My Favorite Writing Resources

I’ve been writing since I was about 5 or 6 years old. Naturally, as I’m gotten more serious about it, I’ve found a lot of resources that I absolutely LOVE. Today I wanted to share a few of them with you all.

1. Writing Excuses

I’ve talked about this podcast before, and I honestly can’t get enough of it. The advice is amazing and it’s just so marvelously entertaining.

2. Pinterest

If you ever need a reference picture for anything, go to Pinterest. For real. You can also find a lot of prompts and advice.

3. NaNoWriMo

For those of us who sometimes struggle with making ourselves actually write. I love the accountability of this program, plus it’s a crazy adrenaline rush at times.

4. Springhole.net Random Generators

This website has saved my life so many times. It’s probably a bit more useful for sci-fi/fantasy writers, but there are plenty of generators for other genres.

5. Every baby-naming website ever

Because characters need names. I’m prone to spending hours naming minor characters, so everything I can do to make things easier for myself I do.

I know this was a quick post, but I just wanted to take a few minutes to share these resources with any writers out there.

Also, there are full-length videos of Brandon Sanderson’s college lectures on YouTube. For free. I’m watching them and taking so many notes.

What’s your favorite writing resource?

-Clara

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Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

mistborn

The Mists rule the night.
The Lord Ruler owns the world.

Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Ruler himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

(Goodreads)

Again I’m questioning why I didn’t pick up a certain book sooner, which seems to be a trend lately. This time, the book is The Final Empire, book one of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy.

I am so glad I finally got around to reading this and will most certainly be reading more Sanderson in the near future.

I picked this up specifically for writing purposes. Brandon is on my favorite podcast (Writing Excuses), and after hearing him talk about the way he writes I knew I needed to actually read some of his writing.

I also know Brandon is a serious outliner, which I am not, but I could feel how thoroughly the book was plotted anyway. That sounds like it would be a little frustrating, but I actually liked seeing the tightness of it.

Writing aside, the book is amazing.

It’s an engrossing plot, made better by the wonderful characters. Vin, Kelsier, and Elend were my favorites, but I loved how each and every character was distinctive.

Vin’s character development is probably the best thing about this book. I absolutely adored seeing her gain confidence in herself over the course of the story. Kelsier was great- he sorta reminded me of Carswell Thorne for some reason? And Elend was really interesting, and I am all for characters who go against the status quo.

The magic system is unique: ingesting metals for magical powers. I liked it more than I expected to, honestly. I tend to prefer very traditional magic systems, if that makes sense, but I really did love this one.

The world-building was done well, too. I will say that I didn’t imagine everything as vividly (except for the balls, but um, fancy parties are like my favorite thing) as I usually do, but that didn’t bug me one bit.

And the court intrigue was just plain AMAZING. I’ve really been craving all the court politics and whatnot and this book gave it to me.

My one issue was the romance. I love the couple and I think they’re going to be an amazing power couple in books 2&3, but I feel like I needed a little more development. The relationship was developed, but not exactly the romantic side of things. Also, I was really hoping for a better first kiss. It’s a really small thing in the grand scheme of things, but first kisses are so important to me in a book and it bugs me when authors just say “they kissed” or something along those lines and don’t tell me what it felt like.

Despite that, I really loved Mistborn and have already started the sequel, The Well of Ascension. You should definitely pick this up if you’re a fan of fantasy, court intrigue, and/or unique magic systems.

Have you read Mistborn or any other Brandon Sanderson novels?

-Clara

Underappreciated Book Boyfriends

I saw this on another blog a very long time ago, and now I can’t find what blog it is? For some reason it’s not coming up anywhere…I think it was Windowsill Book Blog. If it was your post, please let me know!

I’ve had this post in my head for a while and am finally getting around to doing it.

I feel like the book blogging community (myself included) tends to talk about a lot of the same fictional guys and forget about the others. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of those guys, but there others that deserve more love than they get. I wanted to share just a few.

1. Amar and Vikram, The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

These are two of my favorite books and I love both of these men for different reasons. Amar is very loyal and reserved, and I really respect that. He’s so good to Maya and is very patient with her.

Vikram is hilarious and his banter with Gauri is everything. He’s brave, adventurous and, like Amar, loyal. But mainly absolutely hysterical.

2. Mr. Bradford, Entwined by Heather Dixon

entwined cover

To be completely honest, Keeper was my immediate love in this book, but umm…. Read the book.

Mr. Bradford is a complete Prince Charming. He’s just so sweet and kind and I love him for it. Seeing his relationship with Azalea grow is such a joy to read.

And this is still one of my favorite books, by the way. It’s wonderful on so many levels.

3. Rook, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

eor

Rook is just generally an amazing love interest. I love that he’s fae and that he’s conflicted and mysterious. Honestly though I love the whole book but Rook was a large part of that. If you haven’t read this please go do it now.

