Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Books of 2013

Today is the last day of 2013 as I know it.

It is time to compile my favorite books of the year, I will restrict myself to ten. The list isn't going to be in any particular order, and the books are simply going to be the ones that I read this year; not the ones that were released this year. I'll only be numbering them to make sure I hit ten and no more. This year is a little refreshing as I will only pick books that I've blogged about.

ONWARD!

1. Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? The premise of the story made it something a little more unique than what I usually come across. However, the humor was what sold me. I'm pretty sure there were quite a few times where I started laughing at the book and unnerved those around me. Worth it.

What stuck with me about this book was the average vigilante theme; Cricket didn't fight unless provoked, and he fought to protect the little ones. It seemed to resonate a stronger theme of family; of fighting to protect those you love.


2. Doll Bones by Holly Black

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? There's something haunting about this book that for me, of the Queen who wanted to return home. To me, it's a perfect example of trying to figure out when children start to become something older and more mature and what does that mean? Does it mean stop playing with dolls or does it mean understanding your passions and pursuing them?

What stuck with me about this book was definitely the image of the Queen's head appearing to Zach in a mirror while he was looking at his reflection. I like the flair of supernatural present in this book where the rest of it was very grounded in reality.

3. The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? I loved House of Scorpion (the first book in this potential series...I'm hoping it's going to be a series, please, give me more books!) and was utterly delighted to know that there was a sequel AND the sequel was so good. I love the dystopia world of this book, the characters, the menacing presence of El Patron that lingers, and Matt trying to struggle through all of it. It was just beautiful.

What stuck with me about this book was the future of the environment. How one, kind of crazy man managed to unwittingly save the environment and what it took to save it.


4. Paperboy by Vince Vawter

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? The writing portrays the voice of this book so well that I remember while I was reading it, sometimes I would read a page or two again just to enjoy the sound of it. I truly enjoyed the heart of each character that was shown, the different layers of stories that were simultaneously told, and the curious innocence of a young boy who already has a daily hardship.

What stuck with me about this book was how the writing portrayed the stutter. I have yet to encounter another book that has portrayed stuttering so well and how it effects the way the narrator deals with their environment. I have yet to find another book to be so consistent with the process, execution, and anxiety of a stutter.

5. Ettiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? Because it's absolutely delightful. It had a great sense of humor, actually got me to figure out what a petticoat is (I have a on-going stand off with understanding peculiar clothing), and was just so fun to read. The mystery elements of it weren't annoying and I didn't come across any characters who seemed too dumb to live (which seems too common in 'action' books). I enjoyed the espionage elements just as much as I enjoyed the etiquette elements and I found Sophronia to be quite charming.

What stuck with me about this book was the fearless spirit of adventure and 'can-do' attitude of Sophronia. She didn't seem to know what she was about to do half the time, but she committed to to doing it anyways.

6. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? It haunts me. There is so much imagery, so much of the tone of this book that when I gaze into a stormy sky I wind up thinking about this book for a while. It is beautiful, enchanting, and it reminds me of the old fairy tales. I absolutely adore this odd book. It was aggressively chilling, but now I cannot forget it. I loved the way the narration switched to show different sides of the same story and how it affected the entire island and even those on the mainland.

What stuck with me about this book was the intense imagery of the seals themselves and the women who emerged that only longed to be returned to the sea; to be a seal again.

7. Croak by Gina Damico

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? This book was absolutely hilarious while dealing with the very serious topic of death and the world after. I was delighted by the suspense, character development, and world creation surrounding the Grimms and Lex. This is a series that I'm watching.

What stuck with me about this book was the different scythes that the characters wielded and their attitudes about their job. I loved the small town feel of Croak and the residents who had 'seen it all' and were just charming.



8. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? The False Prince is driven by a page turning narrator (Sage) that has a spark of humor with the quality of making sure people are treated as they should be treated. I absolutely adored the trials the boys had to face to be passed off as a false prince, and the tests to find out who had the mettle to potentially one day be king.

What stuck with me about this book was the character of Sage and how he went through the extra efforts of ensuring that even the servants were treated with respect. It was the small actions that really built to a larger picture.


9. A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? I enjoyed the changing chapters between different narrators but the story was never lost. I love how it's a puzzle, a mystery, and yet a story of love and kinship. I think one of more interesting aspects of this book was that a lot of people in the story had a talent even if it was a bit more obscure (like being able to spit really far). I liked the different talents shown and it left me wanting to know more about that world.

What stuck with me about this book was the urge to make baked goods for folks. ...seriously, it sounds weird but I find myself wondering what cake or baked good a person would like.


10. Finnikin of the Rock 

My book review is HERE.

Why did this book make the list? This book was the beginning of a wonderful trilogy, and for that alone it made the list. The writing was very captivating as it did such a wonderful job of not only portraying the main characters, but also the people of the world (sometimes defining them by the flavor of their nations). It was very interesting to see the curse of Lumatare grip the land as well as how it affected those who were not from Lumatare. There was also the haunting of a war that wasn't truly fought but had a victor. The ravages of the lost kingdom were very well portrayed in the people who had to flee across the land in search of safety and refuge; the story was tinged with sadness but also encouraged hope.

What stuck with me about this book was how many times a red herring seemed to be thrown in but it would turn out to be relevant later in the book or in the later books.


That is it for 2013. I hope the next year brings a bunch of fun books.

Happy reading!

(1/4/2014) EDIT: I have to give Just One Day by Gayle Foreman an honorable mention. Because I LOVED IT and am about to receive the sequel Just One Year any day in the mail now. ANY DAY. o_o

My book review is HERE.

I just love it. See the review for further explanation. Yessssss.

Okay, happy reading again!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Taste Test

Taste Test by Kelly Fiore

This was an interesting book for me to read as I haven't come across a reality show in book form in a long while. That being said, the reality show is Taste Test where teenage chefs compete for a scholarship to a top chef school in Paris and $50,000. While they're competing, they also partake in classes that are food oriented but satisfy the requirements for high school/college course levels. So there's an interesting blend of competing, being on reality TV, dealing with school in all the chaos, and struggling with the people they're competing against.

Sounds like a complicated dish. Hehe (sorry not sorry.)

An amazon summary, "If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good. 

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


Let's talk about Nora. Nora grew up in her Dad's BBQ joint since she was little, has been best friends with Billy since forever, and wants to be a chef. Under Billy's provoking, she enters to get a chance to appear on Taste Test, gets accepted, and is off for a semester of competition.

