GIVEAWAY TIME ... Adventure Time Style!

December 19, 2013

That's right, I am giving away some Adventure Time swag and you know you want it!

Blood Phantom by Rhiannon Hart

December 14, 2013

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Blood Phantom by Rhiannon Hart
Released: December 9th 2013
Series: Llarmell [Book 0.5]
Pages: 15

Source: Author
Buy it: Amazon

Life in tatters and far from home, Rodden Lothskorn struggles to cope with the harming menace and his own harming nature. When an offer of marriage reaches his friend, Prince Amis, Rodden discovers that the bride’s inhospitable homeland might contain one part of the harming poison he would dearly like to get his hands on. But if summoned northwards, will Princess Lilith bring something – or someone – he dreads most with her? Locked in a years-long struggle with the Lharmellins, Rodden senses the battle is only now about to begin.

The Short
Blood Phantom is a great addition to the Llarmell series. This novella is from Rodden's point of view, and it was great being able to get inside his head and understand such a mysterious character a little more. In addition to this, the overlapping events with the beginning of Blood Song provided a lot of insight

The Long

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #7

August 26, 2013

The last day of the read-a-thon aaaaaand I barely read a thing. Great finish.

Day: 7

Books completed so far: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Hunsun Abadeer ["translated" by Martin Olson]
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Deathnote Vol. I by Tsugumi Ohba
The Death Cure by James Dashner
Maus II by Art Spiegelman

Currently reading: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Pages read today: 79

Pages read in total: 1675

Thoughts/Notes: Really enjoying The Near Witch, I just wish I had gotten deeper into the story!

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #6

August 25, 2013

I am back with another update video! Don't expect one for tomorrow though, I have another video planned in addition to a busy day of preparing to go home :'(

Day: 6

Books completed so far: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Hunsun Abadeer ["translated" by Martin Olson]
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Deathnote Vol. I by Tsugumi Ohba
The Death Cure by James Dashner

Currently reading: Maus II by Art Spiegelman

Pages read today: 305

Pages read in total: 1596

Thoughts/Notes: I have now completed the Maze Runner trilogy! I liked the ending! Now I am almost done with the second volume of Maus, which is as amazing as the first :)

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #5

August 24, 2013

I don't have a video today, either. Just didn't work out! Hopefully tomorrow I can make time to film an update though :)

Day: 5

Books completed so far: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Hunsun Abadeer ["translated" by Martin Olson]
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Deathnote Vol. I by Tsugumi Ohba

Currently reading: The Death Cure by James Dashner

Pages read today: 232

Pages read in total: 1291

Thoughts/Notes: Continuing to read The Death Cure today, and I'm enjoying it so far :) I'll continue reading for a little while then call it a night.

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #4

No video update from me for Day #4, I was too busy today to film and edit. But I was travelling around a bit and had plenty of time to get some reading done!

Day: 4

Books completed so far: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Hunsun Abadeer ["translated" by Martin Olson]
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Currently reading: Deathnote Vol. I by Tsugumi Ohba

Pages read today: 316

Pages read in total: 1059

Thoughts/Notes: Deathnote is really entertaining! It shouldn't take me too long to finish it, but I wish I had the second volume! I have looked EVERYWHERE and have never come across it :(

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #3

August 22, 2013

I have my entry for the Book Spine Poetry mini-challenge right here:

To kill a mockingbird through the evernight,
Ruby, red eyes like stars,

Day: 3

Books completed so far: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Hunsun Abadeer ["translated" by Martin Olson]

Currently reading: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Pages read today: 118

Pages read in total: 743

Thoughts/Notes: Wonder is amazing so far! I am only a little way through but love it already.

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #2

August 21, 2013

Another day with a little too much Minecraft-ing... Nevertheless I was able to accomplish a fair bit as I read a graphic novel and finish Clockwork Angel! WOO!

