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?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Wrap-Up

Books I Read

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

4/5


Recommended to anyone who likes urban fantasy, romance, and a good, long series.


This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

3.5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes quick reads, romance, and light, "fluffy" reads. This is not a hard book to get into and read, which makes it a great remedy for a book hangover.

Shadows Wake by Robyn LaRue

4/5

(Thanks for sending me an ARC, Robyn!) Recommended to anyone who likes quick reads, gothic novels, romance, and books with a small-town feel like that of "Little House on the Prairie."

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forester

2/5

Although it's not one of my favorites, this is a great introduction to classics, because it's quick and not difficult to read.

Paper Towns by John Green

3.5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes mystery and light, "fluffy" reads. This was a great beach read and is a good book to read after something dark or heavy.

Movies I Watched

"Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" (a rewatch)

3.5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes sci-fi, space stories, and epic adventures.

"Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi" (a rewatch)

3.5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes sci-fi, space stories, and epic adventures.

Quotes I Wrote

While I have been writing, I haven't exactly written a ton, and definitely not anything quote-worthy. This month was more focused on editing, as I've finished Beneath the Moon and Stars and finally worked up the courage to approach the behemoth that is Flightless Birds (which needs a ton of work and should be approached with a finger hovering over the backspace button. It needs to be cut down a lot).

Obsessions I Acquired

Pinterest. I hadn't realized how to use it to its fullest potential until recently, and I'm discovering so many cool boards for writing inspiration!

This song.  It was already a great song, but slowing it down made it even prettier.

Headcanon. Of any kind, but especially "Sherlock" (like on this awesome website). I didn't even know this existed until a few weeks ago! It's addicting, so much fun, and isn't as involved as creating a whole piece of fan-fiction is.

And this song. I know it was barely released, but still. MOCKINGJAY!!! (I'm so excited.)

The new Doctor! :) It always takes me a few episodes to accept the change (Tennant to Smith was the worst, I think), but Peter Capaldi has proven himself to be worthy of the title role. He's like an older version of Eccleston, who was also fantastic. ;)

Picture of the Month

Basically how I've been feeling after finishing the entire series for the second time with my parents. I've had a massive TV hangover for weeks, cured only by new episodes of "Doctor Who."


How was your September?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The TBR Tag + The Book Blogger Confession Tag


Thanks, nevillegirl, for tagging me! :)


TBR Tag

My TBR shelves, which are, for the most part, alphabetized.
 
1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Goodreads, mostly, and this super cool jar filled with sticky notes that have the titles of all the books on my bookshelf written on them. :) When I can't decide what to read next, I let the jar pick for me.

2. Is your TBR mostly print books or e-books?

I don't like reading e-books that much, I much prefer physical copies. So if it's ever possible not to read an e-book, I pick that.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
See #1.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

Umm, probably Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Either that or 

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl, Wayne Earl, and Lori Earl.

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

I never pick books based on cover alone, although there are covers that draw my attention more than others. I especially like minimalistic covers, like Eleanor & Park and the Lunar Chronicles books.

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

I'm reading all of them!

8. An unpublished book in your TBR that you’re excited for?

Winter by Marissa Meyer, The Seeker and The Soul by Stephenie Meyer, and Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King.

9. A book in your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, all recommended by various blogger friends.

10. Number of books in your TBR?

 Goodreads: 22
Bookshelf: 53

Book Blogger Confession Tag

1. Which book did you recently not finish?

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Bleh.

 2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

No guilty pleasures. :) Just pleasures.

3. Which book do you love to hate?

I don't love to hate any book, because I want to like them all! But currently my least favorite books are Cather In the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner, The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, and The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

4. Which book would you throw into the sea?

*gasps* Did you just suggest I would actually, voluntarily, throw a book into the sea?!

5. Which book have you read the most?

The Harry Potter series, no contest! :)

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

See #3. (Ironically, I own all three of those books, too.)

7. Which book could you not live without?

The Harry Potter series. But other than that, since I have to pick one, technically, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Just seeing the title and author makes me happy. :)

8. Which book made you the angriest?

I don't think a book has ever made me angry, except when I get frustrated by how much time I'm wasting reading a book I hate.

9. Which book made you cry the most?

That's a three-way tie between The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, and We Were Liars by E. Lockheart.

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

This one.