4. Ignifex, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel-beauty

If you like dark, brooding, villainous men in your books, go read this. Ignifex is so charming and smooth and funny in the best way. He’s also a super interesting character in general.

5. Alexei, Black Widow: Forever Red

wp-1482607539039.jpg

Alexei is my sweet little child and I love him so much and wish I could keep him somewhere where he would never get hurt. He is so sweet and innocent and kind and loving and I just can’t.

SPOILER

Also, he died and I cried for like an hour at midnight. It was not a good night.

END SPOILER

And by the way, Margaret Stohl, where is the third book? I’m not bitter at all.

 

There are a lot more, because I love my fictional guys to death and could talk about them forever, but these are some of the most underrated ones in my own opinion.

And as a side note, I’m reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson right now and it’s fantastic. I don’t have any crushes yet but I can see one happening at some point.

Anyway. Who are some of your fictional crushes who don’t get enough love? 

-Clara

The Liebster Award

Ann nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you!

liebsteraward

Here’s the rules:

  1. Link to Global Aussie’s Award blog post. Comment with a link to your Award post. And put the official Liebster Award stamp on your blog.
  2. Acknowledge and link to the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
  4. Nominate 11 more bloggers and spread the ‘new blogger’ love.
  5. Ask them 11 fun questions of your own.
  6. Let them know on their blogs that you have nominated them.

Ann’s questions:

What has been the hardest struggle to overcome to keep on blogging?

Sometimes I just get burnt out, I guess? And I’m also insanely busy all the time, which makes it difficult to find time for blogging. It’s tech week for another show right now so I’m honestly surprised I’m managing this.

What’s your favorite music to listen to while writing or reading or whatever other activity you do?

I am borderline obsessed with film scores. Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hunger Games are my favorite, but I’ve lately fallen in love with Ramin Djawadi’s score for Game of Thrones (I don’t watch the show, but honestly, the music is spectacular.) I listen to these for writing, reading, and just generally everything.

When I run, I really enjoy podcasts or audiobooks- they help take my mind off the running. Writing Excuses is my favorite podcast and I recommend it to every writer.

Do you plan your blogs in advance and schedule their release or just blog by the seat of your pants? Or a combo?

Sometimes I schedule posts, but it’s a rarity. Usually I just blog when I have a moment and an idea, or when I’ve finished a book and desperately need to review it.

Having a familiar gives you magical powers, but the only one available is a spider. This is your only chance! Do you accept your familiar and the magic it gives you or light a match and run away? (No, you can’t transform it into another animal. It must remain a spider. Nice try though!)

Ummm…. I am terrified of spiders, but magical powers…? I have no idea what I’d do. I’d have to be in the actual situation to give an answer.

What food could you eat all day, every day and never get sick?

I’m not sure there is one. I’m a fan of variety in my food. I do love ice cream (and I’m not eating dairy at the moment, which has forced me to try the dairy-free ice creams, and let me tell you, they’re amazing) and lots of different foreign foods.

What TV show could you binge watch over and over?

BBC’s Merlin. I absolutely love everything about it, especially Arthur. If you haven’t watched it, go do it. You won’t regret it.

What’s the one blog post you are most proud of?

Female Villains vs. Male Villains: A Discussion

I know this is a short one, but it was really interesting and there were a lot of good comments.

Have you ever played a song on repeat so many times you got sick of it? If so, what song?

No, I don’t think so. Sometimes I’ll need a break from a song, but I’ve never gotten so sick of a song that I hate it from that point on.

If your home was on fire and you could only save one book, which would it be?

The copy of Captain Guinevere I used as a guestbook when I had my release party.

What’s your favorite water sport? To play and/or watch.

I don’t play sports at all (so I sorta run CC but only because my friend does and we talk the whole time), but I do enjoy watching Olympic swimming every four years.

What book do you wish you never read?

Robinson Crusoe is still my least favorite book in the entire world. I just generally hate survival books and I just can’t deal with this one. Unfortunately, I’ve had to read it more than once for different school courses.

I’m nominating:

Bernadette

Flavia

Bekah

Angelica

Alan

Veronica

Kat

Norees

Meilin

Annabeth

And you!

My questions:

  1. Your favorite book of the year?
  2. Reylo: yes or no?
  3. Plot or character?
  4. Favorite place to shop?
  5. If you could go on an all-expenses paid vacation, where would it be and what would you do?
  6. Favorite musical?
  7. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
  8. Ice cream or donuts?
  9. Favorite superhero?
  10. French or Spanish?
  11. Literature or science?

Please don’t feel like you have to do the award if you don’t want to, but if you do, please link back to me so I can see your answers!

