Vermin: Chapter One, Audiobook

ABOUT THE SERIES: Left for dead at the side of the road in an outlawed town, Nicholas is rescued by a human girl. Plagued by fevered dreams and a lethal illness, Nicholas doesn’t know what to make of her kindness. If she knew what he was, death would be a merciful gift.

Vermin is a Young Adult, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Romance series by Canadian voice actress Ardin Patterson.

Available at Indigo & Amazon:

Currently there is no official audiobook for this series, this is merely a sample featuring the first chapter of the novel.

Beast boy Loves Raven: Graphic novel review

Let me start off by saying that it felt like an eternity while I waited for this issue to come out. I was so excited when it was released! Outside of the Robin’s (mainly Grayson), Beast Boy and Raven are my absolute favourites.

The series by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo is fantastic. I think it’s a good entry story for those who are new to DC comics because they take the time to introduce each of these characters throughout. As a DC fan I personally love this series and really want to see it continue. One of the other DC series I’d been into was dropped, which followed Damien Wayne and Johnathan Kent, so I’m really glad to see that the next issue in this series is titled Robin!

I don’t want to give away any major spoilers, but one of my favourite things about the artwork in this issue was how the panels slowly became more colourful whenever Beast Boy and Raven were together. Gar’s panels all have hints of green, and Raven’s purple, so the artist made it so that when the two of them are together these colours begin to show up in the same panels. It’s such a small detail but I absolutely loved it.


Also, Max and Damien are in this issue! I was so happy to see Max again. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s powers, relationships and journey’s develop in the next issue! It was also nice to see Damien again after the other series was dropped. He’s definitely grown on me as the newest Robin, and I find his interactions with the other characters in the DC universe hilarious, mainly because he comes across as such a serious kid.

Cruella – Disney Manga Review

I bought this manga for my niece (she’s 9), because I wanted to find an age appropriate manga for her to read and she is a HUGE Disney fan.

Cruella: Black, White, and Red by Hachi Ishie has lovely illustrations, which gave off a mix of the 80s and 90s manga styles. I liked the way the panels were laid out, and how the characters were introduced. I also loved the artwork for each chapter.

I’d like to start off by saying the manga is not an adaptation of the film.

The manga has 3 chapters in total, each covering a part of Cruella’s life, mainly focusing on her between ages 18-21. I actually liked that the book didn’t age her down because it was directed at a middle grade audience.

Horace and Jasper were well developed throughout, but I thought the one character in the leather jacket, who is mentioned by Jasper in a later chapter would be more prominent than they were. It seemed as though this character was being built up to be a major player and then he kind of just disappeared, and then Emilia was introduced. This leads me to the pacing, which in the first chapter I felt was fairly well done, however because the book is set at different points during Estella/Cruella’s years before she becomes a designer, I felt like too much was being crammed into these short scenes.

It almost felt like a manga short story collection instead. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a one off, or a short series, but regardless I enjoyed reading it and I know my niece will love it. I just felt like it needed a little more story wise, so I gave it a rating of 4 stars on Goodreads. I also took into consideration that this is meant for young readers, so it’s possible some of what I felt was lacking is because this is a reimagining of a reimagined character…and I had expected it to cover pieces of the movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall I thought the book was fun, and I would definitely recommend it to young Disney fans who are also looking into reading manga.

One other thing I will note is that this book reads the same as Western graphic novels, versus a Japanese manga, like the Maximum Ride series and most Western made manga.

October book haul

A bunch of the books I ordered arrived this week, on top of the ones I’d purchased in store. I am so excited to read them! Most of what I got was manga, but I also got the new Green Lantern thanks to my fantastic co-worker Scott! Thanks Scott! Oh, and I got two middle grade books that looked absolutely amazing.

My sister and I were freaking out over We Were There, which we read as kids. She loved the series, and Sand Chronicles. I also showed her the cover of Honey and Clover, which she thought looked super cute. I have to agree, I’ve always loved the art style of that series but I didn’t get a chance to read it when I was younger.

