Monday, July 30, 2012

A Trip to the Bookstore

Yesterday I went to the bookstore for the first time in a long time.  That's not so say I haven't read I just haven't physically gone into a bookstore.   Anyway, while there I remembered how much I missed being next to all those shelves of books.  They all smell so new and fresh with words covering their pages and it is amazing.

Enough blabbering about pretty new books and shiny covers, though.  The real point of this post is to talk about my recent book purchases from that bookstore.  I purchased two books during my trip, Legend by Marie Lu and my current obsession Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  

I have to say that I feel a bit bad about beginning Delirium right now.  I have another book that I am in the middle of reading but I just couldn't resist.  From the first page the world crafted by Oliver has dragged me right into the bay of Portland, Maine and I cannot seem to get back to shore.  This will have to be one of those reads that puts everything else on hold.  Still, I feel as though I have cheated on my other books just the tiniest bit.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RTW: Reincarnated

I stumbled upon Road Trip Wednesday a few weeks ago and decided to answer the question this week.   The reading and/or writing related questions are posted every week over on YA Highway and everyone can hop around to see what other people have posted.  This week's question is...

If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?

Ok, this was difficult for me as I am sure it was for everyone else.  There are just too many great characters and my love for dystopian novels doesn't help me much.  Dystopian novels are filled with brilliant, strong characters but let's face it they go through the most challenging things.  I am just not sure I would be up for that.  So I continued to rack my brain for other characters and then I remembered one particular character that I loved. 

The main character from Inkheart, Meggie Folchart, was one of my favorite characters and books growing up.  I have always loved reading and books and Meggie's ability to get in and out of Inkheart is amazing.  I also remember relating to her and her father's great relationship.  My father and I continue to be very close even now that I live most of the year at college.  As I have gotten older I also have admired, and been incredibly jealous of, the Aunt's huge home filled with books.  It has always been a dream of mine to have a library, although with the digital age of books I am not sure how that will become a reality.  

Other than that I of course would love to be reincarnated as Hermione Granger or Lucy from Narnia.  Both those characters are so different yet intriguing and the worlds they call home are utterly amazing.  They all remind me of my childhood.

So, that is who I would choose, but who would you choose?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Death Cure Review

I first must say that I was incredibly excited to read this book by James Dashner.  I read The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials about a year ago and had almost forgotten about the series until I stumbled upon this book while browsing through Goodreads.  If you haven't read the first two in the series and you are a fan of dystopian, sci-fi, or just like post apocalyptic books I erg you to try this series.  Here is the Goodreads synopsis. 

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

First of all, if you haven't guessed by my reading list filled with dystopian novels, this book series is perfect for me.  I am fascinated by post apocalyptic worlds and the world Dashner has created doesn't disappoint.  For the first time we get to see what happens outside of WICKED minus the elaborate variables and tests; and man is it a scary world.  Contrary to many dystopian novels with their dictating governments, Dashner's world is spinning out of control.  This creates a dizzying fear within the reader that is difficult to find in many other books. 

Apart from the world the characters that populate it are some of my favorites.  While I do like Thomas I find that my favorite characters throughout this series are the subordinate characters.  Throughout this particular book Brenda, Minho, and Newt were some of my favorites.   I enjoyed reading every bit of these characters moments and fell in love with their individual personalities.  Minho is especially kick ass (excise my french) and adds a lighter air to an otherwise dark novel.  

This being said, something about Theresa and Thomas just rubbed me the wrong way.  It began in The Scorch Trials but continued throughout this book.  Theresa's character seemed to become unimportant to me.  She was somewhat flat, and while I know this had something to do with point of view it still bothered me.  I loved her in the first book but through the second and now third book I began to feel apathetic about what happened to her.  I hate feeling this way about characters that play such an important role in the beginning.  It is like losing touch with an old friend.  

Other than this I believe this book is a great read for anyone looking for something dystopian.  While it is not my favorite dystopian I liked the unique world and the unannounced twists that will leave you guessing.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Bridge of Deaths Review

I recently was asked to read and review this book for a lovely author on Bookblogs.  Her book is called The Bridge of Deaths and her name is M.C.V Egan.  You can read the good reads description here but if found that that provided very little information.  Instead here is my synopsis of the book.

