Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Reviewer

I am officially a book reviewer!
I just got my first assignment/book from Tribute Books Blog Tours and my date is July 29th! How exciting! The book is Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? and it looks marvelous. I will be having a giveaway on that day thanks to Tribute Books. And the whole thing is great! *excited screams* Check back every day for new posts but definitely come on July 29th for a fun experience!
~Ashley

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: The Silkworm

As promised, I am doing my review of Robert Galbraith's The Silkworm. 
Characters: 
     I can never complain about this series' characters. Robin Ellacott is fun and spunky as usual. Cormoran Strike is such an amazing detective and I love how he faces so many difficulties; it shows that nobody is perfect. Galbraith did an astounding job with introducing so many new characters. I was thrown into the literary side of things and all of the people were deliciously crafted. They knew their stories and who they were. They knew their careers. I never once questioned the authenticity of them.
     Galbraith also has a way of making so many characters seem awful. He makes you suspect the least likely. Which, in this case, I was completely off and felt terrible because of who I accused. It's not hard for me to dislike people Strike and Robin encounter because they are so horrible. Charlotte, for one, got me so angry I wanted her to be the dead victim. I also began disliking Matthew when I was trying to like him.
Plot:
     I don't think I will ever be able to complain about these plots. In The Cuckoo's Calling, I was fascinated by all the interrogation, all the techniques. In The Silkworm, I was able to follow along and experience totally new things. I got to deduce with Strike and I kept trying to figure out his theories.
     I love the fact that Galbraith does not introduce the conflict with somebody saying they have a dead husband. It was great to anticipate when Quine's body would show up.
     There are so many tiny conflicts in this! But none drag you away from the main conflict; they just add to it. For example, learning about Quine's book. With every revelation we were given, I was thirsting for more. Each one led Strike closer to the murderer.
Ending:
     Phenomenal ending. I suspected nothing, but reading how everything tied together was fantastic. About thirty pages to the end I was literally yelling at my sister because I couldn't figure it out. When I got to that page...whew. I sat there and had to cover up the page so I wouldn't read ahead. Everything was wrapped up so that there wasn't an annoying (but good) cliffhanger. It had a sweet ending, too, with literally all of the mini-conflicts sewed up, as well.
Cover: (Has absolutely nothing to do with overall rating)
     Look at this beautiful thing! It is so pretty! The colors and the mystery and the brick walls! Guys, everything about this novel cover is grand. Even the font. Especially the font.

Overall Rating?
Five stars. Ever so easily.

Downfalls? The third doesn't come out until presumably this time next year.
On the bright side, I heard that there will be seven Cormoran Strike novels. Don't quote me on that, though.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Go buy this book. Seriously. It is worth it. It is more than worth it.
~Ashley

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ireland!

Okay, I know, I was supposed to post yesterday. Oops. I was busy reading Robert Galbraith's The Silkworm. I'll probably review it tomorrow.
     So on top of everything I did yesterday, I also made a PowerPoint dedicated to traveling to Ireland within your home. I'm going to try to link it here so everyone can view it, but I'd also like to say a few things.
     When I was a lot younger, my family traveled to Killarney, Ireland. I remember our hotel (we were I think the only residents currently and the owner had a huge St. Bernard. There was a river out back) and our carriage ride, but not much else. Mom says we went to the Ring of Kerry, Ross Castle, and the Gap of Dunloe. Unfortunately, I remember nothing. So I did some research and this is what I found, among other things.
     -Titanic was made in Belfast, Ireland. You'd think I would know that, having just finished a Titanic book.
     -I found a few towns that are still traditionally Irish. They even speak Gaelic as their first language.
     -I want to go back to Ireland.Okay, I knew this, but still.
There are so many places besides the ones in these slides that I want to visit. I covered major tourist attractions and some places I personally want to see. I tried to keep it somewhat short, as not many people can afford to visit Ireland for months at a time (sigh).
     Have you ever been to Ireland and/or do you want to go [back]?
~Ashley 


Monday, June 23, 2014

Late Night Musings

     Uh, oh. Late night blogging. Now, no need to get worried; this isn't Tumblr. Updates: Editing is going well. I was working in Barnes N Noble and I literally had to keep myself from laughing too hard at certain parts. Job well done. Shoe business is doing good. So...
     I was looking up Nobel Prize winners, how to win, etc. And then I was thinking about things I want to change in the world. First, I'd like to help with homelessness. It kills me to see people out on the streets, especially in horrible weather. So I just want to get people in some sort of shelter that has resources available to suit any sort of need. I'd also like to get rid of corruption in people of authority, but I figure that's close to impossible.
     Then to my mind came the topic of cancer. And I thought to myself, cancer is mutation. Now, I'm no expert, so don't think I know anything in detail. But if cancer is a mutation and cells keep multiplying, we need a way to get the mutation out completely. For good. Gone. That would be a cure, correct? So I'm not sure how possible this is (with modern technology and body functions), but there has to be a way to somehow delete the cancer from cells. Maybe delete half the cell then more each time. Or somehow reverse the cells all at once. Does that even make sense?
     I've also breached the topic of multiple sclerosis and finding a cure for that. Again, not an expert, so I don't really know if there is one yet. But a friend of mine talked to me one day and asked that if I was to find a cure to anything in the world, could it be MS? He said his mother had it and there wasn't a cure. So, again, I want to help. Not even sure if that is possible. Then again, I'm not even sure these ramblings make sense.
~Ashley

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mr. H. Potter

     I've had a Harry Potter filled week so far, so I will throw in a Harry Potter blog post! So, on top of a giveaway that I may be working in (and of course putting on here), I've been helping at my community college with a HP class.
     Our class did sorting and wand choosing Monday, spellbooks and wizard duels Tuesday, Potions Wednesday, and Quidditch today. Wow. I've had a blast, and the kids loved it. I got rather attached to a few of them so it sucks that it's over.

