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Showing posts from September, 2012

Interview With Rae Carson

I am such a fan of Rae Carson's series, I hardly know how to type without gushing fangirlisms all over the page. I had Rae on the blog last year to celebrate her debut THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, and I'm thrilled to welcome her back for the sequel, THE CROWN OF EMBERS. If you haven't had a chance to try this epic fantasy series, I think you should drop every other book you planned on reading and grab these instead. Seriously. These stories are fully realized tales with nuanced characters, epic stakes, and an incredible world. There's also swords and kissing, so there you go.

Let's take a look at THE CROWN OF EMBERS.

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.


Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not …

Ask C.J. - Reviews

Anonymous asked: "What do you do about reviews that are mean, or harsh, or that get things all wrong? I know you don't want to start drama, but if someone is saying things that aren't true or are mean, how do you set the record straight?"

Here's the absolute honest truth: As far as I'm concerned, the record is always straight. Always. It needs no help from me. Let's look at each piece of your question, and I'll explain what I mean.

1. Things That Aren't True: Well, that sucks, doesn't it? If you're going to be judged and found wanting, it would be awesome if the person doing the judging had his or her facts straight. I don't read my reviews, but a few of my friends and family members do, and so I've been told that there is a review that gets my timeline wrong, and another that gets a main character's name wrong, and another that misquotes or takes things out of context ... and even one that claimed I humped the reviewer's …

Interview with Franny Billingsley

I am sooo excited to welcome Franny Billingsley, author of the highly acclaimed CHIME, to the blog today. I started hearing buzz about CHIME last year when it came out, and then saw it in the bookstore and decided I had to have it. I'll be honest. There's about to be some serious fangirling up in here. You might want to brace yourself.

Once in a great while, I read a book that captivates me from the first word and won't let me go long after I turned the last page. CHIME was that book for me last year. The prose is unbelievably gorgeous. The imagery is so striking, I paused to reread sentences countless times. The characters are flawed and interesting and authentic and the entire thing feels like a dark, haunting dream. This is a book I will reread, highlighter in hand, so I can take notes on how she does it.

Want a peek at CHIME? Here you go!

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn h…

Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading is a weekly opportunity to share books we've recently read and loved, and books we're about to read. Please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments!


This week, I read the amazing debut WHAT'S LEFT OF ME by Kat Zhang. Such a unique concept, and so well done! I found both the writing and the characters to be compelling, and the mystery was enough to keep me turning the pages. I especially enjoyed the fact that the main character doesn't respond to terrifying situations with skill and calm poise at first. She freezes in place, hopes her parents can figure out a way to protect her, or has a hard time wrapping her mind around the true scope of the threat until it's already too late.   In other words, she behaves like a normal person. I really liked that because it rang so true. And I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel! I'm betting once you finish reading this, you're going to be anxious for the sequel, too!   Here…

Fast Five with Tiffany Schmidt

Today, I welcome debut author Tiffany Schmidt to the blog for a round of Fast Five! Tiffany is the author of the much anticipated SEND ME A SIGN which hits the shelves October 2nd. Let's take a look at her book and then dive into the Fast Five.


Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her on-again, off-again soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. A sign that the summer before senior year will be the best one yet.


But when Mia is diagnosed with leukemia, the only sign she wants to see is that she will survive cancer and still be the girl she’s always been—top student, top cheerleader, and top of the social food chain.

Until she’s better, Mia doesn’t want anyone to know she has cancer. She doesn’t want her friends’ pity. And she certainly doesn’t want to start feeling something more than friendship for the one person who knows her secret, her best friend, Gyver. But the sicker Mia gets, the more …

Interview with Claire Legrand

Today, I'm thrilled to welcome the funny and talented Claire Legrand, author of THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, to the blog. I've been anxiously awaiting this book since I first read the synopsis. Creepy house, reluctant but capable heroine, and a mystery to solve? Sign me up! Here's a look at Cavendish:
At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society.Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)


But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…diffe…

Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading is a weekly opportunity to share books we've recently read and loved, and books we're about to read. Please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments!

This past week, I read the HOLY COW AMAZING The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. (Hits the shelves this coming Tuesday, Sept 18th!!) This sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns was just ... I am almost without words. It was fully realized, nuanced, and constantly compelling. The romance is aching and lovely and sad and beautiful, and actually those words describe Elisa for much of the book as well. She's just starting to come into her own strength as a girl and as a queen, and she must slice her way through betrayal, political intrigue, self-doubt, and war to do so. I don't think I can properly gush enough about this book. You. Must. Read. This.

Well, first read Girl of Fire and Thorns so you aren't lost, and then READ THIS.

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.


Elisa i…

Fast Five with Jay Kristoff

Today, I welcome debut author Jay Kristoff to the blog for a round of Fast Five! Jay is the author of the highly anticipated STORMDANCER which hits stores this Tuesday. Let's take a peek at his book, and then dive into our Fast Five.


A Dying Land


The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

An Impossible Quest

The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A Hidden Gift

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her execute…

Interview with Tiffany Trent

Magical creatures, steampunk, alternate London, and a high stakes plot full of intrigue and danger? Sign me up, please! I'm excited to introduce you to the lovely Tiffany Trent and her fabulous debut novel, THE UNNATURALISTS, today. Want a closer look? Here you go:

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world…

Ask C.J.

Because I get emailed or messaged questions throughout the week, I decided to start compiling them and answering them here twice a month in a column. It saves me time (I am already woefully behind on replying to things!), and gives others a chance to get answers to questions they might also have.

This week, I'm going to tackle 5 questions I was recently asked.

1. Miss Katie asked on Twitter "What do you do when facing writer's block?"

I determine what exactly is stopping me from writing. I don't believe true writer's block exists, but I do think our brains sometimes tell us a) something isn't working in the story, and we need to stop and search for the problem and a variety of solutions or b) our well of creativity is running dry, and we need to refill it.

If something isn't working, I retrace my steps to the last place where everything WAS working, and then start thinking through other possible scenarios until I see which way the story wants to go. …

Pep Talk Fail & Other Things

1. Yes, I laughed myself stupid over that pic.

2. Yes, I've been a sucky blogger. Some days/weeks/months I have to make the choice between sucky blogger or sucky writer, though, and writing pays the bills.

3. I am going to try hard to do better.

4. I've even given myself a pep talk. It sounded a lot like YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS THING, REDWINE. THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL. WITH GREAT GIFTS COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. HE'S ONLY MOSTLY DEAD. ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL. AVADA KADAVRA. FOR NARNIA!!!!

5. Clearly, I got a little distracted by the various EPIC movies I love ... so yeah, I am also sucky at pep talks.

6. At any rate, I'm here! Blogging! And also writing under another fast-approaching deadline, so we'll see just how well I can juggle the two.

7. As most of you know, Defiance hit the shelves on 8/28 and it was lovely and crazy and exhausting and fun. The local launch party was a blast, and I was so amazed at how many people showed up!

8. Of course, …