2013 YA and MG Time Travel Reading Challenge: March Wrap-up Post + Review Linky + Giveaway of SIGNED Untimed by Andy Gavin

Hi guys, today I’ve got Andy Gavin, the author of Untimed, for an interview about his novel: the story world, the characters and the writing. Stick around for a giveaway!



How does being a video game programmer/designer help you in writing novels? As a serial creator (having made over a dozen major video games) it was interesting how similar the process was to any other complex creative project. Video games and novel writing are both very iterative and detail oriented. They use a lot of the same mental muscles.


Charlie. From All Things Andy Gavin
What was it like to write a YA time travel story? Was it easy or difficult to write for a younger audience? I don’t really write to a demographic. I probably should, but it just isn’t me. The characters take on a life of their own and fantastic elements aside, demand a certain level of realism. Untimed might have been easier to sell to publishers if I had kept the basic plot but targeted it at Middle Schoolers. Instead, it’s a 13+ book and I tried to make Charlie’s voice authentically 15, which means it has a bit of an edge. Teen boys think about shit and sex. Sorry, but it’s true. I rub up on issues that make some squirm, even if I deal with the lightly: teen pregnancy, drinking, slavery, etc. But to sweep these under the carpet wouldn’t do justice to the 18th century – or our own.

In the time travel novels I’ve read, the story world is a mix of contemporary and historical. The two story worlds are more or less as realistic as they could get. Why did you decide to mix contemporary, historical and a bit of steampunk into the time travel equation? First of all, I’m a pantser, and so the story and characters largely determine where they go. Untimed began with this concept of a modern teenage narrator who was unstuck in time and went from there. Somehow, I always imagined Charlie in Philadelphia, and that led me quickly to Ben Franklin, who is a favorite of mine. In an alternate dimension there exists a simpler Untimed, woven between modern and 18th century Philly. No London. No France. No China. That book would have been more like a Hollywood story, all packaged up neat and clean, but neat and clean isn’t the Andy Gavin style. I often like to speculate on much individual people and events shape history, so it was natural to play with this idea of a future (or present?) gone wrong.

When you were writing Untimed, how did you draw the line between facts and fantasy? I didn’t want the book to be too tame and neat. Despite being a fantasist, I strive for human realism in my books. I like to deal with real issues when they come up, which I feel makes for better drama. Fundamentally, while the central two conceits of Untimed are fanciful (time travel and Tick-Tocks), I tried to keep everything else realistic (if sometimes comic). Teens do have sex. They do drink. The past was a dangerous place, justice was more an abstract concept than a practical reality. A pair of teenagers stranded without resources or any real clue as to what is going on would find it tough going. I wanted to show people that the past didn’t have to be boring, and that while situations and society changes, people stay the same. I also wanted to illustrate that while people in the past are just as human, things really have improved in many ways. By having Charlie, who as a contemporary kid is our representative, experience different times first hand, it’s easy to contrast them. 

From the blurb: “there’s the simple fact that boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future.” So why does this time travel rule exist? First of all, I had to come up with a unique new system that allowed multiple visits to the same time period, but wasn’t too overpowered. If your characters are too powerful, there is no jeopardy. So I had to invent all the restrictions and deal with the issues of paradox (and I think I have a crafty new solution there). Then I had to figure out how to make returning to the SAME action actually interesting for the reader. That was even harder. I also wanted some kind of mechanic that created emotional intensity. I hit on the forward/backward thing early on and it really clicked with me. I liked the idea that due to the rules, and the rarity of travelers, Charlie and Yvaine were really stuck together. One wrong hop without the other and they might never see each other again!

Untimed

Title: Untimed

Author: Andy Gavin
Date of Publication: December 17, 2012
Publisher: Mascherato

Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.

Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.

And there’s one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!

About Andy Gavin

Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels. 

Follow Andy: Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Giveaway

Thanks to Andy and Mascherato, we have one signed copy of Untimed to give away! You guys know the drill. Fill out the form. 🙂 

Rules:Open internationally You should be at least 13 years old. Ends April 30, 2013.


Review Link-up

http://www.simply-linked.com/listwidget.aspx?l=8e0e4a4a-28c2-4e01-8396-ca3fa95f3c45

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Accompanying Tweets to The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: D

Here I am again with another installment! Sorry if it’s late, I was so busy I didn’t realize I haven’t posted these. Enjoy!

dabble, v.: Like the ukulele you never learned to play or the spoon collection that only lasted two spoons, am I destined to dust?

daft, adj.: Is it foolish to love words for foolishness, to think you can make a bad decision feel lighter by calling it daft?

dagger, n.: The thought that you might not love me at all.

daily, adj.: The minimum frequency at which I question our relationship; also, the minimum frequency at which I find it worth it.

dalliance, n.: There is nothing sophisticated about having an affair, no matter how you may dress it up in drama.

dam, n.: This is what doubt feels like – you are a heavy object trying to hold back the weight of water, knowing it wins in the end.

damage, n.: Every time you break up, a piece of you falls away, never to return, even if your lover does.

damsel, n.: It’s gotten to the point that you can’t think of her without also thinking of distress.

dance, v.: To turn your body into music.

dandelion, n.: My wish when I blow things away is often for them to come back.

danger, n.: I want to peel back the warning labels and find you underneath.

dangle, v.: Let magpies have their foil and cats have their tinsel; for me, nothing shines more than promise, as you bounce it up and down.

dapper, adj.: A sophisticated handsomeness that suggests a pocket square and a cravat.

dapple, v.: Before you wake up, before a word is said, I look at you in the light from between the shades, and you shimmer.



