Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MA Trip

Last week my family went on vacation to Massachusetts to visit friends and relatives and see some things in Concord and Boston. We'd just finished reading Little Women together and learning about the transcendentalists, so it was perfect timing! Being homeschooled really helps us to go places off season when there aren't any school crowds, too. ;)

The drive was a good 7+ hours, but it mostly passed quickly for me thanks to a combination of listening to the "Hamilton" soundtrack over and over (and over and over and over . . .) again (you'll be getting a blog post about the music soon enough) and writing in my notebook.

We were greeted by my grandma and plenty of delicious Portuguese food. The next day we traveled all over Concord. We saw so many things: Orchard House (the old home of the Alcott family), the Old Manse (the home to many transcendentalists over the years), Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Walden Pond, Old North Bridge, and the Minute Man Statue.

Orchard House https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchard_House
Obviously it was all really cool to see just because of the history, but we also heard a lot of interesting stories. For example, Little Women is almost entirely autobiographical. Louisa patterned Jo after herself, and all of the other March women after her sisters. The oldest, Anna, was Meg; the youngest, May, was Amy (notice her name is just rearranged); and the second youngest, Elizabeth, was Beth. But there were a few key differences, including that Louisa's father never went to help in the war (but Louisa did as a nurse!), Louisa never married, and there was never one true Laurie in her life. Instead, she created Laurie using bits of different boys she was friends with when she was younger. (Spoilers for Little Women ahead!) Louisa never intended to have Jo married, but after the first part of Little Women was published, she got so many fans from letters begging to have her married (specifically to Laurie) that she decided to compromise. She would have Jo get married, just to somebody else, Bhaer.

Louisa's sister May was really an artist, just like Amy. As a kid she would draw all over the walls to practice her sketching since paper was expensive and usually Louisa or her father would get to it first. You can still see the drawings on the walls if you visit the house! And the Alcott parents were totally okay with her doing this. Another fun fact, May went on to be the first art teacher of a boy, Daniel Chester French. who later became a famous sculptor. He's the one who sculpted the Minute Man Statue and the Lincoln Memorial.

So yeah, Orchard House was a favorite as far as that day went.

The next day we went to Boston to see the Harvard campus, Harvard Bookstore (an indie bookstore!), Boston Commons, the public gardens (where we got to take a ride on the swan boats), and the Isabella Steward Gardner Art Museum. The museum was gigantic, with three different floors filled with sculptures and paintings and tapestries. The second floor was closed for renovations and restorations when we went, but they still had the most famous pieces out in another exhibit for everyone to see. In the nineties, a bunch of famous paintings were stolen from the museum and to this day are still lost, so they have some spots talking about that on empty spaces on the wall.

"Isabella Stewart Gardner" by John Singer Sargent https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Stewart_Gardner
Isabella also had a lot of John Singer Sargent pieces, which made my mom spin a whole tale where she wondered if Isabella had a thing for John, especially after we realized she posed for one of his portraits. For a large portion of their friendship (or was it just?), Isabella was married. My mom kept saying it'd make a great historical romance, but we didn't know that there was actually a lot of gossip about the two of them back when they were alive! Apparently after Isabella received the portrait John painted of her, she loved it, but her husband did not . . . hmm . . .

http://www.mos.org/planetarium/laser-michael-jackson
We went to the Boston Museum of Science on our last day there. We spent the whole afternoon there exploring it and we didn't even see it all! It's that huge. My favorite parts were easily the optical illusions gallery and the Hall of Human Life. There were a lot of social science surveys and interactive stations you could use, which were fun. After we were done there, we went to the planetarium attached to it to see a Michael Jackson laser show. It was kinda cheesy, but still cool to have done. The more abstract patterns were really awesome, but there were a few songs were they displayed these terrible laser cartoons that told the story along with the music that had both my brother Max and me giggling in our seats. At one point after the first of the songs in this style ("ABC"), Max was laughing and said loud enough for everyone to hear, "What the heck are we watching?" I'm pretty sure our parents lost it.

So after walking close to fifteen miles in three days, eating tons of seafood, riding the T all over, and seeing as much as we possibly could during our stay, we got to come home and get our little dog back. Scout was very happy to see us after being apart for so long, and vice versa.

Have you ever been to Boston or Concord? What was your favorite thing you saw? Leave a comment!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Two Poems

So I'm taking this fantastic online poetry course from the University of Iowa called #Flashwrite. I'm two weeks in and already seeing a big difference, which is exciting because poetry has always felt like my weak point. But I'm having tons of fun with it. :) I thought I'd share the poems I've been working on since taking the course and ask if you have any advice for me, too. The first is from the week on imagery and the second is from the figurative language lessons.

Worn Tires on a Lonely Highway

Classic rock crackles through a bad connection,

Poor enough to annoy but just good enough not to turn off.

He's been driving for hours,

And the deep purple bags under once bright green eyes tell you

He's exhausted.

But the road is long and endless,

Pavement smooth and grey,

Double yellow lines faded to a ghost of a guideline.

It'd be so easy to veer off to the other side,

But he keeps on driving.

The rumble of the engine became your lullaby,

The smell of cheap gas station coffee and

Greasy bacon cheeseburgers from the sketchy diner with broken AC

Your fragrance of choice.

Motel carpets that used to be green are now brown,

So you don't take your shoes off even when you crawl between wrinkled sheets,

But the sound of his snoring still sings you to sleep.

Morning comes early,

And it's back on that lonely highway,

Just the two of you up front and an empty backseat.

Two brothers,

One car,

All the days to keep on fighting.


Lila

She is an angel of the underworld,

Too good for dark but

Too dark for good.

She is lost,

Like a cat that roams the neighborhood streets,

Perching only for a night on wicker porch furniture,

Never staying in one place long enough to watch the sun set and then

Rise on a new day.

She is thirsty,

Parched lips and dry tongue yearning

For the wetness and satisfaction of feeling

Her skin brush that of another

Who knows what it's like to be cold

Even in the thick oppression of August's rays.

She is broken,

Made up of shattered shards of mistakes she

Glued back together but in the wrong places with "what if"s and

"Could have been"s and the

Glittering promise of redemption she chased for years,

Like a mirage on the desert horizon.

Instead of water she found dust

And rust

And lust for a pinch to pull her from this nightmare she mistakenly called

Hope.

She is the hitchhiker on the side of a highway.

She is rain on campfires.

She is the back corner of a garage where you store your

Forgotten notebooks and bicycles with flat tires.

She is a moonless night,

She is melting wax,

She is shame

And blame

And self-inflicted pain,

But most of all,

She is.

