I Know, I Know – I’m a Horrible Blogger!

          Okay, so get your yelling at me done now – I haven’t posted in forever! Now you’ve gotten that out, in my defense, I’ve been very busy. Unfortunately, that busyness had nothing to do with books – I mourn that more than you know. However, I have read two books recently, one that I just finished today. The first one is Of Mice and Men, written by the classic writer John Steinbeck (who is, coincidentally, also the author of The Grapes of Wrath, which I would also like to read). This book is about two men traveling together in order to get work on ranches. They are trying to save up for their own property.

          The really touching part of this story is the characterization of the people. George is gruff and stern, and Lennie is mentally disabled, but they are close enough to be brothers. Curley’s meanness and Slim’s sympathy to the hardships of their fellow workers give a lot of depth to the book that I didn’t expect to get from a book published in the early 1900’s – no, I’m not discriminatory, I just don’t usually like older books, mostly because of some of the language used. However, this was very good. Given the choice, I would’ve rewritten the ending, just because it made me cry. Although the ending was short, it was not anticlimatic by any means. So, not my favorite book, but not at the bottom of the list either!

          The other book, the one that I finished today, was an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of the soon-to-be-released Eona! I WAS SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK!! And I wasn’t disappointed. The romance, intrigue, suspense, and betrayal threaded through the entire plot – which began on page one and didn’t end until 635 – I was completely enthralled with each and every word and then wanted more at the end (there definitely needs to another book – fanfiction anyone, ‘cuz I don’t think anyone’s writing another UNFORTUNATELY)!

          For anyone who has enjoyed the thrills and horrors of the first book – admit it, it was a little gruesome at the end – this book most definitely usurps the first in every way imaginable. Granted, it’s been awhile since I read Eon, but I don’t think that I’m exaggerating when I say that the sequel is AMAZING!! The fight to reinstate Kygo as emperor as Eona attempts to embrace her newly revealed womanhood and her struggle to master her dragon powers is not just a fight for imperial rights – it is also a fight between trust and deception.

          Yeah, I’m rereading this, and I just realized that I might just be the worst blogger ever, if only because I hardly ever find a bad book. Or does that make me a good blogger? Haha I’m just babbling now, but seriously, these two are VERY good! And any tips on the blogging, let me know!

All yours,
Me!

Advertisements

Series. Hate ’em. Can’t Read Without ’em.

You’re probably wondering about the title of this post. Well, I just finished the latest in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Fallen Angels and I can’t stand how books in a series don’t come out right as you finish the latest book. I loved this book (as I love most of the books I read) and I CANNOT wait for the next book – the way I know that there will be a next book, you may ask? The ending of this one, of course! Although it was a little bit anticlimatic, I literally shrieked with frustration – no, really, my brother called me a wacko and my mom came downstairs to see what all the racket was about – because the rest of the book had me so drawn in and I reeeeeeallllllly NEED to know what happens next.

This book really focused on Simon, Clary’s best friend – I won’t go into too much detail on the content, for those of you who haven’t read the series and plan on doing so soon. I liked this because it focused more on the plot. I also liked how the relationships between the characters tie into the plot, they’re not just there to fill in the story as fluff. However, I’m just going to say this because I need to get it out of my system: JACE IS A SELFISH JERK AND EVEN THOUGH I KNOW WHAT CLARY SEES IN HIM, I DON’T KNOW WHAT CLARY SEES IN HIM!!!! I know that may not have made much sense, but it will. Oh it will. But anyway.

All in all, it was a great book. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire day, and I literally could not put it down. I don’t believe this book has left my hand since 8:00 this morning when my friend gave it to me til 10 minutes ago when I finished it. I just have to say to anyone who reads this blog that it IS a book worth reading, and so is the rest of the series! Just so you know, it starts with City of Bones, then City of Ashes, and penultimately (at least so far) City of Glass. Last, also up until this point, is City of Fallen Angels.

