Annie Gets Awards!

annie gets awards

Hello there!  I’ve gotten a lot of nominations for awards lately and I thought I’d combine them all into one awkwardly long post of awards!  Without further ado, let’s get this party started.

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I was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by Rayne @ Rayne at the Bus Stop, and Ally @ Ally Writes Things, so thanks so much to Rayne and Ally!  Their blogs are fabulous and they are just the sweetest, so be sure to head on over to their sites and check them out!

Rules:

  1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Rayne’s Questions:

1. What motivated you to start blogging?
I started blogging because I wanted to build a platform where I could market myself as an aspiring author while connecting with other writers and readers.  Of course my other motivation was to work on my writing 🙂

2. Do you have a favorite story to tell people? (Hint: That’s a queue to tell US that story.)
When I was about 2 or 3, I gave myself a “makeover” with kiddie scissors and toothpaste for hair gel.  Yeah, I’ve never had a future in cosmetology.

3. Who is your favorite author?
Marina Keegan–she wrote the stories and essays in The Opposite of Lonelinesswhich was published posthumously.

4. In what ways did this author inspire you in your own writing?
Keegan inspired me to tell the unpopular story.  She taught me that the ugly side of life makes a better tale.

5. What’s the greatest thing about your best friend?
Other than the fact that she’s just wonderful?  I love that we can spend months apart and then come back together like no time has passed.

6. Camp or stay at a hotel?
Either: I love camping but I wouldn’t say “no” to a stay at the Ritz.

7. Fantasy or contemporary?
Contemporary without a doubt.

8. If you could meet any fictional character, which would it be?
I feel like I would get along fabulously with Louisa from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

9. Do you have a special “spot” for reading?
Not particularly–I like to be comfortable when I read, but I also read a lot at night so I guess on my bed?

10. Do you ever binge-read?
Not as much as I wish I could.

11. Does music distract you while you’re reading or do you prefer it?
I prefer listening to music if I’m reading for enjoyment because it creates a lovely ambience, but when I’m reading for school or trying to read fast I like silence.

Ally’s Questions:

1. What are your favorite flowers?
Daisies, tulips, and hydrangeas are my favorites.

2. If you could guest write any TV show, what would it be?
Ugh I don’t know!  I’ve yet to try screenwriting and I’m not sure if I’d be any good at it, but either Riverdale (which I’m obsessed with at the moment) or Downton Abbey.  I love Jane the Virgin as well, but I don’t think I’m witty enough to write a show like that.

3. Which author would you like to have read over a piece of your work?
John Green without a doubt.  They actually filmed part of “Paper Towns” in my neighborhood, so I got to see the set and all.  As I was walking by one day, John Green was driving away in a van, so I waved at him and he waved back.  I also got to meet Nat Wolff and had him sign my copy of Paper Towns.  Long story short, John Green.

4. Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate.  Always chocolate.

5. Best book of 2017?
Must I pick?  Either The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood or Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

6. What was your favourite book you had to read for school?
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.  This book is as close to poetry as prose gets.

7. Favourite sports team?
The Tar Heels!  No one in my family graduated from University of North Carolina, but I love them nonetheless.  We kind of one the championship in basketball this year (just saying).

8. What is your biggest pet peeve in books?
I hate static characters.  Characters deserve better than to stay the same.

9. Are there any clichés you never get tired of?
I love princess stories.  They’re horribly overdone, but I love them anyways.

10. If you could attend any fictional wedding, which would it be?
This question was way harder than it should have been, but I’ll say Mary and Matthew’s wedding from “Downton Abbey.”

11. What do you do in your spare time other than book or blog-related things?
I’m a competitive dancer as well, so I pretty much do that when I’m not writing or reading.  My team was selected to go to nationals in New York, so I’m pretty busy training for that.

My Nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

Brooke @ Brooke Jade Writes
Elise @ Roaming Reader
Clara Bennett @ The Book Goddess
Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner
Veronica @ Veronica Marie
Dippy-Dotty Girl @ The Traveling Diary of a Dippy-Dotty Girl
Misty @ Misty’s Book Space
Vrinda @ A Bookish Human
Maggie @ Maggie Derrick
Pamela @ Starring Pamela
Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader

My Questions:

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
  2. Have you ever had a nickname?  If so, what is it and how did you get it?
  3. What is one thing about you that someone would be surprised to know?
  4. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
  5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
  6. What are your favorite and least favorite colors?
  7. If you starred in a reality TV show about your life, what would it be called?
  8. When was the last time that you were truly, genuinely happy?
  9. What quote do you live by?
  10. Do you prefer to write in pen or pencil?
  11. What smell reminds you of home?

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I was nominated for The Liebster Award by Jo-Ann @ Inspiration Pie, so lots of thanks to Jo-Ann!

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs.
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Jo-Ann’s Questions:

1. What’s your favorite genre to read?
I like to say that my favorite genre is good books, but I enjoy young adult contemporary.

2. What other hobbies do you like to do besides reading and blogging?
As aforementioned, I dance but I also love to bake!  I’m pretty dedicated to baking chocolate chip cookies in my spare time.

3. What is your ideal vacation?
At this point in time, either New York City with my best friend or San Francisco with my mom.

4. Do you have any pets?
I do!  I have a dog named Daisy.  We’re not sure what breed she is since she’s a rescue, but we think she’s a black lab-beagle mix.

5. What is the last movie you saw?  Did you like it?
Beauty and the Beast!  I don’t go to the theater often, but I loved this movie so much that I bought it on iTunes for some ridiculous price the day it came out.

6. How long have you been blogging?
A little over six months, but I started to dedicate serious time to blogging at the beginning of June after my high school graduation.

7. What is the best book you’ve read in 2017?  What is the worst?
I also answered this question above, but I loved rereading Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

8. What book character is your twin?
Cammie Morgan from Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls Series.  Well, she’s way smarter than me, but I’d like to think we have something in common.

9. Do you prefer to swim in a pool or the ocean?
Pool–I teach swim lessons at my local Y, so I’m in the pool pretty much every day.

10. What is your favorite genre of music?  Favorite musician/band?
My taste in music mirrors my taste in books: I like good music.  I’ve always loved John Mayer (who I’m going to see in concert!), Lorde, Vance Joy, and James Bay though.

11. Do you prefer the country or the city?
City!  I’d love to move to New York one day.

My Nominees:

  1. Allie @ Awesome Allie Blog
  2. Vijayalakshmi@ The Reading Desk
  3. Jordon @ Simply Adrift
  4. Kate @ Uncovering Stories
  5. Justine @ I Should Read That
  6. Ally @ Ally Writes Things
  7. Enni @ Hooves and Pens
  8. Emma @ A Dreamer’s Library
  9. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer
  10. Amanda @ Amanda Writes
  11. Chloe @ Chloe Akemi

My Questions:
For simplicity’s sake, I’ll stick with the same questions as above.  Here they are again:

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
  2. Have you ever had a nickname?  If so, what is it and how did you get it?
  3. What is one thing about you that someone would be surprised to know?
  4. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
  5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
  6. What are your favorite and least favorite colors?
  7. If you starred in a reality TV show about your life, what would it be called?
  8. When was the last time that you were truly, genuinely happy?
  9. What quote do you live by?
  10. Do you prefer to write in pen or pencil?
  11. What smell reminds you of home?

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I was also nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Priyasha @ BOOKS & CO. and Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner; thanks, Priyasha and Sophie!

Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and share their link.
  2. Nominate up to 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
  3. Also, inform them about the nomination.
  4. Reveal 7 facts about yourself that we your readers may not know.

Seven (Word-Related) Facts About Me:

