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Showing posts from July, 2013

RTW: Best Book of July

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Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

  This week’s topic: What was the best book you read in July? Reading-wise, July got off to a great start and finished with a not-so-great ending. I read four books, all of them within the first two weeks. I enjoyed all four of them but none of the really stood out to me, which makes picking one for this post a little difficult.  I'm going to have to go with... 
When I bought this book, it was on sale at a Books a Million. I remembered it from a new release post the year before, when the cover caught my eye. I picked it up and when I finally chose to read…

Reading for the Movie

I'm the kind of person where, if a movie is being made out of a young adult book (I don't really do this with adult books, simply because there are so many movies made out of them that I want to see that I don't have the time or the money), then I have to read the book before I see the movie.

Ironically, because of this, there are more movies that I dislike in terms of the book than movies I like. There are some movies that I think complement the book well (Hunger Games, for instance) and some movies that I have problems with but still love (Harry Potter) and some movies that are so different from the book I just barely consider them connected (The Lightning Thief). And then there are the movies I can't stand to watch because it's like they took a wood chipper to the book and then tried to fill it with sawdust.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I read a book before going to see the movie if I know that it could potentially ruin the movie for me?

Well, there are a…

Monday Updates: July 29

This is my last Monday Updates post. As of next Monday, I'm going to start up my college tips weekly blog on Mondays, since it's almost the school year. 

Song of the Week: Here's to Us by Halestorm

How's Life?
Well, there are only two days left in July and I'm still trying to figure out where the rest of my summer went. Seriously, it can't almost be August, can it?

How's TV? 
Watched the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Friday. There was a point in the middle where I wanted to just stop because I didn't want the series to end. It was a fantastic finale, definitely one of my favorites. Now I'm trying to decide which on my long list should I watch next.

Silver Linings Playbook is an amazing movie. I already knew Jennifer Lawrence was a fantastic actress but she still managed to surprise me.

Taken 2 isn't nearly as good as the first one, but it's a decent movie overall. 

How's Reading?
Books read: 0
I'm not doing very well re…

Flash Fiction Friday: For Want of a Penny (Part 2)

This is the second and final part of a short story that I started posting last week. 

Part 1

The clock in the living room told me that if I hurried, I could still make it to work on time. Mark was standing in the kitchen, a pair of wine glasses in front of him.

“Thank you for your help,” I said. “I should really be getting to work. My boss will have my ass if I’m late again.”

“One drink?” He offered me one of the wine glasses.

I could be five minutes late, right? I accepted the glass and he filled it with red wine. I took a sip and smiled at the taste on my tongue.

“So, Ms. Amy.” Mark smiled at me and I took another sip to keep from smiling back. “You asked me if I had anyone in my life. What about you?”

“I’m not married if that’s what you’re asking.” I wrapped both hands around the glass to keep my fingers from wandering back to the ring.

“That’s a very beautiful ring.” He came around from the other side of the counter and took my hand, raising it up for a kiss. “Are you sure?…

New Releases -- Of Beast and Beauty, OCD Love Story, The Heartbreak Messenger

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Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay  In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love. 

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann…

RTW - Summer Escapes

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

Next week’s topic:  In this month's Bookmobile selection--OVER YOU by Amy Reed--the main character and her best friend try to escape their problems with a summer trip to Nebraska.  If you could escape somewhere (anywhere!) for the summer, where would it be?
There are a lot of places I'd escape for the summer. I'm seriously considering saving up for a road trip the summer after my senior year of college (which will hopefully also be the summer before grad school). I've never been farther west than Wisconsin and I'd love to see something …

Background Noise

Some people work better in complete silence. They have to be alone with their thoughts and their work in order to concentrate. Others do better with some sort of background noise.

For me, it varies on my mood, the work, and the noise. Where I go and what I listen to while I write depends on those factors.

Quiet
This one is really rare for me. I don't work well in a completely silent environment, it's too easy for my brain to wander off. It's most likely when my brain is really loud and I'm working on something that requires a lot of focus, like reading for class.