I’ll be sure to review all of these books once I’ve finished reading them, and I’ll try my best to keep these reviews spoiler free! I think I’ll have to put myself on a book buying ban until after Christmas, because I’ve already got two books that I’m going to be gifting myself, and I’m hoping that I’ll get gift cards from my family like I usually do…so that I can…buy more books.

What I really need is another bookshelf. I’ve been secretly thinking of how I can turn my brothers old bedroom into a library. I’ll of course keep his bed in there so he has somewhere to sleep when he visits, but like…perhaps I could just add two…or four shelves?

If I don’t convert his room into a library I might need to convince my sister that our game room could also double as a cute little library. It won’t be the Beauty and the Beast library of my dreams, but I think with the right décor and a little rearranging of the furniture, that it’ll look really cool.

If you’ve read my novel Vermin, you’ll know that there is a library on the top floor of the Crispin’s house. The library isn’t as pretty as the one in Beauty and the Beast, since they don’t live in a castle…but it’s cozy. I should try building it on the Sims4. I will if I have time. I’m mostly reserving my free time for reading and catching up on Netflix. I finally watched the final two episodes of Tokyo Revengers this week and cried. I wish there was an English translation of the manga because my French isn’t that great…and I don’t think my 9 year old niece should be translating that for me. I do have a French-English dictionary but the only books I can read in French well enough to understand are children’s picture books and middle grade graphic novels. Without pictures, I get stumped.

Well, I best finish my chicken nuggets. My sister was kind enough to share them with me. Also, if you liked the song in my reel it’s by Mitski. It’s called Working for the Knife. It’s really awesome. I’ve been listening to it while drafting some scenes this week.

Reading & Writing

The other day I was able to get a good chunk of writing done, which I’m absolutely thrilled about. Trying to manage several different projects, on top of work can be a bit challenging. I often have to remind myself to take breaks and make time for other things like reading, drawing or playing games with my friends.

I’ve been trying to get through my TBR by multitask reading. I tend to finish my manga and graphic novels within a few hours…usually stretching them out into two nights. Novels I’ve been taking my time with, mainly because I’m really enjoying the stories and want to hang out with the characters a little longer. My manga and graphic novels are series, so I get to see the characters again and again…but all the novels I’ve read recently are one offs and it makes me a little sad when I have to say goodbye to the story.

I have a group of novels that I can’t wait to start, so I made sure to get ahead in my reading goals back in August and September, so that I could have time to enjoy them before the year ends. I love to get to the point where I’m reading books in 1-3 days like I used to, but with work I just don’t have the time and during university reading books that fast really took away from the experience. I like to enjoy the books I read, actually pay attention to the language being used and the way the characters develop throughout the story.

Recently I’ve picked out a handful of 9-12 books to read. I like to jump into them every once in a while because they’re always extremely entertaining and they have the best cover art! I don’t know what it is about children’s literature, but the covers bring me so much joy! They’re always so interesting to look at. The cover artists are so talented! Bravo! These are also my favourite books to do for audiobook narration, so whenever I get auditions for them, I hunt them down and read them (if they’ve already released in stores!).

I was really hoping I’d be posting more art myself this month for #inktober but I haven’t. It’s not even that I haven’t drawn anything or had the desire to do so, I’ve just been more focused on my writing…and much of my free time I’ve wanted to read.

I knew prior to publishing that at a certain point I’d need to become more strict about my writing schedule, so whenever I have a day off I spend it working on my books. I’m glad that this was something I figured out early on, because I like to spend a lot of time on the planning stages and am constantly doing research while I work. One thing that I’ve been doing recently is compiling a list of outfits for certain characters/colour pallets. I notice as I get to know my characters better, that there are certain items of clothing or colours that they tend to wear, for example in Vermin, Rose always has ribbons in her hair. These little details help me connect well with my cast of characters, and I think it adds a little to their personality.

