Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011

     I already gave my top fave books of the year but I thought I'd round out every category (that I can think of) and mention all my faves of 2011.

     Book of the Year: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

     Best Book- Paranormal: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

     Best Book- Dystopian: It's a tie between Divergent by Veronica Roth and Matched by Ally Condie

     Best Book- Fantasy: I actually didn't read any real, high fantasy this year (shocker!)

     Best Book- Classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen

     Best Book- Adult: Juliet by Anne Fortier

     Movie of the Year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

     Best Superhero Movie: Captain America

     Best Chick Flick: Footloose

     Best Teen Movie: Prom

     Best Kids Movie: Tangled (I know, I know, it came out late in 2010 but I don't care!)

     Best New TV Show: Once Upon A Time

     Best Drama TV Show: The Vampire Diaries

     Best Comedy TV Show: The Big Bang Theory

     Best Reality TV Show: So You Think You Can Dance

     Best Newly Discovered TV Show: Spooks, AKA MI-5

     Best Album: Adele 21

     Best Newly Discovered Music Artist: It's a tie between Vega 4 RyanDan

     Best Song: Skyscraper by Demi Lovato (oooh, that one was so hard to choose)

     Best Remake of a Song: Holding Out For A Hero by Ella Mae Bowen

     That's all I can think of. You can tell I have tons of favorites! What are your Best's of 2011? Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Books of 2011

     Well I'm here today for Road Trip Wednesday. I'm actually at my parents house so I'm attempting to do this post on my iPad and with my new teeny iPad keyboard that I got for Christmas and I'm psyched about but it's really small and some of the buttons are in the wrong spot so it's going to take some getting used to.
     Anyway, this weeks Road Trip Wednesday question is:
What were your top five best books of 2011?
     (Why are you making me choose? Please don't make me pick my favorites! I'm terrible at it!)
Okay, so nobody's making me. I want to do this post. Looking back on the books I've read this year, it was really hard to come up with my favorites. First off, I'm not going to count the beloved faves I reread this year like the Harry Potter series, Twilight saga or Persuasion. Because let's face it, that wouldn't be fair to the rest of the books. I loved a lot of the books I read, but not a lot of them really stood out to me as favorites. So I might break some rules as I go along.
    It was actually really easy to pick my first one. I already had my favorite book of the year all picked out. And since I'm breaking the rules, I'm going to put two books in my top spot because they're by the same author.

     #1. Anna and the French Kiss AND Lola and the Boy Next Door

     I LOVED these books. Even though it has been awhile since I've read either, I still think about them and I itch almost daily to reread them. Just yesterday I was thinking randomly about Cricket Bell. I do the same thing with Anna, Lola, and Etienne. These are characters that I love and that have obviously stayed with me.

#2. Juliet by Anne Fortier

     This is another book I'd like to reread. I loved the back and forth between now and the past, I loved the tie-in with Romeo and Juliet, and I loved the love story. It was EXACTLY my kind of book.

#3. Timeless by Alexandra Monir

     One of the reasons I loved this book was because it reminded me of my own Jessica books. They're not very similar, but I couldn't help but be drawn in my a character who falls in love with a guy from the past. I loved the history in this book and the MC's love of music. I really connected with this book and have been anxiously awaiting the sequel.

#4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

     I read a TON of paranormal this year. Lots were good. For some reason, and I don't think I can pinpoint that reason, this book really stood out to me. Maybe it's because it's from a boy's POV. Maybe because his love interest is not that perfect, unattainable character. Maybe I just liked the magic powers. Definitely I liked the historical references and flashbacks. Whatever the reason, probably all of the above, this was my favorite paranormal of the year.
     Here's where I break the rules. There were a few books I read this year that really taught me something. They stuck with me. None of them were light or fun or entertaining really. I don't know if I'll reread them a lot if at all. But they were the kinds of books that I think EVERYONE should read because they must. Here they are.

#5. Speak and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

So what are your top five books of the year? I wouldn't mind adding to my TBR pile.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!


     Like everyone else, I'm signing off for... well I don't know how long. Maybe I'll post next week, maybe not. Most likely not since to Grandmother's house we will go. So I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, a Happy Festivus... or whatever it is you celebrate. And my advice to one and all? Take a break from your writing/editing/revising/beta-ing and spend time with your family. And I'll try to take my own advice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Buying

     This week's Road Trip Wednesday is a straight forward and easy question:

Where do you buy most of your books? No one is judging!

