Quote of the Week

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Uncommon Criminals

I loved this book!  Loved the first one, and this one was every bit as good.  Once again, I'm completely in love with the characters.  W.W. Hale is my new and latest love.  This series is turning out to be my favorite "feel good" series.  Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter is clean, entertaining, smart, and completely enjoyable.  It amazes me how she has created characters that are righting wrongs through their thievery.  She's made the books ethical by doing so.  The dialogue feels natural, the plot feels complete, and the the story is well written.  Read them and let me know what you think!

Kat has been doing jobs on her own.  Not because she's addicted to the heist, or because she needs the paintings, but because she can.  She thought she was out of the family business, but as luck would have it, she may never leave.  She's too good at what she does.  When she comes home she's greeted with unhappy faces. Her cousin thinks she's addicted to the adrenaline and her very attractive best friend thinks she's being too risky.  Soon after coming home, Kat and Hale meet up with a mysterious old woman who has a job for her.  This woman wants her to steal something for her to win back her family's honor.  It's dangerous, even more so than robbing the Henley.  Worse than the danger, the item is supposedly cursed and her uncle has forbidden anyone in the family to ever go after it.  Will that hold Kat back from helping the old woman?  Read and find out!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bad Chocolate

"I feel terrible so the chocolate's terrible."  -Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Yes, this is how I have felt about my writing lately.  100 pages of bad.  That's what I've got.  Granted I was sick and overburdened but, really... it's bad.  I'm in high spirits though!  How, you ask?  The only thing I can figure is that my choir was excellent yesterday.  They all worked so hard to get the Christmas program together and it was beautiful.  Prayers were definitely answered.

A week or so ago I realized I write better under pressure.

So I said to my friend, "Pressure me!  It's the only way I'm going to get the first draft of my book finished."

So, like a good friend does, she pressured me.  She said, "I want 170 pages by the 24th!"

I gasped and panicked for a moment.  70 pages by Christmas Eve?  No way.  December is the absolute busiest month of the year for me.  "I wouldn't want to ruin your Christmas Eve," I responded, coyly.  I really wished she would have said January.

"Fine, by the 26th then." Not what I wanted to hear.

I finally realized it might be a good challenge for me, so I consented.  Then, on top of everything else I had going on, I got sick.  Great, I thought.

I had written five pages that I didn't love, but I was just trying to get the story down on paper.  Guess how many pages I've written in total for this little challenge?  5.  On a roll, huh?

(Insert deep, exasperated sigh)  If I'm being honest, I do need input on the story because it's going nowhere, 100 pages of nowhere to be more exact.  I'm pretty sure she's not going to get the total 170 pages, heck! she's going to be lucky to get any at all at this point.  He he...  (Insert devious grin)  Nevertheless, I feel a change in the wind.  This story may still continue to sit on the shelf for a while until I find the most suitable direction for it.

Cheers to you, writing rule books!  I'm throwing you out the window (figuratively) and saying, "So long for now."  It's time to unleash my mind and let my stories go the direction they want to go!  You've said your words, it's time to say mine!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Death Cure

While I love to finish a trilogy it's still always bittersweet.  You (or at least I) wait a year for each book to hit the shelves, hoping it will be better than the last and, you read the books so fast because you're already attached to the characters and you devour it and forget to savor.  I ate this book up just like I did the previous two.

As it says on the back of this last book, "The time for lies is over."  After Thomas has endured the maze and the scorch he didn't know how much worse it could get.  Now he's out in the real world and he's not the only one who wants to bring WICKED down.  He and his fellow Gladers are through with the torture and the death these people have put them through and there has to be a way to stop them.  Will he find it?  Or will he have to endure yet another game?  I'll leave that up to you to find out.

This trilogy keeps you reading and not want to put the books down.  Filled with adventure and mystery and real-life emotion.  Let me know what you think of it.  Personally, I really liked this trilogy.  It didn't end quite how I hoped it would, but I'm not saying it was bad.  Just different than I expected.  This last book was also a bit sad.  With a story like this one there is bound to be a bit of sadness, but overall, it was really good.  I recommend The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Jars

There's something about the upcoming holidays that brings out the very best in people.  Thanksgiving helps us realize how much we've been given and been blessed with.  With a heart so full of gratitude it's hard not to share.  And what happens during Christmastime?  A lot of sharing and giving.

For my book club this month our book is Christmas Jars.  I just finished reading it, and that's probably a good idea since our meeting is tonight.  (You could read it in one sitting. ;) It's one of those stories that lifts your heart and makes you want to give a "Christmas Jar" of your own.  This story shows that no small act of kindness goes unnoticed.  I don't want to say too much about it.  Just know that I sat here at work attempting to hold back tears and wasn't very successful.  If you are looking for a good Christmas book to get you into the spirit of giving, I recommend this one. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Finally Finished

That's right.  I finally finished my novel!  Okay, not my novel, but the novel I was reading.  It took me an unnecessarily long time to finish.  I guess that's what two busy jobs will do to you.  There was a time when I literally didn't understand how a person could "have no time to read".  I guess part of me understands a bit better now.  Mostly, I still think it's an excuse because most of those people still find time to watch TV...

Anyway, let's get to the point.  The First King of Shannara was a great book.  My brother has been begging me to read it for years and I always seemed to have an excuse.  High fantasy, as you all know, is not always my favorite genre to read.  Yes, The Hobbit was completely enjoyable, but that's about all I've ventured to read.  While I'm not ready to start writing stories about elves, dwarfs, and wizards, my eyes have been opened to explore fantasy a little more.

The First King of Shannara is about a group of people sought after by Bremen to join forces to bring down the Warlock Lord--a man who has let evil magic consume him beyond return.  The characters are well crafted and I couldn't help but care for them.  I wanted them to succeed and find peace after their quest.  Each character had something unique to offer and the mystery in some of them compelled me to keep reading.  There are beautiful images evoked in some of the scenes thanks to the way the story is told.

There were times when I felt everything used too many words, but I'm always looking for ways to squeeze as much meaning into a sentence as I can with as few words as possible.  Wordy language is also the nature of fantasy books.  People don't speak in contractions and they are often formal.  But, like I said earlier, the character still come through.  Despite these few things, I really liked this book and I would recommend it.

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm Not Lost!

I don't really know what's happened to me lately.  I maybe only read a chapter a week, and writing?  Yeah, that hasn't been happening either.  My life is filled with two jobs, congested lungs, piles of laundry, and VERY strange dreams. 

Don't get me wrong, life right now is rather wonderful.  The family and I have been getting along better than we have in a while, one of my jobs may take me somewhere in the professional world, people are loving and buying the jewelry I'm making, and I think I've got some pretty good story ideas cooped up in my head.

However, I really miss reading right now.  Every time I pick up a book it takes stamina to keep my eyes open.  And, it's a great book!  My brother asked me what's wrong last night because I've been reading the same book for about a month now.  Previously, my pace was about a book a week.  (Sometimes more.)  I have a book shelf that is piling up with the books I want to read and sooner or later I will get to them.  I hope it will be sooner.

I guess this post is really just to say that I haven't forgotten about blogging.  And it's also a declaration, that Mallary is going to finish reading her book!  And, she's going to write at least one sentence a day.  Most likely I will end up writing more than that per day, but if not that still one sentence more than I had before!

Have any of you read anything wonderful lately?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

13 Reasons Why

Recent events have reminded me of this book.  I read it about three years ago and sometimes I still find myself thinking about it.  It's one that I would recommend for many to read.  There's some tough stuff in it, but so much value.  You never know how you are going to affect someone's life for better or for worse.  This book actually made me want to be better and do better.