It begins with the introduction of the meeting between Maggie and Bill.  Maggie follows Bill to a book store where he is attempting to uncover the origin of dreams that have plagued him throughout his life.  Together the couple seek out to find what is troubling Bill.  Their search takes them through the discovery of "The Bridge of Deaths" and a disturbing plane crash.  Along the way they meet a woman, who your realize is the author, who is looking to discover the truth behind the same crash that killed her grandfather.  The story continues on as a mix of facts about Egan's research and a narrative concerning Bill and Maggie.

Now at first I was a little worried about reading this book.  I rarely, if ever, read Historical fiction and  did not particularly like History in school.  I was surprised when I became hooked in the first few pages.  I really enjoyed the fictional relationship between Maggie and Bill.  They were both increadibly likable and real characters.  Their storyline became the part of the book I enjoyed the most.

I was also sucked into the slightly paranormal side to this novel.  While it is mostly fact based there is a little bit of past life/psychic encounters throughout the story.  I believe these paranormal aspects of the book fit seamlessly into the premis of the book while still giving the story an interesting viewpoint.

While I enjoyed reading this book it was out of the ordinary for me.  I felt that some parts were almost too saturated with information.  During these places the story seemed lost behind the facts and it was difficult to follow the narrative.  The lists of books were also overwhelming and unnecessary, in my opinion.  After reading the first few sources I finally skipped that entire section.  While I understand that this shows in immense amount of work that the author has done, I believe the bibliography at the end is sufficient.   As a whole it is already apparent she put spent a huge amount of research into this book and these parts seem to bog down the reading.

This being said this book was a good change from my normal bookshelf full of fantasy/scifi/dystopian novels.  It makes me want to branch out more often.  So, if you are someone who loves history or historical fiction than this is indeed the book for you.  It is a book filled with facts that will open your eyes to something very little people have investigated.  The author has put so much time and effort into this book and I applaud her for that. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Poetry...As a Therapy

Poetry is one of those realms that either scares a writer to death or becomes an addiction.  I recently dove into poetry after taking a class focusing on how madness and poetry are related.  It was a very insightful and interesting class that combined writing and reading so that you really gained an understanding from both sides of the spectrum.   

During this class, as I stated before, I had to write poems *shudders*.  Yes, you heard me correctly write my own poetry.  First of all let's clear some thing up.  I have always been incredibly insecure about my writing.  Since the time I began writing in middle school I never, and I mean never, let anyone read my stories.  They stayed locked away and hidden within the pages of my numerous notebooks, so letting others read my work was difficult if not impossible with poetry.  Next take keep in mine I might have written poetry once and failed before taking this class. 

The deal for the class was to write three papers and at least one of the three had to be creative.  I was terrified when I heard this and decided that my first paper would be analytical.  (Typical me putting off what needs to be done).  When the second essay loomed around I had no idea what I was going to write.  I decided to do an imitation of a poet to ease the pain.  I was surprised by what I found. 

I have to say that by no means did I find that my poetry was anything special.  In fact if we're being entirely honest it sucked, but the experience was not as difficult as I imagined.  I actually felt that I learned more about myself than in any other piece of my written work.  I cried while writing one of my poems, CRIED.  I have seldom cried while writing and when I do it is more along the lines of teary eyes not an all out sob fest.  The poems I wrote were me and only me.  They were parts of myself I either denied or ignored.  I touched on insecurities, flaws, as well as aspects I loved about myself.  
In the end I learned that poetry is personal.  It's deep and it can unlock places within you that you never thought existed.  So even if you know you are not a poet and you know your poetry sucks, I think that sometimes it can be interesting to see what comes out of that pen.  I find so many times that my stories help me cope with life but poetry helped me deal with life.

So next time you open up that word document or pull out your favorite pen try something new.  Try and understand the real you with a bit of therapeutic  poetry writing.  For me it was easier to start with some more free flow and prose but if you feel better with something more regimented go for it! Who knows what you may uncover when you finish those stanzas?

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Lucky One Review

So I recently read The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks, obvious by the title of this post.  I read the book because the movie came out a little while ago and, as any reader, I had to read the book first so that I can be thoroughly disappointed with the movie.  I also didn't get around to seeing the movie in theaters so I thought I would read the book and wait until the movie came out on DVD.

