Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ten Bookish Goals For 2015

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday with "The Broke and the Bookish"! :) This week's prompt is: What are your bookish goals for 2015?

1. Keep clearing out my TBR shelves. 

For almost six months, I've managed to keep my TBR shelves contained to just the first two on my bookshelf. But now books are slowly being added to the collection and there's hardly any room left. I've had to stack books on top of each other to make them all fit. (At least I haven't had to put any on the floor yet, though if I don't get on it that's the next step.) I'm going to read as many of the books on there as I can over the next year. I feel like 2014 was the year of writing and editing. To balance it out, 2015 will be the year of reading!

2. Review more books. 

Lately I've just been reviewing ARCs, but I really should be reviewing other books, too. I have so much fun doing it! I'm not sure why I haven't been, but I'm going to change that.

3. Read the books I've been saying I'll read for the past six months.

Throne of Glass, Anna and the French Kiss, The Raven Boys, Code Name Verity, Looking For Alaska, Landline, and Paper Towns are all books I've said I'll get to "ASAP." I read Paper Towns, but the rest are still on my shelf, giving me dirty looks.

4. Read the books from my Goodreads TBR list.

This is similar to #1, though not nearly as bad. I only have 31 books in my TBR list on Goodreads, and some of them haven't even been published yet! (I'm starting to wonder if the sequels to The Host will ever come out.) But I do want to read them, and soon.

5. Resist the urge to add dozens of books to my already crammed TBR shelves.

I don't have high hopes for this one, but I'm going to try!

6. Stop getting distracted (or at least get less distracted).

It sometimes takes me a month to finish a book. It's not because I'm a slow reader (I'm actually a really fast reader), but I get distracted a lot. A shiny new book presents itself to me at the library and I just have to take it home with me and read it right away. Or I need to stop reading the book so I can finish one for my book club. This goal is one of the more manageable ones from my list.

7. Return to my favorites.

This year I branched out a lot, in books and TV. I read classics, I read sci-fi, I read mysteries, I read books that none of my blogger friends had read or reviewed (sometimes going into a book completely blind is fun), I read non-fiction, I read books I didn't think I'd like and ended up loving, and I fell completely in love with many new TV series that I never in a million years would have watched if they hadn't been recommended to me. So this year, I want to go back to some of my favorite genres. I'm a little sick of dystopian at the moment, but I will be returning to my all-time favorite genre, fantasy, starting with Throne of Glass (for real this time).

8. Finish my Harry Potter trivia game.

I've looked everywhere for a Harry Potter trivia board game and found one, but it was only questions from the Sorcerer's Stone. So I'm making one of my own that includes questions from all seven books. It's taking me a while, but I plan to finish it sometime next year..

9. Read/review a book from a debut author.

It's got to be hard for a debut author to break into the reading world when absolutely nobody has heard of her. I want to make an effort to find at least one new author and read/review her book. I know I'd appreciate it.

10. Read more middle-grade.

I don't read enough middle-grade, and I really like it. This year I found some real gems: Flora & Ulysses, Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Because of Mr. Terupt, El Deafo, Out of My Mind, The Fourteenth Goldfish. Yeah, there were some duds, but for the most part they were all really good, sometimes even better than the YA stuff I was reading. I'd love to read more middle-grade in 2015.

What are your bookish goals for the new year?

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Heroine Tag

(Unrelated note: Today is Fauxpocalypse's first book birthday!!! :) *throws confetti and chocolate for anyone reading this* At about 12:30 today, all of the authors got an e-mail confirming that it was published. So yeah, I'm pretty excited.)

Onto the actual post, I'm shamelessly stealing this from Cait at "Paper Fury," though she did tell me to go ahead and steal it, so I'm not sure it counts as stealing anymore. But it looked like so much fun, I couldn't resist!
1. Which heroine would you trade places with?

Unfortunately, a lot of heroines in the books I read end up in sucky situations, sometimes even dying at the end of the series. But I would happily switch with Hermione Granger for the chance to go to Hogwarts for a few years. (Yeah, I know she's technically not the main character of the series, but she may as well be, so hush.)
2. Which heroine would you push off a cliff and hope that there are some jagged rocks at the bottom?

Yikes, I don't know if I'd wish that on anybody! (Okay, Voldemort kind of had it coming, and I'm not too happy with Lucifer from "Supernatural" at the moment, but other than those two, no jagged rocks.)

