Name That Book!

Hello, lovelies, and HAPPY LEAP YEAR! 'Tis Wednesday and I've been busy miring myself in reading multiple books at a time, which I try not to do. Library books stolen from Krispy, an ebook belonging to Krispy, and my own library books. They have ranged from fairly decent to meh to a steaming pile of unresolved WTFery.

Since I've only just finished a couple and am working on a couple more, I thought I'd pad out add to today's post with some doodles and a guessing game. I've doodled the covers and you get to Name That Book! No cheating by checking out my Goodreads page.

1. Never before have I read a book that tried so hard to fail its own potential.
And succeeded.
2. I'm reading this one as an ebook on Krispy's Kindle.
It is slow.  It took until 32% for anything of interest to happen.

3. A book that had a horrible description that sounded like bad fanfic.
In actuality, the book was decent except for the climax and conclusion.

4. I'm reading this one now.  I'm unimpressed but it's not as bad as I was expecting.

I'll probably finish book #4 within the next couple of days since it reads quickly.  The sequel is either out or coming out very soon, but my current feeling is that I will be uninterested in reading it unless Krispy happens to get it from the library and I can steal it from her.  I have my own fair portion of schneizeleffort too, you know.

So! What am I reading, folks?  And what are you reading?


Randomosity on Fridays: The Nerd Case

TGIF, friends! As promised, I'll be giving you a tour of the Nerd Case today.

Before the tour though, I'd like to point you to the following:

FIRST: One of my BFFs, the wonderfully Loquacious Luce is doing a triathlon with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. She's learning to RIDE A BIKE for this thing. Yep, that's right. Dedication. So if you'd like to help out, please consider donating to her page! Thanks in advance!

Eva's Fundraising Page

SECOND: Another friend sent me this video. If you've ever wondered about the boba and food places we've talked about here, check this out. YOU SEE all the affordable, convenient DELICIOUSNESS we're surrounded by?! Welcome to the 626. [Cha for Tea is a favorite of ours for boba.]

THIRD: One of my oldest friends, BFF, and Facebook wife asked me for a Facebook divorce recently, despite a good 7.5 years of FB marriage. That's because she got actually engaged, and I couldn't be happier for her! So I just wanted to post a shout-out to my ex-wifey. If anyone was going to wreck our interwebs home, I'm glad it was your future hubs. :) CONGRATS again!


The top shelf is home to Lego Darth Vader, Darth Tater keychain, levitating TARDIS, plushie R2-D2, talking Yoda wearing a Jango Fett party hat, and a picture of R2-D2 in a wolf-snowglobe frame.

Yes, we have a framed picture of R2-D2.

First Shelf: You can't really see them in the very back, but there are a set of Playskool Star Wars figures and a set of Lord of the Rings Ghost Army figures. Remote control (that fat lightsaber looking thing) R2-D2, Darth Vader, mini replica of Obi-Wan's Episode III (and original trilogy) lightsaber, and lightsaber chopsticks.

Random trinkets are just random - stuff we got as gifts / souvenirs.

Second Shelf: The Sister and I got briefly obsessed with vinyl figures - specifically, Disney's Vinylmations. There are different collections, but you don't know which figure you're getting, making this a very addictive (and expensive!) hobby. Luckily we sort of got over it. Sort of.

  • Stuffed in the back are the boxes and also blank Vinylmations that I will one day paint.
  • The Vinylmations from left to right: Star Wars collection Yoda, Holiday collection Easter, Disneyland Parks collection Submarine, Robots collection Love Bot, Robots collection Tesla Bot, and Star Wars collection Chewbacca.
  • The mini vinyls are from Tokidoki's Marvel Frenzies collection. Left to right: Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic, Rogue, Captain America, the Hulk, the Thing.
  • We really wanted the Tokidoki Thor because he's cute, and also then Secret Strike Loki would have a friend. He's there, lurking behind Submarine vinylmation.

