October 31, 2015

So You Like... #20

Admit it: you judge books by their covers. Maybe you'll still read a book if its cover isn't the best, but you have high expectations if the cover is gorgeous. Well, if that's the case than today's post is for you.







A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)





Do you find yourself picking books to read based on their covers? What are some of your favorite book covers?

October 30, 2015

Random Friday: Book Character Costumes

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
Mae govannen, everyone! This is Sarah from Dreams and Dragons! I’m super-excited to be guest posting this week, especially since I love the theme: book character costumes! I love dressing up as characters from my favorite books (and, occasionally, movies and other fandoms), even though I don’t get to do it very often. So, for this week’s post, I’ll be talking about some of the characters I’d love to go in costume as.

1. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games.) 
I’d probably do something like her hunting outfit as seen in the first movie, since it’s pretty easy: black or brown shirt, hiking pants, brown jacket, Mockingjay pin, and, of course, bow and arrow, plus her across-the-head braid (even though she technically didn’t have the pin until after the Reaping or the braid until the Capitol interview). I can kind of do the braid myself . . . or I can ask my sister to do it for me, since she can have it done perfectly in about five minutes. Doing something more complicated- one of her interview outfits, for example, or her Mockingjay armor, would be fun too, but if I’m going to go to all that effort, I’d rather do a character other than Katniss. For example . . .

2. Arwen, Eowyn, or a random elf (The Lord of the Rings). 
Confession: I actually got to do the ‘random elf” option for some of my senior pictures, which was super fun. I wore a black skirt, flowy purple top, brown boots, and my Lorien cape, and had my sister do my hair in an elvish style. Perhaps it wasn’t traditional elven garb for Middle Earth . . . but it was close enough. Arwen  or Eowyn would be fun too, though I’d have to actually make or buy a dress to do that option. So, unless I suddenly have a lot more opportunities for costume parties (or I start going to a church where Eowyn’s white and brown dress wouldn’t look terribly out of place, paired with more modern accessories), I’ll content myself with just being a random elf.

3. Sophie Hatter (Howl’s Moving Castle). 
I really want to find an opportunity to do this one sometime- but preferably when I’m a few years older and I have a boyfriend who’ll dress up as Howl for me! I’d probably dress as the movie version of young Sophie, since book Sophie has red-gold hair and movie Sophie has brown like I do. Still, it would be a simple costume: grey, blue, or sea-green dress (depending whether you’re going off the book or the movie for appearances), apron, and hat. 

4. Vin or another Mistborn (the Mistborn trilogy). 
I probably wouldn’t be able to pull off Vin, really, but I could play another random Mistborn well enough. A Mistcloak- easy enough to make, it’s just a black or grey capelet and then cape-length ribbons in shades of black and grey sewed in layers along the edge- and dark, practical clothes, along with one of my Misting vial necklaces, would be all I’d really need. Or, if I wanted, I could play Marasi or another Roughs-era character, with a Victorian-style day dress or Mistcoat (sort of a combination of a duster-style coat and a Mistcloak), white shirt, brown pants or skirt, and a Western-style (fake) pistol and belt. 

5. Various Lunar Chronicles characters. 
Plenty of options here! I’d probably dress up as Cinder, since we’re closest in appearance. She’d be pretty easy: cargo pants, practical shoes, a tank top and work shirt, and, of course, work gloves. Of course, I could also try to pull off Levana or a random member of the Lunar Court, with an over-the-top glamorous outfit and hairdo. If I had a different hair color, of course, or felt like dying my hair, Scarlet (red hoodie, jeans, sneakers) or Cress (a cute dress and bare feet) would be pretty simple and fun too. (Also, on a sidenote: we need more Lunar Chronicles cosplay, because when I googled it to search for what people had already done, I came up with pretty much zilch.)

6. One of my own characters. 
Cheating? Maybe. But I, like a lot of bookworms, am also a writer, and even if no one else knows who I’m dressing up as, it’s still fun. (Plus, some of them I can dress like on normal days and not get looked at like an unusually crazy person- always a plus!)
What book characters would you dress up as if you could? Tell me in the comments, or share in your own Random Fridays post!
Thanks to all of you for reading, and thanks to Emma for having me as a guest host! 

