March 27, 2015

That Day I Met Diana Peterfreund {!!!!}

As well as Tiffany Trent and Melissa Marr! I was trying to be unobtrusive with my picture taking, which explains why I caught Melissa in the middle of her sentence. :/

So! I found out exactly one week prior to this event that it was going to happen and that it was only a two hour drive from home. (And if you're like everyone I met that night, you're saying "Two hours?! You actually drove two hours to go to this thing?". Yep. I did. Never underestimate what one may do to meet a favorite author! Plus two hours is nothing. It was interstate driving the whole way, I had an awesome audiobook to listen to, and the time flew by! :)

This event was part of  Virginia Festival of the Book and featured all YA authors. I was happy to listen to all of them, but the chance to meet DIANA PETERFREUND was the true draw. Which I did! And she was so, so nice! She chatted with me, signed my book, was willing to pose for a picture or two, and overall was simply awesome. Writers have to the best people ever! :D

This is the lovely lady herself. (And yes. I cropped me out of the picture. I'm just weird about pictures of myself. Which....I suppose she might be as well? Hmmm. A quandary. Do I leave it up or don't I? Guess I'll leave it and hope she doesn't mind.) Anyway, she was so warm and welcoming when we talked. I mentioned that Persuasion is my favorite Austen and how very much I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars. And she mentioned how nice it was to meet a fellow fan of Jane's. :) Which led to discussing Across a Star-Swept Sea and The Scarlet Pimpernel, which inspired it. (Hence why when I saw a copy of TSP last Saturday, I snatched it up.) I forgot to mention that I love her Secret Society Girl series unfortunately. Also, she was very kind in the face of my inability to be able to say full sentences that made sense. I guess I was a little starstruck and could only smile and wish I could act normal. (*sigh* Maybe someday I'll actually be able to accomplish that when meeting an author!)

The whole evening was fun. I really enjoyed listening to all three talk about writing and their books. I couldn't write down everything they said (although I wished I could!), but I did get a few things. Melissa had several pieces of advice:
  • If you're passionate about it, write about it. Someone else will find it fascinating and want to read about it. Don't doubt yourself in that area. If you're interested in writing about a particular thing, then do it!
  • Start every question with "Why not?". (For example: if you think you shouldn't write a particular thing, why not? If you think you can't do it, why not?)
  • If you want to write YA fiction, write as the teen you were. Do NOT write as an adult talking to teens, that way you eliminate the possibility of talking down to the teens you are writing for. And teens always know the difference.
I was really impressed with Melissa actually. Every time a teen writer would ask a question (there were several in the audience), she was so encouraging to them. I kept imagining myself as a teen writer sitting there listening to her and she was so inspiring. She treated them as serious writers. Not that Tiffany and Diana didn't! But Melissa was the more outspoken of the three and she has so much experience to share.

All three of them talked about writing itself and how anyone who is serious about writing will make it a priority. They all have extremely busy lives (Diana has young children, and Tiffany and Melissa both have adopted young children in the last year or two. Also Melissa's was a drug baby, so you can imagine the time and energy required of her! And she still has time to write and write some more.) Basically they said that if it's important to you, you'll make it a priority. Write what you can when you can. In other words, if you can be a full-time writer, then awesome! Do that. But if you can't, then figure out what fits your lifestyle and make it work. Do whatever you must in order to fit it into your life.

They were all so generous with their time and spent several minutes talking and signing books with each of us that hung around after the talk. I haven't read any of Tiffany's or Melissa's books, but having met the ladies in person I'm much more interested to try them. I bought Tiffany's The Unnaturalists that night and am excited to start that one! I've also heard lots of great things about Melissa's, so maybe one day I'll try one.

All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful evening! I'm so pleased I was able to experience it. :) Have you ever met a favorite author?

March 23, 2015

Mailbox Monday :: Edition the First

I've seen Hamlette (plus a few others!) participate in this meme and haven't really felt the need to join in before. But as I happened to stumble upon a Books-A-Million this past Saturday whereupon I discovered a copy of a certain book that she and I both love (and I also happen to know she owns this particular copy as well) I just had to share. And hope that she doesn't mind that I now own the exact same cover and bookmark as she! They were simply so lovely, that I couldn't leave them there.

