Thursday, January 30, 2014

"The Fault In Our Stars" Movie Trailer OR *sniff sniff*

My parents and I cried while watching this trailer. I think most everyone who watched it did. DARN YOU, JOHN GREEN! (But thanks so much for such an amazing book).

Grab a box of tissues before you watch this. Okay? Okay.

Make sure you check out my review of These Broken Stars below! :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"These Broken Stars" (a book review) -- "All that's left is us"

WARNING: This post contains spoilers.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Released: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 384

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

I think this book was amazing in every way possible. The characters, the plot, the beautiful cover and title (seriously, the cover is perfect), the writing, everything! I took me a little bit to get into, but once I got past those first 80-100 pages or so, I couldn't put it down.

I loved Lilac and Tarver, but I think that Lilac especially grew as a character throughout the book. She started out as a snobby, gossiping, rich girl who wouldn't even take her ridiculous high heels in the wild. And I loved that! It was such a refreshing change from the stereotypical Katniss Everdeen heroines we see in today's books. I loved seeing Lilac slowly change as the book went on, seeing her slowly transform from the girl in the green dress to a girl who wasn't afraid to walk around a crashed spaceship to save Tarver. The scene at the end when she confronts her father and basically goes ballistic on him about Simon in Tarver was just awesome. I was scared of her just then!

And Tarver! Oh my God, when Lilac died, he just about broke my heart. I cried the entire way through the following chapters before she "came back" (I'm not sure what term you'd use for what happened to her).

I also thought the passages in between when somebody's asking Tarver questions were really cool. It reminded me of the beginning of the chapters in Ender's Game. Except I thought these bits were easier to follow than those.

And Tarver had some of the best lines. For example, this one made me laugh out loud:

She considers the question, then nods, reaching up to tuck her hair back where it belongs. "Where will I sit?"
Sit? Why, on this comfortable chaise longue I've carried here for you in my pocket, Your Highness, so glad you asked.

These quotes were heartbreaking:

Her hand lifts to grab at me, finding my arm and clutching tight. "Tarver." Her whisper's a gurgle, the blood in her throat now. "I lied. I'm--I don't want to die." Her blue eyes are wide and terrified as she gazes past me.
I'm shaking as I ease down to stretch out beside her, pressing my forehead to her temple, whispering my words against her skin. "I'm here." I can barely make myself loud enough, but I think she hears me. "I promise, I'm right here, Lilac. I won't go anywhere. I won't leave."

The Frost in my chest creaks, something else trying to come through. "I remember being dead, Tarver." I swallow, and my breath comes out like a sob. "How do you live again, knowing what waits for you in the end?"

And this one was beautiful:

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Liebster Award

Thank you, Jamie and Tallulah from "Chasing the Blue," for nominating me for this award! :)

The rules:
1. Each nominee must link back to the person that nominated them!
2. Answer the ten questions given to you by the nominator!
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers!
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer!
5. Let the nominees know you have nominated them by going to their website and notifying them!

Jamie and Tallulah's Questions
1. What do you look for in a blog?

Humor, interesting topics, and a creative take on blogging, whether it be the design, the way the blogger reviews books, or anything else.

2. What is something, that despite what others think, is very UN-funny?

"What Does the Fox Say." Why is this song popular? Same with "Gangnam Style."

3. Clip-on earrings – hot or not?

I'm not a huge fan. I had a pair for a very short period of time before I got my ears pierced, and they hurt my ears and kept falling off.

4. What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word, “Marmalade”?

The song "Lady Marmalade." Now it's stuck in my head.

5. Can Vegetarians eat fish and be OK with it?  Discuss.

If you're a pesco-vegetarian it's okay (because pesco-vegetarians eat fish), but if you're a full-on vegetarian, I don't think eating fish is okay. If you're going to call yourself a vegetarian, you should be all in.

6. What’s your favourite word?

Magic. :) A close second is hyperbole. I also love onomatopoeias. They're so fun to say! (Pop, sizzle, snap!)

7. Doughnuts or Danishes?

Doughnuts for sure! Specifically Boston Creams and Peanut Butter filled. Or chocolate with rainbow sprinkles. Or blueberry. (Boy, I'm hungry.)