That's when I find a nice, quiet spot to work. There can't be a lot of distractions, but there does need to be a little natural noise.

Natural bustle
This is why I like to write in coffee shops or semi-public areas. There's a natural buzz of noise that allows me to focus. Plus if I get stuck, there's more to look around at that might spark an idea. One of my new favorite websites for writing is C…

Monday Updates: July 22

How's Life? 
It's that time of year again. The time when I'm counting down the time I have left before I return to school in weeks instead of months. It won't be long and it'll be in days. I'm looking forward to the new semester, but at the same time there's still so much to do before I'm ready to leave.

In other news, another year, another Comic Con that I'm not at. (Someday! *shakes fist*) And J.K. Rowling was outed as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling under the pen name Robert Galbraith. I need to get my hands on that book.
How's TV? 
The first trailers  for 12 Years a Slave and The Fifth Estatewere released and also a new trailer for Catching Fire. So many amazing movies and so little time.

Went to see Despicable Me 2 yesterday and really enjoyed it. I tend to be cautious about animated sequels (or, really, any sequels) but it was great, hilarious movie. I also watched Man on a Ledge and it's a brilliant movie. If you like a good a…

Flash Fiction Friday: For Want of a Penny (Part 1)

The proverb at the beginning of this is one of my favorites. I was thinking about it and this character popped into my head along with her story. It's a little long for one blog post, so I'm going to post the second half next week.

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a nail.”

I’ve never quite understood that proverb until now. For me it wasn’t a nail that brought destruction to my life.

It was a penny in the middle of the sidewalk.

I was on my way to work when I spotted it. Shiny in a way that only brand new pennies are. Tails up. Bad luck if you believed in that sort of thing. I leaned down and slipped it into my pocket.

Someone crashed into me from behind. I went flying to the pavement, scraping my hands in the attempt to catch myself.

“I’m …

New Releases: Right of Way, Imperfect Spiral, Contaminated

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Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt  Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

 Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy Danielle Snyder's summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she's watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck H…

Chapter-by-Chapter Beta Reading

Beta reading a manuscript a few chapters at a time is a little different than reading an entire manuscript at once. It can take longer, for instance, because of the wait for the next set of chapters. Also there will be a more severe focus on each set, rather than on the MS as a whole. Here are some tips for beta readers and writers that want to take the chapter-by-chapter route when it comes to beta reading.

Beta reader
1. Keep a document of all of your comments. When I email my comments to the writer, I copy-paste them into a document along with the chapter numbers that those comments refer to. It helps me to keep track of what I've said and see if there are any reoccurring problems.

2. Consider keeping a second list of private notes that you wait until after you've finished the MS to send. Some problems won't become evident until you can look at the MS as a whole, such as character development or the overall plot arc. Also take note of any questions that you have and whe…

Monday Updates: July 15

Well we're officially halfway through July already. I don't even know where the days are going at this point. I still have so much to do before I go back to uni and not very much time to do it.


How's Life? 
Went to the eye doctor to get my eyes checked. She told me they're healthy but I'm nearsighted (which I knew) and need glasses (knew that too). They arrived early so I'm already wearing them. It's the first time since about ninth grade I've been able to see properly.

My favorite Red Wings player refused all offered contracts and left my team. I'm already more than a little worried about how this is going to play out next season.

How's TV? 
I took the last week to catch up on movies and TV. I watched Argo (very good movie and I've already added it to my list to buy on DVD), Chasing Mavericks (the kind of movie that makes you sit down and evaluate your entire view of life and the world), 13 Going on 30 (so sweet and funny, I love Mark Ruffa…

Flash Fiction: Dark Nights and Bright Lights

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

“You can’t start a story like that!” Nate interrupts. “That’s cliché. Not to mention a little repetitive. Obviously it’s dark if it’s night.” He’s my little brother. Only fourteen but he still thinks he’s a genius. I’d never tell him but he’s smarter than the majority of the people I know in college.

