Friday, May 8, 2015

7 Books to Read If You Like "Doctor Who"

I've been thinking about how many fangirls/boys love Netflix almost as much as they love libraries. Reading is awesome. TV shows are awesome. There are so many ways to figure out which book to read next if you like a certain one. You can talk to your librarians, consult Goodreads, find other books that author has written, etc. But there aren't a whole lot of resources to figure out which book to read if you like a certain TV show. I want to fix that, so I'm starting with my favorite TV show, "Doctor Who." The cool thing is it works both ways; If you like "Doctor Who," now you have a whole bunch of new books to read that are similar to it. If you don't watch "Doctor Who," but like the books listed, now you have a new show to watch. ;) Enjoy!

1. Doctor Who: Who-ology by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, Doctor Who: Official Guide on How to Be a Time Lord by the BBC, Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper

Reason: "Doctor Who"

I grouped these three together because they're all pretty obvious choices. Who-ology is basically the Whovian bible. It includes information on everything, from Classic Who to the regenerated series up to Matt Smith's era. Timelines, trivia, quotes, and more, it's an addictive read.

How to Be a Time Lord is fluff, fluff, fluff. It's full of pictures and quizzes and has a page for each companion, Doctor, and monster. It's a one night kind of book, great for bridging the gap between depressing novels, or if you just want to feel productive.

I only chose The Krillitane Storm because it's something I've read, but there are tons of DW fan-fiction books I wasn't even aware of. From Tennant to Baker to Smith and everyone in between, you can find all kinds of stories.

2. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Reason: Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey

TIME TRAVEL. I won this book in a giveaway and went into it completely blind. It was an excellent surprise! It's fast-paced, unique, and so good. I couldn't put it down until I'd turned the last page. It's told through dual perspectives and has some fantastic (see what I did there?) plot twists that I hadn't seen coming. Highly recommended!

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Reason: Cyborg, sci-fi, the future, oh my!

The storybuilding in this series is a-maz-ing. You get sucked in immediately, and it refuses to let you go until you've read it all. And the characters? Fantastic. Hovercrafts and spaceships and new technology and other planets and droids and other sci-fi awesomeness. Cinderella is a cyborg. Rapunzel was trapped on a satellite. All these different twists on fairytales make the story familiar, but new and exciting. Just like Doctor Who. Everyone knows about Shakespeare, but what happens when you add a few real witches into the mix?

4. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Reason: Romantic, outer space adventures

This was the first hardcore sci-fi book I read and loved, and this was before "Doctor Who" opened up my interests more. The whole story is set on a remote planet after Lilac and Tarver are the only survivors of a spaceship crash. (I do wonder why anyone thought naming a spaceship "Icarus" was a good idea, though.) Lilac reminds me of a young Donna Noble, and I love the witty banter between her and Tarver. It's a great, simple story with well-written characters.

5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Reason: Bizarre road trip w/ interesting creatures

Holy crap is this book weird. And I'm not talking weird like normal amounts of weirdness. I'm talking about garden gnomes that walk and talk and think they're Norse gods. And punk rock angels. And magic trumpets. This is a Doctor Who kind of bizarre that fans of the Russel T. Davies era will enjoy in particular.

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

Reason: The future . . .

Glory O'Brien drinks a bat and suddenly she can see the future. Strange? Absolutely. But the strange parts of stories--and "Doctor Who" especially--tend to be the best parts. The future in "Doctor Who" tends to be very grim, and so is the future Glory sees. Getting to see what's ahead is often more of a burden than anything. It's a great story.

7.  Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Reason: Best friends have wacky adventures

Who doesn't love the imagination in these stories? Everything from the transmogrifier to Calvin's time machine to the adventures of Spaceman Spiff keeps you laughing and turning page after page. The friendship that Calvin and Hobbes have is reminiscent of the Doctor and his loyal companion, always poking around and getting into trouble. They make friends and enemies, but at the end of the day it's the two of them against the world.

Do you watch "Doctor Who?" What books would you suggest for a Whovian looking for something to read? Leave a comment!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Wrap-Up

So I was a little late this month with the wrap-up post . . . whoops.

Books I Read

En Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


It had great characters, a fast-paced plot, and it sounds like it'll even be a movie. This was a great debut book, probably one of my favorite reads from this year so far. If you like fantasy, dual perspectives, and undercover spy work, this book is for you! Read my review here!

Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal


I hadn't ever really read superhero graphic novels before, so this was a great first comic! It read really fast and had a great protagonist. Kamala is a Muslim girl with a normal life and big dreams. Then she gains superpowers and totally kicks butt with them.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Holy. Freaking. Insanity. The characters are psycho, the story is psycho, everyone and everything is insane. This is one of the few books where I couldn't stand a single person in it, but liked the story. Those books are very rare, but Gone Girl pulled it off. I finished the last 150 pages in a single day because I couldn't put it down. Definitely worth the read.

Movies I Watched

"Sixteen Candles"


Fun eighties movie, simple story. It's not one of my favorites, but it's worth the watch. And now I get all the references people make!

"Sherlock Jr."


I really like silent movies! Buster Keaton's are my favorites, and this one was super fun and quirky. It's really short, too.

"Guardians of the Galaxy"


Another great superhero movie! I watched this one with my friends and we all really liked it. It's bizarre and funny and has great characters. It's like the Avengers meets Star Wars. I'll definitely watch the next one.

Quotes I Wrote

I won my local library's poetry contest! My winning poem is called Life Today.

The wonders of life are often
Missed by those who are too busy
To see.
Stuck in our silly lives,
Working hard to be able to eat
And go back to work,
We forget to live.
iPods and iPhones,
Beeping and tweeting and ringing.
A cacophony of reminders to check your device
And see who has updated their Facebook page most recently.
Constant interruptions turn twenty-minute TV shows into
Or sixty.
Movies take three nights to watch
Instead of one.
Kids bounce up and down in the car on road trips,
Asking how much longer it will be until they can get close to some wifi,
For their dragons on Dragonvale should be done breeding any second now.
The power goes out and we finally realize
How sad we are without
And noise.
Quiet. All is quiet.
Then a cell phone rings.

