Live Long and Prosper: An Ode to Leonard Nimoy & Spock

My husband and I were talking about Lenoard Nimoy’s death, and he mentioned how Spock is probably the most iconic character of the original series, even more so than Kirk, and really even of all of Star Trek. I completely agreed with him. I told him that I thought his character is probably the main reason why the show was successful to begin with.

spock-artArt by Amanda Tolleson

There’s just something about Spock. Ask any fan of the original series who their favorite character is, and I feel most of them will say it’s Spock. He’s just so different, but in the best way. He’s not like a normal human… he’s unemotional, calculating, logical… usually. Occasionally he surprises too though.

Captain, you almost make me believe in luck.

But he’s always intelligent, and he becomes a fiercely loyal companion.

I have been, and always shall be, your friend.

wok-spock-deathCelebrity deaths, as a general rule, do not really shake me. Yes, it’s always sad when someone dies, and sometimes it’s downright tragic. I was shocked and saddened to hear about Robin Williams, just like anyone else, but it didn’t devastate me the way I think it did for some people. I think he was a talented actor but none of his roles have made a big impact on my life or anything. With Leonard Nimoy, it has definitely been a different experience.

I first watched Star Trek The Original Series when my husband and I were dating, which means it was sometime 6-10 years ago. Spock was easily my favorite.

It wasn’t until we had been married for a little while that we watched the rest of Trek, and when I became a true fan. That’s when we started going to conventions together, when I started listening to podcasts, started pinning funny geeky things on Pinterest.

80150068338489935_QH9kf43o_cBecoming a Trek fan did not change my life in some dramatic way, like I decided to study science or any other number of things I have heard Star Trek has done for others, but it did still change it. It made me fall in love with science fiction, a genre that I generally liked when I was exposed to it in the past but never fully delved into it. It changed the way I write, the way I think, and the way I look at things. And I love it for that.

And the thing is, I do feel like it all goes back to Spock.

Spock: I felt for him, too.

Kirk: I believe there’s some hope for you after all, Mr. Spock.

tos_thenakedtimeI wanted to share a few of my favorite Spock moments and episodes, as a tribute to the man who made Spock into the character we love.

– Spock breaks down in The Naked Time. Being completely vulnerable to human emotion for probably the first time in the show, Spock weeps, feeling ashamed. It’s so… poignant… to see him in such a state. spock-thenakedtime– Spock with Kirk in The City on the Edge of Forever. This episode focuses more on Kirk, but I love the humor (“obviously my friend here is Chinese”) and I love the serious moments too (“Edith Keeler must die”).

– Any time Spock has a connection with a woman that we normally don’t see, such as in “This Side of Paradise,” “The Enterprise Incident,” and “All Our Yesterdays.”

I hope that you and I exchanged something more permanent.

ST-theenterpriseincident– Any time Spock has a connection with people that is surprising, like his connection with the space hippies Servin’s followers in “The Way to Eden.”

They regard themselves as aliens in their own worlds–a condition with which I am somewhat familiar.

ST-thewaytoeden– Spock’s secret affinity for Tribbles and cats. 🙂

spock_cat– Any time Spock acted as a friend, like in “Amok Time.”

– Mirror Spock with goatee in “Mirror, Mirror”

mirror-mirrorAnd I know there are more, but those were the ones that immediately came to mind. Needless to say, he is memorable, and I’m so glad we have the shows and movies with him (even the ones I don’t love) to remember Leonard Nimoy by.

As Leonard Nimoy once famously said, he was not Spock. He was an actor with 134 acting credits on IMDB, many of which are not Star Trek. I also enjoyed watching him on Fringe as William Bell. He was also a friend, a husband, a father, a grandfather.

And, as Nimoy also said, he was Spock. That defined a lot of his life. Some people don’t handle typecasts well, but he learned to own it. There were many fabulous things about being Spock, really, experiences he would not have had otherwise. I’m so glad he embraced it. I wish I could have seen him or met him at a convention. And it’s that thought, that I never got to, but that his character and show really did mean something to me, that makes me more emotional about his death than many others. Maybe it isn’t logical, but I think that’s OK sometimes.

