Thursday, November 27, 2014

11 {Bookish} Facts About Me

I recently came across a tag that Bookworms in Dresses recently participated in where she answered 11 questions about herself. She didn't tag anybody specifically to continue on with the tag, but she did write her own 11 questions and invited anybody to answer that might feel like participating. You can probably guess by her name, but the questions written by Bookworms in Dresses are very literary in nature, which is just fine by me. Without further ado, here are some bookish facts about me!
If you could take up residence in a book, which would it be and why?
This is such a tough question! Let's see . . . I think getting to be in Love, Stargirl would be pretty great - the entire community surrounding Stargirl seem pretty connected and happy all the time :) Then again, that could be because they have Stargirl in their lives XD But I'd love to be one of her friends, so that seems like a good enough book as any.
What is your least favorite book you've ever read?
I'm trying to remember what the exact title of it was . . . it was a vampire YA book, I think the main character was named Maya or something, it kept referencing Dracula because that's what they were reading in their 9th grade English class and it ends with the girl getting turned into a vampire and all her friends and family are around and are super happy. The ending was rushed and it was incredibly lame, I remember closing the book and hating the amount of time I'd lost while reading the book.
Did you ever judge a book by its cover and then go back and read it and end up loving it?
Truth be told, I held off reading If I Stay for the longest time because I really didn't like how dismal the paperback cover looked compared to how nice the hardcover copy was. Truth be told, when I read it I took the movie cover edition out on a book loan from my store instead of the original XP Also, a while back I read an advanced reader's copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and wanted to buy myself the book but the original hardcover it came out in looked pretty much horrible. I'm so glad they changed the covers for the series when it got released into paperback, those look so much nicer. I know I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I guess in some ways I do XP
What is your favorite tea? Or do you prefer coffee?
Truth be told I'm not much of a tea drinker; I've only lately attempted to get into tea so that I could be caffeinated during NaNoWriMo. One tea in particular I liked was this orange loose leaf tea I ordered from the Fine Grind Cafe in St. Catharines during the Niagara Region's Night of Writing Dangerously. Just from a sip I could tell how much caffeine it was loaded with. I might have cringed at the taste a little bit, but the caffeine kept me super wired and I ended up writing 10K in one night, which was pretty awesome.
Hard copy books, audio books, or e-books! Which is your favorite way to read?
I'll always adore physical books, being able to hold onto them and get that great book smell, but I love audio books as well, and I love getting them on my iPod as often as I can. I don'town an e-reader, but I've been considering it lately mainly because when I move into my dorm at Humber I'm not going to be able to take many of my books with me.
Do you wear glasses? If not, have you ever worn fake glasses?
I've worn glasses since the 2nd grade. I used to hate them with a passion, and was so excited in the 8th grade when I finally got contacts. Sometime in university though I came to appreciate them again, and now I wear them the majority of the time unless I feel like being vain for the evening :P
Do you have a crush on a character from a book/show/anything?
Oh yeah, a bunch! I absolutely adore Dash from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, I've always liked Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. With regards to shows, I adore Neil Caffrey from White Collar and of course Sherlock from BBC's Sherlock, that goes without saying.
What was the first book you remember reading as a child?
This a tough one . . . I think the first book I remember getting as a gift (either that or through a Scholastic order) was We Share Everything by Robert Munsch. I adored that book :) Quick story for you, in grades 5 and 6 at my school they held Creative Oratory competitions, wherein you had to recite a children's book in a compelling manner. For both years I entered I used Robert Munsch books, and both years I ended up winning 1st place :)
What is your favorite season? Why?
Normally I'd say summer, hands down, but this past year I was really looking forward to the fall. And now I'm not so much looking forward to winter (never been a big fan of the snow) but I have been looking forward to Christmastime as it gets closer
Do you have a favorite purse or bag? What makes it your favorite? (Mine fits a book perfectly!)
Truth be told, with the exception of things like clutches which you'd bring to a place where it would be socially unacceptable to sit and read in the corner, I never buy a purse unless I can fit at least 1 hardcover/2 paperbacks/3 volumes of manga inside of it. Otherwise I hardly consider it a purse XD My grandmother actually buys me most of the purses I use. She gets me a Soprano bag for pretty much every Christmas and she knows I need to carry around my precious tomes, so every bag she's ever gifted me has fit that criteria. Most of the time when I'm heading to my school for a quick seminar I bring my Great Gatsby tote with me.
Are you a cat person? Or a dog person?
I'm probably more of a dog person, because I've only ever had a dog at my house, our little annoying Nikki. But I do like cats just fine. My grandmother has a white cat named Maxine, or Max for short, and she's a bit of a priss but otherwise we get along just fine.
That was a really fun tag to participate in, and I hope you guys enjoyed it! If you want to answer the same questions as I just did, check out the Bookworms in Dresses post and comment on her post with a link to your own. And I will include here the questions that she herself answered, because I think they're better and more fun than anything I can come up with at the moment. Knowing me I'd just end up repeating the same questions I ask in the Geeks Run The World posts XD So here are the questions for the 11 Facts tag:

If you could up and go to anywhere in the world for the rest of the day, where would you go, who would be your travel buddy, and what would you see/do there?
You've just had an insanely ridiculously tiring and stressful day at school/work/blogging in your pajamas with hot tea and macaroons all day. Top 3 ways to de-stress?
Who do you think are the two most influential (guy and girl!) people in the world today?
What song best fits your personality?
If you could re-name yourself, what would it be?
Best blogging tip you've received?
The most popular 3 websites in your computer history?
Go-to piece(s) in your wardrobe right now?
What are you most excited for right now?
What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?
Do you watch Scandal? (if not, get on that.)