8. Would you rather meet your favourite Author, Blogger, or Vlogger?

Favorite author! Though I think meeting J.K. Rowling is pretty hard to do.

9. What’s your favourite blogpost that YOU’VE written?

Ooh, that's a tricky one. I love talking about my books, so the interviews with my characters are fun, but I also love ones like my "Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!" post and "Eleanor Is Beautiful."

10. Beautiful girls in dresses on book covers – like or dislike?

It depends. If it's like this

or this

then YES. They're creative and stunning. But if it's like this?

Blech. Too . . . shiny. And perfect. It's boring, and all the girls on these types of covers look the same! And what's with the shirtless men?!

My Questions
1. eBook or physical book?
2. The Hunger Games or Divergent?
3. What are your favorite book-into-movie adaptations?
4. Book trailers: yay or nay?
5. What's your opinion on Twilight?
6. Do you eat sweet or salty foods when writing?
7. What's your favorite genre to read? How about your favorite to write?
8. Do you design covers for your own books like I do? Would you care to share some of those covers? ;)
9. Do you find that your writings are too short or too long?
10. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?

I tag . . .
I know a lot of the blogs I follow have already received this award from other people, so I'll try to pick blogs that haven't won it yet. It also turns out that many of my blogger friends have more than 200 followers, so I won't quite make it to 10 nominees.

1. Miriam Joy Writes
2. AAAAAA!!!!
3. The Idea Catcher
4. The Perpetual Page-Turner
5. X Marks the Spot
6. Notebook Sisters
7. The Ups and Downs of My Not So Average Life
8. Tacos, Dolphins, and Friends

Have fun! :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Book Lover's Blog Meme

Shamelessly stealing this from Zoe at "Bookhi," because it looked too fun to pass up! :)

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading. I was always reading or being read to, but I vividly remember reading Harry Potter with my mom and dad. The first "bigger" books I can remember reading by myself are the Series of Unfortunate Events series and the Percy Jackson series. Of course I was reading books by myself before then, but no titles come to mind.

Where do you usually read?
Anywhere. ;) Usually underneath all the blankets on my bed at night or in the car. Though the reading corner in my bedroom makes for a great cozy spot to curl up in on rainy or snowy days.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
Multiple books at once! I have a system now. I limit myself to just six books at once: I'm in three different book clubs, so I read those three books along with one library book, one Harry Potter book (usually on audio, so I can listen to it and read another book at the same time), and one book from my TBR pile. I've trumped this system a few times with books such at Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth, the Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, and The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill, because how could I not read those right away?!

What is your favorite genre?
Though I have a soft spot for fantasy, It'd be easier to just list the genres I don't like as much: science-fiction (except for These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, which I'm currently reading and loving, and The Host by Stephenie Meyer), horror (not that I've read much, but it just doesn't interest me--I don't like being scared), mystery, and poetry. I don't hate any of these genres, but they're not my favorites (fantasy, dystopian, contemporary, etc.)

What genre will you not read?
I'm not going to block myself off from any genre, but I don't think I'll read much horror.

Do you have a favorite book?
All together now: Harry Potter! :)

What is the worst book you've ever read?
I can't think of the worst book I've ever read, but recent reads that I didn't really enjoy were The Maze Runner by James Dashner and The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander.

What is the biggest book you've ever read?
Probably Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. :)

What was the last book you bought?
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (for myself) and The Twilight Phenomenon by Kurt Bruner (for my BFF).

Which do you prefer: library books or buying books?
As much as I love adore the library, I much prefer owning a book that I can read at my pace, rather than racing against a due date.

What are you reading now?
I'm currently reading six books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare, Girl, Stolen by April Henry, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Fauxpocalypse (to refresh myself on the stories of my fellow authors :) ), and I'm about to pick up I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.

What are the disadvantages of being a book lover?
So many books, so little time!
I tag all of you! :) Feel free to do the meme in the comments!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Writer's Camp--Day 4

The last day! (For you guys, anyway. I sort of lumped things from different days together, so all of my favorites combined make up of four blogging days). ;)

We went to the local park with our notebooks to write a short story or poem from the point of view of an inanimate object. I did mine from the point of view of a plastic frog toy. It would look something like this.

