Friday, December 19, 2014

The Heroine Tag

(Unrelated note: Today is Fauxpocalypse's first book birthday!!! :) *throws confetti and chocolate for anyone reading this* At about 12:30 today, all of the authors got an e-mail confirming that it was published. So yeah, I'm pretty excited.)

Onto the actual post, I'm shamelessly stealing this from Cait at "Paper Fury," though she did tell me to go ahead and steal it, so I'm not sure it counts as stealing anymore. But it looked like so much fun, I couldn't resist!
 
1. Which heroine would you trade places with?

Unfortunately, a lot of heroines in the books I read end up in sucky situations, sometimes even dying at the end of the series. But I would happily switch with Hermione Granger for the chance to go to Hogwarts for a few years. (Yeah, I know she's technically not the main character of the series, but she may as well be, so hush.)
 
2. Which heroine would you push off a cliff and hope that there are some jagged rocks at the bottom?

Yikes, I don't know if I'd wish that on anybody! (Okay, Voldemort kind of had it coming, and I'm not too happy with Lucifer from "Supernatural" at the moment, but other than those two, no jagged rocks.)


3. Heroine you couldn't care less about? They're so bland that they don't even trigger the hate in you?


Bland characters are the worst. I'd rather hate a character than feel nothing about them, because I'd actually be feeling some kind of strong emotion. Heroines that come to mind when someone says "boring" is Clary from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Heather from Panic by Lauren Oliver (she was so boring, I had to look up the book on Goodreads so I could remember what her name was), and Callie from Starters by Lissa Price.

4. Heroine you thought you wouldn't like and ended up liking and vice versa?

I thought I would like Clary more than I did, and it's not that I didn't like her, she was just . . . blah. I didn't expect to like Lilac from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, because she seemed like a stuffy, wimpy, spoiled brat at first, but I ended up loving her.

5. Side heroine who is much more interesting than main heroine?

I'm going to go ahead and steal Cait's answer for this one and say Isabelle from the Mortal Instruments series. She's super kick-butt, sarcastic, and a fierce protector of her family. She and Simon are also my OTP from the Mortal Instruments, Magnus and Alec aside.

6. Which heroine would you want as your friend?

Hermione, Hazel from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Eleanor from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Ellie from the Ellie Sweet series by Stephanie Morrill, Cress from Cress by Marissa Meyer, Ramona from the Ramona and Beezus series by Beverly Cleary, and Flora from Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, to name a few.


7. Which heroine do you wish would just CHOOSE (between the guys in her little love triangle)?

Love triangles drive me crazy, because there's almost always the one obvious choice and the guy I can't stand. Rarely am I as torn as the heroine. But the Katniss/Peeta/Gale triangle was the worst one for me, because there was absolutely no chemistry between Katniss and Gale.



8. "Bad girl" heroine?

I can't think of any "bad girl" heroines at the moment. Not in the way they're implying it.

9. "Good girl" heroine?

Ellie Sweet from the Ellie Sweet series by Stephanie Morrill. Helps out around the house, gets along with her family, all A's in school, etc.

10. Your favorite heroine of them all? (If you can't choose, pick your top 3.)

Hermione Granger!

I tag anyone who wants to participate! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday with "The Broke and the Bookish"! :) This week's prompt is: What were the ten best books you read in 2014?



(These books are in no particular order, as it's almost impossible to rank them from best to "worst." They're all so good!)

1. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

This was one of the first books I read in 2014, and it was a fantastic one. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, not being into sci-fi at the time. ("Doctor Who" has changed that.) Also, I LOVE the cover. Great covers tend to bump up the rating. ;) And for those who hate insta-love as much as I do, this book is definitely the romance for you. Lilac and Tarver are ready to practically kill each other for the first hundred pages or so.

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments

I definitely prefer Eleanor & Park and Fangirl to this one, but it's still a four star read! It's super cute, clever, and "fluffy." And it's told through dual perspectives! That's always a big plus for me. It's good for getting over a book hangover.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks hooked me right away. For a day and a half, I couldn't stop reading. I picked it up every time I got a few minutes. I didn't really know where the book was going until, about ten pages from the end, plot twist! Fantastic from start to finish.

4. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

I love everything Kate DiCamillo writes, and Flora & Ulysses is no exception. It's so adorable! Whether you're eight or eighty, the humor and simple story will not be lost on you. It makes for a great read-aloud book for the whole family. You can read my review HERE.

5. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind

One of the best books I read in 2013 was Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and I saw this book recommended along with it in nearly every review. It's a simple, sweet, middle-grade novel. Very character-driven, and guaranteed to make you cry.

6. Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

The first two Lunar Chronicles books were really good, but Cress was amazing! We got to see a lot more of Thorne (one of my favorite characters from the series) and Cress was a great addition to the gang. Even though throwing it would have the same effect as throwing a brick, it reads very quickly. I highly recommend the Lunar Chronicles to anyone and everyone.

7. The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program, #1)

One of the better dystopian novels I've read in a while. I'd put it up there with Divergent, as it's a little more sci-fi than The Hunger Games is. It's extremely hard to put down.

8. We Were Liars by E. Lockheart

We Were Liars

Recommended to anyone who likes fluffy reads, terrible writing but a fun story, a cast of characters that you'll instantly love, a typical romance, and happy and predictable endings. I lied.

9. Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Because of Mr. Terupt

At first, reading a book told through the perspectives of seven kids was a little confusing. But as thte story went on, it was absolutely necessary that they all played a part. The simplicity of the story, the sweet relationships the characters had with one another, it all made for another great middle-grade novel. Also recommended to fans of Wonder and Out of My Mind. You can read my review HERE.


10. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays

This book was really good. If you like time travel and/or "Doctor Who," I highly recommend it. Action-packed from page 1, I couldn't put it down. There were lots of plot twists and a few tears at the end. And it seems like it's going to be a series, so I'm very happy about that!

What were your favorite books from 2014? Leave a comment! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

'Bout This Blogger Tag

So Cait at the "Notebook Sisters" recently changed her blog to a Wordpress platform and is now the proud blogger of "Paper Fury." HUZZAH! :) To celebrate, she's hosting a giveaway and a blog tag. And because I can't resist blog tags, I'm participating.

http://paperfury.com/goodbye-notebook-sisters-hello-there-paper-fury-giveaway/#comment-19651

1. Why did you start blogging?



My mom got me into it when I was eight. It started out as more of a homeschooling opportunity, so there were lots of journal entries and book reports and short stories. I had an official schedule and everything. But now I create my own "schedule" and post about whatever I want. I've met dozens upon dozens of other bloggers, writers, and fangirls like me. Some of my closest friends I've met through blogging, and I never would've been introduced to some of my favorite books and TV shows if it weren't for them! I celebrated my sixth blogging anniversary in July, and there will definitely be many more.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?



I asked a bunch of different people for advice on my blog's name, because I knew once I chose one I would want to stick to it, so it had to be good. Eventually my friend Ronald suggested "The Magic Violinist," because I loved fantasy stories and I'd recently picked up the violin (which I still play!). I fell in love with it right away.

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)

Ha ha, no pictures to share. :) It's been the same for over six years.
 
4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?



Nope. I'm a blogger girl. I very rarely have technical difficulties with it, so I haven't ever had a reason to change.

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What’s your postly process like?



It really depends on the post. On average, your typical, medium-length post takes maybe fifteen to twenty minutes, before proofreading. Blog memes and posts such as "Top Ten Tuesday" are much quicker.

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why?! What was it?


In general, I kind of hate having to post ARC reviews when I personally know the author. I hope like crazy that I can honestly give it at least four stars, because I don't want to lie to myself or anyone else, but I don't want the author to feel bad. I've been okay so far (thankfully), but whenever I have something critical to say about the book, it takes me forever to phrase it in a way that's honest, but gentle.

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?



HA HA HA. No.

8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?



Yup! :) Most everybody I've told about it checks it out and thinks it's pretty cool. Sometimes they even comment. But really, besides my immediate family, my most faithful readers/commenters are people from the online world.

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!






(In no particular order . . .)

"Sushi and Pizza"
"I Don't Eat My Drumsticks"
"Musings From Neville's Navel"
"Notebook Sisters" (er, I mean, "Paper Fury")
"The Book Chewers"
"The Write Practice"
"Positive Writer"
"Here's Me Using the Word Blog In a Sentence"
"Query Shark"
"As a Teen Writer"
Bonus (a recent and addicting find): "Sherlock Headcanon"

Of course I follow many other blogs, so it can be hard to keep up. I try to be good about regularly commenting on those who regularly comment on my blog, because I feel it's only fair to take the time to read their posts after they took the time to read mine. But I do want to be better about commenting on blogs I "secretly" follow. I know how good it feels to get a comment from someone you didn't even know read your blog. :)

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

If I had all the time in the world, I would post more often. Right now I post probably once or twice a week, which is a good amount for me, but I'd like to bump up the numbers a little bit. But as long as I post somewhat regularly, I'm happy.

