Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Interview with the one and only... CG DREWS!

Guess what I have for today's post! You guessed it (or I can't shut up because I'm TOO EXCITED) an interview with the one and only CAIT. You may recognize her as having written the book that personally stole my heart and mental faculties for three days (A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES) or the wonderful wonderful blogger on Paper Fury! (Which you should all totally check out, by the way.) Without further ado.... here is our interview!

These books have absolutely the prettiest covers which is only 1/27th of the reason YOU NEED THEM IN YOUR LIFE

Minna: What are three things about a book that make you immediately want to read it?
Cait: There actually, oh wow, so many things that will have me instantly picking up a book, no further questions asked. But my top three have to be: (1) anything with an emphasis on family, also found-family-friend-squads! (2) BAKERIES. Set a book in a bakery and my heart just sped up a little. (3) If it's by Maggie Stiefvater. Shh, this totally counts as an answer, since if you say, "Well Maggie Stiefvater wrote it..." I need no more information. Just the book.

M: What do you think is important advice for aspiring authors?
C: My favourite one to say is: KEEP WRITING. It's so crucial to finish what you start and write in copious quantities. Even if you look back at your work and weep a bit in despair, don't worry. Keep writing. Your abilities will catch up with your vision if you keep going! My first published novel was actually the 16th I ever wrote!

M: How often do you DNF books?
C: Actually never! I hate unfinished things and I end up overthinking them ugh. But I do confess if I really haven't clicked with a book, I'll skim to the end just to see how it turns out. 

M: Do you like or dislike historical fiction?
C: I like it a lot! I actually grew up with a reading menu of about 80% historical fiction, so even though I rarely reach for it now (maybe I was oversaturated when I was twelve!?), I definitely have fond feelings for it.

M: Which fictional food do you absolutely need to have?
C: I would definitely give a lot to try all the delicious food from Weep in Strange the Dreamer. My mouth watered in that book. (M: oH MY GOD SAME)

M: Which book in The Raven Cycle is your favourite? (This is a BIT mean)
C: IT IS A LOT MEAN AHHHHH. Ok, crisis aside and knowing that I truly love all four equally...I am particularly attached to Blue Lily Lily Blue! Ronan and Adam's character development is amazing there and we also meet Gwenllian who is absolutely mad and I love her.

M:  If you weren't an author, what job do you think you would have?
M: I honestly don't have an answer for this! I've been obsessed with being an author for 10 years so it's all I've ever worked toward. Possibly I would get a tricorn hat and a pet kraken and become a pirate???

M: What are some of your opinions on the Series of Unfortunate Events adaption? (I'm oBSESSED)
C: It is glorious. That is my absolute full opinion. I love how faithful it was to the books, as well as adding in more jokes and the best costumes and sets ever. Also can we agree Sunny was the highlight of the entire show?! SHE IS ADORABLE.

M: Roughly how many dragons do you have?
C: At least more than three.

M: What aspect of The Boy Who Steals Houses are you most excited for readers to enjoy? Will it break us all like A Thousand Perfect Notes did? (I'm already clearing my schedule)
C: I'm very keen to see if readers will find it more or less sad than ATPN...! Which is terrible of me haha. But I'm also super excited for everyone to meet the De Lainey's! They're a big, messy family of 7 kids and cake crumbs and arguments and intense loving hugs. When Sam starts sneaking into houses, it's the De Lainey house he gets caught in. He slowly falls in love with their family (particularly the bitterly beautiful Moxie) and I hope my readers will too! They were so much fun to write.

Thank you so so much for coming to visit my blog Cait!!! It was absolutely splendid to have you!

so.... tell me... are you ridiculously excited for The Boy Who Steals Houses? (my job description, omg) do you love the ASOUE show? are you following Cait everywhere because you really need to? do you have a dragon army?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Poppy War - A Review


Do you ever read a book and then proceed to immediately scream and freak out over it, lose all thoughts of sense and cohesion, and rush to Goodreads to convince the website to develop a 6/5 star rating because the book is just that good?

That's me with The Poppy War, people. Holy. I am DEAD on so many levels.

