Books Read in 2011

Tessa's books-read-2011 book montage

Clockwork Angel
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

Books Read in 2011 »

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exam Distractions


Isn't it funny how when you're studying for exams, you suddenly get all interested in writing, housework, blogging, and baking? That's me today!

I started the morning by organizing my reading. I have eight days to study not-so-much material, but very-heavy-to-read material. We're talking John Stuart Mill-heavy. I organized it so that I do such and such per day, no more and no less. That's what works best for me.

Today, I'm reading and taking notes on the least heavy subject. I'm about 3/4th through, but it's soooo difficult to get the last 1/4th done. Maybe because I just took a lunch break and lost that trans-like focus I get. All I can think about now is blogging, critiquing, rewriting my first chapter, and baking Christmas cookies. Which I'm totally doing after I've completed my 1/4th. 

It's so hard to get to it, but it's easy going once I'm there. Since I'm a fairly disciplined person, I will get this done today.

When I get like this, I organize myself via time. For example, I will start reading again at one PM, take a break at one thirty and such. Unless I'm in a trans...then I just continue. Okay! Enough procrastination. It's almost one PM!

What distracts you when you're studying for exams/trying to complete a project?

Task for the day: Study about DIY, make easier notes from the easy notes, listen to the online lecture, finish my creative writing portfolio, pick up the kids, and bake!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something is Coming...

Image: on 15 April 2007

It is a dark and stormy night. The wind on the moors is wuthering. A dark stirs in the East. Over the horizon, in the distance, something approaches fast.

Can you see it?

Something is coming...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scariest contract EVER

Jeeze, guys. You should check this out:

Ramblings and What Not: Scariest contract EVER: "I saw this over at Glass Cases and had, had to take a look at this. It is a new publication company started by controversial author, James ..."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brain Fried!

Egg image found on so many sites that I don't know which is the original!

November is often the busiest month for people in school, when all the teachers decide to throw all sorts of essays, projects, and exams to freak out the students and kill a few braincells just before finals. This week, I turned in a very thorough essay in a course on how to write essays (so it had to be perfect - not just because I'm a perfectionist); I've been catching up on my syntax course...of which there is an exam next Tuesday; I have to read 10 short stories and have ready reviews on each before Friday's creative writing class; AND the creative writing portfolio was due by the end of next week, but the teacher was kind enough to push it back three days. I'm only taking 20 units instead of 30 units (75% instead of 100%). I'm so glad I didn't continue with the 30 units! 

And they host NaNo in November? What are they thinking?? There's Christmas shopping and preparation for people who aren't in school. That's a huge task as well, which people usually have to do after work, meaning less time to write. Is there an online plea somewhere to have NaNo moved to September or October? I really want to take part next year, but I don't see how I can.

Anyway, since I fell behind on the syntax class (that essay really HAD to be perfect - I expect no less than 9 out of 10), I'm watching the online presentations now and taking extensive notes. Which fries my brain like bacon on a barbecue.  

So I freaked out a little this morning, but then I took out my organizer and organized what I had to do, and I feel a lot better now. I set myself goals for each day and do nothing more and nothing less. That's how I cope.

How do you cope with November??

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Belated Ghost Story

Since my computer was declared dead on Halloween, I was unable to post it on my blog. I was fortunate enough to get my data back and a spunky new computer, so I decided to share the story I had already written. This was for Quinn's Boo-Fest.

Have I seen a ghost? My cousin says I have. I hardly remember it, which is kind of freaky.
She and I were staying in Bournemouth, England, and shared a studio room with two beds. I was so freaked out by insects, that I insisted we always kept the windows shut, and we planted b-vitamin pills everywhere + we had a mosquito sound repellant and an electricity thingy to keep them away. What can I say? I‘m from Iceland.
Does that have anything to do with the ghost? Absolutely not, but it made the air stuffy in the room that night. My cousin, Thora (yes, female for “Thor”), told me the morning after that I’d freaked out in the night, and she’s not one to make something like this up. Apparently it went something like this:
The bedcovers lay heavily on my chest as I slept. I dreamt of the wolf in the green hill behind my parents’ house…where there is no actual green hill. Not to mention that there are no wolves in Iceland. Anyway. The wolf just looked at me, as always, and then walked away.
I stirred in my sleep, kicking the covers loose. I turned to the side and my eyes opened a crack. A teenage girl sat on the edge of Thora’s bed. She wore a grey, sleeveless dress; it looked like it was made of wool. Her white shirt underneath shone in the moonlight behind her. She stared straight at me with her moon-like face.
I bolted up in my bed. She just sat there with no particular expression. What was she doing in our room?
“Thora,” I whined. My heart thudded against my chest. It couldn’t be a ghost! I didn’t want to see a ghost! I’d always been so afraid to see one!
“Thora, Thora, Thora!” I called when she didn’t wake up.
Thora jerked awake and raised herself up. “What is it?”
“There’s a girl over there!” I said, pointing at the girl, who just sat and watched me. “Go away!” I whined.
“What are you talking about,” Thora said, turning to see. “There’s no one there.”
I looked at Thora. She didn’t look scared, she just looked tired, her voice all sleepy. I looked back at the end of her bed to prove her wrong, but the girl was gone.
I don’t remember at what point I fell asleep again. When I woke in the morning, I just barely remembered the girl.
I hardly remember her at all today. In fact, I’d forgotten all about her until I saw her again last night.

