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#YAMafia - my response.

Feist

I wasn’t going to respond to the #YAMafia thing (although I do wish I’d come up with a much more creative phrase) because everyone else already had an opinion on it and there were a lot of great blog posts on it already without me throwing my towel into the ring (check out Justine Larbalestier’s post, where my GoodReads friend Phoebe North was quoted). After the Bitch Media discussion that quickly turned into a fiasco, I wanted to avoid trouble. So I said I’d keep out unless I was mentioned directly. I was and, well... it was interesting.

So I’m responding.

 

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I’m cross-posting this to my LJ because the blogger commenting system is apparently dodgy on my blog.

So this is what having a social life is like?

QI
I'm not used to it at all!

Last week I had 4 straight days of socialising, a new experience in my life. Last Friday I went out clubbing (try and get the mental image of me dancing in a nightclub out your head!) with friends, Saturday I went to watch the rugby match in Teviot (wherein Scotland was well and truly humped by Wales), Sunday was BAFTA night at Nat's flat with lots of tweeting and nerd complaining then Monday was regular quiz night and we won! There are some truly atrocious photos of me from the clubbing night which I will not be posting here for everyone's good. Dancing is something that cannot be captured with dignity in still form, although the jury's still out on whether or not it can be captured with any dignitydull stop! My friends do have some wonderfully entertaining dance moves too, I wish I could share them with you all! 

On the health front, things are really looking up. I've got the doctor's letter sorted out, the appointments booked and everything should hopefully be sorted out soon! I'm feeling so much better about this already, although I am still embarrassed that it took me this long to get it sorted out. I also got a huge confidence boost on the education front when I got back the Old Irish exam I didn't panic in. I got 75%! I'm so chuffed with myself for that one.

So I celebrated by donating blood. It's something I've always wanted to do and Daryl did it a couple of weeks ago so I went ahead and donated myself. It didn't hurt at all which surprised me since I'm a total wimp with pain, although my arms were a bit sore afterwards. The nurse also said I was very pale but that was okay since I was pale (and interesting!) when I came in. I do have rather large bruises on both arms though (first try in left arm went wrong - nurse hit the vein or something - so I had to switch arms. I also bruise like a peach anyway.) Once the blood was pumping, it was over pretty quickly and I got a ton of free biscuits out of it! If you are able to give blood I seriously urge you to go ahead and donate. It's a great cause that needs all the help it can get.

Next week's going to be a lot of fun. I'm going to see an all male production of The Comedy of Errors with my gender & theatre class and since it's gender awareness week at the uni next week one of the girls in my class wants us all to cross dress for the occasion. I am completely up for that although I'm not sure I have anything in my wardrobe to do a drag day justice. I think I left my Franz Ferdinand tie at home. I also really want to buy a bowler hat for the occasion but they're surprisingly expensive. Style has a hefty price tag apparently, which is probably why I've remained so inept in that area.

I posted at the blog a couple times, including a review to the sequel of the book that made me the angriest I've ever been at a book, HERE. I've been reading a lot more lately, especially since my course demands it, so I haven't been writing as much of my book lately. To be honest, I've been at a mental road block on it for a couple of weeks now. Everytime I sit down to write more of it, I just go blank in the head and instead of seeing what I want to write all I can see are the mistakes I've made and the stuff that I desperately need to fix. My original intention was to do a first draft then sort out the problems with the completed story since otherwise I'd just be repeating myself over and over again, but I may need to rethink that situation. Hopefully I'll get a burst of creativity soon, preferrably once my essays are done. If not, I'll just have more time to read and that's never a bad thing! 
Milk
Either way, for those who may be interested, I just posted my review of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel on my blog.

You should definitely check it out if you're into that sort of thing.

I have no idea what I'll be reviewing next. I've still got that House of Night recap to do but can't work up the motivation to get on with it, plus I'm really dying to write a piece on the use of sexual promiscuity to equal baddie/antagonist in YA as well as something on the amazingly fascinating and fucked up morals of Disney. Maybe I'll do the latter in time for Tangled. That, on top of several essays, presentations, tutorial preps, class reading, extra work and upcoming NaNo, it's a wonder I'll be able to get any sleep. One day our bodies will no longer require sleep and I'll have more time to work/lounge around in my undies watching Cybersix. Oh well, even then I'll still want to sleep. Can you call sleeping a hobby? It definitely is.

Wow, that was rambling and pointless.

Year 3 week 1 semester 1: Status report.

