Friday, August 26, 2011

The Weekly Post (August 21-27, 2011)

Best Book: The best book I read this week was definitely Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The photography is SO cool, and the whole idea of it is so original. I really liked the fact that the MC was a boy, Jacob, and I also really liked how Jacob changed throughout the novel. I can't wait for the sequel!

Anticipated Book: One of the books I'm most excited about in 2012 is Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moscowitz. I love her second book, Invincible Summer, and I adore her on Twitter and her blog. The cover is awesome and the book sounds really original and cool.

On Writing: I've been working on my current WIP for a little over a month and it's just over 20,000 words. That's pretty slow for me, but the beginnings are the hardest part, in my opinion, so hopefully, if school and other obligations don't totally eat my soul, I'll meet my goal of having it finished way before the new year.

Favorite Blog Post: This week definitely goes to THIS post by YA author Saundra Mitchell (author of the awesome The Vespertine) about "the problem with boy books" in YA and feminism and other relevant things. Great post!

Song of the Week: Is one of my favorite songs of all time, and one I've really been drawing from for inspiration for the WIP.

- Nicole

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Favorite Authors - With Pictures!

For people who truly LOVE to read there are no worse questions than "What's your favorite book?" Or "Who's your favorite author?" Because you probably don't have just one answer. At least, I don't. There are so many authors I love and admire and okay, kind of want to be, but I do have five all-time favorites. It is one of my life goals to meet all five of them. So far I've met three, which isn't bad! In random order (because how could I rank them???) My favorite authors are:

Cassandra Clare - Author of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series (for me to consider someone a favorite author I have to love more than just one or two of their books.) I've been lucky enough to meet Ms. Clare twice at book signings.

Sorry the quality is a little bad. This was from the first time I met her in NYC on Aug. 4th, 2010

The 2nd time I met her on April 22nd, 2011
Scott Westerfeld - Author of the Midnighters series, the Uglies series, the Leviathan trilogy, Peeps and The Last Days, So Yesterday (those are the ones I've read and loved). I've also met him twice!

Incredibly bad picture of me with Scott Westerfeld, Oct. 19th, 2009

I met him again at Cassandra Clare's signing on Aug. 4th, 2010.
Ally Carter - Is the author of the Gallagher Girls series and the Heist Society series,  both of which I love SO much. I haven't met her yet. But I will. I WILL. *Insert maniacal laughter*

John Green - If I HAD to pick one favorite author, I'd probably say John Green. He and his work are just so brilliant. And the fact that he's one half of Vlogbrothers/founder of Nerdfighteria doesn't hurt :) I haven't met him either . . . YET. I must meet John Green one day. And hopefully Hank Green too.... Yes, I have weird dreams. He is the author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars (all pre-ordered copies of which WILL BE SIGNED).

Sarah Dessen - Is the author of ten books. I'm not crazy enough to link to them all individually, but I have read them all. They're all amazing. Read them :D I was lucky enough to meet Sarah Dessen this summer. I wrote a blog about it HERE.

Sarah Dessen and me on July 22nd, 2011
Do you have favorite authors? Have you met them? Do you want to?

- Nicole

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So, um, I got bored and redesigned my blog. I liked the old one, but I think this is better. Then again, what do I know, I'll probably redo it again in another few weeks haha. Change is good. It keeps you on your toes. Any thoughts on the new design?

Alright, now I promise I'll leave the internet for today. I should be doing math homework anyhow.

- Nicole

Blurbing in YA

On Sunday I was at my local Barnes and Noble. I was scoping out the YA section; seeing what was new, etc. I saw a book that I'd heard a little about online, and everyone seemed to like. The summary sounded pretty good, but what really sold me was the blurb. The blurb was from one of my favorite authors and people EVER, and also from an author who I know doesn't blurb books very often. So obviously this book must be THAT good to deserve it.

I've noticed that certain authors' names appear on a lot of books. I won't name them, but there are certain authors (who I like) whose blurbs I just can't take seriously since it appears they blurb every new book in their genre. Whereas there are certain authors' whose opinions I trust so much (same with certain bloggers) that I'll buy a book based on their blurb/review alone. Especially if they hardly ever endorse books.

Does anyone else notice who blurbs what? Or care about blurbs? Does the person who blurbed a book matter to you? Share your thoughts! :)

- Nicole

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Weekly Post (August 14-20, 2011)

Best Book: I didn't have any new books to read this week (remedying that tomorrow!!) and I've been really busy reading books for school, but I did have time to reread the amazing Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins. I love this book so much. SO MUCH.