He will be missed. He lived long and he prospered.

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.


Book Tag: ‘BURN, REWRITE, OR REREAD?’ Challenge

So a while back I was tagged by Lina, and now I’ve been tagged by Meg, so it seems it’s time for me to get a move on with this tag that honestly terrifies me a little… I mean, I have to select books I might hypothetically be willing to burn? It just seems so wrong! But it’s also all in good fun. I used a random number generator to help me select my read books from Goodreads by row and column. Here we go…

Round One: The Naturals, These Broken Stars, Insurgent

burnrewritereread1BURN: These Broken Stars

Let me be clear: I do not hate this book. I rated it 3.5 stars. It’s not even my least favorite out of this group. But… I just don’t have to have it. I’m terribly sorry; I do love that cover.

REWRITE: Insurgent

This one is my least favorite of this round, yet it was easier for me to think of how to rewrite this one than These Broken Stars, plus it is kind of in the middle of a trilogy. What happens in the end of the book that sets up Allegiant is great. Almost everything else… ehhhh. And ugh, this book crushes me with Caleb being bad. And I never even get to find out why! And Tris and Four are in the worst relationship ever… just break up already… so yeah, this one could benefit from some rewrites for sure to help make the trilogy stronger.

REREAD: The Naturals

The Naturals could use a little bit of rewriting too, but oh well. I do like it the most out of all these and it is a fun/plot-twisty story that I probably would like to reread again one day. Just that love triangle, UGH.

Round Two: What’s Left of Me, Not A Drop to Drink, Across a Star-Swept Sea

burnrewritereread2This is a crazy easy round…

BURN: Not A Drop to Drink

I could not connect with this book at all. Don’t need it.

REWRITE: What’s Left of Me

This one was enjoyable but not perfect. Though I think the third book would benefit most from a rewrite, this one could benefit from it as well, especially more detailed worldbuilding.

REREAD: Across a Star-Swept Sea

This one’s a 5-star book for me; I adore it! Definitely a reread!

Round Three: Seraphina, The Shack, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

burnrewritereread3Another easy round! Yay!

BURN: The Shack

This book fell pretty flat for me. I understood its intent, but there was so much talktalktalk and it wasn’t all interesting.

REWRITE: Seraphina

OK, so I really love a lot about Seraphina. In fact, I’m even rereading it right now! But the beginning is a bit slow and feels a little… wandering… like what’s the purpose/plot of the story? I don’t think it’s going to bother me much during the reread, but it’ll be nice for new readers to be engaged a little more quickly because SERAPHINA AND KIGGS. I ship them for life. And Orma is fabulous.

REREAD: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

My favorite of the Harry Potter books (so far, I’ve still got two to go), a solid 5 stars from me, and I just think it’s pretty close to perfect.

Well, round one was a little rough but thankfully those next two were easier! I’m tagging:

– Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

– Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

– Shannelle @ The Art of Escapism

– And anyone else who’s interested!

Do you agree or disagree with my choices?

Book Review: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar is kind of a hard book, to both read and review. Going in, I had heard a lot of praise for it. I had gathered that it was about a girl struggling from depression. And when I started reading it, I found the narrator witty. She was witty. But then I kept reading and was floored by how unprepared I was for the rest of it.

gr-the-bell-jar2If you think this book is simply about a girl who becomes depressed, then you’re going to be in for a major surprise like I was. This book is a raw account of a girl just completely spiraling out of control, and I dare not say depression is the issue, or at least not the only issue. This girl is suffering from an extreme nervous breakdown and even exhibits some symptoms of schizophrenia, and her treatment is not simply a few sessions with a counselor and a few pills, but inhabiting mental institutions (in the 1950’s I might add, when they didn’t have a clue about mental illness) where they would sometimes use electroshock therapy.

While I was reading, I remember thinking, the author has to have had some of these experiences. And sure enough, I ended up reading that this fictional book is practically an autobiographical account with a few changed details. It shows. I don’t know if you can fake being in the mind of someone who’s up is down, and down is sideways, and sideways in up, and is too overwhelmed with life and just wants to end it. Maybe someone could to an extent, but it just felt too real for it to be fiction, so I felt either this woman was a genius writer or she had lived it.