RIN. A YA badass heroine with dimension to her personality and also no romance??? Sign me tf up. (I was so so worried it was going to make her and Altan a thing, but they didn't, and thank god.) Rin is so motivated and ambitious and wholeheartedly amazing. She studies like hell for a test to avoid marrying an old man and gets into a school where she's still belittled but keeps fighting and honestly she's so damn inspiring. I love her. She works hard and consistently and is all in all amazing. I relate wholly to her need for validation (because me) and also destroying her entire damn womb because the cramps will interfere with her education. *quiet clapping*

Legitimately the best developed fantasy I've read yet. iT'S LITERALLY BETTER DONE THAN HARRY POTTER. OKAY. IT IS. This world is so insanely well done and the information about it is conveyed to the audience in the best way. It's not all infodumps, it's strategically placed information that makes consistent sense and is easy to uncover. This does not read like a debut. This reads like one of the (if not THE) best young adult fantasy available right now. Wordlbuilding is A++++.

P-L-O-T. That spells "avocado," because my ability to spell was lost after becoming so endlessly infatuated with the plot of this book that I forgot how to spell and also read. I'm not sure what the correct words to describe this plot are, because it has three parts (well divided, I might add) that are relatively coursed through in terms of action. Like, it's never gonna feel really slow or like there's no detail, but it's also not like R.F. Kuang documents every single day over the years this story takes place. It's a very interesting way of writing, one that doesn't leave too much room for drag or for me shutting up about it. I think the lack of drag is because every part the author chooses to write is something they want to, and it's great. 100%. I wish I could communicate effectively in English but no that's competence and I'm allergic.

The Other Characters. Obviously there are characters other than the amazing Rin, and they are very very good. Kitay, for one? First, incredibly written. Secondly, has off-screen character development that makes sense and doesn't come off as forced. Thirdly, I read that last sentence and decided I had to add R.F. Kuang to my list of favourite authors because I've never read that in a book before. Damn. We love talent. Anyway, another really awesome thing about this book is that it has a ton of side characters and I managed to not get confused between them because they all actually had personalities. Wow! I know! Shocking! It can be done! I just want to applaud the sheer writing skill involved in this book, everyone. And I will, with...

THE WRITING. Literally one of the first things that really struck me about this book was how good at writing R.F. Kuang is. This book is a) quotable, b) consistently well written from start to finish (and it's 500+ pages, folks!), and c) has excellent characterization. Just!!!! The sheer writing talent present in the pages (but not in this review) is awe-worthy, people. We as a society were not prepared for this level of artistry. Bow chicka WOW WOW.

I feel like this is super long and super rambly, but I love this book way too much to bother shortening it in the slightest, so you're welcome. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go 'borrow' some money to purchase 9000000 copies of this book and ship them globally.

Have you read The Poppy War? Did you like it? Are there any books that made you want to force Goodreads to have a 6/5 rating? What are they? Do you like pineapple?

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Shadowhunter Tag

Welcome to me posting for the second day in a row with NEW (!) graphics, even though I said I'd only post once a week. You're welcome, avocados. So, what are we going to be doing today, you ask?

TODAY I AM DOING THE SHADOWHUNTER TAG. I am a rabid Shadowhunter fan - I cannot get enough of the world and I am absolutely dying to get Chain of Gold, mostly because I fell in love with all the characters in the TFtSA short story. Damn.

I also couldn't find the creator of this tag, which is a shame because I wanted to link them. If you know, please comment!

Let's get this tag going.

1. Who is your favorite character?

 EMMA CARSTAIRS. Love of my life, badass Shadowhunter fighting queen, as sarcastic as she is pretty. I adore Emma. She's wonderful and brave and I just love her so much. This isn't even a Shadowhunter question, okay. It's like "who is your favourite fictional character" and I'm like "EMMA CARSTAIRS."

 Isabelle Lightwood. All that aside, my favourite character in The Mortal Instruments (not counting Emma's appearance in CoHF) has got to be Isabelle. She's a heartbreaker, a femme fatale, and you know what I stan. We stan.

  Tessa Gray. How can I not love the book-obsessed wise warlock? How? How?

