Unbound (All Good Things #1) Available on Amazon/Smashwords/Unknown (All Good Things #2) coming soon.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This book. This goddamn book. Just when I thought I had myself all figured out, this book came along and shook it all up again. Seriously. This f-cking book.

When I was a teenager, I used to sneak cigarettes on the back stoop of our house. Late at night, I'd sit on the cold cement in the dark and shiver as I smoked and listened to the wind blow through the trees. I felt so grown up and yet so young and uncertain. I was wistful and melancholy as only a teenager can be, mulling over my relationship and dreams and the things that stood in my way.

This is how this book made me feel. Young and uncertain and melancholy. I yearned while I read this book. Yearned to be young, to be Blue, to know Ganzy and Adam and Ronin and Noah. I yearned to ride in the orange Camaro and to have a Southern accent and to live in a warehouse.

I have said that I don't care about beautiful writing. That poetry and prose will always be second to good characters and a story that sweeps me into the plot. But this book. It was more writing than story. But the writing made these characters. Made them in a way that I didn't know they can be made. It made me want to be near them in a way that I'm not used to.

This f-cking book.

A very melancholy five stars.

Friday, 22 November 2013

What I'm thinking about today.

Well, I promised you navel gazing and it seems I'll deliver. Here's what I'm pondering today.

1. I like reviewing books, mostly because I love reading so much that discussing books is a close second. Only I've never been successful at turning off the portion of my brain that is pretty critical. And so my ratings are, at times, reflective of that critical voice in my head. Not of authors (sidestepping that land mine) but of plot and character and theme. But I'm worried. Can I keep reviewing as a writer promoting her own writing? Is there something inherently hypocritical about straddling both sides of the fence? Or do I need to pick up my poms-poms and cheer for those who write? Am I over thinking this?

2. GIFS! A lot of debate in my real life in the last couple of days if this is pronounced "Gif" as in giraffe or "Gif" as in gift. Hopelessly uncool, I was saying G-I-F, which I've been told is unequivocally wrong. At any rate, I've just learned how to use them and finally understand what tumblr is for. This is proof (for me, at any rate), that I'm still young enough to be considered hip. Or I'm Phil Dunphy.

3. The Raven Boys. This book is blowing my mind. Mostly because it's changing how I feel about writing. I love the way Maggie Stiefvater writes. LOVE. And I'm usually more partial to story and characters than writing. Her writing is gorgeous and evocative and makes me want to curl up into a ball and pour myself between the pages of the book. It makes me want to be a better writer.

4. Red wine and chocolate. That is all.

5. I've been in a monogamous relationship for a long time. A really long time. I'm committed to this relationship as I happen to have an amazing husband who turned out to be pretty kick ass father to boot. Nothing to complain about here. Except that last night while writing about oxytocin and virgins (see http://tangledinpages.blogspot.ca) I realized that this might be one of the reasons I love YA so much. That maybe I'm looking to recreate the excitement that I felt so very long ago and clearly will never really feel again.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

TBR Top 10

I don't have a lot of free time these days. What free time I do have is split between reading, writing, and catching up on a few of my favourite TV shows (hello, TVD). Lately, it seems that writing and promoting Unbound has taken up a greater share of the time pie than usual and there are so many amazing books I can't wait to get my hands on. I'm hoping to spend a good portion of my holidays with my nose stuck in many of these titles. 

1. World After by Susan Ee. Have you read Angelfall yet? Please tell me you have. Penryn and Raffe are fast becoming my OTP. 

2. The Iron King by Julie Kagwa. Have no idea why I haven't picked this up yet. So many great reviews. 

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I loved Fangirl. I'm hoping I will love E & P just as much. Everyone else has so my hopes are quite high.

4. Covenant Series by JL Armentrout. Another series that seems to have fallen outside of my radar. I love finding a great series that has so many books written. It means I can go back to back. 

5. Unteachable by Leah Raeder. If the reviews are to be believed, I'll need to make sure to start this when I don't have to get up early the next morning. This has "stay up all night" written all over it. 

