Monday, December 29, 2014

The Editing Checklist

It dawns on me that I've talked about the difference between editing and proofreading, the importance of beta readers, and also a few editing do's and don'ts regarding what those beta readers/workshops have to say about your book, but I've not quite touched on the most basic part of editing: where the heck are you going to start?

Unfortunately, you're not in the clear after merely typing out 50k+ words and handing it out to beta readers. Heck, even before you hand it out to readers, maybe you want to do your own pass on your novel to work out any major kinks. This is that excruciatingly daunting task of taking your book apart and editing it so it becomes nice and pretty. Of course, there's that awful question of where to start.

So, what's the first thing you should do? My answer: create a list.

Now, I'm not a list person. I hate lists with a passion. So I'm not saying you have to have anything fancy. All you need is a piece of paper and your favorite pencil or pen. Really, once I'm done with this post you'll be smacking your head with how simple this first step to editing is.

If you're like me, you know what needs to be fixed while you're writing your first draft. Maybe a character isn't feeling quite right as your write them; maybe you can't figure out exactly what someone's motivation is, so you just skipped over those cracks; your pacing's off, or you lost track of time.

If you haven't already, now's the time to write them down. Create your list: numbered, bulleted, a different color per problem. Doesn't matter. Just write them all down so you don't have to worry about keeping all of those problems in your head. Re-read your novel-just read it, don't try to fix anything-and see where you get tripped up, or any inconsistencies. Add those to your list.

Have you given it to a beta reader? Take in their comments, and anything you agree with: add them to the list.

There's no given length it has to be: everything you think needs fixing, write it down before actually trying to fix it all. Otherwise, you're running blind and you're more likely to create a bit of a mess (well, if you're like me: I'm just a messy child in general).

Once you've got your list, then you can dive in and start changing things. Maybe you'll completely re-write your book and tackle it all at once, or maybe you'll go through and focus on one problem at a time. Bottom line: that list will basically be your lifeline.

How do you begin your initial stage of editing?

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Done writing, ready to edit? Create a list, first: you'll thank yourself for it in the long run via @Rae_Slater (Click to Tweet)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tea Time: Dollhouse

Before I do or say anything else, please just look at that cover. Isn't it absolutely stunning?

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

Dollhouse, Anya Allyn (Dark Carousel #1)

A spine-tingling Gothic Thriller

An abandoned mansion, deep in the woods. A dollhouse, filled with life-sized toys. A doorway into other realms. And girls who keep disappearing...

When Cassie’s best friend, Aisha, vanishes during a school hike, Cassie sets off with Aisha's boyfriend and their friend Lacey, determined to find her. Instead, the three teens fall into a carefully-laid trap—deep into the surreal nightmare and dark secrets of the Dollhouse.

Now, Cassie must uncover the mysteries of the Dollhouse and her own connection to it-- before it's too late.

 With the horror and otherworldliness of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the gothic romance of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Dollhouse is a tantalizing start to The Dark Carousel series.(source:goodreads)

Narrative-This book is told from the first-person POV of Cassie, a girl who is afraid of the dark yet determined enough to make it out of the Dollhouse alive-and with her friends. (I had to mention the "afraid of the dark" thing; it was such an awesome detail about Cassie that I couldn't leave it out).

The narrative was, at best, choppy. The dialogue occasionally felt unreal, and throughout the novel I'm not sure I quite felt the right amount of urgency that this kind of novel should have inspired in me. The problem is also that I don't know why. Which means I unfortunately don't have a lot more to say on this matter. Once I got a few chapters in, I was able to get used to the narrative and the way the story was told (I think it has something to do with the way background information was plopped down? Maybe some info-dumps? Obviously: I'm still not quite sure, because even those answers don't quite sound right).

Nevertheless: I did get used to the narrative style, but what bothered me the most was the dialogue (mostly Cassie and Ethan's dialogue for some reasons; Jessamine's was perfect), and the lack of the sense of urgency. Maybe it's just me, and I'm just weird?

