Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Leigh Bardugo”

Julie’s Bookie Gifty Recommendations

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin Spice. Because I will love it forever.

By Julie


Today I shall give you my book recommendations for when you inevitably screech “OH SHIT I NEED TO GET AUNT TRUDIE A PRESENT AND SHE’S SO RACIST AND SO MEAN AND SHE COOKS LIKE SHIT! WHAT DO I GET A PERSON LIKE THAT?!”

You’ll get that bitch what I get everyone on earth, or wish everyone would get for me. BOOKS. I give books that I like. Period. Don’t be afraid to get someone a book they might not get themselves, but that you love. Fucking discovery and shit. It’s science. I shall give you both paperback and eBooks. Commence reading!

These books, in particular:

  1. Oh yeah, it’s happening. RUNNING HOME. Seriously, it has snow, and Christmas, and romance, but weird romance, and betrayal and blood. And more Christmas, and even Christmas ornaments. And it smells like peppermint brownies. And the cover is so pretty!
  2. SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve read this series over and over. Again, beautiful snowy feel to it, but with a dynamic cast of characters and a fantastic, intriguing storyline, written by a true poet. Gorgeous.
  3. THE SHINING, Stephen King. It’s a classic holiday horror, and even if they’ve read it before, fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. This book is worth reading every year.
  4. SHADOW AND BONE, Leigh Bardugo. This book took me completely by surprise with its stunning imagery, complex relationships, incredibly original plotlines and worldbuilding. One of my favorite books of the year by far.
  5. NEVERWHERE, Neil Gaiman. You can’t go wrong giving someone who’s never read Gaiman this book. If they don’t like it, they don’t get any present next year at all.
  6. BLACKBIRDS, Chuck Wendig. I’m in love with Miriam Black, her story, her mouth, her abilities, and I’m in love with the attention Chuck gives to making sure there is a complexity to this story. Holes Black gets herself into that you pray she can find her way out of. An incredible read with endless possibility.
  7. DISCOREDIA, J.C. Michael. Brand new author who’s been poring over this novel for a long time. I have waited over a year for the paperback of this book to come out to hold in my grubby little mitts, and now I can have it. And it’s set at New Year’s, so winning.
  8. AGENTS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS, Simon R. Green. I’ve given this book to so many people, I might be on Green’s PR staff now. He’s my favorite author and this is my favorite work of his. I can’t say enough.
  9. HOLIDAYS ON ICE, David Sedaris. I read this book years ago, and it never left me. Perfect for this time of year, and it’s a sure winner with any reader.
  10. DEEP KISS OF WINTER, Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. I’m reading this right now, and really enjoying it. I wanted something with bite, but light enough to feel like an escape at the end of the day. This is it. It would be a great gift.


  1. BECAUSE THE NIGHT, by our very own Kristen Strassel will be under everyone’s E-tree this year.
  2. ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN, by my brother at Books of the Dead Press, Mark Matthews is only 99 cents right now, and wow, what a goddamn read. I love this book so hard.
  3. BOUND, by J. Liz Hill. For Chrissakes, the cover is so goddamn pretty.
  4. SINGULARITY, by Joe Hart. I love the way the man writes, and impatiently await my copy of his new book in the mail.
  5. UNTETHERED, by Katie Hayoz. “Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin.  In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it.” That’s all I need to hear.

Fierce Appearances

Today’s Brew:  A “Deckari Daquiri.”  There are perks to lunch dates that double as business meetings.  Said lunch date/meeting was on a deck overlooking the ocean, too.

by Kristen

Two unexpected perks of being a part of the Twitter writing community:

  • Going to the bookstore (you know, when I’m in the mood for a road trip) and seeing books by people you talk to on a daily basis.
  • Finding out about all kinds of cool author events happening locally.

On Julie and I’s last road trip to Barnes and Noble (Seriously, we have to plan an afternoon.  At least it usually also involves Pinkberry.), I picked up Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  My agent loved this book.  We’ve already established what amazing taste Pam has in books–I mean, after all, she is my agent.  I also tried The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz on her recommendation.  And you know how I felt about that.

