Tag Archives: 2013

Pretties & Kitties: 2013 Edition

Kitties & Pretties

Kitties & Pretties is my version of the various weekend book haul show-off memes such as Stacking The Shelves, The Sunday ShowcaseIn My Mailbox, Owl Post, etc. It goes like this: I set up and arrange the various books I’ve received lately, wait for one of my curious kitties to come investigate, then start snapping pictures. Or I let my husband pick up Winky, my blog mascot, put her in a bag (she likes being carried around in a bag – she’s weird and awesome like that) and place her on the table next to said book haul. Which is what happened above. 🙂

(Kitties & Pretties is free for anyone to use, with a link back to my blog)

So. Guys. I won A TON of books in 2013, courtesy of my new found obsession: stalking following book blogs. I know that normal people post their book haul weekly, but since I didn’t get into blogging myself until close to the end of 2013, and seeing as I still want to show off thank all the awesome bloggers who gifted me these books, I hereby present my 2013 Kitties & Pretties Overview!

We’ll start with the books I got for myself, during the first half of the year. Bought with a combination of Christmas gift cards and the weekly online bargains at BooksAMillion. Wink is taking her duty as Official Book Presenter very seriously.

Wink books intent stare

Books obtained include:

The Selection and The Elite by Keira Cass

The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano

The Matched trilogy by Ally Condie

The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Blood Magic by Tessa Graton

Immortal by Gillian Shields

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Sweep: Volume 1 by Cate Tiernan

The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

Next I’ll showcase the books I won during the first part of the year from awesome generous bloggers, authors and publishers. Wink is generously voting for The Adoration of Jenna Fox with her total adorableness.

wink tail books

Books won include:

The Jenna Fox Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

The Testing and Indepedent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Every Other Day and Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Cinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

The Program by Suzanne Young

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Mermother: An Account of What Happened In The Sea by Elizabeth Jane Wolfe

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem by Melissa Lemon

Marking Time by April White

Winky’s tail and I also felt the need to point out how freaking awesome it is that I won a personalized copy of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows!


Yes, my first name is Julia. Rain Jeys is my pen name, though it’s also my middle/maiden name. 🙂

During the first half of the year, I also won Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley and Reaper by L.S. Murphy. I have to just use the Goodreads image, since I’ve lent both books out. 🙂

Next we have the awesomeness that awaited me when I arrived at my new house (well, kind of new – I lived here with my Grama as a kid) in California. After a certain date, I just had any books I won sent to my new address and my mom collected them into a book pile for me. Here they all are, lined up beautifully on the shelf of my new housewarming-gifted bookshelf!


Books awaiting me included:

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard

Of Beast & Beauty by Stacey Jay

Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright (and the movie!)

Also awaiting me in California was this unexpected present

Mystery Book

I have no idea who gave it to me, but thank you!

Shortly after arriving in California, my amazing husband purchased these beauties for me

House of Hades


This next pile is displayed by my adorable assistant, Captain Jack (yes, Harkness), who seems to wish me to read The Burning Sky next.

Jack loves The Burning Sky

I kind of forgot to divide these into piles (I was distracted by Jack’s immense cuteness!), but anyway:

The Sea Inside by Vickie Johnstone (won from the author’s blog)

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (purchased)

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas (purchased)

Marked, Betrayed, Chosen &Untamed by P.C. & Kristen Cast (gift from  my husband)

And here is Vinnie, from atop his favorite perch, on top of the bookcase, and never too far from his penguin robe, to present the first book I’ve ever won from a Goodreads giveaway!

The Vinnie Kingdom

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

I was lucky enough to have won the grand prize for the Indelible giveaway, which was this beautiful real copper rose (as in a rose – coated in copper) and a feather quill, ink and inkwells. Gorgeous.


Vinnie says we need a close-up of the copper rose


I didn’t win the actual book though! Even though I really want to read it!

It would take half my life to thank each individual blogger for each individual book here (especially since I’m still typing one-handed), so instead I shall list each blog and author here. Thank you so much!