dare, v.: Rearrange the letters, and you will find “read”–to dare is to decode, to discover what the story was meant to be, and make it so.

daresay, v.: I like this qualifier, because while some words can merely be said, there are others that need to be daresaid.

dark, adj.: I am not afraid of the dark as much as I am afraid of my own helplessness within it.

darling, adj.: The lover bakes a pie, treating the recipe like grail, then abandoning scripture and improvising before your eyes.

dashed, adj.: When phrases are tentative – words piecemeal – uncertain – irresolute – the ship of your spirits encounters rocks.

dastardly, adv.: No mustache to twirl, but you can’t contain the evil gleam, the relish you take when things that are not yours fall apart.

data, n.: Every time we met, I would collect facts and try to piece them in the right place, a map of your country assembled town by town.

date, n.: In my experience, if you have to ask if it is one, then it isn’t one.

dateable, adj.: Only the geologist with the comforts of carbon testing has a semi-accurate measure of this.

dawn, v.: When revelations dawn, there may be light, but isn’t necessarily warmth.

day, n.: A minor increment of your life that can contain emotional immensity.

daze, n.: The more you drink, the more I become a supporting character in your life, barely distinguishable from the rest of the scenery.

dazzle, v.: Some relationships are about glitter, but ours hews to the dazzle of the unexpected, the horizon that bursts into sunflowers.

deadline, n.: An overstated word. Whenever I draw this line for you, there’s always an afterlife.

deadweight, n.: You try to cut my exes free and throw them overboard, but we both find they’re secured by multiple ropes.

deafening, adj.: It is not our silence that is deafening, but all the words underneath it, yelled in our heads.

dealbreaker, n.: You passed the test when you had books on your shelves, and had read many of them.

dear, adj.: The tenderness with which I think of you, and how you help make my world closer to the right shape.

death, n.: We define love by the heart, and we define death by its stopping.

debacle, n.: A disaster too big to control; the breaking point.

debased, adj.: I am livid when ungodly things are attributed to God and unloving things are attributed to love.

debate, n.: An attempt to confine argument within rules. Not applicable to relationships.

debauchery, n.: Every computer now has a red light district. The only difference is whether you window shop or actually step inside.

debrief, v.: In this particular situation, the more proper word would be deboxer.

debt, n.: The list on the refrigerator is the superficial accounting. What we owe does much deeper, and will never be fully repaid.

debut, v.: I was more nervous about your friends liking me; I think you were more nervous about liking my friends.

decadent, adj.: Jarlsberg.

deceit, n.: The lies that aren’t well intentioned, that we conjure because we think we can get away with them.

decency, n.: This is what angers and upsets me the most, when you treat me worse than you should treat any human being.

decide, v.: This is what we do – we push each other to the choice of whether or not to stay. And when it’s going well, it’s unquestioned.

declaration, n.: I don’t want the pursuit of happiness. I want happiness.

decline, v.: I used to think if I declined it would lead to our decline, but now I know that no is an essential caesura in keeping peace.

deconstruct, v.: To attempt to pare something down to its elements, only to create a much bigger mess than existed before.

decoy, n.: There are times I wonder if you were created to look lifelike, until I foolishly got close enough to find you were made of wood.

dedication, n.: Without you I’d be talking alone in a closed room, so of course these words are for you.

deduction, n.: The noun form of both deduce and deduct – a sign that the things you figure out will be counted against someone?

deep, adj.: Love is not a swimming pool, gently sloped and clearly marked. When you step in and keep going, you must know how to swim far.

deface, v.: You can’t pass a WET PAINT sign without ripping off the T. It’s gotten to the point that I do it when you’re not there.

defeat, v.: Name the enemy and I will help you fight it. You just need to name it to me.

defensive, adj.: I don’t want you to notice that I’m wrong, so I release some unworthy noise to distract you.

defiance, n.: You draw me the road map of all your failed relationships, and instead of trying to navigate it, I set a match to its edge.

deficient, adj.: It is like one of Zeus’s cruel tricks, that I never feel I measure up to myself.

definition, n.: My body is full of words but I will never be able to arrange them into a definition. I am coming to accept this.

deflect, v.: “Where were you?” I ask, and you say, “Where wasn’t I?” And I think the answer’s obvious: Here.

deftly, adv.: You come home and find my folded on the couch, wrapped in a bad day, so you unwrap me and leave me to unfold myself.

defuse, v.: “There is something about my mother,” you warned me, “that makes people want to throw water on her.”

degrading, adj.: Only half your vomit makes it into the bowl. Cleaning it is bad, but the way you don’t remember it in the morning is worse.

degree, n.: I agree that love is like temperature–too hot and too cold are unbearable, so you dial yourselves to the most comfortable place.

dejected, adj.: When you see life through midnight-colored glasses at any time of day.

delay, v.: The thwarting of instant gratification; or, a pause to figure things out.

delegate, n.: I have you call for the pizza or ask the guard for directions, because you’re not intimidated by strangers and I still am.

delegitimize, v.: Anytime you accuse as an echo (“you were flirting too!”; “I’m not the only one who”) you give your words a bastard birth.

deleted, adj.: This should be the new word for “dumped,” since you’re no longer taken out with the trash, but backspaced out of existence.

deliberate, adj./v.: As an adjective, so premeditated, but as a verb, still indecisive. This is how we make each other feel.

delicate, adj.: Love makes you breakable, but that’s okay.

delight, n.: We have to remember to stop and savor the slower pleasures in our high-speed lives, or else we’ll lose them completely.

delineate, v.: I don’t mind losing myself with you every now and then. I just need to get myself back, still separate from you.

delinquent, n.: There’s still a little shoplifter in you, taking things you can afford, just for the thrill of getting away with it.