 Plot-What I absolutely adored about this book was that parts of it that played to the bias in me: I've always been rather fascinated and attracted to the very things that make DOLLHOUSE what it is: a creepy, gothic thriller. The multiple carousels, creepy dolls, the very idea of a giant dollhouse where girls are kidnapped and made to be human dolls? Color me both impressed and intrigued: the setting and ambiance of the book was dark, dreary, and fed to the things I love.

Honestly, I love the plot. It surprised me with its paranormal/magical/ghostly twist, and the multiple mentions of Mnemosyne was another thing that grasped at my interests (you can totally ask me about my obsession with Mnemosyne, but I'm not quite sure it'll make sense).

What I would have loved more of, however, was background. There were some questions answered by the end of the novel (mostly about Jessamine, who's the one who's really keeping all of the girls hostage), but there weren't enough: I'm talking about Henry and Audette, and the entire, ghostly circus that exists parallel to the Dollhouse. There's a much bigger picture that has to do with Cassie, who's connected to a past "doll" named Prudence, but there wasn't enough to make it a satisfying ending. I'm still confused with what the spirits are, what they're trying to do, and what Cassie has to do with it.

Even so, my love for the grotesque darkening of innocent things (carousels!) and creepy thrillers and ghosts is inspiring me to be generous and give this a full five stars-despite the things I thought were lacking.

Characters-I think out of all of the characters in this book (and there were many), Jessamine was the most well-rounded, three-dimensional character in the entire novel, which is saying a lot since she's a ghost. She's one of the "villains," but not the worst, and she's definitely one that inspires sympathy from the reader once you learn her background. The details about her were dropped excellently, and her story unfolded wonderfully, at just the right times.

I'm not entirely sure I can say that about the others. Even Cassie, the main character, fell a bit flat. When there were details revealed about many of the others, they felt too random and out of place; instead of a careful lead-up, they felt like they were simply dropped in a place that looked cozy.

Then there's the fact that I'm not entirely sure I trust the main characters' idea of priorities. Aisha, in particular, confused me: she and her best friends (and technically ex(?) boyfriend) are trapped underground with a psycho, and she further helps the psycho torment Cassie because she's angry that something might have happened between Cassie and Ethan (the ex(?) boyfriend). Following that, the romance felt off and badly-timed; it didn't quite fit in the areas it was placed.

Overall, once you get into the story, the characters of the other trapped girls start to come out. While they seemed a bit simple, too, it wasn't un-enjoyable reading about them. (Jessamine's still my favorite, though).

My final word on this book: I'm reading on to the second book in the series (PAPER DOLLS) because I'm curious. And I like Allyn's way of setting up a truly creeply and grostesque fantasy world. If you like gothic thrillers, definitely take a peek at this.

Final Answer:  3.66 / 5

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tea Time: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

There was quite a journey involved in getting this book, meaning many USPS fiascoes. Then school happened. And now? I finally  got the chance to sit down and read this freaking beautiful masterpiece and am so happy about that.

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #3)

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.(source:goodreads)

Narrative-Not for the first time, Stiefvater managed to pull together a narrative that switched between multiple POVs (third person), made sense, and kept the same level of sass and sarcasm throughout the novel. In just the right places, the language s poetic, funny, or terrifying. The voice of her characters comes out in each established perspective, a different one for each chapter, and not a moment went by when I didn't doubt how easy it was to get lost in the story, purely through how simply and energetic her writing is.

Once, I stopped in the middle of a sentence and said (out-loud, to my empty apartment): "This writing is fucking beautiful."

Sorry for the cursing, but it's true.

Plot-Oh goodness. Can I just give all the awards to Stiefvater? The plot thickens in the quest for Glendower; there's caves, and a haunting, and Blue's mother is missing, and there's a guy who shows up who wants to get revenge on Mr. Gray, and Adam's still trying to come to grips with being Cabeswater's eyes and ears, and Ronan's still dealing with the consequences of dreaming up real things, and Noah occasionally gets possessed, and Gansey's old friend (literally: he's old) comes into town, and they all find a woman who's been "sleeping" (but not really) for centuries underground in a fake crypt, and, lastly, there's a third sleeper underground that they cannot wake under any circumstances who may or may not be woken up in the end.

Because, really, what's a good book if some of the world-rules aren't broken now and again?

This is simply a beautiful book. I find it incredibly amazing the number of minor arcs that get twisted into the major arc, and they all interweave so nicely that if you take one away, the whole story could be in danger of falling apart.

And the mythology? So much of it. And it just works so well.

Once again, I am in awe.

Characters-Since I've gone over how much I love each individual character in previous reviews (see my reviews for THE RAVEN BOYS and THE DREAM THIEVES), I think instead it's worth mentioning the fact that there's careful attention placed on the relationship between characters. Most specifically, it's the relationship between Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah: Blue and the Raven Boys.

There's a lot of shifting dynamics: at the end of the school year, for instance, everybody will be off to college (well, Ronan maybe, maybe not). Blue wants to leave Henrietta, but the cost of any college far away is out of her means.

Gansey and Blue have a growing attraction to each other, but they both know that publicly favoring one person in the group above the others would be possibly catastrophic for their friendships.

Adam's trying to be his own man, and to avoid Gansey's "charity," but his constant anger is a challenge, so he spends the whole book repeating to himself that he doesn't want to get into a fight.

Those are just a few of the ways in which the characters are shown to be growing. As they get further in their quest to find Glendower (and further into trouble), their worldviews are shifting. They start to know exactly what they want, and they're worried about the consequences. It's fantastic.

Final Answer: 4.67 / 5

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rae's Top Books of 2014

So, I realize that apparently a customary thing is to do ten books that were you favorite over the course of the year, but I only have nine. And I really do't want to find just a placeholder, because I feel like that would be lying to myself.

Therefore, ya'll get my EIGHT top books of 2014. And, yes, I realize that there's technically more, but I'm pushing entire series titles into one. So sue me.

The books that made this list did so for certain reasons: they either had an impact on me mentally/emotionally, or else they inspire me to continue and better in my writing. Without further ado, let's get this list started:


stephen chbosky

Why: I read this book way back in the beginning of this year, and while I can't actually name exactly what continues to draw me to it, it stuck with me. I even named my blog after it (ya'll were at least a little curious, right?). I guess it's the theme of being the person in the background, and dealing with all sorts of society things, and the one phrase, "We are infinite." It's perfection, and I just connected to it.


maggie stiefvater

Why: Maggie Stiefvater has absolutely entranced me with her series. I'd always heard awesome buzz about THE RAVEN BOYS, and when I finally gave in I realized that I wasn't to be disappointed. The plots are intricate and carefully laid out, the writing is beautiful, and the characters are so real I feel like I could touch them.

natalie d. richards

Why: I love things that have to do with amnesia. I'm a sucker for it. I love trying to answer the question of how close our identity and our memories are. And the fact that Richards paired it with a well-thought-out and well-executed mystery was fabulous. I love mysteries.


ksenia anske

Why: Yet another book that I'd heard a lot of positive buzz of before buying. IRKADURA is completely surreal, and it explores the darkest side of human nature in Soviet Russia. It's thought provoking, and simply a beautiful read.


marilynne robinson

Why: I read this book in my Form + Technique: Fiction class during the Spring semester. It's an extremely easy and simple read, but it's another of those thought-provoking ones that's just stuck with me, mostly because of the way both sisters in the novel grow up to be so different. Basically, it's just interesting to see the different roads they take despite being raised under the same series of relatives. Excellent characters.


marissa meyer

Why: Fairy tales mixed with science fiction and futuristic chaos? Be still my beating heart, this is another set of books that went right up my alley with all of my favorite things. The narrative is beautiful, the plot fantastic, and the fact that I'm still waiting for WINTER to come out to finish the set is driving me bonkers. It's totally magical, and the characters are phenomenal.

