Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 YA Releases I Absolutely Can't Wait For

I did a post like this last year, but me being me, I only got to about half of the books on the list. What can I say? I'm easily distracted. And I'm also still catching up from YA books published in, like, 2014. I'M AWFUL AT STAYING CURRENT. However, with my goal to read more current books this year, as well as lots of diverse books, I should be better at keeping up in 2017. What am I excited to read, you're probably asking?* Well, I'll tell you.

*And if you're not asking this, you should be.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard (release date: January 12th)


Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.


Why I'm excited: I've never read a book about someone who is a selective mute, and I've read far too few books about someone who's deaf. This just sounds too perfect and adorable not to be good.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (release date: January 17th)



On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.


Why I'm excited: IT'S VERONICA ROTH. AND LOOK AT THAT COVER.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (release date: January 24th)



Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.


Why I'm excited: This looks like it's going to be heartbreaking, eye-opening, and timely. It'll probably be hard and infuriating to read, but it's probably going to be a really important book, too. I don't think this will be one I'll be able to put down. Plus, again, THE COVER. Is 2017 the year of awesome covers?!

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer (release date: January 31st)



In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure -- with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.


Why I'm excited: You guys. YOU GUYS. MARISSA MEYER IS DOING A GRAPHIC NOVEL. *cue fangirl screeching here* And Iko's the star of the story! I've always loved Iko in every single Lunar Chronicles book. I can't wait to see her kicking butt and swooning over Kai in a graphic novel form.

Starfall by Melissa Landers (release date: February 7th)


When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend...with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn't exactly in need of heroics—she's claimed her birthright as Eturia's queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn't a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.


Why I'm excited: I luuurrrved Starflight, and immediately added the sequel to my TBR list when I saw it existed. I'm not sure why I'm such a fan of groups of dysfunctional people bickering in close quarters (especially on spaceships), but they're always my favorite kinds of books. I guess this series is a duology like Carve the Mark is, so this makes me wonder if 2017 is also the year of duologies? Which I wouldn't mind at all, because trilogies always feel one book too many.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (release date: February 28th)


Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

Why I'm excited: I have a feeling this will quickly become a bestseller and be THE YA novel of 2017. I can't think of a better time to publish this story. And Amandla Stenberg is going to be in the movie?! I LOVE her. (And the cover, you guys, LOOK AT IT.) This may be the top book I can't wait to read this year.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamine Alire Sáenz (release date: March 7th)



From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.


Why I'm excited: I couldn't put Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe down when I first read it last month, and I know I was way late to the party on that one, so I can't wait to enjoy fangirling about this one with everyone else. Because it already looks great and it seems like it'd be really hard for a writer that good to let us down.

You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (release date: March 7th)




A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags,
You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.


Why I'm excited: THIS IS GOING TO BE DIVERSE AND ARTSY AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR IT. And we're getting illustrations of the graffiti?! This is great. LOOK AT THAT COVER.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (release date: April 11th)



Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?


Why I'm excited: Okay, first off, it's Becky Albertalli. I loved Simon, and this looks equally as adorable. Secondly, an overweight protagonist! With a lesbian twin! And a geeky boy! There's so much potential for this book to be the sort of story I devour overnight. I know I keep freaking out over these covers, but the coverrrrr. AND it's being released on my birthday, which makes me tempted to break my book buying ban because, hey, it's my birthday. (I'll stay strong, I keep telling myself . . .)

Literally by Lucy Keating (release date: April 11th)




A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut
Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”


Why I'm excited: I think you can pretty much guess that I'm already in love with this cover, but I'm also totally in love with the entire concept of this book. I recently watched "Ruby Sparks," which has a similar plot, and couldn't take my eyes away from it. I've never seen an author write themselves into a story like this, so I'll also be curious to see how that plays out. The meta episodes of "Supernatural" where Chuck was in it were always my favorites, so I think this is going to be a big hit.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz (release date: April 11th)



From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1
New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Why I'm excited: *breaks into song* HELPLEEEEESSSSSS.

But honestly, what better way to fuel my "Hamilton" obsession than with a YA historical fiction about Hamilton and the Schuyler sisters?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME INDEED.

(Also, that cover.)

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (release date: May 2nd)




All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.