Anybody is welcome to participate, although I'm going to tag a few people for the fun of it. For this 11 Facts post I'm going to tag Krystelle, Jen, Mia, Zoe, and Shawna to answer the same questions I answered, or if you'd like to ask the original 11 questions then that's fine too. If anybody else would like to answer any of these questions, comment below with a link to your post so I can read it. Keep me posted!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Wish Lists #7

Happy Wednesday y'all! Hope everyone is enjoying the midweek madness. Haven you guys started your Christmas shopping yet? Are some of you completely done already? If so I envy you, because I am super behind XP I'm hoping to get all my physical shopping done soon so I have time in December between final assignments and my exam and constant shifts at the bookstore to work on the handmade gifts I intend on sending out. Until then, at least I'm nearly done building my Christmas list! Here are a few of the items that have made it on there.
#1: "Custom Rubber Return Address Stamp" from IGGPPC: The Official Store on Storenvy! I'd adore to be able to just add a bit of ink (any colour or type of ink that I'd like, which is why I like the rubber stamp over the self-inking stamp option) and be able to stamp my return address onto any envelope or package that I see fit. How great would that be? Plus the design of these are rather pretty :) This is goin' on the Christmas list for sure!
#2: Never Have I Ever: My Life (SO FAR) Without a Date by Katie Heaney! I've been eyeing this book at my store for a while now. Since I'm once again single, I feel like I might get a few good laughs, as well as take a few tidbits of advice from the pages of this book. It look like it's something I would get a kick out of reading.
#3: "Sherlock Holmes Bored Hair Bow" by FangirlyStorm on Etsy! I look at this and think, "Looks like it's time to Get Bored and Shoot the Wall! XD I've been collecting more and more hair bows over the past few months because I find them really fun to wear, and the super geeky ones are definitely the best ones. So far I only have about three, and I hope to add more to my collection soon.
#4: You Have to F**king Eat by Adam Mansbach! Some of you may remember me mentioning that I have been a picky eater since I was a kid. Although unlike most kids, I never grew out of it and am still a super picky eater. I picked up this book at the store where I work and found it hilarious. Whoever is the first person that sees this and buys it for me. They win. I have no idea what they would win, but they would just win XDD
#5: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera! The first time I ever saw these things was during my first trip to Michael's craft store with my mom, and I thought they were the coolest thing. At first I didn't want one myself all that much because I've gotten into such a habit of taking pictures and immediately uploading them to Instagram. But I thought taking pictures with this camera would give me some pictures that would help me decorate my bedroom, and then eventually my dorm room.

What's on your wish lists this week? Have you guys started on your Christmas lists yet? Let me know in the comments bellow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meet Zoë Gulliksen / BookishBelle!

Happy Tuesday! It's time to meet another great geek, Zoë Gulliksen, aka BookishBelle! The person who nominated her wishes to remain anonymous, but assured me that Zoë is a very cool geek that is smart, funny and talented.
So, without further ado, let's hear from Zoë!
TWW(s): As of this moment, what are your Top 5 Geek Loves?
Zoë: My true geek loves will always be Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Studio Ghibli, my Nintendo 3DS, and everything having to do with movies.

TWW(s): If you had to describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be? Why those words?
Zoë: I would describe myself as quirky, meek, friendly, creative and aloof because I'm usually all over the place but very personable, quiet, and often found with my nose in a book.

TWW(s): What is the #1 thing in your life that you are the most excited about right now? Something that you're just dying to fangirl/gush about?
Zoë: Right now I can't stop talking about The Newsroom, a show on HBO written by Aaron Sorkin starring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. It's about people who run a cable network nightly news program, and the writing is just incredible. Plus, Mortimer did the English dub voice of Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle, so there's a good nerdy connection!
TWW(s): I LOVE THE NEWSROOM! It's one of my favorite shows! Are you excited for the final season? Also, I didn't know she did the voice for Sophie, that is amazing, I can totally hear it now XD We need to fangirl about The Newsroom together sometime :P
TWW(s): If you had to pick a character from The Newsroom that is the most similar to you, who would it be? (My ex thinks I'm quite similar to Sloan XD)
Zoë: I wish I could say Mackenzie is most like me, as I have such a girl crush on Emily Mortimer. But I think I'm more like Maggie because she's very earnest and always want to try hard but screws up a lot. As Mac says in the first episode, "She's me before I grew into myself and got hotter with age." So perhaps there's hope for me yet!

TWW(s): Describe a typical day in your life. Where do you go? What do you do?
Zoë: Right now I'm the office manager at a medical institute, so I spend most of my daytime hours there. After work I read or write, spend time with my family or friends. On the weekends I spend time with my boyfriend where I make him watch movies he's never seen (such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings!) and in exchange I watch football all day Sundays.
TWW(s): If you could travel anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why? A foreign country, the world of your favorite novel, sky's the limit!
Zoë: Quite easily it would be to go to New Zealand. I wouldn't choose Middle Earth because of the lack of indoor plumbing, but NZ is a perfect realistic alternative because I can still visit Hobbiton. It's my greatest dream to travel there and do the 3 week  LOTR tour and see everything the country has to offer.

TWW(s): Reading any good books right now?
Zoë: Right now I'm currently reading, Howard Highes: His Life and Madness by Donald L. Bartlett & James Steele. I'm a huge movie nerd and I love reading about classic Hollywood icons, so Hughes was net up on the list of biographies to devour.
TWW(s); Tell us about how you got started with your blog.
Zoë: I started blogging heavily in middle school on Xanga.com (remember that?!) and then I just always had some sort of blog. My current one was started in 2010 after I attended a party by blogger Kitty Bradshaw. She has sponsored companies giving out prizes, doing manicures, and an alcohol company giving out free booze! I thought, she writes about her life and gets to share free stuff with her readers? I need to do this.

