Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review- Wired

One year ago, Lia Kahn died.

A few days later, she woke up.

She had a new body: Mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn't judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever.

At least, it was supposed to.

But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie; everyone she thought she loved has been stolen away. And someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all. Lia will risk everything to save herself and the people she can't live without. But not before facing one final truth: She can't save everyone.

Cover: It's interesting. If I really, truly would judge a book based on a cover I probably wouldn't pick it up.

Title: I think in a way it fits with the story and stuff. Much better than the title for Crashed, I didn't really see how that title had much to do with the story. Maybe in the first book I could or maybe in this last one.

Anyways: I've all the past two books, Skinned and Crashed. And at first, I really liked the first book, the second book was okay, and by the time I read the third book, I wasn't really all that thrilled with it. The thing that turned me off the most was the characters. I know I'm suppose to be able to connect with them but in this book I just really couldn't. I don't like any of the characters. Lia I think is a mean, lying, selfish person. Riley...well I'm not positive on how I feel about him but I think that he lets himself be pushed around too much and trusts people too easily. And as for Jude, I just hated him out right. The character I liked the most out of the whole story was Lia's sister, Zo.

I can't say much for the plot it's self. While it was interesting, I wasn't really thrilled with it. I understood the beginning and how she thought that by becoming a reality star would help mechs, but I thought it was kinda pointless. I enjoyed the revelation about Lia's father, I wasn't expecting it, although we got hints, and I thought it was well done.

If I was to comment on the all of the books on this series as a whole, I'd say they're pretty good but not my favorites. They're not really the books I'd go out and buy as soon as they came out. I'd rather spend my money on different books and wait to see when these get to my library.

In actualization, I didn't finish the end of this book. One was because I lent my kindle to my cousin and so I can't read it, two, I just didn't seem interested in reading the rest. It seemed pointless when there is so many other books to spend my time reading. So yeah I can't comment on the end.

On Goodreads: Wired
Website: Robin Wasserman (by the way, I love the new titles and covers much more)

So have you ever stopped reading a book because of the characters? Or did you ever read a whole series only to have the last book be bad?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In the News- Amazon Launches "Kindle Fire" tablet.

Anonymous sources have recently leaked details that Amazon is to introduce a device called the "Kindle Fire" which is somekind of tablet. The device is suppose to run a version of the Android. The tablet is suppose to be around seven inches in size while a 10-inch could come out sometime early next next year. It isn't expected to run very well and won't have a camera. Plus it isn't going to come out for at least another month. It also won't revolve around Google serives since they're pretty much enemies. It'll be easily able to support media things such as magazines and could be bouht fairly cheap. Anywhere from $250 to $300. 

For those who haven't read the news lately...including me, this is news. I had no idea that they were going to release something like this. But while it certainy is cheaper, I don't think I'll be buying it. I don't use an Android and I'm happy with just my Kindle. Plus I like apple stuff. 

For more information....and resources used...
ComputerWorld- Kindle Fire
Amazon's Tablet Launch

So will you be looking forward to Amazon's tablet? Do you think it'll stand any chance against the Ipad?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Game Night- Hangman/Riddle

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _   _ _ _

So I decided that since I can't read books as fast as I'd like now that school has started I decided to host a game night on Mondays. These will be on going games so feel free to join until the challenge or whatever is complete.

Tonight is hangman and a riddle. To join guess your letter for hangman and your guess for the riddle in the comments below. You can guess as many times as you like but only one letter and one guess per comment. We'll play until someone gets it right. And if you win...well I'm not sure about that yet. I don't have any prizes. But if you have any suggestions for prizes let me know!

Riddle: So a man lives on the 50th floor of his apartment building and  rides the elevator down to work every day. But when he goes home he rides the elevator up to the 40th floor and then walks the rest of the way. Why?

Have fun!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pen Names- and Mine.

Okay I just thought it was amusing. 
Okay, so lots of people have pen names for various reasons. Some of them do it because they think that it'll help their career (for example, J.K Rowling was told to use her initals because the publishers thought that as many boys wouldn't read Harry Potter if they knew it was written by a woman) or because they think that their real names are either too short/long/hard to pronounce. Or whatever reason you can think of. A famous one is Mark Twain who's real name is Samuel Clemens.

Anyways, I have a confession. Peony's not my pen name. Nor is it my real name. It's just the name I use on Inkpop. I actually have quite a few of pen names: Syrah Peony, Peony, and actual pen name. But I'll get that into a minute.

Whenever I tell people that I want to use a pen name when I get published or whatever they always give me a weird look and ask why. My reason is that my name is too common and boring. On facebook alone there is 538 people with the same name as me. Of course I could just use my initials, but I think my last name is still too common. Therefore, I'm using a pen name.

Sareh is my official pen name...unless I decide to change it of course.

So because I think I should be using things in my pen name more often, I'm going to change my signatures and stuff to my pen name. (At least here on the internet.)

Anyways, do you guys use pen names? What do you think about them?

Sareh Lovasen

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rambling on a Very Important Subject.

