Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo & Update on Life.

Hello everyone and Happy NaNoWriMo!

I know I have been m.i.a. for basically about a year... But I have been super busy and my life has just gotten in the way and while I have been reading -- a lot actually... I have not had the time to post reviews and such and for that I am wholeheartedly apologetic. I started a job over the summer and was working mainly full-time and now I'm still working a little less hours, I have a pretty heavy semester on top of my new apartment, and my friends and football. It's just been a crazy past year and so much has changed. I've moved into a new apartment like I said, got a job, got a car..... I've been so exhausted for months and I don't think it will ever stop!!

I have, however, decided to do NaNoWriMo... or at least attempt it again. Last year was my first attempt and after a little over 10,000 words I crapped out. Partly because I didn't know where my story was going and a large part to the fact it was during Exam 3 and final exam preparations for my first semester of college ever and I honestly did not have enough time. This year's November is a little differently scheduled and while I still will have super busy days coming up at the end of the month, this week and next I have little to nothing due. I hadn't decided I was going to do NaNoWriMo until Nov. 1. Honestly I had no outline and no idea what I was doing and I was like psh, i'm probably not going to even start this thing.

So on the first day I started writing what was like my own personal diary -- I wrote 2,000 words of pure and utter bullshit: stream of consciousness of me complaining about my roommate who has been driving me crazy. I was thinking if I could write a book -- even if it wasn't exactly pure fiction -- about an entry every day about my day and the things I thought about then at least it would get me writing again something that has been highly neglected throughout this busy year and something that is a huge part of me. So I started. Then an idea popped into my head around midnight and I scratched everything and actually had an idea for a book. It's been something I've been toying around with -- the general gist of the plot -- but not something I actually fleshed out or wrote down or god, even outlined. I was terrified that I'd start writing it and just like a thousand other ideas, I would crap out in the first 2,000 words and I would already hate it.

But as I started to write the story is taking on a mind of its own. Honestly, it's one of those things I love where my characters write themselves and so does the setting and the plot keeps adding up in my head. Now I'm not saying this is a sure thing and that I'm going to finish it and that I have everything worked out but so far I've been ahead. Today, according to the official NaNoWriMo pace, I was supposed to have 8,333 words finished -- I'm almost at 10,000 (next day's goal). I'm feeling good and I really want this story to work. And for once I think if I was able to finish my goal. I might have something to come back and edit and work with. I've always given up on myself and I want to do the exact opposite so cross my fingers this lasts past today.

So, if any of you are doing NaNoWriMo put your buddy name below and I'll add you. Also: what are you guys doing for NaNoWriMo? Are you prepared unlike me? Got a full outline? TELL ME!

Sorry about my absence -- not going to promise any reviews soon, but follow my reading on shelfari and follow my writing on NaNoWriMo!!

Happy Reading & Writing Y'all!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

White Oleander by Janet Fitch Book Review

White Oleander
by Janet Fitch
Published September 1, 2001 by Little, Brown and Company
496 pages

When Astrid's mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet, murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life, Astrid becomes one of the thousands of foster children in Los Angeles. As she navigates this new reality, Astrid finds strength in her unshakable certainty of her own worth and her unfettered sense of the absurd.

White Oleander is a story following the lives of a poet, who has just been arrested and put in jail for murder, and her daughter who is then thrown into the foster care system. As they try to navigate their new worlds and their changing relationship it's quite a journey and story about finding yourself and growing up for the daughter.

I really didn't know what to expect with this book, but I fell in love with it. It was simply amazing. The way the author strung the words together painted a beautiful picture and a vivid understanding. It was insane the way the words made you think about things. It had me questioning so many different aspects of life and relationships. It touched on all aspects of a person's life and how it can be affected. The relationship between Astrid and her mother was incredibly changing but the bond was always strong and there's evidence of this throughout the entire book. It gets you thinking to what actually can break a bond that strong as one between a mother and a child.