Third Shelf: Random stuffed animals! Also, Prongs - a doodled reindeer the Sister invented. Alz made us the little Prongs figure, as well as Pirate!Prongs on the right there. We also have Star Wars books stacked in the back, next to the Original Trilogy DVD boxset. Then, there's some art scrolls on the side. Also, mini replica of Obi-Wan's lightsaber in Episodes I and II.

Bottom Shelf: Travel trinkets - the shoes and windmill from the Netherlands, the paper doll from Vietnam (a gift), the mini beer stein from Germany.

  • There's a Black Egg Hello Kitty from Japan behind Obi-Wan's dramatically flowing Jedi robe. 
  • The box behind that is a figure of Ichigo from Bleach that we hauled back from Japan, and somewhere behind all that is a figure of Renji (also from Bleach) that I hauled back from Taiwan (gifted from a friend).
  • Oh and that little glass jar? It's the habitat of a little blue bird figure and a cosmic serpent figure that Alz made for me.

That's all for the Nerd Case. At least in here. Truthfully, there isn't enough room in our case to contain all our geekery, but for now, it'll do. (The stuffed animals will probably have to move out at some point...) Cheers!

Okay, your turn. Spill. What geektastic trinkets do you have and are they on display?


Picture Wednesday: New Bookcases!

As I mentioned Monday in my U.S. History bookshelf post, I did in fact get new bookcases to fit all many of my books. This was a while ago.

You may recall in July 2011 that I was cleaning out my bookshelves and that I'd reorganized my one case. Like so:

Anyway, probably in October 2011, I went to IKEA and bought two new bookcases (a full one and a smaller side case). Alz and the Sister helped me build them and then I went about removing all my books from the old case and putting ALL THE BOOKS onto all the cases at my disposal. This is the result:

Glass-fronted case on left is what Sis and I call our "Nerd Case" / "Geek Cabinet."

As you can see, I have an entire case dedicated to YA/MG. It's pretty awesome. I also meant to share this like in 2011, but that didn't happen. Please excuse the delay. Here's a tour.

  • Very top: geeky things on display - a sword (old birthday gift); a Godric Gryffindor letter opener (last Christmas gift); Bleach mug; stuff from Germany; keychains; fountain pen ink. 
  • First shelf: YA dystopian that goes into YA Fantasy/Paranormal; 2010-2011 Breathless Reads pins; Mockingjay pin; Legend pin; mini Daruma doll. 
  • Second shelf: YA Fantasy/Paranormal continues (Daughter of Smoke & Bone and The Scorpio Races are out on loan.); angel-atee (from Alz, of course); perfume (from my roomie); Tokidoki unicorns, Ulquiorra from Bleach.
  • Bottom shelf: MG series (Harry Potter, Heroes of Olympus, Percy Jackson, Narnia); LOTR Extended Edition DVDs (stand-ins as we buy the Heroes of Olympus books); Harry Potter from Page to Screen; Star Wars lunch box.

You saw the side-shelf on Monday. From top to bottom: Non-fiction/Writing craft shelf; Reference/Mythology (with Hello Kitty make-up brush set - another xmas gift); U.S. History /Mythology.

The close-up is from the top of the other shelf. It's a postcard of the archangel Michael casting the Devil out of Heaven and an eraser that says in German: "Life is like drawing without an eraser." Wise words. The Sister bought these for me in Dresden.

And here's the old bookcase newly reorganized.

These are my "grown-up" books. Top shelf is a mix of classics, humorous essays, and fiction. Also, that silver thing? It's a giant individual-person coffee filter.

Middle shelf starts with fantasy art books and fairy tale collections and turns into Fantasy books (and my lucky frog). Bottom shelf is dedicated to MG/childhood classics, picture books, and graphic novels/art books.

Aaand on Friday, I'll be back to give you a glimpse inside the Nerd Case / Geek Cabinet. See you then!

I decided to organize by genre and then alphabetical by author - more or less. How do you organize your book shelves?


President's Day Special Post

Special post today! Like Alz said, I'm very schneizeleffort, but I did want to share my US History geekiness on President's Day. It seemed appropriate.