TWW(s): When did you first become and iggle and how did you originally hear about the IGGPPC?
Zoë: I first heard about IGGPPC when the lovely ladies first started it! I was one of the lucky first round members because I signed up as soon as Jen tweeted about it.
TWW(s): Tell us about any pen pals you've met through the IGGPPC!
Zoë: I've only met my pen pal Jen through IGGPPC but she is a most wonderful pen pal to have! We were paired up really really well. We both have a weakness for Star Wars and coffee and I'm super jealous that she lives near Seattle!
TWW(s): When did you start self-identifying as a geek?
Zoë: I assume I was just always a geek. I saw Star Wars the weekend before kindergarten and that just really made me who I am today. From then on I was only friends with people who knew about things like Jedis and Sailor Moon and Digimon.
TWW(s): Who's your favorite Star Wars character? Favorite Sailor Scout? Favorite Digimon? Couldn't resist asking XD
Zoë: My favorite Star Wars character is most assuredly Han Solo: he's charming and a scoundrel and somehow always ending up doing the right thing plus he looks like he kisses like a master ;) My favorite Sailor Scout has always been Sailor Jupiter because she was a brunette that towered over everyone, much like myself growing up. My favorite Digimon is Zephyrmon because she looks badass plus her digi-destined is named Zoe in the English dub!

TWW(s): Look at the Iggle Manifesto and tell us your favorite line from it, or the line you'd like to most apply to yourself, and why.
Zoë: The last line of the new Manifesto speaks to me the most as a writer: "I will pick up a pen and paper, and I will encourage others to do the same." I almost feel like I need to stand upon a school desk and recite the line at the top of my lungs. My favorite line from my favorite books is, "Tell them stories" from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. I will dedicate my life to telling stories, and I will encourage others to do the same.
Want to get to know Zoë? Check her out on:
Twitter - Instagram - Blog - zoe@bookishbelle.com
Say hello & tell her how awesome she is!

Monday, November 24, 2014

If I Stay - YA Bingo

Completed on: November 23rd
# of Pages: 237
Bingo Category: A Book That Became A Movie
Here's a book I've been waiting to read - and write about - for a long time now. I wanted to go and see the movie in theaters but the timing never seemed to work out and I never got the chance before it was taken out of my town. I held off on reading the book until I was a little less busy with school and work, and now that school is winding down a bit, you're getting all of these book reviews from me out of the blue! I'll be finished my reading challenge before you know it!

So let's chat about If I Stay - and keep in mind that, even though the movie was released onto Blu-Ray and DVD recently, I still haven't seen it, but I plan to pick up a copy the next time I run into one. If you've seen the movie trailer than you know that the main premise is that a girl is in a horrific car accident with her family and both of her parents end up dead on the scene, whereas Mia is practically ripped from her body and left to watch the scene unfold, from the moments after the impact to everything that happens to her in the hospital while her body is lying there in a medically-induced coma. In case you haven't seen the trailer yet, here it is:
From the moment I saw the trailer, I was quite excited to start reading this book. Even before the movie buzz had been generated I'd had this book recommended to me, but one of the main reasons I held off was that the paperback copy looked so dismal, the idea of reading it depressed me. That's why I took out the movie tie-in edition as a book loan from my store instead of the original copy, and that's why I've got the movie cover displayed up above. Plus, with this bingo category, it's pretty fitting.

I enjoyed the style in which this book was told, with it being partly present-time events of the accident and what's happening with Mia in this disembodied form in the hospital and then switching every once and a while to flashbacks. I also liked that these flashbacks weren't always told in order of how they occurred in her life; they were determined by what memory was sparked from the events happening in the present time, and that just seems like an amazing way to do it. I did like Mia as a character; she's far from perfect, and as she wrestles with the decision to let herself die or to stay and try and go on living, the reader honestly isn't sure what her decision will be. Take me for example, did I know this book had been made into a movie and Hollywood demands happy endings the majority of the time? Yes. Did I know that there was going to be a sequel? Yes. Even with that information in mind, I honestly wasn't sure what her decision would be, and I will not spoil others to what it was if you haven't read the book or seen the movie. I'm curious whether or not the second book will get its own film adaptation as well, and I can't wait to watch the film now that I've seen the book.
3 More To Go!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apparition - YA Bingo

Completed on: November 19th
# of Pages: 275
Bingo Category: A Book with an Epic Love Story
So before I get into the actual discussion/review of this book, I have a little story to share. I was talking with my manager about book series that we would recommend to the other, looking specifically for suspenseful stories after I had finished reading The Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant. To her, I told her she should read the Burn for Burn series by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, since the series takes quite a few interesting turns. For me, she mentioned Apparition. According to her, a gentleman had come into the store one day to buy this and (if I'm remembering correctly) declared proudly that, "My sister wrote this!" My manager nodded politely, perhaps not taking him seriously at first, but then she took a look at another copy of the book and say that the author is actually from Ontario, in an area that isn't too far off from our own.

Canadian YA books FTW! XD Aside from Eric Walters, Kelley Armstrong and William Bell, I don't know of too many authors that are Canadian that write young adult fiction. Not only did this book capture the setting of a more northern Ontario (northern compared to where I live at least), but the story in general was incredibly enjoyable, and it made me happy to have another Canadian YA author that I can recommend at work.

So now time to chat about Apparition: It's a supernatural crime story, where Amelia has been able to see ghosts her entire life, a fact made relevant to her after her mother passes away from an illness. After one of her best friends dies in a mysterious way it opens up an investigations into all of the murders that have occurred in the Telford Barn over the years. It's a very compelling novel, quite the page turner. It's a suspense novel that even the faint of heart can enjoy.

Amelia, the protagonist of this story, is quite the interesting character. She experiences copious amounts of personal growth throughout the course of the novel, and aside from the fact that she can see ghosts I find her very unique from other leading ladies in young adult fiction. But let's chat about her love life, because that's the bingo square I chose to file this book under. At first it might seem like Amelia's love life is virtually non-existent - the one guy she happens to have a crush on is her best friend, Matthew, and she never ends up getting up the courage to tell him how she feels before he passes away from what looks like a suicide attempt. But during her investigation of his death and the other mysterious deaths that have occurred in the same barn, she partners up with an older journalist Morris, and from there she meets his nineteen year-old son Kip.

