Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Heroine's Favorite Books of 2013 and onto 2014!

It's been two weeks since the 2014 has broken into the scene. However, my reads from 2013 haven't been that long forgotten. Here are my fave picks for 2013, along with my hopefuls for the new year.

Contemporary
Just One Day
Just One Year by Gayle Forman
This series is similar to Forman's first series by having one book cover one point of view of the romance. And it really works. The characters are so different from eac
h other, and their encounter something straight out of a--- wait, these are novels! What's different about these is I love that they don't take place mostly in America. There is a different feel to them, which adds a million points to the romance of it all.

Biggest Surprise
Pivot Point by Kasie West
I really loved the use of the character's ability, which affects the story timeline. It was well-balanced and I couldn't put this down. I'm ready for the second book, Split Second, that comes out this year.

Sequel
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
The writing in this book was a lot stronger than the first, and I'm completely sold on the series. If you're missing some fantasy from your life, you need to pick these up. I also recommend novellas to everyone because it adds layers to the books!

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
This series speaks to me so much. I think it's because I feel like Kami is Lois Lane, one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. It also helps that the romantic tension in this series is a thousand fold. Also, WITCHES!

Best End to a Series
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
I read this series the week after this book came out. I enjoyed it even more than The Mortal Instruments. I'm not a huge fan of steampunk, but you don't need to like it. This series has it all--- including stunning covers.

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
The end of this series was painful for me because I want it to keep going! Each book was better than the last and I was on the edge of my seat. This is a fantasy series that I can see myself reading over and over again.

Debut
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
I've been following the author's blog for a few years and I'm so thrilled to read her first book. I loved how she handled the character--- who just so happens is an invisible girl. She found a way to give her an identity and lots of conflict that kept me flipping through the pages. I look forward to reading Blindsided, as well as her other two releases this year.

New Favorite Authors
Rainbow Rowell, author of Fangirl, Eleanor and Park
I met Rainbow Rowell at Comic Con this year and I was so impressed by her! Eleanor and Park is one of those books I wish I read as a teenager, an
d Fangirl spoke to the Midwestern geek girl in me. I'm ready to stand in line for whatever she writes!

Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch,Vicious
It wasn't that hard for Victoria Schwab's witch book to win me over since I dearly love witches. Then there is Vicious-- which is pretty much a "hero" and "villain" story. Even with concepts we're used to reading, her writing kept me turning the pages and planning on giving her books away as gifts.

Favorite Book of 2014
Starglass by Phoebe North
What can I say about this book? I've read a few books about being trapped in a ship in space in the past few years. I admit, it made me a bit hard to win over in reading this one until I kept reading about people enjoying it on Twitter. I'm so glad I listened to them! I love the use of culture on the ship, and how it feels like a real home. It isn't written by an outsider-- but by someone who grew up on the ship. This actually developed a stronger story to me since it showed the character growing up by looking at her surroundings in a different light.

2014 Hopefuls
There are so many great books coming out this year! Here's some of my top picks that I can't wait to get my hands on!
Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Extraction By Stephanie Diaz
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
Written in My Heart's Own Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I do hope to re-read some books and add in some older ones, as well. I want to throw in a bit classics because I want to expand my reading list.

Is there anything you can't wait to read this year?
Natasha

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Sticker Method and the Guilt-Free Jar

I wrote this as one of statuses online and thought it was worth sharing:

The first week of 2014 is off to a whirlwind start: New Year's Party with friends, anniversary at Disneyland, hangout at Google Los Angeles, discovered more amazing vegan food, rejections, requests, preparing for contests and queries, finished reading a book, edited my column, catching up with friends online, found a dietitian, morning walks in the park, watched Sherlock, snuggling with kitties, wrote a poem, cried my eyes out after Saving Mr.Banks, lunch with a friend, singing "Let It Go" from Frozen over and over, writing at Barnes and Noble, watching Joey create a new app, and talking about moving. This is my life.


Now onto week two.


One of things that has kept me going during NaNoWriMo in November was not just the people--- it was the sticker method. I've mentioned in past posts, but here it is again today! 


I have my calendar and kitty stickers all ready to finish Death Notice this month. I want as many kitties, clouds, and hearts littering the month of January. I'm excited-- and nervous! For some reason, this novel is really hitting me in the gut so I'm trying to use whatever tools that will get me to the finish line.


This year is also one where I need to work harder with my health. I found out I have a condition that requires me to adjust how I eat and exercise. It's so easy to let myself browse on the computer and remained cooped up in the house. I must work harder! I was thinking today, what kind of sticker method could I use for exercise?


I've seen a variety of blog posts where they use jars for different purposes for goal setting. I found a jar, grabbed my pen, and scribbled little "rewards" for myself. I can give myself between a half hour and an hour doing whatever the paper says-- with no guilt



My calendar with its first sticker! Kitty stickers and my jar. Happy dance!
What's great about this are these are things that I put off, or won't "let" myself do because I need to this or that instead. I have two weeks worth of them to rotate through of different things from drawing, browsing Tumblr, a cheat day, write a poem, and, my favorite, "Treat Yo Self".  

We'll see how long this experiment lasts, but so far, I'm pretty excited about what I will pick tomorrow!


Here's to a productive New Year!


Natasha

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