See? Isn't that cover a beauty?! I love it. It also has those awesome uneven edges, which means that I love the feel of them in my hands. To be quite honest, I'd completely forgotten that Hamlette owned a copy of that bookmark as well, until I came home and checked her post about it. Ah well. You have awesome taste, Hamlette! So please take this as a compliment! :)

I also happened to attend a used book sale that very same day and the above stack is what I came home with. I've been wanted a physical copy of Seraphina for a while now (I have it on my kindle), and was beyond excited to find this one for $1. That's right! One whole dollar, people! :D I already own The Near Witch in hardback, but I couldn't just leave that one on the shelf. So maybe a giveaway should happen in the near future? Anybody interested?

Rachel has exclaimed for years about The Blue Castle, so now I have no excuse for not reading it! :) I now own The Scarlet Pimpernel too, for reasons that'll get explained in another post. Rest assured they are fabulous reasons though!!!

So! What books have you added to your shelves recently?

March 19, 2015

Let's Chat About Books, Shall We?

I saw this via Hamlette, who borrowed the idea from Naomi! I trust those awesome ladies won't mind if I join in the fun. Plus I get to talk about books! Always a good time, right? :)

Favorite childhood book?

Uncle Remus Stories

What are you reading right now?

The Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa

What books do you have on request at the library?

Currently none.

Bad book habit?

Staying up WAY too late to finish a book.

What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Yankee Strangerby Elswyth Thane
Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Do you have an e-reader?

Yep! A kindle touch.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?

Depends on the moment, I do both.

Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Kind of. Now when I read a book I LOVED, I get online and gush about it with friends who understand me! :D

Least favorite book you read this year so far?

Prudence Pursued 

Favorite book you've read this year?

The first two books in the Starbound trilogy! These Broken Stars and This Shattered World - Absolutely loved both books!!

How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

Not very.

What is your reading comfort zone?

Fascinating characters, a cute romance, and a story that sweeps me away from reality for a few hundred pages.

Can you read in the car?

Unfortunately no. But that's when audiobooks come in handy! :)

Favorite place to read?

The closest spot to wherever I picked up the book.

What is your policy on book lending?

Please return in the same condition!

Do you ever dog-ear books?

Not really. Not passionately against dog-earing, I just simply don't do it.

Do you ever write in the margins of your books?


Do you break/crack the spine of your book?

No! The horrors!

What is your favorite language to read in?


What makes you love a book?

Quirky characters that I connect to and a storyline that sucks me in.

What will inspire you to recommend a book?

A-If I LOVED it and/or B-if I know it's a genre you love

Favorite genre?


Genre you rarely read but wish you did?


Favorite biography?

Does Front of the Class count as a biography?

Have you ever read a self-help book?


Favorite cookbook?

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Favorite reading snack?


Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience?

I thought I would love The Fault in Our Stars and was sadly mistaken.

How often do you agree with critics about a book?

Depends on the book.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

Always be honest but kind.

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?

I'll just stick with English.

Favorite poet?

T.S. Eliot - I love Macavity The Mystery Cat

How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

Anywhere from one to seven or eight or ten.

How often have you returned books to the library unread?

A lot more often than I wish.

Favorite fictional character?

Anne Elliot is pretty high on the list. As is Anne Shirley!

Favorite fictional villain?


The longest you've gone without reading?

Several weeks :(

Name a book that you could/would not finish.

Tiger Lily

What distracts you easily when you're reading?

The phone ringing.

Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

North and South of course! :D

Most disappointing film adaptation?

New Moon

The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

A lot.

How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Almost always.

What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?

If I can't get into the writing and/or the story.

Do you like to keep your books organized?


Do you prefer to keep books or give the away once you've read them?


Are there any books you've been avoiding?

The Scarlet Pimpernel, I just haven't sat down and tried it. But I want to!

Name a book that made you angry.

Can't remember the last time a book made me angry.

A book you didn't expect to like but did?

