October 27, 2016

Book of the Month: The Twistrose Key

The Twistrose Key
by Tone Almhjell

Cover Review: Uh, totally awesome? Just take a minute to fully appreciate this cover There's so much detail, it can take you several minutes to absorb everything. And all of it draws your eye back to the title, with an awesome key included. A great cover in my opinion.

The blurb: When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world.

My Thoughts

This book quickly became one of my favorites as soon as I read it. Let's start with the plot. It is a classic quest plot, where the hero is taken into a new world an can't get back until they find someone or do something. The author did a great job of using this plot and making it special. I thought the plot twists were especially well done.

Lin is a great character. She's a girl with a great imagination and strong as well as flawed. I love her spirit. She's one of the few humans in Sylver adding a fish out of water feel. Rufus is one of my favorites of all the animals. The author gave him a lot of personality using his animal body. Nose twitches, tail movements, that sort of thing.

And the world. When I read the blurb, I was a bit wary. I thought it might be that whole animal heaven sort of thing. But it's really more of a second life for these animals. In all, the world reminds me a little of Narnia. But it's also completely original.

Plus, it has a great map and cute ink drawings. She even includes the music for an important song in the story. I love it when authors have lots of fun stuff.

The map

My rating:

I would recommend this book for fans of Narnia and other fantasy with talking animals and a bit of magic. It would be a great read aloud for kids too.

Have you read The Twistrose Key? Do you like books about animals? Let me know in the comments.

October 24, 2016

A Simple Makeup Look

As a girl with glasses, I've often had problems finding makeup that doesn't disappear behind them. In this post I'll be showing you a super simple look that looks great on anyone, but especially bespectacled people. (Sorry if these pictures aren't very good, I've never tried to take photos of my own face before.)

You'll Need:

Three colors of grey eye shadow- light, medium, and dark (or use black)
Eye shadow brushes
Lip stick or lip gloss

Step 1: Prep your face. Make sure your face is clean and ready for makeup.

Step 2: Apply your lightest grey in an arc from the inner corner of your eye to above, but not touching the outer corner. It should be thicker towards the outside edge and pretty close to your eyebrow.

Step 3: Apply the medium shade from the inner corner of your eye, arching down towards the outside. It will almost be a sideways diamond.

Step 4: Apply the darkest grey from the outside to the intersection between the light and medium shades. It should end in a point.

Step 5: Gently blend the edges of the colors so you can't see where one ends and another begins. Bonus: curl your eyelashes so your eyes look more open.

Step 6: Line the upper lid all the way across or just halfway. Add a little bit of a cat's eye. If you wear mascara, apply it now.

Step 7: Finish with a vibrant or sparkly shade of lip gloss or lip stick.

Voila, you look amazing. I especially love this look for parties or church. It's easy and the colors can be changed to compliment your outfit.

The nice thing about wearing glasses is you can get away with brighter colors of eye-shadow and not look overdone, because your glasses take away from the effect.

What do you think of this look? Do you have a favorite eye shadow color? Let me know in the comments.

October 21, 2016

Tolkien Lover Book Tag

This is a tag was just started by Kristen Kieffer on her author website blog. (Which you should totally check out by the way.) As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to participate. Tolkien is one of the favorite authors. I can't wait to answer the questions. Here I go!

1. The Lord of the Rings is Tolkien's most famous work. But did you read the books or see the movies first? What are your opinions on each?

My answer about whether I read the books first or watch the movies first is an interesting one actually. I was finally allowed to watch The Lord of the Rings movies when I was 13. (Fun fact: for a long time I thought Master Yoda was a hobbit, because I hadn't seen either LOTR or Star Wars. Embarrassing, but true.) Anyway, I got through a movie and a half before I picked up the books and read them in a week. So my answer is I did both.

My opinions on each are. . . they're both great. My thoughts on the original books are that they are some of the greatest books ever written. I'm always re-reading them because I love them so much.

The Peter Jackson movies are also great. I've always had a relaxed view towards movie versions of books. I understand that they have to change things to make it work better cinematically. Their casting, shooting, location, soundtrack, everything was well done. They're some of my favorite movies, even if the Hobbit ones weren't as good as I hoped.

2. Who is your favorite member of the fellowship? Does this person differ from your favorite Lord of the Rings character in general?

Legolas. Legolas all the way. He's kick-butt, sarcastic, and an elf. How much better can he get? I've always had a thing for elves. As for favorite character in The Lord of the Rings, how can I choose? I like them all.

3. If you could be any character from The Hobbit, which would it be and why?

Either Bilbo or Gandalf. I like Bilbo because he's sneaky and sweet. And I like Gandalf because he's always there when you need him and he's so wise. I love the characters that always know what to say, because I've never been that sort of person.

4. Tolkien's work goes beyond The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Have you ever read any of his other books? How about books about Tolkien?

