Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Additions


Today's topic is Top Ten Books that I have recently added to my TBR.
I'm going to interpret "recently" as "within the last month," because that sounds reasonable.

I know I usually write a few sentences about why these books made it onto my TTT this week, but for the following books, the reasons are usually, "The synopsis sounds interesting," "I've read a lot of good reviews," "The cover is pure magic" (no shame), or a combination of these three. And a couple of these are books that I SHOULD have read a long time ago, and I'm just incapable of staying on top of bookish trends. (Excuse: I am at heart a classics lover.)

So gaze at the beautiful covers and click them to go to Goodreads and read the beautiful synopses.

1. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

2. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

3. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

5. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

6. Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
(I think both covers of this one are glorious.)

8. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

9. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
(I like that second cover better... It's super cool.)

10. The Wave by Morton Rhue

What books just recently popped onto your TBR? Link me your TTT posts!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Beautiful People #7: Susan


Look at me, doing the March BP so close to the wire. It's almost April! *cheers*

Today you get to meet Susan, from my untitled paranormal novel. I am working on Susan. She's just the shell of a character as yet.

(Sorry if the formatting is off on this post, or if the font is super tiny. Blogger insists that it won't cooperate with me today. Blame Google.)

Susan Susan


1. What is their secret desire?

For her husband, Jon, to be alive again. For her heart to be whole again. For her mind to be sure and confident again. But she knows that's not possible. 

2. What is the best and brightest moment they experience during the story?

 I... don't know this yet. Susan has a lot of depression ahead of her.

But it probably involves her baby. Good things for Susan in this story usually involve her baby.

(The baby also has no name yet. But it's a girl.)

3. What are the emotional places your characters are afraid to go to?

That moment when she finally realized her husband had died and was gone forever. (Five days after he had actually died.)

4. Is there a place/city/room where they will never go? Why?

The Art Institute of Chicago, because she and Jon used to wander around there for hours, when they still lived in Chicago (they had a membership). Actually, she'll go there, but never the impressionist wing. Monet's Haystacks make her break down.

5. If they were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)

Anything that reminds her of Jon would get saved, because she can't bear to let any memory of his go. Also, obviously, all the important baby stuff would have to come with - for practicality's sake.

Susan would easily throw out all her baby's chew toys. They're kind of mangled. And gross.

6. What do they want (consciously and tangibly)?

Susan wants her baby to grow up happily and healthily. She also wants Jon back. I think I've said that a few times? It's kind of a big deal.

7. On the other hand: what do they need (on the emotional, subconscious level)?

Susan needs release. She needs hope. And she needs to know that she is needed and loved - by her child and by her neighbors.

8. If they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?

She really hates her ears. But oh well.

She also would change herself to become a better mother. (But isn't that what all moms think?)

She'd change herself to be more happy. Perky. Normal.

Which is tough. She doesn't exactly know what she wants. Susan has a lot of sorting through to do.

9. What is the most humiliating event of their life?

Not sure about this either. Probably something to do with her parents and her early 20's.

10. What things do they turn to when they need a bit of hope?

Her baby. She is the most physical manifestation of Susan's love for Jon, and reminds Susan that she has to keep going because - baby. 

Would you have guessed that this paranormal novel started out as kind of a comedic idea? I never knew that there would be depressed mothers and such. Gosh. (I mean, seriously. Dead husband PLUS post natal depression. That's a lot to deal with.)

Did you write a Beautiful People post? Link it to me in the comments!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bookshelf Tour! (and Sophia makes a fool of herself on camera)

Today I have something special.

Today marks the first time that my voice and me speaking are available for all the internet to see.

In other words, I have finally made a vlog.


This first video is a bookshelf tour, which is why it's kinda long. As I say in the video, I'm planning to do this once a month, and I PROMISE they're not all going to be over ten minutes. They're also not all going to be this rambly and awkward and badly edited, since I'm told that practice makes perfect.

Seriously, pardon all my rookie vlogging mistakes. I tried my best. :-)

And now... enjoy meeting some of my precious babies!

How do you organize your books? Do you have your own shelves? 

AND: give me suggestions on what else to vlog about! I need ideas!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Books

Well would you look at that! I'm not dead. I'm not even disappeared into some far-reaching corner of the earth. 

I'm just very, very bogged down with school, that's all.

But it's Spring Break now, so I'm back! I actually wasn't planning to do this week's Top Ten Tuesday - I've been planning Something Else Exciting to come tomorrow or Thursday - but after I saw Cait's TTT post, I was filled with such nostalgia that I just HAD to write my own.