Check out "Paper Fury," if you haven't already! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Local Authors Night at Aaron's Books

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me tweeting back in October about the Local Authors Night in Lititz at Aaron's Books. I was so excited I could barely sit still! And since NaNoWriMo set me back as far as blogging goes, I thought I'd spread out the fun and post about it now. Stay tuned for lots of pictures!

My tablemate, Brenda Lee Sieglitz, and me.
Brenda was awesome. We had tons of fun talking books and writing together.

With my mom.

With my dad.

The whole family.


Max was very patient as he hung out for the full two hours.

Friends from our homeschool group dropped by.


Signing a copy for friends.

Friends Sherri, Ron, and Jack are all super supportive of me.

I got a big surprise about halfway through the night when someone came through the door. We met her a year ago, for her release party at Aaron's Books. You may have heard of her. Her name's A.S. King.


This is my I'm-trying-not-to-freak-out-as-I-take-a-picture-with-A.S. King-who-came-by-to-get-a-signed-copy-of-my-book face.




With Sam and Todd, the owners of Aaron's Books. I'm so glad they invited me to come.

With fellow local author Lynne Dempsey and her dog Coconut.

My friends Mary and Kirsten hung out with me.

Out for ice cream at Isabella's.





It's still a little surreal to me that I was actually at a book signing. That's the sort of thing I dreamed about not even a year ago. I had tons of fun and made great new friends.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Wrap-Up

Books I Read

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

3/5


Recommended to anyone who likes long books, dual perspectives, and historical fiction.


Every Day by David Levithan

4/5

Recommended to anyone who likes romance and main characters with interesting obstacles (A is forced to leave his current body for another one every night, never staying longer than a day). It's paranormal for people who don't like paranormal.

Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper

3/5

Recommended to anyone who likes "Doctor Who" (especially Ten), a quick and easy read, and plenty of action.

A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

4/5

(Yes, this is the second book in a series, but it reads as a standalone! I know a lot of my friends who read this for our teen book club were confused by this.) Recommended to anyone who likes dogs, sweet stories that'll make you cry, and a quick read.

Compulsion by Martina Boone

3.5/5

(Thank you for the ARC, Martina!) Compulsion is beautifully written gothic romance. I found myself reading with a pencil clutched in my hand because I underlined so much. There were characters I loved, characters I loved to hate, and characters I loved to feel conflicted about. The ending was especially gripping, with a plot twist I definitely didn't see coming. Barrie, Mark, and Pru ended up being my favorite characters all the way through, no question, but my favorite parts of the book were the ones where Cassie appears. I enjoyed trying to figure out if she was someone to trust or someone to stay away from. I highly recommend this book to fans of the Beautiful Creatures series.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (a reread)

5/5

(I've reread this book several times now, and each time I do I love it a little bit more. I think I was too harsh on it at first because I'd been used to the obvious, non-stop action in the first two books.) Recommended to fans of The Hunger Games series (obviously), dystopian novels, and a kick-butt heroine. I know some people who stopped reading after the first book. Don't! It only gets better!

A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

3/5

I know a lot of my friends watch "Sherlock," and, as a Sherlockian myself, I really enjoyed going back and seeing where the first episode came from. I was really surprised at how much detail Moffat and Gatiss put in to the show. I would definitely recommend those who haven't read any original Sherlock Holmes stories themselves read it for that purpose alone. Also recommended to anyone who likes short stories, mysteries, and a series to get invested in. (For those of you who have read the Sherlock Holmes stories, which are your favorites? The Hounds of the Baskervilles seems to be a popular one.)

Movies I Watched

"The Breakfast Club"

4/5

Recommended to anyone who likes 80's movies, simple stories, laugh-out-loud humor, and character-driven stories.

"Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"

4/5

Recommended to anyone who likes simple stories, character-driven stories, and a cute family-friendly movie to watch any time of year.

"Mockingjay: Part 1"

5/5

Recommended to fans of The Hunger Games series, dystopian novels, and a kick-butt heroine.

Quotes I Wrote

“Do you think we should’ve listened to [Hugh]?” I asked Maya and Jack a few minutes later, suddenly shrouded in guilt. “I mean, Ross did say he’s the most powerful wizard in Librum. Maybe he really did mean all that stuff [being in "grave danger"].”
“Powerful wizard my foot,” Maya grumbled. “I don’t care how good that man’s heart is, the guy is a nutjob. He called you Alan, Alex, Audrey, Augustus, and Augustine in the space of about ten minutes!”
--August Knight and the Sword of Gold


“What’s the worst that could—”
“Have you learned nothing?” Jack said incredulously. “That’s exactly what you said right before we left to explore Librum, got your ankle twisted, and almost killed by a demon-assassin in disguise.”--August Knight and the Sword of Gold


