Books I ReadThe Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
I've never read any Arabian Nights retellings, so I don't have anything to compare this one to, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had a Throne of Glass feel to it, especially with the protagonist being a conflicted sort of heroine in the sense that she's not completely good (think lawful neutral). Or at least you think so. The author does a good job of making you wonder if this is a character you should root for or not for a sizable portion of the book, but ultimately makes you feel sorry for her. All of the characters are complex and the story is a joy to read. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes the Throne of Glass series or An Ember In the Ashes. It's a great, action-packed story!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
This is my least favorite Rainbow Rowell book so far, but because Rainbow is a freaking genius, even my least favorite by her is really good. Her dialogue is fabulous, as always, and the plot moved at a fairly good pace. But for some reason her characters just . . . didn't sit right with me. Usually I love her characters, but these bugged me more than usual. I wasn't a fan of Neal, or Georgie a lot of the time. I did like Seth, and if it weren't for Georgie's kids, I would've rooted for her and him. But it was still a good story with an interesting premise.
Movies I Watched
A fun movie for the holiday season! I love simple romantic comedies like this one. It reminded me of "Sleepless In Seattle" at some parts. John Cusack is great, too.
This wasn't any grand movie, just pure fun. Some of it was pure ridiculousness, but the whole thing made me laugh.
"A Lot Like Love"4/5
I LOVE INDIE MOVIES. The soundtrack, the characters, the story, the simplicity, all of it was so good. It had a "What If" kind of feel.
"The Force Awakens"5/5
Hands down the best Star Wars movie I've ever seen. It felt like the original stories, but not so cheesy and with better acting! The new characters were fabulous, the cameos were well done, and I liked the throwbacks. But I'm so excited to see more of Rey and BB-8 and Finn and Po and Kylo Ren and--everyone, really. There was girl power and humor and adventure and plot twists every minute. I can't believe I have to wait so long for the next one!
Not my favorite Jennifer Lawrence film (I much prefer her in The Hunger Games or Silver Linings Playbook), but she's still a fantastic actress. The story was simple and surprisingly entertaining for the seemingly mundane plot. It was definitely quirky. I liked it.
Quotes I Wrote"What does one who dislikes Imagine Dragons listen to?"Joel glanced up at her, fidgeting with his hands. "Metallica?"
She laughed. Loudly. Joel blushed under the sound, though he liked the way it sounded. It was musical.
"I'm sorry," Laurel said a few seconds later, once she'd caught her breath. She shoved him playfully, Joel's skin tingling where she touched him. "I just didn't expect that answer from you. You don't seem like the Metallica type."
"As opposed to . . . ?" He trailed off, raising his eyebrows.
Laurel shrugged. "Fleetwood Mac? Indigo Girls?"
"Taylor Swift?" Michael suggested as he smirked at Joel in the rearview mirror.
"Not helpful, man," Joel shot back.
(A little explanation about this next one: It's a short story where the characters are living in a slightly futuristic Earth. A watch has been invented, but it's not your standard watch. Anyone who purchases one can put it on and see, down to the second, when they're going to meet their soulmate. It's the perfect way to find true love.)
I've still got two years on mine. Well . . ." She looked at her watch. "Two years, seven months, eighteen days, thirteen hours, and eleven minutes."
"You're lucky then," Joel said with what he hoped was a sincere smile. He was happy she had a watch . . . he was. And the little twinge of jealousy he felt for the person she'd meet when her timer hit zero was so slight, he could push it away for now. "You don't have much longer to wait."
"Nah," Laurel said quietly, still rubbing her thumb along the smooth edges of the railing. "I don't know if lucky's the word I'd use. I almost didn't buy one, you know. But my parents bought me one as a going away present before I came to college, so I didn't really have a choice."
"Why didn't you want one?"
Laurel frowned as if she were trying to remember something that was on the tip of her tongue, then straightened up and leaned against the railing so her back was to the yard. "I don't know. It's hard to put my finger on one thing, exactly. I mean, I never thought they actually worked, because they were so new and seemed too good to be true. I just don't think soulmates can be that easy. Love is special because it's difficult and because you have to work at it to make it last. It's someone you find by chance, someone you can fall for slowly and romantically. It shouldn't be instant. You have to find someone who gets to know you and your flaws and is willing to get a little messy in order to get the chance to keep you close. Love should be complicated. That's why finally finding it is so amazing."