I don’t have enough time right now to elaborate too much, but go ahead and read the book – it’s amazing!

Happy reading!
Yours Truly

The Most Controversial Topic in the History of Books. (Not Really)

Okay, so I told you I’d come back to this topic, and so I shall: Twilight. Possibly the stupidest, most cliche book ever – if you talk to a hater/cynic. Also possibly the most romantic, well written book you could ever come across – if you talk to a hopeless romantic/optimist. So clearly, there are many different opinions. I’m not going to share mine, because I’ll be bashed either way, and I don’t plan on offending anybody with my opinion. However, I will say that my friend presented this amazing speech last year in class about Twilight – and completely dissected the story into nothing while keeping her audience – whether they loved or hated the book – completely entertained. While you read this speech, keep a very sarcastic, humorous viewpoint/voice in your head, because obviously it’s different reading it than it is to hear it.

“His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday’s hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were imbedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn’t sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.” (Twilight, pg 260)

Who needs three adjectives to describe eyelids? In this passage, there are 69 words, 18 of which are either adjectives or adverbs, 5 being synonyms for “sparkling.” The Twilight saga has been an insult to relationships, literature, women, and even love since the day Stephenie Meyer got published.

Edward and Bella have a very unhealthy relationship. It can even be categorized as “abusive.” An abusive relationship can be characterized by jealousy, sexual coercion, verbal abuse, control games, and power plays. Within the Twilight Saga, there are many examples of all of these. Edward is so jealous of Jacob that he steals the engine from Bella’s truck to keep her from seeing him. He manipulates Bella into marrying him, despite her protests that they are too young, by telling her that the only way he will have sex with her is if they marry. When Edward leaves her in the second book, Bella puts her life in jeopardy just to hear his voice. She confronts some man on the street who she thought was the same man who tried to rape her in the previous book. She crashes while on a motorcycle and slices herself open. She flings herself off a cliff and almost drowns. This extreme behavior should not be condoned and definitely should not be portrayed as an effective way to get your boyfriend back. Additionally, Edward has complete control over the physical relationship between the two. He decides how long and when Bella is allowed to kiss him, and rejects her when she tries to act on her own. He also has control over every other aspect of their relationship. He never takes Bella’s opinions or wants into consideration, and often reacts violently and makes it impossible for her to do what she wants. He withholds sex “for her own protection”, insulting her intelligence. Is she not mature enough to know what she wants? And when they do get married and have sex in the last book, Bella gets badly bruised. Unintentional abuse is still abuse. Edward tells Bella “I can’t live without you” and threatens to commit suicide if she were to leave him. Suicide threats are characteristic of abusers, and teaching hormonal pre-teens that suicide is romantic will not lead anywhere good. He frequently scares her with his vampirism, constantly reminding her that he could easily kill her. She knows that he is dangerous, and can decide to take that risk by herself. She doesn’t need anyone, not even her “lover,” telling her what to do. Not to mention that he habitually breaks into her room through her window and watches her sleep, even before they professed their supposed love for each other. Meyer celebrates this abusive and downright creepy relationship as the ultimate form of romance.|

Secondly, Stephenie Meyer is an inexperienced and just plain bad writer. The books have an over-all lack of depth and literary quality. She used a forced vocabulary in the wrong context, as if she uses right-click thesaurus on every other word. She overcomplicates everything, turning “small town” into “diminutive municipality,” and it just doesn’t make sense. Good writing is written simply. In addition, the plot is basically non-existent. One sentence can cover the whole series: a girl falls in love with a vampire, who she winds up with together forever despite a few minor discrepancies. The rest is nothing more than fluffy filler. The climax occurs in the last two chapters of the book, and is completely irrelevant to the preceding 400 pages. The conflict is resolved way too easily. Also, the characters are flat and predictable. Meyer tries way too hard to develop characters that have no personalities, and the end result is a bunch of forced, awkward characteristics that do not hold up to closer scrutiny. You can sum up all of the characters in one word: Bella is clumsy, Edward is sparkly, Jacob is a rapist. Good books have dynamic characters with multiple personality traits.