Anticipated Book: So it's only fitting that the book I'm anticipating most this week is the third book in the Hex Hall series, Spell Bound! The cover is gorgeous and I have a feeling it's going to be an amazing finale to the series. Team Archer!

On Writing: Despite how busy I am, the WIP is coming along well. It's at 18,000 words right now. Thanks to the amazingness that is Scrivener I've also been able to organize my notes and outline a bit ahead too, so I'm a happy writer :D

Favorite Blog Post: Kiersten White wrote an absolutely hilarious and sarcastic post about YA genres. You must check it out HERE.

Song of the Week: I'm listening to this one on repeat for the WIP right now.

 - Nicole

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Scrivener and Spotify

I feel like I haven't been blogging enough, but my grandma is visiting from Australia; we hadn't seen her in three years, and one of my stepsisters is here from California and we hadn't seen her for five years, so blogging and writing and tweeting took a backseat :) Not to mention rushing to do tons of summer work now, since school starts for me on the 31st...

My work-in-progress is going really well, though! And I'm definitely contributing some of that success to several new programs I've fallen in love with. I learned about Spotify from one of Natalie Whipple's posts. It's like a hybrid of iTunes and Pandora - so basically a free iTunes with some commericials - and it's amazing! I made all of my novels' playlists on there. I highly recommend trying it.

And I've wanted the writing program Scrivener forever, but until recently it was only available for Mac. The Windows beta is out now, which is what I'm using, and it's every bit as genius as I knew it would be from watching the YouTube tutorial a million times. I write completely linearly, but it's still SO helpful when it comes to outlining and collecting notes and research. I am so in love with it and can't wait to get the real version when it comes out. I never plan on using any other writing program, if I can help it.

Sorry if this reads a little like a commercial :) I really love these programs and they've really helped me feel organized and inspired with my WIP.

- Nicole

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Favorite Writing Quotes

I've developed the habit of saving all my favorite writing quotes in one big document and referring to them in time on inspirational need. I've been a bit obsessed with them lately, though I haven't had time to search out new ones, but I thought I'd share some of the really good ones. Some of them I got from blog posts or articles and others I've just stumbled upon in the internetz, and a many from my favorite authors.

“Reality is a nice start. But don’t feel the need to stay there. If reality were so great in the first place, we wouldn’t have to write fiction.” - Barry Lyga

“Sure, inspiration comes sometimes - a sudden great idea you can’t wait to write down - but it’s not often and usually at inopportune times when you don’t have a pen.” - Cassandra Clare

“Core is what your novel is. It’s not what your novel is about. It’s the thing that made you want to tell this story and no other. It’s the theme, or the character, or the setting that made you love it.” - Maggie Stiefvater

“There’s a word for a writer who never gives up . . . published.” - J. A. Konrath

“If you want to get rich, go to law school and become a corporate attorney. If you want to do something fulfilling and be guaranteed a living wage, become a teacher. If you want to entertain and enlighten people, become a writer . . . and be prepared for the possibility that you’ll live on noodles for a long time.” - Barry Lyga

“Sometimes, writing feels like you're trying to carve a chihuahua out of an elephant with a chainsaw.” - Saundra Mitchell 

“Revision is when you first get to recognize the distance between what you wanted to write, what you thought you were writing, and what you actually did write. That recognition often makes you want to throw up.” - Carolyn See

“I realise people exist who don't read. But it's like I knew there were people who didn't breathe or eat: I can't imagine a life like that.” - Sarah Rees Brennan

“There are millions of people out there who think, ‘hey, I could write an awesome book.’ And they never do. Which is great - I hate competition. - Kiersten White

Do you have any favorite writing quotes??

- Nicole  

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Weekly Post (August 7-13, 2011)

Best Book: Was The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. Everyone is raving about this lyrical, beautiful fairy tale-like book; everything you've heard is true! It's amazing in every way. One of the most original books I've read in a long time. I can't wait to read more novels from this author :)

Anticipated Book: Is Out of Sight, Out of Time, the fifth book in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. I LOVE this series, and everything Ally Carter writes. Each book gets better and better. This one sounds.... insanely good. I can't even describe how excited I am for it. It comes out March 20th, 2011! Such . . a . . long . . . time . .  I might not . . .make it . . . :D

On Writing: My work-in-progress novel is coming only slowly but surely. I'm over 15,000 words right now, which means I probably won't make my goal of 30k by August 31st :( I'm really busy right now, and will be even busier once school starts... One word at a time, right? My only long-term goal is to finish the first draft by the end of 2011, which seems quite doable right now!

