Kel Wednesday, December 31, 2014The year is almost over! I can hardly believe it, but there you have it. There's a lot of exciting stuff coming up in 2015: BEA, potentially law school...yeah, lots of changes. :)
Meanwhile, my sister's in town visiting, I'm being inundated by cookies at work, and I found some old 90's cartoons and BBC shows on Amazon to binge watch. ;)
I officially completed my Goodreads Challenge and read 75 books this year! It took a little graphic novel cramming there at the end, but we made it.
Kel Tuesday, December 30, 2014 top10
I love lists. Give me Post-its and I am happy. Organization! The satisfaction of crossing out completed tasks! :) However, I really dislike New Year's resolutions. Mostly because, like most of us, I fail at them. I think I maybe completed 2/10 from my 2014 list. Which is a little depressing. But since it's this week's topic, I'll make a list. I'll just try to pick small, manageable goals for this year. No specifics, no "every day" or "every week." Just little things to make me smile. :)
Kel Monday, December 29, 2014 discussionI watch Jeopardy fairly often. Not every night, but often enough to jump for joy or shrink in despair when the categories are announced. For instance, I know I have a decent shot on questions about movies, TV, the Bible or coming up with the right word. I know I have half a shot on geography and history. And I know it will take a miracle (or a super easy question) to get one right in math, science, sports or music.
But what about books? I read, I blog and I talk to other book bloggers. This should be a good category, right? Wrong. For some reason, unless the category is specifically "Children's Books" or "YA Books," often I either have half a shot or need a miracle on book trivia. I know a big part of that is my tendency to read mostly YA with a little middle grade and adult on the side, but even if I dove into adult sci-fi/fantasy, romance, mystery, thrillers, etc., I think I'd still be in trouble.
Kel Sunday, December 28, 2014 art
I'm afraid I haven't done anything crafty this week. (Aside from the start of a crocheted hat...which is turning out odd because I used the wrong yarn. We'll see how that goes.) So, instead, I'm using this as an early New Year's resolution post. The resolution: do more drawing and crocheting and other arty stuff in 2015!
And to help with that resolution, I have some wonderful gifts from my art major friend who was doing a little winter cleaning. Rest assured, they have found a new home. I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to fill all those pages, but goodness knows I need the practice. We'll figure something out. :)
Kel Friday, December 26, 2014 reviewThe first chapter didn't grab me, but everybody said it was good, so I read more. Next thing you know, I've slogged through 40% and I was ready to call time of death. ...But I was in a time crunch on my GR challenge and didn't want to have wasted all that time, so I finished it. Should have dropped it. :P
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on October 7, 2014
Published by Putnam Books for Young Readers
Final Rating: 1 star
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Kel Wednesday, December 24, 2014I know everyone's scrambling around with family gatherings and holiday events and preparations, so I'll keep this brief.
Some friends and I took a stab at making gingerbread houses (with pre-made kits). You can find photos of the other houses on this week's Art It Up post. :)
Kel Tuesday, December 23, 2014 top10
I wrote a discussion post before about generally not liking others to buy me books. However, there are exceptions to every rule. >.> Here are a couple of books I'm either reasonably certain I'll enjoy, or excited enough about to ignore my usual qualms. ;)
Kel Monday, December 22, 2014 discussion
Elizabeth Bennet: For a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
Mrs. Bennet: Yes, he must indeed! And who better than one of our five girls?
I went to my library's book sale the other day. (Yes, again, but it was $1 for a whole bag!) The place was starting to look picked over, but even so, there were TONS of romances, especially paperbacks. Naturally, I couldn't help but think of Mrs. Bennet. Which led to other thoughts...
Kel Sunday, December 21, 2014 art
The final stretch of the Christmas rush is upon us. I'm still scrambling to meet my Goodreads challenge, so I haven't done much art. However, I met up with some friends the other night to make gingerbread houses.
We bought kits and figured it would be an easy, relaxing activity. It was actually kind of stressful and difficult. Well, for two of us. The girl who makes at least one every year zoomed through hers while we were struggling to get the pieces to stick together. ^^;
Kel Saturday, December 20, 2014
|Thanks to Bookhounds & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting!|
In the midst of all the crazy, I want to step back, thank God for this amazing bookish community, and wish you all a Merry Christmas. I will not, however, add "and may all your Christmases be white." No snow. :)
And now for the part of the post you came for: the Christmas cheer. ;)
Any book you want from The Book Depository (max $15 USD)
Kel Thursday, December 18, 2014 reviewI meant to read Death Sworn when it first came out, but the library didn't have it and the TBR list kept growing. Fast forward to October when I got approved for its sequel, Death Marked, and realized, oh, I need to read this book first. The library still didn't have it, so I found a good used copy that will remain on my shelf because, despite a few issues, I liked it.