Nora spends the next semester making friends, losing friends as they're "eighty-six"'d out of the competition, and struggling with her backwards relationship with Christian and Joy. Well, Joy is more of a mutual hatred, but Christian is a little weird.

This book is mostly comprised of kind of a romance story, kind of a competition story, and kind of a friendship story. I don't think it accomplished any of these very successfully, but overall the effect of the three merging together was quite nice.

There is also a mystery element to the story as there is sabotage at the competition, like a sink blowing up.

To me it seemed that the story was trying to do too much at once and it really lost it's ability to emotionally grab at me. It was a semi-good read.

Yep.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Infernal Devices

Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve

I reviewed the first two books in this series, Mortal Engines, HERE and Predator's Gold, HERE. If you wish for these books to remain unspoiled, I recommend not reading this review. 

I would like to stop for a moment and talk a little about my impression of the series so far.

I have utterly enjoyed reading this series so far. I have emotionally responded to every character I've come across, there have been delightful amounts of everything eventually tying back into the story. As I mentioned in my last review, I find that the series has plot driven action, rather than action driving the plot. To me, it feels that the characters are very interwoven with their ambitions, goals, and their growth while remaining to the roots of their character has been very nice to read. I've enjoyed watching Hester and Tom grow up in a fashion and I've loved to watch the world they interact with change as well. I'm glad to see that Hester and Tom aren't the primary force that shapes the world, but the world has gone on without them to do things. As much as I enjoyed the darwinism in the first book, I surprisingly enjoyed the peace of Anchorage much more in the second book but it still had the element of being chased. I'm getting hard pressed to think of one thing I didn't like about the series, and that's just so good.

The series ends with A Darkling Plain, but I'm finding the book almost impossible to find. I will keep on it as this is a series I would love to see how this all finishes.


Let's get back to Infernal Devices with an amazon summary, "Nearly twenty years after the city of Anchorage settled down on the shores of the Dead Continent of America, Tom and Hester are leading quiet, peaceful lives. Their wild adventures happened so long ago that they seem like little more than stories told to children -- children such as their own daughter, Wren, who is so exquisitely bored that she'd welcome any sort of excitement. . . .
So when a trio of Lost Boys asks her to steal the mysterious and deadly Tin Book of Anchorage, Wren is only too happy to help. But the theft goes wrong, and the Lost Boys steal Wren, too, leaving Tom and Hester no choice: They must abandon their peaceful life and rescue their daughter. Their search will reunite them with enemies they thought they'd left behind forever, will ask of them sacrifices that no parent can make, and will cost one of them everything that matters most." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Tom and Hester have settled down in the rooted city of Anchorage where it crashed in America. Anchorage has managed to turn itself into a static settlement and the people have grown older and wiser in the almost twenty years since the events of Predator's Gold. Tom and Hester have had a child, Wren, who longs for adventure. One night, Wren is out and about when she sees Caul have an exchange with someone new who's appeared in Anchorage. She hides in the tall grasses and kind of overhears their conversation, but the stranger calls her out into the open. Wren approaches him and it's Gargle; he asks her to bring him the Tin Book of Anchorage. Wren is suspicious at first but fancies it to be an adventure so she agrees, but only if he'll take her away from Anchorage.

After that, we see more of what Anchorage has become and what has happened to the beloved characters from the the previous books. Wren manages to find and acquire the Tin Book with the unknowing help of Freya. She takes it back to Gargle but Caul sounds the alarm. Hester charges to get Wren and kills Gargle and his cohort Remora but Fishcake manages to get Wren and the Tin Book into the Screw Worm and heads off.

They hear a signal from a town of Brighton who say the parents of the Lost Boys know they're out there and want their children to come home. Fishcake it taken in by it and Wren goes along with it in the hopes that she'll be able to go back home. It's a trap. Brighton scoops them up and packages them to be slaves.

Meanwhile, Hester and Tom rally with Caul to set off to Grimsby where they assume the Lost Boy (Fishcake) would take Wren to Uncle.

...if you've read the other two books, this is a great third installment in the series. I'm halting myself from going into spoiler land.

I'm going to get my hands on that fourth book, hopefully soon.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Predator's Gold

Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve

I previously reviewed the first one in this series, Mortal Engines, HERE. It was a sufficient review, although a little short. If you would like Mortal Engines to remain unspoiled, I suggest skipping this review. There will undoubtedly be spoilers about Mortal Engines.

Without further ado, an amazon summary: "The Jenny was drifting across the shoulder of a big volcano. Beyond it there were no more mountains, just an endless blue-white plain stretching to the horizon. They were at the mercy of the wind, and it was carrying them helplessly into the Ice Wastes.


After two years of carefree traveling in the Jenny Haniver, Tom and Hester find themselves back in danger. Fleeing from the grim aviators of the Green Storm, they stumble onto the ice city of Anchorage just in time. But Anchorage is not a safe refuge: Devastated by plague, and haunted by thieves -- or perhaps ghosts -- the city is barely lurching along. The savage Huntsmen of Arkangel are closing in, and the young margravine must make a last desperate bid for survival. She sets a course for the Dead Continent -- America ...
In this breathtaking sequel to the award-winning Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve plunges us into a ruthless and terrifyingly believable world where cities eat each other, betrayal is as common as the blasted land the cities traverse, and loyalty holds the only chance of survival." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I think I figured out the main reason why I like this series as much as I do. It's one of the rare books that seems to truly let the plot drive the action rather than the action drive the plot. It's refreshing to read the style.

Anyways.

This book begins two years after the events of Mortal Engines; in the beginning it follows Tom and Hester on the adventures aboard the Jenny (Anna Fang's old airship). They've been found out by the Green Storm group who wish to take the Jenny from them and other various things. They manage to wind up on Anchorage; one of the few cities that is more of a scavenger than a city eater.

Anchorage itself is a different place as they have many customs, rituals, and 'ways of doing things' that is very rigid to their culture.

There is also the young leader of Anchorage who is lost at where to direct Anchorage to go. The whole city of Anchorage captures this feeling of being lost but hopeful that they will go somewhere that will help their lives grow more fruitful. When Tom and Hester wind up at Anchorage with the charming Professor Pennyroyal, things get a bit muddled up.

The city of Anchorage was beautiful to read about as the city relies on all of it's people to be in good condition, to do good work, and they treat each other with respect. Unlike the other cities where slavery and 'ladder-climbing' for positions run rampant.

Anchorage is also being plagued by 'Lost Boys'. Boys who were stolen from different cities at a young age and raised under 'Uncle' to be the burglars of cities.