“Sun’s setting,” I said later that day.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” Maya said sarcastically. “Because the rest of us are blind and couldn’t see that for ourselves.”--August Knight and the Sword of Gold


“It’s like the freaking Elder Wand,” Jack said.
“That’s not good!” Maya sounded truly panicked. “The owners of the Elder Wand usually ended up dead!”
“Relax,” I said. “It’s not the Elder Wand. If you haven’t noticed, Harry Potter was made up.”
“You never know,” Maya said in a singsong voice. “A few days ago, I would’ve agreed with you, but now . . .”
“You know, most of today’s Earthen fantasy authors were born in Librum,” Ross piped up. “They travel via necklace, pretend they’ve lived there all along, and write stories based on their experiences here.”
“Does that mean—” Jack started, wide-eyed.
“No.” Ross sighed. “J.K. Rowling was, unfortunately, actually born in England. That’s one genius you guys can claim.”
--August Knight and the Sword of Gold 

Obsessions I Acquired

"1989." I'm really glad Taylor Swift decided to try something different, and it paid off! Every single song on this album is 80's-inspired pop. My favorites are, "Welcome to New York," "Out of the Woods," "Wildest Dreams," "You Are In Love," and "Wonderland."

"Supernatural." (Thank you SO MUCH, Cait, for getting me into this show!) In two weeks, I've watched three and a half seasons, and every minute spent watching it is a minute well spent. Every time I finish a season I immediately look up the YouTube video for that season's bloopers/gag reels, because they're hilarious. It's almost impossible to choose a favorite between the two boys, because the reason why they're each so awesome is because they're awesome together. My favorite episodes so far are, "Hell House," "In My Time of Dying," "Simon Said," "The Usual Suspects," "Nightshifter," "Tall Tales," "Hollywood Babylon," "Folsom Prison Blues," "What Is and What Should Never Be," "The Kids Are Alright," "Bad Day at Black Rock" (possibly my all-time favorite), "Mystery Spot," "Ghostfacers," "No Rest For the Wicked," "In the Beginning," "Yellow Fever," "Wishful Thinking," and "After School Special" (which is the last episode I've watched so far, so no spoilers, please!).

(Wow, I just realized how many favorite episodes I have. It's like an entire season's worth!)

"The Hanging Tree." I don't care what Jennifer Lawrence says about her singing voice. She sounds awesome in this song. And the scene in the movie is even better.

Picture of the Month



How was your November?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Read

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday with "The Broke and the Bookish"! :) This week's prompt is: Which ten sequels are you excited to read?



1. The Seeker and The Soul by Stephenie Meyer

I loved The Host SO much, and I didn't know it was going to be a sequel until a few months after I finished reading it. Of course I started freaking out with my BFF about the possibilities in store for the next books. Sadly, there isn't a release date for either of these books, so I'll just have to keep obsessively checking the Goodreads page for an update patiently waiting for some news.

2. Winter by Marissa Meyer

Cress left us hanging on so many levels. And I have to wait until November of NEXT YEAR for Winter. About the same amount of time I have to wait for Season 4 of "Sherlock." Ah, the life of a fangirl. *sighs*

3. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

Finally, a book that has a cover to include in the post! And this book is actually published! It's just a matter of time before I can get my hands on it and love it as much as I loved the first one.

4. The Treatment by Suzanne Young


The Treatment (The Program, #2)

I read The Program a few months ago for my book club and loved it. Once my friend is done reading it, I'm going to borrow it. I have a feeling the last book in this series is going to make me cry.

5. The Order of the Stick: War and XPs by Rich Burlew



The Order of the Stick: War and XPs (The Order of the Stick, #3)

My brother got me into this series, and it's hysterical. I highly recommend it to anyone who plays Dungeons & Dragons. I've laughed out loud many times (sometimes late at night when everyone's asleep) while reading this series.

(I'm going to cheat a little with these next ones, because, sadly, I've finished most of the series with sequels I was excited to read. So the following five are all series I'm excited to start.)

6. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays 

I won this book in a giveaway and hadn't seen a single review for it, good or bad, so I went into it totally blind. I'm thirty pages in and already can't wait to recommend it to everyone I know! I was hooked from page one. So far it's like a mix of Divergent, "Doctor Who," and my 2013 NaNoWriMo book, so I'm pretty excited. :)

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Every single review I've seen for this book (and its sequels!) have been raving. It's been a while since I've read a book worth raving about (We Were Liars by E. Lockheart being the last one).

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Just like with Throne of Glass, DOSAB has gotten a ton of great reviews. At first it didn't seem like the kind of book I'd like, but trusted blogger friends have said otherwise. It's on my TBR shelf right now!

9. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins



Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

And just like with DOSAB, this didn't seem like my kind of book. I thought it was another fluffy romance, like all the other fluffy romances. But Rainbow Rowell apparently loves it and Stephanie Perkins is the one who organized the My True Love Gave to Me holiday anthology, which I'm so excited to read!

10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

So technically I've already started this one, but I'm only sixty pages in, so I think I can still include it on this list. ;) So far, there's nothing I dislike about it (other than having to look up how to spell the author's name every. single. time I type it). I was hooked from page one!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Beautiful Books Linkup--November

The "Notebook Sisters" are co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful Books." It's a lot like their "Beautiful People" linkup, except focused more on the actual book than the characters. Click HERE to read about it.

Today I'll be talking about my NaNoWriMo book, August Knight and the Sword of Gold, an MG fantasy novel about a twelve-year-old boy's quest to kill an evil dragon and return magic to a land called Librum.





1. Be honest: how is your writing going?




It's a little slow at the moment. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't be too disappointed with my level of excitement for the story, but after last year's book (Flightless Birds), this one pales in comparison.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?



My little brother woke me up by jumping on my legs. He had this uncanny ability of doing this seconds before my alarm clock went off. Somehow, waking up to bruised knees and hot, stinky, morning breath on my face isn't nearly as annoying as it is to be jerked from a pleasant dream by an incessant beep, beep, beep.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?



No cover yet, and the only picture on my Pinterest board is one I happened to glance up and see on my Feedly when starring a post from Post Secret. It fits perfectly with August's character, and he would probably end up sending in a secret just like it.



4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us!



No pictures, but here are the descriptions:

August: 5'0", blue eyes, messy brown hair, big feet. Wears simple, comfortable clothing, usually jeans and a T-shirt with his red Converse.

Maya: 4'10", brown eyes, thick black hair (almost reaches her waist), long legs, skin the color of dark chocolate. Often wears athletic shorts, running shoes, and rainbow loom bracelets.

Jack: 5'1", green eyes, pale skin, curly golden hair, ears that stick out a little. Wears button-down shirts, jeans, black-framed glasses, sneakers, and the watch his father used to own.

5. What scene are you most excited to write?


Well the scene I was most excited to write has already been written. :) It involved a spastic, narcoleptic wizard named Hugh Nicholson and his deranged rabbit, Fluffernutter.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.


The door opened and there stood an extremely old man. He had a long, pure white beard; squinted eyes; and frizzy hair that made it look like he’d stuck his finger in an electrical socket.
“Girl Scouts already?” He said in his squeaky voice. He dug in the pocket of his robes—which were navy blue and had golden moons and stars printed on it—and pulled out three fat, gold coins. “All right. Do you have any Thin Mints?”
“Uh, we’re not Girl Scouts,” I said. “Actually, we’re not even girls. Well, Maya is, but the rest of us aren’t.”
“Maya?” He said, squinting even more so his eyes were practically shut. “Maya Angelou? But she’s dead!”
“Not Maya Angelou,” Maya said. “Maya Rose. It’s—er—nice to meet you, sir.”
“Hugh,” Ross said from my shoulder. [Ross is a bookworm--literally. So he often has to rely on larger creatures to carry him around.] “It’s me, Ross.”
Hugh leaned forward, so close, I could feel his breath on my face. It smelled like pickles. When he saw Ross, he grinned wide enough for me to see all of his teeth. Well, what teeth he had left.
“So it is!” He said. “Ross, old buddy, how are ya’?”
“Good,” Ross said. “Can we come in? I need to ask you a favor.”
“Of course, of course,” Hugh mumbled. He stood back and gestured for us to go inside. “Come in, come in.”
“Does he have a beard?” I heard Jack whisper as Maya helped him step through the doorway. “The crazy ones always have beards.”
“Yeah,” Maya whispered back. “He has a beard.”

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

When I started out, I expected the plot to be nice and simple (though I always expect the plots of my books to be nice and simple--it never turns out that way). But now that I've written about 20,000 words at this point, I figured out that there is a much fouler villain at play than a simple dragon. Snow White and the seven dwarves made an appearance, too, which I hadn't expected.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?

When I started out, I didn't really like August. This is my first time writing a book where the protagonist is a boy other than The Adventure That Started With Nuts, but Nutty was a squirrel, so it was a bit different. I had a hard time getting into his head. But I'm starting to have more fun with him now, and Jack, who wouldn't open up until recently. So right now I guess the most difficult character to write is Maya, who is, at the moment, nothing but a bossy, angry, control-freak with a grudge against August. Once I learn what that grudge is, I'm sure I'll understand her more.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

I love the quirky side characters. :) They're what makes Librum come to life, for me. Even though Hugh probably won't show up again (although there's always that possibility), he and Ross are some of my favorite characters to write.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?