Rose Crispin by @nuggiedraws

Speaking of Vermin, book two has been coming along nicely. I’m extremely pleased with my progress and can’t wait to share more details on it. I know there are many people who are excited about the sequel, and I’m so, so, so incredibly happy to hear that! Thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts on the book.

As for my other projects, I’ve had to hold off on a couple of them temporarily while I work on other things, but I’m still thinking about how to improve them and also how to really build up to key events.

Creating a Middle Grade Book Rec List

My sister-in-law requested some series recommendations to help expand my nieces love of stories, so I’ve been on the hunt for a handful that I can gift her for her birthday/Christmas.

In my adult life, after realizing how hectic the holiday season gets, I’ve tried to get gifts for my family members as early as September. With my niece I keep track of things that she mentions throughout the year and buy them later. Shopping early also stops my wallet from crying after the holidays. December is the busiest month of the year for me outside of work, so planning my gifts and getting them wrapped up by the end of November saves me time and alleviates stress.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that I have to get a really good feel for a book before passing it along to my niece. Often I’ll read them first, because I would hate to give her something that she might not enjoy, and on top of it something that might be too scary or too mature for her at this time in her life.

I’d say 9-12 is a hard age group to navigate when it comes to young readers, because on top of each kid being an individual with their own unique interests, there are also different levels of maturity in each of the books and series one might encounter when shopping in this section. I was definitely one of those kids who read books intended for an older audience between 9 and 13…however, much of these books were manga and graphic novels. My experience as a reader definitely effects how I approach recommending books for kids, especially kids I don’t know personally like my niece. That’s why I don’t like to recommend books I haven’t read.

For adults who aren’t big readers themselves, I can imagine choosing books for others is a challenge. I salute you. My personal recommendation, if you have absolutely no idea what to buy the bookworm in your life is to just give them a gift card for your local bookstore. It’ll save you the headache, and they can pick out something they like. You can always pair it with a bookmark, or a mug if you want the gift to feel a little more personal.

I’m thinking of reading through a handful of middle grade books over the next month so that I can get a good idea of what might actually peak my nieces interest. When I can’t think of a series, one thing I try to do is to recommend people specific authors who I’ve read extensively like Judy Bloom, Jerry Spinelli, or Kenneth Oppel. All authors who I’ve read multiple works from, and really enjoyed despite not all of their books being contained within a series.

There are just so many great reads to choose from, but each person has their own preference and I feel it’s important to take that into consideration.

Another little project that I’ve started is that I’ve been creating lists of middle-grade books based on certain topics such as sports, theatre, mystery, family, spooky, pirates…etc…because this can really help figure out what books to recommend. Once my list is a little more organized, I’m going to post it on my blog, with the description. This is is going to include a chunk of books that I haven’t read, but just because something isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean it isn’t good and I want this list to be filled with books that I can come back to with my niece or a family friend with kids and go, “You really like basket ball, there’s this entire series on that, or you can read this book over here where the kids on the team have to hunt down a thief.”

I love helping people find their next favourite book, so for me this is kind of just a fun little project to do in between working and writing. I hope this list is useful, and I can’t wait to add more to it as I go.

Author Q & A

Today I will be answering some questions about myself and my work! I pulled question prompts from the website: The John Fox.

What is the first book that made you cry?

The first book that made me cry was one of the books in the Camp Confidential series. It was when the character Priya got into a fight with her best friend Jordan. I haven’t read this series since the sixth grade, but I remember the scene vividly. The book that made me cry after that was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

When I was in university I stopped reading novels for fun and only read what was on the syllabus…a lot of which was really dry. The entire time, I felt like I was being forced to read, and it was taking the fun out of one of my favourite hobbies.

