Monday, September 1, 2014

For Fun [1] - Bookish Shuffle Tag


The Bookish Shuffle Tag is something done on many Booktube channels, but I'm not up to doing videos right now, so I thought I'd just make it a post! I wanted to do this after watching Kimberly Reads tag video, so go check it out!

The rules are simple: put your iPod/iTunes/whatever on shuffle, and for each song that plays, pick a book to go with the song. Because I have a bunch of ambient sound tracks and audio books in my iTunes, I did have to do some skipping, but otherwise the songs came up as listed.

Along with listing the songs and my book choices (which are all physically on my shelf and have been read), I try to explain why I picked each book. Because this was so much fun, I ended up doing fourteen (which is one of my favorite numbers). Follow the links to find out more about the books and songs. ^_^


Dreamland is (as far as I've read) the darkest of Sarah Dessen's books and by the end, while the main character is on the road to healing, she's not there yet.


This is definitely not my favorite of the Twilight books, but most of New Moon is Bella dealing with the sudden change in her life that makes her extremely depressed, and on top of that, December is one of the months she loses to her depression.


This song reminded me of the beginning of this book where Lenah wakes up to being human and without her lover Rhode.


My love for this book knows no bounds, and for me the vibe of this song just fit the characters, while the lyrics could be related to a certain rough patch they go through.


This song, about a relationship that is wanted but may not be fated, immediately brought to mind Hallowed, the sequel to Unearthly. I'm Team Tucker all the way.


Lena and Ethan could not have been farther away from each other in this book and this song has an unearthly sound that, in my mind, matches their situation.


In The Dark Divine series, Grace is trying her best to get through the craziness that has become her life, and in this last book, she needs all the help she can get to make it through and find happiness and hope again.


While it doesn't exactly match the true tone of the song, Cinder and its sequels are definitely about fairytale heroines taking their destinies into their own hands.


A song this bad-ass and sexy can only fit Hallie Girard.


This song moves from sad to hopeful, and it reminds me of the relationship between Eva and Addie.


The vibe of this song and the fact that it seems to be about werewolves (or some other nighttime monster) brought to mind Scarlett's fierceness.


This book is all about the crossroads between emotions and senses and the song reminded me of Alison's thoughts upon seeing an out-of-this-world vista.


Timepiece is about two people with secrets and walls built-up finding each other and becoming islands no longer. The cool/sexy vibe of the song is also quite fitting.


This song makes me think of a fashion show, and while The Selection isn't about a fashion show, it does deal significantly with the girls of the selection being made up to fit a certain persona and also having to act differently than how they would in normal life.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quirk Review: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

Series: The Mortal Instruments ~~ Release Date: 05/27/2014
Source: borrowed from a friend

From Goodreads:

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

PREFACE:
So we are finally here, at the end (for real this time) of The Mortal Instruments series. I have had an up and down (mostly down) experience with TMI so I didn't know what to expect going into the last book. Okay, I knew to expect the deaths of six named characters, but that was about it. Thankfully, this read turned out to be quite a good one.

WRITING:
Clare has really grown in terms of her writing style, and for that I am glad. I had almost no problems with the writing, save one thing: she picked a new phrase to repeat. It involved Jace (or some character) "riding an enemy to the ground" as he killed them, using the momentum to attack the next bad guy. I thought that was a really cool image the first time it was used, but not so much the second, third, fourth, etc. times. 

SETTING:
I enjoyed all the settings utilized in this story. We get a glimpse of the Los Angeles Institute, see Alicante, the Fair Folk underground, and the Hotel Dumort again, and a new place I was excited (and a little scared) to see. I though the world-building of the new place was really cool because I did not expect it to go that direction. The only drawback is that Clare spends what I feel like is too much time describing each setting. For instance, I don't care about all the flowers that make up the canopy of the Seelie Queen's bed, I want to know why we are there in the first place! (That's a bad example because that description wasn't very long, but you get my point.) All the description really interrupted the flow of the story because so much was happening that having to wade through those paragraphs about what the dirt looked like here and what that door looked like there was annoying.

