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TV Characters I’d Love to See As YA Protagonists

If you couldn’t tell from my Twitter feed, I really love watching tv. And reading books. So, I thought to combine the two, I would tell y’all which of my favorite TV characters would be great as YA protagonists (for their backstory).

erin lindsayErin Lindsay (Chicago PD): She has a darker past having been raised by a drug addict mother before being taken in by Voight’s family when she was 15. The show does tell about these things, but it would be neat to read about how Voight influenced her over the years and even getting into how she became a cop. I know that would get more into the New Adult category, but hey, I wouldn’t mind that either.

Iris West (The Flash): She seems to be pretty on-the-surface with who she is, but I feel like there can be more added to this character. Did she come across iriswestsomething when she was younger to light her spark of wanting to be a reporter? How did she get the job at the coffee shop? How did she deal with people talking about her best friend and adoptive brother (being that his mom was killed and his dad was put in prison as the only suspect at the time)?

bonesTemperance Brennan (Bones): Much like Erin, we hear and get a couple of flashbacks and dreams as well as the aftermath (how she views family in the first few seasons of the show). At what moment did she decide to be a forensic anthropologist? Also, the fact that she’s a child of the foster care system. I feel like we get a few stories from that perspective, but not too many.

Angela-Montenegro-Wallpaper-angela-montenegro-30651416-500-375Angela Montenegro (Bones): Oh man, her having grown up on tours with her dad… Just her whole free-spirited vibe. I want to know more!

Jake and Gina (Brooklyn Nine-Nine): In the show, you know that tumblr_n1o2mhqATm1qg1qx9o3_r1_500they were good friends growing up, but I want to see what sort of shenanigans they got up to when they were younger. They’re both such ridiculous over-the-top characters. I want more quirky and funny YA books!

Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec): There’s a lot of trial and error in her life, and there are some similar themes in YA books when it comes to a character coming up against the odds.

(images via, via, via, via, via)


My BookTube Philosophy

I can’t even begin to tell you how long and how many takes it took me to get to this point in which I could upload this video, but it was definitely a thing I wanted to get right. A few years ago, I wrote a manifesto (and lost it somehow) about how I wanted to run my channel. It was inspired by a few book blogger friends who had done the same. Since watching Mike Falzone’s video, TheBreeMae’s video, and Choncey Boddington’s video, I knew I needed to make a video about it.

I’m pretty sure I made it clear in this video, but I wanted to make it triple-super-duper clear: these are my rules for myself, not rules that I’m imposing on anyone else. Also, I hope it didn’t come off as snotty that I only accept a small amount of books for review. Reasons: I only have one book shelf, I’ve never really been a book collector (I get rid of ones I have read and don’t anticipate re-reading), aaaaand I’m a slow reader. I know, real big let down. I kid! I kid!

So, here are my rules:

  1. Only accept books (and haul books) that I will actually read (for review).
  2. “Sleep on it” before jumping into a conversation. I’ve made mistakes and said stupid, stupid things in the past by jumping into a conversation the minute I hear about it. It’s good to step back when I don’t have all the information or I don’t feel like my thoughts are in an honest, respectful place.
  3. Get involved in Twitter chats. These are things like #yafeministchat, #yalitchat, #nalitchat, etc. It’s really fun to talk to people outside of the “walls” of Youtube. It’s a great way to discover new books that might not be talked about on the ‘Tubes.
  4. Borrow a book from the library or Overdrive that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. Seriously, I keep saying, “I’ll read more diversely!” and I need to actually do that. The library is a great place for that.
  5. Be accessible, but also know when to take time off. Don’t let your emotions, brain, or anything else break due to internet craziness. Even if you aren’t the one involved in “drama” or harassment, it’s nice to breath and enjoy another atmosphere. And get some reading done. Aside from not opening up my laptop on the weekends, I try to close it at 11pm if I’m not doing anything productive (editing a video).
  6. Remember that your subscribers are here for you and your personality and your discussions. BRAAAAINS. Also, they like you. Even if you talk about something else and totally random, the ones who watch those videos… They’re keepers.

My 5 Favorite YA Heroines | Author Guest Post


One of my favorite things to write while working on Fangirl’s Guide was the recommendations section in the Feminism chapter; I got to choose a variety of books, TV shows, movies, comics, and video games with awesome female protagonists to suggest that you check out. But only being able to pick five for each category just wasn’t enough – there are so many amazing ladies in fiction out there, and I wanted to recommend more! Now, I’m just going to assume for the sake of this article that we’ve all read Harry Potter and love us some Hermione Granger; same goes for Mia Thermopolist of The Princess Diaries, Katniss Everdeen the girl on fire (tell me I’m not the only one who says that in Stanley Tucci’s voice in her head every time?), and Ella Enchanted. So here are a few more bad-ass lady protagonists in YA lit that you might have missed.


Amy, Across the Universe

ATUCoverIt’s such a rarity to find good YA science fiction with a great female lead, so when I picked up Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy I could hardly believe my luck. When seventeen-year-old Amy is cryogenically frozen with her parents and loaded onto a ship that will take her to humanity’s potential new homeworld (only three hundred years away!) she’s terrified. Not as terrified, of course, as when she is woken up fifty years too early, and realizes she may never see her parents – or their new world. Across the Universe is a beautiful examination of what might happen to a ship-born society left to its own devices for three-hundred years; a look at what will drive people to desperation in the face of death; and proof that love truly can surpass all boundaries. Plus, Amy is a no-nonsense redhead that Revis based on the daughter from Castle, so you know she’s worth loving.


Daine Sarrasri, The Immortals quartet

wildmagicTamora Pierce was writing high-fantasy books about magical worlds a whole decade before GRRM even dreamed up Westeros, except her stories are better because all of them feature a killer female protagonist. Pierce’s second fantasy quartet set in the land of Tortall—and my personal favorite—follows Daine Sarrasri, a mixed-race girl who discovers she has the rare gift of wild magic, which bestows upon her the ability to communicate with animals. Over the course of the series, Daine learns to take control of her powers, becomes the heroine of an entire war, stands up to gods, kings, and knights, doesn’t let her lower-class origins stop her from demanding what is right, and protects both humans and animals alike. And she even finds love with an older gentleman whom Pierce based on Jeff Goldblum (I don’t know if that will sway many of you, but it certainly works on me!). Daine fans can go back and read Pierce’s first Tortall quartet, The Song of the Lioness, whose heroine disguises herself as a man to become a knight, and then follow with the Protector of the Small quartet, featuring a girl who tries to be the first openly female knight in a century to gain her shield (sensing a theme?). Pierce’s other two Tortall series are about girls who are master spies and slum cops, so basically you should probably read all of her books right now. Go. I’ll wait.


Kaede and Taisin, Huntress

huntressThere isn’t a whole lot of LGBT-friendly YA fantasy lit out there, but Malinda Lo has granted us all our greatest wish with Huntress. Taisin is a sage, magically blessed and gifted with prophetic dreams, while Kaede is all about logic and living in the moment. The two girls are sent together on a dangerous journey across their nation to make contact with the mythical Fairy Queen, and on the way they happen to get to know each other. Like, a lot. (They fall in love! It’s adorable.) Not only does it have some sweet lady lovin’, Huntress is also full of references to Chinese culture and mythology, and Taisin’s powers are based on the I Ching. Also, same-sex attraction is treated like any relationship, which is refreshing and important. No one is scandalized by or prohibiting of their love. It’s just love! Hooray!


Jacky Faber, of the Bloody Jack series

295649This isn’t the historical fiction you’re used to. In the late 1700s, Mary Faber is an orphan in London, who finds herself mistaken for a boy and forced into labor on a warship. Taking on a new moniker and embracing her gender ambiguity, scrappy “Jacky” digs into her work as a ship’s boy, traveling to Jamaica and all the way to America before her true identity is discovered. Over the course of a subsequent eleven books (the series just came to a thrilling conclusion this past November!), Jacky finds love and adventure and becomes a pirate captain and explores colonial America and just everything you’ve ever wanted in a heroine. Plus the author, L.A. Meyer, previously served in the US Navy, so he knew what was up with long sea voyages.


Devi Morris, the Paradox trilogy

œF$¿Æ‘$8Òò¤»däå¸R8BIWhile Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy would more appropriately be called “YA-friendly” than actual YA, I absolutely have to include the series’ protagonist, Devi Morris, on this list because I 100% want to be her and be in love with her at the same time. In the distance future, Devi is a kick-ass space mercenary with a powered-up suit worthy of Master Chief. After finding her way onto a ship with a bad rep, she suddenly discovers that she’s managed to put herself at the center of a galaxy-changing conspiracy that has the capacity to destroy us all. Think Firefly meets Mass Effect. Devi is one of the toughest fictional ladies I’ve ever read – sure, she has sex and might even fall in love, but that far from defines her character, and she’s much more concerned with her career. And also she shoots a lot of stuff in space. She’s awesome.


Did I miss your favorite YA heroine? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @SamMaggs!



Check out the awesome trailer for The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy!


Liz Makes Stuff: Let’s Make Chili

I’m going to try EVERY MONDAY to make a video about making stuff. Sometimes it will be food, and sometimes it will be other stuff! This Monday, I made Chili for lunches and such.

I make my chili a little bit differently every single time. Sometimes there’s bratwurst, sometimes there’s ground beef. etc etc etc… But here are some of the usual ingredients:

2.5 pounds of ground beef
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 rounded teaspoon of garlic, chopped
1 – 8 oz. can of corn
2 – 8 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes
2 – 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 – 16 oz. can of black beans
2 – Jalepeno peppers (you can also use more mild peppers)

Salt and Cumin, to taste (start with at least a teaspoon)

Preparation should take about 20 minutes.


In a skillet, add ground beef, onion, and garlic. Make a lot of “Hey, I’m cooking in here!” noises while cooking the beef, mixing and crumbling it until it’s good and not-pink. I like to put a lid on it so it cooks a bit faster and it keeps all the good stuff in. Sometimes, I add hamburger seasoning. You do you.

Drain the heck out of that thing.

Once you’ve drained all that excess YUCK, put it in the slow cooker. Add all of your canned goodies (corn, tomatoes, beans). Chop up your jalepeno peppers (take the dang seeds out. you’re welcome.)

Cook on low in the slow cooker for 5 hours. Definitely check it every once in a while, taste, add stuff. Again, it’s all up to you! What tastes good? I don’t know your taste buds, bro.

At this point, you might as well pull a seat up to the slow cooker with a bag of your favorite chips. You can also put a laddle-ful in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and some cheddar cheese.


Ally Carter Live Show + Cover Reveal


Tomorrow (Tuesday), May 5 at 6-7pm EST, Ally Carter will be LIVE on the scene (from a writing retreat) with a few friends to reveal the cover of See How They Run, book 2 of the Embassy Row series. Haven’t read the series? Neither have I! But I really loved Heist Society. Okay, I love anything involving mystery, spies, hijinks and the like.

So, who are her friends? The lovely Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle), Carrie Ryan (Daughter of Deep Silence), and Sophie Jordan (Firelight). Ally will do a live Q&A with fans, moderated by her editor, David Levithan (!!!!). Fans will be able to interact with Ally (and with each other) face-to-face on video chat!

Are you flailing yet? RSVP NOW!



This exciting new series from author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

Book 1: ALL FALL DOWN is in stores now.  Click here to read an excerpt and find links to purchase.

Book 2: SEE HOW THEY RUN will be released January 2016.




*Photo credit: Liz Ligon* 

Ally Carter writes books about spies, thieves, and teenagers. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Heist Society series and the Gallagher Girls series, which together have sold over two million copies and have been published in more than twenty countries. She lives in Oklahoma where her life is either very ordinary or the best deep-cover legend ever.

She’d tell you more, but…well…you know…



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