Harper frowned at the murky liquid. "It tastes like a barrel of lies."
--Plot Bunnies

    “You have to do something about him,” Harper said, sliding her tray away from me so I couldn’t take anything else from her. “Or one of these days you’re going to crack, and then where would I be?”
    “I can’t, Harper, you know I’ve already tried to—”
    “Not in-story,” she interrupted me. “Nobody’s been able to do that. I mean in real life.” She glanced around the dining hall—jam-packed and noisy with characters currently free from their stories—to make sure no one was listening. Then she leaned in closer and whispered, “I heard he’s getting you flowers.”
    I cursed under my breath, causing Harper to snort, eyes crinkling as she smiled.
    “I’ve already told him I’m not interested,” I grumbled. “He thinks that somehow this stupid, forced, and totally unrealistic in-story romance translates into the real world. What else can I do to send him the message?”
    “Just check yourself into the psychiatric ward,” Harper suggested, unhelpfully. “He won’t be allowed to see you there.”
    “Yeah, but then you can’t see me either.”
    “More fries for me,” she joked, smothering one in ketchup.
--Plot Bunnies

I caught a whiff of the familiar combination of ideas: coffee, old books, pencil shavings, and a hint of a fading campfire. Tendrils of smoke and fog still remained, drifting vaguely toward the ceiling.
--Plot Bunnies

“She’s not much of a talker, is she?” She said, quiet enough so Liz wouldn’t hear, but loud enough to make it clear that she didn’t care if she did.
    “She’s nervous,” I said, feeling this natural instinct to protect her. She couldn’t have been older than nine, maybe ten. Younger than Harper by quite a few years, at least. “We’re all nervous when we first materialize.”
    “Not me.” Harper wheeled herself in front of the bookshelf and ran her hands along the spines of my books. She pulled one at random and flipped through it, admiring the illustrations. “You know what I did?”
    “Rolled right down the hall and figured it out,” I said in a bored tone. I’d heard this story a thousand times.
    “Didn’t know anyone,” Harper continued, addressing the pages of my book rather than me. I busied myself with cleaning up the books and CDs lying around the room, making more space on the bed by scooping up my open notebook and pile of pencils. My MP3 player was almost crushed by Harper’s wheelchair before I rushed to move it from harm’s way, almost yanking the earbuds out of the headphone jack. “But I dealt with it. I listened, I observed, I explored, and I pieced together all the clues on my own.”
    “Yeah, yeah, I know, you were a genius,” I said distractedly.
    “Still am!” Harper said defensively. “Thanks to all that espionage crap, I know how to hack into anybody’s computer from my own laptop. I can also dig up deleted files and history, tap into your phone calls, and make it look like you’re getting text messages from someone you’re not.”
    “That’s just scary.”
    “That’s just the beginning.”
--Plot Bunnies

“How do I know if I’m the main character, though? I don’t even know who I am. I don’t know how old I am, what my last name is, if I have a family, nothing.”
    “It doesn’t take long for it to become clear,” Harper piped up. “Just pay attention to who the story seems to revolve around. If you end up getting dragged along on some epic quest of your best friend’s, chances are you’re the secondary character. If you’re the one the prophecy spoke of or you’re leading a rebellion or whatever, you’re the protagonist.”
--Plot Bunnies

I read the names on the doors. The first one had ‘Character 2’ engraved on the gold plaque hanging at eye level. The Writer must not have figured out a name for him (or her) yet. The one next to it said ‘Harry Potter,’ which made me wonder what fan-fiction piece she was working on now. We’d already had a few Dean Winchesters wandering the halls, but she hadn’t spent much time on those.
    Then I spotted Liz’s. The plaque read ‘Liz ???’ So she was an important character. The three question marks was The Writer’s signature placeholder for a last name, and she only gave last names to the characters who mattered. If only your first name was known, chances of you being caught in the crossfire were much higher.
--Plot Bunnies

