Monday, July 22, 2013

Goals

This year I have set for myself a list of goals I wish to accomplish. Some are life goals and some are things I've set for my own pleasure.

Pleasure Goal #1: Read 40 books this year.

Let me preface this by adding that a year or two ago I went on a reading binge during the summer, devouring like 23ish books in three months. It's ridiculous, but also really amazing. So when I was thinking of a number to set my goal at the beginning of the year, I remembered that summer and knew if I could read that many books in such a short amount of time, then I could definitely read twice that much in an entire year (also I had just finished book three or four in the Harry Potter series, so I felt like I had a jump start).

Today...mini backstep acutally. Yesterday, I finished reading Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan. I crossed it off of the list I keep next to by nightstand and then proceeded to pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

(I'm reading the Penguin Classics version)

Okay now TODAY. I'm updating my Goodreads list and what do I notice???? I've read thirty nine books so far!

39 BOOKS! Out of 40! It's only July....

I think I need to update my reading goal. Question is, what should I set my goal to once I've finished Dorian Gray? Hmmm....

Well, in the mean time, I'm working on my story (I can't really call it a book yet. It seems too...what's the word I'm looking for??? Unfair? No, I don't know. I just can't call it a book yet). I've reached chapter 19 out of 29ish chapters.That's another one of my goals this year. Finish the first draft of my story.

Exciting things are happening this year people. Why? Because I'm making them exciting.
Set goals for yourself.
See what happens.
You just might find yourself smiling at the end of the year, feeling grateful and accomplished.
You can do amazing things.

Hope you are enjoying the clouds today.
Olive juice 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Exercise vs. Reading

Ow Ow owowowowowow! My thighs...my back... *moaning*

Seriously, why? Working out is a literal pain in the freaking butt.

So, yesterday (and pretty much every other day) my mom comes in my room and says something along the lines of, "Get out of that bed and do something productive." Ugh! Currently, I'm reading...so the getting up? Not a serious issue (to some people). It's furthering my knowledge and it serves as good research for writing. But anyway, I get up. Why? Mom wrath. Beware the mom wrath.

I get up, start do my usual thing, when I hear my mom call to me from the other room, "Hey do you want to go walking with me?" UUUGGGHHH! *slaps face and moans a little under breath

Again, Why????
(This is where I want to be...minus the curler and bath towel. And replace the muffins with a book and the couch for my bed, and then it's me. But with clothes. Okay, maybe keep one of the muffins. I love poppy seed. And add a smile in there. Then it's me.)

(What the heck do I need to workout for? And this pink band...you can admit it; it just makes me look stupid. And I'm not fat. I just have a lot of hair.)

So my mom is one of those moms that has this incapacitating ability to lay on a guilt trip. You know you didn't do anything wrong. Why she gotta be trying to make a girl feel guilty? It's because she's mom. Apparently she knows what's best or something.

So anywho, I'm sitting there not wanting to go walk with her and she pulls the guilt trip out of her back pocket like its a Swiss army knife she's been learning how to throw like a ninja.

(This is my mom. You can't tell because her mask is hiding her mouth, but you can totally tell by the crazy look in her eyes that she's saying, "You better come walking with me before I throw this star in your face and chop off your legs with my wicked sharp katana! Then you'll wish you could walk.")

But she barely says more than two sentences before the guilt wracks up the back of my spine and threatens to give me an aneurism if I don't go walk with her.

There's only one way out of this situation...and I take it. Cause I'm lazy like that. I say to my mom, "Nope. I don't want to go walking. I'll stay here and work out" (cause we have OnDemand). In the past, my mom has given me one of two reactions to this. The first: "Okay, see you in 27 minutes" (she times her walks. don't ask me why!). The second reaction is thus: "Awww...you should come. You need to get outside. The sun is shining and you'll just stay inside all day looking like a white out." Okay, that last part was a little over exaggerated, but still. She does complain that I don't get enough sun. I'm just preventing myself from getting sun cancer. Is that such a crime? That and sunscreen makes me break out in a rash. Not pleasant.