October 29, 2015

Interview with a Blogger: Nori of ReadWriteLove28

I'd like to welcome Nori to the blog today. She's a fairly new blogger in the community (compared to me and others at least), but she's already made a splash and she's been doing some big things with authors and other bloggers.

The Blogger
Nori is the blogger at www.readwritelove28.com. She is obsessed with her dog, Ellie Mae, food, and books (of course), especially YA contemporary and fantasy. She is also a beta reader and offers developmental editing services on her blog. In addition, she is the founder of UBUbiz, and hosted Bookitcon, a charity book event in August 2015. You can find Nori online on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, and her blog. 

The Interview

Emma: So you run Sunday Street Team and #RQWN (Random Questions With Nori) and you were in charge of Bookitcon! Where did you get the ideas for these events, and what has running them been like?
Nori: To be honest, I can't tell you where all of my ideas come from, other than saying my head! My mind is constantly thinking about what I can do to make my blog/twitter/life better. I can tell you a story of how #RQWN came to be...There was one day, earlier in the year, when I was up at midnight and couldn't fall asleep. I decided to go onto Twitter, and see what was new. After perusing my feed, I was quickly bored, and decided that I wanted to interact more. So, I sent out a tweet asking, "Who wants to play the random question game?" I didn't think that I would get a lot of responses seeing as it was late at night, but to my surprise, a handful of people said sure! So, I started tweeting out random questions that I thought of off of the top of my head. At the end, someone asked me if I could do it again, and that's how #RQWN was formed! :) As far as Bookitcon, I can say that it was a LOT of hard work, but it was definitely worth the effort. I am thrilled that it was successful, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen again. 

Emma: How do you manage to have time to run everything, blog regularly, and do everything else in your life?
Nori: I joke around that I have a time machine hidden in my home, but to be honest, I just like being a busy bee. If I have a moment of free time, I find something to fill it. Of course, I'm not saying that it's easy, but if I have a moment of free time, I try to use it to get something done, whether that be for my blog or for real life. It's all about time management and prioritizing.
Emma: What's been your proudest blogging moment so far?
Nori: Hmmm, that's a good question. I would probably say putting together the Sunday Street Team or the Book Blogger Creativity Project. Both were ideas that I had no idea if people would support, but they definitely did! I currently have over 80 people signed up for the Sunday Street Team, and I had 118 people sign up for the Book Blogger Creativity Project.

Emma: What's your favorite part of the book blogging community?
Nori: Ooh, I like how you changed up the question! Generally I get asked "what's my favorite part of book blogging" and I answer "the community" but I guess I'm going to have to create a different response for this question. ;) I love the book blogging community because everyone is extremely welcoming. While we may not know each other in real life, that doesn't matter. We respect each other for our blogs, and our determination, rather than just judging one another based on age/job in real life/etc... Also, I have made some amazing real life friends due to blogging, and I can't imagine my life without them. 
Emma: What genres do you prefer and why? Are there any you won't read?
Nori: I LOVE fantasy and contemporary! Fantasy allows me to travel into a new world, and gain new experiences. Contemporary generally messes with my emotions and makes me either happy, or contemplative. Both are fun! :) I will read just about anything, barring erotica. 
Emma: Are there any upcoming books you're highly anticipating? Any you'd highly recommend?
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira, Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath, and Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh are the first four that come to mind- but honestly, I could go on for hours upon hours. 

Emma: What's your advice for new book bloggers?
Nori: I actually just posted a two week feature on my blog called Basics of Book Blogging, where I gave tips to newbie bloggers about what to do!
But, to sum it all up, BE YOU. There is no one "true" way to blog, so don't be afraid to veer off of the beaten path. It's okay to forge a new road. Your blog is a success as long as YOU are happy with it. Don't let others scare you into doing something that you don't want to do!
Emma: Can you share three random facts about yourself?
Nori: Sure!
1) I'm a speed reader.
2) My favorite color is purple.
3) I love coffee AND tea AND apple cider AND hot chocolate! I can't pick just one.