What did you think? Is there anything I can do to improve either one of them? If you'd like, you can share some of your poetry in the comments. I'd love to read it!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

March Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

4/5

I really, really enjoyed this one. I'd read a lot of action-packed stories recently, so a little bit of "fluff" was welcome. It was a fun high school story, but it didn't feel like it lacked any substance. The main character, Jessie, has lost her mother and now has to move across the country with her new step-family. That alone could make for a really heavy book, but the author weaves it in so it just adds layers rather than dwelling on the grief. Something else that sets it apart from other high school stories was the mystery of the anonymous e-mail sender. Mixing that in with the rest of the drama was a nice touch. Everything that happened was a realistic portrayal, I thought. And the frequent texts and e-mails made for a lot of white space that was fun to read. It was the perfect book for me while I was stuck on the couch with a fever.

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

DNF


Gah, I was so hoping I'd like this book better, because I usually love stories focused around music! I just couldn't get past the narrator, Wes. He and his friend Corey annoyed and confused me. Most of their dialogue/narration sounded like they'd taken a big ball of stupid and tried to make it sound like something resembling smart. They failed. I was only able to get about fifty pages in before I gave up. I'm mostly disappointed because I was excited to read what looked like a good YA novel with a male protagonist! A lot of them just end up being mediocre for me because they all sound the same. Where are my quirky or geeky or bookish boys???

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

4/5

This book had all the makings of a five-star read if it had just been formatted a little differently. I loved Julie. I loved her sarcastic narrating style and her friendship with Maddie and how brave she was throughout captivity. But the way she told Maddie's story confused me, especially when she referred to herself in the third person. And Maddie's part was very easy to read, but didn't have as much excitement as Julie's when she talked about what her life was like after being captured. But I absolutely loved their relationship, as well as the ending of the book. There were tears.

Movies I Watched

"Phantom of the Opera"

3.5/5

Great music and production! I had a little less sympathy for the phantom than a lot of people do, but the overall story was interesting. The costumes were amazing, too. After a while a lot of the music sounded the same to me, but I did like it.

"The Bourne Supremacy"

4/5

This one is probably my favorite of the three, but it ended way too fast! The whole trilogy was great and highly recommended.

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"

4/5

I really enjoyed both versions of this story for different reasons. I watched the older version ("Willy Wonka") first. And for a movie made in 1971, it did a pretty good job of holding up to modern standards. The special effects, the acting, even the music was all great considering. My favorite part about this movie in particular was Willy Wonka himself. He was sarcastic and didn't take any of the other four kids' brattiness, but he was also quirky and funny. He reminded me a little bit of any of the Doctors from "Doctor Who," down to the unique outfit and fast talking and magical world that seems bigger on the inside. This movie did have somewhat of an abrupt ending to it, though. Not unsatisfying, but quick. I liked the music in this one much better, too.

"Spectre"

4/5

Not my favorite I've seen so far, but I definitely liked it. It kept me interested, had a great cast (three cheers for Andrew Scott!!), and had me on the edge of my seat more than once, as all James Bond movies should.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

3.5/5

This was very Tim Burton. It wasn't creepy, necessarily, but definitely a lot darker. Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka was more odd than delightfully quirky. With Gene Wilder, it didn't seem awkward at all when he gave Charlie a great big hug. Johnny Depp always gave off a "don't touch me" vibe. There was something more off and almost cold about him. It wasn't a bad different, I just preferred the other Willy Wonka better. However, this movie had a lot more backstory to it. You get to find out more about Charlie's family (he has a dad in this version, which he didn't in the other), the chocolate factory before it closed down and reopened, where the Oompa Loompas came from and how they came to work for Willy Wonka, and a whole flashback sequences about Willy Wonka's childhood. I liked that aspect a lot. It added more layers to the story. The ending was more complete, too.

"Batman Begins" 

4/5

Even though I'm a Marvel girl through and through, the Batman series is one I can get behind. I couldn't do too many of these darker movies in a row, but I really liked the cast and the story. And everyone needs an Alfred in their lives.

"Little Miss Sunshine"

4/5

Oh my gosh, this movie was great. It's an offbeat Indie film with a totally dysfunctional family. It makes you tear up a little at some parts, but also laugh hysterically at others. Olive is adorable, but every character adds to the fun.

"The Dark Knight" 

4/5

Holy crap, I'd heard about how psycho the Joker is, but seeing him in action is a whole other thing. He definitely stole the show, and the entire movie is a roller coaster of events. I can't wait for the next one.

Quotes I Wrote

Time is fragile. Time is complicated. The past can be changed, yes, but the past is what makes our future. We are who we are because of our battle scars.
-Ms. Holmes

Having a time machine did not make me some sort of ruler over it. I couldn't always manipulate it in the ways I wanted. I wasn't a god. I would never be able to change Mia's fate, but I could change this. I could hold her hand.
-Ms. Holmes

"All right, what happened?" Dawn said. Her arms were crossed over her chest defiantly.
I took a sip of tea to avoid the question. I grimaced. It was pomegranate. I'd never liked fruity teas. "What do you mean?"
"You haven't called Sir Mittens one name in Polish or Portuguese. Something must be wrong."
"Nothing's wrong."
"You filthy liar. Do you think I'm a complete duffer? You may like to think you're some sort of emotionless shell, but I see right through you, Astrid Holmes."
-Ms. Holmes

Obsessions I Acquired

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" - Talk about a quirky show! It has all the best parts of "Galavant" mixed with "Jane the Virgin" and "New Girl." The plot is simple, the characters that you can't help but love (or love to hate) make every episode interesting, and it makes you laugh every other minute. I'm so glad it got renewed.

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Despite being only two episodes in, I'm hooked. Talk about a fantastic pilot! I already had high expectations just because it's Marvel and Marvel is great, but it surpassed even that. Coulson is the absolute best, and I can already tell some of my favorite characters are going to be Fitz and Simmons.

Picture of the Month


My dad took my brother and me to see the Blue Man Group. It was such a fun show!

 

How was your March?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Doctors, Detectives, and (Adorable) Dorks, Oh My!

Carly at "Books and Etc." tagged me in the Favorite Screen Characters Tag, and because I'm a huge fan of TV shows/Netflix/binge-watching (second only to being a bookworm), I couldn't resist!

Technically I think the list is supposed to be primarily movie characters, but like Carly, I'll bend the rules a little. ;) Writers are nothing if not rebels. (By doing things like using the Oxford comma even when people say it's wrong. Totally dangerous, amiright? We're practically Batman.)

Actual photo of me as a superhero.

Anyways. Time for a list where I'll try to limit myself to one character per fandom! (In no particular order.)

1. The Doctor from "Doctor Who"


Where to begin with this one? He's a character who spans decades of television history, always changing yet remaining the same familiar alien who brings hope to the world. No matter which regeneration of the Doctor is your favorite, they all share a few things in common. They love with a passion, feel loss deeply, and would do anything to protect the innocent. My personal favorite is the Tenth Doctor--as shown above--who can not only be serious and strike fear in the hearts of creatures such as the Daleks, but can be a total goofball. He's a Time Lord mixed with the best parts of humanity, and the chemistry he has with his companions makes the Doctor Who universe that much more enjoyable.