CHARACTERS:
For me, Clare's biggest improvement from the last book was the characters. Jace was actually a good guy the whole time and someone I could understand fans flailing over. Clary was not a shrinking violet making stupid decisions and mistakes but a character with agency and intelligence. Isabelle and Simon continued to be great, as did Magnus, and Alec came out of nowhere being more awesome than ever with some especially priceless lines of dialogue. "MY EYES."

I wasn't expecting a bunch of new characters to appear in this book, it being the last in a series, but the novel actually starts by introducing us to the clan that will star in the upcoming series, The Dark Artifices. This includes the Blackthorn family and Emma Carstairs, who is only twelve in COHF, but already she is more awesome than all the characters in the first five TMI books combined.

There were also some characters from that other Clare series, The Infernal Devices, in COHF, and I would be lying if I said I didn't bounce around and giggle when they appeared together.

COOL STUFF:
My absolute favorite thing about COHF was the callbacks to TID and The Bane Chronicles. I thoroughly enjoyed TID and TBC and knew I'd get to see some characters from both, but there were other things woven into the text that were there as well. For instance, something happens with the London Institute in the early part of COHF. I thought it had something to do with Tessa, but I was wrong and when the real answer is revealed, I squealed out loud because the only way you'd get it is if you'd read TID. The same goes for some things Magnus talks about throughout the book, events and relationships that have only been seen thus far in TID and TBC.

VERDICT:
City of Heavenly Fire is the only book of the TMI series that kept me on the edge of my seat and reading as fast as I possibly could. I enjoyed it immensely, and while there were some sad parts (no tears from me because until this book I wasn't super-attached to most of the characters), overall it was action and relationships and snark all the way. I would recommend reading The Infernal Devices and at least most of The Bane Chronicles before reading COHF, just so you can catch all the references.

Monday, June 16, 2014

From Where I'm Standing [15] - More TFIOS Fun!

Congrats to The Fault in Our Stars film for being #1 at the box office its first weekend! Despite getting to see it in May, I went with some of my friends from work to see it again opening night, and we did hand hearts as an early nod to #EstherDay.

Staci, me, and Dawn before the crying started. A big thank you goes to Julie for taking the photo!

Now that the movie is out, I want to share some more video I got on my TFIOS TN trip. The video is long and in two parts. All of it takes place in a meeting room at a (rather swanky) Nashville hotel and features Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, John Green, and Shailene Woodley answering questions and continuing their trend of being adorable and cool.

This part of my trip was my favorite not only because I never expected to be this close to the stars or that I would get to talk to them directly, but because the four of them spoke more freely than I had seen them do so before (okay, not John, because John is always open and enthusiastic). Also, an apology on the quality - the first part was shot by iPhone and the second on my Meg's camera.

Hope you enjoy!



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Giveaway Winners!


I'm so glad to be back to blogging and my Friday the 13th was especially nice. And now what you are really here for, the winners of the three prize packs!

Hourglass Prize Pack (#1)
Onge

The Darkest Minds Prize Pack (#2)
Paola B.

Defiance Prize Pack (#3)
Ashley S.

The winners have been emailed and have seven days to respond. Congrats to them and thank you to all who participated! ^_^

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

From Where I'm Standing [14] - My TFIOS TN Experience



If you can't tell from the video above, I had an amazing time in Nashville at the events for TFIOS TN. In addition to just getting to be there, I was able to get my copies of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska signed by John Green and a poster signed by him and Shailene Woodley. Below are some pictures and another video!

Event attendees "Johning" in unison.
Fans eagerly awaiting the arrival of the stars in front of the Tennessee State Capitol building.
People came from all over for the event. Pictured here are mother and daughter duo Krissy and Kaylee of Canton, GA, along with friends Lauren, Tiffany, and Sydney of Paducah, KY.
Sisters Gabrielle and Faith traveled from Evansville, IN, and between them (in blue), is Marissa of Knoxville, TN. Next to them, Murfreesboro, TN, residents Abby, Annie, Sarah, and Lexi didn't have to drive far to attend.
John Green signing books and posters on the red carpet.
The sweet Sarah Strasinger interviewing Ansel Elgort for her high school newspaper.
(Thanks for helping me get my books signed, Sarah!)
Shailene Woodley and Nat Woolf autographing items and interacting with fans.
John Green, Ansel Elgort, Shailene Woodley, and Nat Wolff posing on the red carpet.
Clint Redwine and Evelina Barry (event MCs) on stage with the stars.
Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, John Green, and Shailene Woodley at the press tour the morning following the fan event.



