Monday, February 26, 2018

HIGHLIGHTS OF FEBRUARY // wacky weather + sequel scheming



















It's a miracle, guys.

Would you believe me if I told you that several days this month were up in the SEVENTIES? If it's winter around here it's supposed to be winter, so as you can imagine, the sudden appearance of 75-degree weather was a wonderful surprise.

It didn't last, though. Apparently, spring was only taking a quick peek. :'(




Now, even though the wacky weather is the biggest highlight of the month (for me, at least, because SPRING), there are more interesting things to talk about.

Books, for instance.


~MY FEBRUARY READS~


Image result for midnight at the electricImage result for rob roy book



Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson


- three girls, three generations
- Ellis the irresistible farmhand <3 <3
- Anderson's haunting prose <3 <3 <3
- scared for Beezie O.O
- Lenore is such a deep, complex character (they all are, but Lenore especially so)
- "All We Have Is Love" by Sabrina Carpenter = this book's song
- 5 ginormous stars


Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott

- pretty great classic!
- Francis is so cute, HALP
- subtle humor that I loved
- Scottish accent took getting used to
- Rob Roy MacGregor is so attractively intriguing, HALP
- 4 stars


Related imageImage result for if i run terri blackstock



Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer

- last book in Land of Stories series
- fun fantasy MG
- light humor that made giggle
- ROOK, YOU'RE A HERO :')
- an 80-year-old Conner Bailey, wuuuuut
- 3 stars (I liked the other Land of Stories books better)


If I Run by Terri Blackstock

- Christian fiction
- the suspense almost KILLED me
- Dylan is totally presh <3
- Casey, I'm rooting for you!
- lots of investigating and other cool police-type stuff that gave off cop show vibes
- did I mention the suspense?!
- 5 stars

Image result for a week of werewolves, faeries, and fancy dresses

A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses by Nicki Chapelway

- FIRST SELF-PUB READ! (and it deserves the honor)
- an epic, light fantasy I devoured
- dark, eerie castle + creepy faeries + DRAGON!
- super relateable, realistic charries (including this one wonderful guy named Easton...)
- 4.5 stars!
- full review here




~WRITING UPDATE~


I'm almost at 50,000 words in Dusted Red - in fact, it's my goal to reach 50k before March barges in, just as it was my goal to reach 30k before February barged in. Again, folks, bear witness to this vow.

I've been scribbling full-blown chapter synopses for the sequel to Dusted Red for quite a while now, and DUDE, I'm sooooo itching to start writing this thing! And also a tiny bit nervous, seeing as it's a different kind of story than Dusted Red. Like, Dusted Red is the "leave-home-behind-to-embark-on-epic-journey-into-the-unknown" type of story, and the sequel isn't. IT'S EXCITING, THOUGH.

The synopses come out barely coherent, but I like it that way because I don't want to spend forever putting scenes into words that make sense. That's for drafting. Scheming is for nonsensical scribbles.

For example, "Too late. Almost all contents in face. Falls. Feels pulse. Good. Phew" will probably be an entire two or three paragraphs once I'm first-drafting. Aaaaand it will also make sense. (I literally pulled it from chapter 7's synopsis - aren't I generous??)


~MUSIC~


it's hard to answer prayers when nobody's praying to you
oh lord // nf

you don't know my brain the way you know my name
you don't know my heart the way you know my face
message man // twenty one pilots

every night i lie in bed
the brightest colors fill my head
a million dreams // the greatest showman

i need to know, need to know
swear to me you're not a ghost
take me with you // fleurie

God, i breathe Your name
above everything
let it be Jesus // christy nockels

i will scream with the howling wind
'cause it's a bitter world and i'd rather dream
lonely lullaby // owl city


All quoted songs were part of my jam this month! If you haven't listened, you'd better hop to it. xD


~MOVIES~


Guess which movie I went to see early this month!




This film is full of amazing songs and powerful themes, and is officially my 3rd-favorite movie of all time. A MUST-WATCH.