2. Charlie Bradbury from "Supernatural


Charlie Bradbury is a geek, and the world loves her for it. She's a total quirky fangirl, making Felicia Day the perfect person to play her. Charlie is a bright spot in a dark series, making me laugh in every episode she's in. Within the first two minutes of meeting her, I wanted to be her friend. She's compassionate, sarcastic, and knows just what to do to help the Winchesters out when everything else fails. Oh, and she's a computer hacker with a tragic past. So many layers!

3. Sherlock Holmes from "Sherlock"


There are so many things I could say about Sherlock, but I'll keep it brief. Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of this classic character is by far the best I've seen. It's hard to imagine anyone else now when I read the stories or even see the name. Everything we know about him is still part of the character, but with a modern twist. He's aggravating and a know-it-all and sometimes all you want to do is slap him so he'll behave, but you also get to see him soften throughout the series. He's a complex mystery himself, which makes the show so perfect.

4. Sookie St. James from "Gilmore Girls"


A klutzy chef with a sense of humor and is always up for a fun time? Yes please! Bubbly and always giggling, Sookie is the best friend we all want in our lives. She'll drop anything to show up at your door with a plate of homemade cookies when she knows you're having a bad day. Anytime you need cheering up, Sookie's there. She's one of my favorite parts of this show.

5. Severus Snape from the "Harry Potter movies



There are actors you will always see as a certain character, and Alan Rickman will always (see what I did there?) be Snape to me. He brings the character to life on the screen in a way no one else would have been able to. Can you imagine a different actor pulling off his cool "obviously" in the way Alan Rickman did? He was fantastic in all the movies, but the eighth was where he especially got to show off the depths of his character. Sometimes I don't like it when I've seen a movie adaptation and now every time I read the book I see that actor, but I don't mind with Snape. He's exactly how I pictured him.

6. Dr. Horrible/Billy Buddy from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"


In just forty-five minutes, Joss Whedon managed to cram buckets of awesomeness in this web-miniseries. Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day make up a dream cast. But the root of this geekdom heaven? Dr. Horrible himself. If you've ever seen "Megamind," he reminds me so much of the protagonist in that, too. Dr. Horrible (or Billy Buddy, when he doesn't want to give away his secret identity) is sarcastic (see above), socially-awkward (in the best way possible), and straddles the line between good and evil. His quest is to get into the Evil League of Evil--and yes, that is the actual name--but he's also falling in love with Penny, who couldn't be more good than she already is. She volunteers at a homeless shelter and sees the positive attributes in every single person she meets. If you want to see a little glimpse into Dr. Horrible's personality, just listen to "My Freeze Ray," one of the first songs in the show.


7. Peggy Carter from the Marvel universe


There's no other way to put this really: Peggy Carter is badass. She runs circles around the men who condescend to her and knows how to play to her strengths. Every movie or TV show she appears in is a hundred times better because of it. She's not a side character who gets shoved to the side while the heroes take the spotlight. She is a hero, and an equal, to Captain America and any of the Avengers.

8. Rey from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"


(Some spoilers ahead.) I am beyond excited to have a female lead in the new Star Wars movies who is as cool as Rey. She's strong, quick on her feet, and anything but a damsel in distress. Watching her wield a lightsaber or use the force (UNTRAINED, might I add) on the big screen was epic. I'm just disappointed we have to wait so long for another movie.

9. Richard Castle from "Castle"


Oh, Castle. There are so many words I could use to describe him: impulsive, witty, protective, caring, childlike, clever, oblivious, optimistic, creative, and many, many more. He's a best-selling mystery author who got permission from the mayor to shadow NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett. They drive each other crazy, and the playful banter is never lacking, but they actually make a fantastic team. He's always there for the people who need him, even if it's at his own expense, and overall has a great relationship with his mother and daughter.

10. Regina Mills from "Once Upon a Time"


I went from absolutely despising Regina the first couple seasons, to feeling conflicted about her, to loving her. Only a character as complex as this one could do that. She's the evil queen from Snow White, but this show has managed to make her so much more than that. You learn all about her childhood and the events that led up to her becoming a villain, but you also get to see her care for a son in Storybrooke. It's been a roller coaster of a ride getting to watch her turn into something other than your typical Disney villain, but it's been a fun one.

11. Rogelio De La Vega from "Jane the Virgin"


"Jane the Virgin" is a pretty recent discovery (thanks to my mom getting me into it). Rogelio is one of the many reasons why I love it as much as I do. Even though he drove me crazy the first couple of episodes I got to see him, he made me laugh hysterically. To put it in the best light possible, he never lacks confidence in himself. He's a huge telenovela star with a heart as big as his ego. He's very naive about most things, which only adds to the humor of his one-liners as he's unaware he's saying something he shouldn't. And he constantly tweets updates about his life or "New Pants Wednesdays" on the show, which somebody took upon themselves to create in real life. I had a blast going through his account: @RogelioDeLaVega

12. Stiles Stilinski from "Teen Wolf"


Stiles is HILARIOUS. Even during the episodes that are just okay, he's always there to pick up the slack. Dylan O'Brien is great in this role, surprising me with pain and tears when I least expected it. Stiles is a great friend. You can't help but want to give him a hug all the time. And if you need to sneak into a strictly off-limits location in order to save the world, he's the one you want on your side to provide a distraction.

13. Jessica Day from "New Girl"


Simply put, Jess is an adorable dork. Nearly every single thing she does or says is so totally awkward, but she's one of the most lovable characters on TV. She's the kind of person who randomly breaks into song or dance in order to ease the tension in the room. She'd also be the one to adopt the kitten that just keeps coming back to her door or bake cookies for the hungry. She's the character who came up with her own theme song for herself. All around, she makes the perfect sitcom protagonist.

I tag any and all who want to use this tag! Who are your favorite screen characters?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Why Do We Write?

Last summer at my first overnight writer's camp, I wrote a poem called Why Do We Write? The first day of the camp in one of the classes, everyone was asked to go up to the chalkboard and write one of the reasons we write up there. I used a bunch of the reasons that resonated with me in the poem. A couple months ago I submitted the poem to my local library's poetry contest, and it was one of the winners! It's one of my favorites that I've written.

Why Do We Write?
Kate I. Foley

Why do we write?
You may as well ask, "Why do we breathe?"
We write to explore different realities,
To be more than ourselves and for
Self-expression.
To take control.
To give us life.
To see.
To build the worlds we wished we lived in,
To immortalize our thoughts and
Make people feel something.
Because we just love stories and to
Keep ourselves sane.
For freedom.
Because we have to.
Because our souls say we must.

Friday, March 4, 2016

February Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

4/5

I'm not exactly sure how to begin to describe the story. For a couple days I kept switching my rating from 3.5 to 4 and back to 3.5 again. This book was odd in both ways that made me like it but also not sure what to think of it. There were times I'd get lost in beautiful writing and characters that leapt off the page, and other times I was just confused and bored and wondering if I'd continue. It had a style similar to We Were Liars, but it lacked the rawness. It was both simplistic and complicated, but all of those tangling chapters and plot lines left me feeling just kind of...empty. Like the story won't stay with me a month later. But after letting all of these feelings sit, I'm giving this a firm four stars. The story was actually very unique and whimsical and the annoyances I had with it were minor compared to the rest.

