Tag Archives: ya

Gimlet by Lisa

I was seven when we moved into the house.  It was a huge place—a mansion, really.  I remember tiptoeing through the rooms like it was a museum, afraid to touch any of the ornate furniture.

My parents got it for a ridiculously low price.  Mom thought it must mean the house was a lemon, but Dad’s a contractor, and he checked the whole thing out himself.  I guess the reason it was so cheap was because people thought it was haunted.  Things would happen in the house… furniture would move, messes would be made that no one in the house saw happen.  It spooked people.  The house had been relisted seven times in the past five years.

My parents don’t believe in things like that, so it didn’t stop them from snapping the house up.  Little things did start to happen, but usually they just blamed me for it.  It wasn’t me.  It was him.

I liked to call him Gimlet.  We’d lived in the house for almost six months when I first saw him.  He was a tiny little man, maybe eight inches tall, with disproportionately wide hips and an oversized nose—everything else about him was thin and bony.  He was a very strange little man.

He was angry when I discovered him, toppling over the bobbins of thread in my mother’s sewing room.  He screamed at me in a language I didn’t understand, jumping up and down in a rage.  I think he was mad that we’d come and lived in his house without asking him.

I tried to tell my parents about Gimlet, but they thought I was making up stories.  When I showed my mother the sewing room, she folded her arms and gave me a lecture about how I should never blame things on other people—especially imaginary ones.

After that, Gimlet wouldn’t let me sleep at night.  He’d come in and pull my hair and pinch my nose and make a ruckus, right next to my ears.  I didn’t know what to do.  I tried telling Mom about him again, but she was still mad about the sewing room, and she just ignored me.

And then it hit me.  Maybe Gimlet wasn’t so bad… maybe I just wasn’t treating him the way I should be.  I was a Girl Scout, after all… I knew what Brownies were.  Brownies were helpful creatures.  I didn’t know if Gimlet was a Brownie, but it gave me an idea.

Continue reading


Book Geek Wednesday: The Evolution of Book Trailers

In case you guys haven’t noticed (which if you read the blog on an even semi-regular basis, you must have) I have a thing for book trailers. I really love the possibilities of the medium. The combination of ambiance, visual imagery, and that somehow still capture the ‘feel’ of a book. It’s hard to explain but when a book trailer is done right… you just know.

This one made me giddy. Because something about it is just magical.

Book trailers walk a fine line. They should be more than just an advertisement, in a way. It’s not meant to look like a commercial, it’s meant to tell the story in much less space and time, to captivate the way a blurb captivates, or an excerpt. But many people don’t understand that about book trailers just yet.

Are there any other trailers you guys have seen that have really captured your imagination?

Movie Magic Monday: Books to Movies Updates

I’ve spent most of the weekend reading. Like hard core, walking with a book in my hand and crashing against doors kind of reading. Reading for pleasure and to refuel the muse. I haven’t done that for FAR too long. It felt SO good.

When I was done with my mental vacation (two books in two days!), I played online a bit and found some really awesome news, which you all might already know, but which I’m just finding out, so here it is.

On September 30th, Maggie Stiefvater announced that Shiver has been optioned for a movie. Can I beg for Lament and Ballad to join those ranks?! PLZ?!

That’s not all. Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty, is also coming to theaters.

Let’s get you even more excited, shall we? One of my very favorite characters of all time, Ramona Quimby, has a movie in the works! Ramona and Beezus comes out sometime in August of this year, and it stars Disney teen queen Selena Gomez, and itty bitty Joey King as Ramona.

And of course, no one can forget Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, (pt 1? seriously?), coming in September.


Is anyone else as psyched about this YA book to movie revolution?! It’s everywhere! Percy Jackson, Wimpy Kid, Eclipse, etc. I feel like I’m in movie heaven. Granted, they wont’ all be great. But the fact that they’re getting done and drawing attention to the amazing variety of YA books out there- priceless.

Book Geek Wednesday: Discussion

I thought I would try something a little different for Book Geek Wednesday this week.

I wanted to talk about what you-the readers- do when for some reason or another, you cannot get through a book. There are of course a million reasons why this might be happen. You might lead busy, active lives which leave little time for reading. These active lives might leave you too tired at night to get past a few pages at a time. You may be distracted, thinking about that job interview or that boy who works at the coffee shop. You might not be used to the genre or the voice (I always have to readjust when reading contemporaries, because I’m just NOT a contemporary kind of gal). The book may not be what you expected. Or… in the worst case scenario, it’s just not as interesting as you’d hoped.

What do you do? Do you continue to read or do you consider it a lost cause?

I’m someone who feels a certain obligation to a book once I’ve started it. It’s very difficult for me to just put it down and say forget it, not worth it. In fact, I can tell you how many times in my entire life that’s happened (3). It’s a rare occurence. But what if, despite your best intentions, you can’t seem to get through the book?

My suggestion: try, try, and try again. Books are such a personal thing. Often, their impact on us have to do with our own mood and head place. And often, a writer is setting something major up, and we just need to get past that ‘build-up’ to get to the good part.

This happened to me recently. I tried reading The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (I know, not FANTASY! But historical YA tends to create worlds of its own as well) and could NOT for the life of me get past the first chapter. I kept falling asleep.

A friend of mine raved about it left and right and I thought, am I missing something? So I tried again, and again. It took me 3 times and really pushing through that first chapter.  Boy am I glad I did. This book was fantastic, and the characters were so memorable. But it just took me a while to really get into the voice and the time period.

The second time this happened to me, I wasn’t so lucky. I kept struggling with A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, which I reviewed, and as you see, I wasn’t thrilled with it. But, not every book is going to be a home run.

