Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Wrap-Up

Books I Read

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Recommended to anyone who likes long books, dual perspectives, and historical fiction.

Every Day by David Levithan


Recommended to anyone who likes romance and main characters with interesting obstacles (A is forced to leave his current body for another one every night, never staying longer than a day). It's paranormal for people who don't like paranormal.

Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper


Recommended to anyone who likes "Doctor Who" (especially Ten), a quick and easy read, and plenty of action.

A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron


(Yes, this is the second book in a series, but it reads as a standalone! I know a lot of my friends who read this for our teen book club were confused by this.) Recommended to anyone who likes dogs, sweet stories that'll make you cry, and a quick read.

Compulsion by Martina Boone


(Thank you for the ARC, Martina!) Compulsion is beautifully written gothic romance. I found myself reading with a pencil clutched in my hand because I underlined so much. There were characters I loved, characters I loved to hate, and characters I loved to feel conflicted about. The ending was especially gripping, with a plot twist I definitely didn't see coming. Barrie, Mark, and Pru ended up being my favorite characters all the way through, no question, but my favorite parts of the book were the ones where Cassie appears. I enjoyed trying to figure out if she was someone to trust or someone to stay away from. I highly recommend this book to fans of the Beautiful Creatures series.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (a reread)


(I've reread this book several times now, and each time I do I love it a little bit more. I think I was too harsh on it at first because I'd been used to the obvious, non-stop action in the first two books.) Recommended to fans of The Hunger Games series (obviously), dystopian novels, and a kick-butt heroine. I know some people who stopped reading after the first book. Don't! It only gets better!

A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle


I know a lot of my friends watch "Sherlock," and, as a Sherlockian myself, I really enjoyed going back and seeing where the first episode came from. I was really surprised at how much detail Moffat and Gatiss put in to the show. I would definitely recommend those who haven't read any original Sherlock Holmes stories themselves read it for that purpose alone. Also recommended to anyone who likes short stories, mysteries, and a series to get invested in. (For those of you who have read the Sherlock Holmes stories, which are your favorites? The Hounds of the Baskervilles seems to be a popular one.)

Movies I Watched

"The Breakfast Club"


Recommended to anyone who likes 80's movies, simple stories, laugh-out-loud humor, and character-driven stories.

"Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"


Recommended to anyone who likes simple stories, character-driven stories, and a cute family-friendly movie to watch any time of year.

"Mockingjay: Part 1"


Recommended to fans of The Hunger Games series, dystopian novels, and a kick-butt heroine.

Quotes I Wrote

“Do you think we should’ve listened to [Hugh]?” I asked Maya and Jack a few minutes later, suddenly shrouded in guilt. “I mean, Ross did say he’s the most powerful wizard in Librum. Maybe he really did mean all that stuff [being in "grave danger"].”
“Powerful wizard my foot,” Maya grumbled. “I don’t care how good that man’s heart is, the guy is a nutjob. He called you Alan, Alex, Audrey, Augustus, and Augustine in the space of about ten minutes!”
--August Knight and the Sword of Gold

“What’s the worst that could—”
“Have you learned nothing?” Jack said incredulously. “That’s exactly what you said right before we left to explore Librum, got your ankle twisted, and almost killed by a demon-assassin in disguise.”--August Knight and the Sword of Gold

“Sun’s setting,” I said later that day.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” Maya said sarcastically. “Because the rest of us are blind and couldn’t see that for ourselves.”--August Knight and the Sword of Gold

“It’s like the freaking Elder Wand,” Jack said.
“That’s not good!” Maya sounded truly panicked. “The owners of the Elder Wand usually ended up dead!”
“Relax,” I said. “It’s not the Elder Wand. If you haven’t noticed, Harry Potter was made up.”
“You never know,” Maya said in a singsong voice. “A few days ago, I would’ve agreed with you, but now . . .”
“You know, most of today’s Earthen fantasy authors were born in Librum,” Ross piped up. “They travel via necklace, pretend they’ve lived there all along, and write stories based on their experiences here.”
“Does that mean—” Jack started, wide-eyed.
“No.” Ross sighed. “J.K. Rowling was, unfortunately, actually born in England. That’s one genius you guys can claim.”
--August Knight and the Sword of Gold 

Obsessions I Acquired

"1989." I'm really glad Taylor Swift decided to try something different, and it paid off! Every single song on this album is 80's-inspired pop. My favorites are, "Welcome to New York," "Out of the Woods," "Wildest Dreams," "You Are In Love," and "Wonderland."