I managed to rekindle my love of reading by reading more manga and graphic novels during university. These were my “books to read for fun” while the novels I was assigned for my classes continued to be my homework. Doing this prevented me from getting reader’s block, and I’ve been able to discover so many new favourite genres since graduating!

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes, and I did for a while with my poetry. I ended up publishing under my real name after I became a voice actress since it made sense to keep my work under the same name.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I write whatever I want to read. That’s what got me into writing in the first place. When it comes to readers I just try to keep in mind the age group of my target audience, and the genre I’m writing in. Other than that, during the first draft I go wherever the story takes me.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

The majority of my friends who write are poets, song writers and journalists. I love their work and support them whenever I can. Having friends who are into the arts is nice because you can cheer one another on! It’s also great because sometimes they have valuable knowledge to share such as tips, or lessons they’ve learned along their own journey. After graduating however, I’ve gotten to know a lot of amazing authors of a variety of genres, and am always excited to see their work! I’ve also had opportunities to work with some of them whether it was their my voice over work, or by doing editing and beta reading on early drafts of their books.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

That depends on the book. I have some books that are series, and others that are stand-alone. I mostly do whatever the characters ask for…so if the story requires more room for the characters to grow, I’ll do a series. If the events and character growth take place in a short amount of time then it will usually end up being a single book.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep reading! Keep practicing! Keep having fun! But please, please go outside a little more. We need a tan.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I’m getting better at meeting the deadlines I set for myself. Prior to publishing I would create really loose deadlines, and would do my best to stick to them, mainly because I knew that eventually I would need to learn to work within that time frame. Now, I try to write every day and keep track of my progress for each project so that I can meet all of my deadlines on time.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

A lot…like…I don’t even know anymore. Years ago I knew the exact number but now I can’t even remember. I can tell you that I’ve got about 3 projects on the go aside from The Vermin Series, that I’m super excited about.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I spend a lot of time researching, mainly because I never stop. Before I begin a book, I’ll research whatever I think I need to know at that introductory point…usually this is just to help form the setting. Afterwards I will continue to research as I go and compile all of that information into notes.

How many hours a day do you write?

It depends on the day. I try to write for an hour minimum whenever I can. If I miss a day, I don’t stress over it and make it up later on.

What did you edit out of this book?

There were a few scenes and some dialogue that was taken out. There was also a bunch of stuff that was added, to help flesh things out more. Most of what was added was from the sequel, which now gives me more room to expand since it was introduced earlier in the series.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I really like names, and depending on the story the names of a character are significant. In The Vermin Series, I picked named based on the time period that the story takes place, however in the case of my characters surnames, I believe I came up with those while glancing around my room. A lot of the time I find that characters end up being named after streets in my neighbourhood, or after plants.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I’d either be a singer or an artist…which I already do but I’ve missed singing for an audience these past few years. I do get to sing for work though, when I’m voice acting so that’s always fun!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Some of my books have secret inside jokes that are between my sister and I. Only she’d know what they are an I like that, because the jokes are usually really stupid and corny but they make us laugh.

What was your hardest scene to write?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but in book one the hardest scene for me to write was the one between Roland and his mother. I cried writing it, I cried editing it and I cry every time I read it.

Do you Google yourself?

Yes. I like to check the release dates of shows I’ve worked on and I find the fastest way is to look up my own name, mainly because it’s not popular.

What is your favorite childhood book?

This might be a long list…but if I had to pick Jerry Spinelli, Gordon Korman, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Judy Blume were my top authors. I also adored the Babysitter’s Club, Princess School and Camp Confidential Series.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes, 100%. I’m extremely grateful and fortunate to have a family that supports all of my creative endeavors. It can make such a huge difference when you have the support of those closest to you.

Want to learn more about Vermin and where you can grab a copy? Check out the link above!

Vermin Featured by The Literary Coven & The Steam Reader

Vermin was featured in a post by The Literary Coven on VK, you can check it out here.