Anway, Mom gives me reaction number 1 as I am turning on the TV to get to the sports and fitness section on OnDemand. Mom exits stage right, and I contemplate what workout I'd like to do. First I think, "What part of my body do I want to tone?" *contemplates what I look like in a bathing suit. Okay, need to tighten the tummy, the little wings under my arms, and the slight jiggle of my thighs when I dance. Abs and Core are my section. I scroll through the videos and try one, but press stop before a minute goes by cause it looks stupid. And that's when it happens...

On OnDemand (an explanation for those who don't have it), after you've watched a program, the TV will go to Saved Programs, where you can easily go to watch any show you haven't finished (I'm thinking that's clever advertising on Comcast's end). So, when I press stop on the stupid workout, OnDemand takes me to Saved Programs, and there is the show I had been watching the night before. It calls to me...


(Laugh all you want. Mary-Kate and Ashley are nostalgic. Was I the only one who used to watch So Little Time?)

MK and Ashley's bubbly teen drama called to me like chocolate in the middle of the night. I wanted to skip working out and just finish the show, but....I knew my mom would be coming back in less time than it would take to finish the movie. So, I ended up finding two workout videos. The first one I only did about five or ten minutes of and the second I did a half an hour of.

It's safe to say I was completely worn out after (that's why I didn't finish the second workout). I mean, I had sweat glistening on my forehead. For me that's a good workout.

Then today, I wake up, and start writing down a story idea I had a dream about the previous night. Today, my mom had a hair appointment with my sister and I decided to come along cause I'm a sap and miss my sister (she's married and out of the house). We were supposed to leave at 11:30 to make my mom's appt at noon and around 11:00 I'm still in bed writing. I bet you're seeing where this is leading to...

My mom calls to me from the other room saying, "Are you coming with me to the salon?" Her tone reeks of mom undertone. Really she's saying, "Get out of that bed and get ready. I will leave you behind if you aren't ready when I am."

So...you know, I want to see my sister...I get up from my comfy bed and....OOOOOWWW! Geez! My back hurts.And my thighs. Oh my gosh, the thighs. Every step...it hurts. And tomorrow? My mom wants me to mow the freaking lawn with her. Thankfully, she has me do a smaller section of the yard than she does, but still...my backyard is fairly big (90 ft w). That is one tiring pain in the butt to mow, with a lawn mower I have to push myself. No self propelled lawn mowers or dare I say...a riding lawn mower. Seriously. My yard has miniature mountains. Try mowing that and say you didn't get a workout.

Yes, I'm complaining. But my back hurts people! I do not look forward to tomorrow. Except that Vampire Diaries will be on tomorrow night. Every week I look forward to saying to my mom (who is as obsessed about the show as I am), "Do you know what tonight is?" She usually says no, especially if I ask casually and at a time when she's busy doing something like cooking. Then I say, "The Bampire Diaries" all deep and husky with a hilariously cheesy version of a Russian accent (and yes, I do mean Bampire, with a B).

I'm just excited to see what happens next with Klaus and Caroline. Seriously, I think she's cracking. And thank the heavens (SPOILER ALERT) Elena finally let her humanity back in. I mean, I wanted to smack her in the face for a while. But I guess the clouds have lifted. Now she can get back with Stephan. I can only hope.

That's all for now!

Hope your day is bright
-olive juice

Friday, May 3, 2013

YA Sub Genre Rec Tag! 19-20

This is the last one! Yay!!!
Don't ask why, but this rec tag has been like a thorn in my side. I think it's the lack of spontaneity...too structured. But I'm doing it anyway. Completing goals is good, and I enjoy it when I can accomplish them.
Moving on!