     First I look at Walmart. Their books are 30% off, but you can only get them when they first come out and there are only few to choose from. Superstore is the same way- 25% off, but little choice.
Ditto to Costco. They have great prices but you have to get the books right when they're there because it doesn't take long for them to disappear. When those places fail, or when I'm trying to buy a book that's older or less popular, I buy from Chapters/Indigo. I'm Canadian and that's our main Canadian bookseller.
     Speaking of books, I got hardly any chick lit recommendations yesterday. Anyone else have any to recommend for me?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Calling All Readers of Chick Lit

(I don't have this book but I thought it was funny)

     They say to read the genre you're writing, right? I remember reading that bit of advice when I'd just finished my first draft of Daze and Knights. Up until then, the only YA I'd read was Twilight and Harry Potter (if you can count the latter- I suppose it starts off as more middle grade). Maybe you could include Eragon and Narnia in that category as well. But that was it. So began a love affair with YA (I can't believe what I was missing! I don't think I ever read YA, not even as a teen!). YA will probably be my genre of choice for a long time.
     But. Now I've finished my first draft of Sway and I find myself in exactly the same position. I've hardly read any chick lit. Sophie Kinsella. I think that's it. Oh, and I read Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin and P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern (although is the latter chick lit? Don't know.) I've got The Devil Wears Prada on my TBR pile. The only other books that may apply are Jane Austen-related. Like Austenland, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, etc.
     So. I need some recommendations. What's good? Who's good? What will I LOVE? Please help expand my already huge TBR pile (haha)!
     On to Teaser Tuesday. I'm only picking one sentence this week because it's a long one!

Despite the fact that he no longer dressed like the big dork he did then, despite the fact that he'd swapped the nerd wear for some much cooler clothes, despite the fact that he'd let his hair go all shaggy and loose to the point where it curved down into his face in that cool guy, slightly windswept, effortless way, despite the fact that every time I looked into his brilliant blue eyes I was totally reminded of the Zac Efron poster that used to hang on my old bedroom wall, it still didn't make it okay for him to laugh at me the way he did.

Shimmer, by Alyson Noel, page 10

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Next Door Boys

     Last night I finished reading The Next Door Boys by Jolene Perry. It was a great read and I have to recommend it to everyone. It's fun reading a book by someone I know. Okay, I don't actually know Jolene. But her blog was one of the first I followed over a year ago so I feel like I can claim that.
     The Next Door Boys is about Leigh- a girl recovering from cancer who just wants to live a normal life and be on her own. So she goes to BYU but still has to deal with her overprotective brother and the fact that her body isn't fully recovered. And she has to deal with all these boys liking her.
     I don't read a lot of LDS novels (even though I am LDS), but I found it fun to read about things I could personally relate to. Not the cancer of course, but going to BYU and the marriage craziness and just the little things that reminded me of my time there. Mostly I loved the love story and watching it unfold slowly. I loved how the characters were really rounded out. I found that while I didn't personally relate to Leigh in a lot of ways (the cancer, she sews, and *gasp* she doesn't like chick flicks), I still connected to her. Most of all, I loved Brian. But sheesh- what's not to love about the guy?
     Anyway, read it, especially if you're LDS and even if you're not because it's a great story. And then stop by Jolene Perry's blog if you don't already follow her. You won't regret it.

Friday, December 16, 2011


    I'm seriously busy today but I HAVE to take a moment and declare the AWESOMENESS that is MATCHED by Ally Condie. I'm not a Dystopian fan but there was something about this book and I couldn't put it down. Can't wait to read Crossed! Put it on the top of your TBR pile if you haven't read it yet.
     That's it! Have a great weekend and hopefully I won't get so stressed out that I can somehow enjoy mine too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Thought Thursday

     It's been awhile since I've done Random Thought Thursday, but my brain is especially immersed in randomness today so...

1. I watched Battle: Los Angeles last night and was surprised that it didn't totally suck.

2. I'm still pretty cheesed off that Catching Fire has yet to come out in Paperback. What is the deal?

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a great book. Weird. But good.

4. Ditto to Supernaturally. Not weird, but a great sequel. I love Kiersten White's voice.

5. I have a big weekend coming up (tons of family in my not-so-big house) and I refuse to let myself become stressed about it. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

6. I'm getting excited for this new story idea that's flittering around in my brain. YA Fantasy- here I come!

7. It's A Wonderful Life makes me cry, Every. Single. Year.

8. I'm reading Matched by Ally Condie right now and LOVING it! (Even though I don't like Dystopian much.)

9. Michael Buble's new Christmas CD has gotta be my favorite one ever. Although I do love me the classics (Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como).

