#TopTenTuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read in 2016 (So Far)

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find a list of all TTT themes on their blog!

This week’s theme: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

Well, I haven’t read a lot of new releases this year (I’m always SO behind on new books). So, I’ve decided my list will be Favorite Books I’ve Read in 2016 So Far. Some of them are 2016 releases and some are older. I’m also going to divide my list into two categories: novels and graphic novels. Here we go!

Graphic Novels



Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

*shudders* What a delightfully creepy book. Through the Woods is a series of short, illustrated horror stories, and it’s utterly addicting. Plus, it has amazing illustrations.


Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen

My younger siblings are obsessed with these books, so I gave the first one a try and I loved it! It’s really adorable and laugh-out-loud funny, and it has wonderful character diversity. I still need to read the sequels!


Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

I was lucky enough to see the musical adaptation of this book on Broadway a few months ago––but before I went to see it, I sat down and read the graphic novel first. And dang, it’s amazing. Somehow it manages to be both heart-crushing and darkly funny (as the tragicomic in the title implies). It’s some really powerful stuff.


Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon

Wow, this book is mind-blowing and gorgeous in every way. It’s nearly impossible to describe what it’s about, but it’s a fascinating exploration of the relationship between life and death, and how each gives the other meaning. It’s surreal, moving, and utterly haunting.




Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer

I was a little late getting around to reading this one––but when I finally got my hands on it, I could not put it down. If you haven’t read the series, don’t let the glittery covers fool you––this is some really awesome, hardcore sci-fi. It’s like … Star Wars meets fairytales. It has a truly lovable cast of characters, and the plotting is fantastic. Even though this book was over 800 pages long, I wanted it to keep going forever. I adored this book and the entire series!


The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

This book is just so much fun. SEA MONSTERS. PIRATES. AHHHH. Also, awesome characters, cool world-building, and a cute romance between two ladies. ❤


The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

*clutches chest* Oh my God, this book. This series. No words could ever capture my feelings. It’s one of the most unique and enchanting series I’ve ever read, and The Raven King is a beautiful conclusion. The characters and the relationships between them mean the world to me, and it’s an incredible story. I really don’t think there will ever be anything quite like these books.


The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1) by Rick Riordan

You know, this book really surprised me. As much as I love Rick Riordan and his whole PJO/HoO universe, I didn’t have very high expectations for The Hidden Oracle. I was just going to read it for the heck of it (and because I was curious to see where the PJO/HoO characters had ended up), so I was a little shocked by how much I enjoyed it. In my opinion, it’s actually the best thing Rick Riordan has written in the past few years. It deviates slightly from his usual formula, and Apollo’s narration is fantastic.


UnDivided (Unwind Dystology, #4) by Neal Shusterman

Another series I was a little slow to finish, but it was totally worth it! I finally finished this one, the last book in the series, last month––and wow, wow, wow. Neal Shusterman, how do you do it? This is definitely one of the greatest dystopian series I’ve ever read, and UnDivided is possibly the best of the whole “dystology”. It’s twisted, heart-stopping, and unsettlingly believable.


Wildwood (Wildwood, #1) by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis

This was another pleasant surprise for me. I don’t read many middle-grade books, and I expected this to be “cute” more than anything. But it was actually quite dark and intense at times! I couldn’t put it down. It’s like a hipster-Narnia-fairytale with gorgeous illustrations, and it was right up my alley. I’m really excited to read the sequels!

How about you guys? 

  • Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think of them?
  • What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year?
  • If you made a TTT post, please link me to it!


I don’t know what to say.

I feel bad that I didn’t post about this right after I’d heard about the tragedy––I was just in such shock, rage, and pain that I couldn’t even form words. I still can’t. I don’t think there’s any way I can articulate how devastated and furious I am.

Above all else, my heart hurts for the victims, for all their friends and family. The pain and horror they have to endure is unimaginable.

49 innocent people were killed, and 53 were injured. 49 people don’t get to live out the rest of their lives or see their loved ones ever again. 53 people have to live with lifelong injuries, scars, and PTSD (if they all survive). All because one man was so offended by the sight of two men kissing that he decided 49 people had to pay for it with their lives.

