Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names I Love


(The above image was taken and edited by me for the purpose of this post)

Hello Readers!

Because I am who I am, and I can’t keep a Top Ten Tuesday topic as is. Today’s topic is top ten character names that I’d name I’d name a kid/cat/dog/car after. I don’t think of myself as having kids, so that kind of rules out naming a child after a favorite character. I’m not a cat person. I am a (dog-less) dog lover who already has names picked out in case I do get a dog (one day!). And I’ve never really named any of my cars.

I’m putting my own spin on this topic. Instead of character names I’d  name a kid/cat/dog/car after, I’m simply going to post about my top ten favorite character names!

Blue (from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater)

Frankie (from the Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia)

Kobi (from 27 Magic Words by Sharelle Byars Moranville)

Ivy (from both The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude and Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood)

Winnie (from The Devil & Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow)

Lara Jean (from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han)

Willowdean (from Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy)

Gavriel (from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black)

Quincy (from Girls Like Us by Gail Giles)

Tabitha (from Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu)

What are some of your favorite character names, readers?! Please share!


Outward Blonde (Excerpt & Author Interview)

unnamedOutward Blonde by Trish Cook

“You’re not going to believe this, Jem!” I say when my best friend finally picks up FaceTime. Her cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead are slathered in one of those masks she uses whenever she thinks she might be getting a zit. Which never actually happens. That girl is flawless.

“Try me.” Her lips are barely moving, which means the mask must be almost dry, which means she’s probably more interested in peeling than talking right now. That will change once she hears my news.

“Guess who I just matched with on Tinder?”

Jem’s mouth moves the tiniest bit downward, her attempt at a frown. She looks just like my mom after a fresh Botoxing: incapable of any facial expression. “Using an app to find a boy is kind of pathetic, don’t you think?” she asks.

“Jem, Jem, Jem. You didn’t say the magic word. A girl like me deserves a real man, not some immature boy.”

“Well, what you’re going to get on Tinder is a real creeper, Lizzie,” she warns. “And I like partying with you too much to let you be found all over the city in a bunch of different garbage bags. Not to mention, I’d be such shit at giving you a eulogy. One, because I hate public speaking, and two, I wouldn’t be able to bring up any of our best times together without giving the adults at your funeral a coronary. So no.”

“You haven’t even seen who it is yet. Pretty sure you’ll think he’s worth the risk.”

Jem closes her eyes and puts a hand over her heart, adopting a sweet little voice that’s nothing like her loud normal one.

“What I’ll miss most about my BFF Lizzie Finklestein is sneaking out with her on school nights, using our never-fail fakes to get into all the best bars, doing body shots until we puke, and making out with random college guys who have no idea we’re still in high school. I’ll never forget the time we ‘borrowed’ her mother’s Benz and almost ran over a group of Japanese tourists in Times Square. . . .”

I hold my hand up in front of the computer screen. And in my hand is my phone, which still has the picture of Hot Tinder Man on it.

“What . . . the . . . FUCK?” Jem is impossible to impress and I’m pretty sure I’ve finally done it.

“I know, right?” The only thing standing between me and this guy at the moment is my mom, who doesn’t take her Ambien until right before she goes to bed. When she zonks out, I’m sneaking out.

“It’s not really him,” Jem says. “You do know that, don’t you?”

“Everyone knows he’s on Tinder,” I tell her. “And that he likes his girls younger. We’re perfect for each other. It’s, like, fate.”

“Oh, please.” Jem peels off an inch-wide strip of mask starting at her chin and ending at her hairline and shakes it at the screen. “It’s an old, bald, smelly, fat creeper pretending to be him so he can rape and dismember you.”

“Dismember. Good SAT word, Jem. Mrs. Lemelson would be so proud,” I say, invoking our prudish, perma-single English teacher. “But I guarantee you it’s really him. If you don’t believe it, come to the Standard with me and see for yourself.” Jem’s peeling like crazy now. “It’s not him, and that fat smelly old creeper is going to throw you into the Hudson once he dismembers you. Do you really want to be shark bait?”

“I thought you said he was going to leave me in garbage bags all over the city?” I tease. “Besides, I’m pretty sure there are no sharks in the Hudson. And if you were really that worried, you’d be my wingman.”