"I've done some things. Bad things."
"So have I."
"And yet you let me stay here."
"Jordan lets me stay."
Melody shook her head a little and curled up into a tighter ball, digging her elbows into her stomach and pinning her arms against her chest with her bent knees. "It hurts," she whispered. "All of it hurts. How do you cope with it?"
"I remember," Lila spoke softly, her heart aching for Melody. "And I cry. And then I try to let it go."
"Does it work?"
Lila bit her lip. "Sometimes."
"And what if it doesn't?"
"Then you learn to carry on anyway. Because you have to. Because it's survival."
--'Til the Last Star Dies
Melody gazed with parted lips, wide eyes drinking in every detail. Lila didn't bother to look around. She'd been here a thousand times already, and even though cities like this always had something new to explore, she would much rather explore the girl in front of her instead. She had curves and edges and roads less traveled just like any place in the world, and she was so alive. There was a sparkle in her eyes, some life and laughter still there in those emerald green oases. Lila wondered if her own eyes held that kind of light. But no, light had died long ago, when she pulled away from Jordan, her rock, her best friend.
But maybe Melody could light a match, spark that flame again.
--'Til the Last Star Dies
Obsessions I Acquired"Castle" - Because Nathan Fillion. And sassy detectives. And witty writers. And humor and murder and father-daughter relationships. I'm almost done with the second season, but I loved it from the very first episode. Go watch it!
"Leverage" -THE HEISTS. THE CHARACTERS. I'm not even halfway through season one and I'm in looove. The dynamic of the main five characters are what make the show, though. It's so good.
Picture of the Month
|Meeting my friend Charlie at the train station when she came to visit during her winter break.|
How was your December?
End of the Year Wrap-UpIt's time to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016! But before we do, I'd like to take a look at the past year.
Top 15 books
(In no particular order):
1. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (Okay, this one is definitely #1, though. Best book I read all year, hands down.)
2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
4. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King
5. I Crawl Through It by A.S. King
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
7. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
8. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
9. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
10. Looking For Alaska by John Green
11. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
12. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
13. The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
14. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
15. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Special blogging friends from 2015 (limit to 3)
First of all, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who has ever e-mailed me/tweeted at me/left a comment on my blog this past year. You guys make blogging worth it. I love getting to know you and talking books, movies, and all things fangirl. Some of my best friends live halfway across the world, and thanks to the wonderful internet, I get to meet all of you. I couldn't possibly list all of the awesome people I've interacted with over the past year, but I would like to give these three a special shout out.
Carly @ Books and Etc.
Carly is great! Fangirling with her and exchanging comments filled with caps and emoticons has been so much fun. (Seriously, she leaves some of the best comments ever.)
Okay, so technically I didn't meet John this year, but I feel like I got to know him even better. His tweets and Facebook statuses never fail to make me smile, his taste in books and movies are really similar to mine, and even though he doesn't have a blog, he's one of my favorite online people.
All of my Tumblr friends
I say friends, but really they're family. I joined a Supernatural chatroom on Tumblr on a whim this past March expecting to find a couple hours of fun discussion, but I ended up with ten sisters. I can't even put into words how amazing they've been over the past year. We've laughed (a lot, and hysterically) and cried together, and I even met up with one of them, Charlie, a few times. My parents and a few of the girls surprised me this Christmas with one of the best presents I could ever ask for. Four of them are flying out or coming by train from different states to celebrate my sixteenth birthday with me this year, and I'm so over the moon excited. And two of them are coming back this July to go to a writer's camp with me! It's not exaggerating to say we talk every day. It just goes to show you how fabulous the internet and different fandoms can be.
3. "Jane the Virgin"
5. "The 100"
6. Playing the guitar/ukulele (surprisingly easy to teach yourself!)
7. My various book boards on Pinterest
8. This video.
9. Graphic design (by using Picmonkey, mostly)/fanart (I'm grouping these together since they both have to do with art and I really wanted to be able to fit 15 new obsessions exactly in this list . . . success!)
