Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Reviews

First, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief because it is less involved than the other one. Okay.... this book was alright. But I have heard some people hail it as the next Harry Potter and I just don't get it. I like fantasy books, it's what I write and what I read. But this book did not resonate with me. Firstly, I do not like that the mom never told him the truth and then dies before any real explanation. Oops, spoiled it. Oh well, don't read a review from me without expecting spoilers. Anyhow, I did not like the main character enough. Not to continue in the series, anyway. I love me some Harry Potter. I was invested in Harry's past, present and future after chapter one. It's possible that it is only me because I know a lot of people love this book series but I was not invested in the character from the beginning and by the end I liked his friends better. However, I advise readers to decide for themselves because it is entirely possible I am wrong about it. I frequently am. But don't tell my husband because I maintain an eerily always right, told you so attitude around him:)

I was reading a book that I decided I wanted to read based on the cover.(Side note: I do not judge them on their covers HOWEVER if I see an interesting one...). I liked the broken lollipop piece heart that was mostly blue and green with one red piece. The title was obviously a little fluffy but I figured I could suffer through it to get to the mystery behind the lollipop piece heart. Then I found out that the lollipop pieces are sea glass. And that the book was not fluffy at all. And there was a quote that I liked so much I had to write it out somewhere so that I could have it forever.

"When someone you love dies, people ask you how you're doing, but they don't really want to know. They seek affirmation that you're okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they.
Secretly they wonder when the statute of limitations on asking expires (it's three months, by the way. Written or unwritten, that's about all the time it takes for people to forget the one thing that you never will). They don't want to know that you wake up every day wondering why you got to live and he didn't. That on the afternoon of your first day of real vacation, you sit in front of the ocean, face hot under the giant sun, willing him to give you a sign that he is okay."

This quote says it all for me. There is no expiration on grief and I can tell without asking that every day since my mother died is just as raw as the first month for myself, my sister, and my uncle. Maybe not in the way that every moment is a crying jag. But in the way that every morning I wonder why. That in seeing her things in my place, I am simultaneously forced to remember and forbidden to forget. It's a hard place to be- remembering hurts but to forget is
unquestionably not an option. A year passes and no one remembers except those closest and maybe a couple people on the anniversary. When people ask how you are, you can not answer honestly because you are no longer expected to give answers about it. When you go a little crazy, or even a lot crazy and no one knows why- they don't trace it back to the fact that you don't feel right since this happened, they just assume you are having a bad day. Well, I guess what I want to know is- how long until I am really just having a bad day? How long until I no longer feel crazy, until I don't feel off and broken and strange inside my head and my heart? Maybe I can live through the day now but time- the only thing we can really count on- is not making this easier. Is there something wrong with me or is everyone like this when someone so close dies? Why is it that I feel like crying instead of smiling at the memory? I don't think it is a depression and I am not truly, inside my head crazy. I just don't think I can get over this the way some people seem to do.
Anyway. This book sort of highlighted for me these issues and it made me feel a little less alone. So I recommend it, particularly to anyone who has suffered a serious loss. Who cares that it is the equivalent of a puke inducing chick flick that you would be ashamed to ask for tickets for in the movie theater? It's so worth it. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah (ha, we have the same name. Maybe it was fate) Ockler.

On writing and music- I will be subjecting a flash fiction story I wrote to criticism from a writers group I attend and I just hope that it is good enough for them to not want to chuck me out into the parking lot and repeatedly run over my fingers so I can never write again. Wish me luck.
As for music... I listened to the new Death Cab for Cutie song for New Moon and I was disappointed. Not in a way where I thought they sold out or some other such nonsense. Just that I really hated the song. I will try to listen to it again but in the meantime I am listening to Stone Sour- Through the Glass and Placebo- Running Up That Hill and 10 Years. All things that remind me of Catching Fire because I had to read it again and it is just haunting me in the way that only Harry Potter, Twilight, The Host, and White Oleander have....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Character Dilemna

So, I am having my eyes opened to a great deal of new opinions on books now that I am spending time on message boards and blogs that have to do with writing and books. Actually, being around for the beginning of what I assume will be a Twilight type obsession with the Hunger Games series, I get to see what people think of it with the comparison to Twilight and without the jading of pop culture obsession yet. I don't know if that sentence even made sense to anyone but me. But anyway, I feel like audiences for YA novels today are getting cynical. There is a growing percentage of dissenting voices in the Peeta/Gale and Edward/Jacob debate. Much of what I have seen revolves around the fact that Peeta/Edward would be characters that would sacrifice themselves for someone that they loved. I don't see the problem, personally, as a mom I would freely give my life for my child or my little sister who I feel maternally toward, if the situation arose. But I see so many posts about how that is cheesy and stupid and a character flaw... The cynicism runs so deep! Whatever happened to epic romances like Romeo and Juliet? Of course there are better stories and books but romances have their place, too and they are what they are. It is not supposed to be entirely realistic- I mean, come on he's a VAMPIRE and for that matter, Hunger Games is a futuristic science FICTION story with a love angle to it. But I wonder if I should let it influence my writing and try to make my characters more what the audience would like. For now my opinion is that I let them be true to themselves and if I never get published then I never get published. But the cynicism really surprised me especially since the general audience for these books is so young. Theoretically the more hopeful ones.... Anyone else feel this way?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not writing- reviews

This will be a review post. Partly because I have some good, no scratch that- great books to review. And also because I am finding myself in a difficult position regarding my writing. I have done nothing of substance in a couple of weeks because when I do have time I am too tired (read:lazy and tired) to put in a huge effort. So anyway, on to what I have done.

