Thursday, July 7, 2016

I'm 8!!! + a Giveaway

8 years ago today I published my first ever blog post at the age of 8. So yeah, pretty cool that those numbers are matching up now! Welcome to my blogiversary bash!

It's been one heck of a crazy ride, but I've loved every bit of it. Getting to meet all of you fellow bloggers/online friends has been amazing and I'm so grateful that you faithful followers have stuck around to witness my insanity. A big, big thank you to all of my readers, commenters, and anyone who reads my blog, whether this is your first time in my little corner of the internet or you've been here for years. You guys make me smile and I couldn't ask for a better group of friends.

My virtual hug to all of you. ^

Since I'm turning 8, I thought it'd be fun to play a get to know you game involving lists (YAY), because I love lists. Like a lot. I make lists every day for everything I do. Sometimes they involve numbers, other times checkboxes, and other times none of the above. For these lists, they'll be numbered, 1-8, though they won't necessarily be in any kind of rank order. I'll list 8 things about myself (maybe 8 of my favorite books or favorite words), and you can steal any or all of the list topics (as well as adding your own!) and comment your own lists in the comments. :) You guys get to know me, I get to know you, and thus begins/continues a beautiful friendship.

I also thought it would be fun to continue the big thanks to all of you with a GIVEAWAY!!! Read on to find out more . . .

Are you ready?

8 favorite books

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
3. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
4. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
6. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
8. The Calvin & Hobbes series by Bill Watterson

(Note: How in the world is anybody supposed to narrow down their favorite books to EIGHT?! Why do I torture myself?! This list will probably change in the next ten minutes, so that at least gives you an idea of my favorites.)

8 favorite movies

1. The "Harry Potter" movies
2. "The Fault In Our Stars"
3. The "Hunger Games" movies
4. "The Way, Way Back"
5. "What If"
6. "Stuck In Love"
7. "Midnight In Paris"
8. Marvel movies

(Note: Again, totally not a complete list . . .)

8 favorite TV shows

1. "Doctor Who"
2. "Supernatural"
3. "Sherlock"
4. "Gilmore Girls"
5. "Castle"
6. "Jane the Virgin"
7. "Veronica Mars"
8. "Friends"

8 favorite musical artists/albums

1. Taylor Swift
2. All of the music from "Hamilton"
3. The Civil Wars
4. Imagine Dragons
5. Ed Sheeran
6. OneRepublic
7. Sleeping At Last
8. All of the music from "Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog"

8 favorite OTPs

1. Tenrose (the tenth Doctor + Rose from "Doctor Who")
2. Luneville (Luna + Neville from Harry Potter)
3. Thress (Thorne + Cress from the Lunar Chronicles)
4. Sherlolly (Sherlock + Molly from "Sherlock")
5. Megstiel (Meg + Castiel from "Supernatural")
6. Javajunkie (Luke + Lorelai from "Gilmore Girls")
7. Caskett (Castle + Beckett from "Castle")
8. Jane + Michael (from "Jane the Virgin - what the heck is their ship name?!)

8 favorite smells

1. Baking cookies
2. Books (especially trade paperbacks)
3. A new box of crayons
4. Mown grass
5. Peanut butter
6. My "Sherlock's Study" Book Lovers' Soy Candle
7. Pencil shavings
8. Garlic

8 favorite writing snacks/drinks

1. Reese's peanut butter cups
2. Popcorn
3. Cheez-Its
4. Cookies
5. Hot chocolate
6. Milkshakes
7. Mochas
8. Lemonade

(So yeah, lots of chocolate is key.)

8 favorite names (or "8 names that Kate repeatedly uses throughout different stories without realizing it)

1. Isabel/Izzy
2. Jamie
3. Sam
4. Patch
5. Cassandra/Cassie
6. Charlie
7. Emma
8. Grey

8 favorite animals

1. Puppies
2. Llamas
3. Elephants
4. Horses
5. Giraffes
6. Lemmings
7. Marmosets
8. Pandas

8 favorite celebrities

1. Felicia Day
2. Lin-Manuel Miranda
3. David Tennant
4. Benedict Cumberbatch
5. Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles (Because now I can't imagine one without the other; They're a package deal.)
6. Emma Watson
7. Daniel Radcliffe
8. Jennifer Lawrence

8 favorite words

1. Magic
2. Serendipity
3. Superfluous
4. Optimism
5. Ineffable
6. Eloquence
7. Iridescent
8. Epiphany

8 words to describe me

1. Imaginative
2. Fangirl
3. Introvert
4. Klutzy
5. Geeky
6. Booksniffer
7. Homeschooled
8. Optimistic

One lucky winner will receive a FREE e-book of the Fauxpocalypse anthology, a science-fiction collection of stories about the end of the world that wasn't. I'm one of the contributors. Each story has its own special take on this fake apocalypse and provides a different tone to the book. Everyone will find a story that speaks to them!

All you have to do to enter is check out the Rafflecopter form below. You have until July 31st. Good luck!!

(Note: If you already own a copy of Fauxpocalypse, I will gift a copy to one person of the winner's choice!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for joining in with the Blogiversary fun! Leave a comment with a list of 8 things about yourself, if you'd like, and don't forget to enter the giveaway! Here's to another 8 years! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

30 Day SuperWhoLock Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 = "Favorite 'Sherlock' ship?"

I'm definitely in the minority here (I make up part of 3% of the fandom*), but here it is:


Sure, it's not canon, but that doesn't stop it from being awesome. The unrequited frustration Molly has to be feeling is about the level of agonizing torture us Sherlolly shippers go through every time we watch the show. What makes it even worse is that it's been three seasons and SIX YEARS of waiting. And still nothing, save for the numerous sparks and chemistry that neither of them act upon. GAH.

