Summer! (TBR Summer 2017)

Hi, reader peeps!

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It’s summer (well, close enough) and I am putting together my summer reading list!

This is not a complete list of all the books I want to read and I hope I will read more than this. These are just some of the highlights for me. (click on the titles to go to Goodreads for descriptions)

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

This one is new (not even out yet at the time of this post). I read the authors first book Made You Up and loved it. This one sounds like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (which I LOVE SO VERY MUCH).

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Lizzie Bennet

I started this one a few months ago at the suggestion of a like-minded bookworm. I love it so far and dare I say the writing style is more enjoyable than Jane Austen? But it is a rather thick book. The last two classics I read were Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo and both took over a year. I don’t want to spend that long with War and Peace.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The conclusion to glorious Russian-inspired fantasy trilogy (with firebirds and sea monsters!!!). I’ve read the first two books of the Grisha trilogy and I am looking forward to finally finishing it.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This is the biography that inspired Lin Manuel Miranda to create Hamilton. I don’t want to read it until I’m done with War and Peace, though. I think that would be too much historical/factual all at once for me.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

This is a contemporary romance about two Indian teens whose parents have arranged marriage for them. I’ve heard it’s absolutely adorable and so good to the point that I have preordered it (it comes out the same day as Eliza and Her Monsters— May 30th– which I have also preordered).

the Lydia Bennet and the adorbs  |  comfort vlog: the lizzie bennett diaries and the taming of digital media | THE STATE

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

I read Breathe, Annie, Breathe in less than 24 hours. The author writes YA romances with sports and they are cute and light and good for days when you really just want to read fluff.

The Crown by Kiera Cass

I love The Selection series (though admittedly, I usually just skim through the political war bits and read the romance) and I love the second series (the ones twenty years after the first ones) more than the original. The Crown is the last one. Cue fangirl tears of the end of a series.

And that’s it! What books are you wanting to read this summer? Tell me all about them in the comments!

"Lizzie Bennet Diaries" Appreciation Gif-Blog:

Kate out.

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Updates on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Hello, reader-peeps.

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We’re off to see the wizard!

I’ve been doing a lot recently. And I thought that it might make a good blog post to tell you some of the things I am doing. (None of these are New Year’s Resolutions, even though they sound like it.)

I’m watching how many carbohydrates I consume a day.

I’m aiming to eat no more than 100 carbs a day. There are health reasons for this, but the main goal is to lose some weight which will help with the other things. Eating less carbs means eating less bread and sugar, mostly. Breakfast time is difficult. Cold cereal is almost completely out. Forget bagels, unless they are mini-bagels or only a half. So breakfast has been mostly eggs with something that doesn’t have many carbs. The only other problem I’ve had with this diet is that I’m hungry a lot. Hopefully that will subside over time. In the mean time, cheese and peanut butter are my friends.

I’m exercising.

This goes with the last point. We have an elliptical and I have been doing 15 minutes on it a day (except today, oops). It’s been… exerting? Which is the point. But since all I have to do is turn on music and start walking, it’s not that bad.

I’m blogging!

See? See I am blogging! 😛

I’m driving!

And I’m getting much better. Hopefully before too long, I will have a license and a job!

I’m reading!

I just finished Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and it is the best book on writing technique that I’ve read (and the only one I’ve read all the way through). I’m currently reading Stephen King’s On Writing, which is have writing book and half memoir. It’s been good so far. I’m also reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I watched the movie in December when I spent a week in Bloomington with Lily J. I enjoyed it so I thought I might enjoy the book as well. Though, I have to wonder as I read it, was this book conceived because of a love for the original Pride and Prejudice or was it hatred for it? Was it a matter of “I can write better than this junk!” or “This is awesome! I wonder what it’d be like with zombies…”? Or was it a dare? A punishment?

If I ever meet the author, I’m asking him.

One thing I’m not doing is writing.

At least for today.

The story I was working on didn’t work out. I don’t have any other plot bunnies begging for my attention.

I seem to go through a lot of plot bunnies before finding the ones that work. Sometimes, this is okay with me because I have another plot bunny that seems better and I immediately go into that one. But this time, there are no plot bunnies.