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

DNF


The cover was so enticing I thought I'd take a chance and go into it blind to see what I thought. I didn't really know what to expect as I hadn't heard anything else about it, but I was pretty disappointed right away. It was a lot of high school girl drama. I can't stand that sort of thing, nor can I relate to it. The whole seven deadly sins premise was intriguing, but it wasn't enough to carry me through the story. That's not to say someone else won't enjoy it, but it wasn't my kind of book.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 

4/5

Where to begin with this book?! Despite the distracting similarities to Harry Potter (although that really only lasted for the first 100 pages or so), I loved the story! It was a magic school with a unique twist, once you got past the beginning. I loved Simon and Baz as strong protagonists with depth and personality. Everything Rainbow Rowell touches turns to gold, so I'm not surprised that I loved this, too. This book is a must for fans of her YA book Fangirl, but anyone who's a fan of YA fantasy or Harry Potter can and should read it! Although I do definitely recommend reading Fangirl first to give it some context.

Movies I Watched

"The Music Man"

3/5

This movie was full of life and lightheartedness. The scenes always had bright colors and music you could dance to, and a very simple plot. All of that I liked. It was one of the cornier musicals I'd seen, though a few parts did make me giggle. But the main characters just did not strike me as a good fit for each other. They had absolutely no chemistry. It's a fun movie for the family, but be warned, the songs will stay stuck in your head for a long time! Read my review HERE.

"The Sixth Sense"

5/5

Oh my gosh, this entire movie was brilliant. I especially appreciated the paranormal eerie vibe and creep factor being a "Supernatural" fan, but it was the plot twists that really made it. That and the amazing acting from Haley Joel Osment. It's hard to talk too much about it without giving anything away, but take my word for it and go watch it if you haven't already!

"Hercules"

4/5

My favorite part of "Hercules" were the characters. They all had their funny moments, villain included, and personalities that felt more unique rather than a copy of other Disney characters. My favorite character was Hades, just because he was an antagonist that cracked me up, like Lucifer from "Supernatural." Read my review HERE.

"The Bourne Identity"

4/5

I definitely recommend this movie, as well as its sequels, to fans of "James Bond." I love espionage shows and movies, and this one kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Plus, Matt Damon was perfect for this role.

"Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark" 

3.5/5

I'm glad I finally saw an Indiana Jones movie! For a film made so long ago, the effects and acting were actually pretty good. It was exciting and funny at times and all around a fun couple of hours.

"Tarzan"

4/5

The best part of "Tarzan" was the overall story. It wasn't your usual Disney "quest for something" plot, but a more interesting approach to bridging two different worlds. I liked the different relationships between all of the characters as well as being pleasantly surprised about what would happen next. I've seen most of these Disney movies before, but it's been so long since I've seen them, I didn't remember everything about them. However, with the others, it was fairly easy to predict what the next plot twist would be. I didn't feel like that with "Tarzan." Read my review HERE.

"Brooklyn"

4/5

I'd only seen Soarise (pronounced "soar-sha," if you can believe it) Ronan in "The Host," which was a pretty good adaptation, but nothing to scream about, so I was really excited to see her in something else. The overall plot of the movie was really simple, but enjoyable. I liked the characters (especially Tony and his little brother) and anytime Irish accents are involved, it's bound to be that much better. This was a great Indie film.

"The Lion King" 

4/5

I loved the music in "The Lion King" best. It was catchy, fun, but avoided most of the normal cheese that you can expect in a Disney movie. My favorite songs were "Hakuna Matata" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." Read my review HERE.

"The Book of Life" 

5/5

How had I not heard about this before?! It's a fantastic animated movie and definitely didn't get enough attention when it came out, seeing as I'd only seen maybe one teaser trailer. The whole thing is beautifully done, very colorful, and has great music. The story was unique, I was giggling throughout most of it, and I loved getting to learn more about Mexican culture.

"The Bourne Supremacy"

4/5

(See above: "The Bourne Identity")

"50 First Dates"

4/5

This was a super cute and fun movie. I'm a big fan of any story that tackles a memory or dream theme in a unique way, and pairing that with a romantic comedy turned out really well. I laughed several times and the characters were sweet.

"Waking Ned Devine"

3.5/5

Oh, this was sooo quirky. In a good way for sure. The dry Irish humor fit perfectly with the simple and yet ridiculous plot of the movie. Every time you thought you knew what was going to happen, it turned out just a little differently. I really liked it.

Quotes I Wrote

“Astrid—” She started in that tone of hers, the one that meant she was about to argue.
“There’s no time, just phone her!”
A pause, then, “Don’t do anything stupid, all right?”
I almost smirked as I glanced sideways at her. “That’s why you’re here.”
-Ms. Holmes

“We have to go.” I hoisted up my skirts without a thought and pulled the gun free, storming out of the room. “He can't have gone far.”
“Astrid—”
“I'm going with or without you!” Was the last thing I called out before flinging the front door open and flying through it.
Even from outside, I thought I heard Dawn mutter another swear that would've had Mr. Hudson in a tizzy about “harsh language.”
-Ms. Holmes

Obsessions I Acquired

No new obsessions this month, although I have been learning how to sign different songs in ASL, which has been fun. I can sign along to most of "Call Me Maybe" as well as "Shake It Off." :)

Picture of the Month

Chocolate chip pancakes from Valentine's Day.
How was your February?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Beautiful People--February

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 Valentine's Day! I'll be answering the questions for two couples, Kya and Lane from a YA contemporary romance, Beneath the Moon and Stars, and Lila and Melody from a YA paranormal romance, 'Til the Last Star Dies.


1. How did they first meet?

Kya and Lane ran into each other at the self-checkout counter in Kya's local grocery store. Lane immediately introduced himself and started babbling on about the disgusting flavorings they put in strawberry Pop-Tarts while Kya tried to keep her head from spinning.

Lila started talking to Melody at a bar when she sensed something was wrong. As a witch, Lila has the ability to see auras, and Melody's was jagged and full of static, like an old TV. They talked for a little while until Melody got too nervous about her cover being blow and ran off.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?

Lane immediately liked Kya, or rather he was intrigued by her and wanted to get to know her better. But Kya prefers to take everything a bit more slowly, and Lane was a little much for their first meeting. She didn't really know what to think at first, she just thought of him as an enthusiastic and overly-friendly stranger.

It was a similar situation with Lila and Melody. Lila was drawn to Melody's aura right away. She wanted to put her at ease however she could, even with just some innocent conversation. Melody was too scared of the people she was running from finding her to focus much on Lila, but she was nice enough. She didn't meet many nice people in her line of work.

3. How long have they been a couple?

That depends on which part of the story we're talking about, and whether they're still a couple by the end . . .


