Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: September 8th, 2012 by Scholastic Press
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis from The Raven Cycle website:

"Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore."

My Review:

I. Love. Maggie. Stiefvater.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. I love this author! She's one of the reasons that I can't "move on" from young adult/teen fiction. Her writing is well done, her plots are original and her story telling is superb.

Okay so maybe her Shiver series wasn't the best, but "The Scorpio Races" continues to be one of my favorite books of all time.

And "The Raven Boys" has definitely met my high standards. The characters are unique and complex, each having their own backstory that could be its own novella. Blue is a great character, and I would definitely nominated for a YA Heroine award.

Not once while reading this book did I ever have the sensation of being bored or too overwhelmed by the amount of information give. I just keep wanting to read more and more, the story having been on I hadn't heard before. To wake the dead for a wish, but each character having their own stakes in it, it's enthralling.

Honestly, this is probably my least coherent review ever posted, but I can't put into words how amazing this book is.


If this isn 't enough to convince you to read the book, check out the book trailer!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Character Profiles

This post is dedicated to character profiles!

Whenever I start any writing, I always have a main character in mind. I know what kind of person I want them to be, sometimes I know exactly what I want them to look like. But then I get into love interests, best friends, distant family members and I tend to forget little  bits of information.

Does she have blue eyes or green? Did I mention his mother was dead or did I just say she was abroad? Questions like these are just examples of what happens when I don't profile them.

Today I'm going to share a couple of templates I use when making characters. Some I use more often than others, some I've grown out of using but think they're a great start to building your own.

1. The "Quick and Dirty"

This profile is just that. It's short and it's meant to just get down the really big details. I usually start on something like this and expand on it. I hardly use this anymore because I'm more into details about characters, but it's a great for beginners I think.

Name: Usually just the first name, sometimes the last name.
Gender: Always important
Age: Not as important but I feel like it helps in their development and how they are supposed to act as a character
Species:I usually use this when doing a Fantasy/Sci-Fi writing
Appearance: Just what the character looks like. I usually have eye color, hair color, short or tall.
Other: Anything I have to remember about the character I write here. Like if she's the protagonist, or the relationship to the protagonist. Sometimes this will have what class year they are if it's at a school.

2. You Got To Dig A Little Deeper

This is for adding just a couple more details than the first profile has.

Name: First and Last
Age: Always important.
Appearance: This is a lot more expanded upon than the last profile. And it's not block quoted.
                 Hair: Usually just color
               Eyes: Color, contacts or glasses
               Complexion: I usually stick with words like fair, beige, dark.
Height: I usually just came up with a number. But it works for relationships, because it reminds me that she either always has to look up or he always has to look down.
Personality: Usually a basic type of personality. Do I want them to be preppy or mysterious? That sort of thing. I've tended to move away since I always beginning with my characters having one type of personality and then end up with another extremely opposite personality.
Job: Do they have one? Usually their role in the story. Sometimes it's like leader of the pack, sometimes I just write full time student.
Life: What is their life like?

             Family: Who else is in their family? Mother, father, siblings?

3. Every Detail Matters!

This is what I tend to do now with my character profiles. I'd like to thank my friend Kenz for helping me come up with it.
Name: First Last
Gender: F/M
Age:
      » Birthday: Month, Date, Year
Residency: City,State/City, Country
Appearance:  For this, I've started using pictures of kind of who I'm basing them off.
Description: The exception here are paragraphs. This can include details like height, characteristics of speaking voice, and other similar things not evident from a picture. Even when using a picture, be sure to describe evident traits (ex. hair color, eye color), because the picture is just kind of the foundation.  

