Book Pumpkins

For Halloween I carved pumpkins based on the Mockingjay symbol from The Hunger Games by Suzane Collins, the wolf from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan, and the symbol for pewter from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. … Continue reading

Be, Room, Cliff (Writer Version)

In honor of the fact that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and that I plan to participate, I thought this would be something fun to do. It’s a variation of the game in which you chose one character you want to be, one you want to be roommates with, and one to throw off a cliff, but I’ll be using characters from the unpublished novel length works I’ve written and the one I plan to write this November.

This post was inspired by Shaelin from ShaelinWrites on Youtube. You can watch her version here.

I’ll be assigning the characters numbers and randomly choosing three of these numbers for each round.

Round 1

Interesting, this round I got the only two characters I entered from the work I’ll be writing this November. I also got a character from my NaNoWriMo 2014 project that I’ve been revising lately. The reasons the names of my characters from my project this November are capitalized funny is because I wanted to give a sense that this is a world in which robots have replaced humans and capitalizing names that way emphasizes that point to me.

Be: ReBAH1 (Raised by Robots)

Rebah is going to be the protagonist of my project this November. She is the last human on Earth which is a definite downside to being her. Even though I am an introvert, I do still enjoy a certain amount of human interaction, but I’m practically going to be her as I write her story anyway.

Room: GenE24 (Raised by Robots)

This is the robot who raised Rebah. Because she is a robot I do not want to be her, but I think she could make a good roommate because she’d be in her lab most of the time so I’d practically have the room to myself.

Cliff: Princess Glenda (A Rose Like Death)

I can’t remember for sure, but I think in the first draft of this story Glenda fell off a cliff and died in the second or third chapter. I kind of feel bad about that now, and that doesn’t happen anymore. However, I’ve already technically written this scene so its already happened.

Round 2

This round is so hard. I got three of my protagonists and I love them all!

Be: Princess Titania (Not a Faerie Princess Anymore)

Titiania has a lot of really stressful responsibility I would have trouble dealing with, but I think I could eventually adjust. I would also enjoy seeing all of the magic of Faerie on a daily basis even if I had to accept that I could never preform any of it like Titania does in my narrative. I also don’t want to room with her because I have a feeling our room would be very loud.

Room: Parisa (Unidentified)

Parisa could be a good roommate, but her life is complicated in ways I wouldn’t necessarily want to deal with, so I’m going to room with her.

Cliff:  Yuliana (A Rose like Death)

I feel so bad about this because Yuliana may just be my favorite protagonist. I wouldn’t want to be her because her life is terrible, but I also wouldn’t want to be her roommate because she reads minds. I like to keep my thoughts to myself. Unfortunately, this means she gets cliffed. I actually feel like crying because I’m so devastated by this right now!

Round 3

This is a fairly easy round. I’m not very attached to most of these characters as their primarily very minor.

Be: Becca (Unidentified)

Her life is very similar to my own, so the adjustment wouldn’t be difficult. I’d also get to be close friends with Parisa so whenever strange things started to happen I could chose whether I wanted to support Parisa and get involved or just continue on with my life from a safe distance.

Room: Catrine (A Rose like Death)

Our room would be converted into a walk-in closet with beds, but she would make all my clothes. Having my own personalized wardrobe wins over the inconvenience of living in a room surrounded by clothes on hangers. I also think Catrine would make a good friend.

Cliff: Anabelle (Unidentified)

This is a character who is falsely accused by my protagonist of doing a lot of nasty things. She isn’t nearly as bad as she is often made out to be, but she is still far from a great person. She is the character here I care about least so she is getting cliffed.

Round 4

I got two side characters from my NaNoWriMo 2013 project and the main character of the first novel length work I ever finished.

Be: Alina (Unidentified)

Of all these characters she has the easiest life, so I’m going to be her.

Room: Dawn (Martian Murders)

Dawn has a personality a lot like mine and I think we would get along really well. However, I put her though a lot of stuff I don’t want to deal with, so I wouldn’t want to be her.

Cliff: H/Lori (Unidentified)

I like this character, so I feel really bad about this. She’s getting cliffed because I don’t want her life at all, and I’m more emotionally attached to Dawn since I narrated an entire novel length work from Dawn’s perspective.

Round 5

All of these are either characters with terrible lives, or characters who are annoying. That makes this difficult.

Be: Adela (Not a Faerie Princess Anymore)

I don’t like Adela much, but of all the characters here she has the best life so I’m picking her.