Feist

It's been one hell of a busy week, full of schedule conflicts, rescheduling conflicts, reading, Old Irish grammar, the topic of politics and literature, pub quizes, note taking, bad pens, Scott Pilgrim, cleaning, chocolate cake, red wine, lefties and righties, politicians hugging and good old fashioned stress. I'm doing okay - I think - and it was a big of a shock to the system at first but I think I can manage with all this. I still need to get a job though so that might add extra pressure to the whole system but I've always been told if you want to do something then you will find a way to do it no matter how impossible it looks. So I'm taking that to heart. I've got Wednesday and Friday off but that will be full of revision and reading, although I still hope to get a couple extra hours shut eye too. We've all got needs.

Onto more exciting news, I am doing a giveaway on the Sparkle Project which I hope you'll all go check out. It's open internationally and will help to piss off censors! I also got briefly name dropped in my favourite podcast Made of Fail which you should all definitely check out because independent of my name drop, it's a great podcast and this week they talked about what it's like to be a geek. Seriously Dayna, if I had a camera I would definitely do video reviews for the Project but alas, we'll just have to live with the text ones until I join the rest of this generation technology wise! I'm also reviewing a highly requested book soon. Your clue as to what it is...

Tick tock tick tock...
Milk
Eek, I go back to university in less than a week.

It's been a seriously long Summer, what with having no job and nothing much to do, so I can't believe it's only been 3 months since I came back home. It feels like an age. But I know that when I go back to Edinburgh it'll feel like I've never been away. I'm still looking for a part time job in the city and I've got so much I want to do this year I think I'd better start planning some sort of schedule or something so I know I'll get stuff done instead of lounging around and procrastinating as is my want. I really want to do NaNo this year but I can't decide if I want to do a paranormal story (I do have an idea for a vampire story involving grand art theft, obsession, the city of Edinburgh and vampires that turn into corpses in the sunlight) or a contemporary one (book censorship, church versus state, sexual awakening, all that good stuff). I've still got over a month to decide so I'll wait and see.

I have a few things to do before I go back to Edinburgh too, like visit Petsa and Reuben again, get my eyelashes done (I'm seriously the opposite of vain but there's something strangely relaxing about getting dye put onto your eyes, honestly) and visit my grandad again. I made a batch of scones with strawberries and cream and took them down to his new place at the beginning of the week, I hope he didn't eat them all in one go, he has a habit of doing that. It'll be nice to get back to the city where I'll be less bored and within closer proximity to the cinema and more bookshops!

Side note: thanks to cleolinda  for the sparkly promotion of my Hush, Hush review. I understand I got a few more followers out of her generous pimping so hi there! I'm still hoping she'll review the book, if only because I want to see her recap style on the horrors of angels with dog's names. I wrote my first real piece for my blog too, replying to a YA author's piece on boys in YA. Hope you all enjoy! I'd also really appreciate some suggestions for books to read that you'd like to see reviewed. I've got a couple but there's always room for more. I've got a few books ready to be reviewed soon, one good and one sparkly bad! 

Booky bloggy type advice needed.

QI Stephen
Now that the Sparkle Project is done I find myself at something of a wit's end. My own book is going nowhere (it need serious edits and I'm only 16000 words in) and I find myself still wanting to explore the genre and generally be a snarky feminist book nerd. So I have been considering starting my own book blog. Is this a good idea? What networking site would be best to do it on? What sort of stuff should I write on it (I've also been considering doing a recap series for the House of Night books if only to do a ho-bag count)? Should it just be for books or also bad rom-coms, another snarky target of mine? Will this work against my favour when fighting the YA Mafia Ninjas? Help! I'm seriously technologically inept so any advice at all would be appreciated.

EDIT: Look! Blog!

http://sparkle-project.blogspot.com/

Thanks to catherinehaines  for the advice!

Sparkle Project #9 - "Need" by Carrie Jones

John Sessions
We're almost at the end of this twisted sparkly journey!

Thanks to everyone for reading my first positive review in the project. I realise being sort of nice isn't as fun to read as full on snarking but to be honest, it was nice to recommend a book for once. But this project is almost at an end as we reach the penultimate book of the 10. How do you feel about pixies?


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Feist
Braiiiiins....



This one was supposed to come before the "Fallen" review but there were difficulties. Mainly the fact that I actually quite liked this book (which is why I'm not posting it to BookFails.) It's hard to completely tear apart something you sort of admire (don't worry though, dear reader, there is plenty of snarking below) and I was having trouble writing the review the way I felt it deserved to be written so I skipped ahead to an easier job as well as writing a couple other things, such as the Hush, Hush defence rebuttal (which I noticed, the link to my rebuttal was removed from the original article's automated links page.). But here it is and I hope you enjoy it.