4. How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?

Kya and Lane are very committed, and they work hard to keep things as smooth as possible despite the various complications of their home lives. Said circumstances could, however, prove to make things difficult for them.

In Lila and Melody's world, you have to be willing to die for the other once you get close to someone. It's survival. There's danger around every corner, that means you need to be a team. But they love each other more than anything, so it makes it easier.

5. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

I'm not sure if I have 5 quirks for each of them, but they all definitely have at least one.

Lane's "food quirks":

1. Any tea he has needs to be steeped for no more and no less than four minutes for the perfect amount of flavor.
2. No end pieces of bread for him, thanks.

Kya's "food quirks":

1. Blue M&M's taste the best out of all of them.
2. Especially out of a big bag rather than a snack pack.
3. Popcorn must be heavily buttered, otherwise what's the point?

Lila's "food quirks":

1. Stolen french fries (i.e. taken off of Melody's plate when she isn't looking) are preferred to the ones already on her plate.

Melody's "food quirks":

1. She hates any "extras" in her coffee. Just black is fine.
2. Cookies extra crunchy are way better than soft and chewy.
3. Breakfast for dinner is a crime.

6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?

Oh, so many people for Lane and Kya. Lane's mother and basically all of her bridge club friends disapprove of someone like Kya (who isn't rich, doesn't go to a private school, etc.), and Kya's stepfather isn't a fan of anything that takes time away from Kya's duties at home.

No one really disapproves of Lila and Melody's relationship, except for maybe the big bad witch, Angelique. She only wants to rip them apart in order to convince Lila to give into her powers and join her on the "dark side."

7. What would be an ideal date?

They both admit it's cliché, but a day in Paris would be a dream come true for Kya and Lane. They go to a little café to eat good food, then go back to their apartment overlooking the city and paint, read, and sing. They'd go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and try to make the day last as long as possible.

Lila and Melody just want to find a little cottage in the middle of nowhere where they can hide away and not be bothered by witches or demons or other supernatural dangers. A cozy night by the fire, swapping stories of their past adventures, would be perfect.

8. What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?

Kya and Lane's personalities are different enough to challenge each other and never get bored, but similar enough that they can make inside jokes and bond over shared interests. They rarely ever fight, and when they do it's resolved quickly.

Lila and Melody are extremely similar, with the biggest differences being that Lila is confident and Melody has spent a good portion of her life learning to be a shadow. I suppose Lila is more of an optimist and a romantic than Melody, but they both love art and music and want to make the world a better place.

9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?

Kya and Lane's best moment: Probably their first date when everything was laughs and smiles and for a few hours neither of them thought about their personal troubles. Their worst moment: Something I can't tell you (dun dun dunnnn) . . .

Lila and Melody's best moment(s): Whenever they manage to take down some kind of threat together. It gives them more hope for the future. Their worst moment(s): Any of the countless near-death experiences where they both thought they'd lose the other forever.

10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?

Kya hopes to be scraping together enough money to go to community college and maybe even take music lessons, with Lane by her side, of course. Lane would be close to graduating college himself and imagines buying an apartment somewhere far from where they are now to live together.

As long as they're alive and happy, that's the best Lila and Melody can hope for, and they're just fine with that.

Your turn! What are your favorite fictional couples of your own creation? I want to hear all about them. Leave a comment!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Encyclopedia of Me - S














Scout

I can't even begin to describe how great my dog is. She's turning seven this year, but she still has tons of puppy energy. She's goofy and snuggly and sweet and a total spaz. The mere mention of UPS has her flipping out and slamming into walls in her haste to protect us from the big brown truck that dares to enter our neighborhood. But thank god for our ten-pound watch dog, otherwise we'd all be murdered in our sleep by the mailman. One of my favorite things about coming home after going out for even ten minutes is being greeted by her crazy self. She gets so excited any time we walk into a room, and she climbs all over us to give us kisses before pawing at our faces to hurry up and scratch her behind the ears. I can't really remember a time before having a dog, she's totally part of the family.

Sushi

AKA the greatest food in the universe. There are endless possibilities for rolls, which means every time we go to a Japanese restaurant, there's something new to try. We have a restaurant about twenty minutes away from us that makes delicious food and gets my mouth watering the whole drive there. One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting a gigantic spread of different kinds of sushi on New Year's Eve to eat. We get so stuffed, but it's so worth it.


Stana Katic

In case you couldn't tell, I've been mildly obsessed with "Castle" recently . . . okay a lot obsessed. But one of the many reasons for that is how well-written the characters are, one of which is Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic. I can't imagine anyone else playing her, she's perfect for the role. She can be dead serious one second and crack a witty joke the next, make you cry, make you laugh, and get you so invested in the show you forget she's fiction.

"Sherlock"

This is hands down one of the best discoveries I've made on TV in the past couple years. I don't know how it wasn't on my radar before, but many thanks to my blogging friends for making me aware of it! Despite the fact that we only have ten (yay for Christmas specials!) episodes so far, these characters and the plot are so well developed. I can't believe how much genius they're able to cram into ninety minutes of fast-paced dialogue. The actors are brilliant, the writing is brilliant, the scheduling for each season . . . not so much. But we're able to (mostly) look past it because Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have so much chemistry and make us forget how long we've waited when we finally do get more episodes.

"Supernatural"

I absolutely loved getting to binge-watch the past ten seasons over holidays and fangirling with Cait. I never thought I'd watch a "horror" series, but holy crap it's so well-written and planned out. There's a reason this show has such a huge fanbase that got it to last 11 seasons (and still going strong!). This show has made me laugh and cry countless times. It's not only introduced me to a whole new fandom, but lifelong friends within that fandom. I have so many great memories attached to the story and the characters.


Sophia, Sammy, and Soph

Three close friends of mine who all make me laugh and smile whenever I spend time with them. :) Sophia and I have been friends for years, having met through our family's homeschool group. Though I've known Sammy and Soph for almost a year online, it feels like much, much longer. And I'm getting to meet Sammy in person for the first time for my sixteenth birthday! I'm so excited.

Sleeping At Last

I found this band through Tumblr last year and I've been crazy about their music ever since. They have a great Indie sound and an album called "Atlas" I've listened to over and over and over again. It offers tons of creative inspiration. My favorite songs by them are "Jupiter," "Neptune," and "Turning Page."


Sam Winchester

He's the younger of the Winchester brothers on "Supernatural," and he's one of the main driving forces of the show. Together, he and Dean have a small but incredibly strong family. And they make an amazing team with everything they do. Sam's often considered the brains of the pair, but just like how Dean isn't just the muscle, that's not all he is. He's brave and quick on his feet and always the first to offer a listening ear to friends and strangers. The character development he's gone through these past seasons is unbelievable, but you never lose the Sam you fall in love with when you first meet him.

Song, River

Ahhhhhh, I love this woman so much!!! She's hysterical and smart and adds a spice to the later seasons of "Doctor Who" that the show needed. I love her with the eleventh Doctor. And Amy and Rory. And everyone. But I won't give much more away because, well . . . spoilers.