Emma: Signature question time: what's your favorite fairytale?
Nori: Ooooooh, that's tough. Let me think...I know! I loved Diamonds and Toads!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Nori! If y'all want to find her elsewhere, here are her links and names:
Twitter: @ReadWriteLove28
Instagram: ReadWriteLove28
GoodReads: ReadWriteLove28
Pinterest: ReadWriteLove28
Polyvore: ReadWriteLove28

October 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween

This Halloween, I'm recommending books that I think will keep you on the edge of your seat! Most of them wouldn't fall under the horror genre, so if you're not into super scary books, these are recommendations for you!

1. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

2. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

3. Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

4. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

5. Nil by Lynne Matson

6. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

8. Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

9. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

10. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

October 26, 2015

Dear Taylor: Thanks for the Memories

It's been almost a week since I had the best night of my semester. I saw Taylor Swift in concert for the second time, and it was an experience I'll never forget. I went with three of my best friends at Asbury. We got to the arena at about 4:45, and it was already jam-packed with people. The doors opened at six and we immediately made a beeline for the Taylor Nation line, which we were in for close to an hour. They had four outfits: Taylor's "Ew!" sketch one, her dress from the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, and the two below

(from the "Blank Space" music video)

(from the "Shake It Off" music video)

Then while Elise and Chris went to find our seats, Julia went with me to pick up my merchandise. I got a T-shirt and the tour book.
Our seats were seriously high up. I'm sure they were as high as they were at the Red Tour, but they felt higher because Rupp is smaller than Soldier Field. We still had a pretty good view, since we faced the stage straight-on.
At 7:30 Vance Joy came on and performed for half an hour. He played us a new song, covered "Stay With Me," and closed with "Riptide."

(before Vance performed)

(lights on the catwalk during Vance's performance)

Then we waited half an hour while they set up for Taylor. It wasn't boring, though. They played music and videos and Taylor trivia. When "Feel So Close" started, I knew Taylor was about to come on, but I could tell most of the people (those who aren't active in the fanbase on Tumblr and Twitter) had no clue. 
I can't even quite put into words how amazing that night was. It went by so fast, and it was sparkling and beautiful and exhilarating. I've got some more photos that I'm putting below, and I'll include a couple videos too. :)

(after "Welcome to New York")

(backdrop during "I Know Places")

(during "Clean")

(Taylor and her funky piano during "Enchanted/Wildest Dreams")

My favorite performances of the night were "New Romantics," "I Know Places," "Clean," "Enchanted/Wildest Dreams," and "Out Of the Woods."
If you want to see more videos, check my Tumblr. I uploaded pretty much all of them there under the tag "1989 tour lexington".

October 25, 2015

Rewind & Review #48

Rewind & Review

So last weekend was fall break (more like fall pause), and my mom came to visit! We did a lot of shopping - mainly for groceries so I was stocked up - and ate out since I'm so sick of caf food. We went to Joseph-Beth in Lexington for the first time since August (it was absolutely lovely), and we went to downtown Lexington on Saturday afternoon. We ate at Shakespeare and Co. and I showed my mom the Rupp Center, where...I got to see Taylor Swift on Tuesday!!! :D (More about that in tomorrow's post.) My mom left on Sunday to head back, but we had a nice time.
The past two weeks have flown by, too, between class, assignments, and work. I can't believe the semester is over halfway over! I'll register for spring classes in a little over a week. Craziness.

