Tuesday, January 31, 2017

To Be Read - February 2017

Hello everyone!

Sorry there wasn't a Friday post this week, I got sidetracked and didn't finish my character spotlight on time. :P Lord willing there will be a post this Friday, though. ;)

Anywho, I know! It's been SUCH a LOOOONG time since I ever did a To Be Read! However I always enjoyed doing this series, so I've decided to bring it back!

If you are one of my newer readers and you aren't sure what this post series is, it's where I find a bunch of cool-looking books I want to read during the month, and try to read as many of them as possible. At the end of the month, I will come back and say which books I had read and which books I had not, and come up with some more books to read for the next month. Pretty simple, and I like setting goals for myself. :)

Here we go!

Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery

A little while ago I read the first book in the Emily series, and I enjoyed it! Just recently I got the whole series on Kindle for only 99 cents, so this month I will hopefully get around to reading this (and the third book in the series, Emily's Quest).

The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

Okay, so I'll be honest, this doesn't exactly seem like the type of book I would go around reading all the time. It seems to be part of that middle-school genre that tends to be a little...shall we say...strange.
BUT the concept sounds fun! The description also says that the book club reads Little Women, one of my favorite classics/books overall. My friend also has it and she said she would let me borrow it sometime. So, yeah, I'm willing to give it a try. :-)

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

This book sounds amazing - from the reviews I've read it has a nice, strong female character and an interesting plot. I've been wanting to read some of Melanie Dickerson's books for awhile now, so this seems like a good book to start with.

A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu

Some of my friends have posted glowing reviews of this book on Goodreads, and sounds like such a sweet book! I've actually only read one Cinderella retelling before (which I actually didn't finish) so hopefully this will be the first of many retellings I read. :-)

The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey

I am a longtime Lindsey Stirling fan - I've always loved her music. I remember when at the age of 8 my babysitter (she was a cool 14-year-old) showed me her music video "Shadows" and I've been obsessed with her ever since, so I would love to read her book!

The Hidden Amethyst by J.C. Buchanan

When this book was written I believe the author was around the age of 13, which is just about my age. I would love to read another book by someone who isn't 16+! The plot sounds interesting, too.

Courageous Love by Susan K. Marlow

I saved the best for last...hehe. ;-) I am SOOOO excited to read the final installment of the Circle C Milestones series. If it is anything like the three other books, it's sure to be absolutely amazing.

Alright! I think that's all the books for this post.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

~Lydia~ <3

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Writing Programs - Which One Is The Best?


In today's Tuesday post I'm going to be comparing writing programs by listing out the pros and cons of each of them. There are plenty of them out there, but these are the different ones I've used so far:

Let's get started!

This is probably the most popular writing program by far, however I actually only used it as my main writing platform for about 6 months when I was just starting to get serious about writing (age 9). Now I do use it for school sometimes, however a lot less frequently than I used to use it. 

 You can easily write offline. 
Lots of different formating tools, text colors and fonts. 
Writing a book report? There's a template for that. A business letter? There's a template for that. A report? There's a template for that. A list? There's a template for that. 
You can easily upload photos. If you are going to have a lot of photos in your document, Word is probably the way to go. 

Not free. To my knowledge you need an Office 365 Subscription for Word. (Maybe I'm wrong though. But I know it isn't free.) 
If you forget to save your document and simply close the tab, bye-bye document. :P It's SO frustrating, let me tell you!
Unless somebody has a set-up Microsoft account, you can't share stories or reports very easily. It's quite complicated.

Celtx is actually a script-writing program but I do know some people who use it for all of their writing. I have only used it for script-writing (a YouTube miniseries based off one of my favorite books I dreamed up and would LOVE to make happen one day [and no, it isn't Narnia]) but here are the pros and cons I have noticed so far. 

 Nice categories. There are episode categories, (which my friend uses as chapters), plenty of different slots for different projects, and you can even create different movie studios (book series ;]) if you would like. 
Free - although Celtx does offer plans that allow you to do more on their website. I've never tried them before, so I can't say much about them. 
If a friend has a Celtx account, it's easy to share projects and you can even be apart of the same "Studio" together.
There is a feature at the bottom that tells you your word count, how much time you have spent writing, and how much time you have spent "Thinking" (not typing). I think this is a pretty cool feature, but it depends on whether it will motivate you to keep writing or make you feel guilty. :P

Despite all its cool features, this IS a program meant for writing movie or TV show scripts, not for writing books. If you want to use Celtx for writing a book or story, it may prove difficult. 
They are constantly badgering you about updating to a plan and paying money for it. :P 
Can't write offline. (As far as I know).