Stars Hollow/Sookie

"Gilmore Girls" makes me happy. As soon as I hear the music, I'm transported right back to that tiny, magical town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. I love how whenever one of the characters walk down the street, they can stop and talk to seven people they know just on their way to the grocery story. I love the town meetings and Luke's coffee shop and the seasonal festivals and the people. The quirky, wonderful people that make that town home. And one of those people is Sookie St. James. She's an adorable, clumsy, bubbly person and one of the best friends you could ask for. Who wouldn't want a friend who shows up at your house with an amazing home-cooked meal and a laugh that brightens the room? (Plus, watching her in the kitchen suddenly makes me realize I'm not the worst klutz in the world.)

Summer and Sunshine

This crazy winter has me seriously missing warm weather. Though I suppose over three feet of snow in one day has anybody missing it . . . I'm ready for the beach and some sunshine and being outside with a book. Parks, bike rides, the pool, walking Scout, barbecues, I'm so, so ready for all of it.

What are some "s" things that you love? Leave a comment!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What Makes a Great Fictional Romance?

Happy Valentine's Day! It shouldn't come as a surprise that I love my OTPs. Watching my adorable ships sail makes me happier than a baby elephant in a mud puddle.

JUST LOOK HOW HAPPY IT IS
But what exactly is it that makes a ship so . . . shippy? I have a few ideas.

(And yes, I will be using actual ships as examples to each of my points, but I won't give any spoilers as to whether they've sailed or not! So don't worry if you see a couple listed that you think is spoilery, chances are I've covered my ears and gone "lalala, you can say it won't happen all you want, I BELIEVE IN THEM.")

1. They make each other laugh

THIS IS A BIG ONE. The fictional world can be so dark and dreary sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), and these characters are little balls of broken cloudy days. (Is this true of all stories? Probably not, but I primarily read/watch things that make me cry. Fangirls are gluttons for pain!) So when the couple of one of my many OTPs can get each other to crack a smile or burst into laughter despite all the crap they're going through, it makes my little shipping heart squee.


Ships that make each other laugh (and me, too):

-The 10th Doctor and Rose from "Doctor Who"
-Chandler and Monica from "Friends"

2. They can be total dorks together

This goes along with #1. If you can find someone who gets your weirdness and wants to be weird right along with you, you've found a special someone, whether that be romantic or platonic. Adorable dorks make the world go 'round! What's more fun than pulling faces and making stupid jokes together?



Ships that are adorable dorks:

-Nick and Jess from "New Girl"
-Barry and Lainey from "The Goldbergs" (well . . . Barry more than Lainey, but still)

3. The slooowww burn

Don't get me wrong, the slow burns are sooo frustrating. All of those almost-kisses and longing looks when the other's back is turned and secretly confiding in friends and family about their true feelings for person A or B is enough to make any shipper insane. BUT. If/when those ships finally start thinking straight and get together, you know it'll be that much more satisfying. Plus, all those years they've known each other as friends means they already know most of each other's quirks/flaws/likes and dislikes!


Ships that just need to freaking kiss already:

-Sherlock and Molly from "Sherlock" (and this is ten-thousand times worse because we only get an episode like every two years!!)
-Niles and Daphne from "Frasier"

4. You know they'd do anything for each other

This can be anything from cooking a favorite dinner just because to diving into a burning building to save the other to person A watching a show person B loves despite A knowing he/she's going to hate it. No matter how small, each gesture is another shove of the ship out to sea.


Ships who would probably fight a dragon with a toothpick for love:

-Four and Tris from Divergent
-Hook and Emma from "Once Upon a Time" 

5. They excel at driving each other crazy one second and making them giggle the next

I don't know what it is about this that I find super cute, but endless teasing from one or both of the people that makes the other roll his/her eyes (even though they're totally amused on the inside) is something I love in a ship. It's the playful banter I'm always a huge fan of in dialogue. They may pretend to be annoyed, but you know they miss it whenever they're apart for too long..


Ships who love to drive each other up a wall:

-Castle and Beckett from "Castle"
-Lilac and Tarver from These Broken Stars

6. They challenge each other

My least favorite fictional couples are the ones where the characters are basically the exact same person or completely and totally different. If they're the same, they're bland and boring and overall just "meh." If you have to go into a ship with the "opposites attract" belief, you usually end up with a lot of angst and friction and a couple that isn't right for each other at all. Instead, there should be a good balance where the differences work to help each person change in a good way. (And I'm not talking about a ship where one of the characters becomes a "project" for the other person. Those are awful and never end up well. The ship should have mutual respect for who each person is right then and there, above all.)

Ships who challenge each other:
-Simon and Isabelle from The Mortal Instruments
-Steve and Peggy from "Captain America"

7. There's actual chemistry

There's nothing worse than forced romance. I've heard the good rule of thumb is to never go into a story with the mission to eventually set two people up with each other (unless you're specifically writing a romance!). The best fictional couples emerge on their own along the way because they just can't stand not being together any longer. There are definitely some ships with chemistry so strong, it's like a buzzing in the room that makes you flail with the hopes that they'll eventually realize their true love for each other.


Ships with palpable chemistry:

-The 11th Doctor and River from "Doctor Who"
-Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars

8. They're friends, first and foremost

Some of my absolute favorite ships are the best-friends-turned-romantic-couple. That doesn't mean all of my favorite ships have to fit the criteria, it just means underneath every date and kiss they care most about looking out for each other, like any good friend would. They're honest with each other, caring, thoughtful, always there when you need them, etc. etc. etc.


Ships who are best friends:

-Luke and Lorelai from "Gilmore Girls"
-Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park

9. They make a great team with everything they do

Whether they're making breakfast or catching criminals or saving the earth from destruction, they do it best together. You know two people are made for each other when their best (and worst) traits mesh together to form an awesome team.

Ships who should wear matching outfits and become a superhero dream team:


-Dean and Jo from "Supernatural"
-Jack and Ianto from "Torchwood"

10. They love each other for who they are, no matter what

The most important thing you need! There's not much more I can say about it other than I think once a ship has this, everything else I've listed above will follow.

Ships who love each other unconditionally:

-How can I even pick between them all?!?! Basically everyone I wrote down earlier. Plus more. Every single one.

What do you look for in a fictional romance? What are your favorite OTPs? Leave a comment!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

January Wrap-Up

Books I Read

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

3.5/5

It's a fun read, especially great for a gray day when you're stuck inside with a blanket and a book. But definitely read it for the plot and not so much the characters, since the only one I really liked was Charlotte. You can read my review HERE.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

5/5

LOVE LOVE LOVE. This book was absolutely brilliant. It's one of the best graphic novels I've read in a while. If you're a fan of "Megamind," Dungeons & Dragons, and quick reads that will make you giggle, pick this one up.

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

4/5

I'd read the Delirium series a while ago, so I was excited to see how it compared. I thought her writing was fabulous in this one. The friendship between the main characters was sweet, and the whole plot reminded me a little of Cinderella, except with a more paranormal magical theme. You can read my review HERE.