deliverance, n.: If I didn’t think you were going to take me to a better place, I wouldn’t fall into your arms.

delude, v.: You argue that people can fundamentally change, and I say I agree, if you strike the word fundamentally.

demand, n.: The sole requirement for any interaction is an underlying kindness, a recognition of mutual humanity.

demeanor, n.: The thing you lack when you demean me, or anyone else.

demilune, n.: The slow, long pause when you stare at the lover and wonder whether he or she waxes or wanes.

democracy, n.: In order to work, relationships must be one person, one vote.

demolish, v.: Why are there so many more synonyms for destruction than creation? What is the dictionary trying to say?

demon, n.: The advisory being in my head who sees everything wrong, and in seeing everything wrong, makes everything wrong.

demonstrate, v.: Show don’t tell is actually better advice for love than it is for writing.

demote, v.: We will never get to the truth if we don’t stop letting professional assholes hold positions of esteem.

demythologize, v.: Not every story needs to have a villain. Too often we create them, just to feel our lives have a plot.

den, n.: Even though we live in a one-bedroom apartment, I want it to feel like a warren, a cabin, a fort made of sheets.

denature, v.: I try to steer you out of the bar, but you pull away, shout at me, “No! This is who I am.”

dendrite, n.: We need to retreat from words. We need stretches where we are only sensation, only impulse, minutely receptive.

denial, n.: When you choose to know less, even when you know better.

denouement, n.: You are going to have to write your own dialogue for this one.

density, n.: It was not depth, but density that made me know I loved you – the thoughts so close together, the empty space banished.

dentrifice, n.: You said it was silly for us to buy two kinds of toothpaste, so we swapped for a week, to see who cared the most.

denude, v.: I like it more when you undress me, because then it feels like it’s mutual, not just my own desire to lay us bare.

deontological, adj.: The responsibility should come from the connection; the connection should not come from the responsibility.

depart, v.: Leave is what you do because of someone else; depart is what you do purely on your own.

depend, v.: To leave a part of yourself in someone else, and trust them to be there when you need it.

depleted, adj.: There is a difference between feeling empty and feeling emptied. There is loss from the losing, not the not having.

deployment, n.: I use words, because I can magically conjure them out of nothing.

deposit, v.: You get five cents of knowledge back for every date you throw in the recycle bin.

depth, n.: I am fathomless, and you are fathomless. We will never touch the bottom of our selves.

derail v.: We are not trains. It’s okay if we fall off the tracks.

derelict, adj.: Even the things we’ve abandoned still stand inside us, ramshackle rot of bad decisions, and the better decisions to move on.

derision, n.: The things you criticize most vehemently are usually the things you fear or hate within yourself.

desacralize, v.: God is not in the details; God is the details, and the randomness that creates what we see as us.

descant, n.: Sometimes I worry that I have talked this relationship to death, and that only silent understanding can revive it.

descend, v.: It is not a freefall into sadness, but a staircase.

describe, v.: Friends will never understand, because they can only go by what you tell them.

desensitized, adj.: Being in a relationship is like leaving a window open in summer – you get used to the noise in order to have the breeze.

desert, n.: You don’t drown in loneliness; you are stranded within it.

design, v.: Let’s never fit into any particular shape. Let’s make up our own.

desirable, adj.: I want your appreciation, not your approval.

desire, v.: To want with the full intensity of your self, to a degree you cannot explain.

despair, n.: To be gripped by the feeling that nothing you ever do matters, that the world and everyone in it are unchangeable.

desperate, adj.: When you are willing to go against your better self’s cautions, because if you don’t, you feel all will be lost.

despite, prep.: Such a valuable preposition, to teach us to transcend the bad things that come with the good, and likewise.

dessert, n.: The cherry isn’t always on top.

destabilize, v.: If you do not appreciate love, if you do not treat it with care, then it owes you no debt.

destination, n.: For a hundred different reasons, you are the place I want to be.

destiny, n.: I do not believe we are the written; I believe we are the writers.

destitute, adj.: It is not your poverty of language but your poverty of sympathy that stuns me when you stoop to your lows.

detail, n.: These moments I collect add up to the way you live your life. Every small gesture links to something larger.

detectable, adj.: We are all transparent, when seen in the right light, from the right angle.

detective, n.: Let my browser keep its history to itself.

détente, n.: When we’re too tired to tether ourselves to the fight, so we let it leave the room.

deterrent, n.: You think there’s no traffic coming, so you run through my stop signs. But you can’t always see what’s around my corners.

detour, n.: Life does not have a single path. It has many paths and we move from one to the next, most of the time not even realizing it.

detox, v.: Two weeks is your record.

detritus, n.: We cast off our former lives, but they still float somewhere, waiting for the tide to pull them back in.

devalue, v.: Don’t say you love me when you don’t know what you’re saying; autopilot makes me wonder why we need a pilot at all.

develop, v.: You stare in the dark room, waiting to see if the negatives can be transformed into a perfect image.

deviate, v.: You force me to go against my nature, and as a result I often find my better nature.

devilry, n.: I can convince myself your words are a sophisticated sadism; romance is the devil’s science project, and he’s getting an A.

devoid, adj.: Those moments I am incapable, it is not that I am filled with the capacity to do something else. Recognize me as hollow.

devolve, v.: The bad days feel like a rerun of other bad days; there is nothing interesting in the ways we go wrong.

devotion, n.: When the storm comes, whatever storm, I will run inside of it to save you.

devour, v.: At the height of our desire I want to consume you and be consumed by you.

dewfall, n.: Somehow the uneasiness of falling asleep is anointed with the certainty of waking up.