10. ALSO THIS VIDEO aka the video I show everyone when trying to convince them to watch "Supernatural."
11. "Supernatural Parody" by the Hillywood Show I was dying from laughing so hard the first time I saw this.
14. "Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog"
15. "Les Misérables"
Most played songs
"We Used to Be Friends" - The Dandy Warhols
"World On Fire" - Les Friction
"Who Are You Really" and "We Must Be Killers" - Mikky Ekko
"Black Sheep" and "Kill of the Night" - Gin Wigmore
"Just a Little Bit" - Kids of 88
"Once Upon a Dream" and "Young and Beautiful" - Lana Del Ray
"Eskimo," "Gamma Ray," "Worlds Collide," and "She Waits" - Louden Swain
"Pocketful of Poetry," "All About Your Heart," "California," and "Anchor" - Mindy Gledhill
"Jupiter," "Neptune," and "Turning Page" - Sleeping At Last
All of the music from "Les Misérables"
All of the music from "Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog"
"Stop, I'm Already Dead" - Deadboy & the Elephantmen
All of the music from the "Fan-Fiction" episode of "Supernatural"
"Lily's Theme" - Alexandre Desplat
"Favourite Colour" - Carly Rae Jepsen
"Home" - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
"Ex's and Oh's" - Elle King
"Slip" - Elliot Moss
"More Than Words" - Extreme
"Kiss the Girl," "That's What's Up," and "Ho Hey" - Lennon and Maisy
"Dog Days Are Over" and "Breath of Life" - Florence + The Machine
"Budapest" - George Ezra
"Kaleidoscope," "End of the World," "All I Want Is Love," "Hold Each Other," and "Oasis" - A Great Big World
"Immortals" - Fallout Boy
"Jackie and Wilson," "Someone New," "In a Week," "Work Song," and "Like Real People Do" - Hozier
"Can't Help Falling In Love" - Ingrid Michaelson
"Can't Help Falling In Love" - 21 Pilots
Anything by James Bay
Anything by Jasmine Thompson
"Until We Get There" - Lucius
"Anything Could Happen" and "Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding
Anything by M83
"Terrible Things" - Mayday Parade
"Like I'm Gonna Lose You" - Meghan Trainor feat. John Legend
"Stolen Dance" - Milky Chance
"Try Again" - Miranda Dodson
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" - Def Leppard
"Home Sweet Home" - Mötley Crüe
"Sister Christian" - Night Ranger
All of the music from "Once"
"Hold On" - Echoes de Luxe
"Writing's on the Wall" - Sam Smith
"Kiss Me" and "There She Goes" - Sixpence None the Richer
"She's So High" - Tal Bachman
"Can't Pretend" and "Another Love" - Tom Odell
"Riptide" and "Best That I Can" - Vance Joy
"Shut Up and Dance" - Walk the Moon
"The Great Escape" - P!nk
All of the music from Glee
"People Will Say We're In Love" from "Oklahoma!"
Strangest/Coolest Google search used to find my blog
"award for patience" (I know the only reason I came up as a result for this search term is because I accepted a blog award having to do with patience, but I still find it ironic considering I am THE MOST IMPATIENT PERSON EVER.)
Five most popular blog posts
1. "7 Books to Read If You Like Doctor Who"
2. "An Ember In the Ashes (a book review)"
3. "Beautiful People Linkup--April"
4. "Dear OTP (TCWT Blog Chain)"
5. "Why 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' is Actually Extremely Creepy and Stalkerish"
Three big things that happened in 2015
1. I met some of my best friends and adopted family on Tumblr.
2. I went to my first overnight writer's camp.
3. I did a summer internship at my local bookstore, Aaron's Books.
EDIT: I don't know how in the world I forgot to include this, but our family hosted two foreign exchange students this year, a girl from France and a boy from Spain. We had a BLAST. My brother, parents, and I all went to a family reunion on my dad's side in California, too! I loved getting to see everyone again, and meet some of my cousins for the first time. :)
Image from this year
|One of my best friends and honorary big sister, Charlie, and me. (I don't tend to selfie well when I'm taking the picture, so thank you, Charlie, for taking this one!)|
Which is, as you already know, undoubtedly You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day.
