My Week In Review – ROW80 Check-In 4

Hello gentle reader,

So I’m trying something new today. Instead of my usual ROW80 Check-In + Inspiring Writer’s Story, I’m starting a new series of posts. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know in the comment section!

Quote of the Week

“Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them.” The Crimson Petal & the White by Michel Faber

Especially if you’re attempting to write a YA Historical Fantasy set in Victorian London, like me.

Book of the Week


The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman (YA Historical Fantasy set in Victorian London)

Read in your genre, they say…

Picture of the Week

M.LIN St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral – London (by my friend M.LIN)

My WIP’s opening is set in St Paul’s Churchyard…

Word Count of the Week

As of yesterday, my WIP is at  6000 words. Also it has a secret title and my MC has a name. It’s taking shape! I’m hoping to add more words today.

TV Show of the Week

Spartacus-War of the Damned

Spartacus – War of the Damned (Starz)

This show has its flaws, but I’m addicted. And this is the last season…

Good News of the Week

The ever-awesome Amanda Foody got an agent and celebrated with a hilarious post. Go and congratulate her!

ROW80 Check-In

ROW80 Logo

My goal for this round is to write every day. This week I managed to write 4 days out of 7.

Music of the Week

Les Miserables Musical 1985

I’ve been listening to this on repeat. If you’ve read this post, you know why.

Links of the Week

On my blog I discussed how to write unforgettable secondary characters.

Over on There And Draft Again Raewyn talked about Magical Creatures in Fantasy and Rachel gave some advice on writing fantasy without clichés.

On the Writer Diaries Blog, Vicky Leigh posted a great post about the querying process – with Gifs

Dahlia Adler did the same, but without Gifs

Next week

My blog is so close to 300 followers I have decided to thank you by giving away a book! Stay tuned 🙂

What did you do this week? Make sure to share your writing progress and what inspired you this week in the comment section below!

Quote of the Day – 9 + Bout of Books Read-a-thon Day 3

“We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.”

George R.R. Martin (originally published in The Faces of Fantasy: Photographs by Pati Perret copyright © 1996 by Pati Perret)



On another note today…

Bout of Books Read-a-thon – Day 3

Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, which has started today Monday, May 14th and will run until Sunday, May 20th.

Find out more here:

Follow the fun on Twitter here: @boutofbooks

I have posted my goals here:

My update:

Book I’m reading: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Number of pages I’ve read today: 106/380
Total number of books I’ve finished reading this week: 1


How have you been doing? What have you been reading?

Quote of the Day – 8

Have you ever been really scared by a book? As in: I read that book, I couldn’t sleep the next night, I will never read it again and just thinking about it sends chills down my spine? Well, if you haven’t, you might want to read The Fall of the House of Usher.


“As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell –the huge antique panels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the instant, ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust –but then without those doors there DID stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher. There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold, then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated.”

“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe.


Quote of the Day – 7

Fantastical Intentions is a feature featuring Hannah and Naithin of Once Upon A Time and Jacob of Drying Ink. They decide on a fantasy related topic and everyone is welcome to join in. If you would like to participate, write a blog post of your own and leave your link in the comments.

This week’s topic is: Quotes !

My pick is:

 “There are only two worlds – your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. these worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters. ”

Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic

What quote did you choose?

Sidenote:  my challenge/giveaway is still open here and you have the opportunity to win The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Enter now!

Dystopian Survival Week Hop – Day 2

 Welcome to the Dystopian Survival Week Hop – Day 2 !

This Hop is hosted by Kristen @ Seeing Night Reviews and Ali’s @ Ali’s Bookshelf. It started yesterday, Monday, April 23th and it runs through Friday, April 27st.

There are 9 participating blogs and I strongly suggest you visit each of them because we all give you the opportunity to win awesome Dystopian books if you’re willing to take part in our challenges.

My challenge/giveaway is open internationally. It is open until Friday, 27th April at midnight (EST).

*Challenge/Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who participated!*

My challenge: Guess that Quote from Dystopian Novels

Here are four quotes from (very) famous dystopian novels. You have to guess/research which book each quote is from and send me your answers via the contact form below.

Quote #1: “Big Brother is Watching You.”
Quote #2: “I held you in my hands, Wanderer, and you were beautiful.”
Quote #3: “I feel like someone breathed new air into my lungs. I am not Abnegation. I am not Dauntless. I am Divergent.”
Quote #4: “Katniss, the girl who was on fire!”
In the contact form below, you only need to fill in your name and email, and list in the core of the message your four answers. For example:

1-    Title of Book #1

2-    Title of Book #2

3-    Title of Book #3

4-    Title of Book #4


If your four answers are correct, your will have a chance to win…

The prize: “The Knife of Never Letting Go” Giveaway

“The Knife of Never Letting Go”, by UK-based author Patrick Ness, is a YA Dystopian novel. Published in 2008, it is the first installment in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. It has won numerous awards, including the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award, and the 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award. It was also shortlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal and longlisted for the 2009 Manchester Book Award. It is a great book that you should definitely read, so why not win it?

Enter the challenge now!