“Hey, Indigo!” I looked up at Tony, sitting diagonally across from me. He was always the guy in big groups who looked most likely to answer, “RED BULL!” when asked what he had for breakfast. He beamed and gestured to man in his twenties next to him. “I think we've got a contender.”
    I raised my eyebrows at Tony and the man. “Really? Worse than Albert?”
    “We'll leave that up to the judges to decide,” Tony said.
    “All right, everyone, I think we're all here,” Mallory spoke in a shout to make herself heard. “If you could all quiet down, we can get started.”
    “Mallory?” Tony raised his hand, grinning innocently at her. His black hair stuck up at odd angles, greased with gel. “Can I say something first?”
    I saw Mallory give a small sigh, her shoulders rising and falling with movement that would hardly be noticed by anyone but those who didn't know her well. She knew what was coming, they all knew. “What is it, Tony?”
    Tony cleared his throat and stood, beaming at the crowd around him. He clasped his hands in front of him, standing directly underneath the lights in the ceiling, making it look as if he were in a spotlight. His skin was the warm color of redwood tree bark. “I have an announcement to make. We have a new contestant, everyone.”
    Mallory gave a groan and dropped her face into her hands. The rest of the group fell into whispers and murmurs, people leaning in to talk to their neighbors. “Did you hear that?” They muttered. “A new contestant. Wow.”
    “Tony, this isn't good for the group, you know that,” Mallory said, her words stale. I had a sudden sense of de ja vu as I predicted what she would say next. She'd said it a thousand times. “Comparing your problems to someone else's isn't healthy. Group therapy isn't a competition; it's a source of healing. You can't—”
    “Ladies and gentlemen,” Tony interrupted her, turning so he was facing most of the group instead of her. “May I present to you . . . Michael!”
    The young man—maybe a year or two older than me—who was sitting next to Tony, waved a little, smiling hesitantly at the gaping group. They stared at him like he was some kind of zoo animal, watching to see what trick he'd do next.
    “You think you're better than Albert, then, huh?” A suspicious middle-aged woman said a few chairs down from me. Her name was Trish, and she was one of the regular judges for our unofficial little game. While the whole group decided collectively who had it worse, she was our representative, our main voice.
    “I don't know,” Michael admitted. “I don't know what his story is yet. But I think I've got a chance.”
    “What have you got that's so awful?” Harper piped up.
    “Terminal cancer,” Michael said, nonchalantly. There was a collective, “Ahhh” of realization from the group. They nodded their heads and looked at each other with, “poor thing” looks on their faces, lowers lips stuck out in a pout. “And my family doesn't have health insurance. Oh, and my girlfriend who's pregnant with my baby just went missing.”
    Trish sat back in her chair and rubbed her chin thoughtfully, staring at him through narrowed eyes. “Not bad, not bad,” she murmured. “But it doesn't even come close to Albert.”
    There was a rumble of agreements from the group, mutterings of, “No, definitely not”s and “Not even close”s and “Nope, Albert's got it worse”s.
    “All right, what's Albert's story?” Michael asked, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked over at the old man sitting directly across from Mallory. He was also in a wheelchair, chest rising and falling with soft snores. He wore dark sunglasses, had tons of wrinkles, saggy skin, and a silver beard with random tufts of hair decorating his otherwise bald head. It was always hard to tell with him whether or not he'd been dragged into his story or if he was truly asleep. He was constantly drifting off.
    “Where to begin?” Trish sighed, looking at Albert sadly. “He watched his family be brutally murdered in front of him by the Nazis, wend blind, half-deaf, and lost both of his legs during an air raid, and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was twelve. He married a beautiful woman years later, but she miscarried three times, birthed a stillborn, and was later the victim of a serial killer in their quiet Texas town. He lost his job and is now homeless. Oh, and he doesn't have any of his teeth anymore.”
    Albert jerked awake, whether from reemerging from his story or waking from a dream, we didn't know. He moved his head around as if he were looking at everyone, even though he couldn't see us. “What's that?” He yelled.
    “You're still number one,” Trisha shouted. “Michael didn't beat you.”
    He mumbled something under his breath and shifted around in his chair, pulling his shoulders up until they were almost touching his ears. He was asleep again within seconds.
--Plot Bunnies

Obsessions I Acquired

Louden Swain. I found them because Rob Benedict (who plays Chuck in "Supernatural") is the lead singer, and I wanted to check them out. They're so cool! They have a unique sound with very catchy songs. I especially love "Eskimo," "Gamma Ray," and "Worlds Collide."

"Once Upon a Dream" -- Lana Del Rey This came on my Pandora station the other day and I haven't stopped listening to it since! It's simple and haunting and makes for great writing music.

Picture of the Month

I've seen this picture so many times, but every time I see it it cracks me up.

Kate Gold asked me to pass on this information: she's starting a blog chain and is hosting a video chat to discuss it with anyone who's interested. The details are HERE.

How was your April?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear OTP (TCWT Blog Chain)

I am so freakishly excited for this TCWT prompt (thank you for your genius, John). The hardest part was picking just a few couples to write about (decisions!). Let me start off by saying that I hate ship bashing. The rudeness I've witnessed (especially from aggressive Johnlock/Sherlolly shippers . . . calm down, guys) is just plain mean. Each fangirl/boy is allowed his/her own opinion without judgement or cattiness. This has been and always will be a hate-free blog, so don't be afraid to leave a comment!

(Why yes, yes I have made a list of my OTPs--all 50 or so of them--and yes, yes I did consult it as I wrote this post.)

Prompt: “Write a letter to a fictional couple.”

Dear Tenrose,
Why must you hurt me in this way? I spent an entire season squeeing over your adorableness and you had to go and break my heart. Thanks for the week I spent wallowing in my grief with tissues and chocolate, grumbling over the first few episodes of S3.

But in all seriousness, you two are the ultimate OTP. You're funny, you're sweet, you're cute, you kick butt, and you save the universe time and time again. What more could a ship ask for?

A Dedicated Whovian Surrounded By Empty Boxes of Tissues

Dear Luneville,

You two should totally have been canon. I can't think of a better pairing in the entire series. You're both quirky and often considered misfits. But I think more than anything, what would've drawn the two of you together is that you're unconditionally kind. You love your friends like family and would do anything to help them. You're the perfect match. Fan-fiction doesn't lie.

A Potterhead Who Thinks You Two Should Just Kiss Already

Dear Sherlolly,

THE FRUSTRATION. You two have had three seasons of sparks and chemistry and nothing?! Sherlock, you idiot, say something to her. For a genius detective, you sure are oblivious to her attempts at romance. Even John sees it. Molly is willing to do anything for you, including pretending you were dead for two years.

If nothing happens in S4, I'm sending another letter of protest.

A Sherlolly Shipper With Too Many Feels

Dear Megstiel,

Yes, yes, I am in the minority here with the Supernatural fandom, but I can't help it. I never would've expected to ship an angel and a demon in this show, especially a demon whom I'd previously loathed with every fiber of my body. How in the world did I ever end up squealing over you two? Oh yes, because the writing is brilliant. Ahem. But that's another letter for another time.

Cas is undeniably sweet and adorable, and Meg, while rough around the edges, was willing to stay by his side when he was crazy!Cas and stuck in a hospital bed. They take care of each other, which is probably the most important thing a ship can have, especially in the Supernatural fandom.

But, like all the best OTPs, it must either never have existed at all or end in tragedy. *sighs heavily* But this is Supernatural, after all, so there's hope for you yet . . .

A Shipper Who Hopes Meg Finds Her Unicorn

Ignore the confused moose in the background. He knows nothing of your love.

