Birthday Book Haul!

My birthday was this Sunday, and while it has come and gone, the gift of books remains! I also got some music, TV/movies, and some some cute Funko Pops, including one you’ll see hanging out with my new books, but of course wanted to highlight THE BOOKS…


Yes, that’s Hermione! I know she would approve of books for birthday presents. Now I just wish I could read all of them NOW, but I’ll have to wait and read them one at a time. I also just realized a few days before my birthday that Sharon Cameron is a local author and I’ve seen her for the past three years at the local SCBWI conference I attend! That made me even happier to get Rook.

Now… any recommendations for which I should read first? 

Birthday (& Beyond) Book Haul!

I promised to show you guys my birthday book haul, but after getting a Barnes and Noble gift card and ordering a book, I thought I would wait until I had ALL THE BOOKS, at least that I was planning to get for now, before showing the complete haul.


Birthday gifts: Behemoth and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Book order: Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler

Impulse “it was on sale” purchase: To Live is Christ to Die is Gain by Matt Chandler

Purchased with Barnes & Noble gift card: Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang and The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Needless to say, I think I’m in good shape until Christmas! (Except I will need to buy my next book club pick, The Young Elites before then, unless I can borrow it from the library…)

So about Shadows Beneath… one of my regular podcasts is/was (unfortunately, I just don’t get to listen to them liked I used to) called Writing Excuses, and features the authors who contributed to the anthology. So I was listening to one of their podcasts from like June (because I’m hopelessly behind) and they talked about this anthology now being available. Included in it are a new short story by each author, the first drafts of each of these stories, as well as critiques/notes/behind-the-scenes of the crafting of each story. Basically, it’s perfect for aspiring authors who want to see someone else’s writing process and the end result (which of course was the whole point). Oh, and apparently if I ordered it for Brandon’s store website, I could get it signed by him and a free e-book version. For less than $30, it sounded like a bargain; sign me up! So I ordered it pretty quickly after hearing about it! It took a while to process but only a day or two to ship out! I’m really looking forward to going through it!

And really, I’m looking forward to reading all these (well, except Behemoth, but only because I have already read it and enjoyed it :))! I’m so glad to have rediscovered my love for reading because new books give me such a warm happy feeling. 🙂

What’s been your latest book haul? What from my haul should I read first (or next, since I’ve already read Behemoth)?

Round Up: Writing Tips, Eddie Redmayne, and Child Stars (+ Book Haul)

How to Finish A Book

Author Maureen Johnson (who, I must admit, I have never read any of her books) wrote a good blog post that can be helpful for aspiring authors about how to finish a book. It’s simple advice (basically: just do it!) but can be hard to put into practice. As someone who writes, I relate to the fear of pushing forward in a story. Is it scary to write down the words swirling around in our heads and to share our thoughts, because we know someone will reject them. But we have to keep pressing on. If you’re a writer, definitely check it out! Even published authors struggle with this!

How Do You Write a Good Ending?

Of course, not only do you have to worry about actually finishing your book, but you also want it to be a good ending! Mystic Cooking had author Stephanie Garber (who seems cool!) write a guest post on their blog about this very topic, and also found it interesting and helpful as a writer. Even if you aren’t an aspiring author, you might find it interesting if you have ever lamented about or been amazed by the ending of a story!

Eddie Redmayne to Star as Stephen Hawking

redmayne-hawkingEddie Redmayne, who became widely known for his role as Marius in “Les Miserables,” is to tackle the role of real-life scientist Stephen Hawking in the film “The Theory of Everything.” The film is about his time at Oxford and Cambridge, which includes when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I’ll be interested to see this; I think Eddie will do a good job! What do you think?

And just for fun, Stephen Hawking in Star Trek:

Former Child Stars Who Turned Out Just Fine

wonder-yearsI found this photo gallery of child stars who turned out well encouraging and refreshing. We’re always hearing about the latest meltdown of Amanda Bynes or Lindsey Lohan, and it’s good to be reminded some child stars have gone on to have fulfilling lives and careers!  For example, did you know that Shirley Temple grew up to become the U.S. ambassador to Ghana?

I also thought I would share my latest book haul with you all, as I have been anxiously awaiting for my order from Amazon:

IMG_0679As I have lamented before, I finished my e-book library version of The Book Thief before I got my Amazon copy, but I’ll keep it for re-reading later. I won The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight in a giveaway a while back, and though it’s not my typical reading fare, I think it’ll be a nice read when I’m ready for something light. I’m super excited about finally having For Darkness Shows the Stars, and was going to read it after I finish Till We Have Faces, but the Through the Never Sky e-book is finally available for download through my library (I’ve been on a waiting list for at least two months!) so I guess I’ll be reading that next. I’m looking forward to reading The Testing as well, but I was a little bummed to find the cover much less vibrant in real life than what I had seen on the computer screen. Oh, and I bought The Scorpio Races for my Nook after learning about the good deals going on with e-books from B&N and Amazon via The Broke and The Bookish.

neversky-scorpioI’m also hoping to see Man Of Steel this weekend, but it’s possible I might have to wait until next weekend due to various plans. We’ll see.

Anything new you discovered this week?