Monday, July 23, 2012

Random Pining (Pinning?)


I suck at consistency and lately this blog has fallen down the priority list.

I would feel a lot worse if it wasn't for the fact that I am sticking to my writing goals for the first time (out of November that is). Update: I just hit 60,000 words in my current draft


For some people that would be "haHA finished!" but for me it's like "What the hell I'm not even 1/3 done??? This book is a) going to be a bitch to publish and b) going to weigh as much as a very sturdy newborn child."

Oh, guys....But no complaining! Time for SHARING. Thanks to Pinterest (find me here!) and the tide of life I have tons of random stuff to share.

1. I have recently discovered the majesty of mug cakes/brownies/cookies that you make in the microwave. I love baking and this is baking for the lazy, plus portion control! Win/win! My favorite I've tried is A Cup of Coffee Cake SO GOOD!

2. Recently I finished the Throne of Glass e-novellas and fell in lit-love. Sarah J. Maas is such a great new talent and I can't wait for the main book to come out on August 7th. But in the mean time there are four novellas to enjoy: assassins and pirates and empires and pretty dresses and a swoon worthy guy and plenty of attitude and angst.
The Assassin and the Desert (Throne of Glass, #0.2)The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass, #0.1)

3. Pinterest may be a more evil time suck than Facebook but it can be productive! I have boards for my Work In Progress and my Set Your Mind Alight Board. This is where I put the images that inspire and intrigue me. What is the story here? Where does this take place? What secrets are there to unearth?

Here is a small selection:
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4. Why not some music? Mix it up, eh?

This song by Fun makes me want to rock out and cry all at the same time. So catchy and so eloquent!

This is the perfect summer song. When I listen to it I just want to hang with friends, sip a fruity drink and let the worries slip away.

5. In complete hypocrisy of that last song I am going to be getting an iPhone soon. Yeah. I am 90% excited and 10% embarrassed. I used to make fun of iPhone owners, all the time! As long as I don't loose hold of reality I'll be good. Hey, look at these adorable cases from Case Mate:

Case-Mate Peacock - Silicone iPhone 4 / 4S Case
Case-Mate Xing - Silicone iPhone 4 / 4S Case
6. Lastly, Corgis right? They are everywhere! As usual I am on top of the trends (ha!), I've been obsessed with Corgis for years. So more of them I say. More more MORE!

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What have you obsessing over late? Any new discoveries?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Literary Love Story: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

During my mini vacation from blogging I, well...

I fell in love.

I fell in love with the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.

Finnikin of the Rock, the first book in the trilogy, was suggested to me by the lovely Vanessa in the comments of my Hipster Book List. I happily took her advice and looked it up on Goodreads. So many raving reviews! I got it from the library and soon found myself completely and utterly taken. A true marker of my love is that I immediately bought my own copies. I am stingy, this a BIG DEAL.
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

Here is the synopsis of Finnikin:

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock—to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page

Marchetta writes the most believable, realistic fantasy I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I cried, I gasped, I laughed, I wept. I felt grief and joy and anger and hope and triumph. It was everything, everything.

I could gush for hours (the Goodreads reviews have some epic gushing, so go there if you want more!) but that would be self indulgent. So I have decided to concentrate my love. I asked myself these questions: what is it that I loved most about Marchetta's story telling? What elements do I want to include in my own writing?

1. Emotion. For me emotion is the hearts blood of any story. I can not get into a story if I am not emotionally invested, it is impossible. Marchetta had me going "Oh, Evanjlin!", "Oh, Finnikin!", "Oh, Froi!", etc. every few pages. This is a hard story to read, and I imagine it was a hard story to write. These characters feel so fiercely because of the pain they have been forced to bear and the hope they have chosen to keep alive. I truly ADMIRED these characters, I wanted to befriend them and help them and protect them. I am dedicated to them, I have an intense emotional attachment to them. This has only happened to me a handful of times before. Marchetta deserves applause for this.

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)

2. Redemption. Oh, boy, do I love redemption. Finnikin and Froi of the Exiles have redemption in spades. And I don't mean revenge or good conquering over evil. So many characters are perceived as bad or selfish or reckless or heartless. As a reader I was ashamed of their actions, their words, their beliefs. But Marchetta always turned that around. Here are two great quotes from Finnikin that reflect this:

"Everything is evil that humans can't control or conquer."

"There are worse things than a lie and there are better things than the truth!"

The ambiguity of "goodness" is a lesson I took away from these books. Everybody has a story, everybody has regrets and everybody has a reason for why they do things (and its not always logical). Thanks to Marchetta my belief in human goodness, kindness and perseverance has been reaffirmed. She deserves awards and bricks of gold for this.

3. Secrets. There is mystery in these books, even in the most unexpected places. Of course I don't want to give any of this away. But as a fervent reader I can see plot twists a mile away (the end of  Insurgent by Veronica Roth? Called that in the first book)...most of the time. I was honestly shocked in both of these books. Marchetta fooled me many, many times. She deserves her own castle or small country for this.

My goal is to make every person who reads this go out and read these books. They have shot to the tippy top of my favorite list, without a doubt. Trust me, guys, you will not regret it!

Quintana of Charyn, the highly awaited third book, isn't released in the US until March 2013. However it is coming out in Australia in late September. For the first time ever I am going to hand over as much money as necessary to get a foreign edition of a book. I am as DEVOTED to this series as I have ever been to any book.

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)

Are you enticed to read the Lumatere Chronicles? Have you ever had such a strong affective response to a book or series?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Inspiration: Freakin' Adorable Edition

I haven't updated this blog in FOREVER. Honestly, I don't have some great excuse as for why. I've just been reading great books and writing a lot and marveling at how boring my life has been lately.

So I think some squeal inducing baby animals are in order. What about you?

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What's up? I was just born yesterday. Wanna hang?

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So fierce!

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Every shade of huskie puppies :D

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My eyes say "stuffed animal", my brain is screaming "it's real! holy crap, it's real!"

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Dream big. Future Olympian?

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Charismatic little fellow, huh?
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I had to finish with a corgi! I mean, come on, look at that face!!!

I hope this brought your moment of zen today ;D

In your opinion, what is the cutest baby animal?