dexterity, n.: Holding on is as much a trick of the eye as the talent of the hand.

diabolical, adj.: To deny someone else love simply to preserve your own.

diachronic, adj.: The tentative becomes the tender; the questions become the answers.

diadem, n.: You wear nothing so well as sunlight. Stand there. Right there.

diagnose, v.: My friends read the symptoms in my sentences, took the pulse of my tone, as I told them all about you.

diagonal, adj.: Some of your sleeping habits needed to be altered.

diagrammatic, adj.: I want to achieve a Venn state, an equilibrium between the circles and the crossing.

dial, v.: It wasn’t enough to have your number. After the second date, I put your name into my phone, not caring if I was going too fast.

dialectic, n.: We investigate the truth with words, and hide it with words about the investigation.

dialogue, n.: How sweet the sound of our ratatatat, how comfortable the rhythm of our zingzingzing.

diametric, adj.: The space between our differences is so much smaller than the space between the things we share.

diamond, n.: Of course the roughness comes with it, the constant, bearable flaws of the clearest, hardest things you love.

diarist, n.: Even though I abandoned the notebooks after high school, all my inner thoughts remain handwritten.

diarrheic, adj.: When any diatribe reaches its fifth minute, it’s best to staunch the flow of words.

diaspora, n.: We moved to the city and immediately sought to rebuild our home out of the friends we were making.

dicey, adj.: I thought my odds of finding a good relationship were the same as rolling double lucky 7s. You were my 1 in 144 chance.

dichotomy, n.: The older you get, the more the opposites blur, and you see love in the hate, and spirit in the science.

dickering, n.: All the petty point-outs that come when one or both lovers are in a bad mood.

dickwad, n.: This is actually in the dictionary: “ORIGIN 1980s: from ‘dick’ in the sense of ‘penis’ + wad.”

dictate, v.: Say whatever orders you’d like; I am not writing them down.

diction, n.: I have to believe we are made of the words we choose.

didactic, adj.: It’s hard to approach this word without thinking that it is going to be a chore.

die, v.: We are too young for this to be a part of our vocabulary. I cannot think of you in terms of this.

diet, n.: The best thing is to fall in love with someone who wouldn’t really notice the difference anyway.

difference, n.: The result when one thing is subtracted from another. A difference does not have to be a wedge; it can be a missing piece.

difficult, adj.: I can’t make you love me if you don’t.

diffuse, adj.: Sometimes I scatter like rubble and sometimes I scatter like light.

digestif, n.: A little lie every now and then is useful for helping the truth go down.

digital, adj.: If I can choose between your fingers on the keys and your fingers on my skin, you know what the choice will be.

digitized, adj.: Lost in the electric translation, a replication where a little of the DNA falls away.

dignity, n.: When I say the wrong things with the right heart, let the words stand, then correct me later so I can take them down myself.

digress, v.: I think in branches, I think in loops, I think in ellipses, I think in steps, I think in trajectories that fall to earth.

dilapidate, v.: You can’t take the relationship for granted. There is always something that needs attention, maybe repair.

dilettante, n.: I’m haunted by the idea that my belief in love is hollow, that I spend so much time on it, but I’m just playing along.

dilly-dally, v.: Let’s polka-dot the time with colorful, playful idleness, a hourless space before we head out into the day.

dilute, v.: The word “sorry” loses a piece of its power every time you have to use it.

diluvial, adj.: A rush of affection that leaves you completely at sea; I’ve lost my horizons, and you are the only boat.

dim, adj.: In that hour between the sky darkening and the lighting of our lamps, I search you out, just wanting to know you’re there.

dimension, n.: I wanted it to be real, and I knew that for it to be real, it had to have depth, and reach into the harder places.

diminish, v.: I say I’ve had a bad day, and because you’ve had a bad day, you say, “We all have bad days,” and that doesn’t help.

diminuendo, n.: The sudden shift to slowness, the gift of gentleness when I need you to be a shelter from the noise.

dimple, n.: When you smile with your whole body.

din, n.: The more I take in, the more I stare at screens, blink up words, the closer I feel I am becoming static. Save me.

dinner, n.: The first night you didn’t make it home in time, I just sat there staring at both plates, no longer excited to eat.

dinosaur, n.: The minute someone younger than you has no knowledge of your favorite band from high school – you will feel Paleolithic.

diorama, n.: Freeze the frame and see us in the shoebox. This way you can notice me reaching for you, even if you’re turned away.

diplomatic, adj.: Of course I want you to make the stuffing this year.

diptych, n.: On the uneasy evenings of near silent dinners, this is how we sit, in our separate frames, but still hinged together.

direct, adj.: You shoot your words straight at me, while I tend to aim for the ricochet. Your way is better, but I can’t always do it.

dirt, n.: Whenever you try to get the dirt on someone, do not be surprised when all that you’re left with is dirt.

disadvantage, n.: If you retreat into the recesses of your own thoughts, I find it harder to visit you with thoughts of my own.

disambiguate, v.: Tell me the truth in no uncertain terms. Do you love me?

disappear, v.: Such is the salve of love, that it makes your isolation vanish. It is still there, but rendered invisible to your eye.

disappoint, v.: To prove to be less worthy than you should be, or want to be.

disarming, adj.: Some days my life is a series of bombs waiting to go off, and you manage to charm them into defusing.

disarray, n.: Our apartment looks like the combined topography of our minds – plenty of paper clutter, but nothing that would grow mold.

disastrous, adj.: My father doesn’t like Polish jokes. He just doesn’t.

disavow, v.: “It’s not like we’re married!” you yell at me. As if we haven’t made vows already, as if I cannot hold you to them.