Also, back during Christmas, Sophia was surprised to find the Ron Chernow Washington biography on my amazon wishlist, and she asked me if I was serious or if I was joking. Needless to say, I was not joking. Sophia, I now direct you to the remainder of this post.

I'm mostly into the Revolutionary and Critical periods of U.S. History and I sadly lose interest the closer we get to modern times. Go figure. :P

I did not have time to vlog, so instead, you will get pictures of my U.S. History art cube and my U.S. History shelf.


It's an "American Independence" art cube, featuring paintings by John Trumbull. I bought this at Trinity Church in NY this past September when I was visiting Hamilton's memorial. That's also where I got this Hamilton key chain.

The cube unfolds like so:


You might recall a while back that I was reorganizing my bookshelf and clearing shelf space. Well, not long after that, I went to IKEA and bought two new shelves for my books. They aren't nearly enough, but they do look nice and gave me a place to put all my new YAs. More on the new shelves in the future.

Old shelf on the right, new on the left. Also, Last Unicorn pillow made by my friend!

For now, I'm just sharing my U.S. History shelf, which is actually quite small. On the other hand, it's not even a full shelf of history and it doesn't house all the history books I own either. I had limited shelf-space, so I had to pick and choose.

Non-fiction / Reference / Mythology case

It turns into mythology at the end because that's the side next to Percy Jackson.

Examples of books that aren't on the shelf because they're too big/fat.

The Illustrated Edition of David McCullough's 1776. Isn't it gorgeous?

This excellent Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow.

There you have it! I hope you all had a pleasant weekend! See you all Wednesday for another glimpse into my geekery and nerdiness. I finally took pics of my new shelves, so I have to share!

What's your favorite historical era or topic? OR What's your nerdy little secret?

P.S. Alz and I are totally hooked on pinterest right now. Come find me if you're on there! As usual, I'm kangaru.


Randomosity on Fridays: Upcoming Books

OMG, I've been looking forward to the day that I could just do this, and you'd all understand.


Friday 5: Upcoming Books We're Looking Forward To

1. Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor

2. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

3. Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

4. Bitterblue (The Seven Kingdoms #3) by Kristin Cashore

5. The Diviners (Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

Obviously, there are MANY MORE books than these, but these are the ones we thought of off the top of our heads, and we tried to include some that weren't sequels to other things.

What books are you looking forward to this year?


I think this would be appropriate reading.
P.S. This is Alz now. I just wanted to publicly distance myself from Krispy (that's her suggested phrasing) by declaring her, with all the fervor of my black, withered heart and soullnessness, a US history NERD.  Wear the label with pride, Krispy.  Wear it with pride.  Oh god, she just ran across the room right now to grab her US history cube that unfolds into various paintings of presidents.  She just said, "I SHOULD PUT THIS ON MY US HISTORY SHELF."  Yes, folks, she has a US history shelf right alongside her YA one.  I'm so proud of Krispy.  "That's a really long PS," says Krispy.  "Yes, Krispy, it is," I say.

Correction from Krispy: The cube has various paintings depicting events from the Revolutionary War, not of presidents, though George Washington appears a number of times.

P.P.S. Return this holiday Monday for special pictures of Krispy's US history shelf and magic US history painting art cube of amazingness!  Or maybe a vlog.  We shall see how schneizeleffort Krispy actually is.  Which is very.


WIP Wednesday: Inspiring Flaws

The coconut is in Krispy's court on our co-novel collaboration, but despite our colluding it is quite to my consternation that she has yet to conquer some wordcount.

Now that the alliteration's out of the way, the next order of business is to thank you all for your fantasy recommendations.  I must hie myself to the library sometime soon so I can add more books to the pile already sitting on my desk.

Now for the WIP backstory:  When I read something and a flaw bothers me, it irritates me inspires me to write.  And as a lot of things tend to bother me quite a lot, I've had a lot to mentally stew over and everyone knows that stews taste best after cooking for a while.  Although, to put it gently, my cooking skills could poison a world into dystopia.  (And I just said "a lot" three times in one sentence.  I'd shoot myself now but out of respect for my intolerance for pain, I'm going to hit myself with a pillow instead.)