So I felt like writing a post today about believing yourself. And not just about your writing but about pretty much everything else. I've noticed that as a culture we tend to focus more on the negative things rather than the good. And what good does that even do? Nothing really when you think about it. Just look at the news for example, all that is really about sad and depressing things more than about good things.

I believe that we need to change.

What do I mean by all this rambling?

I've noticed that more and more we have kids committed suicide and doing bad stuff. Kids get teased because they're different from their friends, or because they believe in something different. I recently (a couple months ago) heard about two girls who committed suicide with each other and no one was really sure why. But it was sad.

So with even more rambling, I just want to say that instead of putting people down we need to start bringing people up. I'm sure you've heard this before but I wanted to say it myself. Encourage people. If you see someone sitting alone, sit next to them or invite them to sit next to you. If you see someone getting picked on, stand up for them if they can't do it themselves and be the better person. Think before you speak bad about someone. Think about what you could say and how it would affect the other person. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

But before you can help other people, start believing in yourself.

How can you stand up for someone else if you can't even stand up for yourself? If there's bad influences in your life or if there is someone who is putting you down, get rid of those influences or stop being around that person. Something like that. For one thing, don't wait for others to change something, be that change yourself.

One way we can start to help others is by doing one simple good thing every day. And it doesn't even have to be anything big. Just saying hello to someone or asking how they are doing can greatly change their day. And then it can start a whole chain reaction. Because you said hello, it put that person in a better mood, who was able to make someone else's day better or not get into a fight with someone, and so on so forth.

Eailer today while standing in line, I noticed that one of the tables was messy and no one was cleaning it. And because it wasn't clean, no one wanted to sit there. It bugged me. So after I grabbed my food, I grabbed a napkin and cleaned it up myself since no one else was cleaning it up. Afterwards when I went to grab a giant cookie, the lunch lady gave it to me for free because I had cleaned the table without being asked too. I'm not bragging, but the whole point of that is that I made the lunch lady's, the janitor's, and everyone else who ended up sitting at the table day better. I think...I hope so...

Onto the rest of my speech.

You're all probably fantastic people, I've never met any of you except for maybe two people, but I'm positive that you are all fantastic people. You all have talents and gifts, people who love you and care for you even if you don't realize it.

People never realize how valuable something really is until it's gone. I nearly lost a friend a couple weeks ago and you have no idea how scary that was. I've never had a friend die before and I don't even want that to happen. So in a way I guess that inspired this post tonight. If you know that something is wrong, try to help that person, don't just sit there and wait for someone else to take care of it, because that person may never come along and by then it will have been too late.

We're all writers here right? Or at least, most of us. But in any case, I'd like to say that words are very powerful. They are more powerful than a sword (or gun in today's world) and how you use them can have a big effect on someone. Writers have an understanding and connection with words more so than most people, we know how to use them, how to wield them, and so we can be very powerful.

With great power comes great responsibly.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this post anymore, but I"m sorry if half of this doesn't make any sense. I think the separate paragraphs make sense but as a whole...I'm not sure. Anyways...Well I hope that I made some sense here tonight.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review- City of Ashes

(From Goodreads) As readers of series starter City of Bones already know, teenager Clary Fray is a Shadowhunter, a demon slayer who has the gift (?) of spotting Downworlder werewolves, vampires, and faeries. She is also an adolescent in an abnormally dysfunctional family: Her mom is in a magically induced coma and her father is probably insane and undoubtedly evil. All of which places Clary in situations that would challenge even the most talented average American girl.

The second book in this series is just as good as the last one if not better. This time, this one was lended to me by a friend who was generous to let me barrow it. Anyways. Spoiler alert!!! (As in, this review officially contains spoilers). 

You have been warned. 
In bold letters. 

This book as far as the plot goes, was pretty good with lots of plot twists and exciting new things. I loved her writing style although there are some things I wasn't really happy about. Simon annoyed me although I was sad/upset about the plot twist that involves him. Plus the ending part with him makes no sense at all. They tell you that he isn't suppose to be able to walk in sunlight yet at the end he is able to. And it is never explained how or why! 

I enjoyed Jace for a character, he was funny although annoying at times. I hated the part where they had to go into the Faerie queen's domain and in order to get out she had to kiss Jace even though she knows that he is her brother. I mean, that's just wrong. But if you found out that someone was your brother wouldn't you not be attracted to them? Wouldn't you suddenly be repulsed and werid-ed out by the fact that he's your brother? I've heard rumors and seen hints that they're not actually related so I dearly hope that this is true because I'm seriously not going to want to read the next couple of books if they are related. And so I hope the author doesn't think that brother-sister relationships are okay. Because if she does I will lose all respect. 

The other part that bothered me was how Alec is gay and Magnus is too. It just bothered me. Although I'm glad that it isn't constantly shoved into our faces. I was happy in the end about the choice that Jace and Clary made because it's the right choice although a small part of me was sad. I'm glad Jace didn't go with his father and I hated the Inquisitor, even though she had a good reason. I still thought that her plan was going way overboard. And the one character I really liked in this book other than Luke is Maia. She's cool and awesome. Plus I thought it was very cool how she likes Simon and he's a vampire and she's a werewolf. Sweet. 

