Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books Read in 2013

Hello, everyone! It's time for another Top Ten Tuesday, and this post is on Top Ten Books I Read in 2013. There'll probably be quite a few series on this list, since I find it hard to pick just one book out of a series. Oh well. I'm also limiting it to new-to-me books, since I read a lot of books this year.
  1. Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. This is the kind of book that makes you think, and makes you dream. It inspires you to believe that there's more to life than what you see, that even the most unlikely people can accomplish great things. 
  2. From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson. The entire Blood of Kings trilogy is amazing, but I technically listened to the first two instead of reading them. And From Darkness Won is definitely my favorite in the trilogy. I'd like to say more, but . . . spoilers.
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth. I'll probably be talking about this book for a while. I really enjoyed it, and why did I not read it sooner? It's probably my new favorite dystopian book. It's really exciting, but at the same time, it makes you think. 
  4. The Books of the Infinite series by R. J. Larson. As I said in my last Top Ten Tuesdays post, both the premise and the setting of this book make it fairly unique among Christian fantasy, and I loved finding all the references to Bible stories and characters that the author squeezed in.
  5. The Sky Riders by Christopher Hopper. This book is absolutely incredible. Heartstopping action, mysteries to always keep you guessing, and it's steampunk, which just makes it more awesome. And I really want to visit Aria Prime or one of the other cities, because they sound incredible.
  6. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I've probably read this book three or four times since April. Three or four times. Since April. And I've had a pretty long to-read list since the beginning of this summer, so that's saying something. It's pretty much become my go-to book when I want something light, funny, and sweet, especially so if I want a fairy-tale feel without actually reading a remade fairytale. 
  7. The Seventh Door by Bryan Davis. I got to be a prepub reader for this book, and it was amazing. Watch for my official review once the book is released.
  8. A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr. I thought the concept of lots and readers was unique and really interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I also liked that Errol uses such an unconventional weapon. I think it's easy for fantasy writers to get stuck in the sword/bow/daggers rut, with the occasional hammer/axe/club thrown in for the big guys, so it was interesting to have a staff-wielding hero instead. 
  9. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Sci-fi remade fairytales. I never would've come up with putting the two together, but Marissa Meyer did, and she did it very well. I like the unique twist on Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, and I cannot wait for Cress to come out.
  10. The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. This is my current obsession. They're just the right blend of adventure and humor, with colorful characters and lots of surprises. 
Well, that's ten. What are your favorite books you read in 2013? Feel free to tell me in the comments, or create your own Top Ten Tuesdays post. Just be sure to link back to the Broke and Bookish blog and post the link to your post on their site.
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Random Fridays: Bookworm Things

Hey'a, everyone! This week's Random Fridays topic is Bookworm Things. Since we all know I'm a bookworm, I figured this would be a fun post to do.

We'll start with some good advice.
It's an excellent solution for many, many problems.
Because the movie is never anywhere near as good. Never.
Seriously, how are you supposed to choose, especially when there are always new books to discover and old books to reread and discover that hey, this book is more awesome than you remembered it!?
 We could probably do it too. After all, reading all those books means we know exactly what not to do. We just have to stop procrastinating first.
This happens to me a lot. Usually I solve the problem by reminding myself that I really need to write more in whatever novel I'm working on.
This is one reason I am very grateful for series of books.
And here we have a bookworm's greatest problem: fictional character love.
Why can't they be real? And preferably live near me? WHY?
 . . . Except for when this happens:
 It's worse when you see it coming, or when it's drawn out. Because no matter how much you want them to live, no matter how many times you tell them they're not allowed to die, they still die. And you can't do a thing about it except hope the author will find a way to somehow resurrect them.
Of course, sometimes when they come back, they're evil. Because you have them back, but they're not them anymore. It's hard to say which is worse.
Of course, there are less painful side effects, like this one:
True story: my aunt was asking if I had a boyfriend yet (it's not a question I get asked a lot, thankfully), and I said no, I'm not allowed to date yet. Then she asked if I had a crush. My response? "Um . . . IN BOOKS!"
Except for the little detail about those boys not being real.
I have to say that I am extremely blessed in this respect. I have quite a few friends (mostly online), as well as a little sister who I can obsess over characters with and who know what it's like to feel like the characters are real.
. . . Then again, maybe they aren't so fictional.

And in conclusion, the plight of all bookworms, writers, and dreamers:
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Want to join in the Random Fridays fun? Feel free to make a post of your own on the week's topic! Please just be sure to use the Random Fridays banner, link back to Awkwordly Emma, and post the link to your post on the Awkwordly Emma blog so other participants can check out your post. For a list of future Random Friday topics, click here

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas once again this year
And we celebrate with joy and cheer,
With family, friends, and memories,
And presents found beneath our trees.
But let us not forget the reason
That we celebrate this season.
Christ was born to shine His Light
And lead us out of darkest night.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful, blessed day!
Isusarad 'elir!*
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

*Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tagged! You know you're a writer when . . .