-Clara

It’s National Lipstick Day! My Favorite Lipsticks

Lip color has been a part of my life since I was about 8 or 9. I wore it all the time, before I was allowed to wear any other makeup, and it’s still one of my favorite things. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you all today. They’re mostly reds (that’s pretty much all I wear anymore), but the formula is amazing and they do come in other colors.

Nyx Pin-Up Pout Lipstick in Red Haute

I wore this for a show set in the 40s and very quickly fell in love. It’s my absolute favorite- the formula is creamy, long-lasting, and comfortable, and the color is gorgeous.

Limelight by Alcone Liquid Lip in Macaroon

A deep pinky nude that I don’t wear too often, but nonetheless, I love it.

Too Faced Peach Kiss Lipstick in He’s With Me

IT SMELLS LIKE PEACHES AND CREAM. Honestly, it’s worth it for the delicious smell. But aside from that, I love the formula and the color. It’s also not too matte, which I prefer.

Nyx Liquid Suede Liquid Lip

I have the shade Kitten Heels, which is pretty, but it’s just a little too bright. I do wear it because it’s crazy comfortable. Also, if you’re looking for a dupe for Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lip, this formula feels almost exactly the same.

Clinique Lipstick in Matte Beauty

My first favorite. I wore almost only Clinique for the longest time and I still love their lipsticks.

I just got one of Kat Von D’s (in the shade Outlaw) yesterday, and for the short time I wore it last night, I loved it.

What’s your favorite lipstick?

-Clara

(Images via Google)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel-beauty

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

(via Goodreads)

I don’t remember exactly where I heard about Cruel Beauty, but I’ve wanted to read it for a long time and finally got around to it.

I love retellings, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. This book combined both the beloved fairytale and Greek mythology, which I’ve loved since I was eight years old.

This book was really, really good, but I had a couple of issues with it. I’ll get the negative out of the way and then talk about what I loved.

The world-building is a little difficult to follow- the world is really complex, and combined with the large amount of mythology, it’s a little bit too complicated. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, it’s not too bad, but if you’re not I can see it getting really confusing at times.

My other issue was the ending. I liked the way it ended; I thought it was sweet, but it all felt very rushed and fast-paced compared to the rest of the book. The book isn’t fast-paced at all (but in the best way) until you get to the ending. It was a little annoying but didn’t ruin the overall book for me.

Onto the things I loved!

Nyx is honestly amazing. She’s not a sweet little thing at all, and I kinda love that. It was a breath of fresh air. She was really well developed and Rosamund did a great job of telling us about how she became so bitter and angry at the world. And the way she changes over the course of the novel is really well done. She grows in a lot of ways and we get to see that clearly.

Ignifex is quite charming, in a bit of an odd way, I guess? I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I loved him. He was quite hilarious at times and also just a generally interesting person to read about.

Shade was one I didn’t like, but I don’t think I’m supposed to, if you know what I mean.

And I completely LOVED the relationship between Nyx and Ignifex. Their romance is amazing and there’s a little bit of banter. Banter is one of my favorite things ever. (Side note, if you like a lot of banter, you absolutely need to read A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. Just do yourself a favor and read it.) The romance is one of the main parts of Cruel Beauty. It works well and is such a fun relationship to read.

I like the plot. It’s Beauty and the Beast, of course, but I also feel like it was a bit of a Cupid and Psyche retelling as well, especially with Astraia (Nyx’s sister) and all the mythology references. A part of me does feel like the plot could have worked better as a novella or novelette, but regardless, it was a good one.

As a whole, I rated this book 4 stars, because while I very much enjoyed most of it, I had a couple issues.

I would definitely recommend this to people who love retellings, mythology, and antiheroes.

Have you read Cruel Beauty? What did you think?

-Clara

P.S. Lady Gwen is in formatting at the moment and I’m proofing an ebook this week. We’re getting close to releasing it!

The FIFA World Cup Book Tag (even though I totally don’t watch soccer/football)

So Angelica @The Book Cover Girl tagged me to do this tag created by Rendz @Reading with Rendz and even though I don’t watch soccer, I’m doing it anyway. It’s been forever since I did a tag, and I always love them.

Also, is the World Cup even still going? I don’t pay attention to sports at all guys…

Let the Flags Fly

Wave them high and proudly!!! Look at all the fun colours!!!
A Book from your World Cup Competing Country/ the Country that You Want to Win!

So apparently America isn’t in the World Cup this year? I’m going to go with Germany I guess (is it them that’s out already though? Guys I am so clueless about this whole thing). And the book is…

InkHeart by Cornelia Funke. This is still my favorite MG series and I really should reread it soon. The world is one I repeatedly rave about here because it’s just amazing.

It’s The Beautiful Game

Football! Soccer! Beautiful! Whatever you call it!
A book with a pretty cover / A book that features soccer

eor

I adore this cover and it’s an AMAZING book that you should totally go read right now, especially if you like fae.