I don't know how old I am. Each of my parts is a different age. My springs might be fifty years old while my paint is only two.

I'm a plastic frog. And I have always lived at the playground.

The playground's a fairly large place. There's the long green slide that everyone rides while squealing with glee. There's the swing set that allows kids to fulfill their dreams of flying through the air, even if it's only for a moment before they come crashing back down to the ground. There are monkey bars that many a child has fallen off, but no one has cried when that happens. That's the amazing thing about kids; they're always ready to get right back on.

But the favorite at the playground has always seemed to be me. Many people have ridden me from time to time: toddlers, women with babies, teenagers, laughing with ice cream cones in hand. I've watched toddlers grow taller, I've seen them beam as they're finally able to reach the monkey bars on their own, I've felt their weight grow heavier as my springs creaked and groaned.

Some kids have talked to me, confided with me their secrets, hopes, and dreams. Some have pet me like a dog and told me that I was beautiful. Others have merely glanced my way and smiled.

Emily was special. I seemed to be her first confidant, her special guardian, her best friend. When she was five and she scraped her knee, she ran to me, her tears streaking my frozen expression. When she was thirteen, and her "friends" didn't let her sit with them at lunch, I let her ride on my back, no matter how much my parts groaned in protest. When she was sixteen, and her boyfriend broke her heart, I was the first one she told.

And when she was twenty-five, and her three-year-old daughter stumbled off me, dizy and giggling, Emily said, "Say goodbye to the frog. You won't seem him again after we move."

Her daughter, Cece, said, "Bye, Froggy!" and patted my head.

Emily turned to me, tears in her eyes.

"Thank you," she whispered.

She stroked my back and walked away.

If I were a human, I would've burst into tears. I would've wrapped my human arms around her and told her with my human lips that she was my favorite person in the whole world. I would've used my human hands to try and drag her back, to make her stay.

But I wasn't. And I never will be. So I settled for a silent goodbye, a creak of my spring, and a hope that Emily wouldn't forget me. Because I certainly would never forget her.

We worked on our final project after that, the piece that we'd share with the other students and their parents. I'd done a sort of poem, except that it wasn't in the form of a poem. But it wasn't a story, either. It was more like a poetic narrative. I'll show you the before and after. The "Before" was my rough draft, and the "After" was my final draft, the one that the different teachers helped me to edit.


The Golden Gate of Promises

The archway was mystical, completely made of pine, prickly, but sweet-smelling. It was curved at the top, like a wave that never hits the ocean floor, frozen in time. It stood amidst a garden of trees, bushes, and flowers. It hummed with energy sounding like a hive of bees, although it only hummed for me. I was the only one who stopped to listen.

This archway was the Gate of Promises.

The sun seemed to shine brighter as I approached the archway. The humming grew louder. The bees were singing for me, for I was their queen.

Behind me laid a field of dreams, fragile and glittering like glass stained with red. I had trodden on them with my bare feet. The red blood that trailed behind me was my misery and despair. It stopped right before the archway. I took a deep breath and let the bees surround me.

And I stepped through the Gate of Promises.


The Golden Gate of Promises

The archway was completely made of pine, prickly, but sweet-smelling. It was arched at the top, like a wave that never hits the ocean floor. It stood amidst a garden of towering oak trees, sweet berry bushes, and yellow tulips, drinking in the sun. It hummed with energy, sounding like a hive of bees, although it only hummed for me. I was the only one who stopped to listen.

The archway was the Gate of Promises.

As I approached the archway, the sun shone brighter, the humming grew louder--no longer a hum, but a buzz, a drone. The bees were a choir, singing only for me, for I was their queen.

Behind me, a field of dreams, fragile and glittering like glass stained with red. I had trodden on them with my bare feet. The red blood that trailed behind me stopped abruptly before the archway as if an invisible dome protected it from such terrors. These horrors were not allowed beyond the gate.

I took a deep breath and let the bees surround me.

And I stepped forward.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Does the Cover Say? (A Linkup)

The "Notebook Sisters" are having another linkup! This one is all about blog covers. Check it out HERE if you want to participate!

(Note: As I'm writing this, I have "What Does the Cover Say?" to the tune of "What Does the Fox Say?" stuck in my head. So annoying.)

