Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

Title: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: MG (fantasy)
Why I read it/how I found it: Third book in the Underland Chronicles

With two prophecies fulfilled, Gregor is now focused on the Prophecy of Blood, which calls for Gregor and Boots to return to the Underland to help ward off a plague.  But this time, his mother refuses to let him go...until Ripred the rat convinces her that Gregor and Boots need to stay for only a brief meeting.  Finally, Gregor's mom relents, provided she is allowed to travel with them.

When they arrive in the subterranean city, the plague is spreading--and it has claimed one of his closest companions.  Only then does Gregor start to understand how the illness plays with the fate of all warmblooded creatures, but he still doesn't know how he can help combat it.  

This has been my favorite of the series so far. They continue to get better and better as the series goes on (well, at least these three do). Gregor and Boots are maturing very naturally throughout the story, especially Gregor. He's starting to see the gray areas of war and puzzling over where a line should be drawn. There's action a-plenty, of course, but the plot is still great. The cast of characters a full-fleshed and diverse, the setting is different from the rest and intriguing. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Other information: This is the third of a five-part series.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The kind of writer I do and don't want to be

  1. I don't want to write only to get published. 
  2. I want to continue writing no matter what because I love it.
  3. If/when I'm published, I don't want to be ungrateful and never be satisfied because of what I don't have (six figure deals, movies, awards, huge twitter followings). 
  4. If/when I'm published, I want to be content with the fact that my dream's come true and a physical book exists with the word I wrote.
  5. I don't want to feel the need to degrade other genres/writers just because they're successful and I'm not.
  6. I want to praise all writers for the fact that they did something hard and published a book, and praise even more highly those who I think did a fan-freaking-tastic job. 
  7. If I do become one of the few lucky who's really successful at a writing, I don't ever want to forget that for all the work I did put in, I'm only a slice of the reason why I'm able to support myself in it.
This is my list. What's yours?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Huzzah! Blog Awards!

I want to thank Jaye Robin Brown for the Versatile Blogger award!
I've gotten this one before, so I'm passing on the passing of this one again, but I'm always appreciative when people think of my blog and give it an award. :)

Kelley has also given me a blog award, the Kreativ Blogger award.
For this one, I am sharing 10 things about myself and giving to 6 bloggers.

Ten things about me:

  1. I'm trying to get better at decorating cakes.
  2. Since coming to college, I've been turned on to wearing aprons while washing dishes and cooking. It saves clothes.
  3. Gilmore Girls is my favorite TV show (so far...Once Upon a Time is giving it a run for it's money, but it's too early to tell).
  4. The first musical I saw on stage was Beauty and the Beast, but the first I remember is Wicked.
  5. Most of the youtube videos that I think are hilarious are in some way related to books, cats, or kids.
  6. For 8th grade graduation, I was given the A.R. (Advanced Reader) Award for accumulating over a thousand points and reading Gone With the Wind.
  7. I hate bananas, but love banana cake, banana bread, banana cookies.
  8. I had one year where I was awesome at soccer...then hit a growth spurt and became awkward.
  9. Current favorite song: I Wouldn't Mind by He is We.
  10. I wish I were good at photoshop-y things, but I settle with not-too-embarrassing.
Here's the six Kreativ bloggers I pass the award onto:

  1. Meredith
  2. Laura Josephsen
  3. Brenda Sills
  4. J.A. Bennett
  5. Annie McMahon
Huzzah! You know, that's just a really fun word. And following all of these blogs--also really fun. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska 
Author: John Green
Publisher: Puffin
Genre: YA (contemporary)
Why I read it/how I found it: I recently found the nerdfighter community and I felt I had to read at least one of John Green's books.

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. 

I don't even know where to start with this. This book made me bawl. BAWL. I had to leave company so I could sob. I know reading it through once isn't enough to pick up on the layers of the book, everything that this book can give. It's so powerful, the way the words are used and phrases and made memorable, the quotes of other people/works that find their place, connecting humanity together. The characters are so real, flesh-and-blood. Sometimes they amaze me. Sometimes they aggravate me. Sometimes I want to slap them, and sometimes I want to hug them. But I cried with them. They were flawed, but so humanized. 
The one thing that will stop me from recommending this book to everyone is that there is a lot of cussing and two or three rather sexual scenes that I skimmed over, and I think that quite a few people I know would probably just shut the book there.
And to those who have read Looking for Alaska already, get this: I checked this book out from the library on January 10. I didn't even know. Freaky, right? Yeah, freaky.

Other information: Looking for Alaska has been opted for film by Paramount, but it looks like it's stuck in development. John Green's website is here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm going contemporary

This week has been crazy. I won't bore you with details, but it was crazy! *Long deep breath*

One thing that gave me major stress-out was on Tuesday, I had my first class for English 320R: Writing for Children and Adolescents. Yay, right? Nope. Not yay. You see, the section I'd signed up for consists of only writing picture books. That's all. I'm mainly a YA writer with occasional MG ideas. The class description had said that the class would consist of writing picture books, MG, and YA. I was excited to try a hand at picture books, but not the whole semester.