It may sound melodramatic and a tad cliché to say that Twilight is misogynistic, but it undeniably is. Bella is completely dependent on Edward. She is insecure and needs his attention. She is ecstatic that some guy she doesn’t know has been watching her sleep. She has decided that Edward is the only thing she needs; forget college, a career, and even her family. She wants to throw her life away to become a vampire for some guy she just met. Also, Bella is a stereotypical girl. Meyer tries—and fails—to give Bella some individuality by making her love classical literature and excel at biology. But she doesn’t demonstrate this in her thoughts or speech. When she starts dating Edward, she loses all sense of independence. She just does whatever he wants her to, because he knows best. She is also physically, logically, emotionally, and mentally feeble. She faints at the sight of blood. She never thinks anything through, and all of her decisions end in disaster. Whether it be walking down dark alleys at night, or going into a ballet studio where she knows an evil vampire bent on her painful death is hiding, Bella always gets herself into trouble, out of which a man always carries her. She fits the traditional gender roles, taking up the cooking and cleaning because her father, who has lived alone for some 17 years, can’t manage to do that on his own. In Twilight, Bella is not the only female who supports sexism. Alice is another stereotypical, superficial woman who is obsessed with parties, clothes, and looking pretty. She is dependent on Jasper, does whatever Edward says, and doesn’t even contribute to the fights. All Rosalie wanted from life was to be pretty, rich, and have pretty babies, until she got raped and became a bitter victim. And Esme? We know nothing about Esme other than she threw herself off a cliff because her baby died. She has no special power, and is just a maternal figure; yet she doesn’t even serve as a role model, the way Carlisle is to Edward. Bella’s mom is silly, unorganized, flighty, and can’t care for herself, which is a foil to the man in the relationship, Bella’s dad, who is solid, consistent, and responsible. The human females are immediately assumed to be shallow, and Bella never give them a chance to disprove her unexplained prejudice. Again, they foil with the human males, who are at least given personality traits. If you’re looking for a strong female lead in this book, I can assure you that you’re wasting your time.

Lastly, Bella and Edward claim to be in love. But really, you can’t fall in love in a matter of days, especially not with someone you don’t even talk to. It takes at least a few months to establish a meaningful relationship, something that never happens in Twilight. She doesn’t even know him. All Bella knows about her “lover” is that he’s a sparkly vampire with serious anger issues. She never lists his personality traits as a reason for her love, but she does mention his physical traits many times. Face, voice, eyes, movement, smile, teeth, muscles, skin, chest, breath, scent, and laughter are all reasons she loves him, but they’re not very good ones. Not once do they discuss subjects of importance, such as politics or economy. Basically, they know nothing of each other. At least get to know someone before you decide to devote your life to them.

All in all, Twilight is a bad influence. It has many underlying messages that we do not want to teach our youth: self-sacrifice makes you a worthy girlfriend. Female passivity is a state to be encouraged. Your life should be dependent on your boyfriend. Your boyfriend knows what’s best for you. You should compromise your own safety to draw the attention of a lover. Promoting unhealthy relationships, proving that anyone can get published, setting women back twenty years, and demeaning love are not exactly the best impacts a book could have.

So there you have it. I hope you had a couple of good laughs in there, whether or not you’re a fan of the series. Feel free to voice whatever opinions you have, and if you don’t happen to agree with either me (which I didn’t really share my opinion, but go ahead anyway 😛 ), my friend, or anyone else, please have the common sense and courtesy to be respectful and polite. I know this is a hot topic with many people – there doesn’t seem to be a moderate on the subject, at least as far as I’ve heard.

Happy reading!
Yours Truly

It’s Been Awhile….

