Saturday, 25 March 2023
Labels: A to Z
— Nicholas Sparks
There are lots of reasons why I get invested in a story and its characters. It might be the creative world-building, or perhaps an intriguing mystery, or a great villain (even better if they have a redemption arc), or a seemingly insurmountable problem. But no matter the genre, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. If there’s a relationship to root for, I’ll be cheering it on.
With that in mind, today’s post is a tribute to all of the love stories in YA books. It’s only a snapshot of what’s out there, but it was a lot of fun to make, and my TBR list is definitely longer as a result! Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and I hope you enjoy my latest A-Z 💕.
A is for Arranged (when parents think they know best)
Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent
“‘The village of Ashbourne needs you. Whether they know it or not.’
The field seemed to spin around me as I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. ‘You’re selling me in service to another village? To people I’ve never met? To a husband I’ve never even seen?’”
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
“As he ordered at the counter, he watched Dimple, totally relaxed in a way she hadn’t been with him, talking to Celia. And not for the first time in the past hour, Rishi wondered how his parents could’ve made such a big mistake.”
B is for Bad (the anti-hero love interest)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
“His smile is laced with dynamite. ‘Go to sleep.’
‘Go to hell.’
He works his jaw. Walks to the door. ‘I’m working on it.’”
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
“Nate Macauley tips his chair back and smirks at me. ‘You make a wrong turn? This is detention, not student council.’”
C is for Celebrity (ordinary character meets VIP)
Once Upon A Con (series) by Ashley Poston
“I didn’t know what to say, but I wanted to reach out and touch his shoulder. We barely knew each other, but it felt like he had just admitted something to me that he’d never told anyone else before. Maybe he realized that, too, because his shoulders went rigid. I stilled my hand to keep it by my side.”
D is for Disguise (falling for someone you would never otherwise have fallen for)
Defy The Night by Brigid Kemmerer
“I wonder if that’s the truth she’s told herself, too. That it doesn’t matter that I was Weston Lark—because he’s dead. Now I’m just me.”
E is for Enemies to Lovers (or, as Shakespeare wrote, “My only love sprung from my only hate!”)
To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
“They celebrate love as though it’s power, even though it has killed far more humans than I ever have.”
Starflight by Melissa Landers
“How did he do that? A minute ago she wanted to break his jaw, and now she had to fight the urge to pat him on the head and give him a cookie. That had to be some kind of superpower. She finally understood how he got everything he wanted in life.”
My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth
“He smells like clean laundry and summer and I hate it. I hate all of it.”
F is for Friends to Lovers (seeing someone in a whole new light)
Ten Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
“‘I wish it was me,’ he says quietly, and my head shoots up. ‘You do?’ I ask. He gets up from the chair and moves slowly toward me. ‘I wish all the dates had been mine.’”
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
“He kissed her, and she glowed with that feeling. The one with wings.
‘You bring the rain down on them, Pip.’”
G is for Ghost (the supernatural love interest)
Ghosted by Emily Barr
“‘I can’t be a ghost,’ he said. ‘I’m not dead. I’d know if I was dead, wouldn’t I?’”
You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
“‘I don’t want to open my eyes,’ Sam says. But the ride is about to come to its end. I can feel it. I squeeze my eyes tighter, hoping to stop time or at least slow it down. Because I don’t want to open mine, either. I don’t want to lose him. I want to keep them shut and live in this memory of us forever. I don’t want to open my eyes and see a world without Sam. But sometimes you just wake up. No matter how hard you try not to.”
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
“This green place in which I stood with James turned slowly around us like a music box. All my memories returning, and all his. I could see and feel each of his days and he mine … Our lives overlapped as naturally as two blades of grass brushing together.”
Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price
“Lizzie was certain that her father secretly wished she’d been born a boy, and while Lizzie had no complaints about being a young woman, sometimes she wished she weren’t a young lady.”
I is for Insta Love (when lightning strikes)
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
“Don’t be afraid. Take chances. And when those don’t work out, take more.”
J is for Jilted (getting over a breakup by finding someone new)
A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
“Miami held my most cherished relationships, the ones I cry for in secret. Abuela. Andrés. Stefanie. My heart and body and memory are not finished with them yet.”
K is for Knight in Shining Armour (escaping a bad situation)
Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
“But Logan had to laugh when he realized that he was the maiden in this scenario. And he didn’t care one bit.”
L is for Love Conquers All (anything is possible)
The Aurora Cycle (series) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
“You will not lose me. I am yours forever. When the fire of the last sun fails, my love for you will still burn.”
M is for Meet Cute (a memorable beginning)
Breaking Magic by Alex C Vick (because Cal and Alanna = one of my favourite couples)
“‘Don’t expect me to bend down and kiss your feet just because you said sorry,’ she retorted.
‘Kiss my feet?’ I repeated. I scrunched up my toes in their dusty brown boots. She blushed bright red. Zack and Albany grinned at each other.
‘I don’t want anything from you,’ I said nervously.
‘Good, because you’re not getting it!’
‘Good, because I don’t want it!’”