I'd just like to say, for someone who can correctly identify every other single aspect of someone just by giving them a glance, Sherlock Holmes sure is oblivious to Molly's feelings. EVEN JOHN SEES IT. Everyone knows Molly would do anything, anything, for Sherlock. Hell, she even pretended he was dead for two years in order to keep him safe.

I always like to describe Sherlock and Molly's relationship as Sheldon and Amy's from "The Big Bang Theory." They're two extremely different people when it comes to more social aspects, but they share a lot of the same interests and help each other out in their weaker areas. Sherlock helps Molly become a stronger and more assertive person throughout the seasons while Molly tries her best to educate Sherlock in empathy. It's a perfect match.

Now if only we could get Season 4 . . .

*a random percentage I pulled out of thin air totally professional and accurate statistic

Are you a SuperWhoLockian? Feel free to steal these prompts for yourself! Which "Sherlock" ship is your favorite?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


I was underwhelmed. The story started out really strong, then started lagging, then just went in directions I wasn't expecting towards the end. I didn't find Jacob to have much personality (I kept forgetting his name throughout the book, that's how bland he was) and the romance was forced. The plot itself would've been great if I hadn't been misled into thinking that it was going to be creepy. It was strange in a good way and I liked the photographs they included throughout the book, but overall? Meh.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo


Beautiful! I had seen the musical before reading it, but I enjoyed it all the same. The writing was fantastic all the way through, even in the abridged version that I read. The story was more concentrated than I've heard the full-length version is, but I didn't find it to be lacking at any point. The middle of the story was my favorite, around the time Cosette is getting older and we're introduced to Marius and Eponine. Having only experience Marius in the musical before reading it, I was surprised at how different his character was here! I have to say, he disappointed me a little. His love for Cosette caused him to be a very one-track mind kind of person, which made him insensitive, I think, to Jean Valjean and Eponine. He had way more empathy in the movie.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter


Lin-Manuel Miranda can't possibly be any more of a genius than he is now. How does he do it all?! Getting to read about the birth of Hamilton and the time, energy, and hardwork that went into the entire process was addicting. I read the whole thing in about two days. I loved seeing photographs from the show and reading a little bit more about everyone involved in the production. The annotations from LMM in the lyrics were my favorite part, though. It's a very inspiring book.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


This was a very fun and interesting fantasy/dystopian read. Had I not seen so many raving reviews for it, I think I would've enjoyed it even more, but I did have high expectations going into it. The plot twists involved in the story were very well executed, though, and I liked that there were so many opportunities for tension. The romance, however? Color me disappointed. What I thought was going to be a love triangle at first (which I was already groaning at) turned out to be some kind of love square. I swear, everyone was in love with this girl. EVERYONE. And the chemistry was lacking with every single interest. Grr.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey


Having gone to the Boston Commons recently as a family, we thought it'd be fun to read this. It's super cute and has great illustrations. You really can't go wrong with a picture book about ducklings.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger


There was nothing really wrong with this book as far as I'd read except for my own personal preferences, I didn't like it. The setting was really depressing, and starting out a book with several detailed scenes about hunting and plucking and cleaning geese isn't the way to get me into a story.

Movies I Watched

"Finding Dory"


Super cute, funny, great Pixar movie, as usual. I liked getting to see more of Dory than we did in "Finding Nemo," but I think overall I liked "Finding Nemo" better.

"The Way, Way Back" (a rewatch)


Fantastic, as usual. This is the third time around I've watched this movie, but it's still as good every time. It has a lazy summer feel to it that makes it utterly enjoyable to experience, but still has complex characters and a good storyline.

"Moonrise Kingdom"


Oh my gosh, this was so weird. It's definitely the strangest movie I've ever seen, but I liked it a lot. Everything was very deadpan, but the characters were cute and the story was fun. Parts of it were almost comical in the way a silent movie would be, if that makes sense.

Quotes I Wrote

At the writer's camp I went to a couple weeks ago, one of our prompts for the poetry class was to write an ode to something unusual, something other than a person. This was the result for me:

To Beautiful Disasters
Kate I. Foley

Loose lips, quick quips, sunk ships,
Boys and girls who
Meddle with matches.
Some just want to watch the world burn.

Your face splits into
Slippery smiles,
Glittering "what ifs?"

Smoke consumes,
Breathes new deaths into once lush spaces.
Flames rise,
Slash across canvases once thought to be perfect.

You crack, crumble, destroy, devastate,
Clutch at the wisps of innocence and teach it something new,
Cramming its head with news headlines and calluses and voices that never whisper.
You put shattered people back together with borrowed shards.
There can be no repairs without brokenness,
No band-aids without scrapes.

And you,
My beautiful disaster,
My golden jewel of rubberneckers and masochists and twisted minds,
You are the fodder to my creativity,
My blank page.
You swallow sparrows and bluebirds whole and spit out the bones,
Leaving me to wonder
What remains.

Obsessions I Acquired

Pfft, I'm too obsessed with Hamilton right now to be obsessed with anything else! I've now read lots of the Ron Chernow biography, memorized most of the soundtrack, and devoured the Hamiltome. Oh, and I've watched tons of the Ham4Ham videos and gotten my hands on every interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda that I can.

Picture of the Month

Our family got NOH8 pictures taken a few days ago. The photographer was AMAZING. Seeing so many people in line going to support the same cause and take these beautiful pictures was really cool. I can't wait to get our photos.

Dragon Loyalty Award Answers

Earlier this month I was tagged for the "Dragon Loyalty Award" blog tag, so I posted seven facts about myself, except three of these "facts" were actually lies. A bunch of you had some great guesses! Now I'll reveal which of those facts weren't true:

2. The "I" in Kate I. Foley (which is the name I use for most of my writing) stands for "Iris," because my parents are mythology nerds.