10. Two of my daughter's birthdays and Christmas all happen in the space of two and a half weeks. Sheesh. Busy, much?

     What about you? Any random thoughts to share?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Santa

This week's Road Trip Wednesday prompt:

What would be the ideal holiday present for your main character (or favorite character)?

Oooh, a good one. So what do my MC's want for Christmas? Well, I'll let them tell you. Or rather, I'll share with you their letters to Santa.

First off Jessica Jacobs from my YA time-travel novel Daze and Knights.

Dear Santa,

Um, this might be a lot to ask, and kinda tough to pull off, but I'd actually like to be with my boyfriend for Christmas. Well, I don't know if I can call Lord Alric my boyfriend. He probably doesn't even know what that word means, although I guess it's not hard to figure out. But saying lover seems a bit much for a teenage girl.
But seriously. I miss him. A lot. So maybe a time machine to take me back to Hampshire? And a new dress so I could look all hot. Ooh- and maybe a fancy dagger that I could give him as a present. That would be awesome, thanks.

And if that's just a bit much to ask... I could use a new iPod.
You're the best!

Next up is Ava's letter, my twenty-seven-year-old protag from Sway. Since Sway happens during the summer, this letter was written before the story takes place. (I don't want to give anything away by doing it after the story's over!)

Dear Santa,

It's been a long year and I'm glad it's almost over. Mostly, I'd like my family and friends to have what they wish for. Dad's favorite face cream. Chanel perfume for Aunt Rose. That new Hermes bag for Beth. For Mari- maybe a vacation or some kind of alone time with Charlie (so you might want to avoid giving him any video games this year). Mari's boys want Cars 2 on DVD but I've already bought that for them, so whatever else they've put on their list- you choose.

If anyone deserves something for Christmas, it's Lexi. She could use a break. Or a man. Someone she can rely on. If you could manage that, I won't ask for anything for myself.

Speaking of myself though... I know I've asked for the same thing the last seven years but I can't help but ask again. More than anything, I would really love to have Eric back in my life. I know- I already had it and I screwed it all up. But if you could possibly, just maybe, in some way manage it... That would be my dearest Christmas wish.


Ava Elliot
      So what about your characters? What would they ask Santa for this Christmas?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CrushES of the Week and Teaser Tuesday

     Crush of the week? No stinking way this week! I've got crushES.
     First of all, I saw the movie New Years Eve last Saturday night. It was a great movie, but then I love me a chick flick and usually I'm not too picky about them. This one didn't disappoint. And hello? Josh Duhamel and Zac Efron.

Yes, hello.

And hell-oooo.
     And then... last night I watched the latest episode of Once Upon A Time. No spoilers but if you've already seen it, you'll understand why I picked this dude (Jamie Dornan) and why I had to mention him NOW.

     So I'm not going to wax poetic or anything. The pictures say it all. But maybe just one more HELLO!
     And, unrelated, I thought I'd join in on Teaser Tuesdays hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading. Here's what you do:
  • Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page

  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • So here's mine.
    I always want a tip, you undead creeps.
    He fixed me with a scowl that could launch a thousand horror novels.

    Supernaturally by Kiersten White, page 54

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Music Rights (and an awesome giveaway)

        In Sway, I use the lyrics from two songs. I know I need to get permission to use the rights. My question is this- is it necessary to have the permission before you query? Or can you wait until after?
         I think I remember reading somewhere that agents like you to have that already set before you query. My thing with that is, what songwriter is going to give some nobody rights to their song? Know what I mean? I would think they'd be more willing to allow their song to appear in something that has a good chance of being published, instead of with someone who doesn't even have an agent.
         Any thoughts? Advice?
         I've thought about not including the lyrics at all so I won't even have to bother. But they are so important to the scenes they appear in. My MC reacts to the words quite strongly and without the actual lyrics, you wouldn't get the same sense of why she's upset.
         I'm not planning on querying Sway anytime soon. It still needs to go out to Betas and I need a few more edits of my own (on paper, out loud, etc). But I've been wondering about this rights question for awhile so I'd love it if anyone has any insight.
         Aaaaannnndddd... have you been over to YA Highway lately? Have you seen their winter giveaway? If not, go there. Now. You'll be amazed. Or, don't actually. Then I might have a better chance of winning! Haha.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Sway in Pictures

         I don't usually do this. Mostly because I can't seem to find the right pics like everyone else can. I must be out-of-the-loop on some awesome picture website or something. Anyway, I thought it would be easier with Sway, since it takes place in LA and all. So here's some pics to go along with my most recent completed manuscript. Enjoy!