Just . . . what happened here? The whole cover is an ugly shade of puke. It doesn't even look professional. It's like his kid drew it and he felt bad not putting it on his book.

 I tag anyone who wants to do this! :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Beautiful People Linkup--September

The "Notebook Sisters" are co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month they announce a new set of questions to answer about your character so you can learn more about them.

This month, I'll be interviewing Hans Levarius, the alchemist, necromancer, and antagonist of my YA medieval fantasy, the sequel to The Sorceress. It is still untitled, though I'm planning to resolve that soon. I'd toyed with The Necromancer, but then that'd be two books in the series that have the same title as the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. Anyway.

One quick note about Hans: When I was making my Pinterest board for the story, the person I cast to play his part is Benedict Cumberbatch. He looks a lot like him, and he'd be excellent at the straight-faced and low voice thing.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hans Levarius


1. What is their motive?

Power, riches, your typical bad guy stuff. He's a little very bitter over his childhood, because his older brother was the clear favorite, and Hans often got the shaft.

2. What do they want, and what are they prepared to do to get it?

To kill the king of Stormcastle and become ruler. He then plans to take over the surrounding kingdoms, and so on, until all of England is his. Hans deals with blackmail and poison, so it's not very hard for him to get people to do what he wants.

3. How do they deal with conflict?

Hans is sneaky, so he doesn't usually have to deal with conflict directly. He has others do it for him until the time is right to reveal himself, and by that time, he'll have all the power necessary to take over.

4. Describe their current place of residence.

It's a small room in the king's castle. It has a bed, a wardrobe, a bookshelf, etc. What the king doesn't know is that Hans is hiding potion vials and spell books underneath the floorboards.

5. If they were writing this story, how would it end?

With him sitting on the king's throne, the crown upon his head.


6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them?

He often speaks as if he's irritated, at least when Anya (the protagonist) is in the room. When he's alone with the king, however, he's very smooth and influential. He's charismatic in the sense that no one has a reason to distrust him and generally listen to what he has to say.

7. How do they show love? What do they like to do with/for people they love?

Love? Hans doesn't love. Love is weakness. Love means you're willing to sacrifice yourself for someone else. That's not Hans at all.

8. Do they have any pets?

Nope. He doesn't have enough time to care for someone/something else, not even a potted plant.

9. Where would they go to relax/think?

In his room in the castle, amidst his spell books and potion supplies.

10. What is their weapon of choice? (FYI: words, eyes/looks, and fists count as weapons too.)

Secrets, lies, blackmail, poison, anything that allows him to kill while remaining undercover.

What's your villain like? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Looking For New Music

For my dad's fortieth birthday, my mom arranged for forty of his friends to send one of their favorite CDs to him so he could discover new artists. For my "CD" I created a YouTube playlist filled with songs that have influenced my writing in one way or another. I had a lot of fun seeing what people sent him, and I realized that I've been in a sort of music rut recently. I've been listening to the same stuff over and over again, and I'd like to find something new.

So I was wondering if any of you would like to comment and say what your favorite artists are. It can be a band, a singer, an instrumental group, anything you'd like. If you'd like to include a favorite song, too, that would be great. :)

I've also been really addicted to alternative stuff (Lorde, Melanie Martinez, music from the "Hunger Games" movies, music from "The Fault In Our Stars," music from "Parenthood" and "Gilmore Girls," etc.), so if you know of anything that's similar to those artists, I'd love to hear your suggestions.

(Psst. If you want to see a list of my favorite music, check out the "My Favorite . . ." tab at the top of the home page. Scroll down a little bit and it's right there.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Sunshine Award

Thank you, nevillegirl, for nominating me! :)


Facts

1. I am constantly reorganizing the TBR shelf in my bedroom.
2. I am a huge fan of really creative practical jokes, but am often terrible at doing them (while keeping a straight face). But this past April Fool's Day, I created a fake e-mail address under the name Wendy Tyler and sent my mom an e-mail requesting to join her homeschool group with her two kids, Jamie and Alice. She didn't find out that it was me until June!
3. My all-time favorite name for a boy is Jamie.
4. I name my electronics, so if you ever hear me call my desktop Shelly, my laptop Lulu, or my iPod Piper, now you know why.
5. My "middle name," Isabel, is not legally my middle name!

nevillegirl's Questions

1. What book will you read next?

After City of Heavenly Fire, I will probably read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

2. Do your parents, siblings, or any other relatives read your blog? What do they think of it?

Yes, yes, and yes! They all seem to like it, and if they don't, they haven't told me. ;)

3. What is the funniest thing you've seen or heard recently?

My friend Dave's responses to Facebook posts. He's hilarious. For example, my friend Jake recently posted a Facebook status (that turned out to be fake) that said, "I think I'm in love with someone. What should I do?" His advice: "I would definitely start by tattooing their name on your forehead and having your last name changed to theirs. Then try to get to know them as a person."