I think I need to refill my creative bank. So I’m reading. And watching Netflix. And listening to music. I’m exposing myself to stories.

And I’m praying. I know I would not be an author if God had not given me the desire to be one. He has given me plot bunnies since I was little and didn’t even know what plot bunnies were. So, I’m going to pray and trust that God will give me inspiration when He sees fit and not a moment before. I can’t waste time and brain energy worrying that I will never have another good idea again.

Tell me what you’re up to. Have you read or watched P&P&Z? Know any good egg recipes? What do you do when your plot bunny farm becomes dangerously quiet? Let me know in the comments below!

Kate out.

NaNoWriMo Update: This… Isn’t Going to Work

Hi, reader-peeps.

NaNo is going pretty well. Except for one teeny, weeny little detail.

I am 10,000 words behind.

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Which… is this really a problem?

Yes, I could catch up. It will involve lots of writing (just over 2K a day). Last November, I fell behind on day 10, changed novels on day 13, finally got caught up on about day 27. So, yes, I am capable of catching up.

But the story is going well! Slow but well. Really well, in fact. Yeah, not perfect, but I like it.

So… is it worth trying to catch up and “finish” NaNo?

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I really feel like I could win. And if I decide not to shoot for 50K, I will still use NaNo as positive peer pressure (there has got to be a better way to put that, but what else would you call it? You have Thousands of People all writing together, encouraging each other to do the same.).

But is it worth the risk of possibly coming up with a story I don’t love (which happened last year) to try to “finish” NaNo?

And how do I write 2K a day?

Image result for jack sparrow gifsKate out.

Why I Don’t Write Book Reviews Often

You know what’s hard for me, reader-peeps?

Writing book reviews.

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But they might not review.

If you’ve been around here for long, you will notice that I do not post many book reviews. I could probably count the book reviews I’ve done on this blog with one hand.

(If you haven’t been here for a long time, welcome! So glad to have you here!)

And it’s not that I don’t want to review books for you guys. That would actually be kind of awesome and fun. And since I, at least partially, fall under the category of “Book Blogger”, it probably would be a good thing for this blog, too.

So what’s the problem?

I have a small list of problems, actually.

1.I don’t know how.

Community Post: Proof That "The Princess And The Frog" Is One Of The Most Underrated Disney Movies Ever

It’s not so much that I don’t know how to write a review as it is I don’t know how to make it exciting and fun. I mean, a lot of people review books, but how many do you know that write fun reviews? I could write a review telling you what went down in the book– but then, what’d be the point? You could just read the book and it’d be much less boring.

Cait from Paper Fury writes amazing reviews, full of snark and GIFs and telling you exactly what she liked and disliked about any given book. Hers are reviews I read twice– once before I’ve read the book to see if it’s a book I want to read and once after I’ve read the book so I can share in her fangirling.

Which kind of brings me to the next point:

2. I’m not always sure how to pinpoint exactly what I liked and disliked.

literally me writing

This is true even when I fangirl with friends about a book I just read. I know there are parts I liked and disliked, but sometimes it takes someone else specifically mentioning those things before I can say “OMW YES THAT WAS AN AMAZING PLOT TWIST!!!”.

I am slowly learning how to be more analytical. It’s been a process for the last 3-ish years. But my analytical skills are more of when I’m reading to edit or help someone else edit. I’m not going to edit a published book and I’m probably not going to make notes about things that need to be fixed as I’m reading.

Would making notes help me write better reviews? Probably. Would that also maybe suck out some of the fun of reading? I sincerely hope not, because now I want to try this.

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Subpoints:

2.2. Things I liked or disliked are not always logically explained.

"I had a point..."   THATS IT THIS IS ME 200% OF THE TIME

I can absolutely love a book filled with plot holes. I can absolutely hate a book everyone else loves and deems “perfect”.

I know part of that is my own opinion and what I’ve liked and disliked before. I know part of that is how the author wrote the book. I know part of it is how I go into the book– did all my friends love it? have I been waiting for this forever? Am I so absolutely in love with the premise? Do I even know what the premise is?

But whether or not I like a book is not necessarily based on the quality of a book.

2.5 Writing a review for someone’s book and I know they will see it…

 

Being part of the writing community is awesome. Writing reviews for your friends’ books, which is a rare occurrence for me but still happens, is less awesome…

You want to be honest. But you don’t want don’t want to admit that there were parts you disliked (especially if you can’t pinpoint why you disliked them) because you don’t want to hurt feelings. But you want to promote your friend’s work. But you want to be honest.

Aaaah, there's a leek on the boat! > Iguana • 2 years ago Well I don't carrot all.

Moving on.

3. I manage to write a review with things I like and dislike and specific things… and it’s only 100 words long.

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If you’ve been around here for long (deja vu, anyone?) you know that my writing tends toward conciseness. I say what I have to say and that’s it. Same with novels– the first draft of LASER was 38K. That’s barely a novel at all.

(gifs) Maybe you should listen to your own advice, Lizzie. Darcy sure did.

I’m not saying I need to write an essay about each and every book I read, but 100 words is kind of smallish. I like to think I’m getting better at expounding but it’s still hard.

So, that’s basically my list of why I don’t write book reviews that often.

Speaking of book reviews, here’s a lovely post by Cait of 10 Ten Things Book Bloggers Should Not Be Worrying About. And you should really go read a few of her reviews on Goodreads, because, as already stated, they are fabulous.

Any tips? Anyone think I’m a lost cause? Do you take notes when you read? How do you guys write reviews? How do you balance fangirling and writing a coherent review? What are you reading now? And how is your writing going, peeps? Lemme know in the comments!

(Also, looking for new ways to finish up a blog post. It’s a work in progress…)

Summer!

Hiya, reader-peeps!

Summer is upon us and with that comes summer plans and summer TBRs and plans to go swimming or camping or gardening or start a new novel.

Olaf references Bert’s penguin dance from Mary Poppins when he performs “The Summer Song.”

Hey, Katie. What are your plans for the summer?

So glad you asked!

1. 100-4-100!

In case you don’t know, 100-4-100 is a challenge hosted by Go Teen Writers in  which you write 100 words every day for 100 days. It starts June 1st. You’re allowed to work on one project only (there are exceptions to this rule), with one grace day a week and one grace week for the entire challenge. I’ve done it a few times before and it really does help get through drafts.

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2. Vacation Bible School

VBS is always fun. This year, I am working in crafts, where I will be explaining where the stickers go and that paper is not for eating.

3. Editing!

Because LASER is not done yet. I hopefully will be getting it to betas within the next few weeks.

4. Writing!

Editing does not translate well into 100-4-100.

I think I’m going to spend the last few days of May outlining this new novel and trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing with it because I am having a lot of trouble getting it started.

We’re going to do something scary and see how fast we can plot this thing using Cait’s method.

Why is it scary? Because 1. we are resorting to outlining at all, 2. it’s fabulous Cait plotting and while she is fabulous, this is her plotting and it may not work for me (because I am not Cait), 3. we have to keep editing during this, and 4. there are only a few days left in May.

5. Reading

Because we can’t forget this.

I honestly don’t know what exactly I’m going to read this summer. (Any suggestions?)

6. Driver’s License!

Because I don’t have one yet. And I need one. And once I get one, I will have no reason that I can’t go to the library and get  books. Or a job. Or both.

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7. Ch1Con! 

This will be my first writer’s conference ever and I will also be going with Lily J. one of my bestest friends ever! SO EXCITED!!!

Quiz: Which Frozen Quote Should Be Your Life Motto?8. Secret Project. 

This is a secret for now. So I’m not telling anyone yet.

9.? 

I feel like I’m missing something big, but I’m…

OH.

9. Blogeversary! 

Pokémon Gifs- Remember watching this vid and thinking "Why are they so much cuter when they can talk?"

Spiral-Bound will be two years old in a little more than a week! Not yet sure how we will be celebrating.

10. My Birthday

Which is in August. Not sure yet how we will be celebrating.

So, that’s some of what I am going to do this summer.  What are your summer plans, reader-peeps? And is anyone else going to Ch1Con?

 

Meeting My Favorite Author

Hey, reader-peeps!

So, two weeks ago, I got to meet my favorite author.

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MAGGIE STIEFVATER!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, I’m about fangirling too hard to write a coherent and good post about this (and that’s part of the reason it took nearly two weeks to get a post out). This experience was surreal and I wish it wasn’t over.

I got a Maggie Stiefvater facepalm picture.

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(I don’t think she was actually facepalming. I was just lucky enough to get a picture at the time.)

So what happened?

I made her a bracelet the night before. Because she likes bracelets from fans and wears them until they fall off.

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The day of the signing, we (me, my mom, and my dad) leave for Chicago. We got to Anderson’s Bookstore (same beautiful bookstore that I met Brandon Sanderson at last year). I pick up my copy of The Raven King and the signing line ticket.

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Dad got a picture of Maggie’s car.

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A while later, Maggie came out and promptly climbed on top of the table, as she is known to do. And she kicked the sign off the table.

Anyone who has read Maggie’s books knows that Maggie is an amazing storyteller. She’s also an amazing oral storyteller. She told us several anecdotes, most of which were centered around “What does an average work day for you look like?” She told us about getting her favorite sunglasses smashed by a goat and writing while on an airplane and going to Wales with her family and why she is not a commission portrait artist anymore (it involved an ugly baby). She told us that her characters are not originals, but pieces of them are stolen from other people. She told us her favorite scenes to write from The Raven Boys (Vague to avoid spoilers: a scene in which Blue and Gansey find a wallet and the recognize the face inside and the scene at Adam’s trailer when Ronan comes back).

Then, the signing line. It happened quickly. I gave her the bracelet, told her my favorite book of The Raven Cycle (the first one) and she asked if I was a person who generally liked the first book of a series. I am actually. She told me she tends to like the last books and loves the feeling of finishing a really good series and then just wandering around the house aimlessly (I know I’ve felt that– anyone else?).

Then I signed her car cover that she’s been having everyone sign and then we left the store.

And I felt like I just finished a really good series and was wandering around aimlessly.

I did get a picture beside her car, though.

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This car is so cool and I’m not that much of a car person.

So that’s about it. We got pizza for dinner and we went home.

I took pictures and nearly two weeks to write this post.

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I also have convinced my mother to buy The Raven Boys. So that will be interesting.

So! What have you guys been up to lately? And if you haven’t read something by Maggie Stiefvater, you need to. Seriously. Go. Now. Do it.

And if anyone sees a video of this event, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know.

Go carpe the heck out of your diems! (And read Maggie Stiefvater.)

Book Review:The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel

“A modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning and hugely popular YouTube series and transmedia project The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is one of the most successful webseries on YouTube, with more than 230,000 subscribers and millions of views, along with thousands of followers on its related social media accounts. The fans raised more than $460,000 on Kickstarter to support the creators ($400,000 more than the stated $60,000 goal), making it the most successful campaign for a webseries in Kickstarter’s history. Now, the writers behind the series have expanded Lizzie’s reach to the place where she’s always had a natural home: a book.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries may have started as her grad student thesis, but it grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters, beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. People watched, debated, tweeted, tumblr’d, and suddenly Lizzie—who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman—was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

Following the structure of the Jane Austen classic, with each chapter also complementing the addictive videos, this standalone novel has plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and hook new readers. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it’s never been done before.”

 

I don’t often review books but this one was amazing.

I think I felt more for Darcy as I read this than I did reading/watching/rewatch-reading the original Pride and Prejudice book and adaptions…


Okay, I’m not Lizzie and I’m not sure I would actually want to be. Ever. Has nothing to do with her family but has everything to do with the fact that she was more of a jerk than Darcy was.

A couple of things came through in this version of the story. Things that were in the original, but worded differently so that it hit home. Like when Jane and Lizzie are at Netherfield and Darcy starts talking about what makes an accomplished woman? That last remark about reading was about Lizzie, I am 98% certain. And how Lizzie complained that Darcy wouldn’t give people second chances and yet she was so very determined to not give him another chance.

This was a pretty awesome companion book to go with the LBD web-series. I think you could probably read it without having seen the videos, but it is definitely more interesting having seen all of LBD and it’d also be fun to read this and watch the videos at the same time (there are links to the videos inserted throughout the book).

All that being said, content warnings for sex. This is a more modern version of P&P and what is scandalous now is different than it was in the early 1800’s. But it’s not any worse than the vlog-series. There is also some mild swearing.