Why I'm excited: I need more lesbian romances in my life, and this one caught my attention right away. It also seems like one that's going to break my heart, though, so I'll have to stay on my guard as it reaches the end. (Although even if I know it's going to be sad, I'll still probably be a blubbering mess.)

It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sugiura (release date: May 9th)




Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.

When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.

Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.


Why I'm excited: What was I just saying about needing more lesbian romances? 2017 is all too happy to be giving them to me. (Don't worry, I won't mention how beautiful the cover is this time, even though it is.) Look at alllllll the drama that's going to happen in this story. The question is, am I going to end up heartbroken at the end of it?

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (release date: May 16th)


There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


Why I'm excited: Oh my gosh, look at these blatant stereotypes (nice guys/bad boys, love triangles, etc.) being shot down like it's no big deal. This is so incredibly clever! Spies and (if the plot summary is suggesting what I think it's suggesting) boys falling in love with each other? I need it yesterday. (*strokes the cover* I won't say a word . . .)

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (release date: May 30th)



In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland,
Monstrous Sea's biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

With illustrations from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums and snippets of Wallace's fanfiction, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s
Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Why I'm excited: "Uniquely formatted." "Fan-fiction." "Will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson's Nimona and Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl." (*whispers* the cover) WAS THIS BOOK MADE FOR ME OR WHAT.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (release date: May 30th)


A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


Why I'm excited: This looks like a total diverse fluff fest and I am so excited for it. It'll be the perfect summer read. And I have to say, it's refreshing to see a WOC prominently on the cover.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (release date: June 6th)


After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?


Why I'm excited: Can we say quirky? I've never seen a plot quite like this. And I've definitely never read a book with an asexual protagonist, so I'm super pumped about that. All around, I don't think I'll be able to compare this book with any other, which makes me even more excited to discover what it's all about.

What 2017 YA release are you excited about? Help my TBR list grow to frightening numbers and share in the comments!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thanks for tagging me, Lara! :) This looks like tons of fun. The rules are: 1. Answer the eleven questions and 2. Ask eleven questions for the people you tag to answer. The theme is sunshine and happiness, so obviously I have to jump in, because who doesn't love sunshine and happiness?


1. Who's your least favourite character EVER? Describe - in detail - what it is that makes you hate them so much. "They're just the worst" or something similar is not acceptable (What? I thought you guys already knew about my bossiness!)

Holden Caulfield.

He drives me crazy.

The worst part is he's not even someone I can hate. He's not a villain. He's not even particularly despicable. So I can't love to hate him. But I can't love him, either. So I just had to read The Catcher in the Rye in its entirety and grind my teeth the whole time. Holden complained way too much. He was whiny and apathetic about almost everything. Anytime an opportunity was presented to him or he was offered help in some way, he turned it down. If he had truly been in a terrible situation that he couldn't fix, I would've been fine with the complaining. But he had options! I'm fine with a little teenage angst in any book, but he personified the kind of angst I can't stand.

2. Do you have any yellow/orange books? What do you want to tell me about them?

I thought I would own more yellow books seeing as my favorite color is yellow, my room is yellow, and pretty much anything that is primarily yellow jumps out at me. But I only own two orange books.


They're not even my favorite covers, but looking at any of my favorite books makes me warm and fuzzy.

3. What does reading smell like to you?

Hot chocolate and the pages of a mass market paperback book.

4. How often do you have doubts about being a blogger?

I don't think I've ever had doubts about being a blogger. It's just a part of who I am now. Doubts about the content I put on my blog is a different story, though. I choose carefully what parts of my writing I share, especially when I'm sharing something from a first draft. But I think that's normal for any blogger to have doubts about something.

5. Where would a book have to be set for you to pick it up immediately, no questions asked?

Hogwarts. ;)

But anything set in London, Paris, or someplace like a library is usually really interesting. Fantasy worlds are always fun, too.

6. What's your reading speed? Do you like it that way, or would you rather it was faster/slower?

It always depends on the book and what else is happening in my life, but I'm pretty average when it comes to reading speeds. I can get a 300-400 page book done in about a week. When it's a shorter book and I really love it, I'll get it done even faster. Sometimes the length doesn't matter because I want to savor a book rather than blaze through it. I guess it all really depends. In general I wish I were even faster because that would mean I could read more books in a shorter amount of time, but I'm okay where I am.

7. Tell me about a quote you can write down almost word for word without looking it up (almost everyone's got one, I reckon). What does it mean to you? What's made you remember it so clearly?