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Mark Gatiss

I felt bad for re-posting an old post at the Book Smugglers for their Young Adult Appreciation Month celebrations so after a long bath and some stink eye staring at Eat Pray Love, I decided to talk about fads and crazes in the genre. The media is always on the lookout for the hot new trend that’s going to make lots of money and fill out the column inches. After Harry Potter ended, Twilight was declared to be the new Potter because Eclipse was on the NYT Bestsellers list right after Deathly Hallows, and after Breaking Dawn’s much hyped release everyone seemed to be searching for the next children/young adult’s book or series that would make their jobs a whole lot easier. It seems to have been the Hunger Games series for now but there have been far too many blogs and articles to count declaring some other mythological creature to be the new vampires. Since the genre has become saturated with paranormal romance full of every creature imaginable, it’s been tough to keep up with the trends. Luckily, I am here in all my cynical book nerd glory to help decode the mess of fangs, fur and feathers stopping true love. So here is my less than comprehensive list on the new vampires.

Werewolves.

A lot of Twilight fans were surprisingly upset that Jacob ended up with a newborn child instead of Bella so there was definitely a market for a sweeping teen romance with bestiality instead of necrophilia. Arguably the most notable series to take advantage of this popularity was Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. (My review of the first book Shiver is here and if you’ve read that you’ll understand my hesitation to continue down this path.) Other notable books (i.e. the books that come up on GoodReads and Amazon recommendations) include Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, 13 to Life by Shannon Delany, Nightshade by Andrea Creamer, the Red Riding Hood reinterpretation Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, The Dark Divine by Bree Despain and Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson (the UK cover to this is extremely Twilight inspired.) While I’ve only read Shiver and The Dark Divine, the synopses to these books all seem very similar and use the word ‘forbidden’ frequently. I’m not a huge fan of dogs (my own family shih-tzu hates me) so I don’t really understand the appeal of werewolves. I guess there’s appeal in the idea of the cursed tormented hero fighting against the animal inside and out to be with his own true love, although a lot of these books also have the heroine fighting this battle instead of the love interest. There’s a lot of potential for intrigue and varied takes on the social hierarchy of a werewolf pack and of course there’s potential for it to go the easy way. Werewolf fans should not fret because the genre is jam packed for now.

Angels.

What says the ultimate forbidden love more than a fallen servant of God dedicating eternity to you and only you? And of course that perfect servant will be smoking hot (conveniently bypassing a huge chunk of the mythology that says many angels have no reproductive organs.) While a proper interpretation of this mythology requires a ton of research and sensitivity, of the angel YA books I’ve read so far, that hasn’t been evident. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Fallen by Lauren Kate (both with sequels on the way) were weak even by trashy paranormal romance standards and handled the potentially fascinating mythos with such lack of care I was surprised a good Old Testament smiting didn’t occur. The idea of the guardian angel comes with a sort of get out of jail free card giving the hero blanket permission to watch his heroine like a stalker in a way that would have even Edward Cullen throwing up his hands saying ‘Jeez man, back off a bit.’ Other books on the angel horizon include Halo by Alexandra Adornetto, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and Torment by Lauren Kate. Of course, if you want my advice, the best YA book with an angel out right now is Going Bovine by Libba Bray. She’s a punk angel who spray-paints cows onto her wings. You know you want that.

Fairies.

A genre with a rich, varied mythology that spans the globe and can be written in several possible ways is practically an oil well of possibilities for writers. While I’ve only read one book in the series, Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely books are probably the best known out of this genre. While I didn’t completely love Ink Exchange, I admired Marr’s take on fairies, giving them the dark edge they deserve, as well as the fact that stalking wasn’t taken as romance. With fairies you get something of a choice to go good or bad; you can have the more devious types out to create havoc and use humans as their playthings or you can pick the slightly more friendly option with flowers and rainbows and the undeniably romantic lushness that comes with wings and an affinity with nature. The one getting the biggest ‘The next Twilight’ vibe from me that I’ve read is Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series, which was pretty awful but easily palatable for those looking for a familiar sparkle. Pre-Twilight you’ve got Holly Black’s fairy books, starting with Tithe, which I think helped to kick-start the paranormal genre a lot during the decade. Also included are the Wondrous Strange series by Lesley Livingston, Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater, Rebel and it’s sequels by R.J. Anderson, the Iron King series by Julie Kagawa and Glimmerglass by Jenna Black, a writer who has made the move from adult paranormal to YA. There’s a goldmine in them hills!

Mermaids.