What I liked....besides the writing style...I liked most of the characters, Luke is my favorite, and I thought that it is very cool that Clary can create her own runes. Although I don't think it's very surprising, I could see hints of it earlier. 

Will I read the next book? I think I will although I'll be wary of it. And I'll say that this isn't one of my favorite series just because there's so many things morally wrong with the books. I mean that's just my opinion and it shouldn't stop you or anyone else from reading these books but I just have high standards. Not that the books are bad or anything but...still...I'll stop rambling now. 

On Goodreads: City of Ashes

So, have you ever read a book where you stopped reading it or considered reading it because you didn't agree with something in it? 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review- Circle of Fire

With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help--or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister--and maybe still does. James doesn't know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren't meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.

So as this is the last book of the series and that I wasn't thrilled with the last book, I wasn't all that sure about how I would like the last book. But in the end I think it was pretty satisfying. 

I'll start with the characters. For the most part I liked them although I didn't really like the third key, Helena I think was her name, or the last one, Brigid. I think I liked Brigid though pretty well. I was happy that Lia finally made up with Sonia.

 I didn't like Dimitri as usual, he still bugged me because he's so stupidly perfect. I thought it was childish on Lia's part the way she told James to stay away from Alice even though she finally realized that after she saw how upset it had made her sister. 

As for the plot, I was glad to see that it was faster paced than in the last two and I thought that it was interesting to see how Lia's power came into the story and how the souls kept on pushing her down and trying to win her over. 

I was glad to see that even in the end when she wasn't real sure wether or not Alice would help her, that she was strong enough to risk her life to try and save the world from the souls. I thought that some parts could have been different but I enjoyed the ending even though it was sad. I cried a little bit. 

All through all, I enjoyed this book series and I'm sad to see it ended. 

On Goodreads: Circle of Fire

So, what is your favorite book series and why? How many books were in the series? Did it ever result in a spin off series or books?


Interesting Facts- The U.S Presidents (Part 2)

Well I finally got around to doing this! So, this week we'll cover the next ten presidents and litttle known facts about them and then hopefully, in the next two weeks we'll get done with all forty-four presidents.

  1. James Knox Polk- He died just three months after his term ended. 
  2. Zachary Taylor- You'd think that his wife would be one of his most supportive people, but when he ran for president his wife prayed every day that he wouldn't become president. 
  3. Millard Fillmore- Upon visiting Queen Victoria in 1855, she called him the most handsome man she'd ever met. 
  4. Franklin Pierce- Apparently one night when he was returning to the White House, he accidently hit an old lady with his carriage. He was arrested but when the cops discovered who he was, he let him go. I'm not sure the old lady was happy about that even if it was the president. 
  5. James Buchanan- He remains to have been the only U.S president to never have married although he was briefly engaged. He was also the sort of guy who had to have everything just right- he was rejected $15,000 dollars because it was off by ten cents. 
  6. Abraham Lincoln- After his death, many people went into the White House to get away with whatever they could carry. The amount of stolen china was worth $22,000. 
  7. Andrew Johnson- During the Reconstruction era, while on his campaign tour, he once compared himself to Jesus Christ saying that Lincoln had been struck down so that he, Johnson, could become president. Let's just say that this didn't make him anymore popular with his opponents. 
  8. Ulysses S. Grant- It's no wonder he died of cancer. After his victory at Fort Donelson, he was sent 10,000 boxes of cigars by well wishers- probably a gift that wasn't all that good. 
  9. Rutherford B. Hayes- They must have been quite religious for they spent every morning praying and every night singing gospel hymns. He was also able to ban every form of alcohol from the White House except at one state dinner in honor of Russia's Grand Duke, Alexis. 
  10. James A. Garfield- His assassin, Charles Guiteau, had actually stalked him and his cabinet members because he had wanted a position in Paris. Eventually he got it somewhere in his head to shoot the president and fully  aware what he was to do, bought a pistol (was shown by the store owner how to use it), visited a prison, and then finally calmly walked up to the president one day and shot him twice. He was then hanged but somehow, the jury had proclaimed him sane. It took the president eighty days to die, during which he was poked and probed for the bullet that was finally found after he had died. 
So there you go.

The Secret Lives of the U.S Presidents by Cormac O'brien

So, can anyone name the first five presidents without looking them up? How many people can name all of them? 


Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review- City of Bones

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

This book was pretty good. I decided to start reading this series after I found out that I liked Clockwork Angel. That and I heard that this series was going to made into a movie.

Anyways, the characters were good and I thought that Jace (I also love his name, Jace Wayland) was amusing. He was probably my favorite character. I thought that he was funny and cool although at times he was annoying. He reminded me alot of will in Clockwork Angel. But funnier. I didn't like Hutch the guy who watches in Institute, especially in the end. I loved Luke although I wasn't sure what I thought of him in the beginning, but in the end he turns out to be a good guy. I didn't like Simon all that much. He was sweet and stuff, but he got on my nerves and just seemed to get into everyone's way. I didn't really like how Clary treated him throughout most of the story. 