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." It's nothing grand and it's probably not even the best opening line ever, but I love it. I've heard it so many times when listening to the audio that when I remember it, I hear it with Jim Dale's exact inflection. Every Harry Potter quote feels like home to me.

8. At what time of year are you happiest?

April (around my birthday,) summertime (especially during my writer's camps), November (during NaNoWriMo), and December (pretty much all month with Christmas excitement).

9. What childhood toy do you have the fondest memories of?

This one's easy. I have a stuffed cat named Menedy (rhymes with Kennedy) that used to be white but is now gray, used to be able to hold her head up on her own but now flops around, and used to be fluffy but now feels like fuzzy socks that have gotten washed too many times. She's really old. Probably thirteen or fourteen-years-old now. Menedy went with me everywhere I went for years. One time I left her at the library and cried the whole way we drove back because I was scared someone was going to pick up that ratty cat and keep her for themselves. Pick up any Calvin and Hobbes comic and that was me at six-years-old with Menedy, only with a little less mischief and a little more reading.

10. How do you feel about school? What is/was it like for you? Love it or hate it?

I love school! I'm homeschooled, so I've never had the normal classroom experience (except for recently with my college classes, but that's nowhere near the same as middle school or high school), but I've always loved learning. Well, I tolerate math and science, but I love history and English and reading and homework. I like getting good grades and scores on tests. I like writing essays. What else would you expect from a Ravenclaw?

11. If you could change one thing about your blog without having to do it yourself, what would it be?

Maybe the design. I've had the same background on my blog ever since I started it, but I'm too scared to mess with it. Anytime I try to do something tech-y I end up spending hours on it and inevitably I screw it up somehow and have to undo all of my messes. I wouldn't want to risk messing with anything on my blog that could accidentally delete important files or something like that. But it would be cool to change my look sometime.

I tag . . .

Nevillegirl
Boquinha
Dr. Mark
Siths and Jedis
Carly
Rain
Selena

Even if you weren't tagged, feel free to steal this tag for yourself!

My questions:

1. What song never fails to put you in a good mood? Do you have any memories associated with it?
2. What's your favorite comfort food?
3. What TV show (or a specific episode from a TV show) makes you laugh the hardest?
4. If you could only read books from one author for the rest of your life, which author would you choose?
5. Do you prefer to read when it's sunny out or raining/snowing?
6. Cats or dogs? Why?
7. Do you have any posters in your room? What are they?
8. What's your favorite audiobook?
9. What are your top three favorite colors and what do you associate them with?
10. What's one of your favorite diverse books?
11. Which animal perfectly (or as close to perfect as you can get) represents you and why?


Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017

Midnight.
Bright lights.
We are the ones you couldn’t keep down.
Hang tight.
Shout, write.
We are strong if we refuse to drown.

New year.
New us.
Don’t think you can fool or control.
No tears.
Stay clear.
You’ve already lost. We know our goal.

History repeats itself;
The beginning is familiar,
but I know the ending.
Picking allies from the top shelf.
It seems bleak now,
but we are mending.

Don’t lose focus,
just stay smart.
They’ve got power,
but we’ve got heart.
Don’t stoop,
the air’s better here.
Stand as a group,
make sure they hear.

We are united,
don’t let them divide.
We are survivors,
don’t let them decide
who gets to be a part of this story.
Trolls in the comments,
fake news.
Don’t let them confuse.
Pick up a pen.
We know the truth.

Midnight.
Bright lights.
We are not the ones who should fear.
Hang tight.
Shout, write.

Happy New Year.
We are here.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

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

As you can probably tell from my lack of posting, this month was a little nuts. Lots of homework for my classes, grandparents visiting for Thanksgiving, and trying to get as much writing in as I can. So good nuts, but still crazy! I hope you all had a more productive NaNoWriMo than I did. For the first time in eight years, I didn't finish my word goal. I got 20,000 words total written. It's not a total loss since I still wrote a bunch, and some of it might be worth salvaging, but it does feel weird not to be celebrating at this point in the month.

Books I Read

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King

4/5

This was super surreal, just like any of A.S. King's books. They're never completely fantasy, but not completely contemporary, either. I liked the double timelines of the book best, though. Flashing back to ten-year-old Sarah and then going to the present put the story together in an interesting way. I also liked the quirky side characters and references to different artists. Sarah was a mystery to me for the longest time, but eventually you get to know her better toward the second half of the book.

