(GnuS) Cello – Writing Playlist

Writers Wednesday

You write what you read.


That is my writing philosophy. And it applies to music too.

You can’t write a contemporary book while listening to some hard-core battle music. It just won’t work.

This week is themed around classical music – specifically, cello. All of these songs are cello covers, which means that these are actually songs, just in cello form. (Simply becuase this is the main thing I listen to when I write).


Do you listen to any classical music when writing?

Sia – The Greatest cello cover

Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out cello cover

Panic! At the Disco – This is Gospel cello cover

Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness cello cover

Sia – Chandelier 4 cellos cover

Evanescence – My Immortal cello cover

Artist: GnuS Cello

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Defiance | Review

Title: Defiance (Son of a Mermaid #2)

Author: Katie O’Sullivan

Cover Rating: 2\5


Amazon: Defiance

Synopsis: Shea MacNamara sank to the bottom of the ocean and survived. As the son of a mermaid, saltwater is in his blood. He discovered a whole new world under the sea, one more beautiful and complicated than he ever imagined. But shadows and dark secrets also lurk beneath the waves. When his girlfriend Kae is kidnapped by a powerful young sorcerer named Zan, Shea learns having royal blood means difficult choices. All three face life and death decisions, balanced precariously between doing what they are told… and defying authority to do what is right.

★ ★ ★.5

An excellent sequel!



I liked the direction Defiance was heading in, and it filled in some plot holes that were missing in the first book, which I was hoping for.


The pacing was solid. The writing style is perfect for the book, and it flows nicely (get it? ‘flows’ like water?). It was almost addictive, and it leaves me wanting more.



It did have an unnecessary love triangle, but it was easy to get over. Actually, I did want Kae to end up with the other boy, because I feel like they would have worked out better.

That said, the current couple is still cute.


Shea didn’t have a ton of character progression, but he wasn’t as dramatic, which was nice.

We got to focus more on Kae, and I found I liked her perspective more than I thought I would. I’m hoping for more of her and Xander’s chapters in the future.

The addition of Xander was really cool. I found he added a lot to the series, and I’m hoping he’ll come up more in the second book.



Overall Thoughts

I’m really excited for the final book this summer, and I’m hoping to get an interview with the author! Crossing my fingers!


Owlcrate Unboxing | May 2017


May Theme: Comic EXPLOSION

This month’s Owlcrate is centered around Marvel and DC! Some of our favorite superheroes are featured!


If you want this box, there’s still some left! Click the link below if you don’t want to be spoiled and want your own box.


Comic Explosion Box

Website: www.owlcrate.com

Gift this box HERE

Subscribe HERE



As per always, the first thing out of the box is the card with spoilers on the back. (I don’t look at this card until later).

The collectible pin followed afterward, and I really liked the comic theme!


The first item out of the box was this Batman Funko Pop – Owlcrate sent out seven different Funko pops. Six superheroes, and one Anime character!

The Funkos were: Batman, Deadpool, Harley Quinn, Loki, Wonderwoman, Captain America and Sailor Moon.


Coffee-flavored candy was the next thing out of the box! I’ve never really liked coffee candy, but I do like this one.

It wasn’t super sweet, but it did taste like coffee, which was nice. Plus I’ve never gotten chocolate in an Owlcrate box before!


Along with the collectible pin, this little clip also came, and it stuck with the superhero\comic theme. I honestly have no idea where I’ll use it, but it’s really cool!


I’m so excited about this pen!

If you haven’t seen pens similar to this one, basically it comes with a bunch of different colors, and you can switch them when taking notes. It’s my favorite kind of pen and I can’t wait to use it!


This Owlcrate exclusive is a candle themed around Wonder Woman! (Wonder Woman: Warbringer comes out June 2nd!)

I can’t name the scent specifically, but it’s based on Wonder Woman’s tropical home\island. I will say that it’s one of the best smelling candles I’ve ever gotten!


This is an exclusive chapter from a recent comic book release! I’m not one to read comics, but this looks super interesting!

This comic is called Afar and it’s by Leila Del Duca and Kit Seaton.


The book for this month came in an EXCLUSIVE cover (as will the books in the next six boxes) and a large art print (above) by the author.

The book for this month also won’t be released until the 30th of May, so that means that Owlcrate subscribers get to read it before everyone else!

The book for this month is…

Eliza and her Monsters

Francesca Zappia


Goodreads Page

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community.

Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

I have never heard of this book before Owlcrate! It has artwork from the author scattered throughout the book, and from what I’ve read so far, it’s very enjoyable.

Next month the theme is…


The June book is an edge-of-your-seat story that is a blend of dystopian elements, sci-fi tech, and environmental collapse. If you like the TV show Lost, you’re going to love this book!

There are SIX items included, inspired by A Court of Wings and Ruin, An Ember in the Ashes, The Giver, Divergent, and MORE!


I’m super excited, because I love Dystopian, and I have absolutely no idea what the book could be.



That’s it! What item was your favorite?

If your not a subscriber, use this promo code for 10% off: DFT10

Author Interview w/ J.M. Sullivan + Giveaway [Closed]

What’s up people?

I had the honor of interviewing J.M. Sullivan about her debut novel AND I’ve added a giveaway because I loved her book, and a lot of you might as well!

About the Author

JM Sullivan - small.jpg

J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect for a healthy dose of sparkle and positivity, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram @_JM_Sullivan.

TwitterInstagram | Website

Q. A good place to start is by telling us a bit about your debut novel, Alice: the Wanderland Chronicles

Alice Cover Edit.jpg

ALICE is a YA Dark Fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland… with an undead twist. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old Alice Carroll as she leaves the safety of the Sector to find an antidote to save her sister from becoming one of the momerath. Along the way, she enlists the help of the charming but flighty Chess, his friend Bug, and even the Red Queen. But Wanderland is a long way from home, and as Alice is quickly learning, momerath may not be her biggest threat. Will she overcome and save her sister? You’ll have to read to find out!

Q. Are you planning more than one book with Alice, and if so, how many?

The first part of this question is easy to answer. Absolutely! I am actually working on drafting the sequel to Alice right now. The second part of your question is a little trickier. Originally, when I started thinking about Alice, my idea was to follow Carroll’s set up and do a two-part story to retell Wonderland and then Through the Looking Glass (in the interest of staying true to the story). But as I’ve started drafting and Wanderland has taken on a life of its own, it is looking like this version of Alice could turn into a trilogy. I have been very conflicted about this WHOLE thing, so for now, I’m just going to follow the story and see where it takes me!


Q. The characters from Alice in Wonderland are very well-known and beloved. Were you nervous about recreating them?

ABSOLUTELY. One of the most nerve-wracking elements of writing retellings is knowing that you are working with stories that people have grown up on. It adds an extra sense of responsibility, I think, because you want to stay true to the original while at the same time creating something completely unique. It’s one of the reasons I worked so hard to stay true to Carroll’s original story as I could. Not in the sense of following the same storyline, but I wanted to work in as many character and world references as I could. So, while Wanderland is definitely not Wonderland, I think (and hope!) the twists and turns put in will make ALICE a story that Carroll’s fans will enjoy.

Q. Are there any other stories that inspired this book, besides Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

I wouldn’t say stories, but as I was writing the momerath scenes I definitely referenced some of my favorite zombie films for research. Resident Evil, World War Z, and I Am Legend all got some extra playing time during the drafting period! 😉


Q. What is one of your favorite books\authors? (You may choose more than one of you must)

Oh gosh, the list could go on and on, but I am going to stick to just one and choose Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It was the first book I got to pick out for myself at the bookstore and also my first introduction to retellings. It is a magical spin on the Cinderella story, and the way Levine intertwines the classic but creates something completely new is absolute perfection. Author Goals for sure!

Q. Have you read any other Wonderland retellings? Which one was your favorite?

So many retellings. I’ve enjoyed all of them. It’s so interesting to see what another author picks up on and includes in their reimagined version. I think if I had to pick the one I enjoyed the most was Heartless, by Marissa Meyer. Although it isn’t technically centered on Alice, I loved how she built Wonderland into her story on Cath’s rise to becoming the Red Queen. The story was fun, her characters were incredible, and her references were brilliant. But, after reading The Lunar Chronicles, I didn’t expect any less!

Q. If you had to choose a career besides writing, what would it be?

Teaching! In fact, that’s what I’m doing now. While writing is my passion, I love being able to work with my middle schoolers every day. They are such a fun group and they absolutely keep me on my toes! Guess it’s probably part of the reason I love the YA genre so much! 😀

Q. Do you listen to music when you write, and which song would you say puts you in the mood for writing\reading The Wanderland Chronicles?

Yes! I have to have music playing in the background while I write or I absolutely cannot focus. For each WIP I have, I make a different playlist. Alice’s playlist was filled with more angsty music to help get the feel for the darker world I was creating. But if I had to give specifics, I’d say Castle by Halsey and Mad Hatter by Melanie Martinez had the highest play counts of all the tracks.

Q. Almost finished! Any last advice for people wanting to write their own retellings?

I think this advice has more to do with personal taste, but if you are going to do a retelling, make sure it’s a true retelling. To me, using a popular story to snag readers but then only ‘delivering’ by using a character name is like cheating on a test. Remember, the people who read retellings are doing it because they love the story. I’m not saying you have to make every single character exactly the same or that you must throw every single iconic quote into your book. If you do that, it will be hard to make the story your own. But, as you’re building your world, think about your readers. Don’t disappoint by making empty promises, use the magic to weave something completely brilliant.


I’m giving away a brand-new Ebook copy of Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles! This giveaway is open to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alice Cover Edit.jpgA little bit more about the book…

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.

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Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles | Review

Alice Cover EditTitle: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles (#1)

Author: J.M. Sullivan

Cover Rating: 4\5

Book Depository: Alice

Amazon: Alice

Synopsis: Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.

★ ★ ★ ★

I was sent this book for review by Pen Name Publishing, so thank you for sending it my way.



First things first – this is not a cutsie Alice retelling. The best way to describe it is Zombies + Wonderland + Thriller = Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles. It is bloody, and bit graphic (in my opinion –  I don’t read a lot of zombie books) so don’t expect anything light.



The writing was easy to follow, and totally worked for the story. The plot worked with the writing, and it differed from Alice in Wonderland, but you could still see points that were reminiscent of the original.



I liked Alice as a main character! At times I felt like she made somewhat anti-instinct decisions. If that makes sense.

One minute, she would be backing away from something dangerous, and then two sentence later she’s right up in it’s face again. That seemed like a stupid decision, especially if you’re supposed to have survival\apocalypse instincts.

Otherwise, I liked her a lot. She was very sarcastic and funny to me!



The side characters were the absolute best! I think I like Chess the most, but I really cannot decide.

I liked Sullivan’s take on the Queen of Hearts – she’s was annoying, as she should be, and perfectly manipulative.

There were multiple points where I just wanted to strangle her, and that’s exactly what should happen.



I couldn’t believe where it left off! I was literally skimming the pages because I was reading so fast, and then I see:


…Excuse me? You cannot just leave me like that!

It crushed me so much that book two is already on my TBR. I definitely suggest it to all the Wonderland fans out there!

–I have an interview with the author AND a giveaway coming out later today! So stay tuned!

Contact: marrillcollins@gmail.com

A Court of Mist and Fury | Review

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Cover Rating: 4.5\5


Amazon: ACOMAF

Book Depository: ACOMAF

Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court-but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms-and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future-and the future of a world torn apart.

★ ★ ★ ★.5

I loved this book so much!
Feyre didn’t make stupid decisions, and she was so much more enjoyable. The character progression was incredible.


The characters were so amazing, and the Inner Circle was so much fun! I love these characters more than ALL of the ones from ACOTAR.



You can see the difference in Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin and her relationship with Rhysand. Rhysand and Feyre have a more open and supportive relationship, and they started as friends.

Feyre is much more independent, which helped with her character as well. And Rhysand is a very respectful love interest.



The world was my favorite part! I fell in love with it and it even motivated me to try to read Throne of Glass, which I didn’t think I’d ever do.



Honestly, I can’t say a lot about this book (because it’s a sequel), but I really loved it. Even if you hated the first book, you will like this second book.



Overall Thoughts

If you decide to read this series, you need to read until the second book. It completely changed from the first, and is so worth it.


Castles – Writing Inspiration

Writers Wednesday


So if you didn’t know, every Wednesday I do a post for all the writers out there – writing playlists, tips, chats, etc.

And this week is dedicated to photo inspiration!


These are some photos that might inspire a setting, scene or something like that for your story. The theme for this week is Castles.


All of these are perfect for a fantasy story and are all real places.

I love to travel! My husband is Dutch Indonesian, was born in Indonesia and raised in Holland. Between the both of us, we have traveled all of the continents except Antarctica and Australia. Those are next!:

As of March 2016, Transavia will be offering direct flights to Munich, 12x/week.:

åh. gud. ta. mig. dit.:

The Drachenburg Castle in Germany.:

Disney Castle Took our daughters here when they were young. They much preferred Toads Wild Ride.:

Magical, Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany  photo via besttravelphotos and great stuff!!! http://pinterest-server2.blogspot.com:

Neuswchanstein Castle // Germany. With the snow? Ugh, it's a fairytale come true.:

Medieval castle Cashel, Ireland. The Rock Of Cashel.:

Eltz Castle - Germany “ The Dark Stronghold by Kilian Schönberger ”. I've never before seen a picture of it in fog but always in bright sunlight. This makes it look so much different.:

Evening At Chenonceau Castle, France (by Weston Westmoreland):

Any of these pictures help?


marrillcollins@gmail.com | Instagram | GoodReads | Twitter

Antisocial | Review

Title: Antisocial

Author: Jillian Blake

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: Contemporary

Format: Ebook received via Netgalley



Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives:

☆ ☆


I really encourage you to read until the end. I have conflicting feelings.


Antisocial contained a wonderful diverse cast, with some great side characters. This book focuses on Anna Soler – a teenager who has social anxiety disorder (SAD).

I liked Anna in general, but her choices at the beginning and me mad. It seemed like she was using anxiety as an excuse to get drunk, and the whole book seemed to promote underage drinking. Which, TBH, is not okay.

In fact, she talks about her first time getting drunk – when she was 14. I’m fourteen. What kind of message is that?

Even the parents drank – almost every scene with them involved some sort of alcohol.


Moving on to the relationships. I thought that the friend relationships were on-point. There is some great friend dynamics and really relatable side characters.

However, I thought the romantic relationships were a bit…dramatic. Basically, a relationship is more than just sex, and I would have loved to see more of the actual bonds. I felt like I was reading one of the mass market paperbacks in the back of the book store.


The writing was quick, and made it a lot easier to get through parts I didn’t like.


The ending…surprised me. I thought I would’ve hated it, but it actually spread some really good messages on being kind to others, and not to judge too quickly. And on the reality of how we use the internet.


A bit of a weird, confusing, unrealistic ending. I skimmed most of it.



Overall Thoughts

I would put a trigger warning on this book.

Honestly, there are better books for you to read. Not worth it.

Contact: marrillcollins@gmail.com

Descent | Review

Title: Descent (#1)

Author: Katie O’Sullivan

Cover Rating: 3\5


Amazon: Descent

Book Depository: Descent

Synopsis: Shea MacNamara’s life just got complicated. When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, fifteen-year-old Shea moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he’s never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes his life.


Kae belongs to an undersea world hidden from humans, where bloody war rages between opposing clans. A fragile peace accord hinges on marriage between the royal families, but treachery and magick lurk in every shadow.

With Kae’s help, Shea discovers his true heritage and finds that his destiny lies somewhere far below the ocean’s surface.

★ ★ ★ .5

I honestly think this is my first mermaid-based book.



The writing was easy to follow, which is something I always like. Some have called it middle-grade writing, but I really just call it simplistic.



The plot was fun, and the most enjoyable thing about this book. I’m thinking some of the holes will be filled in, hopefully, in the sequel.

In the beginning I found myself rolling my eyes. I guess the idea of mermaids is just really ridiculous to me, or something. But as the plot picked up, it was easier to move past that.



I liked Shea as a main character, though he has horrible timing, and can be very dramatic.

Kae was an interesting character as well, and she was a bit more down-to-earth than Shea.

Hailey was a cute edition, though I felt she was kind of unnecessary. And let’s be honest: there is almost no fifteen-year-old boy who would hang out with a thirteen-year-old girl.



The romance between Shea and Kae felt very insta-lovey. I got past it, but it was very obvious. Also – rhyming names? A little too cheesy for my liking.




Overall Thoughts

A solid mermaid read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so you shouldn’t either.

If you regard it lightly, you’ll definitely enjoy it more.


Weekly Deals – A Court of Candles


It’s time for Friday deals! The company for the month of May is A Court of Candles – they sell, candles and bath products. They also do a monthly box that includes exclusive candles and more bookish products!

Newest Candles

New ACOWAR collection! It includes characters, places and scenes inspired by the A Court of Thorns and Roses series!

Candles added:

•You’re Mine


•Night Triumphant

•Sweet Elain

•Nesta’s Spirit

•Lucien Lord of Foxes


•General Commander Cassian

•Spymaster Azriel

•Second-in-Command Amren

•Third-in-Command Morrigan


•Thorns & All


•Feyre, Darling


•High Lady

•Cauldron Blessed


•Stars Eternal

•Queen of the Night


•Court of Fire

•Court of Healing

•Court of Dreams

•Court of Nightmares

•Court of Ice

•Court of Shapeshifting

•Court of Water

•Court of Light


There is a big sale going on right now! Not only are these candles DISCOUNTED, but promo codes still work! So you can get an extra 20% off!

This sale includes candles from Harry Potter, Throne of Glass, OUAT,  Sherlock Holmes, Percy Jackson and more!

Find the sale HERE


Discount Codes:

20% off everything: