Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor. Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My Thoughts: This book was great, but then all of a sudden it wasn't. I really, really enjoyed the story. It was drawn out enough that I got to know the characters well, but not so much that I felt like it was dragging. Eleanor and Park had an adorable relationship. However, I feel like it just ended so abruptly. Which I guess was maybe her point, but I don't understand why it had to happen. And why Eleanor just ignored Park like that after the way she felt about him. That aside, it was a great book. Richie scared the junk out of me, and I really felt for Eleanor and her family. I hope this book becomes a movie, because it was really a lot of fun to read overall. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Update

I haven't worked on my book except a few paragraphs here and there since I started my official rewrite. I just have no motivation and I can't find my voice and I can't do anything while Bryce is around. It's a bummer but I'm really not in a hurry. But I do at least need to write my new chapters soon so I can send it back to a couple of readers for another round of proofreading. I like that one of my readers is a professional proofreader because some of the things that I didn't catch, she caught, and some things that other people suggested weren't things that she suggested and I trust her judgement over the others'.
But yeah.
I'll get to is sooner or later I suppose.

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My Thoughts: This. Book. This fricking book. I had to take a few days to recover after I read this book. It's really an amazing read. It touches on the important things like bullying, rumors, suicide, and mental illness. The characters were very real, the prose was interesting, and I hung on to every one of Hannah's words in much the same way that Clay did. If you haven't read this book, seriously pick it up and read it. It does have some triggering themes, obviously, but it really is a fantastic read and I'm so glad that I read it. I'm so bad at actually saying how I feel about books but seriously this book was INCREDIBLE. Read it!

Review: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama. For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family. This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

My Thoughts: This book was ok. Poetry isn't really my thing, especially when it's in this format. But the story was believable and deep, and I read the book in just a couple of hours. The way she describes things is really neat because I could very clearly see these pictures in my head, but the book just didn't do it for me.

Review: Gossamer by Lois Lowry

My Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Plot: Littlest One is a tiny creature slowly learning her job of giving dreams to humans. Each night she and her teacher, Thin Elderly, visit an old woman’s home where she softly touches beloved objects, gathering happy memories, and drops of old scents and sounds. Littlest One pieces these bits together and presents them to her sleeping human in the form of pleasant dreams. But the dreaded Sinisteeds, dark fearsome creatures that plague their victims with nightmares, are always at work against the dreamgivers. When the old woman takes in John, an angry foster child with a troubled past, the Sinisteeds go after him with their horrifying nightmares. Can Littlest One, and her touch light as gossamer, protect John’s heart and soul from the nightmare of his dark past?

My Thoughts: As always, Lowry tells the story of the triumph of good over evil in her own unique way. This book was an easy read, as it is a children's book, but the tenderness of the old woman and the emotions of the boy and his mother are very real. This is also an interesting theory about where our dreams come from, and why we dream of the most random of things sometimes. Great, easy read!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Reviews!

Once again, I find myself behind on my book reviews. I'll catch up soon. Also, I've began writing my second draft! I officially started writing it on Sunday, July 13. But things are chaotic and messy right now so I'm not getting much of anything done.
Will catch up soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book Update

I've completely edited my first draft, and now I'm on to writing my second draft. A lot of it will be copying and pasting, so I'll have a hard time keep track of my progress. I'm just going to take it chapter by chapter according to my new outline. I'm hoping that changing certain scenes doesn't completely ruin my story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book update

So last night I sent my book over to Staples to get it printed and coil-bound, and I'm going to red-pen it to death and keep it. I get to pick it up on Friday, and I am so excited. I've never printed a finished product like this, even a dinky proofread draft. I think I'm going to do this with every draft. 
And I came up with a maybe-title: "How Real". But I don't really like it. But the book needed a title besides [Working Title], so I snagged a line of dialog and made it my title. 
I should have all of my new outlines and character bios done by the time I pick this up on Friday, and I'll be ready to proofread and start my second draft! I tried formatting my manuscript, but I have no idea how to make the page numbers work, so I gave up and I'll just try again once I'm actually ready to print it and ship it to someone.
I feel pretty confident about this book, but I'm trying to not get my hopes up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book update

So, I finished my book on June 10. I sent it out to seven or eight people. I've received feedback (no edit included) from two of those people, plus an edited document from two more people, and a handful of "I'll get to it soon, I promise" from everyone else. I'm not upset about this, because I wasn't really expecting anyone to read it, and the proofread versions I've received were super helpful, as was the feedback from the people who didn't edit it.
Today, July 8, I am starting my revision. I'm writing out my outline, my bios, my chapter summaries, all of that, on paper first, so I can have a hard copy of it to reference when I don't want to constantly go back and forth between word documents. Eventually I will put all of this into a second draft notes document like I had for my first draft. On Friday (or Saturday, depending on how I feel after our walk home from the library), I'm going to print out my first draft and red-pen it to death. Then I'm going to start from scratch and retype the whole thing using my proofread copies, my red-penned copy, and my new notes. I'm completely changing the timeline and I'm moving some things around. I really want this draft to be basically seamless.
I think I might start posting my writing updates here instead of on the tumblr that I made, that way my reviews and my writing are all in one spot, and whenever I update it, people will get the notification to their email instead of having to go to a blog to check. Yupp.
I am so stoke to start writing again!

Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Annotated Centennial Edition) by Frank Baum

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: A beloved classic comes to life with this beautifully illustrated annotated edition on the 100th anniversary of Oz. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the quintessential American fairy tale, but also one of the most controversial children's books ever published. Michael Patrick Hearn, the world's leading Oz scholar, provides a spellbinding annotated edition that illuminates all of Oz's numerous contemporary references, provides fascinating character sources, and explains the actual meaning of the word "Oz." A facsimile of the rare 1900 first edition appears with the original drawings by W. W. Denslow--scrupulously reproduced to mimic their correct colors, using a different color for each region of Oz--as well as twenty-five previously unpublished illustrations. In addition, Hearn provides an extensive bibliography, compiling Baum's published work, every notable Oz edition, and the stage and motion-picture productions from 1939's The Wizard of Oz to the 1974 Broadway smash The Wiz. The result is a classic to rival Baum's own, and a book no family's library can do without. 90 black-and-white, 56 color, and two-color illustrations throughout

My Thoughts: This book was just as great this time around as it was when I read it in second grade. Dorothy is such a fun character, and the book version of this specific book is much better than the movie (although the movie is FAB). I love the annotated version because it has basically one page of notes for every page of story, and I learned a lot about Frank Baum and his inspirations and a lot of the references in his books. Did you know that he (allegedly) wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz without bothering to go back and edit or read it before publishing?? That's crazy. Anywho. I loved this version of the book, and if you're a collector or you just like reading factoids while you read a story, you should definitely check this book out!

Book Review: In the End by Demitria Lunetta

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures. It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby. Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival. One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After

My Thoughts: I was sort of let down by this book. I was looking forward to this for so long, and when I read it, the wow factor just wasn't there for me. The time in Fort Black seemed to d r a g o u t, but once Amy and Brenna escaped and the action really picked up, I flew threw the book. I loved Jacks and Amy's relationship. He just seemed right for her, and I think that if Demitria writes another book they would probably end up together. I was a little confused about how Baby just randomly knew who Amy was when, four chapters earlier, she had no idea who Amy was. Unless she was faking it. I just really hope they write another book because I HAVE ALL THE QUESTIONS.

Review: Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother Vivienne Margaux, the powerful head of a major New York theater company has no time for her. But she does have one friend--Michael--and no one can see him but her. But Michael can't stay with Jane forever, and on her eighth birthday, her imaginary friend must leave her. When Jane is in her thirties... (click the link to continue reading)

My Thoughts: This. Book. Was. Great. At first I was like, "Woah, that's weird, she's attracted to her imaginary friend". But as I continued reading, it became so much more than that. Not only is this book about taking control of one's life and making one's own dreams a reality (ok, the last part is probably only used a little loosely), but it's also about a mother-daughter relationship and how some mothers interact (or don't) with their children, even as their children grow up. This book was really great, and I just recently found out that it was a movie, so I'll probably watch that soon too. If you haven't read this one, READ IT! It's short and sweet and you'll fly through it.

Recommended to me by

Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

My Rating: ★★★½

Goodreads Plot: Where there's a will, there's a way—and Sam Westing has left quite a will!
One fateful day, sixteen people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. To their surprise, the will turns out to be a contest, challenging the heirs to find out who among them is Westing's murderer. Forging ahead, through blizzards, burglaries, and bombings, the game is on. Only two people hold all the clues. One of them is the Westing heir. The other is you!

My Thoughts: (I rated this book 4 on Goodreads because they don't have half-stars and I didn't want to under-rate it) It took me a while to get into this book. The format was weird, and I was in sort of a funk when I started it. But I'm so glad that I finished it, because the twist at the end made it totally worth it. There were a lot of characters in this book, so it was hard to keep track at first, and I found myself getting confused a lot with who was who. It wasn't a great book, but it wasn't horrible either.

Review: A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

My Rating

Goodreads Plot: The summer Hattie turns 12, her predictable smalltown life is turned on end when her uncle Adam returns home for the first time in over ten years. Hattie has never met him, never known about him. He's been institutionalized; his condition involves schizophrenia and autism. Hattie, a shy girl who prefers the company of adults, takes immediately to her excitable uncle, even when the rest of the family -- her parents and grandparents -- have trouble dealing with his intense way of seeing the world. And Adam, too, sees that Hattie is special, that her quiet, shy ways are not a disability.

My Thoughts: This book was really sad! I wasn't really expecting to like it because it's a book for preteens, but it was actually very good. It was very funny, and very true-to-life. I would've liked to hear more about Hattie's friend from the circus (her name escapes me and I don't have the book any more). But overall it was really good, and one I'd probably recommend to my younger sisters for a light, easy read.
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