(I love "Rewrite The Stars," don't get me wrong, but "A Million Dreams" is definitely my favorite song out of them all. Sooooooo precious. <3)


~MY FEBRUARY POSTS~








~OTHER CORNERS OF THE BLOGOSPHERE~


The ever-inspiring Hosanna posted about something every Christian blogger could use the reminder of. Read it here!

The ever-wonderful Gray shared a beautiful, heartfelt post called How To Be Perfect. <3 <3

The ever-epic Katie Grace interviewed her first novel! All first novels can relate, I'm pretty sure.

The ever-awesome Mary Kate did a Q&A for her blogiversary!!


~THE PLAN FOR MARCH~


Just a hint, but... March is gonna be EPIC. I'm taking part in a very special (*wink-wink*) questionnaire/tag/THING every Friday of the month, so that'll be heaps of fun! Besides, it's been too long since I rambled about my WIP. xD

So yes, my scheduled posting is changing for March! Which means... I'll be back with my next post very, very soon. 'Till then, folks! *dramatic exit*

~ Lila Kims

Talk to me, fam! About books, writing, music - ALL THE THINGS. *gestures excitedly to comment section*

Monday, February 19, 2018

4 Books I Did Not Finish // 4 Books I'll Never Start



















Book bloggers like to talk about books they love and books they want to read, and we readers always eat it up because it seems we have this incessant itch to constantly add to our TBR piles. Even though the last thing our TBR piles need is another book.

I think this is also one reason why it's less common for book bloggers to post about books they've DNF-ed, or books they plan on avoiding like the plague for the rest of their lives. We're more hesitant to mark those kinds of books as Want to Read just because other people's opinions do influence us, even if it's only a little bit.

BUT, I decided it might be interesting anyway: to list four books I started but never finished (+ reasons), followed by four books I don't want to read and probably never will (+ reasons).

Let's get started!

~Books That had Their Chance but Screwed up Big-Time~


1. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Image result for crimson bound rosamund hodge

After trying to read this, I unashamedly proclaim that I won't be picking up a book by this author again. 1) All the rest sound either lame or bleck, and 2) this one actually sounded good but... hahaha it WASN'T.

I picked it up because it's a YA Red Riding Hood retelling that legit sounded cool. When it started off eerie and a bit disturbing, I put my guard up, but it wasn't long before the odd vibe I was getting became a demonic vibe. My heart was beating fast, and not for a good reason. I just couldn't handle it.

What little I read of Crimson Bound was really dark, had some lusty romance that was only going to get worse, and was rather confusing. So...



2. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Image result for kira kira

This is a Middle-Grade historical fiction, and what I read of it disappointed me on so many levels. I'm still confused as to why it was given a Newbery Medal??

The plot was all right, but the occasional foul language (including the s-word drawn out so long you can barely recognize it, but STILL CAN), the frequent crude (I'd even say inappropriate) comments, and the bad role models (grrrrr, I remember what the dad was like!) made me stop. I don't even like to see that kind of content in Young Adult books, for goodness' sake.


3. The Siren by Kiera Cass

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I tried to read The Selection a few years ago, but the romance was just ick (WHY is it always the romance??). For some reason, I was determined to read a Kiera Cass novel, so I picked up The Siren. Now that I think about it, I would almost be willing to try it again - I remember finding the sentient ocean who basically controlled the girls' lives reeaaaally weird, but that was about the only reason. The thing is, I'm afraid I'll be just as weirded out the second time around and end up DNF-ing for a second time.

It's probably safer just to let it go.


4. Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Image result for dangerous shannon hale

This one sounded amazing. Danger was the main character's middle name - no, literally, her name was Maisie Danger Brown - and she got accepted to this NASA-like boot camp where she'd learn a bunch of awesome space stuff and most likely embark on an astronaut mission. And it started off great, with a love interest and everything! You know how I feel about romantic subplots.

But this subplot didn't stay a subplot. An impromptu make-out session before they even really know each other (like, AT ALL) quickly turned into living for this out-of-the-blue crush. Every time Maisie went to her space school/training/whatever... well, she was all about Wilder. Meanwhile, the actual space stuff (that would have been cool) faded into the background.

