Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Encyclopedia of Me - I














"I Don't Eat My Drumsticks":


This is the name of my little brother's blog, and though he doesn't post a lot, I always love reading the ones he writes! He especially loves writing about games, music, and photography.

Imagination/Inspiration

I combined these two because I think they often go together. The inspiration for all of my artistic projects is often imaginative, and therefore tons of fun to create. I use my imagination daily, from the moment I get up and ponder my current novel in the shower to the minutes just before I fall asleep, when I tell myself stories in the hopes that my dreams will finish them for me. You can make any mundane project fun with a little imagination, which helps when I want to pass the time while folding laundry or washing the dishes.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This book was almost as good as its predecessor, Divergent, which I absolutely loved. A bunch of my friends and I are going to go out to dinner in March and then catch the movie afterwards. The trailers for it are amazing. I can't wait!

It's the End of the World As We Know It by Kate I. Foley

This is the short story I wrote for the Fauxpocalypse anthology. I had so much fun writing it and couldn't get the song out of my head for weeks. Plus, it's the first story I've ever had published!

iPod

I carry my iPod with me everywhere. It's such a handy tool when I'm out and want to look something up or write something down and my computer isn't nearby. It also has all my music on it, which is a necessity when I'm writing. I often use the mail app when I want to catch up on my e-mails whenever I have a few minutes, or check my Twitter and Pinterest accounts. (I also want to give a little shout-out to the song "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons, which was a huge inspiration to me while I was writing The Sorceress, and the band Imagine Dragons, which I listen to on a regular basis.)

I.N.C.H.

This is the name of the homeschool group that my mom set up, and I'm so glad she did! Without it, I never would've met my best friend, Kirsten, let alone all of the other amazing friends I have today. Even though a lot of my friends who started out homeschooling have gone to public school, they often come to the park with us during the summer and make sure to keep in touch via text or e-mail.

Isabel

Isabel is my (sort of) middle name, and I absolutely love it! There's actually a funny story as to why I have it. When I was little (maybe four or five), I was under the impression that since Max's middle name is Perry, mine was Perry, too. When my dad broke the news to me that I didn't have a middle name, and that Perry was only Max's, I started crying. A little bit later, my mom and dad told me that they had thought about giving me the middle name Isabel, and asked if I would like that. Of course I loved the idea, and the name, and have used it ever since, even though it's legally not my middle name (yet).

Isabel is also the name of the main character in my newest WIP, Sing a Song of Raindrops, which is a YA fantasy novel. She usually goes by the nickname Izzy, though. (Click HERE to see my Pinterest board for it, if you're interested. Lots of cool pictures there.)

Internet

(I totally stole this one from from Max. He couldn't believe I didn't think of it myself, but I couldn't resist using it once he'd mentioned it.)

The internet is pretty freaking amazing. We have instant access to all the knowledge in the world, and then some. We can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime through a thousand different websites. We can create videos that go viral. We can download music with the click of a button. We can share ideas and inspire people to create their own, all with a few taps of the keyboard. I can't imagine a world without it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Born Wicked (a book review)

by Skylar Finn

Note from MV: I'm so excited to welcome back Skylar Finn from "Life of a Random!" :) Prepare yourself for a review full of GIFs and strong feels, as all of her awesome, fangirl-y posts are. Take it away, Skylar!

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

Pages: 330


Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

Before I read Born Wicked, I’d seen it around the blogging world once in a while. It looked pretty interesting. I’ve got to be honest and say the covers and blurbs didn’t have me flailing for the book though. ;)

Basically, Cate Cahill and her two sisters are witches in a world that hunts witches. Their mom, who died when they were young, was also a witch but she didn’t teach them much besides basic spells. Their dad doesn’t even know what they are. Cate’s going to have to marry soon because of the Brotherhood's stupid rules, but she promised her mom she’d take care of her sisters.

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Everything’s so complicated and twisted for the three sisters. They have to follow the Brotherhood’s (more on that in a second) orders while at the same time being exactly what the Brotherhood hates and punishes. If I were Cate, I think I would have given up just from exhaustion and hopelessness way before she did.

The sibling relationships were really realistic! Cate’s the oldest and watches out for her sisters and protects them no matter what, even if it makes them hate her. As the oldest kid in my family, I know that is a really hard thing to do. For someone to have to be a sister and a mom….it’s harder than being the real mom.