Recently I read a book where the total lack of description of a certain trade made it abundantly clear to me that the author hadn't done so much as a cursory Google search on the topic.  And since this trade was the main character's trade, and played a semi-important role in the story, and as details only got vaguer and more questionable as the book went on--did you hear that sonic boom?  That was from me throwing my hands in the air in disgust.

After I finished the book, I donned my night vision goggles, armed myself with a pickaxe, and went tunneling into the dark depths of my computer, looking for that old story I'd written in which the character practiced needlework.  I found the story, hacked a few good lines free and dumped the rest on the slag heap, and set to writing with a will.  I've actually done a bit of embroidery and have read a few books, though in the latter case it was largely because of the gorgeous pictures featuring goldwork and silk embroidery.

But embroidery!  It was going to matter!  By god!  And crochet too!  And knitting!  And tatting!  And--all right, so I got a bit carried away and possibly am going to have to trim a few things.  My knitting is abysmal, by the way.

As usual, the story evolved while I was writing, and so now it's almost completely different from the original years-old idea, and then evolved further so it was nothing like what I set out to write right now.  But that's all right.  I had an idea but not much of a story but now that have the outline set, all that remains is to bring it to life, stitch by stitch and word by word.

So here's a snippet which, after all that talk of embroidery, contains no needlework references at all.  I know, I know.
The Eleon was not wild. It was not a simple beast, or a mad one, or a beast at all. In shape and purpose, it was the closest thing to a person she had seen. The tentacle birds might dive at Tindy when she crossed their sight and the shadow-hounds chase her when they caught her scent, but the Eleon sought her out. All her life in all her nightmares, the Eleon alone spoke. Only the Eleon had anything like a human face, though its resemblance to one was at once so different and so cruelly similar that Tindy desperately wished that it hadn't a face at all.

Only the Eleon. Until Mr. Shall had begun to appear in her nightmares.
That's my current solo project.  As soon as Krispy gets that next section written *hint hint unsubtle hint* I'll take over and work on our co-novel while Krispy works on a solo project or two or three of her own.

In the meantime, how's your WIP going?  Do flaws and annoyances in books inspire you?


Randomosity on Fridays

We will seriously have more interesting posts next week. But this week, have a dose of true randomness. February has been busy, busy for us!

Friday Five

1. On Super Bowl Sunday, the sister and I waited outside of a Target before it opened at 8AM with about 40 other girls. Why? We wanted a shot at the super adorable and coveted Jason Wu for Target line. We can say our excursion was a resounding success as we now own a number of these pieces.

2. Also on Super Bowl Sunday, one of my fave bands premiered their new music video. You might have seen a preview for it as a Chevy Sonic commercial. The real thing is wildly creative as only videos by OK Go can be. If you liked the Rube Goldberg machinery of "This Too Shall Pass," you'll totally dig the vid for "Needing/Getting."

3. Wednesday night, the sister and I and our cousin went to see THE WANTED. They're a British boy band that has recently gotten quite a bit of press, making them quite a bit more popular than they were when my sister first stumbled upon them sometime last year. We went for kicks (because we think they're kinda hilarious / and they've got some catchy tunes), and it was pretty fun. I am WAY TOO OLD to be around that many teenaged fangirls though. Don't have the energy needed to keep up. SCHNEIZELEFFORT.

That aside, the show was originally supposed to be at another theater, but due to overwhelming demand + sold out-ness, it was moved to THE EL REY - also known as the THEATER WHERE THE SISTER WORKS. So, it was sweet for my schneizeleffort self because I didn't have to wait in line. It was sweet for the Sister because she was working there during sound check and got to see gorgeous DAVID BECKHAM in REAL LIFE.

She also took this picture (aka met these guys):

The El Rey takes a mugshot of all the artists that play there.

So yeah. Good times. I was half-deaf at the end of that show. Brought back memories of my own boy band, teenybopper days.