Books I Received for Review
Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler (via the author)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl (from Audris)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (from my current Secret Sister)

Books I Bought
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
First & Then by Emma Mills
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

Books I Read
This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee (3 stars)
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (4 stars)
Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
Swept Away by Michelle Dalton (reread)
Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass (3 stars)
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas (DNF)
Dolls of Hope by Shirley Parenteau (3 stars)
Everything But the Truth by Mandy Hubbard
Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston (3 stars)
The Rose Society by Marie Lu (4 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 10/12-10/17)
   (From 10/18-10/24)
Upcoming Posts in the Next Few Weeks (subject to change)
  • Dear Taylor: Thanks for the Memories
  • TTT: Books for Halloween
  • Interview with a Blogger, Nori of ReadLoveWrite28
  • Random Friday: Book Character Costumes
  • So You Like... #20
  • Professor Emma's YA Heroines in History
  • TTT: Debut Authors Whose Sophomore Novels I Need
  • Review: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
  • It's Time

October 24, 2015

Review: Cinderella's Shoes

Cinderella's Shoes by Shonna Slayton
Grade: C+
An e-galley was provided by Entangled: Teen in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The war may be over, but Kate Allen’s life is still in upheaval. Not only has she discovered that Cinderella was real, but now she's been made Keeper of the Wardrobe, her sole responsibility to protect Cinderella’s magical dresses from the greed of the evil stepsisters’ modern descendants. 

But Cinderella’s dresses are just the beginning. It turns out that the priceless glass slippers might actually exist, too, and they could hold the power to reunite lost loved ones like her father—missing in action since World War II ended. As Kate and her boyfriend, Johnny, embark on an adventure from New York to Italy and Poland in search of the mysterious slippers, they will be tested in ways they never imagined.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: My first thought is why are the shoes on the cover pink? The shoes in the book are expressly clear diamonds. Ah, well, that's me being nit-picky. Anyways, onto my actual review.
I enjoyed that Kate's story continued. Most of this sequel focused on Kate searching for her father, her developing relationships with Nessa and the girl's family, and finding the famed glass slippers. Cinderella's Shoes was 400 pages, which I think was way too long. The plot could've easily been wrapped up in 300 pages, but there was needless plot about the movie Johnny's father was making and unnecessary romance drama, even though the romance is barely a subplot. I also thought several parts of the plot were too convenient. Things were resolved too easily; there were few consequences and little lost for the protagonist and the secondary characters. I wanted more excitement and risks. In addition, I thought it would be exciting to see Italy, and especially Poland, through Kate's eyes but the setting hardly comes into play, which was disappointing. At times, I even forgot where the characters were.
Language was mild, as was violence and romance.

The Verdict: Kind of good, but still needed some work.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: It's on my Secret Sister wishlist, so maybe.

October 23, 2015

English Professors and Their Bookshelves

If this is your first time visiting my blog, than you should know I'm a creative writing major and I love the English department at my school. We have some amazing professors that really invest in their relationships with their students. I've been to one prof's house (we had class there one morning), and I just love the environment they all foster on campus. But have you ever wondered what books English professors own? It's not all stuffy, I promise, and it really gives an insight to their personality.

Let's start with my advisor, Dr. Hurlow. She teaches poetry, journalism, and creative non-fiction.

She has a lot of short story collections, poetry collections, and craft books. I think, if I remember correctly, when I stopped by her office to get pictures, she described her shelves as "fairly uninteresting if you're looking for fiction." I just love looking at other people's bookshelves in general, so I didn't mind. As you can see, her shelves are packed with books.

Dr. Brown teaches a lot of literature courses as well as creative writing for young people (basically middle grade and young adult), which is a class I'm very much looking forward to. He's very passionate about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. And he's written a ton of books himself. He's pretty snazzy.

(apologies for blurry picture)

(Copies of his books.)

His office is by far the largest of all the profs I visited, so his wall of bookshelves is pretty long. He has lots of Shakepeare, C.S. Lewis, craft books, and middle grade fiction. And that last picture is a first edition of The Magician's Nephew. He showed Elise and I the price ticket, and holy cow, was it expensive. (He made sure to emphasize it was a gift.) 

Dr. Penner is an assistant professor of English. She teaches a lot of literature classes. I've had the general lit class with her, as well as Modern Novel (and I plan to take another one with her this spring). She's so much fun and very smart.

She has lots of Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf (as well as other modernist writers). When I was talking with her, she told me she does have children's books but they're all at home. Her daughter is finally old enough for many of them, which was exciting to hear.

So are you an English major? What do your professors' bookshelves look like? Or...if you were an English prof, what books would be on your office shelves?