If you’re on the fence about a book, see what Pam and her team have to say about it on

Back to Shadow and Bone.  I immediately got swept into the world created in this book.  It was beautiful, sweeping, and complete.  You never question the mythology of the Grisha or The Shadow Fold.  You can identify with Alina’s struggles, always feeling a little less than what she should be, and that she has a hard time believing that she’s more than she could have ever imagined.  And The Darkling, hawt.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel this way or not, but I can’t help but root for him even though bad things will happen if he gets his way.

As a writer, I always check the acknowledgements and the about the author page.  Leigh Bardugo is a makeup artist.  Badass.  When I went to the website, it linked me to her makeup work.

Wait a minute, I know this work. Leigh and I both started out in makeup on the same networking site.  This made my heart expand three more sizes for her and her amazing book.

Some of Leigh Bardugo’s makeup work. In case you weren’t already convinced of  how ridiculously talented she is.

Seige And Storm, the second book in Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, released June 4.  It is on it’s way to me from Amazon.  To promote and celebrate the release of this and several other books, MacMillan Teen put together The Fierce Reads Tour, which stopped at the Cambridge Public Library on July 15.  (From what I can tell, Mac Teen does these tours every so often, so stay tuned to see if your favorite authors will be coming to a city near you!)

Fierce reads featured Emmy Laybourne, Jessica Brody, Anna Banks, Gennifer Albin, as well as Leigh Bardugo.  All of their recent releases are YA paranormal.  I love listening to authors talk about their books, watching their faces light up as they speak about their creations to total strangers who care enough to want to hear more. All of the authors were personable and actually very funny.  A good crowd turned out for the talk as well.  I would have expected mostly young and middle aged women, but there were teen boys, elderly people, adult couples without kids. And of course, me.

Emmy, Jess, and Anna. I’m going to start a new website called

Very simple things inspired all of the authors to write their books.  Emmy spends a lot of time in Target.  Jess was inspired by an article about a soul survivor of a plane crash.  Anna was captivated by a Spanish Surrealist Painting.  Gennifer watched a documentary about a giant squid. Leigh had a bad dream and woke up in a dark, strange place.  (She was on vacation.)   They asked themselves a lot of “what if” questions about these things and places until they came up with the meat of their books.

Each author had a specific way that they wrote.  Some of them made very specific outlines.  Some of them couldn’t write an outline to save their lives.   All of them gave their characters wiggle room to dictate if any changes need to be made.  They all agreed that momentum was the most important thing to keep going and to fight blockages.  They then would go back and see what was working and what wasn’t.  All of these authors now write full time, but Gennifer had recently just quit her job.  Again, everyone had their own way that worked best.  Jess wrote in the morning.  Gennifer had to get out of the house to fight distractions.  Anna had to tackle all of the distractions in her life before sitting down to write.  Leigh has to block the internet and talk her way through that day’s work.  I always like to see all the different ways that people create.  It goes to show that writing really is an art form and the only rules that should apply are the ones that work for you.  And don’t be afraid to break them when needed.


I was surprised how many questions the audience had about the writing processes that created these books.  When Julie and I went to see Tiffany, the audience asked more character and plot related questions.   One thing that was absolutely amazing is that almost all of these authors have had their books optioned for movies!  Of course, that doesn’t mean the movies will actually be made, but they are one step closer.

(Takes moment to lie back and daydream about Because The Night premiering on Big Screen…Who to walk the red carpet with?)

There must have been quite a few aspiring writers in the crowd.  I know there was at least one. The authors were asked for their advice to new writers.

  • Keep writing
  • All writing counts, including journals and blogs.
  • Don’t be afraid to write badly.  Crap writing makes great fertilizer.  Published books go through many edits and drafts.
  • Don’t censor yourself.
  • Do your own thing, all advice won’t work for you.
  • Know when to listen and when not to. (Sound familiar?)
  • Finish something so you can see the end.  You get confidence from completing a project.
  • Learn how to take critique.
  • Don’t hold back with your ideas.  Blow the doors off.  You will come up with more ideas.


I didn’t stay for the meet and greet portion of this.  It sounded a little strange, the librarian wanted us to write what we wanted the authors to put on our books on post it notes.  So I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of these lovely ladies myself.  If these books are as full of personality as their creators and and as entertaining as this appearance, you won’t be able to put any of them down.

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