November 30, 2011

RTW: Best November Read

Before I get into this week's Road Trip Wednesday with YA Highway, take a look at this Winter Wonderland (*snort* not hardly) outside my window:

So unless this magically disappears (again, *snort* not likely) in the next 25 days, we will indeed be having a White Christmas. At least it's not cold. Moving on....
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Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What's the best book you read in November?
But it turns out it's a two-way tie, with one only a smidge ahead of the other. In first place:

ANNA and the FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins

What I LVED:
- That it was set in Paris - this just made it seem all the more romantic.
- Anna and Étienne/St. Clair - two of my favourite book characters ever.
- The simple romance that didn't feel the need to be raunchy or risqué.
- That whole voice thing - Stephanie Perkins nailed it.
- The fact that I could not put this book down until three in the morning
   (AKA when I read the last page).

And second runner up (only by a hair, because I preferred the Paris setting in Anna):

LOLA and the BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
(Big surprise, right? I can't shut up about these books. I'm sorry.)

What I LVED:
- Cricket Bell - this guy was such a great love interest and friend.
- Lola's total funky fashion sense was pretty fun and interesting.
- That Anna and Étienne are in this book as well. They're just cute.
- Lola's best friend, Lindsey. Wish I had a friend like her.
- Again, that the romance was neither raunchy nor risqué.
- Again, Perkins has voice nailed.
- And again, that I couldn't put this book down until 3AM-4AM.

Both are really great reads, and I cannot wait until ISLA and the HAPPILY EVER AFTER arrives next Fall (Boo! Hiss! Boo!). That's too darn long to wait. Ah well, guess I'll just have to reread these gems in the meantime.
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And just a little reminder: If you haven't already entered my giveaway as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop organized by Sarah Belliston, you can enter HERE. I'm giving away a copy of Marie Lu's LEGEND and a pack of nineteen Fingerstache Tattoos! The contest runs until December 12th. As part of the blog hop, I'll be doing a post tomorrow since I'm the First Day of Christmas AKA the ♫Partridge in a Pear Tree♫.

November 28, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway & Blog Hop

Well this is a first for me. I've never done a giveaway before, so this is kind of fun and exciting. We have the lovely Sarah Belliston to thank for organizing this blog hop, and you can find all of the other eleven Days of Christmas over there. You can also get there by clinking on the pic on the left.

How It All Works:
In the next day or so, all twelve of us will be opening up our giveaways for entry. I am The Partridge In a Pear Tree, so I will be doing a Blog Hop-related post on December 1st. Be sure to come back and visit me! Take some time also to visit the other eleven blogs taking part in this.

This Giveaway and Blog Hop goes until December 12th. Starting on the 13th, we will be picking a winner on each blog for the following twelve days. Sarah Belliston will be doing a Santa's Special Surprise Giveaway on Christmas Day (over and above the twelve other winners).

What I'm Giving Away:

A copy of LEGEND by Marie Lu (Nov. 29th, 2011)

Here's the Goodreads description:
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Along with:
A pack of 19 Fingerstache Tattoos. Why? Because they're stinking hilarious, that's why.

Can't grow a stache? Not to fear, the Fingerstache is here! Featuring 19 mini moustache temporary tattoos to 'stache out your finger.

Here's How To Enter: (click 'Read More' if necessary)

On Distraction and Frustration

I was supposed to be taking part in the Fall Book Club discussion of The Scorpio Races over at Words on Paper (you should check it out), but I got a little distracted and didn't finish it. Not even close, actually. I'm about halfway in and it's definitely well-written and interesting, but for a variety of reasons I didn't make it. 

Which leads me to the first part of this post's title: DISTRACTION (the good and the bad). All of those great and not-so-great things that have been keeping me from writing, getting lost in a good book, and just generally getting anything useful done.

What's distracting me these days (the GOOD):
  • The Christmas season and all that that entails - decorating, visiting, watching Christmas movies, shopping, thinking about sending out cards, baking, and tidying up.
  • Having my husband home from work for an entire week! This is the best kind of 'distraction', for sure 
  • Planning for my mom's visit in a couple weeks (so excited about this!). There will be tea parties, Christmas movie-watching, and Christmas shopping going on over here.