Yes, but I won't say who. ;)

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?


I usually do at this point, but right now the only song I have on the playlist is "Wonderland" by Taylor Swift. I've been listening to her "1989" album nonstop, and that song is one of my favorites from the CD.

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Hugh and Ross for sure, and I'd probably stop by and visit with Snow White and the other princesses, who are way more kick-butt in my book. Snow actually gets her hands dirty and helps the dwarves in the mine, Aurora is a witch who often has to fight off evil magical creatures, and Ariel is a Tae Kwon Do master.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily word count? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)


One of the best parts about NaNoWriMo being in November is that it's right after Halloween, which means I have plenty of chocolate to reward myself with. :) I also use various Netflix shows (right now I'm watching "Once Upon a Time") as motivation.

14. What is your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?


Probably the one by Joss Whedon: "I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of."

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

It just feels like I'm fighting to get the words out more this year than usual. I'm not frustrated, more disappointed. But my moods usually change quickly. Ask me again tomorrow and I might say it's all rainbows and butterflies. :P

How's your NaNoWriMo so far?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Encyclopedia of Me - N










nevillegirl:

Nevillegirl is one of the first bloggers I ever met and talked to regularly. We met a couple years ago on the "Young Writers Program" (NaNoWriMo for kids under eighteen) and bonded over our love for Harry Potter. I commented on nearly every single one of her posts and try my best to keep up today. It's been awesome to connect and introduce our favorite fandoms to each other. If it weren't for her, I might never have watched "Doctor Who!" You can check out her blog at "Musings From Neville's Navel."

New York City:

Even though I wouldn't want to live there, New York City is such a fun place to visit. Our family even went to the top of the Empire State Building! My brother and I even made up a song about New York when we were little. Several of my books take place in New York, as well, including Cosmo.

NaNoWriMo:

It had to be in here somewhere. ;) NaNoWriMo is on par with Christmas for me. I love it. This will be my sixth year participating, and it definitely won't be my last! I've spent months planning my book for this year (a middle-grade fantasy novel featuring a legendary golden sword, a dragon named Button, a narcoleptic wizard, and an eighty-year-old cat lady/retired assassin) and am very excited about it.

Neville Longbottom:

Ah, Neville. A klutz and a proud member of Dumbledore's Army, you can't help but love him. I definitely wasn't the only one who cheered in the movie theater a couple years ago when he sliced Nagini's head off. I love seeing his character develop as I reread the series.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

3.5/5


Recommended to anyone who likes dark reads, mystery, and romance.


Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

5/5

Recommended to anyone who is looking for a character-driven, family read, especially for those who love the books Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. You can read my review HERE.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

4/5

Recommended to anyone who likes quick reads, graphic novels, and cute, middle-grade stories.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L Holm

4/5

Recommended to anyone looking for a super cute, character-driven, quick read for the whole family.

Movies I Watched

"Say Anything"

3/5

Recommended to anyone who likes simple, character-driven stories, and romance.

"Fed Up"

4/5 

Recommended to anyone who likes documentaries about food, especially those along the lines of "Food Inc." and "Super Size Me."

"Gone With the Wind"

3.5/5 

Recommended to anyone who likes romance, character-driven stories, and is learning about the civil war. You can read my review HERE.

Quotes I Wrote

I did a few dialogue exercises from my NaNoWriMo high-school folder. The book I'm writing this year is a middle-grade fantasy called August Knight and the Sword of Gold.



        “We can’t just go charging off to the cave!” Maya practically screeched. “We need to make a plan first.”



         I [August] waved her comment away with a flick of my wrist. “Nah. We can make a plan as we go. It’ll save time. Kill two birds with one stone. It’s called multitasking.”



         “Studies have proven that multitasking negatively affects the performance of each job you do,” Jack piped up. “Also, saying that something will save time, followed by the idiom ‘kill two birds with one stone’ is redundant.”



         Maya nodded her head toward Jack. “Thank you. At least somebody around here’s got my back.”



         “I don’t have your back,” Jack said, deadpanning. “I don’t in any way own or control your back. You do.”



         I crossed my arms and glared at Maya. “Fine. We’ll do it your way. What’s this ‘great plan’ of yours?”

         Maya grinned, eyes sparkling. “I’ve got a few ideas.”