N is for Not Enough (not everything can be fixed)
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
“I’m broken, and no one can fix it. I’ve tried. I’m still trying. I can’t love anyone because it’s not fair to anyone who loves me back.”
O is for Opposites Attract (having nothing in common but falling in love anyway)
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
“I’m not going to fall in love with you.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t believe in love.”
“It’s not a religion,” he says. “It exists whether you believe in it or not.”
P is for Proximity (characters forced together by factors outside of their control)
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
“You don’t have to kiss me. You don’t even have to like me, Heiress, but please don’t make me do this alone.”
Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber
“He sighed as he straightened. ‘I don’t want your money, Princess. And I don’t like the term kidnapper. I’m really more of an accomplice. Shen, the middle man. I’m just in charge of getting you from point A to point B.’”
Q is for Quest (when love and adventure go hand in hand)
The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder
“Maybe falling in love wasn’t something you dreamed about, or something you left to destiny. Maybe it was something that happened when you were having too much fun to notice.”
The Beholder by Anna Bright
“I had no idea what to make of the boy in front of me, or what to do with him, except to play his game and see if I liked it.”
R is for Royalty (princes and princesses are just as clueless about love as the rest of us)
The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
“As though they were always meant to end up here: this boy who had murdered and stolen, and this girl made of secrets and lies, their cursed hearts pounding.”
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
“We wouldn’t have worked out long-term anyway. He likes girls who don’t wear make-up. I like guys who don’t tell girls what to do with their bodies.”
S is for School (love in the classroom)
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
“My mom once told me that the world is divided into two kinds of people: the ones who love their high school years and the ones who spend the next decade recovering from them.”
All's Fair in Love, War, and High School by Janette Rallison
“I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to find just one ideal guy. I’ve probably read a hundred romances, and every single one of them has my ideal man in it.”
T is for Triangle (it’s complicated)
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
“For a moment, the three of us stare at one another in wordless comprehension. I look between the two of them—a fallen angel, and a king, the dark and the light, and feel a deep, churning thrill at what I’ve done. What we’ve done. This is how it will be now. Oaths between us. Bound to each other. Forever.”
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
“They’re both just going to make fun of us for having yet another communal crush. According to Riana, Anderson and I are enmeshed, which basically means we’re codependent. Apparently some people believe falling in love is a thing you’re supposed to do on your own.”
U is for Unrequited (loving someone who doesn’t feel the same—or do they?)
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
“One thing I learned a long time ago is that even if you think you’re meant to be with someone, that doesn’t necessarily mean you get to be with them.”
V is for Vampire (a classic: the love interest with fangs)
Metallic Red by Jennifer Ann Shore
“I closed my eyes and tried my best to think of anything other than the delicious, metallic scent of blood. When the bell rang, I was relieved to open my eyes and discover that everyone around me was too caught up in their own selves to see the half-human, half-vampire teetering on the brink of insanity.”
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
“Even from the beginning, that was the problem. People liked pretty things. People even liked pretty things that wanted to kill and eat them.”
W is for Wealth (one character has it and the other doesn’t)
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
“‘And you are?’ He meets my eyes.
‘Her daughter.’ I know he’s asking for my name, but I don’t want to give it. The first thing I learned about the rich is that they find the common folk an amusing distraction but would never, ever want anything real. And that’s fine with me.”
X is for Ex (when the Ex is still in the picture)
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
“I am a Herondale. We love but once.”
“That is only a story.”
“Haven’t you heard?” James said bitterly. “All the stories are true.”
Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green
“I don’t know why other people have to make things so hard.”
Y is for Your Own Perspective (there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to love)
Loveless by Alice Oseman
“I used to dream of a spellbinding, endless, forever romance. A beautiful story of meeting a person who could change your whole world. But now, I realised, friendship could be that too.”
Z is for Zigzag (“The course of true love never did run smooth” –Shakespeare)
This is Not the Jess Show (duology) by Anna Carey
“I tried to get a better view into the car, to see Kipps one last time, but the door slipped down in front of me, closing him off. Then the car pulled away, ripping down a deserted road. And just like that, Kipps was gone.”
Thursday, 5 January 2023
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot
The start of a new calendar year can be a bit of a strange time. For better or worse, the previous twelve months are over, and it doesn’t matter how you feel—good or bad, nostalgic or relieved—you can’t go back. But there is so much potential too. The future never seems more accessible than in the New Year. It’s right there at your fingertips, a bit like turning the page to read the second book in a series. Maybe you have some expectations based on what came before, and maybe there are a few things that you wish would go a certain way, but really, anything could happen.
Of course, real life is a little different because the year ahead hasn’t been written yet. We can choose. And to that end, today’s blog post contains my three reading and writing resolutions for 2023.
I have to admit, I didn’t make any resolutions for 2022 because I knew that real life was probably going to get in the way (and it did). I’m sure 2023 will bring its own surprises, but hopefully I’ll still have time to discover some new stories ☺.
1️⃣ Finish writing the fourth book to complete the Beyond Androva series
I can finally stop calling Averine’s story “the fourth book” because it has a title and a tagline! The title is Bound in Magic, and the tagline is below.
Divided loyalties. Stolen magic.
Some bonds are made to be broken.