....again, I'm at a loss of what to say because it's a good book but the plot is so interwoven that every 'red-herring' eventually comes back into play later in the book, or in the next book.

I, am going to embark on the next one and will hopefully report back with good news.

Happy reading!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

This book came out a bit ago, but I remember reading it when it first came out, and then loosing touch with the series.

Cindy from Bookends got me in touch with the series and I'm happily embarking on the adventure through this town eat town world.

...SAY WHAT???? Don't worry, I'll get to it. After an amazon summary, "London is hunting[.]


The great Traction City lumbers after a small town, eager to strip its prey of all assets and move on. Resources on the Great Hunting Ground that once was Europe are so limited that mobile cities must consume one another to survive, a practice known as Municipal Darwinism.
Tom, an apprentice in the Guild of Historians, saves his hero, Head Historian Thaddeus Valentine, from a murder attempt by the mysterious Hester Shaw -- only to find himself thrown from the city and stranded with Hester in the Out Country. As they struggle to follow the tracks of the city, the sinister plans of London's leaders begin to unfold ..." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

Rereading this as an adult, it was still just as good as I remember when I first read it when I was much younger. That's awesome (by the by).

This is one of those stories that becomes very interwoven as almost every character is used or comes back into play later in the story. There is usually some hidden connection that is revealed later as to how the characters connect on a deeper level, and it plays up hidden relationships.

With most books that I'm absolutely in love with, I have a difficult time talking about as I definitely do not want to delve into spoiler land.

What the very basic plot of this book can be boiled down to is that after Tom meets Hester, they abruptly leave the crawling town of London and spend much of the book trying to get back to London. The rest of the plot winds up being about Hester's back story, who wants them to get to London and who wants to prevent them from getting to London (and why), while also being set in this future distopia that was brought on by a 60 minute war by the ancients some thousand years ago.

It's very intense. I'm having lovely time reading through the series (more like plowing through and having nights where I stay up yawning just to get in another page or two).

It is an old book, but it definitely has not deteriorated with age.

Happy reading!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Navigating Early

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

This book reminded me a lot of young boy adventure stories; most notably the works of Mark Twain such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I enjoyed a lot of it just for the sense of rough and tumble adventure it exuded.

Here's the amazon summary to get a better feel for this book, "New York Times Best Seller Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for Moon Over Manifest, is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys' incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.

At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother's death and placed in a boy's boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can't help being drawn to Early, who won't believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear. But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

It's the end of World War II, Jack Baker's mother has died and he's moved from Kansas to Maine as his Dad is trying to bring him closer to where he's stationed. He's enrolled in a boarding school where he meets Early Auden (the title is a clever play on youth and the story's events) who is a strange young boy with his own tragic past. Jack is struggling with his mother's death, being the new kid at school, and trying to understand a Dad he hasn't seen since he was 9 (he's now 13).

Jack loves to read National Geographic magazines and has a thirst for an adventure. He gets more than he bargained for when Early steps up to be his friend, to help with Jack's loneliness. The boys embark on an adventure of friendship, of pi, of finding family love, and getting a knack on just how to survive.

I felt that this story really rolled everything together in a beautiful way. There were a lot of teachable life moments that snuck into the story, there was a lot of character growth from both Early and Jack, while managing to have a constant action aspect. None of it was overwhelming but rather well balanced.

Well-balanced to the point where I feel a little tongue tied trying to talk about the book without revealing too much. It's one of those books in a good way.

There was an interesting narration in this book as it was told from Jack's perspective for the most part but there were spots where every so often it followed Pi's adventure (which comes into play later in the book). Both were interesting and never seemed out of place or poorly timed when the narration switched.

I thought the language of the writing let itself be easily imagined to take place after World War II; I didn't notice anything that was glaringly obvious to be an out of period reference, then again I'm not well-versed in World War II in Maine. So, eh?

It kept my interest, it was a quick read, and had a heartwarming, kind of coming of age message.

Happy reading!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Of Beast and Beauty

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Disclaimer: Even though the book has been released since July, I managed to read the advanced reader's copy. Undoubtedly, there will be minor differences between the one I read and the published version, but I imagine them to be most fixing typos and formatting. Nothing too drastic most likely.

...an amazon summary, "In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.


Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.


As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love." AMAZON LINK OF WHOA THAT'S A LOT REVEALED

First, I feel that I harp a lot on switching narrations in books. This book switched between the narration of three characters; Isra, Bo, and Gem. I liked it a lot because it wasn't complete chapters and then sudden switch in narrations (for the most part). They broke up the chapters nicely if they had different narrations. It was pretty nice. When the narration switched, it actually seemed to have purpose and wasn't random nonsense. Again, it was pretty nice.

Anyways.

On this book, the amazon summary definitely needs to be ignored because it reveals WAYYY too much of the story. Let's begin.

Once upon a time there was a God who helped the planet. One day, a bunch of humans came in a ship and were like LET'S COLONIZE THIS PLANETTTTT. The planet was like, WHOA, WHOA, CHILL OUT, and the humans went YOU CAN'T MAKE ME and began to build domes. The God was like WHOA, WHOA NOT COOL, I CAN'T HELP YOU IF YOU GET IN THOSE DOMES. The humans were like WHATEVS WE DO WHAT WE WANT. So they built the domes and God was like NO, SERIOUSLY STOPPPP. Then the humans had some weird thing happen and they're like, WAIT WAIT, IF WE WANT THIS TO BE AWESOME, WE SHOULD MAKE A BLOOD SACRIFICE TO GOD. God was like WHOA, NO NO, I DO NOT WANT YOUR BLOOD....but his personality split so he was evil blood needing God in the dome and gracious God out of the dome. Gracious God gifted the humans with mutations so they could better live in the environment because the domes were REALLY screwing with the environment, caused the God to split into two, anddddd everyone slowly begins to die.

Flash forward to present time where Isra is in line to the throne of the families that continue to make the blood sacrifices to the evil God. She's blind, her mother went crazy, and her father has questionable motivations (not sexual at all (serious face)). She's been living trapped in her tower since her mother came and has monstrous traits where her skin is papery and feels as if it's peeling.

Switch to Gem who is a monstrous, his people are dying, and he breaks into the dome to retrieve a rose bush (the symbol of the sacrifices). He gets caught and arrested but Isra is like NOOOO SPARE HIM. So they do and they begin a weird hateship. It's tentative friendship from Isra but all hate from Gem.

Then there's Bo who is like the misunderstood boy who crushes on Isra and feels very entitled to everything. He says he loves Isra, but it doesn't really seem like it.