"I'm secretly plotting your demise and wondering if your eyes should be described as emerald-green or sea-green in my book."


"Be afraid. Be very afraid."

"I'm wearing a dress I never once wear in this book, because it would be impossible to put my sword through your spleen with it on."

"Oh! I, um, was not expecting company. Uh . . . this is awkward . . ."


"Hey, is anybody going to paint on my other eye? Hello?"

The Host (The Host, #1)

"Yeah, you. I'm looking at YOU."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

27 Childhood Memories

My mom had the idea to come up with twenty childhood memories (I did twenty-seven, because I have a hard time narrowing things down). ;) These aren't necessarily the best things that have happened in my life (though a lot of them are). They're just memories that stand out in my mind. Some are simple while others are more extravagant, but they're all happy. :)

1. Taylor Swift concert
2. Harry Potter World
3. Disney World
4. Eating out as a family (or with friends)
5. Getting Scout
6. Park Days
7. The Johnson's moving here
8. Christmas
9. Themed birthday parties
10. Getting published
11. Reading, playing games, and watching movies as a family
12. Going to the library
13. My/Kirsten's surprise birthday party (click HERE to see my mom/dad's blog post about it)
14. New Year's Eve
15. The National Book Festival (in 2009)
16. Annual beach vacation trips
17. Writer's camp
18. Getting Menedy
19. The day I met Kirsten
20. Reading Harry Potter for the first time. (Five moments really stick out in my mind for some reason: Reading Chamber of Secrets in a hotel room with my mom and dad and trying to figure out which teacher Harry, Ron, and Hermione would get the signature from to go into the restricted section in the library; having Goblet of Fire read to me by my mom, finishing Order of the Phoenix on audio, Dumbledore dying, and Dobby dying. I cried when Dobby died, and then announced that if I were a witch, I'd go after Bellatrix first instead of Voldemort. I believe I was seven when I finished the entire series.)
21. Getting my position at "The Write Practice"
22. The first time I held the paperback copy of Fauxpocalypse in my hands
23. Goofing around with my brother when we're supposed to be sleeping
24. Stuffed animal adventures
25. When I first started blogging
26. Saturday night "Gilmore Girls" dates
27. Crazy Minecraft sessions with friends via Skype

What are your favorite childhood memories? :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Few Updates

I've had a few posts go up on "The Book Chewers," two of which are group posts. Click HERE if you want to see some amazing fan art, HERE if you want to read about my bookish resolutions (as well as those from the other staff members), and HERE if you want to see how the staff members and readers of "The Book Chewers" described our favorite book characters in only six words.

The paperback edition of the Fauxpocalypse is available on Amazon!!! :) I can't even begin to explain how exciting it is to see my name included in the list of authors. It's completely surreal.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

30 Reasons Why I Love "Gilmore Girls"


1. The theme song.
2. The feeling you get when you watch it/hear the music/think about it.
4. Kirk and all of his odd jobs.
5. Sookie's clumsiness.
6. Paris and anything she says.
7. Luke's backwards baseball cap.
8. Lorelai and her "cooking" (*cough* takeout *cough*).
9. Al's Pancake World, even though nobody's once eaten pancakes there.
10. Luke yelling at Taylor.
11. Town meetings.
12. Logan calling Rory "Ace."
13. Friday night dinners.
14. Paul Anka and all of his quirkiness. :) He reminds me of Scout.
15. The fact that the dog's name is Paul Anka.
16. Luke's diner and his "no cellphones" rule.
17. Lorelai ignoring Luke's "no cellphones" rule.
18. The reenactments and festivals.
19. Lane's loose floorboards and everything she hides under there.
20. Mrs. Kim interacting with customers (or with anyone, really).
21. Hep Alien.
22. Michel. Michel Michel Michel.
23. Kirk telling everything that Lulu is his girlfriend.
24. Babette and Miss Patty knowing everything about everyone.
26. Luke and April.
27. Lane and Zack's two different weddings.
28. Luke always being there for Lorelai, Rory, and pretty much everybody in Stars Hollow.
29. THIS scene.
30. The series finale and Rory's "Bon Voyage" party that made me bawl.