Clay returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box filled with cassette tapes.  They're from Hannah, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.  As he begins to listen he learns that each side of the tapes is a reason she did it and he is one of them.  Thirteen in total.

There's suspense from the very beginning because Clay has no idea why he would be a reason why she died.  All he did was like her.  Because of the premise of the book, you can see how there would be tough stuff.  Yet, somehow, the book ends with so much hope.  Personally, I think it it absolutely necessary for young adult novels to read books that end with hope.  They don't have to be happy, just end with the hope of a bright tomorrow.  And this book does just that.

Perfect

A'ight, so I've been thinking lately about how many great guys aren't asking great girls out.  In decades past this didn't seem to be such an issue.  I hear the story over and over again from a lot of people.  Guys seem to be afraid of girls.  Why?  Girls seem to be exceptionally picky as well.  I'm not saying that us girls shouldn't be selective and make good choices when it comes to guys, but many good ones are being looked over.  Once again, I ask, why?  It seems as though one tiny flaw becomes a deal-breaker.  I too am guilty of this, but not to the extent of many other young ladies out there.

I've come to a conclusion.  It's not one of those grand, philosophical, answer-all, conclusions, but I think it actually explains a lot.  Look at the books we're reading.  Especially the young adult books.  (Yes, the ones I read and post about.)  How many of the young men in those books are considered "perfect"?  From a young age girls are taught that even though they are average the perfect guy will someday appear and want her undivided attention.  Yes, there are many of us who fantasize about this, but that's just what it is: a fantasy.  There is no such thing as a "perfect" guy.  I fear that some girls out there are looking for him, and they will not find him.  He doesn't exist. 

This is a lot for the guys of today to compete with.  They can't be that perfect guy and quit trying.  My friend Cami said once, "They're afraid to ask out the girls who are worth it."  It could be because if they do one thing wrong or show their flaws, then the girl who is looking for the perfect guy will let him go.

Girls, there are also guys out there that look perfect, say what we want to hear, and dazzle us.  Not all of them are worth it.  Open your eyes to who he really is.  (That goes for the ones you aren't attracted to right away also.)  Stay true to yourself.  I'm pretty sure none of you think of yourselves as perfect, why should you expect that from the man you love?  And guys, the same goes for you.  She's not perfect, and she's never going to be.

I'm not saying we should stop reading these books, because many of them are really wonderful books.  Many are, in fact, some of my favorites.  I think we just need to put them into perspective.  Remember they're fiction and we have our own life story to write.  Books are meant to be read for entertainment and enjoyment and to escape from reality sometimes.  People and characters are often interesting because of their flaws. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

So Excited!

This has been the most exciting week!  I hope I don't jinx myself by saying this, but I've had the most successful writing week of my life!  This whole week my manager has been out of town and therefore I haven't had much to work on at work and ta da!  lots of time to write.

Okay, I know I've had oodles of time to write before and nothing comes to mind...ever!  Somehow this week is not that way!  Today, I was actually able to outline to the end of my book.  (don't quite have the end figured out yet, but close.)  Why is this so exciting you ask?  This is the book I put aside for months because nothing, absolutely nothing was happening with it.  The plot wasn't coming together, I've rewritten several times, put the original beginning towards the end, switched from 3rd person to 1st, and even toyed around with splitting the narrative.  Needless to say it's been a process.

After finally figuring out how this story is finally going to work I haven't been able to stop.  I feel like I'm finally getting to know my main character.  She's so complex, she didn't even want to let me, as the author into her head.  (I know, that's sounds really weird, but it's the truth.)  I just hopes she comes across as real, because she's finally starting to feel real to me.

I'm still squeezing in a chapter or two of reading in here and there too.  I hope you all have a fantastic day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

After all...

After all, writing is rewriting.  I'm sure everyone has heard this phrase before.  Writing is in fact, jotting down, stewing, clipping, trimming, deleting, cutting, pasting, rearranging, crying, yelling, forgetting, letting go, and breathing.  Sounds like a lot of work, right?  Yeah, it is, but there is a joy almost inexpressible when it comes together.  I'm not going to say much about it, but I have a story that has been sitting in the wrinkles of my brain waiting to connect with a traveling synaptic current.  It's still slow and there's a lot of work I need to do, but I'm excited for what's coming!

Hope you're all reading something wonderful!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Forever

Ah, I have finished yet another series and I loved it!  You've heard me talk about the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, I'm sure.  This conclusion did not disappoint.  It was so enjoyable that I actually forgot that it had to end at some point and I grew very sad.  I sat at work thoroughly enjoying my reading for the day when I remembered this was the last book.  No more werewolf love story.


Hold on!  Did she just say werewolf?  Yes, I did just say werewolf love story.  Now before that turns you off to the story I have to say this is not your average werewolf story.  Wait!  Did she just say it's another new spin on werewolves?  Ugh, another one?  Yes, I did just say it's another new twist on the mythical creatures we affectionately call werewolves, creatures of the moon.  This one is actually very good.  Maggie Steifvater is a very mature writer in young adult fiction.  The love feels real and the connection between the characters is so human.  The narrative switches between characters an in those switches somehow how grow to know more about these characters through the eyes of those around them.  She writes in a rather poetic way, thus, the imagery is lovely.

I don't want to give too much of the plot on this book because it would give away bits of the first two.  Because I like to explore new books along with the characters, I want you to do the same.  There is a time and a place for spoilers.  There are plenty of spoilers out there for any book you read, but I don't feel so inclined to give away the book and take that from all of you.  So, I will say a couple of things about it and encourage you to check it out!

When Grace was a little girl she wandered out into the woods behind her house and was attacked by wolves.  Ever since that day one wolf comes back every winter and watches her with his yellow eyes.  This wolf is different, it's the one that saved her after the attack.  One day a boy shows up on her back porch badly wounded.  She helps him inside and does what she can to take care of him when she realized he has the same yellow eyes as her wolf.  That is only the beginning.

I know, that's a ridiculously brief synopsis and it only mentions what happens in the very beginning.  In the first book Shiver.  Hope you enjoy it!  Happy reading!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heist Society-A Pleasant Surprise

Heist Society by Ally Carter was such a pleasant surprise.  Naturally I don't buy a book that I'm not interested in and therefore thought this book would at least be decent.  However, I really liked it.  Ally Cater does a fantastic job of showing her characters and story.  She doesn't waste times explaining everything and lets you discover the story as her characters do.  You also come to know the characters through the things that they do, think, and speculate.  The characters in this book have distinct voices that you come to know through snappy, witty dialogue.  I was never confused about who was speaking.  (An art I feared may be lost from young adult fiction forever...)  The little love story involved is quite excellent as well.  This book is mostly centered around suspense, and therefore the love story is secondary, but worth reading.  These characters are fantastic because they feel so human!

Kat is a teenager who has left the family business to pursue a more honorable career in life and has been attending the prestigious Colgan Academy.  That is until one night the dean's prized car mysteriously appears at the top of a very large fountain on campus.  Kat knew she was being framed and instantly knew how she would have done the job differently.  What she didn't know was it was the start of the biggest job she'd ever have to take.  An impossible job that would save her father from a lifetime of prison.  If she succeeds.

Hope you enjoy it!  Happy reading!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Passion

While I did not get any writing done on this most recent camping trip, I did find lots of reading time.  Thusly, I finished Passion by Lauren Kate.