Wait a while, fins will be the new fangs, I guarantee it. Stephenie Meyer has previously discussed the possibility of writing a mermaid book (although she said they’d be called sirens which are technically different creatures although their mythology often crosses together but I don’t expect her to do a whole lot of research) but even without her possible contribution, I think mermaids will be a new big thing. What appeals more to the childlike glee and mystery than a creature that lives in a completely different environment and can never truly live with you? The angst potential is limitless, especially if you’ve read the original Andersen version of The Little Mermaid which still haunts me to this day. Plus the typical depiction of mermaids is one of strange beauty and grace, although I’ve always preferred the more murderous angle (and Rachel Maddow is terrified of them.) Like the others, this one has a lot of potential but it’s so easy to make this one a typical Twilight knock off too. Upcoming mermaid YA books include Ripple by Mandy Hubbard, Forgive My Fins by Terra Lynn Childs, The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Kadigan and Siren by Tricia Rayburn.

Dragons.

Hell yeah, fire breathing scaly beasts with no mercy and power beyond your mortal imagination! And of course there’s the other route. The potential for a really good fantasy YA is right there if you use dragons although I’m sort of at a loss as to how writers could make this into a romantic story, let alone wonder why they would in the first place. Firelight by Sophie Jordan, centred around a girl who can shift between human and dragon (which makes the loving a whole lot easier I guess) is the one getting the biggest buzz in the paranormal genre and offers a less male orientated option than the arguably most famous dragon centred YA right now, the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini.

Zombies and Unicorns.

I’m lumping these together because the battle for supremacy will soon begin with the anthology Zombies Versus Unicorns, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. What two enemies could be more different from each other than the walking undead and the magical horned horses of our fantasies? While rotting flesh and monotonous groaning don’t offer much in the way of fresh smelling romance, they do open the door for some interesting stories. Carrie Ryan’s series is getting the most hype right now (and I must admit, despite the problems I have with it, I’m enjoying The Forest of Hands and Teeth more than I’m disliking it), offering a dystopian take on the genre, then there’s the more comical take with books like Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby, the Generation Dead series by Daniel Waters, Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris and I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer. A lot of these books are set in high schools, which is pretty accurate for anyone who has ever gone to high school. Personally, I am much more interested in the unicorn side of things. As Holly Black said, unicorns are almost never written about nowadays, especially in the YA genre, so there is huge potential to take the mythos and do amazing, chaotic things with it. Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant series is about killer unicorns. Hell yeah! While I don’t think unicorns will reach the level of vampire popularity, it offers up an interesting option. Team unicorn all the way because, let’s face it, any procrastinating geek worth their salt knows that Robot Zombie Attack would be an awful game!

Dystopia.

I’m a big fan of the end of the world, it doesn’t happen enough in YA for my taste. For the meantime, Suzanne Collins has that corner of the market covered with her massively popular, bestselling Hunger Games series which I still haven’t read (calm down, I have the first book on my computer so I’ll start it sooner or later, honestly) but waiting in the wings to offer up itself for the fans undoubtedly dying for more post Mockingjay is Ally Condie’s Matched. Already highly anticipated based on hype alone, the publishers made no secret about the seven figure deal Condie received for the book, set to be the first in a trilogy (making all these books into series has become very common, I’ve noticed. Easy way to make more money I guess.) While I’m very happy that there are more dystopian YA novels out there, especially ones that focus on young women, I’m a little dismayed to see so much of the hype focus on the romantic element. It’s another thing that’s irritated me about the YA craze lately. So many of these books have unnecessary love stories, many of which are unnecessary love triangles which gobble up so much of the story’s focus as well as the book’s publicity. A lot of the Hunger Games frenzy has been focused on the Team Peeta and Team Gale thing. Forget that the heroine is an amazingly strong character who kicks arse, saves people and is her own mistress; she has to have a man! This seems to be the same for Matched, with the romantic element kick starting most of the more exciting sounding action (although the book isn’t out until November so I can’t properly comment.) It’s one of the things that is bugging me about The Forest of Hands and Teeth – there are zombies and the world is over, stop moping about after the guys! Whatever my problems with the trope, I think it’s here to stay.

So that’s just a few things to look forward to in the world of paranormal YA. I’ve only scraped the surface so feel free to add what you think is going to be the next big thing. Personally I’ve found that the contemporary side of YA has a lot more interesting ideas and plots right now although that might be my sparkle jaded mind rebelling against the genre. Either way, you’ll never be short of something fun to read and the genre is packed full of imagination and creative ideas. You just need to know where to look for it!

(Authir note - sorry for blocking up Friends pages with this, I've spent 10 minutes trying to put it behind a cut and it just won't work. Bloody LJ.)

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