Book release dates for August on VK

I like that their list included little ice cream emojis. I thought that was really cute.

Vermin was also featured on The Steam Reader, which is a romance book blog, under their August 2021 Romance releases.

My book has been out for a month and I’m still processing that it’s out in the world. I’ve seen people sharing it on Instagram as well, which is really cool.

I’m excited for the sequel to come out, and am so happy that I’ve been able to share this story with you. Thank you again for your support.

September Manga Reads

This month I’ve been trying to catch up on my manga TBR…and I actually got through it last night which now means I can order my next handful of books, hooray!

I read a variety of books ranging from thriller to romance, and I have to say I was extremely happy with each of these. Everything I read, I rated a full 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Kings Beast Volume 2 & 3

I’m really enjoying this series so far. I’ve had a lot of fun revisiting Rei Toma’s world, especially from the Ajin’s perspective. The artwork is also stunning. I felt this third volume picked up immensely and I can’t wait to read the next. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but one of my favourite things that I noticed in this series is whenever Rangestu’s true self comes through, her eyes are drawn softly. She looks more like she did as a child, and more like her twin in these frames. It’s such a small detail but I absolutely love it.

A School Frozen in Time Volume 1

This first volume had me on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t expecting to have my heart racing, or to be so scared I couldn’t fall asleep! It was a really great read. I finished it in one sitting. It was very fast paced and the events leading up to this volumes climax progressed quickly. I would like to add at trigger warning as this book heavily discusses topics of suicide and self-harm. Please proceed with caution. I was expecting it to be sad like Orange or Your Lie in April, since Your Lie in April is by the same person, however…I had my pants scared off! So it is not at all some sad, high school, friendship manga. It made me care about these characters and then it ripped my heart out…in a good way!

A Sign of Affection Volume 3

This series keeps getting better and better. I really adore the artwork, and I think it’s so cute that many of the artists who work on the shojo romance series are friends. I’ve noticed their artwork being featured in each others manga’s! I think that’s so cool. It’s actually made me miss older series where having characters from other manga’s featured in a short was normal. It’s also lovely to see all of these artists uplifting and encouraging one another.

As I mentioned before in my review of the first volume, when reading A Sign of Affection, you can’t help but like Yuki. She’s such a fantastic character, and all the characters around her are equally likeable despite their flaws. I think that’s what I love most about this series aside from the beautiful artwork and the way the author uses the the silent spaces in the text and panels to show the reader Yuki’s perspective. It’s truly well done, and I appreciate the fact that I’m seeing more positive representation of deaf characters in books and film. I hope that this representation continues…it’s something that’s very close to my heart.

Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 6 – 9

The levels of cuteness in this series are too much! It’s so adorable. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next volume. I love how every manga I’ve read by Io Sakisaka is capable of stirring the many feelings that come with love, especially first loves. It’s incredible how she can do that every single time, with a new set of characters. I never feel like I’m reading the same thing twice, or seeing the same characters pasted into different books.

Daytime Shooting Star Volumes 10 & 11

I really don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read this series yet, so instead of my usual rant about you-know-who (I’ll call them S), I’ll be focusing on how fantastic the character development has been. I can’t express how many emotions I’ve felt reading this series. Following these characters has been a rollercoaster! I highly recommend it but will note that the initial relationship in this series is toxic, and I just hope Suzume regains her self-confidence and finds her happiness.

Blood on the Tracks Volumes 2 & 3

This series is so good, but so creepy. I’m constantly at a loss of words while reading Blood on the Tracks. The way the artwork and the story come together to create this eerie…anxiety is incredible. Some of the images are so haunting, that I found myself focusing in on them. I will give a trigger warning for this series as well, as it deals with mental and physical abuse…and you see it more especially in the 2nd and 3rd volumes. The mother’s behaviour is extremely disturbing. There are so many red flags, I’m honestly so worried for all the other characters around her. I would highly recommend this for people who enjoy thriller and horror genres.