Life of a Blogger

Happy Friday, friends new and old! I feel like you guys already know a lot about me, but there have been more of you since I started consistently participating in Jaime and Erin's What's Up Wednesday updates.

So, when I saw the Life of a Blogger feature post by Kelly on the book blog Effortlessly Reading, I thought it'd be fun to do a post too. I'm taking a page from Kelly's book though and covering topics from the past month or so. (I'm also posting on a Friday since we don't usually blog on Thursdays.)

Life Of A Blogger was conceived by and hosted by Jessi from Novel Heartbeat. It's a feature to let people know more about our lives outside of blogging. The list of topics can be found at Novel Heartbeat.

Introvert or extrovert?
While the lines on this can be blurred, I am definitely more of an introvert, though I hear I present like an extrovert. I'm friendly! I just am not all that comfortable in social situations and find it can be draining. Quiet time is happy time for me. :)

Guilty pleasures
1) Time-wasting online games. Right now? 2048 and its many spin-offs like...the Dr. Who version or the Tom Hiddleston version

2) Crime dramas. I love Criminal Minds and the Law & Order (SVU is the last one standing) shows, and I particularly love Elementary right now. (Then there's the other not-strictly crime dramas like Sherlock and Hannibal, but I'm leaving those off.) But these aside, I will pretty much watch / find entertainment in any crime drama. The only one I couldn't really get into was NCIS (sorry fans).

3) Cartoons. Sort of in that I actually don't watch these all that often, but I do get into them every once in a while. Like that one time in college when I basically binge-watched all of Batman Beyond, Teen Titans, and The Justice League series. I was also quite enjoying the more recent Young Justice, and of course, I found myself loving Star Wars: The Clone Wars because it's actually good storytelling and way more fun than the prequels were. So, it should be no surprise I'm excited about the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels. Other than that, I also ocassionally watch Adventure Time and Teen Titans Go.

Nope. Never been. Not even in my back yard. I have some curiosity but I dislike bugs. Like a lot.

What’s your favorite place?
I can't pick just one. I love lots of places. At home, I like this one corner of the couch because that's my reading spot.

Get ready because I've been a lot of places. My mom used to be a travel agent and loves to travel, so family trips were a staple of my childhood. My family also does the Chinese tour bus kind of vacations, which is essentially a whirlwind of tourist efficiency. You do stuff like go to 7 countries in 10 days. So keep that in mind when you see this list.


  • California (various places as this is my home state)
  • Washington (Seattle & my relative's place)
  • Oregon (Cape Sebastian, Portland)
  • Arizona (Grand Canyon, Sedona)
  • Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Utah, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota (part of a Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Mt. Rushmore bus tour)
  • Chicago, Illinois (for work!)
The Bean at Millennium Park
  • New York City, New York
  • NorthEast: NYC; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington DC (part of a Niagara Falls, US NE bus tour)

  • Canada: Vancouver, Montreal, Lake Louise, Niagara Falls (included in various bus tours)
  • Ensenada- Baja California, Mexico

  • London, UK
  • Paris, France
Harry Potter Studio Tour: Hogwarts model [Photo: Sis]
Carousel by Eiffel Tower [Photo: Sis]
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Germany: kind of all over the place, mostly thanks to the 2 weeks I spent there on my high school Germany trip + 2 family vacations that stopped in a few cities.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria
    East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall
  • Austria: Salzburg, Vienna
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Prague, Czech Republic
Sunset over Prague

  • China: also a number of places because we were on a bus tour - Beijing, the Great Wall, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou...
  • Hong Kong skyline
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Taiwan: all over because of visiting relatives + my summer internship - in particular, Taipei, Tainan, Kenting, & briefly Kaohsiung and Taichung

Chikan Towers, Tainan

Favorite animals
Tigers, wolves, dogs, bunnies, horses, pandas, crows
Magical: dragons, unicorns

Of course, Loki is my #1 favorite animal.

So tell me about you! Happy weekend!


Waiting on Wednesday (5)

It's been a while since we've had one of these, but there are plenty of books I'm waiting on...

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

1. DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

Not gonna include the book blurb in case any of you are new to the series, but I AM SO EXCITED about getting to see how this ones turns out. I'll be honest, I wish I loved the main characters more, but the world building and writing are just incredible - enough to make up for my lack of great fondness for the MCs. Laini Taylor is probably my #1 current writer crush.

2. CLARIEL (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix

The blurb is safe to post here because this book is like a prequel that takes place hundreds of years before the rest of the Old Kingdom/Abhorsen books.