  1. I’m only taking five books with me to college.  My dorm room is going to be so tiny and books take up so much space, so I’m drawing the line for myself at five.  I’ve already started to pick with ones I’m going to take and it’s kind of killing me that I can’t take them all.  However, I’ve worked out a sort of library system with my mom so that she can mail me the books I want to read while I’m away.
  2. I prefer to go to bookstores, but I actually buy most of my books online.  You just can’t beat those ThriftBooks and Book Depository prices.
  3. When I write by hand, I prefer to use blue pen.  I think that this habit formed when I started writing timed essays in high school because I preferred reading essays written in blue pen.  I’m kind of a freak about when I use certain pens and blue always does it for me when I write longhand.
  4. When it comes to paperback or hardcover, I don’t have a preference.  As long as it has pages, I’m game.
  5. I totally judge books by their cover.  Sorry not sorry.
  6. I format my writing in different ways based on whether I’m writing or editing.  Okay the difference isn’t as dramatic as it sounds, but I have to write in Google Docs with single-space 12-pt. Times New Roman font, bold chapter headings, and the beginnings of new chapters/sections justified to the left margin.  However, I prefer printing out my manuscript and reading in double-space when I edit.
  7. The best Christmas present I ever received was a stack of books.  A few years ago, my mom went through my Pinterest, Goodreads, and bookshelf to see what books I wanted to read next…and then she bought them.  Like, all of them.  It was such a heartfelt present and I still love rereading those books because they remind me of that day and how much my family loves me.  (That was also the year I received a copy of Paper Towns that was signed by John Green, so needless to say that was a pretty good Christmas),

My Nominees:

  1. Zoe @ Stories on Stage
  2. Laura @ SerendipiDIY
  3. Poulami @ Daydreaming Books
  4. Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

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I was nominated for my second Mystery Blogger Award by Helene @ AngelSpartaness, so thanks so much to Helene!

This award was created by Okoto Enigma

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo or image on your blog.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in your post.
  3. Name the creator of the award and link their blog.
  4. List the rules.
  5. Answer your nominator’s questions.
  6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  7. Nominate 10-20 people.
  8. Ask your nominees 5 original questions of your choice.
  9. Share link to your best blog posts.
  10. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.

Helene’s Questions:

1. Do you have any pets? What kind of animals are they, what are their names, and why did you choose them/where did you get them from?
I have a dog named Daisy and we rescued her about seven years ago!  We picked her because she’s all black but has white feet, so it looks like she’s wearing socks.

2. If you could exist in any fictional world for only one year before coming back to reality, where would you live and why?
I would live at Hogwarts (sorry, I’m basic) because after a year, I think I’d have enough of the world of magic.

3. What are 3 things that you are most thankful for each and every day?
I’m thankful for my family, my friends, and the fact that the Lord decided to wake me up that morning.

4. Would you rather: Have the power to read minds, or have it so that everyone believed everything you told them, no matter what?
I would rather have the power to read minds because I would hate going through life feeling like I was manipulating everyone around me.

5. If you could go back in time and tell your 7-year-old self anything at all, what would you tell your child self?
Your first B in school is not as big a deal as you think it is.

Three (Non Word-Related) Facts About Me:

  • I’m obsessed with Chance the Rapper’s album “Coloring Book.”  I thought of this fact because I’m listening to Chance the Rapper while writing this, but this album is so good!  I love the mix of styles and…just everything.  You can check out what I’m listening to on Spotify here.
  • I was a four-year varsity swimmer in high school.  My school was small, which was great for improving my odds of getting on the team!  We had practices every day before school and, as a night person, that was pretty tough.  Nevertheless, I loved going to practice and forming close relationships with my teammates.  I’m hoping to swim club or intramural in college, so we’ll see.
  • I love replying to your comments.  Okay, I lied–this one is word, or blog, related.  Seeing that y’all comment on my posts makes my heart smile, so I do my best to get back to everyone because it’s what I want other bloggers to do for me.  So please let me know what you think of my posts, whether you agree, disagree, or just want to chat.  I’ll read it all 🙂

My Nominees:

  1. Garima @ Garima Shares
  2. Anna @ My Bookish Dream
  3. Kate @ All the Trinkets
  4. Rimpy @ Rimpy’s Reads
  5. Kelly @ The Bookmarker
  6. Ashley and Sabrina @ 5171 Miles Book Blog
  7. Eden @ Everything Eden
  8. Fay @ Bibliophile Soprano
  9. Fyza @ Culture Eighteen
  10. Julianna @ Blots of Ink & Words

My Questions:
For the sake of simplicity (and my sanity), I’ll just take the first five questions from above and repost them here.  You’d think for a creative writer I could come up with some better questions, but I’m all about streamlining this process.  Here they are again:

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
  2. Have you ever had a nickname?  If so, what is it and how did you get it?
  3. What is one thing about you that someone would be surprised to know?
  4. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
  5. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Here are some links to my favorite posts:
Annie’s Unpopular Opinions, in which I share some, get this, unpopular opinions.
Annie’s Writing Survival Kit, in which I list all of my writing essentials.
Annie Answers Questions: A Celebratory Q&A, in which I answer your questions.