Cate gives up everything for her sisters. And she is just such a strong, stubborn, and brave character. I love how she stands up for herself and others all the time, even though the people she’s against are older and more powerful than her. But she’s a normal teenage girl too. She gets scared and frustrated. She was the best possible combination of personality traits.

Her sisters Maura and Tess were so different from each other and her too. There was great personality variety without it seeming like the author was trying really hard to differentiate.

The author’s writing style was super gorgeous too. I read something on Pinterest lately about how if you put a little variety into sentence length when you write it makes a HUGE difference. That definitely was true in Born Wicked’s case. The writing was so smooth and beautiful, without being complicated.

Now the important part-- WITCHES.

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All the witches are women, without fail. Uh huh. Boss. They aren’t witches in the ooh-I’m-going-to-boil-a-potion-and-turn-you-into-a-toad way. They’re more like twitch-your-hand-and-move-a-chair.

Like I said, boss.

It was really interesting reading about the witches’ powers and watching Cate and her sister improve their skills. The history of witches was also really interesting. I don’t want to give away too much but basically the witches used to be in great power and were called the Daughters of Persephone.

THEN, the Brotherhood happened.

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I’m pretty sure this is the only book I’ve ever read that made me SO STINKIN’ MAD reading it, but still ended up being rated highly by me.

The world that the Cahill sisters live in is one ruled by the Brotherhood and their rules. The Brotherhood is basically a ruling group of men who are “religious” and who rose to power after overthrowing the witches in the past.

OH MY GOD. They made me so mad with all their talk of “A woman’s place is in their home. And their only duty is obedience. And you don’t need to know anything because you’re a woman and you can ask your dad, husband, or a Brother.”

Not only did they rule with unfairness towards women who were ruled to be witches (whether they were or not), they treated women as brainless drones put on earth for man’s use and pleasure. Urngh.

Besides this particular awful group, and some other people I couldn’t stand, (they were all hated by Cate too so it’s okay) I really enjoyed diving into the storyworld and I did fall in love with Cate and Tess and others.

The only two things I didn’t really like were 1) that the book didn’t get more into the mechanics and workings of casting spells. The process of learning, why certain spells are stronger when spoken by certain people, etc. and 2) the complicated love interest situation. It wasn’t the typical love triangle (thank God) but it was still the situation of the girl not making a decision. At least not right away.

But she fell for the nerd. That never happens.



This was a great book! I’d recommend it to anybody who likes fantasy and paranormal. And spells. And not wearing fancy dresses.


All right, bookworms. Have you read Born Wicked? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you'll read it? Leave a comment!

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.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--January

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month she announces a new set of questions to answer about your characters so you can learn more about them.

This month's topic, though, is a special edition. Instead questions about our characters, the questions are about ourselves!

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1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?

I've always considered myself a writer, because I've been writing for as long as I can remember. The earliest memory I have of myself writing an actual story was when I was five or six. I wrote a short story about a ball and a Frisbee who were best friends, but couldn't figure out a game they could both play since they didn't have hands. (Spoiler alert: They ended up racing each other. The Frisbee rolled and the ball bounced.)

But after watching a home video a while ago, I realized that I've been telling stories since before I could even read or write. They were very long-winded stories that didn't make a whole lot of sense, but they were stories all the same.

2. How/why did you start writing?

See #1. for "how." As for "why," I have no clue. I've always enjoyed it, and I haven't been able to stop since. There's not a single day that goes by when I don't write something, even if it's just a sentence.


3. What’s your favorite part of writing?



Being able to creating something from nothing. A blank page can definitely be intimidating, but I like to look at it as magic and opportunity. All the books that have impacted our lives were once just that, a blank page. I love creating worlds and characters and all the things we love about reading with a few taps of the keyboard. It's amazing.


4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Editing! Copyedits and tweaking sentences so they sound perfect aren't so bad, and sometimes it's even fun, but I dread the major edits: Plot holes, cutting characters, adding characters, changing the order of when things happen so they actually make sense. It's awful.

Also query letters and writing a synopsis. But who actually enjoys writing those?