So the driving plot of the story is that Isra wants to heal the monstrous and prevent any mutations (and help her own mutation), Gem wants to save his people, and Bo just wants to be King (by marrying Isra).

Engage shenanigans, emotional knots of weirdness, and some annoying stuff.

SPOILER LAND.

Annoying stuff like the book driving home the point that Isra is BLIND but about a third of the way through the book Bo is like, "Dude, don't drink your tea, I think your being poisoned". Isra is like, "OKAY," and then a couple weeks later, BAM EYESIGHT.

I have qualms with this on so many levels. When Isra was blind, she was still a very strong, confident character. She was a little unsure of how everything looked, and was hesitant to make a stand, but she was working up to it.

Then BAM EYESIGHT and suddenly she could truly love Gem, she could loathe Bo, she could suddenly pick up on all these small nuances of the world because of her sight. Almost implying that only with sight could she be a complete person; someone whole and worthy of being called Queen.

I LOATHE THIS IMPLICATION. SHE WAS FINE WITHOUT HER SIGHT. That magic moment should have waited until the end like when Needle got fixed. Seriously. If you wanted it THAT bad it could have waited.

I'm morally upset by the implications.

I also REALLY wanted to see more of Gem and the desert people. I was wayyyy done with the domed city before it led us other places. I was wayyyy done with the dome city period.

....yep, I'm done here.


Happy reading!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

I previously reviewed the first book in this series, Throne of GlassHERE. ...if you read my review of the first book, you're probably wondering why I bothered to pick up the second book. In my previous blog post, I had a merry time picking apart the book.

...after making that post, I ended up discussing the first book with different folks and after many internal debates with myself, I ended up giving the second book a go.

...it was MUCH better than the first book. ....which isn't saying a whole lot.

If you would like Throne of Glass to remain unspoiled for you, I suggest you stop reading this review right now. It will undoubtedly have spoilers for the previous book.

Like in my other review for this series, I'm going to refer to the characters by their titles or roles within the story because their names are exhausting to spell and I pronounce them weirdly with my reader voice so for my convenience, titles/roles.

...an amazon summary, "She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known.
But where will her conscience, and her heart, lead her?

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she willing to fight for?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


I just finished reading this book, and I am having troubles remembering the middle of the book. I distinctly remember the beginning of the book, the end of the book, but the middle gets a little hazy. There are a few points where I have an 'Oh yeah!' moment, but I'm referring to the book a bit to remember. ...that should tell you things. I suppose it could also be that most of the middle of the book was wrapped in mystery, and some of the mystery was solved by the end.

Sigh. I need to stop arguing with myself, I'm too good at it.

Now this sequel really did read like a romance novel, and it was. There was a lot happening between Captain of the guard and Assassin (at the end of Throne of Glass, Assassin went all NOOOOOOOOOOO at the Prince (see book for details, LOL)) because love, duties to the king, friendship, and all that garble.

There was also the ongoing struggles of accepting that the Assassin is an assassin and carried out duties as such. Both Captain of the Guard and Prince kind of recoiled from her when she started murdering....because she's an ASSASSIN, THE BEST IN ALL OF THE LAND. I don't know why that would ever suddenly be a hiccup when that was established from PAGE 1 OF THE FIRST BOOK. REALLY? WHAT DO YOU THINK ASSASSIN MEANT? HUGGING KITTENS? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

So Assassin goes about life being like, "Man, I hope I solve this mystery about the Wrydmarks. Hopefully nothing too weird happens. What's that over-dang it. DANG IT. RUN FROM THE WYRD." There's a whole convoluted plot that happens with the Wyrdmarks, the history of the magic of the land, and more on the fae. That was prettttty sweet.

What really ground on my nerves for this book was how much the Assassin was just EMOTIONAL. ALL THE TIME. I understand there were a lot of things to emotionally respond to, but seriously, CALM DOWN.

Even with all of this said, I'm still going to pick up the third book.

Here's why.

SPOILER LAND.

I want to know what happens to the Assassin and the Captain of the Guard. I want to know what happens to the Prince with all of his magic. I want to know what happens with this war torn ravaged land. I want to know why the wicked king is so weird about everything.

I want to know why the Assassin is suddenly the lost heir to the true throne. I want to know why she's fae. I want to know what happened with all of the magic ever. I want to know more about the iron teeth witches and the more supernatural creatures.

I really want the supernatural creatures to be a more present thing, I wish they had been all along. Serious.

Side note: I feel that the author made a BIG DEAL about the Assassin waiting until she was 18 to have sex. (Note: sex is only referenced, there were no graphic scenes. Just the characters being like I WANT YOU *suspicious lapse of time*.) Like she was waiting to be legal. Ummm....she's an assassin. SHE'S AN ASSASSIN. I feel like things of that technicality are no longer a big deal after murdering people. Also, the assassin confesses that she totally would have had sex with previous love (Sam) who died in the e-novels I'm sure (which I refuse to read because I shouldn't need to).

Anyways.

The writing of the book was still trying with how slowly the mystery was unveiled, but I can see how it all had a point and looped in on itself. I can see how easy it would be to stop at book 2. However, I wish the author would have more faith in her readers to let some things remain more unresolved until the next book. I feel like there was a lot of 'tidying up' of the smaller loose ends.

...so I'll pick up the third book. I feel like this is becoming a sort of situation where I know it's bad writing, but I want to read it anyways.

Happy reading!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

First disclaimer: I definitely sat down with this book with the intention of being able to put it down whenever. In  about four hours I had made it through the entire book (roughly 500 pages) and I'm a little flabbergasted but entirely sure that I want more.

Second disclaimer: This book tends to run a little younger than what I normally read. The heroine (Sophie Foster) is twelve in this book so there are elements of having frequent emotional turmoil and sometimes a weak grasp of the more serious statements issued by the adults in the world.

With that, a amazon summary, "In this riveting debut, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world—before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…
But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.


But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


I'm going to give the highlights of Sophie's back story. She's incredibly smart due to her photographic memory and has been deemed a child prodigy as she's already a senior in high school at age twelve. She has a normal family, a cat, and can hear thoughts. ...you know, the normal stuff. Heh. So one day as she's on a field trip to the museum, a boy with very electric blue eyes and she can't hear his thoughts.

...WHATTTT. No really, it's cool. It turns out that this boy is also a telepath and is searching for her. They have a moment where he opens the world to her (think Aladdin style with less songs(tragic)) and it turns out that she's an elf. Elves are real, goblins are real, and a whole litany of other mythical creatures are real. They're inhabiting spaces that have been sealed off from the humans. It turns out that a lot of elves also have an extra ability of some sort (seemingly, there are slight implications that it's about fifty-fifty for the population of extra abilities and not). They also despise humans for going back on the species contract that was signed forever ago that the humans broke. So there's that. (More on that in the book but not a whole lot more at this point; probably more on that later in the series.)