Day: 2

Books completed so far: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Maus by Art Spiegelman

Currently reading: The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Hunsun Abadeer ["translated" by Martin Olson]

Pages read today: 364

Pages read in total: 625

Thoughts/Notes: Maus was an amazing graphic novel! The illustrations and some of the scenes were quite confronting, but there were some aspects of humour as well, which I loved.
Continuing on with the amazing The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia! I love it. I love all things Adventure Time. It is awesome. 'Nuff said.

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon | Day #1

August 20, 2013

Day #1 started off pretty well. I was a little distracted due to Minecraft, I will admit, but overall I didn't neglect my reading like I have been lately. I also participated in today's challenges/giveaways! 

Day: 1

Books completed so far: none yet!

Currently reading: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Pages read today: 261

Pages read in total: 261

Thoughts/Notes: I cannot wait to see how Clockwork Angel ends! I am loving the story, the characters and the writing so much!

Cover Reveal: Girl of Fire and Lightning

August 14, 2013

Girl of Fire and LightningI am here with a cover reveal of Girl of Fire and Lightning by Harrison Paul, the third book in the Kaybree the Angel Killer series.

Girl of Fire and Lightning by Harrison Paul
Expected Publication: August 13th, 2013

"While Kaybree continues to defend the city against the Angels, she also investigates her mother's secret society. She wants to believe that her mother will use the Witch's power for good, and wants to trust her heart and conscience to Galen. But are the Angels oppressors as he claims, or are they trying to prevent her mother's inventions from destroying the world? Kaybree's fate hangs on her ability to trust Galen, but as he takes charge of the city's defense and navigates its political currents with a manipulator's touch, she wonders which face he shows is his real one.

When the next Angel prepares to send a legion of monsters against the city, she journeys into the depths of the forest to stop the attack. The battle for humanity begins, and Kaybree must learn the truth of her mother's inventions or risk plunging the world into darkness and ruin. As she confronts the true villain responsible for the Angel attacks, she must also make a decision that will determine the future of all Nordgard."

Buy the eBook on Amazon

About the Author:
Harrison Paul is the author of KAYBREE VERSUS THE ANGELS, the first volume of a young adult fantasy series set in alternate history Scandinavia, where a teenage girl must battle Angels to protect her town. Subsequent volumes are set to be published this summer.

Harrison has worked as a heavy metal musician, a Chinese translator at Nanjing University, a morning custodian, and a math and science tutor. He also served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taipei, Taiwan. He currently teaches high school Mandarin.

Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Facebook

About the Series:

Kaybree is a teenage girl from Nordgard, an alternate history Scandinavia where mythical beings called Angels have protected and gu ided mankind for millennia--until they started attacking fifteen years ago. Her mother's organization, the Vormund Order, defeated the first Angel attack and has been guarding the borders by the forest ever since.

When Kaybree is called to the city and discovers her ability to transform into a being of fire and lightning, she realizes she is her mother's secret weapon against the Angels. Her mission is to defend humanity from their former protectors while her mother perfects a series of inventions meant to create a better world for everyone. But she soon realizes the situation isn't as simple as her mother wants her to believe. The Angels want to protect humanity as well, and her mother's inventions--or Kaybree's own dangerous powers--could be the reason for their attacks.

Joined by her friends--a bard, a scholar, a reindeer, and a mysterious border guard--Kaybree must battle the Angels while investigating her mother's organization and studying the ancient relics that allow her to use her powers. She knows that there must be a way to reconcile with God's holy messengers, and is determined to find the truth before a war erupts that could end civilization.

Kaybree vs the Angels: Amazon | Goodreads
My Very Own Witch Hunter: Amazon

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon 8.0

August 12, 2013

It's time for another read-a-thon! I'm looking forward to bringing myself out of this reading slump. Here is more about this read-a-thon:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

So I have prepared a list of books I would like to read during the week:

Maus by Art Spiegelman 
Deathnote by Tsugumi Ohba
The Death Cure by James Dashner
- The Near Witch by Victoria Shwab
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I'm super excited to get into these books, and I can't wait to participate in some of the challenges! I've always been lazy on that part...

Will anyone be partaking in this read-a-thon?