Nope! The "I" in Kate I. Foley (which is my author name) actually stands for "Isabel." Technically it's not my middle name (yet), but when I was about four or five I got really upset that my brother, Max, had a middle name and I didn't. So my parents came up with Isabel and it stuck.

5. The first completed story that I can remember writing (at about five or six-years-old) was about a girl whose stuffed animals came to life when she was sleeping.

My first completed story was written when I was around that age, but it was about a ball and a Frisbee who wanted to play together, but couldn't figure out which game to play. They couldn't play catch because they didn't have hands, and they couldn't play Frisbee because, again, they didn't have hands. So they ended up racing each other down the yard (the ball bounced and the Frisbee rolled on its side) until it got dark.

7. In my determination to try writing screenplays, I started writing a Pilot episode of a show about a girl named Grey who would turn people she knew into characters for her stories. Then she found out she could actually turn the people into those characters in real life.

I have been determined to write a completed screenplay, but "Grey Area," as this fictional show was called, never existed. My Pilot episode was a simple contemporary story about a girl trying to break into the television business in a TV show called "Starryedge," named after the town she lived in. That screenplay didn't go anywhere, but it did involve a hectic scene at the Renaissance Faire where Emma (the main character) worked, based on my own work experiences at the Ren Faire.

Great guesses, everybody!  

How was your June?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

30 Day SuperWhoLock Challenge - Day 1

So I found this challenge forever ago and hadn't gotten around to it until now. I won't be doing 30 days in a row necessarily, but I'll be going through each prompt until I finish it up. Any time I'm given a chance to fangirl about my fandoms is a good time for me!

Day 1 = "What fandom did you first join?"

That fandom would be the classic gateway fandom of the three:

The best fandoms are the ones that you have entirely low expectations going into and end up adoring more than baby elephants and a pound of Reese's cups. That was "Doctor Who," for me. A sci-fi alien show featuring creatures that looked like a second grader's robot science fair experiment? I was expecting to hate it. If three people hadn't independently of each other recommended it to me, I wouldn't have even tried. And considering my first experience with the show was "Rose" (the first episode of the 2005 reboot where the main bad guys were animated mannequins), it's a wonder I even continued watching. Thank goodness I have a "don't judge any show by the first episode" rule for myself.

"Father's Day" is eventually what sold me on the show. I wasn't expecting tears. I wasn't expecting anything more than fluffy, silly, goofball, time travel adventures when I started watching. I didn't think I'd end up with an obsession or with crumpled tissues surrounding my bed as I sniffled and hit "next episode." But that's what I got, and thanks to "Doctor Who," nearly every other fandom followed.

Are you a SuperWhoLockian? Feel free to steal these prompts for yourself! What fandom did you first join?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

More Than Words

I mentioned a while back that I was taking a poetry course, and it went fabulously! I moved on to the second level of the course where we go a little deeper into revisions and the nitty gritty of poetry. It's really helped me not just look at the poem as a whole, but at word choice, too, and how the stanzas flow together.

I wanted to share some of the results with a poem I've been working on for my final project, another "fictionalized" piece (meaning the characters in the poem are just that, fictional characters) that goes along with a novel I'm writing now. It's been roughly 5-6 weeks in the making so far, but hopefully I'm getting somewhere.

More Than Words
Kate I. Foley 

You speak of second chances,
first glances,
redemption and resurrection,
blissfully unaware:
I’m not on my second chance,
but my third, my fourth.
Dealt a bad hand, over and
over and
I’ll flash a smile,
bluff my way past your
well-meaning questions,
hold these cards close to my chest to protect
you from myself.
I’m okay.

Lips tugging,
shoulders shrugging.
I don’t know what you want from me,
But I want you.
You, you, you.
From waves of golden hair fine enough to have been
spun from straw in a fairytale.
From eyes that pierce my soul and make me
feel more human.
From a laugh that is music itself,
Beethoven’s envy,
my favorite song to
sing myself to sleep.
I don’t deserve you.

And yet you’ve borrowed my voice,
transformed it into a piece of artwork
I no longer recognize.
You’ve turned yourself into a mirror,
desperate and delusional,
don’t you see how I see you?
The words lodge
in my throat,
my words.
They are nothing without
a voice to string them through the air,
dangle them where you can
see. I am broken.
Don’t you know what I’ve done?
To you, there’s still hoping.
You think you’ll be the one to
fix this. We can fix this.

Three syllables are so heavy.
I can’t take any more weight on these
aching shoulders. Let me tell you without
words. Let me brush the back of your hand with
my fingertips. Let me tell you with
a smile. Let me drive while you sleep
passenger side. Let me hold you close when
night comes.
Just for a moment.
Only for a moment.
Long enough to tell myself that
maybe, I could
deserve you one day.
Long enough to convince myself that
one day I will be able to carry those words,
and it will be beautiful.

What did you think? If you have any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them in the comments! Poetry is still definitely my weak point when it comes to writing, so I welcome whatever constructive criticism you have. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I am Fire! I am Death!

I am Smaug!

And since you're all laughing at how ridiculous I am to think I could ever be as intimidating as Smaug, here's what I actually am.

Baby Smaug who thinks he's intimidating. Or maybe this . . .

Because llamas.

Why all the dragons, you ask? Because Carly at "Books and Etc." tagged me for the Dragon Loyalty Award! The rules of the game are simple: I list seven facts about myself, but being the sneaky dragon that I am, three of them will be lies. Your goal is to guess which three "facts" are false. I'll reveal the correct answers in my June wrap-up post! The winner gets virtual Reese's cups, unless you're allergic to peanut butter or you're one of those weirdos completely normal human beings who doesn't like Reese's cups, in which case you'll get virtual Hershey's Kisses.

Of course you are, because you're awesome.

