Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Hunger Games: A Surprise Inspiration

While shopping in Barnes and Noble today (because there was a Leap Day coupon for members duh), I saw that The Hunger Games was put on the Religion and Inspiration table. I just thought it was hilarious and probably looked like the biggest geek taking a picture of it in front of all the ladies waiting to get their book signed by a Mob Wife. 

The Hunger Games really as been inspirational to me. Especially at the gym:
My friend and I always joke about how we would have been killed in the Cornucopia at the beginning of the Games...I've been training to make it to at least the scene in the cave :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

So this is my first In My Mailbox and, if you didn't know, it's a weekly meme by The Story Siren and its purpose is for bloggers to share all their lovely book goodies they've gotten throughout the week. So let me get started:
(Links are back to Goodreads page)

The Dead Celebrity Cookbook by Frank Decaro

Not a fiction book, but it is a book that I won through Staten Island Parent I'm not an actual parent (unless you count Fred and Albert my guinea pigs)...and no I don't cook at all but it fills my bookshelf and it is the first book I've ever won so woohoo me! All those hours of lazying around the internet at work really paid off! (Please note the sarcasm here)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I've been thinking about reading this book for a while so when my bank was offering a discount on redeeming my reward points for gift cards, I couldn't resist but to get $100 dollars to Barnes and Nobles and thus this book.

The Light of Asteria by Elizabeth Isaac
This was a book I just came across on Goodreads and also decided to buy with my Barnes and Noble gift card (or BNN) as my older sister and I like to call it so my little sister doesn't come to interrupt our Starbucks and gossip magazine time...Anywoooo I finished reading it on Sunday so a review is to come.
From Netgalley, I got:

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

So that's it! Feel free to link back to your post about books you got! I get most of my book selections from blogs or Goodreads so I love to know what others are reading.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book to Movie: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Just heard that they are making Stephanie Meyer's adult science fiction book THE HOST into a movie. If you haven't read it, I would recommend it. I haven't actually read it since it first came out but I remember liking it and I'm not usually into science fiction. The movie isn't coming out until 2013 so I have a little time to read it....I really should be re-reading The Hunger Games first! Haha.

Here's a link to her website which gives you more information about the movie! Check it out:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver
 Pages: 480
 Publisher: HarperCollins
 Genre: Young Adult / Dystopian
 First Published: February 1, 2011
 First Line: “It has been sixty-four year since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

The GIST (From Goodreads):

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.

I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.

I want to get it over with.

It’s hard to be patient.

It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet.

Still, I worry.

They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.

The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t


Let me start out by saying that I'm so happy to hear that Pandemonium (Book 2) is coming out soon! If that doesn't say enough about my opinion, let me further explain.

To me, Delirium was a lot like Uglies by Scott Westerfield. It starts out with the main character, in this case Lena, looking forward to her upcoming procedure where she will be cured of the ability to love (or made pretty...). The cure promises a life with no more pain, from the past or in the future, and Lena is looking forward to her world without heartache.

As the story goes on, you learn a lot about her logic and the events that lead up to why she thinks the way she does which are both terrible and juicy. Lena turns out to be one part goodie-goodie, wanting the cure, and one part rebel (but I won't go further into that); although she says that she wants the cure, a lot of her decisions say the opposite. I thought she was interesting and completely dynamic. She had been told her whole life that love is a disease, something that contaminates everything around it....but as much as Lena thinks her life would be better without having to feel, she knows it will cause everything to change. I could really see why they would get rid of love, the problems it causes; at the same time, I saw how love makes the world more intense. Being cured makes the world blurry and unfocused, being in love makes it sharp. The concept made me really think about how easy it would be to just take away all that intense emotion but also how terrible. I liked how getting rid of love didn't only affect things like romantic relationship but also the relationships between friends and family.

Romantic relationships are, of course, a large part of the novel. The romance between Lena and Alex was sweet and tender. It was nice to see a romance blossom from a fun, light place with laughter and flirtation instead of being dark and sad which some older YA novels tend toward. The relationship was the definition of teenage puppy love. Intense and overwhelming so a little superficial and shallow, but in a world where love is outlawed, Oliver somehow made it feel deep and real.