Of course, I didn't get very far, so maybe the book would have redeemed itself later on, but the kissy-kissy romance was waaaaay too prevalent and waaaaaay over the top.

It chased me away.


~Books That Will Never Get Their Chance~


It was a lot harder to choose four books I don't want to read than it was to choose four books I never finished. Believe me, this selection barely scratches the surface.

(Note: I know some of you have maybe read - or plan to read - one or several of these books, and so I just want to say that I'm not trying to send you on a guilt trip, or tell you not to read them, or ANYTHING LIKE THAT. Please understand that this is all purely my personal conviction! <3)


1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Along with every other John Green book that has ever been written or ever will be written.

I've heard enough about this book. I've heard enough about the romance, the language, and the writing style. I've. Heard. Enough.

I can't believe I'm doing this, but here is one of the several cringe-y snippets I've seen from this book:

"I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."

Who even talks like that??? I refuse to read John Green mainly because of content, but believe me, if dialogue like this - dialogue that would fit better in a Jane Austen novel - fills the pages of this YA medical contemporary, I don't think I'm missing much.


2. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


Image result for the raven boys


Part of me wants to read this series, considering all the hype and the awesome-sounding plot. But I've looked up the books - especially the later ones - and I see that the language is too much for my taste, the romance sounds a bit iffy, and one of the primary characters is (or becomes) gay.


Simply put, what I've heard of the content informs me loud and clear that I wouldn't be comfortable reading it. Again, personal conviction.


3. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare


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I don't know anything about these books except that there's a group called the Shadowhunters, and they hunt demons. Something about that whole concept has made me want to avoid this series (and the TV show too). Maybe they're against the demons, but I still don't want to be reading about the demonic world all the time, even if the book's representation of it isn't realistic.


4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Image result for Thirteen Reasons Why novel
                                           
When I first heard of this, I thought it sounded interesting. I thought that maybe it would be something I'd like to read. But since then, I've heard that it glamorizes suicide. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not, maybe it's subjective - I DON'T KNOW. (I read somewhere that a school district took it off their libraries' shelves, I guess because it's potentially harmful to teenagers who are depressed or already having suicidal thoughts??) Besides, when I saw it at the store one time, I flipped through it a little out of curiosity and didn't like what I saw.


All right, now that I've blabbed and ranted for long enough, it's comment time! What are your thoughts on these books? What are some books you couldn't finish, and what are some books you don't want to read? <3

~ Lila Kims

Monday, February 12, 2018

10 FABULOUS WRITING QUOTES // thought-provoking + relatable

Pinterest is great for writers. It's a wonderful source of prompts to spark your next great story. It's the home of hundreds of pictures of models - and just random people - to use for character inspiration. It contains links to countless writing articles that have proved beyond helpful to me. And then there are quotes. Encouraging quotes. Relatable quotes. Hilarious quotes. So many quotes that you couldn't possibly name them all.

For today's post, I've weeded out ten of the most awesome writing quotes I've stumbled across whilst procrastinating on scrolling through Pinterest.




















When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. ~ Kurt Vonnegut


It can paint an odd picture in the mind, but when you think about it, isn't this pretty accurate?? So many times I sit down at my computer thinking, "Imma SLAY these 1,000 words," and five minutes later all I've written is "the."

Sometimes the words flow smoothly, and sometimes I might as well be an amputee trying to color inside the lines and not choke on my crayon in the process.


Writers aren't exactly people... They're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


No, we're not talking about Split here (a movie I never want to see. EVER. *shudders*). We're talking about characters. Isn't it amazing how there can be multiple books written by the same writer, and yet each one is about A VERY DIFFERENT PERSON? When you think about it, writers know their main characters so well that they kind of ARE their main characters. O.O

It's like having 23 personalities all at once, with a frightening new 24th about to come out...





There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou



Hence all these ominous stories we hear in the paper about plot bunnies swarming poor writers like locusts, then whisking them away into fresh new adventures. Except... the writers usually haven't even finished their previous adventure, so it isn't long before they find themselves agonizing over something else entirely - a multitude of stories, and NOT ENOUGH TIME TO JUGGLE THEM ALL.