Hey'a! The lovely Elethia of Writing in Rivendell has tagged me with the awesome "You know you're a writer when . . ." tag! To complete this tag, I have to post four to six signs of being a writer, without knowingly copying anyone else, then tag as many other bloggers as I want.

This will be fun.

You know you're a writer when . . .
1. Something as mundane as watching/listening to your youth group leader play his guitar can inspire a character or scene in your story.
2. You refuse to go anywhere without a notebook, and one of your criteria for bags is whether or not you can fit your preferred size of notebook in it.
3. When someone asks how you are, you generally say "I'm fine" and then tell them about how your novel is going.
4. "Story research" is both what you say to excuse silly/strange things you do and to try to convince yourself that an unpleasant situation isn't as bad as it seems.
5. You've asked your sibling/friend/other family member to do a mock sword fight with you so you can figure out how a scene should go.
6. You think it's perfectly normal to go out in public with a pencil stuck in your braid/other hairdo. Doubly so if said pencil is part of your outfit and you've made sure it coordinates with your clothes.

I may or may not be guilty of all of the above. One of the above may or may not have just occurred tonight.

And for the people I tag:

-Emma of Awkwordly Emma
-IDK323 of World of Panin
-Sarah of Inklined
-Anyone else who wants to do this tag

Thanks for stopping by!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Favorite New-to-Me Authors

Top Ten Tuesdays are back! (Well, technically they were never gone; the people over at The Broke and the Bookish were still doing them. I just stopped for NaNo.) This week's theme is Top Ten Favorite New-to-Me Authors of 2013. As a note, my list is in no particular order.
  1. R. J. Larson. I like that she didn't use a medieval-ish setting like many fantasy authors and instead set her books in a world similar to the Old Testament time period. I also enjoyed finding all the different Bible stories she took inspiration from, since she used a lot of the less well-known ones.
  2. Marissa Meyer. I love remade fairy tales and I love sci-fi, and combining them was absolute genius. Plus, she does NaNoWriMo! How awesome is that?
  3. Christopher Healy. His Hero's Guide books, are hilarious. I read them, loved them, and then gave them to my little sister, who also loved them. One of my favorite parts was the little quotes at the beginning of each chapter. 
  4. Shannon Hale. I just read The Princess Academy today and really liked it, though not as much as (most of) the Books of Bayern. She does a very good job of really getting you inside a character's head. (Which can be a bad thing if you don't like the main character, but if you do like him/her, it's excellent.)
  5. Veronica Roth. Why did I not read the Divergent trilogy before? It's way less depressing than The Hunger Games, and seems to have a much better tone. It's not a specifically Christian book, but I could definitely tell that Veronica Roth is a Christian.
  6. Patrick Carr. Yes, I finally read A Cast of Stones and it was pretty awesome. Now I need to get A Hero's Lot from the library. I'm glad that the third book is apparently coming out in January.
  7. Angie Sage. If you like fantasy, you have to read the Septimus Heap series. I discovered it this summer through some friends on the Underground (who actually don't know they recommended it to me), and loved it! It's exciting, with lots of twists, but there's also quite a bit of humor, which keeps it from getting too dark.
And that's it. Hope you enjoyed my post!

Another giveaway

I feel like I'm doing a lot of advertising and not much else on this blog lately. Oh well.

Anyway, Gillian Adams is doing another winter giveaway at her blog, Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant! She's giving away the first three books in Chuck Black's Kingdom Series, the first Ranger's Apprentice book, and- most exciting to me- Kestral's Midnight Song by J.R. Parker. The last one was written by one of the Underground oldies, so quite a few people there have read it. I want to read it, but haven't been able to.

Also, the Veiled Rose read-along is still going on, and it's getting more awesome every day. You should
definitely check it out!

Finally, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is awesome. And amazing. And Tauriel was even cooler than I expected, though a certain relationship was just no. One does not do that. (Can't say exactly what, of course. Spoilers.) And oh my pumpernickel; Smaug was . . . wow. I'm kind of picky about dragons in movies/pictures because they so rarely look the way I think they should, but Smaug was pretty much perfect. And I want to live in Mirkwood, but preferably before or after it's Mirkwood, because the halls of the Elven King are beautiful. Even the dungeon level is pretty. Really. And I could talk your ear off about it, probably, but for the sake of those who haven't watched the movie yet, I won't.

Nai haryuvalyë melwa rë!*
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

*May you have a lovely day!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Veiled Rose Read-Along

Hey'a, everyone! It's the first of December, the start of the season of Christmas- and the Veiled Rose read-along!

Veiled Rose is one of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, one of my favorite series in the world. For this blogging book club, Anne Elisabeth Stengl will post on her blog every day about a new chapter of Veiled Rose. She'll give us insights into the writing club, post questions for discussion, and each week, you'll have a chance to win an autographed copy of the book! Today's post, on the prologue, was really interesting, and I'm super excited for the rest of the month. I hope you'll join in too!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)