I read so fast and hard to the end, I felt out of breath. I wanted to know what happened! And what did happen made my stomach clench; in that it was awesome in that OH NO! kind of way. Ohhhhhh I can't wait to see what happens next! I actually read to the end, tried to read the excerpt from the next book the same night but couldn't absorb it. I actually had to wait a whole 'nother day to fully finish the book.

With that, there were, of course, somethings I didn't really like. Although I liked Lena a lot most of the time, when she goes into the I'm so plain and normal and ugly train of thought, it really annoyed me. I've said this before but why can't I get a confident main character in a YA novel? I would have liked to see someone like Lena's best and super confident friend, Hana, as a main character. Anyway, she wasn't so down on herself to be annoying. There were also some world building things, like the fact that the cured could still have a wide range of emotion like being irritated and worried, that didn't really fit with how the effect of the cure was described. However, it didn't ruin the book for me.


Delirium was gripping, exciting, and completely satisfying. It filled that spot for a intensely romantic novel encased in a enthralling, thought provoking world. I would highly recommend it to any YA readers or anyone else who wants to hear me ramble about books!---9.5

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Linkin Park's Burning in the Skies: Scene Inspiration

Linkin Park has always been a great inspiration to me. I've loved them since highschool (not all their songs and definitely not their new album so much). But in most of their songs, I found there is just something to their music that is so visual that I haven't found in many other artists.

Something about their music conjures vivid scenes in my mind, usually action scenes (always dramatic). Usually involving runnning for some reason....running is just dramatic to me. True for anyone else? Anywho, this is my newest favorite of theirs:


Particulary I like these lyrics:

I'm swimming in the smoke
Of bridges I have burned
So don't apologize
I'm losing what I don't deserve
What I don't deserve

A lot of my characters for my WIP (Work in Progress) suffer from a guilty conscience. When I listen to this song, it says to me that they've made mistakes and they take the blame for them. That their mistakes, especially dealing with other people, weigh heavily on their shoulders. A complete burden. Swimming in the smoke--They are kind of drowning in this guilt. Like, crying so hard you feel like you're suffocating or screaming until you go hoarse is the visual I get (very dramatic, like I said). I use music a lot to think of scenes at the gym or when I'm relaxing. Music distracts me when I'm writing though :-(

Anyway, I'll probably end up posting a lot of songs or things that inspire my writing. Maybe I'll make this a regular thing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What Guinea Pigs Taught Me About Making Characters

            My guinea pigs are young; under a year old. They are small; less than 5 pound together. They talk in little chirps which I pretend to interpret, yet even with all the websites telling me what they mean, I still have no freakin' clue. They run around the cage in the morning and at night (exactly when I don't want them to). I've never seen them sleep. When I walk close or make a loud sound, they scurry like I just let off a bomb. They are weird and, most of the time, I don't understand them at all.

So what could these little creatures possible have taught me about revealing who my characters are?

           They've shown me that the best way to give a reader a sense of a character's personality is to show them. Don't tell them. Don't even have someone say it. It's all about actions. Forget the words, the thoughts, or the dialogue. Don't get me wrong, the things people say and how they say them and all that definitely create a character but doesn't the phrase "Words don't matter, only actions" have some importance? A dynamic character is made from having a multi-facted personality. They don't act the same in all situations. So why not have the protagonist think one way about someone and then have that someone's actions contradict it. People judge. Harshly. They don't take everything into account when they judge a person, so revealing that their ideas are wrong through actions is a great way to give another character depth.

            Back to Fred and Albert. It's funny how these tiny hairy creatures can distinguish themselves from one another just by some simple actions. Fred, for example, sometimes bites me when I take him out of the cage---from this you would assume that he's nervous and doesn't enjoy people. Albert never bites. Every time I clean their cage, Albert is the first one to break out of whatever makeshift fence I create for them---without him saying a word you think Albert is probably smart, clever and brave. Fred always watches what Albert does then follows him out (maybe Fred is the smart one....)