4. If you could choose, right now, to be either ten years young or ten years older than you currently are, which option would you pick?

Ooh, tricky! Ideally, neither, but I suppose I would choose to be ten years younger, because I could always relive the past ten years. But if I were older, I could never get those ten years back.

5. What is your quest?

To become a full-time author!

My Questions

1. Would you rather drink a liter of your least favorite soda in one sitting or eat a pound of fudge of your least favorite flavor in one sitting?

2. What book do you think is over-hyped?

3. What book have you reread the most?

4. Movies or TV shows?

5. Binge watching or syndication?


I nominate . . .

Mom and Dad at "Sushi and Pizza."
nevillegirl at "Musings From Neville's Navel." (This is honorary, since you've obviously been nominated before.)
Cait and Mime at "The Notebook Sisters."
Skylar Finn at "Life of a Random."
storytellergirlgrace at "Storytellergirl."
Karoline at "As a Teen Writer."
MorningTime4 at "The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life."
Maria at "The Idea Catcher."
Shelumiel at "Whims and Ramblings."
Lydia at "Planet Lydia."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Mercy Mode by Em Garner

4/5


Recommended to fans of The Program and Divergent, zombie-lovers (though it will appeal to those who don't like our rotting friends so much), and both paranormal-newbies and paranormal-junkies. You can read my review of it HERE.


The Program by Suzanne Young

5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes books that make you cry, romance, Divergent, and dystopian books.

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

5/5

Divergent, quick reads, a chance to get into another character's head, short stories, anthologies, and anyone who is in desperate need of more Fourtris.

We Were Liars by E. Lockheart

5/5

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.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

DNF

Blech. This whole book (or what I managed to force myself to read) seemed like a Harry Potter ripoff to me. I had so much more hope for these two authors, but it didn't really work out.

Movies I Watched

"Dead Poets Society"

5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes simple movies, inspirational messages, and a good cry.

"Aladdin"

4/5 

Recommended to anyone who likes a classic Disney movie and likes to laugh.

"What If"

5/5 

Recommended to anyone who likes Indie movies, likes to laugh, and a best-friends-first-couple-later kind of romance.

"The Hundred-Foot Journey"

5/5 

Recommended to anyone who likes Indie movies, likes to laugh, and loves good food. Similar to "Julie & Julia," this is not a movie to watch on an empty stomach!

Quotes I Wrote

I grinned. “Where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise.” And I could imagine the eyebrow wiggle that would accompany his mysterious tone. “But make sure you get all gussied up.”
I snorted. “Gussied up? Are we going square dancing?”
--Beneath the Moon and Stars

“Becca told me she thinks your mother is borderline.”
“Becca thinks everyone is borderline.”
“You know, she’s probably right. She is a psychology major.”
And when I didn’t answer, she laughed.
“I win!”
“What? How did you ‘win?’”
“Any time you can’t think of a response to something I say, I win.”
--Beneath the Moon and Stars

I laughed. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“It doesn’t have to.”
“Why not?”
“Because life doesn’t make sense, so why should we?”
“I have a theory,” I said, ignoring her, “Oh boy, here we go.” I sat up. “Maybe we do make sense, and it’s everyone else that doesn’t. What if all the weirdos and freaks of the world are actually the normal ones, and the normal ones are actually the weirdos and freaks of the world?”
“You make my brain hurt.”
“The feeling’s reciprocal.”
--Beneath the Moon and Stars

"I need you to do me a favor. Marcus is having a party tonight and I couldn’t find the movies. Can you go to Wal-Mart and see if they have the movies? Quickly?"
"Yeah, ‘course. What’s your apartment number?"
"Two-twenty-one."
"As in B Baker Street?"
"Lane."
"All right, I'm going."
--Beneath the Moon and Stars

