It has now been a lucky seven years since I started this blog! And those seven years have been quite a ride. Per the usual, I'm celebrating by rounding up my best posts this year for you to go back and review. Thanks for all your support, and let me know if there's anything new you'd like to hear about! I'll be back next week with a post about why it's good that I haven't been published yet.
About My Life
Adventures in Family History 8/18/18
What's In My Memory Box 8/25/18
Changing My Future Path 10/20/18
Librarians Are Boss: What I Learned in Grad School 1/12/19
My Most and Least Favorite Classes 1/19/19
25 Lessons From 25 Years 4/3/19 *Author's Favorite of the Year*
On Living With Roommates 4/20/19
Hey everyone! Are you ready for our humor roundup? Here are the twenty-five funniest posts I've come across in the last three months, plus one video. Please enjoy!
*Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahoy*
Today I thought I'd try out adding a third post to my quarterly roundups: a speedlinking-type roundup of cool, interesting, useful, etc. stuff that I saw online across the last three months! In this case, I'll be sharing stuff that I've found since the speedlinking post I did in February. If it goes well, I'll continue this series quarterly. So check it out!
In the books world, here's a website that will tell you what book was the NYT bestseller the year that you were born! And if you're a Harry Potter fan, this quiz will tell you which Defense Against the Dark Arts professor you are. (I got the coolest one, Remus Lupin!) I also came across this cool Twitter thread by a librarian about what she's learned while doing her job. And some huge book deal news has just been announced: Suzanne Collins will be releasing a Hunger Games prequel that takes place 64 years before Katniss's story. It comes out in May 2020!
In the writing world, here's a Tumblr guide to female characters and male characters to avoid in your work. This post also offers some helpful advice about "writing what you know," while this one acts as a solid mythology reference. Finally, this language-related post is pretty awesome:
Hey, everyone! It's almost July, and that means it's time for our quarterly roundups. First up, today, I'm sharing the books I'm most excited about that are releasing in the summer quarter, July - September, of this year. There are fourteen titles this time, all YA, so go ahead and give them all a look!
1) Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra. This YA contemporary romance follows a sixteen-year-old Indian-American girl adjusting to her new life as the youngest doctor in the U.S. She gets drawn into a romance with a cancer patient that changes her life. This book releases on July 2nd.
2) Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. This YA fantasy tells the Chinese-inspired story of a girl who dresses as a boy in order to enter a competition to become imperial tailor and who must create three magical dresses from the sun, the moon, and the stars in order to win. It will release on July 9th.
Today I thought I'd try something a bit new. I am a huge lover of fanart, and I share other people's pieces often on my fandom Tumblr and my Pinterest (and I follow a lot of artists on Instagram too). One of the things I most look forward to once I get published is fanart--hopefully one of my books will be popular enough to catch an artist's eye!
I've shared my most favorite fanart pieces on this blog before, in this post and this post, but I want to celebrate fanart even more than that! So I'm going to start sharing my favorite pieces related to upcoming book/movie/TV releases that I'm super excited about.
In two weeks, Spiderman: Far From Home will be in theaters, so today I'm going to share my twenty-five most favorite fanart pieces featuring Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and the like! I hope you enjoy, and please go check out these artists if you enjoy their work. You can click on each image for its source. (I didn't include any pieces that I couldn't find the artist for.) *Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahoy*
Welcome back, friends! It's time for an update on my life as told through a collection of "-ing" verbs.
Eating: lots and lots of red grapes
Wearing: a tie-dye blue and white dress
Smelling: baby carrots
Reading: podcast transcripts and Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Writing: #SnowQueenStory, very very slowly
Editing: nothing at the moment; Kira B. Edits is open to new
Making: myself tired staying up too late
Listening: to podcasts
Earworming: the opening theme for the Accused podcast
Watching: nothing in particular right now, just Netflix and YouTube
things here and there
Bookmarking: a bunch of podcasts to check out
Playing: different phone games, here and there
Wanting: to be less of a night owl by nature
Wishing: I had more energy during the day
As y'all know, I share roundups of my favorite (YA) books of the year each December. Today, in a challenge inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, I'm going to try to narrow these down and pick a single favorite for each year from 2010-2019. It's a good way to close out the decade, but certainly an extremely hard task! We'll see how it turns out.