Sophie gets to this other place by traveling on light (just ignore everything you know about physics and you'll be fine) with Fitz and her human existence begins to unravel as she accepts that she's an elf.

Sophie begins to have a crazy adventure as her life gets all out of whack.

...but really that was only the action generator for me. I was fascinated by the world of the story.

I have about thirty thousand questions about the Lost Cities (which I imagine will be answered in later books), I want to see more elfish culture, I want to see more weird powers that the elves have. I want to know what are all the possibilities of gifts that elves can have. I WANT TO KNOW, CAN YOU SHOW ME YOUR WORLD? ...no really, if you could do that, that would be GREAT.

The only struggles I really had with this book was the age (just younger than what I'm used to reading), tedious friendships, and a lot of butt hurt guys (that was actually pretty funny). I'm a little at odds with a weird potential love square that seems to be shaping up but I will not be enthused about awkward adventures in love that I have not even read yet.

I was really pleased with how FAST it was to read and how it didn't require a ridiculous amount of mental work to get through (I'n looking at the books I rage sleep on...and others). The writing could have used a little better development in some scenes, yet I found the overall effect good.

It was a nice book.

I believe it has a sequel out already....I'm going to have to pick that up. ...hmm....

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Disclaimer: I read an advanced reader's copy of this book. This book will be released on December 10, 2013 (according to amazon.com). It will inevitably have some changes made to it, but the advanced reader's copy is usually close to the finished product.

I'll begin with an amazon summary, "It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


They spend maybe...five chapters or so aboard the Icarus. This section basically bleats this about Lilac: 'LILAC IS REALLY RICH AND FAMOUS BUT HAS ALL OF THESE SOCIAL LIMITATIONS PLACED BY HER SUPREMELY WEALTHY FATHER *SNOOT SNOOT MURDER*' while it bleats this about Trevar: 'JUST A SMALL TOWN BOY, SUDDENLY MADE IT FAMOUS, WHEN HE TOOK A FEW MISSIONS INTO SPACEEEE' (imagine singing that to Journey-Don't Stop Believing (you're welcome)). Seriously. They have this like, 'ooo I might be attracted to you' moment but Lilac is like 'NO MY FATHER WILL MURDER HIM, MUST SNOOT HIM AWAY' and Traver's like 'WHOA, no amount of pretty is worth that crazy'. ...the beginning of the book.

Then everything gets out of whack, they get into a escape pod which Lilac manages to free them from the giant spaceship (Icarus) after their escape pod doesn't properly eject. So she's not too dumb to live, but she gets close too many times for comfort (more on that later). They crash on the planet with one primary goal: GET HOME (and live long enough to get home, but that's a sidenote right?). Enter survival mode.

For forever.

....honestly, this book dragged a bit to flesh out the character and relationship dynamic of Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen. I made it through the book because I had a friend tell me it was quite good, and the summary on the back of my copy of the book was much better than the amazon summary.

...still, I sigh a little at how much time they spent just foraging their way across the planet where they crashed because they wanted to get home. It reached a point where I started getting a bit sleepy every time they mentioned getting a distress signal through some weird way so they could GO HOME. I understand why the narration went through such lengths to portray the struggle of their journey, but it still aggravates me.

I kind of liked the style of the book as they effectively used the two first person narrations to their full effect. It's not often that authors can successfully do that. Not often. The writing itself was nice as the details were flawless in execution as such that I knew what the world looked like while not being bogged down by too much description at once. There weren't many tedious moments where it took a page to tell me they walked about ten feet, but I knew every inch of what they saw for no apparent reason other than DAMN THAT'S PRETTY.

Alright, we're going into obscure spoiler land. I'm going to outline the vein of the plot, but not give too many details.

SO SPOILER LAND. OBSCURE VERSION. GOOOO.

There's a mystery that starts to develop as an almost haunting begins to happen to Lilac; Trevar chocks it up to stress...but it could be something more.

I enjoyed how that mystery developed as it seemed like an underlying deal, but was pretty wicked. Sometimes it seemed eradicate in it's purpose and there are moments which I'm still puzzled about.

Yet, there were moments where it really wanted me to understand all of the science and space of the book. For the most of it, I dutifully nodded like a student, 'Uh-huh, yup, that makes sense, sureeeeee' in the hopes that the plot would just go. I don't know if all the science or space stuff was realistic, but it is a fiction book, but I still want a touch of 'this could potentially happen one dayyyy' sense to it. So...there's that. I need someone with more science/physics/space technology to read this and either get mad, ignore it, or agree. CHOOSE.

...anyways.

So I enjoyed the development of the characters when they actually started to...develop. I'm mostly annoyed by how long it took to get across the terraformed planet and SURVIVAL.

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Caged Graves

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni

I've always been a semi-secret fan of mystery books. Although I don't enjoy mysteries where everyone has been murdered or it's some deep dark mysterious thing where half the characters are either crying or deranged (seriously, those seem to be the only two options). Then there's that one character that knows everything, is not the bad guy, but still won't step forward because they're SCARED. ....pfft. I feel that mystery books for the most part just need to CALM DOWN.

With that in mind, here's an amazon summary, "The year is 1867, and seventeen-year-old Verity Boone is excited to return from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, the hometown she left when she was just a baby. Now she will finally meet the fiancĂ© she knows only through letters! Soon, however, she discovers two strangely caged graves . . . and learns that one of them is her own mother’s. Verity swears she’ll get to the bottom of why her mother was buried in “unhallowed ground” in this suspenseful teen mystery that swirls with rumors of witchcraft, buried gold from the days of the War of Independence, and even more shocking family secrets." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

First and foremost, this book really wants to be a romance novel. It is, it's a love triangle, it's the strange sensation of growing up and discovering oneself.

Secondly, it's a mystery. I didn't mind the mystery so much because there were implied supernatural elements to it.

Thirdly, it started to be a combined confusing mix of emotionally fueled actions while flailing about in the mystery.

...I lost myself a little. Let me back up to the summary.

Verity is a 'proper' lady from the city who is very concerned with manners, the proper way of doing things, and what her fiance is truly like as she's only known him from letters. Upon meeting her fiance, she is devastated as he doesn't seem to be like the man from his letters at all and for some strange reason the town keeps whispering about her. She's a little huffy and doesn't know where to go when she meets the young doctor of the town who is kind to her and a bit of a flirt. Then one day as she's strolling through the town, she spots two caged graves outside of the church cemetery. Curiously, she approaches to find one of the graves belongs to her mother and the other to her aunt.