“That looks bad.” Lane sat down next to me and dragged my hand away from my mouth.
“Nothing you can do about it,” I mumbled.
“I can kill him. That’s always an option.”
The corners of my mouth twitched, but even that hurt. “That’s not an option.”
Lane’s eyes still burned with a fiery rage. “Why not?”
I pushed his hair out of his eyes. “Because you’d be arrested as a convicted murderer and I’d never see you again.”
“I’m sure there are visiting days.”
“Not an option, Lane.”
--Beneath the Moon and Stars

Obsessions I Acquired

Synthesia. I found a few piano tutorials on YouTube by accident, and now I'm hooked. It's a great way to learn a song before printing out the sheet music. I'm working on the "Doomsday" theme from "Doctor Who" and the "Sherlock" theme song.

My job at the Renaissance Faire. Technically I've been working there since June, but I only started working costumed weekends at the beginning of this month. It's so much fun! :) I'm actually leaving to go in a couple of hours as I'm writing this.

My YA contemporary romance novel, Beneath the Moon and Stars. I wrote over 15,000 words this week alone, and it's almost finished! I had no idea I would have this much fun writing a romance novel.

Picture of the Month

I went a little photoshop crazy.


How was your August?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Bookshelf Tag

I was tagged by nevillegirl and Karoline for this meme! :) Thanks, guys!

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but you haven't because you know that it'll make you cry?

I don't tend to avoid books because I know they're going to make me cry. In fact, sometimes that's a big plus for me. I love getting so emotionally invested in a book that the author could pull tears from me like that. It means I've really connected with the characters.

2. Pick a book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

The Host, These Broken Stars, and the Lunar Chronicles, along with "Doctor Who," all helped me to discover that maybe sci-fi isn't so bad. At least, not all of it.

3. Find a book that you want to re-read.

Harry Potter, forever and always. But other than that, I like to reread books before going to see the movie, so I'll probably read Mockingjay again soon.

 4. Is there a book series you read that you wished you hadn't?

No, I don't really have a lot of reading regrets, or regrets in general. And if I don't like the first book in a series, or I'm satisfied with the ending of the first and don't want to screw it up (like with If I Stay and Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, for example), I won't read the sequel(s).

5. If your house were burning down and your pets and family were safe, which book would you run back inside to save?

One book?! I'd probably end up throwing my Harry Potter books out the window before I had to choose one.

6. Is there one book on your book shelf which brings back fond memories?

Aside from Harry Potter (because duh), the Calvin and Hobbes treasury always makes me smile when I look at it. I used to read the books under my blanket by the light of a flashlight, giggling at the crazy stunts they pulled. (Sometimes I still do this.)

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most.

Different books inspire me in different ways, though I'm always influence by any book I read, whether it's because I learn what not to do or I mimic the style of the author subconsciously. Harry Potter has always given me the extra push I've needed--and is quite possible the book series that started it all--but most recently, I was blown away by the beautiful writing and descriptions in We Were Liars by E. Lockheart.

8. Do you have any autographed books?

Yes! I have Eleanor & Park signed by Rainbow Rowell herself (thanks, Mom and Dad!), Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, most of our Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems, the Spiderwick chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, and several others.

9. Find the book that you have owned the longest.

That would be my very well-worn Harry Potter set. The bindings are so beat up, you can't even read the titles, and the first copy of the Sorcerer's Stone I owned ripped in half, so we had to get a new one.

10. Is there a book by any author which you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

Definitely The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I'd avoided it for so long because of the whole Twilight series that my bookish friends couldn't stand, but then I saw a preview for the movie and it looked really good. Soon afterwards, my best friend recommended that I read it, and she's usually right about that stuff, so I picked it up. Boy, am I glad that I did!

I tag anyone who wants to complete it!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Thank you, Robyn LaRue, so much for nominating me! :)





Rules

  • Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate some other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
Facts

1. I've eaten--and liked--raw baby octopus.
2. I am a well-known klutz and space cadet.
3. I've ridden in a stretch limo.
4. I am a pantser and a procrastinator.
5. I dogear and deface write in my books, much to the horror of my other bookish friends. (Hi, Cait!)
6. I avoided "Doctor Who" for the longest time because, to be frank, I thought it looked stupid. I am now a proud Whovian and ship Ten/Rose more than any other couple (on TV).
7. Most of my characters have at least one trait from a person I know (including myself!).