Book blurb from Goodreads: Clariel is the daughter of the one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most importantly, to the King. When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, there are rumors that her mother is next in line for the throne. However, Clariel wants no part of it—a natural hunter, all she ever thinks about is escaping the city’s confining walls and journeying back to the quiet, green world of the Great Forest.

But many forces conspire against Clariel’s dream. A dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she discovers hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?

Guys, you don't know how THRILLED I am that this book is finally coming out! I adore Garth Nix's Old Kingdom/Abhorsen books! They remain some of the best YA fantasy books ever to me, and I fell in love with SABRIEL (Book 1) back when I was actually a young adult myself. I discovered the books in high school and remember coming to the cliffhanger at the end of LIRAEL and having to wait for ABHORSEN to come out like 2 years later!

Anyway, for a long time now, there were rumors that a 4th book about Clariel was in the works, but it didn't happen. It has been years and years! And now, WE WILL FINALLY HAVE A BOOK. SO EXCITE!!!

Of course, there are plenty of other books I am eager to read, but you know listing all of them would be an exercise in futility. So, what are you waiting on?

P.S. Here's a picture from Loki's birthday!



Today is Loki's birthday!  He's two years old!  TWO YEARS.

Two years ago, he was born into this world and made it his place, his space to rule!

And rule he has.  Loki is a king!

He's so handsome.  Look at that noble visage.

He can let loose and relax though, everybody needs a good scratch now and then.  Having a rawhide helps too.

Sometimes Loki isn't impressed.

But he still has the best smile.

Accompanied by huge teeth.

Happy birthday, Loki!  You're fourteen now in dog years and you're also two--so you're a tween in the terrible twos.  May the powers that be have mercy upon us as you certainly won't.


What's Up Wednesday (30)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!

Ah, it's my 30th What's Up Wednesday post!


Still reading ALLEGIANT. I've also received my B&N shipment, which means I now have THE WINNER'S CURSE in my hands. So I'll probably read that next.


Nothing this last week. :(


Well, dear Twitter friend Kaye (@gildedspine) was rather worked up these last two days because of the announcement of a new ABCFamily show called Alice in Arabia. The synopsis has many problematic aspects. While the apparent perpetuation of stereotypes isn't very inspiring, I was so impressed by Kaye's articulate and intelligent arguments and concerns. It was also enlightening and inspiring to see all the people who came to discuss their concerns about the show.

Definitely check out the #AliceinArabia hashtag on Twitter and what Kaye said on her Twitter stream. Here's a good article for an overview: ABC Family pilot 'Alice in Arabia' faces online backlash


I only bought one item of clothing while I was overseas in London. It was a dress with neon poppies on it, and I was finally able to wear it this weekend. It was flattering too because 2 sales guys at JCrew and a sales lady at Kate Spade complimented me on it. Yay!

Thanks to some cool social media perks, it looks like I will be seeing the DIVERGENT movie tonight! The Sister saw it because she went to the premiere with some friends. Perk was that she saw the gorgeous Matt Lanter too and was in a selfie with him. She was also in an epic selfie with Veronica Roth herself!

HOW IS THIS GUY SO BEAUTIFUL???   [Photo courtesy the Sis / her friend]
Sister's epic group selfie with the gorgeous Veronica Roth!

Sis she got my book jacket signed too!

Lastly, our puppy Loki's birthday is this Friday! He will be turning 2! I can't believe so much time has passed. Look at him from a year ago (left) and now (right)!

What's up with you? Will you be seeing Divergent?


Coming Soon to a Blog Near You...

Once upon a time, Alz embarked on a journey of masochistic curiosity.

She knew what she was getting into.  Even so, in the end, it was too badly written for her, and she stopped reading the last book of this renowned trilogy.

Until now.

When, on a whim, she resumed reading exactly where she left off.  She didn't remember 75% of what had happened previously, but that didn't matter.  What mattered was that she is now determined to eventually someday probably definitely finish what she started.

That's right.  It's time for me to FINALLY finish the last damn book of this amazingly stupid trilogy.  Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James will have a review, and by review, I mean haphazard summaries and copious doodles.  I make no promises concerning timeliness but it will happen.  It will.

As a token of catharsis (because omg holy crap the lulz I can't stand it), I have a few preview doodles for you, as follows:

BEHOLD!  Mr. & Mrs. Grey on honeymoon (yeah, I totally forgot they got married already) and Ana decides she's going to jet ski by herself!