Fan Phenomena: Supernatural by Lynn Zubernis

3.5/5

I bought this on a whim at the "Supernatural" convention, mostly because Misha Collins and Richard Speight Jr. both wrote an essay for the anthology. Theirs were hands down my favorites. I already knew their voices and loved them, and they came through 100% in the essays. Others were pretty interesting, too, but some aspects of the fandom the authors examined seemed dated. For example, there was a lot of focus on discussion boards that haven't really been in use since the first couple of seasons, but hardly any mention of Tumblr at all. Even non-Supernatural fans know that that's where the fandom hangs out. The book was written around the time of seasons 8 and 9, but that still wasn't too long ago. But like with a lot of anthologies, not every essay is going to blow you away.

Misery by Stephen King

3.5/5

As a writer, there were parts in this book that were probably extra devastating or creepy than other readers would find it. It was slow to start, but I couldn't put it down by the time I got to the second half. And I'm sure I would've finished it even sooner if it hadn't been for the pages upon pages of excerpts from the book within the book I had to read. I didn't feel like it added that much to the story. It just took away from the real excitement. And BOY can Stephen King write a twisted character. Annie was an absolute nightmare.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

5/5

So many people recommended this book to me ages ago, and I never got around to it. Now I'm totally kicking myself for not reading it sooner. This is such a beautiful book!!! I listened to the whole thing on audio because Lin-Manuel Miranda narrated it (and he did an excellent job, of course, because he's Lin-Manuel Miranda) and devoured it in less than 24 hours. I didn't know what I was getting into except that it was guaranteed to be gorgeous and addictive, and it really was. I loved the diversity, the presence of parents (two sets of them, no less!), and the relationship between Ari and Dante. I totally fell in love with their story. The characters were written so well. I'd work on shoving this book into everyone's hands ASAP, but I think I'm the only one in the book community who hadn't read it! :P

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

4/5

This is such an important story. The sentiment was lovely, hopeful, and inspiring. It's a much-needed book for trans and cis people alike. There were lots of diverse characters (trans, bi, and lesbian characters mainly), which is refreshing from books that really don't have any. However, the story overall did seem easy. I'm not even talking about it being easy for someone who is trans (which I really don't have any business judging since I'm cis and have no clue what a true transitioning experience is like), it just seemed easy in general. Setting aside all issues of gender identity, Amanda seemed to get out of conflict with little to no difficulty. Conversations with her dad that should have happened didn't, or conversations with her friends, or her boyfriend. Any time she got in an argument, it blew over right away, with both parties involved forgiving the other. The tension was lost after a little while because I knew there was no threat of anything happening. But still, I really enjoyed Amanda and her story. I hope we continue to see books about trans people in every genre with all kinds of different plots and possibilities. This book is a great step in the right direction.

Doctor Who: The 12 Doctors of Christmas by various authors

4/5

I haven't read all of these stories yet, but the ones I have read are super cute. :) They may not be written all that well, but they're fun. The Doctors' voices are captured perfectly. And I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes of the red bicycle story with Nine and Rose. It's a great, fluffy book for Christmas!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

4/5

This is another book I read recently and couldn't believe I was only now reading it. This was so much fun! The first hundred pages or so were slow and kind of confusing (like who were all of these characters and what were their motives?), which is the only reason why it's not five stars, but I LOVE LOVE LOVED the rest. All of the ships involved had that perfect and infuriating combination where I can't decide if they're my adorable OTP or if they're an absolute garbage fire. Maybe a bit of both. But all of these characters were dysfunctional and absolutely lovable. Well-written imperfect characters are the BEST. And so are several of them that get grouped together to tackle a life-threatening mission. The tension and humor in it was great. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.

(Also, random side note, but the fan art and videos created for this fandom is just really freaking amazing and you should totally google some to see what I mean.)

Movies I Watched

"Waitress"

4/5

Having loved the soundtrack for the musical, I had to watch the movie. And it's exactly the same story, so it was fun coming across the scenes where specific songs were supposed to go in. I love Nathan Fillion is every role he's in (even if they're all to some extent the same), so that was a nice bonus, too. The whole feel of the movie is very simple and bittersweet. Without any spoilers, the ending is a bit abrupt and tied up with a bow, though.