 I noticed that this book reminded me alot of Clockwork Angel. Why? Well Clary and Tessa both get attacked by demons and find out that they are not actually human. Both have a family member who is kidnapped. And they both end up finding/gaining their brother towards the end of the story. And that the bad guy gets away. Both girls end up staying at the Institute. 

The other thing I didn't like about the story was that Alec is gay. I have strong values and I believe that gay is wrong. Anyways, I was glad that Classandra Clare did not shove Alec's being gay down our throats although there is some parts where you can tell that he is gay. 

I loved the plot. It was interesting and it had so many twists and turns in it! Although near the end there were some really big shockers and at one I was really mad and tempted to put down the book. And although it says that this evil fact is true, I heard that it wasn't. Which is a good thing because I would be really mad and start to really wonder, "
Does this author really think this is okay?"

 I finished this book in two days and I hope to read the next books. Overall, I was impressed with the story and I can't wait to read the next ones. I hope to somehow get my hands on them because all the ones at my library are on hold for five other people and so I have a while to wait before I can read them. 

On Goodreads: City of Bones
Website: Cassandra Clare

So have you ever read two different series from the same author where the books remind you alot of the other series? Was there a lot of similarities or not a lot? 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interesting facts- Twins.

I am a twin and so I'd like to educate people about twins since people seem to get some really weird ideas when they find out people are twins.
  1. If a girl and a boy are twins, they are NOT identical: Yeah I've been asked that before. 
  2. Twins cannot read each other's minds: It may seem like that at times, but we can't. 
  3. Being a twin does not give us powers. Yeah...sorry. 
  4. I do not do everything with my twin. We like to have lives that don't involve each other.  Actually my brother and I are about as opposite as you can get besides being twins. 
Now that we're got that out of our way, onto the more serious factual things.
  • Almost 20% of twins are left handed. In the general populace, only 10% are left handed. 
  • There are actually seven types of twins besides identical and fraternal: identical, fraternal, half-identical, mirror image twins, mixed chromosome twins, superfecundation, and superfetation. The other ones are quite rare.
  • Twins can have different birthdates. A common example is for one twin to be born on 11:59 pm and the next twin to be born anytime after 12:00 am. But there are other examples, less common, but possible. One is when one twin is taken out and the other is left in to develop more. 
  • Twins don't have to have the same dad. This is called heteropaternal superfecundation. It happens when a lady becomes pregnant from two different men and gives birth to two kids on the same day. 
  • Identical twins have different fingerprints. At least that's one thing they dont share. 
  • About 25% of twins are actually "mirrior" twins. Meaning when identical twins have the same features but on oppostie sides. For example, if one twin has a mole on her left arm her/his twin will have a mole on her/his right arm. 
  • The chances of having twins is increased by age (usually thrity and on), genetics, and the number of kids before. Nigeria has the highest rate of twins while China has the lowest (which is a given knowing their one-child policy). 
  • Twins actually think very similar. Research (doesn't research and studies seem to show everything?) shows that identical twins actually have very similar brainwaves. 
  • Fraternal twins can have very different skin tones. For example if parents of different races have twins, one may be black and the other white. I actually saw a case like this about a year ago. Only both parents were white or something along those lines. I can't remember correctly, but somewhere down their ansestor lines, they must have had an ansestor of a different race. 
  • Twins separated at birth and reunited are often seen to be found with similar personalities and interests. 
  • I know a pair of conjoined twins. Well actually I don't know them in person, but they graduated from my high school the year before I went there. But my cousins knew them.
  • There are three pairs of twins in my grade alone and four together in my school: And I go to a very small school. My brother and I are fraternal, the twins in the senior class are fraternal, and the other two pairs in my grade are both identical and male. One pair are short and awesome and the other are tall and cool. 
Resources and for more fun facts about twins:
20 Amazing Facts about Twins. Fun Facts and more about Twins.

So, do you know any twins? Are you a twin?


Monday, September 12, 2011

Remembering 9/11.

It was a day of sorrow, grief, pain, and loss. A day that shall be burned forever into our minds and into our country (if you live in the U.S). It was the first day since the War of 1812 that Washington DC had been successfully attacked.

Nearly 3,000 people died.

Many were lost when the towers were hit and they collapsed. More were lost when the pentagon was attacked and when the people aboard one plane gave up their lives in a Pennsylvania feild to save many more. A day when heros were made and heros were lost, a day when we lost friends and family. A day that was meant to cripple us for good but in the end made us stronger.

I'm not sure what you were doing (if you were born at the time that is), but I remember that I was in first or second grade at the time and it came over the loud speakers that the twin towers had been hurt. Well I had no idea what this meant at the time, but I do remember my teacher crying and I couldn't understand why.

