Friday, July 30, 2010

hello in the blogoshpere!

hey to my old and new followers! i hope you're enjoying my contest : )
(click here to enter if you haven't already...or just scroll down the page a little ways).

just a a quick link if you're interested in winning a few more books: check out the 2011 Releases Giveaway here to possibly win some awesome copies of pre-ordered books!

hope you're all doing well--i miss hanging around the blogosphere. i'll be back full-time in next week.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


it's finally here: my afore-mentioned end-of-summer book giveaway!!!

can you tell i'm excited? okay, now for the important stuff.

the giveaway is open until August 10th.

here are the prizes:

1. A pre-ordered copy of one eligible book (see list below)

2. A box set of Shannon Hale's Goose Girl series
3. A surprise

1. A pre-ordered copy of one eligible book

2. A box set of Cinda Williams Chima's The Heir Chronicles

*eligible books for pre-order:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Radiance by Alison Noel

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Matched by Ally Condie

The Duff by Kody Keplinger


oh yeah. the rules...

Okay. so you must be a follower. you must live in the US (sorry, i have no idea how to ship internationally!). you must mention this contest SOMEWHERE at least once.

here's the form to enter! good luck!!!

*under where it asks where you mentioned the contest, it says to pick the choice worth the most points as your answer. sorry that you can't read it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

in my mailbox

(in my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. check out this week here.

hey! just a quick look at some books (mostly manga) i picked up while on vacation....

i've got The Secret Year, DN Angel Vol. 1, Millenium Snow Vols. 1 & 2, Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 1, and Black Cat Vol. 1 (and, not in the picture is Wanted, also a manga)

i'd love to look at your mailboxes if i get the chance (i'm on vacation right now)! happy reading!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

weekly writing goal wednesday comes to an end

but don't be sad--i'll be back every friday with links to S.A. Larsen's weekly Check-In Challenge!

and on that note, fantasy friday is now switching to wednesday. (still working on a catchy title...)

so. today is the last wednesday for goal-setting (i made my goal for the week). my new deadline is friday, nine days from today.

ALSO, one last little minor announcement...

i'm going to be gone on vacation for 10 days starting tomorrow! YAY!!!!!

the only things is, i may get so caught up hanging out with my MULTITUDES of cousins that i won't have much time to blog, so i might be kind of absent...

just a heads up.

with this in mind, my goal is to WRITE every day, and to READ as many of my vacation books (books i saved for this trip) as possible! hopefully all of them!!

so, i'll visit as often as i can, and try to stop by all your blogs. meanwhile, don't forget to set YOUR weekly goal, too!

and i'll be announcing a CONTEST very, very soon, so don't forget to stop by!

(this will be me in a couple of days!!!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

ever get stuck on names for places in your story?

well, i was having this problem last night (i'm editing a chapter book for my younger cousin's birthday and i needed cool but not-too-weird names).

then i found this great site: pseudo-Elizabethan place names. it's fun just to see all the stuff it comes up with. check it out here!

ok. yes. i am a total forest fanatic. it's part of why i love fantasy so much. but seriously, aren't these pictures amazing?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


(In My Mailbox is hosted by the Story Siren)

my mailbox? well, actually, i have some books I've been saving up for a while now...because i'm going on vacation, and what better activity than reading when you want to have fun??

(that was a rhetorical question)

now a close-up...

i've got Changeless by Gail Carriger, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Hieber, Midnighters by Scott Westerfeild, The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, Frostbite by Richelle Mead, 13 to Life by Shannon Delany, Dark Secrets Vol. 2 by Elizabeth Chandler

i'd love to see your mailboxes, too! isn't reading great???