disbelief, n.: I swore this kind of love wouldn’t happen to me, but look: You are my Yeti, my Roswell, my seven-leaf clover.

discarded, adj.: As a kid, I always collected torn wrapping paper, empty cereal boxes, looking to use things after their use was through.

discipline, n.: “People have a problem,” you say, “if they are aspiring to grayness.”

disclaimer, n.: By date five, I’d given you the warnings about my own instability, my own unsuitability, and there was still a sixth date.

disco, n./v..: My dance floor drunkard, you don’t just turn the beat around, you toss it up in the air, to catch with your hips.

discombobulated, adj.: One of those first nights you slept over, I woke up and thought you were a burglar, and jumped out of the bed.

disconnect, v.: I worry that if we unplug our lives from one another, we’ll lose all power and I will shut down.

discontinent, n.: When you feel your sadness is a vast place with its own topography, separate from all other land masses.

discourage, v.: When my friends told me not to go so fast, I felt they were trying to rob me of my courage, and held to it tighter.

discovery, n.: could never answer when people asked me, big picture, what I wanted. It was a shock to realize I wanted to be with you.

discreet, adj.: We don’t kiss or cuddle with the businessman sitting right beside you, but we do hold hands through takeoff and landing.

discuss, v.: It’s not enough to send the words at each other sideways. We must put them in a position to see and respond to one another.

disdainful, adj.: I don’t know which is worse: If your mother truly forgets my name, or if she pretends that she does.

disembark, v.: Entering a relationship means you must finally find a way to exit the last one, far enough to roll the entrance ramp away.

disgrace, n.: When you tell me what you’ve done, it feels like you’ve dismembered all the grace we’ve cultivated over time.

dishonest, adj.: My heart never lies to me, but sometimes it is just plain wrong.

disingenuous, adj.: My thoughts are screaming out to you and you pretend I left the TV on in the other room.

dismay, n.: The look on your face when we woke up in the cabin and I told you it would be at least a fifteen minute drive for coffee.

disobedient, adj.: You say it doesn’t count as walking on the grass if we hold hands and run.

disorder, n.: Just because my love for you falls out of sequence doesn’t mean it falls into chaos.

disown, v.: There are times I hate how much I love you, because it makes me weak.

disperse, v.: I’ve never been able to hold my love for long; as soon as I feel it, it wants out.

dispirited, adj.: The moment when you feel all your inner cheerleaders putting down their pompoms and walking off the field.

displace, v.: If you throw your silence into my anger, it only makes the anger rise higher.

display, n.: The face of the clock, the kiss on the street, the bravado of opening the door, the laugh that’s a little too loud on purpose.

disposable, adj.: A sure sign of love is when things you’d ordinarily discard – ticket stubs, Post-it handwriting – endure for their echoes.

disprovable, adj.: “This is how I feel,” you insist.

disputatious, adj.: “No, it’s not,” I counter. “Not really.”

disregard, n.: Not so much casual as determined, you cultivate your blind spots.

disremember, v.: We construct stories out of memories that are stories already; the version that sticks is rarely the version that played.

disrepair, n.: A relationship is like any piece of machinery. Parts wear down, wear out. Pay attention and replace them.

dissect, v.: “Don’t try to take it all apart and examine it,” you tell me. “Because if you do, that means it’s already dead.”

dissipate, v.: Our heartbeats slow, our bodies cool. We nestle into the sheets, spread into sleep.

dissociate, v.: When I am in a bad place, dragging you into it, I think, “Who is this person, doing these things?”

dissonance, n.: Sometimes there are seventeen songs playing at the same time in my head, and you are only singing three of them.

distance, n.: I lie awake in bed, waiting for your arm to glance once more against mine, to rest there.

distant, adj.: Sometimes we need to retreat inside ourselves, use the limitless space our mind provides to stretch away from each other.

distillation, n: My time with you is better than my time with anyone else,including myself.

distinct, adj.: When your voice appears in the room, I don’t have to rush to it; I just feel a little more present, knowing it’s there.

distortion, n.: Our defensiveness can sometimes impose an evasive autocorrect over the words we know we need to be saying.

distraction, n.: “I just love shiny things,” you told me on that fourth date. “Especially if they’re filled with alcohol.”

disturb, v.: I want this word to provide its opposite, because most of the time, you are turbing me when you think you’re not.

dither, v.: I do take it less personally when you’re debating whether you want to be in a relationship, not whether to be in one with me.

ditsy, adj.: You claim to be victim of blonder permutations, but you’d lose your keys while kissing the wrong person even if you were bald.

ditto, n.: The state of ditto is when you absolve yourself of all decision-making, and just want your lover to be the one to decide.

ditty, n.: You ask me to think of us in terms of a country song title, and I say, “Your Love Is The Boulder That Stopped My Tractor Cold”

diurnal, adj.: I am the waking one, the daylight riser, the body that tiptoes through the morning motions, the periphery to your sleep.

diva, n.: “Take the peanuts out. Seriously, take them out,” I command, and it takes me a good minute before I find it funny, too.

dive, n.: Sometimes you have to take the water’s word that it’s deep enough to take you.

diversion, n.: The key to meandering is to know the path you’re veering from, to know that even as your rewrite it, you still need a path.

divination, n.: I draw the wonder by acknowledging it.

divorce, n.: To find love, you must separate yourself from everyone else’s separations, even the ones that have defined your life.

divulge, v.: Don’t be deceived. While I inevitably blurt out the surface, I keep the depths encrypted.

dizzy, adj.: Wrists crossed, hands held, we centrifuge at the side of the dance floor, giddy until we overdo it.

