Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome to the family!

I have owned my current laptop for 6 years. It's a BEAST. It's huge, heavy, and noisy. I can't load a site that's image heavy without the fans coming on full speed. I felt like it was going to explode. I've been wanting a new laptop for a few years, but it worked and I didn't want to spend the money on a new one. We happened to get a larger income tax return than we were expecting, so The Husband let me upgrade my laptop. (Sorry for the terrible picture. Ha!)

There she is! My new baby! Our first computer was a Mac (laaaaate '80s.. shhh), but other than that I don't know much about them. I was a staff editor on my college paper and we had to use iMacs and I hated them. (Or so I assumed, but I think it was the software we had to use I didn't like.) I played around with tons of different brands and models, but ultimately decided to make the switch from PC to Mac. I asked a ton of people who had made the switch and I didn't find one person who was unhappy with their decision. So far (I mean this is only day one... but...) I LOVE IT. For the most part it's pretty intuitive, which was my main concern. We'll see how the next few days and weeks go!

That leaves me with the question to ask YOU: Mac or PC? Why? What do you/don't you like about Mac or PC?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is...

Hourglass by Claudia Gray
Release date: March 9, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen (Imprint of Harper Collins)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Bestselling author Claudia Gray’s Evernight series continues. In Hourglass, Bianca and Lucas have found a way to be together. But it means lying to the people who care about them the most.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school, Bianca and Lucas seek refuge with Black Cross, the elite group of vampire hunters led by Lucas’s stepfather. When Bianca’s close friend—the vampire Balthazar—is captured by Black Cross, Bianca knows she has to do whatever it takes to save him. But at what cost?

Hourglass, the third book in this gripping vampire series by the author of the New York Times bestseller Stargazer, has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s books runaway successes.

Book Trailer:

Claudia's info:

I love this series! Claudia put a spin on the whole "girl going to boarding school and finds out all isn't what it seems" plot device that I wasn't expecting!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snow! In TEXAS!

The Husband got up and got ready for work per his usual routine. I was awakened by him running full sprint down the hallway and jumping on the bed. This is exactly how the conversation went:

Husband: *runs, jumps on bed, jumps up and down on bed* IT'S SNOWING!!!
Me: *grumble grumble grumble* *rolls over, pulls cover over head*
Husband: *shakes* You don't understand! It's SNOWING! RIGHT NOW!
Me: *more grumbles* *looks out window* *jaw drops*

SNOW! I've only seen "real" snow once in my life when I was 7. It's know as "the blizzard of 1993" in Mississippi. Ha. ;) Here are a few pictures:

The flakes were HUGE! I caught one in my hand it it was the size of the whole palm of my hand! And fluffy! I decided after lunch that I needed to go on a nature walk to get some snow pictures. I mean, how often is Narnia RIGHT OUTSIDE? We have a big wooded area outside our apartment complex, and I thought that was the perfect place to go. I'm greeted by this mess:

Hmm. No way I'm crossing that in my Converses. I go back inside and change into my rain boots, which I am thankful I have.

Here are a few snapshots of random things during my time in the woods. Also... life lesson #324: Don't go for a walk in woods you aren't too familiar with. You might get lost. Not saying that I did, I'm just saying hypothetically you might. *looks around*

I then see something unfamiliar in the woods and freeze. What was it? A dead animal? A deer or dog? Neither, my friends! It's the illusive and very rare WILD BEAN BAG CHAIR! I apparently found somebody's party spot in the woods. I also happened upon the WILD SNOWMAN. One must maintain distance from wild Bean Bag Chairs and Snowmen at all times.

All joking aside, I did happen to cross something of my bucket list today: I made a snow angel!

You can see it, right? RIGHT? So it's not a very good snow angel, but I have to work with what I have here, people. It was so fun to make! Until I realized making one involved getting SOPPING WET from head to toe. I somehow always forget that snow is wet.

I look outside my window and see that it's still snowing. I love the snow. It's seems so peaceful and dangerous at the same time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Contest idea

I have a few ARCS and duplicate copies of books I've been meaning to give away or do something with, I just haven't taken the time to do it yet. I can't decide how I want to give them away, though. Since my blog is currently named "Stephanie's Blog" (how uncreative am I?) I thought about having YOU come up with a name for my blog. (And maybe create me a banner? Not sure...) If I like your suggestion the best... BAM! You win a book? Thoughts? Do enough people even read my blog to have entries? Ha! Leave me comments or reply to me on Twitter (I'm @StephPellegrin, I need to get a Twitter widget) and let me know. :) Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Steph Su over at Steph Su Reads is having a huge ARC giveaway to celebrate her blogaversary. She has ARCs of Sisters Red, Linger, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Guardian at the Gate (!!!) and more! Please be sure to click on the link to her blog (link again in case you missed it) and check it out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Today's Waiting on Wednesday is...