(that was a rhetorical question, too) <3

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

fantasy friday

second-to-last fantasy friday! wow.

well, i have a great feature for today's post:

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

(contains very mild spoilers--all from the first two chapters of the book)
Meliara Astiar is a countess in the kingdom of Remalna, but she has none of the prestige or wealth that one might expect. Instead, her family's land's are falling into disrepair, taxed to their limit by the greedy King Galdran. When Meliara and her brother receive word that the abominable king intends to break The Covenant (between the Hill Folk and the Remalnans) for his own gain, they reach their breaking point. They declare war on the king--despite being impossibly outnumbered and outmatched.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. it's one that i am always happy to pick up and re-read. it never gets old.

first of all, Meliara is not whiny or helpless--despite being smaller and weaker than ALL of her opponents, she never gives in because she believes in what she is fighting for.

also, i love the setting--the forest in the mountains where Meliara lives, a kingdom with a court and intrigue, the magical conveniences for everyday life, all of it. this is pretty much my ideal fantasy setting.

I CAN'T TELL YOU ABOUT THE OTHER THINGS I LOVE. too many spoilers. but i will says this:

i laughed while reading this book. i held my breath, i sighed, i cringed, i lived vicariously, i fell in love. it inspired real emotions and reactions--and at the end, it left me wanting more.

i know some people complained that this book was "predictable", and maybe it was. but then again, didn't we all know that Harry Potter was going to survive the first six books so he would make it to the seventh (or wait, did i just give that away?!?). sometimes predictability doesn't hurt--it doesn't even matter. the story is enjoyable anyway.

i thought that was the case here.

anyway, i want to do something a little different. i want to invite YOU to share your favorite (or one of them, anyway) fantasy read! what book do you read again and again and again
and again....?

weekly wednesday writing goals

ah...what a nice week. i loved my goal of slowing down and enjoying what i was reading and writing more--and i got tons done at the same time!!! (i also signed up for a couple reading challenges: 100 books in 2010 and the YA Reading Challenge--the buttons are over on my sidebar if you're interested!)

this week, my goal will be a little more challenging, but still not word-count oriented. i plan to try to finish the writing project i'm working on and start revisions on it. i actually have a REAL deadline to make, so i'd better work hard on my goal this week!

how about you? what's your goal this wednesday? have you perhaps stopped by S.A. Larsen's Check-In Challenge? are you setting friday goals instead of wednesday goals?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

teaser tuesday

okay, today's topic is courtesy of Teens Read and Write, who in turn got it from MizB at Should Be Reading. (wow, that sounds confusing even to me, and i wrote it...)

here's how it works:

take the book you're reading and flip it open to any page--just a random one. pick a few sentences (no spoilers!) and make sure you tell the name of the author and book!

easy, huh? if you want to participate, you can post a link over at Teens Read and Write!

so, here's my teaser from The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan:

I rub my palms against my legs, my heart a thrum in my chest.
There are a thousand reasons why I don't want to go with them into the ruins, not least of which is that it's forbidden.
But there's one reason I do want to take the risk.

your turn!

*also, an announcement. if you haven't entered already, there's only two days left to try to win 5 incredible ARC's: Paranormal, Halo, Pegasus, Nightshade, and The Eternal Ones. head over to The Undercover Book Lover now to enter!

Monday, July 12, 2010

thoughts on my mailbox books so far...

so, i've been reading the books i mentioned in the IN MY MAILBOX post...

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

the verdict? very original. very interesting. it wasn't grip-the-edge-of-your-seat omg-what's-going-to-happen-next thrilling, but on the other hand, i read it in less than a day. i really enjoyed reading it, and i'd recommend it to YA fantasy lovers.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

WOW. i never would have pictured myself reading a zombie book of all things, but i can make an exception for Ryan. she has the most original, captivating style of writing--every word feels specially chosen and not a single sentence is wasted. i could never even BEGIN to guess what was going to happen next. all i can say is, the sequel should be interesting!

Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi

okay, so what i really spent most of my weekend reading was Dengeki Daisy. in case you can't tell, it's a manga (Japanese comic). they took me a little while to get used to reading (you read right to left, and i've never really read comics before), but they are totally worth it. i loved Dengeki Daisy. (click on the picture for a link to B&N if your curious and want more info)

all in all, a great weekend of reading! i'm currently on Nicholas Sparks' The Lucky One, which I'm enjoying, as well as another manga, Ouran High School Host Club (probably the funniest thing i will ever read in my life).

what did YOU spend your weekend doing/reading??

Saturday, July 10, 2010

this week's mailbox...

