but the subject matter is probably easier on older readers.

Disclaimer: This book was borrowed from my local library. I am not being compensated in any way for this review.

About the book: When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eudenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph--and his greatest loss--comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...

My Review: I loved book one, and this one was even better, I think. As mentioned in my "recommendation" section, I think I would definitely give this book to teens rather than juveniles, due to the amount of war planning, and just.. Gen is older. He acts more grown up, and I think it would just suit young adults/teens better than juveniles.

Gen was so amusing in the first book, "The Thief," and I figured I would see more of that. But Turner shows us a different side to Gen. After a tragedy that strikes early on in the book (It was shocking and a big plot point, so I won't give it away), we see Gen in a different light. He's morose, he barely cracks a smile, he honestly believes his life is over. It was heartbreaking so see a character so full of spunk in the first book so reduced to depression in the sequel. I will say this - there is hope for Gen.. indeed, there is a third book in the series.

I think people could get a lot out of this book. Not only is Eugenides (Gen) incredibly clever, but he's one of those heroes that overcomes adversity - that really rises above what happens to him early on in the novel. Turner is excellent at making you really feel for Gen, for making this characters real. I couldn't put the book down because I so needed to know what would happen, and how Eugenides would manage to get out of yet another sticky situation. If you love books where a complicated plan or con comes together.. definitely check out "The Queen's Thief" series by Megan Whalen Turner!

Cover Loving: The cover of the copy I read was different than the one above, but both are incredibly powerful - and make much more sense once you've read the book.

Final Rating: FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). Another excellent book. I really loved book one, and this one was equally as good. Gen's story just keeps getting better, and throwing me for a loop with every page.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. Use the link above to go directly to "The Queen of Attolia"'s page!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~