Ferocious Fans

Face paint! Big signs! Lots of noise!
Name a fandom you love being a part of!

The Lunar Chronicles fandom, because Cresswell and Wolflet. Also just Carswell Thorne, who is officially my book husband. #sorrynotsorry but you can’t have him.

Teamwork! Teamwork! Teamwork!

There is no way one person can win the game!
Name your Favourite Bookish Crew / A Book that has Co-Authors!

The Lunar Chronicles again. The Rampion Crew is just awesome to read about and I love every single one of them dearly.

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris is my co-authored book. It’s non-fiction but it is so important and everyone needs to read it.

Ref Blows the Whistle

You either love him or you hate him.
Name a book/character that you have mixed feelings towards!

Cardan from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I’m 99% sure we’re all supposed to hate him but I can’t shake the feeling that as the series continues he’s going to end up on my list of fictional crushes. Not yet, because he’s such a jerk in this book but I also want to like him at the same time.

And then there’s also everyone in The Great Gatsby, because I don’t like any of them one bit but I still love them. It’s complicated.

GGGGOOOAAAALLLL!!!!

Everyone loses their heads and starts yelling at the top of their lungs!
Name your last 5 star read!

Every Throne of Glass book since Heir of Fire, which is basically all I read last month. And there was a lot of losing my head and yelling at the top of my lungs during every one of them.

Maeve is evil, and I’m slightly jealous that Sarah gets the honor of killing her off and I don’t.

The Gold Cup

It’s what we play for.
The Most Coveted/Loved Book On Your Shelf

My copy of The Great Gatsby. It’s my favorite book and I will not let anyone borrow it. A good friend of my asked if she could once and just had to tell her that I love her but no. I’d be okay letting her borrow any book but that one.

I Tag…

Angelica @TheGeekyContralto

Annabeth @TheJrInklings

Alan Zaroff

So that wasn’t too bad for someone who hasn’t the first clue about the World Cup.

Do you watch the World Cup? What was your most recent 5-star read?

-Clara

Best and Worst Books of the Year So Far

Hey guys!

It’s been forever since I talked about reading instead of writing. Today I want to talk about the best and worst books I’ve read so far this year.

I haven’t done a lot of reading at all, unfortunately, but my reading has picked up a lot in the past month, and the books I have read I’ve really enjoyed.

The Worst Book so Far:
I haven’t really hated any books this year, and there’s really only one I actually disliked.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I didn’t completely hate this- as a matter of fact, I was really invested in it for the first half- but it just fell apart for the second act. I was ready for it to be over a long time before it ended.

The Best Books:

A friend of mine got me to finally give the Throne of Glass series a chance. I read book one about a year ago, and it wasn’t spectacular, but I picked up Crown of Midnight about a month ago and have devoured almost all of the ones out. Also, the ending of Empire of Storms is absolutely terrible and I’m still not over it.

It’s tempting to just say every book in that series is the best I’ve read this year (which wouldn’t be a lie), but I’ve read other amazing books this year.

To list the three best books of the year so far:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

This is my favorite book of the year so far, for real. The plot was amazing, the characters were true to themselves (but I hate seeing Chaol depressed), and the relationship development was fabulous.

Also, Rowan Whitethorn.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

I reviewed this one here a while back. This book is so good and was the fastest I’d read a novel in a long time.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Jason Fry

I know this is kinda cheating because it’s a movie novelization, but this book was just as good as the movie (better, in some ways). I did a very fangirl-y post about the movie before I read the book. The character development on Ben Solo still blows my mind.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year? Tell me in the comments!

-Clara

 

 

 

Going to Camp

Hey guys!

I just wanted to let you know that there won’t be any posts from me next week. I am going to camp and we aren’t allowed to have electronics. It’s going to be a blast as usual, and when I come back I’ll be able to get back into really blogging again.

I hope you all have a great week!

-Clara

Writing Update + Lady Gwen Collage

Hey guys!

Today I’m not going to be sharing a snippet from Lady Gwen; I’ve decided to share with you all a collage of photos from my Pinterest board for the project. Pinterest has been such a great help since I started using it for my writing, and I definitely recommend making boards for your own if you don’t already.

This collage is by no means every photo on the board, because some are mildly spoiler-y. I just picked my favorites to share with you all.

All photos via Pinterest; collage done on Canva.

Lady Gwen Collage

So Lady Gwen is currently with Rebecca Treadway for formatting and should be out by the end of July/early August.

Camp NaNoWriMo is starting in July and I’ll be working more on the Nikolai Project (still no definite title…). I have a lot I want to expand in that book and before long it may end up epic fantasy instead of romance because I am absolutely insane.

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!

-Clara