(a little late, i've already read some of the books!)

this post is based on The Story Siren's weekly mailbox post.

okay, so here's what i've got:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike, Dengeki Daisy by Kyousuke Motomi, The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

looking forward to reading/have enjoyed reading them all!

what's in your mailbox??

Friday, July 9, 2010

fantasy friday!

wow, so i'm really feeling the pressure to come up with good reads for my weekly review since some of you actually take my advice! (yikes!)

but i have a book here that i feel 100% confident endorsing.

Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones.

"In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three." Which is exactly what Sophie Hatter is. She grows up knowing that no matter how hard she tries, fate will always conspire against her. She decides to accept her misfortune and takes up work in her father's hat shop--until one day, the Witch of the Waste pays Sophie a visit and sets off Sophie's quirky and amusing adventure. An adventure that leads her to the strange, 'moving' castle of Wizard Howl--a man rumored to be a menace to every young girl in the land of Ingary.

there. i think that was spoiler-free!

i honestly can't think of anything i don't like about this book--but there are plenty of things i adore! i love the quaint atmosphere of Ingary, the humor, the characters--and Sophie's rather unique plight (which i won't mention and spoil for you). ALA Booklist calls Howl's Moving Castle "witty" and "rollicking", and Publishers Weekly sums it up as "a wonderful blend of humor, magic, and romance".

these description are accurate--even good--but they just can't capture the way the story never fails to make me laugh or the way the characters linger in my mind long after i set the book down. this was one of those rare books that i devoured and that i am always looking for in the pages of every other novel.

i even own two copies of it (because my first one is literally falling apart from over-use). i never buy two copies of one book--partly because i am so careful with my precious novels that i don't damage them in the first place! if that isn't evidence of a great book, i don't know what is.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

yeah, i saw it...

i saw Eclipse yesterday.

the verdict? well, i need to explain some of my thoughts in getting there…

i think i’ve hit upon that elusive element that makes one story stand out from the rest (wait for it…): “engagement”.

(no, not with a ring…)

engagement. when the story comes together, when we really like/care about/relate to the characters, when the plot really pulls at our imagination until we can’t let it go, when we’re picturing the setting every time we close our eyes, when we love the story so much that we are a PART of it in our minds—that’s engagement.

how does this relate to Eclipse? well, i just didn’t have that “engagement” with the first two movies. the biggest reason (dare I say it??) was that Stewart and Pattinson just didn’t feel believable in their roles.

they were much, much better in this movie. everything was better, and for the first time, i started feeling some of that engagement.


now, i still wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone who isn’t a Twilight fan. if you haven’t read/don’t care for the books, you probably won’t like the movies.
BUT, if you did like the books, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this movie.

it was pretty good.

i may even end up seeing it again (for complicated reasons...don’t ask), and if so, i’ll see how my first impression holds up under a second viewing….

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

wednesday weekly writing goals

DESPITE some amazingly lucky bits of what some might call "magic", my sister and her boyfriend just totally creamed me at cards. said bits of magic? i pointed at BF and said "you will give me the card i need!", and, right in the middle of my mom's speech about how "that only works in books" (cue my evil laughter), he put down the exact card i wanted. it was sweet.

then, when i was desperately losing, i said, "i am going to draw a wild!" and i did.

but it was not enough to win. :(

fortunately, weekly goals are not luck. you can control them.

and on that note, i made my goal this week!! YAY!!

my goal for the upcoming week:

well, i'm going to take SA Larsen's suggestion and just focus on cultivating a more positive attitude towards writing (no more ah! i have to write 1000 words today to stay on goal! somebody help me...) AND i want to make sure i'm taking time to really enjoy the books i'm reading, not just rush through them. sometimes i feel like i've just gulped down a novel without even tasting it--that's not the way to read!!

after all, if i'm not taking time to enjoy reading and writing and i'm getting burned out, something is not right. i'm happy with what the goals have helped me accomplish--but i don't want to push myself too far. this week will be about re-focusing.