What's distracting me these days (the BAD):
  • Just general time-wastage on the internet (I'm looking at you Pinterest and Twitter).
  • Spending an entire afternoon and evening trying to come up with the right combination of lights for my Christmas tree, from the box of decorations. Grrr...more on that later.
  • 'Researching' and looking for 'inspiration' for my current WIP. It's a lie I keep telling myself while I'm wasting so much time on the web. Missed my NaNo goal by a lot.

On the topic of FRUSTRATION... There are two things that are currently frustrating me:
1) My Christmas tree and the whole Christmas lights debacle. I have many strands of Christmas lights, but none of them seem to be the right combination. I won't elaborate, but I actually ended up walking away from my tree in frustration last night for the first time ever. It's still sitting downstairs in all of its plasticky, artificially glory waiting to be dealt with (seriously, it smells like glue gun). It is a pretty nice tree, though, so I can't complain about that.

And then there's that other thing that makes me mad at myself for having a tantrum over something so stupid as a wrestling match with Christmas lights...

2) A complete loss of perspective, especially at this time of year. We don't really have Black Friday up here in Canada. A couple businesses originating in the U.S. do throw us a bone, but most don't (we still shop like crazy people). I have nothing against participating in Black Friday sales - I'd be among the ranks if I lived in the U.S. - but I do have a problem when it becomes what Christmas is all about. When I hear stories of women pepper-spraying fellow shoppers to get that last video game, I have one of those "Is this what it's really all about?" moments (like Cindy Lou Who in the real people version of The Grinch). When [THIS] and [THIS] is going on in the world, how can [THIS] happen, and during a time of year when giving and showing 'goodwill toward men' is supposed to be the name of the game? Oh, and not to mention the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
A life-changing goat.

I'm not trying to cast a cloud on the festivities (I this time of year), but I am reminding myself and anyone else who's interested to remember how fortunate we are. To try to keep this notion foremost in my mind and to hopefully make some small difference in someone's life, I'm going to buy a pig or a goat or some other useful thing(s) for someone in need. I'm doing this through Compassion, but there are many other organizations that focus on addressing very real needs around the world. Here are a couple others:

Red Cross
Samaritan's Purse (they also do Operation Christmas Child)

P.S. There are also lots of other useful ways to help out like donating or volunteering at soup kitchens, food drives, Coats For Kids, etc.

November 25, 2011

Friday Fives: Counting My Blessings

Weirdos that we are, we Canadians like to contain our pumpkiny holidays to the month of October (though as far as I'm concerned, every day should be a celebration of the pumpkin). Since it's Thanksgiving weekend in the States, I thought a little 'counting my blessings' was in order (NB: I posted this for our Thanksgiving, but I figured I might as well post it again).

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel." 
~ Author Unknown ~

There are a lot of things that I am fortunate to have but sadly I don't spend enough time being grateful for them. Chief among these are:

1)  Family:  
a) The one I was born into - all weird and wacky, but wonderful in their own way.

b)  My husband (aka the family I made for myself) - an immensely supportive and all around great human being and also my best friend.
In case you don't recognize it, this is what happy looks like.
c) Our kitties (aka our fuzzy babies):  These little critters alternately drive me bonky and give me the warm fuzzies. They provide me with all kinds of love, cuddles, and pure entertainment. On occasion I have been known to dress Pete up in clothes. Big surprise: she's never thrilled.
Pete (actually a "she") and Puck (who has lived up to his
name in so many mischievous and trouble-making ways).

2)  Food, Shelter, & Good Health:  An obvious one but seriously, in this world and in these economic times, I can't say 'thank you' enough for something that I very regularly take for granted. There but for the grace of God go I, and what not.

3)  Books:  Books, books, and more books. But most of all, the ability to access and actually read them. There are many places in this world where this is not the case, so I consider myself lucky.

4)  Mounties, Maple Syrup, and Sidney Crosby:  Say what? All things Canadian (along with Nickelback, Celine Dion and the Biebs, but we don't like to talk about them). I'm fortunate to come from a country that values FREEDOM on so many levels. Not only this, but I'm grateful that I live somewhere where I am largely free from harm or persecution. I may wish sometimes that I was born somewhere cooler (not temperature-wise, believe me), but ultimately I'm pretty proud and thankful to be Canadian (and that's not at all a slight in any way to the many other wonderful countries in this world).

