Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Goals for 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Every week you write ten things about whatever the topic is and then post your blog into their linky tools on their site. It's a great way to interact with other readers and bloggers and see which novels you may be interested in checking out next!

This week, my top ten goals for 2015 will center on writing, reading, and blogging because I feel that for one area to be successful, the others can't be neglected either. I'll also include the titles of books I'm excited for in 2015 and the ones I loved during 2014. 

Let's start off with the Reading Goals!

1) Read 100 Books for 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog meme hosted by Book Journey. You review the list you read the week before and include the books you have plans to finish this week. Most bloggers have adorable original blog photos, but because I'm a newbie to the game, I'm using the image straight from Book Journey (so no photo design credit to me).

Read This Past Week:
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book Review - The Darkest Minds

Hey, Green.

Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds is a young adult dystopia that centers on Ruby and her entourage of gifted teens. Ruby is forced into a rehabilitation camp at age ten after surviving an epidemic that killed off the majority of the US’s children and at age sixteen realizes she is one fo the most dangerous kinds of gifted children. She ends up in a group with Liam, Chubs, and Zu as they embark to discover what it means to be Orange, Blue, Green, and Yellow in a world where these colors signify danger and death.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #3

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules include writing a blog post in response to the Question of the Week and then following the hosts, the two featured bloggers, and anyone else in the original list you like. The goal is to gain new friends and followers, so comment on every blog post you come across. For more specific rules, check out their much more substantial posts!

Question of the Week: What books did you give other people this holiday season? - via AlisonCanRead

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cheap YA Dystopian Novels for Kindle (December 2014)

2014 is almost over and I'm sure most of us have 2015 reading goals we expect to complete. As a lover of dystopian young adult, which has its own heavily filled section on Amazon, I thought I’d check out the eBooks available and then spread the knowledge (and wealth) with you guys. Here are my top picks for cheap YA dystopian novels for your Kindle and other e-Readers that you can snag to get started on your reading list for next year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog meme hosted by Book Journey. You review the list you read the week before and include the books you have plans to finish this week. Most bloggers have adorable original blog photos, but because this is my first time, I'm using the image straight from Book Journey. 

Read last week:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #2

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules include writing a blog post in response to the Question of the Week and then following the hosts, the two featured bloggers, and anyone else in the original list you like. The goal is to gain new friends and followers, so comment on every blog post you come across. For more specific rules, check out their much more substantial posts!

Question of the Week: Do you have a go to genre when you're happy, sad, or angry? - Suggested by Take Me Away

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review - The Testing

Don’t eat the corncakes.


Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing takes place in the United States, now referred to as the United Commonwealth, decades after the end of the Seven Stages War. Cia Vale lives in the Five Lakes Colony where she graduates from school and is chosen for The Testing, the series of exams that will determine who is accepting into the University. Her father gives her a cryptic message about the students, the officials, and the tests, and Cia must choose who she trusts because if she chooses wrong, she won’t live to see the next phase.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Impressions of We

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is considered the father of the dystopian novel. Protagonist D-503 lives in the country called OneState in 26 A.D. following the 200 Years War. The government has built a Wall to block the Numbers (citizens) from seeing or experiencing nature. The Benefactor runs not only the government but serves as the God of OneState, the entity everyone fears disappointing. D-503 represents a man completely loyal and trustworthy of the city created by OneState, but he slowly loses his sense of mental control after meeting I-330, a woman who questions the government and everything it stands for. Is his growing imagination an effect of the love he feels for I-330 or the discovery of individualism in a society where it has been eradicated?

Via: Wikipedia

Love, Lust, and the Sex in Between

D-503 falls in love with I-330 from their first encounter, but how can it be determined that what he feels is love, lust, or the desire to speak with someone about topics that are illegal? It’s difficult to argue that D-503 is driven by lust or sexual desire because OneState has made it acceptable and easy to request a sex partner via snail mail and pink tickets. All a number must do is send in the name he or she desires with a pink ticket, and if he or she is accepted then a date and time is allotted (usually twenty or thirty minutes) or, if rejection is the answer, then he or she moves on to another potential partner.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - COMPLETED

It’s been exactly six weeks since I embarked on my NaNoWriMo 2014 journey, and now I can say, that 79,000 words, 250 pages, and endless lost hours of sleep and social life have led to a completed novel!

I hit the 50K mark on November 26, but I already knew I was a ways off from the ending.

If someone had told me I was 30,000 words away, I would’ve cried and given up.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #1

Feature Friday is a weekly hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are writing a post based on the question for the week and then following everyone else who participated in the Feature Follow for that week. It's a way to make friends and gain followers.

This is my first time participating, so I hope I'm doing all the links right!