They were more than just numbers, more than just victims. They were beautiful human beings. Here are their names. They were dancers, artists, students, teachers, musicians, nurses. They were parents, they were sons and daughters. They died alongside beloved friends and partners. It’s so tragic and unfair that it makes me want to scream.

This was an act of domestic terrorism as well as a hate crime. Nothing about this tragedy is a coincidence. It’s not a coincidence that the shooter targeted a gay nightclub. It’s not a coincidence that he chose to attack on a Lantinx-themed night hosted by trans women. It’s not a coincidence that he chose to attack during Pride Month. He specifically targeted LGBTQIA+ people of color, one of the most marginalized groups in the country (and the world), and he chose to attack them in their safe space. Typing out those words literally makes me feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. I can’t believe that someone could be so monstrous.

But if that’s not disgusting enough, it also infuriates me that this is not new or entirely unexpected. We live in a country that fuels hatred and gives people the means to carry out hate crimes. We live in a country that politicizes love and marriage,  but does nothing when it comes to controlling violence. Apparently everyone has the right to own a machine gun––including people on FBI watch lists, people with histories of committing violence/abuse, and people who are openly racist and/or homophobic/transphobic––but LGBTQIA+ people (especially LGBTQIA+ people of color) don’t have the right to walk outside, or even to exist in their own safe spaces, without the fear of being attacked or killed for their mere existence.

I’ve seen people blaming this tragedy on guns, and others blaming it on hatred. The fact is, it’s both. If we’re going to prevent hate crimes and mass shootings, we need to stand up for the rights of marginalized people and listen to their voices and have a better control on violence.

We still have a very long way to go. But I’m still trying to be hopeful about the future, as bleak as things may seem right now. Even though this attack is a huge blow, I’ve still seen a lot of progress in my lifetime. I see more and more people accepting who they are, and at younger and younger ages. I see more and more LGBTQIA+ representation in the media (even if it’s still not nearly enough, but at least it’s happening). I’ve only very recently started to accept my own identity as a bisexual woman, and it’s because I’ve had so much love, support, and acceptance from friends and family––many of whom are also LGBTQIA+.

The tragedy in Orlando weighs so heavily on my heart, and I know change will not come easily. But ultimately, love is love, and it will always be stronger and louder than hatred.

I Met Maggie Stiefvater!

This post is coming a little late, but I wanted to tell you all about my experience meeting Maggie Stiefvater the other week! *screams and fangirls* She is currently on her book tour for The Raven King (the final book in the Raven Cycle series), and she happened to stop by Brookline, MA (which is fairly close to where I live), and I was fortunate enough to attend the event––and I’m really happy I was able to reserve tickets for me and my mom, because it sold out in less than five minutes! 😱

In case you didn’t know, Maggie is the author of a bunch of best-selling YA books/series, including The Wolves of Mercy Falls (aka the Shiver trilogy)The Scorpio Races, and The Raven Cycle. And she’s one of my favorite authors ever.

First of all, the talk she gave was so funny. It was almost like a stand-up routine, really. Everyone was just laughing their heads off and it was so much fun. Topics included ugly babies, evil goats, vomiting on airplanes, accidentally posting photos of her boobs on the internet, and setting John Green on fire.

Here she is, pretending to be one of her pet goats attempting to fly off the roof. 


After the talk, of course, was the book signing. I was near the end of the line, but I didn’t mind because it gave me more time to pull myself together and decide what on earth I was going to say.

I always feel so intimidated when I meet authors, and as a result I often get tongue-tied. But luckily, Maggie was super friendly, and I managed to say something semi-coherent about how much I love her books and characters. *whew*


 Here is my signed copy of The Raven Boys!

Processed with Rookie Cam

And I also got this lovely “book hugger” which wraps around all four of the Raven Cycle books (with beautiful art by Maggie herself––gosh, how can one person be so talented?!):

Processed with Rookie Cam

It was such an amazing event, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors!