The last two genres in this tag are as follows...
First: Werewolves! I have two book series that fall under this category and feature some furry men whom I have fallen for and believe you too would find enrapturing. So the first is the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Description (book 1): "Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself." (from Barnes&Noble)
Here's a description of the series from Patricia Briggs' website, "Mercedes is Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. Her native american heritage has gifted her with the ability to take the form of a coyote at will. She's surrounded by far more powerful supernatural beings, including werewolves, vampires and an assortment of fey."
Recommendation: Oddly enough, my dad bought the first book in this series for me. I told him I would read it, and classic enough as this saying is...little did I know. I love these books. There are seven out total, and an eighth on the way. I'm not sure how many book there will be, but I just say, "keep em' comin'"
Mercy is tough as nails. She's good at being on her own, but help is never too far away, even if she won't accept it easily. There's a ton of action, romance, and mystery in each book, and for Mercy there are enemies around every corner. It's great to see her investigate...she's kind of like Nancy Drew, if Nancy was a mechanic and full of spitfire. 
I also loved the folklore Briggs weaves throughout the books. It adds so much more flavor and depth to each story. It's been a while since I've read these books, but I remember the feeling I got being sucked into Mercy's world. These were the kinds of books that I had to keep reading, and when I was done, I couldn't rest until I found the next one. It's definitely worth a read...even though they aren't YA. But who cares? I'm adding them to your list of books you need to read.

Secondly, I would like to recommend the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong.




I've already recommended this series under the post, "YA sub genre rec tag! 7-9"...so you can check out what I have to say about it there...and if you're being lazy and don't want to search for it, just believe that it's really good because I'm recommending it twice. And it has a yummy werewolf in it. What's not to love?

Want to read: I have the seventh book in the Mercy Thompson series, Frost Burned. It's sitting in my TBR pile. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next for Mercy.
 

And lastly...I will finish with Zombies.
Now, off the top of my head, I can only think of two books I've read with zombies in them. Zombies...not my favorite topic. Anyway, the first is the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong (which I just recommended above). Seriously people...that's three recommendations now. Go read it! It has something for everyone. The zombies in those three books are creeeeeepy!

The other zombie story I've read is Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

(I love the cover on the left...the texture is sooo buttery!)

Description: "R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between." (from Isaac Marion's website)

Recommendation: For those of you who are like myself and are not a fan of gore or horror, but wish there was something within the genre to meet your taste-buds, I'd recommend this book. First off, I must mention that I saw the movie before I read the book. So, it's probably safe to say my perspective could have been slightly different, had I read the book without an outside reference forming an opinion for me before I read it. Seriously, I saw the movie three times...I loved it. And when I found out there was a book? Had to read it.
I did enjoy the book. There was so much more going on than in the movie, like in regards to Perry's memories of his relationship with Julie. I enjoyed getting inside R's head and understanding better the struggle he went through trying to communicate and maintain the unattainable...humanity. Of course, the book did end differently than the movie (for spoilers sake, I won't mention what the difference is), and even though I liked the movie's version better, I can still picture the book's ending in my head. Crystal clear. I think that was something I enjoyed most about this book. There's something in the way Marion writes, that brings such clear images to the mind, and I love that it's all from a male's POV. There isn't enough of that in YA, so I liked that aspect a lot too (as well as the images at the beginning of each chapter...scientifically morbid).

Want to read: So I just found out that Isaac Marion has written a prequel to Warm Bodies called, The New Hunger. It has the same characters but focuses on what happened prior to Julie and R meeting. I'd love to read this.

Ahhh!!! I'm done! This rec took FOREVER! But I'm glad I did it. Let me know if there are any books in these genres you'd recommend (YA or not), and if you've read them, what you think of the books I recommended thus far.

Hope your day is bright
-olive juice     

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

POV

I'm currently writing from a boy's POV. It's so much fun! And a challenge. I keep having to think to myself, "What would a boy do?" "What would a boy say?"

As a girl, I tend to be more emotional in my writing, both in creating dialogue and a character's actions. I've never delved into writing from a male's perspective before, so I find it exciting to stretch my thinking.

I've read various author's comments on how they let a character lead them in the direction the story should go, but I've never really understood it. Sometimes, when I've come to a road block, I have to close my eyes and let my mind wander. I guess that's the closest thing I could compare to letting my characters show me what they are going to do.

With my male character though, words are just flowing. I may hit little speed bumps here and there (cause I have to think outside my own gender), but it's a fun process.

To all the writers out there who haven't written from the POV of the opposite sex, I must say...Give it a try! It'll challenge your ability as a writer, make you think beyond yourself (cause I tend to put my own life's experiences, thoughts and emotions into my characters), and free your mind a little of writing the same kind of character.