July 19, 2013

Day: 3

Books completed so far: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Currently reading: Rapture by Lauren Kate
Partials by Dan Wells

Thoughts on current book: Slowly making my way through these. I've read more of Rapture and I'm quite intrigued!

Pages read today: 173

Pages read in total: 876

Thoughts/Notes: Not such a great reading day, unfortunately. Things were kinda slow both for the audiobook and the ebook, but that's okay, I'm not too far behind!


July 17, 2013

Day: 2

Books completed so far: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Currently reading: Rapture by Lauren Kate
Partials by Dan Wells

Thoughts on current book: Quite enjoying both! Rapture is a little tricky to understand sometimes as I had read the previous books years ago, though. I am really excited to finish this series as well.

Pages read today: 299

Pages read in total: 703

Thoughts/Notes: Pretty good day for reading, I did more exploring of Chicago and was able to listen to quite a bit of Partials :) I keep getting really distracted by the Internet since I have free access for some crazy reason, so I'm spending precious reading time doing sh** all :S BUT OH WELL!


July 16, 2013

- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Rapture by Lauren Kate
- The Luxe by Anna Godberson
- Partials by Dan Wells
- A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Day: 1

Books completed: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Currently Reading: Rapture by Lauren Kate

Thoughts on current book: Two paragraphs in... not much to say just yet ;)

Pages read today: 404

Pages read in total: 404

Thoughts/Notes: I had a busy day today, exploring the city of Chicago with my friend Heather from HeathersBookReview! Even still I got through the entire audiobook :) I absolutely loved Aristotle and Dante! Oh, it made me cry and cry and it was amazing. That is all.

I still have precisely 43 minutes until the end of the first day, so I shall get a little more reading done before heading to bed :) -Edit- I have since updated the pages read :)

Bout of Books Read-a-thon | Day #4

May 17, 2013

Day: 4

Books completed:
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Prince by Kiera Cass

Currently Reading:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Elite by Kiera Cass

Thoughts on current book: I am thoroughly enjoying The Hobbit! I have no idea why I waited so long to continue reading this after I put it down in January...
I am only a little of the way through The Elite, so there isn't much to say about it yet. HOWEVER, I am a little anxious as my good friend told me how she didn't like it as much. She said something along the lines of... "It'll make you so angry. You will want to throw the book across the room. No joke." See what I mean? Hmm.

Pages read since last update: 140

Pages read in total: 1459


Only a little progress today.... That's okay, Friday is practically entirely free for reading!

Bout of Books Read-a-thon | Day #3

May 16, 2013

Day: 3

Books completed:
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Prince by Kiera Cass

Currently Reading: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Thoughts on current book: Finally getting around to continuing this book. Adoring it so far!

Pages read since last update: 384

Pages read in total: 1319


I just whizzed through The Selection and The Prince! I thoroughly enjoyed both :) I need to get my hands on the The Elite ASAP!

Bout of Books Read-a-thon | DAY #2

May 15, 2013

Day: 2

Books completed:
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Currently Reading: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Thoughts on current book: Only just begun, but liking how it thus far!

Pages read since last update: 659

Pages read in total: 935


My poor heart has been shredding by The Summer Garden, but I thought it was a fantastic finale to the Bronze Horseman trilogy.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret was a well-needed break from romance and such, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Definitely what I needed :)

I also added a couple of books to my Read-a-thon TBR!
- The Prince by Kiera Cass
- Exceptional by Jess Petosa

Bout of Books Read-a-thon | DAY #1

May 14, 2013

Day: 1

Books completed: NONE

Currently Reading: The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

Thoughts on current book: I can't even with this book. My poor, poor heart.

Pages read since last update: 276

Pages read in total: 276


I am a busy little bee so I am making as much time as I can! Let's hope I don't get so sleepy so early tomorrow :)

Bout of Books 7.0

May 4, 2013

What's this? Another read-a-thon? I sure am liking the sounds of this! It is coming up pretty soon, and if you aren't sure about what it is then have a read:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
- From the Bout of Books team

So I have prepared a list of books I would like to read during the week:

The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Selection by Kiera Cass

Hopefully I can get through a chunk of this month's TBR, if not finish them, and I have included a couple of other books I have been meaning to read for a little while now.