Suddenly, the whispers begin to make sense. Verity never had a real sense of who her mother was but comes across her diaries in the attic and begins to read through them in the hopes of finding out who she was.

Verity also makes more friends than foes making her way through the town, but the mystery of the caged graves goes deep into the heart of the town's beginnings.

Now, for me, the mystery element of the story had a halting sort of appeal to it as there were moments where I found it awesome, and moments where I had to sigh and roll my eyes at it.

However, the romance element of the story kept me going through the portion where I was rolling my eyes. Discovering Verity as a person and how she interacts with the town was wonderful (especially if you enjoy the intricacies of weird manners and etiquette).

Overall, I enjoyed the book.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 27: 54,458 words

I think I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I did NaNoWriMo this year on pen & paper.

Yesterday I had filled all 210 pages (front and back) and had been estimating I had 200 words per page and counting the words on the last page I wrote to update my novel writing process on nanowrimo.org. I knew there were pages that I had scribbled out or only wrote half a page on because of a new chapter that I wanted to start on the next page, so I was a little nervous that I hadn't reached 50,000 words.

Today, I typed all of those words up and discovered I had reached 54,458 words.

I'm delightfully surprised.

With this, my nanowrimo experience for 2013 has drawn to a relative close.

I'll finally post about The Caged Graves soon. SORRY I SAY THINGS AND GET DISTRACTED BY LIFE AND WRITING. SOOOOOOOOOOOON.

I'm going to spend this weekend with my family because it's Thanksgiving in the US tomorrow and I will delightfully not be partaking in the atrocity that is known as 'Black Friday shopping'.

Stay safe.

Stay writing.

I'm ready to just read for a bit.

Happy November!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 21: 41,849 words

.....I might be putting off reviewing The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni because I got all messed up about Allegiant. 

I'm going to relate that to NaNoWriMo.

As a person who would love to be considered an author, get published, and all of that wealth of accomplishment; I ponder the different perspectives on a story. Not all of them or I would be here forever and November would end before my fingertips would regain sensation.

On one hand there is the author, the one who the story so rightfully belongs to. It was made by them, it is their design, it's whatever it means to them. It could be the fulfillment of their dream, it could be the articulation of a nightmare, it could be trying to share the values they hold so dear, etc. It is undoubtedly the author's story. Through and through.

On the other hand, there are the people who get to read the stories. Who get to laugh, cry, aww, yell, and be involved with the story in whatever way is of their choosing. They are also the ones that determine if it is a good or bad book to them.

With writing NaNoWriMo, I write the story for myself. When it has reached something I want to be published it will be slaughtered, edited, and nitpicked by someone else; and I'll gladly offer it up to the process.

There might be some rage sleeping over the edits, but it'll be done.

It might get published, it probably won't (because usually no one gets published on their first try).

However, I'll write my story.

I'll read others stories and be all emotional at them. I'll determine if they're a good book or a bad book to me. I can't make that decision for other people. I can just share how I reacted to their story.

To lie about that reaction would be atrocious.

To be truthful is wonderful. It sparks discussions. Sometimes arguments. But usually, it leads to a better understanding of the story.

...

That was a nice ramble. I'm out of words for the night. I'm happy to be in the home stretch of the 50,000 mark though. Whew.

Happy writing!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Allegiant

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I reviewed the first two books in this trilogy:
You can read Divergent's review HERE (Disclaimer: this review was really bad because I didn't know what I was doing. I still don't know what I'm doing HUR HUR but at least I'm consistently not knowing now....HURRRNNN.)
You can read Insurgent's review HERE

For those of you who are lazy clickers, I was like YEAHHHH about Divergent, I got a little meh about Insurgent, but nevertheless I enjoyed the book overall and had hope for Allegiant. 

EDIT (12/10/13): My friend Brittany over at Summerland Sushi posted about Allegiant in a more...fair light. Check it out HERE.

...then I started reading Allegiant and got very woeful when it started to switch perspectives between Tris and Four (Tobias) which always makes me leery of an author who suddenly changes narrative style in the LAST BOOK OF THEIR SERIES/TRILOGY WHATEVER.

...do you know what that means? USUALLY it means that the main character, who is USUALLY first person perspective will either DIE, BE UNCONSCIOUS FOR CRITICAL PLOT, or be in a REALLY GROSS situation that no one wants the first person perspective of and therefore different person switch. ....CAN WE SAY LAZY WRITING??? CAN WE SAY....COP OUT????

 
SHAMELESS COP ANYONE???
Let me put the new robocop right here to emphasize the cop out.

Cop-copcop-cop-cop out. UNH.

....I'm trying to emphasize the cop out to ensure I stick with the plan of concentrating on ASPECTS of the book that DROVE ME BONKERS.

BONKERS.

AUGH.

I've been putting this review off for a reason. MUCH RAGE SLEEP.

....an amazon summary to get me off the rambling.

"What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent." Amazon link of hubris

...So that summary was WEAK. Did it tell you anything about the book? No? Was it because it relied on the first two books to continue the wonder until you actually embarked on the pages of the book and discovered how atrocious the contents were? EHHHH???

...

Okay, after several deep breaths, a summary.

This will contain MANY spoilers about Divergent and Insurgent, and probably Allegiant. I'm going to warn you after I cross the 30% mark of the book. Read no further if you want any of these books to remain unspoiled.

I'm also going to headlong rush through the summary of the book because whatever.

The first 30% of the book is basically Tris and Tobias, with their 'lovable' band of Dauntless members and others from last book are like, "WHY ARE WE TRYING TO FIX THIS PLACE, LET'S GO OUTSIDE THE WALL, I'M SUDDENLY CONSUMED WITH INSATIABLE NEED TO EXPLORE, A WHOLE NEW WORLDDDDDDDDDDD". They basically begin to ignore everything that happens between Tobias' parents who are leading the factionless vs the allegiant just enough to figure out how to get out of the city. They basically just GO.

Because....

I really want to use more photos. HOW.
That really seemed to be Veronica Roth's attitude while writing the book.

BECAUSE LESS THAN 30% OF THE WAY THROUGH, SHE REVEALS THAT ALL OF THIS IS JUST A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT TO GET GENETICS FIXED.

...WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

There's no apocalypse or zombie outbreak or anything....cool. Anything action filled. Anything that really does anything.