Erica Hayes

My Friends Are Fiction

Literary Meanderings

Christy’s Love of Books

DJ Librarian Dishes

Jean Book Nerd

Short & Sweet Reviews

Lili Lost in a Book

Bookaroo-Ju Blog

The Quiet Concert

The Secret Writer

Ex Libris Kate

Kate Tilton

Readers Confession

Forever 17 Books

YA Romantics

Vade Mecumbt

Ensconced in YA

Kismet Book Touring

 I Love to Read and Review Books 

The Attic -YA Book Reviews

The Book Belles

Tressa’s Wishful Endings

BookHounds YA


Vickie Johnstone

2013 was definitely the year of books, but I want 2014 to be even better! So I’m off now to read some more. Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Have you read any of these? Do you want to? Any you especially recommend? Some I’ve read already and some I haven’t. Either way, I love your input. Thanks for reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things I’d Make Writers Write About If I Could

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

 This week’s theme is topics you would make authors write about if you could. This could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.

I worked forever on this post! I hope you like it. 🙂

So I’m cheating just a bit here since, as a writer, I’ve got some ideas that I won’t be sharing, because I plan to write about them myself.  But that’s okay, because it forced me to stretch my brain for yet more ideas for the post. Yay! Here we go:

1) Number one, because it must obviously be said that, above all else:

I want more Harry Potter involving the main cast, preferably right after book seven. Seeing Hermione, Ginny and Luna’s last year at Hogwarts would be awesome. And then maybe following Luna Lovegood’s application to work in the Department of Mysteries. (Yes, I know officially she becomes a kind of naturalist but COME ON the Department of Mysteries has got to be the best place to work in all of Potterdom.) I will also settle for a next-generation series involving the Potter-Weasley kids. I’m not one of those clamoring for a Marauders series (please don’t hit me!) , even though I’d read it and love it, and my husband really wants one, so I’ll ask for it on his behalf. 😉 I’d just rather have a new Harry Potter series that still incorporates the main cast.

2) More Gemma Doyle. Or at least something to alleviate my Gemma-withdrawl

While we’re on the subject of series that ended way too soon, I need more Gemma Doyle. The Sweet Far Thing is one of my very favorite books, but that ending seriously killed me. I need more. I need to know what happens next. I’m still holding out hope that maybe the illustrious Libba Bray will grace us with another Gemma installation, but in the meantime, I petition all writers of the world to please pen me a Victorian gas-lamp fantasy full of feisty feminists. I’m desperate.

3) A Positive Depiction of the Goddess Hecate

Yes, Hecate is considered a “dark” goddess in many ways, but she’s also my Goddess, and there is so much more to her than just being the “dark” goddess. She’s goddess of the witches, yes, but YA (and non-YA) readers nowadays know that “witch” does not equal “evil”. So how about our luminous Goddess of Magic be given the same treatment? I griped a bit at Rick Riordan for casting Hecate on the side of the bad guys in the first Percy Jackson series, but her redemption and entertaining appearances in The House of Hades definitely made up for it. His son also wrote a quite moving short story featuring Hecate in The Demigod Diaries.

I suppose I’m breaking my own stipulation here, since I said I wouldn’t mention topics I myself planned to write about, since I do plan to write a novel or three involving Hecate, but honestly? She is so complex and cool a goddess that I’ve no doubt there is enough of her lore to go around. Let’s flood the market! 😉 I’m very much looking forward to Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel, in which Hecate makes an appearance. She’s described as a “dark goddess” but hopefully, as I’m trying to point out, “dark” doesn’t have to mean “bad”.

And while we’re at it, how about a positive representation of modern Wiccans? I mean, I get that if you’re going to write a book involving Wiccans you might as well just write about witches, but I’d actually read a contemporary (I know – gasp!) if it had something like a normal Wiccan family in it. Or a supernatural story that nonetheless featured Wiccans-as-normal-not-remotely-scary people. Inroads are being made, it’s true, but I don’t have an illustration for this suggestion and that’s kind of my point! Let’s just have another of Hecate, then.

(click the image to visit the artist’s webpage)

4) A Disabled Character (Preferably Main) Who Isn’t Just There To “Inspire” The Non-Disabled

I’m disabled. I broke  my back when I was seventeen and now I walk with a crutch (yes, just like Tiny Tim 😉 ) and have chronic pain and a host of health problems. Yet it seems that the very few disabled characters we get in YA (and even literature in general) are less-than-realistic about the difficulties involved. We don’t all climb Everest, folks. Most of us struggle just to stay healthy. Sure, that’s a bit of a downer, but doesn’t literature kind of exist to explore emotions and struggles? I suppose it could be argued that people can’t take reading about the stark realities of the lives of disabled people, but I have more faith in people than that. We have had horrifying yet beautiful YA novels tackle the subjects of rape, child abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and a whole host of others. I think it’s about time for disabilities to be added to the list. So why don’t I write one myself? I don’t know. Maybe I will some day. But I needn’t be the only one.

