Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just a Quick Update

Hey guys! Just wanted to post a quick update. School started this week and I'm still getting readjusted to it; between that and golf and marching band practice, I've been pretty busy, so I haven't been able to make any of my regular posts this week. Next week I should be back on a regular posting schedule, and able to talk about lots of new books from the school library.

In other news, I also discovered the awesome site, which gives you a one-word prompt that you write about for 60 seconds before sharing on the website. It's a great writing tool, and it's so cool to be able to see all the different takes on a single word. It's also a great way to get some writing in even if you don't have a lot of time. I'm thinking about writing every morning as soon as I wake up.

That's all for now. More exciting things will be coming soon!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

It's the dubious distinction of Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam - built by Willa's great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina - has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate - socialite Paxton Osgood - has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-glight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property's lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families - and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.

This is the third book of Sarah Addison Allen's that I've read, and may be my favorite so far. The plot had all the usual elements of self-discovery for the characters, magic, and romance, but there were also elements of mystery introduced, which is really what made this book stand out. It increased the tension, made me even more curious as to what would happen, and was resolved perfectly. The only thing that bothered me about the plot was that I thought one aspect of the mystery was revealed too soon, but when the whole thing was explained, it made perfect sense.

Then there were the characters. As always: perfect. Willa was so unique and dynamic, and I loved the way she didn't undergo any drastic changes over the course of the novel, but just became more aware of who she really was. I loved the way Paxton believed in the importance of family, home, and heritage while still finding her independence over the course of the novel, and her relationship with Sebastian, also a very layered and complex character, was incredible. Her brother, Colin, was lovable and fascinating, but her grandmother was the member of her family that stood out the most. Agatha Osgood is one of the most incredible characters I have ever encountered: strong, loyal, and determined. Her friendship with Willa's grandmother, Georgie, was probably my favorite part of the book.

The writing in this book was even better than in Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen; this was the first time I really noticed the writing as more than a way to convey the story. There were sentences that were so profound and true I'll never forget them, descriptions that stole my breath, and little details that brought the book to life - things like the coffee stain on Willa's tee-shirt, the straps on Paxton's high heels, and Sebastian's furniture. Even though I've finished the book, I'm still living in its world, because I was just completely immersed in it.

This is one of those books I can't imagine anyone disliking; I highly recommend it to anyone. Sarah Addison Allen is a master of writing, and I can't wait to read more by her.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Wish List (8)

The Wish List features one book from my wish list each week, along with why I want it. Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine and Ren at All By Myshelf for the inspiration for this feature.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief of forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable - and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 

So Divergent wasn't one of the best books I've ever read, but I liked enough to want to know what happens. I liked the characters, especially Four, and I'm curious to see where Veronica Roth is going with the story. Divergent's ending left a lot unresolved, and I do want to know what happens next. Plus, I absolutely love this cover. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category. I love lists, especially about books, so when I found out about Top Ten Tuesday, I just had to participate. 

Top Ten Books You've Read During the Lifespan of Your Blog

This week's topic was especially difficult. I've read so many amazing books over the lifetime of my blog that it was hard to remember them all, and even harder to decide what order they belonged in. I've finally come up with a list, and the books here aren't just my favorites that I've read during my blog's short lifetime, they're some of my favorites of all time. So, without further ado...

10. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

You could listen to me rave about this book even more, or you could just check out my review of it here. Or you could just read it and see for yourself how amazing it is. It's good-old-fashioned true sword-and-sorcery fantasy, which can be hard to find among the slew of paranormal romance and dystopian novels. At the same time, though, it's incredibly unique and creates such an amazing world. I fell in love with it immediately, and can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

9. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

This is just an incredible story. The plot - one of the most moving and original things I've ever read. The characters - every detail perfect. And I can't get enough of Markus Zusak's writing. This book placed him firmly amongst my favorite authors ever. 

8. Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

I put these two together because they're just so fantastic, neither is better than the other, and they work so well together as a series. These two books are some of the few where the plot was just perfect - I loved every single thing that happened, and nothing was out of place. Combined with Maggie Stiefvater's beautiful, lyrical writing, and these books just blow me away. The third one can't arrive soon enough. 

7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

"I think the most important thing about this book is that I just loved reading it - so much that I didn't want it to end." That's from my review, which you can read here, and it really sums up my feelings about this book. I just want to read it and relive the story over and over. 

6. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I was actually surprised to realize that I'd read this book during the lifetime of my blog, because it feels like one of those books that's been with me forever. I've read it several times, and each time I love it even more and notice something different. I still stand by my statement that I could spend the rest of my life analyzing this book and I would never get tired of it. Anything for another excuse to reread it. 

