Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Latest Three

only don't ask how,
I managed to get a lot more great reading done in these last few weeks before finals
--these last crucial weeks, that is--
and manage to still not be failing any of my classes.
Like I said, don't ask how.
So I mentioned I had some big new YA releases coming up in the next Latest Three
and that is definitely still the case.
So without further ado,
here's the latest three!
(These are all sequels in trilogies so if you haven't read, though I try to stay as spoiler free as possible, well, sort of, you might not want to read this post. You have been warned.)

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
I highly enjoyed this second installment in Roth's debut trilogy. One thing that stood out to me while reading it was that for most of the time I didn't really know where it was going. I knew Tris and Tobias were on the run and I knew the bad guys had a colossal, evil plan (and I also guessed that the Factionless were going to play a pivotal role in the story too), but other than that I was just along for the ride. And I thought that was really cool!
I also want to say that I liked the romance in this book better than I did in the last one, which is saying something because I really liked the last one. It's just that when there's tension in a romance it can be hard for me to like and, for the most part, this tension felt real and earned to me.
Of course, yet again, we are left with no ending, but boy, what an ending!

Scarlet, Marissa Meyer
Not to pick favorites, but if I had to pick a favorite between all of these it would be this one, but I also just think that's indicative of the kind of reader I am. What I love about this series is that it manages to read like a classic fairy tail (thank you, third person narrative), while still touching on deeper subjects like the plague, not fitting in with society, the power of oppression, the power of fear in general. I also love the way technology is portrayed in this world and the ways it works perfectly with these "fairy tail inspired" characters. It's a fast, enjoyable read that reads just the way it should. Loved it!
Oh and Wolf, can you please have a long lost brother that is not your psychopathic alter-ego and that is just as gruff and vulnerable as you? K, thanks!

Prodigy, by Marie Lu
I was super excited to read this one because I loved Legend! Well, I loved this one even more! Whoa guys, that climax was without question the best one I've read this year. Fighter jets. Oh yes, my style. :D
I do have to say that the romance I liked better in the first one. I'm interested to hear what you have to say, but I felt some aspects weren't quite necessary. Either way, it was only a section of the book that wasn't working for me, the rest was action packed and some scenes were gritty and engrossing and had me way hooked. I think Marie Lu is a fantastic writer. I love spending time in her world. Ooh! And that's one other thing I like about it. The stuff we get to learn about this world is awesome. Totally believable and not far from the truth, in fact. It was an interesting eye-opening experience, how we got to learn so much and see it through Day and June's experience. Stellar.

Here's to almost finals!
Here's to the fact that I will soon be saying "Here's to after finals!'!!!
Here's to the summer smell that's in the air, can you smell it too? Smells like a fresh stack of TBR pile!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's Next...

I've been blogging in spurts lately.
This, I think, is good.
Because blogging is good,
and is also a lot better than ignoring my blog.
So, go me.
For those of you who saw a while back about my Big Announcement, I wrote a book. I told myself I finished it, but even a novice writer like me knew that that was not entirely the case. For the past several weeks I've been having a couple close friends of mine, one of them is Emily, read it. I also put on my brave jacket and took part in Maggie Stiefvater's critique partner love connection, which was fun. Through that I met several people who were interested in my story, hello Olivia!, as I was in their's, and so I now have some more objective perspective*-types looking at it. 
But for me, I'm currently at a really awkward hiatus in which the constant anxiety--seriously, six years--of knowing that I needed to finish my book has suddenly left me, and I feel a little as if a carpet has been swept from under my feet. That mean, old carpet! So I must ask myself...what next?
It's not really much of a difficult question.
Here's a list of all the things
--ooh, OK, that felt killer cool to write those three words in a consecutive manner: all. the. things.--
that I am currently, or gearing up to, work on.

I have a new major WIP that is a big jump from my last middle-grade-ish/historical fantasy. This one has much older teen characters, set in modern day America. The element of magic comes in, because there's always and element of magic with my writing, in the form of ancient Greek mythology. I've always loved Greek mythology, though not as much as Emily, but I've never thought I'd base a whole book off of it. Well whaddya know, my next WIP is definitely based, though loosely, off of Greek mythology. And let's just say, this one's going to be a lot grittier. Eek! I'm so excited!!!
Here's what I'll be reading in the next few months as I prepare for this one.

 Mythology, Edith Hamilton

 The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Roberto Calasso
(Sorry for the blurry picture, but it's a really good book so far!)

When Love is Not Enough, Nancy L. Thomas
(Character stuff, people. Diversity is key!)