5. Do you write best at night or day?


It all depends on the day. Usually I work on my big projects during the day. At night, I'll sometimes freewrite or scribble a few paragraphs of fan-fiction. It helps me wind down before bed, and usually gives me weird dreams. Weird dreams are fantastic for story ideas. ;)

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

This is where I spend the majority of the day. There is usually a mug of tea or hot chocolate within reach. The whiteboard currently has a list of projects I need to finish up, along with my business card.

This is the other side of the desk, where I keep all of my supplies. The bulletin board is for outlining and editing. There are also over a dozen folders crammed into that desktop organizer, each one filled with information about the book it's being used for.

My little TARDIS and Dalek figurines keep me company.

I like to keep my iPod by this paper so if I'm tempted to use it for anything not writing related, it's here to remind me.

I printed out the "Sherlock" design and taped it over an empty can for my pens. The picture frame in the background has two of my favorite inspirational quotes about writing.
7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?



Since I'm easily distracted, a long time. :P Some I've been working on for two years now, though inconsistently. If I'm really motivated and make myself get it done before working on anything else, maybe two months. It also depends on how long the book is. For example, I wrote little else when I was working on Flightless Birds, but since it's currently at 125,000 words (that's about 500 pages), it took me a full five months to get it done. (By the way, anyone up for being a beta reader for that one?)

8. How many projects do you work on at once?


Several. Right now I'm in the middle of six or seven books, all in different stages. It's good in some ways, because if I get bored with one I can work on the other, but that also means it takes me forever to get anything finished.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?


It depends on the book. Usually, for middle-grade, I go for happy. But with YA I might do a somewhere in between kind of ending. I don't want my books to make readers feel depressed after finishing them, but the endings also aren't perfectly wrapped up and tied with a bow. They're hopeful, but not exactly happy.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.



(Even though several books have influenced my writing journey, I'm only going to list the authors that have consistently delivered and inspired me time after time.)

J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, Bill Watterson, A.S. King, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Marissa Meyer.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?


Absolutely! If nobody reads my writing and gives me feedback on it, how am I going to get better? Usually I only send parts of my books for critique after I've done a few rounds of edits, but my best friend sometimes gets sneak peeks.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?

To be successful enough in my writing that I don't need another job, to inspire others to read and write, to make people smile or cry or think, to create characters that stay with people in the same way so many characters have stayed with me.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?


Figure out why I'm not writing. Then, if all else fails, I'd do something else that would engage me creatively. Maybe open a bookstore or do something with art. I also really like music, so it'd be really cool to work with artists on their music somehow. Maybe I'd work with animals, though not as a vet, probably something along the lines of working at a pet store.


14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?


Well I'll probably end up writing an adult book someday, but until I'm an adult and have read more adult fiction, I don't think I can do that yet. ;)

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

If we're talking about stories somebody else has written, Harry Potter, hands down. But if it's something I've written, that'd be the Fantasya series. I wrote the first two books when I was ten and eleven, and I remember having so much fun with it. I love creating the sort of world I wanted to live in, characters I would be friends with, a story I'd want to read. They both obviously need tons of work, but even if they don't go anywhere, those books are the first stories I ever felt like I'd worked magic with.

Linkup with "Paper Fury!" I want to read your posts!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future (a book review)

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King



Released: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 308

This masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last–a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more. Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities–but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions–and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do anything to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

Buy a SIGNED COPY at Aaron's Books
Goodreads

My family and I went to the release party for Glory O'Brien at our local bookstore, so we actually have a signed and personalized copy of the book! (And the signature is in a super cool silver marker, since it's the only thing that shows up on the black background.) I've read Reality Boy and Please Ignore Vera Dietz both by A.S. King, but this one is by far my favorite.



In a nutshell, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is about a girl named Glory whose best friend Ellie convinces her to drink a mixture of petrified bat and beer with her. Then they both start to see visions of the future, a terrible one that shows proof of a second world war and the loss of women's rights. Or it's about feminism, what it means to be a friend, and living a full life. You choose.




The book hooked me right away. Drinking a bat? That's not something you read about every day. Or ever. I learned at the release party that the idea from the book actually came from a piece of freewriting A.S. King wrote as an example for one of her lectures. The students at the lecture asked what happened next, and they all begged her to write more so they could know what happened. I'm really glad she did, because I couldn't stop reading.

I also loved the writing style. The first person narrative was comfortable and familiar, almost like you were having a casual conversation with a friend.