The sexytimes continues and expands its surprisingly bland repertoire into territory you would have expected to have been covered a loooong time ago considering this is a decent chunk into book three!

That's supposed to be a super fancy old sportscar but I got lazy when drawing.
Also, nope, the Exotic Fun Times involve these things separately, not all at once.
That would have been too risqué.
Because remember, the books are surprisingly vanilla.
And, finally, a portrait of Christian Grey:

Yessiree, I am bound and determined to slog my way through.  It's been a couple of years, admittedly, and I totally forgot that the last book was trying its darnedest to have a plot (sabotage! stalkers! arson!) as well as forgetting other important things like Ana and Christian getting married or the fact that Christian was adopted, but whatever!  The series is so terrible that none of that matters.

This weekend though I'll probably be trying to finish Warrior by Ellen Oh rather than the continuing saga of Let's Do It Everywhere All the Time, but someday eventually, I'll get through it.  And then I will spend the next 24 hours drawing stick figures on my computer in order to expunge the books from my mind.

Have a great weekend!  Read a good book!  A GOOD BOOK, DAMMIT!

P.S. Happy Pi Day, everyone!  Eat some math pie!


What's Up Wednesday (29)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


I finished Gillian Flynn's DARK PLACES over the weekend. Twisty until the end. I like her books in reverse order of publication: Sharp Objects least, then Dark Places, then Gone Girl the most.

It's interesting to see how her work has evolved over the course of these 3 books, how she experimented and improved on what worked from one book to the next.

Since the DIVERGENT movie is coming out next week and since I started ALLEGIANT ages ago before I sank into my reading slump, I decided it was high time I returned to ALLEGIANT and finish that sucker before I inadvertently get spoiled! So that's what I'm currently reading.


A little bit on the 3 poems, but not too much this week.

By the by, the Twitter Fiction Festival starts today on Twitter. I found out that the people behind The Lizzie Bennett Diaries are doing something for it. They're reviving some of the character accounts to do a sort of catch-up with the LBD characters a year later.


My good friend Gennia just ran her first marathon: the LA Marathon! That's pretty freaking inspiring. You're crazy, girl, but also badass! You'd probably survive the Hunger Games! :)


Not that I need any other shows to watch given all the shows I watch, but the Sister and I finally started watching ORPHAN BLACK, and it is amazeballs. Like Tatiana Maslany is all kinds of good in this show and the plot is so intriguing. We're only 2 episodes in but completely hooked.

The other thing that I've been semi-refraining from binge-watching is the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It went up on Netflix over the weekend, and it's the last 13 episodes of what was supposed to be a full season 6 before the show was cancelled / the team was moved to working on the new Star Wars: Rebels show. Guys, I'm going to miss Clone Wars SO MUCH because it is so good.

Like it's Star Wars at its best; there's fun and adventure but also political intrigue and character arcs. It answers a lot of questions and ties up loose ends for the time period leading up to Episode 3. Also, I actually like Anakin in this series and can't help feeling like this is how I'm supposed to feel about him in the movies (instead of wanting to slap some sense into him almost every time he was on screen). ANYWAY, I am excited for the new show but will miss all the familiar characters of the Clone Wars (okay, yes, I mostly mean Obi-Wan).

Aaaand lastly, I caved a little bit and bought another Blackmilk item. Cheshire Cat Leggings!

Cheshire Cat Leggings via Blackmilk

Happy Wednesday! What's up with you?


Cover Reveal: MORTAL GODS by Kendare Blake

Today, it is my pleasure to be part of Kendare Blake's on-going cover reveal for Book 2 of her latest GODDESS WAR series: MORTAL GODS.

Most of you might be more familiar with Blake's YA horror duology ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and GIRL OF NIGHTMARES. Both Alz and I were fans of these books because of their interesting plots, endearing characters (we adore the main character Cas and featured ghost Anna), great voice, and of course, the blood and scares.

So I was understandably excited to hear that Blake's post-Anna project would be a modern day riff on Greek gods based on a very intriguing short story she'd written previously about the slow death of said gods. Those of you who have been poking around this blog for a while will know that I am a HUGE Greek mythology fan, but I've found most YA adaptations I've heard of uninteresting in premise or not very...on point (i.e. everything seems to be a retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth, which isn't exactly happy or what I would call romantic?).

But like I said, I enjoyed Blake's original short and was excited to see how she would expand that premise into novel-length works. Plus, her version of the gods (while younger-appearing than I would have thought) doesn't gloss over the often terrible things the gods have done in myth or that they are a contradictory bunch. Blake's horror chops are put to good use here too, unsurprisingly.