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Finally, I was tagged by Ivy & Em @ Two Girls, Two Mountains for the Book Blogger Test.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the ten questions asked on this post.
  3. Nominate at least five people to do it also.
  4. Let your nominees know you nominated them.

My Answers:

1. What are your top three book pet hates?  (Are these like pet peeves?)
I hate static characters, books that are alphabetized incorrectly on my bookshelf, and people who borrow my books but never return them.

2. What is the perfect reading spot?
I love reading in comfy pajamas, turning up the AC so my room gets really cold, and burying myself under thick blankets on my bed.

3. Share three book confessions.
Okay, get your pitchforks ready: I dog-ear library book pages, I annotate every book I read, and I’m not afraid of water damage.

4. What was the last book that made you cry?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which I read a million and a half years ago.  It takes the works to get me to cry at a book.

5. How many books are on your bedside table?
27.  Yes, you read that right.  I keep all the books I’ve yet to read on my bedside table so I can separate “read” from “to-be-read.”

6. What is your favorite reading snack?
Goldfish.

7. Name 3 books you’d recommend to anyone.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger.  I feel like there are so many things to be learned from these books.

8. Share some pictures of your bookshelf.

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Here it is in all its mishmash glory (plus a bonus picture of the 27 books on my bedside table).

9. Describe how much books mean to you in three words.
Every damn thing.

10. What is your biggest reading secret?
This isn’t a secret, but when I was little, I would take a book with me everywhere.  Not much has changed since then, but my mom would have to take books away from me and make me go play with the other kids.  Social interaction was literally my punishment as a child.

My Tag…

  1. Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer
  2. Flexi @ Flexi Reads
  3. Taylor @ Taylor Reads Books
  4. Books, Books, and More Books
  5. Anny @ The Mystique Reader

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this unbelievably long post and thank you to Rayne, Ally, Jo-Ann, Priyasha, SophieHelene, and Ivy & Em for nominating me for these awards.  I’m honored more than you know.  Be sure to check out their blogs and the blogs of my nominees!  I chose some of my more recent followers and people with whom I recently connected, so go show some blog love and give everyone a page view or two.

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Annie Is Looking For Guest Posts and Collaborators

ANNIE IS LOOKING

Are you interested in writing a guest post for Annie Likes Words or working together on a collaborative post?

I am looking for bloggers who share my passion for literature to either write a guest post or collaborate on a fabulous post to go on both of our sites.  I would prefer that the content be related to reading and writing, but am open to all ideas.

If you have a stellar idea or just want to chat, fill out the form below.  Please fill out all the required fields as well as a few ideas or your collaboration or guest post in the body of the message.  Please share any social media Hit that “submit” button and I will get back to you soon!

 

Annie Collaborates: Safe Haven-Inspired Makeup with CassiXMakeup

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Today, I’m collaborating with Cassi over at CassiXMakeup and we’re combining my favorite thing (books) with her favorite thing (makeup) to bring you a makeup look inspired by Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.  Fun, right?  I think so.

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Safe Haven is the story of Katie, a mysterious girl on the run from something dark and dangerous from her past.  Katie books a bus ticket to anywhere and ends up in quaint beach town Southport, North Carolina.  There, Katie meets widower Alex and his two kids and decides to stay for a while.  In true Nicholas Sparks fashion, romance and adorableness ensue.

I have a bit of a unique connection to this book and movie as I have family that live in the Southport area, so I visit the area quite often.  I love rewatching the movie and pointing out all the restaurants where I’ve dined and all of my favorite spots around town.  I would recommend Safe Haven to, of course, die-hard romance fans, but also to those who find family in unique people and home in unique places.  Safe Haven is a story about finding and losing love and facing the demons of our pasts with light and life.  There’s something in it for everybody.

