Tag Archives: louise gornall

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

I read pretty much exclusively fiction, but even so, a good majority of the books I read are for research purposes, with the aim of informing and improving my writing. I might pick up a book that I think would be a good comp title, reread a book to study an author’s voice or methods for conjuring a specific mood, or even read a new release just to stay in touch with current literary trends. All this is why I basically abandoned reading fantasy last year—I just had a lot of books to read for research, the majority of them great, but none of them fantasy.

So it was for research purposes that Louise Gornall’s Under Rose-Tainted Skies came onto my radar. I was considering including a character with agoraphobia in my new “Beauty and the Beast and aliens” WIP, so I wanted to get a sense of how this condition is tackled in fiction, especially in YA fiction. Gornall herself drew on her own experience and struggles in writing this book, and it shows—there is nothing in this book that is not raw and authentic. I read it in less than twenty-four hours—simply could not put it down. The MC is absolutely compelling, a character you can’t help but root for as she deals with OCD, anxiety, and agoraphobia, all while building a relationship with the handsome, awkward boy next door who sees past her mental health struggles. Voice is everything in this book, and Gornall lets us stay tapped into the MC’s thoughts like we’re a neuron in her brain. She’s flawed, funny, likable, and, above all, real. You can see how she comes to have the thought patterns she does—I found this fascinating, especially because I recognized some of my own unhealthy thought patterns taken to the next level by the MC. It really gave me pause and helped me examine my own head space.

You might be wondering if a book spent pretty much entirely in the MC’s house would grow stale, but nothing here is boring. In fact, this is one of those rare reads where I finished it and felt that sad, lonely ache, where you just want to go back to page one and start the story over again. Suffice it to say that this is a five star read.

I also want to briefly laud the author’s treatment of the MC’s relationship with her mother. I adore realistic parents in YA, and the relationship here was just perfect—nothing forced or scripted.

In the end, I did make the decision that an agoraphobic character isn’t the right fit for my book. Anxiety or OCD might make an appearance, not sure yet, but definitely not agoraphobia. And I am so happy to have been able to read this book to make an informed decision about that. I will absolutely be picking up future works by this author, and I recommend Under Rose-Tainted Skies for… everyone! Everyone should read this book! Right now!

A Good, Old-Fashioned Haul

You know that feeling-spendy itch, the kind where the only way to scratch it is by heading to Barnes and Noble or Amazon? It doesn’t hit me often, especially now that I receive ARCs, but maybe it’s the change of seasons or something—I just had to add some new books to my TBR shelf. And it’s not a lot, but listen, this girl has a limited amount of shelf space, so I have to be choosy about the physical books I bring into my house. (Spring cleaning un-haul coming soon!!)

Since this is the only book of the bunch that just came out, I wanted to buy this in hardcover at Barnes and Noble in the first week of release. That’s my general rule of thumb for new releases I care about—I do this 1) because I’m surprisingly often able to buy a signed in-store copy; 2) because I’ve found that many times these books are still stashed in the back, even though they’ve just been released, so I feel it helps the author out to go specifically to the store and remind the booksellers to get them on the shelves; and 3) because I have a vague sense that buying the hardcover helps the author more than buying the ebook in terms of sales numbers and the possibility of future opportunities. Would love to know if those suspicions are correct… :/

Anyway, I’m super excited to read this book, since I’ve heard good things about the author and it’s supposed to be similar to Stranger Things. I’m also really interested to see how the aliens are handled in this book, since aliens in YA aren’t a huge thing. Or are aliens the next vampires or something???

The other three books I bought were from Amazon. Under Rose-Tainted Skies only landed on my radar recently, since I was searching for a book featuring a character suffering from agoraphobia. I have a book in the works that may have an agoraphobic character, so I’m curious to see how other authors have written about agoraphobia, as well as to get some sense of how people deal with the condition. It’s just the first step of what will likely be a whole lotta research. Look at that gorgeous cover—I’m pretty psyched for this one to arrive in the mail.

This is the final book in the Downside trilogy by S.L. Grey, the South African horror duo who wrote The Apartment. The Downside books can be read as standalones; it’s really the horror worldbuilding that ties them together—and it’s the best worldbuilding, let me tell you. If you are a Silent Hill fan, especially if you’re a Silent Hill 3 fan, then do yourself a favor and read The Mall. There are no words to express how excited I am to read this book—it’s going to be fantastic.

The last book I picked up was Matt Haig’s The Humans. This is definitely one of those books that’s made the rounds in the book blogosphere, and also another book to do with aliens! As I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have an idea marinating for a book about an alien, so I’m trying to read some alien-related fiction to get a sense of how other authors approach the topic. I’m also pretty interested to see how funny this book is; most people say it’s hilarious, but I have a track record of disliking supposedly funny books. (Bad Omens, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, etc.)

And that’s my haul! Short and sweet, but I think keeping hauls smaller makes me more likely to read the books for some reason.

Have you picked up any exciting books lately? Are you also getting that spring shopping fever? Let me know, and thanks for reading!


Just a real quick reminder that Chapter Five of The Gold in the Dark will be posting this Sunday at 11 AM EST! All right, that’s all, folks.