Emily and I are planning a NaNoWriMo collaboration! That's pretty much all I can say about it other than we've decided to base the story off of the original historical story of the Romanov's and the once missing Grand Duchess Anastasia. This will also be pretty gritty. And eek!!! I'm equally excited for this one too!!!

Nicholas & Alexandra, Robert K. Massie

As a more minor project, I've also gotten my dad to start writing a memoir  Even though memoir usually needs a platform to get published, I'm still both excited and serious about this one. My dad has some great stories, as does my grandpa--his dad--who's already written a memoir. I'd like to edit both and see what we end up with as a combination. If I haven't mentioned before, my dad's side of the family is big in aviation, but especially my dad and his dad. My grandpa flew near the WWII era and my dad made aviation a career for many years. So I think the evolution of aviation that will come through in both their stories will be fascinating,  albeit if only for me and my family, to read. And I'm also just really proud of my dad for agreeing to take it on. It's nice to see him get so excited about it!

Here's to more things to do, because I love having more things to do...yeah!
Here's to the stories I have to tell!
Here's to the stories WE ALL have to tell. So please, tell them!!!

*I like taking advantage of any chance I get to use those words: objective perspective. Isn't is fun?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Honor Of...

You know what this means...
AND  if you don't know what this means
--because that's also plausible--
since you might not have seen my first installment of my
In Honor Of series,
I am doing a little tribute to all the beautiful gems I come across in the bookstore, but sadly put back down on the shelf and tearfully walk away from.
Seriously, guys, I bring bagpipes.
And tissues.
So this post is in honor of those books that looked
it's how much, you say?
my wallet is peeping at me pitifully from my purse saying I can only spend how much money?
Oh, OK, OK.
Next time, pretty little book.
Next time.

And so this blog post is In Honor Of...

In Young Adult:

In Middle Grade:

P.S. The reason I was at the bookstore in the first place was because it was my best friend and better bookish half, Emily's, 20th birthday! What a way to celebrate, eh? Wouldn't have it any other way. Except maybe a trip to Europe. Don't worry, Em, We'll get there.
Go over to her blog, follow, and wish her a happy 20th!!!
P.P.S. I should be having another Latest Three coming your way soon. So long as my looming finals don't get the better of me. I'm currently on book number three. Yay!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's Time for a Road Trip!

Road trip number deux!
But this road trip is actually not only one road trip; it's two.
Any guesses?
Anyone? Anyone?
while I am right this very moment going on a Metaphorical Road Trip,
I recently went on an Actual Road Trip,
both of which are Very Good Things!
So first of order, I took an Actual Road Trip to my family cabin over the weekend.
(Another Very Good Thing because my college doesn't give us a spring break. Waa.)
And one of many good things about that trip was that I got to make almost exactly the same trip that I'll be making while moving to the Santa Barbara area at the end of May!
(Yes, a Very Good Thing.)
Another good thing about this Actual Road Trip was that I got to do this.

Nuff said.
(Recognize that lovely font anyone?)

For our metaphorical road trip today
--otherwise known as a YA Highway Roadtrip--

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: The Veronica Mars Kickstarter success makes us wonder, what YA book would you raise $2 million to see a movie version of?

I will be taking you back a little bit to yesteryear...
A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray

Yep, guys. This little gem
(Gem-a? LOL)
My best friend and other bookish half, Emily, sort of disagrees and thinks that Libba Bray's Diviners series would make a better movie, and it's not that I wouldn't also LOVE to see it on the big screen,
(Have I maybe heard a rumor somewheres that it's being optioned? Don't quote me on that though!)
The Gemma Doyle trilogy just really has the sentimental value for me.
This book was easily the first series after Harry Potter that I fell truly in love with.
Back in a time when I didn't know any living author's names, besides J. K. Rowling's of course.
Back in a time when I went into the big wide book store not knowing the new releases that were already on shelves or having Goodreads reviews to skew my treasure hunt.
Back when a book store was just that, a book store, and all the magical intrigue that comes with those two beautiful words.
I flew through this series as fast as I did the Harry Potter series because I liked it that much, which is saying something coming down from a HP high.
And I was SO EXCITED  to hear that it was being optioned.
I freaking had my cast picked out and everything!
But it fell through.
And now I want my movie!!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's Time for a Road Trip!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic: If you could visit any country with a fictional character as your guide, who would you pick and where would you go?

Ahem, ahem
*Sound the trumpets!
It's time for Da Polka Bot to FINALLY do a YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday!
I've been wanting to for a while, and now that I've been on a blogging sugar rush and I have a week off of dance and not a lot of homework to do (say what?) 
I shall go on a road trip.