1) 2010: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Like, dude. The only way you could beat this is if you were a Harry Potter book. For anyone living under a rock, Mockingjay is the final book in a YA sci-fi dystopian trilogy about a girl who takes her sister's place fighting to the death in an arena full of teens. (Taken from Best YA Books of 2010.)
2) 2011: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. This is another book/series that I commonly cite as being one of my most favorites, so it makes sense that it'd be on this list! It's a YA fantasy, the first in a trilogy, about an awkward, self-conscious girl with a great, unknown destiny who gets kidnapped after entering an arranged marriage with a king. (Taken from Best YA Books of 2011.)
3) 2012: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Oof! This is a hard year to narrow down, but it seems fitting that I choose the book that I've mentioned on this blog the most often. Cinder is the first book in a YA sci-fi fairytale retelling series, featuring an Asian Cinderella with a prosthetic foot. (Taken from Top Ten Tuesday: Best YA Books of 2012.)
I reorganize my bookshelf by color again! Apologies for the watermark; I was not aware that Filmora's free version requires it.
Music: "Delicate" by Taylor Swift
Links mentioned in video:
Hello, readers! It's that time of year again: today I'm participating in the Ch1Con & Ch21Con 2019 Blog Tour, an annual tour in preparation for this year’s conferences, which brings original content from the Chapter One Events team to a number of fantastic, writing-related blogs.
Chapter One Events is a nonprofit organization that brings writing information and publishing opportunities to young writers, culminating in the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con, ages 11-20) and Chapter Twenty-One Conference (Ch21Con, ages 21-29) each year. The two conferences bring tweens, teens, and young adults together to hear from accomplished authors their own age, participate in professional workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world. With an atmosphere that combines the professional aspects of writing conferences with the awesomeness of hanging out with fellow young book nerds, Ch1Con and Ch21Con are truly can’t-miss events!
The Chapter One Events team is composed of a mix of middle school, high school, college, and twenty-something writers who work together to create a unique, inclusive experience for young attendees. One of these team members is here today to talk about a subject important to me right now: rekindling your passion for writing. Everyone, please say hello to Katie Sherwood!
My name is Kira Brighton, and I am a carboholic.
I love sugar, love it, and when I had to go on a low-carb elimination diet for two weeks in spring of 2017 to figure out my IBS, I was miserable. Yes, thank you, I would like to never ever do that again, please. Sugar is a lot of what gets me through my days--because it's not easy, living in a body with lots of pain and little energy. Sugar makes me happy, in a way that few things do.
As such, it makes sense that, after I was diagnosed with IC and multiple food sensitivities and had to permanently start a very limited diet, I defaulted to carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Not only do carbs make me happy, but they are easy to find in prepared form--even when the list of ingredients that you can't eat is a mile wide. Seeing as I have no energy to spare and absolutely despise cooking (I have no idea how anyone can enjoy it), of course my diet focused at first on the easiest things I could still have: baked potatoes with cheese, pasta with cheese, and vanilla wafers.
As y'all might have noticed, Camp NaNoWriMo didn't work out so well for me this last month. In April, I wrote just a little over 8,000 words of my new #SnowQueenStory. For someone who used to be able to win NaNoWriMo (50,000 words) in two weeks or less, that's... really discouraging. But this is my reality, and reality can be harsh at times.
It's important that I recognize that this is my first attempt at writing a new, original novel since 2014. (I did write a novel-length fanfic that helped comfort and bolster me through the worst of things in 2016/2017. It took about a year to write.) This is my first attempt at a new, original novel after my chronic illness crisis. Expecting it to be easy, and expecting to be able to win NaNoWriMo right off the bat again, wasn't realistic of me.
I did face challenges that I couldn't have anticipated, c'est la vie for us all, right? For most of the month, my chronic illnesses were flaring due to acupuncture, which I'd decided to try out after like a million people recommended it to me--turns out it was not a good idea for me. I wasn't sure it would do anything at all, but I definitely didn't expect it to have such a strong negative effect!
As promised last week, today I'll be sharing a Top Ten Tuesday-inspired list of standalone books that I would love to see sequels to!
1) The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer. This brilliant YA sci-fi follows an orphan who joins a group of kids who can see, and therefore fight, deadly parasitic creatures. It's really well-done, and I've long been confused about why it's a standalone and not a series.
2) Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst. This diverse YA fantasy tells the story of a desert girl who is abandoned by her tribe after she fails to become the vessel for a goddess, but who then discovers that five of the gods are missing and need her help. As with The Supernaturalist, I think this one would make a wonderful series.