Winter by Marissa Meyer 

5/5

Holy banana nut muffins, HOW CAN I EVEN. Marissa Meyer couldn't have possibly made this conclusion to her absolutely fantastic series any better. The action was nearly nonstop, all of the ships were totally adorable (especially Thress--if it were possible to hug a ship, I'd hug them), and the ending was perfect. I DEMAND A TV SERIES ADAPTATION.

Movies I Watched

"Kiki's Delivery Service"

3/5

Cute, fun, and whimsical. Out of all the anime movies I've seen, this is one of the better ones.

"Serenity"

5/5

Great ending to the TV series! Although there were more than a few times where I was totally taken by surprise with the plot twists. I wish the show lasted longer than it did, I would've been more than happy to binge-watch the Firefly gang.

"Ghostbusters"

3/5

Oh so cheesy, but it's a fun movie. The whole team reminded me of a slightly more professional version of the "Ghostfacers" from "Supernatural." I'm glad I saw it with the new female version coming out!

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

4/5

I loved it! I knew a lot of the references already thanks to the internet, but it's fun to have context now. Dry British humor is a favorite of mine, and this movie had plenty of it, along with plenty of ridiculousness.

"Sense & Sensibility"

 3.5/5

After a while, all of the Jane Austen stories start to sound the same to me, but I always enjoy them. The cast was great, and the story still had a few surprising twists and turns. It was a little strange to see Alan Rickman in such a different role, but he was fantastic as always.

"Moulin Rouge"

5/5

Oh. My. Gosh. This movie is nuts. It took me a good twenty minutes to figure out what the heck was going on, but I loved all of it. The music is really what made it, and the story, the production, everything was bombastic. I highly recommend it.

"Skyfall"

4/5

Another great Bond film! I won't give anything away, but there was one part in particular I totally didn't see coming at all. I haven't seen any other actors as James Bond, but Daniel Craig is definitely exactly how I imagined the character would be. The villain this time was super fun to watch just because of how insane he was.

Quotes I Wrote

Mr. Hudson had somehow managed to produce bandages out of thin air, because he wrapped my hands now, the stinging dulled by the effects of the injection coursing through my blood now. He wouldn't look at me. I think because it hurt too much. “Ms. Holmes, you try to block out your past with these things. But it doesn't work. It's a temporary solution to a more permanent problem. You have to face this kind of pain head on. It's what will keep you alive, keep you human.”
“I don't want it,” I whined, and curled up in a tighter ball on the floor. I knew I sounded exactly like a child, but I didn't have the energy to care. “Why do people bother with it?”
Mr. Hudson sighed heavily and put his hand on my shoulder, squeezing gently. “Because the love that came before makes it worth it.”
“Memories,” I whispered, eyes burning, but years of repressing them seemed to make it impossible to let them fall. “That's all I've got.”
“You can't bring her back.”
“Then what can I do?” I snapped.
“What you always do.” Mr. Hudson leaned to the side to pick up the sketchbook I'd flung across the room in my rage. Several of the pages were barely hanging on, mostly torn from the binding. He set it by my side, but I didn't take it. “Use that brain of yours and get to work.”
--Ms. Holmes

“Ms. Holmes?” Came Mr. Hudson's voice. He knocked on the door, though he didn't wait for my answer before he opened it. He came bearing tea. Of course he did. We were English, after all. How else would one deal with a difficult situation?
--Ms. Holmes

“What in the hell are you doing?” I gasped when I walked into the living room and saw the disaster before me.
The entire area was clean. Spotless. Every paper out of place, stacked into neat piles, coats hung up on the rack. It looked like he'd recruited a bloody armada of cleaning ladies.
“What does it look like?” Mr. Hudson said impatiently, adjusting the items on the fireplace so he could do another sweep with the duster. A cloud of gray flecks flew up, catching the light coming in from the window. “I'm dusting.”
“No, you're cleaning.” I spat out the word like a filthy swear, rushing over to look at the piles. “And—dear god. You've organized?!”
Mr. Hudson nodded, lips twitching ever so slightly in amusement. “The papers are alphabetically, sketchbooks by date.”
“How dare you.”
--Ms. Holmes

So Faye Moriarty had struck again.
How stupid I’d been not to consider her as a possibility right away. Not even iron doors could hold her forever, that much I knew. Because she was clever. Mad. An insane, dangerous, genius criminal.
And with just a few twists of fate, she could’ve been me.
I could’ve been her.
--Ms. Holmes 

Clicking a bullet into place, I held the gun with steady hands and aimed for her heart. “I’ll ask you one more time, where is he?”
Faye’s lips twitched, as if a laugh were bubbling up and it took every bit of her energy and concentration not to let it out. “Oh, my dear detective. You won’t shoot me.”
I raised my eyebrows. “What makes you so sure of that?”
She took a step closer, and another, until the barrel of the gun pressed right up against her chest. I inhaled sharply, held my breath.
“Because you’re me,” she whispered. She lifted one of her long, slender fingers, pressed the tip of her fingernail against my chin to tilt it up. I shuddered. “And though it’s going to fail, I know you have plans for me. Big plans, bombastic plans. Just as I have plans for you.”
--Ms. Holmes

God, this is impossible!” I raged three days after my return, throwing the pages into the air.
“You’re overthinking it,” Dawn said without even looking up from her cup of tea and the newspaper. She was the picturesque of calm whilst I clawed at the walls and tore down every paper I’d pinned up.
Dawn merely glanced sideways, continuing to stroke the cat that had curled up at her side. “Watch the pins, Astrid. Sir Mittens could choke.”
I muttered something about how it might be a good thing. Dawn threw a pencil at me.
--Ms. Holmes

“It just doesn’t make sense. What’s the most obvious place? Where would he hide? Where would Faye hide him? Are you going to help me with this or do I need to think of it all on my own?”
Dawn set the newspaper by her side and held up her hands in surrender. “Usually when I try to help you end up shushing me. I didn’t think you needed me for this.”
I blinked at her. “Of course I need you, you’re my partner. Even if you’re not a genius like I am, you help me think things through. Usually anything you think of is too dull and obvious to be true, but it looks like in this case that’s exactly what I need. I’m too well trained to be obvious, my mind goes right past those things to what’s important.”
“I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted.”
“Maybe a bit of a both.”
“Good plan.”
--Ms. Holmes

“Why didn't you tell anyone?”
“No one listened.”
He folds his hands in his lap, unimpressed by my answer. It's the truth, though. But he knows that already. The light attached to the metal crown I wear is still green.
It was just a job; three years of watching her through that screen.
“And you killed her?”
I press my fingernails into my legs. “Yes.”
“Why?”
“I didn't have a choice.”
“You always have a choice.”
I pull against my restraints, cold metal digging into my chest, until I can rest my elbows on the table in order to lean closer to him. I am calm, even though inside I am fire.
“How much time do you have?”
He sets his NetScreen on the table and stares at me without blinking. “All the time in the world.”
“Then let me tell you a story.”
--So far untitled sci-fi story . . .