This is the story in the series I've been waiting to read from the very beginning.  If you have read any of the books in this series you know that Daniel and Luce have been cursed to never be together.  All the while Daniel remembers every life and every death Luce has endured.  And each time they come together their love grows stronger.  In this, the third book in the series, Luce has found a way to view many significant past lives with Daniel.  Each time she witnesses her past life she learns a little more about how deep their love is and learns to love Daniel even more.

I quite enjoyed this book.  After itching to find out more about their past lives together I finally got to read an entire book about it!  There was a time that I started to worry about the structure of the book because it seemed to just be about life after life and nothing else.  While I thoroughly enjoyed each story and life they shared together, I wondered if it would become too monotonous.  However, I felt Lauren Kate actually handled it pretty well.  There was plenty else involved in the story and all the while an underlying current of suspense that the reader just can't seem to pinpoint.  Not to mention, who doesn't love a collage of love stories all in one book?

If you are a fan of the Fallen series (as I know many of you are) this will be the book you've been waiting for!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Young Princess and the Frog


A young princess sat on a rock pleasantly eating her cookies.  She pulled each one from a small princess lunch pale and delicately bit into each one before smiling as though she were being filmed for a commercial and they were the best cookies she’d ever tasted.  There is no reason to say they weren’t, they looked delicious. 
While this young princess in her pretty purple tutu sat eating her dainty cookies a small amphibian of sorts leapt upon her lunch pail.
The young girl’s mouth flew open as a scream escaped her lips.  As this happened, a cookie flew from her hand and landed in a nearby bush.  She immediately stood up without much grace or composure and began looking for the lost cookie.  They must have been the best she’d ever tasted to not let a single one of them go to waste.
She crawled on her hands and knees searching for the little lost morsel and when it was finally found she brushed it off and smiled as though nothing had happened.  The cookie seemed as good as new and she lifted it to take the first bite.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the frog croaked.  It was actually a rather distinguished croak.  As if this were an English frog instead of one residing in the marshes of Australia where the princess lived.
The princess paused, the cookie halfway there.  She looked back at the little green thing still perched on her pail.  “And why shouldn’t I?” she asked.
The frog blinked though she could hardly see it.  She though it looked so peculiar sitting there and staring at her.  It eyes bulging off the top of its head and almost gawking.
“That cookie has fallen into a bush.  It can no longer be eaten.”   The frog sounded absolutely insistent.
“But I like these cookies, and nothing seems to be wrong with this one,” she said gesturing toward the cookies that was still only inches from her mouth.
“Well you see,” the frog continued.  “I don’t much care for people who eat food off the ground.”
“Why should it matter to you?”  The princess was growing impatient.  This frog had disrupted her excellent afternoon and soiled one of her precious cookies.  Besides, nothing was wrong with it now.
“If you’re going to kiss me, I rather you didn’t eat food that has fallen on the ground.”  The frog continued to stare but now seemed to be growing a bit uncomfortable for some reason.
“I don’t see why it should matter if I kiss you after eating this cookie.  It’s clean now.  See?”  She held the cookie to the frog and all he did was look the other way.
“Curious.”  That was all the frog could say.
“What is?”
“Most princesses are severely startled when I mention the kiss.  Many of them run away screaming.”
“And what’s curious about that?”  The princess had contorted her face into a questioning annoyance.
“You my sweet, are not running.”
“It’s not very ladylike to run in a dress.”
“But are you not frightened because I’m green and amphibious?”  The frog glanced once again to the side, as though he were confused and uncomfortable again.
“Oh I was at first, but you seem so distinguished and proper.  I have no need to fear you.”  The princess was growing disinterested.  Conversations like these were so tiresome.
“You are not afraid of kissing me?”  The frog had almost grown hopeful.
“Oh of course not!”  She exclaimed with a sweet, musical laugh.
The frog let out a joyful ribbit.  “I have finally found my princess!”
“You have?” the princess asked.
In a few quick bouncing strides the frog was directly seated in front of the princess.  “Yes, my sweet, you may kiss me now.”
The princess let out another giggle.  “You are quite silly my frog.  I am much too young for kissing.  I am only ten.”
The frogs face fell, his last chance was flitting away before his eyes.  “In frog years I am ten as well,” he said in a moment of desperation.
“Perfect!  We must be friends now,” the princess gleefully responded.
The frog let out a deep sigh.  He was almost resigned to accept his fate forever.  “Princess?”
“Yes, my frog?”
“Why will you not kiss me?”
The princess laughed.  “Oh my sweet frog, I simply cannot kiss you yet.”
“Why not?”
“Because you will be too old for me when you become a prince and you will still have to wait for me to grow up before you can marry me.”
The frog tilted his head and blinked.  “Who said anything about marriage.”
“Oh, my frog your are so silly.  Didn’t you know that’s how it works?”
He looked at the young princess before him.  She smiled and waited for him to answer.  How could he have never realized it before?  Of course that’s the reason he had become a frog in the first place!  The other princesses were much to shallow to realize this. 
The frog looked into the eyes of this princess and saw a beautiful young girl who would soon turn into an even more beautiful woman.  It was obvious she adored him.  Her blue eyes gazed at his.
He took another bouncing stride onto the princess’s lap.   She laughed that beautiful laugh of hers.  He quietly whispered to himself, “Yes, I have found my princess.  I will wait for you.”
The princess held out her hand and the frog leapt on.  “Come my frog, we have cookies to share.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beauty Queens

As you all probably know, it took me forever to read this book.  Many of you are probably thinking that's rather uncharacteristic of me and I'd have to agree with you.  I usually read books much faster.  Let me first say that it wasn't because I hated the book and it was painful to get through it.  The writing is fantastic.  However, there were some parts that were difficult to get through.  I'll list everything for you.

Reasons I Liked the Book:
-It's very well written.  Libba Bray really is an incredible writer.
-There are many issues in this book that teenage girls face everyday and they need to know they can conquer their trials.
-It was funny and incredibly original.  The format of the book provided the lighthearted element.
-The characters were well thought out and had very distinct personalities.
-Excellent suspense (better toward the end of the book)
-Teenage girls are told by media, friends, relatives, etc that they're not beautiful enough and they need to be someone else's idea of perfect.  This book makes it clear that's not true.  Everyone is beautiful in their own way and that's how it should be.
-Pretty faces come with brains and feelings too.

Reasons I Didn't Like the Book:
-Lesbian and transgender issues (I realize these are current issues, but that doesn't mean I want to read about them.)
-Shocking heterosexual sex scene
-Frequent use of the "F" word where it wasn't necessary.

There really were some good morals and principles taught in this book.  I didn't always appreciate the way these morals were taught.  One thing this book does is make you take a step back and look at who you really are.  Do you like what you see?  Would you rather be someone different?  Look different?  Be true to yourself.  Become the best version of yourself.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beautiful!

I just have to say, I love it when books have a beautiful cover!  This is going to be the new cover for the paperback version of Matched by Ally Condie.  Great book, intriguing cover... all around fantastic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Amusement

Here's a little story I wrote for my writer's group yesterday at our first meeting.  The task?  Write in the second person.  This is what came out.  (No editing has taken place yet, this is the free write version.)