Favorite Blog Post: The best one I read this week was THIS one by YA author Sarah Rees Brennan (author of one of my favorite series', The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy) about female characters. Love it!

Song of the Week: I love Taylor Swift more than words can say (I've seen her in concert twice!) And this music video says SO much about my WIP heh heh.

- Nicole

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Introducing Salem and Voldemort

I have two black cats. They do ridiculous things. Sometimes they are brats. Frequently they are adorable. This past weekend when I was at my Dad's house (home of said cats) I took some pictures of their adorableness. Sorry the quality is crappy. My phone's camera really is the worst, but I'm getting a new for my birthday on Sept. 19th!! *Squeal*

This is Salem. He came to visit me when I was writing my WIP, longhand (computer is broken).
This is also Salem. I wasn't giving him attention because I was writing so he had to increase the adorableness.
This is Voldemort, aka The Dark Lord or Vol or Voldy. He is a little pudgy, but we love him anyways. He also thinks he's the cat's meow... *bad pun intended*.

Vol again. I got a new bookcase over the weekend (it's like a ladder, cool, right?) So of course the first thing he does is jump in it....

Aren't they cuteeeee? :)

- Nicole

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quotes From my Favorite TV Show: THE BIG BANG THEORY

I don't watch much TV at all. I prefer to watch vloggers on YouTube and read books. The only shows I watch are Glee (always on DVR so I can fast-forward through commercials), Survivor (because my mom loves it and it's a tradition), and The Big Bang Theory. But I only watch TBBT once the season has come out on DVD. 'Cause my family is weird like that, and I like to watch it for hours on end. Half an hour a week is not enough for me. It is the smartest, funniest show EVER. And one of the most quotable things in existence. So I've collected some good quotes from the show (there are so many I might do another one of these posts). I got them from THIS website. Enjoy! And if you don't, you really need to watch this show :D

Sheldon: Well, well, well, if it isn't Wil Wheaton. The Green Goblin to my Spider-Man, the Pope Paul V to my Galileo, the Internet Explorer to my Firefox!

Sheldon: What exactly does that expression mean, 'friends with benefits?' Does he provide her with health insurance?

Howard brought a date?
Sheldon: A more plausible explanation is that his work in robotics has made an amazing leap forward.

Sheldon: There's a fine line between wrong and visionary. Unfortunately, you have to be a visionary to see it.

Sheldon: I think that you [Leonard] have as much of a chance of having a sexual relationship with Penny as the Hubble telescope does of discovering at the center of every black hole is a little man with a flashlight searching for a circuit breaker.

Sheldon: Oh Mario ... if only I could control everyone the way I control you ... HOP! YOU LITTLE PLUMBER! HOP! HOP! HOP!

Sheldon: Everyone at the university knows I eat breakfast at 8:00 and move my bowels at 8:20.
Leonard: Yes, how did we live before Twitter?

Leonard: Penny, you don't want to get into it with Sheldon. The guy's one lab accident away from being a super villain.

Leonard: Why are you learning Chinese?
Sheldon: I believe the Szechuan Palace has been passing off orange chicken as tangerine chicken, and I intend to confront them.
Leonard: If I were you, I'd be more concerned about what they're passing off as chicken.

Sheldon: Woman, you are playing with forces beyond your ken.
Penny: Yeah, well, your ken can kiss my barbie.

Leonard: If you don't like this Christy, why are you letting her stay?
Penny: Well, she was engaged to my cousin while she was sleeping with my brother, so she's kind of family.

Raj: What do you say Howard?
Howard: I say Vegas baby!
Raj: What are you gonna tell your mother?
Howard: Sea World baby!

Leonard: I think I'm starting to get this.
Rajesh: Really? The only thing I've learnt in the last 2 hours is that American men drink a lot of beer, pee too often and have trouble getting erections.
Leonard: Focus on the game, not the commercials Raj.

Wolowitz: (watching America's Next Top Model): Oh, look! That's the future Mrs. Wolowitz. No, wait! That's the future Mrs. Wolowitz. With her head in the lap of... what a coincidence... is the future Mrs. Wolowitz.
Leonard: Yeah, and they can all move in with you and your mother. The current Mrs. Wolowitz.