Dear Hazel & Augustus,

Apparently you don't have a ship name because you're just too awesome to even need one. That's pretty cool, but it is a mouthful to say "Hazel and Augustus" when I could be saying "Haugustus" or something to that effect.

You two are smart, sarcastic, funny, and adorable together. You even fangirl/fanboy over books together. How cool is that?! And Gus bought Hazel plane tickets to Amsterdam using his wish from the genies in order to get her to meet her favorite author?! Yeah, he's a keeper.

A Fangirl Trying Not to Cry

Dear Cress & Thorne,

Corne? Thress? Do you even have a ship name? It doesn't really matter. You guys are awesome. And hilarious. And cute. I pretty much spent the whole time reading the book with a smile on my face. Cress is adorable. Thorne is awesome and reminds me of Captain Jack Harkness. Basically you two are my favorite characters in The Lunar Chronicles. The end.

A Huge Fan Waiting Impatiently For Winter

There are SO many cool pieces of fanart out there, it was hard to choose just one!

I could go on and on and on, but I won't for the sake of keeping this post at a relatively normal size. I would like to give a shout out to Javajunkie, Sizzy, Malec, Rumbelle, Dean/Jo, and Niles/Daphne.

Who are your OTPs? Please share!

Psst. Remember the "Bean Bag's and Sofa's Writer's Group" I talked about a little while ago? Well the site is finally up! Check it out!

and (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

An Ember In the Ashes (a book review)

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Release date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 443

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.


I mentioned in my "Ten Bookish Goals For 2015" post back in December that I wanted to read and review a debut book. After consulting the owners of our local bookstore, I was handed this one. I went into it with high hopes and was not disappointed. (And it also helped me with my "read more fantasy" goal!)

An Ember In the Ashes sounds like it could be a dystopian book from the description, but it is so, so not. It's definitely fantasy, more like a Roman gladiator story than anything else. Yes, the government officials are terrifying and evil and brutal, but they are not President Snow or Jeanine Matthews. The story reminded me of Girl In the Arena (though a much, much better version of it) and the Mortal Instruments series.

The book is told through dual perspectives; Laia, an undercover slave working as a spy to free her brother from prison, and Elias, a once dutiful soldier who's having second thoughts. Though I liked both of the characters a lot, only Laia's perspective managed to keep me interested all the way through. Elias' got better over time, but his beginning was flat and confusing. I had to fight through his chapters for the first hundred pages until things started to pick up. Luckily, I love characters who try to infiltrate a system from the inside or work as a spy (think Charlie Bradbury from "Supernatural" or the members of the Order of the Phoenix), so Laia's storyline kept me hooked.

It's a familiar enough premise--imperfect fantasy society told through dual male and female perspectives--but has unique aspects that set it apart from the others like it. I love both Laia and Elias for different reasons. Laia agrees to be a spy for the Resistance, which is a group of people fighting the system, and becomes a slave for the cruel ruler, the Commandant. She needs to give the Resistance information in order to free her brother, who was captured by the government. Elias is a soldier participating in a competition to see who will become the emperor, but he feels conflicted about the way things are and forms a kind of friendship with Laia.

There are few characters who are central to the story, though sometimes it was hard to keep track of Elias' friends, who hardly did anything except confuse me. Laia was probably my favorite character, along with the more timid slave, Izzi. Laia was not ferociously brave and self-sacrificing like lots of young heroines are nowadays. She was scared, and she didn't like getting hurt, but she was able to find enough bravery to keep pushing for the sake of her brother. She didn't have bravery thrust upon her, but she grew into it, which I thought was really cool to see. Izzi was the slave she bonded with, and I like the friendship the two of them have. Laia brought Izzi out of her shell a little, and Izzi was sweet to her.

Elias is a character to feel sorry for. His mother is ruthless, and treats him like a soldier rather than a son. He has a rocky relationship with his best friend as the book goes on and their values start to change. He's constantly having to choose between what is right and what will keep him and his friends safe. And he has to figure out if his friends are really his friends.

I had a hard time with Elias' best friend, Helen. I liked her at first, then I didn't, then I wasn't sure. She's a confused character brought up in a world where she's taught that it's okay to kill people simply because you believe you're better than they are. I still can't decide if she's a bad guy or just someone in need of a friend to teach her what's right.

As for the plot, yes, there sadly was a love triangle. *sighs heavily* Maybe even a love square? I don't know. The whole time there was confusion from all of the characters, pointed looks and sleepless nights. Overall, it just wasn't believable for me. I knew the whole time which two characters would end up together (and though I won't spoil it for you, I was right!). It wasn't central to the plot though, thank god, so I can get past that.

The ending was satisfying, but definitely left room for a sequel. Nobody's sure if there's going to be one as the publisher only bought the one, but it sounds like there might be a movie! It would make a great movie if anything comes of it.

All in all, I would give this book

If you like fantasy, dual perspectives, and undercover spy work, this book is for you!

Have you read this book? What did you think? And what are your thoughts on love triangles/squares?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--April

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 theme is siblings! I love family dynamics, especially sibling dynamics, in books (and movies and TV shows). This meme made me realize that I actually don't have a lot of siblings in my stories, though. I'll definitely have to fix that.

Anyway, I couldn't decide between answering the questions for Cassandra and Cindy (unicorns from my MG fantasy trilogy) or Lane and Becca (from Beneath the Moon and Stars, my YA contemporary romance), so I'm bending the rules and doing both. ;)


1. What is the first memory they have of each other?

The first memory Cindy has of Cassandra is actually right after Cassie was born. Cindy, being only two at the time and not realizing how fragile newborn unicorns really are, tried to play with her by tackling her. Cassandra wasn't hurt, though, and thought it seemed like fun. It didn't take long for them to bond.

Cassandra remembers being scared of everything that was going on in Fantasya when she was about two. Giants, trolls, and elves invaded Prosperity Border (their home), and their dad told Cindy to take Cassandra and hide somewhere safe. Cindy stayed with her for a long time.