There are exceptions. Ashes on the Waves has a disabled main character, and his condition is depicted realistically, with all its inherent tragedy. And while for much of the book she is able-bodied, the time the main character of The Sea Inside spends in the hospital following her injury very accurately depicts the feelings of loss, isolation, and numbness that commonly accompany such an injury.

5)Doctor Who Novel With Doctor 10.5

There have been numerous Doctor Who novels involving the new Doctors, but as far as I know, no author has yet tackled the adventures of 10.5 and Rose in the parallel universe. (spoilers?) To my knowledge, there’s enough fan fiction on the subject that I’m quite confident an authorized novelization would sell. But then they need to get David Tennant to do the audio-book recording. If somehow this could happen, then, maybe, I’ll finally be able to get over Journey’s End. *sigh*

6) More Obscure Mythology

I love mythology. All kinds. It fascinates me. And I love discovering brand-new myths that I’ve never heard of, such as the fate-spinner seikona that appeared in Maria Dahvana Headley’s Queen of Kings. I want to know more about them, and I want to know more about other interesting myths. Ancient belief systems are flickering out all over the world and it’s a tragedy. I want to learn from them all.

7) More Poe Re-tellings

Since I absolutely loved and gushed over Mary Lindsey’s Ashes on the Waves and have no doubt that Bethany Griffiths’ Masque of the Red Death duology is likewise superb, I am putting in a request for more Poe re-tellings. The Fall of the House of User, perhaps?

8) The Lady of Shallot

The Lady of Shallot by Alfred Lord Tennyson is my very favorite poem and I desperately need both a modern and classical novelization of it. It’s beyond beautiful. If you’ve never read it, you should click here to read it, or listen to the Loreena McKennit song version of it below. I’m not going to spoil what happens for you, other than to say that it is the best metaphor ever constructed concerning the artist’s dilemma of observing the world and recording it, or becoming a part of it and risking the loss of yourself within.

9) Eurydice & Orpheus

While on the subject of re-tellings, I’d love to see my favorite Greek myth and one of my all-time favorite love stories, that of Eurydice and Orpheus, novelized, in either a modern or classical telling. In the myth, the bard Orpheus loses his bride Eurydice, and travels to the underworld to use his musical talents to move the hearts of Hades and Persephone enough for them to release her. They decide that Orpheus may lead Eurydice out of Hades, so long as he never once look back to be sure she is following. But Orpheus, mad with worry and suspecting a trick, looks back at the entrance to our world, and so loses Eurydice forever.

So, naturally, it’s the kind of thing I love and need a novel version of. If you want to learn more about the myth, click here:

9) Linda Bergkvist’s Dark Faery Tales

Linda Bergkvist is an immensely talented digital painter and my favorite modern artist. Tragically, she no longer posts her work online but thankfully she produced a number of magnificent paintings before her retirement. For a while she was working on a book of dark faery tales to accompany her illustrations, and I am forever saddened that I may never hold this book in my hands. I want to know the stories behind her masterpieces.

Her work has greatly inspired my own writing, and even if Linda herself never releases her book, I’d love to see how other writers interpret such breathtaking works as these.

Check out more of Linda’s artwork here.

10) Nightwish Novels and Within Temptation Tales

I have an immense love for symphonic gothic metal and find it enormously inspirational. I can’t be the only one. So where is the lush high fantasy epic based on Within Temptation’s Deciever of Fools?

or the sprawling, century-spanning tragic love story of Nightwish’s Ghost Love Score?

Make note of these requests, oh valiant writers of the world! 😀

Also, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome.


red rose divider

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have my wishes already come true and I just don’t know about the book(s) yet!? Let me know!

2013 End of the Year Bookish Survey

This is a fun bookish survey created by The Perpetual Page Turner. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m doing it anyway. 🙂

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? 

This series just keep getting better and better. It’s becoming ridiculous.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I guess since this was the fifth book in a series I was continually disappointed with, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it kind of goes for the whole series. Really thought I’d love Wicked Lovely and I just…didn’t.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up loving this one.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

I feel the need to tell most everyone I meet that Vampire Academy, despite its tragically unfortunate name, is an amazing series, as is it’s sequel series, Bloodlines.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I wouldn’t have discovered this one if it weren’t for the Percy Jackson books, but I like the Heroes of Olympus better.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Quite a few really, but I’ll say Rick Riordan.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I don’t really read contemporary (I just find fantasy and the paranormal much more interesting), but this book was stunning.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

I had to force myself to stop reading a few times just to make it last longer.

