Saturday, November 8, 2014

Confessions, Favorites and Peeves

20 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me Nuz Say It with BooksThe "20 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me" tag has been going around the blogosphere for some time and I was even tagged to do it

Since all the cool kids are doing it, I couldn't resist! ;) So here we go...

How tall are you?

I'm around 5 '3 and among my friends that's pretty tall so I mostly stick to flats. But there are days when I just need a pair of sky high heels! ;)

Do you have a hidden talent and if so, what?

I'm naturally thin and will not gain an ounce no matter how much I binge eat. So I guess my super power is an insatiable appetite? 

What is your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lets make your blog post shine

blogging tips and tricks steps to take before publishing blog post

You know that feeling when you've come up with an amazing blog post idea? You are are up all night composing this wonderful masterpiece and totally buzzed from all that caffeine. 

You finish the post and you are so damn proud of yourself. You are basically on cloud nine and there ain't no one going to bring you down.

You can't wait to hit publish and share this piece of awesome-ness with the world.


Seriously, don't hit publish.

A guide to making your blog post shine

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Irish Magic, Love and Horses

Author: Nora Roberts
Release Date: October 2nd 2014
Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #1
Source: Publisher

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.


County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…

Review: Dark Witch - Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is an author who's books I've read and loved over the years. She is one of those authors I associate with high school along with James Patterson, Danielle Steel, Jeffery Archer, John Grisham and Agatha Christie. Ah, good times.

Dark Witch is set in Ireland and I instantly fell in love with the beautiful setting. Roberts painted a spell binding picture and her writing bought this lush countryside to life. Iona, the protagonist relocates from America to Ireland to reconnect with her ancestors. She finally feels at home but everything is not as simple as it seems. Iona learns that the evil sorcerer who pursued her ancestor the dark witch, Sorcha is back. And this time the evil Cabhan has his sights set on Iona. Iona's destiny is interwined with her that of her cousins, Branna and Connor. The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy follows the journey of these three cousins as they band together to fight this great evil.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Currently ... Page 279 of 365

Say It with Books Sep 2014

Oh yes, we are currently on day 219. That's just CRAZY right?
That leaves me with 86 days before this year ends. Umm...WHAAAAAT? 

Oh well, here's what I am currently... 

READING Dark Witch by Nora Roberts! I finished Marissa Meyer's Cress a week back and I'm in love Captain Thorne. I cannot wait for Winter because JACIN CLAY. 

WATCHING How To Train Your Dragon 2 - Is it weird that I'm crushing on Hiccup? I'm also renewing my acquaintance with Mr Darcy. Made of Honor and About Time (I CANNOT resist a redhead) have gotten me going awwww.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Victorian Era - Beauty and the Beast Style

Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Piatkus
SeriesDarkest London #1
Release Date: 29 September 2014
Source: Publisher

Once the flames are ignited . . . 

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

Review: Firelight - Kristen Callihan

I did not know what hit me. But there is no doubt that Callihan has bowled me over with this Beauty and Beast-esque tale. It's been a while since I have come across a paranormal romance that is well, incredible.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mixology: The Banned Books Edition

Mixology: The Art of Pairing Mocktails + Banned Books

Confession: When I see a book added to a banned book list, I feel this irresistible urge to add it to my TBR. What can I say, I'm a rebel. ;)

To celebrate banned books week this year I've picked out 6 banned books that I simply must read. Also a bonus, I've paired them with mocktails because nothing enhances my reading experience better than a lovely beverage. Well, except chocolates. Cheesecake. And Pizza. Oh well, you get the idea.

Enjoy the pairings!

o1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: Sherman Alexie

“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That's right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that's kind of perverted or maybe it's just romantic and highly intelligent.” 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fighting Blogger's Guilt

Last month I spoke about my experience as a part time blogger
Julianne, my guest reviewer and blogger at Jules Bookshelf is here today to make some confessions of her own. This Daemon Black fangirl is also started college this year so finding the balance between life and blogging is sometimes quite a struggle. So here we go...




Friday, September 12, 2014

Warriors, Druids and the Iron Age

Author: Angus Watson
Release Date: September 9th 2014 
Source: Publisher

Bloodthirsty druids and battle-hardened Iron Age warriors collide in the biggest epic fantasy debut release of 2014.


Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people. 

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who's vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution. 

Now Dug's on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that's going to get them all killed . . .

It's a glorious day to die.

Review: Age of Iron - Angus Watson

Shockingly, I've come across very few books that are set in Britain during the Iron Age. Watson's Age of Iron paved the way for my debut into this sub-genre and I can safely say that it was a delightful experience.

What little is known about this time period is mostly learnt from the POV of Julius Casear. Watson makes a bold move by creating an epic story that is based on the could-have-beens of this era. And the touch of fantasy? Brilliant.