Anyways, we just watched a 60-minute video about it today and Friday and it was kinda like a behind the scenes one where they told you what happened that day and then they told you everything that President Bush did that day and the following week afterwards. I thought it was also interesting because that it was made in 2002 and how they said they didn't have Osama bin Laden, yet today we finally killed him.

Today, since then too, we're building new towers. This time, the towers are stronger and larger than the last two. You can even watch their progression on Youtube month by month. They were suppose to be done this year, but now they aren't expecting them to be done until 2013.

I'll stop my rambling for now, but my question for you is, do you remember 9/11? What were you doing then or what have you heard about it? Did you know anyone affected by it? Did anyone go to the memorial service yesterday?

I had an aunt or one of my aunt's friends worked there and there was something going on that day so she didn't go into work. So if she had, she probably would have died.

For anyone who's lost someone during 9/11, you have my biggest sympathies.


Book Review- Leviathan

(From Goodreads) On the eve of World War I, conflicts in Europe are coming to a bloody boil. On every side, governments are frantically arming themselves with new weaponry and sorting out likely friends and foes. On the whole continent, perhaps the oddest pairing of all is the makeshift alliance bred in danger between Aleksandar Ferdinand, fugitive prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Deryn Sharp, a daring British airwoman disguised as a boy. Both have secrets that they must conceal and now face dangers of literally global proportions. A steampunk series by the author of the Uglies and the Midnighters series.

I thought that this book was really good. Scott Westerfeld is one of my favorite authors so I was hoping that the book would be good. I have recently fallen in love with steampunk and this steampunk/alternate history is very good. 

I thought that all the characters were very good although I didn't really like Alek in the beginning. But he turned out to be a good guy in the end. I love Deryn and how she pretends to be a boy just to be in the air force. Go girls! All the rest of the characters were good too, although I don't really like the count. I can see him turning out bad in the end. I wasn't really all that sure what to think of about the scientist lady. Even though I don't agree with the Darwinists in the story, they were my favorite characters. I didn't like the Clankers all that much. 

The plot was good and interesting. I love how it is an alternate history. I haven't seen many of this genre, but I love them. Mostly because they get you to think. Anyways, I thought it was sad that Alek's parent's died and I thought that Scott Westerfeld did a good job at portraying Alek's sadness. The only thing was that Alek seemed to forget about them later on in the story. If I was him, I would have been thinking about my parents all the time. 

I love the cover and the way the book looks. The only part I didn't like was the fact that the Allies are Darwinists. While the besties (I love that term) are cool, I hate the evolution crap in it. Evolution is just plain crap. So that was the only thing I didn't like about the book, was the evolution nonsense in it.

On a side note, its been a while, no a long time, since I've read any book with pictures. While I'm not positive if this book it meant for pre-teens, I will say that I think the pictures added to the story. Not only are they amazing but, they help show us what everything looks like. And adds to my imagination although it takes away from my brain a little.

Anyways, I really enjoyed the book and I can't wait to read the next one! (which is sitting in my bookcase as I type.)

On Goodreads: Leviathan
Author's Website: Scott Westerfeld

So, have you read any alternate history books? What was different in the books from real history?


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Writing Tips- Prologues: Aye or Nay?

Random thought: so since tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I have been reading the articles on Yahoo! about it and in one of the articles it was talking about how President Bush was at a elementary school in Sarasota, Florida. Well the name sounded familiar and I couldn't think of why, but when I was going over some of the articles on here recently, I saw that Tuesday's post mentions Sarasota. Yep, the same town where President Bush was in ten years ago, just got on the news so soon to the anniversary of 9/11.

Anyways, back to the actual article. I was going over the comments I have gotten on my books on Inkpop recently and it came to mind that some people don't mind them and others hate them. So the question came to when is: when is it ever okay to use a prologue and does my story really need one?

Well, does it?
According to A Writer's Guide to Fiction, prologues should be used...:

  • To show a scene from the past or near future that may be too jolting in the rest of the story.
  • To introduce a character or point of view that may never be seen again in the rest of the story.
  • To provide critical infromation about the background, history, etc. that the reader needs to understand in order to understand the rest of the story but may not fit into the rest of the story. 
Here's some tips:
Some writers tend to have a prologue when it really isn't needed. For example, if you have a prologue, look and see if that information you have there could be sprinkled into the rest of the story without causing too much problems. If you can fit that information into the rest of the story without changing anything too much, chances are that you don't need that prologue. 

In The Cursing, I have a prologue. And in some ways it really isn't needed, but it's important to the story because it shows a) the viewpoint from a character who won't ever get her own point of view again and b) it shows some truth to what really happened in the past. I.e, it shows that Tatiana's aunt lies to her all the time and is evil and mean. 