SO! as always, i encourage you to participate! OR, you can join SA Larsen's Check-In Challenge for some alternative writing accountability! (as i mentioned in Tuesday's post, in two weeks i will switch over to the Check-In's schedule.)

either way, keep writing and setting goals and, most important, HAVING FUN!!! because that's what this is all about. at least, when it isn't about pushing yourself ; )

don't know if you've heard...

just a quick announcement this afternoon before my official post:

Barnes and Nobles has been having a Summer Warehouse Clearance Sale (free shipping to all members on their orders, too!).

(personally, the two books i was most excited about were Sarah Dessen's novels, Lock and Key ($3.58) and This Lullaby ($1.99).)

copies are limited, however, so hurry over to browse through the selection before they're all gone! (Click on the picture below to head over to the site)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

i'm back!

not that i really went anywhere...i was just VERY busy reading yesterday (hey, it was still technically a holiday!!)

FIRST, a shout-out to my new followers!! thank you, everybody, for following. i'm going to be discussing a couple of changes on my blog, so if you want to leave any feedback, please feel free!

SO, i'm considering a couple of changes here. first, i have started participating in The U Name It Check-In Challenge (see gadget on sidebar for link!!). since the check-in performs the same function as my wednesday weekly writing goals (but it takes place every friday), i'm thinking i will line up my weekly challenges with the Challege (which you should totally check-out if you haven't already!!).

here's my plan:

for the next two weeks, my blog will continue it's regular posts (weekly writing goal wednesday and fantasy friday). then, i will skip weekly writing wednesday on the 21st.

after the 21st, i will participate in SA Larsen's check-in challenge every friday, which fantasy friday : (

therefore, i'm thinking i will still do book reviews on tuesday or wednesday. i'm planning on not limiting my reviews to fantasy this time, though--i'm thinking general YA fiction. although, i will probably still mostly review fantasy : )

so, what are your thoughts? do you have suggestions/angry-complaints/feedback? possibly a new catchy title for my regular Tuesday or Wednesday YA review post?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Weekend Announcements!! (that have absolutely nothing to do with 4th of July...)

hey, just a couple announcements if you have some time this weekend to enter a couple blog contests!

first up, Erica Mitchel-Spickard's great contest/giveaway on her blog, Chapter by Chapter! there are lots of ways to get points and gain entries, and she's got an awesome prize package, so be sure to stop by before friday, July 9th!!

also, Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine, is hosting a phenomenally mind-blowing giveaway over on her blog (also known as Bree's Book-Bag Blowout)!! i can't even begin to describe its awesomeness (plus i think my brain short-circuited) so you should head over there yourself to check it out! (ends July 14th)

if you're eager for even more amazing blogger generosity, check out my contest/giveaway sidebar on the right for more links.

hope you have a fun-tastic weekend!

an ode to my writing area (topic courtesy of the Rejectionist)

the Rejectionist has invited members of the blogosphere (pretty much all them, this isn't an exclusive invitation) to join her in writing an ode to writing areas.

instead of writing an ode, I thought I'd let my writing area speak for itself through some pictures...

yes. my writing desk in is my closet. i think its kind of cool that way (although not anywhere as cool as Tahereh's writing space!!) : ) the last picture is of some of my anime-themed scribblings and emails from famous authors via NaNoWriMo and various motivational quotes.

(needless to say, my normal fantasy friday has been postponed until next week. meanwhile, join us in writing our odes (or posting photos, like me....).

anyhow, have a fabulous Fourth-of-July weekend! watch fireworks and scare all your neighbors with should-be-illegal-ly loud noise makers!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

does practice make perfect?

i've been reading (shocking, i know, who would have thought that i READ) a book called Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. it makes the interesting proposition that to become truly 'proficient' in any skill, a person must spend roughly 10,000 hours practicing that skill. including novel writing.

BUT, i have to wonder, assuming that 10,000 hours is indeed the magic number, does reading count? what about writing for school classes or writing creative fiction that isn't a novel? how do you really measure the time one puts in to writing?

also, Gladwell completely dismisses the idea of natural talents that can achieve proficiency without putting in the time (10 k hours) practicing. however, i know of at least one famous person who appears to be evidence to the contrary.

what are your thoughts? is practice always necessary to make perfect, or do you think Gladwell is wrong? can other areas of reading and writing count as this 'practice'?