BUTTTTTTT

It could be a commentary on society where we all lust for is action and adventure but it brings us to a very broken world where we're constantly in a cycle seeking to escape because any happiness we achieve is just momentary.

....doubtful.

I just don't think they were going for something that deep.

NOW, let's just jump to spoiler land because usually I write a blog post the day I finish reading the book. ...I'm pretty sure it's been a couple of weeks at this point.

FINISH THIS.

SPOILER LAND FOR EVERYONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

The serums. Let's start there. The serums that were special and belonged to every faction were simply designed as a sort of checks and balances system for the factions to remain separate yet equal. However, the Erudite's were always working on their serum to make it more potent, harder, better, faster, stronger....I might have been listening to Daft Punk lately. ANYWAYS. The special scientists who set up these experiments to get genetically pure people once more have more serums to control the experiments and it's just gross. It's just gross. I said it, gross. Devaluing human lives and their experiences because they couldn't handle another 'impurity war' but they still screwed up the country by ignoring those who were outside of the experiments. They keep causing the corruption by not treating humans as equals.

URGH.

Okay, I rambled.

Aspect....how about Tris becoming a rather forgettable character? That pretty much sucked. It also sucked to read 'Tris' and 'Tobias' who seemed to have the same narrative voice but the only way I could figure out who was narrating was by the context clues of their concerns (because I barely read chapter titles for various reasons). Tris and Tobias were never close to being the same person to me, yet that's what they became by the end of the book.

The book really lost a lot of it's gravity of seriousness for me when it turned out to be genetics. Seriously. When you look at someone and say, 'Hey they've got a predisposition for violence, IGNORE THE LESSER BEING' that REALLY irks me especially when nothing is really done or addressed about it besides killing more people. Because that solves problems.

HOWEVER, that could be a commentary that not everything that's serious that happens has to have a reasonable beginning for weird solutions/outcomes.

OR, it could try to be hinting to seek your own meaning in life.

I don't know.

I can't really find the abstract concept here. With what the book does it seems to really want to express some underlying meaning for the whole story across all three books, yet if it can't be deciphered, was it there to begin with?

There's the obvious BE BRAVE that's been slammed into our faces across all three books (Hello, DAUNTLESS) but I want to believe that's not all there is.

I want to believe there's some hidden gem of great truth trying to be conveyed but it's taking A LOT OF WORK TO DISTILL IT BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH CRAP IN THE WAY.

If someone who has read the book can point me in the right direction with some passage references, that would be awesome.

Until then, I fall into rage sleeps contemplating this book.

Oy. VEY.

....

Just, I'm glad I stuck with it so I at least know how it ended, but it doesn't make me happy.

So.

Happy reading.


Disclaimer: All my reviews are written honestly with little filtration. I do not accept money in exchange for review purposes. Images and synopsis of the books have been borrowed and remain copyright to its rightful owners. Media images have been borrowed and remain copyright to their rightful owners.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15: 33,181 words

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Alright, I had to get it out of my system.

I will not leave this computer until I just spit out what I think about Allegiant, and The Caged Graves. 

Edit: It took me too long to write up Allegiant, I'll save The Caged Graves for soon later. :D

...it's going to be a long sit. I'll probably schedule them for this weekend.

Sorry for being obnoxious. Sigh. ....kind of.

So nanowrimo is going well for me because I was sick on day 11 & 12 so I churned out a lot of words. It was good. SO GOOD.

I do have to remind myself that the action is NICE but it is more necessary to see the entire picture. I know I rushed through something when in my notes I have things scribbled like "THIS HAS TO BE AT LEAST EIGHT PAGES. SHOW EVERYTHING. DO ITTTTTTTTTT" with lots of underlining....and see it only took me three pages to write....yeah....sometimes I just don't think it's vital to know the color everyone's hair and their last name or that they're missing some fingers. Sometimes I just want to write the escape. Pssh.

Then again, I have to cut myself slack because it is a headlong rush through the month of November to hit 50,000 words. ...but it doesn't hurt to spend more pages fleshing out details (details that are many, delicious words) which create an easier story to edit in the long run.

YEEEEEP.

Also, if you take a gander at my blog post about Dear Life, You Suck found HERE, you'll see a nice comment left by the author of said book.

Did that make my day and have me dancing like the happiest thing ever? YES.

...yeah, being enthusiastic is pretty fun.

Uh, uh, I get to writing all of my thoughts on Allegiant. BE PREPARED.

Happy writing!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10: 19,672 words

Sometimes, November just get chaotically busy and the days start slipping by with words scrawled all over.

I'm still figuring out what I want to say about Allegiant. The post is started but it remains dormant as I keep getting upset and walking away. ...so it's coming, it's just annoying.

I'm waiting to review The Caged Graves (which was good) until I finish Allegiant.

...for anyone following my nanowrimo.org profile, you might have noticed I took the last couple of days off.

I totally did.

I'm not stressed about it because:
-I wrote more today
-I'm still ahead of where I 'should' be
-I had a great weekend celebrating a best friend's birthday ( I saw Thor 2, it was better than the first one) which to me, is more important than writing a story that I can come back to on a less time-sensitive basis
-I still have so much plot to get through
-I spent some free moments to figure out what to do with a particular character that's been a bit nagging to the story and where this book will end and where the next book will begin
-I ate some lemon cookies from Trader Joe's (THEY WERE DELICIOUS)

...I just try not to worry about things but instead work on the perceived problem. Or start doing some preventative measures to prevent the problem from occurring again.

Yep.

...

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 5: 11,418 words

Humble Bundle is having sale to buy Batman: Arkham Asylum (Game of the Year edition) and Batman: Arkham City (Game of the Year) and some other games that are fun. Disclaimer: THEY'RE FOR PC TO PLAY THROUGH STEAM.

...I gave them money now...so I can play them in December...after NaNoWriMo is over. ...yes....

That is the plan at least.

...

So word count.

I'm currently at 11,418 words. For those of you playing along at nanowrimo.org, you should probably be around 8,333 words.

I'm one of those annoying monster writers that just bull rushes through the writing in the beginning so I'm done before November ends.

I'm also one of those people who feels excessively accomplished by being a little bit ahead of the curve.

ALSO. MATH IS DELICIOUS.

11,418/50,000 is approximately 1/5 of the way done. WHOOO. In roughly 600 words, I'll be 1/4 of the way done.

DELICIOUS.

...it's just exciting for me. I like equations when it comes to figuring out how much is left of a whole of a story.

I'm roughly a day ahead of where I should be, which means I'm just eating November up by larger fractions.