Will anyone be partaking in this read-a-thon?

Read-a-thon Wrap Up

May 1, 2013

Books completed:
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling
The Bridge to Holy Cross by Paullina Simons
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (ALMOST, 20 pages off!)

Books unfinished/not started:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Pages read in total: approx. 650
(I can't remember how many pages exactly for The Bridge to Holy Cross as I already returned it to the person who lent it to me)

So at one point I intended on listening to an audiobook whilst taking a drive to pick up my brother (the round-trip was 2 hours) but I was a technology noob and forgot that when I synched my iPhone to my new laptop's iTunes, the audiobook files were deleted. I'll get them off my hard drive soon. *facepalm* Unfortunately this took out a chunk of reading time which ACTUALLY could have meant that I got around to finishing Fantastic Beasts & Beedle the Bard (since they are super quick, short reads)!!! *sigh*

Although I didn't read the other two J.K. Rowling books (which I will probably read during the week, I hope) I think I did really well! I finished the one large book I had been in the middle of for a week or so, and got through two other books with 100-150 pages :)

This Read-a-thon helped me get back on track for my 75 Book Challenge for this year as well, which is awesome!

How did you all do? I had a lot of fun reading and getting through these books!

Read-a-thon Update!

April 27, 2013

Hour: 10

Books completed: Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling

Currently Reading: The Bridge to Holy Cross by Paullina Simons

Thoughts on current book: Ahh I just, ahh! So much heartbreak in these books, seriously. Thoroughly enjoying it but I am so curious to see how it ends!

Pages read since last update: 348

Pages read in total: 348

As I mentioned in my first post, I was being a little naughty and starting early since a) it is already the 27th in Aus and b) I have work during the majority of the set times. I don't want to miss out and I needed to get some reading done.

Anyway, for up until now I decided that staying away from my computer was the best option, as I am an easily distracted person. So here are the progressions I wrote down in my notepad as I went:

8am - Starting from page 156 of The Bridge to Holy Cross
11am - Currently on page 236
12:30pm - Page 286, but decided to take a break and start Quidditch Through the Ages (already read first 17 pages)
1:20pm - Finished Quidditch Through the Ages! Now back to TBTHC
2:30pm - Page 322
3:30pm - Page 359
4:45pm - Page 387... I seem to be slowing down for some reason
5:30pm - Page 410. Taking a short 15 minute break to do this post :)

How are you guys doing in the read-a-thon?

Dewey's Read-a-thon Begins!

April 26, 2013

Dewey's Read-a-thon for April has begun! For the next 24 hours, I will be busy reading and tweeting and sleeping and eating. But mainly reading.

It is running on Saturday April 27th, from 5am Pacific Time/8am Eastern Time/12pm Greenwich Mean Time. Due to my schedule, I will be participating at a slightly earlier time, otherwise I won't be able to participate!

Why not join in on the fun? All you have to do is submit your name and blog/twitter/youtube/etc. URL on the link on this page:

I will be posting updated throughout the next 24 hours, as well as a final update on what I am reading, how many pages I have read, etc.

If you are participating, I would love to hear what you are reading! Even if you aren't, feel free to share what you happen to be reading today.

Planned Reading:
- The Bridge to Holy Cross by Paullina Simons
I am a third of the way through already, so I hope to just finish it!

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
A few small, light reads if I need a break! Plus I a missing the wizarding world :)

- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I also decided to chuck this in here on the off chance that I am able to finish The Bridge to Holy Cross, then I shall make a start on this one! I want to read it before the film comes out :)

Gargoyle Book Blitz

April 4, 2013

BB Book Tours
IT'S BOOK BLITZ TIME! Check out Gargoyle by Lorraine Beaumont, part of The Gathering Series!