doable, adj.: A hookup is the reduction of the desirable to the doable.

document, v.: I write it all down to show you I love you, and to show you that love is complicated.

doddering, adj.: You drink to feel younger, but then get to the point that you’re octogenarian in your abilities, and I become your nurse.

dodge, v.: The time is not right for the answer, so I avoid the question rather than lie.

dog-ear, v.: I trace the passages that are interesting to you, on the pages you’ve left lightly marked, like a trail.

dogma, n.: Your beliefs do not have to be my beliefs, but your beliefs have to allow my beliefs.

dolt, n.: It was remarkably stupid to call you remarkably stupid.

domestic, adj.: It’s not seamless, the way we come together. But I like to see the seams, and the way we sew them with our unspoken faith.

dominant, adj.: What you want always matters more to me than what I want, and I don’t think it’s the same for you.

donate, v.: I prefer to think of it simply as giving, because that feels more equal.

donut, n.: It is not precisely the way to my heart – I’m not that easy – but, damn, it makes me happy.

doodle, v.: I have more fun when it’s freeform.

doom, n.: Any conversation can find its own precipice, but why push it there? Why allow yourself to be seduced by the worse unknown?

door, n.: We slam, we swing, we push, we pull, we click shut, we lock, we unlock, we close, we leave ourselves open.

doormat, n.: It seems wrong to walk all over a WELCOME, which is why I overruled you and opted for the stripes.

doozy, n.: “I’m a Virgin,” you told me over drinks that third date. Then you paused before adding, “Insofar as I was born in Virginia.”

dope, n.: There is nothing quite so hard to kick as acting foolishly.

dork, n.: You: “There has never been a superhero who’s gotten his or her superpowers from a boyfriend.” Me: “What about Robin?”

dormant, adj.: I can put the ghosts to rest, but I am always worried that I’ll wake them.

doubt, n.: The inability to be satisfied with the appearance of truth.

doubtless, adj.: If there’s such a thing, I’ve never been there.

doughnut, n.: See donut

dovetail, v.: We say this is coming together, but isn’t it also flying away?

down, adj.: At some point, this became the opposite of happy instead of the opposite of up.

downburst, n.: When it becomes too torrential, you must throw the umbrella aside and embrace the force of the rain.

downcast, adj.: I wake up in the sallow shallows, and need something – music, sunlight, you – to pull me out.

downfall, n.: Samson plays, and I look at the flowers you stole for me.

doze, v.: When a bull does this, it’s powerful. When you do it, all the power drains, and all I am left with is your breathing.

drab, adj.: Fluorescent confinement; the monotonous deluge of email; the bland carpet of other people’s droning.

draft, n.: That chill is your own incompleteness; no matter how final you feel, the wind will always get through

drag, v.: Although it may seem like I resent it, sometimes I need you to drag me when I drag.

drama, n.: This word has become overdramatic in its use, like how when people talk about enough, we become an exaggeration of ourselves.

drawl, v.: Sometimes your vowels are sofas and other times they’re beds.

dread, v.: It is not so much the end as the emptiness after the end that I fear.

dream, n.: A place where the consequences aren’t real

dreamt, v.: It’s a much more complicated word in the past tense.

dredge, v.: I am always searching for the people you never talk about, the ones I only glimpse briefly in your tales of the wreckage.

dregs, n.: When the relationship is nearly over, it still tastes like a relationship, but something has soured.

drift, v.: I love you because you’ve grown used to the way my mind can leave you, the wayward pause I can bring to any conversation.

drinker, n.: “I’m not an alcoholic,” you argue. “I’m a drinker.”

drip, n.: How is it that I can hear things like this – the incessant minor noise – while you sleep soundly?

drive, v.: When you live in the city, this verb becomes synonymous with escape.

driven, adj.: Your ambitions take the wheel.

drollery, n.: As you drink, you become the proud mockingbird, flying in rings around your self-perceived wit.

drone, v.: As you drink, you reduce me to a hummingbird, buzzing ineffectually.

drop, v.: It’s that rollercoaster sensation; even as you fall, something inside of you still must rise.

dross, n.: When writing, you must cut through the dross and the gloss and the moss in order to get to the truth, which is so often loss.

drown, v.: When the deep and dangerous world threatens to sink us, we must drawn in the love in our lives to preserve us.

drowsily, adv.: Drunk on sleep for once, our kisses are murmurs and our murmurs are kisses.

druthers, n.: It’s not that I lost them; I fear I never had them. As they slid down the learning curve, I must have been distracted.

duality, n.: The words “you” and “me” sound so different for a reason, so that even when you feel similar, you know you’re not the same.

dubious, adj.: There is no achievement in having someone just for the sake of being able to say you’re not alone.

ducklings, n.: “I only want children,” you joke, “if they will all line up neatly in a row whenever I say so.”

duel, n.: We each step ten paces, then turn and unleash our tongues.

duet, n: Islands in the stream — that is in no way what we are.

dulcify, v.: On a base level, a lover should bring sweetness to your life.

dull, adj.: There is sensation underneath, but I can’t reach it.

dumb, adj.: What wordsmith decided to equate stupidity with an inability to speak? What did he fail to say to his lover?

dumbfounded, adj.: Like it’s a phenomenon, like you’ve been struck by an invisible lightning that’s robbed you of your sense.

dump, v.: The worst part isn’t the dropping, isn’t the being left. It’s the discovery that you were separable, after all.

duopoly, n.: Let’s become Vonnegut’s nation of two. Let’s control the majority of our lives together.

duplicity, n.: Two-timing will never work, because time rarely divides that easily.

durable, adj.: I can get you through the scary parts.