There's one other section for the class. I went to check on it, and saw there was a seat. Now that's a yay! However, adding that class would put me over 18 credit hours, which isn't allowed, so I can't add the class. No problem, I'd just drop my current class. After I do that, I go to add the section I want and it says that I need a permission to add code and to get that from the professor to add.

Not yay.

I also can't add back the class I dropped (I still need this class as part of my major, too, so it's important I have it) and find that since the professor is letting more people take the class than people are allowed to sign up for, I can't add the class, unless I get the add code. And how awkward would it be to go up to that professor and say, "Yeah...I dropped your class...but now I need it...could you give me an add code?"

Not yay.

But I emailed the professor for the section I want, she gave me the add code, and I have my first class today! :) Yay!

My professor also emailed me the syllabus, and it turns out this is focusing on contemporary MG/YA. I'm a little nervous about this. While I have tried to start contemporary books before, except for one case, I failed. I do have one idea, and I don't need a full MS to pass the class, but I'd still like to try and go as far as I can with it.

So, to contemporary writers out there, I have this question for you: how do you come up with ideas for your books? I'm not talking about a spark idea, but everything that keeps the story moving. What do you do for ideas?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Eve by Anna Carey

Title: Eve
Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Dystopian
Why I read it/how I found it: It showed up in the mailbox addressed to me. I think I won it in a contest, but I can't remember.

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her. 

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Well, the concept was pretty interesting, with the take on reproduction. Although has anyone else noticed the different spins that dystopians have taken with reproduction? Wither and Bumped both have different takes on it, as does Eve. Anyway, the world-building was done well, and I'll give it the distinction of being one of the better-developed dystopian worlds out there. I think that having so many connections to our world now, and the fact that not everything was lost, makes it an easier world to connect to than some other dystopians. 
However, the main flaw in this book was Eve herself. She's beautiful, intelligent, fragile, kind, and oh-so perfect, everyone just loves her. Even the people who don't like her at first come to love her. She just so perfect no one could ever hate her once they know her! So that was annoying. At first, I tried to fight back my dislike because hey, she's been fed lies to all her life, I should feel some sympathy for her. But then I realized...I dislike people who are products of their upbringing. And after that I felt fine when I was annoyed at how she freaked out whenever she saw a man and continued to believe the lies she'd been told in school, even though she found out that they'd been bringing her up to a horrible fate. 
The beginning was a little too fast for me, I guess given Eve's personality I didn't see her as acting in a way that got her out of school and into the wild by breaking rules. And  I never really felt a connection with the life Eve used to have with her mother, and then with her friends Pip and Ruby.
Looking at the book, it has what it should--action, stakes, romance. But nothing about it was really special to me, and Eve just bugged me too much.

Other info: This is a trilogy, the next book titled Once. It has also been opted as a TV show from the producers of The Vampire Diaries. Anna Carey's book is here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crossed Winner and Other Stuff

And the winner of the signed copy of Crossed is...J.A. Bennett! Congratulations! I'll be sending you an email. Please respond in 48 hours, or the prize may be given to someone else.

Now I have a few things I'd like to tell you about.

First, Emily R. King has two surveys about blogging that you should go check out. The questions are really helpful, and the more input she gets the better it'll be. She'll be sharing the results to it, and from taking it I know I'm curious about some of the questions she posted to see how I can better my blog. So go here to participate.

Second, I wanted to spread the word about #wipmadness
Leave a comment on this post for your January 2012 goal, and on twitter whenever you need some writer support, just use the hashtag #wipmadness. It's a great way to connect with other people.

Third, there's a bloghop coming up that I'm super excited about! Hope Roberson and Cassie Mae are holding the Is It Getting Hot In Here? bloghop
Basically, you can share your favorite kiss scene from a book, your life, or your W.I.P and share it on February 14th. Find out more about it and sign up here.

And one more blogfest, also brought to you by Cassie Mae and Angie are hosting I'm Hearing Voices, Character Blogfest.
This one will be really helpful in digging into your characters. Find out more and sign up here.

Well, that's all from me for now. I hope you join in some of this awesome-sauce.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Writing Resolutions

With the new year, bear with me as I share my goals for 2012 (at least the writingish ones).
  1. Edit at least a page a day.
  2. Write 500 words a day, of anything.
  3. Comment on at least three blogs four days out of the week.
  4. Prepare a query (although whether I actually query...different story).
  5. Have FORGET ME NOT into its shiniest form.
I've tried to make my resolutions doable, so I don't end up like the cartoon above. Slow and steady after all.

What resolutions have you made?