Gargoyle by Lorraine Beaumont
Published: 31st August 2012
Buy? Amazon

Briar Cliff Township - New England's best kept secret...turns out is has a few secrets of its own.

For much of the year Briar Cliff is exactly the same as any other small town snugly nestled into the forests of the New England coast. But once a year when the winds change... old stirrings arise from long kept secrets, forgotten misdeeds and a thirst for vengeance. And so the Gathering begins...Something Wicked this way comes...

Cover Art [PhatPuppy Art]
Goodreads Page

Author Bio:
I am the author of the Ravenhurst Series -a time-travel paranormal romance, written with an ensemble cast of characters -Forgotten Time, Shadows of Yesterday, Time to Remember are all available now and the fourth installment Dreams of Tomorrow will be coming this year 2013. 
I also write YA/contemporary urban fantasy with a kick-The Gathering Series about Gargoyles. Elyograg, Gargoyle and The Gathering Series Vol. 1 are now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Author Links:
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads Author Page | Pinterest | FaceBook

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

March 27, 2013

Today I am here with a video review of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Released: August 14th 2012 (paperback edition, previously self-pub)
Series: Beautiful [Book One]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 437
Source: Purchased
Buy it: Book Depository (free shipping) | Amazon

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

The Short
Beautiful Disaster was a really enjoyable read. I enjoyed the story, the characters and the romance - all of which kept me flipping those pages and wanting to read more. However, I did have a couple of issues with a particular event that happens towards the end of the book, as well as the actions of the main character. Unfortunately I grew to hate her... which isn't such a good thing. In the end, I began to like her again, though :)

The Long

The Good
Likeable characters (for the most part), gripping story and romance, tear-jerking moments.

The Bad
Aggravating main character, unrealistic "adventure".

Trailer Reveal Blast: The Flame in the Mist + GIVEAWAY!

March 24, 2013

There's evil-a coming from up on the hill
If the Mist doesn't get you, the Agromonds will.
   —From an old Anglavian rhyme


Thunder roared, and lightning speared down. In its brief flashes, Jemma could see more shadows gathering. They looked like pale Mordsprites, small, bedraggled, skeletal. She lengthened her stride, but the ground was slick and she slipped, slamming face down in black mud. Hauling herself to her feet yet again, she came face to face with one of the shadows.

It was not a Mordsprite at all, but the gray silhouette of a child, a sunken-cheeked, hollow-eyed boy of no more than five, his ragged arms reaching out to her through the Mist.

Jemma stood petrified, her heart pounding as he swayed closer, oblivious to the chaos raining down around him. Others closed in behind him, a straggling band of waifs, all moving in the same direction.

Toward her.


"Fast, creepy fun. A bit of The Addams Family, a bit of dark fantasy, and a boatload of monsters and magic make this read a ghoulish delight." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar

About The Flame in the Mist:

The sun never shines in the land of Anglavia. Its people live within a sinister mist created by their rulers, the cruel Agromond family. The Agromonds' control is absolute; no one dares defy them. But things are about to change, for the youngest of them is not like the others...

Fiery-headed Jemma has always felt like the family misfit, and is increasingly disturbed by the dark goings-on at Agromond Castle. The night before her thirteenth birthday, Jemma discovers the terrifying reason why: She is not who she thinks she is, and the Agromonds have a dreadful ritual planned for her birthday—a ritual that could kill her.

But saving her skin is just the first of Jemma's ordeals. Ghosts and outcasts, a pair of crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient Prophecy—all these gradually reveal the truth about her past, and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than any she could imagine.

With her trusted friend, Digby, and her two telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, Jemma faces enemies both human and supernatural. But in the end, she and her untapped powers might be the only hope for a kingdom in peril.

About Kit

Kit Grindstaff was born near London, and grew up in the rolling countryside of England. After a brush with pop stardom (under her maiden name, Hain), she moved to New York and embarked on her successful career as a pop song writer. Kit now lives with her husband in the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania, where she still writes songs as well as children's books. The Flame In The Mist is her first novel. 