courtney alameda

Why: Hauntings,, ghosts, spirits, gore, and a clever narrator/protagonist to tell the tale? Yes, please. SHUTTER comes out in February, and there are no words for how excited I am for everyone to get to read this gem. It's perfect for the fans of horror done right: a plot with a time limit, and a series of characters that are both nutty and absolutely lovable at the same time. Plus, the writing's phenomenal.


mindy mcginnis

Why: This companion to NOT A DROP TO DRINK uses the idea of the hero's quest to take Lucy and Lynn across the country. There's new lands, gruesome civilizations, and a great deal of characterization in terms of Lucy trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs in a world that's falling apart. McGinnis is also a wonderful story teller, and her words are enchanting.
Okay, folks. There's my list of the best books that I've read this year. My question to ya'll is: what were your favorites, and did any of them make my list?
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Blogger @Rae_Slater's top books of 2014 include titles by @courtalameda, @kseniaanske, and @natdrichards (Click to Tweet)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Twelve Nightmares Before Christmas, Nightmare Five: Nightmare Five: The 13 Yule Lads

a.k.a. the Cheaper-by-the-Baker's-Dozen-Beasties

Good Wednesday Morning, everyone! And, boy, do I have a treat for you! You might recall that every now and again I go wild about a book releasing in February, 2015. That book in particularly is a wonderful horror novel called SHUTTER, the debut of Courtney Alameda, and I happened to be a lucky girl who won an arc way back in July. I then read it, reviewed it (read the review), and loved it so much that I absolutely cannot wait for the rest of ya'll to have the same chance.

And, well, two weeks ago Courtney Alamdea herself emailed me and gave me the honor of participating in a Christmas celebration: the Twelve Nightmares of Christmas! Welcome to stop Five: the 13 Yule Lads.


Hi! I’m Courtney Alameda, author of the soon-to-be published YA horror novel, SHUTTER. I love Christmastime and all things scary, so I wanted to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite Christmas beasties with everyone this year—twelve of them, to be exact! Join me and a few of my blogger friends every day from December 13 – 24, as we feature different holiday nightmares . . . if you dare! So without further ado . . . 

Nightmare Five: The 13 Yule Lads, the Cheaper-by-the-Baker’s-Dozen-Beasties

So you remember Gryla (Nightmare Four at Bittersweet Enchantments) the crazy Christmas ogress from yesterday’s post, right? Well, that happy little denizen of Icelandic myth had some kids. A LOT of kids. Boys, in particular, who came to be known as the 13 YULE LADS. And with names like Stubby and Bowl Licker and Meat Hook, they seem like a charming lot, don’t they?

So what do the 13 Yule Lads have to do with the Christmas season? On each of the 13 nights leading up to Christmas, Icelandic children place one of their shoes on their windowsill. The night’s visiting Yule Lad leaves candy for good children, but for the bad . . . well, naughty children get rotten potatoes.

“Big deal!” you say. “They’re not as bad as their mother Gryla, the child-eater!” Well, that’s because the government of Iceland turned the Yule Lads from their trollish selves into Snow White’s freaking dwarves in 1746. In that year, parents were officially banned from telling their children monster stories—and the thuggish, thieving, food-stealing Yule Lads had to go. Unwilling to part with tradition, parents began telling their children the Yule Lads were pranksters and mischief-makers instead.

The 13 Yule Lads are as follows (Names and descriptions via

  • Sheep-Cote Clod: He tries to suckle yews in farmer's sheep sheds.
  • • Gully Gawk: He steals foam from buckets of cow milk.
  • Stubby: He's short and steals food from frying pans.
  • Spoon Licker: He licks spoons. (Anyone remember Salad Fingers?)
  • Pot Scraper, aka Pot Licker: He steals unwashed pots and licks them clean.
  • Bowl Licker: He steals bowls of food from under the bed (people in Iceland used to store food under their beds for midnight snacking).
  • Door Slammer: He stomps around and slams doors, keeping everyone awake.
  • Skyr Gobbler: He eats up all the Icelandic yogurt (skyr).
  • Sausage Swiper: He loves stolen sausages
  • Window Peeper: He likes to creep outside windows and sometimes steal the stuff he sees inside.
  • Door Sniffer: He has a huge nose and an insatiable appetite for stolen baked goods. • Meat Hook: He snatches up any meat left out, especially smoked lamb.
  • Candle Beggar: He steals candles, which used to be sought-after items in Iceland.

