Friday, May 20, 2016

Beautiful People #17 // Tanya (and farewell to Damla)

Do you remember Damla? Quite possibly my favorite character? Well, when I was plotting out the conclusion of #SlavicNovel, I realized the book would be better off without her. Is this what they mean by Kill Your Darlings? She and her thieving ways and the mysterious Martin and her banter with Oriana are NO MORE. I may have cried.

Well, saying that she is no more is not entirely true. Though I did cut her from the novel, I realized that she kind of deserved a novel of her own, instead of being a secondary character in Tanya's. So, there is a thing called #DamlaNovel that is now sitting off in a corner of my plot bunny cottage, waiting for its turn. In fact, I think this might turn into a trilogy of novels in the same world, mildly related, but each effectively stand-alones, with the third being #MountainNovel. We shall see if this develops.

So truly, it's not a forever farewell to the lovely Damla. She will be back soon as the protagonist of her own novel, because she so deserves that.


Onward to Beautiful People! I realized that I have never featured Tanya, the MC of #SlavicNovel, on a Beautiful People post. So here she is!

1. How often do they smile? Would they smile at the stranger?

She doesn't smile very often, and she only really smiles when she's either climbing trees or sitting outside alone or doing other solo things with nature. Oh, and also with her grandfather sometimes.

And she would never, ever smile at a stranger. How stupid.

2. What is the cruelest thing they've ever been told? And what was their reaction?

Maria once told Tanya that no one would ever love her because she was a Devil. Tanya usually brushes things off (or pretends to), but it all sort of festers in her heart in a very unhealthy way.

Tania for philomena
(Tanya drawn by the lovely Clare!)
3. What is the kindest thing they've ever been told? And what was their reaction?

The kindest think Tanya has ever been told is probably something her grandfather said. He's always telling her that she's just as good as the other villagers, and I think the kindest thing he's told her is that he values her persistence and strength of spirit. It really validated in her that she's not just a messed up bundle of problems.

4. What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

Tanya remembers being five and running out to play with the other children in the village. But one of them, Maria (who is a few years older), tells everyone that Tanya is the daughter of the Devil because her mother went into the forest asking Baba Yaga for help conceiving. Ever since then, no one would play with her, or if they wanted to, their parents wouldn't let them. (The parents think she's the daughter of the Devil too.)

5. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

Hmmmm... something to do with friendship? And not being jerks to people? I don't know, this question is hard. I think she would really enjoy The Count of Monte Cristo, but would freak out at the end when he realizes revenge is not the way. That would be fun to watch.

6. Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

Tanya hasn't really been seriously injured (before the novel, I mean. mwahahaha). She fell out of an apple tree once and was pretty winded, and probably sprained her ankle.

She got punched by a boy once when she was about 13 because he thought she was about to attack him with her demon-y powers or whatever. She got a pretty big bruise, but the next evening she snuck up on him when he was walking home and jumped out like a ghost and he freaked out and she punched him back. Then ran off. The boy never found out it was her.

7. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

No and no. All the neighbors are pretty distrustful of Tanya, since she's technically the product of her mother and black magic.

8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?

I'd say Tanya's about an 8. She's definitely got to work on her people skills. She claims it's not her fault (curse blah blah blah), but clearly is doing nothing to change it.

9. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

Anywhere. Anywhere but this small town of Khaniv where everyone hates her. Maybe she can run away from her curse?

But actually, she'd really like to see the Sea. (And she does! In the novel! Because I am a nice an indulgent author!*)

*she also gets harassed and mugged there so you know maybe not so indulgent.

10. Who was the last person they held hands with?

Dang. I suppose her grandfather? Can't see her holding hands with anyone else.

Well, that's Tanya! (Also, tell me if you like Tanya or Tania better.) Did you do BP? Link me yours! And if YOU could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Also, I am going on a hiatus until June because my study abroad semester ended and I am going on a cruise (!!!) with my parents and sister but without free wifi. So. 'Til then!

And don't forget to enter my (three!) blogoversary giveaways! Check them out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ravens and Writing Desks turns THREE! // cake! and games! and giveaways!

Today is officially the day that this little blog turns 3 years old! Let me just gasp in disbelief like a fish out of water because that sounds both way too long and way too short. I feel like I just started blogging, and still don't know what the crap I'm doing, but I also feel like I've known all of you for wayyyyy more than three years. 