"Supernatural." (Thank you SO MUCH, Cait, for getting me into this show!) In two weeks, I've watched three and a half seasons, and every minute spent watching it is a minute well spent. Every time I finish a season I immediately look up the YouTube video for that season's bloopers/gag reels, because they're hilarious. It's almost impossible to choose a favorite between the two boys, because the reason why they're each so awesome is because they're awesome together. My favorite episodes so far are, "Hell House," "In My Time of Dying," "Simon Said," "The Usual Suspects," "Nightshifter," "Tall Tales," "Hollywood Babylon," "Folsom Prison Blues," "What Is and What Should Never Be," "The Kids Are Alright," "Bad Day at Black Rock" (possibly my all-time favorite), "Mystery Spot," "Ghostfacers," "No Rest For the Wicked," "In the Beginning," "Yellow Fever," "Wishful Thinking," and "After School Special" (which is the last episode I've watched so far, so no spoilers, please!).

(Wow, I just realized how many favorite episodes I have. It's like an entire season's worth!)

"The Hanging Tree." I don't care what Jennifer Lawrence says about her singing voice. She sounds awesome in this song. And the scene in the movie is even better.

Picture of the Month

How was your November?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Read

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday with "The Broke and the Bookish"! :) This week's prompt is: Which ten sequels are you excited to read?

1. The Seeker and The Soul by Stephenie Meyer

I loved The Host SO much, and I didn't know it was going to be a sequel until a few months after I finished reading it. Of course I started freaking out with my BFF about the possibilities in store for the next books. Sadly, there isn't a release date for either of these books, so I'll just have to keep obsessively checking the Goodreads page for an update patiently waiting for some news.

2. Winter by Marissa Meyer

Cress left us hanging on so many levels. And I have to wait until November of NEXT YEAR for Winter. About the same amount of time I have to wait for Season 4 of "Sherlock." Ah, the life of a fangirl. *sighs*

3. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

Finally, a book that has a cover to include in the post! And this book is actually published! It's just a matter of time before I can get my hands on it and love it as much as I loved the first one.

4. The Treatment by Suzanne Young

The Treatment (The Program, #2)

I read The Program a few months ago for my book club and loved it. Once my friend is done reading it, I'm going to borrow it. I have a feeling the last book in this series is going to make me cry.

5. The Order of the Stick: War and XPs by Rich Burlew

The Order of the Stick: War and XPs (The Order of the Stick, #3)

My brother got me into this series, and it's hysterical. I highly recommend it to anyone who plays Dungeons & Dragons. I've laughed out loud many times (sometimes late at night when everyone's asleep) while reading this series.

(I'm going to cheat a little with these next ones, because, sadly, I've finished most of the series with sequels I was excited to read. So the following five are all series I'm excited to start.)

6. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays 

I won this book in a giveaway and hadn't seen a single review for it, good or bad, so I went into it totally blind. I'm thirty pages in and already can't wait to recommend it to everyone I know! I was hooked from page one. So far it's like a mix of Divergent, "Doctor Who," and my 2013 NaNoWriMo book, so I'm pretty excited. :)

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Every single review I've seen for this book (and its sequels!) have been raving. It's been a while since I've read a book worth raving about (We Were Liars by E. Lockhart being the last one).

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Just like with Throne of Glass, DOSAB has gotten a ton of great reviews. At first it didn't seem like the kind of book I'd like, but trusted blogger friends have said otherwise. It's on my TBR shelf right now!

9. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

And just like with DOSAB, this didn't seem like my kind of book. I thought it was another fluffy romance, like all the other fluffy romances. But Rainbow Rowell apparently loves it and Stephanie Perkins is the one who organized the My True Love Gave to Me holiday anthology, which I'm so excited to read!

10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

So technically I've already started this one, but I'm only sixty pages in, so I think I can still include it on this list. ;) So far, there's nothing I dislike about it (other than having to look up how to spell the author's name every. single. time I type it). I was hooked from page one!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Beautiful Books Linkup--November

The "Notebook Sisters" are co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful Books." It's a lot like their "Beautiful People" linkup, except focused more on the actual book than the characters. Click HERE to read about it.