2. Who is your OTP?
SIZZY FOR LIFE. I CARE ABOUT LITERALLY NO OTHER SHIP. They're adorable. I slogged through all of the Shadowhunter Academy tales for promises of Sizzy. They're the best.

3. What is your favorite quote from any of the books?
“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don't wish you didn't fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn't feel anything.” - Julian in Lord of Shadows.

4. Who is the sexiest Shadowhunter in the series?

5. If you had any Shadowhunter last name, what would it be?
Fairchild is the prettiest to my ear, but based on families I'd probably pick Lightwood and then like, marry James Herondale. Or Jem Carstairs.

6. Who is your favorite actor in the TV-show?
Alberto Rosende! I don't even know why, okay. He's funny. Give me a break.

7. Who is your favorite actress in the TV-show?
Emeraude Toubia! She's gorgeous! And she's so good and she also plays Izzy so basically there was no competition for this question.

8. Would you rather listen to Jace playing the piano, Jem playing the violin or play video-games with Simon?
Video games with Simon. I love video games even though I'm terrible at them. Also, I adore Simon because Simon is great,

9. If you could have one rune tattooed on your body, which one would it be?
Parabatai to twin with a friend! Takers?

10.  What Downworlder would you most likely be?
I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT I'D MAKE AN EXCELLENT FAERIE. I follow instructions very literally and I also make promises very very carefully. I'd be the best faerie.

11.  TMI or TID?
The Infernal Devices! My favourite trilogy! (My favourite trilogy would've been TDA, but QoAaD just spoiled it for me. So TID with the masterful conclusion of Clockwork Princess remains supreme.)

12.  Who is your most hated character from the books?
Jace. (dodges swords, pitchforks, knives, and the occasional kumquat) SORRY. He's just arrogant, and rude, and I don't understand how anyone likes him? Clary's way too good for him, to be quite honest.

13.  If you could spend a day with any character who would it be?
Emma Carstairs, love of my life. SHE COULD TEACH ME TO SWORD FIGHT. I LIKE THIS IDEA.

14.  What is your favorite book out of all the Shadowhunter-books?
Lady Midnight and Clockwork Princess. Which is technically cheating, but I am a ruthless avocado here. Lady Midnight has an excellent plot and wonderful characters, but Clockwork Princess has all that plus Wessa, so it needs to be here too. Lady Midnight gets in because of Emma Carstairs. DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN MY CHILDREN.

15.  Which book had the worst cliffhanger?
LORD OF SHADOWS. How dare it break my heart and then send me to wait two years for the next one. Curse you.

16.  What is your favorite scene from any of the books?
Either the one in Clockwork Angel where Will and Tessa are talking about books or the one in Clockwork Princess where he rescues her.

17.  James or William?
James. I love Jem Carstairs more than Will Herondale loves Jem Carstairs and that's saying something.

18.  If you could meet Cassie and say one thing to her what would it be?
Can we all agree the ending of Queen of Air and Darkness never happened and could you rewrite it maybe.

19.  If you could play one character in the TV-show, who would it be?
Simon, because he's the closest to my actual personality and I'm too shy to play anyone else. Also, Clary, because I like Clary. Wait. No.


talk to me! which shadowhunter book is your favourite? do you love emma carstairs? 
do you think jace is overrated? have you ever eaten a kumquat?

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019: Bookish Goals and Happiness

 As the kids say these days, the prodigal daughter has returned. 

Or do the kids no longer say that. I don't know, but I am happy to be back! Very happy! Returned-from-the-dead happy. Not a zombie though. I don't know where you get these ideas from.
Now, as it is the beginning of 2019, I thought I would make a list of various bookish and writerly goals I hope to accomplish this year. Some of these may be very simplistic, because I am a useless kumquat who needs to achieve something to be happy, you know?

In other news, you can now add me on Goodreads! Please do. I'm very lonely and I have 1 friend and the dead turnip living in my backyard. Fun times. This is actually the first year I've done a Reading Challenge (properly, where I actually logged books) and I am super excited about it. I'm already 4 books ahead of schedule. Go me.

Onto the goals!* 
*Seriously Minna. The goals are the whole point of this post. God, where art thou priorities.