“That’s not true,” my sister, Haley, says. “It could be a full moon. I know you don’t turn into a werewolf so you have to have seen at least one.” She’s only six and she’s got the sarcasm down pat. She’s going to be a hellcat when she’s in high school.

“How do you know I’m not a werewolf?” Nate growls at her, teeth bared. His blond hair is shaggy enough to make him look like a wolf.

“Shut up! I’m trying to tell a story here,” I bark at them.

They quiet down. The four of us—Haley, Nate, his friend Ben, and I—are gathered around the fire outside of our camper. Mom’s already inside, trying to sleep off a headache. Dad took the car and drove out to town.…

Once Upon a Readathon Wrap Up

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Thanks to Lori at Pure Imagination, Angela and Loretta at Reading Angels, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog for hosting this amazing readathon!

Goals
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

I haven't had the best luck reading-wise lately. I set a goal for 100 books this year and I only just hit 20 so I'm obviously way behind. I was also hoping to make a good dent in my summer reading stack so I can buy more books without feeling guilty I can sort out which books I want to take back to uni with me in a few weeks.

For the readathon, I decided to go with three books. A book a day, I could do that.

Day one I read Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen. It was a bit of a haul because it's a longer book and was one better absorbed slowly. The next day I devoured Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton. I was starting to get burned out but there was only one day to go.

I almost made it. I'm not actually finished with Slam by Nick Hornby yet. It's not a light-hearted book and it's taking a …

New Releases: The Distance Between Us; Truly, Madly, Deadly; and Anomaly

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But j…

Once Upon a Readathon: Day 3

This amazing readathon is hosted byLori at Pure Imagination, Angela and Loretta at Reading Angels, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog. This is the master post for Day 3, the last day. I'll update it throughout the day with progress, official challenges, pictures, and more.

TALLY: 
So far: 2
Today: 0

CHALLENGES:
Dizneeee's World of Books asks what is my...
...favorite genre? 
I'm going to go with Young Adult fantasy because it's had a special place in my heart for most of my life. It's a hard choice because I love so many genres for different reasons.

...favorite book within that genre? 
I can't not say Harry Potter. Like a lot of people who grew up in the '90s I consider it my childhood. I devoured the series, I watched the movies, I grew up with the characters. It's not something that I can easily forget. I'll also add City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (my favorite by her) and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.

...favorite character from the same genre? 

RTW: Halfway Check-In

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic: Quarterly Check-In: We did one back in March, so now that we're just past the halfway point of the year, how are you doing on your goals?I can't believe it's July already. And I can't believe it's ten days into July! Where is my year going? It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating New Year's with my family. 
Anyway, reading-wise I'm way behind with my goal of 100 books. I just hit 20 books read so far this year yesterday. I have to read about 13 books a month in order to make it and once I'm back …

Once Upon a Readathon: Day 2

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This amazing readathon is hosted byLori at Pure Imagination, Angela and Loretta at Reading Angels, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog. This is the master post for Day 2. I'll update it throughout the day with progress, official challenges, pictures, and more.

TALLY: 
Books finished day 1: 1
Books finished today: 1

CHALLENGES:
From IB Book Blogging...
Make your dream guy using characteristics, personalities, looks, and anything else you can think of from your favorite book boyfriends. 
This is a tough one for me. I'm kind of stuck on Sebastian right now (in Darkness Becomes Her). I also have a lot of fictional boys that I love. So, here goes. He would have Will (Infernal Devices)'s looks. Simon (Mortal Instruments)'s nerdiness. George (Lioness quartet)'s sense of humor. Oliver (Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)'s accent. Four (Divergent)'s strength. Jem (Infernal Devices)'s ability to play the violin. Albert (War Horse)'s love of ho…

Once Upon a Readathon: Day 1

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This amazing readathon is hosted byLori at Pure Imagination, Angela and Loretta at Reading Angels, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog. This is the master post for Day 1 which started at midnight last night. I'll update it throughout the day with progress, official challenges, and more.