One of my life goals is to read everything Tolkien's written. I think I've read about half at the moment. But they keep finding new books so my list keeps growing. I'll do it though.

As for books about Tolkien, I did a whole study on him in school. Besides the biographies I read for that, I've read several books about his works. I enjoy reading what other people have to say about them. As long as they don't dis them. Then shame on them.

5. Pooling from all of Tolkien's work, which two characters do you ship together most?

Probably Aragorn and Arwen. They have a happy ending at least. Lots of the other couples in Middle Earth have tragic endings. One dies or both do or something drives them apart. So yeah, Aragorn and Arwen win.

6. We all have at least one thing from Tolkien's work that makes us way too giddy and excited. Something that we could talk about for days. What's yours?

Probably the mythology. I love talking about how Middle Earth was created and all the different stories Tolkien created. How the elves and dwarves became enemies. Galadriel and her brothers. Oh, I could keep going for days. Also, I need to read the Silmarillion again.

I tag anyone who wants to participate. Tolkien lovers unit!

What do you think of Tolkien? Which is your favorite book? Let me know in the comments.

October 20, 2016

NaNoWriMo Part 4: The Last Bits

Ahh, those last few weeks before NaNoWriMo begins. Whether you've just started prep or are almost done, panic is starting to set in. You've got so much to do before November starts. In my final NaNoWriMo post, I'm going to cover the last things you'll need before your month long adventure. Let's start.

1: Pack Prep

Every NaNo-er (if that's a word) needs a well packed bag all ready to go. It will help keep your things in one place, because who wants to lose something when you only have thirty days to write, and should you go somewhere, it will all be right there so you can grab it and go.

Before you can gather the things to put inside, you need the perfect bag to put it all in. Note: this is the perfect opportunity to buy a new bag. Your bag should be big enough so that you can fit everything in nicely, but not so big you look like Mary Poppins trying to get something out. (Although, her bag would be quite handy sometimes.) It should also be sturdy, and look good.

Bag Essentials-

Laptop (for computer writers)
Lined paper (for paper writers)
Pencils, at least two
Pencil sharpener or extra lead if it's a mechanical pencil
Outline, character sketches, and setting notes
Scene list

Less Essential-

Pencil bag (for organization)
Story inspiration

Do your best to keep your bag organized so you can find things when you need them. Keep it somewhere safe and don't forget to plug in your electronics. You don't want them to die when you need them most.

2: Goals

Having goals for yourself during the month can be helpful. And not only for your story. As you know, you have to write 1,666 words a day. You should make goals for yourself on when you should be hitting major amounts, like 10,000, 20,000, and so on. This helps you keep on track.

Because you'll be spending so much time writing, you may also want to set little goals for other things you need to accomplish. You may also want to completely clear your schedule and spend all of November living like a hermit, except Thanksgiving Day. Whatever floats your boat.

3: Rewards and Motivation

This ties in to the goal setting part. When you accomplish something, like finishing your daily word count, or each ten thousand words, you should reward yourself. Have thirty pieces of chocolate, one for each day, but only if you reach your word count. Decide on bigger goals for every ten thousand words, and plan something really special if you win. This really helped me last year to keep going.

You also need to keep motivated. There are many ways to do this. Encourage yourself with how writing 50,000 words will feel. Imagine the shame of not accomplishing your goal after telling everyone you know. Tell everyone you know first, so you can't back out. This post from K. M. Weiland has several good ideas.

4: Resources

And lastly, here's a list of many resources for you to read through, to help you with NaNoWriMo. (You can also follow my NaNoWriMo Pinterest board.)

6 Tasks You'll Love Yourself for Checking Off Your NaNo Pre-Write List

5 Ways to Prep for NaNoWriMo

Everything You'd Ever Need to Write a Novel: The Ultimate Camp NaNoWriMo Packing List (totally applicable to NaNoWriMo as well)

Write a Novel In a Month

How to Survive+ Conquer NaNoWriMo

K. M. Weiland from Helping Writers Become Authors and Kristen Kieffer from She's Novel are also having NaNoWriMo series on their websites, so be sure to check them out as well.

And there you have it. The end of my NaNoWriMo series. Don't forget to read parts one, two, and three. This has been fun and I personally can't wait for November.

What's in your NaNo bag? What rewards do you have planned for yourself? Let me know in the comments.

October 18, 2016

Chapter Headings: Choosing Right for Your Novel

If you look through books, you'll notice there a several types of chapter headings. Choosing the right one to go with your novel can be tricky. I don't pretend to be an expert, but here are my thoughts on choosing what type of heading goes best with your novel.

Type 1: Names

This is one of the most common types of chapter headings. It will say Chapter 1: The Beginning, or One: The Beginning, or something like that. They're fun to come up with and can give the reader an idea of what happens in the next chapter. But it can also be tricky to name chapters without giving away everything or sounding dumb.