My apologies for the weird formatting, cooperation is not, in fact, blogspot's middle name

Read 150 books (and properly log them all on Goodreads)
In terms of reading books, I'm great. 
In terms of properly recording them..... haha not so great.
Which is mostly why I don't only want to read 150 books this year (146, now that I think about it, because I already read four) but I also want to log them on Goodreads. So Goodreads can validate me and y'all know I thrive on validation. ANYWAY. Most of this is like I need to be more organized, which I knew anyway.

Write at least 50 reviews for books
"So Minna," says a friend, knowing I read a lot and have no social life. "How many reviews have you written on Goodreads."
"Haha," I say, knocking a skeleton and a laptop behind me. "Exactly.... 16."
I need to write more. MORE. MOREEEE.
Oh look a bunny! How did that get here?

Out of the 150 books I read, at least 20 must not be Young Adult Fiction
I have been told (read: threatened) that I read too much YA and I need to "develop my brain" (read: read dull science texts) because I'm doing the reader's equivalent of gorging myself on fast food.
If the people had their way, 75 of the 150 would be not YA. But, because I am very stubborn and disagreeable, it's going to be twenty, mark my words.
I am interested in the politics books, though. It's all part of my plans to rule the world.

I don't have writerly pictures, so you may instead enjoy this old photo I nEARLY DIED TAKING

⇒ Finish the first draft of my first official book
YAY I'm so excited about this! We are roughly 37k in so far, and I actually think I can do this. The party I'm going to throw after I complete it will be so wicked. And then I will finally be able to edit something of substance. Go me.
The book is called Catastrophe, and it's about murder and traumatized people and gang wars and breakfast donuts. You know, the usual.
Personally, I have always wanted to eat a donut for breakfast.

And because you're all being so nice by actually reading this, here's a snippet!

⇒ Write an outline & substantially start the first draft of my second book
I am also very excited about this. It will be my first hyper-detailed outline, which is exciting because Catastrophe does not have an outline and half the plot is just me screaming and making random things up as I went along. SO fun.
However, my second book is going to work much better with an outline, I hope, because it has a more complicated plot. It's about tiny child murderers and boys who play viola and also dark monsters and evil running rampant in the streets of a fantasy planet I made up and now have to figure out the rules for.
Such fun. The working title is Alice the Third, but that is subject to much change. Also, because you're still being nice, I'll give you a tiny snippet of the outline, which is tiny anyway at this point.

So professional.

Actually edit something for a change.
Wow. Self burn right there. But one of my MAIN author problems is I never edit anything, because I never finish anything. Very competent. But I am hoping to finish something(s) this year, so I will jump headfirst into the fiery lava pit of reading your own work.
What could go wrong there. Solid plan. 

BLOG at least once a week!
This will multiply by two during summer and decrease by eight during June, I can feel it already. But I started this blog for a reason, and that is because I love books and writing and talking about those things extensively! And not just because I want an excuse to use King Julien and Taylor Swift gifs and claim it's important! (.... you got me. That's why.) So THIS YEAR I want to blog at least once a week. I semi-believe in my ability to do this. Not really though.

Take photos for the blog on my own.
All the book photos in this post are mine, but I am technically cheating because they are all old and practice. NO MORE. I will take new, good photos for the blog on a decent camera. I am speaking this into existence, kids. It will happen.

Set this blog up so it can be navigated. (AKA tell a friend what I want to happen and then bribe them with candy to do it.)
I have an about page.... but I don't know how to make it so you guys can click it and read it. Oops. I'm not great at coding, so I guess it's up to me to blackmail a friend into doing it. I'm gonna be posting book stuff, writing stuff, poetry (if I can), and other things... it's going to get crowded and we need navigation. This is our year, kids. We can do this.

Look at her GO. YAS queen.

talk to me children. what are your bookish goals for this year? what is a good day to blog? do you also blackmail - wait I mean bribe - no ASK your friends to do random things for you?

Interview with the one and only... CG DREWS!

Guess what I have for today's post! You guessed it (or I can't shut up because I'm TOO EXCITED) an interview with the one an...