Last year, I forgot about my blogoversary (it comes during a usually-busy end of school time, because I decided to make it on the first day of summer break after junior year of high school). And the year before that, I just had one sad little recap post. So, to make up for both of those, this year we're partying IN STYLE. Which means GIVEAWAYS and GAMES and GLITTER. (well maybe not glitter because that gets all over everything and my grandmother will get mad)

Of course, I really want to first say THANK YOU TO ALL YOU LOVERLY PEOPLE who read and comment on my posts (despite my rather irregular posting schedule). You all are worthy people deserving of chocolate and if I could I would give each of you a mountain-full.

Here's the thing. I have crappy memory (like seriously, so crappy), and I really want to do a list of shoutouts to my favoritest people but there are so many of you and I'm really scared of missing someone. So I'm going to do my best, but - know that you are in my heart even if you're not on these lists.

Bloggerly Inspiration

Cleopatra @ The Classical Carousel - my first bloggly friend! I'm sorry I don't visit you often now at all - I'll stop by soon, I promise!
Kayla @ The Thousand Lives - she's not blogging anymore, but she was THE first YA blog I followed (see below).
Cait @ Paper Fury - One of my biggest bloggly role models. She always makes me happy with her comments on my posts.
Emily @ Loony Literate - Her blog is so chill and yet so well put-together.
Bennett @ My Sky of Paper and Ink - her blog is private now and I was on a hiatus when it happened so now I don't know what to do! But she was the first person who said that MY blog inspired HER to start blogging! SO HONORED OMG

People that comment ALL THE TIME

Masanobu @ All the Pretty Books
Morgan @ Gone with the Words
Skye @ Ink Castles
Windsprite @ Writingcorner


Katie @ Spiral Bound
Annie @ Curious Wren
Brett @ Book Squirt
Brianna @ StoryPort
Hannah  @ Plottinger Twist
(And Cait too, but she already got a shoutout. Who does she think she is, Queen of the Universe or something?)

On this momentous occasion, I think it's time to look back and see what started me blogging in the first place, and what's changed and what stayed the same.

Essentially, I started blogging because my parents got tired of me fangirling at them so instead I decided to fangirl into the void of the internet and hopefully find some people to fangirl with me. But I didn't really realize exactly how HUMONGOUS the book blogger community was. I started out with a humble little blog that rambled on and on about mostly classic books, because that's what I read.

There's a fantastic classics community of book bloggers out there, and a thing called the Classics Club, and that's where I first started making my bloggly friends. But soon, I started meeting people online who were not classics bloggers.

They were YA BLOGGERS. (dun dun)

Let me explain to you that when I was a child, I was an adorable tiny book snob. My literary diet consisted of 98% classics (both children's and adult's), and I rarely stepped foot into the "Teen" section of the library. And I'm really glad that I was a tiny adorable book snob because it laid a strong foundation for me in the classics. And I still really love the classics (even though I may have taken a bit of a hiatus from them at the moment?).

But let me also tell you that I once wrote an essay when I was 12 about why "Chick Lit" was bad literature and what I called "Chick Lit" was literally just YA.

So when I stumbled upon the YA book blogging community (which is, let's be honest, like 99.57% of the book blogging community in general), I was hesitant. But here's the thing.

I read classics because I don't like wasting time on books I don't like. And classics are books that have continually, time and time again, proved their worth. If so many people liked them, there's a bigger chance that I'd like them than I'd like a random book I picked off the shelf.

So when I started reading reviews of YA books, and actually thinking about which I'd enjoy and which I wouldn't, I realized my hesitation was entirely the result of not wanting to waste my time. So I dove in, with the reviews of bloggers with similar tastes to mine and NOW I AM A CONVERT.

(Though I still love my classics babies. You'll always be my first loves *kisses*)

So I know stats don't Matter in the Long Run, but I think it's kind of fun to see how my blog has grown over the years.

1 year totals:
Pageviews: 7,052
Followers: 15

2 year totals:
Pageviews: 27,585
Followers: 80ish? Don't have exact stats.

3 year totals (now!):
Pageviews: 46,929
Followers: 171

Also, this past month I hit 100 followers on Bloglovin', 50 followers on GFC, and am soon going to hit 1000 on Twitter! I AM IN SHOCK.
I think it's time for games now, yes? Yes.

So I made a quizzy guessing game! You've got to guess the book that the cropped bit of cover belongs to - but here's a hint: they're all THIRD books in series. (Haha aren't I so clever, it's my third blogoversary, so i have a third-books-in-series quiz, yes so clever)

(and actually I'm not sure how much that tip helps because all the multiple choice answer options are third books too so...)