One of the novel's strongest points is the characters. The story begins with Dug, part seasoned warrior and part world weary mercenary who is hoping for a comfortable life in Zadar's army. Lowa, a female archer in Zadar's army is a force to be reckoned with. And then we have Spring, a mysterious, young girl who is on the run-she was an intriguing characters who was wise beyond her years.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Are you fearless?

I fear many things.

Heights. Enclosed spaces. Failure. Rejection. A world devoid of books and gummy bears. A zombie filled apocalypse. Running out of time. Becoming invisible.

Fear has been a constant companion throughout my life. A gut wrenching, stomach churning unseen force that makes my mind race with questions. A voice that plagues me with what-if's.

Terri Cole spoke about this 'Mind Mafia' over at Tiny Buddha and she has gotten me thinking about this concept of living fearlessly. I dove into the post with a healthy dose of skepticism because the idea of being fearless has always seemed idealistic. 

Is being fearless even possible? 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Long Live the King and Queen

Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #12
Published Date: 26 August 2014
Source: Publisher

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood . . .

Wrath and the Brotherhood are locked in an epic battle over his throne and the very future of the vampire race.

Review: The King - J.R. Ward 

After I finished Twilight I was on the hunt for less sparkly and more kickass vampires. I found them in J R Ward's The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Once I finished Dark Lover, I binge-read the rest of the books. Every year I eagerly anticipate the moment when Ward announces a new addition to the series.
Yes, BDB is that addictive - Run while you can guys. I know that I am far too gone and can't save myself.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

12 Tearjerkers That Will Bring Out The Ugly-Crier in You

Confession: A Walk To Remember, P.S. I Love You, My Sister's Keeper, The Notebook, Titanic and Marley & Me had me sobbing. And I loved them all. 

Every once in a while we need a good cry so a good ol' tearjerker is something that I adore.

So why do we love tearjerkers? I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt says it best.

“I think there is something beautiful in reveling in sadness. The proof is how beautiful sad songs can be. So I don’t think being sad is to be avoided. It’s apathy and boredom you want to avoid. But feeling anything is good, I think. Maybe that’s sadistic of me.” 

Today, I've put together a list of 12 tearjerkers that are guaranteed to move you to tears.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

20 truths from a part time blogger

01) The first few months you will fluctuate between yay-i-am-officially-a-blogger excitement and only-two-pageviews-fuck-this-i-am-done disappointment. Stay strong. The best is yet to come, it just takes time.

02) On SEO - Is it just me or does this feel like algebra all over again??

03) You will hit your 100 followers mark and damn, doesn't that feel good?

04) You will discover that sleep becomes a rare luxury when you have to juggle that full time job, your never-ending college assignments and a blog. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

She Shoots, She Scores?

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Source: Publisher

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

Review: On the Fence - Kasie West 

Kasie West's books has always been a sure win for me. Her dystopian debut, Pivot Point captivated me with it's time travel angle. When she followed it up with The Distance Between Us, another smashing success West became one of my auto-buy authors.

When it was revealed that she was releasing another contemporary this year Kasie West cult (including moi) went like Hallelujah. Tomboy falling in love with boy next door?? GIMME. The pre-release reviews were promising so I was definitely hyped up for the book.

I thought that I could count on West for a contemporary novel that would make the reader swoon, giggle and re-think. In short, I expected a mind blowing, coming of age read that I could would add value to the genre. And yes, majority of the readers thought that the novel succeeded in this aspect. Unfortunately, I'm with the minority saying nuh uh.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Currently ... August

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Hey guys! Another month just flew past and here we are. July was a blur so I'm hoping that August is a bit more relaxed. 

So here's what I am currently... 

MAKING lists with Any.Do - So addicted to this app!

WATCHING Teen Wolf. Missed a couple of episodes so I'm going to binge watch and catch up.

READING very little! Found it very difficult to fit in some reading time so more of that in the upcoming weeks. Loving J R Ward's The King now though!

LISTENING to Fall Out Boy's Sugar, We're Goin Down. I love their new sound but there old stuff is still epic!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

You, me and a cup of coffee

Hello my lovely peeps! Hope this week is treating you well. I remembered that this November I'll be celebrating my second blogversary so that got me thinking about my current state as a blogger. Ask any blogger and they'd swear that one of the best things about blogging is the people
It is the people in the blogging community and you readers who make this whole experience a beautiful one.

I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful bookish people thanks to blogging. Last year I met up with Mishma of As the Page Turns, another Sri Lankan book blogger at the Annual International Book Fair where we did some book shopping, chatted over pizza and had an absolutely fabulous time! This year I got the opportunity to meet Savindi of The Streetlight Reader, another Sri Lankan blogger from Canada when she visited Sri Lanka. Despite the short visit, we were able to have an enlightening and lovely chat about books, diversity, publishing and whatnot. 