Becca's four years older than Lane, so her first memory is holding Lane on the couch, surrounded by lots of concerned adults giving her different instructions about how to hold his head up and keep the blanket wrapped around him. She remembers his huge poof of black hair, which never really went away as he got older.

Lane was always running after Becca when he was little, the two of them finding their own entertainment during their mother's boring dinner parties by causing mischief. When Becca was eight, she had Lane keep watch while she dumped clear alcohol into the sink and replaced it with water. Their mother screamed at them afterward, but Lane remembers feeling immensely proud of the two of them while they were actually carrying out their plan. He felt like a spy, standing at the door, peeking through the crack for anyone coming.

2. Describe their relationship in 3 words.

Cassandra and Cindy's relationship: Lots of love.

Lane and Becca: Ups and downs.

3. What kind of things do they like to do together?

Cassandra and Cindy, when they aren't fighting for their lives, love games. Even as adults, they jump in and play tag with their kids or hide and seek. They have energy to spare, so running around is the perfect outlet for them.

Lane and Becca tend to bond over exasperation at their mother's petty antics. They hated it as kids, they hate it now. But it's fun to whisper and crack jokes behind their parents' backs, both of them trying to make the other laugh first. Mostly, they just like to talk. They may not have a whole lot in common, but they can count on each other for stimulating conversation when everyone else around them is more concerned with the paint choice for the room they're sitting in.

4. What was their biggest fight?

Cassandra and Cindy rarely fight. They know all too well that they can't accomplish as much alone as they can together. Their biggest fight lasted for maybe a day. Cassandra accidentally let slip that Cindy was pregnant, when she and her husband were waiting to tell everyone all at once at a nice dinner. But after realizing it wasn't that big of a deal, they both apologized and went back to being friends.

Lane and Becca are unpredictable. Sometimes they're both in fantastic moods, the next day they could be screaming at each other. Overall, their relationship is really good, but they fight like normal siblings.

5. How far would they go to save each other?

Pfft, Cassie and Cindy have literally risked their lives for each other from the time they were toddlers. I don't think there's anything they wouldn't do for the other.

Lane and Becca have each other's backs, for the most part. It's kind of necessary for survival when they're both living with their mother. Becca hates to see her little brother get hurt or picked on, but she's willing to slap him into shape if the situation requires it. Lane is generally willing to do all sorts of favors for Becca, too.

6. What are their pet peeves about each other?

Cindy likes to tease her little sister in front of other people, which is funny at first, but quickly becomes irritating for Cassandra. Cindy hates it when Cassie chews with her mouth open.

Lane thinks Becca is too uptight, Becca thinks Lane can't take anything seriously.

7. What are their favorite things about each other?

Cassandra and Cindy love their inside jokes. Whether they're whispering and giggling late at night or cracking each other up in the middle of a boring event, they're constantly laughing.

Though he'd never admit it and risk constant teasing from her, Lane thinks Becca has good advice. She's the first person he goes to when he's in a pinch because he knows he'll listen. Becca likes the way Lane balances her out when she's feeling stressed. He's always up for a game or a night out.

8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc?

Cassandra and Cindy are both energetic, outgoing, fun-loving, happy, and funny. Their coats are pure white.

Lane and Becca are both extremely sarcastic and smart. They're both eye-rollers and share the same loud laugh.

9. Who has the strongest personality?

It's a tough call, but Cassandra probably wins. Cindy's a little worn out from her little sister's energy.

Lane, definitely Lane. He is a strong E while Becca's an I.

10. How does their relationship change throughout your story?

Cindy wasn't around for much of Cassandra's childhood, as she was separated from her during the war in Fantasya, but when the two reunited, it was as if nothing had changed. If anything, their bond strengthened.

Lane and Becca fought with each other more at the beginning of the story, sick of the other's antics, very much needing their own space. They soon found a common cause to unite them. I won't spoil what happens at the end.

Tell me about the siblings you've written! Or, even better, linkup with Cait and talk about them on your own blog. Who are some of your favorite fictional families?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Let Them Eat Books, Er, Cake

Thanks for tagging me, Miel! :) A meme about books AND food?! I'm in.

A book that was a little slow to start off but really picked up as it went along.

I'll go with one I'm reading right now, which is a debut book, An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It was a little flat and confusing at first, but intriguing enough to make me keep going. I'm so glad I did! I'm about 100 pages from the end and it's really good. It's a familiar enough premise--imperfect fantasy society told through dual male and female perspectives--but has unique aspects that set it apart from the others like it. Laia and Elias are the protagonists, and I love them both. Laia agrees to be a spy for the Resistance, which is a group of people fighting the system, and becomes a slave for the cruel ruler, the Commandant. She needs to give the Resistance information in order to free her brother, who was captured by the government. Elias is a soldier participating in a competition to see who will become the emperor, but he feels conflicted about the way things are and forms a kind of friendship with Laia. I'll post a review about it on my blog once I finish, but I definitely recommend it.

A book that had a rich, great plot.

Ooh, the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce is so. good. Honestly, I've been a little disappointed with her other series (although I also enjoyed Protector of the Small), but Alanna's stories have kept me up at night. The first one is probably my favorite, but they're all solid 5-star reads. If you're looking for good epic medieval fantasy, look no further.

A book you thought was going to be bad but actually turned out quite enjoyable.

(First of all, eggs are delicious. Why would you put eggs and something you thought was going to be bad together?)

It's a tie between the Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong and The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I entered a giveaway a couple years back to win a random box of books, and the Darkness Rising series was what I won. I was a little skeptical, because paranormal wasn't really my thing, and the premise didn't intrigue me. But I was about to go on a road trip, and road trips mean lots of books, so I brought it along. I don't think I slept until I finished the series. I was pleasantly surprised.