"Mamma Mia"

2.5/5

Oh, this was so cheesy. Somehow with musicals, I don't find characters randomly bursting into song weird or awkward. The transition is smooth and totally normal, even if it shouldn't be. With this movie, however, I felt myself cringing the whole time they did it. It was just. so. awkward. And goofy. All-in-all, don't expect anything grand from the movie, just pure fluff and fun.

"Moana"

5/5

Eeeeeee, this was just as good as I expected it to be! I'm not a huge Disney fanatic or anything, but I love "Beauty and the Beast," "Tangled," and "Frozen" a lot, and "Moana" is definitely joining that list. The music was FANTASTIC (yay again for Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Moana is a great heroine. It was really cool and not at all weird to watch a Disney movie with exactly zero romance. Moana and Maui's reluctant friendship, Moana's relationship with her island and family, and the quirky animal companions were perfect.

"Ruby Sparks"

5/5

I loved everything about this. If you're a writer, you should definitely check it out. It's a great indie movie with a simple but compelling plot. I was glued to the screen the whole time. It also shows just how easy it can be for someone who seems like a decent person to get addicted to a certain kind of power and control. GREAT story.

"Christmas With the Kranks" 

2.5/5

Another "cheesy but fun" movie. It's goofy and has some pretty bad effects, but it does get you into the holiday spirit.

"Rogue One" 

4/5

My only complaint with this movie is that I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I did with every other Star Wars movie. With the others, I was totally a part of the story with the characters while with this one I felt like an observer. But still, it was fantastic. Lots of tension and lots of darkness. The last ten minutes, as you might have seen others talking about, is really, really good. I didn't see it coming at first, but there's a moment toward the end when you realize, "oh, this is happening." It's definitely worth watching.

"Love Actually" 

4/5

I loved this! British movies are the best. It was really hard keeping up with all of the characters at first, but once you get used to that aspect, you can just sit back and enjoy. It's hard to make a story enjoyable and interesting when you have that many people to write about, but it worked. My favorite storylines were Liam Neeson's, Hugh Grant's, and Colin Firth's. They're all just very sweet and funny.

"Tommy Boy"

3/5 

Unlikely pairings of characters can either drive you crazy and make you love them, and in this case it did both. It's cheesy, but really funny. Sometimes totally outrageous plotlines work, and this did.

"Trumbo"

5/5 

Whoa, it was almost scary just how much present day events seemed similar to these. In some ways it's both concerning and hopeful. I was totally wrapped up in the story and it was really artistic. Especially since I'm getting into screenwriting lately, I enjoyed getting an inside look at the process.

"When Harry Met Sally"

3.5/5

This felt both like an indie movie and a rom-com in some ways. It's hard to follow characters through such a long span of time, but it worked well here. I really liked the friendship between Harry and Sally (and their other friends as the years go on). There were a lot of stereotypes for both men and women within the story that had me looking at it through squinted eyes, but it was made a long time ago and I think most people have grown past that stage. It was fun and humorous.

"Field of Dreams"

4/5

This isn't like any other movie I've ever watched, really, but I liked it a lot. The surreal elements were intriguing and there were a bunch of plot twists I didn't see coming. It was also refreshing to see a character know they're doing something crazy and tell someone else about it who just goes right along with the crazy. All too often the protagonist keeps things to themselves because they don't think anyone else will understand them, so yay for avoiding clichés!

Quotes I Wrote

Today, in the new light barely breaking the horizon, Melody caught shadows on people’s faces. The shadows appeared in different ways. In Lizzie, it came with pictures, the ones that were faded and always carried with her in her pockets, the ones of her and her parents while they were alive. Her dimples and curly hair were even wilder when she was younger.
    In Jordan and Julie, it came in smiles never forced, but pained. It came in Jordan resting his hands on Julie’s stomach and feeling for a life that wouldn’t ever feel the sun on its face. It came in Julie putting her hands on the sides of his face.
    In Lila it came in a determination that was meant as a distraction to herself. It came in her flipping pages in a heavy book, muttering to herself, hair falling in front of her face. It came in the way she tilted her head toward the sun, toward new beginnings.
    In Melody it came in realizing that for every human, this life was a gift, their years were few, and the air they breathed was not a right but a privilege. It came in her realizing that for Lila, this life was a curse, her years were agonizingly long, and the air she breathed was not blessed but poisoned. It came in her realizing that this spell would provide Lila sweet relief. It would be the greatest sleep she’d ever taste.
    Melody never felt so far from her.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

The seven girls sit down at a table with trays of various breakfast foods. Sam’s is piled high with semi-burnt waffles. Peyton looks over her shoulder at a few R.A.s who are crowded around the coffee machine. They look like zombies from the bags under their eyes and the number of times they keep yawning.