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Release date: June 7, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

Jackson's links:

I had the pleasure of meeting Jackson at Twicon, and she's a wonderful lady! Not to mention she has some gorgeous locks. ;) I can't wait to read Sisters Red soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Change is scary

I'm sitting here at my computer just now trying to decide what to do today. I was off work yesterday and I'm off today as well. I cleaned our apartment yesterday. It took me the better part of the day, but I finally got everything done. So now I look around and realize... I HAVE A FREE DAY!!! I can do pretty much (within legal limits) anything I want today. I have two books I need to finish reading, and a WIP that isn't writing itself. I then started thinking about my YA Historical Fiction WIP, and it suddenly hit me: I've been writing from the wrong character's POV. WHY have I not figured this out BEFORE NOW? I threw a little tantrum on the floor and realized... this is a good thing! I think it works out so much better this way that the way I originally intended. It's still a ton of stuff I have to change and my plot is completely different now. But that's alright, I'm really ok with it now. This character is so much better and I think it will make for such a stronger story. I write all this to ask... what major changes have you had to make to your various WIP's over time? How did you cope with it? Did it work out better for you in the end? Were you just as happy or was there a nagging in the back of your head that it might have worked out better if you didn't change anything a all?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My literary/fictional crushes

With today being Valentine's Day, I thought I'd do a blog post about my top 10 literary/fictional crushes. I'll then end my post with how my Valentine's Day went (and yes, it went swimmingly :D ). Counting down from 10 to 1, we have:

10. Jacob from Twilight and New Moon
I love Jacob, and will always be Team Jacob. However I can really only stand him in Twilight and New Moon (and a very little in Breaking Dawn). I do think Bella should have ended up with Edward, but if I were Bella, I would have picked Jacob. Hands down.

9. Simon from The Mortal Instruments Series
Oh Simon... why must I always side with the underdog? I love Jace, don't get me wrong, but the whole time in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Clary, PLEASE choose Simon!" I think it's similar to the Jacob/Edward case as I explained in number 10. I think Clary should have chosen Jace, but if it were up to me I would have went with Simon. Plus I have a thing for nerds. :p

8. Nate from Eyes Like Stars
I think it's the pirate-ness that makes me like Nate so. Plus after a Twitter conversation with ELS author Lisa Mantchev, I can't think of Nate without seeing Richard Cypher (aka- The Seeker of Truth) from the TV series Legend of the Seeker. Must be the leather pants/white linen shirt thing.

7. Phantom from Phantom of the Opera
I feel like I'm one of the few who wanted Christine to end up with Phantom. Raoul just seemed like such a D-bag to me. Sure Phantom has a dark and twisty past, but that's what makes him so desirable!

6. Valek from The Poison Study series
I love the complexity of Valek's character and the way his interactions with Yalena change over the course of their time together. Plus he's so dang mysterious all the time!

5. Po from Graceling
I just love Po. His character can somehow be snarky but gentle and understanding at the same time without making him seem like a total spaz.

4. Adrian from Vampire Academy
Once again, this shows my love for the underdogs. I think everyone I've talked to about this is appalled by my wanting Rose and Adrian to end up together. I knew from his first scene I wanted them together. Looking at my past love for the underdogs, I seriously doubt I'll get my way. :(

3. Peeta from The Hunger Games
What can I say? He's so honest and kind and genuine. What's NOT to love?

2. Harry Potter (with a little Sirius and Lupin thrown in for good measure)
With my love for the underdog, you may be asking why I like Harry and not Ron? I'm not really sure. I usually don't go for the main character in a book, but in the Harry Potter series I did. I also like Sirius and Lupin tons!

1. Baby Kermit the Frog from The Muppet Babies
Baby Kermit was my first ever crush that I can remember. I loved The Muppet Babies and watched it daily, if not multiple times a day. I caught myself daydreaming about Baby Kermit often. One day while fantasizing about us getting married (I kid you not), I came to the realization that he was a frog and I was a human. It would never work out. I find it funny that that's the conclusion I came up with, not that he was a fictional animated character on a TV show.

And now to talk about my Valentine's Day. Yesterday was The Husband's birthday, so we usually lump Valentine's Day dinner and birthday dinner into one occasion to save time and money. We went to a Hibachi grill place. Husband got chicken and shrimp while I got salmon and shrimp (which was DELISH). We came home and I gave him his birthday present, which was a watch he's had his eye on. We decided to go ahead and exchange Valentine's presents while we were in the gift-giving/receiving mood. I got him some Xbox gamer points. He got me a Marshmallow Bunny Webkinz (yes I play Webkinz, don't judge me), which I quickly adopted and named Ruby, a Beauty and the Beast Jim Shore figurine, and a Vanilla Cupcake candle from Yankee Candle. I was SO surprised. I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day in general. It's too commercial and I think it's lame that you're expected to give gifts to your love one day out of the year. Why not EVERY DAY? I usually give him a list of things I'd like and he picks from that. This year I kept telling him I didn't want anything, which was the truth. He went shopping on his own and picked my things out, which makes them a lot more special. Of course the first thing I did was break the glass lid of my candle while trying to open it. :( We're going to see about taking it back today.