Books with named chapter titles include The Lightning Thief, Artemis Fowl, and Eragon. I notice that a lot of fantasy and humor books have this type of chapter heading. They should be used to both help you, as a writer, and when you have chapters that need more explanation.

Type 2: Numbers

Numbering is the second popular type of heading. They're either titled Chapter 1 (or One) or simply the number. Plain and unobtrusive, these don't distract the reader at all, just alerting her that this is a new section.

Books with number titles include The Giver, Cinder, and Divergent. After looking at that list, I realize most dystopian books have number headings. But other genres that have that a lot are realistic fiction, historical fiction, and sci-fi. It should be used when you want to keep attention on the story.

Other Types

Some books, if told from multiple POVs, will use the character who's talking for the chapter heading, sometimes along with the chapter number. This is helpful so the reader remembers who's telling this section.

There are also books that include something after the chapter number, like a quote, a word definition, or things like that. This is often used for humorous effect, or to fit who the character is. I've personally never used this type, but to me it works best for funny books.

Which Type to Use

A general rule of thumb for chapter headings is if it's more serious, use numbers, if less so, use titles. This is something I have noticed, and doesn't work for all novels. But it is a good place to start. Always try to match the feel of your book to the type of chapter headings you use. And remember that rules are more guidelines anyway.

How do you decide which type of chapter heading to use? Do you have a favorite type? Let me know in the comments.

October 13, 2016

Choosing Colors

Remember the post I did last month on color theory? I had so much left to say about color, I had to write a whole other post. This one in fact. Today we're talking more about choosing and using colors.

There are several factors you want to consider when picking colors for your project. They are: color scheme, warm or cool, and feel. Let's go over those one at a time.

Color Scheme

I covered the basic color schemes in the last post. If you want help creating color schemes, if you're having problems or are unsure where to start, all you have to do is research color scheme creators. 

They allow you can choose the type you want, monochrome, analogous, or triad, and they automatically place it for you. From there you can choose the tones and positioning. It's both easy and fun.

Warm or Cool

Most colors fall into two categories. Warm or cool. Warm colors have more red in them, and include red, orange, and yellow. 

Cool colors have more blue undertones, including colors like blue and green. Purple can fall in both categories, depending on whether red or blue is the more prominent undertone.

There's also a third, less official category, called earth tones. Those are colors like brown, green, and blue. If it makes you think of colors you'd see in nature, it's an earth tone.


Last is feel, the most difficult of all factors to understand. Different colors suggest different things to our minds. I don't know how that works exactly, but it's cool.

For example, colors like green and purple suggest evil to us. White and blue make us think clean. Pink makes reminds us of love. The list of examples goes on and on. But that's why villains always seem to wear black and red and heroes wear primary colors (unless you're Batman. Then you only work in black, and sometimes, really, really dark grey).

How to Use This

It's really easy to use this information for whatever you do, whether that's designing a book cover, making a piece of jewelry, or coloring a coloring page. First, look at what you're making. Figure out the feel you want first, if you want to have a specific feel. If not, skip ahead.

The next step is to decide your color scheme and what sort of colors you want to use. And remember, you can always just go with whatever you want. However, if you want to be professional, try to think about all of these things.

I hope you enjoyed this and it will help you whatever you need. Go forth and use color like a pro.

How do you like to use color? Do you like warm colors or cool colors better? Let me know in the comments.

October 10, 2016

Classic of the Month: Anne of Green Gables

Anne is one of my favorite book characters. She's always inspired me. I've read the whole of her series, some of the books multiple times. That's why I had to choose this book as one of my classics. Shall we begin?

Anne of Green Gables

An elderly couple sends off for a boy to help on their farm. Due to a mix-up, they get Anne Shirley, a spunky, red-headed girl instead. She wins them over and convinces them to let her stay. She makes friends, and enemies, gets in trouble, and learns to grow up. At the same time, the people around her benefit from her presence as well.

Why I Like It

Anne Shirley has always been one of my favorite female characters ever. She has the best imagination, is always willing to take a stand, and doesn't take no for an answer. Anne may be positive, but unlike characters like Pollyanna, she isn't always cheerful. She, along with all the characters in this book, are iconic and memorable. You never forget them, one of the signs of a truly great story.

Two, the setting. Everyone knows Green Gables and Prince Edward Island. The author turned the setting into a major part of the story and allowed it to shine through.

And, of course, the story. It's a story about family, about growing up, about friendship. It covers many bases, but manages to hit them all. That's why this book is a classic.


I have to talk about the only version I've ever watched, the TV movies that came out starting in 1985. The first two were superb. The actors are great, the story lines are great. It was perfect. Plus, Gilbert Blythe. Here's a picture for those of you who haven't seen it, or if you have.

What do you like about Anne of Green Gables? Have you seen the TV movies, and what's your opinion about them? Let me know in the comments.