Room: Queen Shella (A Rose like Death)

I wouldn’t want to be her because she has so much responsibility, but I also feel too much sympathy with her to throw her off a cliff.

Cliff: Andrea (Martian Murders)

Technically I’ve already killed this character twice in one narrative by throwing her off a cliff. Her murder is the one the title speaks of, and this story involves time travel hence it happening twice in the same narrative. I cried while I wrote that scene because she doesn’t deserve it, but there was no way around it happening.

Series Review: Seven Realms

6342491780122994094698069828Titles: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Published: 2009-2012

Genre: Young Adult High Fantasy

Synopsis: A thousand years ago seven realms were one and wizards ruled like tyrants, but no longer. Now the queendom of the Fells is ruled not by magic users, but by the queens of the gray wolf line. Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir, is frustrated by the fact that she is trapped in the palace unable to make changes to improve the lives of her citizens. Meanwhile, ex-thief Han Alister, knows how bad life can get in the Fells. He only wants to keep his family fed and alive, but manages to get himself tangled in wizard politics anyway.

Review: This series took a little while for me to get into the first book, but after I finished The Demon King I was hooked and marathoned the rest of the books.

My favorite aspect of this series was probably the world building. Often in YA fantasy novels the world seems very underdeveloped, but that was not the case here. I enjoyed reading about all of the seven realms various cultures and the tensions between them though the name of this series is somewhat deceptive as it manly focuses on one of the seven kingdoms in this world known as the Fells.

This series often references historical events in the seven realms. I really like when fictional historical events help shape the present in fictional universes because it makes them feel more realistic. Though, as most of the events referenced happened a thousand years ago, it was somewhat unrealistic that so little had changed since then, but this is a common occurrence in fantasy novels so I’m willing to ignore this fact. The ways that the historical facts had been distorted with time made me think a lot about how our own history has been manipulated.

I liked that the romance in this series never overshadowed the fantasy elements. The romance gradual in development which is something I really appreciated, though I do somewhat wish Hans and Raisa had spent more time together in the early books.

Many of the characters were very well developed. Our male main character, Hans, was probably my favorite. I found his backstory as a reformed thief fascinating.

These books just seemed to get better and better as the series went on. Each book seemed to expand upon the scope of the world a little more, and the plot progressed nicely with several twists. It’s not often that I feel the urge to read all the books in a four book long series in a row, but this series continued to feel fresh and engaging throughout.

What readers should know: This series contains vague references to an instance in which a major character’s mother was raped long before the first book began resulting in the birth of aforementioned major character. Besides that there is a fair amount of violence including the torture of a major character. Readers should also know that although the first book is called “The Demon King” and the word “demon” is used on several occasions I don’t remember any demonic intervention/demons getting page time.

Rating: This was an engaging YA high fantasy series. I recommend it for fans of the genre or trying to get into high/epic fantasy as I think this would be a good series to start with. I can’t wait for the spin-off series to be released.

4.5 blue jays

September 2015 Wrap-Up

Reading

In September I read six books and a novella. Of those one was adult, three were YA, two were arguably either YA or middle grade, and one was definitely middle grade. All but two were fantasy with one being magical realism and the other being sci-fi/dystopian.

Short Synopsis: “The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”–A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

Thoughts: If I had known this book was from the perspective of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer I wouldn’t have read it, but even though as a general rule I don’t read books featuring cancer, I’ll admit that this is a well written, amazing quick read. I highly recommend it to people looking for a book along those lines, but do be aware that this book is a very emotional read.

Rating:

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: A thief is offered her freedom in exchange for forging an emperor a new soul.

 Thoughts: I had no idea a novella could be this good. Then again, it was written by Brandon Sanderson, so I’m not all that surprised.

Rating: 

five blue jays

Short Synopsis: Matt must figure out why he is the only intelligent clone in a society where clone’s brains are permanently damaged at birth.

Thoughts: A thought provoking read that deals with many real world issues. It may also be the only book I’ve ever read set in Mexico. I think this would be a great book to read in a book club or classroom setting.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

Short Synopsis: Child genius, Sophie, discovers she is an elf.

Thoughts: I think twelve-year-old me would have loved this book, and I’ve already recommended it to an eleven-year-old. As of when I read this, however, I found the first half of the book read a little too much like info-dumping and almost stopped reading, but enjoyed the mystery element of the second half much better.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When rithmatist students start disappearing from an elitist school Joel, the non-rithmatist son of a cleaning lady, is determined to learn who is responsible.