Fangirling with Amelia of The Authoress, co-blogging with Rachel of The Book Empire, hosting guest reviews from Jules of Jules Bookshelf and getting into some INSANE conversations with the peeps on Twitter. Fun times. ;)

So where am I going with all this? Communication. Friendship. Connection. I'd like you to meet the girl behind this blog. And I'd like to get to know the reader behind that screen. Maybe one day we'll get the chance to sit across each other and talk books. And maybe not. But I'd still like to know you.

So picture this, we meet up for the first time and get start chatting. Me with a cup of coffee and a slice of heavenly blueberry cheesecake. You with a cup of bubble tea/latte and book on table between us. We start exchanging thoughts, swooning over those fictional hunks and giggling over some awful puns

So take a sip of that drink, sit back and lets talk.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Revered Twins, Thunder Hawks and Treachery

AuthorKelley Armstrong 
Series: Age of Legends #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 8 April 2014
Source: Publisher

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever

Review: The Sea of Shadows - Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong is an author whose books I read and loved so I was definitely excited for The Sea of Shadows. But when the pre-release reviews started coming in I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive. But once I started this YA fantasy novel there was no doubt that Armstrong still has "it". 

The elements of suspense, mythology, action and romance make The Sea of Shadows one hell of a page turner. The novel opens in the village of Edgewood, home to Ashyn and Moira. The twin sisters play the role of the Seeker and Keeper who protect the village from the Forest of the Dead. The sisters and their animal companions are revered because of the role they play in protecting Edgewood.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cover Trends: Less is More

2011 and 2012 were the years of the cliche Young Adult covers. Here are some of my least favorite trends that grazed the covers of YA books.
  • Headless, torso only shots of protagonists( usually dressed in prom-style gowns)
  • Close ups of a model's face (more often than not, it is the leading lady). Sometimes they add in some windblown hair to you know, make a difference.
  • More heroines in pretty dresses only this time they looking off into this distance with their backs to us.
  • More closeups, this time it's the eyes/lips. 
  • Kissy faces. *cringe*
  • Angel/Fairy Wings.
Thankfully, we seem to have moved on from this trend. 2013/2014 has rewarded readers with some gorgeous and utterly refreshing covers. So a huge thank you to publishers for giving us more illustrated covers, more gender neutral covers, more graphic and text-based covers.
Today, I've featured some covers that take a simple image, pair it with some great typography to give readers an intriguing package. Low fuss, high impact. These covers will not only entice readers with their subtle-ness but they also welcome readers who wouldn't usually pick YA books to give it a chance.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Unputdownable Reads of 2014

Occasionally we come across books that are so engrossing that the very idea of putting them down is blasphemous. Sometimes it is the writing that compels you to turn the pages, sometimes it is the plot that has you riveted. And sometimes it's the characters that capture your mind and ensnare your heart.

Whatever the reason is, there is no doubt that these books make it physically impossible for you to stop reading them. So today I'll be sharing seven such unputdownable books:

“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.” 
This YA GLBT about two Mexican teens is guaranteed to blow you away. Sáenz  combines gorgeous prose with a realistic portrayal of adolescents coming to terms with their identity and delivers a simple yet powerful story.
If I had to purchase one book with my last $20 it would be Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Yes, it is that good. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Graphomania, music, some truths + a giveaway

I am absolutely delighted to welcome author of Oblivion, Sasha Dawn to the blog today to share a peek into the iPod of Callie, the protagonist in Oblivion.

Her YA debut, Oblivion has had a lot of great response. Oblivion has been described as Lisa McMann's Dead to You meets Kate Ellison's The Butterfly Clues!

So without further ado let me turn the blog over to Sasha!
A Peek Into Callie’s iPod  

Callie and Lindsey share an iPod, and together, they have an eclectic mix of favorites. 

Said the Whale  // Goodnight Moon

Jefferson Airplane  // Go Ask Alice

The Killers // Smile Like You Mean It

Squirrel Nut Zippers // Blue Angel

Beyonce // If I Were a Boy

Neon Trees // Everybody Talks

Eric Clapton // Bellbottom Blues

Wrath // Nothing to Fear

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Currently... July

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Hey there. Is it just me or did June just fly by? 
Speaking of time flying, 2014 is half over! I've been looking back at my blogging bucketlist and my to-do lists-sooo many things to be done!

So here's what I am currently... 

MAKING time to do the things I love.

WATCHING to Attack on Titan. Anime newbie here but damn, I'm loving it!

READING Claudia Grey's Spellcaster and a few regency romances by Lisa Kleypas. 