Question for the week: Do you have a favorite place to read? Suggested by Liberamans

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - I Promise to Revise

I promised the great minds at NaNoWriMo that I would revise my 2014 novel in January and February.

I’m starting to think my promise will extend to October 31st, the night before I cannot revise anything more because NaNoWriMo 2015 will begin.

I DID IT! (the promise that is)
For anyone who follows my Twitter (and if you don’t, it’d be awesome if you did), my novel is currently at 72K and I haven’t reached the resolution. I think I hit the climax, but there have been three scenes that could qualify for that role and that’s why I’m confused as to when the book will end.

My goal is to stop around 80,000 words because let’s face it, only fantasy YA should be longer than that. My deadline is to have the novel finished by December 15th so I can enjoy the holidays and kick off 2015 with revision.

This revision process if going to suck.

The NaNoWriMo staff gave me January and February, but I may be working until 11:59 p.m. on Halloween trying to fix this thing.

For any writers out there, do you have any tips for starting out? Do you look at plot, characters, dialogue, and setting individually, or do you tackle it in chunks or chapters? I think I’ll be attacking the overall plot and then the eight parts individually. Let’s get revising! (but first the stupid thing has to be finished. Whoop.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review - Splintered

Genre: Supernatural

I wish my lipstick would look this good.

Son of a Bug!

Splintered by A. G. Howard focuses on a dark remake of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Alyssa, great-great-great-granddaughter to Alice Liddell, fears that the Wonderland curse on her family will put her in a mental institution like her mother. She embarks on a journey back into Wonderland to amend the mess Alice left behind.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - TGIO!

NaNoWriMo 2014 Dystopian Wonders

While I finished my 50K words for NaNoWriMo 2014 on November 26th (PURPLEEEE!), it never feels like NaNo is over until I can no longer update my word count.

It’s sad. It’s uplifting. It’s wonderfully torturing and painfully relieving. Nano is an oxymoron, but Thank Goodness It’s Over!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why I Write: Thankfulness

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to the writing in my life.

I am thankful for my writing passion being so strong that I actually like working on weekends and holidays.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Dystopian Novel’s Obsession with Gore

After talking non-stop with co-workers about the intrigue and heart-wrenching beauty that are dystopian novels, one young woman stated that she no longer liked dystopian novels as much as she once did. I decided to break down the differences found in the original dystopian novels (she was a fan of The Giver and was most recently finishing 1984) and the biggest books today when the greatest one jumped out at me: modern dystopian novels focus heavily on gore and physical suffering. Before, reading about corrupt politicians and overbearing governments and officials worked well enough to warn readers of what was to come, but what now? Most individuals couldn't care less about their government and how corrupt they are.

Friday, November 14, 2014

When the Sequel is Better: Pandemonium

The “originals” fight has existed for thousands of years. The first book is always better than the rest of the series, the film sequels have no solid story line, and the first 151 Pokemon are, like, ten times better than what’s popular now. Life seems to be the only exception to this rule of thumb, because otherwise our phases of life would resemble novels with our toddler years being the best years of our life.

Up until now, I haven’t read a novel that was better than its predecessor. I like Allegiant and Julie’s Wolf Pack because of the ending events in Allegiant and the complete change in point of view in JWP, not necessarily because all aspects of the novel were changed, improved, or radical. Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium is the second novel in a trilogy and exceeds the expectations prepared by the first, titled Delirium, because of the way Oliver changed her storytelling method and developed more of the characters and plot.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Week 1

Okay, so we’re closer to Week 2 at this point, but I do want to focus on what happened in the first third of the competition.

Firstly, 18,000 words by Day 9 may be above average, but that means it’ll be harder to motivate myself later when I need to keep putting effort out there. Also, despite feeling relaxed that the writing is flowing, I’m getting worried because fifty thousand words will not be enough. That’s the point of NaNoWriMo, isn’t it? To finish a novel in a month has always been the goal, but most young adult novels are around 100-150,000 words. Even if I reach the word goal that doesn’t mean the novel will be completed or not have a bunch of sub plots added to it during the revision.

Nevertheless, too many words is a good thing. It’s always better to have too much to work with then be scrambling for those last 2,000 words when the novel ended fifteen pages ago. What I’ve learned in the last week and a half is that I may win NaNoWriMo 2014, but I may not have a completed novel.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Why I Write: Children's Author Influences

 I choose to write young adult novels and started my writing journey with middle grade stories. The coming-of-age character is the one I connect with, but the authors who inspired me to read were the children’s authors I discovered in elementary school. While I read hundreds of phenomenal authors, the two writers who always pop into my head are Jean Craighead George and Cynthia DeFelice. George's Julie of the Wolves Trilogy and DeFelice’s The Ghost of Fossil Glen center on young women, aged thirteen and eleven respectively, who struggle to live like children, think like adults, protect and interact with the environment and its creatures, and represent the kinds of children that are needed in modern society.
Live Like a Child, Think Like an Adult

George’s character Julie, or Miyax, is raised in the Alaskan tundra with her widowed father until the age of thirteen, when she marries a boy her age and moves away. When her boy-husband tries to force himself on her (without graphic detail), Julie runs away and gets lost on the tundra. She is discovered by a small wolf pack who take her in as one of their pups and it is because of them that she finds shelter, food, and protection.