           See what I mean? Little actions that give a big impression about characters. It's incredible that you can tell what an animal is thinking even though they don't have facial expressions (I'm not counting growling or anything like that).

So let's set the scene:

Amy walks into the house behind her friend Katey. She looks at the floor, lightly touching Katey's jacket from behind through a group of people. She smiles with closed lips, only making eye contact with a few people. Scratching her head, she then turns the gesture into a slight wave.

            Here I left out any thought process, any emotions, any talking (any creativity really) but you get my point. You can tell just by her actions that Amy is probably shy and uncomfortable in the situation. Maybe she doesn't really like large groups or to meet new people. Someone didn't say "Oh that Amy looks uncomfortable" or Amy didn't think Wow, I really hate being around people. Grrrr. But the impression of Amy is still reached by the reader.
            What I'm saying is that it's easy to make one of your character say a person is brave or smart or cheery. It's completely another thing to show it through their actions but oh so important. If I want to make the reader think my character is whimpy, I give them a scene where they hide from a fight or make others fight their battles. Then a show that same characteristic in another scene and the impression is set. Then maybe I break that impression, make the character brave in some other setting. No one can always be one thing, right? I actually think Fred enjoys being pet, maybe he just doesn't enjoy the being picked up part? Who knows. So, you see, actions don't give the whole story but they can be combined with other things to make great dynamic characters.

            Ever read a book where a character is described as funny or charismatic but you never really get that sense, it's only the thoughts of the other person telling you they are this way. (*Cough* Edward is interesting*Cough*) It's annoying, frustrating and just rings false. It seems like a cop-out. The author doesn't wanna do the work to make the characters, they just want to tell you how you should think of the characters.

            In conclusion, Fred and Albert have taught me that sometimes ducking from a reaching hand is more telling of your skittishness than me telling others:
Me: "Oh, Fred isn't that friendly."
Others (Everytime): Grabs him anyway. "Sh*t he bite me!"
Me: Shrug to Other. Smile to Fred. Pat on head.

Can't hide in a house with no roof!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis
 Pages: 398
 Publisher: Razorbill
 Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
 First Published: January 1, 2011
 First Line: “Daddy Said, "Let Mom go first.”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble
Book Trailer:

The GIST (From Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


It took me about 70 to 80 pages to get into this book. That's because Amy and Elder (the two main characters) didn't meet until this page. This was my main problem. I thought, judging by the cover (which is of course the worse thing to do), that romance would be the main entree of this book-- instead it was like left-overs, reheated the next day, soggy and lukewarm. No where near as enjoyable as I thought they'd be.

Amy and Elder hardly spent anytime together throughout the novel, so I didn't really believe they had any type of connection or real reason to like each other. Amy spent most of her time with Harley (Elder's best friend) who had much more chemistry but, alas, I knew the author wouldn't let that happen. So the romance was a big disappointment for me.

The story was more like a murder mystrey than anything and it took me about 20 pages after the first clue to get who did it. So that excitement went caput too....

What I did find interesting about the book was the world-building. Feasible or not, I liked learning about the society that grew from a giant ship, Godspeed, speeding off into space for 300 years. I could feel the claustrophobia of the metal walls, the suffocation of it all. The author was very good at giving that feeling of imprisonment and I felt strangely nauseous thinking about being stuck on that ship as I read the book. Still gives me the willies as I think about it now.

Although the structure of the society was interesting, I just couldn't really, in my heart-of-hearts, believe it could ever happen. I tried. So I just let that disbelief go and then I started to enjoy the story. The fact that everything was so easily found out was still a little annoying but I could live with it.

As for the ending, it left me wanting to know more about what would happen on board Godspeed but what happened with Amy and Elder (who I keep wanting to call ENDER! Gah) was just so frexing puke-inducing it left me with a sour taste for the both of them.


The book was hard to get into but, as it progressed, I got interested in the world and what would turn out with the society as it started to unravel. The romance was non-existent and forced so don't expect that. I'm definitely interested in seeing if the romance picks up in the second book and how everything unfolds within Godspeed---7.5

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fred and Albert Take A Bath

Sometimes, after I clean out their cage, I decide Albert Einstein and Fred (just Fred) need a bath. They are still very cute even when they look more like wet rats than guinea pigs.