Obsessions I Acquired

"Once Upon a Time." Thanks, Kirsten, for getting me into this show! :) It's awesome! I finished season 2 a couple days ago, and have discovered that my favorite episodes are those that focus on Rumplestiltskin and Belle.

"Veronica Mars." Yes, another TV show, and a good one! It reminds me of a better version of Nancy Drew. I'm watching it with my mom and dad, and even though we're only a few episodes in, we're hooked!

Picture of the Month

BENADRYL CUCUMBERPATCH
Do you know who they're talking about?


How was your October?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Delicious Reads

nevillegirl tagged me for a Halloween-themed blog meme, all about BOOKS! :) I jumped at the chance to participate, of course, and I'm just going to go ahead and say now that I tag all of you. (Yes, you, reading this post.)

1. Apples
Ah, healthy food. It is deep, meaningful, and probably won a lot of awards but, um, it really isn’t your thing.
What Is the What by Dave Eggers. Interesting read, for the most part, but it was a little long and the writing style didn't click with me. It wasn't a bad book, just not my cup of tea.


2. Milk chocolate
This is the book that you’d recommend to absolutely EVERYONE.

Ooh, SO MANY. Harry Potter, Eleanor & Park, The Fault In Our Stars, etc. Basically just go to the five-star list on my Goodreads and you'll see all of my choices.

3.Black jellybeans
WHY DO THESE EXIST?!

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, Girl In the Arena by Lise Haines, Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner, to name a few.

4. Chocolate kisses
Aww…this novel had the best romance.

Other than the obvious ones (Eleanor & Park and The Fault In Our Stars), Cress was adorable. I won't give any spoilers, but two characters in particular stole my heart. I ate it up in just a few days.

5. Gummy spiders 
Eek! You made sure to check under your bed every night for a week after reading this scary one.
TV shows scare me more than books do ("Torchwood" being one, though even that didn't give me nightmares or anything). The scariest book I've read would have to be Asylum by Madeline Roux. I was reading one of the creepiest parts at two in the morning, by the light of a dying flashlight, when everyone else was asleep. Em Garner's Contaminated series, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale were a few others.
6. Jumbo lollipop
This took you forever to get through, but hey! You did it!

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. That book is a freaking BRICK. It didn't help that the beginning was slow, either, but the ending made up for it. :)

7. Cotton candy
Admit it, you loved this when you were younger. (You probably still do.) Think: children’s or MG fiction.

Oh gosh, there were tons. But two series that really stand out to me (other than Harry Potter) are the Ramona series and the Thoroughbred series. I reread Ramona like there was no tomorrow and read close to 40 of the 70+ Thoroughbred books.

Feel free to answer the questions in the comments, or write a post of your own! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

20 Things You May Not Know About Me

Nevillegirl tagged me a while ago for a "20 Things You May Not Know About Me" tag, and because I've been a terrible blogger lately, I'm only getting around to it now. *sigh* But I did do it eventually, so that's got to count for something, right? Anyway:

1. How tall are you?


Five feet and five and a half inches, last we checked. I used to be the shortest person amongst my friends for the longest time, but I'm at least half an inch taller than my BFF now and several inches taller than my mom. Of course, being tall(ish) comes with responsibilities, so when my dad's not around, I'm the designated grab-things-from-the-high-shelves person.

2. Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?

I manage to make a spectacular mess in the kitchen, even when making something as simple as a bowl of cereal. I'm good at organizing things, but I'm not good at keeping things clean. I can carry lots of things at once, but I usually end up dropping at least one of them.

3. What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

Bloggers who don't respond to comments! What's up with that? Also, I hate it when I can't subscribe to follow-up comments. Drives. Me. Insane.

4. What’s your biggest non-blog-related peeve?

Hiatus. I'm not a patient person.
5. What’s your favorite song?


6. What’s your favorite Etsy store that isn’t yours?

I don't use Etsy. :P

7. What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?

Reading and writing!
8. What’s your favorite junk food?

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And cookies. And ice cream. And doughnuts. I also really like hot chocolate and coffee drinks (but not plain coffee--blech).

9. Do you have a pet?

Yes! A little shi-chon named Scout. And she is, without a doubt, the best fit for our family. She's spunky, playful, snuggly, energetic, and just a little crazy. She definitely has a personality, and she won't hesitate to jump onto the top of the couch, walk over to you, and whack your head with her paw to get a treat. But say "mailman" or "UPS" and she goes berserk!

10. What is your top favorite nonfiction and fiction book?
 
 Fiction: Harry Potter. Non-fiction: Um . . . I guess I Am Malala.