Here are some images of Cassi’s lovely makeup look inspired by Safe Haven:

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I’m not much of a makeup connoisseur (as you can tell, books are kind of my thing) but you can head on over to Cassi’s blog to check out all the details of this lovely look!  She’s also got a hilarious post about what happens when you let a five-year-old do you makeup and it’s definitely worth the read.

That’s all, y’all!  Have you read Safe Haven?  What do you think of Cassi’s look?

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What Annie Read: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Book Review

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Published April 15th 2014
Simon & Schuster

Find on // Amazon // ThriftBooks // Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved–five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Review:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is the story of Lara Jean, the middle sister of the Covey family.  Lara Jean has written a letter to every boy she’s ever loved (five in total) and stores them in a hatbox, which was given to her by her late mother.  One day, for reasons unknown, the letters are sent, sending Lara Jean into a tailspin.  However, Lara Jean maximizes on this unlikely opportunity: she makes a pact with Peter Kavinsky, one of the boys who received a letter, to fake-date in order to Peter’s ex Genevieve and Lara Jean’s crush Josh madly jealous.

When I picked up the book, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to be about.  Everything I’d read about it seemed cloudy: the blurb, the synopsis, the reviews.  They didn’t seem to give any indication about the book’s subject matter other than Lara Jean and her tendency to write letters.  Going into this book with no premonition was annoying and, at the same time, refreshing.  I got to see this book for what it was.

With that said, I felt that the beginning was rather slow.  Maybe my fresh perspective compounded this phenomenon in that I kept waiting for something major to happen before realizing that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before wasn’t terribly structured in the first place.  It took me a while to get interested because the plot seemed to wander without purpose, waiting to stumble upon something that would stick.  Something stuck eventually, but it took about forty pages too long.

The rest of the book was fairly well-paced, but retained some of that aimless feeling.  We ended up where we needed to be, but the way we got there was willy-nilly and the proverbial scaffolding, the reasons why we took this path, were flimsy at best.  It didn’t seem logical that quirky-cute Lara Jean would throw herself into the arms of the school’s grade-A jerk only to make Josh, who had also dated Lara Jean’s older sister Margot, jealous.

However, I did enjoy reading about the characters.  There was ample variation between the characters and they each had their defining idiosyncrasies, making them feel like real people instead of cardboard cutouts or paper dolls.  I liked Lara Jean’s narrative voice in particular, especially when she described life with two sisters.  I have a sister myself and I can personally attest that life with a sister is as random and weird and wonderful as it sounds.

The dialogue was somewhere in between stellar and awful; it covered the whole spectrum.  Some conversations were charming and reflective of how high schoolers communicate, but others were forced and unrealistic.  Some dialogue made me want to cringe while some dialogue was the highlight of its respective scene.

Overall, I enjoyed this book for its unique plot, dynamic characters and relatively accurate portrayal of life as a high school girl who accidentally confessed her love to a bunch of teenage boys.  Despite its few shortcomings, I would recommend this book as an easy, heartwarming read to anyone who loves contemporary, romance, young adult, or any combination of the three.

Have you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before?  What did you think of it?

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Annie Goes Through Her Goodreads

ANNIE GOES THROUGH HER GOODREADS

I’ve recently been inspired by the Down the TBR Hole posts (I’m not sure who created it, so if you know please leave a link in the comments so I can give the creator credit) and decided to try my hand at it!

I started by going to my Goodreads to-read shelf and put my books in order from the date I added them.  Here are the first fifteen books (I was feeling ambitious):

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema by Anne Helen Peterson
While this book sounds interesting, the reviews aren’t too hot and I’d much rather spend my time with something a little more fictitious.
VERDICT: Go

Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and I’m a huge fan of her musical “Waitress.”  Her lyrics are so fresh and honest, but often carry more meaning than meets the eye or, in this case, the ear.  Hopefully her prose will be the same way.
VERDICT: Keep

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult
The reviews for this book are stellar and I’ve been wanting to watch the movie for a long time, which I of course can’t do if I don’t read the book.
VERDICT: Keep

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
After years and years of neglecting to do so, I finally just bought this book a few days ago.  I think there’s your answer.
VERDICT: Keep