1. I have a mild tape problem.

I use the term "problem" loosely here, because OBVIOUSLY every Christmas/birthday/just-because-I-think-you're-a-cool-person-and-need-this-amazing-thing present needs to be wrapped with about seventeen feet of Scotch tape. Because what if the corner rips open even the slightest bit and now everyone can see that part of the present is red?! The surprise would be completely ruined!

2. The "I" in Kate I. Foley (which is the name I use for most of my writing) stands for "Iris," because my parents are mythology nerds.

Their interest in mythology is probably why I enjoy Rick Riordan's books so much.

3. My parents sometimes call me Sookie (from "Gilmore Girls") because I'm such a klutz.

For some reason I'm at my worst when it's early in the morning and everyone else is asleep and I knock fourteen different Tupperware containers on my head, causing me to drop the pan I'm holding, which then sends me into a panic and three more Vitamin bottles spill out of the cupboard. And then for the grand finale I walk into a wall as I try to clean it all up.

4. I used to read choose-your-own adventures as a kid and I would obsessively go through the book until I'd reached every possible ending.

It'd make my head spin sometimes, but it was sooo worth it.

5. The first completed story that I can remember writing (at about five or six-years-old) was about a girl whose stuffed animals came to life when she was sleeping.

So I basically rewrote "Toy Story."

6. Even though I despise math, I have this weird thing where I add up the numbers on my digital clock whenever the time changes to help myself fall asleep.

My last lucid thoughts are usually "12:18 makes 12, which makes 3. 12:19 makes 13, which makes 4 . . ."

7. In my determination to try writing screenplays, I started writing a Pilot episode of a show about a girl named Grey who would turn people she knew into characters for her stories. Then she found out she could actually turn the people into those characters in real life.

The show was called "Grey Area," because I thought it was a clever pun, since her newfound powers weren't straight up good or evil.

So, readers, which three "facts" are actually cleverly disguised lies? Guess away in the comments! And if you'd like to use this tag for your own blog, feel free to steal it from me!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

April Wrap-Up/May Wrap-Up


Books I Read

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Finally, the male protagonist I've been craving!! (Coincidentally, one of the best male protagonists I've read since another Simon, the one from Carry On.) He has hobbies, a personality, romantic interest in a person without it having to revolve around the possibility of sex, etc. He seemed like a real person I could run into at a Harry Potter release party. I loved that I was able to read through the whole book in a couple days and not get bored once. It was light, fluffy, made me giggle a few times, and just pure fun. It makes me super happy to see that LGBT+ books are stretching into different genres and styles of stories. I 100% recognize that the books about figuring out your identity and trying to fit in and that sort of thing are super important, but I think it's great that these kinds of LGBT+ beach reads exist, too.

Captain Marvel (Marvel NOW!) #1


This was a fun graphic novel! I'd never read any Captain Marvel stories before, but I really liked seeing her interact with the Guardians of the Galaxy. As far as her character and the actual story go, I do think I prefer Ms. Marvel.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


I'd read this book a long time ago, but didn't remember much, so it was like reading it for the first time all over again. Jo was my favorite character hands down, just because of how much I could relate to her. Really all of the characters were great in different ways, especially because they were so ahead of their time for when the story was written. The story was simple, but enjoyable. It didn't feel outdated like some books from that long ago did. I really like the Jo and Laurie friendship, Beth and Mr. Laurence's relationship, and all of the girls constantly trying to stay sane when dealing with their crotchety old Aunt March. The only thing that bugged me was how obvious some of the chapter endings were with the, "What was the moral of the story here, girls?" kind of attitude. I was fine with the overall message, but it could've been woven into the plot better.

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison


I'd love to be able to go into as much detail about this book as I have with other ARCs I've read, but it's one of those books where there's just not much to say about it. It's not a bad read or one I'm going to scream from the rooftops. The entire thing was pure fluff, the plot and most of the characters didn't have any real substance to them. But it was easy to get through and, true to its name, made me cringe at some parts. I finished it on vacation, as it was a good book to read a few pages of when you're waiting for your stop on the train. (And I'm giving it bonus points because a book being set in England can only help its case.)

Movies I Watched

"A League of Their Own"


Pretty much any movie that Tom Hanks is in is bound to be good. I'm not a huge sports person in general, but I really liked all of the quirky side characters, the humor, and the time period of the story.

"The Dark Knight Rises"


This one was probably my favorite of this particular Batman series. They crammed a ton into one movie, with plenty of nail-biting action, new characters, and plot twists I hadn't seen coming.



There had been a lot of complaints about this adaptation, so going into it I was a little skeptical. I actually liked it! Yeah, it strayed a lot from the book, but the Allegiant book was just okay and frankly really boring most of the time. The fact that the movie was able to spice it up a little, even if it meant changing plot points, is a good thing.

"Little Women" 


This was a great adaptation! All of the actors fit their characters perfectly (especially Christian Bale as Laurie) and it really stuck to the book.