dusk, n.: As half light turns to quarter light, I feel something settle in myself, and have less of a need to call your name.

dust, n.: We layer our space with particles of our selves.. Every now and then we sweep them up, but more will fall.

dutiful, adj.: I never want you to be this.

dwindle, v.: As the dates progressed, the doubts began to dwindle, replaced by a dread that I would mess it up Then the dread dwindled.

dynamic, adj.: Duos are nothing if not this – ever-shifting, powered by the energy generated from the push and pull of close and far.

dyscalculia, n.: In any relationship, the true value of me + you can never be known, no matter how many times you try to parse the equation.

dysfunctional, adj.: Take comfort. Over time all things fail to function as they once did; the universe is by its nature dysfunctional.

dyslalia, n.: When you don’t listen, it has the effect of making me feel like I can’t speak.

dysphoria, n.: It is a good sign if you don’t know this word.

Stacking the Shelves (20)

Okay, so I thought there will be no StS post for this week but then eeeeeeeeeep, awesome packages! I pretty much hyperventilated when I saw what was in this week’s mail. ❤



For Review

(ARC) Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones

I’ve been pining for Siege for the longest time and I can’t wait to read Boy Nobody. Boy Nobody’s blurb is so awesome I requested it right after I read the blurb. And now here it is! Dead Jealous too! Gah, endorphins. ❤ These three books made me so happy!



For Review


I got Patalosh for the Time Travel Challenge and the Hachette books for review! Eeeekkk! Still can’t contain my happiness!

Thank you to the very kind and wonderful Victoria of Hachette Children UK and to Z. Altug!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. Feel free to share your haul!

#nowplaying Clarity (Acoustic Version) – Zedd feat. Foxes

Eeeeppp, I love acoustic version of anything. ❤

{Blog Tour} Review: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Once again, thank you to Pinoy Book Tours and to Alexis of Tor Teen for this wonderful opportunity to review Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons, the much anticipated sequel to Article 5. The short version? I love every bit of Breaking Point to Pluto and back again. That much. Check thy eyebags for proof.


Breaking Point (Article 5, #2)

Title: Breaking Point (Article 5 #2)

Author: Kristen Simmons

Date of Publication: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?

Review

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Kristen, for writing such a wonderful novel. I’m warning you, this review just might sound like me spazzing all over the place. I might get incoherent or talk in exclamation marks but that’s how this novel made me feel. I read it yesterday and had to restrain writing this review for fear that I might just do exactly this. I guess even a day won’t be enough to calm me down. You’ve been warned.

So at the end of Article 5, there was an extract from Breaking Point’s first chapter. I usually shy away from those previews because if you know me, I HATE WAITING. I’d rather wait for the whole book than be given one chapter to go crazy over. But alas, the Article 5 series was different. I read the excerpt and wanted more. Of course, I am lucky to have Breaking Point already but I left it at my house in the province. Yes, I left it because I know I’ll get distracted by it if I bring it to the dorm. I had exams and papers and everything you can think of and I don’t have the time to read Breaking Point until everything’s over. The next week, I brought Breaking Point at my boarding house but hid it until all exams are over, all papers turned in. But tiredness got the better of me and so I was only able to read it the next day. And boy, I didn’t stop even for bathroom breaks. (Okay, Dianne, stop now, that’s too much information.)

Breaking Point picks up right after Article 5. Ember and Chase had a fake sense of calm in the end of Article 5. Of course, they’re together now but they’re still bogged down by everything said and unsaid. Breaking Point starts off with a little bit of introduction to the gameplayers and I was  frantic at that point. I don’t want introductions, I want more action. I was being cranky then because I can’t wait to know what happens next! And cranky me is the ugliest thing ever. Haha! Anyway, I was rewarded in a while as THE ACTION WAS NON-STOP. I though Article 5 was chock-full of action but boy was I wrong. Breaking Point is the bomb. My brain sometimes found it hard to keep pace with my eyes and my hands as I read the words and as I flip the pages.

Kristen brought the plot to where it’s truly headed but that did not make anything predictable. While I thought some of the twists and turns in Article 5 were pretty much predictable, Breaking Point had me on the edge of my seat. It also had me pacing while reading. I think that’s too much, Kristen, making me go through that. But I thank you nevertheless because the adrenaline that flowed in my system while reading this rivaled those times I went to height rides. So gripping, so fast-paced, I keep wanting more and Breaking Point keeps on giving more. My expectations were met and surpassed.
I know my review of Article 5 was painfully long because I had a lot to say. My review of Breaking Point will be much shorter as I just wanna scream at the top of my lungs how awesome it is and shove it to everyone for them to read. Yeap, my roomies will never hear the end of my praise for this series until they give it a go. Heh.

If movies and TV shows usually have a lackluster sequel or second season, books generally have better general outings. With this series, not just better but mindblowingly good. I won’t spoil because the fun is in not knowing what’s gonna happen. Just expect a thrilling ride of a read. You won’t be disappointed. Kristen, you did it again! I can’t wait for the third book!

About Kristen Simmons

Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She loves Jazzercise, her husband, and her precious greyhound, Rudy. Also chocolate. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida.

#nowplaying Anyway I Can – Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon released their Tightrope EP some time ago and being a bad fan and a very busy student, I only had time recently to appreciate the awesomeness that is this EP. Listen to this and feel happiness flow through you. Nicholas Petricca’s singing is just too damn addicting, as with Walk the Moon’s tunes. On repeat? Yeah!

Cover Reveal: Almost Night by Emily White


Title: Almost Night
Author: Emily White
Date of Publication: August 27, 2013


Fourteen-year-old Lilly Grey exists in two worlds at the same time. She just doesn’t know it.

As the only albino in a million mile radius, Lilly is used to being different. Pink eyes and white hair aren’t exactly the best camouflage in the harrowing jungles formally known as high school. And yeah, she’s used to being an outcast and seeing the world in a slightly different way, but she never guessed how literally “different” applied to her.

Not until a clan of shape-shifting dragons tell her she’s not just albino. She’s a unicorn and the only mortal alive who can live on both Earth and its antithesis, Morcah. Now all those times she thought she saw a floating brown blotch in the sky or eyes peering out at her from the bark of trees make sense. She’s been seeing Morcah, a land that exists in the exact same spot as Earth, just in a different phase.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for this unicorn. As the only one who can live in both phases, she’s also the only one who can bring Morcah–and all its inhabitants–to Earth. And creatures who’ve been trapped on Earth since the Dark Ages are willing to do worse things than kill to make that happen.

Again.

The cover was designed by Claudia McKinney of Phatpuppy Art with the font designed by Ashley of The Bookish Brunette.

About Emily White

Emily White lives in NY, wedged between two of the Great Lakes and a few feet of snow and ice. She’s spent most of her life running away from the cold, and even spent a year in Iraq, but now contents herself with writing her characters into warm, exotic places in faraway galaxies. When not tapping away at her computer keys, she can be found reading, reading, and reading some more. And when she’s not doing that, she’s usually playing video games with her husband, peek-a-boo with her kids, or walking through her garden, wondering why the bugs insist on eating all her vegetables. 

Check out Emily White’s books, Elemental (Spencer Hill Press, 2012), Fae (Spencer Hill Press, 2013), and To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World (December 2012).

#nowplaying Clarity – Zedd feat. Foxes

I hate Lorenz for sticking this song to my brain and thanking him anyway. Hee.

Spotlight + Guest Post: Earth-Sim by Jade Kerrion

Earth-Sim

Title: Earth-Sim

Author: Jade Kerrion

Date of Publication: February 2, 2013

Jem Moran has a reputation to prove and a secret to protect. The prestigious world simulation program seems the answer to both her problems, but only if she can succeed in spite of her partner, Kir Davos, and the uncooperative human beings who populate her planet. From the Great Extinction to the Renaissance, from world wars to intergalactic treaties, Jem’s conflict with Kir will shape Earth’s history, and their opposing management styles will either save or doom our planet. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.


Guest Post

Facades and the Truth
by Jade Kerrion


Do you have facades? I do. I have a façade that stays pleasantly sociable at large gatherings even though I would rather be at home lounging in my comfy clothes. For some other people, the difference is even more pronounced. The “me” at work might be diametrically different from the “me” at play.

In Earth-Sim, in a world when image enhancers can be employed to remove freckles or straighten a broken nose, facades are more than just the personality you display to the world. It can also literally be the face you display to the world, and Jem Moran is a girl with two faces.

If you use a façade, can you still identify the truth? That’s the question that Jem has to contend with as she wavers between the two faces that she wears—one famous and the other unknown…one beautiful and the other not. The reason for her façade is legitimate, but the facades create complications for Jem (and lots of fun, too, but mostly just lots of complications). How do you know if love is love if the “you” isn’t real? Can the person who fell in love with one version of you eventually accept and love both versions? And what should you do when the façade you prefer isn’t the “real” you? 

In writing Earth-Sim, I wrestled with the idea of facades and their impact on the truth. I managed to stump myself on the very first question: what is the difference between a façade and a facet of your personality The determining factor, I think, is “Is it real?” A façade is ultimately false, and when destroyed, reveals the truth beneath. A facet, on the other hand, is just a different way of perceiving the same thing. Cut diamonds, for example, have facets. If worn for a long time, facades can become comfortable—just like your favorite pair of denim jeans. At that point, they may have integrated so fully into the person that they become a facet—just another way to perceive the same person.

How does this apply to my novel? Earth-Sim takes readers on a frequently whimsical and occasionally irreverent romp through Earth’s history as seen through the eyes of the two students and android assigned to manage our planet. In a way, Earth-Sim, too, has multiple facets.

On the one hand, Earth-Sim deals with serious life themes that include coming to terms with our true identify in spite of the facades we display to the world. The novel highlights the value of strong cross-gender platonic friendships, and wrestles with the difficulty of maintaining them. It emphasizes the fact that we all bring something of value to the table, and celebrates the diversity of approaches in dealing with problems.

On the other hand, Earth-Sim showcases Earth’s history in a seamless blend of popular culture, science, and religion. Fact and fiction fit together into a jigsaw puzzle that explains the extinction of the dinosaurs, the ten plagues of Egypt, and the Black Death. Did you want to know the truth about the Loch Ness Monster, the city of Atlantis, and that flying boy with the red cape? That’s in Earth-Sim as well.

For a moment, I was tempted to ask the real Earth-Sim to please step forward, and then I realized, it’s sometimes just better to sit back and enjoy all facets of a book—or a person—for what it, he, or she is. I hope you enjoy Earth-Sim.

About Jade Kerrion

Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her award-winning Double Helix series. Perfection Unleashed and its sequels, Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, have been described as “a breakout piece of science fiction” and drawn rave reviews for their originality and vision. Her novel, When the Silence Ends, is a Young Adult spinoff the Double Helix series. She is also the author of Earth-Sim, a whimsical and compelling view of Earth’s history through the eyes of the two students assigned to manage our planet.

#nowplaying Clarity (Zedd Cover) – Madyon

I still don’t have a cover of Madyon that I don’t like and I hope that stays forever. Gah, I really need to check their originals soon.