Jem strips off the final bit of mask. Her face is a gorgeous deep caramel again, except for the smallest pink dot you’ve ever seen on the side of her nose. It’s probably from the colored pens we used in art class today. She points to the supposed “zit.”

“I can’t be seen in public like this. Activate your Find My Friends app so I’ll at least be able to tell the cops where some of your body parts are.”

I shrug. “Okay, but you’re missing out. Because I’m pretty sure James Franco would be up for a threesome. Just think of the pictures we’d get pretending we were going to go through with it—”

“Fake Franco, you mean,” Jem interrupts me.

“He’s the real deal,” I tell my friend, and click the Face-Time screen down before she can try to convince me some more he’s not who he says he is. Or worse, decide to come along and initiate a threesome for real (which she knows I’d never participate in, leaving her with James Franco all to herself, and she’s smoking hot so who could blame him, so, like, no way).

There’s a knock at my door. My mom peeks her head inside my cavernous room. She peers first at my king-sized canopy bed, which is currently covered in pillows of every shape and size but not me. Then she glances over to my dog’s bed where Poochie—my adorable googly-eyed Shih Tzu with a crooked underbite—is fast asleep. She’s twitching and smiling and probably dreaming about bully sticks, her favorite treat. Whoever decided dried bull dick might be a good dog snack is a certified psycho, but Poochie is obsessed with it so I guess I’ll have to keep buying it.

Finally, Mom realizes I’m sitting on my white leather chaise by the window, like always. My laptop is on my lap, like always. And I’m not doing my homework, like always. Mom has on a silky nightgown and robe. That must mean it’s Ambien time.

“You almost ready for bed?” Her eyes are glassy and she’s a bit wobbly—both sure signs the medicine is already taking effect.

“Yeah! Don’t you like my pajamas?” I gesture at my crop top and miniskirt. I hide my high heels under a throw so she’s less likely to realize the outfit screams “going out” and not “going nighty-night.”

Mom ignores my clothing and stares straight at my forehead, where a subtle, stubborn swath of acne has been camped out since sixth grade. If Jem had my skin issues, she’d never go out again. Luckily there’s such a thing as cover-up or neither would I. “Did you remember to put on your prescription face lotion?”

Figures that even when she can barely focus, all she can see is my flaws. I don’t reply. She won’t remember my answer in the morning or that she ever asked anyhow. Mom mumbles goodnight and shuffles down the long hall of our penthouse apartment. It takes her forever to get there.

As a little kid, I used to hate the yawning distance between. Instead of staying tucked in, I’d make a break for it every night, jumping as far from the mattress as possible and sprinting away to be with her and my dad. Warm and safe between them was the only place I could ever get a decent night’s sleep. After all, Ursula the Sea Witch didn’t live under THEIR bed.

So good thing I’m not a little kid who’s scared of an evil fictional octopus anymore (mostly), since that kind of comfort isn’t even an option now that my parents are divorced, Dad went to live out his save-the-world dreams in Africa, and Mom decided she prefers being in a medicated coma to snuggling.

Even better is that I actually like how far away they are from me these days. Especially at night. Because you do the math: divorced dad living in another country + mom’s room being down an endless hall + her having an anxiety disorder that requires daily doses of Klonopin x Ambien = me being able to do whatever and whoever I want to, whenever I want to.

Which, tonight, is none other than James Franco.


BookBandit Blog (BB): Can you tell me a little about yourself and your path as a writer?

Trish Cook (TC): A little about me: I’m an avid reader, writer, rower, and runner as well as music and pop culture fanatic. I’ve always enjoyed writing, even as a little kid, and always did it for enjoyment. Once I graduated college, any time someone asked me what my biggest dream was, I’d always say “to write a book.” It took me a decade or so more to actually get started on that dream, but since then I’ve never looked back. OUTWARD BLONDE is the fifth YA book I’ve had published (and I’ve certainly written other ones that have never seen the light of day—I consider them my precious practice babies.)

BB: What was the inspiration behind Outward Blonde?

TC: For Outward Blonde, the inspiration came from my publisher, Adaptive Books. They have a really unique way of approaching YA books: They take unmade film projects and ask YA writers to create novels based on them. Outward Blonde was originally a movie set to star Hilary Duff.  Adaptive came to me with what they call a “spark page”—just the most basic outline of what the story is: A spoiled, rich New York girl gets in trouble and gets sent to wilderness camp. I never read the script for the movie that was never made. I just developed the story based off the spark page and had so much fun doing it.

