Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Reader Appreciation Award

So, I got another blog award. Weird.  My blog stats drop below sea level and the BAM, I get two blog awards (three, if you count the one I got twice). 

I have three hypotheses for this:

  1. My readers have subscribed via email and read the post in their inboxes, so they create no page views.
  2. The people who gave me the blog awards could think of no one else to award.
  3. My readers are ninjas, and thus their page views don't show up.
 I'm going to pretend it's the third. 

On to the actual award:

It has a sunflower.  I like sunflowers.

Like pretty much all of the blog awards out there, this one has rules:
1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Attach the icon to your site.
3. Answer the attached questions.
4. Nominate bloggers who you feel deserve this award and notify them about their nominations.

Shonti from Dragons, Unicorns, and Other Random Things gave me this one. Thanks, Shonti! 

What is your favorite color?
Blue. Or purple. Can't decide. 
What is your favorite animal?
That would be the dragon.
What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
Hot chocolate, oh yes.  Though my mom's chai is really good too.
What is your favorite number?
Not sure I have one. When I was little, I really liked 256, for some reason. I found out later it happens to be the square of 16.  Apparently I like numbers that are also polygons.
What is your favorite day of the week?
Again, not sure I have one. 
What is your favorite flower?
Hmm.  Too many to choose from. I think I'll go with nigela this time.
What is your passion?
Reading, writing, music.
Do you watch television?
No, actually, I don't.  I live out in the middle of nowhere, and the only stations we get out here are various forms of PBS.  I do watch movies, though.
Who is your favorite author?
At the moment, Jill Williamson. This is subject to change.
Do you like 80s movies?
Depends on the movie.
How do you like your eggs?
I like omelets, but "egg in a nest" (a piece of toast with a hole in the middle and the egg fried in the hole) is good too.
When did you discover blogging?
Well, I knew that people blogged before I started blogging, which was just over a year ago.
Why do you like to blog?
Actually it isn't one of my favorite things, but I don't like the idea of giving up on my corner of the blogosphere, so here I am.

And because I'm too lazy to go find people to nominate, I offer this award to anyone who makes it this far down in this post.  Enjoy!

And a goodnight/day/afternoon/whatever it is where you are to you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Amazon description:

"Come and mend your broken hearts here.
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late."

I finished this book sometime after midnight one morning last week..  I loved it.  It is a lovely retelling of the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, with magic and romance and secrets, a good plot and delightfully flawed characters.  It was charming with some deliciously dark and creepy places.

So, I give it 5 out of five stars.

If you're looking for a light, but fun read, I'd definitely recommend Entwined.

I think that's all.  Live long and prosper.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Receive the Liebster Award, Twice

Last week both Victoria from Stori Tori's Blog and Bethany from The Ramblings of a Young Author gave me the Liebster Award. Thanks a bunch, ladies!

The Liebster award is where Bloggers nominate other bloggers they like with 200 followers or less. Any type of blog can be nominated. It's a way to get to know new bloggers and to network with them. Here's how it works:
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger who nominated you left.
3. Ask 11 new questions for those who you nominate.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate.
5. Go to each blogger's page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. (Done!)

1. I've been thinking about facts to list since I was awarded, but now I don't remember them.
2. I have to drive with my mom for nine more minutes before I can get my driver's license.
3. I have a strong affinity for glitter. 
4. I slip into a British accent once in a while.
5. I'm trying to teach myself to play Forbidden Friendship from the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack using sheet music from this guy.
6. I'm in the process of changing the first 60k words of my work in progress from first person to third person.
7. I'll have a blog post about it up soon.
8. I bought myself a tricorner hat that I wear sometimes when I write.
9. My sister hates that hat.
10. I just read some of the comments on Victoria's blog, and one of the other nominees mentioned that he has a side character named Victoria, and after reading that, I remembered that I too have a side character called Victoria, who goes by Tori.
11. I just started watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  They're pretty good, but Lydia is SO inappropriate. 

Victoria's questions:
1. What's your TV series?
Ooh, that's a toughie. It's a toss up between Lark Rise to Candleford and Doctor Who. 
2. Favorite superhero?
Probably Captain America.  
3. If you could have any pet whether it is mythical or real, what would it be?
I wouldn't mind a small dragon. One that was trained not to burn the house down. 
4. If you could live in the world of a book or movie, which one? 
 I'd live in the world of Doctor Who, because then I could borrow the TARDIS and go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted.
5. Favorite music artist?
Probably The PianoGuys. I love their new cover of Taylor Swift's Begin Again. Oh, but Owl City is really good too...
6. What is your favorite scent?
7. Hunger Games or Twilight?
Well, I haven't read the Hunger Games, and I haven't read the last Twilight book. But if I had to be stuck somewhere with nothing else to read, I'd go with the Hunger Games. 
8. Motorcycle or car?
Car. One of my mom's friends broke both arms in a motorcycle accident last year. After that, it would take a very substantial bribe to get me on one of those things. 
9. Favorite cookie?
Butterscotties. Or chocolate chip cookies. 
10. What is a quirk about yourself?
When I have writers' block, I build towers out of whatever happens to be on the table. Drinking glasses, medicine bottles, pencils, notebooks, calculators...
11. Do you have a favorite blog?
Go Teen Writers is the one I follow the most regularly. 