I had no interest whatsoever in reading The Host, because sci-fi? Aliens? (Ironic, since sci-fi and aliens pretty much occupy my days now.) Stephenie Meyer? Meh. But I saw a preview for the movie and my best friend recommended it to me, so I checked it out. Over 600 pages in two days. Yeah, it was pretty freaking awesome.

A sugary, sweet book.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell takes the cake. Anything this woman writes is gold, and Fangirl is no different. Her characters, her dialogue, her simple plots, etc. Her books are just genius. Fangirl is funny, fluffy in the best ways, and a quick read.

A book that covered every single element that you enjoy about a book (funny moments, action moments, sad moments, etc.).

Pfft, Harry Potter for sure. (If you didn't see that coming, you need glasses.)

A book series that you can kind of turn back to for a little pick me up when you’re feeling down.

The Calvin and Hobbes series by Bill Watterson. :) This is definitely my comfort series (other than Harry Potter). I can grab a book from my treasury, flip to a random page, and get a guaranteed smile on my face. Even if I just read a single comic strip (though they're usually too addictive to just read one), I feel happier. It's a great way to start the day.

The cherry on top
Your favorite book this year so far.

Ooh, tricky one. But probably Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I've said for a while now that I would read it, so I finally did. And it is awesome. Seriously, Celaena is a fantastic heroine. She's hysterical, rough around the edges, totally kicks butt. Aside from not knowing how to spell or pronounce anyone's names, it's a great read.

(Also, the cover is so pretty. I want a poster of it hanging on my wall.)

Tag, you're it! Feel free to take this for your own blog. And here's a bonus question for the comments: "Raisins" What book surprised you, in good ways or bad? (Because we've all been surprised by raisins disguising themselves as chocolate chips at some point. Sneaky little devils.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Wrap-Up

Books I Read

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


I don't know why I didn't read this sooner! It was great from beginning to end. I loved the characters (especially Gansey) and the plot was so unique that I can't really compare it to anything. It's a paranormal book that'll appeal to people who don't like paranormal, as well. I'm excited to start The Dream Thieves.

Doctor Who: Official Guide on How to Be a Time Lord by BBC


This was a fun, fluffy read. Lots of doodles and quizzes and trivia. It's kind of like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for "Doctor Who."

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman


My little brother's been begging me to read this for a while now, so I finally did. It's hysterical. It's super short--I read it in less than an hour--and is super creative the whole way through. Both younger and older kids will love it.

I also reread most of Insurgent before watching the movie, but since I didn't finish it, it doesn't count. :P But I would definitely give it a 5/5.

Movies I Watched

"Stuck In Love"


Love. This. Movie. It's funny, it has a great cast (Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, and Nat Wolff in the same movie?), and awesome music. Plus, it's about writers. It can't get much better than that.

"Iron Man"


Yeah, I hadn't actually seen (and understood) a Marvel movie before now. *hides in shame* I'm fixing that. "Iron Man" was great, as I expected. :) Tony Stark is hilarious, even if he can be stubborn and a little stuck up sometimes (but in the best ways). I did feel like a lot of it was set up, but that's to be expected from the first movie.

"Iron Man 2"


This one was so good! I wasn't expecting Natasha Romanoff to be in this series, so that was a pleasant surprise. She truly is awesome. I liked the villain in this movie much better than the first one. And we got to see more of Rhodey, who I think is great. Definitely a good sequel.

 "Notting Hill"


I love simple movies like this and "You've Got Mail" and "The Hundred-Foot Journey." William's character is so sweet (and funny) and I cracked up more than once at scenes with his roommate, Spike. But all of characters are great and so different from each other. Even Anna, who sometimes got on my nerves, was well-written.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"


I should've watched this Disney movie sooner. It's short and sweet and is a great story. The ending was fantastic, too, though I won't give anything away here. The friendship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda is what really made the movie.

"Captain America"


Probably my favorite Marvel movie I've watched so far. Two words: Peggy Carter. I am so excited to watch "Agent Carter" now that I've seen for myself just how freaking awesome she is. Steve is sweet, Dr. Erskine made me sad, and Bucky made me even sadder. But the ending made me want to watch the sequel immediately, and I didn't have it on hand, so that was the tiniest bit frustrating.



LOKI. I knew I liked him in "The Avengers" for a reason. He's such a flawed character and I love it! I don't think he's a true villain. He's just lost and has made some bad choices. Also, Thor interacting with humans has got to be one of the best things I've seen in a superhero movie. I just about lost it when he smashed his cup on the ground. I'm sure you've all seen it before, so I won't show you again.

Whoops, my hand slipped.

"Veronica Mars"


This was the perfect ending to the series, even though I'm extremely sad that it's over. I'm just glad I got to watch it so soon after finishing season three. I can't even imagine how the fans felt waiting for seven years for a conclusion. (And the Sherlockians think they had it bad.) I highly recommend this show to anyone and everyone.

"Anastasia" (a rewatch)


Another great Disney movie! I'd watched this years ago but only remembered a vague scene of Anya walking through the snow. Yeah, it was time for a rewatch. It has everything a animated movie requires: good characters, humor, suspense, and people randomly bursting into song. The villain is delightfully freaky, too.



I was a little worried about what they were doing to the movie when I saw the trailers and the negative reviews online, but I was pleasantly surprised when I watched it. It was fantastic! Yes, they did take some liberties with a few things, but I found the changes only enhanced the story. I actually like it when the movie strays away from the book a little bit (but only a little), because then we're not watching something that's exactly the same as what we've read. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend that Divergent fans watch it, too.

Quotes I Wrote

Nothing very quotable this month, sadly. I've mostly been doing a lot of planning for my Camp NaNoWriMo book, Plot Bunnies, which you can read about here. April 1st, tomorrow!