...don't worry, I do not include (much) math in my stories. Only when it's appropriate.

But the number of plot twists is directly related to the number of times there are food scenes in my story.

...maybe I'll tell that correlation in a later post.

...probably not.

DELICIOUS EQUATIONS.

Book reading status: Allegiant is finished, I'm just super upset with it and making my way through The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni (which is pretty good so far; I'm 3/8 of the way through...MATH).

So hopefully after a book I can blog about Allegiant while being able to take the whole series picture into account. ...it might not be pretty. We'll see.

Happy writing!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 2: 4,107 words

Day 2

I've reached 4,107 words so far. I'm going to keep chugging because I'm falling in love with my Gargoyle story. It's wonderful. I'll probably write some more tonight but this feels like a good start to NaNoWriMo.

I'm also in the midst of reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth but it's slow going because I'm sleep-rage upset with both Tris and Tobias. More on that when I post about it.

I'm just a little under the weather, I'm hoping it doesn't turn into a full blown illness but we'll see.

Fingers crossed it doesn't. Bleh.

...hmm....I think that's all I have for now. I got new speakers? They serve their purpose nicely.

Happy writing!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dear Life, You Suck

Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden

Disclaimer: There is some crude language (like swear words, drugs, and more graphic imagery) in this book. If that deters you, well you have been warned.

This book was HILARIOUS. I kept laughing out loud at it...in weird places because READING WAITS FOR NO ONE. ...I'm looking at you waiting rooms. ...hehehe.

ANYWAYS.

An amazon summary so I can settle down a bit, "“The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.” Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I would like to take a moment to summarize this book.

Cricket grew up in Boston where the environment makes your skin pretty thick. I'm reminded of people who take about everyone looks at life through a different window; imagine Cricket's window is jagged glass.

Every shard has it's own cut to make and he's just go to figure out the angle.

Rough stuff.

Cricket resides in a Catholic boy's home (which he fondly refers to as 'Prison' as it was converted from a manor to a prison to a Catholic boy's home) where he and the Little Ones (younger orphans) live with some pretty wicked nuns (I mean in the strict yet awesome sense). He's got a mean scar on his face that stretches from his eyebrow to the bottom of his cheek in an x fashion.

Cricket treats the world as some big kind of joke. There are things he takes seriously like defending the Little Ones. Who get picked on a lot due to their age, second hand clothes, and probably because they're orphans. ...which means that Cricket gets into a lot of fights as he always standing up for the bullied.

Then Wynona Bidaban steps up and starts helping him to mend his window a bit at a time.

...I'm going to derail from the summary and talk about the book title.

Now when books nab their book titles from one little line in the book or a character just happens to say something that has the book title in their sentence, I GROAN. I roll my eyes, deeply sigh, and question my further exploits in finishing the book.

This book definitely has it's title worked into the book.

BUT THAT'S OKAY.

BECAUSE IT TOTALLY FITS.

So Cricket has this teacher that pulls a fast one on his class and challenges them to write a letter to someone that they have a beef with; the letter will never be sent. He aptly writes, "Dear Life, You SUCK! I want out. See you on the flipside. Sincerely, Cricket" (Blagden, page 42, Dear Life, You Suck). But it keeps coming back. It keeps playing into the story. It was pretty beautiful in a horribly unobtrusive way.

Something else I just liked about Cricket's character is that he loved accents and playing with sounds, words, etc.; like a storyteller. It was fun to see that level of imagination just sprawl across the pages in a hilarious manner. AGAIN, some of his language is downright rude, offensive, etc but that only seemed to heighten what was going on around him. Like his defense mechanism was to build a wall of crap that we could see through, but he had to slowly see through it as well.

IT WAS AWESOME.

I just, I had to share.

It just seemed like such a good capture of a rougher version of life that isn't often portrayed in books.

Yeah, it was graphic, but in a refreshing way. Cricket toned it down when it was necessary and amped it when it was overly appropriate to.

He did come on a bit strong at first, but it worked.

Just, well done Scott Blagden. I tip my metaphorical, literary top hat to you.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

National Novel Writing Month 2013

Last year I posted during November about National Novel Writing Month. I made an over explanatory post last year, which I got pretty rambly during.

So I'll try to explain a little better this time around.

For a cool breakdown or a place to get some questions answered, please refer to this website:  NANOWRIMO LOOK AT IT

National Novel Writing Month is November, which means that the writers of the world sometimes attempt to write a whole novel within a month. On the link I posted above, there is a website that helps to keep track of a word count, and the word count goal is to hit 50,000 words by the end of November. When it hits 11:59PM on November 30th; 50,000 words. I usually overshoot just in case I got a little repetitive (in the last couple days I usually finish just a bit early so I can do some simple edits in case I need to write more).

I've been participating in NaNoWriMo every year since 2005 and have completed the challenge every year. I haven't tried to get any novels published yet because I always find a litany of complaints with every story I've ever put to screen or paper. That may change, we'll see with how busy I get after November.

I was a bit of a dismal failure at posting my word count every day last year (it was part of the original plan, because sometimes I'm just an idiot).

So I'm not going to stress myself out about that.

During November, I will be posting my word count (approximately as I will be going to pens and notebooks this year so I can be more portable) and whatever I feel like.

WHATEVER I FEEL LIKE.

So it's wild card posts in November.

I do not guarantee any frequency of posts.
I do not guarantee any book reviews (although they might happen because I have an absurd amount of books to read (a delightful problem as always(seriously, a few will trickle over into November because I dropped the ball on scheduling blog posts))).
I do not guarantee any recipes.

I do guarantee that anything I post will most likely have an element of rambling in it.
I do guarantee I'll post something because I'm alive, kicking, and being awesome in general.
I do guarantee that it's probably going to get a bit weird.

...

I encourage you to join me in writing for National Novel Writing Month; even if you don't think you can hit the 50,000 words, then hey, at least you tried while using your WRITING MUSCLES. UMPH. FLEX THOSE MUSCLES. AWWW YESSSSSSS.

It's also awesome to get involved with the NaNoWriMo website as they have bunches of groups you can join, forums you can post on, etc. for a more thorough feeling of involvement.

...personally, I suck at making myself go out to the write-ins or posting on the forum boards. If you want to be my writing buddy, you can find my profile here. Send me a writing buddy request and we can word to the finish together! Mostly, I use the site to keep me on track for my word count. If I get an abundance of writing buddies though...I could see myself making appearances in the forums. Eh...eh?

IT'LL BE FUN!

INCREDIBLY INTENSE.

BUT FUN.

...

Happy writing!