Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

I decided to start a Waiting on Wednesday feature as some other book bloggers do. Though my blog isn't just about books, I am an avid reader/writer and do talk about books in most of my posts, so I thought it fit.

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is: Mistwood by Leah Cypress
Release date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

Official book trailer from Harper Teen:

Monday, January 25, 2010

This contest is now closed! Thanks to all who entered!
It's contest time! Up for grabs is a signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, a Hush, Hush postcard, and a Hush, Hush bookmark.

Simply comment on this blog post to enter. (BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL!) You can get extra entries by doing the following:

+2 for being an old blog follower (I only had 17, and I know who you were so don't lie!)

+1 for following my blog

+1 for following me on Twitter (I'm @StephPellegrin, include your Twitter username)

+1 for sharing this contest (via twitter, facebook, blog, etc. Please include links. One point for each!)

Please be sure to tally up your point total in your comment to make it easier for me.

Contest ends February 8, 2010 at midnight CST, and is only open to US residents. I'm sorry! *feels terrible* It cost so much to ship out of the country. I promise I'll have more contests soon that aren't US only. I'll announce the winner on my blog on Tuesday February 9th. The winner has 72 hours to respond to my email before another winner is picked. Good luck, everyone!!!

New Second Place Prize!!!!
I was able to acquire another set of Hush, Hush postcards and book marks today, so second place will be a postcard and book mark!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meeting Author Becca Fitzpatrick

I was bummed when I found out Hush, Hush author Becca Fitzpatrick wouldn't be coming to Austin on the Texas leg of her book tour. She was, however, coming to Houston. I have some good friends in Houston I've been meaning to go see anyway, so I decided to make the trek from Austin to Houston. Becca was SO sweet! And beautiful to add to her sweetness (did I just say that out loud?). She talked about Hush, Hush and Crescendo (sequel to Hush, Hush, out in October of this year) and showed us her outline for Crescendo. She also said the cover model for Hush, Hush had to jump on a trampoline for 6 hours for the photo shoot. I can't even imagine!!! Here are a few pics that were taken by my friend Shandra at the signing since my camera died after one picture. (FAIL)

Me and my awesome lady pals Shandra and Cynthia:

Becca signing my book:

Me and Becca:

And now the good news for you, my blogging minions, is that I picked up an extra copy of Hush, Hush and asked Becca to sign it so that I can give it away to YOU! (Yes... YOU!!! *points*). I'll be posting more information about the contest on Monday, January 25th. Stay tuned! If you're subscribed to my blog before then you'll get an extra entry. Happy weekend, everyone! And thanks to Becca for coming to Texas! It was awesome to meet you. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Long Journey

The Spare Room in our apartment has been a hot mess for the past two years. It was mainly a communication error between The Husband and myself. I rarely ever went into the room and kept the doors closed. While cleaning other parts of the apartment, I would hand an object to The Husband and say, "Put this up." He thought that meant, "Just put it somewhere" when what I actually meant was, "Put this where it belongs." Men are from Mars, women are from Venus yada yada yada. Funny how people think differently.

I decided one day enough was enough and I was going to clean The Spare Room and turn it into a Library/Study for myself to read, write, think, get away, etc. I opened the door and was greeted by this:

Many expletives were said upon the first viewing of The Spare Room. I had no idea it was that bad. It took me 8+ hours (most of which were spent swearing I was going to strangle The Husband) to get everything put back where it belonged. The end result of that day turned into this:

I've been pinching pennies to save up for bookshelves and other things I felt I needed for The Library. So far I only have bookshelves, a rug, and a chair I got for my birthday. Here's the room as it stands today:

Much better, don't you think? I had plans to buy a desk to put underneath the window, but I've stopped buying things for the time being since we're planning on moving soon. I'm not sure what kind of room our new place will have and I don't want to move extra stuff. Here's a close up of just my bookshelves, plus two of my favorite shelves (I am a fan girl at heart, after all).


I am now able to enjoy The Library. I can sit and read and write and... THINK without looking around and seeing nothing but clutter. Having a clean house really makes me a happier person. What about you? Any crazy clean up or renovation projects you'd like to share? I'd love to see them!