You walk to an amusement park.  The colors of the lights on each ride force you to squint even though it’s night.  As you walk through the gate you give the ticket office your money another kind person stamps your hand and you are suddenly filled with the most thrill you’ve had since your 7th birthday when you got the toy you wanted so badly.  You know what that toy is.  Certainly no thrill on any of the rides could match what you feel in this moment when that ink marks your hand. 
You blow on the stamp to make sure it’s dry and you don’t smudge the perfection of it.  Even though it’s not perfect.  In fact, the ink is quite illegible.  But, to you it’s perfect.  It’s possible that you actually do feel like you’re seven years old again playing with that new toy.  But, today you are twenty-five. 
The rides all glimmer before you and you can see them so much more clearly now that you are inside the park.  Nothing can stop you from the thrill of these rides.  They seem to stand so tall before you and you wonder if they’re actually safe.  But, you only wonder that for a moment.  You’ve never actually heard of anyone getting hurt on a ride.
Are those your friends you see?  Yes!  There’s Margaret, Ben and Mark.  They all stand there with expressions as gleeful as your own.  Except for mark.  Amusement parks don’t seem to hold much joy for him since the incident on his own seventh birthday.  His was not as great as yours.  Some people still talk about Mark’s incident.  They say the park had to shut down the ride to be cleaned.
You look at Mark and bite your lip remembering the story.  You were there, and though you didn’t see them shut down the ride you know it was a definite possibility.  As you make your way towards your friends you see Mark shake a little white bottle in his hand and smile back at you with an expression that says, that’s not happening again.
“Hi!” Margaret says to you.  She looks as though she may burst from the excitement and it feeds your own.
“Which one first?” you say.
“All of them,” Ben says in his gruff voice.  Ever the enthusiast.  And also that one friend who just doesn’t know where or when to stop.
“I say we start at that one,” Margaret says pointing to a gigantic structure to your right.  She’s jumping up and down now, her blonde curls bouncing and dancing in the lights of the park.
You take a deep breath realizing the immensity of the ride.  It’s massive and seems to touch the sky.  Suddenly you feel as though you will burst as Margaret looks about to.  “Race you there,” you say and dart off toward the line.
You hear their footsteps behind you, but you don’t look back.  You’re not the best runner after all.  Steadiness on the feet is how you win the race.  Somehow you make it there first and the ride is even bigger than it looked before.  The line isn’t long and in just a couple of runs it will be your turn.
“Oh I’m so excited!”  You don’t have to look at her to know who said it.  It’s possible she hasn’t stopped repeating the phrase the whole time you’ve been in line. 
Watching the ride take off with a bundle of passengers has made your heart race and you almost feel like you are in the car with them ready to take off.  Then you hear their screams.  The shrill scraping of their voices ripping through their throats.  Yours feels scratchy now too, even though you didn’t scream.
Beads of sweat appear at your hairline and suddenly you don’t know if you could really do this.  What if you end up in the small percentage of those who actually die on the rides in the amusement park?  What if the car you are strapped to with no hope of release is suddenly rocketed off into the never-ending blue sky and only falls back down after it has touched the balance of earth and space?
Your line inches forward and you don’t think you have the courage any longer to face your friends.  They will see the sweat and the watering eyes and now is not the time for panic.  You’re not even on the ride yet. 
You watch the next car full of people with joy spread across their faces and wonder why none of them seem afraid.  Wait!  There is one girl with long dark hair who appears as terrified as you feel.  You almost shout, “Wait!  She doesn’t want to go!”  Somehow you are able to restrain yourself, though you feel the words attempting to escape the back of your mouth.  Then you realize she’s just a young girl.  If you were to yell that out everyone would know that you are afraid to ride the ride that children are allowed on.
Suddenly, you’re standing at the gate.  You know you’re going to be next and silently pray the car will never return.  Maybe they will be the ones who get stuck up there and you will not longer have to go!  Then you hear it.  It screeches a low moan.  Your vision is fading, your heart collapsing.  
The passengers, full of smiles and grins and giggles, push up on the restraint in front of them.  How could they?  How could anyone be so willing to ride something that would put them in danger?  You can’t do it.  Then the gate swings open and you feel your legs moving toward the car.
The seat is awkward and low, but you sit in it anyway.  What are you doing?  The restraint comes down on you and the worker comes to check if the restraint is in place.  You wish he hadn’t done that.  Now you know there is a little bit of space between you and the harness.  You were blissfully unaware of it before now.  Maybe not blissfully, but more so than now.
You feel the car lurch forward and you feel as though you may scream as you heard the other passengers do.  But, you keep it inside you.  Before you realize what’s happening you are hurled forward at the most incredible speed you’ve ever before experienced and you can’t help yourself.  You scream a cry that could wake the graves of the next town.  You flip this way and that way.  Your hands cling to the bar in front of you and you feel yourself weightless for seconds at a time.  Beautiful exhilarating seconds.
Your hands release the bar in front of you, the wind on your face is intoxicating and you cannot help the laughter that escapes. 
In one swift second it’s all over.  Your car is pulling into the blackness of the tunnel you started in.  The restraint is lifted and you feel heavy.  You stand and stumble slightly, but the grin is still on your face.
When you turn around you see the same expressions on your friends’ faces.  You say, “We gotta do that one again.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everyone Should Read This

I took a one day break from my other book to read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  Usually, I don't read much by way of non-fiction.  Many of you read my post about writing non-fiction.  I have always thought there is a time and a place for non-fiction by way of self help.  Normally I pass by the section without so much as a wave of recognition.  I'm not very good at seeking for help, especially when I need it.

Because I don't really read in this genre willingly, it took this month's book for my book club to read this one.  I have to admit, it was so worth it and completely inspiring.  Sometimes we don't always realize we're looking for help when we find it.  Because of this book I've realized I just need to step up to the brick walls in my life and realize that there's always a way to get to the other side and reach our childhood dreams.  Since there is a child within each of us, these dreams are not really that far-fetched.

My favorite message from the book: "The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."  If you want something strongly enough you will find a way around, over, or through the wall.  Sometimes I forget how badly I want something because the wall is blocking my view.

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon.  After only being married eight years and with three young children he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which is almost always fatal.  This book shows not only how he lived the last months of his life, but how he lived his entire life.  He wasn't going to let the biggest brick wall he'd ever encountered stop him from achieving and living how he always wanted.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Superhero

As promised, here is a little snippet from my new story.  Hope you enjoy!


“See that hot guy over there?” I say to Stacey as I stand up from the table in the cafeteria.
She rolls her eyes.
“Remember how he’s my boyfriend?”  I continue standing and make my way over to him.
Tyler isn’t the guy you might find attractive, but I don’t really care what you think.  He’s my boyfriend and I love him.  He’s tall, lanky, dark hair, and over all pretty average looking.  Until he smiles.  And there’s that smile now.  He totally makes me melt.  I can’t help giving him a gigantic grin back.  I try to be coy, but it never works.
“Hey you,” I say when I reach him.  He has a tray of food in his hands, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of planting one on me right there in front of everyone.  They’re all used to it by now. 
“Can’t you guys go somewhere else to do that?” someone from the cafeteria calls out.  Guess they’re not as used to it as I thought.  You’d think that two weeks of seeing our relationship bloom people would stop with the snide comments.  Guess not.
With a relationship as happy go lucky as we have you might think it was one of those happy stories.  One of those that happens like this: boy and girl meet, go on date, hold hands, kiss, smile, happy still.  It was actually nothing like that.  He would have nothing to do with me.  Okay, that’s not really true either.  We didn’t really want to associate with each other. 
It was a mutual decision made long ago when a girl said something mean to a boy at recess and he punched her.  He thought he had super powers…and I didn’t believe him.  I taunted him endlessly.  But let’s not dwell on something that happened so long ago.  Everything is obviously different between us now.
All right, I know you’re dying to find out how everything changed between us.  But, I have to warn you this story doesn’t start pretty.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lazy Days

You're probably all wondering why it's taking me so long to post anything lately.  It's summer!  I should be reading like crazy because I haven't much else to occupy my time.  The truth is...I'm wondering that myself.  I'm reading an amazing book right now and I still love to read.  But, for some reason I'm just not getting it done.