Howard: Sheldon knows football? I mean Quidditch, sure, but football?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Weekly Post (July 31-August 6, 2011)

Best Book: The most awesome book I read this week was Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer. I already did a review of that HERE. Since I already talked about that one, I also read Supernaturally by Kiersten White yesterday. I also thought this was an amazing sequel. I love the world and the wit and the new problems and information that are revealed in it.

Anticipated Book: Has to go this week to Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Her first book, Anna and the French Kiss, is a must-read for anyone who loves a beautiful, realistic love story, or just a story about growing up and finding yourself. Or Paris. Or British guys. Basically, it's for everyone. The paperback of Anna came out this week with the first chapter of Lola in it. When I was at Barnes and Noble earlier this week I read the first chapter and it was funny and wonderful just like I knew it would be. So much of Lola's life and personality is shown in that first glimpse, it's astounding. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS BOOK. All caps necessary. It comes out on September 29th, 2011, and I am counting the seconds.

On Writing: My work in progress is going really well! I've finally figured out most of the major plot events and the ending. I love it so much! It's at 13,100 words right now. Progress is slower than I'd like thanks to how busy I've been, but I'm not complaining as long as something is getting written :)

Favorite Blog Post: Was THIS one from Kiersten White (author of aforementioned Supernaturally. I adore her blog!!) It's about how talent and especially hard work are so important in writing, and uses aforementioned Lola (see how well this all fits together? ;) As an example.

Song of the Week: My favorite Youtube musicians Megan and Liz came out with a new original song and video this week and it's by far my favorite of theirs.

- Nicole

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Don't Stop Believing *insert cheesy music here*

My new WIP is at 60 pages exactly right now!! There's something about the landmark numbers, for both page and word count, that makes me very excited! As if all I have to do is right ten more pages and get to 70 and then I'll have more validation that there is progress. I wanted to write this post because up until this point for this novel I've only known the premise, the characters, and had a very vague idea of how I wanted it to end. Even the plot was a bit shaky... but I kept writing anyway because I love the idea. I figured that if I just shut up the voices of self-doubt and kept hacking away at it, eventually the plot and ending would come to me.

And they did! *Stops for applause. Hears crickets* I was lying in bed after writing out a really fun/funny scene (if I do say myself :P) longhand that the whole thing came to me, and it was pretty magical. I grabbed my WIP notebook and wrote it all down in the messiest handwriting EVER, which is saying something because I have awful handwriting, and then it took me a long, long time to fall asleep. I couldn't stop imagining how the ending was going to play out in my head and all the things the characters could say and do and all the ways I could torture them to get to that ending *insert evil writer laugh*.

I'm rambling a bit, I guess what I wanted to say is that even though having a plan and an outline is great, sometimes going out of your comfort zone and just starting the story is enough. I had to trust myself and to trust that in time the answers would come to me. Now they did and I'm more excited than ever to write this story! Don't give up in the beginning just because there's still such a long way to go. As long as you start, eventually you'll figure out where you're going and how to get there :D

Happy writing!

- Nicole

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review: WOLFSBANE (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer


Go to WOLFSBANE Goodreads Page

Wow... I've never done a review on my blog and I wasn't planning to but I just have to share my feelings on this book. For me, a lot of second books lose me because of their lack of action or plot or the characters being annoying. WOLFSBANE blew me away. I read it last night in one sitting. The pacing is flawless! The whole book is a head-spinning, heart-pounding, roller coaster ride.

I still have me issues with Calla, but I loved the new characters in this book (Conner!!). Cremer's many unique characters and the seamless and interesting worldbuilding would make JK Rowling proud, and that's high praise.

After book 1, NIGHTSHADE, I was firmly Team Ren. I like Shay enough, and I actually like him better after reading WOLFSBANE, but I'm still adament that Ren is the one for Calla. Which means most of this book I was dying for a bit of Ren. Every scene with him is shocking and heartbreaking and I loved every second of it. I cannot wait for book 3, BLOODROSE!! The entire time I was reading I was thinking "OMG this is perfect and wonderful and holy crap what just happened AHH."

And then I finished it. And all I could think was "Andrea Cremer, I hate you right now" :D I read chapter 1 of BLOODROSE that's available online and I'm not quite so upset now. Overall: amazing book, amazing sequel. Highly recommend this series.

Happy Reading!

- Nicole