One thing that I like about the love plot between Kip and Amelia is that nothing is forced - they start off from a very neutral place (and of course all the while Amelia is marveling at how gorgeous Kip is and how it's impossible that he can't have a girlfriend XD), and how they feel about one another progresses over time, of course with the obstacles thrown in of Amelia being able to see the ghost of her first love and of her idea that Kip has a girlfriend or two back in Chicago. Nothing about how they get to know each other and start to develop feelings towards each other is unrealistic, and without spoiling anything about the story, it ends off in a great place for the next book, with plenty of questions left to be answered and plenty of fun to be had. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Characters That I Would Invite To My Thanksgiving Feast

Happy Friday! And to all of you Americans out there, Happy Belated Thanksgiving! By the by, I think every American that was happy by me wishing them a Happy Belated Thanksgiving should also wish me, and other Canadians out there a Happy Belated Thanksgiving as well, since our Thanksgiving happened in early October. Just sayin' :P Anyway, time for which fictional characters I would invite to my fictional Thanksgiving feast. 

And this feast in question would most definitely be fictional. Because I don't like a lot of the foods associated with Thanksgiving, if I were to host a feast all I would be able to serve is McDonald's burgers, a plate full of grilled cheese halves, a massive bowl of chicken noodle soup, and a large batch of my spiced roasted potatoes. Probably not your traditional feast XD Either way, hopefully the characters I chose to invite will appreciate a very quirky Thanksgiving!
#1, #2 & #3: Stargirl, Dootsie and Mary Lou from Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Close to the end of one of my favorite YA novels, Love, Stargirl, there is actually a Thanksgiving dinner that takes place, and like my feast would be it is one that varies from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The host of this dinner is help by an agoraphobic woman, Mary Lou, in her home, and this is probably one of the only times in the book that she is dressed in something aside from her purple bath robe and red slipper socks. She entertains her guests, including Stargirl's parents, with various dramatic and hilarious stories, which would be a great addition to my own Thanksgiving feast.
Dootsie is a 6 year-old who is energetic and silly and loves smashing potatoes at Mary Lou's. If she were allowed to by Mary Lou and Stargirl she would smash the potatoes using her feet like how she has seen people smashing grapes on TV XD And Stargirl, if she existed in real life, is somebody I would greatly idolize and would long to have as a friend, and she is very much the glue that brings everybody together to Mary Lou's for Thanksgiving dinner.
#4: Katie from Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Let's say that even though I myself don't like typical Thanksgiving day foods, maybe I would still want there to be some more traditional options for my guests (and my family if they're stuck attending this thing too). I would bring in Katie from Bryan lee O'Malley's most recent graphic novel Seconds to do all of the cooking! She loves to cook, so I doubt it would be much of an inconvenience. Plus Katie as a character is hilarious, and once she's done cooking she would be one of my guests and she would be a real hoot to have around for a lengthy meal.
#5: Lizzie Bennet from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries by Bernie Su. There are many reasons why I would like to spend a day hanging out with Lizzie Bennet, but there are a few specific reasons that would pertain to my Thanksgiving feast. For one, she's a funny girl, and she's an educated young woman that is a great conversationalist. Plus she reads just as much as I do XD But another reason I'd invite her to my Thanksgiving feast would be so that she could slyly convince everyone at my feast to take pounds of food home with them as leftovers, like she does after her own Thanksgiving in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries when she talks about guaranteeing to convince Charlotte to take home a gallon of turkey soup XD That is a skill that would come in handy :P
Bonus: Tiffany from Job Hunters! This is one of my favorite ongoing web series right now. I think it'd be great to have Tiffany from Job Hunters at my feast because she could help me co-host, and would be able to serve everybody hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows once everyone is done eating dinner :)

How did you Americans spend your Thanksgivings? And for any Canadians that can remember back to October, how did you guys spend Thanksgiving this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Girl Online - YA Bingo

Completed on: November 16th, 2014
# of Pages: 346
Bingo Category: A Book with a Female Heroine

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you - Zoella's new YA book has finally hit the shelves! And let me tell you, it is everything that I hoped it would be and more. (Also, for anyone outside of Canada who is wondering why I was able to get this before the 25th, I didn't get an advanced copy or anything; Apparently Girl Online isn't on the strict release list in Canada, so once it arrived at the store it was able to be put on the shelves).

I could easily write about this book under the Bingo Category of A Book With an Epic Love Story, because it truly is - Penny goes to New York City and while she normally defines herself as an International Clumsy Disaster (or something to that effect), she ends up falling head over heels for the Rock Star God-looking Noah from Brooklyn, whom she dubs Brooklyn Boy on her blog. But I decided instead that I had to write about this book with a focus on Penny herself. The main reason I was looking forward to this book so much (aside from its illustrious author) was because I knew it was centered around a character that suffers from panic attacks and anxiety. This isn't a topic that has been completely ignored in YA fiction (Cat from Fangirl of course exhibits many anxious tendencies), but it still felt really important to have a character who feels that panic attacks are slowly consuming their life, not just because I felt I could relate to this idea but because it is an under represented element in YA fiction (perhaps in all fiction) and Girl Online is helping to raise awareness for what it's like to live with anxiety and panic attacks.

One thing I was very grateful for was that it didn't just feel like Zoella, whom I have something of an idea about from the videos on her main channel and on her vlogging channel, was transporting herself into her book as a teenager with all the same personality quirks and problems. Penny is most definitely her own separate person from Zoella, even if they're both bloggers and they both have a deep love for "fairy lights" as they're called in the UK. Also, it's clear that Zoella's had plenty of exposure to the states, that or she thoroughly did her research, because I was happy to see a definite distinction between the way her characters from the UK spoke and how her American characters spoke. This might be a piddly detail to some people, but it means a lot to me when you're using different accents and lingos when you go the extra mile to research and don't just force your own lingo onto all of your characters, no matter their nationality. I'm hoping that makes at least some sense?

