Sunday, May 31, 2015

Beautiful People #9: Alicia

Wow. Look how late I am. My excuse is that I was traveling, obviously. Oh well, I'm doing it anyway!

Remember last month we talked about Lili and Alicia, my siblings from my contemporary WIP/plot-bunny, The Glare of the Spotlight? (The novel is kind of in its really early stages.) (But it does have a working title, which is not normal for me. I title things late.) Well, this month, we take a closer look at Alicia, my MC. (She cuts her hair over the course of the novel.)

  How to Grow Out a Pixie: 6 Tricks You Can Learn from Celebrities - Daily Makeover 

1. Do they get nightmares? If so, why or what of?

Family members turning evil and trying to kill her. *shiver*

There is no Freudian analysis or hidden meanings here. They're just creepy dreams.

2. What is their biggest guilty pleasure/secret shame?

She really likes buying different shades of lipstick and experimenting with them. This isn't exactly a secret as much as it is something her friends tease her about a lot. 

3. Are they easily persuaded or do they need more proof?

She needs proof, but not necessarily physical proof. She'll do something if she ponders it over long enough in her head and her logic-ing convinces her that it is the right thing to do.

4. Do they suffer from any phobias? Does it affect their life in a big way?

Cicadas. The gooey food bits while washing dishes. A lack of reading material.

I'm not sure how these things could affect Alicia's life in a big way. She has to wash the dishes no matter what, so no luck there.

5. What do they consider their “Achilles heel”?

A vulnerable weakness that could cause Alicia's downfall? Her boyfriend. :-P 

(This is literally the novel.)

(Also, I've forgotten his name - bad Sophia. I scribbled it down in some notebook one night and now cannot find the notebook. So he will have to be renamed, unless I find my scribble.)

6. How do they handle a crisis?

By trying to separate herself mentally from the situation, and thinking about it objectively. She's actually very good at it - it's one of her best skills.

7. Do they have a temper?

It takes a lot, but when the dragon is awakened, it's furious. But it sleeps really easily. It's a tired little dragon.

8. What are their core values and/or religious beliefs?

She is Christian (I think?). She has very defined boundaries in terms of boyfriends/romantic relationships (sex - for marriage, kissing - after trust has been solidified, hand holding - ASAP PLEASE THANK YOU), and believes that everything happens for a reason. (This belief can sometimes be hard to hold onto.) 

9. What things do they value most in life?

Her family, probably. Also, in people, Alicia values kind hearts and sincere sweetness more highly than practically anything else.

10. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?

Lots of little things shaped her - I don't think many people can point to One Thing that made them who they are. But reading was definitely impacful - it made her empathetic and creative. At the same time, her parents were instrumental in keeping her grounded, sensible, and confident in herself (most of the time).

So that's Alicia! I like her lots. (Confession: she's partially based on me. I don't know why that happened, but it did.)

And because it's cute, here's Alicia and her boyfriend. (Cant find the artist credits unfortunately. Sorry!)


Friday, May 29, 2015

Traveling With Books

This month I got my sister to join me on my vlog. Whoopee!

Sorry, it's a bit badly edited and awkwardly filmed since I'm kinda on vacation in London. :)

(And tell me your traveling-with-books tips!)(And should I have my sister back on the vlog?)


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Spring TBR


Hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and The Bookish. :-)

Today's topic is Top Ten Books I plan on having in my beach bag this summer!

Off we go!

1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I own this one. I have no excuse.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Maybe I'll get my sister to do a readalong with me? She seemed interested in this one. Plus, it's about SISTERS. So.


3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
We are at a B&N
My sister: Oh yeah, I started reading that one.
My sister: Yeah, Samantha lent it to me. 
My sister: So far, it was pretty good.

4. Looking For Alaska by John Green
I really want to give John Green another chance after my mediocre TFIOS experience, and everyone says Looking For Alaska is the way to go. Sorry, Paper Towns. You and your movie will have to wait.  

5. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Now THIS is something to readalong with my sister, considering I'm the one who got her obsessed with The Lunar Chronicles.


6. Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Because I really need some more Slavic Fantasy. It's been too long since I read Ruin and Rising!