Room by Emma Donoghue
I’ve had a copy of this book for quite some time and it keeps getting stuck in the bottom of my TBR pile.  Everything I’ve heard about Room has been nothing short of fabulous, so it might be time to dig this ole paperback out and give it a go.
VERDICT: Keep

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
I’m kind of a John Green geek and I feel obligated to read this book just because.
VERDICT: Keep

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
See above.
VERDICT: Keep

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
In truth, the only reason I have this book on my TBR is because of all the hype.  I’m sure it’s a good book, but I’m not intrigued by the blurb.  I might be making a mistake here, but nonetheless…
VERDICT: Go

Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
How could I pass up the chance to read the quintessential young adult contemporary romance novel?
VERDICT: Keep

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Well, one quintessential young adult contemporary romance novel might be enough for me.  I feel like this book and Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist are pretty much the same story but with a different talisman: one has a playlist, the other has a notebook.
VERDICT: Go

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
I honestly had no memory of putting this book on my TBR.  The premise is intriguing and the reviews are good, but the fact that I didn’t remember a book I’ve had on my list since 2015 is sending me a sign
VERDICT: Go

How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
I’m so intrigued by the idea of this book: it’s nonfiction, but it sounds like there’s so much literature weaved in that it would feel like fiction itself.  Whatever it is, I’m game.
VERDICT: Keep

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Have I ever mentioned how I never get tired of princess stories?
VERDICT: Keep

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid
What was it with 2015 me and nonfiction?  As much as I’d love to learn about this topic, I feel like I could get the same basic information with a gander through Wikipedia.
VERDICT: Go

Girl Waits With Gun (Kopp Sisters #1) by Amy Stewart
I’ve been itching to read this book for such a long time.  I haven’t picked up much historical fiction lately, which is probably why I haven’t thought about this book in a while, but I still want to read it!
VERDICT: Keep

That’s all!  Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

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Apps that Help Annie Write

APPS THAT HELP ANNIE WRITE

Hello!  Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite applications on iPhone and Mac that help me write.  There are so many options for writing aids these days as far as applications go and these are some of my tried and true favorites:

  • WordPress: Duh!  I love the mobile app–it’s so easy to navigate and feels pretty much like looking at the desktop version.  I prefer reading blog posts on the iPhone app rather than on the computer because the app makes it so easy to use.
  • GooglePhotos: What I love about GooglePhotos is how it is to access your photos from any device.  I’ve always struggled with uploading pictures from my phone to my computer, but this app makes it so easy.  All I have to do is upload the picture in question to the app on my phone and it appears on the GooglePhotos website!  It’s lovely.
  • GoogleKeep: I just love Google, okay?  GoogleKeep is kind of like Notes, but it displays all of your notes like stickies, meaning that you can see all of them at once.  You can also access Keep on your desktop, which is so convenient.
  • ThriftBooks: I use this app to A) buy books at a ridiculously discounted price or B) check the price of a book to see if the copy in the bookstore is less expensive.  Either way, it’s a necessity.
  • Goodreads: This is pretty self-explanatory, but what writer doesn’t want social media for her bookshelf?
  • Spotify: A girl’s got to have her tunes ready for when the inspiration strikes!  I use this app both on my computer and my phone but the web player is okay as well.  Spotify has a feature that allows you to download music onto your device, giving you the ability to listen when not connected to WiFi.  I have pretty much all my music downloaded onto my computer, but stick to streaming on my phone because I simply don’t have the storage.

What are your favorite writing-related apps?  Let me know in the comments and head on over to my Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Spotify to share the social media love ❤

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What Annie Read: Glass Sword Book Review

what annie read glass sword

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, the second book in the Red Queen series, tells the story of Mare Barrow: a girl who straddles the divide that is tearing her country apart.  She bears the strange ability to conjure and control lightning, an ability akin to the Silver-blooded nobility, but her blood is red like the common people beside whom she was raised.  After a betrayal from someone she trusted most (I won’t say who because spoilers suck), Mare is on the run with the Scarlet Guard, who seek to start a rebellion and close the divide between Silver and Red.  Charged with seeking out and saving those like her, red-blooded with Silver abilities, Mare scours the nation with her merry band of thieves, cast-down captains, and a dethroned prince.

