5 Days To Go! Let’s Fund Crows on Heartstrings!

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WE’RE 85% FUNDED AND NEED ONE MORE PUSH TO GET FUNDED IN THE NEXT FIVE DAYS!

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE!

We only have FIVE DAYS! We can do this with your help!

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Crows on Heartstrings is a fully illustrated anthology of short stories. We have a little something for everyone, no matter what your gender, sexuality, or color, we have something for you. We are proud to say that we are mostly created by, for and about lgbtqa+ folks. It’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before. We are also comprised of 23 women, and 3 men, so READ WOMEN!

The project is in its last FIVE DAYS on kickstarter and we need all of your support to bring our dream to life! please pledge if you can, and spread the word. thank you for everything, guys. we would not have made it this far without you!

 

Here are some of our contributors:

@aegisdea @aubreymeeksart @pannan-art @sonialiao @maxwickstrom @weatherfox @alisabishop @heavenlyeros @dodtt @spectre-draws @thevioletknight @shutterbones @artofpan

@theconstantvoice

What Crows on Heartstrings NEEDS:

We need FUNDING. We need your pledges to make this a reality. If you can pledge even just five dollars if you can, and tell five friends personally to pledge as well, we can do this! We want to give you the characters you want to read. Please help us make this inclusive book written and illustrated by 23 women, and 3 men, some or most of us LGBT+ writers and artists.  Come on! We can do it!

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE!

We only have FIVE DAYS! We can do this with your help!

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Book Review: Trick – Natalia Jaster

26594092We need to talk about Trick by Natalia Jaster. It was simply the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

There is a rule amongst his kind: A jester doesn’t lie.

In the kingdom of Whimtany, Poet is renowned. He’s young and pretty, a lover of men and women. He performs for the court, kisses like a scoundrel, and mocks with a silver tongue.

Yet allow him this: It’s only the most cunning, most manipulative soul who can play the fool. For Poet guards a secret. One the Crown would shackle him for. One that he’ll risk everything to protect.

Alas, it will take more than clever words to deceive Princess Briar. Convinced that he’s juggling lies as well as verse, this righteous nuisance of a girl is determined to expose him.

But not all falsehoods are fiendish. Poet’s secret is delicate, binding the jester to the princess in an unlikely alliance . . . and kindling a breathless attraction, as alluring as it is forbidden.

It was all too easy to hang onto every word Poet and Briar spun. I could not put this book down and I wanted to much to savor it. I wanted it to last forever.

Now for the spoilery bits.

Natalia Jaster’s blurb about Trick had me just as tricked about Poet as all of Whimtany. While he enraptured me, and kept me just as painfully interested in him as he did his Sweet Thorn, Briar, it wasn’t until we learned about his sweet secret, everything changed.

I don’t want to go right out and say it, because if you haven’t read this glorious book, I want you to stay surprised.

Beyond the beautiful craft of Jaster’s writing, a very important message about humanity and the cruelty of it pokes its head from the pages. This story is so much more than a tense love story about a boy and a girl who judge each other too quickly.

Never have I read a book which spoke so truly about the many facets of love and it’s different faces.

I can only dream that Natalia Jaster would contribute something to Crows on Heartstrings, because this story was everything anyone needs to know about love. Love of country, love of family and friends, romance. This book had everything. I only wish I could craft my characters the way Natalia Jaster crafted this masterpiece.

My rating: YOU’D BETTER GO BUY THIS BOOK NOW

🙂

 

Abomination Boy and Half a Prince Part 6

Lucien and Elijah Header

Natalie paled at the sight of Dahlia’s fingers digging in Lucien’s flesh, but she pulled herself together. The last thing she wanted was to faint in the middle of this. A pang of sympathy coiled through her. Lucien looked helpless and fragile.

On the other hand, Elijah’s gaze over Lucien was steel. Natalie need not be reminded of why he was listless and at the same time sensitive about this. Blades and flesh and blood together would form a sick memory in his mind. Torture wasn’t new to him. Immense pain was a familiar ground.

“Do this as quick as possible. It is far better to endure a heightened pain in a short span of time,” Elijah suggested, shifting a little, brown eyes cast on Lucien’s current feeble figure. He already placed his knees on the ground, his dark wavy hair somewhat unkempt, white long-sleeved shirt clinging on his lean frame.

“Take out the rest now.”

The second scar was more jagged than the first, the crooked lines forced Natalie to sacrifice some good skin to get to the stinging metal underneath. Lucien, regaining a hazy consciousness, swallowed hard and grit his teeth.

Dahlia reached inside the pocket of flesh and accidentally sliced Lucien with hasty movements and the sharp corroded metal.

Lucien fiercely kicked out and howled a guttural scream. His hands found Elijah’s wrists firmly pressing his body to the pavement. He latched on to keep himself from thrashing, and found comfort in the steady pulse on the tender side of Elijah’s wrists.

Lucien calmed the moment the metal was removed. His head fell back against the cool cement of the alleyway. He smiled into the calm, and welcomed the clarity that came with the heat of Dahlia’s hands on his chest, filling him with heavenly fire to combat the shadows in his blood.

“Is he okay now?” Natalie asked, still holding the bloodstained knife in her hand.

They were lucky the street was deserted and the street lamps only emanated dim lights. Elijah thought if someone had seen them, they’d think they were robbing and assaulting him. He eased up from Lucien and studied his condition. “We should bring him somewhere safe. Where do you live?”

Lucien slowly started to breathe normally, and seemed to be doing better. He wasn’t running around like a maniac, so that was okay.

“I think he’ll be okay, I dunno I was just experimenting, taking a stab in the dark with that one.” Dahlia looked around for for her van parked on their empty street. “I live just around the corner. If you don’t mind helping me get him inside, I would greatly appreciate it.” Dahlia would more than appreciate it.  She had been babysitting Lucien all day, and only now was the stress of worrying catching up to her.

Natalie rose and nudged Elijah’s arm. “Carry him.”

Previous – Next


 

Welcome to the Lucien and Elijah serial by Aubrey Meeks and Julienne 

The accompanying illustration was done by Aegisdea and I couldn’t be happier!

Stay tuned for more of Elijah and Lucien tomorrow!

Are we ever going to really meet Lucien? Or maybe he’ll kick it before we can get anything out of him.

Lucien and Abomination Boys characters and writing © Aubrey “Meeks” Brown 2015

Elijah and writing © Julienne 2015

Abomination Boy and Half a Prince Part 5

Lucien and Elijah HeaderNatalie rose and slapped him so hard, Elijah thought his neck had been torn out. He held his cheek where a handprint bloomed across his face and shot Natalie an infuriated stare in return.

“You shot him and he was innocent. You have to help. You owe them.”

Fishing out his handkerchief, he wiped his cheek gently. “If you ever slap me again with your dirty hands -”

Natalie rolled her eyes. “Oh I will do it again.” She aimed this time for the other side, but Elijah stopped her, clutching her wrist firmly, then putting it on her side. He struggled to keep his rising anger at bay.

“I will help, but my aid doesn’t go beyond without limitations. I will help until I see it fit that you can do well on your own,” he told Dahlia.

My hero.” Dahlia sighed an exasperated cry and turned to Natalie who at seemed at least more useful if only in her kinder demeanor.

“Okay. So from what I’ve gathered, he’s being conditioned to keep the angel blood from overtaking his demon blood. They battle each other in his veins, that’s why he seems so crazy. He can’t think straight. So…” Dahlia tied up her tight orange curls and picked through Lucien’s pockets until she found his bone knife.

She picked at the collar of his t-shirt and pulled the knife to the hem. It sliced through the fabric with a quick wizz.

“Here.” She paused at two long blistering scars just under his collarbones. They were angry and red, and whoever had put them there didn’t care enough to close them properly. “So there’s cursed iron under there.  He got away before I could help him the first time.  Elijah, if you would just hold him down, he’s not going to like this.” She turned to Natalie. “Do you want to do the slicing or the …sticking your fingers in there and pulling out the metal?”

Elijah hesitated. Lucien looked filthy, and Elijah was way too afraid of dirt to do this, but with Natalie’s side glance threat, dirt was out of his mind. “I see I have no other choice but to do anything you ladies say.” He squatted and calculated how to keep Lucien pinned on the ground. “Cursed iron. I am very fortunate that my father didn’t dare experiment on me or my blood.” He knelt, tucking back his gun and keeping Lucien down with his two hands on his shoulders.

“Maybe he did experiments on your brain,” said Natalie, settling herself on the other side of Lucien. “I think I’ll do the slicing. I can’t imagine sticking my fingers in someone’s flesh, you know.”

“And your fingers are filthy too,” Elijah added.

“Everything’s filthy for you.” Natalie took the knife from Dahlia.

Elijah glanced around the place, keeping his eyes close on any demons. Threats would be imminent especially with four of them – demons, humans, and angels together. The demons would sense their presence. “If this ends up successful, I would like to have the pleasure of knowing why this friend of yours is like this.”

“Me too.” Dahlia watched carefully as Natalie pressed the knife into his angry scars. They hissed as she broke them, oozing a black boiling blood with each inch gained.