Keep in mind:
  • Some readers just plain don't like prologues, even if they are well written and are important to the story. But if you feel that your story must have a prologue, buy all means, go for it! 
  • Prologues are not meant for info dumping. That's one of the reasons I didn't really liked Ready Player  One. It info dumped for the first eighty pages.
  • Try to keep it somewhat short. Although there are many books out there where the prologues are quite long (In The Book Theif, the prologue is actually several chapters and lasts more than ten pages). 
  • It's your book. Even if some one says that you shouldn't have a prologue you don't have to listen to them unless you know that you really don't need one. 
I personally don't mind prologues but only when I think they work for the story. \Sometimes, I've seen it where the author has a prologue to remind readers of what happened in the last book. For example, in Eldest, the prologue tells us what happened in Eragon. Sometimes I find this really nice, especially if its been a while since I've read the last book or if it took a while for the book to come out. 

So, do you like prologues or not? Does your story have one? 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review- XVI

( From Goodreads) Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world-even the most predatory of men-that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. 

That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past-one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

This is probably a book I would have never have picked up considering what it's themes are. But even though it sounds like something that could be bad to read for a Christian, it's actually a pretty good book. 

Living in a world where everything is about sex and looking good, Nina Oberon is one of the only people who disagree. Being raised by a mother who believes that her daughter deserves more, Nina realizes that there is more to life than boys and doing "it". 

This book tackles some strong issues I think, and I think that the author was brave to write a book dealing with sensitive issues. The book deals with murder, sex, abuse, and other things. It's about standing up for what you believe even if the world says you're wrong. About being strong even when the world around you seems to crumble and how bad things can lead to good. And about no matter how hard things get, it'll get easier in the end. And how you shouldn't believe everything you're told. Anyways, that's the message I got out of it at least. 

But besides that, I thought that most of the characters were good. I didn't like Sal very much, there was something about him I just didn't like. I also thought that her relationship with him was strange. Like sometimes she'd be in love with him and other times she wouldn't. I didn't like her friend Sandy at all. Sandy was too superficial and self-centered to be a real friend. She didn't really seem to care about Nina at all. Especially after her mom died. And even after Nina repeatedly told her to stay away from Ed, she didn't. So in the end, I was sad about what happened to her but in a way I kinda thought that she deserved it. 

I liked her grandparents. They were funny and amusing. Plus they were cute at times. I'm not really sure what I think about Dee. She seemed much younger than eleven at times. And Ed. I hated him. He was evil. As for Nina, I think she was a pretty good character to related to. Although at times she annoyed me. But I liked how she stuck to her morals even if no one else did. She cared very much about all of her friends and stuck by them even when they didn't really stand by her. 

As for the plot I wasn't super thrilled by it. I enjoyed how Nina had to try and prove that Ed killed her mom and where her dad was or if he was even alive at all. I loved the twists that I wasn't expecting too. The only problem that I have is that I think Nina constantly trying to get Ed to leave them alone was over done and that it took up too much of the plot. While Ed is certainly the villian in this story, I would have liked to have seen Nina look for her father more. 

And the very end annoyed me. I thought it was really sweet that she finally got to hear her father, but if she's never heard him speak before, than how did she know it was him speaking over the phone?

On Goodreads: XVI
Her Website: Julia Karr

So, have you ever read a book that dealt with strong/sensitive issues? Did the book bother you at all or do you think it handled that subjects well? Did you disagree or agree with the book? And have you ever picked out some themes or lessons from a story? And did those lessons affect you at all?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In the News- Football Teams Violently Attack Ref. and a Giant Crocodile.

During a Florida football game a couple weeks ago, one referee was violently attacked by first the coaches and then the teams after making a call they didn't agree with. The teams were the Sarasota Gators and the North Port Huskies. A somewhat disturbing video was shot by one of the onlookers. This video was turned over to the police and began a criminal investigation.

At first one of the Gators coaches pushed the ref, but then a player tackled him. Both teams suddenly rushed in, some tackling and kicking the ref, and others just plain fighting. What I find disturbing is that there seems to be no one coming to the poor ref's assistance. Eventually they break up the fight, but still it's pretty sad.

But what I find the most disturbing about this whole thing is the lack of respect between not only the teens involved, but the adults themselves. Is this really what our society has led to when it's okay for a coach to push a ref just because you don't agree with them and then let your team violently kick and tackle innocent people?

And to the coach who got all huffy and started this whole thing: it's just a game. It's not like one bad call will ruin anyone's lives. Sure they might be disappointed, but they'll live. And if you have a problem with a call, fighting will not solve anything.

I have provided the video here although I'm warning you that it's somewhat disturbing, not that there is any blood or anything like that but the ref gets brutally attacked. So if you don't like watching this kinda of stuff, skip over it.

Giant Crocodile Captured.
For some reason, in both In the News articles I've posted recently, they've all had to do something with animals. Hm...

Anyways, in the Philippines, villagers, veteran hunters, and experts have recently captured a 21 foot long (6.4 meters) male crocodile after hunting it for three weeks. The crocidile is now being thought to be one of the largest crocs captured alive in recent years.

The crocodile was seen having killed a water buffalo and is suspected in having something to do with the disappearence of a local fisherman back in July. The croc will be turned into the star attraction at a ecotourism park. After having destoyed four traps, the crocoidle was finally captured using a trap with steel cables.