Done entering my challenge? Check out the other participating blogs:

April 24

 (YA Book) – Government System in Dystopian Novels (Giving away Various Dystopian Novels)

April 25th

Ali’s Bookshelf – Would you make it through the Maze Challenge (Giving away The Maze Runner)

Pretty Deadly Reviews) – Hunger Games Theme (Giving away Hunger Games + Swag)

April 26th

Breath of Life Book Reviews) – Article 5 Theme (Giving away Article 5 + Post Card)
Book Lovin Mamas – Surviving the Caves Challenge (Giving away The Host)

April 27th

(One Book Per Week) – Woman/Girls in Dystopian Novel Theme ( Giveaway Blood Red Road)

Sharon Loves Books and Cats – The Hunt Challenge (Giveaway The Hunt)

Seeing Night Reviews – Closing Announcements (Giving away Insurgent)

Fantastical Intentions – Beginnings

Fantastical Intentions is a feature featuring Hannah and Naithin of Once Upon A Time and Jacob of Drying Ink. They decide on a fantasy related topic and everyone is welcome to join in. If you would like to participate, write a blog post of your own and leave your link in the comments.

This week’s topic is: Beginnings!

My pick is the beginning of The Passage by Justin Cronin.

“Before she became the Girl from Nowhere-the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years-she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.”

The Passage is a very long book (almost a 1000 pages) and it’s the first installment in a trilogy. To be honest, it’s not the easiest read in the world despite a great theme and an interesting plot: the story takes a (very) long time to unfold and I thought some editing would have been needed for some parts of the book. That being said, The Passage has one of the best beginnings I’ve read in my life. The first 250 pages are just amazingly gripping and incredibly well written. Entitled “The Worst Dream in the World”, this part 1 of the novel describes how the world comes to an end in less than half an hour.

“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

This beginning is a race against time and a great introduction of the main characters.

It is an outstanding example of what a beginning should be in a novel.

What beginning did you choose?

Favorite books

What’s on my bookshelf ? 2

Today I want to mention the books that have made me want to become a writer. They are the books I wish I had written myself, the books I can read over and over again, the books I can’t imagine my bookshelf without.

Because they are all different, I can’t really decide a number one and a number ten, so I will mention them in the order I have read them, from the oldest to the most recently discovered.

1-    Remember Me, Christopher Pike

I read this book when I was maybe 12 or 13, and I still recommend it to people. Because when it comes to YA novels, it doesn’t really get better than this: a girl who wakes up and realizes she is a ghost. She embarks on a journey to find out who killed her – before he kills again. It’s gripping, Shari is a great character and all the themes that you want to find in a YA book are there.

Most people would probably call me a ghost. I am, after all, dead. But it wasn’t so long ago I was alive, you see. I was just 18. I had my whole life in front of me.”

2-    Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

I am one of the lucky readers who grew up with Harry: I was thirteen when the first book came out and I eagerly waited for each book to be published so I could read it in the next two days, then re-read it a few time afterwards. As I got older, I came to really appreciate the amazing literary achievement that this series is.

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

3-    A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving

I clearly remember reading this book during my High School Senior Year because it had been recommended by my English teacher. And I can still tell you the story from start to finish. The plot is one of the best written I have read, with every single small part of the book being meaningful and important in the end. When I try to write today, I always ask myself: is this important in the grand scheme of things for my novel? If it’s not, I get rid of it.

“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”

4-    Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl

Another great plot. It is a 700-page novel about reading, writing and teaching literature, complete with visual aids and a final test. It is incredibly clever, funny and sad. Loving to read can save lives, Marisha Pessl proves it.

“It was as if Hannah had sprung a leak and her character, usually so meticulous and contained, was spilling all over the place.”

5-    Wicked, Gregory Maguire

Another book I keep recommending to everyone, although I know it’s not the easiest read. It’s just that I LOVE it. It tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West (yes, the one from The Wizard of Oz). It’s about women empowerment, evil and good, friendship and loss, communication and miscommunication, love and hate, books and magic. It’s a Fantasy novel about us. It’s an amazing book.

“Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?”

6-    American Gods, Neil Gaiman

I have read every book by Neil Gaiman, but American Gods remains my favorite. It is a classic American novel written by an Englishman. It tackles serious themes like religion, violence, loss, freedom and love and it mixes them with humor, magic and oddities. It is a Fantasy book, so not everything in it is true, or is it?

“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”

7-    Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I never laughed so hard reading a book. This tale of the apocalypse, by the two literary geniuses that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are, is impossible to describe. There are a witch, an angel, a demon, the son of Satan who gets unexplainably lost, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and a nun. All these people work towards/against the coming End Of Days, and it’s hilarious.

“Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home.”

8-    A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin

Obviously, this Fantasy series is not yet finished, however its first book, entitled A Game of Thrones, made me rethink my way of writing Fantasy novels. As I read the following books, I grew tired of the main characters dying and of the thickening of the plot. But Daenerys Targaryen  remains one of those characters I wish I had thought of myself;

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

9-    Wither, Lauren DeStefano

Wither, which came out last year, was, on top of being an amazing read, a real eye-opener for me in terms of Young Adult writing. Yes, you can write for teenagers and still tackle very serious issues, write with a rich vocabulary and describe elaborate settings.

“And here we are: two small dying things, as the world ends around us like falling autumn leaves.”

10- Anna Dressed In Blood, Kendare Blake

Another read from last year, I bought Anna Dressed in Blood because I loved the title. And I wasn’t disappointed, as the writing is as good as the title. This Young Adult ghost story narrated by a foul-mouthed teenage boy is a great novel, on top of being remarkable for its non PG-rated writing.

“Anna, she’s like Bruce Lee, the Hulk and Neo from The Matrix all rolled in to one.”

So, what are your favorite books?