Here's an example of how I use this:

"Raja seems to be like an average Indian-American upon first glance. Standing at five feet and five inches, light brown skin and straight brown hair, no one would think there was anything more to her. But upon closer examination, one would notice Raja's gray-slate colored eyes, with hints of dark blue. They would notice the natural red highlights in her hair, and a small scar on the side of her forehead from her childhood, not to mention the nose stud. In Sanskrit, Raja means king, but in Arabic it means hope, which is what Raja was to her parents. They planned the best life for her, with their hopes and dreams. Raja is much like the fluidity of the liquids and time she controls. She tends to go along with other's plans, much like the plan her parents' had for her; as long as the plan doesn't go against her own beliefs. Yet Raja decided to start forging her own path when she graduated from high school and became more independent. She enjoys learning about the past, knowing well how it can come to repeat itself in the future. Usually a patient person, Raja does have her breaking point, and when it breaks, her temper is fierce. Like how excessive rain can cause destructive floods, and rushing rivers create their own paths, Raja's temper is something to be feared, for it was upon accident that she discovered the fluidity of a person's blood. Though she doesn't actively practice Hinduism, Raja does live by the beliefs of her religion, such as karma."

Background: Also known as the backstory portion of the profile. Who was she before the story began. What's the dark secret he is hiding?
Family:
     » Family Member Name- relation to character, age
    Repeat as needed.
Other: What other things do I need to know about the character? Did they go to school? What college did they go to? What are they currently doing? This is information that doesn't really have a place somewhere else in the profile.

Here's an example:

"Raja's parents contemplated arranging her marriage, but in the end they decided against it for reasons unknown to her. She graduated from Yale University in Hartford, Connecticut with a double major in European history and physics. Raja is fluent in Hindi, and proficient in traditional Indian/Hindu dance."

4. I Don't Have A Clever Title For This One

Not one profile can be used for all stories. Sometimes you just have to improvise. This profile a perfect. I used it for a story where basically the entire family was important to the story. They were each narrators to sections, so in a way they were each protagonists.

First I had the basics in a table format:


Name
D.O.B.
Age during story
College
Major/After College
First, Middle, Last
Month, Date, Year
Number
Name, BA, MA, PhD, etc.
Major, current job


 
Hair Color
Eye Color
Build
Height
Other
First Name
Color
Color
Muscular/Lean/Skin
#'#"
 scars, moles, etc.

And then I get into their relationships, and their futures. So like what kids they were going to have, etc.

Main Character, First Last = Spouse's name First and Maiden name
     -Child First, Middle, Last name -> For multiple children it's ordered oldest to youngest.

And I did that for all the "main" characters.

Then I did a birth order list of all their children, with the first name being the oldest and having a number zero, then all the rest having a number of age difference.

Example:
Jason & Connor- 0
Sebastian- 1.5
William-Lucille-Matthew- 2
Bridget- 3
Raja- 4
Emily- 5
Jones- 6
Gordon twins-6
There's probably a sheet of paper roaming around that says what each of their children look like, but I won't add the amount already on this post.

So that's it. Those of the types of profiles I use when creating my characters!

What kind of profile do you use?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Written Thoughts (2)

Welcome to the second installment of My Written Thoughts! This segment is publishing tidbits of personal writing in order share my work and hopefully receive some sort of feedback.

I'm currently working on a creative writing piece for my Creative Writing class here at Tulane. It's a folklore-esque piece based on a statue that exists in Russia (see pic below). There's no real back story to this statue, and all I know is that people love to take pictures on his back and rub his horns for good luck.

Below the goat is the intro to the story. I think it's rather good and I wanted to share with you. As always, I'd love feedback!

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/69031278.jpg


                                                                                                                                                                  

All writing, unless otherwise stated, are original works. The author does not grant permission for distribution without consent. All works are also copyrighted to her and should not be claimed by someone else.

In Russia there is a city called Nizhny Novgorod. To get to it you have to take a ten hour plane ride out of DC, which includes crossing the Atlantic, a two hour layover in Germany, flying into Moscow and ending with an uncomfortable six hour bus ride to the east.

            More importantly in Nizhny Novgorod, just a stone's throw away from the Volga, there is  walking street called Bolshaia Pokrovoskaia. And on this mile long, uphill walking street filled with stores, restaurants and street vendors, there are bronze statues adorning the path. They represent heroes of Russia: from Dmitry Donsky to Mikahil Frunze and Yuri Gagarin to Leo Tolstoy, some of Russia's finest are represented.

            But the most important statue, the one this story is about, belongs to a goat. A goat whose horns have been rubbed gold from years of granting wishes to all who believe.