Quotes I Wrote

Mr. Hudson burst into the flat moments later when he heard me yelling at the cat—it had decided walking all over my sketches was an acceptable pasttime—and pulled me into a hug that I was sure bruised my ribs. He then proceeded to babble about how impulsive I was and how he was worried sick and calling everyone he knew and would I like a cup of tea of course I would here sit down did I take anything did Natalie know I was all right Ms. Watson fetch the kettle please thank you oh my goodness I need to tell Marshall you’re home he was out looking you know.
-Ms. Holmes

Dawn wasted no time in demanding answers. I’d barely sat down in the carriage before she said, “So explain to me what exactly is going on.”
“Faye Moriarty is a pain in my arse is what’s going on,” I grumbled distractedly, watching buildings pass us by. Even if we were going as fast as we possibly could, we wouldn’t be going fast enough.
“That doesn’t clear up anything!”
-Ms. Holmes

“Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. We’re knowingly setting up a meeting with a serial killer, her girlfriend-slash-sniper-assassin, and whatever magic powers she seems to suddenly have gained? And we’re doing this all without any shred of a plan?”
“They’re not magic powers, Dawn, be sensible.”
Dawn let out a loud laugh, almost a bark from how strong and devoid of humor it was. “So now you’re the sensible one?”
-Ms. Holmes

There was something about Lila. There was something about the way she walked with her chin up, but you never felt looked down on. There was something about the way she showed all her teeth when she smiled. There was something about the single freckle on her nose that almost looked like she’d put it there deliberately. There was something about her artist’s hands and musician’s lips and poet’s words, but most of all, there was something about her. That impossible, unexplainable, kismet connection one can have with a person. Melody felt that with her.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

More than anything, Joel would’ve loved to leave it all behind: the diner, the town, the apartment he’d vacated, the watch he’d taken a hammer to after the Soulmate Watch announcement. But he couldn’t. Because no matter where he turned, he was plagued by tainted memories, a backwards Wizard of Oz kind of universe, color turned to gray. Dust settled back the way he came. No matter how hard he tried, it would never be the same again.
-Dust Settles

Obsessions I Acquired

Ambient-Mixer - This is great for when I'm doing math homework or reading or doing anything requires a little more concentration. Sometimes I want background noise, but music may not necessarily work because of the distraction. This website allows you to create your own mix of ambient noises, or use someone else's. So far my favorites are the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw common rooms, any of the "Supernatural" Impala mixes, and the inside of the TARDIS.

The music from "Hamilton" - You may have already seen me raving about this musical in previous posts and/or on social media, but just in case you haven't, let me introduce you to the wonder that is "Hamilton." Go find the music on YouTube or Spotify, watch the performance from the Grammys, read about Lin-Manuel Miranda, basically get your hands on EVERYTHING you can, because it's just that good. Once you listen to it you'll understand how awesome it is.

Picture of the Month

My "Supernatural" roleplay friends came out to visit for my birthday this year! It was so much fun. I don't think I've laughed as hard as I did that trip ever. I'm seeing some of them again later this year and I can't wait.

Playing "Curses," a game I highly recommend for big groups of people willing to laugh at themselves.

I had a steampunk-themed murder mystery party, so obviously we all had to dress up.


How was your April?


Books I Read

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


If it weren't for the fact that Richard lacked personality and parts of the book were way longer than they should've been, it had all the makings of a 4 or even 5-star read. I love urban fantasy, and the world Neil Gaiman created a great world that reminded me a lot of the one from the Gregor the Overlander series.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer


Marissa Meyer, you've done it again! Anthologies are kind of tricky to rate because all of the stories vary, but overall I really enjoyed all of them. Only a few seemed kind of slow or unnecessary. (I'm not a huge fan of chapters being retold from another character's perspective, because most of the time we can already figure out how they saw the same scene being played out.) My favorites by far were Glitches, Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky, The Princess and the Guard, and Something Old, Something New. My only complaint: Scarlet/Wolf and Cress/Thorne didn't have stories JUST about them and their arorableness. (Also I may or may not have cried at the end because NOW THE SERIES IS REALLY OVER.)

The Dead Boy and the Paper Cut by Cait Drews


Okay, so this isn't a book I can link to on Goodreads, but you CAN find it on Wattpad! The author's name may sound familiar to you, and if it does it's because this fantabulous book was written by your future Supreme World Leader, none other than Cait from "Paper Fury." THIS BOOK IS PERFECTION. If it were a bound, physical copy that I could hug and use as a visual aid to get people to read it and love it as much as I do, I would gesture with it frantically in people's faces. It made me laugh and cry like a lunatic and I'm so sad it's over, but I absolutely adore the ambiguous ending. And the beautiful writing and imagery!! And fandom/literary/geek references!! And the name Moxie!! All the things!! Go read it immediately!!

So, Anyway... by John Cleese


I was a little disappointed by this one. It was funny sometimes, dragged out in others, and other parts I wished had more time spent on it. It felt disjointed. I liked a lot of the anecdotes, but by about 200 pages into it, I found myself skimming. It could've been organized a lot better. And there were about five pages total spent talking about Monty Python, which definitely didn't seem like enough for a book that had "the making of a Python" written on the back of it. Not bad overall, though.

Movies I Watched

"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"


My favorite of the bunch! It had the perfect mix of humor and action, and the father-son dynamic made the movie shine. I really enjoyed it.

"A Beautiful Planet"


We saw this documentary in an IMAX theater, which was definitely the way to go. The images were gorgeous, and every bit of it was fascinating. I loved it. 

"Pretty in Pink"


A fun eighties movie with interesting characters, but I didn't care for Andie too much. She seemed like a copy of every other part Molly Ringwald had done. I did like Duckie a lot. The casting for his character was perfect.

"The Man with the Golden Gun"


This was especially fun to watch with "The Incredibles" in mind. You could really tell how old it was based on the fight scenes alone, though. It was almost comical. xD

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" 


Great sequel! I enjoyed it just as much as the first one, especially since I could relate to some of it with my own extended Portuguese family. It got more than a few laughs when we watched it in the theater.



This was a really fun musical. Right off the bat, it was full of upbeat songs and constant movement, just like New York is. Jack Kelly was played by Christian Bale, who is the perfect kind of actor for his role, a sort of wannabe cowboy/revolutionary. The overall feel and theme of the movie reminded me of a "Mary Poppins" meets "Les Misérables." Les, probably the youngest of all of them, was even like Gavroche. The music was great, too; catchy, but not in a borderline annoying way like songs from "Music Man" might get stuck in your head.