Married at thirteen is difficult enough without having to survive a season in the Alaskan tundra. George’s character is strong because of her determination to better her life, even if the process is dangerous and uncertain. Julie relies on her survival instincts, taught by her father, and the trust of the wolves. The alpha male is often portrayed as regal and trustworthy, the alpha female is caring and stern, and Julie’s favorite pup is precocious and brotherly. Attributing characteristics normally given to people gives these animals a humanistic persona, and the young reader will feel safer with the wolves in nature as Julie does rather than in a warm house with a misguided young man. This idea, that sometimes what is found in nature is safer than what we create in our society, is what children need to learn and understand in case they fear the situation they are in or are terrified of learning what is the unknown.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Impressions of Oryx and Crake

Snowman and all his confusion lies here.

Margaret Atwood’s writing is inspirational, witty, and progressive, and I am in no position to critique or review her work; therefore, an impression as well as a brief analysis of the novel will suffice. Oryx and Crake tells the story of Jimmy/Snowman and his life in an utopia, a dystopia, and the aftermath of civilization’s destruction. Divided into fifteen parts, the novel alternates space and time between the vacillating viewpoints of the protagonist, either as defeated Snowman or clueless Jimmy. Because the novel cannot be reviewed by my meager wisdom, I have decided to give my impression and a brief analysis of the ideas brought up.

Creation of an Utopia

The most prominent plot point is Crake’s dream of eliminating all human characteristics and replacing them with animal traits in an effort to create the ideal person. This idea establishes the utopia of the novel.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why the YA Dystopian Novel is Maintaining its Relevance

A recent blog entry on Huffington Post’s website narrowed down the four hottest YA trends that will take readers by storm in 2015. The opening line of the blog is, “Tired of dystopia?” While I can understand some readers’ annoyance with a mainstream genre (I could never stand vampires), I find it hard to believe that the idea that the dystopian novel is losing ground in popularity. If anything, this is one of the recent mainstream genres that young adults need to realize is based on the possible future of their world.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is a fictional tale of an Indian servant destined to live in a low caste (and is not considered dystopian in any way). The novel focuses on the corrupt financial and political nature in India and how even those who have undergone abuse or neglect will forget about their past and rise to the top in any gruesome way it requires. Balram, the protagonist, writes the story through letters to the Premier of China, explaining his murderous past and how he became one of the richest men in Bangalore. While The White Tiger describes a real world in fictional conflicts and characters, its corrupt and greedy core is why the YA dystopian novel is gaining relevance with young adults and why it needs to maintain its influence, and the novel illustrates the validity of this in the way the characters challenge the government.

The hilarious novel that is White Tiger.

They Refuse to Challenge

The first matter of White Tiger follows the characters’ resistance to change or their disbelief in the possibility through the Rooster Coop hypothesis.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review - The Uglies

I think she's pretty, but hey, I'm an Ugly too.

Everything’s so bubbly!

Let’s kick things off: I thought I hated Scott Westerfeld’s writing style. I couldn’t get past sixty pages in Peeps and the thought of reading another novel nearly terrified me. Luckily for me, Tally of The Uglies was a thousand times better, smarter, and more believable narrator than Cal. In this latest novel that I’m years behind on discovering, Tally Youngblood is fifteen and wants to become a Pretty. Becoming Pretty is an operation the city doctor and officials approve so everyone looks like a childhood supermodel to eliminate divisions based on appearances. When Tally meets Shay and her determination to stay Ugly, or normal, she weighs the consequences of looking Pretty for the first time.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I Write: Origins

Growing up, everyone dreams of the ultimate fantasy career that he or she believes will make life perfect: police officer, firefighter, actress, singer, athlete, professional gamer, you name it. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian before I learned I had a phobia of needles and fainted at the sight of blood. For many years I dreamed of becoming an astronomer and studying the planets, possibly discovering a new one and naming it after myself, but after five weeks in high school physics I laughed at the idea and dropped the course. Combining so much math with science was like listening to Spanglish: I could never keep up with which subject we were focusing on. Fortunately, writing pulled me in and whacked me over the head a few times to let me know that I was born to work with words. I may be a young writer, but my writing origins spanned eight years, starting with the preparation for the Writing TAAS Test, meeting the Texas Poet Laureate, and hearing the greatest advice I’ve ever been given.

Exit Exam