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on March 4, 2014
Published by Greenwillow
Final Rating: 3 stars
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Kel Wednesday, December 17, 2014If the busy, busy calendar is anything to go by, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but "narwhal" is an acceptable substitute this week because...
NARWHAL!!! I finally completed my first real crocheting project, and I have to say, this little guy is pretty cute. :) For anyone who's interested, I used this pattern from Ramen Needles (with a few tweaks). Thank you, Kelley!
Kel Tuesday, December 16, 2014 top10
Do you ever notice how at the end of the year we always do list of the best books we read, but never a list of the worst? Maybe because the lovely ladies who choose the Top 10 topics are super nice people. :) But it makes me wonder... what would my Top 10 Worst Books of 2014 be? >.> Hmm...perhaps we'll find room in the schedule for that post before year's end. For now, on to the best!
Kel Monday, December 15, 2014 discussionSome readers dislike library books. They worry about the potential germs and slime and food residue. I'm not one of them (cheapskate beats germaphobe any day), but it got me thinking: do you snack while reading?
I tend not to snack on food much because I want both hands for holding the book open and turning pages. But I do generally have a drink on hand. Usually water in the spring and summer and any one of several hot beverages in the fall and winter. (Hot tea, hot cider and hot chocolate are some of the regulars. Or Mountain Dew if it's been that day.)
Do any of you, or your kids, read at the dinner table? Do you munch on chips or popcorn like you might while watching TV or a movie.
Or, perhaps, do you find yourself eating or drinking more when using an e-book or an audiobook as opposed to a hard copy? I would love to see the stats on that one.
Kel Sunday, December 14, 2014 art
Kel Thursday, December 11, 2014 reviewTransparent hit my radar a year or two ago when I found the Friday the Thirteeners blog, a group of YA writers debuting in 2013. Natalie Whipple was among them and Transparent is her first published novel. I liked the general idea. (I'm almost always up to try X-Men powers meets mafia YA stories.) I didn't fully connect with any of the characters, but the story itself was decently entertaining- a good beach read. :)
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Series: Transparent #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Contemporary
Published on May 21, 2013
Published by HarperTeen
Final Rating: 2 stars
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
Kel Wednesday, December 10, 2014Per the title, after (mostly) surviving the LSAT, I engaged in a week of crafty craftiness! (The non-world domination kind.)
Crocheting! No picture because the narwhal pattern foiled me twice- a.k.a, I pulled the yarn too tight and made my circle a wavy thing. It will be conquered!
Homemade bookmarks! You can't really tell at this angle, but there is a glittery pig on one of those. Because I have a friend who's a farmer. :)
Kel Tuesday, December 09, 2014 top10
According to my Goodreads Challenge, I've read 67 books so far this year. (I think one of them is technically a DNF that snuck in, but we'll ignore that since I'm behind schedule. Again.) It's not as many as I'd like, but it's already more than last year, so progress!
Anyway, I did a quick count/guesstimate, and approximately 53 of this year's books are by authors I read for the first time in 2014. Taking into account multiple books by one author and such, that's still at least 40 writers whose work I had never read before. That's kind of cool. :)
Kel Sunday, December 07, 2014 art
Today, another friend was super nice and, with a few stickers and clip art, helped me make some homemade bookmarks to give away as Christmas gifts. :)
Kel Thursday, December 04, 2014 reviewWhat can I say about Illusions of Fate? I liked it. It didn't have me uncontrollably jumping for joy; but it was a solid story, I never felt the urge to start a bonfire and I enjoyed it. Which is bad for review writing and usually results in a few tiny paragraphs because it's so much easier to write novel-length rants about things that bothered me. How long does it take to say I liked the world, characters, magic and commiserated with the study abroad experience? Okay, I could write a 20-page paper on that, but (*cue completely acceptable excuse*) it's LSAT week, so no. :)
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on September 9, 2014
Published by HarperTeen
Final Rating: 3 stars
“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.
Kel Wednesday, December 03, 2014Three days until
It's been and continues to be a busy week, so this round of updates will be brief. Speaking of brief...
My friend Kim was super sweet and brought me law-themed cookies to help me study. (There were more, but this briefcase was the only survivor by the time I remembered to take a picture.) And then my dad found this old briefcase lying around his workplace (likely abandoned a decade or two ago), and basically said, "Here, future lawyer!" But no pressure, of course. ;)
Kel Tuesday, December 02, 2014 top10
It's so strange to think it's almost 2015. Only one month to go...weird.
I haven't given a ton of thought to 2015 titles because I have so many 2014 books I still haven't read. But here are a few on my radar for the new year. :)
Kel Monday, December 01, 2014 discussionI don't give out 1-star's very often. In nearly a year of blogging, there have only been 4. Which is kind of surprising. This past month alone I read at least one or two books I would have been fine not reading. Why then is my 1-star count so low, I puzzled.