BB: What was your writing process like, and how did it differ from the writing of your previous books?

TC: The drafting process was pretty much the same as writing my other books: I let the initial idea run around my brain for a good week or so, and then I sat down at my computer and started to write. I didn’t outline or try to get too down and dirty with details in the beginning, because I wanted to see what turns the story took naturally as it went along. My characters often surprise me and I love it. That’s one of the most exciting and interesting parts about writing for me. The editing process for Outward Blonde was very different than my normal one. For the team at Adaptive, a first draft is more of a jumping off point for trying all sorts of creative ideas to make it even better than a solid base to make small tweaks to. Some of the notes they gave me were ginormous. Some were minor things. Some didn’t work. Most worked like magic. And we never would’ve known unless we tried them all. Now, I have a book I’m insanely proud of, that is better than I ever imagined it could be, and I have them to thank for it!

BB: If you could describe Outward Blonde only using three words, what three words would you use to describe it?

TC: Funny, fierce, and honest.

BB: Of all the characters featured in Outward Blonde, which would you say you identify most with? Least with?

TC:  As a teen, I was probably most like Lizzie. She’d rather appear though than share her true feelings with anyone, especially the soft and squishy ones. I love when she figures out that real,  honest relationships are built on trust where you show someone your true self, the good AND the “bad.” It’s a scary, huge leap but so, so worth it. I probably relate least to Ari, I think mostly because he’s a boy and kind of less mature than the other kids on the trip. I’d love to be a graffiti artist like him, though!

BB: Can you tell of any upcoming projects that you’re working on?

TC: I have this big idea I’m just starting to put on paper that was sparked by a crazy news story. It’s still very much at the fledgling idea stage so we’ll see if it works out!

BB: What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

TC: To all aspiring writers: Write. And keep on writing. And don’t let anyone make you stop. Share your writing with friends you trust, or find an online community. Writing is a lonely sport, but we do it to connect with others through words. So let someone see what you’re doing. You’ll get better because of it and find a sense of camaraderie too. Join clubs at school, like the newspaper or literary magazine, and share your talents with others. Be brave and submit your writing to contests. There are even summer programs and literary conferences that are like writing camps where you can go and bond with other creative people. Dream big. Why not? You never know what you can do unless you try. Trust that you know yourself well enough that you’re probably not going to grow out of whatever it is you dream of doing. If you’re scared—even more reason to give it a shot. That just means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and that’s okay. Be brave. Start now.

I just want to say THANK YOU to author Trish Cook for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and the blog! For more information about Trish Cook and Outward Blonde, be sure to check out her website!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Villians


(The above image was created and edited by me for the purpose of these posts)

Hello Readers!

Believe it or not, I had several top ten Tuesday posts planned, but I didn’t love them so I decided to skip them. And skip them…. and still, skip them! But I’m back with a new, fun-filled Top Ten Tuesday post!

Today’s post is dedicated to all the villains. And my favorite villains of all time! Now, because it’s me, and I can’t think of any straight up villains, I’m going to put my own twist on this post. I’m going to post about all those bad boys (a term I’m using losely mind you) that we love.

Jordan Wilder from Famous In Love by Rebecca Serle

Marco Leone from The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Gavriel from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Caleb Daniels from Exile by Kevin Emerson

Jasper Dent from I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Aspen from The Selection by Kiera Cass

I know I’m a few bad boys short of a full Top Ten Tuesday list! But I feel that these bad boys are the cream of the crop! So, besides a full top ten list, what more could you ask for?!

Who are some of your favorite villains or bad boys? Please share in the comments below!!


Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life Month Long Celebration

Hello Readers!


As you already know I am over the moon excited about the Netflix reboot of my most favorite television show the Gilmore Girls. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will take us back to Stars Hollow and catch us up on what Lorelai and Rory Gilmore have been up to these past few years.

In honor of this reboot, I’ve been busy, not only re-watching the entire series, but thinking of ways to celebrate. I’d love to host a Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life viewing party on November 25th, however I’m not sure who I would invite or who would actually show up (besides Miss Print, none of my other friends were fans, sadly).

While a viewing party may not be a great success, I think I’ve come up with a fun way to celebrate! And it’s a way that you – readers and fellow bloggers alike – can easily participate!