Fred is trying to escape!

He doesn't really like to have a bath

Looks like he's about to go down the drain. Big hair ball will probably clog the pipes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: The Gathering

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Pages: 368
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult / Supernatural
First Published: April 12, 2011
First Line: "Serena stood on the rock ledge twenty feet above the lake, singing in a voice known to bring tears to the eyes of everyone who heard it. Everyone except me."
Buy it from: Amazon
                      Barnes & Noble
Book Trailer:

THE GIST (FROM Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

In The Gathering, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the supernatural thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to Darkness Rising, her scorching hot new trilogy.


The first line of this book is a little deceiving as it really has nothing to do at all with the plot. Also, the cover is nothing like she looks. Love to start out on a negative note...

Anywhoooo, "The Gathering" was entertaining but highly predictable. I KNOW! How is that possible, you ask? Good question. Well, let's start with the predictable; from almost the beginning, we pretty much understand what Maya is. I won't spoil that but alot of it is spelled out so much that you just want to bang Maya in the head when she doesn't get it.

Although Maya finding out about her heritage and what she '"is" was predictable, the Canadian environment, the small research island where they lived, and the inclusion of all the animals were all things I've never read about in a work of fiction and thus kept me interested. I liked all the Native influence in the story too, though, sometimes when these things are added they tend to overpower. It didn't happen here luckily.

As for characters (arguably the most important part), the protagonist, Maya, was dynamic. She was a little too perfect--as in everyone loved her, cared about her opinion, wanted to protect her blah blah blah but that didn't bother me since she lived in such a small town that the people couldn't really be too choosy. She was clearly a good person but with a lot of imperfections that kept her from being stagnant. The secondary characters, such as Rafe and Daniel, had distinguishable personalities and were interesting on their own. The romance was a little rushed but I like where it's heading.

All the elements of the book weren't explained or tied together by the end but I didn't feel cheated out of a ending. Ever feel like the end of the book was that moment right before you reach the top of the mountain and are about to see the other side but--instead there's suddenly a cliff and that's it? This was not like that. A lot of the action did culminate at the end, I just felt like Maya is still going to take a while to figure it out so the ending was that we were getting close to the answers but still had a long way to go to get them. Just like Maya. Although there were a lot of loose ends, I'm not going to be pre-ordering the book cause I. HAVE. TO. KNOW. More like I'm interested. Will definitely order at some point. I'm just not peeing my pants waiting which is nice since its no longer acceptable, at my age, to do that.


I could put the book down at 10 pm and pick it up another day so it wasn't completely engrossing but it was definitely a good, entertaining read--- 7.5

Monday, February 6, 2012

Prompt: Write the Truest Sentence About Your Own Writing

                                                   From Here Check it Out. It's awesome.

Love those words but I'm going to modify this to "Write the Truest Sentence About Your Writing"

Mine Would Be:

I'm have a great story to tell but maybe all I am is an imaginative person, not a writer.

It's a big fear of mine that I really can not write fiction. Give me an essay about the gothic elements in "The Strand" and I'll write one hell of an essay.

Tell me to write a short story and...I've already changed classes.

So what's so different about fiction and non-fiction writing? To me, fiction is all about putting myself into something, something wholly me. My ideas all the way to my writing ability. Non-fiction writing (I used academic essays as an example) are a lot about my thoughts sure, but they are more about telling about something else that has no reflection on me.

There is something in that fear that stops me from giving my all to writing. To sitting down and finishing this book I've been thinking about for 5 years. This book that I've written countless, seemingly unconnected scenes of. This book that has consumed my thoughts and my heart for a while now.

I want to write it, I really do. I think the story is great but I self-destruct when I read back over it and the words aren't as fluid and captivating as my dreams/thoughts. The story isn't the same in my head as it is on paper.

And I'm not sure I know how to change that.

So fear holds me back. That is really the truest sentence I know. Not sure what to do about it except just keep writing and hopefully it will work out. We shall see.