Today I'll be talking about my NaNoWriMo book, August Knight and the Sword of Gold, an MG fantasy novel about a twelve-year-old boy's quest to kill an evil dragon and return magic to a land called Librum.

1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

It's a little slow at the moment. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't be too disappointed with my level of excitement for the story, but after last year's book (Flightless Birds), this one pales in comparison.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

My little brother woke me up by jumping on my legs. He had this uncanny ability of doing this seconds before my alarm clock went off. Somehow, waking up to bruised knees and hot, stinky, morning breath on my face isn't nearly as annoying as it is to be jerked from a pleasant dream by an incessant beep, beep, beep.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

No cover yet, and the only picture on my Pinterest board is one I happened to glance up and see on my Feedly when starring a post from Post Secret. It fits perfectly with August's character, and he would probably end up sending in a secret just like it.

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us!

No pictures, but here are the descriptions:

August: 5'0", blue eyes, messy brown hair, big feet. Wears simple, comfortable clothing, usually jeans and a T-shirt with his red Converse.

Maya: 4'10", brown eyes, thick black hair (almost reaches her waist), long legs, skin the color of dark chocolate. Often wears athletic shorts, running shoes, and rainbow loom bracelets.

Jack: 5'1", green eyes, pale skin, curly golden hair, ears that stick out a little. Wears button-down shirts, jeans, black-framed glasses, sneakers, and the watch his father used to own.

5. What scene are you most excited to write?

Well the scene I was most excited to write has already been written. :) It involved a spastic, narcoleptic wizard named Hugh Nicholson and his deranged rabbit, Fluffernutter.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

The door opened and there stood an extremely old man. He had a long, pure white beard; squinted eyes; and frizzy hair that made it look like he’d stuck his finger in an electrical socket.
“Girl Scouts already?” He said in his squeaky voice. He dug in the pocket of his robes—which were navy blue and had golden moons and stars printed on it—and pulled out three fat, gold coins. “All right. Do you have any Thin Mints?”
“Uh, we’re not Girl Scouts,” I said. “Actually, we’re not even girls. Well, Maya is, but the rest of us aren’t.”
“Maya?” He said, squinting even more so his eyes were practically shut. “Maya Angelou? But she’s dead!”
“Not Maya Angelou,” Maya said. “Maya Rose. It’s—er—nice to meet you, sir.”
“Hugh,” Ross said from my shoulder. [Ross is a bookworm--literally. So he often has to rely on larger creatures to carry him around.] “It’s me, Ross.”
Hugh leaned forward, so close, I could feel his breath on my face. It smelled like pickles. When he saw Ross, he grinned wide enough for me to see all of his teeth. Well, what teeth he had left.
“So it is!” He said. “Ross, old buddy, how are ya’?”
“Good,” Ross said. “Can we come in? I need to ask you a favor.”
“Of course, of course,” Hugh mumbled. He stood back and gestured for us to go inside. “Come in, come in.”
“Does he have a beard?” I heard Jack whisper as Maya helped him step through the doorway. “The crazy ones always have beards.”
“Yeah,” Maya whispered back. “He has a beard.”

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

When I started out, I expected the plot to be nice and simple (though I always expect the plots of my books to be nice and simple--it never turns out that way). But now that I've written about 20,000 words at this point, I figured out that there is a much fouler villain at play than a simple dragon. Snow White and the seven dwarves made an appearance, too, which I hadn't expected.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?

When I started out, I didn't really like August. This is my first time writing a book where the protagonist is a boy other than The Adventure That Started With Nuts, but Nutty was a squirrel, so it was a bit different. I had a hard time getting into his head. But I'm starting to have more fun with him now, and Jack, who wouldn't open up until recently. So right now I guess the most difficult character to write is Maya, who is, at the moment, nothing but a bossy, angry, control-freak with a grudge against August. Once I learn what that grudge is, I'm sure I'll understand her more.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

I love the quirky side characters. :) They're what makes Librum come to life, for me. Even though Hugh probably won't show up again (although there's always that possibility), he and Ross are some of my favorite characters to write.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

Yes, but I won't say who. ;)

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

I usually do at this point, but right now the only song I have on the playlist is "Wonderland" by Taylor Swift. I've been listening to her "1989" album nonstop, and that song is one of my favorites from the CD.