How about you guys?

  • Have you met any authors?
  • If so, who did you meet? What was the experience like?
  • If not, which author(s) would you most like to meet?

How Do You Name Your Characters?

Hi everyone! Happy June! Gosh, it’s almost halfway through the year already.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about how to name characters. I’m curious to hear from you guys about this aspect of writing, and how you approach it. Mainly, I’m interested to hear:

  • How do you name your characters?
  • Do you think characters should have “meaningful” names?

Personally, I love coming up with character names. It’s such a strangely magical process––by which I mean, I know when I’ve found the right name because it just clicks. I’ll be scrolling through baby name sites, and something will just leap out at me.

But where do you start?

First of all, time period and setting play a role in choosing your characters’ names. For example, when I was choosing names for my characters in The Resurrectionists, I wanted them all to have believable, 18th-century English names (because––guess what?––it takes place in 18th-century England). A Google search of “18th century English names” brings up some good sources, like this list of unique 18th-century British baby names or this list of common nicknames used in the 18th and 19th centuries. So, Google can really come in handy in these situations!

Or maybe your story takes place in a totally different world, in which case there are a lot of cool online fantasy name generators, like this one or this one.

Sometimes meaning is also a factor in naming characters. Personally, I don’t go out of my way to give my characters “meaningful” names (that is, that the meaning of their name says something about their personality), but I know some writers love to do this. In which case, there are a lot of great sources for finding the meanings of names. My personal favorite is Behind the Name, which has a large database of names from all over the world, and includes their meaning, history, and etymology. It even has a surnames section! And you can look up names by meaning, which is pretty awesome (you just have to click on the gear symbol next to the search bar, and select “search meanings”).

A lot of the time, though, character names seem to come out of nowhere––they pop into my head, or I just like the sound of them.

How about you guys?

  • How do you name your characters?
  • Do you ever use name generators or online name databases? If so, do you have any favorite sources?
  • Do you give your characters names that are meaningful to their personalities, or do you just pick names you like? Or both?

Music Monday 5/23/16 – Artist Spotlight: Birdy

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been rather absent lately and a bit inconsistent with my weekly memes. I was kinda busy during the past couple weeks, and as a result I’ve been a little scatterbrained and not very productive. But I will try to be more on top of things!

One bit of exciting news is that I am going to meet Maggie Stiefvater on Thursday. Omg I am SO SO EXCITED (and a little nervous because I always act like an idiot when I meet authors I greatly admire). I’ll be sure to write a post about it this weekend.

Anyway, on to Music Monday––a weekly meme hosted by Lauren at Always Me. The only rules are: 1) Every Monday, post 2-3 songs that you like, 2) Write a comment about them if you want, 3) Add a link to the post in the link-up on Lauren’s blog.

I’ve decided I want to try something a little different with my Music Monday posts, at least for the time being. I like how Lauren highlights a different artist every week, so I’m going to try the same thing.

My artist of the week is …



About: Birdy is the stage name of UK singer-songwriter Jasmine Van den Bogaerde. When she was only 14, she released a haunting cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” which made it to #17 on the UK Singles Chart. She now writes and performs her own songs and has released three studio albums.

Genres: Folk, pop

Albums: Birdy  (2011), Fire Within (2013), Beautiful Lies (2016)


I really love Birdy’s voice––it has such a powerful and ethereal quality to it that reminds me of other powerhouses like Adele and Florence Welch. And the fact that she recorded that Bon Iver cover at such a young age just blows my mind!

Thanks for joining me for another Music Monday! Feel free to link me to your own Music Monday post if you wrote one. 🙂

#TopTenTuesday: My Favorite Websites & Apps

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog to find out about all the awesome TTT themes!

This week’s theme:

Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books (you could go specific and do like top ten favorite food/travel/craft/fitness blogs I follow, 10 websites I visit daily,  10 fun websites I waste a lot of time on etc.)

Haha well, my most-visited website is Goodreads, but I guess I’ll have to leave that out! Otherwise I mostly only use social media websites, and also I’ve decided to expand my TTT to favorite apps as well as websites. So, here we go: my favorite (non-book-related) social media websites and apps!