            In a time before Russia was a nation, before prime ministers and monarchs, the country was just a wild land. A dangerous land where food was scarce and safety was but a dream. And somewhere on this land, there was a small cabin with a small family. A mother and father, a young daughter and a goat.
One day, the mother and father decided to send the goat and the girl away.
 
            "They do nothing but eat our food," the mother said.
            "They do no work and she will only cost us what little we have," the father said, referring to the dowry he'd have to give.
            "The goat gives no milk, no cheese," the mother complained.
 
            "I lose sleep to make sure the wolves don't eat him," the father whined.
 
            So one morning the mom dressed the girl in a heavy red dress for warmth, and a yellow scarf to cover her light hair from the sun. The father took out the goat and let him eat grass and drink water, and when the sun had not been long in the sky, they both gave the girl a sack and sent her and the goat away.  
 
                                                                                                                                                                  
 
That's it for now! Till next post!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The NANO Post That Should Have Been

Hello!

Almost half-way through the month of November, but I've always said better late than never.

This post is dedicated to those who are doing, are contemplated doing, or are confused by what NANOWRIMO is.


What is NANOWRIMO?

National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NANOWRIMO, is a non-profit organization that challenges people of any age to write a novel in one month.

More specifically, they challenge you to write 50K words during the month of November.

Their mission statement, as taken from their website:

"National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels."

To learn more about what exactly the organization is/does, visit the official NANOWRIMO website.

Do I participate in NANOWRIMO?

Yes and no. This is technically my sixth year participating in NANOWRIMO, but I have never done it as seriously as I should.

I have a real problem with starting a writing, and then hitting a bump and moving onto a different idea. The point of NANO is that you just write, you keep writing if you hit bumps and after November you go back and edit. I'm also a full-time student and a part-time worker so I never make the time to just sit and write for at least 30 minutes a day.

So whenever I start NANO, I set my own goals. I make my word count goal 20k instead of 50, or I challenge myself to write a certain number of pages or make it though a certain amount of envisioned scenes.

Have I ever actually reached my goals?

I wish there were more yes's than no's. But I am proud to say that I have reached 50k and finished a whole story!

It's a small piece that I started during a NANO one year of course didn't get a specific word goal. But I worked it almost weekly and it took me almost a whole year but I finished it! Since then its undergone revisions and I've made sequels for it, but like little one-shot stories. I'm actually rather proud of it, but I doubt it'll ever see day light. It's based of an actually book, but not a fanfiction, so for legal reasons I doubt it would ever be published. But that's okay. I don't write to publish but for my own enjoyment.

How do you prepare?

I always have a specific scene in mind. That's how I start off all my stories actually. Usually I had a dream and it was so vivid that when I woke up I wrote it down. Or sometimes I have this one sentence that just strikes me and I have to figure out how to use it.

And then I make character outlines/profiles, to which I'll have a post about sometime this week. They're really helpful in keeping track on what I've written about my characters so far.

If I've really thought out the story, I write a basic outline. Maybe I'll have certain scenes that I want and I'll just make a checklist of them in order. So once I've done scene A, I write about how they would get to scene  B, etc.

Research! I'm very big on research, so if it takes place in a certain location I'll google it and read about the place so I can put in details about that city or country. If it's a certain period, I'll definitely research that and even save pictures so I can refer to them in writing.

Sometimes I don't prepare at all and I just launch into the Nano. I personally don't get very far into those projects, but they're always fun.


Well that's all for now about NANOWRIMO! I hope that answered some questions and got people a little more interested in what's happening this November. This will (hopefully) lead into a series of how to write and answer certain questions that come up during a writing process.

Karina
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A RotBTD Story: Sorry for the feels?

So as you may know, I fell into this fandom called Raise of the Brave Tangled Dragons when I first joined the Tumblr world around a year ago.

And during one of my many bored days, I posted this text post:
"YOU KNOW WHAT I WANT?

 I want some really cool person to draw this RotBTD scene that I’ve had in my brain for like days. And since I can’t draw worth a pot of gold, I need some talented, amazing, person. A person who I can be eternally grateful to!

So here’s the idea, and I’m just throwing this out there so people can act on it. Or not act on it. Or expand it with me!

Okay, so this big battle has just happened. I mean, like Merida and Hiccup brought out armor for this battle. I’m not sure who they just fought, probably Pitch and his nightmares? AU where they’re fighting to defend Rapunzel and her kingdom?!