Okay, I didn’t see her again last night, but you have to end a story with a punch. I’d really forgotten all about her until my cousin mentioned that I’d seen a ghost when we were talking about ghosts (Icelanders do that a lot). And yes, she’s absolutely sure that I was awake and not sleep-seeing/walking.

Freaky? Absolutely!

I just had to add one more thing. I was such a chicken when it came to finding a photo for this. I scrolled down once when I looked up the word "ghost" and then there were pictures of ghosts from horror movies that I never watch. Ugh. Now I can't get this one picture out of my mind. I ended up x-ing the browser and found an innocent picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt. Enjoy.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Guys! My first interview has been posted. It's so exciting. Lovely Michelle Merrill (a mother of twins as well) took the interview last Monday and posted it today. I did reveal a bit of an embarrassing secret I never tell new people I meet. I guess it may not be so bad overseas, but here people would laugh.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Back in Style

Alrighty! I'm up and running again with a spiffy new computer. I decided on Asus Eee 1201PN (yeah, those are just letters and numbers to me, too) so that I won't have to travel with a lump of a computer to the university or library. Sure it takes time to get used to the much-smaller keyboard, but I have small fingertips, so I should adjust. But yeah, as a sticker on my little netbook says, now I can "go anywhere in style." 

I'm just writing this to let me buddies know I'm back in the game, though I will be busy over the next three weeks (what last three weeks of school aren't?), but I will blog.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review: Unearthed

Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand

Official summary:
Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago. But now she is finally getting visions of what her Purpose-a rite of passage for every part-angel-is to be, and it happens to involve a gorgeous guy. Of course, there is the raging forest fire surrounding them, too. When Clara's Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, Clara finds the boy of her visions, Christian, but complicating her mission are her growing feelings for another guy, Tucker. As the day in her visions draws closer, Clara discovers that her Purpose may play into a larger struggle between angels and Black Wings-fallen angels who spread sadnessand misery wherever they go. But when the fire erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?

From debut novelist Cynthia Hand comes a riveting tale full of supernatural powers, forbidden romance, and the choice between fulfilling your destiny or following your heart.

My summary:
Clara Gardner has just learned that she’s part angel who was put on earth to fulfil one specific purpose. She moves with her mother and brother to Jackson Hole in Wyoming, where she has to attend a new school, find friends, and try to get to know her drop-dead gorgeous purpose target, Christian Prescott. None of that is easy with peeled carrot-orange hair.

Clara knows from her visions that she and Christian belong together. Only he has a girlfriend. And she’s in love with another guy.

Learning how to fly, figuring out the vision, and keeping secrets are the least of her problems on the day of her mission.

My review:
I applied for a number of YA books from HerperCollins when they joined NetGalley. I was a little disappointed when the only one they assigned to me was an angel story. Angel stories have always been my least favourite in the paranormal genre. But boy did Cynthia Hand change my mind! I was sceptical during the very short first chapter, curious by the first half of the second chapter, and completely engrossed from there on out. What a ride.

The entire book is written in present tense, which I had to get used to. It is also written in relatively short scenes where the author jumps to the next without linking. It bothered me at first. But I later appreciated it because it made the story, which covers eight months, move so fast that I almost arrived late to my Creative Writing class one morning. In other words, it‘s impossible to put it down.

The story takes place in a small and charming Wyoming mountain town, with snow, greens, and forest fires. . I think what did it for me were the amazing characters the modest (and fun!) descriptions, the fast pace, the continuous guessing, the embarrassing things that Clara had to go through, and of course the amazing love interest, Tucker, from his very introduction (swoon). The characters are deep, funny, and teenage! Language and all.

I thought I had the plot and vision all figured out when I was 65% into the book. I kept thinking about it during my Creative Writing class, and it just came to me. But I only got a part of if right. And yet so totally wrong. I love it when I haven’t figured out the ending until the end.

Cynthia Hand’s writing is fantastic. The book is pact with teenage voice, from conversation to descriptions. Not once did that voice change or switch point of view. I must say that the cover doesn’t do the book a justice. It looks like a book for adults – some cheap romance. I would never have picked that book up at a bookshop. I only read it because it was assigned to me, and I’m ever so grateful because I can’t wait to read the next book. The angel factor is not the biggest factor in the story, although it’s a basic part of the plot. The funny, embarrassing teenage life and romance is where the main focus is.

I read the Kindle version. I hope HarperCollins has it fixed before it hits the market. The letters sometimes ran together, which made it almost impossible to read. 

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading YA novels. I also encourage other people who don’t enjoy angel books to read this one. I can almost guarantee that you’ll love it.

My stars:
Cover: 2/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
The overall reading experience: 5/5

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNo or WIP?

Gha! What to do?

NaNo has just started and I planned to take part in it with a story idea and all, but then I've started rewriting my manuscript after months away from it (from scratch, save a couple of scenes), and I'm really on a roll with that one. Which do I do? I don't have the time to do both since my computer is busted...