On the upside, I discovered a new idea for a book.  Unfortunately, not the ones I'm already working on.  This one is a comedy, but I suspect it will have a deeper meaning behind it as well.  Stay tuned for little snippets of My Boyfriend, Superhero.  (Or something like that.)

I hope you're all having a fantastic summer and that you're all reading fantastic books!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Can You Keep A Secret?

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

This book was so enjoyable!  I have to admit it felt a bit slow at first, but once it got going it held my attention and I couldn't put it down.  My friend Jernae recommended this book to me a while ago and I was finally able to read it.  And I was certainly not disappointed.

Whether you know it or not all of you are acquainted with chick lit.  It's just like a chick flick in book form.  This one felt pretty real to me, for the most part.  It didn't feel trite and insignificant like others in the genre can be.  The story was solid and so cute!

It is the story of Emma Corrigan.  She wants so badly to succeed in her job and get that promotion she's been waiting for, but the her chances aren't looking good after the last meeting she attended.  In a stroke of luck, she's upgraded on her flight home from that meeting.  The unlucky part?  She's afraid of flying and in a bout of turbulence she honestly feels she's going to die.  In that turbulence and amidst the screams of the other passengers she turns to the man sitting next to her and without thinking divulges all of her deepest secrets!  Of course, she never thought she'd see that man again, thank heaven.  When she arrives back to work the stranger she spilled everything to is there!

I recommend this book to anyone who needs a fun cute story and is ready to laugh.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Felt So Good!

For the past couple of weeks I've been taking a break on my novel and writing bits of other stories.  I was getting so frustrated with my novel because nothing seemed to be working right.  All of the characters were flat and boring, save for one.  Who just happens to be the main love interest later on in the story.  The only scenes that have been working are the ones where he is present.  Okay, that's not entirely true, other scenes have worked out well too.

The biggest problem is my main character.  For some reason I just couldn't get into her head.  Since the story is written in first person from her point of view, it's kind of vital to know what she's thinking.  She a great strong character, but everything just seems to be happening too easily for her.

Yesterday, I pulled the story out again and just started writing and trying to add some more depth to her character or even to the other characters to enhance her.  Next thing I knew five pages had stumbled out of me!  Hooray!  I think I may be back on the novel train!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sapphique

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Sapphique is a sequel to the book Incarceron.  After my last post you're probably wondering if I'll ever read fantasy again.  This one has a decent cover though, don't you think?  Well, This just happens to be a fantasy book, but it's not high fantasy (which still moderately frightens me).  There are no elves, dwarves, trolls, or anything like that.  This one actually teeters more on the edge of steampunk.  If you don't know what steampunk is let me know and I'll do a post on the genre.  It's actually kind of neat!

**SPOILER ALERT**

Finn is now living outside of Incarceron, the largest prison in the world.  He realizes it may not be anything he thought it would be.  The blackouts and fits are getting worse and his memories still haven't come back.  Claudia expected that once Finn was released from Incarceron, he would remember he's the rightful heir to the throne and claim his kingdom.  She still doubts that he is the real Prince Giles and her betrothed.  He's different, a prison rat.  Queen Sia, his stepmother and the person who ordered him sent to Incarceron, memories erased, still doesn't want Finn to be crowned.

Meanwhile, Keiro and Attia are still trapped in Incarceron, and the prison grows steadily angrier that one of it's inmates escaped.  Finn promised them he would find a way to release them, but he hasn't yet and they don't know how much longer they can wait for him.

Will Finn and Claudia be able to take their kingdom in spite of the Queen's death threats?  Will Keiro and Attia ever escape the prison and stop Incarceron from getting Out?

All right, so, that was kind of a long synopsis and it really only spoiled bits of the first book, and not so much this sequel.  As I said before, this book was rather enjoyable.  The characters were well used and thought out and it was a perfect end to the story.  Each of the characters uses their wit to conquer the problems that arise.  The war is won by the ones who aren't afraid to think, and take risks.  Catherine Fisher does a really excellent job of showing that Finn in the rightful prince.  As he adjusts to the world a little more, I was able to see how he truly was the perfect prince and how he will make the kingdom great again.

There were times when I had to go back and re-read because I couldn't quite figure out what was going on or who's point of view I had just dived into, but it wasn't too much of a hindrance.  Had the first book still been fresh in my mind I think it would have been easier.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Books by the Cover, People by the Book

I know the saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."  I've actually been known to use it now and then, because I think there is tremendous value in seeing something for its contents and not what it's wearing.  However, I still find myself a bit embarrassed to wander into the science fiction/fantasy section at the bookstore.  It's pathetic, but I still find myself looking down the aisle first to see if anyone is there and then decide whether or not I want to go down that road.  Frequently I see the stereotypical balding, mid-40s man with glasses completely enthralled in the synopsis on the back of a poorly designed book cover.  Now, I have no doubt that the book is good, but do I want to be caught reading that?  Then I wonder if I'm as weird as I think they are.  I'm sure they are delightful people, and I have, on occasion, seen a very attractive mid-20s guy wrapped up in the same books.  If the attractive guy is down the aisle I generally tend to glance around and see what else I could be viewing--besides his perfectly formed shoulders.  I also wander down if there is no one there to see me actually pick up a book or two.

Why is this?  I can guarantee that some of you out there have thought the exact same things about some of these books.  Am I right?  You see the busty redhead in leather thrusting a sword into the air, lightning striking its tip.  Or, there's the spaceship gliding through space with lasers defeating the evil emperor of a foreign galaxy.  I just can't get myself to pick up these books because they have such awful covers.  I see them and automatically think mid-40s, bald, glasses, loner.

Have you noticed it's usually just the adult books?  Young adult books (for the most part) have really intriguing covers.  If the cover isn't interesting a teenager simply isn't going to pick it up, let alone read it.  There are some books that I have heard are excellent, but I can't get myself to read them because the cover makes them look cheesy and not worth my time.  It actually took quite a bit of coaxing for me to read the Uglies series because of the covers.  The new covers look splendid!  And...the content was much better than the cover.  Still one of my favorite series. 

I will admit, I'm getting better at giving books a chance despite whatever an artist has done to the cover.  There's probably a lot of good out there I'm missing.  I quite like science fiction when the story is well written and the same goes for fantasy.  I know I shouldn't judge, and I'm happy to admit I'm getting better.  Remember it's not the author who designed the cover.  Someone else did. 

Shannon Hale once said not to let anyone get to you about what you read.  Read what you love and don't ever let anyone tell you not to like something.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Uh... Okay

So, the post mysteriously re-appeared!  I only noticed this after my dear friend Amanda was still able to view it and sent it back to me to re-post.  I posted it again only to realize that it's there.  All I have left to say is... Happy Reading!  Hope you all have a wonderful day and that your posts return to you as well.

Grrr!