Glory and her mother Darla are (or were) both photographers. I loved reading about it all, because even though I'm an average photographer at best, I love seeing the creativity put into pictures of all kinds. Pinterest can be a huge time suck for me, because I'll just sit at my computer and scroll through different boards for inspiration.

But more than anything, I loved the characters. Not because they were particularly likeable--they weren't--but because they made me think. Normally unlikeable characters are a huge turnoff for me, but these characters weren't supposed to be likeable. They were conflicted.


I did like Glory, for the most part. She didn't do anything wrong or really mean like some of the other characters did. I mostly felt sorry for her. She had to go through some real crap--Darla's suicide--and her dad won't talk about it with her, so she has to find things out on her own from Darla's sketchbooks she finds in their darkroom.

I also felt sorry for Glory's dad. He was a painter, but hadn't painted since Darla's death. Instead, he spent all day on the couch in front of his computer for a sucky job. He doesn't go out much. But he and Glory do have a good relationship, minus the not talking about what happened part.

I'm unsure about my feelings on Ellie, though. Sometimes she and Glory seem like really good friends, like at the beginning, and other times I can't stand her because the friendship was one-sided. Ellie seemed lost to me. She didn't know what she was doing with her life and was living in a hippie commune on Glory's land. Her mother Jasmine Blue was very controlling and believed in living off of the land rather than paying taxes and buying things like Doritos or medicine. Sometimes Glory would sneak things like that to Ellie when Jasmine Blue wasn't looking, which reminded me of when Rory in "Gilmore Girls" would sneak Lane junk food when Mrs. Kim wasn't looking.

The only characters I hated were Rick (because he was a disgusting pig) and Jasmine Blue (for similar reasons that I won't give away here).

 
(A slightly random note: Glory briefly mentions a classmate in her high school named Gerald, the main character from Reality Boy! I love it when authors take characters from one book and put them into another.)

To sum up, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is fantastic. It's unique, interesting the entire time, and makes you think. I'd recommend it to fans of A.S. King's previous work, anyone looking for a contemporary with a paranormal twist, and a small cast of interesting characters.






Meet the author:

A.S. King is best known for her award-winning young adult novels, though she writes novel-length and short fiction for adults as well. After more than a decade in Ireland dividing herself between self-sufficiency, restoring her farm, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels, she returned to the US in 2004. Amy now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children, teaches  writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, and is a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut, corn on the cob, libraries, and roller skating.

Connect with A.S. King:
Website:http://www.as-king.com/
Twitter: @AS_King
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/as.king.author

Have you read Glory O'Brien's History of the Future? What did you think? Leave a comment!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

December Wrap-Up/End of the Year Wrap-Up

December Wrap-Up

Books I Read

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

5/5


Recommended to lovers of sci-fi and those who are just beginning to explore the genre. It is guaranteed to keep you up at night. Fans of time travel and “Doctor Who” will especially enjoy it.


Starters by Lissa Price

2.5/5

This book was very "meh" to me. I was expecting to like it more, because the premise sounded a lot like The Host, but it wasn't that great. If you're looking for another dystopian or something to get you over a book hangover, this one's a decent choice.

Movies I Watched

"Charlie Brown Christmas"

3/5

Recommended to Peanuts lovers, a short movie, and a good Christmas special for the whole family.

"A Christmas Story"

4/5

Recommended to anyone looking for a good Christmas movie for the whole family, a movie that'll make you laugh, and a simple story.

"The Muppets Christmas Carol"

3.5/5

Recommended to people who like the Muppets, anyone looking for a good Christmas movie for the whole family, and a good adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

"The Theory of Everything" 

5/5

Recommended to anyone who likes Stephen Hawking, Indie films, beautiful cinematography similar to that of "Sherlock's," and fans of "The King's Speech" and "Saving Mr. Banks."

"The Happy Elf"

5/5

Recommended to anyone looking for a short, cute Christmas movie that'll make you laugh.

"You've Got Mail" (a re-watch)

5/5

Recommended to anyone with an Indie bookstore in their town, book lovers, simple stories, and great characters.

Quotes I Wrote


          I do what I do every day: I watch. I listen. I observe.

          I pass the time the way I do every day: I help when I can help. I accept when I can't. I do what I am told to do.

          Every day, all day, no questions asked.

          That's the way it is.

          That's the way it's always been.

          That's the way it always will be.