I just recently discovered Evernote, but it is absolutely amazing so far!! It has a ton of different and useful features. I use it to write a lot of my stories and also to plan my blog posts and set reminders. I also like to clip recipes and things, which is made easy with the iPhone app they have. 

Evernote has "Notebooks", which are basically categories you can put your notes/documents into. This is wonderful because I can create a notebook entitled "Illuminate" and then write a different note per chapter, put it in the notebook, and all the chapters are there separately, ready for me to edit. 
Free, although it does offer plans you can pay for with more features and storage per month (none of which I have tried). 
If you sometimes write down your stories/books in notebooks but want to back them up online (like I do) it's easy with the Evernote app that they have for iPhones, iPods and iPads. You just take a picture of the paper and it uploads it to Evernote. 

Evernote says you can use "Work Chat" with anybody, even if they aren't signed up to Evernote, but I tried to with Jo and she said she had to sign up before she could chat with me. 
It has so many features it can sometimes get really confusing. I haven't even tried out the audio feature yet. 
If you want to write a really long book, Evernote does have a limit (on the free plan) to how much storage you can use a month. It resets each month.

Until I discovered Evernote, Google Docs was my main writing program for nearly two years. It's a great writing program, which any of my friends will vouch for (also perfect for school projects). 

You can use it with your Google account, which nearly everybody has, right? ;) Therefore there is incredibly easy sharing. Even if a person doesn't have a Google account, they can still view, edit or comment on the document, they will just be signed in as "Anonymous Squirrel" or something like that. Google Docs is probably the best writing program listed here for group projects. 
Auto-save, which is a LIFESAVER!! :D 
It can be used on mobile, a web browser, or can be downloaded on your computer. 
Documents created can be found both in Google Docs and Google Drive. If you are a more organized person (like me) and like your docs in categories or folders, Google Drive is probably the best way to view them. 

It can be hard to navigate sometimes, especially when you have as many documents as I do! 
 It doesn't have as many fonts as programs like Word. 
I can't think of anymore cons. XD 

Okay! So now that I've listed the pros and cons of each program, here they are listed in the order of how much a like them and how good they are for writing book and stories. 1 is the lowest and 4 is the highest. 

1. Celtx
2. Evernote (I LOVE it but it doesn't have as many functions on documents)
3. Microsoft Word
4. Google Docs

This is just my opinion. I'd love to hear what you think! Soooo...

What program do you use primarily for writing? 

Thanks for reading! :)

~Lydia~ <3 

Friday, January 20, 2017

The 2016 Bookish Recap Tag

Hello everyone!

Happy Friday! And with a Friday will usually come a tag or a character spotlight. Today is also a very special Friday because it's Inauguration Day, and Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. Whether you're super excited or using the #doomsday hashtag everywhere or are kind of in the middle (like me) I hope you're not spending too much time on the computer and watching this historical event instead. ;-)
(And if you don't live in America well LUCKY YOU)

Anyway, Kaitlyn at Twin Thoughts tagged me for the 2016 Bookish Recap Tag! Thanks, Kaitlyn!


-Include the above button in your post. 
-Answer the 11 questions. 
-Use as many book covers as you like. 
-Tag 5-10 people and notify them they have been tagged. 


1. How many book did you read in 2016? (Exact if you know, approximate if not.) 
I read a total of 79 books in 2016! Some of you might think that's good but I read around 120 in 2015, so this year I really need to step up my game if I'm ever going to beat that!

2. Did you set a reading challenge for yourself and, if so, did you meet it? 
I set a goal for myself of 75 books and I just barely beat it by 4 books. ;) 

3. What was your most read genre this year? Least read? 
My most read was definitely mystery. I read almost half the Trixie Belden series, a couple of classic Hardy Boys from the 1920s/1930s, the first couple Nancy Drews, a Sherlock Holmes book, and two Cherry Ames
My least read was probably biography, in which I read a grand total of 1 book. 