Sorry everyone! Been busy the past couple days, but I did finish two books! Firelight and Between Shades of Gray were simply amazing. I finished Firelight in a day and a half, and started and finished Between Shades of Gray in the same day. Here are my reviews of both:

For a summary of Firelight, it is about a girl whose true form is a draki, a descendent of dragons. She and her mom and twin sister fled their home for a desert, and her mom wants to make her kill off her draki and become a human forever (I know – you thought your mom was bad). But Jacinda wants her draki to survive, so gets close to a hunter that goes to her school. As they fall in love, Jacinda is conflicted between two of her instincts: that of a draki in danger, and that of a girl in love.

This story is immediately intriguing. Written in the first person, you are always first – and sometimes only – one to know what she is thinking and feeling. As her anger at her mom grows, and her desperation to stay a draki increases, the author has you sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting to see what Jacinda will do. You get caught up in the suspense and fear and the worry. It was these emotions that drew me in deeper, and these emotions that will tug at your heart, eliciting your sympathy and compassion for this particular draki.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruby Sepetys is also a heart-wrenching book, though in a different manner. This book was based on World War Two, and takes place in Lithuania, which was taken over by the Soviet Union, not Hitler and his Nazis. The main character is a teenage girl named Lina. Lina is an artist. She had hopes of entering an arts program the year that the Soviets came and took her, along with her mother and brother, to a work camp along with several hundred others. Her father had been separated from them for a while, and she eventually finds out that he is in a prison camp. She has decided to pass along drawings through the hands of thousands in hopes that it will reach her father, and he will be able to come and find them. This story is about the horrors of the war not just for Jews, but also for millions of others.

Sepetys catches readers in the net of her story right from the beginning. Also written in the first person, this book begins with the fear of a young girl, confused and being forced from her home with her family. In that very first night, she saw more horrors than she would ever wish to see, and probably wouldn’t have seen if she hadn’t lived through that war. And her nightmare continued for 12 years. This is the story of a war, so if you are a very visual reader, be careful. I felt sick through some of this because of the descriptions, and could only imagine what the people really felt as they lived through these events. It is an amazing book, enlightening, and empowering people to be thankful that all they have are a few lousy worksheets to do for homework, instead of having to look forward to freezing to death in a camp in the arctic circle with no shelter, even though there are cozy brick buildings less than a hundred yards away.

I encourage you to read both of these books – one for the entertainment, and one for the learning experience. I trust you know which is which, and that you’ll appreciate each of them for their worth.

Sincerely loving this whole blogging thing,
Yours truly

Poem Number One

Okay, so this is a poem written right after one of the scariest moments of my life. I gave it to my English teacher, and she said that she loved it, and not to change anything. Keep in mind everything in this is real – it happened. None of this is elaboration or writer’s liberty or whatever. It is simply when went through my head in a poetic format.

Red Dawn

I woke with scream.
Not mine.
The banging on the door –
The anger and hurt,
            And pain
In that voice.
MY BROTHER.

I flew out of bed to add to the screams,
But was stopped not my brother, but by the sight.

Red, red –
Streaming, dripping, frightening –
Blood.

The white was a good sign, though it was soaked through.
My anger was halted, replaced by mirroring the drops on his face –
            Not sadness, but fright, worry.
His eyes were twins, shining and overflowing every time he squeezed out a tear.

Control wasn’t hard –
I did what I had to to keep him quiet –
Comfort, anger, a hug.

I ignored everything my mind was telling me –
BLOOD DANGER WORRY SCREAM HELP CRY
            SHOCK – don’t do anything
And dialed. I could hold on to the control.
At least until they arrived.
At least until they arrived.
At least until they arrived.

My mouth was moving –
What was I telling him?
His tears, the wound, the glass everywhere,
Was finally breaking through my defenses.
My cold, calculating part was allowing the tears to flow.
I wasn’t thinking about arteries, pressure –
I was thinking.
            Help. I need help.
            I need my mom, my dad.

And then they were there.
And I could cry.