“But the heart of my story is that the world opened up for me once I decided to embrace who I am—unapologetically. My story demonstrates that there’s no better time in history to have a dream and be able to reach an audience with your art. Or just be as weird as you want to be and not have to be ashamed. That lesson’s just as legit.”
“No matter how lonely and isolated and starved for connection you are, there’s always the possibility in the online world that you can find a place to be accepted, or discover a friendship that’s started with the smallest of interests but could last a lifetime.”
“Do the work you love. And love yourself.”
“Your qualification for finding a place to belong is enthusiasm and passion, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. No one should feel lonely or embarrassed about liking something.”
“Because if you can’t be your own weird self on the internet, where can you be? And what would be the point?”
“A lot of people mock fandom and fan-fiction, like it's lazy to base your own creativity and passion on someone else's work. But some of us need a stepping-stone to start. What's wrong with finding joy in making something, regardless of the inspiration?”
“The creative process isn’t easy. It’s more like a wobbly, drunken journey down a very steep and scary hill, not knowing if there’s a sheer cliff at the end of it all. But it’s worth the journey, I promise.”
“Knowing yourself is life's eternal homework.”
“But I AM saying don’t chase perfection for perfection’s sake, or for anyone else’s sake at all. If you strive for something, make sure it’s for the right reasons. And if you fail, that will be a better lesson for you than any success you’ll ever have. Because you learn a lot from screwing up.”
These definitely sum up 2015 for me.
2015 in one word
Goals for 2016
1. Get an agent. (Hopefully for Beneath the Moon and Stars!)
2. Finish Ms. Holmes. (I'm aiming for another 30,000-50,000 words.)
3. Finish 'Til the Last Star Dies. (I'm guessing this will end up being around 100,000 words.)
4. Write more short stories to submit to contests. (I'm really liking writing them more than I used to!)
5. Work on my handwriting. (It's already pretty good when I write for other people, but I need to practice when writing notes to myself so I can actually read them later. :P)
6. Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. (Just a few more meetings at my writer's group and I think I'll have it.)
7. Blog more. (My blogging fell a little behind this past year, but I'm hoping to post at least 1-2 times a week.)
1. Read one book a week. (My reading was also not the best last year--I blame the black hole of binge-watching--but a book a week, even with how long the books I read tend to be, is completely reasonable.)
2. Finish Les Misérables. (I started it but, surprise surprise, got distracted. I'm reading the abridged version to start. :P)
3. Finish A Game of Thrones. (Shouldn't take me too long as I'm already 300 pages in and really enjoying it!)
1. Say "no" to more. (I tend to say yes to a lot of activities and social gatherings even if I don't really want to because I feel like I have to, but I'm going to work on saying no to more of it. I need time to write and read and recharge, having discovered this past year that I'm an introvert and what that really means, as opposed to what I'd been wrongly told it meant, which was shy and antisocial. I'm not shy--even though I detest small talk and the awkward first meetings that generally happens with most people--and I'm definitely not antisocial. I just need alone time. I hate that I'd been told over and over again by society that being introverted was some kind of negative thing, because I think recognizing this about myself earlier could've done me loads of good.)
2. Procrastinate less. (I feel like each year I make progress with this one, but I'm going to keep putting it on my list of goals for the year to improve even more!)
3. Dance more. (I love music and I love dancing--when I actually have a routine I can follow--so there will be lots of "Just Dance" playing happening in the Foley household.)
4. Be on my phone less. (I got a cell phone this past summer, and while I hardly ever actually use it to call people, I text. A lot. Most of my friends are far away, and even the friends that are close by I don't see as often as I would if I were in school, so my phone becomes my main way to contact them. But it can easily go from one or two texts to entire conversations with seven different people at once. It's my guilty pleasure, but also one I have to be super careful to control. I think this is the main reason I didn't read or blog as much as I would've liked this past year, so in 2016, my cell phone is going to remain tucked away upstairs for the majority of the day. I'll give myself breaks to check it, but I don't want to get sucked into it.)