Monday, January 18, 2010

This haphazard blog post will come to you in five parts. I had to stay away from The Blog (yes I randomly capitalize things that are of importance. Don't judge me.) last week. It was such a terrible, heart-wrenching week and I knew if I came on here to make a post it would be all emo and woe-is-me. Not cool. I won't talk about it too much because a lot is work related.

Part 1, Apartment Woes
We heard back from apartment option number two (with the awesome kitchen and pot rack), and they do not allow guinea pigs. I emailed them before we went to visit and the lady skirted around my question because she didn't want to take the time to ask her manager. Seriously, what is the deal with guinea pigs? What are these people afraid of? So, awesome kitchen is no longer an option. :( I keep telling myself that this happened because there is some other, better option out there for us, but it's hard to swallow. We're going to make an appointment with a relator to see if buying is an option for us right now (though I don't think so) or at least get a little more educated on the buying process so we can prepare better.

Part 2, Writing
How's the writing coming, you ask? Eh. I have such a hard time conveying what I'm trying to say. Like I'll have this awesome scene all worked out in my head and when I write it out it's utter garbage. Even though I've been writing my entire life, I keep telling myself it'll get better with experience and to simply write more is the answer. See? I'm at least trying to have a more positive outlook on life. That's one New Year's resolution obtained. *fist pump*

Part 3, Reading
I'm reading The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. It is dark. And divine. :) I'm really enjoying it. I love Grace's character, and who couldn't love Daniel? I'm almost done with it, but I'm putting off reading it because I don't want it to end. I'm so bad about doing that.
By the way, I've been trying SO hard to get some of the matching nail polish Bree gives away at signings. She's not coming anywhere near me, unfortunately, so if you're able to acquire an extra bottle PLEASE let me know!!

Part 4, Contests!
FYI, I should have a contest with goodies next week! :D I won't say what yet, but I am quite excited and you should be too. Be sure to check back to see what gooey-goodness I have scrounged up for you.

Part 5, My love for inanimate objects
I LOVE a good thesaurus. That is all.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Apartment Hunting, Day Two

Today was a very unproductive apartment hunting day. We looked at two places. Here is option number three:

Pros about option three:

It has an awesome computer desk area when you walk in that has built in shelving and such. Awesome.

It has the cutest little reading nook in the master bedroom that Husband and I LOVED. I'd never seen anything like that before in an apartment!

It had a huge balcony/patio area.

*Counter tops
Beautiful granite countertops in kitchen and bathroom.

They take guinea pigs with a $300 deposit.

Cons about option three:

It's the most expensive place we've seen so far, and frankly out of our price range.

It had no attached garages and parking did seem to be a bit of an issue.

*Living area
The living room area was a bit too small.

The apartment had two bathrooms, but the guest bathroom is the private bathroom, which seemed odd to me. There were two doors to the master bathroom, one from the master bedroom and the other from a hallway by the kitchen for visitors.

While going to the apartment model, I saw a resident had bagged their trash and left it by the front door in the hallway. Um... NO. Take it to the dumpster please and thank you.

Option four:

Apartment four considers guinea pigs exotic pets and doesn't allow them. We decided to not even look at their apartments because it was just a waste of time.

So we're pretty much right back where we started from with a tie between options one and two. We've got a few more places to look at next weekend (though not very many). The lady from option two should get back in touch with us on Tuesday as to whether or not they take piggies.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Apartment Hunting, Day One

The Husband and I (mostly myself, Husband doesn't really care one way or the other) aren't really happy with our current apartment. We have noisy, rude neighbors and a small, useless kitchen. Also we're overpaying by a tiny bit, which is never fun to find out. Today we checked out two apartments that I had been researching. Both come with an attached garage, FYI. (Click thumbnails to make larger, obviously.) Here is the layout of apartment number one (1,212 square feet):

And apartment number two (1,093 square feet):

Because I love lists, here are pros and cons of each. Husband likes option number one while I prefer option number two. While we're planning on looking at a few more options, we're at somewhat of an impasse.

Pros about option one:
Husband loved the fireplace and was immediately sold upon seeing it.