The reptile weights about 2,370 pounds, and took around 100 people to pull it out of the creek where it was caught, to a crane that put it in a truck. It was then put into a cage in the area where the park will be built for animals found in the marhy land surrounding the town.

All in all, it turned out to have a happy end. The village, although still on the lookout for other crocodiles, is happy it won't have this beast to endanger anyone else, and the croc wasn't killed.

Articles Used for this post:
Coaches and Players Violently Attack Ref.
Giant Crocodile Captured Alive.

So, what would you do if a team suddenly attacked a ref over a bad call? Would you like to visit a giant crocodile in a park?


Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review- Ready Player One

Title: Ready Player One
Release Date: 08/16/2011
Source: NetGallery
Publisher: Crown
Author: Ernest Cline

(From NetGallery) At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut-part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune-and remarkable power-to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved-that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt-among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life-and love-in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Wow, okay that is a really long pitch! Anyways, this book sounds really good so I requested it from Netgallery.

When I started reading it, after being approved by the publisher, I expected to really like this book. And I did. But one of the biggest turns offs for me was the 80 pages of pure explaining. The story finally starts after that many pages. And in a way, I understand that a lot of the information you needed to understand the story, but most of it I thought could have been integrated into the story. I almost stopped reading it. So this makes me wonder if the author has ever heard of Showing not telling?

Anyways, the concept of this story and the whole dystopia feel I got from it was pretty cool. Once I got into the story I really liked it. The story is original and I thought it was amusing how everyone in the book is obsessed with the 1980s. That being said, it was kinda annoying, but as a reader who knows almost nothing about the 1980s it was kinda nice to have an explanation of what all the games and stuff were and what they were about.

The characters were cool and I thought that they were portrayed realistically. I enjoyed the first person point of view. At times the narrator and main character came off as arrogant and stupid to me but other times he was funny and creative. All of the other characters were smart and funny although I thought at times that their humor was crude and somewhat offensive.

Once the plot finally started up I enjoyed seeing where it was going. I loved seeing the virtual world and learning how it worked. I enjoyed seeing how everyone was fighting to get the Egg. The plot itself was fast paced for the most part and exciting with twists and turns I wasn't expecting.

So, who would I recommend this story too? Mostly adults and those who enjoy video games/ the 1980s.

On Goodreads: Ready Player One

So have you ever read a book about a time in history that you remember? Did you think that the author portrayed the time correctly or did the author twist it to fit the story?


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Writing Tips- A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words.

Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words. Meaning, you can describe a picture using a thousand words. I've never tried it but I think if you really wanted to, you could. Anyways, today I'm going to use this random picture I took of a trail when I went camping two summers ago. I thought that the picture was cool, or the path was at least, because on one side it was lush and green and on the other side it looked dead. I tried to take a picture of it here, but I don't think it turned out as how I intended it to be.

Anyways, I'm one of those people who love looking at pictures, and not just because they're pretty. I love using pictures to inspire scenes or find a picture of some one who looks similar to one of my characters. For example, I found this wonderful picture a couple months ago that looked very similar to my Main Character, Tatiana, in The Cursing.

She has white hair and wings, and in the picture it was her against a gray sky with a black bird. I want to show it to you guys cause I really like it, only when I tried finding it again on Google, I couldn't. I can't remember what I typed in. And I would go ahead and post it but I'm afraid of copyrighting someone's work on accident. So I won't.

Anyways, pictures are also a great way to work on describing things. We'll use the picture I put up as an example. Touch: The white tree in front looks like it would be hard and maybe have a papery touch. I would describe things in the picture as being dry, the leaves soft or brittle. The air would be warm. there might be some annoying dirt in my sandals and maybe even a small rock. Smell: A fresh smell that you only get from being in a forest, clean air that is not really polluted. Sight: A black dirt path, green leaves, that white tree (I think it's a birch but I'm not sure), and dark trees. Sounds: The wind as it rustles the leaves, a bunch of different bird calls. Taste: This one of always a hard one. If you're walking through a forest it's kinda hard to taste stuff. Maybe...a fresh taste?

So, do you use pictures to help you with your stories? If so, is there a certain type of picture (like nature photos, anime, etc)? Do you ever look up pictures that may resemble your characters?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Review- Zenith

( From Goodreads) The thrilling sequel to internationally acclaimed Exodus.
In this compelling continuation of Julie Bertagna’s timely trilogy, the search for a future remains a terrifying fight for survival. Sixteen-year-old Mara and her ship of refugees are tracking the North Star in search of land in the mountains of Greenland to call home. A Gypsea boy named Tuck, orphaned when Mara’s ship plows through his floating city, becomes inextricably linked to their fate. Meanwhile, back in the drowned ruins at the feet of the towering sky city, Fox begins his battle with the cruel, corrupt rulers of the New World. Forced to make their own new beginnings in a savage world, three teens must struggle to make sense of the past, overcome the harsh dangers of the present, and build a future worth living.

At first the book was really good. Everything fit in well and I was not confused at all. When Tuck came in I was okay with it. But half way through...things got really weird.