4. What's five of your favorite books from 2016? 
I'm just going to list books I read for the first time in 2016, not re-reads. And I know this question is supposed to mean books that came out in 2016 but I only read around 3 books that were actually published this year. :P 

-The Last Ride by Susan K. Marlow
This book was amazing!! It made me cry so hard my mom was like "Lydia are you alright?!" So good, but so sad. <3 

-The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle 
This was my first Sherlock Holmes book, and I LOVED every minute of it! It was suspenseful, eerie, and everything I could hope for in a mystery. ;) 

-Dare by Tricia Mingerink 
I went into the book doubtful I would like it, but I was sooo wrong - L-O-V-E!! 

-The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart 
This is such a brilliant a clever book that I absolutely adored reading. 

-The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton 
I read this for a blog tour, and I really enjoyed it! The book was exciting, fast-paced and very well-written, with a Christian message woven in as well. 

5. What's five of your least favorite books from 2016? 

-Princess in Calico by Unknown 
This book just fell flat for me, like I said in my review on Goodreads it's like an Elsie Dinsmore story except the characters are less developed. 

-Terror on Tour by Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon 
I have a lot of nasty things to say about this book. I will refrain from saying them. :P 

-Elsie's Girlhood by Martha Finley 
I liked it OK but definitely could use some improvement. 

-The Secret of the Unseen Treasure by Kathryn Kenney 
Worst Trixie Belden book I have read so far. 

-Jane Austen by (once again can't remember his name)
I liked learning more about one of my favorite authors, but biographies don't really give me too much entertainment, you know? :P 

6. What new favorite author did you discover? (Not necessarily that the author is "new", but that they became new to you this year.) 
Trenton Lee Stewart. Hopefully I can read a lot more of his work in 2017! 

7. What's five of your favorite book covers from the year? 

-The Last Ride
-The Silent Blade
-Where Hope Prevails 
I can't think of any other covers I particularly liked that came out in 2016. But those are my top three, at least. :P 

8. How many books did you purchase for yourself in 2016? (Exact if you know, approximate if not.)
I would guess around 25, I don't really keep track of these things though so I'm not entirely sure.

9. What's the longest book you read in 2016? 
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

10. What's the shortest book you read in 2016? 
Katy by Mary Evelyn Notgrass

11. What's your reading goal for 2017? 
At the moment it's 100 books, but we'll see how that goes...:P 

And there you have it! My answers to the tag! ;) And now, here are the people I tag: 

 Elly at Iridescent Auras

And of course, you don't have to do it if you don't want to. ;) 

Thanks for reading, everyone!

What was a favorite book that you read in 2016? 

~Lydia~ <3 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What I Got For Christmas - 2016

Hello everyone!

In today's post I thought I'd show you all what I got for Christmas this year. Before I start I would like to clarify I'm not trying to brag in any way. Personally I LOVE seeing what other people received for the holidays so I thought it would be fun to make a post about what I got. That's all. :-)

Some of these gifts are from my parents, some from my Grandpa, some from other family members and some from friends. :-)

With that said, let's get into it!

The first things I got were two Cherry Ames Boxed Sets! Cherry Ames is a book series for girls from the 1940s, and I think they went into the 1960s (I'm not entirely sure, though). I was looking through the Vermont Country Store catalog and saw they were publishing them again, and I flipped out because I had been wanting to read them for awhile. So I was sooo excited when I got these! Thanks mom! 

Next I got this Lindsey Stirling vinyl record. When I was about 7 years old my mom got me a record player from the 1970s and a bunch of old story-book-type records for Christmas. I used them for a little while and then they got packed up in the closet...recently vinyl has come back in, so I got out my record player again when received this!
I also got an Owl City one, and I was supposed to get a Tenth Avenue North record, too, but Amazon made a mistake and sent a Walk The Moon record...? Um, so yeah, we have to get that sorted out. :P

This was a shared gift from my parents for Jo and I. We have a portable DVD player in our room and we love watching Little House on the Prairie together. We just finished up the fifth season and didn't have the rest, so we both got the last few seasons. We're already on Disc 3 of season seven. ALMANZO AND LAURA ARE SO CUTE IT'S JUST I CAN'T EVEN

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just about cried when I opened my Susan Narnia Tonner Doll!!! I love her SO MUCH! I am so grateful to my mom and dad! Thank you guys so much!!!!!!! <3
(Sorry about the exclamation points but how can I help it? :DDD)

I got all of these Agatha Christie books, they are all Miss Marple. I've already read one of them and  enjoyed it immensely! I'm super excited to read all of these. :D They are also all vintage, the oldest one is Murder With Mirrors which is from 1951 (it is in extremely good condition for being that old). 