I nominate . . .

Mom and Dad at "Sushi and Pizza."
nevillegirl at "Musings From Neville's Navel."
Cait and Mime at "The Notebook Sisters."
Skylar Finn at "Life of a Random."
storytellergirlgrace at "Storytellergirl."
Karoline at "As a Teen Writer."
MorningTime4 at "The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Half-Blood (a Book Review)

by Skylar Finn

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Pages: 281

Amazon
Goodreads

This is the first Jennifer L. Armentrout book that I’ve ever read. And I have to say I’m impressed but...not blown away.

First, I want to make a quick note about the romance. If you take the blurb at face value, then it’s easy to assume that the whole entire book is all about a forbidden romance which is a very big turn-off for me. It’s not all about the romance though. Yeah, it’s a big part of it but not the whole story. So if you saw that and thought Meh this doesn’t sound like something I’d like, don’t let the blurb convince you to pass up this read.

Of course I’m going to talk about the characters first. ;) Alexandria (or Alex, as she would insist on you calling her) is our main character. She’s a risk-taker, super confident. But half the time she was putting her foot in her mouth, talking smack, not thinking of the consequences. She was a flirt, yeah, but she was loyal, determined, caring, and had the most epic humor and sarcasm ever.

Her personality was a contradiction and that’s what won me over and made me like her. She wasn’t always the nicest person, and she admitted it. This kind of character doesn’t usually work for me, but Alex was different.

Alex is a half-blood, daughter of a Hematoi or pureblood and a human. The Greek gods and all the new terms were so interesting to me! Half-bloods are super skilled fighters (or they have the potential to be) and they live to protect the purebloods.

Most of the purebloods completely disregard this fact and treat the half-bloods badly. Really badly. If you don’t become a Sentinel which is a daimon hunter or a Guard who protects the homes of the pures, then you become a servant in one of the pures’ homes. Which means, you’ll serve them all the days of your life made senseless by some potion.

These completely new society dynamics were very interesting to read about. The politics were there. The tension was there. And the history was also something I loved and would love to learn more about.

The ultimate enemy, though, was the daimons. The crazy, aether-sucking things that crave the Hematoi’s blood. I believe the daimons completely fulfilled the creepy, animalistic factor. And although they weren’t the most intelligent, with them running around (getting better at what they do) and the general sense of “danger” lurking around every corner, I don’t think the villain part was under-written.

The plot was a little slow to be honest, not slow as in nothing happened but slow as in all that happened was Alex training and figuring out her feelings for Aiden. While I was entertained, it wasn’t my favorite plot of a book ever. I did like how I learned a lot about the other characters through these seemingly inconsequential scenes though.

The romance, like I said before, isn’t as hardcore as it seems. I thought that, Alex being an accomplished flirt and wild child, the romance would be all about teasing each other (sexually, for lack of a better word) and the two of them kind of playing with each other’s hearts. But it wasn’t like that at all.

It felt real. Like when Alex talked about what she loved about Aiden it wasn’t his abs or his face (or yeah...she talked about those a lot too). It was about how kind and patient he was with her. I think he was the first person besides her mom to ever treat her that way no matter what and he was a pure. That’s HUGE. Those were the things Alex talked about when she talked about him to her friends and I feel like that was something totally new for her and it was adorable.

A quick note: If you’re not comfortable with more the more mature side of a couple that’s “in love” or “in serious like”, for example heated making out or almost getting really serious then you might want to skip this read, or just skip those parts. Just a heads up. :)

This book was a great, fast read that I would recommend to readers who love paranormal, all-things-Greek, headstrong main characters, and the ups and downs of dirty (“friendship”) politics. Oh, and I can’t forget the kick-butt fighting. Lots of that too. 





Actual rating: 3.75


About Skylar Finn:


Skylar Finn is the pen name of a recent high school graduate (who never gets tired of saying she's graduated). Her real name is top secret because she's secretly a spy. That does spy stuff. Secretly. When she's not spying, she blogs about books, life, and chocolate at Life of a Random. Skylar loves talking with bookworms about everything, so don't be shy. She's probably weirder than you anyways.