"Some Kind of Wonderful" 


I liked this one much better than "Pretty in Pink." The characters were more interesting, the plot was simple but still engaging, and the way it ended was perfect. It was also fun to see a love triangle with a boy caught between two girls. Most of the time it seems like it's the other way around.

"What If" (a rewatch)


This is by far one of my favorite Indie movies. It has a great soundtrack, characters who seem real, the perfect cast, and a simple plot line. Everything but the last five minutes is perfect, and I say that only because when they redid the movie to release in the US, they added a more Hollywood ending. My mom and I actually stopped at the point where it was originally supposed to end when rewatching it because it was perfect the way it was!

"Fiddler on the Roof"


This wasn't like any other musical I've seen before, but I really enjoyed it. If you took "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and turned it into a musical, it would strongly resemble "Fiddler on the Roof." I wasn't expecting it to be as funny as it was either, but Max and I laughed out loud several times when watching it. Yente was one of my favorite characters, as well as Motel and Perchik. I liked the first half a lot more than I did the second half, because I thought the first hour and a half or so was funnier and moved more quickly than the second did. After a while the story repeated itself and dragged out where it didn't need to. The ending wasn't what I expected either, but I won't say much on that in case you haven't seen it.

"Captain America: Civil War"


I. Loved. It. Even though it was a Captain America movie, it watched like "The Avengers" or "Age of Ultron" because of how many people they had in it. I'd been skeptical about how they seemed to be handling Black Widow's character based on the trailers, but after watching, they totally nailed it. The Spider-Man and Ant-Man cameos were unexpected, but actually fit well. And Black Panther is a great addition. I can't wait for the next movie.

Quotes I Wrote

“Ah, Astrid, there you are.” Natalie, still packing a pistol and holster, strode toward me. “I wasn’t sure how I’d find you, so I just followed the shouting.”
-Ms. Holmes

“How many places did you check before looking for me here [the hospital]?”
Natalie smirked. “You might be more closed off than our confidential files, but I still know you well enough to think to look here first. What happened?”
-Ms. Holmes

"For the record," she said to Lila now. "I did try to stop him when he told me before he had 'the perfect plan to end all plans.' Because he's had at least seven of those since I've known him, and they all go down like the Hindenburg."
"Hey," Jordan protested.
Lila ignored him. "Good, I feel better knowing he has someone to tell him when he's being an idiot when I'm not around."
"You mean always?" Julie said with a mischievous smile teasing her lips.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Lila was utterly transfixed. Melody didn't have the sort of persona poets were usually associated with, but the imperfection of the poem was perfection itself. It was flawed and entrancing and completely her. It breathed as if it were life itself, and her voice as she became lost in the words lived up to her name.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Picture of the Month

On the way back home from vacation, I was able to stop in at the coffee shop where Taylor from "Paper Daydreams" works to meet her!

Max and I couldn't resist. "Slowly and clearly aim your gun towards the sky!"

Max and I were recently part of a homeschool theater camp and we put on "Peter Pan." I was Bill Jukes, one of the pirates, and the makeup artist was amazing with the design.

All of the pirates together.

Max and I with Captain Hook, and a photobombing Smee.


How was your May?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Spring Book Tag (or Kate is Super Behind on Her TBR)

*laughs forever because when am I not behind on my TBR?*


Engie from "Musings From Neville's Navel" tagged me for the Spring Book Tag! And what better time to do a book tag all about spring than when it doesn't really feel like spring because the weather in Pennsylvania is all over the place right now?

What’s your spring TBR?

*glances nervously toward bowing bookshelves* *continues manic laughter*

So many books . . . so many.

But seriously I'm not sure I have any specific spring TBR books. I'm in a lot of book clubs, so those usually end up taking precedence over everything else, but I'd love to finish reading Les Misérables before summer gets here.

If someone asked you for a spring release recommendation, what book would it be?

Generally I'm not great with remembering what books are coming out when exactly in the year, but Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum was a spring release, and it was fantastic. It was fun and fluffy, but also had a lot of depth to it. Addictive is probably the one word I'd use to describe it.

Which two books are you eagerly awaiting that release within the next two months?


Because with a July 31st release date, it's still technically coming out within the next two months. And OH MY GOD.

I can't think of any other books that are coming out in the next two months. Of course as soon as I hit publish, I'll probably come up with one, because brains are annoying like that.

Which character would make a great Easter Bunny?

Winter from Winter by Marissa Meyer because she would just get sooo into it. I can see her dressing up and painting eggs and everything.

What book makes you think of spring?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. First of all, it has the word flower in it. Second of all, the cover is a bright freaking yellow. Third of all, I read it a couple of years ago in the car while driving to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. So yeah, lots of spring all around.

Name a cover with flowers on it.

Whatever my mixed feelings on this book are, that cover is gorgeous and absolutely whimsical. That's what initially caught my eye when I was digging through a box of ARCs. Well job, cover designers.

Which two characters would you want to go on an Easter egg hunt with?

Calvin and Hobbes! Who else to go on an Easter egg hunt with than two of the most playful, imaginative people in the fictional universe?

What is your favorite bookish spring activity to do?

Is it cheating if I say read? Reading outside is pretty nice, too, because spring is (usually) great weather. Not too hot, not too cold, just a slight breeze, and enough shade to make the whole experience pleasant. Although I don't know what the heck is happening with spring this year. It went from being 70 degrees and sunny to cold and rainy and miserable in two days.

Which book did you enjoy that had a spring-ish cover?

This book was fantastic. All of the colors and simple design are spring-ish to me. This book is just spring-ish in general when you consider the protagonists' names are Violet and Finch.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?

Like Engie said, I'm not really sure how this relates to spring, but I do know that there's no competing with Rainbow Rowell. Although I guess a lot of her books aren't strictly contemporary since they're sometimes set in the 80s or 90s. So I'll also name Stephanie Morrill as a favorite.