Finally, I got an iPod Touch 6th Generation in Gold, as well as this adorable case (which is just me in a case, like seriously how perfect is this???) It's exactly like an iPhone except no phone feature and no payments, so it's great for me (I don't need a phone, I'm only twelve).

THANK YOU to my family, I love every single one of these gifts and I am so grateful! <3

My friends and I had a what will hopefully become annual Secret Santa, and the person who drew my name got me gel pens (which I needed), a little journal (not pictured) and the sticker pictured, which is symbolic of an inside joke we have about a lemon clover...(don't ask XD) Thank you, friend!

That's everything I got for Christmas! (Minus candy, of course. ;])

How do you celebrate Christmas (if you do celebrate it)? What are your favorite traditions? 

Thanks for reading, everyone!

~Lydia~ <3 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Out With The Old, In With The New


I know, creative title, right? ;)

Anyway, happy 2017 everybody! This post was supposed to go up way earlier...I really don't have an excuse...my laptop did get juice spilled all over it and I fried a circuit but I could have gotten on the family computer and written this anyway...but I was busy playing around with my new iPod...

Just cut me some slack, okay? It's right after Christmas and New Year's. ;)

2016 has come to a close, and 2017 is here. It's strange to think that another year has passed by so quickly. And we're more than a week into the year already. AHHHH!!!!

I think last year (or maybe a couple years ago, all the Christmas and New Year's posts are starting to run together after awhile, hehe) I made a post with all my New Year's Resolutions. I thought I'd do one like that again. I have some personal ones and some ones for the blog.

(Also, like the new blog design? Every year I change it and this time I decided to go with a template. I think it turned out SO pretty! Do you guys like it?)

1.) Be more socially active on the blogosphere. Commenting and talking with other bloggers is something I haven't been very good about at all in 2016. This 2017 I'm going to try to comment and read way more blog posts and keep caught up with all my blogging friends through emailing. I think part of the reason I was lacking inspiration is because I wasn't reading other folk's ideas and writing. I felt lonely. 
2.) Put lots of work into my blog posts. Towards the end of the year I got lazy and just used pictures I looked up on Google Images. They were halfhearted posts I put almost no work into. Well this year I'm taking my own pictures and revising my posts!! No more laziness!!!
3.) Start a posting schedule. I'm creating a posting schedule and sticking to it (hopefully ;D). In 2016 I took too many unannounced breaks, came back with an excuse, stayed for a month, then left again. I won't just post whenever I feel like it anymore. I'll have set days when I post, and this will give me some time to work on them and take pictures. 
4.) Above all, grow closer to The Lord. This is always one of my New Year's Resolutions, because I'm always wanting to grow closer to God. You can never get close enough! ;) 

And now, things I accomplished in 2016 I'm extremely happy about: 

1.) I got a social life. Hooray, yay for Lydia, she actually goes out with her friends and has sleepovers and doesn't only see her friends at church and actually has physical people to talk to. Hooray. ;)
2.) I am now only one grade behind in math. In case you didn't know, I was previously very behind in math, but with a family member's help and through lots of hard work I am now only one grade and-a-half behind. I ended up getting a grade and-a-half done in a year!
3.) I got over 70 followers on my blog. THANK YOU GUYS!!!!!!!! 
4.) I started getting sponsorship-offer-emails. Although I didn't end up accepting most of them, it's nice to know I'm getting noticed by companies. If you're reading this...hi, company. :P 

If you read through all of that, good for you! ;) The next post will (hopefully) have pictures taken by yours truly and have been thought through before being posted.

I'm going to try to post every Tuesday and perhaps every Friday as well, but we'll have to see how that goes.

See you soon!

~Lydia~ <3
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