All right, so I'm a little upset.  Yesterday I wrote a stellar book review of Beautiful Creatures that I'm sure you would have all enjoyed immensely, but thanks to Blogger's maintenance yesterday it was erased.  So, I will attempt to recreate it for you at some point today.  I can almost guarantee it won't be as good, because that's just the way things go.  Stay tuned!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Little Something I'm Working On

This comes from a project I started for a final project in one of my writing classes.  I've loved writing it and never expected it to go as far as it continues to go.  It started out as a short story and, let's face it, it just keeps going.  This is just a little taste of it.  By now, I'm sure you all know how much I love to write dialogue, so of course this taste is a bit of dialogue for you.  If you want to know more about it I'll be glad to let you know! :)


“How did you find me?” I asked him for what seemed like the millionth time.
“Untie me and maybe I’ll tell you.”
Flustered, I turned my head away.  I knew I wasn’t going to get that answer out of him.  I’d asked him several times since he came here.  He refused to answer it, yet it still felt like he was just taunting me by not telling me.
“Is that really all you want to know about me?” he said, annoyed.
“What?” I said.
“That’s all you’ve asked me since I woke up tied to a water heater.”
“Well-“ like an idiot, that was all I could say.  I could feel my cheeks turning red.  I never thought about where he might have come from or what he had gone through.  I looked at the scar on his face.  It started at his left temple and curved down his cheek and ended just above his chin by the corner of his mouth.  It came from somewhere and somehow, but I never thought to ask.  I never cared until that point.  The animal was still inside me because I’d chosen to take care of only myself and not care about anyone other than myself.  I realized I’d let the hate take me over as well.  I noticed he had several other scars on his arms and neck.
He caught me looking at them and I turned my head away once again.  “You wanna know where they came from?” he asked.
I shook my head, not sure if I wanted to know what gruesome things happened to him.  “Where did you come from?” I asked.
He gave me a side smile on the side that wasn’t scarred and I realized there might have been a time when he was attractive.  “I’m from a community about twenty miles west of here.”
My head shot up and our eyes met.  “A community?”  No one lives in communities.  At least not that I knew of.  I didn’t think anyone could live together anymore.  It never even occurred to me.
“Yeah.  It’s not a big one, but we do alright,” he said with a shrug.
I was still shocked.  “And you all…get along?”
He let out a small laugh before he said, “Yeah.”  Something passed over his eyes when he looked at me then.  It was almost like sadness, but not for himself, for me.

Friday, April 29, 2011

That's the Writer's Life

Writers don't get any sleep.  When they do finally turn out the light another idea hits them and they have to open the laptop back up and write it down.  They will often also wake up early in the morning because any problems with the story they had before sleeping suddenly make sense when the sun comes up and they must once again open the laptop and write it before it disappears again.  This pattern continues until:

1.  They are so tired they fall asleep with fingers on the keys
2.  They pray for divine intervention to remember their ideas in the morning
3.  Their book is finally finished

This is what's been happening to me lately.  I don't know how many times I tried to go to sleep the other night and every time I turned off my laptop and turned out my light I had to turn them both back on and keep going.  I was having terrible plot problems and nothing was coming together as it should have.  When I woke up the next morning... early... I had to open the computer again and finish working it out.  In less than 12 hours I had solved the greatest mystery to my book.  The majority of the next day was spent in my craft room writing.  I loved it.

Anyone who personally knows a writer knows that they actually never stop writing.  Something that seems completely unrelated to a story will inspire or spark something and they must write it down right then before the idea or thought leaves.  I'm often reminded of a scene in Becoming Jane.
Lady Gresham: What is she doing?
Mrs. Austen: Writing
Lady Gresham: Can anything be done about it?
No, Lady Gresham, I'm afraid nothing can be done about it.  Nor do I really want to do anything about it.  :)

Dark circles are forming around my eyes... such is my blessing and curse.  I write when I want to, when I don't want to and simply because I must. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Mortal Instruments

I have now finished my first book of the summer.  Oh, what a kick-off!  This one really didn't disappoint.  I had very high hopes for Clary and Jace, because I love them, and love them together!  Even if Jace did spend a great deal of the book torturing himself... There's something about him I just can't get enough of.

Now, because I know a lot of you haven't read any in this series yet, I don't want to give anything away.  This is the 4th book in the series and there would be a lot in it I could talk about that would give it away.  However, what I will talk about is how well Cassandra Clare has continued on with the story.  When I finished the original trilogy of the Mortal Instruments I suffered a serious withdrawal.  While the story had wrapped itself up nicely I just didn't want to be done with it.  I guess the author had similar feelings and decided she needed to write three more!  I had no qualms with this.  But how do you continue on with a story that you have ended?  You'll just have to find out how seamlessly she did it when you read the series.

One thing I love about Cassandra Clare's books is that she makes all of her characters matter.  I noticed that more in this book even than the others.  (Maybe that's because I already cared about these characters and wanted more of each of them.)  Every character has a place that matters, even if their story is not one of the main ones.  In fiction, every part of the story matters.  That's what makes it vibrant and full.

While there are some interesting biblical references in the plot of this story that should probably be read realizing the story is fiction, this really is a great series.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  I just have to say it!  I LOVE JACE!

Here is the rest of the series!



 Don't forget to check out the prequel series too!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Did It!

Never in all my days have I been so excited to finish a semester!  It was so stressful.  Save for a couple of math quarrels I'm practically a graduate!  Woohoo!  Holy cow, I don't have to take another college course if I don't want to.  But...of course I'm looking into graduate school.  What am I doing?  I'm supposed to be celebrating, not thinking about more school.  What was the first thing I did when I submitted my final paper?  I ate a celebratory cookie.  I know, your minds are all reeling with the question, "why isn't she reading yet?"  I'm getting there.

First, I must say that I'm so proud of myself for not caving one night when I couldn't sleep.  I literally reached up to grab a book of my shelf, but just before I caressed the colorful spine I recoiled at the thought of not getting my homework done in time.  You may all think I'm painfully pathetic, but the thought of reading all my new books and a whole summer of great books awaiting me propelled me through my papers.  And guess what!  I finished a whole day early!  Books are powerful tools.  Give a child a book and he/she shall accomplish great things.  Yes, I probably just referred to myself as a child.  I don't even care, I feel like skipping!

Second, I'm equally as excited to start writing again.  I'm so excited about so many stories and now I can finally unleash them.

I sense a great summer ahead of me filled with books, writing, and intense joy.  I hope the start to your summer is as great as mine feels right now.  City of Fallen Angels, here I come!  Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Calm Before the Storm?

Slowly, I'm whittling away at my homework.  I really don't know why it's taking me so long to get it all done.  Okay, that's probably a lie.  It's because I don't want to do it.  However, I'm finding myself more relieved today, and that scares me a bit.  I've still got a lot to do.  Maybe it's because after this weekend I will have only a test and a report to finish.  Most of the hard stuff will be out of the way.  Most of it.  I'm getting closer and closer to picking up those books!  I almost caved last night because after doing homework I felt relief and then I couldn't sleep.  Not a good combination.  But, I'm happy to report I stayed strong.  Only a week left.  If I work really hard, it could be less.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Want to Read!

So, I'm sitting here, attempting to do my homework, and not having much success.  I think if it wasn't for the snow I wouldn't even be attempting to work.  There are so many other things I'd rather be doing.  For example, I have three, yes three, new books sitting on my bookshelf that I'm dying to read.  I promised myself that I wouldn't read any of them until the semester is over.  Really, I think I'm just looking for any excuse not to finish homework right now.  I want to read, I want to write.  I have stories floating through my head that I just want to put to paper, but I feel guilty, because that's all I will do if I start now.  Just a week and a half.  I can do it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Infect Me

Amidst homework and many other tedious tasks, I was finally able to finish this book.  It was really good and one of those that inspires us all to think for ourselves.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is the story of Lena.  She lives in Portland, but not the Portland we all know.  This is a time when the cure for hate, revenge, pain, and all the evils in the world you can think of has been discovered.  What is this cure?  It's a cure for love.  They've discovered that love causes pain and no one wants to suffer anymore, so, there is a procedure that cures it.  Love is considered a disease.  Precautions are taken for young people because they cannot get the cure before they are 18.  There are too many risks.  Lena is 17 and cannot wait for her procedure.  She's even counting the days.  What will she do when she finds out everyone has been lying to her?  But, what have they been lying to her about?