Find Kit:


Buy Links:


Kit will be giving away a $30 giftcard to Amazon or The Book Depository to one lucky winner! The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and will be ending on April 6th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post by Gareth Russell

March 1, 2013

“I’m sorry, but HOW can you think that?”: Writing so your characters seem real

Recently, I was clearing out a stack of papers from my study. They’d been buried at the bottom of a drawer for goodness knows how long. At the top was an essay on thirteenth-century Judaism that belonged to my university days and at the bottom was a set of notes, half-typed and half-scribbled, with the words “Character ideas” jotted across the top in black ink. In a much neater section of my bookshelves, I keep blue folders on every major character in my novels, “Popular” and “The Immaculate Deception.” Each folder has an information-pack on a different character – where they live in Belfast, their school house, their birthdays, what their parents do for a living, who their brothers and sisters are, what classes they’re taking, their favourite colour, favourite books, favourite type of food, what extra-curricular they do (if any) – and a stack of magazine articles that I’ve torn out and saved, because I think they’re relevant to that character and their interests. I therefore have all the notes I need for “Popular’s” characters and it was only out of curiosity that I took a look at these very messy pages of paper that I unearthed in my jihad against clutter. 

The “Character ideas” notes I found turned out to have been from four or five years ago, before I even started writing “Popular.” The page had all the original ideas for the novel’s characters, as they developed in my head. These notes reminded me that the character of Imogen had nearly been a brunette called Virginia; Carrie, Faith and Verity had all been suggested for the character that eventually became “Popular’s” ‘princess of pink’ - Kerry; Stewart had nearly been David; Blake had originally been called Andrew and he’d been Irish, not American. There had even been two extra girls in the novel’s main group of friends – a sarcastic blonde called Sarah-Louise and the prim and kind-hearted Natasha. They’d both been dropped, along with a central storyline of Meredith taking a protective interest in a sickly girl in junior school and Kerry’s feud with the fake-tan-caked Lisa Flaherty. I’d called it “the war of the Jaffa fakes” and assumed I was being witty… These notes from four years ago also revealed that another idea had been Mark developing a close friendship with Blake and discussing why he was no longer a born-again Christian. There were so many ideas jotted down all over the page. I suddenly realized that nearly every character had eventually had their name changed or their story changed, in one way or the other. Not one single one of them had stayed exactly the same from the original ideas I’d had for this book. Except for one. At the very top of the page, in neat strokes of black ink, I’d written “Meredith Elisabeth Anne Harper.” No other notes. It was the first name I wrote down for this book and it’s still the first name you’ll come across on the very first page of “Popular.” Nothing about Meredith was ever changed or debated.

I can’t remember where Meredith Harper came from. I can definitely remember various conversations and articles that gave me the idea for her, but I don’t remember where, or how, she was born so completely. One day, she just strolled into my head – fully formed. No edits. Other characters were changed, but Meredith remained the same. There was no need to change her. I know Meredith in a way that it’s difficult to define. Like Cameron in the novel, I often despair of her nastiness, her pettiness and her vengefulness, but writing her has been refreshing because she’s so effortlessly self-confident. She’s a cut-glass perfectionist, with barrels of brains and minimum tolerance for weakness. Having created the character, it’s my job as a writer not to try to make her “nicer” just to suit everybody’s taste. Writing is a bit like friendship, I think: if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one. I prefer to leave Meredith as she is and let readers decide if they like her or don’t. 

It’s that idea that was at the very core of writing “Popular.” It’s right there, on those scribbled notes: “Make them likable if you’d like in real life. No preaching.” I like Meredith Harper, but there are plenty of people who don’t. That’s good. Some people find Cameron to be spineless, others think he’s endearing, others see him as snobbish and cold. A lot of readers detested Blake, but there were also quite a few writing to me or leaving comments on our Facebook page saying how much they liked him and wanted to see him back in the next books. During a book signing in Waterstone’s book store in Belfast, two girls actually got into a pretty  heated conversation in front of me about Blake – with the phrase, “I’m sorry, but HOW can you actually think that?” being used by one of them. Imogen, who everyone seems to like despite her wanton selfishness and constant partying, is far more popular with some readers than her beret-loving friend Kerry, who a friend of mine described as ‘not funny, at all,’ while another said she’s ‘by far the most likable character in the book and utterly hilarious.’ 