6. Dare You To and Crash into You by Katie McGarry. Pushing the Limits was one of my favourite contemporary picks of 2013. I've been trying to avoid all of the gushing on goodreads so as not to spoil my experience with these two. 

7. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. This was a fun summer read. I'm hoping for good things from the sequel. 

8. The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I know, right? I'm like the last person on earth to read this book. 

9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Great write up. I'm intrigued. 

10. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I haven't been put off too badly by the sh-t storm surrounding the last book. Not expecting much but I'm too stubborn to leave the series unfinished. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Excerpt from Unbound (All Good Things #1)

“Rachel! Now please.”
That morning, my mother had stood at my bedroom door, arms folded. “I’m going to start counting.”
Leaving my motley crew of stuffed animals stranded on my bed, I darted to the hall closet, pulled my coat off the hanger, jammed my feet into my boots and quietly slipped under her arm towards the sidewalk.
A late November wind ripped the few remaining leaves from the trees to mingle with the garbage that coasted along the curb in front of our house.  Realizing that I’d forgotten my mittens, I shoved my hands into my pockets and hoped she wouldn’t notice.
We stopped at the park on the way, sitting on the cold, hard bench while she drank her coffee, watching as the squirrels scurried across the ground, foraging the last scraps of the harvest while the weather held.
My mother and I filled in the long hours until my father came home as best as we could. Like toys discarded in the playroom, we only truly came to life when my father walked through the door at the end of the day. Busying ourselves with household tasks, we allowed the minutiae of ordinary life to distract us for as long as possible, until – with the banking done and the dry cleaning dropped off – we would wander over to the park to wait. And watch.
That day, the first time I saw him, we hadn’t stayed at the park for very long. My mother had grudgingly begun her overseas Christmas shopping that afternoon, hoping to package up and ship off the gifts for her Scottish in-laws ahead of the holiday rush. Thoroughly uninterested in helping her pick out pyjamas for my cousin Dawn, I trailed behind her as she impartially flipped through racks of polyester nightgowns. With my eyes squeezed tightly shut and one hand stretched out in front of me, I used the belt of my mother’s winter coat like a lifeline. Fumbling along cheerfully, I was pretending I was blind.
Eventually growing tired of my game – mostly because my mother had stood in one place for so long – but also because my arm was starting to ache from holding it out in front of me, I let my eyes slide open and turning my head slightly, was stunned into stillness.
Past the racks of children’s clothes, near the entrance of the department store, lay a Christmas village built completely out of gingerbread. Almost as tall as I was, the walls of the houses were stacked upon cotton candy snowdrifts – the crystallized sugar a fair mimic of ice warmed by the sun. The warm smell of cinnamon wafted under my nose as I gazed in wonder at the chocolate wafer streets that had been patterned like cobblestones and lined with candystick light posts. At the end of the street, a licorice car was stopped at a cherry red lollipop stop sign.
Captivated, I drifted towards the village, staring at the snow-capped peaks on the roof. Was it icing? Tentatively, I reached out with one finger to touch the outer edge of the sugary wall and stopped, suddenly aware of the slack in my other hand. Looking back, I stared uncomprehending at the tan belt that lay on the floor like a sick snake, no longer attached to my mother’s coat. No longer attached to my mother. She was gone.
Looking around wildly, stomach clenched and eyes stinging with soon- to be- shed-tears, my hands fluttered up from my sides like two startled birds from a hedge. With a sickening lurch, I realized I was alone.  I caught a glimpse that day, understood the fragile wall that stands between our sense of security and anonymity. Between being loved and being annihilated by loneliness.
Seconds before I melted down into a hysterical, I want-my-mommy kind of panic that only young children are capable of, I felt a hand rest comfortingly on my head. Gazing up, I saw a man with kind grey eyes staring down at me. He wore leather gloves that were soft on my hair and he smelled really good, like new wool and musk.
Looking back, I realize I should have been scared. Instead, I’d admired the long tartan scarf he wore loosely wrapped around his neck, underneath his long dark coat. I had almost reached out to touch it as he knelt down beside me, wondering if it was as soft as it looked. The man with the grey eyes that smiled, even though his mouth did not, said, “Don’t be afraid,” and I realized I wasn’t.
Something about his deep, warm voice was familiar and I thought maybe he knew me, or maybe he was a teacher at my school, because I wasn’t really feeling shy, like I usually did.  Instead, it felt like he liked me. I think it was because he looked right at me, and not through me, like most adults do with kids.
As I looked silently back at him, he reached for my hand and placed it firmly in his own. We walked to the counter of the department store together, this tall man with the nice-smelling leather gloves and kind eyes. He waited his turn in line and then smiled at the clerk and inquired politely if she might make an announcement.
Glancing up at him, I’d felt completely safe, as if nothing had ever been more natural than to be hand in hand with a stranger in the mall. I would have left with him, if he’d asked me to. 
Instead, he had leaned down to me and whispered, “Stay safe, Rachel, I’ll be watching for you,” and then he walked away, leaving me with the department store clerk. She looked very disappointed that he didn’t stay.
But the reason I remember that day so clearly, the reason I think I remember this at all, is because I am sure, certain in fact, that I never said a word. 
I never told him my name.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Love Polygons