Anyway, so they’re battle weary, with chaos around them but the battle is over (at least for now). Our heroes are together, because one of them has fallen. My mind can’t decide between it being Jack and he’s being held by Merida/Rapunzel whose crying because of the wound he has and they don’t know at that moment if he’s going to make it. Or it’s one of the girls being held by Hiccup.

That’s the heartbreaking, yet epic, image that has been trapped in my head for a while.

Also, its always Hiccup from his sequel. Because I just think he has great hair."
Anyway, so that was on October 23rd, 2013. Now I don't whether someone did act on it, because I never found out. But I was pretty content on it just being out there. I really just needed to get the idea out into the open so it would stop running around in my head.

And then this happened. I'd forgotten I'd written it in response to my call for collab on tumblr like a year ago. So I though I'd post it somewhere so that other people besides myself can read it.

Before I post what I wrote on here, I would really just like to apologize to the RotBTD fans who get upset by this. Whether it's because you've been emotionally moved (I hope) or these characters are totally OC and I just ruined it.

I didn't want to publish it on FF because it's not a real story. It's just a part of one that could possibly one day -probably not- be expanded upon. And this is my space to share. So I am sharing.

The characters of this story do not belong to me. They belong to their respective owners. I am just simply creating a story, which the plot does belong to me, with them. I intend to make no money out of this reproduction. I only intend to give some fandom love.
                                                                                                                                                                   

"Merida! Merida!" Hiccup yelled, pulling off his helmet as he did so. His long brown hair, plastered to his face by sweat, did well to hide the fearful look in his eyes. "Merida!" He shouted again, pushing it away from his face, leaving a streak of blood and dirt on his face. His head turned rapidly, trying to find that red hair amongst the warriors that still remained standing.

A cold fear gripped him. He lost track of his friends amongst the battle to defend Rapunzel's kingdom. The last time he'd seen Merida, she was shooting her arrows at the enemy on the ground instead of the tower she'd been assigned to. It was just like her, to run into the heat of the battle instead of staying where it was safe. Where she wouldn't get hurt. "MERIDA!"

"Wad yer stop yellin' ma name?" Merida asked, coming out from amongst a pair of fallen soldiers. Her usual fair skin was covered in ash and dirt, but it was hers none the less.

"Merida," Hiccup said relieved  and hurried to her side, forgetting his helmet and shield where he dropped them. "What happened? Are you okay?" He reached for her arm and helped her up, checking her over as he did so. She looked fine, besides a cut across her cheek and another on her arm.

"Hiccup, I'm fine," Merida reassured him, holding his arm to steady herself. And reassure herself he was okay as well. Like him, she'd last seen him in the middle of a fight between one of Pitch's men, swords clashed. And then she hadn't seen him at all. "I'm fine."

Hiccup pulled her towards himself and embraced her, a hand moving her red mane out of his face. He was just relieved to see she was okay. Rapunzel was safe, still in the castle with an army to protect her. Protect her from Pitch who wanted to bring her kingdom down. And Jack- "Where's Jack?" Hiccup said suddenly, pulling away from Merida to look at her.

She gave him a confused look. "Was he nae wi yer?"

Before Hiccup could say anything, a rider on a horse galloped towards them. Hiccup's sword was back in his hands and Merida had an arrow notched in her bow, both with a dangerous look in their eyes. "I'm with the palace," the rider said, coming to a halt. The symbol of the sun was visible on his chest plate. His breathing was labored and as the two lowered their weapons slowly, he spoke. "M'lady, Rapunzel, she needs you at the palace. It's Jack." He'd gotten off his horse in time for Merida to swing herself over and extend a hand for Hiccup. She pulled him up and turned the horse back towards the castle, breaking into a fast gallop as soon as he was on.
She was better on horseback than any of them, and only Merida would have been able to dodge the obstacles between them and the castle. Hiccup tried not to look to long at the ground. So many lost. On both sides.

They reached the castle and Hiccup was already jumping off the horse before Merida had pulled the stallion to a halt. He landed with a thud, and dark sand arose  into the air before settling again. It was everywhere; Pitch had been there.
They pushed the doors open with a force that made them thud loudly when they hit the wall. "Rapunzel!" Hiccup yelled.