A tribute to the great relationship between Canada 
and the United States. Thank you, Tom Brokaw.

5)  You!:  I'm grateful for the many people I've stumbled across on the blogosphere, including you. The encouragement, the tips, the insight - it's irreplaceable. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~ 

November 23, 2011

RTW: In Everything Give Thanks

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What writing or publishing-related thing(s) are you most thankful for?

This could be a long answer, but I choose to make it short and sweet. And, in an effort to make it a little bit more personal, I've decided to write it by hand. Hope my writing doesn't scare the pants off of you... (this is what happens when you spend all your time in front of a computer using a keyboard LOL).

November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Wonder Guests

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme that takes place every Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's list is:

Top 10 Authors I Want At My Thanksgiving Dinner
So even though this weekend isn't Thanksgiving for me (we celebrated Thanksgiving over a month ago here in Canada), this seemed like a super fun topic. Here are my choices:

1)  Ally Condie (Matched series) - Invited specifically for her great taste in poetry. She’d give a reading and would not be above admonishing guests to ‘not go gently’ into their respective turkey comas, but to ‘rage, rage’ against it and the pull of the sofa.

2)  J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) - She'd bring butterbeer, pumpkin pasties, and lumpy hand knit jumpers for the whole gang. Oh, and promises that she'll write stories about the Potter and Weasley offspring's adventures at Hogwarts.

3)  Veronica Roth (Divergent) - She's here because she's awesome but also so she can carve the turkey. Why? Because she's DAUNTLESS! and knives scare the crap out of me.

4)  Stephanie Perkins (Anna & Lola)
5)  Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone)
They can trade super sweet/funky hair-dying tips and share them with the group. Also, they can sit on either side of me and tell me what it’s like to write such awesome books (hope it rubs off).
6)  Jane Austen (Persuasion, Pride & Prejudice...)  - Who else would be eager to 'take a turn about the room' to burn off turkey and discuss her hot book boys? I'm Team Wentworth, though I know this will make Team Darcy want my head on a stake. Jane is Team Mum's the Word.
7)  C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) - He's a great author, and because Tolkien - if invited - would probably spend the whole meal speaking in Elvish or Entish (which nobody wants, believe me). Turkey coma + Entish = bad combination.

8)  Tyra Banks (Modelland) - She can bring this dinner party up several notches in the WTF-ery department. Who wouldn't want to hear how this steaming pile made it to publication?! Oh, and she'd treat us all to Tookie De La Crème Brûlée for dessert. Also, the guests get really good at fake 'smizing' when they tell her how much they lved her book.

9)  Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga
10)  Stephen King (On Writing, among others)
Since no Thanksgiving feast would be complete without its fair share of squabbling, these two honored guests get places at the kiddie table. As a centerpiece, there will be stacked copies of Twilight and On Writing to promote awkward and scintillating discussion. Too mean? Maybe, but definitely entertaining (at some point during dinner, King also manages to slip a copy of On Writing into Ms. Banks oversized tote on the sly *hint, hint, hint*).

November 21, 2011

What's In Your Mailbox?

Hey, so I've never participated before in the In My Mailbox thing over at The Story Siren, but today felt like a good day to join in. I actually have a pretty decent haul this week, since I took full advantage of cheap books available on (10 books for a whopping $35 total + free shipping!!!). The thing about Canada is that we regularly get hosed BIG time on books. It doesn't matter if the Canadian dollar is doing extraordinarily well (like it has been for the past several months), we still pay way more for books. Some books don't even specify an exact price, they just have a sticker that actually says "More In Canada" on it (that's not a joke). So I definitely take advantage of a good bargain book table, Walmart, and sites like And now, without further burbling, here's what is in my mailbox (or that I picked up from the store):

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This happens to be the Fall Book Club's November selection. Still not 100% sure if I'll be getting to it in time to discuss it in a week's time (my husband is home for a few days from work, working on my NaNo story, not sure if it's what I'm in the mood for at the moment). We'll see, though. It definitely sounds interesting and is getting really good reviews so I might have to give it a whirl.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I've been wanting to read this for a while (read the first several pages on Amazon) and almost jumped up and down and did a happy dance when I found it at Chapters in hardback for only $2!!! Seriously, this is practically unheard of in this country (see above reason).