3) Soundless by Richelle Mead. Though it's not terribly popular, I found this YA fantasy based in Chinese folklore to be fascinating, original, and beautiful. It's about a girl who lives in an isolated mountain town where there is no sound. When her people start going blind and supplies stop coming, she goes on a journey to save them. I enjoyed it, and I think this story deserves a sequel.
4) Breaker by Kat Ellis. This YA thriller about the son of a serial killer and the sister of one of the killer's victims teaming up to stop a copycat killer makes an impact with its unique characters, scary moments, and great twist. It has a lot of potential for a sequel, and I'd love to read that.
Last month, I listed twenty-five YA books that are lesser-known (with fewer than 2000 ratings on Goodreads) but that I recommend. I wasn't able to share all of the lesser-known books I'd like to, so today I'm continuing that post! I'll start with a couple of books that I've read since I published that post, and then I'll pick up where I left off, with books published in mid-2015. Remember, these books are in reverse order by publication, so the most recently published are first!
1) The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh. This YA contemporary follows a girl whose feminist upbringing allows her to become a source of knowledge for her fellow students when their abstinence-only sex education program fails them. The book takes on an important issue and is full of fantastic characters. It does, of course, have a fair amount of sexual content, but that content is primarily educational in nature.
2) The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby. This quiet YA contemporary is about a girl who loses her memory in the wake of a car crash. The story follows her as she struggles to piece together her old life and regain her past self. It's a soft, sad story, but a lovely one, too, with a lot of resonance.
3) Vanguard by Ann Aguirre. This YA sci-fi is a standalone addition to Aguirre's Razorland trilogy. It follows a side character from the original series on a romance-filled exploration as the world adjusts to the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse/war. The romance in this story is just my style, and I really enjoyed it!
I've given a fair amount of college-related advice in the past, but today, I've decided to go into detail about living with roommates (and/or suitemates). This is a uniquely difficult part of living away from home for the first time, because you're accustomed to the way your family does things. It takes a real adjustment to live with people who were raised differently. (All the more so if you didn't share a room at home.) Some of the biggest issues I had in college were related to roommates. So I thought I'd give you a peek into the experience.
I was raised in a family where cleanliness is not a terribly high priority. The guys in our family tend to be very messy and rather unaware of the fact that other people have to live in the same house. The girls are a bit more self-aware and better at cleaning up obvious messes, but even we aren't the sort to scrub walls and polish silverware. I do pretty good at keeping my own space clean, but due to my fibromyalgia, post-9th grade, I didn't do many household chores.
My family's also not the sort to have "family time"--we do better one on one. We don't have guests or visitors very often, due to my youngest brother's autism and the fact that the rest of us are introverts. I spend most of my free time alone in my room, and after elementary school, being the only daughter, I didn't share my room with anyone. Thanks to the fibromyalgia, I had to go to bed early so I could make it to school, and my family was pretty respectful of that.
That was my personal experience in living with others prior to having roommates. When I went to college, I discovered that other people had very different experiences, and this affected not only their actions, but their expectations for the people they lived with. Thus my number one rule for having roommates is to be respectful of different people's experiences. They might not know how to do things the way you do. I certainly had to have a few things explained to me--and it's always weird trying to figure out a new shower, haha.
It's been a little over a year since I last listed, for a Top Ten Tuesday, the ten books that had been on my Goodreads TBR the longest. So I figured it was time for an update! The first seven of these books are carried over from last year, but this time, I'm listing fifteen books total, which means there will be eight books I haven't listed before.
1) After the End by Amy Plum. This is a YA sci-fi dystopian about a girl who grew up believing that the rest of the world had been destroyed by nuclear bombardment--only to find out it's not true. I added on to Goodreads in February 2014, after joining Goodreads in November 2013.
2) Blood and Salt by Kim Liggert. This one is a YA horror novel where Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn. I added it on Goodreads in April 2014.
3) The Tempest by William Shakespeare. This is, of course, a classic play in which a magician on an isolated island uses his gifts to manipulate people.
4) SYLO by D.J. MacHale. This YA sci-fi is about a secret branch of the government that takes over an island. It's written by the author of the Pendragon series, and I added it on Goodreads in May 2014.
5) The Cage by Megan Shepherd. This is another YA sci-fi, about a human zoo created for aliens.
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