3. Heroine you couldn't care less about? They're so bland that they don't even trigger the hate in you?

Bland characters are the worst. I'd rather hate a character than feel nothing about them, because I'd actually be feeling some kind of strong emotion. Heroines that come to mind when someone says "boring" is Clary from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Heather from Panic by Lauren Oliver (she was so boring, I had to look up the book on Goodreads so I could remember what her name was), and Callie from Starters by Lissa Price.

4. Heroine you thought you wouldn't like and ended up liking and vice versa?

I thought I would like Clary more than I did, and it's not that I didn't like her, she was just . . . blah. I didn't expect to like Lilac from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, because she seemed like a stuffy, wimpy, spoiled brat at first, but I ended up loving her.

5. Side heroine who is much more interesting than main heroine?

I'm going to go ahead and steal Cait's answer for this one and say Isabelle from the Mortal Instruments series. She's super kick-butt, sarcastic, and a fierce protector of her family. She and Simon are also my OTP from the Mortal Instruments, Magnus and Alec aside.

6. Which heroine would you want as your friend?

Hermione, Hazel from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Eleanor from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Ellie from the Ellie Sweet series by Stephanie Morrill, Cress from Cress by Marissa Meyer, Ramona from the Ramona and Beezus series by Beverly Cleary, and Flora from Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, to name a few.

7. Which heroine do you wish would just CHOOSE (between the guys in her little love triangle)?

Love triangles drive me crazy, because there's almost always the one obvious choice and the guy I can't stand. Rarely am I as torn as the heroine. But the Katniss/Peeta/Gale triangle was the worst one for me, because there was absolutely no chemistry between Katniss and Gale.

8. "Bad girl" heroine?

I can't think of any "bad girl" heroines at the moment. Not in the way they're implying it.

9. "Good girl" heroine?

Ellie Sweet from the Ellie Sweet series by Stephanie Morrill. Helps out around the house, gets along with her family, all A's in school, etc.

10. Your favorite heroine of them all? (If you can't choose, pick your top 3.)

Hermione Granger!

I tag anyone who wants to participate! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday with "The Broke and the Bookish"! :) This week's prompt is: What were the ten best books you read in 2014?

(These books are in no particular order, as it's almost impossible to rank them from best to "worst." They're all so good!)

1. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

This was one of the first books I read in 2014, and it was a fantastic one. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, not being into sci-fi at the time. ("Doctor Who" has changed that.) Also, I LOVE the cover. Great covers tend to bump up the rating. ;) And for those who hate insta-love as much as I do, this book is definitely the romance for you. Lilac and Tarver are ready to practically kill each other for the first hundred pages or so.

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


I definitely prefer Eleanor & Park and Fangirl to this one, but it's still a four star read! It's super cute, clever, and "fluffy." And it's told through dual perspectives! That's always a big plus for me. It's good for getting over a book hangover.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks hooked me right away. For a day and a half, I couldn't stop reading. I picked it up every time I got a few minutes. I didn't really know where the book was going until, about ten pages from the end, plot twist! Fantastic from start to finish.

4. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

I love everything Kate DiCamillo writes, and Flora & Ulysses is no exception. It's so adorable! Whether you're eight or eighty, the humor and simple story will not be lost on you. It makes for a great read-aloud book for the whole family. You can read my review HERE.

5. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind

One of the best books I read in 2013 was Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and I saw this book recommended along with it in nearly every review. It's a simple, sweet, middle-grade novel. Very character-driven, and guaranteed to make you cry.

6. Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

The first two Lunar Chronicles books were really good, but Cress was amazing! We got to see a lot more of Thorne (one of my favorite characters from the series) and Cress was a great addition to the gang. Even though throwing it would have the same effect as throwing a brick, it reads very quickly. I highly recommend the Lunar Chronicles to anyone and everyone.

7. The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program, #1)

One of the better dystopian novels I've read in a while. I'd put it up there with Divergent, as it's a little more sci-fi than The Hunger Games is. It's extremely hard to put down.

8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

Recommended to anyone who likes fluffy reads, terrible writing but a fun story, a cast of characters that you'll instantly love, a typical romance, and happy and predictable endings. I lied.

9. Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Because of Mr. Terupt

At first, reading a book told through the perspectives of seven kids was a little confusing. But as thte story went on, it was absolutely necessary that they all played a part. The simplicity of the story, the sweet relationships the characters had with one another, it all made for another great middle-grade novel. Also recommended to fans of Wonder and Out of My Mind. You can read my review HERE.

10. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays

This book was really good. If you like time travel and/or "Doctor Who," I highly recommend it. Action-packed from page 1, I couldn't put it down. There were lots of plot twists and a few tears at the end. And it seems like it's going to be a series, so I'm very happy about that!