LISTENING to Clean Bandit's Rather Be. Classical violins + club music ? Gimme.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chasing that elusive inspiration

Inspiration is a funny and elusive thing. One day it's there and the next it's gone. 

We put on some tunes, grab a cup of coffee, park ourselves in front of laptops and try to create something beautiful. 
After a hour of aimlessly scrolling through our twitter feed we are left with fingers hovering our keyboards and staring at a blank white screen.

We all need something. Something to keep us moved. Something to us fill us with the need to create something wonderfully awesome. Something to inspire us.

During my one month offline project I learnt a few things about inspiration that I want to share with you. Cause you know, I'm awesome like that. ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens

AuthorCourtney C. Stevens 
Published Date: February 25th 2014 
Source: ARC Courtesy of The Publisher

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

My Thoughts

Every once in a while we come across a book that is mind-blowing-good and you love it so much that you can’t stop thinking about and can’t even talk about it for fear of incoherent rambling. 

Well, Faking Normal was this kinda book.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review: The Murder Complex - Lindsay Cummings

Author: Lindsay Cummings
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Series: The Murder Complex #1
Published Date: June 10th 2014
Source: Publisher

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings

My Thoughts

“Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.”

Action-packed? Maybe. Blood-soaked? Yes. Chilling? Nah. Compelling? Hahaha.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Review: Thousand Words - Jennifer Brown

Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Brown Books for Young Readers 

Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look. 

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story.

Julianne's Thoughts
This is not the kind of book that I would normally pick up to read. I’m not the kind to pick up the heavy stuff because I’ve seen a lot of drama in real life already. But this book is definitely something I didn’t regret picking up. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What going offline taught me

So I'm back

After one whole month of no blogging, no reviewing, no blog-related tweeting/e-mailing and most importantly a month of doing exactly what I pleased I'm back.

So settle in because in this half blogging lesson/half life lesson post I'm going to tell you about my experience on going offline and why I decided to take the plunge.

With exams coming up and a reading/blogging slump looming I was forced to take a break. And with a little help from Miranti's post at Pen & Peplum on Planning for a time offline I was able to make this sabbatical a great one.

Taking a step back made me look at things in a different perspective. I started realizing that blogging had become a chore for me because I was continuing do things that I didn't really enjoy doing. 

Everyone were doing so many amazing things on their blogs and I was feeling just stuck in this rut

Then it  hit me-I needed a time out ASAP.
So now that I'm back all I can say you HAVE to give it a go. Going offline may have been the best thing I ever did this year. 

And here's what I've learnt-

Monday, May 5, 2014

25 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Abria Mattina + A Giveaway!

I am absolutely delighted to welcome author of Wake, Abria Mattina to the blog today to share a 25 quirky facts about herself!

Her debut, Wake has had a lot of great response. Readers have praised Mattina for her eye-opening and realistic novel that  is about the struggle to redefine life after experiencing cancer and caring for an ill loved one.

So without further ado let me turn the blog over to Abria MattinaAn author, fellow blogger and the brilliant mind behind Letters From Real! ;)

25 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 
Abria Mattina

1) I frequently go back to my alma mater to write, because I did a lot of writing in study spaces and hallways over the years and I still like the atmosphere. I just carry a backpack instead of a professional bag and I blend right in. 

2) I’m super jealous of people who speak more than one language.

3) I don’t have a favourite book. Rather, I have a small collection of books that changed my life or shaped the way I think about the Big Questions.

4) I have mixed feelings about my decision to major in English at university. On the one hand it led to shaky job prospects, but on the other hand I learned valuable things about storytelling, which I consider my “real” career. 

5) My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t take me seriously. I look younger than I actually am, so this problem comes up a lot. I still get asked what grade I’m in. 

6)I can’t write if I know there are people behind me who can see my screen. It used to be that I couldn’t work unless my back was to a corner, like a Sicilian mobster, but I’ve relaxed ever so slightly. I don’t like people to see my drafting process, because the initial draft of everything is pure garbage. 

7) I have synaesthesia, a neurological disorder with many advantages, such as improved memory. The disadvantages are that I can barely stand oral stimulation (food and kissing, anyone?) and I have mild dyscalculia. You should see me try to dial a phone. 

8) I used to be an Irish step dancer. For a long time it gave me an even greater high than writing. I stopped when I went to university, but that was probably a good thing because I was well on my way to destroying my knees. 

9) I write my fiancé into every single book I create, even the putter drafts that never turn into real books. He knows it, too, and has taken to asking, “Who am I this time?” He actively “helps” by getting into character and trying to give me material. 

10) I’m attracted to sad, dark, twisted books. My idea of a “tearjerker” is the average person’s idea of a soul-crushing tragedy.