The characters were all good and believable. I was upset when several of the characters disappeared or died. Tuck was a nice addition, Mara was wonderful as in the last book, and Fox was pretty good too. As were the rest of the characters.
 As for a larger scope on Tuck, I wasn't thrilled with his point of view, it was kinda rough and there are something about it I just didn't like. Maybe it was because he was new. I'm not sure. Anyways, I would have enjoyed seeing more of Fox's point of view. I would have liked to see more of what he planned to do and how he did that. I was sad when the old lady died although we knew for a while it was going to happen.

But when Mara suddenly got pregnant, then things just got plain confusing. I wasn't really sure who's child it was, but eventually it said that it was Fox's. But then I remembered that Mara had pointed out that they couldn't touch. So if they couldn't then how could Mara have had his child? Plus I couldn't even remember how old Mara was. I think she's sixteen but I'm not sure.

The plot was good and exciting, I rooted for the characters the whole time. Although the ending confused me too. What happened to Fox and his new friend? What happened to Tuck? And Lily...I'm not sure about her in the end. I thought that the struggle to survive was real and the emotions of the characters displayed as they went through the story.

Overall it was a good book and I enjoyed it. Although I'm going to say that Mara's pregnancy kinda ruined it for me. It was just plain bizarre and it seemed kinda random to me. Will I read the third book? Probably not.

On Goodreads: Zenith
Her Website: Julie Bertagna

So have you ever read a book where something happened and it seemed totally random? Did it ruin the story for you or not?


Blog News- August Issue

Happy September! 
With most of us in our first week or so of school, life gets busy. And along with the change of a new school year comes some changes to this blog. In this newsletter, I'll give you a short overview of some changes or updates in case you've missed anything. I've also provided a fun look at the top 5 stats of this blog.

Blog News:
Welcome New Members!
Welcome new members who have joined in the month of August! We love seeing your friendly avie there in the follower box! Last month we had a total of ninteen and this month we jumped to twenty-four.

Posting Schedule:
As I'm sure at least one of you noticed, I am now posting on Wedensdays and Jessika is posting only on Sundays now. Also, Mondays have gone to just book reviews due to the fact that I am busy with school. Tuesdays shall also now have a Disscussion post where I post your comments (anoymously if you'd like) to the Disscussion topic. If there is no answers to the topic or question, I won't post anything for that one. In the comments section of the post, I'd love to hear even more of your thoughts about it or get more suggestions for topics and questions. Your opinion matters to us!

Also due to the fact that school has started, I may or not be able to post. I shall try my best to post as often as I can, but there is not gareentees.

Wanted- Suggestions 
Did you recently come across an interesting article or piece of news? Do you have a favorite picture/video that inspires you or you think is just awesome? Is there a great site you visit all the time? Or do you have a great idea for a blog post or a topic you would like to see discussed? If you have a suggestion for something or maybe you would even like to do/see a blog post on something, please let me know though either the facebook page, the contact form at the bottom of the About page, or by emailing me (email address at the bottom of the About page).

Reminders from last month:
Resource Tab
Because it's already getting pretty long and so far I've only added books and websites to it, I was wondering if I should add a category for individual pages? I'm not sure if this new category would be organized at all. So what do you think?

Wanted- Writing Ideas and Prompts
My brain isn't great with coming up good ideas, so if you have any writing prompts or ideas you'd like to share, please do so! Or maybe you have a funny story or something random/cool, that works too. Maybe a picture or video?

Yes! We finally have a facebook page! If you haven't liked it so far, please do so! Remember that you can post suggestions and other stuff on it if you'd like but just remember to keep it clean and safe. No swearing or anything with offensive stuff. I'll try my best to keep it updated with blog posts from here and news or whatever else.

Stats...because I think you might find these interesting.
These are arranged by top five.

Members: 24
Public: 24
Private: 24

Post Views:
The History and Usage of Codes.: 46
How to Get Away with a Love Triangle.: 46
Wings (Wings #1) [by Apirlynne Pike]: 29
The Liebster Blog Award: 26
Movie Review- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 21

Page Views:
Post Archive: 22
About: 12
resources: 8
Writing Prompts: 4

Referring Sites: 180 32 20 17 16
Wow! That's alot of googles!

Search Keywords:
secret code alphabet: 5
books: 3
pigpen chiper: 3
pigpen code: 3
shape poems: 3

Pageviews based on countries: 
United States: 973
United Kingdom: 51
Netherlands: 51
India: 33
Australia: 24

Pageviews (Browsers):
Chrome: 629 (47%)
Internet Explorer: 324 (24%)
Safari: 167 (12%)
Firefox: 158 (11%)
Mobile Safari: 24 (1%)

Pageviews (operating System):
Windows: 1,079 (81%)
Macintosh: 74 (5%)
Iphone: 61 (4%)
Linux: 36 (2%)
Ipod: 36 (2%)

Post(s) with the most comments:
In 1988...: 5 comments
The Liebster Blog Award: 5 comments

So, did you enjoy this month's newsletter? Do you think something could be changed or added?

Thank you so much for reading this blog!


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