Social Media:



Hooooo boy, I’m a big Tumblr fan. It can be a crazy place, but I’ve also found it to be a great way to connect with fans of all the things I love.



What can I say? I enjoy seeing what my friends/family are up to!



I love Twitter and, as I’ve said before, it’s actually a great way to meet other writers.



As someone who is obsessed with music, I am constantly on Last.fm. Honestly this website has changed my life and helped me find out about so many bands/artists I’d never heard of before.




A free and fun app for language-learning! I’m currently using it to learn German and French, and to brush up on my Spanish as well.



Yep, I’m that annoying person who Instagrams everything. I just love taking pretty pictures and making them look nice with the filters!



I’m a frequent Snapchat-er as well. And I love watching my friends’ stories to get a glimpse of what they’re doing with their lives. 😀


Neko Atsume (Kitty Collector)

Oh my gosh this app is THE. CUTEST. THING. EVER. It’s relatively simple: you just set out cat food/toys and CUTE LITTLE CATS APPEAR. And then the cats leave you fish and you can use them to get more items/backgrounds. (And the nice thing is, nothing bad happens to the cats if you forget to feed them. They just don’t show up.) It’s super adorable, and it always cheers me up a little.

Here is one picture of my “yard:”




1 Second Everyday

This is an app where you can create “projects” made up of 1-second video snippets. For example, I started one on January 1st that’s one second for every day in 2016. It’s a cute way to capture the little moments in your everyday life.

How about you guys?

  • Do you use any of these sites/apps? What do you think of them?
  • Do you have any other sites/apps to recommend?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please post a link and I will check it out!

#TopTenTuesday: Childhood Characters You’d Love to Revisit as Adults

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog for future TTT themes, and to link up to your TTT post if you’ve written one.

It’s been quite a while since I participated in TTT, but I love this week’s theme:

Ten Childhood Characters You’d Love To Revisit As Adults (ie a novella or something to see what they grew up to be) — you could always just pick YA characters you’ve read recently you wouldn’t mind revisiting in 10 years or so. Or you could pick 10 characters and guess what you think they’d be doing in 10 years or 20 years. OR you could go the other way and wish for coming of age stories for adult characters you love.

Haha, that’s a lot of options! But I’ve decided to go with the first one: that is, childhood characters I’d be interested to see as adults.

Percy Jackson


At the rate Rick Riordan is cranking out Percy Jackson spin-offs (not that I’m complaining––I’m supposed to get The Hidden Oracle in the mail today and I’m very excited), I imagine I’ll probably get to see this someday. 😛 But anyway, I’m really curious to see what this kid’s adulthood is like. Mostly does he ever get a break?! Because I feel like every time he thinks he’s resolved everything, he’s pulled back into more shenanigans with the gods/monsters/etc. (Also I must know if he and Annabeth get married.)



I probably read this book like ten times as a kid, and I always wanted to be Matilda. She’s so smart and she has telekinetic powers for crying out loud! I’m dying to know what happens when she grows up. I could see her becoming a teacher or something––but also she’s freakishly intelligent and has supernatural abilities … so I could also see her like, becoming a secret agent.

Pippi Longstocking


I always admired how adventurous, independent, and imaginative Pippi is––and also that she’s so deeply empathetic towards everyone she meets. (Not to mention, she’s so strong she can lift a horse above her head––how cool is that?) And I bet those characteristics last into her adulthood. I think it would be really cool to read a story about her as an adult, probably traveling all over the world and meeting/helping lots of people.



*shudders* This poor child. Part of me hopes that she never has to deal with anything scary again––but another part of me thinks it would be interesting to see her still stumbling into more supernatural things as an adult.



Similarly to Coraline, I wonder if Alice ever has to deal with alternate universes ever again. 😛 I guess there’s some implication that Wonderland is ~just a dream~ but I always believed it was something more than that. So it makes me wonder if, ten years down the road, Alice is still getting sucked into Wonderland from time to time.