          That is what you do when you're me.
          That is what you do when you're dead.
--Ghost Story (a working title)


          Patricia, Hadley, Carl, Violet, Xavier, Tyler, Dana, Rex, Lucy, Zoe. Names upon names upon names. Souls, human souls, all for the Fates' taking. Their futures rest in our hands. The ones they will love, the ones they will marry, the ones that will cause them pain, it is all decided by the Fates. By us.

          We will guide them.

          And we will kill them.
--Ghost Story (a working title)


          "You're actually--a ghost?" Evan hasn't blinked once since we started talking.

          I nod.
          He continues to stare at me, eyebrows raised.

          "So--should I be burning your bones or something?"

          "You've been watching too much TV."
 --Ghost Story (a working title)

Obsessions I Acquired

Fan-fiction. I never realized how much fun writing it could be! :) It's a great warm up, and pretty easy to get into since all the characters have been created for you. I've been working on a SuperWhoLock short story, messing around with different pairings. So far the interactions between Sherlock and Dean have been the funniest, and Rose and Sam have good chemistry when working on a case.

Picture of the Month

Charlie is, hands down, one of the best characters in "Supernatural." She quirky, spunky, geeky, and a perfect fit in the Winchester family. I love every episode she's in. She should be a regular. :)


How was your December?


End of the Year Wrap-Up

It's time to say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015! But before we do, I'd like to take a look at the past year.

Top 14 books

(In no particular order):

1. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
4. Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
5. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
6. Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer
7. The Program by Suzanne Young
8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
9. Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
10. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
11. Panic by Lauren Oliver
12. Basically all the Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare
13. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
14. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

New blogging friends (limit to five)

I love meeting every single one of you, but I have to give myself a limit, otherwise this post would be really long. ;) These blogs are in no particular order.

1. Nicole from "A Soul Spun From Ink"

Nicole reached out to me via e-mail, and we really hit it off. We both love reading, writing, Pinterest, and "Supernatural." She posts regularly on her blog with tips on how to write, websites to use for inspiration, and snippets from her novel. She's also starting a regular short story contest, which I'm super excited about!

2. Skylar from "Life of a Random"



Skylar's blog is like a great big bubble of happiness. Her posts are always so much fun to read and often make me laugh. And Skylar's sending me book reviews, which I'm really happy about. :) If you're looking for someone to fangirl with, check out her blog.

3. Taylor Lynn from "Paper Daydreams"



(Not to be confused with "Paper Fury," as it often is.)

I met Taylor through blogging and Twitter a couple weeks ago, and I already know I'm going to love reading her blog. We share tons of similar reading interests, such as The Fault In Our Stars, Harry Potter, Rainbow Rowell books, Flora & Ulysses, We Were Liars, and lots of others. She's also a homeschooled writer, and I always love meeting others like me!

4. Shelumiel from "Whims and Ramblings"



It's kind of scary how similarly we read. If he likes a book, I like it, too, and vice versa. And neither of us like Catcher In the Rye. Shelumiel is also constantly sending me tweets with movies/books he thinks I'd like. He's usually right!

5. Abby from "The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life"

Abby and I met through the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. I went to the forums and said I was looking for a co-author to write a book with, and she responded right away. We e-mailed back and forth for a while and are now in the middle of writing a book about a young girl with aspergers dealing with her schizophrenic mom's death. I'm having so much fun with it. I also love that Abby posts regularly about the offline world, too, something we don't always see a lot of.

New obsessions

"Doctor Who"
"Sherlock"
"Supernatural"
Pinterest (Such a great place for writing inspiration. I use it all the time now!)

Most played songs


All of the music from "Doctor Who," "Sherlock," "Parenthood," and "Gilmore Girls"

"Carry On My Wayward Son" -- Kansas (Although it's hard to listen to it without bursting into tears--curse you, "Supernatural!")
"Stay or Leave" -- Dave Matthews
"Sing," "Photograph," "Tenerife Sea," and "Thinking Out Loud" -- Ed Sheeran
All of the music from "The Fault In Our Stars"
"Somewhere Only We Know" -- Keane
"Beneath Your Beautiful" -- Labrinth feat. Emeli Sandé
"Buzzcut Season," "Team," "Glory and Gore," and "Yellow Flicker Beat" -- Lorde
"When We Were Young" -- Lucy Schwartz
"The Hanging Tree" -- Jennifer Lawrence
"Dollhouse" -- Melanie Martinez
"Starlight" -- Muse
"Counting Stars," "What You Wanted," "Au Revoir," and "Burning Bridges" -- OneRepublic
"Coming Home" -- Skylar Grey
All of the music from "Divergent"
All of the songs from "1989" -- Taylor Swift