Here’s the thought …

I am (hoping) to put together a month long celebration of all things Gilmore Girls! And I’m asking fellow Gilmore Girls fans, friends, and bloggers to participate. How can you participate, you ask? Well, you can be a guest poster. I’m looking for Gilmore Girl-centric content – maybe an episode review, a character analysis, or even a recipes that you feel the girls would love! Those are only a few suggestions, I’m seriously open to anything and everything!

Running from November 1st to November 30th, I myself have several posts  and, not to mention giveaways planned. I’d potentially like to feature at least two additional posts (and bloggers) a week.

If you are interested, please fill out the form below. Once the form is received you will receive an e-mail (from me) telling you what date your content will be posted on The BookBandit Blog. If you wish to participate, please know that you will have most of the month of October to prep and prepare your post.  Content must be e-mailed to me by October 28th.

And this goes without mention, you  and your blog will get full credit for all of your content and your hard work.

Click Here To Fill Out The Form!


The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl


Hello Readers!

About a month or so ago I was asked if I’d be interested in participating in a special blog tour to celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday! I, very obviously, jumped at the chance! Roald Dahl is a childhood (and adult) favorite. There is something so special about his books.

Because there are so many wonderful blog participating in this tour, we weren’t guaranteed the book we wanted. When choosing I snuck in two Dahl books that I haven’t read. And luckily for me,  I was given The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me!

Want to know what I thought of this never read before Dahl book?! Well keep reading!


Little Billy has but one dream: to own the town’s best candy shop. And he knows the perfect place for it: the old, boarded up show with the “for sail” sign hanging in the window. Day in and day out Billy sits, stares, and dreams about the day when it’s his.

Until the day that he notices the sign has been taken down, the boards that covered the windows removed, and the new renovations. Billy wonders who bought the old boarded up shop, and what they’re going to do with it. Upon further inspection he soon learns that the Ladderless Window Cleaners have moved in.

Since he can’t open his candy shop, Billy decides to help the ladder less winder cleaners who consist of Giraffe (the “ladder” of the company) Pelican (the water holder), and Monkey (the window washer).

Working for a ladderless window cleaning doesn’t seem as much fun as working in a candy shop, that is until the Duke requests Billy, Giraffe, Pelly, and Monkey to work for them.  There are hundreds of windows to wash – will the Ladderless Window Cleaners be up to the job?

The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me, written by author Roald Dahl, is a short story that will leave readers (of all ages) laughing.

This is a classic Dahl book. The writing is strong yet silly. Filled with just the right amount of charm, magic, and a bit of mayhem The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me, like all of Dahl’s books, let’s reader’s imaginations soar.

Because this book isn’t very long there wasn’t a large cast of characters. But that is not a bad thing! Why? Because the character were truly the best part of this book. Little Billy is the kind of character that readers will easily identify with. Through him, they will see that with a little work, hopes and dreams really can come true.

And then there’s Giraffe, Pelly, and Monkey. Even though they are animals, they are still relatable. Readers will get the chance to see just how much they trust one another, how they love and care for each other, and above all, how they stick together through good and bad. They are a shining example of what strong friendships are made of.

Besides the writing and the characters, another aspect I really loved, and felt that truly helped bring the story to life were Quentin Blake’s illustrations. Done in a sketch style (or what I presume is a sketch style) they add an additional layer of charm and a touch of whimsy. I particularly appreciated how they didn’t over power the book. Instead they helped readers imagine each moment of the plot as it unfolded.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Dahl was truly a fun read! And whether you’ve read and loved other Dahl books or this is the first book you’ve ever read by him, you will not be disappointed!

Stealing Snow

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (received ARC from Publishers at BEA16)


All Snow knows is life within walls. She’s lived in Whittaker, a mental hospital, practically her whole life. There she has friends like Vern who believe in her. She has found love in Bale, another patient. And she actually has a life. Out there, in the real world. Snow has nothing … nothing but a mother she resents and a father she barely knows.

Her life isn’t ideal, but it’s hers. Or is it?

Snow has never questioned her doctors or their motives, she’s never challenged her therapy sessions, she’s never refused any of the medication she’s been given. That is, until a strange boy and an even stranger dream convince her that Snow is more than this, and that she needs to get out of Whittaker.

When Bale suddenly goes missing, Sow take the opportunity to run away. She wants … needs to find Bale, but what she finds is a cold world filled with both magic and mayhem, that she is actually queen of.