The characters were all interesting and peculiar. I liked them. I liked their different backstories and how they were all so different from characters you normally meet in fiction books in general. There was so many things about this book that just stood out to me and resonated with me. There were quotes that I was pulling left and right and the imagery was insane. The way the story was put together was intricate and flowed beautifully as if her words were water and there was no discontinuation.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"At that moment I knew why people tagged graffiti on the walls of neat little houses and scratched the paint on new cars and beat up well-tended children. It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have."
"Why did it seem all the same, why did it melt together like crayons left in the car on a summer day?"
"Take what you can before it all burns to ash."
"The mind was so thin, barely a spiderweb, with all its fine thoughts, aspirations, and beliefs in its own importance. Watch how easily it unravels, evaporates under the first lick of pain." 
I definitely recommend this book to all!
My rating: 5/5
 Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz Book Review

Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods #1)
by Melissa De La Cruz
Published March 27, 2007 by Hyperion
302 pages

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: MIles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires. The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapidated mansion. Schuyler is a loner...and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead.... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

Blue Bloods is about a society of the richest, and most popular people in New York City. They also happen to be Blue Bloods -- or vampires. Schuyler has just found out she's one of them -- whatever that means. She's basically alone in this except for her best friend Oliver. When al these things start happening and suddenly Jack Force -- the most popular guy at her private school -- has shown a sudden interest in her. But when fellow classmate Aggie is dies, the whole society is on edge.

I didn't like this book too much. It was okay. I really didn't connect with any of the characters and I didn't seem to really know any of them too intimately. I like connecting and knowing my characters that way I can understand their point of view and feel what they feel but I didn't get any of this from this book. The character development really lacked and it put me off a lot.

Also, for about the first half the book I was completely confused out of my mindI get mystery around the main point of a book but these hints weren't clear. It was like I should have already known about everything to understand what the characters were thinking and what was going on. It wasn't a pleasant mystery. I just didn't like it and with no character connection it was all confusing and all over the place. However, it was a quick vampire read but it was not my thing.

My rating: 2/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Update 1/27

Hey everyone! I'm really sorry for being M.I.A..... Seriously. I'm really sorry. I don't want to be. But I've been so busy and stressed. Second semester started and I'm in two English classes, plus the fact that I just moved dorms with my roommate with a clown car across campus. It's literally insane how much has been going on. I'm so sorry. Please know I intend to be back ASAP but it might take me a bit. Keep up with what I'm reading on my shelfari and goodreads. I'm not posting reviews but I'm rating books as I read them there. If you've followed me there before you know that it takes me a while to post reviews -- slower than me actually reading them so I'm very far ahead on the reading track.

On the upside for my classes I'm reading interesting books for them so I'm super excited! I'm in a bit of a classics rut for this first part of 2013 and I couldn't be more excited. On how much I love them... you'll just have to wait and see.

Please let me know how you are doing and what you all have been up to! I'll promise to check out blogs soon I'm so behind on everything ahh it's so overwhelming!

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian Book Review

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys 
by Kate Brian
Published October 2006 by Simon & Schuster
268 pages

When she was nine, Megan Meade met a group of terrible, mean, Popsicle-goo-covered boys ,the sons of her father's friend -- the McGowan boys. Now, seven years later, Megan's army doctor parents are shipping off to Korea and Megan is being sent to live with the little monsters, who are older now and quite different than she remembered them.

Living in a house with seven boys will give Megan, who has never even been kissed, the perfect opportunity to learn everything there is to know about boys. And she'll send all her notes to her best friend Tracy, in....

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys
Observation #1: Being an army brat sucks. Except that this is definitely a better alternative to moving to Korea.
Observation #2: Forget evil, laughing, little monsters. These guys have been touched by the Abercrombie gods. They are a blur of tones, suntanned perfection.
Observation #3: I need a lock on my door. STAT.
Observation #4: Three words: six-packed abs.
Observation #5: Do not even get me started on the state of the bathroom. I'm thinking of calling in a hazmat team. Seriously.
Observation #6: These boys know how to make enemies. Big time.
Megan Meade will have to juggle a new school, a new family, a new crush -- on the boy next door, as in the next bedroom door -- and a new life. Will she survive the McGowan boys?