Heist Society by Ally Carter
I don't have much to say about this one other than that it sounded interesting and some of the blogs I've been following (and Goodreads) gave it good reviews.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
I started reading this awhile back and had to put it down for some reason. I noticed recently during a trip to Indigo that there is a sequel out now, so I figure it's a good time to attempt reading it again. Nothing better than having a sequel to read right away if you like the first one.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The title of this book initially had me going "Umm...what?" because it sounds a little questionable. Twenty boys in one summer? They have labels for girls with that many conquests, and none of them are flattering. Turns out the story isn't raunchy like that - if the synopsis is to be trusted - so that's good.

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
If you've been following my blog lately, you'll know that I'm currently writing a modern day spin on a Jane Austen novel. As you probably also know, there have been many of these types of novels (not that that worries me). This book is a telling of Emma set in a coffee shop with the Emma Woodhouse character cast as a match-making barista. Sounds cute !
(P. S. If you haven't seen the Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller Emma miniseries, watch it right now!)

The Luxe, Envy, Rumors, & Splendor by Anna Godbersen
Not sure if these books are my thing, but the dresses are so pretty on the covers and they do sound interesting (if a little Gossip Girl-ish, if GG was set over a hundred years ago). They also have pretty good ratings so I thought they might be worth checking out.

My Fairy Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison, The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton, & Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Fun, fun, fun little romances, which happens to be what I'm hooked on at the moment (post Anna and Lola). These types of books don't involve a whole lot of brain strain to get into them and they're usually easy to pick up and set down when necessary. They're just sweet, quirky love stories that give me the warm fuzzies and there's nothing wrong with that.

Like I said, books can be pricey here in Canada, so I sometimes go a little hog wild when I find them for cheap. Most of these were in the $2.99 range brand new which is unheard of here.

Anything new and exciting in your mailbox (or from the library or store) lately?

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So I'm just putting this out there because I feel it bears mentioning:

In an ab showdown, Henry Cavill's abs could SO totally beat up Taylor Lautner's abs.

The husband and I went to see Immortals yesterday (definitely not for everyone). There was no way on God's green earth Todd was going to Breaking Dawn Part 1 with me. He 's me, but not quite that much, I'm sure. Do you blame him really? I could have begged and pleaded and we would have gone, but turns out I him more than that.

November 18, 2011

Friday Fives: Writing Essentials

Before I get into today's Friday Fives topic, you should know something: It's currently -17C (1F) and dropping over the course of the day - not going up like a normal place, but down, all the way to -26C (-15F) tonight. Awesome. Forget everything I've said before about 'myths about Canada'. Everything you've heard about Canada is true - we are indeed a polar ice cap and live in igloos. So 'Ho Ho Ho' and 'Happy Flippin' Freezing Friday'. Anyhoo, moving on...

Today's Friday Fives topic over at Paper Hangover:
FIVE things you need to write with (minus pen, paper, & computer).

Wasn't sure at first if I understood the question correctly, but judging from others' responses, I'm not as dumb as I initially thought. What do I need in order for my writing process to work?