I adored the characters in Girl Online, not only Penny but of course the amazing Noah and the unforgettable Elliot (I wonder if he gets his unique style inspiration from watching videos of Tyler Oakley? ;) ). Even Penny's older brother Tom made me think of my own older brother and how he would react if I was in a similar situation to Penny.

Anyway, I could easily ramble about this book all day. This is one of those YA books that, like the works of Sarah Dessen, I would easily recommend it to anybody that likes YA and either wants a good read or perhaps wants to get into reading more seriously or that is just looking for something unique and different. Truth be told, the other 2 copies of Girl Online that are at the bookstore where I work are already donning a Staff Pick sticker with my name on it :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Wish Lists #6

Happy Wednesday everybody! Hope you're enjoying your mid-week traditions. Me, I am probably sitting at a write-in right now hoping to get ahead of the curve on my NaNoWriMo word count. Wish me luck! And in the meantime, take a look at my wish list for this week!
#1: I WANT TO SEE INTO THE WOODS IMMEDIATELY INSTEAD OF HAVING TO WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS!! That's probably self-explanatory, but I'm going to get into it anyway. I adore Meryl Streep, I adore Johnny Depp (although I don't find him attractive in the same way that other people seem to), I adore Emily Blunt, and I also adore Anna Kendrick, and for so many reasons I want to go and see this upcoming movie.
#2: "Love Post" from LaPapierre on Etsy! Isn't this stationary adorable? :) I found it when I discovered the Pen Pal of the Week blog & Twitter account. They had a giveaway containing this stationary. I didn't end up winning that giveaway, but I've continued to lust after this stationary XD
That giveaway also made me very aware of something: Upon entering the giveaway, I had to answer whether or not I preferred lined or unlined stationary. I found out that while I love decorative paper, with how crummy my handwriting is I typically need lines to write on in order for my recipients to be able to read what I've written for them.
#3: "Harley Quinn Underwear Set" from Hot Topic! These not only look pretty incredible, but I bet these are super comfy too. Saw these in a recent Hot Topic email newsletter, and felt that this was something that I should definitely share with you guys. I used to have a Superman set with a top like that and shorts. The top was reversible too. Unfortunately, my dog ended up eating through the bottoms XP She has a terrible habit of eating through any underwear that I accidentally leave lying around. Once during a vacation she ate through a pair of my jeans too, which was pretty darn annoying. If I ended up getting a pair of these, I would definitely try and keep them as far away from my little Pomchi as I possibly could.
#4: The chance to hug Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella! This past Sunday I finished reading Zoe Sugg's first ever novel, Girl Online, which I have been anticipating since I first learned about it. I adore watching Zoe's videos, especially her daily vlogs, which I am currently very far behind on XP Either way, on Saturday night I couldn't sleep. Mainly because I was stressed about my own writing. I wanted to quit NaNoWriMo so badly but felt like I couldn't, and I was thinking about other projects I would rather be putting my energy into and the fact that I have bigger school assignments coming up, and basically I was just stressing out and perseverating until I was in tears.
I knew I needed to calm myself down, and I remembered the copy of Girl Online I had picked up just hours before while I had been out Christmas shopping. I'd already read a couple chapters during one of my breaks at work, so I was starting on Chapter 3, and I just let myself sink into the world that Zoella created. It spoke to me as a blogger, it spoke to me as somebody who also suffers from anxiety and the rare panic attack (thank goodness), and it spoke to me as a girl who is looking to improve her situation, not to please somebody else but for myself and myself alone. If given the chance, I would just really like to give her a hug, tell her how much I enjoyed her book, let her know how much I'm looking forward to all she will write in the future, and most importantly I want to thank her for writing Girl Online and being brave enough to share it with the world. Btw, I will write a review of Girl Online once I have a free moment.
#5: "Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger" from ThinkGeek! Why? Because awesome! Also, because science! And also, because Popular Culture! :P I think those are three perfectly acceptable reasons XD

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meet Sarah Bonilla / AdventGeekGirl!

Happy Tuesday everyone! It's time to meet another amazing Geek. Today I would like to introduce Sarah, aka +(AdventGeekGirl) 
Sarah here was actually nominated by 2 fellow iggles! The first nomination came from Christina, aka @kwsw0917 on Twitter:
"I love her enthusiasm for Table top games. And the message that anyone can play them." - Christina
The second nomination came before this interview was published, from Sarah's 2nd pen pal Krystelle, aka +Krystelle MT:
"I think she'd be a good candidate because she started a tabletop gaming club at the school she teaches at. Kids today need exposure to things like that - activities that make them think, are fun, and require actual face to face people time. And not only that, she also takes the time to write for the +5 Charisma blog - talking about game that some of us might not have heard about otherwise, how to play the games, and even how to throw themed parties to match them if you want to hose a game night! I really admire all that she does for the kids at her school, and for fellow iggles." - Krystelle
So, without further ado, it's time to meet Sarah!
TWW(s): As of this moment, what are your Top 5 Geek Loves?
Sarah: I always find the Top 5 Geek Loves hard without clustering things into super general headings. But here are my general Geek Loves . . . and yes . . . I cheated with slashes . . . sue me!
1. Tabletop Games
2. Zombies (seriously . . . all things zombie)/Ghosts (yes, all things ghost)
3. Sci-Fi (Star Trek/Star Wars/Asimov/TV Stuff)
4. Stephen King (serious Stephen King nerd over here . . . we even have the same initials . . . *swoon*)
5.Foodie/Tea-Lover
6. NUNS!!!

TWW(s): If you had to describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be? Why those words?
Sarah: Silly - No, seriously . . . I'm really super silly. It's even my teaching style.
Sensitive - I've always been very emotional and I wear those emotions on my sleeve. It's a great and terrible trait.
Motivated - I'm driven and never one to back down or be thwarted by failure.
Adventurer - Get me a backpack! Let's do this!
Teacher - Since it takes up most of my waking life, it also gives an indication of my passions and where my heart is.