     A few students dressed up throughout the class and I found a young Hermione and a young Harry. Yeah, I got pictures and I wanted to take the children home but apparently some people view that as "kidnapping", so....

     I've been knitting myself a Weasley sweater-didn't think I could really get more geeky, did you? And oh my gosh it looks so comfy! I'm never going to take it off!

I also got a wedding order for my HP Toms. Awwww:)

     I'm thinking about starting a community quidditch league in my city. Not sure if I'll be able to, but I want to try. So many of us nerds need exercise.

   
     This is off-Harry-topic so I spaced it down a bit more. My editing is coming along great. I'm halfway done. Not sure if that's normal, but I'm actually switching my novel to a trilogy with a prequel. So kind-of a quartet? So I know what I want to keep and what has to go. But I found some quotes that are so poetic and dang I had to sit back and compliment myself (No, really. I literally wrote "You are so perf, Ashley")

     So, yeah, I've had a fun week. I hope yours is going well (currently there aren't actually any "you's" yet, so whatever). And know that if I can motivate myself to move off the couch daily, you can get up and keep going.
~Ashley

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: This Star Won't Go Out

     I just finished This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Grace Earl yesterday. And I must say, it was phenomenal. Every page was something better than the one before. The book was an inspirational read and really sweet. Here is my review.

     This book is a collection of Esther Earl's journal entries, her parents' blog entries, and basically anything that has to do with Esther.
     Esther has a way of writing that is very moving. She writes about her life, but she doesn't blur the edges. Everything she says is how it happened; it's real. She herself is real. She got drunk. She wants to have some sort of relationship with a guy. She kept secrets from her parents. And all those things are included. They aren't omitted because it would make Esther seem like a "bad" daughter. Instead, they are there and present and show how relate-able she is.
     Esther changed so many lives and the book explains that. Everything she has done, or inspired people to do is there and it is amazing to read about. Think about your favorite person who has a biography that is just somewhat fascinating. Now up the interesting tidbits by about two hundred percent and you have TSWGO.
     I loved reading the chats and conversations Esther had with her friends in their online group, Catitude. I loved seeing how the friendships grew so strong so that nothing could break them. This book probed even the deepest bonds between people and exposed them to the world (that sounds awful, but trust me, it turned out great).
     The book explains how Esther loved so wholly and deeply. Everyone who knew her mentions that at some point when they wrote. She seems like someone I would have loved to meet.
     Other side. Yes, I have read some of the reviews that say "I just don't see what is so remarkable about Esther." And I understand where you are coming from, even if I do not agree in this particular case, because, wow, this girl did so much in her life, just by living. She inspired so many and she wanted to help as much as she could and more. But, I get what you reviewers are saying. I used to read magazine articles saying, "Sixteen-year-old runs marathon for her dad, who passed away due to ________" and I always said to myself, "I ran a marathon when I was fifteen. Where's my article?" But the fact remains that you have to blow on the flame a bit. You have to be good enough at what you do to inspire someone who has influence. Which Esther did. Both by making her own YouTube videos and by meeting John Green, Andrew Slack, Paul deGeorge, and many more. She was so good at loving and encouraging and living that she inspired some "top people". Therefore, she is known. If you want to be known for something, get out into the world and do something. Something inspirational, preferably. Robbing a bank will not get you millions of fans. Hopefully.

     I am horrible at reviews so I hope this makes at least somewhat sense to you, readers. If you have read the book, drop a comment. Favorite quote, picture, anything. Just let me know.
~Ashley

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Thief Toms

     I hope everyone had an acceptable weekend and I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday. I was busy with many things. Like, I finally printed my manuscript. Yay! I shall begin editing shortly. Since I don't have a bunch to talk about, I'll share a picture of the new Toms I made: The Book Thief themed.
 

     So this is what I have been up to, and I actually despised shipping them off to their new home. But, alas, I had to. One lucky girl gets to wear these around. Ugh, I'm jealous. 
     In other news, MuggleNet is hosting their annual Harry Potter O.W.L.s. So far, I've taken Divination (A), Ancient Runes (P), Arithmancy (P), Care of Magical Creatures (O), and Muggle Studies (no results yet). How fun? 
     I've designed a Merlin (BBC) pair of Toms. And now I'm dying to get them. Hmmm. I'm planning a backpacking trip through Europe. I have an England vacation planned. More on that tomorrow, though. 
     I found my list of writing ideas. And I added it to my already large list. Currently, I think I have six to write and two to rewrite. 