Strangest Google search used to find my blog

"i'd rather be at hogwarts" *high fives whoever made that search*

Five most popular blog posts

1. "Local Authors Night at Aaron's Books"
2. "Top Ten Books I Read In 2014"
3. "The Heroine Tag"
4. "Ten Bookish Goals For 2015"
5. "November Wrap-Up"

Three big things that happened in 2014

I was one of the authors at Aaron's Books Local Authors Signing.
I got my first job, a Food & Beverage position at the Renaissance Faire.
Our family moved to a new house.

Image from this year


My three major obsessions from this past year. I really want this to be an actual show. Although I'm pretty sure the internet would explode if that were to happen. Tumblr would, at the very least.

I know I already used this for November's wrap-up post, but I still love it. *feels*


Favorite quote from a book


But for now, as we wait for the engines to kick in, all of that is far away. For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful of broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it's gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the afterimages away.
Until all that's left is us.
--These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

"Do You believe in love at first sight?"
"I don't know," he said. "Do you believe in love before that?"
--Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
--The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

"Nothing would be easier without you, because you are everything, all of it--sprinkles, quarks, giant
donuts, eggs sunny-side up--you are the ever-expanding universe to me."

--Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

"Don't we all live in our heads? Where else could we possibly exist? Our brains are the universe."
--Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo


"I promise, I will not let you die without being kissed."
--Cress by Marissa Meyer

"Captain," she murmured. "I think I’m in love with you."
An eyebrow shot up. She counted six beats of his heart before, suddenly, he laughed.
"Don’t tell me it took you two whole days to realize that. I must be losing my touch."

--Cress by Marissa Meyer




Mirren. She is sugar she is curiosity and rain.
Johnny. He is bounce. He is effort and snark.
Gat. He is contemplation and enthusiasm. He is ambition and strong coffee.
Welcome home, they are saying. Welcome home.
--We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

For a moment, the two of us were alone on the planet, with all the vastness of the sky and the future and the past spreading out around us.
--We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


"We're lucky some people are so full of goodness."
--Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea


 "Well, that was easy," I whisper.
"No, that was very dangerous and daring, and it was only through my extreme charm that we pulled it off."
Even at this moment, he can make me smile. "My mistake."
 --All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill


"There are risks," James concedes, "but progress is always dangerous, isn't it? Most of the time, walls don't get dismantled brick by brick. Someone has to crash through them."
--All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

"We shouldn’t," protested Isabelle. "The Clave has a plan."
"The Clave has the collective intelligence of a pineapple," said Jace.
Alec blinked up at them. “Jace is right.”

Isabelle turned on her brother. "What do you know? You weren’t even paying attention."
"I was," Alec said, injured. "I said Jace was right."
"Yeah, but there’s like a 90% chance of me being right most of the time, so that’s not proof you were listening," said Jace. "That’s just a good guess."

--City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

"No killing," Jordan said. "We’re trying to make you feel peaceful, so you don’t go up in flames. Blood, killing, war, those are all non-peaceful things. Isn’t there anything else you like? Rainforests? Chirping birds?"
"Weapons," said Jace. "I like weapons."
"I’m starting to think we have a problematic issue of personal philosophy here."

--City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

"I do have a point to all this," she continues. "There are like twenty people in that waiting room right now. Some of them are related to you. Some of them are not. But we're all your family."
She stops now. Leans over me so that the wisps of her hair tickle my face. She kisses me on the forehead. "You still have a family," she whispers.
--If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Favorite quote


So true.


This year in one word

Eventful.

Goals for 2015



Writing:

1. Get an agent.
2. Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars.
3. Finish writing Cosmo and August Knight and the Sword of Gold.
4. Send Flightless Birds to my CPs/Beta readers.
5. Try screenwriting.

Reading:


Read my post HERE.