How about you guys?

  • Would you also like to see any of the characters I listed as adults?
  • What characters would you add to the list?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please post a link and I will check it out!

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up (April 2016)

I’ll just cut to the chase: I didn’t win Camp NaNo. My goal was to add 15k to The Resurrectionists by the end of the month, and I got to a little over 11k.

I’m not upset about it, though. After several months of being stuck in a rut, it felt great to actually make some progress. I may not have reached my goal, but I still wrote something, and that’s what matters.


Week Four Progress Report:

Last Week’s WC/CC: 60,156 words / 24 chapters

Current WC/CC: 61,909 words / 25 chapters

Progress Since Last Week: 1,753 words / 1 chapter

Total Progress This Month: 11,444 words / 6 chapters

How It Went:

I wrote almost every day this month, and I’m happy about that. On average I probably wrote like 400 words a day, and that’s not bad!

Unfortunately I just totally burned out in the last few days, but I think that was probably for the best. I got to a point in the story where I felt like I need to plan more. For most of the month I was basically winging it, but towards the end of the month that didn’t seem to be working so well anymore.

I think the problem is that there are a ton of important characters in The Resurrectionists, and I’ve reached a point where I need all their storylines to converge without it seeming too forced. Additionally, I think some of the characters’ motivations need to be clearer in order for the story to work––so that’s something else I need to think about before continuing.

An Excerpt From This Week:

Suspicion seeped into Jackson’s mind once again—and this time, he was fairly certain he wasn’t imagining things: This pair was acting notably strange. The forced smiles. The glittering eyes.

Clearing his throat, Jackson stopped in his tracks and faced Malcolm and Cecilia. “Thank you for walking with me,” he said, struggling through the fog in his brain and concentrating very hard on not slurring his words. “I’m feeling much better, though, and I think I can make it the rest of the way on my own.”

“Oh?” Cecilia stepped forward, her brow furrowed in a concerned expression that wasn’t quite convincing. “Are you certain?”

“Yes, quite certain.” Again, Jackson noticed how rude he sounded as soon as he had spoken the words. But at this point, he didn’t care. A dark, cold feeling rushed over him as he took in the two faces before him. The more he looked at them, the more they looked like masks rather than actual human features.

Without even bothering to say good night, he turned on his heel and started to run. His vision swam and his feet stumbled on the cobblestones, but he breathlessly forced himself forward.

All at once, there was a chilling rush of air around him––something that bit through his clothes and skin much more sharply than a gust of wind.

He didn’t have time to cry out before he felt something squeeze tightly around his throat.

That’s all for now, folks! Week 4 is over, and so is Camp NaNo for this month.

As for what I’ll be working on in May, it’s up in the air right now. I’ve been thinking it might be a good month to just catch up on research/planning, since that’s something I need to do for … all of my WIPs, really. Whatever I end up doing, I’ll certainly keep you all updated. 🙂

How about you guys?

  • Did you participate in Camp NaNo? If so, how did it go?
  • What are your writing plans for May?

Infitiny Dreams Award

Lauren at Always Me nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Award! Lauren is incredibly nice and awesome, and you should most definitely check out her blog. 🙂


1. Give 11 facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions set to you by the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate up to 11 bloggers to receive this award.

4. Ask the bloggers you have nominated to answer 11 questions (bonus points for those who answer in a vlog).

11 Facts About Me

  1. I’m the oldest of 6 kids. 🙂


2. I’m a bit of a coffee addict
. I started drinking coffee when I was 10 years old (it was only in small increments and only like once a week, but still) and my addiction has only grown since then.


3. Probably related to the above: I’m a terrible insomniac.


It’s kind of a miracle if I can fall asleep within an hour or two of lying down, and I usually wake up pretty early, too. There are some nights I don’t fall asleep until like 4 or 5 am even if I’m lying there with my eyes closed the whole time! Lately I’ve been trying to cut back on caffeine in the afternoon/evening though, and that generally seems to help. 😛

4. I love earrings. And any other kind of jewelry, really––but especially earrings. I’m always buying new ones, even though I already have a zillion pairs.

