Beautiful People | Parental Edition

Beautiful People is a writing link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury in which you share a bit about your characters. This month’s topic is parental relationships! I’ll be answering the following questions for Niko Deverow, (The main character of my Shaman Novel.)


  1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
    Niko’s biological parents mysteriously disappeared when he was three years old. His Aunt Zelda and Uncle Quinn are his legal guardians, but they don’t really care what he does as long as it doesn’t ruin their chance at a spot on the royal counsel. The closest thing he has to a real parent is his shaman mentor, Archer Cross. She was like a sister to Niko’s mother, and now she’s made it her mission to save him from the royal lifestyle as his mother would’ve wanted.

  2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence, and how has it affected their life?
    I already answered the first part of this question above… Sophia and Gidian Deverow disappeared when Niko was only three, so he never got a chance to know them. Niko inherited his Mom’s shaman gift: the ability to see spirits and residual energetic imprints. For example, he could see the blurred image of a violent murder that played out 50 years in the past because of the energetic imprint it left behind. This made it super hard for him when his Aunt and Uncle got guardianship. His dad basically ruined the Deverow name when he married a shaman, and now Zelda and Quinn care about nothing beyond fixing their reputation and reclaiming their spot on the royal counsel. From a VERY young age, Niko has been taught to hide his abilities. He wears a flawless mask to keep up his royal pretence, but beneath it he is filled with scars and secrets that can never be revealed. Because he’s holding so much inside, he finds ways to numb the world. He becomes addicted to Bliss, (a made-up drug), and turns to self-injury as a form of release.

  3. How did their parents meet?
    Every year, the Counsel and the Shaman Court meet under a peace flag. Gidian Deverow and Sophia Murser met at one such meeting. Sophie saw that something was off in Gidian’s aura. He didn’t quite fit with the other royals, and that intrigued her. She struck up a conversation at the peace banquet, and after several months of secret meetings, Gidian made plans to desert the counsel which would throw his family name into exile.

  4. How would they feel if they were told, “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
    Niko would be overjoyed to get ANY kind of information about his parents! He’s spent most of his life trying to find out what happened to them, which is difficult because he has no access to shaman records, and the counsel doesn’t keep information on traitors. Even though he sees the spirits of the dead, he’s never seen his parents. He can’t decide if this makes him scared or happy because it either means they’re not dead, they’re in some kind of afterlife, or they’re alive and somewhere worse than death.

  5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
    Sophia was training to become a spy for ISA, (the International Shaman Alliance). Gidian was being groomed to carry on his family name and one day inherit the Deverow’s counsel seat.

  6. Is there something they adamantly disagreed on?
    Considering they never new each other, they didn’t have a chance to disagree on anything.

  7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
    It was very difficult for Sophie to find out that Niko had her abilities. Sight and Empathy are two of the most difficult shaman gifts to master, and when they’re combined, they usually result in madness.

  8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
    Niko has a vague memory of his mother singing him to sleep in a foreign language that sounds a lot like Hawaiian. However, he can’t decide if it really happened, or if he just made it up to feel some connection to his life before the counsel.

  9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
    Niko was a very quiet child. He was always watching, listing, and absorbing the world around him.

  10. Why and how did the parent(s) choose your character’s name?
    The name Niko means, “victory,” or, “warrior”. Gidian and Sophie named him Niko because they knew the world was a harsh place, and they wanted it to remind him that he was strong enough to fight and win.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Gods and monsters
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts
And started the apocalypse.”
-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of smoke & Bone #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 613
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Published: April 8, 2014
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Dreams of Gods & Monsters opens by introducing a new character to the series. I would normally consider it a “writerly no-no” to add a main character so late in a series, but in this case, it works! Without the addition of a new key player, the plot couldn’t have ended as it did. The new character is also very well developed to have entered the story so late, and she undergoes a complete character arck by the end.
The plot of Dreams of Gods & Monsters is tight and well paced. While Days of Blood & Starlight seemed slow in places, Dreams of Gods & Monsters flows quickly and holds your attention until the very last page.
The writing style is very smooth and almost captivating in some places, but as with the first two books, the narrator switches were not handled as well as they could’ve been. There were several instances where a narrator swap occurred in the middle of a chapter, and it got super hard to follow! The fact that there were so many characters didn’t help matters either… Honestly, the whole problem could’ve been remedied if the narrator changes had happened at chapter breaks, but because they didn’t, it became “borderline head-hopping.”
The ending of the series was carried out beautifully! I did NOT see the plot twist coming, but I love how everything was wrapped up! The worlds were saved, everyone who mattered got their happy ever after, and the only thing I could find fault with was the head-hopping problem!

Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of blood and starlight
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.”
― Laini Taylor, Days of Blood & Starlight

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2, (click here for my review of book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 517
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: November 6th, 2012
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Days of Blood & Starlight is a pretty good follow-up to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The plot picks up basically where the first book ended, but introduces an entirely new setting and conflict. The overall plot was excellent, but the pacing did seem a little slow to me. It wasn’t the torturous kind of slow progression that makes you want to skip ahead, but it definitely could’ve gotten off to a faster start!
The character development was amazing! The book was definitely more plot driven than character driven, but all of the main characters began some kind of transformation that was obvious through their actions and the ways in which they interacted with each other. Each of the character arcs unfolded alongside plot events, and the changes they experienced were caused by the plot, which created a nice balance. By the end of the story, all of the key players were placed at a point where they had to make a decision for better or worse. At that point in the story, they had all progressed enough to understand the right choice, and therefore the story reached a form of closure while still leaving room for the next book.
The writing style of Days of Blood & Starlight is very unique. It has a melodic flow that is beautiful and interesting, yet hard to follow sometimes. Part of the confusion also came from the fact that there were multiple narrators. I think I counted three main narrators and a couple chapters from others. I normally don’t have a problem with multiple narrators, but this got super hard to keep up with! I definitely understand why there were so many narrators, and they were all necessary for the story to unfold, but I think it could’ve been written a little more distinctly. Thankfully it was written in third person, otherwise I don’t think I could’ve gotten through all the head-hopping!
This most definitely is not the kind of book you read for mindless entertainment! Coming from someone who can usually listen to audio books while doing a multitude of other tasks simultaneously without missing a thing in the book, this was not an easy read! I mean… I actually had to dedicate time to curl into a small ball on my bed with only a blanket and coffee to read this thing instead of just throwing on my headphones while being a responsible student! That being said, it told a very unique and amazing story, and I have already started the next book because I am totally hooked on this plot!

April Recap | Camp NaNoWriMo Update | Upcoming in May

It has been forever since I’ve posted a monthly recap, (mostly because I always forget them), but here is the recap for April!

What I Posted:

Snippet Sunday–in which one of my characters figuratively drowns.
Top Ten Tuesday–things that make me instantly want to read a book.
Snippet Sunday–in which one of my characters makes a sarcastic statement.
Camp NaNoWriMo Tips–staying inspired.
Snippet Sunday–my Shaman Novel synopsis.
Writing Up Wednesday–the craft of writing.
■Book Review–Fear the Drowning Deep
Camp NaNoWriMo Tips[[having the best experience.

My Writerly Achievements:

I somehow managed to score another CampNaNo win! My goal was to spend thirty hours editing my Shaman Novel, and I hit that and worked five hours over! It doesn’t look like I really did much though because I ended up writing in another subplot in order to fill a plot whole, which means that I now have to write those scenes. I’m still hoping to have this thing ready for beta readers by the first of June, but I already have a crazy buisy Summer planned, so we’ll see! My Shaman Novel also has a working title now: Flawless Scars. I love it, and it fits the story and main character really well, but you guys please let me know what you think of it in the comments! Would you be drawn to pick up a young adult fantasy book with this title?

Upcoming in May:

■Book Review–Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor.
■Book Review–Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.
■Book Review–Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins.
■The Why I Love Me Tag–late as usual.

Snippet Sunday

Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet from your current writing project. This snippet is from my Shaman Novel.


Vivian Deverow was drowning. It was kind of ironic if you thought about it. “Strike a match and let it burn,” she muttered to herself through a choked laugh. That’d been her motto for years, but her matches couldn’t burn under water.

Top Ten Tuesday | Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s about things that make you instantly want to read a book!


  1. If there’s magic involved, I’ll probably read it without question. I especially love books with super unique magic system like the one in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
  2. Myths/legends from other cultures like those found in Fear the Drowning Deep.
  3. Royal people fighting to take over the throne, (preferably with magic!) 😉
  4. Assassins because they’re sneaky, and sometimes they throw daggers, and I just love them! I mean I love them in books, NOT real life! I would NOT want to meet an assassin in real life!
  5. Any kind of psychological illness!
  6. Bad boys with deep, dark secrets who actually turn out to be good. So what if it’s a giant trope?!
  7. Diverse characters like those in Tiny Pretty things.
  8. I’ll read pretty much anything about angels.
  9. Awkward, preferably writerly characters because they’re just so relatable! Fangirl, anybody?
  10. I will read literally anything by Rick Riordan or Maggie Stiefvater because they have never failed to tell an amazing story. In other words, go read The Raven Cycle right now because you are missing out on great literature if you haven’t!