Tag, you're it! Feel free to "steal" this tag for your blog or post your answers in the comments.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Stages of Reading a Really Good Book

Or at least my stages of reading a really good book. Of course these won't apply to everyone, but all of us bookworms tend to have tons of things in common, including our reading habits. I'm sure many of you can relate to this.

Me with a new book . . . or an old one . . . or any of them, really.
Page 1: *reading somewhere normal, like in bed or on the couch* I can't wait to finally read this! I wonder if it's as good as everyone is saying. Recommendations from three different friends on Goodreads must mean it's great, right?

Page 10: All right, I'm starting to see what all the fuss was about. I'm hooked already. I'll finish the chapter, maybe read a couple more and then go to bed--ooh, a plot twist already?!

Page 50: *having already read past midnight* Holy cow, I can't take my eyes away! Is that the love interest? Okay, I should really go to bed soon though. I can always read tomorrow.

Page 100: An early morning while running on little sleep is nothing compared to what this character is going through. So what if I have to be up in six hours? I have to see what happens next.

Page 150: *has fallen asleep with her face in the book*

Page 200: *reading in the car while being driven to whatever event is happening that morning* No. Way. Oh my God, did anyone else see that? Am I the only one who sees how insane this is?

Page 250: *explains every last detail to little brother while walking the dog because she needs to talk to someone ASAP*

Page 300: Everything's going to be okay, no one's dying, the author wouldn't do that, writers aren't that mean, hahahahahaha . . . Yeah, I'm definitely going to cry by the end of this.

Page 350: *goes through an entire box of tissues from gross sobbing*

Last page: That. Was. AMAZING!!!

Acknowledgements: *frantically texts/tweets/instant messages every single bookish person she knows urging them to read the book*

Phew, even writing about the process has me on an emotional roller coaster all over again. What was the last book you read that you feeling like this?

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Look Around, Look Around at How Lucky We Are to Be Alive Right Now!"

I'm shamelessly stealing the "Hamilton book tag" from Emma at "Kittens on Bookshelves." Although I guess technically she said to consider myself tagged, so it doesn't count as stealing anymore. I DIGRESS.

I've been obsessed with the soundtrack for about a month now. It's all I've listened to for weeks. And it's fantastic. I may or may not have even had dreams about somehow miraculously winning tickets to see it on Broadway, even though it's sold out for months. If you haven't heard any of the music, DO SO NOW. It's all on YouTube and Spotify! I've never heard anything like it, but it's amazing. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius and has a serious fanbase behind him for this. I recently got my whole family into it, too, so now we'll randomly shout things like, "What time is it? SHOWTIIIIME." after walking into a room.
And now because of listening to the entire album approximately 90871284 times over, memorizing half of the songs, making plans to do a lip sync battle to "Farmer Refuted" with a friend at a talent show (she's the Samuel Seabury to my Alexander Hamilton), and scrolling through dozens of Tumblr posts of "Hamilton" fanart, I'm taking on the challenge of reading a 750 page biography all about Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Now I just need to get my hands on the Hamiltome . . .

Me upon watching it for a second--*coughs*--seventeenth time.
So this is all a preamble (see what I did there?) to say of course I had to snatch up a "Hamilton" book tag as soon as I saw it, plus add a few more songs myself because I couldn't resist. Here we go!

(Note: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson spoilers toward the middle of the post!)

"Alexander Hamilton" - A Character With a Rich and Complicated Backstory

There are so many characters I could go with here, but for this one I'll say Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. It's hard to explain just how much crap she's gone through without giving anything away, so you'll have to read the series yourself to find out. Let's just say she's crazy awesome but also haunted by her painful past, just like the best characters are.

"Aaron Burr, Sir" - Two Characters Who Constantly Butt Heads 

Oh my gosh, totally Simon and Baz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I've never seen two characters bicker more than they do, and yet it works. It kept me entertained the entire time, made me giggle, and didn't stop me from shipping them in the slightest.

"My Shot" - A Protagonist That Goes After What They Want and Doesn't Let Anything Stop Them

Alanna from the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. Disguising yourself as a boy to train to become a knight in a medieval fantasy story is pretty dang gutsy. Obstacles are constantly hurled at her throughout the series, and yet she keeps fighting.

"The Story of Tonight" - Your Favorite Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction Book

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, as of recently. It's an excellent audiobook, too, probably the best one I've listened to since Harry Potter. If you decide to pick it up, I highly recommend going that route, at least for some of it. The whole story is so realistic, you have a hard time believing it didn't actually happen.
"The Schuyler Sisters" - An Underrated Female Character

Nimona from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson! And I say she's underrated only because hardly any of my other bookish friends have read the book (so fix that and find a copy!). She's an impulsive, hilarious, eager-to-please, "villainous," shapeshifter, and she's one of the best characters I've read in a long time. I love her.

"You'll Be Back" - The Sassiest Villain 

Sadly, I've read very few books with sassy villains in them, but I want to remedy this, so recommend all your favorites in the comments! But every character in the Order of the Stick Series by Rich Burlew is pretty sassy and/or sarcastic, so there's that. If you like playing Dungeons & Dragons, it's the book for you.

"Right Hand Man" - Favorite Bookish Friendship 

Blue and her raven boys from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater are pretty much the definition of #SquadGoals. But Clary and Simon from the Mortal Instruments and the Golden Trio from Harry Potter all deserve mentions, too. Oh, and the Marauders, also from Harry Potter! (Can you tell I'm a sucker for friendship stories?)