PEYTON
What happened to them? They look more tired than we are.
Dana immediately looks nervous.
 

DANA
(stammering)
Um--um--
 
KAT
They might have heard us playing Monopoly.
 
SARAH
And also listening to “I Love You Like a Table.”
 
SAM
I may or may not have tried to make my Broadway debut as Ogie.
 
KATE
I was her Dawn.
 
DANA
It was quite the night.

                                SAM
                       I can still hear the music now . . .

-"Writer's Camp"

Obsessions I Acquired

"Moana" soundtrack - "We Know the Way" has been on replay for a while now, but really the whole album is just great.

Picture of the Month 





Yes, yes that is Michael Luwoye liking my tweet of the picture of Max and me with him.
My friend Maya and I tried to take a selfie with Scout. It didn't quite work.
Scout couldn't wait to open presents this year.
Dana and I both accidentally wore our Hufflepuff t-shirts on the same day.

Sam and Sarah joined in on the house pride fun (Hufflepuff and Slytherin, respectively).


How was your December?

End of the Year Wrap-Up

Goodbye 2016, and hello 2017! Before we move on to next year, I always like to look back on the past year.

Top 16 books

Wow, this year's been so crazy busy, I'd forgotten some of these I read this year and not a year or two ago! Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
2. Winter by Marissa Meyer
3. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
4. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
5. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
6. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
7. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
8. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
11. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
12. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
13. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
14. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
15. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
16. Starflight by Melissa Landers

Special blogging friends from 2016

As always, a thousand thank yous to anyone who has ever e-mailed me/tweeted at me/left me a comment on my blog. That sort of interaction is why I blog! :) I love getting to know all of you and talking about everything from books to music to social issues to movies to Netflix binges. So thank you and keep being awesome people. Now I'd like to give a special shout out to a couple of bloggers I really got to know this past year.

Lara Liz @ "Another Teen Reader"

For someone who started a blog on a whim to procrastinate homework, Lara really went all in. Her blog is so neat and professional and every post is interesting. She's great at paying attention to diversity and social issues (especially when it comes to disabilities) and she's hysterical to boot. Both of us interviewed each other this year on our blogs and it was a great experience. So go say hi already!

Rain @ "Ivyclad Ideas"

I subscribed to Rain's blog as soon as I saw how creatively she was writing it. Rain blogs with her inner editor, Ivy, making for hilarious banter between the two in every post, whether it's a book review or a blog meme or something else entirely. It's super entertaining. Go check them out!

New obsessions

1. Broadway musicals (particularly "Hamilton," "Les Misérables," "Waitress," "Something Rotten," "In the Heights," "Rent," "Spring Awakening," and "Wicked.")
2. Spotify (while the constant ads are super annoying--especially since it's like the same three ads for Spotify Premium that always play--it's a really handy way to make playlists for the soundtracks of the aforementioned musicals. It's well over 600 songs now.)
3. "The Good Place"
4. "This Is Us"
5. "Stranger Things"
6. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"
7. "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
8. "Hamilton" and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Both have been my greatest creative inspirations this year. He's just an amazingly talented and cool guy.)
9. Twitter (As a rediscovery. I got off for a while because I was busy, but cleaned up and reorganized the list of people I was following when I realized Lin-Manuel Miranda was a big Twitter fan and tweeted lots. Now I follow even more authors and readers and I've learned about several new books that way!)
10. Screenwriting (I got a really great screenwriting program called Final Draft for Christmas that's been helpful for the scripts I'm writing. :) )

Most played songs

For the past like six months I've listened to little else but "Hamilton" and other Broadway musical soundtracks. But other music that ought to be mentioned (and I know I'm probably missing a bunch):

