Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Best Book of June

This week's Road Trip Wednesday question, since it's the last Wednesday of June, asks:

What was the best book you read in June?

Here's what I read this month, including one I'm in the middle of and will most likely finish before this weekend.

You know how much I groan picking favorites right? These were ALL great books. Only one of them I might not recommend simply because while it grabbed my attention in the beginning, it didn't quite hold it throughout, even though I finished it anyway.

I'm gonna give Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter my best book of the month. I love Ally Carter's books and I love this series. These books are so much fun and I love the whole idea of a school for girl spies. (I said love a lot there but it's true, I LOVE the Gallagher Girls.) City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare comes a close second. It's another series I ADORE.

I also want to give a shout-out to Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier because it surprised me. It has a great premise, and I'm into anything Time-travel. But I wasn't expecting a lot because it's a translation. I've read translated books before and couldn't quite get into them, I think because the voice was always a little off. Ruby Red wasn't like that at all and I've found myself still thinking about the book and the characters weeks later.

What was the best book you read in June?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

I'm getting today's Teaser Tuesday, hosted by Miz B., from Gilt by Katherine Longshore. First, a synopsis from Goodreads:

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men—the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

And here's my teaser (page 62-63):

"I need your help, Kitty. Please. Make sure no one from this household ever breathes a word of my life here. It's your duty. To our friendship. To our sisterhood. The men of my past must vanish."

She let go and I swallowed.

"What men?" I whispered.

"Good girl."

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Best TV This Summer

Who says there's nothing to watch on TV in the summer? Some of my favorite shows are on right now.

Wait, I'm supposed to talk about writing, you say?

Too bad.

There have been so many great things on TV that I've been crazy for lately that I just can't help sharing them.

1. So You Think You Can Dance

If you don't watch this show, you really should. Okay, maybe dancing isn't your thing. Maybe Mary Murphy and her screams annoy you a little. But then again, you can see awesome dance numbers like this one, one of my faves from last season:

2. Hell's Kitchen

Yes, Gordon Ramsay bleeps a lot. And he's so mean. He would make me cry in about two seconds flat. Actually, if I ever just walked into his kitchen I'd probably cry if he so much as looked at me. But this show is so darn entertaining, it's awesome. And it makes me want to eat Risotto and Beef Wellington.

3. Breaking Pointe

Again, if you don't like dance, chances are you won't like this show either. But I have to mention how much I LOVE it. Yes, it can be cliched at times, but it's real dancers dealing with real problems. I absolutely love the dynamic between the dancers and seeing the world of ballet from backstage is super exciting.

And my absolute fave this summer, which actually isn't on TV right now, but who cares...

4. Downton Abbey

What took me so long to watch this show??? It is AWESOME. So addicting. I started watching it while on the treadmill but couldn't stop and ended up finishing both seasons in one week. I've got just the Christmas Special left to watch and then it'll be one very long wait until January for next season. ARRRGGGH! (That's me dying over here.)

Season One Trailer

Season Two Trailer

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Winner!!!

I've picked a winner for my 200 follower giveaway. And I did it in the newfangled and very technical way of writing all the names on a piece of paper and two of my daughters each picking a name which they had lots of fun with, although it didn't last long enough for them and they wanted to keep picking names. Haha.

Anyway, the winner of City of Lost Souls is Krista McLaughlin.

The winner of Insurgent is Sara Biren.

Congraaaaaaatulations!!! (I'm totally hearing that in my head like that boxing announcer dude.)

I'll be stopping by your blogs to let you know so you can email me your addresses.

Now, instead of writing an actual post, I'm going back to Downton Abbey. My mom lent me the DVDs and I'm kinda obsessed. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Summer After Grad

Today's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday question is:

How did you spend/how will you spend the summer after graduation?

I wish I could say I took a road trip with friends or backpacked across Europe. Truthfully, I did, oh, um, not much.

However, the April before I graduated, I took a trip to a small town in France called Perigueux. There I visited places like this:

(kinda wish the dates weren't on them all)

There is one thing I did the summer before I headed off to BYU. I was in a community production of West Side Story. It was a lot of fun. I got to play both a Jet girl and a Shark girl, wear an awful wig, and one of my handful of lines was, "Ooh, ooh, oobley-ooh." I sang some songs (no solos) and danced a whole bunch. It was a blast and I'm still sad that I never got my hands on the DVD. All of my pics are of us doing crazy things backstage, so this is the only one I'm gonna share.

That's me on the right with my fugtastic wig.

What did you do the summer after grad? Anyone have more interesting stories than me? It's not hard...

And don't forget, if you're a follower, go to my Monday's post and enter to win a copy of Insurgent or City of Lost Souls!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

It's Teaser Tuesday time, hosted by Miz B. Today's teaser is from The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa:

"I warned you this was no simple quest. I told you before, you and Goodfellow have no idea what lies ahead." He twitched an ear and shifted on the rock, still watching the fire. "You feel it, do you not? The anger. The darkness." I blinked in surprise, but Grimalkin paid no heed. "It will only get worse the farther we go." (page 56)

So what are you reading right now?

And don't forget to go to yesterday's post here to enter to win Insurgent or City of Lost Souls for my 200th follower giveaway!

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Giveaway Day!

Yep, I've reached 200 followers!!! So it's Giveaway Day!!!

So, if you want to win one of these shiny, new, never-been-read books, all you have to do is be a follower and comment on this post! Let me know which book you'd prefer as well. On Friday I'll randomly draw two names and then announce the winner on my blog, as well as hopping to the winner's blog to give them a heads up!

Oh, keep in mind- in case you've been living under a rock or something- these books are in the middle of their series, just in case you haven't read the first one(s).

Good luck! And happy Monday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just Keep Reading, Just Keep Reading

Today I've got a question for you:

If you're not loving a first, even second, chapter of a book, do you give up on it?

I'm thinking about this because yesterday I started Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. Now, I'm NOT the kind of person who gives up on books. I can think of maybe five instances IN MY LIFE when I've done this, three recently. Four out of the five of those times I decided not to read the book because I didn't care for the subject matter. The fifth, I took a chance, bought a book, and just couldn't get into it.

Most of the time though, even if I'm not gung-ho about a book, or even if I'm like, ah, I should read because I gotta finish this book already so I can get to something really great, I still finish. There's a book I read recently that, well actually it started great but I fast grew sick of the author's style. I seriously wanted to chuck that book across the room. But I didn't, I finished it, because I was interested enough to know how the story ended. Another read took me almost halfway in to really understand what was going on and get into it. It turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read.

So yesterday I started Ruby Red and wasn't blown away by the first chapter. I set it down and did other things. During the day when I thought, I could read right now, I just didn't. I wasn't anxious or eager to pick up the book again. When I finally picked it up last night for my usual before-bed reading time, I read. And I read. And I read. By the end of the second chapter I was into it. I didn't want to put it down.

It just got me thinking that if I was the kind of person who gives up on books because the first chapter isn't automatically enticing, look what I would have missed out on! Just the thought of starting and not finishing a book is almost foreign to me. It's VERY difficult for me to do.

So I'm really wondering if I'm a minority, or if people really do axe a book if it hasn't won them over almost right away.

Do you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I'm one follower away from 200!!! I've got two shiny and awesome new books just waiting to be given away so this is just a heads up- as soon as I hit 200, there will be a giveaway!!!

Okay, I'm kinda excited about this for some reason! Maybe because it's the first giveaway I've ever done. I wish I had some great ARCs or a fab contest with an agent or two but alas... Unfortunately I'm not THAT cool.

Anyway, keep your eyes open because you could win one of two books that I don't even own myself- I borrowed them from the library to read. Except, of course I own them now, temporarily, but I haven't even cracked them open because soon they'll be YOURS!!!

That's it. I'm done with all the exclamation points.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writing Retreat

Today's Road Trip Wednesday question, hosted by YA Highway is:

If you could go on a writing retreat anywhere, where would you go & who would you bring?
If time and money were no object, where would you shut yourself away to write the great American novel? And what friends, crit partners, or inspiring authors (living or dead!) would you bring along?

Oh this question is so so easy (and I think I've answered it before...)

While there are many places in the world I wish to travel, there is only one place that would be my dream writing retreat. In fact, it would be my dream living spot. It's not actually a specific place but there are certain things I want there:

1. Hot weather. Lots of sun. A light breeze (not major wind).

2. A beach.

3. Soft sand.

4. Warm ocean (or lake) for writing breaks.

And that's it. That's all I ask. Who would I bring? Um, no one? (Ha, sorry family.) If I was living there, obviously I'd want my family there. But if I'm just going to write, if I'm "shutting myself away to write the great American Canadian novel," then I'd rather be alone. No interruptions. No distractions. No worrying that one of my kids is gonna drown in said ocean. Even other authors, or crit partners, or anyone really would be distracting. Because then you'd get to chatting... and laughing... and not writing. I'd want perfect and complete PEACE. (Probably because I never get it.)

A few other things I'd need there:

1. Phone, iPad, iPod. For music and research. Not to go on twitter or play games or anything like that, I swear.

2. Someone to feed me and bring me drinks. Like a hot cabana boy. Just kidding. Or not.

3. Books to read, for other writing breaks and inspiration.

Where would you go? Would you bring someone with you?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

It's Teaser Tuesday time, hosted by Miz B. at Should Be Reading.

I finished Hallowed by Cynthia Hand last night (amidst lots of tears and snot) which is a sequel to her first novel Unearthly. So today I just randomly opened the book and picked a bit. Which actually is what you're supposed to do for the teaser but usually I pick a bit I've read recently that I really liked. Anyway, here's my teaser for this week:

There are a lot of words I'd use to describe Christian Prescott: mystery, enigma, conundrum, destiny, terrifying, and, well, just plain hot, if I'm being honest, but the word idiot has never crossed my mind. Except maybe that one time at prom. (page 114)

What are you reading right now?

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Booker Award

I was all prepared to blog about something "serious" today. Something "meaningful." Something "smart."