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys is about army brat Megan who is sick and tired of moving around all the time for her parents. When they tell her again after she finally gets settled somewhere that they're moving to South Korea -- she puts up a fight for the first time in her life. To keep her in the states, they send her off to her dad's friend's house to live with the McGowan's -- and their seven sons. She doesn't know what she's getting herself into...

I thought it was a good book! I liked Megan; she's fiery and she tries so hard with such a big heart. I really liked her character except for some aspects in the book where it made her seem a little overly girly for such a tom boy in the way that she acted about boys at first. The writing style was I think a bit young for me. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was a bit younger, but I liked it anyway. It was a really cute story and such a light fun read.

I read this within a couple of hours and I liked the break it gave me from heavy serious books that I had been reading. It was something stupid and teenager-y that I really enjoy sometimes. It wasn't plagued with major drama, because sometimes high school and being a teenager is just enough. I recommend it as a light read -- maybe better fit for a summer read. But it's definitely geared toward some of the younger readers in the way that it's written even if it's not supposed to be -- that's what I got out of it.

My rating: 3/5
Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare Book Review

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2)
by Cassandra Clare
Published December 6, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
502 pages

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at least found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street -- and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from the mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move -- and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will -- the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Clockwork Prince is the second book in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. The prequel series to the Mortal Instruments. In this book, Tessa and the rest of the London Institute crew are back and trying to figure out where the Magister has gone and how to stop him along with his clockwork army. Will is hiding a big secret -- and no one knows what it is -- as he struggles to fix something long ago set upon him, the mystery darkens around the Magister as well as Tessa and her origins.

This book was even better than the first. I'm absolutely in love with all these characters and the interesting story line. I'm starving for the third book. I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what happened next and who was deceiving who. I've also fallen in love with the love triangle. It is heartbreaking but it's incredibly captivating. I like Tessa even though some of her actions bother me to no end, but I really do like her.

This world of Shadowhunters is so different and original. It's a world I can't get enough of so I'm forever grateful to Cassandra Clare for expanding on this world with different stories and different characters. It's so entertaining and the books are some of my favorites.

There were also some great quotes in this book as well. One of my favorites happens to be:
"And doing nothing, I find, rarely accomplishes anything."
This sequel to Clockwork Angel is even better than I could imagine and continues the story beautifully. Even if you weren't fully convinced on the first one, give this one a try because I believe it to be even better!

My rating: 5/5
 Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare Book Review

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1)
by Cassandra Clare
Published August 31, 2010 by Margaret McElderry Books
479 pages

Magic is dangerous -- but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the times is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated -- and torn between -- two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length... everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world... and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all. 

Clockwork Angel is the first in the Infernal Devices series -- the prequel series to Clare's first written, The Mortal Instruments series -- is set years and years beforehand in the 1800s. England is the setting this time with a whole new cast of characters -- the ancestors of the characters we have grown to love in the Mortal Instruments Series. It's set in the same shadowhunting world and some characters might surprise you or seem familiar!

I absolutely loved this book! I've been hearing for ages that this series was just as good or maybe even better than the original series and I was gladly happy to find out that I thought much the same. It's so awesome to have different characters but still enjoy the same world. It's just as much the same as it is different and it's not predictable at all. The story line is different and still just as intriguing  I can draw some parallels between characters and who they remind me of in the Mortal Instrument series but it's not really the ones that are related.

I really enjoyed this fresh setting as well. Being in England and in a different time period really caught my attention again. This world is something that Clare has brilliantly adapted to different places and different people. It's timeless. I still fall in love with the stories. Also, Tessa is a wonderful new character and I love her. I immediately will start reading the next one in the series and impatiently await the third coming out in February 2013. The next one in the series is Clockwork Prince.

There were so many wonderful quotes in this book as well. I forgot to get most of them for this post but here is one that particularly caught my eye and I wanted to share with you.
"Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry."
If you have not picked up either the Mortal Instrument series or the Infernal Devices I advise you to go out right now, stop what you're doing, and go read them because they're simply amazing.

My rating: 5/5
 Buy it:  Barnes & Noble  or  Amazon

Happy Reading!!