Bethany's questions: 
1. Do you have siblings? How many?
I have one younger sister.   
2. Checkered or plaid?
 Plaid, especially Scottish tartans.
 3. Favorite food?
 4. How much wood did the woodchuck chuck?
I saw somewhere that you can ask Siri that popular tongue twister, so I did, and she said "A so-called woodchuck (correctly speaking, a groundhog) would chuck - that is, throw, - as much as the woodchuck in question was physically able to chuck, if woodchucks in general had the capability (and, presumably, the motivation) to chuck wood."  Okay then.
 5. Favorite fantasy world?
Ooh, good one.  It's a toss up between the world of Harry Potter and Er'Rets from Jill Williamson's Blood of Kings trilogy. 
 6. Hot chocolate or coffee? 
Hot chocolate, hands down. 
 7. What is your favorite musical?
Toss up between The Music Man (the Robert Preston version) and Disney's live action version of Cinderella. Silly, I know, but I've loved that movie since I can remember. 
 8. Would you rather eat a raw squirrel, or moldy doughnuts? :P
*Swallows* Um, I think the moldy doughnuts. 
 9. On a scale of 1-10 how much do you enjoy reading?
 10. Favorite book?
Oh, lordy.  I never know how to answer this question. Of the books I've read recently, Entwined by Heather Dixon is my favorite.  
 11. Cold weather or hot weather?
Hot. I can tolerate outrageous heat, like we had last summer, but I DO NOT like the cold.

My questions: 

1. Windows or Apple?
2. If you could change your name to anything, would you change it, and if so, what would you change it to? 
3. What's your favorite car? 
4. If you could play any musical instrument instantly, which would you choose? 
5. Murder mysteries or romances? 
6. Favorite fairytale?
7. Brownies or cake?
8. Would you rather wear neon pink or neon green? 
9. Buttons or zippers?
10. If you could visit any point in time, which would you choose? 
11. Do you think eleven questions is too many?

All righty, I nominate:
Pheris at The Word Asylum
And YOU. That's right.  If you want this award, take it. It's yours. Enjoy. 

See y'all later.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: By These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle

Amazon description: 
"There’s hidden places all over this land-old, old places. Places with a chain for them to chain up the wolf when it’s time.

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins the admiration of the weaver’s daughter, Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.
     There is an evil presence in the carver’s life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her-and what price she is willing to pay to keep it."  

By These Ten Bones is a quietish little story about, as the description alludes to, a werewolf.  
I give it three and a half stars. 
It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my favorite.  I liked Maddie and the other characters, and the plot was pretty good.  There was some good conflict between and within the characters, and the end was good and suspenseful.
Also, the description says "One by one, people begin to die", but only one (at least that I can remember) person in the village gets killed by the beast. Another character dies, but he gets murdered by another one of the characters after the other character is killed by the beast.  There were some other characters that died, but they were dead before the story even began, and you heard about their deaths from other characters.
I think that's all I've got to say. See ya next time.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TCWT! February Blog Chain: A Post in which I Review a Self-Published Story

So, I'm participating in the Teens Can Write, Too! February blog chain. This month's topic is:
“Choose one self-published book to read, then briefly review it or talk about your experiences reading it.”

I read Sew, it's a Quest by Kendra E. Ardnek, who is another teen writer, and homeschooled too! I'm pretty sure I downloaded Sew, it's a Quest because it was on sale for free for a day on Amazon. Anyway, I'd forgotten I'd downloaded it and then I found it when I was trying to download another ebook, so I decided to read it for this, since it was self-published.  I am very pleased I did, because I loved it. 

Sew, it's a Quest is a fairytale novella targeted at preteen girls and younger children.  So it's short, and isn't written with sparkling prose, but it's cute.  The main plot centers around Prince Robert and Princess Robin, twin royals whose gifts were switched at birth, and their quest to right their gifts before their 18th birthday, which is only 4 months away.  There are, however, some subplots that do in places take over.

The story itself was pretty good, not fabulous, but typical for a fairytale.  A good portion of the side characters are versions of characters from other fairytales such as Sleeping Beauty, which made for a fun read.

The best part overall was the humor.  There's one character who was gifted with excellent math skills, but whose tongue does not know the difference between "castle" and "tassel." It was hilarious.

....I can't really think of anything else to say.  I think there were a few typos, and the characters could be flat at times, but in case I hadn't made it obvious enough, I loved it anyway. I give it four point five out of five stars. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog chain!
February 18th (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Back Cover Blurb:

"Twelve-year-old Alexa Daley is spending another summer in Bridewell with her father. She looks forward to exploring the old lodge where she stays each year, with its cozy library and maze of passages and rooms. She's also eager to finally solve the mystery of what lies beyond the immense walls that were built to keep out and unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills -- and evil the townspeople are still afraid of.
As Alexa begins to unravel the truth about what lies outside the protective barrier she's lived behind all her life, she discovers a strange and ancient enchantment. Armed with an unexpected new power, Alexa exposes a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear -- and change The Land of Elyon forever." 

The thoughts that came to me whist and after reading:
This was pretty cute. Its target audience is tween girls, and you can tell.  It's by no means riveting or a page turner, but it isn't bad.   The first 100 or so pages are set up, which is kinda slow, but you need it for the end. 
Overall, I give it four stars.

My Auntie S. recommended the series to my sister a few years ago, but Sis didn't get very far,  Then we found the series used at a second-hand book shop for super cheap and bought it. I read this because Sis was in the middle of another book and wanted to know how these were. I told her, but now she is considering not reading them because of something unfortunate that happened to a cat in the story.  Sigh.

I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to read the rest of the series or not yet. I've got other books higher on my list.  Including the one I'm currently reading, Sew, It's a Quest by Kendra E. Ardnek.  I'm reading it for the Teens Can Write, Too! February blog chain, the topic of which is to pick a self-published book and review it. So, I'll have my post for that up on the thirteenth.  Be sure to check out the rest of the blog chain, too.