Not so sure how you can make Window Peeper any less creepy, parents of Iceland. You’re on your own with that one.

Thanks to the wonderful Rae for hosting this post! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a pre-ordered copy of SHUTTER, a “Reaper” necklace, and a signed bookplate. Please note that the giveaway is US only, and we promise prizes will not be snapped up in USPS by Sausage Swiper. 

Happiest of holidays, everyone!


Shutter, Courtney Alameda

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

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Meet the Author:

Courtney Alameda's spent her entire career trying to con and cajole people into reading great books. A veteran of the big-box bookstore trenches, Courtney now works as a librarian for the prettiest library you've ever seen, where she spends her time ordering large stacks of YA books, doing readers' advisory, and dressing up as various mythical creatures for a variety of library events.

Courtney has an affinity for brightly colored lipstick, urban exploration, cosplay, video games, and Twitter. If she's listening to music, it's usually Florence + the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Jason Graves. Her addiction to Dr. Pepper is legendary.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She is represented by the amazing and talented John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with a legion of books and a tiny, five pound cat who possesses a giant personality. (source:goodreads)

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Monday, December 15, 2014

When Good Characters Make Bad Decisions

Ever had a moment where you're reading a book, and a character's about to do something really stupid, and you tell them over and over again not to do it...and then they do it anyway and consequences and repercussions and downright chaos ensue?

Yeah, that.

The thing is: sometimes a character isn't stupid, but they make stupid decisions. And while the reader is clear-headed and going, "Why would you do that?!" the character most likely isn't thinking that clear-headedly (is that a word?), which brings me to my point:

If your character is going to make a bad decision, at least give them a good reason for it. We've all done things that might not have been the smartest at the time, but think: to you it made perfect sense at the time, right?

Your characters are more than likely going through the ringer. Or the blender. Or something that chops them up into little pieces emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. Which means they're not thinking straight. So while the reader is sitting there going (again), "Why would you do that?!" you, the author, are in charge of knowing that "why" and making sure that it's not for a stupid reason (i.e.: they haven't thought of a smarter, easier, more obvious decision that everybody else can see clear as day for no better reason than, "Just because.").

What motivates bad decisions? Desperation, anger, grief, determination, fear. There's more, but those are the ones that I, personally, enjoy looking at. Basically: event A happens, it has some kind of effect on your character, and that leads them to performing actions that lead to event B (yes, no matter how much you yell at them).

Just make it natural. It's a good way of making well-rounded, three-dimensional characters if you know them well enough to be able to write out their decisions in ways that make sense. For them, it might be the only option; maybe they need to speed up the timeline of a previously-conceived plan; maybe they act on a plan that was previously shot down because of its bad-idea-ness; maybe they're simply emotionally distraught and they act without truly thinking based on why they're distraught. The list goes on, I promise. Whatever it is, you can bet they're thinking more emotionally than logically.

Which, while bad for the character, it's good for you: bad decisions make for great plot points. Things tend to go really bad, and it might, then, have some kind of profound effect on your character: it helps along their character arc in some way.

However, just make sure you're leading both the character and the reader into the bad decision in the right way: don't make the bad decision happen randomly just so you can keep the plot moving; you don't want your readers to think that your character's simply an idiot. Make the decision logical for your character and their development; have it play into their emotions and their motivations, and think about the events that lead up to the bad decision.

If I'm not making much sense, try these posts on the same subject from Helping Writers Become Authors and Ava Jae.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tea Time: The Night House
**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**
The Night House, Rachel Tafoya

Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

Narrative-This book is told from the first-person POV from two perspectives: that of Bianca, and that of James. Bianca's voice was by far my favorite of the two: not only did it do an excellent job of portraying Bianca's most important characteristics, it felt amazingly natural. James, on the other hand, took some getting used to. His sections felt a bit more strained; there was a lot more telling, and ultimately it made his perspective feel forced.