Now before I get on to a whole review of the book, I must say that I haven't read any realistic fiction in a long time.  Around my junior year of high school I stopped reading this genre in favor of dystopians and fantasy books.  My friend offered to lend me a few books this summer and this just happens to be one of them so I picked it up.

The Lucky One, if you haven't heard about it already, is about a soldier who finds a picture of a woman during his service in Iraq.  After finding the picture he finds that luck is suddenly on his side during a series of near death encounters.  When he returns home he decides to find the woman in the photo.  This lands him in a small town in North Carolina where he works for the woman and her mother.  Their relationship blossoms but problems arise when she finds he is keeping the whole truth about himself and intentions from her.

Well, there were parts about this book that sucked me in and others that turned me off.  Probably the biggest aspect of the book that grabbed my attention and held it by a noose was the romance.  I am a sucker for romance.  I get stuck in it as if it were quicksand swallowing me whole.   This sometimes bothers me because I don't know whether I am judging a book fairly or if I just liked it because of the romance.

The other part that I liked a lot was the suspense and the emotion of this book.  There was never a dull moment and most of the parts of the book felt like they should be there.  I absolutely hate when authors add seemingly useless information that makes you want to skim through pages.  This book didn't have that.  It always kept me engaged and wondering what would happen next.  The end also throws you a bit of a curveball which is fun.  I also really enjoyed reading about the grandmothers.  She is a piece of work and my favorite character in the book.

But, and there is always a but, the other characters left something to be desired.  I felt that sometimes reading this book something was off about the characters, well the two main characters to be precise.  It appears Sparks spent a boat load of time outlining and fleshing out the subordinate characters but just through Elizabeth and Logen together.  Deputy Clayton, was perfect, you hated to hate him.  Elizabeth's son was cute and her grandmother was a great personality, and my favorite character as said before.  Elizabeth and Logan though, flat as pieces of paper.  They were too perfect and too pretty for their own good.  Nothing they did was wrong and I have a problem with that.  My whole philosophy is, a perfect character is an unrelatable character.  

Another part that bothered me slightly was the relationship between Logan and Elizabeth.  Like their characters, it didn't seem real.  They would fight but continually get back together without a hiccup.  Again too perfect for real life.  I know this is supposed to be a feel good capture you and fill you with happiness kind of book but a little bit of reality never hurt anyone.

All in all I would give this book three stars.  It grabbed my attention and kept me reading until the end, despite the lack of character development.  It was definitely driven by the intense romance and the overwhelming drama which is good and bad.  Overall it was a read that took very little thought, so if you are looking for something easy to take your mind off life on a Sunday afternoon I would recommend this book.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In My Own Little World

What if I didn't write?  I recently thought about this question while driving home from work.  I work at a take-out restaurant during the summer that can be particularly boring at time. To remedy this I have found that thinking up stories while I am waiting for a customer is an especially good way to kill time.  But what if I didn't make up stories?

I realize that there are millions of people who have not written their own creative piece of work maybe since a creative writing class taken to fulfill a requirement for school.  Some have never written something like this and that is not a bad thing.  I just wonder what goes through their minds.  They cannot be as barren as I imagine.  There must be something else there.

As an espiring writer and lover of words, I do not know what it would be like if suddenly all the stories in my mind disappeared.  Sure I have had writers block but that usually doesn't last longer than a few days to weeks at most.  I am talking about a serious lack of story.  I don't know about other writers out there, but writing and stories are always in the back of my mind.  It is as if my brain were a giant chalk board rethinking and imagining plots and characters.  Some of these projects get put on papers others get thrown on the shelf or thrown out completely.

Now that I have begun blogging the canvas has become vaster.  What do I post?  What book to read next and how to give a great review? Most importantly, though, I want my posts to mean something to my readers, no matter how many I have.  This has added a further challenge for me but one that I take on happily.

With all these thought going through my mind I wonder what I would do without writing during my most productive time.  It is during the evening when I most often feel the need to write.   I find myself fleshing out a particularly elusive character or dreaming about how my new world functions.  If I didn't have writing to think about I would probably be worrying about some assignment or responsibility and playing out all the possible outcomes of my next week.  It is really awful, I worry about everything.

At the end of the day writing is my passion, my need, and ultimately my crutch.  It lets me get away from my world and enter another for a brief period.  So tell me what you would do without writing or, if writing isn't your thing, what about reading?  I know I would not be as sane as I am now, which is questionable anyway.