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day and I hope you enjoyed my literary crushes. Do you agree with them? Who is in your top 10?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is...

Sea by Heidi Kling
Release Date: June 10, 2010
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.

And Sea’s real adventure begins.

Heidi's links:

Heidi is such an amazing person and I can't wait to read Sea!!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The internet sucks my soul away

I just realized most of my recent posts have been contest/book/reading related and not very... personal. The past few weeks have been very hectic and trying.

My husband's great grandfather passed away late last week. They were very close and the stress/sadness of the funeral took its toll on both of us. Not to mention the funeral was in Louisiana, so the drive was almost 9 hours.

I quit my job. I haven't been happy there in a while and found my work was slacking because of it. If I'm going to work, I'm going to give 100% of myself to my job. I wasn't able to do that and it made me sad... so I quit. I got a job offer to return to my old job working the coffee shop at a major bookstore chain, so I decided to go back. I loved the job itself and most of the people I worked with. The problem, you ask? The hours suck. My old job was Monday through Thursday. Since this job is retail I don't have that luxury anymore. However, I am happier so in the end that's what matters... right? :/

I was thinking about my New Year's resolutions earlier today. If you recall, I had three: Blog more, write more, and stay positive. I've been blogging more *and* staying positive (for the most part), but I haven't been writing. At all. I recently abandoned my WIP. I got angry at my protag (who is loosely based on myself... ha!) and needed a rest from her. While "resting" I came up with a great idea for a YA Historical Fiction. This is so out of my comfort zone it's not even funny. I've been doing some research and trying to get all my ducks in a row to officially start. I think tomorrow will be my first actual day of writing on this WIP. I have roughly two days off a week. I'm going to reserve one of those days for writing. I will stay off the internet until dinner time (I'm going to try to not even Tweet!!). If I have to, I'll unplug our router for the day. The internet, especially Twitter for some reason, distracts me like nothing else can. I'll have the best intentions of getting things done, and before I know it the day is just... GONE. The internet sucks my soul away. It makes me sad to think of all the hours I've wasted when I could have been working! But life's that way, isn't it? We have to take the good with the bad.

So long story short, I will post my Waiting on Wednesday feature tomorrow morning. I'll check my email, Facebook, and Twitter while the coffee is brewing. Then I will hit the ground running. Do you think I can do this? I can use some encouragement, oh dear blog readers! :) Do you have things that distract you from writing? What do you do about it?

Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered my Hush, Hush giveaway. I had had such an awesome response! I could have never dreamed my first giveaway/contest would have had so many entries (over 30!). I used a Random number generator and it picked the following two entries:

Second prize (postcard and bookmark) goes to...

First prize (signed book, postcard, and bookmark) goes to...

Congratulations!!! I've emailed you both requesting your mailing address. If I haven't heard back from you within 72 hours I'll have to draw another winner.

And if you didn't win this time, check back! I'll be doing more giveaways soon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is...

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Release date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

I cannot wait to read this book! The story seems awesome, and I'd buy the book just for the cover alone. It's beautiful!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reading Recap for January

As I've stated in other blog posts, I did a 100 book challenge last year with some other members of Twilight Moms on Goodreads. I didn't quite meet my goal (I was at 90 something, so I still did pretty well). I didn't join the challenge this year because I felt a little hindered by trying to read so much and I didn't get as much writing done because of it, so I didn't join the challenge this year. However, I still want to keep up with the books I'll be reading throughout the year. At the beginning of each month, I'll post the books I read, how many pages they were and such. This is mostly for my benefit (and I do love lists), so feel free to ignore this post. :)

Books read in January 2010

1. Arabian Nights (Fables Volume 7) by Bill Willingham, 144 pages

2. Wolves (Fables Volume 8) by Bill Willingham, 159 pages

3. Sons of Empire (Fables Volume 9) by Bill Willingham, 192 pages

4. The Good Prince (Fables Volume 10) by Bill Willingham, 224 pages

5. War and Pieces (Fables Volume 11) by Bill Willingham, 192 pages

6. The Dark Ages (Fables Volume 12) by Bill Willingham 173 pages

7. Fallen by Lauren Kate, 452 pages

8. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, 372 pages

9. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, 375 pages (re-read)

Totals for January

9 Books
4 Authors
2,303 Pages