I’m glad I read this book. I felt it was an important read for me. But I am very glad I did not try to read this book 10 or so years ago. Being in my 20’s was a good time to read this, and it’s the time I would recommend others to read this. There is a lot in the story that many of us can relate to, about the uncertainty of the future when we thought we had it all figured out, and then you see how not everyone handles it the same way. I don’t mean that to say that our protagonist Esther, or the author, Sylvia, are weak, and those who don’t have these mental breakdowns are strong, because that’s not it. There are biological reasons why some people face mental illnesses and others don’t, and it’s no one’s fault. But we all process information differently, live out our lives differently, and this is a good reminder of that. We all feel a little lost at times, even if we don’t all experience it in the same ways.

I didn’t love how open the end of the book was, but I’m sure other people would like it fine. I can understand feelings on it either  way, but it did not really resonate with me. I wanted to know Esther would be OK, but since Sylvia Plath wasn’t so sure if she would be OK I can see why she would end it that way. There were parts of this book I didn’t care for, and I don’t just mean uncomfortable moments, but I do think it was a story worth telling.

4stars2While reading this book I also could not help but compare it to a favorite book of mine, Finding Alice, about a girl struggling with schizophrenia. It is Christian fiction, but I don’t think it’s too overbearing in its message. In fact, Alice is from a home where religion sort of sucked the life out of her, and it’s only through her illness and the people she meets that she learns that it doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, that way. I’d definitely recommend it if it sounds interesting to you. I do find it’s ending a lot more satisfying, though I understand it ends a little rosier than The Bell Jar, which some people may dispute isn’t as realistic. It just resonates with me personally a little more.

If you’ve read The Bell Jar, what are your thoughts? 

My Top 10 (Er, Or So) Movie/TV Heroines (& Maybe Books Too…)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books, but I did this topic just barely over a year ago for a TTT Rewind, so I thought I would focus on my favorite heroines that I know exclusively from movies and TV. And I got carried away. Ahem.

This week’s list is in no particular order…

1. Peggy Carter from Captain America/Agent Carter

peggy-carterWhat an amazing coincidence that today is the day of the Agent Carter TV season finale! If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I love me some Peggy Carter. I think she is awesome in basically every way.

2. Jemma Simmons from Agents of SHIELD

Simmons_Season2You know who is also a big fangirl of Peggy Carter? Jemma Simmons from Agents of SHIELD! Jemma might not have the ability to kick butt the way Peggy does, but she’s incredibly gifted in science and uses her abilities to fight for what’s right.

3. Lady Sif from Thor

lady-sifAnd one more from the Marvel universe! Lady Sif is basically like Peggy Carter from another realm. She is also way more awesome than Jane Foster, who I don’t dislike, but she’s not Sif.

4. Kate Beckett from Castle

Kate-beckett2I’ve been watching Castle since day one, and I’ve always liked Beckett, but I think I’ve come to really like her more and more these past two or three seasons. I’ve definitely enjoyed watching her character grow.

5. Olivia Dunham from Fringe

Anna-TorvSpeaking of character development, there’s also quite a bit for Olivia Dunham in Fringe! Some of you were here for my Fringe journey back in 2013, and you saw just how crazy hooked I got on the show. That passion has definitely died down now, but I still have a lot of love for Olivia.

6. Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

daxNow that Charlene has finished DS9 (sorry for anyone else who hasn’t but might one day) I can safely say Jadzia AND Ezri Dax! This might be a cheat, because they are two different people, but oh well, two bad. They are different but I love them both. Jadzia is so spunky and smart, and Ezri I can just completely relate to.

7. Princess Leia from Star Wars

leiaI mean, she’s a princess who can shoot and fight for the cause. She’s pretty awesome.

8. Kaylee from Firefly

kayleeI love Kaylee. She’s sweet and fun and loyal and good at what she does.