Well, I got saved by the blog award! Ha!

My newest CP Dahlia (you can find her here) has awarded me the Booker award. Thanks Dahlia! And by the way, you should check her out because I just read her MS and it was HAWESOME! (No I didn't misspell, that is hot and awesome all mashed into one super-word.)

The Booker Award is an award given to book bloggers provided they blog at least 50% about books, including reading or writing. The rules, because there's always rules with blog awards for some reason... Anyway, the rules are that I have to name my top five favorite books.


You know I can't pick, right? It's IMPOSSIBLE. Okay, I'll try.

1. Harry Potter books 1-7 by JK Rowling. I know, I know, that's seven books right there. But these are books I could reread and reread and reread (and I have). We all know why these are the BEST BOOKS EVER, so I don't think I have to explain myself.

2. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Again, this is... I don't even know how many books are out there now. I'm refusing to read any more of them until they are ALL out and the series is over. Then I will read them all from start to finish. I used to restart the series every time a new book had come out but I've stopped doing that since there's A LOT and they are VERY long.

There have been lots of complaints about these books and I often agree with them. However, I love and have always loved the fantasy world Jordan created and the oh-so-awesome characters. These books were really my first book LOVES and we never forget our first love, do we?

3. A recent love is another obvious one: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I could read this book over and over and over. In fact, I've been dying to reread it but there's just too many books on my TBR pile.

4. The complete works of Jane Austen. Yep, I'm an Austen fan. Her books rock! Pride and Prejudice has always been a fave, and Persuasion comes a close second.

5. Everything by Meg Cabot and Ally Carter. Their books are so much fun. Light, funny, and entertaining. Exactly what I love and look for in a book.

Okay, so I kinda listed fave authors more than books so I completely broke the rules. Oh well.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

WIP Songs

Guess what? I'm thisclose to finishing my sequel to Daze and Knights. And let me tell you, I'll breathe a massive sigh of relief when it's done because I've been working (on and off) on this thing for TWO YEARS. I haven't given it priority because I know that writing a sequel to a book that isn't published (or may never be published) is kinda a waste of time. But then I say it isn't, because hey- I'm WRITING. No writing is a waste of time.

There's been this one song that has really helped me push through the troubles I've been having. Every time I listen to it I suddenly get new scenes in my head. It has been a life-saver book-saver for me. I just had to share:

There are a few other songs that I either mention in my sequel, or have also inspired it. This one has felt like the soundtrack for the entire novel:

There's one scene with dancing... cuz you know I love dancing and I can't help putting it in somewhere... Anyway, it's in a forest but Jess hears these two songs in her head. The first one she's dancing alone and celebrating something, and the second, she's dancing with a certain gentleman.

(This is the only clip I could find that would play)

(LOVE Michael Buble)

What songs inspire your WIP? I always love hearing new music...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Ah, welcome back Teaser Tuesday. I kinda missed you.

No really, I like doing Teaser Tuesday. I especially like reading other people's teasers, see what they're reading, see what the books are like. It's fun. If you want to check them out, go to Should Be Reading.

My teaser today is from Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter- her 5th Gallagher Girl book. I LOVE these books by the way. They are so much fun to read. I wish Ally Carter was my BFF. Seriously.

"You don't get it, do you?" Macey threw her covers off and stepped barefoot across the floor."We're not mad because you left." She practically spat the words. I wondered if Liz or Bex might wake up, but neither stirred. "We're mad because you didn't take us with you." (page 68)

Anyone else got any teasers?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Random Monday Thoughts

Usually I save my random thoughts for Thursdays, but I couldn't help myself today. My brain can't seem to focus on just one thing.

1. It's going to be a busy week.

2. I'm sad that Blog Me Maybe is over. What am I gonna blog about?

3. Right now I'm critiquing a great contemp read from a girl I met during The Writer's Voice. So far it's been excellent.

4. I'm itching and trying and dying to get the sequel to Daze finished. I'm thisclose. It hurts. Why? Because I've been working on it for a looooong time. I started it the second after I wrote "the end" on my first draft of Daze. Since then, I've worked on it in between Daze edits, and writing Sway, and anytime I had time. I JUST WANT TO GET THE THING FINISHED!

Okay, I'll stop yelling.

5. I've had this idea floating around in my head for MONTHS for a new WIP and I can't wait to start it. Must. Finish. Sequel. First.

6. L.G. Keltner at Writing Off the Edge awarded me the Stylish Blogger award. Haha, have you seen my blog? It's not what I would call stylish. I used to change the background all the time but I've since decided that simplicity is best. If that makes me stylish... well great! (Actually, simplicity has always been my thing when it comes to clothes/decorating, etc.)

7. I've said it a zillion times, but now that the trailer is out I can say it again. LES MISERABLES! It'll be hard to survive until December. Here's the trailer, in case you haven't seen it. I saw it in the theater over the weekend and it was even better all huge and loud and stuff!

8. I'm only 5 followers away from 200! So I'm thinking...  GIVEAWAY! More on that to come...