4. (This is now Alz sneak-blogging under Krispy's name) I made this manatee recently:

And then I listened to my inner 5-year-old and attacked him with appropriate embellishments:

5. I recently started (re-)watching Samurai Jack since I acquired the first two seasons on DVD.  I remember being largely unimpressed when I watched the first episode premiere, and the following episodes were meh.  So I didn't bother to watch the show except for the time I randomly tuned in to an episode where Jack was chained to a Scotsman with bad teeth and a machine gun for a peg leg.  That episode was awesome.

This was, of course, over a decade ago (omg ten years), and when I caught a couple of random episodes last year when Cartoon Network started airing the show again, I was like, Hey, that was actually pretty good.  And it does seem that the later seasons are much better than the first since I've now watched the first eight episodes of season one and my opinion stands: the episodes are very artistic, but the stylized action scenes frequently go on for too long and the episodes are often very short on plot and/or story.

But the episodes do pick up.  And the Scotsman returns in later seasons.  That's what I'm really looking forward to.

Shopping, fashion, music, TV, manatees!  My, a randomosity post that doesn't mention books or writing at all.  We will try to remedy that next week.  In the meantime, how's your fashion/TV/music taste lately?


Key Scenes Illustrated 2: The Return of Key Scenes Illustrated

Happy Wednesday, folks!  I've been reading a lot lately, which isn't saying much because I'm always reading a lot lately.  At any rate, books and their problems and poignancies and particulars have been at the forefront of my thoughts this 12:34 AM when Krispy and I failed to discuss what to post today, and since last February I posted illustrations of key scenes from books I'd recently read, I decided it was time for another Key Scenes Illustrated post!

From Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken:  Alz asks a pertinent question of caped wizard Wayland North.

I'm not in the book nor is there a character named Alz.
But if there were and it were me, I'd have a lot of these sorts of questions to ask.

From Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout: I don't remember if she actually flies screaming at the daimon like this, but the gardening trowel thing is absolutely true to the book.
I just noticed that this looks like the Nightshade doodle I did last year.
Apparently I associate badass heroines with flying full-body tackles.

From A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce: Charlotte begs the shady, mysterious, sinister, magical man for help.
Really? Are you SURE you mean ANYTHING? You realize what "anything" entails?

From Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: Warner makes a request of Juliette.
Ah, Warner. Krispy loves him so. Hence why I made a (marginal) effort
to draw him more nicely in his suit. This one's for you, Krispy!

Finally, a request!  I've been on the lookout for a good YA fantasy (not urban or paranormal but straight fantasy) since Brightly Woven turned out to be disappointingly full of inexplicably random action and very little story, and The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a disappointment.  I liked Graceling and Fire and need something to read while I wait for Bitterblue to come out.  Got any good fantasy recs?


Randomosity on Fridays: Writing Edition

Welcome to our Friday Five, peeps.  And it is a Friday of finishings, writings, epiphanies, and books!

1. Krispy had an epiphany on her years-old Asian!nanowrimo project while in the shower.  The best place for epiphanies!  "I wasn't even thinking about Asian!nano!" says Krispy.  "It just came to me!  All sudden like!  Plus I was reading previously in the week a lot of Sarah Rees Brennan stuff about the awesomeness of ladies--are you just typing what I was saying right now?  Okay, I'm going to stop talking now.  STOP IT.  I'm just going to edit what you're typing later."

2. Thursday evening, with chrysanthemum tea and sweet potato fries and strawberry milk tea, Krispy finally told me the details of her Asian!nano, and with a few suggestions and questions and some discussion, she finally worked her way through the plot block and formed a coherent backstory and marched her way to a climactic climax and satisfying resolution.  She is even now typing all her epiphanies down and making notes.

3. Thursday evening, I also finished writing a short story that I've been working on for three years.  Which sounds very long and impressive except that I was working on it in fits and starts with long periods of inactivity in between.  I was, uh, leaving the story fallow for a while.  To, you know, grow and develop.  Benign neglect.  Really.  Next is immediate editing and then another fallow period and then editing again.