Staying Inspired During Camp NaNoWriMo

Greetings, writers! We are entering the third week of Camp NaNoWriMo, and this is usually when I start losing my writing inspiration. So… Here are five tips for finding the inspiration to finish that first draft!


  1. Remember why you originally wanted to tell this story. Make a list of everything that originally made you want to write it, and stick it somewhere where you’ll see it often. Mine is at the very front of the notebook where I keep the info for my Shaman Novel.
  2. Listen to your writing playlist. If you don’t have a playlist for your project, consider making one! If music isn’t your style, check out some writers on youTube or read some writing related blog posts like this one. Sometimes listening to other writers talk about being excited to write their stories can inspire you to write your own! You can check out this post for some awesome writers on youTube.
  3. Do some word sprints. Word sprints are where you set a timer for a certain amount of time and try to write as many words as possible in that time frame. If you don’t want to sprint alone, you can follow @NaNoWordSprints on twitter and write with lots of other people!
  4. Ponder this question: What is your main character’s current social media status? This does two things. First, it allows you to think about your character in a context other than your story which allows you to understand them better by thinking about how they interact with their friends. Second, it makes you think about what they’re doing. Maybe they’re reacting to what happened in the last scene on Twitter. If that’s the case, then you should probably write their reaction next.
  5. When all else fails, start what-ifing! Read the last scene you wrote, and then write “what if… insert plot event here“, until you know what you need to write next. This can be super painful if you’ve outlined every single detail, but sometimes that outline just needs to fly out the window for a while. Yeah… This can cause a mess when it comes to editing the thing, but it also makes a better story in my experience!

Snippet Sunday

Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet of your current writing project. It’s been forever since I’ve done one of these, but today I bring you the “unofficial official” synopsis for my Shaman Novel. This is the blurb that I’ve posted to my Camp NaNoWriMo profile, but it’s subject to change as I continue to edit the story. I hope to have the book ready for beta readers by June, but in reality it’s probably going to be more like August or September…
Since you guys are following my book/writing blog, I’m assuming you’re all readers, writers, or both. That means you probably know a thing or two about books and their blurbs, so please let me know what you think of mine in the comments! Does this synopsis make you want to read my book? Is there anything you don’t like about it? Any and all feedback is appreciated! 😉


Nico Deverow’s entire life is built on secrets, lies, and blood. His family built their fortune in blood money and poisoned their way to a seat on the Royal Mist Council, but Nico doesn’t belong in that life. Ancient murders, restless spirits, and the uncensored truth in everyone’s auras are all revealed to him through residual layers of energy, and no one can ever know about it. The second sight is a shaman power, and a Deverow with a shaman gift would kill his bloodline’s reputation completely. His mask is flawless as his family name decrees, but underneath he’s shattering. With no one to help him contain his powers, the magical drug called Bliss and the raiser sharp blade of a dagger become his only salvation. But when natural born healer Adam Rachadon discovers his abilities, Nico is given a choice: trust a shaman with a secret his family would kill him for, or refuse his offer of help and continue to live a lie.

Writing Up Wednesday #5 | The Craft of Writing–How do you learn?

Writing Up Wednesday is a writing link-up created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm. This week’s topic is “The craft of writing,” or more specifically, “How do you learn the craft of writing?”


I honestly don’t make a conscious effort to study the writing craft unless I need to research a specific aspect of it for my story. I don’t plan to take professional writing classes, and I usually don’t go out of my way to read writerly text books. Studying the craft is just something that comes naturally to me through reading a wide range of books, writing book reviews, and connecting with other writers via blogging, youTube, and Twitter. I feel like this is more beneficial than making a conscious effort to study the craft because it allows me to take the advice I like and discard the rest without being boxed in by “professional” rules. Also, by filling my social media feeds with writerly stuff, I can actually justify opening Twitter and youTube! 😉
Here’s a quick list of some people that I’ve learned from:

My Favorite Writerly youTubers

Shaelin Bishop
Emma Lederman
The Y.A. Word Nerds
Vivien Reis
Jenna Moreci
Natalia Leigh
Burgess Taylor
Kim Chance
Coffee Reading Writing

Awesome Writerly Bloggers

Shaelin Bishop
Emma Lederman
A Writer’s Path
National Novel Writing Month
Fiction University
Better Novel Project