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters feel real and it's easy to experience what they are.  Hope you enjoy it too!  Happy reading!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Breakthrough!

I think I had a breakthrough last night.  So often while I'm writing a story I think about it as a movie in my head.  This is all fine and dandy until I realize that all I have offered my poor readers is description and stage direction.  The emotion falling completely flat.  It's been happening less and less now that I've noticed it.  But, unfortunately it still happens.
Last night The Proposal came on TV, and yes, I watched it instead of going to bed or doing homework.  I've always thought the movie was a little lacking in the chemistry part.  I never felt like she connected with him or showed her connection strongly enough until the very end.  While watching it, the opposite happened.  I actually found myself thinking about what her thoughts would be in novel form!  This has never happened.  And I thought that this could be one of those instances where a novel could be better than the movie (maybe) simply because the reader could experience what she's thinking!
I guess it's true that a writer is always writing huh?  For me that was an incredible breakthrough!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Micro-Meltdown

So, I had a bit of a meltdown today.  I woke up thinking, "what am I doing? and what was I thinking when I decided to become a creative writing major? I'm not a great writer!"  I was also supposed to be meeting with my advisor today to finalize my portfolio.  When I woke up this morning, I had one single piece in that portfolio and only one more meager story to put into it.  I really didn't know how I was going to make it through the rest of the semester.  And, more than anything, I was beginning to think that it was impossible for me to fulfill my dreams of ever becoming a writer.

There have been a few times in life where I have recognized that I needed help.  This morning was one of those mornings.  In the climax of my meltdown I texted my friend Jernae, who is also a writer, and said.  I need some positive affirmation.  She told me exactly what I needed to hear to walk into the meeting with my advisor with a bit more confidence.  I handed her my flash fiction and she actually remember what story it was.  (A good sign considering how many students she has to take care of, and how many stories she reads everyday.)  Not only that but I now know what other stories I can put into my portfolio and I feel confident in doing so!

I haven't felt inadequate in my writing abilities for a while now thanks to all the prayers I've said to help me not be a perfectionist and to help me learn from my failures.  I don't really know what my point was in writing this, other than to prove to myself that I'm not going to give up on my dreams.  I know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing and I love it too much to ever quit.  So, I shall send this message out into the ever growing void that is the internet and say,  "Look out world!  Because I'm one more person who believes in her dreams!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Loved It!

For my book club this month we read The Help and it was fantastic!  I knew it had been on the best seller lists forever and I wondered about it for a long time but never actually picked it up until now.

It's the story about three amazing women who risk everything to do what they feel is the right thing in a world where it's considered wrong.  I don't want to tell you too much about this book because I want you all to experience it for yourselves.  This is also the first novel that Kathryn Stockett has written and I was astounded that she could create such beautiful characters who each have a mind and voice of their own.  This is a book that also makes you think about what you would do if you were placed in the situations of these women?  Who would you be?

I highly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Surprising

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Because of other things that I've heard and read from Dr. Allred, I wasn't sure if I was really going to like this book or not.  Not only was I worried about the writing, but it was also a biography.  Typically, biographies are not really my style.  I've read a few that have been really good, but facts tend to leave me cold sometimes.  When I read a book, I usually do it to escape in some way or another into the life of someone else.  This book was assigned by Dr. Allred in my biographical writing class so I had to read it.  I decided to get a head start on it so that I could have spring break to read whatever I wanted to read.  But, I didn't expect what I read.  I'm also so happy to know the author of this book.

The Kamikaze had always been a bit of a mystery to me, why did the government of Japan allow so many men to plummet to their death in hopes of striking a foul blow to the enemy?  What I didn't know, was that these men were actually just teenagers, and the main character was only fifteen when he was drafted as a pilot into the Japanese air force.  This book gives a truly remarkable account of the Kamikaze and what they went through to be considered "worthy" to die for their country.  This book may be a biography but it reads like a novel.  While I was reading this book everyone asked me how a suicide pilot survived to tell the tale and I had to keep replying, "I don't know yet!"  I did find out and I hope you take the time to check this book out and find out for yourself.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vicarious

Many of you know that I am in love with books.  Not only the stories, but the actual books themselves.  I love leafing through the pages of a new book, smelling it, and hearing the soft cracking when the cover of a brand new hard back is being opened for the first time.  Never do I allow my books to get wet in the stormy weather, and I never read in the bathtub because I'm terrified that I will drop the book in and it will forever be ruined.  So, because I treasure my books so much, I also want to make sure the stories are worth my money.  I will research a book before I ever purchase it.  If I know nothing about it, I will read the synopsis, editorial reviews, customer reviews, and put it on my wish list for a while until I'm sure it's a book I want.  I stew and stew about a book for a ridiculous amount of time before it's ever purchased.

Right now all of you probably think that I'm a total nerd, and I'd have to agree with you.  I never understood why I do this.  I understand that it's important to use money for good things and not buy something that I don't even want.  Originally, I thought this was why I research for so long.  But, books are the one thing that I continue to purchase even when I don't have a steady stream of income.  So, obviously, frugality is not the reason.

It occurred to me the other day, just how much I live my life through fiction.  So, if I live my life through every book I happen to be reading at that particular time, it's important that I live my life right, don't you think?  In essence, I'm saying that I not only research the stories I want to read, but I research the life I want to live.  The good news in all of this is I'm rarely disappointed with the books I buy.  Young adult literature has so many excellent stories with turmoil, love troubles, joy, and usually happy endings.  I think that's maybe the reason I read so many of them.

In short, I have a love affair with the written word, and I'm glad to share that love with all of you!
Happy Reading!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Scorching!

Whew!  I really liked this book.  It was so exciting, entertaining, and I hardly had a moment to take a breath.  This book was hard to put down.  I love those books where you literally can feel yourself holding your breath right along with the characters. 
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner is the second book in the Maze Runner series.  (If you haven't read the Maze Runner you can refer to one of my very first book posts.)  Thomas finds himself in another trial, only this time it's not a maze and the task at hand seems easier than the first.  But, when WICKED is involved, nothing is ever easy.  He finds himself in worse situations than he could have imagined for himself, all the while still trying to remember why all of this is happening and what he had to do with it.  His memories are starting to come back, but what do they mean?  Like it says on the back cover, "the maze was only the beginning."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the first and I really can't wait until the last one comes out in November.   This is one of the most unique stories I've ever read and one of those that keeps you reading to find out how it can possibly all play out.  I guess that's the curse of the main character whose memory has been erased.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Didn't Love It

I recently had to read Papa Hemingway for my Biographical writing class and I must admit that I didn't love it.  There were some redeeming qualities and some interesting moments, but overall, it didn't do it for me.  The biggest problem I saw was that the writing didn't match that of Hemingway.  Ernest had a very interesting life and that show by all the places he lived and all the books he wrote and the people he knew, but the writing felt stiff to me.  I realize that the book was written in the 50s and that can account for some of the stiffness but, apparently Hotchner's writing style hasn't really transcended time.  There were multiple people in my class that felt this way.  It's not that the book was bad because it wasn't, it just didn't capture my attention.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Don't Get It

I have yet to understand why it's so complicated for employers to work with students.  This is the second time I've been told that "it's just not working."  It wasn't said in exactly those same words this time, but it was essentially the same.  Because I refuse to dwell on the fact that I've lost my job again because I'm a faithful student and school will come first until I'm done, I'm not going to talk any more about my job.  Instead, I'm going to focus on the fact that now I have a lot of time to get some reading and writing done.  And, honestly, those are the areas of my life that I seem to be succeeding in.
Right now I'm a supplemental instructor for one of my professors in the technical writing department and I never expected that I would get such an amazing experience.  Apparently someone has seen that I can do something that is worth while and I get great data to put on my resume.  I think someone's just trying to tell me something.  And I think that something is the same something that I thought when I lost my job the last time.  "You need to write."  So, that's what I'm going to do with this free time I've got.  I'm going to write!
For all of you out there to suffer with the pressures of trying to be a good student and then getting no money to be one... I dedicate this post to you.  Sometimes life sucks, but it will be sweet in the end.  I know that an education is worth more than most of the jobs we have trying to earn one and I hope the best for all of you. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Be Ugly, Not a Bubble Head

The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

Yesterday, my friend, Selina, asked if I had read the Uglies series.  Because I have and really enjoyed them, I thought I would do a post about them.  I read this series (all three books) in five days.  (Notice there are four.)  They were an entirely new twist on the dystopian world.