“It’s going to work.” She helped Elijah, pressing down on Lucien’s chest as his back arched and his hips bucked under the pain of the knife and who knows what else. She reached her long fingers under his skin, careful not to let the disgusting feel of digging bare-handed through someone’s flesh for the second time in one day, force her to puke.

Wanting to spare him more pain, she pulled a thin sheet of metal from the blister in one swift motion. “unggghh” Lucien groaned, open mouthed and exhausted. Dahlia plunged her fingers in the same wound and tried quickly to find any broken bits that could be itching under his skin.

“Shh. It’s okay. Lucien.” Dahlia purred. She brushed his mop of pale hair from his face and stroked his sharp jaw until it relaxed.

Her hands found the long gash and healed it closed. He needed a break before they went for the next piece, she thought.

“Okay guys, just the one more.”


Previous – Next


 

Welcome to the Lucien and Elijah serial by Aubrey Meeks and Julienne 

The accompanying illustration was done by Aegisdea and I couldn’t be happier!

 

Stay tuned for more of Elijah and Lucien NEXT WEEK!

What do you think? Will Lucien make it? Who’s been hurting him, and when are we finally going to meet the real Lucien?

Lucien and Abomination Boys characters and writing © Aubrey “Meeks” Brown 2015

Elijah and writing © Julienne 2015

Book Review: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 15.20.19This was a great one. There were only a few I felt were just not my cup of tea. Most were engaging, but I did have a few favorites.

  1. Emmeline – Cat Winters
  2. Sleepless – Jay Kristoff
  3. In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan
  4. Fat Girl With a Knife – Jonathan Maberry

Those were the ultimates for me. I already reviewed Emmeline, so I’ll cut to the others. Sleepless had the most CHILLING reveal. I don’t want to spoil it but it was by far the most suspenseful of the bunch.

In the Forest Dark and Deep left me with a lot of questions. But it was beautifully written and I ended up liking the main character because I feel like maybe she was in control the whole time, a monster rather than a victim. Which is also why I liked Fat Girl With a Knife.

I found that most of the stories made me feel like they weren’t about supernatural monsters so much as they were about how easy it is to become a monster when pushed to the edge.

I highly recommend picking this one up. I won’t share which stories I didn’t much like, because I don’t want to turn anyone off to it. The stories I didn’t enjoy all shared a common similarity and I know that just means they weren’t for me.

Happy reading!

Book Review: Solitaire – Alice Oseman

20618110I LOVED Solitaire. The book is about “chronic pessimist” Tori Spring navigating through school like a normal teen these days with tumblr and pranks Ferris Bueller could only dream to pull off.

The characterization is phenomenal. Tori Spring is depressed and aloof, but I was never once annoyed by her. I felt like she was such a real person, that I couldn’t feel that she was whiny or complained too much. On the contrary, Alice Oseman made me care so much for Tori that I rooted for her. I wanted her to get better, I stuck with her through the hard times. I loved her.

What’s more, I loved Michael Holden. (Funny that his last name is Holden when the book is being called a contemporary Catcher in the Rye. Cute) I loved Nick, and Charlie. All the kids in the book had very real problems, all very relatable problems.

The realness was striking. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what the book was about, you can read the summary on amazon, I’m talking about the quality of the writing here. I guess that’s what I aim to do in my reviews. The characters were so engaging, I felt less like I was reading a story, and more like I was living with them. I think that’s important.

I finished Solitaire feeling like I was leaving my friends behind. That’s how monumental I felt this book was for today’s YA readers. I think to say Alice Oseman’s young age directly correlates to how effectively she relates to her young audience is unfair. She relates to her readers because she is a good writer. She knows what she’s talking about and seems like she’s either been there with all of us, or she’s done a damn good amount of research. This book and it’s dealings with mental illness among teenagers is so truthful, I think every struggling teen should read it.

Solitaire is dripping with the “You are NOT Alone” message. I cannot stress enough how authentic this book felt.

 

Book Review: Attachments- Rainbow Rowell

10600010I was going to review The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, but I want to re read it because I feel like I loved it so much, I rushed right through it.

So my second option, for the moment, is Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. I love Rainbow Rowell. I find her writing light and engrossing and real. Attachments, I feel, needs some more love. I see people raving over Fangril (Rightfully so) And the upcoming Carry On, (I’m so excited!) But nothing really for Attachments.