(basically this is my first time making a quiz and it might be super easy or it might be super hard so bear with me because I'm really a baby beginner at this stuff)

The game should pop up below, but if for whatever reason you can't access it, click here, and that should work. And then share in the comments what you got! (and if the quiz was too hard or too easy)

So what comes after games? Giveaways, of course! And I have MULTIPLE.


(there's a pattern here, you see?)

The first is in homage to my classics beginnings. I don't know how many of my old classics bloggly friends still read Ravens and Writing Desks, but if you do, I really promise I'll come back to the classics world soon! I REALLY PROMISE. (I've just been catching up on all the YA books I neglected when I was actually the intended audience.)

So this giveaway is of one of my favorite classic books with one of my favorite classic heroines - Jane Eyre. And hey YA people? I think you should give it a shot, even if you don't read classics. It'll appeal to you if you like romance, brooding love interests, creepy mysteries, and quietly badass heroines.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My next giveaway is one of my favorite YA books, and one of the only books ever that has made me cry unapologetically in public - Rose Under Fire. (The other one was The Book Thief, if you were wondering.) It is technically the second in a series, but works as a standalone 100%. You can read my review for it here. YOU WANT TO READ IT BECAUSE IT WILL DESTROY YOU.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And my last giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! (US-ers are still welcome to enter.) The winner of this giveaway gets an Amazon e-book of their choice from the list of all the books I've reviewed on the blog! (see list here)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So go! Enter! Win!

How did you like the festivities? How did you do on the quiz? Was it too easy? Too hard? (plz tell me) And TELL ME YOUR BLOGGING ORIGIN STORY! And oh, before you leave, you can't refuse...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Guest Post: Why Elisheva reads multiple books at once

Elisheva and I have a few things in common, one of them being a love of books, obviously. Another thing is a love of lists. But there is something that we differ in: I'm the kind of person who can only read one book at a time, but Elisheva is not. HOW DOES SHE MANAGE? I invited her to explain.

It could be that I simply have a short attention span, I don't know. But there will rarely be a time when I'm not in the midst of at least 3 books. This is partially due to the fact that my number one book source is the library. My average checkout pile is probably 10 books. While I'm very particular about series order, I enjoy reading several books concurrently. This is what one library cycle might look like for me:

Day 1: Goes to library, starts book A
Day 2: starts B & C, continues A
Day 3: starts D, continues C
Day 4: reads nothing
Day 5: continues D
Day 6: starts E
Day 7: continues B, finishes E
Day 8: reads nothing
Day 9: continues A & C
Day 10: finishes A
Day 11: finishes B
Day 12: starts F
Day 13: finishes D
Day 14: Goes to library, returns finished books, renews unfinished ones and get 4 more

(If this list made no sense, I apologize.) 

So, as you can tell I'm a pretty moody reader. I read what I like when I want to. This means jumping around quite a bit with my reading material.

Today, I'm going to list some of the pros and cons to reading more than one book at a time. (More lists? Yes, I love them.) And don't feel like you have to force yourself to read multiple books - every reader is different. But if you find yourself in a slump, maybe try mixing things up a bit by picking two books to read and see what happens!

  • When discussing books with other readers, you have a range of current reads to discuss
  • You can leave the 523 page novel on your nightstand and take your little paperback on the bus
  • If a book is: boring, dry, difficult, or humongous, you can always take little breaks and intersperse with some light fluff. It makes the reading of the other much more bearable
  • Likewise, if one author's style is wearing on you, read something totally different for a while
  • One thing I enjoy is looking for weird little connections between books. Such as two characters named James who both have ash-blond hair, but in two completely different books
  • Not in the mood for the contemporary you just bought? That's alright, you can go back to your epic science fiction novella
  • Sort of like multi-tasking, keeping track of 2-5 individual plots/settings/cast of characters is a workout for your brain. And you know the more you stretch your mind, the stronger it becomes! (Do not quote me on this; I have found no scientific evidence for these claims)
  • After finishing one book (and getting out of the post-book-depression), I am way more motivated to finish the book I'm halfway through with
  • I might read two equally wonderful books, but for some reason, I abandon one for the other. This is just inconvenient, because I will probably have to start the book over if I want to return to it
  • Two books with similar elements can get quite confusing if you read them concurrently
  • I have heard people say that when they read books simultaneously, they can't remember details as clearly. Personally, I have never noticed this, but it's something a lot of people complain of

I hope you've enjoyed this list! Tell me in the comments your thoughts on reading one book at a time versus reading simultaneously.

Elisheva is a thinker, possibly a writer, and definitely a reader. She began her journey into the story world at age 3 and has never looked back. You can find more of her ramblings on the literary world on her blog, Print Quest . You can also tweet her at @Print_Quest.