9. and 10. Susan Ivanova and Delenn from Babylon 5

babylon5ladiesI thought for a while whether or not to include these two before I finally decided to. I feel quite separated from the show these days, even though I only saw it 2-3 years ago, I think because it doesn’t have the community like Star Trek; and also unlike Star Trek and Fringe, I didn’t find any Babylon 5 podcasts to enrich my experience. But when I think back to the show, and these two women, I’m just blown away all over again. Both of these women exhibit strength in different ways and they go through such interesting arcs. I’ll say it again: if you are a fan of science fiction, you should really watch this show (just look past the production value, they were on a budget).

BONUS Runner-Ups: Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Molly Mahoney from Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.


BONUS #2: My Top 6 Fave Heroines from Books That I’ve Read Since Last Year!

(1) Hermione from Harry Potter, (2) Vin from Mistborn, (3) Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, (4) Seraphina from Seraphina,  (5)Alina from The Grisha Trilogy, and (6) Deryn from The Leviathan Trilogy


Who are your favorite heroines from books/TV/movies? 

The Confirmation I Needed: TN Writer’s Workshop

I attended an event a couple of weekends ago that was a writer’s workshop, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. He shared a lot of great information that I know is going to help me when I get ready to query, and I am very glad I went and heard what he had to say.

But there was one part of the workshop that did not focus on advice that made the whole thing really worth it for me.

After lunch, they had four literary agents sitting at a table in the front of the room. Chuck would read the first page of our manuscript that we brought with us. As he read it out loud, the four agents had their own copies and they were reading it to themselves. When the agent reached the point they would stop reading if this came across their queries, they would raise their hand. When two of them had their hands raised, or once the page was completely read and no one or only one of them had raised their hand, the reading stopped, and they discussed what did and did not work for them. It was selected randomly and there wasn’t time for all of them, so you sat there feeling queasy and wondering if your page was going to get picked and what they would say about if it did. If you think it sounds like torture, you’re pretty correct.

I decided to go ahead and turn in a page. For the past two years I have attended an SCBWI conference, and they do something a little similar, except it’s one agent up there and they go ahead and read the whole page and then say what they think. My first year, the guy was pretty 50/50 about what he liked and didn’t like. I had turned in a page for a different story that year and he didn’t really love mine. The next year I did not turn in a page and THANK GOODNESS because that particular agent did not like ANYTHING, and I am not exaggerating. It seemed she wanted something very literary, but this was a bunch of YA submissions and most YA is just not literary. But I had hoped that this time, with four agents, I could get some constructive criticism if my page was chosen.

What I got was better than that.

In case your imagination is as vivid as mine, I’ll go ahead and explain that I did not get one of them to ask me to submit to them (that did happen with one story and one agent though, and when that happened I thought, dangit, that was what I was hoping would happen to me!).

But let me set the scene: I had a crappy lunch out due to traffic and other stupid stuff, and I had just scarfed down an awesome warm chocolate chip cookie I bought at the hotel to make myself feel better, and I was sitting there nervous and just praying to God that someone liked my page. Several pages had been read, and there were mixed responses (though none of them had been real mean), and most of the complaints I was hearing, I felt, did not apply to my page. I don’t feel connected with the character, too much description up front, etc. So I was feeling pretty decent about my page… unless they decided the dialogue was crappy or something. But I have revised this beginning a lot thanks to the people I met at the last conference I went to.

Chuck starts a new page: “Genre: young adult.” I took a deep breath, because that meant it could be mine. He started reading. It was mine! I was watching the four agents carefully, and I literally felt my heart thumping in my chest, racking against my ribs. I waited, watching for hands, but none were going up. Halfway through, almost to the end, then it was finished… no hands! Victory! Then the comments. They were all pretty positive! One had a minor issue that one of the others disagreed with, so that hardly counted in my mind. Overall, they said they loved the voice of the character. And then later, someone else’s page even got compared against mine, one of the agents saying that mine had provided the sci-fi element of the story much more organically. I just kept thinking, Holy crap, four literary agents just read my page and they liked it. 

I can actually do this. 

Because I have wondered if I could. There are so many published authors my age or YOUNGER, and even though I know that there is no age limit to writing I still wonder if I could still make it, if I haven’t missed out, or if I’m just plain not good enough. There are thousands of queries being sent to agents every day and will mine really stand out?