"Anyway, why is it always a triangle? Why isn't it a square or an octagon?"
Franny Banks ~ Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham 

This feels like a dangerous post. I know some people feel very strongly about love triangles. In fact, some people speak about them with a vehemence that is typically reserved for cockroaches. And since all of my posts seem to be of a confessional nature, I'll stay true to form and admit it: I like love triangles. *ducks as fellow book nerds throw things at her*

I know, I know. Love triangles are overused and too often portray girls and women as too helpless to make decisions in their lives. And it seems that every other up and coming YA book throws a love triangle in, sometimes seemingly as an afterthought or a selling feature. And, of course, there was that love triangle, the one that had the world divided between Werewolves and Vampires. I blame that love triangle for giving other love triangles a bad name. 

But I think love triangles, well executed, can do wonderful things for a story. A love triangle represents the dialectic in all of us. The acknowledgement that we have multiple and sometimes conflicting needs. In our attempts at regret management, we pretend that we can be certain of our choices. But most of our decisions, particularly the ones related to love and relationships, are so rarely straightforward. Some small part of us always regrets the path not taken, the boy not kissed, the journey never begun. But a love triangle demands a choice, forces us to choose one over the over. Demands certainty when none exists. 

"Look, the romance in these movies, it's not supposed to be some sort of dark mystery. It's a conceit, a way to show different sides of the main character, what she's struggling with. It's a way to make an internal struggle dramatic. People see themselves in that struggle. They keep using that structure because it's familiar to most people and makes sense to them." Dan ~ Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham 

Taken at face value, love triangles can be silly and vain. And too often they are used to showcase a person's desirability, in the lamest sort of show, don't tell kind of way. But if we look a bit deeper, love triangles acknowledge that in love, the choices we make are mutually exclusive. In the right context, they are symbolic of the risk that accompanies those choices. And the sadness and anguish we feel when we let go of one thing we need in order to hold on to another. 

It's everything you wanted, it's everything you don't
It's one door swinging open and one door swinging closed
Ross Cooperman - Holdin On and Letting Go 

Ten Notable Love Triangles

King Arthur, Lancelot, & Guinevere - I am such a sucker for this one. Love, and tragedy, honour and duty. I think of this as the template for so many modern day love triangles. The choice between loyalty and passion. For a lovely interpretation of this love triangle - see Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry.

Angela, Jordan Catalano & Brian (MSCL) - Why did this show end when it did? Why?! The boy next door versus the boy we can't have (or doesn't want us). My heart used to ache for Brian and just when Angela had begun to look at him in a new way…cancelled. 

Andy, Ducky & Blaine (Pretty in Pink) - Right? We all loved Ducky getting his Otis Redding on. But we knew, didn't we? That he wasn't going to be the one she kissed in the parking lot. 