4. Krispy and I have been writing our separate critiques for Sophia's blogaversary winner.  Krispy has been finding it hard work while I have found it to be hard but familiar work, thanks to grad workshop.

5. I won my first book giveaway!  WOO! Thank you, Pub(lishing) CrawlA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Partials by Dan Wells.  Can't wait until they get here!

So we've been busy bees here this past week, clacking away on our keyboards and getting down some decent work and wordage.  What have you been working on lately, writingwise?

P.S. NiNoCon is tomorrow! What is NiNoCon? Simply put, it's a one day online writers' conference hosted by the ever fabulous ali cross. Click NiNoCon to find out more!

P.P.S. Krispy did a blog hop on dialogue Wednesday. See Collections if you haven't already.


Twitter Dialogue Bloghop: Collections

Another week, another Wednesday! Yes, I've managed to wrest control of the blog from the manatees for the moment with the help of Sheepy, but we'll see how long that lasts. (Besides, I think Sheepy has domination aspirations of his own...)

Today, I'm participating in an impromptu Blog Hop hosted by Juliana Brandt. Here's the info:

The goal is to write a scene using only dialogue and everything has to be written Twitter style: only 140 characters per dialogue entry. Your post can be as long or short, funny or serious as you’d like. There are no rules other than keeping dialogue to 140 characters. Have your post up by Thursday night and add the link to your post to the linky-link. The winner will be chosen based on creativity and strength of dialogue, and will win a $10 gift card to Amazon.

So here's my entry.

THEME: In which a Rich Man meets a Collector...

CHARACTERS: @LordPriv, @CollectorW

@LordPriv: Ah, another good year. What's that now? Someone at the door?

@CollectorW: Lord Privilus Geld? I'm here to collect.

@LordPriv: A collector this late in the evening?

@CollectorW: I don't make the rules, sir, and I am on a very tight schedule.

@LordPriv: I suppose if you must... Come in then.

@CollectorW: Thank you. I only need to verify a few things in my book.

@LordPriv: Of course. Ask what you must.

@CollectorW: Privilus Geld, lord of Fairfield, 54, rotund.

@LordPriv: Excuse me, are any of those actual questions?

@CollectorW: I see, you've had a bountiful year despite the drought and poor harvest.

@LordPriv: Well, what can I say? I manage to keep a hold of my fortunes.

@CollectorW: How so?

@LordPriv: Smart business!

@CollectorW: Magic?

@LordPriv: Nothing illegal! A few charms bought here and there. For luck, fertility, rain.

@CollectorW: Hmm. It says here, you had a bad hunting accident some years prior?

@LordPriv: Ah yes, close one that. An excellent doctor saved me.

@CollectorW: You were also robbed while travelling? Two other men died.

@LordPriv: Yes, it was a terrible experience.

@CollectorW: You also escaped an inn fire unscathed?

@LordPriv: Yes, yes.

@CollectorW: You are quite lucky, aren't you?

@LordPriv: The truth, young man, is that anything can be bought. Are we almost done here?

@CollectorW: Yes, your time is nearly up.

@LordPriv: Excuse me? And what are you writing in that book anyway?

@CollectorW: The details for your Final Audit.

@LordPriv: Listen, I know I might not have been paying as much as I should...

@CollectorW: That hardly matters at this point.

@LordPriv: Hey, what are you doing with those scissors? There's no need for-

@CollectorW: These are for Collecting. Don't get excited.

@LordPriv: Put those away! I'll pay the damn taxes!

@CollectorW: I'm not here for taxes. You've cheated Death 3 times now. She doesn't take kindly to that.

@LordPriv: Then you're here for...

@CollectorW: Your soul.

@LordPriv: No! Ah, this pain in my chest...call for help!

@CollectorW: Snip snip.

@LordPriv: Help! Someone call for the doctor! The healer!

@CollectorW: Lord Privilus Geld, aged 54. Heart attack. 9:44PM.


Want to try your hand at it? Just get your post up by Thursday...or you can just play along in the comments for fun-sies!

What did you think?