11. What’s your favorite beauty product?

Lip gloss, since that's all I really use. :P

12. When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

I can't remember when I was last embarrassed, but I remember the last time someone else was embarrassed in front of me. At the Ren Faire a couple weeks ago, a boy ordered food from the stand I was working at. He was maybe sixteen or seventeen, and when I handed him his food, I said, "Enjoy!" He must've been expecting me to say, "Have a nice day" or something, because he said, "You, too," then immediately blushed and started babbling, "Well, you're not eating the food, so I guess you wouldn't enjoy. I mean, you might like the food, but you're not eating it now, so that doesn't really make any sense . . ." It went on like that for a while, before I interrupted and started talking about how the food he'd ordered (Scotch eggs) was my favorite thing there so he wouldn't feel so awkward. But he was still bright red when he left. I felt so bad for him.

13. If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Butterbeer, for sure!
14. What’s your favorite movie?

Besides all the normal book-to-movie adaptations I always mention ("Harry Potter," "The Fault In Our Stars," "The Hunger Games," etc.), I really like "The Way, Way Back" and "What If."

15. What were you in high school? Prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, band geek, valedictorian, loner, artist, prep, et cetera?

Being homeschooled, I have no idea. :P Out of all of those, probably nerd.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

London! It'd be so cool.

17. PC or Mac?

*skips question because computer terminology baffles me*

18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?


The male love interest in Beneath the Moon and Stars bought the female love interest hardback copies of her favorite books, just because. He definitely knows the way to her heart.

19. Favorite celebrity?

Jennifer Lawrence, because she's so delightfully dorky, awkward, and hilarious. But nobody can deny that Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing actor, too.

20. What blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with?

All of you! *sends virtual hugs to all the bloggers*

Tag, you're it!










Tuesday, October 7, 2014

OTPs

Having recently started using Pinterest more often, I've had fandoms on my mind. Specifically OTPs.

What is an OTP?

An OTP--or a One True Pairing--is a couple from a book or TV show that you "ship" (meaning that you support an existing couple, or want two characters that aren't in a relationship to fall in love). However, I don't think you should be forced to choose just one, so here are my several true pairings.

Couple: Rose and the tenth Doctor

Book/TV show: "Doctor Who"

Couple name: Tenrose

Why I ship them: He showed her the universe, she held his hand. The Doctor has a dark side, a tragic past, and is often lonely, but Rose was the bright spot in his world. They battled aliens, saved lives, and protected the future. They made the perfect team, and might just be might top OTP.



Couple: Sherlock and Molly

Book/TV show: "Sherlock"

Couple name: Sherlolly

Why I ship them: Similar to Sheldon and Amy's relationship on "The Big Bang Theory," Sherlock is oblivious to Molly's attempts at romance, and it frustrates us Sherlolly shippers like nothing else. Molly is willing to do anything for the consulting detective. Heck, (highlight for spoiler) she even helped him fake his own death and managed to keep it a secret for two years. And while it seems as if Sherlock will never come to his senses (such as in the embarrassing Christmas scene in "A Scandal In Belgravia"), shots of Sherlock giving Molly tender looks that she doesn't notice, such as these, gives us some hope.








"Sherlock" headcanon


Couple: Neville and Luna

Book/TV show: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Couple name: Luneville

Why I ship them: The two oddballs, the misfits, the ones who never really had friends before Hogwarts and the DA. They're both so sweet and kind and brave. They'd be perfect for each other.



Couple: Hazel and Augustus

Book/TV show: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Couple name: None (because most of the TFIOS fans say that Hazel and Augustus are so great together, they don't need a name.

Why I ship them: These two are smart, sarcastic, funny, and adorable together. Gus was the first person to get Hazel to do things since she was diagnosed. They even fangirl/fanboy(?) over books together. How cool is that?!



***SPOILERS FOR "Gilmore Girls"***

Couple: Luke and Lorelai

Book/TV show: "Gilmore Girls"

Couple name: Javajunkie (quite possibly the best couple name ever)

Why I ship them: This explanation could be kept to simply, "he makes the coffee, she drinks the coffee," and that would be enough. But I think part of the reason why these two are so freaking perfect for each other is because they're both extremely loyal and willing to drop everything they're doing to help the other. Luke kicked customers out of his diner and closed it in order to give her a ride to the hospital when her father collapsed. Lorelai worked at the diner for no pay so Luke could plan his Uncle Louie's funeral. Luke is like the father Rory never had, and Lorelai is usually able to get him to crack a smile, or at least wear a different baseball cap. And they both put up with each other's annoying quirks, which is probably one of the most important things in a relationship.

You can totally see it in the way he looks at her . . . and she's completely oblivious.

***END SPOILERS***

What's your OTP?