I thought about it long and hard...*two minutes later*...and I realized the key lay in my Rating System. In short:
Kel Sunday, November 30, 2014 art
Anyway, this week I'm sharing a couple of crochet practice pieces I worked on. The LSAT is this Saturday, and I can't wait for it to be over already; but in the meantime, study, study. :P
Kel Thursday, November 27, 2014 reviewThe Goddess War trilogy sets Greek gods in a modern world that no longer believes in them. More importantly, they're all dying. Desperate for a cure, or at least a way to survive her unhappy family's death throes, Athena and her brother Hermes have teamed up with some special humans. Not a horrible premise, right? In fact, I really enjoyed the first book, Antigoddess, and I was super excited for its sequel. Key word: was.
Warning: there may be spoilers for Book 1.
Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake
Series: Goddess War #2
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on October 14, 2014
Published by Tor Teen
Final Rating: 2 stars
Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.
Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.
The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them ALL killed.
The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.
Kel Wednesday, November 26, 2014I'm way behind in my studying schedule for the LSAT (which is in 1.5 weeks! O.O), but I picked up some yarn and a hook and crocheted a...thing! We're just going to call this the Crochet Ball of Doom for now. On the bright side, I think I'm good on the "magic ring." On the dark side, I can't read patterns to save my life and I keep forgetting what the different stitches are/are called.
It's strange. Normally, I love having instructions and don't mind following the steps exactly; but in this case, I couldn't read the pattern or remember which stitch was which, so I said forget it and decided to wing it. The results are less than spherical. (I still only have half an idea how I made the bottom flat-ish.) But, yeah, learning to read patterns and remembering which stitches are which is top of the to-do list. You know, after the LSAT. ;)
Kel Tuesday, November 25, 2014 top10
I kind of hate these "top books on TBR" posts. I could use them to "ooh" and "ah" over the upcoming new releases; but, inevitably, I wind up guilting myself into using it as a harsh reminder of all the stuff on my shelves I STILL haven't read. Which in turn makes me feel guilty about all the books I've bought or borrowed from the library. And we all know the list won't help anything. I'm going to sit down with each of these books when I'm in the mood for it (or never) and no list will hurry me along.
But guilting from actual people might. Cue guilt-inducing comments from the masses! ;)
Kel Monday, November 24, 2014 discussionIt's that time of year again! The time when we spend time with family, stop to remember and be thankful for all we have, stuff ourselves with turkey and cranberry sauce, and try to kill one another over half-price electronics and clothes. :)
But Black Friday is very sneaky. It knows I can't resist a good book sale. So, while I'm still debating whether to make this my last book shopping foray of the year or hold off entirely, here are a few Black Friday book specials I've run across, in case any of you are interested. :)
Kel Saturday, November 22, 2014 art
Here are your hints:
She has a little sister.
She likes chocolate.
She's not a people person.
That's right! From Disney's 2013 merchandise-rich, money making giant, "Frozen," she's....
Kel Thursday, November 20, 2014 reviewEver since reading (and loving) Anne Bishop's Written in Red, I've been looking for similar urban fantasy series with interesting worlds, fun characters and a limited amount of romance. After seeing a few readers gushing about Kate Daniels, I decided to give Magic Bites a try. And it was pretty good. :)
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published on April 1, 2007
Published by Ace
Final Rating: 3 stars
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way.
Kel Wednesday, November 19, 2014I survived the 4 sections of my first full LSAT practice test! But I kind of slept in that morning and took breaks between sections for food and watching Federer v. Stan. The website recommends you get used to sitting through the whole thing and practice staying focused. I usually test well, so I'm not too worried, but still, lazy rule-breaking bum. :)
Other than that, my week's been pretty quiet. I dropped off my collection of finished crochet bracelets to the folks going on the India mission trip (and realized as I was doing the last one that I'd forgotten to do a solid knot behind the buttons on two-thirds of them, so I'm now praying they don't all fall apart).
Kel Tuesday, November 18, 2014 top10
Often when I start and enjoy a new series, I dive right into the next book(s) available. Or else I obsessively check the library until I find the next book once it's published. (I may or may not have grabbed Cress off the "New YA" display without a single thought for all the teenagers anxiously awaiting its release. >.>) However, this week we're looking at sequels I've been meaning to read, but haven't yet for one reason or another.
Kel Monday, November 17, 2014 discussionI love books. (I better for all the time I devote to reading and blogging about them.) But I have mixed feelings about getting books for Christmas. More specifically, I have mixed feelings about other people buying books for the express purpose of giving them to me.
I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way, but when someone has specifically picked a book for me and spent money on it (especially list price), I feel absolutely AWFUL if I don't like it. It's like that person just wasted $5-$20. Now, let's be honest, a good number of the books I buy turn out to be "okay" or bombs. But it's different when I wasted money on a bad book as opposed to someone else wasting money on a bad book because he/she thought I would like it. Does that make sense?