-"Hamilton Mixtape"
-"Another Love" by Tom Odell
-"Can't Pretend" by Tom Odell
-"In Your Arms" by Chef'Special
-"Eden" by Chef'Special
-"Peculiar" by Chef'Special
-"On Shoulders" by Chef'Special
-"I Was Made For Loving You" by Tori Kelly feat. Ed Sheeran
-"I Just Want You" by Robert Duncan
-"Whistle Theme" by Robert Duncan
-"Back Out on the Road Again" by Holy Shemp feat. Jon Huertas
-"Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song" by Rob Benedict
-"Electric Love" by BØRNS
-"Love Make the World Go Round" by Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda
-"Taylor the Latte Boy" by Kristen Chenoweth
-"Lost Boy" by Ruth B
-"Moana" soundtrack

Strangest/Coolest Google search used to find my blog

"harry potter hufflepuff meme" Yessss, Hufflepuff pride! *high-fives* (Even though I'm totally a Ravenclaw, this house is majorly underrepresented. I'm so glad Newt Scamander exists.)

Five most popular blog posts

1. "7 'Facts' About YA Novels that are as Accurate as Ron Weasley's Divination Predictions" (I really, really love this post.)
2. "October Wrap-Up"
3. "June Wrap-Up"
4. "30 Day SuperWhoLock Challenge - Day 2"
5. "A Sense-ational Blog Tag"

Big things that happened in 2016

I wrote about this recently, so you can check out the extensive list here! :)

Image from this year

I honestly can't pick one, so I'll say again, check out the post above to see!

Favorite quotes from the #1. best book read this year

Nope, can't pick one, it's just not happening. (Are you really surprised I'm breaking my own rules?)

“A kiss from the Captain would probably melt my central processor.”
Thorne winked at her. “Oh trust me. It would.”
-Winter by Marissa Meyer

“Thorne scoffed. “Careful is my middle name. Right after Suave and Daring.”
“Do you even know what you're saying half the time?” asked Cinder.”
-Winter by Marissa Meyer

“Words were different when they lived inside of you.”
-Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”
-Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

“To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.”
-Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

“I wanted to tell them that I'd never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren't meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn't have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. "Dante's my friend.”
-Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you. I'd wake up every morning and think, 'This will end in flames.'”
-Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

“What's a dementor?"
I mean, I can't even. "Nora, you are no longer my sister."
"So it's some Harry Potter thing," she says.”
-Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat -- soft and persistent, underlying everything.”
-Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you've been in before - you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.”
-I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

“I didn’t know you could get buried in your own silence.”
-I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

“Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”
-I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Favorite quotes

These quotes have stuck with me throughout most of 2016.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's entire sonnet.



2016 in one word

Busy (the good kind).

Goals for 2017

Writing:

1. Finish "Writer's Camp." (This short movie that's almost 100% accurate to actual events at my writer's camp has been super fun to write, and even if I have no clue what I'll do with it once it's done, I want to finish it up and let my friends from camp read it.)

2. Do more screenwriting. (I got an awesome screenwriting program for Christmas called Final Draft that automatically formats your script and allows for some super cool organization within the document, so I want to write something with it that has the possibility of going somewhere. I don't know if it'll be a play, movie, or TV pilot, but I want to do something.)

3. Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. (This was a goal for last year, but it ended up being out of my control since I had to wait for critiques from other people. Next year it should be all on me to finish it up, though.)

4. Finish Terrible Things. (I have a pretty lengthy fan-fiction series I've been working on for over a year now and it's almost finished, so I really ought to just type up the last two chapters so it's one less thing to work on. And if I still like it by the time it's done, I might be able to rework it with some original characters to turn it into an actual novella.)

5. Do the first round of edits for Ms. Holmes. (I got my Createspace proof a few months ago and started marking up my copy. If I can make it through once with some basic notes and edits, I'll be well on my way to polishing it up.)

Reading:

1. Don't buy any new books. (*gasps* A book buying ban?! The horror! But seriously, my TBR shelves are out of control. And yes, it's shelves as in plural. I need to finish up as many as I can next year before I buy anything else. I won't deny myself the occasional novel--for example, if Rainbow Rowell publishes anything new, I'm going to buy it, no questions asked. And my family always goes to the launch parties of A.S. King's new books.--but only rarely. If I really want to read something new, I'm going to the library.)

2. Read more diversely. (This is something I already do pretty well, but I can be better. And 2017 looks like THE YEAR for diverse and #OwnVoices books, which is freaking awesome and also timely. For example, all of these titles just look fantastic:

-The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
-You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
-Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
-It's Not Like It's a Secret by Misa Sigiura
-The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
-Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ornsbee
-When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
-The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
-How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
-A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

So these are all ones I'm planning to read, along with the multitude of diverse books I still have on my shelves.)