Obsessions I Acquired

Nothing this month, unless you count my continued obsession with "Castle." It just keeps getting better!! The meta humor and "Firefly" references and edge-of-your-seat mysteries keep you glued to the screen. My mom has even started watching bits here and there when she's in the same room as me just because it's so easy to get sucked into.

Oh wait, I lied! This song has been on repeat ever since I watched the "Castle" episode it was featured on. It's especially cool because one of the actors is actually singing in it.

Picture of the Month

A few of my writer friends I met at camp last year and I went to an Escape Room and it was awesome. And yes, that is me in a deerstalker.

How was your January?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

11 Books as Taylor Swift Songs

To those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, it won't come as a surprise to you that I love Taylor Swift. I love every single song to bits and pieces and have all the lyrics memorized. I can even listen to a song and remember what book I was writing or what road trip I was on when I had that particular song on repeat. (For example, I got several hand cramps from filling up an entire notebook with chapters from The Sorceress on a long car ride down to Florida while listening to "Eyes Open.")

So I thought it'd be fun to match up a TS song to books most of you have probably read. Listen to them yourself and see what you think!

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - "Tied Together With a Smile"


Hold on, baby, you're losing it
The water's high, you're jumping into it
And letting go... and no one knows
That you cry, but you don't tell anyone
That you might not be the golden one
And you're tied together with a smile
But you're coming undone




All I hear when I listen to this song now is Violet talking about Finch . . . It just fits so perfectly with everything that's going on with him from about the middle to the end (which I won't reveal because spoilers!!). Gah, so many feels!

2. Cress by Marissa Meyer - "Fearless"



I wonder if you know
I'm trying so hard not to get caught up now
But you're just so cool
Run your hands through your hair
Absent-mindedly making me want you
And I don't know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first
Fearless

Tell me this isn't perfect for Cress and Thorne. I dare you. Everything about this song screams them, even the lyrics about driving down the road with her in the passenger seat could describe those two in the Rampion going about their adventures in space and being adorable together. (If you can't tell, I ship them just the tiniest bit . . . if the tiniest bit means a lot.)

3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - "Change"



So we’ve been outnumbered
Raided and now cornered
It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair
We’re getting stronger now
Find things they never found
They might be bigger
But we’re faster and never scared
You can walk away, say we don’t need this
But there’s something in your eyes says we can beat this
'Cause these things will change
Can you feel it now?
These walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down
This revolution, the time will come
For us to finally win

Yeah, this song just screams dystopian books but Mockingjay popped into my head first. As far as trilogies go, Mockingjay was one of the better series finales upon rereading it. The song may be a liiittle too upbeat for how dark it is, but we all need some hope while reading it. :P

4. Wonder by R.J. Palacio - "Mean"



You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me
You, have knocked me off my feet again,
Got me feeling like I'm nothing
You, with your voice like nails
On a chalk board, calling me out when I'm wounded
You, picking on the weaker man

Auggie had to deal with a lot of bullies in his time at school, and I think this song both describes how hard it was to deal with it, but how he worked to build himself up and rise above it. I love this book, and if you haven't read it yet you should pick it up right now. It's one of the best middle-grades you will ever read.

5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - "Enchanted"


There I was again tonight
Forcing laughter, faking smiles
Same old tired lonely place
Walls of insincerity,
Shifting eyes and vacancy
Vanished when I saw your face
All I can say is it was enchanting to meet you


All I can think about when I hear the first verse of this song is Lilac and Tarver aboard Icarus at the beginning of the book. And then of course the rest of the song can be used to describe their relationship later on. It's always fun to say "I ship it" with these two, because they literally met on a ship and it can't get more perfect than that. ;)

6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - "Ours"


So don't you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine
And life makes love look hard
The stakes are high, the water's rough
But this love is ours

This is definitely Park to Eleanor. This song is super simple, too, with just a couple instruments accompanying the melody, just like the book. "Ours" is all about not listening to what others say about you and loving each other for the people they are. It totally fits!

7. The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill - "Sweeter Than Fiction"


There you'll stand, ten feet tall
I will say, "I knew it all along."
Your eyes–wider than distance
This life–sweeter than fiction

This was one of the first match-ups I had in mind when I started writing this post! The song describes the relationship between Ellie and her true friends and family, the ones who are supportive of her and her dreams of becoming an author. (Plus, I couldn't pass up the chance to pair a song with the lyrics "sweeter than fiction" with a book about a writer named Ellie Sweet).

8. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury - "Treacherous"


This slope is treacherous
This path is reckless
This slope is treacherous
And I, I, I like it
It's incredibly dangerous for a genie and a human to fall in love, and that's exactly what's happening in this book. Zahra is determined not to let anything happen and endanger Aladdin, but it might not be enough. And thus we have "Treacherous" as the theme song.
9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater - "Wildest Dreams"
  
I can see the end as it begins
My one condition is
Say you'll remember me
Standing in a nice dress,
Staring at the sunset, babe
Red lips and rosy cheeks
Say you'll see me again
Even if it's just in your
Wildest dreams
Something about this song has always seemed like Sam and Grace to me. They both know their relationship can't last once the winter comes, but they won't stop hoping. And even if all they have left are memories, it'll all be worth it.

10. A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron - "This Love"


This love is good, this love is bad
This love is alive back from the dead
These hands had to let it go free
And this love came back to me
Tossing, turning, struggled through the night with someone new
And I could go on and on, on and on
Lantern burning, flickered in my mind for only you
But you're still gone, gone, gone




This has to be one of the saddest/sweetest books I've ever read. It's about a dog named Buddy who finds a way to find his owner every time he dies and is reincarnated as another dog. Of course the owner has no clue, but there's always something special about the dog she finds. So many feels crammed into one book. But anyways, the lyrics "these hands had to let it go free and this love came back to me" were what sold me on it. (I can't find a good enough video on YouTube for the song that has decent audio, unfortunately, but it's a fabulous song!)

11. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - "Wonderland"
Flashing lights and we, took a wrong turn and we
Fell down the rabbit hole
You held on tight to me
'Cause nothing's as it seems
Spinning out of control
Didn't they tell us don't rush into things
Didn't you flash your green eyes at me
Haven't you heard what becomes of curious minds
Ooh didn't it all seem new and exciting
I felt your arms twisting around me
I should've slept with one eye opened at night
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And we pretended it could last forever

This is definitely a series I need to go back to, because I loved it when I was reading it. Something about both the book and the song struck me as magical and dangerous, and it fit together so well I can't think about any other book now when I listen to the song. (I could only find covers on YouTube of this song, too, but if you have any other way to listen to it, definitely do! It's one of my favorites from the "1989" album.)

Your turn! What songs, Taylor Swift or otherwise, would you match up with some of your favorite books? What are your favorite musical artists? Leave a comment!