Here’s a short extract:
I stared back at him, my throat so tight and dry that I couldn’t have said anything even if I’d wanted to. I felt about two inches tall. All day I’d been bracing myself for him to be angry about the bond, and I’d missed the point entirely.
2️⃣ Read a complete YA fantasy series from my TBR list
I haven’t finally decided yet, but I’m leaning toward choosing The Folk of the Air, by Holly Black. Everyone tells me that Jude and Cardan have the ultimate enemies to lovers arc, and I’ve seen some amazing quotes from the books that really make me want to understand the context.
“Cardan’s gaze catches mine, and I can’t help the evil smile that pulls up the corners of my mouth. His eyes are bright as coals, his hatred a living thing, shimmering in the air between us like the air above black rocks on a blazing summer day.”
“Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment.
“No” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. “Tell me.”
“For a moment, Cardan just stares at me with stupid, crow-black eyes. Then one corner of his mouth curls. “Oh,” he says. “You’re going to regret doing that.”
3️⃣ Start writing something new
I’m going to explore one of the other worlds discovered by Androva before the treaty. I like the idea of keeping a link to the original series, although it won’t be a spin-off in the way that Beyond Androva was. Depending on how Bound in Magic ends, I think Galen and the others deserve a little peace and quiet!
Androva opened portals to seven new worlds including ours. So far, I’ve written about Imbera (Controlling Magic and Breaking Magic) and Xytovia (Beyond Androva series). That leaves Lignora, Hiberna, Trowen, and Distorra to choose from. Maybe Terra will figure again too—it depends how the world-building goes and whether it makes sense to include a Terran character. I can’t wait to find out.
Have you made any book-related New Year’s resolutions? And if you’ve read The Folk of the Air, would you recommend it? Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a brilliant 2023 💕.
“The world before us is a postcard, and I imagine the story we are writing on it.”
― Mary E. Pearson
An aesthetic is a form of visual inspiration. And when you’re writing a story, it’s also helpful if your imagination has a focal point—something to make sure you don’t get carried away with too many new ideas. Putting together a collection of images about the central themes and characters can be a great way to make sure you stay on course. Also, it’s a lot of fun ☺.
I’m past the halfway point in writing the fourth Beyond Androva book, and that’s when I would normally create a new aesthetic. But it’s also the beginning of December—time for Christmas decorations and holiday-themed reading choices. So for today’s blog post, I decided to include some seasonal aesthetic content too.
There are also a couple of Christmas stories in previous blog posts featuring the Legacy of Androva characters. The first one takes place at the end of Seeking Magic, and you can find it here. The second one is an epilogue to the series, and I posted it here.
A is for Averine
I’m really enjoying the challenge of writing Averine’s story. When I first started, I thought she had everything figured out in terms of who she was and what she was doing. That’s the way I tried to write her, but it didn’t go so well. Eventually, I realised my impressions of Averine were based almost entirely on what Kellan believed, and his perspective was incomplete. Averine’s reality turned out to be a lot more complicated! Which makes sense, I guess, especially after what her father did. And that’s without the additional complications created by a new villain and a dangerous magical bond.
Here’s the aesthetic. Most of the images are related to alchemy, Averine’s chosen profession, or Phidiom, the new territory she visits during the story.
B is for Blenheim
I visited Blenheim Palace last weekend to see The Kingdom of the Snow Queen. Blenheim is a famous stately home in Oxfordshire, built over three hundred years ago as a gift from Queen Anne to the first Duke of Marlborough. These days, it’s open to the public and famous for its Christmas activities.
I was surprised that the combination of extravagant fairy-tale decorations and a centuries-old palace worked so well. I don’t think my photos do it justice! And the storytelling journey was perfect, starting with a giant Christmas tree resting on top of the evil magic mirror, and ending with the Snow Queen herself.
Of course, I had to choose a Snow Queen retelling for this year’s holiday reading. I decided on Queen of Snow, by Laura Burton and Jessie Cal.
Welcome to the Chanted Forest, where Fairytales are real... but not as you know them.
After losing his grandfather, Jack feels lost, unsure of what his future holds.
Until he sees the reflection of a beautiful young woman inside his grandfather’s mirror. A mirror he never knew existed.
She beckons to him, and he’s pulled through a portal to the Chanted Kingdom where fairytale characters are real.
Princess Aria’s family was killed by the Evil Queen, and after spending a year running for her life and hiding with Robin and his band of misfits, she’s so close to completing the Mirror of Reason, which she plans to use as a portal to leave the Chanted Kingdom forever.
All she needs is to catch a young man named Jack in exchange for a mirror shard. Things get complicated as Aria’s feelings for Jack, as well as her ice powers, start to grow stronger. Soon, she finds that using her powers to save everyone she loves, will come at a great cost.
C is for Cat (or Christmas Cat)
The final aesthetic is just for fun. My cat is a big fan of Christmas because she thinks the tree and the decorations make perfect cat toys. Four years ago, she actually climbed the tree and knocked it over, but fortunately she learned quickly and hasn’t repeated the experience!
Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, and I wish you happy holidays and happy holiday reading 💕.