5. Also I have a nose piercing!

6. I used to dye my hair funny colors. It started out just with red, but then I moved on to pink, blue, purple, green, etc. I really enjoyed having dyed hair, but it was kind of a pain to maintain it. Also after I stopped, my hair was a weird greenish/blondish color for months and months. I still kinda miss having wacky-colored hair, though!


7. I’m a little obsessed with animated things––movies, TV shows, you name it. I even have an animation blog on Tumblr, shh.

8. I love to draw! Mostly I do fan art. 😛


9. I briefly did stand-up comedy. Last year (when I was still in college) I did a few stand-up shows! It was kind of surreal because I never thought I’d have the confidence to do something like that. But actually I really enjoyed it! I’ve been meaning to try it again … eventually. 😀

10. I really love going to concerts. They’re a little overwhelming, but it’s worth it––I just get unbelievably excited to see my favorite bands/singers perform live. Most recently I went to see Magic Man, The Griswolds, and Panama Wedding, which was one of the most fun concerts I’ve been to! Up next, I am seeing CHVRCHES in June and I can’t wait. *screams*


11. I have a hamster (or well, my family does). Her name is Lilo! We adopted her from an animal rescue shelter last year. She likes to climb on top of her wheel, and then jump up and grab the bars at the top of her cage and swing around … it’s very weird. But she is so cute. LOOK AT HER.


So that’s it for my 11 facts! And now for my answers to Lauren’s questions … *drumroll* in a vlog! (Excuse the lengthiness and my general awkwardness.)

Hope you guys liked the video (if you watched it)! I had a lot of technical difficulties but I’m glad it finally worked, and I had fun doing it. 🙂

My 11 Questions:

  1. Do you like to re-read books? If so, what book have you read the most times?
  2. What are some of your hobbies?
  3. What is the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?
  4. What is/was your favorite subject in school?
  5. Do you have any pets?
  6. How many languages do you speak?
  7. What’s a book that really surprised you?
  8. Do you believe in aliens?
  9. What’s something that made you laugh recently?
  10. If you were a superhero, what power would you most like to have?
  11. If you could meet any author (alive or dead), who would it be and why? (Or if you’ve met your favorite author, who was it?)

I tag:

Of course, if you guys are too busy or don’t want to do the tag, no hard feelings at all! Or if you want to do the tag but you’d rather answer my questions in writing (rather than in a vlog) that’s totally fine as well. 🙂 Also, as always, if anyone else would like to participate then I’d be happy to add you to my tags!

Upcoming: Tomorrow I will be posting my WIPMarathon post for April, which will also be my Camp NaNoWriMo wrap-up. See you again soon, my friends!

Music Monday: 4/25/16

Oops, it’s been three whole weeks since I last did a Music Monday post! I apologize for my forgetfulness; I’ve been a little scatter-brained lately. 😛

Music Monday is a meme started by Lauren at Always Me. Check out her blog for the rules, and to link up to your own Music Monday post if you decide to do one!

Without further delay, here are my two music recommendations of the week.

Lydia – Georgia

I’ve been a Lydia fan since I was in high school. The band has gone through a lot of transformations since then––shifting band members, breaking up and getting back together, etc. As a result, their sound has also jumped around a bit, but I’ve always loved their music regardless. I recently discovered they’d released an album last year and I’d never heard about it for some reason, so that was a bit of a pleasant surprise! I’ve been listening to this album a lot recently, and it has a lot of good tracks on it. “Georgia” is probably my favorite, though.

Andrew McMahon – Synesthesia

This song came out a couple years ago, and I remember liking it back then. But I’d kind of forgotten about it for a while, and recently I “re-discovered” it and I’ve been listening to it quite a lot. Something about this song really speaks to me; I love the lyrics, and there’s something that feels very honest and comforting about it.

Thanks for joining me, and I hope you liked my song choices! To see all my past song recs, you can check out my other Music Monday posts, or you can listen to this Spotify playlist.