I recommend this to anyone who has seen the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. And if I read this again, I think I’m going to watch the videos at the same time.

That smile . . . too precious The Lizzie Bennet Diaries:
DFTBA!

A Few of My Favorite Things

I have been tagged by my friend Wendy to do this lovely Christmas tag, made by another friend, H.M. Wilson.

 

Rules:
Answer prompts with the wintery/Christmassy theme in mind.
Tag at least 5 of your blogger-buddies to take part.
Use the title picture.
Spread the love around!

Here we go!

1.) Favorite “snuggle weather” Books

Hmm… The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is definitely on the list.

Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate (short, sweet rhyming picture book).

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Yes, I know this one isn’t Christmas-y/winter-y, but the very first chapter with the hot chocolate and everything…

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2.) Favorite wintery/Christmassy Snacks

(Bonus points for a recipe… *hint-hint*)

Baker cat goes insane... http://themetapicture.com/baker-cat-goes-insane/?fb_action_ids=560033027350276_action_types=og.likes_source=other_multiline_object_map=%7B%22560033027350276%22%3A129775763873528%7D_type_map=%7B%22560033027350276%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D_ref_map=%5B%5D

Haystacks. Which is basically peanuts, chow mein noodles, and melted butterscotch chips all mixed together and plopped into piles to set. And then you eat them. Easy enough recipe.

Jam thumbprint cookies. Sugar cookie recipe that you roll into a ball, push your thumb into, put jam in the thumbprint part, and then bake. These are lovely with raspberry jam.

Mint anything. And this is one I do not get to eat much of, if at all, as my sister is allergic to mint and the smell alone sets the allergic reaction off. But I love peppermint bark and mint M&Ms.

3.) Favorite Hot Drinks

Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Tea?

Pinkie & caffeine... Oh Celestia help us!! (More pony gifs on the page...)

4.) Favorite Christmas Movies

How many am I allowed to pick?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, both animated and non-animated. I’m kinda sentimental about these ones.

Bahaha my favorite scene in this movie by far! "But if I moved the loathing til 9, I would still have time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness...but what will I wear??!":
And it’s quotable.

Christmas with the Kranks is the only “adult” Christmas movie I like. I am apparently extremely picky in the category of adult movies.

Prep and Landing. Which is just awesome.

There are so many more, but I think this is enough for now.

5.) Favorite holiday Songs

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

The Little Drummer Boy (despite my mother’s hatred of it– Hi, Mom!)

Mary, Did You Know (Which, btw, Peter Hollens has done a gorgeous cover of)

6.) Favorite “snow day” Crafts

I don’t really have a lot of crafts that I like to do specifically this time of year, but knitting while watching a Christmas movie is delightful. And there’s always the traditional paper chain.

Also, STORY TIME.

So, several years ago, when my hobbits were smaller, Mom and Dad went Christmas shopping and we offspring stayed at home and made Christmas ornaments out of cereal boxes and… GLITTER.

FREE Cartoon Graphics / Pics / Gifs / Photographs: Peanuts Woodstock animated gifs for winter

We traced around Christmas cookie-cutters, cut the shapes out, and then proceeded to apply glue and glitter. It was very fun and VERY SPARKLY.

We still have at least some of those ornaments.

 7.) Do you wanna build a snowman?

YES! LET IT SNOW!

10 Disney Things to do on a Winter’s Day | Oh My Disney | Awww

 Now!

Do I even know 5 people who would do the tag?

*shrug*

If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, consider yourself tagged. I have seen it. 

Christmas Vader:

Thank you, Miss H.M. Wilson, for such a lovely tag!

charlie brown christmas quotes - Google Search:
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Black Friday Indie Christian Book Sale

Hello, Reader-Peeps! Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I’m helping out promoting a Black Friday Indie Christian Book Sale. There are a ton of books on this list, some written by Kendra E. Ardnek, who has been on my blog before. I hope you at least take a look perhaps Impulsive Book Buying Syndrome will take you?

Here’s the info. DFTBA!

ICB_FBAdIt’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.

From Nov 27 (that’s today!) through Nov 30th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!

Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.

What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.