What were your favorite books from 2014? Leave a comment! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

'Bout This Blogger Tag

So Cait at the "Notebook Sisters" recently changed her blog to a Wordpress platform and is now the proud blogger of "Paper Fury." HUZZAH! :) To celebrate, she's hosting a giveaway and a blog tag. And because I can't resist blog tags, I'm participating.


1. Why did you start blogging?

My mom got me into it when I was eight. It started out as more of a homeschooling opportunity, so there were lots of journal entries and book reports and short stories. I had an official schedule and everything. But now I create my own "schedule" and post about whatever I want. I've met dozens upon dozens of other bloggers, writers, and fangirls like me. Some of my closest friends I've met through blogging, and I never would've been introduced to some of my favorite books and TV shows if it weren't for them! I celebrated my sixth blogging anniversary in July, and there will definitely be many more.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

I asked a bunch of different people for advice on my blog's name, because I knew once I chose one I would want to stick to it, so it had to be good. Eventually my friend Ronald suggested "The Magic Violinist," because I loved fantasy stories and I'd recently picked up the violin (which I still play!). I fell in love with it right away.

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)

Ha ha, no pictures to share. :) It's been the same for over six years.
4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?

Nope. I'm a blogger girl. I very rarely have technical difficulties with it, so I haven't ever had a reason to change.

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What’s your postly process like?

It really depends on the post. On average, your typical, medium-length post takes maybe fifteen to twenty minutes, before proofreading. Blog memes and posts such as "Top Ten Tuesday" are much quicker.

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why?! What was it?

In general, I kind of hate having to post ARC reviews when I personally know the author. I hope like crazy that I can honestly give it at least four stars, because I don't want to lie to myself or anyone else, but I don't want the author to feel bad. I've been okay so far (thankfully), but whenever I have something critical to say about the book, it takes me forever to phrase it in a way that's honest, but gentle.

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?


8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?

Yup! :) Most everybody I've told about it checks it out and thinks it's pretty cool. Sometimes they even comment. But really, besides my immediate family, my most faithful readers/commenters are people from the online world.

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!

(In no particular order . . .)

"Sushi and Pizza"
"I Don't Eat My Drumsticks"
"Musings From Neville's Navel"
"Notebook Sisters" (er, I mean, "Paper Fury")
"The Book Chewers"
"The Write Practice"
"Positive Writer"
"Here's Me Using the Word Blog In a Sentence"
"Query Shark"
"As a Teen Writer"
Bonus (a recent and addicting find): "Sherlock Headcanon"

Of course I follow many other blogs, so it can be hard to keep up. I try to be good about regularly commenting on those who regularly comment on my blog, because I feel it's only fair to take the time to read their posts after they took the time to read mine. But I do want to be better about commenting on blogs I "secretly" follow. I know how good it feels to get a comment from someone you didn't even know read your blog. :)

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

If I had all the time in the world, I would post more often. Right now I post probably once or twice a week, which is a good amount for me, but I'd like to bump up the numbers a little bit. But as long as I post somewhat regularly, I'm happy.

Check out "Paper Fury," if you haven't already! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Local Authors Night at Aaron's Books

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me tweeting back in October about the Local Authors Night in Lititz at Aaron's Books. I was so excited I could barely sit still! And since NaNoWriMo set me back as far as blogging goes, I thought I'd spread out the fun and post about it now. Stay tuned for lots of pictures!

My tablemate, Brenda Lee Sieglitz, and me.
Brenda was awesome. We had tons of fun talking books and writing together.

With my mom.

With my dad.

The whole family.

Max was very patient as he hung out for the full two hours.

Friends from our homeschool group dropped by.

Signing a copy for friends.

Friends Sherri, Ron, and Jack are all super supportive of me.

I got a big surprise about halfway through the night when someone came through the door. We met her a year ago, for her release party at Aaron's Books. You may have heard of her. Her name's A.S. King.

This is my I'm-trying-not-to-freak-out-as-I-take-a-picture-with-A.S. King-who-came-by-to-get-a-signed-copy-of-my-book face.

With Sam and Todd, the owners of Aaron's Books. I'm so glad they invited me to come.

With fellow local author Lynne Dempsey and her dog Coconut.

My friends Mary and Kirsten hung out with me.

Out for ice cream at Isabella's.

It's still a little surreal to me that I was actually at a book signing. That's the sort of thing I dreamed about not even a year ago. I had tons of fun and made great new friends.