If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~ Toni Morrison


You know what frustrates me? That there are literally, like, zero clean YA Peter Pan retellings out there. This world... it's so broken and twisted...

You see, Peter Pan is my all-time favorite fairy tale (it counts as one, okay??). You can imagine, then, how annoyed I am about this:

Me @ all the smutty Peter Pan retellings


BUT, I agree wholeheartedly with this quote and am therefore in the midst of writing a fairy tale retelling with Peter Pan in it. *whispers hopefully* My baby is going to do big things when it grows up.


A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. ~ Franz Kafka


I love this quote because I know I'd strongly feel this way if I tried to stop writing. I have to add, though... aren't ALL writers, both non-writing writers and writing writers, courting insanity?? Because I confess I often feel like I am, and I write at least a little almost every day. :/

^^^ Typo: it's Maya, not Mary :P

Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little. ~ Holley Gerth


I don't know if I've ever tried to scare myself with my writing. Goodness, I don't even really know what that means for me. I want to be brave, go out on a limb, etc., but I guess I haven't figured it out yet? Exactly?


The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. ~ Robert Cormier


This quote makes me extremely thankful for the firstness of first drafts. Imagine if it was UNHEARD OF to edit a first draft, or rewrite a story. What if you had one shot, and that was it? The story get released to the world as it is.

Yiiiikes. O.o

This quote also makes me greatly admire the bravery and skill of brain surgeons.



Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth



This one makes me think of the heart we put into our writing - the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into our WIPs because not only do we want to write a story, but we want to write a GOOD story. A story that hits home with our readers.

We want our stories to have a heart, so we give them ours.


You can't blame a writer for what the characters say. ~ Truman Capote


Why? Because sometimes when we write, our characters end up doing things we didn't plan on them doing, or saying things we didn't plan on them saying. I mean, what if their behavior ruins their arc, or several scenes we had planned, or the ending, OR THE WHOLE STORY??? We can't have that, so we glare at them like, "Stop ignoring me... OR ELSE."

And our characters be like, "Lol, that's cute."




Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious. ~ Christina Katz


The method to becoming better at writing is simple: Just keep writing. And you see, I find that incredible, because even though it's hard to sit down and type out a story, the bare bones of the process is really not that complicated. You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another... (another fabulous quote...) Then, once you get into the swing of things, you find that you don't want to stop.


~ Lila Kims


Which of these quotes is your favorite?
What is another quote you would add to the list?
Let's chat in the comments!

Monday, February 5, 2018

THE MYSTERIOUSLY NAMELESS BOOK TAG


This tag doesn't seem to have an official name. The first time I saw it, it was "The Mysteriously Nameless Tag of Doom," which I thought was hilarious. The other times I've seen it, however, it's been "The Nameless Book Tag."


So, to further complicate things, I'm going to mix up the two and name it The Mysteriously Nameless Book Tag. *waggles eyebrows* Jem tagged me for it, so... thanks, girl!! <3



~What book has been on your shelf the longest?~





Either my copy of Anne of Green Gables, or my (mom's) copy of Emma. Forgive the mediocre covers - I decided to be real with you guys and find the actual versions I own. 

I've read Anne of Green Gables several times, but I've only read Emma once, and that was a long time ago. Basically, all I remember from it is that the main character was a mischievous matchmaker (right?) who had a sister named Isabella. There was also a friendly guy named Mr. Knightley and a creepy guy named Mr. Elton. :P


~What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?~



Last Read: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Current Read: Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Next Read: Hunted by Meagan Spooner


~What book did everyone like, but you hated?~



The Giver by Lois Lowry. I did NOT hate it - on the contrary, I enjoyed it - but it was a bit of a disappointing read for me nonetheless. Everyone else seems to think it's the best dystopian on planet earth, and good for them! But... *shrug* I liked The Hunger Games better.


~What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?~


I don't know. Maybe Jane Eyre? Maybe A Tale of Two Cities? Maybe every long, intimidating classic on my TBR?


~What book are you saving for retirement?~ 



I'll figure that out if I ever get to the point of retirement. Honestly, I'm holding out hope that Jesus will have Raptured us up to Heaven waaaaaay before that time comes.