This week's road trip question was a fairly easy one for me.
If you could take any fictional character on an adventure who would you take and where would you go?
I'd take Ms. Frizzle!

Genius sauce, right?
I know!
And where would I go?
Good question.
Could back in time, like any time at least twenty years in the past, though preferably the twenties or the Victorian age, be a possibility?
If not, the moon! Totally the moon! I mean, c'mon, that moon episode on the Magic School Bus was pretty epic, right? So imagine if I went along for the ride.
Yes, I think it would be pretty fun. Ms. Frizzle and I would sit on a nice big moon boulder* and enjoy some home made slushies--because who wouldn't want to eat slushies on the moon?--and look at the world and discuss the meaning of life and I would soak up her awesome Ms. Frizzle-y-ness. 

*Is there such a thing as moon boulders? I dunno. I think I'd just want a reason to say,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Latest Three

I've got a nice round-up of books for your Latest Three today.
Some real diversity!
(No pun intended: see first book rec.)
And man, have I been reading some good books lately.
Plus I've got some good ones up and coming,
of which I should hopefully zoom through,
despite all this school-ness
because they are those kind of books.
But for now,
here are the Latest Three!!!

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
I ain't gonna lie. Ever since Hunger Games craze blew up the YA literary realm, these types of "dystopian" books have been the bread and butter of the market. This is not a bad thing. I'm a firm believer that if it's getting kids/anyone to read more, then it is a Good Thing! But for me personally as a reader (I think perhaps whenever there's any sort of genre blow up in the market) I get a little lost in book stores because every cover and every book title and every review look the same. And who's to say that because it has the same tone or setting or voice as something that I loved as much as the Hunger Games means it's a really good book too?
Disclaimer: Don't take this too literally because I'll still give these types of books a chance; it's just, like I said earlier: I get lost. And therefore, I tend to shy away and wait for the special, intriguing book recommendation to come along.
That said, my good friend and other bookish half, Emily, told me to read this one and if you're a fan of this book and so have been holding your breath for this surprisingly long introduction then you can take a sigh of relief because, ya know what, I really liked it!
And because I've already said enough, I'll say that while the romance, I think, was commendable, my favorite part about this book was honestly the main character, Tris's, exploration of self as she embraces a new, or latent?, identity. "I am brave," she says. It's the whole premise of the book, and I loved how reckless and breathless and brilliantly it was done.
Oh, and I'm currently reading Insurgent!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
So yeah. I honestly don't know what to say about this one.
Just...just do yourself and humanity and the world and likely your dog and your next door neighbor a favor.
Read it.

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
I had to read this for my English 102 class and let me digress for a moment (I promise this won't be as long!) that pretty much whenever I am forced to read something for school I tend to want to read it less than I normally would. There's really just something different about saying, "OK, so I'm going to fit reading this book in this point in my book reading schedule because...well, because I have to." As opposed to saying, "Hey, I think I'm going to read this book now. Yeah, I think I'll do that." Really guys, even when I had to read The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice and The Hobbit for school, THERE. WAS. A. DIFFERENCE. But that doesn't mean that in the end I'm not like, "Ok, REALLY liked that one!"
Well to Bel Canto that wasn't, for the first time, actually the case because--plot twist--I read it early! So I guess we're starting it today and whaddayaknow I've already finished it. *Brushes shoulder off.
And guys! This book was FANTASTIC! I've been reading a lot of pure YA lately, which is always good. But the depth of this book, and I mean that of the physical kind because it's not a big book but just, ya know, thick like it has a high fat content or something, was so refreshing and engaging to read. I loved it!
The whole premise of a terrorist attack on a rich businessman's birthday party in South America with an opera singer and so many culture clashes (I LOVE culture in literature!) and terrorists that you ultimately fall in love with and then...
THAT ENDING! Holy cow guys. Have not cried that much since like Finnick Odair died. Seriously.
Pactchett is an astoundingly beautiful writer. Go pick it up. Meanwhile, I'll pick up more of her books because man that woman can write!

Here's to another Latest Three!
Here's to some BIG YA NEW RELEASES that I'm really excited to feature in the next Latest Three!
Here's to puppies. Because they sit with me while I gab to my computer screen about good books!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Happenings--With Style!

 So I had a pretty good Easter!
How about you?
I like to celebrate with style.
Wearing a vintage fifties prom dress my good friend gave me and Liz Claiborne champagne flats, of which I've had since I was a sophomore. Truly good things never stop being good.

And lots and lots of pastel...and deviled eggs.

 And at my church, we celebrate a bang!

Here's to rebirth...of whatever kind you believe in!
Here's to the beginning of spring!
Here's to a great reason to use CONFETTI!!!