TWW(s): What is the #1 thing in your life that you are the most excited about right now? Something that you're just dying to fangirl/gush about?
Sarah: I'm super Walking Dead gushy right now. I go against my own bedtime just to be able to watch The Walking Dead AND The Talking Dead and I usually rewatch it at some point too. I started reading the graphic novels earlier and I'm super into all things The Walking Dead (even games right now.)
TWW(s): What would you say are some of your favorite Tabletop games and why? (it's related because you love both Tabetop games and zombies, but right now my friends and I are obsessed with Dead of Winter. It's so much fun to play!)
Sarah: Dead of Winter is fun, but I prefer Zombicide! It's just so epic! But yes, Dead of Winter is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
My favorite game, which now stems a little bit more from nostalgia, is Pandemic. We spent hours upon hours and nights upon nights trying to take down those viruses! We tried combinations and characters and everything. It was so much fun and you never knew how it would turn out. Determination!
I love Cards Against Humanity, but only with close friends. Dixit is another game that is close to my heart. Over the last six months my game collection has exploded and my exposure to games has increased tenfold and I have barely had time to take a breath and really assess the current state of my loves. I do find that I like games that play with a pretty decent clip to them. I don't like long, languishing games where it will give my husband 1/2 an hour to figure out his next move. Trust me . . . he'll find a way.
TWW(s): I'm like that too, take forever to decide what to do on my turn, ask my friends XD

TWW(s): I myself write Tabletop reviews in my spare time - when did you first get into Tabletop games? When did you find that you enjoyed writing about them?
Sarah: I've been playing Tabletop games for years! Going back to Magic: The Gathering in 1997 (and classic games before that). Since then I've expanded and expanded and expanded. My husband, our friend Jum, and I collect games together and whenever we can get together, it is gaming practically 24/7.
I started writing reviews out of a need to find a voice in the gaming community. I used to write film reviews and was a full-fledged film critic until 2009 when I had to reassess my life. It only seemed natural to share my love of games with others and put a fun spin on gaming culture bu adding in my love of food and nerdy-party-ness.
After attending GenCon, I noticed that so many women who gamed were attached to it through their boyfriend or husband or guy friends and I wanted to try to embark on a journey to expose women to games so they can stand alone as informed gaming individuals.
TWW(s): Describe a typical day in your life. Where do you go? What do you do?
Sarah: I get up at 5AM (CST). I try to be out of the house by 6AM so that I can get up to my clasroom and work on my elaborate SMARTBoard lessons for my sixth graders. I call the A-wing of my building "The Tower." At 8:15AM you hear the swarm of sixth graders stomping up the stairs, and a few declaring themselves THE FIRST ON THE FLOOR! After 8:20 my class and I listen to the announcements (which may or may not include an awesome Tabletop Gaming Club Announcement written by yours truly).
My first hour class is Literacy - Reader's Workship. Then I have the same group of kids second hour for Literacy - Writer's Workshop. Third hour is Social Studies. This year I was finally accepted into the ranks of the elite "Literacy - Social Studies Gang." It's really super sweet, because I do really enjoy Literacy and Social Studies. My 4th hour is Literacy - Reader's Workshop with a new group of sixth graders. Then it's recess/lunch. I started a Tabletop Gaming Club at my school last year, so ever lunch/recess my room is filled with gamers.
After we bid the students farewell, teachers can't leave until 3:50PM and, depending on workloads, we might stay later to finish some projects, do book orders, grade papers, etc. Once I leave, I'm either running errands or stopping at the grocery store. I get home around 5PM and I'm probably starting dinner. Gotta greet the wee-one and ask about her day. Greet the dog and the husband. I spend time with my daughter for about an hour and then she goes to bed at around 7/7:30. I jump on the treadmill for about an hour at sometime of the night, it all depends on how the night goes.
I pop on and off the internet, checking email, Facebook, Twitter, IGGPPC, etc. Field phone calls from friends and my mom. Maybe I'll even get in a Tabletop game with my husband. Then I watch TV until about 9PM. I head to bed at 9 and am asleep typically by 10PM. I read my Kindle and try to relax until my eyes betray me and I'm out. Then it's up again at 5AM to do it all again.

TWW(s): How did the Tabletop Gaming Club at your school come to be? When did you start it?
Sarah: I used to use games when I taught Sunday School in North Carolina. It was a way to engage the kids while also talking to them about the ussues and teaching them certain positive skills. So when I started teaching at my school, I wanted something to help build relationships.
Before our school year started, I e-mailed my principal and told her about the idea I had for the club. I explained that it was beneficial for helping to build skills students could use in their academic classes. It also worked to strengthen social skills and analytical thinking. I laid out the format for the club and she approved. So in the fall of 2013, I hosted the first informational meeting and then started teaching a game every other Monday every week for the rest of the year.
The club has been so successful that when we host incentives at our school, I've been given the responsibility of running a large game room in our school's library. We also hosted International Tabletop Day last year, but this year it falls during our Spring Break, so we're going to host another event.
TWW(s): Tell us a bit about your family :)
Sarah: My immediate family is myself, my husband, and my daughter. My husband and I met through AOL in 1997. I did a profile search for writers in North Carolina (my friend had moved there and I thought it'd be fun to meet someone from there) and this one guy was online. So we played e-mail/IM tag for a few days and then we started talking. The rest is history. Married in 2004. In 2009 we found out we were going to have our first child, after moving home from Scotland, and in August 2010 we had our daughter Isabelle.

TWW(s): If you could travel anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why? A foreign country, the world of your favorite novel, sky's the limit!
Sarah: I want to go to New Zealand. I am super in love with the visual settings of the Lord of the Ring and the Hobbit movies and I haven't been to that part of the world. I suffer from Romanticism and it is just too beautiful to not want to visit. Even though it's not on my Geek Loves, I seriously love hobbits.
TWW(s): When did you first become an iggle and how did you originally hear about the IGGPPC?
Sarah: I think it was June 2014. I've been seeking out positive places for Geek Girls to bond together. I always am surrounded and interact with guy geeks all the time and, no offense, but guy geeks have a vibe all their own. Sometimes a girl geek has just gotta let her geek girl out! I think I was browsing or googling girl and geek and the site popped up and I was like "hmm . . . intrigued."