Stealing Snow, written by author Danielle Piage, is a fantastical retelling of The Snow Queen.

Paige’s writing is solid. She’s managed to take a beloved story and make it her own. Through vivid descriptions, Paige excels at showing readers Algid, not just telling them about it. But no matter how vivid this unfamiliar world is, admittedly it wasn’t as fully developed as it could have been. As a reader, I struggled to find answers to the most basic of questions. Questions that should have been answered as the world unfolded.

At the start, I assumed that Stealing Snow would be a fast paced, action packed fantasy. And it was … the last quarter of the book. There was a lot of buildup, with very little payoff. Bluntly put: Stealing Snow was an extremely slow read.

As much as the pacing bothered me, the fact that there were not one, but three love interests, bothered me more than anything else. What’s worse that multiple love interests was the fact that they were all unnecessary. They did not add anything to the story.

Snow had so much potential to be the heroine that readers deserved. She had flaws, which made her vulnerable and easily relatable. But she lacked confidence. Besides that, there were many a moment where I simply wanted to shake sense into her. Because of this I was often left frustrated with her. While Snow wasn’t my favorite character, I will say this: the growth from start to finish was noticeable, and greatly appreciated.

I wanted more from Stealing Snow. And from all the hype, I expected more. I was disappointed. Even so, I’m curious about what’s going to happen to Snow in the upcoming books. Though I’m not sure I’ll read them, I surely hope that, not only will those burning questions be answered, but  that Snow will grow into the heroine she is supposed to be.

(Cover image from

Stars Hollow Monthly: A Subscription Box Review


(The above image was created by me via

If you know me, you already know I’m a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan. You know who my fave character is, besides Lorelei and Rory (it’s Lane). You know what team I’m on (team Jess 4 Eva). And you know my favorite episode (You Jump, I Jump Jack).

So when Emma (aka Miss Print) told me there was a Gilmore Girls themed monthly subscription box, I needed it in my life.

Put out by Lit-Cube, Stars Hollow Monthly offers fans one of a kind  Gilmore Girls themed goodies. From searching the Stars Hollow Monthly hashtag on Instagram boxes in the past have included everything from coffee to t-shirts.

August’s box was chock full of surprises. This box included:

  • A package of Boca Java coffee (because let’s be honest, what kind of Gilmore Girls box would it be without coffee?!?)
  • A ceramic Luke’s Diner travel cup (to put that coffee in, of course.)
  • A set of Dragon Fly Inn coasters. (so the Luke’s Diner travel cup does lent scuff the table)
  • A pill/trinket box that says “I’m afraid once your heart’s involved it all comes out in moron.” (To keep aspirin for the headache I’ll get from drinking all that coffee lol)

The first think I noticed was the packaging. The box was white, with stars and umbrellas around the four sides. It was whimsical, super cute, and total GG style. On the top there was the logo: the famed gazebo with Stars Hollow  Monthly written across it. I personally thought the gazebo was a nice touch.


When I first opened the box, I received a takeout menu from Luke’s Diner. This pamphlet outlined information all the products that were contained in the box. Because I knew that going into this opening I read that last. I didn’t want the pamphlet to give away the surprises, I simply wanted to find out for myself what was in this box.


It was packaged in hot pink tissue paper and white paper filler. Because the actual box is so pretty on the outside, keeping the inside packaging simple was a plus. Another plus: I didn’t have to dig around looking for the items. I simply peeled back the tissue paper and bam! Everything was neatly placed right before my eyes!

FullSizeRender (1)

While this box may not contain as many items as other subscription boxes hold, I felt that all of the items were quality items. When I first signed up, it was a bit hesitant. Thirty dollars was a lot to spend on a monthly subscription box I felt. But after seeing the potential of items that will be received – between the unique-ness and the quality – I feel that it was worth it.

There’s only one negative thing I can say about Stars Hollow Monthly: it shipped late and because of that I technically did not receive the box in August. But! I don’t hold Lit-Cube or the people who created this box responsible. They were professional and sent out e-mails explaining why the boxes went out late (they were having some issues with their shippers). I felt that the situation was out of the Lit-Cube people’s hands and they dealt with it the best they could.

All in all, the Stars Hollow Monthly box was a success! I’m already eagerly awaiting the arrival of September’s box!