Obsessions I Acquired

"Teen Wolf"/the music from "Teen Wolf" When I started watching "Teen Wolf" (thanks for another great rec, Cait), one thing I hadn't expected was how great the music was going to be. I've made a lot of wonderful discoveries because of it. Some of my favorite songs from the series so far (I'm watching season three now, so no spoilers, please!) are "Who Are You Really" and "We Must Be Killers" by Mikky Ekko, "Black Sheep" and "Kill of the Night" by Gin Wigmore, and "Just a Little Bit" by Kids of 88. They're all very catchy, though, so consider yourself warned.

Tumblr I finally gave in to the temptation, and while my productivity might not be any better because of it, it's definitely a great place to go for a good laugh. I originally got on to follow some of my favorite authors who have active Tumblr blogs (like Rainbow Rowell, Amie Kaufman, and Meagan Spooner), but the fandom world sucked me in as it always does. And let me tell you, it's a great time to be alive on Tumblr as a member of the Supernatural fandom. We truly rule the website. Just like the Sherlock fandom is notorious for reaching Moriarty levels of insanity, the SPN fandom is known for their uncanny ability to find a completely relevant gif from the show for any post on there. It's especially hysterical when they reply in all caps with something like "HOW DO YOU GUYS HAVE A GIF FOR EVERYTHING?!" It's tons of fun.

This video. This is the video I will show to anyone I'm trying to convince to watch "Supernatural." The song choice is perfect, the editing is flawless, and the whole thing captures the heart of the story and the characters. I can't stop watching it!

Marvel movies. (Thank you, Cait and nevillegirl, for getting me hooked!) Apparently it's a crime to call yourself a fangirl if you haven't watched at least one Marvel movie. As you can see from the movies section of this post, I've fixed that and have not stopped watching.

Fanart While I'm not very good (yet), I've been practicing and am having lots of fun trying to copy some of my favorite fictional characters. I think I'm doing okay. It's definitely going to take time to get as good as some artists I've seen online (yowza).

Picture of the Month

Your generic demon eye

By the way, Alexia Stevens and I are starting a group for teen writers called Bean Bags and Sofa's Writers Group. If you're interested in joining our community, please take our survey so we know what to add!

How was your March?

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Perfect Patience Award

My dad at "Sushi and Pizza" nominated me for an award he created called the Perfect Patience award, which is awesome, because us bloggers/readers/fangirls (or fanboys)/writers have to at least try to be patient all. The. Time.

You have shown exceptional patience in the face of a frustrating situation. You are the embodiment of graceful waiting. The rules are simple:

1. Post this picture on your blog.
2. Answer the 5 questions I've asked.
3. Tag 3 friends whose patience knows no bounds (or from whom you want to hear, patient or not).


1. Is there something on the horizon that will arrive soon, but not soon enough for you?

The fourth season of "Sherlock." The ninth season of "Doctor Who." The next episode of "Supernatural." (Are you sensing a theme here?) Winter by Marissa Meyer. The last "Mockingjay" movie. The results of a novel contest I entered through Scholastic. The "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movie. Basically loving something that comes out in installments is hard.

2. What are three things that absolutely try your patience?

1. Hiatus/waiting (as you can clearly see from my answer above). Having friends in different time zones is hard, because you might have to wait eight hours before that person wakes up and sees your message. 2. Someone's inability to make a decision. 3. Trying to explain something to someone who just isn't listening.

3. Do you have any nervous habits or rituals that may not be obvious to anyone around you, but that help you stretch out your patience?

Usually taking deep breaths is the best way to go about it, unless you're going to be waiting for a very long time. In that case, I try to pass the time by reading and writing. If I'm waiting for new episodes/seasons of a show, I'll rewatch episodes (though even that can make me more frustrated) or write fan-fiction about it. Pinterest is a great place to go to express your issues with patience with other fangirls. Texting/e-mailing/messaging something in all caps to someone who's waiting with you is very therapeutic. Especially if you can count on them to write back in all caps.

4. In professionally-produced articles or writing, which makes you crazier: grammar errors or spelling mistakes?

Ugh, probably spelling mistakes. Certain grammar rules can be tricky for anybody to learn and practice, but it's so easy to open a new tab and double check that you're spelling something correctly. It takes all of three seconds.

5. Sherlock Holmes or Sheldon Cooper? Which roommate would try your patience more?

I would definitely rather live with Sherlock. While they both can be condescending and have annoying habits, Sheldon seems way more particular. Sherlock would be the kind of roommate who wouldn't mind my clutter if I were in the middle of a project, because he'll make a mess, too, if he's on a case. Plus, it's Sherlock freaking Holmes.

I tag . . .

-Cait at "Paper Fury" (because "Supernatural" and "Sherlock" and time zone issues)
-Aisha (you can do it in the comments, since you don't have a blog. Though you should totally get a blog because that would be awesome.) (because you're an extremely patient critique partner who doesn't mind waiting a little longer for me to look over your writing--thank you)
-nevillgirl at "Musings From Neville's Navel" (because being a fangirl is rough, and I'm sure liking Game of Thrones is especially difficult right now since the show is going to reach the ending before the books)

But I would love to hear from all of you! :) So anybody who's reading this, feel free to grab the award for yourself and blog about it or just answer the questions in the comments. Have fun!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--March

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. Since Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, I'm going to try and learn a little bit more about my protagonist, a seventeen-year-old character living in a writer's head by the name of Indigo Sparks. She's the hero of her story, a YA fantasy romance, who is a revered dragon slayer. She's short, wears pastel rainbow sweaters, loves Metallica, and kicks butt while looking adorable and not at all scary. The Writer has unfortunately decided to pair her up with another character in the book, a boy she loathes but can't escape.


1. What is their secret desire?

Indigo's pretty much an open book and often voices her opinions, even when they aren't wanted. She's filterless. But her not-so-secret desires are to fight The Writer tooth and nail to create her own story, one where she has the ending she wants. Upon discovering her friends' fates, she wants to help them out, too.