"Jack!" Merida shouted.
"Hiccup, Merida!" Rapunzel's voice sounded frightened and her friends broke into a run towards the throne room.

They halted at the entrance, shocked by what they were seeing. There were ice walls everywhere. Black ice. But the thing that shocked them most was Rapunzel. Rapunzel's long hair was no longer blond, instead a chestnut brown. And it was no longer long. Her long hair laid around her, cut off and brown. There was black sand everywhere, and she was covered in it. She looked up at her friends, her green eyes filled with tears as she looked back down. And then they realized it wasn't Rapunzel who was covered in the dark sand, but Jack. His white hair was barely visible under it, and it wouldn't have been visible if Rapunzel hadn't been stroking it away from his face. His eyes were closed and his skin was almost as white as the snow he loved. Hiccup knew, right then, that they were too late. After all, he'd seen death before.
"Jack," Merida gasped and hurried to her friend's side. She knelt beside them, looking at the way Rapunzel cradled his head in her lap.

"What happened?" Hiccup asked, standing behind Merida, looking down at his best friend.

"Pitch," Rapunzel cried. "He wasn't after the kingdom, he was after me." She cried, struggling to calm herself down before continuing. "He came for me. He needed  m-my hair to keep him strong to wield his nightmares. Jack figured it out. He fought Pitch to keep me safe. But Pitch was so strong, he got Jack. I tried to heal him, but Jack pulled out a knife and cut my hair. Without its power, Pitch wouldn't need me. Pitch left, but not before blasting us with his nightmare sand. The only thing that kept us safe was Jack. He formed an ice shield to protect me." Rapunzel cried, tears falling down her face. "He saved me, but I can't save him."
"No," Merida said, stubborn as always. "No. Keep yer haunds on his wund Punzie, I'll get a helah who can save 'im," Merida turned to stand but was stopped when Jack grabbed her hand.

"No," Jack coughed, his voice weak. "No stay," he told her. Hiccup kneeled down next to Merida, closer to his friend. "It's too late for me Mer. I just wasn't quick enough."
Merida bowed her head, her hair hiding her face. She held his hand between hers and Hiccup put his arm around her. He could feel the way she quivered, and  knew she was crying. "You just had to be the hero, didn't you Jack?" he asked, trying to sound teasing but it came out somber. Jack's eyes flickered towards his oldest friend's and he smiled slightly.

"I knew you would have my back. Couldn't have that. Someone has to look out for the girls. And I don't trust anyone besides you." Hiccup nodded, grasping Jack's shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"I'll look out for them," Hiccup promised, his voice cracking slightly. "I promise Jack."

Jack smiled and gave him a small nod, knowing that Hiccup would give his life to keep the promise. Just like he had. He turned to Rapunzel, whose tears spilled from her eyes, trailing down her beautiful face. Jack took his hand from hers and wiped the tears away.
"Don't cry for me," he told her softly. "Be strong." He ran his fingers through her shorter hair. "Sorry about that. It was the only way to keep you  safe."

Rapunzel shook her head. "It's just hair," she cried. "It'll grow back," she was trying to be strong, to stop crying for him. But it was so hard to do when your heart was breaking. "Jack," she cried, but couldn't go on to tell him.
"I know," he whispered, his eyes closing. "Me too."

The three friends, all nobility by birthright, gathered around their fallen friend who was without a doubt, the noblest of them all.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Teen Read Week: October 18, 2014

It's Teen Read Week!

From the Teen Read Week site:
Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.
In honor of Teen Read week, I'm going to show case a book a day that I really enjoyed reading when I was a teen (as if it was that long ago).

I also realized that I should probably be attaching reviews to these books, but honestly some of these I've read so long ago that it's hazy. And I probably already wrote a review for them then, so I really don't want to write another one. What I can do is direct you to places where I've written reviews, such as Book Away and my Goodreads account.

Today's book, and the last one for the week is:

Tomorrow, When The War Began, John Mardsen


The easiest way for me to explain this book is kind of also the most uninteresting way to push it: Australian teens band together to save their home from invaders. Think Red Dawn-esque.