Thoughts: Really enjoyed this, though not as much as some of Sanderson’s other works. Part of that is the concept of rithmatists, magicians whose chalk drawings come to life, seems a little ridiculous though Sanderson did a great job developing it. The other reason is it takes a while to get to the action. I would be upset that the sequel won’t be out until 2017, but I want Sanderson’s other books just as much if not more.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series.

Thoughts: Definitely enjoyed this one, but I’m having a hard time putting my feelings about it into words.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Short Synopsis: When Alina discovers she has magical abilities her life changes forever.

Thoughts: Flew through this book, and some of the characters were really well developed. However, there were times when I felt that although I was still very engaged not a lot was happening.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Writing

I’m still working on revising my high-fantasy work in progress. My goal for October is to have finished with part one, but I’m in college and have midterms in October, so I’m not sure how practical that is.

I’ve decided that I am probably going to participate in NaNoWriMo again this November. There is a new idea I’ve been longing to write so I’ll be taking a break from my revising for the month. The first draft is unlikely to make it to 50K because I’ll be writing a middle grade novel and tend to underwrite. For this reason, my current goal for November is to finish the entire first draft in a month as opposed to the usual 50,000 words/month.

In other news, I’ve printed out about the first fourth of my YA sci-fi work in progress and plan to print out the rest soon. This is the first time I’ve seen any of my novel length works in physical form so I’m ridiculously excited about this. Once I get the whole manuscript printed I’ll probably be carrying it around everywhere with a huge grin on my face like I do when I get my most anticipated book releases of the year.

Blog

This past month I’ve come to have over 50 followers, and this will be my 49th blog post. Thanks everyone who subscribed/ reads my posts!

I know I’m extremely behind on my tags, but I still have every intention of doing the ones I’ve been tagged for.

My Favorite Banned Books

For those who don’t know this year banned books week was from September 27 to October 3. I thought it would be the perfect way to end banned books week by making a list of my favorite banned/challenged books.

To read more about banned books week please visit the American Library Association’s website. All of the books I have chosen appear on either the list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 or Frequently Challenged or Banned Young Adult Fiction 2014-2015.

Note: I have not read all or even most of the books on these lists.

In no particular order I’ve chosen the five books off these lists I enjoyed reading the most:

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Title: A Wrinkle in Time

Commentary: It’s been a while since I read this, so I don’t remember much in the way of specifics, but banning this book seems rather ridiculous to me. The only thing I can think might upset people is maybe the dystopian like society run by “IT” or the use of fortunetelling.

3

Title: The Harry Potter Series

Commentary: I have met people who are convinced that mentions of witchcraft, vampires, werewolves, etc. are against their religion and would not allow their children to view material related to these topics. That said, I think trying to ban the entire fantasy genre would not only be next to impossible, but also cause much heartbreak.

Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and the one that made me fall in love with books in the first place. If I had not been allowed to read fantasy growing up I don’t think that I would love reading nearly as much as I do today. I don’t love Harry Potter nearly as much as most people seem to, but I did really like it and see how it has had a huge positive impact on many people’s lives.

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Title: Persepolis

Commentary: Overall I really enjoyed this biography told in graphic novel form. I don’t often finish biographies when I start them, but I read this one over the span of two days. That said, my least favorite part was when main character went to Europe and (highlight the rest of the line to reveal spoilers) starts using drugs. That made me lose some of my respect of her for a while, but later when she started putting her life back together I regained it.

The reason the book is banned/challenged probably has a lot to do with the usage of what I mentioned in the spoiler section. The other reason probably has a lot to do with the fact that it is set primarily in Iran, and a lot of people probably just hear “Iran” and become paranoid about it “indoctrinating their children with Muslim ideals” or something like that.

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Title: The Giver

Commentary: This was the book that essentially introduced me to the dystopian genre. It helped begin a trend in my reading that became so excessive that I ended up needing to stop reading dystopian completely for years because I was so tired of it after reading so many. I’ve only very recently started to lift my self-imposed ban on the genre from my reading choices. Although I did “ban” myself from reading dystopian novels for a time, I think a self-conscious choice not to read books about a certain topic is very different from from someone/something other than myself determining I should not read a book.

I suppose this novel does have a subtle religious and political agenda, but I don’t fully understand why people want to ban it. I view it as more of a conversation starter than a book that actually directly manipulates people.

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Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

Commentary: The only reason I can think of anyone would want to ban this book is to avoid discussions of race, and I don’t think that is a good reason at all considering this book’s message is pro-equal rights.