Break- Hannah Moskowitz- I am in awe that someone so young (not that I am so old at almost twenty four but come on, high school?) pulled together such a wonderful book. It is hard to read when Jonah breaks his bones (he is on a quest to break all of them) and equally hard to read that his mother nearly kills his brother with allergens day in and day out but if you can take that, you are in for a treat. Poor Jonah! The only part I did not like *SPOILER* was that the self harmers in the psych ward decided to break their own bones as well. Maybe I, and Jonah for that matter, should have seen it coming... but it was hard to think about. I also did not like that Naomi urged him to continue when he said he was done breaking his own bones. Just seemed weird. But I guess friends are friends to us in different ways. And that was hers. Anyhow, go out and buy this book, it is worth owning. If I did not win the ARC then I would have bought it.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I have no words... A better book than I ever thought I would read. I could gush all day long about it. Seriously. I never saw the things coming that happened in this book. It was surprising, heart wrenching and lovely. I can't live for another year without knowing their fate! One thing I will say- SPOILER ALERT
Katniss is in love with Peeta. Maybe Gale, too but she admits that, why is it so hard to admit it about Peeta Mellark? Because he is from the town and not the Seam? Because her friendship with Gale will be forever changed? I don't know but I just want to jump into the book and scream for her to wake up.... I love Peeta! Team Peeta all the way, I guess. Anyway, read these books. Hunger Games was awesome and it started the trilogy but its hard to even hold a candle to Catching Fire.

I am about to start the Lightning Thief so I guess I will review that when I am done with it. And I guess I am going to try to write. Until next time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Totally Psyched!

I am, (as the title of this post suggests) totally psyched right now! I never really win anything (especially not things I really want) and I just won a copy of Break by Hannah Moskowitz from YA Highway-
Not only that but books are possibly my top two most favored material possession in the world, ranking above even such necessities as clothes (but only equal with music) and since I mostly feed my habit via the library, I was counting on waiting awhile to read this one. Now I get to read as soon as the post office delivers it:) So thanks to YA Highway and it's a totally great blog for anyone who reads or writes YA- and I actually thought that before I won the book.

In reading news, I have been sort of reading fluffy books with a couple of notable exceptions-
Willow by Julia
Hoban which was awesome. I couldn't imagine being a habitual cutter and this story actually made it relatable and well, almost understandable. I don't know what I would have done in her situation...


Nailed by Patrick Jones which was a really good flashback. I could definitely imagine me as the main character, Brett (although I think he has a little bit of a football player/jock guy name and maybe that is part of the irony) because despite how hard his road becomes, he refuses to give up who he is to make everyone else comfortable. If only you knew me then you would understand that fits me to a T.

In writing news, I managed to get an outline for the book and what I think will be a companion story and surprise surprise, this blog is already helping me even if so far it is in title alone.

I am listening to The Used and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus lately and wow, why did I ever think that just because the latter had an extremely stupid name that I shouldn't listen? It's because of my title snobbery, I guess, but do yourself a favor and check them out.
Thanks again to YA Highway!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So... I was reading excerpts of the online journal of the gunman who shot up the gym TWENTY minutes from my house and some of them really spoke to me. Like, where he says that he "looks good, dresses and smells nice" and doesn't understand why he has not had sex in 19 years nor been in a relationship since 1984.
Wow.... I wonder why no one wants to be in a relationship with a whack job who had been journaling online about shooting up various places to the point where he even said he brought loaded guns in but back out... What a catch!!! Maybe women could somehow sense his crazy! On a serious and sobering note, there are four people dead and more wounded including a pregnant woman because of this guy. We have de
graded as a society to the point where this stuff hardly even shocks anymore, and really a person does not feel connected to anyone and resorts to web blogging. And not one person he knew or who stumbled across his blog decided to call the authorities? Or reach out to him with resources that might help?
I guess its a byproduct of the internet and whatnot and then events like this make people afraid. I hope I am never too afraid to reach out to help someone if I come across a sad person in need of connection that badly.
In the meantime, I wrote
a flash fiction story that was under 1,000 words for a contest that I found out about in my writing group- the one I just joined yesterday:) It was very interesting and so difficult to keep down to 1,000 words. Although I expected to be a lot harder, to be honest. So my writing adventures continue!
On the kiddo front, he is just such a cutie. Here, let me demonstrate-
And his father and I are in the process of making his home school curriculum for this year, the last year he will need one created by us due to his age.
Right now I am not reading anything. I finished the other book I read and a couple others... considering re reading some of my favorites- again!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Well, I think that my first blogging experience went well, I even have a comment:) In the meantime, let me expound on something I recently discovered and love. Critters Writers Workshop. I love to read the short stories and then (as diplomatically and honestly as I am able) tell the authors what I think of them. It also provides insight into my own writing because I see elementary mistakes of sentence structure or even more complicated things that just don't make sense and prevent it in my novel. On top of that, they will critique for me in return. That is the part that I like the best although I have yet to take advantage of it.
In other news, my four year old informs me that it "feels nice" when he repeatedly rubs his "boobies". Not knowing what to say to that, I told him that if he insists on rubbing his boobies (which he assures me he does) then he has to do it in his room. Then I went back to my book and told my husband to deal with him. Ah, the wonders of being a mom to a BOY.
Another note: I am reading The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler and it is so good!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Time for Everything

Well, I never really figured myself for a blog person. But I also never thought I would have a kid or finish a novel so... this blog is starting now as Fledgling because I am one. A mom of a four year old is surprised every day with the most random of things so I will always be a fledgling mom with my son. Maybe I will be more of a pro if I have another but until then, I feel kind of like an amateur. I think it can't only be me, though, it must be a mom thing. I am also a fledgling writer- as in I am unpublished. I have written one novel and am working on the second. The second one is coming along so much easier. While I would write for the rest of my life, published or not, I would prefer to get published so that I can make a career out of something I love and just have to do. Welcome to anyone who reads this fledgling blog:)