5. Eona by Allison Goodman

Oh, the characters! The complicated, wonderful, impossibly real characters, and the tension between them, and the way they acted in response to the plot and each other - it hasn't been that long since I read this book, but I already want to reread it. Every character, down to the most minor role, was fantastic. The plot was great too, of course, but I would read about anything just to see these characters interact.

4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten

This story is so magical and amazing; I was just swept up into it, and I never wanted to leave. I raved about the book to anyone who would listen while I was reading it, and I still recommend it to anyone who asks. Easily one of the best books I've ever read.

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I fell in love with this book from the very first page. It was amazing and addictive, making its length an easy challenge to overcome. It kept me up way too late reading and I never wanted to put it down. My new goal is to learn French well enough that I can read it in the original language.

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

A setting so incredibly real I could smell, see, and feel it. Characters that are as real to me as my friends and family. A plot that blew me away in its perfection and originality. And, of course, because it's Maggie Stiefvater, beautiful writing to describe it all. Everyone needs to read this book. Everyone. Now. 

I mentioned in this post that The Book Thief is the last book that actually made me cry; The Scorpio Races came really, really close, not because it was sad but because it was so touching and perfect. Speaking of The Book Thief...  

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book beat contenders like The Lord of the Rings and Sherlock Holmes to become my absolute favorite novel, and has remained solidly in that position ever since. This is the book that made me fall in love with Markus Zusak's writing, and I don't know that anything can beat it. I wrote a review of it way back in the early days of my blog, but it doesn't do the book justice. No words of mine ever could. Just read it, and trust me, you'll never be the same after you do. 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Chat

This was a tag created by the Youtube Channel padfootandprongs07, and talks about books that affect our emotions. I saw it on the blog Pocketful of Books, and several books immediately jumped to mind, so I'm going to give it a try. Here we go.

What Book Makes You Feel...

1. Happy: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Although there were some emotional moments in this book, overall, it was such an uplifting and inspiring story about love, friendship, and kindness. It wasn't without its sad moments, but thinking of this book, especially the ending, makes me smile. 

2. Sad: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This was the last book I read that I truly cried over. Other books have come close, but this is the only one since The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to leave me with actual tears, not just slightly watery eyes. It was incredible, but I was bawling at the end. 

3. Angry: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Even thinking of this book, more than a year after I first read it, makes me incredibly frustrated with Suzanne Collins. Because everyone DIES. Or is emotionally scarred. Or leaves. Or their characters change and become dislikable. I'll stop now before I give something away for those who haven't read it, but this book just made me mad. 

4. Nostalgic: Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
This was one of my absolute favorite series when I was younger, and definitely shaped me as a reader, a writer, and a person. I have strong memories associated with every book, especially No Place for Magic, the last in the series; I got it for my twelfth birthday, which was one of my best birthdays ever, and it was kind of the end of an era for these books. A year or two later, I discovered that E.D. Baker had begun a second series about the characters' children, and I bought it but realized I had outgrown the series too much to finish it. The characters had grown up, and so had I. 

5. Scared: The Crowfield Curse and The Crowfield Demon by Pat Walsh
The creep factor of these books is perfectly written. Thinking of the stories leaves me shuddering. All those strange supernatural things, at the old monastery in the middle of the woods...these are the kind of books that make you want to sleep with the light on. 

6. Surprised: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
I never, ever, ever would have seen the ending of this one coming. It completely caught me off guard. It  was a perfect twist, and I loved it. The plot of the book in general was different (and much better) than I expected, too. 

7. Disappointed: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
I love Rick Riordan. I loved Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and when I started reading The Kane Chronicles I loved those too. I wasn't exactly jumping up and down when I found out he was writing another Percy Jackson series, since I like it when authors know when to end a series, but I read The Lost Hero and while it wasn't as great as the original series, it was still pretty good. Okay, I thought, I'll keep reading these. But The Son of Neptune was just awful. There was some good humor, but I hated the plot and the characters. I barely managed to finish the book and completely abandoned the series. It was awful to read something so bad from an author I really love, in a series I thought I'd like. 

8. Distressed: 1984 by George Orwell
This book seriously messed with my thoughts and emotions. Big Brother's DoubleThink screwed with my head. When O'Brien started talking about how reality didn't exist, I started freaking out, and when he explained how the government stayed in power, I was really worried by how brilliant I found it. I knew there was something wrong with all of this, but I couldn't figure out what, which really distressed me. 

9. Confused: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
I started this book and never finished it. It wasn't because I didn't like the plot or the characters. And the writing wasn't bad. I just - I never had any idea what was going on because I couldn't keep people straight. There were too many characters and they all had, like, six names, and I just never knew who was where or what they were doing. This is one of my dad's favorites and I felt bad for not finishing it, but when he asked me about the characters, it went something like this: "Well, there's one guy who I think is an Indian, and he had two names; and then there was the one guy who hung around with him who wasn't an Indian, and a third guy who might have been the same person as the second guy, and a fourth who wasn't the second guy but might have been the third, too, and there were two girls. And their father, who I think was a general and wasn't the first or the third guy but might have been the second. And one of the guys who wasn't the girls' father was kind of flirting with the older girl, but I don't remember which one was older. And one of these people spoke French." 


Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville family's home warns the descendants of the ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted. Now Sir Charles Baskerville is dead and the footprints of a hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate?

Everything I'd ever encountered said this was the best Sherlock Holmes novel. Okay, I thought, and started reading. I was expecting something along the lines of Silver Blaze or A Scandal in Bohemia, two of my favorite short stories, with a creep-factor along the lines of The Speckled Band and a plot that would probably be just slightly better than The Sign of Four.

What I got completely blew me away.

Oh. My. Gosh. This book was fantastic. It's easy to see why it's the best and most famous Holmes novel. It was incredible. I can't believe I hadn't read it before now; I feel like an impostor for considering myself a true Holmes fan before reading this book.

Let's start with the setting and the description, which was completely perfect. The moor and Baskerville Hall are perfect settings for a mystery, and the way Conan Doyle describes them is beautiful. It gives such a clear picture of the setting and really sets the mood for the story, something that wasn't so prominent in other Holmes stories. It was really vivid and chilling, and there were some passages of description I read over and over to preserve the image in my mind.

Then there are the strange and unique characters populating this mysterious place. The supporting characters were much more defined and we were allowed to see more of their personality and history in this novel than in the others, making them much more distinct. Then there are Holmes and Watson, who are at their best in this book; Watson takes a much more active role in solving the mystery, while Holmes makes deductions and lays plans with incredible brilliance. They also experience more of the key plot points, rather than hearing them from a client.

The plot was full of mysteries to unravel, which were complicated without being too confusing, and even when certain aspects of the mystery became clear, there was always more to determine and find out. Probably because Watson was more involved, this novel allowed readers to puzzle the mystery along with Holmes, rather than read along and have everything explained at the end. This made it an even more enjoyable read.

I was completely blown away by this book. If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan and you've read it, read it again. If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan and you haven't read it, read it now - all the hype is true and it IS the best Holmes novel. If you're not a Holmes fan yet, read this book, and I promise you will be.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Tuned In To (8)

Tuned In To is a weekly feature discussing albums I've been listening to, songs that have been stuck in my head, or artists I've discovered, and is posted on Friday.

So, this week I'm just going straight for the elephant in the room and talking about Taylor Swift's new single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." It was released on August 14, and is the first single from her upcoming album, Red. I've always loved Taylor's music, so I was excited to listen to her new song. And...well, listen to it for yourself, and then I'll go into what I think.

It's different. Really, really, different. Although there are changes in her sound between her previous albums, they were much more subtle; this is the first time her sound had significantly changed. And while I definitely miss her more country style, I also really like this song. It's catchy, is something I can relate to, and has the same tone of her earlier songs, even if it is pop-ier. Overall, I have mixed feelings: I like the song, but it makes me a little apprehensive about what her next album is going to be like.

Still, I had the exact same reaction when Coldplay released "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," and ended up loving Mylo Xyloto - it's probably their second-best album ever. So hopefully the same thing will happen here. I'm still looking forward to the new album. There are some cool-sounding collaborations on it, including a song with Mark Foster from Foster the People, which I'm really excited for.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category. I love making lists, especially about books, so when I found out about Top Ten Tuesday, I had to participate.

Top Ten Romances You Think Would Last Outside The Book

This week was an extremely tough topic for me, because so often, romances in books wouldn't be the same without the circumstances of the novel, and therefore wouldn't make it in the real world. I wracked my brains for more, but was only able to come up with two that I can honestly say I think would make it in the real world. 

Coming in at #2.... Sapphire (Saf) and Bitterblue (Sparks) from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

I adore the chemistry between these two, and I think their romance would have actually worked better in the real world, as opposed to the setting of the book. Their romance isn't dependent on their role in the story, since when they first meet, Saf has no inkling of "Sparks"'s true identity and Bitterblue knew nothing about Saf. Nope, these two fell in love purely because of who they were when they were with each other, which is why I think they'd make it under any circumstances. 

And #1... Josey and Adam from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Because, to put it simply, they're made for each other. They're meant to be together. In the book or out of it, they belong to each other and somehow that would happen. I loved their relationship - it was so perfect and sweet. Its problems weren't ignored entirely, but they were so insignificant compared to the way Adam and Josey felt together. And just like in Bitterblue, it wasn't because of some exciting plot point - it's because of who they were.

So there's my Top Two Tuesday for this week. Hopefully I'll have better luck next week. 

The Reading Room (24)

The Reading Room is a weekly update on books I'm reading and planning to read, and was inspired by the feature On Myshelf at the blog All By Myshelf.

Although this is obvious, I just want to take a minute to say I love books. I honestly can't get enough of them, and I love coming back from the library with "quite a haul," as the librarian described it. So what was in that haul this week?

After much debate, I settled on three books from the young adult/middle grade section. The first was Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater; I've read it before, but never got around to reading Linger and Forever; they have them in the school library, and I plan on checking them out as soon as we go back, but I wanted to refresh my memory on the events of Shiver first. The second was Notes From An Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne, which I finished today and absolutely loved. It's a humorous and endearing story, and the main character, Elsie, reminds me a lot of one of my friends.

The third book was Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. It looks really, really good. It's new; I saw it on display, took a look at the description on the inside jacket flap, and immediately knew I was going to check it out. I think I'm really going to like this book.

Then I ventured over to the adult section to continue my avid reading of anything and everything by Sarah Addison Allen, author of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen. After debating for awhile between two books, I finally decided to get them both. One is The Peach Keeper, and the other is The Girl Who Chased the Moon. Both look great, and I can't wait to read more by this incredible author.

In other reading news, I'm also working my way through a stack of Youth Walk and Essential Connection magazines that were lent to me by a friend, as well as the books Battlefield of the Mind - by Joyce Meyer, who I absolutely LOVE - and Pennsylvania Curiosities. I think all of this might be enough to keep me fairly busy until school starts, which unfortunately means less time for reading but does mean access to the school library.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Review: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure one three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night....Until she finds her closet harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis - and two parts fairy godmother.

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey's clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she's going to change Josey's life - because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey is soon forgetting pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicable appear whenever she needs them, and - most amazing of all - has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time - even for her. It seems that Della Lee's work is done, and it's time for her to move on. But the truth about where she's going, why she showed up in the first place - and what Chloe has to do with it all - is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey's fast-changing life. 

I read this because it was described as a follow up to Garden Spells, and expected it to be a sequel; while it wasn't, I wasn't disappointed by what I got. I loved it almost as much as I loved Garden Spells. The plot had a familiar premise with some interesting twists, and I loved the way Sarah Addison Allen was able to explore subplots and other characters without ever getting off track. The story was perfectly paced, and although it wasn't suspenseful and took a few chapters to get into it, it kept me reading. 

All of the characters were unique, dynamic, and just came to life. While I disliked some of them, I could also sympathize with them and thought they were brilliantly written; I disliked them as people, not as characters, which shows how real they were. Josey was an endearing main character, who was easy to relate to and root for, and her relationship with Adam and her friendship with Chloe and Della Lee were all believable and perfectly written. The sections from other characters' perspectives and the myriad of subplots added so much to the story and never distracted from the main plot. The ending was perfect and made so much sense. 

This book was just magical story, and I loved it. When I checked it out, my librarian commented, "Don't you love her?" [Sarah Addison Allen.] Then, when I said yes, I meant, "I loved Garden Spells," which was the only book of hers I'd read at the time. Having read a second book by her, I feel justified in saying she's a great author and I can't wait to read the rest of her books. 


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Wish List (7)

The Wish List features one book from my wish list each week, along with why I want it. Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine and Ren at All By Myshelf for the inspiration for each feature.

Maximum Ride Manga, Volume One

Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of her "flock" - Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel - are just like ordinary kids, except they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but for the flock it's more like a living nightmare. When the mysterious lab known as the "School" turns up and kidnaps their youngest member, it's up to Max to organize a rescue, but will help come in time?

I recently read the first Maximum Ride novel, The Angel Experiment, and while it definitely had some flaws, I still liked it a lot and can't wait to read the next book. I didn't even know there was a manga version of the series until today, when I saw one of my friends with the third in the manga series. I immediately wanted it. The book and the illustrations looked so cool, and Maximum Ride is the kind of story that I think would translate extremely well to this medium. I really, really, want this book. 


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category. I love making lists, so when I found out about Top Ten Tuesday, I had to participate.

Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give the Best Picture of You

This is one of my all-time favorite books, and one of the first I reviewed on the blog, and shows how I react to really amazing books and how I review.

I posted this edition of The Reading Room right after a long weekend, when I'd made a trip to the library and then proceeded to spend almost the entire weekend reading, then walked around all day Monday with my nose in a book while my friends warned me of things like other people or stairs. That's the reason it made this list - every time I see it or think of the books I mentioned, I remember an experience that was so quintessentially me. 

Because I love music. And writing album reviews. And Coldplay is my absolute favorite band.

This post says a lot about who I am, I think. It shows what some of my favorite books are, as well as the type of life/experience I'd love to someday have. Plus, it captures my love of making lists.

My religion is a big part of my life, and occasionally it shows up on the blog, too. This post talks about one of my favorite passages in the Bible and why I find it so amazing.

National Novel Writing Month is a huge part of who I am as a writer, and this post really captures how I feel about writing and my favorite parts of NaNoWriMo.

This edition of The Reading Room was posted just after I'd received the last books in two of my all-time favorite series for my birthday, and out of all the reading updates I've posted, I think it's one that captures my reading life pretty clearly.

Another post that has a lot of insight as to how I write and why I love it so much.

I love books. And bookstores. And unexpected adventures. And encountering people who love these things as much as I do. This post gives you a good idea of my enthusiasm for that, I think.

Just a brief list of things I love and an explanation of why my username is what it is. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tuned In To - Part 2: Music and Inspiration

So, this second part of this week's Tuned In To isn't really talking about any particular song, but it does have to do with what I've been listening to this week, and also ties into writing.

I don't know if I've mentioned it on the blog yet, but I am participating in the August session of Camp NaNoWriMo, a summer version of National Novel Writing Month, which is held in November. For the  first three days, at least, I've just been keeping right on pace, making myself sit down and write my daily required word count, but not writing much beyond that. My plot hasn't gotten off to the best start - I have the first chapter finished, but it was kind of slow and boring. Tonight, though, inspiration struck - in an unexpected and thoroughly complicated way.

It started with the night swim one of my friends was holding at the public pool to raise money for the SPCA. I love night swimming and since today was the first day of band camp it was guaranteed to be ridiculous warm, of course I went. After talking to a few people I knew for awhile, I ended up just kind of chilling by myself in the pool. The lights around the pool and the streetlights nearby were all on, and they looked really cool reflecting off the water. What was even more awesome was ducking under the water and looking at the lights from underneath, though it did make my eyes sting.

Trust me, this is all getting somewhere.

So of course, since my brain has a constant soundtrack of background music for my life running through it, I started thinking of the song "Never Let Me Go" by Florence & The Machine - Looking up from underneath, fractured moonlight on the sea, reflections still look the same to me as before I went under. The song kept going through my mind; when I finally left the pool and came home, I belted out it and several other Florence & The Machine songs while I showered. One of those songs was "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)."

Stay with me a little longer. We're almost there.

So I'm singing this song in the shower, and of course because I'm in the shower I sound amazing, and I get to the chorus and I pause after reaching the line, "Midas is king and he holds me so tight, and turns me to gold in the sunlight," to think, "Huh, that could kind of fit my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo." (Which is based off of mythology.)

At first I was just thinking it would be a cool song to listen to while writing, since it's fast and intense. But then I listened to it all the way through again, and this is where the true inspiration struck: as I listened, I couldn't help thinking, "Oh my gosh, if I applied this to Jade (my secondary MC), it would make her character so much more interesting."

So, after all that, I've discovered a lot of hidden depths to one of my characters. And it's made me so excited to keep writing. I can't wait to let more of her character come out in the plot and see where it takes me.

I told you it was kind of a complicated story, but it was so exciting I just had to share.

Have you ever had a really long chain events lead to a single moment of inspiration?

Tuned In To (7) - Part 1

Tuned In To is a weekly feature discussing albums I've been listening to, songs that have been stuck in my head, or artists I've discovered, and is posted on Fridays.

The first part of this two-part Tuned In To is yet another book-song edition. I was checking out some music in the alternative section of iTunes and came across the song "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons.  I'd heard of Imagine Dragons before but never listened to their music, so I decided to check it out. And oh my goodness, it's such an amazing song. I can't get enough of listening to it.

It also perfectly describes the Chemical Garden trilogy - the first book of which is Wither - by Lauren DeStefano. From the very first listen, I was amazed by how well it fit. The lyrics perfectly capture the plot and concept of the book, and even the beat of the song fits with the dystopia that was created in the books.

I mean, it's still an amazing song if you've never read the books, and the books are incredible even if you decide to skip over this song without listening to it. But together? Wow. Just, wow.