Today's topic is: Top Ten Childhood Books that I would Love To Revisit. And gosh, I have plenty.
I was homeschooled until I started college last fall, so books were basically my food for all of my childhood. We didn't even have required reading because my parents knew that I would rather sit in a corner reading the library pile than going outside to play. When I DID go outside, I'd climb up in the tree and read up there. I got into very little trouble. (Having a reader for a child is very convenient. You don't have to find ways to keep them occupied.)

Anyway, let's begin!

I still remember my mother reading these to us while sitting on a blanket in our backyard. I ADORED these books (and still do). They have my heart forever.

This is what my father was reading to me when I was three, and he slowly started to fall asleep. He misread a word. I corrected him, and he freaked. Thus, Sophia was proclaimed a reader.

These stories have so much Truth and Goodness in them. Everyone, no matter what their age, should read them.

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Oh, these were my LIFE. Until I was about thirteen, I was committed to reading each and every one. My favorites were the Merlin Missions (these were in hardcover so they were special), especially the Venice Carnivale one (#33) and the Camelot one (#29). But I got most from the library, so I only own two or three. And today, I could only find one:

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I used to own all his books: Castaways in Lilliput, Trouble in Timpetill, Detectives in Togas, and Mystery of the Roman Ransom. (These last two are a duology.) But today I could only find Castaways! I think the other three have been lent out to various children in the neighborhood. Whoops. 
But these are super good - Detectives in Togas is possibly my favorite, though I also really liked Trouble in Timpetill. Actually, never mind. I can't pick a favorite.

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Roald Dahl is the greatest - right, or left?*
He is, as my copy of James proclaims: The World's Most Scrumdiddlyumptious Storyteller. 

*You earn five points if you understood the reference.

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I've read Witch of Blackbird Pond (it's the only one I own), and fell in love with Nat. I also read Calico Captive and Sign of the Beaver, which were great. But my favorite will always be The Bronze Bow. Always.

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Sara Crewe (A Little Princess) is my BFF, Dickon (The Secret Garden) is my bro, and if anyone talks crap about Cedric Errol (Little Lord Fauntleroy), I will find you. 

But seriously. Why do so many people make fun of Little Lord Fauntleroy? Stop it.

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Treasure Island was kind of forced to become a part of my life, since my sister was OBSESSED with it when she was younger. She had a HUGE crush on - and wanted to become - Jim Hawkins. Simultaneously. She dressed up as him for Halloween once. I would post a picture but she might kill me.

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Oh the beauty and innocence of Astrid Lindgren. Everyone's heard of Pippi Longstocking, but I personally prefer Happy Times in Noisy Village or the Emil books over Pippi any-day. And who wouldn't want to be Ronia, from Ronia, the Robber's Daughter? I read that book three times over.

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I've read so much E. Nesbit, I've lost count. She is absolutely a children's lit genius. Edward Eager deserves mention here too, because he's an E. Nesbit follower.


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Do you want some excellent fantasy? Lloyd is the man. Not only does he write Welsh and traditional Western fantasy, he also explores other world cultures, which is AWESOME. Right, or left?

Also, did you know I was about to write a letter to him when he died in 2007? It was a tragic moment in my life, because apparently he kept up the most awesome correspondences with his fans. :-(

Some Honorable Mentions:

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And wait! What about the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes and and and...

Gosh. I'm already to twenty.

What are your favorite childhood books that you'd like to reread?
Do you have fond memories of any on my list?


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: FAVES


As always, hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and the Bookish!

Today's topic is UTTER FAVORITES. From the last three years. I will interpret that time span rather loosely because this is my blog and I make my own rules. 

Let's roll!

(Covers link to Goodreads)
(Also, these are not in any particular order. I don't like ranking things.)

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


2. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
This is technically three books but who cares. Remember what I said about me making my own rules?


3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I read this a bunch of years ago, but then I reread it in Summer 2013, so it counts.


4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Another reread.


5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
And another one.


6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
This one's been around four or five years since I read it, but on the list it goes! It's too superb to overlook.


8. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker


9. Persuasion, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
 I really like all of Jane Austen's books - well, Edmund from Mansfield Park and I are not exactly on the best of terms with each other - but Persuasion, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility are my top three.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2156.Persuasion?from_search=true   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6969.Emma?from_search=true   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14935.Sense_and_Sensibility?from_search=true 

 10. The Adventures of Winnie The Pooh by A. A. Milne
Though I may not have entirely reread it, I've definitely cracked it open a few times to siphon out some wisdom during moments of scholarly despair.


 Now it's your turn! Tell me what your favorite books are! Do any of them overlap?