7. Splintered by AG Howard
I'm 80% done with this on audiobook, but it's been a while (months) since I last listened. Maybe I should start over in text form?

8. Something Sarah J. Maas
The Assassin's Blade? Or Throne of Glass? Court of Thornes and Roses? My darling booksters - tell me which to start with!

9. Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
Because Lifeline Theater (my favorite book-adapting theater ever!) has a production of this coming up!


10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Because there's all this fuss about Go Set a Watchman, and I haven't even read the first one! *hangs head in shame*

Now it's your turn! What are some books that will be hiding in your beach bag? Gosh, I love reading on the beach. <3


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mini-reviews // Jackaby, Four, and Under the Egg

This is my first time trying out mini-reviews! They did come out rather long. I need to work on writing concisely, obviously. Today, we have three books, from three different genres:

Jackaby by William Ritter

20312462I don't usually read paranormal/supernatural stuff, so Jackaby was a first for me in that genre. (And now I want more of it - give me ALL THE RECOMMENDATIONS please!) The blurb said that Jackaby was Sherlock mixed with Doctor Who, and that's a pretty good description of this book. (Though I've never seen Doctor Who, so frankly I'm not one to judge.)

The whole book was quite lighthearted and fun. With this combination of mystery and paranormal, there is possibility of it going into deep freaky stuff, but Jackaby doesn't. It's too fantastical to get into the seriousness of a Sherlock mystery, and it's too playful to get into the seriousness of a paranormal horror thing.

Our character Jackaby is definitely based on Sherlock Holmes. He's got the self-centeredness, the antisocialness, all that "good" stuff that makes Holmes who he is. However, he's different enough for it not to be an issue, and anyway, I like Sherlock enough to not mind when the similarities got too large.

Our narrator is young Abigail Rook, who embodies what we all look for in a strong female character. Seriously, this girl is awesome. She's independent, but without being a know-it-all. She acknowledges that she's still young and learning, but is confident in herself. She's feminine, but not in a submissive way, and she solves her own problems. I love her!

And finally - the variety of paranormal creatures was spectacula. I really need to read more paranormal stuff, because really, all I know about are the mainstream ghosts, vampires, and werewolves.

Recommended highly! Rating it somewhere around 4.25 stars? (You know I hate star ratings.)

(OH MY GOODNESSS I just discovered there's going to be a sequel YESSS)

Four by Veronica Roth

18126198It was definitely pleasant to get back into the Divergent world, but this book was definitely for just the fans - no one else would care enough, frankly. I found it mildly unnecessary.

Frankly, I didn't like reading the Tris parts from his perspective. It felt repetitive and redundant. Been there, done that. My favorite bits were the parts about Four's backstory that hadn't been told before, the stuff I absolutely didn't know.

Also, his first date ever was awkward and hilarious and I loved it. It was the best.

Ultimately, this book was a nice addendum, but really, in my opinion, not necessary. I just didn't care.

Recommended for Divergent fans. (Though probably if you are a fan, you've read it already.)

My rating is somewhere around 4 stars. 

Hahahahah four stars hahahah get it hahaha


Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

18060008The fact that the blurb compared it to Chasing Vermeer and From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler made me desperately want to read it. I loved those two MG books as a kid, so I was excited to relive my childhood in this MG art-heist book.

Though it was quite good (with a neat little twist at the end), it didn't live up to expectations. There was a lot of diversity BUT it felt forced and somewhat stereotypical, like the author was trying to fulfill a "diversity quota." There were a lot of twists and turns BUT they smelled a bit of deus ex machina a lot of times. The author clearly knew her art and her history BUT her religious knowledge was minuscule, and made multiple errors in that department.

This book didn't have the innocent spirit and the pure goodness and the childish intrigue of those two titles it was compared to above. It was good, but somehow missed that luminescence that defines those two books, and which makes an excellent MG book differ from one that's just okay. And this one was just okay.

(If you want to read a more in-depth review of this one, you can see my guest post at Of Specatcles and Books.)

My rating is somewhere around 3.5 stars.

Have you read any of these? And any paranormal recommendations for me? I want them ALL.