What are you favorite things about "Gilmore Girls"? :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Rainbow Ro(we)ll

Every year on New Year's Eve, our family makes a ton of food. We make everything from taquitos to buffalo chicken dip to assorted crackers and cheese balls. But the best part is the sushi.

I love sushi, in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. My dad makes really good sushi, and every New Year's Eve we make up our own sushi roll. Something besides your standard California roll or spicy tuna roll. It usually represents the past year in some way. My mom had the fantastic idea of making a "Rainbow Roll," which would represent the author Rainbow Rowell since we'd discovered her this past year.

We fell in love with the amazing book Eleanor & Park, and that is the inspiration for our Rainbow Ro(we)ll.

For the "Eleanor," we made an inside out California roll with shredded carrots on top to represent Eleanor's red hair (our sushi place was out of orange roe). For the "Park," we made a roll that had Kimchi inside since Park is Korean. We left the outside as seaweed, because Park's hair is jet black.

And there you have it. The Rainbow Ro(we)ll.

I should note that after coming up with this idea, we learned that her name is pronounced more like the word "towel," so I suppose I should also post a picture of a rainbow-colored towel to be truly correct, but we hope our tribute to one of our very favorite authors is appreciated just the same.

What do you think? :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thin Space by Jody Cassella--A Book Review (Guest Post)

Please welcome my awesome blogging friend, Cait! :) Read her bio (located at the bottom of this post) to find her blog, Twitter account, and Goodreads page. Take it away, Cait!



Oh my gosh…wow. I was going to start with a long sentence about why this book had my rapt attention and how I was deeply and emotionally involved in the journey of Marsh as – But then, I though, “NAH. LET THE FEELS SPEAK.” So you get “Oh my gosh…wow!!!” And a bunch of exclamation marks (like this: !!!!!)

I LOVED this book! (Surprise.) The combination of relatable characters, freakishly good writing, and a plot to die for (literally, in some cases), I was in love. This book got ticks in ALL the boxes. (‘Scuse me while I hug it.)

Okay, so the writing voice. Voice is a really hard thing to capture in books. I feel some books overdo the “teen tone”, while others get a good medium. But THIN SPACE rocked the voice aspect. I loved this writing! It flowed out of Marsh like the awkward screwed up teen he was. Not easy to pull off. PLUS, this book dealt with grief. It is dang HARD to write grief properly. There’s such a fine line between spending a book mopping or being too unemotionally affected. Again, THIN SPACE got an A+. Marsh’s balance between recovery from grief and just everyday thinking was perfect. Sad, but perfect. (He had right to be sad.)

Characters? Maybe I harp on too much about characters…but I LOVE them. They’re the flesh and blood of a book (literally, okay?) and if they’re flat or boring, then the book is lost (R.I.P. cookery books). Marsh is the narrator. He’s 16-years-old, just lost his identical twin in a car accident, and he’s in a fog. Of grief. His voice is tragic, awkward, and so poignant I honest-to-goodness thought he could be a real person. Maddie is the new neighbour. She’s cute and understanding, a soft kind of personality. But she has this freaking-annoying-way-too-much-testosterone brother who wants to beat Marsh’s head in for talking to Maddie. I dislike the brother (Sam) by the way. After the accident and Marsh dived into nothingness, Marsh lost most of his friends. People gave him space, but at the same time, they judged him. It’s so sad,

but it’s so realistic.

I tossed up what genre this book would be too: paranormal? Contemporary? It’s a contemporary feel, but with the mystical element of “thin space”, which is (in a nutshell) a “portal” between this world and the dead one. You can only find it in places where someone has been born AND died (not the same person, though). And you can only find it with bare feet. Hence Marsh spends half the book sliding around barefoot. At the end of the book, I honestly believe this IS a contemporary. It’s about dealing with grief and psychological escapes. It’s about creating your own healing as well as dealing with things. Is there such a thing as “thin space”? Maybe if you believe there is.

Now why are you still here?! GO GET A COPY AND READ IT.

Cait is burdened with glorious purpose: read all the books. She blogs (a lot) at Notebook Sisters and fangirls (a lot) about the Avengers. It’s a fabulous combination. You can find her on Twitter and Goodreads. Bring your cape.