Hope your day is bright!
Olive juice

current mood song:

it's fitting, no? : )

 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Writing

I'm writing....stories.
When completed, they have certain wishes they would like to be fulfilled:
- to be placed on many sheets of paper
- to have those sheets of paper stacked between two pieces of really thick paper
- to have all that paper covered in a final layer of paper. It must be buttery smooth with a beautiful image printed across it
- to be placed on a shelf, where people can come admire them
- And...to be bought by such lovely people


These stories have other dreams too. They hope that one day they will grow to be so loved, that people in the movie industry will read them and then fantasize about making them into movies.

Such as...



(*sigh* aren't they beautiful?)

Then, as the stories age, they wish for their covers to become well worn and placed lovingly amidst other well worn stories.



It's a bit ambitious...but a story can dream...

My stories and I hope your day is bright
Olive Juice
 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scarlet Launch Party!

Yesterday was amazing!
First, I went shopping at Forever 21 and got a new pair of black trousers. Yay!

(these ones)

Then, I waited. and waited some more.

Then, I went to Garfield Book Co........that place is so cool by the way...........for Marissa Meyer's launch party for her second book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Scarlet. Now, you probably know from previous posts that I won an ARC of Scarlet last year for Marissa's Choice in her pumpkin contest she held in October. Here's a little reminder of what I did.

(Cinder's version of pumpkin carving)

If you want to check out the whole process of how I made the pumpkin, and the story concept behind it, go here: http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-great-lunar-chronicles-pumpkin.html

I sent Marissa my mailing information for her to send me the ARC, which then started a small correspondence between us, in which she invited me to bring the pumpkin I made to her launch party. What?! I was so ecstatic and nearly speechless. Of course I said yes and began to do a little tweaking on the pumpkin...it needed a little extra jushing. I switched out the orange ribbon for red (so much more appropriate for the evening), added a few gold details, replaced some duct tape with wire, and gave the tea lights handles for better transfer and plates to sit on/in.

All in all, I was much more attracted to my pumpkin (I stared at it for while). And Marissa loved seeing it too. She even shared the concept I created for the pumpkin with everyone at the party. 

(Does anyone have a photo they took of my pumpkin? I'd love to see it!)
 
I felt and still feel so honored by Marissa. She's so sincere and such a naturally happy person. It was fantastic to meet her again, and I'm looking forward to her next book, Cress...though I will be waiting for it for an entire year (*sigh). I finished Scarlet about a week ago. It was just as good as Cinder, maybe a little more exciting...maybe.

I hope you are all having a wonderful day and are reading to your hearts content.

Olive Juice...

P.S. Go read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. But read Cinder first if you haven't done so already.


And check out Marissa's blog for all info on the Lunar Chronicles and the dates for her book tour...she could be coming to your city!
http://www.marissameyer.com/blog/

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Authors galore!

Today I thought I would share a few pics of the authors I've met (of course through book signings) over this past year. Actually I have to start with one from 2011. That was the first time I ever went to visit an author on their book tour. Since then, I've discovered a fun new past time. It's just as fun to meet authors as it is to read their books. It makes me feel closer to the world and characters I become fond of...I'd highly recommend going if you haven't before.

So first....introducing! Meg Cabot!


She's the author of many many many books, including the famous The Princess Diaries. Meg was one of my first favorites in the YA genre. I've recommended her Mediator series (http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/05/ghosts-redo.html), Ransom My Heart, and Abandon ( http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/06/ya-sub-genre-rec-tag-10-12.html). Most of the books I've read by her are contemporary, but I especially enjoy her paranormal books. I don't think I can say I haven't enjoyed a single book I've read by her. They include:
The Mediator Series
Abandon Series
Airhead Series
Avalon High
1-800 Series (books 1-4)
All American Girl Series
How to be Popular
Pants on Fire
Teen Idol
Insatiable Series
Ransom My Heart
Foretold (an anthology, including her short story Out of the Blue)

Meg has written well over 50 books and other short stories. She has a fun, quirky personality, and knows how to relate to children, teens, and adults by seeing the world through their eyes and making it enjoyable to read about at any age.

Next.....Marissa Meyer!

(Marissa is on the left. Unfortunately I did not ask for a picture with her.)