Now I've never read past book one, because 1) I can't find book two at the library, 2) I haven't had time to read it. But I really liked this book, and I definitely want to read the second one and all the other books! I need to know what happens. I need to know who lives and who dies (I'm really hoping someone dies).

Suggested for: YA, Dystopian, Adventure, Survival, SciFi, Australia

Friday, October 17, 2014

Teen Read Week: October 17, 2014

It's Teen Read Week!

From the Teen Read Week site:
Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.
In honor of Teen Read week, I'm going to show case a book a day that I really enjoyed reading when I was a teen (as if it was that long ago).

I also realized that I should probably be attaching reviews to these books, but honestly some of these I've read so long ago that it's hazy. And I probably already wrote a review for them then, so I really don't want to write another one. What I can do is direct you to places where I've written reviews, such as Book Away and my Goodreads account.

Today's book is:
 

Warrior Girl by Pauline Chandler has been one of the best Joan of Arc books have I have read. And the thing is, it still tells the story of Joan without Joan being the main character! I love it! But it's so hard to find in print these days, at least I've had some difficulty finding this book new. 

For those of you who don't know who Joan of Arc is, let me tell you. Joan of Arc is a young French maiden who single handedly lead an army of Frenchmen into war, and made sure that Charles was crowned King, all while France was being taken over by the English. Sounds cool right? Well Joan claims to hear God's voice, and that the Angels of God tell her what to do, which is why she's a more Catholic figure while being depicted as a schizophrenic in the texts books. Whatever you believe, Joan of Arc is an amazing character/person. And you can read more about her in the summary of this book.

Suggested for: historical fiction, female protagonist, war, adventure, France, Joan of Arc
 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Teen Read Week: October 16, 2014

It's Teen Read Week!

From the Teen Read Week site:
Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.
In honor of Teen Read week, I'm going to show case a book a day that I really enjoyed reading when I was a teen (as if it was that long ago).

I also realized that I should probably be attaching reviews to these books, but honestly some of these I've read so long ago that it's hazy. And I probably already wrote a review for them then, so I really don't want to write another one. What I can do is direct you to places where I've written reviews, such as Book Away and my Goodreads account.

Today's book is:

I Am Not Esther, Fleur Beale
I remember this being one of my first "darker" books. It's about a girl who is forced to be a part of a religious cult and is forced to decide the type of person she wants to be. I remember it being really impactful because I'd never really read anything about religious cults. It's a good read and I definitely suggest it if you're looking for something to give you a different perspective.

Suggested for: religion, YA, realistic fiction, drama, coming of age, suspense, family

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teen Read Week: October 15, 2014

It's Teen Read Week!

From the Teen Read Week site:
Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.
In honor of Teen Read week, I'm going to show case a book a day that I really enjoyed reading when I was a teen (as if it was that long ago).

I also realized that I should probably be attaching reviews to these books, but honestly some of these I've read so long ago that it's hazy. And I probably already wrote a review for them then, so I really don't want to write another one. What I can do is direct you to places where I've written reviews, such as Book Away and my Goodreads account.

Today's books are:

Gone, Michael Grant
Life As We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer




















Okay these books are both the first of two different series. They're actually pretty different books and are similar in that the world has changed and these "kids" are forced to grow up fast to survive. They're the dystopian books pre-Hunger Games you might say. But they're actually really different from the Hunger Games.

Life As We Knew It takes places in a now time, and the Moon has moved closer to the Earth causing natural havoc to ensue. It's the story of how the female protagonist and her family chose to survive. It's also the first of the four book series The Last Survivors. Go here for a summary.

Recommended for: SciFi, Adventure, Survival, Female Protagonist, Dystopian, Post-Apolcolypse

--

Gone is the first book of six. Taking place in Perdido Beach, CA where an accident has occurred enclosing the small town in a giant sphere. All the grown-ups have disappeared and only the children remain. You can imagine the havoc that ensues. It's a really good read, featuring a male protagonist. In further books it goes into looking at survivors of natural disasters, who sometimes have to do the extreme to survive. A summary for you convenience.