I suppose that was my intention with these books. If I’ve done it right, you’ll like the characters in “Popular” if you’d like them in real life; you’ll laugh with (or at) them; you’ll hate them or love them or something in between. I’d like them to feel, in some way, real. But to seem real, they have to have good bits, bad bits, funny bits, unique bits, weird bits, bits you’ve observed from watching other people and bits you’ve made up yourself. So much work has gone into these characters – as the sheet of notes that I discovered reminded me – but it doesn’t feel that way. They have been a constant pleasure. I’ve had a lot of laughs with them and I root for their romances, their friendships and their failures. They’re great company, so much fun to write and thank God there are still a few more books to go. I’m not quite ready to leave them yet!


You can buy “Popular” from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada or Barnes and Noble. It’s available in paperback and on Kindle.

You can buy its sequel “The Immaculate Deception” from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada or Barnes and Noble. You can also rent them on Amazon Kindle US and read some fun reviews of the books here and here!

A second sequel is due out later this year. I’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page, you can find out more about the series of books (including how they were made into a play) at our website. Or if you’d like to follow me on Twitter - @garethrussell1.


About Gareth Russell

Gareth Russell is a 26 year-old writer, speaker and historian from Northern Ireland. He studied history at the University of Oxford and his first book was published in the UK and Ireland by Penguin in 2011. The “Popular” series has since gone global with its new publishers, MadeGlobal. Gareth is currently working on the third novel, as well as his first non-fiction book, a history of the British monarchy.

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: After Summer

February 27, 2013

After SummerI am here with another cover reveal of After Summer by Hannah Harvey, the sequel to How I got Here. I also have a small excerpt from the novel, so have a read!

After Summer by Hannah Harvey
Expected Publication: March 1st, 2013

"Everything changes for Arianna when she loses one of her best friends in an accident, suddenly everything that felt happy and safe, is no longer there, and she can't handle it. It used to be Ben, Summer and Arianna, always together, and now it's just Ben and Arianna left, and she needs to escape.

After Summer's death she pushes Ben away, cutting of her connection with who she used to be, but she can't keep running forever, not when the past is always ready to catch her up, especially since it's more than just Summer's death that she's running from."

About the Author:
Hannah has had a keen interest in writing for a long time, starting out writing short stories when she was young. As she got older she started taking her writing more seriously, and writing longer pieces, but it wasn’t until taking part in and completing NaNoWriMo, that she decided to pursue her writing.

Her first novel ‘How I Got Here’ was released in the summer of 2012.

Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

‘Don’t lecture me Ben I can’t deal with that tonight.’

‘I expected more from you.’ He sighs.

‘That’s the whole issue though,’ Arianna shouts, ‘so many people expected so much from me, by the time I was about thirteen my whole life had been mapped out, and I felt like if I changed even one thing, I’d be letting everyone down! I was drowning in expectations. After Summer died I just couldn’t do it anymore, but that Arianna, the one I used to be, she was so tied down by all of that, so I had to become someone new.’

‘And cut everyone out of your life? I know it’s not just me, you hardly talk to Alex anymore, you’re withdrawn around your parents, you don’t talk to my parents anymore, all of your friends were dropped, you don’t talk to Kate, and she says that Fletcher has been trying to contact you but you won’t talk to him either. I don’t understand it, you had a great life and sure I know things weren’t perfect, but you had a support system of friends and family, and you pushed them all away. What’s so horrible about the life you had planned?’

‘Nothing’s horrible about it,’

‘Then just explain to me what you’re doing? Why you’re acting like this prom queen type of girl.’