Which leads me to this: I'm not entirely sure this book needed two different POVs to it. Bianca was completely immersed in this world; James was brand-new to it. James has characters in his life that Bianca didn't have access to, but Bianca had a lot more information about the world of vampires that basically swallows them both. Bianca also has access to the main players: James and some other vampires that have much to do in the book. Part of me continues to think that the entire book could have been told from Bianca's POV and it still would have been a wonderful read, even strengthened since there would have been more time to expand on things only she knew about.

Despite me saying that, let me also amend to this: the last part of the book was fantastic and made me really rethink a lot of my thoughts. There, James' voice was incredibly strong and I was finally pulled into his head. So my revision is this: maybe the POVs shouldn't have shifted so often (every chapter); if it were every five chapters, for example, instead of every other chapter, I feel that maybe the first two parts of the book could have been strong enough to equal the last.

Plot-I think it's safe to say that the plot was by far my favorite piece of this book. The premise is that Bianca lives at the Night House, where vampires come to feed on not only her blood but the other girls who live there. There's one vampire who wants to claim her-Jeremiah-one vampire who kind of wants to look out for her-Finn-and one vampire who's been her friend and savior since she was young-Micah. Then she meets James, the empath, who for some reason is able to develop a strong bond to her feelings and emotions after their first meeting. Together, they try to free Bianca from her life as a "vamp tramp" (hey, Bianca said it, not me).

While I'm not entirely sure that the plot was well executed (mainly due to my notes on the narrative), I did fall in love with this idea of Bianca trying to rid herself of this life that she was never meant for, and of James' intense care for her (although his character kind of comes off weird; see my notes in the next section). There could have been a lot more world-building in terms of the vampire courts and how their politics worked, but the main story of Bianca's life and how James is able to help change it had me hooked, and is probably the biggest element that kept me reading.

Characters-Bianca and James are the main characters, but I had wildly different opinions of both of them. Bianca was strong and independent: able to keep to her values and determined to keep at least a semblance of a human life. She cares for those who have deserved her affections-the vampire Micah, for example, and another girl at the Night House. She's wary of other people and highly distrusting, but she's able to recognize a friend and knows when she can trust them with her feelings.

James was different. He's understandably dependent on his sister-by-adoption, Ally, and his best friend, Shiloh. They're the only other two people he's ever had a strong bond with, and who can help him remain calm when assaulted by the emotions of the world around him. It's debilitating, this emotion, and it appears to get both worse and better when he meets Bianca for the first time. Like her, he's an incredibly fierce friend.

However...what really bothered me about James was his willingness to sink into the role of the guidance counselor. he's fast in labeling Bianca a junkie and dug-addict (rightfully so, though, so I'll add that), and without even knowing her he makes it a life mission to get her clean (and, yes, I realize that he also feels everything she felt, but it was for me). Then he's really quick to label her with Stockholm's Syndrome. It made me question his motives for getting close to Bianca, but not in a good way; I felt that instead of falling in love with her and wanting to care for her for that reason, he was trying to help just to make himself feel better. So. Yeah. Off-putting.

Besides them, the other characters of the vampires (Jeremiah, Finn, and Micah) were incredibly interesting. Micah had my heart from the very beginning thanks to his love for Bianca. On James' end, Ally was incredibly sweet and has a history with vampires that I felt wasn't expanded upon like it could have been; Shiloh also fell a bit flat at times, and I wondered if there were any ways for him to be something other than a support group member for James.

Final Answer: 3.33 / 5 

Meet the Author:

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.

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Time for a giveaway! Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of THE NIGHT HOUSE (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
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THE NIGHT HOUSE @RachelTafoya gets 3 / 5 stars from blogger @Rae_Slater. Read the review @chapterxchapter @month9books (Click to Tweet)


Special thanks to MaryAnn from Chapter-by-Chapter for organizing this blog tour, who also provided me with an ARC copy of THE NIGHT HOUSE, courtesy of the publisher, in return for an honest review.