On the Jellicoe Road, I just wasn't sure that it would be something I'd be able to get into. But I loved it!

A book you expected to like but didn't?

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, I borrowed from the library and thought it'd be right up my alley, but alas I was unable to finish.

Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading?

Barefoot Summer, I have reread this book countless times! Also Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. :)

March 17, 2015

Literary Heroines :: Anne Elliot

Persuasion by MadMonaLisa
via (Thanks, Kami, for sharing this!)
Where to begin?! I suppose I must first cite you to this post written by Hamlette, in which she most eloquently describes Anne ever so much better than I. But it's what inspired me, so I'm going to write my feelings anyway. {I may get a little longwinded.} {As if that'll surprise you, right?}

Anne Elliot. I'm not sure what it is about her exactly. But no matter how amazing any of Austen's other heroines may seem, Anne has always had my heart. Right from the very first time I "met" her. I came to Austen's writing and adaptations when I was in my early 20s. My first viewing was P&P (of course....isn't that just about everybody's?) which I thoroughly enjoyed. So much so that I immediately searched out every other adaptation I could get my hands on! And subsequently discovered Persuasion. After watching the '95 version, I was absolutely convinced that Persuasion was the Austen book I wanted to read first. Which I did and loved, loved, loved it!

Persuasion (BBC, TV mini-serie, 1995) oh my favorite part!!! thats it another read of persuasion after I finish national velvet
Anne is quiet, gentle, and easily overlooked. "Nearly invisible" as Hamlette says. But once people take the time to actually converse with her, she proves she can handle herself very well, that she has an opinion. One is required to draw her out to realize this though. (She doesn't show her extraordinariness to just anyone.) Which is what a few awesome people begin to do! One thing I definitely love about Anne's journey is that those who seek her out (the Crofts for one example) figure out pretty quick exactly how remarkable she is. And they love her immediately! No doubts, no questions, they simply enjoy her company and honestly appreciate her.
At the beginning of the story, she's hiding within herself and doesn't even realize it. She made a choice eight years ago that she dearly regrets and when one has that long of a time to dwell on a decision, it eats at you. You draw in and tend to isolate yourself and analyze your own actions and thoughts. (Or tell some of them to Lady Russell who will never truly understand, as much as she might think she does.) Anne is also surrounded by a family of selfish people, none of whom truly know her or understand her. Or even want to understand her.

So you take the Anne from that world and suddenly these people who genuinely care about her opinion appear in her life and what happens? A slow opening up of the beautiful flower that Miss Anne Elliot truly is.

There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison. {Persuasion}
Anne's arc throughout the book is wonderful. Really, I think what allows Anne to truly "come into full bloom" is the friendships she forms. Don't get me wrong, I love Captain Wentworth and watching the two of them slowly come together again is utterly satisfying. And while I think his return to Anne's life may be a catalyst for her, I'm not convinced that he's the full reason she finds herself again. For that's exactly what she does. Find herself. She begins to have confidence that her opinion matters. That she's not just a middle daughter who's always in the background and unimportant. She's a woman with opinions and skills that only she can offer.

I love what Hamlette says about Anne being strong. It takes a lot of inner strength to do something you don't want to do, and Anne does things she dislikes over and over. She gives up the man she loves. She nurses her "sick" sister back to good spirits. She spends time in the company of Captain Wentworth when she'd rather be anywhere but in his presence. She moves to Bath, a city she hates. And she doesn't whine or complain about these things, but does them the way she does everything: quietly and helpfully. I hadn't thought about describing her that way prior to that post, but I do think it's correct. Anne's inner strength is precisely what has gotten her through the past eight years. Really, it's gotten her through her entire life, because with a father like that...!!!

Character arcs are what interest me in a story, rooting for the underdog and all that. And Anne is so incredibly easy to root for! You want her to reach her full potential and realize that all those negative people in her life don't truly matter at all. And when she does? When she finds her confidence and boldly starts paving her own way? Why then she gets the privilege of receiving that glorious letter from Captain Wentworth! She gets her happily ever after and who better deserves such a thing?

Simply put, Anne Elliot is magnificent. A true literary heroine if ever there was one! :)


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