‘Maybe because I am the prom queen,’ she shrugs noncommittally, ‘I like who I am now, I have a big group of friends, I have money, I don’t have to worry about being labelled a nerd, I actually have a varied social life that consists of more than staying at home, or going to the arcade. I don’t have to care,’

‘About anything,' he finishes for  her, ‘that’s the biggest problem, you used to care about things and people, but now you don’t, or you pretend you don’t.’

‘I didn’t come here to talk about myself, so if this is the way the nights going then I’ll leave now.’ She snaps back angrily.

Harken Blog Tour & Giveaway!

February 23, 2013

Welcome to another stop of the Harken Blog Tour! I have for you an interview with Kaleb Nation himself, author of Harken, as well as some awesome giveaways! You know you love free stuff.

Anyway, below is a bit of information about Harken, then continue on to take a look at the interview where Kaleb talks about non-spoilery Harken stuff like the lizard people and inspiration.

If you have not read it but would like to, go here to read the first three chapters: HARKEN PREVIEW.

Harken by Kaleb Nation
Released: January 9th, 2013
Series: Harken [Book One]
Buy it: Amazon & Nook or Don't own a Kindle/Nook?
Michael Asher is almost an ordinary California teenager, except for his unexplainable ability to see a glimpse of a person’s thoughts through their eyes. After surviving an assassination attempt, he discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy higher than any earthly power. A clandestine organization with authority over world leaders, celebrities, and the wealthy desperately wants him dead. Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to search for the identity of the puppet master and dig up the truth that humanity is not being told.

Check out my fellow bloggers participating in this tour: Harken Tour
Watch the Book Trailer: TRAILER TIME
Author Links: Twitter | YouTube

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed the interview! Now it is time for a giveaway or two? These are INTERNATIONAL so don't forget to enter using the Rafflecopter forms below.

The Daily Prize Pack:
- Signed Giant Poster
- Signed Postcard
- Glow-in-the-dark Wristband
- Glow-in-the-dark Silver Ring

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grand Prize:
- A Harken-Themed Kindle Paperwhite

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

February 11, 2013

Today I am here with a video review of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Released: July 31st, 2012
Series: Pushing the Limits [Book One]
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 392
Source: Purchased
Buy it: Book Depository (free shipping) | Amazon

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

The Short
Pushing the Limits was fantastic. I loved it. The characters had a lot of drama in their life which added dynamic to their relationship. It kept me wanting to read and completely drew me in to the characters.

The Long

The Good
Great, layered chracters, romance, made me feel all of the feels.

The Bad

January Wrap Up | 2013

February 3, 2013

The first month of 2013 has come and gone! I am proud to say that I read ALL of my TBR books! I know, right?

Books Acquired:

- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
- The Farm by Emily McKay
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
- The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
- Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
- Intertwined by Gena Showalter
- Night World by L.J. Smith
- Level 2 by Lenore Applehaus
- World War Z by Max Brooks
- You Can't Shatter Me by Tahlia Newland
- Quidditch Through The Ages by J.K. Rowling
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
- Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
- The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
- Splintered by A.G. Howard

people mentioned
Benjamin from BenjaminofTomes

Books Read:
- Pushing the Limits by Katy McGarry
- Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Easy by Tammara Webber
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- Paper Towns by John Green

/In Progress/
- Harken by Kaleb Nation
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Toklien
- The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden

February TBR:
- Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- The Host by Stephenie Meyer
- Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


- What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Additions to Reading Challenges
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - Classics
Paper Towns by John Green - Re-reads

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

January 28, 2013

Today I am here with a video review of Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Released: October 1st, 2008
Series: Graceling Realm [Book One]
Publisher: Harcourt
Pages: 471
Source: Purchased
Buy it: Book Depository (free shipping) | Amazon

In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

The Short
Graceling had a bit of a slow start and it took me a little while to get into the story, but when it did I was completely hooked! I loved the development of the story, the characters, the Graces. I loved the setting and learning about the Kingdoms. I loved Katsa's strength, and I adored Po.

The Long

The Good
Intriguing concept, great characters, development of story.

The Bad
Slow start, Katsa's rants were slightly annoying.


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