Book 1 is ANTIGODDESS. The original hardcover featured a more symbolic treatment, but the paperback was redesigned so that it would match the new design of MORTAL GODS (Book 2).

And now, here is the cover of MORTAL GODS, Book 2 of The Goddess War! SHINY!

Here are Kendare's thoughts on the redesign and her new cover.

When I heard the cover was being redesigned, I got immediately more attached to the existing cover. Because of course, you fear what might become of it. I loved the dark trees and the creepy owls and the overall black and blue feel of the first cover. But I tend to roll with things, and was excited to see what the talented folks at Tor would come up with next. And it's cool. The Mortal Gods cover I like especially because of the colors. I love those golds and chocolate tones. And the lightning! And Olympus! And Cassandra loud and proud. Careful readers might notice that Cassandra is not blond in the book, but the blond hair looks great with the rest of the cover, so let's just pretend that Olympus lighting is weird and makes her blond.

Thanks for letting us be part of your cover reveal, Kendare! SO excited to read the next chapter in Cassandra's (and everyone else's) story!

What do you think of the cover? Have any of you read ANTIGODDESS?

P.S. If you haven't read any of Kendare Blake's books, I think you should remedy that. :) Happy weekend!


What's Up Wednesday (28)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


I finished WE WERE LIARS. It's true the less I tell you about the book, the better, but I hope you put it on your TBRs because it was quite a read. Beautiful prose and voice and both sweet and heartbreaking.

I'm currently reading Gillian Flynn's DARK PLACES. As with all Flynn novels, the plot is just gripping. I cannot wait to find out the truth.


Well, I can stop being quite so secretive about my New Shiny thing because I've had some news. Basically, my #twtpoem accomplices (Lydia Kang and April Tucholke) and I decided to submit an idea for the Twitter Fiction Festival, which is an online festival celebrating the new forms of fiction that Twitter has spawned. Back in February, you could submit an idea for Twitter Fiction to the panel to be part of the official showcase. Given our #twtpoem love, we naturally had to give it a go.

We made it past the first round, but alas, we did not make the final cut! The official showcase is being announced today, and the festival is happening March 12-16. But anyone can participate by using the hashtag #twitterfiction.

So that's what I've been sort of working on - discussing the idea, structure, and plot, writing a few sample tweet poems. Our story was going to be a murder mystery told from the POVs of the murderer, their lover, and the house in Twitter poems.

Unfortunately, Lydia and April are unable to work on the project just for fun (since you know, they both have book sequels to work on), but I looooved the plot Lydia spun. SO I will endeavor to work on this (with my cohorts' blessings) on my own. Though I don't know if I will stick to the Twitter format, but I do want the 3 POVs and the poetry.


Source: myglitterandgoldthings tumblr
Lupita Nyong'o! She's talented, graceful, gracious, and beautiful. She has killed it with her fashion this Awards Season, and her Oscar acceptance speech was SO moving. She had another acceptance speech pre-Oscars where she addressed standards of beauty and the importance of diversity in media that I also found to be so, so inspiring.

You can read the transcript for her ESSENCE'S Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon speech here: Lupita Nyong'o Delivers Moving 'Black Women in Hollywood' Acceptance Speech


Nothing much. It actually RAINED (like rain-rain!) this weekend, so I mostly just chillaxed. My two favorite TV shows from last year came back for their second seasons: NBC's HANNIBAL and A&E's BATES MOTEL.

Oh and the sister spotted THEO JAMES on Saturday in one of the shopping areas we frequent. Unfortunately, I wasn't there at the time, but I received frantic texts in ALL CAPS telling me of what happened. She walked right past him!

Random things: amusing videos!

First, after the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscars show featured star-studded trailers for movies based on viral YouTube videos (think double rainbow guy and Keyboard Cat). The best by far was the VERY DRAMATIC one about brothers, starring actual brothers Chris and Liam Hemsworth.


Second, many of us were anticipating Idina Menzel's live performance of the super inspirational Frozen song, LET IT GO. The performance itself was not as awesome as we wanted - what with the flub of Idina Menzel's name and then the strangely fast tempo of the song. Luckily for us, Idina performed the song later with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots and it was perfection. :)

And finally, here's a Loki for your week. (He has big teeth.)

Happy Wednesday! What's up with you?

P.S. Come back on Friday for a Cover Reveal of Kendare Blake's newest GODDESS WARS book!