5. Exercise more. (I did a little more this past year, but I think I can step it up even more this year. I'm thinking about giving myself the rule that I can't watch any of my binge-watching pleasures unless I'm doing some form of exercise.)
6. Eat pesco vegetarian, or straight up vegetarian, as much as possible. (I love fish, so this shouldn't be a problem.)
7. Eat less sugar. (I always try to eat even less than I already do, which really isn't much to begin with.)
8. Journal once a week. (My general "journal more" goals haven't worked, so each Sunday night I'm going to try writing a little bit, just to have something I can look back on years later.)
9. Learn basic sign language. (I want to learn different languages, and sign language just looks like so much fun.)
10. Learn basic French. (Mostly because I think the language is so pretty.)
11. Take more pictures. (Simple enough, but easy to forget when you're having so much fun just hanging out with your friends! But I want to try to take more with them when I'm out and about.)
Goals for 2015 that I've accomplished
1. Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. (I'm calling this one a success, even if it isn't finished, because I did everything that I could without my critique partners' advice. Now that I've gotten responses from everyone, I can continue and edit even more!)
2. Finish writing August Knight and the Sword of Gold. (Done! Edits will come later.)
3. Send Flightless Birds to my CPs/Beta readers. (Also done. My critique partners were absolutely awesome with this one, considering how long it was at about 500 pages.)
4. Try screenwriting. (I wrote a few scenes of fan-fiction pilot for a possible "Supernatural" spinoff series featuring Jody Mills and Donna Hanscum. I also tried an opening scene for a pilot of a dramedy about a writer living in a small town who also works at the Renaissance Faire . . . totally not semi-based off of my life.)
1. Keep clearing out my TBR shelves. (Well I did do quite a few . . . maybe a dozen?)
2. Review more. (Probably not as much as I liked, but I read more ARCs, which naturally led me to write more reviews, even if I didn't always post them on my blog.)
3. Read the books I've been saying I'll read for the past six months. (I couldn't remember what books I'd written down for that, but apparently they were: Throne of Glass, Anna and the French Kiss, The Raven Boys, Code Name Verity, Looking For Alaska, Landline, and Paper Towns. I promised I would get to them ASAP, and I mostly did. I read all but Anna and the French Kiss, and I only started Code Name Verity before getting, you guessed it, distracted.)
4. Read the books from my Goodreads TBR. (I did read some, so I'll count that here.)
5. Stop getting distracted, or at least get less distracted. (Well, I did get less distracted, so that counts for something . . .)
6. Return to my favorites [genres]. (I read lots of fantasies and contemporaries this year, so yay!)
7. Read/review a book from a debut author. (This I did, with An Ember In the Ashes by Sabba Tahir!)
1. Eat less sugar and meat, eat more fish. (Done!)
2. Procrastinate even less. (I'm giving myself a pat on the back with this one. I improved a lot.)
Goals for 2015 that I didn't accomplish
Because it's good to recognize your failures, too.
1. Finish writing Cosmo. (I should've written out a plot map for this one. I adore the story and the characters, but I've totally written myself into a corner, and I may or may not be procrastinating figuring out how to get out of it. I'll finish it one day, that much I know.)
2. Get an agent. (Although I did have one agent request a full manuscript, so I know I'm making progress!)
1. Resist the urge to add dozens of books to my already crammed TBR shelves. (HA. HA HA. Would you like to see a picture of my TBR shelves at the moment?? I think I heard a yes somewhere out there.)
|The top two shelves are my TBR shelves. LOOK AT THIS INSANITY. I swear it's double in size in the past year. Darn you, shiny book covers.|
But I did always say I didn't have high hopes for that one, so it's not like it was unexpected.
2. Finish my Harry Potter trivia game. (Sadly, I got super duper distracted. But I did finish going through three books, so it's not like I didn't work on it at all.)
3. Read more middle-grade. (While I did read some great stuff, I only read a total of four middle-grade books. Not as many as I set out to do originally.)
1. Exercise more. (While I did exercise more, I didn't exercise as much as I would've liked.)
2. Read the news more. (Er . . . this didn't exactly happen. I read it off and on, but not regularly.)
Bye, 2015! Now for the next adventure.
What are your goals for 2016? Anything big happen in 2015? Leave a comment! :)