3. Stay current on 2017 releases. (This goes along with #2., but often times I'm late to the party when it comes to new releases. I always end up reading the Goodreads Choice and Book Shimmy award winners years after they've already won, which makes voting in the current round super hard. Plus, I miss all the hype with my other blogger friends! I'm going to try to get my hands on as many of the 2017 books as I can, so I'm hoping my library gets them, too. *crosses fingers*)

Other:

1. Continue to journal about once a week. (I had so much fun journaling last year that I want to keep it up while I still have the momentum.)

2. Watch less TV. (Binge-watching is super fun, but with all the reading and writing I want to do, I can't add any new shows to the ones I'm already watching. I have a ton I enjoy that come on weekly, so I'll get my TV fix that way.)

3. Maybe give writing classes. (This is something I've thought about for a while, but I'm not totally sure if I could do it with everything else I'm doing. But if when summer comes around I'm not feeling stressed or overwhelmed with other activities, I think it could be really fun to lead some sort of peer-based writing group. I could give some simple classes with writing prompts and teach other tweens and teens how to give and receive critiques. Plus it'd be a good way to get a little extra money while doing something I love! So this is a tentative goal, but one I'd really like to do.)

4. Spend less time on social media. (This goes along with the watch less TV goal. I love Twitter and Tumblr, but anyone who uses it can know how much of a rabbit hole it is. I'm thinking if I give myself a couple times in the day when I'm allowed to check them--when I get up and before bed, maybe--I can still see all of the awesome things that are going on and not be distracted throughout the day.)

5. Study for the SATs. (With college right around the corner, this is something I have to really jump into all the way, no matter how much I'm dreading the math portion of it.)

Goals for 2016 that I've accomplished

Writing:

1. Finish Ms. Holmes. (Done! Now to edit.)

2. Finish 'Til the Last Star Dies. (Finished! I did probably 50,000-60,000 words this year alone.)

3. Write more short stories to submit to contests. (Yep. Not a ton, but more than usual.)

4. Work on my handwriting. (It's so much better.)

5. Blog more. (I posted about once a week this year, so I'm counting that as a win.)

Reading:

1. Read one book a week. (Done! I might even get 53 books in before 2017 comes.)

2. Finish Les Misérables. (Finished! Loved it!)

3. Finish A Game of Thrones. (Accomplished!)

Other:

1. Say "no" to more. (This was so hard to do, but I definitely scaled back with my activities and resisted the urge to add anything new to my schedule that would overwhelm me. After trying to balance two jobs where weekends are definitely the most important days to work, I decided I'm not going back to the Renaissance Faire next year and I'll just be working at the movie theater.)

2. Procrastinate less. (I feel like I reasonably was able to do this.)

3. Be on my phone less. (While I definitely was on it less more so at the beginning of the year, I can say I was on it way less than I was in 2015. And because of it I've been able to read, write, and blog more, which I'm super happy about.)

4. Exercise more. (Yep! Not as much as maybe I should have, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.)

5. Eat pesco vegetarian, or straight up vegetarian, as much as possible. (I ate very little meat this year.)

6. Eat less sugar. (Done.)

7. Journal once a week. (Once a week didn't quite happen, but once every couple weeks did, and it's way more than I've ever done, so I'm saying it's a win.)

8. Learn basic sign language. (I know lots of basic signs and conversational signs, so I'm happy.)

9. Learn basic French. (I could probably survive pretty well as a tourist in Paris with a little stumbling around the language.)

10. Take more pictures. (I took lots more than I usually do.)

Goals for 2016 that I didn't accomplish

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

Writing:

1. Get an agent. (I didn't query one agent this year, but that's because the novel I thought would be ready in time to send out had so, so much more work to do.)

2. Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. (I wasn't able to get to as many writer's group meetings as I'd hoped, so I wasn't able to get the critiques I needed to finish it up. But next year shouldn't be a problem!)

Other:

1. Dance more. (Not sure what happened here, but while I did exercise more, there was less "Just Dance" happening.)

Bye, 2016! Now for the next adventure.

What are your goals for 2017? Anything big happen in 2016? Leave a comment! :)