In this series everyone starts out "Ugly."  This is when everyone goes to school and learns about life and about the society they need to know... or, of course, what governmental powers want everyone to know about life and society.  I believe it's the age of 16 that each person becomes "Pretty" and they get to move to the house where everyone has a good time and everyone is "Pretty."  Never again do they have to associate with the little "Uglies."

Tally can't wait to become pretty and has watched many of her friends and people older than her turn pretty.  Though it's a series of plastic surgeries, she can't wait.  As an "Ugly" (meaning she's simply natural and real) she's treated as more of an outcast than the "pretties" seem to be treated.  One day she meets a girl named Shay.  She has an entirely new outlook on life and may be the only person Tally knows who doesn't want to be pretty.  Is "pretty" all it's supposed to be?  or are there secrets and mysteries she must solve before she can decide what she really wants?

You might notice that there are four books rather than the three I talked about above.  Extras is also good but it's about a different character.  It's the same type of society but it takes place on the other side of the globe.  I read it about a year later and understood everything just fine.  And check out the beautiful new cover art for Specials and Extras!


This is a fun series and one that I tend to think about quite often.  It made me think about what real beauty really is and the pressures of "doing what's right."  Hope you enjoy!  Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Biographically Speaking

So, I signed up for a biographical writing class this semester because I'm primarily a fiction writer and love stories about people and those who overcome their struggles and what not.  I thought biographical writing would be the best way to continue on about learning the "realness" of people and that would in turn help me craft fictional characters.  I don't know how anyone does it!  Biographical writing is hard.  The pressure to find the very essence of an actual person is stressful.  Fiction writing is so much easier because you're actually creating the person in your mind and then letting it flow out onto the page.  In biographical writing the person is already created, and it's not someone that you created.  You might know their thoughts and dreams and feelings but to put those on a page in your words instead of theirs is not as easy as I thought it would be.  Should've taken poetry.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Personal Narrative

I started out with this personal narrative for my biographical writing class and I was quite happy with the introduction.  As it went on it really fell flat.  Unfortunately, I found myself unable to keep up with the style and I'm not quite sure why.  Nevertheless, I've decided to share a little piece of it here with you.


I remember brown, orange, wet.  I remember the dirt, the mud on their feet and under their nails.  Their dark skin and children without shoes.  The tarp that was blue, rabbits and chickens meant for dinner.  I still hear the language I didn’t understand and the words that I did.  Our white skin we thought was tan dipping into the muddy wet that would make a brick.  Clumsy pale hands attempting to smooth the mold and the brown steady fingers quick to do the work.  The work we thought would be easy.  I remember my hesitation, my fear, my badge that said I was there to help.  Trying to hide my tears when only two of us squeezed into the hut meant for four.  Averting my eyes when I realized I was staring.  I remember the village I saw later: square, brown, dry.
 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Have I Told You How Much I Love This Book?

My mom and I hosted our book club meeting this month and of course I wanted to talk about a young adult novel because, as you all know, I love them!  It was a great meeting with good food and I think we had a pretty good discussion.  Any chance I get to talk about books is a good time for me.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to talk about one of my very favorite books.  The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.  I read this book about three years ago and loved it.  It's such a great book with a very human main character to overcomes her own personal challenges and in finds that her greatest triumph comes by staying true to herself.  I had the opportunity to read, nay, devour, this book again thanks to our book club.  I believe I loved it even more the second time. 
Not only is it a great book but the author is another LDS woman who has made it in the writing world and written a story that is absolutely worth reading.  Thank you Shannon!
I highly recommend this book.  As my mom says, "I think every girl should read this book."  And I would have to agree.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Matched

In the midst of all the writing I've been doing I've also been reading quite a bit.  I just finished Matched by Ally Condie.  I was first drawn to this book by a reader on Shelfari.  She said she simply couldn't wait for this book because she loves Ally Condie.  I couldn't remember having heard about her.  The cover is beautiful and intriguing and the synopsis were enough to make me buy the book. 
This book is about a dystopian society (yeah, I know, Mal read another dystopian book) that is unlike any other I've read.  The people in this society are matched with their significant other when they are 16 and court each other until they are able to marry at the age of 21.  Everything goes perfectly until the main character, Cassia, finds out that maybe her match was not the only person that she could be matched with.  She begins to discover how to think for herself and realizes that "they" might not always know what's best for everyone.
It was a good book, and of course the first in a series that I will be anxiously awaiting to read the next.  More than anything I'm so excited that Ally Condie is another LDS writer who has written a great book.  Another woman who is making it with a great book that is worth reading without all the junk that's in today's world.
This semester started out as a rather depressing one.  I thought I was going to get all this time to write over the Christmas break and I don't think I wrote more than a sticky note's worth.  However, this semester I've actually had some inspiration.  Thanks to Jernae, I decided that I would just start writing a scene that I've been wanting to write.  So, that's what I did.  In the process I've had another realization: I'm a slow writer.  I've tried to forget about my perfectionism while I write so I could simply get the story on paper and tweak later.  But, I always find myself thinking too carefully about every word.  I've just decided that's going to have to be okay for now.  Someday I will learn to write faster.  Because that piece is still in progress I'm not going to post anything about it yet.  Not to worry though, here's the prologue.  :)

Prologue
Isaac walked into the dark room where his mother stood in front of a large, glass projection screen.  She stood with her arms folded and hip cocked to one side.  The heels on her four-inch stilettos looked more like knives than shoes, but people seemed to pay more attention to her fitted lab coat than what she wore on her feet.    By her stance, he knew that she had discovered something.
Images and videos of a young woman illuminated the screen.  She couldn’t have been more than seventeen.  She and another boy with the same emerald eyes and dark hair laughed while they played cards.  In another she was young and had been crying.  One image showed her gazing out at something he couldn’t see.  Her eyes concentrated on something distant, while the curve of her jaw was relaxed.
On a video screen labeled September 19, 2057, today’s date, she was running through a forest.  The forest looked wet and challenging, but her slender frame gracefully moved between the trees, avoiding branches and rocks.  Her eyes always looked forward in unwavering determination.
He stood next to his mother to watch the screen more closely.  “Are you sure she’s the one?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, still looking at the screen.
“But how can you be sure?” 
“I suppose there’s really no way to tell.”  Still, somehow he knew that she’d found the right girl.
She’s beautiful, he thought.  “Who is she?”
“She’s the one that will try to overthrow us.  We must make sure that she succeeds.”
“Succeeds?”
“Isaac,” his mother said condescendingly, “we must make her think that she will succeed.”
“What do you want me for?”
She turned to look at him directly.  Her eyes flashed as a smile crept up the side of her face.  “We have a mission for you.”