I guess my point is, don’t give up on it, if you’re having a hard time getting through it. You may find it’s a treasure in disguise.


Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

bluenightmaresThis is one of those books that I’ve picked up in the book store probably a dozen times, then set it back down without even reading the back cover.  I admit it.  Even after having seen it probably a dozen times, I still didn’t have the faintest idea what it was about.  Then one day I finally just sat down and started reading it.  Yes, right there in the store.  I was recovering from a half-hour long walk (after a 45 minute workout that morning) so I really needed to sit for a bit, and finally I let my curiousity for “that colored candle series” overtake me.

Within a few pages, I was hooked.  I could tell right away that this narrator (first person, btw) was a cut above the average.  Firstly, I could almost hear  her voice in my head from page one.  I knew fairy quickly that I liked her, and that she was a fairly smart cookie.

And, oh yeah, it was scary.

I mean… spine-tingler suspense movie scary.  I don’t remember the last time I was this creeped out by a book.  There were nights when I’d finish a chapter, then have to read something safe (I mean, really safe, like Anne of Green Gables safe) just to uncreepify myself enough to turn the light off and go to sleep.

The main character, Stacey, is a witch who gets premonition-like dreams.  But she’s not an eye-of-newt kind of witch, or even the type you’d see on say, Supernatural, with hex bags and whatnot.  Stacey’s spells are all fairly homeopathic, including things like incense, olive oil and herbs.  So while hard-core Wiccan stuff freaks me out a bit, this was… okay.  This was something just about tangible stuff.  She knows her dreams—of someone trying to kill her best friend and roommie Drea—are possibly leading up to an actual event, since she’s had the unfortunate experience of dreaming murderly dreams before, but all she has to go on are her somewhat incoherent dreams.  Dreams, and the creepy messages and packages that keep appearing from the would-be killer.  All she has to help her figure all this out is her magic, and a little bit of guidance from her [dead] grandmother, who also had the gift.

Stacey’s dreams are really horror-story nightmare stuff, and I was flipping pages in this book faster than my norm by far.  The only disappointment I had in this book (no spoilers, I promise) is that the big confrontation scene at the end isn’t half as scary as the dreams leading up to it.  Possibly this is a good thing—and I guess it really does make sense now that I look back, because reality is rarely as bad as the things we can imagine, and the doubt of the unknown, but it seemed a little anti-climactic in the novel.

Still, I’m happily reading the sequel as we speak, and am already looking forward to finishing off the series with Stacey and her friends.  Very nice characters mixed in with the drama and scary stuff!

My rating overall: A very strong A-

Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Tithe by Holly Black


I came by owning this book quite accidentally.  I bought Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan, which also features a cover with a butterfly on it, and then at a closing sale for my hometown’s mall Borders, I bought what I thought were the sequels to that, but were of course Holly Black’s Tithe trilogy.  And so I used my Borders Bucks and bought Tithe itself.  I’d been meaning to anyway, I’d heard good things about it, and I generally like to see what the fuss is about when there is fuss.

Sadly, I can’t say that I enjoyed it.  Well, that’s not exactly right.  I enjoyed bits of it.  The Faerie world in it was certainly attractive and mesmerizing… but the human world seemed… just plain off.  Like Black was trying too hard to contrast the two, and had to up the harshness of the human world to an unrealistic level.  Besides the main character, I simply didn’t buy that these kids were kids.  They all seemed far too jaded, and a little caricature-ish.  And everything in the Faerie world seems… oh a bit too awful.  I mean, I never was the type who’d pretend faeries were supposed to be pretty, nice little things, but I’ve always felt that there had to be some niceness to them, otherwise why would people be so enamored with them?  I’d think you’d get tired of the cruelty to the point that the physical beauty simply couldn’t make up for it.

There’s something particularly dark going on with one of the main character’s human friends, too, that I really just don’t even know if I want to see where it leads to.  It can’t be anything good, at this rate, and again, what is the appeal of something that can’t lead to any good at all? As I already own the sequels, however, I will probably read them at some point.  I don’t have a lot of hope that they’ll get better though.

I give this a disappointed B-… leaning towards a C+.  Some people love it though… maybe one of you can tell me what I’m missing?


Myths and legends have been an integral part of literature since it was first formed.  As long as stories have been told, mankind has sought to embellish and enrich their lives by way of irreverent gods, baleful dragons, knights-errant, and damsels in distress.

In the modern world and in the face of modern literature, it is easy to brush aside fantasy as something of a lesser value, as if a story that requires a supernatural element in order to be told, must be lacking in some other way, but the fact remains that the oldest stories we have, from King Arthur to Beowulf have something of fantasy to them, and even Shakespeare himself deigned to control the actions of gods and fairies by way of his pen.

Of late, fantasy has been embraced especially by fans of Young Adult literature, as can be seen by the rising number of YA series involving witches, wizards, vampires and all forms of heroes, out to save countless dystopias.  Despite the popularity, though, there has been no central place created to celebrate the extents YA fantasy has reached.

That is our intent here, to create a place for authors and readers alike to find and share new worlds, just a step beyond our own.  To follow Alice down the rabbit hole, take the second star to the right and step through that dresser drawer… only we’ve been all those places before.  And there are many, many more waiting to be found if only we know where to look.  It’s those little entrances that we seek out here, a glassy pond, a locked door, a hollow tree…

In creating this blog, Isabelle and I are hoping to embrace and announce everything that is new and upcoming in that little world where Young Adult and Fantasy collide.  We are very committed to this liminal little genre, and hope to see it grow and flourish as time goes on.  We hope that this place can be a part of that.  We look forward to spotlighting novels and authors who excite us, and in hearing from you, the all-important reader, as we take this journey together.

%d bloggers like this: