In Which Ella Dreams of Moose-Elk and Jack the Ripper

I woke up at five in the morning screaming and convulsing. I haven’t had a nightmare that bad in months. I was able to recognize that I was dreaming, but unlike most nights, I couldn’t wake myself up and relax. I was just stuck in this state of semi-consciousness, aware that I was violently shaking and yelling, but entirely unable to physically control my body and make myself stop. In my thrashing about, I managed to kick all three cats off the bed and badly tangle my feet in the sheets.

Needless to say, I am not very enthusiastic about going to bed tonight. I’m bad enough at keeping my emotions in check while I’m awake, and it just gets worse the moment I drift off. And the biggest problem with that is that there is nothing I can do to reign in the terror. I just have to wait until I wake up, completely spooked, to calm down, and usually by that point, I can’t even fall back asleep again. It’s a very lousy pattern.

But talking about dreams and sleeping is almost always boring for everyone except the person telling the stories. That is, unless the people listening were in it*. And sadly, none of you were. I would have much preferred you all to the murderous creatures that decided to haunt me!

But, as Laini Taylor so kindly and helpfully reminded me on Twitter, dreams can inspire some really excellent stories. And I think that because the dream was so humorous in retrospect, I’ve got some excellent material for writing later on. A murderous moose-elk would get me a laugh, right? Maybe Jack the Ripper could be his trainer, and they’re planning on letting him loose in Alaska to terrorize the citizens of Anchorage. Or I could go the much more conventional and likely route and have a character go through my experience. What do you think? I haven’t written anything delightfully silly in months now, perhaps it is time for some humor.

*Pippa once had a dream where I was pregnant, and she woke me up very, very early in the morning to ask who the father was. After I got over the fact that it wasn’t even seven yet, we had a good laugh.

You can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing. I’m more of the book, quotes from books, architecture/interior design, fashion posting type. There are some television show, movie, and space posts thrown in as well. It’s a happy place full of pretty, pretty things.

In Which Ella Refers to the Morning as Yesterday

Today has been one of those days where so many things have happened that I become confused and begin to refer to the morning as yesterday.

There is just no way that only seventeen hours ago I was standing in the shower trying very hard not to fall asleep and hit my head on the tile wall again.

I took the SAT, finally figured out how to cast spells on pottermore, drove to Connecticut, went to the Laini Taylor event, ate pork so tender that I fell in love, visited Cecelia, ate ice cream, walked around Yale, and drove home. And I only slept for five hours last night.

These things just don’t happen in Ella world. The most I ever seem to do is go to the book or grocery store and visit doctors’ offices.

I’d love to be able to write something interesting and properly describe all of the events, but there is only so much I can write while typing on an iPhone in the dark car. But I’ll tell you this: Laini Taylor is one of my favorite adults and authors ever, Cecelia is the coolest, and I would very happily live off of pork, mangos, and ice cream for the rest of my life.

Also, thanks for driving me everywhere today, Mom and Dad. Six hour long roadtrips aren’t most people’s cups of tea, and you didn’t even complain once.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Has to Take the SAT

Guess what’s happening tomorrow.

I’m taking the SAT.

Guess how happy this makes me.

Not at all.

On the upside, I’m going to a book signing tomorrow evening for Laini Taylor and her new book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I reviewed here.

And now I’m off to do some more panicking.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Reviews Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I bring you my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, written for my local bookstore. It’s the first one I’ve ever written, and I had a lot of fun. I don’t think it’s all that bad for a first review.

Seventeen-year-old Prague art student, Karou, has some curious pictures in her sketchbooks. Her “gorgeously rendered and deeply strange” drawings of fantastical creatures tell the story of a devil’s workshop where Brimstone, a wishmonger, grants wishes and strings gems and teeth for mysterious purposes. Trained in martial arts, knife-fighting, and fluent in many languages, Karou’s adventures keep the reader riveted and on the edge of their seat as Karou discovers the ancient battle between the angels and chimera, learns of her past, and meets Akiva, an angel with whom she just might be in love. Every teenage girl will wish she had Karou’s spunk, strength, and independence and a friend as loyal and kind as “Rabid Fairy” Zuzana, and boys will enjoy the fast-paced action and suspense. From the book’s first lines, Laini Taylor reels the reader in with her excellent word choice, quick wit, and loveable characters. Karou’s world is so beautifully imagined that at times it seems real. This book could quite possibly be the next big young adult fantasy series. The book’s conclusion just leaves you begging for more.

I just got the ARC for Pure, a novel by Julianna Baggott, so we’ll see how the next one goes. It looks like it’ll be a good read. Of course, I’m also in the middle of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Poetry 180 editted by Billy Collins, and Humor Me edited by Ian Frazier. I’m in such an happy avalanche of books.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Being Horribly Selfish

I spent a good portion of today reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I picked up an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) a few days ago from my local bookstore because they wanted me to write a review for the store before the book comes out on September, 27th. And let me tell you, it is good. Like really, really good. It’s meal-skipping and sleep-depriving good. I don’t want to put it down.

I have suddenly found myself in desperate need of that teal feathered mask. Also, I need more teeth--my baby teeth and my few sharks' teeth just aren't cutting it--which is a reference you would get if you purchased the book, and you totally should. It's awesome.

A few minutes ago I opened up Laini Taylor’s blog, something I do a few times a day*, and read a few comments on one of her posts I had previously commented on. While I was doing this, my phone buzzed. I picked it up and saw that Stephanie Perkins, one of my favorite YA writers, had tweeted:

And I panicked. Disappointment washed over me like I had the desk under the emergency shower in AP Bio and someone had pulled down the lever, drenching me in cold water. I love this book, and I do desperately hope that Daughter of Smoke and Bone does make Laini Taylor very popular, but I want this to be my special thing and mine only. I don’t want to have to share her with other people.

I’m just going to have to settle for pouting and feeling smug that I got here first. And, you know, running around with the book held high over my head, demanding that anyone who will listen to me should read this book.

*I’ve been following her blog for years now.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.

These Words Are Calm and Brown, the Color of Coffee Mixed With Milk

My dress smells like coffee, the way that all clothing and hair does when it stays inside of a coffee shop too long. Pippa and I sat for hours at a small table next to the window and an outlet as I wrote a incredibly long email to Sadie, and she annotated a book on the Founding Fathers. When she mentioned Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s duel, I laughed and tried to get her more enthusiastic about it. But twenty pages of dense academic writing can be boring if you’re not a history lover, so I just posted links to her Facebook wall in a half-joking manner. I doubt she’ll read any of the articles about the duel or Aaron Burr’s treason, but it felt nice to try to share something I feel so passionate about.

But I wasn’t thinking about Aaron Burr and the way that his name begins and ends with double letters or Alexander Hamilton and the fact that he wasn’t born in the United States when I first noticed the coffee smell that had infused my clothes and hair. I was just lying on my back, diagonal across the bed, staring at the ceiling. I had read the previews of Laini Taylor’s and Maureen Johnson’s new books earlier in the day, and I was hungry for more. Hungry in a way that made my neck hurt and my fingers tingle, because I wanted to grab those books and hole up in a corner of the house and just read. Read and read and read. But I couldn’t. They don’t come out until the end of September.

So I just lay there and thought about the way that the coffee smell was so close to that of cigarettes after you’ve been around somebody whose been chain smoking. The way that my clothing used to smell on Thanksgiving. Only the coffee doesn’t make me choke or give me headaches, or make me screw up my eyes and hold my breath as I move to someplace in the house that isn’t quite so full of smoke. But even though I hate, hate, hate cigarettes, I always associated the smell with love and smooth mashed potatoes and online poker and horse racing where you use fake money instead of credit cards and cold wind that turns my cheeks red when I run across the fairgrounds to play on the swings.

Coffee just smells like work.

So I closed my eyes, pulled my hair roughly out of its ponytail, draped the ends across my face, and just lay back. Because I needed some sort of good idea. Something to write that was proper fiction or at least something to turn into blog post. But nothing was coming. My mind was just blank and lethargic, the way it always is after I stay up too late for too many nights without taking any naps.

And I wished that I could have people to hang out with so that I didn’t have to write so many darn letters. Because I’m scared of this quote from a John Green novel, An Abundance of Katherines: “You can love someone so much…But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.”

But I didn’t cry because crying means admitting how lonely and jealous I sometimes am when all I want to be is happy and excited for everyone gone at college. I just opened my computer and wrote all of this down in some jumbled sort of mess because it sounded nice inside my head. It was calm and pale brown, like coffee mixed with milk after the swirling of the white against the dark brown has stopped, and it’s just one smooth color. And the words needed to find a home.