TWW(s): Tell us about any pen pals you've met through the IGGPPC!
Sarah: I actually just got a card from my second penpal in the mail wonderinf if I had gotten her letter. She's addicted to New Kids on the Block, which is awesome! I even was abe to share a childhood story I had about the boy group. We haven't exchanged much, but I think she's super spiffy awesome!

I've also met a few great girls through swaps and they've sent me little cards and postcards. I love how thoughtful everyone is and it really inspires me to be more awesome with how I send out stuff. I wish I could be as focused as some of the awesome ladies on the IGGPPC and remember to send ut lots of cards for things, but then again . . . look at my typical day! ;-)
TWW(s): When did you start self-identifying as a geek?
Sarah: It's funny that you ask, because my whole current persona stems out of myself accepting who I am instead of always trying to be someone I am not. That is how I came up with the name Advent Geek Girl (Advent Rising?).
I've had some incredibly life-altering experience in the past five years that alter your life in an incredibly stressful way. To the point where I started to wonder if I was suffering from some sort of PTSD or something. But being the type of person I am, I'm always moving forward. I started to try to get to the root of my problems and discover the seed of my own happiness. What I started to realize was that there was a term for me that I'd never really applied to myself before: Geek.
As I started to engage myself more and more into the world of geekdom, I found more and more happiness. And the things cnnected to who I was and who I always have been, but I had shunned the label. I was always trying to fit into all these other molds and all these other personas that just didn't seem to fit and always left me feeling frustrated with myself. I haven't felt that frustration throughout the last two years of embracing my inner geek.
I can, though, trace my geek all the way back to my childhood, which probably explains some of my social problems. I always wanted to be part of a crowd that I wasn't meant to be a part of. If only I had known then what I know now.
TWW(s): Thank you so much for your honesty :) I'm sure plenty of geeks out there, including me, can relate to your experiences.

TWW(s): Look at the Iggle Manifesto and tell us your favorite line from it, or the line you'd like to most apply to yourself, and why.
Sarah: Right now I have to apply the most self-oriented lines of, "I will proudly be myself," "I will be my best self, daily," and "I will not doubt myself." I am incredibly self-conscious and I am overly critical of myself all the time. I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist, but I can't seem to accept the fact that I'm REALLY good at things and that I need to be proud of who I am and what I do. I need to be proud of myself, my new found self, and everything that goes with it. I have to empower myself before I can empower and inspire others. Which is weird to say, considering I give 70% of myself to my students every day.
Want to get to know Sarah? Find her on Twitter and tell her how awesome she is and to keep up the good work :)
Also check out her blog, Augmenting Geekology!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

All Of The Updates!

Hey, look! It's a random post showing up out of the blue, giving you guys a quick update about what's been going on in my life. Because of NaNoWriMo, on top of school and other life-related stuff, I haven't been as present on social media and on my blog as often as I would like to be. A lot has been going on lately, and I thought that a few of you might appreciate a little update in a format that is different from my monthly letters that I tend to post at the beginning of each month.

Some of the things I'll be writing about here are updates that relate to just me, but others will relate to other geeks, specifically those geeks that live in my area, so it might be worth it to stick around and skim through the entire thing.
This logo probably isn't going to mean much to anyone reading this, but to me it means a great deal because it's the logo and name of the school that I will be attending through spring and summer of 2015. I found out yesterday (during a NaNoWriMo write-in of all times) that I have gotten in to the Creative Book Publishing Program that I had recently applied to and had interviewed for throughout the past few months. This is a big deal for a number of reasons. It means that I am one step closer to becoming a full-fledged Book Editor at some point in the future. It means that this coming spring I will me moving out of my childhood home, quitting my job and moving to"the big city" to pursue my dreams in a fast-paced, high-demand academic environment. It means that this little geek that has been writing in this little space for almost a year is growing up! XD

I want to thank everyone that extended their congratulations to be, both on Twitter and on the Facebook page. To not only be happy about something on my own, but to also know that others are happy for me and are proud of me, This is a very exciting time in my life, and in many ways this can be seen as a potential beginning of my life, which is huge and pretty scary. To be completely honest the news hasn't really hit me yet, even if I'm able to write about this in a matter-of-fact way.
For those of you that haven't heard about this group before, Geek Girl Brunch was originally founded by 6 geek girls living in the states, and has quickly begun to form into a great community that has spread from that one brunch to other brunches taking place in all corners of the world! The girls behind Geek Girl Brunch actually co-hosted an event at New York Comic Con recently with the IGGPPC, so perhaps you heard of/attended the recent Fan Girls Night Out.

Different chapters for Geek Girl Brunch have been popping up, not just in other states but also in other countries all over - now including Canada :) When I first found out about this great geek girl tradition I was dying to get involved, so I volunteered myself a few months back. Now I have been named one of the Officers for the Niagara Region/GTA Chapter! The starting date for this chapter has not yet been announced - it's still very much in the earliest planning stages. One thing I do know is that I need at least one other Officer, living either in the GTA or in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. I do have a few people in mind that I want to ask, but I thought that I might also post about the position on here. This position requires a definite commitment, and I would like to have at least one officer that has a familiarity with Toronto which I do not possess.