2. What is the best and brightest moment they experience during the story?

Probably everything she does in the climax, but I won't give that away here. ;)

3. What are the emotional places your characters are afraid to go to?

She doesn't like thinking about her past. It's too painful for her. Her parents never really got involved in her life. They forgot to show up to school productions, they forgot her birthday on more than one occasion, they wouldn't be able to tell anyone what her hobbies are. They were always busy with work and their friends and keeping up appearances in the neighborhood, but Indigo can't remember the last time they played a game with her. After she got sucked into the fantasy realm where her story takes place, she hasn't been able to find a way back to Earth, but what she's scared to admit is that she doesn't want to go back.

4. Is there a place/city/room where they will never go? Why?

Indie's always made a promise to herself that she wouldn't step foot into the morgue, where all the characters who met their demise end up, but that promise might change. She's also never seen the wing of the hospital where all the half-formed characters and ideas live, mostly because she's never had a reason to.

5. If they were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)

Her books and music and favorite clothes would come with her no matter what, but if she had to leave something behind for the sake of easy transportation, she'd be okay with throwing out her old drawings. She used to draw pictures for her mom and dad all the time when she was younger, but one day she noticed her mom using them as place mats or coasters. Then she noticed that they often ended up in the trash with coffee stains or sour cream smudges. She gathered the rest of them up and stuffed them in her closet and hasn't drawn another one since.

6. What do they want (consciously and tangibly)?

A happy ending. A family. Safety. Oh, and a bigger bookshelf.

7. On the other hand: what do they need (on the emotional, subconscious level)?

See above.

8. If they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?

Indie learned a long time ago that wanting to change who she was did nothing but frustrate her, so instead she's learned to embrace herself, flaws and all. Though sometimes she wishes she were taller so she could reach things off the top shelves. It's especially infuriating when she has to hop up and down to read the spines of books that are higher up.

9. What is the most humiliating event of their life?

When she forgot her lines during her monologue for the middle-school play. She vowed after that to become a master of improv and not care what anybody thought about her if she messed up.

10. What things do they turn to when they need a bit of hope?

Indigo's best friend, Harper, isn't exactly a ray of sunshine. She's a good person to go to when Indie needs her butt kicked into gear or someone to tell her to snap out of it. But when she needs hope and comfort, she goes to the character therapy group and talks to her friends there. The group therapist has become a sort of mom figure for her.

Tell me about your characters! Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! :) To celebrate, I'm sharing a list of some of my favorite books that have green covers. You need to read all of them ASAP. Seriously.

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

You are basically guaranteed that at least one Harry Potter book will appear on any book meme I fill out. I don't know what you've been reading all these years if you haven't read Harry Potter yet. And if you haven't picked up the books yet, close this tab, walk away, and go read it. Immediately.

2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I blame Rick Riordan for my interest in Greek mythology. I love this series! I devoured each book in just a night or two. It's been a couple years since I've read it, but they deserve a reread soon. For those of you who watched the movies but didn't read the books, read the books. The movies didn't do them nearly enough justice.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

(I freaking love this cover!) I have whole new appreciations for this book after discovering some of the better fan-fiction on the internet (SuperWhoLock!) and I've even written some of my own. It's a great warm-up before diving in to your WIP.

But back to Fangirl. It's a great novel with fantastic characters and dialogue, like every Rainbow Rowell book I've ever read. It's perfect for writers, introverts, fans of Harry Potter, and anyone who likes a good contemporary romance story.

4. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

This fantasy series only gets better as it goes on! Fablehaven does have a lot of set-up, but towards the end of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. It's definitely one of my favorite series. If you like magical creatures, fantasy, and adventure, pick this one up.

5. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

This book is just plain fun. It's a good middle-grade book targeted for readers that are about 10-12, but I really enjoyed it, too. It's full of riddles and mystery and games that make you just involved in the story as the main characters. It's a nice, quick read.

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I love this series. It's a shame that nothing ever came of the second movie, because I really liked the first one. Hopefully they do come out with the TV show. The family dynamics in this, as well as the urban fantasy setting and the great side characters, are what makes it amazing. I absolutely adore Isabelle and Simon, and even the villains because they're so complicated. Plus, the plot twists! Cassandra Clare loves to mess with your head. Don't say I didn't warn you.

7. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Though Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is my favorite book by her, pretty much anything you read by A.S. King is guaranteed to be good. There hasn't been a single one I didn't like. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is hard to put down, because you spend the whole book going, "What is happening here?" The feel of the book reminds me of stories like The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp and Paper Towns by John Green. I also love that we got to hear parts of the story from different perspectives, including inanimate objects. So creative.

8. A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

There's a dog on the cover, so you know what that means: You're going to cry. And you will. Lots of times. It's a sweet story about different incarnations of the same dog finding his owner in each of his lives as she grows up. It's a super sweet story that won't take you long at all to read.

What are your favorite green books? Leave a comment!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo

Who participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? I am! (I'm hosting a private cabin, too, so if you want to be in it, comment or e-mail with your username.)

This isn't my first time doing it, but it is the first time I'm actually going to be writing something. I've used Camp NaNo in the past as a way to motivate myself to do edits. But I've been doing a lot of editing lately, and I'm itching to start a new project. I'm especially excited for the Word Wars!

I'm actually really excited about my idea. The inspiration came from a picture I found on Pinterest that made me laugh.

I'm hoping it's not too small or fuzzy, but in case you can't make it out, it says: A writer's brain. "What the hell is that?" "Oh, just my mind thinking of my next plot."

The working title for my story is Plot Bunnies, and it's about the characters living in a writer's brain. They all live together, even if they're not from the same book. They hang out, talk, go to group therapy (if they even survive their book), etc. One day, the main character's best friend and sidekick from her novel discovers that The Writer is planning on killing her during an epic battle. The MC can't let this happen, so she organizes a group of characters--heroes and villains alike--to start a rebellion and take over their stories. This is if they can survive edits, character cuts, Writer's Block, the Pinterest vortex, and the Pit of Doubt.

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? What's your story about?