1.  Inspiration
  • Music:  I listen to a wide variety of different types of music, and have come up with playlists for my WIPs. Usually it's just random stuff I happened to be listening to, but surprisingly many of the songs fit what I'm working on.
  • Pictures: I'd like to thank whoever turned my attention to Pinterest. No seriously, you're to blame (whoever you are) for hours of time suckage. I have, however, found many inspirational images here and elsewhere on the web. I like to find pictures of setting, clothing, even visual representations of my characters to use for inspiration.
  • Books: I read a lot, and when I'm working on a particular story I like to read books in the same genre. You run the risk of writing material that is too similar to what you're reading, but I'd rather take that risk and put myself in the right frame of mind for writing my own story.
♥ Filled with steamy goodness ♥
2.  Hot Beverages 
  • Coffee: A couple (or a few) mugs first thing in the morning. Oh, and it has to be in a season-appropriate mug. Right now it's a white & red Starbucks Christmas mug with embossed reindeer.
  • Tea: Often in the afternoon. I prefer black teas and Earl Grey is my favourite, especially the Tazo kind. I do really like English Breakfast and Orange Pekoe as well (all of the above with some milk).
3.  A Well-Developed Plan (don't forget 'Antipantser') 
  • Character Questionnaires: I fill out questionnaires - the weirder, the better - on my MCs in order to gain a deeper understanding of them for consistency and believability.
  • Charts: I make tables/charts for scenes and the overall outline of my story, then highlight when I've completed that particular scene or detail.
  • Post-its, and Words Docs, and Files (Oh my!): I keep files on my computer on Setting, Characters, Story Images, Outlines, Title ideas, and so on. I have Post-its everywhere with silly little details about characters and plot points. I also put some of these things up on the wall over my desk so they're staring me in the face.
4.  Comfy Clothes 
  • I don't want to be distracted by pants bunching in all the wrong places, or the fact that my toes are freezing (see current temp above). I recently purchased a pair of cufflets to combat the chilly fingers I get from typing for hours. I also bought the matching leg warmers. Yes, leg warmers and no, this isn't the set of Fame or Flashdance. I have a parcel arriving today and I just might 'She's a Maniac'* my way to the door. We'll see.
5.  Word Tools 
  • Dictionary: For when I keep using a word and I'm not sure if 'it means what I think it means' (*said in Inigo Montoya's voice*). I my Oxford Concise Dictionary 9th Ed..
  • Thesaurus: This handy but oft overused tool I tread lightly around. While the thesaurus can be abused pretty easily, it's more useful than detrimental in my case. Sometimes I get completely hung up on a word (not quite what I'm looking for) and in seconds I'm able to find the right word, or a different word because I'm overusing another word.

*I taught my eleven year old nephew this one and now he can always be counted on to belt it out if you say the word 'maniac'. To my sister and brother-in-law: You're welcome.

November 17, 2011

WANTED: Something Good to Read

Three Things:

  1. I clearly have WAY too much time on my hands (or I'm just looking for another way to procrastinate from actually writing - we'll go with this one because it's the most likely).
  2. In all seriousness, everything I pick up lately doesn't hold my interest for very long. When I've just finished a book(s) that is exceptional, most books that follow get trampled in the dust. I want more like these books that the lovely ladies above have written. STAT!
  3. I tend to want to read something in the same vein as the story that I'm currently working on. Right now that's YA Contemporary Romance. Sadly, not much is inspiring me lately on this front (post-Anna and -Lola). I want to read more books with sweet romances, nice/good boys, awesome voice, and real protags. Books that I'd stay up til 3AM reading because I just can't put them down (I'm looking at you, Ms. Perkins). So if you stumble across anything that fits the bill, PLEASE, for the love of God let me know.
How 'bout you? Ever run into this kind of problem after reading a fannykicker* book?

*The G-rated version of 'kickass'. We should try and make it happen like 'fetch' in Mean Girls. Hahaha :)

November 16, 2011

RTW: Required Reading

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Brontë, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

I've mentioned this before, but I went to an all-girls uniform high school for the better part of my teen years. As such, it seemed that the required reading list by unspoken agreement - or spoken, I can't really say - was chock full of books and plays with 'strong female leads'. We read Shakespeare sure, but they chose plays like The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew because they had strong female characters (Portia, Kate, and Bianca respectively). We also read Jane Eyre (which I LVE) and books by both Margaret Laurence and Margaret Atwood (the two 'Margarets' represented Canadian content - also, super crucial). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed most of what we read with the exception of the Margarets' rubbish. I just think that it might have been nice to read some of the things that some of you got to/had to read., or all of the following:

1.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Aside from being completely fantastic, this book would spark some really interesting discussion on the topics/issues that it raises while keeping students riveted. What more can you ask for as a teacher?

2.  Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and/or Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
I chose both of these books because they deal with two different reactions to long-term torment, bullying, gossip, and so on. The former deals with a school shooting and the latter a suicide. I think it's important for students to understand that actions and words can have horrible and lasting consequences and what better way to make this point in a way that isn't of the preachy, 'The More You Know', public service announcement variety?

3.  Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
When I was teaching junior high Language Arts (AKA 'English') , Ender's Game was actually on the approved reading list for grade 9 students (doesn't 'approved reading list' sound totally dystopian???). I had read it and loved it, so I was thrilled that my students loved it too. They were glued to their seats, begging for more Ender. Plus, it sparked some really interesting discussions. I only wish this had been on my own required reading lists as a teen. Then maybe I would have started liking sci fi a heck of a lot sooner than university.