     That's my Monday and Tuesday. So question time. If you could meet anybody in the entire world, who would you choose? Past, present, or future. I would love to meet my great grandmother again, because she witnessed the entire 20th century which would be an amazing topic. Now you choose.
~Ashley

Friday, June 13, 2014

Odyssey

Not Homer's, mine. To Italy last year. Specifically, to Siena. 
     Now, I'd never heard of Siena, but our tour guide had us make the day trip when we were near. I must say, it is my favorite place in Italy now. I would like to live there for a while when I'm old and decrepit. The beauty astounds me and even the little tourist venues in the squares. I found my first Italian crepe in a Siena shop. And every single person we met was helpful in some way.
     Things to do. If you are in the area in July and August, you can watch the Palio. The Palio is a race in the Piazza del Campo. Ten horseback riders compete in the historic race that started on August 16, 1656. You can walk the streets; it isn't huge so no worries about being lost for hours. The streets are lovely and you can walk to the University of Siena, close to Piazza del Campo. If you are one for exercise, you can climb the beautiful Torre del Mangia, literally the 'Tower of the Eater' (the name comes from the builder). I personally did not get to climb the tower due to time, but if someone has, let me know how it was. There is also a small church on the way in; stop there, take pictures. Find the ledge that overlooks Siena and get a landscape view. 

     There are little restaurants lining the squares, along with many snack shops on the streets. We stopped for lunch and had pasta then found a sweet shop wandering back. So no worries about food. Clothing stores are abundant and as I mentioned before, you will find some sort of tourist venue in Siena, no matter where you are. They sell everything from postcards to scarves. We also found a candle store with workers that made their own candles. They would personalize any for free when we went.
     I am not claiming to be an expert; I was there for part of one day. However, I do think I saw more of it than some people get the chance to. If you are ever near, do not miss this little town.
~Ashley
 

Personally, my favorite view from a little street bridge

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A little more...

     Before you all get your knickers in a twist, yes, I know I said weekly blog updates. But here I am, lazing around my house when my best friend tells me that she looked up 'How to be a successful blogger'. And one of the top things was to post daily. So hi.
     While I'd like to tell you how much writing I have done in the last twenty-four hours, I'd be lying. I've been watching YouTube videos and finding new fandoms. Ugh, I need to write.
     I have been informed that I should be meeting James Dashner (again), Veronica Roth (hopefully this time she has more time to chat), and many others at YALLFest. So I figure I may try to interview a few, whether for this blog or for my own personal benefit. I suppose you will know if I post them.
     No idea what to write...
Have one of my favorite Merlin edits of all time.
     I have been considering very deeply what this blog will contain and I think I have decided. So I will probably post on weekdays. Not weekends because I'm particularly lazy then and I won't be bothered to pick up my laptop. I am definitely going to be talking about my writing and any updates that come with it. Books are a given, as is anything closely related (fandom stuff). I've also decided to throw in some travel. I mentioned that I love to travel and I want to put some things that I have done, along with where I am planning on going. Or maybe I'll get science-y and explain natural phenomenons, such as the Northern Lights and the Bermuda Triangle. I want to throw in a touch more of personal stuff, so I'll blog about my bucket list. Not much, I promise, but just enough. And only the cool stuff. I won't bore you with the other things. Lastly, I will probably do the occasional book review. Not enough to make this a review blog, but just for some of my favorite books. Perhaps I'll only do new books, such as Robert Galbraith's The Silkworm. Who knows? There will be the random posts. I won't even apologize; they will just be here. 
     So there you have it. The main gist of my blog that is currently just a baby. Enjoy your lives; you never know which day could be your last! Woah, Ashley is getting philosophical now.
~Ashley

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Welcome!

     So...I got a blog! I've actually contemplated making one for a while, but you know, the summer is when I get bored and do things I wouldn't normally do. So now I have one.
     I suppose I'll introduce myself. I am a young writer from America. I am a fangirl of many things; I'm not ashamed. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Maze Runner, The Book Thief, etc. Yes, I have read many of the 'popular' books, such as Divergent, Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars. I am always ready to talk about any book.
     I write. A lot. Current record is 13,000 words in a day. I have three manuscripts: one was a trial so it is complete, one is awaiting edits, and the last is about 10,000 words to completion. I am also working on another novel as we speak. So this blog will probably have a lot of writing news on it.
     I love to travel, all over the world. I've been to many countries in Europe, including France, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Luxembourg. I've been to Mexico, the Caribbean, and a few of the big landmarks of the USA. One day, I will travel throughout the UK and probably blog about it.
     This blog was in part inspired by PageToPremiere.com. Huge fan; they are amazing. I considered doing a book review blog, dedicated solely to reviewing books. But I decided against it, figuring I can review books wherever. I will have many updates on books I am reading. A nerd cannot NOT talk about those.
     Hopefully, I will continue to post at least weekly and possibly get someone to view this. Or maybe I'll have 500 posts before I get one view, who knows?

Stay classy fellow humans and I'll be back in a week!
~Ashley
I must admit I do this.