If you live in one of these areas and are interested in becoming a GGB Officer, you can comment below or contact me directly at  kcrules48[at!]hotmail.com.
For anyone that's wondering about how I've been doing during my first ever experience with NaNoWriMo, I'd like to think that so far that it's been going pretty well. As of this moment (and I haven't yet reached my daily word goal but will be doing that next) I have reached 16,056 words! Sure, I'm supposed to reach 25K words today and therefore it's clear that I'm quite behind, but I've still produced 16,056 more words than I would have if I hadn't been participating in NaNoWriMo. I'm planning on attending the Night of Writing Dangerously in my home region this coming Wednesday, and my hope is that I will be able to catch up very soon, I have a personal goal for myself to try and reach 50K by November 28th. That way, when I leave for Aurora on the 29th for the Cruise Family Christmas Party, I can wear the Novelist pin that came in my novel writing kit and proudly share that I won :) That's the dream anyway XD
This book above is one of my favorite YA novels, one that I have started the tradition of re-reading every year close to or during the holiday season. With NaNoWriMo taking place right now I probably won't get to start seriously re-reading this until December. That being said, I have begun to plan a little project, for all you lovely readers, that centers around this book.

Has anyone ever watched a Christmas movie where a family is gathered together, usually around Christmas Eve with their tree already decorated and a fireplace roaring somewhere in the background, where somebody in the family is reading aloud from a copy of Twas the Night Before Christmas. This is a storytelling tradition similar to my personal holiday tradition of re-reading Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, only there's no oral tradition involved. Until now.

This year I will be adding a true storytelling element by creating a Holiday Storytelling Series where this book is going to be read aloud and published as a series of videos, involving a little bit of voice work and some costume theater, but it's not going to be a dramatization as much as a creative oratory. There are going to be 20 of these videos, one for each chapter, and they will be both uploaded to YouTube and published on this blog (for those that are wondering about the copyright issues of this project, I've gained the permission from both authors to create these videos, so no need to fret).

Odds are this will be a project that I will be undertaking all on my own, changing costumes and altering my voice slightly for both the narrative characters. However, I am open to the idea of making this into a long-distance collaboration is anyone is interested in pitching in! Have a video camera? Interested in reading as Dash or Lily for one or multiple videos? Want to help in some other way? Then I welcome your input! Contact me in the comments or via email. This book is readily available to order through Amazon or through your local bookstore, and even if you're not able to help out I still recommend this to everyone I know. It's a hilarious read.
Aside from the storytelling series I've discussed above, for a while now I've been talking about wanting to do something on YouTube that somehow connects to this blog. This is something that I hope to accomplish in the New Year, either in January or in February. So far I don't have much of an idea about what I want to do. I know I enjoy vlogging, and I also enjoy talking to others (or a camera) about the things happening in my life or the things I am interested in. But aside from that, I don't really know how to connect them to the material in this blog.
Should I just create and upload personal vlogs?
Should I become a BookTuber?
Should I discuss some of the things I've learned as an English major and do something similar to Lindsay's Library's Creative Non-Fiction series?
Obviously there are a myriad of choices. But I figured that instead of bogging you down with all of the options, I would instead open the floor to you guys, to hopefully help and give me some ideas. What sorts of videos would you like to see from me? I aim to please, and I will grateful to any sorts of videos that you recommend I should try creating. Whether you want to hear my thoughts on certain topics or learn more about the girl behind the words, fee free to voice your feelings and opinions to me :)

And that is all for this random update! If you have anything to contribute towards any of the aforementioned topics, please comment or email me at your earliest convenience. Keep me posted!

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Smart Phone Apps I Cannot Live Without!

Happy Friday everyone! There's a bunch more link-up #5FandomFriday fun to be had! Now let's talk smartphone apps! Just to give you guys a bit of info first, I have an Android phone, specifically an LG G3, which I adore for many reasons, most of them having to do with how high quality the camera on the phone is :) Anyway, let's chat about apps!
#1: Kik Messenger! Because I have a few friends (specifically my roleplay partner) that lives in the states, I use Kik Messenger because it's a free way that we can message each other back and forth, without a character limit. It does require a WiFi or 3G/4G connection, and there is the downside that you do tend to get a large number of spam messages from guys or girls sending you winking emoticons. but it serves its purpose rather well in spite of that.
#2: Dumb Ways To Die Game! I'm not sure how many of you have seen the original video that was originally a video advertisement/public service announcement made for the Metro system in Melbourne, Australia, but it's pretty funny, plus that song is almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head. Just like the song, this smart phone/tablet game is highly addictive, and also a lot of fun. If you've never tried it, it's a game made up of a bunch of fast-paced mini games where you have a single different objective with each one. Maybe you have to quickly spell the word "Patience" or you need to draw a squiggly line of mustard on top of a hot dog or summon all of your restraint in order to NOT push the big red button that pops up on your screen. I do play this on my smart phone, and I have a high score that is nothing to sneeze at, but I will say that playing this game on a tablet is both a lot more fun and you're less likely to accidentally mess up, and you'll probably end up with a much higher score.
#3: Twitter App/Widget! For me, the easiest way for me to get into the mindset of Twitter is by using the widget on my phone where I can scroll through a handful of Tweets from those that I follow (along with about 3-4 advertisements, always listed in a row XP) and then I open up the full app so that I can read even more, or even to type out a Tweet of my own. I find it highly useful :)
#4: YouTube App! Oh how grateful I am for getting YouTube notifications! Whenever a channel I'm subscribed to released a new video, my phone is always so kind as to let me know. I'm a bit behind with my web series and my vlog watching right now because of NaNoWriMo, but if it weren't for those notifications or having access to YouTube on my phone I'd be watches a lot fewer videos than I normally would.
#5: QuickMemo+! This is an app that came with my new LG G3 phone that I upgraded to this past August. Since getting it, I don't know what I would do without it. It's a great note-taking app that is completely free, no matter how many notes I want to make in a day. I use it for everything from grocery list to novel ideas to brainstorming for upcoming blog posts and projects. This is an invaluable tool and I'm so glad that it was more or less handed to me when I acquired my new phone. Now we are inseparable :)

I am very, very interested in hearing about other people's favorite smart phone apps, so please let me know in the comments, either my just telling me about them or by participating in this link-up as well and posting a link to your own post. Keep me posted!
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