4.  Harry Potter... by J. K. Rowling
Do I even need to say anything about this? No? Didn't think so, but I will. Not only are these books wonderfully magical and creative, but the writing is great too. Students could learn a lot about writing just from reading Rowling's books. There is also important discussion material tucked inside these pages, and not just a whole lot of fun (eg. Muggle borns & Half bloods vs. Pure bloods, etc.).

5.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Okay, this one I haven't actually read yet, but I know already that I'm going to like it (as much as a person can like anything dealing with the Holocaust). I know that Night by Elie Wiesel is on a lot of high school reading lists here in Alberta (for grade 12 students), and it's an important read. But something like The Book Thief seems like an entirely different take on the subject. I'm all for new ways of approaching something, especially when it's difficult subject matter like the Holocaust.

P. S. This AWESOME tee is on its way to me in the mail from I'd wear this while I taught The Hunger Games to my just as awesome students (in a perfect world - the reality was all too often the total opposite in my experience *snort*).

November 15, 2011

Read me, Jaime! Read me!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme that takes place every Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's list is:

Top 10 Unread Books on My Bookshelf

Wow, only ten, huh? This should be fun. Since my shelves are full to overflowing with favorite reads but just as many still-to-reads, I'm going to limit this list to strictly YA (if I got into all of the adult reads, classics, and so on we'd be here all day). All of the titles link directly to Goodreads so you can read a synopsis, ratings, and reviews (if you so choose, that is). They're also in no particular order.
1.  THE DEATH CURE (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner
I have been waiting for this book for a year now since these books were released in three consecutive Octobers. When it finally came out, I cracked it open and promptly realized that I cannot for the life of me remember what happened in the last book. I don't particularly feel like starting the series over at the moment, so I'll probably resort to finding a good synopsis somewhere. This is what happens when you read too much (as if there's any such thing).

2.  CROSSED (Matched #2) by Ally Condie
Finally showed up in the mail, but it's one of those situations where I'm delaying because I want to read it so badly. Does that make any sense to you? No, I didn't think so. It will be the next book I read for sure, but for now I'm just staring at it longingly. This is another one of those 'been waiting for a year' books (since MATCHED came out last fall).

3.  THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger
I've heard a lot about this book and it normally wouldn't be the first one I'd choose but my interest is piqued. The MC sounds extremely interesting. She's described as 'cynical and loyal' and she also tosses her Coke in some dude's face for nicknaming her 'the DUFF'. This girl's story sounds like something I'd like to read just based on that little tidbit.

4.  EYES LIKE STARS (Théâtre Illuminata #1) by Lisa Mantchev
I've had this book for well over a year now (probably going on two), and have been wanting to read it, but there's always been something I wanted to read more. It kind of gets pushed down the list each time something more enticing crops up. I'll get to it, just not sure when.

5.  CLOCKWORK ANGEL (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
Paranormal and Steampunk? Um, yes please! I enjoyed Cassie Clare's MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series (though I do still have to read book #4), and I love stories set in Victorian England. So on all counts I'm completely sold.

6.  FATEFUL by Claudia Gray
In case you haven't heard of this story yet, I'll give you just a taste of what's in store. The Titanic and...[wait for it]...werewolves. Yep. I kind of like when authors pair things in an unexpected way, so this definitely appeals to me. Maybe I'll save this one for April 2012 in observance of the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic sinking. 

7.  VARIANT (Variant #1) by Robison Wells
I started reading this shortly after it was released but got sidetracked by the Fall Book Club's reading of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor (flipping awesome way to get sidetracked, I assure you). I've been meaning to get back to VARIANT and judging from the great ratings it's getting, I probably should. This book was recently the target of a pay it forward 'book bomb', which you can read all about HERE.

8.  GRACELING (The Seven Kingdoms #1) by Kristin Cashore
I'm not really sure what to say about this except that I've heard it's really good and it has the ratings to prove it. I picked it up once but wasn't in the mood at the time for a fantasy novel so I set it aside to be read at a later date. Still waiting for the right mood to strike me. Who knows, maybe you can convince me?

9.  THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
This is another case of needing to be in the right mood. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, but perhaps because it's set in WWII Germany I'm dragging my feet a little. Don't get me wrong, I am a history junkie and am particularly interested in this era, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to approach a book dealing with the Holocaust. I'll get to it for sure, just not sure when.