Not everyone in that room had their entire page read without a hand going up. That was an accomplishment. And to have virtually no complaints about it just added to it.

But that was only one page, probably the page that has had the most work done to it. So I need to keep cracking at the rest of the story until it is all just as strong as that page. And then write a query that can capture someone’s attention, which, thanks to this workshop, the convention I attended last year, and Susan Dennard’s “how to write a query” PDF that I got a few months ago, I feel like I can do that.

But even if I get an agent, that doesn’t even recommend we can get the book sold.

But this is a step in the right direction. I can do this. It might take 6 months or 6 years but I can do it. That little bit of confirmation meant the world to me, and I will hang on to it.

So here’s to moving forward, as Chuck said a writer should always do.

When was a time you were encourage to continue a pursuit that was important to you?

Double Movie Review: The Giver & The Maze Runner

The Giver

the-giver-movieMaybe I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was, especially since I had heard mostly positive things, but I was surprised by how much the movie adaptation of The Giver worked for me. I knew going in that there were quite a few changes, that was obvious just from the previews, but I felt all the changes worked and made sense. I liked how Jonas seemed more connected to his friends. I liked the added dramatic tension. I liked that the ending provided a little more closure.

At the end, I was kind of taken aback because for a moment I felt I might have actually liked the movie better than the book. Now, before you stone me, let me explain how I actually sorted it out in my head…

The book made a bigger impact on me when I read it than this movie did when I watched it, but in hindsight the book’s impact on me has lessened over time. It is a very good book but it has not stood the test of time for me as an absolute favorite. The movie provided a sort of instant gratification to experience what I liked about the book, but included the added bonus of seeing the memories, which is something I liked a lot because I’m pretty visual, and then was changed up in the right ways to keep it fresh and new to me. In reality, as a movie The Giver is not as good as The Giver is as a book, but I could see myself rewatching this movie more than rereading the book.

In terms of casting, I felt most of it was spot-on. Fiona felt off a couple of times (and then when I found out how much younger the actress who played her was than the guy playing Jonas that felt a little… ewww…), but I did usually like her. And I liked everyone else; even Taylor Swift was decent. There were a couple of small things that bothered me, but I felt overall it was a very good adaptation, even with its changes, and Lois Lowry agrees and that’s all that really matters.

4stars2The Maze Runner

maze-runner-movieI read The Maze Runner trilogy (and prequel) before I started blogging, and I never got around to reviewing it the way I meant to, but I know I’ve mentioned fleeting thoughts on the blog before, and I’ve definitely left comments on other people’s blogs along the lines of: “The ending is so disappointing and not worth it.” I liked the first book the best out of the series though, and thought I might want to see the movie when I saw a lot of positive comments about it, some people even saying it was better than the book.

Is this a better movie than it was a book? I would say no. Is this a good enough adaptation where I feel you aren’t missing a lot if you didn’t read the book? To that I would say yes. There are some missing details of course, but seriously, not a ton happened in the book, so it was well-suited to be adapted to a movie. I especially appreciated that Theresa woke up earlier in the movie and got more screen time (even if she wasn’t quite as interesting in the movie as she was in the book).

I honestly don’t know what I was expecting though. I think I hoped to get some sort of satisfaction at the end of the movie that I couldn’t get from the entire freaking book series, and I don’t know why. No, the ending isn’t satisfying because it ends like the book did and leaves you all set up for the second book, where you’ll only get more questions than answers, and then will then leave you hanging for book three where again, the answers are not satisfying and the ending is just completely hollow.

(Not that I’m bitter or anything.)

I can’t find anything in this movie to complain about, except it being based off the book. I thought the Glade looked perfect, the Grievers were well-done, and the actors were pretty spot-on. But I don’t think I’ll be able to continue watching the movies because I’ll just frustrated all over again.

3stars2What are you thoughts on the movie adaptations of The Giver and The Maze Runner?

My TWO Year Blogversary!