And on one last (unrelated) note, this post makes 501 that I have published on the blog! Crazy!!! ^_^

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Goodbye Hiatus; Hello Giveaway! [CLOSED]



Details:
Giveaway will run from 5/30/14 to 6/13/14 and is US only.
Three winners will be chosen via the Rafflecopter widget.
Please read further rules here.


Hourglass Prize Pack
*signed* paperback of Hourglass by Myra McEntire [review]
paperback of Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita [Goodreads]
paperback of On Location by Jen Calonita [Goodreads]
paperback of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff [review]
paperback of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin [Goodreads]
hardback of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain [review]
hardback of Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King [Goodreads]


The Darkest Minds Prize Pack
*signed* ARC of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken [review]
paperback of Cut by Patricia McCormick [review]
paperback of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling [Goodreads]
paperback of The Light by D.J. MacHale [Goodreads]
paperback of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter [Goodreads]
hardback of The Lying Game by Sara Shepard [review]
hardback of Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan [Goodreads]


Defiance Prize Pack
*signed* hardback of Defiance by C.J. Redwine [review]
paperback of If I Stay by Gayle Forman [Goodreads]
hardback of The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard [Goodreads]
hardback of The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams [Goodreads]
hardback (formerly library bound) of Wings by Aprilynne Pike [Goodreads]
hardback of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater [Goodreads]
hardback of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta [Goodreads]

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Unhappy Hiatus

Hello quirks,

I've been putting this off because I was hoping circumstances would change and I wouldn't need to do this, but they haven't, so here we are.

Writer Quirk is going on an indefinite hiatus starting today.

I love blogging and reviewing, but my mental health is at a point right now where the stress of trying to keep posting reviews and such when I'm barely reading and barely functioning offline is one thing too many. I've never been a super-frequent poster and have been very lenient with myself on how I run this blog, but the guilt of not reading and not posting is getting to me, so I need a break from it.

It's difficult to put into words what is going on in my head that is making life so tough, so suffice it to say that despite efforts to battle my depression, I'm losing. In a way, things have gotten better since I switched to a new medication, as in suicidal thoughts and self-harm impulses are way down, but the pervasive sadness and lethargy I feel seems to only increase. Add in new stress at my day job and my usual stress at home, and I'm a zombie pretending to be human only when necessary, and it is exhausting.

I hope to return sooner rather than later, but only time will tell if that is possible. Until then, I hope you read amazing books, write your hearts out, and live life to the fullest.

~Shalena @ Writer Quirk

Friday, April 4, 2014

Reading Challenge Update [March 2014]


Hey quirks! Welcome to my Reading Challenge Update (RCU). I'm doing a few of the same challenges as last year, and I added a couple new ones as well. I'm really excited about these challenges because challenges like these pushed me to read more in 2013, so I hope the same will happen this year because my goals are even bigger!

Unlike my Goodreads Rundowns where I give a bunch of stats, here I will just be listing the books I read during the previous month under the challenges to which they apply. To see where I am at between these posts, check out my Reading Challenges tab above.


This Month: 5 --- Total: 13/75
Until I Die by Amy Plum (Revenants #2)
If I Should Die by Amy Plum (Revenants #3)
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (Woodcutter Sisters #1)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (The Madman's Daughter #1)


This Month: 1 --- Total: 3/12
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (Incarnation #1) [Key Word: Forever]


This Month: 2 --- Total: 3/12
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity #1) [Motif: Award Winner]
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (Woodcutter Sisters #1) [Motif: Fairy Tales]


This Month: 6 --- Total: 14/40
Until I Die by Amy Plum (Revenants #2)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity #1)
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (Woodcutter Sisters #1)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (The Madman's Daughter #1)
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (Incarnation #1)


This Month: 0 --- Total: 0/1


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