General:



1. Exercise more. Now that I'm not doing Tae Kwon Do anymore, I want to make more of an effort to stay active. It's easy to get sucked into a day of sitting at my computer or with a book. ;)
2. Eat less sugar and meat, eat more fish.
3. Procrastinate even less. (I think I'm getting a lot better with this one, though.)
4. Read the news. This is something I've been sort of doing off and on the past year, but I want to be more regular with it in 2015.

Goals for 2014 that I've accomplished

I finished writing Flightless Birds.
I am a lot better about not procrastinating.
I don't use a ton of emoticons. Only when necessary. ;)

Goals for 2014 that I didn't accomplish

Because it's good to recognize your failures, too.

I didn't get an agent, though I queried lots and received many rejections.
I didn't finish edits on The Sorceress.
I didn't finish writing Cosmo, but I did work on it.

Bye, 2014! Now for the next adventure.

What are your goals for 2015? Anything big happen in 2014? Leave a comment! :D

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ten Bookish Goals For 2015

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday with "The Broke and the Bookish"! :) This week's prompt is: What are your bookish goals for 2015?




1. Keep clearing out my TBR shelves. 

For almost six months, I've managed to keep my TBR shelves contained to just the first two on my bookshelf. But now books are slowly being added to the collection and there's hardly any room left. I've had to stack books on top of each other to make them all fit. (At least I haven't had to put any on the floor yet, though if I don't get on it that's the next step.) I'm going to read as many of the books on there as I can over the next year. I feel like 2014 was the year of writing and editing. To balance it out, 2015 will be the year of reading!


2. Review more books. 

Lately I've just been reviewing ARCs, but I really should be reviewing other books, too. I have so much fun doing it! I'm not sure why I haven't been, but I'm going to change that.

3. Read the books I've been saying I'll read for the past six months.

Throne of Glass, Anna and the French Kiss, The Raven Boys, Code Name Verity, Looking For Alaska, Landline, and Paper Towns are all books I've said I'll get to "ASAP." I read Paper Towns, but the rest are still on my shelf, giving me dirty looks.

4. Read the books from my Goodreads TBR list.

This is similar to #1, though not nearly as bad. I only have 31 books in my TBR list on Goodreads, and some of them haven't even been published yet! (I'm starting to wonder if the sequels to The Host will ever come out.) But I do want to read them, and soon.

5. Resist the urge to add dozens of books to my already crammed TBR shelves.

I don't have high hopes for this one, but I'm going to try!

6. Stop getting distracted (or at least get less distracted).

It sometimes takes me a month to finish a book. It's not because I'm a slow reader (I'm actually a really fast reader), but I get distracted a lot. A shiny new book presents itself to me at the library and I just have to take it home with me and read it right away. Or I need to stop reading the book so I can finish one for my book club. This goal is one of the more manageable ones from my list.

7. Return to my favorites.

This year I branched out a lot, in books and TV. I read classics, I read sci-fi, I read mysteries, I read books that none of my blogger friends had read or reviewed (sometimes going into a book completely blind is fun), I read non-fiction, I read books I didn't think I'd like and ended up loving, and I fell completely in love with many new TV series that I never in a million years would have watched if they hadn't been recommended to me. So this year, I want to go back to some of my favorite genres. I'm a little sick of dystopian at the moment, but I will be returning to my all-time favorite genre, fantasy, starting with Throne of Glass (for real this time).

8. Finish my Harry Potter trivia game.

I've looked everywhere for a Harry Potter trivia board game and found one, but it was only questions from the Sorcerer's Stone. So I'm making one of my own that includes questions from all seven books. It's taking me a while, but I plan to finish it sometime next year..

9. Read/review a book from a debut author.

It's got to be hard for a debut author to break into the reading world when absolutely nobody has heard of her. I want to make an effort to find at least one new author and read/review her book. I know I'd appreciate it.

10. Read more middle-grade.

I don't read enough middle-grade, and I really like it. This year I found some real gems: Flora & Ulysses, Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Because of Mr. Terupt, El Deafo, Out of My Mind, The Fourteenth Goldfish. Yeah, there were some duds, but for the most part they were all really good, sometimes even better than the YA stuff I was reading. I'd love to read more middle-grade in 2015.

What are your bookish goals for the new year?

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Heroine Tag

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

6. Which heroine would you want as your friend?

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


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

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



8. "Bad girl" heroine?

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

9. "Good girl" heroine?

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

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

Hermione Granger!

I tag anyone who wants to participate! :)