"Helpless" - A Relationship You Were Pulling For From the Very Start

How am I supposed to pick favorites with this one?!?! Gah. I guess instead of mention all bazillion of my ships, I'll go ahead and say Simon and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Their mutual love and respect for Oreos, flirtatious e-mails, and general adorableness made for a happy, fluffy read that made my fangirl heart go "sqeeeeeee."
"Satisfied" - Favorite Book with Multiple POVs

I could pick a ton, because multiple POV books tend to be my favorites (they're usually the kind I write), but I'm trying to be diverse with my selections so I won't mention another certain Rainbow Rowell book that starts with Eleanor and ends with & Park. (And I do realize I just mentioned it even though I said I wouldn't, but shh, the devil's in the details.) I'm gonna go with These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, because yes. That just about sums it up. 
"Wait For It" - A Book Worth Waiting For

CAN WE ALL SAY The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling?!?! I know it's a script, but it's in book form, so it still counts!!! July 31st can't come fast enough. But like Aaron Burr, I'm willing to wait for it.

"Stay Alive" - A Character You Wish Were Still Alive

It's probably been like five years, but I still don't think I've recovered from the childhood trauma that was (highlight for Bridge to Terabithia spoilers!) Leslie's death. So did not see that coming.
"Ten Duel Commandments" - Favorite Fight Scene

It's hard for me to pick out a single fight scene, but any of the craziness that happens in Tamora Pierce's books and the Divergent series comes to mind as great action. Medieval fantasy and dystopian tend to bring that side of stories out.
"What Comes Next?" - A Series You Wish Had More Books

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. I could've read so much more of that story had it existed. I'm a sucker for time travel. That book basically had me reading for three straight days, breaking only to eat and sleep (a little).
"Dear Theodosia" - A Book With Great Parent-Child Relationships

Three books come to mind immediately: August's parents with August and his sister in Wonder by R.J. Palacio, the Finch family in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and the March family in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Two of these books came out a really long time ago, so clearly family dynamics is something I'm longing for in modern YA stories especially. Feel free to share your favorite family-centric books in the comments! I'm always looking for suggestions.

"Non-Stop" - A Series You Marathoned

The amount of sass in this coat flip is perfect.
The W.I.T.C.H. graphic novels by Parke Godwin were a favorite of mine when I was younger. Heck, they're still fantastic! I'm pretty sure I read all eight of them in a day or two and became obsessed enough to write terrible, terrible stories about characters similar to all five of the main girls. It was my sad attempt at fan-fiction. But hey, imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

"What'd I Miss" - A Book or Series You Were Late to Reading

I'm dreadfully behind on the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, which I embarrassingly only started a couple years ago. And also the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm horrible, I know. But they're both amazing and I will finish them one day.

"Take a Break" - A Good Beach/Vacation Read

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum! Much like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, it's involves anonymous e-mails from someone at the same school. The whole time I was reading it I was trying to guess who it was while also thinking, "please don't be him, please don't be him, for the love of everything don't be him." It reads really fast and it's not one that involves a lot of brain power, perfect for lounging by the ocean.

"Say No To This" - A Guilty Pleasure Read

The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I know, I know, it's not the greatest writing in the world, but I absolutely adore the characters and the stories. I didn't think I'd be able to stomach it after not even getting past the first couple of chapters of Twilight, but I was pleasantly surprised.

"The Room Where It Happens" - A Book World In Which You Want to Live

Hogwarts, plain and simple. I've never met a single person who didn't want to go to Hogwarts. I don't even understand Harry and Ron when they're complaining about their homework. Um, you're LEARNING FREAKING MAGIC. Sign me up, please and thank you.

"The Reynolds Pamphlet" - A Plot Twist You Didn't See Coming

Why yes, yes that is King George throwing the Reynolds Pamphlet in Hamilton's face and then prancing away.
Look at all their faces!!
That, ladies and gentleman, is Thomas Jefferson making it rain while chanting a taunting, "Never gon' be president now."
(I had to include more than one gif because I couldn't decide between the three!)

How about everything that happens in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? Talk about insanity. That and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Oh, and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas! Gah, so many "*GASP*" moments.

"Burn" - Most Tragic Ending to a Relationship

That moment when your ship goes down in flames.
Ugh, even people who haven't read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green knows it's tragic. During rereads I still sometimes trick myself into thinking it'll end differently, but it hasn't worked so far.

"Blow Us All Away" - A Character Who Changed the World

Katniss Everdeen! She's the original dystopian "face of the rebellion." The reluctant hero, inspiration to society, willing to stand up to tyrants, she's got it all. And half of it she wasn't even trying to do!

"It's Quiet Uptown" - A Book That Made You Cry Ugly Tears

There are about a dozen I could pull out for you right now, but basically any book with a dog on the cover is destined to be something that makes me cry into my pillow before bed. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare had me bawling over Simon feels, too.

"The Election of 1800" - A Book or Series That Made the Fandoms Take Sides (i.e. Team Edward vs. Team Jacob)

I have to mention Hunger Games and Throne of Glass again. The Katniss-Peeta-Gale and Celaena-Chaol-Dorian love triangles make the fans go nuts. (*coughs* Not that I would ever get into shipping wars, nosiree, Bob . . .)

"Best of Wives and Best of Women" - A Favorite Heroine

The protagonists of the Lunar Chronicles are all just so amazing for different reasons, but they work well as a team, too! So many feels in that series, I tell you. So many.

"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" - A Book Series That Will Be Remembered Throughout History

Like Emma said in her tag, how can this go to anything but Harry Potter? A lot of stories can seem outdated, but I don't think that'll be the case here. It'll stand the test of time because it's so unique and complex and rich with emotion. The characters are all as complicated as the plot, but it's not at the expense of the story. I can't find a single negative thing to say about it.

Tag, you're it! What are some of your favorite "Hamilton" songs? Feel free to steal this for your blog or answer a few questions in the comments. Enjoy!