TALLY: 
Books finished: 1

CHALLENGES: 
Cover2CoverBlog would like to know...
1. Which book you are most excited to read in the coming year? It can be already released or coming soon.
I'm most looking forward to Allegiant by Veronica Roth. It's the last book in the trilogy and I'm dying to get my hands on it. A very close second would be The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, the fourth book in his Heroes of Olympus series.

2. Which book would you re-read if you had the time and weren't so busy reading ALL of the other good thing?
I actually have two stacks of books in my room--one of books that I haven't read yet and another of books that I want to read again. I'm dying to rea…

Once Upon a Readathon: Goals

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This amazing readathon is hosted byLori at Pure Imagination, Angela and Loretta at Reading Angels, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog.

Goals:
I'm going to be more realistic with my goals this year. I've been only reading three or four books a month so far this year, so I'm going to shoot for three books this week. 


This is my stack of summer books. I'm not sure yet which ones I'm going to go for.About half of them are rereads so those will probably wait for after the Readathon.

My options are (not including possible rereads): 
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
Slam by Nick Hornby
Sphinx's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Flash Fiction Friday: Kisses and Fireworks

When I first wrote down the idea for my current WIP, this scene was part of that idea. It doesn't work now, because this scene takes place during the Fourth of July and my WIP takes place during the school year. When I decided that I wanted this week's piece to have something to do with the Fourth, I chose to write it separately.


We sit side-by-side on the edge of the lake. It’s dark, the only light provided by the stars, a few bonfires dotting here and there, and the headlights of late cars pulling into the parking lot behind us. I’m resting on a towel in the sand, water lapping at my feet. Chris is just above me.

There’s a sharp feeling of anticipation in the air. Except for one couple shouting about something—what exactly, I’m too far away to hear—it’s quiet.

The first firework blasts into the air with a squeal and everyone turns their attention to the other side of the lake.

A second firework follows.

They burst into a shower of blue and gold sparks that crackle and fi…

RTW: Favorite YA LGBT Book

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Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 


Next week’s topic:  In honor of National Pride Month, what's your favorite YA LGBT book?
I'm going to pick a couple favorites. I can't choose just one, because I want both books on the list for different reasons.
First up: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
I read it a few years ago in high school and loved it. I've had it on my list of books to buy ever since, I just haven't sat down and ordered it yet. It's a very sweet and beautifully written story. 
Next:  Every Day  by David Levithan
I wanted to include this book because the sexual…

Why I Like Rereading Books

I have friends that generally only read books once. They love to read, they just don't really see the point of reading a book once you already know what happens. I'm not like there. There are books on my shelves that I've read a double-digit number of times. I fully expect that someday I'll read 100 reads on some of them(wouldn't be surprised if Wild Magic and Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce are already there). 

Books can mean different things in different periods of our lives. I'm going to use Paper Towns by John Green as an example for this one. I first read it a few years ago in high school and, without spoiling it for those who haven't read it, I cried through the ending. I couldn't understand why I was crying but I knew that it hurt. Fast forward to last week, when I read it again. I didn't cry this time, because the ending meant something different to me this time around.

(This paragraph may imply spoilers, I'm not really sure.) The f…

Monday Updates: July 1

The year is officially halfway over. Where is the time going?? I'm not sure if I'm in shock or denial regarding how fast 2013 (and this summer) are passing.

Song of the week: Skeletons by Eli Young Band 

How's Life?
It was a week of ups and downs. It's been storming almost non-stop for most of the week.

How's TV?
I didn't have a lot of time for TV this week, but I'm up to the season three finale of Buffy. I also watched Miracle which is an extremely inspiring and beautiful movie. If you've never seen it, it's the story of coach Herb Brooks leading a team of college hockey players to victory against the seemingly unbeatable Russian team during the 1980 Winter Olympics. I also watched You're So Cupid which is an extremely cheesy movie but in an adorable kind of way.

How's Reading?
Books read: 1
I finished my reread of Paper Towns by John Green and it didn't lose anything in the second reading. It's still a gorgeously written book. This…