 ~Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?~



Uuuuuuuuuumm, WAIT TILL THE END, OBVIOUSLY. I can't imagine spoiling a book for myself like that, let alone on a regular basis.

...
...
...

Actually, I take that back. If I've decided to DNF a book, I sometimes flip to the end to see the outcome. It depends on my reasons for not finishing, though.

Otherwise, I don't understand it. NO COMPRENDO.


 ~ Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside? ~


Interesting aside, for sure! I love the idea of acknowledging the wonderful persons who helped you in the writing of your book. I don't read the Acknowledgements all the time, and I ignore them a lot more than I used to, but I still think they're great.


The most interesting Acknowledgements page I have ever read was the one for Story Thieves by James Riley. It was almost as entertaining as the actual story (which was really fun and creative, by the way. You should read it.)


~Which book character would you switch places with?~





Probably Annabeth. I wouldn't want to go through all the horrible things she faced in the PJO and HOO books, but... Percy. I just want to meet the infamous Persassy in person, you know?? Maybe give him a hug??

Sorry if I'm being weird. I tend to get that way when it comes to fictional crushes.

~Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)~





An Author's Odyssey by Chris Colfer. I was reading this during my first airplane flight, so that was pretty surreal. I'm super thankful I don't get airsick, but it's strange, because I get carsick really easily.

 ~Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.~ 



I acquired the entire Viking Quest series by winning a reading contest. It was a random drawing, and I got a $150 gift card to spend on BOOKS.

(Except, unfortunately, I could only use the money to buy books from the catalog of the company that had hosted the reading contest, and 80% of the books in that catalog were school textbooks. BUT I found the Viking Quest, so that's a big plus!)

I have my doubts it will ever happen again.


~Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?~



Nope, I can't say I've ever done that. It may sound selfish, but I own FAR too few books to be willing to give one away.


~Which book has been with you most places?~



Ask me this question again once I've been to England, Germany, France, Australia, China, the moon, Middle-Earth, and Narnia. Then perhaps I can say I've been to most places. ;)

#SeeWhatIDidThere


~Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad later?~



To be honest, I can't think of any required reading I reread later on.


~Used or brand new?~ 



I don't have anything against used books, but I confess that the flawlessness of a brand-new copy makes me feel warm and happy inside, and also the idea of "It has always only ever been mine... and no one else's."



~Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?~


No, but I know who he is because I've seen his book Origin advertised both on Goodreads and on my library's website. Not interested.



~Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?~


The Giver - a fantastic movie based off the Lois Lowry novel mentioned earlier in this post. Got questions? THIS blog post of mine will answer them all.


~Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?~



Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I've always admired Meyer's descriptive style, and whenever she described the tasty treats in her Alice in Wonderland retelling, it was like she was waving a plate of them under my nose.



~Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?~


No matter what, I never go into a book blind just because a reliable source commanded me to read it. I always read the synopsis to judge for myself whether or not I want to pick it up, and I often look for content reviews just in case.

Besides, many friends have recommended a book to me, told me I'd love it, and ended up being right! How could I ever choose just ONE of those lovelies?


~Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?~



I usually steer clear of romances like Love Finds You in Daisy Oklahoma. Cheese and fluff are not my thing - not when it's the main story, not even if it's Christian (often especially if it's Christian :P). Romantic sub-plots? A MUST-HAVE. But books, especially YA, that are labeled primarily as romance... those are definitely out of my comfort zone.

Nevertheless, I'm happy I got this book for Christmas one year, because it's super sweet. <3 I did inwardly cringe at times because of course there were some cheesy parts, but it gave off Andy Griffith Show vibes, so... yeah, it was pretty wonderful. Think a small town, naughty children playing lots of pranks, and a handsome sheriff trying his best to keep the peace.


All right, time to tag some folks!


Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse

Snapper @ Silver Phoenix

Ivie @ Ivie Writes

Brianna @ No End of Books


I don't know if any of you have done this or have already been tagged. As always, no obligation!


~ Lila Kims


Have you read Story Thieves?
Who else is in love with Percy Jackson?
Do you get carsick/airsick?