She is the author of the The Lunar Chronicles. The first book in a four book series is Cinder which I've recommended here:  http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/04/cinder.html
Marissa is sweet, intelligent, and she writes one heck of a blog. I love reading her author tips. They can really help aspiring authors when they are feeling both up and down in the writing and publishing process. Check her blog out here: http://www.marissameyer.com/blog/



Now introducing........Danny Marks!



He is the author of the newly published Velveteen.

(I love this cover!)

Description: "Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.
Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her."

Here are my thoughts on it: I would give this book 3 and 1/2 stars. I don't normally give a book five stars unless it's changed my life. So, Danny's book is almost a four. I was a little hesitant to read it, since I knew going in that it had elements of horror in it (generally not my style), but I enjoyed Danny's vlogs and personality so much, I just had to read it.
The main character Velveteen, is a true warrior and guardian. She doesn't take crap from anyone, and knows how to get a job done; in this case, take care of the "good" souls in Purgatory by keeping them safe, whilst kicking the "bad/banshee" ones out of human hosts and helping those poor souls who are lost find their way to Purgatory; and she's a smart mouth (but in a fun way).
Then there is Velvet's salvage team, who provide support when she goes kicking naughty souls back to Purgatory. They consist of the twins (a brother/sister duo who are both smart, cunning, know it alls and mature beyond their years), Quentin (an extremely shy, lovestruck teen, and Kipper (a jokster, "part-time Salvage trainer", and all around tough guy...when need be). And there might be Nick (a lost soul/love interest). He has Velvet's back, doesn't mind being led by her, won't be easily pushed around, and adapts wells. And he's extra hot.
I liked these characters and seeing how they interact around one another. You get to know some of their back story, which you don't always get for secondary characters.
The plot, although very interesting and a concept I haven't read about before, was a bit confusing at times. I thought this, because the characters are often running around Purgatory and the Earth plane trying to accomplish a multitude of tasks. They get one thing taken care of and then another problem occurs almost immediately. This direction of various plot lines doesn't always sit clearly with the reader; but the more you read, the more you can see the connections clearly. I would say, this was the only thing that bothered me about the story....and maybe the gory parts. Though, in all honesty, it did not freak me out quite like I had anticipated. Don't get me wrong though. Danny has a way of describing without describing. Kind of like how Hitchcock showed you things without letting you see them.
And lastly, there's Bonesaw. Creepy, pyscho, very realistic. I wanted Velvet to get her revenge just about as much as she did.
I would like to read the sequel. It doesn't quite exist yet, but I know there could be one. Danny leaves room for more, but it's not a cliffhanger ending, which is nice if there isn't a sequel.  

Danny also vlogs regularly on two YouTube channels, his personal channel: DannyMarksYA, and as Sunday on the YARebels channel. Check both out for laughs and books galore! P.S. follow him on twitter for food nom!

Next!......Tahereh Mafi!

(Me and Tahereh)

She is the author of Shatter Me (it's the book she's holding in the pic above). Check out my recommendation here: http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/04/reading.html
I love Tahereh! She's so funny and witty. I follow her on Twitter, and let's just say, her tweets are a treat. And her writing is compelling. Plus, she has great fashion sense. Check her out!

Next!...........Veronica Rossi!

She is the author of Under the Never Sky. I've recommended it here: http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/05/ya-sub-genre-rec-tag.html
I loved how original this book was. And I love how sweet Veronica is. She's also loves painting, so I feel like I can relate to her more. It was great meeting her in person and have her answer some of my questions about her book.

Finally! give a round of applause for.......Richelle Mead!



She is the author of the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series, which I highly recommend here: http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/05/twitter-and-vampires.html
and here: http://twitterslife.blogspot.com/2012/11/ya-sub-genre-rec-tag-16-18.html
When I think of Richelle, I imagine a small woman with a chill personality, glazed over a secret femme fatale/kick butt heroine. She's funny when she wants to be and sweet to all her fans.

All the authors I've mentioned, I also follow on Twitter. It's a great way to learn more about them as people and writers, and to find out all the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and when their next book comes out (including fun giveaways, pictures, snippets, book tour info, etc). Send some love and follow them.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. And if you have not read the books mentioned above, please....do yourself a favor....READ THEM!

Hope your day is bright!
- Olive juice