Recommended for: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Romance (but not that much), Paranormal, Supernatural, Male Protagonist, Post Apocolyptic
 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Written Thoughts (1)

I thought I'd start a little segment, where I would just publish these tidbits of prose that come to mind each day. You know how people doodle on the side of the page? Well I prose on the side of the page. And yes, I am aware that prose isn't a verb.

Anyway, here's the first one.

I feel like it's a poem, but it isn't really. It's kind of formatted in a poem-y way which makes me say it's a poem. But it definitely started out as prose.

And since it doesn't really go with anything that I'm currently writing, I thought I would just post it here.

Tell me what you think. Prose or Poetry?
                                                                                                                                                                 

Goffman’s theory was that everyone was an actor. Shakespeare would be the one to call the world a stage. Both are true.

Names just mean different characters. And I’ve had so many that its almost too easy to slip into the different roles each require me to be. But I’m not going to lie; it’s hard to remember the difference between the actress and the role. If the roles come so easily, is the actress but a vessel waiting to be filled?
 
I’m sure you’re wondering who I am. What my name is. What all the woe is for. Well hold on, that’s what this story is for.

And like the lack of sense this all makes, I’ll start at the end.

And you can call me Tracy.

---

Some girls from the visiting school came a week in August, just as the classes were finally in session and running smoothly. It wasn’t their fault, they hadn’t known. They called me Tracy across the quad as I ate lunch by myself.

Had I known they were coming, I would have meet them at the door and told them the name I know carried. Or was trying to carry. But the attention was already on me as they slid in at my sides and asked about my summer. For it had been to long since we had talked.

I was still too new to have the name I shared be remembered. And everyone wanted to befriend the pretty English girls who visited, who happened to be friends of mine. So everyone called me Tracy. Saying what a great athlete I was though they vaguely saw me at the gym once. Saying how smart I was because I answered that one question in class.

Thus Tracy stayed. Even after the girls left and some of the ‘new friends’ stuck around. Tracy was neither my first nor last name. It just was.

That’s the year I became Tracy.

--
 
He calls me Katie. And he’s the only one to do so. He does it only when he’s really happy. When he’s really compassionate. When he’s really sad.

It’s the name he says in the dark when we’re together. It’s the name he says in the day when we’re alone. It’s the name he whispers when he brushes my hair back. It’s the name on  his mind when we kiss.

Only one person calls me Katie.
--

But before Tracy I was Val. Short for Valentina. Named after the first woman to ever go to space.

One of the sister’s at the school called me Valentina because there were too many girls in the class with my first name.

But Valentina is too long for the mouth of a elementary school girl. So they called me Val on the playground and during free time. They called me Val during arts and crafts and PE. During music and math.

Only when I was in trouble did they call me Valentina.

--

To the boys at home, I am Kat. Named after another astronaut. But Kat is cute and fitting for the little sister whose five years younger than her youngest older brother. And ten from the oldest.

Kat is the name kind of name you can say quick and loud when you’re angry. The kind of name you can say with fun. The kind of name that you can shout when you call out in fear.

It’s the kind of name that gives the illusion of sweet, small and innocent.

It is the name my brothers call me.

--

Kathryn is the name my father calls me. He says it when he is mad. He says it when he is tired. He says it when he is hurt.

It’s the only thing he calls me because it’s the only thing he feels. He calls me Kathryn because that is the name he picked. Anything else reminds him too much of my mother.

And that he cannot bear.

--

I don’t know what my mother called me. Just as well since it would a role I cannot play. It is a role I will not play.

My mother died when I was born.

She did not have a chance to call me anything.

--

I carry all these names with me. They each reflect a part of who I am. They each are a different role I play. They are from my past, my present and undoubtedly my future.

I carry each one like a scar. It’s always there, though hardly visible. You see it when I point it out. You see it when I walk on that stage and  play that role.

Each name is a role I carry.

Each one fills me in some way.

There is no room for the girl who started it all.

--

Her name is Valentina Kathryn Tracy.

Her father calls her Kathryn.

Her brothers call her Kat.

Her school friends call her Val.

Her teachers called her Valentina.
In college they call her Tracy.

And one boy calls her Katie.

To each of them she is one of them. But to me she is a girl who lost her way along time ago.

I am Valentina. I am Kathryn. I am Tracy. But I cannot be all at once.