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Hugh and Ross for sure, and I'd probably stop by and visit with Snow White and the other princesses, who are way more kick-butt in my book. Snow actually gets her hands dirty and helps the dwarves in the mine, Aurora is a witch who often has to fight off evil magical creatures, and Ariel is a Tae Kwon Do master.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily word count? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

One of the best parts about NaNoWriMo being in November is that it's right after Halloween, which means I have plenty of chocolate to reward myself with. :) I also use various Netflix shows (right now I'm watching "Once Upon a Time") as motivation.

14. What is your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

Probably the one by Joss Whedon: "I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of."

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

It just feels like I'm fighting to get the words out more this year than usual. I'm not frustrated, more disappointed. But my moods usually change quickly. Ask me again tomorrow and I might say it's all rainbows and butterflies. :P

How's your NaNoWriMo so far?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Encyclopedia of Me - N


Nevillegirl is one of the first bloggers I ever met and talked to regularly. We met a couple years ago on the "Young Writers Program" (NaNoWriMo for kids under eighteen) and bonded over our love for Harry Potter. I commented on nearly every single one of her posts and try my best to keep up today. It's been awesome to connect and introduce our favorite fandoms to each other. If it weren't for her, I might never have watched "Doctor Who!" You can check out her blog at "Musings From Neville's Navel."

New York City:

Even though I wouldn't want to live there, New York City is such a fun place to visit. Our family even went to the top of the Empire State Building! My brother and I even made up a song about New York when we were little. Several of my books take place in New York, as well, including Cosmo.


It had to be in here somewhere. ;) NaNoWriMo is on par with Christmas for me. I love it. This will be my sixth year participating, and it definitely won't be my last! I've spent months planning my book for this year (a middle-grade fantasy novel featuring a legendary golden sword, a dragon named Button, a narcoleptic wizard, and an eighty-year-old cat lady/retired assassin) and am very excited about it.

Neville Longbottom:

Ah, Neville. A klutz and a proud member of Dumbledore's Army, you can't help but love him. I definitely wasn't the only one who cheered in the movie theater a couple years ago when he sliced Nagini's head off. I love seeing his character develop as I reread the series.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King


Recommended to anyone who likes dark reads, mystery, and romance.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea


Recommended to anyone who is looking for a character-driven, family read, especially for those who love the books Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. You can read my review HERE.

El Deafo by Cece Bell


Recommended to anyone who likes quick reads, graphic novels, and cute, middle-grade stories.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L Holm


Recommended to anyone looking for a super cute, character-driven, quick read for the whole family.

Movies I Watched

"Say Anything"


Recommended to anyone who likes simple, character-driven stories, and romance.

"Fed Up"


Recommended to anyone who likes documentaries about food, especially those along the lines of "Food Inc." and "Super Size Me."

"Gone With the Wind"


Recommended to anyone who likes romance, character-driven stories, and is learning about the civil war. You can read my review HERE.

Quotes I Wrote

I did a few dialogue exercises from my NaNoWriMo high-school folder. The book I'm writing this year is a middle-grade fantasy called August Knight and the Sword of Gold.

        “We can’t just go charging off to the cave!” Maya practically screeched. “We need to make a plan first.”

         I [August] waved her comment away with a flick of my wrist. “Nah. We can make a plan as we go. It’ll save time. Kill two birds with one stone. It’s called multitasking.”

         “Studies have proven that multitasking negatively affects the performance of each job you do,” Jack piped up. “Also, saying that something will save time, followed by the idiom ‘kill two birds with one stone’ is redundant.”

         Maya nodded her head toward Jack. “Thank you. At least somebody around here’s got my back.”

         “I don’t have your back,” Jack said, deadpanning. “I don’t in any way own or control your back. You do.”

         I crossed my arms and glared at Maya. “Fine. We’ll do it your way. What’s this ‘great plan’ of yours?”

         Maya grinned, eyes sparkling. “I’ve got a few ideas.”

Obsessions I Acquired

"Once Upon a Time." Thanks, Kirsten, for getting me into this show! :) It's awesome! I finished season 2 a couple days ago, and have discovered that my favorite episodes are those that focus on Rumplestiltskin and Belle.

"Veronica Mars." Yes, another TV show, and a good one! It reminds me of a better version of Nancy Drew. I'm watching it with my mom and dad, and even though we're only a few episodes in, we're hooked!

Picture of the Month

Do you know who they're talking about?

How was your October?