Wow, this really sneaked up on me! I can hardly believe that I have blogging here at Ode to Jo & Katniss for two years!

jlaw-excitedThis time last year I thought I might not still be here in this capacity in a year, possibly switching over to an author-focused site, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’m not going to make the prediction of when it will anymore. In fact, even if/when the day of that website comes, I may still keep this one going for at least a little while. I just love the interactions I have on here with all of you; I especially love coming up with posts for my feature Bookish Wedding Inspiration, interacting through discussions, and sharing my favorite episodes of Star Trek. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who has ever left a comment or read a post on here, and even more thanks to my most frequent readers/commenters. You know who you are, and so do I, and I really, truly appreciate that you spend your free time on my blog. THANK YOU!

kate-happyI’ve discovered so many awesome books and authors and learned so much from all of you that I never would have otherwise!

Last year for my blogversary I took a look back over the year and shared my favorite posts from each month, so I thought I would do so again, in case you missed any of them or just want a walk down memory lane…

February 2014: What the New Adult Genre Could Learn From Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

March 2014: Buying Into Romances

April 2014: TV Series Finales

May 2014: aMAYzing

June 2014: Bookish Wedding Inspiration: Tiger Lily 

(Nothing stood out for me from July, so I cheated on August…)

August 2014: Always Learning and Bookish Wedding Inspiration: The Grisha Trilogy

September 2014: About A Writing Conference and Some Soul Searching (and I’m totally cheating again to include Bookish Wedding Inspiration: The Hunger Games)

October 2014: Compare & Contrast: The Winner’s Curse & Of Metal and Wishes

November 2014: Leigh Bardugo Event! 

December 2014: Discussion: Favorite Authors

January 2015: Bookish Wedding Inspiration: The Leviathan Trilogy

So once again…


for a fabulous two years, and…


The Top 10 Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

Top Ten Tuesday topic is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is The Top 10 Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books. I decided to do two lists of 5, one for the dislikes and one for the likes, and while it might have been hard to come up for 10 for one of the other, coming up with 5 for both was pretty easy! Here they are…

Top 5 Dislikes 

1. Instalove


Preach it, Kristoff.

I think most of this are tired of this. I mean seriously, it doesn’t make sense and it’s not interesting. Insta-attraction is one thing, but instalove, no way.

2. Hot & Heavy

I do not want to read about teenagers (anyone really, but especially teens) who think they need to get it on to show their love. No, no you don’t.

3. The Bad Boy/Girl


Case in point: Wickham. Terrible human being.

I have NEVER understand why so many girls find bad boys appealing. They’re BAD. They won’t treat you well. They don’t care about safety. BAD BAD BAD. And don’t forget, it can go the other way around; there are plenty of nasty girls out there too.

4. Lying/Cheating/Playing Games/Manipulating

I think this goes with the previous one but seriously, I will never root for a relationship that is steeped in deception rather than trust. There’s nothing romantic about playing games and lying to each other.

5. Badly Done Love Triangles

matched trilogyBOOOOOOOOOOOO.

That’s all I’ve got to say.

Top 5 Likes

1. The Slow Burn

Keep it low and slow, make me want it, need it, feel it!

2. The Good Guy/Girl



I like sweetness. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know this. Be a good person and I will be so happy when you find love!

3. Friends First

emma-approved-emma-knightleyYou know I love Emma and Knightley so. But seriously, I think friendship is an awesome foundation to a romantic relationship because even when you’re upset with that person or don’t feel all the sparks, you’re still friends, and that in itself means something.

4. Quips/Banter

“Do you always read at balls?” “Whenever I can get away with it.” Vin and Elend, ladies and gentlemen. That is Brandon Sanderson doing flirty quips right. We need more of this in books!

5. They Still Have Friends! 

emma-approved-friendsSeriously, don’t shut yourself out from other people. You still need other friends.

What do you like/dislike in romances in books?

Bookworm Problems: Being Frugal Vs. New Releases

I have always been a very frugal person, as well as a planner. I remember very distinctly as a young child hoarding saving up my allowance money for some great something I would have to have in the future. One time it was Barbie things, another time it was a plane ticket to see old friends, and over years and years, at the age of 22, I had enough to help put a decent downpayment on a house with my husband right before we married. Sometimes my savings are merely for the future, sometimes they are for something specific, but I very rarely make impulse buys, even for little things; it’s just not in my nature.

