Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Wrap-Up

Books I Read

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare


Recommended to anyone who likes urban fantasy, romance, and a good, long series.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith


Recommended to anyone who likes quick reads, romance, and light, "fluffy" reads. This is not a hard book to get into and read, which makes it a great remedy for a book hangover.

Shadows Wake by Robyn LaRue


(Thanks for sending me an ARC, Robyn!) Recommended to anyone who likes quick reads, gothic novels, romance, and books with a small-town feel like that of "Little House on the Prairie."

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forester


Although it's not one of my favorites, this is a great introduction to classics, because it's quick and not difficult to read.

Paper Towns by John Green


Recommended to anyone who likes mystery and light, "fluffy" reads. This was a great beach read and is a good book to read after something dark or heavy.

Movies I Watched

"Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" (a rewatch)


Recommended to anyone who likes sci-fi, space stories, and epic adventures.

"Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi" (a rewatch)


Recommended to anyone who likes sci-fi, space stories, and epic adventures.

Quotes I Wrote

While I have been writing, I haven't exactly written a ton, and definitely not anything quote-worthy. This month was more focused on editing, as I've finished Beneath the Moon and Stars and finally worked up the courage to approach the behemoth that is Flightless Birds (which needs a ton of work and should be approached with a finger hovering over the backspace button. It needs to be cut down a lot).

Obsessions I Acquired

Pinterest. I hadn't realized how to use it to its fullest potential until recently, and I'm discovering so many cool boards for writing inspiration!

This song.  It was already a great song, but slowing it down made it even prettier.

Headcanon. Of any kind, but especially "Sherlock" (like on this awesome website). I didn't even know this existed until a few weeks ago! It's addicting, so much fun, and isn't as involved as creating a whole piece of fan-fiction is.

And this song. I know it was barely released, but still. MOCKINGJAY!!! (I'm so excited.)

The new Doctor! :) It always takes me a few episodes to accept the change (Tennant to Smith was the worst, I think), but Peter Capaldi has proven himself to be worthy of the title role. He's like an older version of Eccleston, who was also fantastic. ;)

Picture of the Month

Basically how I've been feeling after finishing the entire series for the second time with my parents. I've had a massive TV hangover for weeks, cured only by new episodes of "Doctor Who."

How was your September?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The TBR Tag + The Book Blogger Confession Tag

Thanks, nevillegirl, for tagging me! :)


My TBR shelves, which are, for the most part, alphabetized.
1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Goodreads, mostly, and this super cool jar filled with sticky notes that have the titles of all the books on my bookshelf written on them. :) When I can't decide what to read next, I let the jar pick for me.

2. Is your TBR mostly print books or e-books?

I don't like reading e-books that much, I much prefer physical copies. So if it's ever possible not to read an e-book, I pick that.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
See #1.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

Umm, probably Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Either that or 

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl, Wayne Earl, and Lori Earl.

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

I never pick books based on cover alone, although there are covers that draw my attention more than others. I especially like minimalistic covers, like Eleanor & Park and the Lunar Chronicles books.

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

I'm reading all of them!

8. An unpublished book in your TBR that you’re excited for?

Winter by Marissa Meyer, The Seeker and The Soul by Stephenie Meyer, and Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King.

9. A book in your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, all recommended by various blogger friends.

10. Number of books in your TBR?

 Goodreads: 22
Bookshelf: 53

Book Blogger Confession Tag

1. Which book did you recently not finish?

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Bleh.

 2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

No guilty pleasures. :) Just pleasures.

3. Which book do you love to hate?

I don't love to hate any book, because I want to like them all! But currently my least favorite books are Cather In the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner, The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, and The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

4. Which book would you throw into the sea?

*gasps* Did you just suggest I would actually, voluntarily, throw a book into the sea?!

5. Which book have you read the most?

The Harry Potter series, no contest! :)

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

See #3. (Ironically, I own all three of those books, too.)

7. Which book could you not live without?

The Harry Potter series. But other than that, since I have to pick one, technically, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Just seeing the title and author makes me happy. :)

8. Which book made you the angriest?

I don't think a book has ever made me angry, except when I get frustrated by how much time I'm wasting reading a book I hate.

9. Which book made you cry the most?

That's a three-way tie between The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, and We Were Liars by E. Lockheart.

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

This one.

Just . . . what happened here? The whole cover is an ugly shade of puke. It doesn't even look professional. It's like his kid drew it and he felt bad not putting it on his book.

 I tag anyone who wants to do this! :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Beautiful People Linkup--September

The "Notebook Sisters" are co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month they announce a new set of questions to answer about your character so you can learn more about them.

This month, I'll be interviewing Hans Levarius, the alchemist, necromancer, and antagonist of my YA medieval fantasy, the sequel to The Sorceress. It is still untitled, though I'm planning to resolve that soon. I'd toyed with The Necromancer, but then that'd be two books in the series that have the same title as the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. Anyway.

One quick note about Hans: When I was making my Pinterest board for the story, the person I cast to play his part is Benedict Cumberbatch. He looks a lot like him, and he'd be excellent at the straight-faced and low voice thing.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hans Levarius

1. What is their motive?

Power, riches, your typical bad guy stuff. He's a little very bitter over his childhood, because his older brother was the clear favorite, and Hans often got the shaft.