That’s it! I hope you got to see into my brain there a little, and that this wasn’t too horrible to your eyes – I’m sure my English teacher missed something or other that could be revised, but for now, this is how it is.

I can’t wait to hear from you, so shower me with comments, likes, dislikes, and other critiques!!!

Of course,
Yours Truly

Two New Books!!

All right, I finally finished two more books – I had to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for school, and The Vampire Diaries: The Return Volume 3: Midnight I read for my own benefit. I’ll admit, Mark Twain, the classic author of 19th century America, is an amazing writer – I love the character Huck – but the grammar of people in the 19th century was awful! It was very difficult to get through the book because of the speech of the time. However, I’m sure when the book was originally published the people of the time could understand it perfectly fine. So maybe what I’m saying is that I never want to time travel to the South of the 1800’s? Yep, that sounds about right.

But The Vampire Diaries is an excellent series. My cousin got me started on them, and although I was unable to read the two books before Midnight, I liked this one well enough. I know, I know, I read the last book in a series (at least so far) without reading the two before it?!? Yes, unfortunately I came across this one first, but you know what? I’m going to go back to read those two books, and I read the first three books, so don’t go judging me – I don’t LIKE to read a series out of order! You know those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books? Yeah, there’s about 200 of those, and I read them in order! Not that those books really even needed to be read in order.
Anyway.
Vampires. Yes, I know they’re cliche nowadays, especially after the Twilight series came out – (which, by the way, I have something to sayon that too, but that’s another post) – but this series isn’t quite like Stephanie Meyer’s version three-one-two-point-oh of vamps, sparkling in sunlight and such. This is more the blood-and-gore, sly, inhuman type of vampire.

For those of you who are not familiar with the series, let me give a little background – for those who have read the series, you can skip the next paragraph or so if you so desire. This series begins with a teenager named Elena Gilbert, a very All-American girl with blonde hair, blue eyes, and the jocks jostling for the position of her boyfriend. Her clique is a circle of very close friends though – Merdith Sulez, Bonnie McCullough, and Caroline Forbes. The girls are unusual in the fact that they do like each other, and share everything with each other. That is, until Elena discovers two new boys in town. She decides to make one of them her new boyfriend, not knowing that he and his brother are vampires. Stefan and Damon, the vampire brothers, elude Elena, arousing her curiousity. Elena discovers that they are vampires first, and then shares with Bonnie and Meredith, excluding Caroline because of the distance that has grown between them. The series progresses because something is intent on destroying Elena’s home of Fell’s Church. As she discovers the hidden world around her, she falls in love. Part of the problem in the story is that fact: Elena doesn’t know who she loves.

Now that we’re all caught up, for  my opinion of the story: I enjoy it immensely. The determination of Elena and her friends to protect their town from whatever has ill intent for it is admirable, and incredibly brave. I also like the characterization of the figures represented in the book. Elena must grow up from a materialistic homecoming queen to a fierce guardian of her town. Meredith, the brave friend, and Bonnie, the fearful psychic, as well as their football playing friend Matt, have also become entangled in the Power within their town. Stefan and Damon are complete foils of each other, and I feel as though I am in sync with the characters whether they are concerned, sad, irked, or just plain angry at one another. I also enjoy the way the author begins the series with Elena’s diary and then continues to incorporate some of it the rest of the book.

This is all my opinion. Go out and read the book and give me yours!

Love in books,
Yours truly!

Is it just me?

Okay, so I’m curious: how many of you out there enjoy writing just as much as you enjoy reading? I know that I do. I have written several books (or at least started to – none of them are finished YET) and absolutely love writing poetry. Maybe I’ll post some of them here, and I would love to read what you guys have written. I know there’s that whole “It’s not done yet, blah blah blah” but if you have a poem, I’d love to read it. Just post either the poem or a link to it in a comment, and I’ll be sure to see it. I can’t wait to hear from you guys, and I’ll return the favor and post some of my stuff here too.

Through books and through words that carry us to other worlds,
Always,
Yours truly!