I say all this so you can understand just how difficult it can be to be a frugal bookworm in a world with so many shiny new books constantly being released. Again, being as careful as I am, I don’t generally buy new books anyways, unless it’s an author I know and love, and generally it’ll also be a sequel to a series I’ve started. But even then, hardcovers can be expensive. And if the book releases at a time when nothing else is really catching my eye, what’s a frugal bookworm to do? Go to Barnes and Noble and just fork over $17? Stalk B& and Amazon and wherever else for a good deal, meanwhile wondering what else I can justify buying to get free shipping (because part of my careful planning/frugal nature is refusing to pay for memberships or for shipping)? Pray for coupons and ebook deals and the like? And because of this whole free shipping/what else should I buy debacle, I can’t simply pre-order. It’s not that simple.

At Christmas, I knew there were books coming up in January, March, and April that I really wanted. I asked for a Barnes and Noble gift card, and thankfully got one, which was helpful. Then I got some gift cards I wasn’t expecting for Amazon, also helpful. I literally wrote out a “game plan” for when I would buy these various books with their various release dates and from where and with what. Since the start of the new year I have gotten Seraphina in paperback (it was important for me to wait until it was available in PB), Mistborn books 2 & 3, and Fairest with little cost thanks to the gift cards, but I’m still trying to figure out where/when/how to acquire Firefight, which I was going to get last month but then I wondered if I wanted it SO badly to get it in hardback, especially when I only own Steelheart as an ebook, and then I realized I will probably feel the same about The Winner’s Crime, but I am going to NEED to get Shadow Scale when it releases…

lincoln-ohboyBasically, I’ve just got this swirling mess of thoughts in my head that I am trying to organize into ways to get ALL THE BOOKS for as cheaply as possible.

ryker-cantAny other frugal bookworms out there? How do you find is the best way to stretch a dollar for books or get new books at good prices? 

The Top 10 Books Contemporary YA Books I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday topic is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t/Want To Read From X Genre. I don’t read a lot of Contemporary YA, but occasionally there’s one I hear about that I think I might enjoy… but it can take me a while to actually get around to them. Here’s 10 that I’m thinking I’ll check out one day, in no particular order…

1. Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter

gr-gallagher1I’ve been thinking of reading these for a while, but it’s always daunting to start series! But one day, I will, because they just sound fun!

2. Magnolia by Kristi Cook

gr-magnoliaSet in the South, Star Trek references, and the whole we-hate-each-other-oh-wait-never-mind trope? Yep, definitely interested.

3. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

gr-faking-normalI feel like a broken record because I keep mentioning that Courtney is a local author who I have seen multiple times at local events and I feel I should read her book especially since Kayla talks about the boy in the book being like a contemporary Peeta but I have to admit I am terrified of the whole rape topic but ONE DAY I WILL READ THIS.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

GR-faultinourstarsYes, I still haven’t read this. Stop giving me that look.

5. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

gr-killerinstinctHey contemporary lovers, be proud! I read The Naturals and enjoyed it, so I would like to read its sequel!

6. The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod 

gr-lawoflovingI will have to read more reviews on this before I know if I actually want to read it, but anything dealing with schizophrenia initially piques my interest. Ever since writing a paper on it my senior year of high school it has fascinated me.

7. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

gr-dont=touchSummer raved about this one and mentioned there’s a nice guy (always a win for me), PLUS it focuses on OCD, which is actually featured in my WIP and I really need to read a little more about it.

8. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

gr-ifyoufindmeThis one is highly regarded, plus it’s set in Tennessee.

9. Anything by Kasie West

gr-distancebetweenThe only Kasie West books I’ve read so far are Pivot Point and Split Second, which are contemporary with a paranormal/sci-fi sort of twist, and I think I need to read some of her straight-up contemporary I hear so much good about!

10. She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick 

gr-sheisnotinvisbleThis one just sounds very intriguing!

Which of these contemporary books do you love or want to read?