2. What do they want, and what are they prepared to do to get it?

To kill the king of Stormcastle and become ruler. He then plans to take over the surrounding kingdoms, and so on, until all of England is his. Hans deals with blackmail and poison, so it's not very hard for him to get people to do what he wants.

3. How do they deal with conflict?

Hans is sneaky, so he doesn't usually have to deal with conflict directly. He has others do it for him until the time is right to reveal himself, and by that time, he'll have all the power necessary to take over.

4. Describe their current place of residence.

It's a small room in the king's castle. It has a bed, a wardrobe, a bookshelf, etc. What the king doesn't know is that Hans is hiding potion vials and spell books underneath the floorboards.

5. If they were writing this story, how would it end?

With him sitting on the king's throne, the crown upon his head.

6. What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them?

He often speaks as if he's irritated, at least when Anya (the protagonist) is in the room. When he's alone with the king, however, he's very smooth and influential. He's charismatic in the sense that no one has a reason to distrust him and generally listen to what he has to say.

7. How do they show love? What do they like to do with/for people they love?

Love? Hans doesn't love. Love is weakness. Love means you're willing to sacrifice yourself for someone else. That's not Hans at all.

8. Do they have any pets?

Nope. He doesn't have enough time to care for someone/something else, not even a potted plant.

9. Where would they go to relax/think?

In his room in the castle, amidst his spell books and potion supplies.

10. What is their weapon of choice? (FYI: words, eyes/looks, and fists count as weapons too.)

Secrets, lies, blackmail, poison, anything that allows him to kill while remaining undercover.

What's your villain like? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Looking For New Music

For my dad's fortieth birthday, my mom arranged for forty of his friends to send one of their favorite CDs to him so he could discover new artists. For my "CD" I created a YouTube playlist filled with songs that have influenced my writing in one way or another. I had a lot of fun seeing what people sent him, and I realized that I've been in a sort of music rut recently. I've been listening to the same stuff over and over again, and I'd like to find something new.

So I was wondering if any of you would like to comment and say what your favorite artists are. It can be a band, a singer, an instrumental group, anything you'd like. If you'd like to include a favorite song, too, that would be great. :)

I've also been really addicted to alternative stuff (Lorde, Melanie Martinez, music from the "Hunger Games" movies, music from "The Fault In Our Stars," music from "Parenthood" and "Gilmore Girls," etc.), so if you know of anything that's similar to those artists, I'd love to hear your suggestions.

(Psst. If you want to see a list of my favorite music, check out the "My Favorite . . ." tab at the top of the home page. Scroll down a little bit and it's right there.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Sunshine Award

Thank you, nevillegirl, for nominating me! :)


1. I am constantly reorganizing the TBR shelf in my bedroom.
2. I am a huge fan of really creative practical jokes, but am often terrible at doing them (while keeping a straight face). But this past April Fool's Day, I created a fake e-mail address under the name Wendy Tyler and sent my mom an e-mail requesting to join her homeschool group with her two kids, Jamie and Alice. She didn't find out that it was me until June!
3. My all-time favorite name for a boy is Jamie.
4. I name my electronics, so if you ever hear me call my desktop Shelly, my laptop Lulu, or my iPod Piper, now you know why.
5. My "middle name," Isabel, is not legally my middle name!

nevillegirl's Questions

1. What book will you read next?

After City of Heavenly Fire, I will probably read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

2. Do your parents, siblings, or any other relatives read your blog? What do they think of it?

Yes, yes, and yes! They all seem to like it, and if they don't, they haven't told me. ;)

3. What is the funniest thing you've seen or heard recently?

My friend Dave's responses to Facebook posts. He's hilarious. For example, my friend Jake recently posted a Facebook status (that turned out to be fake) that said, "I think I'm in love with someone. What should I do?" His advice: "I would definitely start by tattooing their name on your forehead and having your last name changed to theirs. Then try to get to know them as a person."

4. If you could choose, right now, to be either ten years young or ten years older than you currently are, which option would you pick?

Ooh, tricky! Ideally, neither, but I suppose I would choose to be ten years younger, because I could always relive the past ten years. But if I were older, I could never get those ten years back.

5. What is your quest?

To become a full-time author!

My Questions

1. Would you rather drink a liter of your least favorite soda in one sitting or eat a pound of fudge of your least favorite flavor in one sitting?

2. What book do you think is over-hyped?

3. What book have you reread the most?

4. Movies or TV shows?

5. Binge watching or syndication?

I nominate . . .

Mom and Dad at "Sushi and Pizza."
nevillegirl at "Musings From Neville's Navel." (This is honorary, since you've obviously been nominated before.)
Cait and Mime at "The Notebook Sisters."
Skylar Finn at "Life of a Random."
storytellergirlgrace at "Storytellergirl."
Karoline at "As a Teen Writer."
MorningTime4 at "The Ups and Downs of My Not-So-Average Life."
Maria at "The Idea Catcher."
Shelumiel at "Whims and Ramblings."
Lydia at "Planet Lydia."