What I loved about this book was that it improved upon the first book in the series (you can read my review of Red Queen here).  While I thoroughly enjoyed Red Queen, I knew it would be difficult to surpass.  However uncharacteristic to such a trilogy, Glass Sword did the almost impossible: it matched, if not excelled beyond, the first book in the series.

What made this book so remarkable for me was that Aveyard showed how the characters suffered from acts of rebellion and bloodshed, especially the protagonist Mare.  She has her moments of strength, of weakness, of certainty and doubt.  She questions herself, asks if the end is worth the means.  She is scared of how she has changed and how she will continue to change.  There was not a static character in sight and Mare was a prime example.

Another aspect I thoroughly enjoyed was Aveyard’s writing itself.  Her descriptions are unique and accurate, dripping with phrases that sound more like poetry than prose.  She plays with words in Glass Sword, exploiting double meanings and foreshadowing like the best of them.  Her diction is purposeful.  No letter goes to waste; every word packs a punch.

The plot flowed and was interesting, but the pacing was a little funky.  I felt like we were constantly seesawing in between slow motion and fast forward: thirty minutes would last for chapters and an entire month would be covered in little more than a paragraph.  Maybe this was a function of Mare’s perceptions: the moments that stuck with her were going to stick with us, the readers, and Aveyard made sure of that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  While it was not my favorite novel in the world, it was far from my least favorite and I would certainly recommend it to other readers.  I gave Glass Sword 4/5 stars on Goodreads and cannot wait to pick up King’s Cage, the next book in the series.

Have you read Glass Sword?  What did you think?  Let me know in the comments and check out Annie Likes Words on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Wattpad

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Annie Talks Dialogue Tags: A Discussion Post

annie talks dialogue tags

Today, I’m addressing the hotly disputed (well, not hotly disputed, but disputed nonetheless) topic: dialogue tags.

Let’s start with a definition.  A dialogue tag is a phrase that follows, precedes, or breaks up dialogue in writing to describe how the character in question spoke.  For example, in the sentence “‘I love to read Annie Likes Words’, said Sarah,” “said Sarah” is the dialogue tag.  From these two words, we learn that Sarah spoke and that she said it in a neutral way.

The great debate here is over whether or not to use “said.”  Using extravagant verbs to describe how someone speaks can sound garish and overworked, but it can also be rather descriptive.  On the other hand, using only “said” brings a level of simplicity and conciseness to your writing while reducing the possibility of sounding ostentatious.

In my writing, I prefer to stick to “said” most of the time.  Unless I make the creative decision at the beginning of the piece to use these extravagant dialogue tags, I’m all about “said” for the reasons I listed above.  I find that overly descriptive dialogue tags can be distracting while reading, causing me to focus more on how the writer was trying to pinpoint exactly how the character spoke.  “Said” gets the job done, so why fix it if it ain’t broken?

Rather than finding specific tags to describe dialogue, I prefer to provide details while describing the character as he’s speaking.  Here’s an example:

“Why didn’t you do the dishes?” Mom nagged.

With this example, we get the basic information: someone was supposed to do the dishes, but didn’t, and now Mom is annoyed.  But watch what happens here:

“Why didn’t you do the dishes?” Mom said, crossing her arms over her chest and furrowing her brow.  She pushed her hair out of her face with a vengeance, revealing the tips of her ears: they were bright pink, like they always were when she was irritated.

Here, we got the same information, but in a more realistic way.  We learn about Mom as a person.  We learn about her body language, her idiosyncrasies, the things that are unique to her.  Everyone nags in a differnt way and we learn Mom’s way by describing it here.  Both of these examples get you to the same general place, but the second example’s path has a better view.

With that being said, I will break my own rules for a special set of circumstances.

I will stray from my norm if the character in question is speaking at a different volume, such as shouting or whispering.  There are certainly ways you can incorporate this information into the surrounding sentences, but I think volume needs to be directly attached to the dialogue because volume level and dialogue, you know, go together.