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Soon as I get my hands on The Fiery Heart I’ll re-read this one for a refresher. And because it’s awesome.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Percy is so awesome and bad-ass and hilarious.

But then there’s Adrian who’s just…Adrian. I refuse to pick.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Believe it or not, the writing is even more beautiful than the cover.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

This book has made editing my manuscript so much less hellish. I highly recommend it.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

I’m so glad my husband insisted I finally read this one.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

“Briefly, the nymphaeum glowed with a softer light, like a full moon. Piper smelled exotic spices and blooming roses. She heard distant music and happy voices talking and laughing. She guessed she was hearing hundreds of years of parties and celebrations that had been held at this shrine in ancient times, as if the memories had been freed along with the spirits.
‘What is that?’ Jason asked nervously.
Piper slipped her hand into his. ‘The ghosts are dancing.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

was the shortest

was the longest

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

 Arrrrgggh that ending!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Definitely Sydney and Adrian, the friendship and the romance.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Richelle Mead’s awesomeness just keeps increasing.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Middle-grade fantasy, it seems. 🙂

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Well, I can’t put Adrian Ivashkov because I read Vampire Academy prior to 2013, but I think I’ve probably got a slight crush on Percy. I wouldn’t be the first.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Contemporary or no, I’ll likely eat up anything else this author releases.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The imagery was incredibly lush while also fast-paced and readable. It really drew me into the story.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

This whole series was lots of fun to read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Definitely cried.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

This was a self-publish that I wish more people read, because it was really fascinating.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

I already have it, but I’m saving up to get Insurgent and Allegiant and then I’m going on a Divergent binge. 🙂

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Since I’m already putting The Blood of Olympus as most anticipate series-ender. I definitely need more Adrian and Sydney.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Yay! A book about a witch who’s a devotee of Hecate. This book looks amazing.

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

I don’t want it to be over but I still need to read it badly!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Well, I have all of my challenges listed here, and aside from those I hope to just succeed as a blogger, to do it more regularly and maybe make some publishing contacts. Fingers crossed!

Thank you so much for reading! 

heart ribbon divider

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read In 2013 (It’s my birthday!)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today is my 27th birthday! 27 is my favorite number, so I’m excited. 🙂 And I’m celebrating by posting my top ten reads of 2013 (also with fireworks and friends later). I refrained from just listing 90% Rick Riordan books. 😉 For this edition, I will count down from ten. Picture link to Goodreads. Here we go!

10) The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

I found this book incredibly helpful for editing my manuscript. I highly recommend it. Especially if, like me, you can identify problem areas in your writing but aren’t exactly sure how to best go about remedying them. 

9) Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This book had such an intriguing setup. I loved the allusions to other literature and the character development between the two main characters.

8) Beta by Rachel Cohn

Such a fascinating book! The directions the story took were really brave and thought-provoking and I’m thrilled that the sequel finally has a release date, even if it’s not until September!

7) Mermother by Elizabeth Jane Wolfe

A really interesting new take on mermaid mythology that doesn’t shy away from the difficult questions of biology that mermaids present. I’m greatly looking forward to the sequel. 

6) If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

It may be premature of me to list this one, since I haven’t quite finished it yet, but I only have 40 pages left and so far it’s just amazing. The story is gripping and definitely informative about Iranian culture, but in a way that blends seamlessly with the narrative. Stunning.

5) Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

This book completely exceeded my expectations. Lush and descriptive and thrilling and full of myth and history and character. Even though it’s adult fiction, which I generally avoid, I absolutely loved it.

4) Ashes on the Waves By Mary Lindsay

Okay, so I knew I would love this the minute I heard it existed. That didn’t make it any less amazing. If anything, it actually managed to exceed my exponentially high expectations. Poe forever.

3) The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

All of the demigods finally met! Epic character interaction ensued! God I love these characters. 

2) The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

This series just keeps better and better. I loved seeing Sydney working with her magic more in this one and of course Adrian was charming as usual. I STILL need to read The Fiery Heart so I can anxiously await Silver Shadows. 🙂

1) The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

We have a winner! Even though the demigods were separated, there still managed to be even more character development and interaction in this one. I loved every line, I really did. I can’t wait for The Blood of Olympus to come out in October!

red rose divider

What do you think? Good choices? Did you read any of these this year? Leave me a comment!

Happy New Year!