10.  THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
After devouring the HUNGER GAMES trilogy and moving on to the likes of DIVERGENT, DELIRIUM, MATCHED, and BLOOD RED ROAD, I was eager for more post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian reads. I'm not sure what exactly, but something moved me away from these types of books for a while, and I haven't really been back. Perhaps after CROSSED and THE DEATH CURE I'll be hungry for more.

What books do YOU have sitting on your shelf still waiting to be read?

November 14, 2011

NoNo and the Nutcracker

I'm back from a wonderful weekend spent with family and this is what's on my mind this chilly Monday morning:

This is what sad and pathetic looks like.
(I know the NaNo goal is only 50,000)
1.  NaNoWriMo has morphed into NoNoWriMo in a matter of days. Seriously, I have not put fingers to keys in DAYS, guys. If I were really doing NaNo I should be closing in at 25,000 words by now. I have less than half that amount (11,000 ish), so NaNo is kind of a NoGo at the moment. But...BUT, I'm not all torn up about it or anything. Deciding to do NaNo just gave me the excuse push I needed to start working on this other idea that I've been wanting to write for a while now. So it's not even close to being a waste.

2.  I went shopping with my mom at a big, schmancy mall near Calgary and consequently I am even more in the mood for Christmas than I was before (which was already a lot). A few things I came away from the mall with: i) this sick feeling in my stomach because I haven't yet started my Christmas shopping and it's only going to get crazier--urg, ii) a Nutcracker that my husband is going to hate (he feels about Nutcrackers the way I do about ventriloquist dummies O_o), and iii) another Bath & Body Works candle:


This thing smells better than any candle has a right to. My plastic Christmas tree is cowering in a box in the basement afraid to come out because it feels like a total poser next to this thing.

3.  THE HUNGER GAMES MOVIE TRAILER!!! (sorry about the caps, I couldn't contain myself) This thing is flipping awesome! Anybody who is a major fan of something like The Hunger Games has that moment of excitement followed quickly by a nervous feeling in the pit of their stomach when they hear it's being made into a movie. What if they screw it up?  I had confidence in Lionsgate that they would do this justice, especially knowing that Suzanne Collins was so involved in the process, but still... It's hard not to feel nervous. After watching the trailer this morning I am even more excited about this movie. From what I saw, I really think they nailed it. At least it gives me hope and confidence that they did anyway. What do you guys think?

Well, I guess now's the time to actually get back to writing rather than just writing about how I need to get writing. Happy Monday everyone!

November 10, 2011

Book Bomb

I wasn't planning on blogging today (still trying to make good on yesterday's vow to actually WRITE) but then I read Suze Reese's post and felt compelled to share.

Like Suze, I'm taking part in a book bomb happening today, which is a whole lot less a) explodey, b) terrifying, and c) illegal as it might seem. In fact, it's actually d) none of the above. Well, maybe a little bit of a) since we're all hoping it'll explode into a whole 'mess' of people paying it forward. I'm sure you all know what a book bomb is but for those of you who maybe don't, I'll explain. It's basically when a crap ton of people decide to head on over to Amazon and purchase the same book on the same day to give a book/author a boost.

So why participate in this particular book bomb?

You see, we're all trying to help out Robison Wells, author of Variant which just came out this fall. Wells is struggling with health concerns which have cost him his job, and he still has a family to support. As you well know, most debut authors and even many seasoned ones don't make boatloads of money. By purchasing a copy or even multiple copies we can help this man and his family out. (NB. I'm trying my hardest not to make this sound like one of those guilt trip emails we all get about total strangers and their struggles. Hope I'm succeeding.).

What if I already own it or it isn't something I'd read?

I actually purchased a copy of this book already when it first came out. I'm going to buy a copy or two to give away to people I think might enjoy it. I'm sure there's a library or charitable organization accepting book donations as well. With Christmas right around the corner, maybe this would be a good gift for somebody. Who knows. Every little bit helps, though.

For more information about Variant, head on over HERE.
For more information about what Robison is going through, head on over HERE.

"You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love."
- Henry Drummond -

(How's that for a guilt-trippy quote, hey? It rings true, though.)