So what do y’all think?  Do you vary your dialogue tags or do you stick to “said?”  Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to check out my Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Spotify

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Annie Gives Book Recommendations: If You Liked This, Read This

books recs

There’s nothing I love more than a good book recommendation, so today I’m going to share some of my most common book recommendations based on books that seem to be pretty popular right now in a “if you liked this, read this” format.

Without further ado, here are some books that I think you’ll enjoy:

If you liked Everything, Everything, read It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

There’s a common thread here: I loved Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and I loved It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.  What is so charming about both of these books is that they deal with heavy subjects and talk about illness-related topics, but the books overall feel airy and refreshing.  It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a story about Craig, a hardworking teenager who checks himself into a psych ward after a suicidal episode, and his five day stay there.  This book is full of interesting characters and bittersweet honesty about suicide and the complexity behind it.  You can get a copy for yourself here.

If you liked The Fault in Our Stars, read The Opposite of Loneliness.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green reminds me so much of The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan not in format (The Fault in Our Stars is a novel while The Opposite of Loneliness is a compilation of short stories and essays) or content, but in how each book made me feel.  Green and Keegan, whose book was published posthumously after her tragic death at the age of twenty-two, write with the same sense of honesty and observation.  They both seem to expose the quirks of humanity, the chinks in our armor with their writing.  It’s pure magic.  You can get a copy of Keegan’s fabulous book here.

If you liked Thirteen Reasons Why, read The History Of Love.

I love this book.  I love this book.  I love this book.  The History of Love by Nicole Krauss was the first required read at school that I liked.  Ever.  The History of Love is a story told from four unique narrators, including the bitterly reflective Leo Gursky and the young and curious Alma Singer.  This is a story about how and why their lives are intertwined even though they have never met and it’s beautiful.  It’s so complex and intricate that, midway through reading, my friends and I had to create a character web that took up an entire wall of whiteboard.  You can get a copy here (and I totally recommend that you do).

That’s all!  Have you read any of these books?  Let me know what you thought in the comments and be sure to check out Annie Likes Words on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Spotify

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How Annie Improves Her Writing Even When She’s Not Writing

HOW ANNIE IMPROVES

If there’s an award for Most Confusing Blog Post Title, I’d like to nominate myself.  As wordy as that title is, it’s the best way to phrase what I’m trying to say: I want to talk about the ways I improve my writing even when I’m not writing.  As much as I’d love to sit at my computer and write without abandon all day, I cannot.  However, that doesn’t mean I have to go through life absentmindedly waiting for the next chance to put words on paper.  Here are a few of the ways I improve my writing even when I’m not writing:

  • I read.  “Well duh,” you might be saying to yourself, but it’s true.  How can you produce literature if you don’t encounter it in the first place?  There’s something quasi-spiritual about learning from the greats, reading their work and dissecting what makes it great in the first place.
  • I listen to music.  Music is full of inspiration that is ripe for the picking, so I find a playlist that speaks to me and hit shuffle.  I love trying to imagine what my protagonist would think of the song, if she would relate to the message.
  • I listen to conversations.  This one’s for my introverts in the proverbial room.  Characters, in my opinion, should be rooted in reality, so where better to take inspiration than reality itself?  I love to listen to how people enunciate their words, how their speech patterns are reflective of their personalities.  There is a lot of material to be found and used in the way people express themselves.
  • I go on Pinterest.  I love Pinterest but in between the cute clothes and pictures of adorable puppies is a wealth of inspiration.  There are faces and aesthetics and quotes that often align themselves with a character I’m developing.  So when I sit down to write again, I have a clearer mental image of my character and his or her personality.
  • I take notes.  One of the best practices I have as a writer is keeping a document entitled “Interesting Stuff” on my Google Drive.  Whenever I hear a phrase or see something that strikes a chord, I put it in my document of interesting stuff.  You’d be surprised how many breakthroughs I’ve had by scrolling through my little compilation of random stuff.
  • I daydream.  I’ve gotten called out for this several times in school, but it works!  I’d like to think that I have a lot of ideas in this head of mine, so sometimes a little self-exploration does me well.  Some of my favorite short story ideas have come from moments when I was bored out of my mind and had nothing to do but let my thoughts wander.

That’s all, y’all!  How do you improve your craft when you’re not writing?  Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to check out my Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Spotify to show some social media love ❤

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