Buffy, Angel & Spike (Buffy) - Notable for the lack of emphasis on the triangle. But it was there. Even after he left, Angel's presence was felt in every Buffy/Spike interaction. He was the one Spike would never live up to and Spike was the one Buffy settled for in his absence. It was painful to watch. 

Elena, Stefan & Damon (TVD) - arguably one of the most hotly debated triangles on television. Delena and Stelena have created shippers that are rabid in their devotion for one pairing over the other. Kudos to Julie Plec for continuing to give each side some satisfaction even though a (new) choice was made. Just for the record though, I'm Delena all the way. 

Veronica Mars, Logan, & Piz (VMars) - More fist shaking at universe. Why TV gods? Why did you take VMars away from us before we were done with her? The upcoming movie is apparently heavy on Piz versus Logan. Classic nice guy versus bad boy. I like nice guys, but I'm still Logan Echolls (swoon) all the way. 

Katniss, Gale & Peta (The Hunger Games) - Am I the only one who didn't like how the movie interpreted the Katniss-Peta relationship? Maybe I'm naive, but I really thought there was something other than survival in her connection to Peta. I liked to think of Peeta as the boy who was so kind, deep down, she didn't believe she deserved him. 

Clary, Jace & Simon (The Mortal Instrument Series) - More good guy versus bad guy. I'll admit that I liked the relationship between Clary and Jace. Nice tension, until, well, my quiver was doused by the whole incest thing. 

Jehane, Rodrigo & Ammar  (Lions of Al-Rassan) - Now this, THIS is a love triangle done well. Both men of worth and a woman who can stand on her own with or without them. Guy Gavriel Kay writes women so beautifully. Smart and funny, and accomplished. If you like High Fantasy, The Lions of Al-Rassan is a gem. 

Elayne, Min, Aviendha, & Rand (The Wheel of Time Series) - This one is just silly. An actual love rectangle. And I although I've tried twice, I run out of steam around book eight. It's just too much. 

Archie, Betty & Veronica (Archie Comics) - I was so confused by this love triangle as a kid. Why on earth would anybody like Veronica? She was such a mean girl. And Betty was kind and funny and pretty. Truly Archie - why the indecision? 

Who did I miss? Let me know which triangle you love. Or love to hate. Or just plain hate. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Giveaway: UNBOUND

In honour of the release of UNBOUND, I'll be giving away FIVE free copies of the ebook in exchange for an honest review on goodreads and Amazon. The first five people who contact me at georgiabellbooks@gmail.com with the word GIVEAWAY in the title will be sent the ebook in whatever format is requested (.pdf, .mobi, .epub). Happy reading!

Here’s a brief synopsis to whet your appetite.

What if the person you’ve trusted with your life turns out to be the biggest threat to your existence?

After her father dies, Rachel realizes she is scared and stuck. Scared of heights, of cars, of disasters harming the people she loves. Stuck in a life that is getting smaller by the minute. Stuck with a secret she has kept all her life: Someone has been watching over her since birth. Someone who tends to show up when she needs him the most. Someone she believes is her guardian angel.

Eaden is a 1,500-year-old immortal who wants to die. Drained by a life stretched too thin, he has requested his final reward – a mortal sacrifice bred specifically to bring him death. But something went wrong. Rachel’s 
ability to grant death has mutated in ways that threaten to upset the uneasy alliance between mortals and immortals. And utterly beguiled, Eaden discovers that although Rachel is the key to his death, because of her, he no longer wants to die. And he will do anything to protect her.

Swept into a world of legends, caught between the warring political factions of immortals, and carrying the future of mortal kind in her flesh and bone, Rachel must risk everything to save her world and the man she loves.

Many thanks,

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Release Day!

I'm so very, very excited to share the news that my debut novel, Unbound, is NOW available on Amazon. A huge thank you to all who have supported me to get this book out of my head and into the world. Now go buy it and tell me what you think: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GDU3OP4