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure about it. It’s set pre-Y2k in an office featuring people a bit older than my own age. (how boring, people my own age!) It’s a bit slow going in the beginning. Lincoln, the spying IT guy, was a bit difficult for me to really care about at first. But, as the characters embarked on their arcs, I became enraptured.  I felt like nerdy but burly Lincoln’s sister, (but a good one, his real sister sucked) just wanting to push him and tell him “I know you’re in love with the girl who’s email you’re stalking, so go talk to her! She saw you! She likes you! Go talk to her you idiot!”

The girls in the story were hilarious. I found myself connecting with them on various levels despite only being able to read their emails. I guess that’s why I didn’t feel too creeped out by Lincoln feeling like he knew them. I FELT LIKE I KNEW THEM. Good Job Rainbow Rowell!

Anyway, without getting too spoilery, the hype around Y2k, this earth shattering event, set the theme for the character’s personal events. I thought it was clever, and frustrating, and all around a good read.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss Series – Stephanie Perkins

Okay, so this review is featuring a little bit of fan art I did of Isla and Josh.

I started the Anna and the French Kiss series because I needed something light to read. I needed something completely different from The Kingkiller Chronicles because man, did Kvothe leave me with a severe book hangover.

Anyway, I love this series for what it is. It’s just about falling in love, plain and simple. Stephanie Perkins makes you really feel it.

With Anna and Étienne, it was enough to get me hooked. Sweet, light, a bit infuriating, and enough of a break for them each to find themselves at the end. Perfect.

What I liked about Lola and Cricket, might not make sense at first: Lola annoyed me at times, but in a way that I found so true to how it feels to be in love and a teenager and confused. I don’t ever think there was a time I was annoyed with her where she wasn’t annoyed with herself. Isn’t that beautiful?
Cricket was an adorable little muffin and I couldn’t wait to see how he did up against dickhead Max.

With that being said, wow did I LOVE Josh and Isla.

I maybe had a bit of a crush on Josh because of the artist in New York thing (hello, I’m an artist from New York, if you didn’t know.)  I liked how they had much in common though they didn’t realize it. They both needed to find themselves. I identified with Josh because he left his country to find a place that was his. I felt sad because he didn’t find it right away. I thought their struggles were real. But I love the message the most. In all the books, it’s about finding yourself and not letting the person you’re with become you. Relationships are about sharing and coming together as two whole people to make a better union. If that’s what teenagers are reading about love these days, then let’s all thank Stephanie Perkins. None of her girls or boys changed things about them for  the sake of a relationship, and that’s important. They only enhanced themselves toward a better self.

If that’s not enough to hook you, then let me also say, that Stephanie Perkins does not drop the ball on her subplots. All secondary and even tertiary characters have interesting arcs.

Finally, I want to assure you, that you will not miss out on the story lines of your favorites. Stephanie Perkins really layers on the finale and ties everything up in a nice neat box for us so we know exactly where everyone is and where they are going at the end.

(Though I drew the fanart, the characters are ©Stephanie Perkins and the poses are from found imagery 🙂

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

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Published February 27th 2015 by Titan Books (first published February 24th 2015)
original title
A Darker Shade of Magic
ISBN
1783295406 (ISBN13: 9781783295401)
OK. Let’s talk about this one.
I honestly picked this one up because the cover art was so lovely.
Let’s just get right into it. Things I liked about this:
The world building is on point. The book is first and foremost about the world in which the characters live. We are told about it through the point of view of a man who has full handle on the world, and all aspects of it. The character, Kell, is a swoon-worthy competent, slave/faux-prince and a little bit of a sassy shit. So, of course, I loved that.
I really rooted for him in all his fights and scrambles. But to move onto something I didn’t like, he was way too guarded. I felt like, he had so many walls up, I couldn’t get to know him. I still am unsure if I know who he is.
I might have stopped reading if it weren’t for the introduction of a second hero, Lila. God, was she good. She’s everything you want in a borderline YA heroine. She was competent, an unlikely hero, she’s a quick thief, and smart as hell. But The best part was, she wasn’t perfect. V.E. Schwab perfectly illustrated the Strong Woman VS Complex Woman heroes argument. Lila is competent, yes, she gets things done, but she is so complex, she has vulnerabilities. She’s not a soldier willing to risk her life for the good of her people, she just wants to survive. Her story kept me engaged when Kell gave me the cold shoulder.
In any case, the story is about these two battling magic between worlds and taking down kings and queens.
As I said before, the world building is impeccable. I got a sense of everything Kell thought about the world and how it worked, without being told “This is how things are.” I was shown, and pulled through the world with Kell and Lila. Lila served as a great fellow student and often asked the questions on my mind.
I’m definitely reading the next book in the series when it comes out. I want more Lila, and I want Kell to come out of his shell.