*Breakfast nook
It has both a breakfast nook as well as a dining room (they called it a "sitting area"), which I was confused about at first because on paper it seemed silly to have both. However they had made the breakfast nook into a little computer area of sorts and it seemed to work out really well.

*No pet fees
We have two guinea pigs, and finding an apartment that allows guinea pigs is a feat within itself. Our current place doesn't allow them (shhhhh!), so we're going to make sure our new place is pig-friendly. They aren't making us pay a penny of pet fees or deposits!!! This alone nearly sold it for me because those pet fees are ridiculous.

Cons about option one:
The way the living room is laid out the only logical place to put the TV is above the fireplace, meaning none of Hubby's gaming systems can be used on that TV. I had always said I wanted a fireplace in our next apartment, but when I saw it I thought, "Eh, I could do without."

I don't hate the kitchen at this place, but I didn't fall in love with it upon first sight either. On paper it looked much bigger than it actually was. Counter and cabinet space is only a small upgrade from what we have now. Plus I can't see the living room or anything from it, so I feel a bit closed off.

While they aren't going to make us pay any pet fees, the price is almost $200 more than option two.

Pros about option two:

I LOVE THIS KITCHEN. I fell in love with it upon first sight and can't stop thinking about it. It's massive, has an island and a pot rack. A freaking POT RACK!!! Much squeeage was had.

(Kitchen in this photo is sans pot rack, photo below would be an example of pot-racked kitchen, but above photo would be our exact kitchen.)

The price on this place is almost $50 less than what we're paying now for more square footage (plus an awesome kitchen). I was totally surprised when she told us the price ranges.

We have a couple that we're good friends with that live in this complex. We babysit their baby from time to time, so it would be nice to be so close.

Cons about option two:

The lady we talked to today wasn't even 100% sure they allowed guinea pigs in the first place. The lease said hamsters were okay, but not ferrets, and said nothing about guinea pigs. If her manager okays the pigs, we'll have to pay a $200 security deposit (which is refundable) and a $300 fee PER PIG (non refundable), plus an extra $10 a month on rent.

There's a divider between the living and dining rooms that Hubby and I weren't crazy about.

Although we will be visiting more places soon, these are our two options for now, and we're totally stuck. Either we end up paying almost $1000 more up front in pet deposits, OR we end up paying almost $1000 more in rent over the 12 months of our lease. The Husband is having a hard time seeing it as the same thing, where as to me, either way it's money we're spending on the apartment.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Twenty-Ten!

I tell people all the time how terrible of a blogger I am. I've never denied it. I was determined to write this post yesterday and took to Twitter and asked people to punch me in the face repeatedly if I did not write it. Did I write it? Well of course I forgot. Apparently even the threat of getting my face punched off doesn't make me want to blog. I feel like my life is so... boring and average! I do the same things every day, and they usually aren't fun to write about and I often don't want to revisit my day, you know?

Now on to the meat of this blog post... my New Year's resolutions! I put much thought into them. I usually don't do resolutions, because of course I never keep them (does anybody??), but I made one last year. My resolution was to read 100 books. I didn't quite make it, but got dang close. Final count was at 93 I believe. I'm still proud because that's more than I probably would have normally read in the year without the resolution hanging over my head. I do have to say it also hindered me. I wasn't able to write nearly as much as I wanted to because I knew I needed to read more. I can't help but think of what else I would have gotten accomplished had I not made that resolution. I don't regret it because I loved and enjoyed every book in its own special way, it just bums me a little. So this year, I'm making no hard resolutions. I don't want to limit myself. Now that I've made you read two paragraphs, I shall tell you my resolutions. They are as follows:

1. Blog more
2. Write more
3. Try to see the positive side of life again and not be so openly negative

Notice I never said anything like, "blog three times a week" or, "finish my WIP this year." I do not want to hinder myself again. I think all three of these goals are attainable, save maybe the third. :p I kid, I kid. But seriously, even if I make like five blog posts this year, that will be blogging more, and if I write 10,000ish words, I will be writing more than I did last year. I'm going to try not to look at it like that, because I'm a pretty lazy person and don't want to start off on a negative note. See? I'm being positive! Or trying to anyway. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!