My other issue with people buying me books at Christmas is that I always fear they overpaid. I know this is a little ridiculous. If they're not worried about it, why should I be? But I am. And then I feel doubly worse if I wind up hating a book they spent $20 on when I could have wasted $2 instead. :(
Kel Sunday, November 16, 2014 art
Here are your hints:
She loves to paint.
She's obsessed with floating lights.
That's right! From Disney's 2010 "Tangled," she's....
Kel Friday, November 14, 2014
|Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting!|
Any book you want from The Book Depository (max $10 USD)
Kel Thursday, November 13, 2014 reviewDokey's The World Above combines Jack and the Beanstalk with Robin Hood. I love the idea of fairy tale/legend/classic literature mash-ups, and some (like The Lunar Chronicles) have been done really well. Unfortunately, while the idea of combining these two particular tales was new to me, the story and characters fell flat.
The World Above by Cameron Dokey
Series: Once Upon a Time
Genres: MG/YA, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Published on June 8, 2010
Published by Simon Pulse
Final Rating: 2 stars
Gen and her twin brother, Jack, were raised with their mother's tales of life in the World Above. Gen is skeptical, but adventureous Jack believes the stories--and trades the family cow for magical beans. Their mother rejoices, knowing they can finally return to their royal home.
When Jack plants the beans and climbs the enchanted stalk, he is captured by the tyrant who now rules the land. Gen sets off to rescue her borther, but danger awaits her in the World Above. For finding Jack may mean losing her heart....
Kel Wednesday, November 12, 2014The LSAT studying continues. I have good days and bad, but, unfortunately, best results are usually obtained with consistent, daily practice. :P But, I made an exception and took an extra special break for...
Robin LaFevers! She had a signing event nearby (sort of), and I was lucky and made it in time despite traffic. B&N's wi-fi wouldn't send all my tweets, but you can find a few choice author quotes about the series and future books on my Twitter feed. :)
Kel Tuesday, November 11, 2014 top10
Confession: I tried to make a list of 10 for this week's topic, "Top 10 Characters Who Need Their OWN Books," and failed miserably. I found out I either liked a book and was satisfied with the stories of all characters involved and didn't need more, or I disliked a book and didn't want more of anyone. Doubtless, this will all change when I see everyone else's lists and remember all sorts of characters who need their own stories; but for now, nobody really jumps to mind. Except Eponine. More on that later.
So, instead, I give you:
Kel Monday, November 10, 2014 discussionI love reading. That's a true statement. However, it's not entirely accurate. How about "I love reading fiction"? Generally true, but it leaves out non-fiction which, though I don't reach for it as often, I still enjoy from time to time. Not to mention all the hour-long stretches down the Wikipedia rabbit hole. (One does not simply click just one link.)
Let's try specifying this statement one more time: I love reading for fun.
Some of you are looking at me and saying, "Duh, of course you love reading for fun. We all do. What are you getting at?" I'm glad you asked. ;) I'm studying for the LSAT and using one of the library's prep books to practice and get ready. Now, I do some reading for work, but this has been probably the first time since college that I've had to really sit down and study.
So, here we are: long stretches of staring at small print, racking my brain to work and make the connections. (Everyone still in school, I sympathize.) And it's not fun. It's tedious and annoying and certain sections require absolute focus, so I don't even feel comfortable diving into a longer/more complicated fiction book on the side- only, pardon the term, brainless reading I can push through to keep my Goodreads challenge on life support. And I found out doing too many analytical reasoning problems before bed leads to horribly complex dreams in which I'm still doing them...and they almost made as much sense in dreamworld. Not sure how. :)
Kel Saturday, November 08, 2014 art
Here are your hints:
She loves pink.
She wants to be a princess.
She believes in wishing upon stars.
That's right! From Disney's 2009 "The Princess and the Frog," she's....
Charlotte La Bouff
Kel Thursday, November 06, 2014 reviewI was so excited when I found out I won a copy of Storm Siren from Tabitha's giveaway at Not Yet Read. I'd read tons of glowing reviews and it sounded like a story and main character I'd like. Good news: it was. :)
Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Series: Storm Siren #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on August 19, 2014
Published by Thomas Nelson
Final Rating: 3 stars
“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”
In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.
As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.
Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.
Kel Wednesday, November 05, 2014The bracelet race continues! I tend to make them in spurts and stops, but we're slowly building up a pile. Or we were until I ran out of buttons. Time to confiscate more. :) On the less productive side, it's November, which means I have one month until the LSAT and need to, you know, actually study. So if you see me lollygagging about on Twitter or Instagram or your blogs, feel free to yell at me for not studying. :)